Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint - Chapter 516 [END]
Chapter 516: Episode 99 – The most ancient dream (5)
[‘The 4th Wall’ is reactivating!]
The light in the world flickered on and off several times. I felt the sensation of my body being sucked into somewhere, and within this half-awake consciousness, the friction noise of the train’s wheel meeting the railroad tracks filled up my head.
I couldn’t accept this.
Even though I knew that this wasn’t a matter requiring my acceptance, I still found it hard to swallow.
⸢Why did the ‘Secretive Plotter’ make such a decision?⸥
I couldn’t forget his final expression.
How could he make such a face? He didn’t get to complete what he truly wanted, so how come…
⸢Wh at did Sec ret ive Pl otter re ally wa nt, th en?⸥
All of the memories regarding the Secretive Plotter flitted in and out of my head.
The story I got to learn through the original novel’s texts – while enduring such a vast, indeterminable amount of time, what did Yu Jung-Hyeok hope to see at the end of this road?
Just what was it exactly that he expected to encounter?
⸢[[Even if it’s not a conclusion you wanted… Do not think of this world as a failed regression turn.]]⸥
Only those words remained stuck in my brain like a curse.
⸢Kim Dok Ja⸥
‘The 4th Wall’ warned me in a stiff voice as if to punish my arrogance.
⸢Thi s not a pro blem y ou ca n ju dge⸥
The wall was right. Even after that guy had left, I couldn’t escape from being this damn ‘Constellation’.
Under the brilliant radiance, the figures of 999th turn’s Uriel, Yi Hyeon-Seong, Kim Nam-Woon, and Yi Ji-Hye scattered away.
Could he really become happier with this?
He made this choice himself, so was that his happiness, then?
He was a being born in the tragedy, so maybe, he wasn’t aware of that choice being another tragedy?
The Fables of the younger me and the ‘Secretive Plotter’ were getting further away.
The man looking back in this direction for one last time was no longer Yu Jung-Hyeok from the ‘Ways of Survival’.
⸢Be ca use he’s b orn in th e tra gedy ca n he fin ish th e tra gedy too⸥
⸢”This place is the epilogue of that story.”⸥
The ancient tale I’ve been reading concluded, just like that.
[You have reached the ■■ of all the scenarios.]
[You have now learned of the secret of the world.]
The only remaining topic for us was on how to live the story’s ‘ever after’. The part of the story that the ‘Ways of Survival’ didn’t tell me.
[The ‘Most Ancient Dream’ has ended.]
Abruptly, a certain thought popped up in my head. Something that had been forgotten after being swept up in the situation.
The Dokkaebi King told me this: that this world was a dream of the ‘Most Ancient Dream’.
⸢In that case, what happens to the characters of the dream after the dream has come to an end?⸥
The characters from the 999th turn and the ‘Secretive Plotter’ had all escaped from the role of ‘Characters’ and were freed from the dream through their own will.
If so, what would happen to other people, then?
After the dream was over, the people from the dream would…..
[Final scenario clear reward has arrived.]
The noises of a cheek being slapped around resounded out; under the flickering subway lights, Kim Dok-Ja slowly opened his eyes.
“Hey, you. You awake now?”
He saw Han Su-Yeong’s face up close as she roughly held him by his collars.
“That’s what I want to ask you.”
Kim Dok-Ja massaged his head as if he was suffering from migraine, and stood up from his spot.
“Where are we?”
“Inside the subway. Time for us to head back home, I guess.”
Han Su-Yeong saying those words seemed rather refreshed, for some reason.
The train clunked and shook around. The darkness outside the windows gently wavered about.
“Dok-Ja-ssi, are you alright?”
His companions discovered him and walked in closer. Yu Sang-Ah, Yi Hyeon-Seong, Jeong Hui-Won, Shin Yu-Seung, Yi Gil-Yeong, Yi Ji-Hye, Jang Ha-Yeong…. and even Yu Jung-Hyeok, they were all here.
⸢Everyone was alright.⸥
Kim Dok-Ja slowly looked around him. There was no other presence within the subway. It was likely that this train was the same one they rode in earlier.
⸢Are we really safe now?⸥
“I’ve treated your injuries. Once we return to [The 4th Wall], we should entrust you to Seol-Hwa-ssi’s care, but….”
