Chapter 569 - Qualification Test (10)
“Obelisk? Everyone’s trapped in a place called the Tower?” Kronos asked with an incredulous expression.
Shin Le-ah just nodded firmly. “Yeah. It’s the truth. We also feel wronged at this situation, so I can only imagine how shocked you are.”
“No way…!” Kronos plopped down on a sofa and laughed in disbelief. The Heavenly Demon had been active even around the time Uranus united Olympus and Kronos defeated Mother Earth. There wasn’t much known about him, but despite his name as a demon from the heavens, he was a being of light and existed wherever light reached. It was said that he represented the emergence of mortals from the dark to learn the laws of the world.
Unlike divine beings, who needed mortals’ faith, hardly any civilizations knew of the Heavenly Demon’s existence, which was why many godly societies considered the Heavenly Demon a nuisance. It was difficult to come up with countermeasures against him when they didn’t know what his intentions were. However, the Heavenly Demon had trapped godly societies like Olympus, and even demons, dragons, and giants in the world of the Tower.
When Kronos first heard about it from Shin Le-ah, he asked if it was really possible.
“Should I tell you something funnier?”
“Of course. Gods and demons are trapped on the same floor. They’re friendly neighbors now.”
Kronos was speechless.
“Well, the floor is larger than most universes, but…problems inevitably occur with all those guys stuck in one place. So, they’re all busy tussling with each other every day.”
Kronos still couldn’t say anything.
“I left because I hated that.”
Kronos was so surprised that he found it hard to breathe. The Cold-blooded trait he was so proud of didn’t seem to be working. He was too perturbed. Gods were beings who traveled and roamed various universes and dimensions. The same went for the demons, who didn’t have much contact with the gods, despite their wariness of each other. The gods were also aware that dragons and giants were powerful beings who could threaten them. But now, everyone was stuffed in the same place?
It was like trapping a free-spirited human traveler in a fifty-square-meter space filled with dozens of roommates. It was natural for trapped beings to become sensitive now that they lacked freedom to move around. There would be endless conflicts and arguments. And if beings with multiple powers and achievements who freely traveled the many universes and dimensions were trapped? Kronos couldn’t even begin to imagine what would happen.
Shin Le-ad called this “God Sealing”.
The Heavenly Demon had really succeeded in making this possible, even managing to trap Olympus with Zeus and the others as well.
‘I guess this makes sense, in a way.’ Kronos felt as though some of the questions he’d nursed for a long time were being answered. Although he had built up countless legends and grown his strength, he’d never sensed any divine beings or transcendents. Normally, societies would fight among themselves to recruit a human who might become a new divine being.
Their silence was the reason he had believed Earth was located at the end of the universe, or it was in a universe that gods hadn’t sensed yet. ‘But if they’re all trapped, it makes sense.’
They couldn’t come into contact with Earth.
‘That means…there isn’t a single transcendent in all the universes and dimensions?’ Was there a reason why the Heavenly Demon had eliminated all transcendents? Was it simply to become the only god? That didn’t seem right. If that were his goal, he would have destroyed all the transcendents instead of just sealing them.
Besides, the Heavenly Demon that Kronos remembered had no interest in power like that. The Heavenly Demon could be politely described as a free spirit, but in less flattering terms, he was a bully. He was different from the typical authoritative divine beings.
The Heavenly Demon had left such a strong impression on Kronos when they first met that Kronos had tried to copy him, and a lot of his early days as a scoundrel were a result of this influence. ‘Even if he eliminated the transcendents, their spots would be filled again by new beings who exuviated and transcended.’
Chills ran down Kronos’ back when the thought occurred to him. Shin Le-ah had said the Tower sometimes invited powerful beings through the universes and dimensions through trials. ‘That means he’s trapping anyone with potential and ability in there, too.’ Kronos realized how enticing the Heavenly Demon’s trap was. He had been asleep too long, and the entire world had changed.
‘Wait. Then…?’ A sudden thought occurred to him. If the Tower was a prison that trapped all transcendents and those as powerful as they were, how did Shin Le-ah escape? “Rhea. Y-you…?”
Shin Le-ah smiled wryly seeing Kronos’ shaking eyes. “It just happened.”
“That’s not something that can just happen! Y-you…!”
“What else was I supposed to do? I wouldn’t be able to see you if I didn’t do this.”
Kronos felt his world go dark. Shin Le-ah had gotten rid of her own divinity to leave the Tower.
* * *
Losing one’s divinity was the most humiliating punishment a divine being could receive. It meant you had fallen. You would lose the blessing of immortality gained from transcendence. Not only would your powers and achievements disappear, the level of your soul would plummet, and your existence could vanish.
Kronos wouldn’t have attempted it if he didn’t have the springs that allowed him to reincarnate, but Shin Le-ah had thrown everything away without a backup plan just to meet her terrible husband.
“It was really hard to find you. How did you hide yourself so well? It took such a long time.” Shin Le-ah just laughed it off, but Kronos felt like all he could see was the remainder of Shin Le-ah’s short life. If she had fallen, it meant she didn’t have much time to live. “It’s a relief. I didn’t know what I would do if you were still twisted inside. Good thing you got a grip on yourself…!”
“I’m going to save you, no matter what.”
Shin Le-ah’s eyes widened, and she grinned. “Looks like you’ve matured. But, it’s too bad. Don’t do anything unnecessary and let’s just make the best of our remaining time together.”
Kronos couldn’t bring himself to answer.
* * *
The twins were born. The first was named Yeon-woo, and the second was named Jeong-woo. There were all kinds of thoughts in Kronos’ mind as the sleeping baby’s tiny hand gripped his finger.
