Omniscient Reader's Viewpoint - Chapter 520 - Epilogue 1 – The world of zero (4)[Updated at: 2021-01-11 17:15:45]
Chapter 520: Epilogue 1 – The world of zero (4)
Han Su-Yeong continued to experience this weird feeling every single day for the last three months. It all started rather innocuously, though.
– Yu Jung-Hyeok, did you know?
– Know what?
– That guy, he enjoys his tomatoes now.
At first, she dismissed it as just a trivial little change. Scenarios were over now, so the dude must be changing bit by bit too, or so she thought.
– Hey, Kim Dok-Ja. Why are you so absent-minded lately?
– Uh? Uhm…..
– By the way, are you sure that the scenarios are really over? Why isn’t the system gone? You can still use your skills, right?
– Mm… It might take a little while longer for everything to go away.
The scenarios were over, but the world didn’t immediately revert back to normal. As if, there was a story that hadn’t ended yet. The proof of that was how people still could use their skills or Stigmata.
– To be more specific, you can’t say that everything is over until we find the ‘original author’ of that novel first.
Han Su-Yeong agreed with Yu Jung-Hyeok’s opinion. It was possible that this world existed because the ‘Most Ancient Dream’ read the ‘Ways of Survival’ in the first place.
Before all that, though, was the author who penned the novel in question. Meaning, this story would end only after they found that creature first.
– Just who is tls123? We came up with a few guesses so far, but they were all wrong, right? The most plausible candidate, ‘Most Ancient Dream’, didn’t look like the author either, and…. hey, Kim Dok-Ja. What do you think?
The one with the highest likelihood of solving this quandary was Kim Dok-Ja, the reader that managed to read through all 3149 chapters of ‘Ways of Survival.’
However, his reply was this.
– Uh… I wonder. Well, I kinda wonder if that’s really important, now that we’ve come this far….
Other people could say that, fine. However, he was none other than Kim Dok-Ja, the sole reader who read the entirety of ‘Ways of Survival’ till its end.
He was Kim Dok-Ja, the greatest reader Han Su-Yeong ever knew.
“Speak. Who the hell are you?”
That’s why Han Su-Yeong began wondering.
⸢If Kim Dok-Ja before my eyes is a fake, then…⸥
“Su-Yeong-ssi! What are you…!”
Just as the voice of Yi Hyeon-Seong rushing in reached here, Shin Yu-Seung grabbed onto Han Su-Yeong’s wrist.
“What do you think you’re doing??”
It was the same for Yi Gil-Yeong, as well. The boy awkwardly blocked her front and looked up at her with nervous eyes. The atmosphere of the companions changed drastically once they discovered her sharp dagger.
“Eonni, can you explain yourself?”
Yi Ji-Hye had put down the kitchen knife and before anyone noticed it, was standing next to Han Su-Yeong while gripping her Twin Dragon Sword.
Yi Seol-Hwa was completely taken aback, while Jeong Hui-Won’s eyes were narrowed to slits. And Yu Sang-Ah, calmly observing the unfolding situation unlike the others, was seen next.
Han Su-Yeong thought about something for a little while, then let go of Kim Dok-Ja’s collars while spitting out a long sigh. He plopped down powerlessly and looked up at her like a guilty man.
“This guy isn’t Kim Dok-Ja. I’m not talking about anyone else but Kim Dok-Ja here. No way he can’t remember that thing.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The ‘Ways of Survival.’”
After hearing that, the companions all simultaneously looked at Kim Dok-Ja’s face – at Kim Dok-Ja, who used to talk non-stop about the ‘Ways of Survival’ every day.
As if she was a lecturer trying to explain a migraine-inducing problem, Han Su-Yeong held her head and began laying out her case in a calm, logical manner. And even decided to add this at the end, too.
“What I said just now wasn’t from the ‘Ways of Survival’, but something from my own novel. There aren’t any scenes of the companions enjoying their meal by the Han River in the ‘Ways of Survival’, you see.”
“How do you know that, eonni? Did you actually read that novel, too?”
“Just the early parts. At least, I know for sure that no such scenes appear during the third regression turn.”
That prompted Jeong Hui-Won to retort. “Isn’t it possible to be mistaken about something like that? From the get-go, remembering every event happening in such a huge novel is….”
