Return To Player Chapter 281

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Return To Player

# 281

The Start of the Reversal (4)

“Wow, this is insane. For real.”

Shin murmured to himself as he watched the videos uploaded on the community.

He was a seasoned gamer, having played countless games over a lengthy period, but this was the first time he had ever seen such a spectacle.

‘I never thought I’d see the day when gods and humans were in direct opposition.’

Long ago, the gods lived on the same stars as humans.

Not just Earth, but other stars were mostly similar, and each god had their home star and region that they belonged to.

Yet, it was rare for them to live on those stars forever.

Unless they were an exceptional case like Petroia, most gods would eventually leave their stars.

The system naturally reduced the influence of the gods.

Those gods who could not tolerate this waged wars or similar drastic events, but eventually, they gathered in the supercelestial realm.

The paradise where the immortals lived.

According to the publisher, that was the case.

In the supercelestial realm, there were no conflicts, and everyone could live peacefully within the territories defined by the publisher.

Although the publisher operated ‘games’ to exploit the gods’ longing for the stimulating life of the mythological age, the gods didn’t particularly object.

After all, there was nothing else to do in the supercelestial realm.

The only amusement for the gods was playing games that allowed them to reminisce about the mythological era.

Pleasuring themselves by using humans who wished for a god’s grace as avatars or by watching over them.

Time and again, dozens of times.

For a long eternity, the gods lived that way.

Since when did they come to accept this as the norm?

‘When did we start to take the existence of the publisher for granted?’

From the moment Earth defied the publisher, some gods began to question this.

Gods who were not of foreign realms could not defy the system, so they had no reason to directly oppose the publisher.

Even if one was a god, they couldn’t defeat the publisher.

No star, no god, could escape the influence of the system.

That was the settled belief.

Becoming an external god, a concept outside the standard definition, was nearly impossible, and even if one managed to gain the power of an external god, they couldn’t do anything alone.

‘It’s nice not to have responsibilities anymore.’

He didn’t linger for the days he lived among humans.

But from a human perspective, it must have been different – to them, powerful beings ruled over their kind.

No, humans clearly didn’t need visible gods.

So they dismissed those gods as fantasy and forgot about them as they developed their civilization.

At one point, there were those who resented such humans.

However, ironically, it was living in the peaceful supercelestial realm that led them to understand the hearts of humans.

The publisher may think that it generously provides for the gods, but it never quenched the thirst in the hearts of the gods.

Even when enjoying the games, it was still just a game.

It never became reality.

‘Something is wrong.’

The number of gods who harbored such thoughts began to increase, but due to the intimidating eye of the publisher, no one dared to express it.

Then, the players on Earth began to resist the publisher.

In the community, they mocked Earth, eagerly claiming it would soon be destroyed.

‘Destroyed?’

The live video footage currently shooting the situation on Earth was showing a completely unexpected development.

The advent of the Demon King had come, and numerous demons appeared on Earth.

The shackles the system placed on the demon realm had been broken.

‘That Ymir… He was flustered.’

Though he quickly composed his expression, Ymir’s face was quite a sight when the demons appeared.

To the point where it sent thrills down the spines of the watching gods.

‘But that won’t be enough…’

No matter how powerful the demons were, it wasn’t enough to prevent destruction.

Included among those watching this video were other gods who would agree.

Demons were indeed powerful, but the foreign gods and the publisher were aiding that place.

“Wait, what’s that?”

At that moment, all the firewalls covering the supercelestial realm disappeared.

The boundaries that restricted movement between dimensions vanished.

“Wait, hang on. The Olympian bastards have started moving?!”

No sooner had the boundary lines vanished than a god using the nickname ‘Greek General’ posted a message.

“I’m off to Earth bb.”

Anyone with a bit of savvy knew who the Greek General was.

Zeus, the leader of the Olympian gods.

His movement meant the entire pantheon of Olympus was now in motion.

“Asgard too? No, it’s not just Asgard, isn’t it? All the Earth gods have gone mad?”

Following Zeus’s post, other gods of Earth started disappearing one after another, after posting their intention to go to Earth.

“LOL I’m also going LOL Got tired of the game, can’t miss this chance, see ya”

“Wait, you aren’t even related to Earth…”

While Earth deities had reason to go since it was their home or similar, now even unrelated gods were in motion.

As he observed the situation, he chuckled to himself bitterly.

‘Should I go too?’

The thought crossed his mind before he realized it.

Upon reflection, it was inevitable.

Would such an event ever occur again?

What happens if the publisher disappears?

He didn’t know. The situation in the supercelestial realm would be completely different from now.

He was also clueless about Kim Se-Han’s true intentions.

However, none of that mattered at the moment.

The gods were weary.

Tired of the fake utopia they had created with the system.

“Let’s go.”

The answer came quickly.

The god turned off the video and rose from his seat.

Then, for the first time in tens of thousands of years, he grasped his weapon in his hands.

And like a lie, his heart began to race.

Just like the old days.

At the thought of returning to ‘reality,’ not just a game.

***

It didn’t take long for the red sky to disappear.

The world brightened as if bleached by the countless rays of light covering Earth’s sky.

“It’s pretty.”

Even Ji-Soo, usually uninterested in other things, murmured blankly at the sight.

Each of those countless beams of light was a god.

The gods who had been observing Earth’s situation through observers.

They were now randomly falling toward Earth.

‘Kim Kyung-Soo Team Lead will handle it well.’

By now, he would be dispatching the descending gods to each necessary location on Earth.

Otherwise, they’d all be raining down on Seoul, the epicenter of the event.

