Merlin could talk perfectly fine with new students or people like Locke. However, in the face of a rather attractive female caster like Molly, his speech immediately turned incoherent.
Locke could guess that Merlin's experience with the opposite sex was pitifully little based on his interaction with Molly. Not willing to irritate Molly, however, Locke swiftly pushed Merlin aside to introduce himself and notified her that the grey-cloaked Magister had sent him here.
“You’re a Knecht?” The female Lehrling’s eyes were wide as saucers. Though she did come across a handful of knights from the Hall of Knights at the trading zone outside, they were still rare sights to her.
“Yes.” Locke had a feeling that he was the only impetus user in the Sanctum.
“You were sent here by Grandmeister Hermes, huh? Let me take a look.” Lehrlings at the Sanctum had crystal balls that were way more advanced than the ones at the Princeton Academy. Locke had noticed that during Angelina and Daenie’s check-in procedures yesterday. The crystal balls allowed access to the Sanctum’s database and permitted communication between those who had exchanged mental imprints.
As Molly’s delicate fingers swiped across the crystal ball, she quickly found the information she was looking for. “Your name’s Locke?”
“That’s right,” Locke confirmed with a nod.
“Alright. From today onwards, you’ll be working with us.” Molly extended a palm over for a friendly handshake. Unlike the unsociable casters Locke encountered in the past, Molly left a brilliant first impression. “Harris! Come meet our new colleague!”
“Coming!” Someone answered over the distance.
“I’ll be leaving now.” Seeing that Locke had no problem hitting it off with Molly, Merlin felt that his presence was no longer needed. His afternoon experiment was about to begin and he’d better go prepare it.
“Alright.” Aware of his schedule, Locke let him leave. Though their interactions were minimal, they had allowed Locke to understand Merlin better. The Lehrling was most definitely no less diligent than Angelina. As long he persisted, Merlin was bound to become a great caster, or so Locke thought.
Starting today, Locke would be the new addition to transfer zone number 43. A group of three, including him, were responsible for all four hundred plus enslaved creatures in this zone. Molly was their leader while Harris was a colleague.
“You’ll be in charge of registering each slave that enters the warehouse, and verifying the numbers. Record all data here and submit it to me when you’re done!” instructed Molly as she passed him a thick logbook. Locke couldn’t use the crystal ball for he hadn’t trained for mental abilities so they’d need to resort to the most primitive method.
“Uh… Can I do something else?” The overwhelmingly thick book was frightening to Locke. The quill pen Molly handed over had snapped under the pressure of his twitching fingers.
Molly put her hand on her hips as she stared Locke down. “Then what can you do? Can you bind slaves with soul imprints? Can you even use magic?” Her string of questions had effectively shut Locke’s mouth. “I’m sure even a regular person would find your task simple, no?” Molly never had the patience to deal with disobedient subordinates.
“How about handing the task to Harris? He’s bound to be faster at it than me.” Clerical jobs weren’t Locke’s cup of tea, he’d much rather face a major monster.
“Harris needs to work the machine to load the imprinted slaves out of the warehouse. His job is much more difficult than yours!” huffed Molly. Hovering above them was a complex steel mechanism that was capable of lifting and moving the cages smoothly. Most of the slaves had entered and left the transfer zone with that. The mechanism was powered by mechanical energy converted from the power in the energy crystals through alchemy and spells. Unfortunately, it could only be used by casters with mental abilities, so Locke wasn’t cut for the job.
“You mentioned that you need to make soul imprints on the slaves, right? I can help you with that!” After careful thought, Locke finally settled on something he could offer.
“Huh?” Molly was utterly confused. “What do you mean?”
Bam! A two-metre tall green-skinned creature with black claws doubled over to the ground. Locke dusted his hands off and shot a look at Molly.
She quickly went forward with her crystal ball to chant a spell with closed eyes. A mist of silver came floating out of the crystal ball and was warped into a wedge-shaped character before lodging itself into the space between the monster’s brows. Molly’s lids fluttered only when the silver character had dissipated.
“You’re much stronger than I thought.” Fingers under her chin, she circled Locke thrice while poking at his firm pecs.
“Well, you mentioned that these slaves already had a layer of mental imprints so it wasn’t that difficult.” Locke gave a small laugh.
“No, it’s not the same.” Molly shook her head. “The west coast casters wouldn’t place any strong imprints to strengthen its restraints, that’s why we need to add another at the Sanctum.”
The enslaved monsters handled by their zone were as strong as a mid-rank or a high-rank Knecht. The weaker creatures didn’t require soul imprint enhancement as it was a waste of resources. Plus, high-rank binding spells couldn’t be accomplished by Lehrlings like them.
“How many more to go?” Locke would rather skip over the topic for his knowledge about the west coast and east coast conflict was minimal. All he knew was that the Sanctum was friendly with the former and on rocky terms with the latter.
“Thanks to you, we only have 47 more to go today,” Molly answered. “I thought we’d be stuck here till midnight.”
Not all slaves were willing to submit; the task had proven to be considerably difficult even for a high-rank Lehrling like Molly. A particularly stubborn slave that resisted the imprint would likely cause mental damage that took a few days to recover from. With Locke knocking out the monsters, Molly’s job was made easier.
“Alright! Let’s try to finish everything before evening!” Locke waved his fists.
Major monsters and aliens were tough beings. Despite the enchantments laid down by the west coast casters, Locke still had to be cautious around them. There was a high possibility that they’d be either a mid-rank or high-rank major monster and he didn’t wish to land himself in trouble.