The Novel's Villain - Chapter 229
68. Exciting illusion (3)
Cronus’ temple was quite ordinary-looking. It seemed modeled after the old Temple of Olympus.
Jin-woo walked towards it, noticing it had no special barriers installed. Loki followed him, staring at his back nervously.
They struggled to death and pulled sleepless nights for this trap. It was so close to perfection that there wouldn’t be a problem even if a god stronger than Odin or Uranus came.
It should work on the God of Evil as well!
But Loki had an ominous feeling about it all. When the hair on his body started to stand up, he shook his head and hastily tried to get rid of the sensation.
“Is this place’s time frozen?”
“That seems to be the case.”
“That’s amazing,” Jin-woo admitted, finally understanding why he couldn’t find it. When he entered the temple, the first thing he noticed was how clean it was. There were grains of sand being blown into it, but it didn’t even have a speck of dust.
Its white floor was spotless, and the pillars holding up its roof seemed as if they had just been made. It was like entering a model house.
The Western and Northern Worlds’ treasures were also arranged in harmony with the interior design. The Olympian gods kicked Cronus out of his own home, but he seemed to be doing just fine.
Walking deeper into the temple, he found Cronus sitting on a throne. Hera and Set stood on either side of him, and in front of them, fairly high-ranking warriors lined up.
[S+] Cronus’ Regressor Army
The members of Cronus’ army are all warriors with outstanding qualities. Shortly before their deaths, they signed a contract with the god of time, allowing them to return to the past.
They have taken advantage of their retained knowledge of the past countless of times to become stronger. Afterward, the god of time brought them to his temple, forming this army of mostly Emperor-level beings equipped with powerful weapons.
Cronus had an army of regressors that had broken through their limits. Naturally, they also seemed to possess regressor-exclusive traits.
Jin-woo looked at the three gods in front of him. When his gaze met Hera’s, she flinched and hastily avoided his eyes.
Cronus’ expression hardened.
The God of Evil’s presence made his body tremble. He could barely calm himself down as he got up from his seat.
“God of Evil…”
“You must be Cronus.”
The god of time was at the same level as Zeus. The same went for Set, who was right next to him. Unlike them, Hera wasn’t that much of a threat.
“Yes. I am Cronus, the god of time.” He deliberately exaggerated his gestures in an attempt to feign calmness and relaxation, but it only came across as a bit awkward.
‘They’re up to something.’ Jin-woo thought, immediately noticing the irregularity in their behavior.
He approached him ever so slowly. Cronus glanced at Loki, sending him a signal with his eyes, to which Loki replied with a shake of his head.
They still needed more time.
Jin-woo had just entered the temple, but they immediately felt so much pressure they thought the temple would crumble.
It took more time than expected, evidencing how powerful the God of Evil truly was.
“I don’t know what you’re planning to do, but…” He looked around, his Magic Eye of Information inactive. Knowing the surprise before it actually happened would be no fun.
His words caused silence to permeate throughout the temple. Jin-woo was defenseless. Despite being in the middle of enemy territory, he didn’t even release mana, let alone activate any of his powers.
Jin-woo blatantly looked down on Cronus, almost as if he considered him no more than a trivial bug crawling on the floor.
The god of time trembled.
This was the first time he had been subjected to such an insult. Not even the gods of Olympus dared treat him this way when they kicked him out.
“You’re in my temple, God of Evil! Your arrogance will destroy you!”
Cronus didn’t have to refuse.
He reached out, conjuring a scythe in his hand, and Set summoned his spear. At the same time, the regressors headed to their assigned positions as swiftly as they could.
‘I’m looking forward to this.’
Jin-woo kindly waited for them to finish their preparations. Coming to the World of Gods, he never once fought with all his heart.
Even when he went to war with the gods of Olympus, thanks to Team Ragnarok and the New World players, he didn’t have to do much himself.
‘I want to go all out, but…’
If Jin-woo exerted all his power, normal dimensions would simply disappear from the face of existence. He didn’t know what effect such an act would have on this realm, though.
Since his rank became SSS++, he had been pulling back his punches.
Cronus raised his scythe and slammed it straight down to the floor. As soon as it hit, the regressors unleashed everything they had.
A magic circle began to appear, covering the entire temple floor. As if that wasn’t enough space, it climbed up the walls as well until it had wrapped around the interior completely.
“Woah…” Jin-woo blurted out, admiring the amount of work they had put into defeating him. Looking behind him, he saw Loki outside the building’s premises, his eyes quite restless.
He appreciated his judgment. Normally, weaker beings would get stuck in situations like this, ultimately turning them into liabilities. However, the god of mischief was different. He left the magic circle’s range, proving himself wiser than most of the God of Evil’s subordinates.
