Volume I : The Flood
Chapter 26 – A Bone – Part 2
Schrodinger unwillingly put down the bone, and ran down the cliff again. A short while after, it bounced on the cliff and spat out the Terroculus. Amon quickly pick it up and put it carefully into his bag in the chest, “Let’s go, Schrodinger!”
He could still hear the king growling in the woods below, along with shrubs or small trees being cracked down or swept away. It sounded that the beast was enraged. Amon turned back and left the top of the cliff. Schrodinger still picked up the bone before jumping back to Amon’s bag.
In a small path in the thick forest in the mountains covered by clouds, pale-faced, Lynk was arguing anxiously and fiercely with Metatro, “That beast was so damn strong! Chasing us all the way here. Thank goodness it ran slower on the steep roads. Now that it’s out of its territory, it should have gone back……Lord Amon was still there. What should we do? Should I get my men together to get him back?”
“You can get together your men, in time? And are you sure your men can survive that sweeping tail? We have drawn away the king. Amon could deal with the four big ones and get himself away. He is more powerful than we are.”
“You are right. Lord Amon has no problem dealing with those beasts. But I’m afraid that he might encounter the king on his way back. ”
Metatro spat at him, “You think Amon is as stupid as you are? That beast ran growling all its way. Even a deaf can hear it from distance and get out of its way.”
“Why do you say I’m stupid?” Lynk was ill-affected.
Metatro grabbed his deerskin col fiercely, “Come on, you stupid ass! Who was telling me that the king was as strong as the four big ones added up? We together cannot even bear one strike from it! If it wasn’t Amon, we would’ve been two dead bodies in that pool now!”
Lynk’s back touched a rock beside the path, “Easy, easy! I’m injured!……I was told by an old man in my tribe. I didn’t know that the king was so strong either!”
“Old man? How old is he? He’s fought with the king before? That’s bullshit, and you stupid ass bought it. It almost cost our lives! I’m gonna ask this man myself. Let’s hear what he will say!”
Lynk’s face screwed up, “That’s not possible. That man died last year… Let’s stop talking about this. Amon was still there. Should we go back and help him? I feel that we lost because we didn’t know well about that beast. Actually, you can hold it for a while with your sword.”
“If you’re prepared and in good condition, you can defend it for a while. But after that you still have to run, fast, otherwise you’ll be killed!……Where did you get all that information about the king?” Amon’s voice suddenly arose from behind the rock. He turned around the rock and came in front of the two.
“You are back! I knew that you’ll be fine!” The two cried in surprise. Lynk added, “My dear emissary, oh no, God Amon! I‘ve just explained. The man who told me about the king Ironback died last year!”
The expedition to the pool was supposed to be a muscle-flexing, but turned out to be a fiasco. Lynk broke an arm. Fortunately Metatro knew some treatment and fixed it with some twigs and boards. The rest was long resting.
After returning to the tribe, Lynk fell sick. He was groaning and moaning all day, whining not only about his broken arm, but everywhere in his body. Amon had just started to learn primary curing magic, so he was helping curing Lynk as a practice. After several days, he found Lynk’s symptoms unusual. The curing magic could only relieve his pain but was not able to heal it. Lynk was suffering pain from different parts every day, as if being cursed. This reminded Amon of his experience in Duc. There was a period when he suffered from pain like this too. Even Crazy’Ole could not heal him.
It was not an injured or a disease. Lynk was facing his second test after awakening the power of two sides. He was about to ascend to the second level. It had came fast because Lynk was playing with first-level-like earth magic since childhood. He had a good basis in magic.
But Lynk was not as prepared as Amon in another aspect: he was not as strong as Amon. Amon was strong not only because of the training for the technique of Duc, but also because of the cold spring. The cavemen lived in a very bad condition. Most of them had had many wounds. Some recovered well, some recovered badly with hidden damage left, breaking out during the test. Fortunately, being the son of the former headman, Lynk was less wounded than his tribe fellows, otherwise he could hardly pass the test.
Knowing the reason, Amon told Lynk about the test to the next level and how to overcome it with a firm will. The training of body arts must go on.
Lynk was worried before Amon told him about this. He was thinking if the kin Ironback’s tail was poisonous or carried some curse. Amon’s explanation set his mind to peace. Though he was still groaning all day, Lynk kept practicing the body arts. He even often asked Metatro for advice.
Metatro was not comfortable these days either. He caught a cold and fell sick, feeling uncomfortable all over the body and lacking energy. He became the completely opposite of what he used to be before the pool expedition. Amon was asked for help. He examined Metatron for a good while and formed the same conjecture: Metatro was facing the second test as well.
Metatro was a fourth-level warrior, he had passed this test once without noticing it. After awakening the power of two sides, he had to face the test again. But the test was much easier for him than for Lynk, with just a small while of discomfort. Amon told the same explanation to Metatron, encouraging him that he would be a second-level mage after the test. Metatro was very happy.
It was a surprise to Amon that the second test came so fast for the two. But he managed to have an explanation for it: They had been practicing uncomplete magic and normal body arts for years. It was not hard for them to accumulate to the top of the first level once awakened the power of two sides.
Seeing the two “students” achieving the same level as himself, Amon the “teacher” was frustrated too. The disaster that Crazy’Ole had told him did not appear. He could not read the message in the Terroculus. He had achieved the peak of the second-level magic and body arts, but the third test: “faith’s confirmation” was still not coming.
What if Crazy’Ole was wrong? Amon was not sure anymore. He could no longer enter the serene state when meditating. Neither his magic power not his strength was increasing. It seemed that he was completely stuck.
Schrodinger, on the contrary, was quite happy these days. In daytime, it was always
wandering in the tribe. People respected it, regarding it as god’s attendant. This gluttonous lazy fat cat now was having its days. Even its fur became clean and sleek.
Schrodinger had a trophy from the expedition: the “bone” from the cave. It put it in its hay shelter, pressing it with paw even in sleeping. Amon had taken a look at it. It was an ashy, curved rod, round in one point and sharp in the other, reminding him the boats carved on the walls in the shrine.
Unconsciously, Amon rubbed his ribs: It’s a rib! But its texture was not like a bone at all. It was as light as a plume, but much harder than refined iron. Even Amon’s dagger couldn’t leave a mark on it. It looked like a polished piece of marble. A normal bone should have rotted over time.
Amon had no idea what it was. It was Schrodinger’s trophy so let it keep it. He would have spent more time and energy studying it before, but he was in the blues these days, absent-minded all the time, easily irritated and hard to focus on anything. Even a bird flying by would drag various things into his mind, bringing his thoughts to nowhere.
He couldn’t meditate in this state. Would it be that the failure from the king Ironback blew away his confidence? One night, Amon was trying to meditate in his house, but failed again. All kinds of thoughts swarming into his mind, he couldn’t help thinking about the life in Duc.
How was his father? Was he still drinking a lot? What was the disaster that Crazy’Ole was talking about? What would the town be in this disaster? He could of course not get any peace like this and enter deep meditation. Realizing this, Amon sighed when he heard Schrodinger gave a sigh as the same time, lying in the hay.
Schrodinger’s sigh reminded Amon of something. An instant idea marked in his head, “I’m so stupid! This is the test! The peace of soul only comes when the faith is confirmed! The faith in myself!”