Bastet obtained the title of “Cat Goddess”. Although she wasn’t yet a real god, she received offerings in the shrines. An oracle was given by the gods, telling the priests to build a statue of Bastet beside Osiris’s statue. This statue was the one Amon had seen before, and he built a similar one in his own courtyard.
The status was built for a reason. Passing the test to the ninth level, Bastet was able to create a separate self which was part of her, and this self-conscious part of soul could be attached to the statue. The statue itself did not have any power, but it could now provide a source of neteru. It came from the offerings and prayers of the believers, the projection of countless wishes and desires.
Thoughts are not material, but they contain energy as well, as one requires energy to think. This energy cannot be perceived, but without it one cannot do anything. For example, in order to drink some water, one first needs to have the thought of drinking, then the body would receive the order and lift up a cup of water. Thoughts produce and convey desires, desires are transformed into actions. This wasn’t the kind of energy people were used to understanding, since the only thing one could see was the hand lifting the cup.
The separate self attached to the statue was a part of Bastet, and this was another aspect which was related to Bastet’s level. The higher her level was, the more parts she can split from herself to attach onto the statues. On the other hand, the more sources of neteru she had, the stronger her soul would become. In a sense, her divine realm would be more extensive.
Was this the so-called “source of power”? Bastet had never possessed her own divine realm, and she could only enjoy offerings from the believers in the shrines as a servant of Osiris.
In Schrodinger’s imprint, Amon had a preliminary understanding of the divine realms. He had once sensed the thoughts of countless people in Anunnaki’s Underworld, and back then, Amon could only keep himself awake and prevent his mind from being immersed. Now he could finally confirm that those were the prayers of countless believers made to Kella, and they included the desires of the souls in the Underworld.
The Underworld of Anunnaki was an independent divine realm belonging to Kella. Over there, she could possess the energy from the thoughts and desires of those souls. That was why Kella was so enraged when Amon released the souls of the dead Ducians. From the spiritual magic that Amon had grasped, Kella had used the same magic to bind the souls and create the Underworld.
What was so amazing about this power? It had the ability to heal the soul!
Could souls get injured? Most people probably can’t understand it, but at Amon’s level, he was able to see it clearly. Amon had been through many battles, and there wasn’t a scar on his body, but he did get injured. The most serious encounter had been the time when he battled the monster while crossing the Euphrates River. Back then, he had used scrolls to kill the monster and resumed his journey after that. Due to his carelessness, he had exhausted his magic power and fell sick. After resting at Qayin and Hevel’s place for half a month, he finally recovered.
Without a soul, one is just a cold hunk of flesh. Without a soul, one would merely be a walking corpse. All injuries harm one’s body and soul, some of them visible while others can only be felt. The simplest example would be when a person is suffering from extreme fatigue, no matter how strong the body is, one would be unable to exert their strength.
As a servant of Osiris, Bastet slew powerful demons and bound their living souls. Her soul gets injured during battles as well. Howbeit the parts of herself attached on the statues in the shrines could serve as a source of spiritual energy, transforming her believers’ admiration, appreciation and gratitude to repair the wounds of the soul. Upon reaching the ninth-level, one’s soul possesses the characteristics of the ceaseless cycle, exceeding the limit of one lifetime. As long as she was not destroyed outright, her lifetime would be like infinite.
After Amon experienced this part of Bastet’s life, he opened his eyes and took a long breath. This time, he felt much more relaxed compared to the last time, and Schrodinger was staring at him as usual while basking in the morning sun. Amon reached out and touched her back as he said: “I see why the test of the ceaseless cycle is so important. By passing it, one would obtain the ability to possess the source of neteru and make one’s life nearly infinite. Is that eternal life? Then what about real gods?”
There was a hint of sadness in Schrodinger’s eyes as she replied: “Back then, I also thought that I was comparable to the gods. I possessed great strength and an inexhaustible source of life energy. As I stood on the altar and heard countless believers calling out to the great goddess Bastet, I believed that I was a god! But later on, I realized that I wasn’t a god yet. In order to obtain all these, one needs to pay a price. You will understand as you continue to experience my memories.”
Schrodinger was never willing to talk about her past, and even after Amon guessed her identity, she still did not allow Amon to say the name “Bastet”. After experiencing two hundred years of her memories, Amon now knew and understood Schrodinger completely. He did not even need to use his special ability to know how she was feeling, so he changed the subject: “After passing the test of the unceasing cycle and receiving the right from your divine clan to enjoy offerings in their shrines, you could attach parts of yourself onto the statues in the shrines. But from the spiritual magic which you learnt, it is actually possible to do something similar without reaching this level.”
Schrodinger nodded. “Your understanding ability is indeed amazing! No wonder you could find the correct path even without the guidance of a divine clan. Yes, you don’t need to reach the ninth-level in order to obtain a source of neteru. But there are two limits. First, you can only attach your soul on a specific statue, and secondly, you cannot change it at will. Also, for those who are not powerful enough, they usually require external help to accomplish it.”
Amon asked: “Have you encountered such cases before?”
