Even for Jasmine who still had a shallow understanding of the cultivation world, the sudden breakthrough in cultivation brought by the dual cultivation sessions seemed too large to be normal.
She attributed that quick rise to Konrad's method and sat cross-legged to digest her gains.
Meanwhile, although Konrad had profited very little in terms of cultivation advancement, his understanding of the Hundred Flowers Scripture had reached a new level.
He sat in the lotus position and channeled it to explore his new discoveries. The Hundred Flowers scripture was divided into three layers. Each bringing with it an attribute. Attributes should not be confused with the elemental spells priests could conjure. They were ingrained in the spiritual energy and brought with them countless benefits.
Mastering an attribute before the Arch Rank was a challenging task that most talents failed to accomplish. But as long as Konrad could reach the first layer of the Hundred Flowers scripture, he would unlock his first attribute: Light.
Pink mist moved across his pores, and within his body, his sky-blue pagoda was shrouded by a growing purple haze. That purple haze then merged with the pagoda which subsequently released blinding light that caused Konrad's body to sparkle.
And just like that, he had reached the first layer of the Hundred Flowers Scripture. But at that time, the purple flame mark on his right arm shone, and by the time he opened his eyes, he was no longer sitting by Jasmine's side, but floating within a world of clouds.
Konrad's eyes widened in disbelief as he swept the perimeter.
"You wish. Hell is a much more entertaining place than this."
A voice echoed from the back of his head.
He turned to face it and was surprised to see a tall, handsome man standing at almost 1.9 meters with long jet-black hairs, violet eyes, and a large open coat that showcased his muscular, bare chest.
But those attributes paled in comparison to the pair of goat horns that protruded from his forehead.
"Who the hell are you?"
Konrad asked warily. While he couldn't see his own appearance in his demonic form, the goat horns were attributes he also possessed. And if it weren't for him being unable to feel any energy signature from the man standing in front of him, he would have assumed him to be of demonic blood.
"You can think of me as your tutor and guardian. I helped you take down the woman that was trying to kill you before. Remember?"
The sight of Freya driving her sword toward him in an almost fatal blow resurfaced within Konrad's mind.
"Or rather, you helped me help you. Was it not for your strong will to live, it would have taken more time and energy for me to awaken."
The man stated with a devilish grin.
Konrad rose from his seated position, and the clouds below him were like an ethereal ground that allowed him to walk toward the demonic man.
And if anyone witnessed the two face one another, they would be surprised to see the striking resemblance of their faces.
"Since you brought me here, I assume you have important things to say?"
"Not say, teach. All highborn demons possess birthmarks that grant them a preternatural understanding of the world and their duties. Call it wisdom of the ancestors if you will. But as a half, yours took a lot of time to activate. In fact, was it not for the previous Konrad dying and being replaced by you, I'm afraid I would have never been able to rise."
But quickly, Konrad's initial shock was erased. If that thing had been present within his predecessor, then it was likely to have witnessed everything that happened.
"Of course I do. I know everything about you. But that is of no consequence. In fact, it's better for everyone. Your predecessor was a good kid. But as far as demons are concerned, he was a complete and utter failure. For the mighty house of Talroth to have produced such an offspring would have probably been his majesty's greatest shame."
"But let's not step away from our intended purpose. I'm here to teach you two things. All that is to know about your bloodline and abilities, and your duty in this mortal plane."
Hearing the word "duty," Konrad's face contorted into a frown.
"I have no interest in taking part in the schemes of bored elders."
"You can choose not to care. But others will not let you…not care."
"To make things simple. The Ancient Crystal World you currently reside in is like all the other mortal worlds a proxy battlefield between the deva ruled Celestial Realm also known as Heaven, and the demon ruled Infernal Realm also known as Hell."
"In immemorial times, the ruling gods of the two realms decided to use mortal worlds as proxy battlefields instead of directly engaging each other. This Ancient Crystal World is divided into two continents. The Holy Continent ruled by the Celestial Church and the Barbarian Continent ruled by the Infernal Cult. Those two forces have been directing wars and conflicts for hundreds of thousands of years, causing countless genocides and almost bringing the sentient beings to extinction."
The sea of new information took Konrad aback. He already knew that the Holy Flame Church was only one of the five branches of the Celestial Church, but he still had no idea of how powerful of an entity it really was.
