Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint - Chapter 513
Chapter 513: Episode 99 – The most ancient dream (2)
The subway train slowed down before coming to a stop before us, and then, opened its doors.
There was no mistaking it. This was the subway we all recognised.
Jeong Hui-Won’s lips bobbed up and down before finally breaking the silence first. “Why would a subway show up here….?”
Of course, no one here could answer that question.
The first one to make his move was Yi Gil-Yeong. Yu Sang-Ah shouted out. “Gil-Yeong-ah! You mustn’t get on that t…!”
The boy fearlessly stepped foot inside and climbed aboard the subway, and turned around to look at us. As if nothing was going on, he shrugged his shoulders.
Yi Ji-Hye watched that spectacle, then grabbed Shin Yu-Seung’s hand and stepped forward as well. “I don’t know anymore. Let’s just get in first and see what’s what!”
That was the beginning; other companions still hesitating entered the subway one by one. I too followed after them.
The moment I set foot on the floor of the subway that trembled ever so slightly, I was overcome with deja vu.
⸢Once upon a time, this was all of Kim Dok-Ja’s world.⸥
No, that was wrong. This was not my world.
⸢This was everyone’s and anyone’s world.⸥
For Yu Sang-Ah, Jeong Hui-Won, Yi Hyeon-Seong, and Yi Ji-Hye, too… Everyone carried their own, different expressions. Just like how I rode on this subway and lived my daily life, it should roughly be the same story with them as well.
Someone used to be an office worker, someone was a student, and someone used to be a soldier, but still…
“A subway, is it… Back then, I was really fed up of riding it, but now, I’m really happy to see it again.”
Jeong Hui-Won’s words made us carefully scan the interior of the subway itself.
All the seats were brand new, while the safety bars were wiped clean, too. Not even a hint of filth could be seen on the floor.
Of course, what proved to be even more surprising than that was…
“….By the way, why isn’t anyone else riding in this thing?”
Not a single presence could be felt within the subway. This was a sterile, inorganic space where nothing was alive besides us. This vehicle was permeated with such a sense of abnormality.
I looked at the librarians remaining outside the subway and asked them.
“Aren’t you joining us? You wanted to witness the end of the world too, didn’t you?”
⸢(We can’t go with you.)⸥
Nirvana and the other librarians didn’t answer. They exchanged somewhat saddened gazes with each other, before finally making their reply.
⸢(You witnessing the end will be enough for….)⸥
[The doors are closing.]
The rest of their words couldn’t be heard; the doors shut close, and accompanied by the noises of a giant cartwheel turning, the subway began chugging forward. Its speed was neither quick nor slow. And outside the windows, we saw the view of the pitch-black darkness lazily shifting past us.
I gazed into that darkness for a long time. Just where was this train taking us?
“It’s the line number three.”
Han Su-Yeong muttered that out. I also looked up at the subway map.
The line number three. It was the line that I used to commute every day. Strangely, though, the ends of the map were broken off. Even the names of the stations were erased, as well.
Meanwhile, the subway continued to chug along. Several minutes passed by since then, but it showed no signs of stopping. It seemed that this vehicle was planning to run straight to its final stop without a break.
With a ‘plop!’ noise, Han Su-Yeong settled down on the cushion next to mine. She glared at the subway map, her long eyelashes blinking constantly.
I asked her. “What’s up with that expression?”
“I don’t ride on stuff like subways.”
Almost immediately, I realised what a dumb question that was. For sure, someone like her wouldn’t have a need to ride on subways, anyway. What she said next was completely out of my expectations, though.
“I mean, there’s nothing to see here. Both inside and out.”
We both stared at the broken subway map. Without a doubt, a subway train would travel the exact same line every single day. It would then stop at the predetermined time. Similar things would continue to happen within these unchanging sceneries every day.
I also hated subways. I used to stare at the smartphone during commuting for a similar reason to hers, too.
“Subways don’t operate for our amusement, though.”
“….Oh, my? Now that’s not something the Constellation ‘Demon King of Salvation’ would say.”
I smiled bitterly.
We stared in the same direction next – at our companions. At the people who endured the apocalypse with me, cleared 99 scenarios together, and reached this place.
“….Mm. We won’t suddenly go back to the first scenario or something like that, right?”
“No, that can’t be! Definitely not!”
“Should I ready some grasshoppers just in case?”
The companions saw Yi Gil-Yeong clenching his fist with a resolute expression, and broke out in smirks.
What did it mean to find humour from the most horrifying memory they held? With what kind of thoughts were they smiling at that story?
I spoke to Han Su-Yeong. “They need to go back to their old lives.”
“You think they’ll be happier like that?”
“All stories are supposed to end that way.”
“And since when did you start enjoying that sort of development?” Han Su-Yeong shot back with a retort. “Hey, you. You aren’t thinking up of anything weird again, right? Are you hiding something from me again?”
“I’d like to, but I’ve nothing to hide anymore.”
I was being honest. Even the original novel never reached this far. It was the same story for the ‘Secretive Plotter’ or the other individuals from the 999th turn. We were the first to ride on this subway.
