The ground trembled, chasing after a deafening noise. It was so strong that the other battlefield on the far end could feel its impact despite being hundreds of miles away. Goldy felt its heart sink. It couldn’t stop the ice fruit Botanian in its arms from growing cold no matter how much power it was feeding its body. Its efforts were futile; Fehrann remained lifeless as the battle continued around them.
“Fehrann…” The sunflower high priest was the most powerful and respected figure in Botania after the World Tree. It looked like a shell of its own, sophisticated mannerism and appearance nowhere to be seen. Fehrann’s expression was unchangingly stony and soon tears began to escape Goldy’s eyes. Regret clawed at its heart. It should’ve confessed to Fehrann after years of carrying a torch for the ice fruit but all it could do now was to cry like a pathetic child at its loss.
Goldy had felt a familiar presence when the earlier explosion took place. It quickly realised that Arnold, the bright prodigy of their homeland, had opted for self-destruction.
“In that case…” The sunflower gingerly collected the ice fruit’s corpse in its embrace and clambered up. It staggered forward in tensed silence, hiding its emotions from the surrounding elites.
“Be careful, Eugen’s side seems to be in trouble.” Demigod Azzel, known as the Golden Spear Knight, warned the three nearby Himmelritters. He felt incredibly iffy about the distant explosion.
The Botanian high priest was left with no room for retaliation, surrounded tightly by four stronger invaders. The Ritters were in luck; stalling the sunflower wouldn’t be an issue as long as the Botanian didn’t try anything funny at the brink of its death.
“I am the protector of the plane now that the World Tree is dead. It's not Arnold, but me. This is probably my last hurrah for our motherland.” Goldy mumbled under its breath. “In that case, let’s see how bright I can shine for one last time!
“Fehrann… Shall we?” Goldy did something it’d never had the courage for. It dipped down, kissing the icy corpse ever so gently and began to glow. The sunflower began to emit intense energies that promised mass destruction.
“We need to leave now! It’s too late to stop it!” Azzel quickly stomped the ground and fled for the distance. It didn’t take long for the other three Himmelritters to notice something off about the situation. They mirrored Azzel’s urgency and left in a flurry. The self-destruction of a level-three lifeform was bound to be damaging in close quarters even for demigod Ritters and Himmelritters alike. The rays were something to avoid at all costs!
They could only wish the best for the other Ritters on the battlefield. As mighty as they were, there was nothing more they could do for their subordinates in that split second. Goldy’s skin began to crack, light pouring from the crevices. It was turning into a mass of light.
“Ah, so this is how bright I shine.” It croaked its last words, the radiant light devouring its form once and for all. The ball of light began to swell, burning both Goldy and Fehrann’s bodies to ashes. The intense force and pull it birthed had everyone screaming in fear as they were dragged into the light. Once the light ball could no longer grow, an explosion more devastating and deafening took place on the southern plains of Aqualilia.
Embers danced in the air as everything burned to the ground. Aqualilia was famed for its all-time flourishing flowers, the continent was affectionately known as the Floral Sea. However, its lovely florets had to surrender to their wicked fate as they were burnt to a crisp by a fiery catastrophe.
Many had perished in the explosion. The sunflower’s self-destruction bore an impact as violent as Magister Mist’s Meteor Shower, which meant that the resultant force was almost on par with level-four lifeforms. The Botanian resistance was left with nothing to offer, thus marking the end of the planar war. The Three Western Isles’ victory had come with a brutal price of bright young souls.
“Locke, Grandmeisterin Carla mentioned that the superiors want ten thousand Botanians delivered to the specified coordinates. Please see to it.” Angelina’s voice rang from the metal brooch on his chest.
Locke pressed his fingers against the accessory. “Okay, got it.”
Angelina’s alchemy skills were improving rapidly. She’d enhanced the brooch further, making it capable of long-distance and tandem communication. Frankly, communication between Locke and Angelina had always been possible before the existence of this contraption. All he needed to do was focus a little and circulate his impetus to reach her.
The few scorpiondrakes took the lead while eight hundred horrible-looking slaves whipped at the Botanians, urging them forward. A total of ten thousand regular Botanians were once again escorted to an open area where a floating vessel would land soon.
Meanwhile, representatives of both the Sanctum and Hall of Knights were gathered at the base of the Three Western Isles' faction, which was also formerly known as Battlezone 7.
“Are there any orders from Master Odis?” asked a Himmelriter.
“His orders were to hasten our capture of regular Botanians,” Borlon offered a simple reply from the host seat.
“And he wants us to transport them all back to Zauberia?” The Himmelritter blinked in bewilderment. There were hundreds and millions of Botanians! There was no way they could move them back to Zauberia even with the spatial fortress’ gargantuan capacity.
“Of course not. We’ve built a few industrial-scale extraction sites with the Magisters’ help,” clarified Borlon, eyes darting over to Magister Mist. The Magister had been silent throughout the exchange.
“I see. When does Master Odis want this done?”
“Within a year.”
“Should we leave a portion of Botanians as broodstock to achieve a sustainable harvest of Botanian essence?”
“Indeed. Further details can be discussed with Magister Mist. I reckon we create a conservation and shelter for the Botanians while keeping an eye for any occurrence of anything above level one.”
The Sanctum and Hall of Knights had been partners in crime for so long that they’d devised respective protocols to maximise their interests. The organisations complemented each other well, often achieving unity amidst contradictions and producing amazing results together. Something felt off, though. The Himmelritters were the only ones actively participating in the discussion. The spotlight was dominated by the majority since they made up two-thirds of the attendees.
Magister Mist was the rightful representative of the Sanctum. It didn’t make sense for him to stay mum, only choosing to speak when constructive suggestions were needed and to protect the Sanctum’s interests.
Two other participants had been quiet since the very beginning. The faceless masked Magister Charles couldn’t care less about interests and profits. He was invited only because he was one of the rarer demigod Magisters in the Sanctum. Demigod Azzel, who was also known as the Golden Spear Knight, looked under the weather. It appeared that his injuries from the sunflower’s self-detonation had yet to heal properly.