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Episode 19 – Singularity (3)
It was already morning when I opened my eyes. Han Sooyoung saw me wake up and smiled. She was the last person keeping guard. "Did you have a nightmare?"
"A little bit."
The embers of the firewood burning all night was white. I put out the fire and touched my forehead, which had a splitting headache. The scene that I saw through Omniscient Reader's Viewpoint…
Gilyoung, I didn't know if he was okay. "Where is Yoo Sangah-ssi?"
"She went to scout." Han Sooyoung answered while touching her smartphone.
I asked her, "What are you looking at?"
“What other novel would I look at?"
Indeed, it would be strange to read other novels under these circ.u.mstances.
“I always wondered, is it fun for a writer to read what they wrote?"
"It is very fun."
“Even though you know all the details?" I actually asked without thinking but Han Sooyoung gave me an unexpected answer.
“I sometimes feel that the story is different despite reading the same thing."
“A writer doesn't have complete mastery of the novel. There are many holes whenever I look back. In the end, reading is the process of keeping the irregular holes in place."
"I really don't know what you're talking about."
"…It means that after some time, I can see it as someone else's writing. Ultimately, every human is their own writer."
The words were unexpected and I felt surprised. Han Sooyoung was able to say such a difficult thing.
I told her, "Come to think of it, you are like that. You really wrote someone else's novel."
Han Sooyoung yelled something back but I blocked my ears for a while. Who told her to plagiarize in the first place? Han Sooyoung turned off her smartphone and asked me, "By the way, what are you going to do next?"
"What will I do? I will wait for the start of the next scenario."
“Who would believe that? I'm sure you have a plan."
She seemed to have something to say so I let her speak. In fact, she kept on talking anyway.
“Yoo Jonghyuk is taking charge of the west and the Wanderer King is handling the north. What about the centre?"
“We will stop it all together."
"Isn't there an easy method? Have you forgotten?"
I stopped for a moment and stared at Han Sooyoung. “Did you copy that as well?"
"…When did I do that? I just came up with it in my novel." Han Sooyoung fumbled with her words while pouting. "In any case, aren't I right? As far as I know, there is an easy way to prevent the disaster in the centre."
Certainly, her words were right. If we did that, we could clear the fifth scenario and prevent all disasters without difficulty. Han Sooyoung looked at me with piercing eyes. "Are you going to do it?"
“That… let's think about it on the way."
I looked around and saw Yoo Sangah waving her hand in the distance. Han Sooyoung grumbled, "Why do you look so happy after seeing her?"
“It is because she is a trustworthy person."
"Che. Untrustworthy people will survive."
We set out again. There were five days remaining until the start of the scenario. We moved west along the Han River.
There were two purposes behind this. One was to look for the missing Gong Pildu around Han River and the second was to collect coins from nearby monsters. More than anything else, it was currently a coin event so I should gain as much as possible.
"Yoo Sangah-ssi, to the left! Han Sooyoung, take the lead!"
We hunted all the visible 7th grade monsters. Once Yoo Sangah joined us, we were able to hunt 7th grade species and even 6th grade. I had a thought while watching Yoo Sangah.
Maybe she didn't know about those from Olympus. I called them out to figure out their intentions. They had used up their a.s.signed probability and couldn't interfere with Yoo Sangha for the time being. The battle ended and I approached Yoo Sangah.
"Yoo Sangah-ssi. You should only use one stigma at a time in the future.”
"Ah, I'm sorry. Was I a big problem last time?"
"No, that isn't the reason."
The people supported by a nebula were special. Of course, being sponsored by a nebula didn't mean all constellations in the nebula would support her. However, the laws of the Star Stream applied to the constellations and incarnations.
The price for going against the laws would eventually be returned to the constellations and incarnations. The constellations might have a way to escape but the problem was the incarnations.
“Using multiple stigmas will place a burden on Yoo Sangah-ssi's body."
The d.a.m.n Olympians wouldn't tell her this but there was a limit to the story that a single being could afford. Every stigma contained the history of the constellation and the random blend of histories would impair the human spirit.
If Yoo Sangah borrowed the stigmas of a large number of constellations, her remaining vitality would be reduced in an instant. Then in probably one year…
Yoo Sangah smiled faintly. “Thank you for your concern."
I realized something and opened my mouth. "Did you already know?"
Yoo Sangah's eyes moved downwards and she spoke quietly, "Dokjssi, do you still think that I'm a competent office worker?"
