The darkness of night reigned within the sky, and billions soundly slept, unaware of the world's changes. But throughout the Holy Continent, those with substantial cultivation awoke, startled by this scent and miasma that flashed by their faces, and irritated their noses.
Olrich sat on his throne, expecting the future developments when suddenly, the dark-green miasma flashed before him, then carried on its way.
Having never seen or felt such a thing in almost one thousand years of existence, he frowned. However, relying on his personal knowledge, he failed to assess what just occurred. Therefore, he used the Infernal Souls'.
And even from them, he could only make vague assumptions. But those assumptions terrorized him.
"Could it be…no...impossible. How could such a thing occur…in a mortal world?"
Olrich shook his head, dismissing his thoughts. But as his apprehensions vanished, a dreadful possibility echoed within his mind.
"Unless…no…they wouldn't dare…it's not worth it. The gains just don't equate the losses."
Confident that he guessed wrong, Olrich dismissed his apprehensions, returning to his war plans.
Meanwhile, Yvonne sat crossed-legged in silent cultivation when the miasma passed her by. Discomfort spread within her body, but as soon as it came, it dispersed. However, although she didn't have Olrich's information, as the miasma reached her, she could feel her demonic blood trembling.
This was a sensation only demons could experience. The recognition that a mighty force of their hierarchy descended upon the world. However, no matter how she analyzed herself, Yvonne couldn't feel anything wrong with her body.
That being the case, she set those feelings aside, letting her mind drift to Konrad with whom she'd kept contact through her Pure Self.
And although reason told her that nothing should have befallen him, she could barely sit still.
In such fashion, all the hegemons of the Holy Flame Empire and even the Holy Continent as a whole were struck by perplexing feelings as the miasma passed them by.
It spread until it reached the Celestial Church's headquarters.
There, the same phenomenon occurred, but while it triggered concerns from the disciples, priests, deacons and protectors, when it reached the elders there wasn't much reaction.
"Is the Infernal Cult muddled? What could they possibly gain from resorting to such drastic measures so close to the next Holy War?"
Asked one of the elders in a mental message that spread through the other elders' minds.
"This matter is fishy, the result doesn't match the Merit loss. Even to gain dominion on the faith level, they shouldn't use this. There must be a hidden ploy.
"What hidden ploy could there possibly be? Don't they just want to force us into crippling our Merit Reserves to save those Holy Continent ants?"
"A nonsensical thought. They should know very well that this is the last Holy War. The final battle of extermination. In the end, only one shall remain standing to open the gate back to its respective higher realm.
At this juncture, how could we possibly waste our Merit Reserves to save those base and low ants?"
As the celestial elders exchanged thoughts, their leader sat crossed-legged with his eyes shut close.
"No, there must be a deeper reason, and we should observe the developments to find what it is, and counter it before it can bring us lasting harm."
Following the Celestial Church Leader's words, the elders nodded in their various locations and returned to cultivation.
At that time, just like all others, Else and Konrad received the visit of the dark-green miasma.
Else was lost in thoughts, while Konrad felt his demonic blood tremble. Since his arrival in this world, this was the first time he felt his bloodline startled. His face contorted into a frown.
However, while his blood shivered, he could feel his Stolas Physique soothed by the miasma as if bathing in its natural element.
Startled, Konrad's eyes immediately turned toward Yvonne's quarters, and ignoring Else who stood before him, he shot toward it.
But as he passed her by, Else grabbed his wrist, stopping him mid-flight.
"Why such worries? You're alright, I'm alright, why should she be any different?
Or is it possible that when it comes to her, your brain no longer works normally?"
Else questioned, and though her tone showed neutrality, displeasure hid within.
"Even if reason tells me that she's fine, my eyes must verify it for my heart to be at ease. Don't worry, I am not harebrained. I have skills that allow me to come and go freely."
Konrad declared and attempted to yank his hand free from Else's. Unwilling to let go, she pulled him toward her, before slamming him against the adjacent wall.
While blocking him within her two slender arms that stood on either side of his shoulders, Else stared directly into Konrad's eyes, and the longer she stared, the deeper her frown became.
"Did you fall for her?"
Else's words took Konrad aback, and for a second, he didn't know how to reply.
However, that hesitation vanished as quickly as it came.
"What if I did? What if I didn't? What does it have to do with you?"
Those callous words pricked Else's heart. Clearly, she could feel the wariness and barriers Konrad set between them.
"I don't understand. You can take dozens of women without a second thought, but why is it that your heart can't accommodate me? I have never done anything that wasn't in your interest!
Before all the others, I was there. Before Yvonne and Verena, I was there. But why is it that you can accept them but can't accept me. What do they have that I don't? I can't accept this!
Especially Yvonne! The world doesn't have a haughtier, more unbridled woman. Why can you tolerate her, fall for her, but remain wary of me?!"
The glaring pain in Else's blue slit eyes and the erratic drumming of her heart pulled a sigh from Konrad's lips.
"You want to know the difference between the two of you? Good. Then I shall be blunt.
Throughout the Holy Flame Empire, there is only one woman I never had to deceive. Only one woman I could always be myself with. With her, there will never be a need for tricks, because we are a match made in hell.
We find support in one another, only she can understand my heart, and only I can understand hers.
That woman's name…is Yvonne Voight."
Konrad's straightforward words forced Else back. Failing to shoulder them, she staggered.
"You ask if I fell for her; frankly, I don't know the feeling. Therefore, I can't answer you. However, if you ask me for the sake of whom I can cause the destruction of billions without a second thought, the first name that pops in my mind…is hers.
As for you…"
Konrad stepped forward, holding Else's gaze while his face approached increasingly closer to hers.
"Ambition ripples in your eyes. An ambition that doesn't lose out to most men's. Yvonne pursues unparalleled cultivation, strength unrivaled. To her, ruling the lives of trillions holds no appeal.
As long as with a sword she can behead deities, she is satisfied.
But I want supremacy! I want the trillions of existences throughout the multiverse to obey my will! That across all realms, the name Konrad brings mortals, devas, and demons onto their knees!
That without my permission, none dares call himself a monarch!
One name, one ruler, one existence, holding the three realms in submission! That is my life's dream and highest aspiration!
The summit of world domination!
So tell me, you who wish to be an independent ruler, to hold the empire within your grasp, and the lives of billions beneath your feet, how can we be together?
I like that my women have strong personalities and something that drives them to excel. My women have a right to their own ambitions. But the premise is that our goals don't conflict.
Because I…don't compromise and must have all I want.
And what I want is…everything!"
Konrad stretched out his arms, his eyes shining with bottomless ambition. The scope of which startled even Else.
"So, tell me, are you willing to forsake your dreams, to forsake your aspirations for the sake of being mine?"
Konrad raised his right hand to hold Else's chin between his thumb and index. He leaned in, his lips approaching dangerously close to hers.
"If you are then…prove it!"