Chapter 547: Epilogue 5 – The Eternity and Epilogue (2)
Now normally, you’d need around two years at most to complete the first draft of a manuscript. However, there was no such leeway in this world-line.
– The system is losing its powers too quickly. If we miss this week, then I fear that we won’t have enough persuasive power to launch the ark.
In the end, Han Su-Yeong decided to start the first wave of transmission after finishing up the second part of the manuscript.
The companions grew excited after hearing about the news of the manuscript’s dispatch.
Yu Sang-Ah asked. “How will you transport the file? In a USB?”
“We’ll prepare for various contingencies, but... Fundamentally, it needs to be taken in the form of a Fable,” replied Han Su-Yeong.
“Who will deliver it, though?”
“No can do. If Su-Yeong-ssi leaves, who will look after Dok-Ja-ssi of this place if something happens to him?”
Even if he was only a shell, he was still Kim Dok-Ja. If something strange happened to him and Han Su-Yeong possessing the Bureau’s Fable wasn’t around, his main body might crumble away.
Yu Sang-Ah continued on. “Let me go. I know the exact coordinates of the world-line where Dok-Ja-ssi has reincarnated.”
But that only prompted Jeong Hui-Won to try to dissuade her. “Sang-Ah-ssi, you need to defend this world, you know! Let me go. Give me the coordinates.”
“No way! I’ll go and meet hyung!”
“I’m ahjussi’s Incarnation, so obviously I should go!”
“That’s not right. I’m the foremost expert on all things related to the ‘Demon King of Salvation’, so it should be me....!”
Yi Gil-Yeong, Shin Yu-Seung and even Jang Ha-Yeong joined the fray, turning the inside of the hall into pure chaos. Constellations and Incarnations were arguing with each other, saying they should be the one to make the trip.
Yu Sang-Ah sighed while looking at them. “It’s not as easy as you all think. Everyone here is aware of how dangerous it is to cross a world-line, yes?”
“If the coordinate I traced is correct, then the world-line in question is right at the outer-most edge of the universe.”
“Meaning, it’s a world where ‘scenarios’ might not even exist.”
No one knew what the world Kim Dok-Ja had reincarnated into was like. It could be fundamentally different from their Earth.
“The system’s grace could get much weaker when you reach there. Which means, the powers of both skills and Stigmata will naturally weaken, as well. The length of the voyage will be quite an ask, too.”
Anna Croft listening to the explanation nodded her head in agreement. She then looked up at the ark currently performing a test flight up in the sky. “As the vessel has been cobbled together as a single-seater, the equipment installed on board isn’t the greatest. Especially when you’re crossing the Dark Stratum, enduring the storm of aftermath will prove to be a massive challenge. Only the person possessing a very powerful mind is qualified. One mistake, and you may even end up as an ‘Outer God’, that’s why.”
The ‘Outer God’ – that term cast a dark shadow on the expressions of a handful of the companions. They had recalled the sight of ‘Hounds Chasing After the Abyss’ doggedly pursuing them, that’s why.
Unfortunately, Anna Croft wasn’t done with her explanation. “And there are far too many world-lines where his soul has scattered to, as well. At the bare minimum, you’ll have to cross hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of world-lines... Are you prepared for that eventuality?”
Hundreds of thousands. Even if you were to cross one world-line per day, the trip might end up lasting for hundreds of years with that estimate. Even if it was for Kim Dok-Ja, could anyone be able to last that lengthy period of time without losing their sanity?
“None of you are capable.”
The man who could survive even when receiving the absolute minimum grace of the system.
The man who would not lose himself even when swimming against the boundless torrents of time.
And that’s why, the man with the highest odds of succeeding in this mission among the companions.
“I’ll be the one to head out.”
The ark’s passenger had already been decided.
Eventually, the ark’s date of departure had arrived.
Han Su-Yeong observed Yu Jung-Hyeok currently getting ready to disembark from some distance away.
“I’m not putting on that thing.”
“Conquering King, you must wear it. Don’t forget that you’re no longer the same as your past self.”
Now, this was a spectacle she would’ve liked to show to Kim Dok-Ja of five years ago. If he heard about how the prophet was trying to ensure the safety of the regressor, just what would be the thoughts entering his mind?
“You’re really becoming a bother.”
“You might be saying that now, but this will definitely come in handy later on. Being a Transcender does not mean you’re completely free from the system’s influences. Transcenders are existences validated only through their opposition to the system. If the latter disappears, then the former’s powers will, of course, grow progressively weaker in turn.”
Yu Jung-Hyeok glared at Anna Croft with disapproving eyes, before putting on the offered equipment one by one.
“This is a cumbersome attire for combat.”
“You are not going there to fight, so it’ll be fine.”
Yu Jung-Hyeok’s new bloated appearance after putting on the spacesuit was truly a sight to behold. Han Su-Yeong began teasing him.
“That look really suits you.”
“....You’re being noisy.”
