Amon’s expression changed. Enkidu was simply trying to disgrace him. If Enkidu lost the duel, the Uruk legion would retreat and it would be a great victory for the Ejyptian Empire. On the other hand, if Amon lost, Enkidu only required that Amon resign from his post of commander-in-chief and give up his title of Supreme General.
It appeared that what Amon was going to lose was purely personal. But the truth is: if Amon lost in the duel, he would most certainly lose his life. However, if he refused the duel, he would be seen as a coward greedy for power who dared not sacrifice for the empire.
At this moment, Gilgamesh spoke from atop the platform. “I have prepared the agreement for the duel and I ask everyone present to be the witness, including any gods who are watching. If Enkidu loses in the duel, the Uruk legion will immediately retreat and leave Ejypt.”
It took Amon a lot to stop thinking about slapping Gilgamesh’s smiling elegant face. He managed to stay calm and replied with a smile. “Enkidu, I too have a request of duel, but not with you. Please call for Marduc. I demand a duel with Marduc!”
These words caused an uproar from both armies and the battlefield was filled with noisy chatter. Gilgamesh and Idu shouted an order at the same time so as to silence the troops. Without waiting for Enkidu to reply, Amon continued in a loud voice: “I apologize for calling your god in this manner. Deities won’t accept a duel from a mortal like me.
In the same way, as commander, I refuse your request. My duty today is to command the army to defend the Empire of Ejypt from the invaders. I am not here alone. The tens of thousands of soldiers behind me, they are with me. They put their lives in my hand because they trust me. They believe that I am a good commander. And I put my trust in them, not you, an invader who trespasses, loots and slaughters innocent people. If you are so obsessed in provoking others, go home and find some stray dogs!”
The Ejyptian army erupted with roaring laughter. Enkidu was enraged. Pointing at Amon with his broken broadsword, he bellowed: “You coward!”
Just as he spoke, Enkidu’s voice was drowned out by the shout of soldiers and the galloping of horses. The moment he finished his words, Amon had given the signal to charge. This time, it would be the Ejyptian army’s turn to attack first. Amon jumped onto the chariot. Together with his personal guards, they charged into the battlefield.
Enkidu remained standing alone between the two armies. This was the best chance to surround him and take him down. Despite refusing to duel, Amon did not hide behind his troops cowardly. With his chariot leading at the forefront of the army, he leaped towards Enkidu and attacked with his iron stick.
The scene was witnessed by everyone on the battlefield. Although Amon had turned down Enkidu’s challenge, he was still a brave warrior who fought Enkidu first.
The Ejyptian army was approaching Enkidu fast while the Uruk legion had not quite arrived yet. Would Enkidu turn around and flee? The proud mighty warrior certainly was not about to do something like that. Howling in anger, he swung his broken broadsword to meet Amon in battle.
Before the blade and stick collided, a blinding explosion of light occurred and blasted the surroundings with powerful energies. Similar situations had already happened multiple times when the two of them fought. Enkidu stood steadily in his original position while Amon was sent flying backwards with a somersault. Enkidu had struck with his broadsword with the intention to kill, but Amon had been prepared for his attack and made use of spatial magic to divert much of the force from Enkidu’s strike. At the same time, although he had swung his iron stick with full force, he had done so with the intention to parry Enkidu’s blade rather than to attack him.
Unwilling to allow Amon to escape from him again, Enkidu roared and charged towards him. As he slashed towards Amon, a gigantic blade of energy similar to the one he used to slay the cloud eagle appeared. However, it did not hit the target as several rays of light arrived at the same time. The rays of light carried with them various attacking magics, such as an angry roar that smashed into the mind, a huge wave which rosed violently, cracks which scattered in all directions as well as powerful blades of wind.
Three rays of light blocked the blade of energy while two other rays attacked Enkidu himself. One could see that an ambush had been prepared for him, and those capable of producing such attacks were twice awakened supreme warriors at the minimum.
Since Enkidu had served himself up on a platter, there was no need for the supreme warriors to disguise. Metatro drew his serpent-fang shortsword, Gabriel swung a silver battleaxe, Vadin was wielding a magical spear while Petr held a longsword engraved with strange carvings. As for Ankh, he wielded a huge spiked club which seemed to contain the power of wind and thunder.
The five supreme warriors surrounded Enkidu immediately the moment they appeared, creating a vortex of energy where they battled. Even horses located nearly a hundred steps away from the location were unable to stand steadily on their hooves. The remaining personal guards did not continue charging forward. Instead, they formed a defensive formation at the rear with their spears and shields. In front of the wall of shields, a curtain of light rose. Amon stood behind the wall and did not participate in the battle.
In the midst of this heavy protection, two “guards” behind Amon raised their staffs and began chanting. The curtain of light in front of them became as tough as an iron wall while patches of distorted lights swirled in the sky. Whenever one of the five supreme warriors were knocked out of the battle by Enkidu’s attack, a ray of light would immediately land on the warrior, be it a theurgy or a blessing of the highest level. The ninth level supreme mages spared no efforts to maintain the fighting abilities of the five warriors fighting Enkidu.
