As she sat crossed-legged within her cultivation chambers and listened to the cloaked man's words, no sign of hesitation flashed within Else's blue slit eyes.
"You may thank her ladyship for her offer, but I respectfully decline. The Holy Flame Empire welcomed house Metze in its times of need. Though we bear irreconcilable contradictions with the church, though the emperor has fallen to insanity, I have no desire to see this country destroyed.
This was never part of our agreement.
Else of house Metze doesn't do such shady business. See yourself out, and unless lady Gulistan is willing to instead support a change in dynasty, do not return."
Else's uncompromising words annoyed the cloaked man whose tone immediately chilled.
"Ungrateful wretch, without her ladyship, you would now be a pile of bones. If only for her lifesaving grace, you should comply.
Said bluntly, I don't know what she sees in you. How many houses, how many Saints would be willing to pledge allegiance to the Infernal Cult and her ladyship when given the opportunity, but you refuse.
A fool; that is what you are. The time of the Holy War approaches and house Serkar doesn't give second chances. If you're adamant on rejecting the lady, then death is your only future."
Clearly, the cloaked man didn't put Else's Profound Saint cultivation in his eyes, staring at her with naked contempt.
Else ignored him, no additional word coming from her lips. The man shook his head, and unwilling to waste any more time on what he saw as an inferior breed, vanished from the scene.
As he disappeared, Else's eyes rose, aiming toward Konrad's mansion.
With his cultivation level, the man didn't require any special skill to freely come and go within the Holy Flame Imperial Palace. By the time he'd vanished from Else's sight, he'd already reappeared in another location, one that clearly didn't befit his status: the red-light district.
Though he stood amidst the many bystanders, none could feel his presence. Soon he reached a specific brothel and stepped in.
Using the previous body owner's memories, Konrad could have effortlessly recognized it as the place he grew up in.
Upon entering the man vanished to reappear in a simple room where a handsome middle-aged man writhed on the only available bed with a delirious look on his face.
The man groaned as if in the middle of a mind-blowing sex act. The cloaked man ignored him, turning to a corner of the room where a woman sat with her legs crossed and eyes shut close.
She wore a long burgundy dress that showcased her ample cleavage and highlighted her perfect curves. Though her eyes remained closed, her transcendent beauty was evident, and within, one could find some resemblance to Konrad.
Or rather, it would be more accurate to say that Konrad was the one that resembled her.
Long eyelashes donned her forehead while her calf-lengthed ink hairs brushed the ground.
When the cloaked man's eyes fell upon her, hers opened, revealing a bewitching pair of jet-black eyes that absorbed the soul. She stood up, emerging from the dark corner to reveal a skin-tone akin to the Iranians' on earth.
And although no cultivation aura rippled from her, the man looked at her with awe and reverence.
"Greetings, lady Gulistan!"
She was Konrad's mother, Gulistan Serkar. And before her, that man who only had contempt to offer Else immediately fell onto his knees in a show of allegiance.
"You may rise."
Gulistan's chilling voice that contrasted with that perfect face of hers echoed.
"Thank you, my lady."
"What is the girl's reply?"
"She refuses to help in the country's destruction and firmly rejects your ladyship's good intentions unless you wish to instead support a change in dynasty. Though she didn't elaborate on who would replace who, clearly, she means for the Metze to replace the von Jurgen."
The man sighed, but hearing this, no ripple flashed within Gulistan's eyes.
"Is that so? Since Konrad liked her as a pet and was so saddened by her disappearance, I wanted to give her the opportunity to truly join our side and have her serve as his maid.
But I suppose overconfident ants must always resist the will of giants. It matters not. In any case, the preparations are complete. The item will soon arrive, and past this year, there will be no empire left in the Holy Continent."
Gulistan's lips curled into a gentle smile that made the cloaked man shiver. Though his cultivation stood at the Star Connecting Saint Rank, leagues above any man of the Holy Continent's secular world, before this young lady of his, he couldn't help but momentarily surrender to fright.
But who could blame him, be it in cultivation or status, she was not of his world.
"Should we alert the young master?"
"No, let him play some more. When he gets bored and frustrated, he will naturally come home."
