Chapter 594 – Erebus (2)
“Let’s start.” When they heard Yeon-woo’s order, the three Cyclops brothers nodded gravely. Their faces were filled with nervousness, excitement, and tension. They had been overjoyed to hear that Yeon-woo had recaptured Tartarus. However, once they stepped into the Temple of the King of the Underworld to look for the Stone of Cast.i.tas, which they’d buried there, they started feeling nervous. They had all but given up the possibility that they would return to this place, and yet they were here.
They had placed the Stone of Cast.i.tas in a relatively open place. It was near the foot of the temple stairs, close to the second bronze brazier on the left. Everyone who watched the brothers find the stone was all exasperated at the discovery that they had hidden such an important item in such an obvious spot.
Although the brothers didn’t know how to fully utilize the Stone of Cast.i.tas, the youngest, Arges, knew how to extract small bits of the fire from the beginning of time from the Soulstone. He had used these for the weaponry and armor he had created for Dis Pluto, and this tiny quant.i.ty was enough to make Dis Pluto a well-known and formidable troop in the heavenly world. This was why the Cyclopes had worried that the t.i.tans or Gigantes would get their hands on the Stone of Cast.i.tas.
「Things are hardest to find when they’re right under your nose.」 Arges said in a carefree manner.
Soon, all the observers understood why Arges was so confident about the hiding s.p.a.ce. Underneath the bronze brazier, Arges had installed a complex contraption with a mult.i.tude of combinations and movements that had to be done before it would unlock. Only Arges could open the contraption and access the Stone of Cast.i.tas.
Rumble! The ground split open, and an old chest shot out. They opened it to see the Stone of Cast.i.tas resting comfortably inside.
“That’s…!” Once he laid eyes on the Soulstone, Erlang Shen’s eyes grew wide. He could immediately cure the Jade Emperor’s ailment if he got his hands on the Stone of Cast.i.tas.
“Wait. Wait a little longer.” Prince Nezha placed his hand on Erlang Shen’s shoulder, speaking in a low voice. It was only then that Erlang Shen had realized that he had been walking towards the Soulstone without even thinking. His face grew red from embarra.s.sment. His emotions had gotten the better of him. While the two leaders of the Chan Sect were calming their hearts…
『Hmm. So that’s a Soulstone, huh? It definitely feels different from the one you possess.』Kronos glanced at the Stone of Cast.i.tas and exclaimed. Though the Stone of Cast.i.tas looked like a normal piece of rock, Kronos could sense something inside it. Thinking that Kronos could provide information, Yeon-woo cautiously asked Kronos, ‘How is it different?’
『Hmm. How can I explain this? Your Soulstones have an evil, subversive aura like their owner, but that Stone of Cast.i.tas seems to be purifying itself. Hey, why are you looking at me like that, son?』
Yeon-woo looked dumbfoundedly at Vigrid. Yeon-woo had been suspecting that his father lived to tease him, but Yeon-woo decided to let it slide. He clucked his tongue and shook his head. ‘Nothing. Forget it. You mentioned something about purification?’
『When holy power loses its divinity, it separates into multiple pieces and accentuates one specific aspect…forget it. Let me put it this way: how did you first feel when you learned how to use your Soulstones?』
‘It was turbulent.’
『Right. It must have felt like a release. The magic power started rus.h.i.+ng out with no end in sight, right?』
‘Yes. That’s why I had to divert the overflowing magic power to the Philosopher’s Stone to gain stability.’
『Yes, that sounds about right. The Soulstones you possess are filled with magic power and are extremely active. They seek to be released, like a crazed dog. However, the Stone of Cast.i.tas is different. It has a tendency to absorb.』
‘Are you saying that it absorbs magic power?’
『Something like that. It not only contains magic power, but it also seeks to absorb all the magic power around it.』
‘Then, when you mentioned that it purifies…?’
