The floating ship wasn’t as packed as Locke feared, or at least space wouldn’t be an issue for him and Angelina throughout the ride. This didn’t mean that there was plenty of room, though.
Locke counted his spoils with nonchalance in a cabin on the second level.
The floating ship which Ron claimed to be designed by Grandmeister Bamut hadn’t brought any revelation to Locke. The vessel’s velocity was dampened significantly after a load of ten thousand captured Botanians.
Locke couldn’t help but pity the vulnerable Botanians beneath his cabin. They were crammed together like sardines and there was barely enough room to wiggle around. Plenty would be trampled to death by the time they reached Battlezone 7. His earlier conversation with Ron had revealed that a considerable number of Botanian deaths were largely expected. It was nothing out of the usual.
“Usually, we’ll find around two to three thousand dead Botanians once we arrive at our destination.”
The lost lives of the Botanians were uttered as if it was nothing but a leisurely dinner topic. Locke could only keep his sighs in the depths of his conscience. Truth be told, he had no right to be empathetic; Locke had been slaughtering Botanians since arriving on their land months ago.
Judging by the speed the ship was travelling at, they’d be reaching Battlezone 7 within two days, which duration wasn’t short nor was it long. Yet, it was plenty of time for Locke to rest his exhausted body and mind.
“Locke! Lunch is ready!” Angelina’s lovely white dress fluttered as she brought their meal into the cabin.
“Coming!” Locke quickly returned everything into his spatial ring and went to her.
Their lunch today consisted of a simple meat stew with vegetables. The vegetables were edible plants collected from Botanian soil while the meat had come from the flesh of dead slaves. The Zauberians didn’t collect Botanian flesh as it had a peculiar taste and was extremely unpalatable. Locke had no interest in tasting it either.
Angelina had been the one behind their lunch. Unlike the floating ship that brought them from the Imperial Academy to the Sanctum, there were no chefs on this vessel. Even the casters stationed here on the ship were required to make their own meals.
Initially, Locke had wanted to cook instead. While Angelina knew that his cooking skills were impressive, she was eager for a chance to win her lover’s appetite. Evident from the three distinct scents of precious potions that were wafting off the stew, the Faustian princess went all out.
“Jeez!” Locke chuckled under his breath. He wasn’t expecting Angelina to use a few tubes of potions just for the sake of taste enhancement. Even so, Locke wasn’t worried about getting poisoned since Angelina was indeed an excellent alchemist. He simply dismissed Angelina’s prodigal behaviour with a small smile. Frankly, he was in no place to judge her for his current net worth was ten times richer than before the planar war. Even Angelina wasn’t sure how much profit Locke had managed to gain over the six months since arriving at Botania. Her expenditure was nothing to him.
Two days were gone in a flash. Once the floating ship had landed within the confines of Battlezone 7, Locke peered into the distance as he stretched his limbs on the deck. There wasn’t much space for activity aboard and the scenery outside had barely changed throughout the journey. There wasn’t much for Locke to do besides spending time with his lover.
Admittedly, Battlezone 7 had changed drastically compared to when Locke first arrived on Botania. There were dozens of magic towers lining the territory and there were larger warehouses too. The sheer size of these warehouses was shocking. Their combined surface area had almost occupied a good two-third of Battlezone 7.
How many of these are there? Locke couldn’t help but question under his breath as he watched the other floating ships that hovered above Battlezone 7. Once the floating ship had finally obtained confirmation from the ground personnel, it lowered itself and flew towards the warehouses at a corner of the zone. With his fairly good eyesight, Locke could see the floating ships ahead open their lower hatches to release the Botanians straight into the warehouses below. The direct and barbaric move caught Locke aback; he was rendered speechless.
“Wait a minute. Locke?! Is that you?” Suddenly, a familiar female voice was heard.
Locke quickly turned his head towards the direction of the sound and before he knew it, a mass was pouncing over. If it wasn’t for the lack of malice, Locke would’ve already delivered a rough chop over. A feminine fragrance attacked his senses and amidst his pounding head, Locke finally recognised her.
It was Laney, the spellbane knight Locke met at the Princeton Hall of Knights. He’d bought Angelina the spatial pouch for Angie and a large stack of magic books from the female knight back then. Locke let out a sigh of relief. His feet still felt like it was floating since he’d just alighted the floating ship recently. Locke hadn’t recovered from the long flight just yet. He turned around and sure enough, there were a few more familiar faces. Laney’s brother, Wright the scar-faced knight and the black-armoured Moss was here too. Apart from the two, Locke recognised the others from their little gathering at the tavern some time ago.
“What a surprise to see you here, Brother Locke!” Moss came over with an extended palm.
The scar on Wright’s face twitched with displeasure. He quickly chastised Laney, who was still clinging to Locke. “Release him, Laney! How unsightly!”
Laney, however, felt no shame at Wright’s scolding. Perhaps her loud and vibrant personality had no capacity for shyness. It was indeed rather unsightly since her comrades were in their vicinity; Laney was an eligible woman, after all, and public displays of intimacy between those who weren't partners was frowned upon. She promptly got off Locke and let out a small flustered cough, pretending as though nothing happened.
Locke had a slight understanding of how Laney was as a person so he paid it no mind. He beamed at Moss and returned the handshake. “Long time no see, Brother Moss!”
It was almost mealtime now, which meant that it was only apt if they continued their conversation further at a tavern. So the group began a heated discussion on which tavern to patronise today. As the development progress of Battlezone 7 became progressively on track, more establishments formed with the tacit approval and endorsement of the Sanctum and Hall of Knights. Taverns and diners happened to be one of them. It went without saying that the knights would prefer visiting the taverns instead.
“Oh, right. And this is your-?” Wright had taken notice of the caster beside Locke since earlier. Angelina’s presence was extraordinary and hard to ignore.
Before Locke could say anything, Angelina answered, “Hello, I’m Locke’s fiancee.” She cast a glance over to Laney, who was standing beside Locke.