Chapter 591 - Mother Earth (7)

The young Persephone began to follow Hades. During this time, Demeter noticed the situation developing and paid a visit.

Shall we conduct a public debate regarding what you’ve done? I’m fine with being thrown back into Tartarus…but…you won’t be able to show your face in public again, right?  At Hades’ cold words, Demeter could no longer protest, so she had stepped aside.

The young Persephone had received a great shock from this exchange. It was the first time she had seen her mother so powerless, and she felt as though her world were collapsing around her since Demeter had been everything to her up to that point.

During her first visit to Tartarus, young Persephone learned for the first time in her life what freedom truly was. She no longer had to be confined in her narrow room. Instead of sleeping in a glass chamber, she had a soft bed. It was also the first time she could freely talk to others and enjoy their company. Previously, she had always taken care of everything, but here, many people took care of her. The meals were delicious. The sky was beautiful, and the sunsets were picturesque. The air was cool, and the feeling of the ground was pleasant.

Everything in the world was mysterious and interesting. However, at some point, she realized that there was a larger world outside the confines of Tartarus. Was it because of that? At some point, Persephone became bored with everything in Tartarus. Once upon a time, these things had been so beautiful and mysterious…now they were dull and gloomy. She felt that she had returned to the prison that she had been locked away in as a young child. Nothing seemed to have changed. In fact, Tartarus was an actual prison, one that held many prisoners.

The people whom she had thought so kind were just subordinates loyal to Hades. Persephone started yearning to escape from the stuffy Tartarus. The sky, the sea, the grasslands, the desert, the forest, the stars, the moon—the things that existed in the outside world that the Lam had told her about—Persephone wanted to see these places with her own eyes. However, Tartarus’ restrictions did not allow her to step outside.

At some point, Persephone started wondering, ‘Maybe… Is Hades imprisoning me with lies, just like Mother did?’ She fell in a downward spiral of suspicion that she didn’t even know was growing inside her until it was firmly entrenched in her chest.

Oh… this poor child stuck in a place like this. You’re like a young bluebird trapped in a birdcage being fed lies and deceptions by Olympus.  Just as Persephone’s suspicions were laying down roots, Mother Earth entered the picture. It was Gaia’s Curse.

***

[Your trait, Cold-blooded, has helped you maintain composure.]

[The spring of death is furiously accelerating and enhancing its attributes.]

[The spring of death has been wound past its limit and is starting to overheat. At this rate, the spring may become worn out.]

Son, how are you? Have you regained consciousness?

Yeon-woo clung to awareness as Kronos’ questions rang in his ears. However, the most Yeon-woo could do was force himself to stay awake and assess his current situation. He couldn’t even speak or move. He couldn’t even have a conversation with Kronos, which was little more than thinking. Kronos himself was having a difficult time suppressing Gaia’s Curse and keeping it at bay.

Yeon-woo squinted, his vision blurry and shaking. Mother Earth was smiling.

You’re going to die now.

Yeon-woo didn’t know how much time had passed, but he could see that Mother Earth was still wrapped up in chains. Although Mother Earth seemed to be in a precarious situation, and her Soulstone could be ripped out of her body at any moment, she was smiling coldly. Her mouth, which was torn at the corners all the way up to her ears, seemed as though it would swallow Yeon-woo at any moment.

Oho! Yes. I may be imprisoned within the emptiness at any moment. I’ve escaped many hairy situations before, but I probably won’t be able to escape the emptiness. However… Her twisted lips became even more crooked. You will surely die. Why? Because I’ll make sure of it. Like Uranus! Like Kronos!  Madness oozed from Mother Earth’s eyes. She was determined that she wouldn’t suffer alone, and even if Yeon-woo ripped the Soulstone out of her and imprisoned her forever, she was determined to take him down with her.

Gulp! Yeon-woo felt something rushing up from inside him. He swallowed it down, but he could taste a fishy flavor that flowed past his tongue and lips.

[Typhon’s legend has risen. He exhibits strong hostility towards player ###, who harmed him.]

