Team: HH, thursdays, Yahiko (2/10)
Yeon-woo eyes met Hades’s.
They were dark, and it was hard to read what he was thinking.
All the gods and demons Yeon-woo had met so far were true to their feelings.
They all laughed, expressed anger, or had an unreadable smile. There was a pattern to their faces.
But the cold smile on Hades’s face was different. It was deep. Yeon-woo felt like his soul would be sucked in just by looking at it. It was like Tartarus itself.
For a moment, Yeon-woo wondered why Hades was asking a question like this.
“It’ll be best to pick a question well.”
“I prioritize fair trade over all. Trust? Respect? What does all that matter? It’s all useless. Giving as much as one receives. You can make deals in that manner. I’m asking you to trade because I also have a question for you.”
Yeon-woo nodded. He could tell what kind of beliefs and personality Hades had.
“Who was the Giant in the place where I arrived?”
The corpse of the Giant had been kilometers long. Perses was huge too, but compared to the corpse, he was nothing. The corpse was like a mountain.
“So, that’s what you’re going to ask.”
Yeon-woo widened his eyes.
“Do you know Kronos?”
“Isn’t he the king of the Titans?”
“That is so. And he’s also the father Zeus, Poseidon, and I locked up. The horrible father who ate his own children.”
The legends of Olympus began with the king of the gods, Kronos, eating his children. He heard a prophecy that one child would take his position, and he began to swallow them as they were born.
However, his wife, Rhea, couldn’t bear to see such an atrocity happen and hid the youngest, Zeus. Zeus grew up away from everyone else and returned to challenge Kronos.
Kronos vomited all the children he had swallowed, and they became Zeus’s trustworthy allies. They were Hades, Poseidon, Hestia, Hera, and Demeter. After the long war, the brothers succeeded in locking Kronos and his supporters, the Titans, in Tartarus.
That meant that Kronos was the beginning of the Olympian legends and their greatest villain.
‘Such a being died?’
Could a god also die?
‘Wasn’t Kronos the Black King?’
So far, all the gods hadn’t called the Black King by his name. They only referred to him as “he.” Hermes said it was because of the pledge of the Styx River.
But with the way things were, his expectations may have been wrong.
“You seem to be wondering how such a being can die.”
“That….. is correct.”
“I suppose you would. Since we stole ‘time’ from him.”
“It means we stole everything he had. To become a complete god, you need absolute immortality, and people with immortality need time. Isn’t a true god a being who rules over time? But then he went and left like that. He ‘died.’”
The god of time and death. Was he saying that because they had taken time from him, only death remained?
“And thanks to that, I was able to receive a part of the death….. and anyways, that’s what happened.”
Hades waved his hand as if he didn’t want to speak about it any further. However, Yeon-woo didn’t miss it. Hades had looked him up and down quickly. As if he was trying to find something.
‘From me? What?’
But Hades must’ve thought he couldn’t learn much from Yeon-woo and continued to speak again.
“Then, I’ll ask a question now.”
“Did you hear anything else from Persephone?”
Yeon-woo thought of when he left Persephone’s holy territory.
“The entirety of my task was to look for where you were.”
“Is that so? I see…..”
Hades smiled bitterly. It was the first emotion that Yeon-woo saw behind that cold smile.
Yeon-woo thought he looked somewhat lonely.
“Ask your next question.”
“That was the end of your question just now?”
Hades looked as if he was asking Yeon-woo what the problem was.
Yeon-woo swallowed. Hades had just said himself that he prioritized fair trade over all. Was that how much he valued Persephone’s message?
“You say a lot of useless things. Quickly ask your next question.”
“Then….. is the eternal battle tiring?”
The second question. Yeon-woo had already seen the battlefield, but he wanted to hear it from Hades’s perspective.
“The battle? Huhu. The battle.”
Hades smirked and laughed.
“If you can call it a battle.”
The laugh became a cold smile. To be exact, it was a smile turned against himself.
“Tartarus is already on the verge of destruction.”
That was how Hades’s explanation began.
Hundreds of years ago, he had first come to Tartarus because of strange things happening there. The situation wasn’t much better than the one back then.
“Didn’t you think that the first Titan you saw, Perses, was abnormally large? Even though he’s a god, he shouldn’t have been that big or had that much soul power.”
Yeon-woo thought of the Giant god’s body that was high enough to reach the sky and nodded heavily.
“It’s because he absorbed Kronos’s holy power.”
Kronos’s holy power had not disappeared just because he died. The Titans and Giants who seeked revenge looked for ways to understand how to use Kronos’s inheritance, and they had found something.
Their abnormal size was only a side effect of that.
‘Then is the black smoke that I saw Kronos’s holy power?’
He thought of the smoke that was exuded from Perses’s body when Hades attacked him.
“It’s not easy to deal with criminals who have an old king’s holy power. I continued to lose territory as they stole the power, and now, I’m only left with this place.”
Hades muttered to himself, thinking about how ironic it was to have the prison taken over by its inmates.
Yeon-woo recalled the exhausted faces of Dis Pluto. They were soldiers who expected the Titans and Giants to soon take over Tartarus.
‘What will happen if they do?’
This time, it was time for Hades to ask his question.
“Human. What is the reason you have come here?”
