The Return Of Apocalypses Tyrant Chapter 1

Chapter 1: A knight in black armor, blazing with red eyes, stood holding a severed head. Time had passed, and his armor was drenched in blood that had dried a dark burgundy color over the years. The knight knelt before a man.

[Growl…]

The knight, standing before the man, was not human. The armor was hollow, and from time to time, a misty gas, like smoke, poured from his helmet.

[Scream!!!]

Above the city, which was almost in ruins, a colossal gate resembling an eye opened in the sky. Still, unknowable demons continued to pour out from within.

It had been 25 years since the portal, dubbed the Hellgate, opened. The world had changed, and humanity was destroyed. All except for himself.

Creak—

The man opened the door to a destroyed shop that was practically in ruins. On the floor lay a torn sleeping bag that he seemed to have used and hooks bearing the dried meat of skinned animals.

Thud—

He sat at the old bar and pulled out a treasured bottle of alcohol. Barely enough for a final sip remained inside.

Despite conserving it, the bottle was nearly empty. Yet, he had saved this last swallow of drink for today.

Trickle—

He poured the drink as if handling a treasure.

“Sigh…”

Murmuring softly to himself, he downed the entire contents of the glass in one go.

Then, slowly, he opened his eyes.

Click—

As if resolved, he opened the door to the storeroom behind the bar.

Omminous—

Surprisingly, while not a streetlight worked in the rest of the city, a small generator was humming inside the storeroom.

Swoosh!

As soon as he opened the door, a bone-chilling cold swept in. The black knight presented the severed head he had been holding to the man.

The depths of the storeroom were unfathomable, but it was clear that its contents were from another realm.

What was more astonishing was what was inside.

The enormous storeroom, filled with various devices, was packed with numerous severed heads.

Exactly 666,665 of them.

Thud—

And now, the man added the last one.

[Scream!!!]

At that moment, as if glowing, the severed heads started to howl bizarrely.

“…”

It was a dreadful spectacle, but the man’s face showed no change.

The expressions of the heads screaming curses at him varied, but they shared common features.

Different colored eyes, sharp fangs, pointed ears…

They were not human.

[Damn you… How dare you, a mere mortal like you…]

Then it happened.

The last severed head he had thrown spoke to the man with bulging eyes.

“So you’re a demon who deals with immortality and souls… Do you still live after being dismembered?”

[…Let me ask you one thing. After all this madness, what is it that you want?]

“I’m going back to the past.”

[Do you think you can change the future just by going to the past? You’re still merely a human. You’re no different from us!!]

“I’m going to see my daughter.”

[All this for that?]

The severed head let out a derisive laugh, as if the man’s words were nonsense.

“All this?”

The man had not forgotten what happened 25 years ago.

No, he could not forget.

Swoosh!!!

He thrust a dagger into the scalp of the severed head.

[Scream!!!]

He stabbed it again and again, undisturbed by the screams.

If he caused a ritual with 666,666 heads of higher demons, he could twist the time axis.

It sounded insane, but there was nothing else to rely on.

[Do you think… they will just let it happen?]

The man knew exactly who the demon was referring to.

The Phase (位相).

The eight so-called celestials who had opened the dimensional gate and turned this world into hell.

“Yes. They might realize, since this too was a plan they arranged.”

He laughed coldly.

“But they are omnipotent, not omniscient. They won’t know from the beginning that I am a returner.”

Swoosh!!

The man pulled the sword from the demon’s head.

“Whether it’s The Phase or something else…”

The killing intent he exuded at that moment felt colder than the chill in the storeroom where the corpses of demons were stored.

“Anyone who interferes will die.”

Roar!!!

In an instant, the severed heads of the demons began to burn black.

▶ You have hunted the Stump of a Demon.

▶ You have gathered the remains of all existing higher demons.

▶ You are the sole survivor.

▶ All conditions have been met.

▶ Quest completed.

An announcement echoed across the city.

A horrific ruin hardly worthy of being called a city.

And one such place, Seoul, was where the man accomplished something incredible, but no cheers sounded in the ghost town that had no one left alive.

[Growl…]

Only the knight behind him knelt before him as if saying goodbye.

“We will meet again. But next time, it will surely be different.”

The man spoke to him.

“We’re going to make those damn beings who made this world this way kneel at our feet.”

Swoosh!

His vision turned blinding white.

▶ Spatial Array (時空陳) is activated.

* * *

He awoke.

On a bed. In a dark room. What first caught his eye was the unbroken ceiling, which somehow felt unfamiliar. He clenched and unclenched his fist.

Then, he looked at his palm. The pinky that had been severed was now perfectly attached, and the palm that had once been scarred and calloused was now clean.

“…”

Nangong got up from his bed.

The reflection of himself in the mirror opposite him felt more foreign than his own home, but he picked up his phone without any interest in his surroundings.

“I’m back.”

October 8, 2020.

Alongside the date on the LCD was the face of a child locked on the sleep screen.

He hurriedly opened the door.

It was still early dawn.

The child from the screen lay sound asleep in the bed of a room decorated whimsically.

He heard her breathing, felt the warmth on her rosy cheeks. The child, hugging her doll in her sleep, was undoubtedly alive.

“…Somin.”

Drip—

Just then, a tear rolled down his cheek.

The one person he so desperately wanted to meet again.

His daughter.

