“Ha! That must be the pitaya Botanians. Need any help, Lisa?” mocked the elemental. Despite their odd appearances that barely resembled the conventional dragon fruit back in Zauberia, the Sanctum had named the odd pesky aliens as pitaya Botanians.
“Mind your own business, Pund!” The old witch hissed.
Lisa, the old witch, and Pund, the ice-fire elemental, had been acquainted for close to a thousand years but their relationship had always been volatile. No one at the Sanctum could comprehend what terms they were on. There were only a few elderly casters that bore the slightest idea of their actual dynamics.
“Haha.” Pund laughed dryly at her rejection without heat.
Truth be told, Pund felt as if Botania was tailored by the heavens for him. The Botanian essence it was prized for was the perfect elixir for the perfect union of the polar elements that constituted his body. The elemental had managed to slay three level-three Botanians over the year with the help of his peers, which attributed largely to the current harmony of ice and flame in his body; the initially uncontrollable bursts of fire and ice were now suppressed to an impressive equilibrium. The direct result of this stability was an immense elevation of his capabilities. Pund’s full potential could easily subdue two equals in the absence of support.
Pund and Lisa continued their banter while the meeting continued in the background.
“Battlezone 23 needs two thousand slaves!”
“Battlezone 31 needs eight thousand slaves!”
“Battlezone 28 needs four thousand slaves!”
“Battlezone 17 only needs one thousand and five hundred slaves,” said Jella gracefully in her emerald dress. She tossed her dark emerald hair behind her shoulder and leaned forward.
“Oh? Alright.” The black-robed elder was surprised but deftly recorded her request.
“Your contingent is about to move towards Battlezone 33. While I know there is a Himmelritter stationed over there, is one thousand and five hundred slaves sufficient?” A level-three Magister near Jella reached her through telepathy. He and Jella shared a close bond. Since their battle zones were positioned closely, they’d been helping each other whenever required.
“Don’t worry!” Jella smiled through her eyes.
After all, they’d been here for a while and the Botanian essence had brought many casters and knights to greater heights. Plus, Jella had received double the amount of emerald of flames from Pund as promised. Her powers were hoisted and there weren’t many formidable Botanian left in her zone either, hence the need for slaves wasn’t dire. Even if they did find themselves in a pinch for more slaves after moving into Battlezone 33, it wasn’t too late to file a request to the Sanctum for more.
The chaos in the meeting hall continued as level-three Himmelritters and Magisters voiced their requests in tandem. Around twenty level-three lifeforms were gathered in this venue but their number wasn’t representative of the elites channelled by the Sanctum and Hall of Knights for this conquest. Many Himmelritters and level-three Magisters were absent as they were occupied with pressing matters in their respective zones.
At this point of the war, they’d lost four Himmelrittters and two level-three Magisters to battle, which was a loss that pained the Three Western Isles greatly. The assignment of slaves continued for almost an hour on the eve of the spatial fortress’ arrival, masking a fight of dominance between the participating powerhouses. While Magister Mist and Himmelritter Cassius remained courteous and maintained a good exchange of opinions, the smell of gunpowder laced in their words was unmistakable. After all, the interest of the Sanctum and Hall of Knights were inevitable considerations as much as they were on friendly terms; they simply refused to compromise when personal interests were involved.
The Sanctum had always claimed to be the dominating powerhouse of the Three Western Isles. The Hall of Knights, on the other hand, was trying to establish supremacy in the conquest with the participation of the sole level-four lifeform, which happened to be Odis from their end. There were certain things that they were stubborn on but both parties were willing to negotiate for the best outcome, fortunately.
“Alright, let us move on to plan the upcoming invasion of the Holy City and collect suggestions on how to harvest the World Tree’s heart,” said Mist as he twirled the crystal ball in his grip.
The crystal ball projected a huge light screen that stretched from the hall’s ceiling to the floor, showing an inverted triangle aerial map of the Holy City on Wilderia. The city had occupied one-third of the continent and was the only untouched Botanian territory that remained. The northern Botanian cities on the map were evidently unscathed but the southern cities were filled with holes and craters; a pitiful indication of the Three Western Isles’ defilement.
“After Agus demolished the southern Botanian defence line, our men continued to erode it further. However, I must admit that the outcome of our multiple efforts was less than satisfactory,” reported a level-three Himmelritter. He’d participated in the attack so he had a better understanding of the situation projected on the screen.
“I don’t think the addition of more slaves may bring us past the tree men formation, though.” Another Himmelritter chimed.
The tree men formation was the World Tree’s last-ditch effort to protect the last standing Botanian ground. The defence was formed by sturdy tree men created by the tree’s tough branches and when paired with a terrifying mass of Botanians, the formation protected the vastness behind them like an iron fist.
The tree men were gauged to be as strong as level-one lifeforms, which meant that only a competent army of Ritters and Magisters could get past them. It was unfortunate that the level-one Ritters and Magisters were scattered around the minor plane to lead their Knechts and Lehrlings in battle.
To gather a troupe of more than ten thousand Ritters was possible if the effort had begun before the invasion. The Hall of Knights had mobilised a total of thirty thousand knights for the war, after all. Unfortunately, it was almost impossible to form one right now for they’d sent six thousand Ritters and a few hundred Magisters to both defence lines to maintain an equilibrium with the Botanians.