It was common knowledge that the five branches of the Celestial Church each possessed their own baptism that stemmed from the original Elemental Baptism. Not only did those baptisms drastically improve constitutions and innate comprehension skills, but they also unlocked matching attributes.
However, only in the main seat of the Celestial Church could a full Elemental Baptism be obtained. Alas, those with the qualifications to receive the blessings of the Celestial Church were few and far between. At the very least, having a Saint as immediate relative was necessary.
Thus, although it was only a Semi-Holy Elemental Baptism, Konrad couldn't hide his surprise. Didn't this mean that he could exchange the recipe of a Holy Elemental Baptism from the system?
The recipe flew into his mind in light particles, showing all the required ingredients to set up the baptism, but he paid it no heed.
"Summon the Recipe Board. I must check costs."
The system executed his order; the Fortune Wheel vanished and was replaced by the board recording all the recipes as well as their costs.
Konrad directly went down to the Holy Rank Recipes and after browsing its content for an instant, locked his eyes on the name he'd been looking for.
"Holy Elemental Baptism Recipe: 150.000.000 exp."
"150.000.000 exp…I would need to sleep with Zamira for thirteen nights to get that much exp. I don't have that much free time…"
To prevent abuse, there was a cooldown of one day for exp farming through sexual intercourses. Therefore, no matter how many nuts he burst within one of his beauties, she would only count for one exp gain until the reset.
His eyes then moved toward the Semi-Holy Recipe section for a brief stop then went up to the Transcendent Recipe part.
"Semi-Holy Elemental Baptism Recipe: 15.000.000 exp.
Transcendent Element Baptism Recipe: 1.500.000 exp.
The final stop was the True Rank. Below that, there was no baptism available. Konrad was both delighted and annoyed. Delighted because he had no doubt that with those recipes, he could flip the Holy Flame Empire's economy upside down, and annoyed because there was no way he could do so without challenging the church.
Obviously, the plan would be to sell the baptisms and not the recipes. However, the appearance of non-church-controlled baptisms was bound to trigger in-depth investigations that would ultimately lead back to him.
To say nothing of the faraway Celestial Church. The Holy Flame Church alone possessed a large number of Saints and Semi-Saints that could effortlessly trample all his planning.
He frowned, faced with the frustration of having obtained a treasure but not being able to make full use of it.
"The only option now is to find a scapegoat. A mighty Saint in opposition with the church willing to shoulder the pressure and split the profits evenly. But where can I find such a person?"
The best option was someone that had nothing to do with the imperial family or bore little grudges toward it and the church. Beside the von Jurgen, only the three Sovereign Prince houses possessed Saints. Of the three, Konrad directly excluded the Kvass. They were a cadet branch of the von Jurgen with many of their elders within the church. The Dowager was the perfect example of that.
Then there was the Metze who stood in total opposition with the church. Unfortunately, the grudges were too deep. If such a baptism appeared controlled by the Metze, the church would show no consideration for face and use all its resources to exterminate them in one go.
The only option left was house Voight. Although his daughter was a Noble Imperial Consort, Hubert Voight was known not to have great affection for the Holy Emperor and prevented the church from meddling with his house's matters.
He was the best partner for this particular business. Alas, to say nothing of discussing terms, Konrad didn't even have the qualifications to meet him.
He sighed, used his free upgrade quota to improve his Primal Physique to the Arch Rank, grabbed his two free mid-grade third circle spells and left the system.
Returning to the comfort of his bed, he spent what remained of the night in silent cultivation and at dawn, stood up to join the convoy heading toward the competition's location.
The leading members of house Kracht had already gathered at the mansion's gate. Among them were three youths with the usual green hairs and slit eyes of the Kracht kinsmen who patiently waited for Konrad's arrival.
Those three were house Kracht's other champions. They were almost fifty years old, and two had reached the seventh step Grand Knight Rank while the last one had reached the eighth step.
They were house Kracht's most outstanding juniors, but today their only purpose was to fill in the blanks.
As a count level house, the Kracht were entitled to four participants. But in Konrad's view, the other three served absolutely no purpose, so he initially didn't intend to take them with him, but Wolfgang managed to convince him of doing otherwise.
"Although those three cannot be of great use when confronted with the children of margraves and dukes, they can at least alleviate your burden during the first part of the competition. More importantly, they help us avoid the massive loss of face that comes with having only one contestant.
Said coarsely, they are necessary fillers to preserve our house's dignity. We can't afford to give the impression of decline to the other high-nobility houses!"
"Fine, but they are on their own."
"Worry not, although their chances of getting to the second round are slim, they should have no issue protecting themselves."
Konrad understood the man's plight and didn't bother with the trifles.
As for the three, hearing that brief exchange, they almost spurted blood. Their cultivation was above Konrad's; however, it now seemed like he was the one having to babysit them!
They couldn't understand why their house head had suddenly become so deferential toward that teenaged boy. It was almost as if he'd become his servant!
So what if he was gifted? Could talent alone command such respect from an Uradel Count? Preposterous!
However, anger was one thing. Acting upon it was another. Even if they possessed ten times the courage, they still wouldn't dare oppose the will of Wolfgang Kracht.
Iliana and Daphne stood by the main carriage's side with clear annoyance in their eyes.
"Why do those needle dick wastes get to go while I don't? It's unfair! I want to go!"
Daphne yelled, causing the gathered folks to lose balance and the three concerned to fall face-first.
"Daphne! How dare you?!"
"What? I'm only telling the truth. Not only are you three needle sized, but you also have zero endurance. It only takes a few thrusts in your butts to make you cum like inexperienced little teens.
Decades of existence and only worth so much. My strap-ons were wasted on you!"
Their cheeks burned, and their wives nearby looked at them with disdain. Those three were among Daphne's victims back when she terrorized house Kracht and received her "deep affection" at more than one occasion.
Initially, they believed they could control the situation, but she subdued them with powerful narcotics and had her way with their rears!
That deep shame was engrained within their hearts, but they didn't think that before they could find a way to retaliate, she would expose that dirty secret!
From now on, they could no longer stand straight within house Kracht! Alas, there was no place for them to hide; otherwise, they would have already vanished from the scene.
Konrad commanded, causing Daphne to stop her bullying and turn into an adorable pet with beady eyes.
"You two can follow me to the competition's site. But your cultivation is far too low to participate. You can only support me from the sidelines."
Konrad then used his Transformation Skill to turn into a green-haired youth with similar features to the Kracht and stepped into the main carriage.
His words caused the Kracht cousins to clench their fists in frustration. The realization that they didn't have the skills to share his burdens causing discomfort within their chests.
Iliana, in particular, found it hard to swallow as she was the reason for his participation in the competition.
Still, no matter how harsh, it was the truth. In this competition, Grand Knights like them would be all over the place. As for the leading characters, it would be the less than fifty years old Arch Knights of the margrave and duke level houses!
However, as they brooded over their lack of skills, Konrad pulled them into the carriage and enlaced them against his left and right.
"It's alright. Why do you even want to participate? Since you have me, you should forget about struggling to enjoy a life of bliss and prosperity. Let me become your sun and moon and hold the sky should it threaten to collapse."
Daphne found those words very pleasing to the ears and pressed her head tighter against Konrad's chest with a contented smile.
Iliana, however, was of another mind.
"Humph! There is no way in hell I will ever settle for that. If my man must go on the battlefield, I must follow him to slay his enemies!"