In the treasury, mountains of gold and treasure glittered in the light. Yeon-woo could tell with a glance that his entire fortune could only purchase a single item alone. Even the jewel lying near the gate was beautiful and clear, and he could feel an enormous amount of mana contained inside it. ‘That one’s A++, at the very least.’
It would possess an immeasurable value if it were crafted into an artifact, and the treasury was full of heavenly treasures like it that stirred up his greed. Yeon-woo managed to quench his desire and was about to hurry into the treasury when Hermes suddenly spoke up.
"Before you go, I have a question to ask you.” Hermes asked with a playful smile as he pointed at the artifacts on his body. “Would you be interested in taking these?" His helm Petasos, his sandals Talaria, and his staff Caduceus were all artifacts that symbolized his role as the god of travel. "It is embarrassing to say it myself, but I can assure you that these are also some of the best of their kind. If you take one of my artifacts, I will also ordain you as my Apostle."
It was a shocking offer that would have stirred up the entire Tower if news of it were to reach anyone else’s ears. As far as Yeon-woo knew, God on Earth was more like a concept, but in the Tower, gods were real beings that could exert force in the physical world. The deities in the Tower possessed power unmatched by players, and there were several religious groups that worshipped them. One of the Eight Clans, the Devil Army, was a well-known example of a clan consisting only of worshippers of the Devil.
The players at the pinnacle of religious groups were known as Apostles. They were the messengers, the prophets, and even the avatars of their god. Since they were endowed with their gods’ abilities, Apostles could also establish themselves in the Tower as leaders.
They were said to stand shoulder to shoulder with Lords, who had tremendous influence because of their large followings, or with superhumans, one-man armies who had trained themselves to exceed the limits of the human body and gained superhuman abilities.
Hermes—one of the Dodecatheon, the twelve major deities of Olympus—was offering such a position to Yeon-woo. He was definitely one of the strongest gods, and being his disciple would give Yeon-woo advantages beyond his imagination. Also, possessing Petasos, Talaria, or Caduceus was just as good as possessing Aegis, depending on the situation. ‘It could be even better than taking Astrape.’
However, Yeon-woo calmly shook his head. "I’m sorry. I'm afraid I can’t accept your offer." He had a conviction that he’d kept in mind from the start. ‘I can’t let myself be tied down.’
"I see. I suppose that is your path." Although a mere mortal had rejected his offer, Hermes wasn’t offended and only smiled gently as if he’d been expecting it.
‘My path?’ Hermes’ words aroused Yeon-woo’s curiosity, but he couldn’t ask anything when he saw Hermes waving his hand, and he had no choice but to enter the treasury. He passed through the gate and hurried across the chamber of treasures. However, after only a few steps, Yeon-woo began to hear voices inside his head.
「Hey! Take me.」
「No, don’t listen to it. I am the one you need.」
「What about me? Don’t I look tempting? 」
「If you don’t take me, you'll regret it forever.」
It was the Egos who dwelled inside the artifacts. They had been awakened by the power of the gods but ended up being stuck in this place for an interminable stretch of time. Their voices sounded as seductive as the devil's, but Yeon-woo ignored them and walked farther into the treasury.
[‘Draconic Eyes’ skill proficiency has increased.]
[‘Draconic Eyes’ has been upgraded. You are now allowed to peek into the truth of more things in the world.]
As soon as the message appeared, Yeon-woo was bombarded with a ton of information, including the backstory and even the secrets that each artifact held. Most of the information remained inaccessible, but even just viewing those could increase his proficiency.
Yeon-woo had to pass through several chambers before he could reach the final chamber where the weapons of the Dodecatheon rested. As soon as he entered, Yeon-woo felt a vigorous energy envelop him and then let go. Before he could figure out what it was, he was stunned by the magnificence of the chamber. Armor and weapons representing the twelve gods hung along the wall. Beneath each set was a gorgeous mural depicting the god’s most glorious achievement.
The sheer beauty of the chamber, from the tiniest details to the stupendous artistry of the murals, took Yeon-woo’s breath away. After some time, he came back to his senses and tried appraising the artifacts. Perhaps thanks to the proficiency he had gained on his way, he was able to see the information only after a couple of failed attempts.
[Apollon’s Solar Bow]
[Classification: ???][Rank: ???]
[Description: The great bow used by Apollon, the god of archery, music, and prophecies. Its arrow will burn all the wicked.]
[Classification: ???][Rank: ???]
[Description: The spear used by Poseidon, the god of the sea and storms. It holds the power to create tidal waves.]
[Hephaestus' Flame Hammer]
[Classification: ???][Rank: ???]
[Description: The hammer used by Hephaestus, the god of fire and metallurgy. Each swing bursts with flames. Artifacts crafted with this hammer will possess great strength without fail.]
Unlike the artifacts he saw in the outer chambers, their classifications and ratings were concealed behind question marks and the descriptions only provided a little bit of information. Still, he could tell that each one contained immense power that could make his eyes grow wide in shock. In particular, since he had learned smithing, Yeon-woo’s mind went haywire when he saw the Flame Hammer.
However, as soon as he looked at the artifact that hung beside it, his mind quieted completely.
