Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint - Chapter 518
Chapter 518: Epilogue 1 – The world of zero (2)
Yu Jung-Hyeok was reading the article of a portal site on a person’s phone next to him.
– Pro gamer Yu Jung-Hyeok, for how long will he stay under the radar?
Several private matters that other people didn’t know, such as discord between the teammates and the tyranny caused by the director’s high-handedness, brushed past his mind. However, they were stories from years ago, and he couldn’t think of an answer no matter how hard he thought about them.
– We found their home address.
That text message appeared on his smartphone. It was from the detective agency he hired, letting him know that his parents had been located. This was the reason why he decided to step outside the house for the first time in a while.
Yu Jung-Hyeok wished to know about his origins. To find out who gave birth to him, and who had abandoned him. To find out who left behind a little sister in his care when he was on a fast track to success.
Yu Jung-Hyeok oh-so-desperately wanted to find out.
– Ng? Did people like that live here before?
– Eh-iiing, I don’t know, either. It’s been too long.
Even though he spent a considerable sum to hire the detective agency, the only thing he got in return was an address of an empty house. The agency told him that there was nothing more they could find out.
His parents were gone without a trace, as if they had evaporated from this world. How could such a thing happen, though?
28-year old Yu Jung-Hyeok seemed to exist all alone, without being able to recall a single memory concerning his parents, or anything nostalgic from his childhood. As if he was a being crafted to be an adult from the moment he was born.
As he rode in this noisily-clunking subway of the 3rd line, Yu Jung-Hyeok was facing a philosophical quandary for the first time ever in his life.
‘Just who… am I?’
And that was why he didn’t react in time.
He noticed the ruckus only after a short while later.
A giant of a man, with a scraggly beard on his chin; the home-made explosive device clutched in his hand, and the cogged wheel of the lighter turning with pronounced ‘tick, tick!’; only after someone smacked past his shoulder did he awake to this surreal situation.
The lights in the subway went away the next second. The train came to a sudden emergency stop, and the surroundings rapidly filled up with darkness.
Yu Jung-Hyeok felt all the hair on his arms stand up. The inside of his head felt dizzy. Was this really an act of terror? Something that he’d only ever heard about was really happening in South Korea, too? Where should he evacuate to? Should the police be notified? Or…
[Welcome, everyone. Nice to meet you.]
Yu Jung-Hyeok’s dilemmas were carefully extinguished by a small CGI-like lump suddenly appearing in mid-air.
[It’s getting tiring to make the same introduction over and over again, but… Anyway, this situation isn’t a movie shoot nor is it a terror inciden…. Ng?]
These creatures would later introduce themselves as ‘Dokkaebis’.
That unknown existence floating in the air observed the situation within the train and broke out into a wide smile.
[What’s this? Hahahahat! Dear Constellations, please take a look over here! The scenarios haven’t even begun yet, but something entertaining is already underway!]
The Dokkaebi spoke in a languid but cruel tone of voice and laughed.
[I’m already beginning to look forward to this particular car. I pray that you’ll all show us an entertaining tale.]
[Main Scenario has arrived.]
<Main Scenario #1 – Proof of Worth>
Clear condition: Please kill one or more lifeforms.
Time limit: 30 minutes
Reward: 300 Coins
And ‘hell’ began from then.
….Bihyung, that fool. He was rather adorable back then; there used to be a moment like that in the past, didn’t it?
While listening to the screams resounding out within the subway, I fell into a bit of ill-timed reminiscence.
⸢Are you saying you want to sign the <Stream Contract> with me?⸥
It felt like only yesterday that I met the guy for the first time and discussed getting into an exclusive contract with him.
Back then, I really got lucky. If I failed to sign the contract, then…
⸢”Kim Dok-Ja. You and I aren’t comrades.”⸥
….Then, Bihyung wouldn’t have died on that day.
⸢”I actually wanted to witness your Fable till its end, though.”⸥
Maybe, ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ trembling over there might get to feel this sentiment after going through over a thousand regressions.
“….Scenario? What is that?”
The passengers of the car no. 3707 began murmuring after receiving their very first scenario.
Desperate struggles taking place in other locations were then broadcast on the panels in the air – of the scenario where if you didn’t kill, you’d be killed instead.
“A g-game…. t-this is a game!” The terrorist Choi Han-Gyu was shouting out. “Hahahaha!!”
Choi Han-Gyu the terrorist. Information regarding him appeared once in the ‘Ways of Survival’ via Yu Jung-Hyeok’s reminiscence.
⸢If Choi Han-Gyu manages to survive, he’ll evolve into ‘demonic bomber’ at a later stage.⸥
Choi Han-Gyu pulled out a hammer from his side, and proceeded to hit the back of a middle-aged man’s head right next to him. The victim’s knees powerlessly buckled.
“I-if I do this…..”
[Incarnation ‘Choi Han-Gyu’ has achieved the feat of ‘first murder’!]
Choi Han-Gyu began his awakening as he stared at the Coins raining down before him.
Just like how it always had been, the ones that adapted fastest to <Star Stream> were those that couldn’t adapt to the real world.