Yoo Sangah continued speaking. "I'm different from Dokjssi. I can't do anything in this changed world. This is a world where the TOEIC, degrees and service scores are useless."
I wondered, "Do you think everything can be resolved if you become stronger?"
“A little bit."
Her words were correct. In fact, strength only made up for some of the world's problems.
“I have decided to build up useful specifications of this world. That is the only thing I can do."
There were numerous wounds on the back of Yoo Sangah's hand as she spoke. The wounds felt like a big hole for me. Han Sooyoung had said, 'In the end, reading is the process of keeping the irregular holes in place.'
If there was something a reader had to do, I needed to read it properly. I felt a vibration in my arms. I opened my smartphone and saw that there was a notification window.
–Han Donghoon: Hyung, are you okay?
The Hermit King of Shadows, Han Donghoon. I was stunned when I read the message.
–Han Donghoon: I haven't been able to connect to the Internet recently so the messages are delayed. I am struggling with my ability…
He had been sending messages for a long time and they stacked up. It seemed the piled up messages arrived at the same time once the Internet connected.
I showed the messages to Yoo Sangah in order to change her mood. I looked at Yoo Sangah's smile and thought.
I wasn't a completely incompetent reader.
I connected to Han Donghoon through the messenger but I could hear news about other people through it.
–Han Donghoon: I am on the Yongsan-gu side. There is also Gilyoung.
-Kim Dokja: Gilyoung is there?
–Han Donghoon: Yes.
The location of my main party were roughly grasped. Lee Hyunsung and Jung Heewon's positions were also confirmed through Omniscient Reader's Viewpoint.
I was a bit curious about what happened to Jung Minseob and Lee Sungkook but it was difficult to care about them. They had some prior knowledge so they should manage. Lee Jihye… well, Yoo Jonghyuk would take care of it.
-Kim Dokja: For the time being, don't leave Yongsan. I'll be there soon. If possible, try contacting other people.
A reply didn't come back. Perhaps it had disconnected again. I looked around at the party members and said, “I think we'll have to cross the river."
Currently, we were south of Han River. North of Han River was Yongsan-gu.
"We have to cross that?" Han Sooyoung asked me with a dumbfounded expression.
It wasn't strange. I looked at Han River with her. Flickering shadows could be seen from the swirling water. The ichthyosaurs that had travelled near Dongho Bridge had once again filled Han River. We had been following the river but I never thought of crossing because of them.
"Have you seen Cheonho Bridge? It is broken."
The ichthyosaur was a 7th grade monster species. It wasn't a problem to hunt but there were too many. It wasn't just one or two so it would take a few days to deal with all of them. We were going to cross Han River in such a situation? It was unthinkable.
“We will move along the river. There might be a place that isn't broken.”
We moved along the river for several hours but an intact bridge couldn't be found. Instead, we found a group of wanderers.
Han Sooyoung was going to raise her weapon but Yoo Sangah moved first. She took meat out of her backpack, making Han Sooyoung irritated. "What are you doing?"
“The people are hungry."
“So what? You want to share that? Are you crazy? Don't you know that people are the most dangerous existences in an apocalypse?"
"I can kill all of them if I want." Han Sooyoung saw killing intent for a moment on Yoo Sangah's face and shut her mouth. "Therefore, I can save all of them if I want."
Yoo Sangah took the meat from the monsters and distributed it to the people. Some people felt sorry and bowed to her.
"It is just leftovers. It doesn't matter."
I left Han Sooyoung alone and pulled a yanaspleta stem out of my bag. It wasn't possible for everyone to become a 'hunter' in this world. By now, there would be a great deal of research about the monster species all over the world. The man who received the plant from me bowed deeply.
"Ah! Thank you…"
"It's nothing. Difficulties should be shared."
Of course, I was essentially a different person from Yoo Sangah. All my good deeds were planned activities.
[A few people have a great liking towards you.]
[Your understanding of the character 'Shin Yooin' has increased.]
[Your understanding of the character 'Ma Kangcheol' has increased.]
[New characters have been added to your bookmarks.]
Han Sooyoung said sarcastically, “You're a fake."
"…Sometimes I do good things."
[The constellation 'Demon-like Judge of Fire' is impressed with your good deed.]
[400 coins have been sponsored.]
Han Sooyoung grumbled as she watched Yoo Sangah, “d.a.m.n, she is like a woman from a novel."
I agreed with her words. Yoo Sangah was like the heroine of a novel even before the fall of the world. Now that reality had become a novel…
From among the crowd, a child approached me. She was a young girl around the same age as Gilyoung.
