The next morning, Locke stretched and walked out of his tent.
There were already a lot of soldiers busy practising their drills. The news of deployment had been spread throughout Cardoj's camp, and every soldier was working hard to improve their skills. Most of the soldiers in the battalion could be considered veterans. They were all training as hard as they could to survive on the battlefield.
Locke walked towards the training ground that was located behind the camp. All the soldiers whom he met along the way greeted him.
"Hey, Ferr! Come here!" shouted Locke towards a soldier who was practising his sword not far away.
The soldier looked up to see who was calling him. When he saw it was Locke, he dropped his longsword immediately and ran towards him.
"Locke! What's the matter?" asked Ferr delightedly.
Ferr was one of the three survivors in Locke's original ten-man squad, along with Caen and Hans. It didn't matter whether it was Caen, Hans or Locke, they had always taken good care of him. Locke had even gone to look for Ferr when he was back and had given him some advice. He was just a rookie at that time, but he now had the looks of a third-rate soldier.
"Go and find Chef Corey in the logistics office, and ask him to deliver two bowls of broth to my tent. I want to have it after training," ordered Locke.
"Got it, Locke!" replied Ferr.
"Go ahead." Locke nodded and pat on Ferr's shoulder as an encouragement.
There were usually only two meals for the soldiers in the camp, but Locke had special privilege since he was the jarl of the platoon. He wanted two bowls because Suzanne was still lying in bed as she was too tired to move.
As Locke watched Ferr run to pass the word along, he couldn't help but sigh. How many of his comrades were still alive and well right now? He'd thought very highly of Gulas in the beginning. He had the same sturdy and muscular physique as Hans and had been to the black market together with them. Now that he had lost a leg, he was basically a cripple.
Locke went to visit Gulas yesterday and he didn't recognize him at all. He used to be a cheerful and talkative guy, but he now looked dead and dispirited behind his eyes, with his pale complexion.
It would probably be very difficult for Gulas to live with one leg for the rest of his life. The baron only compensated him a little since he was only a squad jarl. After all, he wasn't dead yet, so the baron didn't have to pay much for the pension.
Locke would rather die if he was in Gulas' situation. He wouldn't have to be a burden to his family and his parents could get a decent pension.
They didn't talk much; Locke shoved about ten silver thalers into Gulas' hand before he left. Gulas' eyes only showed anguish and gratitude towards Locke.
Locke didn't want to think about it anymore. He walked quickly towards the training ground.
The training ground's layout still looked the same as the one from Giza. A platoon jarl could train in each zone. But it seemed like there was no one there except for Locke at the moment.
Jarl Mond was currently busy drilling his soldiers. He needed to train them urgently as deployment was coming up.
On the other hand, Uncle Yoshk was assigned to be in charge of business transactions. Locke didn't expect him to have knowledge about trade, but there was probably nothing to worry about since Yoshk was known for being straightforward.
Karl rarely came here to train ever since he had lost his arm.
As for Wyr, he was always secretive of his whereabouts and no one could ever tell whether he was around or not. But Locke knew where Wyr had gone today. Smoke and dust was in the air of the cavalry camp early this morning. It seemed like Wyr had gone there early to train the cavalrymen.
It felt very nice to ride on Wyr's coattails. Locke could afford to be laid back, knowing that there was someone so responsible like Wyr leading in front.
Although Caen and Hans were deputy jarls of 3rd and 4th Platoons, their actual positions were squad jarls, so the baron hadn't given an order to teach them impetus.
Locke wasn't sure why the deputy jarl of 1st Platoon, Konstantin, wasn't here. Usually, he would be taught impetus. Locke always had a feeling that he was avoiding him. "I'm not going to take his position, so what is he so afraid of?" muttered Locke.
Locke was the only one at the vast training ground, so he could use all the weapons he wanted there to the fullest. It'd been a long time since he'd trained to his heart's content ever since the doctors treated his ribs.
He grabbed a spear and started practicing a set of Faustian spear techniques. He then took an iron sword and practiced slashing for about five hundred times. The soldiers did not use fancy skills when fighting on the battlefield, choosing instead to fight as a coordinated whole. Locke didn't know any particular movement techniques or combat skills, and only fought using brute force.
Lastly, he trained his arm strength by holding up two iron balls that were the size of heads. Locke was sweating profusely by the time he was done. He then took off his sweaty shirt, sat down cross-legged and started practicing Falconim.
The impetus vortex that was just the size of a bean in the beginning had now grown a lot bigger. Locke could feel that he had limitless energy as the impetus circulated in his body.
Practicing impetus was a meticulous thing to do. By the time he was done, it was almost noon.
Locke picked up his shirt from the ground and walked towards his tent.
Suzanne was already awake when he returned. She then helped him change into dry clothes. He was going to the baron's tent to eat later, and it wouldn't be appropriate for him to go there all sweaty.
