I Returned as a God
[Translator – igixri]
[Proofreader – Enigami]
Chapter 1 - Prologue
Have you ever heard of the term “isekai” before?
It’s the trope of a high school student from the present day traveling to another universe and running around causing chaos in that world.
I’ve seen a lot of fantasy stories like that around. What? You’re saying that’s old now?
Well, I can’t help it if that’s the only thing I know. So, why am I bringing this up, then?
It’s because I once took part in an isekai.
What? I’m lying?
You rude bastard, do I look like the type of person to bluff like that?
Hey, don’t be like that and listen to my story! It’s not like it’s costing you money or anything!
Anyways, it was the evening before the entrance exam, and it was raining cats and dogs. I was basking in the feeling that the never-ending “X Days Before” had finally gone down to “1”. To get some fresh air, I went to the convenience store in the alley right across from my house. Thinking back on it now, that really was an insane choice.
I bought an orange juice, and the second that I stepped out of the convenience store, I was struck by lightning. What happened next probably won’t come as a surprise.
The dimension shifts these days usually involve getting thrown into another world without any explanation or getting transported to the world inside of a book or a video game. But that’s not the level that I was on.
I ended up personally meeting with a god or something, pleading with me to save their world. Usually, wouldn’t you like that sort of thing?
Right? Because then, you wouldn’t have to take the entrance exam. Yes, with that one entrance exam your college is decided, and then, depending on what college you get into, the rest of your life is decided, so I recognized that to some extent. I’m well aware of the absurdity that your 19 years of life, and the many more years of life yet ahead of you, hinge on that single fragile instant. I understand hating entrance exams and having to study.
But that’s not me!
Even since I was little, I’d given up the joys of my youth to the Daechi-dong private tutors in Gangnam’s 8th school district, and when I transferred to a science high school, I never missed a single question on the mock tests right before the entrance exams.
You think I’m a genius? There are no real geniuses in Daechi-dong.
That place is a factory made to churn out ordinary people trying to follow in the footsteps of geniuses.
I’m confident that I’ve studied harder than anyone else in the world.
My parents even gave me permission to do whatever I wanted with my life after I got into college.
So, what are you talking about? Save the world?
You think you know how I feel?
You don’t want to take the entrance exam? That’s probably because you want to go off and have fun with everyone else.
You think I studied while everyone else was having fun because I’m someone who’s in the right state of mind?
Give me back my promised college life!
* * *
You might not believe it coming out of my mouth, but I’m actually quite strong. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to study like that. I’m the kind of person who didn’t play any of the games popular with other male students, read novels, or anything like that. Instead, I clenched my teeth and endured.
The law of the jungle.
Only the strongest survive, and the weak will always become prey to the strong in this world.
Not like studying, it was an entirely different definition of the struggle for existence. For me, who did nothing but study, it was hard to accept it as anything but a cruel world.
I had set one goal for myself: that I’d return to my original world as soon as I could.
The dream of going to university, at this point I’d accept anything.
I needed this goal in order to live and survive. If I didn’t have any purpose whatsoever, I felt that I would go insane.
And I did survive.
After making many sacrifices, I stood here after having saved the world.
* * *
Discord Link: https://dsc.gg/reapercomics
* * *
A golden table and chair were placed by themselves right in the center of a huge temple. I heard footsteps and the clinking of armor that accompanied every step.
I saw that a young man with golden hair and armor had approached me. His expression turned into a scowl when he saw me with my feet up on the table and my head raised.
“How arrogant of you.”
“Is that the kind of thing you say to someone you haven’t seen in a long time? How long has it been, ten? No, twenty years, right?”
I took my legs off the table and looked over at him. I knew that face.
Luciel. The fact that I hadn’t been able to save him had been one of my life’s greatest regrets. Putting it another way, Luciel’s death was the reason that I had been able to come this far at all. He was someone who had believed in me, an average high schooler, who had known nothing except how to study, until the very end.
The Luciel in front of my eyes wasn’t really him.
Even though I knew that, I felt strange, gazing once again at the face that had become more and more hazy over time in my memories.
This place is that bastard’s temple. The one who threw me into another dimension under the pretext of bringing salvation to this world.
Gods have no such thing as a physical form. Because of this, we needed something like an intermediary. The fact that they had shown up in Luciel’s form just meant that I had unconsciously thought about him.
It was nice that I could see Luciel’s face one last time on my way out, but on the other hand, I was pissed off that the bastard who had called me here had shown up wearing a Luciel-shaped shell.
The continent of Arbelicia. There, I was a hero, a warrior. Whatever the process, I had achieved my goal.
