Return To Player Chapter 19

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Return To Player

# 19
The Difference in Ranks (3)

Unlike the Minotaur from the first main quest, the Sentinel in the second main quest, the Basilisk, possessed a name of its own.
In fact, that’s to be expected.
A Sentinel represents the apex of that stage, and at the point when the main quest is received, it is set to be impossible to defeat.
Most would end up as Named monsters.
The Minotaur that became a Sentinel was, after all, a sudden appearance and merely a trick, hence it didn’t receive a name.

“If you retreat, I shall spare your life.”
Though typically known as a snake king, by its tone alone, it might as well be a dragon.
Is the saying “position makes the person” also applicable to monsters?

“I can’t do that. If I leave you be, you’ll become a problem later on.”
“Oh? And what do you mean by that?”
“It’s just a gut feeling.”
Sentinels that dominate each stage are automatically freed after a certain main quest has passed.
Even Sentinels from early main quests are at least C-rank Named monsters.
If one were to roam freely later, it would be troublesome.
‘Of course, my main goal is to completely reap the rewards.’

First, I gauged the range of motion I had available.
Once the creature opens its eyes, the Petrifying Gaze activates. Any living creature caught in its eyesight will turn to stone.
In other words, if I stay out of its line of sight, I can avoid being petrified.
‘Sounds easy but…’

Lizards actually have really good eyesight.
They possess a wide field of vision, and depending on the type, some can even rotate their pupils 360 degrees.
Fortunately, the Petrifying Gaze only activates when facing forward, which is not a big issue, but it’s still annoying.

‘If only the DLC store sold potions of abnormal status immunity.’
Regrettably, items that can be found within the game are not sold in the DLC store.

‘But I have hunted down the Basilisk myriad times in my past life…’
Although it’s my first time encountering Orga, the ‘Basilisk’ tribe is one I’ve killed countless times in my past life.
I’m sure my experience will suffice.

“Hey.”
I tapped the small head of the ferret Mina with my finger and spoke to her.
“First, I’ll make it open its eyes, while you try to get as close as possible.”
“Kyu?”
“And the moment the Petrifying Gaze activates, bite its eyeballs.”
“…!”

“It’s not that hard. Just making a wound will do. That will be enough to prevent the Petrifying Gaze from activating.”
Mina’s pupils widened dramatically. Her small head shook rapidly from side to side.
She was clearly indicating that she couldn’t do it.
No, you have to do it.

“Didn’t I tell you? The Basilisk’s weakness is the ferret. Petrifying Gaze or whatever, it won’t affect you.”
“Kyu Kyu!”
She clearly couldn’t believe it.
Well, then I have to help her believe it.

“With a shout!”
Whoosh!
I grabbed the ferret’s waist and threw her towards the direction of the Basilisk.
“Kyee?!”
“Hmm?”
With a strange noise, the ferret Mina flew, and Orga’s eyes snapped open.
A flash of ashen light erupted as Mina tumbled to the ground, evidently not turned to stone.
And I, as soon as the Petrifying Gaze ended, darted to the opposite side to take cover.
Since the Petrifying Gaze can’t be continuously used, as long as I time it right, I can avoid it.
Moreover, I threw the dagger I had brought at Orga’s eye.
Clang!
“Oh. To think you’d target the eyes.”
The dagger that hit the creature’s eyeball precisely bounced off without causing any harm.
As expected, with my current stats, I couldn’t damage the Petrifying Gaze.
‘That’s why.’

I brought the little guy along.
“…Kyu.”
After the Petrifying Gaze activated, and thinking she had been turned to stone, as soon as ferret Mina realized she was unharmed, she swiftly moved.
“A ferret? Even so, it’s futile. Even if it’s a traditional weakness, there’s no way that a mere animal could be a match.”
Orga raised its front paw and slammed down towards Mina.
Boom!
“Oh?”
If Mina was an ordinary ferret, she would not have been able to dodge and would have been crushed but, being transformed, she held the abilities of a player, allowing her to evade the Basilisk’s strike with sharp speed.
Moreover, ferrets have a curious buff against Basilisks.
After all, it’s a game.

“Wow, what? No, what’s this?”
Confused, Orga once again opened its eyes to activate the Petrifying Gaze, but of course, it had no effect on Mina, who was a ferret.
“Ha!”

I seized the moment and burst out from behind the cover, charging Orga’s left side.
The top of the tower was not very spacious, which limited the large-bodied Orga from moving swiftly.
Crash!
Its tail shattered the panoramic glass of the lookout, swinging toward me, but I ducked to avoid it.

“Bite it!”
At the same time, I reached for its leg. I wasn’t trying to attack it.
Even though I had reached the maximum stats a player could achieve, Orga wouldn’t get a scratch from my mundane strength.
Click.
‘Good.’
I tightened a silvery ring around its leg – a training bracelet – as I gripped.
“Kwoo!”
As Mina’s teeth grazed by Orga’s eye, it screamed.
The ferret’s teeth had certainly torn through the Petrifying Gaze.

“Good job! One side is enough; come here!”
“Kek!”
With one side of the Petrifying Gaze undone, its radius was greatly reduced.
‘So far so good, according to plan.’
Now, I needed to endure its attacks while moving it to the designated location.
“Not just an ordinary ferret, huh?”
“Of course. Where else would you find a ferret in the middle of Seoul?”
Crash!
Its forelimb scraped my left side.

