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Chapter 539: Epilogue 4 - The Omniscient Reader's Viewpoint (4)
An explosion rang out on the field of snow.
Yu Jung-Hyeok swung the [Dark Heavenly Demon Sword] and smacked away the 'Hounds Chasing After the Abyss', before climbing on the roof of the subway train.
That explosion just now, it sounded suspicious. Did something happen inside the train?
[Dammit! There are just too many!]
The Abyssal Black Flame Dragon fighting off the Hounds blew his top in anger. There didn't seem to be an end to these black hounds rushing in at them from all sides.
The Great Sage continuously throwing down lightning bolts to scorch the hounds could only mutter on in an exhausted voice. [….I don't want to admit this, but I'm still ways off from comparing against the people from 999th turn.]
Yet another explosion noise went off from inside the subway. Yu Jung-Hyeok reflexively turned his head in that direction. What could those be? From the front car of the train, bits and pieces of what resembled Fables began leaking out.
It was also right then that some things were spat out of the hole on the train along with the loud 'Ku-gugugu!' noise.
Uriel freaked out and shouted at him. [Yu Jung-Hyeok! Dodge it!]
Right next second, hounds being ejected from the train blanketed Yu Jung-Hyeok like a black cloud.
Black bits scattered about. With the commshaped hole as the centre, the door before their eyes was disappearing.
Han Su-Yeong pushed herself off the floor and looked to the front. Letters were strewn about near the cabin door leading to the 3807 train car.
⸢With you all⸥
The moment she saw those words that couldn't yet become sentences, Han Su-Yeong realised just what knocked on the door from the other side. They were Fables - very small fragments of Kim Dok-Ja. Her eyes chased after the line of fallen fragments. The closer she got to the centre of the cabin, the greater the number of Fable fragments fallen on the floor.
⸢Kim Dok-Ja was there.⸥
Kim Dok-Ja's body, now as small as a young child, was floating up in the middle of the cabin. His eyes were closed, and he seemed unconscious. Rays of entrancing light were being emitted by his figure that continued to shed blinding Fable fragments. These fragments went through the subway's windows and drifted off to the destination unknown.
Kim Dok-Ja's Avatar next to Han Su-Yeong gasped out. His eyes were trembling as if he was shocked. Then, he began approaching the young Kim Dok-Ja.
"Ah… Ah, I'm….."
The moment he said that, a powerful suction force began pulling him in. Some kind of power was summoning him back. The Avatar's body began breaking down bit by bit. Those broken bits were then sucked into the main body.
His gaze looking back met Han Su-Yeong's. She reached out unbeknownst even to herself.
However, her hand couldn't touch him. The rate of the Avatar breaking down and getting sucked in grew faster. The bits of fragments from the Avatar brushed past her hand - some words were caught in Han Su-Yeong's fingers.
Just what was he sorry about? Kim Dok-Ja's Avatar scattering away like an apparition emitted bright light as he got sucked into the main body. However, despite it absorbing all of the Avatar's Fables, Kim Dok-Ja's body didn't grow back up again. No, the amount of Fables flooding out from him increased, instead.
Han Su-Yeong instinctively realised it. They needed to stop that. Otherwise, they would lose him forever.
Her muscles tightly wound up released like a spring. And so, just as Han Su-Yeong tried to approach Kim Dok-Ja floating in the air…
⸢Y o u c ant go fu rth er⸥
Accompanied by a loud explosion noise, powerful gusts of wind suddenly blew in and something exploded out from Kim Dok-Ja's body. His Fables were overflowing wildly. Sentences flooding out like black tides blanketed the entirety of the cabin and swallowed Han Su-Yeong up.
"Everyone, be careful!"
She was forced back mercilessly along with sensations of her skin being swept away. Kim Dok-Ja was getting further away. She urgently looked around, but there was not a thing she could grab onto. Even though she unleashed the Status of a Constellation and borrowed the powers of Great Fables, she had no method to defend against this surging torrent.
"Kim Dok-Ja! Sto….!"
Sentences escaping from Kim Dok-Ja's body scratched past her entire figure. Sentences a man used to endure his life - the despair created by one person's life. The tidal waves of letters completely blanketing every direction resembled the darkest of the darkest night.
The 'Kim Dok-Ja' she understood was merely just the tip of an iceberg. Han Su-Yeong was overwhelmed in an instant and was helplessly shoved back, unable to say anything.
