Chapter 363: Episode 68 – Inaudible Words (3)
(TL: Hi, everyone. This is the new TLer for this novel, A_Passing_Wanderer. Pretty much all the names of characters introduced so far will be changed to better reflect the official Korean romanisation standard/spellings. Certain technical terms will also be changed to better match that of the Korean terms used, as well. My apologies for any inconvenience caused.)
(If you have any questions, please refer to Wikipedia’s “Revised Romanization of Korean” for more details.)
It had been a week since my arrival in the village.
After all the ‘Fables’ settled down in their places, I began preparing for the next scenario right away. (TL: Previous term for ‘설화’ changed from ‘Story’ to ‘Fable’.)
「The Isle of Reincarnators is formed around three islands – the ‘Small Island’ where the Probability of the 1st generation of Fables is applicable. The ‘Middle Island’, where the Probability of the 2nd generation of Fables is applicable. Finally, the ‘Main Island’, where the Probability of the 3rd generation of Fables is applicable….」
Unlike how it was in the ‘Small Island’, I’d be directly clashing against the Constellations from the ‘Middle Island’ onwards. Meaning, the beings that managed to survive while breaking past the rather realistic Probability of the 1st generation were waiting for me there.
[The Great Fable, ‘Torch that Swallowed the Myth’, urges you to get a move on.]
As usual, one of the guys remained temperamental, but, well, I figured that I had gained enough control over them by now, anyway. Yu Ho-Seong said this before – Fables would try to control their user, but at the same time, they would also show the person the way forward, too. (TL: Yu Hosung → Yu Ho-Seong.)
[The Great Fable, ‘Demon World’s Spring’, is waiting for your decision.]
These guys would have to continue existing within me from now on. We’d get to tell new stories and they would shine, as new and different Fables, as well.
“Miss Hui-Won, good to see you that you’re unhurt.” (TL: Jung Heewon → Jeong Hui-Won.)
“Can’t you change your repertoire of greetings already? I almost died for real this time, you know?”
I was told that my companions arrived around a week after I began my ‘Fable Control’ training. Apparently, they got lost at the outskirts of the island and that delayed their arrival somewhat.
I looked around and asked her. “Where is everyone?”
“They are in training right now.”
We walked for a bit and soon, the sight of the kids, Yi Hyeon-Seong, and Jang Ha-Yeong sitting cross-legged on the ground caught my eyes. It seemed that their training wasn’t easy, judging from their current facial expressions. (TL: Lee Hyunsung → Yi Hyeon-Seong; Jang Hayoung → Jang Ha-Yeong)
But, that was rather obvious.
Even at the shortest estimation, the ‘Fable Control’ training would at least need around two months. The Yu Joong-Hyeok from the original story needed to waste over 3 weeks, even with his incredible talent, so….. (TL: Yu Jonghyuk → Yu Joong-Hyeok)
I quietly observed the Fables of my companions.
[Fable, ‘Kim Dok-Ja Company’s Code of Conduct’, is writhing around in pain.]
[Fable, ‘One who Hears the Monster’s Voice’, is moaning in pain.]
[Fable, ‘One who Craves for the Trust of his Comrades’, is in great pain.]
Like how I earned my Fables, they too had earned theirs. Going through the same scenarios didn’t mean that we’d automatically earn the exact same Fables.
Their Fables would be different from each other’s because they all possessed different levels of sensibilities.
“The flow of time here is slower compared to other islands, so it’ll be fine to take it easy with your training. You shouldn’t try to rush it. You will be able to fight properly in the Great War of Saints and Demons only after you’ve completed your training, you see.” (TL: Constellation and Demon War → Great War of Saints and Demons)
[Fable, ‘Demon King’s Fanatical Believer’, is singing a song.]
「Oh, oh~, Dok-Ja hyung said it back then. I am the god of the world. Follow me, and you’ll learn the truth of the world~.」
“….And when Gil-Yeong wakes up, please tell him this. Something really bad will happen if he continues to acquire twisted Fables.” (Lee Gilyoung → Yi Gil-Yeong)
Jeong Hui-Won broke into a fit of giggles, and I reprimanded her with a slightly more serious tone of voice. “This isn’t a joke, you know.”
“I’m not joking, either. Mister Dok-Ja, you really need to consciously recognise your position. I’m talking about recognising just what kind of a person you are to these kids.”
