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Omniscient Reader Chapter 467

[Your ■■ is getting nearer.]

The system message whispered in my ear. It had been repeating itself over and over again for the past few days.

“It seems that it won’t be long now.”

“Yes.”

My mother and I were sitting face to face over a table, drinking tea together. We were watching the display panel installed in the [Industrial Complex]’s reception room.

– The American continent, annihilated! What’s the next target for these Outer Gods?

– Emergency evacuation order issued in North-East Asia!

– Nebulas have abandoned Earth. “There is no place left to run.”

The last place the news program showed was the Korean Peninsula. Refugees streaming in from all over the world ensured that the whole peninsula was bucking raucously even now.

I was well aware of what they were hoping for by coming here.

[Next Great Apocalypse scenario location is ‘North-East Asia’.]

[6 days, 8 hours and 24 minutes remaining until the start of the Great Apocalypse scenario.]

My mother inside the panel was making an announcement in my stead as the representative of the [Industrial Complex].

– The [Industrial Complex] won’t stop accepting new citizens. However…

My mother smiled bitterly and spoke. “It’s quite embarrassing to watch, isn’t it.”

“But, it suits you well. You’re like the President, actually.”

In all honesty, it was fine to think of my mother as the current master of the [Industrial Complex], not me. The citizens of this place would rather listen to her more than me, at any rate.

“You should show your face to Seoul’s residents at least once before leaving, son. Even a simple greeting from you will become a great source of strength to them.”

For sure, I could hear the reporters using megaphones to shout their questions from outside the [Industrial Complex].

– Demon King of Salvation-nim!! Is it true that you have returned?

– Demon King of Salvation-nim! Please tell us your plan to stop the Apocalypse!

….My plan, is it.

I smiled bitterly just like my mother. “If that’s the duty of the mascot, then well.”

We quietly sipped the tea.

The skies were dark and gloomy. So gloomy, in fact, it’d not be strange to see a thunderbolt fall from the sky out of the blue and shatter the Peninsula in half.

“It’s so peacefully, isn’t it?”

“I guess so, mother.”

Even so, we said those things.

The tea leaf inside the cup gently trembled. To think, I’d enjoy such a leisurely tea time. This would be the first time in our 30-something years of relationship as a mother and son.

The event I so wanted to experience only came knocking on my doorstep as the apocalypse of everything approached us.

My mother, she didn’t ask me anything. Not a thing about what I would do from now on, what I would gain at the end of this story, nothing. I knew that was how she operated, though.

“Well, I’ll be on my way now.”

“The Heavenly Wind God was searching for you. Before you embark, please do make sure to speak to him first.”

….Pungbaek? Why was he looking for me this time?

I couldn’t help but recall that unpleasant incident back in the Great War of Saints and Demons. Was he thinking of doing something uncouth again just before the Final Scenario? I lightly nodded my head and exited the room.

There was someone waiting for me there.

[And here we are. You somehow managed to get this far, Kim Dok-Ja.]

It was none other than Bihyung, looking so much better than before after becoming a Great Dokkaebi. The long coat fashioned out of a white tiger’s fur really suited him well.

I spoke in a sarcastic tone of voice. “You were actually waiting for me?”

[The reunion of you and your mother is a pretty popular Fable among your subscribers. So, I just couldn’t bear to interrupt the flow.]

Bihyung shrugged his shoulders and spoke up.

[Constellation, ‘Demon-like Judge of Fire’, is dabbing her eyes away.]

[Constellation, ‘Abyssal Black Flame Dragon’, is grumbling while handing over a handkerchief.]

This damn guy, sending that out as another broadcast.

[And so. The Final Scenario is literally just around the corner.]

“I know.”

[How reliable you are. I’m sure you already know this, but the Final Scenario is…..]

“Bihyung.”

My quiet call stopped the Dokkaebi from talking anymore. He stared at me.

“Why did you select us?”

A faint ripple spread within Bihyung’s eyes.

I already knew what was written on the scenario window that popped up before his eyes.

+

Type: Main

Difficulty: ???

Clear condition: Please choose the final candidate for the ‘One Single Fable’.

Time limit: –

Reward: ???

