Chapter 66: Feeling Stifled
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Lord Turnbull hesitated for a moment as his eyes alternated between the golden medallion with the engraving of the rampaging bull and the mystical formation barely visible up in the sun-lit sky.

Initially, he had not planned to use the island formation just to take care of a few minor disciples. But despite his intention, those disciples had revealed themselves to be rather formidable.

This was a rather unusual situation considering the fact that his own cultivation was superior to all three of them.

But in the end, he assumed that all three of them were abnormal geniuses with inhuman capabilities, especially that indestructible sea-fortress formation...

He had previously neglected the Master Myrden behind these three disciples as he was unfamiliar with that name, but now, he was definitely wary of him as well.

However, with the far-reaching power of the Lyon and Turnbull market to back him up, Lord Turnbull could afford to continue to be fearless.

Besides, it was already too late to back down. As such, his only choice to achieve victory was to use the Island Formation. However, this meant that the Turnbull family would lose the ability to wield the formation for themselves in a time of need, resulting in a partial loss of their authority.

But on the other hand, Lord Turnbull was confident that if these three disciples weren't taken care of, there was a very high chance of them losing the appraisal completion this time around.

Although the appraisal completion was only a simple confrontation between junior members, it would decide the family that owned the monopoly of trade decisions for the next hundred years!

Since the Turnbull family had lost in the last two competitions, losing once more would be disastrous to their prestige and authority. The competition will even be preceded by a member of the founding family, and the results would greatly influence their decision on who to support for the post of Chief Curator.

Thus with no other way to ensure the prosperity of his family, Lord Turnbull threw aside his uncertainties and crushed the golden medallion.

Thrum!

Instantly, the island formation in the sky became more tangible and more visible while exerting an oppressive aura upon the entire island; with a primary focus on the battlefield where Lord Turnbull was facing off against Zhen Shi and the others.

Lord Turnbull turned to Myne, who had revealed himself only a few moments earlier and spoke angrily, "So, you must be the one who actually insulted me..."

Myne grimaced at this misunderstanding while staring at Zhen Shi in accusation.

Seeing this, Zhen Shi innocently rested his hands behind his back and started to whistle a jolly tune, as if this matter was 'completely unrelated' to him.

Seeing Zhen Shi do the exact same thing that he had done back then, Myne almost collapsed on the spot,ย 'Where the heck did this fellow learn to be so shameless?'

Ignorant of this silent exchange, Lord Turnbull spat out with a cunning glint in his eyes, "I will deal out the necessary punishment for you unruly fellows! However, even I might have trouble controlling the power of this formation. Thus even though you are criminals, I implore you to be careful..."

This was a rather clever statement. He could now get away with heavily injuring or even killing them, with only some light punishment.

Hearing his words and glancing at the formation above, Myne heaved a sigh and spoke mentally to Zhen Shi, "I had hoped that he wouldn't resort to using the formation, but I guess he is determined to win the competition. The Sea fortress is barely a Pinnacle Law Tier formation based on some personal conceptual magic, but... this formation is based on some rather powerful Island Magic, and has actually reached the pinnacle of the Sovereign level! Fortunately, this guy is rather weak and should only be able to bring out the strength of a lesser sovereign..."

Zhen Shi was rather intrigued by the sudden mention of magic, formations, and sovereigns but remained silent.

Myne continued in a hurry, "I'm going to go all out now. I'll leave you to take care of the matters that'll arise later..." and finished speaking.

But, just when Myne was about to step forwards, Vivienne grabbed onto his shirt sleeve and held him back while chewing her lips in reluctance and worry.

๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿƒ

Zhen Shi, on the other hand, was suddenly reminded of the fact that he had accumulated enough points for another divine boon. Excited at the prospect of helping Myne he hurriedly checked the system status and noted, [Otaku Points: 154].

But he cringed as he was reminded of the fiasco that had taken place with the last divine boon...

So, just in case, he decided to spend a little bit extra to apply an additional requirement.

With that out of the way, he shouted mentally, "System grant me a divine boon with the added requirement of being as helpful in this current situation as possible!"

Ding!

Divine Boon gained.

Once again that familiar piece of white paper with the word ~IOU~ appeared along with the deduction of 150 OP from his total. Zhen Shi had no time to mourn this loss and immediately used up the divine boon.

Zhen Shi should've been worried about this taking too long, but with his experience from the previous instances of obtaining divine boons, he definitely was not.

