The radiant descent of a towering, pearl-white gate high of twenty meters within the Concealed Paradise of the Empyrean Tower failed to trigger any ripple within its denizens, for only one person now lay within that Concealed Paradise:
Following Konrad's recent transformation, as his familiar, Krann too had experienced some changes. Changes that represented the Myriad World Immortal lineage. His slicked back hairs now appeared snow-white, while his eyes turned into a shimmering icy-blue.
Naturally, the biggest change was his strength that rose to another level. Although Konrad's cultivation remained trapped in his previous body, that didn't affect Krann who remained at the peak of the Star Fusing Saint Rank. However, his battle-prowess had long since transcended those limits and reached the summit of the Divine Road.
But once he assumed his true form, it went way beyond. Unfortunately, because he was tasked with ensuring the Holy Continent's safety, he could not use that strength to smite his master's foes! What a sorrow!
The gate opened, releasing blinding light within which the shadow of eight slender figures lay.
That light did nothing to impair Krann's vision, and his eyes remained locked on the nimble female shapes that lowered onto the ground.
Jasmine, Iliana, Daphne, Nils, Freya, Lena, Faidra and Aliki all appeared before Krann who welcomed them with a courteous bow.
"Mistresses, welcome back. I hope the trip was pleasant and allowed you to make critical discoveries."
Krann greeted with a mild smile and was pleasantly surprised to see that all had broken through the Divine Rank, with their high-grade Divine Physiques reaching the Mastered Stage. With that strength and all the tricks at the Valkyries' disposal, at the very least, they had the qualifications to participate in the events.
"It was okay. There are many cultivation worlds now ready to welcome a new master. But how did you know we were returning now?"
Jasmine asked in a casual tone.
"Master informed me before he left."
Krann replied while straightening his back.
"Left? Where did he go? I especially brought back fifteen mermaids for him to play with."
Daphne inquired with glaring sorrow, her words causing Lena's lips to curve into a forced smile.
"He lies six feet under the ground."
Krann straightforwardly replied, unfazed by Daphne's words. But when his echoed, the ladies' eyes all widened in disbelief.
"What do you mean by that?"
They all asked in tandem. But even before the inquisitive glances and soaring voices of the eight ladies, Krann remained unperturbed.
"What do you mean by -what do you mean?- I mean exactly what I say. Master lies six feet under. Nowadays you answer questions, only to be asked to repeat yourself! How sorrowful. What is this bloody world turning into?"
Krann replied while shaking his head in disapproval. And his words caused the eight consorts' eyes to expand further. For some reason, Krann seemed…serious? But how could that be?
"Master is gone. Six feet under and not coming back anytime soon. You won't find him anywhere across the globe. If you're that desperate to locate him, you may start digging."
Krann reiterated in a severe tone. And now, the eight truly were alarmed, and stretched their Divine Sense to examine the world. Alas, the Tower limited their scope, and they couldn't go beyond. But then, rationality struck Iliana, and her eyes narrowed at Krann.
"Wait, this makes no sense. You only exist because Konrad does. Without him, you'd be gone too. Since you stand here, how could he possibly be dead?"
Iliana retorted, awakening her sisters to that forgotten reality. But hearing those words, Krann flew into a rage!
"Aaah! Who said Master was dead? I said he lay six feet under! That is just a fact. Why does that mean death? Are you cursing Master? How bold! The gals! Even if you are a favored consort, I won't accept this!"
Krann exclaimed with his cheeks reddened by ire while he aimed his wobbling right index at the astounded Iliana. What nonsense was this? Why did it seem that she was the one speaking out of turns? What other meaning could "six feet under" possibly have?
"Krann, please calm your anger. I'm sure Iliana didn't mean to curse Konrad. But you must admit your words are a bit confusing. Can you please explain what you meant by them?"
Nils mediated with a forced smile. Her words made Krann arch his eyebrows, but he soon dispelled his wrath.
"Hum, hum. I admit my math is inaccurate. I can't tell the precise number, so I just said six feet under. Master currently resides within the Ancient Crystal World's inner core for cultivation purposes. With that said, he asked me to brief you on the recent events."
Krann replied, then proceeded to retell all that occurred in the ladies' absence, with Konrad-learned theatrical gestures to illustrate it all.
"And that is how master escaped damnation to embark on a new road. Now, the Barbarian Continent is in flames, death overflows, the world-structure borders collapse and the Higher Realm Armies battle without a care for the destruction they unleash. At this rate, I'm afraid before they can break through another level, lady Else and lady Verena will collapse from exhaustion."
Krann sighed and lowered his gesturing hands.
"It couldn't have been that serious. Master really got crippled by leaves? How could that be? You must be exaggerating."
Faidra and Aliki said in tandem, unable to believe that Konrad's invincible record was stopped by three leaves. In their defense, Krann's theatrical gestures didn't help.
"How close we were to perdition, and they say what? Ha, the beauty of conceit!"
Krann shook his head and turned heels, refusing to glance toward the blonds. Meanwhile, Jasmine closed her eyes, using Seer's Vision to analyze the world-structure. And sensing the truth laws shaping and enhancing it, her face contorted into a frown.
"Let's not mention whether they can endure. Once they realize what's going, and they can't miss it, those demons and devas must shift their attention to tracking them. If like you say we face elite troops, then they undoubtedly possess more than one individual able to track truth laws."
Jasmine began while her eyes opened wide. And her words immediately pulled the attention of all the gathered folks.
"That being the case, we must prevent their disturbance.
Summon the Valkyries. We're going to war!"
Jasmine ordered, and instantaneously, the Valkyrie Marks flared on all the ladies' foreheads, while four-winged silver armors draped them all.
And responding to the call, the five thousand Valkyries rose with their foreheads flashing their marks, and three-winged bronze armors appeared to empower them all as they vanished to gather before the Tower!