After settling the matters at the frontline, the Pharaoh decided to return. Accompanied by the guards, the holy procession left Cape and headed west. The Pharaoh sat in a huge golden carriage with a golden sculpture of an eagle with its spreading wings as the roof. The skill of the craftsman was incredible. Sitting in the carriage, Ramesses II, the ruler of two lands, was like a deity.
The Pharaoh’s carriage occupied the entire road, and all the passers-by had to retreat and stay in distance. Countless citizens gazed at the golden eagle before prostrating and kissing the ground. The carriage had two levels, and the Pharaoh sat on the higher seat. As Amon was specially invited by the Pharaoh to accompany him, he sat on the lower seat like a token driver.. This reminded Amon of Enkidu who had been the driver for Gilgamesh’s chariot.
Where else could one find a driver on the continent with a reputation exceeding that of Enkidu? Putting Amon at the front of his carriage, his need for pride was finally satisfied!
The first stop of the return journey was Memphis, the capital of Lower Ejypt. From there, they would board a ship and ride upstream to the capital of Upper Ejypt, Thebes. Crossing the Nile River once again, Amon was now nineteen years old and the Supreme General of Ejypt. When he first crossed the river, he was only seventeen years old. Back then, he was nearly killed by the men sent by Urhiya, but was eventually rescued by Maria and Gabriel.
And yet, Urhiya had been killed in the battlefield. The person who took his life, Enkidu, had also died to the mysterious “judgement of fate”.
It is said that Enkidu became a ninth-level supreme warrior at the age of twenty one. Amon had encountered several ninth-level supreme mages so far, but the only well known ninth-level supreme warrior on the continent was Enkidu. Amon was also an incredible talent himself, having become a supreme mage and warrior at the same time at the age of eighteen. Only a year had passed since then.
It was during the scouting mission given by Maria that he encountered the Scorpion King and the two-headed serpent. Crossing the inland lake, he finally stepped on his homeland and achieved the seventh level. Now, even though he had become the great Supreme General of Ejypt and sat on the Pharaoh’s carriage, he had lost all his magical power.
To cross a river, ship was the natural choice. Amon stood on the first floor of the ship while the Pharaoh sat on the second floor. From far, they could see the Adoratrice leading the citizens of Lower Ejypt receiving the ship at the riverbank. Amon’s eyesight was exceptional, and he could see Maria’s face clearly from the center of the river. She wore a golden crown and held a staff in her hand, exuding a holy aura. But her features were humanely beautiful. A delicate figure stood amidst the mist. It was such an otherworldly yet harmonious image.
The Pharaoh saw her as well. As his eyesight was not as good as Amon, he asked for a magical artifact from the palace mages. The artifact resembled a mirror, and it reflected the scene on the riverbank vividly. The Pharaoh spoke in a low voice to the female servant beside him: “So she is the new Adoratrice! She is so young… I heard that she is already a supreme mage. I can see that favor from the gods… No one in my harem can match her stunning beauty.”
The servant smiled and replied with a whisper: “Does Your Majesty have a thought of the Adoratrice?”
The Pharaoh laughed dryly and said: “I’m just saying. After all, we know what Isis said about her Adoratrice… I’m just a little confused about some things. Even Isis herself was married to Osiris, and gave birth to Horus, who became the king of the gods of Ejypt. Why would she forbid her Adoratrice to be touched by a man?
The servant said with a flattering smile: “The Adoratrice is part of the two lands. So she also belongs to the Pharaoh. She represents your authority in Lower Ejypt because Isis is married to Osiris. In this reasoning, the Adoratrice’s authority comes from the Holy Marriage.”
The Pharaoh grinned and said: “That’s true. When I look at her, I have doubts about these rules of the Adoratrice of Isis. I sometimes wonder if they were not interpreted in the correct way.”