“Do you think they would’ve made it this far without you, Mister Dok-Ja?”
I wordlessly stared at Shin Yu-Seung and Yi Gil-Yeong as they pinched the backs of each other’s hands even during the training itself. These two kids trusted me and were willing to come this far while sharing our imperfect story together. (TL: Shin Yoosung → Shin Yu-Seung)
[A brand new Fable that had not existed before has begun sprouting within you.]
“….It’s the same story for me.”
The last person I looked at was Jang Ha-Yeong. Trickles of cold perspiration soaked her forehead as she maintained the intense battle against her Fables.
「I don’t want to hear it. Honestly, I don’t want to.」
「But, you must hear it. No matter what, you must.」
My ears overheard the Fable’s voice coming out of her. With that, I could guess which Fable Jang Ha-Yeong was watching right now. Most likely, she’d get to awaken a new attribute on this island. And then, she’d use that as a foundation to become the ‘King of the Transcenders’. (ED: ‘Transcendents’ → ‘Transcenders’.)
“Are you aware that you’ve been behaving indifferently only towards Miss Ha-Yeong?”
“That wasn’t my original intention. Things somehow worked out that way….”
“That story you told us, shouldn’t you tell that to Miss Ha-Yeong, as well?”
The story I told my companions…. It was quite clear what Jeong Hui-Won referred to in this case.
「This world is constructed with a novel as the basis, and I’m the sole reader who read that novel.」
Currently, I’ve told that story to only a small number of my companions. Most other people, including Kyrgios and the Breaking the Sky Sword Saint, didn’t know this truth. Jang Ha-Yeong was no exception.
I lowered my waist and observed her face a little closer.
「Deep double eyelids, and gently curling golden hair. Even without [Moisture Retention], pale-smooth and soft skin. Slightly plump cheeks, and charming dimples that appear when she smiles. Due to an oddly androgynous atmosphere, her gender is hard to identify with her face alone.」
The descriptions from within the text of Ways of Survival, and the comments I had left behind in the past, were all coming back to me now. Her appearance that exactly matched my imagination became an indescribable guilt weighing me down.
“I’m not sure how much I can be honest with her.”
I couldn’t tell Jang Ha-Yeong the truth. I mean, how could I?
Tell her that I created you? That you were born because of my comments…?
“I’ve been thinking about this quite often lately. Maybe, it wasn’t that the novel I’ve been reading became reality, but that novel was simply a recording of this world….”
“….What are you suddenly talking about?”
Maybe, that was what I’ve been wishing for.
「Just like what the much-younger Kim Dok-Ja had been thinking, a long time ago.」
Jeong Hui-Won looked back at me with a puzzled expression, and I replied with a weak grin.
“I like being with you, Miss Hui-Won.”
“Uhm, yes, me too.”
“It’s the same story with our other companions, as well. For now, that’s as far as my thoughts have gone. I apologise for being selfish like this.”
She was lost in a train of thought for a little while but nodded her head soon enough.
“Well…. It’s fine. Mister Dok-Ja, you are doing what you want to do, anyway. I understand.”
“Thank you. Ah, by the way. When our companions wake up, please give them this.”
“And this is….?”
“It’s the information on the upcoming scenario.”
The memo pad I handed over to Jeong Hui-Won contained information on the ‘Middle Island’, our next scenario.
“Hang on, Mister Dok-Ja, again you….!”
Jeong Hui-Won and her quick wits seemed to have realised why I was handing this thing over to her.
“I knew that you’d show up around today or so.”
I sought out Yu Ho-Seong first before leaving the ‘Small Island’. Whatever the case might have been, he taught me the Fable Control, so I wanted to express my gratitude – well, that was a lie. I had an ulterior motive for being here.
“May I ask, why did you accept our group?”
Yu Ho-Seong frowned deeply after hearing my sudden question.
“….It’s just the whims of an old geezer.”
It was a rather bizarre sight to see a kid who looked to be ten years old or so refer to himself as a ‘geezer’, but it wasn’t an improbable spectacle, either. Because, the Invincible Fist Yu Ho-Seong was an existence that had lived far longer than your regular Demon Kings or Archangels, after all.
<The 0th Murim>, known only through legends being passed down. The greatest expert under the heavens in that Murim was none other than Yu Ho-Seong.
