Konrad, however, maintained a supreme calm as if this deed was nothing worth mentioning. His eyes never even glanced toward the second elder.
"So? Which one is it going to be?"
He inquired, his words forcing Berken to return to the ultimatum at hand. Although Berken could go to great lengths in his dealings with the Infernal Rulers, there were two things he'd never do:
One, surrender his bloodline. Two, surrender his soul.
Although their house had fallen on hard times, he still was a descendant of the God of War. His lifelong dreams of returning to the Titan Domain and bringing his house back to the former peak remained unchanged. The Infernal Rulers may see him as a tool, but he didn't hold them in much higher regard.
This was all mutual use. Of course, Berken had self-knowledge and knew full-well that in his generation, returning the house to glory was a nigh-impossible task. The best he could do was to set up an unparalleled foundation for the next generation and his successor to thrive on. And who would that successor be?
Though he claimed himself willing to surrender the patriarch position to Konrad, this was, indeed, a political move. While the position would allow Konrad to freely make use of the house's resources, once bound to it, its growth and future would directly be linked to him. What they paid today; they'd get back tomorrow plus interests.
But as far as true succession was concerned, Berken's eyes would never glance toward Konrad.
Not because he wasn't fully human, but because he cared not for the human race. Unlike the children and grandchildren whose growth Berken oversaw, Konrad was a rogue specimen. The words "house glory" meant nothing to him. The words "for the human race," even less.
Konrad cared only for power. What lineage he took that power from mattered not. Even without his inextricable bond to the Infernal Realm, how could such a man shoulder the responsibility of undoing billions of years of suppression, and restore humanity to splendor?
No. Berken's choice had always been the First Inheritor, Hejin's eldest son, and his second most outstanding grandchild.
"Bow to him now and bide your time. When the house is ready to break free, lead it back to the Titan Domain."
Those were Berken's words to the First Inheritor. But never did he expect Konrad's strength to grow at such an alarming rate. Clearly, regardless of actual cultivation, his battle-power had reached True God level. Now, they didn't even have the qualification to hold a discussion of equals.
"What a pity. What a shame. What a loss."
Berken sighed, more for himself than anyone else.
"Although your strength clearly outpaces mine, with my Ancestral Shadow, Blood Burning, and cultivation, I believe I can give you a run for your money. Even if I cannot, surrendering my soul for an uncertain purpose is not what I can do."
Berken replied with his lips curled into a smile.
"To be frank, Konrad, I do not like you. Out of my grandchildren, you're the boldest, the most unbridled, the most ambitious, and of course, by far the mightiest. To say nothing of the junior generation, even us seniors can't compete with you.
At first, I believed you could grow up to be the man we needed, but I soon realized that your aim will never align with ours. We seek restoration, you want domination. You are a Demon Prince; our origins lie in the Titan Domain. In the future, our paths must diverge. Worse, you have absolutely no respect for your elders and possess no bottom line."
Berken pursued while taking a glance at the unconscious Gulistan.
"Though, she probably deserved that."
"Still, the fact of the matter is that I can give you anything, but I cannot surrender my soul without a fight. My house still needs my sober leadership. And I do not trust you to fulfill my lifelong aspiration."
Berken declared with his smile unchanged.
"Oh, and what would that be?"
Konrad inquired with a matching smile.
"I wish to see the day my house returns to the Titan Domain and makes up for the past betrayal. I wish to see the day a human scion rises from within the Titan Domain to brandish the God Executing Immortal Sword and wield the ancient title of God of War.
Devas and Demons bow, Primogens shiver, the human race prospers, none dare disparage us, and throughout eternity, our backs remain straight. That is my aspiration."
Berken proclaimed with his eyes staring right into Konrad's.
The words "God Executing Immortal Sword" made Konrad's eyes flash with a tinge of surprise.
What weapon could possibly bear such an overbearing name?
"It's the God of War's weapon, or rather, the weapon that makes the God of War. In ancient times, those scant few titans that managed to reach the Legendary God Rank could attempt to seize the God Executing Immortal Sword, thenceforth becoming their era's God of War.
-When the God of War brandishes his sword, all deities must surrender their lives.-
That is an ancient and perfectly accurate saying. Throughout the Three Realms, the Overlord, and the Warden aside, none could survive a blow of the God Executing Immortal Sword. More than one Demon and Deva Primogen perished under that sword."
Selene explained within Konrad's mind.
"In those days, demons and devas were few and far between. The Overlord and his Primogens in Hell. The Warden and his Primogens in Heaven. That was all. In the Mortal Realm, the Human Gods reigned, at the intersection between the Three Realms, the Titan Domain stood, preventing demons and devas from fostering evil thoughts. To say that they were suppressed is no understatement.
However, how can such an overbearing weapon possess no drawback? The reason why the God Executing Immortal Sword requires a Legendary God cultivation base is that it drains and refines the life force and soul of its owner. Only Legendary Gods can withstand the toll. Weaker Human Gods would be instantaneously destroyed.
But even Legendary Gods can not endure it forever. After one hundred million years, one would perish, forcing another to rise to take his place. In that fashion, three Gods of War succeeded one another.
Alas, in the interregnum between their reign, the problems began. The titans were no issue. But those humans with weaker bloodlines felt untold frustration at never being able to catch up to their rulers due to bloodline inequality.
Golden blooded humans envied the titans. The purple blooded envied the golden blooded, the silver blooded envied the purple blooded, and so on. Therefore, in each interregnum, the Primogens, Overlord, and Warden could tempt a vast array of humans to join their ranks with promises of stronger bloodlines.
The golden blooded obtained royal demon or deva blood. The purple blooded obtained greater blood, and so on. Thus, the second generation of the Infernal and Celestial Gods appeared, and with each interregnum, they multiplied.
But though full of sorrow, the Mortal Realm Will still didn't unleash punishment. Alas, it wasn't enough. In the third God of War's era, those greedy individuals pushed the vice to the extreme.
Now having enough kinsmen, the leading Infernal and Celestial powers enforced stronger requirements and gave those greedy fools an ultimatum. On the day the Third God of War endured the trials to seize the God Executing Immortal Sword, those humans, some of which could trace their lineage back to him, colluded with the Infernal and Celestial Realm, the Overlord and the Warden, to murder him at his weakest.
On the same day, all Legendary Gods of the human race were put to the sword, and the God Executing Immortal Sword vanished, never to be seen again.
Ironically, the Infernal and Celestial Powers didn't hold up to their end of the bargain and welcomed none of the traitors within their ranks.
The Mortal Realm's Will flew into a rage and cursed all non-titans to suffer an unbreakable bloodline seal that would pass on throughout eternity. Hence, the human race's hegemony ended, and its inevitable decline began.
The remaining titans slew the traitors and banished all non-titans from the Titan Domain before sealing its doors. Even those with half titan blood weren't spared. Humans became the drifters of the Three Realms.
But that wasn't the end of it, the Mortal Realm's Will also sealed its doors to foreign deities and forced a harsh cultivation environment onto its abjured residents, preventing them from achieving true godhood and immortality unless they could obtain the worship of an entire world. From that moment on, the distinction between Higher and Lower Realms began. On the contrary, while they lost their leading Gods, the titans obtained the Realm Will's shelter. No one can break into the Titan Domain unless they allow it."
Selene's alarming revelations resounded within Konrad's mind.