Yeon-woo debated whether or not to accept Agares’ descent. Agares was still obsessed with Jeong-woo, and he might be a bother to the other beings. However, in the end, Yeon-woo decided to summon him. Agares was hypersensitive to anyone trying to steal Yeon-woo away, and he would probably do his best to repel Poseidon.
Also, Agares was already weak from being ripped apart by Hermes and Athena. Although there was no way to confirm it, his status in L’Infernal had likely fallen, and the other demons were probably challenging him. Even if he tried to pull a fast one, Yeon-woo didn’t think it was possible for him to go against all the other gods and demons.
Still, Agares was one of the greatest demons, who ruled over land so vast that he was called a duke. If such a being stepped forward, he would easily handle Poseidon. Yeon-woo opened a part of the Demonic Factors so Agares could come down. Agares’ gigantic consciousness came through the open Channel.
Yeon-woo was dazed for a second, but he quickly pulled himself together. Even though Agares was injured, he still possessed a high level.
『Don’t touch my possessions, you crazy old bastard!』 A black dot landed in the world of storms and began to spread like an inkblot, revealing a dark abyss. From it, Agares appeared with his fangs bared, his dozens of pairs of black wings extending from his back. His red eyes didn’t even glance at the other gods or demons. He only saw Poseidon.
He didn’t seem to care about Athena or Hermes, who had humiliated him in a previous battle. He was nothing like the demon who always paid his enemies back.
Poseidon frowned. He was already struggling with the other beings, but a Grand Demon Duke who was equal to him in terms of level had come!
『Agares, have you lost it?!』
『Shut up!』 Agares kicked off from the ground and ran towards Poseidon. Instead of supporting Yeon-woo like the other gods, he was attacking Poseidon directly.
Surprised, Poseidon tried to step back, but he was still held in place by Bathory’s Vampiric Sword. Boom! Agares gripped Poseidon’s neck instantly. Crunch! He began to crush Poseidon’s vertebrae. Demonic energy dominated holy power. Poseidon’s mouth opened wide in a silent scream. He wanted to push Agares away, but he couldn’t move.
『I’ve already repeated myself multiple times. It’s mine. How dare you ignore my words?』 Agares growled with insane eyes, as though he were about to pull Poseidon’s head from his neck. His fangs flashed. 『I don’t care about what kind of shitshow Olympus does. Your family squabbles are none of my concern! But!』 Agares extended his left hand to point at Yeon-woo. 『That’s mine. Mine!』 Agares shouted, drooling with insanity.
Poseidon said his last words, ‘Crazy bastard…!’ Then, his head could no longer withstand Agares’ brute strength, and popped off into the air. The Channel was forced apart, and the holy power that filled the stage disappeared in the blink of an eye as the head returned to Benteke. Bathory’s Vampiric Sword absorbed all of the spiritual body, and Yeon-woo’s body accepted all of the Divine Factors.
[Current awakening progress: 91%]
The Demonic Divine Draconic Body wasn’t completely finished, but it was enough to change his physique extensively. Yeon-woo tensed as his soul was reconfigured again. Draconic, Demonic, and Divine—the three Factors circulated inside of him.
『Pwahahahaha!』 Agares let out a crazed laugh at Benteke’s corpse. He whipped around, his eyes flashing. 『Yeah. I’m crazy. Crazy! Do you guys know how hard I worked to make it mine?』 Befitting his status as a Grand Demon Duke who ruled over destruction and lunacy, Agares didn’t hide his hostility as he glanced at all the gods and demons. 『Everyone here, listen well. That’s mine. So don’t even look at it.』
Agares’ eyes paused on Hermes and Athena, who didn’t move away from Yeon-woo, before moving to look up at the sky at Azrael, who was watching them. The recipients of his gaze only scoffed. Agares looked into Yeon-woo’s eyes. 『Especially you.』
Yeon-woo’s eyes widened at the immense pressure. He was already feeling a lot of pressure from summoning the gods and demons, and if it weren’t for his Cold-blooded trait, he would have collapsed from it already.
『You cannot die until I come back. You’re mine, so you must remember that you can’t fall or lose until I come back. If you die, I’ll follow you to the depths of hell and bring your soul back to swallow it. Understood?』
Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes and spoke in an annoyed voice. “Fuck off.” He forced the Channel with Agares to close and took back the Demonic Factors that he’d used. Agares tried to say something, but he scattered without even making a peep. All the Channels in the sky closed.
[The Channel with Thanatos has closed.]
[The Channel with King of the Seven Hells has closed.]
[The Channel with Nergal has closed.]
As the presences of the gods and demons of death grew faint, they returned to being gazes. Yeon-woo turned around. The Channels with the gods and demons he had received powers disappeared last.
[The Channel with Hondon has closed.]
Hondon disappeared silently.
『Dang, he’s always so quiet.』 Hermes grinned as he watched Hondon leave and patted Yeon-woo’s head. He grinned. 『You’ve worked hard.』
『For what?』 Hermes disappeared in the smoke.
[The Channel with Hermes has closed.]
Yeon-woo turned around to look at Athena again. He had been receiving her help all this time, but it was the first time he’d ever seen the goddess who always looked at him so warmly and helped him so much. He thought that the Aegis he received in the Beginner’s Zone was probably a generous boon from her.
He had been glad for a holy artifact at the time, but in hindsight, it was a reward that had been too extravagant for the lower floors. Why was she taking care of him so much? In person, Athena didn’t look like the fierce goddess in the murals in Olympus’ Treasury and Poseidon’s temple. She looked benevolent. That was the only thing that Yeon-woo could think of.
