Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint - Chapter 527
Chapter 527: Epilogue 2 – Not found anywhere (2)
Han Su-Yeong explained the plan in clear, concise words.
One, in order to rescue Kim Dok-Ja, they had to cross the [Final Wall].
Two, to cross the [Final Wall], they needed a total of five [fragments].
Three, the only remaining fragment in this world-line was [The 4th Wall] Kim Dok-Ja’s Avatar possessed.
Four, to acquire the other four fragments, they were to perform ‘group regression’ and cross over to another world-line.
The companions stared at each other with slightly dazed expressions after hearing that very concise plan.
The first one to ask was Yi Ji-Hye. “…Will that even be possible?”
“This guy said it is, so I’m sure it will be,” replied Han Su-Yeong.
After receiving her gaze, Yu Jung-Hyeok nodded his head. “It’s possible. However, my Stigma hasn’t finished evolving yet, so it might take a little while longer. We needed time to prepare ourselves, anyway.”
“….Hold on. This ‘regression’ you speak of, Master, just what is the principle behind it?”
“When I activate the regression, we will all return to the past, to the starting point of the scenarios.”
“Then, what about our own world?”
“A brand new world-line separate from this one will be created. If you want to count the regression number, then… It’ll be the 1865th turn.”
The 1865th world-line.
It was such a gob-smacking number that the companions could only blink their eyes in stupefaction.
“So, you’re saying we should give it another shot over there.”
As if she had already expected something like this before coming here, Jeong Hui-Won’s expression as she said those words was filled with sheer determination. However, not everyone held the same view as her.
“According to my knowledge, your ‘regression’ this time had been a little special, wasn’t it?” Yu Sang-Ah was the one saying these words. “I read about ‘regressions’ inside Dok-Ja-ssi’s library so I know a few things about it, as well. All of your regressions until now had been based on the worldview of the ‘Ways of Survival’. However, this regression turn was a little bit special, wasn’t it.”
Other companions seemed to have finally realised, at least a little bit, what she was talking about.
The current ‘world-line’ was different from Yu Jung-Hyeok’s past regressions. It was the world-line brought to life by Yu Jung-Hyeok’s desire to see the ‘end’.
A portion of [The 4th Wall] caved in, and that resulted in a world where reality and fiction combined into one. Its proof was that this regression turn featured some people who weren’t characters from the ‘Ways of Survival’.
“Can all of us really go back together? Can you assure us that’ll be the case?”
If Yu Jung-Hyeok’s ‘regression’ activated with the ‘Ways of Survival’ as its operational criteria, then several of the companions, such as Yu Sang-Ah and Yi Gil-Yeong, couldn’t accompany him.
Yu Jung-Hyeok slowly blinked his eyes and replied. “Regression will activate with the world-line that I am currently in as its operational criteria.”
“That means this ‘Dok-Ja-ssi’ can travel with us, too.”
Yu Sang-Ah pointed to Kim Dok-Ja lying on the hospital bed behind them.
The reason why this world’s Kim Dok-Ja was dying had to do with the power of the system weakening gradually. However, if they could take this Kim Dok-Ja with them through [Group Regression], then he’d go under <Star Stream>’s system once more.
Yu Jung-Hyeok lightly nodded his head. “…Probably.”
“Well, it’s settled, then. Anyone not agreeing to it, raise your hands.”
Shin Yu-Seung cautiously raised her hand at Han Su-Yeong’s cocky tone of voice indicating that she didn’t think anyone would oppose the decision.
“Argh, what do you think you are doing?” Han Su-Yeong asked back.
“….I’m not sure if this is the right thing to do. Didn’t ahjussi want Jung-Hyeok ahjussi to stop regressing?”
“That idiot never really cared about what we wanted, anyway. Even steven, I say.”
“If Jung-Hyeok ahjussi regresses, scenarios will begin in the world again. Lots of people will die. And they’ll be thrown into tragedies again. Constellations will use people as their toys… And many won’t even get to clear the first scenario.”
Shin Yu-Seung was right.
Perhaps, one could argue that she was the Incarnation who understood ‘Kim Dok-Ja’s’ thoughts better than anyone among the companions.
And for sure, he probably didn’t want to create such misery.
However, Han Su-Yeong’s thoughts were different. “And so, you think ‘misery’ won’t happen if we don’t regress?”
Han Su-Yeong sighed lightly and looked up at the empty air. “Hey, you. Just for how long are you going to sit back and spectate?”
At the end of that question, a ball of fine hair suddenly popped up in the air.
Han Su-Yeong tutted unhappily in the direction of Biyu employing the innocent-looking puppy-eyes tactic. “You and that thing again.”
That prompted Yu Jung-Hyeok to say something. “Biyu.”
Biyu dry-coughed a bit before opening her mouth. [Whether you regress or not, other world-lines will continue to be destroyed.]
Biyu’s fluent Korean caused Shin Yu-Seung’s jaw to drop.
She already knew that the small Dokkaebi could speak. But this would be the first time since the subway that they got to converse at length.
“….How do you know that?”
[Because I’m the ‘Dokkaebi King’ now, that’s why.]
