After receiving the letter, Felix was so furious that he kicked the heavy table in front of him outside the hall, breaking it into pieces. Holding Koria’s head in his hands, he roared towards the sky in anger. Felix had long wanted to conquer Salem in one fell swoop, but he was also waiting for more of the Giant Legion to arrive. As of now, roughly 3000 giant soldiers had arrived, and most of them were the elite forces of the legion.
He sent Koria under the guidance of the gods to intercept the miners in Duc, partly because the miners were very useful, and partly to test the fortification of Salem and its strength and reaction. The plan failed completely, and none of the 100 giant warriors sent returned, but Aesop delivered Koria’s head.
Now, there was no choice but to start a war. Otherwise, how would Felix have the repute to command the legion and lead the city? He immediately ordered the army to assemble, and three thousand giant warriors lined up in an army formation and headed for the city of Salem with great vigor. In his command was the most elite regular legion of the Assyrian kingdom, composed of giant warriors, officially known as the Adado Legion.
Adado was the son of Enlil in the legends, the storm god of the Anunnaki, but among the people, they were used to calling it the Giant Legion. Felix did not believe that the rabble of tribesmen and wanderers in the city of Salem could be his opponent, and the only thing he used to be afraid of was Amon, who was heard to be a very good warrior. But at this moment Amon had become a god on the altar, and would not directly appear on the battlefield.
Felix had guessed correctly, and unless he had no choice but to do so, Amon would not personally participate in this war. His training was now at a critical juncture, and even the work of constructing the Garden of Eden had been left to Geshtinanna completely. His identity had changed, his way of life had also changed, and the way he looked at many issues also had certainly changed.
He was the god that the people of Salem believe in. As long as his statue still stands in the shrine, it can always give people confidence and hope, but if he suffers any mishap on the battlefield, it would be a fatal blow to morale. He could still vividly remember Horus showing his giant eagle avatar on the clouds, only to be decimated by Enkidu with a single blow. That scene caused such a shock to the heart of the Ejyptian military forces that the defense line at Khenmet nearly collapsed.
The city of Salem had invested all its strength in this war, and if it still could not win, then Amon won’t be able to turn the situation around by himself even if he appeared on the battlefield. He knew very well in his heart that he was not invincible. Right now, he had become a symbol of guardianship and blessing. For the army, the battle power that erupts when faith is strong and morale is high is something that even the soldiers themselves usually can’t imagine.
Although Amon was far away in the Garden of Eden, he could still be informed of everything that happened on the battlefield through people’s prayers as well as sacrifices, but he was training, integrating everything he had learned before in his soul, and needed not to be disturbed. He did not know that in the distant Ejypt, Maria was looking up at the stars silently calling the name of Goddess Isis. This holy woman of incomparable purity of faith, for the first time in prayer, was distracted, for the shadow of Amon appeared in her mind when she called upon Goddess Isis.
Seth told Maria that he would come back in three months to ask her what decision she had made, and two months had passed by the time the war on the Plains of Duc was fought.
Felix led the giant army to the city of Salem. He knew that Salem had built two fortresses 25 kilometers north of the city, and that to attack Salem, these two fortresses had to be taken down. If Salem wanted to set up a battlefield for both armies to fight, the best place to do it would be on the open ground between these two forts. Felix was waiting for the two armies to meet there so that he could crush the main forces of Salem Legion in one fell swoop.
The road leading from Salem to the northern mines was by far the widest road in the Plains of Duc, and it was along this road that Felix marched. He sat in his chariot and saw two fortresses, alone on the high ground on both sides of the road, about three kilometers apart, with not a single figure around them and no soldiers on the walls of the fortresses.
Behind the fortresses was a large field that had been cultivated by Salem in the last two years. The wheat in the field had been harvested urgently, but the straw was still there. The flocks of sheep on the distant hillside meadows were also gone, driven back to the city by the shepherds. Surprisingly, the city of Salem did not set up a military formation here.
At this time, the scouts reported that the army of Salem had already left the city, numbering about a thousand, and was waiting in battle formation outside the city, and did not come here to meet the enemy. Felix looked at the two forts and sneered: “I heard that the city was built by cavemen, do they actually know how to fight a war? If I had built these two fortresses, I would have set up a military formation here, and I would have been able to advance and retreat by responding left and right!”
As the head of the Giant Legion, Felix’s view was not bad at all, but the situation in the city of Salem was different. If Idu had led the An-Ra legion back then, even though the individual soldiers were not as strong as the Giant legion, they would have lined up here and relied on the fortresses on the left and right flanks to be strong enough to fight. But now, many of the soldiers in Salem Legion had never been on the battlefield, although the workers from Syah did have experience in fighting a war.
That was why Idu did not want to start off with a hard battle with the army. If they lost their first battle, the morale of the army would fall from the highest point to the lowest valley instantly, making defeat all but certain.
Felix looked at the empty field and frowned. The commander beside him asked: “What do you think, my lord, do we continue to march forward and engage the enemy in battle at the city of Salem?”
