Chapter 554 - Kronos (4)

“Hahaha! Everyone was shouting ‘hero’ this and ‘hero’ that! It’s really true, you’re a true hero!” Ignoring Shanon’s respectful(?) gaze, Yeon-woo descended to the ground. At that moment, Hercules strode forward and embraced him.

Unfortunately, Hercules was a head taller than Phante and his muscles were so solid, it was as though he were covered in heavy armor. In fact, these were the same tremendous muscles that had helped poke holes in Typhon just moments ago.

‘Breath, I’m out of breath…!’ Yeon-woo thought that his body would shatter and disintegrate. He even considered the possibility that Persephone might have sent Hercules to assassinate him.

“Ahem! The King of the Underworld seems to be having a hard time, perhaps you should let him go so we can talk?” One of Hercules’ lieutenants coughed.

“Hahaha! He must have tired himself out after such a fierce fight with Typhon!” Hercules smiled brightly and released Yeon-woo, pounding Yeon-woo on the back to show his appreciation. His hand was the size of the lid of a pot used to cook food for entire battalions. Bam! Bam! “Why does our hero look so tired? You, you’re much weaker than you look, aren’t you? I can’t allow this to continue. I must buy you some good medicine to strengthen your constitution.”

Yeon-woo was in his present state purely because of Hercules’ brute strength, but Hercules’s squeezing and beating prevented him from saying anything. He was already starting to feel motion sickness and nausea.  ‘Where the hell does his strength come from?’

Even if there was a legend that Hercules was the most powerful among Zeus’ offspring, Yeon-woo was also an outstanding talent who had defeated Typhon. Yeon-woo could withstand most physical shocks, but Hercules’ brute strength went above and beyond anything that he had ever faced before. ‘I heard that for a short while, he even took over for Atlas, who had to hold up the world as punishment for his sins…so maybe he’s naturally strong?’ All Yeon-woo could think of now was how to Hercules’ hand.

Unfortunately, Hercules showed no signs of stopping. Before Yeon-woo could even save Athena and the others, he thought that his bones might all break. He frowned so deeply that the skin between his brows bunched up. 

***

“Failed? Helios?” Theia summoned all the Titans scattered throughout Tartarus to the Temple of the King of the Underworld. She’d been worried about Helios’ radio silence, and then, she received a report from one of her daughters, Selene. Her expression hardened after she listened to it.

“Yes, Mother. We found traces of the sacrifices that Helios had offered near Kronos’ corpse…but nothing else.”

“This doesn’t make sense…!” Theia slammed her fist into the table. Helios was her irreplaceable son. He was a talented child that once possessed the domain of the sun before Apollo had taken it away, and Theia believed that he would one day resurrect the Titans and lead them to glory. That child had sacrificed himself to activate Kronos’ time and restart Kronos’ clock. And yet, such a talented and courageous person had died such a futile and dog-like death? With nothing to show for it?

The joy she had felt after hearing about Typhon’s death and Persephone’s losses only lasted for a brief moment. Theia managed to suppress the anger that was rising up her body. If she could follow her heart, she would lead the Titans to Kronos and search for Helios, who might still be alive somewhere.

Zing! Suddenly, a portal opened next to Theia and Selene. A middle-aged man with an anxious face appeared. It was Hyperion, the father of Theia's children. Although he did not obtain the position of the supreme god of the Titans, he was still the highest-ranking god because of his formidable fighting power. He also served as the war god and led Titan’s forces. “Forget about Helios for a moment. The Gigantes bastards are trying to descend.”

Theia nodded. This was the reason she gathered the Titans at the Great Temple of the King of the Underworld. She knew that the Gigantes would take the opportunity to attack. The newly enthroned Persephone would never allow anyone below her to fling mud on her face.

Even though Hades had showered her with unwavering love, Persephone had never let go of the grudge she had for Hades after he’d forced her to live with him. This was who Persephone was, and no matter how much time passed, she never forgot her grudges and always sought revenge. As long as Kronos’ corpse remained, it was obvious that she would try to retaliate.

Along with the Gigantes, she would probably also bring Mother Earth’s forces to vanquish the Titans. Everything now hinged on Asgard and Yeon-woo.

