[The bonus is being applied.]
[It has failed.]
[The bonus is being applied.]
[It has failed.]
[The process of succession is being paused because your level is too low.]
[The reappraisal is starting.]
[The discussion about your level is still actively in progress.]
[Please wait a moment.]
[The execution of the paused bonus will be decided once it’s finished.]
For a short moment, Yeon-woo could feel something being enhanced deep inside his body, as though his soul were being released from a prison. He felt as if he’d gained true freedom. It was the first time he’d ever felt anything like this, and he was more than a little surprised.
However, the feeling vanished with every message that said “It has failed.”
Yeon-woo thought it had to be exuviation, one of the many steps to attaining transcendence. There was nothing else he could do since he had only killed gods so far and hadn’t even been enlightened yet, but the message about the discussion of his level caught his eye. Ever since he killed Astraeus, messages saying a discussion was in progress had kept popping up. Yeon-woo had no idea what they meant.
If the discussions ended on a positive note, did that mean he would gain divine powers? However, as far as he knew, exuviation was something you had to do on your own. No one else could do it for you. ‘No, you could also succeed a domain.’
Being given power through that method wasn’t entirely great since it didn’t come from his own achievement and thus would be dangerous. ‘But of course, I’m not going to turn down a gift.’
At any rate, the discussion of the gods and demons was an enigma to Yeon-woo, and another mystery had been wrapped around that: the bonus that Yeon-woo had never even heard of.
The King of the Underworld was definitely one of the titles given to Hades, but why was the system saying he would be succeeding the title?
From the way the Fury of the Black King, Kynee, was glowing, it was evident Hades was attempting something, but Yeon-woo didn’t know what it was. When he thought about it, he had gotten a strong feeling that Hades was saying his last goodbyes the last time they saw each other. Did this have something to do with that?
He wanted to ask Jeong-woo, who had an extensive knowledge of the Tower, but he was sleeping peacefully inside the pocket watch. He needed frequent periods of rest because his spirit body was still unstable.
“Cain? Hyung!” Yeon-woo was pulled back to reality by the voice calling for him. Doyle and the rest of the party members were staring at him. “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing, something just suddenly occurred to me. So, you were saying that Persephone is acting strange?”
“Yes.” Doyle nodded with a dark expression.
Yeon-woo had returned from his meeting with Athena to see the dark faces of his party members. Doyle had said something after meeting Persephone. “She told me to get ready to leave with her soon. What could that mean?”
Doyle was Persephone’s Apostle, so he had gone to welcome her when she descended into Tartarus. However, even though he was her Apostle, it was his first time to see her in person and his faith in her wasn’t particularly deep, so he’d noticed something strange about her.
“It’s normal to praise people or thank them for helping your husband, right? But it was as if…are Lady Persephone and Lord Hades really married?”
“If they are, shouldn’t she be glad to see the husband she’s been desperately seeking for hundreds of years? But she only looked like she was hardening her resolve for something.” Clever Doyle had noticed this right away. In fact, Yeon-woo also felt that the relationship between Hades and Persephone was unlike other married couples’, so he couldn’t simply dismiss it as a trivial matter.
While the rest of the party considered this information, Kahn suddenly smirked and shrugged. “Hah! And here I thought it was something serious. They say that a love relationship can’t be cut with a knife, and a couple isn’t that easy to split up. It’s best not to get in between them. After all, imagine if your husband—I mean, your wife—didn’t come home for hundreds of years without any news, and you found her all of a sudden. Do you think you’d be glad? You’d probably scold her severely.”
“Or you’ll get divorced or something.”
Did gods get divorced too? The expressions of the party turned contemplative.
“I heard Zeus cheated on his wife multiple times. Why wouldn’t divorce between gods exist?” Brahm laughed. “His lower body was a bit of a free-spirit.”
“Even Brahm says so. Let’s stop talking about useless things and go back. This isn’t something we should get involved in anyway.”
They nodded. What did the relationship between Hades and Persephone matter to them? They’d gotten everything they needed, and now, the only thing they had to do was return.
As they prepared to leave, something cloudy swept over them and disappeared. It happened so quickly that not many people noticed it since the party was overjoyed to finally leave the cursed Tartarus, and Dis Pluto was still celebrating Olympus’ visit.
However, Yeon-woo spotted it. ‘Holy power?’ He recognized the holy power of Hades that spread over his holy territories. Hades’ holy power…was scattering. Yeon-woo turned to Brahm in surprise, and Brahm met his eyes with a stiff expression. They were about to warn the others when a black shadow suddenly spread along the ground and a multitude of eyes opened above it.
Doyle suddenly became unhinged. “Aaack!” He attacked Kahn, who was next to him, like a beast that had met its mortal enemy. Menacing black blades ejected from his fingernails. They were the product of the combination of Persephone’s and the Heavenly Demon’s holy power.
Kahn was caught off-guard and injured. He’d never expected that Doyle, of all people, would attack him. Just before the black blades could slice through his neck, Galliard rushed from behind and rammed Doyle to the ground.
Boom! At the same time, Victoria recited a curse that wrapped invisible chains around Doyle.