It was difficult to intervene in a melee between the supreme warriors and Enkidu. The impact and explosion of energy enveloped the area in chaos, making it nearly impossible to target Enkidu. Only the two ninth level supreme mages can construct and cast magic with precision in such complicated circumstances.
This was the maximal power Amon could arrange to deal with Enkidu right now. Even if he could not kill Enkidu, he wanted to exhaust his energy. And even if that failed, he wanted to trap him and make sure that he could not do anything else. He doubted if anybody else in the continent could use so many supreme warriors and mages at the same time to deal with a single foe at the moment. Although he believed that the power of a single man was limited, when one was as powerful as Enkidu, the situation was different.
What Amon feared the most was the collapse of the battle formation, which was fatal in large scale battles. Sometimes, even though the ratio of casualties was low, a breakthrough at one point might cause a devastating chain effect when panicking soldiers started trampling over each other. Many huge defeats had occurred in this manner. Since such large scale battles usually lasted the entire day, if the commander was unable to deploy the troops for attack and defense in an orderly fashion, it would spell great trouble.
Therefore, Amon had to trap Enkidu such that he wouldn’t be leading a squad of elites and causing havoc in the formation of ordinary soldiers. In the two previous battles, Enkidu had attempted to do this but Amon managed to stop Enkidu at the risk of his own life.
While Amon’s personal guards stood in a defensive formation, the war chariots of both sides finally met each other. Weapons clashing, swords cutting through flesh, shouts mixed with dying cries. The final battle started.
Surrounded and being attacked by so many great warriors and mages, Enkidu showed no fear but anger. Even though his voice was drowned by the explosion of energies, Amon did not need to hear it to know that Enkidu was cursing him for his tactics. Although half of Enkidu’s broadsword had been destroyed, a complete golden blade of energy could be seen from time to time as he swung the broken weapon.
Whenever his blade passed by, the supreme warriors would be repelled by an overwhelming power, and even the supporting magics would lose their effects. What kind of martial technique was this? It was pure and simple but incredibly powerful! It seemed to have transcended the limit of body arts, as if it contained the power from the power itself directly, the source from which all the highest level magics in the world derived from. Just the simple act of completing the blade had surpassed the understanding of ordinary warriors.
None of them could receive a direct attack from the seemingly illusionary broadsword and they could only fight around him and cover each other’s backs, forcing Enkidu to remain in the same spot. If not the additional support from the two supreme mages, it would be difficult to stop Enkidu from leaving. Amon’s heart sank as Enkidu seemed to have exceeded his expectations once again in just a few short days, his strength seemingly unfathomable and insurmountable.
If Enkidu really wanted to escape, it would be difficult for the five supreme warriors to trap him there until the battle between the two armies ended. In truth, Enkidu was willingly taking on more than one at the same time because he had the confidence to overcome all the obstacles thrown in his way and kill Amon eventually. Holding his iron stick tightly, Amon continued watching the fight but did nothing to help the five supreme warriors.
As the Commander-in-chief, he was responsible for overseeing the entire battle. He also needed to guard the two supreme mages behind him from any sneak attacks. Most importantly, Gilgamesh was slowly approaching them, so he needed to be ready for anything happening.
After Enkidu was trapped in a melee with the supreme warriors, Gilgamesh analysed the situation from his platform and understood what Amon was trying to do. Possessing utmost confidence in Enkidu, he did not worry too much about the fight. However, as the Commander-in-chief of the Uruk legion, he could not allow Amon to do as he pleased.
As he floated off his platform, a mage holding his staff flew into the sky from the rear of the Uruk legion and took over command of the army, much like Idu had done so for the Ejyptian army. He was a seventh level supreme mage from the Temple of Marduc in Uruk. The staff in his hands had a slight curvature and it was made from the rib bones of Humbaba.
There were indeed other supreme mages besides Gilgamesh in the Uruk army, but due to the overwhelming fame of Gilgamesh, very few people had heard of them.
Gilgamesh sat on a war chariot which did not have any horses attached to it. He pointed his staff at the chariot, and it started moving. His personal guards marched in front of Gilgamesh’s chariot, holding identical round shields and longswords. Their shields glittered brightly as they moved in a defensive formation while their weapons shone with a piercing cold light.
Behind Gilgamesh’s chariot followed a squad of priests riding horses as they held a staff in their left hand. Different from other priests, they also carried longswords made from Damasc iron on their waists. It was rare for priests to carry weapons besides their staffs, and they even wore light armor engraved with magical formations. The engravings enabled them to instantly conjure a defensive shield which protected their bodies and their warhorses whenever they needed it.
It was not easy for Gilgamesh to train this special squad of priests which were also part of his personal guards. All of them were advanced mages who were capable of charging into battle on their warhorses. As Amon watched them approach, he narrowed his eyes at the sight of the special squad of priests which could fight on the battlefield without the protection of warriors. The only flaw perhaps was that their numbers were few, only totalling to twenty four.