‘For now, we should focus on defense.’ Theia believed that if they could block the first assault, the Titans’ independence would be guaranteed. Persephone could not focus on battling the Titans forever. Even if she had a temporary ceasefire agreement with Yeon-woo, her back would itch too much to keep the agreement past its due date.

Phew! Theia made a long exhale. If her plan had worked, she would have awakened Kronos, boosted the Titans’ powers even more, and overwhelmed the Gigantes by now. However, it seemed that they had to wait a little longer. “Gather your troops. Everyone must mobilize.” Theia’s eyes glowed with an intense light.

At that, a full-scale war between the Titans and Gigantes began.

***

[The godly society <Asgard> declares retreat!]

[The godly society <Asgard> frowns at the infighting within <Olympus>.]

[<Asgard> has begun serious discussions about its withdrawal.]

[Thor continues to request <Asgard> to continue its participation.]

[Baldur expresses his displeasure.]

[Serious discussions within <Asgard> have become heated due to differing opinions!]

Asgard was fed up with the clash between the Titans and Gigantes and had temporarily retreated. Thinking that they no longer had to participate in the war, Agares and the others visited Yeon-woo.

“Huh? What’s this? Old Prince Nezha and friendly Erlang Shen? And Agares and Fenrir, too? Did you guys get a discount on a group tour? Eh? Even giants?” Hercules looked in disbelief at faces around him, recognizing them from when he was still running around in Olympus. However, he couldn’t understand what could make them all gather in this place.  

No matter how much Hercules tried to recall the past, it didn’t seem like this collection of beings had ever gathered like this before. The giants that he’d believed extinct were even here. As soon as he and Valdebich met each other’s eyes, Hercules felt his hands itch. Giants were supposed to be natural warriors, and Hercules wanted to see how good they really were and whether they lived up to their reputation as true warriors.

Valdebich also felt the same itch, and he glared back at Hercules, his hand already moving to his greatsword, Claymore. Of course, considering the surroundings and place, nothing happened. Hercules’ eyes turned to Yeon-woo, bright with fascination. ‘The more I look at him, the more interesting this guy gets.’

At first, Hercules had believed that Yeon-woo was just a hero of Tartarus, but now, Hercules felt that Yeon-woo already possessed the ability to become the leader of a heavenly society. ‘I want him.’ Hercules licked his dry lips and swallowed. Of course, he wasn’t behaving like this because of something like sexual urges. It was because people like him were greedy for talent, especially since Olympus so urgently needed it at the moment.

Unfortunately, people who saw his actions could only see him as a pervert drooling over something he desired.

Tremble! Yeon-woo shuddered all of a sudden as a feeling of anxiety flashed through him.

Hey, put your sick eyes away before I poke them out, Hercules. Agares said, narrowing his eyes.

Hercules just snorted, not discouraged in the least. “I don’t want to hear from a perverted guy who’s chosen to appear as a child.”

What?Agares growled as if he were ready to charge at Hercules at any moment. Next to him, Fenrir also started barking loudly as if he wanted to make his presence known. Woof! Woof! Woof!

“You’re so popular, it must make you feel good.” Prince Nezha burst into laughter as he watched the three argue. He had returned to his human form again as if he had never been a three-headed, six-armed monster.

Yeon-woo pretended not to listen. He never cared about what other people desired or wanted in the first place. Prince Nezha burst into laughter once more when he saw Yeon-woo being so aloof.

***

“First, we should discuss what we should do next.” Once everyone calmed down, Hercules began talking even though his eyes were still focused on Yeon-woo. Although he led the largest group of resistors, Yeon-woo had been appointed by Hades as the true king of Tartarus.

Hercules acknowledged Yeon-woo’s authority and was ready to consolidate all systems under Yeon-woo. That way, once the various resistance forces gathered together, they would be forced to bow to Yeon-woo even if they didn’t like it.

Hercules wasn’t the only one. Dis Pluto, the resistors, and even the representatives of the alliance all focused on Yeon-woo. Since he was in charge now, they all wondered what plan he had in mind.

After thanking Hercules with a brief glance, Yeon-woo returned their glances and began speaking as he ignored the way Hercules made his muscles bulge out as he returned Yeon-woo’s look. “We have a lot of work to do in Tartarus. We need to gather the scattered resistance forces and recapture the Temple of the King of the Underworld. We must also defeat the Titans and Gigantes and restore Olympus. However, there is something more urgent than that.”

