Leveling with the Gods - Chapter 42
The workshop that Hephaestus had been using collapsed. Made by having done some adjustments to a small building in the slums, it was in a shabby state where it could have collapsed at any moment.
YuWon took a punch from Chryses, which sent him flying into the workshop. And from within the rubble, he found the 「Dark Divine Crystal,」 no, the now properly refined 「Pure Dark Divine Crystal」 and grasped it within his hand.
“What do you mean ‘dangerous,’ sir?” Agamemnon asked Chryses, confused by his words.
There was a hidden veil of annoyance on Agamemnon’s face as he looked at Chryses. He wanted to capture Hephaestus as soon as possible and finish his mission, but things continued to get delayed.
“He’s almost dead. There’s no reason to be afraid of him.”
“Dark attribute mana is a special case. And to consider him almost dead, though his mana is—”
His patience finally hitting its limit, Agamemnon interrupted Chryses.
“No matter how talented he might be, he’s still a new player. You look very tired, sir. Please have some rest.”
Agamemnon set his sights back on YuWon.
“We’ll take care of him…”
It was the strangest thing. YuWon, who was standing in the pile of rubble just a moment ago, had disappeared.
‘Where did he go…?’
The sound of a loud explosion. It was from the direction where Hephaestus was laying on the ground.
Surprised, Agamemnon quickly turned his head.
The subordinates that were sent to carry Hephaestus back were sent flying like bowling pins. It all happened in an instant, the battlefield erupting into absolute chaos once more.
YuWon was once again standing next to Hephaestus.
Agamemnon grit his teeth.
“What are you doing, you idiots?” Agamemnon shouted in fury. “Are you just going to watch him? Go kill him! I said I’ll give a management position to whoever kills him! Now jump him all at once!”
Hephaestus’s petrified body continued to slowly twitch. The Petrification status effect only stopped one’s movement. It didn’t stop one’s mind. That meant that even now, Hephaestus was struggling with everything he had to break out of the Petrification.
“L-Let’s go all in together!”
Though their individual skills weren’t all that impressive, one couldn’t ignore the strength in numbers.
YuWon tightly gripped his sword, watching the wave of people charge at him. With a sword in one hand and the 「Pure Dark Divine Crystal」 in the other, he unleashed his mana with all his strength.
An instantaneous mana ripple.
Where the dark mana passed by, players’ heads were cut off, and their arms and torsos withered away.
Their wailing cries could be heard from the horde of players.
YuWon continued to fight against the ones that rushed at him, bringing out the power of the 「Pure Dark Divine Crystal.」
With the fragment in YuWon’s hand, his mana continuously changed attributes and was amplified.
The only ones to notice the item were Chryses and Agamemnon.
“He had an unbelievable item. Was that a reward from the Tutorial?” Chryses remarked in amazement, watching YuWon fighting against dozens of players from floors above him. He then looked over at Agamemnon whose face had turned white. “What did I tell you? Tsk, tsk.”
Chryses’s response ticked off Agamemnon. He grit his teeth. He didn’t know what was going on. Until just a moment ago, he didn’t seem like he had that kind of item at all.
“The Tower called forth a monster.”
“This is no time to be impressed, sir!”
Agamemnon looked at Chryses with fire in his eyes, giving him a death glare.
“What’s wrong? Didn’t you say earlier that you guys could take care of him yourselves?”
“So are you saying you won’t do anything about this?”
“From the beginning, my role was to stop Hephaestus in his tracks. Against a new player, according to the rules of the Tower, you guys need to resolve this on your own.”
“Are you serious…?!”
Chryses smirked at Agamemnon’s reaction. It wasn’t that Chryses didn’t understand how he was feeling. After losing the Jackals, if he failed to capture Hephaestus, who was incredibly difficult to find, he’d completely lose ground in Olympus.
“Don’t worry,” Chryses said, standing up with a grunt. He clapped Agamemnon’s shoulder. “I intend on seeing things through.”
A big drop of sweat fell down Chryses’s forehead as he continued to walk. He had already reached his limits from suffering the penalty. He looked like he might fall over at any moment from how poor condition he was in.
YuWon spotted the weakened Chryses. And at the same time, he flicked the finger of the hand that was holding the 「Pure Dark Divine Crystal」 and waved his hand in the air.
The fire mixed with the dark mana, creating a black flame that enveloped YuWon.
Seeing this made the players that were charging in take a step back.
The only one who passed through the fire was Chryses. Seeming unphased by them, he reached out his hand and held some of YuWon’s flames in his palm.
Chryses remarked, while closely observing YuWon’s fire in his hand.
Fire and dark. It was already impressive that he was able to manipulate a single attribute, but YuWon was in fact able to control two attributes. Even most Rankers were incapable of this kind of mana control.
“Do you have any thoughts of joining Olympus? If equipment is what you’re after, I promise to give you something far better than what you commissioned Hephaestus.”
YuWon shook his head.
“There’s no way that’s my objective.”