Jin-woo felt his body becoming heavier, reaching the point where even clenching his fist proved difficult. It was as if he was trapped in thick jelly.
“We got him!”
“That’s a relief.”
Cronus regained his composure, and Hera sighed, finally starting to relax.
He shook his head as he stared at the God of Evil.
“Arrogance breeds negligence, and negligence creates weakness. I have seen countless gods fall already, and you’ll soon be one of them!”
He disappeared from where he stood and appeared in front of Jin-woo, his movements preventing eyes from observing him properly.
It was close to teleportation. By the time Jin-woo had looked at where he was, he had already disappeared again and appeared behind him.
Cronus swung his scythe at him with enough speed to render his eyes capable of only seeing its afterimages. In an attempt to defend himself, he raised his arm and blocked the incoming attack aimed at his neck.
He was sure he blocked it properly, but its curved blade had already dug into his back before he knew it. Slicing through his clothes, it collided against his skin.
Fortunately, it couldn’t penetrate through the surface and was actually deflected instead. His physique was more powerful than anything in existence, after all.
“That was well executed.”
Jin-woo couldn’t help but admire Cronus’ offensive. He certainly blocked it, but it still reached his back, almost as if he launched two attacks at the same time.
No, based on the outcome of their short clash alone, the assault from behind was definitely faster by a small difference.
Cronus’ attack completely ignored the concept of time.
‘It reminds me of supernatural battles.’
He couldn’t help but feel excited. After all, it had been a long time since he felt this way.
The ability to manipulate time was a staple power in cartoons and movies.
“That was amazing. So that’s how you defeated Uranus.”
“It’s already too late at this point. I reign above all of time, which means no realization you’ll have now will matter.”
Cronus’ words were somewhat morbid.
“It’s time I deal with you properly.”
Jin-woo opened his subspace, intending to take out his weapons. However, as soon as it appeared, it immediately closed, leaving him no time to take anything out.
“It’s no use.”
Cronus smiled at him. Without Astrafe and Triana, he wouldn’t be able to leave this space they made with everything they could offer. This trap, created with Loki’s excellent magical knowledge and his exquisite power combined, could render all gods helpless, including even those far stronger than Uranus.
Set appeared next to Jin-woo and swung his spear at him. He tried to defend against it, but doing so proved futile. His opponent appeared from all sides, almost as if he had cloned himself and used them all to attack him simultaneously.
‘They’re not just mere illusions.’
All of them were real.
Their attacks took place at different times!
However, with Cronus and Set now confident of their victory, their vigilance dropped significantly.
Set hacked, stabbed, and slashed at Jin-woo with all his might. Engulfed in a dark air current, Set stabbed his spear into his chest, executing a technique that seriously wounded Horus before.
At the same time, Cronus attempted to decapitate his head with enough strength to easily blow up an entire planet.
However, none of their assaults could penetrate through his skin. After all, the strongest attack they had in their arsenal was only around SSS rank.
Against his overwhelming stature, everything was rendered meaningless.
“Ha… Ha… Ha…”
“This is bad…”
The two gods succumbed to exhaustion first. Jin-woo could only shake his head as he stared at their deteriorated state.
“Was that all you’ve got?”
“God of Evil…” Cronus uttered, perplexed. Normally, anyone would’ve suffered even just a bit of damage upon being hit with their strongest blows. He even manipulated time to ensure they’d be in their peak condition, yet they couldn’t even scratch Jin-woo.
Jin-woo raised his hand and grabbed Cronus’ scythe, then dodged his attack from the past with a swift head turn.
He was slowly getting used to their onslaught. More importantly, his movements also began to ignore the concept of time. When he threw a punch at its god, he raised his scythe and blocked it.
“Oh, you blocked it.”
Cronus was perplexed. His arm broke in half just defending against it. Rewinding time, he restored his limb’s bone. Still, he was in a dilemma. While his attacks didn’t work against the God of Evil, his opponent could damage him.
“No! This is ridiculous!”
At that moment, he came to a realization.
He had studied his opponent’s abilities and planned against them based on what Hera had witnessed. Since she had only ever seen him use Astrafe and Triana, he thought he’d only be in the same level as Zeus and Poseidon, or just a tad stronger than Uranus in the worst-case scenario.
He didn’t expect the gap between them to be this huge.
It seemed not even Uranus himself would be able to win against him, even if he were to exert every last drop of his power. The God of Evil didn’t even need weapons. Quite the contrary, wielding armaments only limited the amount of strength he could use.
