Return To Player Chapter 297

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Return To Player

# 297

297. Final Preparations (4)

The news that I was engaged to Ji-su spread far and wide in no time at all.

I wasn’t the one who went around telling everyone.

But considering I’d sought advice from Loki, and Min-ah, who couldn’t keep a secret to save her life, had overheard, it was inevitable that rumors would start flying.

I was somewhat prepared for the attention, but it was still difficult to walk around when people looked at me with such pleased expressions that I couldn’t bring myself to meet their eyes.

“How is it, Oppa? Isn’t it pretty?”

Unlike me, who was awkwardly embarrassed, Ji-su was busy showing off the ring on her finger to everyone.

Right after returning to the guild, she quickly ran to IdrA to show off the ring.

“What a foul-tempered girl.”

IdrA grumbled at Ji-su’s demeanor.

Although claiming not to be bothered, a hint of annoyance was evident on her face.

“What will you do with that empty finger? Must be cold.”

“This is real…”

Ji-su was also clearly bothered by IdrA’s constant attention.

The fact that she was teasing her the moment she received the ring made it seem like Ji-su was trying to connect with others, which was oddly gratifying to see.

“Still, seeing Ji-su happy makes me feel not so bad.”

Although slightly embarrassed, wrapping things up properly brought a sense of relief.

Watching Ji-su and IdrA bicker, I turned my gaze to the calendar on the wall.

“It’s been about two weeks now…”

Earth had finally reached a degree of stability.

Most of the cities had been rebuilt, and those who had fled to L’Ruel returned home.

Some found it odd to accept a world without the game system, but time would heal that wound.

Things wouldn’t be the same as before the game, but eventually, they would begin to resemble the old world.

And for such a future to come, there was still one last thing to finish.

“Han Ji-su.”

“Yes?”

IdrA was busy fending off Ji-su, who had grabbed her arms, a frustrated expression on her face.

Given the vast disparity in their physical abilities – a dragon versus a hamster – it was futile for IdrA to resist Ji-su.

Smiling faintly at their antics, I continued.

“Can you gather the demons?”

“Yes. It’s certainly possible.”

Ji-su looked at me with curious eyes after her answer.

“I told you before, it’s not all over yet.”

“…Are you talking about Azathoth?”

“Right.”

The King of the Outer Gods who had fled to outer space.

Only with his death could this matter be truly settled.

‘And not just Azathoth… No. That’s not certain.’

I closed my eyes tightly, recalling the half-piece of the system in my inventory.

Killing Azathoth and destroying the system would truly free the world.

***

According to IdrA, the finite power granted to Azathoth would disappear in a few years at most, or within a month at the shortest. Of course, the likelihood of it happening in a month was extremely slim.

If IdrA, who had even slain Yog-Sothoth in the first timeline, held that power, then Azathoth wouldn’t be able to easily shake it off.

Nevertheless, there was no room for complacency.

Assuming the worst-case scenario, there was a need to plan for the shortest time frame possible. If we wasted time and allowed Azathoth to overcome his finiteness, the only future waiting for us would indeed be an apocalypse.

Just as the world was beginning to recover, we couldn’t let that happen.

“His Majesty said he heard. You’re engaged, aren’t you?”

After calling the Seven Demons to the Dioside building, at Ji-su’s request, Lucifer, who arrived first, brought it up.

“…Why are you speaking so formally to me?”

“As the consort to our King, it is only natural that I address you with honorifics.”

I nodded slowly in response to Lucifer’s deep bow.

Who would have thought that one of the demons of Pride would be so respectful?

It was a representation truly befitting the title ‘Pride.’

“Are the other gods not called?”

Upon his arrival at the guild, Shinja-Woon, who came after Lucifer, seemed puzzled by the absence of the other guild members and deities.

“We’re trying to keep it as secret as possible. The gods wouldn’t be much help anyway. Their authority becomes weaker as they leave their home universe, and they’d draw too much attention.”

I had no intention of blatantly storming in.

I wanted to handle Azathoth discreetly and leave quietly.

‘Not that it’s possible to kill Azathoth without being noticed.’

But at least until we’re close to his location, I didn’t plan to draw attention.

“What about Azazel’s condition?”

“The King has improved her condition; now, she’s simply in a deep sleep.”

It was a relief.

The opportunity to retaliate against Azathoth was all thanks to Azazel fighting with all her might.

