Chapter 308 - Tartarus (8)

Second Life Ranker

‘I was lucky.’ Yeon-woo’s eyes glowed as he looked at the Apostle, Aldin. Was Aldin’s soul relatively intact despite all the time that had passed because he’d emanated a powerful Consciousness before dying? Or was it because he was an Apostle? Aldin looked a bit befuddled, but it seemed like there would be no problem communicating with him. 

‘I don’t know if Brontes had a hand in this, but a part of his holy power is still there.’ Aldin looked like he was about to say something, but Yeon-woo spoke first, his eyes flashing. “Wait a moment. I have to take care of something first.” Yeon-woo quickly scanned the gate. 

Nemesis and Nike were unleashing all the power they had built up during their slumber in the Philosopher’s Stone. The Holy Fire was rapidly purifying the poisons and acids, and the ghost monsters that had appeared so threatening at first were now being pushed back. 

Boo cast his magic, and below him, Shanon, Hanryeong, and Rebecca ran around the battlefield. Guai popped in and out of the shadows. Boom! The head of the first ghost monster was crushed, and it collapsed. The explosion was so powerful that Yeon-woo could feel the heat all the way to his location. He was using everything he had for this battle.

Creutz was also fighting. Since he was a player who used holy power, it looked like he was being pushed back by the ghost monsters, whose powers were the direct opposite of his. However, Yeon-woo’s eyes narrowed. ‘This isn’t enough.’

They had taken down a ghost monster and were doing everything they could to take care of the rest, but the ghost monsters were learning from the fights and looking for ways to strike back, memorizing how Yeon-woo’s team fought.

More ghost monsters continued to pop out from the earth. He couldn’t even imagine how many of them there were. ‘Is there another way?’ If he had to fight, he would but it would be exhausting, especially since each ghost monster’s aura equaled his. Yeon-woo was confident that he could hold his own and stall for time or even run away. ‘But after that, there’s going to be another problem.’

With his strength drained, he wouldn’t be able to pass the next trial. Also, it was possible that even stronger monsters were waiting for him there. Yeon-woo had to find a better solution. 

Urrrng, urrrng! The Despair and Grief of the Black King trembled as though they were wondering what he was doing. Yeon-woo suddenly realized what he’d overlooked. He’d only thought of fighting, but the truth was that all the gates that led to Tartarus ought to be advantageous to him.

[Sea King Stone – Tannin Fear]

Yeon-woo began to combine Fear with his Consciousness. Tannin Fear could produce an aura that would threaten any monster. He spread his hands open in front of him, and Tannin Fear spread across his domain, pressing the ghost monsters down. 

Boom! As though they’d been tied to heavy stones, they began to encounter problems moving. Kyaa! Kyaa! The ghosts that writhed under the ghost monsters’ skin realized something strange was going on and began to jump around. 

Tannin Fear bent the will of your opponents and forced them to submit. It was difficult to apply against one ghost monster, but if he applied it to each individual ghost under their skin, it worked very well. The ghosts suffered from the mental pressure and the ghost monsters began to slow. They realized Yeon-woo was responsible and slowly turned to look at him, but they were already like broken robots. 

Huh? Why are they doing that?

I suppose he’s trying to pull something off.

Shanon and Hanryeong looked at Yeon-woo, still on guard in case anything went wrong. Yeon-woo was also being pressured by the monsters. ‘I’m gonna lose it.’ There were too many individual ghosts, as though all the souls of the players who’d died in the ten gates were gathered, their emotions and vestiges tangled up.  

With just one wrong step, Yeon-woo would end up joining them. Thoughts spun around his head, and the side effects of the chaos he was causing among the ghosts threatened to take over his mind.

[Your trait, Cold-blooded, has helped you maintain composure.]

He activated the powers of the Black King with the help of the trait. Despair dealt with souls, and Grief with death. If he used a combination of the powers, he might have a chance.

[The 2nd Spirit]

He clenched his fists. As though he were pulling the strings of a marionette, the ghosts began to shake. Kyaa! Kyaa! Then, the. ghost monsters shattered as they exploded. Even the ones who were still struggling to the surface were destroyed.  

The sixth gate was instantly filled with thousands of ghosts. An ashy fog spread out and it began to move in a great vortex. 

“What…?” Creutz’s eyes widened in surprise. Ghosts were screaming in front of him as despair and grief shuddered throughout the gate.

[Soul Collector]

Yeon-woo pulled his fist in, and the ghosts twisted in a bunch towards him. A new abyss opened in front of his eyes. It was Soul Collection—the vault where he kept his enslaved souls opened its gruesome mouth.

Kyaa! Kyaa! The ghosts realized what Yeon-woo was doing and tried to escape, but the absorption process had already started, and the Soul Collection sucked them all in. It was almost unbelievable how the hole could manage to eat up so many souls, but it swallowed every single ghost up and then shut its mouth.

There was no way it would end well. The space shook, and the door to the Soul Collection appeared and disappeared again as the souls inside tried to batter their way out. Since they were souls that had been trapped in the gate for a long time, they had strong vestiges. Also, the souls seemed to be used to working together, and binding them by force wasn’t easy for Yeon-woo at his current level.

Furthermore, he had exceeded his collection’s limit of 20,000 souls. “Nemesis!”

