The Novel's Villain - Chapter 197
57. Myth (4)
Jin-woo climbed up.
The Black Hound Headquarters’ VIP elevator only went as far as the 44th floor, but the stairs seemed to have no end. It was like a tower that led people to the sky.
A faint light could be seen at the far end of it. The darkness around it made it look like a star.
Leaping through the steps swiftly, he arrived at the top, finding a huge marble door with several figures carved into it blocking his path.
It seemed to be telling the story of a myth.
Showing no interest, Jin-woo didn’t even bother taking a closer look at it.
All that mattered was whether the door was open or not. Unfortunately, it proved to be the latter.
‘More accurately, it’s sealed.’
It was being held in place by a force so powerful only Emperors could break it.
To Jin-woo, however, it was nothing more than a thin piece of paper.
Breaking things like this was his specialty, after all.
‘It reminds me of the good old days.’
Specifically when he sealed the Emperor of Greed. At the time, he never expected he’d go beyond the rank of Emperor and become the Great Emperor.
He never thought he’d be traveling and ruling over different dimensions, universes, and even the underworld, either. Even by his standard, his journey was truly amazing.
Jin-woo lightly touched the door, allowing his power to surge into it.
[The power of a god fails to resist it.]
[The seal has been lifted.]
With its lock now broken, the carvings on it began to melt.
The head of the man holding a lightning bolt at the top exploded, and black tentacles wriggled out of it. The same happened to the other engravings.
It didn’t look that horrifying since they were just markings anyway.
Still, the tentacles densely nestling all over it looked disgusting. Due to its large size, it became riddled with dozens upon dozens of holes.
As the appendages disappeared, the door shattered and fell to the floor.
‘It seems to really like it…’
Why did the power of domination like tentacles so much?
Jin-woo found no need to understand it. If he did try, he thought he might just end up losing his mind.
Since dimensions and universes were vast, there existed many different beings with different tastes. As long as it didn’t harm anyone, it would be best to just respect each other’s preferences.
He walked into the huge space beyond the door, finding an Ancient-Greece-style temple at the end of it. A large monitor was attached to it, reflecting the entirety of Earth.
Other than that, it looked like a normal office.
“The Black Hounds in the U.S.A has disappeared!”
“How is that even possible? When?”
“Uh… Just now…”
“That’s most likely just another system error. Fix it immediately!”
The people in it seemed quite busy. Nevertheless, everyone turned their attention to him when he entered.
Their reaction told him he had just witnessed something he shouldn’t.
“How is he in the afterlife, then?!”
Everyone looked terrified upon finding out Jin-woo wasn’t dead yet. It was as if they just saw a ghost.
He thought deeply and agonizingly about what to do until he finally decided to simply get rid of them all. Raising his gaze, he looked at the signboard above the temple.
[VVIP] District 1
*Special management area ordered by Hades!
*Treasures of the Underworld! District 1!
*Maximum sales achieved!
He wasn’t sure why, but District 1 seemed to be specially managed even in the underworld. It even had a frontline group.
‘It doesn’t really matter, though.’
Since they seemed no different from the Black Hound soldiers, he thought it wouldn’t be bad to use only a bit of his strength to deal with them.
[The Great Emperor’s power of domination seeps through the floor.]
A black stream spewed out of Jin-woo’s body. When he took a step forward, it rose from the ground and turned into tentacles. He didn’t really like their form, but they were great when it came to dealing with his targets all at once.
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They rushed forward, bound everyone, then threw them all down the stairs under Jin-woo’s orders. He heard their screams echoing, which he thought meant they were having a great time with the vehement zombies.
‘It’s finally clear.’
Jin-woo went inside the magnificent temple.
Inside it were statues worthy of being displayed in movies. Each of them seemed to represent a god, but he didn’t bother recognizing them.
For him, Luna was enough.
At the far end of it was a huge three-headed dog.