“Keep your promise, Lachesis.”
I put my arm on the table and held out my hand.
One of the three goddesses of fate, the Goddess of the Present. I’d only found out about Lachesis’ divine name relatively recently.
It would’ve been good if I’d known it just a little earlier.
“Do you mean that old promise? At this point, you probably don’t have any desire to return to that time, so is there any meaning to going back to then?”
“Of course, it’s important. Very important. It’s true, I don’t have the desire to go to college or anything, but there’s the desire to fulfill the symbolic meaning of the promise.”
I’d laid out the condition that if I’d saved the world that I’d been summoned to, I would be returned to that day before the entrance exams.
To me, twenty years might be a long time, but for her, it was so short that it could pass in the blink of an eye. So I couldn’t figure out what the hell was taking so long.
The moment that thoughts of doubt started crossing my mind, Lachesis finally opened her mouth.
“I’m sorry, but it can’t be done.”
I took a deep breath and clenched the fist that was on the table tightly.
There was no guarantee that she wouldn’t lie just because she was a god, and there was no law to bind her either. To put it bluntly, I hadn’t even bothered considering this possibility.
I’d set out to save this world with the goal of eventually returning to my original world, but as a human being, the possibility that I wouldn’t be able to return at all would’ve been too miserable for me to consider.
I crossed my legs and arms, and looked up at Lachesis.
If I thought about what I had looked like before I’d been summoned here, I would see that I’ve changed a lot since then.
My voice had dropped, too. I spoke with a terrible calm.
“What’s the reason? At the very least, I should get to know the reason.”
“It was my negligence. I shouldn’t have summoned you to this world.”
“You’re the one who chose me. It’s useless to come here and say things like you made a mistake now.”
“I didn’t know that you would ascend to a level above the gods.”
“And? So you’re saying that you can’t return me?”
Lachesis closed her mouth and nodded.
“Do you know what they call this?”
I kicked the chair back and got up.
“It’s like asking the person who saved you from drowning to also give you the money in his wallet.”
“I truly do thank you from the bottom of my heart for having saved our dimension.”
I didn’t respond to Lachesis’ words and just shrugged my shoulders. At the same time, the surrounding area splintered as if it were cracked glass.
The floor collapsed under us, and in an instant it turned into an empty black space.
“What is this—”
“Don’t move. I can’t control my power very well.”
Out of the empty black space came dozens of large spears that were heading towards Lachesis.
“Of course, you’re truly someone that we can’t leave alone!”
“You guys are the ones that made me like this! I told you not to move, you should know that this attack isn’t just heading towards your physical form. I’m sorry, but I have to get back to my original world, even if I have to take you hostage to do it!”
“Is going back to your life as a high school senior truly that important to you? You, who have lived a life stained with bloodshed for decades, should no longer have the desire to return to the life of your original world. So what is the actual reason for your obsession with going back?”
“Because that alone is the meaning of my existence.”
If I didn’t have the desire to go back, then I couldn’t have made it this far.
At that, Lachesis broke out in a laugh.
“Your skill in lying has certainly improved.”
Feeling anxious, I quickly outstretched my hand towards Lachesis.
The dozens of spears pierced right through her.
Not hindered at all by the spears sticking out of her body, Lachesis didn’t spill a single drop of blood.
[Do you think that we’d come to kill you without any countermeasures?]
“Now you’re finally revealing your true nature.”
The empty space began to crack, and hundreds… no, thousands of enormous eyes appeared from nothing. Their closed eyelids lifted one by one and turned to face me. And still, more eyes were forming, so many that I couldn’t hope to count them all. This was dangerous. I stretched out my hand again.
Lachesis’ body crumbled away into nothing. I could feel an ominous force, so I immediately focused my attention.
[How dare you!]
The voice rang through my head and paralyzed me. Chains came out from the eyes and wrapped around my arms and legs.
I was slowly being sucked in by my legs into the dark space below. As the number of chains around me increased, it became difficult to control any part of my body.
‘You think I’ll just die like this?’
Just to go back to my high school days, to that rainy day before the entrance exams, I had spent twenty years living in this hellish world. Even if I couldn’t go back to that specific time, it would be alright.
Whatever happened now, I absolutely refused to die at the hands of the gods who had just used me.
I concentrated all of my energy in one place. In a single burst, I erased this mental world and drew another image in its stead. From the dark space, my surroundings changed to an entirely white one.
In my head, I heard a rumbling sound and a ringing that couldn’t be identified. Now, I saw a black dot.
I knew instinctively that this was a route to another dimension. Using all of my remaining strength, I jumped into the black space.
“Just you wait! I’ll definitely come back!”