But quickly, his eyes revealed doubt.
"This world's human history is not that long. The Holy Flame Empire is the oldest recorded country but has not existed for more than a hundred thousand years."
"That is because every time the sentient beings come close to extinction, those two forces sign an armistice, erase all recorded information of the past civilizations, and let what remain of the different races breed and produce new generations."
"They have been repeating that process for quite some time. And it is very likely that a new war of extermination will happen very soon. At the earliest, several months. At the latest, several years."
Konrad was alarmed. What kind of power was required to so seamlessly control the history of all those races across such a terrifying amount of time?
"But why? Why engage in such bloody slaughter? Just for the sake of distant gods? It makes no sense!"
"It makes perfect sense. Those two forces each possess their own divine altar that records merits. The more they kill of the other side's believers, the more merits they accumulate. Although they could also gain the same amount through conversion, it's much easier to just kill the opponent.
"Merits can be exchanged for mighty boons granted by the gods themselves. And if one side can ultimately triumph over the other, its leaders can receive the privilege of ascending to the higher realms and being ennobled in the courts of their chosen deities. It's not even impossible for them to become gods in their own rights."
No wonder they were willing to go to such lengths.
"Most established saints are aware of these realities. Which is why they often leave the secular world to join the churches as high-ranking officials. Now I hope you understand why you can't escape. You can try, but it will not end well."
"The blood of Talroth marks you as a prime target for the Celestial Church. I believe they gain more merit by killing you than by killing a barbarian saint."
Konrad staggered, his eyes almost popped out of their sockets, and his entire body was shaken by violent tremors.
Worth more than a saint?
How could he breathe?
But then the description of the Hundred Flowers Scripture echoed within his mind.
"Creator: Talroth, fourth king of hell, lord of lust, ruler of all sex demons."
Could it be…
"Who or what is the Talroth you mentioned? And what is my relationship with him?"
"His majesty the Southern King of Hell. A million years ago he enslaved Asmodeus and took ownership of the southern domain as its new king. None has managed to shake his position ever since."
"Most noble houses in hell bear their founder's name."
"As for the relationship…he's your father."
Cheap! Too cheap!
How could it be possible for him to gain such a cheap father?
"After endless preparations, your mother managed to forge a Master-Servant contract with him and received the privilege of carrying one of his offspring. You were supposed to be a cutting-edge weapon in the upcoming war, but your predecessor's lack of talent and frustrating disposition caused her to lose faith. She hoped sending him into the palace would cause traumatic enough experiences to awaken his bloodline. But even in death, he failed to man up."
"I recommend you find an opportunity to escape the palace as soon as possible and contact her."
It was easier to kill incubi than to harm their genitalia. If the previous Konrad had managed to awaken his bloodline, he would have quickly recovered his "rocks."
But he didn't.
Konrad was overwhelmed by all the things he had just learned. Having a mighty father might seem appealing to most, but in the heart of the Holy Flame Empire, that lineage could only bring him harm.
"I heard identifying incubi is impossible if they don't reveal their demonic energy signature."
"That is incorrect. "Nigh impossible" is the correct answer. There is an ability called Origin Sight that allows its user to not only spy on people from a distance but to also figure out all their innate characteristics. And if I'm not wrong, the Holy Flame Church has more than one person wielding that ability. If for some reason they use it on you, you're done for."
Konrad was puzzled. Was it possible that Origin Sight was the real reason behind his predecessor's death? But if that was true…
"In any case, what you do in the future depends solely on yourself. As for me, my second task is to teach you what you have yet to learn about your abilities. Especially lineage weapons and demonic contracts."
The man would then carry on with instructing him on how to use certain abilities like the incubi's innate illusion powers, and the different types and functions of demonic contracts.
"When you return to the real world, you can stimulate your blood to summon your lineage weapon. Wielding it, your strength will drastically soar, and fighting across an entire rank will be simple. But remember, it possesses a clear demonic signature. Thus, if you unleash it, make sure no undesirable witness remains."
"Never forget that the primary drive of powerful incubi is not lust. It is domination. Be wary of the Celestial Church."
"All that needed to be said has been. I will be available if you have any future questions but for now…get the fuck out."
And so Konrad was expelled.