However, Seoul didn’t need that many gods.

The Demon King and demons were already there.

“Hey.”

I called out to Ymir, who was gaping at the rain of light beams with a dazed expression.

I didn’t call out very loudly, but Ymir promptly looked at me.

“You’ve been too cautious, and that’s why this happened, you realize?”

Ymir intended to ensure Earth’s absolute destruction. He had removed the ‘divine restriction’ that would have kept any god from descending on Earth, including numerous giants, constellations, and external gods, all to ensure the system wouldn’t intervene.

It was this action that led to these events.

Countless gods were now descending on Earth.

“Your mistake was overestimating beings called gods.”

Gods, who thought and felt like humans, could never be permanently caged.

What I did was merely give those people a slight nudge.

It was an explosion that would have occurred eventually, but I merely hastened it.

“Don’t get cocky. Kim Se-Han.”

Ymir gritted his teeth as he spoke.

“It’s true we may not be in as advantageous a position as before. But we have external gods, and we have me.”

The purple jewel embedded in his forehead shone, and divinity began to flow into his entire body.

Ymir’s full force as the Giant King was distinctly palpable.

“At the very least, killing a mere human like you is nothing.”

Certainly, a normal human would be frantic to escape the conflict that was about to begin.

Even if Ji-Soo and other demons tried to protect me, there would be a limit given the opponent was Ymir.

Of course, that would be assuming I was a regular human.

“You have made too many mistakes, trapping yourself. Not only with the acts you’ve committed thus far, but with what you’ve just done to me as well.”

“What is it I’ve done to you…?”

Ymir’s expression darkened as if he couldn’t understand what more there could possibly be.

Compared to before, his confidence seemed to have waned, which I found slightly amusing.

“You know, ‘players’ for humans mean an opportunity to become stronger. Yet, it’s also proof of inseparability from the system, a shackle.”

I reached out and placed my palm slowly over my chest.

I could feel the beat of my pounding heart. However, what I felt now wasn’t just something so simple.

“I don’t know if you’re aware, but I’ve acquired a fragment of an external god. I had absorbed it to wield power close to an external god, but in the end, I couldn’t fully utilize that power. Do you know why?”

I had obtained the Parings of Omnipotence through the first cycle’s Edra.

Using that, I had acquired most of the powers of the Dream Witch Edra.

Moreover, I had used that power to reach the possibility of becoming an external god myself.

However, I didn’t become an external god.

I was unable to absorb all the power given by Edra and was blocked by an invisible barrier.

All because I was a player.

“The more power you acquire as a player, the harder it is to break free from the shackle of being one. Naturally, I was in a state where I was too powerful to break free from that shackle.”

But…

“You made me overcome it.”

“What do you mean?”

“You turned me back into a human.”

Ymir seemed to have caught on to what I was saying at last.

Using the power of the Key, he had erased everything I had gained as a player.

Thanks to that, I was able to use the axe to shatter the ‘status window’ and become human again.

Now, there was only one thing left for me.

I slowly released the divinity of the first cycle’s Edra that lay dormant in my heart, completely.

Unlike the half-portion nibbled away usually, it was fully unleashed.

“You’re, crazy. Doing that will make your body explode!!”

Ymir, holding the key, was the first to notice the transformation in my body and shouted out loud.

Ji-Soo, who had been holding my hand, gripped my right hand tighter and looked at me with worried eyes.

To her, I smiled as if to say I was fine.

In fact, I felt perfectly alright at the moment.

“Safe, really?”

Ymir’s eyes filled with doubt as I showed no signs of abnormality even though I had fully released the power of an external god confined in my heart. The divinity flowing from my body was formidable at a mere glance.

Any normal human, as Ymir had said, would have exploded by now.

“But it seems like you’ve forgotten something…”

But that would only be if I were alone overreaching.

What if there is a being capable of sharing this overwhelming power?

“I have an avatar.”

A little distance away from here.

Where the Temple of Dream is located, a pillar of white light shot up.

“And a very competent one at that.”

The white light pierced the sky in an instant and whitened the world.

I felt a familiar aura from within the light.

The power that extended from my heart must have reached ‘him.’

Having received that power, Edra would have realized what I desired.

He always understood what I wanted before I did.

“That is…”

Ji-Soo watched as the red sky created by the publisher cleared and the world grew bright, then dim again.

Something outside Earth was blocking the sunlight.

In the darkness, thanks to the lights of the gods continually approaching Earth, we could see who was occluding the sun.

The first thing we saw was a gentle hand.

Tender fingers tenderly wrapped around Earth with care.

Golden hair, golden irises.

A figure I had seen once before.

Not in reality, but back in the Temple of Dreams when it was still a dungeon.

Back then, Edra descended to the surface in that form.

“Dream Witch, Edra.”

The difference this time was…

“Will you become my proxy?”

…the roles were completely reversed.

The gigantic Edra, large enough to hold Earth in one hand, smiled faintly.

“Will you?”

While gods and avatars typically have a significant gap such that one could forget, they maintain a complementary relationship. Gods bestow grace upon their avatars, and the avatars offer faith and sacrifices to their gods.

Therefore, if the conditions are right, a god and an avatar can merge into one.

That’s what Lin and Astria had achieved with their fusion.

A god inhabiting the body of an avatar.

Moreover, I am Edra’s god.

Edra had created a fleshly body for an external god, which I had used to reconstruct my feeble body.

Into an ideal form that could perfectly utilize both my and Edra’s powers combined.

Kwaaaaaah!!

The giant hand of Edra pointed at me, and the world flooded with golden light.

Just like an illusion.

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