Return To Player Chapter 227

TO ACCESS EXCLUSIVE CONTENT AND SUPPORT THIS NOVEL, CLICK HERE !

# 227

227. The Demon World (3)

At the heart of the Publisher.

The central control room overseeing countless games.

It was a place where even among the Giantkind, only an extremely limited number could enter.

‘Crisis is indeed an opportunity.’

Giant Yorume was one of the few with the authority to enter the control room.

Originally, he was a GM for Earth but had recently gained access to the control room due to personnel changes caused by various incidents.

‘It’s a pity that Lord Bangor has died, but, it worked out well for me.’

Thanks to that, Yorume managed to rise to a position where he could enter the control room.

‘That idiot Akkinen.’

Yorume remembered a fellow Giant he once knew.

An idiot who disappeared all of a sudden. Judging by the tales circulating in the community, it was clear he had sided with Earth.

Yorume could not understand what he was thinking. Did he really believe that tiny planet could escape the Publisher’s influence?

‘But thanks to him leaving, it’s my turn now.’

To Yorume, it was a favorable turn of events.

Now he was a Giant with permission to enter the control room, and he would live a long life in a position of authority.

“Has Lord Imir not returned yet?”

“He’s gone to request authority, so it might take about a month, no?”

“Ah, really, what is world coming to!”

The conversations of other Giants reached Yorume’s ears.

Due to the recent string of incidents, their expressions were not particularly bright.

‘Worries are indeed a part of one’s fate.’

The events caused by the players of Earth were unprecedented.

Not only had they hijacked a game from the Publisher, but they also killed Bangor!

Bangor was among the mightiest, someone who others in the entire universe dared not challenge.

A monster amongst monsters who had never lost since his defeat by Imir.

The death of Bangor at the hands of Lynn Taylor in Petroia was a significant event.

A human girl, who had received the power of Astraia, the Goddess of Justice from the 6th house of the Zodiac, had defeated one of the primeval Giants. It was incredibly absurd for merely an avatar of a god with a medium-ranking divine title to achieve this.

It was undoubtedly a remarkable feat.

But that didn’t mean they could defeat the Publisher.

‘And Lord Imir is still in good health.’

There were several powerful Giants, and the Publisher influenced not just one or two stars, but many. Imir, who had disappeared to request authority, was quite furious with Earth.

‘Maybe they’re considering involving foreign powers? No, perhaps I’m thinking too much of it.’

To erase a mere star by involving foreign powers seemed extreme.

However, recalling Imir’s demeanor from not long ago, it wasn’t entirely out of the question.

Either way, Earth’s days were numbered now.

Yorume quickly dismissed thoughts of Earth and cleared his mind.

This incident was just one of many small events that occurred over a long period of time.

At least, that’s what he had thought up until that point.

***

After roughly assessing the situation, I was preparing to depart for the Demon World.

I received new equipment from Siwoo and checked the skills passed down from the first playthrough.

Thanks to the inheritance package, I could now possess all the skills I had in the first playthrough.

After hijacking the game from the Publisher, many main quests had already passed, so it was only natural.

My stats had already surpassed those from my first run, and the legacy skills I got from Idra were much stronger and more numerous.

‘I wonder if it’s possible now…’

In the first Demon World Martial Tournament, I had fought the demon of gluttony, Beelzebub.

To say that we fought was an understatement.

Somehow I managed to land a hit, but there was an insurmountable wall between Beelzebub and me.

But now, things are different.

“Ee Min-ah.”

“Ah, what’s up? What is it now?”

Min-ah flinched as she watched TV and I called out to her suddenly.

“Remember what I said? I’ve already spoken to Akkinen. The rest is up to you.”

“Ah, I remember, okay? Ugh, why am I always stuck with the tough tasks? I’m thinking of telling the Fool about this.”

“The Fool agreed to help with this matter, too.”

“Oh, really? He said he wouldn’t care.”

