With the rest of the money, he funded an expedition, hiring a large troop of mercenaries and equipping them with mighty black market artifacts to come rescue me in the Tower. By the time the previous emperor realized his true purpose, he was long gone.
He arrived in time to save my life. And together, we explored the Tower of Rebirth under the jeers of the two great powers' "elite."
Originally, we did very well. Obtaining many benefits. However, by a stroke of luck or misfortune, we stepped into the Infernal Cult Founder's resting place.
The Infernal Cult Founder was a Divine Ascension Rank expert. Just a step beneath godhood. Although his soul had been obliterated in his battle with the Celestial Founder, his corpse could endure an eternity.
A humongous corpse that overflowed with terrifying quantities of high-level Sage blood. That was my once in a lifetime opportunity. How could I hesitate? I dived in, triggering the assault of the dozens of concealed infernal souls guarding the corpse.
To save me, Olrich shouldered the brunt of their attack, absorbing the infernal souls in a desperate attempt to refine them. Giving me the opportunity I needed to collect a large quantity of Sage blood. As a paragon spirit, that blood was useless to him.
But where many others would have chosen to save their hide, he still stood by me. A pity that heaven doesn't reward the good-natured. Though he managed to refine the infernal souls, they left an indelible mark on him, twisting him beyond repair.
I even suspect that some still live in him.
From then on, insatiable greed and lust for power drove his every step. I held the vain hope that the throne could satisfy his hunger, so I helped him seize it. I was terribly wrong.
It only made it worse."
Yvonne trembled, revealing a feeble side Konrad had yet to see.
"A century passed before he revealed to me that from those souls, he obtained profound knowledge and a formidable cultivation method that made talent irrelevant.
Comprehending the first layer, his cultivation directly reached the peak of the Semi-Holy Rank with his complete sublimation in heartlessness."
Nine transformations in the Transcendent Rank. Nine sublimations in the Semi-Holy Rank.
In the Semi-Holy Rank, cultivators chose a path to become their guiding principle and sublimate themselves in it.
Konrad was well-aware of that.
"Comprehending the second layer, across the centuries, he refined the souls of a thousand newborns to establish his three Pure Selves and reach the True Origin Saint Rank.
Now with the third layer…he must oppose his Dao and bring back all forms of love in his life.
Friendly love, romantic love, fatherly love, and filial love. Bring them to the pinnacle then sever them all as his fate tribulation and in one step reach the peak of the Tribulation Stage.
Friendly love, he chose Else.
Romantic love, he chose Verena.
Fatherly love, that's for Nils, Elmar and potentially Adelar, the second prince.
Filial love, that is, of course, his mother.
Recover his humanity through them, turning them into his tribulations then destroying them to forever erase it. Wrestling their fates, refining their souls, and hence becoming the Holy Flame Empire's number one expert."
Konrad was terrified. Didn't that mean that all those people were pigs being "fattened with care" for Olrich's future rise? The more favor they received, the greater the danger they faced!
Nils, Verena, Else, all of them were slowly being prepared for slaughter!
"And ultimately, this is all my fault. It is I who harmed him. If I weren't this selfish, if I weren't that greedy for a supreme foundation, none of this would have happened.
Therefore, I must find a way to save him before it's too late.
And if I cannot…then…I must kill him myself."
Yvonne whispered, then passed out on Konrad's lap.
The concealed guilt festering within her heart had now been fully revealed, leaving no further secret to stand between them. But while Konrad could understand Yvonne's pains, he couldn't sympathize with Olrich. Regardless of what the previous one was, the current one was an enemy that threatened his interests at every corner and whose existence endangered people he'd rather see unharmed.
That being the case, he had to die!
Konrad carried Yvonne back to her bed, softly laying her on her back while sitting at her side to observe that gripping face of hers. With determination shining within his eyes, he stood up, returned to his chambers, and stepped back into the system.
Seven Semi-Saints were no longer enough to accommodate his exp needs. It was time to bring back more. Of the seventeen remaining, only one was tasked with helping Wolfgang in his endeavors.
The rest mostly idled within the church's headquarters. Initially, Konrad wanted to keep them within the church to feed him information and coordinate with him at a critical juncture, but now, he could no longer have such patience.
As for the commotion brought by the sudden disappearance of sixteen Semi-Saints, that would never be traced back to him.
With a clap, Konrad brought the Semi-Saintesses into the space mansion and once more gathered his harem for a night of passion.
His exp count skyrocketed, breaking past the one billion barrier, and reaching a whopping 1.019 billion.
He exchanged 600 million to improve his Primal Physique to the Awakened Holy level. Giving himself the means to treat Yvonne.
Now, he only needed to breed the opportunity.
Meanwhile, within the emperor's palace, a rage-filled Olrich reviewed late-night reports.
Since the Kracht incident, he'd met with many setbacks. Most of those related to Nils. That "unfilial daughter" dared blame the death of her "friend" onto him, and even refused to acknowledge him as her father?
Even after all this time in imprisonment, she still wouldn't relent.
How dared she?!
He really wanted to dig up that Kracht youth's grave and butcher him all over again.
At his side stood a mid-sized, handsome and refined paragon spirit youth whose feature, at a glance, bore many similarities with his. But while an amiable air swirled around him, Olrich knew that beneath that mask of gentleness and refinement hid one of the imperial family's most sinister wolves.
That man was his second son, Adelar von Jurgen.
Behind them were two imperial eunuchs with profound cultivations who attended to them while they reviewed court reports.
"Adelar, you've always been my most sensible. A pity that Elmar didn't have half your wisdom. If he did, how could he fall into such dire straits?"
"Eldest brother has his difficulty. His deed showed family love that warmed all of our hearts. On behalf of us brothers, I hope father will show some leniency."
Adelar pleaded in a deep bow. And though outwardly, he sighed in helplessness, inwardly, Olrich sneered.
How could he not see what Adelar was up to?
"Don't worry, in a few months, once things have calmed down, I will find an opportunity to release him. However, his lack of consideration for the overall picture makes him unworthy of the crown prince title.
From now on, I will be relying on you."
"I swear not to disappoint father's expectations."
But at that time, an imperial eunuch spy Olrich had sent to infiltrate Yvonne's palace rushed back into the hall, falling on his knees.
"Your majesty, I have news!"