Yeon-woo paused and looked directly at Hades as he spoke.
“To retrieve Kynee.”
* * *
Hades laughed again. He was flabbergasted.
“How funny. Do you know what that even means?”
Yeon-woo didn’t look away from Hades.
“It means that you’ll be a part of me. You’ll become my shadow and be the apostle that leads all my followers. Can you do that?”
Hades narrowed his eyes.
“Like how I cannot accept you, it seems you don’t have a single intention of serving anyone. Am I correct?”
Yeon-woo didn’t say anything. He just continued to look at Hades. He would’ve tried to look for another option under normal circumstances.
Even as Hades spoke about rejecting him, the way he was acting was different.
“What an amusing human. You don’t react much either.”
With his arms on the armrests of the throne, Hades looked down at Yeon-woo loftily.
“You said you wanted Kynee? Then I’ll tell you the conclusion first. It’s impossible. Not because I don’t want to but because I don’t have Kynee.”
Yeon-woo’s eyes became bigger.
“I’m saying it’s broken. Since a long time ago, when I fought with Typhon, the king of Giants….. if Kynee was still here. Hm. I wonder if we would’ve been defeated this one-sidedly. “
Like how Astrape shot lightning bolts, symbolizing Zeus, and Triaina caused tornadoes, symbolizing Poseidon, Kynee emanated a heavy darkness and slowly pushed enemies toward death. It could also hide the presence of its owner and end the lives of its enemies without any sound.
Hades was currently using a sword instead of Kynee, but he couldn’t use his holy power to the fullest with just the sword.
He always felt something was missing without the holy artifact by his side If only he had the helm he used to bring Kronos down, the situation wouldn’t have developed like this.
“No. If only all the Cyclopes had been gathered…..”
Yeon-woo’s eyes widened.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m saying that if the three Cyclops brothers who gave me Kynee had gathered, Kynee could be created again.”
“However, with only one present, that’s not possible.”
The Despair of the Black King trembled. Brontes was screaming after he heard what Hades said.
Yeon-woo pressed his bracelet down as he spoke.
“Only one? Didn’t Steropes and Arges get here safely?”
This time, Hades was the surprised one.
“How do you know that? However, it’s as I said. The first, Brontes, went missing on the way here, and the second Steropes, died from a Titan attack. Right now, only Arges is left behind, and he’s helping us as much as he can….. but there are limits to what he can do himself. Kynee was an item that was created by all the brothers together. His abilities aren’t like before, either.”
The black bracelet began to tremble violently. Brontes was crying at the fact that his second brother was dead.
‘If I can use this well…..’
Yeon-woo thought that things might go smoother than he thought.
“Hades. Are you saying that if the three Cyclops brothers are gathered, Kynee can be restored? And that you will gain the upper hand in the war?”
Hades couldn’t read what Yeon-woo was thinking and furrowed his eyebrows.
“That is so. But the battle won’t be turned completely. There is a method to make things better than they are now, even though I didn’t want to use that. But what are you talking about…..?”
“Then, if I solve that problem, can you give me Kynee in return after the war is over?”
“What in the world are you talking about?”
“Please just give me an affirmation. Will you give me Kynee even if I don’t become your apostle?”
Hades’s face crumpled.
“Fine. If you want, I’ll give it to you! I swear on my name! But if you can’t keep your promise, you won’t meet a good end…..”
“You’ve sworn on your name. Then please call Arges over to here. With an item of Steropes.”
Hades looked at Yeon-woo with dissatisfaction after he cut him off, but he assumed that Yeon-woo could do something based on his confident eyes.
What was he trying to do? He couldn’t read Yeon-woo’s mind. He guessed Yeon-woo would do something with the Authority of the Black King, but he didn’t know what exactly.
He was also a god of death, but all he did was punish the dead. He couldn’t imagine doing anything else with them.
However, it couldn’t hurt to try, and if Yeon-woo had humiliated him, it wasn’t too late to punish him later.
Hades clapped his hands to summon a servant to bring the Cyclops Arges, along with an item of his dead brother, Steropes.
Then, he looked at Yeon-woo silently. A player with an item of “his.” Hades didn’t plan on becoming angry as Poseidon had.
He considered what he did back then a mistake. Yet even if he could return to back then, he would do the same thing.
He was able to be where he was today as a result of his actions back then. All his Authorities were from “him.” Like the Titans and Giants.
Just then, the door opened, and Arges slowly walked in. Like Dis Pluto, his face was exhausted from the long war. He held old anvils in both hands.
“Did you call for me?”
“Arges. Put those items down in front of that player over there.”
Arges carefully put down the anvils in front of Yeon-woo without question.
“From now, I’ll allow you to meet your brothers.”
Yeon-woo stretched his hand out for the anvils, looking at Arges’s dead eyes. Arges was about to ask him what he was doing.
Suddenly, a ray of light spread around them, and a soul appeared in front of Arges. Arges’s single eye widened. The face he wanted to see was now right in front of him.
『Why are you so thin? Why did things get so bad?』
“I-Is it really you, brother?”
『Finally, after 200 years…… we will be able to be together.』
Arges’s eye widened.
[‘Summon of the Dead’ has been activated.]
[Who would you like to summon?]
A blue light began to shine.
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