The turbulence in the battlezones on war-ridden Botania was hard to ignore. The World Tree located at the heart of the plane had yet to initiate anything despite the increasingly intense war. The sunflower high priest’s presence, on the other hand, posed a considerable threat to the nearby slaves.
Miraculously, three level-three Botanians had appeared on all three continents of Botania simultaneously as if they had an unspoken agreement. To become a level-three lifeform was the pinnacle of all Botanians; this was the furthest they could reach. The minor plane was underdeveloped so this was all they could afford to house. Their presence was a double-edged sword; on one hand, they facilitated the evolution of Botanians but on the other hand, they would suppress everyone else’s advancement.
Botanians all had a hint of their plane’s imprint in their blood. As long as a lifeform remained on their native plane, they would never be able to escape the laws of their plane’s nature. This was why the strongest Botanians were all level-three lifeforms and rarely beyond.
Perhaps level-four lifeforms would begin to emerge once the minor plane eventually developed to be a low-rank plane. Or maybe the plane’s advancement could be forcibly jump-started by the birth of a ridiculously talented prodigy, who could champion its inhabitants. Unfortunately, all of these scenarios were unlikely. No one had managed to fully explore the boundless astral realm so there was no such precedent. Instances similar to the second possibility, if there were even any, would be so few it could be neglected. But of course, these were purely theoretical deductions.
The rate of a lifeform’s advancement was influenced by the plane and the world’s natural equilibrium. True power wasn't earned overnight; it was the fruit of one’s accumulated labour.
The three level-three Botanians that appeared on the three continents became the focus of their invaders. The three were now Botania’s best hope against the unwelcome visitors.
On Wilderia, a dirt-coloured potato stood on the southeast corner of the continent. He looked like a pillar that held the sky up among the countless Botanian soldiers, standing at close to a hundred metres tall.
Opposite the potato was a dragon with metallic silver wings. While it wasn’t even close to fifty metres tall, its wingspan was a hundred metres wide, which was more than enough to block out a section of the sky. A flap of its wings would send the weaker Botanians high into the sky and they’d perish as a pile of mashed nothings on the battlefield when they fell.
Unfortunately for the winged dragon, it was currently in a sticky situation. Its handsome silver body was littered with injuries and a copious amount of thick green fluid, causing its movement to be impeded by the corrosive mucus. It had the huge potato, Gleamyellow, to thank for its pathetic state.
Level-three lifeforms were powerful beings that understood the arcane law of nature. Unlike level-two lifeforms, they all had a special skill. Level-three lifeforms weren’t as mighty as level-four lifeforms but they were considered demigods on some planes. They were one of the strongest existences that other lifeforms could only eye in envy.
Raw strength and incredible regeneration were the level-three potato’s fortes. No matter how hard the winged dragon tried to wound it or tear off its limbs, Gleamyellow could always patch himself up in no time. His huge size was further attributed to his limitless healing ability.
The low-rank Botanians that gathered around Gleamyellow couldn’t do anything much to the dragon. In fact, a sneeze from the winged dragon could easily send them flying away. However, numbers were their best advantage. Millions of low-rank Botanians began spurting acidic fluid towards the dragon. The winged dragon was struggling eventually, allowing the slow-moving potato to land a few heavy punches.
The function of lower lifeforms was often limited in a battle between higher lifeforms. However, the boost they offered when in great numbers was non-negligible.
The winged dragon was slowing down. Stamina wasn’t its strong suit and it should’ve retreated as soon as its first sneak attack failed. However, its soul imprint forced it to remain here.
Level-three slaves were given soul imprints by level-three Magisters. Stronger slaves, on the other hand, would naturally be handed over to the level-four Archmagisters instead. While the winged dragon’s capabilities were close to a level-four lifeform's, its imprint was handled by level-three Magisters. Even so, the agony inflicted was already hard to bear; the sensation of getting one’s soul scalded was more terrifying than death itself. The winged dragon could only stay and obey their orders. As long as it breathed, it refused to flee.
The battle continued, mountains of Botanian soldiers dying at every passing second. In exchange, the Botanians would rejoice with the death of each formidable alien. The winged dragon had massacred many of their kind but it was visibly suffering under the hands of their mighty spud protector. Botanians were simpletons but this simple mind of theirs made them fierce soldiers in war. For the sake of getting more mucus on the dragon, the low-rank Botanians rushed forward suicidally and without hesitation.
Amid battle cries and relentless attacks, the slave army slowly buckled. Slaves above level one were brutally brought to their doom, smothered by a torrent of Botanians. The winged dragon was desperate, depleting the last of its energy to dodge Gleamyellow’s attacks. The potato’s thirty-metre-wide iron fist could fracture a few of its ribs in a punch, something the dragon had learned the hard way.
Just as the battle turned grim, its soul imprint wavered slightly. The dragon spread its wings and lurched for the skies with a crisp but deafening cry. Flight was a rare ability among those below level one in Botania. The low-rank Botanians could only seethe at the fleeting dragon from the ground.
“Chase it! It must not escape!” A few level-two leaders immediately went after the dragon, but alas, they were too slow. The dragon turned around to retaliate, gobbling up a very unlucky level-two Botanian.
Witnessing the death of a Botanian leader stirred the Botanian’s wrath. They screamed and went after the dragon with a firm ambition to destroy the damned invader. As the protector of the plane, Gleamyellow could not bear to see his kind suffer fruitless deaths. He quickly followed with heavy steps. They were headed in the direction of Fertilia.
On the other side, level-three banana Botanian, Arnold, was running after a badly slashed-up bear monster. They were heading towards Wilderia instead.
The Sanctum and Hall of Knights had mustered a plan to defeat the two level-three Botanians. If one were to observe the current situation from above, the bear and dragon slaves were leading their assailants towards a direction that could be connected in a straight line. So far, nothing was planned for the other level-three lifeform on Aqualilia since the continent wasn’t important to their overall plan. However, something was out of their expectations; the giant bear slave was in trouble.
The tyrannical giant bear monster was a level-three lifeform as well. Despite being a major monster with outstanding defensive abilities, it could only relent in the face of Arnold’s seemingly harmless wooden staff. There weren’t any visible wounds on its body but blood was pouring out from under its coat. The bear was a running blood fountain seventy metres in height that reeked heavily of the deaths of countless low-rank Botanians.
It wasn’t able to mitigate Arnold’s attacks but the bear wasn’t a level-three lifeform for nothing. Its amazing regeneration had landed Arnold in a bottleneck situation as it continued to make a run for the border between Fertilia and Wilderia.
With many low-rank Botanians and Gleamyellow tailing closely, the silver winged dragon was the first to make it into the Fertilia. It rushed for a valley previously marked by its kind; that would be the destined venue of its final showdown.
Two days later, a strikingly handsome silver winged dragon emerged from the lush green foliage of the continent with an ocean of Botanians that chased after it.
The earth rocked violently not far away. The huge black bear was racing over to the valley, indenting the soil deeply and killing plenty of low-rank Botanians with each stomp. Not far behind it was Arnold, who had been tailing it stubbornly for days on end.
The silver dragon and giant bear finally met and its pursuers took in the sight with visible shock.
“Arnold?” The potato asked with a muffled voice.
“Oh my, it’s you! Gleamyellow!” The sight of his old friend put a smile on the banana Botanian’s face.
Gleamyellow was at least a thousand years old while Arnold was only three hundred years old. Despite their age gap, they were peers and good friends. Arnold had received much care from Gleamyellow during his earlier years.
“We’ll save our reunion for later. Let’s take care of our enemies first, shall we?” suggested Arnold, tightening his grip around his wooden staff.