"Great elder, no need to waste time with that overconfident wastrel. To arms!"
The one who spoke was an old man dressed in gold and blue cassock. He was the Water Temple's conclave leader, a late-stage Fate Wrestling Saint, and Augusta's father: House Meissner's patriarch.
Following his words, the great elder nodded and with a wave of his hand, summoned a blue ocean ruler while the rest of the twenty-two Saints formed a circle around Konrad.
Activating his Origin Sight, Konrad swept the gathered Saints. One peak-stage Fate Wrestling Saint, two of the late-stage, three of the mid-stage and four of the early-stage.
Adding on top of that the six-star Holy Artifact and twelve True Origin Saints, Konrad was forced to admit that this lineup was nothing to scoff at. However, when compared to Olrich's von Jurgen dynasty or the Holy Flame Church, it was nothing.
When compared to the Celestial Church and Infernal Cult, it didn't even qualify as nothing.
If such a lineup could bar his path, how could he ever suppress the world?
The water temple's Holy Priests stood at the back to cast spells while the von Gradl exarchs took the vanguard. Led by the great elder, twelve light beams shot toward Konrad while at the back, the Water Temple exarchs' spellcasting began.
"Holy Flame thief, surrender your life!"
Nine pairs of white wings sprang from the great elder's back while three lotus bloomed above his head. At the same time, the power of fate swirled around him in the form of grey fate locks eager to wrest the destiny of the unprepared!
Dozens of fate locks flew from the incoming elders to form a suppression force-field around Konrad,
Feeling the power of fate dive into his body and assail his soul, Konrad sneered.
The Divine Primal Physique's might erupted, bringing alongside it a vast wave of golden light that snapped the fate locks and freed Konrad of their suppression.
The Supreme Overlord Physique followed, causing an unending stream of vibrations to spread throughout the air, covering a three-hundred meter radius within which all became Konrad's to do with as he saw fit.
The twenty-two Saints were startled. The great elder, in particular, could barely contain his fright!
"This is…that accursed physique…what is your relationship with Yvonne Voight?"
As a thousands of years old expert, he'd, of course, witnessed the splendor of Yvonne's era. Following the Tower of Rebirth's event, the fifteen years old she willingly joined the army as a foot soldier and caused barbarian blood to litter the earth.
Many barbarian experts attempted to murder her from the shadow but ended up smothered by the crushing might of her Supreme Overlord Physique.
Why was that dreadful force appearing on that man?
"She's my wife!"
Konrad replied and spun on one-hundred-eighty degrees. His broadsword drew a dazzling arc, sending a purple light and lightning circle to barrel into the immobilized twelve who struggled to free themselves from his suppression force.
Before the purple arc could slam into them, they broke free and with the great elder's blue ocean ruler as lead weapon, met Konrad's incoming blow.
Although they'd managed to dispel the blow, the violent impact sent the twelve reeling. Only the great and second elder stood still, unmovable like mountains.
"Loads of horseshit!"
The great elder roared and raised the ocean blue ruler. The night sky suddenly turned ocean blue, and from it, a deluge brewed!
At the same time, the conclave exarchs at his back finished their spell casting.
"Sixth Circle Spell: Flood!"
The ten priests roared in unison, causing dozens of ocean blue circles to illuminate the night sky.
The royal palace had long since risen from sleep, the commotion too hard to ignore. Although the elders used force-field to prevent the noise from leaving the palace, they didn't stop it from reaching the royal palace's denizens.
After all, they wanted them to know what would happen to those that disrespected house von Gradl and its rule!
Gargantuan sea waves bloated the night sky, alarming all who lied on the ground. It didn't take a genius to see that if Konrad couldn't shoulder that blow, at best, the royal palace would receive massive casualties.
At worst, they would all perish!
But seeing the mighty wave that stretched across several miles, Konrad's smile remained undisturbed. A crazed glint flashed in his purple eyes while light, lightning and rose petals hovered around his form.
"Sixth circle spell: Searing Sky!"
