While Konrad's "fleshly" cultivation carried on, house Kracht overflowed with bluster, and the Holy Flame city stirred. The invitations sent by the Kracht took too many by surprise, but the astute quickly realized that this was nothing but a desperate measure to oppose the impending Kracht assets absorption by the imperial family.
With that in mind, attending the wedding carried many implications.
"If we don't attend, we offend house Kracht. If we attend, we offend the imperial family. Weighing the pros and cons, who dares show up? Only a fool would join those troubled waters."
Although Wolfgang was known as the mightiest Uradel count, he was, after all, just a count. Only a scant few supposed his cultivation had already broken through to the Semi-Holy Rank. And even if it did, so what?
To say nothing of a new Semi-Saint, even if it were for high-level Semi-Saints such as the twelve dukes, those nobles wouldn't risk offending the imperial family.
Only the three sovereign prince houses could command such prestige. Therefore, all those who realized the implications chose to lock their doors and either feign cultivation problems or reject with silence!
In any case, with such short notice, the Kracht couldn't blame anyone for the situation.
Still, many of the less perceptive nobles were eager to show themselves to build connections.
Meanwhile, within the space mansion, as the harem ladies indulged in sex-induced torpor, Konrad silently cultivated.
"The Transcendent Rank is the realm where true talents show their worth. Before it, cultivation speed is defined by how fast you can refine spiritual energy. However, within it, it's about meridian unlocking speed, condensing speed, quantity, and quality."
At the Transcendent level, the martial path focused on meridians and the spiritual path on soul expansion.
Without a master to guide him, starting with the Transcendent Rank, Konrad's cultivation would have been incomparably arduous. Thankfully, he could dive into the minds of servants such as Wolfgang and the other Semi-Saints to glean information.
If need be, the Flame Mark would also provide him with guidance.
To break through each Transcendent Knight level required unlocking or condensing at least three meridians then completing one Transformation.
However, if by the ninth step Transcendent Knight Rank a cultivator only had twenty-seven meridians, unless they were of high grades, the future prospects were inexistent.
The meridian ranks were from lowest to highest:
- Natal Meridians
- Concealed Meridians
- Ethereal Meridians
- Supreme Meridians
Naturally, the higher the grade, the more difficult to condense. Besides Natal and Concealed Meridians, the others weren't initially present within the body and were only obtainable through condensation.
The quantity of Natal and Concealed Meridians within a cultivator was fixed and chiefly depended on the bloodline level.
One of the reasons why humans were so looked down upon in the Holy continent was that the average human was born with twelve Natal Meridians, whereas even the average beast noble was born with sixteen.
Most Paragon Spirits were born with twenty-five Natal Meridians and five Concealed Meridians.
As for the crown prince and Nils, they both had thirty-six Natal Meridians and twelve Concealed Meridians. Different meridians came with varying levels of Transcendent Force.
With a god's blood flowing within his veins, Konrad didn't doubt his innate meridians number would be astonishing.
After all, according to the Flame Marks' endless praises, even among the infernal gods, his father was a mighty figure. How could his blood not yield astonishing results?
However, as he rotated his spiritual energy and browsed through his inner body, the results were disappointing.
"1, 2, 3…36…1, 2…16."
He could count thirty-six locked Natal Meridians and sixteen Concealed Meridians. Such numbers were definitely at the summit of the Holy Continent in terms of raw talent, but as a god's son, didn't this seem too…disappointing?
But as Konrad was about to curse the worthlessness of his father's blood, the Flame Marks' voice echoed.
"You are doing this the wrong way. The meridians you're currently browsing through only come from your mother's bloodline. What you call -Natal- and -Concealed- Meridians, we call Mortal Meridians. They don't exist within a god's body and lineage."
Hearing the Flame Mark's words, Konrad's eyes shone.
"Gods' children have a certain number of God Meridians at birth. They are more potent than Supreme Meridians and grant you a special Transcendent Force.
They will be your foundation to run amok within this world. At the same time, if you can't make up for your shortcomings, they will be the reason for your downfall within the Infernal Realm.
After all, at the end of the day, only your father is a god. In front of a true God-Son, you may tremendously suffer."
The Flame Mark's warning was by no means startling. Konrad wasn't conceited enough to believe himself already comparable to the top talents of the higher realms. However, a question still trotted within his mind.
"I was wondering. As an infernal king and an incubus god, that father of mine must have many children, right?"
"Actually, he has the least children among the four kings of hell. Nine in total, three of which were born in the last three centuries of human women.
The first six all reside within the southern domain's imperial palace and are all true God-Children. Most members of house Talroth descend from those six.
Even among gods, their cultivation is earthshaking and their forces innumerable. If you meet them in the future, you should behave like a good little brother to avoid disgrace. Especially the eldest, he's more than a million years old and stands at the pinnacle of the infernal realm.
Born of two of the strongest gods in the history of hell, his status is both sensitive and inviolable. Moreover, he possessed thirty-six God-Meridians at birth, and the thing he likes the least is…half-breeds."
Konrad naturally had no interest in becoming a "good little brother" it would already be considered lenient if he didn't take their women.
"The lord of all lust demons, a millions of years old monster, only has…nine children?"
"Nature must protect itself. The fertility rate of incubi and succubi is lower than the average demon bloodline and worsens at higher bloodline levels. To say nothing of the fact they don't particularly enjoy having children. Usually, when determined to have children, they resort to fertility rituals.
With his majesty's bloodline level, he needs both the power generated by a contract and a fertility ritual to guarantee impregnation.
Comparatively, there are gods with more than a thousand kids…
In any case, I will teach you a set of mnemonics to awaken your God Meridians. Follow my instructions to the letter."
With the Flame-Mark guiding him, Konrad recited the mnemonics while revolving his spiritual energy.
It was as if a barrier within his body imploded, revealing a hidden world where eighteen scattered purple orbs resided. Konrad recognized them as his God-Meridians.
"If I relied on them alone, I could only reach the fifth step Transcendent Knight Rank."
Of course, Konrad's fifth step would never have rivals within the Ancient Crystal World. However, it was by far insufficient.
The total number of unlocked and condensed meridians could never exceed one-hundred-eight. Therefore, choosing what to unlock, what to condense, and what to give up early on was of paramount importance. Konrad wanted the mightiest foundation possible.
Of course, he wouldn't waste time unlocking Natal Meridians.
"If I want to build a supreme foundation, I should unlock only my God-Meridians and condense ninety-six Supreme Meridians. However…"
If doing so was that simple, supreme foundations would be all over the world. Even if he possessed enough talent, time would become an issue. The more meridians, the more time required. Many would spend decades trying to condense a single meridian.
Konrad closed his eyes and revolved his Hundred Flowers Scripture alongside all the spiritual energy he'd accumulated to unlock the first God-Meridian.
Three hours of silent cultivation passed before the dim purple meridian shone with dazzling light, marking its awakening.
Thus, Konrad had taken half a step into the Transcendent Knight Rank.