Yu Sang-Ah feeling for Kim Dok-Ja’s pulse faintly smiled. His companions approached him one by one. However, even though their gazes were fixed on him, none of them managed to readily open their mouths.
Unexpectedly, the first one to do so was Yu Jung-Hyeok. Rather than approaching Kim Dok-Ja like everyone else, he leaned against the subway’s seat at an angle and glared outside the window.
The universe’s Fable was coming undone on the outside. The once-tangled roll of thread was turning into dust and scattering away one strand at a time.
“It’s the <Star Stream>.”
Fables existing in countless world-lines were illuminating the space by scattering their bright lights. The <Star Stream> they had been living in was right there. The world they cursed and resented, but still couldn’t forsake, was slowly disappearing while emitting the most radiant light for the last time.
As Kim Dok-Ja dazedly stared at that spectacle, Shin Yu-Seung tightly squeezed his hand.
“It’s over now.”
Overcome by a certain emotion, Yi Hyeon-Seong suddenly broke down in tears. The bear-like man who never showed a single drop of tears no matter what transpired began sobbing away uncontrollably. Jeong Hui-Won watched him and bit her lower lip as her nose tip began stinging, as well. Yi Ji-Hye raised her head, perhaps not wanting to shed her own tears.
“It… really is over.”
It was indeed over. This long and expansive tale had finally come to an end.
Kim Dok-Ja stared at the distancing meteor shower. He stared, and then, stared again.
As if she knew what he was thinking about right now, Han Su-Yeong addressed him. “This isn’t because you read that novel, you know? You also had no idea, right?”
Companions nodded their heads. They were also aware; they knew that this event might not end like this.
It was just that, they were quietly staring at Kim Dok-Ja and his Fable.
⸢The world that couldn’t be lived in, unless one read it.⸥
The child who had to read something, anything, if he wanted to live.
They were saved many times over by such a child.
⸢Reading something in order to survive – that was the same story for everyone.⸥
“It would’ve been fine by just reading it, but Dok-Ja-ssi, you tried to change the story by yourself. I think that’s more than enough.”
Jeong Hui-Won said that.
The one who had never reached the end of this world, starting from the beginning of the ‘Ways of Survival’ all the way to its conclusion. She softly smiled and patted Kim Dok-Ja on his shoulder.
“So, what do you think? Is this the conclusion you wanted to see?”
Kim Dok-Ja couldn’t reply to her. He was too busy wiping away the tears clouding his vision to do that.
⸢So that he could see with his own eyes the view of the world he established.⸥
Kim Dok-Ja slowly opened his eyes, and the subway’s pitch-black windows were reflected in his irises. The faces of his companions could be seen mirrored on the glass. As if, that was a group photo with the universe serving as its background.
⸢The conclusion of this world that he so dearly wished to see.⸥
“….I’m looking at it right now.”
As if they were waiting for those words, Shin Yu-Seung and Yi Gil-Yeong began wiping away Kim Dok-Ja’s tears. He tightly hugged both of the kids.
It was then, someone asked this question.
“We’ll be happy after this, right?”
Only the vibration of the train leaving the station resounded out within this silence like a pulse.
Maybe, this train would never go back; they would never be able to visit that station, ever again.
They would forge ahead towards a brand new terminal.
As everyone stewed within their own thoughts, quite unexpectedly it was Yi Ji-Hye who threw out a realistic question first.
“….By the way, what will happen to the world-line we’ve been living in?”
When everyone gazed at her, she scratched her cheeks in embarrassment and continued on.
“You know, that thing. If the Dokkaebi King is to be believed, this world is merely a dream of the ‘Most Ancient Dream’, but if that dream is over, then….”
For sure, the time flow of the world they were living in froze after the [Final Wall] was destroyed. In that case, even if they returned to that world by riding on this train…
[It’ll be fine. Our world is functioning normally.]
“Aha, I see. That’s a relief…. Ehng??”
Yi Ji-Hye stared at Kim Dok-Ja, then at Yi Hyeon-Seong, and even at Jeong Hui-Won and Yu Sang-Ah. No matter who she looked at, though, they were all making the exact same expression as her.
“Who replied just now??”