“He probably didn’t want you to die.”

If the Publisher invaded Earth, Min-ah’s life would be over.

If this had been earlier, the Fool wouldn’t have cared much.

He would have just noted the end of one game.

But after developing a connection with us, the Fool had grown fond of Min-ah.

This became especially apparent after we hijacked the game.

After often engaging in conversation with Min-ah as a human-like observer, he began constantly accompanying her.

“That’s good…”

Min-ah seemed genuinely touched.

Though their relationship had become more like friends lately, she didn’t seem to mind the attention.

After tapping Min-ah’s shoulder, I turned to Ji-su, who had been following me around.

“But Han Ji-su, are you really not going to follow?”

“Yes, yes. Um, yes. I plan to rest this time.”

I had planned on taking Ji-su alone to the Demon World.

However, she hesitantly refused with a complicated expression.

She wanted to follow but shook her head as if she didn’t want to, which grabbed my attention.

‘Why is she acting like this recently?’

It was suspicious, but I decided to trust Ji-su as much as possible.

She looked like she desperately wanted to come but was making an effort to refuse.

“And…”

What was unexpected was the company that had followed Ji-su back to our guild.

I thought Ji-su had finally returned to the guild, only to be surprised by two unexpected followers.

“Hello, Se-han ssi. It’s Min Su-ah.”

“…”

Specifically, Min Su-ah and Shin Ja-woon.

Azazel wasn’t with them, but their presence alone created an unusual atmosphere in the guild.

It was predictable, given that Shin Ja-woon had previously attacked our guild members.

Although things had cooled down a bit, Min-ah still rubbed her stomach whenever she saw Ja-woon.

Every time she saw him, she was reminded of the pain in her abdomen from where she’d been struck.

“I guess I’m a substitute, though it’s a bit of an understatement, but it would be nice if you could take them with you.”

Saying this, Ji-su’s eyes were bloodshot.

She definitely didn’t look like someone pleading for a substitute to be taken along.

“I’d really like to go with you, but there’s something I must do…”

“It can’t be helped. It would be nice if Ji-su joined, but I can’t forcibly take you if you have things to do.”

“You could forcibly take me along… Just please wait a little bit.”

Ji-su gazed up at me with eyes full of longing.

“What is about to end?”

I was curious, but Ji-su refused to answer this specific question.

“And why are those two following along?”

The oddities weren’t limited to Ji-su.

Min Su-ah and Shin Ja-woon, who had abruptly come to the guild, were just as strange.

“Azazel ssi told us to come and help Se-han ssi.”

“…but that Se-han ssi thing, can you not call me that? It sounds weird every time I hear it.”

“Then what should I call you?”

Su-ah asked politely, making me feel quite formal.

She particularly seemed to be in awe of me.

Perhaps it was because of the ending of the Madness of the Demon King, or maybe she had seen some future, but her demeanor was quite burdensome.

“You can’t call me oppa (big brother).”

Suddenly, Ji-su intervened with a dry tone.

“Do you know how many people are already saying ‘oppa’? If there are more, it’ll be confusing.”

Her tone was utterly indifferent, but it was as if she was asking, “Do you really want to hear ‘oppa’ that badly?”

Besides Ji-su and Min-ah, no one else called me ‘oppa.’ Even with Lynn, I kept being called ‘mister’ no matter what I said.

“Just call me a fellow player and add ssi.”

“That would be a bit…”

“That’s fine. If we’re not close enough for you to call me oppa, then Se-han ssi is no problem. It’s respectful and more comfortable.”

Ji-su said it as if having some distance was better.

It seemed Ji-su wasn’t pleased with Su-ah and I becoming closer.

Or maybe she disliked sharing the same form of address as she used.

Min-ah too often received jealous glances for that reason.

Though Ji-su had a tiresome personality, she had never hurt others because of it, so I left her be.

“That’s okay. You’re using formal speech anyways. It’s better to just call me Se-han ssi. We’re not close enough to warrant being called ‘oppa’.”