Although it was unfortunate that she couldn’t join this fight, she had already done her part.

‘Shinja-Woon, with his personality, will probably insist on caretaking.’

Despite his stoic face, he’s quite candid.

I wish I had a bit of that candor myself.

“If there’s a first birthday celebration, make sure to invite me.”

Shinja-Woon gave me an indescribable look when I patted him on the shoulder and walked away.

“I’m guessing everyone else is going to the outer universe as well?”

Mara Papiyas, who had been watching the situation with amusement, finally spoke up.

“That’s something we need to decide now.”

“Honestly, it doesn’t seem like me or these two will be much help.”

Mara Papiyas indicated the two beside her, Abaddon and Shinja-Woon, who seemed to agree silently.

“Our target is Azathoth, but since we can’t predict what will happen before that, it’s best to go together. After all, ordinary outer gods can be dealt with by everyone here.”

“That may be true, but… combat isn’t exactly my specialty.”

Mara Papiyas was the demon of Lust.

Skilled at beauty and manipulating crowds, but inevitably weaker against deities of the same tier.

Just take the time when Ji-su was touring the Demon Realm, and she simply took off.

Abaddon, though she had some of Azazel’s blood, was still a shadow of Apollo, and Shinja-Woon had only recently become the demon of Wrath.

Looking at Shinja-Woon and Abaddon sitting together, they seemed quite companionable.

‘Now that I think about it, Abaddon came to the rescue during Shinja-Woon’s struggle in Busan.’

I had instructed Olympus to be ready just in case, but it was a relief he helped out so aptly.

Otherwise, Busan would have suffered catastrophic damage.

‘Considering that, it’s probably best to bring them all along.’

Even a relatively weak Abaddon could deal with deities holding supreme divinity.

While Mara Papiyas claims to be of no help, not all outer gods are powerful.

Moreover, strong outer gods like Shub-Niggurath, Nodens, and D’endrrah wouldn’t have fully recovered from the influence of the previous battle.

“May I ask how you plan to move to the outer universe? Even with our power, we cannot open a portal to the outer universe.”

Ji-su, with her eyes glowing fiery red, didn’t dare to voice an inability to go.

Lucifer, aware of that fact, asked a more constructive question.

“That is…”

“You don’t need to worry about that.”

The one who answered wasn’t me.

Entering the conference room belatedly, IdrA stood next to Ji-su and raised her palm.

On top of her palm rotated a black irregular polyhedron, the Shining Trapezohedron, spinning round and round.

“We plan to use this to open a gate. Since I know where Father is located right now, it’s not going to be difficult.”

“Isn’t that just a model of the key?”

“Yeah, it was. A counterfeit key created by Nyarlathotep to imitate the universe’s key. A mere model, but not anymore.”

While others focused on world restoration, IdrA had been modifying the Shining Trapezohedron.

She used the system’s half-piece that I had.

“Though split in half, it contains the core of omnipotence. With that, turning the Shining Trapezohedron into another key isn’t impossible.”

“Is that really possible?”

“As the Witch of Dreams, if I will it to be possible in my fanciful thoughts, I can make it so.”

IdrA spoke with pride brimming in her voice.

Frankly, for the IdrA of before, this would have been impossible.

However, having completely deciphered the powers she had obtained through union with me, the power IdrA now wielded had evolved.

“As you can see, we will use this Shining Trapezohedron to open a gate to the outer universe. According to IdrA, there could be around four outer gods near Azathoth’s location.”

Fortunately, one of those four did not include Yog-Sothoth.

Once again, I could not help but feel grateful to the first IdrA.

As there is only one Yog-Sothoth across all timelines.

“So we’re just a safety measure for the journey?”

Belzebub replied with a serious tone, and I lightly agreed.

The words might sound humiliating to them, but it couldn’t be helped.

“Azathoth has the core of the system and half of the key. The only ones who can fight him are those who also possess a key.”

Without the key, it’s impossible to even resist that power, unless one, like Azazel, steps into the realm of infinite possibilities.

Only Ji-su, the King possessing the key, IdrA, who had fused with me, and Rin, who had the attributes of a Mary Sue, could handle the key.

“Entering quietly would be best, but that’s unlikely.”

It wasn’t just a fear of the worst-case scenario; Azathoth wouldn’t have left random beings around his location.

The heart of a god cursed with mortality would be filled with fear.

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