Chapter 597 – Erebus (5)
『Poseidon….』 Kronos quietly muttered inside Vigrid. Understandably, he was feeling a rush of emotions after meeting Hestia and one of his sons after thousands of years. However, he stayed quiet, deciding this wasn’t the right time to show himself.
Meanwhile, Poseidon glared at his nephews and niece, then frowned even more after seeing Yeon-woo. “You…!” He’d never been on good terms with Yeon-woo, and his glowering expression was fierce.
“h.e.l.lo.” Yeon-woo greeted him with a slight bow.
“How dare a mortal step foot here!” Poseidon shouted angrily at Yeon-woo as always. The raging sound emitted holy power that shook the air.
However, to Yeon-woo’s eyes, Poseidon seemed like a small and shabby old man compared to the vigorous appearance he used to have. ‘Was he always this small?’ Yeon-woo wasn’t simply feeling this way because he was stronger now. Poseidon’s divinity had drastically weakened. It was at a level that hardly befitted a great divine being, let alone a supreme divine being. It was so small that it seemed as if he would fall and become a mortal soon. Still, his fiery spirit was the same. If anything, it had grown sharper than ever. His glaring eyes weren’t too pleasant.
“For now, I’ll consider you Hades’ heir, but that won’t happen the next time we meet.” Poseidon had been powerful and arrogant when he helped Yeon-woo escape from Mother Earth, but now it was difficult to see any of that strength here. Only his pride remained after his soul had weakened. Decline was the word that described the current Poseidon best.
“Answer me! Why are you…!”
Yeon-woo decided it wasn’t worth dealing with Poseidon any further. Kronos seemed to want his children to get along, but he didn’t have the right to tell them what to do since he wasn’t exactly the best father either.
Yeon-woo wanted to ignore Poseidon and just move along since he didn’t feel any brotherly love for Poseidon, but that seemed to enrage Poseidon further. Poseidon shouted furiously and tried to stop Yeon-woo by grabbing his shoulder. He used so much force that his hand would have crushed Yeon-woo’s shoulder if Yeon-woo weren’t so strong.
But before Yeon-woo could block his hand, Athena suddenly appeared by his side to parry Poseidon’s hand.
Clang! “Please stop, Uncle. I apologize, but we aren’t trash cans for you to release your emotions.”
“What?” Poseidon’s hand, which held his trident, trembled. “You impudent fools are looking down on me until the end!” He acted as if he would stab Athena with the trident, but Athena just looked him steadily in the eye. The two already had shaky relations, and the standoff between them was worse than the one between Hercules and Apollo. It seemed as though Athena and Poseidon would begin fighting at any moment.
Yeon-woo tried to enter the hallway to find Hermes’ room, but thinking he needed to take action against the rude mortal, Apollo pulled out a ray of golden sunlight and shot it at Yeon-woo like a spear.
“I said, stop!” Ares and Hercules moved right away. Ares deflected the ray with his sword, and Hercules used his bulk to intimidate Apollo.
Boom, boom! The temple quaked, but Yeon-woo just ignored it and stepped into the hallway. He could feel Hermes’ energy coming from the innermost room.
* * *
『What a s.h.i.+tshow.』 After a while, Kronos finally spoke up. He was frustrated to see his offspring fighting among themselves when they should’ve been a.s.sisting each other during this dangerous time. He was also heartbroken that this was the fallen Olympus’ situation.
However, Yeon-woo didn’t respond, and Kronos asked after letting out a sigh. 『The child called Hermes must be important to you?』
“He’s been as much of a savior to me as Athena has.”
『 Your connections to Olympus already run deep.』
“It just happened that way, I guess.”
『It might be the wheel of fate spinning.』
Yeon-woo abruptly stopped in front of a room. He could feel a familiar energy radiating from within. Without announcing his presence or asking for permission, he stepped inside the room.
Hermes was lying peacefully on a bed as if he were in deep sleep.
“Out of all of us, Hermes used his holy power the most and…lost his divinity,” Athena had explained on the way to Erebus what caused Hermes to fall to a level lower than those of the other G.o.ds. “When we escaped Mother Earth and forced Erebus open so we could hide here, he sustained the most injuries. While his immunity was at its lowest, he was exposed to various diseases which has resulted in his current state. Once in a while, he would wake up, but now he’s unconscious nearly all the time. We don’t know what to do. Whenever he woke up, he was always concerned, but he believed you, our…uncle, would return to Tartarus to rescue us someday. He believed in you more than he believed in our father.”
Yeon-woo couldn’t forget what Athena had said. Hermes had trusted him more than Zeus, his own father? Why? Yeon-woo didn’t think they were just words to flatter him/ Athena was clearly telling the truth. What had Hermes seen in him?
From the first time Yeon-woo had met Hermes at Olympus’ Treasury, he had always felt grateful for Hermes’ trust in him. His heart clenched when he saw him lying in bed with such a pale complexion.
“Father, you said the nature of the Virtue Stone was to absorb, right?”
『I did…』 Kronos answered hesitantly, then he grew surprised. 『Are you going to…?』
“Isn’t it worth trying?”
『It might be possible, but I’m not entirely confident. I’d never even heard of the being called Luciel before.』
Kronos had never heard of Luciel? Yeon-woo had believed that Luciel had been notorious in the past if he’d managed to shake up the heavenly world, but it seemed that wasn’t the case.
