Chapter 578: Side Chapter III: Remastered Wedding
Following Konrad's revelations, the Eastern Dragon Queen now lay on the ground, tears trickling down her face. And while White Dragon Heart seemed dazed, and the Northern Dragon King dropped on his knees, pledging his allegiance to a new master.
Ignoring him, Konrad spun to face White Dragon Heart. Knowing her, he could see that she didn't care so much for her mother's misdeeds. The world had no shortage of unfaithful spouses, waking up one day with the knowledge that dad wasn't dad was, at worst, an unpleasant surprise.
Planting the seed alone gives no fatherly right. Who withstood your baby cries, who was there when you first stumbled, who carried you on his back and shoulders, fed and groomed you with loving care? That's who the father is.
Thus, for White Dragon Heart, the others' thoughts were the sole variables. In the future, would Konrad and the Northern King treat her differently? She wondered. But then, Konrad's voice echoed.
"Later, I will come pick you up for our wedding. There will be an extra participant, and it might get hectic, but remember—"
"You won't harm me," White Dragon Heart finished Konrad's words before they left his lips.
"That's my empress," Konrad nodded in approval, and leaving those ambiguous words behind, vanished from the royal mansion. According to the proper timeline, Celestial Slaughter should now be pressing the Divine Phoenix clan and Peerless into submission—using her relatives' life to coerce her into accepting the wedding.
Knowing that she would never get the chance to help Regretless undo his seal, Peerless would meet him one last time, and breach empyrean etiquette to give him her first time, and Nirvana Essence. Little did she know that all followed Celestial Slaughter's plans.
Anticipating the path, Konrad stopped to await Peerless' arrival. Half an hour afterward, a teenage looking woman made her entrance, dazzling the eyes with voluptuous curves, a slender waist, and windblown blue hair at ease on a riveting figure. But while in the past, her heterochromatic blue and red eyes would have brimmed with passion and aloofness, as she crossed the imperial palace, Konrad could only see the specter of depression in her gait.
As a man of culture, he inwardly pledged to fix that, and with a step, vanished to reappear before her.
Though of Immortal-level cultivation base, in her current dazed state, Peerless failed to spot Konrad and butted against his chest. Stumbling back, she lost her foothold and almost dropped on the ground, but holding her by the waist, Konrad averted her fall.
"Careful," he whispered in her ear. For a second, still dazed, Peerless failed to process the situation, but as Konrad's voice resounded, she snapped out of her torpor and vanished from his grasp.
Reappearing three steps behind, Peerless narrowed her eyes at Konrad's face, staring at him with a hint of vigilance.
"Do you know?" She directly asked. The timing was far too convenient. The father had just coerced a wedding out of her that the son appeared on her path? Anyone would see a link.
"Of course, I do," Konrad replied with his lips flashing a gentle smile. Since he came to make her turn back, there was no sense in evading the core matter. But the acknowledgment made Peerless' eyes narrow further. If she didn't know better, she'd think "Dragon Warden" had something to do with the sudden marriage.
However, that simply didn't fit his character.
"I want to see Regretless, whatever you want to say can wait afterward," she declared, and readied to bypass him when…"To give him your Nirvana Essence?" Konrad's voice echoed, stopping her in her tracks. Instantly, her heterochromatic eyes darted toward his golden hues.
"How do you know?" She asked with utter confusion. As the Empyrean Crown Prince, Dragon Warden naturally had access to untold secrets. For him to know of the Nirvana Essence was no surprise. But how did he realize she meant to give Regretless hers in this precise moment?
"Because I understand you," Konrad began. In the days of their paper marriage, though they developed no romantic feelings, Dragon Warden and Peerless grew extremely close. Calling them the best of friends is no exaggeration.
Therefore, Konrad indeed understood her better than most.
