Return To Player Chapter 45

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Return To Player

# 45

Situation Assessment(1)

『South Korea, Daejeon Region Chat Room』

LemonTeaChopChop: Holy, did they seriously take that down? Is this for real?

HonestLife: My avatar played a major role lol gg

RadiantStarlight: Is your avatar that girl who landed the last hit by any chance?

HonestLife: Nope.

RadiantStarlight: Ah, then the one who threw the javelin? That was pretty awesome.

HonestLife: It was the one who evacuated the soldiers at the beginning.

LemonTeaChopChop: Didn’t do much though ;;

HonestLife: You don’t know? By evacuating the soldiers at the start, she created the conditions for us to fight.

GreekCaptain: I was considering making that girl my avatar from the beginning. Too bad. She must have been picked up by a high-ranked deity by now.

Anonymous35: Why are you roaming around here when this isn’t even your server?

CleverJester: Ah, so it’s over here too. The Seoul region just finished as well. My avatar played a huge role sss

HonestLife: Anyway, isn’t our raid boss a bit weird? It seems seriously overpowered.

Anonymous27: It was almost Sentinel-level. If we’d been a bit later, our whole region would’ve been devastated.

The chat that had been continuing ceaselessly came to a sudden halt with Anonymous27’s comment.

They all felt it. The raid boss they were facing was abnormally strong.

There were no signs of the system being involved. That meant there was only one answer.

LemonTeaChopChop: Looks like the GM intervened.

RadiantStarlight: Why though? Could it be because of that man in black clothes?

GreekCaptain: Likely. He’s been making waves lately. Didn’t he also kill Karas?

The gods are not fools.

They knew something was off when the raid boss suddenly appeared.

There were originally two raid bosses, but one was killed before the battle even started, and then the other, having absorbed that power, emerged.

Even if we generously assumed there was a territorial dispute between the raid bosses, the timing was too sudden and the victorious one had absorbed a significant amount of the Kirin’s power.

A juvenile, not yet full-grown, had absorbed that much power from the Kirin?

It was unthinkable.

Anonymous48: … How about we file a complaint?

At that moment, someone cautiously posted a message in the chat room.

It was ‘Anonymous48’, known for sharing helpful information.

Since there were rumblings that Anonymous48 might be related to the deity of prophecy, his words were not easily dismissed by the other deities.

LemonTeaChopChop: A complaint?

Anonymous48: Yes. A complaint.

The gods were stirred by Anonymous48’s words.

Complaints are not usually made. This case was not considered a major issue as the GM had frequently been exerting his influence over the game.

However, the problem was that at the time, many of the gods had their avatars present in the Daejeon region.

Ordinary players may not care if they die due to the GM’s manipulation, but it’s a different story when it involves their own avatars.

The reason Karas always checked for the presence of deities’ avatars in amusement parks was the same.

Anonymous48: Honestly, don’t you think they’re taking us too lightly? If we let this slide, they might arbitrarily handle other avatars whenever they feel like it.

GreekCaptain: Hm. There is… persuasiveness!

The atmosphere shifted.

Persuaded by Anonymous48’s words, the gods in the Daejeon region chat room leaned toward filing a complaint.

LemonTeaChopChop: Things like this should be nipped in the bud. So stop just talking and put it in the complaint for sure.

HonestLife: But that Akarterus guy has always been terrible at management. That’s why our server is the least popular.

Anonymous35: Being bad is one thing, but we can’t forgive acting arbitrarily.

Although the other gods did not speak up, they all agreed with Anonymous35.

Afterward.

GM Akarterus was prohibited from intervening in the South Korea server for a while.

A GM is supposed to operate the game and collect commission from the points used by deities.

Such a significant penalty implied that a GM being unable to involve themselves was quite the punishment.

The gods were quite satisfied upon hearing the news of this punishment.

Of course, the most satisfied was ‘Anonymous48’.

***

After defeating the Kirin, I was granted the authority to collect the creature’s remains.

The amount I could collect depended on the contribution to the boss fight, with Jisoo having the most authority for landing the final blow.

