Volume I : The Flood
Chapter 33 – A Cat’s Melancholy – Part 1
“Mortals can become gods, but the path should start by an awakening of the power of two sides. I think the gods have plotted together to hide this secret from the mortals. They divided the path to immortality into two, the well-known routes of magic and body arts. By neither of these two paths can one reach immortality.”
“Practicing magic allows one to obtain the power given by the gods, even to get a precious glimpse of divinity. But he cannot pass the final trial. Practicing body arts allows one to gain the power of the bloodline, even to be an invincible warrior. But it cannot win him the eternal existence.”
“Some great warriors managed to have a second awakening of power, which allowed them to practice some magic, making them more powerful. I’ve put most of my effort on studying the legends and records about these great warriors. The research has been complicated, I’ve been through a lot of hardships. Combined with my teacher’s results from throughout nearly a century’s meditation, and many others’ bitter experiences, I arrived at a final conclusion. ”
“It’s hard to awaken the power given by the gods, but it’s even harder to awaken the power of two sides. The great warriors who have succeeded in the second awakening of power could have actually awakened the power of two sides in the very beginning. After all, among countless commoners, there were certainly enough geniuses. Some of them just weren’t qualified to learn magic. They didn’t have the chance to awaken the magic power before they became a warrior.”
“Along with the awakening of the power of two sides comes the desire from two sides. By passing this test can one practice the first-level magic and body arts.”
“The next test would be the purification of one’s body. It should be a test in the practice of body arts. By passing this test can one practice the second-level body arts, but he then needs to practice magic and become a second-level mage.”
“The third test will be ‘faith’s confirmation’, which is considered to be a test for the mages. By passing this test can one practice the third-level mage, but he then needs to practice body arts and become a third-level warrior.”
“The fourth test will be the purification of one’s bloodline. It should be a test for the body arts practitioners. By passing this test can one practice the fourth-level body arts, but he then needs to practice magic and become a fourth-level mage. ”
“The fifth test will be ‘devil’s temptation’, which is considered to be a test for the mages. By passing this test can one practice the fifth-level mage, but he then needs to practice body arts and become a fifth-level warrior.”
“The sixth test will be the breaking of one’s limit. It should be a test for the body arts practitioners. By passing this test can one practice the sixth-level body arts, but he then needs to practice magic and become a sixth-level mage. ”
“My exploration of the true path ends here. I myself was merely a ninth-level mage and sixth-level warrior. The above is all that I can verify myself.”
“The coming content will be pure speculation. The next test should be the ‘Faith’s Fusion’, as is noted in most records about magic. In passing this test can one become a supreme mage. This step is very difficult, blocking the overwhelming majority of the advanced mages from acquiring the ultimate power. As for the practitioner of the power of two sides, the difficulty is unknown. I hope someone can continue this exploration.”
“I have to note that from what I know and have verified, this path is much more difficult than the path of magic or body arts. The higher tier you achieve, the harder it will be. There might be some key points that I don’t know. It is also possible that this path can’t lead to eternity at all. Anyway, very few can even take on this path. Whether a practitioner could reach the end of this path and find out the secret of the gods may depend not only on his courage and wisdom, but also on this world’s willingness to accomplish this transcendency.”
“If the one who is reading this message is my dear teacher, please always remember the three things I’ve told you in the other message. I won’t mention them here, nor the reason to do so.”
The message recorded in the Gods’ Tear ended. When Bair described the tests, he had also added many sidenotes in smaller characters. Amon forced himself to fully concentrate on the message. He was so enthralled by the message that he couldn’t notice that Schrodinger had already closed its eyes and begun to take a nap. The cat was excited to come to this place, but after discovering the whole truth, it appeared to be deeply disappointed and lost.
The glittering text eventually disappeared. The Gods’ Tear was still emanating the light glory. The whole place was soundless. Amon stood for a long time on the altar, speechless. Forgetting the reality around him, he was in a deep serene meditation, trying to record everything he saw in his mind.
Bair had made a detailed summary on the steps to practice of the power of two sides, which he obviously had confirmed himself. A ninth-level supreme mage and a sixth-level warrior at the same time. Amon had never heard of that.
