Chapter 448 - Shadow King (4)
“Doyle? Doyle! Are you awake?”
Doyle forced his eyes open despite a head-splitting migraine. He felt as though he was struggling out of an endless darkness, and he didn’t even know how it was possible that he was breathing. When his vision cleared, he could see Kahn and Victoria looking down at him in concern. They were like a brother and a sister-in-law to him, more of a family than his father. “Where…am I? It doesn’t look like Tartarus.”
The last thing he remembered was the god he served, Persephone, manifesting, and as she revealed the power of Mother Earth, his magic power had gone wild. Apostles were like the high priests of their gods. They could never refuse their will, and he’d been forced to go along with her wishes. It was a painful memory.
From the Heavenly Demon to Mother Earth—why was he always being used by these divine beings? He felt wronged. It wasn’t like he had chosen to be born this way. Then, Doyle realized that his body had changed drastically. ‘What? It’s gone?’
He was either always connected to some great spiritual being or wary of interference from those targeting him. But there wasn’t any of that now. There was nothing. Not a single being was trying to possess him or interfere in his business. The Heavenly Demon, Mother Earth, and everything else—it was all gone.
No, there was something. Just one thing that was still weak, but it embraced him with warmth, like a mother bird protecting its chicks from the cold. It removed the interference of all other spiritual beings. Although it was like a small spark compared to the Heavenly Demon and Mother Earth, something powerful squirmed inside it.
It was familiar to Doyle. ‘This is…’ At that moment, the small spark expanded and blazed. “Cain hyung?”
Kahn nodded solemnly. “That’s right. Cain helped. This is his clan house.”
Only then did Doyle realize what had happened while he was unconscious. “Cain hyung cut all my Channels for me.”
“It must’ve been quite difficult.”
Kahn didn’t say anything in reply. Doyle’s condition was so bad that even Anastasia said he couldn’t be healed anymore. Still, Kahn had searched for Yeon-woo to find another method. Yeon-woo had examined Doyle for a while, and quietly murmured, “I’ll try.”
Kahn didn’t know what Yeon-woo had done. All he had seen was Yeon-woo moving his hands, and Doyle’s expression immediately looked peaceful after.
However, Anastasia, who was watching with them, muttered under her breath that they were all crazy, and left. When he turned to look at Victoria, she didn’t seem to know the details either.
“I had remnants of the holy power the Heavenly Demon and Mother Earth left behind. When the Channels were forcibly disconnected, what remained was infecting or messing up my soul. Cain hyung took care of that. It couldn’t have been easy…”
Kahn finally understood what Doyle was saying about the complete elimination of the remnants. It was easier said than done. Doyle’s soul was probably fully synchronized with their holy power. If anything went wrong, Doyle’s soul would be damaged.
And it wasn’t just one but two beings. To make it worse, they were the Heavenly Demon and Mother Earth. Mere mortals wouldn’t even be able to handle the difficulty, but Yeon-woo managed it. In hindsight, Anastasia had said something after seeing Yeon-woo.
“You’re already accustomed to dealing with souls? So, it seems you didn’t gain pieces of holiness and ascended to a divine position for nothing…I wouldn’t be surprised if you exuviate soon.” She was saying it wasn’t a coincidence that Yeon-woo had received Hades’ Throne of Death. He had the qualifications to back it up.
In the entire history of the Tower—and probably even in the future—there likely wasn’t anyone who could surpass Yeon-woo when it came to handling souls. It was the reason why he’d succeeded in treating Doyle.
“But it would be dangerous for me if the remnants weren’t replaced…so I think he filled the vacuum with his.”
“Yeah. It seems Cain hyung made me his Apostle…?” With that, blackish-blue flames burned above Doyle’s palm. Whoosh! It was Holy Fire, Yeon-woo’s trademark. “I’m probably the first to be a mortal’s Apostle. Not bad.” Doyle smiled faintly. Compared to gods and demons, Yeon-woo’s level was beyond lacking, but he was still qualified to have Apostles. Perhaps he was even overqualified because even though he hadn’t even reached his full potential, he already had the Throne of Death. ‘Is he trying to create a new religion with me as the start?’
Appointing an Apostle, who was practically a high priest, meant he could found a new religion. The greater the followers, the more faith would expand, which meant it was a significant source of support for gods. Doyle felt like he knew what he needed to do in the future, and what his task was.
He had become someone’s subordinate, but if he was fated to be a servant anyway, he would accept this gladly. Compared to the mysterious Heavenly Demon and the conniving Mother Earth, Yeon-woo was much more trustworthy. And from what he could see, Yeon-woo was someone with limitless growth.
He wouldn’t be satisfied simply being a king. He was sure to climb the wall of the seventy-seventh floor and one day challenge the godly thrones of the ninety-eighth floor and equal Mother Earth, Heavenly Demon, and the others. By serving him, Doyle would be able to grow as well.
