Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint - Chapter 517
Chapter 517: Epilogue 1 – The world of zero (1)
The panoramic view of the cosmos could be seen beyond the pitch-black window. I rested my forehead against the cold glass and wordlessly stared at that dark world.
I couldn’t tell how long it had been. I wanted to look back; if I did, then maybe, they would still be sitting in their seats even now, so I thought.
⸢Kim Dok-Ja finally stopped crying.⸥
“I didn’t cry, you dumbass.”
⸢He lied, too.⸥
“…..Just for how long are you going to stay as the narrator? The story’s over now.”
[The 4th Wall] cackled on. I felt slightly encouraged by that laughter and took another look beyond the window.
The ones I wanted to see were no longer reflected on the glass. The planet Earth I used to live had grown distant beyond my reach.
Of course, that didn’t mean I wasn’t there.
[‘Avatar’ skill is currently active.]
[Due to the separation of the world-line, the connection to the ‘Avatar’ has been cut-off.]
[Your Avatar will continue to live his life with its own ego.]
The me of 49%.
[The applicable Avatar will no longer be under your control.]
That guy would never realise that he was an Avatar. He’d simply live the life of ever after along with the companions as Kim Dok-Ja.
⸢W hy 49%, tho ugh?⸥
“I was trying to divide exactly by 50% each, but it didn’t work out.”
⸢W hy 49%, tho ugh?⸥
The exact same question again; it was impossible to hide anything from [The 4th Wall].
“You already know why.”
⸢N ot v ery li ke y ou⸥
“No, it is exactly like me.”
Something that the idiotic, immature, and selfish during the crucial moments ‘Kim Dok-Ja’ would have done.
That number was the proof – and the lie – that I remembered my companions far better than my Avatar.
Even if no one knew of this version of me existing here, even if the companions’ stories had come to an end like that… But, at the very least, I swore to myself that I’d never forget about them.
⸢Y ou re gre tting it?⸥
A soft noise came from the clunking subway. I was treated to the view of a completely empty subway interior. The handles no one held onto limply shook about.
⸢Don t fe el so lo nely⸥
I slowly regulated my breathing.
I had already experienced a similar situation before. It was also like this back when I became the ‘Demon King of Salvation’ and fell into the story’s horizon. In a way, my situation was better than back then. Well, I wasn’t currently suffering from the penalty of leaving the scenario, after all.
If there was one thing different from back then, it’d be…
⸢I’d never be able to meet my companions.⸥
“….Do I have to stay inside this subway forever?”
⸢S t a y?⸥
“I’m asking if I can go outside.”
[The 4th Wall] remained silent as if to ponder what I was asking here, before making its reply.
⸢Th ere is no con cept of ‘access’ in t his p la ce⸥
“What do you mean?”
⸢T his p la ce is a sanctum. A p la ce whe re the ‘Most Ancient Dream’ sle eps⸥
After I heard that, it began to slowly dawn on me.
Every world-line related to the ‘Ways of Survival’ was a dream of the ‘Most Ancient Dream’.
⸢All the worlds were dreams that were given life in this place.⸥
Along with a ‘Flash!’ all the windows of the subway transformed into display screens.
At first, I mistook them for the TAS advertisement installed in the special area within the subway network. Scenes from various scenarios were streaming past the windows. Of course, there was no way that I was looking at mere advertisements.
A vague migraine assaulted me. The sights of the world-lines scattered around the universe were now streaming by.
Only then did I gain a new appreciation of just what kind of an existence I had become.
⸢He was now the ‘Most Ancient Dream’.⸥
My shaky steps took me closer to the window. The screen gently trembled like the surface of water, looking fragile enough to be broken at any time I wanted to.
⸢Kim Dok-Ja was scared.⸥
I didn’t need someone to tell me that to know.
Every ‘story’ in this world existed only because a reader read them.
⸢If he doesn’t watch, the world will come to a stop.⸥
Staring at the world and dreaming endlessly…
⸢….This was the weight the ‘Most Ancient Dream’ had to bear.⸥
I slowly closed my eyes. This was what I chose. And obviously, being able to watch was far better than not being able to.
And on top of that, it was the same thing as me having become the ultimate Constellation that could peek on every world-line out there, so….
“The 4th Wall?”
“The ‘Most Ancient Dream’ acted like a Constellation, didn’t he?”
Under the guise of a ‘Constellation’, the previous ‘Most Ancient Dream’ sent messages during the regression turn I lived in. Although it was the subconscious actions of a child who didn’t know anything, there was no denying the fact that such an action nevertheless interfered with the system.
“Then, how about me connecting to the world-line I lived in as a ‘Constellation’….?”
⸢Y ou th ink th at wi ll be pos sible?⸥
⸢N ot the pro blem of pos sibil ity or n ot⸥
I mulled over what that could mean for a bit, before biting my lip, hard.
