The supreme warrior explained, “To put it more precisely, I didn’t realize it when I ascended. Four years ago, I was sent out on a mission into the deep mountains. The mission was to exterminate a tribe of monsters that was attacking the local villages. Before I set out, I was secretly informed that I was being sent alone because a high priest wanted me to disappear forever. I was advised to just abandon the mission and hunt a few beasts somewhere else instead.”
“But still, I went… When I reached the place, I noticed that the situation was indeed very dangerous. The monsters were smarter and more powerful than I thought. They waited outside the village, stopping anyone from going in or out. I struggled to break through the perimeter and enter the village. Then, I saw the villagers… They were helpless. Widows and orphans cried in my embrace. Their fathers, their husbands had been killed by the monsters. They regarded me as the emissary of Mother Isis, their only hope.”
“I prayed in the shabby shrine. The statue of Isis didn’t respond to my prayers, but looked at me quietly. When I closed my eyes, I heard voices arising from my own heart. I asked myself: Why did I take this mission? Why was there such a mission? What did I swear when I joined the guards of the Isis Shrine? I was not here merely because someone had set me up with a dangerous mission. There was something more. When I sorted out all of these questions, my heart was at peace again.”
“That very night, I went outside the village. I defeated the monsters, chased them all the way into the deep mountains and hunted them all down. It took me seven days and seven nights. I did it because it was something that I ought to do. I had sworn an oath when I became a guard of the Shrine, and I knew what my mission was. I did what I was supposed to do and what I wanted to do. I did it for the villagers and also for myself.”
“I was born into a noble family. I had already passed the second awakening when I was an advanced warrior. I could perform some primary magics, so I would often meditate as well. When I returned to the village at night and meditated in the shrine, I suddenly felt a sense of relief. Then, I realized that I was already a supreme warrior. I hadn’t been thinking about it at all because I didn’t expect to ascend so soon. It was a kind of awareness or sudden enlightenment. This is why I said I don’t remember ascending. When I realized that I was a supreme warrior, I already was one.”
“A sense of relief? Would you please tell me more about it?”
Gabriel felt somewhat sorry, “I’m not good with words. I don’t know how to put it more precisely. It was like being both satisfied and relaxed. I say ‘satisfied’, because at that moment, I knew that my quest conflated with my practice, that my faith conflated with my principles, that my mind conflated with my will, that my power conflated with my spirit. It’s a sense of conflation or union. They were all as one. It’s totally different from the feeling of being an advanced warrior. If you have this kind of feeling one day, you will know.”
Amon was lost in deep thought after coming back from Gabriel’s office room. The supreme warrior didn’t know how or why she became a supreme warrior. But she told him what had happened to her when she ascended. It was very important information. Amon had a vague feeling that Gabriel’s breakthrough was very similar to the test of “Faith’s Fusion” that mages talked about. He remembered that before Maria ascended to the seventh level, she was reading the songs of praise.
The test for warriors and the test for mages seemed to converge when coming to the supreme phase. It was not about power, skill or perseverance. The breakthrough was spiritual; it happened in one’s mind. Amon started to question himself: Did his quest conflate with his practice? Did his faith conflate with his principles, his mind with his will, his power with his spirit?
Amon didn’t think so. He understood the basic idea… However, he wasn’t yet completely sure of his quest and principles. It was a problem of experience. It was like painting a picture: If you aren’t sure about what you are going to paint, you won’t be able to put brush to paper and complete it.
In accord with Gabriel’s experience, Amon stopped worrying about how to become a supreme warrior or mage. He simply went back to practicing body arts and magic. After the limit breaking, his bloodline power became so strong that it started to affect the power of nature.
What did this mean? It meant that a warrior could fight against magic directly with body arts. Magic was nothing more than the manipulation of magic power which exists in nature. With bloodline power, warriors could make use of this as well! If Amon ever faced a sheet of flame again, he could simply walk through it without using any magic.
It confirmed the theory of the power of two sides. Magic power and bloodline power were two sides of the same power, and with a deeper understanding of them, the practitioner would finally be able to discover what they had in common.
A fifth-level mage was able to sense the deeper nature of magic power, which was a necessary prerequisite of learning supreme magic. Supreme magic was not only about controlling the magic power that exists in nature, but also about transforming it between different states. A fifth-level mage wasn’t capable of this. Only after breaking his limit would a sixth-level mage be able to transform magic power between different states and perform supreme magic. Then,by practicing supreme magic, he would in turn become even more familiar with the deeper nature of magic power. He would grow to understand the laws of nature that he wasn’t able to comprehend previously.
Amon started with spatial magic. Another mage might choose to start with something easier and with more direct power, such as the elemental magics. Amon was also aware of this. He knew it would be easier to start with the supreme version of whichever magic he was most familiar with. But he still insisted on starting with spatial magic, which he was most curious about.
If he completed the iron staff with the Gods’ Tear, it would probably be as powerful as the Adoratrice’s scepter. But Amon didn’t dare to take out the Gods’ Tear. To prevent any unexpected consequences, he had decided not to bring it out from Osiris’ rib while in Memfis. Thus, the rib was still the most powerful magic staff he had. There was only one problem with the rib: the weight of the objects inside made it unwieldy. With everything hidden inside it, it was just too heavy for him to use as a magic staff. Only by mastering supreme spatial magic could he solve this problem.
