Translator, Editor and Proofread: theunfetteredsalmon
That evening, the group took a night’s rest on the land of Duc. Amon and Metatro discussed another purpose of their trip, which was to bring Lynk and his tribesmen here to establish a settlement. After all, the cave-dwellers lived high up in the mountains, where there was no suitable land for crop cultivation and hunting proves to be far more dangerous.
Since the flood, many roads in the mountains have been cut off. Many wild animals disappeared, and a few other tribes of cave-dwellers were wiped out. Lynk’s tribe is already struggling. If the flood hadn’t let them capture as many beasts as they had and did not know how to make meat jerky, the tribe would be destroyed by now. Lynk led his people to catch most of the animals, furthering the lifespan of the tribe.
In fact, Lynk has always had an idea to lead his tribesmen out of the mountains and caves to seek fertile land to settle down on. Now, the opportunity had arrived. Metatro was thinking long-term. He said to Amon, “You said this land belongs to the residents of Duc town, yet you want Lynk’s tribe to construct villages here. Will there be no conflict between the two groups of people?”
Amon answered, “I’ve already considered this possibility, so you don’t have to worry about it. Duc had farmland and mines outside of the town. There are deeds to check. There used to be more than two thousand people living here, but now only fewer than a hundred are still alive. Their land will still belong to them and Lynk’s tribe will not occupy them. The fertile land that emerged from the water is much larger than that of the original town of Duc. Lynk’s tribe can cultivate and reproduce for generations.
Metatro narrowed his eyes and said, “Many people will come here over time. It won’t be easy to settle down in the first place, so it would make sense for someone to set up a village that can act as shelter. Monsters around here run rampant. Unity will be vital to survival.”
Amon nodded in agreement. “Monsters are not the only threat. As the flood recedes, more fertile land will be revealed; this place will be large enough to accommodate millions of people. I’m afraid that the large nations will contest their territory in this land. There will certainly be disputes. In any case, my people will just build their homes. Metatro, I have a task for you. When Lynk and his tribe come here, you should help him train warriors, build weapons and construct walls. They’re some of the best craftsmen.”
When the sun rose the next day, Amon set out again with Schrodinger in his arms, crossing even more swampland and into the deep mountain jungles between Duc and the Euphrate river, just like when he first left Duc. Metatro persuaded, “Won’t you stay in your hometown for a few more days?”
“I’ve come here and will be back again for the nostalgia, at least,” answered Amon somberly.
Because of the flood, many roads that used to exist had vanished. On much of the land, a long barrier lake formed between the two mountains. Amon and Metatro alternately took mountain and water paths and finally reached the mountain plateau where Lynk and his tribe lived.
When they appeared at the entrance to the tribe of cave-dwellers, they were met with shock and hysteria. The entire tribe was greeted by the news. Everyone knelt down as if they were acknowledging the arrival of a god. Metatro shyly hid aside but Schrodinger squatted generously to accept the tribesmen’s respect.
Lynk ran out of his house with no pants on. He separated the crowd and grabbed Amon’s sleeve and exclaimed, “God Amon! You’re back with us at last… everyone has been looking forward to seeing you again!”
That night, just outside the large cave where the bonfire burned, the tribe held a carnival just as they did in the past. Amon and Lynk discussed the relocation of the tribe and the cave-dwellers readily agreed to pack up and leave the next day. Amon told Lynk not to worry and to take two months to prepare for their migration. Metatro was staying to recuperate his strength.
When Lynk heard that Metatro had become a fifth-level mage and warrior, he proudly claimed, “Seems like we’re the same. You’ve been around Amon, yet you’re not ahead of me in progress.”
Amon laughed and said, “Is it? You will understand Metatro’s situation soon enough. You haven’t forgotten the effort required.”
Lynk answered, “Of course. Since your departure, I’ve trained without interruption.”
Amon nodded satisfactorily. “That’s good. You’ll encounter a test soon. How is El Mar? I heard that you can’t find much challenge to practise on in the mountains, so you often practise from El Mar.”
Lynk looked embarrassed. He quietly responded, “Well, I am a little stronger than El Mar, but he has the help of four other Ironbacks…”
Amon laughed. “It’s alright, I understand. You have not taken any shortcuts. I gave you a task to practise with El Mar in the past… I have a different task for you now. I’d like you to teach it to write just like how I taught you.”
“What?!” cried Lynk, mouth wide open. “Teach El Mar to write? Ironbacks can write?”
Metatro slapped Lynk. “What can’t we do? We met the Scorpion King in the desert and he could shapeshift into a human and even speak like one. Beside him were two female humanoid scorpions, and they could speak too. You just haven’t seen it! They shapeshifted without wearing clothes. Their figures…”
Amon interrupted Metatro, “El Mar is intelligent. You are not its opponent, which means that it remembers what I taught it. It must be practising in its own way. If it can learn to write, it may be yet another Scorpion King in the future. It could be a guardian to the people.”
