Return To Player Chapter 285

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Return To Player

Chapter 285. The Human Sword (1)

“Te-team leader, we must evacuate immediately!”

As the building began to shake violently as though struck by an earthquake, the employees of Deerside Guild raised the alarm. If they stayed, it was certain they would be crushed to death by the collapsing structure.

“… Where to?”

“Th-that is…”

At Team Leader Kim Kyung-soo’s question, the young employee was at a loss for words.

There was nowhere to run; it meant death either way.

Looking outside, the once ordinary buildings lay in ruins, leaving nothing but debris.

Thanks to Se-han who had poured an enormous amount of points into modifying it, the Deerside building was holding up for now.

“Ha, haha. It’s like something out of a disaster movie.”

Amid forced laughter, most staff wore grim faces.

It seemed certain they would die if they ventured outside.

The once restored scenery of Seoul was utterly devastated, resembling the aftermath of a war.

Actually, even war wouldn’t have left such desolation.

Gogogogo!!

“Uuuugh! I don’t want to die!”

“I, I want to live.”

They were all ordinary people, not players.

Some were regretting their decision to join Deerside Guild. If they hadn’t, they might have been safely evacuated to Le Rue like other civilians.

“If we lose here, we all die anyway.”

Kim Kyung-soo, the team leader, spoke to the worried employees.

He was still at a spirited age, of course he felt fear.

But he was responsible here.

If he showed any signs of panic in the absence of Se-han and Idra, the situation would spiral out of control. After all, the publisher would only fail to seize control of Earth if the control room maintained command over the planet.

Kwakwakwang!!

“Ah, no!”

A giant giant rotated its foot.

It must have been Imir, the head of the publisher.

Engulfed in purple flames, the giant stamped the earth, making it rise and crack like hail.

‘Are we, going to die?’

The ground was cracking like a spiderweb and reaching towards the Deerside building.

Simultaneously, purple flames shot up from the widening fissures.

The whole situation felt so surreal that Kim Kyung-soo could only give a hollow laugh.

Humans are like mere insects to these monsters, he thought.

“──It’s okay now.”

Just then, Kim Kyung-soo heard a kind voice beside his ear.

He turned his head quickly, but couldn’t see the source of the voice.

“Why are you, why do you say that?”

“Hey, didn’t you hear that just now?”

“Huh? What…?”

The other petrified employees seemed not to have heard the voice at all.

“I also have a life that’s pretty… resilient.”

“What are you talking about? We’re about to die.”

The purple light was already engulfing the Deerside building.

The guild’s barriers were protecting it, but they were slowly crumbling.

The building shook harder, and none of the staff could stand anymore.

They curled up, bracing for death.

“It’s okay.”

Team Leader Kim Kyung-soo murmured absentmindedly.

He repeated exactly what the voice he had heard had said.

“It’s okay now.”

“Team Leader?”

Some staff frowned, thinking that Kim Kyung-soo had lost his mind.

Kwajijijik!!

“Uwaaaah!!”

As the barrier crashed down, employees clenched their eyes shut, bracing for the impact.

They hoped for a painless death in one swift moment, curling into a ball.

“……?”

But strangely, they felt no impact.

Slowly opening their eyes, they realized the tremors had stopped as if they were a lie.

“We’ve awakened.”

Unlike the bewildered employees, Team Leader Kim Kyung-soo watched outside with a mix of shock and relief.

Where the windows had been shattering from the impact, they were now cleanly split vertically, as if sliced.

“The Goddess of Justice.”

Before their eyes, a curtain woven of gold had unfolded.

Not the barrier that had protected them so far, but a new one, created by the Goddess of Justice.

***

‘The vibrations have stopped?’

Imir realized the divine power that had been spreading underneath the ground had halted.

The power he had just used was no ordinary divine power.

It was the power of the key, tapping into a more fundamental system.

Even Se-han couldn’t interfere with the divine power of Imir enhanced by the key.

“Could it be…?”

Imir formulated a hypothesis.

Just woke up right now?

“You set the alarm so loud, of course it did.”

Se-han mocked, looking at him.