Honestly, he was more worried about being tricked by the system and receiving some random god's underclothing or something...

System: เฒฅ_เฒฅ

๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿƒ

Vivienne sputtered with an annoyed look on her face, "There is no need for you to fight! Just keep using the Sea Fortress! Wasn't it supposed to be indestructible?"

Myne shook his head with a simple grin, "It is! But you know as well as I do, right now, my energy is not limitless. Sooner or later I'll run out and the fortress will dissipate. So I have to wrap this up as fast as possible..."

But Vivienne ignored his words and continued to hold onto Myne's shirt for dear life.

Myne's gaze softened, "Wife, don't worry. You know my capabilities the best. I'm sure you know that this tiny formation can't kill me."

Vivienne stared at him with indignant eyes and whispered, "I know that. But as you are right now, it'll come very close..."

Myne shook his head with a reassuring smile, "Don't worry. Just trust me... at least this time."

Vivienne's eyes widened at his words, and she finally let go with a slight nod of faith. Myne nodded back with a smile and turned his gaze towards Lord Turnbull.

With the gradual activation of the island formation underway, Lord Turnbull was now being protected by a surge of pitch-black defensive qi that was provided by the island formation itself!

Even so, with unrelenting eyes, Myne moved his hands in a series of complex maneuvers and finally placed them on the walls of the sea fortress.

Instantly, the sea fortress shimmered and dissipated into hundreds of silver-white formation talismans.

With the sea fortress gone, Vivienne floated down gracefully and joined Zhen Shi and Will O'Dale on the ground.

With a flick of his fingers, Myne made the formation talismans dash into his own body, one by one.

He gritted his teeth as sweat began to fall profusely and veins popped visibly all over his body. But the formation talismans continued to disappear into his body leaving barely glowing marks on his skin.

Zhen Shi who was still waiting for the Divine Boon turned to this sight with curious eyes. His meager understanding of formations only allowed him to conclude that these formation talismans formed a rather complex version of the basic strengthening formation he had already learned.

But instead of being used to defend or produce an artifact, it was being used to forcefully improve Myne's strength and physique! A biological application of something that was not meant to be used for that purpose...

When he used <Odin's Missing Eye>, he still couldn't make much sense of what Myne had done. But he got the vague sense that Myne's physique was now indestructible, almost immortal, as if Myne had absorbed the resilience and abilities of the Sea fortress.

By now Myne's body was completely covered in glowing white tattoos that inexplicably linked together to form an unbelievable body strengthening formation.

Fortunately, besides Zhen Shi who could barely sense the profound nature of this formation, no one else in the crowd thought too much of it. After seeing the heavily injured Will O'Dale healing up instantly, they simply assumed that this was some form of strange divine blessing related to formations.

Thrum!

Almost immediately the island formation finished gathering energy and formed into a clear glass-like dome.

All the people within the market area would notice the sudden activation of the island formation and stare at this rare sight in awe and dread.

Lord Turnbull raised a fist with a sneer from within the defensive energy and shouted, "Island Eradication!"

Instantly, dark black clouds began to gather over the island and the sound of booming thunder rang out. The peaceful lake surrounding the island was in turmoil as the water bubbled, boiled, and raged as if it was about to burst out.

The trees rustled and creaked under strong gusts of wind as ominous clouds continued to cover the sky. Not a single drop of rain fell down to the ground, but lighting flickered threateningly in the sky...

Lord Turnbull smirked maliciously as he flicked his fingers to take care of these annoying disciples once and for all.

Burst!

Sharp spikes of jagged rocks struck out from the earth at the places where all four of them were standing.

Myne was the first to react as he easily disappeared in a burst of icy blue flame and reappeared in another location. But his eyes main focus was on how the others were fairing.

The moment the attack had begun, Zhen Shi had been given a timely warning by the aether and hence easily dodged with plenty of time spare. Vivienne too easily dodged to the side with movements as graceful as flowing water.

However, Will O'Dale had been completely ignorant of the attack and had stayed rooted to the spot. Had it not been for Zhen Shi who had hurriedly pulled him aside, he definitely would've been skewered on the spot.

Will O'Dale stared at the earthen spike that was now occupying his previous location and gulped in fear.

He turned to Zhen Shi with eyes filled with gratitude and respect and hugged him once more while thinking, "Ai, I truly regret misunderstanding this wonderful person. He saved my life for the second time! This... this must be the true trust between humans!"

