『Brahma has returned?』
『…That makes things a bit complicated.』
Was it possible for beings who left the heavenly world to regain their divinity? Although there were rumors that it had happened in the past, it had never happened since the Tower was created. But Brahm had done it, so everyone was shocked.
However, it could actually be said that Brahm’s awakening of his abilities had only finally taken place. The soul of his master, Yeon-woo, had reached full maturity, and the other subordinates already gained divine positions. Boo/Faust was almost like an Outer God now, while Brahm hadn’t attempted to upgrade himself.
Part of it was because Brahm almost never left the One-horned tribe’s village, taking care of Sesha and also viewing his restoration of divinity in a negative light. Having once sat in the position of Deva’s supreme god, he knew the jealousy and plotting that came with being a god. He knew just how bothersome it was… Needless to say, Brahm was sick of the heavenly world. No, it wasn’t just the heavenly world, but of all earthly things themselves.
However, after chasing Harmonia for the last two years and facing history again, Brahm realized that things couldn’t return as they were. What he wanted was freedom, but there were limits to his freedom now that he had people to be responsible for. Still, that didn’t mean he despised those limits as before. It was true they were still uncomfortable, but he was now having fun thinking about how to take care of his duties.
‘I might have rebelled at the wrong time.’
In the legends, Brahma was characterized as “Buhm,” the very basis of the universe. Buhm was the seed that birthed the creation of the universe, taking on various forms over time. Brahma also appeared with different personalities and faces throughout time. And right now, Brahma’s name was Brahm. He was not a supreme god concerned about the creation and order of the universe, but the head of a family who only wanted for his family to be healthy and safe.
『You’re just a fool who was defeated by Agares, of all beings…!』Odin’s face flushed at the fact that he had felt intimidated by Brahm’s aura, and he began to raise electricity.
Crash! Spark! Odin’s lightning gathered and fell toward Brahm’s head. The attack held a power that could crush most planets, but Brahm easily swept it aside with a single hand.
Crash! The surroundings were swept away by the residual lightning. Everyone was shocked to see Brahm completely unharmed.
『I don’t know if you are already aware…』Brahm grinned.『…but your Asgard is ruined. Well, you probably would’ve left to take revenge if you were up to it… I suppose you’re still here because you lack the courage? Of course, it seems like I’ll be the one to end things.』
『You dare!』Odin expressed his rage as Brahm poked fun at his weakness.
Not paying Odin any mind, Brahm pulled out a book and spread it open in the air. As the pages quickly turned, the various spells he’d recorded appeared. It was the new grimoire he had created with the information inspired by the Emerald Tablet, the knowledge he learned from speaking with the Head Elder, and the understanding he gained through conversing with Boo/Faust.
〈Book of Pluto〉
Not only had Brahm regained his power from when he was Brahma, but he also learned the mysterious knowledge of the otherworld gods to pave his own path.『Death is fertilizer for a new life. It’s a cycle that repeats again and again.』
Brahm and the Book of Pluto shined so brilliantly that they emitted a blinding light.『Return.』The moment his command word was activated, a storm of intense holy power spun and swept their surroundings away.
* * *
“…!” It was around then that Yeon-woo stiffened in surprise. He had a tight expression on his face.
『What’s wrong, hyung?』Yeon-woo’s companions were preparing to leave for where Brahm was, with Laplace leading the way. They all turned to look at him, wondering if the Sea of Time was suddenly attacking. If so, they’d have to fight a close battle again.
However, Yeon-woo’s reply was completely unexpected. “Brahm attempted to transcend.”
Cha Jeong-woo’s vestige and Ananta spoke urgently at the same time. They knew how much Brahm despised divinity, so it was hard to believe that Brahm had restored it. To them, it meant he was in a situation where he had no other choice.
『Do you know why?』
“I won’t know if Brahm doesn’t reveal it.” Yeon-woo couldn’t even read Brahm until now, so it would be harder to find out now that Brahm had restored his divinity. He wordlessly looked at Laplace, his eyes silently commanding Laplace to hurry up and guide them to where Brahm was located.
Laplace’s bunny ears eagerly folded and unfolded.「It’s not hard to give you the coordinates for the instance stage, since we created it with Illusory Change. But there’s one problem.」
“What is it?”
「You cannot enter if you’re not qualified.」
「You must have been afflicted by Heavenly Demon Disease.」
「That’s how it was made. It was approved by the system so you must meet that condition.」
“Is there a way for me to ignore that rule? What if I just break it?”
Laplace’s smile widened.「You can try. I don’t… Ahhhhh!」
[The power ‘Purgatory Furnace’ has been activated!]