“Grr! Grawr!” Doyle thrashed around like a captured wild animal. His eyes pulsed with demonic energy as the veins on his face and arms swelled up.
“What in the world?” Kahn glowered in disgust at the blinking eyes that were observing them. Their appearance was likely related to Doyle’s abrupt assault, but before Kahn could say anything, eyes began to move through the shade. Creatures with sinister auras seemed to rip through the blanket of shadows. They were the subordinates of the Titans and the Giants. The creatures that the party had only ever seen in battle roared as one. Graahh!
“Wh-what’s going on?”
“Why are those things here…?”
Shocked expressions appeared on the faces of Dis Pluto, who had just been relaxing and celebrating. The monsters quickly moved to carry out their masters’ order: kill everything that breathed.
“It’s an ambush! The Titans are ambushing us!”
“Get in formation!”
“Weapons! Bring the weapons!”
Dis Pluto began to move hurriedly, but most of them had left their weapons in the barracks so that they could enjoy the festivities. They had also been unprepared for any danger because they were inside the holy territory. The damage the monsters inflicted on them was great.
“What in the world…?”
Shock gripped the members of Yeon-woo’s party as well. This was the core of Hades’ territory, where the Temple of the King of the Underworld Stood. None of them had ever imagined an attack in his place. They quickly whipped out their weapons.
『Rip everyone apart…we’ve finally entered the heart of Hades! Olympus…is there…brothers…return the humiliation…of the past!』
Titans hundreds of kilometers tall stretched out and began to strike the temple. The Titans that had appeared at the frontlines at Buwangji were accompanied by Giants that they had never seen before. They were around five meters tall, with lion heads and snake bodies or other monstrous forms.
Their appearances were befitting of the children of Gaia, who birthed all kinds of monsters. The problem was that they seemed to have absorbed Kronos’ power as well, and so their strengths didn’t fall short of the Titans’. In fact, a few of the Giants even seemed to surpass the Titans.
The gods of Olympus quickly realized what was going on and began to move. It didn’t matter how the intruders managed to invade the holy territory, it was more urgent to deal with them first.
“How dare you! Who do you think you are?!” Poseidon released his power as he raised his trident. With a rumble, storms whirled around and started to batter the larger Titans.
Apollo raised his bow and shot glowing arrows one after the other. Artemis pulled out her twin swords and slashed through the Giants. Athena, Ares, Hermes, Dionysus, and the other gods released their divine powers.
It was the beginning of the Gigantomachia! The fallen Titans and Giants had risen once more to commence a new war. The Temple of the King of the Underworld became a battlefield of gods in an instant.
“Victoria, please take Henova and Doyle somewhere far away from here. Kahn, Galliard, and Creutz, please look for Lam and help restore Dis Pluto’s battle lines. Brahm, please accompany me to the temple.”
Even in the middle of the pandemonium, Yeon-woo calmly assessed the situation to the best of his abilities. It was apparent that all escape routes had been blocked, so it was crucial that they set up the battle lines and end the confusion first.
‘The energy I feel from them is…familiar.’ The energy that the Giants were exuding wasn’t strange at all, but it was clear that it had something more than just Kronos’ power. He needed to find out what it was.
No one argued against his orders, and everyone quickly moved to carry them out as Yeon-woo and Brahm rushed to the Temple of the King of the Underworld. It was where the most intense battles were taking place, and any mortals who stepped in risked being killed. However, neither Yeon-woo nor Brahm cared.
『Hyung, this is…』
“Yeah. You’re right.”
Jeong-woo was thinking the same thing as Yeon-woo, and so he was outside the pocket watch with a grim expression.
[Infected Mother Earth looks at you fixedly.]
He bit his lower lip at the message popping up only for him. It had followed him around ever since he’d killed Aether, but he hadn’t been able to tell Yeon-woo about it.
Yeon-woo just read the remnants of the energy and nodded heavily. “Vieira Dune. It’s her energy. What did she do?”
It was technically the holy power of Mother Earth, but Mother Earth had been infected by Vieira Dune, so it was the same thing. They didn’t know how she’d managed to pull the attack off.
Mother Earth’s holy power was oozing thickly out of the shadow that fell across Hades’ holy territory. What had she done? Yeon-woo had no idea, but he was sure of one thing: the person Mother Earth/Vieira Dune was working with. ‘Persephone.’
She’d been acting very suspiciously, and no one else had the means to do it. Also, it was easy to understand her motivations. In the legends of Hades and Persephone, Persephone had always been the injured party, and it was reasonable to think that she’d grown vindictive and planned the uprising. Did Hades know this would happen? Yeon-woo thought he did. He might have even been expecting his death. Yeon-woo had sensed his feelings accurately when he accepted Kynee.
“I should be the one thanking you. Our soldiers are in high spirits thanks to your efforts. If not for your assistance, Tartarus would’ve crumbled long ago.” The smile that Hades had given him lingered in Yeon-woo’s mind. It was cold but also caring. Hades wasn’t someone who could just die like this.
More than anything, there was no way Yeon-woo would allow Vieira Dune to fulfill her desires. Swish. Yeon-woo clenched his teeth and stepped on Wind Path, hoping Hades was safe.
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