Return To Player Chapter 251

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Return To Player

# 251

Allies Turned Foe (1)

The Demon Realm, the domain of the Demon King.

It was an area once ruled by the Demon of Pride, but after the birth of the Demon King, it became his possession.

At its center was a grand castle where the Demon King resided.

‘It’s been a while since I’ve been here.’

Though it was a familiar place he often visited as the Demon of Wrath to meet the king, it had been close to 20 years since he had any reason to return. Recently, the Demon King had sequestered himself inside the castle, becoming a recluse.

While still ensnared in madness, he strangely no longer exhibited the aggressive demeanor he once did. Only a very few demons knew why, and he was one of those few.

“Demon of Wrath, Shin Jawoon has arrived to meet Your Majesty.”

Shin Jawoon, now frequently known by the title ‘Demon of Wrath,’ always insisted on adding his name. Deep down, he still considered himself more human than demon.

Becoming a demon was merely a means to stay by her side.

“── Enter.”

Hearing the sluggish response stirred up anxiety within him.

He couldn’t forget the maddened state of the king, which persisted despite the years that had passed.

‘This is……’

As Shin Jawoon stepped into the audience chamber, he stiffened at the sight before him.

Unseen from the outside, the chamber bore traces of damage throughout.

‘These are recent, too.’

There was only one person capable of such destruction within this castle—

The master of the castle, the Demon King himself.

It was evident that the marks had been made while preventing the king from leaving.

“It has been some time, Shin Jawoon.”

A coarse voice, reminiscent of an elderly man, called out from ahead.

His condition seemed to have worsened since they last met.

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

In the dimly lit audience chamber, a male figure sat upon the half-destroyed throne.

Black hair, a gaunt visage—if not for the black crown resting atop his head, one might not guess he was the Demon King.

“That appearance……”

“I’ve had some… troubles. If Jisu hadn’t stopped me, I would have burst out of here by now.”

“Is this a frequent occurrence?”

“It has lessened somewhat. Without Jisu, I would still be repeating the same acts from 20 years ago.”

At the very least, it seemed his condition was improving.

His face may have grown haggard, but his eyes were clear.

Presumably, her continuous presence had a significant influence.

“Where did she go?”

“She claimed there was cleaning to do and went to fetch the tools. Good timing, you always seemed wary of Jisu.”

“I believe, aside from Azazel, there are no demons who aren’t apprehensive of her.”

“That’s true.”

The Demon King, Sehan, relaxed crookedly against the throne with an insubstantial smile.

“So, what brings you here?”

“I have received a message.”

“A message?”

“Yes, from Sua…”

20 years ago, a sudden and unexpected decision was made by Sua, a friend of Shin Jawoon who remained on Earth. Despite her grieving expression, she firmly decided to stay on Earth.

She had always wanted to stay by Jawoon’s side, and she had acted accordingly.

Not long after her resolve, Sehan also retreated into seclusion.

“Sua said that he has arrived. She told me that if it involves the Demon King, you would understand.”

Even Shin Jawoon, deeply connected to both Sehan and Sua, had no clue about the current situation. Not even Azazel, who seemed to see all, knew anything regarding the king’s matters.

“He has finally… come.”

Shin Jawoon’s statement twisted the corners of Sehan’s mouth.

In a peculiar grimace, fluctuating between a smile and a sob, his trembling lips slowly parted.

“Prepare.”

“Prepare, you say?”

Caught off guard by the sudden statement, Shin Jawoon glanced perplexedly at Sehan.

The king rose from the throne, taking calm breaths as if to pacify a storm of emotions.

“Prepare for war.”

War? Was he now planning to invade Earth again?

“There’s nothing to gain by invading Earth again.”

“I know. My invasion of Earth was nothing more than an act of petulance, derived from my madness.”

“What?”

“Now, the battlefield we prepare for is no longer Earth.”

Even as the Demon King, there was a place he dared not confront.

Due to a critical flaw in Sehan’s power, he was unable to fell that being.

Despite possessing all, he was wanting a single piece.

“Publisher.”

It was time to return to the original agenda.

***

‘Three on the right.’

Monitoring the movements of players and priests in real-time through the eyes of a crow, Sehan quietly ascended, floor by floor. Fortunately, there had been no incidents recently, and security wasn’t tight.

‘How long has it been since I last snuck in like this?’

Though he did it often in the first timeline, he had hardly done so in the second.

There was a sense of nostalgia, but any mistake in this infiltration could be catastrophic, so he moved with caution._APBs (Alerts for Presence of Breach) would be triggered if he attacked anyone.

‘If the security is triggered, it will take about 10 minutes for Lin to apprehend me.’

If he could get past Mina on the 15th floor, there wouldn’t be much interference, allowing him to traverse the rest in less than five minutes.

Once Mina detects him, the verification process will begin, with a five-minute grace period.

If he cannot prove he isn’t an intruder within those five minutes, the security system will activate, and everyone inside the guild building will be alerted of an intruder.

Of course, that includes Lin.

If it comes to that, Lin would immediately track down Sehan, and it would take about 10 minutes to engage him in combat.

As he was now, Sehan could defend against Lin but couldn’t overpower and escape her, so he absolutely had to retrieve the Shining Trapezohedron within five minutes.

‘Approaching the 15th floor.’

His lips dried as he approached the 14th floor.

Mina’s combat ability was on the weaker side, but that was according to Sehan’s standards. She was still formidable and guessing her current strength after 30 years was difficult.

“A whole floor turned into a barrier…”

He checked the ceiling of the 14th floor, or rather, the floor of the 15th, in hopes of finding a gap, but there was not a single breach. The entire floor was encircled by a barrier, wrapping even the external walls.

It even distorted spatial coordinates, making it impossible to infiltrate through a void space.

‘Should I try the elevator?’

But that idea was also dismissed because the elevator couldn’t be used without an access badge, like the kind priests have.

In the end, the only option was to break through the barrier.

‘No helping it.’

Sehan reached out, pressing his palm against the ceiling, moving his divine power to puncture a hole big enough for an adult man to pass through in the barrier.

‘Good.’

After confirming that the hole correctly opened, Sehan tensed his legs and jumped upward.

One more such motion would allow him to move to the next floor.

Ssshhhhhk!!

Predictably, the situation didn’t proceed smoothly.

No sooner had he pierced the barrier and leaped, something zoomed towards Sehan.

‘What a swift response.’

As Sua had mentioned, the instant the barrier was breached, an attack was launched.

It didn’t matter where he breached; the response would have been the same, a fact he realized once experiencing it.

“I never expected someone so audacious as to trespass Dieverse would exist.”

Clutching the incoming dagger, Sehan saw a short-haired woman, appearing out of nowhere.

‘Why hasn’t she aged at all?’

Mina wasn’t in a synched state like Lin or Sua.

Yet, she possessed divine power within her body.

Despite not being one with any deity, she had somehow acquired divine power.

The amount wasn’t vast but around mid-ranking god level, just a bit less than Astraios.

This standard could make her a local deity in a small area.

‘What method did Loki use?’

Sehan was curious how Loki had managed to instill such power in Mina.

Of course, curiosity aside, it was paramount to get out of this situation.

“Why, is this your actual appearance?”

“Do you really think I’ll tell you that?”

“By the sound of your voice, it’s modulated.”

Mina seemed well-informed, probably by Loki’s teachings, to notice Sehan’s altered face.

“Sorry, but I don’t have the time to chat.”

[An unauthorized intruder has been detected on the 15th floor of the Guild Tower.]

[Please verify your identity within 5 minutes.]

[Failure to verify will lead to being considered an adversary.]

The alert sounded off just as he finished speaking.

