Omniscient Reader - Chapter 371

Published at 20th of July 2019 04:00:05 PM

Chapter 371: 371
As soon as she opened her eyes, Han Su-Yeong spat out a mouthful of blood .

Only after the black-coloured blood filled up the ground in a rather large quantity did she finally regain her wits . The first thing she saw was the dense forest . It wasn't the location where she'd been fighting against Yu Joong-Hyeok just now .
"I really almost died back there . Yu Joong-Hyeok, you son of a bitch . . . . "
If she hadn't transferred her memories to a dummy Avatar on standby at the very last moment, she'd have died for real .

[You have exhausted today's allotment for the authorisation of 'Memory Transfer' . ]

[From now on, the applicable Avatar will act as your true body . ]

She'd been expecting something like this to happen .

[Fable, 'Predictive Plagiarism', is hesitantly carrying on with its storytelling . ]

Han Su-Yeong got to clearly witness several 'scenes' through this Fable called ⸢Predictive Plagiarism⸥, the one she earned after experiencing that mysterious dream .
Such as, the various futures that would change according to the choices she'd make – Kim Dok-Ja's death, or maybe, even Yu Joong-Hyeok's death . And then, the sole future where both of those terrible choices could be avoided altogether .

[Due to the penalty of 'Memory Transfer', your physical abilities will be weakened significantly . ]

"I swear, if either one of them is dead, then I . . . . !"
Han Su-Yeong complained unhappily to herself and tried to sense the waves of magical energy from the surroundings . She still needed to locate the direction where those two were .
Not too long afterwards, her senses picked up on two rather enormous Statuses . She quickly ran in that direction .
Out of all the futures she read, this was the 'only one that worked out fine' . Kim Dok-Ja didn't die, and for the first time ever, those two idiots would get to share a proper conversation .
That's what Han Su-Yeong's [Predictive Plagiarism] had predicted, and that was why she didn't try to dodge Yu Joong-Hyeok's sword at the last second . So, Kim Dok-Ja should definitely be alive .
It was around here that she heard the sound of a sword clashing against something else .
'… . Are they still fighting?
These idiots, I even died so that you two could talk to each other, but this . . . . '
She figured that she really needed to give these two men a harsh earful when she arrived there . But, when she pushed past the bushes and stepped forward, the ensuing spectacle freaked her out in a rather grand manner .
Kwa-aaang!! Bang!!!
Yu Joong-Hyeok was mercilessly slamming his sword down on Kim Dok-Ja, currently sprawled out on the ground .
"Hey!! You crazy son of a bitch!!"


'… . I guess it didn't work?'
Yu Joong-Hyeok observed Kim Dok-Ja lying on the ground . On the chest of the unconscious man, the shallow wound left behind by his [Dark Heavenly Demon Sword] was clearly visible .
'But, I thought I saw it just now . '
Yu Joong-Hyeok grasped his sword tightly and focused his mind . And almost right away, he sensed the dark aura oozing out from Kim Dok-Ja's body .

That was the 'wall', the identity of the strange 'foreignness' he felt whenever he was looking at Kim Dok-Ja .
'I can see it . '
He could see a jet-black wall, composed of countless texts . He raised his sword high up and powerfully smashed down on that wall again .
Now that a Transcender began pounding on it with serious intent, the wall started shaking around in an unstable manner .

['The 4th Wall' is glaring at you . ]

Not caring whether it was glaring or not, Yu Joong-Hyeok continued to pound on that wall .

