The fall of the Botanian city was just a matter of time. There was no way a level-one city lord could hold out for too long under the assault of near thousands of slaves and hundreds of casters.
Yet, Locke couldn’t help but be bothered by the limitations of the disadvantageous terrain. Despite their overall superior competence, a unidirectional approach had hampered their progress greatly. Any progress they made came at a great cost, which was disadvantageous and harmful to their contingent.
Fortunately, war was a game where the powerful thrived. As merciless as they were, the Magisters were still mindful of the slaves’ survival. Slow progress was still progress; as long as the two Magisters and Akanasd sovereigns could defeat the city lord, the Botanian city would fall helplessly into their grasp. The city gates gobbled up lives like a huge meat grinder as the feral beings clawed at each other.
Out of nowhere, a ball of shadow energy appeared above a densely crowded area atop the city wall. Hundreds of Botanians were sent flying everywhere as the terrifying force left a large indent on the wall. Magister Ashar had joined the battle. Despite her injuries, Ashar was the powerhouse of the battlefield in the absence of other level-one lifeforms. Her spell had given the Botanians a grim reminder that their mucus wasn’t invincible.
The Botanians writhed in agony, deprived of a swift and painless death despite having half their bodies corroded away. As shocking as their resilience was, the sight tormented the surviving Botanians. The horrible wounds and piercing screams did nothing but eat at their comrades’ will to fight.
Surprisingly Magister Carla was nowhere to be seen. Angelina had mentioned that she was close to full recovery but Ashar appeared to be the only one active on the field. At that very moment, a faint light screen manifested above the caster formation. The Botanians shot their mucus at the foreign object but the larger droplets were shrunken and the smaller ones were vapourised upon contact. The remainders dripped onto the casters’ mana shields below. Despite her physical absence, Carla was contributing to the conquest in her own way.
Locke’s armour glowed with a similar sheen. He rode atop Fermoss’ carapace, bringing the scorpiondrakes and other stronger major monsters from the back of the slave formation. Carla had kindly enchanted his armour with photomancy spells; she figured it wouldn’t hurt to do him a favour since he was Angelina’s fiance and Ashar’s assistant. The battle grew fierce and lives were lost at every moment. The slaves dropped like flies while Botanians were devoured and crushed mercilessly.
Meanwhile, in the heart of the Holy City, South Wilderia, a few Botanians stood beside the sunflower priest under the World Tree.
“Fherran, are you alright?” Goldy, the sunflower priest, was alarmed at the state of the rare ice fruit Botanian in proximity.
“Cough, cough! I’m alright.” Despite having just spat blood from its mouth, the female ice fruit Botanian tried to remain strong. Its faint blue skin looked more pale than usual.
Goldy quickly channelled some power from its staff. Soon enough, a stream of rich green light began floating over to the ice fruit’s abdomen. Her complexion gradually improved as the staff grew dimmer in colour; its recovery was at the expense of the staff.
Goldy’s staff was created with the World Tree’s branch. After the earlier battles had destroyed its staff, the World Tree had willingly dismembered itself to create another staff for the sunflower priest. It was an heirloom crafted for the sake of Botania’s survival yet the higher Botanian circle were collectively worried that it wouldn’t last till the next priest.
Besides Fherran and Goldy, the other level-three Botanians present were Alanta and Noss.
“Aburi and Ouri are dead. Do we even stand a chance at this point?” Alanta was a potato Botanian, just like the late Gleamyellow.
“Don’t be so pessimistic! The treemen formation is still holding up well. There’s still hope for Botania!” Noss shouted, clearly overwhelmed with emotions. Sorrow and helplessness were spreading like a plague among their kind; many of the recently awakened level-three Botanians were starting to feel bleak.
They’d been friends for centuries but Alanta decided against refuting Noss. Many prehistoric heroes had been awakened to rewrite their fate. However, most of these Botanians were mercilessly torn apart by those formidable invaders.
Loud snaps could be heard as the World Tree shook wildly, as the face of an elderly Botanian manifested on its trunk. It heaved a deep sigh. “I’ve summoned you here to announce something.”
The four level-three Botanians were currently the strongest existences in Botania. They lifted their heads to stare at the weary face, desperately hoping for it to be good news.
Sadly, that wasn’t the case. “The southern treemen formation has been breached.”
The level-three Botanians froze. The news punched the air out of Alanta’s lungs. It slumped to the ground in utter disbelief. It turned to Goldy. “What happened? When I returned from the south two days ago the formation looked promising. Sure it did look like it was stretched to its limits but it doesn’t make sense for it to be breached so soon!”
The World Tree’s foliage rustled and heaps of wilted leaves came raining down on the Botanians. The evergreen mother tree was shedding for the first time in its life, a clear indication of an intense disruption to its foundation following the crisis in the south.
The World Tree exclaimed amidst its falling leaves, “The monster in the sky is starting to move!” While it didn’t have the necessary digits to point at the sky, the four level-three Botanians immediately understood it.
They looked towards the pitch dark crack in unison, their skin tingling intensely as they felt the monster eyeing them up intently. Their incredible senses were warning them of an existence that could devastate the whole of Botania.