Return To Player Chapter 275

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Return To Player

# 275

Utopia of the Apocalypse (2)

“Emyr is here.”

Baek Yang-gung, fighting against Shin Ja-woon, exclaimed with a tone filled with thrill while looking up at the sky.

From a black hole that gaped in the crimson sky, countless troops poured down.

Even Shin Ja-woon involuntarily hesitated in face of this surreal spectacle.

‘That is…’

He knew about it already, but the power wielded by the Publisher was immense.

Each individual descending from the sky was a formidable presence not to be underestimated.

He could understand why so many stars hadn’t even thought of rebelling.

The forces that emerged from the black hole spread across the world, and some of them were descending into Busan, where Shin Ja-woon was.

“Everyone, fall back!”

“Shoot, just when it was almost over, there’s no helping it now.”

Following Ja-woon’s instruction, the Holy Maiden Shin Yoo-hwa quickly responded by erecting various barriers around the players.

The players, now veterans of battle, sensed something was amiss and quickly fell back, huddling together.

“The city is…”

Some players murmured with dazed expressions as they watched the city crumble before them.

The countless troops that fell from the sky were trampling over buildings and edifices in Busan as they rose to their feet.

Kwag Kwang!

Among them, the most gigantic black meteor crashed between Baek Yang-gung and Shin Ja-woon.

Shin Yoo-hwa bit her lower lip at the sight of a giant with black skin making its entrance.

‘This one seems stronger than the vanguard giant?’

The vanguard giant was called an elite, so it was assumed that no stronger giant would appear, but the giant before them seemed more powerful than that of the vanguard.

It might be on a similar level to Baek Yang-gung.

“Quite a mess you’ve made Baek Yang-gung.”

“…This time I can’t make excuses.”

The black giant scoffed as he looked at Baek Yang-gung lying defeated.

As he said, Baek Yang-gung’s condition was a mess. He had taken a significant beating from the fight with Shin Ja-woon, who was coated in various buffs.

He bore many serious wounds, and much of his divine power was depleted.

If the black giant had arrived just a little later, it would have been over for him.

Shin Ja-woon, quietly observing the exchange, finally spoke.

“Who are you?”

“Hooh.”

The black giant inwardly admired the unwavering face of the man in front of numerous giants and formidable foes.

“The new Demon of Wrath, I see. I am Bargelmir, one of the great giants who serve Emyr.”

“A name I’ve never heard.”

“Arrogant little thing, aren’t you? Well, becoming one of the Seven Great Demons, you should have some spirit.”

The Seven Great Demons were on par with extraterritorial existence.

It wasn’t strange for him to exhibit such an attitude, even if he had only recently become the Demon of Wrath.

“This is a good opportunity. I can earn the title of having slain one of the Seven Great Demons.”

The title of having defeated one of the Seven Great Demons, even a weak one, was undeniably attractive.

With many giants eyeing the now-vacant seat of Bango, Bargelmir was desperate to collect such titles.

‘Achieve merits in this war and rise to the position of vice president.’

For a long time, Bango had existed as the Publisher’s vice president.

Naturally, many giants aspired to the second-in-command position, but none could defeat Bango, so they could only salivate over the prospect, which continued unchanged.

‘But now, the one who killed Bango has appeared.’

Disastrous as it was for the Publisher, this was an opportunity for giants like Bargelmir, who were just below Bango’s level.

It was a silver lining for those giants who had already obtained top-class divine power and had nowhere higher to rise within the Publisher, including Bargelmir himself.

‘Perfect. Eliminate the Demon of Wrath, and there’s nothing much threatening left. After leaving the small fries to Baek Yang-gung, I’ll kill that man.’

Perhaps he truly was lucky.

Though he regretted not landing in Seoul, this place wasn’t too bad either.

“Now, my army. Ravage this place.”

At Bargelmir’s command, the Publisher’s forces that landed began wreaking havoc in Busan.

Though their numbers were slightly smaller than the players gathered here, their quality was incomparable.

The forces of the Constellations had barely been held back, and now their ranks were bolstered by thrice their number.

Yoon Hyun-kyun, observing the players falling into despair, quietly spoke to Shin Ja-woon.

“We’ll take on Baek Yang-gung and the injured troops. Please handle that giant, Ja-woon-nim.”

“Are you up for it?”

“If not, death is all that awaits.”

“It’s merely stalling for time.”

“I’m aware.”

Yoon Hyun-kyun wore a bitter smile.

“Still, I believe. I believe he won’t just stand by and watch this unfold.”

“…You mean Kim Se-han?”

“Yes.”

Kim Se-han had, on multiple occasions, done the unimaginable.

This time, too, without a doubt, he would resolve this situation in a way beyond their imagination.

‘Has his very existence become hope?’

Well, Ja-woon considered, that wasn’t so bad.

It’s better to clutch at straws and hold on than to wallow in despair and defeat.

‘I’m among those clutching at straws…’

Ja-woon felt the urge to pull a cigarette from his pocket, but he forced himself to refrain.

The monsters before him weren’t likely to wait while he took his leisure.

***

In the Temple of Dreams in Seoul.

After Emyr’s descent, Idris paced the interior of the temple with an anxious expression.

‘Is it really okay to just stay like this?’

‘Even if it’s Minsu-ah, she’s human. She might have made the wrong call.’

‘Is Se-han alright?’

With a heart filled with unease, Idris started biting his thumbnails.

If Se-han saw such a scene, he would surely have noted how “human” Idris seemed.

Indeed, Idris had to admit he’d become more human than an external being.

