Dozens of silver light beams descended from the sky to surround the Ancestral Voight Palace. A total of one-hundred Saint-level experts appeared. Thirty of which stood at the Fate Wrestling Saint Rank or above.
Leading them was Adalwin whose body bathed in blue star force. Behind him, three leading paragon spirits stood.
The dowager, and now head exarch Amalia.
Olrich's uncle, and one of the secluded von Jurgen elders, Adalbert.
And lastly, a handsome paragon spirit man that seemed to be in his mid-thirties. Amalia's little brother and Verena's father, Sovereign Prince Thorwald Kvass. He brought alongside him the elite of house Kvass above the Holy Rank; clearly intending to support his sister and the von Jurgens against all foes.
His daughter included.
No one found this surprising. After all, all knew that the only thing able to trump Thorwald's love for benefit was his affection for his elder sister.
Before the spirit battalion landed, Adalwin cast a formless force field and mirage that suppressed all noise in the vicinity and prevented those beneath the Holy Rank from spying on what was about to occur.
Still, restlessness lingered within his heart. But having come so far, there was no road to retreat. Only in success could they possibly find the light of salvation.
"Treacherous, barbaric Voight Serpents! In ancient times, out of the goodness of his heart, our ancestor allowed you to preserve this last bloodline and hold onto this vast territory.
However, you failed to live up to his goodwill and disrespected imperial authority at every turn. Ungrateful worms such as yourselves shouldn't exist within heaven and earth!
Today, on behalf of the spirit race, and for the Holy Flame Empire's prosperity, I have no choice but to exterminate you all! Whoever stands with you on this day, cannot escape slaughter!"
Adalwin roared and magnified by holy force, his voice thundered within the entire Ancestral Voight Palace.
"Yvonne, feel free to start your breakthrough. I will use the Ancestral Defense Formation to buy you time."
Hubert declared while his holy sense locked on the invaders. And as it swept them, though it seemed they came fully prepared, puzzlement flashed within Hubert's eyes.
At that time, in a twister of white and grey light, Else and Verena appeared.
On Verena's face, complex emotions intertwined. After all, with her entire house standing against them all, awkwardness was inevitable.
As for Else, gravity shone within her eyes.
"Your highness, it seems you've already grasped the crux of the matter. While on the outside, the paragon spirits seem to outnumber and overpower us, in truth, we hold the upper hand.
Once we combine house Voight's defensive formation, my Incomplete Divine Artifact, and both your and Yvonne's strength, they cannot raise any storm. On the contrary, they risk losing skilled manpower in vain.
But since they dare come, they must be fully prepared. My guess is that Adalwin managed to borrow some mighty artifact from his old Celestial Church friends.
An artifact that gives him full confidence in handling us."
Else calmly stated, and indeed, those were the thoughts swirling within Hubert's mind.
"Still, we have two advantages:
1) They are not sure of Yvonne's current recovery stage and can only make guesses based on the one-month deadline.
2) The first thing Adalwin did was to seal noise and images. On usual days, he would have made the events known throughout the Holy Continent. If only to warn and intimidate the secular world with a show of force.
Why would he bother preventing the news from leaking? Clearly, he wants to avoid revealing his house's involvement in the matter. As for why, right now, it doesn't matter.
The critical point is that since he wants to hide this battle, we must forcefully expose it. A quick probe will reveal how desperately he wishes to conceal our clash. The more he wants to, the more strength he will divert to maintain the shroud.
This will allow us to mitigate their secret weapon's impact and level the playing field. With that in mind, the fight's setup should be straightforward."
Verena pursued after dispelling her inner struggles. And again, Hubert was forced to agree. While their cultivation couldn't compare to his, those two women were both endowed with brilliant minds that effortlessly eclipsed their riveting looks.
What man wouldn't dream of holding onto such consorts? Olrich actually arduously worked to antagonize them. Impressive, really.
"Only I can divert Adalwin's strength. I will stand in the formation's vanguard and target the shroud. Thus, forcing him to protect it. Meanwhile, the Voight elders will occupy the formation's eye and tackle the remaining Saints."
Hubert replied, causing both Else and Verena to nod in approval.
