Chapter 550: Epilogue 5 – The Eternity and Epilogue (5)
It had been one year and two months since Yu Jung-Hyeok had left on his journey.
The speed of the manuscript being updated started slowing down around the time the third part was nearing completion. Even though the manuscript was still being compiled diligently, there were just too many voids yet to be filled up.
As the chapter number got higher and higher, stories Han Su-Yeong didn’t know of seemed to also increase in number, as well.
“This might prove to be helpful, at least by a little bit,” said Aileen.
If she didn’t extract Fable fragments from the sleeping Kim Dok-Ja, the work on the manuscript would’ve slowed down even further.
[Fable fragment, ‘Great adventure in the Dark Castle’, has been successfully extracted.]
[Fable fragment, ‘Memories of 1863rd regression turn’, has been successfully extracted.]
[Fable fragment, ‘Gourmet Association Story’, has been successfully extracted.]
These fragments were stories too small to become Fables. Han Su-Yeong read these fragments and filled in the previously-lacking inside of Kim Dok-Ja. Even then, far too many parts remained empty. She didn’t try to forcibly fill those voids, however.
[Your Incarnation has logged into the ‘Cloud System’.]
Yu Sang-Ah asked. “It looks like Jung-Hyeok-ssi is doing well.”
“Well, he’s probably busy scaring the living daylights out of the poor webnovel authors,” replied Ham Su-Yeong.
“I’m curious about what other authors are like. Surely, not everyone is like you, Su-Yeong-ssi?”
“Well, no, not everyone’s like… Hey, did you come here just to grind my gears?”
“The author in question may not even be a person when I think about it. It could be a highly-developed AI, or….”
Han Su-Yeong reluctantly nodded her head. Indeed, the universe was vast and lots of writers existed out there. And also, writers who got a beating from Yu Jung-Hyeok should be plenty, too.
In any case – judging from how timely the revised manuscript was being downloaded, that dude must’ve been doing his job properly so far.
[Your Incarnation is revising the manuscript you have written.]
[….Captain, what are you doing??]
“I’m fixing the incorrect portion.”
Yu Jung-Hyeok was in the midst of revising the updated file in real-time while logging into the [Cloud System]. Originally, it was impossible for an Incarnation like him to revise a file updated to the [Cloud System], but…
[Your attribute’s effects are activating.]
[You can now revise the ‘Cloud System’s’ manuscript.]
[Revision of the already recorded contents requires a great amount of Probability!]
But, it became possible to do so from some time ago. He couldn’t quite remember just when it started, but it might have been when the attribute related to writing sleeping inside him began manifesting its powers. Maybe it had bloomed into life after acquiring the Fables of the ‘Outer Gods’.
[….Won’t Han Su-Yeong get really angry?]
“Even if it’s her, she wouldn’t have known every story there is. Some parts especially were in a total mess.”
While saying that, Yu Jung-Hyeok tapped away on the holographic keyboard. Biyu seemed rather impressed by this scene and spoke up.
[Oh… Captain, your grammar is better than I thought! Since you liked swinging swords around every single day, I figured you wouldn’t even know the difference between a knight and a night but this….]
It was right at that moment that Yu Jung-Hyeok’s cursor suddenly began jumping around all on its own.
[Constellation, ‘Architect of the False Last Act’, has revised the latest file.]
Strange words were suddenly typed over the space where Yu Jung-Hyeok’s cursor had been just now.
⸢Hey, you just messed with my manuscript, didn’t you?! Do you really want to die that badly??⸥
….So, there was such a way to communicate with her, then.
Yu Jung-Hyeok calmly typed the following sentence.
⸢This is because you failed to store the manuscript properly.⸥
⸢What bulldust are you spewing now??⸥
⸢There were incorrect parts in the manuscript. I’ve left my opinions on the file, so confirm them yourself.⸥
After typing that, Yu Jung-Hyeok took another look at the parts he had changed.
⸢Yi Gil-Yeong wearing the black coat looked down arrogantly at the world with his star-like sparkling eyes and spoke up. “Hey, you sooty bastard. You’re so weak.” – Do you really think this part even makes any sense?⸥
⸢Yi Ji-Hye emitting noble ripples of energy like rushing torrents of a massive river began swinging her sword. “Water the Sky Sword Door, True Body Deep Righteousness Slash Technique, Water the Sky Destroy the Emperor Slash!!” – There is no such sword technique in the Breaking the Sky Swordsmanship. Also, all the Hanja letters are incorrect.⸥
Han Su-Yeong was silent for a moment there.
