Translator, Editor and Proofread: theunfetteredsalmon
The two-headed serpent was visibly irritated. It chased the boat with both heads while its giant tail violently swayed in the water, acting as a propeller. However, the serpent was just a little bit slower than the invisible boat. It glared as Amon and the others moved further and further away.
The serpent opened both its mouths and the same time and roared in unison, causing a tremor that resonated throughout the lake. Countless scaly ripples appeared on the surface on the water. Most of the fish in the surrounding area had died floated belly side up, showing broken intestines and stomachs.
The shockwave that the serpent had sent was highly lethal to life in its area of effect but the invisible boat kept Amon and the others safe. In its wake, the speed of the boat slowed down. There was a force buzzing in the air.
Metatro turned and stood at the stern of the boat, steering it to break through any obstacles that stood in their way. He was waving his staff vigorously with his sword in the other hand. The gestures he made with his staff seemed unsteady like a heavy brush against a rocky wall. It seemed highly laborious and sweat was dripping from his forehead.
Every time he waved the staff, the vision behind the invisible boat blurred. It seemed like the spatial magic of the boat was distorting. The shockwave that chased dissipated temporarily and the boat accelerated and rushed forward. The use of spatial magic to disrupt the snake’s pursuit was indeed highly effective, but the power of the disruption briefly faded and Humbaba’s offspring started closing the distance once again.
When Amon had just become a fifth-level mage, he had not yet cultivated the real power of being one. He was not a viable challenger of the serpent he had fought, so he chose to use scrolls against it. Since Metatro was now a fifth-level mage in his peak and had the protection of the invisible boat, he would have been able to survive against the first serpent as long as he does not make a mistake.
But today, the two-headed serpent they encountered is much stronger than the one in the river where Amon first fought such a creature. Amon knew very clearly that even if Metatro was at the peak of both fifth-level mage and warrior paths, this battle would still be uncertain. Surviving for so long since testing his strength against such power is a fortune anyone would cash out on.
Amon quietly retrieved the Tear of the Gods from his bag and inserted it into the top of his staff. This was the first time Amon was setting the Tear in his iron staff. The staff was finally at its full potential. He turned to look at the serpent, which was already reaching its prey. Its two heads were a few feet from either side of the boat’s stern. Amon noticed that the serpent’s two heads had heterochromia; on both heads, one eye was dark brown-black and the other blue-green.
Metatro broke Amon’s thoughts and shouted, “Amon, I can’t stop the serpent! It is too powerful! How does it still have the strength to pursue us? Does it understand the power of both sides as well?”
“Stop the boat, now!” Amon carelessly and suddenly commanded Metatro.
Metatro waved his staff and a spatial crack appeared in front of the snake, no longer urging the invisible boat to fly. The boat continued drifting on inertia and slowly decelerated on the trembling lake. The snake’s roar had shattered the distortion caused by the spatial magic. From within the chaos, two terrifying heads emerged. The scales on the snake’s neck were shining. They flashed tan and turquoise alternately in a strobe as if magic was being summoned.
At that moment, a bright golden light scattered in the air accompanied by a voice that sang.
Power is the company of a strong mind, who shall struggle before faith? I thought I broke free of my cage, but ushered in the shackle and chain…
This was the magic of the Temple of Isis, named the ‘Golden Chain’. It was actually an abstruse form of supreme spatial magic. Its effect is similar to that of ‘Spatial Imprisonment’, except it was far more powerful. This was not something Crazy’Ole had taught Amon. He had been secretly learning from books and practising with his iron stick.
The golden light condensed into what seemed like a shackle, entangling and once again immobilising the two heads of the serpent. The body of the snake in the water twisted and thrashed from one side to the other, but its efforts to escape what felt like two giant invisible hands were in vain. Amon jumped and struck with his iron stick. In the end, he was a warrior of the sixth level and his staff was still a weapon.
Amon was now over 30 feet in the air. He struck the neck of the serpent at the bifurcated junction of the body with his iron stick. The impact made no sound, but a violent shock scattered along the length of the snake’s body, similar to the method he used to open ores back in Duc.
The force of his strike proved massive. Amon himself was thrown back onto the boat, pushing it dozens of feet back. The two-headed serpent froze as if it was paralysed by the impact. Amon’s stick would never be able to kill such a beast but that was never his intention. He wanted to stop the serpent in its tracks.
Amon stood and picked his staff back up. The water in the lake rolled up and surrounded the snake’s body, forming yet another ice shell. This ice was thick and strong and formed almost instantaneously along with the surge of water. There was a little bit of space between the snake’s body and the ice shell. The giant snake quickly ignited. It burned bright red at first, then turned blue and white and finally, pale gold.
