Omniscient Reader - Chapter 533

Published at 18th of February 2020 02:35:10 PM

Chapter 533

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She had suddenly become a sixth-year elementary school kid. How come?

For the remainder of dawn, Han Su-Yeong stewed in her stupefaction. Initially, she wondered if she had regressed like Yu Jung-Hyeok.
[Self-regulated activity period has concluded.]
[Next self-regulated activity period is scheduled to take place in around 14 hours.]
[The body's control has been rescinded.]
However, she got to figure out what happened to her after those messages floated up and she lost control of her own body.
[You can exercise the control only when the main body's ego has entered the sleep mode.]
She had taken possession of her own younger self.
'….Could this be a new type of scenario?'
No matter how long she waited, though, stuff like scenario messages never popped up.
She 'watched' her younger self wake up with a dishevelled face, wash up, eat breakfast, and head off to school. She couldn't do anything else besides that.
And exactly 14 hours later, the following messages popped up.
[The main body's ego has fallen asleep.]
[Self-regulated activity will now begin.]
[Control of the body has been handed over to you.]
She'd stay as a dumb little 13-year-old kid during the daytime, while during the night, her body's control would revert to her like clockwork. And then, she'd start crying out in lamentation like this next.
".....What the hell am I supposed to do here?"
Her head was in a mess. If this was really the 'First World-line', her actions of now could influence the rest of the world-lines yet to be born in the future.
After sucking in deep breaths, she decided to first check out the situation she was in.
Expensive but simple furniture filled this three-bedroom-plus-living-room house. Han Su-Yeong was quite familiar with it.
The housekeeper that came to work early every morning, the lazy guard that monitored all visitors, and her parents that came to visit her on the weekends in alternating turns while being driven on new cars every time.
Her father was a National Assembly member, while mother was an actress. Han Su-Yeong never thought of them as her family, though.
The world didn't know of her existence. And her so-called parents, they probably didn't want her existence to be revealed to the world, either.
"....It's really the same."
Han Su-Yeong browsed through the pile of books on top of the desk belonging to her 13-year-old self. Some were books she really liked, while some, she couldn't even recognise. The faint, blurry memories must be held in possession by her other self. In any case, it was crystal clear that she had read them all judging by the hand stains left on the books.
⸢To each and everyone, a life that's only theirs exists.⸥
She saw a line drawn under some throwaway quote and felt a chill creep down her skin. Such unimpressive sentences piled up and would eventually go on to become the human Han Su-Yeong. Probably.
It was then that he heard a sound of doorbell going off.

….At this late hour?
She hurriedly pressed the intercom button to confirm. At first, she wondered if it was the guard, but when she took a closer look at the intercom screen, he had been already knocked out cold. And a middle-aged man wearing a fedora was smiling in her direction and waving his hand.
- It's me, Dokkaebi King.
"Why do you look like that?"
"When I arrived here, I suddenly morphed into a human being. I'm almost fully stripped of my system authority, too..... But, why have you become so much younger?"
"You made me like this, didn't you?"
"I certainly did not. The influence of the great Probability has... Actually, forgive me for this intrusion."
Han Su-Yeong groaned and guided the Dokkaebi King inside the house.
"Do you live alone?" It asked her.
"I do."
"You seem to have some spare rooms."
"....I'm telling you this now, don't expect me to put you up in here."
The Dokkaebi King pouted in disappointment from that.
Han Su-Yeong boiled a simple teabag and brought it out, then asked her guest. "Okay. What is your reason for bringing me to this world-line?"
"We shall go and search for the 'creator' together."
"That's something we should think about from here on."
"You came here without any preparations or knowing anything?"

