Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint - Chapter 536
Chapter 536: Epilogue 4 – The Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint (1)
I remembered the first time I read that novel.
A really stuffy, boring hospital’s ward. A single PC located in its lobby.
When I stood in line to have a go at it, a gentleman wearing a fedora stepped aside for me. The computer screen at the time was showing the webnovel platform that enjoyed visiting.
I dazedly stared at the screen before inputting the keywords. I might have inserted three or so words, but couldn’t quite remember what I typed back then. However, I still remembered what I was thinking of back then. The mechanical pencil leads strewn about on the classroom floor, the indigo-hued skies extending far beyond outside the windows.
What I could tell for sure was that my hands, used to open the classroom window, had typed something and that lead me to discover that novel.
⸢Three Ways to Survive in a Ruined World⸥
Through that story, I survived.
⸢He was definitely not at fault for this story being born⸥
I felt sick inside. I couldn’t fight against the dizziness and collapsed on the floor. The texts before my eyes were blurry and hard to see.
⸢Han Su-Yeong was tls123.⸥
While panting heavily, I lay unmoving on the floor for a long time. Only the same exact question continued to swirl around in my head – the question of “But, why?”
⸢Why, for someone like me?⸥
I remained collapsed for a while. I thought I cried, too. However, no matter how I thrashed and screamed and sobbed, the already-written sentences couldn’t be changed. Han Su-Yeong had to spend 13 years of life just for me, and helped me live by crafting sentences literally carved out of her. And then, she was extinguished.
⸢Kim Dok Ja⸥
[The 4th Wall] was calling out to me. I quietly listened to the next words.
⸢Y o u sho uld r e a d⸥
I gingerly stood back up. My reflection on the windows was a complete mess. It’d be hard to call my body an adult’s anymore. My height had decreased a lot, and my face had gotten younger, too. The coat I wore no longer fit me. I stared at that face for a long time, before taking the coat off for good.
“….How many years has it been?”
⸢Ear th’s ti me h a s no mea ning he re⸥
I understood what that meant.
This subway was the location where the ‘Most Ancient Dream’ had his dreams. So, the time of other world-lines couldn’t measure the ‘time’ flowing within this train.
In all honesty, I had completely lost all sense of time after entering this train, anyway.
“Even then, there should still be this thing called perceived time, right?”
⸢Ar ound 21763 y e a r s⸥
“It’s not as long as I thought. I’m still way younger than the ‘Secretive Plotter’, right?”
⸢St ill a li ttle r un t⸥
I heard [The 4th Wall] cackle away. If it wasn’t for this guy’s presence here, I’d have gone insane a long time ago.
Along with the ‘Pah-sususu’ noise, the tip of my pinky decreased a little.
Since when did this start from, I wondered. I didn’t do anything, yet my body continued to grow smaller. Well, if I were to be more specific, it wasn’t really ‘I didn’t do anything’, though.
“….Will I keep getting smaller?” I stared at the crumbs of Fables drifting away outside the windows and asked. “Where are those Fables going off to, anyway?”
⸢To uni ver se’s sub con scious ness⸥
“And where is that?”
⸢In a wor ld-li ne y o u ar en’t con sci ous of⸥
The role of the ‘Most Ancient Dream’ was to imagine all of the world-lines. Even if I wasn’t conscious of it, my subconsciousness was still continuously watching the world-lines.
⸢Tho se Fables wi ll be reb orn as ano ther Kim Dok Ja⸥
“As another Kim Dok-Ja?”
⸢Me ta phor ica lly spea king its li ke th at⸥
I thought I could understand what [The 4th Wall] was saying.
Fables were streaming beyond the galaxies to head towards another world-line.
Those Fables were, in essence, ‘me’.
Just like the 49% version of me living along with my companions somewhere in the 1864th regression turn, my fragments could very well be reborn as ‘Kim Dok-Ja’ in a world-line somewhere out there.
“If it’s only that little, I think it’ll be a bit of a push to call that guy ‘Kim Dok-Ja’. I mean, he won’t be the same as me with such a small fragment.”
⸢Y o u mi ght be ri ght⸥
An existence that might have a different name and face to me. Even then, that existence would come to life and start imagining the universe. He’d be moved after reading the story, and then, stare at the world-line.
And just like that, he’d maintain this universe.
Somehow, I thought I could understand the principle of this universe just a little.