Others might say it was crazy, but Doyle had seen many gods and demons, and he was even more certain about it. Was it because he decided to be at peace with it?
Yeon-woo’s flame burned in his mind and purified his dizziness, pushing away the darkness. The events that had happened while he was comatose flashed through his mind. He remembered the countless gods and demons that had approached to take his body with its remnants. They had different bases and ranks, and he was vaguely recalling their vestiges when he suddenly straightened his back.
“What’s wrong?” Kahn’s eyes widened when he saw Doyle shaking. He thought it was a side effect.
Doyle frantically muttered, “Danger…”
“Cain hyung is in danger!” Doyle’s deafening shout echoed in the room.
* * *
“The Crawling Chaos wasn’t enough…and now you’re working with a harlot like her? You’re all over the place.” Yeon-woo found himself scoffing before he even realized. Not only did Bayluk have the Crawling Chaos with him, he was working with Mother Earth, too.
The Crawling Chaos and Mother Earth were an unlikely pair. From what he knew, there was nearly no means for a conceptual god and otherworld god to find common ground. Conceptual gods set the laws and truth of the Tower, and otherworld gods were reliant on external disorder and chaos. There was no way they could meet, but Bayluk seemed to be handling it well. But then, since it was Vieira Dune who’d taken over Mother Earth, was it possible that he had done this with that knowledge?
[Mother Earth is watching you.]
Mother Earth wasn’t showing any particular reaction; she only observed Yeon-woo. It was unpleasant.
Bayluk replied, “A harlot. She’s someone you used to sleep with. Isn’t that too harsh?”
Did Mother Earth not reveal his true identity? Bayluk didn’t seem to know about Yeon-woo, but Yeon-woo didn’t feel the need to correct him.
Bayluk continued, “And I’d like to correct you. You got the order wrong. I began working with Vieira Dune first, raised her to become Mother Earth and was able to make a contract with the Crawling Chaos after.”
“When you were still in Arthia?”
“A traitor and a harlot, what a pair. Wow, how could two people so perfect for each other join forces like this?” Yeon-woo was able to realize the truth. He did suspect that there had been too much for Bayluk to accomplish on his own, and now he knew that he’d been working with Vieira Dune all along.
He didn’t know who started it, but Vieira Dune poisoned Jeong-woo for Bayluk, and Bayluk researched the Soulstone she brought and turned her into Mother Earth. In return, Vieira Dune provided him an opportunity to gain new knowledge from the Crawling Chaos.
It looked like they had gotten so far because Vieira Dune pursued what she wanted in the heavenly world while Bayluk pursued his in the lower world.
‘Vieira Dune became Mother Earth to threaten Tartarus and Olympus, and Bayluk used the Elohim to create a Divine Human? Ha! Hilarious.’ The people he wanted to tear to shreds were both here. However, he didn’t understand why Mother Earth would reveal her will.
[Mother Earth is watching you.]
Even though she was working with Bayluk and might be curious about Yeon-woo, she should have been busy with the war with Olympus. Was the war over? He had no way of knowing what happened after he left, so he couldn’t help feeling anxious.
“I thought you’d no longer have any interest in the lower world.” Just then, fog wavered next to Bayluk and turned into a human. It was Vieira Dune.
She took a turn around the lab and carefully sat on a glass capsule in the depths of the lab. She embraced the capsule as though it were a precious object.
Yeon-woo’s face hardened. One of Jeong-woo’s homunculi was inside the glass tube that Vieira Dune’s manifestation was stroking. It was a scene he never wanted to see. Mother Earth ran her hands over the capsule as though she were patting a doll and stroked the area over the homunculus’ face. Then, she turned back to Yeon-woo and opened her mouth.
You. Don’t. Know.
Because she was a conceptual being, she couldn’t speak properly. Yeon-woo maximized his dragon’s knowledge to interpret her words. “What don’t I know?”
Would. You. Know.
We. Are. Destined.
Mother Earth’s manifestation continued to move her mouth, not caring how furious Yeon-woo grew.
But. I. Won’t. Lose. Him. Again.
Don’t. Bother. Me. Human.
Black. Is. Mine.
You. Are. Also. Mine.
Give. Me. The. Throne.
With that, the manifestation looked up at the sky and let out a long cry.
It was a spiritual spell that mortals couldn’t hear. Yeon-woo was only able to hear it because he possessed the Throne of Death. His expression turned hard because he knew what it meant. It was a declaration of war.
[At Mother Earth’s request, <Olympus> has expressed hostility to the clan ‘Arthia.’]
[All societies and alliances related to the clan ‘Arthia’ have accepted the declaration of war from <Olympus>.]
[The clan ‘Children of the Forest’ is hostile to <Olympus>.]
[The clan ‘Iron Throne’ is hostile to <Olympus>.]
[The clan ‘Greenshade Star’ is hostile to <Olympus>.]
[The enmity between the demonic society <L’Infernal> and <Olympus> has been established!]
[<Olympus> asserts a trial of restraints.]