"What did you just say?"
Konrad's eyes flashed with annoyance. Did cultivators also have audition problems?
"I wish to serve his majesty to the best of my abilities."
"No, before that."
"Oh, my intentions are pure."
Konrad waved Nils goodbye with the back of his left hand before taking his leave.
But then, an unexpected event occurred. Nils summoned her energy sword and hacked it at Konrad's neck.
He was startled.
The blow was fast, but not fast enough for him not to avoid. However, doing so would expose his cultivation.
Therefore, he stood still. Gambling on Nils' character and a probe, he let the sword reach his neck. It stopped right before the blade could touch his flesh.
"Why didn't you dodge it?"
Nils asked while keeping her sword aligned with Konrad's neck.
"Your highness must be jesting. How could I with my peak True Priest cultivation dodge your sword? If you want to kill me, I cannot resist."
Nils' frown deepened. The sword vanished, and she grabbed Konrad by the shoulder, forcing him to face her.
She stared deep into those eyes of his. The shape wasn't something she recalled. However, the expression echoed with her mind to bring back the image of a green-haired, nature serpent youth. She imagined his illusory face standing next to Konrad's and superimposed them to look for the similarities in their gazes.
"My intentions are pure." In her short life, Nils had only heard that statement twice. Both from Anselm's lips. How coincidental that this troubling Konrad now spoke the same. Were they somehow related? Thinking of that possibility, excitement filled her chest.
But then she recalled Anselm's fate, and it all died down.
"My apologies. I was muddled for one second."
She let go of Konrad's shoulders, and with sorrowful eyes, turned heels and left.
"How could a dead person reappear in someone else? Have I become so pathetic that I seek the dead in complete strangers? Wake up Nils."
Seeing the lonely back she left behind, Konrad sighed.
"Where was the flaw? How did she get doubts? Is it what I said?
Troubling. In the future, I should be more careful."
Konrad naturally didn't memorize everything he'd told Nils on the day they first met. His feelings just didn't have that depth.
Upon returning to his palace, he locked himself in his room and activated the system to check his new quest.
"Main Quest, level 6:
Description: Congratulations, Harem Grandmaster! A solid foundation is established. Thus, it is now time to expand the host's reach within the empire to stand below one and above the rest.
Level 6 Objectives:
1: Conquer 120 beauties of the Arch Rank or above.
2: Take control of the imperial harem in its entirety.
3: Take control of the low and mid-level nobility while subduing at least thirty percent of the high-nobility houses.
4: Control more than fifty percent of the empire's economy.
Main Rewards: Harem Lord RankTwo Extra Physique SlotsBloodline Upgrade (if applicable)New System Functions
Ability Rewards: Valkyrie MarkValkyrie Surge
Timeframe: Three years."
Seeing the list of things to accomplish, Konrad was undisturbed. He now had a rough understanding of the system's objective picking methods and roughly anticipated them.
Still, he had to admit that to anyone else, this would be completely unreasonable. Besides someone with his unique skillset, who could complete such a task in three years?
"The first objective is already completed. I should anticipate on future requirements. As for the rest, with my current status, this will become a bit more difficult. I need to find an opportunity to make use of the impending inner court banquet in order to conquer all the core harem members in one night."
Konrad left the system to return to the Infernal Soul Devouring Art bestowed by Olrich.
The mnemonics swirled within his mind as he analyzed this demonic art to comprehend the first layer. And as he probed deeper, a faint black mist appeared out of thin air to swirl around him.
Meanwhile, while his eunuchs announced Konrad's new position and delivered his gifts, Olrich left his palace to head toward Else's. Naturally, no one dared stop him at the gate. As the eunuch guards announced his arrival, his steps never stopped.
In a flash, he reached Else's chambers where she sat cross-legged in silent cultivation.
Sensing his presence, she stopped.
"Olrich, why hide behind the door, come on in."
If anyone heard those words, they would have trembled in fright. Even Verena didn't dare call Olrich by name, always referring to him as "your majesty." However, Else clearly didn't have such constraints.
The door opened, revealing Olrich whose eyes didn't hide his displeasure.
"Else, why did you not attend the meeting?"
Clearly, Else calling him by his name didn't bother him in the slightest. Instead, it was her absence that triggered his discontent. Still, though his face wore a frown, his tone remained mild.
"A purposeless farce. Why do I need to attend? You already told me you planned to make that eunuch boy your son and anticipated opposition. You also told me how you would handle it.
I knew exactly what would happen before it did. That being the case, why bother joining the charade? You know the things I hate the most are noise and wasted time."
Else replied with a candor that didn't contain the deference of subject to monarch. Between them, there seemed to be very little decorum.
Olrich shook his head and sat by her side.
"Little girl, in private I can accommodate your willfulness, but on official occasions, you should give me some face! If you keep behaving like this, are you not telling the world that I'm suppressed under your skirt?
Where does that put my imperial dignity? Or is it that you're still blaming me for not letting you attend the anniversary of your mother's death?"
Olrich asked in a helpless tone that carried none of his usual force. It almost looked like he was trying to reason with his little sister.
At the mention of her mother's death, Else scowled. Since she didn't wear her mask, Olrich could clearly see her displeasure, and he knew he hit the mark.
The realization caused a sigh to escape his lips.
"On this matter, you can't blame me. The last time you returned to house Metze, you almost died from the church's assassins and disappeared for a decade. Clearly, they will be waiting for you to exit the palace again to carry out another assassination attempt.
House Metze's foundation is indeed profound. But what was last time's result? Your mother died, your father was gravely injured, and many of your house servants perished to shelter you.
Were it not for your ancestors coming out of seclusion to repel the assassins, the result would have been ten times worse. To this day, you refuse to tell me how you spent the last decade. I can not inquire, but you can't blame me for taking extra precautions. On his deathbed, I promised your brother that I would take care of you.
Should you perish under my watch, how do I face his soul in heaven?"
Olrich's words worsened Else's scowl, and in frustration, she clenched her thigh.