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I Returned as a God

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I Returned as a God

[Translator – igixri]

[Proofreader – Enigami]

 

Chapter 17 - Raison D'être (1)

 

Before I could even protest, I was teleported to the space between the floors.

‘Am I being teleported to yet another strange place?’

I felt anxious about what awaited me, but I breathed out a sigh of relief when I saw that I was standing in a normal gymnasium.

It was really just an ordinary gymnasium. It was the kind that you could find at any school, with the usual hardwood floor, a stage at one end, basketball hoops on both sides, and a second floor balcony area.

I couldn’t figure out why I was brought to a gym.

Maybe it was because it was so unexpected, but looking around the gym reminded me of the past. After looking around with a sentimental feeling, I turned around when I sensed a presence.

[You again?]

“Aah! What is it?!”

[It was understandable the first time, but how are you still surprised by this?]

“Wouldn’t you be startled too if a voice suddenly started speaking to you when you’re in an empty space?!”

It was Yoo Ji-han.

He definitely looked worse for wear than when I had last seen him. The school uniform that had looked practically brand-new had become worn out and tattered, and it looked like he hadn’t been able to wash his hair, as it was soaked with blood. If he had said he was some kind of refugee, I would’ve believed it. 

Did this guy even know what he looked like?

Yoo Ji-han looked around at his surroundings.

“What is this place?”

[Can’t you tell just by looking? It’s a gym.]

“Obviously, who wouldn’t know this is a gym?”

I shook my head at Yoo Ji-han’s annoyance. I went over to the stage and gently perched on top of it. I had restored my strength with a potion, so I didn’t have any injuries or anything, but I was still considerably exhausted.

As far as I could tell, it looked like my voice would be transmitted to Yoo Ji-han no matter where I was in this gym. 

[First of all, just sit down and make yourself comfortable.]

“How can I get comfortable when I can’t even see your face? Are we at a sanggyeonrye or something?”

 

TL/N: A sanggyeonrye is a meeting between the families of the bride and groom. Usually at a restaurant or something where the families sit facing each other.

 

[What does a kid like you know about a sanggyeonrye? You aren’t even 20 yet. If you don’t want to sit, you can just keep standing.]

Yoo Ji-han, who was standing in the middle of the gym, was still trying to talk to me while facing the completely wrong direction. 

‘Gee, talk about being unable to adapt to the situation.’

After looking around the gym, Yoo Ji-han suddenly stuck his hand out and started waving it around in the air.

‘What is he doing? Is he trying to do some stretches or something?’

I was watching him from afar, and I tilted my head in confusion right before Yoo Ji-han opened his mouth to speak again.

“Are you in front of me again today?”

[Nope.]

“Where are you then?”

[By the stage. You can’t see me anyways, so why bother?]

Even though I didn’t think there was a point to knowing where I was located, at my response, Yoo Ji-han turned towards the stage then sat down. Although there was still a good amount of distance between us, it wasn’t a huge impediment to our conversation.

Yoo Ji-han sat on the floor with a dagger in his hand. He removed it from its sheath and started to watch his surroundings, keeping his guard up.

[There are no monsters here.]

“How can you say that for sure?”

Yoo Ji-han’s voice had a sharp edge to it.

Cautious. Anxious. On edge.

Even though I wasn’t that close to him, it wasn’t hard to read Yoo Ji-han’s mental state.

[If you don’t want to believe me, then don’t.]

No monsters would appear here.

The reason why was very simple. It was because this wasn’t the proper 2nd Floor. There was no reason to waste my breath arguing with Yoo Ji-han over such a definite fact. 

Everything was so unexpected on the 1st Floor, but the 2nd Floor felt like it had quite a bit of leeway. I felt that it was necessary to get an overview of the situation.

[How was the 1st Floor?]

“I already finished it.”

Judging from his behavior, it looked like some time had passed since he finished clearing the 1st Floor.

[What the hell happened since then?]

“A lot.”

Yoo Ji-han’s expression was not encouraging. From his short response, I could tell he didn’t want to just tell me everything right away.

[Let’s talk about what we couldn’t say last time.]

