The Novel's Villain - Chapter 201
57. Dreams, Hopes, and Love (4)
Cerberus fell flat on its stomach.
Conceptual training wasn’t difficult to execute. First, Jin-woo beat all three of its heads until they were unconscious. Afterward, he smashed two, leaving only the first one to come to its senses intact.
It pretended to pray for mercy, but he couldn’t feel its sincerity.
‘It’s a little lacking.’
It was probably because of his lack of taste.
Looking at his wooden club, he took out a fire attribute stone from his subspace and applied it to his weapon.
Now, every time he swung it, it would release intense flames.
Smiling, he turned his gaze at Cerberus.
Puck puck peck!
He hit it multiple times, causing pillars upon pillars of fire to surge up. That made each strike much more satisfying. With all of its shiny black hair burned down, it now looked like a chicken with all of its feathers removed.
It looked displeasing.
“Alright, alright! I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please…”
Jin-woo felt refreshed. After endlessly smashing his weapon against it, it seemed to have finally grown tired of the pain and now sounded sincere. It had been a long time already since two of its heads lost consciousness.
The gigantic canine felt relieved when he stopped, thinking it had finally escaped hell, but he wasn’t done yet.
The Great Emperor would never go back on his promises.
He pulled out the encyclopedia from his subspace. Cerberus’s rank had decreased considerably, so its modifications no longer cost that much.
[Change Cerberus’s race.]
*Three-Headed Dog -} Cat
[Cerberus is the child of Typhon and Echidna. Changing its settings can be seen as a challenge to said gods.]
Typhon and Echidna were mythical beings.
Typhon, also called Tipoeus, was a monster with immense power. Half-snake and half-man, he was known to have a hundred fire-breathing dragon heads enveloping his body.
Echidna was also a monster in the form of a snake. She looked loosely similar to Lamia.
It didn’t matter, however. They were all insignificant before Jin-woo.
No matter how terrifying they were, they were nothing against cockroaches that completely devoured the Machine Emperor.
He couldn’t care less if they were a god or a monster.
Without hesitation, he proceeded to alter Cerberus’ settings.
Reaching out to the encyclopedia, a beautiful pen appeared in his hand.
“Oh! Are you changing its settings?”
“That sounds interesting.”
Se-yeon and Yoo-na walked up to him. Based on the evil smiles they had, it looked like the three-headed dog remained arrogant in Jin-woo’s absence. Since it had three mouths, it probably got on their nerves quite a lot. After all, in its eyes, the two were nothing but weak and fragile humans.
He looked at them, thinking they’d probably have something better planned than what he wanted to do. They knew its settings best, after all.
“Would you like to do it instead?”
He handed the encyclopedia and pen over to Se-yeon.
“How far can I go with it?”
“As far as you want. Do your best.”
Since its rank had decreased, anything imaginable could be done on it. It would consume his power and dimensional gold coins, but that wouldn’t be a burden at all.
Se-yeon started changing its settings, and Jin-woo took a step back to watch them at work.
Yoo-na expressed her serious opinion.
“I think it would be better to take them off of it for now.”
“I think so too.”
“They would be dangerous if left alone.”
‘What are they taking off?’
Cerberus’s body trembled the moment Se-yeon finished writing something down.
It started screaming and rolling on the floor, its soul seemingly shattering into pieces as it suffered from a far more painful punishment than when Jin-woo beat it up.
Soon enough, two of its heads turned to dust and disappeared.
Two more things fell off of its body and onto the floor.
Jin-woo took two steps back and groaned. It was a sight so terrifying he couldn’t even dare describe it in any way. Even Se-yeon looked surprised.
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Yoo-na nodded knowingly.
“You wrote separation, not change.”
“That’s… We should be more specific, huh…”
“It doesn’t really matter. The result didn’t change.”
Stream of tears fell from Cerberus’s eyes, each drop containing intense emotions.
But this was just the beginning.
Having experienced Settings World, Yoo-na had quite a bit of knowledge in operating the encyclopedia. She had reached a level where she could have a decent conversation with Se-yeon.
Cerberus’s appearance began to change according to Se-yeon’s taste.
Luna also joined her, coming down from Heaven.
Jin-woo got goosebumps at its real-time transformation. He turned his gaze away, unable to look at it any further.
“Heheh… Don’t even try to resist.”
Se-yeon’s eyes completely turned around.
At the end of its physical torment, mental torment awaited.
Completely fooled, its psyche shattered.
[Cerberus has been completely altered into a Furry. After terrible suffering, it has now succumbed completely.]
[The gods of Olympus gain an ominous feeling.]
[Hades is once again shocked, having witnessed the entire procedure.]
Cerberus was no longer a three-headed dog.
It had now been transformed into a furry due to Se-yeon’s tastes. Well, it was still turned into a cat, so Jin-woo still technically kept his promise.
[The underworld’s myth has been corrected.]
[The General Manager creates the Great Emperor Myth upon receiving the revelation.]