⸢….What the hell, I don’t remember ever typing these sentences before? Wait, these haven’t been published yet, right?⸥
⸢There are still some time left until the update, so fix them quickly.⸥
Yu Jung-Hyeok could pretty much figure out what happened here.
⸢Seriously, those two… With my notebook PC….⸥
Undoubtedly, Yi Gil-Yeong and Yi Ji-Hye must’ve changed the scheduled update file without Han Su-Yeong’s knowledge.
Biyu observed the sentences hurriedly being revised before their very eyes and spoke up. [Looks like you two have become quite close.]
“We’re merely communicating like this for the purpose of the mission.”
Judging from how the revised version continued to be updated, Han Su-Yeong must’ve been hard at work trying to reconstruct Kim Dok-Ja’s story in the most preserved, complete state.
This novel would become divorced from the reality they had to live through when more and more parts of it were filled up via dramatisation or imagination. As their goal was to recover Kim Dok-Ja, this story had to reflect the reality they had lived in.
[As long as this is a story, it’s impossible to perfectly recreate something. Every story would be distorted by the narrator, after all.]
“I’m aware of that. It’d be the same even if Kim Dok-Ja himself personally wrote it.”
Yu Jung-Hyeok thought about something related to that for a moment or two. If it was impossible to restore the complete ‘Kim Dok-Ja’ no matter which story you wrote, then just what was the existence called ‘Kim Dok-Ja’, in the first place?
Yu Jung-Hyeok shook his head.
Back then or even now, no one could know that. Well, no one in this world knew who they were exactly, after all.
He looked at Han Su-Yeong’s manuscript. Those who had forgotten about themselves were probably reading her work right about now. They should be reading this sentence over here, then afterwards, read the one over there next.
What Yu Jung-Hyeok and Han Su-Yeong wished from them was just one thing – wishing for a ‘happy ending’ that they didn’t know to become real within someone’s imagination.
Wishing for the world they had never witnessed before to safely exist somewhere out there in this universe.
[Constellation, ‘Architect of the False Last Act’, has revised the latest file.]
⸢By the way, Yu Jung-Hyeok? Just how many years have you been wandering….⸥
[Error has occurred in the ‘Cloud System’ due to incorrect usage!]
[Due to the storm of Probability’s aftermath, the Stigma will temporarily shut down.]
It seemed that using the manuscript in this fashion was pushing it a little too far.
Yu Jung-Hyeok slowly raised his head and looked at his face reflected on the ark’s window. He could see subtle little premature grey hair spots here and there on his head.
[Captain, it’s not even 100 years yet.]
[The time moves really slowly, doesn’t it?]
Her voice passing them by indifferently caused Yu Jung-Hyeok to falter just a little. Biyu still in the form of little furball was staring at the passing scenery of the Dark Stratum outside with an unreadable expression on her face. Suddenly, he became conscious of her being Shin Yu-Seung in her previous life once more.
⸢”Did you know, captain? Did you know that I had to endure incredibly difficult years so that I can grant your request?”⸥
She was an existence who had to wander the world-lines as a lost, forgotten being for thousands of years just to pass on the information to the past regression.
Yu Jung-Hyeok’s lips parted and closed several times. He eventually managed to squeeze some words out. “….It must’ve been difficult.”
[Right. It was really tough. I resented you a lot too, captain.]
The disaster of flood, Shin Yu-Seung. The Dokkaebi King Biyu used to have such a name once upon a time.
[Still, these days I feel relieved to have reincarnated. Because, I got to keep the promise I made with you back then.]
[Back when I was still Shin Yu-Seung, you promised me this, captain. You said, we’d go on a trip together after the scenario comes to an end.]
While listening to Biyu’s voice continue on, he began digging through 41st turn’s memories. Maybe it was due to the memories given to him by the Secretive Plotter, he could just about barely recall some things about that day. Shin Yu-Seung, talking to him about what she wanted to do after the scenario had ended.
The 41st turn’s Yu Jung-Hyeok couldn’t keep that promise.
⸢”Shin Yu-Seung, you’re the last one.”⸥
His companions died one by one, and during the final moments, he sent Shin Yu-Seung away to the outside of the world-line.
The memories from that day – just where did the moments from that day disappear to?