There were two big brown bowls on the one and only table in the tent. One of them was fully filled with broth, and the other one was only half filled. It was probably Suzanne's.
"Look at you, you're only back when the food's all cold," groaned Suzanne while rolling her eyes.
Locke just shrugged and didn't say a word. He then walked towards the table and gulped down the broth. He was starving after training for the whole morning.
Corey was very generous. This bowl was not only big, there was also more meat than soup in it. No wonder Suzanne couldn't finish a bowl on her own.
Locke wasn't full and still wanted more after finishing his bowl of broth. He took Suzanne's leftovers and drank all of it in one gulp. He didn't know whether he was imagining it, but he felt that his appetite had increased ever since he'd started practicing impetus.
It was the morning of the second day. The gate of the barracks opened slowly, and a group of soldiers marched out in an orderly fashion. Baron Cardoj rode his horse and led the troops in front. The day of deployment had finally arrived.
Locke rode a warhorse and followed Cardoj. The horse that he previously owned wasn't with him anymore. The black warhorse that he was currently riding was one of the best horses which was handpicked by the cavalrymen. The men were clever and knew how to please their deputy jarl.
Locke had asked the people from the logistics department to take good care of Suzanne. Wharna, who previously worked at the courier station, was quite close to him, and Locke had been told that he'd been transferred to manage the caravan's trade. Locke couldn't believe that someone like Wharna, who just used to pass messages and letters, would be assigned personally by the baron to take charge of something so important.
Though, he wouldn't be wanting for friends anytime soon. He was going to be a noble as long as he'd survived the war, and there would definitely be those that would fawn over him.
Suzanne was also excited at the thought of Locke being a nobleman, but she knew that she would never become the knight's lady due to the fact that she was a Shalorian and five years older than him.
Locke rode tall among the group of cavalrymen. This unit was indeed the baron's trump card. Locke was very satisfied with the cavalry platoon's discipline as he watched them marched together in order. This unit didn't look like a cavalry platoon, but more like a powerful army with thousands of horses instead.
Locke figured that they had imitated the Falcon corps' training methods.
On the afternoon of the fifth day, Locke and his battalion finally reached in front of a giant barricade that was more than ten meters high and a few kilometres wide. This was the frontline of Faustian and Shalor, and it was also where Falcon and Lion were.
There were numerous dark green tents behind the giant barricade and they could also vaguely see the soldiers who were patrolling in there.
Baron Cardoj sent a soldier forward to show the guards their unit patches and his noble insignia. The hundreds of soldiers in their battalion could only enter the stronghold after their identity had been verified.
"There are nearly seventy thousand people here," whispered Yoshk to Locke.
"There's two corps here after all." Locke wasn't surprised at all. He'd seen a larger camps than this before. It was a stronghold composed of three corps, including Gale. Locke was very impressed by the imposing encampment which had hundreds of thousands of soldiers stationed in it.
A soldier who had been sent led their battalion to the area that was assigned to them. It was a coincidence that Baron Cashel's camp was right next to theirs.
When they reached the place, the baron ordered the soldiers to build their tents there. As the soldiers began their work, Yoshk came over and told Locke to leave.
"Come on! I'll bring you to broaden your horizons!" said Yoshk boldly.
Since Locke had been promoted to a platoon jarl and acquired impetus, he was allowed to buy some rare and valuable potions or weapons with his military merit and money. The location was at the logistics supply department above the division headquarters.
So far, Locke had never been to the division headquarters, let alone the large barracks that he was currently in.
Yoshk walked in front and led the way with his eyes closed. It seemed like he'd been here more than once.
They were heading towards the supply department of the Falcon corps' second division.
There was already a long queue by the time they'd arrived. The sky was getting dark and it was almost dinnertime, but the group of people there didn't seem like they were in a hurry. Locke counted approximately twenty people in line, queuing patiently.
Locke could sense that most of them were beginner-rank platoon jarls. There were two of them who were reserved and quiet, looking like low-rank Knechts.
"There aren't a lot of people here today," Yoshk laughed. "It was really crowded when I last came here. There were even some from other corps."
They were all platoon jarls of the same corps. Yoshk seemed to know a lot of people, and he went to greet them one by one. Locke didn't follow as he had to line up for both of them and he didn't know anyone there.
The sky was getting darker, and it was finally their turn. As they walked into the supply department, they were greeted by a young lady sitting behind a small window.
"What do you need, Herr?" asked the lady in a Falcon uniform, as if she was reading from a script.
"Uhh..." The question struck Locke. As Yoshk was about to suggest something, Locke suddenly recalled the name of the medicine that Angelina had mentioned to him.
"I need some strengthening potion, thank you!" replied Locke.
The lady behind the window looked at Locke in surprise.