Cerberus sat down and looked at all that he had lost, looking quite liberated.
Jin-woo decided to entrust the treatment of Cerberus to Luna.
‘It would be better than dying.’
She looked quite generous and forgiving.
Was it because she went to Heaven?
She seemed to have become too kind-hearted these days.
Jin-woo looked at the large space behind Cerberus, a passageway leading to Hades’s underworld.
The time had come to meet the Emperor who presided over death.
He couldn’t help but be curious about what kind of personality he had.
* * *
World Tree Land was running smoothly.
It was being prepared to service Another Earth as well, which wouldn’t be a problem because Districts 1 and 2 would use the themes they created alternately to avoid crowding the same place.
As for Cerberus, it was turned into a ride tester. Its existence was close to a half-soul, and since it was originally from the underworld, it could easily be revived even if it died.
It was also nicknamed Beta, short for Beta Tester.
Transferred to the research team with Prof. Kim Dae-jin, it became a test subject every day.
Its sacrifice was noble!
Experiments were taking place in the test area of Earth’s underworld.
Beta, tied to a chair, rolled its eyes anxiously.
“It will be ‘relatively’ safe this time.”
“T-t-that’s what you said last time…”
“I said it would ‘probably’ be safe back then. Don’t worry. It’ll probably be fine.”
“You just said ‘probably’ again…”
Prof. Kim Dae-jin listened to the recorder.
“Subject Beta, very nervous. Weather clear. Commence 23rd test of ‘Flying Rocket Chair.’ There is a possibility of an explosion, but not to a level of concern.”
Currently, the research team was in a state of competition with engineers from the underworld.
The Flying Rocket Chair was the conversion work of Prof. Kim Dae-jin. It was made to make the riders experience a state of weightlessness.
“Begin the experiment.”
When Prof. Kim Dae-jin pressed a button, fire erupted from under the chair Beta was sitting on, causing it to soar like firecrackers. The problem was that it had turned too much like one.
As it exuded colorful explosions, it was engulfed in flames so strong it could be seen anywhere in World Tree Land.
The small mana engine continued to explode, looking like a real fireworks display. Externally, it looked quite beautiful, becoming quite the best surprise gift for family and lovers.
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“Wow! Mom, look at that!”
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“That’s so pretty.”
Tourists cheered as they watched it unfold. Love, hopes, and dreams enveloped that warm light.
Jin-woo, who was about to depart for Hades, tilted his head while looking at the grandiose show that appeared on the screen. It made him think they were holding an event.
After a while, he entered the passage Cerberus used to guard.
The moment he passed through it, a different world unfolded.
In front of him, souls from different dimensions headed down a tall tower, at the bottom of which many underworlds connected like roots of the world tree awaited them.
It was the heart of the afterlife.
[SS+] Tower of Hades
Situated deep in the underworld, this tower serves as Hades’s residence, controlling the afterlife from here. It was connected to Earth long ago until the gods of Olympus strongly sealed it.
There seemed to be quite a few stories revolving around it. Also known as Elysium, only special spirits could stay there.
Jin-woo walked over to it, finding it so large searching for its entrance itself was difficult.
Still, if he couldn’t find a door, then he just needed to make one. Concentrating mana into his fist, he punched the wall, causing it to crack and collapse. Due to its huge size, even such a hole wouldn’t cause it to collapse or crumble.
A wide field reminiscent of Ancient Greece awaited him inside.
Red roses stretched across its lands, mixed with trees bearing golden fruits. Although they were shabby compared to the golden apples Jin-woo raised, they were still worthy of admiration.
He could already feel Hades’s energy coming from the palace in the distance.
Thud thud thud thud!
However, just as he was about to move towards it, warriors equipped with swords and shields rushed at him, all of them having muscular bodies evident from their exposed torsos. They certainly seemed like powerful ancient warriors.
“It is amazing that you managed to break into the Elysium, but you insult the names of deities and heroes by doing so. I am Radius, a warrior blessed by the gods. Who are you?” The combatant in front asked with a slightly exaggerated accent.
Based on his golden helmet, which seemed to have been crafted by a skilled blacksmith, Radius’s rank was quite high.
Jin-woo looked at him for a moment with the Magic Eye of Information.
A warrior favored by the gods and a trusted hero by Hades. Despite being a demigod carrying the blood of Zeus, he was unable to accomplish the task given to him by the gods, leading to his death.
Based on that description, it seemed that the gods of Olympus really existed.
The other men with Radius were also quite strong.
‘The World of Gods…’
Jin-woo became certain Hades was the last Emperor. By eliminating or subduing him, he’d be able to reach the deities’ realm.
Considering his status, there was a high probability he had quite decent weapons and treasures. He thought about taking them all to New World. They should provide quite the power boost to the players, earning them even more positive reviews.
Radius patiently waited as heroes should.
“O’ ominous one, reveal your name.”
