Return To Player Chapter 269

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Return To Player

# 269

War of the Stars (3)

Around the time Se-Han encountered Antares, Idrasil was invigorating the community and examining the situation.

‘It seems like Regulus is the biggest problem at the moment… but that man should be able to handle it somehow.’

The situation with Regulus, right in front of Dearsid’s position, was dire, yet Idrasil somehow didn’t feel a great sense of danger.

Luke was not the type to fight an opponent without a plan.

He must have a plan after having a dialogue with Gail, she believed, and so he could surely stop Regulus.

“Then I should do what I have to do.”

When she checked public opinion in the community, she saw discussions beginning to emerge about the events on Earth, thanks to the help extended by Olympus.

Using her Observer, Idrasil uploaded the recording of Earth’s current situation to her GodTube account.

Currently, Idrasil was the undisputed top GodTuber.

With Hermes’ assistance, the video’s view count shot up frighteningly fast as soon as it was uploaded.

[Whoa, did the Publishers already invade Earth?]

[It’s real. Look at the video, they’ve gone all out.]

[LMFAO 😂 I’ve never seen all 12 Zodiacs fall like this. This is epic.]

[Just those two in tiny Korea. When did Regulus get so strong? He’s probably stronger than me now.]

The reactions were explosive.

Other deities who saw the video began commenting at an astonishing pace, and in roughly 30 minutes, the video reached the top rank of GodTube’s trending list.

The speed was nothing short of astounding.

“Mr. Idrasil, a massive number of Observers are logging in!”

Team Leader Kim Kyung-soo shouted, busier than ever.

Before him, logs were rapidly scrolling by.

“How many?”

“It’s already surpassed 5,000. But is it okay to just leave it like this?”

“If it’s as Se-Han says, it’s necessary.”

“Observers? They don’t seem like they’d be of any help against the Publishers.”

Team Leader Kim Kyung-soo’s face was one of genuine confusion.

Numerous deities sent their Observers to Earth after watching Idrasil’s video.

Normally, Observers had to go through a registration process to join a game, but since Idrasil had opened up the process, even deities who hadn’t played Earth before could easily log in.

As a result, an increasing number of unfamiliar Observers gradually filled the skies above Earth.

“Earth’s Observers have all changed looks, so it’s been a while since I’ve seen Observers with those big round eyeballs.”

Observers from deities who had been playing on Earth, and those who hadn’t, were clearly distinguishable. Those who had bought so-called ‘look-change’ items through Se-Han’s Random Boxes, were each unique in appearance.

Consequently, the Observers used in Publisher-affiliated games looked quite plain by comparison.

[What’s that? Every Observer here looks fabulous. What’s that thing?]

[Drop some cash on a Random Box, and you’ll get it. Give it a try now.]

[This game is going to hell, you lunatics 😂]

[Teacher, if you pay up, you could get one too.]

[I can’t stand by and watch our Earth go down like this. I’ll save it.]

Chat rooms began to burst with activity.

Faced with the sight of novel Observers, the vainglorious deities couldn’t help but be captivated.

Even deities who’d had no interest in Earth were becoming tempted, but given the current situation on Earth, no deity wanted to dive in as a new player impulsively.

That was to be expected.

Se-Han was aiming for an ‘audience’, after all.

‘The truth is, news about Earth has already started spreading to stars across the universe.’

The question now was where to place the next stakes in the game.

What was Se-Han thinking right now?

Idrasil couldn’t tell how Se-Han, who hadn’t regained his memory, intended to face Imir.

“Hmm?”

“What is it?”

“A message… just came in suddenly.”

Idrasil glanced at the notification alerting her to a new message.

It appeared to be from someone familiar with her.

Expecting it from Se-Han, she checked the messages, but the sender was someone entirely unexpected.

“…Min-Soo.”

It was her, who should be in the Demon Realm right now, who had sent the message to Idrasil.

After reading the contents, Idrasil slowly rose from her seat.

“Is something happening all of a sudden?”

“No, just something I need to attend to. I’ll leave the rest to you, Team Leader Kim Kyung-soo.”

Despite the reactions of those around her, Idrasil hurriedly got up.

