Smoke continued to rise under the setting sun as the scent of war hung heavy in the air. Just like every other Botanian city, it only took two days for Thorn City to fall completely.
For the slaves, it was time to feast. they could finally gobble up every living thing without reservation.
Now that they’d gained entry to the city, the casters were more focused on rectifying their damages in terms of Lehrlings and resources. This was no time to be bothered with the slaves.
Truth be told, the casters and knights of the Zauberian force weren’t the true bringers of despair; their massive slave army had been Botania’s calamity instead. Like the slaves, the casters and knights went on a killing spree for more Botanian essence. However, there was one major difference that made the line between humans and monsters clear: the casters and knights rarely devoured the Botanians alive.
The slaves cared not since they ate for survival. They were destined to be manipulated against their will for as long as their soul imprints persisted. Their battles were fought unwillingly so keeping themselves alive was the only thing they could willingly do. Fruit spawned with the Botanian’s blood essence was scrumptious, but the same could not necessarily be said for its original flesh.
Yato’s presence had attracted much attention from the Botanian generals during the invasion. Thankfully, it was the leader of the gulus in their contingent, so it had been well protected by its own kind. Even so, the battle still left it with considerable injuries. But fret not, the gulu’s innate recovery ability could be easily boosted by the consumption of blood and flesh.
“Ptooey!” Yato spat a mouthful of bones onto the ground; they belonged to a pomegranate Botanian. “This is very sour!” It had bitten into the heart of the Botanian, where it was rich in energy and Botanian essence.
Locke didn't have time to munch on Botanians as leisurely as Yato. He had gone around Thorn City to collect spoils before dashing back to camp to report to the Magisters.
The long battle had tired out the Magisters; only three of them remained in the city to maintain order. Carla was nowhere to be seen so she’d probably found somewhere to rest, while Ashar couldn’t be arsed with such menial responsibilities. She had most likely ventured deeper into the city to scavenge for useful resources. After all, this was a city governed by three level-one Botanian city lords. Thorn City had turned out to be far richer than anticipated.
“Does this mean that Grandmeisterin Jella wants us to get all of the city's Botanians ready for transportation in just three days?” Parlina said, frowning in her navy robes, the wrinkles on her face more pronounced than ever.
“Affirmative,” the quasi-Magister answered with a polite bow.
Locke had never seen this Lehrling before. Since he new all the quasi-Magisters and high-rank Lehrlings in their contingent, the Lehrling clearly didn’t belong to their cohort. His dusty appearance implied that he’d rushed over to reach their camp.
“Very well then. We’ll do our best.” Since the Lehrling was Jella’s messenger, Parlina’s tone was relatively courteous.
“Where’s the nearest floating ship?” interjected Reiner from the side. He and Ashar were the only Magisters in decent shape. It was a telltale sign that his mana reserves were only second to Ashar’s.
“The nearest is loading in Metalwood City 1600 km to the southeast, it’ll be here tomorrow,” the messenger answered quickly, showing his experience.
“Isn’t that too much of a rush?” Porscher shifted around, plopping his weight on a slave’s corpse that was hanging off the city wall’s rubble. The five-metre-long slave was littered with wounds. Its bones were peeking out of every corner; it had died an agonising death.
Porscher’s question was not answered. Grandmeisterin Jella had specifically requested for the Lehrling to keep mum when faced with questions like that. Since the Sanctum didn’t run on a hierarchical system like the Hall of Knights, many low-rank casters could speak to high-rank casters as equals, which allowed more academic exchanges and the flow of different opinions. Even so, the request of a level-three Magister must be fulfilled by level-one Magisters. They were not allowed to question it.
Based on their experience, to siege and gain complete dominance over a Botanian city within three days was indeed a stretch. They’d normally need a week to achieve that.
As soon as the quasi-Magister was done relaying Jella’s message, he quickly took off on his gigantic bat major monster to his next destination.
The bat major monster was a sight to behold as it had a wingspan of six metres. The widespan demon bat monster was one of the rarest beasts of transportation supplied by the Sanctum. Though it was just a high-rank major monster, its supersonic flight speed had made it no less difficult to subdue than a base-rank major monster.
The messenger was in a hurry; there were still many locations to cover across Battlezone 17. Since the zone had spanned across a great surface area, many other messengers were dispatched over the last few days as well.
There was a good reason behind Grandmeisterin Jella’s dire rush to transport all the captured Botanians away: Battlezone 17 was the only place on Wilderia that hadn’t gathered their harvested Botanians yet.
There were thousands of floating ships hovering above Wilderia at any given moment. Its presence stirred unspeakable fear in the Botanians below as it transported more of its kind away to Battlezone 7.
Battlezone 7 had been the first place on Botania to be dominated by the Sanctum and Hall of Knights. Through six months worth of construction and careful management, the battlezone’s defences and combat competence were further fortified. Anyone who’d landed eyes on it would be in awe. There were more magic towers now, thanks to their major success in the war.
The massive load of precious materials and Botanian essence had further encouraged the Zauberians to work on their warfare here. Their losses were temporarily shadowed by their current success.
All their sacrifices would be worth it as long as their conquest of Botania was successful. There was a glorious return that’d bring more than ten times profit awaiting at the end of this gruelling war.
A luxurious floating ship landed on a corner of Battlezone 7. A few major figures of the Hall of Knights stepped out of the vessels. The Himmelritters walked in a line, shouldered by many level-two Erdritters on both sides.
“How’s the loading process at the spatial fortress?” their leader, Borlon asked.
“We’re just done with the loading process, Herr. The fortress will return to Zauberia in one month as planned,” answered level-three Magister Mist with his Staff of Tranquility.