The servant continued: “If Your Majesty has any idea, you can quietly pass down the order. Your words are the holy decree, and since the Adoratrice is also servant of the gods, perhaps…”
This was a private conversation between the Pharaoh and his personal handmaiden, so naturally it wasn’t as serious as when they were in the shrine. They spoke very softly and there was also a magical formation covering the entire ship to prevent eavesdropping from outsiders. However, Amon stood below them, and since his hearing was excellent, he could hear everything clearly.
Hearing the Pharaoh’s indecent words, an indescribable anger arose in Amon’s heart. He nearly couldn’t stop himself from jumping upstairs and throwing a punch at the Pharaoh’s face!
It was as if he had returned to the time when he was fourteen years old. When he had just awoken the power of the two sides with the help of Crazy’Ole, similar emotions rose up as well when he saw the hateful priest Shog. However hateful Shog had been, he had already died in the great flood. Thinking back, Amon once thought that it was ridiculous for him to feel that way towards Shog. But now, the same emotions had awakened in him once again, and they felt so real.
Amon tightened his body involuntarily as his hand pressed onto his sword on his waist. He truly wanted nothing more than to beat up the Pharaoh at this moment, but he could only stand there unmoving. In his heart, he asked himself: “Is this reason or cowardice? Why am I standing still? Am I afraid of the Pharaoh’s power, or is it because I have lost my power? …If the person who had been speaking nonsense wasn’t the Pharaoh, what would I have done?”
While the Pharaoh was happily talking to his servant, he suddenly heard Amon cough loudly from below. Startled, he stood up and asked: “Supreme General Amon, is something wrong?”
Amon answered coldly: “Your Majesty, please mind your words!”
Pharaoh froze, realizing that Amon had heard everything he said. The servant beside him also paled and wanted to scold Amon, but did not dare to open her mouth. If it were someone else who had heard the Pharaoh’s words, they would probably have pretended to hear nothing.
The atmosphere was quite awkward, but the Pharaoh immediately laughed and said: “I was merely making a joke, many thanks to the Supreme General for the reminder! I admire you greatly for your impartial honesty.”
With these words, the Pharaoh resolved the awkwardness, but Amon then raised his finger and pointed at the servant. “Your Majesty, such people should not be near you. It is not appropriate. Please think about the gods.”
The Pharaoh flushed, and he said to the servant with a cough: “Hear that? Leave us and slap yourself for the improper words you spoke!” Next, he turned towards Amon and smiled. “What a considerate, righteous man! How should I reward you for your honest advice today?”
Sounds like a praise, it was more of a warning. Since the servant had already been punished, it was now time for him to drop the matter. Unexpectedly, Amon did not stop at that. Instead, he pointed at the magical artifact which the Pharaoh was using and asked: “I have also experienced the second awakening of power and I’m very interested in magic. This magical artifact seems to be amazing, may Your Majesty bestow it to me?”
Oh, so this is what he wants! The Pharaoh waved his hand generously and said: “Take this Spying Mirror to Supreme General Amon!”
Amon thanked the Pharaoh as he received the artifact. When the light from the artifact faded, it was revealed to be a mirror-like object the size of a palm. After keeping the artifact away, Amon turned around and continued to stand at the bow of the ship.
Looking at Amon’s back, the Pharaoh’s mind was filled with thoughts. Amon dared to point out his mistakes in front of him and even demanded a precious magical artifact. This meant that Amon probably did not harbor any ulterior motives, since it was unlikely for those kind of people to confront the Pharaoh so directly. On the other hand, this Supreme General was truly arrogant to behave in such a manner, making it necessary to remove his military authority. Otherwise, he would be impossible to control in the future.
From the perspective of a bystander, Amon should have done nothing since there was no need to offend the Pharaoh over such a small matter. However, Amon simply said what he wanted to say and reminded the Pharaoh to be mindful of his words. He also “confiscated” the artifact which the Pharaoh was using to spy on Maria.
The ship crossed the river slowly, and once they reached the riverbank, Amon and the other ministers got off the ship with the Pharaoh as Maria led the citizens to welcome them. The Pharaoh headed to his temporary palace in Memphis, where he would listen to the military reports regarding Lower Ejypt before resuming his journey back to Thebes.