She had to get there as quickly as possible.

To the Temple of Fantasia.

***

Looking down at Antares, Se-Han felt only one regret.

‘I can’t tell what kind of expression a scorpion has right now.’

If it had been a human, he could have seen a clear expression, but since Antares was fundamentally a scorpion, there were no expressions to read. This disappointed Se-Han greatly.

‘Barely clinging to the level of upper-tier divinity.’

He had a strong body, stronger than an average deity, but too weak for the current Se-Han to face.

He used to struggle against just an avatar, but now he could easily deal with the main body. It impressed upon him how much he had strengthened.

‘Soon, Imir will come, and before then, I must deal with all of the Zodiac Lords.’

Se-Han had made arrangements with Gail for any contingencies in Seoul.

Regulus, in the first timeline, had a divinity near the very top of the upper tier, and if he was still around that level, Se-Han believed that Sword Saint Ga-Il could adequately handle him.

However, that was Se-Han’s mistake.

Regulus had ascended to top-tier divinity due to the incident of Aldebaran’s death.

Unaware of this, Se-Han was not particularly worried about the situation in Seoul.

“You’re joking, right? How can a human reach top-tier divinity? And in such a short time!”

“If you’re doubtful, then come at me.”

Se-Han taunted Antares with a slight wag of his finger. Despite its pincers trembling with humiliation, Antares hesitated to attack.

“Dammit, and why are there so many Observers!”

Antares cursed, noticing the increasing number of Observers in the sky above.

The situation was chaotic enough, but with so many watching eyes, it became more awkward.

To continue like this meant the possibility of Antares, the Scorpion among the Zodiac Lords, being crushed by a player for all those deities to witness live.

“I’ll go first if you don’t attack. I don’t have much time either.”

“Wait, just wait…!”

The instant Antares shouted out, Se-Han’s index finger pointed to the sky, and a ground-shattering sound burst forth.

Antares couldn’t even perceive what happened. The ground erupted, launching Antares’ massive body into the sky.

‘What? Magic? I didn’t feel any magical movements.’

Antares couldn’t understand what kind of power it was, nor could the other watching deities.

‘Can a player have such power?’

The newly joined deities unfamiliar with Earth shared that common question.

Experienced deities nearby began explaining kindly for their benefit.

[Ahem, the player named Se-Han has the Extreme Mage as his avatar.]

[Ah, the one from the rumors?]

[I’ve heard of him. That crazy guy is him!]

[I heard that he had the abilities of the Extreme Mage, but this is reality-manipulating level power. Did the Extreme Mage have such abilities?]

[Tsk, this is why newbies are. Go watch the videos that Idrasil compiled from the start. Rookie.]

Idrasil had uploaded a variety of edited videos, many of them recent.

The most popular one was Lin’s growth saga, and the second most popular series, curiously, had been deleted. The deities knew it must be related to the system and not Idrasil’s doing.

And the third most popular revolved around Se-Han.

Especially the ones related to Idrasil’s first timeline, which had not been uploaded till today when Idrasil herself posted them, creating a huge sensation.

[Wow, the first timeline. I can’t believe it even after seeing it.]

[Otherwise, getting so strong is impossible.]

[I didn’t know humans could go this far.]

[But why did they disclose the secret they had been keeping until today?]

Videos of Se-Han’s story in the first timeline were released just that day.

Even footage of him absorbing Idrasil’s powers from the first timeline and acquiring the fragments of external gods was made public today.

It helped understand why he could overwhelm Antares, but everyone wondered why it was disclosed only now.

[Probably, he’s looking to resolve this now.]

[With the Publisher?]

[Intriguing.]

Initially, deities engaging in light banter began to immerse themselves more in the situation.

They started to perceive it not just as a game but as a reality.

“Arghhh!”

For Antares, this reality felt like hell itself.

“Put me down to the ground, you bastard!”

It squirmed in vain, its thick armor, venom, and pincers ineffectual against Se-Han; they couldn’t even touch him.

All Antares could do was bounce around in mid-air like a pinball against invisible walls.

Its venom was nullified by the transparent barriers Se-Han created, so it had no effect on the ground below.