All right. I never thought of using Dream this way. Nemesis began to lay the dream onto the Soul Collection. The strength consumed everything around it, and the Soul Collection was bound to Nemesis in an instant. The forced binding began, and as each soul was marked, its resistance decreased. When the last binding was completed, Yeon-woo finally unclenched his fists. “Whew.”

He had exerted so much effort that blood dripped from beneath his scales. His hands were still trembling, and his clothes were drenched with sweat. However, he grinned when he looked at the bracelet that was crying out in joy.  

Aldin looked at Yeon-woo with a blank expression. Impossible…

Creutz had the same dumbstruck expression on his face. 

* * *

‘It’ll take some time to summon all of them.’ Yeon-woo managed to clean up the situation after he recovered a bit. The first thing he checked was the Soul Collection. His mind was feeling heavy because there were too many souls floating inside it.

[Collected souls: 121,334]

‘This is crazy.’ Yeon-woo clucked his tongue. It was a ridiculous number even for him. How was it possible? ‘No. I guess it makes sense in a way.’ Even though he had swept up souls that belonged to powerful players, the Black King was a being who was respected by all gods and demons who ruled over death. Azrael even called himself the Black King’s servant. It was obvious that the artifact of such a being could do things like this. 

Yeon-woo was only unable to use the artifacts to their fullest because his level was too low. ‘When I digest all of these, I’ll evolve the Guai first and take a deeper look at the powers of the Black King.’ Yeon-woo was quite satisfied.

Ha, must be nice. I’m the one who’s doing all the work.  Nemesis complained. Yeon-woo had only managed to pull this off with his help.

‘Thanks. But isn’t that the least that you could do since you’ve been sleeping inside of the Philosopher’s Stone for so long?’

Then what about Nike?!

You called? Nike had returned to his bird form and was sitting on Yeon-woo’s left shoulder. He looked like he was having the time of his life. Yeon-woo stroked Nike’s chin and said to Nemesis, ‘That’s child abuse.’

Isn’t this abusing me, too?!

‘Do you want to make him do it that badly?’

Nike cocked his head with glowing eyes, like he didn’t know what Nemesis was talking about. 

Shit! Nemesis cursed, completely unlike his usual calm self. Nike had grown a bit, but he was still a child. Because Nemesis treated him like a little brother, he would never ask Nike to do anything taxing. Yeon-woo knew this too well. 

Argh, that personality of yours…! Feeling wronged that he was the only one doing manual labor, Nemesis shouted at Yeon-woo and turned around. His previous master had never done anything like this. Despite being twins, the brothers were totally unlike each other.

Yeon-woo grinned. ‘I guess I’ll have to do something nice for him in the future.’ Nemesis got upset so easily. When Yeon-woo turned around, he saw Aldin looking at him with an unchanged expression. When their eyes met, Aldin straightened his back. 

Y-you…how… Aldin had been a powerful player when he was alive. He was sure he wouldn’t lose to Yeon-woo at his peak, but he’d died fighting the ghost monsters while Yeon-woo hadn’t only defeated them, he’d even enslaved them. Aldin found what he’d witnessed with his own eyes hard to believe. Most of all, the power that Yeon-woo used was— How can a player wield the power of death?

It wasn’t a power that was allowed to mortals. However, Yeon-woo didn’t answer Aldin’s question. He was too pressed for time. ‘His soul is fading.’

The vestige around Aldin was losing its color. Unless he turned Aldin into a spirit like Rebecca, Aldin would probably become a ghost and lose his identity. “Is the Channel with the Cyclops Brontes still connected? I want to speak with him. I want to know where Hades is.”

Aldin snapped to attention. Who are you? How do you know about the god I serve…and about Lord Hades, too?

“I can only tell you that I’m a messenger heading to Tartarus at Persephone’s request. I want to tell you more, but it seems like you don’t have much time.”

Aldin understood what Yeon-woo was saying and nodded solemnly. Once he lost his identity, the Channel would be cut off as well. His mission was secret, but someone who had received orders from Persephone deserved to hear what it was. Lord Brontes was asleep with me here waiting for Lord Hades to appear…chasing after the prophecy…and it seems like you’re the person mentioned by the prophecy.

‘Prophecy?’ Yeon-woo was about to ask what he was talking about when Aldin disappeared. The last of the holy power he had was gone, and white light soared to the sky. A Giant god with a single eye descended in a column of light.

Are you the one who called me? It was the descent of the oldest of the Cyclopes, Brontes. 

Yeon-woo nodded. “Yes, I am. I’m here at Persephone’s request to look for Hades in Tartarus, and I found your Apostle here.”

Brontes didn’t seem to have much time either. He was already fading away, and his soul seemed to have sustained a lot of injuries. He didn’t even look like a god. He nodded and said, As you already know, we were taking an item to Tartarus at Hades’ command. However, our youngest accidentally revealed what we were doing, and we had to run away.

“What is the item?” It was definitely the item from the vestige’s memories, the secret of Tartarus.


Fire? What was that supposed to mean?

It’s the fire that can vanquish the darkness  polluting Tartarus, Erebus, and the five rivers around it—Acheron, Cocytus, Phlegethon, Lethe, and Styx. When Brontes opened his hand, a small chest appeared. It was the chest that the three Apostles had been carrying. Brontes opened it.

“This is…” Yeon-woo’s eyes widened. “The Soulstone?”

It was Luciel’s Soulstone. 

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