'Beyond this wall, there might be . . . . '
If it didn't want to open up, then until it did; if it couldn't be broken, then until he broke it down . Again, and again .
But then . . .
"Hey, you crazy bastard!! Have you lost your mind?!"
Accompanied by a shrill voice, he felt a rather powerful impact in the back of his head . Blood trickled down and blocked his vision . Through all that red, he saw Han Su-Yeong kneeling down next to Kim Dok-Ja .
"Hey, Kim Dok-Ja!! Get a hold of yourself! Wake u… . What the heck? He isn't dead?"
Yu Joong-Hyeok scowled unhappily as he staggered on his feet .
"Han Su-Yeong . Do you really wish to die today?"
"You already killed me once today, you bastard . "
"I knew you wouldn't die from the beginning . "
"Stop lying . My acting was beyond perfect, you know . "
She growled angrily and pointed at her Incarnation Body (which was her real body only until a few minutes ago) still lying on some forgotten corner over yonder .
The Incarnation Body, currently crumbling away, showed the definite signs of bleeding out . An [Avatar] wouldn't have bled anything in the first place .
Yu Joong-Hyeok spoke nonchalantly . "An [Avatar] would bleed like the real body if it was imbued with a certain amount of memories . "
"Oh my? And how did you even find that out?"
"From the record you wrote yourself . Specifically, you from the 1863rd turn, that is . "
"Me of that turn wrote all sorts of crap, didn't I? God damn it . "
There were plenty of things she wanted to ask, but she chose not to . Instead, she poked Kim Dok-Ja's cheek and spoke up . "Still, this guy looks like he got completely fooled, doesn't he . "
"Looks that way . "
"How did it go?"
"He went crazy and attacked me . "
Han Su-Yeong smirked and lightly pinched Kim Dok-Ja's cheek as if she was proud of him . "By the way, what's the matter with his chest?"
"He's paying for making me eat dirt . "
" . . . . Dirt??"
"There is something like that . "
She shifted her gaze back to Kim Dok-Ja and his cheek that sagged without any energy . In all honesty, he was only just barely alive, and not one part of his body could be described as 'okay' . Indeed, the surrounding forest had been completely levelled by the battle just now, so it'd be far stranger if his body was left largely unscathed .
Han Su-Yeong understood that this scene of utter destruction was the direct evidence of the conversation that took place between Kim Dok-Ja and Yu Joong-Hyeok .
"So? Did you hear the answer you wanted?"
Yu Joong-Hyeok paused for a moment before making his reply . "A little . "
She could clearly read the depths of emotions contained in that simple reply of "A little" . But they belonged to Kim Dok-Ja and Yu Joong-Hyeok, and no one else . That left her feeling just a bit rueful, a bit lonesome .
"Anyways . You are coming back to now, right?"
Yu Joong-Hyeok mulled over for a while, but then, turned around to leave as if he had said everything there was to say .
She frowned deeply . "Hey, you! At least try to answer properly, will you? I even helped you out, didn't I??"
"The 'Great War of Saints and Demons' is just around the corner . "
Yu Joong-Hyeok continued to walk further away . One step, two steps . . .
Just as Han Su-Yeong was getting ready to shout out something else . . .
Sparks buzzed around Kim Dok-Ja's body and a 'voice' suddenly came out from him .
⸢(Yu Joong-Hyeok-ssi, that stupid scenario isn't the most important thing, you know . )⸥
Startled by this development, Yu Joong-Hyeok quickly unsheathed his blade . The imaginary wall enveloping Kim Dok-Ja was actually moving . Past that wall, someone was speaking to him .
⸢(Do you believe that it's the end when you leave after talking one-sidedly like this?)⸥
No, to be more specific, it wasn't the wall, but rather . . .
⸢(You should experience it as well, what the 'feelings of being a reader' are all about . To understand what it really is . )⸥
The wall that didn't want to break no matter how many times he hit it suddenly developed a small hole on the side, and a hand popped out from this mysterious hole . That hand proceeded to lightly grasp Yu Joong-Hyeok's head and then, slammed it right against the wall .


I was lying in pitch-black darkness by the time I regained my consciousness .
What happened?
Did I die?
… . By Yu Joong-Hyeok?
As the thoughts continued to swirl in my head, I slowly stood back up . I looked around but couldn't see anything . It was then, a bright light from a lantern lit up in front of my eyes .
⸢(Dok-Ja-ssi, so this was where you've been all this time . )⸥
'Is that you, Yu Sang-Ah-ssi?'
⸢(Are you alright?)⸥
'Where am I . . . . ?'
⸢(You're inside the Library . )⸥
Only then did I figure out what had happened . Most likely, I got sucked inside [The 4th Wall] as I blacked out again .
'… . By the way, is it always this dark inside?'
⸢(No, it's just that the Library is in a state of chaos at the moment, you see . The aftershocks of the battle this time killed off all the lanterns inside, and all the bookshelves have fallen down . Everyone is doing their best trying to restore everything right now . )⸥
'My apologies . I have created a lot of trouble for you . '
Yu Sang-Ah grinned softly and shook her head .
⸢(No, not at all . )⸥
'Is there anything I can do to help . . . ?'
⸢(Oh, no . It's fine . You should lay here and rest . I'll sit here and take a short break, as well . )⸥
Yu Sang-Ah let out a grunt and lightly settled down next to me . Her face, as illuminated by the dim light of the lantern was the exact same one from my memories .
⸢(You really did well . )⸥
'… . In regards to?'
⸢(When you said those things . )⸥
I didn't need a lot of time to figure out what she meant by those words . No doubt, she would've borne witness to the spectacle of the outside from behind [The 4th Wall] .
⸢(A proper relationship starts from the act of introducing oneself first, doesn't it? It's possible that you two might become real friends this time . )⸥
'… . That would be great if such a thing was possible, but . . . '
I wasn't expecting much, though . Honestly, I thought that it'd be a huge relief with Yu Joong-Hyeok's anger being soothed, somehow . No matter what I said, it'd be quite impossible to soften the sense of betrayal he must've felt .
Books discarded on the floor seemed to be rolling around everywhere . Without thinking too much about it, I picked one up .