He didn’t know. They could have become the ‘Nameless Ones’.
[Let me say this right now. Don’t apologise. The person who should apologise, and the person that apology is intended for, they don’t exist in this world anymore.]
She was right. In a way, the person saying it and the person listening right now weren’t exactly the right people. Yu Jung-Hyeok had lost the 41st turn’s life, and he had forgotten most of the memories from that period of history ever since Biyu reincarnated. It was now just an old story that connected them. They thought about that story for a little while.
[Shall we get going, then?]
All they could do for now was to complete this lengthy journey, and also, to find the suitable intermediary who could deliver their story.
“This time, the married couple writers over there look to be good candidates.”
More than likely, this trip would last for much longer.
But Yu Jung-Hyeok didn’t feel that was such a bad thing.
As the serialisation grew longer and longer in length, the number of episodes that couldn’t be filled up only through Kim Dok-Ja’s Fable fragments or interviewing the companions, happened more frequently.
Yi Gil-Yeong grumbled unhappily. “Can’t we, like, just gloss over it like the last time?”
“Since when did I ever gloss over anything? Yi Seol-Hwa, that thing I asked you about, get it ready!”
The moment Han Su-Yeong finished saying that, Yi Seol-Hwa wheeled in a strange device with multiple suction cups connected to it into the hospital room.
Yu Sang-Ah spoke up. “….Isn’t that the Fable fragment extractor?”
Yi Seol-Hwa nodded her head. “Yes. And from now on, we’ll start extracting Fable fragments from everyone.”
“It’s possible that you aren’t remembering everything, and some could be hidden below your subconsciousness, as well. I’m sure you’re all aware of it by now, but the majority of a Fable is usually accumulated within one’s subconsciousness.”
“Ah, but, it’s kinda embarrassing… What if weird Fables suddenly pop out?”
As if she was obviously hoping for that, Han Su-Yeong cut in with an evil-sounding voice. “Hey, Yi Gil-Yeong, Yi Ji-Hye. You two go first.”
That caused the duo being called out to back away while hesitating somewhat.
“Argh, why should I? We already told you everything we know, you know? Right, noona?”
“Of course, of course!”
Completely disregarding whether they did that or not, Han Su-Yeong grabbed and shoved them down on some chairs, before placing the suction cups on the duo’s heads.
Yi Gil-Yeong freaked out. “Ahhh? That feels super weird, you know! Feels like you’re putting a plunger on my head!”
[‘Yi Gil-Yeong’s’ complete Fable has been extracted!]
[Fable, ‘Demon King Fanatic’, has started singing.]
⸢”Oh, oh~ Dok-Ja hyung said this~ back then….”⸥
“I knew it. Even the name of the Fable has ‘Fanatic’ in it.”
Yi Gil-Yeong didn’t say anything as he slumped on the seat. Han Su-Yeong narrowed her eyes and glared at the boy, before shifting her glare over to Yi Ji-Hye next. With excellent timing, that girl’s Fable had just been extracted, as well.
[‘Yi Ji-Hye’s’ Fable fragment has been extracted!]
[Fable fragment, ‘Natural-born Bender of Facts’, has begun its storytelling!]
“Oh, my? Hey, why don’t you write the novel instead of me?”
Yi Ji-Hye avoided meeting Han Su-Yeong’s glare and whistled nervously.
“You two, touch my manuscript again, and Imma kill you dead. You hear me?”
“Fine. As for the others….”
Han Su-Yeong shook her head grandly and while holding a suction cup, she turned around – only for Jeong Hui-Won carrying a mischievous expression to plonk a suction cup on the former’s head first.
“Ah?! What the hell! Take it off! Right now!”
[‘Han Su-Yeong’s’ Fable fragment has been extracted!]
[Fable fragment, ‘Memories of a Lemon Candy’, has begun its storytelling.]
⸢”By the way, I’ve been sucking on that, you know?”
“….You can be so boring sometimes. You know that?”⸥
Jeong Hui-Won spoke up in a teasing tone of voice. “Oh-hoh, would you look at that? Our dear author-nim, why did she omit such a delicious scene from the main story, I wonder?”
“Sang-Ah-ssi, let’s try it out ourselves. We need to extract ours quickly so that our dear author-nim can finish her manuscript.”
While Han Su-Yeong was angrily gnashing her teeth, the rest of the companions put the suction cups on and started with their Fable fragment extraction.