After going ‘Ahem!’, Biyu then pounded her chest with that small arm of hers.
Not only was she not a Dokkaebi affiliated with the Bureau, but she also happened to be one that inherited the Dokkaebi King’s <Star Stream> in full, too.
The only reason why the <Star Stream>’s influence persisted at all was because of her, and at the same time, its gradual disappearance was the result of no Dokkaebis other than Biyu currently existing.
[You may not be aware of this, but world-lines are being born every minute and every second.]
“…Every minute and second?”
[That’s right. Whenever an existence in a world makes a decision on something, a brand new world-line will be born. Every time you flipped that coin, Yu-Seung-ah, a new world-line was born and got destroyed.]
The world-lines were basically like a tree’s branches that got divided whenever choices were made, Biyu explained.
[The ‘regression’ is simply a special method of choosing ‘world-lines’, that’s all. It’s like, you’re returning to the point in time when the choice was made to start a new branch.]
It was a head-trip of a revelation.
“In that case, just how many worlds, until now….”
Biyu opened her mouth again as if she had already read the vast, boundless despair of the gathered companions. [….Only Father would know that.]
There could only ever be one person that Biyu would refer to as her ‘father’ in all of the world-lines.
The Constellation responsible for establishing <Kim Dok-Ja Company>.
And the existence that ended up becoming this universe’s ‘Most Ancient Dream’.
[You can only change one world-line out of all the countless others out there.]
The companions earnestly started cooking up their plan on the following day.
Project <Capture the Squid>. Han Su-Yeong came up with that title.
“What was the standard of ‘lifeform’ as accepted by <Star Stream>, again?”
Since they all decided to ‘regress’ once more, they had to come up with a truly perfect plan.
The companions often discussed the methods to thoroughly and completely conquer the scenarios, and the one topic their opinions seemed to clash far more than any other was the ‘first scenario’.
“What about germs? Germs are also lifeforms, aren’t they? If you spray hydrochloric acid on a hand, wouldn’t you get, like, ten thousand Coins?”
“If such a thing was accepted, then a person doing nothing should’ve survived, too. Our bodies kill germs in real-time, you know.”
“Some people survived without doing anything, though.”
“We can’t afford to let fate decide for us. We definitely need to kill something.”
“I killed a grasshopper to survive back then. And I heard Dok-Ja hyung even resorted to breaking grasshopper eggs to earn Coins.”
Han Su-Yeong quietly listening to the various opinions began jotting them down on the memo.
“So, then. Insect eggs are counted as lifeforms in <Star Stream>’s standards.”
“Why don’t the germs count, though?”
“I think it has something to do with you actually being able to perceive the taking of life. Should we ask Biyu about it?”
Even the ‘Team Anna’ featuring Selena Kim and Iris was added to the mix, and the strategy meeting became even livelier than before.
“This route is the best one to take during here.”
“….No, hang on. This one’s better. According to my [Predictive Plagiarism]…”
Kim Dok-Ja didn’t exist in the next regression turn waiting for them. However, that didn’t mean they knew nothing, either.
Yu Jung-Hyeok was in possession of the 1863rd turn’s memories he got from the ‘Secretive Plotter’, and…
Han Su-Yeong possessed the [Predictive Plagiarism].
And Yu Sang-Ah had read the records within [The 4th Wall]’s library.
⸢And finally, they were the only beings that managed to go beyond the [Final Wall].⸥
Han Su-Yeong was able to breathe again after the first meeting came to an end. It had been only a week; according to Yu Jung-Hyeok, the ‘group regression’ would only be available in a month’s time from now.
The companions sometimes argued with each other over the methods of clearing scenarios.
“The ⸢Greatest Sacrificial Lamb⸥. You gotta definitely…..”
“Did you forget that Dok-Ja-ssi died back then? If you do it this way….”
They hated the scenario more than anyone out there.
Even then, even as they discussed it at length, the companions seemed excited about something, somehow.
Why was this? They regained their reality by barely surviving past the scenarios, yet how could they be so jovial when discussing a plan to return to the ‘scenarios’?
⸢Reality didn’t refer to a specific ‘place’.⸥
Maybe this was because all of them couldn’t forget about a certain someone.
Maybe, they just couldn’t forget the time they spent together with that certain someone to survive the horrifying tragedy.
“I still remember everything about the [Cinema Dungeon]. Dok-Ja-ssi did this here….”
The locations where each of the companions joined the group might have been different. The time they remembered, and the ‘Kim Dok-Ja’ they remembered, were also different.
Despite all that, just like how Yu Jung-Hyeok’s numerous regression turns eventually gathered to become ‘one person’, it was a similar story for Kim Dok-Ja, as well.
“The [Absolute Throne]. According to Dok-Ja hyung’s words…”
Parts of Kim Dok-Ja different people liked gathered to become one Kim Dok-Ja. And…
“….I miss it back then.”
…And Kim Dok-Ja’s parts gathered in that manner caused the companions to start loving the other parts still unfamiliar to them.
Han Su-Yeong slowly turned her head and her eyes caught the figure of Yu Jung-Hyeok sitting in a lotus position. Golden rings were looping around his entire body as he trained hard in order to evolve his Stigma.