[Classification: ???][Rank: ???]
[Description: The shield used by Athena, the goddess of wisdom, courage, and justice. It consists of nine layers of thin metal plates, and there’s a Gorgon’s head, which can petrify the wielder’s opponent, embedded in the center of the shield.]
'This is it.' Yeon-woo ran his hand along Aegis carefully. He felt the shield trembling at his touch as if it were glad to see him.
[Would you like to select Athena’s Aegis as your reward?]
A small message popped up in front of his eyes. Just as he was about to say yes, Yeon-woo was stopped by a sudden thought. ‘Where are Zeus' artifacts?’ Even though this was the final chamber, there wasn’t any sign of Zeus’ artifacts. ‘Come to think of it, there are several rankers equipped with Olympian artifacts, but I don’t think any belong to Zeus.’
In fact, Yeon-woo preferred Astrape to Aegis. Since agility and mobility were his main advantages, it was more convenient to fight with a spear that could annihilate opponents with a lightning bold instead of a shield so heavy that he might not even be able to stand properly while holding it.
Of course, he might have to rethink this if Astrape was too big to carry around, but he wanted to at least take a look before deciding on one. Lost in thought, Yeon-woo unconsciously took a step into the inner part of the chamber, and he suddenly felt something shaking in his pocket. It was the pocket watch.
When he took it out, he noticed the hour hand spinning around quickly then suddenly stopping after a few seconds. Startled, Yeon-woo shook the pocket watch a few times to see if anything was wrong, but when he moved it, the hour hand started moving once more.
‘A compass?’ Yeon-woo held the pocket watch flat in his palm, and the hour hand stopped spinning to point at eleven, a direction which led farther into the chamber. With his eyes narrowed in suspicion, Yeon-woo started walking in the direction it indicated with slow steps.
Soon, Yeon-woo arrived at a dead end. When he looked up, he saw a huge mural of a god enveloped in lightning about to throw his spear at something hidden behind dark clouds. The painting was so dynamic that it felt as if the figures would come alive at any time. As he looked at the mural more closely, Yeon-woo noticed a seam concealed within the painting. It was a hidden door. ‘It’s got to be the place.’ Yeon-woo pushed the mural as hard as he could.
Rumble! The wall moved inwards just like the iron gates of the treasury. Beyond the wall was a small room of about thirty square meters in size. However, unlike the outer chamber, the room was filled with murals pertaining to Zeus alone, filling up in every side of the room, including the floor and the ceiling. It was also full of weapons and armor even more majestic than the artifacts of the other gods.
'This must be Zeus' chamber!‘ Like a possessed man, Yeon-woo walked across the room straight to the altar at the other end, ignoring all the other artifacts. Yellow flames burned brightly in the bronze braziers placed at each side of the altar. A statue of Zeus with his eyes closed sat on a throne in the middle of the altar with a yellow spear that seemed to be at least three meters in length. The majestic spear was covered in sparks of electricity, and Yeon-woo didn’t even have to appraise it to know what it was. ‘Astrape.’
He was looking at the very weapon used by Zeus in his battle against his father, Cronus, and the other Titans. 'This is it. I don't need anything else.’ His instincts kept telling him that it was the right choice.
Aegis? Talaria? Flame Hammer? He didn’t need any of those. Astrape had such a profound effect on Yeon-woo that to him, the artifacts of the twelve gods or even all the treasures kept in the Olympus Treasury were no match for this one weapon. He could understand why such a great artifact had never made a single appearance in the entire history of the Tower since it was hidden so well inside the treasury. Yeon-woo would have never been able to find it without the help of his brother’s diary and the pocket watch.
‘Wait a second, how did the watch know the location of this room?’ Yeon-woo examined the pocket watch. He hadn’t really investigated it deeply since he assumed that he lacked the ability to uncover its secrets. It was why he wanted to increase his Draconic Eyes proficiency as quickly as possible and even learn metallurgy from Henova.
But he decided to stop thinking too much about it since he still had no way to figure out its secrets. Right now, it was more important to take the treasure that the pocket watch had led him to. 'I'll take this.' Yeon-woo put his right hand on Astrape, but as soon as his fingertip touched the weapon, the Black Bracelet wound around his wrist suddenly started to vibrate.
Astrape disintegrated into dust, its particles scattering in the air, in the same manner that Olympus’ Key had done after unlocking the door to Olympus’ Treasury.
Yeon-woo’s face froze at the unbelievable situation. ‘Did I destroy Astrape with my touch? What’s going to happen now?’ Just as he began to panic, a wind blew through the chamber, and the dust particles began to fly towards the Black Bracelet.
A black aura emanated from the Black Bracelet, spreading out as though it were about to engulf everything in darkness. Then, with a rattle and a clinking sound, the particles which were now black, connected to form a long chain. Once all the particles had gathered, the chain wrapped itself around Yeon-woo’s right arm like a snake. Clang! Finally, with a loud, ringing sound, the process ended.
Astrape had assumed a new form and was connected to the Black Bracelet as if it had been part of it from the very beginning. At that moment, Yeon-woo recalled what Hermes said just before he entered the treasury: “I suppose that is your path.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter