Return To Player Chapter 236

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Return To Player

Chapter 236: The Seven Deadly Sins (1)

Demons, by their nature, possess a divine status that makes them stronger than other beings with equivalent divine status. Divine status is, after all, merely a power that pushes one beyond their limits.

A universal energy capable of reaching miracles.

Of course, it’s generally advantageous to have a higher divine status.

However, if one inherently possesses remarkable abilities, they can wield tremendous power even with a lower divine status.

This is exemplified by the Great Old Ones who belong to outer space.

These beings possess a divine status ranging from lower to upper-middle class, yet hold power on par with most higher-class gods.

This is similarly true for demons.

Hence, demons have considerable pride in their own strength.

“Heh, hehehe. So, you’re the infamous crow.”

The fallen demon chuckled with a low laugh.

The surrounding demons looked on with pale faces.

It was only natural, having witnessed a demon beaten by a human.

“You don’t just puff up your divine status like a balloon. Have you come to see Lord Belzebub?”

“Yes.”

“Hmph, arrogant fool.”

His face had been oozing blood until a moment ago, but now it was healing rapidly.

Despite the surrounding area having been turned into a wasteland from the fight, his expression showed no concern.

Indeed, he exuded the demeanor of a gatekeeper safeguarding the realm of gluttony.

“One could say you’re arrogant enough for a human.”

“Well, that may be true. It’s a bit annoying, though.”

Despite his words, his attitude was remarkably straightforward.

It was surprising, considering most would scream ‘How dare a mere human!’ when defeated by one.

Realizing this, the demon gave a sly grin.

“The demon realm is a world where might reigns. While they may clamor outwardly, once someone is recognized, they usually don’t quibble over such matters. When demons talk down to humans, it’s like a sort of self-hypnosis.”

It seemed to mean he was enforcing the perception that he was stronger than his opponent.

“Follow me. I’ll guide you to Lord Belzebub.”

The demon stood, pointing towards the interior of the castle.

Thanks to him, the anxious demons immediately turned as pale as death.

“Lord Daniel!”

“Are you worried that bringing that thing to Lord Belzebub might cause some trouble?”

“No, not at all.”

The demon guarding the entrance seemed to be called Daniel.

Quite an ordinary name for a demon.

“Let’s go.”

The demons looked as though they wanted to say something, but under Daniel’s fierce gaze, they kept their mouths tightly shut.

“Can you fly?”

“Of course.”

“Well, it’d be ridiculous if the one who holds the seat of the Crow couldn’t fly.”

My ability to fly is simply thanks to the Wings skill of my martial spirit, not because I hold the seat of the Crow. But, no need to go into that.

“Eek!”

I tossed Minsooah up and followed Daniel, who had soared into the sky.

The territory claimed to be the largest in the demon realm was indeed not an empty boast.

The gate guarded by Daniel was virtually a national border.

Flying past it, we moved over several cities without sighting the central castle where Belzebub resided.

‘This is practically the opposite end of the realm of Arrogance.’

By rough estimation, it was the polar opposite side of the demon realm.

‘Belzebub was afraid of Lucifer, so perhaps this makes sense.’

Belzebub, with his insatiable greed, saw Lucifer as a thorn in his side and the only being he truly feared. Although Ahriman was also a force to be reckoned with by virtue of power alone, Ahriman was not greedy and symbolized ‘Sloth’, so Belzebub did not consider him an enemy.

He deeply despised Lucifer, the only entity ‘managing’ the demon realm, and sought any opportunity to eliminate him.

His attendance at the demon realm’s assembly in the first timeline was precisely for that reason.

He even gave up his seat as one of the Seven Deadly Demons, ‘Gluttony,’ in order to participate, since the Seven Deadly Demons couldn’t partake in the trial of the keys.

Rejecting the power he held as the demon of Gluttony and erasing from his memory the knowledge of the ‘Key’ only available to the Seven Deadly Demons, he attended.

At that time, it seemed he simply wanted the power of the keys, but now it appeared he aimed for the title of the Demon King.

After all, Lucifer was the being who would select the ‘Demon King’, and passing the test would make one his most loyal retainer.

To attain the Demon King’s position, controlling the power of the keys and Lucifer… that was the tale.

“We’ve arrived.”

After a long flight, we came upon a castle built of brilliant white stone.

It was impeccably clean and didn’t look at all like a residence befitting a demon from the outside.

“Do we just enter? There seems to be no one around.”

“Do you think Belzebub would have arranged an escort? Don’t worry; just go inside.”

“What about you?”

“I’ll head back now. I don’t want to rush things.”

After saying this, he disappeared in an instant without looking back.

“Isn’t this a trap?”

As the demon vanished, Minsooah spoke in a shaky voice.

“Don’t ask, just look into the future.”

“Yes, of course.”

She always was a bit fearful, but upon reaching Belzebub’s castle, she turned deathly pale.

‘An immense magical power.’

Even I was struggling to breathe.

It was no wonder Minsooah, panting and quivering, found it alarming.

With such formidable magical energy and divine status combined, it would truly be akin to a catastrophe.

‘It must be several times greater than Ahriman’s.’

The greatest magical force I had ever encountered was Ahriman after consuming Asmodeus.

If that tremendous power was like a vast lake, then Belzebub’s was an ocean.

Endless and vast.

I had only a rough sensation of it in the first timeline, but now with my own divine status, I could clearly perceive how powerful Belzebub really was.

Creak…

As the massive door opened, the unlit interior of the castle came into view.

The absence of any signs of life made it feel like a ruin.

‘He’s right in the center.’

Belzebub must have noticed our arrival, yet didn’t move from his central hall.

As we headed toward the hall where he was, I could feel the turbulence of magical power and divine status.

Pop, pop, pop!!

Then, the lights within the castle flickered to life all at once, illuminating the darkened citadel.

‘Dammit, that’s startling.’

They should have lit the place earlier instead of suddenly doing so now.

Thud.

As we entered the grand central hall, a figure seated on an immense throne caught my eye.

To put it simply, it was more a mass of flesh than anything resembling a human.

“Haah, haah.”

With each heavy breath, the giant mass of flesh quivered.

At least three meters tall, the body was wrapped in thick layers of flesh and fat, revolting to behold. If an ordinary human had such obesity, they likely would have died long ago.

“That thing… Is the demon of Gluttony?”

Minsooah couldn’t believe what she saw.

Her eyes turned a stark blue. Likely, she was using her foresight to confirm if the creature before us was indeed Belzebub.

“Truly, that’s the monster…?”

Her face soured as she eyed Belzebub’s undulating form.

Despite his prestigious title, Belzebub’s physical form was disgustingly grotesque.

Yet, upon reflection, it was a perfect embodiment of ‘Gluttony’.

“Hehehe, seat of the Crow, binder of foreign gods, you’re quite a celebrity to visit such a remote place. Surprising indeed.”

The thick layer of flesh moved as he looked my way, a grotesque visage if not for the massive horns on his temples. Had it not been for those, his face would have been indistinguishable.

‘I remember now, but his voice is really something else.’

Contrary to his horrifying appearance, his voice was filled with dignity.

Even with rough breathing peppered in, it carried a charisma that could compel subjugation.

“So, what brings you here?”

“You should already know.”

“Speculating and hearing directly can be quite different.”

While I had moved around quite stealthily, it wouldn’t be surprising if Belzebub knew of our visit.

Not to mention, Earth’s current situation was a hot topic even in the community, so Belzebub surely was not ignorant of it.

“I’ve come to seek approval from the Seven Deadly Demons.”

Now, only Belzebub remained for me.

Surely he knew that and asked on purpose.

“Ha, hahahaha.”