In the end, they only stayed in Memphis for two days. As the Pharaoh arrived at the temporary palace, all the officials were busy with various matters and Amon did not get a chance to meet Maria alone. He started off as a guardian from the Shrine of Isis, and now that he had made great achievements, he naturally had to meet many important people in Memphis. Amon’s temporary residence was filled with guests everyday, and while his servants handled ordinary guests, he had to personally attend to the important ones. In the process, he also received a large amount of valuable gifts.
The Adoratrice did not visit him personally, but merely sent a messenger to convey her congratulations. As the logistics officer personally appointed by Amon, Sihathor not only made a fortune from the war, he also received a noble title which he greatly desired. Naturally, he was immensely grateful to Amon, and the gifts he sent were incredibly valuable, even surpassing the gifts given by the governor of Memphis.
However, the most valuable gifts did not come from the lords of Ejypt. Instead, they came from Princess Sissila of Bablon. She had sent a messenger all the way to Memphis to deliver the gift.
The war between Bablon and Ejypt had just ended, and Princess Sissila was actually sending a gift so soon. The gift was sent in her personal capacity to express her respect for the Supreme General of Ejypt, Amon. Due to their identities, it was taken as a sign of submission.
The gift ended up creating a huge commotion, since it was four of Humbaba’s fangs as well as one of its string! Together with the gift, there was also a letter. In the letter, it praised Amon’s achievements and his bravery, gave thanks for the favor of saving her life, and lastly, words of congratulations.
There was a reason why Princess Sissila sent the gift: Amon had asked her directly for it back then! After Amon had rescued the “kidnapped” princess from the giants’ tribes, she had asked him what reward he wanted. Amon replied: “Not too long ago, I was in the capital. I saw Gilgamesh, your fiancé, entering the gate of the city with his gifts to God and to you. They were the strings and fangs of Humbaba. It is said that they are the best materials for a warrior’s weapons. If the day ever comes where I am capable of doing more things for you, I hope to receive one of Humbaba’s string and one of Humbaba’s fang.”
Princess Sissila gave an interesting reply. “Amon, I accede to your demand. I will give you a string and a fang of Humbaba, if one day, your achievements are deserving of them. I will also explain everything that happened to Gilgamesh.”
And now, Amon had become the Commander-in-chief of Ejypt while Metatro had become the captain of his personal guards. Countless soldiers from the Uruk legion had seen their faces, so it was impossible for Princess Sissila not to know of their identities by now. Without needing Amon to say any further words, she had sent the things he asked for. Also, instead of just one fang, she had sent four of Humbaba’s fangs.
Since Amon could send a messenger to deliver an elegy to mourn Enkidu and praise his achievements, of course Princess Sissila could also write a personal letter to Amon as well to express her admiration and respect, even if they were once enemies. The content of the letter was made public when it was still on the way to Memphis, and the information quickly spread throughout the city.
The Pharaoh and all the lords were greatly interested by the news and they came to see the fangs and string of Humbaba. They also asked what the life-saving favor was about. Amon could only explain that when he was still a hunter, he encountered the matter of Princess Sissila being kidnapped by the giants’ tribes. Thus, he joined the rescue expedition organized by the local authorities. Back then, he had not yet come to Ejypt, and he did not expect so many things would happen in the future.
Everyone laughed, especially the generals who had served under Amon during the war. As some of the words in the letter were ambiguous, they started linking the princess to Amon in an amorous way. The Pharaoh teased: “I heard that the moment Gilgamesh returned to Uruk, he sent a messenger to the king to dissolve the marriage agreement with Princess Sissila. Seems that by defeating the strongest hero in Bablon Kingdom, Supreme General Amon has won the heart of the princess!
