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The appointed meeting time was in the morning, and Naqia and Faust quietly leaped down from the city walls in the latter part of the night, heading east to the deep mountains of the Euphrates Valley. In today’s complex situation, there were not only mortal great achievers on the Plains of Duc attacking and defending against each other but also gods quietly watching this place. They did not fly into the sky but just walked quietly in the wilderness, leaving the plains behind as they entered the deep mountains.
The valley of the Euphrates River was east of the Plains of Duc, and it was not lofty and desolate like the Syah Plateau in the north, nor was it as wild as the plains in the south. The mountains were steep and covered with valleys and ravines, and the valleys were rich in vegetation. Looking from afar, it was a group of peaks towering, difficult for ordinary people to pass through, but also the most suitable for hiding their tracks. Naturally, Golier had set the appointment place at this location in order to keep their meeting a secret.
Faust and Naqia arrived at the designated location just as dawn had arrived, and it was clear from a glance that Golier had made prior arrangements that would put both sides at ease. That place was a small independent mountain, surrounded by peaks that were very far away. From the top of the mountain, the view was very open, so this place was hidden, yet could always detect any movements from far.
On the top of the mountain was placed a table with two chairs, and Golier had been sitting there waiting for them. The sun had not yet risen to the top of the distant peaks, the valley was floating in the morning mist, with dewdrops hanging on the wet grass leaves, and in the surrounding silence, one could only hear the sound of distant birdsong. Halfway up the mountainside, there was a man, not holding any weapon, but just folded his arms and stood there very casually. In the morning mist, there was an indescribable aura surrounding the man, and he was the hero who had shocked the continent a few years ago, Gilgamesh.
Naqia stopped at the halfway point of the mountain but did not greet him. Instead, she simply stood far away and faced Gilgamesh silently as she watched Faust walk up to the top of the mountain.
Golier knew that Faust had come, but he did not turn around and stand up to greet him. He simply filled the cup opposite his seat with wine, and then softly sang –
“Your wavering figure is approaching
The blur of the past is again in front of the eyes
Does your heart still yearn for the dreams of yesteryear?
A dream that rises from the morning mist and drifts away
The breath of youth in my chest is unsettled
Looking back at the old days
Have the beautiful legends vanished without a trace?”
Faust sat quietly across from Golier and sang in reply…
“Who is whispering softly
The drifting rhythm of the morning mist
Let the winecup touch the lips as the sound of dawn is heard
Does it announce another beginning
To whom can I still sing in harmony?
And under whose gaze, O this distant mountain field
Who sings a song of consolation to make a new alliance.”
The singing of the two men reached the ears of Gilgamesh and Naqia at the same time, as they had no intention of concealing the contents of the conversation. Faust wanted to take this opportunity to let Naqia hear what he said with Golier, and it was up to the queen to decide how she wanted to react.
Golier lifted his cup and smiled at Faust. “How long has it been since we met?”
Faust raised his cup in greeting. “It’s been ten years since we last met, and I wish you well!”
Golier: “Thank you for your greetings, you are young and accomplished! I should congratulate you for achieving the ninth-level before I did, Lord Sage Advisor!”
Faust bowed his head and said: “I am ashamed! How can I dare to call myself a man of accomplishment in front of you?”
Golier asked again: “I am glad that you are here, at least it shows that you are still willing to trust me. Although we are enemies on the battlefield, there is no barrier between us personally. Do you know what I wanted to talk to you about?”
Faust replied: “Do you want to talk about the Assyrian Empire and the latest situation on the continent?”
Golier shook his head: “No, that’s not the main thing, I just want to talk about your path and your choices. I have known you for a long time, and how thirsty you are for knowledge in this world, hoping to solve all the problems and change the fate of the kingdom and the world around you. With your years of planning, the Assyrian Empire is now strong and rising, should I not congratulate you for getting what you want?”
Faust did not answer but began to drink. He drank slowly, his lips pressed against the rim of the cup, and sipped slowly, finishing the wine before putting it down and saying: “There’s no need to mock me, just say what you have to say.”
Golier raised his eyes to look directly into Faust’s eyes and asked: “Then answer me directly, is this what you want to see today, is it the world you want to see?”
Faust involuntarily glanced at Naqia’s ethereal form below the mountain and replied in a low, clear voice: “No, the Assyrian Empire today is not what I would like to see.”
Golier continued to ask: “Then can you tell me? What kind of Assyrian Empire would you like to see? There is no need to assume what has already happened, so let’s talk about it from today and just see if it can be done, and if you are willing, say what is in your mind.”
Amon was not at the scene of the meeting between Golier and Faust, for he was watching for any movement from a high mountain surrounded by rain clouds a dozen kilometers away, and the vast valley was under his surveillance. On the table between Golier and Faust was a Shadow-soul Chasing Lamp, and there was a temporary incarnation of Amon in it, like a statue of Amon on an altar, allowing him to hear their conversation and even clearly perceive the slightest change of emotion between their tones.