I was curious about Yoo Ji-han, and about the things that happened within this tower. I got the feeling that if I could find out what happened in the Tower of Trials, I could gain information that would help me in the fight to become the dimensional ruler.

“How can I trust you?”

Yoo Ji-han raised his head up towards the platform. Even though it must have been by accident, for a split second, I felt like our eyes met.

‘And he doubted me about the monsters too… This guy.’

When I first met Yoo Ji-han, he didn’t have nearly this level of vigilance. This was a general distrust of all people.

It was obvious to me that something had happened in the lobby. I checked Yoo Ji-han’s Merit Points.

[Yoo Ji-han]

Merit Points: 722

Maybe it was just the reward for clearing the 1st Floor, but he had quite a lot of Merit Points piled up now, especially compared to when I first met him. I opened up the gift window. 

 

* * *

Reaper Scans

Translator: Igixri

Proofreader: Imagine

Discord Link: https://dsc.gg/reapercomics

* * *

 

[Gift]

- Available gift targets: Yoo Ji-han

- Items that can be gifted: Small healing potion (12), Small magic power potion (33), Painkillers (6), Shower bomb (2)

[2 Merit Points will be consumed to gift a shower bomb to 'Yoo Ji-han'.]

[2 Merit Points have been acquired.]

It seemed like he’d also gotten a notification since he opened up his inventory screen.

[First of all, you should clean yourself up a little.]

There was a blue ball shaped like a softball in Yoo Ji-han’s hand.

“How do I use it?”

[Pop i—]

Before I could even finish my sentence, Yoo Ji-han gripped the shower bomb tightly in his hand. The water and bubbles that came out of it covered Yoo Ji-han’s whole body. 

After about 10 seconds, Yoo Ji-han emerged looking relatively normal, especially compared to before.

[This is much better than that haggard look you had going on. If I had a mirror, I would’ve handed it to you so you could take a look at yourself.]

Yoo Ji-han touched his hair, which was completely dry as if he’d blow-dried it. He must’ve felt uncomfortable like that. 

Aren’t you supposed to be the one that knows your body best?

Yoo Ji-han looked around the gymnasium once again. After doing this a couple of times, he put his dagger back into its sheath. He didn’t tell me that he believed me when I said that monsters wouldn’t appear here.

It was a wise choice. As his tension finally dropped, I could see that his body’s energy had also weakened.

“Well, I don’t know where to start…”

With that, Yoo Ji-han started to carefully open up to me.

Yoo Ji-han was a regular high schooler living in the city of Daejeon in South Korea.

“There was nothing out of the ordinary that day…”

It wasn’t just Yoo Ji-han.

In the lobby, there had been more than a thousand people who had suddenly been transported there, just like Yoo Ji-han.

At first there were a thousand people, but then there were five to ten newcomers at the end of each week. Yoo Ji-han had arrived late to the race, and the lobby was already taken over by the early comers who had made their own rules and regulations.

When he was teleported to the lobby without even knowing the reason why he was there, the first thing Yoo Ji-han had seen was the mangled corpse of a peer who had been horribly murdered.

“They told me to choose. Either follow their rules, or enter the tower.”

Luckily, he’d managed to steal a dagger and escape into the tower. At this point, it wasn’t difficult to realize that he met me in that place, wounded after just barely managing to kill one goblin.

[How much time has passed since then?]

“About four days, I’m not sure. It’s hard to keep track of dates while I’m in the lobby.”

Four days, huh.

After I left the tower, I’d spent some time being investigated by the association, and if I counted the day I’d spent drinking with Choi Soo-hyun, then at least a week had passed. No matter how I looked at it, it seemed like the time scale between me and Yoo Ji-han was different.

‘Does time even matter?’

I’d found something new to verify.

[Have you cleared the 2nd Floor yet?]

At my question, Yoo Ji-han shook his head. He’d gone in to attempt the 2nd Floor, but he’d been teleported to the gymnasium and had met me instead. On the flip side, I’d just finished clearing the 2nd Floor.

‘I’ll still need more information.’

It was still too early to be sure.

[And? What happened after you cleared the 1st Floor?]

Yoo Ji-han started to talk again as soon as I finished asking.