“D-did you all see that? I, I, just now?”
“Uwaaah!! Murderer! He’s a murderer!!”
Choi Han-Gyu watched the crowd freak out and retreat away from him, and tilted his head. “W-why are you all n-not doing anything? Y-you’re all making me look like t-the strange one.”
“Don’t come near me!”
“M-maybe, you need t-this?”
He smirked towards the crowd, and then suddenly, chucked several tools hanging on his sides towards them. He then wielded the spanner once more and slammed down on the back of the already-dead man.
“I-it’s easy. L-like this. You do it l-like this, a-and then…”
Sprays of sticky bloody rose up from the back of the man.
“….Then, e-everyone can become rich.”
The timer in the air was ticking down bit by bit.
[Remaining time has decreased.]
[Remaining time: 10 minutes]
Yu Jung-Hyeok wordlessly stared at the spanner that rolled towards his feet. Even then, the crowd showed no signs of movement.
Choi Han-Gyu shook his head as if he was disappointed, and stood up from his spot. “S-should I just k-kill everyone?”
But then, a man suddenly reached out and grabbed hold of a hammer that Choi Han-Gyu had thrown.
“F-fuck this… I don’t know anymore!”
“Ahjussi! What are you doing??”
This man gripped tight the thrown spanner and began attacking everyone next to him indiscriminately.
⸢This was the car no.3707 that Yu Jung-Hyeok managed to survive.⸥
“F-forgive me. I’m sorry….!”
As voices futilely spread out, people began waking up to the new reality. They couldn’t tell what kind of a situation this was, but they were sure of one thing.
⸢They’ll die if they don’t kill each other.⸥
[Extremely small number of Constellations are satisfied by the sight of the applicable subway car.]
[Extremely small number of Constellations are expressing their interest in Incarnation ‘Choi Han-Gyu’.]
[A Constellation who hasn’t revealed their Modifier is sponsoring Incarnation ‘Choi Han-Gyu’ with 100 Coins.]
Choi Han-Gyu was laughing in satisfaction at the crowd. As for me, I was watching all these happenings next to this man.
⸢Kim Dok Ja⸥
I slowly removed my hand from Choi Han-Gyu’s neck.
‘….I know already, so don’t worry.’
I must not change this story.
Everything happening now was ‘events that have already happened’.
I looked at Yu Jung-Hyeok. He was bending down to pick up a spanner that came from Choi Han-Gyu’s possession.
I could vividly feel the deep conflict he was in from his expression. It was an expression of a man who had chosen to take a life.
But, why was this? That expression was different from the Yu Jung-Hyeok that I knew. The one that I knew would gnash his teeth from someone’s betrayal; Yu Jung-Hyeok, who didn’t trust others easily nor easily made comrades. Yu Jung-Hyeok, who always pursued after the most optimal route, and didn’t hesitate killing others ahead of time if they were going to betray him later.
⸢That was why the 3rd turn’s Yu Jung-Hyeok could slaughter the fellow passengers of the same subway.⸥
However, this Yu Jung-Hyeok before my eyes wasn’t from the 3rd turn.
Not from the 4th, not 5th, and definitely not from the 1863rd, either.
⸢He was the 0th turn.⸥
Yu Jung-Hyeok of the 0th turn.
His feet broke into a sprint. His feet that couldn’t use either the [Red Phoenix Shunpo] nor [Ways of the Wind] yet.
There were plenty of targets present. A trembling college student hurdled on the floor; a middle-aged man hiding next to the disabled seating; an office worker, too absorbed in assaulting the others and not having enough time to look behind.
Yu Jung-Hyeok ran past all of them. And then…
⸢He selected the hardest opponent within this subway car as his target.⸥
Choi Han-Gyu smiled insidiously while observing the spanner flying in. He took an agile step back to evade, then an ultra-sharp survival knife jumped out from his waist. Along with the ‘Swish!’ noise, Yu Jung-Hyeok dodged the blade with nary a gap to spare.
⸢Why did Yu Jung-Hyeok make this choice?⸥
I couldn’t tell. Why did this guy, frightened out of his mind, make such a choice?
Choi Han-Gyu still carried several other tools, and not only that, he was in possession of a home-made explosive, as well. On the other hand, all Yu Jung-Hyeok had was a spanner as thick as a child’s arm.
Even then, I wasn’t worried.
Although I didn’t know the finer details of the 0th turn, Yu Jung-Hyeok wouldn’t die in this place. Not before he got to experience all these tragedies, and not before they led him to that vast cycle of regressions, Yu Jung-Hyeok…. wouldn’t get killed.
[Incarnation ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’s’ attribute, ‘Pro Gamer’ is awakening!]
He was awakening his exclusive attribute, the one that I was quite familiar with. It was a skill that allowed him to digitise everything in this world like a video game and analyse them. A skill to control his body, as if he was moving his game avatar.
His spanner accurately struck Choi Han-Gyu’s wrist. The bomber screamed out for a moment as the home-made explosive fell out from his grasp.
Yu Jung-Hyeok’s spanner then accurately flew in towards the neck of flustered Choi Han-Gyu next. It was an unavoidable attack, a perfect counter that his talent had calculated.