And then, everyone looked up at the air at the same time. A ball of fine fur was floating up there.
The eyes of the companions narrowed down to slits.
Biyu began sweating buckets in the air, but eventually, sighed out grandly and spoke up.
[You knew something was up already anyway, so why are you so surprised?]
The companions heard the explanation from Biyu.
The contents, when simplified, were like this.
[The world-line hasn’t been annihilated yet. I don’t know the reason, but…. the stopped time of the world is beginning to get written again, you see. Although the worldview shook around a lot after all the large Fables crumbled at the same time, it’ll still take several thousands of years for the world to die naturally.]
The sights of the world they used to live in could be seen faintly just beyond the subway’s windows. The frozen time of the world was beginning to move once more.
⸢Uriel was slowly opening her eyes within this devastation.⸥
⸢The Black Flame Dragon was asleep, curled up into a ball. And…⸥
⸢Wrapped up tightly within the Somersault Cloud, the Great Sage Heaven’s Equal was staring up at the skies above.⸥
The Constellations were alive, too.
Even the Maritime War God, the Goryeo’s Number One Swordsman… Everyone was still alive. Even though they had lost their previous lustre, they were still drawing breaths in this world-line.
Biyu spoke up as she looked at those Constellations.
[<Star Stream> still remains. The channel system has crumbled down, and Constellations can no longer wield as much power as they used to, but still, it was such a huge Fable that it’ll take some time for it to completely crumble down.]
A couple of my companions sighed in relief. A sigh that they themselves couldn’t really understand.
Yi Ji-Hye asked again. “But, the dream is over, right? So how can this world continue to exist?”
[I already told you, I also don’t know. Be smart enough to listen properly when someone tells you something the first time.]
“…Well, it sure is a relief, but since when did you learn to speak like this? Besides all that, look how rude you are! Ahjussi! Listen to how Biyu talks! This creepy kid, until now….!”
Kim Dok-Ja shifted his gaze over to Biyu, prompting the latter to feign complete ignorance and open her mouth as if she didn’t know anything.
Everyone broke out into a helpless chuckle. Yi Ji-Hye panted angrily and just before she could shout something, Kim Dok-Ja reached out and wordlessly hugged Biyu.
This bundle of fur that used to be so tiny at the beginning of the scenarios was now so big that one couldn’t wrap their arms around it.
Yu Jung-Hyeok watching that spectacle spoke up. “….Maybe, it’s the last miracle.”
A miracle, was it? That was certainly a word that didn’t suit him. Because, that was the one word he believed the least. Even then, his utterance loosened the expressions of the companions.
“Then really, everything has been resolved with this.”
“And now, all we need to do is to buy the big house where we can live together!”
The kids spoke up, only to be shot down by Han Su-Yeong.
“Our Nebula can’t go on anymore. This idiot, he completely drained all of its finances in the Final Scenario, you know.”
“We can always make more money later, right?! I mean, just who are we??”
Everyone broke into smiles while looking at Yi Gil-Yeong triumphantly shouting out. But then, someone quickly threw out another question, perhaps fearful of these smiles suddenly coming to an end.
“What do you all want to do now?”
Shin Yu-Seung and Yi Gil-Yeong looked at each other after hearing that and yelled out.
“The Han River!”
As the two children began arguing, someone else piped up next.
“I’d like to go to the place that I used to live.”
It was Jang Ha-Yeong.
“The place where you used to live…..”
Yu Sang-Ah’s expression became uncertain after hearing that. It wasn’t just her, though; they all knew the truth. They knew that the places they used to live no longer existed. The homes where their stories had been kept before the advent of apocalypse, had all disappeared now.
But, could this be magic? Suddenly, the view outside the windows changed. The scenery of the space seemed to scatter, and what replaced it was…
“Maybe, it really is a miracle….”
….The sight of Seoul, the one they were intimately familiar with.
And on the subway map where every name had been erased off, names of various stations began reappearing.
[Next stop is ‘Hongjae’ Station.]
Jang Ha-Yeong’s steps took her towards the exit. From beyond the wrecked terminal, the sight of her old suburb could be seen. The train’s speed was gradually slowing down.
Jeong Hui-Won asked her. “You still want to go, even though there might be nothing left?”