“….Right, I shouldn’t do that. I understand.”
I recalled all the hardships my companions and I had to experience to reach this conclusion. We fought to eliminate the Constellations, and to erase the <Star Stream> system. And we succeeded.
But for me to revive <Star Stream> after coming this far, now that would….
⸢Lu ckily y ou can’t e ven if y ou wa nted to⸥
“Why not? I’m the ‘Most Ancient Dream’ now, aren’t I? If I imagined it, it’d become reality, right?”
⸢Ca n’t con trol eve ryth ing just be cau se y ou’re the ‘Most Ancient Dream’⸥
Sparks gently danced along with ‘Tsu-chuchut!’
It seemed that the current ‘me’ couldn’t fully exercise the ‘Most Ancient Dream’s’ power to influence.
⸢Y our mast ery over the dr eam is n’t en ough⸥
….As I thought. If it was that easy to control, then it’d not be called the ‘dream’ in the first place. I didn’t know when it’d be possible, but at least for now, I couldn’t do it.
I chewed my lips for a little while, before continuing on. “In that case…. what about just watching?”
It was right then, something inside me wiggled.
The inner ‘me’ that I couldn’t rule over – I sensed this humongous subconsciousness taking root deep within me. This subconsciousness extended its roots towards another world-line, and through these roots, began pulling up the stories of this world.
My vision darkened, then the sights of the world-line spread out like a kaleidoscope.
⸢It was the view of the world he missed so much.⸥
I thought I saw the distant lights of the [Industrial Complex]. Then, I saw the backs of my companions headed there. Not a shade of darkness could be spied on their expressions. In the middle of the group as they walked shoulder to shoulder was another Kim Dok-Ja, kitted out in the white coat.
I already knew.
Even though I knew…
My heart crazily pounded away, my breathing getting shallower, faster. I panted heavily and screamed out. I endured the sensation of vomit welling up, shook my head, and opened my eyes.
As I felt for the floor while swimming in dizziness, I realised that I was the only one inside the subway.
⸢W hat’s wr ong? Do n’t wan na wat ch?⸥
I did want to watch. Their happy faces, their expressions of finally escaping from the scenario’s hell. I wanted to read the story that I so desperately longed to see. However, I couldn’t.
If I did, then without a doubt, I’d want to go back.
“….I have to see it, right? If I don’t, the world won’t move forward, right?”
⸢Y ou’re al rea dy wat ching⸥
⸢Sub con sciou sness is a part of con sciou sness. Y ou are al rea dy wat ching the ma jor ity of world lines⸥
“In that case….”
⸢No ne ed to bur den y ours elf⸥ [The 4th Wall] spoke as if to console me. ⸢Y ou d ont h ave to do an yth ing. Y ou’re al rea dy wat ching sub con sciou sly an yway⸥
I could just close my eyes and forget everything. It’d be fine to enjoy myself within the dream just like a pure, innocent child with no guilt weighing me down. [The 4th Wall] was telling me that there was absolutely no reason to mull over the tragedy once more and get hurt in the process.
⸢However, Kim Dok-Ja wasn’t a child.⸥
“I can’t do that,” said I, while wiping away the cold sweat. All these world-lines were my sin. I created them, and I destroyed them. “I must see them.”
And this was the only way to atone for them.
As I slowly stood back up, the world-lines appeared on the windows.
The countless world-lines from the ‘Ways of Survival’; the tragedies of someone, brought to reality because I had read them, were now being displayed there.
….Perhaps, there was something I should see first before seeing the stories of my companions.
As if it knew that already, [The 4th Wall] addressed me. ⸢Wi ll be a v ery long ni ght, Kim Dok Ja⸥
I’m sure it’ll be.
I smiled back. “Don’t worry. I can do this properly. This is the story that I adore the most, you see. I know I can definitely watch it until my dying day and not get sick of it.”
⸢But y ou mi ght gr ow to h ate the st ory you l ove the mo st one d ay⸥
“If that happens….” I spoke while reaching towards the scenes appearing within the screen. “That will be the price I must pay.”
I slowly pressed on the glass, and my fingerprints were engraved on the display.
[The world is now receiving your gaze.]
[A world-line has received the power of life from your consciousness.]
When I reopened my eyes, my body was levitating off the floor, about a hand-span high or so. It felt like I was having an out of body experience.
I was startled by the bustling nearby and looked around to discover a crowd of people. They walked right into me and past me as if I was invisible to them.
Every one of these tired faces belonged to the office workers on their way home.
I scanned my vicinity and saw the orange colour denoting the subway’s 3rd line. Surprisingly enough, I found myself floating above the subway platform. The current time and all sorts of subway-related information were displayed on the LED screens installed on the ceiling.
Exactly five minutes before the beginning of the scenario.
