The Hero Returns - Chapter 436
Chapter 436: 436
Chapter 436: Chapter 436
“Olympus,” Su-hyeun looked up at the distant but humongous landmass that became visible outside the chariot.
The imposing temples and buildings, and all those clouds floating high above the clouds below, imparted a mystical feeling in him. More than anything else, having to “look up” at a city was a refreshingly new experience.
It was the land of the gods. Buildings boasting gorgeous but still traditional architecture could be found there, but excluding the fact it existed on top of clouds, this city didn’t seem all that different from the worlds of regular humans.
“But one of the Five Godly Sages calls this home.”‘
A land where gods lived together certainly felt a little bit mystifying, didn’t it?
The fact that the world these gods called home wasn’t all that different from the worlds of the mortals below was one of the biggest reasons why he felt so mystified right now.
The chariot slowed down as they neared Olympus. When they finally reached the outskirts of the city, the horses pulling the chariot all neighed loudly.
They were trying to say that they had arrived.
Despite moving so fast, the chariot didn’t even rock noticeably. If the outside scenery didn’t visibly change, even the most perceptive observer would’ve failed to notice that the chariot was actually moving.
“Alright, let’s get going.” Apollo was the first one to step outside the vehicle.
Hades followed after his nephew. Su-hyeun, who was taking in the outside scenery, finally exited as well and followed after the two gods.
The sensation he got from his feet was soft and plush, just like when he was stepping on the Somersault cloud. At the same time, the view of one of the streets of Olympus immediately entered his sight.
“Are all those people gods, too?” Su-hyeun inwardly asked.
The outer appearances of every single god walking on the street didn’t seem all that special. As a matter of fact, they all looked like ordinary people—some were carrying flutes of wine in their hands, while some were leisurely strolling around with their hands resting behind their backs.
If it weren’t for the godhood of various scales that could be sensed from them, it would have been difficult to think of them as gods.
“Isn’t that Lord Apollo’s chariot?”
“I think so.”
“But wasn’t there a rumor that he was being locked up in Hell by Lord Hades?”
“Lord Hermes provided that info, right?”
“Yes, I believe so.”
“In that case, it should be accurate, but—”
“Wait, I think Lord Hades is accompanying him.”
“You’re right. But who is that next to them?”
The gods began paying attention at the entrance of Apollo’s chariot. But then again, the light emitted by the vehicle was so bright that it would have been impossible for it not to stand out.
Both Apollo and Hades were not flustered at all as if this level of attention was simply par for the course. As for Su-hyeun, he too was rather familiar with being under the spotlight.
Of course, things were a bit different this time since the spotlight cast on him wasn’t from regular people but actual gods.
“However, it’s not as amazing as I thought.”
Su-hyeun, scanning the faces of the resident gods of Olympus, couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Up until now, Su-hyeun hadn’t encountered all that many existences worthy of being called a “god” other than himself.
The Bull Demon King was indeed incredible, but he hadn’t ascended to full godhood yet, so the only beings Su-hyeun could use as an example were Hades and Apollo who were both walking alongside him.
Therefore, the overall impression he got after observing the other gods was simply disappointment.
“I don’t even need to use Insight to figure out what they are thinking,” he thought.
Apollo noticed Su-hyeun’s expression and said, “I’m sure the ‘god’ in your view is someone like me or my uncle right here. Even the Great Sage who Pacifies Heaven is someone on the same level as us despite not being a god himself.”
“My First Brother might not be a god, but yes, he is certainly in a far higher realm than these gods. However, can you tell me the difference between one who is a god and who isn’t?”
“Between a god and a man, then a god and someone who isn’t a god, well, the difference isn’t in their strength but their existence.”
“Difference in existence?”
“Humans are fundamentally weaker than dragons. However, that doesn’t mean that humans are weaker than dragons, you know what I mean? Take you, for instance. Even before you ascended to godhood, you were strong enough to slaughter a whole bunch of dragons all by yourself, but that didn’t mean you were not human, right?”
