As the night arrived, Locke, Hans, and Caen sat outside of their campsite and started a bonfire on the field.
They were grilling the birds the soldiers captured. It was almost new year's and the temperature had dropped considerably. No wild animals could be seen at all as it was freezing. Plus, there were no Shalorian villages nearby; it was really difficult to find prey to hunt for food.
It even took the soldiers the whole morning to catch these few plump birds.
Locke had honed his grilling skills from living in the jungle for the past month. His grilling technique seemed both practical and artistic.
Suzanne leaned in towards Locke and stared at him dazedly. She had been enthralled by his facial expression.
Both Caen and Hans pretended they hadn't seen anything. Suzanne had been looking at Locke this way ever since they met up today. At first, Caen and Hans teased both of them. But when they realised both of them acted like they were the only people in this world and even wanted to flirt with each other in front of Caen and Hans, they immediately started to turn a blind eye towards them.
When Locke's food was fully cooked, Hans' and Caen's were still half-cooked. Locke took out a white handkerchief from his pocket and opened it carefully. There was some red powder on it.
Caen and Hans looked at Locke curiously. As Locke sprinkled some red powder on the grilled meat, the air was suddenly filled with a savoury and enticing aroma. The smell made everyone's mouths water.
Caen licked his lips and asked, "Locke, what is this?"
"Seasoning!" Locke said a word that had been taught to him by Angelina. He then gave some of the red powder to Caen and Hans and kept the rest of it away carefully.
Caen and Hans weren't able to hold themselves back and quickly sprinkled it on their food. The air was then filled with another burst of the scent. Even the soldiers who were on duty at the camp entrance not far away couldn't help but look over to see what they were cooking.
Locke gave the roasted meat to Suzanne; he had been eating roasted meat for more than a month already. To be honest, if it wasn't because there wasn't anything else for him to do in the camp, he wouldn't be up for this barbecue with Caen and Hans.
Suzanne took Locke's roasted meat, laid in his arms and ate quietly. She recognised the white handkerchief that contained the red powder. It was obviously made from parts of a woman's clothes. Looking at how careful Locke was when he kept the handkerchief, she wasn't sure if he was caring for the handkerchief or the red powder.
But Suzanne did not express anything. She was now with Locke both physically and mentally, and wouldn't care about anything other than him. She never had the thought of sharing Locke with anyone else.
They were enjoying the cool night breeze. Although it was still winter, it had not snowed for the past few days, so it wasn't very cold. Of course, this kind of weather was ideal for marching. The baron had decided to set off to the frontlines and meet up with Falcon the day after tomorrow.
It was late by the time they were done eating and chatting, and the moon was already setting. Caen and Hans said goodbye to Locke and left one after another. Locke then brought Suzanne back to the tent that was allocated to him in the afternoon.
Since he was now the deputy jarl of the cavalry platoon, his tent was very near to the cavalry's camp. Locke's and Wyr's tents were each located at both sides of the cavalry camps respectively so that it would be easier for them to mobilise the platoon.
This also meant that Locke was the boss around here.
Therefore, he could act unscrupulously and bring Suzanne into his tent. Plus, everyone in the camp knew that he was going to become a noble, so no one would dare snitch on him.
As soon as both of them stepped into the tent, a strong flame sparked into existence. They started kissing each other intensely and weren't able to stop themselves.
After approximately a few hours of engaging intimacy, Locke and Suzanne were both out of breath and panting heavily.
Suzanne laid on Locke's chest and caressed the scars on his body gently. She was familiar with his body, but she didn't expect to see so many more new scabs and scars after not seeing him for just more than a month. Suzanne was very gentle and Locke felt a tingly sensation. He enjoyed it a lot.
The first thing Locke did when he returned to the camp was to find a doctor to treat his three broken ribs as he could only manage to barely treat two of his ribs by his own. The doctors in this military camp had seen all kinds of major injuries ever since the war started a few years ago. Locke's injury was just a small matter to them.
Fortunately, Locke was a knight who was attuned with impetus, which was why his body was able to recover so quickly. The two doctors had told him for a thousand times to not exercise vigorously for two weeks. Yet, Locke could feel that his ribs were healing in just two days' time with impetus aiding his recovery.
Otherwise, he wouldn't be here making out with Suzanne. It was obvious that she seemed a little more passionate than usual, considering the fact that she hadn't seen him for more than a month. She wasn't able to last for even an hour last time, but she actually went at it for a few hours tonight, though it wasn't without a cost -- she was extremely exhausted now.
Suzanne talked about how she pulled through the month while lying in Locke's arms. She had been tense and stressed out, and she could finally relax as Locke was now back. She desperately needed a strong shoulder to lean on.
When Suzanne mentioned that she had subdued the group of thugs and her influence had grown larger than it used to be in Giza, Locke praised her and gave her some words of encouragement.