“That’s true. You have a point.”
“And I’ve already given him my answer to that question before.”
YuWon referred to Agamemnon, who was standing and watching from the sidelines.
“And of course you said ‘no,’ right?”
“What a shame.”
He knew that it was highly unlikely, but Chryses still asked for the slim chance of being able to recruit YuWon. Because YuWon was that desirable of a gem.
Chryses’s fire swallowed up YuWon’s fire, and the black flames near him changed to red.
The flames in the area were split in two—half YuWon’s dark flames and half Chryses’s red flames. The two fought each other, crashing head on.
While that was going on, Chryses body continued to be overloaded by the penalty.
“Are you sure you can keep fighting?”
Chryses responded with a baffled laughter, “I never thought I’d hear that from a new player.”
This was an embarrassing occasion he’d never be able to tell another soul. However, that was only because other people didn’t know about YuWon’s existence.
‘In about a hundred years, I might be able to share today’s events with pride,’ Chryses thought.
A scenario came to Chryses’s mind.
“You know, I’ve fought Kim YuWon before.
“No, really. ‘When?’ you say? Well, it was right when he had just arrived on the 1st Floor…”
Chryses smirked as he shook his head. He found it funny that he was already thinking about sharing this tale with his friends in the distant future.
Who could have ever imagined that a new player would be able to go toe-to-toe against a Ranker?
Chryses’s flames swallowed up YuWon’s flames.
‘That’s only possible if I manage to survive this first.’
All the nearby flames gathered around Chryses. The fire quickly swirled together until it formed the shape of a sun.
Watching this attack, YuWon mumbled to himself, “… So he’s prepared to perish.”
YuWon got a sense of how truly important this mission was to them. Of course, that was why they were able to send down a Ranker to the 1st Floor equipped with 「Aegis,」 even if it was a replica.
‘If Ahjussi doesn’t rejoin Olympus here…’
YuWon started putting more power into the 「Pure Dark Divine Crystal」 in his grasp. Reacting to YuWon’s mana, the Crystal wailed loudly. The resonating mana started to grow so much that YuWon’s body couldn’t handle it anymore.
‘… The next Gigantomachy might not happen.’
To ensure that it didn’t, YuWon had to protect Hephaestus right here, right now.
The second Gigantomachy, that tragedy, could not be allowed to happen.
The two massive energies were hostile to each other. The two different types of mana almost seemed like they were growling as they collided and created a windstorm.
YuWon and Chryses simultaneously walked towards each other.
The small sun that Chryses created started descending after he gave the signal with his hand.
Not accepting Chryses’s action, the Tower forced a powerful penalty onto him.
The small sun started to lose its form as it wobbled.
Having clenched his jaw as hard as he could, chipped teeth and blood sloshed around Chryses’s mouth. Still, he gathered the remaining focus he had and recollected his mana into one point.
The flames came back together, and the small sun regained its shape.
With the last of his mental fortitude, Chryses managed to endure the penalty of the Tower.
And like that, two beings, one from the highest point in the Tower and the other from the lowest, collided.
“I knew it. You really are amazing.”
In the midst of the giant collision of mana, Chryses was able to faintly hear YuWon’s voice.
‘He knew it…?’ Chryses wondered.
A hot and violent windstorm brewed. Some of the nearby players even lost consciousness from the storm.
‘What kind of a ridiculous situation is this…?’ Agamemnon thought.
The entire world of the 1st Floor felt like it was howling due to the collision of mana against mana. And due to the aftershock of the penalty applied to Chryses, the surrounding area was already devastated.
The windstorm continued for a while.
Agamemnon’s nerves were on edge.
‘How did their battle go?’
Chryses could no longer fight. It’d be a miracle if he didn’t perish from this attack, let alone continue fighting. A Ranker exerting this much power on the 1st Floor was probably unprecedented in the Tower’s history. Even if he didn’t die, Chryses’s body was probably worn out to the point where he’d no longer be able to use any powers for some time.
The area looked distorted due to the heat. The haze created by the collision of the two flames slowly started to fade away.
“Both of them… are alive.”
From within the haze, YuWon and Chryses could both be seen.
“Barely, but alive.”
It was as Agamemnon said. They were technically “alive.”
YuWon and Chryses were passed out on the ground. One could see that Chryses was alive from the subtle trembling of his body. Compared to Chryses, YuWon didn’t look as bad, but he was in a state where he could only slightly twitch his fingers.
Their battle was a draw.
Seeing the results, Agamemnon smiled.
Though it took a lot, YuWon had been taken down. Regardless of how strong he might have been, there was no way YuWon could do something while his body was completely torn up like this.
As Agamemnon was confirming his victory…
He heard an ominous sound.
Hoping it wasn’t what he thought it was, he turned his head. And what he saw was…
“It’s not over yet, kiddo.”
… A crippled man tightly gripping his hammer, his face contorted in fury.
Hephaestus had finally been released from his Petrification.