I fought a war with the King of Hittite and ended up marrying the princess of Hittite. And now, Amon fought a war with Bablon’s army and ended up earning the admiration of the enemy’s princess. Supreme General, why don’t you send a messenger to Bablon to ask for the princess’s hand in marriage? I heard that the princess is also famous for her great beauty, you should have seen it for yourself. Just bring the princess back to Ejypt to be your wife!”
The lords erupted in great laughter once again, and Amon could only reply with a bitter smile: “Your Majesty, I am a simple man. Now that the war is over, I only wish to put down my armor and return home to lead a peaceful life. Please don’t make fun of me anymore, Your Majesty.”
Inadvertently, the letter and the gift from the princess ended up raising Amon’s profile among the Ejyptians once again. The commoners loved such juicy gossip the most, and by exaggerating the news, Amon became a new legendary hero. His name was mentioned as often as the Pharaoh and the gods.
This was not a good thing. Amon had a feeling that he did not belong to be at the top, and neither was he suited to it.
Now, he was only a warrior who had lost his authority and his power. Attracting everyone’s attention was sure to invite jealousy and envy among others. By doing so, Princess Sissila was roasting him on a fire. At the same time, the way she had done it was much shrewder than the King of Hittite, and there was nothing Amon could say except to express his gratitude.
When the princess’ messenger passed by Uruk, another person requested for him to bring something else to Amon. This item surprised everyone, for it was the great bow used by Gilgamesh on the battlefield. Gilgamesh actually gave his prized bow to his enemy Amon! There was no letter accompanying the bow, instead, Gilgamesh just told the messenger to pass on his thanks to Amon for the elegy.
Those who knew of this guessed at Gilgamesh’s intentions. Some say that Gilgamesh was admitting defeat to Amon, while some said that it was a declaration of war. There were also some who were even more ridiculous, speculating that it was because Princess Sissila had taken a liking to Amon, so Gilgamesh wanted to duel him out of jealousy.
Only Amon himself knew of the complex meaning behind the gifting of the bow. Gilgamesh was still as proud as ever. His personality did not change, but his mindset had changed. He no longer desired the glory of being a hero and wanted to retreat into reclusion. By dissolving the marriage agreement with the princess and giving the bow to Amon, he was making a silent declaration. The bow was a symbol of mourning for Enkidu, a reflection on fate, and a wordless encouragement or warning to Amon.
Without saying anything else, Amon simply packed up all the gifts he received and returned to his territory. The land he received was located in the outskirts of Herak, on the banks of Nile River nearest to Mount Horeb. Since the Pharaoh’s ship had to pass by the area, so it happened to “escort” him “home”.
Amon originally wanted to use the excuse of recuperation to stay in Memphis since he already owned a villa in the city. With the status that he now had, there would be no one who could stop him from doing what he wanted in Memphis. Also, there was another reason which he could never tell anyone: Maria was here, and if he stayed in Memphis, he would eventually get the chance to meet her alone. Even if all they did was to chat about mundane matters for a short while, he would be content with just that.
However, the Pharaoh did not give him the opportunity to do that and ordered him to follow his ship back home. Since the Supreme General wants to recuperate, as a show of concern, the Pharaoh let the guards escort Amon back to his territory. Next, he told Amon to rest well and not to leave without orders. Lastly, Amon was to standby until the Empire summoned him for greater tasks and so on.
Although the words appeared to be kind, it was an order as well as a warning in reality. Amon could not leave without permission, and all his movements had to be reported to the Pharaoh. This was the usual treatment reserved for important generals when they retired from old age, but now, Amon was “retired” by the Pharaoh even though he was still so young. Unless the Empire encountered another invasion from a powerful enemy, there was little chance for Amon to leave.
Amon headed straight for his territory, where Metatro had already arrived in advance with thirty six personal guards and prepared a manor for Amon’s residence.
Upon reaching home, Amon immediately sent two guards out with orders. One went to Mount Horeb with the order to retrieve all the miners of Duc; the other one went to the Shrine of Isis with a code, asking for a certain classified tome of book from the Archive.