Chapter 592 - Mother Earth (8)
[Mother Earth violently struggles against the devouring!]
[Soulstone (Luxuria) struggles against merging with the Sin Stone (Superbia·Gula).]
『No. Not this…!』 Mother Earth struggled until the very end.
[‘Gaia’s Curse’ has malfunctioned. It is seeking a new target. It has targeted the spellcaster.]
[‘Gaia’s Curse’ has afflicted Mother Earth.]
However, it was too late.
[Sin Stone (Superbia·Gula) is increasing the efficacy of ‘Hades’ Spirit Eating Sword’.]
[Forced combination has succeeded.]
[Sin Stone (Superbia·Gula·Luxuria) is now in possession of three qualities.]
[Part of the Sin Stone’s locked properties have been released.]
[The property, ‘Cardinal Sins’, has been released and is taking effect.]
[You are now able to use the property aspects of ‘Cardinal Sins’!]
[You are now blessed with the properties of ‘Cardinal Sins!]
[Superbia (Pride) represents the power to overcome everything. From now on, everything will be within your comprehension, from transcendent beings like gods and demons to mortals like players, from the natural laws of the world to inanimate objects like pebbles that roll on the ground.]
[Gula (Gluttony) represents the power to devour anything and everything. No matter how much you devour, no matter how much you drink, your hunger and thirst will never be quenched. This drive will become a powerful force and lead you to a higher world.]
[Luxuria (Lust) represents the desire to be loved by everything. Regardless of your actions, even those who are hostile to you will inevitably be influenced by you.]
[The three qualities of Cardinal Sins have been inscribed on your Draconic Factors.]
[The three qualities of Cardinal Sins have been inscribed on your Demonic Factors.]
[The three qualities of Cardinal Sins have been inscribed on your Divine Factors.]
[The three qualities of Cardinal Sins have been inscribed on your Giant Factors.]
[Your spirit has reached the stage of full maturity and has reached its limit of growth. For further development, it is recommended to attempt exuviation and transcendence.]
[Failed to change Factors.]
[Failed to change physical body structure.]
[All unsuccessful attempts at change have been turned into latent potential.]
[Your maximum magic power output level has increased significantly!]
As soon as the Sin Stone devoured the Soulstone (Luxuria), new transformations took place. The magic source that flowed within Yeon-woo began to give off a different feeling from before. It was not a big change, like becoming stronger or more violent… but the change brought something that would make the other bow one’s head, chill one’s soul, and make one fix one’s eyes on Yeon-woo without realizing it.
[Hostile force <Asgard> is reviewing their declaration of war against you!]
[Neutral force <Deva> is astonished!]
[Neutral force <Dilmun> is silent!]
[Neutral force <Jie Sect> is strongly reacting to your Sin Stone.]
[The godly society <Malach> says that the nature of the Cardinal Sins is not beneficial to you and advises you not to continue following Luciel’s path.]
[The demonic society <L’Infernal> shows a strong interest in the Cardinal Sins you possess. They look at you with greedy eyes.]
『You were already a huge mutant to begin with, but now you’ve become a true hybrid mutant. Hahaha!』 Kronos found it so entertaining that he laughed out loud. Since he’d lived on Earth for such a long time, Kronos had no idea about the existence of Luciel. However, seeing the terror of the gods and demons, he knew that things were going to get very interesting. It was entertaining for him to see beings that normally acted in such a lofty and pretentious manner to be so shaken up. It was like watching a monkey in a zoo.
Kronos wondered what his son had done to agitate so many beings in the heavenly world, but Yeon-woo didn’t have time to answer him since Mother Earth was reverting to her true body after losing her Soulstone, which had been her central processing system.
[The core of Mother Earth’s incarnation has been eliminated.]
[The true body of Mother Earth has manifested!]
