Return To Player Chapter 267

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Return To Player

# 267 The War of the Stars (1)

The sight of countless stars falling from the sky was like watching the end of the world.

Meteors rained down like showers, illuminating the darkened sky with a golden light, and crashed onto the human realm.

Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!

The meteors fell upon the protective barriers of the city, and had those barriers not been there, the mere falling of the stars would have devastated the surface of the earth.

Wriggle, wriggle.

The fallen stars began to transform into shapes befitting their titles and positions, revealing their forms while exuding divine power—from the lowest to the highest echelons.

[Ohohoho! So, this is Earth!]

A monster with the lower body of a snake and the upper body of a human woman passed by the location where Sehan was, chuckling mischievously.

The creature was as tall as a five-story building, and when it laughed, the surroundings echoed with its booming voice.

‘A serpent from the constellation of Echidna, perhaps.’

It was a constellation Sehan remembered encountering at some point.

While not among the Zodiac’s twelve signs, it was still quite a formidable constellation.

As the creature’s lower body wriggled and moved, nearby buildings crumbled to the ground.

[There are no humans here! Kkeugh. To fall here of all places.]

Realizing that there were no humans around—as it recklessly destroyed the surrounding buildings—Echidna spread its arms wide and summoned its offspring.

[Come, my children! Seek out the humans!]

In an instant, numerous serpents appeared around Echidna, filling the land.

From ordinary snakes to serpentine monsters, these creatures, numbering in the thousands, began to move, tearing through the damaged streets.

“This is kind of creepy.”

Imagine thousands of snakes all moving simultaneously; even I was starting to feel a bit nauseated.

“Huh?”

While I casually observed Echidna’s antics, before I knew it, some of the snakes had approached and were biting at my legs.

Of course, their efforts were futile against me, but they were certainly trying their best.

[Ohohoho! So, you were hiding there!]

I wasn’t exactly hiding, but from Echidna’s perspective, it seemed to think I was trying to avoid it.

[What bad luck you have, meeting me like this, human. I’ll be gracious and end your suffering without pain… Guuk!!]

“Bad luck is not on my side, it’s yours. Why fall here of all places?”

Bam! Crack! Thump!

I punched Echidna in the abdomen while it was carelessly laughing, sending its massive body flying and crashing through several buildings.

[Ah, it hurts!]

“Of course it hurts. That’s why I hit you.”

I spread my wings and flew above, looking down on Echidna, who stared back at me with wide, round eyes, stumbling over its words.

[Ar, are you a god? Why would a god be in a place like this…]

Echidna couldn’t quite collect its thoughts, probably because I hit it too hard.

Does it not recognize my face?

‘Well, most constellations can’t use the community anyway.’

Only constellations managed by a god or within the Zodiac can access the community.

Naturally, unlike publishers who share information through the community, constellations probably find it difficult to obtain information relevant to me.

“Don’t worry, if you don’t resist, I’ll just hit you a few times and send you back left.”

[I, I haven’t done anything yet…]

As I waved my fist in front of Echidna, its pupils shakily followed.

Considering our size, to Echidna, my fist was no more than a tiny pebble, but for the creature who had just been struck and sent flying, it must have looked like a giant cudgel.

“By the way, you were quite close with Antares, right?”

[Antares?]

Antares is the owner of the eighth house of the Zodiac, Scorpius.

Our connection spans quite deep.

In my first life cycle, that being nearly killed me several times, and in the second, it became quite a nuisance.

“If you lead me to him, I’ll let you go. How about it?”

[Just guiding… that’s all?]

The Echidna that had cackled wickedly upon arrival was now looking at me with the innocent eyes of a puppy, a fitting trait for someone from the constellation of Serpens, quick to notice details and unhesitant in betraying others.

[I’ll guide you right now!]

Turning into a winged serpent, Echidna reduced its size and took off into the sky.

Its readiness to abandon its standing was amusing to me, but since there was no need to exert much effort, I was content.

‘That seems to be enough searching for memories for now.’

There were still locations left on the note I had, but having come to the constellations, I had no choice but to pause my search.

Constellations not only wield their own divine powers but, as rulers of stars, command their own forces.

In essence, a full-scale war between players and publishers was about to begin.

The constellations and players would fight and tire each other out, and then he would appear.

The Giant King Ymir.

***

Among the twelve houses of the Zodiac, Leo stood at the pinnacle.

Even among the special Zodiac, Leo, ruled by Regulus, held a special place; Regulus constantly sought powerful opponents, obsessively pursuing his own strength like a madman.

His life was a series of battles, and only fights with the powerful could remind him that he was alive.

‘I’ve been waiting.’

Regulus walked slowly, very slowly.

His heart was beating wildly.

‘I’ve been waiting for this day.’

This excitement had started quite a long time ago, with the fall of Aldebaran.

To Regulus, Aldebaran was a tiresome rival.

Both were dedicated to the pursuit of strength, but while they had similar inclinations towards the art of war, they were different—Regulus was a madman and Aldebaran a warrior.

Still, their skills were always comparable.

‘Someday, I’ll definitely kill that guy.’

That’s what Regulus always thought as he roamed, seeking strong opponents to defeat Aldebaran, to perfect his power.

Yet Aldebaran died at the hands of another, a player from the newly-started game on Earth.

At first, Regulus thought he had heard wrong.

Surely there had been divine or demonic intervention, some manipulation by the system.

Who could have killed Aldebaran?

To discover this, Regulus managed to find one, difficult-to-attain recording.