“If you’re done asking your questions, get out of my sight this instant. I do not wish to look at your ugly mug any longer.”
He was putting up the exact same act of driving away one’s guests, just like in the beginning.
“Don’t you want to come with us?”
“What rubbish are you spewing now?”
“I’m aware that, once the scenario on the ‘Small Island’ concludes, you are allowed to advance to the next one. The upcoming ‘Great War of Saints and Demons’ is a scenario like that, after all.”
Yu Ho-Seong’s brows greatly quivered, just then.
Even back in the original story, there was a turn where the ‘Great War of Saints and Demons’ took place in the Isle of Reincarnators.
「The meeting of the ‘New’ and the ‘Old’; a fusion scenario with the 1st generation!」
Most likely, the Bureau should be busy with advertising this scenario using such slogans on the outside. Which was by design, actually. It was a scheme to use the 1st generation of Fables, only spoken through rumours and hearsay, as the focal point of the advertisement itself.
The thing was, though, the Bureau’s scheme to make lots of moolah could also serve as an opportunity for the Forgotten who were left behind and abandoned by the passing of the eras.
“It’s possible that you might be able to leave this island by using this chance.”
The Isle of Reincarnators was like the living museum of the <Star Stream>. The Reincarnators of this place could live forever in perpetuity on this island, but at the same time, must suffer the curse of never being able to step outside, all because of the contract these people signed with the ‘Master of the Island’.
“How long are you planning to remain as a relic of the bygone era like some kind of a stuffed animal?”
Yu Ho-Seong slowly closed his eyes. It looked as if he was trying to calm his rising anger.
“What do you… expect from us after leaving here? The Forgotten being strong is only applicable within this island. The 1st generation no longer matters. Nobody wants to see such a tale.”
For sure, he was right about that. The majority of the Reincarnators wouldn’t be able to properly display their prowess after leaving the island where the ‘Probability of the 1st generation’ was still active.
The 1st generation of the Forgotten wouldn’t be able to adapt to the outside world ruled by the System, rife with powerful ki and magic. However, not everyone would be like that.
“The Transcenders who studied under you are playing active roles in the outside world even now. Meaning, there are definitely some who yearn to see the Fables you have created.”
“I’m sure there are. However, I’m also sure that such a thing can’t become the trend.”
“Does it have to be, though?”
“I’m asking you whether it needs to become the trending topic in order to become a good Fable or not. Since when did you start caring about such a thing, anyway?”
Yu Ho-Seong’s eyes shot open and the proverbial flames were flickering within them.
“Are you suggesting that, after all this time, I should become a plaything of the Constellations once more?”
If I take one more step here, make that one last push, then I’d definitely get my head blown away just like other Demon Kings. So, I couldn’t take that step. What I did take, though, was just half a step, instead.
“You’ve been listening to the story of the Fables for a long time.”
I had to shake this guy up exactly to the length of my half-step, so that he’d willingly take the other half by himself.
“Don’t you think it’s about time that you start personally telling your own story?”
Yu Ho-Seong’s eyes opened even wider, clear ripples visibly spreading out within his irises. I formed a wordless smile and turned around to leave.
[Fable, ‘Pebble and I’, is cackling to itself.] (TL: Stone and I → Pebble and I)
Well, I’ve cast my stone now, and the rest wasn’t up to me anymore. Because, the one to make this seriously scary Transcender move his butt would be someone else, actually.
“Are you really leaving without saying goodbye?”
“Everyone is focused right now and I don’t want to disturb them. Besides, we should meet up again pretty soon, anyway. Also, there’s something that I must do after going there first.”
I chose not to say any special goodbyes to my companions, but did say my farewell to Jeong Hui-Won. She carried a rather rueful expression, but it seemed that she had accepted my decision as was.
“Please, you must survive.”
“Let’s meet again.”
We lightly bumped fists.
Just before my departure, the villagers came to see me off.
“Would you like some bread on your journey? It’s been freshly baked this morning.”
“I thought you liked stones, so I brought some of my collections.”
Several villagers I had grown friendlier with during my stay gifted me with some food. As the villagers grew further away in my view, I spotted Yu Ho-Seong among them.
He too wished for some kind of a change to take place. And that was why he probably decided to teach me and my companions – while praying that the skill he taught would change the island, flip the Great War of Saints and Demons on its head, and eventually, transform the <Star Stream> itself, too.