I spoke up while looking at the end of the faintly-erased subway map.
“Han Su-Yeong, I think…..”
“Could it be that a final boss is waiting for us there? Isn’t that how it normally is?”
Jeong Hui-Won said that. She wasn’t talking to me, however. It seemed that the companions were busy discussing something over there. Shin Yu-Seung added her opinion.
“Maybe there’s a dragon this big.”
“But, I don’t think a Modifier like the ‘Most Ancient Dream’ would get assigned to a dragon. To get a Modifier like that, it must be….”
“Couldn’t it be the ‘author’?”
“You know, that….”
When Yi Gil-Yeong saying that shifted his gaze in my direction, the other companions seemed to abruptly recall ‘it’ too, and all turned their heads towards me.
⸢⸢Three Ways to Survive a Destroyed World⸥⸥.
They also knew about that novel now. They knew that that novel described the stories of this world, and that only I had read it to its conclusion.
“….What do you think, Dok-Ja-ssi?”
Every novel out there couldn’t become ‘stories’ unless a writer wrote them down first. The suspicion my companions held some weight if this world was based off on the ‘Ways of Survival’.
For sure, there was a good chance that the ‘Most Ancient Dream’ was the writer. I too thought that way.
However, why do I…
“…I don’t think the ‘Most Ancient Dream’ is the author of the ‘Ways of Survival’.”
“Why do you think that?”
“I’m not sure, but I have a hunch.”
To me, the being at the end of this line didn’t seem like it’d be ‘tls123’. I recalled what the Dokkaebi King said back then.
⸢[Rather than an author, you could say that the ‘Most Ancient Dream’ is much closer to being a reader. It’s not an existence that writes stories for someone else. It’s lazy and can be quite greedy, you see.]⸥
I even began questioning whether an ‘author’ was necessary in our current hypothesis. Did this world really begin because of tls123?
Maybe tls123 simply alerted me to the already-existing world, instead?
Just like how the ‘Secretive Plotter’ or the other individuals from the 999th turn existed even though they weren’t recorded in the pages…
“Now that I think about, I’m curious. Dok-Ja-ssi, how did you stumble across that novel in the first place?”
“Ahh, I was also curious about that.”
Yu Jung-Hyeok disinterestedly polishing the [Dark Heavenly Demon Sword] shifted his gaze towards me when that topic was brought up. Jang Ha-Yeong asked as her eyes sparkled.
“Was it like some kind of a fateful attraction?”
“I also know something about such a feeling! The first time I held a grenade back when I was a private, I….!”
“I just came across it while browsing the net, actually.”
Companions seemed to be disappointed by my reply. But, nothing could be done about that, because it’s true. Han Su-Yeong then retorted back.
“What did you search for exactly, to find such a crappy novel?”
I couldn’t remember it all that well now.
Yi Ji-Hye shrugged her shoulders. “Oh, well. It’s not that important now, right? The only thing that matters is that ahjussi did read that novel somehow.”
“That’s right. What would’ve happened if Dok-Ja-ssi didn’t read that novel?”
I looked at Yu Sang-Ah grinning brightly and shut my mouth tightly.
I didn’t deserve to hear those words.
⸢In the end, stars fell and the world came to a stop.⸥
We were marching towards a conclusion no one in the ‘Ways of Survival’ managed to reach, but there was no guarantee that what I wanted was waiting at the end of the line.
I too had no knowledge of the things about to happen from now on.
⸢What if it was someone else who read that novel to its end?⸥
There were better-suited people than me here. The righteous Jeong Hui-Won, the trusty Yi Hyeon-Seong, the straight-shooter Yu Sang-Ah, they should’ve been the one to read the novel. If that happened, maybe the world would’ve ended up in a far better shape than this.
“Thank you, ahjussi. For reading that novel.”
Shin Yu-Seung matched my eye level and was now smiling.
“That’s right. I heard that novel was really boring, too. If it really wasn’t for Dok-Ja-ssi….”
“If it was me, I probably couldn’t get past the first page. I really hate books, you know?”
“I tried to read a couple of books back inside the <Oz>’s military library, but… As expected, me and reading were not really a….”
While looking at Yi Hyeon-Seong scratching his head, I somehow managed to force my mouth shut.
Because the ‘Ways of Survival’ existed, the people before me existed, too. And because I read that novel, I was able to save them from the dangers.
I, someone of no redeeming quality, could be loved by the others.
“Because of the Fables you taught me, I managed to get this far, hyung.”
The kids’ small hands were tightly holding onto mine.
I slowly raised my head, and saw the darkness of the subway streaming by. And the Fables we lived through were passing us by within that darkness.
We silently observed those Fables. They were as beautiful as the Milky Way in the wintery night sky, yet just as futile as the fireworks going off. Stories that none among us could forget, but we’d do so eventually. Jeong Hui-Won opened her mouth.
“….Dok-Ja-ssi. I think it’s fine to ask this now, so….”
I knew already what she wanted to ask me.
“What exactly is the ‘conclusion’ you want to see, Dok-Ja-ssi?”