"Knowing that in this life, you can never be with Regretless, you wish to give him one final gift, and help him destroy the greatest thorn in his heart—his bloodline seal. But beautiful, it's not for him. It's for you. You're soothing the guilt in your heart, nothing more. If you really want what's best for him, don't do unnecessary things. I will take care of the rest," Konrad pursued and stepped closer toward Peerless. Almost 20 centimeters taller, he towered above her with a mixture of pressure and presence.
Still, though the words stung many sore spots, Peerless didn't back down.
"You don't know what you're talking about," she countered, withstanding the pressure of Konrad's gaze. A chuckle escaped his lips.
"Oh really? But have you ever thought that by doing this, you will only cause him more pain? That you will make him believe you were forced into this, and want a way out. With that in mind, what will he do?" Konrad inquired, making Peerless backpedal through his words alone.
"Let's set all that aside. Since you accepted the proposal, you are destined to be my woman. In paper or in truth, it doesn't matter. I am the Empyrean Crown Prince, the First Son of Heaven, and the future monarch of the Three Realms. Trillions watch my every move and await my leadership.
You think I'm going to let you have any more contact with my elder brother? No, this ends now." With every step Peerless took back, Konrad took one forward. This went on until she hit a wall, and could no longer retreat.
Now, as she stared into those slit, golden eyes, Peerless wondered if Dragon Warden had not been replaced by someone else. As the Empyrean Crown Prince, though he'd always maintained the aloof and tyrannical air fit for a dragon prince, Dragon Warden never had such an overpowering presence.
Facing him, Peerless couldn't help but feel that Celestial Slaughter himself seemed less overwhelming, and her heart pounded against her chest.
"Actually, Regretless is weak. At the summit of the immortal road, with the backing of the Great Elder, yet he doesn't dare propose marriage. Centuries spent together, and he doesn't have the balls to take you. You even have to take the first step. How laughable.
If it were me, I'd pluck you and tell the world that you're mine!" Konrad placed one hand against the wall and whispered in Peerless' ear. Her heart pounded faster. Indeed, in their relationship, Peerless always initiated everything.
Before becoming a God, Regretless would neither dare touch her nor propose marriage. And while she could understand his fears. Deep down, Peerless knew that if not for his misgivings, they could have never reached this point.
She could face her relatives and the world to be with him. He only had one thing to say, "Come with me," and she would follow.
But how could she watch the entirety of her house, her beloved relatives, people that either watched her grow or raised her into the woman she now was, slaughtered to the last just to salvage his pride? No, that she couldn't.
And Konrad knew that well.
"To place the survival of your beloved above Regretless' pride is not wrong, because you are powerless. What else can you do? If you let them perish to be with him, won't their death stand between you? Frankly speaking, if Regretless wants to blame, then he should blame himself for being powerless.
In the world of men, powerlessness has always been a crime," Konrad added, his mouth and breath trailed across Peerless' face to reach her supple lips. An inch away from her, Konrad stopped, and while Peerless wished to shove him away, her arms didn't find the strength.
"Do you even want me? Is the First Celestial Fairy not enough?" Peerless challenged after a heavy silence.
"Why would I not? You see, greed is my first sin. I'm the type that must have it all. And since I now have the opportunity, I shall make you mine. Regretless be damned. Since you can't escape, why resist?" He countered, and now trapped between his two arms, Peerless felt short of breath, and her pounding heart spiraled out of control.
"Go prepare yourself, beautiful. We have a wedding to conclude," Konrad stated, and gently tapped Peerless' cheek, making her vanish to reappear before her father, the Phoenix God.
In that instant, Peerless "realized" that just like Regretless, Dragon Warden hid the actual depth of his abilities. And perhaps, their true extent went far beyond anything they could imagine.
With Peerless dealt with, Konrad headed into the emperor's palace, where Celestial Slaughter awaited. In the proper script, Celestial Slaughter was about to call for him. But in this timeline, Konrad did not need to wait.
Feeling his crown prince walk in, Celestial Slaughter's eyes rose to face him. And instantly, he felt something amiss. For the first time in centuries, Dragon Warden walked without weights, free and unfettered—a disturbing change. Konrad allowed him to see it.
