Timewise, Konrad had been gone for less than an hour. However, for Iliana who had to remain still within the nuptial chambers while worrying about what was occurring in the outside, that timeframe was already unbearable.
Konrad said nothing, stepping onto the bed to lie by her side.
"You're treating me like a fool! Did you think I didn't know you've been plotting with my dad? Even if I didn't know the exact nature of your plan, your use of a scapegoat wasn't hard to guess.
But instead of being frank with me, you chose to keep me in the dark from beginning to the end. Am I your partner, yes or no?!"
While Iliana's rage exploded, Konrad remained stoic.
"If I involve you, can you bear the cruelty of my plans?"
"How will you know if you don't try?"
"Good. Then from now on, I swear to never keep you in the dark. If I lie, may heaven…"
But before he could finish his words, Iliana placed her fingers on his lips while shaking her head in disapproval.
"You don't believe in heaven…"
"True…then, may hell engulf me and forever torture my soul."
He then pushed her hand aside and pressed her onto the bed with an overbearing kiss.
"The night is still young. Beautiful, we have a lot of consummation and dual cultivation to do."
They then abandoned one another to a night of soul-stirring passion.
Meanwhile, Olrich had carried Elmar back to the imperial palace, and tossed him onto the ground…
…before smacking him across the cheeks.
"Useless, foolish, waste!"
He roared while grabbing Elmar by the neck and hauling him up.
"Have you forgotten all my teachings? In the imperial family, the thing you should love the least is, a brother! Today, Holger may be obedient, but if his cultivation one day catches up to yours, and he possesses the means to meet you as an equal, who's to say he won't threaten your throne?
Therefore, you can use him, reward him, show him goodwill and outward trust, but under no circumstance should you forget that he's nothing more than a tool for your rise.
Should the need arise, immediately discard him. That is the proper way!"
Olrich barked while squeezing Elmar's, neck.
"But you…not content on showing him excessive care, you've also allowed him to become a weakness that others have exploited to strike back at you!"
How could Olrich not realize that the ploy was intended to use Holger's life to force Elmar down? The other party had thoroughly analyzed his personality and knew well what choice that heir of his would make at the critical juncture.
Not only did he know it, but so did Elmar. However, he had no regret.
"For this Crown Prince title, I've already given up and betrayed my beloved. Now you want to do the same to my little brother, born of the same mother. Someone I personally raised and nurtured from the cradle. I'm sorry, I cannot."
Another blow struck Elmar's cheek, sending him spiraling against the wall. His words didn't sit well with Olrich who felt like he was being derided for his past deeds.
"All hear my decree! The crown prince, Elmar von Jurgen, and the fifth prince, Holger von Jurgen are guilty of Anselm Kracht's murder!
For such a pair of callous wolves to have risen from my children, as father, I am disheartened, and as emperor, I cannot show favoritism. All must be punished for their wrongdoings!
The assassin will be executed, Holger's cultivation destroyed and demoted to commoner rank. As for the crown prince, effective immediately, he's demoted to ordinary prince and will be imprisoned in the reflection hall to cultivate virtue alongside his brother!"
The sentence not only spread throughout the imperial palace but also reached every corner of the Holy Flame City, announcing Anselm's death and the von Jurgen princes' disgrace.
Imperial guards were dispatched to carry out the sentence. Holger's cultivation was destroyed, and alongside Elmar, he became a prisoner of the Reflection Hall.
The guard captain was captured and locked in a jail cell. But when the time came for execution…he was nowhere to be found.
When the news reached him, Olrich almost spat blood.
Meanwhile, Nils who'd been kneeling as per Olrich's orders had just heard the sentence.
"Anselm…dead? Killed by…them? No…I don't believe it! He can't be! Im-impossible!"
Immediately, she stood up, left confinement, and shot toward Olrich.
Hours flew by in a flash, and dawn soon announced itself. Konrad stood up, ready to give his last orders before returning to the imperial palace.
There weren't many preparations left to do. Alongside Wolfgang, Konrad drafted the plans and set aside the resources for both the Kracht Merchant House and the Black-Market Chamber of Commerce.
And by the time the sun rose, he was ready to go. However, he wasn't leaving alone.
Iliana, Daphne, and Zamira all hid within the space mansion to come alongside him. Besides them, Anselm was also hiding within the space mansion, and getting accustomed to his new high-level Transcendent Knight body.
Now, Konrad and Wolfgang were meeting within the main hall for farewells.
"Father-in-law, past today, you probably won't see me for one or two months. Sad?"
"Sad? This is the happiest day of my life. Please go away as soon as possible!
My only regret is that my daughter is unfilial and would rather stay within your harem than keep her father company!
Arrgh, the sorrow of raising a daughter!"
Wolfgang proclaimed with dramatic flair.
"You should not slack off. When we meet again, you should at least be a high-level Semi-Saints. Otherwise, I won't spare you."
With that said, Konrad activated his Invisibility Skill and left for the imperial palace.
With the empress' token, he could return in a frank and upright manner. However, he feared people monitoring movements from the Kracht mansion see him exit. Therefore, only when he approached the palace's gates, did he dispel his invisibility.
He then presented his palace token to the guards, and stepped back inside the city like imperial palace, heading straight toward the inner court where the harem resided.