Ack! Mother Earth shrieked, terrified that she was reverting into a conceptual being with an undeveloped consciousness. Her incarnation body immediately collapsed, and in its place, her true body expanded thousands of times in size within an instant and fell to the ground.
Thud! The earth quaked.
No. Cannot. Be.
A rotten stench, as if all the disgusting and wretched things of the entire universe had coalesced into one place, rose up in the air as Mother Earth cried out in dismay. After Gaia’s Curse was deflected, her spirit had greatly eroded due to the curse’s penalty, and she was forced to completely revert to her true body. Her situation worsened since she couldn’t take her enemies on, and in the end, Gaia’s Curse completely overwhelmed the conceptual Mother Earth.
Yeon-woo’s troops all fell back into the shadows at once, and the troops from Niflheim quickly retreated. Anyone caught up in the stench risked being infected by Gaia’s Curse.
Mother Earth’s chagrined thoughts poured out. Her true body, which was still trying to expand, was still tightly restricted by black chains, and she couldn’t move at all. A mass of cells tried to stick out in the gap between the chains, but more and more chains quickly wrapped around the gaps one after the other.
“Open.” Holding the chains firmly with his left hand, Yeon-woo grabbed Vigrid with his right hand and slashed the air in front of him. Emptiness greedily opened its jaws, as if it were ready to eat Mother Earth with great enthusiasm. The emptiness began to absorb Mother Earth with a fierce gust of wind.
Mother Earth was becoming desperate. She continued to spread the same thoughts as she tried to survive. Yeon-woo’s chains grew tighter as they slowly pushed her into the emptiness. However, Mother Earth’s true body did not easily enter the emptiness, perhaps because she was so large or because she still had some strength left even after succumbing to Gaia’s Curse.
“What a bitch!” Even though the members of Niflheim tried to help Yeon-woo, the poison from Gaia’s Curse was so strong that they could only buff Yeon-woo or attack Mother Earth with ranged attacks.
[Hades’ legend looks at player ###.]
[Hades’ legend has come alive!]
「Oh my. Everyone is working so hard.」 Suddenly, a shadow that lay in front of Mother Earth rose upwards, and slowly took vague shape, speaking in a deep voice. The shape’s intelligent gaze focused on Mother Earth, running its eyes over Mother Earth’s true body. A faint sound came from Vigrid once it saw the shape take form.
Like his father, Yeon-woo’s eyes also widened in surprise. Something that shouldn’t be in this space had appeared—a face Yeon-woo had wanted to see many times. Hades smiled faintly as he looked at Yeon-woo. 「Little brother, you shouldn’t be using your strength in that way.」
Hades had a smile on his face. It was an expression he had not shown often even when he was alive, and his happiness was completely different from the attitude that Hades had shown Yeon-woo when he was still alive. Hades did not exhibit any gloominess or darkness at all.
Hades slowly drew his sword from the scabbard that hung at his waist and swung it. It was the same action that Yeon-woo had seen in the past when he first entered Tartarus and fought the Titans. Hades had suddenly appeared doing the same movement.
「Brother, death does not simply mean forcing something to end. It is the power that leads to this Underworld, Tartarus. It is the power that leads to the final destination」 Hades swung his sword down. Black thunderbolts formed and crashed nonstop from the split space as they cut Mother Earth’s true body into chunks. 「There’s a large difference between forcing death on someone and leading one to death.」
Bang! Bang! Bang!
If. This. Continues.
As Mother Earth’s true body was cut up into chunks, the emptiness began to suck her in at a rapid pace. Whenever she clung to the ground, Hades struck the ground and made it crumble. Whenever she grabbed space, Hades struck it and made it shatter. The relentless attacks made it impossible for Mother Earth to hang onto anything.
Hades’ offensive attacks were much more intense than those of the demons of Niflheim, and he aimed them at Mother Earth’s weak points. In the end, Mother Earth shook before she was sucked through a whirlpool into emptiness, like water draining into a sewer. It was an amusing sight.