A boisterous laugh erupted from Belzebub.

He shook and convulsed, laughing hysterically as if he had heard the funniest joke in the world.

“Yes, yes indeed! I’ve heard plenty about your arrogance. You’ve achieved the deeds to back it up, so it’s understandable. But it’s still uncontrollably funny to hear firsthand.”

Belzebub lumbered slowly towards me, his appearance comical, yet the aura he exuded was anything but ordinary.

“Yes… Actually, I have business with you too. You seem to have a good rapport with Azazel.”

“What does that matter to you?”

“It matters. Right now, Azazel is stirring something up in the demon realm. Regrettably, I am unable to pursue him. That insolent creature eludes my sight.”

Belzebub must have been observing me since my arrival to the demon realm.

He also likely realized quicker than I did that Azazel was present here.

“He had no interest in the throne. Yet his recent movements are suspicious. On top of that, he has been wandering around with a demon I’ve never seen before.”

The demon referred to by Belzebub was clearly Jisoo.

His red eyes peeked through the folds of flesh as he grinned at me.

“Moreover, I found out through scouring the community that this demon has deep ties with you.”

“Even if you catch me, those two won’t come will they?”

“You never know about such things. And besides, you would know what Azazel is up to.”

He bent his enormous frame slowly.

His thick arms and legs touched the ground as if he were a sprinter ready at the starting blocks.

“The rest of our conversation…”

In any event, I had to fight him.

Whether I had to kill him or gain his recognition, it had to be done.

“…we’ll continue after the fight is over.”

Boom!!

His log-like legs kicked off the ground and a thunderous sound filled the air as Belzebub’s bulky frame soared.

Though his speed was hindered by his layers of flesh and fat, his menacing presence was felt all the same.

‘I mustn’t take him head-on.’

Belzebub charged headfirst towards me, his mouth wide open.

At a glance, he seemed full of openings, but instead of attacking the apparent weak points, I held Minsooah and swept us both to the side.

If I collided with that head-on, I’d end up ‘eaten alive’.

***

In the realm of Arrogance—right beside it—there was an ancient ruin.

A castle that once housed a Demon King.

It had long been a ruin, but Lucifer always kept watch over it.

“……”

Lucifer gazed up at a high pedestal in the middle of the ruins.

Atop it was a black crown shining in darkness.

Encased within a glowing blue barrier, it was the Key guarded in the demon realm.

It was a symbol of the Demon King, preserved here in the Demon King’s resting place for a prolonged time.

The black crown was larger than the keys held by Ímirna and Lyn.

While theirs were two halves split from one, the demon realm’s Key was a complete whole.

Lucifer had guarded it for ages.

Many had tried and failed to claim the crown, but none yet had succeeded.

“Stop.”

Lucifer averted his gaze from the crown and looked toward two females entering the sanctuary.

“You lack the qualifications.”

Black hair, golden eyes.

Like Azazel, Lucifer was also a being with divine essence.

However, what set him apart was that he was inherently a ‘god’ unlike Azazel who had fallen into demonhood.

An arrogant demon who sacrificed everything just to safeguard the key.

“Azazel. Surely you know that the Seven Deadly Demons cannot challenge the test.”

“I know.”

Azazel offered a sly smile despite Lucifer’s words.

“It’s not me who’s challenging. It’s this girl.”

“That girl is also disqualified. She hasn’t secured the assent of the majority of the Seven Deadly Demons.”

“I know. She has the consent of three and needs just one more.”

Azazel’s response left Lucifer narrowing his eyes, turning his attention to the black-haired woman standing quietly.

Despite being a recent convert to demonhood, she wielded considerable strength.

“Why are you here then?”

“The Seven Deadly Demons are in disarray. Only Gluttony and you remain.”

“And?”

“If you’re on board, we have four.”

At Azazel’s words, Lucifer let out a dry laugh.

He had lived a long life and this was a first for him.

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