The appearance of Erhardt forced silence back on the scene. None dared make a move, and all eyes rose toward him. Meanwhile, within his golden hues, only Yvonne existed. All the rest mattered not, as if only the two of them remained in the world.
Seeing this, Hubert sighed. As one of the ancients that witnessed the events of almost four centuries ago, he, of course, recalled Erhardt infatuation. However, like all the rest, he believed those centuries of secluded cultivation would have erased those "misguided feelings."
For indeed, as far as the Celestial Church's high level was concerned, those were misguided feelings. Yvonne's father was a Restoration Beast descendant, a false fiend in Infernal Realm terminology, while her mother was a genuine fiend, the daughter of the Infernal Cult's fifth elder.
With such a background, even if she joined the Celestial Church and were given key training, those high-ranking spirits would never allow their bloodlines to mix with hers.
Meanwhile, Erhardt was the most gifted sun spirit of his generation, as a matter of fact, the most outstanding spirit in the last tens of thousands of years.
He wasn't any older than Olrich, but his cultivation was already at the summit of the Holy Road, only one step away from the Divine Rank. At the same time, his low-grade Divine Physique had reached the Mastered Rank. Thus, giving him a battle-power that didn't lose out to the average Divine Seed elder.
His descendants were the future of the Wirth sun spirits. How could they allow his bloodline to get tainted by a demonic lineage? Especially when they were preparing their return to the Celestial Realm.
Therefore, no one doubted that his elders' pressure would quickly crush Erhardt's insistence. Alas, they'd miscalculated.
His infatuation didn't diminish. It only grew stronger.
"A man that can't take a hint."
Yvonne's eyes didn't conceal her annoyance. Men like Erhardt were the reason why she invented the "if you can defeat me at the same level" challenge. But while the others couldn't bear the humiliation of defeat, it seemed it did nothing to reduce his passion.
Erhardt waved his right hand, and Amalia aside, all the surviving spirit troops that stood against the Voight turned into balls of golden flames before vanishing from existence. They didn't even have the time to scream.
Adalwin was no exception. And as the flames shrouded his body, his last thoughts went to his house which, regardless of today's outcome, now faced the calamity of an era.
"Father, brother, I am useless. Our hundred-thousand years of inheritance…collapse under my watch."
Adalwin sighed, then perished in the golden flames.
Else and Verena witnessed this scene from within the Voight palace, and as the golden flames shrouded her father, warm tears filled Verena's eyes. She stepped forward, but before she could make a move, was stopped by Else.
And by the time she turned to shove her away, her father, Thorwald was gone.
But no amount of denial could change the fact that the Kvass Sovereign Prince had vanished from this world.
Undisturbed, Erhardt vanished, to reappear before Yvonne, standing only several feet away from her.
"Not glad to see me?"
He asked with a smirk.
"Can't say I ever was."
She straightforwardly replied. The words failed to offend Erhardt whose smile only brightened.
"It's fine. In the future, we will have plenty of time to fix that."
Erhardt declared. As if such a future was inevitable.
"I heard, you were being held captive by the contemporary von Jurgen emperor, and that your cultivation had been reduced to the Semi-Holy Rank. But I didn't believe it.
How could such a waste possibly hold my love? Fortunately, it was merely hearsay. Otherwise, I would have had to extinguish his entire house."
In the past, her relatives aside, Olrich was the only man able to get close to Yvonne and receive her smiles. This had always been a thorn in Erhardt's side and were it not for his face as prime disciple of the Celestial Church, he would have surely butchered him.
But now, things such as face no longer mattered to him. He only wanted one thing, the woman standing before him.
"You and I had a deal. You failed and should give up all hope. Or is it that you plan to go back on your words today?"
Yvonne calmly inquired, ignoring Erhardt's remarks.
Seeing how eagerly she wished to get rid of him, Erhardt suppressed a pained sigh. However, he didn't lose his composure.
"I'm here for that deal. I want a second chance. Same cultivation level, one against one. If I win, follow me back to the Celestial Church as my disciple, and give me one-thousand years to win your heart.
What do you say about that?"
Yvonne included, all arched their eyebrows in consternation.
"I know what you're thinking. You were not even willing to become my father's disciple. Why would you become mine? However, such a status is necessary for you to remain within our headquarters without issues.
I won't dare teach you anything…if you don't want me to."
Erhardt pursued, his tone full of hope and expectations. Better than anyone, he knew Yvonne never shied from an opportunity to test the depth of her skills and feared none at the same level.
However, the times had changed. With his Mastered Divine Physique, even if he reduced his cultivation to zero, he would still possess the battle-power of a Sage. In such conditions, could he still not suppress her? Although she possessed more than one Divine Physique, those were all in the Awakened Stage.
She could only summon a fraction of their powers. The higher the grade, the lower the portion she could bring forth. Therefore, in a same level clash, he was full of confidence.
Yvonne responded, her tone leisurely, but uncompromising.
Erhardt was startled. To say nothing of him, even Hubert, her father, couldn't believe his ears. Since when did his battle-maniac of a daughter reject an opportunity to prove her superiority, and humble a conceited man?
"Why? Don't tell me you dread my progress."
"I naturally don't. However, I'm now happily married…sort of. Even if I didn't fear you, agreeing to such a clash would be an insult to my man. Therefore, I won't do it."
The words reverberated within Erhardt's mind, while his eyes widened in a stupor. Then, they went bloodshot, and as he clenched his trembling fists, his face contorted into an ugly look.
"What…did you just say?
Please tell me that…this…is a joke."