Meanwhile, while Verena sat crossed-legged in meditation, refining the tempered ancestral blood she'd received from Yvonne, the latter shifted her eyes toward Calisto and Vylsea. By the time her eyes locked on them, the blood covering her had vanished, leaving behind her golden imperial robe.
"Greetings, your majesty."
The sisters hailed and dropped on their knees.
"No need to stand on ceremony. What's Konrad's situation."
Yvonne directly asked while releasing a wave of divine power that straightened the two's backs.
"At the time he ordered us to come to your aid, his majesty was about to depart to explore a peculiar zone. As of now, he should have long since dived into it, we have no idea of his current situation or whereabout."
They truthfully replied, causing Yvonne's face to twist into a frown.
"Who's standing by his side?"
"Originally, besides us, ten Quasi-Paramount Knights stood in his majesty's shadows. However, he transferred them to lady Zamira to handle some tasks. Now…only lady Else and lady Astarte remain by his majesty's side."
The answer caused Yvonne's frown to grow deeper. Seeing this, Calisto pursued.
"Your majesty shouldn't be worried. After all, this is nothing but the Barbarian Continent's secular world. Although the zone is quite mysterious, with his majesty's means, nothing major can occur.
Since he dares go, he must have some insurance. With the two ladies by his side, there shouldn't be anything they aren't able to confront."
It didn't take a genius to realize Yvonne worried about Konrad's safety. Therefore, Calisto attempted to placate her concerns.
"Never mind. With Else by his side, there, indeed, shouldn't be anything able to threaten him. However, there are times when strength alone cannot suppress tribulations. Hurry back to his side and provide all the support you can."
Yvonne replied and shifted her attention toward Verena whose cultivation was about to step into Divine Transformation while her physiques all approached the Mastered Stage.
"At once, your majesty!"
The two replied, and attempted to use the Harem Gate to rush back to Konrad's side. The golden gate descended before them, but as they stretched their hands toward it…it refused to open!
The two's eyes widened in disbelief!
"Why is the gate not opening? What…is the meaning of this?"
Hearing this, Yvonne abruptly shifted her gaze back onto them and pressed her hand against the Harem Gate. Still, it refused to open!
Across those years, Konrad played with the Harem and World Gates at more than one occasion. Therefore, they all knew how they operated. Yvonne firmly believed that even if he remained unconscious, the Harem Gate would still function.
Why then wasn't it?
Only one explanation came to mind!
"Could it be…could his majesty be…"
The sisters wondered in fright and thinking of that possibility, their hearts clenched within their chests.
"Silence! Konrad possesses four death flowers. Even if he were to die, he would be reborn and restored at full-strength. Throughout the Ancient Crystal World, who can claim his life? How could he possibly perish? Don't make wild assumptions!"
Yvonne cut, preventing them from finishing that train of thoughts. And feeling the boiling anger within her voice, the two dared not speak further. At that time, Verena's eyes opened, and she locked a perplexed gaze at the gate.
"There are two possibilities. Either his soul is experiencing some form of formidable suppression, or he stands at the very edge of life and death, wavering between the two."
But to understand the root of this event, one needs to return to the time Konrad set out for the Blood Mountain Range.
Following Helbin's "conversion," Zamira kicked her plan into gear. Meanwhile, alongside Else and Astarte, Konrad departed for the Blood Mountain Range. But of course, he didn't forget to contact Qehreman, that evil-warding charm of a sworn brother, to follow him into that unfamiliar territory.
As expected, Qehreman didn't disappoint, and after bidding his recovered mother farewell, he followed Konrad's group out of Tel'Hatra. Initially, he wished to guide the way toward the Blood Mountain Range. However, Konrad had already done his homework and knew what road to follow.
Therefore, he had Else lead them instead. With a wave of her hand, Else opened a space vortex, allowing the four of them to directly cross space to appear before the Blood Mountain Range. And as he landed before it, Konrad was forced to admit that the name fitted like a glove.
An incarnadine mountain range stood before him, and even from a distance, its walls emitted a thick blood stench that seemed able to endure the test of time, and perpetually reminded the bystanders of what occurred in this place.
Worse, vast waves of eldritch forces permeated the mountain range's atmosphere, warning trespassers of the evil that lurked within. It wasn't just death essence and having never been exposed to these kinds of forces, Else, and Astarte's eyes narrowed in apprehension.
Qehreman, however, stood undisturbed while Konrad's lips curved into a smile that echoed the pleasant surprise he currently felt.
"Do you understand the nature of those forces?"
Else asked, causing Konrad to nod in approval.
"I do. An amalgam of chthonian energies fills this place. It's not merely death essence. Nether force also lies within. Though, with our good luck charm here, we shouldn't face any issue."
Konrad replied, while patting Qehreman's shoulder.
"Little brother, I'm counting on you."
"Who's your little brother? With your teenaged looks, I should be the elder brother."
Qehreman replied in his usual straightforward tone.
"How old are you?"
Konrad asked, undisturbed by the retort.
"I will turn twenty-five in three months."
"Good. Theoretically, I'm twenty-eight, but practically, I'm already one-hundred years old. In one case or the other, I am your senior. How dare you be the elder brother?"
Konrad replied, causing Qehreman's eyes to widen in disbelief.
"Bullshit, you clearly are mortal. How could you be that old?"
He scoffed, not buying Konrad's words.
"Don't judge a book by its cover. I'm special. Even as a mortal, I can live for hundreds of millions of years."
Konrad affirmed with a mild chuckle while tapping Qehreman's shoulder.
Afterward, he pushed Qehreman into the range's entrance, before activating his Origin Sight and stepping forward. Astarte and Else respectively stood at his left and right. Thus, in tandem, the quartet stepped into the Blood Mountain Range.