I pressed my crumbling fingers against the window. When I did, the rate of crumbling began accelerating.
⸢If y o u do th at⸥
“This is my way of atoning for this story.”
Not just from my fingers, but the Fables began scattering away little by little from the shoulders as well as my legs, too.
The scattered Fables would fly around in the universe and become sentences that go on to support this universe from somewhere.
⸢To say that, though you have grown up while reading this story, there’s no need for you to become it.⸥
That’s what the author of the ‘Ways of Survival’, Han Su-Yeong said.
I had clearly heard her. Even then, I couldn’t heed her words.
How could I make any other choice when looking at such a story?
When I closed my eyes, the overview of the entire universe would get drawn inside my head.
Han Su-Yeong wrote the story.
Yu Jung-Hyeok lived that story.
And, I read that very story.
And that’s how this world barely managed to reach its completion.
Because this tragedy existed, I got to meet certain people.
Someone was able to get saved, too.
⸢Kim Dok-Ja stared into the universe with no visible end.⸥
And now, I knew what my future was like. Every time I read something, I’d crumble away. My crumbling Fables would scatter to countless world-lines out there and become the ‘gaze’ that maintained this universe.
I would lose all of my memories, and lose everything that I hold dear. And in the end, only the desire to see the ‘next story’ would remain in me.
But, without that desire, this universe couldn’t continue.
This universe could only continue telling its story as long as someone was looking at it.
Being stuck and unmoving in this universe meant death.
The countless ‘me’ divided into particles continued to spread out to the numerous world-lines out there. The rate of the Fable’s scattering continued to hasten.
“If I forget about everything… I won’t feel this pain anymore, right?”
⸢Y o u wo nt re mem ber any th ing af ter all⸥
To someone who even lost the traces of his loss, no such thing as ‘loss’ existed.
While picking up the smartphone rolling around on the floor, I spoke up. “….Will I have enough time to read it one more time, I wonder?”
I opened the file for the ‘Ways of Survival’, and scrolled up past the [Author’s words] that I had to read with great difficulty.
⸢Three Ways to Survive in a Ruined World.⸥
I started reading this novel from the very beginning.
I read Yu Jung-Hyeok’s 3rd turn. Some stories, I already knew. While some others felt brand new to me.
The so-called final revised version was exactly the same as the original that I remembered.
‘Kim Dok-Ja’ didn’t exist in it.
Just as my Fable scattered away, the sentences from the ‘Ways of Survival’ filled me up inside. When I got tired, I closed my eyes for a little bit and rested, and after resting, I continued reading the novel.
Fifth turn, sixth…. 64th…. 129th…..
The page continued to scroll down, and I was overjoyed or saddened several times.
Not being able to comment did bum me out. I wanted to let Han Su-Yeong know of my emotions one more time. To tell her that I could only come this far because of the story you gave me, that I loved your story more than anyone in this world.
And so, I read. I read, and then, read some more.
How long did I read this very story?
By the time I reached the epilogue, my vision suddenly grew fuzzy.
I even wondered if I became blind after reading a novel for far too long.
[A new update has been completed.]
But then, my vision was slowly restored. What I saw weren’t proper sentences, however. Sentences and paragraphs had become individual fragments.
Words that were no longer in the form of a completed novel. Even then, I could still read them somehow.
⸢A world had been destroyed, and a brand new one was being born.⸥
My heart was beating loudly.
A story I was intimately familiar with was there.
⸢I was the sole reader who knew the conclusion of this world.⸥
Within this story, I existed. And…
⸢”I’m Yu Jung-Hyeok.”⸥
⸢”Ah, it seems that I haven’t introduced myself yet. My name is Han Su-Yeong. I’m the assistant to Cha Sang-Gyeong-nim in the group.⸥
And, they were there, too.
⸢”What if the ‘scenarios’ didn’t start, what would’ve happened to us?”⸥
⸢”Dok-Ja-ssi, your sponsor isn’t something like the ‘One-eyed Fortuneteller’, right?”⸥
⸢”Dok-Ja-ssi, have you thrown a hand grenade before?”⸥
⸢”Ahjussi, do you have any particular food you like?”⸥
We broke past the scenarios, together.
