"You should stay away from Viscount Melson," whispered Angelina while giving Locke a kick as they walked towards somewhere less crowded.
"Ow!" The kick on his calf caught him completely off guard. It was quite painful as Angelina was wearing court boots with high heels.
"Why should I?" asked Locke while gritting his teeth. He wanted to bend down to rub his sore leg, but he was walking behind Angelina in public, thus it was inconvenient for him to do so.
"Viscount Melson's behaviour isn't really proper," said Angelina casually. Although she didn't usually associate with aristocrats who ranked below her, she was a princess, and every royal family member had to be reasonably aware of all the aristocrats who live in the royal capital.
"Oh," mumbled Locke. He could never be in awe of Angelina and her status, perhaps because they got along really well and were very close in the Bering Mountains.
Him following Angelina behind and being humble around her right now was all just an act.
Angelina also knew that he was doing this currently because of her. She grit her teeth and whispered, "Be careful, you'll meet my brother later. Don't let the cat out of the bag."
Angelina and Locke had been living together for more than a month in the secluded Bering Mountains, so it would be hard to believe to say that nothing had happened between them during that period.
There had been even worse things that had happened among the aristocrats than this, which was why Prince Kenzir was so afraid that his sister might get the short end of the stick. Every female royal has a red 'chastity band' on their arm. If her band was still intact, it meant that nobody tried to do something improper towards her. He would then reward the soldier who had rescued his sister generously.
Of course, Locke knew what Angelina meant and immediately increased the distance between them. He also bent over downwards a little. His face only showed loyalty and honesty with no hint of other emotions.
Angelina turned back and saw how Locke was behaving. She couldn't help but cover her mouth and chuckle. She found it amusing.
"My brother admires the upright and brave soldiers," Angelina thought for a while and added.
"Upright and brave?" thought Locke. He then straightened his back and sterned his facial expression, adding in a hint of determination with honesty.
Locke now looked like a soldier that was passionate and loyal to the country.
Angelina was stunned for a moment by Locke's current look. Locke was not handsome, but he was also not ugly. Though, he was considered good looking in Cardoj's camp with his decently muscular body. It was just that he looked like a commoner with his short grey hair and stubble.
Angelina had met many handsome aristocrats and countless muscular men in the barracks with her brother before, but she was amazed by Locke's prim-looking appearance at this moment.
Luckily, she did not express anything in public. She quickly drew back her gaze from Locke and continued to lead the way.
Prince Kenzir was currently discussing something with Margrave Marmen. Marmen was the commander of the Falcon corps, and the location was not far from the capital of Shalor. Since the prince's sister had now returned safely, he could not wait to take over Audis and end this war between the two kingdoms which had lasted for nearly five years.
The prince originally planned to attack the city with the three major corps. There was a ninety percent probability of winning if the hundreds of thousands of Faustian troops attacked the royal family of Shalor, as they were currently barely surviving in Audis. Although Gale was temporarily managed by Margrave Shia now, Kenzir didn't intend to send Gale out for war.
This was because Gale was now synonymous with slaughter and blood in the eyes of the Shalorians.
The news of the massacre in the city of Eilis had spread all over Shalor and caused more and more intense uprisings in different places. Everyone in Shalor had a deep hatred towards the Faustian troops.
After all, Shalor was similar to Faustian. They were both small countries with populations of only two million. The massacre by Gale alone had killed 80 thousand Shalorians.
The prince was in too much a rush to destroy Shalor's government to justify their current occupation over their lands.
Once Shalor turned into Faustian, the rebels would not be rebels anymore, they would be traitors instead.
Gale was still being led by Margrave Shia to suppress rebels in the northern province of Shalor. Perhaps the massacre had caused the rebellion to start there.
But what was more interesting was that Gale was the best in dealing with these types of rebellions. Once any rebel army heard its name, they would be intimidated. After all, only a small number of commoners were truly loyal and devoted to Shalor. Most of them just sang their praises to fit in.
When Angelina brought Locke over, Kenzir was still discussing military matters with Marmen, so she brought him to a chair nearby to sit and wait.
Locke had no intention of eavesdropping there because he would be easily exposed by either of them.
He simply sat upright and kept his gaze fixated downwards. He did not even dare to glance sideways.