When he revealed his name, the sky and the roses around him turned black. Radius and his warriors nervously raised their arms.
“This pressure… Are you a god?”
“I do rule over multiple dimensions. That aside, I demand a meeting with Hades.”
Weighted down by his presence, Radius trembled hard enough to make wielding his sword difficult.
But they didn’t retreat. Even if it meant having their souls destroyed, he could feel their determination to never back down.
Jin-woo really liked them.
Hence, he used Radius’s information to convince and persuade him instead.
“Don’t you want to accomplish the task your god has given you?”
His eyes fluttered wildly, remembering the only regret he had. Radius realized then that the being before him was no ordinary deity. He was the Great Emperor as well, after all.
Jin-woo put a wedge in his heart the moment he noticed his defenses cowering.
Stretching out his hand, he unleashed his power, causing powerful energy to swirl on his palm. Radius’ legs began to tremble.
“I can give it to everyone here. This is your chance to become a legend.”
Jin-woo’s words sounded so exceptionally sweet for them that it didn’t take long for them to lower their weapons.
Radius bowed before him as an act of submission.
‘Well, he did say he needed a tester.’ He thought, remembering Prof. Kim Dae-jin’s words.
Prof. Kim Dae-jin’s tension was too high, making his tasks a little too dangerous. However, Radius and his warriors had fairly high ranks, so they should be fine.
Such responsibilities wouldn’t be anywhere near enough to be considered divine quests, but they would still be able to use it as an excuse to make up for their failures.
As for Jin-woo, this was a pretty good way to get talents instead of killing them.
He took out his cell phone. He installed quite the strong Wi-Fi in the underworld, but its signal was still a little weak because of how far he was. Still, he was able to pick up a strong enough connection to make it usable when he moved closer to the hole in the wall.
Jin-woo sent a text message to Prof. Kim Dae-jin.
[Expect testers to arrive. Please adjust accordingly.]
[Oh oh! Thank you! I vow to achieve satisfactory results.]
[Take it easy.]
Afterward, he turned his attention to Radius and his warriors again.
Jin-woo opened a portal to the test site in front of them. It looked quite evil for them, almost like a door to Tartarus, a place further deeper than where they now stood.
“We will do our best to finish this quest.” Saying so, he entered it with his soldiers.
[S+] Great Emperor’s Trial
‘Sometimes, sacrifices must be made to gain what you desire.’
The Great Emperor has given Radius and his warriors an ordeal difficult for mere humans to overcome.
If they can overcome their fears and cultivate a noble spirit, they might be able to accomplish this quest no different from the 12 Labors of Hercules.
*Success: Two ranks increase, constellation created in the underworld
*Failure: Complete extinction
Prof. Kim Dae-jin started running rampant while looking at the testers.
Jin-woo’s eyes widened when he read through the information window. He thought the ordeal he gave them was fairly light, but its difficulty was deemed S+ in rank.
Then again, he had never been to the testing area.
‘Well… They should be fine.’
They were heroes from the World of Gods, after all.
Believing in them, he moved quickly towards the palace of Hades.
There was quite a crowd around it. Too lazy to deal with them, he jumped straight up and landed on top of it.
He destroyed the floor, went inside, and smashed everything in his path to where he could feel an Emperor’s energy coming from.
Breaking through a huge door, he finally saw a man pouring milk over cereal.
He was skinny enough to be considered a skeleton.
The bowl in his hand fell to the floor as he trembled. Jin-woo’s sudden appearance seemed to have greatly surprised him.
“There’s a doorbell…”
“… It looked a bit complicated… .”
Hades could only stare at him blankly.
* * *
Radius and his warriors fell to the floor as soon as the belts around them were untied.
Everyone vomited blood.
Radius’s entirety trembled, finally realizing how deadly the ordeal given to them was. It certainly had no shortage of difficulties, making it worthy of being called a god-given task.
Radius barely raised his head.
‘Kim Dae-jin… God’s messenger and the incarnation of fear of despair…’
He was busy writing in his journal diary.
He only learned about him through this cat-eared warrior, a senior of theirs. It, like himself, appeared to be carrying out a divine quest as well.
Perhaps the blood of the Great Emperor flowed in it. After all, it was impossible for a being to possess both human and animal traits unless they were a descendant of a deity.
“How do you overcome this pain? How can you be so calm?”
“I have undergone far worse agony.”
“What do you mean?”
The senior looked at Radius and his warriors. Closing his eyes and sighing, he told them of the greatest pain he had ever suffered.
“Zeus’s lightning be damned!”
“What in the P-Poseidon’s trident…”
Their faces turned blue upon hearing its terrible history.
They’d much rather lose all of their eyes, ears, hands, and legs than lose what it did.
“After losing them… I’ve become confident I can endure any amount of torment.”
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Was this how Hercules felt?
This divine quest proved even more difficult than they realized.
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[Hades is astonished, causing his bones to tremble!]
If Jin-woo had known about this, he might have shouted, ‘That’s not it!’