⸢Hyung, are you maybe a god?⸥
⸢”Load the cannons.”⸥
⸢”Everyone, fight to your hearts’ content. I won’t let anyone die.”⸥
⸢”You stinking bastards!! Again, you didn’t even come to fetch me….!!”⸥
⸢”The one I like isn’t you, but the ‘Demon King of Salvation’….⸥
And, I lived my life together with them.
⸢”The next scenario is….”⸥
We experienced trials, and had to face off against life-threatening situations many times.
We met Constellations.
We broke past seemingly-impossible scenarios several times.
And eventually, reached the end of the hellish scenarios.
⸢[Your ■■ is ‘Eternity’.]⸥
The companions returned to their everyday lives.
⸢Some people were rebuilding the destroyed PC Bangs. They were putting up the torn posters of the computer games once more. In the world where the apocalypse had been overcome, people would search for other forms of entertainment once more. Yu Jung-Hyeok observed this spectacle, and quietly clenched his right hand that hadn’t held a mouse in a long, long while.⸥
⸢Shin Yu-Seung and Yi Gil-Yeong were enrolled into a temporary school. Not an elementary, not a secondary, nor was it a high school – no, it was as the word implied, a ‘temporary’ school. Shin Yu-Seung was surprised to learn that such a place could exist in this world.⸥
⸢Yi Ji-Hye stared at the sight of the destroyed ‘Taepung Girls’ High’ for a long time, then started walking on the school’s athletics field. She used to run on this very field with her friends once upon a time. She quietly stared at the worn-out track lines, before cautiously assuming the starting posture.⸥
While reading the continuing stories of my companions, I wiped my eyes several times.
This was the ending to this story.
The companions were definitely living their lives in that place. They ate, they slept, they met with each other and talked. And ‘I’ was there, too.
The 49% version of me. Kim Dok-Ja that had the memories of the companions, but didn’t know anything about the ‘Ways of Survival’…
⸢And Kim Dok-Ja read those sentences.⸥
⸢”You, just who the hell are you?”⸥
What was going on here?
⸢”Speak. Who the hell are you?”⸥
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
⸢”I’m sure of it. Kim Dok-Ja is still in that place.”⸥
⸢”If you get a chance to run again, do you believe you can see it better the next time?”⸥
The story was continuing on. The story that should’ve ended didn’t end.
More correctly, they chose to ‘not end it’.
⸢[Stigma, ‘Group Regression Lv.1’ is activating!]⸥
I read that sentence half in despair.
This shouldn’t have happened. This sentence, it should never have been written.
But the sentence uncaringly led to the next one.
⸢”Remember this. We have only one opportunity.”⸥
The companions, they were fighting again.
The hellish scenarios were a place they shouldn’t have gone back to, no matter what their reasons were. Even then, my companions returned to that place.
⸢”Hey, shorty. You aren’t going to flip a coin this time?”
“It’ll be the same whether I do or not, you know.”
“What do you mean?”
“Even if I flip it a hundred times and it comes out only once, even if only one percent of hyung remains in that place, I’ll still go there to rescue him. Because, that one percent is still hyung.”⸥
Then, the scenario commenced. And in the midst of the banquet of Coins exploding in the air, Dokkaebis of <Star Stream> were clearly freaking out.
Within the explosive level of interest shown by the Constellations, the companions were shouting out loudly.
⸢”Hey, Abaddon! Choose me! I’m gonna absolutely become hundreds of times stronger than that sooty bastard in the future!”⸥
⸢”General-nim! Are you there? I know you’re looking at me right now!”⸥
⸢”I don’t need any sponsors, so please just give me Coins, instead.”⸥
⸢”….Black Flame Dragon, stop pestering me with messages while I’m still being civil, okay? I told you I won’t choose you this time around.”⸥
They had to be insane.
⸢”Fufufu, you sure took your sweet time getting to Chungmuro. You think you can rescue that ‘Bi-sil-ee’ like this? As an aside, this whole area is now this great one’s territo….” ⁽¹⁾
“Will you just shut up and hand over the flag, Gong Pil-Du?”⸥
These people who lost their minds were clearing the scenario with insane methods.
Dangerous moments came in their direction many times, but the companions never yielded once.
⸢[Incarnation, ‘Yi Ji-Hye’, is activating Stigma, ‘Transmission Lv.1’!]⸥
⸢”You stinking sooty bastard! This is why only you got stronger, by using crap like this!”⸥
The [Transmission]. The regressor-specific skill that allowed one to strongly ‘ruminate’ over the memories from the previous life and let one regain their past skills.
