Fortunately for Locke, the slaves in the basement were rather intelligent. The feeding chore was way easier than expected and the perpetual stench along with the mental stress were the only things of concern. As long as Locke entered their cells boldly, the base-rank giant crocodile and the few other high-rank major monsters wouldn’t dare to do anything to him. Their higher intelligence was a double-edged sword; it had greatly weakened their primal instincts.
Perhaps the middle-aged Magister had traumatized them before their arrival on the floating ship. The major monsters hadn’t dared to get any closer to the cell bars that were enchanted with magic. Locke could recall that the giant crocodile was walking on its hind legs when it first arrived but now it could only lay flat in its dark cell constantly.
There were still three buckets of food left and Locke would need at least another hour to get the work done. Thankfully, his labour wasn’t unpaid. The Magister had promised him a payment of one mid-rank major monster crystal core a day, so it wasn’t too bad.
When Locke finally returned to his room reeking of seafood, Angelina had already gotten the bath ready for him. “Oh my goodness! Go take a bath! You smell awful!” She pinched her nose and helped him out of his shirt.
“Mn.” Came Locke’s weak answer as he hopped into the tub. “Oh, before I forget... The scales are in my spatial ring,” he said while leaning on the side of the tub.
It had been Locke’s idea to trade food for scales. After discussing it with Angelina, the idea seemed feasible so they went ahead and did it. While Locke’s froststeel armour was of amazing quality, he’d like to have a new inner armour. The golden inner armour from Glace’s family treasury was broken beyond repair at this point and he desired a suitable replacement.
The tub of clean water turned murky and yellow after Locke’s bath. Where on earth was the grey-cloaked Magister sourcing the slave’s food from? Locke had been feeding them rotting seafood all this while; was the Magister not concerned about food poisoning? However, it appeared that his worries were for naught. The major monsters were incredibly resilient and rotten food couldn’t kill them unless it was indeed poison. Despite that, the stench was becoming more difficult to stomach. Locke was really contemplating paying a wind element caster to flush out the stale basement air.
“It’ll be nice if you could get some blood off the giant crocodile.” Angelina’s mumble disrupted his train of thoughts.
“Blood? What do you need that for?” Locke was confused. From what he could see, the base-rank major monster was associated with the wood and earth element. Apart from experiments, its blood wouldn’t be of much use to Angelina.
“Can’t you tell that it’s a drake?” she questioned Locke.
“Yeah. What about it?” Locke had heard much about drakes, impressive major monsters with dragon blood. If the dragon blood in them was pure enough, they were guaranteed to become high-rank major monsters at peak maturity.
“If Angie can get some of its blood, its abilities will certainly improve by leaps,” said Angelina with a palm to her cheek.
“I’ll try my luck tomorrow.” Now clean, Locke moved to his bed. Though Angie was a scorpiondrake, it looked like a complete scorpion; the fact that it was a dragon often slipped his mind.
“If there’s a breakthrough in its bloodline, maybe Angie can even fly!” Angelina’s mind was now filled with wonderful fantasies of her familiar. Speaking of which, the current Angie looked like an exact copy of her brothers and sisters when Locke first found them in Morphey Forest. The scorpiondrake had a barbed head, sharp claws and a distinct poisonous hook that glowed with an eerie sheen. Compared to its siblings, the only differences were perhaps the slight size difference and her lighter-coloured exoskeleton; its base-rank siblings all had darker shells. On the other hand, their parents looked incredibly different. Akanasd was covered in blue scales and had a pair of pitch-black wings; it was a strong lifeform that could soar the skies.
“But really, there’s no need to force yourself if it doesn’t work out!” Angelina said while tugging his arm. Compared to Angie, she was more concerned about Locke’s safety.
At this point, they had been on the floating ship for more than three days. What laid beneath them was no longer land but an endless stretch of ocean. Locke had to admit that his first glance at the ocean was rather underwhelming; it just looked like a larger lake. However, he was intrigued by the vastness and countless mysteries of the ocean. He had even borrowed books on the eastern Aomarian sea from Angelina to read in his free time.
“Did the grandmeisterin say anything about when we’ll arrive the Sanctum?” Locke asked her.
Angelina had been visiting Parlina frequently in the last few days. Based on her description, the grandmeisterin’s room was more of a laboratory than a sleeping quarter. The incomprehensible dimension folding technique had allowed Parlina’s room to be three times larger than it appeared from the outside.
“Nope.” She shook her head.
Apart from that, there were a few interesting things that happened on board in the last few days.
The middle-aged Magister with the brown beard had disappeared for a few days and when he finally emerged again, he brought back a few peculiar creatures. They were pale blue in colour with four limbs and a fish’s tail. Those were nagas, an intelligent deep-sea major monster that Locke had only seen as illustrations. Oddly enough, the Magister had released the nagas not long after they were captured.
“Nagas are one the most powerful creatures in the Three Western Isles!” Angelina tried to offer a reasonable explanation behind its release. It was most likely that the Magister had received a stern warning from the naga tribe and had to compromise.
“Is the Sanctum really that desperate for slaves?”
Though unspoken, Locke could tell that the middle-aged Magister had intentions to enslave the nagas. After all, the four-limbed nagas were as strong as a high-rank Knecht and they were an existence that even Locke had to reckon with.
“I’m not sure.” Angelina felt lost. It felt as though the Sanctum was different from her expectations.