Olrich could see that the more Verena looked at the ring, the more pleasing she found it. Therefore, it was time to attack the second purpose of his visit.
"My empress, could you please present me all your eunuchs?"
At the sound of those words, Verena frowned. She set the ring aside and lowered her gaze back onto Olrich's still beaming face.
What was the meaning of this? Why would Olrich want her to present all her eunuchs out of the blue? Could it be that Konrad had been exposed?
"If your majesty wants me to present my eunuchs, I naturally will. But first, may I ask why?"
Verena's question was natural. Olrich had never brought such a request beforehand. And when considering the recent fate of Yvonne's eunuchs, anyone would be full of apprehension. He understood that principle.
"As you know, imperial eunuchs are the cornerstones of the emperor's guard, the key members of his staff, and closest servants. Unfortunately, although imperial eunuchs are Semi-Saints trained from the cradle by the imperial family, they're still eunuchs, after all.
Noble families might be willing to send some of their less valuable daughters to serve within the palace, hoping they catch my attention. But they would never willingly send their sons to become palace eunuchs.
Therefore, the eunuch class is mainly constituted of the children of destitute commoners and human slaves."
Olrich's words were common knowledge within the imperial palace. Thus, Verena merely nodded.
"But the problem is that most of those have low cultivation talent. Finding hidden gems to train is becoming increasingly challenging. Thus, the quantity of high-ranking eunuchs has been dwindling over the years. Therefore, after several tests, I intend to select a group of young eunuchs, among those currently within the palace, to personally train and promote. Hoping that at least one imperial eunuch can emerge from their ranks."
Although she let nothing transpire on her face, inwardly, Verena shivered. By "tests," she knew Olrich meant talent and bloodline tests. For Konrad, both were terrible ideas.
If the talent assessing steles showed shocking numbers, Olrich would kill him.
If the bloodline assessment showed any issue, Olrich would still kill him.
And knowing both his unparalleled talent and demonic bloodline, Verena knew that if she couldn't exempt him from the examination, Konrad's life was forfeit.
Her lips curled into a smile.
"Actually, I also have a gift for you."
Olrich's eyes showed his surprise. Never did he expect that Verena was so considerate that she'd already been preparing something for him. Indeed, the perfect wife.
"And what would that be?"
"Give me a second to bring it."
Verena stood up, stepped outside, and found Konrad among her lining eunuchs. Their eyes met, and she sent him a mental message.
"We have a situation. You need to change your cultivation to the peak of the True Priest Rank and follow me in."
As the mental message echoed within his mind, Konrad could sense the seriousness within Verena's words. Knowing that she now had his best interest in mind, he didn't delay and used his Transformation Skill to lower his cultivation to the ninth step True Priest Rank.
Verena took his hand, leading him back into her room where an expectant Olrich awaited.
His eyes fell upon the eunuch Verena had just brought in, but when he analyzed his age and cultivation, his eyes shone with dazzling light.
"Seventeen years old, ninth step True Priest? Gem, gem!"
What the imperial family lacked the most was high-level priests. To Olrich, one was more valuable than three knights of the same level. If he could train a new high-level priest, he could obtain one more ace in his sleeve.
To say nothing of the fact that this boy's talent surpassed all his previous expectations in potential recruits.
Unlike knights that only knew how to destroy, priests were competent in many areas such as healing, refining, enchanting, formations setting, and the likes. But since the church monopolized them, many such jobs had to be handed to them. This had always been a thorn in Olrich's side, and Verena knew it well.
"Who might this child be?"
For the more than nine hundred years old Olrich, Konrad was indeed nothing more than a child.
"He's a human eunuch boy that entered the palace several months ago. I spotted him by chance and recognized his talent. I've been training him ever since, hoping that I could present him to your majesty as a new court eunuch when he broke through the Grand Priest Rank."
Verena explained while Konrad made sure to keep his head bowed and not meet Olrich's eyes.
Inner court eunuchs could not be higher than the True Knight or Priest Ranks. When any one of them broke through the Grand Rank, they had to report to the imperial court's personnel department and be promoted to court eunuchs.
"He reached the peak of the True Priest Rank in several months?"
Verena's positive reply made Olrich unable to contain his elation. He slapped his thigh and stood up with a brash laugh.
"HAHAHAHA! Wood that can be carved! Good, very good!"
Olrich's reaction eased Verena's heart, and she pushed Konrad forward.
He stopped before the emperor, still keeping his head lowered as a show of deference.
"Boy, what's your name?"
Konrad stammered pretending to look awed by the emperor's presence. Olrich liked his reaction. Only with a balanced mixture of talent and submissiveness could he breed perfection.
"Konrad? Good name. Little Konrad, from now on, you can forget about your life as an inner court eunuch. Effective immediately, you become one of my personal attendants. Raise your head!"
"Thank you, your majesty, for your grace!"
Konrad "trembled" and expressed his "gratitude" while raising his head to face Olrich's silver eyes.
Seeing that effeminate face that showed no trace of masculine might, Olrich was satisfied. The boy was more and more pleasing to the eyes!
He then had a "fantastic" idea that would forever bind Konrad to him. An idea that flabbergasted even Verena.
"Moreover, I take you as my adopted son and bestow upon you the imperial surname. From now on, you are Konrad von Jurgen. The Holy Flame Emperor's ninth son!
Though you might not be a prince and carry paragon spirit blood, you shall still be recognized as a von Jurgen scion. I hope that in the future, you can become a Holy Priest capable of defending the imperial family's dignity and interests against the world if need be!"
Both Konrad's and Verena's eyes widened in incomparable stupor.
Shocked and frightened by Olrich's words, they didn't know what to do or say.
"Your majesty, p-perhaps this is a bit…excessive?"
Verena stammered, taken off-guard by this outrageous move. Had Olrich's insanity broken through a new level? A paragon spirit emperor, taking a human, eunuch boy as an adoptive son and bestowing the imperial surname onto him?
This had never happened in the history of the Holy Continent and would shock the world!
Konrad despaired, Olrich's move was about to push him into a detestable limelight.
"Not one bit. Talent deserves adequate treatment. It's not because it has never been done before, that we cannot do it today."
With the talent Konrad displayed, Olrich was confident in his ability to train a new Holy Priest in the next few centuries. A Holy Priest loyal only to him. How could he not bind him in the most secure of ways?
With a wave of his hand, he dismissed Verena.
"Boy, don't you know what you should be doing?"
The shock within Konrad's face was a reaction Olrich found perfectly normal. And this time, it was no comedy.
But things being what they were, Konrad could only abide. With great emotions, he fell onto his knees and proclaimed:
"Thank you, adoptive father, for your grace!"
"Good boy. If you cultivate diligently and serve me well, I might even go ask the church for a special regeneration baptism to give you back your lost parts and make you a whole man again!"
Konrad didn't know whether to laugh or cry, so he just cried tears of anguish.
"I am not missing anything, what do you want to give me back?"
Olrich believed those were tears of emotions, and so knelt by Konrad's side to lift him up.
"Foolish child. Adoptive father hopes you won't disappoint his expectations. Tomorrow, report to the central personnel department to receive your new quarters and tokens, then come to the emperor's palace."
Olrich theatrically said, then walked out. Leaving the still baffled pair behind.
"Insanity and genius walk side by side. Others might think me mad, but I know myself…a genius!"
Olrich whispered as he stepped out of Verena's quarters to return to his palace.