Red clouds spread throughout the night, smothering the blue and causing a deluge of firestorm to descend from the heavens and collide with the flood.
Steam bloated the sky as the two forces met in an earthshaking collision. Alas, the combined forces of the ten Holy Priests ended up overwhelming Konrad's Searing Sky.
Though weakened, the flood carried on, its shocking might begging for his life.
Konrad spread his hands, causing six one hundred-meters tall peach blossom trees to spout from the ground and form a defensive force-field around him.
The flood met with the force field in a dreadful eruption of force, but failed to breakthrough!
The shadow of hundred-meters tall Anzu and Stolas beasts appeared at Konrad's back as he maniacally laughed and turned into dozens of afterimages that bathed in a purple vortex of light and lightning.
The dozens of afterimages turned into violet beams, piercing through the von Gradl elders' defenses to storm the Water Temple exarchs at their back.
The pressure of the two holy and two divine physiques broke all coordination between the priests whose forte didn't lie in close-quarter combat, to begin with.
"It is not that I want to kill you. You just don't cherish your lives."
The dozens of Konrad slashed!
The broadswords sang in the night sky!
And the heads of six True Origin Saints soared, detached from their bodies in clean beheading!
Their blood, drenching their headless bodies below!
And from twenty-two, the congregation was reduced to sixteen!
But Konrad didn't stop! Before his enemies could react, his afterimages turned into dozens of light and lightning meteors that flew back into the six True Origin von Gradl Saints!
The Fate-Wrestling Saint elders didn't have time to raise defenses, and by the time Konrad returned to his original spot, those True Origin Saints all had gruesome, human-sized holes within their chests.
From those holes, light and lighting still brew!
Twelve True Origin Saint corpses thus dropped from the night sky, leaving the ten Fate Wrestling Saints as the only contenders.
The ten Tribulation Stage experts were startled.
Not due to Konrad's shocking display, but because from his moves, they could finally gauge his true cultivation.
And what they saw terrified them to the point they no longer trusted their senses, fearing they'd all fallen into an illusion!
All ten exchanged confused looks, and seeing the same truth in one another eyes', they floundered, dread overwhelming their hearts.
And while they gathered all possible reasoning to make sense of what they felt, Konrad released a rainbow-colored light, proving all their fears correct!
Because while they couldn't identify its exact rank, they could clearly feel that the rainbow light was nothing more than Transcendence!
"What Saint elder? He's just…a Transcendent Rank junior. A Transcendent Rank junior capable of slaying True Origin Saints and meeting Fate Wrestling Saints as an equal.
Where could such a monster possibly hail from? Even Yvonne Voight in her prime wasn't this horrifying!
Could he be…a Higher Realm junior? But how?"
As the possibility dawned to their minds, both the great elder and conclave leader felt cracks within their fighting spirit.
"Iron…we've kicked iron…shit!"
But as Konrad turned, and they saw the blood of their comrades drenching his face and robe, apprehension made way for battle intent!
Their determination returned!
"Since we've offended, we must offend to the end. We must fight until only one side remains standing!
And regardless of the consequences, defend our dignity! One boy cannot end our hegemony!"
The ten inwardly roared and gathered for a new assault.
"Activate the formation!"
Ten blue-light rays erupted from various corners of the Royal Palace and connected to the ten experts' hearts.
The lights then went from one to another until the ten Fate-Wrestling Saints were all linked by the formation and saw their battle power soar!
At the same time, they summoned their Pure Selves, and with the great elder leading the charge, surrounded Konrad from all sides.
Brandishing his ruler, the great elder condensed a magnified force of the ten Fate-Wrestling Saints combined, summoning a sea deluge that pierced the sky to crash onto Konrad.
Konrad didn't dread it. With his flesh and bones being as resilient as they were, at worst, he would suffer some internal damage. This blow could never take his life. Only those below would suffer.
However, if he maintained his current battle power, there was also no hope for victory. At best, he could only withdraw.
Therefore, it was time to go all-out and summon dread in the hearts of those overreaching ants!
