There was a stretch of lush green across the horizon. Magister Mist watched the northern treemen rustle away from their positions but he made no call to seize them. It was certain that the withdrawal of the treemen and Botanian troops had much to do with the breach at the southern front a few days earlier. Honestly speaking, the sudden involvement of level-four Odis wasn’t surprising to Mist. He pondered the situation further; it appeared that Odis’ patience was wearing thin. This much was obvious since he’d willingly lend a hand to helo the knights advance at risk of the recoil from disrupting the spatial barrier.
The Centaurian conquest was picking up pace since the remaining Centaurian god had been forced out of hiding into a fierce battle with two level-four Ritters and Archmagister Banam. It was safe to assume that the conquest on the low-rank plane had entered its final stages. It went without saying that the other level-four lifeforms of the Three Western Isles would be directed to Botania as soon as the last Centaurian god was slain.
Odis’ action was an attempt to solidify his standing. The blast would secure him a satisfying portion of spoils when the conquest ended. High-rank Knechts made up the majority of the Hall of Knights’ resources and they mostly hailed from Missia, which was also Odis’ base.
After some thought, Mist decided to turn a blind eye towards Odis’ blatant attempt at merit grabbing. There was no point fighting over spoils at this point of the conquest since the Sanctum would receive a fair portion as promised, nor was there any benefit in offending a level-four lifeform with whom they were on friendly terms for the sake of slight profit.
It was only a week following the fall of the southern treemen formation that Mist ordered the advancement of the northern Sanctum troops. There was much to consider for the movement of their party since it involved the transportation of huge magic towers of tens of metres, a terrifying sea of cannon fodder, various summoned elemental beings and countless levitating magical equipment. Comparatively, the Sanctum’s movements had more bustle than the Hall of Knights.
Just earlier, the casters had received news that the northern treemen front had been ambushed by demigod knights. The attack had left severe damages that perished a third of the retreating Botanian troops and treemen. This impressive result was achieved solely by the Hall of Knights, which made for a huge increase in merit. However, this also meant that the Hall of Knights, specifically led by Cassius, had owed Mist a considerable favour.
“I think Mist might’ve already figured out Herr Odis’ motivation.” Borlon chuckled in his suit of armour.
“The Sanctum is filled with complex minds.” Cassius sighed, “But it is irrefutable that we owe him a favour. We need to figure out a way to repay him in the next planar war.”
Magisters were incredibly calculative; it wasn’t best to owe them favours for they might impose outrageous interests.
“He’ll be having a hard time with the other casters soon.” Borlon laughed.
There was no apparent hierarchical system in the Sanctum. However, Mist had obviously given up on securing the Sanctum’s merits. It was highly likely that the other casters would find the situation inexcusable.
“Hmph. They already have so much Botanian essence in their possession, enough is enough.” Cassius was impassive.
The benefits reaped by the Sanctum did not pale in comparison to the Hall of Knights. The new batch of slaves transported by the earlier return of the spatial fortress had been from a trade deal with the caster organisations on the western coast. Cassius refused to believe that the casters were honest enough to keep their hands to themselves. This couldn’t be helped, though. They needed to rely on the Sanctum’s network for it was more complex and deep-rooted than the Hall of Knights.
“I heard that a huge portion of slaves had been from the Dragonblood clan on the west coast,” Cassius revealed nonchalantly. This was a piece of information he’d just unveiled recently.
“Oh? Is that so?” Borlon was surprised.
The Three Western Isles had always been on rocky terms with the caster organisations on the east coast. Hence, they’d preferred to deal with the organisations on the western coast, whose resources were comparatively lacking. The fact that the famous Dragonblood clan had managed to gather such a huge number of slaves for the Sanctum within a short time was concerning.
“I’m worried that the Dragonblood clan would want to be involved in the conquest.” Cassius finally confessed to a problem that had been bothering him for a while.
Borlon slipped into deep thought, his scrunched brows relaxing after a beat. “There’s no need to worry about that. The Dragonblood clan is one of the most influential families in Zauberia, they wouldn’t be interested in a minor plane like Botania.” He continued, “With that in mind, it’s likely that the Sanctum had been in contact with the lower clan members for the trade.”
Borlon’s understanding of the Zauberian powerhouses was much more expansive than the younger Cassius. His educated assumption had placed Cassius at ease. Botania was incredibly valuable to him and his father so they refused to compromise further.
The Dragonblood clan could be considered the largest powerhouse of northern Zauberia. Its members possessed the blood of dragons, which gave even the most common of their ilk capabilities beyond that of level-one Magisters upon awakening. These members were heavily reliant on the purity of their bloodline. The energy within their blood made them an integrated body of level-one Ritters and Magisters. In short, they were overwhelmingly powerful in actual combat. Zauberia had a total of five level-six lifeforms and one of them was a Dragonblood clan member.
While the Sanctum and Hall of Knights closed in on the Holy City simultaneously, the series of invasions across Wilderia and Fertilia continued. Locke rode Fermoss into the battle of Rock Fruit City. He waved his trusty longsword skillfully, effectively beheading a high-rank Botanian general ahead. The scorpiondrake beneath him slackened its jaw to catch the lifeless carcass in tandem. The city wall had finally crumbled and slaves were swarming into the city through the cracks. There was a massacre and it was certainly a glutton's feast.