Volume I : The Flood
Chapter 22 – A Contribution to the Kingdom – Part 1
Everyone stared at Dusti, Shog interrupted with discontentment, “You were just setting him free before Lord Deere!”
Before Dusti could react, Golier suddenly asked Schmul, “Esteemed governor, this decree is still valid, isn’t it? No one should be blamed for executing a decree, and no clerk should accuse his senior officer like this! ”
As a cunning bureaucrat, Schmul immediately grasped Golier’s intentions. Being the governor of Syah, Schmul would rather displease Misel Deere ten times than Golier once. Actually, his official rank was higher than Deere, what he cared about was his identity of commissioner. This pompous Deere had been a real eyesore for Schmul since his arrival in Syah. So Schmul pushed the boat with the current, “Of course. The decree is totally valid. There is no question on whether Mayor Dusti should execute it. I merely asked the question out of surprise.”
Dusti bowed and explained, “In fact, I was looking for an excuse to punish Amon. Not long ago, I heard from the merchants from Ejypt that the new Adoratrice of Isis had appeared in Memfis. Her name is Maria, and she obtained a Gods’ Tear in Duc from a miner. I recalled that, near three months ago, Rod Drick, the governor of Cape did indeed visit here with a girl called Maria. I just thought he had come for personal business. It’s an unfortunate oversight that I failed to find out his agenda. ”
“Shog, my clerk and the executive priest of the Horus and Mourrin Shrine, was here as well. He wasn’t aware of it either. So there was no record of the discovery of such a rarity. My investigation showed that Amon was the one who has extracted the parangon and paid it as tribute to Isis in his own name. It was taken by Judah Fayol, Rod Drick’s clerk.”
“Intolerable as that is, I thought that we cannot blame Ejypt for this. In order to prevent similar crimes and warn the others, I needed to punish Amon. So I reminded myself of this old decree issued thirty years ago. I sent him to chase a supreme sorcerer in the deep mountains. He was not allowed to return before he captured the sorcerer.”
“As such, he was exiled. He can’t come back alive! I, as the mayor of the town, cannot execute a freeman. But I need to contribute to my country. So I came up with this solution after several nights of thought. I was relieved yet regretted when I heard that Lord Deere was coming here to execute Amon. I felt relieved since the Kingdom had made the right decision, but I also regretted that Lord Deere had come too late.”
Dusti finished his explanation. Shog was too scared to say anything now, and the other also detected a hint and decided not to give the first opinion. Golier nodded, “So that’s what happened. You are a true patriot, my mayor. You have your credit. Esteemed governor and Mister Deere, we should be happy to have such a competent official, shouldn’t we?”
Schmul, Cosman and Morton concerted, “Of course! Mayor Dusti is loyal and competent!”
Misel Deere was shocked. He came here to behead a man. Now that the man had already left, what could he do with his mission? He waved his hand, “Don’t praise this mayor, Golier. How am I supposed to fulfill my mission?”
Golier humphed and the goblet before Misel suddenly shattered, the crimson wine splashing on his clothes. Misel Deere jumped out in fright. Golier said coldly, “How dare you directly call my name!”
Misel completely woke up from his rosy fantasy created by too much flattering from the local officials all these days. He was just a bureaucrat and Golier was an eight-level supreme mage, a member of Hittite Kingdom’s magic senate. How dared he order a supreme being like that? If Golier decided to make a big scene from this and accused him of blasphemy through the senate, he could lose his noble title!
Golier wouldn’t entertain such a boring scheme against him, but Misel was deeply frightened by his own thoughts and bowed lowly, “Esteemed supreme mage, I am so sorry for my rudeness! Please forgive me! I’ve made a terrible mistake! I was just anxious about failing my mission… ”
Golier did not ask him to sit down, instead saying quietly, “You can still fulfill your mission. Governor Schmul can give you a troop to escort you into the deep mountains. When you find this man and have him beheaded, you can bring his head back to the capital to show that you’ve accomplished your task. I will stand as your witness and convey your decision to the Senate. They will inform your colleagues and family.”
Schmul and the others tried hard to hide their pleasure. In the last few days, due to Misel Deere’s identity, they failed to manifest their detestation of this wretched man who was intoxicated by others’ respect and compliments. Now that he offended Golier, a supreme mage who didn’t need to suck up to a commissioner like him at all, he was certainly going to suffer a lot. Even the Speaker of Senate wouldn’t defend him.
Misel Deere really wanted to cry now, he kneeled in front of Golier, “Dearest supreme mage, what else can I do?”
Golier suddenly smiled and held him at a distance, “You have other choices too. You can order Governor Schmul to send his men and bring Amon to you in Syah. But I have to tell you that Amon may have well been swallowed by beasts and you might never find him. Or you can just report what happened and praise Mayor Dusti for his contribution to the Kingdom. ”
“Amon has been punished. He’s just a miner. The ministry sent you to give a warning to the others. Now, the warning was already given and your mission is complete. With me as your witness, there won’t be any problem. You must have been too diligent in the ministry, so they sent you out for a tour. You should have been enjoying your mission these past few days, haven’t you, Mister Deere?”
Misel Deere flushed. He didn’t know whether he should say “yes” or “no”. He mumbled, “Thank you for your kindness, esteemed supreme mage. Thank you all. Let’s do that.”
Elsewhere, Amon was climbing along the path. He felt that he wasn’t climbing a mountain but rather entering a plateau. Indeed, the path did not go straight upwards but wound its way through many flat green lands. The forests were flourishing and animals were everywhere. It was a perfect place for hunting and fruit-gathering. The cavemen picked a good place.
Even still, he kept his stick in hand. He kept vigilant all day, finding no caveman but several squirrels and goats. The squirrels were quite hospitable, staring curiously at the new guests from afar on the high branches, but sliding into the leaves when they approached. The goats are much shyer, running away quickly when they were still far. They were very agile, able to leap onto the steep cliffs.
The footprints disappeared and reappeared. The climate in the mountains was complex, a small hill could be the division of rain and clearness. Sometimes the land was too dry to leave a footprint, which sometimes made the path itself disappear.
When the sky went dark, Amon left the path and found a little cave in a wall of rock against an small open field. This was the best type of terrain for night. He lit up the bonfire and made Schrodinger a nice dinner, then dug in himself. There was not much beef jerky left in his bag, so after two or three days, he would have to hunt their dinners.
When he prepared his dinner, he realized that according to Crazy’Ole, he was a qualified second-level sorcerer, now that he could skillfully use the primary air and water magic in a mix. He wanted to check if Crazy’Ole had left some message for him in the Terroculus.
When darkness pervaded his surroundings, Amon relaxed his limbs in the field. He did not have a routine, but acted according to his will. It was a habit from the cold spring. The warm current flew to the whole body following his actions, relaxing his muscles and relieving fatigue from the day’s travel. Now, even without the cold spring, he still created a warm current when acting this way, making him feel good.
After the gymnastics, Amon planted the staff in front of him and sat on the hay to meditate, trying to exercise the magic power inside his body and communicate with the omnipresent force with a focused mind. Different mages might have different specialties, but every mage knew how to focus his mind and look within. The further the mage went on his path, the deeper he could explore through meditation.
Amon did not know how to use message magic. It was an advanced magic, much like the detecting magic. A mage who could use an advanced magic in a synthetic way would be qualified as a third-level mage. But Crazy’Ole had sealed a message into the Terroculus with message magic, Amon would “see” the contents when he achieved the corresponding levels.
Amon tried to contact the Terroculus while meditating. As expected, a message entered his mind. It was like a written letter, and but yet read out loud at the same time.
The message was —