“Why are you like this even until the end?” Persephone muttered quietly as she looked at Hades. He was kneeling and supporting himself with a sword, looking as though he were simply taking a breather after an intense battle.
Despite her cold wintery aura, for a moment, different emotions flickered on her face. She had always resented her husband. He had stolen her youth, but…there were times when she’d nearly reciprocated his feelings.
He had always loved her sincerely. Although he’d never been able to properly express himself because of his indifferent personality, it was impossible for her not to know how much effort he took to appease her. Because of that, she had contemplated for a long time before deciding to make a contract with Mother Earth.
Although she had resented her husband at first, after some time passed, she had begun to let go of her hard feelings. She’d hesitated because she knew that making a contract with Mother Earth would mean endangering Olympus, where her mother was.
When Hades discovered her secret, Persephone hadn’t yet been an Apostle of Mother Earth. If Hades had spoken with her instead of running away, perhaps things would have turned out differently today. “Horrible fool.”
But those possibilities were meaningless now. “Because of you, I’ve become a villain, someone who has betrayed both husband and family while you’ll remain someone great.” She had made her decision, and she couldn’t turn back now. “In that case, I’ll become an even greater villain.”
Persephone stroked Hades’ face with her hand. There was still warmth lingering on his unshaven face. Before it could disappear, Hades’ body disintegrated. Whoosh.
Persephone’s expression stiffened. “It’s not here…?” She opened her palm. It was filled with dust that slipped between her fingers. The important thing that she should be holding wasn’t there, the thing that only the King of the Underworld possessed: the godly ability of death.
After the Black King had faded away, many godly societies had taken a piece of this. In Olympus, Hades had been the recipient, and he had descended to the Underworld with it.
But where was it? Why couldn’t she see it? It was impossible for it to be lost, and she looked around just in case she’d missed it. But even as Hades’ dust faded away, she couldn’t find it at all.
A thought occurred to Persephone. “Is it possible?” Had Hades already given it to someone else? She thought of Yeon-woo, but she couldn’t think of when they might have made the exchange. The throne wasn’t something that could be handed over that easily. Also, since the recipient was a mere mortal, the system and Allforone would have refused to allow it to happen.
Had Hades made his preparations expecting this? When? The questions that filled her head didn’t change the fact that the power of the throne had been taken right from under her nose.
The power of the throne was a necessary part of making Tartarus completely hers because it possessed the right of ownership. Persephone slowly stood. “You made things complicated until the end. I do hate you.” With those words, she released the last of her level which she’d been suppressing.
Whoosh. Her body disappeared with the wind, and a shadow crept along the ground of the holy territory.
* * *
It was around then that darkness began to flood the ground like water, rising up to the knees of those remaining on the battlefield before releasing a black haze in the air. The haze rose in streams, twisting like pretzels until they formed thousands of huge tentacles that shot up to the sky as though a cage had been set over the holy territory.
“What is that?” Athena, who was fighting Krios, had a sudden ominous feeling and looked up. Hermes, Ares, Poseidon, and the others who were dealing with Typhon also turned to see what was happening.
The tentacles began to combine into a black shape with a strange aura that exuded a power that should not be manifesting. It was the aura of the common enemy of all gods and demons, Mother Earth. She was attempting to descend.
“What are you doing, Typhon>” Poseidon glared at Typhon, but Typhon just laughed maniacally.
“Hahaha! Looks like our queen has decided to go all the way. She tried to stay above the fray, but I guess things haven’t gone as she hoped.” As soon as his laughter ended, the black form exploded and darkness spread across the sky.
Boom! It slowly took shape, growing to an enormous size that made the Titans look tiny. Although only its torso could be seen, its shadow was gigantic enough to loom over the entire Tartarus. Soon, Persephone’s face emerged from the gigantic entity. She looked down at the ground, her torn wings of darkness spreading behind her as she directly manifested Mother Earth.
She roared, and storms churned, sweeping away both divine beings and superior beings as they battled. The columns of the temples were pulled up by the roots, and the ground turned over, forming large mountains.