Hercules anticipated what Yeon-woo was about to say and nodded in agreement with his arms crossed.

“We must rescue the great gods of Olympus.” Imbued with magic power, Yeon-woo’s words were distinct in everyone’s ears.

Everyone, including Dis Pluto, clenched their fists. At last, the moment that they had been longing for had finally arrived. However, Hercules’ lieutenant raised his hand to speak up. “The King of the Underworld is right, but there’s one problem.”

“What is it?”

“We do not know where the high-ranking gods of Olympus are or how to find them.”

The rebels nodded with glum expressions. They’d thought of rescuing their gods many times, and if they’d only known where the gods were, they would have already made their way there already.

Hercules agreed and turned to Yeon-woo to see if he had any solutions.

“They’re in Erebus.” When Yeon-woo answered without hesitation, everyone’s eyes widened in surprise.

Erebus was at the bottom of the world, a place farther down than Tartarus. It was known to devour all beings, and there was a folklore that said even elements couldn’t form there. Erebus was a fragment that had fallen out of the Great Chasm, which was also referred to as the darkness. The fact that they had willingly entered such a dangerous place meant that the high-ranking gods were in dire straits, and it was even possible their existences were already gone.

If Yeon-woo was right, they had to head to Erebus right away. Perhaps they might be able to save at least one god.

Hercules’ eyes were wide. “Is that true?”

“That’s right. However, I don’t know where they are in Erebus.”

“Do you have any evidence?”

“The Changgong Library.”

“Have you ever been there?” It was impossible to gain access to the Changgong Library unless one was at the level of a supreme god. Hercules was so startled at Yeon-woo’s achievements that all he could do was laugh. He could not even guess Yeon-woo’s limits anymore, and his desire to obtain such a talent increased even more.

“By coincidence,” Yeon-woo said curtly as if it were nothing special. He looked around. “Fortunately, the conflict between the Titans and Gigantes has reached a climax, and Asgard has decided to retreat. There’s no better time than the present. I want to open the door to Erebus right away. Does anyone know how?”

No one answered Yeon-woo’s question since they were all busy exchanging looks. Hercules groaned as he covered his face with his hand. “As far as I know, Erebus has always been a top-secret area even in Olympus, so only the three supreme gods would know. Didn’t that old geezer Hades ever tell you?”

Yeon-woo shook his head. When he had succeeded to Hades’ throne, he was being chased and there hadn’t been any time to learn anything from Hades. There were still many things that Yeon-woo did not know.

A deep crease formed on Hercules’ forehead. “I’m pretty sure that geezer, Poseidon, must have opened the door to Erebus. That means there’s only one other way left.”

“We’ll have to wake Zeus up.”

“Wait, no! That’s impossible! Even I, the great Hercules, don’t even know where that geezer is! If I had to take a guess, he’s probably somewhere in the heavenly world, and it’s not like we can go there now, right?”

As long as Persephone and Mother Earth were blocking their way to the heavens, accessing the heavenly world would be difficult. Also, Yeon-woo had yet to obtain the qualifications to go up to the ninety-eight floor. In the end, there was only one option left. “Then we either take over the Temple of the King of the Underworld or sneak in and look at the records related to Erebus.”

Hercules frowned as if he was not satisfied with this option either. However, without any warning, a bright red light flashed in front of Yeon-woo. Whoosh!

[At the request of the original owner, a transfer of ownership has begun!]

Shanon and Hanryeong appeared from the shadows in front of Yeon-woo to protect him. Hercules and the others also readied their weapons, wondering if it was a sneak attack.

“Stop!” Yeon-woo sensed something and quickly shouted at his companions, running towards the red light. The others might not have recognized it, but Yeon-woo was familiar with the energy source.

As soon as the pale red glow disappeared, a broken, nine-layer shield fell from the sky. Yeon-woo quickly caught it before it could hit the ground. It was Aegis, Athena’s weapon, and it had been returned to Yeon-woo. There was a fragment of a word on Aegis’ surface: “—lp.”

Yeon-woo instantly recognized that it was a request for help.  

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