Return To Player Chapter 293

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Return To Player

# 293

Breaking Through the Limit (3)

Azazel had never before experienced the pain of running into her own limits.

There was never any need to, and she always thought of limitations as something she could surpass with her abilities anytime.

She didn’t know what it felt like to be afraid of barriers standing in her way.

‘If only.’

Before she knew fear, she might have given up.

Until now, Azazel had considered fear to be a needless emotion.

She thought it only served to weaken humans and was unnecessary.

However, as she formed bonds with humans, including her own contractor, her thinking gradually changed.

“Azazel, why did you come to Earth?”

Once, when she was staying in the demon world, Shin Jawoon asked her this question.

Lying in bed, Azazel glanced at him and responded.

“Why do you ask?”

“I thought that you, a demon of sloth, have no reason to come to Earth.”

Azazel was inherently lazy and rarely made effort without a special purpose.

“It was just a whim.”

Azazel answered without giving it much thought.

“Just a whim?”

“I just thought of it and came to see.”

Seeing Shin Jawoon’s perplexed look, Azazel continued with a nostalgic expression.

“A long time ago, I lived in the human world. So, just recalling that made me visit Earth.”

“You lived in the human world?”

“That’s right. It wasn’t Earth, though. Another planet, but very similar to it.”

That planet was long gone.

After a considerable amount of time, it was trampled by the Publisher and destroyed.

“Earth was quite similar to that place. So I felt like visiting again.”

“I see.”

“Yes.”

“If you speak of it like that, it must have been a memorable experience.”

Azazel stopped rolling around at his chuckling remark, a question forming in her mind.

Had it been significant? Honestly, it was so long ago that even Azazel’s own memories were blurry.

If such vague memories were enough to inspire her actions, then they certainly might have been significant.

“You need to hide here, Azazel.”

“…”

She remembered someone saying that, though it had been so long ago she couldn’t recall who.

It was just the feeling that the owner of that voice was why she had taken an interest in Earth.

Surely, it had to have been a human.

It seemed so.

“Anyway, let’s not dwell on that. Coincidentally, I have a question for you too.”

She had been curious but didn’t dwell on details she couldn’t remember.

“Why did you suddenly decide to become a demon?”

It was a question she had been holding back despite her curiosity.

Humans were complex beings that often reacted seriously to trivial words.

Therefore, after careful consideration, Azazel had brought up the topic, especially since Shin Jawoon had just answered her earlier inquiry.

“Why are you curious about that?”

“You claimed to want to become strong on your own, yet you accepted the power of a demon.”

“Hmm.”

Shin Jawoon made a complicated face, as if he was reluctant to talk about it.

“Why so serious all of a sudden?”

“Nothing serious. I just thought you might laugh.”

“?”

His gaze was complex.

Although his expression was often hidden behind a half-mask, his discomfort was evident.

After a moment of silence, Shin Jawoon spoke up.

“I wanted to be your equal.”

“Equal to whom?”

“To you.”

“?”

Azazel was dumbfounded, not fully understanding the meaning of his words.

“…Why?”

“I don’t know. Perhaps I’ve grown fond of you.”

Smiling wryly, he came and sat on the bed where Azazel was lying.

“Or, maybe I’ve harbored some other emotions.”

“…”

For the first time, Azazel understood what it meant to be at a loss for words.

Generally indifferent to feelings, she had a keen sense for ‘that side’ of emotions.

Recently, she felt she had fostered a creature with such sentiments.

She couldn’t remember who, but she had that feeling.

Most likely, it was related to the key to the demon world.

“So I became afraid. Whether I could stand by your side if I kept on like this. And when I realized I couldn’t even overcome the lifespan of humans and would die, I got scared. That’s why I agreed to your offer at that time.”

He remembered the offer made by Kim Sehan, who had hoped he would become the demon of wrath, and Azazel who suggested it.

“That’s all it was… Why do you ask?”

“…It’s fine.”

Azazel couldn’t bring herself to look at Shin Jawoon.

It had been a while since she had felt the need to avoid someone’s gaze.

“Such a pointless reason.”

Atypically sharp-tongued, Azazel turned and lay down, ignoring the fluttering emotions within her heart.

***

Fear is born when there is something precious to lose.

It may be oneself or someone else, possibly an object, idea, or dream.

Azazel had never had such a thing before.

The unknown fear she felt through Ji Soo became clear when talking with Shin Jawoon.

It appeared she now had something she didn’t want to lose.

It may be disqualifying as a demon of sloth, but perhaps it wasn’t too bad to be by his human side.

“Are you smiling?”

A faint smile gracing Azazel’s lips caught Asatoth’s attention.

Where in this situation could there be any reason to smile?

‘Smiling isn’t supposed to happen at such times.’

He believed laughter usually came with joy.

He couldn’t comprehend what part of this situation was to be joyful about.

“Hmph, anyway, it doesn’t matter.”

Asatoth murmured in a tone befitting ‘a child among humans,’ clenching his fist.

The large black sphere that had swelled considerably began to thrash about.