Once Mother Earth was completely trapped in the emptiness, Yeon-woo sealed the emptiness.
Thud! Thud! The entire space shook as Mother Earth trembled and struggled to escape from the depths of the emptiness. Boom! There was utter silence when the opening closed, imprisoning Mother Earth.
However, Yeon-woo’s troops and the forces of Niflheim silently awaited Mother Earth’s possible, last-minute reappearance with bated breath.
『She’s not coming out?』 Jormungandr’s murmur completely broke the silence.
『Is it really over?』
『Mother Earth is trapped!』
Everyone who took part in the fight burst into laughter.
[Mother Earth has been sealed!]
[Hostile force <Olympus> has lost all its leaders.]
[Hostile force <Olympus> has fallen into chaos.]
[Hostile force <Asgard> has declared their retreat from Tartarus.]
[The allies have won and seized Tartarus!]
The incoming messages declared the complete collapse of Mother Earth and the defeat of the hostile forces.
[Neutral force <Deva> is silent regarding the outcome of the battle for Tartarus.]
[Neutral force <Dilmun> foretells new possibilities regarding the conquest of Tartarus.]
[The godly society <Malach> sends a congratulatory message.]
[The demonic society <L’Infernal> is observing your trajectory while also observing the movements of <East Demon Army>.]
[Many divine beings are greatly upset at the outcome. They are concerned that a new Luciel might appear and are hostile towards you.]
[Most of the demons declare that they’ve watched a very interesting game and want to give a significant amount of the laws of causality to the allies.]
[Vimalacitra is engulfed in a strong fighting spirit after seeing your victory. He is thinking deeply about the things he can do to hasten meeting you.]
[Cernunnos closely observes his Apostle for any injuries.]
‘Finished.’ Now that the problems with Olympus, which had tormented him for a long time, were finally laid to rest, Yeon-woo felt the power draining from his body. To get to this moment, Yeon-woo had had to fight many battles, overcome many obstacles, and wade through a plethora of difficulties. Of course, he still had a lot of work left to do, but he strongly felt that he had passed the crest of a wave. If he continued down the path that unfolded in front of him, Yeon-woo would eventually reach his destination.
“Older brother……” With his tension rapidly releasing, Yeon-woo turned to Hades while trying to maintain his composure.
Hades looked at Yeon-woo and smiled—not a casual one, but a deep and sincere smile. It felt strange to him to be called an older brother, but it wasn’t a bad thing at all. In fact, it was so sweet that the word “brother” lingered in his mouth as Hades echoed what Yeon-woo called him.
「I was the first to call you “brother”, but hearing it from you makes it all the more refreshing. I believed that you’d do well, unlike a good-for-nothing like me. However, I didn’t think you’d do this well. Thank you.」
Why did Hades’ compliment make Yeon-woo’s heart race so much? Hades looked proudly at Yeon-woo then turned his gaze slightly upwards. 「Are you happy?」 Hades’ question was not directed at Yeon-woo.
Cling! Cling! Vigrid broke into small pieces and then took on a human form. Kronos smiled as he looked at his eldest son, the ugly images of his past as an absent father who did not provide his son with love flashing through his mind. Still, Kronos slowly nodded. 『Of course, I’m happy.』
「I’m glad to see that you are.」 Hades nodded in agreement. Hades’ eyes seemed to possess no resentment or regret about the past. Hades had seen and felt through Yeon-woo throughout this time and had observed Kronos’ life and his efforts to protect his children. 「Second sister hasn’t changed. She’s the same now as she was before. She has always waited for Father’s return. It’s been like this ever since Father left. Please don’t be upset or harsh with them once you meet them. Second sister has gone through the worst hardship and is the most pitiful one among. us.」
『I understand. I’ll keep that in mind.』
Hades was referring to Demeter, who might have been the starting point of all the events related to Mother Earth.
