It was a starless, moonless night.
Whoosh... whoosh... A biting wind was blowing in from the ice plains in the far north. Any ordinary person would have their skin frozen blue if left exposed to the extreme cold for more than half an hour. If their ears were left unprotected in it, they would fall off like pieces of clay as well.
The sound of people drawing in sharp breaths came from outside the walls of Orida Fortress. A few guards were taking shelter in a corner, their bodies trembling uncontrollably like a leaf in the cold.
"Blasted weather, why can't those mongrels lurking outside the fortress walls just freeze to death in it?" muttered one of the guards. The others did not respond. They simply tightened their leather armors even more around them.
They were wearing thick layers of wool beneath their armors. Under normal circumstances, this layer of wool could provide an ample amount of thermal insulation as well as protection against enemy arrows for its wearer. From what the guards heard, they were gifts straight from Ferde. However, tonight, the cold was anything but normal. Like a mouse squeezing back into its hole in the ground, it had burrowed deep into the guard's bones. Their limbs now felt sluggish, as if rust had spread to their joints.
At that moment, there was a whoom from inside Orida Fortress. Then, a golden light shone out from the Mage Tower in the fortress grounds.
Wooo~ The sound of horns being blown echoed within the fortress walls.
"Enemy attack!" Shouts rose up from inside the fortress.
In the next second, a silver dome-shaped light barrier spread out over the fortress in the air. At the same time, far within the Black Forest, countless points of purple light carved out long arcs in the air before descending on the fortress like a meteor shower.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Every purple light point was more than a foot wide. Every explosion it set off had a radius of more than ten feet.
In the span of a few seconds, the silver blanket of light that was shielding the fortress grounds was enveloped completely by this purple inferno, coloring the whole sky in the same shade of purple.
As soon as the attack began, Kanorse made his way towards the command tower behind the second fortress wall. Once there, the tactical analyst immediately gave him a report of the enemy's ongoing siege.
"Marshal, I've activated the Level-16 Light Canopy. The enemy is currently using large-scale catapults against us. They've thrown more than 400 Level-9 Balls of Decay during their first wave of attack in our direction. Our canopy will only be able to take two more hits like that, sir!"
The Light Canopy was a recent addition to Orida fortress's magical defenses. Thought it was a Level-16 barrier, the enemy had launched a huge volley of Level-9 magical attacks against it. It would seem that they had come prepared to take down the fortress in one fell swoop.
They had a tough battle ahead of them tonight!
"Return fire!" said Kanorse calmly.
The tactical analyst immediately gave an order according to a predetermined battle plan for situations like this.
"Ready the sliding explosive ballista. 300 shots, target, the enemy's catapults!"
As soon as he gave his command, the Army of Destruction's second volley of Balls of Decay fell from the sky towards the fortress. Almost at the same time, the sounds of crossbows unloading their charges rang out in quick succession from the fortress wall.
Streaks of red light whizzed out from the top of the wall towards the Black Forest like a swarm of locusts. A moment later, consecutive explosions rocked the Black Forest. Shrieks of agony could even be heard from the chaos.
The sliding explosive ballista was one of the latest magical inventions developed by Ferde's Golden Rune Workshop. It had a range of 13,000 feet and was also capable of firing one volley of arrows every eight seconds. The tips of its arrows possessed high magical resistance, allowing it to pierce through Level-11 magical barriers. Once an arrow had broken through one of these barriers, it would activate a Level-8 explosive spell attached to its shaft, which would then release countless tiny metal pellets from it in all directions, causing maximum destruction in its wake.
Though the Army of Destruction seemed to be packing some serious firepower against them, their defenses were sorely lacking. Casualties abounded the moment these anti-magic arrows broke through them without much difficulty.
During this intense exchange of long-distance attacks between both sides, a series of commands were given out from the command post. All the Warriors in the fortress immediately broke the magic seals they had on them, flooding the fortress's interior with magical light at that moment.
These were all Supplementary Combat spells, granting buffs such as "Giant's Strength," "Steel Body," "Ultimate Protective Barrier" and so on to the Warriors. A Level-1 Warrior would be able to receive from these seals enough power to confront a Level-3 Warrior head-on. Right now, the average power level of all the Warriors in the fortress was Level-5. After casting these supplementary spells on themselves, they had effectively increased their own power levels and were now capable of going toe-to-toe with the Army of Destruction.