"Of course not. I do have my suspicions. For instance, that novel."
Han Su-Yeong's expression hardened. As expected, it seemed that the Dokkaebi King had been aware of the existence of 'Ways of Survival.'
"The author of that novel is probably the 'god' that constructed this universe," said the Dokkaebi King.
The author who wrote 'Three Ways to Survive in a Ruined World'.
Han Su-Yeong sighed softly, and fetched her notebook PC. "I've already tried to search for it, though."
- There are no matching results.
"That novel, it hasn't been uploaded yet."
"....Hmm. Maybe something had gone wrong somewhere?"
"No, it's more like we came here too early. I'm pretty sure that the serialisation will start this year."
"How do you know that?"
"If what I heard is right, the first time Kim Dok-Ja read this novel was when he was 15. I'm 13 right now, so he must be 15."
She recalled a certain crumpled memo pad Kim Dok-Ja gave to her in the past. He must've been in a rush, but he still managed to write down all sorts of information on that little thing.
"That great one is 15 years old, is it... Something's rather cute....."
"I'm more curious about something else, though."
"Such as?"
"What will happen if the 'Ways of Survival' doesn't appear in this world?"
"Excuse me?" The Dokkaebi King stumbled a little from her question before speaking up. "Hmm... If that happens, then the great one won't get to read the novel."
"Since he won't get to read it, that naturally means the 'Ways of Survival' won't become reality either, right?"
"....That might be plausible. At the very least, the 'apocalypse' might not get triggered for the world-lines about to be branched off from here."
In that case, if they could prevent Kim Dok-Ja from reading the 'Ways of Survival', then that meant they could potentially stop the apocalypse of this world-line, too.
"I think I get the general gist of your idea. Are you trying to stop the serialisation of the 'Ways of Survival'?" The Dokkaebi King asked.
"That's right."
Han Su-Yeong nodded her head. As long as this tls123 was not a supernatural existence, she might be able to prevent the destruction of this world with her powers alone.
But then, the Dokkaebi King tackled her down verbally. "Yours is indeed an intriguing idea. However, you don't even know who the author is...."
"Have you ever read that novel before?"
"No, I haven't. Have you?"
"Yeah." Han Su-Yeong pondered something for a little bit before continuing on. "That novel, it's really badly written."
"From the very beginning, it's filled with way too much exposition, while the chapter lengths are all over the place, and the work doesn't even try to accommodate its potential readers. Only Kim Dok-Ja alone managed to read it from start to finish."
"Hoh. As expected of the great...."
"You think such a thing even makes sense?"
The Dokkaebi King narrowed its eyes as if to ask, what are you talking about.
Han Su-Yeong continued on. "An author who doesn't read his own novel? Someone like that doesn't exist. And because of the unique traits of a webnovel platform, you can never perfectly fix anything, so you don't have a choice but to re-read your uploaded chapters several times even if to check for typos and stuff. But then.... past the 100th chapter, the view count became just 'one' for the remainder of that novel."
Only then did the Dokkaebi King's eyes widened, as if it finally understood what she was saying. "Could it be.....?"
"It is. The author of the 'Ways of Survival' that I think is none other than that idiot. I don't know why he's denying being the author even after writing it himself, but I'm sure about this."
One of her old habits was to leave a blank Korean word processor page displayed on her notebook. While looking at the blinking cursor, she spoke up. "We need to find Kim Dok-Ja. Before he starts that damn 'Ways of Survival'."
The problem was with how to find that 'Kim Dok-Ja'.
"Do you know where he lives? I no longer have the power of the system, so we need to personally locate him," said the Dokkaebi King.
"I'm sure he's somewhere around Seoul."
"....Don't you know any other distinguishing traits of his?"
"He's probably hiding somewhere, busy reading fantasy novels or something...."
"How are we even supposed to find him with such information??"
"Argh, I don't know. It's your job to come up with something. I'm only an elementary school kid, you know."
After saying that, Han Su-Yeong blacked out immediately. When she came to, the Dokkaebi King must've gone somewhere, as it was nowhere to be found.
"....This was why I always dozed off back in school."