『Kim Dok-Ja, Records from 15 years old, Volume #25』

I sneakily closed the book and chucked the damn thing deep into the darkness .
⸢(Uhm, excuse me, Dok-Ja-ssi?)⸥
⸢(Actually, well, I read that book . Just a little bit . )⸥
'… . How much did you read?'
⸢( . . . . Almost the whole book, if I'm honest . I find these more interesting than the 'Ways of Survival', you see . . . . I'm sorry . )⸥
My face reddened from heat, but there was naught that could be done when she had already read it .
'It's fine . I do feel a bit ashamed, but still . '
I did think that, with Yu Sang-Ah being a part of the 'Library', such memories would possibly end up being exposed, anyway . She carefully picked up the books rolling around on the floor, one by one, and dusted them before gathering them all together .
They were all my memories .
Her expression, as dyed by the darkness, was hard to see, but I could nevertheless sense how troubled she was feeling right now . Perhaps to console her, I picked up one of the books she had been gathering .
'… . Been a while, this thing . '

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All these gathered books were my stories .
Kim Dok-Ja, 15 years old . 18 years old . 23 . 28 . . . .
I slowly flipped through the pages .
Kim Dok-Ja, who didn't have a father .
Kim Dok-Ja, who didn't have any friends .
Kim Dok-Ja, who lost his mother .
It was a life that always lacked something, or something kept disappearing from it .

⸢A lone existence is a being that doesn't exist . Kim Dok-Ja was always alone . And that was why he was the only child (dokja/獨子), and the 'Kim Dok-Ja' didn't exist . ⸥

What sorrowfully reasonable words those were .

⸢However, there was a sole moment where that Kim Dok-Ja did exist; that was when the dokja (only child/獨子) became the dokja (reader/讀者) . ⸥

A life story being told like a lengthy report on a single book, that was basically my life in a nutshell . I spent my teenage years along with the 'Ways of Survival', and hid behind the wall this story created for me to dodge the pointed fingers of other people .

⸢At last . He'd come to life only when reading the 'Way of Survival' . ⸥

I sensed Yu Sang-Ah's gaze, staring at me from my side . I wasn't sure why, but it also felt like it wasn't her alone; maybe, other Librarians were also watching me from somewhere within the darkness .
It was right then, an unexpected text caught my eyes within the opened page .

⸢I met a strange person today during the interview . That person's name is Yu Sang-Ah . ⸥

The moment I read that, I unknowingly closed the book shut .
… . Could it be that, Yu Sang-Ah-ssi also read this part?
⸢(Haven't you ever wondered about this before, Dok-Ja-ssi?)⸥
'Excuse me? About what . . . ?'
⸢(What if 'scenarios' didn't start? What would have happened to us?)⸥
I hadn't thought about that .
What if, the 'Ways of Survival' didn't become reality back then?
What if, the novel 'Ways of Survival' came to its natural conclusion and time continued to tick by, what would've happened to me?
… . Would I still be alive?
Could I have been able to carry on?
⸢(Would we be still working for the same company as before?)⸥
'Well, my contract hadn't been extended, so… . I guess I might have been searching for a job in other companies . '
Right, I wouldn't have died that easily . I would've thought about dying every now and then, and also, there could've been many a day when I fell asleep while re-reading the 'Ways of Survival', but… . Yeah, I wouldn't have died . Not that easily .
I'd have continued to live on, somehow .
'In that world, I wouldn't have become a friend with you, Yu Sang-Ah-ssi . My workplace would've changed, and we wouldn't have a reason to get in contact with each other, after all . '
⸢(Even still, wouldn't we have tried to call each other some times?)⸥
'Well . . . . '
⸢(I think we would have . I'm sure that, even after you left the company, I'd keep on remembering you . You are a strange person, after all . )⸥
'… . Are you trying to get back at me?'
Yu Sang-Ah formed a refreshing grin and carried on .
⸢(I'd probably have gotten curious about your welfare . Is he doing okay? He's not sick, is he? Did he find a new job? What about marriage . . . )⸥
'I don't think I'd have gotten married . I couldn't even take care of myself properly back then . '