Failure: Death

+

’s scenarios didn’t only apply to Constellations and Incarnations, but to the storytellers like Dokkaebies, too. And the ‘Candidate Ballot’ that would decide the end of all scenarios was an incredibly important scenario for all Dokkaebis. It was a scenario where they had to bet their own existence.

And in such a scenario, Bihyung had chosen us.

[Great Dokkaebi ‘Bihyung’ has currently cast his vote with .]

When I first met this guy, he was no bigger than a soccer ball.

He was a true Dokkaebi who indiscriminately massacred people for the sake of increasing the number of subscribers in the channel, and he mass-produced horrifying scenarios on the fly.

That very Dokkaebi who grew up by devouring the Fables we created had eventually morphed into a human-like being. He was as tall as a human, he wore clothes like a human, and he was making expressions of a human, too.

That very Dokkaebi, he was looking at me on a similar eye level as he spoke up. [Sign the contract with me. I shall make you the next Dokkaebi King.]

“…?”

[That’s what you said to me inside that fish-dragon’s mouth.]

Indeed, I did say something like that in the past. “Hang on, could it be that you selected us while believing in that rubbish? There are very low odds of us winning, you know.”

[It’s not like that anymore. I see that you still have no idea how big of a deal what you did was.]

Bihyung shifted his gaze outside the window.

The plaza of the [Industrial Complex] was filled with the Constellations that fought with us in the battle against Papyrus.

The Black Flame Dragon got subdued by Uriel and was currently acting as her cushion. Persephone and Hades were quietly sipping tea on a prepared table. The Great Sage, meanwhile, had borrowed a pipe-like cigarette from the Breaking the Sky Sword Saint and was busy puffing away.

They were watching the Star Stream broadcasts unfolding in real-time.

– A brand new list naming ’12 Nebulas’ are making rounds among the gossipers of

– A portion of Fable-grade Constellations estimate that could very well be the 3rd strongest….

….Third strongest, was it. It seemed that the ripples from the last battle were larger than I thought. I was thankful for the generous assessment, but it was still too early to let our guard down. Because the war for the Candidate Ballot hadn’t ended yet.

However, Bihyung’s thoughts seemed to be a bit different from mine.

[I think it’ll be fine for a little while. It’s been two days since you defeated . Did any other Nebula request for inter-Nebula warfare since then?]

“….No. No one.”

[A Nebula that achieves a big win during the Candidate Ballot battles will enjoy much higher odds of being selected as the ‘One Single Fable’.]

Just like how one battle helped up climb up to the ‘third strongest’ position, other Nebulas could also participate in the inter-Nebula warfare and alter the rankings. So, messages of declarations of war or announcements of one soon to take place should be raining down on us by now.

However, forget about a declaration, not a single Nebula tried to provoke us. The planet Earth was surprisingly peaceful.

“But, why? It’s not as if our Fable is that shocking, now was it?”

[That’s because you’re going to be annihilated even if they leave you alone. That’s why.]

I felt my heart cool down in an instant. I could see the footage playing on the Constellations’ panels.

[Constellations know that you simply can’t forsake Earth.]

Separate from the ‘Candidate Ballot battles’, Earth had entered the Great Apocalypse sequence. The North American continent was already no more, and next up was North-east Asia.

Back in the original story’s Final Scenario, Outer Gods and the rulers of other worlds also began invading this world.

[The ascension of the forgotten islands are still ongoing!]

⸢At the end of the world-line, the corrosion of the forgotten beings will begin.⸥

According to the original storyline, Nebulas and I should’ve been fighting together here. But now, they had made a different decision. They gave up on Earth, and to eliminate . That was the decision made by the Nebulas facing the ‘Final Scenario’.

“Those sons of bitches….”

[A portion of Nebulas are mocking your decision.]

You could say that this was the worst possible situation.

To make matters worse, the Outer Gods flooding into this world were different from the ones that I knew of from the original storyline.

I recalled Uriel from the 999th regression turn I met in the N’Gai’s Forest some time ago.

⸢Once the Great Apocalypse scenario begins, the attacks from the Kings will commence.⸥

If my predictions were correct, then the Kings showing up for the Great Apocalypse soon to get underway should be the existences that witnessed the ‘Conclusion’ during the 999th regression turn. And needed to fight against them.

“Who summoned the Kings? Was it your people from the Bureau?”