Apollo was right; humans were weak existences. If you looked at physical strength alone, humans were weaker than tigers, while in the level of intelligence, they fell behind the race of demi-humans, the Elves. Certainly, humans were not worthy of being compared to the race of dragons in every facet one could think of.
The same thing applied to gods.
To put it simply, it was the matter of being a different existence—when looked at that way, it became easier to understand.
“Just think of it as a…completely new existence possessing a more perfect physique and mindset. The moment you acquired your godhood, you started growing distant from being human, and you are getting closer to being a god. In other words…” Apollo scanned the other gods staring at them and continued, “Gods are simply existences different from the others. It’s like, being a god doesn’t automatically make you more amazing.”
“A different existence…” Su-hyeun quietly nodded.
He found Apollo’s explanation difficult to fully understand, at least right now. It must have been so because the length of time he spent as a human was longer than as a god so far.
However, he could still roughly grasp what a “god” was.
“At the very least, it’s different from the omnipotent existence I’ve been thinking of.”
Regular humans thought of a “god” as an omnipotent and absolutely perfect being. Even Su-hyeun’s own idea of a god didn’t stray too far from that concept.
The very first god he ran into was Apollo, followed by Hades. Back then, he saw them as two perfect beings. One ruled over the entirety of Hell, while the other was capable of bending all fire under his will and strong enough to burn Hell down, too.
Not to forget, even someone as incredible as the Bull Demon King hadn’t become a god yet, so it was only natural that Su-hyeun would initially think this way.
However, the truth wasn’t like that. Even a god was simply another existence, that’s all.
“I think I get it a bit,” said Su-hyeun.
“Really? Well, it’s good that you got to learn something import—”
Hades suddenly smacked Apollo’s head with his fist. The impact must’ve been quite strong because a portion of the Sun God’s head actually vanished and transformed into licks of flame before reverting to normal.
Still, there must have been a lingering pain there because Apollo hurriedly shielded his smacked head and asked helplessly, “What was that for?!”
“Stop yapping on about unnecessary things. It has not been that long since this man ascended to godhood, after all.”
“I know that, but—”
“Also, we must never acknowledge that we’re in some ways inferior to mortals down below. Have you forgotten already?”
“But uncle, I’m still not a fan of that mindset.”
“Apollo!” Hades admonished while making the sternest face he had made so far. “Didn’t we tell you this already? Those without strength need to believe in someone else to continue on, and that someone else is us—the gods. Even if you didn’t mean it, you’re still strictly forbidden from saying something or acting in a way that betrays their faith.”
“Yes, uncle,” Apollo forced himself to nod, his expression indicating that he still didn’t agree with that sentiment.
Su-hyeun was quietly eavesdropping on their conversation from the side. These two were both gods, but their views were not the same at all.
Hades said that, as gods, they needed to reward the faith placed in them by the mortals, and then, Apollo said that being a god didn’t make one automatically better than the others. Neither of their opinions was wrong. It was just a matter of differing ideals they pursued.
“We’ve been distracted long enough. Let us get going already,” said Hades as he took the lead in guiding Su-hyeun. The latter silently nodded and followed after the God of the Netherworld.
The gazes directed at Su-hyeun were as sharp and inquisitive as the ones landing on Hades and Apollo. However, the nature of the gazes meant for him was not even remotely the same.
“Who is he?”
“Doesn’t seem like he’s a god from our side…”
“A god that isn’t affiliated with Olympus? They brought someone like that here?”
“But both Lord Hades and Lord Apollo seem to approve of him, so—”
“Still, without Lord Zeus’s permission?”
These gods instantly realized that Su-hyeun wasn’t a god belonging to the same realm as them.
They inherited the bloodlines of gods from their birth, and as such, every single one of them resembled gorgeous hand-crafted statues boasting blemish-free skin. Their proud and sharp noses and other facial features were a lot closer to what was accepted as the standard of beauty in the West.
Without a doubt, Su-hyeun looked different from them outwardly.
He silently scanned their expressions of dissatisfaction, antipathy, and even some hostility.
He could vividly sense all of their emotions regarding him. He didn’t even need to resort to using Insight, either. After all, people tended to fear and ostracize others who were different from them. This notion remained pretty much the same with the gods as well.