Until that moment, Sehan was a guest of Min Sua, but the second Mina took a hostile stance, he became an intruder.

For now, the alert was limited to Sehan’s ears, but failing to verify would alert Lin to the intruder’s presence.

‘I have to defeat Mina before the verification ends.’

Since he had been discovered, there was no more need to conserve his strength.

Sehan extended his arms to the side, then clapped them together.

“What are you doing…?”

Thud Thud Thud!

Mina, puzzled by Sehan’s sudden action, was soon in a panic trying to fend off the walls closing in from both sides.

“What is this?! Magic?”

Bang Bang Bang!

Trapped between the walls like ham in a sandwich, Mina expressed clear dismay.

‘This power comes from my time in the Demon Realm, Mina wouldn’t know about it.’

The Sehan who reached the ‘Mad King’ ending lost Idra.

That’s why he couldn’t use the power to manifest illusions into reality.

Thus, Mina had no knowledge of Sehan’s new power, leaving her unable to cope with the situation.

“Don’t worry, I won’t harm you.”

“Tch, alright. You’ve got some tricks up your sleeve, huh?”

Boom Boom Boom!!

Mina’s arms shone golden as she destroyed the walls pressing upon her.

This ability came from a starfish, allowing her to transform her arms into orichalcum.

“Then I won’t hold back either.”

Seeing Mina break through, Sehan pushed his right hand forward from the back.

The floor then began to roll out like a carpet, unbalancing Mina.

“Hmph!”

But Mina was resilient, and not so easily defeated.

Stabilizing her stance, she stomped hard on the floor, conjuring a magic circle that shielded the floor and walls with a thin divine film, blocking Sehan’s divine power.

“Huuuuuu!”

That wasn’t all.

She opened her mouth wide, taking a deep breath, and concentrated a massive amount of mana inside.

‘Wait, is she…?!’

As she breathed in, the mana in her chest began to amplify dramatically.

Sehan knew of only one phenomenon like this – the Dragon Breath.

Mina had transformed her heart, throat, and mouth to mimic a dragon’s.

This wasn’t merely ‘transformation’ – this was something more palpable.

“───!!”

As Mina exhaled, a circular magic formation appeared in front of her, releasing a blue stream of energy.

Annihilating the corridor’s walls and floor, a massive torrent of blue light swept over Sehan and exited through the guild tower’s external wall into the sky.

Sehan managed to escape to Mina’s back using a void space, but he inwardly sweated.

‘Hopefully Lin hasn’t noticed.’

Sua had mentioned that the conference room Lin would be in was mostly soundproof and immune to most shocks, so there was no need to worry. But witnessing a Dragon Breath being unleashed right before him, anxiety surged.

‘When did he move to the back?’

Conversely, Mina was equally startled.

Dragon Breath was her trump card; a direct hit would have been devastating to most foes.

Yet there he was, uninjured and behind her.

‘Surely he couldn’t have used magic after I reestablished the barrier?’

Mina felt unnerved by Sehan’s unpredictable abilities.

If it wasn’t magic, then it had to be a Legacy skill.

‘Could he be a god or a demon?’

She considered no player capable of facing her directly.

Not even Loki, who had confidently decreed such.

Yet, the man before her was handling Mina without much distress.

The tension seemed to stem from something beyond Mina.

‘Alright, I’ll see how long you can keep your composure.’

Her pride was wounded.

Although her skills were more geared towards support than combat, she was by no means weak.

Even the considerable gods didn’t overlook her strength now, did they?

Loki had even predicted she would reach a level comparable to his within a few decades.

“It would be wise for you to stay on edge.”

Mina’s eyes changed color.

Her entire body began to adapt to what she believed to be the optimal state, borrowing the prime qualities of various species and incorporating them into her physiology.

The transformation was so grand that even Sehan was impressed by the formidable change.

‘…It doesn’t look like I’ll finish this in time.’

With merely 3 minutes remaining, time was running short.

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