"Perfect timing, I have something to tell you. I just negotiated your marriage with Peerless and will announce it in half-an-hour. The wedding will take place an hour afterward. Have no fear, from guests to festivities, all is ready," Celestial Slaughter began, awaiting the violent changes in Konrad's face.
They never came. Instead, earthshaking words followed.
"Fine, but I want two wives rather than one. Add White Dragon Heart. Per Empyrean customs, I will marry her as my Primary Wife, and Peerless as my Secondary Wife," Konrad leisurely replied. The Empyrean didn't have a concubine system. Instead, men could take several wives ranked by their cultivation bases.
If one ever outpaced the other, the ranking automatically changed. But hearing Konrad's words, for the first time in more than 100,000 years, Celestial Slaughter blinked in disbelief.
"Well, that was easier than I thought. Since when did you covet her?"
"Who doesn't covet her?"
"Fair point. Wedding the two most outstanding members of the junior generation does befit your status. Fine, I shall make the announcement," Celestial Slaughter replied, and sent a mental message to the Northern Dragon King.
Having nothing else to say, Konrad walked out. But as he crossed the door, Celestial Slaughter's eyes narrowed in several silent probes. Truth, Fate, Life, he checked them all but found nothing amiss. Yet, his vigilance didn't die down.
"Never mind, throughout the six realms, who can escape my grasp?" Celestial Slaughter suppressed his worries, and broadcast the wedding announcement to the entirety of the Empyrean.
Words soon spread that the Empyrean Crown Prince would wed the two most coveted Celestial Fairies, White Dragon Heart and Peerless, in one ceremony. Men died of envy, women of grief, but Regretless, who currently lay in seclusion, assembling the pieces of the Heavenly Demon Tablet, heard none of it.
The three Supreme Artifacts chose their masters in different manners. But while the God Executing Immortal Sword held a trial, and the Nirvana Dust Crown bound to Nothingness. The Heavenly Demon Tablet, however, first appeared split in seven parts scattered across the Three Realms. Whoever managed to find and put them back together could claim it as his own.
But an hour later, as he placed the final piece, hurried footsteps echoed beyond Regretless' secret cultivation cave, pulling his attention. Night, Cloud, and Moon, who in those days were mere teenagers, raced in.
"Eldest brother, not good! D-dragon Warden and Peerless are getting married as we speak!" Though short of breath, they all said in tandem, making Regretless drop the restored Heavenly Demon Tablet.
His eyes widened in disbelief, and he stood up.
"Im-impossible, impossible," He stammered, turned into a ray of white light, and raced toward the place where all imperial weddings took place—the dragon clan's ancestral hall!
There, the highest-ranking immortals and deities gathered to bear witness to the most critical wedding of this generation. And even if he didn't want to believe, Regretless would have to.
Within the Ancestral Hall, before the portraits of the past Empyrean Emperors, Konrad, White Dragon Heart, and Peerless walked toward the altar, ready to make their immortal pledges before heaven, deities and relatives.
Oddly, Celestial Slaughter and Asmodeus didn't stand on the scene. At the moment, Celestial Slaughter suppressed Highest Dragon, while Asmodeus lay comatose in bed. But better, even the Dragon Kings didn't appear, making the Bird Gods and dragon elders the strongest on the scene.
This was Celestial Slaughter's ploy to ensure none stronger than Regretless would be present. Not that it mattered. And as dragon elders received the three's bows, amidst a sea of immortals and gods, the sound of paced, yet oppressive footsteps echoed.
Regretless walked in, and as he swept the scene, his eyes blazed with never before seen wrath and rancor. All turned to face him, and following Celestial Slaughter's directives, Dragon Dark stood in his path.
"Regretless, this is elder brother's wedding ceremony. Coming in so late, aren't you disparaging our crown prince's face?" Dragon Dark questioned, fanning the flames of Regretless' ire.
