Volume I : The Flood
Chapter 18 – My Best Work[2801 words]
Maybe Golier was too excited. His voice had broken the restriction Crazy’Ole had made. The rest of the conversation was kept from Amon once again.
Crazy’Ole was still holding a goblet of wine. He lifted his hands and pressed them down, “I’m not asking you to believe, but when the day comes, I hope you remember what I’ve told you and be prepared……Ok, let’s talk about something else. For all these years, I’ve been living in Duc quietly and I’ve even helped you several times. Is that right?”
Golier bowed and said, “I was just a fifth-level mage when I first met you. You did not bring me any troubles, but instead have extended a helping hand to me several times, solving many troubles for me. You’ve guided me a lot in magic. Without you showing me the directions, I won’t become an eighth-level mage so easily. I always appreciate your help as a mage, that is without a doubt.”
Crazy’Ole showed his rare modesty and smiled, “You don’t need to thank me for your own feats. I did nothing but show you my own experience. You’ve allowed me to have access to many records and resources in the shrines, which I appreciate you for that too. So what do you think about the little favor I asked for?”
Golier sighed after a short silence, “There won’t be a problem. We know that the boy is innocent, everyone knows. Dusti is a clever man, he will understand. The commissioner will arrive in three days.”
Crazy’Ole stood up, “Let’s go for him then. I’ll be with you, so he won’t disobey you and tell the others about it. ”
Golier smiled, “I’ll make sure of that.”
When the two were about to leave, Crazy’Ole said again, “Golier, although you don’t let me talk about it any more, I have to say some last words. If one day it does come, I hope you can survive. Don’t sacrifice yourself for nothing and don’t give up to what you believe in. I know your achievement, you will become a ninth-level mage.”
Golier stopped a while at the door and asked, “Do you have anything else which you need me to do?”
“If Amon comes back one day, please comfort him and help him if you allow yourself to.”
Amon did not know how long he had waited at the corner. Suddenly, he saw the door open and two men walk out. The guest was an old man with a goatee. He couldn’t see him clearly in the dark, but the old man gave him a sharp glance. Amon drew back his foot and stayed in quiet.
Crazy’Ole and the goatee went to the mayor’s house, the villa where Maria had once lived. What are they doing with the mayor?
Amon watched the villa from afar. There was light in the windows, but its source didn’t seem to be candles. Not long after, Amon was shocked by what he saw: an eagle-like figure flew out from the window, soared into the sky and disappeared in the night! Amon thought it was a man, but it seemed to be the goatee, Golier.
“Who’s that guest, Crazy’Ole? How can he fly?!” asked Amon. Crazy’Ole had come back from the mayor’s villa now.
Crazy’Ole smiled, “That’s nothing, I can fly too. How I could watch so many battles without being involved otherwise? Though I find flying too tiring, and I prefer walking……An eighth-level sorcerer like me can fly without resort. Even the advanced sorcerers can fly with the help of some artifacts. ”
Amon kept his habit of sticking on one point, “You haven’t told me who your guest was.”
“Patience, my boy. You will know him one day. If you come across some trouble in Syah in the future, you may look for him……So, what are you coming for tonight? ”
“I’ve just passed the test, therefore I must be a second-level warrior in the common sense. But according to you, I should turn to practice magic. I’m still a first-level sorcerer, how should I practice magic now?”
Crazy’Ole said thoughtfully, “If my theory was true, you are not only a second-level warrior now, but also a second-level sorcerer. Let’s give it a try.”
“But you didn’t teach me any second-level magic.”
Crazy’Ole smiled again, “There’s no such thing as ‘second-level magic’. There’s only the primary magic, and I’ve taught you almost all of them. Anyone who can master one kind of magic in a synthetic way is a qualified first-level mage. You’ve largely surpassed it. If you can master different kinds of primary magic and combine them in a synthetic way, you’ll be qualified as a second-level mage in any shrine in this continent. Go and test yourself, bring your rod with you, as well as these three parangons as well.”
Crazy’Ole dragged the iron stick out of nowhere, then he grabbed three colored parangons from the thin air and put them on the table before Amon.
Crazy’Ole smiled to Amon who was still in shock, “The red one is called Pyrosprite, the black one is called Terroculus, and the white one is called Ventussalte. So along with the Aquaticore, you have all the four special kinds of parangons now. Don’t look at me like that. It’s easier than you think for a supreme sorcerer who mines for over a hundred years in Duc to have them all. Bring them with you and try practicing magic with them, explore your own composite magic.”
