The lack of Star Connection Pills was the primary reason why in one-hundred-thousand years of history, no one in the secular world ever managed to reach the Star Connecting Saint Rank.
While it wasn't impossible without, it required earthshaking talent and profound enlightenment.
In his youth, Adalwin was both the youngest and the most outstanding prince of his generation. Having passed the Celestial Church's examination, he left the secular world to study there for several centuries. Alas, several centuries after taking his throne, his eldest brother perished while trying to cross a fate tribulation. Thus, leaving the house defenseless.
Without another choice, Adalwin returned to protect the next generation, his nephew, Olrich's grandfather. Hence, destroying his own future.
Since he planned to form an invincible battalion to sweep aside the mortal world's forces, among the recipes he periodically sent Wolfgang, Konrad included the Star Connection Pill. After gathering the resources, the Kracht took care of the refining.
With the first batch ready, Konrad intended to save the pills and build a reserve for both his harem and servants.
Never did he expect that the situation would take such a turn. And since things reached this point, he had Wolfgang bring one to Hubert who refined it without delay.
In his massive winged serpent form, Hubert hovered above the gathering below. Seeing the dark star force swirling around him, Verena heaved a sigh of relief while Yvonne's lips curled into a smile.
As for Else, she showed no emotion. Meanwhile, both Olrich and Adalwin's faces distorted.
These were terrible news!
The situation had once again been reversed! And now, with Yvonne and her father standing side by side, they were back at a disadvantage!
"Unfilial daughter, long time no see."
"Old man, I'd say I missed you, but that's a naked lie."
"Old your mother. I'm just reaching my middle ages and still have more than five thousand years to live!"
"Actually, mother is…"
The two exchanged with Hubert's voice booming in the air. His slit, silver eyes then fell upon the von Jurgen duo.
Opening his maw, Hubert condensed a large black orb of star force before firing a dark star beam toward the duo!
Undisturbed, Adalwin raised his hand, firing a blue star beam which collided with Hubert's ray!
The beams met in an earthshaking explosion of star force that distorted the air, and caused an earthquake to overwhelm the Holy Flame City!
With just that one collision, houses collapsed in the hundreds, and helpless commoners died in the thousands!
Hubert didn't care. However, Adalwin frowned.
If their fight carried on, regardless of the result, the Holy Flame City was doomed to destruction.
"Shit stain, dog emperor, you truly stop at no evil. Your father wasn't enough, you also had to plot against your own son?
Do you think people are stupid enough to not realize you played tricks against Adelar, all for the sake of wrestling his powers?
Once we start investigating the origin of your cultivation growth, do you dare say your house doesn't face extermination?"
Hubert's voice thundered within the Holy Flame City, and at that time, two additional beams of light flew from the Holy Flame Church's headquarters.
One was Gerhard, the head exarch. The other was Amalia, the dowager.
And although they stood by Adalwin's side, Olrich felt the pressure around him increasing.
"Sovereign Prince Hubert, your words startle me. How could you so glaringly accuse the Holy Flame Emperor of forbidden practices? Do you have evidence to provide?"
Gerhard asked. And immediately, all understood his purpose. If Adalwin's breakthrough bode no good for him, Hubert's was even worse. After all, both the empire and the Holy Flame Church, in a sense, represented the Celestial Church's secular interests.
Ultimately, they were two factions belonging to the same camp.
But the Voights were different.
If Olrich was found guilty of forbidden practices and the news reported to the Celestial Church's headquarters…the von Jurgen faced family extermination. At that time, the Voight would be free to run amok, and the Holy Flame Church's future prospects looked bleak. They may not dare usurp the throne, but it wouldn't be much different.
Therefore, although Gerhard inwardly agreed with Hubert, this was a situation he had to prevent at all cost. Even if it meant joining hands to slaughter them all! As for Amalia, her thoughts were harder to fathom.
Another light beam streaked across the sky, landing by Yvonne's side.
It was Krann under the disguise of a suave middle-aged man. His appearance and stance immediately made Olrich wonder if he was the hidden cuckolder.
And his next words confirmed Olrich's suspicions!
"Sir, although Olrich is muddled, you can't follow in his footsteps. Clearly, you see the truth for what it is, even if I don't speak the words.
Alas, I fear the truth is even worse than what you imagine. Olrich von Jurgen is not just guilty of an instance of forbidden practice. His entire cultivation base is built on demonism!
With your current level, investigating it is simple, and the implications obvious."
Following Konrad's words, Krann said with a polite bow, causing Adalwin's face to contort into a frown. Indeed, while he couldn't feel demonic forces from him, Olrich's inexplicable growth pace had already triggered his suspicions. And today, those suspicions were confirmed.
The son fell, and the father rose. The implications were evident. Now, Adalwin genuinely wished to examine Olrich's cultivation base to figure out his method's origin.
But doing so at this juncture was no different from admitting his doubts.
Hence, he refrained.
"Our forces are ready to spread the news across the Holy Continent and alert the Celestial Church. Should things reach this point, better than anyone, you know, the von Jurgens are doomed to destruction.
However, the holy empress, holy consort and noble imperial consort would be forced to follow you to the grave…which is a result we wish to avoid."
Verena was Olrich's wife while, even if only in name, Else and Yvonne were his highest-ranked consorts. Though their relatives had nothing to fear, they couldn't escape the purge.
That much was fact. Seeing the words taking effect, Krann pursued.
"Unless forced into a dead-end, we don't wish to resort to such means.
Also, should we go all-out, while victory or defeat is hard to predict, the capital, nearby towns, and villages, everything across at least three thousand miles, are doomed to destruction.
Following such a shocking event, the commoners will start fleeing the country en masse.
Therefore, we're willing to make a compromise. A peace treaty for one month. One month during which all hostilities between our parties are forbidden.
We will also leave the Holy Flame City and not return…at least for that month's time. As long as you respect the terms, we won't spread the intel. Afterward, hostilities can freely resume.
Are you willing?"
Krann asked, and before Adalwin could say anything, Olrich roared:
"Rubbish! They are our consorts! Who gives you the right to take them away?! We are the emperor!
If we want them to live, they live. If we want them to perish, they perish! How da-…"
Adalwin backhanded Olrich across the cheek, sending him spiraling in the air, all without letting his gaze drift from Krann.
He replied, causing Gerhard to heave a sigh of relief. For him, the best result was to have the von Jurgen and Voight come to a peace treaty. As long as they mutually canceled out, he could fade into the background.
"Since things are settled, I shall take my leave. Oh and, congratulations, grand preceptor, on your breakthrough."
Gerhard said toward Adalwin, using his official title, then vanished in a grey haze.
"Congratulations, granduncle, on your breakthrough."
Amalia politely congratulated him then also vanished. The relation between Kvass and von Jurgen was complicated. Not only did they have the same ancestors, but they also maintained a relationship of intermarriage.
Amalia's mother was Olrich's grandaunt. Thus, making Adalwin her granduncle. And while he never glanced toward her, they'd exchanged several mental messages!
"If there is nothing else, we shall take our leave."
Hubert declared, and in a twister of dark star force, they all vanished from the von Jurgens' sight.
Olrich seethed with shame and wrath. His burgeoning madness barring him from clarity.
But when Adalwin turned toward him, and his silver eyes nailed him, he could feel that Adalwin only needed to wave his hand for him to perish!
This was the horrendous gap between the Crossed Tribulation Saint and the Star Connecting Saint Ranks!
Although Adalwin's cultivation had just broken through one level, his entire existence was sublimated!
"Your evil knows no limits, and your existence is…unpalatable. Using Gerhard's help, you plotted against your father, thus causing his death."
Adalwin took a step toward Olrich, causing his bones to crackle under the pressure of the star force.
"Then, you murdered your brothers with a borrowed knife to finally usurp the throne. If my injury didn't take two centuries to heal, I would have long since cleaned the house.
But seeing that you were a competent emperor that made the common people his priority, rather than creating more instability, I allowed you to keep your life.
Adalwin took another step, and now, Olrich's internal organs shivered. Instinctively, he gathered all his strength within his Divine Shield.
"...under my nose, you dared practice demonic arts and build your cultivation base on the corpses of relatives!
Since you returned from the tower, you kept going astray, and your existence now threatens my house's stability. My house's future! This, I cannot allow!
Therefore, Olrich, you must perish!"
Adalwin stretched out his index, causing a blue star beam to shoot toward Olrich, aiming for his life!
Without delay, Olrich drove the Divine Shield against Adalwin's star beam.
The star beam failed to pierce the Divine Artifact. However, the impact sent Olrich flying backward with a massive eruption of blood. Still, he didn't dare delay, and with the Divine Shield serving as his guardian, burned his lifeforce to sprint out of the Holy Flame City!
"Adalwin, none can cross us unscathed! We swear to return and avenge this slight!"
Knowing that with the Divine Shield protecting him, killing Olrich would require precise calculations, Adalwin returned his attention onto the house that still needed his help.
"Olrich von Jurgen abdicated his throne and left the Holy Flame City. We shall handpick a new emperor to replace him. A wise and talented von Jurgen scion to be carefully nurtured in the future!
Until the new emperor is ready to take the country's reins, I shall assume the regency!"
He proclaimed, and from various secluded spots of the imperial palace, grey beams rose to stop before him.
"As you command, grand preceptor!"
The secluded von Jurgen elders bowed in both deference and approval. Meanwhile, Adalwin was willing to put down his pride and request help from his few friends within the Celestial Church, hoping to obtain an artifact that could help him suppress Olrich's Divine Shield.
Once he obtained one, regardless of where he hid, he would hunt Olrich down and take his life!
But in the meantime, there was one force that needed cleaning: The Holy Flame Church!
And without Olrich's backing, Konrad's avatar was forced to take on a new identity to carry on with his work.
"If the Celestial Church doesn't recall him, Adalwin is free to act as he sees fit.
First, he will restructure the house. Second, he will take over the Holy Flame Church and unite both the imperial family and the clergy. Third, he will find a way to suppress Olrich's artifacts and hunt him down to remove the threat his existence creates. With his level of Holy Sense, as long as Olrich remains in the Holy Continent, he cannot escape.
When those three steps are completed, like his ancestor, one-hundred-thousand years ago, Adalwin will lead his spirit forces against the Voight for one decisive battle. One month is…barely enough."
Konrad assessed before vanishing in the shadows.