The arrival of Konrad's group didn't kindle any reaction within the tribe whose members formed a succession of circles around the center where sixteen poles stood erect with men tied on them.
As fire rose from the bottom of the pole to the base of those men's feet, the smell of charred flesh mixed with that of blazing smoke, stretching throughout the encampment while screams echoing the victims' dread thundered.
Clearly, they weren't the first round.
Witnessing this scene Else shook her head.
"The practice of human sacrifice yields no benefit for non-infernal cult members. Those tribal fools have no idea that the entirety of their sacrificial offerings only serves to fuel the Infernal Cult's merit reserves.
You'd think that after one-hundred thousand years of nothing, they'd get the hint."
Else remarked as they approached the gathering. Though it was only a medium tribe, the Aran tribe still numbered several thousand individuals. And right now, all gathered in one spot.
"In truth, men do not pray and make offerings to have their prayers answered. They do it to reaffirm their faith, ease their hearts, and maintain control over the faithful. Being answered is just a bonus."
Zamira replied, her words eliciting an approving nod from Konrad.
"Lord Anzu, Battle God, we, your humble servants, offer you these sacrifices so that you may protect us in battle and bring your infernal ire unto our enemies!"
The shaman conducting the ceremony exclaimed with his arms outstretched. The chieftain stood at his right while the thousands of tribesmen and tribeswomen at their back bowed in veneration toward a towering idol of the Demon God and Primogen Anzu.
While deeper into the Barbarian Continent, the Four Kings' faith was the most prominent, within the border tribes' the situation wildly differed. Due to their constant in-fighting, the border tribes mainly venerated the Battle God, Anzu.
In the past, Zamira's tribe was no exception.
The fire burned brighter, lacing the feet of the sacrificial offerings, and spreading to their legs.
Their howls rose to a new pitch.
With their eyes focused on prayer and sacrifice, no one noticed the small group sneaking into the sea of individuals. However…
…When the loud throat-clearing echoed, all were forced to shift their heads. Making noise during a sacrifice was an offense no tribal faithful would ever violate. Therefore, all were startled by the sound they heard, and the shaman included, locked their eyes onto Konrad's party.
And with but a glance, they could see they dealt with outsiders. Be it clothing or complexion, Konrad's lot really didn't seem to belong to the Barbarian Continent. And although the chieftain could discern no cultivation from them, as a Transcendent Knight expert, his eyes shone with vigilance.
Moreover, in usual days, the guards would first report the appearance of foreigners and the treasures they brought before letting them in. But now, they were nowhere to be seen. On the contrary, this tiny but undisturbed group stood alone in a foreign sea of thousands.
Weighing those facts, the chieftain couldn't help but feel the situation reeking of foul play, and danger looming in.
However, when the shaman's eyes swept the party, they shone with dazzling light!
"The lord is merciful, the lord is merciful, and delivered new, fresh and beautiful souls to accompany him in his battle hall!"
He proclaimed in a solemn, impassioned tone. This was naturally a load of horseshit even he didn't believe. But in that instant, he couldn't think of anything else. This shaman was a man of unique tastes, enjoying both men and women at the same rate. Therefore, when his eyes brushed the group, he felt as if heaven dropped a diamond mine beneath his nose.
Sacrifice was only an excuse, he only wished to make use of the tribe's forces to capture them at a rapid pace.
But when those words echoed, the chieftain almost spurted blood.
Pit! When the situation was not even clarified, and the new party's strength assessed, how dared he make such a bold declaration?
Clearly, this vile shaman was attempting to pit him out of his life!
"Indeed, the lord is merciful and delivered new, fresh though not so beautiful souls to accompany him in his battle hall. The lord being me, of course."
Konrad chortled, triggering wild outrage within the more than three-thousand tribal folks whose acute hearing lost nothing of his brash words.
"Blasphemy, blasphemy! Before his lordship, you da-…"
Konrad cut before the shaman could finish his words. And instantaneously, wind gusts spread throughout the atmosphere to gently brush the faces of the more than three-thousand tribal folks.
The tearing sound of a plethora of gashed throats echoed. But long before it did, the tribal folks could see blood gushing from their necks, yet, not feeling anything occurring to their bodies. Their brains then registered their deaths, and they limply dropped on the ground.
The earth was soon drenched in a blood river formed by copious liters of blood.
Konrad stepped forward, stopping before the burning poles whose victims had fallen to the same fate, and sat crossed-legged.
With a wave of his hand, he summoned the bodies of the guardsmen from his special ring, and threw them into the mix, then activated the Blossoming Death Art.
Konrad's Blossoming Death Art had reached the peak of the second layer and approached the third. However, due to insufficient comprehension, he had yet to break through. Although the Blossoming Death Art wasn't an inherently offensive art, the third layer would open a new door with a vaster array of abilities while the fourth was the minimum requirement to Konrad's grand aspiration.
Therefore, he craved a breakthrough.
Of course, those things couldn't be rushed. But as he connected himself to the thousands of deceased souls, puled in their death and siphoned its essence, new mysteries of fatality appeared within Konrad's mind.
The dark mist billowed into the sky before diving past Konrad's pore and fuel him with a deeper reserve of death essence and deceased souls. Of course, when compared to the more than sixty million already inhabiting him, it was but a drop in the bucket.
As a cultivator, Konrad had no problem suppressing those souls. But as a mortal, though his comprehension of the art allowed him to keep them in a dormant stage and in check, he could feel them slowly clashing against him. Feel the silent roars of indignation, and the call for release!
But release, he would not!
At least, not now.
His closed eyes opened, and he stretched out his hands, causing black fog to erupt from his sleeves and embrace the thousands of corpses. Lifted by the chthonian force, they flew into the sky, and then, a shocking scene occurred.
The more than three-thousand human bodies slammed into one another, but instead of bursting into a rain of flesh, blood, and gore, they merged into an organic whole, becoming a thirty-meters long and wide ball of human flesh.