Return To Player Chapter 277

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Return To Player

# 277 The Utopia of the Apocalypse (4)

Idra couldn’t hide her anxiety as she watched Sehan, whose stats had been slashed, through the Observer. She wanted to rush to his aid right away.

‘This is bad, very bad.’

When even Sehan, their only hope, was savagely destroyed by Imir, the other players’ complexions worsened as well. Even those who had been fighting began to turn their backs and flee. At least, Iayoung was using Brisingamen to control such players, but even that had its limits.

‘Huh?’

That’s when it happened.

While watching the situation closely, Idra noticed a faint smile on Sehan’s face. He smiled despite all his skills being removed and his stats reduced to that of an ordinary human.

‘Why?’

Ding~!

Just as Idra was expressing her doubts, a small notification went off in her note box. She quickly checked the message, postponing her observation of Sehan—she was in the Temple of Dreams waiting for this very note.

The content of the note was just one line.

[Please liberate Elise.]

“Elise?”

It seemed unlikely, but apparently, Minsuah’s aim had really been Elise. When Elise merged with Mama Jack, there was no way for Sehan to kill her at the time, so she had been locked in the Temple of Dreams.

‘If she’s released now, she can’t be put back here again.’

Could Elise, the enemy of Earth at that time, become an ally now?

No, she had been devoid of rationality back then.

Idra worried that releasing her now might just add fuel to the existing chaos.

“……”

Her hesitation was brief.

Idra slowly stood in front of the massive door at the center of the Temple of Dreams.

“If I’ve decided to trust, then I must trust all the way.”

Making a choice, not as a god but as a human.

Helping with something that could only be described as reckless.

Kiiing!!

From Idra’s hand, a black cuboid object appeared and started spinning.

The Shining Trapezohedron emitted beams of five-colored light, blasting towards the massive door.

“Ugh!”

She felt like her already diminished divinity as a human was being drained away.

Had it not been for the increase in divinity from merging with her first self, it might have been impossible.

Creak, creak, creak!!

The giant door slowly opened, releasing a blinding white light that filled the interior of the temple.

Idra momentarily shielded her eyes and felt Elise’s presence.

Thud, thud.

‘She’s coming out.’

Someone was coming out, and Idra instinctively knew it was Elise.

‘In human form?’

The last image she had was of Elise transforming into a monster. However, the footsteps now sounded unmistakably human.

“Grrrr.”

Idra had hoped that Elise might have regained human consciousness, but the subsequent bestial growl made her body stiffen.

‘She’s still not sane!’

Was this really a good idea?

As these thoughts raced through her mind, Elise’s sunset-colored eyes fixed on Idra.

Elise’s appearance had changed since before; her hair and eyes were now a mixture of gold and red, a color like the sunset.

She growled like a beast and slowly lowered her stance.

Idra could distinctly feel the hostility in her eyes.

The hostility seemed to hold all the hatred in the world.

“……?”

Idra braced herself for Elise’s imminent attack, but then she realized that Elise was motionless for some reason.

‘Is she looking for something?’

Elise sniffed around, shifting her gaze from Idra to somewhere in the distance, then fell silent, stopping even her growls.

Quietly standing there, Elise’s mouth slowly opened.

“Imir.”

A glimmer of rationality had returned to her sunset-colored eyes.

She felt the presence of an ‘enemy’ on Earth right now.

“Imir, Imir, Imirrrrr!!”

The image of the Giant King who had destroyed her star.

The one who had killed her and forced her separation from Mama Jack was present on Earth.

“I’ll kill, I’ll destroy.”

Her instinct, driven by hatred, suppressed the beast’s drive.

To Elise now, the Idra before her was of no concern.

Kwakwakwang!!

Elise bent her knees then leaped into the air, smashing through the white stone ceiling of the Temple of Dreams and disappearing into the unknown.

“Is she going after Imir…?”

Thinking back on Elise’s words, Idra was certain about her destination.

She had no idea how this beast-like woman could be of any help, but she was sure of one thing.

Everything Imir had done to date was about to come back to him like a boomerang.

***

“Laughing?”

Imir was at a loss seeing Sehan suddenly start laughing.

‘He hasn’t lost his mind.’

The light of rationality was clear in Sehan’s black eyes.

It wasn’t fear or despair that had made him insane.

His eyes genuinely reflected an emotion akin to joy.

“Can’t you understand the situation? What can you, a human, do now?”

Sehan still had his stats window open as he looked at Imir.

He looked at the arrogant King of Giants, who had only known victory and who was convinced that his actions represented the justice of the world.

“As if humans can do nothing.”

“That’s right. What can you do against a god as a human? A weakened human can only shiver in fear or bow his head before the omnipotent. That’s all.”

A human, deprived of divinity and living within a limited timeframe, was simply an intelligent life form that made up a star.

And it was Imir’s role to prevent such beings from attempting to break and escape their confines.

“Look at your current abilities. Can’t you see it? What can you do with that? Will you fight against me? Or perhaps you can escape? Impossible. You are powerless. It’s all over. Don’t you understand that, Kim Sehan? If so, that’s a real disappointment.”

Imir didn’t consider Sehan to be a foolish being, flailing hopelessly in the face of inevitable defeat.

Why hasn’t he given up when facing such a dead-end situation?

It was all a waste.

“Imir, you think what you do is for the world.”

“Yes, there is a beginning and an end to everything.”

“Why should you decide that?”

Sehan, with a sneer, cut off Imir.

“A god? Ridiculous. Claiming to be not human while having a human form and human emotions? Are you not just a slightly stronger and longer-lived being than humans?”

“Of such sophism… Then who would you consider a god?”