[S] Cerberus The Gatekeeper of Death
Under Hades’ order, it governs the underworld’s first district and guards the entrance to Tartarus. Although it has great power, it can’t leave its post due to the leash binding it down.
Considering it wasn’t Emperor-ranked, Hades truly had to be the Emperor of Death. Jin-woo lightly kicked one of its heads as it slept.
Cerberus’s large body was sent flying until it crashed against the temple’s wall.
Embarrassed, it pushed itself up. Seemingly still drowsy, its three heads bumped into each other. It soon turned its attention to Jin-woo.
“How dare a lowly human…”
It seemed to have come to its senses now, but he had no time to waste on this puppy.
Jin-woo punched Cerberus, sending it crashing against the temple ceiling. The moment it fell, he delivered a light kick, flinging it all the way to the corner.
‘Hitting it is fun.’
Puck puck peck!
Since its body was huge and its skin tough, it made for a great punching bag. Jin-woo beat up all three of its heads until their noses bled. The sounds of leather cracking and breaking were pleasure to his ears.
When he hit its middle head, it bowed down to him, trembling.
“I-I’m sorry. I didn’t recognize you. I meant no disrespect.”
“Who do you think I am?”
“Well… You and Hercules seem to be one and the same…”
It was a pretty familiar name.
Though unfamiliar with the myths of this world, Jin-woo knew quite a lot about Zeus and Hercules.
Many cartoons and movies revolved around them, after all. Based on Cerberus’s words, Hades wasn’t the only one that existed from that myth. Other beings like him did as well. Maybe they were all in the place called the World of Gods.
Anyway, the dog in front of him showed normal canine behavior. Swinging its snake-like tail wildly, it flipped over, revealing its stomach. It seemed to be acting cute in its own way, but Jin-woo found it disgusting.
“No, wait. I feel a much greater power from you. Ugh! I can’t believe I compared you to such an ignorant idiot! I apologize.” Cerberus exclaimed.
Cerberus slowly got up and slyly retreated to the large black space behind the temple.
It looked like a door. Where it led to, he was about to find out.
Iron bars burst forth in front of the three-headed dog, reaching the temple’s ceiling. At that moment, its attitude changed completely to extreme arrogance.
“Hahaha! You, humans, are so stupid. I don’t know how you got in, but you’ll never get out of here! You’ll suffer forever!”
Jin-woo approached the barricade.
It didn’t look that sturdy. When he punched it, it vibrated violently.
Cerberus’s eyes widened.
Applying a little more force to his attack, he caused the iron bars to severely bend as powerful vibrations quaked through the floor.
“Hahaha! These defenses are imbued with divine power, deeply rooting them in the underworld of District 1!”
Jin-woo used the Magic Eye of Information on it.
[S+] Iron Bars of Tartarus
With the power of Hades imbued in it, it has become capable of decomposing the souls of anyone that dare touch it. Since it’s deeply rooted in District 1, destroying it through force risks obliterating District 1 itself.
Although it exerts absolute power in the underworld, when infused with the energy of the living, it becomes greatly weakened, just like the underworld itself does. Currently, its rank has dropped by one level due to Bread Jam and the Great Emperor’s influence.
Jin-woo could easily destroy it, but he was a little reluctant to blow up the underworld since it would cost innocent lives as well.
For him to rule over this world using the power of domination, he had to keep the entire underworld intact first.
The situation had become a little more complicated, but all he had to do was take a little detour. The results wouldn’t change.
“Hahaha! It would be a waste to just get rid of your ignorant power. If you lie face down and swear obedience to me, I’ll make a special exception and turn you into my subordinate.” Cerberus claimed as Jin-woo quietly read through the iron bars’ information. It probably thought he was afraid.
Until now, no one had ever used such an arrogant tone on him and lived to tell the tale.
Looking at it, he smiled. He now desired to make it feel pain worse than death.
“I see you’re currently leashed.”
Cerberus couldn’t take it off on its own, leaving it stranded within the temple’s perimeter.
