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Chapter 586 - Mother Earth (2)
‘Scary.’ This was what young Persephone thought the first time she met Hades. Unlike his mother, Demeter, who often smiled kindly, Hades was impa.s.sive. Just looking at that face scared her. She was concerned that he would hurt her or do something she didn’t like, and she looked at him with fear-filled eyes.
『It’s chilly outside. Wear this and warm yourself.』 The first thing Hades did was to take off his upper garment and wrap it around her body.
Then, for the first time, young Persephone understood what it meant to feel the warmth.
Ruin? Fall from grace? Perhaps outsiders would have to search for the appropriate description, but Vieira Dune could sum her situation up in one word: “No…! No!”
She was wounded from head to toe. Her beautiful and elegant figure in Jeong-woo’s memories was gone, and her silky black hair was tangled and matted, and her once-confident eyes filled with madness. She was ugly. With this thought in his mind, Yeon-woo approached her slowly, very slowly.
“Don’t, don’t come near me…!” Vieira Dune hurriedly activated several magic spells. Although she had been forced out of Mother Earth, she had once been the witch of stars and the abilities she’d cultivated hadn’t disappeared. Her magic spells still contained a strong destructive power.
Bang! Bang! Bang! However, no matter how many magic spells she threw out, she could not penetrate the wall of the dead and the black shadows swirling around Yeon-woo. She could not even leave a scratch or a particle of dust on Yeon-woo. Even though she was strong enough to be called the mistress of all witches, she was now in a state of utter ruin.
Many of the fallen G.o.ds reached points where they couldn’t even contend against mortals, and Yeon-woo was only technically a mortal. He already boasted a power level that allowed him to look down on most G.o.ds. After he devoured Kronos’ corpse, no one in the heavenly world could ignore him anymore.
“Don’t come near me! Ack!” No matter how many magic spells and curses Vieira Dune poured out, Yeon-woo was not affected at all. She began retreating as she screamed. The fear she had been suppressing finally reared its ugly head. She felt suffocated as her hands trembled. Her mind went blank.
The emotions she had lost while serving as Mother Earth returned even though she never wanted them back. In the end, Vieira Dune lost her mind as she choked with fear. She went berserk, and she threw anything she could find at Yeon-woo. She even tried kicking him.
[Fenrir is descending!]
Suddenly, a s.p.a.ce opened behind Vieira Dune, and Fenrir appeared, pinning her to the ground with his front paw. Mother Earth had freed everyone that she had sealed.
Bang! All the magic circles that Vieira Dune had opened vanished powerlessly.
Bark! Fenrir wagged his tail while looking at Yeon-woo.
[A demon of
Fenrir’s eyes glowed as though he were looking for compliments. Yeon-woo smiled and scratched Fenrir’s chin in thanks. Then, Yeon-woo quietly squatted down and grabbed Vieira Dune by her neck. He slowly lifted her up.
“Ugh…! Ack! Let go…of me…! Please…!” Vieira Dune struggled even more violently as she tried to escape from Yeon-woo’s grasp. She scratched the back of Yeon-woo’s hand with her sharp nails and even kicked him in the stomach. However, she only broke her nails and sprained her ankles, her fear followed by real pain.
She had never felt this when she was part of Mother Earth. The waves of pain hurt so terribly that she couldn’t control her screams of anguish. How could humans live with pain? Vieira Dune could not understand.
It had only been a few years since she ascended to the heavenly world, so why did these feelings feel so unfamiliar? Her life as a human being seemed like the distant past as if it happened thousands of years ago. She had grown too disconnected from the real world. She had completely thrown away all the feelings that she had experienced in the lower world since she thought she would never return, and so when they inevitably did, it felt even more foreign.
She could once see throughout the entire universe but her consciousness, which had stretched out infinitely, was shut down. She felt trapped in a narrow world. Even if Yeon-woo weren’t holding her neck, Vieira Dune already felt like she was suffocating in a very small cage. She did not feel like she was alive at all.
She also had to contend with an even more terrifying fact: she would never again regain her omnipotence. Previously, she only needed to stretch her hand to make the heavens and earth tremble or to express her will and gain obedience. She couldn’t believe that her hands, which had held power over the vast heavens and over all living beings, could be so powerless now.
Wealth? Fame? Honor? Glory? Even if one put all these together, it couldn’t compare to her previous power? The thought of dying such an ignominious death and the worrying knowledge that the things she achieved so far would disappear in vain made Vieira Dune choke.
“Let me go…! Let me live…!” Vieira Dune begged for her life as she dangled in Yeon-woo’s grasp.
“Very ugly.” Yeon-woo was dumbfounded by Vieira Dune’s response. Yeon-woo could see his cold, cynical reflection in Vieira Dune’s eyes.
She had once whispered to his brother that she loved him. She had pierced his brother’s heart with a poisoned knife. She had become Mother Earth. She had always exuded self-confidence and smiled proudly. However, none of that was left, and only ugliness remained.
Yeon-woo thought that she would maintain her dignity until the very end, but it turned out that she only amounted to this. How did such a figure rule over the heavens and lower world and be such a thorn in the brothers’ sides? Yeon-woo was bewildered.
As if she sensed Yeon-woo’s condescending gaze and understood his thoughts, Vieira Dune forced out a word even though she was still suffocating. “Me…?”
“Bulls.h.i.+t!” Vieira Dune’s eyes, which had been filled with fear, grew sharp for the first time. “You b.a.s.t.a.r.d…you’re just a third party, how can you babble about what you don’t know! Do you even know what happened? Your brother never changed. He never treated me as his equal. He only thought of me as someone to be protected, a trophy that he could show off whenever he pleased…!”