"I will lend you my Fractured Divine Mirror. Though it's naturally attuned to time attribute owners, with your cultivation level, you should be able to put it to good use.
In prevention of such a situation, I've already contacted my father. He and the Metze elders are currently concealed as ordinary citizens within the Voight domain and will strike from the shadows when the time is ripe.
That is all the help I can provide.
In this fight, quality matters more than quantity. Though the enemies are many, we have the geographical advantage and can easily tip the scales. By the time Yvonne completes her breakthroughs, destruction is their only outcome."
After revealing her preparations, Else waved her hand, causing her fractured mirror to appear and fly toward Hubert. And hearing her words, his lips curled into a smile.
He took one last glance toward Yvonne who'd already closed her eyes to begin her breakthrough, then returned his attention on the invading troops above his roof.
"Well then, it's time to settle the old grudges. All elders at the Fate Wrestling Saint or above with me!"
In a twister of dark haze, Hubert vanished to reappear above his palace. Nine Voight elders appeared beside him. The weakest was at the peak of the Fate Wrestling Saint while the strongest were late-stage Fate Destroying Saints.
Alongside Hubert, they waved their hands, activating the Ancestral Defense Formation. Dark fog billowed from all visible corners of the Voight palace and soared into the air to enshroud the warring factions.
"Adalwin, Adalwin, did you go senile in old age. As I recall, your greedy dog of an ancestor didn't have the ability to eliminate us within our ancestral territory. That is why he was forced to make concessions.
Horseshit. Do not flaunt any needless principle of righteousness before me. It only reduces my already low opinion of you!"
Hubert sneered while morphing into a three-hundred meters tall pitch-black winged serpent.
Around him, black star force swirled.
"Since time immemorial, the cultivation world has only known two truths:
Desire and might."
Meanwhile, Krann exchanged mental messages with Konrad's Holy Flame Avatar.
"Master, the von Jurgen made their move and have descended onto house Voight. This time, I'm afraid an all-out clash is inevitable."
Krann's worried voice echoed within Konrad's mind.
Although they' did everything to stall Adalwin and keep him busy within the Holy Flame City, as the one-month deadline neared, he still chose to dispatch his forces.
"Sieging is always more challenging than open ground warfare. Even if a Divine Artifact lied in his hands, Adalwin is merely leading his troops to their destruction. With Verena plus Else as the brain and Hubert plus Yvonne as the brawn, while the fight's early stages should present some casualties, there is nothing to fear.
That is, of course, unless some new variables show up.
We might as well use the opportunity to finish the takeover. Clean up the remnant forces within the church, the imperial family, and house Kvass at lightning speed. Then bring this to the battlefield to turn the tide at the opportune moment."
Konrad replied before condensing a jade-green arrow which he then tossed toward Krann.
Following the nephilim transformation and bloodline upgrade, both Krann and the avatars obtained massive benefits. Calling Krann a demon familiar was no longer accurate. And while his cultivation still stood at the peak of the Rising Saint Rank, his battle power pursued Crossed Tribulation Saints.
Therefore, for him, this task required no effort.
"As you command!"
Receiving the order, Krann vanished and silently dived into the church's headquarters. But at that time, a new voice echoed within Konrad's mind. It was Volker Wirth, the Celestial Church leader's youngest son.
"Master, I have relatively important news. After coming out of seclusion, my elder brother, the prime disciple Erhardt is currently clashing with our parents for the right to dive into the Holy Flame Empire and take a certain Yvonne Voight as his wife.
If he gets his way, he will soon depart."
And as soon as Volker's words ended, another voice rang. This time, it was Miraz Serkar's.
"Master, word is that our uncle Bayiz Serkar is on his way to the Holy Flame Empire to claim new, incomparably outstanding consorts. I haven't heard their names.
However, according to my father, one is the Holy Flame Empire's current number one beauty and talent while the other used to be the Ancient Crystal World's number one prodigy.
Surely, you must be acquainted with them."
As soon as those words resounded within his mind, bone-chilling killing intent erupted from Konrad's form.
"Oh? Is that so? Good. Very…very…good."