"Please don't kill me! Please!"
"We will join you! We will!"
"I will persuade our leader as soon as I go back. Please spare my life!"
"Humph! You just had to choose the hard way! What a waste of my precious time! Don't act as if you're forced into this. There is no way your country can afford developing the mysterious power on your own, so you're better off attached to us. In that way, at least you'll get the help you need from us."
Inside a small village, a senior sorcerer of AA had crushed the joint forces of three mages of a small country without breaking a sweat.
With its population of under a million, it was nearly a miracle that the country could have mages of its own. Had it not been for a mutated forest in its territory, Britannia would not have been bothered to make this effort.
The AA sorcerer waved his hand at two of the mages, releasing two balls of fire, burning the latter into ashes. He then turned to the sole survivor. "You'll be in charge of your delegation from now on. We'll be in touch."
With that, he put his hat back on, picked up his walking stick, and soon disappeared into the end of the alley with the click-clack of his shiny leather shoes.
It was like the old man said before the conference: what happened inside and outside the conference room affected one another.
All the participating countries were competing chiefly with their mysterious powers; the traditional military forces only came next. Even those countries that used to be superpowers, without their own capable mages or sorcerers, were falling off the wagon of this new wave of global development and were bound to be eliminated.
Hence, what was happening right now was that all traditional superpowers lacking transcendent talents were seeking cooperative partners, whereas the smaller/weaker but with enough inheritance in that aspect were either waiting for the highest bidder or forming up alliances.
As someone blessed with both, Britannia was as proud as the only rooster in the hennery. Once more, it was depicted as the happy saboteur of Europe, or even the entire world.
During the past seven days of the conference, it was persistent in publicly lobbying for the establishment of a European alliance of mysterious powers and its domestic magic societies had also come out in full force, doing all they could outside the conference room, alternating between intimidation and bribery.
Apart from Germani, Gual, and Viking—which were under the wings of their senior members of the magic community and whom they dared not provoke recklessly—even Sicily, which was practically the front yard of the Vatican, almost could not stay out of their harassment.
It was simply out of line! Preposterous!
Everyone was disgusted by the deeds of this single country, but was at the same time surprised and baffled. They were indeed quite powerful in that aspect, but not to the point where they could look down upon all other countries in the world. What on earth gave them this confidence?
As for Gu Yu's home team, their general policy had been clear all along: cooperate with the stronger ones and befriend the weaker ones.
With the global impact and the trust the country had gained over the past ninety years, the delegation led by the old man was able to stand out as one of the dominant voices. Now that they were able to set up friendly relationship with the US and European delegations, they were showing a possibility of establishing another alliance excluding Britannia.
Needless to say, with neutral countries such as Germani sitting on the fence, the leaders of the two potential alliances had become rivals.
The cottage, the secret chamber.
Gu Yu, Ernese, and the other three—Andrea included—were invited here again to witness the birth, or destruction, of the Homunculus.
Right now, the six were standing around the table as Erhard carefully took out the flask and injected the last dose of fresh blood. After that, it was time to wait for the miracle.
Gu Yu was greatly intrigued by this thing and was able to obtain its ingredients by exchanging some of his oriental secret knowledge.
Human sperm and various herbs were to be put inside a flask first, the outer layer of which was to be stuffed with horse manure—its fermentation would maintain the temperature of the flask. In the next forty weeks, the inner layer of the flask had to be kept warm while fresh blood was added in regularly. In thirty days, a transparent human-shaped object would appear inside the flask. It would have the appearance of a human child, only that it would be much smaller in size.
The key of the ingredients were the herbs, especially a plant called mandrake.
It sprouted from the sperm of hanged men dug out by a black dog before the dawn of a Friday. It was then to be washed clean and raised with milk, honey, and fresh blood.
The use of sperm did not surprise Gu Yu, for it was not uncommon in the occidental magic community. However, the sperm of a hanged man was rather peculiar.
According to Erhard, it was produced by the last ejaculation before a man died.
Now, that was something one did not hear every day!
The last ejaculation before death… that almost sounded heroically tragic—as if all the miserable single souls out there were shown the end of their universe.
Enough with the sidetracking. After Erhard poured the blood in, the tiny figure was still turning with the flask. The old man had prepared plenty of alchemy powder beforehand and was now sprinkling it over the flask in handfuls while chanting a spell.
Finally, after he had removed all glass pipes from the sphere of the flask, the little figure stopped turning. The next second, the index finger of its right hand moved a little, then its body gave a slight shiver. After that, its eyes snapped open.
Andrea could not help but marvel at what she saw, her pretty green eyes staring at the little figure as if she had been pulled into its eyes.
Gu Yu was also carefully sensing it. Despite the lack of any energy fluctuation from the thing, it gave him the feeling of something extremely dangerous.
There were no pupils in those eyes apart from a blackness as still as the dead of night and as undisturbed as the sea after dark, beneath which was the endless desire and struggle.
In them was innocence, wisdom, sympathy, indifference, evil, taunt, temptation… as if all human emotions were concentrated in its eyes.