Felix shook his head. “That would make us vulnerable to a pincer attack, so let’s take down and occupy these two fortresses first as our advance base. For the time being, do not attack at the same time, set up two lines of troops on the avenue to prevent counterattacks from the direction of Salem and the other fortress, and take one of the fortresses first with all your strength.”
The Giant Legion quickly spread out and formed a defensive formation facing the eastern fortress and the city of Salem, and transferred all the equipment originally used to attack Salem to the western side to prepare for the capture of the other fortress. The giant soldiers measured the distance, set up stone-throwers, lit torches, and teams of soldiers carried ladders with shields, while crossbowmen stood on high platforms erected on the chariots.
Strangely enough, there was no movement in the fortress, like an empty city, quietly waiting for the Giant Legion to make all the preparations for the siege. The commander in charge of the siege said to Felix: “According to the intelligence, there are hundreds of soldiers in this fortress, why can’t I see anyone on the walls? Are they all too scared to show their faces? I’ve never fought a battle like this before!”
Felix said expressionlessly: “They want to hide like a turtle? They won’t avoid the fate of being overrun even if they do that, so they should fight as they should!”
The attack on the fortress did not require a siege, and Felix was not worried about the soldiers in the fortress not coming out to fight. Therefore, they only had to choose one side to attack, as long as they captured the walls or opened the gates, it would mean victory. There was a sudden whistling sound on the silent plains as dozens of huge fireballs flew up and smashed towards the fortress.
These were stone balls mined in the mountains with fuel wrapped around them, ignited and thrown by giant stone throwers, which can collapse brick walls and ignite houses in the city to cause fires. The highlander giants built especially large stone-throwers which were able to send heavy flying stones at a long-range, making them excellent weapons for attacking cities.
There were no enemy soldiers to be seen and no shouting to be heard as dozens of fireballs flew towards the fortress. Even the strongest warriors would find it difficult to withstand such an attack, and the first wave of the Giant Legion’s attack was pretty fearsome. However, when the huge firestones reached the area above the walls, the fortress seemed to have turned into a mirror image. The air swirled and shifted as if being wrapped in transparent water waves.
It was as though the firestones had entered an invisible water surface, and the flames were extinguished leaving behind faint smoke, while the stone balls were quickly slowed down, falling to the ground before they were able to go past the walls. Felix let out a low cry of surprise: “Magic formation! How many mages do they have? They were able to construct such a large formation!”
The Giant Legion’s chief priest Lucian stared in awe for a long time before he let out a long breath and said: “Lord Felix, that is a spell formation that envelops the entire fortress, not a temporary one made by mages. It is similar to the defensive formation of our capital, Nivi City, which was constructed when the city was built. It is activated during battle and needs to be operated by mages. Looking at this scene, there must be a supreme mage presiding over it!”
Felix shouted in amazement: “A supreme mage? Is there a supreme mage in each fortress? If they sent their supreme mages here, what about the defense of Salem?”
Lucien replied: “Idu, the chief priest of Salem, was the high priest of the Shrine of Isis. Who knows what else he has done and how many supreme mages he has recruited to work for him? Such a fortress was built with a lot of manpower and resources.
Felix grimly said: “Salem is indeed a good place, and once we conquer it, all the future harvests will be ours.”
The stone-throwers continued to toss firestones, and smoke rose up the side of the fortress. The air rippled like transparent water waves, with cracks appearing from the impact of the firestones before disappearing again. The fortress did not move, and the walls were not even scratched.
On the high platforms set up on the chariots, the giants holding crossbows had been aiming at the battlements above the walls, but after half a day of aiming, their eyes were blurred and hands were sore, and still, not a single defending soldier emerged. The arrows on the crossbows were ready to fire but there was no target to shoot.
Felix stood with a deepening frown, and asked the chief priest again: “How should this battle be fought?”
Lucien replied: “If we do not break this magic formation, our long-range attacks won’t be able to hurt the people in the city. But if the impact suffered by the magic formation is too large, it will damage the parangons of the formation and they will need to be replenished quickly, up until the point where it is unsustainable. That is the stupid way of attacking by brute force. On the other hand, the formation must be operated by mages, and such a formation must also be presided over by a supreme mage. Mages do not have unlimited magical power, and as soon as the other side is tired, the formation will also stop, and then it is our chance to attack the walls.”
Felix asked again: “And how long do you think they can hold out?”
Lucien thought about it and replied, “Looking at this scene, if I were to preside over the magic formation in the city, I could support it for half a day at most.”
Felix: “So long!”
Lucien explained again: “It requires the cooperation of the mages, and also the damaged parangons need to be replenished in time, I can last so long under the current intensity of the attack. But this is just a useless struggle. Since they can’t kill us, it is only a matter of time before we win.”
Felix was dissatisfied. “But if it takes such a long time, then purely bombarding the city with firestones won’t be sufficient, it will also be necessary to launch a strong attack with military formations.”
Lucien: “I suggest to wait a bit, there will inevitably be casualties if we attack with military formations, and the lesser the casualties the better. Order the stone-throwers not to scatter their shots, but focus on one direction, and try to penetrate the magic formation’s protection. In that way, we also can damage the opponent’s formation parangons.”