“Will you still be able to smile when it explodes?”

His transformation into a human form was to experience human emotions and pleasures.

However, the emotions he felt through Azazel were mostly unpleasant.

So much so, he didn’t want to see them anymore.

He had had enough of being in human form and planned to return to outer space after fulfilling Emir’s request.

The expanding sphere writhed and trembled, threatening to burst at any moment.

Azazel narrowed her eyes watching it.

‘Can I do it?’

She assessed her strength against the sphere.

The answer came quickly.

Impossible.

The power contained within was beyond visual estimation.

“Then, disappear. Unpleasant thing.”

Asatoth’s gripped fist suddenly opened, pulling the trigger for the sphere’s explosion.

The sphere began to tear apart, and brilliant light leaked through.

The power surpassing all foreign gods and demons was concentrated in Asatoth.

That force began to erupt.

However, Azazel saw everything unfold with agonizing slowness.

‘Huh?’

With twin white swords in hand, Azazel made her move.

Asatoth saw her clearly.

Surely, with her newfound power, she couldn’t stop that explosion.

So why did she charge toward his omnipotence with just two swords?

An action that seemed futile.

Would a mere pair of blades stand against the force within?

A sneer formed on Asatoth’s lips.

Ah, perhaps human laughter isn’t only for times of happiness.

Crack.

He watched in rigid silence as the white blades vibrated, suppressing the explosion.

Contemplating the new sensation, Asatoth furrowed his brow at another emerging emotion.

The white light pierced through the black sphere.

The two blades, one ascending and the other descending, sheared the sphere in twain.

“Cut it out?”

This wasn’t a small feat.

The indomitable power of Asatoth, entrenched in the sphere, was now cleaved by mere swords.

“…!!”

His thoughts shattered before they could unfold further.

Azazel had closed the distance in an instant, her figure transformed.

Her entire body blazed white, as if wrapped in pure flames.

Her hair burned like white fire.

Transcending her limits, stepping into the realm of infinity.

The demon that grasped unparalleled strength was only for a moment.

It couldn’t last, not with ‘that’ state being anything but normal.

Yet Asatoth was forced to admit it.

That fleeting spark held the possibility of reaching him.

He had to erase it.

The strange emotions clouding his judgment made it hard to accept.

Just for a moment, this mere demon reached a possibility to touch him.

Overwhelm it with stronger force, wipe it away from sight.

Surely, his boundless power could accomplish that easily.

Azazel, a white comet, rushed towards him, and Asatoth reached out.

Destroying Earth or resetting the universe was now a secondary concern.

He focused all his strength on the apparition before him.

To obliterate it once and for all.

The king of all eons.

The omnipotent might of the greatest deity was projected towards Azazel.

However, Asatoth was mistaken.

At that moment, he wasn’t a foreign god, but a flawed being with human emotions.

His boundless power was merely ‘close to’ boundless.

Grip.

Watching the crimson radiance projected towards her, Azazel tossed one of her white swords.

With her remaining blade in both hands, she swung it down across her rotating body.

A cog-like white light sliced through the red glow, surging forward.

An almost infinite force collided with the power that knew no bounds, drawing an endless upward curve.

Had Asatoth used his abilities differently, Azazel might have been unable to fight properly.

But it had become a simple clash of forces, and the story changed.

The side whose power curve ceased would lose.

The outcome was almost predictable.

“…What?”

Asatoth realized his voice was trembling.

He felt more unfamiliar emotions, but none compared to this current sensation.

Fear? No, it was different.

A profound sense of humiliation consumed Asatoth’s mind.

Amidst all that, a faint voice reached his ears.

“To the greatest god.”

All that remained was ash.

The white demon no longer burned like flames.

Her body was cracked all over.

Fragile, like a sandcastle on the verge of collapse.

She became living ashes.

Yet despite that, her hands drove tiny fragments into Asatoth’s chest.

Pieces of a stake capable of bestowing mortality on the immortal being.

A portion of the stake held by Sehan, saved by her.

The shards were absorbed into Asatoth’s body, vanishing within.

Seeing this through trembling eyes, Azazel grinned in her usual manner.

“How does it feel, trapped in the shape of a human?”

She had placed the lid on the coffin.

Weighed down by mortality, never to be opened again.

“You…!!”

Instinctively, Asatoth reached for Azazel.

But before his hand could touch her, her body had already fallen towards the ground.

He could only watch helplessly as she descended, laughter accompanying her fall.

‘No.’

He might have struck the falling Azazel.

But Asatoth couldn’t bring himself to do it.

Instead, he began to feel ‘pain’ from the anomaly now present in his body.

“What have you done to me?”

Asatoth’s body, which had merely mimicked a human, was becoming human.

Stronger than a normal human, yes, but this body was human.

Susceptible to pain, with mortality.

“What have you done to me?!”

Furthermore, he was no longer omniscient or omnipotent.

The ‘king’ of foreign gods now had limitations.

He was nothing more than a human with enormous strength and boundless arrogance.

He had succumbed to human form.

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