“Oh my. Looks like our oldest really likes his dad.” Shin Le-ah burst into laughter as she looked at the rapt Kronos. However, Kronos could see the exhaustion in her eyes. It wasn’t just childbirth. Holy power was leaking out of her like water out of a cracked pot.
Kronos bit his lower lip. Childbirth had taken a great toll on her. He couldn’t completely enjoy the bliss of his baby holding his finger.
* * *
From then, Kronos’ absences grew more frequent as he searched for a way to heal Shin Le-ah’s illness that wasn’t an illness. He needed to stop the holy power from leaking and restore her lost strength. The method he used on himself didn’t work on her.
He looked high and low on Earth for rare herbs, but it was difficult to find them in a place that relied on scientific progress. Moreover, he had already consumed the few herbs he’d found during his past lives to restore his own strength. It was impossible to find more.
‘I was going to do this after transcending, but…I have no other choice.’ In the end, Kronos had to make a decision. He forced together all the achievements he’d built up on Earth into a legend and attempted exuviation.
Although it was an imperfect exuviation, it was enough to open portals that he could use with the coordinates he remembered. As time went on, he spent less time at home.
“Idiot. The kids are uncomfortable around you.” Although Shin Le-ah harshly scolded Kronos, she looked at his injured body with worried eyes.
Kronos could see that Yeon-woo and Jeong-woo were growing, but he felt just as uncomfortable around them as they did around him. The trauma of the pain he’d caused Zeus and the others made him ask himself if he deserved to be the father of these cute twins.
Shin Le-ah just scolded him again and again when he doubted himself.
* * *
‘Yeon-woo is like me, and Jeong-woo is like his mother.’ He didn’t know how it was possible for brothers to be so different even though they shared the same face and genes.
Yeon-woo was just like how Kronos had been in his youth. He hated being still, enjoyed going outside, and didn’t like books. On the other hand, Jeong-woo was quiet and enjoyed staying home. Like his mother, he was a good speaker, and sometimes he was unbearably impudent, but he had a certain charm that pulled people to him. That might have been the reason why he was closer to Jeong-woo.
Yeon-woo had a sharp personality and distanced himself, but Jeong-woo always greeted him with a shout, smiling brightly as he ran into Kronos’ arms. “Dad, did you bring anything today? That hourglass you brought last time was really pretty!”
“Yes. Of course, I brought something.” Sometimes, he felt like his frequent absences meant that he was susceptible to extortion, but since it was his son, he didn’t mind. Not at all.
“Dad, Mom is really sick.”
“Yes. I know.”
“She’s getting worse…what should we do?”
Kronos didn’t know what to say as he looked at Jeong-woo, who wasn’t happy despite his gift. Kronos knew that he was responsible for Shin Le-ah’s illness. Still, he thought it would soon be over. ‘Just a little more…!’
He found a way to restore his lost strength in the old land of the giants. Even though it wasn’t a perfect method, it was enough to restore some holy power. Shin Le-ah would smile again, and they could become the happy family they’d always dreamed of being.
Although it would take a while to make amends with Yeon-woo, he knew Yeon-woo was soft at heart and would understand.
* * *
However, things took longer than expected in the land of the giants. Even though he hadn’t finished his task, he returned home for a while to check on Shin Le-ah. But…
“Dad, what if I left home for a while to look for Mom’s medicine?” Jeong-woo greeted him with an unexpected question.
“Don’t do anything unnecessary and focus on your studies. I heard you’re already in your senior year.”
“Haha, you know I’m smart. It’s Yeon-woo you should be worried about…”
“That’s true. Anyway, don’t do anything weird. Just study, OK?” Kronos didn’t think too much of it, believing that Jeong-woo was only stressed from his college entrance exams. By the time he discovered the truth, it was too late.
* * *
“What? Jeong-woo entered the Tower?”
“Dear, what should we do? What should we do…!” Shin Le-ah tried to think of solutions. Her face, which was already pale from losing too much holy power, grew even whiter.
Kronos felt his heart sink. Why did Jeong-woo go to the Tower? ‘Is this what he meant when he asked about Rhea’s medicine…?’ Kronos clenched his fists. For the first time, he cursed his fate. Jeong-woo had likely been chosen to enter the Tower because of his potential. Although they had fallen, his parents had once been supreme gods. The monstrous Tower couldn’t help desiring him.
Since there were treasures and riches in the Tower, there was most likely a way to cure Shin Le-ah’s illness, too. But no parent wouldn’t be concerned about their child entering such a dangerous place.
‘I thought you wouldn’t make me worry like Yeon-woo does… I guess you are my son after all.’ His father, Uranis, himself, his children, Yeon-woo and Jeong-woo…why was his family filled with guys like this? Kronos wanted to pull Jeong-woo out of the Tower by his ear.
As he gripped his anxious wife’s hand, he said solemnly, “Don’t worry too much. I’ll…bring him back, no matter what.” Kronos was going to enter the Tower himself.
* * *
[You have now arrived at Floor 0, the Tutorial.]
‘This is the Tower?’ Kronos’s eyes narrowed at the stone path that appeared once the light was gone. There was a window at the bottom area of his vision that was familiar. ‘So, these are the system messages. It looks like a hologram from a game.’
It occurred to him that these were similar to things he’d encountered on Earth, but he put those thoughts aside. ‘I need to find Jeong-woo first.’ His son was definitely somewhere here. Just as he was about to release his magic power to find Jeong-woo, an intense wave of magic power that made Kronos freeze appeared.
『You’re someone I never imagined would appear in a place like this. What to do now?』
This being’s strength could rip apart most divine beings. When Kronos lifted his head, the magic power combined, and a being of white light appeared. It was Allforone.