Worried about any incoming attacks, Zhen Shi hurriedly broke free of Will's hug and pushed him away. Vivienne couldn't help but smile at this situation despite her own worries.

Zhen Shi sent out mentally to all of them, "Be careful! Who knows when that shameless cow will decide to sneak attack us again."

Only a single moment passed since he said this...

Crack!

Golden yellow light flashed within the dark sky as bolts of lightning struck down at all of them. Fortunately, due to Zhen Shi's warning, Will O'Dale was not caught off guard this time. Hence all of them easily dodged the first lightning strikes.

However, as myriads of lightning bolts crackled and writhed like serpents in the sky and began to rain down mercilessly, it became almost impossible to dodge them all.

Each of them would definitely be struck down now...

But how could Myne let that happen? Immediately, he flew up to the very center of the formation of lightning and stopped there allowing the lightning to crash onto his body as if he was acting as a shield.

He thrust his arm forwards with a pained look on his face causing the marks on his skins to glow brightly. As the lightning continued to strike his body, the marks glowed brighter and brighter almost as if the energy in the lightning was being absorbed...

Since Myne was just below the clouds, the majority of the lightning bolts focused on him considering him to be easy prey. But each lighting strike was absorbed the moment they came into contact with him, and thus, the prey became the predator.

However, even with his help, Zhen Shi and the rest had a difficult time dodging the lightning strikes. After all, Myne was being empowered by both his strange body-strengthening formation and the power of the sea fortress.

Although they were fine for the most part, there were multiple instances where Will O'Dale came close to being struck down by lightning and only barely survived with slightly singed hair.

Despite this, Will O'Dale continued to stare deeply at Zhen Shi with eyes of genuine gratitude and ardor.

Why? This was because he could've been heavily injured by this lighting, just like the earthen spike before, had it not been for Zhen Shi's timely warning! Thus, the respect and gratitude in his heart towards Zhen Shi only grew even more.

Zhen Shi, who was breezing through the lighting with the help of <Draconic Wind Steps>, sensed a particular pair of eyes staring at him intently.

This caused him to pause in wonderment and look around, 'Hmm? Have my suave and heroic actions garnered the attention of the ladies in the crowd?'

But fortunately, before he could realize the truth of the matter and vomit a few bowlfuls of blood... he was distracted by a timely notification.

Ding!

Divine Boon received. Do you accept it?

'Of course! Just give it here already!'

Instantly the item appeared and dropped down into Zhen Shi's hands radiating an ancient and mystical aura.

Strangely enough, no one else paid any attention to it...

Zhen Shi eyed the unassuming appearance of this item and the system notification introducing it.

Instantly all worry of being tricked by the system disappeared from his eyes as he gawked at the item in his hands, "This-- It can't be! Could this be... the prophesied empyrean divine treasure?!"

"It looks like I truly hit a jackpot this time!"

๐Ÿ“œ๐Ÿ“œ

Back in the divine realm, there was a towering majestic pyramid mystically floating thousands of kilometers above the ground. Countless creatures were entering and leaving through a grand opening at the base of the pyramid.

This entrance was being guarded by two terrifying baboons wielding spears and radiating incredible auras that gave rise to respect and order in all those who passed by.

Completely disregarding the nature of the surrounding area, within a radius that extended thousands of kilometers and the space of a sphere of the same radius, the land was completely covered in perpetual darkness!

The only source of natural light was a moon roughly a tenth of the size of the pyramid.

Strangely enough, this moon was not in the sky and instead was rotating at the edges of the dark sphere with the pyramid at the center.ย 

At the very peak of this pyramid was a brightly lit room with an impossibly wide space; impossibly when compared to the dimension of the room when observed from the outside. This room was filled with weapons, artifacts, books, strange trinkets, and other items.

But the most eye-catching was the area filled with test tubes and beakers filled with mystical energies in various forms, complex machinery with various types of materials, herbs, and creatures within them, along with multiple floating screens showing charts filled with ineligible readings and even a variety of recordings ranging from people snoring in bed to devastating wars.

All of this machinery was being carefully utilized by strange chimeric creatures with the bodies of humans and the heads of different animals.

But, among them, was a single individual who stood out like a sore thumb. A middle-aged man dressed only in a pair of pants while revealing his bare chest, and upon his head was the head-dress of an Ibis with beak, feathers and all.

Despite his unusual appearance, his every movement was mystical, almost like a master painter; using the world for his canvas and his body as the brush.