[Syceus’ legend has arisen. He exhibits strong ill-will towards player ###, who devoured him.]

[Helios’ legend has arisen. He is protesting that player ### should return Kronos to him.]

[Several legends respond to ‘Gaia’s Curse’ and are attempting to disrupt your legend.]

[Their strong grudges are strengthening the curse!]

Gaia’s Curse was very simple: it disrupted the equilibrium of its target. It wasn’t very effective against ordinary players who had nothing to lose, but there was no deadlier curse for godly beings who had achieved transcendence. Gaia’s Curse scattered the legends that they had built up. While it could not destroy the legends, the curse caused cracks to form. Since legends couldn’t be repaired in a short amount of time, as time passed, the cracks would grow and cause imbalance. And if this persisted…the cracks would cover the entire legend and shatter it.

It was a way to force a divine being to fall from grace. The higher one’s power, the greater the danger. Even if one’s legend did not collapse, one’s Consciousness would be severely damaged, just as what happened to Uranus. Divine beings who struggled through Gaia’s Curse lived with terrible, debilitating pain for the rest of their lives like Kronos. The leaders of Olympus that followed them suffered as well since the unstable foundation was passed down from generation to generation. Of course, Mother Earth would also have to contend with the consequences. Since she was using all her will and power to enact Gaia’s Curse, she would fall into a deep slumber until she fully regained her energy. It was a form of suicide attack.

It was for this reason that the gods, whose legends Yeon-woo had devoured through killing them, were now awake. At Mother Earth’s call, the gods—most of the Gigantes who were her children—regained awareness and began to ravage Yeon-woo. Yeon-woo’s legend began to fluctuate.

[Persephone’s legend has risen.]

Persephone, Mother Earth’s previous Apostle, also joined in. She was the most outstanding of Mother Earth’s followers and the queen of the Underworld, which made her the perfect choice to shake Yeon-woo’s legend.

Yeon-woo could barely suppress Gaia’s Curse, which slowly expanded as it tried to invade the world of Yeon-woo’s consciousness.

[Typhon’s legend welcomes Persephone’s legend.]

[Syceus’ legend requests cooperation with Persephone’s legend to exact revenge.]

My children! Swallow him whole! Take control away from him and free me from these chains! Mother Earth woke many legends as she tried to turn the tables on Yeon-woo. Although she wouldn’t be able to avoid a long period of hibernation even if she won, at least she could start anew. Moreover, Yeon-woo possessed the Sin Stone, which was two combined Soulstones. If she could take away his Sin Stone, Mother Earth felt that she could shorten her hibernation period.

However, unexpectedly—

[Persephone’s legend remains silent.]

[Persephone’s legend borrows player ###’s vision to look at Mother Earth.]

Oddly, Persephone’s legend did not immediately obey Mother Earth’s request. Even though the legends of the Gigantes like Typhon and Syceus urged her, Persephone’s legend did not budge.

Daughter, what is wrong? Hurry and kill those wicked beings and free your mother! Mother Earth soon realized that something was off with Persephone. She frowned and screamed.

[After tracing her history, Persephone’s legend wishes to ask Mother Earth something.]

[Persephone’s legend asks Mother Earth if she ever loved her.]

Wh-what are you trying to get at?

[Typhon’s legend is indignant about the nonsensical question.]

[Syceus’ legend declares that the queen has lost her mind and should be overthrown.]

[Persephone’s legend has succeeded in suppressing the other legends!]

[Persephone’s legend had an opportunity to revisit her past while she was in the process of being devoured.]

[Persephone’s legend declares that she was rescued by Mother Earth as a child, became Mother Earth’s daughter, and was set free.]

[Persephone’s legend states that she has one question after reviewing her past. ‘I always heard that I was free, but have I ever been free as the daughter of Mother Earth?’]

[Persephone’s legend continues this line of questioning. ‘Isn’t it possible that I lived as a puppet rather than a free individual? Maybe it was a mistake to think that Hades made me into a puppet?’]

