In Germanic mythology, Odin gave up his right eye for the knowledge of runes.
Myths were myths, after all, and runes were not brought forth by Odin—although the origin of the letters had been lost in the immemorial time. The original runic alphabet had 24 letters and legend had it that by carving them into materials such as wood, stone, or metal, one could gain immense power.
Runic inscriptions were made from runic alphabet, which was widely adopted in medieval Scandinavia and later replaced by Roman script.
"Replaced" simply meant it was no longer used, but not lost. Of course, after so many generations, much knowledge had indeed been lost, leaving behind only the simpler applications.
The augury the woman performed, for instance, was one of the most common practices.
"Creto, tell me, what was it that you sense?"
The bearded man had a deep voice and the expression he used sounded ancient with a chanting rhythm to it. It was strange but pleasant to the ears.
"Ernese, my old friend…" Creto pushes the first letter towards him and replied in that same strange expression, "You of all people should realize what an oak tree stands for."
Ernese was apparently greatly disturbed, saying repeatedly, "No, no Druid should be found on this earth now! That is impossible! Impossible!"
"Calm down. Calm down, Ernese!"
Seeing how emotionally unstable her old friend was, the woman fumbled out a handful of green powder and sprinkled it in the air.
The tiny granules flew towards the man like little stars, soon disappearing into the air. They seemed to have some form of calming effect, for momentarily, the bearded man quieted down and apologized, "I am sorry, but you know what has happened between me and them…"
"Yes! Yes, I do! But I still have to remind you, this world is changing so fast now. Since we ourselves could live to see this day, who is there to guarantee that they would not be brooding in some secret corner?" After that, Creto pushed over the second letter, asking, "What do you think the sun represents?"
"Priests of the Nile? No, they were long buried by the desert… the Vatican, then? Haha, I do not think so—not with their current state…" Ernese murmured to himself and suddenly looked up. "We seem to have ignored the mysterious oriental powers."
"Are you referring to Amaterasu of Nippon?"
"Of course not. I have dealt with the practitioners of that country before. They indeed had some unusual magic spells, but they were not that impressive yet. I think it is pointing at either Chine or Indus. Oh, by the way, I ran into the Chinese delegation this morning and there was a remarkable young man among them. However, I cannot say for sure that this sun is referring to him."
"In that case, I suggest you to get in touch and try to learn more about him… whoever these two people turn out to be, they will be the key of this conference, and could even determine where the future leads us." The woman seemed exhausted after this. Waving at the man, she said, "Now, I need some rest. Do not disturb me unless it is really necessary."
With that, she slowly rose to her feet and dropped a circle of wax on the floor, then chanted the spell.
The circle of wax burst into black flames instantly. Lifting her cape off the floor, the woman worked herself into the circle and her body slumped abruptly.
She had disappeared without a trace.
"Please take some rest. We'll be back in our rooms."
"All right. Don't stay up too late."
Inside the old man's room, the officials finished reporting their work and left. After a physical examination and having the old man take some routine medicine, the doctors left as well.
It was an enormous suite. The leader of the team could not possibly sleep by the window, hence the old man's bedroom was in the middle of the suite with a seperate room on either side, which his assistant and the security team, respectively, took.
The old man read another few files and only went to bed when his eyes started to droop. On the bedside table was a burning incense stick; a streak of smoke was lingering in the air, emanating a fragrance that calmed the mind.
Several hours seemed to have passed after that and it was now deep into the night.
The hotel was as large as an immense manor and was divided into several quarters. By now, the dignitaries of various countries had gone to bed and the courtyards were sparsely lit by dim lights. The place was quiet and looked deserted. However, the guards of all parties—the host country included—were concealed by the darkness.
The old man was asleep when a cacophony of sounds woke him. He checked himself first: all body parts intact and mind clear. Only after that did he begin to focus on the strange noises outside.
Splash… whiz… shew!
"Sir! Sir! Are you all right?"
By then, his assistant and the security team had rushed into the room. Seeing that he was safe, they let out a breath of relief.
"What's going on outside?"
"We have no idea. I heard gunshots and saw a fire breaking out somewhere. Shall we ask Mr. Gu—"
They were still discussing it when Gu Yu's voice rang out. "Don't worry. Come and enjoy the show."
The roomful of people were taken by surprise and all went into the inner room. Gu Yu was sitting on the windowsill while looking into the distance with his long legs dangling outside 1 , apparently in a good mood.
He was watching the direction of the main entrance, which was like a seething caldron by now—red, black, and blue streaks of light entangled, together with running crowd and blaring sirens. Quite a few parties seemed to be engaging in a battle.
They did not know what to make of it at the moment and could only watch with a mixture of anxiety and relief. A couple of minutes later, it was finally confirmed that a small country usurped by extremists had arrived in Bonn determined to create disturbance and make mass casualties among the dignitaries of all other countries; there were even a few cultivators among them. However, before they could carry out their plan, they were annihilated by the transcendent powers of the other countries.
"Well, it seems you'll only have 184 countries for the meeting tomorrow."
Seeing that the noise in the distance was quieting down and the incident almost over, Gu Yu chuckled. "It's quite safe up here. I'm going to look around. See you later!"
"Hey, Mr. Gu!"
One of the officials hurried towards the balcony where Gu Yu was sitting, but only saw a mist disappearing into the vast night sky.
When Gu Yu reached the front entrance, all parties had retreated, leaving behind some police officers to clean up.
Five or six bodies were scattered around the ground, dead due to different causes—some completely charred, some turned into a pile of mush; some had only a skeleton left without any flesh or skin, and some did not have anything left apart from the crumpled clothes...
He let his disapproval run free in his head as he examined the scene. It seemed that with the changing world, many things needed to be upgraded to their 2.0 version.
Security measures, for instance, used to be effective enough with imposing curfews, additional patrolling officers, stricter inspection of suspicious items, etc.
Such measures were no longer enough. However strict the inspection became, there was no way to fend off magical powers with it. There were now people who could change their form, appearance, or even conceal themselves by turning transparent, as well as cast spells or curses from a long distance. If they really wanted to assassinate the head of a country, you would not see them coming.
That aspect alone was enough to raise the status of cultivators to an unprecedented height.
Gu Yu walked past the area and reached a crossroad. He had no idea where was where and decided to pick a random direction.
Nearly all mysterious powers from all over the world had gathered themselves for this conference and those staying with the dignitaries were the official guardians recognized by the governments whose political status was guaranteed. These were all smart people. The most they would do was to try harmless tricks on the entourage like the bearded man did. There was no way they would attack the leaders out right.
However, much unofficial personnel had to be lurking in various corners of Bonn whom, to be honest, Gu Yu was rather eager to meet.
Well, he supposed he was out poaching now.TL/N: long time no see, long legs!