Han Su-Yeong wordlessly observed him for a while, before asking a question. “Hey. I was curious about something.”
“I’m concentrating, so stop bothering me.”
“You told me earlier that you recalled the memories from the 0th turn, didn’t you?”
One of the golden rings went out of the loop. As faint sparks danced around him, Yu Jung-Hyeok cracked open his eyelids just a little.
Han Su-Yeong grinned and asked again. “What exactly did you remember?”
He hesitated for a long time before replying. “Kim Dok-Ja was there.”
“That’s why I became certain. Certain that Kim Dok-Ja was still alive as the ‘Most Ancient Dream’.”
“What was he doing there, anyway?”
“I can’t remember everything, but….” Yu Jung-Hyeok scowled heavily and while looking at his [Dark Heavenly Demon Sword], spoke in a seething tone of voice. “I know for certain that he hit me in the back of my head.”
I opened my eyes while sensing the clunking, noisy vibration of the subway train.
⸢I t’s ok to sl eep mo re Kim Dok Ja⸥
“I’ve slept enough.”
I stretched my heavy-feeling limbs, and sensed the vitality return slowly to the rest of my body.
Most of the powers I spent watching the 0th turn had been recovered. The right arm I sacrificed in order to facilitate Yu Jung-Hyeok’s regression had almost fully regrown by now, too.
But for some reason, it felt as if my whole body was lighter than before. Should I say that my body size had shrunken overall?
⸢Yu Jung-Hyeok began his second life.⸥
Yu Jung-Hyeok as he lived through the first turn was now reflected on the display panel.
I recalled his figure as he was leaving the 0th turn. Even though he had reached the most ideal conclusion that I could think of, he still chose to regress.
To find out the reason why he was born into this world.
To find the cause behind his existence in this reality.
“The 4th Wall.”
“If every creature was born because someone had ‘read’ them…. You think there is an existence reading about me somewhere, too?”
[The 4th Wall] didn’t reply. Maybe, even it also had no clue about this topic.
I began imagining the ‘other reader’ observing me from somewhere. However, it was harder than I thought. Just like how it was with the first ‘Most Ancient Dream’, a god could very well be a helpless, powerless creature. It could even be someone that I recognised, too.
Maybe it was one of the <Kim Dok-Ja Company>’s members?
Could it be that I existed in this place because they were imagining about me?
⸢Wan na l o o k?⸥
I shifted my gaze towards the screen displaying Yu Jung-Hyeok’s 1st turn. “Maybe later. I still have lots of other world-lines to look at, after all.”
It was around then that the subway’s speed began decreasing gradually.
[The train will be flying over the outskirts of the dream.]
A portion of the screens was switched off, and the panoramic view of the universe was shown outside the windows, instead.
Even before I could ask, [The 4th Wall] spoke first.
⸢Uni ver se’s ou ts kir ts, bor der zo nes of oth er dim en sio ns⸥
Faint rays of light could be spied within the universe’s pitch-black night skies.
For sure, this seemed quite different from the <Star Stream>’s universe. Because, this particular universe was shaped like a warped tree.
“…What’s over there? Are there universes different than mine?”
⸢’Star Stream’ is j u s t one of ma ny wo rldv iews in the gr eater uni ver se⸥
[Currently, the train is flying past the outskirts of ‘Tree of Illusion’.]
[Currently, the train is passing through the Dark Dimension’s time axis.]
The Tree of Illusion. That seemed like the name of the tree over there.
….Was I mistaken, though? I thought I heard that name before somewhere.
“Can we go there?”
⸢Too dan ger ous so bet ter not⸥
“Is there a ‘Most Ancient Dream’ over there, too?”
⸢Th ere is but dif fer ent n a m e⸥
Numerous roots extending well below, stems created out of countless souls, and way above them all, branches assimilated into the night sky. The roots and branches circled around the vast distance of the universe to connect with each other, and something resembling a massive eye was in the middle – a lone eye, illuminating the universe with boiling, licking flames. The moment my gaze met that eye’s, I was overcome with this inexplicable chill.
[A problem has occurred in the system!]
The subway’s speed rapidly fell along with the loud clunking noise. Lights within the train flickered and died without warning, and a metallic screech reverberated within. This was almost the same as back when the first scenario was issued. Loud ringing exploded in my ears, soon followed by a bizarre machine-like grinding noise next.
Something was approaching the window of the subway.
⸢Kim Dok Ja dan ger⸥
And then, I saw a single ray of light.
⸢Oth er di men sion’s ab so lu te be ing⸥
At the end of that ray of light was a single blade. This light sliced past the Dark Stratum and flew straight in, seemingly splitting the entirety of the universe in the process. I clearly witnessed what that technique was.
That was ‘Thrust’.
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I was thrown ungainly to the floor as the explosion went off.
I reflexively awakened my Fables and hurriedly raised my head, only to discover the sword that had already broken past the train’s entrance. It was a sword with a blade darker than the darkness itself. And a naked man was standing there glaring at me, his hand gripping that very sword.
“You bastard, are you the <<Big Brother>>?”
<Epilogue 2. Not found anywhere (2)> Fin.