Persephone was so large that she couldn’t speak or use Open Speaking. However, her powerful will could be interpreted by everyone present: Find him. Catch him. She rolled her eyes as she projected her will onto Tartarus once more.
* * *
[The hidden true name of Vigrid-???, Durendal, is released.]
[Folklore: Giant assasination]
Whoosh! Whoosh! The flames blazed.
[You have succeeded in killing Tityos. The killing of another god has been added to your achievements.]
[You have achieved…]
[You have succeeded in stealing a piece of holiness from Tityos. The holiness is added to the incomplete sections of the throne.]
[You have gained an additional clue on transcendence.]
Even though they’d managed to avoid Krios and Typhon, Dis Pluto’s troubles didn’t end. Titans and Giants intensified their chase, rushing in to take advantage of this opportunity to completely eliminate Dis Pluto and nip any future problems in the bud.
Yeon-woo had to destroy them while Shanon, Hanryeong, Rebecca, and Boo prevented them from moving. He spread his Fire Wings, flying among the enemies. He lost count of the number of monsters and gods he cut down.
Because he was fighting too many at once, the Philosopher’s Stone began to overheat. Although he had the purple magic power of the Soulstone and his Demonic Draconic Divine Body that had been awakened to the fourth step, they weren’t enough to remove his mental exhaustion.
If there was a silver lining, it was that he could steal a bit of holiness from gods when he killed them. Previously, he didn’t know what to do with holiness and had only guessed it, but after receiving the power of the throne from Hades, he finally understood what to do.
Holiness was the power that allowed one to possess a divine level. It wasn’t always good to have an enormous divine level. Although it gave you the upper hand in battles, you also risked falling as much as you rose since maintaining a high divine level put a lot of stress on the soul. It also created a lot of vulnerabilities.
However, if you possessed a great amount of holiness, things were different. Holiness was the power that allowed you to maintain a level and make it steady. However, it wasn’t easy to gain holiness. You had to gain a lot of followers or acquire the knowledge to replace it with transcendence.
However, unlike gods with countless followers, there were constraints on how Yeon-woo could gain holiness because he was a mortal. He couldn’t use the power of the throne because of his lack of divine level, but if he could steal holiness from those he killed, he could make up for it and build a foundation as he steadily awakened the power of the throne.
[With the acquired holiness, the sealed power ‘Eyes Within Darkness’ has been successfully released.]
[The power ‘Eyes Within Darkness’ is being used to recognize the nature of the Underworld.]
To a limited extent, he could use the power of the throne as he awakened the powers. He had bound the power of gods and demons to wings because of how hard it was to control them, but he had no need to do that with the power of the throne since it stemmed from a domain he already possessed.
Boom! How many times had he swung the Ruyi Bang and Vigrid? “Ha..ha…ha...” Yeon-woo and Dis Pluto were nearly at their destination, the Myeongbujeon. Yeon-woo could see the great mountain, Kronos’ corpse, that divided the land. The pocket watch in his breast pocket trembled the closer he grew to the corpse, reacting in the same manner as the Cast of the Black King. Since Kronos had the power of the Black King, it was probably an automatic response. However, Yeon-woo didn’t have the time to wonder about it. “They’re coming again.” A new group had appeared in pursuit.
「Dammit. I’m fighting to my heart’s content today. What are those Olympus bastards doing? Why didn’t they take care of those?」 Shanon grumbled with an exhausted expression. It was fun to grow, but balance was important too. Fighting continuously like this was tiring him out.
『Human…I’ll kill you this time…!』
「Him again? Doesn’t he get tired?」
Iapetos’ face appeared. Yeon-woo had thought he would meet his end after releasing all his divinity, but there he was running towards them in his giant form, looking like he’d recovered.
Of course, he was weaker compared to before, but he was still leagues ahead of lower-level divine beings. He exuded a murderous intent, clearly wanting to pay back the humiliation he’d suffered.