『And you’re probably better versed in me in this field. I didn’t particularly enjoy studying.』
“The reason why I don’t like books must be because of you, Father.”
『Heroes don’t study.』
Listening to Kronos’ shameless answer, Yeon-woo pulled the Stone of Casitas from his shadow. The stone shook violently.
『What an aggressive reaction.』
Since Yeon-woo couldn’t touch the stone directly, he used his shadow to move it onto Hermes’ chest. He attempted to connect the stone and Hermes’ soul using his shadow. His intent was simple. The traits of the Virtue Stone were to absorb and purify. He could use these attributes to use the stone to absorb the energy of Erebus that was harming Hermes, and if possible, purify it to restore Hermes’ divinity. However, it was easier said than done.
Dealing with a Soulstone was a complex matter, and it would be hard to reach Hermes’ soul. Even fallen, a divine soul was still divine. Getting through one’s consciousness to reach one’s soul was something that even supreme divine beings didn’t do since the possibility of becoming lost in someone’s world of conscious mind was too dangerous.
Trying to connect Hermes’ soul to the Stone of Casitas was equally dangerous since the stone might not only absorb the energy of Erebus, but Hermes’ holy power as well. Due to these reasons, Yeon-woo’s shadow was extremely careful when touching Hermes. He also tried another method to increase the chance of success.
『Hermes, if you’ve been waiting for me all this time…』 Yeon-woo whispered in his true voice to reach Hermes’ subconscious. 『I hope you’ll trust me this time too.』
Whoos.h.!.+ A black-red light flashed around Yeon-woo as his Sky Wings thrust open.
* * *
When Yeon-woo returned after finis.h.i.+ng the procedure, Poseidon and Apollo were standing far away from Athena and the others.
Apollo had already heard about what had happened in Tartarus, and he stared at Yeon-woo with a disbelieving expression. However, he knew he had to trust his siblings, so he tried to shake off his doubt and bowed to Yeon-woo. “I apologize for the misunderstanding. And…thank you.” Apollo’s att.i.tude was respectful. “Uncle.”
Yeon-woo didn’t respond and looked at Athena and the others.
Athena nodded without emotion. “I explained everything since it was a truth that would be revealed soon anyway.” She had told them Yeon-woo’s ident.i.ty as well, which was probably the reason for Apollo’s att.i.tude.
Yeon-woo turned to Poseidon, expecting a different response, and as expected, Poseidon was glowering at him.
“You’ve come to mock us.” He didn’t try to attack Yeon-woo like before, but there was a twisted smile on his face. “So, you saved Tartarus?”
“And eliminated Mother Earth.”
“And you’re Kronos’ son?”
“Which means I’m your little brother.’
“Shut up! That b.a.s.t.a.r.d was never my father! And a little insect like you isn’t my brother!”
Even though Poseidon knew Kronos was with Yeon-woo, he couldn’t stop condemning him. If anything, he spoke more loudly as if he wanted Kronos to hear. “Go away! We never asked for your help, and we don’t plan on accepting it! We—no, I will take back Olympus. I won’t stop you from taking your inheritance, so be satisfied with Tartarus and leave, you outsider!”
Of course, there was no way for Poseidon to take Olympus. It wasn’t even certain that he would be able to ascend to the heavenly world like this. However, he stubbornly rejected Yeon-woo’s help. Apollo looked sympathetically at him, but Poseidon had dug in his heels.
Yeon-woo didn’t know why Poseidon had grown so debilitated or what kind of internal struggles he was going through. But…
“You must be mistaken about something.” A low voice spoke from behind.
Poseidon and the others all turned towards the voice, surprised to see Hermes slowly walking towards them. He still looked pale, but he exuded a fierce aura that made it clear that he’d not only been healed, but his divinity had been restored. No one knew how Yeon-woo had done it, it was certain that Hermes had the same aura that they had.
“He isn’t an outsider. And you longer represent us, Uncle.” Hermes spoke coldly as if he wouldn’t listen to Poseidon any longer.
Poseidon’s expression turned stiff.
“You must be mistaken, but I don’t have any intention to help you.” When Yeon-woo spoke again, Poseidon turned back to him.
“I’m not a pushover. Why should I help?” A corner of Yeon-woo’s lips rose. “I can just take it for myself.”
Poseidon was about to step up with an angry glare when Yeon-woo shouted. “Athena, Hercules, Athena, Hermes!”
The four G.o.ds replied with bows, like subordinates showing respect to their king.
“I will now take Erebus as my holy territory and Olympus as my territory. The three supreme G.o.ds will be removed from their positions, and Zeus will be demoted to a great divine being. The throne that was divided into three after Kronos left will now be reunited as one to be the new throne of the king of G.o.ds.”
They looked surprised to be told to betray their father, Zeus, but they didn’t protest and lowered their heads even further. After Zeus had fallen into slumber with the Heavenly Demon Disease, Olympus had walked along the path of destruction. They couldn’t afford to allow the situation to go on any longer.
Yeon-woo looked down coldly at Poseidon. Poseidon looked up at him with quivering eyes.
“Suppress those who resist. Take control of his temple immediately.”