The number of casualties was counted when the battle ended. There were more than thirty soldiers who'd been struck by acid, and seventeen dead, most of them were killed by the scarab's claws. Although their acid was also terrifying, the soldiers could protect themselves with their armour and huge shields.
The one who counted the number of casualties was a young capital guard. He reported the number to Azlan and Locke with red and swollen eyes. Half of the dead soldiers were capital guards and the other half were shadow guards.
The former died because they were the first to go up against the scarabs' attack, with most of the latter killed because they only had leather armour, which wasn't particularly acid-resistant.
Azlan ordered the soldiers to clean the battlefield and cremate the soldiers' corpses. They had the responsibility to bring these dead soldiers back to their kingdom.
Angelina got out of her carriage to offer her condolences to the soldiers who'd just gone through the tough battle, but she was soon invited back to her carriage by the stubborn shadow guard jarl. Although the scarabs had retreated, it wasn't guaranteed that they wouldn't come back again.
While the soldiers were busy working, the casters took out the bottles and jars which contained some powder and green liquid and sprinkled them around the camp. The liquid evaporated and the powder caused the air to be filled with a pungent smell. Although the casters didn't mention what they were for, Locke could guess that it was a concoction to drive the minor monsters away.
The wind grew stronger at night, which meant that a sandstorm was approaching again. It was one of the things Locke had learned in the past few days. Just as he was about to order his men to find shelter, a few casters went up to him.
"Herr Locke," said an old man with a thick white beard. His long white eyebrows and his friendly expression made it seem like he was an easy-going person.
"What's the matter, Meister Anter?" asked Locke. The white-browed caster was the only one among the six casters in the mission who'd talked to him often.
"Could your soldiers help us collect the scarabs' carapaces and their acid sacs?" asked Anter.
These casters were not affiliated with the army. They were directly in the employ of the Faustian royal family instead, so although they were respected, they didn't have the authority to order the soldiers around.
A sandstorm was coming and he could see a strong hurricane approaching their convoy. Should he let his soldiers risk their lives to collect these 'useless' things for the casters? Was it worth it?
Anter could sense Locke's reluctance. He grimaced and said, "We can give you silver coins or potions in return. Locke laughed. What an amusing old man.
"Men! Go and collect the scarabs' broken limbs and their leftover body parts if you're free now! Go!" shouted Locke.
All the soldiers knew Locke's status, so nobody dared to oppose him. As the sandstorm was approaching, Locke didn't ask the soldiers to collect the carapaces and acid sacs separately. They would just collect everything and let the casters extract the carapaces and acid sacs out by themselves.
Azlan had no objections to it as well. He was busy carrying the green scarab that had been frozen by Nolan on his back. Locke had goosebumps just by looking at the insect that was half the size of a human.
He could see every hair and spike on the green scarab's leg clearly through the ice as well as the jagged teeth inside its mouth. He worried he would vomit from disgust if he continued to look at it for a little while longer.
A short time before the sandstorm arrived, the soldiers collected every piece of scarab they saw, leaned against the carriages, and got into their sleeping bags. Ever since they entered the desert, the stopped pitching tents. All the soldiers were given a sleeping bag each instead. The sandstorm tonight was a bit stronger than those of the previous nights. The wind only started to wane near the morning.
As the sun reappeared above the horizon, the soldiers who were buried in the sand got out of their sleeping bags, only to see that the wheels of the three-metre-high carriages had completely sunk into the sand.
The early mornings and evenings were the best times of the day in the desert. The servants in the mission began to cook for the nobles, whereas the soldiers pushed the carriages back onto the ground.
Locke, who hadn't slept well for the whole night, lifted the drapes and jumped out of the carriage. He obviously didn't have to sleep in the sleeping bags like the other soldiers as he could always have a vacant carriage.
Everyone in the mission probably didn't sleep well last night either. The surprise attack by the scarabs made them realise that some other creatures could be hiding and roaming in the dark.
After talking to Azlan about what to do with the dead and wounded soldiers, Locke went looking for Anter. The ground was level with sand again like before. Who would've thought that a dangerous battle had occurred there not long ago? Locke knocked on Anter's carriage and stood quietly as he waited outside.
Anter had probably just woken up. Locke could hear vague mumbling sounds coming from the carriage. The old caster, still in his nightgown, finally opened the door after quite some time.
"Anter, You look cosy!" Locke laughed. It had just been a few hours since the battle ended, but the caster had changed into his nightgown and went to bed. Even Locke, who always had a lot of nerve, went to bed with his armour on.
He ignored Locke's words. "Come in!" he beckoned before he got into the carriage first.
Anter's carriage was like a mini alchemy laboratory. There were plenty of reagents that Locke had never seen before on the wooden table in the carriage. Next to the table were a thin quilt and pillow, probably where Anter usually slept.
"Here's your pay!" Anter threw a bag that was filled with money to Locke. There were roughly three hundred silver thalers in the bag.
"This too!" Anter took three light red potions out from under the wooden table and handed them to Locke. "Redsand potions, as promised!"
Locke took a closer look at the potions; he'd heard about them from Yoshk a long time ago. It was a very popular potion among the knights who practised impetus.
Not only could it slightly increase the speed of impetus cultivation, it could also boost one's strength during a battle by thirty percent. Of course, it had strong side effects, but it didn't stop the knights from using it.
After Locke got those two things, Anter sent him off. The door closed as soon as Locke got out of the carriage. It seemed like Anter was either going back to sleep or going to carry out an experiment.
Locke distributed all the three hundred silver thalers to the soldiers in the end. Although the capital guards and shadow guards had good treatment, they were only paid five silver thalers a month. The windfall wasn't much, but no one refused it.
Locke gave the redsand potions to the squad jarls. They all had different strengths, ranging from low-rank Knechts to high-rank Knechts. Since they'd been with Locke for a long time, he felt like they had deserved it. It wasn't Locke's business on how they would distribute the potions among themselves.
He already knew that the redsand potion had strong side effects a long time ago. It could weaken the user for a short period of time and also some irreversible damage to their body. If Locke used a potion in the future, he would choose the one that had no side effects or minor ones. He would never consider using redsand potion.
After patrolling around, Locke went back to Angelina's carriage, within which she was playing with her unhatched pet. Dozens of purple scales were placed proportionately around the green-grey egg that was one metre high. It seemed to sparkle faintly.
Angelina pressed her ear against the egg excitedly, "My pet is talking to me!"
Locke was speechless. "It's still an egg, how can it talk to you?"
"We're communicating through mental power, you won't understand it!" Angelina rolled her eyes.
Locke put his hands on the egg and he could feel it beating strongly. He believed that this little scorpiondrake might hatch anytime soon.
"How long more till it hatches?" asked Locke.
"Around two months." Angelina had signed a mental contract with her pet, so she could roughly estimate when it would hatch.