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“I’ll turn you into a cat.” He said, finding nothing strange about such a remark.
He had a lot of questions he wanted to ask the dog, but all he could think of right now was demolishing the iron bars, beating Cerberus up until it’s at death’s door, then using the settings encyclopedia to turn it into a cat.
When Jin-woo quietly retreated, the canine sighed in relief.
From Cerberus’s perspective, it didn’t make any sense.
It was surprised when it heard the news about the Black Hound being annihilated and was surprised once more when it saw the jiangshis and vehement zombies on the screen.
And when it saw Titan, it almost peed itself.
The canine made an emergency call to Hades, but he didn’t answer.
Cerberus felt incredibly anxious. For some reason, the iron bars in front of it seemed exceptionally thin.
Jin-woo came out of the Black Hound Headquarters, finding the ruins of what used to be heaven itself. Even the remaining intact buildings were destroyed as soon as Titan found them.
Only the Black Hound Headquarters itself was left unharmed since he ordered his minions not to demolish it yet.
The jiangshis returned the kidnapped children to the shopping center secretly.
‘Will I be able to dominate this place?’
Jin-woo unleashed his power of domination, attempting to rule the underworld. Although he was certainly making progress, it was taking too long.
In the end, he decided to make weakening the underworld his top priority, along with dealing with the iron bars.
‘I have to go back for now.’
Jin-woo passed through the wasteland and returned to the shopping center, finding people who had escaped heaven on his way. They had all turned into zombies.
Reaching his destination, he noticed something strange.
“For the Great Emperor!”
“Do not be afraid of death! To Valhalla, we shall rise!”
“These holy bullets will protect us!”
Armed with rifles, the survivors gunned the zombies down. With the absurd amount of bullets they had, they let loose without worry, thinning out the undead horde en masse.
Engulfed in madness, men, women, and even the elderly carried various firearms in their hands. Whenever they pulled the trigger, they showed quite terrifying expressions.
Jin-woo looked at the scene blankly.
‘What the hell is going on? Why are they acting like that?’
It was even stranger than the fight between jiangshis and zombies.
People that should’ve died long ago skillfully detonated claymores and threw out grenades.
The moment he saw a middle-aged woman running wild with her dual pistols, Jin-woo’s mind just stopped functioning.
Due to the loud gunshots and explosions, more zombies flocked in, creating a horde so huge it could prove a little too difficult to fight off.
‘I have to help them.’
Just as he was about to rush in, the people split like the Red Sea, giving way to Bread Jam, who was kneeling on the ground. An anti-tank rocket gun was right in front of him.
“Great Emperor, please grant this PZF-3 your grace and holiness.”
He picked the weapon up and assumed the proper shooting stance. Matched with his cute appearance, his heterogeneity heightened even more.
“Ohh! It’s on!”
“Finally, the rocket launcher’s assembly has been finished.”
“That’s the Great Emperor’s magic wand!”
It looked like it had been shown a few times already, considering the people were even calling it the Great Emperor’s magic wand. Bread Jam grew tense, probably swept away by the atmosphere.
“The Great Emperor is the one true God!” He shouted as he fired the anti-tank rocket launcher.
The rocket flew towards its target at an incredibly fast speed.
Soon enough, it crashed against the zombies, taking them out with it through a majestic explosion, which seemed much more powerful than the normal version, probably caused by his Holy Power.
Everyone clenched their fists at the overwhelming sight.
Bread Jam spread his arms.
“This is the power of the Almighty Great Emperor! Not even death can grant you peace now, evil pagan zombies!”
Although he was known as a saint, his actions showed no signs of it.
Standing on the roof, Jin-woo tipped over, almost making him fall.
He couldn’t decide if what he did was ugly or amazing.
Jin-woo shook his head. They weren’t even done yet.
Their one-sided massacre continued.
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Even after eradicating the zombies, they still didn’t return to base. Instead, approaching the corpses on the ground, they pulled their fangs out.