Ignoring him, Regretless walked toward the hall's center, raised his eyes to face Konrad, and bellowed:
"I only have one thing to say. The Three Realms be my witness, Peerless is mine. Whoever dares take her from me, IS WHO I KILL!"
Perhaps because the script suffered some deviations, Regretless' words somewhat differed from his past statement. Not that it mattered, Konrad faced his gaze with a fiendish grin.
"Well then, do your worst," he replied. It was high time the charade ended. Alarmed, faster than the other Gods, the Phoenix God appeared on Regretless' path, releasing the pressure of his cultivation base to suppress him where he stood.
"Regretless, make no mistake, this is his empyrean majesty's will. None can challenge it, especially not y-" the Phoenix God had not finished his words, that Truth, Life, Death and Fate Wielding exploded from Regretless' form, alongside all other Laws at Wielding level.
Faced with the greatest Law Storm of his life, the Phoenix God couldn't resist and flew across the hall to crash in the distance. Instantly, Gods and Immortals alike shivered.
"Dragon Warden, you took what is mine by right, but I never cared. The title of crown prince is yours, as your elder, I must bow before you. I do not care. You will one day sit on the imperial throne; I do not care. In cultivation, you and I do not stand in the same league, yet I must spend eternity in your shadow.
Still, I never cared. So how dare you, how dare you take my woman?! I can forgive anything, but I will never, EVER, FORGIVE THIS! SURRENDER YOUR LIFE!"
The Law Storm unleashed by Regretless' wrath swept all immortals and gods on the scene, threatening to obliterate them all! For a mere immortal to showcase such strength left them all in dread. Since the beginning of time, such an event had never occurred!
But then, a more startling scene followed. Konrad raised his hand, and the Law Storm vanished as if it'd existed, to begin with.
Regretless dropped on his knees, cratering under the pressure of Konrad's infinite might. His eyes widened in disbelief.
"Im-impossible. What kind of cultivation base is this?" Regretless stammered the words that now thundered in the minds of immortals and deities alike. From Konrad, they could feel no cultivation base, only a mysterious force that seemed to contradict logic itself.
Both Peerless and White Dragon Heart stared at Konrad in awe, and as he stepped forward, they couldn't help but doubt his identity.
Konrad stopped before the stunned Regretless and lowered his devilish face toward him.
"Bitch, I don't give a flying fuck.
Damn, I'm giving you the honor of cucking you, and instead of thanking me, you're yelling at my face? Where is the logic? Who the hell do you think you are?"
The "inquiry" had barely left Konrad's lips that he smacked Regretless across the face, making him spiral throughout the hall to again crater, this time at the entrance.
Faced with such words and deeds, all couldn't help but wonder one thing.
"When did his highness become so shameless?!"
Of course, they would never voice the words.
"Now, now, let's bring this game to a grand finale," Konrad stated, and waved his hand, causing Celestial Slaughter, Highest Dragon, and Asmodeus to appear on the scene. And while the first two's eyes widened at the scenery change, Asmodeus' eyes opened, sweeping the odd gathering with confusion.
Konrad snapped his fingers, and all left the Ancestral Hall to reappear within the throne room.
Ignoring the storm of confusion, Konrad climbed the stairs, pulling Peerless and White Dragon Heart by the hand to reach the throne. With Peerless at his left and White Dragon Heart at his right, Konrad sat and swept immortals and deities with his fiendish eyes.
"This is not right. The script has changed, why? Who the hell are you?" Celestial Slaughter asked as his heart teemed with confusion. Seeing this, Konrad felt waves of delight sweep his profane heart, and gleefully replied:
"Konrad, the Profane Prince, at your disservice." The words broke Yvonne, Asmodeus, and Celestial Slaughter's memory seals, but while Yvonne's lips curved in a bewitching smile, Celestial Slaughter's twisted into a grimace of horror. His emotionlessness crumbled, and grief struck his heart.
"Too far, you are going too far! This is spatio-temporal, cross-verse netorare!"