He, too, had realized why the earth’s collapse had stopped.

Imir saw it.

A golden light flying towards them.

And a meteor falling in pursuit of that golden radiance.

The Zodiac constellation Libra, Libra of the Scales.

The only one who could wield it was just one.

Kwaaaaaa!!

As something whizzed by Se-han’s side, Imir was unexpectedly lifted into the air.

His massive body, over a kilometer in size, began to float and was pushed back with great force.

Something had collided with the very center of his chest.

“Kuk!!”

Imir grimaced at the shock, even though he had barriers to protect his body.

‘He’s gotten stronger.’

Did he kill Bango and completely make his power his own?

Before Imir stood the Goddess of Justice, her golden wings spread wide.

In her hand was the sword of Libra, and on her head a golden crown.

Only the maiden who defended the justice of humanity stood there.

“Once again, you temporarily aged your body.”

“Yes, sorry for being a bit late.”

When she had killed Bango, Rin’s body had only temporarily aged, later returning to a child’s appearance.

But now, she looked to be in her late teens.

Clearly, she had temporarily aged herself again.

This time, even more suitable for battle.

“No, it’s perfect timing.”

Se-han smiled glibly, ignoring Imir who stayed silent, and turned his attention back to him.

Now, a half of the key had joined his side.

With the Shining Trapezohedron now difficult to use, Rin’s arrival was indeed extraordinary.

“Rin, can you lend me your crown for a moment?”

“Huh?”

“That should be under my control, but I’d like you to help them.”

Se-han pointed in a certain direction.

It was hard to see from this side, but if it were Rin’s time, she could see it clearly enough.

“Demons? Why are there demons here? W-wait. That’s Ji-soo Unni?”

Rin, still groggy from her slumber, couldn’t understand why demons were here or what the black crown on Ji-soo’s head meant.

And also, those ‘extraterrestrials’ fighting them.

While Rin was confused, she could grasp the general situation of the battle.

Just from the way they were fighting, she could tell who was on the side of humanity.

“Anyway, handing over the crown isn’t difficult, but….”

“Humans can’t use the key, right?”

“…Yes.”

“That’s fine. My body is that of an extraterrestrial now. And it’s not me who will use the key, it will be this one, so it doesn’t matter.”

“This one?”

Rin looked around to see who else was there, and then spotted the tiny goddess waving from Se-han’s shoulder.

She immediately realized it was Idra.

“Fused…together?”

“Yes.”

“There’s so much I want to ask.”

But there was no time.

After briefly looking between the small Idra and Se-han, Rin reached for the crown that sat upon her head.

“All right.”

──Psssh!

With a clear ringing sound, the golden crown left Rin’s head and moved into Se-han’s hand.

“Thanks. I’ll give it back after use.”

“No, you don’t have to return it…”

“No, it’s right for you to hold it.”

It was just that the current situation necessitated a division of power.

‘Without Azazel, Rin will need to intervene.’

Although it’s unclear why Azazel isn’t acting, there must be a reason.

The balance between demons and extraterrestrials, which is being matched right now, will be disturbed by Rin’s intervention.

And their battle doesn’t require the power of the key.

But Se-han needed the key to counter Imir’s authority.

The Shining Trapezohedron was already in use to suppress Imir’s growing body.

“So, I should go over there? Are you sure you’ll be fine alone?”

“I’ll be more than fine. I have this.”

The golden light absorbed by Se-han’s hand slowly flowed along his body, and above his head, a golden crown was formed. It was the other half of the key that had been above Rin’s head.

“Then I’ll leave it to you.”

Rin nodded slowly.

Encased in golden light, Rin swiftly moved away from Se-han, heading first towards where Ji-soo was.

That side was already dominated by Ji-soo, so it would likely be sorted out quickly.

“Well then…”

Se-han turned his gaze back to Imir.

“Were you waiting quietly because you’ve been requesting authority from the system?”

“I’ve gotten the chance to obtain the other half of the key.”

Imir, wrapped in purple flames, slowly clenched the air.

Where there had been nothing, space crumbled away, revealing a pitch-black void.

