The trip toward the Demonic Beasts' Forest would have been unremarkable were it not for Krann's booming footsteps that shook the earth and left deep prints within the ground. The noise reached such a threshold that Konrad could no longer endure it.
"Krann, use your Transformation Skill to adopt a human size."
"As you command, master."
Krann replied before executing Konrad's order. Just like Konrad, he was equipped with a Transformation Skill that could deceive even Saints and help him conceal his cultivation and true form if need be.
Using it, Krann went from nine to 1.7 meter, turning into a short and stocky monster that obediently walked behind Konrad. Though less imposing, the change in shape did nothing to diminish his powers.
As they reached the forest's edge, through mental orders, Konrad signaled for the nearly eight thousand demonic beasts to make their way toward him in orderly fashion.
Again, the earth shivered. The stampede of the beast legion creating a much more horrifying sound that the lone Krann ever could.
The beasts soon reached destination, stopping before Konrad in order of strength. The Monstrous Beasts stood at the helm while the Lesser Beasts formed a platoon at the back. Between the two were the Superior, Voracious, and Intermediate Beasts.
Although Konrad saw them as rabble, if unleashed in the outside world, those creatures could effortlessly flatten any low to mid-level noble house.
"System, exchange two-hundred million exp for two-hundred low-grade Transcendent level Blood Restoration Pills."
The system completed the exchange, causing the two-hundred Blood Restoration Pills to drop by Konrad's side.
"Krann, you keep a hold of those pills, every time I weaken, feed me one."
Krann waved his clawed hands, firing a surge of telekinetic power that pulled the Transcendent Blood Restoration Pills toward him.
Konrad then stretched out his arms, letting the vast demonic energies concealed in his body erupt, and coalesce into one hundred purple orchids that hovered around him. Each of those orchids contained large quantities of demonic power, and their appearance caused the previously docile demonic beasts to subconsciously become restless!
Greed shone within their eyes as they stared at those orchids that had, to them, turned into the most sumptuous delicacies under the heavens.
Konrad gashed his wrists, using his telekinetic powers to split his dripping blood into hundreds of droplets which he infused the orchids with. From purple, they turned crimson, but the demonic energies within them only grew stronger, heightening the craving of those demonic beasts.
As Konrad's blood loss reached a life-threatening level, Krann fed him a Transcendent Blood Restoration pill, stopping the blood loss and regenerating what he'd lost.
Konrad then waved his hands, firing the one-hundred Blood Orchids first toward the eighty-seven Monstrous Beasts. They each swallowed one, and the thirteen that remained were consumed by Superior Beasts.
Red and purple light erupted from their bodies as their inner transformation began. The impurities in their demonic beast lineages tremendously lessened, magnifying their bloodlines and letting it approach the Fiend level.
At the same time, they directly experienced cultivation base breakthroughs.
The Superior Beasts became Monstrous Beasts.
The low-level Monstrous Beasts became peak-level Monstrous Beasts, and the high-level Monstrous Beasts became Accursed Beasts!
At the same time, as the impurities in their beast blood lessened, Konrad could feel those beasts' battle power improve.
"You are reversing their Degeneration."
The system observed as the beasts refined Konrad's blood orchids.
When they mated with non-demons (Deva excluded), demons' offspring suffered something called Degeneration. The quality of the blood that should have been inherited would drastically lessen, not only harming the offspring's innate talent and future prospects but also transforming their bloodlines into lesser versions of their demonic parent.
The original fiends were created through the blood, energy, and experiments of Demon Gods. Meanwhile, the first demonic beasts were the results of fiends mating with pureblooded demons.
This was the key reason why demon nobles often looked down on half-breeds who could easily produce inferior bloodlines.
For the same reason, the cultivation path of Demonic Beasts was called "The Restoration." As they evolved and broke through new ranks, their bloodline would constantly be sublimated until it returned to their fiend ancestor's level.
Of course, in the mortal worlds, very few could achieve that.
"You really don't cherish yourself. Reversing the Degeneration of nearly eight-thousand beasts. Are you not afraid of going into shock?"
The system's worries were not groundless. If Konrad weren't careful, going into shock was very likely.
"On the road to supremacy, sacrifices are inevitable. If those eight-thousand beasts can become eight-thousand Accursed and Decadent Beasts in the span of a few weeks. All is worth it."
Konrad replied, then bypassed the demonic Beasts to step into the forest and carry out with his preparations. With Krann to support his blood and energy loss, Konrad covered the entirety of the Demonic Beast Forest's trees in blood orchids. He then enforced rules and quotas in the beasts' minds to prevent infighting before returning them to the forest.
He now looked pale and haggard, unable to stand without Krann's support. Sitting cross-legged, Konrad entered meditation to recover his strength, before standing up for his last location.
"Krann, for now, you stay here to supervise those beasts. When I need you, I shall summon you."
"Master, you don't need to worry. I will make sure they don't slack off."
Konrad nodded, then headed toward his last destination:
In one of the Space Mansion's prison cells lied the former Grand Inquisitress, Margo Kriegel.
After tossing her into the space mansion's captivity, Konrad had her injuries tended to, before no longer paying her any heed.
Not that he'd forgotten about her, but he didn't have use for her yet. Now, it was different. With his new powers, countless opportunities lied ahead.
Stepping into the jail, Konrad walked toward Margo's cell with his arms crossed beneath his chest.
She lied on the cold ground, crossed-legged in meditation. Although the cells prevented her from using her cultivation, they couldn't stop her from cleansing her mind through regular meditation.
"Good willpower. Having been trapped in this dark, cold cell for all those weeks without the right to see anyone or take a single step outside. Yet, your mind remains steady. I'm impressed."
Konrad began, his voice causing Margo to awaken from her trance.
"The foundation laid by my thousand years of cultivation cannot crumble because of a few weeks."
Margo calmly replied, not turning toward Konrad.
"Is that so?"
"As I recall, the lifespan of a Semi-Saint is of roughly five thousand years, right? A few weeks might not be enough to make you waver, but what about another thousand years."
Konrad's eyes shone with purple light, causing Margo's body to tremble and the scenery around her to undergo drastic changes.
In that new world, years flew by as she remained trapped within the cell, unable to step outside, unable to meet anyone, or breathe anything besides the cold, oppressive air of the underground.
Although she soon lost the notion of time, the weight of the decades and centuries crashed onto her, driving her into the deepest recesses of her mind as she contended with her rising insanity.
In that way, a thousand years passed.
"A thousand is not enough? No problem, let's add another three thousand."
The purple light once again flashed, and this time, although Margo struggled to resist the effects of millennia of imprisonment, her mind faltered, and she crumbled onto the ground, seeing her body shrivel alongside her soul as she headed to the end of her lifespan, alone.
Voices boomed within her head as insanity sat within, and her eyes went bloodshot.
"S-STOOOP! En-enough…I beg you!"
The scenery once again changed, and Margo returned to the real world.
Her terror-stricken eyes rose to meet Konrad, whose otherworldly looks did nothing to alter the dread within her chest.
"What do you want from me?!"
"You misunderstand. Your punishment is merely a result of your own actions. Supervising my torture regimen is, you see, a cardinal sin that would have gotten you butchered were you not a gorgeous lady."
Konrad straightforwardly replied.
"This is not about what I want from you, but what you want from me."
Tell me, Margo, what is it that you really want? What is your deepest desire?
Tell, and as long as you're willing to pay the price, I will fulfill it!"
As Konrad's lips moved, his words echoed within Margo's head like a compelling force she could not resist.