Schrodinger replied: “Of course. I have restrained some demons who have attached their parts of spirit on some statues located in some remote shrines. Compared to the living demons, powerful souls which occasionally form after the death of a demon prefers to do it this way.”
Amon smiled bitterly. “You also slew sorcerers before, ones like me.”
Schrodinger also gave a bitter smile. “Rather than sorcerers like you, it is those supreme sorcerers who were enemies of the shrines. Ordinary sorcerers do not require the action of emissaries like me, and as long as supreme sorcerers do not make enemies of the shrines, the gods are unwilling to deal with them either. The gods usually send emissaries only after hearing the prayers in the shrines. The sorcerers that I have slain belong to two types: the first type are those who have taken the wrong path and become a danger to the gods’ believers; the second type are those who openly defy the gods and have committed unforgivable crimes.”
Amon paused for a moment before asking: “And Bair belongs to the second type?”
Schrodinger lowered her head and said: “Yes, if I still had been a so-called goddess back then, I could have been sent to assist the pursuers from the shrine. However, I was taken away by Bair instead. The bounty promised by Ejypt for killing Bair was huge, and he ended up perishing together with three supreme mages and four supreme warriors. If I had taken the mission, most likely I would have given advice to the pursuers on how to catch up with Bair and assist them in the fight during critical moments.”
If one were to simply judge by pure fighting power, Bastet had surpassed many powerful foes encountered by Amon, but she was still not as powerful as Enkidu. If Bastet at her peak had fought Enkidu in a duel, it would be difficult for her to win, but not hard for her to escape. If she had to face Enkidu and Gilgamesh at the same time, Gilgamesh would probably have used various binding magic to prevent her from escaping, and Enkidu would have been able to slay her. That was how Humbaba had died.
When the gods from a divine clan wanted to deal with powerful demons that had appeared, usually they would give an oracle to their shrines to send their disciples to hunt down the demons while sometimes sending an emissary to assist in secret. The duty of slaying the demons would fall onto the shrines, but sometimes when the demons were too powerful, the shrines would then pray for assistance from the gods. When the gods receive these prayers, they would also send emissaries if they feel that it is necessary. Bastet was once the most powerful emissary of the Ennead.
Schrodinger seemed reluctant to continue talking about this topic, and she stood up before saying: “Very soon, you will know what it means by “the judgement of fate” from my spiritual imprint. Your experience of my memories will mostly be a boon to your training, but only this part I am unsure whether it is a good or a bad thing. Today’s weather seems pretty good, will you take a stroll with me along the river?”
Amon stood up as well and said: “It’s been several months since I started experiencing your memories. Since it’s rare for you to have the mood for a stroll, let’s do that. I can catch some fish for you as well.”
Schrodinger tilted her head and glanced at Amon. “What’s truly rare is the fact that you still have the mood to catch fish for me after experiencing so much from my spiritual imprint.”
The Supreme General was coming out from his residence for the first time in several months, and the farmers in his territory finally got to see him taking a stroll. With his arms folded behind his back, he walked out of the simple village built by the Ducians and passed the grasslands, the farmlands and the riverbanks without anyone else but the cat following him.
It was a bright and breezy morning, and the clouds in the sky looked like a flock of white sheep, while the Nile flowed without rest. Amon stood on a small boat while Schrodinger sat at the bow. Without oars or sails, the small boat gently floated and broke through the waves as it moved. It did not travel along the current, but headed straight towards the center of the river. Disturbed by the waves, a group of crocodiles on the riverbanks went into the water, showing their scaly backs as they neared the boat before diving into the water again.
Amon anchored the boat in the center of the river, feeling the waves flowing unceasingly beneath his feet. With a wave of his hand, he lifted several fish from the water and held them in the air. Next, flames rose and began burning in the air. Using various magic, he removed the scales and innards from the fish while sprinkling the seasoning at the same time. Within a short while, the fish were roasted and exuded a fragrant aroma. Finally, he took out a golden dish and placed the fish on the dish before putting the dish in front of Schrodinger.
Schrodinger sighed. “Amon, your skills are getting better and better. The fish are roasted just fine!”
Amon smiled. “I put in some effort since you like them.”
Schrodinger gazed at the sky and said: “People often forget that the sky is actually so enchantingly blue.”
Amon also raised his head. “You were very sad just now, are you feeling better now?”
Schrodinger smiled. “One hundred years, and I haven’t been as sad as I am today. Nor have I been as happy as I am today.”
Seeing that Schrodinger was happy, Amon was happy as well. He originally planned to continue his experience of Schrodinger’s spiritual imprint that night, since he was finally reaching the crucial part, but Schrodinger persuaded him to rest a few more days and told him that he needed to be in his peak condition for the last part.
Amon rested for three days and made use of the time for practising his eighth-level powers. All the techniques that he had learnt previously, he could now activate them instantly. He also realized that after experiencing Schrodinger’s memories for the past few months, he apparently mastered all the techniques that Schrodinger had before she reached the ninth-level. The only thing he couldn’t do was to turn into a cat, since he obviously wasn’t Schrodinger.
He could feel that his condition had reached its peak, but Schrodinger advised him to train for two more days, so it was on the fifth day that he finally started the process again.