Crazy’Ole had his reasons. He had been a miner in Duc since his youth, and had stayed in Duc for so many years. As a supreme sorcerer, it was normal that he could gather these parangons. For people like him, parangons were not that important. It was by whom and how they were used that was important.
So Amon did not demur, but saved them carefully. Then he took the stick and watched it for a good while, but he found nothing changed except it looked more like a rod. Amon turned up his face to see Crazy’Ole looking at him with a half smile. He decided to use his newly-learned skill: He focused his mind and tried to feel the stick, like feeling the magic force. The stick reflected in his soul like in the water. He could feel that several positions of the stick were different from before.
He pinched and tweaked every “node” on the stick, and finally found four sockets hidden in the vein-like patterns. They required a huge force to open, Amon’s hands got sore after opening them up. Each socket could fit exactly one parangon.
Amon asked hesitantly, “Is it a wand…..a staff?”
Crazy’Ole nodded and took the stick, “Whether it be sorcerers or mages, they all use staffs. But a young primary sorcerer like you holding a staff will just reveal your identity, it’s just suicide. So I remade this stick to a staff.”
“The material of this stick has been changed. It can still be used as a weapon in physical combat. The sockets to contain the parangons took me a lot of work. I’ve even destroyed some ores containing parangons to get the proper material. It’s impossible for primary or advanced sorcerers to find out that it’s a staff. Even the ninth-level sorcerers cannot notice it if not scanning it carefully. So theoretically, no human can know that you have a staff if you don’t use it to cast magic.”
“There are five sockets on this stick. The four lateral ones can be used to socket any kind of parangon. You can fill them with four different special parangons to maximize its functions. The last socket is there on the top. Even if you know of its existence, you cannot open it unless you are at least an advanced warrior and an advanced mage at the same time. I failed to open it once I finished the device. Maybe only the deities can find it.”
“If possible, this last socket is for the Gods’ Tear. Once you put the God’s Tear in that socket, you cannot put random parangons in the other sockets. The only correct order is Aquaticore, Pyrosprite, Terroculus and Ventussalte from up to down. This structure is the same in nature as the Adoratrice’s scepter, just in a different look.”
“You already know that I’m a supreme sorcerer, but you may not know that I’m probably the best craftsman on this continent. And this stick should be the best work I’ve ever made.”
Crazy’Ole stroked the stick proudly as he said that. An ordinary mage’s eyes would’ve already popped out in front of this masterpiece. Maybe numbed by too many shocks in recent days, Amon was pretty calm facing the change in his stick. He just stood up and said, “Thank you, Crazy’Ole!”
Crazy’Ole shook his hands, “Maybe I should thank you more, for I have lured you into a path that could be the most difficult one in this world.”
“So? Do you think that I won’t accept it? Or should I be just a miner like my dad and spend my whole life in this small town, probably without a finger already?”
Crazy’Ole watched Amon as if he was studying an ore, “Amon, you are a boy that can keep secrets, just like this stick. You have been keeping a secret from me for a long time now. Ask me. I can read your eyes when you see these parangons.”
“Then, if you don’t mind, I’m asking now. That ore with the Gods’ Tear in it, my dad borrowed it from you. That’s why all these things have happened to me. You also said that ever since the moment I discovered the Gods’ Tear, many things were bound to happen. Are you doing this on purpose? You knew that the Gods’ Tear was in that ore!”
Amon finally had the chance to ask this long-buried question. Crazy’Ole flushed and lowered his eyes to the stick, “Of all the mages and sorcerers, I should be the one who knows the most about parangon mining. No one has been mining parangons for over a hundred years like I have. The parangon ore is an amazing thing. No one can be sure when an ore contains a parangon, let alone determine the type of the parangon.”
“Even after spending my whole life on it, I’ve still not completely figured it out. I just knew that that ore was different, different from any ore I’d ever seen. So, it probably contained the Gods’ Tear that I never extracted. So I lent it to your father, and you opened it. It was the Gods’ Tear! I was right.”
“So why didn’t you……”
“Why didn’t I just keep it? The Gods’ Tear is not that useful for me now. Bair has abducted the Adoratrice with the Gods’ Tear for me, so I just gave them another Gods’ Tear and another Adoratrice……Moreover, if you didn’t open it, I wouldn’t have been able to implement my plan. So, you’re right. I did it on purpose.”
Amon did not continue asking. He just said, “Oh, I see.”