「Also…」 Preparing to speak further about the other siblings, Hades laughed and shook his head. 「Let’s end it here. My youngest sibling will take care of the rest.」
『You’re…you’re speaking like I’ll never see you again.』 When Kronos’ voice became gloomy, Yeon-woo stepped forward.
“If possible, please take charge of Tartarus once again…”
「No. That place is no longer mine. It’s your place. Also, as I mentioned before…」 Hades continued to speak calmly while facing Kronos, who was still looking at him somberly. 「I’d like to take a rest now. For such a long time…I’ve been tired.」
Kronos understood the mental and emotional burden that Hades must have borne during his absence. Hades’ three older sisters had been in a perpetual state of despair, and Hades’ younger brothers ran wild in different ways. Nevertheless, Hades had decided to come down to Tartarus and bear the responsibility of watching over the imprisoned criminals.
Hades had carried the burden of his parents and brothers by himself. The tight chains of responsibility were exhausting, and even in the state of death, Hades hadn’t given them up… 「What is there to regret? I rather feel like I’m putting my responsibility onto another, but…」 Hades looked at Yeon-woo with a slightly mischievous look before he continued speaking to Kronos. 「Since we have such an outstanding youngest child in our family, please accept this son’s shortcomings. Father.」
Father. Why did this word feel so heavy? Kronos could not say anything further as something in his chest tightened. Thus, after all this, Yeon-woo could no longer hold onto Hades.
[The law of causality has exceeded the permitted range. Hades’ legend is fading.]
Hades bowed his head to his father and brother as his legend broke into tiny pieces.
「Youngest, stay strong and be well. Father, please take good care of our youngest and my other siblings.」
Kronos nodded his head heavily. Hades smiled contentedly as he turned around slowly, like a man who was preparing to go off on a long journey somewhere. And with that, Hades disappeared completely from the world after leaving his last farewell.
[Hades’ legend is perishing.]
[The Throne of Death has been fully assimilated with the spring of death!]
In a world where nothing existed, where it was as white as a blank canvas, Persephone looked around carefully as if she were looking for something. Then, she turned back with a bitter smile. She knew how ridiculous her actions were, but still…she wanted to see him one last time, even from a distance.
Persephone knew she was a sinner, and she knew it was too late to ask for forgiveness. She was about to quietly retreat, but then…
「Have you been waiting long?」 There was a voice behind her. Persephone turned with startled eyes. Hades was looking at her with a smile on his face.
「I told you. I know everything about you.」 Hades’ smile grew wider. As soon as Persephone saw her husband, the guilt that she felt reared its head even higher. Without realizing it, she took a few steps back.
As if he were wondering where she was planning to run off to, Hades approached Persephone and grabbed her hand. Persephone’s eyes widened even more. Hades smiled warmly, like the warm floral tea she loved so much…like the yellow rays of spring sunshine she loved so much…like the passionate constellation Orion, which she cherished the most.
「Let’s forget the past. Haven’t you heard that fighting between couples is meaningless? I’ve been insensitive, so I haven’t been able to touch your heart. Let’s start anew and do the best we can from now on.」 Hades looked lovingly at Persephone and slowly knelt on one knee. 「Therefore…」
Hades gently took Persephone’s left hand and placed a yellow flower ring that he had prepared on her ring finger. 「Will you marry this good-for-nothing once more, Persephone?」
It was a proposal. It was her first proposal. Their marriage had been done in haste, and they hadn’t gone through the proper procedures. Now, things were different, and everything was being done in the right order.
Persephone looked at her flower ring for a long time with wide eyes, and then she silently hugged Hades. 「I will.」
Hades felt Persephone nod her head. He slowly got up and took her hand, and they started walking together. They did not know what was at the end of this world, but whatever it was, as long as they were with each other—somewhere, anywhere—they would be happy. They both believed it.
With this thought, the two smiled happily as they looked at each other’s hands and slowly disappeared beyond the white world.