Bastet had obtained a human form from being a cat, and in the human form, she was worshipped as a goddess. Possessing infinite life and the ability to continuously heal her soul, she had subconsciously thought of herself as a deity. She had seen those real gods with her own eyes, and felt that there wasn’t much to what they were capable of when they stayed in this world. The difference between different gods only lay in the difference of strength.
In this experience, Amon had a new understanding of divine realms as he entered the place where the Ennead lived through Schrodinger’s spiritual imprint. It was a unique world, located above the fourth waterfall of the Nile River’s upstream. Mortals who passed by would only be able to see the waterfall and the wilderness, and could not find anything unusual at all.
However, through an unusual spatial portal that only people familiar with the spatial magic could detect, one would discover a hidden world. A world created by the gods on earth, filled with majestic palaces and exotic plants, where the emissaries of the gods gathered and carried out their training. This wondrous world could protect them from any external interference and the environment was also more suitable for practising various powers. In this place, Bastet owned a small independent palace.
The world was known as the Aeru, the Heavenly Palace of the Ennead, and it was initially created by Ra. Later on, Isis and Seth expanded the place and used the most exquisite materials for construction, from the tiles and rocks to every blade of grass and every tree. Making use of high-level magical formations to gather the energy which existed everywhere in nature, they built an incredible world of space. But real gods seldom showed themselves in this world. Most of the time it was only Horus who showed up, and the emissaries followed his biddings.
Amon also visited Duat, the Ennead’s Underworld. In the legends, Osiris lived at the end of the Nile River, which symbolized the end of the mortals’ lives. The Underworld was indeed located on the banks where the Nile River entered the sea, and this area was flooded for half a year every year. The Underworld was also invisible to the mortals, and was yet another unique space. It was similar to the Anunnaki Underworld that Amon had visited before, but there were some differences.
The god which Schrodinger had seen the most was naturally Osiris, but Amon could never see his face clearly. In his experience, Osiris always appeared as a vague shadow.
Just like that, many years passed. Schrodinger who had thought of herself as a god gradually grew doubt in her heart, and the seemingly infinite life became somewhat dull. Year after year, like a monotonous river flowing through the same riverbed, she witnessed countless mortals continuously going through birth, age, sickness and death, things happened again and again, with different actors and similar endings. She couldn’t help but wonder: am I already a deity? An eternal being? From a cat to a goddess, is this all that I desire? I have already seen too much, is it still necessary to confirm anything?
When doubt grew in her heart, shaking her faith for the first time in three hundred years, the final test arrived!
It was a normal day. She was in the Underworld. A strange power suddenly forced her out of the space, ignoring the magic that constructed the barriers of the Underworld, throwing her on a deserted shore. At first, she thought she had encountered a powerful foe, most likely an attack from a foreign god. The Underworld was built using spatial magic, so whoever could force her out directly had to be powerful beyond imagination.
Raising her head, she saw a grey vortex ripping open in the sky, leading to the depths of an unknown abyss. She wore her battle armour and took up her weapon. Immediately after, a bolt of dark lightning struck towards her without a sound. Not only did the lightning strike at her weapon, it also invaded her soul. And like the sun suddenly lighting up the darkness, she understood what she faced.
Just as Amon had witnessed Enkidu doing so, Bastet also fought fiercely against an invisible foe, and all the attacks seemed familiar. Within the strikes sent out constantly by the black lightning seemed to embody all the damage received by all the enemies slain by Bastet in her whole life. She had no way of avoiding these attacks, but could only face them head-on, as if it was the judgement of fate.
The attack from the vortex knew no skills. It arrived with pure, brutal force. With Bastet’s achievement at that time, she could already change her form at will, so there was no weak point to speak of, and she could only do her best to resist the damage.
The damage of the dark lightning was not only physical. At the same time, it also struck at her very soul with all the resentment held towards her by all the people in the world. Bastet finally understood one thing. The admiration, appreciation, gratitude and good will in the prayers she received in the shrines was capable of resisting these attacks on her soul which contained all sorts of negativity and hostility. Otherwise, the first spiritual attack by the dark lightning would have shattered her soul.
This was like facing an trial where there were no enemies, only a reflection of everything she had done in her life. Bastet finally felt truly vulnerable, and she was far from being as powerful as she thought she was. Her body which had undergone three hundred years of training was destroyed, and all the spiritual parts attached to the statues in the shrines also disappeared. Her life went to an end. Her soul was seriously damaged and lost all its power, but it had not dissipated.
When the grey vortex disappeared, her final thought was that she wasn’t the same as those living souls that she had once bound, and that she could reattach herself to a blank newborn life by binding her soul to its life. It was a choice she had to make in an instant, and she wished she was still a cat. Three hundred years of practising, all the achievements made, in the end, all she had was an opportunity to make a choice.
It was then that her soul was suddenly intercepted by a magical force that seemed to stop time for an eternity. This was the spiritual magic, and it was a particular technique that could only be performed by a real god. It was Osiris. The god of the Underworld spoke as if he had merged with her soul, giving Bastet three options.