More experienced in court intrigues, Wolfgang was the first to realize Konrad's ploy.
"This is undoubtedly an efficient way to shift the wind and get rid of the emperor's pressure. But I have two concerns.
If we cannot show ironclad proof that the crown prince is behind the assassinations, this will at best delay the inevitable.
Unless of course, you're confident in subjugating the empire in this three-year timeframe?"
Wolfgang showed valid concern. After all, as the heir to the throne, the crown prince's status was below one and above the rest. Attempting to frame him without ironclad evidence was a pipedream.
"Indeed. Although at first, we might manage to get all the fingers aimed at him, without ironclad evidence. Three years is more than enough for the imperial family to suppress all rumors. Even if we can get testimonies from the assassins, the court will overrule it as someone attempting to smear the crown prince's reputation."
Seeing that Konrad's thoughts were the same as his, Wolfgang moved on to his following point.
"My second concern, and probably the most pressing issue, while the plan sounds good, how do we implement it? Let's not even discuss how we will have you murdered under the gaze of innumerable experts with the -crown prince's assassins.- How exactly do we fake your death?
Such an event is bound to alarm the nobility and trigger a profound investigation. At the very least, the dead body will be examined to determine the cause of death. How do you plan to pass that hurdle?"
Faking Konrad's murder and pushing the blame on the crown prince was indeed easier said than done. Resources weren't the only problem.
But unlike Wolfgang who showed no optimism, Konrad appeared rather relaxed.
"For your second concern, I not only have the perfect assassins in mind, but I also have a flawless way to die. You just need to cooperate with me. We will later take care of the details.
As for your first concern, yes, I have absolute confidence that it won't take three years for this country to belong to me."
The six surrounding Konrad were dumbfounded. To so boldly claim that the hundred-thousand years old von Jurgen dynasty would be toppled in less than three years, across the entire Holy Continent, perhaps only Konrad could make such a declaration.
Wulf, in particular, was both disapproving and terrified. Disapproving because he felt Konrad's youth filled him with conceit, and he still lacked a genuine understanding of the imperial family's might.
Terrified because their talk had already stepped into the realm of rebellion! How many noble families were exterminated for less? But when he recalled Konrad's demonic nature, he realized they were already too far gone. This boat they'd settled on would either lead them to unparalleled glory or eternal damnation.
A deep sigh escaped his lips as he weighed his house's future.
"Please excuse me."
Afterward, Wulf took his leave.
"Your younger brother's nerves aren't solid enough."
"On the contrary, it's yours that are way too big."
Wolfgang replied to Konrad's assessment of Wulf. Although he didn't have as many misgivings as his younger brother, clearly, he understood his distress. If because of a moment of selfishness, they led their house into destruction, how would they face their ancestors?
However, Wolfgang didn't care. For the sake of his daughter, there was nothing he wasn't willing to do.
Konrad counted on that.
"I plan to submit the real Anselm Kracht to a Master-Servant contract and have him substitute himself to me when we step into the bridal chamber. Then, a group of assassins of house Slesinger led by a paragon spirit of house von Jurgen will break in and tear him to shreds."
Konrad explained in a mental message. Causing Wolfgang's eyes to widen in disbelief. The girls who heard nothing but saw his sudden change of expression understood they were being kept out of the main plan.
"Isn't this too evil?"
Anselm Kracht may not be one of Wolfgang's close relatives, but he was after all a Kracht youth. Moreover, he was a lonely orphan who focused solely on cultivation. They'd already mistreated him enough. He didn't deserve being turned into a scapegoat.
"Those who enter a Master-Servant contract with me belong to me in life and death.
When Anselm dies, his soul will return to me, and as long as we have an available body, we can help him resurrect on the spot. I plan to capture the paragon spirit assassin, and have Anselm take over his body."
Those under Master-Servant contracts were barred from the normal reincarnation cycle. Usually, unless they were particularly outstanding, demons didn't bother bringing their servants back to life. They would rather just absorb and refine their souls, forever erasing them from the world. However, since the boy could be put to use, Konrad didn't mind sparing him.
Wolfgang struggled for a bit, but after consideration, Iliana's future still trumped any morality within his heart. With a sigh, he agreed.
"That being the case, why do you want to keep this hidden from them?"
By the "them," Wolfgang, of course, referred to the ladies by Konrad's side.
"I don't think I need to remind you of your daughter's temperament. I think we best keep her out of the evil scheming."
Coarsely said, Iliana was still too good. She would never agree to the sacrifice of the real Anselm to ensure the success of their scheme. If they involved her in the planning, she would spend three-quarters of the time trying to dissuade them.
Therefore, Konrad would rather have her face the accomplished deed and coax her into forgetting about it.
As far as he was concerned, no means were evil enough to make sure no one could touch his women.
"Very well, what do you need me for?"
"Help me do the convincing. I will take care of the rest."
The mental exchange ended. With a nod, Wolfgang was about to take his leave when Konrad's voice echoed.
"Father-in-law, wait. I have gifts for you."
This time, not one person didn't feel like the sun wasn't rising west. In particular, Wolfgang and Zamira who among those gathered knew Konrad best, couldn't believe his words.
"Why are you all looking at me like this? As a son-in-law, it is natural for me to show some filial piety, isn't it?"
Konrad replied to the five pairs of eyes staring at him.
"Anyone can say that and be taken seriously. You are the only exception. Sorry, but no one here is stupid enough to fall for such a blatant lie. Tell me, what is your ploy? Poisoned food, exploding treasures? How do you plan to make my dad's life miserable?"
Konrad had never felt so wronged in his life. Why was it that when he tried to swindle, no one could resist him, but when he was being kind and honest, all raised arms against him?
The sorrows of being a gentleman!
Wolfgang had taken seven steps away from him, keeping a safe distance to avoid anything he might throw at his face.
Konrad sighed, and with a wave of his hand, a medium sized box appeared before Wolfgang.
Konrad ordered, and though full of apprehension, Wolfgang couldn't disobey.
He opened the box on the ground, releasing its content for all to see. Dazzling light spread from within, illuminating the room. And upon seeing what the box contained, the Semi-Saint Wolfgang included, all were terrified.
"T…three…three hundred holy crystals. Three…Sublimation Pills…merciful lord…this…"
Holy crystals were both invaluable currency and cultivation resources controlled by Saints. For a Semi-Saint to have access to them, he would at least need to belong to a Saint's house. As for Sublimation Pills, they were Semi-Saints' most cherished resources, and drastically lowered the time required for breakthroughs.
It was rumored that with enough talent, two-thousand holy crystal and twenty-five Sublimation Pills were enough to go from the first step Semi-Holy Rank to the Rising Saint Rank!
With the resources at his feet, Wolfgang had full confidence that by the time he finished refining those holy crystals and pills, his cultivation would increase by three steps, reaching the sixth step Semi-Holy Knight Rank.
How could he not feel ecstatic?
"Hahahaha! Good son-in-law. Father-in-law always knew that only a man with your generous heart and impeccable bearing was fit for Iliana! Truly, Father-in-law wasn't wrong about you! Don't worry, father-in-law will organize the most lavish wedding for you!"
Wolfgang snatched the box, wrapping it around his chest and protecting it like a bird would its little ones.
His eyes seemed to take anyone around him as the enemy, as potential vultures about to seize his treasures. Thus, without further ado, he bolted out of the room and locked himself in his cultivation abode.
For some reason, Iliana felt like a girl being sold to a brothel by her father for a few pieces of silver.