Cronus looked at Loki in the distance, who seemed to feel the same way he did. He quickly spoke to him in sign language, conveying intel that could help them overcome their current predicament.
‘The God of Evil’s vessel is currently human! No matter how powerful he is, his physique is bound to have limits! Use that to your advantage!’
‘If that’s really the case, then…’
The god of time came up with a plan.
Loki had secretly asked Jin-woo’s subordinates about it.
The God of Evil was still stuck in a mortal body.
He had just obtained valuable information.
Loki thought the God of Evil’s power came from his soul’s vessel. After all, no matter how strong a deity was, they were powerless without their body. However, it seemed he was wrong all this time.
Listening to his suggestion, Cronus switched tactics.
If he could use every drop of power of the magic circle they worked so hard on, they’d be able to neutralize his body.
It was a one-time gamble, and it might end in failure.
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‘But we have no other answer to his strength anyway!’
Cronus gripped his scythe with both hands. Using its blade, he created a rift in the space their magic circle created and sucked it into his weapon.
With their surroundings now cleared, the temple’s original appearance appeared once more. Jin-woo tilted his head, finding his actions odd.
Why would anyone voluntarily set him free from the best trap they had against him?
Screaming, Cronus fired the condensed energy he had accumulated at him. He simply raised his hand in retaliation, hoping to block it.
When his skin and his opponent’s blast connected, intense energy coursed through him.
“Begone!” Cronus exclaimed, swiftly reversing the time flow of Jin-woo’s body to bring it back to nonexistence.
Even if his vessel’s lifespan was infinite, he gained that power in a much later phase of his life. By forcing it to return to the past, it would disappear altogether!
No matter how strong one was, mortal shells could never escape the flow of time.
Cronus, who appeared to be in his twenties, rapidly grew old until he became a gray-haired senile man. His sickle also rusted and his army of regressors aged until they turned into white bones.
[Your body begins to be eradicated from existence due to the intense reversal of its time flow.]
[Rainbow reflection has been activated.]
Surprisingly, Jin-woo felt a refreshing sense of freedom he had never felt before, even when he was doing his best.
‘Hmmm…’ He thought about it for a moment, then deactivated his rainbow reflection. Soon enough, his vessel was reduced into powder, but he didn’t feel like he was in a crisis.
Surrounded by a tremendous feeling of liberation and pleasure, he simply let everything flow as he watched his body disappear.
“It’s working!” Cronus exclaimed.
With Jin-woo’s body eradicated, only his black air currents remained.
His soul was now exposed!
The god of time trembled, barely able to support himself with his scythe, but it didn’t matter. He would recover the power he had consumed over time and save the deceased regressors by reversing their time flow.
“Set! Cut his soul apart!”
The Egyptian god did as instructed. Picking up his spear, he charged at the black stream. However, just as he stabbed it, Set bounced back, brushing past Cronus, until he crashed against the temple’s wall. He exploded right after, imbuing him even deeper into its surface.
Cronus could only stare at his miserable appearance. After a while, he returned his attention to their opponent.
A huge fist made out of black air currents had appeared.
The surrounding space shook and creaked. Soon after, his eyes widened.
The flow of time was being sucked into the Jin-woo’s dark soul, entangling with each other.
[The God of Evil has been freed from his shell!]
[The God of Evil has achieved perfection.]
His Cimmerian wind streams grew larger and larger, assuming an incomprehensible form. Set could only stare blankly at it, his eyes red and his body constantly secreting blood.
“What have I done…” Cronus gasped, finally realizing his mistake.
He glared at Loki.
“L-Loki! You tricked me!”
“No, I didn’t-”
“I didn’t think you’d go so far as to manipulate the oath of gods! To think you’ve found a flaw in it! The god to which you’ve been loyal to… isn’t the mortal God of Evil! It’s the God of Evil’s true form! You used me to break his seal and set him free!”
“That’s not it… Please believe me…”
Cronus grasped the situation at once. He thought Loki was someone he could trust, ultimately rendering him vulnerable to his mind games.
The reason Loki worked so hard to complete the magic circle was right in front of him.
He was a true devotee of the perfect God of Evil!
With a gentle swing of his hand, Jin-woo sent the temple flying and the desert splitting open. A simple gesture from him completely obliterated a huge part of it.
The shockwave he caused passed through the Western World, its aftermath reaching as far as Muspelheim.
Surtr, frowning at his diminished flames, looked up at the sky. As a black pillar fell, all of Muspelheim’s flames were extinguished.
He became as small as a candle.
His attack also swept away the queen of the gods, burying half of her body in the desert. The God of Evil raised his hand again.