She always wondered why she felt so sleepy whenever she got to school... As it turned, her condition was due to another ego waking up and doing its own thing during the night time.
Since waiting for the Dokkaebi King proved to be rather boring, Han Su-Yeong did what she could during the early hours of the morning.
Most of that was browsing through various blogs.
"That guy, I'm pretty sure he was a blogger....."
And when even that became too boring, she created a secret folder in the notebook and started writing novels. Most of them were simple 'minifictions' written solely for the purpose of keeping her writer's sense sharp. However, something truly strange happened the next day she completed them. Her 13-year-old ego active during the daytime ended up causing a big event.
"Su-Yeong-ah, since when did you learn to write so well?"
The school suddenly hosted a writing contest and she won the top prize. Not only that, the content of her writing was exactly the same as the minifiction she cobbled together during the early hours, too.
"Just, you know, it came flooding out," her 13-year-old self replied.
Han Su-Yeong looked back, and recalled that people began saying she had a talent for writing around the time she was 13 or so. With here as the starting point, she would earnestly walk on the path of the full-fledged writer.
And so, a month passed by like that, then yet another one.
Han Su-Yeong grew rather invested in spectating her 13-year-old self living her life.
As for the 15-year-old Kim Dok-Ja, he too must be living somewhere in this world. When she thought about that, she felt happy for some reason.
What should she first say to that unlucky idiot when they eventually get to meet each other?
Time went by pretty quickly – September flew by, and it soon became October.
Every now and then, her parents would stop by to leave behind presents she didn't want, and went away again.
Finally, it was December. It was around here that Han Su-Yeong began to realise something didn't feel right.
- There are no matching results.
Why didn't tls123 start his serialisation already? Did she do something wrong and that changed the future? But, that couldn't be possible. She hadn't even met Kim Dok-Ja yet.
….What would happen if the 'Ways of Survival' is not serialised this year?
Would this world continue to exist without the 'Ways of Survival'?
Maybe that wouldn't be such a bad world, in a way.
If the 'Ways of Survival' didn't exist, then this world wouldn't have to greet its apocalypse, either. If so...
It was then she heard the phone go off.
She figured it must've been her parents again, but when she picked up the receiver...
- I've found him.
"What? Where? N-no, hang on. Where are you now?"
Her heart began pounding away.
Kim Dok-Ja had been found. Finally.
However, the next set of words was something that not even her [Predictive Plagiarism] could have predicted.
- I'm currently, well... I'm in the place called a hospital's emergency ward."
Han Su-Yeong avoided the guard's eyes and climbed aboard an early-hours taxi cab. The hospital itself wasn't too far. Doctors and nurses were busily going about their businesses despite the hour being what it was. Screams of pain from the patients intermittently rang out. And empty beds were deeply permeated with the lengthy tendrils of death's scent.
Even in a world without scenarios, people continued to die.
These were very small apocalypses. This was where lives not recorded went to disappear.
Han Su-Yeong, currently half in a daze, scanned all the stretchers.
And that's how she found the 15-year-old Kim Dok-Ja lying on one. His face, deeply sunken and pale. An IV needle was stuck in the boy's wrist wrapped tightly in bandages.
"I'm telling you, it's not our fault! In his school, he....!"
That came from a face not closely resembling Kim Dok-Ja's. A married couple, seemingly cousins once removed from the unconscious boy, were shouting at a doctor in clear bouts of irritation.
Han Su-Yeong stared at them, before demanding an answer from the Dokkaebi King. "How did this guy end up like this?"
"Apparently, he jumped out of the classroom window."
Han Su-Yeong slowly reached out and checked Kim Dok-Ja's current condition. Crude cast and bandages wrapped around his body. Swollen bruises all over his face. His arm where not one solid muscle could be felt lay powerlessly on the bed.
Han Su-Yeong held the boy's hand.
It was as small as her own.
"Do... Do something," she muttered out.
"Please don't worry. These aren't fatal wounds. Thankfully, the classroom floor wasn't high, and he collided with a tree on his way down, so...."
"That's not what I meant!"

The married couple walking in closer from the distance could be seen. They must've discovered Han Su-Yeong, since they seemed to be shouting something or rather in her direction.
However, their voices didn't register in her brain.
Just why...
⸢"If it weren't for that novel, I'd probably have died back then."⸥
She wasn't sure if this was her own memory, or the 3rd turn's.
⸢"You, you. You and your exaggerations."⸥
⸢"I'm telling you the truth."⸥
Ancient, creaky memories rushed in like tidal waves while hiding within all the ringing noises in her head. The Dokkaebi King supported her and they left the hospital. She saw the medical staff and the paramedics hurriedly moving the new patient into the emergency ward.
"We managed to find him somehow, didn't we?"
"Now that I've seen him personally, it was true all along. Did you sense that incredible aura coming out from his entire figure? And now, as soon as he opens his own world, then...."
As if it was looking forward to the apocalypse soon to visit this world-line, the Dokkaebi King continued to yap on and on.
Han Su-Yeong muttered out as she stumbled ungainly. "Kim Dok-Ja said he read that novel when he was fifteen."
"Yes. So, soon it...."
"What if he didn't get to read that novel... What will happen to him?"
If the 'Ways of Survival' didn't start, then this world would not be destroyed.
However, what would happen to Kim Dok-Ja, instead?
"Uhm, hello?"
"Are you actually crying?"
Kim Dok-Ja's tragedy was a rather common one. If only a small number of gazes fell upon him, if only just a tiny little bit of goodwill was shown his way, then it'd have been easily overcome. However, he couldn't exactly expect those small gazes or goodwill in the situation he found himself in.
Realistically speaking, could a 13-year-old elementary school kid be able to save anyone? One who can barely regain her self only during early hours, no less?
"But, why are you crying?"
That didn't mean she could entrust it to this Dokkaebi King, either.
Not only did it speak weirdly, but it also couldn't use the system, and its character couldn't even be trusted, so how could she expect such a bum of a Dokkaebi to...
Han Su-Yeong dazedly stared at her own hands.
⸢"That novel saved me. So, I should pay my debt to its protagonist."⸥
The way to... save Kim Dok-Ja.
"Hey, you have any money on you?"
"Give me five thousand, no, ten thousand Won."
Han Su-Yeong quickly snatched the Dokkaebi King's cash and rushed towards the nearby PC Bang.
The latter screamed and chased after her. "That's all the money I have!"
She sneaked past the PC Bang's owner dozing off, stole a charge card, logged into an unused computer, and clicked on the internet browser. She typed in the address of the webnovel platform she always connected to, and searched for a certain author's name again.
- There are no matching results.
Even now, tls123 hadn't shown up yet.
The end of the year was fast approaching, yet the serialisation hadn't started yet.
Han Su-Yeong quietly glared at the monitor for a little while, before clicking on the platform's [members registration] icon.
She didn't know who tls123 was. However, if tls123 was, at least, not Kim Dok-Ja – if the author of that damn novel was someone else, then...
- The applicable username is currently not in use. Would you like to use this username?
Perhaps it didn't really matter who it was?
Her hand gripping the mouse was trembling hard.
The tragedy's button rested against the tip of her finger. If she clicked it, then... the apocalypse of countless world-lines would begin.
However, if she didn't press it...
- Yes.
….The 'small world' she witnessed would disappear.