The flames quickly spread across the snake’s body, the heat drilling into its scales. The outer layer of the ice shell was not melting from the intense heat. The two-headed monster hissed in pain and frantically wiggled, cracking its icy prison. Suddenly, the flames were swallowed by its scales.
Though the serpent damaged the ice shell, the ice quickly covered over the cracks and grew thicker and thicker inward until it had finally wrapped the serpent entirely. The body of the snake shone dark brown and blue and rolled in its now claustrophobic prison as if it were resisting the scorching fire with magic. A series of explosions spontaneously reverberated from the ice shell.
There was a confrontation of heat and cold and the internal ice instantly turned into expanding vapour. The overwhelming pressure damaged the scales of the serpent, sending blood in multiple directions. Amon suddenly yelled and waved his iron stick oddly. The space along the remnants of the serpent twisted and blurred and numerous cracks in the space appeared.
With the expansion of the vapour and the explosion of the ice crust, the space cracks also fragmented. The two-headed serpent’s body finally broke, turning into fragments of flesh and blood that flew through the air. Its viscera floated on the surface of the lake. The serpent had been defeated!
Metatro fell on his knees and sighed with amazement. “Amon, you just destroyed Humbaba’s offspring by yourself. What kind of magic is this?”
“The Song of Ice and Fire,” Amon answered. With a swing of his staff, he gathered the remains of the serpent, including two strings and eight fangs.
“I haven’t heard of it,” Metatro said with surprise.
“Nor had I, but I saw it engraved in a magic scroll, which was made by a master artificer. I learned it from said scroll. Regardless, the snake is now dead. We should keep moving. I’d like to remain undisturbed for the time being.”
Amon sat and laid his staff across his folded legs, closed his eyes and entered a state of deep meditation as if nothing had just happened. Metatro was puzzled but he couldn’t inquire. He was exhausted by the battle and could barely steer the boat to the other side of the lake.
The boat was moving very slowly, almost drifting. It took a full day and night to reach the shore in such a large lake. Throughout the rest of their time on the lake, Amon remained sitting as if he was unaware of his surroundings. Fortunately for the group, they did not encounter any more monsters. Schrodinger looked at Amon half-twisted as if he were both relieved and worried.
Amon didn’t want to ignore the matters at hand but after killing the serpent, he felt a trance lined with enlightenment enter his body, almost like a window was about to be opened. He decided to immerse himself in that feeling to catch and experience the glimmer.
Their journey so far has yielded a lot. The real harvest was not the materials he collected from the serpent – it was their encounter with Girtublullu, the Scorpion King. The oath they made had finally unravelled his long-standing doubts. If Crazy’Ole and Bair were still alive, Amon could tell them with certainty that the path they spent their lives looking for indeed existed, and that the two sides of the same force had been discovered since the ancient times.
Listening to the Scorpion King’s tone, it was obvious that he knew the secret. It’s clear that beings other than humans could also become a god at the end of the road. Amon had no doubts about this.
When Amon activated the bone and Schrodinger jumped on the boat, Amon felt peace. He felt like reincarnation had touched him. In the lake, he was attacked by Humbaba’s descendant and Amon had defeated it with A Song of Ice and Fire without the help of a scroll.
The magic he displayed was learned from the scroll and the secret books in the Temple of Isis. No one had taught him any of that. Even his proficiency in the technique of Duc required no ‘approval’ from the gods. Amon had a strong feeling that the path to becoming a god was always there, no matter whether the so-called ‘gods’ existed or not. The legendary gods must have progressed in this path and passed all kinds of tests that would be unfathomable to ordinary people.
But, these tests had always existed. Even the legendary gods could fail.
Amon saw clearly the road he had travelled and the future ahead of him. He was craving Icho’s presence, to see her again. Last they met, she was the Adoratrice of the Temple of Isis but he could still calmly lock eyes with her. He wanted to return to the ruins of Duc and experience the hardships of the desert. The other end was the land of Marduc where he grew up.
His wishes and his actions, his pursuit and his path all seemed to be a fusion of destiny on the other shore. It can be said that this is Faith’s Fusion.
The boat quaked. It had reached the end of its journey and ran aground on the shore. Amon opened his eyes and stood up. He stepped out of the boat, tightly grasping his iron staff. The scene felt like a dream. He finally stepped on land once again. The feeling of being down on earth was so real that he almost lost his foothold.
Metatro, who followed Amon, was still clearly exhausted. When he noticed Amon tripping, he reached out to support him but Amon merely turned around, stood still and asked, “We have arrived?”
Is he delirious? It’s not like he’s blind! “Yes, we are finally here. I almost passed out. Amon, you can wake up!” Metatro was gasping for air.
