Angelina had always ranted about her academic expenditure and it was only now that Locke understood it. The struggle was definitely real if it managed to trouble the proud princess of a kingdom too.
It had been two days since their arrival in Morrington Harbour. Locke had spent less than a gold sorre on accommodation but Kristin’s shopping trip to the magic store had cost seventeen gold sorres off the bat. He wouldn’t have the confidence to support Kristin’s endeavour if it wasn’t for his filled spatial rings. But of course, that was just a joke. Locke was exceptionally talented at generating wealth and money was supposed to be used; he’d recuperate his losses eventually.
The female merchant, from who he’d bought information, scanned him carefully. It was safe to assume that he was a promising noble lord since he owned multiple spatial rings and could afford to pay dozens of gold coins without hesitation.
The practice of purchasing aristocratic titles had pointed to the existence of nobles without wealth. With that being said, there was a stark difference between new money and old money on the east coast. The old aristocrats that hailed from foundations that dated a few centuries back were often on another level from those that’d bought their titles with a few thousand gold coins.
The female merchant, who was also a novice Lehrling, knew full well that she had a pretty face. She was utterly convinced that if she could create sparks between them, her life would be made easy. She’d never need to work retail again! She had a sharp mind and was wildly imaginative. Unfortunately, there was no fate between them since Locke already had Kristin and Laffey.
Had Angelina allowed Kristin and Laffey on my expedition as a deterrent? Locke couldn’t help but arrive at that thought. He brushed it aside since he could never confirm that in her absence. Locke gathered the young women and bid the merchant farewell, feeling her hot gaze on his back as they left the House of Lightning.
Wait a second. House of Lightning? The female merchant had mentioned that she was part of a guild named Children of Lightning. Could this shop be affiliated with her guild? He studied the establishments flanking the street; it appeared that the relations behind these fronts may be more complex than anticipated.
They continued to roam the busy Westburn area, where most of the trading circles were concentrated at. It was then that a caster guild in the middle caught their attention. Locke brought Kristin and Laffey inside, immediately welcomed by two female demi-humans that were a third shorter than the regular human.
“Welcome, how may I help you today?” The demi-humans greeted them with a bow. Locke gaped at the sight. The assignment of foreign lifeforms as lobby attendants was rare back on the Three Western Isles. It appeared that the caster guilds here were way more intense than the Hall of Knights back in Aomar.
The appearance of the demi-humans was unfamiliar to Locke. They were incredibly unique with three protruding horns behind their ears and a line of fish scales along the side of their arms. Anyhow, they were not human.
“We’re here for a caster rank assessment,” Locke replied on Kristin’s behalf.
The demi-humans were highly-intelligent. Their gazes fleeted to Kristin and it took no moment for them to understand the situation. One of them stayed behind at the entrance while the other showed them inside the premises. The demi-humans had somehow noticed that this was their first time here so they made sure to be as accommodating as possible, which Locke appreciated.
The female demi-human barely lifted her head throughout the walk, shrinking into her form as much as possible. It made her already petite stature even more pitiful. She led them to a room before leaving for her station.
Locke knocked on the door and a voice promptly rang from inside, “Please come in.”
The trio were greeted with the sight of a black-robed caster. He sat at a desk, where a well-used book was abandoned when Locke announced their arrival.
“Oh, a knight?” The black-robed caster raised a brow at Locke.
“Yes, Grandmeister,” He affirmed. While he was fully aware of the higher statuses casters enjoyed here, Locke was regarding him with the utmost respect because he was an actual quasi-Magister. Simply put, they were peers that were a step shy of becoming level-one lifeforms.
The caster was bewildered at Locke’s presence. Since they were similarly powered, the caster could sense Locke’s true potential. It was rare to find level-one elites here in Morrington Harbour since there were bigger cities along the coastline. Quasi-elites had occurred more often but there were only a handful of them. The black-robed caster stared at Locke hard. When did this quasi-Ritter appear? He immediately went through multiple possibilities mentally.
The caster put on his best face. “How may I help you today?” They were peers so he was going to be as patient as possible. It certainly wasn’t a lie that casters were more respected than knights on the east coast but it was always better to gather more friends than enemies.
“My sister would like a rank assessment.” Locke pointed at Kristin.
The black-robed caster glanced over, expression wavering slightly. “Pardon me for asking, but are you, by any chance, from a Mystic Knight clan?”
The term was unfamiliar to Locke so he stayed silent.
It was quite intrusive to ask for someone's background during the first meeting. The black-robed felt regret settled on his tongue but Locke’s silence had, thankfully, allowed him to shift away from the awkwardness. The caster sent Kristin off to the next room with a form after requesting payment of one gold coin.
There were seven to eight casters ahead waiting for the assessment so Kristin’s turn would take some time. Locke placed Laffey in charge of Kristin and returned to strike a conversation with the quasi-Magister in the earlier room.
Typically, knights could barely hold a conversation with casters. Locke had proven himself as an exception, though. He had been constantly in contact with casters over the last five to six years during the planar war. His charisma had worked even on quasi-Magisters, which he successfully befriended in his earliest Sanctum contingent.
The conversation between the black-robed caster and Locke eventually grew amiable. Frankly speaking, the caster had been rather apprehensive about his knightly status but soon warmed up to him. They laughed and joked naturally, which was something that the caster hadn’t expected at all.
Locke had never heard of Mystic Knight clans so he was interested to learn more. Their conversion had taught him that Mystic Knights were the generalised term for a human that practised magic and impetus simultaneously. It became apparent that the intermediate between casters and knights was common on the east coast, which was to be expected since their cultivation system was much more refined thanks to the proximity of Magion. Their advancement in the field was way beyond what the rural areas of the Three Western Isles could imagine. The thriving magic civilisation had allowed the east coast to develop an array of spell applications, which spurred the birth of Mystic Knights.