Return To Player Chapter 258

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

Return To Player

# 258

258. The Last DLC (2)

Thud, thud.

Our footsteps echoed through the silent Demon King’s Castle.

It was a desolate castle, entirely devoid of any signs of life—so empty that one might not believe anyone lived there at all.

It was ruined and unkept, with layers of dust piled up like snow, revealing any tracks passing through.

‘The fact that there are footprints suggests someone has been here recently.’

Judging by the size, they were likely those of Shin Ja-woon.

He had claimed to have recently been in contact with the Demon King, after all.

‘But I don’t see “his” footprints.’

If what the guy said was correct, there should have been another set of footprints belonging to someone living in the Demon King’s Castle, but there were none.

“Idra, how many types of footprints can you see?”

“Footprints? I see two kinds.”

Is that so?

I realized that the person Shin Ja-woon referred to as “him” must be the individual that had been erased from my memory.

It was the world’s curse—incapable of recognizing anything related to the forgotten one.

Shin Ja-woon’s “him” must indeed be here with the Demon King.

And it was the person I had forgotten.

“This looks like the place.”

After some walking, a giant door stood before us.

Idra quietly gazed at it, likely pondering what we would find beyond.

What would the Mad Demon King, another version of myself, have become?

“……I’ll open it.”

I placed my hand on the cold stone door.

The chill climbed my fingers, but I ignored it, putting strength into my hand.

Thud, thud, thud!!

The door opened with a vibration so faint the ground trembled.

Along with that vibration, my heart began to pound.

‘Finally.’

I was about to meet another version of myself.

This meeting was more than just a simple encounter.

It was a chance to meet the creator of the DLC, which made many things possible that I couldn’t achieve in the first round, the same DLC that allowed me to travel back in time.

“It’s dark.”

Beyond the door that we had opened was a space so dark that no light penetrated.

But neither Idra’s nor my eyes were hindered by the dark; we could see clearly inside.

And we could see the throne at the end of the dark hall.

“……You are a bit later than I expected.”

The man with black hair and a gaunt face who sat on the throne spoke.

“Are you, the Mad Demon King?”

“Yes.”

I was at a loss for words.

Was the person seated on the throne really me? That question crossed my mind.

“You seem older than me.”

“I acquired immortality when I was older than you are now.”

Idra and I quietly approached him.

Only then did I notice something strange.

He was keeping his eyes closed, as if he did not wish to see me.

As if reading my mind, he said,

“It seems you are curious why I’m keeping my eyes closed.”

“Yes. Weren’t you the one who summoned me here to see?”

Through the developer’s message, he had summoned me to this world.

So it was difficult to understand why he now refused to look at me.

“Yes, I summoned you to see you. But by your side is the ‘forgotten one’.”

“The forgotten one? If you mean Idra…….”

“I cannot hear the name. As you know, it’s impossible to recognize. Just like you can’t see OO by my side right now.”

“What?”

OO? I quickly scanned the surroundings.

Nowhere could I see the OO he referred to.

Are you telling me that even if it’s right under my nose, I won’t be able to see it because it’s unrecognizable?

“Then there’s no need for you to close your eyes.”

“Hearing you say it and me seeing it with my own eyes is different. If I open them, I will realize everything. Because I’ll ‘see’ it directly. And since this situation isn’t created by someone else but by my own intention, the chances are even higher.”

“……What’s the difference?”

“The difference between one’s own will and the coercion of others. Though you are still bound by the system and can’t see, at least I can. We’re on different levels.”

His words stung my pride, but I couldn’t argue.

Clearly, the demon king version of me was superior.

It couldn’t be helped—my powers were limited now, and I didn’t have the key.

I couldn’t fathom how strong I would be with the key, but considering Rin couldn’t defeat me, I must have been on a whole different level.

“So what does that have to do with you keeping your eyes closed?”

“If I open them, all my memories will return and the ‘forgotten one’ will return to this world. Then you will be forcibly returned to your own world.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s impossible to have two divine beings, especially identical ones, exist in the same world.”

Then what about you and me? I wanted to say, but I had a rough understanding.

The demon king and I were fundamentally different from the start.

Or maybe it was because I had not reached the divine realm, so it was fine.

“So before I open my eyes, there’s something I need to do.”

“Yes.”

Snap!

With a flick of his finger, light filled the dark castle, and a spherical object hovered in the air.

The sphere began to morph into a rectangle, transforming into a screen.

“And now…….”

The Mad Demon King, who had a pale complexion, smiled at that moment.

“I’ll tell you everything you’ve been curious about.”

***

“How about Chang-woo?”

“He seems to be fighting with Shin Ja-woon on the edge of the Omnipotent’s territory.”

“Got it.”

Rin bit her lower lip as she received the report from another player.

Fully armed, she embodied the nickname “Goddess of Justice.”

Thousands of players were lined up behind her.

It had been a while since this many players gathered after the last battle with the Demons.

“Do we really have to go this far, just because we lost the Shining Trapezohedron?”

“We do.”

“Because of what Min-su-ah said?”

Min-ah spoke to Rin with concern.

It was a major incident that someone had infiltrated the guild tower, but what Rin was orchestrating was on an even grander scale.

Considering the number of players gathering—not only those here but from around the world—it would swell to tens of thousands, all elite.

It was practically a declaration of war.

“The Shining Trapezohedron is a fake key created by a divine being. Although a counterfeit, it possesses almost the same power as the key.”

“I know that. But nobody could use it, right?”

“Because we don’t have a divine being. Probably the same for the opposition. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have neglected it for so long.”

“That means…….”

