Realizing that his mind had wandered, Zhen Shi shook his head and turned his gaze towards the events of the room.
As he had expected, Isolde was currently assaulting poor Butler Alec with a heavy speech about how reckless he had been and how she'd teach him a lesson later on. The old man didn't even bat an eye and continued to smile warmly, simply satisfied by the fact that Isolde was safe.
In the end, realizing that the old man wasn't taking her seriously, Isolde gave up with a sigh of exasperation. But the relieved smile on her face betrayed her real emotions.
With that smile on her face, Isolde suddenly turned towards Zhen Shi as if she had just remembered he was here. Her eyes revealed a conflicted expression as if she wasn't sure of what to do...
In the end, she dashed forwards and wrapped him in a tight hug, "Zhen Shi, I'm sorry... for shouting before, and also for getting mad. I'm really really sorry! I now know it was only an accident. Y-You're not mad right? I'm really thankful for all your help. Both I and Grandpa Alec owe you a lot. So please don't take my previous anger to heart, okay?"
As the girl continued to hug him while waiting for his reply, Zhen Shi was completely shaken out of sheer surprise.
He had been mentally preparing himself for a round of frenzied shouting and a long lecture from Isolde, similar to what the old butler had gone through...
After all, even if it was a mistake, he had definitely barged into her room like an idiot. But never had he expected this situation!
He was the guilty party who had acted like a peeping tom, while Isolde was the innocent party who had a good reason to be angry at him. But, here, the innocent party was actually apologizing to the guilty party! What the heck!?
Facing such a genuine and innocent apology, Zhen Shi didn't know whether to laugh or cry!
In the end, he could only force a smile and scratch his head, "I'm not angry! I'm not! Definitely not!"
Butler Alec smiled at their strange conversation, but his eyes slowly returned towards his body and the strange nature of his current condition. He revealed a calculative expression and asked with twinkling eyes, "Young man, it's good to see you again. But what the heck did you feed this old man? How is it so effective? Where in the world did you find such an amazing treasure?"
Isolde slowly released Zhen Shi from her hug, rather curious about what his answer could be.
The moment Zhen Shi heard this question, the embarrassment on his face was replaced with a calm expression.
He grinned mysteriously and said, "Old man, it's good to see you again too. But what the heck is up with your cultivation? How is it so fast? Where in the world did you learn to cultivate like this? Were you hiding your cultivation or, as you said, did you 'recover'?"
Zhen Shi was genuinely curious about this. Even if his spiritual sense couldn't completely see through the old Butler, he could still roughly gauge Butler Alec's cultivation level.
After consuming the Undying Healing pill, the old man's cultivation had actually skipped the Nascent Soul stage and risen to the pinnacle of Soul Destruction in a single instant!
He even vaguely sensed that Butler Alec could reach the Law Primary Tier if he wished to!
Hearing Zhen Shi's reply, Butler Alec frowned. Considering the way Zhen Shi had phrased his words, mirroring his own, it was obvious that Zhen Shi would only answer his question if he did the same. But that was a question he wasn't willing to answer right now...
Seeing that the old butler was remaining silent, Zhen Shi had no intention of answering either.
An uncomfortable silence rose as the duo sharply gazed at each other for a while, neither willing to speak.
In the end, Butler Alec heaved a sigh, "Let's forget this matter. Young man, I still owe you for saving my life. Without my cultivation, I would've been nothing more than a walking corpse. I also owe you for saving the young lady's life. So I humbly thank you," and bowed genuinely.
Isolde was rather confused about what had happened. With her core formation cultivation, she couldn't sense the old butler's current cultivation let alone the silent conflict between the two of them. But seeing that her grandpa was thanking Zhen Shi, she hurriedly did the same with a deep bow.
Zhen Shi smiled at the two of them, as he put the matter of the old Butler away for the moment, and replied, "There is no need to be so thankful. I only did what anyone in my place would do."
He playfully slapped Isolde on the back and scolded, "And what the heck are you doing? Did I bow to you when you saved my life back then? Are you my friend or my maid? There is no need for such annoying formalities!"
Isolde blushed and lowered her head in embarrassment, but the hints of a smile covered her face.