Gentle… Gentle…

When he touched that angelic cheek, Nangong could finally feel it was real.

Thump!!

Nangong hugged the child.

“Mmm… Dad?”

The groggy child, not fully awake, rubbed her eyes as she looked up at Nangong who was embracing her.

“I missed you.”

“What… It’s late… Go back to sleep.”

As if annoyed and wanting to sleep more, the child squirmed out of Nangong’s arms and lay back down.

Just 13 years old.

She seemed so grown up before.

Nangong suddenly realized how fragile and small her hand still was.

Squeeze—

He held his daughter’s hand.

“I missed you… so much.”

It was not the bloody hand crushed beneath the debris of the house on the day the Hellgate opened.

“My daughter.”

As if to never let go again, he held her hand and closed his eyes.

“We’re done… It’s enough now…”

His emotions surged uncontrollably as he repeated the same words to himself.

The terrible memories of 25 years in hell flitted through his mind, but seeing his daughter felt like a compensation for everything.

“October 8th…”

But that moment of realization was fleeting, as a sensation filled Nangong from head to toe, not of joy for having met his daughter but of foreboding that echoed in his mind like a warning.

He knew.

He knew that this unspoiled reality couldn’t continue.

Three days before the Hellgate opened.

The world would change entirely that day.

“Can I… protect you this time?”

He had lived for this single purpose, but the thought of living through that hell again made Nangong’s shoulders shake involuntarily.

Surviving not just himself, but this tender and small child meant overcoming countless dangers.

Squeeze—

Yet he had to do it.

▶ A faint soul has been detected.

▶ The soul looks at you.

▶ You have acquired the trait: Soul Power.

▶ You have awakened Beginner level Necromancy.

▶ The Eye of the Soul Lv1 is activated.

“…!!”

Nangong was startled by the notification resounding in his mind.

“My abilities didn’t disappear?”

Ominous—

Nangong stared in shock at the magical circles that appeared on his hands.

“Why…? There are still 3 days until the gate opens…”

He didn’t know the reason.

Whether it was the consequence of twisting the time axis or a benefit of being a returner…

But one thing was certain: his ability from his previous life was awakened.

At that moment, looking at the faint smoke curling around the picture frame, Nangong couldn’t help but swallow.

It was a photo of a woman lying in a hospital bed, holding a newborn baby.

“Sua…”

It was the last picture of his wife before she passed.

Nangong murmured her name softly as he picked up the picture frame with trembling hands.

▶ A faint soul comforts you.

▶ The spirit of the soul merges with you.

Drip—

Tears flowed down Nangong’s cheeks.

He sat down, hugging the frame.

He couldn’t stop the tears that he had barely held back from flowing freely, and his emotions welled up uncontrollably.

“To see you… again.”

Nangong tried to touch that misty smoke.

But his hand only passed through the air, touching nothing.

“Huh… Huhuhuk…”

Ridiculous as he might have looked, Nangong sat on the floor hugging the frame, burying his head and crying for hours.

Ironically, the ability he acquired from a terrible past life felt like the first thing to be thankful for.

After some time had passed…

Nangong, feeling the soul that had merged into his chest, slowly exhaled.

“…Let’s not get weak.”

He whispered to himself as if making a promise.

Slap!!

He slapped both sides of his face hard, and with the tingling sensation, he finally found the courage to face reality.

‘…Now is what matters.’

He wasn’t simply returned to the past.

Using all the memories he had seen, heard, and collected during his previous life of 25 years, he had the opportunity to achieve countless achievements that his former self never reached.

‘And the most important thing among them…’

There once were eight great warriors known as the Eight Fighting Stars.

They declared themselves the Chosen Ones of The Phase and grew at a rate faster than anyone else after the Hellgate opened.

‘They were once hailed as saviors of humanity.’

One of the surviving Fighting Stars mentioned to Nangong before he died.

“We became stronger than others because we experienced the Hellgate earlier than everyone else.”

Initially, Nangong didn’t understand what he meant.

October 11th.

The Hellgate that spewed out monsters opened simultaneously around the world on that day.

“The Hellgate didn’t open on the 11th.”

The survivor confided a secret.

Three days before that, the Hellgate was already open.

“…The Chosen One’s trial.”

It was a kind of privilege only the 8 chosen by The Phase could receive.

‘Those who passed it could gain the power of The Phase.’

In that way, they started with far more rewards than anyone on the day the world changed, which everyone recognized as October 11th.

“This time, it’s mine.”

Nangong whispered.

Although it was a quiet utterance.

It was the beginning of a monopoly.

* * *

Euljiro Underground Mall.

Descending the stairs, he felt a chill quite different from the bright midday atmosphere.

“…”

Nangong looked around.

Despite a creepy sensation, he walked on without hesitation.

Creak—

He opened the door to an old shopping area.

The door looked like it would fall apart with the slightest push.

“It’s before business hours. How strange. There shouldn’t be anyone around to come in yet…”

Shockingly, from inside, what seemed like an abandoned building, a voice could be heard.

“There isn’t supposed to be anyone yet… You talk as if you know that someone will definitely come today.”

“…What brings you here?”

“I’ve come to buy something.”

Addressing the shadow hidden behind a pillar, Nangong spoke.

“Yacha (夜叉).”

Halt—

And at that moment, the shadow coming towards him stopped in its tracks.

“…What are you?”



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