Jang Ha-Yeong nodded her head. Jeong Hui-Won could only reply with a wry grin. Like how it was with everyone, there were some things that had to be confirmed even if you knew the end results already.
“Okay. Let’s meet again back in the Industrial Complex later.”
The train’s doors opened, and Jang Ha-Yeong made her exit. She looked around with a disbelieving expression, only to turn back as if she abruptly remembered something she wanted to say.
However, the train started again even before her words could be heard.
The next person to speak was Yi Ji-Hye, silently staring at the map until then. “There’s a place I want to go, too.”
Jeong Hui-Won asked her, sounding as if she already knew where the younger girl wanted to go. “You want me to go with you?”
“Nah, I’ll be fine alone. This is what I want to do.”
Yi Ji-Hye’s grin was soft, her expression light. Jeong Hui-Won’s hand rising up sheepishly went back down.
“See you guys in a sec.”
Yi Ji-Hye disembarked. The school building she used to attend was visible in the distance.
The subway’s doors closed once more. Jeong Hui-Won asked a question. “Is there anyone else who wants to go somewhere?”
No one answered back. Most of the companions had no places they wanted to return to. However, that didn’t mean they didn’t have a place to return to.
Yu Sang-Ah then asked everyone. “We are all going to get off at the same place, yes?”
“Can’t we switch trains somewhere? Looks like we’ll have to hoof it from Jongro.”
Han Su-Yeong grumbled and scanned the subway map.
Their destination was Gwanghwamun, the location of the [Industrial Complex].
“We gotta think up of what to tell the others. It’s not like we can tell them everything, right?”
[Next stop is ‘Jongro 3rd street’ Station.]
Everything was resolved now, but in reality, it’d be not like that. They would be facing the reality of new daily life after their return, that’s why.
⸢The train’s doors were opening up.⸥
Yu Sang-Ah holding the children’s hands lightly hopped off to the station’s platform with a soft “Eusha!” She looked back and saw that both Yi Hyeon-Seong and Jeong Hui-Won had also lightly hopped past the safety line on the ground.
“What are you doing, not getting off?”
That left only three people behind.
It was unknown who among Han Su-Yeong and Yu Jung-Hyeok called that name out first. The former asked with a questioning pair of eyes.
“We are getting off together, right?”
[Someone has activated ‘Lie Detection Lv… ‘]
That prompted Kim Dok-Ja to smirk softly.
“Of course. We should.”
[‘Lie Detection’ has confirmed ‘Kim Dok-Ja’s’ words as truth.]
Kim Dok-Ja took a step forward and lightly slapped the backs of the other two. That caused the two to stagger forward, as well. The frowning Han Su-Yeong muttered something in Kim Dok-Ja’s direction, while Yu Jung-Hyeok grasped the hilt of his sword, his eyes glaring nonstop.
Kim Dok-Ja spoke to the latter. “…..You do know that the scenarios are over, right? From now on, it’ll be a criminal offence to carry around a sword….”
“What a foolish utterance that is. It’s not over yet, Kim Dok-Ja.”
“He’s right. We haven’t even figured out who tls123 is, and also…..”
The subway’s doors were slowly closing; the story of a new world was streaming within the noisy clamour of their voices. Kim Dok-Ja laughed in genuine happiness, and the kids continued to bicker away.
A tale of this new world continued to flow on.
But then, just as the subway’s doors closed, Han Su-Yeong looked behind her with a slightly unsure, hard-to-read face of someone that left something behind.
Even Yu Jung-Hyeok looked back, too.
The only person who didn’t was Kim Dok-Ja.
Han Su-Yeong and Yu Jung-Hyeok’s gazes ran into each other, and they began growling at the same time.
“What you looking at?!”
“I should ask you that, you basta…..”
And then, the doors closed. The subway began moving again in silence. It was leaving the station that welcomed the beginning of a new story to enter the railway of infinity. Names written on the subway map began disappearing one by one.
The sight of bickering Yu Jung-Hyeok and Han Su-Yeong could be seen in the distance. Then, the sight of brightly smiling kids holding onto Kim Dok-Ja’s hands, as well as Yu Sang-Ah looking up into the sky while shielding her eyes, could be seen, too.