Lynk asked, “You met the Scorpion King? Life outside the mountains sounds really interesting. You must tell me all about it!”
Amon patted him on the shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, let Metatro tell you slowly. For now, I want to teach both of you something new, focusing specifically on the creation of weapons. The strength of both sides of power cannot rely on foreign objects too much. It’s not your own power and may even lead to obsession and greed but the process of artifice can be discipline for your will.”
Amon was living with the tribe once again. After advancing to a supreme sorcerer and warrior, he received plenty of new insights on the two sides of power. He provided unreserved assistance to Metatro and Lynk while focusing on the processing and refining of artefacts and its methods. Some artefacts could not be built yet, but there is always experimentation and Amon also made weapons by his own hand.
The abnormally tough back armour of the giant scorpion could be made into scales and further processed with magic. It can resist not only weapon chopping but also absorb and transform the impact energy. It was a good defence device. The phosphorus Amon obtained from the two-headed serpent, with intense magical processing, can also maintain its strength and resist magic damage.
The phosphorus can not only be made into armour scales as well, but it also has a prominent spur on the middle of its fan-shaped scales. By flattening the edges of the scales, the bone spur can be made into an incredibly sharp arrowhead. The tail needle of the scorpions is another ingredient in fletching the arrows, adding a highly poisonous effect to them. Although the poison retained in the tail needles cannot be used repeatedly, it is considered powerful enough.
Amon also collected the spine and ribs of the two-headed snake. The ribs can be processed into arched ridges and the spine can be used to make weapon handles. These bones can also be used to craft staffs, but that is much more difficult.
The staffs must be processed with living materials such as walnut cores which may take hundreds of years to grow. The walnut cores are some of the most popular materials for staffs. The bones of the two-headed monsters are even rarer and obviously cannot be ordinarily found without exposing oneself to immense danger. Amon carefully studied his iron stick only to find that it was also processed by Crazy’Ole. There was a very fine growth pattern within the iron material, allowing it to be used both as a weapon and a staff.
Amon was unable to create something like that. His skill is far from the best artificers on the continent, and Lynk and Metatro were even worse at it.
Metatro was still recovering strength. Lynk was the first to try to create artefacts, starting with the simplest scorpion shell scales. It’s not difficult to make scales out of the shell as long as one had enough patience, but it’s not easy to use magic to do so.
Lynk destroyed almost half of his chunk of the carapace. It took a month for him to build the perfect scale from the shell. With such astonishing waste and extravagance, any man would bleed in their heart witnessing this, but Amon does not care as much. He told Lynk that this was a necessary process. Any outstanding artificer would have used materials equally as valuable to get to where they are. With the improvement in magic skill and technique, the artificer will naturally improve at creating artefacts.
Amon’s most precious materials were the eight fangs and two snake strings. He decided to use them himself. Of the eight fangs, four were long and the other four were short. Amon started simple, but he destroyed two short fangs in the process while making two crescent blades with the other two. The two blades were light, sharp and can function similarly to a magic wand or staff. They can assist in performing magic on the battlefield and naturally had the spiritual shock effect of the serpent’s roar.
He gave his disciples the blades, which were both beautiful and useful. They were much better than a warrior’s sword.
Then, Amon used the four long fangs to make the limbs of bows. Although he was exceptionally careful, he destroyed one fang. He also damaged some of the strings he had when he was weaving bowstrings. The three short bowstrings he made were less than ten feet in length in total, but he had used more than thirty feet in snake string.
The three bows Amon made were so powerful that ordinary people wouldn’t be able to pull them back. They are also a kind of a magic artefact, which meant that the bows can assist in the development of water magic. Water could be condensed into magical arrows from thin air. This meant that the bows could also be used by mages. Of course, each Metatro, Lynk and Amon equipped one bow. They were also given arrows made of the bone spurs in the snake phosphorus chunks.
Amon had personally crafted two crescented machetes, three bows and a batch of arrows. After that, he handed all the remaining materials to Lynk to use. Whatever Lynk wanted to use, he could. They would just be taken as practice.
More than a month passed and Metatro had finally fully recovered. He was surprised to find that his strength had grown, so he asked Amon what was going on. “Congratulations,” Amon said. “You have achieved the sixth level of both sides. You can now practise supreme magic and body arts. I will teach you some before I leave.”
Metatro was overjoyed at the news of his strength increase. Lynk, on the other hand, was so envious that he grabbed Amon’s sleeve and asked, “Amon, when will I be able to learn supreme magic?”