A magic artifact containing an independent space was something all mages longed for. It was certainly the most useful artifact Amon could think of. Without it, Amon would have already died several times. Even Crazy’Ole hadn’t expected that Amon would obtain something like Osiris’ rib. He had prepared a spatial artifact for Amon, nevertheless. It was the Ventussalte he had given Amon.
A Ventussalte cost more than two hundred standard parangons. After being processed by a top artificer and connected to a stable independent space, its value would no longer be measured in parangons. Seldom would a mage sell his spatial artifact.
It took Amon three months to gain a basic command of supreme spatial magic – the real spatial magic. He was finally able to open Crazy’Ole’s Ventussalte. Although, as an advanced mage, he was limited to only putting things in it and taking them out.
There was more than one way to use the space inside an artifact. The more the mage knew about spatial magic, the more efficiently he could use the space. Amon couldn’t use all the space inside the Ventussalte, but the space he had access to was big enough for him now.
Having a grasp of supreme spatial magic, he finally understood how spatial artifacts functioned and why there were different ratings for spatial artifacts. A better artificer was able to make full use of the material and create artifacts with a more stable space. They could also add spatial tunnels, which would allow lower-level mages to access and use the space. Crazy’Ole’s Ventussalte was of a higher rating than Nero’s ring, since the ring required a supreme mage to open it while Crazy’Ole’s Ventussalte only required a sixth-level mage who knew spatial magic. Amon was particularly surprised by the exceptionally high rating of Osiris’ rib, because he had managed to open it when he was only a third-level mage.
Another thing that puzzled him was how Crazy’Ole had told him in the messages that a spatial artifact couldn’t contain another one. It was because the space inside an artifact was not stable enough.
But Amon found an exception, which was again the rib. He could put the Ventussalte in and out of the rib with no limit!
He was confused until he read about something similar in the highest-level book-storing room of the Archive. The rib likely belonged to the most valuable class of artifacts in the world – the [Hierofacts] or [Deitifacts], which meant “works done by the gods”. Legends said that all hierofacts were originally created by deities, which gave them inconceivable properties. A hierofact could not only change its size and shape at the user’s will, but also integrate itself into a supreme user’s body. The space inside a hierofact could also be expanded to infinity as long as a supreme user put enough magic power into it.
When he was a third-level mage, Amon had expanded the rib into an invisible boat. It was the rib’s smallest size while being activated. But after he became an advanced mage, he could still only expand the rib to the same size. Perhaps he had to become a supreme mage to fully understand the mechanism behind it.
Having a grasp of supreme spatial magic, he no longer felt the weight of the items inside the rib while carrying it. It was a kind of “let go”. Before, the rib was just a container. Now, when he performed supreme spatial magic, he was able to “communicate” with the artifact and “understand” that the items were stored in an independent space. Thus, the weight of the items in it should be suffered by the space itself. He was simply carrying a key to the space.
Amon had a sudden whim. What if he expanded an independent space directly in the real world, rather than inside a spatial artifact? Could it last stably? Bair had sealed a space for thirty years before Amon opened it again, but that was not an independently created space.
Perhaps only the gods were able to accomplish this. Amon recalled the Anunnaki Underworld. Was it an independently created space in the real world? Amon could only make a guess. It was too early for him to confirm it.
At noon of the next day, Amon learned that he had a visitor waiting outside. Commoners were not allowed to enter the residential area of the Shrine. Fortunately, Amon had his own servants now, and they directly reported it to him. He exited the shrine through a side gate and was surprised to see Metatro hovering on the side of the street.
The Bablonian warrior was already a nobleman. Even while dressed as a commoner, his spirited, hearty demeanor made him stand out. Seeing Amon, ecstasy appeared on his face.
But before he could say anything, Amon rushed to him, dragged him into a lonely alley and asked in a low voice, “Metatro, why are you here? Aren’t you supposed to meet me in Lynk’s tribe? How did you find me here?”
Metatro grabbed his arm and replied, “Oh, my god! Your feats are already being eulogized in Bablon! That’s why I came to see you. As a chief guard of the Isis Shrine, do you still have time to go to Lynk’s tribe?”
Amon was startled, “What feats? What are they saying in Bablon? How do you know about my position? Please tell me in detail…! Oh, we shouldn’t talk here. Where are you staying now?”
“I’m living with Sihathor, the merchant. He has been treated me well!”
Amon was startled once again, “Sihathor! How did you get to know and live with him?”
It was a long story. They walked and talked for a good while before Amon got the whole picture.
Metatro met Sihathor in Leiskkhut’s house, when he went there to return the coach that Amon had borrowed from Leiskkhut.
Previously, after he parted ways with Amon, Metatro went back to Bablon City together with Princess Sissila. He was rewarded with nobility and was granted the title of Lord Metatro. But Princess Sissila told him that it would not be easy to regain the title of his ancestors and have his family manor returned to him. The princess suggested that since he was familiar with the dwarfs in the deep mountains, he could choose to take a secret mission for the kingdom. Once he fulfilled the mission, he would earn enough merit to take back his family title. God Marduc would bless him.