“Understood.”

With an air of inevitability, Su-ah nodded.

She glanced at Ji-su, then quietly sighed.

“I thought my ability to see the future might be of use to Se-han ssi… that’s why I came.”

“Is that also why you brought Ja-woon? Because it has something to do with the future?”

“Yes.”

I have no idea what it could be, but it seemed that there would be some need for Ja-woon in the Demon World.

When I looked puzzled for an explanation, Su-ah calmly continued.

“I can’t say why. It’s because even a minor action from Se-han ssi could change the future, and I don’t want to create variables. If I were to tell you and it influenced your behavior, the future I’ve seen could change.”

“That makes sense.”

“I assure you I mean no harm to Se-han ssi. Azazel ssi is expecting a lot from this as well.”

If Azazel is looking forward to it, why not join us in the Demon World?

“If Azazel ssi joins us, it would completely change the future. The influence of the demon of sloth is absolute in the Demon World.”

“I see.”

It was a convincing explanation.

Weighing the options, having Su-ah tag along wouldn’t be a bad thing for me.

‘I don’t know what will happen from now on.’

My trip to the Demon World in the first playthrough and the current situation were completely different.

Back then, I was compelled to participate in the Demon World Martial Tournament by a quest, and this time, I was going over of my own volition.

My current goal was to obtain the approval of more than half of the seven great demons and challenge the throne of the Demon King.

“Then you’re prepared?”

“Yes.”

“And you?”

I asked Ja-woon, who was silently standing with crossed arms.

He just quietly nodded with a follow-up grunt.

‘Always posing.’

Despite being annoyingly pretentious, his good looks made such poses suit him well.

Considering Su-ah’s gaze was also fixed immovably on Ja-woon, it wasn’t only me who thought he looked cool.

“Let’s go now.”

The preparations were now complete.

The only thing left was to achieve results in the Demon World.

***

As Se-han and Ja-woon’s group went down to the control room where Idra was, Min-ah sneakily glanced at Ji-su.

‘Really, what’s going on?’

It was one thing for others to refuse Se-han’s request to accompany him, but for Ji-su, who would have normally been persistent even if she said no, seemed quite strange.

‘I want to go, too.’

Just like Min-ah, Ji-su had wanted to follow Se-han.

It had been a long time since Ji-su had been able to accompany Se-han.

But she couldn’t.

Because if she did, she would be unable to do anything.

‘I have… to do it.’

When Aldbaran descended upon the Earth, Future Lynn told Ji-su:

“You need to be a bad child sometimes.”

“Make decisions based on your own will.”

At that time, Ji-su didn’t fully understand Lynn’s words.

She just vaguely thought she must do something.

She had thought just like that all this time.

Up until recently, before asking Su-ah about the future.

“You’re capable.”

Ji-su had told Su-ah in advance about her plan to use Laplace’s Hourglass.

Su-ah said it would enable her to obtain what she wanted.

What came after was the problem.

“But…”

She hesitated to speak, glancing at Ji-su.

The future it foresaw was far too terrible for Ji-su.

“I wouldn’t have done it.”

She had said the ending had changed.

But that ending was surely not positive.

“It seems uncertain, as if it might change any moment… but it’s too dangerous.”

Both Se-han and Ji-su possessed the power to change the future, but that didn’t mean they could do anything.

Su-ah didn’t know if they could change the ending she had seen or if they wouldn’t be able to.

“And…”

With a face that looked as if it might start crying, Su-ah clutched Ji-su’s clothes, as if urging her to reconsider.

“In that future, Ji-su unnie isn’t there.”

In every ending Su-ah saw, Ji-su was always by Se-han’s side.

But not this time.

Everywhere she looked, there was no sign of Ji-su in the ending.

TO ACCESS EXCLUSIVE CONTENT AND SUPPORT THIS NOVEL, CLICK HERE !



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *