While Moses and his people were on a journey of hardship and suffering, what was their “god”, Amon, doing? Although Amon had sent his disciples to guide the Ducians back home and had spent a long time making preparations, when the journey began, Amon himself was too busy to do anything more for them.
A cat wandering the square of the Shrine of Isis several hundred years ago, this was what Amon was right now.
It wasn’t that Amon had gone back in time, and neither had he turned into a cat. It was a very special state of meditation, or perhaps meditation was no longer the right word to describe it. After losing his power and experiencing growth anew, if one had to say that there was something different, it was that Amon was now the person that he had been pursuing in his entire life.
It was only by going through all these tests that he could now possibly reach the state of nothingness, the state where his body and the world had become nothing to him. Schrodinger sat across him, and she displayed her spiritual world to Amon unreservedly.
Amon was currently experiencing Schrodinger’s past, not just simply seeing or listening, but as Schrodinger herself. In this process, he had to maintain mental stability and remove any thought about his true self, that is, for example, he is not a cat. There couldn’t be the slightest distraction or disturbance. Otherwise, everything he experienced in such a state would become unreal and thus meaningless.
This was the reason why Schrodinger waited for so long. In this process, it was equivalent to revealing all her secrets and all her imprints as a being, so she needed to find someone that she could absolutely trust!
Ejyptians loved cats, and this was a tradition since a very long time ago. When cats came to Ejypt, they solved the problem of mouse infestations in many places, and they were regarded by the Ejyptians as the servants of the god of fertility. That was why people often fed the cats at the square of Shrine of Isis, and many stray cats lived in the area. Schrodinger was one of them.
Cats had a very diverse diet. Besides eating whatever people fed them, they also wandered around catching mice, small birds, termites and other insects. It would be difficult for ordinary humans to imagine eating raw mice, but everything felt real for Amon. Even then, he was able to stay unaffected and undistracted by stray thoughts.
This was a little cat full of curiosity. She did not fear humans, but she always kept a distance from them. Whenever there were large events and ceremonies being held on the square and people gathered there, the cats would all disappear from the place. However, one day, Schrodinger was too absorbed in chasing a flying bug that she did not notice where she was. When she recovered her senses, she realized that she was in the midst of a packed crowd with stamping feet and she had nowhere to hide.
She was terrified. A small cat like her could easily be trampled to death by the people. Just as she was panicking, she realized that all the people had stopped moving and were kneeling down towards a direction. The sound of chanting appeared from the sky and the bells in the shrine rung. Looking up, the cat saw a golden sky, and a gentle light fell upon her body.
This was an incredible feeling which was indescribable. The cat actually forgot about her fear and no longer trembled, as if an invisible hand was caressing the depths of her soul. Coincidentally, the cat had chanced upon the annual Hapisidis conducted by the Shrine of Isis. In the moment when the cat was most terrified, she had experienced the blessing magic of Isis. In that instant, she seemed to have vaguely understood something.
After that, the cat often slipped into the shrine. Her simple intelligence was yet to be capable of complex thoughts, and she was simply looking for the familiar feeling in her memories, in the midst of the priests’ chanting and under the gaze of the gods’ statues. Cats had a much sharper intuition compared to humans, and she remembered the chanting that she heard during Hapisidis. In such a manner, she “attended” many ceremonies held at the shrine.
The priests were interested in this little cat. Instead of playing in the square, the cat would rather stay in the shrine to watch the ceremonies conducted by the priests. Eventually, the people in the shrine became familiar with the cat, and they even gave her a name – Bastet.
Bastet witnessed countless awakening of power rituals, which included the second awakening of power performed by supreme mages for supreme warriors. Of course, she wasn’t the recipient of these rituals, but simply a spectator. As the priests were aware of the cat’s habits, they did not chase her away and simply let her be.
The lifespan of a cat is usually only about ten years or so, but the little cat lived for nearly a hundred years. She did not know why she could live for so long, and everything she did had come from pure instinct. The long years of living gradually allowed her to possess clear memories, and this gave her the ability to think. In turn, the ability to think enabled her to learn and understand.
One day, as she was lying on a bookshelf listening to the priests speaking the Hieroglyphs, she suddenly realized that she had already listened to it countless times, and she understood what the Hieroglyphs meant, word for word.
These were not just Schrodinger’s memories, but the imprints of her life. When Amon got involved with her soul, these imprints were open to him. He experienced everything just as Schrodinger had. But the travel in memory certainly didn’t flow at the same speed as in real life. When Amon “lived” to the part of the memory where Schrodinger suddenly realized that she “understood” the Hieroglyphs, exactly one night had passed in reality.
This was a concept that was difficult for the ordinary people to understand, like a paradox of time. Even though only one night had passed for Amon, he had experienced many years of Schrodinger’s life. It wasn’t that time had become slower or faster, it was simply that Schrodinger’s soul had revealed this many memories. If he had not reached the eighth-level, not only wouldn’t he have enough energy to go through such a long period of time, his mind might likely explode with the quantity of information that flowed in.
When dawn arrived, Amon opened his eyes. After a night of spiritual travel, he felt that his soul had become much tougher, but very vulnerable at the same time. It was more powerful in the sense that its capacity had increased. For example, when reading a book, he could print more contents in his mind at one look and memorize them with a better understanding of them than ordinary people who study it at normal pace. But it was not vulnerable because he had stayed focused for too long and had nearly reached his limit. If he did not stop, Amon could very likely lose himself within Schrodinger’s spiritual imprints.
Amon exhaled a long breath and asked tiredly: “Is this what trapped you spiritually? By letting me experience all these, you will be released?”
Schrodinger shook her head. “No, this is merely a beginning. I need you to understand clearly everything that I have experienced in order for you to find out what exactly trapped me.”
Amon asked in surprise: “You mean you don’t even know it yourself? Then how am I supposed to release you?”
Schrodinger sighed. “I don’t know what it is, but it is inside my spiritual imprints. When I reveal my soul to you, I remain unconscious, so I do not know what you have experienced. Only by doing that will you be able to have a better understanding of me even than myself. What have you understood so far?”
Amon smiled. “Just now, I have been the “you” in the past. After opening my eyes, I thought of someone. Well, I can’t say it’s a person, I should say It is an Ironback.”
Amon thought of El-Mar, because El-Mar also learnt Hieroglyphs not long ago. How could an Ironback learn how to write? Actually Amon did not understand, he just told Lynk to teach El-Mar. But now, he had witnessed the entire process of a cat gaining wisdom. Chance had played a large part, and even the cat herself did not notice how it happened, it was as if the light from the sky had shone upon something.
Schrodinger was slightly taken aback. “So you have already experienced so much? The next part is the truly difficult part. As a cat, I did not understand what kind of existence I was. You need to rest well for now. Once you have recovered, you can continue.”
Amon rested for one whole day, but he could still feel that he had not recovered. It wasn’t an exhaustion of magical power, but some kind of fatigue that made it difficult for him to continue experiencing Schrodinger’s spiritual imprints. Schrodinger patiently waited another two days for him to recover, and on the third day, Amon finally started the experience once again.
When the cat realized that she understood Hieroglyphs and could even write her own name, “Bastet”, with her claws, her way of thinking changed. And the real perplexity began. The cat did not understand what kind of existence she was. She was obviously different from the other cats, and when her self-awareness came into being, she realized that the cats that had wandered the square with her back then were long gone, and many cycles of birth and death had passed, but she was still alive.
Why was this so, and what was life? This was the first question she thought about. The eyes of cats were accustomed to darkness, and their bodies were much more agile and dexterous than human’s. She had lived as long as a long-lived human, so she started to suspect whether she was a cat. If she was, what kind of cat was she? There was also an even deeper question, what kind of cat did she want to be?
As the cat looked at the gods’ statues in the calm of the night countless times, an “absurd” idea suddenly appeared in the cat’s mind: she wanted to be a “cat” like that.
And it was from that day onwards that not only could her eyes see everything in the dark, when she closed her eyes, she could sense the innate power in her body. Thus, she had learnt magic and meditation spontaneously.
