Following an uncertain duration of unconsciousness, Konrad's limbs trembled, with his quivering eyelids announcing his awakening. In slow motion, his eyes opened, and at first, a blurred world awaited him. But as he lifted himself from his bed, clear sight gradually replaced the blurry vision.
Else's sitting form was the first his eyes fell upon. Clearly, she'd been there for some time, watching over him as he slumbered. Meanwhile, Astarte and Zamira stood several steps away from the bed, observing him from a distance.
Konrad said nothing, raising his pale-looking hand to access his own body. And unsurprisingly, no cultivation or battle-power remained within. The only things he could now rely on where his system gained abilities and the Blossoming Death Art.
But neither of those were offensive in nature. At least, not in their current state. The current him simply didn't have the strength to truss a chicken.
From a god-level existence all the way down to a feeble mortal. This was indeed a meteoric descent. But of course, although his strength was now not worth mentioning, thanks to his vast death essence, his incomparably formidable resilience remained.
At least, he wasn't entirely without defense.
"How long have I been out?"
Konrad asked Selene within the system.
"Eight days. And before you ask, I have no way to remove the leaves. That is a True God level ability, the current system is simply not equipped for that. Sorry."
She replied in an apologetic tone, causing Konrad's lips curled into a smile.
"It's fine. It's perfectly fine. Who is to say that this is not an opportunity?"
Konrad chortled before shifting his attention back onto Else. Hers had never left him, and within, worry clearly shone. But how could it not? To any cultivator, the loss of strength was an insufferable blow. Else firmly believed that Konrad wouldn't think twice before asking one of his Paramount Knights to execute him so that he could be reborn, free of this affliction.
However, as he shook his head in disapproval, she realized he had no intention to.
"The situation is not as terrible as you think. This might just be a blessing in disguise. For too long, I've reveled in my superior cultivation foundation, bloodline, and physiques. There are many profound mysteries I do not grasp, mysteries I can now pursue as a mortal."
Konrad began while lowering his right hand onto Else's. And sweeping the three consorts with a calm gaze.
"Moreover, I still have my legion and Hidden Moon Pavilion. This is merely a temporary setback. Right now, we must hasten the legion's training, and bring the remaining five-thousand peak Restoration Beasts to the Infernal Knight Rank.
At the same time, invest more resources in the training of the weaker Infernal Knights.
As soon as Konrad called his name, Krann appeared within the room and dropped on his knees.
"At your command!"
"You will be in charge of this."
Konrad ordered and Krann bowed in approval.
"Where are Yvonne and Verena?"
He asked immediately afterward.
"After getting a new understanding of the situation, her majesty and her grace decided to sneak into the Hidden Forest to gather information, get the full picture, and devise a method to abort the withering."
Krann explained, his words causing a frown to flash within Konrad's face. Else then pressed her palm against his forehead, flooding his mind with the recent intel and her full knowledge of the situation.
With his eyes shut close, Konrad pulled in a deep sigh.
His eyes again opened and locked on Zamira whose eyes were the only one-hundred percent serene one within the room.
"What are your thoughts?"
Konrad inquired with a smile.
"If you are not worried, why should I be? Just like you said, this might just be an opportunity. In any case, you can just reincarnate yourself. At the same time, the incomparably formidable Hidden Moon Pavilion stands ready to defend you from all harms.
Throughout the Ancient Crystal World, the unknown Ant Queens and Goddess aside, who do you fear? Cultivation or not, you're still the Jade Emperor, you're still the Profane Prince, the God-Sovereign of fifty billion souls. This…is as a big deal as we make it out to be."
Zamira responded in a calm, level tone. Her words causing the restless Astarte to blush in shame.
Konrad approved, and stood up.
"It is time we fulfill old promises. The three of you should get ready…to step into the Barbarian Continent."
Konrad declared, and his words caused no surprise. None expected him to quietly await Yvonne's return. Of course, he would step into the Barbarian Continent. Of course, he would support her efforts.
"First, we will restore Zamira's tribe. Afterward, we will infiltrate the Infernal Cult and pay a visit to my -dear mother.-"
Konrad explained. The Serkar-ruled Infernal Cult's current situation was a mystery. Initially, Diyana and Miraz served as his eyes and ears within. However, it quickly became evident that following the last war, they had been disconnected of all critical information. But at the same time, no harm befell them, and on the contrary, their already superior treatment within the house experienced substantial improvement.
Clearly, Gulistan suspected foul play on his part, and balanced the potential spies, preventing them from accessing critical information while urging them to focus on cultivation.
Soon, it would be time for the two of them to clash.
The three consorts nodded in approval before exiting to give Konrad some time to adjust to his new condition.
"Master, your servant was incompetent and failed to assist you at the critical juncture! As a familiar, I am overwhelmed by shame! Please allow me to follow you into the Barbarian Continent!"
Krann implored with a kowtow. However, Konrad shook his head.
"You are my most reliable servant. I need you here in the capital to oversee activities and defend the fort while I'm away. Don't worry, I will take two Paramount Knights and ten Quasi-Paramount Knights with me on this trip.
My safety is guaranteed."
Hearing Konrad's uncompromising tone, Krann knew he wouldn't be part of the departing party. But as he inwardly lamented, Konrad's voice again echoed.
"As for your guilt, that is utter nonsense. I can only blame myself for not being sufficiently prepared."
Konrad professed with a smile.
"Thank you, master!"
"No need. Summon Wenzel von Jurgen. I have something to ask him."
Konrad ordered, and immediately, Krann departed to bring in Wenzel. The former sixth von Jurgen prince and Yvonne's adopted son, Wenzel had been butchered by Olrich under a moment of flaring madness, alongside Yvonne's faithful eunuchs. However, Konrad sealed their souls within a Soul Lamp, ready to bring them back to life at the first opportunity.
And upon taking his Jade Emperor throne, he did just that. Granting them new, mightier bodies that allowed them to quickly reach sainthood.
In a flash, Wenzel appeared before him and knelt in greetings.
"All hail, your majesty!"
He exclaimed in veneration.
"Dispense with ceremony. Did she leave any words?"
Konrad straightforwardly asked.
"Adoptive mother only said that…"
Wenzel began but failed to finish the words. And seeing him quivering on his knees, Konrad's interest was piqued.
"Speak without fear, I absolve you of any potential crime."
Hearing this, Wenzel heaved a sigh of relief and carried on.
"…she said that if she had to say anything, she…would divorce you."
Wenzel replied without raising his head, and as the words reached his ears, Konrad burst into laughter.
"That's my empress.
Now, now, time for the Profane Prince to go on a vacation."
As his beloved empress, how could Konrad not understand the meaning of Yvonne's words?
- If this bit of setback is enough to startle you, then I chose wrong and you're not worth being my husband. That aside, I will naturally try my hardest to fix this for you. -
But naturally, he would never allow her to do all the work.