“Mikael, your gulus have arrived.” Locke smiled at the caster in green robes. They were currently around the Lehrlings’ tents.
“I knew you’d find a way around it!” The green-robed caster was visibly excited. “Can you show me the merchandise first? I’ll hand you the promised Botanian essence later.”
Locke no longer found wind element energy crystals as potent as they used to be; it was to the point where not even high-rank energy crystals could change his mind. It appeared that he had once again elevated his impetus to its ceiling.
At this point, Botanian essences were his most preferred payment. Plus, Locke was aware that the green-robed Lehrling, Mikael, happened to have one high-rank Botanian nucleus core in his possession. While it wouldn’t help push his capabilities to that of a quasi-Ritter, Locke figured it was better than nothing.
A purple Botanian nucleus core was pressed into Locke’s palm once the green-skinned gulu was handed over to the Lehrling. With fewer gulus around Yato, it was now desperate to protect itself and become stronger. It barely hesitated to sell off its kind to Locke for the sake of gaining his favour.
Locke’s little business was thriving. With the increase of patrons came an increase in treasures received. Casters all had their own expertise. The green-robed high-rank Lehrling was a terramancer. Though he couldn’t do alchemy, concoct potions nor create scrolls, he was exceptionally good at cultivating all kinds of valuable magic plants.
The green-robed Lehrling had also given Locke a strand of blue devil grass, which would be later passed to Yato as compensation. The odd plant’s flower was shaped like a human skull and seemed to be packed with crucial elemental powers to the gulus.
As soon as Yato caught a glimpse of the plant, it quickly promised Locke that it’d be more than willing to trade more of its kind for more blue devil grasses. Unfortunately, Mikael only had one strand of it in his possession. The rest of his stock were all safely in his nursery back at the Sanctum.
Apart from that, Locke managed to have more interactions with the other three base-rank major monsters while the contingent recuperated at Mist City. Though he had offered his Speedy Dragon and Iron Body potions to the komodo dragon, Locke hadn’t honoured the exchange. The potions were valuable and Locke was determined to hold onto them for as long as he could; perhaps they may come in handy soon.
The golden pangolin monster, on the other hand, had made its preference of terra element energy crystals and various precious metals sound. Locke didn’t see a problem in handing over some of his terra element energy crystals and magic cores to the slave. He had plenty and the element wasn’t compatible with his wind impetus anyway. Locke did not need any.
In terms of precious metals, all Locke had was his longsword and froststeel armour. Despite knowing full well that the monster had always eyed them hungrily, he refused to melt them all and give it to the slave.
So it’s a rare metal-eating monster, huh? Locke mused helplessly.
Locke hadn’t been able to get acquainted with the giant swamp crocodile major monster. It behaved differently from the rest and was the only one that dared to be hostile to him. Locke wasn’t the lone case, however. The crocodile would glare at every single human being in the contingent with burning murderous intent.
It was pitiful that the giant crocodile’s soul imprint was under the control of the casters it despised greatly. The slave of unknown origin was constantly suppressed and manipulated against its will.
This was the norm, though. Not all slaves were made as intelligent as Yato and not every slave was willing to surrender themselves to the casters and knights. This led to a huge number of suicides among them each year. Ending their own lives was perhaps their best escape since they couldn’t even avenge themselves.
From its response, the giant crocodile base-rank major monster was most probably enslaved recently. It was very feral for it dared to bare its fangs at the casters. Yet, the slave could consider itself lucky as it hadn’t died from the casters’ purposeful suppressions after so long.
One side of its intimidating blood-red eyes was greyed. Locke had heard that the giant crocodile was behind more than one-third of the damage inflicted on Mist City’s walls. It was an impressive feat that it was only blind in one eye from a combined attack of a quasi-Ritter Botanian with its crowd of low-rank Botanians.
There was no point to keep trying with the dauntless crocodile. With its stubbornness, Locke was certain that the giant crocodile wouldn’t survive another few more battles. It wasn’t protected by a powerful Magister like the komodo monster; it wasn’t as sharp-witted like Yato the gulu and it wasn’t as strong as the golden pangolin monster in defences. The giant crocodile monster was merely equipped with brute strength and a decent mastery of hydromancy. Locke really couldn’t see it surviving.
At this point, Locke was already devising a strategy to make best use of its death. A base-rank major monster was treasure itself; every part of its body was almost as valuable as a quasi-Ritter Botanian.
As per the Magisters’ decision, their conquest of Thorn City would happen in a week. The week-long rest would allow all casters to restore their magic powers to their peak.
Other than Locke, the endless battles had also allowed many casters to break through their limits. Direct participation in battles was indeed the fastest route for advancement. Now that the casters were away from their laboratories and theoretical studies, they were able to attain a deeper understanding of their magic when forced into a life or death situation.
Floating ships were dropping off slave replenishments in batches while transporting the captured Botanains away in a similar fashion. The contingent had once again restored their number of slaves to a total of one thousand.
An active trade of magic recovery potions, energising drops, powerful magic equipment and so on with Botanian essence of their currency took the battlezone by a storm. Casters from the Sanctum that had arrived on the floating ship at their camp were dealing in larger sums compared to Locke. Almost every caster had brought their Botanian nucleus core collected during the war over to the ship for resources they desired.