Golier put the lamp on the table without concealment, and Faust naturally recognized this artifact and knew that it could be used as a control center for a detection magic formation. When the two conversed, they paid attention to the surroundings at all times, but Faust did not expect Amon to use such a method to listen from a faraway place as if he was sitting next to them, as it was a means only the gods have.
Amon was monitoring the movement of this valley between the mountains, but he suddenly felt some tightness in his back, as if he was also being watched. He was already a god, so his body and mind senses were incredible, able to detect the most subtle changes in everything in the world, so what was this feeling which suddenly arose?
He did not need to turn around to “see” clearly, that there was indeed a person who came. He stepped out from the void, appearing not far behind him. He did not sense the tension of hostility from this person, but his powerful aura diffused in the mountain top, causing Amon to find it difficult to even turn around.
Amon slowly turned to face this person, and asked in a solemn voice: “Marduc?”
The one who stepped out of the void was another god who, like Amon, had once explored the power of the origin on his own without the guidance of a divine clan and reached the realm of transcendent immortality. This god was now a more powerful being than Amon, and he was one of the two kings of the Anunnaki divine clan, Marduc, who was worshipped by the Bablon Kingdom.
Marduc had been suffering a string of losses to Enlil’s attacks, and the Bablon Kingdom was at its lowest point recently. Looking at the current situation, shortly, Enlil would likely reunite the entire Anunnaki divine realm, and Marduc’s defeat was irrevocable. But at this moment, this god did not even have a trace of a defeated look and looked radiant instead.
Marduc’s appearance was very young, and his magnificent body was unusually fit, wearing armor with exquisite patterns, revealing the arms and calves, with rigid and powerful muscle lines. Amon was already very tall, but Marduc’s figure was half a head higher than Amon’s, and he had a high nose, deep eye sockets, thick lips, and angular features, looking like a handsome warrior.
Seeing Amon turn to speak, Marduc showed a majestic smile: “Yes, I am Marduc. Congratulations, my friend! Among the gods, you and I share more common points, because we have both had the same experience. I still remember that you called my name in public to challenge me when you were fighting against the Uruk Legion at the Khenmet defense line, and I admire your courage.”
Amon laughed lightly: “Yes, I once said on the battlefield, ‘I demand a duel with Marduc!’, before retracting these words. There are times when people are young and arrogant, and arrogance often comes from ignorance, at least now I would not challenge you.”
Marduc smiled and shook his head. “Don’t be nervous, I was just joking. You must be surprised by my sudden appearance here?”
Amon replied frankly: “To be honest, not too surprised, I knew you would appear sooner or later, just not sure when and where. May I ask what you came to see me about?”
Marduc looked at Amon with interest for a while, but he didn’t seem to see any weakness, so he said with a smile: “Amon, I’m here to offer you help.
Amon grinned. “Thank you for your kindness, but you seem to be in more trouble now than I am.”
Marduc let out a cold snort of contempt. “My troubles? Are you trying to say Enlil?”
Amon shrugged. “Isn’t it? The Kingdom of Bablon has submitted to the Assyrian Empire, and you as the king would not be unaware of the recent events, right? If that is the case, you will lose the source of divine power and your position as the king. I really didn’t expect that you would still look so sprightly.”
Marduc bristled: “So what if that’s true? Do you want me to hide in the divine kingdom and cry like an aggrieved daughter-in-law? Enlil can win on earth, but that will not do much to me. Would you believe me if I told you that I don’t care at all about the position of the king of the Bablon Kingdom?”
Amon shook his head and said: “Whether I believe it or not is meaningless, what’s important is whether you yourself care about it or not. You didn’t just show up today to talk to me about this, right? If you are trying to recruit me into the Anunnaki divine clan, I have already refused.”
Marduc waved his hand very elegantly and said: “No, no, no, joining the Anunnaki divine clan is not a good choice for you, and if I were you, I wouldn’t agree to it. In fact, I wanted to talk to you long ago, but at that time you were not qualified to talk to me about cooperation. As for today, the situation has changed.”
Amon narrowed his eyes and said: “Oh, so you are also waiting for me to become a god? If so, why did you send down an oracle to prevent my people from returning to their homeland in the first place?”
Marduc laughed unconcernedly in the face of Amon’s questioning: “Gods have their thoughts, especially gods like me. No god wants the miners of Duc to return there unless they believe in themselves. I only offered my agreement, and in fact, they went back. Unfortunately, God Amon, your people do not believe in you as a god either. I’m not even sure what kind of dream they made up to believe in that imaginary one that doesn’t exist ……”
Amon interrupted him and said, “That was their own choice, not yours, and your oracle did not stop them from returning to their homeland after all. Today you want to talk to me about cooperation, so who do you want me to deal with?”
Marduc sat down on a mountain rock, waved his hand and pointed to the west, and said: “Why ask? Of course, it’s Enlil! We have a common enemy, so we can totally sit down and have a good chat.”