[I can’t reveal any information to you. Except that….] Bihyung formed an expression showing his firm resolve and finished what he wanted to say. [Until the moment I breathe my last, I shall tell my story with you.]

*

“If you don’t wish to participate, it’s fine to leave now.”

Funnily enough, this was the first thing I said to my companions.

“The next scenario is incomparably horrifying than any other battles we’ve been through so far. It’s not too late. If any of you wish to leave the Nebula, then…..”

A couple of them began yawning as if they were listening to a boring Sunday mass. But, that was obvious. These people right before my eyes had survived dozens of life-threatening events together to get this far. To them, there was no difference to dying in this or that event. If they want to leave, they would’ve done so already. I too knew this.

Even then, the reason why I had to ask the obvious question was…

“Excuse me.”

….Because, there was someone who did want to leave for real.

“I’d like to sit out this one.”

And it was none other than Han Myeong-Oh. It wasn’t as if I didn’t expect this.

He carried on. “I’m not saying I’ll completely leave the Nebula. However, there is a place I wish to visit for one last time.”

Yi Ji-Hye next to him retorted unhappily. “Eh-whew, ahjussi, why don’t you just leave? You aren’t much of a help, anyway. You’ll just run away like your ass is on fire once the fighting starts, right?”

“…..I might be like this, but back in my heyday when I was a Count in the Demon World…..”

Originally, the words ‘Demon World’ and ‘Count’ in that sentence should’ve been replaced by ‘Mino Soft Director’.

Watching them go back and forth brought about a wry grin on my face. Actually, I knew where Han Myeong-Oh wished to go.

“Are you thinking of going to where the ‘Isle of Reincarnators’ used to be?”

My question caused Han Myeong-Oh’s expression to harden visibly.

I carried on. “Even if the area’s been sealed, the aftereffects of the Apocalypse Dragon and ‘Indescribable Distance’ still linger there. That place will still be considerably dangerous.”

“Even then, I’d like to go and take a look.”

The Isle of Reincarnators, where the Great War of Saints and Demons took place. Even now, corpses of dead stars and Outer Gods should be floating around aimlessly near the vicinity of the dark dimension. Those beings that failed to get on the Ark and got killed in the process.

….Perhaps the Demon King ‘Asmodeus’ was among them.

“That child is everything I’ve earned in this world.”

The light of determination shone within Han Myeong-Oh’s eyes.

Post-Great War, he diligently participated in the main scenarios with us. He was working incomparably harder than back when he used to steal certain projects away from his subordinates for the sake of advancing his career.

And he got to taste the fruit of his labour, too – although small, he still earned a share of a Great Fable, and even acquired several useful Star Relics in the process, too.

All of that was to help him search for his daughter.

The current him might be able to withstand the chaos’s aftereffects lingering around Isle of Reincarnator for a few days.

“Please, be careful out there.”

Han Myeong-Oh nodded his head, finished his preparations, and stood up. Looked to me he had already made up his mind before coming here. Companions all bade him good luck.

Not receiving the ‘One Single Fable’ scenario didn’t automatically mean there would be no ‘One Single Fable’ – it existed for everyone. Just like how anyone could embark on a journey to search for their own ■■.

I watched him tremble in fear as he stepped foot inside the portal and began thinking about something.

[Your ■■ is getting nearer.]

It wasn’t that decided where your ‘Conclusion’ might be.

I looked back to discover that my companions were waiting for me.

“I shall continue with the meeting.”

*

[11 hours and 8 minutes until the start of the Great Apocalypse scenario.]

Only about half a day remained before the Great Apocalypse. If we managed to withstand this apocalyptic event, we’d be able to enter the Final Scenario.

In the meantime, I went through all the information in the original story, and requested for the acquisition of every useful remaining Star Relic and skill found not just in the Korean Peninsula, but the rest of the planet as well. Companions easily okayed my request.

Han Su-Yeong asked. “And what will you do?”

Of course, I too had something to do. For instance, thinking up of a new sure-kill technique with this uptight dude.

“You fool must surely know this by now. There is only one way for us to fight against the Great Apocalypse,” said Yu Jung-Hyeok, while polishing the edges of the [Dark Heavenly Demon Sword].

Uriel, the Black Flame Dragon, the Great Sage and other Constellations promised to lend us their aid, but we couldn’t rely on them all the time.

