"Just like that…he jumped?"
The Terrestrial Expression mumbled, astounded by Konrad's sudden move. Never did it expect that without even waiting for it to push him into a corner, and desperation to sink in, Konrad would directly take his woman and jump off the cliff!
Did that man have a loose gear?
"Yes, he definitely got a few loose ones."
A voice claimed from the Terrestrial Expression's right.
"Not just a f-…huh? Who? AAAAARGH!"
Alarmed by the sudden voice, the Terrestrial Expression jumped in fright and spiraled in the air before landing back on its feet. And right next to where it previously laid, an illusory version of Qehreman's true body stood.
"Who…who the hell are you?"
Within the boundaries of the Blood Mountain Range, how was it possible for someone to sneak up on it? In this land, it was omnipresent!
"Just an outsider, here to pay back some karma and verify a few things."
The illusory Qehreman replied while shifting its attention toward Konrad's dropping form. At more than four hundred miles of altitude, even with his millions of death units and the Bone Mountain's chthonian energies supporting him, this fall wouldn't leave him intact.
Worse, he used himself as a pillow to prevent Else from getting wounded from their fall's impact while using his own death essence to prevent the surrounding chthonian energies from harming her.
The illusory Qehreman muttered and vanished from the Terrestrial Expression's side.
Instantaneously, it felt as if Konrad was no longer that important.
"If he didn't perish from that fall, then the overwhelming quantity of chthonian energies will blow him into smithereens. When even I only dares refine them one tiny bit at a time, how could he survive? What a pity."
The Terrestrial Expression rationalized in lamentation, as if Qehreman never was there, to begin with, and shifted its attention toward Ilkaalt, the sole remaining variable within its lands.
"That woman makes use of life essence to resist the atmosphere and laid hands on that pesky anti-chthonian shield. How hateful! Moreover, she possesses a Withering Leaf. I must subdue her, devour her soul and snatch the leaf from her corpse!"
It exclaimed and vanished to return to the land while directing its wrath at Ilkaalt. Naturally, this was all Qehreman's doing. Were it not for him, although it dared not run amok within the Bone Mountain, at the very least, it would have sought means to confirm Konrad's death.
Little did it know, that this minuscule change in demeanor would usher the Ancient Crystal World, and the entirety of the Mortal Realm, into a brand new era.
In his previous life, the notion of jumping from more than four-hundred miles of altitude would have certainly made Konrad burst into laughter. However, he now experienced it firsthand. Although free fall didn't kill, a true mortal would have either suffocated from the lack of oxygen or become paralyzed from fear.
However, Konrad experienced no such thing, and even as his dropping speed went far beyond that of sound, he remained stoic. Meanwhile, Else held onto his hands, in a flash, she realized that the reason he kept her in that position was so that he could either absorb or ward off the chthonian energies assailing her, thereby preventing her from suffering any damage.
And though the situation was nothing to beam at, she couldn't help but let her lips curve into a smile. In silence, she released her divine power, using it to protect their brains and internal organs.
But weakened by the environment, she could only muster very little of it.
Beneath them, the valley separating the eighteenth peak and the Bone Mountain grew increasingly closer, until at last…
…they hit the floor.
In the instant his back crashed onto the ground, Konrad felt his cells burst open, and his blood vessels torn asunder. But thanks to his vast death essence, and unparalleled resilience, that was the end of it.
Still, his blood gushed from his orifices, trickling down his eyes, ears, and pores.
On the other hand, Else only felt dazed for a brief instant.
But still, Konrad held onto her. Death essence then kicked in to mend his wounds.
"From now on, regardless of what occurs, you must keep your hands on me. I wish I could keep you hidden in a space treasure, but I need someone to watch out for me while I enter meditation.
It can only be you."
Konrad explained as his last wound vanished, and he returned to perfect condition.
The concentration of chthonian energies at the bottom of the valley had reached an immeasurable level. Even with his second layer Blossoming Death Art, Konrad failed to seamlessly absorb it, to say nothing of Else.
Without his help, she would not last more than three minutes.
However, the situation being what it was, he had no other choice. Otherwise, if his cultivation went wrong, or a new wave of incidents rained on them, no one could save them. Mortality indeed was a scourge, but despite all the recent events, Konrad's Dao Heart and will remained unwavering.
If anything, to have been able to endure this meteoric fall without a ripple, allowed him to further sublimate his heart, and perfect his Dao, thereby making it go from Embryonic to Mature, and from Mature to Grand.
Meanwhile, his understanding of mortality and fatality approached the acme.
If his cultivation were unsealed, he would immediately breakthrough to the peak of the Divine Seed Rank, and relying on his resources, it wouldn't be long before he reached Divine Ascension.
Alas, unsealed, it wasn't.
Not that it mattered.
Within the valley, death lilies lied as far as the eye could see, leaving no place untouched, and providing little room for unimpeded motion.
Alongside Else, Konrad stood up and glanced toward the Bone Mountain, which now stood several steps from him, on the other side of the valley. With a smile, he turned heels, heading into a nearby cave.
Within that cave, due to the naturally chilling nether force, the temperature had reached absolute zero. Although Konrad possessed unparalleled resilience, that had nothing to do with resisting temperature.
Without his bloodline or cultivation, it wouldn't take a second before he petrified. Fortunately, Else supported him with regular injections of divine power. Still, due to the temperature's alleviation, Konrad's fingers, toes, and nose soon suffered from terrible frostbite.
Yet, he persevered, carrying on until he reached the cave's center, and sat crossed-legged in meditation. Activating his Blossoming Death Art, he turned his body into a chthonian energy siphon, pulling not only the death essence but the nether force within the air and lilies.
This move freed Else of their suppression, allowing her to use the full might of her cultivation base and lineage weapon to support Konrad's vitality.
Thus, they supported one another. At the same time, Konrad pulled out the lilies he'd gathered till now and refined them too.
Hence, as the Terrestrial Expression made Ilkaalt's life miserable, Konrad's understanding of mortality, fatality, and all the principles of death laws approached infinitely close to perfection.
And as they did, the ethereal fog separating him from the Blossoming Death Art's third layer, dispersed, one tiny bit at a time, opening the road for the long-awaited breakthrough.