Chapter 1098 Blessing Shrine 
Damien…was not a faith-driven person.
It started as a somewhat childish hatred for the world, where he rejected the existence of a higher power because of the situation he was in.
But later, it changed.
Why worship something he was aiming to surpass?
When higher powers became tangible and Damien realized that it was possible for him to join their ranks, that became his goal.
And with the Void and Universal Law around him, he believed in natural law more than anything else.
Damien understood faith and even had respect for it. It wasn't as if he didn't know how to make the motions of prayer.
What he didn't know how to do was pray with intention.
What was he supposed to pray to?
To the Blessing Shrine?
To the Cloud Emperor?
Or maybe to something even greater?
The problem with a mind so independent was that it came with deep pride in one's values.
Damien always refused to bow his head to anyone except his mother. A bow from him was worth more than the world itself.
For someone like that, a ritual like this was uncomfortable, to say the least.
Still, he made the motions and closed his eyes, entertaining these idle thoughts.
He never took the time to ponder on things like this. After all, faith meant something different to everyone.
It may have been a bleak thing to him, but it might've been the hope that allowed someone else to keep living.
Therefore, he never condemned nor supported the concept, following his same ideology to provide respect to those who provided respect.
What he questioned now was his aversion to it.
Was it just pride? Or was it something greater?
In usual cases, a topic like this would've been ignored by him before his thoughts could even manifest, so why was it being thought in such detail right now?
There had to be a reason, and that reason was likely the Blessing Shrine.
'What does it want me to do?'
Why didn't he just pray?
Regardless of whether he was praying to anything in particular or not, why didn't he just suck it up and pray for the sake of the reward?
The answer was simpler than he expected.
'It's because I'm selfish.'
The things he wanted to achieve, the future he wanted to see, he wanted to grasp it with his own hands.
He wasn't a man without faith, he was a man whose faith lay only in himself.
Therefore, what was the point of praying?
Or rather, perhaps understanding this side of his nature and setting goals for the future was his form of prayer.
Damien felt his mind becoming hazy.
Worship was only deserved by those higher than oneself, whether that be in the sense of faith or loyalty.
As someone aiming to be absolute, there should be no such entity in Damien's mind.
Whether it was the Universal Law, the gods in the Heavenly World, or even the Void itself, they could only be stepping stones for him to surpass!
This was his realization.
And this was the moment his mind left his body.
He arrived in a plain white space that expanded endlessly.
There was nothing for him to do here, nor was there any sort of spirit or being that came to speak with him.
He merely floated in this endlessness with no direction or thought.
Maybe he was supposed to use this time to think about other things, contemplate his existence, or maybe even comprehend something, but for some reason, Damien didn't feel the need to do any of this.
He let his mind rest itself in this uncanny silence.
In the past, this would've been a challenge for him. He might've collapsed from spending too long in this lonely space with nothing but his thoughts.
But the current him was as solid as a heavenly stone.
Thanks to the Blessing Shrine, he was able to establish an absolute belief in himself that he had never voiced before.
What was there left to ponder?
Unbeknownst to Damien, time passed.
Ruyue and Elena were granted their blessings on the very same day they arrived at the shrine.
Respectively, they received the Blessing of Yin and the Blessing of Life.
They sounded common and merely based on the affinities of the two women, but they were far greater than that.
These were the paths they chose to follow to reach the peak of the universe. A simple blessing related to them was already a great boon, but these blessings weren't simple at all!
They could feel their comprehensive ability was majorly enhanced, and they felt an inherent closeness with their Laws they'd never experienced before.
It was a state similar to embodiment, yet not quite at that level.
Zara and Isla awoke not long after them, each having received a blessing related to them despite them not praying at all, but instead merely sleeping at the base of the shrine.
Rose came off the shrine two days later with a more elusive reward.
She was given the Blessing of Truth.
The power of her Eyes of Fate increased severalfold, and more importantly, she could almost feel the fabric of reality against her skin.
Unlike Ruyue and Elena, she didn't get something that boosted her, but something that defined her.
The path she'd only been half-sure was possible to traverse was suddenly open to her, and the doubts in her heart faded.
She even felt her strength subtly increase with this realization!
Sia was next, leaving one week after their arrival.
She had a deep frown on her face and a complicated expression in her eyes. She refused to share the nature of her blessing and didn't speak much to the girls, instead finding a corner to rest alone and contemplate what had occurred.
The only one left was Damien.
Even after a week passed, even a day after that, he remained unmoving, sitting cross-legged on the shrine platform.
There were no changes in his serene expression, nor did any grand manifestations appear as he continued to pray.
Rather, his aura became weaker and weaker until it was nearly on the verge of disappearing.
If Elena didn't have a strong perception of life that allowed her to sense his powerful vitality, the girls would've thought he was dying!
But he was alive. More alive than ever, in fact.
His blessing was currently being applied, and his mind remained trapped in infinity.
It was on the 9th day that he finally showed a reaction.
His aura completely vanished. If one checked the shrine platform with their perception, they'd find it empty.
His physical presence was the only thing that remained unhidden to watching eyes.
His mind, which had reached a state of inner peace in its retreat, was pulled back into his body.
His eyes fluttered open.
He looked down at his hands, clenching and unclenching his fists over and over again.
'I understand. So this is my blessing.'
The Blessing Shrine really didn't disappoint.
His blessing didn't offer him any sort of boost, nor did it open up new pathways for him.
No, it merely "made available to him what he already had."
This blessing, Damien's blessing…
…was the "Blessing of Foundation."