While strength and speed were on Orga’s side, I could avoid its patterns easily by knowing them well.
‘But it’s a bit risky.’
The fundamental difference in abilities was so great that if it attacked with full force, it was likely I wouldn’t be able to dodge.
Thump thump thump!
“You beast!”
“Now you’re showing your true nature. If you’re a lizard, act like one!”
“You will not escape!”
Orga’s movements became more intense.
Clearly, its fury was boiling over.
The Basilisk’s Petrifying Gaze wasn’t its only…
The blow to his pride must have been enormous.
For a player whose current stats max out at an F to land a hit, anyone who saw it would laugh.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
I circled around, staying out of the direction of his injured eye.
By doing so, I could avoid his petrifying gaze and move freely.
Whirring.
‘Damn.’
My phone in my pocket vibrated.
Hyun-kyun had completed his preparations in the basement.
‘Well then…good, Orga is beginning to regain his composure.’
It seemed it was time to switch up my tactics.
‘Let’s see…nice.’
I tapped the air to open up a screen.
To pinpoint ‘its’ exact location.
“Hey.”
“Chirp?”
The weasel hanging on my shoulder looked at me with a questioning gaze.
“Do you remember what I said earlier? About making noise when I give you the signal.”
The weasel nodded its head up and down.
Fortunately, it hadn’t forgotten.
“Then go. When I lift my left arm from a little farther away, scream as loudly as you can.”
“Chirp.”
The weasel nodded slowly and then jumped off my shoulder and scurried away.
Vroom!
“Eek.”
Just as I let my guard down, Orga’s tail whizzed over my head.
「You seem to be up to something again.」
“I can’t win without resorting to tricks.”
「How funny. No matter what you try, you cannot defeat me.」
Orga planted its front paw firmly on the ground. It was slowly herding me.
「I commend you for preparing that weasel. I know that you’ve amassed overwhelmingly strong abilities compared to other players. I’m curious how you’ve managed to strengthen yourself to this extent… but!」
Boom! Boom! Crash!!
Although Orga tried to snap at me as I rotated left, I quickly rolled away to avoid its fangs.
「My lowest stat is D-rank. Whatever you do, you cannot win.」
Orga regained its composure and twisted its body more fiercely and rapidly, attacking me with both arms—faster than it had ever been.
「That’s the ‘difference in power’.」
Slash!
I couldn’t dodge this.
Experience has its limits no matter how much it’s used. Orga’s agility must be around C-rank. No matter how much I struggle with my F rank, I’m bound to be caught.
I had been able to flee so far because the normal floors were difficult for it to navigate, it had a limited field of vision due to the injury in one eye, and it had lost its composure.
But there was an undeniable gap that I couldn’t close.
I couldn’t win, no matter what I did.
It’s no wonder that’s what it thought.
But.
“You sure talk a lot of crap.”
I lifted my left arm.
[───!!]
Animal cries pierced the ear.
Specifically, the crowing of a rooster.
「Cough?!」
Weasels and roosters are traditional weaknesses of a basilisk in the legends.
With such a vulnerability, Orga had to react in some form.
「Uooooh!」
Crash! Boom! Boom!!
At the sound of the crowing, Orga’s body twisted violently and tumbled to one side of me.
“Is this the ‘difference in power’ you were talking about?”
「You…」
Orga got up from the rubble. I continued to circle, out of sight, stabbing at its scales with my short sword.
Not a single scratch.
「How long do you think you can last like this?」
Orga sneered.
「Even knowing my weakness, you are not strong enough to penetrate my scales and defeat me. Eventually, you’ll just tire yourself to death circling around.」
“I know, man.”
My stamina indeed was at its limit.
‘It’s time to put an end to this.’
I finally managed to lead it to this location. Moving in circles took more time than I expected.
‘There are quite a few observers now.’
About five in total.
After this incident spreads, there will be more. Of course, it’s what I wanted.
There’s no need to hide it anymore.
I had to keep it a secret at the beginning because I acquired excessive abilities during the first quest.
It would be difficult to make an issue out of that as I progressed further into the second quest.
“Heave-ho.”
I threw myself as far away from it as possible.
「Are you planning to escape now? If the distance widens again, you know you have no chance.」
“No, I just need to make a quick call.”
「Hmm?」
The monster hesitated to pounce, not out of caution of me, but due to the poor state of the building.
It’s normal for a building to experience strain when a creature of that size throws a fit.
It probably thought it would create a chance for me to escape if it recklessly went on a rampage and broke the floor.
Beep.
“Is it done?”
I sent a pre-written message to Hyun-kyun.
Just in case, I double-checked the location through the notification window.
Hyun-kyun must have felt the vibration of his phone. Even if he didn’t hear it, the ‘foundation’ was already in place, so killing this creature would not be an issue.
I put my phone back in my pocket and glanced at Orga, who was cautiously watching me.
It looked like it would move forward a little more.
“It’s true I can’t kill you.”
「Have you finally come to realize that? Regardless, it’s too late.」
“No, I knew from the beginning. That’s why I pondered how to kill you.”
Such tasks are familiar to me.
Wrapping my brain around to defeat an opponent I thought I couldn’t beat.
What’s the most important thing when playing a game?
Overwhelming stats?
Or perhaps a powerful skill.
Both are undeniably important, but in my past life, those two things were lacking compared to others.
There was a man who was called the strongest.
Another received praise as the highest genius.
But I was the last of humanity.
“I have a lot of experience and patience. With those two, anything’s possible.”
A line from a movie.
And it’s my favorite.
「Nonsense. You’re a mouse trapped in poison.」
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Orga, thinking it had already won, stepped forward leisurely.
That’s when I made my move.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!!
At the center of the floor. The moment Orga reached that spot.
Rome Tower was engulfed in an explosion.

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