"You and I are bound by a common destiny. Your success is my success. If I spotted a threat, of course, I would warn you!
Alas, my current eyesight is limited to the Divine Rank while Talroth is a Legendary God, standing at the pinnacle of godhood. Among the higher realms' deities, the Overlord and the Warden aside, who can suppress him?
What he wants to conceal, how can I spot? To say nothing of me, even the one that placed me in your soul and sent you into reincarnation isn't any stronger than him.
I'm not omnipotent!
I swear to the heavens above and the earth below that as the host, my loyalty goes to you, and you only! If anyone dares come between us, though I don't have hands, I will slap them left and right!
Please don't doubt me!"
The system's "honorable pledge" echoed within Konrad's mind, and though its last words caused black lines to form on his forehead, he was forced to admit the truths that lied in them.
Since his rebirth, the system had been there to ease his path. Calling it the building blocks of his exponentially rapid rise was no exaggeration. Without it, at best, he could have activated the Flame Mark and alongside it his half-demon blood, then headed into house Serkar to cultivate according to Gulistan's arrangements.
At worst, perhaps his remains would now be filling some gutters. Deep down, he knew that even if he possessed no mighty lineage and connections, to begin with, as long as he possessed the system, there was nothing he couldn't accomplish. Thus, unbeknown to him, creating a dependence on a foreign entity whose motives were still unknown.
With his suspicious personality, why did he so easily accept Talroth's gift? Because he believed even if fraud lied within, the system would see through it and warn him of the dangers.
Overreliance. This was overreliance. Worse, as his bloodline level increased, so did his conceit. The belief that nothing could block his path and that he was born to rule all, echoed from his blood, engraining itself in his marrow.
Now, instead of reflecting on his mistakes and mending his flaws, he shifted blame and sought an explanation from one that owed him nothing. Astray. He'd truly went astray.
"Ultimately, you can only have faith in yourself. Depending on others will only lead you to a tragic end. But it's fine. It's all fine."
Konrad didn't believe more than twenty percent of the system's story. Although its skills seemed limited to the Divine Rank, what it could do, no God could manage.
No need to mention anything else, the mere ownership of all demon, deva and human bloodlines within the Three Realms was a heaven-defying ability that would fill deities with envy.
With such extraordinary skills and resources, how could its existence be limited to the Divine Rank? Without a shred of doubt, the system possessed extraordinary origins. Perhaps even stemming from a force beyond the Warden and the Overlord.
At the same time, its recent behavior triggered many hypothesis and suspicions within Konrad's mind. In short, too many questions surrounded it, with the answers nowhere to find.
And while it seemed governed by precise rules, having a willful, uncontrollable entity lodged within his soul no longer seemed to be such a good idea.
Therefore, Konrad resolved to remove it. A daunting but perfectly doable task that required two things: Skills and Guts.
"In fact, I should have planned for this a long time ago. While I don't wish to resort to such extreme means, we can't afford to take chances. We only need that one tool…
As for that father, what is it that he wants? World God, Nephilim, what plan could possibly require such ingredients? When even his peers wouldn't dare play the Nephilim breeding game, he actually exerted such resources to open the door for me?
Though he planned my birth, there is no love relationship between us. Is he planning to build a new receptacle for his soul to bring his cultivation to another level?
No, far-fetched. If that were the plan, he would certainly not leave me in a Mortal World. He'd keep me where he could control my growth from A to Z…"
The more Konrad analyzed the situation, the less he could comprehend Talroth's motives. But then, a sudden thought flashed in his mind, and his eyes widened in disbelief.
"Or could it be…? No, impossible. If he knows how, why not do it himself?"
Dismissing the thought, Konrad stretched out his hands, pulling all the treasures and inheritances within the pool toward him, and unlocking them at breakneck speed. Unfortunately, he couldn't find the tool he sought.
"Maybe on the next floor. In any case, now my priority should be to solidify my Dao and increase my cultivation at the fastest pace. The faster, the better."