It was a testament to the faith they had devoted to the Great Emperor.
Some even wore necklaces made from them. The fact that they had overcome their fear of zombies was nice, but the atmosphere enveloping them made them far too reckless and dangerous.
Alex and Rachel just stood on the sidelines with awkward expressions on their faces. Meanwhile, all their leader could do was admire them.
Jin-woo couldn’t find the right timing to step out. They had already finished, so he decided to just casually appear on the battlefield.
Watching the devotees collecting zombie fangs, Bread Jam felt awe and, at the same time, weirded out.
“… War drives people crazy. This is why peace will always be the best option.”
He felt like he had just gained enlightenment.
“I agree.” Listening to his words, Jin-woo nodded.
Taking in such an insanity-filled scene wasn’t easy, after all.
* * *
The shopping center had been completely converted into a church. The survivors set up candles all over it and scrawled the words ‘Temple’ and ‘Great Emperor’ on a white cloth using red paint.
Overall, its religious stance now seemed suspicious and dangerous.
Jin-woo talked to Bread Jam in his room after the devotees calmed down a bit.
“Oh? We’re in the underworld?”
“Yeah. But if you die here, it’ll probably be permanent.”
He wanted to hear his thoughts about their current situation, hoping to view it from the general public’s perspective. Hence, he disclosed the facts he had discovered thus far with him.
“They’re villainous. Selling tickets to heaven… Being poor isn’t a sin.”
“Hades seems to think otherwise.”
“You mean the god from Greek mythology?”
“Considering I saw Cerberus guarding a gate, you’re probably right.”
At this point, Bread Jam already felt quite comfortable around him. It was just like talking to his brother.
“That’s bad. Every god in that mythology is insane. They commit incest, infidelity, rape, and many more like it’s nothing. Especially Zeus… Anyway, if I could meet Hades, I’d love to break his face.”
Jin-woo had also heard of Zeus’s notoriety. Compared to him, Hades was a gentleman.
“When we meet, I’ll do it for you instead. We have more pressing problems to deal with right now.”
“Woah. You’re so cool!” Bread Jam raised his thumb. “It would be much better if the Great Emperor rules over this place. Otherwise, I’d rather not be transported here once I die. Ugh…”
The underworld that Jin-woo dreamed of was simple.
The good would be rewarded, and the bad would be punished.
That was the best rule he could come up with. Naturally, he was excluded from it.
Regardless, it was a problem not only for Earth but for all dimensions. No one was free from death yet.
Jin-woo could escape somehow since he was the Great Emperor, but the same couldn’t be said for others.
However, there were at least ways for him to weaken and dominate the underworld. According to the information he gained, he just needed to bring a bunch of people that were still alive here.
“Well, then, shall I bring my subordinates in first?”
“What was that?”
“I’m bringing my subordinates here.”
He repeated himself, causing Bread Jam to blink in pure confusion and surprise.
“Great Emperor, are you capable of leaving and entering this dimension at will?”
“I thought you were locked up in here. That’s the standard plot of stories like this, after all… Why did you stay here, then? Why am I still here?”
Jin-woo avoided his intense gaze.
He altered his words.
“There’s a god I know. I have to bring them with me.”
“A god? Well, you are the Great Emperor, after all. It’s not strange for you to have such connections. Haha!”
“I’m sure you know them as well.”
“Oh? Is it Jesus? Buddha? Hmm… This is exciting.”
Jin-woo looked at Bread Jam intently. He wanted to tell him there was no way he’d be acquainted with such great beings but opted not to.
“Do you know Luna?”
“Yes. I’m from the same dimension as her.”
“She’s a goddess.”
Bread Jam looked at him in disbelief.
Luna had done many amazing things with Maze and Vanity, some of them absurd and ridiculous.
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“… It seems that God is like that in the first place.”
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Did gods have messed-up personalities by default?
Jin-woo thought Bread Jam didn’t behave as any normal believer would. In fact, he looked quite sad right now.