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⸢(Well, it's true that one doesn't have to get married . I also found it easier to live alone, you see . )⸥
'Even you, Sang-Ah-ssi?'
⸢(Yes . See, I told you . We'd have been good friends, I think . )⸥
'… . You really think so?'
⸢(Yes, of course . We'd study Spanish together, enter a rider's club and ride bicycles together, too . . . . )⸥
'Or, to get ready for our old age, we start recommending savings plan or retirement funds . '
⸢(After we grow old and can't move anymore, we'd help each other to get to hospitals . )⸥
'I guess we could have lived pretty close by, in that case . '
⸢(Of course . Maybe, we might have lived right next to each other . )⸥
We continued to chat away . We talked about things that could no longer be . Things that could never become a reality .
Just like how the 'Ways of Survival' was to me once upon a time .
Yu Sang-Ah continued on .
⸢(Along with Hui-Won-ssi, Hyeon-Seong-ssi, and Ji-Hye, too . . . . It'd be wonderful if other kids also lived nearby . . . . . Even Su-Yeong-ssi, too . )⸥
Even if such a world did really exist, it was not possible that all of them could be together . Because . . . they were characters from a novel . They were . . .
'… . Yes, it'd be really wonderful if that was true . '
⸢(Ah, Joong-Hyeok-ssi, as well . Although his personality is terrible, he's a great cook, so I think it'll be nice to become his friend . )⸥
Without a warning, something welled up from deep inside my heart .
⸢(Hui-Won-ssi and Hyeon-Seong-ssi would be… . Fufufu, in any case . And so we . . . . . We'd all be growing older, little by little . In a world without scenarios, no Constellations, and no Dokkaebis . Where we'd meet up to share our stories, and while sharing nice foods . . . . )⸥
I recalled the countless world-lines that I witnessed together with the 'Secretive Plotter' . Among all those possible worlds, maybe, just maybe, one of them could . . .
⸢(It'd been nice if such a world existed somewhere . Don't you agree?)⸥
'There might be one just like that, somewhere . '
⸢(Dok-Ja-ssi . )⸥
⸢(I really enjoyed being with you, Dok-Ja-ssi . )⸥
'… . . . . . '
⸢(I think it's time for me to go now . )⸥
'Yu Sang-Ah-ssi . '
Actually, I had realised it a little while ago – why she suddenly began talking to me about such things .

['Master of the Island' is calling out to Incarnation 'Yu Sang-Ah' . ]

By seizing the opening created by the weakening of [The 4th Wall], the master of these islands was calling out to Yu Sang-Ah .
… . The King of the Reincarnators .
Finally, the moment we've been waiting for had come . Indeed, one of the reasons why we decided to come to the Isle of Reincarnators was here .
⸢(This Library, it's a warm and cosy and nice place to be, but . . . But, I can't remain here forever, you know . )⸥
'But, hang on for a second, Sang-Ah-ssi . You don't have to be in such a hurry to . . . . !'
Yu Sang-Ah shook her head . Just like me, she too had read the 'Ways of Survival' by now . What I wanted to say, she already knew them all .
⸢(There is almost nothing that I can do in here . As long as I'm here, I'll always remain as a simple 'reader' . )⸥
I looked up at her with a resolute expression, my lips firmly shut .
I wanted to stop her . I wanted to ask if it'd be fine for us to talk for a bit longer .
Unfortunately, I couldn't .
⸢(Dok-Ja-ssi, you told me this once before that you have only one turn, and that the world we need to live in is this one . That's why . . . . I'll say it like this . )⸥
White light enveloped Yu Sang-Ah as she placed her hand on my head, a smile forming on her lips .
⸢(Let's meet again in the next life . )⸥

< episode="" 70:="" a="" story="" that="" can't="" be="" shared="" (3)=""> Fin .