Without further delay, he raised his eyes toward the surface.
"Why are you not saying anything? Still mad? Ah, come on, don't be such a party pooper. In this dull Mortal World, without me, how could you have fun? I'm your best buddy!
You partner of fortune and misfortune. The only one that can reward your failures with death! What is there not to love? From time to time, a little prank is necessary to solidify relationships. In the future, you'll thank me for this."
Black lines formed on Konrad's forehead, and he used the depths of his self-control to prevent a rage outburst.
"Yeah, I lied! Of course, I knew. I'm omnipotent, unparalleled within the Three Realms, born supreme! There is nothing I do not know!
The system's impish laughter boomed within Konrad's mind. Pulling in a deep breath, he restrained his ire, the resolve to remove this mischievous imp increasing at a cheetah's speed.
But then, he recalled his meeting with Gulistan, and after comparing the system's reaction to previous events, another thought flashed within Konrad's mind.
His lips curled into a devilish smile and saying nothing further, he turned into a beam of light to shoot toward the surface.
Meanwhile, within the Holy Flame City, the wind of change blew.
Adalwin stood above the Holy Flame Church's headquarters. And though alone, his pressure oppressed the entirety of the priests lying within. Even the head exarch Gerhard, with his peak-stage Crossed Tribulation Saint cultivation, shivered beneath Adalwin's aura.
Droplets of sweat filled his forehead, and without hesitation, he shot toward Amalia's cultivation chambers!
Unable to pay decorum any heed, Gerhard barged in. The dowager, Amalia, sat crossed legged in her chambers with massive fate force swirling around her form. Having recently broken through to the Crossed Tribulation Saint Rank, her status within the church had reached a new level.
But as soon as Gerhard barged in, her closed eyes opened and locked onto him.
"The situation is terrible. Adalwin is here to subjugate us all. Only you can reason with him. Can I count on your support?"
He directly asked, not beating around the bush.
Amalia replied with a simple nod and stood up. The two vanished, then reappeared above the church, hovering in the sky before Adalwin.
"Grand preceptor, the imperial family, and the church have always been on good terms, while for millennia, I've given you the respect due to a senior.
Why is it that today you stand before our gate with such a threatening stance?"
Gerhard asked, his tone filled with righteous indignation.
Adalwin didn't reply, but the pressure around Gerhard increased, and he could now feel his bones crackle under its oppression.
His face distorted into an ugly grimace.
"Intolerable! Do you think that just because yo-"
Gerhard began, but before he could finish his words, a slender arm pierced his back, pushing his heart out of his chest, and holding it within a translucent palm.
Blood gushed from Gerhard's chest, mouth, and back. And he turned his trembling face toward the owner of the backstabbing hand.
His eyes fell on Amalia who emotionlessly held his gaze.
"Why…why? For all those years…I've…haven't I treated you the best? Even if you can't give me your heart…on account of millennia of friendship…how could you?"
He stammered with blood trickling down his chin while his eyes widened in disbelief.
"Nonsensical. Do you think I don't know you're the one that helped Olrich murder my husband? On the one hand, out of fear of his talent, on the other hand, out of misguided jealousy.
When you gave that bastard son the tribulation poison, why didn't you think of our years of friendship?
Having murdered my beloved, killing you in one move…is already showing you mercy."
Amalia spat, pulled Gerhard's heart from his chest, and crushed it within her hand.
Thinking of the past, Gerhard's lips curled into a bitter smile, and tears dropped from his dying eyes.
"Regret…in the past I should have…"
But before he could finish his words, the last spark of life left him, and his corpse tumbled from the sky.
Thus, after almost two-thousand years of reign, the Holy Flame Church's head exarch perished before his cathedral!
The aftermath was simple, the priests, bishops, archbishops, and exarchs all submitted to Adalwin's leadership, electing Amalia as their new head exarch.
Within the Holy Flame Empire, the von Jurgen now officially controlled both the nobility and the clergy.
Or so they thought.