And thrashing in mid-air, lacking any particular martial skills, Antares’ options were extremely limited.

What could change by wildly flailing in the air?

“Your fighting style is very simple. You rely on strong defenses, slowly killing your opponent with your toxic energy.”

Simple, yet effective.

Antares’ venom was potent enough to require a skill like Gabriel’s inheritance to be purified properly.

If there hadn’t been a saint in this place, there would have been a great loss of life.

This was why Se-Han swiftly flew here to deal with Antares.

But Se-Han hadn’t anticipated Antares being in Busan instead of Seoul, let alone in the city where the saint, Shin Yoo-Hwa, resided.

Consequently, there were fewer casualties, and Se-Han was able to hammer Antares without worry.

“I would like to beat you to death in this way, but luckily for you, I have no time.”

As Antares continued bouncing around, Se-Han pointed his finger towards it.

Black space opened up behind him, and a sword flew out.

The Phraichacke, the Black Star Sword.

It was the weapon that first sliced through Antares’ tail in an instant.

“Me, of all beings. Me, Antares!”

With the approaching speed of a meteor, the sword left Antares murmuring in foolish astonishment.

There was nothing a floating scorpion could do but utter these words.

Its tail had already been cut, and its venom was harmless, unable to reach the surface.

Facing the meteor-like sword, the powerless Antares was gripped with fear.

No matter what it tried, there was no way to stop that sword.

Even if it gathered all its divinity into defense, could it survive?

But with Se-Han’s divinity far surpassing Antares, it was futile.

Crack!!!

Crushing through the thick shell like paper, the Phraichacke pierced Antares’ body.

It was a decidedly undignified end for Antares, the lord of Scorpio Palace.

Se-Han, still positioned above the buildings, then turned his gaze towards another Zodiac Lord standing there, watching everything without the slightest movement.

‘The White Ram Lord, Hamal.’

Master of the first house among the Zodiac Lords, the Aries.

Since Hamal was shrouded in so many secrets, even Se-Han didn’t have accurate information.

“Why are you just standing there watching?”

“…”

Hamal’s form resembled a human’s.

Only the long white hair and round horns on either side of his head were hints of his Aries identity.

With tanned skin and a tranquil face, Hamal unfolded his arms and opened his mouth as Se-Han approached.

“The Zodiac Lords cannot defeat you, Kim Se-Han.”

“You mean to surrender then?”

“Yes.”

Hamal nodded without hesitation.

“My adversaries are not you, but those players below.”

“And you think I’ll let you fight them?”

“Of course, you’d try to stop me.”

Hamal smiled lightly.

Perhaps due to being the Ram, his smile seemed extraordinarily benign.

“But that’s inevitable.”

Inevitable, Se-Han thought, examining him.

Despite the title of ‘the weakest’, the White Ram Lord’s behavior was unreasonably calm.

‘Divinity levels… they’re…’

His level was lower than Se-Han’s, but it was certainly in the top-tier of divinity.

He had never heard tales of any among the Zodiac Lords attaining such high divinity.

At this level, even Se-Han wouldn’t be able to defeat him so easily.

No, with the loss of Celestial Killing Star and Blood Heavenly Asura Art, Se-Han’s victory was far from certain at present.

In fact, there was a possibility of defeat.

“The king is soon to arrive.”

“….!”

There was no need to ask who the king was.

“As a vassal, I must prepare to welcome the king.”

Hamal slowly unfolded his arms.

A terrifying aura began to emanate from his calm demeanor.

“You should hurry, otherwise, you’ll be late, crow.”

While Hamal did not specify the location, Se-Han instinctively knew.

That Imir was headed towards Seoul, where Dearsid awaited.

“The sky…!”

“Ah!”

Players around began murmuring and gazing at the sky.

The stars dimmed and the once-bright sky darkened, opening into a vast blackness.

Much like when Idrasil had unlocked a path to the Demon Realm during the ‘Madness of the Demon Lord’ arc.

Except this time, the size of the opening was thousands, millions of times larger.

It wasn’t just the Korean sky, a colossal void was forming over Earth itself.

When it finally opened completely, the king would come.

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