“It is possible if it’s Kim Dok-Ja. Did you all forget how we managed to wrangle our way through the scenarios? And you really think that Kim Dok-Ja can’t remember?” Han Su-Yeong turned towards Kim Dok-Ja and growled menacingly. “Hey, you. Tell me how many times Yu Jung-Hyeok killed Asmodeus.”
Her question simply caused Kim Dok-Ja to dazedly look up at her face. She scowled deeply, but just before she could go on another tirade, his lips opened first.
His voice sounded flat, monotonous. For a moment there, a certain expectation of ‘maybe…’ flashed past by Han Su-Yeong’s eyes. And then…
“My bad, but I really can’t remember. I haven’t been reading the ‘Ways of Survival’ lately, so….”
“Look, look! This punk, he’s not Kim Dok-Ja…!”
The one to step in front of the dagger-brandishing Han Su-Yeong was Shin Yu-Seung. As if she was trying to mould a clay pot, she held Kim Dok-Ja’s hand with both of hers and asked him. “Do you remember what I wanted to eat by the Han River?”
The hands of Yu Jung-Hyeok standing not too far away and silently preparing the food came to a halt; the food wasn’t finished yet.
Kim Dok-Ja replied immediately. “It’s pizza and Cola.”
“Hyung! Me! What about me?”
“Gil-Yeong-ee? You wanted to eat chicken by the sea. My bad. We’ll definitely go to the seaside next time, okay?”
Yi Gil-Yeong’s and Shin Yu-Seung’s tearful eyes were now glaring at Han Su-Yeong.
She frowned deeply. “Hold up. Your questions are too easy. With only that, you can’t….”
That prompted Jeong Hui-Won to step forward this time. “Dok-Ja-ssi. What’s the name of my sword?”
“The Judge’s Sword. I struggled so hard to get all the materials for it, too.”
“Dok-Ja-ssi, do you remember the very first item you gave me?”
“It was an aged iron shield, wasn’t it?”
The companions then began their barrage of questions as if it was a competition. Even Gong Pil-Du got in on the act, too.
“Oii, do you remember the penalty fee you paid me during the Chungmuro scenario?”
“But, I didn’t pay anything?”
“You son of a bitch. You better cough up or…!”
“Ahjussi, you told me this before, right? Ji-Hye-ya~, to be honest, I think you’re the prettiest among all the Kim-Com members.”
“I never said that.”
Yi Ji-Hye muttered “Dang it,” under her breath.
“….He’s Dok-Ja ahjussi, alright.”
There was this vague sense of relief blooming on the expressions of the group.
Kim Dok-Ja observing this situation spoke up. “I don’t know what’s suddenly gotten into you, but I’m definitely Kim Dok-Ja. And Han Su-Yeong, why are you….”
“Hey, do you even remember how many regression turns there are in the ‘Ways of Survival’?”
“Su-Yeong-ah.” Jeong Hui-Won couldn’t let this go on any longer and stepped forward. “I don’t know why you’re acting like this, but we’re on a rare outing together, so please do it in moderation.”
“That’s right, Su-Yeong-ssi. There must’ve been some kind of a misunderstanding….”
“…..Misunderstanding??” Han Su-Yeong’s hand gripping the dagger trembled ever so slightly. “Hey, Yu Jung-Hyeok!! Don’t you have anything to say?!”
Yu Jung-Hyeok chopping up veggies in silence heard her call and shifted his disinterested eyes towards Han Su-Yeong. Then, he shifted his gaze over to Kim Dok-Ja, before glancing at the rest of the companions. Finally, he turned his attention back to the cutting board.
After observing that chain of events, Han Su-Yeong’s shoulders began trembling non-stop. “Y-you, really…..”
Her head dropped, and that’s how she spotted a can of beer rolling on the floor. She picked it up and popped the lid open, then drank it all in one go. She wiped her lips in anger and spoke up.
“Screw it…. Fine, sure. I’m the lone weirdo among you, is that how it is?”
Maybe that one can wasn’t enough, she proceeded to pop the lid on another one.
“Fine. I know it’s been difficult for everyone, trying to break past the scenarios. I know full well that you’re too tired to think, and now you just wanna kick back and relax. You think I don’t wanna do that, too? I also wanna take it easy.”
Along with the ‘Puh-shushuk!’ noise, beer foams bubbled up vigorously.
“But then, you idiots, you really think this Kim Dok-Ja is the real deal?”
“Shut up. Don’t call me by my name.”