The supplementary spells were the first step of their battle plan. At that moment, sounds of alchemical vials being smashed into pieces on the ground echoed from every corner of the fortress. A thick golden mist began rising from the vials' shattered remnants.
The mist was radiating a golden light. Before long, it filled the entire fortress. Every Warrior breathing in this golden mist would receive a huge boost to their strength, endurance, and natural resistance against dark power. Conversely, the golden mist would act as a poison against those who wielded dark or destructive power!
The third volley of Balls of Decay fell from the sky once more when the Warriors were finally done with their defensive preparations. However, the number of Balls of Decay coming down on them now had been vastly reduced after the hit the enemy catapults took from the fortress's explosive ballista.
However, under their constant barrage, the Level-16 Light Canopy seemed to have lost most of its luster as well, as if it had lost all its defensive power.
Inside the command post
Kanorse's face did not betray a single hint of the panic that he was now feeling inside. "How many catapults does the enemy still have left?"
The Level-9 Balls of Decay had been quite a handful to deal with. If even one of them had gotten through their defenses, it would have caused considerable damage to their forces.
The tactical analyst was still closely observing the current state of the battlefield. He then gave his report to Kanorse. "After taking two hits from us, the enemy now has 50 catapults remaining. We'll be able to bring that number to zero with two more hits from our explosive ballista."
"Good." Kanorse was somewhat relieved by this. Glancing at the dim Light Canopy above him, he then ordered, "Get ready to intercept enemy's frontal assault!"
The order was given out, and every Warrior in the fortress began gathering near the walls. Ferde's Sunlight Warriors were charged with guarding critical points around the fortress, while the rest of the Warriors lined the fortress's less important regions. As Orida Fortress' trump card, the Beastmen Warriors were tasked with delivering the final blow to the enemy forces!
Soon, every Warrior had assumed their positions in the fortress. They now waited patiently in their formations for the big battle with the Army of Destruction.
The walls of Orida Fortress were recently erected with magically resistant clay imported from Ferde. With their huge bulk and powerful magic seals etched across them, these walls were capable of withstanding even Level-18 Legendary spells.
These nigh, impenetrable walls gave a certain sense of security to those behind them. No matter how powerful the Army of Destruction might be, they would not be able to penetrate these sturdier-than-steel walls of the Orida Fortress!
Boom! Boom! Sporadic explosions echoed from the dim Light Canopy above them. The Army of Destruction still had ten catapults standing. When the explosions subsided, the canopy quivered unsteadily in the sky. However, it remained there still.
The canopy was powered by the Mage Tower. As long as it remained unbroken, the Mage Tower could simply channel more power into it, returning it back to full capacity.
Right now, the Light Canopy seemed as flimsy as a bubble. Slowly, it began to thicken, visibly regaining its former firmness.
To the human Warriors in Orida Fortress, this was good news. However, the same could not be said for the Army of Destruction.
A few thousand feet away, Eugene saw the Light Canopy returning back to full strength. She muttered angrily, "Blasted tortoise shell!"
She climbed to higher ground, with a magic wand in her left hand and a dark runestone in her right. The runestone began to glow with a black light, which expanded into a one-foot-wide ball of dark energy around the stone itself.
With a tap of her wand, Eugene conjured a small portal before her in the air. She then threw the runestone into it.
At the same instance, an explosion of purple flames erupted in the sky above Orida Fortress. The flames melted away the last shreds of the Light Canopy upon hitting it. Many Warriors in the fortress were hit as well as a result. Cries of agony from Orida Fortress soon reached the Warriors of the Army of Destruction in the Black Forest.
"An excellent move from Her Highness," said the Holy Priestess Molina.
Waving his hand, Eugene gave out his order, "Storm the fortress!"
The black runestone might not look like much, but it was Eugene's most prized possession. With it, she would not need to waste too much dark power on Legendary spells while dealing with the Legendary masters of Orida Fortress. Exhausting her reserve of dark power recklessly now would mean putting herself in a tough spot that would eventually lead to her death.
Eugene was more than aware of such an outcome.
After casting a Legendary spell with the black runestone and giving out an order to her troops, Eugene returned to her tent and closed her eyes for some much-needed rest.
War drums sounded amid the Army of Destruction. More than 200,000 Warriors began rushing towards Orida Fortress like a fierce torrent, all according to Eugene's plan.
