Volume I : The Flood
Chapter 12 – Secret of the Gods – Part 2
The message itself was not told by the cat. The magic Bair was best at was the [message magic]. He sealed a message in that cat. It disappeared after Crazy’Ole had read it using the corresponding magic.
The last message from Bair was —
My dear teacher,
Please forgive me for not having contacted you for such a long time. I have spent every last second trying to solve the problem you gave me. Your guesses are likely to be true. Mortals can become gods, and the secret lies in the practice of magic and body arts. The achievement beyond the ninth level in either path will make one a god. However, if one sticks to only one path, the difficulty will be unparalleled. The final step will be so hard that any breakthrough before appears to be trivial. I have come to this conclusion after going through the countless records about almost every supreme mage and warrior in history.
Nevertheless, practicing magic and body arts at the same pace is also impossible, at least in the records which I had access to. The sole exception is the technique of Duc you have taught me on the first day, which appears to be primitive and trivial in front of any magic or martial skill. It is indeed perplexing that you, a master of the technique, could not make progress in body arts after achieving so far in the other field. This should not simply be attributed to your age or your physical condition.
In my recent research, I may have found out a secret, that the learning of body arts is just like that of magic. It needs the practitioner to pass various tests. They are never specially mentioned. The warriors who ascend to the next level actually have passed the test. But it seems that no one has ever made an explicit summary of it. If the path of body arts is left by the gods, then they must have intentionally omitted a part of it.
There are many more body arts practitioners than that of magic. Many of them don’t know that they have passed the tests, but believe that it is assiduity, perseverance and luck that have helped them surmount those barriers. They are not totally wrong. But I have yet to figure out the key behind it. Luck is nothing but a series of unexplained rules.
I have studied the experiences of thousands of warriors, from advanced to primary. I have correlated some regularities, which are probably the part omitted in all existing instructions.
Moreover, if magic and body arts are two parts of one path, then there is probably a special order when putting them together, like the tones in a melody. Otherwise one cannot learn the both of them to the highest level, but have to abandon one to give way to the other.
If one has unfortunately embarked on a wrong path from the beginning, then the only way to correct it would be to give it all up and start again. I have no idea how that’s possible. Further, it is too hard for most of us to even make that choice. After all, these are just my conjectures. Even if they are the true secret behind the gods’ divinity, the overwhelming majority of us can still only sigh in desperation. Because this path could be even harder than that of magic and body arts, and we know that ninth-level mages and warriors are already rare enough.
I am still evolving my theory and have yet to reach a definite conclusion. I took the Adoratrice and the Gods’ Tear with me, which may help me solve the final secret. As the price, I have been followed by a large group of people. Since I cannot reach you anytime soon, I send you the above message.
Crazy’Ole’s story had finally reached an end. He sat down and drank his wine silently. Amon did not break the silence. Though he had a mountain of questions, he did not know where to start asking. The topic was way out of his range of knowledge, even beyond his imagination.
They started the chat at noon, and now the sun was about to set. It was time Amon went home and cooked dinner. Crazy’Ole had finished his jar, but his eyes were still limpid. There was just a trace of tiredness in them. He put down the goblet and said, “Amon, I’ve been watching you and training you since you were a baby. Your potential and talent are even much better than Bair’s.”
“Oh.” Amon did not really answer. He guessed that Crazy’Ole was planning something for him. His guess was confirmed in a few seconds. Crazy’Ole continued, “I was planning to make you into an excellent sorcerer, but every time I think of the message from Bair, I feel that I should be more cautious. The first step is always the most important one.”
Crazy’Ole looked at him and smiled sneakily, “You. Of course. Otherwise I wouldn’t have taught you so much. You know the two common writings in the continent. I’ve taught you to extract the parangons in another way so your body and mind have both got the best training without learning any magic or body arts. All I am waiting for was today.”
“What about today?”
Crazy’Ole turned the subject away, “Amon. If you are going to be a sorcerer, you should understand from Bair’s and my experience that in order to keep yourself safe, you have to hide till the day you become a great sorcerer. So being a warrior can be your best cover if you learn both of them at the same time……Don’t you want it, my child?…… Please don’t refuse me. Even as a thank you for my help all these years, you should not. ”
Amon rubbed his head and replied, “I won’t refuse you. Why should I? I’m just a miner’s son. I’ll do it even if I am not going to thank you. You will not do harm to me.”
Crazy’Ole smiled bitterly, “Do harm to you? Maybe! But I often think about Bair. If what I have done to him can be counted as harm, he must have been willing to accept it…….I have only one hope for you as well: please solve the secret of the gods for me.”
“You are talking too far now. How can I compare to Bair? I can’t even imagine that.”
Crazy’Ole shook his head, “You never know before you try. You may fail after trying. But if you don’t dare to take the first step, then you will only live an ignorant and precarious life. Try your best and you won’t regret. ”
“So what should I do now?”
Crazy’Ole nodded with satisfaction, “You are indeed not an ordinary child. You are shocked and perplexed after hearing so many things from me, yet you are still calm and lucid……To tell you the truth, I have no idea about Bair’s final conclusions. But I am already pretty sure of one thing.”
“The first step.”
“To awaken the two powers at the same time? You know how to do that?”
Crazy’Ole smiled, “You are smarter than I thought to come to this conclusion right after hearing my story. But you erred slightly. Not two powers. Just one. There is always only one power. The magic and the body arts are just its two manifestations, like the two sides of a coin. I have been thinking about my whole life’s experience and traced it to the very beginning. Eventually, the technique of Duc inspired me.”
“Gabriel asked you if you have learned any body arts. You haven’t. You just have a great body, with a little skill having some elements of magic. Now I will give you a test to see if you can awaken the power. Beware that since the power has two sides, the desire you awaken will have two sides too. So you are passing two tests at the same time, including the first test for the body arts learners, which is neglected all the time.”
“How are you going to test me then?”
Crazy’Ole’s eyes glistened, “You are going to the cold spring tonight and do one thing for me. Come back and tell me if you make it.”
[List of Deities]
Marduc: Patron and Major God of Bablon. According to the legends, he belonged to the same family of Enlil. His father was Ea. Ea and Enlil were both sons of Anu.