[Persephone’s legend continues her line of questioning. ‘All I wanted was to see was the sky, the earth, the forest, and the river, but I’ve never seen any of them, have I?’]

[Persephone’s legend continues to ask question after question…]

[Persephone’s legend…]

Stop! Stop!  Mother Earth screamed as she watched the messages pop up one after the other. Didn’t I already tell you everything you wanted to know?

[Persephone’s legend is holding back all her questions and asks Mother Earth one thing: ‘Mother, did you ever love me?’]

Of course! Who could love you more than this mother of yours! Your birth mother used you as a puppet and your husband imprisoned you like a bird in a cage. Who opened the door of that birdcage?

Mother Earth tried to smile, but she found it difficult to maintain a kind expression with her anger. When Persephone had first met Mother Earth, Mother Earth’s expression had been benevolent.

[Persephone’s legend is silent for a moment.]

[Persephone’s legend poses a different question to Mother Earth. ‘Do you know what my favorite drink is?’]

Wh-what does that…?  Mother Earth was having trouble maintaining her benevolent expression.

[Persephone’s legend asks Mother Earth a question: ‘What’s my favorite color?’]

[Persephone’s legend asks Mother Earth another question: ‘What constellation do I like to gaze at?’]

Ah, dear.  Mother Earth was at a loss but tried not to show it. As she glared at Persephone, Mother Earth said in a sullen tone, Dear. Do you have something against your mother? Are you saddened that I couldn’t respond to your call for help when this evil child devoured you?

It was the same tone that Mother Earth used when she had first visited Persephone. It matched the fantasies of a perfect mother that Persephone had always imagined. Just seeing and hearing Mother Earth’s voice warmed Persephone’s heart. However, Mother Earth was burning up inside as she tried to keep up the act.

All the other Gigantes’ legends were tied to Persephone’s legend, and they couldn’t move. This unexpected situation had stopped Gaia’s Curse, and Mother Earth would not be able to defeat Yeon-woo if this continued. Mother Earth had to convince Persephone. However, no matter what Mother Earth said or what expression she put on, Persephone’s legend did not budge.

That…!  When Mother Earth was about to say something…

[Hades’ legend slowly raises his head.]

A legend that had been quiet the entire time now rose.

[Persephone’s legend is startled to see Hades’ legend.]

[Hades’ legend answers that her favorite drink is flower tea.]

[Hades’ legend says that Persephone’s favorite color is yellow because it made her think of spring. He says that Persephone gazed at the Orion constellation because she yearned for freedom and passionate love, which the constellation signified.]

[Persephone’s legend is silent.]

[Hades’ legend looks at Persephone’s legend and states, ‘I know everything about you.’]

[Persephone’s legend remains silent.]

[Persephone’s legend speaks while looking at Hades’ legend. ‘You’re such a foolish person…’]

[Persephone’s legend quietly crumbles to the ground, bringing down all the legends she is connected to.]

[Persephone’s legend and the legends associated with her have shattered and scattered.]

[‘Gaia’s Curse’ has failed!]

“Ack!” Yeon-woo could feel the force pressing down on his neck suddenly release, and his breath returned. As the overflowing, chaotic magic power slowly subsided, his blurred vision grew clear. He saw that Mother Earth was in shock.

No, that’s absurd…!

Yeon-woo quickly took advantage and pulled the chain that he held in his left hand. Clatter! Mother Earth hurriedly turned her head to counter Yeon-woo, but the chains around her tightened, accompanied by the sound of a pulley turning.

Bam! The chains ruthlessly ripped her back and pulled out her Soulstone. Yeon-woo reached out with his left hand to Soulstone. Although he didn’t know why things had ended up that way, he was aware that Hades, whom he could consider his older brother, had given him an opportunity. Yeon-woo would not lose it.

[‘Hades’ Spirit Eating Sword’ is attempting to devour the Soulstone (Luxuria)!]

[Your Sin Stone (Superbia·Gula) is trying to merge with the Soulstone (Luxuria).]

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