“The scattering Botanians on the outer radius are no threat to us.” Reports of the battle were brought to the commanding division in Battlezone 7.
“What’s the current state of the World Tree?” asked Cassius.
“Herr Azzel and his men are still fighting it as we speak,” answered the messenger swiftly.
“Tch, it’s pretty hardy.” Borlon shook his head as he skimmed through the report. It was bewildering to learn that the World Tree was still standing in the simultaneous attack of three demigod Ritters.
Cassius scoffed unamusedly. “Hanging on stubbornly is all it’s capable of. There’s nothing else outstanding about it apart from its incredible resilience.”
“True, the richness of its life force is on par with that of level-four lifeforms.” the older Himmelritter agreed. The World Tree’s root system covered a third of Wilderia, so it was safe to say that the level-three Himmelritters were fighting the foundation of half the continent.
Borlon turned around to look at Cassius. “Master Odis is urging us to pick up the pace.”
“Yeah, and it seems that my participation is inevitable if we are to make any progress.” They still needed to harvest the World Tree’s heart, after all.
“Should we call for Mist’s assistance?” asked Borlon. More numbers would be beneficial for a quick job.
“No, it’s fine. The World Tree has always been the Hall of Knights' prey and I intend to keep it that way.” The hunt for the World Tree’s heart was specifically spurred by level-four Odis’ request. The involvement of Mist would have them indebted to the Sanctum, which would result in a complex situation that would compromise their vice grip on the World Tree. Favours and debts worked differently among the stronger elites, after all.
Two days later, the sun shone blindingly above the ruins of the Holy City. It soon crashed into the city like a comet, marking the grand arrival of demigod Cassius, who was otherwise known as the Deity of Fire.
“Looks like the war will be ending soon,” Zachary commented offhandedly with an amiable smile as he watched the events unfold. Unlike the suffocating tension in Botania, the level-four Ritters here enjoyed a relaxing conversation in the astral realm.
“I’m impressed that a mere minor plane lasted this long under our assault.” Unfortunately, Odis failed to share Zachary’s good mood. More than half of his combat resources were burnt in the current planar war and his losses were relatively devastating.
“Fret not, the World Tree’s heart will be your biggest gain.” Zachary chuckled. That much was true as regular cultivation materials were no longer useful for elite lifeforms like them. While Botanian essence was a treasure to lifeforms below level four, it wasn’t all that effective for them unless consumed in larger quantities for only a mild effect.
It was an irrefutable truth. Strictly speaking, the World Tree was still a level-three lifeform and yet its heart had contained a life force that didn’t pale in comparison to that of level-four lifeforms. It was at least equivalent to half a level-four lifeform’s nucleus core! Odis may have lost out on receiving spoils from Centauria but he would gain more from Botania than his other two level-four comrades.
The four demigods’ relentless attacks had finally driven the World Tree to complete devastation six months later. They’d wiped out most of its extensive root system, save for a measly radius of a thousand miles. In the end, the Hall of Knights was inevitably indebted to the Sanctum since they needed to rely on their divination to pinpoint the position and depth of its roots. If it hadn’t been for the casters’ assistance, it would’ve taken the knights another year and a half to achieve their current feat.
Crunch! A flaming blade that seemed to span across the horizon sliced through the sky. The towering World Tree was split into halves, helplessly powerless against its force. Its body and leaves were completely shrivelled as its roots were mercilessly dug up from the dirt. The World Tree was dead. A cubic object with a green glow was found beneath its main body, life force peeking through thickly with every glimmer.
“Wow! Such a strong life force!” exclaimed Azzel.
The flaming blade vanished in thin air. Cassius swiftly flew over in his flaming scarlet armour to pick up the tree’s nucleus. The level-three Himmelritters were in various states of unkemptness since the fight had dragged on for six months. Admittedly, the World Tree might’ve been the most difficult opponent they’d encountered so far.
The removal of the tree’s heart was followed by a strong quake that created more cracks and gullies across the ground. Trees and rocks tumbled into the gaps while the skies darkened quickly, covered by gloomy clouds. It looked as if the end of the world had arrived.
“Retreat immediately!” Cassius ordered urgently.
His instructions had proven to be necessary. The violent tremours had broken away a fifth of Wilderia, which subsequently sunk into the depths of the southern ocean. The fallen Botanian Holy City was wiped completely from existence. The casters had deduced that the sinking was most probably induced by the forced removal of the World Tree’s root system. Since its foundation had spanned a good portion of the continent, it’d served as the base structure. In that case, its abrupt absence had stirred major instability that ultimately resulted in the quakes. The other plausible explanation had been that the death of the plane’s protector had shaken Botania’s consciousness. Whatever the reason may be, it didn’t matter much to the Three Western Isles anyway.
Victory was theirs. Most of the Botanian resistance across Wilderia were captured and their horrible fate was decided in the absence of available elites. The minor plane’s doom was inevitable.
Locke led Fermoss around the streets of Battlezone 11 on a leash. There hadn’t been reports of Botanian resistances since the defeat of the Holy City, allowing the Three Western Isles to dispatch their casters and knights to various corners of the plane once again to focus on rounding up all Botanians that remained. once again dispatched casters and knights to every corner of the plane to capture all remaining Botanians.
A group of knights and casters had built a shopping street, where plenty of good merchandise was available for sale. Locke figured a little browsing before he was due to leave again was very much needed. The sight of a scorpiondrake on leashes had attracted the attention of many. He’d assembled the restraint with the some material he had gathered and Angelina’s alchemy skills. It wasn’t the most refined but it was very sturdy; a base-rank scorpiondrake would have to exert considerable force to break free. Even so, the thought hadn’t crossed Fermoss’ mind since it had already been domesticated by Locke throughout its time on Botania.
“How much are you selling blue stellar grass for?” asked Locke as he stopped by a stall. Blue stellar grasses were endemic to Botania. The plant was a great base material for mental ability recovery potions so Locke thought of buying it for Angelina.
The caster seemed a little surprised upon realising that his customer was a knight. The appearance of blue stellar grass was so unassuming that Lehrlings often failed to recognise it. The fact that a knight could identify it was shocking.
Anyhow, business was business. The caster wasn’t about to ponder how Locke had attained the knowledge of blue stellar grasses. He quickly answered, “It’s two mid-rank nucleus cores for one, Herr.”