⸢”Uriel! Great Sage! Abyssal Black Flame Dragon!”⸥
And with the aid from the Constellations added in, the companions got to clear the scenario at a considerable pace. It truly was an amazing marching speed.
⸢”We can clear this with Avatars. No one has to die.”⸥
However, it wasn’t as if they emerged as unopposed victors every single time.
⸢”Conquering King. My apologies, but you need to die here.”⸥
Some of the people they regressed with turned out to be traitors.
⸢”Had you regained your original strength, all three of us combined wouldn’t even be a match to you, but….”
“But, as it is now? It’s a different story.”⸥
I bit down on my lip.
These people joined the regression journey while harbouring impure motivation from the very beginning.
And to make matters worse, they aimed for the early part of the scenarios, when Yu Jung-Hyeok was with Yu Mi-Ah. They probably thought that he’d be at his weakest around this point in time.
⸢However, that was a miscalculation.⸥
Almost at the same time Yu Jung-Hyeok spoke up, a lengthy sword emerged from Yu Mi-Ah’s mouth.
⸢The Dark Heavenly Demon Sword.⸥
The highest-grade item that could only be acquired around the middle stages of the scenarios, was now firmly gripped in Yu Jung-Hyeok’s hand. Chills ran down my skin. I had no idea that Yu Mi-Ah’s ‘Inventory’ could be used in that fashion…
While emitting truly incredible killing intent, Yu Jung-Hyeok coldly declared.
Sentences continued on sporadically after that.
⸢”The ‘Demon King of Salvation’ during this turn is me!”
“What the hell, we agreed that I’ll be the one! That Modifier is mine, noona!”⸥
The companions didn’t concede an inch to anyone, and…
⸢Majority of the Constellations are baring their animosity towards ‘Kim Dok-Ja Company’s’ Incarnations!⸥
And, they didn’t compromise once with anyone, either.
The Kim Dok-Ja-less ‘Kim Dok-Ja Company’ continued to clear the scenarios in a pace not too slow, but not too fast, either
Certain scenes were dealt with using simple descriptions, while some others were completely omitted. The later they got in the scenarios, the worse the segmentation of each scenes became. It was as if the rough sketches of ideas had been left behind there, instead.
Companions who were at the 20th scenario were suddenly in the 15th, then they could be found in the 35th next. However, there was no doubt that the companions were there. And I could imagine them.
⸢They ran on the blank margins.⸥
They were running on the scenario’s field of snow. And they were advancing forward one sentence at a time. They were gradually getting closer to me.
While looking at them, I repeated the cycle of crying and sleeping. The fuzzier my consciousness became, the stronger my desire grew. Even though I knew that I shouldn’t think this way, I couldn’t stop myself.
⸢I want to read this story for a little bit longer.⸥
Just like that, I read the disconnected sentences, and then, read the one after that. And I imagined what might be between those sentences, as if I was groping around in the dark.
The viewpoint that the author couldn’t control, and one that no reader could predict.
And within this space between the lines not addressed by any sentences, the companions continued to complete the scenarios little by little.
⸢Inside this space between the lines where no one could intrude upon their lives, they remained as gods of this story.⸥
While reading their story, I blacked out several times. My reading speed got worse and worse, and my Fable was disappearing bit by bit, as well. Meanwhile, the sentences of my companions continued to diligently pile up. To the 98th scenario, and then, to the 99th once more. Sentences written by their own lives were accurately being compiled one by one. And eventually….
⸢They have finally reached the conclusion she had written.⸥
The very last sentence arrived at my doorstep. That was the end of the ‘Ways of Survival’, a story seemingly abandoned in the middle of being written. A story that didn’t get completed because of that reason.
From beyond the very last sentence of the story, a certain noise came to me. A noise that sounded like someone calling out to someone else. Or perhaps, the noise of someone knocking on the door.
The smartphone went off with a ‘tab!’ noise, and its pitch-black screen reflected my face, now that of a child. I was crying.
⸢Kim Dok-Ja slowly raised his head.⸥Read latest Chapters at WuxiaWorld.Site Only
I felt the faint vibration of the subway. Since when did it start?
Someone was pounding on the rear door of the train’s cabin.
<Epilogue 4. The Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint (1)> Fin.