Volume I : The Flood
Chapter 28 – Nietzsche’s Death – Part 1
Behind Golier was his student Warret and his youngest apprentice Raphael. The two young men didn’t hear their teacher’s muttering, but they could tell that he was not in a good mood. It seemed that Duc was going to be destroyed by the flood. They chose to stand aside silently.
Golier stayed the whole day gazing at the direction of Duc on the ramparts, refusing to take a rest. The following noon, Governor Schmul came to him for the third time, not to persuade him to take a rest, but report an emergency —
“I’ve ordered the garrisons on the courier route to Duc to retreat. Two stations managed to go back, but the flood went so fast that the nearest station to Duc was already surrounded by water. We can’t contact them. You’ve sent Priest Cosman to fly there to pick them up and to check the situation in Duc. But Cosman turned back halfway. He said that he couldn’t reach them.”
Raphael frowned, “How can he turn back like this? Is it responsible to leave our soldiers there and do nothing?”
Golier finally spoke after a mute day. He sighed, “Don’t blame Cosman. The clouds were low and there was the lightning. Anything flying risks being lightning’s target. It’s a fatal danger. I sent him to save people, not to suicide. It was not his fault not getting them back.”
The thunder in the far sky roared louder. Thick, dark clouds paved from the Syah Plateau in all directions, all the way to Syah City. Raindrops fell on the ramparts, from dots to lines. Schmul asked nervously, “What if the rain continues? One third of our territory is already flooded. The flood may surge over the Charcoal Forest and come to us. What should we do, my dear master?”
Golier turned around to him, “As the governor of Syah, you must do everything possible to help the displaced. There will soon be many more of them arriving at the city……Warret, go to the shrine and bring me two air magic scrolls, and also the [Navisapphire].”
“The Navisapphire? Do you mean that item with an Aquaticore inlaid and that consumes four parangons every use?”
“That’s it. It is in my private vault at the back of the shrine. Bring it quickly. I’m going out.”
“My dear master!” Schmul was surprised, he tried to say something, “Are you taking the risk yourself? The city needs you!”
Warret added, “My dear teacher, please let me go instead.”
“Now that flying is impossible, I’m going by boat. I’m the only one here able to use the Navisapphire. I am going to find out news about an important friend of mine, and get the soldiers in the station. This is an order. Don’t try to change my mind.”
The Navisapphire was a shuttle-like magic artifact. Silver colored, it was over a foot long and more than two inches wide. An Aquaticore was inlaid at the front, and there were two sockets for parangons at each side. Warret brought it to him with the sockets charged.
Warret knew that it belonged to Golier’s private collection, meaning it was extremely precious. But no one knew that it was a gift from Nietzsche twenty years ago, who was one of the best artificers on this continent.
Even a supreme mage didn’t dare to fly with thunder and lightning. Golier used an air magic scroll to float over the water, crossing the grotesque shrubs in the Charcoal Forest.
By principle, scrolls were not something that could save the user’s magic power, but they did store the magic power in a specific way such that the user could activate it when needed. The scrolls were hieroglyphs written in a particular way. Producing a scroll of a certain kind of magic cost much more magic power than performing one in real time, with an expectable possibility to fail. Hence scrolls of supreme magic were one of the most precious magic items in the continent. Only a great mage like Golier could spend two scrolls like two gold parans.
The water was torrential with vortices and hard turbulence everywhere, flowing fast towards Syah City from the Charcoal Forest. Only the huge grotesque black rocks still exposed their tops in the current, acting as dangerous reefs. The water became broader when he came closer to Duc, with less visible reefs and shrubs. The water became even deeper and more rapid-flowing.
Golier went against the current. With a huge water surface, he couldn’t hide among the rocks but became the tallest target. The lightning from the low clouds struck towards him several times but were drawn away by the protecting magic on his upraised staff. Only a supreme mage could advance this way.
As he flew through the path of the courier route, the torrents became faster, the vortices became larger, and the lightning became denser. Though he could no longer see the route, he could still tell the direction. He finally reached the nearest station which was ten miles from Duc and was already submerged by water.
In the wild rainstorm, in thunder and lightning, Golier tried to extend his consciousness using Detection Eyes. He sensed someone weakly calling for help. A small team of the garrison had survived, climbing up to the highest rock nearby. But now the water was about to flow over the rock. Grabbing some branches, the twelve soldiers were shouting for help with hoarse voices. If Golier had come here a minute later, he would have only been able to see their bodies bobbing in the water.
Golier floated to the rock, took out the Navisapphire and threw it towards the water. The artifact dove into the water and an invisible boat floated up, displacing the water. The torrents and rain hit a transparent shell and was forced aside. Lightning whipped on its dome and was split asunder, sketching the outline of this extraordinary vessel — a huge, long and narrow date nut, able to contain dozens of people.
Golier waved his staff and a blue flash went through its bulk, highlighting the whole vehicle. He shouted to the drowning soldiers, “Get on the boat! Don’t rush! Do you still have a leader?……Tell your men to sit close together in the boat and not to move……It’s a magic artifact. Jump on!”
Helped by the leader, the exhausted soldiers struggled to jump onto the vessel. It was as if they were standing right on the water, but there was no rocking. The vessel was stable. Following the orders of their leader, the twelve shivering people sat quietly in two rows.
Golier gave the leader an appreciative look and stood at the head of the boat. Pointing his staff ahead, the boat didn’t turn around to Syah City, but went towards Duc, riding the waves. The leader was perplexed, but he dared not to ask. So he just gestured to the other soldiers to take a rest and stay silent.
The torrents were fierce enough to shake the boat when they were three miles away from Duc. The Aquaticore was shining at the nose of the boat. Four clusters of white light appeared at both sides. The dense lightning was stabbing at the vessel from the sky, silver threads were dancing around, but the people inside were well protected by the artifact.
The town of Duc was gone. All they could see was muddy and turbulent water. Even the dome of the shrine was below the torrents, if not already washed away. The flood surged from the Syah Plateau to Duc and the Charcoal Forest, then rushed southwards to the desert. Inky clouds with heavy rainstorms had turned Duc into a world of death .
Even a supreme mage couldn’t fly in such a tempest. Even the strongest warrior couldn’t swim in such torrents. There seemed to be no survivors! But Golier still stopped the Navisapphire at a distance and watched — he didn’t believe that Nietzsche would simply be swallowed by the flood.
If Golier could make it here, Nietzsche must have had his own way to escape the flood. Had he already gone? Or was he still here? Golier had a strong feeling that Nietzsche was still somewhere in Duc.
Before he could do anything to confirm his feeling, a series of loud thunder arose from the sky. Clusters of lightning dropped and smashed the water, bursting out a spiraling spray of light. Golier suddenly sensed a powerful magic wave emanating from beneath the water. A roar exploded from far away, “God! You finally come to this world! I’ve been waiting too long!”
A figure broke from the water and flew up to the sky. Huge waves were whirling around him like shining wings. He projected himself straight up to the darkest clouds with the densest lightning, leaving a cyclone behind.
It was Crazy’Ole Nietzsche. He didn’t die, nor had he left. He managed to stay under the water and appeared when Goliar arrived. The soldiers in Navisapphire couldn’t help to cry, then they saw the boat covered by a curtain of blue light, blocking them from outside. Golier performed a magic to cut them from seeing or hearing anything that was going to happen.
Golier himself could still observe Crazy’Ole clearly by using Detection Eyes. Nietzsche’s hair and beard was flowing in the air. Golden light beamed out from his staff and shot towards the sky like javelins. Eyes widened with anger, he shouted in his loudest voice, “Come out, Enlil! Show me your true face!”