With his hands crossed beneath his back, Konrad stepped forward. Vast star force that stood leagues above Adalwin's or Hubert's swirled around the Guardian as it adopted its battle stance and aimed its spear at Konrad.
"Although you have the looks, demeanor, and personality, you don't have the foundation."
Konrad commented following a brief assessment, without stopping his walk.
A flame-red star beam shot from the Guardian's spear to barrel into Konrad. He didn't avoid it, and the star beam collided with an invisible barrier that dissolved its assault.
The bright red prism mark on Konrad's forehead glittered in white light, and instantaneously, the Guardian felt the weight of ten thousand mountains crushing it from above.
Unable to shoulder the pressure, it dropped on its knees. Even the spear in its hand now seemed to weight millions of kilograms and tumbled onto the ground.
The Guardian cursed while using every last bit of starlight to battle the alarming gravitational force pinning it on the ground. Recalling Konrad's previous words, it didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
Because of its connection to the Tower, it could clearly see Konrad's cultivation was merely at the Rising Saint Rank. However, within him, a plethora of incomparably formidable forces swirled.
First, his bloodline whose might defied rationality. Second, four faint sources of Divine Power, and one pure source of high-grade Holy Force!
That boy possessed Four Awakened Divine Physiques of unknown ranks and one high-grade, Mastered Holy Physique!
Clearly, he was the one that came with illegal strength! What was he complaining about?
*Crack* *Crack* *Crack*
Crackling sounds echoed from the Guardian's metallic body as Konrad bypassed it.
Compressed by the gravitational force, it exploded in metallic dust. Afterward, in a slow grating sound, the silver door opened.
Undisturbed Konrad ignored the now open door to turn his attention on the mural painting. From his Origin Sight, he could feel the painting's extraordinariness. Though he couldn't tell exactly what made it peculiar, immense, foreign energies clearly brewed within.
And as he perused the painting, the sequence of a man's life came to view. That man was faceless and dressed a plain white scholar robe. The mural began with his first cultivation steps, which seemed guided by a Daoist expert.
The next part was his completion of his Dao, his tragic death, rebirth, and rebellion against a gargantuan reptilian enemy. The painting stopped at the lower half of the reptilian foe, making Konrad unable to grasp its real appearance.
Moreover, he could feel that even the previous images lacked many core elements.
"Try dropping your blood onto it. Perhaps you can trigger a reaction."
Selene advised, and Konrad cut open his right index before placing it onto the mural painting.
His blood merged with the painting, which now glittered in dazzling light. The murals vanished, leaving the walls in light ray before morphing into a forty centimeters wide painting that dropped into Konrad's hands.
"An incomplete God-Artifact."
Selene stated. And indeed, within the painting, Konrad could feel a force that far transcended divine power or anything he'd ever felt before.
"A pity that it is only half."
He replied, then headed into the room behind the open door. There, an ordinary-looking manual hovered within a dark-green orb.
But as soon as Konrad stopped before it, Selene jubilant voice echoed within his mind.
AAAAAAH! Jackpot! Huge, unparalleled jackpot! Quick, quick, take it!"
Selene urged, her tone startling Konrad who'd never expected her to lose her mind over a manual.
Perplexed, Konrad extended his hand toward the orb which immediately dispersed, allowing him to seize the manual.
Lead by curiosity, he opened the first page.
"Seven emotions, six desires. Sever them all, embody your core aspiration and grasp the supreme art within heaven and earth!
Henceforth, you shall have no rival!"
This was Konrad's first thought upon reading those words. Afterward, mnemonics began.
"What is this manual?"
He asked Selene, who could barely contain her excitement.
"I can't even begin to understand how such a thing found its way here but…it seems to be a copy of the Supreme One Sutra. First of the Ancient Secrets and strongest cultivation method within the Three Realms!
Although I've never seen the original, those first lines belong to the Supreme One Sutra! Legend has it that this cultivation method predates the Three Realms and doesn't have a creator.
Wars were waged on the mere suspicion of its location, and many false manuals spread within the higher realms. Therefore, it's hard to tell whether it's the real deal or another fraud."
"According to the legends, regardless of your dao foundation or previous method, with enough talent, you can cultivate it!
However, there are two conditions.
First, you must pursue the Supreme Dao.
Second, you must pay the price of severing emotions and desires to become the embodiment of your ambitions.
"As long as you can fulfill those conditions, all across the multiverse, you shall be unrivaled! According to the ancients, there was once an expert that uncovered an incomplete version and mastered forty percent of the manual.
With that alone, he almost conquered the Three Realms! The Overlord and the Warden had to join hands to eliminate him!"
Selene exclaimed with soaring exuberance. Although the price was dire, for the sake of invincible might, who wouldn't be willing to pay it? What were emotions and desires before unparalleled strength? Even her grandfather, the Happiness God validated the hearsay.
Although he'd been reincarnated, he didn't lose his previous life's memory. And as an ancient creature that ranked among the oldest Devas, how could he be mistaken?
If she could one day cultivate this method to the pinnacle, then, to say nothing of Malkam, even the Overlord wouldn't be her match! Of course, the premise was that this was the real deal.
In her excitement, she didn't even consider the manual's origin!
Hearing Selene's words, Konrad arched his eyebrows and tossed the manual into the air before aiming his right hand toward it.
Bright golden flames erupted from his index and shot toward the manual.
"Y-you…are you crazy? What the hell are you doing?!
We need to verify the mnemonics' authenticity! Stop this at once!"
Selene roared, but Konrad's golden flames didn't stop.
"A cultivation method that enslaves the practitioner with their own ambitions. I am impressed.
However, with neither emotions nor desires, what is the point of unparalleled strength?
When the ambition is fulfilled, what then? Spend an eternity as an empty, hollow shell?
No thanks. This method, I do not want."
Konrad declared and burned the manual to ashes.
Seeing the opportunity of ten-thousand lifetimes vanish before her eyes, Selene wanted to cry, but as the system's soul, she had no tears to shed.
"Must have been false…must have been false."
She told herself in a vain attempt at self-consolation. And as the manual burned to ashes, the scenery changed, and the ninth floor turned into an icy cave where seven towering ice blocks stood.
Meanwhile, in a distant location, two men stood within a heavenly world where myriads of clouds served as the ground. On the left was a middle-aged man while on the right stood a figure whose appearance remained cloaked by an impenetrable mirage.
The "burnt" Supreme One Sutra reappeared before that figure, completely unblemished.
With a wave of his hand, the manual vanished.
"I lost the bet."
Said the mysterious figure while crossing his arms beneath his back.
"Haha! What did I tell you?
Since his "unique ability" awoke, I've been tailing this boy. Although he's incomparably greedy, with his disposition, there's no way he'd accept becoming the slave of his own aspirations."
The middle-aged man chortled while puffing out his chest.
"Good for him, even more for me. Nowadays, decent candidates are hard to find. Perhaps, for once, you did a good job."
The mysterious figure replied, causing the middle-aged man to blush in shame.