Her cheeks were getting somewhat flushed now. Meanwhile, the Fable of [Predictive Plagiarism] was creaking into gear inside her head.
⸢It’s possible that the companions are right. She’s wrong, and it’s totally possible that this Kim Dok-Ja is the real thing.⸥
Han Su-Yeong knew – just because he failed to remember a couple of scenes from the ‘Ways of Survival’, could she really use that to argue this Kim Dok-Ja wasn’t really Kim Dok-Ja?
The current her acted too hastily. She failed to be logical.
Even then, Han Su-Yeong couldn’t stop her emotions. Even as she herself failed to understand the reason behind her own strong reaction, she continued to mutter on.
“The ‘Kim Dok-Ja’ I remember is….”
….He was a man who could patiently read a boring novel filled with a ton of exposition that lasted well over three thousand chapters.
⸢”In the future when all the scenarios have ended, I may want to get back to writing novels again. When that happens, read my novel, okay?”⸥
A man who loved stories more than anyone in this whole world.
⸢”Fine, fine. I’ll definitely read it.”⸥
“But, it might be over three thousand chapters?”
“That’s probably right up my alley, then.”
“It might be boring, too.”
“It’s you writing it, so that’s not possible, you know.”
Such Kim Dok-Ja might forget about other things, but no way he’d forget about the ‘Ways of Survival’.
Was this the fault of the alcohol? It felt as if the heat was gradually spreading even more inside her head.
⸢If this ‘Kim Dok-Ja’ is a fake, what does that signify?⸥
A trickery of the original author tls123? Or…
“Han Su-Yeong, why don’t we stop there, and….”
A certain hypothesis popped up in her head as she looked at the expressions of her companions.
If what the Dokkaebi King said was the truth, then this world was nothing more than the delusion of the ‘Most Ancient Dream’. Meaning, this world existed because ‘he’ continued to dream. But now, the ‘Most Ancient Dream’ was no more; he disappeared along with the ‘Secretive Plotter,’ as well as the characters from the 999th turn.
⸢In that case, how can this world continue to exist?⸥
This was a truly horrifying hunch. One that should never become reality. And perhaps, a hunch that had already become their reality.
The beer can in her hand fell and rolled around on the ground. Half-consumed liquor spilt out among the other similar-styled cans also rolling around on the floor. She stared at her can, now almost empty, and muttered out in a trance-like state.
“What if… this ‘Kim Dok-Ja’ is an ‘Avatar’….”
“Su-Yeong-ssi! What’s suddenly gotten into you, saying stuff like…..!”
“You think I’m doing this for fun?!”
Her serious voice caused the expressions on several companions to change. Those that turned back all carried similar kind of looks on their faces now.
The only Incarnation among the group that possessed both the [Predictive Plagiarism] as well as [Avatar] skills. It was her who took on the role of the Nebula’s brain whenever Kim Dok-Ja wasn’t around.
And her judgement was rarely, if ever, wrong.
Yi Hyeon-Seong slowly turned his head to stare at Kim Dok-Ja. Next up was Jeong Hui-Won, followed by Yi Ji-Hye. One by one, all the gazes were focusing on him now.
⸢What if Han Su-Yeong’s words are correct….⸥
A faint crack was spreading within their minds, an opening created by a very minute suspicion.
It was enough of an opening for Han Su-Yeong, though. “Whether he’s really an ‘Avatar’ or not, there is a simple way to find out.”
By the time Jeong Hui-Won felt the ominous foreboding, Han Su-Yeong was already gone from her spot.
Yi Ji-Hye unsheathed her sword as fast as a bolt of lightning and rushed forward, but by then, Han Su-Yeong was already only a few steps away from Kim Dok-Ja. As the incredulous torrent of winds stormed in, Shin Yu-Seung let out an explosion of Dragon Howling; Yi Gil-Yeong’s insects were wrapping around Han Su-Yeong’s ankles like chains, while Yi Hyeon-Seong dashed in to cover Kim Dok-Ja’s figure.
Even then, Han Su-Yeong didn’t stop.
“The dude who’ll get to read my novel….”
Strings flying out from Yu Sang-Ah’s hand restrained Han Su-Yeong’s waist, and Jeong Hui-Won belatedly making her move managed to grab hold of her target’s back. But, even as all these events were going down simultaneously, Han Su-Yeong’s dagger had already left her hand.
The sound of something splitting up resounded out next.
<Epilogue 1. The world of zero (4)> Fin.