Amon was well aware that Gilgamesh was not only a ninth level supreme mage, but also a sixth level advanced warrior. Even then, in terms of physical might, he was superior to ordinary seventh level supreme warriors. He was also born with extraordinary innate strength just like Enkidu.
According to Golier, Gilgamesh was the only supreme mage that he knew of who had experienced the second awakening of power and practiced body arts from scratch. But Amon knew of one other person who had done that: Crazy’Ole’s disciple Bair. Despite being a ninth level supreme mage and sixth level advanced warrior at the same time, Bair was not invincible. He had fallen to the combined attacks of multiple Ejyptian experts during their hunt for him, so Gilgamesh was definitely not invincible either.
Both of them went to the peak of the magical practice and the peak of advanced body arts practice. But their paths were different. Bair explored the power of two sides and found a unique path after many setbacks. Gilgamesh, on the other hand, had undergone the second awakening of power after becoming a supreme mage and started practicing the body arts from the beginning.
Now, it seems that Gilgamesh was not only trying it out himself, but also secretly experimenting with the method using a special squad of priests. A group of advanced mages was made to go through the second awakening of power before learning primary body arts. Those who had succeeded in doing so had all become members of this special squad.
These priests wore armor and helmets which covered their faces, but when Amon scrutinized them, he could sense a familiar feeling from two of them. Ever since he escaped from the Underworld, Amon gained the ability to feel the emotions in others. Although this ability did not work on everyone, it succeeded on those two people without any resistance. Their emotions were complicated. It was like they were facing a difficult choice.
In the face of a great battle such as this one, who would still have the energy to think of other things? The two people were indeed no strangers. They were Hevel and Qayin. These two brothers were Amon’s disciples and they had practiced the power of two sides. After becoming advanced mages, they were praised by Gilgamesh and promoted to priests of the Uruk legion.
Concealing their true abilities, they naturally passed the second awakening of power easily and ended up joining the special squad of priests. If it were in the past, Gilgamesh would never have revealed this squad in battle so easily. However, for reasons unknown, Gilgamesh decided not to keep them hidden anymore and brought them along to the battlefield.
At the same time that Amon noticed the two of them, they had been conversing secretly using message magic. Qayin said to Hevel: “My little brother, today is the day of the final battle. Now that we are finally participating and our patron is right over there as our enemy, what should we do?”
Hevel replied: “Since we are fighting a battle, naturally we should kill our enemies. If we come face to face with him, you and I should just defend ourselves and not reveal our identities. That is probably the best way for us to return his kindness and show our gratitude. At the same time, he won’t be placed in a difficult spot. Besides, do you really think we stand a chance against Lord Amon if we were to fight? We should consider ourselves lucky if we can avoid him.”
Qayin asked again: “Yesterday, Lord Gilgamesh asked us about our way of practice and why it was so easy for us to succeed in the second awakening of power as well as learning body arts. With the kind of perception that Lord Gilgamesh possesses, I feel that we won’t be able to hide our secrets for much longer. In the battle today, with the combined might of Lord Gilgamesh and Lord Enkidu, Lord Amon is sure to perish! The power that we have been practicing for so long could really remain a secret forever, what should we do?”
Hevel asked in return: “My elder brother, what are you trying to say?”
“Actually, Lord Gilgamesh and Lord Enkidu knew long ago that Lord Amon is a sorcerer. In that case, they must have made the preparations necessary to deal with him. After Lord Amon is dead, what do we do when Lord Gilgamesh asks us about our way of practice?”
“This is a war that we are fighting. The outcome of a war is not something that can be controlled by you or me, so how can you be so sure that Lord Amon will die? As for Lord Gilgamesh, however we are supposed to answer, that will be however we shall answer. We have promised Lord Amon not to reveal his name or the things he has taught us. Since we have made a promise, we should keep it.”
“If Lord Amon dies, there will be nobody left to teach us any further. Even if he does not die, he can’t possibly continue teaching us about the power of the sides since we are his enemies now. However, being one of the greatest heroes on the continent, Lord Gilgamesh is far more powerful than Lord Amon. Even if we do not reveal Lord Amon’s name, we can still divulge the secret of the power of two sides. In that way, we can reap even more benefits and continue learning from him.”
Hevel replied in a firm tone: “No, we cannot do that. This is not acting in accordance with our beliefs and by doing that we will forever be unable to progress any further. As long as I am alive, I will never agree to what you proposed. Besides, I am the one that Lord Gilgamesh asked, not you! Stop worrying about it, I know what to do.”
Qayin asked reluctantly: “Every time, Lord Gilgamesh has only asked you, he has never thought of looking for me! Even though both of us practice the power of the two sides, you have always managed to do better than me, be it magical arts or body arts. Did Lord Amon teach you more secrets about the higher levels?”
Hevel sighed. “How many times have I told you? He did not do any of that. We both learnt the same things from Lord Amon. Maybe if you had stopped obsessing over such thoughts, you would have done as well as I do.”