Yeon-woo stuck Laplace inside of the furnace, thinking he was hiding something. He then summoned Boo. “Open these coordinates.”
「My wish…is your command.」Boo expelled his magic power. Small waves exuded from the tip of his finger, casting magic circles before disappearing. The orb in his left hand continually emitted a dark light. It was clear that things weren’t going well.
“Is it not working?”
「I…apologize. Please…forgive me.」Boo got on one knee and bowed. His voice was filled with guilt and frustration.
“What seems to be the problem?”
「The…security is too…tight. The algorithm…is complicated…and will take a while…to interpret. I…apologize.」
“We can’t break it?”
Boo remained silent. That was answer enough.
‘Do I have to force my way in with the Yin Sword?’ Yeon-woo quickly expelled that thought. Even if he had the Yin Sword, as of now, he could only cause errors in the system. It was impossible for him to fully stop it from functioning.
While Yeon-woo was deep in thought, Hayang suddenly stepped forward with the Head Elder’s assistance. “…I may be able to help you with that.” He was pale, as if exhausted from being on the run for so long.
‘No. There’s something…’ Yeon-woo felt a familiar energy from Hayang. ‘Maybe…?’ But his contemplation stopped there because Hayang handed him something.
“Take this.” Hayang handed Yeon-woo a white bead.
“The sixth system key. It’s what they so badly want from me.”
“Why are you giving me this?” Yeon-woo’s eyes widened. He knew that Hayang came close to death several times in order not to have this bead taken by Yvlke and the others. It was true that he had helped Hayang, but he couldn’t figure out why Hayang would hand it over to him so easily.
Bitterness flashed across Hayang’s face. “You must have already realized what I’m suffering from, haven’t you?”
“I don’t have much longer to live. If you didn’t help me, I would’ve died sooner. And right now, I’m barely holding on.” Hayang’s gaze was fixed on the system key. “But I’m at my end now. It’s too difficult to last any longer. I wish to rest now that I’ve endured for this long.”
Hayang flashed in and out of existence as if he would disappear at any second. “It’s a relief that there’s someone I can entrust the item to.” Even though Hayang didn’t know Yeon-woo too well, he was certain that Yeon-woo would take good care of the system key. After all, Yeon-woo was someone Cha Jeong-woo and Ananta trusted. That was enough.
“…” Eventually, Yeon-woo accepted the key with a nod.
Hayang was considered to be sly and wicked because he was the mastermind behind many events, but Yeon-woo thought that might have been a persona Hayang took on to run the Bureau more efficiently. Yeon-woo’s attitude toward him changed.
“Thank you. I will accept it with graciousness.”
“Thank you.” Hayang grinned. “With that, you’ll be able to move freely between all the floors except for the 100th floor. You can also travel to the hidden stages or instance stages. But of course, you’ll be considered a guardian of the system and you won’t be able to do the trials.”
Yeon-woo thought of the ninety-eighth floor where Olympus was and the floors beyond the seventy-eighth, where no one had ever stepped in due to Allforone. ‘But it won’t be too late to think about this after rescuing Brahm and stealing the other system keys.’ Now that he had this system key, he’d have to continue to fight against the Central Bureau.
“Then…I’ll leave it to…!” Hayang’s smiling head slid down to the ground as his body scattered into dust as a result of Gaia’s Curse.
Fwoosh! Yeon-woo silently paid tribute to Hayang. Then, he turned in the opposite direction and pulled Laplace out of the furnace. “You must know how the system key works since you were also a High Guardian, right?”
Laplace looked exhausted after going through all of that pain.「Haa! Haa! So…you obtained it. Of course I do. You want me to tell you how to use it, I’m sure?」
“Yes. And you know what will happen if you attempt anything…”
「Don’t worry about that! As I said, I’m on team ###.」
Yeon-woo wished Laplace would stop speaking in that playful tone because Laplace was losing credibility the more he spoke.
「Could I request something from you after I help you this time?」
「Could you…trap me in that furnace again?」
“…What?” It was an unimaginable request, so Yeon-woo felt his mind go blank.
Laplace covered his face with his copper-toned, muscled hands and fidgeted. He was like a person acting shy in front of a silly crush.「The hot and sweaty heat…! It’s my style! Haha! I love this.」
“…” Yeon-woo tightened his grip on Vigrid. It seemed he needed to get rid of that pervert first before leaving for Brahm.
『Hey, hey! You’re not thinking of stabbing that pervert with your father, are you? Hey! Stop! I said to stop! Ahhhhh!』The faultless Kronos suffered between them before…
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