Amon smiled and said, “It’ll be soon, once you overcome an overwhelming obstacle. It’ll not be easy leading the migration of your entire tribe. Once you feel it coming, you’ll just have to make sure that you hold on. How goes El Mar’s studies? I’d like to see it today.”
Lynk nodded. “It’s coming fast, it knows how to write its own name now!”
That afternoon, the three left the village to visit El Mar and the other Ironbacks. Schrodinger seemed interested in this matter, so he trotted all the way along to watch the bustle. When they arrived at the pool, Amon called out for El Mar. The Ironback jumped up and shook its tail intimately, splashing water on a few people. The other four Ironbacks also emerged, watching Amon in awe.
Amon laughed and said, “El Mar, I heard you know how to write your name now! You are no longer an ordinary king of beasts. You now know the wisdom of the world. Write it to me quickly!”
El Mar nodded obediently and reached out its forepaw and actually wrote on the ground. Schrodinger looked on with his eyes wide open, but he suddenly stopped and turned his head back. Metatro was also grinning.
Amon furrowed his eyebrows, looking confused. He asked Lynk, “How did you teach it? Why did it write its name in reverse?”
Lynk answered embarrassingly, “I think I taught it right. Perhaps its eyes look at things differently from me.”
Amon was dumbfounded for a little while before he poked Lynk and probed, “Were you standing opposite to him when you were teaching him?”
Lynk palmed his own face and said, “Yes, I thought of him as a human being… I didn’t expect him to be this stupid!”
Amon glared at him. “El Mar is not stupid, you see how well it learns! Truth be told, I can’t blame you. There is very little opportunity to practise writing in these mountains. After all, no experience is no experience.”
“I’d like everyone to excuse us, I want to speak to El Mar alone.”
Lynk and Metatro left to wait on the mountain path just outside. After a little while, Amon appeared with Schrodinger and said to Metatro, “Since you have achieved the sixth-level in your powers, go and test your strength against El Mar. I told it not to hold back.”
Metatro walked back in and soon, roars came from deep in the woods. Splashes of magic and broken branches came flying out from the pool’s direction. The period of a quick lunch passes and the sounds died down. Metatro came out of the woods in great embarrassment.
Amon smiled and asked, “Well? Who won?”
Metatro lowered his head and answered, “Well, if I were only fighting El Mar, I suppose I’m a little better than him but with all the Ironbacks combined, they overpowered me.”
Amon frowned. “That sounds familiar. How is it that your result was exactly the same as Lynk’s?”
Lynk walked to stand beside Metatro. He then laughed and exclaimed, “The answer is simple… we learned from the same teacher!”
Amon glared at Lynk again. “El Mar is stronger than both of you, don’t you feel ashamed? Seems like it has made great progress in its power and will play an important role in the ethnic migration in the near future. We are leaving in half a month. Order your tribesmen to begin packing quickly and only take things we will need.”
Just as Amon and Metatro arrived in Duc, Warret and Raphael arrived at Cape City and Uruk City respectively. Since traffic was cut off by the floods, the two city-states finally received for the first time the envoys of Syah City in the Kingdom of Hittite. They came to convey the regards of the great Golier and were in turn politely received.
They both held confidential letters and declared that they could only be opened and read by the lords of the cities. The letters brought unexpected troubles to the envoys.
After reading Golier’s confidential letter, Lord Rod Drick of Cape sat alone in his room for half the day. He did not summon any subordinates, nor did he consult Judah Fayol. He only invited Aristotle, someone he considered his most trusted aide. Rod Drick handed the letter over to Aristotle and asked, “I received a letter and I don’t know what to do with it. Should I hand it over to the Pharoah along with the messenger, or should I pretend that I haven’t read it?”
Aristotle read the letter and remained silent. Rod Drick could not help but add, “You have always been my most trusted friend so I chose to discuss it with you. I’d like to hear your opinion.”
Aristotle murmured, “It’s difficult to openly discuss such a letter. Golier does not want to be your enemy. The supreme mage merely told you what he foresaw and put forward a proposal.”
Rod Drick sighed. “I have heard something about what is going to happen in Marduc but I am just the lord of Cape. Although I do not what to witness it, I cannot resolve disputes between nations.”
Aristotle said, “Golier wants to stop it, hence he is proposing this. I am but a distant person. From the perspective of a bystander, the supreme mage’s compassion is admirable. Whether or not he can succeed is another matter entirely. At least he wants to do it.”
Rod Drick smiled bitterly. “I cannot think of his suggestion. I don’t even want people to know that I’ve read it, but I also do not want to make a fuss about it. What should I do?”
Aristotle thought for a moment and answered bitterly, “Golier foresees the upcoming war between Hittite and Egypt, which neither you nor he can prevent. You can consider his advice again after the war, when the situation may change. For now, you don’t have to give a response.”