The time had come.
In those last three days, Konrad had managed to condense three Supreme Meridians on top of the three God Meridians he'd already unlocked. However, he still needed six more to complete the most outstanding of first Fleshly Transformations. Perhaps through Yvonne, he could glean some insight on how to accelerate the process.
"Understood, your majesty."
With that said, Konrad excused himself. A duo of Verena's personal attendants awaited on the outside. Unbeknown to him, as he exited the room, a mixture of loss and expectation intermingled within the empress' face.
"I hope you won't disappoint me."
"One of Noble Imperial Consort Yvonne's head-eunuchs died recently. Her majesty arranged for you to replace him."
Said one of the attendants while briefing Konrad on his new position. Konrad understood that the head eunuch's death was most likely arranged for the empress' convenience, but that didn't bother him in the slightest.
"You can tell her majesty to await my good news."
With that said, Konrad took his leave.
He first returned to his chambers to pack some miscellaneous things before heading toward Yvonne's palace. It wasn't that he needed them but moving in without at least a bag was far too suspicious.
Yvonne's palace was located several miles away from the empress'. Thus, several teleportation circles were required for Konrad to reach it in the shortest of times without using his cultivation.
It would be a lie to say that the prospect of meeting the world's number one talent didn't excite him. Although she'd fallen from her pedestal, surely, some of her past bearing remained.
As Konrad reached her palace, he was surprised to see that unlike Verena's which brimmed with luxurious elegance, Yvonne's maintained a relatively simple air. While larger than the Kracht mansion, both the walls and buildings carried no extraordinary design, looking like a complex of commoner dwellings.
But as Konrad reached the entrance's gates, he was forced to admit that commonness wasn't something this palace possessed. A pair of eunuchs stood guard, preventing him from stepping in. Their cultivation was nothing remarkable, stagnating in the middle stages of the True Knight Rank.
However, within their eyes, an arrogance comparable to Wolfgang's, before his submission to Konrad, remained.
Though feeble, they seemed bred with an aura of pride and superiority, preventing them from feeling inferior in front of anyone. Seeing them, Konrad was perplexed.
"Present your token and state your purpose."
They declared in tandem. Without delay, Konrad presented his identity token.
"My name is Konrad, I was recently assigned by the central department to this palace as a head eunuch."
He replied with a friendly smile.
Upon checking his token and verifying his identity, the two opened the gate.
"You can step in. The central department has already warned us of your arrival. Our palace maids will lead you to your quarters and introduce you to your new tasks."
Konrad nodded and stepped past the gates. There, a duo of palace maid awaited. And just like the guards, conceit brimmed within their eyes, as if throughout the inner court, nothing stood above them.
Servants were often at the image of their master. However, so was the dwelling. The scenery didn't match the air of arrogance soaring within this place's denizens.
"From now on, you'll serve as the head eunuch of our kitchen departments."
Those words took Konrad aback. According to the script, he was supposed to directly serve by the noble consort's side. Why was he suddenly being assigned to the kitchens?
"Could there be a mistake? According to the central department, I was supposed to become one of the noble imperial consort's attendants."
"Her grace changed her mind. What? Dissatisfied?"
If Konrad felt any displeasure, he let nothing transpire on his face.
"I was merely confused. Please don't misunderstand. Whatever position her grace assigns me to, it is my pleasure to accept."
Konrad's words caused the two maids' lips to curl into victorious smiles.
The good thing about conceited individuals was that they often were easy to read. Just like those maids. Through a simple exchange, Konrad could see that Yvonne was perfectly aware of who truly sent him to her side and was not willing to have one of the empress' spies stay too close.
Assuming he was right, danger now surrounded from all sides. However, he remained undeterred.
"Good. Follow us."
Without further ado, the maid laid Konrad to his new chambers. As a head eunuch, he didn't have to share his dwellings with anyone, but even within this complex of ordinary houses, his appeared relatively shabby.
Clearly, he was being bullied.
However, he still showed no dissatisfaction.
"When can I start my work?"
That those were his first words upon seeing the shabby chambers took the maids by surprise.
"As soon as you drop your things, we will bring you to your post."
Konrad lowered the bag containing "his things." And followed the maids to Yvonne's kitchen department.
There, a group of five eunuchs awaited.
"Those five will now be under your jurisdiction. Make sure they don't slack off, and that all meals are delivered as per schedule. This is her grace's meal plan. No mistake is tolerated.
You cannot be early, and you cannot be late."
Those were mid-level eunuchs with cultivations not higher than the Adept Knight Rank. Still, their bodies brimmed with pride, as if their position was the noblest in the world. They obviously didn't put Konrad in their eyes.
Just those five could put most of the inner court's head eunuchs to shame.
But inwardly, Konrad sneered.
"I understand. Her grace needs not worry."
For the next three days, Konrad assumed the duties of the kitchen manager. During the days, he supervised the eunuchs' timing and cooking, and during the night, he focused on cultivation.
On the first day, they gave him no problem. On the second, they remained obedient, almost not leaving him any room for directions. However, on the third…
"You're sure not doing it?"
Konrad asked toward two of the eunuchs that now refused to do their work.
"We're not. If you want to, you can do it yourself."
Out of the blue, they'd went from orderly machines to troublemakers. Konrad couldn't understand their train of thought, and he didn't want to.
Besides them, the three remaining eunuchs, from the corners of their eyes, observed the scene with amused smirks while tending to their tasks.
"I will ask only one more time. You're sure you're not doing it?"
