Return To Player Chapter 270

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Return To Player

# 270

270. Descent (1)

The sight before them seemed an apt representation of a “hole ripped open in the Earth.”

Se-han had seen such a thing once before.

It wasn’t just reminiscent of the time when Idra had opened a gate to the Demon Realm.

Se-han had truly seen this ‘gate’ before.

At the end of his first round.

When the final notification had sounded.

“Finally.”

The impending apocalypse had arrived.

In the collapsing world, Se-han beheld it.

A black hole pierced through the crimson sky.

Even though he had seen it with his own eyes, all Se-han could do was extend his hand towards it.

A place never within reach.

Se-han could only stand and watch the gate, which connected to the Publisher, open.

But what about now?

“Keke…”

Despite the perilous situation, Se-han let out a low chuckle.

It wasn’t a moment for laughter, yet somehow it came out.

“I’ve reached this point again.”

He felt he understood why he had laughed at the end of the “Mad Demon King” ending.

The real battle was about to begin, and yet, why had he laughed?

That sentiment was now deeply resonant.

“A trash who hadn’t even attained divinity in the first round.”

The destroyed and weakened Earth had come this far.

“…Why are you laughing? Do you not understand the situation?”

Hamal was incredulous as he observed Se-han.

That was natural.

The moment for the Publisher’s invasion was nearing, almost no time was left.

Earth was already cornered.

The vanguard that had first invaded was mostly intact, and of the Zodiac Lords, only Antares had been killed so far. Of course, two of the Zodiac Lords were now on Se-han’s side, but that wasn’t a big issue.

The Virgin Astraea, after all, favored humanity, and Libra was her sword.

Even if Imir had ordered the Zodiac Lords to attack Earth, those two would have refused.

“Surely a remarkable person.”

Hamal rated Se-han quite highly.

Merely as a Player, he had turned an Outsider into his vassal and was the first human to take a star from the Publisher.

An astounding entity.

Moreover, having made the power of the Outsider his own and reached the upper echelon of divinity, he was one step away from truly becoming an Outsider.

Even Hamal could not guess the extent of Se-han’s power.

“Still, he cannot measure up to Lord Imir.”

The weakest among the Zodiac Lords, known as the White Sheep Lord.

However, in reality, Hamal was the leader of the Zodiac Lords who had served Imir from the beginning.

Knowing Imir’s strength better than anyone, Hamal realized at a glance that Se-han stood no chance in winning.

Not just individual power.

No matter how much stronger the Earth had become, it was no match for the forces possessed by the Publisher.

“Do you think the Players of Earth stand a chance because they’re strong?”

Such thoughts would be foolish.

The power held by the Publisher was not just the vanguard and the Zodiac Lords.

“The Publisher has now distributed a quest across all the games it manages. It’s an unprecedented collaborative quest.”

It was only then that Se-han looked back at Hamal, who had begun to explain.

“So?”

“It’s not just ‘so.’ How can you be so calm? Do you really not get it? Earth is doomed. Once the Publisher arrives and opens the gate to all games, players from other stars will invade.”

While Earth had grown stronger, it was still far from the might of the first star, Petroya.

Even if it were Petroya, it could not withstand the invasion of many stars.

And among the stars tasked with the invasion quest was Petroya itself.

Perhaps the players of that place, under the control of the Sword Saint and the Seven Heroes, could refuse, but the majority of other stars could not defy the Publisher’s words.

They did not possess so many gods and transcendent beings, after all.

“It’s not for you to worry about. In the end, you’ll have to deal with the players, right?”

“Indeed.”

“Then worry about that. I’ll be heading to Seoul.”

“Do you think the players here can handle me if I go?”

Hamal asked incredulously as Se-han unfurled black wings.

Se-han had been utterly calm except for the initial surprise.

As if the players here could defeat Hamal.

“No chance.”

“Then why?”

“Honestly, I was scared too. It was good that the gate opened, but it was difficult to leave this place behind.”

There were saints here and key forces like Blue Whale.

Thus, Se-han couldn’t just slip away on his own.

“But then an unexpected reinforcement arrived.”

“Reinforcements?”

Was there someone like that here?

Hamal looked around. However, no matter how much he searched, he couldn’t find such a person.

Most were just ordinary players.

“You won’t find them here yet. So far, only a note has arrived.”

“A note?”

“Yes, a perfectly miraculous timing, that. This is why it’s good to foresee the future.”

At the moment the sky reddened and the black hole formed, Se-han, initially troubled, received a note.

It could even be considered simultaneous with the arrival of the note to Idra.

“You might not be aware, but there’s a girl who can see the future. She had prepared reinforcements that perfectly fit this situation.”

“You mean Min-su-ah?”

“What, you already knew? As expected of the Publisher, keen on information.”

Se-han grinned, slowly raising his right hand.

“Then you know what comes next.”

With his trademark snap, Se-han flicked his fingers.

Next to Se-han, space cracked open in a vast void large enough to allow a person to emerge.

“Wasn’t that long-distance leap technique impossible?”

“It was, but it turned out he was already quite nearby.”

Essentially, Se-han had only summoned someone from a slightly distant location.

“Our new Demon Lord of Wrath, you see.”

Out of the black space emerged a man with crimson eyes, part of his face covered by a pale white mask, an aura of cool detachment about him.

Hamal, one of Imir’s main confidants and someone privy to most of the information entering the Publisher’s domain, could not possibly be unaware of the man who appeared before him.

“Sin Ja-woon…!!”

As Hamal’s scream-like shout rang out, black lines shot towards Hamal’s face. No one but the involved parties, Hamal and Se-han, realized they were actually punches.

Boom!!

‘What is this?!’