At that time, ‘something akin to a god’ had descended to Earth, severing the connections to all gods and even the publishers who were logged in.

It was only natural since a being with the highest level of divinity had descended shortly after the game began.

Since that event, practically no god recorded the battle where Aldebaran fell, but there was one who did.

The Outer God Nyarlathotep.

Although the server was disconnected, he could touch the Earth by using the powers unique to an Outer God.

He succeeded in recording the entity Aldebaran was fighting against, and Regulus managed to acquire that record by no small effort.

“Lynn Taylor.”

How often had he muttered that name to himself?

The one who killed Aldebaran.

Her figure, dominating with overwhelming power disparity, was etched into his mind.

The fact that she had summoned the future through Laplace’s Hourglass was not important to him.

By now, she was already heralded as the monster who had slain Bungo.

Regulus watched all of her battles without exception and was finally able to break through the wall that had been holding him back all this time.

‘This is the power reserved only for the most supreme beings.’

Regulus glimpsed the fragments of Outer God’s might beyond the highest divine authority.

If he could fight Lynn Taylor, he could attain that power.

“I feel it.”

A monstrous figure with the head of a great lion and the muscular body of a human, Regulus followed the sense of divinity he felt, continuing his unrelenting stride.

As he walked, humans screamed and attacked him, but he paid them no mind.

Insects incapable of piercing the godly aegis that shrouded him were of no concern to Regulus.

Boom! Boom! Boom!

“Ahhhh!”

With a gesture as casual as swatting a fly, Regulus tore apart numerous players.

‘What in the world is that!’

Genesis Guild Master Park Seong-hyuk clenched his teeth as he watched.

The target of that beast was unmistakably Deicide’s building.

Up until now, he and his players, who had faced off against several of the Giant King Ymir’s personal guards referred to as giants, as well as constellations, felt a different level of pressure from Regulus.

‘He’s far stronger than any other constellation or the personal guards.’

Park Seong-hyuk was well-informed about gods, constellations, and giants, thanks to his own god.

Members of the Zodiac were certainly stronger than other constellations, but they were supposed to be on par or slightly less powerful than Ymir’s personal guards.

Wasn’t Astraea, the Goddess of Justice and the owner of the sixth house of the Zodiac, a goddess with only intermediate divine authority?

With that level, he had thought that it would be possible to hold off attacks with the help of other players and their gods.

They had just managed to kill one of three giants that attacked, so their morale was high.

‘How are we supposed to stop that?’

Park Seong-hyuk’s god was Tyr.

A Norse god possessing the highest divine authority.

But even Tyr had no good solution when asked how to stop that monster.

「That creature has already obtained power equal to mine. I hadn’t expected such a monster to come from the constellations.」

“Then we have no way to stop it?”

「Unless the raven intervenes or that young Goddess of Justice wakes up, it seems futile.」

However, the Goddess of Justice was currently asleep.

If this monster destroys Deicide, everything will come to an end.

“Everyone, attack! We must stop this monster’s advancement, even if just a little!”

Perhaps if they could hinder it for even a second, Lynn Taylor might awaken.

She was the only hope left.

“Finally…”

Ignoring the desperately attacking players, Regulus focused on just one building.

That was the place.

The divine power he sought was emanating from there.

‘Yet, it’s not stirring one bit.’

Does it not know of my arrival?

It’s improbable not to know with such an outpour of divine power.

Does it mean that Regulus’s power is not worth the attention?

“It doesn’t matter.”

Ultimately, his only task was to indulge himself.

Hadn’t Ymir said the same thing? That he was free to unleash his impulses, for Ymir would take responsibility for everything else.

Even if it meant erasing the Earthly world named Earth.

“Huh.”

Regulus’s fist moved.

Pulled back, it was then thrust forward rapidly.

Black claws, shot forth like lightning, were about to crush Deicide’s building, but golden light burst forth, diverting the course of the fist.

Boom! Boom! Boom!

Regulus’s redirected fist impaled and collapsed dozens of buildings at once.

Clouds of dust rose into the air with a rumble.

“Finally moving… Hm?”

Regulus was convinced that the one who had deflected his fist was Lynn Taylor.

He clearly sensed the familiar divinity.

Yet standing before him was an entirely unexpected man.

“Who are you?”

“…”

Regulus looked down at the man who had blocked his path.

Regulus stood roughly three meters tall, boasting an overwhelming physique despite reducing his body to its smallest size compared to humans.

The man opposite the behemoth was middle-aged.

He bore a resemblance to Lynn Taylor and held Libra, her sword.

“You’re not Lynn Taylor. Who are you, and how are you related to her?”

“…I am her father.”

“Ha. I see. So that’s why you look similar.”

Luke Taylor was his name, as Regulus recalled.

He had heard that Lynn Taylor had a father, but his absence had relegated him to the back of Regulus’s memory.

“You’re weak, too weak. It’s almost doubtful that you’re the father of the Goddess of Justice.”

Luke had no rebuttals for Regulus’s remarks.

More accurately, he lacked the strength to offer one.

‘Is this what Lynn always wielded so easily?’

In Luke’s hand, the sword Libra, the ultimate artifact of the Goddess, threatened to overpower his senses.

The mightiest weapon of a goddess.

He had forcibly summoned and wielded it to deflect Regulus’s power, but for Luke, it was an overwhelming burden.

‘There won’t be a second time.’

The fluke that had blocked a single strike was all there was.

If Regulus attacked again, Luke would surely perish without a chance.

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