The Dark Beastmen led the charge, followed by the demons, then the Nagas, and finally the Dark Elves. The Dark Elves had spared no expense in donning everyone in full armor. Despite serving as cannon fodder at the front of this ghastly procession, the Dark Beastmen were all equipped with fine sets of armor and weaponry as well.
The Dark Elf Magicians were not simply twiddling their thumbs in the corner during the Warriors' mad charge towards the Fortress. In fact, they played an integral part in breaking apart the fortress walls!
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Eighty-foot-tall, earthen golems were summoned by the Magicians one after the other. These magical behemoths began throwing 40-ton stones at the fortress. They did not need to land any of their shots on the fortress's Warriors; the stones' impact against its walls would be enough to disrupt the Warriors' formations behind the walls.
The stones reached the fortress before any of the Army of Destruction's infantry. Forty golems had been summoned in the Black Forest. They began lurching towards the fortress, threatening to demolish its walls with their bare hands.
"Dispel them! Quick!" shouted the commanding officer of the Magicians in Orida fortress. He was well aware of the destruction these golems would be able to wreak if they were allowed to come any closer to the fortress.
Hum... Hum... Hum... Hum... Streaks of dispelling spells shot out towards the golems, disrupting the magical integrity of their bodies.
However, the Dark Elf Magicians did not let up the golem assault. They continued summoning more golems from the ground, replacing those that had fallen under the barrage of dispelling spells. Half a minute later, some of them had even begun burning their souls up to continue the summoning process.
Inside the Orida Fortress
"Snipers, shoot down the enemy Magicians!" The order was quickly given out to every magical sniper posted across the entire length of the fortress wall.
Streaks of light began flying out from the top of the wall, making a beeline towards the forehead of every Dark Elf Magician.
The magic pistols these snipers were armed with were also forged by Ferde's Golden Rune Workshop. Each of them possessed Level-8 offensive power. Due to its anti-magic properties, the pistol was also known by another name: the Mage Killer!
The Dark Elf Magicians' numbers were now declining at an alarming rate with each shot from the snipers. The earthen golems' numbers were also whittled down as a result.
The golems were the Army of Destruction's principal force in their siege. Though they were not endowed with considerable offensive power, their bodies could still serve as ladders. As long as they were able to reach the base of the fortress, even if their magical integrity was dispelled, the remnants of their bodies would still pile up beneath the wall, facilitating the enemy Warriors' climb over it.
In the end, only one golem was able to reach the wall of Orida Fortress, at the cost of the lives of almost all the Dark Elf Magicians.
Eugene was stunned by this outcome. He had no idea laying siege to Orida Fortress would be this difficult!
Am I going to lose here? thought Eugene. He could see that the Dark Beastmen were now 500 feet away from Orida Fortress. They were also falling at an alarming rate under a shower of arrows unleashed from the top of the wall.
Even the high-ranking personnel of the Army of Destruction had realized that things were not looking too good for them.
Orida Fortress was evidently more formidable than it had ever been. They now feared that they had no chance of penetrating even its walls.
"What should we do, Your Highness?" whispered Molina.
Eugene was extremely conflicted about this. They would most likely lose if they pressed on with their siege. If they retreated now, everything they had worked for would have all been in vain.
None of her subordinates would know what it was like to make difficult decisions for an entire army!
Back when she was still a genius Dark Magician, Eugene was able to spend her days as free as a bird in the world. Thanks to the incredible power she wielded, she could do anything she wanted to. But now, her every action had actual consequences, influencing the fates of those beneath her.
Eugene's body trembled unconsciously. She was now at a loss for words.
Just then, startled exclamations rose up among the Warriors outside her tent.
"There's something in the sky!"
"It looks like a meteorite!"
Soon, Eugene sensed an all-encompassing magical pressure coming down from the sky. The magical power she felt was at least Level-14.
"I've never felt magical power like this before!" exclaimed Eugene. Both of them quickly rushed out of the tent to look at what was going on in the sky.
Eugene was overjoyed by what she saw.
There was a ball of bluish-white light in the air with a diameter of approximately 30 feet. The entire sky had been lit up by it as if it was now morning. The ball of light seemed to be falling straight towards Orida Fortress at an unimaginable speed!
It's a Level-14 Legendary spell, Doomsday Meteor. No one in Orida Fortress will be able to defend against such a powerful spell. They're done for!
She had no idea who was behind it, but this meteor was enough to turn the tables on Orida Fortress!
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