“Yes. Now the Demon King has found a way to use the Shining Trapezohedron.”

The gate to the Demon Realm had opened all at once.

That alone was a huge event. Even Rin couldn’t easily disturb the boundary between dimensions.

It was, in effect, the collapse of the balance between Earth and the Demon Realm.

“What does Min-su-ah say? Oh, that he can’t see the future anymore?”

“Right. But there’s only one thing we can do now.”

“To stop the Demon King from using the Shining Trapezohedron before it’s too late.”

“Yes.”

If it already happened, it would be too late.

Invading the Demon Realm before anything happened was the only answer.

“But, Rin,”

Rin, who had been anxiously biting her lip, heard a bland voice.

The owner of the voice was a woman with pure white hair and long horns, the world’s only known kirin—Baek Seol.

“The being that summoned me back then wasn’t the Demon King.”

“What? Is that true?”

“Yes. The Demon King would have never smiled like that. I couldn’t see their true appearance because it was veiled, but I’m sure of it.”

“……We’ll find out everything once we reach the Demon Realm.”

Rin slowly reached her hand towards the sky.

A golden circle formed in the skies, gradually opening.

‘Two hours left.’

That was the time left for all the players to gather and for the gateway leading to the Demon Realm to open.

***

“Let me start by saying that I did not possess the DLC.”

The first statement was shocking.

He didn’t possess the DLC? Then he never time-traveled?

“I did time-travel. But it wasn’t because of the DLC. More likely, the ‘forgotten one’ helped me.”

Likely? Ah, I see. If the forgotten one was involved, his memories would be vague.

‘Now that I think about it…….’

I recalled Idra from my first round.

He had been chasing me since the first round and followed me into the second.

Considering what he showed me, I understood what the Demon King meant.

‘I could have time-traveled even without the DLC.’

During the ending of the first round, Idra had disappeared for a while.

At that time, he was looking for ways to overcome this situation, and time-travel was one of them.

‘But he said before he could act, I already took off on my own.’

If I couldn’t time-travel through the DLC, then it’s highly probable that Idra’s help was crucial.

In fact, that was undoubtedly the case.

“So you’re saying you time-traveled with someone’s help, following a path similar to mine.”

“It’s similar that both of us were in the second round. But there were differences. I took a little longer, and there were more casualties. Still, I managed to save everyone important.”

“A similar but somewhat different path.”

“Yes.”

That explained why the Demon King appeared to be slightly older.

Even without the DLC, I would eventually reach the state of the Mad Demon King.

“To be precise, the Mad Demon King is the limit I could reach.”

“What?”

“You’re not currently experiencing the Mad Demon King’s ending. If it were, you wouldn’t even have been able to come here at all, right?”

The Demon King, or ‘I’, said so with a laugh.

“……Right. I didn’t reach the ending of the Mad Demon King. It was worse than that, it turned into a bad ending.”

“But it’s not over yet.”

“That’s true.”

“Heh, heh, heh.”

The Demon King let out a stifled laugh.

In that laugh were feelings of unbearable joy and sorrow.

“……Shall I tell you what’s different about you and me?”

“Different?”

“I didn’t have the DLC. So I mentioned it took me longer to progress.”

“That’s an issue?”

“Of course it is. I was stuck in the amusement park for much longer.”

“Captive to Crow’s Constellation, to Karas?”

The Demon King slowly nodded his head slowly.

“It must have been a few weeks… no, a bit longer. And not just the amusement park. I was delayed in many situations, creating a divergence.”

“What does that mean……?”

“The time I lost caused me and OO to drift apart.”

OO must mean the one I had forgotten.

“Because of that, OO didn’t obtain something you did. Specifically, Laplace’s Hourglass.”

That small timing difference.

Because of it, the person I had forgotten acquired Laplace’s Hourglass, and the Demon King’s OO did not.

“That small difference erased one choice. OO lost the route to defeating Lucifer. Hence, he couldn’t defeat Lucifer, and I took the Demon King’s throne.”

“If one takes it, does that person defeat Lucifer?”

“They must have, since you’ve forgotten all about it.”

That made sense.

If he hadn’t won, I would have become the Demon King.

“So…….”

“Yes, that’s the start. You likely know why I went mad afterward.”

I knew the rest of the story.

I failed the Demon King’s trial.

I almost disappeared from this world, and Idra prevented it.

Instead, Idra was erased from everyone’s memory, including mine.

“Imir prevented it. But for some reason, I couldn’t suppress the rage overflowing from my heart. I forgot someone important. And I turned on everyone in the world.”

The Demon King tried to remember.

He struggled desperately to remember, which turned into hatred, then into madness.

He invaded Earth and turned the world against him.

“A long time, a very long time of madness. I lived up to being the Mad Demon King, a real madman. It’s not surprising Rin couldn’t trust me anymore.”

“……But you seem fine now?”

“Honestly, I’m not fine. The madness still often takes over me. This is an incurable illness. But now, I manage to maintain my sanity, at least occasionally.”

“How?”

I couldn’t understand. His madness wasn’t something simple.

Originally, I should have vanished, and only through Idra’s intervention did I survive.

The madness of the ‘Mad Demon King’ stemmed from that error, that curse.

I instinctively knew the fundamental cause—I couldn’t remember Idra.

The Demon King must have known too.

“How, you ask?”

He smirked at my question.

He looked beside him at ‘someone’ there.

“Because the precious person you’ve forgotten has been by my side, supporting me.”

His voice was warm as he spoke, and inexplicably, my heart felt heavy.

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



Want to keep in touch ? Join our Discord : https://discord.gg/wMvrbbTzrG

Leave a Reply

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