The perpetual crystal fog that protected Mist City for aeons was mostly gone. Yet, the sky remained still as muddled and heavy as the hearts of its unfortunate citizens. Locke whisked away two captured Botanians when they were led past the slave camp. One of them was a lemon Botanian with a huge yellow head while the other was a very thin cucumber Botanian.
Somehow, the other Magisters had gotten wind of the spawning phenomenon Ashar found out about. The level-one Magisters had been snacking on various fruits spawned by the Botanians’ blood essence over the past few days. To their delight, these fruits seemed to offer a splendid magic recovery effect with enhanced focus for mental power. The lower Lehrlings even began to mirror their behaviour once word about the fruits’ benefits were spread around the contingent.
Ironically, Ashar had already grown sick of eating fruits at this point; she’d switched to drinking fruit juice instead. The spawned fruit’s quality wasn’t compromised badly when juiced. Locke loved the hint of sweetness that came with the sourness of yellow lemons. Perhaps his thirst for vengeance had influenced his preference.
Ashar had specifically requested Locke for a cucumber Botanian. Apparently, its juices boasted slimming effects along with an improved complexion. The rumour eventually reached the ears of many female Lehrlings, causing a sudden surge in demand for cucumbers. Due to that, a quarter of the cucumber Botanians held in the slave camp were gone.
The contingent was lucky that they’d captured a sufficient number of Botanians; they didn’t need to worry about cannon fodder depletion. Locke couldn’t help but find the whole cucumber craze ridiculous. Casters were notorious as logical thinkers; they were highly scientific and stuck to evidence-based practices. It was through Angelina that he found out that the popularised benefits of cucumber juice was merely hearsay. It appeared that even casters didn't adhere to scientific principles all the time. The other Botanians eyed the cucumber and lemon with pity.
Battlezone 17 had welcomed yet another batch of slaves over the last two days. Locke watched the new faces patrol the city ruins, finding himself incapable of calling their names. He walked over to a green-skinned humanoid monster that stood in the middle of the trampled street.
“Yato, do you have any more gulus to spare? Think you can give me a few more?” asked Locke.
The two-meter-tall green-skinned gulu was a recent addition to their contingent. Yato was one of the elder gulus that garnered the obedience of its kind.
“I’m sorry, Herr Locke. I can only offer you one more, we don’t have much left in my tribe,” uttered the taller monster with the utmost respect.
“Alright then.” Locke wasn’t going to dwell on it.
Despite Yato’s courteous manner, it was a base-rank major monster. While the base-rank monsters in the contingent would ignore everyone else apart from Magisters, Yato was exceptionally sharp, allowing it to stand out from the original three base-rank monsters.
Yato’s overall presence was unlike that of a base-rank major monster when it first alighted the ship. It led its kind to the camp quietly and occupied an area. Eventually, it collected sufficient data on Locke and soon understood his status in the contingent.
The gulus’ intelligence and agility made them well favoured by the casters. Their fluency in Zauberian was a bonus that fueled the Lehrlings’ desire to have them as a subordinate.
Courtesy was important in business. Even with Locke’s authority over the slaves, he still needed to talk things through with Yato. It had been a surprise that Yato didn’t put on airs; it wasn’t even acting like a proper leader. The gulu didn’t hesitate to sell off its kind at all.
There were a few dozen gulus among the new batch of five hundred slaves. It went without saying that Yato couldn’t offer Locke the whole of its tribe. It still needed to have at least twenty around for protection.
Locke produced a tube of green potion from his spatial ring and tapped it against the back of Yato’s fingers. With the help of its natural green skin, its fast hand movements swept the potion out of sight immediately.
While crystal cores and Botanian flesh were all the craze among the slaves, Yato was already trading potions with Locke. The regenerative effects of Botanian flesh wasn’t as powerful as consuming potions made from them. The gulu was indeed very intelligent.
Since Yato was enslaved by the Sanctum, it had barely received any basic form of respect from the Lehrlings. There wasn’t even a single Magister that bothered to spare it a glance. Locke was proven to be the only person capable of establishing great relationships with the slaves so Yato appreciated the opportunity to mingle.
This was the third tube of potion Locke had traded with Yato this week. Its acceptance was a silent agreement that Yato would deliver the requested gulus to him before nightfall.
Locke wore a delighted expression and left for Ashar’s tent with a light heart. Yato was clueless that its kind was worth at least four tubes of high-quality recovery potions. Every transaction brought him a hefty profit, so there was no way Locke could feel down about this.
He made a mental note to get acquainted with the remaining base-rank monsters in the contingent. Locke was convinced that they were opinionated enough since they possessed a certain level of intelligence. The base-rank giant crocodile had been smart enough to accept his offer while they were still aboard the floating ship. Compared to Yato, the other three base-rank monsters weren’t all that shabby; they all had their respective influence and circle.
Admittedly, Locke always had a bad habit of attempting to squander more profit off his jobs, which had taken root during his military days. Perhaps this was the life of a peasant; if he wished to reach greater heights, he’d need to do anything to achieve it.
Angelina had an entirely different take on this aspect, though. Yet, it seemed as though being around Locke for long had distorted her thinking ever so slightly. The Faustian princess no longer stopped him from doing so and had often provided useful suggestions.