『Right. Regardless of whether magic power is murky or derived from spiritual energy, the Stone of Cast.i.tas will absorb it. Thus, it purifies. It absorbs all kinds of magic power and turns it into the purest form of magic power. However, the magic power it creates as a byproduct is so pure that it’s probably poisonous for most living beings.』
Yeon-woo’s eyes grew wide. After he’d made the Philosopher’s Stone and spent a lot of time perusing the revelations, he had acc.u.mulated a tremendous amount of knowledge about the world. Thus, he knew the property and use of pure energy. To a certain point, the purer the magic power, the more effective it was. However, just like water that was too pure and therefore couldn’t sustain life, once a substance became too pure, it became life-threatening rather than beneficial. The Stone of Cast.i.tas could create the purest form of magic power, a type that only existed during the beginning of the universe.
『The Stone of Cast.i.tas also purifies the power.』
‘So, it imbues purity?’
Yeon-woo recalled the first time he encountered the Stone of Superbia (Pride). Once he got rid of his brother’s diary, the Soulstone released a tremendous amount of magic power. The suppressive aura of the magic power was just like Superbia’s domineering nature. It was the same for the Stone of Gula (Gluttony). The original owner of the Soulstone (Gula), the Gluttony Emperor, had been influenced by the stone’s greed, and he had desired to consume everything. And finally, the Stone of Luxuria (l.u.s.t), perfectly exemplified Vieira Dune and Mother Earth. However, all three of these cases fell into the realm of Cardinal Sins.
Since the Stone of Cast.i.tas possessed qualities that made it part of the Cardinal Virtues, it absorbed rather than released.
『If the Cardinal Virtue Soulstones are brought together to create a Virtue Stone, much like your Sin Stone, I’m fairly certain we’ll know what effects and properties it’ll have. But for you…』
‘You’re saying that it’s dangerous for me.’
『Yes. The two stones, the Sin Stone and Virtue Stone, will be diametrically opposed to each other.』
Curious to see what would happen, Yeon-woo reached his hand out to the Stone of Cast.i.tas. Crackle! A large spark popped from the tips of his fingers, stopping him from getting any closer. He also felt the Philosopher’s Stone shake violently, as if warning him that the Stone of Cast.i.tas wasn’t good for him. Yeon-woo felt that he had to either follow through with a.s.sisting the Chan Sect and exchange Stone of Cast.i.tas for a Cardinal Sin Soulstone or a different Cardinal Virtue Soulstone.
Yeon-woo was surprised by his father’s ability to see the essence of a Soulstone just by looking at it. Of course, Yeon-woo did not show this surprise, knowing that he wouldn’t hear the end of his father’s boasting if he did. Eventually, Yeon-woo extended his shadows and placed the Stone of Cast.i.tas inside them before leaving.
Yeon-woo left Tartarus to the Chan Sect and Niflheim and headed over to Athena and the others’ location. Yeon-woo had heard that the door to Erebus had just been opened.
“Oh! Who’s this? It’s my Apostle! I was waiting for you!”
“Hey! Who are you calling your Apostle! He’s my comrade-in-arms!”
“This guy is still spewing the same nonsense. Hey! I already called dibs.”
“Ugh! What nonsense. Humans aren’t items you can call dibs on.”
As always, Ares and Hercules argued with each other, exasperating Yeon-woo.
“Anyway, something feels different about him today…”
“He’s like a s.h.i.+ny object I want to obtain…no…he’s s.h.i.+ning and sparkling today!”
They stared at Yeon-woo as he pa.s.sed them without a word. They could sense something foreign about Yeon-woo—a suppressive suffocating aura that also weirdly drew them to him at the same time. Their huge hunger for Yeon-woo grew even worse.
‘d.a.m.n this Stone of Luxuria (l.u.s.t).’ Yeon-woo realized what was going on and frowned. He had also noticed that the other G.o.ds and demons were acting slightly differently around him, but these two had the most dramatic reactions.
『Their love and desire for you seems to go beyond what is normal between a nephew and an uncle. You’re so popular. However, as a suggestion, I feel you should set things straight.』
‘I know, Father. You don’t have to nag me about it.’