The firing of firestones suddenly stopped, and then the giant soldiers started adjusting the placement and direction of the stone-throwers. When the second wave of the attack began, the huge firestones were all concentrated towards a section of the walls.
In another fortress far away, Lynk stood behind a window at the highest point of the fortress, watching from afar as the Giant Legion concentrated on attacking the fortress where Raphael and El Mar were stationed and said with a bitter smile: “They really know how to choose places, hitting that side first, they probably can’t imagine that there are two supreme mages in that small fortress. …well, it’s really a good idea to concentrate on bombing the city towards one place.”
Next to him stood a commander, originally one of Amon’s guards, named Wanani, who was now a general in Salem Legion. General Wanani asked with concern: “How long can Lord Raphael and Lord El Mar hold them back?”
Lynk: “I’m not sure about Raphael, but El Mar’s stamina is amazing, and she can last for three days by herself without a problem. If Raphael is around to take turns presiding the magic formation, they should last more than seven days against this extent of attacks. Idu’s orders were that, if the Giant Legion attacked the fortress, do everything possible to hold them off for seven days, so I think it won’t be a problem.”
Wanani added: “Those two lords naturally have no problem, but the Giant Legion will not always attack with firestones, since their reserve of firestones will eventually run out. The problem is that the number of parangons stored in the fortress is limited, and the other mages won’t last that long.”
Lynk smiled coldly. “If that fool Felix used up all his firestones and heavy crossbow arrows to attack a fortress, he won’t have to attack Salem anymore, and it would be better to consume all their siege supplies here, too, because Salem is not guarded by magical formations, and this is the intention of Idu. As for the mages I trained in the past two years, I’m guessing that they can’t hold for that long, and it’s time to test them.”
Lynk had been training mages in his tribe for the past two years, examining trusted people and making them take a vow of faith in God Amon. It was really difficult to awaken the power of two sides, and even though the sixty odd Duc miners were able to produce the twelve Judges, Lynk could only manage to train a few dozen mages from thousands of his tribesmen. These mages were awakened to the power of magic arts, but few were able to master the power of two sides.
The dozens of mages from Salem were divided into two groups by Idu, and both were sent to the two fortresses to assist the supreme mages in operating the magic formations.
In the underground hall of the central building of the fortress being attacked, Raphael was sitting with his staff in hand, and the parangons on his staff emitted a burst of bright light, showing the attack on the protective array. He was also surrounded by ten mages, half of them of cavemen origin, who were also holding staffs to help Raphael with the operation of the formation.
When the Giant Legion outside the city adjusted their attacks and all the firestones were concentrated and projected in one direction, Raphael heard a faint cracking sound in his ears and hastily ordered the mages resting in the fortress to replace the damaged parangons under the walls and to keep the power of the magic formation undiminished.
The battle outside the city was lively, but the fortress was still quiet, like a landscape in a mirror, unmoving in a mix of light and shadow. The commander of the siege was a bit impatient and ran to Felix’s chariot and said: “The firestones we prepared are meant for blasting the city of Salem open, this kind of consumption will not work, should we order a direct attack? The soldiers in charge of the stone-throwers are also tired.”
Felix did not move and replied: “Replace the tired soldiers and continue the attack, the first wave of soldiers retreat to rest, the attack cannot stop, they should not be able to hold out for long. Once the defense of the magic formation is weakened, launch a strong attack immediately, we can’t give the enemy a chance to breathe, inform the crossbowmen to prepare for the engagement, and shoot down all the enemies that appear on the walls.”
Highlander giants were good at hunting with heavy crossbows, and after undergoing military training, they naturally became even more proficient. The crossbows of giant warriors have great range and have always been fearsome weapons on the battlefield. The giant crossbowmen on the high platforms have already been waiting for a long time.
In the middle of the fortress, El Mar walked into the underground hall. She wore red battle robes today in addition to the dark gold armor underneath and looked particularly bright and eye-catching. She softly persuaded Raphael: “You are tired, let me take over.”
Raphael shook his head gently. “I can still hold out, half of the mages should rest, just switch them out at this point.” He ordered the mages around the formation to swap out five of them.
El Mar advised again: “The Head of Legion has instructed us not to exhaust our power all at once, and even if you can support it, you should rest at appropriate times in order to last longer.”
Raphael laughed. “I’m not that delicate, and I’m stronger than you think. It’s just that this magic formation can’t resist everything head-on, and the defensive power has to be reduced accordingly when necessary. Otherwise, the number of parangons destroyed will be too much, and the formation will really collapse when that happens.”
The light from the staff in his hand dimmed as he finished speaking, and the parangons at the top were clearly not as dazzling as they had been earlier. The situation outside the fortress changed, and the flaming rocks flying in the sky passed through the magic formation. Although the flames were extinguished the rocks were not slowed down too much, and they went past the high walls, falling into the fortress. There were sounds of things being smashed and collapsing in the fortress, as well as the neighing of frightened horses.