Toae’s body split into small pieces, which were sucked into the Ruyi Bang. New letters appeared next to Astraeus’s name: θοή. Cymo’s face crumpled at the sight. “To…urk!” Cymo didn’t even get the chance to approach Toae, and he was driven back by an attack launched at his temples.
“Oh, dear. How can a god who's been on so many battlefields get distracted?” From a distance, Galliard nocked an arrow with a laugh. He’d been blocking Cymo from reaching Yeon-woo and Toae but he couldn’t help chuckling at the fact that Yeon-woo didn’t need his help at all. However, he was having a great time mocking a divine being. When else would he have the chance to experience such entertainment? This was only possible with the help of Brahm, who had once been a divine being himself, but he was certain now that the distance between divine beings and mortals was shorter than it seemed.
‘Of course, there’s a vast difference between these small fries and famous gods.’ Galliard thought of Brahm’s true form, which he’d seen with his Fairy Eyes when they’d met for the first time.
Swoosh. He let go of his bowstring, and dozens of rays of light condensed together to become a single arrow of light that pierced through space.
Boom! Cymo tried to avoid it, but the tracking feature embedded in the arrow made it turn and follow him wherever he went. He was pushed back step by step. Suddenly, something crashed into him from behind, and he coughed out blood from the impact. When he turned his head to see what it was, he saw Lam with a stony expression on her face.
“Apostle.” It was the last word Cymo muttered before darkness burst from Lam’s spear and swallowed him up. The holy artifact that Hades had bestowed upon her, Yin Eater, was famous for swallowing enemies into darkness, and its power could kill even a god.
With that, the raid of Myeongbujeon, their first battle, ended in success. The four corps who arrived looked at the scene in front of them with blank expressions. They couldn’t even remember to cheer, unsure what to think of all the strange events that had occurred one after the other. Then, one of them regained his senses and finally cheered. “Wooooooo!”
The soldiers around him also snapped to reality and cheered in victory.
* * *
“They’re really dead, right?”
“Isn’t it obvious? They’re not even breathing.”
“But how is this possible? There’s no sign of any injuries.”
Dis Pluto’s soldiers poked and prodded at the Titan subordinates lying on the ground. They were looking through them to see if there were any survivors, but of course, they couldn’t find a single one who was still breathing. Yeon-woo had done something that they didn’t have the experience or knowledge to explain. Even if he used a power, what he’d accomplished was still unbelievable, just like the things that divine beings did. It had to be divine ability, not a power.
However, since Yeon-woo was a mortal, that didn’t make sense either. It was inevitable that they would be confused. Even Lam was bewildered. She had lived far longer than most mortals could while serving Hades, but she had never seen anything like it before. Hades didn’t take pleasure in revealing his abilities or divine strength, and his body had grown burdened with the loss of more holy territories. But a common player had exhibited this kind of strength.
‘When he spread his wing, he was a different being. It was as though 666 gods and demons had descended. No, it was more like a fundamental concept appeared.’ She could still picture the shocking scene when she closed her eyes. Even now, she didn’t know if the person standing above the altar in front of her was Yeon-woo or someone else.
“I’ll light the fire now.” Just then, Yeon-woo spoke up. Lam returned to reality and nodded. Lighting the Torch was more important than satisfying her curiosity about Yeon-woo.
Yeon-woo put a lit torch to the copper brazier. The flame looked like an ordinary one, but it was the Sacred Fire that had appeared when the universe was first created. The Cyclops brothers had managed to extract it from the Soulstone.
Whoosh! The tattered copper brazier tasted fire for the first time in a long while. The glow of the flames instantly repelled the darkness of the temple. Holy power swirled up and chased away the remaining traces of the Titans. In the process, the corpses of the Titan subordinates ignited into crackling flames.
The light gathered on the roof of the Myeongbujeon, and the entire holy territory grew brighter as though the sun had risen solely for it. They could now see the rundown conditions of the holy territory clearly, but for them, the sight still seemed holy and miraculous. The light grew bigger and bigger until a column of it shot into the sky. Lam could feel Hades’ power inside of her awaken and grow. Hades was probably experiencing the same thing to a much greater extent.
‘Just a few more.’ Lam clenched her fists. She could see an opportunity to turn the tide. ‘If we can light just a few more Torches.’ She tightened her grip on her spear. ‘We will have the stairs to Olympus.’
* * *
That night, three columns of light shot into the sky of Tartarus. Before the Titans and Giants could even blink, they lost three of Hades’ holy territories: Myeonbujeon, Jicheonjeon, and Leewangjeon. Thanks to Yeon-woo’s contribution, Dis Pluto was even able to reclaim more land than they’d originally planned. The columns of light from the lit braziers brightened Tartarus, and the four corps were able to return with confident footsteps to the Temple of the King of the Underworld for the first time.
Yeon-woo’s name never left the soldiers’ mouths. “Cain! Cain!” They chanted it as they marched forward, feeling revitalized with each shout. However, Yeon-woo felt extremely uncomfortable with this.
『Hyung, you’re a total idol. How about we make light sticks for your fandom while we’re here?』 The pocket watch shook with mischievous laughter. Jeong-woo knew Yeon-woo hated being singled out like this. Yeon-woo wanted to grab Jeong-woo by the collar and punch him in the face but instead, he glanced at the people passionately chanting his name and smiled ironically. He knew what they were so excited about.