Second was, naturally, me. Though the difference between Jisoo and me was so small it was negligible.

==

Kirin’s Pelt (A)

One of the four fiends (四凶) from Chinese mythology, the Kirin’s fur pelt.

It’s a rare and full-grown pelt, extremely tough and powerful.

Creating equipment with this might yield something extraordinary.

==

“A pelt from a full-grown Kirin?”

The moment I saw the Kirin’s fur pelt, I doubted my eyes.

It was clearly in its growth phase, but when did it reach full growth?

“Ah, could it be at the last moment?”

If I consider Jisoo’s reaction just before killing it, it might have evolved into full growth at that moment.

Its size was increasing, and the fur had turned a complete black.

“An unexpected piece of luck.”

If we could use the fur and bones of a Kirin that had matured to adulthood, the material would be classified as A-grade.

I could ask Siwoo to use it to upgrade my shadow cloak or create higher-tier equipment.

“Brother, I found this…”

Jisoo hesitated, extending her hand.

In her hand was a fist-sized black orb.

==

The Dark Orb of the Malevolent Deity (S)

A crystal formed by the condensed power of the Kirin and the corrupted Kirin.

It possesses an ominous power.

==

“…Did you just get this?”

“Yes, when I touched the part I was allowed to take, this appeared in my inventory.”

“Wow, this is insane.”

An S-rank material indeed.

It was a material I had never seen before—the power of a young yet evolved Kirin and an aged but equally time-weathered Kirin, condensed into a core.

Such S-rank materials were exceedingly rare, even in high-level quests, and their appearance was quite unexpected.

‘If we use this to create a weapon, wouldn’t it essentially be an endgame weapon?’

The issue was that there were no materials to withstand the power of the dark orb at the present time.

Mithril is a holy metal and wouldn’t match well with the orb on an elemental level, and it would be a while before Orihalcon could be discovered.

If we used the Kirin’s bones, it would be feasible, but it felt like a disgrace to waste such precious orbs.

‘An A-grade material like the Kirin’s bones would normally yield fine equipment.’

The difference with S-rank was that much greater. Although Kirins and Qilins were indeed high-ranked monsters, such items seemed far too premature for a game just moving out of its initial stages.

It was probably a miraculous product created due to GM intervention.

‘This is something I should probably thank Akarterus for.’

If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t even have seen the Dark Orb of the Malevolent Deity.

“Should I give it to you, oppa? I’ve only just killed the thing at the end…”

“It’s okay. That’s yours. Keep it well. You might need it when we find another good material.”

It would be a lie to say I wasn’t tempted, but that reward had rightfully gone to Jisoo.

‘I’ve got enough compensation for myself, anyway.’

If I had any regret, it would be that the quest clear grade was ‘Gold.’

“I guess I was too greedy to hope for a Platinum grade this time.”

Platinum grade is often unattainable unless one does everything solo, so it was something to be expected.

After all, the other players weren’t just idling during the boss fight either.

“I got a Gold grade too.”

As Jisoo hesitated, putting the black jade into her inventory, she muttered.

She probably felt guilty, thinking that because she landed the final blow, I didn’t get a proper reward.

“I have a Silver grade.”

I was about to say something to Jisoo when Dongkwon, with a bright smile, interjected.

Because of him, I had to stop what I was about to say to Jisoo.

What? A Silver grade?

“How did you get Silver? You didn’t do anything during the boss fight; you were just running away.”

“Didn’t I evacuate the people? I created the fighting environment. Ha, if I had also participated in the fight, I could have got Gold. Haha!”

Dongkwon laughed heartily, apparently in a very good mood.

It made sense; the guy who’d just been dodging and helping to evacuate the soldiers had received a Silver grade.

“Do you think my stepping in is the reason you got Gold, oppa?”

“That’s not it. And if I had tried to kill the thing, it might have taken a lot more wrestling.”

“Still…”

Jisoo nibbled her lip with a guilty expression.

Of course, I wasn’t too concerned. Even if I had killed it, maybe I would’ve gotten a Platinum grade, but that was all hypothetical. As I said before, other players contributed significantly this time.