At the moment, his eyes were resting upon a rather distinct glass-like sphere. In one sphere was a type of lively aether manifesting itself in the form of lush trees and greenery, mystical creatures, and beautiful environments.

With his eyes on the sphere, the middle-aged man tapped on a small but fairly thick book placed on a nearby table.

This book seemed rather old with yellowed pages and a faded red leather cover. But suddenly the book began to flip its pages by itself and finally stopped at a blurry page with a barely visibly number 13 written upon it.

The man with Ibis head-dress glanced at the book lightly just before he pointed at the glass sphere.

Screech!

A terrifying otherworldly scream rang out as the lively aether began to writhe in pain and fear. The trees and greenery were set on a blazing inferno of fire, locusts and plagues descended bringing a rapid and swift end to all the mystical creatures.

The middle-aged man didn't even blink an eye at the destruction taking place in front of him. However, he was unable to stop himself from muttering with a hint of awe in his voice, "Amazing! Senior Heka has truly outdone my expectations! The Death magic I just used is almost on par with some of Anubis's weaker spells! And there is actually supposed to be another 21 abilities? The Seven Hells be damned, could Senior have upgraded my book into a Cosmos tier magical treasure?"

Just when he finished his words, the dying life aether within the glass sphere began to show signs of heavy destabilization.

Kaboom!

Instantly, the glass sphere expanded and exploded with a terrifying release of energy that spread throughout the entire room. Space itself was lacerated apart unable to withstand this power leaving unstable spatial nodes all over the wide room.

As the energy gradually cleared, the room was revealed to be in tatters and filled with items eviscerated to dust along with the occasional chunk of chimera corpses here and there.

On the other hand, the man with the Ibis head-dress was completely unscathed without a single speck of dust or even a misplaced hair.

Ignoring the explosion and the destruction around him, he continued to flip through the contents of the book. Only moments later did he finish and finally raise his head to notice the destruction of the room.

Seeing the destroyed room, he heaved a disappointed sigh whispering, "As powerful as Death magic can be, this is why I hate it. I truly wonder why that dog-headed freak, Anubis, is so fascinated with it..."

He placed the book aside and drew a circle of white energy in the air.

Instantly, the world shook and nature obeyed; the room seemed to pass through a rewind of time causing all the destroyed items, books, and even dead corpses to reform. In an instant, everything returned to exactly how it had been, minus the glass device with the destructive magic aether that exploded.

Strangely enough, that was not reformed...

The moment the corpses were reformed, the chimeric creatures immediately got back to what they had been doing.

But suddenly the middle-aged man twisted his head towards the where the red leather-bound book had been placed, with a growl of rising anger, only to see that the book was being covered in mystical white energy!

He snorted in annoyance and flicked his finger trying to make nature heed his command once more.

Weng!

To his great surprise, nature ignored his command and the white energy immediately disappeared with the leather-bound book in tow.

Despite the theft that had just occurred, the man paused in calm contemplation for a few more moments. His eyes boring into the spot where the book and the strange energy had been just a moment before.

Almost instantly, he was reminded of some interesting news he had come across recently; a certain new god going by the name 'this handsome and scholarly self' that had received a weapon from Hephaestus and even stolen from the all-father Odin.

'Could it be that I am a victim of that new thieving god as well? His abilities are indeed praiseworthy... but he'll regret messing with me!'

He shouted out, "Prepare to visit lord Heka, and make sure he is informed in advance of my arrival."

Instantly a dozen of the chimeric creatures bowed deeply while speaking out, "Yes, Lord Thoth," and began to follow his order.

As the chimeric creatures walked away, Thoth raised his right hand revealing a single minuscule spark of the mystical white energy that he had captured by accident when it was stealing the book.

This energy spark was still struggling to escape from his grasp but was failing to do so.

Observing it, he fell into thought, "What is this magic? A subcategory of creation? No, but the intensity of the conception of life exceeds even that of Lord Osiris! Either way, Senior Heka should know. Besides, considering the power of my book, the thief who dares to steal my personal divine treasure will be caught red-handed, wherever he is..."

๐Ÿ“œ๐Ÿ“œ๐Ÿ“œ

Zhen Shi was still staring in awe at the mystical item within his hands... this was the {Book of Thoth}! A legendary item mentioned in mythology and rumored to contain divine knowledge from the gods!

Excitedly, he grasped the cover and attempted to flip the cover. But, rather strangely... he couldn't! The book was unflippable!

