Konrad spent the remainder of the day alongside Krann to restructure the resources assigned to the legion, the hidden forces, and the state army while getting accustomed to his feeble body. At dusk, he headed into the Official Research Department where the former dowager Amalia conducted experiments on various human subjects to analyze the root of their bloodlines.
Lost in her experiments, Amalia wouldn't even have noticed the arrival of the new entrant were it not for her fellow researchers and assistants dropping on their knees to proclaim:
"Greetings, your majesty!"
As those words, echoed, mild surprise flashed within her eyes, and she spun to lock her attention on Konrad who'd now stepped in. Just like the others, she dropped on her knees.
"Greetings, your majesty!"
"You may rise."
Konrad replied while bypassing the kneeling researchers to stop beside Amalia. His eyes fell upon several men of various ages tied on vertical beds with thick iron chains preventing any movement.
Those were criminals his forces routinely delivered to the research department for experimenting. Amalia stood up, standing beside him while keeping her head slightly bowed in deference.
"Your majesty, may your servant know what prompts such a sudden visit?"
She asked with her hands wrapped around a diary she kept pressed against her chest.
"What is the current evolution of your researches?"
Konrad replied through an inquiry of his own. And hearing this, Amalia's lips curled into a smile.
"In those last ten years, although we've failed to decipher the nature of humanity's lineage, we did make an interesting discovery that supports your hypothesis. I now have very little doubt that human lineages are under a potent seal."
Amalia replied, causing Konrad to arch his eyebrows.
"Oh? And what is that discovery?"
"As your majesty knows, there are three kinds of -burning.- Lifeforce burning, blood burning, and soul burning. Lifeforce burning multiplies the might of cultivation proportionally to the quantity of lifespan expended. In the same process, blood burning increases the might of both cultivation and physiques, while soul burning targets cultivation and soul power."
Amalia began, drawing an approving nod from Konrad.
"However, because blood and soul burning are both fatal and excruciating, only the desperate dare use them. Moreover, unless the user possesses mighty physiques or vast soul power, to begin with, the result is not much better than lifeforce burning. Therefore, instances of their uses are not many. However, following some experiments, we realized that a low-level human burning his blood will yield a much larger strength upgrade than the vast majority of the Ancient Crystal World's races."
As her words ended, Amalia waved her hand, causing her assistants to bring in a tied, former beast noble which they set beside a middle-aged human male. They both possessed low, True Knight cultivation.
"Using pills, we forcefully brought that human's cultivation level to the True Knight Rank. With his blue blood lineage, he's barely qualified to step on the cultivation road, but unless he meets a startling fortuitous encounter, his future achievements are doomed to be limited."
The blue blood was the weakest of humanity's cultivation lineages; therefore, Konrad agreed with the words.
"At his right is a former beast noble with an inarguably stronger bloodline. Although their cultivations are the equal, with other conditions remaining the same, the beast noble would shred him to pieces in a fight. However, your majesty will now see the result of their blood burning."
Amalia sent various mental messages toward her assistants while motioning for them to step toward the test subjects. Two assistants stepped in, bringing a syringe filled with an odd, dark-red liquid and injecting them into the "patients."
As the sting punctured their veins and the liquid dived in, their eyes widened in muffled pain and went bloodshot. The assistants soon withdrew the needles, and bringing alongside them the other "patients," left the room, closing it behind them.
Now, only the middle-aged human and former beast noble remained.
"This is a serum we invented to forcefully trigger blood burning. May your majesty wait a few seconds."
Amalia explained with her lips curved in anticipation.
Soon afterward, the two subjects' bodies trembled as they convulsed within their chains. The convulsing soon made way for full-blown thrashing, and their eyes went red with mad frenzy.
"The chains are supported by a reinforcement formation that prevents anyone beneath the Arch Knight Rank from escaping them. However…"
*Clang* *Clang* *Clang*
While the beast noble still struggled to free himself from his seemingly irresistible chains, the middle-aged human blasted them all away in loud ringing noises before leaping from his bed to land on the ground.
He roared, but the glass vitrine separating him from his abductors prevented him from seeing what occurred in the outside. Blazing with maddened rage, he turned toward the former beast noble who still thrashed against his chains and…
…punched a hole into his chest. In an eruption of blood, the former beast noble's struggle ended. And perhaps his soul would find respite in the fact that his chains were now broken.
With nothing else to batter, the frenzied human spu. and shot toward the vitrine, punching it with all his might, but to no avail. Following five minutes of thrashing, blood erupted from his orifices, his heart ruptured, and he collapsed on the ground.
Konrad was astounded.
"As your majesty can see, this low-level human's blood burning allowed him to showcase battle-power two ranks above his own. And this is just a blue-blooded human. I can only imagine what a purple or golden-blooded human's lineage burning would result in.
Of course, this is merely five minutes of glory before an immutable death."
Amalia concluded, but as she shifted her silver eyes toward Konrad to assess his reaction, she was startled to see the bright smile plastered on his lips.
"Good. Very, very good."
He appraised with a nod.
"Could an undead human use the ability without limit?"
He asked right afterward, but Amalia shook her head.
"In the current Ancient Crystal World, necromancy is a failed art whose practitioners lie hidden in damp caves. The undead they create are of low quality, mangled, decaying flesh, or sacks of bones. Very few still possess slivers of their souls, to say nothing of the lineage of their lifetime."
She sighed, but soon afterward, raised her head.
"However, if one could create a perfect undead boasting a complete lineage then yes, endless blood burning should be possible."
Those words were like music to Konrad's ears, and his smile only grew more radiant.
"You, my beautiful Amalia, have done this state a great service. I will increase the funding for your department, and tonight, you can come into the imperial palace to fetch your personal rewards."
Konrad chortled and turned heels, leaving without further words.
Not having expected those results to yield such prizes, Amalia was startled. However, her surprise only lasted for the split of a second, and she bowed toward Konrad's departing form.
"Thank you, your majesty, for your grace!"