Konrad's skin turned scarlet. Two large pairs of jet-black horns sprang from his forehead, one goat-shaped, the other ram-shaped while scarlet flesh wings also grew from his back.
Horrible demonic energy exploded from his form, covering the entire royal palace and sending it into an uproar.
The ten Fate-Wrestling Saints were alarmed! And if even they had reached such a fright-state, one could only imagine how badly the royal palace's denizens shivered! Demonkind, the lords of nightmares, avatars of sin, mayhem, and destruction, had finally appeared before them!
Terrified! They were all terrified! But with the palace having already fallen to his forces' hands, Konrad was undisturbed.
The royal guard was deployed to suppress dissidence.
While still holding the broadsword in his right hand, Konrad summoned Man-Breaker in his left for a final assault!
The jet-black, spiked, infernal war hammer appeared as the fulfillment of all the Fate-Wrestling Saints' fears.
"The hammer and not the whip. Talroth's blood and not Asmodeus'.
Ends…my von Gradl dynasty…ends."
The great elder's eyes went bloodshot with sorrow, rage, and unwillingness blazing within his heart.
But regardless of how unwilling he was, he knew this night was doomed to turn into a tragedy.
Meanwhile, Augusta's father was receiving startling news.
"Conclave leader, help! Following your departure, we've been assaulted by two men who're currently butchering us like cattle!"
And instantly, he realized that from the beginning, they were playing in the enemy's palm.
But he wasn't given time to lament, because Konrad raised his war hammer toward the sky and summoned six purple circles.
"Sixth Circle Spell: Light Meteor!"
Purple clouds replaced all that previously stood in the sky, and from it, a maelstrom of purple light emerged, releasing a gigantic purple meteor that descended upon the ten!
With the demonic force empowering soul and physique, they couldn't resist, the formation collapsing under the unstoppable assault.
Sword in one hand, hammer in the other, Konrad vanished and appeared before one of the Fate-Wrestling Saints.
With his hammer, he tore through his waist and with his sword, he beheaded him!
"What lies ahead victory is uncertain. However, we know that defeat means destruction!
Therefore, you can't falter! We must fight with all our might!"
The great elder roared and slammed his ocean blue ruler at Konrad in a tremendous eruption of holy force!
The remaining eight followed suits, fighting tooth and nails against the demonic oppressor.
Alas, to no avail!
With the formation broken and the backlash that ensued, their combined forces were no match for Konrad's all-out assault.
One after the other, they fell in a gruesome feast of blood and gore!
"Resist, resist, just in case, we've already contacted Great Void! Fate Destroying Saint reinforcements will soon be on their way!"
The great elder and conclave leader roared to the remaining three Saints.
What they didn't know was that beyond the royal palace, the corpses of their reinforcements lied broken at the gate, butchered by Yvonne.
No reinforcements would ever find their way to the scene.
*Crack* *Crack* *Crack*
*Slash* *Slash* *Slash*
In a macabre dance, Man-Breaker tore through the chests of the three subordinates while the broadsword removed their heads from their bodies! They were not even given enough time to scream.
Konrad then appeared before Augusta's father, and without hesitation, his spiked hammer and sword hacked him into pieces. Thus, only the great elder remained.
"Since destruction is the only road. Do not blame me for being heartless!"
A berserk current of holy force erupted from the great elder's body as he prepared his self-detonation.
The massive explosion came in less than a second, hitting Konrad point-blank, and sending him spiraling into the ground.
In a startling dust blast, he cratered.
But before the explosion could lay waste on the royal palace, Yvonne appeared to restrain it. Turning the large holy force explosion into nothingness.
She then landed by Konrad's side.
"What a pointless show of dust. My poor clothes."
Konrad commented while standing up from the ground, showing a naked, but unharmed form.
Reassuming his human form, he turned toward Yvonne who eyed him from head to toes.
"One must admit that even flaccid, your girth is…impressive."
She commented while summoning a black cloak which she placed over his shoulders.