Soon enough, the Bulgwang Station-bound train arrived along with the noisy announcement.
People climbed aboard the train one by one. I’d have stopped them if only I could. However, nothing would change even if I did. The scenario would begin regardless of where you were, anyway. All I could do now was to climb aboard the train along with them and watch all these tragedies unfold.
⸢And a face Kim Dok-Ja was intimately familiar with was there.⸥
The Bulgwang Station-bound train no.3434, the car number 3707.
A certain man absent-mindedly staring outside the subway window was there. After observing his face for a little while, I ended up smirking a little.
When I thought about it, it was pretty obvious.
In the end, all these world-lines were repeated through one man’s regressions. So, it was only obvious that I’d encounter this fool at the beginning of the story.
⸢This world’s protagonist.⸥
Quite obviously, Yu Jung-Hyeok failed to sense my presence.
No, his disinterested gaze remained locked on the outside of the subway, his mind currently submerged in his thoughts. A face that remained calm even when knowing that the scenarios were about to begin; I had no choice but to be impressed by that.
….You’re really an amazing guy, aren’t you.
I had already witnessed the end of the scenarios, but my skin still trembled simply by re-entering this scene. Yet, you managed to endure these moments dozens, hundreds of times.
The stopped subway train began moving and the time flowed forward once more. That ‘thing’ should begin soon, if my knowledge served me correctly.
⸢During the 3rd turn, Yu Jung-Hyeok would begin by killing everyone within this subway car.⸥
I recalled the beginning of the 3rd turn that I knew of. I wasn’t sure which regression turn this was, but the beginning wouldn’t be so different from that. I slowly scanned the surroundings and spotted a man acting suspiciously by the exit.
Several people shifted their gazes over to the man after hearing his intermittent grunts. The man carrying a twisted expression sniggered and looked around himself, then suddenly, pulled out a home-made bomb and a lighter.
⸢On that day when the paywall began, there was a certain man riding on the same subway car no. 3707 as Yu Jung-Hyeok.⸥
⸢The subway terrorist, Choi Han-Gyu.⸥
The shocked crowd screamed and retreated. People freaked out after witnessing the sparks exploding from the man’s hands and stood up from their seats, causing the scene to turn chaotic.
As for Yu Jung-Hyeok, he was quietly staring at that man.
Hey, what are you doing? Hurry up and snatch that away.
According to the storyline I knew, Yu Jung-Hyeok should’ve suppressed Choi Han-Gyu the moment they climbed aboard the subway and took away the bomb. However, he hadn’t done that.
Why was this? Yu Jung-Hyeok’s expression, the one I thought was calmness personified, was now pale-white in fright.
It was then, the interior of the train became dark along with the screeching noise. People’s screams morphed into sorrowful cries as they witnessed the flame being lit up within the darkness.
Something had gone awry here.
⸢Why isn’t Yu Jung-Hyeok making his move?⸥
Hang on a minute, could this be…..?
And then, as the ‘Tick!’ noise resounded out, the world’s rules changed.
[The free service period of the planetary system no. 8612 has concluded.]
[Main Scenario has begun.]
The flames lit up by the terrorist brightly illuminated Yu Jung-Hyeok’s face, his eyes trembling in pure fear. He stood there, unable to do anything. I too, had fallen into a bout of panic. Pages of the Ways of Survival began flipping inside my head.
….Just which regression turn was this?
Was this around the 900th, when he lost his mind? Or around the 1200th?
During which regression turn was this half-wit Yu Jung-Hyeok….?
[Channel #B-7623 has opened.]
[Constellations are entering.]
“Heuh, heuh-heuh, heuh-euh…..”
The crowd began running towards the next car of the train, away from the figure of the terrorist clutching the explosive as the man’s eyes glared at the surroundings.
[Extremely small number of Constellations are getting interested in Incarnation ‘Choi Han-Gyu’.]
And Yu Jung-Hyeok was still standing in the same spot. The one I knew would never react like this. No, Yu Jung-Hyeok was someone who’d resort to the perfect showmanship to suppress the situation from the get-go. But now, he was making this stupid face that I had never seen before under the terrorist’s threat.
One I had never seen before… Never seen…?
It felt like a lightning bolt had gone off in my head.
So, that’s what this was, this storyline.
Countless pages flipped inside my head, before the book itself was closed shut.
This was the regression turn that got treated as nothing more than a passing reminiscence back in the ‘Ways of Survival’.
Some stories would actually begin from a moment that wasn’t written.
“P-please, don’t… don’t kill me!”Read latest Chapters at WuxiaWorld.Site Only
⸢This story is the unknown beginning of the ‘Ways of Survival’.⸥
This world-line was the one that I didn’t get to read – Yu Jung-Hyeok’s 0th turn.
< Epilogue 1. The world of zero (1) > Fin.