On the other hand, Angelina was relaxed. She peeled off a grape from the table and began eating in an elegant manner, like the time she nibbled on roasted meat slowly when she was with Locke in the forest. He enjoyed watching her eat.
They didn't let Locke wait for a long time. After Kenzir and Marmen were done talking, they walked towards where Locke was sitting.
They were at the side of the banquet hall and there only a few aristocrats were. Most of them were still eating and socialising in the main banquet hall.
Marmen opened his arms exaggeratedly as soon as he entered the door. His face full of wrinkles creased as he grinned before he cornily said, "My dear pumpkin pie, Angelina, it is such a relief that you are fine!"
Angelina responded with a helpless smile and hugged him. "Grandpa Marmen, I'm already an adult, don't call me pumpkin pie anymore, okay?" asked Angelina.
"Then don't call me grandpa. Am I really that old?" asked Marmen as he touched the last few strands of grey hair that was left on his head.
Margrave Marmen and Margrave Woode had always treated Angelina very well. When she was five or six years old, both of them would often go and visit her when her father was too busy with the kingdom's affairs to accompany her.
Angelina lost her mother since she was a child, so she had never gotten maternal love. She also did not receive much love from her father since he was always so busy. Fortunately, both of the margraves often went and visited her in the palace. They also brought along toys for her to play, which added colour into her childhood life.
Interestingly, Marmen was almost the same age as the other three margraves, but he was the one who aged the quickest among them. He looked like he was in his forties when he was thirty years old, and now that he was in his forties, he looked completely like an old man.
No wonder Angelina called him 'grandpa' and Margrave Woode 'uncle'.
Angelina spoke to Marmen about her experiences outside the palace. Although he arrived at the same time as the prince, Marmen only managed a glance at her from a distance and she seemed fine. They had yet to have a proper conversation.
On the other hand, Kenzir walked towards Locke and sat beside him casually. They then started talking.
Kenzir did not put on airs about his noble prestige. He just asked Locke where he was from, how many years had he been in the army and about his relatives.
Kenzir wasn't surprised when Locke said that he had been in the army for almost five years and was in the first batch of soldiers to be deployed since the war between the two countries started. He knew he was something as it wasn't easy saving his sister from the bloody battle and surviving the Morphey Forest and Bering Mountains.
At the end of the conversation, Kenzir asked Locke if he had any plans for the future. Margrave Marmen also turned towards him at this moment and looked at him with a smile.
It was obvious that both of these big shots wanted to ask what reward Locke wanted.
The question struck Locke. To be honest, he wanted everything. What he wanted most, was to be able to settle down and live peacefully with his family. Of course, he couldn't say this out loud. The war was not over yet, and he would be a deserter if he wanted to go home and reunite with his family during this moment.
"I want to continue to fight. Although I'm relatively weak, I still want to contribute to my country!" said Locke after some pondering.
His choice of words was artistic. 'I want to continue to fight' meant that he still intended to be a soldier. By saying he was relatively weak, since he was only treated as a soldier of the beginner rank, he wished that both of them could supply him some potions, training resources and treasures such as redsea flower so that he could improve his strength and skills.
Locke had rescued the princess and was willing to continue to serve as a soldier. His last phrase then implied that both of these bigshots should offer him a commissioned officer position in the army, at least a commissioned platoon leader as opposed to an non-commissioned one.
Locke didn't beat around the bush like aristocrats. Although his words were tactful, they were straightforward. Both of the old men had been managing soldiers for many years, so they knew what he was implying.
Margrave Marmen and Prince Kenzir both smiled and it seemed like they were going to agree with whatever Locke proposed. They didn't know how these small requests would benefit Locke. Locke had saved Angelina's life, so even if Locke had directly asked to be a count, Prince Kenzir would say yes without a doubt.
Of course, it would not be realistic. Locke was only a commoner. If he became a count directly, it would bring him a lot of trouble and cause chaos to Faustian's ruling hierarchy. There was no advantage in doing that.
Princess Angelina stood up at this moment and said coquettishly, "Herr Locke had suffered a lot in order to rescue me, in fact, three of his ribs are still broken now."
Kenzir then replied with an answer that Locke would never have thought of.
"How about I give you a knighthood?" said Kenzir to Locke sternly.