Return To Player Chapter 211

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# 211

Sword Saint (劍聖) (3)

In the blink of an eye, Seoul Station was split in half. Sehan found Gail amidst the crumbling buildings.

“Baekseol, take Min-ah and escape!”

“Understood.”

As soon as Sehan finished speaking, Min-ah and Baekseol disappeared. It seemed they used magic for a short-distance teleportation.

‘Fortunately, it looks like he’s not planning to harm the others.’

If Gail had targeted not just Sehan but all the members of the Deicide Guild, the situation would have been much more troublesome. Protecting the relatively weaker Min-ah and Baekseol in a head-on battle would have been a difficult task.

But even after hearing my words, Gail didn’t stop Baekseol and Min-ah. Then, with a crackling sound, sharp sword strikes swept across the ground, lines etched into the earth. From top to bottom, from right to left, invisible sword strikes aimed at Sehan.

Sehan didn’t bother avoiding them. Any attempt would be futile since the strikes would relentlessly pursue him.

‘Then there’s only one answer.’

Block everything. Sehan drew two swords from his inventory and infused them with his divine energy and magic power. His eyes glimmered in gold and red as he rapidly moved his hands.

During the first encounter, Sehan wouldn’t have faced Gail head-on, but things were different now. Having mastered the Hyeolcheon Suragong to perfection, he could barely keep up with Gail’s swift movements.

‘Much faster than Jinchun Baek!’

Although Sehan knew Gail was powerful, he hadn’t expected this extent of speed. Even Sehan struggled to follow the trajectory of the sword.

Yet, he blocked them all. Sehan swung the swords in his hands, and Pragarah, who emerged from the void space, deflected any strike too fast to block. To an outsider, Sehan seemed to be on the losing end, but Gail grew increasingly anxious.

‘I thought there was nothing left to surprise me.’

The game on Earth had started only two years ago, whereas Petroya had been around for centuries. From the moment Gail was born, the game in Petroya had been ongoing, a world with veterans and gods aplenty. A world where the difference between the strong and the weak was significant, and where Gail had reached the transcendental realm without the help of gods.

‘All players here are monsters.’

In just two years, this was the level they reached. It was hard to imagine what the future would hold.

“You seem rather… composed.”

Sehan blocked Gail’s attacks while seeking openings. Noticing Gail deep in thought, he didn’t miss the opportunity to strike from the side and rear with Pragarah aiming behind him.

‘Was I careless?’

Gail had no blind spots, and Pragarah, which flew at a supersonic speed, was deflected before it could even touch him.

“Haat!”

Yet, that was not the end. The moment Pragarah was deflected, Lyn caught it and aimed at Gail’s waist, causing sparks of red flames to erupt in midair. Gail’s skill was truly phenomenal, able to defend without suffering a single hit, which made Lyn bite her lower lip.

“Don’t be nervous.”

“Excuse me?”

After leaping backward to stand beside Lyn, Sehan spoke to her.

“If it’s just about swordsmanship or physical abilities, there’s not much difference between you and him. What’s important is the control of divine energy.”

“Control of divine energy?”

“Yes, watch carefully. You’ll certainly understand.”

Sehan activated his Hyeolcheon Suragong again, dodging the sword energy aimed at his head with a mere tilt. The move bore a striking resemblance to Gail parrying Lyn’s attack.

The power to defend without relying on sight.

Sehan regulated his breathing and began walking slowly as a strange energy circled him. ‘Control divine power to create your domain,’ he thought. Essentially, the third eye harnessing the power of miracles, an invincible domain.

Sehan could perfectly sense and defend against attacks within a radius of approximately 10 meters. ‘But for Gail, it’s probably about 100 meters.’ Gail had an advantage in detecting and managing divine power, far superior to Lyn or Sehan.

But a broad domain didn’t guarantee advantage—if they were both within each other’s domain, the conditions were the same. In other words, as long as he stayed within 10 meters, Sehan could face him directly.

“You’re an odd one.”

The clash of their swords seemed one-sided in Gail’s favor. Yet, none of Gail’s strikes reached Sehan.

“You’re a strange fellow.”

Gail found Sehan even more bizarre than Lyn, who possessed extraordinary talent. Gail had thought Sehan would be a similar kind of genius, but the direct confrontation revealed otherwise.

“You certainly have talent. But as far as I can tell, not an extraordinary prodigy. There are quite a few talents like yours.”

But Sehan was facing him head-on—an event Gail found incomprehensible.

“You must be bluffing.”

Gail wasn’t using his full array of skills to kill Sehan.

“And the same goes for you. Even if I showed all my abilities, it’s unlikely I could defeat you easily.”

Talent wasn’t the issue. The power Sehan wielded seemed excessively strong and disproportionate to his talent. It was not an issue of higher divine power. It was the control and combat experience—something one would only obtain through battles like those of the Sura Realm, and Gail sensed that level in Sehan.

With a crisp sound, Sehan’s sword snapped. It was the third broken sword, but Sehan smoothly drew a replacement from the void space and parried Gail’s attack again. It was as though he had anticipated the weapon’s destruction.

‘I shouldn’t have been amazed.’

Although it was enjoyable dueling with Sehan, Gail couldn’t let himself get distracted. If the battle dragged on, it would turn to his disadvantage. He knew Lyn’s gaze was fixed here, unwavering.

‘About time I used all my strength.’

Gail leaped back to regain his posture. His divine power spread across the ground like it was nothing but a game earlier. Confronted with this sight, Sehan had to ponder.

‘It would be interesting to fight earnestly, but continuing this is pointless.’

Gail had seen enough of his capabilities and had a rough idea of Sehan’s power.

Besides, if the battle escalated, not just Seoul Station but the entire city could be destroyed. Therefore, Sehan addressed Gail in a calm tone.

“May I make a suggestion?”

“Suggestion?”

A hint of confusion replaced the tension on Sehan’s face.

“In this situation, you have a proposal?”

“Indeed.”

The true enemy was not Gail. To continue fighting here would be foolhardy.

“I could help you save your family.”

“Interesting.”

As expected, that was the response. If it were possible, Gail would have mentioned it before Sehan.

“Sorry, but it’s impossible. The collab quest has already been triggered. For it to be considered complete, either I must die or you must. You know that as well.”

“That’s true.”

Plus, there was a time limit. If Gail failed to handle Sehan before the quest deadline, his family’s lives would be at risk. Also, with Bang-ho continually learning his location, there was no alternative tactic to employ.

“But, what if I could help you?”

“What?”

“What if I can assist you, what will you do then?”

Despite the preposterous claim, Sehan’s demeanor remained confident.

“If your words hold truth, I’ll do anything in my power.”

“You promise?”

In truth, Gail was closer to a victim in this affair—manipulated by Sehan into a corner, his family used as leverage.

‘If I manage this situation, I can legally make the Sword Saint work for me.’

From the publisher’s perspective, Sehan’s move was a strong play, but he couldn’t help smiling at the thought.

“The solution is simple. If one must die to end the quest…”

He reached into his inventory.

A small dagger coated with ‘a certain poison’ lay in his hand.

“Then let death be the answer.”

***

Petroya.

Among the worlds where the game unfolded, it was the oldest. A world not just where gods played through avatars but where they could directly influence the surface.

“Failed, huh?”

Usually, Gail should have been on the throne, but another man was seated instead. A dark-haired man with tan skin, Bang-ho, who had instructed Gail on his quest, awaited his return.

He hadn’t expected the duel to take long, but the outcome was quicker than anticipated.

‘To think even the Sword Saint would die.’

Though less potent than a god, the Sword Saint was formidable, not easily usurped by Bang-ho.

‘I presumed it was possible due to a unique ability that allowed him to kill gods.’

Since there was no collateral damage from the fight with the gods, he figured a special power limited to gods enabled the killing. Thus, he believed an ordinary human like Gail Barundark could stand a chance.

But unexpectedly, the man had easily vanquished Gail.

Earth was out of the reach of publishers, so it was impossible to know how the man was defeated, but the quest’s conclusion meant certain death.

‘It’s time to report back to Lord Imir for a different method of elimination.’

There was no reason to stay in Petroya any longer since Gail was dead.

‘And no need to keep his family alive any longer either.’

Their value as hostages was void. Rather than causing trouble, he preferred a tidy resolution.

As he slowly rose from the throne, a new alert emerged. [A new collaboration quest begins.]

“What?”

The collaboration quest had just ended? Confusion gripped Bang-ho as the quest details flowed out.

== Collaboration Quest: Invaders

A new collaboration quest between Petroya and Earth. The players of Earth are now invading Petroya. Their target is the family of Petroya’s strongest, Sword Saint Gail. You must protect the Sword Saint’s family from the merciless invaders.

*If the Sword Saint’s family dies, the quest fails.

*Failure of the quest will result in your death.

Time Limit: 14 days

==

“What’s this?

Suddenly, a quest had manifested. The content itself didn’t seem problematic—death as a penalty for quest failure was common. The issue was that the quest had appeared for him.

“Could it be that Crow’s doing?!”

Bang-ho had been undercover as a ‘player from Petroya’ to deceive the system. The adversary took advantage of this and initiated the quest.

Like Imir, the adversary held the other half of the key, so it wasn’t impossible.

‘To issue a quest backwards before leaving Petroya.’

If he leaves the star or loses the family now, it’s his death. He’s stuck here, waiting for the opponent’s move.

Moreover, killing Gail’s family was no longer an option.

With the quest likely manifesting for all players on the star, there were surely others who sensed something odd. If the gods of Petroya realized that the publisher directly interfered and extricated Gail, complications would arise.

“No choice then.”

Bang-ho’s form wavered and began to shift. He shrank in height, and his smooth facial contours coarsened. From now on, he had to become Sword Saint Gail.

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