Following Olrich's bout of madness, the first thing Konrad did was to have Krann bring Adelar's Essence Concealing Ring to Yvonne.
The second one was to secure Nils and take all of Olrich's children into captivity. The reason was simple. Attempting to take all of the women away, one after the other, was a pipe dream. He could only rely on Yvonne to buy time while setting up a foolproof plan.
Of his nine children, there were two Olrich couldn't afford to lose:
Nils and Elmar.
If they died, it had to be by his hand. As for the five that now remained, while Konrad realized that their lives mattered not, he could use their deaths to showcase his seriousness.
Krann currently held them all and used Flesh Transformation to have three helpless eunuchs assume the shape of Nils, Elmar, and Holger. The real ones were pocketed. If need be, they would first kill the real princes to cover for the false ones.
In any case, Holger was Konrad's servant. Killing him was redundant while Elmar was a talent with sizable future achievements. With the right resources, he could at least become a Sage. Subduing him was more valuable. As for Nils...was that even a question?
Meanwhile, he'd contacted Wolfgang and had him deliver one of their last, cutting edge products to Hubert.
Even if Olrich were sufficiently crazed to forsake the life of his children, as long as Hubert could refine the product in time, the von Jurgen would be forced to back off.
And indeed, Olrich floundered. Though rage still seethed within his veins, when his holy sense swept the imperial palace, and he realized his seven remaining children had all disappeared, his eyes went wide with fright!
Moreover, although Klemens can't be killed, if his abilities are revealed, the captor will never let him go!"
Klemens 1 von Jurgen was the sickly eighth prince. Born with a congenital disease that kept him bedridden, to the world, he was known as the von Jurgen tragedy.
After all, even the average cultivator's house would rarely if ever see a sickly infant. To say nothing of the imperial family. In their hundred thousand years of history, Klemens was the only such case.
And while his disease was no fabrication, it stemmed from a cause Olrich kept hidden from the world. The eighth prince, Klemens, possessed a one in a billion Holy Physique. That physique made him unable to cultivate and acted as a congenital lung disease.
But at the same, it gave him an unparalleled ability!
Beneath the Divine Seed Rank, absolutely no one could injure him, and all blows would return to the sender!
Although his physique was currently just at the Holy Rank, throughout the three realms, it was one of the most dreadful, and classified among the three Forbidden Physiques.
Those three physiques could not be inherited, and because of their horrifying side effects, many viewed them as nature's curse. But Olrich saw it as a blessing in disguise! As long as he could find a way to absorb the physique without the side effects and upgrade its rank, in the future, who could rival him?!
For that reason, the eighth prince remained in close custody, protected by a carefully selected group of loyal retainers. His mother was also killed to protect the secret.
Never did he expect that while he faced those traitorous sluts, someone would rob him!
"It has to be the same person. It must be that man! No mistake is allowed. Retreat, I must retreat."
Olrich resolved. But at that time, Adelar's voice echoed!
Because of a few insignificant sacrifices?"
At that time, Olrich could see Adelar standing before him. Naturally, Yvonne, Else, and Verena couldn't. This was a product of his imagination!
"Without them, our rise…"
Olrich began, but before he could carry on, Adelar interrupted:
He jeered, then vanished to reappear at Olrich's right.
"Don't you see the truth yet? The truth you've been hiding from yourself? No? Alright, allow me to enlighten you."
Adelar placed a reassuring hand on Olrich's shoulder, then carried on.
"They are worthless. Having refined me, having obtained my foundation, besides a fast cultivation breakthrough, there isn't much you can gain from them.
Or is it that you think, the talent and foundation boost you'll receive from them can equal even a fraction of what you gained from me?"
"Maybe Else can be significant, but for the rest…no…that's impossible."
Olrich replied with dazed eyes, his words causing confusion within the ladies before him.
"Good. They are merely side dishes and completely expendable. Because from the start, your thinking was erroneous!"
Adelar exclaimed with crazed eyes that mirrored Olrich's. And out of nowhere, a second Adelar appeared at Olrich's left.
"What is it that you treasure most? What is your most valuable and beloved possession? Speak true!"
Olrich replied with vacant eyes and the same dazed tone. Hearing this, the two Adelar's smiles broadened, and they clenched tightly on Olrich's shoulders…or so he felt.
"Right! From the start, the thing you love most is, and always will be, your empire!
And as a wise ruler, you understand that the people ARE the empire! You know, better than any anyone, that the fourteen billion of commoners and servants stretching across your vast land are the motors of your country.
Through them, you're the Holy Continent's most exalted ruler, without them, there is no empire whatsoever!
That is why you often give tax exemption and reduce their burdens while antagonizing the nobility!
The nobles may see you as a ruthless tyrant hiding under a fair countenance, but to the commoners, you are benevolence!"
"That is why, only by refining them all, can you reach perfection! Only by refining the empire you so cherish and sacrificing its billions of citizens, can you truly reach the apex of your cultivation method.
Compared to them, those people are insignificant and can be killed at will!"
Adelar's voice thundered in Olrich's mind, and a third appeared at his back, hovering above his head.
"Kill them all! Then start constructing a Grand Refining Formation across the Holy Flame Empire with the capital as its epicenter.
When it is complete, refine all the commoners, refine your empire! And become supreme! In the future, like our ancestor, you can build a new one."
The three whispered in Olrich's ears, and his eyes shone with crazed enlightenment.
"Of course, why did I never think of this? You're right! We're right! The truth was always before us, but we kept setting it aside.
Before our empire, before our citizens, what do any of them count as? Nothing! This…is the real sacrifice!"
Olrich roared, causing a new wave of confusion to spread within the three ladies.
"KILL IF YOU MUST! TO PERISH FOR US, IS THEIR GLORY!"
Olrich bellowed with his arms outstretched, and instantly, Konrad knew the bet lost.
Since they no longer served any purpose, Konrad had the useless von Jurgen princes beheaded by Krann.
However, when the sickly eighth prince's turn arrived…
The blow rebounded against his neck, and Krann flew backward with a blood spurt. Fortunately, since he'd not employed much strength, the damage was negligible.
"Master, this…that eighth prince possesses a Might Reversal Physique! At the very least, of the Holy Rank!"
Meanwhile, Olrich summoned two spears, one bronze, one silver, around which massive holy force and gray spiritual mist swirled. They were both nine stars Holy Artifacts. Thus, ranking among the most powerful artifacts of the Holy Rank.
Wielding them, the intensity of his aura skyrocketed, and he faced Yvonne without fear!
"Since you won't belong to us…you might as well not exist in this world!"
The eighth von Jurgen prince was briefly mentioned as sickly and bedridden in the chapter Olrich introduces Konrad to the imperial family.