Having been warned by Amon in Arcade, Metatro didn’t involve himself too deeply in this affair. He still accepted the mission, but he didn’t make any excessive promises. He merely said that he would give it a try.
Metatro spent some time in the capital. He bought back his family’s properties and gathered his old servants. Once the family business was on track, he decided to leave. He went west, planning to cross the Euphrate River through the state of Kish again. He went back to Arcade and was welcomed in the town, where he found that the coach that Amon had left at the inn was still there.
Amon had told him that the coach was borrowed from a merchant in Uruk called Leiskkhut. Since the coach was still at the inn, Amon must have never come back. Metatro knew that Amon wouldn’t forget or abandon his promises. He must be delayed. Therefore, Metatro decided to drive the coach to Uruk in Amon’s stead. He could cross the Euphrate River from there as well.
When he reached Uruk, Leiskkhut was busy receiving Sihathor.
Sihathor had gone to Uruk once more. It was his first time travelling to Uruk since he had been attacked by Sebni Abu. He set off from Cape City a few months ago with a caravan of valuable goods, and he hired an advanced warrior this time. He arrived at Uruk safely.
Leiskkhut was happy to see his old friend. He invited him back home to have a drink, and he asked him why he hadn’t come to Uruk for such a long time. Sihathor sighed, “My old friend, thank the fate that granted me the chance to live till today and see you. I was nearly killed on my journey home from Uruk last time!”
In a tipsy tone, Sihathor narrated what he had been through in the desert. His caravan had been attacked by a gang of horrible sandmen. He and Aesop were the only ones who managed to escape the first round of attack. They were in dire straits, but then he was saved by a valiant warrior named Amon, who said that he was also a friend of Leiskkhut.
Sihathor then started to brag about how lucky and wise he was to befriend such a great hero. He told Leiskkhut that Amon was now a sixth-level warrior and would soon become a supreme one, and that Amon had found treasure in the deep mountains together with the Oracle’s staff of the state of Cape. Amon managed to return it to the shrine in Cape City, and he was handsomely rewarded by the governor and the supreme mage there. He even received a reward from the Adoratrice and became an Honored Guardian of the Isis Shrine.
Sihathor continued, “And did you hear about what happened in Memfis during the Hapisidis? Some people actually tried to assassinate the Adoratrice…”
Leiskkhut stopped him and told the servants and slaves to get out. When they were the only two in the room, Leiskkhut whispered to him, “Sihathor, my friend, don’t speak of the assassination in town! It’s a taboo here in Uruk. Keep your mouth shut if someone brings it up, or you might be beaten into a coma!”
Sihathor was shocked, “What does it have to do with Uruk?”
Leiskkhut sighed, “The story has been spreading everywhere. Haven’t you heard anything? Rumor says that the only pair who is both capable and bold enough to assassinate the Adoratrice is our lord Gilgamesh and his chief guard Enkidu. But they are our city’s heroes! The people here consider it an insult to suspect them.”
Sihathor took a long breath, “I get it now… Thanks for warning me. I won’t say a word about it in Uruk.”
Leiskkhut continued, “It’s fine if you talk about it here with me. But how is it related to Amon?”
Sihathor was pleased again, “Oh, that’s the point of the story! My dear friend Amon was the first to notice the assassins and fight against them, stopping the assassination…! Then, he was rewarded by the governor of Memfis and the high priest. He’s a chief guard now!”
Leiskkhut was astonished, “Chief guard? Like the chief guard of the whole Isis Shrine? But there are dozens of supreme warriors in the Shrine…! Wait, you said he stopped the assassination? But rumor says the assassins managed to escape under the pursuit of several supreme mages and supreme warriors. How was he able to confront the assassins?”
Sihathor coughed, “Of course not the chief guard of the whole shrine, that’s Lord Ankh. He’s the chief of the watchmen… which is great as well! I didn’t say he stopped the assassination alone, but he was the first to try to stop it. As my savior and dear friend, his honor is surely mine. You can’t imagine how I was admired there…”
Amon was not only Sihathor’s savior, but also Leiskkhut’s. As far as Leiskkhut knew, Amon was a sorcerer. How was it possible that he became an honor guard in the Isis Shrine?
Unlike Sihathor, Leiskkhut was a man who preferred to keep things to himself. He didn’t tell Sihathor about what had happened on the Euphrate River, nor did he tell him that Amon was a sorcerer.
Sihathor was happily bragging about his experience when they were informed that they had a visitor. A man had come to return a coach to Leiskkhut, on behalf of a Mister Amon. Leiskkhut was surprised. He hadn’t expected that Amon would actually return his coach one day. They hurried out and found Metatro waiting beside the street.
Metatro was a nobleman from the capital. The two merchants welcomed him with great respect.
Sihathor was struck by a cascade of surprises. He was astonished to learn that Amon had sent a noble warrior instead of a slave to return a coach, and then he learnt that Metatro was the hero who had helped save Princess Sissila from the giants!