Return To Player Chapter 219

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Chapter 219: Self-Awareness (2)

I chose not to explain myself to the Overlord and the Light Lord who were looking at me with puzzled expressions. Only Rin seemed to understand what I was saying, nodding in response.

“Sigh.”

After gathering divine power and magic, I placed my hand on the ground. I let the divine power spread stealthily towards the imperial palace, limiting the power to the minimum necessary.

“Ah.”

Small moans could be heard. The guards who came into contact with my spreading divine power trembled like animals hit by tranquilizer darts and then their eyes became vacant. It was using one of Idras’ ancestral skills to seize their consciousness. They were likely standing there, trapped within an illusion. I could have drawn them deeper into the illusion with more magic, but with this many of them, it would have been a waste.

My goal was to put them to sleep just as they were, like sleepwalkers.

“…”

It didn’t take long for the guards to become like statues. To someone just looking at them, they might seem like living zombies.

“We’re all set, let’s go inside.”

Stepping back, Overlord Zinneph looked at me incredulously.

“I’ve heard about it, but the precision with which you handle power is speechless. What kind of place is Earth that there are two such people from it?”

“I have to agree.”

The Light Lord Aldeon seemed to share the sentiment of disbelief.

‘It’s a bit embarrassing.’

From their perspective, seeing me handle divine power like my own limbs was strange, especially since it had only been two years. Honestly, it felt strange to me too.

Although I had some advantages from my experiences in the first round, I hadn’t acquired divine power back then. Divine power didn’t equate to strength, but it defined the limits of the power I could use, so I was probably a notch below the Seven Heroes of Petroya in terms of abilities.

But here I was, handling divine power skillfully and astonishing those who possessed higher-level divine power.

It was quite moving.

“They must have noticed by now, we should hurry inside.”

Even if I had used my power covertly, VanGo wouldn’t be unaware of it. It was necessary to confront him as soon as possible to settle this.

“Do you know where VanGo is?”

As we ran through the imperial palace, Zinneph initiated the conversation.

“He seems to be at the top of the palace. I could sense a terrifying divine presence up there.”

“If it’s the top, that must be where the throne is.”

Aldeon spoke with a furrowed brow, and Zinneph nodded in agreement, as if he had expected as much. It seemed VanGo would be waiting for us at the throne.

I listened quietly to the conversation between Zinneph and Aldeon.

“What about Gail’s family?”

“I’ll look for them right now.”

It had been apparent for some time, but it seemed Gail and Lion King, these two, had a significant bond. Their concerned faces suggested they were undoubtedly close.

‘We’ll need to find Gail’s family quickly since VanGo could have taken them hostage.’

Even if I remained unfazed, the rest of our group could be greatly shaken.

“Hoo.”

As Aldeon let out a deep breath, bright orbs emerged around him.

Flickering like fireflies, they spread swiftly around him. It seemed like an ability to broaden his vision, similar to my ‘Crow’s Eye.’ However, since its nature was light, it moved much faster than the crows.

“That’s a handy ability, isn’t it?”

“It’s a wisp. A spirit, actually. It shares its sight with me, which is convenient, but I can’t see things properly unless I’m close.”

So observation from a distance wasn’t possible. There were pros and cons compared to ‘Crow’s Eye.’

Aldeon’s eyes opened after a minute of concentration.

“I’ve found them.”

“Already?”

“They weren’t far. However, there’s a problem.”

Displeasure flickered across his stoic face.

“It seems the two traitors are with Gail’s family.”

“Does that mean they’re far from VanGo?”

“Seems like it.”

If they didn’t join the fight with VanGo, the other two heroes would be easy prey for Rin.

I had assumed they would assist VanGo in a pincer attack, which was unexpected.

‘This changes the plan…’

I had intended to support the three, Rin, Overlord, and Light Lord, while also putting maximum pressure on VanGo along with a backup plan, but now there seemed no need for that.

Was VanGo planning on not fighting us after all? Perhaps he was willing to hand over Gail’s family without a fight. If we ignored Gail’s family and focused on VanGo, he would have no choice but to fight back, but that also meant considerable risk for us.

The choice was either to finish VanGo here or to rescue Gail’s family alone.

Both mattered significantly.

Boom!

“Did anyone else just hear that strange noise?”

“I heard it too.”

“So did I.”

The sound of something massive moving caught our attention.

We looked around in confusion, unlike Aldeon, whose face twisted malevolently.

“The wisps have split off.”

“Their positions have split off?”

“It means the structure of the imperial palace itself has changed. Strange, there was no such feature in Gail’s castle…”

Boom!!

Before Aldeon could finish his sentence, the ground beneath our feet shook violently.

Without discerning any divine power or magic, I was unmistakably startled.

‘What on earth…?!’

A change in the landscape on this scale without magic or divine power was unprecedented. It was similar to magic but not quite the same.

Thrum!

As the landscape spun, Rin’s presence suddenly veered diagonally.

The presence of Aldeon and Zinneph next to me did the same but in the complete opposite direction.

‘I don’t need to worry about them. First, I need to find Rin.’

