Most Ritters above level-one had left Aomar for either the conquest of Centauria or Botania. The massive empire nicknamed ‘State of Thousand Cities’ housed fourteen thousand level-one Ritters; eight thousand of whom were off to Centauria while another four thousand were deployed to Botania, leaving behind less than two thousand Ritters in the empire.
For the sake of safeguarding their current peace and stability, Aomar’s combat forces were stretched to their limits. There were no Ritters available to assist Lien, which resulted in the prince’s decision to answer the call to help personally.
Just as Angelina guessed, Locke felt pressured in the presence of the prince. The prince’s unintentional display of dominance was typical of stronger lifeforms since their being itself was naturally intimidating to lower lifeforms.
Locke had only felt this pressing sensation once before he’d advanced as a quasi-Ritter, it had radiated off a Himmelritter who’d just returned to Battlezone 7 from duty. He could tell that the prince wasn’t too far from becoming a level-three Himmelritter since the weight of his presence was heavier than Erdritter Garcia. The prince was currently a peak Erdritter and Locke could only admire him in awe since he was nowhere near level-one.
Locke had heard many glorious stories and legends surrounding the prince throughout his six years in Aomar. Even so, he’d never imagined to chance upon the prince in flesh and even hold a conversation in his lifetime. Yet, his heart wasn’t filled with sheer excitement. His mind was plagued by the looming feeling of inadequacy concerning his own capabilities.
He’d trained diligently and had many near-death experiences with every breakthrough and mission. Despite his efforts, Locke still had a huge gap to cross before he could become a force to be reckoned with. He felt incredibly frustrated.
While Angelina hadn’t learned to mind-read, she could sense his emotions through mere observation. He was her darling, after all. Before Locke could say anything, She brought him closer wordlessly. The warmth and softness that followed made his sinking heart thump again. So what if he wasn’t as powerful as others? Locke had tried his hardest and his efforts were sufficient.
Admittedly, Locke was no genius and he didn't have a huge faction backing his training efforts. Hence, his stellar achievements were owed to his resilience. He felt a little more grounded; no matter where the future may lead him, Locke was determined to follow his path till its end. He sighed softly and hugged her back under the curious gazes of the two base-rank scorpiondrakes on the deck.
Unlike its silence two months prior, the Sanctum was up and bustling once more. Floating vessels of different scales were departing and arriving on the island without pause. Anyone could sense the chaotic presence of different major monsters and aliens from a distance away.
Before alighting the floating vessel, Locke was a little worried if bringing around eight scorpiondrakes would be too much of an eyesore. But one glance at the situation on the ground was enough to prove his thoughts wrong since many similarly-sized major monsters were ushered around by casters.
But before Locke and Angelina could walk away, someone stopped them. “Hey! Why are there no rune restraints on these monsters?” A group of four casters appeared before them. The energy activity of these four was extraordinary, which alerted Locke to tread with caution. It was a group of three quasi-Magisters led by a Magister.
The leader of the group was a Magister with a white goatee. He stood in Locke’s way, seemingly unaffected by Locke’s quasi-Ritter status. It appeared that the casters’ attention was plastered on the few Akanasds behind Angelina and Locke.
The scorpiondrakes were massive at a size of more than seven metres and the Akanasd sovereigns were even more impressive. The white-goatee Magister would have a hard time against them even with his considerable capabilities.
“Where are their rune restraints? Who is your person in charge?” The white-goatee Magister raised his voice. He’d concluded that these scorpiondrakes were harmless within seconds and that they were brought here by the fully-armoured Locke and Angelina in caster robes.
Locke calmly explained, “These Akanasds are hired by Grandmeisterin Parlina as battle support. They are not slaves.”
Forget about peak level-two Erdritters, the white-goatee Magister’s energy wasn’t even as overwhelming as Grandmeisterin Parlina’s. Locke wasn’t the least bit intimidated by him. Truth be told, the act of involving these scorpiondrakes in the war was purely Locke’s idea. He knew that he couldn’t afford to be questioned right now so they could only relent to the Magister’s demands. Unfortunately, the interaction wasn’t progressing as smoothly as Locke had envisioned. The Magister had been staring at the scorpiondrakes intently, and specifically at Adamyrs.
“Since Magister Parlina is still in Botania, I’ll watch these scorpiondrakes for now.” The white-goatee Magister finally revealed his true intentions.
Locke’s eyes went wide. He wasn’t expecting an obstacle after doing all they could to bring the scorpiondrakes thus far. Noticing Locke’s surprise, the Magister continued, “Anyway, you both aren’t strong enough to subdue these monsters when necessary. Get Magister Parlina to retrieve them after we arrive at Botania, yeah?” He then sprinkled some spices and murmured a spell to manifest a chain of runes.
Lord Adamyrs felt its rage bubble. The white-goatee Magister had been staring at its family like they were worthless cannon fodder. Adamyrs had been the receiving end of such leers many times than it’d liked, especially during its younger years participating in planar wars.
However, the Akanasd sovereign could only swallow its rage and submit to the chain of runes over its body. There were multiple Magister towers and mana cannons whose aim were focused on its family. They were no longer in Morphey Forest, after all.