『All right. Hahaha!』
Yeon-woo let out a sigh as he responded to his father’s backseat coaching. Right now, he had to focus on saving Hermes and Poseidon and bringing them back. It didn’t matter what their relations.h.i.+p had been before. Now that he knew what his ties to them were, it was necessary to tell them to avoid confusion. He also needed to explain what happened to Kronos.
Athena stood in front of an open gate, looking exhausted. She had clearly used a considerable amount of her holy power and fort.i.tude to open the gate. “Did you just arrive?”
“Yes. I’m a little late because I had to deal with some loose ends.”
“No worries. We’re just thankful that you’re here. It’s something that we should do… I feel bad for making you do this and becoming a burden to you.”
Yeon-woo was saddened yet appreciative of Athena’s attempt to welcome him, despite her exhausted state. Unlike her, the other two who followed Yeon-woo looked as though they didn’t have a care in the world. Yeon-woo was exasperated at the sight. Although they had different mothers, they were from the same seed, so how could they have such different personalities?
“Actually, objectively speaking, there’s no reason for you to go this far to help us…”
Looking at Athena’s thin figure, Yeon-woo couldn’t help saying, “No. The matters of Olympus are related to me.” He turned away from Athena’s questioning eyes and looked at Ares and Hercules. “Before we go to Erebus, I have something to tell you.”
“Oh! You’ve finally decided to become my Apostle…!”
“Right now, ### can tread on you whenever he wishes, so stop spewing nonsense. Of course, he’s finally chosen to fight alongside this great…!”
“I am Kronos’ son.” Yeon-woo said the words without any warning.
Hercules, Ares, and Athena all c.o.c.ked their heads, wondering what Yeon-woo meant.
“So, to put it simply…” Yeon-woo deliberately avoided Athena’s gaze and looked at Hercules and Ares, who both had blank expressions on their faces. “I am your uncle.”
“Hey, what nonsense!” Hercules frowned, ready to shout at Yeon-woo for being so ridiculous.
Sss! However, Yeon-woo released the aura that he had been keeping in check.It was not his magic power, but the aura hidden within Vigrid: Kronos’ divine power which hadn’t worked before because the spring of death hadn’t been activated.
Ares and Hercules were astonished by the divine power and took a few steps back without realizing. Athena slowly moved towards Yeon-woo with wide eyes.
『Hahaha. It’s nice to see my grandchildren for the first time. As the former king of G.o.ds, I should make a dramatic entrance, right?』 Kronos whispered to Yeon-woo.
Rumble! Kronos attempted to manifest.Vigrid fragmented into pieces and formed into a human figure. Soon, a middle-aged man with flowing black hair appeared.
In an instant, Ares, Hercules, and Athena’s complexions grew stiff. They had never seen Kronos in person, only his corpse lying like a mountain range in a corner of Tartarus. However, they immediately recognized their paternal grandfather. Kronos possessed a unique and familiar aura, and his spirit was similar to their own. G.o.ds could peer through the physical body and view the spirit, and they could even see the true self within one’s spirit.
『Are you Zeus’ children?』 Kronos’ voice resonated within their spirits.
The three of them couldn’t speak at all. Within Olympus, Kronos was a very divisive character. He had led Olympus during its heyday, but in the end, he fell into madness and collapsed. However, many in Olympus secretly honored him. Athena’s generation, who were often dissatisfied with the current state of the heavenly world and had frequent conflicts with the older generation, revered him. For them, Kronos was someone who had only existed in legends. When such an existence appeared in front of their eyes, how could they not be surprised?
Moreover, Yeon-woo’s declaration that he was the son of Kronos still lingered in their ears. Ares and Hercules’s complexions turned blue as they recalled all the past statements they’d made to Yeon-woo.
Messages appeared in front of the two.
[Player ### offers an Apostolate to the independent G.o.d Ares!]
[Player ### offers an Apostolate to the independent G.o.d Hercules!]
In an instant, the complexions of the two G.o.ds turned pale. Yeon-woo looked at them with a vicious smile on his face.