After regaining my balance on the shifting ground, I spread my dark wings.

The walls kept moving, but they hadn’t gained strength.

If I could pierce straight through, catching up to Rin wouldn’t be difficult.

Crash!!

With a leap, I soared into the air, heading in the direction Rin had moved.

I punched through any walls that blocked my way and wrapped my body in a strong shield of magic to resist being swept away by the shifting landscape. It was a type of protective aura.

‘To the right, then down… No, back to diagonal?’

It was difficult to track the haphazardly moving Rin through her divine power signals.

‘Where’s VanGo?’

Moreover, the divine presence of VanGo, which should have been at the top of the imperial palace, had vanished. This could be another skill he was using.

Was he changing the landscape of the imperial palace to prevent us from finding him?

‘I won’t allow that!’

A small distortion in space opened next to me as I flew.

Sharp blades emerged from the void, soaring off in a direction completely different from mine.

That was Fragorach.

While I was chasing Rin, I planned to use Fragorach to ambush VanGo.

If he was indeed the cause of this chaos, I hoped Fragorach would take him by surprise and stop him.

Clang!!

“Ugh?!”

But Fragorach had barely traveled a distance when it was repelled.

What was worse, it was deflected in the same direction I was pursuing Rin.

Thud!!

I barely caught the rebounding Fragorach.

If not for the protective aura, I might have sustained serious injuries.

“Who could have…?”

The repelling was not due to failing to penetrate a wall.

Fragorach had definitely flown in the direction I commanded.

At the moment it should have pierced through two rooms, something blocked it, and it ricocheted back towards me.

Roar!!

The spinning landscape halted with a burst of smoke.

I was now in a rather spacious hall, presumably used for banquets, adorned with antique decorations, although now scattered haphazardly due to the change in landscape.

“Has it stopped…?”

Rin’s divine presence was felt at the far left end.

‘This isn’t the time to stop.’

If the landscape had stabilized, I had to chase after Rin without delay.

Just as I was about to set off, an unfamiliar voice reached my ears.

“Where are you hurrying off to, Crow?”

The voice was strange yet oddly familiar.

Shiik!!

“Ugh?!”

Something flew towards me with incredible speed.

Deflecting it with the Fragorach in my hand, I realized it was an arrow.

‘The Archer King?!’

Among the two heroes who sided with VanGo, one specialized in archery—the Archer King, renowned for never missing his target.

‘The force is much stronger than I heard.’

My hand stung after deflecting the arrow.

I folded my wings and swiftly retreated backward.

Turning my gaze towards the direction the arrow came from, I thought I had arrived where the two heroes were.

Of course, I wasn’t wrong.

The surprise was that there was one more person present.

“This is the first time we meet face to face, do you know who I am?”

The stranger had black hair, dark skin with a tinge of brown, and a jewel embedded on his forehead, indicating he was a giant.

I was sure this was my first encounter with him.

Physically seeing him for the first time, but his voice sounded familiar.

“…Imyr.”

The way he smiled faintly suggested my muttered word was the correct answer.

***

“Cough, cough.”

As the landscape stopped changing, a cloud of dust rose, obscuring the view.

Confused and unable to breathe properly, Rin coughed lightly and squinted.

‘I don’t see him.’

Apparently, we had been separated while the landscape was moving abruptly.

A sense of unease at being alone tightened around her chest.

‘It’s fine, I’m strong now too.’

It was her first time being left alone in the enemy’s formation.

Whenever Rin fought, there were always allies watching over her.

‘I need to join up in the direction where he would be.’

Rin slowly moved her arms.

The dust divided in half and began to settle quickly.

“This is…”

The first thing that caught her eye was the lavish throne that had been shattered to pieces.

Around the broken throne lay what looked like extraordinary relics, indicating that where Rin was now wasn’t just any ordinary place.

‘The throne? Wait, if it’s the throne then—’

Rin recalled her earlier conversation with Zinneph and Aldeon.

“It seems to be at the top of the palace. I felt a terrifying divine presence there.”

“If it’s the top, then it must be the throne.”

Right, that was definitely what they said.

VanGo is said to be in the place where the throne is.

And now, right in front of Rin, lay a destroyed throne.

That meant…

“I intended to just sit back and leave it to those two, yet… you make things difficult.”

A rigid voice reached her ears.

It was a monotonous, flat voice as if from a machine, devoid of any emotion.

Quickly, Rin turned to the direction of the voice.

There stood a young man with ash-gray hair and his arms crossed. The jewel on his forehead denoted he was a giant, and his brown eyes shone fiercely.

“Who are you?”

She had an inkling of who it might be, but Rin cautiously asked, hoping against hope that she was wrong.

“I am VanGo. Surely you haven’t come all this way to pretend you don’t know?”

Rin’s hope was shattered mercilessly.

VanGo, the one who had contended with the primordial giant Imyr, was now the vice president of the Publisher, as the gods had told her.

He was an absolute powerhouse, rumored to have lived for nearly eons, mastering countless techniques and powers.

And there he stood before Rin, poised and towering.

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