"Bastard, unfilial bastard! Do you really think I don't dare kill you?!"
Olrich rose from his throne, and his holy force erupted alongside his thundering voice to barrel into Adelar. His body shook, and he staggered with blood dripping from his lips and eardrums. However, he regained his balance and didn't fall on his knees, keeping an indifferent gaze locked on Olrich.
"It is your right to kill. If you wish to do so, then go ahead. Death is nothing. Personal shame is nothing. But the family's dignity can never be harmed. We've already lost so much of our face to Hubert Voight, and before we can recover from that debacle, you attempt such a thing?
This is the throne you obtained from your father and the family that raised you from the cradle. Soiling both in such wanton manner, are you not unfilial? I understand that you wish to train a mighty Holy Priest bound to our name, but I hope you can see reason where it lies and avoid this needless path. Please reconsider!"
Adelar knew he couldn't challenge Olrich on cultivation. Therefore, he could only use reason. Hoping that his father would cave in. As if kindled by his words, the elders stood up, and while bowing toward Olrich, reiterated their previous words.
"Your majesty, please reconsider!"
The third and fourth prince then stepped forward to beg the same. The people realized that Olrich couldn't kill them all. Only by supporting Adelar's words could they stop the emperor.
The seventh prince still didn't dare step forward while the eighth prince was not present due to a strange, chronic disease he'd been carrying since birth.
As for the consorts, they had other considerations.
"Good, very good."
Olrich naturally understood Adelar's reasoning. However, he also had other considerations. In less than a century, the Holy Continent's secular world would not have anyone capable of contending with him. Why did he need to care about the jeers of the plebe when he would soon reign supreme?
However, that power would come at the cost of his most talented children and weaken the next generation if appropriate measures were not taken. As per the Celestial Church's decree, paragon spirit kings and emperors couldn't rule for more than one thousand years. Afterward, they had to join the church as priests.
Olrich had ruled for less than four hundred years and was still far from the deadline. But when the time came for him to join the Celestial Church, who would protect his empire?
Olrich had no confidence in being able to resist the Celestial Church's will in six centuries. Forget about six, even in one thousand years, he would still not have the strength. It was a dreadful force with the weakest elders being at the Divine Rank.
Therefore, when the time came to leave, he would oblige. At least until his strength was enough to suppress the church and return to his lands. But in the meantime, he needed someone reliable to defend his realm while his cultivation rose.
A new son, competent and loyal enough to protect the state and a series of puppet emperors until he returned. Someone who could and would never eye his throne. Konrad was the choice, the son he would raise for the empire's sake. Only by giving him his name and raising him as his flesh across centuries could he ensure that their interests aligned throughout eternity.
How could they understand his plight?!
"Well, I'm determined to be willful. If you're dissatisfied, you can head to the department of justice to sue me!
Though, since they work for me, I'm not sure they will take your complaints!
You could also submit an impeachment petition. A shame that I'm the one that processes those and will certainly not impeach myself!"
Adelar included, the imperial clansmen's eyes widened in disbelief. Since when did the emperor become so shameless?
"What? Dissatisfied? A pity that I'm the emperor and you, the servants!"
Olrich roared while indexing every single member of the opposition.
"From this day onward, Konrad shall be known as my ninth son, and a von Jurgen scion. If anyone wants to laugh, I will tear off their tongues. If anyone complains, I will cut off their heads. Whoever feels like this is too much of a loss of face and can no longer keep his back straight is free to come and see me. I will make sure his back will never curve in a lifetime!
The other states don't take us seriously anymore? No problem, I will dispatch armies and take their lands! See if they still dare sneer at us!
Joke! For one-hundred-thousand years, the Holy Flame Empire has been this continent's number one secular force. Its power unmatched. Where it not for the various branches of the Celestial Church that limited the scope of the continent's internal wars, we would have long since unified it!
That is why only we can use the word "Holy!"
And I am this proud nation's sovereign! Who dares disrespect my will? If I can't kill him today, I will kill him tomorrow!
And if I want a dog to become chancellor, then that dog can lead the state! If you have nothing else to say, get out of my sight!"
*BAM* *BAM* *BAM*
Olrich waved his golden sleeves, causing a new wave of holy force to erupt and throw all his bowing sons and elders out of the hall.
They crashed in the outside, their state unknown.
"Preposterous! Does anyone have more to add to this debate?"
The consorts and the remaining prince trembled, while Nils suppressed her rising laughter from erupting.
Meanwhile, Konrad and Verena exchanged glances that said the same:
"Nothing? Good, then you're all dismissed. The imperial duke and I have things to discuss."
As if freed from a death sentence, they stormed out, faster than their shadows. Leaving only Verena, Nils, Olrich, and Konrad. Nils cast a last glance at his eyes before taking her leave, and Verena soon followed suit.
"Little Konrad, do you see all I have to endure for your sake? I hope you won't disappoint me."
Olrich exhaled with a deep sigh.
"Adoptive father, I will never forget this day and the kindness you've shown me. Henceforth, I swear to exert all my strength to execute your will and protect what you cherish!"
Konrad gave a solemn pledge with a dramatic fall on his knees.
"Good son! Good son!"
Olrich repeated while helping him up and both sobbed in a "profound" show of emotions.
"I believe the cultivation method you received from Verena should be top-notch. Therefore, changing is of no use, and in any case, such things often bring more harm than good.
However, I will impart a unique art onto you. This art will allow you to magnify the power of your soul. It has three layers. Comprehend the first, and your soul will become ten times more robust and powerful than those of the same rank.
Moreover, it can help you refine the souls of others and swallow their soul force to increase your cultivation at breakneck speed without harming your foundation."
Olrich explained while eying Konrad's reaction at the mention of refining souls.
At first, there was surprise, but quickly, they showed submission. Meanwhile, his heart skipped a beat.
Those were good reactions that could be adjusted as needed.
"I shall follow adoptive father's arrangements!"
"Good. Don't worry, the souls you will receive are that of death row convicts and criminals of the worst kind. No innocent will be sacrificed."
"Understood, adoptive father!"
But inwardly, Konrad was perplexed. Refining souls? This was true demonism.
Such an art could only stem from Olrich's infernal souls.
And indeed, when the mnemonics flew from his mind to his, they carried with them great surprise.
"The Infernal Soul Devouring Art. A divine rank art with three layers, each making the soul ten times stronger and more resilient.
Meanwhile, comprehending the first layer allows the flawless refinement of any soul regardless of origin."
Inventor: Urzul, Western King of Hell!"
The system's information regarding the art appeared within Konrad's mind. With his talent, Olrich had only managed to comprehend the first layer and could never master the second one in a lifetime.
It wasn't a question of time and dedication. His talent was just insufficient.
Therefore, he didn't expect Konrad to do much better. A pity that talent-wise they didn't play in the same league.