The Fertilian valley was gone, its existence devoured by the ruthless ocean of elemental mana. No soil nor rock remained. The only thing left of it was a huge pit with a depth of more than hundreds of metres. Its bottom was filled with translucent crystalline material; a product from high heat exposure.
Miles away, three Himmelritters and hundreds of level-two Erdritters peered into the direction of the valley. The beam of destruction earlier had released waves of heat that travelled far and wide. They could feel the heat despite the great distance.
“Herr, do we venture deeper?” a brown-haired Erdritter asked his Himmelritter leader. They were elite knights sent by the Hall of Knights to tie up loose ends; their task was to deal with all the other Botanians that escaped the beam. Having been involved in many of the Three Western Isles’ conquests, their experience told them that survivors were most definitely formidable beings. It was almost certain that the survivors were rare peak lifeforms on the plane.
A Himmelritter in full white armour shook his head. “The elemental waves ahead is too turbulent. We’ll resume our trek after a few hours.”
The catastrophic potential of the beam was apparent. Even Himmelritters refused to enter the freshly-stricken area.
“Understood!” replied the Erdritters in unison. This wasn’t their first rodeo; they all knew that a Himmelritter’s decisions were never wrong.
“In that case, shall we go take out some weaklings to fill our time?” A Himmelritter in a suit of bronze armour smirked with mirth. He was a stereotypical knight that loved battles. The few apparent level-three lifeforms on Fertilia were probably doomed but there were still plenty of level-two Botanians and lower Botanians to toy with.
“Sure, let’s go!” a black-armoured Himmelritter decided.
After a round of discussion between the three of them, they’d agree to split up and lead a portion of Erdritters into different directions. They’d meet here at the same location after four hours and head to the Fertilian valley.
At the bottom of the pit that reeked of burnt matter, Arnold’s fingers twitched ever so slightly.
“I’m... still alive?” The banana croaked. He tried to shift around but to no avail. It felt almost as if he was squashed by a mountain. Mustering up the last bit of energy he had, Arnold heaved and flipped himself over, a few rounded crystalline matters rolling off in the process.
This was the central target of the beam. Smooth and shiny black glass-like rocks were scattered everywhere across the bottom of the pit, a large number of which had pinned Arnold down. He coughed painfully, pieces of yellow fragments and thick dark yellow fluids escaping his tract. He was coughing out parts of his organs and blood. Though Gleamyellow had shielded him from the beam of destruction, a fraction of the catastrophic light had penetrated through the potato’s body and reached the banana. Arnold sustained severe injuries as a result since defence was never his forte.
The injury was worrying but it was much better than death. After all, it was all thanks to Gleamyellow’s sacrifice that Arnold managed to survive the catastrophic disaster. The thought of his friend’s selflessness had the banana gutted to the point of tears.
It had been 200 years since they last saw each other and Gleamyellow was dead before they could even catch up. Arnold’s heart grieved and soon boiled with immense wrath. “Damn those invaders!” he hissed through gritted teeth.
But just as those thoughts came to him, he almost doubled over. His injuries were grave and he was vulnerable. He could barely put up a fight. If a few level-two Erdritters appeared now, Arnold was done for. His best bet was to leave this place immediately. The banana turned around and took one last look at the dark gloomy pit. He scooped up some burnt soil and began running.
Gleamyellow was thoroughly vaporised by the beam; it was safe to say everything at the bottom of the pit had a part of the potato. The palmful of soil that Arnold picked up would allow him to grieve.
“Just you wait! I’ll definitely avenge you!” Arnold swore, eyes glossy as he stared at the soil in his palm. He needed to find somewhere safe to recover but that was a problem; where else was still safe from the invaders at the current moment? Arnold pondered, finally settling on heading to the Holy City. As the sacred land of all Botanians, it surely must still be a sanctuary on the plane.
Countless black dots continued to fall from the sky above Battlezone 7 on helpless Botanians. They could do nothing but watch on as chaos rummaged through Wilderia. The level-one Ritters were doing alright so far. By circulating all their impetus, they were able to grow another two metres at most. They still retained their human appearances, though.
The same couldn’t be said for level-two Erdritters and level-three Himmelritters. The group of elites had transformed into creatures akin to transcendent-rank major monsters. Some of them grew horns, some of them grew bat wings and some looked like ferocious beasts from another plane. None of them looked remotely human.
The level-three Himmelritter flying at the forefront of the corps was a prime example. His impetus wings dissolving away upon landing, he morphed into a fifty-meter-tall albino lion. This was a powerful major monster known as the flying elven lion, which was a rare creature unique to Zauberia. It was physically gifted and extremely skilled in ice magic. Just like a true flying lion, the Himmelritter swept more than hundreds of thousands of low-rank Botanians off the ground with an intense white flurry of ice impetus that escaped his gigantic mouth. His impetus projection was comparable to a Magister’s mana; something that only level-three Himmelritters were capable of.
“You have two days to clear this place!” barked a green-skinned creature two hundred meters tall in Zauberian. The creature was so tall that the knights could only catch his calf even if they lifted their heads.
They had paid a price in the pursuit of utmost power. For knights, to exchange their appearances and regular physique for powers didn’t sound like a bad deal at all. Plus, it helped that they were able to maintain their human forms until they needed to enter battle mode.
The green giant was the strongest Ritter involved in the current planar war. He was the man of bronze, Agus.