“Desire’s wakening”, “faith’s confirmation”, “devil’s temptation”, “faith’s fusion”. They were tests in the practice of magic that one faced from a commoner to a supreme mage. They were well documented in history. But Bair had his own interpretation of “faith’s confirmation”, which coincided with Amon’s understanding.
Though they had never met each other, across the decades, they achieved the same understanding. From Bair’s message, Amon confirmed his own knowledge about practicing.
As for the practice of body arts, there were tests that Bair called “body purification”, “bloodline purification” and “limit breaking”, which couldn’t be found in any documentations. Crazy’Ole had already found the rules in some phenomena, Bair obviously had gone further.
The path was now clear for Amon. First, awaken of the power of two sides, then pass the tests of “desire’s awakening” — “body’s purification” — “faith’s confirmation” — “bloodline purification” — “devil’s temptation” —”limit breaking”.
This was the part Bair had verified. The following part of the path was for Amon to explore. As far as Bair knew, no one could be a supreme mage and a great warrior at the same time.
Although Bair had left many notes, some details remained unclear. For example, he didn’t mention too much about the awakening of the power of two sides. One who hadn’t experienced it wouldn’t be able to fully understand it, perhaps except Crazy’Ole.
Bair also noted that leaning on one branch when practicing the power of two sides wouldn’t cause a problem. Some practitioners might prefer fighting with sword or spike when others might prefer casting spells. In fact, one could only learn to meditate, neglecting the magic casting skills, if he wanted to stress on practicing body arts, or only strengthen his body power, avoiding to learn any martial arts, if he wanted to stress on practicing magic.
It was reasonable to save one’s energy from mastering both magic and martial arts skills, since the path itself was difficult enough, demanding too much time to accomplish.
Amon still had two questions after reading all of the message Bair had left. The first question was about the bone. It was said to be Osiris’ Rib, a sacred item of the Isis Shrine. Amon’s guess was right, it was a god’s bone. Maybe Nietzsche was right, eternal gods could fall one day, or that Osiris was just a demigod.
All Amon knew was that Osiris was the father of Horus. He had seen the statue of Isis and Osiris in the shrine of Horus in Duc. As for the rib, Amon had no idea how it was related to that god. Holding it in his hand, Amon felt so unreal. But the touch couldn’t be more real.
He couldn’t sense it with Detection Eyes, neither could he sense Schrodinger with that magic. Was that cat a deity too? Strangely, Bair had mentioned nothing about Schrodinger.
Amon threw a glimpse at this cat on his shoulder, only to find that it was sleeping again. He found it impossible to associate this limp lazy animal to a deity by any means.
Amon was amused by this crazy idea. Perhaps in this cat’s body was sealed a human spirit, that explained why this cat knew how to write hieroglyphs. But could it also explain how this cat could had travelled the long way in the forest to Duc and had remained unchanged in the last thirty years?
Forget it. Schrodinger will tell me if it wants to. If even Crazy’Ole couldn’t know that this cat could write hieroglyph in thirty years, nor would Amon likely find out its secret in a short time. It was this cat who had guided him to find Bair and all this knowledge. What he should do was simply to thank Schrodinger.
The Gods’ Tear was still floating in the air. The most important thing to do was to get this precious parangon. Crazy’Ole’s token could only be used to read the message in it. Amon found that the only way was to use Osiris’ rib. He already knew its usage from Bair’s message. Theoretically it required at least a third-level mage who mastered an advanced magic, and Amon happened to qualify in that.
For safety, Amon first experimented with some other objects dropped on the ground. A good spatial artifact could contain more than one object. Carrying one was like carrying a walking depot. Amon already had two of this kind of curiosity that most mages could only dream of — the Ventussalte, and this rib.
On the ground were various weapons, armors, staffs, accessories and unused scrolls. They were the best ones that had stood the test of time. Even the fragments were good materials. Metatro was making his living by smuggling Damasc iron ingots to Bablon City. Now Amon had forged Damasc iron scattered in front of him. Wasting was a crime. Even if he couldn’t use them, he could sell them later.