Amon glanced at Metatro and said gently, “You look like you cannot stand any longer. Let’s return to the boat. You rest, I will sail.”
Metatro inexplicably asked, “It was not easy to reach the shore. You still want to continue sailing?”
Amon ignored his plea and stepped back on the boat. “Nature is the way forward.”
Metatro got on the boat again to sit down and rest. Schrodinger never alighted. Amon looked like he was smiling. Then, Amon lifted his staff forward and the invisible boat went ashore and glided on the grassy mud. Occasionally, the boat bumped into shrubs and rocks. The boat floated off and barely touched the treetops, moving as though it was still in the water.
Metatro stared and gasped, “What power is this?! Your magic power has grown so much overnight!”
Amon shook his head. “My power did not grow. It hasn’t been fully restored after our battle yesterday. It’s just a different way of using the boat. The integration of mage and warrior is no longer an awakened force to me. It is a natural force that belongs to me, so now I can do things I could not achieve before.”
Metatro blinked. “Lord Amon, I don’t think I understand.”
“It’s like opening a window to see the world and myself clearly,” Amon continued explaining. “Just like this invisible boat beneath our feet; how would you steer it if you couldn’t find it? Furthermore, the fusion of both sides allows your body and mind to do so much more. Primary, advanced and supreme power are just different ways of using it. But awakening, using, transforming and ultimately integration with the body and mind means that you never have to think about using power.”
Metatro was dumbfounded for a while before he found his voice again. “Amon, have you…?”
Amon nodded faintly and spoke with no surprise. “Yes, I have achieved the seventh level. I am now a supreme sorcerer. According to the law of power in one body and of both sides, I should now also be a supreme warrior.”
“Amon! You must be a god born on earth! As far as I know, you are the youngest mage and warrior to exist!” Metatro exclaimed with astonishment.
That day, Amon became a supreme mage and warrior at the young age of 18. Crazy’Ole once said that Amon would never have to fear for his identity once he had achieved this. Any temple and shrine would recruit him with enthusiasm. Not only would he enjoy the status of a noble, but he would also be seen as an honourable mage.
The day had finally arrived. Amon laughed bitterly on remembering Crazy’Ole’s message because the situation was slightly different from what he had initially expected. Amon would no longer be seen as just a supreme mage as he was now also a supreme warrior. He hadn’t heard of anyone who could master this power.
He was also a warrior of the Temple of Isis. To the common priest, if he achieved the level of supreme warrior, he would not be able to become a supreme mage at the same time. If this secret is exposed, it would cause chaos within the common people. It may also invoke the wrath of the gods. Once he returns to the Temple of Isis, he would only be seen as a great warrior, which is what the Adoratrice would expect.
However, in other places, a seventh-level mage would live his life experiencing convenience. At least he would be able to use the name ‘Allaha’ and worry little of his identity as a mage.
Thinking of this, Amon turned to Metatro and said, “You don’t have to envy the achievements of others. What matters is for you to have a good rest. Restore your strength and there will be new discoveries for yourself. That is the most important.”
Metatro sat down to rest and enter the state of meditation. He was so tired that he could hardly move. The invisible boat continued gliding between the mud and across the small grassland by the lake. There was an endless swamp ahead of them. It bubbled mud and brandished pools of water and trees everywhere. Such terrain would have been impossible to traverse by foot.
The now supreme sorcerer Amon steered the invisible boat gently like an elegant cat, ignoring the rugged and dangerous terrain. Amon was familiarising himself with his newfound power. Although it is not yet strong, it was a completely new feeling to him.
He felt like he had entered a new world, and the new world is precisely the lost him he had been trying to find.
Amon and Metatro were silent for a while, but Schrodinger broke the silence with a yawn, followed by two dissatisfied meows. Amon thought that there were monsters nearby, but he did not notice any movement with detection magic. Schrodinger meowed louder two more times before Amon responded, “Oh, I’m sorry, Schrodinger! I’ve been engrossed with my own matters for two days and one night, completely forgetting about you. Don’t worry, I will find a place to stop and make you a good meal with wine. The past two days have been hard.”
Amon was both a supreme sorcerer and warrior, each a rare occurrence in civilisation. No matter where he appears in any capacity, he would enjoy an honourable status, but at the end of the day, Amon was still the miner boy that came from Duc, and Schrodinger was the cat that commanded him. Amon was no different in Schrodinger’s eyes. He sat there and nodded satisfactorily, waiting for Amon to prepare the good wine and food he had promised.
Silavin: Not sure why the other group named their chapter as 94 when it is their 94 is 93.5.
This chapter was 2941 words. Hope you enjoyed it 😀