If I were alone, I wouldn’t have been able to bring down the palace from the sky.

‘Besides, it was undoubtedly quicker to kill it because of Jisoo.’

Considering Jisoo’s original stats, the fully doped Jisoo surely possessed stronger power and speed than I did.

Moreover, if it wasn’t for Jisoo casually entering and exiting the palace’s body, filled with all kinds of toxins and energy, an ordinary person would have had a high chance of losing their life with just an attempt.

Even for me, there was no guarantee of coming out alive if I went inside the palace’s body.

Jisoo, with her Heavenslaying Star Star, had all her stamina regeneration increased by 100 percent, and with her regeneration skill and the VIP brooch I had given her before, she was able to survive.

Of course, I had a few methods to kill it myself, but not as simply and quickly as Jisoo.

Her saying ‘this was the right fight for her’ was spot-on.

“Now that we have collected the rewards…”

I carefully organized the rewards into my inventory and then turned to Dongkwon, who, sensing something in my gaze, coughed and averted his eyes.

“Now you’ve completed the quest. Got anything else to do?”

“Yes, I do.”

Dongkwon replied as if he’d been waiting.

It seemed he was worried I might ask him to follow me.

“Well, I guess there’s nothing I can do about it.”

“Phew.”

I never intended to bring Dongkwon to Seoul anyway.

It was better for him to stay by Hyunkyun’s side and grow quietly.

With his personality, there was no law stopping him from getting involved in a provocative quest and repeating the same mistakes he made during the first or second mission.

Of course, if he did, he’d die from the ring around his neck.

“Don’t do anything foolish if you want to live long.”

“I know, I know.”

With that, Dongkwon ran off as if eager to escape my presence.

It seemed he wanted to get away from me as quickly as possible.

Watching his retreating figure, I chuckled.

“Shall we start heading back to Seoul too?”

“So soon?”

“Why, do you have something else you need to do?”

Jisoo hesitated briefly before shaking her head.

“There’s nothing right now. I’m not sure if I get in touch with my mother, though…”

“Don’t you have any idea where she might be?”

“She hasn’t revealed her location to me.”

I wondered why she hadn’t told her. In a world where you never know when you’ll die, it’s odd for a mother to know her daughter is alive yet not seek her out.

‘There must be some complicated situation.’

Jisoo was one of my closest associates, yet there was still so much I didn’t know about her.

The recent Jisoo was more than just ‘talented’; she was beyond a mere modifier.

Among those I had met in my previous life, there weren’t many geniuses on Jisoo’s level.

Excluding the exceptional Rin Taylor, there were barely two.

It was hard to compare since I met them after they’d fully grown, but I never felt Jisoo was any less.

“Why are you looking at me like that? Is something on my face?”

“No. Uh.”

I looked directly into Jisoo’s face before slowly speaking.

“It just occurred to me that I must have committed a lot of sins.”

“Huh?”

Jisoo frowned, puzzled, but I didn’t bother to explain.

I couldn’t explain.

To do so would mean talking about my past life.

‘Because Jisoo was the first person I killed in my previous life.’

As Jisoo grew stronger, I was haunted by such thoughts.

If I hadn’t let Jisoo die in my past life, I wondered how much would have changed.

The previous life’s Jisoo, who didn’t even get to awaken her talents before dying, flashed across my mind.

So, the current Jisoo was akin to a milestone for me.

Dead in the past, yet alive now.

She was like evidence that fate could be changed.

***

An observer was watching Sehan and Jisoo as they headed somewhere.

Though many observers were watching them, this particular observer’s presence felt different.

Unlike the other observers who viewed the duo with simple curiosity and wonder, this one’s gaze brimmed with deep longing and aspiration.

Sensing this peculiar atmosphere, the other observers watching Sehan gradually withdrew.

There was nothing good about getting involved with ‘that thing.’

Whether it was a matter of class or some other dimension, ‘it’ was an existence out of place.

A witch who loved human dreams all too much.

It quietly followed Sehan, determined to pursue him wherever he would go.

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