『Devote yourself, and devote yourself even more.』 Athena spoke in a grave voice. 『Then you’ll be able to acquire everything you want. We’ll always be behind you.』
“Why are you helping me?”
Athena didn’t say anything. A faint smile that looked sad appeared on her face.
“Is it because of the Black King?”
Athena didn’t reply this time either. But with that, Yeon-woo was finally certain that the Black King was involved with Olympus. “Who is…”
『That’s all I can say.』 Athena cut him off. 『Devote yourself, and devote yourself again to reach where I am. Then, I’ll tell you everything.』 As soon as she was done speaking, she vanished in the smoke.
[The Channel with Athena has closed.]
‘Go to where she is?’ Yeon-woo thought of the location of Athena’s temple. It was on the forty-ninth floor, where most of the temples of the gods of Olympus were. Did she mean that they could speak there? He couldn’t tell if she was saying that she would tell him the Black King’s identity or the reason why she was protecting him.
『You’re wrong.』 A voice from above interrupted Yeon-woo’s train of thought. Yeon-woo lifted his head.
Azrael came down from the sky with his wings spread wide. His wingspan was past two meters. 『He is not someone to say things like that. Olympus? Malak? Ea? Bullshit. They aren’t beings who can talk about his meaning in their disorganized state. How could they speak about a conceptual being?』 Azrael’s eyes were blazing.
Urrrng! The closer his presence approached Yeon-woo, the more the Despair and Grief of the Black King trembled.
『Do not misinterpret his meaning. Do not waste your fate by thinking over his meaning. It is something deep that you cannot cross or avoid. It is not something that a mortal like you can observe.』 Azrael stroked Yeon-woo’s chin. His lips were blood red. 『Simply accept it. He is Death, and as his messenger, all you have to do is be faithful to him.』 Azrael was saying that everything he had was from the Black King. 『Accept it, messenger of the Black King. Become my Apostle and follow his meaning. That is your fate, and your destiny.』
Yeon-woo frowned. “I refuse.” He was someone who had refused to be the Apostle of countless gods and demons. Even if he was curious about the Black King, he wouldn’t accept it without much consideration. It might be even more annoying than Agares.
『That’s a shame.』 Azrael grinned and disappeared.
[The Channel with Azrael has closed.]
[All Channels have closed.]
When all the gods and demons returned, the stage settled down quietly again. Yeon-woo’s body toppled over, powerless. Shanon and Hanryeong came out from the shadows and carefully picked Yeon-woo up.
『Sheesh, he’s a tiring master.』 Shanon clucked his tongue. He had been surprised as he watched the events unfold from within the shadow. He always thought that no one had a life as interesting as his master. Hanryeong nodded heavily in agreement.
Crunch, crunch! Yeon-woo’s body continued to change, and he closed his eyes.
* * *
Shanon and Hanryeong moved Yeon-woo somewhere quiet. Fortunately, there were many locations on the thirtieth floor to hide. Still, worried that someone might have followed them, Shanon and Hanryeong were cautious. Boo appeared at some point to raise a barrier around the cave they put Yeon-woo in.
As Yeon-woo healed, the time on the stage paused. The clouds in the sky and the leaves all stopped moving. A dead silence descended upon them. Yeon-woo was propped up against the wall, and over his head, an ashy haze wavered and took on Azrael’s form. His lips twisted as he looked down at Yeon-woo.
『A mortal who doesn’t know his worth.』
Despite what Yeon-woo believed, the Channel with Azrael hadn’t been completely cut off. He had pretended to leave while hiding a part of his consciousness inside the bracelet. It was something that Yeon-woo would have normally noticed, but he’d been too overwhelmed by all the gods and demons.
『I don’t know why you’re refusing your fate to be his messenger. I cannot understand. You’re too foolish. No, I suppose those are the limits of mortals.』 As he spoke, all kinds of emotions swept through Azrael’s eyes: envy, jealousy, joy, annoyance. These were directed at the thing he wanted so desperately but couldn’t have. 『As his servant, I will lead you to the right path.』 He was planning on forcing Yeon-woo to become his Apostle. No matter how jealous he was, it was his duty as a subordinate to help Yeon-woo become the messenger.
The wrathful gazes of the other gods and demons followed him, but he ignored them with a scoff and slowly extended his hand towards Yeon-woo’s head. His wings flashed with a pale light.
At that moment, Yeon-woo’s head suddenly turned.
Azrael was surprised. He had definitely stopped time on the floor. He was already expecting the protests of the Bureau and the consequences of the law of causality. But how could this mortal lift his head and go against the will of a god?
However, as soon as he met Yeon-woo’s eyes, Azrael realized that he was wrong. He wasn’t looking at Yeon-woo. It was a being who wore Yeon-woo as a mask. An ashy light appeared in his eyes. The Demonism had woken up. “Are you going to interrupt my fun?” The rough, hoarse voice sounded like the growls of a monster, and even a higher god like Azrael shivered.
『Y-y-you are…!』 Azrael shrieked, realizing who the monster was and how impertinent he’d been.
“Begone, bug.” The Demonism extended his hand and pushed Azrael. The Factors that allowed Azrael to be present began to fall apart. It not only separated the holy power that allowed him to descend, but also took apart his soul on the ninety-eighth floor. The angel of death, Azrael, met his death.
Azrael’s Factors whirled and were absorbed by the Grief of the Black King around Yeon-woo’s left ankle.
[You have fulfilled the conditions.]
[The Grief of the Black King has been unsealed.]
Urrrng! The Demonism snorted, looking at the trembling fetter. “Hmph. I guess your end was useful to us.” The Demonism fell asleep, closing his eyes.
Time began to flow again. Yeon-woo’s surroundings were silent as though nothing had happened.Previous Chapter Next Chapter