Chapter 567 - Qualification Test (8)

After putting Mother Earth to sleep, Kronos ruled as the most superior god. There were still divine beings who were as powerful as Kronos like Odin or the Yellow Emperor, but no one dared to challenge his authority. Kronos left a strong impression on many divine beings, and his powers, which transcended the laws of nature, made them wary. Only those like Cernunnos, who were strong enough to roam around without a society, could go toe to toe with him.

Eventually, Kronos was considered the closest thing to an emperor besides the conceptual gods and progenitor gods. Olympus’ renown only became greater. The godly societies grew to fear the Titans who led Olympus.

‘He’s barely holding on with his stronger mental capacity, but the effects of the curse are becoming worse. The Demonism is awakening.’ However, Yeon-woo could see that Kronos was in a precarious situation. However, Kronos himself wasn’t aware of the changes, and by the time he figured it out, he only thought of overcoming the curse that had eaten away at Uranus.  

‘This is retribution that I must endure.’ Kronos couldn’t tell anyone around after seeing what happened to Uranus when he was taken by the curse. He needed to plant fear in his enemies and behave as though he would sit on the throne forever. He had to be an impregnable fortress for his allies. It was like homework that he had to do himself.

“Kronos, you seem different these days. Is something the matter?”

Of course, Rhea, who was closest to Kronos, noticed the changes quickly.  

“No. It’s nothing.” However, Kronos coldly rejected her help. He didn’t want her to be involved with his issues. A long time had passed since the two had wedded. Although they had done so for political reasons, they already had a couple’s affection for each other.

Time flowed past, and Kronos grew harsher as a result of the curse. Eventually, he turned into a tyrant, and rebellions began to spring up here and there. Some occurred in places that didn’t acknowledge Olympus’ authority, and there were also forces in Olympus that were displeased by his rule as well.

However, none of them could defeat Kronos. He placed them all in the abyss that even the gods of Olympus feared to see in their dreams: Tartarus.

It seemed as though Kronos’ rule would last forever.

* * *

“Kronos, are you insane? How could you put the Hecatonchires in such a place…!”

Bam! One day, Rhea slammed the door open and stormed into Kronos’ office. She was panting heavily from running, her face twisted in fury.  

Kronos had just received a report from Atlas. He sent Atlas away and turned to Rhea with an indifferent face. Was it because he had sat on the throne for too long? It was difficult to see the impulsive scoundrel that he’d once been in his younger days, and the only thing left were cold eyes in an impassive face. “Rhea, this is the palace. What about behaving more prudently since walls have ears?”

“Sorry, but I don’t intend to listen to the words of a tyrant. I can’t let this one go. The Hecatonchires! Why are they in Tartarus?”

“Ah, that?”

Rhea became angrier at Kronos’ dispassionate expression. Uranus had cherished the Hecatonchires as much as he had the Titans. The monstrous-looking creatures were all strong enough to overwhelm the Titans, and they were also the gatekeepers of Olympus. If one looked at the bloodlines, the Hecatonchires shared more blood with Uranus than Uranus did with either Kronos or Rhea.

In fact, that was why there had been talk at the start about the Hecatonchires inheriting the throne instead. Unlike the other Titans, who distanced themselves from the Hecatonchires because they didn’t want more rivals, Rhea maintained a special relationship with them. She had been on her way to meet them, only to learn that they had been incarcerated. Of course, she couldn’t help being enraged.  

“Because they’ve sinned.”

“What?”

“We suppressed Theia some time ago, and they’ve been charged with being her accomplices.”

“Theia was caught before she could progress with her plans, and the Hecatonchires only went to talk with her! They didn’t know what it was going to be about!”

“If they haven’t sinned, it will be revealed during the investigation.”

“Kronos!” Rhea realized that Theia was just an excuse, and Kronos wasn’t planning to release the Hecatonchires. He only wanted to strengthen his authority and didn’t plan on leaving anyone who shared Uranus’ blood alone. Rhea grew even more frustrated. Who would challenge his power and his legitimacy as ruler now?

The more time passed, the more distant Kronos grew. Unlike the first years of his rule, he no longer cared about his siblings’ woes or encouraged the gods. He was now a tyrant who suppressed and eliminated anyone who argued with him.

Rhea felt pity for him. Where was the Kronos who’d boldly declared to advance Uranus’ mission? Who was this monster in his place? She had started to open up to him but that wouldn’t be possible anymore.  

However, Kronos didn’t seem to care. Rather, his gaze was focused on Rhea’s stomach. “Rhea, you?”

“I don’t want to speak with you.”

“Are you…pregnant?”

Kronos’ cold eyes shook for the first time, but Rhea covered her stomach and turned away. “I said, I don’t want to speak with you anymore.”

“How can you say that with my child in your belly?” Kronos quickly stood and grabbed Rhea’s arm. Rhea raised her arm to slap her husband, but when he went down on one knee and stared at her stomach, she flinched.

