"Beautiful, I'm counting on you. When I return, it will be time to put the Mortal Realm on its knees. Don't slack off."
Konrad chortled before turning into black fog and vanishing in the ground. Having left behind thousands of life fruits in Zamira and Astarte's hands, as well as instructions for Krann, he had no worries.
In that form, he went till he reached the Ancient Crystal World's inner core. There, he regained his true appearance and sat crossed-legged to pursue the final layer of his art and break through its final shackles.
If Death Conversion allowed Konrad to become one with Death, and thereby control all the mysteries it contained, it still wasn't the final level. The Fourth Layer of the Blossoming Death Art only gave one ability: to open the door to the Underworld to do with its souls as one saw fit.
However, achieving that level required one immutable step: Kill Death!
This was an intuitively asinine concept that left most Death Embodiments beyond the Three Realms stumped. If death could be killed, how was it still death? Alas, it indeed was the final step, the one after which the cultivator could achieve Transcendence through Death.
As a Primal Law Embodiment, there were many things Konrad knew and understood without outside help. Things such as Transcendence. For those that managed to reach Embodiment in a Primal Law, if they fulfilled the conditions their path required, a higher stage existed.
That stage was Transcendence. Death Transcendence. Life Transcendence. Fate Transcendence and Truth Transcendence. Those were the four Transcendental Paths. On top of other abilities, transcending in one Law meant absolute control over it, and the inability to be affected by it, regardless of the opponents' cultivation level.
Right now, although Konrad couldn't be killed in conventional manners, a Death Transcendent individual could seal or rob his Embodiment level to make him mortal once more. Worse, they could use his Death Laws to make him a puppet to their will!
Only Transcendent Existences could claim supremacy within their road. Better, once you transcended in a path, you could restart the learning process of another. Therefore, it was theoretically possible to Transcend in all Primal Laws!
That mythical stage was also referred to…as one of the Three Layers of Supremacy! If anyone could reach that level, then even with zero cultivation, they could eradicate anyone or thing below! But at the moment, due to his limited existence level, Konrad could not see what the other two layers were.
Of course, at the moment, it mattered not.
In silence, he closed his eyes, letting his hands rest on his thighs as he fell into profound meditation and siphoned all the deaths across the Ancient Crystal World. Meanwhile, at the surface, the flames of war billowed!
Ilkaalt led an army of millions of Zenith Ant Saints into the Barbarian Continent to harvest lives as if it were nothing. The first to suffer her assault was the Eastern Barbarian Khanate. In less than three days, ten cities were razed to the grounds, and it only took that amount of time because, on the one hand, Ilkaalt and her soldiers wished to indulge in the screams of the feeble while on the other hand, they collected life essence.
"Hahahaha! Kill, kill, kill! It is those worms' glory to feed my growth!"
Ilkaalt bellowed in a maddened frenzy that echoed with her troops while taking time to refine the life essence they robbed for her sake.
And on this day, the reason for the Higher Realms' unconditional loathing of the Zenith Ants came to light. There was a unique way in which they relished in destruction. They needed absolutely no reason. The act was reason; and the pleasure it wrought, their greatest drive. No wonders Nessriane, the Ant Goddess, wished to sever that part of the bloodline.
With such disposition, they could only run amok within the Mortal Realm. Above, either slavery or destruction awaited. And as she beheld her kin's deeds from within the World Tree, Nessriane was forced to admit that Hell's Will was remarkably cruel. For indeed, it was Hell's Will that made them the way they were.
All demon races had their curses. But while some could be considered hidden blessings, and others mere annoyances, only the Zenith Ants received something that ensured the ostracization of all, and heralded annihilation. Nessriane didn't doubt that even without Talroth, another Primogen would put them to the sword.
It was a miracle that they survived for so long. And the more she looked, the more resolved she became to use the World Tree to modify their bloodline for good. Alas, her injury delayed such plans.
"All queens listen to my command. In the following decades, I will focus on expelling the chthonian energies and restoring my strength. In the meantime, I will bestow all of you with the strongest Life Blessing I can currently manage to let your strength skyrocket.
Do not target the Infernal Cult. That place is an arranged pitfall. Forsake the Secular World, it's not worth our attention. Using me as the nucleus, we will bind all Withering Leaves in a Formation that makes them able to affect Minor Gods and divide our forces into two fronts.
The first will launch an attack on the Celestial Church. Make it a base for our next operations before those devas see fit to shift their eyes on us, or worse, request reinforcement.
The second will tackle the Hidden Forest tribes, and either subdue or erase them for good.
Then, the combined forces turn toward the Jade Dynasty!"
Nessriane ordered while combining her Life Wielding and the World Tree's Pseudo-Embodiment to heighten the Life Essence and control of her nineteen remaining queens. Their battle prowess, Life Laws, and cultivation base rose at startling speed.
"For far too long that Jade Emperor has been taking us for fools and playing us like the pieces of his checkerboard. No more! When the flames of war ransack his domain while his wife and consorts lie broken in our hands, I really want to see, for how long he can remain composed.
Ilkaalt's hatred for him runs deep. She will undoubtedly spare no energy to ensure this task's success. Bring her back to enjoy my boons and lead the second battalion. The Saint Army can remain in the secular world to give the impression we take it as a target and lower our foes' awareness."
Although she failed to use it against Yvonne, following her breakthrough, Nessriane possessed greater control over the World Tree. And perhaps, Konrad's little trick would not entirely be in her disadvantage.
She could feel that not only her but the World Tree also struggled against that force. This would enable her to ease the merge, and slowly, but certainly gain full control of it. At that time, even if Konrad was mightier, she would still claim his life!
Or so she thought…
But little did she know that she was already a step late. Following Krann's visit, Aakash and Nehal contacted their elders through the Merit Stele, rang the emergency bell, and requested immediate reinforcements. At the same time, Dasra not only recovered, but completed his Dao Law, and perfected his foundation to make a perfect breakthrough to Demigod level.
He then contacted The Warden, and led bare the situation!
Now, within the Starry Sky, Celestial Hosts and Demonic Legions left their home to cross the Mortal Realm and descend upon the Ancient Crystal World for a grand Holy War! Leading them were experts of illustrious lineages, all equipped with offensive, defensive, and strategic God Artifacts!