"It is the perfect creation!"
"God, I think it can see through everything. I feel naked in its presence!"
The four elders were all admiring it in low voices and Erhard was shaking with his uncontrollable excitement. In ancient Germanic, he asked, "You, you are… oh, no, what do you see? Tell me, what do you see?"
The little figure's head turned slightly, apparently comprehending the question. However, it gave no reply; instead, a strange and terrifying smile crept up its face.
Immediately after that, it closed its eyes and its flesh began to shrivel at an observable speed. Its tiny body kept shrinking and shrinking further… until it was a wizened ball of gray flesh.
"No, you can't disappear like this! Tell me the way to eternal life and the ultimate truth! No! No!"
Erhard rushed to the table and grabbed the flask into his arms, shaking everything on the table.
"Hey, calm down!"
Seeing this, Gu Yu patted the old man, activating both his spiritual essence and conjuring skill. Erhard shuddered and stood there dazed for a moment before the contorted muscle on his face slowly relaxed.
"Old friend, you should have foreseen this. It would never be born into this world—not really." Ernese sighed.
"No, not to this world of men. It doesn't belong here," said Marianne.
"Maybe it was the creation closest to eternal life, to truth, and to the origin of the universe. Because of that, it chose to destroy itself," said Cohen.
Andrea didn't really know what they were talking about and kept her silence again.
A moment later, the six of them returned to the fireplace while Erhard lay down on a settee. He only settled his mind after a large cup of hot beverage.
He let out a long breath, as if trying to drive away all the irritation from earlier. Only then did he turn to Gu Yu, asking, "By the way, I sensed something different in you ever since you walked in today. Something is palpitating inside you. Has something happened?"
"It's nothing. I was hitting a bottleneck and couldn't break through. It was thanks to Cohen—he has brought me something like a revelation. My current status, well, I can't really explain it, either…"
Gu Yu's energy had always felt reserved, but it was now brimming out. His entire body was like a sphere of light, emanating a fierce, jumbled, and strange aura.
He was mobile and static, present and absent, unrestrained and controlled, happy and sad—all these polarized qualities were fastened onto him simultaneously.
And these still kept rising, as if looking for a window to break through. Gu Yu now was a powder keg with its fuse ignited; he was ready to blow off at any moment.
He knew perfectly of what was happening: the world view of Kabbalah had shaken him so much that he was able to fill in the missing piece of his upgrade requirement.
Therefore, he had been hesitating. Should he cut the trip short and go back home, or should he just find a secluded place in Bonn for a few days?"
They finished another nightlong talk.
It was the early morning of the eighth day and Gu Yu was walking back to town with Andrea. He did not ask, but from the look of it, Wicca had been approached by his own government and they were in the initial state of making contact.
"I heard that Master Erhard had covered half the city in his magic circle. I don't think I'll be able to achieve a tenth of what he could in my lifetime."
Andrea's high heels click-clacked on the road, drawing attention to her perfect ankles and the beautiful lines of her calves. That part of her body alone was enough to drive men crazy.
"I prefer these magic spots. They're like the infrastructure of a transcendant society. With them, a new social system can totally be set up."
Gu Yu acted as if she had no legs at all. Instead, he tapped a telegraph pole by the side of the road, which made a popping sound of fluctuation.
The so-called magic spots were a little like Platform 9 ¾; they were connected by triggering devices and could cover a certain area.
That carriage, for instance, could be summoned at a magic spot, from where it would take one to other magic spots. Mages could also use them to contact one another, communicate, and deliver things.
This was something Gu Yu had been considering as well. He liked its convenience and wished they could come up with something like this back home.
"All right, this is your place. See you."
They soon arrived at her building. Andrea did not seem to feel the chill of the morning at all. Wrapped in her tight, thin little black dress, she readily twisted her body into a perfect "S", chuckling, "You're sure you don't wanna come up? Last chance."
"Stop hitting on me already. I have a girlfriend." Gu Yu felt his temple throbbing.
"So what? She's not here and I don't mind."
The blinking green eyes could have drowned any ordinary man.
"You won't understand. All right, go home!" Gu Yu waved his goodbye.
"Teehee, ok. I'm going back home tomorrow. See you around."
After that, Andrea strutted back upstairs while Gu Yu shook his head and headed back along a small street.
It was in the small hours and there were barely any people and vehicles around; the street looked deserted. Winter here in Bonn was quite cold. Trees on both sides of the street were coated with frost and the dangling branches had a lonely kind of beauty to them.
He halted all of a sudden and frowned.
That feeling inside was getting stronger and he could barely control it… damn it, as the first Human Immortal after centuries, he had only himself for consultation. 'It sucks!'
He unknowingly looked towards the south beyond the city, where the indistinctive grayish white mountains sprinkled with green stretched out into the distance. It was a place called Siebengebirge in the suburbs of Bonn and the closest place he could find right now for seclusion.
He was about to notify the four elderly when he paused again. A demonically charming smile crept up his face, which was such a rare picture.
"I was going to stay away from all of this, but you just have to hand yourself to me. Blame yourselves, then!"