Chapter 559 - Kronos (9)

One after the other, black and red lightning bolts fell from the sky near Kronos’ corpse. Crash! Crash! Crash!

How did this…?

###...the King of the Underworld…has appeared…! Need…to…let…know…!

The Titans who had followed Helios and still waited for him to come out were thrown into chaos as Sword Thunder pierced their chests in an unexpected attack. They had no idea that Yeon-woo and his party would show up, expecting them to try to take the Temple of the King of the Underworld, where there were traces of Hades, or move to Erebus. They also thought he might try to aim for the Gigantes and Persephone. They never considered that Yeon-woo’s party would attack them, and now they were caught shorthanded. Those on the outskirts hurriedly tried to open their Channel with Theia to inform her of Yeon-woo’s attack.

Crack! “I’m sorry, but we’d like to move as cautiously and as quietly as possible.”

They thought they saw something flash, but even before they understood what was happening, their decapitated heads were already rising in the air. Prince Nezha, Erlang Shen, Agares, and Fenrir, had quickly eliminated them. Hercules also appeared, laughing cheerfully as if he were having the time of his life.

Athena was a little startled by the sight of the great beings working together. They were all gods with outstanding skills, and each one of them could reach the status of a supreme god. How did Yeon-woo build such friendly relations with them and bring them over to his side? She felt awed by his abilities. ‘It doesn’t seem like he’s exuviated yet…but he can still overwhelm the Titans.’

As if he were making a point that Syceus’ defeat wasn’t a fluke, Yeon-woo used Sword Thunder, its brilliance leaving a lasting impression on Athena. Crackle! The Titans were reduced to dust by Yeon-woo’s strikes.

“Let’s move.” Yeon-woo put the steaming Vigrid down, observing the situation and spreading his Sky Wings. Athena nodded and followed Yeon-woo. Although deprived of her divine throne, Athena still possessed a considerable amount of divine power, so she was more agile than most of the lower gods.

Yeon-woo and Athena had landed on Kronos’ face. Since many years had passed since he’d lain on the ground, his face was covered in vegetation and looked like a mountain ridge. The endless gorges and caves only gave them a rough idea of Kronos’ facial features.

Rumble! Rumble! The Casts on Yeon-woo’s limbs trembled in unison. Athena was slightly startled.

“Your…?”

“They said that Kronos was an Apostle of the Black King, so it makes sense they would react like this.” Yeon-woo did not spare too much thought on it. In fact, from the time he first entered Tartarus, the Casts of the Black King had reacted strongly the closer he got to Kronos’ corpse. Perhaps this was only natural since Casts remembered their original owner, and they could see that his former Apostle was now in a pitiful state. Of course the Casts would resonate with the traces of divine power, and because they were closer than ever, the Casts were reacting more strongly than before.

“I’m going to head in.”

“Is it really all right to enter on your own? We can go together…!” Athena asked worriedly, but Yeon-woo shook his head resolutely.

“It’s much easier for me to go in alone.”

Athena was a bit saddened by Yeon-woo’s terse rejection, but she knew that she would only be in the way if she followed, so she meekly nodded and backed away. However, concern still remained in her eyes as she watched Yeon-woo.

Typhon’s words kept ringing in her ears. The divine domain of time would ensnare the existence of anyone who came into contact with Kronos without any preparation and suspend them in a state of pause forever. Typhon also said that he did not know how to rewind Kronos’ clockwork and that only Mother Earth and her Apostle, Persephone, knew the process. Despite this, Yeon-woo was still determined to jump into Kronos.

Yeon-woo’s plan terrified Athena and his companions, but he dispelled their concerns at once. Kronos had been the Apostle of the Black King, but Yeon-woo himself was a successor of the Black King. As far as Yeon-woo was concerned, he and Kronos were in equal positions, so he most likely wouldn’t be paused. If he encountered any trouble, he could simply call on emptiness and the chains.

In the end, no one could convince Yeon-woo not to go, and they decided to simply secure the area until he came back. At this point, the Titans and Gigantes were probably busy battling each other, but it was still best to be prepared in case something unexpected happened.

“As I said earlier, if I don’t show up by the deadline we set, please pull this chain. You’ll be able to understand Kronos’ inner structure as well.” Yeon-woo placed the end of the chain in Athena’s hand.

It would be as complicated as a maze inside Kronos’ corpse, and in order to find his way back, Yeon-woo had decided to follow the example of Theseus using Ariadne’s string in the legends. He left the end of the chain with Athena so she could pull him out. It would help him find his way back and in the worst case, Athena would be able to retrieve his paused body if he was afflicted with a divine disease.

If that happened, Athena and the others would still be able to understand the workings of Kronos’s corpse by reading the vestiges of his paused self, and it wouldn’t be a total loss.

“All right. But don’t overdo it.”

“OK.” Yeon-woo nodded and threw himself into the cave which they believed was Kronos’ mouth.

“Please be safe.” Athena quietly prayed as she stared at the darkness that swallowed up Yeon-woo.