Zhen Shi immediately began to question the system to find a solution. But just like the last divine boon, the system wasn't even willing to explain the item and remained silent.

Zhen Shi had to forcibly hold himself back from spewing some colorful words about the shitty customer service.

But noticing that the battle between Myne and Turnbull was ongoing, he hurriedly checked if the book would react to his qi, soul qi, weapon intent, or any of the different types of elemental aether under control.

Having failed in that attempt, he discretely activated <Vermillion Dragonification> and tried to pry apart the book with sheer force while growling in rage...

While Myne and Lord Turnbull continued to battle with death hawks and lightning serpents, Zhen Shi was working just as hard... to flip open a book!

After all, he had a chance to help Myne with the empyrean divine treasure in his hands! So how could he just give up?

He noticed that several people in the crowd were staring at him rather strangely, but ignored them since it was possible that they had sensed the divine aura of the item. So he dived right back into his attempts to open the book.

Moments passed yielding no results to his effort. Naturally, he didn't give up.

With unrelenting eyes, he halted for a moment as he shifted to a horse stance like position while placing the book in both hands raised to chest level. In this new posture, he continued to exert his full strength and even strained his body with his full strength while growling out in rage. He even began to sweat heavily and his face grew red under his effort...

More and more people turned to stare at him with strange looks even going so far as to whisper amongst themselves.

However, Zhen Shi proceeded to ignore them. So what if they realized some of the power of this divine item? How could he give up on Myne just to protect a treasure?

But in reality, Zhen Shi's conclusion couldn't have been further from the truth. In fact, no one besides Zhen Shi could even see the {Book of Thoth} or even sense a speck of its aura. In other words, only Zhen Shi could see it.

But instead of the book, the crowd had definitely seen something else... They had seen everything that he had done! But without the book in his hands, Zhen Shi's actions were open for interpretation...

The crowd continued to stare and whisper, "What is that fellow doing? Is he trying to 'force' himself through physical hardship to cheer on his senior disciple who is still battling Lord Turnbull?"

"No... that doesn't make much sense. Perhaps he is on the verge of breaking through a bottleneck in his cultivation as is making the final 'push'?"

"Are you retarded? Who breaks through bottlenecks like that? I think he is suffering from sort of sickness..."

"Yes, you're right. I have worked for several years helping a master healer. If I'm not mistaken... he seems to be suffering from a severe case of constipation!"

"Hmm... That does make perfect sense considering the half squatting posture, the excessive grunting and growling, the sweating, and the reddened face. But does he have no shame to do it right now while in public?"

"That's why I mentioned that it was a severe case! Perhaps the stifling feeling was too much and he decided to throw away his face and pursue 'relief'? He must've decided to do this shameless act even in public just to make himself feel better..."

And the more the crowd thought of this conclusion, the more they found themselves agreeing. After all, it made a fair amount of sense.

But if Zhen Shi hadn't been totally focused on opening the book and had heard their whispers he would cough up several bowls of blood and faint on the spot.

By now, even Vivienne and Will O'Dale had noticed his strange actions and additionally, had received the 'enlightening' commentary of the crowd.

Vivienne frowned in confusion and finally asked mentally, "Little Bro, are you alright?"

Zhen Shi paused his effort for a moment and mentally replied on the topic of 'opening the book' with a sad smile, "Honestly, I'm feeling rather embarrassed at being unable to complete such an everyday task. But... I have to do this! I'd continue to feel stifled if I couldn't even complete this simple task and help out Myne!"

Vivienne nodded in understanding. But that way that she had heard those words were rather different. Phrases like "Embarrassed', 'Everyday task', 'Feel Stifled' made the situation crystal clear. Even if she wasn't' sure how this would help Myne, she now 'understood' the matter.

She herself was feeling helpless in being unable to help Myne and was sure that Zhen Shi would be feeling the same. She could only imagine how horrible it would feel if one also has to face an annoying ailment such as constipation at the same time. As such, she asked kindly, "Little Bro, I have a spell that can help you out. Would you like me to try?"

Zhen Shi was overjoyed at the prospect of making the job easier. But just when he was about to agree and be hit full face with a laxative spell, Will O'Dale who had been listening in spoke out as well, "Forget the spell! I have a special medicine that is passed down in my family! I guarantee that the moment you drink it, any type of constipation will run away in fear!"

Zhen Shi gawked in disbelief while facing the genuine feeling of being stifled. He finally sputtered out, "Constipation?! What the heck are you people going on about?"

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