Volume I : The Flood
Chapter 28 – Nietzsche’s Death – Part 2
He’s seeking death! Golier was shocked by Nietzsche’s roar, it was as if his heart was squeezed by an invisible hand. Golier was the chief priest of the Enlil Shrine, the shrine of the major god worshipped by the people in Hittite and Assyr. Golier was also one of Enlil’s deepest believers. But Nietzsche was implying that it was Enlil who had caused this disaster, and that he was right above the clouds now!
Golier could neither believe what he heard nor what he saw. When Crazy’Ole flew to the sky, countless bolts of lightning were attracted and struck towards him, but he was shielded by a net of golden light woven by shining ribbons projected out from his staff.
Nietzsche was already over one-hundred-and-fifty years old. He had been practicing magic for over a hundred and twenty years. Though he couldn’t ascend to the ninth level, his magic power and skills were remarkable. And now he was expending it desperately. The tempest and the lightning bolts couldn’t leave a scratch on him. But when he entered the clouds, he faced an ocean of lightning.
Golier suddenly widened his eyes. He found something incredible: the wildest gale and lightning in the thick clouds all started to avoid Nietzsche, as if they were controlled by a greater power.
Nietzsche flew higher towards the Syah Plateau, waving his staff, giving out numerous light ribbons, tearing the clouds apart like the wildest vines. It seemed that he was trying to poke a hole in the dark sky, to break through the clouds and drag out the god above them!
“Enlil! You filthy wuss! Why don’t you dare to confront a man? Are you scared? The clouds are shivering! Are you trembling before me?!” Nietzsche cursed furiously, after searching for a long time futilely with the light ribbons.
Golier shivered. He could hardly hold his staff straight. He had never heard of anyone scolding a god like this. But Nietzsche didn’t mind. He was seeking death, but instead of suiciding, he was demanding that the god above the clouds to end his life.
A solemn voice finally came from on high, “How dare you, old madman, challenge me! You think I daren’t kill you? Mortal, you don’t know the gods’ secret!”
Subconsciously, Golier wanted to kneel to this voice, which created an inexplicable pressure on his spirit. Although he had never heard this voice before, he knew from the first moment that it was Enlil, the god he had been worshipping throughout his life. It was a feeling he failed to describe.
Crazy’Ole, on the contrary, laughed out loud, “Enlil! The great god worshipped by so many people! You respond to my curses, finally!… Come and let me see if I can hurt you! Don’t you cringe away from a mortal!”
Shouting with laughter, Crazy’Ole dashed towards the place where the voice came from, throwing out his staff to send out his strongest strike. The staff blasted into a ball of dazzling golden light, nearly blew away all the clouds in the sky above Duc. In the flash, he caught sight of a vague and indistinct figure standing above the clouds, a god!
Launching the strongest blow of his life, destroying his own staff, Nietzsche finally saw the god. He didn’t even care if he could keep his body floating. Golier also saw the vague figure for an instant. The next moment, the ocean of lightning closed up with deafening clap of thunder. Golier could hear and see nothing. Swallowed by the lightning sea, Nietzsche turned into a torch. For an instant, he was as bright as the sun, then dissipated into ash.
The sky soon turned dark again, the clouds merged. The flood and rainstorm continued. The Navisapphire suddenly shook terribly. Golier lost control of his power in the great shock. Fortunately, he remembered where he was in the next second, waved his staff, and took back control of the boat.
“My dear god Enlil. I’ve spent my life holding onto my belief in you. But the first time I saw you, it was in such a situation! …… Was it really you who has brought this disaster upon us? Are you out of your mind? …… Nietzsche! You just died like this? Nobody can save you from the god’s rage.” Golier sighed in his heart, turned the boat around and went back to Syah City.
Throwing one last glance at the endless water over the place where Duc used to be, he saw the most incredible scene in his life: a large cloud of shining crystals flew up from the bottom of the water. They were parangons. Not the ones in ores, but those already extracted by the Ducians. Some were the tax stored in the shrines, while others were the personal property of families. All the parangons in Duc were assimilated into the sky by a formidable force.