"Well, it's all thanks to Sister Laffey's help!" said Suzanne joyfully.
"Oh? How are the three of them now?"
"Miss Glace and Laffey helped me a lot when you were away," replied Suzanne. "As for Kristin, she wanted to come and meet you after hearing that you're back safe and sound, but she got stopped by her aunt."
Suzanne's business in Giza was booming right now, so it was better for Glace and the others to stay there to look after the business.
Locke was no longer worried that these women would flee. If they wanted to run away, they would've done it when he wasn't around for the past month. Plus, Laffey knew some impetus and Glace was clever, so running away would just be a walk in the park for them.
"They'll come sooner or later. Miss Glace seems to have something to tell you," added Suzanne.
Speaking of which, Suzanne and Glace were almost the same age. She was probably about a year or two older than Glace, but Suzanne always had the feeling that Glace could always see through her. So, whenever they were together, Suzanne would humble herself constantly. She was best friends with Glace's maid, Laffey, however. Kristin also had a good impression of Suzanne and thought she was a mature woman. She probably treated Suzanne as if she was a mother.
Did Glace want to see him? Locke was curious as to why this beautiful lady would look for him. Among all the women he had met, Glace was the most beautiful one, Suzanne was the most mature and sexiest, and Angelina was the purest and prettiest.
"How's your business going?" asked Locke. He only knew that Suzanne was working with Henry. He didn't know about the specifics.
"My business is booming right now!" Though she seemed completely drained before, when it came to talking about her business, she immediately snapped out of it.
"Oh? What kind of business?" asked Locke curiously.
"Human resources," Suzanne replied with something that Locke had never heard of.
"What?" Locke said, puzzled.
"That is, when the baron's caravan wants to transport some bulky goods or a large number of items, it requires a labour force. I'll be responsible for providing the labour," said Suzanne proudly.
"You mean hiring the refugees in Giza as labourers?" Locke understood what she had said. She was basically a manager of sorts.
"Yeah, I bet you didn't know that there are more and more refugees in Giza now, but there aren't many natives left," she said with some regret, being a native of the town herself.
"These refugees don't demand much. As long as you give them something to eat, they'll do anything you ask them to do," continued Suzanne. "I just provide them with a little bit of food, and get silver thalers in return."
"Is your business huge now?"
"It's not too bad. I'm the one who hired workers to transport almost half of Henry's goods."
Henry was one of the few managers in the baron's caravan. It was difficult for Locke to describe how big the baron's caravan is. Anyway, the military supplies of their battalion only accounted for a small part of the logistics caravan. The rest of it was all profits from trade.
"Then how much have you earned so far?" Locke wasn't exactly keen on the details of how she had earned the money; he was more interested in knowing the amount she had earned instead.
"Hehe." Suzanne held up two of her slender fingers.
Locke had previously earned one thousand silver coins when he did business in the black market. He had split two hundred to his brothers who went along with him during that time, and converted the remaining eight hundred into silver thalers. Suzanne had a capital of four hundred silver thalers, and he wouldn't believe someone that smart like Suzanne would've only earned two hundred silver thalers. Though, twenty thousand would be a stretch.
"Two thousand?" asked Locke expectantly.
"Yes!" Suzanne threw herself into Locke's arms with excitement and drew circles on his chest. "I've never seen so much money. I can't believe that I've earned all of it myself."
Suzanne was already blown away by the four hundred silver thalers that Locke had given her previously, let alone the two thousand silver thalers she had now. She was only a tavern owner, so the most money she had ever seen in her life before this was only a few dozens of silver coins, and that was when her tavern business peaked.
Two thousand silver thalers were equal to twenty gold thalers. However, it wasn't sufficient to buy a nice estate. He was fortunate enough that he had the two hundred-gold-thaler bills that Viscount Melson had given him. All this money would be enough for Locke to live comfortably for the rest of his life.
"So, you don't have to work anymore now!" said Locke abruptly.
Suzanne was at a loss. "Why?" It wasn't like she would not listen to him. She was just curious as to why he wanted her to quit.
Locke took out two golden scrolls with silvered edges from his shirt. The literate Suzanne obviously recognized the words on the bill. She covered her mouth in surprise.
"And this!" Locke took out the green ring and said, "This is for you!" He then put the ring on Suzanne's finger. "Go easy on yourself in the future," whispered Locke while kissing her forehead.
There was no reason to work that hard anymore since they already had enough money to spend. Locke preferred an easy-going and relaxed lifestyle, and he didn't want Suzanne to wear herself out from earning money. After not seeing Suzanne for a month, he could obviously tell that she had lost a lot of weight.
There wasn't anything more to say. Suzanne then returned the passionate kiss.
It was late at night. "Love me more!" she said.
They started making out again in the tent. It was a peaceful, silent night.