“Ignore them. None of what they say matters,” said Hades as he finally glanced at them.
“Seriously now. This happened back then with Hercules, too. These people just hate change way too much. This is why I don’t frequent this place,” Apollo nodded as if he agreed with his uncle.
Eventually, the trio arrived at their destination, which was at the far back of Olympus, which boasted of impressively imposing structures.
This place was basically the Olympus version of an eerie and deserted back alley found in a bustling mortal city. Compared to the other streets, the number of gods that passed by was noticeably fewer, and even the state of the street itself was lagging behind everywhere else.
Of course, this being Olympus, the light was everywhere to chase away the darkness.
The sounds of firm hammering reached Su-hyeun’s ears. He was intimately familiar with these metallic noises coming from the gaps of the street before him.
“Uncle Kim?” he thought.
Indeed, the hammering noises of the master craftsman, Kim Dae-ho, sounded like a lot this. That old man’s face suddenly popped up in Su-hyeun’s mind, but he shook his head to get rid of that image. “Man, stop being deluded,” he told himself.
Not only Kim Dae-ho wouldn’t be here but the only hammering noises Su-hyeun had ever heard in his life was from the old blacksmith. That was all.
To think that he would recall Kim Dae-ho just because he heard some hammering sounds?
“Still, it does sound really similar, doesn’t it?”
The hammering noises belonged to Hephaestus, who was in a sizeable forge at the back of an imposing temple.
Apollo walked up to it and shouted out first, “Hey, Hephaestus! We’re here to see you!”
The hammering sounds came to a brief pause, and a reply soon came from the forge, “Come in, please.”
Unlike how strong and wild the hammering sounded, his baritone voice came across as calm and composed. After the trio was told to enter, the hammering commenced once more.
The door to the forge, which was around four meters tall and as thick as an adult’s palm, opened up all by itself.
But the moment the door opened, an intense wave of heat rushed outside, prompting Su-hyeun to shield his face from the heatwave.
The heat was surprisingly intense, even more so than the flames of Hell.
“That bad habit of his still remains the same, I see,” said Apollo.
“Bad habit, you say?”
“Yes. If you can’t withstand this level of heat, then you better forget about entering his forge, and you also don’t have the qualifications to use his equipment. You know, that sort of thing.”
“Does that mean I’m qualified?”
“You can say that. Hey, congrats,” Apollo patted Su-hyeun on the shoulder. The latter, having already gotten used to the intense heat, entered the forge along with the other two gods.
Maybe Hephaestus was in the middle of the tempering process, the hammering sounds had temporarily come to a halt. After waiting around for a few minutes, they heard the sounds of someone walking out from the inner parts of the forge.
A middle-aged man soaked from head to toe in sweat appeared before them. He walked slightly unnaturally with a limp.
He used a towel draped over his shoulder to wipe the sweat off his face and then bowed, “Welcome to my workshop, Honored Uncle.”
“Good to see you,” said Hades.
“Am I invisible to you, though?”
When Hephaestus offered his greeting to Hades, Apollo pushed his head forward in between them.
The God of Blacksmithing roundly ignored the Sun God and shifted his gaze over to Su-hyeun, “May I ask who this person is?”
“He said he’d like to speak to you, so we brought him here,” said Hades.
“Speak to me?” Hephaestus silently studied Su-hyeun for a little bit; then, his probing gaze drifted down to the latter’s left hand. His eyes narrowed, “You possess one of my children, I see.”
“You mean, this?” Su-hyeun raised his left hand with a transparent glove worn over it. Although the item was not visible to the naked eyes, everyone here was already aware that he was wearing the Thunder Glove.
One of his children, he said. Judging from that statement, the craftsman responsible for manufacturing this Thunder Glove had to be Hephaestus.
“I see. So, the master of the current request’s item must be you, then.”
When Hephaestus said that, Su-hyeun was not the only one who expressed confusion but even Apollo and Hades.
The master of the request’s item?
Instead of providing an explanation, Hephaestus simply turned around and said something else, “Follow me. There’s something I want to show you..”
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