‘The Witch of Dreams’ wouldn’t have been swayed by such trivial emotions.

“The community’s response is increasingly negative.”

Idris could estimate the state of the world through the videos and chats posted on the community.

While there hadn’t been a mass casualty yet, the damage to the players was growing.

The community was dominated by opinions that Earth was now doomed.

[LOL the earth is going to perish in less than five hours, haha. I told you not to mess with the Publisher. You all defiant, now you get what you deserve.]

“Report.”

Idris instantly reported the malicious comment under the video.

Of course, a single report from a god didn’t cause the comment to be deleted.

Moreover, the problem was the number of likes and support for such malicious comments was increasing.

That’s how bad the situation on Earth was now.

‘The external beings have begun to move.’

Using observers scattered across the world, Idris checked the external beings currently on Earth.

Thankfully, there was no sight of Azathoth; however, three external beings had descended to Earth.

‘Shub-Niggurath, Nyarlathotep, and D’Iendra.’

When considering the Great Old Ones they brought along, the situation was truly bleak.

While the Outer Gods had not directly intervened, just the movement of the Great Old Ones was enough to crumble the barely-maintained balance.

‘If only we could get help from other gods.’

Help might have been available from Olympus or Asgard.

But naturally, the reason why it couldn’t happen was because of the Publisher.

With Emyr’s descent removing the restrictions on divine power on Earth, there were no system restrictions on any god’s emergence.

‘But that’s only if one could descend here.’

The central control room of the Publisher controlled the passages linking various districts of the superstratum.

Without the Publisher’s approval, gods could not freely intervene in other stars.

‘Lee Min-ah.’

What did she think of the current situation in the central control room?

Would an opportunity for her to act arrive?

With growing anxiety, Idris shook his head.

Kwaang!

“Ugh!”

A shockwave that felt like it could shake the whole of Seoul came from a distant location.

As Se-han and Emyr started fighting, it even affected the Temple of Dreams.

‘Se-han…’

Idris closed her eyes tightly, turning away from the battle between Se-han and Emyr.

Even though she could know the situation at any time through the observers sent to Seoul’s sky, she did not have the courage to look.

‘Se-han can’t win.’

Idris knew it.

As it stands, Se-han could never defeat Emyr.

It wasn’t merely a matter of divine power’s size or strength.

It was because Emyr held the key as the king of giants.

‘A player bound to the system, unable to escape the power of the key, will never be able to defeat Emyr.’

The only one on Earth who could possibly resist Emyr was Linn Taylor, who also held a half of the key.

But Linn Taylor was still trapped in sleep.

‘Please.’

Idris clenched her hands and pressed them to her forehead.

Was this what prayer was? Then who was the subject of this prayer?

She was an external god.

A being called a god among gods, who could she pray to?

She didn’t know and didn’t want to know.

She had nothing else to think of.

How foolishly human of her.

Thus, Idris continued to pray.

Until a single note reached her.

***

The players in Seoul fought desperately against the monsters.

The Publisher’s forces, now doubled from before, including constellations and giants endowed with divine power.

It was never a fight with a chance of victory.

But they fought desperately nonetheless.

“These damned cretins!”

“Die now!!”

The wrathful curses exchanged as humans charged at them made the Publisher’s forces inwardly shake their heads. Had there ever been a star where the resistance was this fierce?

When attacked by the Publisher, most simply resigned and waited for destruction.

Because it was pointless to resist the inevitable.

‘Because of that man?’

The gray-skinned giant, Tiamat, watched a player currently fighting Emyr.

The man, called Se-han, although primarily on the defensive, was holding his own against Emyr, who wielded various divine powers.

‘A human with the power of an external being, much more extraordinary than the rumors.’

Nevertheless, it was just a player. Tiamat dismissed any concerns for Emyr.

His role was merely to be fulfilled.

“It’s about time…”

“Die!!”

Tiamat casually flicked his finger towards a player who charged at him.

Instantly, the player charging at him turned into a cloud of dust.

“How the hell are we supposed to fight a monster like that?”

“And aren’t those floating in the sky similar?”

Tiamat, arms crossed, dealing with the charging players with ease, was terror incarnate.

‘That must be another external being.’

Park Sung-hyuk, bruised and battered, gasped for breath as he looked up at an external being still hanging in the sky. Not a human, but a colossal mass of flesh, the beast.

That thing, with no eyes visible, floated quietly in the air.

As though mocking those fighting desperately on the ground.

‘Just looking at it feels like my mind will shatter.’

Park Sung-hyuk forced himself to look away from ‘it.’

Continuing to gaze might have driven him mad. If a player with strong willpower felt this way, then an ordinary human would surely go insane upon laying eyes on it.

“He’s here.”

At that moment, Tiamat, arms still crossed, muttered quietly.

Nearby, Park Sung-hyuk couldn’t help but feel confused.

‘He’s here?’

Was there something more to come?

Surely, surely not.

Park Sung-hyuk looked to the sky with unease, and he wasn’t alone.

Others who heard Tiamat’s murmur also stared at the sky with trembling eyes.

The hole that gaped in the crimson sky.

Players across Seoul were stupefied by what happened next.

Numerous gates of different sizes began to open around the gigantic hole.

It was then Park Sung-hyuk remembered the other force Se-han mentioned would be participating in this battle.

Players from different stars, recipients of the collaborative quest.

Fifteen dimensional gates opened, pouring out tens of thousands of players from different stars.

“Oh, by the gods.”

Park Sung-hyuk muttered inadvertently, his weapon slipping from his grasp.

It was undeniable now.

The Earth was on the brink of annihilation.

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