Although some of his deeds eluded her, Gulistan was perfectly aware of Konrad's "awakening" and most of the events that surrounded him. And thinking of his inexplicable transformations, her eyes shone with expectations.
On the next morning, Konrad received Olrich's summon. Then, following court meeting and daily exercise of rune carving and spell casting, Olrich had Konrad sit by his side.
"I will not keep this hidden from you. We will soon engage the Great Void Empire with our elite troops while using a lesser force to support the Prosperous Wind's stalemate.
Thanks to the Prosperous Wind Emperor using his entire countries' cultivation power beneath the Semi-Holy Rank, Great Void was forced to expand even more resources, leaving many cities unguarded.
We can, therefore, begin our assault and swallow their cities. However, to make sure we can at least take forty percent of their territory, we must use the Water Kingdom alliance to divert them on another front.
My hope is that feeling destruction approach, Great Void breaks the Grand Treaty and openly uses Semi-Saints and above as soldiers. Then we can descend upon with the full might of the Holy Flame Empire, and remove Great Void from the map.
However, that's not likely to happen.
Your task is to carry this imperial token and act as my emissary in the Water Kingdom Alliance to welcome their eldest princess into our lands. When Adelar awakes, he'll marry her."
Though he received the token, Konrad frowned, perplexed by the words.
"But father I…"
"I know, you fear they might look down on you being a eunuch, but this token is not just a decoration. It carries my holy force. Enough for four blows.
If anyone disrespects you, bomb them. You will lead a team of six high-level Semi-Saints, and fifteen peak stage Transcendent. The tenth elder will also be by your side.
This should be enough to give them face and allow them to understand my intentions. It is a pity, but I must admit that my gifted trueborn children are all unfilial and can't be relied on. Therefore, as your cultivation improves, I hope you can represent me on the international stage.
This is an opportunity for you to show them the expectations I place in you. As for that eunuch state, in due time, we shall fix it."
Olrich cut Konrad, anticipating his "fears."
Having nothing more to say, Konrad could only agree.
"Seeing the expectations you place in me, I can't find words to express my gratitude. I can only renew my oath of loyalty and pledge to serve you till my dying breath!"
Konrad sobbed while falling on his knees to show filial piety.
"Silly child, no need mention death. You and I will live long and prosperous lives, side by side, across millennia!"
Olrich bent his knees to help Konrad's up.
Konrad then left to prepare for his departure. In any case, this was an opportunity to see what lied beyond the Holy Flame Empire.
By the time he returned, his servants should have made great progress, and Verena should be ready to gather the inner court's leading consorts in one place. Konrad spent that day between the warmth of his harem and silent cultivation.
As night fell, he broke through to the sixth step of the Transcendent Knight Rank. Knowing that this would be his last opportunity to spend time with Yvonne's true self before a while, he exited his space mansion, ready to use his Invisibility Skill to sneak into her quarters.
But before he could, Else appeared at his front, her face uncovered and her eyes showing internal struggle.
At that time, within her brothel, Gulistan received a new guest. It was a handsome, young human male, who appeared to be in his mid-twenties. Of course, his actual age was much higher.
The resemblance in their skin tone and facial features clearly identified him as one of Gulistan's relatives.
"Aunt, as ordered, I bring to you both the girl and the treasure."
The man bowed toward Gulistan and presented both the cloaked figure at his left, and the coffer in his right hand.
Gulistan ignored the girl, her eyes focusing on the coffer which flew toward her. However, her nephew's eyes could not leave her. And clearly, there was dissatisfaction within.
"Unwilling to see the girl offered to your younger cousin?"
"How could I dare? Cousin is the son of our most revered God. Who dares covet his goods?"
"It's good that you know."
But although she could see the words didn't match the eyes, Gulistan paid him no further attention, giving the coffer a light tap that caused it to open.
A green prism appeared, brightening the room with green light. And thinking of the quantity of merit this prism required, Gulistan's eyes shone with seriousness.
Gently, she pulled the green prism into her hand, then glanced toward her nephew and the cloaked girl that silently stood at his side.
"Thus, children, Operation Plague begins."
Gulistan squashed the prism within her palm, causing dark-green miasma to spread from within the heart of the Holy Flame Empire, throughout the Holy Continent.