It was Yu Sang-Ah who supported her back, though. "Get yourself together!"
Kim Dok-Ja's figure could be spied among the gaps of the letters.
Yi Ji-Hye shouted out. "…..He's a kid?! Why did ahjussi become like that?!"
"Everyone, gather around!"
To fight against the tidal wave, the companions hurdled together. Unfortunately, even that was not enough. They were kept pushed back again and again. At this rate, not only would they be forced outside the cabin, but get ejected from the train itself sooner rather than later.
It was then, someone spread open his entire figure and stood to block the exit.
"Hu-aaaaahp! I shall support you all!"
It was Yi Hyeon-Seong.
Accompanied by "Kwdududuk!" noise, he activated the [Steel Transformation]. His arms and legs a.s.similated with the metal of the exit and caught the companions like a net. With a pained face, Yi Hyeon-Seong watched Kim Dok-Ja's Fable brushing past his body.
⸢To Yi Hyeon-Seong, Kim Dok-Ja was too difficult.⸥
The act of understanding someone started off with admitting that you didn't know anything about that person. Yi Hyeon-Seong bit down on his lip hard enough to draw blood and shouted out. "I can only hold on for a little while! Hurry!"
Gong Pil-Du quickly summoned his Armed Fortress and supported Yi Hyeon-Seong from behind. He then shouted out. "If I help, we can endure for a bit longer! So, hurry up and rescue that fool!"
The companions looked at each other.
"Hold each other's hands, everyone!" Jeong Hui-Won grabbed onto Yi Hyeon-Seong with one hand, and extended the other. "Unleash your Fables all at once!"
That outstretched hand was held by Yi Seol-Hwa, then Shin Yu-Seung and Yi Gil-Yeong held on to her other hand. The hands of two children were then connected to Yi Ji-Hye. Persephone, as well as Yi Su-Gyeong, followed them right after.
"Kim Dok-Ja! Wake up!!"
Jang HYeong grabbed Yi Su-Gyeong's hand and cried out, while Yu Sang-Ah caught her extended hand next.
The last person to grab the outstretched hand was Han Su-Yeong.
"….I got you."
[Great Fable, 'One Who Rebels Against Fate', is continuing on with its storytelling!]
The Great Fable that connected the companions as one began resisting against the vicious storm.
Like a buoy in the stormy sea, Han Su-Yeong's body helplessly rocked from side to side. She could hold on only because of her companions behind her.
The companions tightly held each other's hands within the crashing waves of the letters, as if they were trying to save a drowning man.
Jeong Hui-Won shouted towards Kim Dok-Ja, ever so faintly visible to her. "Dok-Jssi! We're here! Just hold on for a little bit longer!"
The companions holding onto each other's hands were like st.u.r.dy sentences connected as one. Han Su-Yeong felt the warmth transmitted in her hand and gradually realised something.
Words existed to describe the depths of the darkness. And to console such darkness, the thing called 'story' was created.
The tightly-held hands, supported by the sentences shoring up other sentences. While entrusting herself to that hand, Han Su-Yeong approached Kim Dok-Ja one step at a time. Only his face could barely be seen as the rest was covered by the darkness of the letters.
⸢Wh at y o u are do ing is me aning l ess⸥
The waves grew more and more vicious as [The 4th Wall]'s voice resounded out.
⸢Th ere is o n e Kim Dok Ja⸥
Han Su-Yeong knew the reason - the reason why that Kim Dok-Ja was getting smaller. The younger face of him right now resembled the 'Most Ancient Dream' they saw some time ago.
He'd lose the memories of the days he spent with his companions, and…
…And, he'd even lose the memories of when he read the 'Ways of Survival'.
Then, he'd become the purest child after returning to the universe's great cycle.
Later on, he'd get rescued by the 'Secretive Plotter'.
If that was the case, what would happen to the 'Kim Dok-Ja' they remembered?
"We've managed to come this far, so this….!!"
Han Su-Yeong reached out as pain of her hand burning away a.s.saulted her.
Kim Dok-Ja was right before her eyes.
⸢The one and only reader who could understand this story.⸥
That Kim Dok-Ja was right over there.
There were less than four metres between them, yet to Han Su-Yeong, this distance came across as an infinite margin that nothing could fill. As if an invisible wall was standing before her and Kim Dok-Ja.