[Fable, ‘Reincarnator of Ten Thousand Years’, is singing a song of farewell.]
[Fable, ‘World’s Most Ancient Farmer’, is wishing you godspeed.]
Some would leave, while some would remain behind. The moments of the most distant things meeting and then parting again, would be remembered by the Fables.
That was how this world continued to exist.
As I turned around, I heard Yu Ho-Seong’s voice projection enter my ear.
It’s possible that the ‘Master of the Island’ might become interested in you. It’ll be better for you to be more cautious.
I returned a light smile as my reply. There was this message that kept repeating itself in front of my eyes since a while ago, you see.
[‘Master of the Island’ is paying close attention to you.]
I approached the village’s giant brazier to find that Cheok Jun-Gyeong was waiting for me. “Let us travel together.”
We’d get separated during our transfer to the Middle Island anyway, but still, I felt somewhat more confident now that we were making our entrance together.
“By the way, about the next scenario….”
The scenario of the ‘Middle Island’ was a preparatory one for the main island’s Great War of Saints and Demons. Cheok Jun-Gyeong nodded his head, seemingly having misunderstood what I said somehow.
“Now that I recall, you are a Demon King, are you not? Alright. If I’m destined to fight you, then I swear to give it my all.”
“N-no, hang on a sec. That’s not what I….”
“This great one shan’t be tethered to the unnecessary personal emotions of fate during our true battle, so you can rest easy.”
No, hang on. I’d much rather prefer that you be tethered to your unnecessary emotions, though.
Somehow, I now had to pray fervently that I don’t become Cheok Jun-Gyeong’s target during the upcoming scenario.
[Tutorial Scenario has concluded!]
[Transfer to the ‘Middle Island’ has begun!]
[Main Scenario has been updated!]
Accompanied by the ‘update’ message, the surrounding view began changing bit by bit.
[You have arrived on ‘Middle Island No.3’.]
Thankfully, I couldn’t see Cheok Jun-Gyeong next to me.
The moment my transfer was complete, the acrid odour of blood stung my nose. I was greeted by the grisly sight of dead corpses belonging to Constellations and Incarnations strewn about on a vast plain.
This sight was more than enough to dampen one’s spirit, but I was relieved to see it, actually. It was far more advantageous to start this scenario later than the others, as that would lower the odds of running into powerful Constellations that had entered here beforehand.
[‘Probability of the 2nd generation’ is active within the relevant area.]
[A portion of your skills have been unlocked.]
[A portion of your overall Stats have been restored.]
Along with the crackling noise, I felt my shoulders grow just a bit wider, while my height grew, too. I had been feeling really constricted for some time, but now, it felt like I could breathe a bit easier.
[A new Hidden Scenario has arrived!]
I quickly opened the scenario’s info window.
< Hidden Scenario – Snatching Modifiers >
Clear Conditions: Take away the ‘Modifier Necklace’ from the enemy designated as your target. (In case the participant does not possess any Modifiers, it will be replaced by his or her true name.)
Time limit: –
Reward: Randomly obtain one of the target’s Fables, acquisition of a ticket for entry into the ‘Main Island’.
This scenario was the final hurdle before advancing to the ‘Main Island’.
The content of this scenario was simple in nature. I needed to take away the mark of the Modifier from someone who was designated as my target. A small necklace shimmering in silver already found itself dangling around my neck by then.
[Demon King of Salvation]
It was the necklace with my Modifier written on.
[Number of survivors on ‘Middle Island No.3’ is 262.]
262, huh. That was a far higher number than I expected.
However, it wasn’t enough to change my plan. Because the really powerful Constellations should have advanced to the ‘Main Island’ by now.
No, the really important bit was just who got tagged as my target, but the powerful ones had already disappeared from here, so it must be….
[Your ‘primary target’ has been decided.]
[Modifier of your ‘primary target’ is….]
Right after that, I discovered a group of Constellations busy running towards this location from a distance – a group that was urgently running away as if they were being chased down by something.
Along with the noise of the ground exploding, a part of the group became bloody sacks of meat and flew away like a splitting ocean wave. And I could see the one giving chase to the escaping Constellations through the rising murky dust cloud.
….God d*mn it.
Why was that b*stard still here?
< Episode 68: Inaudible Words (3) > Fin.