Today, a peculiar ship berthed at Zeckerton Harbour.
Under the hands of a skilled Magister, the floating ship was brought to a smooth descent with its flank masts that spread thirty metres wide. There was not a single ripple on the surface of the water. Only new travellers would be awestruck by the magic ship as the residents of Zeckerton Harbour were long used to its kind. Once every two to three years, similar ships would grace the harbour. However, it seemed to be appearing much more frequently this year; this was already the fourth ship.
The grey-cloaked Magister gathered the Lehrlings on the deck. “We’ll be having a short layover for a night to replenish the ship’s magic reserves.” Though the elder wasn’t loud, everyone could hear him clearly. “Someone will bring you to your respective lodgings at the harbour. You may disembark the ship now.” With an effortless wave of his arm, a platform that bridged the ship to the shore appeared with a thud. A crowd of sailors were already gathered around the ship, all busy at work to secure the ship by the harbour.
Their crowd had spent five days on the floating ship. The fast flight had many frail casters suffering from motion sickness. Once they were permitted to leave the ship, impatient Lehrlings had charged forward to barf on the shore.
“Let’s head down too!” Locke shouted to Angelina and Daenie. If it wasn’t for the Lehrlings’ mass agony, Locke wouldn’t have known that motion sickness could be sustained from riding a ship, thanks to his physique.
Angelina wasn’t ill either. Growing up, the Faustian princess was fed with countless high-rank major monster parts. She was at least as physically fit as a beginner-rank Knecht. Daenie, on the other hand, was saved from the ordeal since she was a hydromancer. Healers were primarily hydromancers, biomancers and photomancers; all Daenie needed was a simple Moisturise every day to prevent motion sickness.
“Alright!” Angelina took Daenie’s arm and followed the disembarking Lehrlings. Despite Angelina’s impressive patience, spending five days on the ship had been extremely boring. Plus, Zeckerton Harbour was located eastern coast of Aomar and this was her first time here.
Just as Locke was about to follow behind, a Magister halted him.
“Hey, Knecht boy! Can you spare me a moment?” The grey-cloaked elder waved at him.
Curious, Locke went over. The elder smiled at him. “You’re the knight that came onboard with Parlina, right? You have such a fantastic body! Your core is so strong!” He patted Locke’s chest plate with his scraggy arms.
Though the elder was a Magister, the force he was exerting on Locke’s armour felt akin to a knight of similar rank. Locke swallowed the suffocating discomfort in his chest and asked, “Meister, is there anything I can help you with?”
“Indeed! I need you to do something for me.” The elder’s smile felt rather uncanny now. “You know what’s beneath us, right?” He thumped the floor with his staff. Locke immediately understood that he was referring to the major monsters in the basement.
“Yeah.” Locke nodded.
“These major monsters must not be seen by civilians but all the high-rank Knechts in Zeckerton Harbour have been called away by the Hall of Knights.” There was a slight pause. “We need someone strong to feed them once a day so they won’t starve to death!” Ah, there it was. His narrowed eyes were staring Locke down in delight as if coercing the younger man into taking up the job.
“But…” Locke was reluctant. There were close to two hundred creatures in the basement and if he were to feed them all alone, he would be beyond exhausted. Plus, there was a base-rank major monster and eight high-rank major monsters in the basement; Locke would only agree if he was looking for a quick death.
Just as Locke formulated his rejection, the grey-cloaked elder played his strongest card. “Grandmesiterin Parlina shares the thought too.” The elder was still smiling with narrowed eyes and Locke felt an incredible urge to punch him square in the face.
“Okay.” Locke could only relent. A small Knecht like him was in no place to refuse the request of two Magisters.
“Here’s the key to the basement and the magic stone that unlocks each cell.” As soon as his words fell, the grey-cloaked elder levitated himself to the fourth level. He hadn’t bothered to give Locke further explanation.
Once the Magister had fully disappeared into his room, Locke slumped over dejectedly and caught up to Angelina and Daenie.
“What’s the matter?” Angelina shot Locke a curious look.
“Nothing much.” He shook his head. After all, feeding major monsters wasn’t something brilliant and he didn’t wish to worry her. There was nothing they could do about it anyway; it was a task endorsed by her grandmeisterin, even. Locke regulated himself and smiled at the girls. “Let’s go walk around the harbour!”
Locke had completed many missions but he had never gone further than the mid-eastern territory of the Aomarian Empire. This was his first time here at the easternmost of the coastline as well. Locke was blown away by the fact they merely used five days to reach Zeckerton Harbour from Princeton. From what he knew, Aomar’s territory spanned more than half of the Missia Continent. It would take a continuous horse ride of four months to reach the east coast from the imperial capital. Arriving at the harbour in five days was almost unthinkable.
Compared to Princeton and the other provincial capitals in Aomar, Zeckerton Harbour felt very different. While Princeton was more majestic and regal, Locke felt more inclined to reside in the busier Zeckerton Harbour.
The sailors heaved, pulling the ship closer to the shore with thick ropes. The floating ship soaring in the sky a few hours ago was now moored to the sea surface.
Apart from the magic ship, many fishing boats and merchant ships of various sizes moved about the harbour constantly and tax officers with their tall hats and black uniforms were scrambling around to register each ship. A slight distance away from the shore were countless stalls and vendors who were promoting their proudest goods, mainly seafood, to passers-by. It was a prospering place indeed.