Kronos carefully stroked Rhea’s stomach. “My child…” Although the two had been married for a long time, they didn’t have a child yet since they had only recently shared romantic feelings with each other. Also, they found it difficult to conceive a child. However, for the first time, their efforts were successful. A smile appeared on Kronos’ face. “You have the warmth of your mother. I will call you Hestia so you can cherish that warmth forever.”

Rhea couldn’t do anything other than look at Kronos wordlessly.

* * *

After Hestia was born, the couple had two more daughters, Demeter and Hera. Then, they had sons named Hades and Poseidon. The gods of Olympus who had been worried about the line of succession breathed in relief. For some time, Kronos focused more on his family than anything else.

Rhea regained her laughter as Kronos seemed to return to his old self. However, the curse of Mother Earth still lingered in a part of his heart. You are cursed, like your father, with death at the hands of your child. 

* * *

“Kronos, what is the meaning of this! What….!”

“Don’t worry, Rhea. My children will be safe in my emptiness. Forever.”

“No! No!” Rhea shouted when she saw the madness in Kronos’ eyes. Their precious children, from Hestia to Poseidon, had entered Kronos’ mouth into the emptiness that could swallow everything in the world.

The considerate father who had laughed and played with their children just yesterday was gone. Rhea finally realized that Kronos wasn’t the same person—she was looking at something who wore Kronos’ appearance!

However, Kronos believed that he was only acting in a logical manner. Mother Earth’s curse was too powerful to disregard since the words of a conceptual god were binding.

Rhea gritted her teeth. ‘At the very least…I have to protect Zeus.’ She had kept her pregnancy a secret in order to surprise Kronos, but now, it seemed that she had to continue doing so for the child’s sake. She escaped Olympus, full of determination.

* * *

“Your name is Zeus, from the old god of gods, Dhyeus. Grow up to be as great as he was.” Rhea wiped her tears as she looked at the baby in her arms. She felt painfully sorry for her youngest child, who wouldn’t have his parents’ love like his siblings.

“She won’t be too far from here! Chase after her!”

She heard the voices of the pursuers that Kronos sent after her. “I love you, my son.” Rhea lightly kissed Zeus’ forehead and set him afloat down the river. Then, she turned to face her pursuers. They would not find Zeus, no matter what.   

* * *

“I’ve come to kill you, Kronos!” One day, after some time had passed, a fully grown Zeus appeared to challenge Kronos. He was a genius who retained his memories from when he was a baby, and he used these memories to clear through the hurdles of fate and become a great divine being.

Kronos’ madness had grown worse after he swallowed his children, and his mind had nearly been completely infected by the curse. The Demonism had put Kronos’ reason to sleep, and the only thing left in Kronos was a sense of duty to carry out Uranus’ mission. “No one can take it…my throne…this is what my father left me…!”

To Kronos, Zeus was only an enemy getting in the way of his mission. He didn’t realize that Zeus had received Oceanus’ help to force Kronos vomit out the children he’d swallowed.

“Father has changed so much…it pains me to see this.” After waiting in the emptiness for their escape, Hades and the other siblings gripped their chests in pain when they saw their fallen father. However, for the sake of their mother, Rhea, who had sacrificed herself to save them, they needed to stop Kronos.

War began. It was the beginning of the first Titanomachia.

* * *

After leading the long road to victory, the three new rulers of Olympus bound Kronos with divine iron and made their decisions.

『I will take Kronos’ divine ability.』 Hades stole the divine ability of death that induced fear in countless divine beings.

『I will take Kronos’ holy power.』 Poseidon took Uranus’ holy power, which had allowed Kronos to become so powerful.

『I will take Kronos’ faith.』 And finally, Zeus took over Kronos’ temples throughout the universe and sat on Olympus’ throne.

『Finally, Kronos will be incarcerated in Tartarus!』 At the command of the new supreme gods, Kronos was stripped of everything and locked up in Tartarus like the traitors.  

‘No…succeed Father…! Defeat the traitors…lead Olympus…!’ Kronos tried a final move using what was left of his mind. He pulled out the most important component of his existence, the clockwork.  

Even though he was being devoured by the Demonism, Kronos occasionally regained his senses and made multiple preparations. The domains of time and death transcended the laws of nature, so he needed to organize them once in a while. He had been organizing his legends under the keyword “clock”.

Springs were the main component of his clockwork. They were the core and energy, as well as the keys that allowed Kronos to function. Kronos tossed the spring into the unknown without anyone realizing, not even Olympus or the heavenly world.

Although he didn’t know when it would happen, one day, the spring would land somewhere and grow. It meant that one day, he would return to life. ‘This is simply part of life. Crops are harvested in autumn. Plants die in winter, and spring brings new life… I will also get past this winter and find my spring. This spring will be the seed.’

The springs wove through universes and space until they eventually reached a location. Yeon-woo pressed his lips together when he saw where the spring fell. It was a familiar blue planet. “Earth.” It was Yeon-woo and Jeong-woo’s birthplace.

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