"I want to become a Saint."
Margo replied. She had been trapped at the sixth step Semi Holy Rank for centuries and could not break through. It wasn't due to a lack of talent, but rather, to insufficient resources.
If the church were willing to set aside the resources for her, she might not have been able to become a Saint, but at the very least, she would have reached the peak of the Semi-Holy Priest Rank by now.
A pity that her lack of factionalism made her position unsteady even in the inquisitress department. To say nothing of the church as a whole.
"That, I can do. I can even make a Saint in both the martial and spiritual paths. However, are you willing to pay the price?"
Konrad's words and following inquiry caused Margo's eyes to widen in shock. However, she quickly recomposed herself.
"What price? As long as I can reach sainthood, I can pay any price."
Different eyes had different skies. For the current Margo, the Saint level was the pinnacle of cultivation while the Divine Rank was nothing but a pipedream, a cultivation folk tale.
In the Holy Flame Empire's hundred thousand years of history, there had never been a Star Taming Stage expert, to say nothing of the Divine Rank. Therefore, most cultivators saw sainthood as the end of the road. The achievement of a lifetime.
Margo was no exception. But with her talent and resources, sainthood would forever remain an elusive dream.
If there really was an opportunity to seize. She could pay any price!
Konrad replied while rotating his hand. A purple orchid appeared within, before floating toward Margo.
"This is a Phantasm Orchid. If you pledge it your soul and sign the pact with a drop of your blood, it will fulfill your wish."
Konrad explained as the orchid landed in Margo's hands.
Margo no longer hesitated. Raising the orchid before her eyes to make her pledge.
"I want to become a Saint! I want to become a Saint!!! If you can fulfill my wish, my soul is yours."
She then bit her finger to blood and released one drop onto the orchid. The blood vanished within, and the orchid shone with dazzling purple light. Konrad observed the scene with rapt attention.
Naturally, he could have completed that contract on his own in the usual way. He could even have compelled Margo into surrendering herself if he so wished. With his current bloodline level, women beneath the Holy Rank could no longer resist him.
However, he wanted to experiment with this new power. If everything went without a hitch, then from now on, he possessed a way to contract people en masse all across the empire without being personally present.
And without a hitch, it went. Margo's eyes shone with purple light while house Talroth's mark of servitude appeared on her chest, and her soul became Konrad's to do with as he saw fit.
Her talent became his, and at the same time, her cultivation rose at breakneck speed.
"Seventh step Semi-Holy Priest…eighth step…ninth step…Rising Saint."
Her spiritual cultivation stopped at the peak of the Rising Saint Rank. Meanwhile, martial cultivation appeared within her body and rose until it also reached the summit of the Rising Saint Rank.
Feeling the new force submerge her body, Margo's eyes shone with a mixture of astonishment and delight.
The day had arrived!
She was a Saint! From now on, across the Holy Flame Empire, she was a top-level expert!
"Thank you for your grace, master!"
Margo kowtowed. As soon as she dropped her blood onto the orchid, Konrad's image appeared within her mind, and he instantly became her all.
"So once they drop their blood on the orchid, I don't even need to rewire them. Good to know."
The orchid within Margo's hands vanished into nothingness, leaving only her cultivation to remind her that this wasn't a dream.
"Rise, now that you've obtained what you wanted, it's time to serve your new master."
Meanwhile, in one of the Cold Quarter's empty mansions, Nils was locked to reflect on her deeds. The Cold Quarter naturally didn't bear that name because of temperature. It was the place where the disgraced members of the imperial family were sent to reflect on their deeds in confinement.
They were often given empty quarters where the sound of passing breezes served as the only distraction and locked in a room in which they would remain confined until the emperor wished otherwise.
In one such a room, Nils lied on her back, her eyes staring at the ceiling above while someone nagged her from outside the door.
"Nils, why are you being so stubborn. You only need to admit your wrongs and your father will immediately let you go. Why do you need to create so much trouble for a dead person?
Stop this nonsense!"
Anke yelled from behind the door. However, Nils remained silent. This only served to further aggravate her.
"Unfilial brat! Have you been pampered for so long that you think you're free to do as you please? The situation is different, if you don't resolve yourself to apologize and beg for your father's forgiveness, no one can save you!"
Following the last humiliation, Anke didn't dare leave her palace. But when she learned that Olrich wreaked havoc in Yvonne's domain, she overflowed with delight, even deluding herself into thinking that she must have been the cause.
However, when the informant mentioned the sixth prince's death?
She was terror-stricken!
Although Wenzel was the least favored of the eight princes, he was, at the end of the day, Olrich's flesh and blood.
News circulated that he attempted to attack Olrich when he conducted Yvonne's punishment and was killed by accident. But who would believe such nonsense? First, in what world did Wenzel have the nerves to take arms against his father? It was already good if he didn't soil his pants upon meeting him.
Second, with his close to one thousand years of cultivation and True Origin Saint Rank, Olrich's control of his power must have already reached a consummate level. Was it possible for him to accidentally kill anyone?
If Wenzel died, then it meant Olrich wanted him dead!
If he could butcher his flesh and blood, what else could he not do? Who was to say that today's favor wouldn't become tomorrow's execution ax?
Who was truly safe?
Consorts and princes alike were full of fright, carefully watching their moves as to not antagonize the emperor and end up with Wenzel's sorrowful fate.
With Nils' current behavior, wasn't she asking for death?
Although of her three children, Anke favored Nils the least, she was, after all, her daughter. How could she let her head into the path of self-destruction?
However, Nils, who remained unaware of those facts, didn't bat an eyelid.
"Even if you won't do it for yourself, do it for your brothers. They've been locked for so long, their future unknown! Especially Holger, with his cultivation destroyed, and without the status of a prince to shield him, how can he endure confinement?!
They've taken such good care of you across those years, giving you unconditional love and affection impossible to find in any imperial family! Are you really going to turn a blind eye to their plight because of…an outsider?"