"You son of a b.i.t.c.h! You promised to read my novel, didn't you?!"
She wanted to tell him. Tell him that there was a world that didn't need his sacrifice to be saved. She thought that, if it was her, she should be able to do it.
Because, she was most proficient at lying than anyone alive, after all.
"What the h.e.l.l is this 'Ways of Survival', anyway?! I can easily create dozens, hundreds of worlds of illusions!"
Her shouting voice was gradually losing its strength.
She had written so many sentences until now, yet she was still unable to save a single person.
Within the world growing dizzier, Kim Dok-Ja's figure was getting blurrier.
What would it have been like if only she was just a little bit stronger? Maybe, they didn't plan this out properly. Maybe, she should've learned an even stronger attribute. Maybe, she should've earned a much, much harsher Fable.
She shouldn't have abandoned Kim Dok-Ja from the get-go. She should've cottoned onto Kim Dok-Ja's plan sooner. No, maybe…
….She shouldn't have written the 'Ways of Survival' in the first place.
She shouldn't have become an author of such a story.
Han Su-Yeong abruptly raised her head.
⸢Could she do it?⸥
It was uncertain.
⸢No, I can do it.⸥
Someone else was saying that in her stead.
Memories of the 1863rd turn became a Fable and began to violently writhe around. Han Su-Yeong looked down at her own fingertips. Her fingers, scorched black like charcoal.
She was not a protagonist, but a writer.
Han Su-Yeong's hand, looking as if gripping a pen, began to slowly move. They created trajectories in the air; these trajectories went to become letters, and those letters soon became words.
[Your attribute is being pushed to its absolute limit!]
[Warning! You do not have the authority of 'Overwrite'!]
Han Su-Yeong vomited out a mouthful of blood, but didn't stop.
From the very onset, an author really had only one way to reach her reader.
⸢Han Su-Yeong imagined. Just like how the other her did once upon a time.⸥
With the most vigorous, carefully worded sentences, she began drawing out a man's hands, his arms, and his legs.
An individual created solely for the sake of one reader. An ent.i.ty tougher in body and n.o.bler in heart than any creature in this world. The man who managed to bring down all the stars in the skies to end his truly lengthy regression turns, and eventually, even succeeding in destroying the system of the world.
Every character was, as a matter of fact, an incarnation of the author.
However, that didn't mean the incarnation was the author itself. The characters that left her hands wouldn't listen to her, after all.
And that was why Han Su-Yeong was trying to get the help from the individual she had created.
[Constellation, 'Architect of the False Last Act', is unleashing all of her Fables!]
[Your new Stigma is blooming!]
That one term that could fill up that empty margin.
Han Su-Yeong shouted out as if she was screaming. "Yu Jung-Hyeok-!!"
And right next second, the letters before her eyes split apart.
The Breaking the Sky Swordsmanship.
Secret Technique: Inner Mystery Transmission.
Split the Dark Ocean.
A single sword split apart the pitch-black night ocean. The fighting spirit of a Transcender bursting out from the entirety of his body illuminated the darkness of the letters.
[Stigma, 'Character Summon', is activating!]
The individual she had written, but she didn't know of.
[Character, 'Yu Jung-Hyeok', is answering the call!]
"Hold on tight."
A man descended with the rays of light. Yu Jung-Hyeok's powerful hand grabbed hers. Han Su-Yeong endured against her eyes tearing up and shouted back at him.
"You hold on tight, instead!"
From Yi Hyeon-Seong to Yu Jung-Hyeok, the companions' Fable began to glow brightly.
To get this far, they had lost many things.
"Jung-Hyeok-ssi! We leave it in your hands!"
However, it wasn't as if they had been losing things only.
Yu Jung-Hyeok extended his hand out.
The distance of just one person. The distance that couldn't have been bridged without the presence of just one person was finally being closed in.
Yu Jung-Hyeok's hand reached out while breaking past the letters. The sentences protecting Kim Dok-Ja fell away one by one.
The hand that experienced thousands of regressions tightly grabbed hold onto Kim Dok-Ja's collars - as if to yank out the oldest memories from within.
"It's time to go back, Kim Dok-Ja."
Right next second - as if the lights were turned off, the whole world was suddenly plunged in darkness.