Caught off guard by the sudden ambush, Hamal managed to block the attack with his left arm but could not counter.

The strike was far heavier than he had anticipated.

“Becoming a Demon Lord of Wrath in such a short time!”

Upon ascending to one of the Seven Great Demon Lord positions, one would gain the corresponding strength.

In a nutshell, divinity would balloon, and one would possess inherited skills.

Sin Ja-woon, an outsider human turned demon, was no exception.

He had gained divinity, embracing the power of the Demon Lord of Wrath.

But that should only have been possible within less than a month’s time.

“This kind of power isn’t something you can attain in such a short time!”

Dddrk!!

As Hamal was knocked back, tearing up the ground, he shouted at Sin Ja-woon.

However, his cry fell on deaf ears.

Sin Ja-woon slowly retracted his fist and looked at Se-han, who smiled back at him.

Despite becoming a demon, Sin Ja-woon maintained his appearance from his human days, which amused Se-han somewhat.

“Still can’t let go of that gangster outfit, can you?”

“It’s the most comfortable.”

“Even your nonsense seems plausible coming from you.”

Thus, appearances are crucial.

Even if one spouts some nonsense, if the face fits, it can pass as humor.

“Min-su-ah told you what needs to be done, right?”

“That I simply have to stop that guy.”

“You know well. Can you do it?”

Se-han was honestly a bit anxious.

As Hamal had shouted, Sin Ja-woon had only become the Demon Lord of Wrath about a month ago.

If he were a prodigy like Rin, it would have been a different story, but Sin Ja-woon’s talents were similar to Se-han’s.

“Huh.”

Sin Ja-woon gave a slight smile in response to Se-han’s words.

“Have you forgotten whose contractor I am?”

That answer was enough.

“Then I leave the rear to you.”

Se-han patted Sin Ja-woon on the shoulder and took flight with his black wings.

Watching Se-han vanish instantly, Sin Ja-woon slowly turned his gaze back to Hamal.

“How arrogant. Have you lost your ability to understand your place after inheriting the power of a demon?”

Silence.

Hamal’s usually mild-mannered demeanor carried an edge in his voice.

Naturally, he felt humiliated after being ambushed by a newbie demon and then slighted.

‘Stopping me?’

As he mulled over Se-han’s earlier words, Hamal’s blood began to boil.

After all, he was quite temperate in nature. Being born a sheep, this seemed only natural.

However, he could not stand idle after this level of disdain.

Ignoring him equated to a slight against Imir himself.

“With just you here, it might have been somewhat tricky.”

“So you admit it now?”

“I would be alone if it was just me. But am I the only Player here?”

Only then did Hamal realize he was in Busan, where high-ranking Players had gathered.

He was already surrounded by Players closely packed around him.

“Ohohoho! You sheep head, can you only see what’s right in front of you!”

Seeing an apparently flustered Hamal, Shin Yu-hwa laughed loudly.

Yu-hyun quickly intervened at her side.

“Well… Yu-hwa, such provocation isn’t good.”

“Pfft, or should I tremble in fear?”

Shin Yu-hwa was quick on the uptake.

Admittedly, they might be no match for Hamal. But right in front of Hamal stood Sin Ja-woon. Attempting to attack them, leaving himself open, would be an invitation for a fatal blow from Sin Ja-woon.

Should such an act unfold, Hamal would likely suffer significantly at Sin Ja-woon’s hands.

‘It’s more beneficial to take this guy down quickly, even if we’re hit.’

Besides, Shin Yu-hwa was a saint.

Even if she didn’t engage in combat, she could do a great deal.

She knelt in place and prayed upwards.

“I humbly request a mighty buff!”

[…Choosing you as my avatar may have been a mistake.]

The voice of her god, Gabriel, whom Shin Yu-hwa had grown accustomed to—even though his tone clearly lacked enthusiasm—was audible.

Despite his reluctance, she knew he would never ignore her wishes.

Woosh!!

And just as she expected, a beam of light fell from the crimson sky, enveloping Sin Ja-woon.

Sin Ja-woon, initially startled, thinking it was an attack, quickly relaxed as notifications began to flood in.

[All your attributes will significantly increase!]

[Physical resistance will significantly increase!]

[Magic resistance will significantly increase!]

[Physical attack power will significantly increase!]

….

..

Sin Ja-woon was inwardly staggered as nearly a dozen notifications popped up sequentially.

‘…I knew saints were supposed to be impressive.’

Unbeknownst to him, as he wasn’t privy to divine powers, he hadn’t thought much of it.

Who would have thought they could scatter such potent buffs?

That made sense; it was due to her that they could withstand Antares without casualties.

“Anyway.”

Sin Ja-woon flexed his fists, gauging his newfound enhanced abilities as he eyed Hamal, who had composed himself after the initial shock but seemed a bit rattled by the sudden shower of buffs.

“Now, it’s not about us surviving, but how long you can last.”

Sin Ja-woon set his stance, ready to pounce on Hamal at any moment.

As the situation developed to this point, Hamal could no longer afford to be nonchalant.

‘Considering the first ambush… I might actually be the one in danger.’

He had managed to fend off Sin Ja-woon’s initial attack and thought he could handle “this much.”

But with the buffed Sin Ja-woon, Hamal was now facing him and also had to withstand the attacks of surrounding Players.

These Players probably also received similar buffs to Sin Ja-woon’s.

Thinking about it, it seemed Sin Ja-woon’s claim was right—Hamal was the one in danger now.

“Fine, I admit it. You players surpassed my expectations by far.”

“Oh my, look at you trying to act all high and mighty now. That’s just hilarious.”

Hamal was ignorant of many things, but he vowed he’d make sure to kill this saint.

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