- Dear tls123-nim. Congratulations on your registration!
Han Su-Yeong confirmed the remaining time.
[Three hours remaining in the self-regulated activity period.]
[Once the main ego wakes up, your control will forcibly be rescinded.]
She opened up the word processor and began typing away immediately. As if she was unspooling a manuscript stuck inside her head for the longest time ever, her fingers continued to move in a brilliant fashion. She showed not a single error in her typing. Her exquisite sentences that seemingly carved out a world in its entirety. However, arrangements that lacked any consideration towards the potential reader, and expositions that had no immersive devices to speak of. She typed, and typed some more, of this boring story.
All the while expecting that...
….Without a doubt, one person would definitely get to read this story.
⸢This is a lie.⸥
Countless worlds were destroyed by her hands.
And countless characters died because of her.
⸢At least, until it can become the truth.⸥
All the possibilities that her [Predictive Plagiarism] could guess were overflowing inside her head. Some of them became the narrative, while some others became expositions.
And so, how long passed by like that? Han Su-Yeong's fingers eventually came to a stop.
⸢Yu Jung-Hyeok stood before the vast, endless calamity pouncing on him and spoke.⸥
It was not possible to figure out every facet of the story through the [Predictive Plagiarism].
⸢"Until I witness the end of the scenario, I shall never give up. That's why..."⸥
She wasn't sure whether Yu Jung-Hyeok really said something like that or not. Because, all of this was from her imagination, after all. Because, she had created everything. That's why she wanted to write these very words. Even if by borrowing Yu Jung-Hyeok's mouth, she wanted to write these words and put them in there.
⸢"You shouldn't give up, either."⸥
Han Su-Yeong panted breathlessly and slowly raised her head. When she looked behind her, she discovered the Dokkaebi King staring at the computer's screen with an enraptured expression.
"Hey, Dokkaebi King?"
The creature slowly knelt down before her and waited for her next words.
"....I'm going to sleep."
[You have spent too much of your mental power during a short period of time!]
[Your ego will become subconsciousness, and...]
When she regained her consciousness, she was lying on her own bed.
It was midnight. It seemed that a full day's cycle went by after she blacked out.
'….Goddammit, what the hell did I do that for?'
While holding her head, Han Su-Yeong got up from the bed. The blue wallpaper of the notebook PC resting on the desk caught her eye. She launched the internet browser without thinking too much about it and connected to the webnovel platform.
Several comments had already popped up on her story she uploaded last night. Most of them were crappy, toxic comments about how 'no jam' it was, or how it was too obsessed with expositions and stuff.
"I quickly wrote that in mere two hours, so obviously.... Besides, I was trying my best to be as close to the 'Ways of Survival', you know??"
Among all those comments, a particular one caught her attention.
- Dear author-nim. It was a great read. May I ask about your release schedule?
Such an unparalleled naivete that made him use his real name as the username. Han Su-Yeong stared at that name for a long, long time. She looked closer, and discovered another comment attached to it.
- Are you... going to release another chapter tomorrow?
She repeatedly clenched and unfurled her fists many times. Sweat was soaking her small hands.
Is it really okay for me to write this?
Even then, isn't it fine this way?
Han Su-Yeong hesitated for a long time, before typing her reply.
While thinking about a certain someone, still alive beyond this screen.
While thinking about a certain boy who'd breathe, eat, shout some nonsense about 'I'm Yu Jung-Hyeok', and do whatever it takes to endure his own apocalypse.
And so, the story of a regressor that reached 3149 chapters started in this manner.
- Yes. A new chapter will be published tomorrow.
<epilogue 3.="" author's="" words="" (2)=""> Fin.