‘The only time I actually spread my wing was at Jicheonjeon though.’ Although it was only one wing, so many powers were bound to it that it took a lot out of Yeon-woo to spread it. He only opened it once, and for the rest of the time, he fought solely with his own strength. Since his Demonic Divine Draconic Body was destructive as well, he was still able to make a difference. ‘I can’t use it often.’ Yeon-woo rubbed the spot where his left wing was, muttering to himself. He could only use it for about twenty seconds at most. The skill was incomplete and still at its beginning stages. He could make it to thirty seconds if he improved it a bit, but he would need a full day or more for cool down.
‘The problem is whether I can even add another wing.’ The right-wing with the category of war was still being prepared. The grouping was taking some time, but by the time he finished it, there wouldn’t be much left to do. However, how efficient would the right-wing be if the left-wing alone already overloaded his body to this extent?
‘The usage time will grow shorter and the cool-down time will grow longer.’ It was helpful in skipping an unnecessary battle and going straight to killing a god, but there were too many constraints on it. He needed to improve it a bit more. ‘Is there anything I can do?’ Yeon-woo raised his head and saw the columns of light connecting Tartarus’ land and sky. ‘If more of those appear, the severed path to Olympus will open again, right?’
Yeon-woo remembered one of Jeong-woo’s experiences: the Feng Shan ceremony during which an altar was built to connect the land and the sky and invite the god they served to the lower world. It was a kind of shortcut created after Allforone cut off access to the seventy-seventh floor and above from the rest of the Tower. Allforone brought many changes to the ecosystem of the Tower, and Feng Shan was a method of connecting the heavenly and lower worlds.
The Devil Army had been able to imitate the Elohim and succeeded in awakening the strength of the Great Sage’s brothers, the Seven Great Demon Kings. Thanks to that, the Devil Army’s power in the Tower was greatly boosted. Torches were the main tools in a ceremony that created a bridge that pulled Olympus closer and raised Tartarus towards Olympus at the same time. ‘Like a lighthouse or perhaps a signal fire.’
The Titans and Giants had taken over Hades’ holy territories to cut off the connection with Olympus and isolate him. Now that the territories had been reclaimed, Olympus would probably prepare to descend into Tartarus to help. ‘I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing for me, though.’
[An unrevealed god (1) glares at you.]
[An unrevealed god (2) looks at your wing with shocked eyes.]
[An unrevealed god (3) discusses your bracelet with another unrevealed god (4).]
Yeon-woo could feel the sharp gazes on him, and there were equally displeased gazes from one of the four corps. Paneth’s party didn’t try to pick a fight with him after seeing his overwhelming might, but their eyes were filled with envy and rage. Yeon-woo knew they were waiting for their opportunity. He’d have to be a fool not to realize this from the intense glares of the Olympus gods.
After his wing of death appeared, the eyes of the four Olympians had grown sharper, but it wasn’t completely unexpected, considering how much Poseidon disapproved of him using the Black King’s power.
‘They probably think they have to stop me from spreading my wings. Paneth’s group is probably frustrated by Poseidon’s nagging.’ The more columns of light appeared, the shorter the distance between Olympus and Tartarus became. Poseidon’s blessing for Paneth’s party was probably becoming stronger as well.
‘Then this is my chance.’ Yeon-woo believed Paneth’s party would attack him during the next battle. In fact, he was surprised that Poseidon had waited so long with that temper of his. Furthermore, Paneth’s party had lost many of their supporters thanks to this event, so they were understandably enraged.
From Yeon-woo’s perspective, it wasn’t bad at all. He had been planning on getting rid of those nuisances anyway, but he’d hesitated because of the gazes on him. If he could use the chaos of battle to his advantage, it wouldn’t be difficult at all. It was probably what they were thinking, as well. The next battle would be harder than any of the previous ones.
Just as Yeon-woo concluded this, someone suddenly shouted. “Lam! The Titan forces are coming closer! It seems they’ve sent a unit to chase after us!”
“What?” Lam frowned, but this wasn’t a surprise. The enemies had lost three of their posts in a single night, so they would use any means to get them back. “Everyone, get into position!”
At her command, the four corps moved in perfect order, determination on their faces. They hadn’t yet achieved much in battle, but today, they would show the might of Dis Pluto, who were called the strongest military force in Olympus.
Clack! Clack! As they set up their shields and formed a phalanx, Paneth looked at the quest window that appeared in front of her.
[Sudden Quest / Assasination]
[Description: Four of the Olympians, Poseidon, Demeter, Hestia, and Hera, feel a great threat from Player ###, who is trying to inherit the Black King’s power. After deciding that Player ### has caused disorder in the Tower, they wish to get rid of him. You are being given a blessing that equates to that of an Apostle of Poseidon, Demeter, Hestia, and Hera. Your aura will call storms like Poseidon, raise earthquakes like Demeter, burn the world like Hestia, and become as sharp as Hera’s.
This is the godly power that you and your tribe have desired for so long. With this power, eliminate Player ### in the confusion of battle. All the blessings given will become entirely yours.]
[Condition: Assasination of Player ###]
[Time Limit: - ]
1. Olympus’s blessing and grace
2. Granting of transcendence]
Paneth clenched her fists. The gods had given her a quest instead of a simple command. The reward “granting of transcendence” stood out to her. The power to regain the divine level her ancestors had lost was right in front of her. She had to use every means to claim it.
Meanwhile, at the same time, Yeon-woo received a quest as well that was in direct opposition to Paneth’s.
[Sudden Quest / Survival]
[Description: Four unrevealed gods in Olympus are targeting you. Survive.]
[Time Limit: - ]
1. Olympus’s blessing and grace
2. Granting of transcendence]