Observing this, Butler Alec revealed a warm smile, a hint of nostalgic light in his eyes.
However, Zhen Shi's smile quickly disappeared as he asked in a serious tone, "Alright. Now tell me, who the fuck dared to beat the old man and destroy your room?"
In the Eternal Fire realm, the realm of the fire giants, there lay a gigantic fortress formed of molten lava and origin fire. This fortress was so huge, it covered 1/10th of this entire realm!
Within this giant fortress, there was an equally gigantic hall stretching for thousands of kilometers.
This hall was rather special because it contained almost every type of fire in existence, sentient fires, divine flames, blazing heavenly fires, netherworld fires, and weak sparks. Nourished by these various flames, hordes of flame creatures roamed about.
All of them swallowed others to grow stronger, some hunted alone, some in groups, while the others simply lay dormant. It was a place of pure chaos where the strong ruled over the weak.
This was the Star Formation Hall of the Eternal Flame Hall!
At the very center of this hall, seated on a throne of pure elemental fire, was a gigantic figure who looked down on all the types of divine fire.
With a height of a thousand kilometers, a physique that carried absolute strength, a smoldering gaze, and breaths that released small tempests of fire, he was a true monarch of fire.
The various types of fire and fire creatures gazed at this figure with fear and respect as if he was their Lord.
This was Surtur, the King of the fire Jötunns and the lord of the Eternal Fire Realm!
Suddenly, the door to this hall was thrown open as a blazing figure dashed in. It was a prideful man dressed in a vermillion feather robe, his speed so fast that space itself sizzled in heat.
His gaze was piercing light, his movements left tendrils of fire on the floor, and his entire being released an aura of being eternal...
The various types of fire within the hall instantly dodged to the side with fear, as if they had met a type of fire they didn't dare to provoke.
After all, the aura from his presence was only slightly weaker compared to that of F Monarch Fire Giant Surtur.
Surtur's gaze instantly fell upon this man. This was a gaze that could instantly burn weaker beings to ashes, but the man in the red feather robe wasn't even slightly affected.
Surtur smiled and spoke out in a voice that shook the entire fortress, "If it isn't the Suzaku of the Vermillion Bird Clan. Suzaku Feng, what brings you here?"
Suzaku Feng nodded and replied back in a prideful tone, "Realm Lord Surtur, I bear troubling news. Our Eternal Flame realm has been compromised!" Despite the respectful term used, his tone revealed that he didn't think too much of this Realm Lord...
Hearing this, Surtur frowned causing all the fire within the hall to tremble. He ignored the disrespectful tone and spoke, "Troublesome indeed. What happened?"
Suzaku Feng immediately began to explain, "My son was preparing our Vermillion Bird clan's Undying Corps for battle, but even before they were summoned into the Divine Plane, an Undying Healing Pill suddenly went missing!
I tried my best to find it, but it was almost as if it had disappeared into the void!
An undying healing pill might not be much, but the ramifications of its mysterious disappearance are not!"
Surtur's frown grew deeper and a terrifying pressure began to emanate out from his body. He gripped the armrest of his fire throne with heaven-shaking strength and roared threateningly, "Someone actually dared to steal from ME?! The Lord of the Fire Giants!? The Undying Healing pills are irrelevant, but I'll definitely slaughter your entire clan if any of the Eternal Pills are missing!"
Suzaku Feng couldn't help but shiver in the face of this pressure, but almost instantly, his eyes revealed a sense of indomitableness. The eternal aura around him began to intensify...
A crisp bird sound echoed through the hall as a brilliant vermillion shadow appeared around Suzaku Feng.
Instantly, the pressure exerted by Surtur was shattered and all the various types of fire in the hall receded in fear as if they were on the verge of being vanquished. Even the flame on Surtur's throne was weakened.
Suzaku Feng gazed directly at Surtur, took a fearless step forwards, and roared back, "Of course they are safe! I, Feng Zhuque, promised your ancestor to keep the eternal flame complete and my vermillion bird clan always keep our word! Not a single spark of the Eternal Flame will be stolen for as long as I live!"