Cronus stood in front of Hera and took up his scythe, his fatherly heart telling him to protect his daughter with his life.
It was truly a beautiful sight.
Jin-woo touched Cronus with his finger, causing him to cut through the desert and hit the ends of the Western World. The collision sent him bouncing back and flying right in front of Loki.
“D-dad!” Hera shouted as she trembled. She had just managed to get herself out of the sand, but she was already running towards the two gods.
The Great Emperor looked at his hand.
‘This is too strong.’
Even with the Magic Eye of Information, he still couldn’t assess his rank.
Just by walking a little, the desert cracked, and the dimension he was in twisted. He even had to limit how deep he breathed.
It felt good, but he didn’t need that much power.
Jin-woo picked up the scythe of time lying in the desert and claimed ownership over it, causing it to turn black.
Turning back time, he regained his old body.
Jin-woo liked his new weapon’s ability.
“So that’s what it feels like to be outside my vessel. It was a pretty great experience.”
He had completely conquered time itself, which Cronus used to rule.
It was quite a useful power.
Cronus, who was under Loki, mumbled weakly.
He looked miserable.
All of his teeth were missing, and his jaw was broken, preventing him from speaking properly. The part of his forehead that Jin-woo touched had also been dented inwards.
Jin-woo turned his attention to him.
Hera supported him, and Loki was right behind the two.
Averting his eyes, Loki smacked Hera in the back with his staff.
The force caused her to flop forward and collapse. Cronus, whom she had been supporting, fell along with her.
“Loki, the God of Evil’s loyal servant, offers Cronus and Hera!” He exclaimed, kneeling before Jin-woo with a desperate expression.
The new god of time sent the two into Tartarus, then patted his subordinate’s shoulder.
“I was just doing what must be done.”
“Continue serving me.”
“Of course! I will forever follow you with all my heart!”
Things went smoothly thanks to him. Because of him, Jin-woo realized why the Emperors always had competent advisors.
He appointed Loki as his.
The god of mischief swallowed his tears, no longer having the spirit to rebel against the God of Evil.
* * *
With his spirit tattered, Loki returned to Olympus with his master. He crouched in the corner of the temple as soon as they arrived and tapped on the ground with his fingers.
Hearing a loud noise, he gazed up and saw Nitocris and her warriors eating chicken from an amusement park. However, since it was quite expensive, thirty of them had to share five chickens and two bottles of beer among themselves.
They took turns sipping beer in disappointment until Bread Jam appeared. The Western World’s people and Loki watched him walk over to them.
“Whew! You don’t have to worry anymore!”
Bread Jam pulled out a large scythe from her subspace and used it to revert their food and beverages to their original state, astonishing Nitocris and her subordinates. She looked at her with trembling eyes.
“I asked the God of Evil for it, and he gave it to me!”
Loki didn’t know how to react.
Bread Jam used the scythe of time, known as the strongest weapon to ever exist, in such a way.
Nitocris, on the other hand, looked quite desperate.
“Can I ask for a favor, then? Five thousand of my soldiers can only eat a few kimbap for their lunch. Would it be alright if we feed them too?”
“Yes! Let’s have a chicken and beer party with everyone!”
Once the operating hours of the amusement park had passed, Nitocris contacted the Western World’s warriors and gathered them in Olympus.
Everyone flocked to Bread Jam, who had five boxes of chicken and two cases of beer lined up in front of her.
“Don’t be shy! Dig in!”
She distributed both chicken and beer to the attendees. When they had run out of supplies, she effortlessly reversed their time flow until the boxes and cases were full again.
At that moment, she made a miracle that surpassed even other mythologies’ tales.
Witnessing what was happening, she realized she was mistaken.
But it’s already too late.
On Earth, the myths were already being presently revised. A famous archaeologist excavating near the pyramids of Egypt soon found a precious relic, a huge stone tablet with drawings and writings on it.
Astonished and excited, he immediately deciphered the text.
“Goddess Lee Jae-mi bestows a miracle upon five thousand soldiers, feeding all of them with only five chickens and two bottles of wine…”
“Lee Jae-mi’s name in Egypt?! T-this is a discovery that will go down in history!”
“The miracle of five chickens!” The archaeologist’s assistant exclaimed with joy.
He took a closer look at the painting with a magnifying glass. It depicted the beautiful goddess Lee Jae-mi, a pharaoh he presumed to be Nitocris, and the five thousand delicately drawn warriors mentioned in the text.
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He noticed a man squatting in the corner, wearing a heterogeneous attire that didn’t seem to fit in with the others’ fashion.
‘Who’s this guy?’
In that instant, an unexplainable mystery arose in the archeological world!