Translator, Editor and Proofread: theunfetteredsalmon
That simple sentence revealed many underlying meanings and urges as well as Icho Maria’s concern and worry. Because of that, when Amon appeared before her, she felt her mind become clear and true, away from the troubles of life outside of that room. She felt that even the silent gaze was a moment that was especially worth cherishing.
Amon did not feel the same as her. When he returned to see the Adoratrice, he saw a person who would always be Icho to him in his heart. In the past, he would always be in a trance when he looked at her. He could not tell whether it was the Adoratrice of Isis or the young Icho he met in Duc. There was always an indescribable conflict that waged war in his heart. But now, he could see clearly and truly. She was her, Icho in his heart and the Adoratrice before him.
Amon did not want to tell her, nor did he need to tell her that he had seen her during his meditation after killing the two-headed serpent in the Great Lake. It was not a dream, it was like the replay of the past. They returned to her room in Duc, except the two now looked the way they did now. He was him and she was her. Amon embraced her, felt the shape of her body on his fingertips and kissed her as sincerely as he had done back in Duc.
When the sun rose the next day, Amon opened his eyes and smiled. When he stood up he realised that the inexplicable entanglement that choked his heartstrings had finally been untied. He was relieved. He was looking at the world around him calmly…
At that moment, Amon’s smile shone as bright as the sun in response to her statement. He said, “Your Majesty, I have two things to report.”
Maria looked at him, her eyes shining like stars in the silent night. “I await your report.”
“First of all, I have inspected the topography and landform status of the original site of Duc town and I have given the recorded information to the priest committee of the Shrine.”
Maria nodded satisfactorily. “I’ve seen it. The description of the terrain and landform is exactly the same as that of other channels. You also provided a detailed demonstration with a sandbox. What’s rare and unprecedented was the distribution area of all the monsters. What you have done is a most detailed investigation. You had to traverse those places on foot, which earns you special praise.”
“High Priest Idu recommended a substantial reward for you, but I have temporarily suppressed the report. It is not because I do not want to reward you, but because your report was not sufficient to justify a reward. After all, most of the information you gathered was common knowledge amongst kingdoms. Amon, the other thing you wanted to report, is it regarding your progress in body arts?”
Amon nodded. “Yes. As you expected, I am now a seventh level warrior.”
Maria giggled. It was exactly the same as a little girl’s innocent laugh. “Many people could already tell, yet you said nothing about it. Did you want me to be the first to know? In accordance with tradition, the city of Memfis will hold a celebratory ceremony for you, followed by your induction into the ranks of nobility of the Ejyptian Empire. When you retire to your chambers, do prepare.”
“What do I need to prepare?”
Maria thought and chuckled again. “You are the first of my subordinates to advance to a supreme warrior since my arrival in the Shrine as the Adoratrice. Frankly, there is nothing to prepare… I know your name is Amon but you still require a formal title, not only for the city’s aristocratic roster but also to record at the awakening of power ceremony.”
Amon was slightly stunned. He immediately replied, “A second awakening of power? I was allowed to practise magic alongside body arts?”
The Adoratrice showed a rare, playful but witty look. “Yes, this was arranged a long time ago. Everything past that depends on you. The second awakening ceremony may not necessarily succeed and only a supreme mage and perform such a ritual. Amon, I hereby allow you to request for and choose any supreme mage in the Shrine of Isis to oversee your ceremony, as a special tribute.
Will you choose Wadj-hotep, our most esteemed ninth level mage of the Shrine, or do you choose me, who has only recently become a supreme mage of the seventh level? Do be reminded that the more powerful the mage is, the higher the chance of the ceremony succeeding. However, the most important thing is whether you yourself can awaken the power that our gods have bestowed upon you. It requires a process. The ceremony is but a symbol. It is like the opening of a door. I have never presided over it, so I have no experience.”
Amon did not want to think about it, but he said, “Everything has a beginning. I am honoured to request for Your Majesty Adoratrice to preside over the ceremony of the awakening of power for me. This is your first time, which makes me even more honoured.”
Maria was laughing again, her eyes looking like crooked crescents. “That’s good, so be it. I’ll host your second awakening of power ceremony for you. Let us hope we succeed.”
