During the four months that slipped away under their consciousness, Locke and Angelina celebrated a rather romantic New Year together in the astral realm. Time waited for no one. Now that he was a year older, Locke couldn’t help but sigh at how close he was to his thirties. No one knew how long the Botanian conquest would continue and by extension, Locke had no idea how old he’d be when he returned to Zauberia next time.
The scorpiondrakes were indifferent to the passing of yet another year. They were creatures that could live for centuries even before becoming a level-one lifeform. Transcendent-rank Akanasds like Adamyrs would typically enjoy living for thousands of years. Come to think of it, while humans may be the apex lifeform of Zauberia, their lifespans were pathetically mortal compared to most major monsters.
Level-one Ritters could only live for two hundred years while level-two Erdritter could live for a thousand years in theory. Unfortunately, only a few could live that long. The life expectancy of a level-three Himmelritter was kept under wraps from the general public. These powerful beings commonly referred to as archsaints or demigods across different planes were most likely the only ones aware of their lifespan. Level-four lifeforms, on the other hand, were generally regarded as immortals or at least no one had ever heard of them dying of old age.
Trillions of planes coexisted in the boundless astral realm. A year was short; some may find it insignificant and fleeting but for some like Locke, it was filled with struggles and challenges. In fact, the New Year was just another normal day for the knights and casters that’d spent the last two years on Botania. The only difference in their day from the usual was the aggregated presences of many level-three lifeforms in the commander’s tower of Battlezone 7.
The huge oval table in the middle of the large meeting hall was surrounded by dozens of plush seats that were arranged meticulously. The energy exuded by the diverse array of powerhouses around the table was immensely terrifying.
“Mist, can’t we start this soon?!” An odd being of ice and flames heckled at the black-robed elder on one of the main seats. The physical constitution of the Magister was extremely unique and yet, those in his proximity barely felt a shift in the temperature. This could only mean one thing: the marriage of both ice and flame in his body was close to perfection. The merging of these polar elements could translate to catastrophic powers so the Magister was not far from becoming a demigod at least.
Black-robed elder, Magister Mist, was indifferent to the disruption. He steadied his magic staff languidly and tapped its end against the floor, effectively silencing all hushed chatters. “The spatial fortress will arrive at the specified coordinates outside Botania tomorrow.” Mist wasn’t loud but everyone could hear him crystal clear. The level-three lifeforms weren’t surprised, it was a given that the spatial fortress would return on time. But of course, that wasn’t the sole purpose of the meeting.
“Now, let us move into the topic of slave allocation,” Cassius, who sat beside Mist, took the lead. The relentless attacks of the knights and casters had rendered the Botanians a shuddering mess. They were helpless and powerless for there were no longer stronger ones to protect them. It was obvious that the Botanians were beyond rescue at this point.
Even so, the population of hundreds of millions of Botanians was still a huge problem for the Sanctum and the Hall of Knights. The Three Western Isles had only managed to control one-third of the plane despite two years of continuous battles and massacres. They were low on manpower and resources to subdue the remaining areas and the fresh batch of slaves brought by the spatial fortress was their shining hope.
While using a million slaves on hundreds of millions of Botanians seemed like a drop in the ocean, the slaves had encompassed major monsters above mid-rank. Their addition would at least accelerate the progress by a fraction.
“We need twenty thousand slaves in Battlezone 46!” A Himmelritter in a suit of pristine silver armour was the first to speak.
The initial thirty battlezones on Botania had increased to forty-six within the year of Locke and Angelina’s absence. The Sanctum and Hall of Knights appeared to be giving their all in this conquest.
“The request is reasonable since Battlezone 46 is only two weeks old. However, you may only be assigned seven thousand slaves,” answered Magister Mist before Cassius could say anything else.
The red-haired Himmelritter tapped his finger against the table, before nodding in a beat. “I back Magister Mist’s suggestion.”
“Battlezone 37 has lost three level-two slaves two months ago while a level-two Magister is down with injuries. I need only five thousand slaves but specifically with ten level-one slaves and at least two level-two ones in the mix.” An elderly witch with a crown of wilting yellow hair said.
“Approved.” Both Cassius and Mist agree in unison.
The level-three lifeforms in the hall were all painfully aware of the precarious situation of Battlezone 37. It was a zone with the highest fatality that riddled the Sanctum and Hall of Knights with headaches.
Battlezone 37 sat on a cluster of volcanoes that posed obstacles with its unique environment and geographical properties, where a strange group of Botanians were active at. These Botanians had black dots all over their red skin and caught the Three Western Isles by surprise; they were one of the rare belligerent and irritable Botanian tribes. The Sanctum contingent was suffering heavy losses due to the Botanians’ self-destruction abilities.
Despite being as weak as the regular humans of Zauberia, the violent force generated by their self-destruction could hurt even mid-rank monsters. It went without saying that the explosive power of a cluster would be catastrophic.