Was Arnold a demigod? Of course, not. Even with his boundless talent, the banana Botanian left much to be desired before he could become one. He was only able to survive the beam of destruction with Gleamyellow’s protection.
Every world has its own protector. While most regular inhabitants were weak and helpless, the stronger beings could often make a difference. Even so, they shared something in common: their undying love for their homeland. To die for their plane was a protector’s honour.
Gleamyellow was one of the most powerful protectors of Botania. Despite knowing that the beam of destruction meant doom, he protected Arnold without hesitation. Arnold was a gem, a one-of-a-kind talent that’d grace Botania once every epoch. Gleamyellow recognised that if the banana could survive, he’d be able to preserve Botania’s longevity.
“Even with my leaf of life, Arnold will need at least two months to recover.” The elderly face on the tree bark sighed. “It’s time to awaken the dormant Botanians.”
“Yeah.” The sunflower high priest finally agreed.
The situation turned dire as more invaders touched down. While there were still many lower Botanians left, advanced Botanians were dying out at an alarming rate. It was almost as if the alien invaders came solely after the advanced Botanians. Level-one city lords and level-two leaders could resist an invader of similar calibre only to a certain extent.
“Aqualilia remains untouched so far. The invaders don’t seem too interested in attacking Murraya. However, Fertilia is the most pressing issue on our hands.” The sunflower high priest was incredibly troubled.
While the invaders were mostly concentrated in Wilderia, they weren’t able to cause much damage in the presence of the World Tree and the sunflower Botanian. Plus, there were many dormant ancients that laid beneath the Holy City. It wouldn’t be an issue for them to hold off the knights.
Even so, Arnold was still severely injured. There was no powerful Botanian left to protect Fertilia and the tension was rising. Fertilia had the most fertile soil and best climate; it was regarded as the best place to live by all Botanians. Due to that, the continent had housed half of Botania’s population. If it had fallen into the grasp of their invaders, it would mean the end for Botania.
“How about we send the five ancients to defend Fertilia?” The sunflower high priest asked the World Tree.
“Sure.” The old wrinkly face on the bark nodded. “But that would add more to your plate. Are you aware of that?”
“Yeah, but it’s alright.” The sunflower was unfazed.
The World Tree was confined to the Holy City due to its body; it couldn’t provide much assistance to the sunflower outside of its radius.
“Do you think you can handle the bronze giant?” asked the World Tree. Peak level-three demigod Himmelritter Agus was the worst disaster to befall Botania since the invasion began. He had single-handedly massacred a great deal of Botanians.
The higher Botanians shared a burning hatred towards Agus. However, they couldn’t do anything to the Himmelritter for he was a demigod. If a level one or two Botanian had encountered him, it would be no different from meeting the Grim Reaper. Currently, Agus was leading ten thousand knights to central Wilderia, where the Holy City sat.
“Fret not, My Lord. Everything is in order.” The sunflower high priest smirked coldly. Botanians were known to be lovers of peace but the sunflower Botanian had to resort to drastic measures. This was an obvious implication of the threat imposed on Botania by the Three Western Isles.
“Be careful and be safe. Come back here right away should problems arise,” reminded the World Tree. Frankly, it was feeling a little iffy about the sunflower’s decision.
Demigods did exist in Botania as well. The only demigod on the minor plane was none other than the World Tree itself. Though the sunflower high priest was at the pinnacle of all level-three Botanians, he wasn’t a demigod yet.
The sunflower Botanian was in for a gruelling fight against Agus. Surely, his confidence was backed up by something else. Botania wouldn’t have survived this long if they were truly simpletons.
Beyond the barriers of the plane, a huge fleet of floating ships flew into Botania for the newly occupied Battlezone 7. A red-haired Ritter stood before the command panels of the mothership with his messy hair draping down his shoulders flamboyantly.
“Uncle Borlon, it is all thanks to your strategy that we’ve managed to enjoy such smooth progress,” said the red-haired knight.
“No, Cassius. This is the fruit of your labour,” answered an older Ritter. His mentee was improving by leaps and was very much like the heroic Odis in his earlier years.
The red-haired knight, Cassius, was the only son of level-four Himmelritter Odis. He was also under the mentorship of veteran knight, Borlon, for the current planar war.
They’d mobilised all appropriate manpower in the spatial fortress at this point. As soon as their legion of a million members landed on Botanian grounds, the minor plane could declare their defeat very soon. Slaves, knights and casters made for an almost invincible combination. To this day, nothing in the planes surrounding Zauberia could stop their onslaught.
“How’s discussion coming along with the casters?” asked Cassius. He respected his mentor greatly but they were in the middle of a war. There were only superiors and subordinates in war; Cassius was still the main person-in-charge appointed by Odis himself.
“Among our three thousand Magisters, a thousand was left behind in the fortress while the remaining two thousand had left with their Archmagisters.” Borlon continued, “There are no changes to the strategy. They’re still in charge of ten battlezones while we look after twenty.”
“Good.” Cassius nodded.
One day later, the fleet of floating ships had successfully landed in Battlezone 7. Millions of slaves rushed out of the ships as soon as the doors opened. Their alien presence had brought upon a week-long storm in Botania. The plane was desperate to rid the unfamiliar impurities through heavy outpour, much like the immune response of the human body. Yet, its efforts were futile. The resulting landslides and flash floods had caused more casualties among the lower Botanians instead.
Locke found the experience of being on a foreign plane surreal. Everything was new; the plants looked weird and the soil had a sweet, tangy scent. The humidity was nothing he had ever felt before and fluffy white clouds crowded the insanely blue skies. If it wasn’t for the pitch dark hole in the sky, Locke would’ve thought he had landed in paradise. Despite the ethereal scenery, the air was heavy with inexplicable malice. It had been present since Locke alighted the vessel.
The plane was resisting them and was attempting to expel its invaders instinctively. Those above level one would have their capabilities reduced by 1-2% by the plane’s resistance. The weaker knights would suffer a series of adverse reactions instead. Many knights could feel that something was amiss since setting foot on Botanian grounds.
Locke clenched his fist hard, noticing that his arms felt weak. It would be a miracle if he could even exert half his usual strength. However, he wasn’t an isolated case; all the other high-rank Knechts were met with the same condition. Needless to say, the casters with weaker physiques were having it worse.
Locke helped Angelina and Daenie forward. Dressed in white and blue respectively, their faces were ghastly pale. They swayed with each step taken, looking as if their knees would give out any time. If it wasn’t for Locke’s assistance, they wouldn’t have been able to walk.
“Barracks for Battlezone 17…” Locke murmured to remind himself. He was looking for their designated rest zone at the temporary base.
The emptied floating ships were driven to the warehouse where more than millions of Botanians were held captive there. They would be transported back to the spatial fortress to be brought home after the war.
The rest zone was filled with casters since this was a zone under the Sanctum’s belt. After asking for directions and some mindless wandering, Locke finally dragged the girls back to their barracks.
The Sanctum had provided better accommodation for their casters. Casters were given a private cabin of their own, which was a luxury in war. Locke heard that high-rank Knechts were made to share barracks with eight comrades in the other zones. Though Locke didn’t exactly belong to the Sanctum, his affiliation with Ashar had probably helped him secure a private cabin as well.
His wooden cabin was wholly built with native Botanian wood. Botanian trees were oddly shaped but their overwhelmingly huge size made construction immensely convenient. Slaves skilled in woodworking and construction cleared out the forest in just three days to erect a bunch of buildings of the Three Western Isles’ architecture in place of lush greens.