Amon also sat down, frowned, and asked: “Didn’t you just say it didn’t matter, so why do you want me to help you deal with him?”
Marduc’s expression was lofty as he said: “It’s not that you’re helping me, but we’re helping each other, and in terms of power, it’s more like I’m helping you. I don’t care what victory Enlil achieves, but that doesn’t mean I’ll forgive him, and Enlil will never let you off the hook, just as Sennachi will never let Salem off the hook. Instead of waiting for them to come to us, why don’t we talk about it now – how do we clean them up?”
Marduc was perhaps the most optimistic person Amon had ever met, seemingly unconcerned about the war on earth, indifferent in the face of the dominant battle for the divine realm waged by Enlil. And he knew that Amon wanted to get rid of Sennachi and support a new ruler in the Assyrian Empire, to change its brutal state policy and destroy this militaristic chariot. Marduc came to Amon with another proposal for cooperation – to get rid of Enlil!
His tone was so casual, as if the name Enlil was just a common name, and not the name of the other king of the Anunnaki divine clan, who had already driven him to multiple losses.
He could not say that this idea was not reasonable, as no matter what Enlil did on earth, no matter what victories Assyria and Hittite achieved against the Kingdom of Bablon, if the god himself fell, then the desire to unify the gods of Anunnaki would be nothing but a bubble. In the eyes of Amon, Sennachi’s dream of imperial domination was also the same.
But it was not easy to get rid of Enlil. The domination of Anunnaki’s divine realm was not merely for the sake of fame and glory, it was indeed something that would give him greater power. Furthermore, Enlil was cunning and devious, and he also had the achievement of the Creator, so he had little chance of perishing as long as he didn’t make the mistake of seeking death himself.
Just like Marduc had been forced to retreat by Enlil, Enlil would also hardly have the opportunity to cut down Marduc himself, so the result would just be yet another agreement between the two.
But Marduc also told Amon that according to the oath of the gods in the same divine clan, if Amon took the initiative to challenge Enlil, neither Marduc nor Mourrin could help. But the reverse was not true, and if it was Enlil who took the initiative to challenge Amon, the others could intervene to help Amon.
With Enlil’s guile, if he really decided to go after Amon, he definitely would not give him the chance to find someone to help him, as the fight between gods to eliminate each other is often very violent. Enlil seemed to have no intention of doing so at the moment, since he only needed to achieve victory on earth to force Amon and Marduc to have no foothold, and did not need to do anything himself.
But there is one situation that Enlil would absolutely not tolerate, and that would be Amon sending someone to assassinate Sennachi successfully, completely destroying Enlil’s plan to unify the divine realm of the Anunnaki divine clan. If that happened, Enlil would feel that his biggest mistake was to leave Amon alone. At this moment, if Amon revealed any weaknesses and gave him an opportunity, Enlil would definitely take action.
After hearing this, Amon laughed bitterly and said: “Great God Marduc, I understand what you mean! You want me to be the bait to catch this big fish that is Enlil, but why should I take this risk to help you? As a way of solving problems between gods, what kind of agreement should you and I have?”
Marduc’s expression was full of confidence as if he wasn’t worried that Amon would refuse, and he added unhurriedly: “Of course you will be willing to cooperate with me, for the simple reason that you have enmity with Enlil, and will never compromise with him, and he will never let you go. Enlil just wants to figure you out first completely and wait for the best time to get rid of you.
So you should find a chance to show your strength, without hiding or concealing anything, because you are not his opponent in the first place. In a certain situation, Enlil will strike as soon as possible, because he will feel that continuing to keep you alive is a growing scourge, and your threat has even surpassed mine.”
Amon asked: “Under what circumstances?”
Marduc reached out and pointed a distant finger at the hill in the center of the group of peaks. “That’s Golier and Faust, right? One is the chief honorary patriarch of the Hittite Academy of Magic, the highest-ranking priest of Hittite, while the other is the chief high priest of the Assyrian Empire that no one can replace, the Sage Advisor. The reason why a source of divine power is meaningful lies in the faith of the people. I am quite certain that Golier has already turned his back on the veneration of Enlil.
If Faust agrees to get rid of Sennachi the Great and destroy Enlil’s plan under your persuasion, it also means that he has turned his back on the king that the kingdom believes in. The leader who should be calling his people to believe in the gods on earth has turned his back on the gods, do you think such gods are winners or losers?
That would be a sign of extreme danger. Even if Enlil nominally unified the divine realm, I’m afraid that the true source of divine power is already lost. The root of all this is because of your appearance, and if you were a mortal it would be okay since it would not take long for you to die, but since you are already a true god, he has to get rid of you as soon as possible.”
Amon nodded thoughtfully and said: “It makes sense, I saw the victory of Hittite and Assyria on the battlefield, while you saw the defeat of Enlil in Golier and Faust. …I can help you to get rid of Enlil, but what promise can you give me? And don’t tell me that getting rid of Enlil is in itself help to me.”