***

‘It’s deep.’ This was all Yeon-woo could think about as soon as he entered the darkness. He fell without end until he didn’t even know if he was still falling. All his senses were sealed off, and only his consciousness remained. Or rather, it was more accurate to say that his senses had been paused. ‘My consciousness is fairly strong, so it shouldn’t succumb too easily, but it’s probably just a matter of time before it gets paused as well.’

The senses of transcendent beings weren’t limited to the usual five that mortals possessed. They could also sense the law of natural order and understand what was happening with the world. They could tap into the metaphysical realm and sense the flow of time and space, as well as the various causalities that existed within.

If a being possessed an awareness that could contemplate the entire universe, what would they feel if they were suddenly thrown into a place that made that impossible? They would probably collapse very quickly. Regardless of one’s mental strength, it was difficult to withstand the loss of something that one had enjoyed throughout one's entire life. The transcendents would probably consider a place like this hell.

How would a being who possessed an absolute awareness system that overlooked the entire universe feel if suddenly thrown into a place like this, where everything comes to a complete standstill?

However, Yeon-woo had gone through the Five Mountains of Penances, and he’d already experienced extended time through Time Difference. It wouldn’t be too hard for him. ‘It seems like the abyss.’ He had already grown accustomed to the abyss, which would make any ordinary person go insane.

Of course, that did not mean that this was a good place. Just because it wasn’t surprising or unfamiliar didn’t mean he liked it. He still wanted to recover the senses that had been paused by this place. At first, he’d planned on using the Casts of the Black King to do so. ‘Instead of that…I think this may also be possible…’

Yeon-woo was thinking of using the same method as the one he used to find his way through the abyss. Yeon-woo focused and controlled his thoughts, sending all his mental energy towards a single point. Once he’d fully captured it with his will, he twisted it to create the image he had in mind and began his Illusory Change.

Yeon-woo suddenly felt his paused senses opening up. Whoosh! He could now see. “What is this…?” Yeon-woo’s expression grew stiff from shock. The world was not growing brighter. The darkness around him was still absolute. However, there were things moving in the darkness.

I thought then. That I would take the throne. Drag that crazy bastard down…

Another son was born. A son!

Why. Look. Become like this. A spirit.

Letters swam around like fish, combining and separating. Some formed a single line of text like ones found in a diary, and others combined into mysterious sentences. It was a familiar scene for Yeon-woo. “It looks like the inside of Jeong-woo’s pocket watch…?”

However, that world where Jeong-woo’s vestige body slept and dreamt the same dream over and over was completely white, while this place was completely black. Why did the inside of Kronos look the same? For a moment, the side of Yeon-woo’s chest itched. He could tell that he was missing a very large piece of the puzzle, but he had no idea what it was. Frustration choked him.

Yeon-woo quickly looked around, wondering if he would find any clues among the letters.

Rhea was very beautiful, and she was also very hateful.

Zeus! What a loathsome name!

However, Yeon-woo soon realized that all the letters that made sense referred to legends that Kronos had achieved in the past. He had defeated Uranus to sit on the throne of Olympus, only to be usurped in turn by his own children, just as a prophecy had foretold. The letters described moments up to the point when Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades defeated Kronos and imprisoned him in the darkness of Tartarus. If Yeon-woo had written down what he’d seen in the murals of Olympus’ Treasury, the story would be the same. 

For a brief moment, Yeon-woo felt that he had become Kronos as Kronos’ complex sorrow overwhelmed him. However, he also felt a strong sense of déjà vu. These legends were from Kronos’ point of view—couldn’t they also be considered as a type of diary?

Sss. Some of the sentences broke apart into syllables, mixing and matching like Lego pieces. They were people—or had been at one point in the past. Those who’d entered Kronos’ corpse over the past thousands of years and were paused now began to take shape by using the letters. There were hundreds of them.

They said in unison, Who are you?

Since they couldn’t speak, they used the letters to communicate.

Why do you not bow your head in the presence of the king?

Those who wish to visit the king must kneel and bow their heads to show respect.

You will become a part of the king.

However, it is strange.

Why do you possess a power similar to that of our king?

You appear to be a human.

How do you possess a power that resembles that of our king and…

The moving sentences abruptly stopped and formed one last question: Why do you look like him?

The nagging feeling that Yeon-woo had now began to spread through his body, tightening around his neck. Those beings reassembled the letters to create a gigantic throne dozens of meters in height. It was ornately decorated and looked like something only a king could sit on. Other letters began to form a human-shaped figure who sat with his arms crossed and his head down, as though he were bored.

He wore a red crown and black clothing. Yeon-woo could not see his eyes clearly, but the uncomfortable feeling around his neck Yeon-woo now started twisting his soul. Yeon-woo began to feel short of breath as the missing puzzle piece gradually began to take shape. His skeptical mind was so stunned that he felt like it was all absurd.

But this was real.

The being on the throne slowly raised his head to meet Yeon-woo’s eyes. Yeon-woo felt as though his world were tinged in red, and he shouted as though he were trying to shake off the weight on his soul. His voice was filled with despair. “Father…!”

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