Even after excluding the ‘Secretive Plotter’, there were four more King-level Outer Gods still to appear. If all of them decided to attack simultaneously, then we wouldn’t be able to win even if the Myth-grade Constellations such as the Great Sage and the King of Underworld were with us.

However, we did have one method we could use to fight back.

The ⸢Hellscape of Eternity.⸥

The reward of the 1863rd regression turn, the Myth-grade Fable I earned through the ‘Secretive Plotter’. With this Fable, I could recreate Yu Jung-Hyeok’s memories, and he could rouse up the powers of the 1863rd turn and use it by sharing that stage of memories with me.

The only problem was…

[Reading has failed!]

[The highest Yu Jung-Hyeok’s regression turn you can read currently is ‘978th’.]

[Fable, ‘Hellscape of Eternity’, is looking at you with criticising eyes.]

…..Something had gone wrong with my reading ability.

[Reading has failed!]

[The highest Yu Jung-Hyeok’s regression turn you can read currently is ‘778th’.]

[Fable, ‘Hellscape of Eternity’, is wondering if you have dyslexia.]

And now, even the Fable was beginning to mock me.

This thing continued on for several days now, and Yu Jung-Hyeok, unable to hold it back anymore, finally blew his top. “How pathetic. Did you not say you’ve been reading books for all your life?”

“…..It’s not all my life, you know. In any case, this is a different sort of problem.”

I also had no idea. Why was this happening only now?

“If this problem persists, you better hand over the Fable to me. It’ll be simpler if I use it myself.”

“I’d have given you already if only I could.”

I had already asked the ‘Secretive Plotter’ about it. He simply ignored me, though.

“In that case, use that possession skill from the last time. Use that, then activate the Fable. The rate of assimilation goes higher if you do.”

He must’ve been talking about the [Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint] here.

“I’d like not to rely on that if I can.”

For sure, activating [Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint] would make using the Fable so much simpler. That skill’s effect was similar to a Sponsor taking over the control of an Incarnation. However…

“Using that skill leaves my Incarnation body defenceless. So, it’s for the best to win without resorting to it if possible.”

“How laughable. This is the result of neglecting your training every day.”

“….Do you honestly think everyone can train to a ridiculous degree like you?”

Yu Jung-Hyeok glared at me for a short while before focusing on the Fable once more without saying anything else.

He probably already knew the truth – that the reason for my unwillingness to rely on [Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint] was actually something else.

⸢For a while now, [Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint] stopped listening to Kim Dok-Ja’s commands.⸥

Not only that, the skill would activate when I least wanted it to and start reading people’s minds. I wasn’t sure why such a thing was happening.

It was possible that I got too used to looking inside someone’s head. I had gotten too used to reading nicely-laid out sentences of their inner thoughts rather than listening to their actual words.

[Reading has failed.]

Maybe, me suddenly developing an inability to read was an obvious consequence.

“Focus properly, Kim Dok-Ja.”

I reactivated the Fable after hearing Yu Jung-Hyeok’s rebuke. I slowed down my breathing and collected my thoughts.

[Fable, ‘Hellscape of Eternity’, has begun its storytelling!]

I should forget about all the info I knew on Yu Jung-Hyeok.

I knew nothing about him.

This guy, he was a complete stranger to me.

Yu Jung-Hyeok was not some crazed psychopath, nor was he an impregnable stubborn idiot, either.

When I thought like that, it felt as if the inside of my head was clearing up just a little.

Right, I should start from there. Just like back at that moment when I read the ‘Ways of Survival’ for the first time.

Tsu-chuchuchut!

It was right then that something strange occurred.

[A problem has occurred during your reading attempt!]

Suddenly, Yu Jung-Hyeok’s complexion paled greatly. “Kim Dok-Ja! You fool, what have you….!”

Those were his last words, as the light disappeared from within his eyes.

I was taken by surprise and hurriedly asked him. “Hey, are you alright??”

There was no answer.

[Character ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’s’ egos are colliding!]

Egos were… colliding??

Growing even more urgent now, I tried to confirm his current status, but then…

[‘Character List’ has failed to activate.]

The text that appeared afterwards was a sentence that I heard quite a long time ago.

[Applicable individual is not a ‘Character’.]

Fin

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