‘That is.’

It wasn’t just a deformed space.

The black hole was familiar to Se-han: a crack between worlds.

A hole connected to the system, the origin of the universe.

The same place into which Se-han had reached out to save Ji-soo.

“Even if you wield the same key half, you and I are fundamentally different.”

Giants were beings brought into existence by the system to manage the world.

Even if they could wield the key, their authority couldn’t match that of Imir, the king of giants.

If he’s willing to even risk his own existence, Imir could almost become one with the system.

Just like now.

[You are now a player.]

“…?!”

A now unfamiliar alarm sounded, and Se-han realized his body was becoming rapidly heavy.

Imir, meddling with the system, was forcibly trying to change Se-han into a player.

Naturally, having reached extraterrestrial status, Se-han would not become a player, but the system forcibly classified him as one.

[You have failed the quest, and a massive penalty will be applied to you!]

“What?”

Failed a quest?

There was no such quest. This, too, must be the power of the system.

Kwachachang!!

As soon as the failure message was accompanied by the surrounding space breaking down, dark chains burst forth.

[Player Kim Se-han has died as a result of failing the quest.]

“Who decides that!”

Se-han would never have expected Imir’s authority could extend to this extent.

He had thought there might be something more, but he now affirmed receiving the key from Rin was the correct choice.

Otherwise, resisting the power of the system would have been more difficult.

Chrrrururuk!!

‘If it reaches me, it won’t just stop at being caught.’

The message just heard was about death.

One wrong move could mean immediate death.

“The system keeps interfering to turn your body into a player. Until you fully escape, your body will become heavier!”

Idra’s shout was heard, but Se-han was too busy to respond.

With chains flying in all directions, dodging was a priority.

‘Does this chain only affect me?’

When he knocked the chains down, they fell to the ground, passing through several zodiac or player bodies like smoke.

Judging from the reactions around him, the chains seemed invisible and ineffective to them.

Probably because they were part of a quest penalty assigned specifically to Se-han.

“I can’t just sit back and take this.”

Se-han stretched his hand towards the ground and pulled.

The earth pulled up like a rug, and Imir lost his balance.

Certainly, Imir did not fall over, but the chains that had been attacking Se-han were severely disrupted.

Se-han took the opportunity to fly closer to Imir.

“Stop messing around with these tricks!”

With that cry, spaces of black ether opened around Se-han.

From the void, thick cannons lined up and began to glow.

Directly airlifted from Petroia, they were battleship cannons.

Petroia’s advanced battleships contained not only human but divine technology.

Naturally, their firepower was formidable enough to damage gods since they were made for combat between gods.

Kwakwakwang!!

A burst of azure light struck Imir’s body.

Chizik, chijijik.

‘Damn, that barrier’s tough.’

Even Imir’s barriers, which had withstood Rin’s sword strikes, were unmarked by the battleship’s bombardment.

“Did you think my only ability was to manipulate the system?”

Through the smoke left by the bombardment, Imir’s fist lunged towards Se-han.

Striding forward as he lashed out, the punch eerily resembled Bango’s movements.

As the giant’s foot hit the ground, a blast like that of an exploding bomb resounded.

Kwakwakwang!!

Struck by Imir’s fist, Se-han’s body sliced diagonally through the air and crashed to the ground.

Se-han’s falling body split the earth in half, rolling over hundreds of meters before coming to a stop.

Black chains converged as if waiting for the motionless Se-han.

“……?”

Imir’s brows furrowed as Se-han was too easily swallowed by the chains.

Sensing something amiss, Imir raised his hand to retract the chains back into the hole, but there was nothing left of Se-han’s presence.

“I also have more than one or two abilities, you know.”

Se-han’s voice echoed close by.

As Imir turned, he saw Se-han with a weapon pointed right next to his face.

Imir then realized that the version of Se-han that had been hit and flew away was an illusion created by Se-han.

“And…”

There was the File Bunker, gleaming silver.

“If it hits, it’s not only you who has the deadly weapon.”

The stake that granted death, handed over to Se-han from first-cycle Idra across space and time, was fired towards Imir.

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