Imir let out an insincere laugh, scrutinizing the foolish human before him.

Sehan was just a weakened human about to collapse.

“A god is merely an object of origin. Not a selfish child who does as he wishes.”

Should a being who feels joy, anger, sorrow, and pleasure like a human, just because they are stronger and live longer, be called a god?

“At least I do not acknowledge you as a god.”

“And if you don’t acknowledge, then what? Do you have any entity you would call god?”

“Yes, just one.”

Sehan said with a smile and opened a pitch-black space in the air.

It was the Pseudo-space.

‘Pseudo-space? Can he use that?’

Imir frowned as he observed Sehan’s actions in silence.

The Pseudo-space was Idra’s legacy skill. It seems even external powers could not strip it away from the system.

But that would be the extent of it.

With a human body, incapable of using divinity, using the Pseudo-space would at most allow him to open and close it like that.

“Imir.”

In Sehan’s hand was an axe.

The sudden appearance of a black axe drew Imir’s gaze to evaluate the item.

‘What’s that?’

He couldn’t identify it.

Even with the authority of the system locked behind a key, there was an object he did not recognize.

“You said humans can’t do anything?”

Sehan gripped the axe firmly.

The appearance of an unknown object prompted an unsettling feeling in Imir.

[This is the last DLC I’m giving you.]

The Mad Demon King had said this while bestowing an axe.

The axe now in his hands.

At first, Sehan wondered where to use it.

Was it meant to be used on Imir?

But that didn’t seem to be the implication. The purpose of this axe wasn’t something so simplistic.

‘What is ‘my’ purpose?’

Why did Kim Sehan regress?

Was it simply to kill Imir?

No.

That was merely a process.

Kim Sehan’s goal was always one thing.

[Ah, and one more hint for you.]

As Sehan stared at the status window, which was still open in front of him, he wasn’t focusing on the pitiful stats at the bottom but at the top.

[The one you have forgotten is quite obsessed with you. So don’t worry at all.]

The trait ‘The Love of the Ailing Girl.’

[She’ll always be by your side, closest to you.]

The last words from the Mad Demon King sprang to mind.

Sehan, unknowingly, let out a wry laugh.

‘If you’re going to give a hint, make it clearer.’

It took me so long to find it based on just that.

Always closest to him.

Towards the status window that he had always seen since the game started, Sehan took a small, deep breath.

“Don’t underestimate humans.”

Slowly, he raised his arms holding the axe into the air.

White energy gathered around Sehan’s arms, enhancing his muscular strength—it was the skill shared by Arthur, the Strike of Conviction.

‘What is he doing?’

Imir watched bamboozled as Sehan raised the axe.

He didn’t even think to interfere.

‘Surely he’s not planning to strike the status window with that axe?’

Imir inadvertently chuckled to himself.

Surely that was a foolish idea. The status window wasn’t something that could be affected by such actions.

Even his physical strikes would merely pass through and cut the air.

Kaaang!!

Huh?

The black axe fell vertically, colliding with the status window.

The blade of the axe, spitting red sparks from the impact, was pushed back along with Sehan’s body due to the counterforce.

“I told you not to look down on me.”

Sehan’s palm was torn and bleeding profusely from the impact.

Even if the Strike of Conviction enhanced the blow, his ordinary human body was injured easily.

But Sehan didn’t stop.

“Watch closely.”

Gazing at his status window, which was showing a tiny scratch, Sehan lifted the axe again.

And with all his might, he brought it down again.

“What humans can do!!”

Kaaaang!!

Striking over and over.

The axe was relentlessly deflected.

Sehan’s hands were torn up more and more, barely able to grip the axe.

But Sehan did not stop.

With more force, even more ferociously, he swung the axe down on the status window.

Sssscratch.

Little by little.

Sssscratch!

Just slightly.

Sssscratch!!!

It began to crack clearly.

The ‘Status Window’ that was never supposed to break.

The shackles the system had placed on humanity began to shatter.

Crack!!

“……Huff, huff.”

After gasping for breath and staring at the status window, the image of the black axe embedded in it was clear.

Continuous collisions with the axe caused the part labeled with the trait ‘The Love of the Ailing Girl’ to start separating.

But the axe was not unscathed.

The blade came off, and it was cracked, looking like it was about to break.

The hand holding the axe was trembling, and the arm could barely lift.

However, the hand gripping the axe and the arm swinging it did not stop.

“Stop.”

Imir, who had been dumbly monitoring the situation, sensed that something was going terribly wrong.

Breaking the status window?

What on Earth was that axe that he could break through the status window?

Secondary concerns came later. Right now, he had to stop Sehan’s actions at all costs.

If not, a feeling loomed that something truly irreversible would happen.

“Stop──!! Kim Sehaaaan!!”

A pure white light erupted from Imir’s entire body, blasting towards Sehan.

Pure energy, a crystallization of power, would reduce a normal human to dust upon contact.

Yet even in front of such light, Sehan did not cease his axe swings.

Kwaaaang!!

“……!!”

The surge of white light was absorbed by something that fell from the sky, just before reaching Sehan.

As if absorbing the power itself, it was immediately sucked into ‘something.’

The appearance of the unknown entity widened Imir’s eyes.

“Who are you, and what are you?”

Sunset-colored hair and eyes.

An ‘unknown’ being with a human form.

It emitted a hatred against Imir and slowly approached.

The bit of divinity, not large to begin with, had grown slightly after receiving Imir’s attack.

For Imir, it was an entity he’d never seen before in his life.

An entity born from an unknown source.

“I am. What you. Have destroyed……”

Elise stuttered as she looked at Imir.

“The specter. Of a star.”

She was truly nothing more than that.

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