Rock Fruit City was destined to fall with Ashar’s powers and Carla’s magic shield. The Lehrlings’ relentless bombardment and the slaves' fearlessness was an eternal nightmare for the Botanians. The level-one Magisters were seeing great progress too. The presence of the two Akanasds had eased all of Parlina and Porscher’s reservations, allowing them to go all out with their offensive spells. The master pyromancer and hydromancer unleashed so much power that it left the city lord's corpse completely skinless.
“You can have the corpse.” Porscher studied the lifeless Botanian. It’d been severely mutilated and soaked with remnants of their rampaging elemental mana so it wasn't that useful any more. Even so, Adamyrs and Shiva were pleased. They weren’t expecting to be rewarded with a level-one Botanian! There was nothing more beneficial to advancement than directly devouring lifeforms packed with high-quality energy.
Everything was easier following the breach of the city gate. The regular Botanians were completely helpless, vulnerable to the eldritch slaves. Though everything was going according to plan, the Magisters weren’t pleased. For one, they were forced into taking a unidirectional approach. There were limitations and the slaves were devouring Botanians to their heart's content. It was a complete waste of Botanian essence!
Rumble! Balls of fire crashed against the centre of the right cliff. Rocks and dirt began to slide off the surface, creating a deafening sound. Locke had never seen such a colossal landslide. He gaped at it, unable to believe that this was an entirely manmade disaster! Porscher watched his masterpiece from the air. The cliff east of Rock Fruit City had buckled under the numerous assaults. The landslide produced would’ve killed off a huge number of regular Botanians in its proximity.
It soon became clear that the peak on the right was gone for good once the smoke and dust dissipated. The only thing left behind of its existence was a large hill that happened to be its prehistoric form. Without the need for instructions, the maniacal slaves clambered into the city through the newly-opened path. The speed of the invasion was hastened significantly. Porscher was absolutely drenched in sweat, evidently exhausted from the earlier exertion.
“You have three days to dominate the city!” Parlina’s voice rang clearly across the battlefield.
The Magisters took a slight break after the successful breach of the city’s defences. It wouldn’t be great if a Sanctum Magister were to perish in battle at this moment, not after they’d achieved so much. The rest was left to the Lehrlings and slaves.
The next step of the invasion was almost muscle memory to the casters. Their task was to sweep through the devastated city for its regular Botanians. Judging from their usual efficiency, the whole of Rock Fruit City would fall under their total control in less than three days. Two days later, the Sanctum contingent began to move to their next target.
Locke had only reaped a few high-rank Botanian nucleus cores from the invasion. Ultimately, Rock Fruit City was just too poor. Despite his best efforts, Locke had only found a few Botanians that were as strong as high-rank Knechts which were eventually fed to the scorpiondrakes after their nucleus cores were harvested.
Chestnut City was their next target. Two weeks later, dead Botanians were found strewn across the top of a smoking dirt wall, their hearts were nowhere to be seen. There were feral slaves everywhere beyond the wall. The monsters terrorised the city, their bloodshot eyes and blood tainted fangs provided clues to where the missing nucleus cores had gone. A yellow mass fell from the sky, followed by a strike of pitch-black lightning. Arms manifested using shadow mana pierced through its oesophagus as soon as it landed.
“Hmph.” Ashar scoffed and stowed the Botanian corpse and nucleus core away with the lift of her finger. This was her post-recovery comeback after a month of recuperation.
“Did Magister Ashar get stronger?” Porscher had been watching the battle with a slack jaw outside the city.
“Yeah.” The same expression of shock graced Parlina’s features.
At their level, advancement was incredibly difficult. Ashar was already at the pinnacle of level-one Magisters and the fact that she could advance further showed that her potential was far superior to Parlina and the others. Porscher and Parlina couldn’t help but wonder if she’d neared the edge of becoming a level-two lifeform. Following the end of Ashar’s battle, the Akanasd sovereigns sowed chaos in Chestnut City. The regular Botanians were forced to a corner; it was just a matter of time until their complete defeat.
Another month later, the Sanctum contingent stood before a lush green Botanian city, which was an odd sight in the northeastern part of Wilderia. The area enjoyed a warmer climate, filled with rocky mountains and sand. It was warm not because of abundant sunlight but due to the ubiquitous craters and lava that ran beneath the surface. The existence of such fertile land was incredibly surprising to the casters.
Locke had chanced upon many volcanoes over the past two months. Most of them were dormant with a few active ones in the mix. His curiosity was piqued; what kind of Botanian could possibly build an oasis in the middle of a scorching land?
His answer would arrive two days later when two balls of energy were launched from their camp, crumbling half of the city wall upon contact. This was the beginning of another battle. The green lively city was indeed as wealthy as it appeared; neither the Magisters nor Locke were disappointed with what they found. The two Botanian city lords that stubbornly stayed put were a rewarding promise for the Magisters. They eyed the Botanian essence with predatory gazes, unmistakable hunger in their eyes.