A cat’s body looked very different from a human’s body, but fundamentally, there did not seem to be much difference. Schrodinger often strolled around the square, looking at all kinds of people passing by. One of these people was herself, but it wasn’t a “person”, but an image conjured by countless people. The name of this image was Bastet, the name given to her by the priests.
When the cat was meditating, she encountered a special situation that humans practising magic would never experience. In her imagination, she truly transformed into the form of a human, with a human’s body, limbs, hair and skin. This was the “person” which existed in her self-awareness, her own spirit. In reality, she was still a cat, but this “person” was growing and training.
The cat had never casted any kind of magic in the shrine, her training was only the affirmation of her own thoughts. In fact, since the day the cat possessed self-awareness, her power had exceeded that of a lion, but there was no one to fight her.
Day after day, Bastet became part of the Shrine. The priests saw her as a magical cat due to her longevity, which was a sign that the gods favored the cat.
The cat started her own unique training different from everyone else in the shrine. She could not possibly be taught by humans, so there weren’t any preconceptions in her mind. Whatever she thought of, she practised it. She also did not have any conceptions of magic arts and body arts, and over the years, the cat passed all the tests inadvertently. One day, the cat finally decided to play a joke on a young priest, and she used message magic suddenly. The young priest did not see a cat, but a woman called Bastet.
The second experience of the spiritual imprints ended here. Although much less time had passed in comparison to the first time, Amon felt even more tired when he opened his eyes. This was because the contents of the experience were much greater and more complex. At this moment, Schrodinger was no longer a cat who knew little. In many aspects, it was closer to a human’s experience instead of a cat’s experience, even more complexe. Amon had experienced ten years of Schrodinger’s life that night.
He was so tired that he could not catch his breath. After resting for a long time, he finally said: “Schrodinger, you are so beautiful!”
Schrodinger sounded a little embarrassed as she replied: “As a cat or as a human?”
Amon smiled without replying, and Schrodinger left. This time, Amon rested for five full days. He was a bit confused, and sometimes he was unable to tell whether he was a cat or a human. This kind of travel was in fact like merging two memories, two souls. It was very dangerous, and without enough determination, it was easy that Amon lost himself and had an identity crisis. Amon himself was not even twenty years old, but he lived as a cat for more than a hundred years in this spiritual travel. However, he managed to calm himself down and recover from the confusion.
He also fully understood how important the last test which he had passed recently had been. Just like Maria had asked him, “You used to be a hopeless traveller, dying at the bank of the Nile. Later on, you became a great and famous general of a great Empire. When you were on the battlefield, were you still the hopeless traveller at the bank of the Nile? After you returned to Ejypt with a great victory, you handed over your military authority and was confined to your territory. In your territory, were you still the great general at the battlefield? At this moment you are sitting in front of me with your head lowered, are you still the boy I saw in Duc? If you are not, then who are you? If you are, then who is Amon?”
Amon suddenly realized that as he experienced Schrodinger’s spiritual imprints, he was also growing more and more powerful. It wasn’t his physical or magical power that grew, but his spiritual “potential”, or “capacity”.
At midnight five days later, Amon’s experience of Schrodinger’s spiritual imprints resumed. It was the same day that Schrodinger had played a joke on the young priest. When she walked through the main shrine, she suddenly felt a strange surge of unease. Looking up, she saw Goddess Isis’s solemn and holy statue. The statue’s gaze was upon her, the cat had long sensed it, but today was different from usual.
Without knowing why, the cat turned around and sat down before the statue, burying her head in her front paws, as if in a prayer. Then she heard a voice: “Bastet, don’t be afraid, I am Isis!”
The cat naturally knew who Isis was since she had lived in the shrine for more than a hundred years. For the first time, she heard the voice of Isis in her mind! Immersed in awe, she asked in her mind: “Great goddess, are you calling me?”
Isis’s voice was solemn but gentle: “You mischievous little cat, I saw what you did. It is great luck for you to be able to achieve this much, so I have decided to give you a chance. Please take an oath to accept the guidance of the Ennead, and I shall tell you about the path that you have been pursuing all along.”