“Your Majesty.” Dis Pluto looked at Yeon-woo in concern.
“Go ahead first since we’re not that far away.” Without waiting for their reply, Yeon-woo rolled out his wings and shot towards Iapetos. He was putting a lot of stress on his body, but he unfurled both wings of death and fight at the same time, the countless powers supporting the power of the throne.
Yeon-woo directly clashed with Iapetos, blowing him back. Iapetos grunted, his eyes widening. He didn’t expect to lose based on strength alone. How did the mortal become so strong in the span of only a few months?
Yeon-woo rushed towards him again. He had already used Sky Wings multiple times, and so he didn’t have much time left. He needed to end things before he bumped into the limit.
Boom! He brandished the Ruyi Bang with Vigrid, slicing Iapetos’ chest open. Black smoke spurted out like blood—the remnants of Kronos. The Despair of the Black King sucked in the black smoke.
Iapetos’ eyes turned red as the same thing as before happened again. He couldn’t allow his power to be stolen from him like that once more, but Yeon-woo was a difficult opponent. With every clash, he suffered more injuries.
As they battled, Yeon-woo began to reach his physical limits. He kept suffering internal injuries, and Iapetos broke his limbs multiple times. Yeon-woo had to regenerate them again and again.
Rumble. The two were pushed back by a large collision. When Yeon-woo flapped his wings to end the fight, something unexpected occurred: a black tsunami appeared and began to head their way.
『My queen! What is…!』 Iapetos was swallowed up by the black tsunami before he could even finish speaking, and the tsunami tried to swallow Yeon-woo next.
Persephone? Mother Earth? Or Vieira Dune? He didn’t know for sure who it was, but it was certain that the black tsunami that looked like sticky tar wasn’t something he could fight.
『Hyung!』 Jeong-woo shouted out, seeing the danger.
Yeon-woo gritted his teeth and beat his wings to retreat quickly, not forgetting to collect all the souls and monsters lying around. If they were eaten by the darkness, it would be hard to find them again.
‘I can’t let it get to Dis Pluto.’ Yeon-woo scanned Myeongbujeon. Dis Pluto was nearing the column of light. Kahn and the others were helping them get to the higher floors as Yeon-woo had ordered.
He had to buy more time. Just as he was about to turn, the black tsunami abruptly changed its course and moved towards the column of light as though it knew what Yeon-woo was thinking. “Shit!”
Yeon-woo returned and shot his powers one after the other to delay the tsunami, but he barely affected the tsunami and couldn’t even slow it down.
Give me…the throne.
The tsunami’s thoughts annoyed Yeon-woo. He could sense the voice of Mother Earth mixed with either Persephone’s or Vieira Dune’s voice. It sounded like it was obsessed with him. Soon, Yeon-woo reached the column of light, however, less than half of the members of Dis Pluto had ascended. The situation was truly dangerous.
Yeon-woo stopped retreating and gripped the Ruyi Bang. Even though he risked being swallowed by the tsunami, he needed to stop it.
Yeon-woo began looking for solutions. Mother Earth and Persephone’s tsunami was right at his feet, and the wings of death and fight weren’t enough to block it. He needed help, but Athena, Hermes, and the others were tied up as well.
In that moment, Yeon-woo read the many gazes that were looking at him.
[The King of Seven Hells watches your throne.]
[Ksitigarbha watches your throne.]
The gods and demons of death had watched Yeon-woo without too many reactions after he received the throne from Hades. He finally understood why. They were trying to help him.
They didn’t see him as someone to test but acknowledged him as Hades’ successor—someone who was an equal. Even though that wasn’t quite reality yet, it would be one day in the future.
When he realized this, Yeon-woo found himself holding a new ace. Regular time returned, and just before Mother Earth’s black tsunami reached him, Yeon-woo licked his lips. “Come.”
As soon as he spoke, black-red light exploded and expanded from his body. Flash. It burned brighter than the wing of death ever had. At that moment, all 666 gods and demons of death manifested into Yeon-woo’s body.
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