No Constellations were looking at us now. Even <Star Stream> that ruled over the world no longer existed. So, there was no reason to… not tell them.
“I’ve already… seen one of them.”
I carefully peered into the faces of all my companions. No sentences floated up on their expressions. Even then, I could tell what the conclusion I wanted to see from their faces.
“And the other one is to repay my debt.”
I shifted my head to discover Yu Jung-Hyeok glaring at me.
Along with the dull vibration, the train’s speed began to decrease little by little.
We slowly got up from our seats. Once-noisy companions began speaking less and less. Nervousness was filling up their expressions.
I slowly approached the exit. Jeong Hui-Won stood to my left, while Yu Jung-Hyeok was on my right.
The Fables passing by in the darkness were slowing down.
It wasn’t just our story existing out there, however.
⸢There was the 0th turn, then the first turn.⸥
Also, the second, and the third turns, too.
⸢And that’s how 1864 regression cycles have gathered, and in turn, opened up this world.⸥
Countless Yu Jung-Hyeoks lived through those turns. Although none of them lived the right way, not one could be called wrong, too.
The world was far too cruel a place to debate the ethics of life, and the volume of despair was far too great to tell the tale of hope. However, Yu Jung-Hyeok remained resolute because he didn’t try to justify himself.
⸢His sole desire to see the end of this world.⸥
I too carried that same desire.
That was the dream of 1865 Yu Jung-Hyeoks existing from the 0th to the 1864th regression turns, and the end of the world that I wanted, too.
“….It’s really been long. Wasn’t it?”
Yu Jung-Hyeok shot back, as if to question what the hell I was even saying here. “It’s only been four years, Kim Dok-Ja. Compared to the time I experienced, it’s….”
Four years. That was how long we had been fighting together.
“Four years that felt like a lifetime.”
When I said that, Jeong Hui-Won to my left lightly poked me with her sword’s hilt.
“We’ll still stick together from now on too, so why do you sound so grimly determined? Don’t worry. No matter what kind of a monster is waiting for us, I’ll finish it off.”
I gently smiled. Meanwhile, the subway was slowing down even further.
My reflection could be seen in the black window of the exit door. There was a splatter of blood on my cheek reflected on the glass. I wiped it off my face. And then, my mood cooled down.
⸢The blood was really on my cheek, and not on the window.⸥
“Doors are opening!”
Along with Yi Hyeon-Seong’s cry, everyone got ready to fight.
However, contrary to everyone’s nervousness, what greeted us was a rather empty subway platform. Sure, there were a few people walking around in the surroundings, but none of them paid us much attention.
“What’s this, there’s no….”
Jeong Hui-Won muttered that out, and as we stepped onto the platform, I was overcome with an ominous foreboding. There it was, the unfamiliar sense of reality touching my feet. Faint sparks, along with every single one of my Fables, were pointing in a certain direction.
⸢Someone was sitting on the subway’s bench.⸥
A thick school bag filled with textbooks, as if its owner had left school not too long ago. A thin, small-statured child who might have passed off as an elementary schooler were it not for his school uniform, was sitting on that bench.
As if he was trying to memorise English words, he was busy scribbling something like a chart on his notebook.
As the pulsing migraine assaulted me, I somehow managed to lift my unmoving feet.
⸢Kim Dok-Ja made a promise. To end the culprit who made this world. No matter what that existence was.⸥
Maybe, he was struck by someone somewhere? There was a big bruising on the kid’s pale arm. A bruising that I could more or less figure out where he got it from. All strength left my legs and I couldn’t move anymore.
⸢Time isn’t moving because not reading and not imagining.⸥
I did think that all of this could be a dream, a lie. I even believed that this was a dream the evil <Star Stream> had created.
But now, I couldn’t deny it anymore.
All of my senses were telling me the truth; they said that that child was the culprit behind all these scenarios.
⸢Y ou we re al rea dy ex pec ting this di dn’t you Kim Dok Ja.⸥
The most ancient dream. The world’s most omniscient yet powerless god.
[‘The 4th Wall’s’ influence is getting weaker.]
[‘The 4th Wall’s’ influence is getting extremely weak.]
I thought I heard something fall to the floor, and I saw Jeong Hui-Won’s sword rolling around on the ground.
She was now looking at me. She was looking at the child, then back at me. Her eyes were filling up with despair.
As if she couldn’t believe this. As if she’d prefer that this whole thing turned out to be a lie.
[The promise with the ‘Secretive Plotter’ is activating.]
I opened my mouth only to close it several times. Maybe, this might be my punishment. It might very well be the time to pay the price for the salvation I received.
[You have promised to destroy <Star Stream>.]
[<Star Stream> will not be destroyed unless the ‘Most Ancient Dream’ is ended.]
I now stared at the child.Read latest Chapters at WuxiaWorld.Site Only
At the child with the exact same face as mine.
And the boy slowly raised his head to look back at me.
[Please end the ‘Most Ancient Dream’.]
<Episode 99. The most ancient dream (2)> Fin.