The gods high in the sky needed parangons too? Wealth shouldn’t mean anything to them. But Golier knew perfectly well that the parangons were not only currency but also used as a medium for magic power. A strong magic could even destroy the parangons that were used to perform it. Was the god using them as replenishment for the magic power he had lost?
Golier kept at the highest level of alert all the way back to Syah City when navigating in the flood. The turbulence was far from being able to stop the Navisapphire, but he still gathered all his magic power together in reserve, as if he was about to fight against something more dangerous than the flood.
The Navisapphire smoothly covered the seventy miles between Duc and Syah City, which had now became an isolated island in the flood, merely protected by its high ramparts. The flood came from the east, inundating the fields and villages, reaching the root of the walls. The four gates were sealed, with huge bags of soil and sand piling up behind.
Golier lifted the staff, the boat floated from the water and flew up to the ramparts. The Navisapphire came back to his hand after the soldiers disembarked. The huge boat returned to one-foot-long. The Aquaticore was intact, but the four standard parangons on both sides were cracked, turning to dust when pulled out.
Schmul had been waiting anxiously in the eastern tower. He rushed down to Golier, “My dear master, you finally come back! You’ve been out for less than one day, yet the flood has devoured half of the countryside. Our city is also surrounded by water now…And the water level is rising all the time!”
Schmul spoke as if he was about to cry. If Golier hadn’t gone back in time, he might have already jumped off the tower. Golier didn’t have time to talk much, he straightly ordered, “Gather all the mages in the city!”
“All the mages?” answered Warret, “They were praying to Father Enlil with the citizens in the shrine.”
Golier couldn’t explain too much to him, he just continued ordering, “No time for praying. Get them here as soon as possible. We’re going to make a huge formation. Governor Schmul, bring me all the parangons in the shrine, and those in the State Treasury. Place them on the ramparts. Warret, establish a formation along the ramparts. Just the simplest one, the [Defense]. Just use all the parangons you can get. I need them in place so I can activate them at any time.”
Schmul couldn’t believe what he had heard, “All the parangons in Syah City?”
Warret was surprised too, “Even if we could build up the Defense around the whole ramparts, we won’t be able to activate it! Nor can we retreat from the flood with it!”
“I don’t need you to run it at full power, just a small part of it… Tell all the mages to save their power, just ensure all the parangons are activated and are involved into the formation… Do it now! It’s an order! Get Cosman to host it.”
At the same moment, Raphael ran up to the ramparts, panting, “My dear teacher, Cosman’s gone. He took his family with him, using his supreme flying scroll and a flying artifact. He left a message saying that he had to go back to the capital to report the situation to the king and ask for rescue.”
Schmul stamped angrily, “That’s up to me to decide! How can he leave without my permission! He fled! I saw him yesterday performing the [Divination], trying to see Syah City’s future in the flood. What did he see? The flood destroying our city?”
“He can perform the Divination?” snapped Warret, “On such a big event? Shameless old…”
Golier had no time to listen to them. He gestured for silence and told Raphael, “I now send you to the capital to report the situation here and seek rescue from other states. Take these three scrolls. Use the white one to catch up with Cosman. Don’t ask anything and kill him with the golden one. After that, go to the nearest state, tell them the situation here and then go to the capital.”
He took out two exquisite scrolls of about three inches long out of his sleeves, one white, one golden, handing them to Raphael along with the air magic scroll that he hadn’t used in the previous journey. He spoke to Schmul solemnly, “Priest Cosman deserted his post facing the crisis, and I sentence him with the death penalty. Tell it to the city.”
He walked down the ramparts with his staff, leaving an exhausted shadow. Schmul cried behind him, “Where are you going, dear master?”
Warret asked as well, “Dear teacher, now that Cosman’s fled, who’s going to host?”
“Warret, you’re now the best mage I have. You’re going to host it. Just maintain it at a minimal level… Governor, send all the mages up to the ramparts. I’m going to pray to Enlil in the shrine, alone.”
[List of Characters]
Warret: Golier’s student, a sixth-level mage.
Raphael: Golier’s youngest apprentice, a fourth-level mage.