The words reverberated within the Barbarian Continent, and both Aakash and Nehal were forced to admit the truth in them. Now, they had the strange misconception that from the moment they landed in the Ancient Crystal World, they'd been playing in Konrad's palms, like chess pieces that moved solely according to his will!
And at that time, led by Krann, Wolfgang and other State Pillars, the Infernal Legions left the Jade Dynasty to arrive behind Konrad. From the Infernal Cult, led by the Blood Shadow Pavilion, Berken and Chimera, the Chthonian Immortal Legion appeared, and in tandem, the nearly twenty-thousand individuals bowed toward Konrad.
"Master, congratulations and welcome back!"
"Your majesty, congratulations and welcome back!"
They all proclaimed like a perfectly synched choir.
"You've done a good job in overseeing the situation. There will be abundant rewards for you all once I've cleaned up the aftermath."
Konrad replied and with a wave of his hand, lifted their bent backs. Meanwhile, Aakash and Nehal trembled beneath his icy-blue gaze.
"Aakash, Nehal. The two of you are the most sensible of the lot. I like you. Your death serves no purpose. If you're willing to pledge allegiance, your life will be spared. You will avoid the fate of either becoming food or Undead Puppets for my troops and rise to courtiers."
Konrad declared. And indeed, the previous three's execution wasn't just a show of force. By killing them, Konrad robbed their Law Wielding. Blood, Nature, Earth, Fire, Light. Within the Three Realms, Law Wielders were undoubtedly the minority. Robbing five in one move was undoubtedly solid gains.
Alas, Aakash and Nehal hadn't reached Law Wielding, remaining a step away. In the slaughter of the Demonic Legions and Celestial Hosts, Konrad had gained more than they could offer. Konrad saw great jester potential in Aakash, therefore he planned to take him as Imperial Buffoon. As for Nehal, in the future, she could serve as a direct link to one of Konrad's most coveted Celestial Realm Goddesses:
Of course, he didn't need their permission. It just made their subjugation more entertaining. For an instant, the two exchanged complicated glances. From revered God-Children, grandchildren of Primogens, to base and low courtiers in a mortal world. Such a fate was indeed hard to accept. Even if Konrad's strength rivaled or eclipsed that of their parents, how could they accept such degeneration?
Ignoring them, Konrad shifted his eyes toward the Hidden Forest, and what he saw therein forced a frown upon his flawless face.
"Take them into custody. I have things to handle. You can slap Aakash for every second he spends in denial. Oh, I seem to recall he once sexually harassed Else. Castrate him.
Nehal can watch it all."
Konrad ordered Krann before vanishing from the gathered folks' sight. Both Aakash and Nehal were struck speechless by the lingering echo of his words. But when Krann pulled up his sleeves with an approving nod, Aakash's stupor made way for panic, and without hesitation, he turned heels to run out of the Ancient Crystal World!
Krann chortled, and with his right hand, made a grasping motion. Boundless suction force trapped Aakash from all sides before pulling him right into Krann's grasp! Following the creation of Konrad's new bridge, and his cultivation ascension, Krann naturally became the greatest beneficiary.
His cultivation had risen to early-stage Boundless Sea Devil Realm. With that strength, the likes of Nehal and Aakash were not even qualified to call themselves ants before him!
"Feral beast, let go of me!"
Aakash howled in desperation but couldn't even muster the strength to thrash within Krann's grasp.
"Fool, Master told me to keep you in custody? How can I let you go? People nowadays really like speaking rubbish. Don't worry. I will never do less than what Master requests of me!"
Krann pledged before casting a sidelong glance at Nehal.
"Coming willingly or do we need to use force?"
He straightforwardly asked.
Nehal replied with a firm nod of her head, and after collecting the corpses, all vanished to return to the Jade Dynasty!
Meanwhile, within the Hidden Forest, Nessriane and Gulistan's standoff came to a halt following Konrad's world-shaking return. And while the Hidden Forest's clouded sky prevented them from seeing through the faraway events, the aftermath said it all.
Nessriane muttered, but with Gulistan in the way, no escape road stood in sight. At that time, in a twister of black light, two figures appeared, one lying in the other's arms. Konrad and the Valkyrie. And seeing them appear, the gathered five showed various emotions. Else, Verena and Gulistan's eyes shone with mixed feelings. Within their gazes, Konrad could see relish and apologies intertwining.
One for his triumphant return, the other for…well, one that wasn't there.
Fury blazed in Nessriane's eyes, while Ilkaalt trembled with a twisted mixture of yearning and hatred.
Konrad ignored them both and set the Valkyrie aside to lay eyes on the World Tree. His icy-blue gaze saw through its current condition and the truth of the events that'd unfurled.
"Jade Emperor, you finally show yourself. Hateful creature, I'm really curious to see…the depth of your growth!"
Nessriane proclaimed before leaving Gulistan to fly at Konrad with her raised flail! But as she stood three feet away from him, Konrad cast a lowered his gaze upon her, cold light flashed within, and all of Nessriane's internal organs collapsed!
Massive blood gushed from her lips and orifices while she dropped onto the ground to all the gathered ladies' fright!
"Unfortunately, I don't have time to play with you. Be a good girl, and I will plow you in due time."
Konrad stated while Nessriane was shocked to see her Life Laws unable to function! And before she could probe further, all the negativity within her heart blossomed into a dreadful heart demon that forced her into cultivation deviation!
Worse, the scenery around her changed as she fell into nightmarish illusions where all she dreaded became reality!
To the ladies' astonishment, Nessriane writhed and thrashed on the ground, but because Konrad suppressed her vocal cords, no sound left her screaming lips!
Ilkaalt collapsed in fright! This was a True God! A Primal Law Wielding True God! And to say nothing of a blow, she couldn't' even withstand a glance?
What sorcery was this?
But when she saw Konrad's paced steps and grave glance as he walked toward the tree, all dread left Ilkaalt's heart, and burst into a peal of fiendish laughter!
"HAHAHAHA! So what if you're the strongest, so what if no one throughout the Mortal Realm can graze a corner of your clothes? At the end of the day, you still lose!"
You can bring back the dead? Good! But what about one neither alive nor dead? Your empress foolishly merged with the World Tree but with her strength, can never override its will! She will forever remain with it and either vanish in the Withering or remain a tree for eternity!
How does it feel to stand powerless before the loss of your beloved? Konrad, Profane Prince or Jade Emperor, you lose!"
Ilkaalt roared in fiendish delight! And indeed, she wasn't entirely wrong. However, what she failed to account for was that Konrad had foreseen this event thirty years ago. And was well-prepared to face it.