In all honesty, casters weren’t stingy. It was just a sad reality that most mid and high-rank Lehrlings weren’t as glorious as they seemed. Experiments, training, meditation and learning required money; the constant demand for wealth had pushed most Lehrlings to take up multiple jobs at the Sanctum aside from assisting their mentors.
A high-rank energy crystal was very expensive to a mid-rank Lehrling. It was something they needed to spend cautiously. However, their mana was at the mercy of Botania’s resistance. For the sake of maintaining peak performance, they were forced to replenish their energies through energy crystals or crystal cores.
Though unwilling, the Lehrling forked out some energy crystals for a mount. He was clearly desperate.
The mounts Locke handed them were only sufficiently powerful to serve as a method of transportation. While nearly a thousand slaves were here to protect the casters, the protection a slave mount could provide wasn’t profound. In fact, if the slaves at the front had failed to halt the enemies’ attack, the close presence of a mid-rank major monster wouldn’t make a difference at all. Locke ignored the Lehrling to chase after Angelina and Daenie.
Despite the troupe’s best efforts, they failed to arrive within Parlina’s stipulated frame. The outcome wasn’t too surprising since the casters were physically weak. Lehrlings below level-one couldn’t fly like Magisters and they were barely as strong as Locke; delayed progress was only natural.
Locke wasn’t blamed since Parlina was well aware of the root cause. Despite the Sanctum’s best efforts to take the Lehrlings’ frail physique into consideration, their plans had fallen through.
By two in the afternoon, the contingent arrived before a Botanian city that was fully built with rocks. Locke and the others took in the sight of the bizarre city, surprised that the first building in sight wasn’t wooden.
Botanians were a people that loved the wood element. Most Botanian cities were completely filled with wooden structures and the casters were very pleased with their architectural choice. The style was very similar to Zauberian architecture, which gave off a welcomed familiarity. However, that wasn’t the biggest reason; the Sanctum was immensely pleased by the stylistic choice as fire could burn wood easily.
Pyromancers were the worst nightmare of all Botanians; they were deathly afraid of fire. A mid-rank Lehrling pyromancer could handle up to two Botanians of similar calibre with ease.
Parlina mobilised thousands of casters and slaves to surround the city from three directions. She left an opening, though not for the lack of care. Parlina had lived for centuries and participated in multiple planar wars, her battle experience wasn’t any less than Locke's. The opening was a deliberate decision to leave some hope so as to not incite a suicidal resistance among the Botanians. The Three Western Isles were here for Botanian essence and dead Botanians wouldn’t do any good.
Sixteen hours past their deaths, the Botanian essence in their body would dry out with their blood. They’d be rendered to nothing but a puddle of worthless trash., which was something that pained the casters and knights greatly.
For now, their plan was to deplete all their battle resources and annihilate all Botanians that were stronger than mid-rank Knechts. In the absence of power, the regular Botanians would be vulnerable and would be soon gobbled up by the Sanctum and Hall of Knights.
A huge majority of Zauberia’s human population was composed of powerless folks; this was the same even for Botania. Regular Botanians were less than 1.6 meters tall and could barely come close to a regular Zauberian farmer in strength. They were the true targets of the current planar war.
The essence each carried was little but plentiful in totality. The volume extracted from tens of thousands of regular Botanians was equivalent to the total essence in a level-two or three Botania, which made it an attractive deal.
Nimbus City housed close to ten thousand Botanians in its depths. Most of its current inhabitants, however, weren’t locals. A good two-thirds of the population were refugees from other Botanian cities.
The quiet city on the northeast of Wilderia had only become the centre of attention recently. The lord of Nimbus City was a bamboo shoot Botanian. It was due to his tribe’s affinity towards absorbing special minerals from stones that he made the unprecedented decision to build a city of rocks.
However, the city lord wasn’t in a great mood today. A few bamboo shoot servants led a red apple Botanian into the gloomy city hall.
“Sam, what do we do now?” The apple Botanian was old. He had just arrived at the city recently and was one of the very few level-two Botanians here. He was here for an audience with the city lord about the invaders.
The bamboo shoot city lord, Sam, sighed heavily. This was probably the most he had sighed in his lifetime.
“Isn’t it obvious? Our option is to fight!” Unlike the other Botanians, the bamboo shoot Botanians were more straightforward and firm, which made them unwelcomed presences everywhere on the plane.
At the thought of his destroyed home, the apple Botanian nodded solemnly. He refused to flee despite his feeble state; the apple would rather die fighting.
“Alright, I’ll see you soon. There are some things that I must deal with.” With that, the apple Botanian quickly left the hall. While he didn’t care if he’d die in battle, he still had his next of kin to worry about. He couldn’t have them die here with him; he needed to send his powerless relatives and grandchildren away as fast as possible.
Sam nodded, fully aware of what the apple needed to handle. Unlike the apple, Sam had no children or close relatives. But there was one thing that the whole of Botania knew of him: Sam would never surrender to his enemy even in the face of death.