"We already said you can do it yourself? What more do you want? Do you think that being a head eunuch sent by the central department gives you any weight here? Truly, impenetrably thick headed!"
"Don't blame him, his head was probably kicked by a donkey in infancy!"
They loudly exclaimed, not giving Konrad any face.
Having served in Yvonne's palace for two decades, the ranks of outer eunuchs simply meant nothing to them.
With those words, Konrad left the room.
"He left, just like that?"
"What did I tell you? He's just a pretty face with no merits to speak of. With his inexistent foundation in this palace, does he dare offend anyone?"
Alongside the two troublemakers, the other three eunuchs burst in laughter.
However, as they indulged in derision, Konrad returned. But this time, he carried a large wooden stick.
"Disobeying one's superior. According to palace rules, the sentence for insubordination is…death."
Konrad stated, then slammed his wooden stick onto the left troublemaker's skull, smashing it, and causing his blood to erupt from the top of his head.
Before he could realize what was happening, he limply fell onto the ground, lifeless.
Instantly, the remaining four were astounded, and even the three that still diligently handled their tasks couldn't believe their eyes.
"Are you out of your mind? You dare kill people?! Who do you think you are?!"
"The master of your lives."
Konrad replied while swinging his wooden stick toward the remaining troublemaker's face.
The stick crashed on his forehead, sending him flying backward. His skull shattered with splattering blood, and he fell onto the ground, also lifeless.
To the point of death, he didn't believe Konrad would resort to such extreme methods.
Instantly, the other three focused their attention back on their work, not paying attention to the bodies lying on the ground.
Konrad impaled the two bodies on the wooden stick, and tossed them into the adjacent courtyard, shocking the maids that'd been eying the scene from afar.
"Your grace he…killed them."
As soon as Konrad's display ended, the two maids rushed back to Yvonne's quarters to report the news.
"As the law demands. Good. At the very least, he's not spineless. Have him send today's meal. It's been a while since our house had an interesting spy."
"At once, your grace!"
The maids returned to the kitchen department to carry out Yvonne's order.
"Her grace asks you to bring in today's meal."
The sudden change of tasks didn't surprise Konrad who'd expected such development.
"Very well, on my way."
As a Semi-Saint, Yvonne didn't need food or water to survive. Her meals were composed of spiritual plants and medicines aimed at improving the cultivation and tempering the body.
A bite was enough for the average Arch Knight to breakthrough one step. However, for someone at her level, they were merely delicacies.
Truly, a waste.
Konrad kept those comments locked within his mind, and with the maid leading the way, carried the plate toward Yvonne's quarters.
As they reached the door, the maid leading him stopped.
"I will not follow you in. Remember, say anything wrong, and you might lose your life."
With that said, the maid pushed the door open, allowing Konrad to step in, before closing it behind him.
There, a strange sight awaited.
A woman currently sat at the window, her face turned toward it and her eyes gazing into the distance while her calf-length ink hairs fell by her sides. As Konrad stepped in, she paid him no attention, as if his appearance wasn't enough to cause a ripple within her world.
"Greetings your grace, as per your command, I'm bringing your meal."
Konrad declared with a bow and the plate raised above his head.
"Set it on the table."
A mellifluous yet authoritative voice echoed from the woman who still didn't turn toward him.
Without delay, Konrad set down the plate and stepped back with his hands joined beneath his abdomen, silently awaiting Yvonne's next words with his eyes lowered onto the ground.
In a flash, she disappeared from the high window, bypassing the table where her meal awaited to land right before Konrad.
Although Konrad's eyes were lowered, he remained alert of his surroundings. However, he couldn't see through Yvonne's move. To him, it was like teleportation.
"Raise your head."
Following Yvonne's order, Konrad raised his head, letting his eyes furtively trail on her body as they rose to meet hers.
What he saw baffled him. Never in the imperial palace had he seen such a scantily clad woman. Beside her, Else's short crimson dress didn't deserve the word "provocative."
She was dressed in a black satin belly dancer outfit that completely exposed everything from the lower half of her breasts to her abdomen while her long open skirt allowed glances at her enthralling legs.
However, Konrad didn't have the time to enjoy the sight. No one in his position could because bone-chilling killing intent coated her entire body. It wasn't a show of force, but a natural air that surrounded her at all times. The proof of the countless lives she'd taken across the centuries.
And as his eyes fell upon her face, though peerless beauty lied therein, the crushing overbearingness within her slit, silver eyes prevented him from relishing in it.
Without releasing her cultivation base, she could effortlessly suppress him. But while in his shoes, most would have fallen on their knees with trembling bodies and begging forgiveness for sins they'd yet to commit, Konrad stood still.
His eyes met hers with an intensity she'd rarely seen in the last centuries. Within, she saw confidence, loftiness, and the unwillingness to submit to superior might.
"What's your name again?"
"Well, Konrad, congratulations. I will not kill you today."
Konrad's heart skipped a beat. However, Yvonne said nothing more, vanishing, and returning to her seat at the window.
"You may take your leave."
Konrad took another second to glance at her figure. Beyond the overbearingness and killing intent, a divine and inviolable air swirled around her form. Though Konrad had seen several Saint level experts, this was the first time he felt such a thing.
It was almost as if her entire body screamed invincibility!
Suppressing the desire to use his Origin Sight, Konrad turned heels and walked out.
"Why is there such an aura from her body?"
He asked the system while closing the door behind him.
"Because she possesses two Awakened Divine Physiques. If she could master them both, even if her cultivation never returned to the Holy Rank, across the entire Ancient Crystal World, not many could resist one of her blows."
Konrad's heart skipped another beat.