Howls and cries went on for a full day without signs of stopping. Countless low-rank Botanians had flooded into the Fertilian valley to aid their level-three Botanians.
Their aggressiveness had worn out the otherwise formidable silver winged dragon. It didn’t help that the terrain helped hinder its movements. Under the Botanian’s mucus bombardment, the dragon’s initial vigour was burnt down to a body littered with wounds.
Banana Botanian, Arnold, panted heavily. He dragged his heavy body forward, using his wooden staff as support. The Botanians had gained control of the valley. Though the winged dragon was a level-three lifeform, it soon found itself with nowhere to escape. It could only receive their attacks helplessly due to the thick layer of slime that clung to its body.
The giant bear monster, on the contrary, was in a much better state. Its amazing regeneration, raw strength, thick skin and firm flesh allowed it to maintain peak performance throughout the battle. Unlike the winged dragon, the bear wasn’t all that affected by the Botanian’s secretions. The bear’s heavy adipose layer had kept its organs out of corrosion’s reach. As a matter of fact, the slime did nothing to dampen the bear’s assaults since it was already slow-moving to start. The massive lifeforms clashed in an attempt to topple each other.
Excelling in both defence and attacks, the giant bear proved itself to be a difficult opponent for Gleamyellow. The potato could only hold it back barely, allowing the weaker Botanians to focus their attention on the winged dragon instead, which effectively placed the dragon in a precarious state.
Arnold gouged out chunks of dragon flesh with his wooden staff. The injuries caused by the level-three lifeform had instantly robbed away some of the dragon’s energy, just as stipulated in their unwritten law of nature.
The battle had gone on for days and Arnold was increasingly drained by the minute. Yet, the banana was confident that he could defeat the level-three silver winged dragon before succumbing to fatigue. As soon as the dragon was dealt with, he’d join hands with Gleamyellow and their victory would be certain. Arnold held up his wooden staff with surprising vigour and lunged towards the injured dragon.
Meanwhile, in the Holy City, the sunflower high priest stood beneath the World Tree. His emerald robe was torn and ragged. Added with his tired expression, it was clear that he had just returned from battle just a moment ago.
“How’re the children doing?” The face of an elderly man took shape on the tree’s bark.
The World Tree was estimated to be at least more than ten thousand years old. It had come to existence long before the emergence of Botania’s earliest civilization. As the bearer of the plane’s will, it regarded all Botanians as its children.
“They’ve managed to subdue the initial chaos. Our stronger brothers and sisters are now working together to resist the invaders,” answered the sunflower weakly. The sunflower had just slaughtered a level-three spotted frostfire python that had been trying to enter the Holy City. The slave was an ice-element monster and one of the stronger ones that were captured off a low-rank plane. Its mastery of ice magic was at a level where it was capable of frostfire manifestation. Yet, the sunflower high priest had managed to kill it instantly, which was a clear indication of what he was truly capable of.
The sunflower high priest was the strongest among the four level-three Botanians that had appeared. The second would be Arnold the banana, the third being Gleamyellow the potato, followed by the vineman who was currently on Aqualilia.
The high priest usually appeared as three metres tall but would become eight metres tall when in battle mode. The whole of Botania was still plagued with unrest and the sunflower could be engaged in a fight against level-three invaders at any given moment.
“You should get some rest. If you need additional assistance, you can always wake up the dormant Botanians,” advised the World Tree. The sunflower high priest had served it for more than thousands of years. Their dynamics had morphed from being a god and its loyal worshipper, then eventually a mentor and apprentice pair before arriving as peers that could communicate as equals. Needless to say, their bond was strong. The World Tree wished that nothing bad would befall the sunflower high priest.
“Wake the dormant ones up?” The sunflower was hesitant.
Compared to Zauberians, the lifespan of Botanians was generally longer. They could achieve 150 years old on average if serious illnesses or injuries weren’t sustained.
Botanian essence was a mysterious substance secreted by the Botanians. A level-one Botanian would secrete about three grams of essence in its life and a single gram was worth 100 high-rank energy crystals in Zauberia.
While Botanians enjoyed long lives, immortality was impossible to achieve for they weren’t divine beings. Stronger Botanians who refused to accept their fate would choose to artificially induce death to preserve their final vitality. This was, however, only an option to Botanians of level three and above. There was no guaranteed success to dormancy; while some of them were successful, some of them had subsequently passed in their sleep. Albeit that, it didn’t discourage more level-three Botanians to mirror the decision and enter dormancy beneath the Holy City.
To say that Botania was struck with calamity wasn’t an exaggeration. The invaders were daunting and the plane was in chaos. Added with the brooding alien that could intimidate even the World Tree, the Botanians were in dire need for whatever help they could get. The presence of more level-three Botanians would undoubtedly be in their favour.
“My Lord, please allow me to think about it…” The sunflower high priest was still hesitant. He was only a tad weaker than the World Tree but he had only the utmost respect for it. To the sunflower, the World Tree was more important than his own life.
The World Tree fell silent, allowing the sunflower some space to ponder. The tree had rarely interfered with major decision-making other than for huge matters concerning the direction of Botania’s development.
Without warning, a fierce wave of energy penetrated through the plane’s atmosphere. Though the World Tree roots hadn’t reached every corner of Botania, it was able to sense everything that transpired on its land.
The sudden phenomenon had the tree horrified.
“What was that?!” The wrinkly face on the tree bark stared at the distant horizon, unable to comprehend what had just happened.
“Huh?” Though they were of similar rank, the sunflower high priest was slower to react. However, its gifted sensitivity towards energy fields allowed him to pick up on the oddities happening far away.
“I think that came from outside.” The sunflower’s heart sank. “Crap! That’s where Arnold and Gleamyellow are!”
The scarlet beam of destruction had descended from the hole in the planar barrier for the valley on Fertilia. Birthed from the combined mana of more than a thousand Magisters above level one and the spatial fortress’ main cannon, its ferocity was hard to ignore.
Be it gas or solid, anything in the beam’s path was vaporized ruthlessly to form temporary vacuums. The resulting elemental frenzy that fuelled its intensity was a murder weapon that could annihilate peak level-three lifeforms. This was a special technique invented by the Three Western Isles’ Sanctum that had permitted them to capture several demigod lifeforms in the past. Today, its targets were the level-three lifeforms who were battling it out on Fertilia.
At the sight of the approaching beam of destruction, Arnold felt dread for the very first time. His grip around his trusty wooden staff began to tremble. The scarlet beam ignored all talent and capability, eviscerating every and anything in its path with no mercy. The banana Botanian had given up on both escaping and chasing after the winged dragon. He had a dreadful feeling that the beam was specifically aimed at them. Unless he was able to teleport elsewhere, it would be impossible to escape its coverage.
The silver winged dragon halted. Finally, freedom was near. After 1232 years of slavery, death would set it free. Those who had never experienced the agony of a soul imprint wouldn’t understand what the silver winged dragon had gone through to arrive at that thought. As it recalled its dreadful years spent as a lowly slave, a tear escaped its eye. The beam then devoured the dragon.
Arnold tightened his hold around the wooden staff and made peace with destiny. However, just before it lost consciousness, something had thrown itself on him: it was Gleamyellow! The level-three potato Botanian pounced onto Arnold just before the beam could strike him, shielding the smaller body with its hefty body.