⸢And I was quietly staring at that scene.⸥
That prompted ‘The 4th Wall’ to ask me.
⸢Will th is re ally be o kay?⸥
Right in the next second, my transparent figure emerged from the empty space. Accompanied by a slight case of dizziness, my body fully materialised and revealed itself above the subway.
[The percentage of memories you currently retain is ‘51%’.]
I smiled wryly. “This was the only way.”
I looked up, and the messages clogging up the message log all floated up at once.
[You have cleared the ‘Final Scenario’.]
[You are the only person who knows the secret of this world.]
[Currently, the ‘Most Ancient Dream’ is absent.]
[The world’s time will not flow if the dream doesn’t continue.]
These were the messages only visible to me.
[You have earned the qualification to take over the role of the ‘Most Ancient Dream’.]
[Will you continue with the dream?]
If this dream was to be stopped now, then the world would forever be frozen still.
⸢It truly was a cruel thing; the world that barely managed to gain a chance at happiness stopping for all eternity.⸥
Although it started off as a tragedy, this universe was already born. Even though that was the case, there were still some that searched for happiness in this universe, and they had finally reached the terminals they always wanted to get to.
⸢Yu Seung ee and Gil Yeong ee wi ll be s a d⸥
⸢Y ou are de cei ving th em⸥
“….At least I didn’t lie to them.” I looked up at the sky and carried on. “A part of me definitely exited the train with them, didn’t it.”
There was a certain skill I got from the ‘Secretive Plotter’ while returning from the 1863rd turn.
⸢[[What will do you now for skills? I’m sure you haven’t earned a new skill over there.]]⸥
⸢”Indeed, I haven’t earned any skills, but… Is it possible to receive this type of a reward, instead?”⸥
⸢[[It is possible.]]⸥
What I received back then was, technically speaking, not a ‘skill’ per se.
[Currently, ‘Bookmark’ skill is in activation.]
[Due to the blessing of the ‘Most Ancient Dream’, the applicable skill’s activation period has been changed to infinite.]
[Currently, the sixth Bookmark is in activation.]
[The Character registered in the sixth Bookmark is ‘Director of the False End’.]
The Director of the False End, the 1863rd turn’s Han Su-Yeong.
[Your degree of understanding on the applicable individual is very high!]
[Exclusive skill ‘Avatar Lv.???’ is currently in activation!]
[You have used up 49.00% of your memories to generate an avatar.]
[Due to the influence of the world-line, the connection to your avatar has been cut off.]
[The applicable avatar will possess its own free will and act accordingly.]
“….This is the right way.”
I felt around the lost portion of my memories, now faint, and staggered unsteadily.
My ‘other me’ would continue to live on, oblivious that he was an avatar. He’d live in a huge house with the other companions.
He’d go to the ocean with Gil-Yeong-ee, and eat pizzas with Yu-Seung-ee. He’d get to see Yi Ji-Hye admitted to a university, and then, he’d hand over the congratulatory bouquet of flowers to Yi Hyeon-Seong and Jeong Hui-Won.
He’d go around house hunting with Yu Sang-Ah, and search for tls123 with Yu Jung-Hyeok.
And then, he’d get to read the novel Han Su-Yeong wrote.
That would be my salvation.
From the beginning till the end, I was always the one being saved.
So, this was my small bit of atonement for their sakes.
⸢Y ou wi ll re gret th is you wo n t ev er me et th em ag ain⸥
I smiled without a sound.
“But, I can still see them, right?”
Just like how it used to be, a really long time ago.
And so, this story would continue on in that manner.
“….That’s enough for me right now.”
I stared at the back of the subway disappearing into the darkness. Now, the figures of my companions couldn’t be seen all that well.
⸢And everyone lived happily ever after.⸥
I always hated that phrase.
However, the current me dearly wished for that phrase to become true.
[Constellation, ‘Demon King of Salvation’ has reached his ■■.]
[You have become the ‘Most Ancient Dream’.]Read latest Chapters at WuxiaWorld.Site Only
The disappearing lights in the distance resembled the Constellations that still remembered me.
And with that, my endless voyage got underway.
[Your ■■ is ‘Eternity’.]
<Episode 99. The most ancient dream (5)> Fin.