Unfortunately, even he had failed to take into account this one thing.
[Incarnation ‘Choi Han-Gyu’ is investing 900 Coins to ‘stamina’!]
And that was precisely the system of this new world.
Although a dark-red mark was left behind on Choi Han-Gyu’s neck, it wasn’t broken.
His muscles swelled, and he grabbed Yu Jung-Hyeok by the neck. The latter’s complexion paled greatly as he dangled up in the air. While grabbing hold of his victim’s collars, Choi Han-Gyu’s free hand picked up another hammer.
Right in that moment, Yu Jung-Hyeok saw the fallen ‘home-made bomb’ on the floor. And I realised what he was thinking of.
Yu Jung-Hyeok throwing the spanner in his hand, and I making my move, happened simultaneously.
The time flow slowed down greatly.
The slowly-flying spanner was accurately heading towards the centre of the home-made bomb. I quietly stared at this spectacle.
Even if that thing went off, Yu Jung-Hyeok wouldn’t die. That simply had to be, if what I read was correct. But, why was this?
….Why were my hands shaking so much like this?
‘The 4th Wall.’ After hearing the air making the ‘Tsu-chuchut’ noise, I continued on. ‘Does Yu Jung-Hyeok’s sponsor exist in this world?’
⸢He ex ists⸥
The ‘Most Ancient Dream’ existed in this world.
The being that became the ‘Most Ancient Dream’ much earlier than me – the younger version of myself. Or, something that was presumably my ‘younger version’.
‘If that’s the case, why can’t I sense anything?’
That’s what’s been bothering me.
I could sense everything in this world. Everything in the scenarios, including individual Incarnations all the way to the Constellations blanketing the heavens above.
However, I failed to sense just this one thing.
‘Where is the Most Ancient Dream right now?’
[The 4th Wall] didn’t answer me.
Yu Jung-Hyeok’s spinning spanner flew in, and was about to reach the home-made explosive.
‘Could it be…..’
⸢How did the ‘Most Ancient Dream’ manage to form a contract with the 0th turn’s Yu Jung-Hyeok?⸥
All those questions simmering away inside my head until now were going off all at once.
⸢The ‘Most Ancient Dream’ dreams through the ‘Ways of Survival’.⸥
Indeed, the younger version of me imagined this world while reading the ‘Ways of Survival’.
⸢And the ‘Ways of Survival’ was a story that started off from Yu Jung-Hyeok’s 3rd regression turn.⸥
So, could he even properly imagine the Ways of Survival’s 0th turn?
Was he even capable of picturing a story not mentioned in the original, a world that he hadn’t read before?
⸢If that’s the case, then just who was the ‘Constellation Sponsor’ that appeared during Yu Jung-Hyeok’s 0th turn?⸥
The bomb exploded. The shower of debris flying out stabbed into Choi Han-Gyu’s back, then into the bodies of people busy hacking away at each other. Accompanied by a loud screeching noise, the subway’s ceiling was caving in. Several pieces of debris were flying straight towards Yu Jung-Hyeok’s heart and neck.
[You’re the owner of the ‘Final Wall’.]
[Your ‘Mastery’ isn’t sufficient enough to interfere with the world-line.]
[The world-line’s Probability is resisting you!]
I ignored the Probability and caught the flying debris. Along with the vicious heat enveloping my hand, the debris scattered into ashes in my palm.
[A deux ex machina the world-line doesn’t recognise is activating!]
[The world has sensed your interference!]
⸢Right at that moment, Yu Jung-Hyeok raised his head.⸥
Yu Jung-Hyeok crawled out from underneath the collapsed Choi Han-Gyu and stared at me.
⸢Although it was for the briefest of brief moments, Yu Jung-Hyeok felt that there was someone standing before him.⸥
[Main Scenario #1 – Proof of Worth has concluded.]
[You have acquired the normal clear reward of 300 Coins.]
[100 Coins have been deducted as the channel usage fee.]
[Additional reward calculation has commenced.]
Along with the scenario calculations, the heads of the people began exploding. And as the deluge of blood rained down, I silently looked at Yu Jung-Hyeok on the floor.
Bihyung’s excited voice coming from the distance, as well as [The 4th Wall]’s words of warning, could be heard next. Even the messages of Constellations suspecting the Probability streamed in, too.
In the meantime, Yu Jung-Hyeok was staring at the message spreading out before him with quaking eyes.
[‘Sponsor selection’ is commencing!]
– Please select your sponsor.
– The backer you choose will become your trusty sponsor.
1. God of Wine and Ecstasy
2. Mouse that Eats Fingernails
3. Abyssal Black Flame Dragon
[A new Constellation has entered the channel!]
[A new Constellation is participating in the ‘sponsor selection’!]
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4. Demon King of Salvation
<Epilogue 1. The world of zero (2)> Fin.
TL: I didn’t make a mistake, the author really did write ‘spanner’ and not ‘hammer’ in the raw, when Choi Han-Gyu hit the corpse the second time; also, the unnamed man did pick up a ‘hammer’, but the author still wrote ‘spanner’ afterwards.