The balance between the Botanians and Three Western Isles was abruptly stirred by the recovery of Agus, the Man of Bronze, half a year ago. Demigod Agus had ventured deeper into the Botanian plains during the beginning of the conquest, where he was ambushed by multiple level-three Botanians. If the other demigods hadn’t arrived in time, Agus would’ve died on this foreign minor plane.
He had been recuperating over the year under Odis’ protection and had finally returned to the frontlines. Agus lusted for revenge ever since he got toyed with by the Botanians, which was why the Himmelritter had been active on the battlegrounds since the first day he was placed on the southern front. The demigod led countless knights and slaves forward with support from the casters in the back; together, they defeated more Botanian cities continually.
The Ritters under Agus’ leadership were sent to deal with the tree men formation, which happened to be the Three Western Isles’ biggest hurdle. It appeared that the Himmelritter’s overwhelming punch was strong enough to break a few tree men, which were assessed to be as strong as level-one lifeforms.
Likely due to his humiliating experience of the ambush, Agus acted with a degree of caution despite his unhinged lust for revenge. However, his prudence had allowed him to avoid a few waves of organised attacks by some level-three Botanian elites, which he successfully annihilated as well. These level-three Botanians were then turned into his meal, bringing him a step closer to the pinnacle of power.
“Frankly, I don’t think Agus can handle the mess alone,” commented a Himmelritter.
The main obstacle keeping them away from the World Tree wasn’t the level-three Botanians but the enormous army of sturdy tree men. A joint effort was important in planar wars and utilisation of strategies were the most effective way to push their lower combat forces towards their target. Elite combatants were merely pivotal characters that influenced the direction of the war.
“Eugen will join the effort too,” Cassius responded.
The involvement of two demigods, their remaining Ritters and Magisters along with their new batch of slaves would be an effective solution against the tree men formation.
“But what about our northern front?” A wise person asked. Eugen was originally responsible for the northern defence line so a similar replacement was needed. In that case, their options were limited to either Magister Mist or Himmelritter Cassius. The level-three Magisters and Ritters in the hall glanced between the two anticipatingly.
“I’ll lead the northern front,” offered Mist calmly. In terms of capabilities, he was the most powerful among the four demigods participating in the current conquest.
The diversity of magic was mysterious and boundless, which gave casters a noticeable advantage against knights of the same rank. Mana was miraculous, evident in the way they kept the name Zauberia despite it being an obsolete terminology for the spellcaster’s profession. Plus, Mist was a great intellect whose primary focus was on spatial magic. Everyone would be at ease with him leading the northern front.
While many were surprised by Mist’s decision, some pondered on. The Botanian conquest had always been a campaign led by the Hall of Knights while the Sanctum held a supporting role. That much could also be seen in how demigod Ritters were given leadership of the northern and southern fronts in preparation for the invasion of the Holy City. Magister Mist had rarely offered himself to be on the battlefield since he was the vice-chancellor of the Sanctum institute; he was the most powerful Magister in the absence of Archmagister Banam!
Since good news from Centauria had reached the level-three Magisters and Ritters a few months ago, the Sanctum could finally place their focus on Botania after having reaped great benefits from the other conquest. Under those circumstances, a switch of leaders between knights or casters wouldn’t be wildly unexpected.
The Sanctum’s prowess was clear. An astronomical number of Magisters and enslaved army would be relocated to Botania with the increasing submission of Centauria. The motive behind Mist’s volunteer was simple: The Sanctum was to reap more benefits from Botania soon atop of their current foundations.
Even so, the knights didn’t need to worry much about the loss of personal interest. Similar to the Sanctum, the Hall of Knights could soon relocate their resources over to the minor plane once the situation in Centauria was stable. The Hall of Knights was the first to take the largest bite out of Botania. That was the irrefutable reality and Sanctum casters were no robbers. They were intellectuals and preferred a fairer distribution of spoils, which would ultimately be settled in a civilised discussion between the authorities.
None of the minor casters and knights would learn about the meeting that took place in Battlezone 7. It wasn't their place to weigh in on the discussions on the overall conquest, nor was it within their capabilities. The only thing they had to concern themselves with was to survive every single mission and battle thrown at them.
The thruster of the spatial fortress gradually dimmed as it glided closer to the specified coordinates. It stood still before the spatial barrier of Botania like a small meteor. Soon enough, more than thousands of floating vessels shot out of the fortress like shooting stars. The huge crack was still clear as day, paired with the faint presence of the colossal level-four Odis.
“Does the crack look bigger to you? I feel like it has doubled in size since we left,” Locke said as he pointed at the dark crack through the semi-translucent glass window of the fortress.
“Yeah, it does look bigger.” Angelina tapped her fingers against her chin, seemingly deep in thought as she studied the crack. They had yet to achieve an altitude where they could see Odis in the middle of the crack. They’d have to advance above level one for a better sense of his terrifying energy activity.
“Wow, I can’t believe we’re back.” As the land below became clearer, Locke couldn’t help but feel excited as he took in the lush forests that largely resembled Zauberia. Sometimes, he felt like he was a battle maniac, but not other times; Locke couldn’t pinpoint the right words to describe his feeling. Locke enjoyed war and the process of growing stronger, but he also yearned for peace and security. He’d hoped to spend the rest of his life with his family in tranquillity.
“You’re such a weirdo, Locke.” Angelina couldn’t help but giggle after hearing his musings.
Their fingers found each other. No matter what the future may look like, or what they’d look like many years down the road, they still had each other in the present.