"What is it?"
The girl who bowed had a Western look. Her eyes were bright and her face was full of an exotic cuteness. The child bowed 90 degrees towards me.
She was a very polite child. I looked around but didn't see anyone who looked like this child's parents. The child noticed my gaze and said, “They aren't here anymore."
"Both of them?" The child nodded.
I was a bit confused. A child without a guardian survived alone until the fifth scenario. It was almost impossible in Ways of Survival.
…Wait a minute? The moment I used Character List, the child spoke again, "Then I'll be going."
Did she come just to thank me? I tried to grab the child and reflexively looked back at Han Sooyoung. She happened to be looking elsewhere.
It would soon be dark. I worried for a moment before summoning the party members together.
"We will rest here today."
We looked for a place to sleep. Han River was cold even when we lit a fire, so we decided to use a partially destroyed building. Han Sooyoung became firmly determined and warned Yoo Sangah.
"Just watch. Those people from earlier will be back. Didn't you see them covet our weapons? They will clearly bite the hand that fed them."
Han Sooyoung declared that all humans were wicked and trash who would repay goodness with malice. I carefully looked at Yoo Sangah who said, “Not every person in the apocalypse is bad."
"No, they are all bad. Almost everyone is bad."
One hour pa.s.sed.
“They'll come soon. Then you will be crying."
Two hours pa.s.sed.
“Um, they are patient people."
Three hours pa.s.sed.
"…Is this possible?"
Finally, four hours later, noises started to be heard outside. Yoo Sangah's expression darkened and Han Sooyoung smiled with satisfaction.
"Look, what did I say?"
Han Sooyoung had just taken out her weapon when someone entered the building.
Han Sooyoung stopped as she was about to get up. The one who came was a young girl. It was the child who politely thanked me during the day. The little red-eyed child held something out.
It was a blanket. She must've grabbed it from the area because she was afraid we were cold. Han Sooyoung made a surprised expression while Yoo Sangah looked blank. In the apocalypse, goodwill wasn't always repaid with malice.
[The constellation 'Demon-like Judge of Fire' is making a loving smile.]
[2,000 coins have been sponsored.]
Yoo Sangah acted as the representative of the party. “Thank you, I'll use it well."
“By the way, are you alone? It is dangerous to wander around at night."
“It is the same everywhere."
Yoo Sangah's expression darkened at the words. "Would you like to stay with us?"
"It will be fine if you are with us."
Yoo Sangah looked at me like she was asking for permission. However, the child's answer was faster. “I don't want to be a nuisance."
It happened when the child was trying to run away. A flag flew from somewhere and fell in front of the child's feet. The frightened child feel down and Han Sooyoung's scathing voice followed.
"Wait a minute. You can't leave."
"What are you doing right now?" Yoo Sangah looked at Han Sooyoung and spoke in a cold voice. However, Han Sooyoung was looking at me.
"Kim Dokja, don't you know what to do? Isn't that why you wanted to sleep here?"
I slowly closed my eyes. d.a.m.n, she had noticed… It was a miscalculation. I didn't know this person could use Detect Attributes. Han Sooyoung asked, “Ah, are you going to act as a hypocrite? Is it because the other person is a child?"
"The other person is a child? Then the villain must solve it."
Han Sooyoung approached and Yoo Sangah blocked the way.
“Get out of the way. Do you want me to kill you?"
"Why are you killing an ordinary kid all of a sudden?"
"An ordinary kid?" Han Sooyoung laughed and pointed towards the child.
"I told you to stop." At the same time, Yoo Sangah's dagger pointed to Han Sooyoung's neck. Then Han Sooyoung summoned dozens of avatars. Han Sooyoung grumbled.
“Kim Dokja, explain it quickly. Before I turn around and kill everyone."
It ended up like this. I sighed and opened my mouth. "This child…"
The child looked up at me with innocent eyes and I felt a sense of urgency.
"…Five days later, she will destroy Seoul."
Yoo Sangah's eyes shook. If Han Sooyoung hadn't found out, I might've let it pa.s.s by but now it couldn't be helped. This d.a.m.n scenario never gave us the happy endings we wanted.
[The constellation 'Abyssal Black Flame Dragon' is smiling.]
[Many constellations are interested in the development of this scenario.]
It had been a long time since the messages of the constellations seemed so hateful.
“This child is the last disaster of the fifth scenario."
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