Battlezone 33 was situated near the northeastern part of Wilderia, adjacent to Fertilia. The area was filled with nothing but peaks and rocks, which was largely uncharacteristic of the minor plane. While Botania was evergreen all year round, there were significant climate differences in the southernmost and northernmost areas. No Botanian could live in the south as it was occupied by a boundless ocean that housed specific marine animals. The climate and unique geographical features of the northernmost area, on the other hand, had birthed unique Botanian species that differed greatly from the regular population. Frankly, these northern Botanians weren’t visibly different from the general crowd but they were exceptionally difficult to deal with.
“Parlina, never drop your guard once you enter Battlezone 33. Contact my crystal ball right away if you’re in trouble.” A huge two-metre tall Magister hovered over Parlina.
“Thank you, Magister Szars,” replied Parlina politely. Her courtesy made it evident that Szars was at least a level-two Magister.
Szars projected a meticulously drawn map of Battlezone 33 from his crystal ball. “You’ll be in charge of this mountain range and this part of the valley.” He pointed at an area, to which Parlina studied carefully.
Magister Szars was a level-two lifeform, one of the many contingent leaders in Battlezone 17 and the trusty righthand man of Magister Jella, who gave him the authority to mobilise the contingents as fit. Apart from Szars, there were also a few more level-two Magisters in Battlezone 17. These stronger lifeforms were mainly tasked with subduing the stronger Botanian city lords and tracking down level-three Botanians. The chore of capturing regular Botanians, on the other hand, was assigned to level-one Magisters and their Lehrlings, making them the main driving force of every invasion.
This time, Parlina was given an area with seven Botanian cities. While it was a much smaller number than in Battlezone 17, there was a silver lining; there were only two cities governed by two level-one city lords while the others were only protected by one city lord. Ease and convenience were always preferred in war. Parlina had lived long enough to know that stability was preferable over haste. The current conquests shouldn’t be too difficult as her contingent was one of the most efficient and successful ones under Jella’s wing. Plus, Parlina was pretty experienced in warfare at this point.
“Despite the lack of level-one lifeforms, it’s best to be alert at all times.” Szars knew that Parlina was trustworthy but a reminder in such times was only appropriate.
“I know. I’ve heard about what happened in Battlezone 37,” said Parlina. Every caster was alarmed about the devastating losses caused by the pitaya Botanians through an urgent transmission by the Sanctum. Parlina was relieved that there were no signs of pitaya Botanians in the seven cities she was tasked with.
Even so, the appearance of the pitaya Botanians could only indicate the existence of more unique and pesky species. The stakes were high since the Sanctum had yet to dwell deeper into the overall construct of the minor plane so far.
“In that case, I’ll be leaving now.” Szars morphed into a green beam and zoomed towards the other contingent. Parlina watched him leave before finally returning to her tent.
At some point, there were rumours that Magister Szars was Magister Jella’s acting assistant. He’d specialised in terramancy but his heavy reliance on the element had brought inexplicable physical changes that ultimately hampered further advancements. As a result, Szars had grown to a height comparable to that of knights and half his face had turned to wood.
The visual combination of flesh and wood was peculiar. Yet, this was nothing alarming to the eyes of the jaded casters since physical modifications were extremely common. Bodily mutations were nothing for the pursuit of the universe’s truth and exploring the roots of terramancy. These knowledge-obsessed maniacs wouldn’t even bat an eye if they needed to sell their souls.
“Rock Fruit City?” Locke looked at Angelina in bewilderment, mouth full with sweet tangy apples.
“Yes. According to Grandmeisterin Carla, we’ll arrive in the city in three days.” Angelina dabbed at her sweaty forehead elegantly whilst cooling herself with wind magic.
They’d left Battlezone 17 a week ago and they’d entered Battlezone 33 just two days ago. No battles were waged so far since the contingent was focused on covering their journey. Apart from them, three other Sanctum contingents were brought here by their respective level-one Magisters as well.
Locke knew nothing about the other contingents involved since Parlina wasn’t close to their leading Magisters. He hadn’t caught sight of any new visitors either. He did, however, notice that Porscher had been gone for three days; the larger Magister was probably off visiting his old friends at the nearby camps.
Porscher was deprived of social interactions ever since Reiner was sent to Battlezone 7 for medical assistance. Parlina was the only one he could turn to for conversations while Ashar and Carla rarely entertained the Magister with responses. Porscher had probably gotten so sick of the silence that he’d even started to initiate conversations with Locke. Locke figured he needed to tread carefully around Porscher. His humbleness and politeness had managed to put the larger Magister in a good mood even.
“How is Grandmeisterin Carla faring?” asked Locke.
“She’ll recover soon enough. Magister Parlina did mention that she’ll be back on the frontlines during our next invasion,” Angelina said.
Locke felt elated at her reply. Yet, he couldn’t help but worry about Ashar. She’d been injured for a while now and though her condition wasn’t severe, the shadowmancer was nowhere close to full recovery. Ashar was skilled in the art of the occult and elements, hence she hadn’t focused much on healing. Unlike other Magisters who could heal themselves with photomancy spells, Ashar was completely incapable of doing so.
The contrast of light and dark would trigger an element repulsion that was more violent than with water and fire. Photomancy spells that thrived in their healing properties brought more harm than good to a shadowmancer like Ashar. For now, she could only rely on Parlina’s hydromancy healing spells and her own gradual recuperation to heal. It went without saying that Ashar would take more time to heal since hydromancy was always known for its gentler effects.