While Konrad started his Serkar Insemination Task, Diyana rose from her seat to request a meeting with Gulistan.
"Oh? Interesting. Bring her in."
Gulistan acquiesced. From the moment Diyana returned from the Tower, Gulistan had suspected her of having turned coat and considered digging through her soul. However, she reasoned that on the one hand, if she were right, doing so would alert Konrad; on the other hand, if she weren't, then she'd ensure her fears became a reality. Therefore, she refrained. Still, she placed her under rigorous surveillance, keeping her in secluded cultivation while still providing her with top resources.
But never once did Diyana voice complaints or suspicions. Why then was she requesting an audience now, and leaving on her own accord?
Gulistan wasn't allowed to ponder long, for as soon as her approval passed, Diyana appeared before her and bowed in greetings.
"Master, your disciple greets you."
She bowed in greetings.
"Straight to the point, will you? I remember giving you express orders to remain focused on your cultivation for the next one-hundred years, or until I requested your presence. Why then do you appear before me now?"
Gulistan inquired in a tone that heralded drastic punishments if the answer failed to satisfy her. Yet, it is with supreme calm that Diyana raised her head and locked her eyes on her intransigent master.
"I'm here to answer your unspoken questions. You put Miraz and me under house arrest in everything but name, because you doubt our version of the events that occurred within the Tower. I wish to clear that up."
Diyana began, and without being granted permission, sat opposite to Gulistan.
"Your fears are correct. Be it Vozir, Jaenera, Miraz, or I, all surrendered to Konrad. The only difference is the type of surrender."
As those words she'd long inferred reached her ears, Gulistan's face contorted into a frown.
"Oh? And what would the difference be?"
Gulistan asked in a chilling tone.
"They were forced into it. I did of my own free will."
Gulistan's frown deepened.
"May I know why? I raised you from before the cradle, nurtured you from within your mother's womb, gave you the illustrious status of being my only disciple, and all the resources associated with it. I even shared God-Blood with you. Because of me, your cultivation speed and foundation transcended all the disciples of this generation.
With all I've done for you, why would you abjure me? I'm curious as to where I failed."
Gulistan inquired in a calm tone while her frown dispersed. Meanwhile, Diyana shook her head.
"Nowhere. In practice, you did nothing wrong. But the reality is that you make me feel unsafe. You treat everyone like pawns; tools you can use and discard as you see fit to fulfill your vast ambitions. I was no exception. Said bluntly, I'm the glorified whore you raised to control your son. You even kept the existence and nature of my second physique hidden from me to prevent variables.
A person like you, no one can serve truthfully. Fear forever remains the foundation of our bounds. Konrad is different. Although with outsiders, he acts like you do, with his loved ones, that's a completely different story.
He's the mountain we can freely rely on and always makes us feel like we matter. Do you know that even with his legions of harem members, and the distance between us, he still found the time to keep me regular company across this decade? Were the roles reversed, it would be great if you didn't discard me.
For the sake of my future, I had to choose him over you. Of course, his cock being a marvel certainly helped cement the choice."
Diyana candidly replied, causing Gulistan to arch her eyebrows.
"The ancients were right. A woman's worst enemy is another woman. Twist it as you will, but the fact of the matter is that for the sake of one rod, you rebelled against your master, the person that taught and raised you.
Good. Very good. I will not argue. I assume that since you dare speak such words to my face, you're bound to Konrad by a contract that ensures your safety. Furthermore, he wants something from me. All right, what is it?"
Gulistan retorted with her head canted to the right, her legs crossed, and her arms folded beneath her chest.
"He wants you to meet him. Or rather, to find him."
Diyana explained with a smirk. Instantaneously, enlightenment dawned onto Gulistan, and she rose from her seat.
She affirmed while spreading her Demigod-Sense to the entirety of the Serkar Domain. Of course, such a move failed to pinpoint Konrad's location.
"Indeed. He's here. And while you and I have been having this moment of bonding, he's making some memories of the landscape. Though, even I do not know where exactly he is. Good Luck."
Diyana confirmed, before standing up and turning heels.
"But for the sake of old times, I must warn you. Since he dares appear, no trick of yours can function. You're doomed to turn into his plaything and might as well surrender."
With that said, she left, and though she didn't see the sneer on Gulistan's face, she could imagine it.
Not that it mattered. The more she struggled, the more entertainment Konrad would feel.
"My future will never be bound to anyone. Especially not my son. If anyone must bend, it is him, not I. That is the correct path."
Gulistan declared and vanished in swirling golden light to reappear before the ninth elder who currently sat crossed-legged in cultivation. A quick reflection made her realize that if Konrad truly stood within the house, then he gained recent access through an insider. Undoubtedly, a resident of the Core Zone.
Otherwise, he'd have to force his way in, which, even if he could, would never go without a sound.
The ninth elder began, but before he could finish his words, Gulistan waved her hand, suppressed his cultivation, and gabbed his forehead! Indeed, as far as she was concerned, the ninth elder was the most suspicious individual. No, he was the only likely culprit.
However, as she probed into his soul, she could find nothing of value! No hint of the betrayal lay within. This could only mean two things. Either she was wrong, or Konrad had grown so powerful that he could seamlessly alter the mind of someone of the ninth elder's level.
For her own sake, Gulistan certainly hoped for the former, and without giving the struggling elder an explanation, she vanished to reappear before Helbin, who currently enjoyed a tour from Hejin himself.
Still without warning, she stretched her hand toward Helbin and grasped her forehead.
"Gulistan! What the hell are you trying to do?!"
Hejin snarled and grabbed Gulistan's wrist, attempting to pull it away from Helbin.
"I'm corroborating stories. Konrad is here, and it doesn't take a genius to realize that his presence is linked to either or both of our newcomers. With my cultivation base, do you fear a soul probe going wrong? Instead of fussing for nothing, it's your future you should be worrying about."
Gulistan retorted while browsing through Helbin's memories. And indeed, the stories matched. No trace of Konrad's presence lay there. But such a perfect match only filled Gulistan with more apprehension.
If it was neither of them, who could it be? Or was Konrad playing a prank on her, and not truly present?
At her wits' end, she again swept the Serkar Domain and again failed to find anything noteworthy. But as she pulled back her Demigod-Sense, her eyes widened in disbelief!
"Where is that silver-bloodline boy?"
Indeed, Xabur, who should have stood in Helbin's mansion, was nowhere to be seen. Gulistan thus realized her oversight. Although she knew Konrad able to take all appearances, she didn't think him adept at faking bloodlines!
"Elder brother, with me."
She ordered, and Hejin, who recovered from his stupor, followed without a word. The two sought Xabur's presence but were shocked to realize they couldn't find it! Thus, they ran in circles, going from a mansion to another, and touring the Core Zone, in vain.
As they did, they were alarmed to see Serkar women, lying within their chambers with their legs spread wide and spunk trickling down. Their search led them to Hejin's quarters, and as they approached, a great sense of foreboding filled him.
But before they could reach the door, loud moans greeted their acute senses, and Hejin's eyes widened in disbelief!