Like many other Botanian cities, Thorn City was a goner in just two days. The unstoppable waves of aliens that swarmed into the city was an unprecedented catastrophe.
It was indeed difficult to conquer a city protected by three level-one Botanian city lords. It had taken the Magisters every powerful spell they could muster to defeat the thorn Botanian triplets.
Surprisingly, Porscher and Reiner had secured the first kill instead of Ashar. Though Ashar was stronger, she was confined to the limits of a level-one lifeform. It was already impressive enough that she could subdue an equal while under plane suppression. If the battle had involved a chase, there would have been great losses to both sides and the battle may have gone on for longer.
Porscher and Reiner’s synergy was unbeatable. Under their overwhelming attacks, the level-one thorn Botanian was only able to persist for a day and a night before getting killed. But of course, their fast victory had much to do with their elements. The Botanians all had an innate fear towards flames and coincidentally, Porscher was a pyromancer.
While Reiner wasn’t a pyromancer, he was a master of wind element magic. His wind magic had always been the best support for Porscher’s flames. The level-one Botanian was almost completely charred by the end of their fight. As soon as they confirmed that the thorn Botanian was dead, Porscher and Reiner quickly rushed over to assist Parlina and Carla. Ashar had specifically requested they stay out of her battle before they had begun. This was why they’d completely ignored her end to go help out the other Magister pair instead.
Achieving breakthroughs through battles was a viable approach for both knights and casters alike. As the war progressed, many mid-rank Lehrlings were reaching the threshold of high-rank Lehrlings while the high-rank Lehrlings, on the other hand, were making amazing progress as well. Magister Ashar was planning to use the level-one thorn Botanian as a stepping stone for her advancement.
The Magisters battled with great elegance and exciting moves but that didn’t mean the lower casters and slaves’ battlers weren’t equally engaging. The three thorn Botanians were announced dead by the second afternoon. Thorn City’s final line of defence was completely breached.
With nimble movements, Locke removed a nucleus core that had belonged to a Botanian of high-rank Knecht calibre. He swiftly wiped the blood off his blade. Apart from his sword, there were streaks of oddly-coloured blood splattered all over his froststeel armour. There were even two Botanain fingers stuck in the crevices of his armour plates but Locke paid it no mind. Locke was jaded, courtesy of his rich warfare experience. Only casters who hadn’t been exposed to the realities of war would be concerned about keeping their robes clean during the war.
The city's resistance fizzled out at the slaves’ intimidation. Without the leadership of their level-one city lords and the presence of a quasi-Ritter Botanian general, the Botanian soldiers were deprived of a chance to turn the tables. After all, they were only about as strong as mid-rank Knechts. The regular Botanians could do nothing but accept their fates.
Yato, the base-rank gulu, was within Locke’s vicinity. It was bent over a half-dead red Botanian as it tore at its flesh like a true savage. For a major monster that was proficient in Zauberian and possessed high intelligence, Yato behaved like nothing more than a feral beast.
The gulus were blessed with an efficient innate regeneration ability that could be enhanced by ingesting blood and flesh. They were capable of better nutrition absorption compared to other monsters, which was another advantage widely favoured by the casters.
Naturally, no one wanted a slave they’d trained for ages to perish in battle. If they were maimed, the slaves would be of no value anymore. Hence, the sophisticated casters had purposefully turned a blind eye towards the gulu’s gruesome approach to regeneration. It was all about worth and value in the end. If the gulus were of no use to the arrogant casters, they wouldn’t have even thought of sparing it another glance.
The tips of Yato’s ears twitched, sensing that someone was watching it. It lifted its bloody face, bits of flesh clinging to its green cheek. It had been feeding on a strawberry Botanian leader that was now dead in its grip. The entire sight was bizarre; the two-meter tall gulu monster looked as if it had come from hell. Yato looked absolutely revolting.
“Yikes, you look ugly as hell!” The edge of Locke’s lips was twitching. He wasn’t surprised to see the gulu devour a Botanian whole since he’d seen plenty of savagery among the slaves so far. Yet, he had to admit that Yato’s way of feeding was unnecessarily gruesome.
The gulu was a humanoid species so it was jarring to be reminded that it had always been a barbaric monster. Yato’s current impression was very different from the level-headed gulu leader Locke knew.
Recognising Locke, the gulu quickly greeted him. Yet its action was immediately met with an awful comment. Ugly? Yato tried to reason that it’d heard wrong. Ugly was the last thing it had expected to hear from him. A gulu’s standing in their community was purely decided by their competence. While base-rank Yato wasn’t considered the most good-looking among the gulus, it had never been associated with ugliness.
Locke walked away; he was not going to waste his time on a savage slave. They’d just gained access to Thorn City and there was plenty of riches awaiting him all around its compound. With one grip around the hilt of his longsword and another around a magic scroll, Locke ventured deeper into the city along with his small convoy of slaves.
Yato watched Locke leave in confusion. It shook its head and took another bite of the strawberry Botanian. Once it had swallowed the creature's core, it let out a loud satisfied burp.
“This tastes like crap!” Yato whistled into the air. Soon enough, a dozen gulus began gathering around it.
“Let’s go! We’re going to look for more to eat!” It waved its arm, leading its kind deeper into the city.