Pent-up anger and venom dripped from her voice. “So, I stole it! I took it away! Why? What’s wrong with that? Our sacrifices made it possible for your brother to achieve fame and glory. We all supported him! Afterward, everyone got tired of supporting him and left!” Vieira Dune already foretold her own death. Thus, with a reddened face, she started pouring out all the words and thoughts that came to her mind.
“You may be right,” Yeon-woo said after a long period of silence.
It was a totally unexpected answer. Vieira Dune’s eyes widened. “What?”
“As you said, Jeong-woo might not have been such a good guy. Since he’s my brother, I might be biased about him being an innocent victim.” Yeon-woo grew contemplative. Yeon-woo knew his brother well because he had read his brother’s diary over and over. Yeon-woo had already deduced that his brother might not have been so innocent, and that the betrayal that his brother suffered could have also been his fault. “So what? Why should the victim’s ally sympathize with the perpetrator? Do I need to weigh the circ.u.mstances?”
“Why did you bother to support Jeong-woo? It was probably because he was a great guy to be around. You guys were just jealous of that. If he thought of you as little more than a doll, he would have found a way to chase you to the ends of the world after you put a poisoned blade in his heart. No matter how weak he was, he still had that much power.”
Vieira Dune was speechless.
“But Jeong-woo didn’t do that. Why? Because he sincerely loved you. Also…a trophy? Don’t make me laugh. I don’t know who in the world would give their life up to a trophy.” Yeon-woo’s face contorted. “You’re just a traitor, Vieira Dune. No matter how much you justify it to yourself, you poisoned your lover and made your own daughter a test subject. You’re just a vicious monster.”
“Ah…!” Vieira Dunne had opened her mouth to say something.
However, Yeon-woo didn’t want to listen to more nonsense and tightened his grip. Crack! Her neck snapped as easily as a candy cane.
[A soul has been added to your Soul Collection.]
Yeon-woo pulled Vieira Dune’s soul out of the collection and threw it into the Despair of the Black King. He did not want to give her an easy death, but he did not feel that he had the authority to judge her. He was going to hand her over to Ananta, Sesha, and Brahm.
『That was disappointing.』 Kronos, who had quietly listened to the conversation, muttered. She had hurt his youngest son, so he thought Yeon-woo had let her off too easily.
“No. I don’t think so.” Yeon-woo shook his head resolutely. “I’m happier because I now have a present for Ananta.”
Kronos did not respond. He understood the heavy load his son was carrying on his shoulders.
I. Kept. My. Promise.
Let. Me. Go.
I. No. Longer. Anything. With. You.
No. More. Black. King. I. Give. Up.
Beyond the emptiness, Mother Earth was howling. She still hadn’t been released from the Channel. The thoughts exploded out in a disorganized fas.h.i.+on, perhaps because Vieira Dune, who had functioned as her central ego, was now gone.
However, they all had the same desire: now that she had given up Vieira Dune, she wanted to be freed. Mother Earth wanted to end everything and stop her pursuit of the Black King.
Yeon-woo smirked reflexively. “Well, that’s probably…”
『You made a promise you couldn’t keep. How funny is that? Mother Earth doesn’t even have an ego anymore. She’s just a half-wit now. Only her original instincts remain.』 Kronos read Yeon-woo’s thoughts and smirked. He’d already suspected Yeon-woo would do this. 『But that’s why she’s even more dangerous. Raw, primitive power is more threatening and violent.』
“Even if she doesn’t have any intelligence, I’m not going to underestimate her.” Yeon-woo activated the option while nodding at Kronos’ warning.
[‘Summon of the Dead’ has been activated.]
[Who do you want to summon?]
Pss.h.!.+ As the Soul Collection opened, Vieira Dune’s spirit body appeared.She had been trapped in a world filled with thousands of spirits, and her face was tired and pale.However, she tried to shout something in an urgent tone.
[Your power, ‘Purgatory Furnace’, has been activated and is burning the soul of the designated target.]
「Ack!」 Vieira Dune’s spirit body was suddenly engulfed in flames that rose from her feet. The furnace’s purifying flames were burning away the evil achievements in her soul. The more evil deeds one acc.u.mulated, the more severe the pain would be. Vieira Dune suffered an unspeakable agony. Even if she wanted to get out, she was imprisoned within the furnace. She even shouted for her own death. 「Please! Stop! Stop!」
“Are you in a lot of pain?” Yeon-woo looked at her, surprised. She had not batted an eye when inflicting pain on others, but now she was squealing like a pig. Though his ears hurt from her screaming, Yeon-woo decided to bear the discomfort. He was planning on having some fun.
「It hurts! Hurts! Please! Please!」
“There’s only one way to stop it.”
Vieira Dune could tell that Yeon-woo wanted something from her.
「Please! Please…! I’ll do anything you ask, so let me go…! Argh!」 It seemed that Vieira was prepared to even offer up her soul.
The corner of Yeon-woo’s lips twisted upward. “You were part of Mother Earth, so you’re aware of Mother Earth’s hidden vulnerabilities, right?”
「You, you…!」 Vieira Dune momentarily stopped screaming, her eyes widening as she understood what Yeon-woo meant.
Yeon-woo’s eyes narrowed slightly. “So, tell me everything you know. She’s the one who abandoned you anyway, so there’s no need to feel any sense of guilt, right?” Yeon-woo was openly encouraging her to betray the person who had betrayed her.
While Vieira Dune was momentarily silent, Kronos shook his head inside Vigrid. 『Ugh! It’s a good thing we settled our differences, and I got on his good side.』