While the Zenith Ant Army rose to do what they did best, within house Serkar, a strikingly handsome, olive-skinned man appearing to be in his early thirties sat on a wooden chair, trapped by dazzling golden chains that rippled with formidable Divine Power. The man struggled, thrashing against the Divine Chains, but to no avail.
And if anyone aware of his identity witnessed this scene, their eyes would have undoubtedly popped out of their socket.
"Gulie, all these years, I have spoiled you in vain! How dare you do this to your eldest brother?! Let go of me!"
The man roared, for indeed, he was Hejin Serkar, the house's number three expert, and Gulistan's eldest brother. Berken Serkar had eight children, five sons, and three daughters. Of the eight, the dead Bayiz ranked at the bottom while Gulistan stood at the top. And though their relationship wasn't necessarily strenuous, calling it harmonious would be a blatant lie.
Although now their position within the house was clear and cemented, the endless competition and innumerable battles of their youth ensured that true harmony would never exist.
Gulistan and Hejin were the sole exceptions. Was it due to the millennia standing between them? The gender difference or the inexistent need for competition among them? For one reason or another, those two were so close that all saw them as the ideal pair of loving brother and sister.
And how could they not be? From infancy to maturity, Gulistan had been spoiled rotten by Hejin, and it was no understatement to call him her "second father." After all, while Berken taught her cultivation, it was Hejin that raised her and dispelled doubts when their father was too busy to.
But now, that same Hejin was locked on a chair by none other than Gulistan herself.
"Resistance is futile. I sealed both your energy center and soul power. You can't escape."
Gulistan stated in a relaxed tone while sipping a cup of tea. That stance only served to further aggravate Hejin, who thrashed harder against his chains. All, to no avail. After another ten minutes of resistance, his last bit of strength vanished, and he sighed in defeat.
"Gulie, getting this one daughter wasn't easy. You can't really expect me to sit and await news of her death, right?"
Indeed, this situation stemmed from the recent news Hejin received regarding his precious daughter, Helbin. As one of the most promiscuous Serkar scion, Hejin didn't lack children. Aside from his six legitimate sons, he had plenty of bastards loitering both inside and outside the house, being raised by men who either knew nothing of their true heritage or dared not question it.
However, all were sons! It was as if he'd been cursed by a supernatural force that prevented him from siring a daughter! At first, Hejin cared little about this situation. But with the sons succeeding one another across millennia, despair gradually settled within him, and he urgently sought a daughter!
Alas, all attempts proved fruitless, and as he finally lost hope, the Northern Khanum finally bore him that long-awaited daughter! Better, she'd inherited his golden blood and the talent that came alongside it!
His only regret was that while Helbin's birth was the fulfillment of all of his desires, he couldn't openly claim her as his. The reason was simple…
"What daughter? You dare call her your daughter? As far as I recall, the last time you attempted to bestow that title upon her, father beat you half an inch into death. What? Last time wasn't good enough?
No problem. Although I didn't peg you for the type to find delight in physical abuse, I guess that after more than ten-thousand years of existence, you need to diversify your kinks. No need to repeat the past, I can help you."
Gulistan replied, and waved her right hand, causing jolts of electricity to erupt from her chains and electrocute the trapped Hejin.
He jumbled in anguish. And indeed, the reason why Hejin dared not claim Helbin as his daughter was Berken himself. Although the Serkars were an ancestral Dual Cultivation House with a history predating the Infernal Cult, the ancestors believed that a key difference lay between a dual cultivator and a boorish whore.
To them, dual cultivation was nothing more than an efficient and rapid way of enhancing cultivation that, once mastered, could enable them to stand tall even before stronger bloodlines. For that reason, they believed in measure in all things, and in an established order to not lose house dignity.
Depending on bloodline rank, cultivation levels, and the status they held within the house, Serkar scions would be matched with a partner and then given concubines and dual cauldrons.
They could also earn merit to obtain more cauldrons and resources. There was no fundamental difference between men and women in terms of rights. But before they were paired, the couple would fight for dominance, and the strongest of the two would be the only one able to have concubines and cauldrons.
But with enough talent, as Gulistan did, some could reject that process and enter House Serkar's specific priesthood division to cultivate solely for the sake of currying favor with mighty Gods. But because it was both a binding and life-threatening path, very few chose it.
The rules were strict. As the First Inheritor of a generation, and chosen heir to Berken's seat before Konrad's birth, Hejin naturally possessed an outstanding wife, countless concubines and even more dual cauldrons. But in exchange for this abundance of women, like all the others, he wasn't allowed to sow his seed beyond his harem, and especially not in the secular world.
However, he did exactly that. And with Berken spending most of his time in secluded cultivation, none could stop him.
But being a man-whore was one thing, another to bring the results of his indiscretions to light.
Although Berken wasn't the most pedantic of men, he would never allow Hejin to set up a precedent that was bound to trigger uncontrollable domino effects such as rampant disregard of rules and increasingly diluted bloodlines. For that reason, any mention of revealing Helbin's identity was, quite literally, punished with an iron fist!
But when he received news that the khanum was raped and murdered, the khan grievously wounded, all bodyguards slain, and Helbin nowhere to be found, Hejin couldn't restrain himself and without a shred of hesitation, shot toward the Northern Khanate!
But before he could exit the Blood Barrier, Gulistan suppressed and tied him to a chair!
"Gulistan, you're far too evil! I should have sold you off when I had the chance!"
Hejin sobbed in indignation, and silently cursed all the gods in the multiverse. While his peers could relax with adorable little sisters rubbing their backs, he had to endure this sassy despot days and night!
What a sorrowful fate!