Nils staggered, her body shivering as she rejected this new reality with every fiber of rationality she still held.
"Why? He has no cause! There is no point! Even the most oversuspicious of emperors will not result to such means! There must be a misunderstanding…a misunderst…"
But as she attempted to convince herself of otherwise, Nils' eyes fell back on the soul worm and reality forced her back into the truth.
Among the Holy Flame Empire's pureblooded paragon spirits, those with the ability to cultivate soul worms were not many. Those who dared, fewer. If on top of that, the person needed to be one of her close relatives, her father was indeed the most likely suspect.
But why? Not just her, but of all the people Konrad mentioned, the soul worm's use only made sense on Adelar. And even then, it was too extreme.
"Why? Elmar only vies for power because father raised him to. Were it not for father, he would be happily married to the Slesinger Duke's daughter, having no care for who held the throne.
Why force him on this path but still infect him with such a dreadful thing?
If Adelar could reach this level of power, it's because father allowed him to. He could have effortlessly suppressed him in the cradle.
As for the Holy Empress and the Holy Consort? One is his lover and the other his most trusted! What are the gains?
This makes no sense!"
Nils roared, her mind failing to grasp any reasoning in those nefarious deeds.
"Because on the road to supreme power, you're his stepping stones."
Konrad smiled and placed his hand on Nils' forehead, letting her witness Yvonne's words, Olrich's display of madness, and Wenzel's atrocious death.
"The blood…the souls…of one thousand newborns…one thousand newborns…the souls of…the closest kin…such a dreadful art exists in this world…and is cultivated by…my father…"
If she weren't in her soul form, Nils would have spat blood on the spot. Still, her mind faced imminent destruction.
She now understood why her sixth brother had suddenly disappeared, and no one dared mention his fate, using an amalgam of ridiculous lies.
Konrad didn't assist her, knowing that if she couldn't find the strength to overcome this truth, helping her was meaningless.
"Fattening…fattened with love and care…I understand…the worms are to make sure he can incapacitate and refine us at all times…I can also understand…but why…"
"Because he must first let you fulfill your potential. The farther you go on the cultivation road, the more benefits he reaps when the harvest time comes. At least, that's my belief.
As for why the dowager has not been infected, that's because she's too strong. The current Olrich can simply not face her."
Nils finally grasped the entire situation. But in her glazed eyes, Konrad saw imminent destruction. The series of blows, too hard to bear.
However, as she suffered internal collapse, Elmar's image appeared within her mind.
"Eldest brother…eldest brother is in danger. Save him…I must save him!"
In a flash, Nils' eyes shone with renewed vigor. The determination within them startling Konrad who believed his "death" had caused a substantial rift between siblings.
What he didn't know was that Elmar's imprisonment was no misfortune, but a blessing in disguise. At least, any sensible person would see it as such.
Since the fifty years ago events that resulted in his lover's death, Elmar had not been able to cross another Sublimation. Remaining at the seventh step of the Semi-Holy Rank for five decades.
But thanks to Konrad's ploy, he could entirely let go of his imperial power pursuit and once again become a man that put love and relatives above all else. Thus, fixing the cracks in his Dao, and achieving his eighth Sublimation at one fell swoop.
He was also infinitely close to the ninth. Even Olrich guaranteed that at his current cultivation speed Elmar would break through the Rising Saint Rank in less than twenty years.
Being the eldest von Jurgen prince, even if he didn't get the throne, the next emperor would still have to honor him as "elder brother" and "grand prince." He could still enjoy glory, splendor, wealth, and rank.
Better yet, as one who passed the Celestial Church's examination, Elmar had always been destined to join their ranks. Once the pursuit of the throne was out of the way. When he broke through the Rising Saint Rank, he could abandon the secular world to join the Celestial Church as a priest.
Though his rank would start low, with his talent, a dazzling future awaited him. At the very least, he would become a celestial deacon.
Therefore, unbeknown to him, Konrad opened the road for Elmar's bright future.
As for Holger, couldn't destroyed cultivation be regained? With his previous experiences and Elmar to support him, ten years would be enough to return to his previous level with a stronger foundation.
Therefore, Nils never took her mother's fears seriously. Knowing that she was a frivolous alarmist, first and foremost. In her mind, having turned misfortune into blessings, those two were the greatest beneficiaries of "Anselm's wrongful death."
But now, the situation was different. Elmar faced unparalleled danger. This, she wouldn't allow. Even if they fought and bickered, he was her beloved brother. Fighting and throwing tantrums at him was her right. Who dared take his life?!
"Father…my life originally came from you. If you want it back, I have nothing to say. However, threatening my brother's life…I won't allow it! Save…regardless of the cost…I must save Elmar!"
Nils straightened her back, staring into Konrad's purple eyes with unprecedented willpower.
"Anselm, I beg you. Please help me save him. As long as you help me, I will follow all your arrangements, and obey your will!"
Nils urged while seizing Konrad's right hand.
Konrad stared back into those enchanting silver eyes of Nils'. Feeling the determination rippling within and the hands that trembled around his.
"People will die."
"Those who deserve death shouldn't live."
"Innocents will perish."
"I…will take care of their families. No matter how big and…guarantee them a bright future."
Nils stammered…finding such words difficult to speak. However, although they made her hypocritical. She would stand by them.
Konrad realized Nils' closest relatives were the foundations of her transformation and his lips curled into a devilish smile.
"Good. Then let's make something perfectly clear. Olrich will die, and I will usurp his throne. However, there is one difficulty."
"You don't have paragon spirit blood. Therefore, unless you can challenge the Celestial Church or obtain the backing of the Infernal Cult, the day you take the throne is your time of death."
Although Nils still inwardly resisted the thought of taking her father's life, to save them all, it was a must. Otherwise, if his deeds were ever exposed, there would be no von Jurgen left on this world.
"However, to obtain the backing of the Infernal Cult, I risk becoming their puppet. That's not happening. What do you think is the proper alternative?"
Nils couldn't find the answer within her mind, but when she saw Konrad's wolfish grin and licentious eyes, the answer immediately appeared.
Her cheeks reddened, and she tossed Konrad's hand away before taking several, hurried steps backward.
"You can call me Konrad.
Nils von Jurgen, we will have to work hard so that you give me a son that can hold the throne until my strength rivals that of the Celestial Church.
It's a race. If you can't…others will."
Nils' entire face burned, and she aimed a wobbling finger at Konrad's insolent face.
"Konrad, in this short life of mine, I've never met a more shameless and dissolute man than you!"