The Sanctum’s contingent claimed victory three days later, putting a definite end to the battle. The death of level-two Lord Arbibo had been the deciding factor of Mist City’s downfall. The predecessor crystal fruit had suffered a brutal death at the hands of Magister Persia; half of the Botanian was frozen while the other half was set ablaze. Persia had been incredibly ruthless.
The clash between Lord Arbibo and Magister Persia had been unexpectedly tight; after all, the former was a distinguished Botanian leader of more than centuries worth of experience. Unfortunately for the crystal fruit, he was eventually tired out by Persia’s attacks which allowed the Magister to subdue him with an attack. In the end, his demise was amidst a violent dance of ice and fire.
The three-day war was taxing even for Persia but their hardships were rewarded. Once Lord Arbibo was defeated, the other level-one crystal fruits suffered quite a huge mental blow, allowing the four level-one Magisters to ambush them.
It was afternoon on the third day when Locke returned to the frontlines. He waved his longsword around for show, easily harvesting a copious amount of Botanian essence from dead mid and low-rank Botanians. His daylight robbery hadn’t garnered irritation, surprisingly. The smarter major monsters had even offered their spoils to Locke.
The lemon general was finally located in a random crater when evening arrived. The once pesky Botanian was now left with nothing more than a halved skull. The pit, which was the work of a random Lehrling, was at least five metres wide in diameter. The burnt soil and matter at its bottom was a clear indication that the pit had been a product of pyromancy. However, the lemon was ultimately killed by bites rather than fire magic. The teeth marks that lined half of his face were obviously left behind by a major monster’s jaw.
Locke turned to look at the dark towering base-rank major monster that lay not far away from the lemon. Its huge eight-metre body was limp, many of its scales flipped unnaturally as maroon red continued to pool out of it. The tough muscle beneath its sturdy exoskeleton was littered with splashes of Botanian juices all over. The base-rank monster had just died recently.
Locke walked away. There were still many spoils lying around the battlefield; this was his prime time to pocket a few and it wasn’t worth wasting time on studying a corpse.
By the next morning, there weren’t any Botanian resistance forces left on the battlefield outside Mist City. Apart from the slaves that dug into the pile of Botanian corpses, the most activity had come from the bunch of captured Botanians. The contingent had successfully gathered seven thousand regular Botanians; a number that was a third larger than their spoils from Nimbus City.
Locke was wandering the edge of the battlefield when he suddenly took notice of something familiar. “Hey, you! Come here!”
Most of the humanoid monsters in the slave army could understand Zauberian well. While Locke had no idea where they were from, its intelligence was no different from that of humankind.
Hearing Locke’s call, the green-skinned humanoid slave scuttled over with its bunch of restrained Botanians.
“How can I help you, Herr?” It was a slave who could speak Zauberian fluently, which took Locke by surprise. The slave was probably a new addition to their slave army since it didn’t make sense for Locke to not have the slightest impression of it.
“Where did you capture these?” Locke jutted his chin to the bunch of Botanians behind its back. Among the terrified Botanians was a familiar shade of pink. Allie had been captured along with three other peaches.
“Herr, they were trying to flee to the north so I stopped them.” The green-skinned humanoid slave was proud. It was a mid-rank major monster who’d manage to stop twenty Botanians from escaping. Typically, this was an act that would garner praise from the casters. Sadly, this wasn’t its day.
Locke kicked the slave. “Scram!”
The slave yelped at the impact and was sent flying away.
“The few of you, come with me!” Locke hooked his fingers at the few peach Botanians. Though he was speaking Zauberian, the motion was universally understood. Allie and the peach Botanians approached Locke obediently; they had seen the horrors that followed disobedience.
Botanians had always been cowardly. Locke looked at Allie, thinking of how they’d been chatting away lightheartedly just a few days prior. The peach Botanian looked utterly pitiful and the sight was difficult for Locke to stomach. The bitterness had Locke at a loss for words.
He led them towards the edge of the battlefield. Without realising it, they had crossed a great distance. They were out of sight from the patrolling Lehrlings and the slaves that were scavenging around the warzone for food.
Locke halted in his tracks to stare at the four peaches. The other three peaches must be Allie’s parents and brother. She was lucky; her family was still well and alive despite the chaos.
Allie could barely breathe. She couldn’t understand why the invader wanted to lead them this far away from Mist City. As her mind was plagued by possible misfortunes, the peach began to tremble. She remembered hearing that the invaders loved to devour their kind. Though it had only been word of mouth, she had seen it firsthand in just three days.
There was stiff silence as Locke stared at them. Following that, he turned around and left, leaving behind a confused family of peaches. He circulated his wind impetus for a speed boost, disappearing into the horizon within minutes. Allie’s brother was the first to respond. The sharp-looking peach quickly tugged his family northwards once Locke started to walk away. Allie could barely understand anything, relenting to her brother’s pull in a confused daze. As the familiar crystal fog enveloped Locke’s figure, Allie thought she had caught the vague silhouette of Aurol for a moment right there.
“Aurol…? Aurol, where could you be…?” Tears began to cloud her vision.
The peaches stumbled along their way to the north. Locke could only hope the best for Allie. He paced through the mist, the image of a bubbly peach Botanian vivid in his mind. There had been better times when she excitedly offered him a pile of glacial soil with fuzzy arms.
The resistance force in the city was quickly diminished. This was the end of Mist City, which had been deemed to be a tough target by their contingent. They’d pry its skin open to enjoy the scrumptious flesh within.
“How’s everything inside the city?” Parlina awaited reports from the Lehrlings.
There were a few peak high-rank Lehrlings in their contingent who’d serve as Parlina trusted subordinates. While Locke was out of commission, most of the matters about slaves were handled by these quasi-Magisters. In terms of capabilities alone, the quasi-Magisters were way more powerful than quasi-Ritters.
Locke wasn’t too displeased by the loss of his privileges. He knew that whatever was rightfully his would be returned eventually. Most casters tended to stay within their circle, after all. They’d only care about delving deeper into their passion and this was particularly prevalent among the quasi-Magisters. Locke had a good feeling that they’d willingly give up their position and return it to him no more than two days later. These peak Lehrlings were fixated on nothing other than their magic advancement. High-rank Lehrlings, on the other hand, were starkly more carefree.
“Where’s Magister Persia?” Magister Reiner asked the hall.
“Persia has been summoned by his mentor to another battlezone,” Parlina helpfully supplied.
Reiner could only pull his lips taut at her answer. Persia was working himself to the bone. The three-day war on Mist City had just ended and he was already off to assist another battle. While Reiner tried to digest his shock, Parlina tossed an undecipherable look on Carla.
Persia had given all the spoils harvested off level-two Lord Arbibo to the photomancer instead. It must be nice to reap the benefits of having a powerful colleague. Carla was basically enjoying a luxurious free lunch.
The potency of the level-two crystal fruit’s essence was unfathomable. It was a treasure that many level-two Magisters and Ritters would go crazy over. However, Parlina was blissfully unaware that Carla had given it away to Ashar.
The sisters had never got along. Despite that, they would never shy away from helping each other out. Carla understood that Ashar needed the Botanian essence most for the shadowmancer had reached a bottleneck in her advancement.