[‘Yu Sang-Ah’s’ Fable fragment has been extracted!]
[Fable fragment, ‘Hard work, sincerity, patience’, has been extracted.]
“….What the?? Was that your family motto?”
“Everyone should learn from Yu Sang-Ah-ssi’s example.”
[Additional Fable fragment has been extracted from ‘Yu Sang-Ah’.]
[Fable fragment, ‘Memories of their first sharp, cold hand-holding’, has been extracted!]
Eyes of Jeong Hui-Won confirming that Fable gleamed a little. It was a Fable she also knew, that’s why. However, there were some people here who didn’t know what it was about.
Han Su-Yeong asked. “What’s this? You held Kim Dok-Ja’s hand before?”
“Mm~. I’ve completely forgotten about it. There was something like that, wasn’t there.”
“Why did you hold his hand?”
“Are you curious?”
“I need to write the novel, so hurry up and spit it out!”
Next to the duo, Jeong Hui-Won wearing the suction cup on her head smiled at them. “Hey, Han Su-Yeong. It’s not that strange for close comrades to hold each other’s hands, right? Why do you react so….”
[‘Jeong Hui-Won’s’ Fable fragment has been extracted!]
[Fable fragment, ‘I’ve seen the Demon King of Salvation’s Black Flame Dragon’, has been extracted.]
Han Su-Yeong narrowed her eyes. “Oh, so really close comrades can show each other stuff like that too?”
“Hahaha… Well, I think this device has developed some kind of an error.”
[‘Yi Hyeon-Seong’s’ Fable fragment has been extracted!]
[Fable fragment, ‘I’ve seen the Demon King of Salvation’s Black Flame Dragon’, has been extracted!]
Jeong Hui-Won asked, utterly taken back. “Hyeon-Seong-ssi? Why do you also have that Fable?”
“Hui-Won-ssi, have you forgotten? We saw it together, didn’t we?”
“What is it, what is it? What did you two see together??”
When Jang Ha-Yeong began her nagging, Jeong Hui-Won faltered a bit and started mumbling away about some random stuff in a clearly troubled tone of voice.
While the intense scrutiny was focused elsewhere, Han Su-Yeong sneakily left her spot and approached the Fable extractor. For some reason, she seemed deeply anxious. She alternated her gaze between the companions and the extractor with a complicated expression, before cautiously extending her finger towards the device’s power button.
Jeong Hui-Won belatedly discovered that sight and cried out. “Han Su-Yeong, what are you doing?! You better listen well now so you don’t get things mixed up la….”
[Analysis on the additional Fable fragment of ‘Han Su-Yeong’ has been completed.]
[Fable fragment, ‘I burst Demon King’s Black Flame Dragon by mista….]
Almost at the same time, Han Su-Yeong switched the device off.
⸢”Okay, so. The attack from Jeon Woo-Chi flew into…. my ‘that place’, is that it?”⸥
While belatedly typing up the additional contents for the first part, Han Su-Yeong softly grumbled to herself. “Dammit, what a weird event that was.”
Her strange-sounding Fable almost got discovered by the companions.
In any case, she got to write the manuscript largely trouble-free all thanks to extracting Fable fragments from the companions.
Here was a novel she wrote while using the definite information as her foundation while omitting those parts she didn’t know of. At this point, she wasn’t even sure whether to call this a novel or an essay.
As the work inched closer to the latter half, the shades of pain began creeping up on the companions’ expressions. The memories of their happier times would eventually end up as the conclusion they had to face.
An ending where all of their effort had turned into nothing more than bubbles, and Kim Dok-Ja failing to return to their side.
Yi Gil-Yeong asked. “….What meaning is there in writing a tragedy like this?”
“There is some.”
They might have failed in changing anything, but that didn’t mean they had given up.
That fact alone was enough to console someone. Even if that someone happened to be themselves.
And so, around the time when another eight months had gone by, Han Su-Yeong managed to write her way past the fourth and fifth part to reach the epilogue. And as the feelings of liberation and heightened excitement enveloped her, she began to work on the final part of the manuscript.
[The applicable world-line’s system has reached the limits of its senescence.]
It was also then that something no one could have foreseen happened.
[Every system in the applicable world-line is entering the extinction phase.]
[Stigma, ‘Cloud System’, has ceased to function.]
<Epilogue 5. The Eternity and Epilogue (5)> Fin.