Amon stood up to salute. “Thank you, my Lady Adoratrice! You will succeed!” He was as calm as Icho when he said those words.
The ceremony itself was a guaranteed success because Amon was already a supreme sorcerer himself. As long as he attends the ceremony, he will be able to begin using magic with less discretion. As an additional bonus, the people will worship the Adoratrice even more because of her skill in magic. However, Amon was also highly interested in this second awakening ritual. Perhaps he could learn something from it.
As Amon set to leave, Maria stood up and asked, “Have you read all the books I showed you?”
She was referring to the military books and information relating to the operations of their legions. Amon nodded and said, “Yes I have. In addition, I also tried looking for relevant documents to study. It took a long time to memorise it in my heart.”
Maria added, “It’s not enough to just memorise, you also have to learn how to apply those principles. You could walk through that forsaken terrain while studying all those books. I believe that should have provided you with experience traversing all kinds of environments while commanding marches.”
“My Lady, are you suggesting…” Amon wondered aloud.
Maria replied with deep enthusiasm. “You will soon understand.”
A few days later, Djehutihotep, the governor of Memfis, held a celebration ceremony in the city for Amon and issued a public announcement. The people heard good news, that a man named Amon, a glorious warrior of the Shrine of Isis, had become a supreme warrior of the seventh level!
The name given to Amon at birth by his alcoholic father was as such:
This name was being put to use for the first time, aside from Amon’s birth. It was even written by a priest in the recording catalogue in the shrine. However, such long names were often too difficult for people to remember. People just called him Amon the Great Warrior.
Shortly after the celebration, Amon was subject to another ceremony revolving around him in a small hall in the Temple of Isis. The host was the noble Adoratrice, there to awaken Amon’s power. Such a ritual would be highly difficult for Amon to succeed because he did not truly believe in gods. He only looked at his own heart and silently looked at Icho, with her staff in hand.
Since the ceremony was personally presided over by the Adoratrice, the ceremony was quite grand. Amon first bathed in incense and put on intricate, beautiful armour only worn by the best and the noblest. His hip belt was adorned with weapons of the highest quality. He would then offer sacrifices to the gods before accepting congratulations from the people. When Amon walked on the path to the ceremonial hall, warriors on both sides of the steps into hall sprinkled lotus petals like a wedding. The priests in the temple sang poems in unison. Maria stood in front of the altar, tall and proud with her golden crown and staff.
When the ceremony officially began, Maria gently lifted the staff of the Adoratrice, displaying indescribable nobility and elegance. She also sang poems in the name of the goddess Isis while a soft golden light approached Amon, who was kneeling before her.
This was the Blessing of Isis, first saw on the outskirts of Duc. Maria first comforted and relaxed Amon’s body and mind, letting him feel all of the magic in silence. Then, the golden light began to twinkle and move in circles, surrounding and enveloping Amon’s body as if they were strands of yarn floating on water. The light danced and changed in colour and density. This was some of the most basic magic, but it guided Amon into a state of calm meditation.
Maria’s voice rang in Amon’s head –
“Put aside all troubles and hesitations and forget all your sorrow.
Pray devoutly to the gods and ask them to give you the strength you need.
In meditation, close your eyes and gaze at the solemn image of the gods.
The light that raises is akin to the sun that rises from the east, disbursing in all direction.
The glory disperses the darkness, the earth wakes from its slumber and the world is no longer lost.
Open your heart, and be welcome to draw on the power of the gods.
You will awake in the fog and spread your wings and fly.”
Amon did not resist the guidance that Maria was providing. When the Blessing of Isis hung over him, Amon opened his heart completely and entered a silent, clear state of mind. Although he was not a believer in the goddess Isis, he held no scorn when he incorporated his beliefs into Maria’s devotion.
When Maria’s voice rang in his head, Amon closed his eyes and saw a ‘god’, but it was not Isis. the ‘god’ had a distinct appearance and posture similar to Maria. He felt the so-called power bestowed by the gods, which surrounded him and pervaded between heaven and earth. He was filled with the eternal rhythm of existence, like the harmony between nature and his body and mind.