As Ilkaalt vanished, Konrad's face contorted into a frown.
Were his powers still available, how could that odious woman possibly run amok? With a palm, he would have suppressed her. Alas, available, they were not. Now, his perfect shield of a sworn brother was taken captive, depriving him of his trump card.
Calling him "irritated" was an understatement.
"Hehe, it is not often that you suffer such a loss at the hand of a woman."
Selene chortled within Konrad's mind.
"What are you acting so pleased about? Since you're so keen on taking pleasure in my misfortune, I might as well let those ghosts help me into reincarnation. I'm sure you can find yourself a better host, good luck on your future endeavors."
Konrad declared before shifting his attention toward the Ravenous Ghosts, who, in the absence of Qehreman, now focused solely on them.
"You can't bear to. In any case, that woman snatching him might not be such a bad thing."
Selene replied before again, falling silent. But Konrad didn't have time to inquire about the reasoning of those confusing words that the Ravenous Ghosts again were upon him.
With a wave of his hand, he summoned his Harem Throne and took his seat upon it.
A jade-colored energy shield appeared, blocking the ghosts' onslaught while Else and Astarte vanished to reappear by Konrad's side. Without waiting for his orders, the two extended their swords toward the Ravenous Ghosts and respectively condensed golden and silver lightning energy balls, which expanded before blasting at the three-hundred ghost army.
They screamed like a choir, releasing berserk soundwaves that clashed with Konrad's barrier while the entirety of their nether force combined in an ice hurricane to collide with the beams!
The collision triggered a wild energy outburst that blasted one-third of the ghosts into nothingness. Without Qehreman, the nether force and death essence within the atmosphere quickly enfeebled both Else and Astarte, making them unable to fight at full-strength. Otherwise, the result couldn't be this shallow.
With exceptional tacit understanding, the remaining two hundred merged into a mightier ghost high of more than three-hundred meters. Seeing this, hesitation flashed within Konrad's eyes. Although he could use his once a day energy blast to clear this foe in one go, if he did, for the remainder of the day, he would be left without defenses.
In the current scenery, that was no solid plan.
However, he also didn't want to waste too much time in this area, because better than the others, he could feel that from the distance, massive nether force spread, and aimed toward them!
And as if reading through his mind, Else aimed her sword at the Ravenous Ghost.
She uttered, causing the space across one-hundred meters to distort while a massive vortex appeared above the Ravenous Ghost, first sealing the space around it, before attempting to swallow it into another dimension.
Understanding the ploy, the Ravenous Ghost thrashed against the suction force, but to no avail. Its massive "body" flew into the vortex and vanished within.
"Ravenous Ghosts can't be fettered with space. It will return. I must seclude myself to break through to the third layer of the Blossoming Death Art as soon as possible. That's the only way we can regain the initiative."
Konrad explained, and without delay, Else waved her hand, causing the three to cross space and land on the seventh peak. With her Origin Sight, she sought a new cultivation cave for Konrad to seclude himself in.
However, just as she found one, the ground beneath them shifted, and they reappeared on the eighth peak!
Witnessing this, Astarte cast an inquisitive look toward Else, but observing the surprise within her gaze, she realized Else had absolutely nothing to do with this!
"Could it be..."
Konrad began, but before he could finish his words, the ground against shifted, and this time, they reappeared above the thirteenth peak!
However, Astarte no longer stood with them! Moreover, a quick probe allowed Else to realize that while she could keep opening space doors toward the peaks ahead, the road backward was sealed!
"Just like you fear. It's a Terrestrial Expression."
Selene confirmed Konrad's silent fears, causing him to close his eyes and release his soaring exasperation in a burst of laughter.
"Hahaha, men will die for wealth. The saying is so true. I dived into the lion's den."
Konrad chuckled and hearing this, Else's eyes contorted into a frown. Never had she expected such words to echo from Konrad's lips. However, he wasn't being an alarmist.
Ravenous Ghosts were meant to hunt the living and lash out at the world whose actions triggered their existence. They were not intended to consume Aggrieved Souls or fellow Ravenous Ghosts. Although doing so made them grow at a faster pace, it also carried with it a hidden price.
If they consumed too many such souls, they could never rebuild a human body, and regardless of the power level they reached, rebirth was impossible. However, if they persisted in that road, and reached a certain level of power, the land of their birth would pull them in, forcing them to merge with it and become…a Terrestrial Expression.
Although they were forever trapped within it, Terrestrial Expressions were exceptionally formidable existences with absolute control over the land of their grievances. Even without considering their dominion over the land, the average Terrestrial Expression's battle-power rivaled peak-stage Divine Ascension experts.
Never did Konrad expect that in a measly ten years, one Ravenous Ghost would devour enough to reach the power-level required to become the Blood Mountain Range's Terrestrial Expression, and complete the transition.
Had he known this beforehand, he would have never made the trip.
However, regrets never served purposes.
It was time for solutions.
With the Terrestrial Expression's awakening, the Blood Mountain Range had turned into a guillotine ready to drop on its prisoners' neck at all times.
Konrad would naturally not wait for death.
No, he would subdue it.
"Else, since we're being offered such a kind invitation, we shouldn't decline. To the bone mountain, we go."
Konrad ordered, causing Else's lips to curve into a bright smile.
"As you wish."
With a wave of her hand, she cleft a space vortex to lead the two of them toward the Blood Mountain Range's highest concentration of chthonian energies.