Hearing this, Surtur relaxed a bit, but when he saw the vermillion shadow his eyes revealed a hint of dread. In the end, Surtur nodded and took back his threatening aura.
Suzaku Feng revealed a smile that was not a smile and slowly allowed the Vermillion shadow to dissipate.
Surtur seemed to be blind to the Suazaku's disrespectful actions. Instead, as if his own outburst had not happened, the fire giant began to mutter in a thoughtful tone, "In that case, this matter isn't too serious. However, not many gods are qualified to arrive and leave the Eternal fire realm without my knowing.
Only the ancestral monsters who guard the pantheons from behind the shadows could barely manage such a feat. But I doubt any of them would care about a measly Undying Healing Pill. So, who could it be?"
Suzaku Feng nodded 'obediently' and spoke in a worried tone, "My thoughts exactly, realm lord. Who could it be?" Despite this respectful reply, deep within his eyes, there was a trace of well-hidden hatred.
Surtur thoughtfully spoke out, "For now, leave this matter be. Considering the reasons for this new divine war, it has been confirmed that the Allfather possesses some mysterious technique to steal items. It could very well be him..."
Hearing this, a hint of happiness rose within Suzaku Feng's eyes. But it disappeared almost immediately. Feng Zhuque frowned with a hint of anger rising, "Realm Lord, do you really think it's that one-eyed old man? He actually dared to steal from us?!
In that case, should I prepare for a pre-emptive strike? He is currently fighting against two pantheon leaders! If you attack right now, with the help of my Vermillion bird clan, the Allfather may very well fall! If we succeeded, Realm lord Surtur could possibly take revenge from Odin for injuring your ancestor. Such an achievement would allow you to gain huge merit in the eyes of the Giant Clan!"
Fire Monarch Surtur raised an eyebrow at Suzaku Feng and slowly shook his head, "As good as that idea is, I don't believe it is wise to underestimate the Allfather. His pantheon may be the only pantheon without an ancestral protector, but no one dares to look down on them either!
You said it yourself, the Allfather is a God who once defeated the ancestor of my giant clan. Ancestor Ymir is an actual Creator, blessed by the heavens, with his own portion of the Cosmos!
Who am I, but an ant, when compared to my ancestor?
The Allfather might have used various schemes and tricks to defeat him, but that doesn't change the immensity of his achievement! The fact that he defeated a Creator makes him extremely dangerous! Far more dangerous than any Ancestral Protector of the other pantheons!"
Suzaku Feng's anger slowly receded and he nodded as if he understood, "The Realm Lord has a point. Very well, we will not attack," but for a second, his eyes revealed a hint of disappointment.
Quickly hiding this, Suzaku Feng respectfully bowed towards Surtur. Having fulfilled his purpose for arriving, the Suzaku disappeared in a flash of vermillion fire.
A few minutes later, after confirming that Suzaku Feng had actually left, Surtur sneered, "Feng Zhuque, do you think I was born yesterday? Trying to kill me off by pitting me against the Allfather? Very good! I won't forget this!"
Even so, Surtur slowly grew serious as he fell into thought, 'But, I have to admit that was very close. The fire giants and the vermillion bird clan might be friendly on the surface, but our relationship has been strained ever since we enslaved their clan.
This Feng Zhuque is worthy of his title as one of the Primordial Divine Beasts. I truly might've actually fallen for his scheme if I didn't know about the Allfather's true power...
If the news from my brethren is correct, Odin isn't involved in the injuring of just one creator, but BOTH of them. Supposedly, he is one of the major perpetrators of the mysterious events that took place during that invasion from the other universe...'
As Surtur continued to contemplate the mysteries of the events back then, Suzaku Feng Zhuque had returned back to his Vermillion Bird clan's ancestral home.
He heaved a sigh of disappointment, 'It's a pity that Surtur didn't take the bait. I might've been able to injure two of my clan's enemies. When our Lord Creator returns, I could've gained considerable merit. What a pity...'
But his face quickly revealed a hint of confusion, 'I knew that Surtur would immediately think of accusing the Allfather, but the healing pill is useless to the Allfather as well.
So in the end, who is it that actually took the Undying Healing Pill? Who... could it be..?'