When he’d returned to the lobby, people were shocked. It looked like there had never been anyone like Yoo Ji-han who survived going to the 1st Floor with no armor and carrying nothing more than a single dagger.

‘Well, that makes sense.’

Yoo Ji-han was a latecomer. Viewed from the opposite angle, being one of the leading parties meant that they were the ones who knew the Tower’s rules and had survived them. They were those who had the resolve to kill monsters, or even other people. And they knew better than anyone that those who’d just arrived to the lobby wouldn’t have that same resolve.

Even if that were the case, they couldn’t dream of the possibility that Yoo Ji-han would survive and manage to kill all the goblins on the 1st Floor.

But he did survive.

Ultimately, this meant that his desire to cling to life no matter what was strong, and also that he wasn’t just a regular person.

Yoo Ji-han told me that after he’d cleared the 1st Floor and come out of the tower, there had been people that had come to find him. They were the thugs who had been the ones to throw Yoo Ji-han and the rest of his party into the 1st Floor.

“They asked me to join their guild, the Central Guild. The nerve of those bastards…”

Yoo Ji-han’s line of sight lined up directly with the platform where I was sitting.

If he’d accepted the support, Yoo Ji-han would have no reason to enter the 2nd Floor with his worn dagger and haggard appearance. This meant that he’d rejected them.

[Wouldn’t you have been better off if you’d accepted their proposal?]

It wouldn’t have been a bad proposal if they were one of the early parties. But when I said that, Yoo Ji-han furrowed his brow and scowled with an expression close to disgust.

“Are you crazy? I’d rather die than join those sons of bitches. Those murderers. That’s just… Let’s not even talk about it.”

Yoo Ji-han seemed pretty frustrated since he curled his hand into a tight fist. At the sight of that, I got the sense of what those leading parties were really like.

‘Right, he shouldn’t behave like those bastards.’

Honestly, I wanted to praise him for that part. The problem was what came after.

Yoo Ji-han had rejected the proposal, and had escaped to the 2nd Floor the same way he’d escaped into the 1st Floor. I was pretty sure I knew the reason why those guys hadn’t tried to stop him.

‘The 2nd Floor isn’t something that can be cleared alone.’

For the current Yoo Ji-han, it was definitely impossible.

[If you go to the 2nd Floor now, you’ll definitely die.]

“What? Why are you saying that all of a sudden?! Are you messing with me right now?”

[It’s still possible for you to leave.]

It would be fine because he still hadn’t entered the 2nd Floor yet.

“You’re telling me to go back to the lobby?”

[Yeah.]

Yoo Ji-han frowned with his arms crossed. It looked like he would need a little bit of explanation.

[If you do as I tell you, you can clear it, but you won’t be able to do it right away.]

“And if I just go in anyways?”

[You’ll die. Forget about lasting 1 hour, you’d barely last 30 minutes.]

The goblins I met on the 2nd Floor were the same kind of goblin as the goblin troops I met at the entrance of the Tower of Trials. I knew better than anyone how those Hunters that had been thoroughly educated by their guilds had died at the hands of those goblins.

A shadow fell over Yoo Ji-han’s face. I didn’t press him for a response. 

If someone who I could only hear the voice of had said this to me all of a sudden, I would also have a lot of worries to think about. Yoo Ji-han’s worries and concerns were fair and realistic.

“So, I can clear the floor if I do what you tell me to do?”

[It’s up to you. Still, it’s better than a 0% chance, right?]

“Alright. So what do I need to do?”

[I’m just warning you beforehand, but it’ll be really difficult. Forget what happened on the 1st Floor, that was just a warm-up. Are you still going to do it?]

“You told me you’d kick my ass if I just gave up. Of course I have to go back in.”

The light in Yoo Ji-han’s eyes had changed. 

To say that there was no anxiety or fear in those eyes would be a lie. But still, the fact that the light was there meant that he had already made up his mind.

This place was by no means heaven, and the path one had to take would be a thorny road streaked with blood. In some ways, compared to when I had first arrived in Arbelicia, Yoo Ji-Han’s situation was much better.

[But do you even know how to use a sword?]

 

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