Crazy’Ole pointed at the black parangon and said, “The special parangons have their own unique properties. For example, the Terroculi are the best auxiliary item for [earth magic]. They are very useful for some [strength magics] too. They are also the media used by message magic. I’ve recorded all my knowledge on magic in it using the same way [magic scrolls] are made. You can read it later. But some of my magic messages are special. You are only able to read the information it contains when you achieve a certain level in magic, and they will disappear after you read them. ”
He pointed at the white parangon, “The Ventussaltes are the best auxiliary items for [air magic] and [spatial magic]. But sometimes, they need to be processed. This one has been with me for years, and I’ve processed it into a magical artifact. It can carry a lot of things, but it’s empty now. If you become a sixth-level mage one day and learn to use the supreme spatial magic, then you can open it and use it.”
Amon interrupted, “Sixth-level? That’s an advanced mage. How can an advanced mage perform supreme spatial magic?”
Crazy’Ole smiled, “You don’t have to be a supreme mage to perform a supreme magic. In practice, many magic can be cast with the help of magic artifacts. The achievement of supreme mage means something else. In fact, apart from passing ‘Devil’s temptation’, the qualification of a sixth-level mage lies in the fact that he can cast different supreme magic with magic artifacts and at least one without any magic artifact. At least for now, this knowledge is too early for you. I’ve recorded it in the Terroculus, and you can read it when you are able to.”
Amon suddenly found that there was something wrong with Crazy’Ole. It seemed that he was urgently telling him everything. He asked, “What happened to you today? Am I leaving too soon?”
“My poor boy, you always exceed my expectations. You’re right. You’ll be sent into exile tomorrow morning, so this is your last night in Duc! There are some last matters that I’ll tell you tomorrow. Now, I just want to ask you: Have I ever called you my student? Have you ever called me your teacher?”
Amon realized that he had never called Nietzsche his teacher. He had always called him Crazy’Ole. It was not that Amon didn’t respect him, but that he had been calling him Crazy’Ole ever since he could speak. He stood up, kneeled down and kissed the soil in front of Crazy’Ole’s feet, “Nietzsche, my dear teacher, you’ve always been my teacher and I am always your student.”
Crazy’Ole didn’t stop Amon, he just laughed and said, “Amon, if one day you can discover the secret of the gods, or even become one of them, then this moment will become so memorable and ironic! I’ve already recorded it in the Terroculus too. Don’t call me teacher, my child. I did not teach you that much, and I don’t want you to be my student or another me. I just want you to fulfill my wish. But it seems that nobody can teach you that. I’m sorry that I’ve put such a burden on you.”
Amon replied respectfully, “I’ll never forget to fulfill your wish.”
Crazy’Ole heaved a helpless sigh, “To forget or not to forget, who knows? I recorded two messages in the Terroculus that will never disappear. One of them is about Maria. Do you want to see it?”
“Maria?” Amon’s curiosity was triggered, “I want to see it!”
“You don’t know message magic. Let me show you.”
Amon could see the black parangon becoming transparent and colorless, its edges and vertices glowing, forming a shining dodecahedral light ball. The light ball expanded in the air and a solid scene appeared inside it. It was a line of wedge writings carved into the wall —”Amon: my name is Icho.”
Crazy’Ole smiled and explained to the perplexed Amon, “Maria has written this in her room. She wanted to tell you her name but she couldn’t, so she carved it into a corner of her room. But she eventually erased it. Tell me Amon, has she forgotten you or not? Maybe even the gods can’t know!”
Night passed and morning came. At breakfast, the bell in the shrine of Mourrin rang again. When the Ducians hurried to the square, they found that Dusti rang the bell himself this time. The Lord Mayor’s expression was solemn.
When most of the Ducians had gathered, Mayor Dusti opened a scroll and read loudly, “I, Mayor of Duc, here announce the irreversible decree jointly issued by the Empire of Ejypt and the Kingdom of Hittite. Every district in the State of Syah should send warriors to help pursue and eliminate the evil sorcerer Bair, who appeared last in the jungle between the Euphrate River and the town Duc. ”
Dusti closed the scroll and said after a pause, “Bair is an evil sorcerer. The one who pursues him must be a brave man. The sorcerer escaped from the Isis Shrine in Ejypt and went into the jungle to the west of the Euphrate River. Only the one who has received the blessing from Isis and Mourrin can find and eliminate him. Now, we finally have such a brave. I have decided to send him to implement the mission.”
Shog was out of town, so only he could read besides Crazy’Ole and Amon. No one noticed that the scroll was very old. So old, in fact, it was a decree issued thirty years ago.