“You should think this over. You really wanna do this?”
Even as the departure time crept ever closer, Han Su-Yeong still didn’t feel confident at all.
⸢Honestly speaking, maybe there was no reason to go this far.⸥
The voyage about to take place this time was completely different from the regression or jumping between the world-lines. They weren’t trying to change the past, nor were they trying to steal the right ‘materials’ to open the [Final Wall] of the other world-line.
This voyage, in some ways, was much closer to a pilgrimage. One where he was trying to commemorate that one person they had been searching for all this time.
“Hand over the manuscript.”
“Your manner of speech hasn’t changed even though you stopped being a regressor.”
Han Su-Yeong sighed and opened her right hand. The power of a Stigma she had been developing until now was circling around the tip of her hand.
[Stigma, ‘Cloud System’, is on stand-by.]
This was a similar method to how [The 4th Wall] handed the text files over to Kim Dok-Ja in the past.
The Stigma itself was evolved from her [Predictive Plagiarism] capable of sending obtuse messages across the world-lines.
“It’s possible for those possessing this Stigma to share the manuscript. Coming back to Earth several times for the new versions will be too difficult even for you, so I’ll just keep sending you the manuscripts through the cloud.”
“Are you telling me to learn your unique Stigma? We don’t have the time to...”
“Right, we don’t have the time. But there is a way to learn it super fast. You don’t have a Constellation backer anymore, do you?”
Right away, Yu Jung-Hyeok realised what Han Su-Yeong was saying. “You fool, are you really....”
“You think I’m enjoying the idea myself?”
While furrowing his brows, he accessed his attribute window. When his Stigma [Regression] vanished, his Constellation sponsor had disappeared as well.
He was a completely free man.
“Are you suggesting that I take on someone weaker than me as my backer?”
“But I won against you the last time.”
“I don’t understand the rubbish you’re spewing.”
“What, you wanna have another go?”
Even though they didn’t concede an inch and continued to bicker, they still finished signing the [Sponsor Contract]. Both of them knew this was the most optimum method available, that’s why.
[Constellation, ‘Architect of the False Last Act’, has become Incarnation ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’s Constellation backer!]
[Incarnation, ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’, has inherited the Stigma, ‘Cloud System’.]
[Two beings’ imaginary cloud network have been connected!]
“I’ve never imagined that I’d live long enough to see the day like this one. I wish I could tell that idiot Kim Dok-Ja about this somehow,” muttered Han Su-Yeong.
“Once I make my way back, I’ll kill you first and cancel this ridiculous contract.”
“Try it if you can.”
After their exchange came to an end there, they stared at each other for a little while.
“Don’t forget. You must not destroy the other world-line. You just have to spread this story there. So that Kim Dok-Ja of that world will get to read it,” said Han Su-Yeong.
“I’ll be back soon.”
He might never come back. Both of them knew that, but no one deliberately tried to bring that point up. With the exception of one person, that was.
“Oppa.” The tearful Yu Mi-Ah held onto Yu Jung-Hyeok’s spacesuit. “You’re lying! You aren’t going to come back! You can’t, even if you wanted to!”
“I won’t abandon you and die.”
As Yu Mi-Ah continued to shed her tears, Han Su-Yeong tightly held her shoulders. Yu Jung-Hyeok slowly lowered himself and matched his little sister’s eye line, then spoke in a gentle, loving tone of voice.
“I give you my word. I will definitely return.”
As he turned around to leave, he sent Han Su-Yeong a message.
– Look after Mi-Ah for me.
He didn’t look behind once and climbed aboard the [Final Ark]. And when Anna Croft gave her signal, the vessel’s ignition was turned on.
The companions belatedly hearing about the news soon arrived and watched everything unfold.
The ark slowly rose up to the sky. The voices of the companions wouldn’t have been able to enter the vessel’s tightly-enclosed cockpit.
Yi Ji-Hye breathlessly running over here looked up at the departing ark.
“Aren’t you going to say goodbye?” Han Su-Yeong asked her.
“If I do, I feel like it’s going to be the last time I see him.”
Despite saying that, Yi Ji-Hye’s eyes were brimming full of tears. Other companions also looked up at the ark without saying anything.
Yu Sang-Ah broke the silence first. “Everything we wanted to say are in the novel, anyway. I’m sure Jung-Hyeok-ssi will read it later on.”
“What’s the point of him reading it? Hyung reading it, that’s all that matters.”
Yi Gil-Yeong, Shin Yu-Seung, Jeong Hui-Won, Yi Hyeon-Seong, Jang Ha-Yeong, Yu Sang-Ah, Yi Seol-Hwa, Yi Su-Gyeong, Gong Pil-Du. And then, the Constellations, too. Everyone stood there and watched the ark leave.
Shin Yu-Seung asked. “Will Dok-Ja ahjussi really read our story?”
That was uncertain. No one in existence would know that. This mission had high odds of failure, and the odds of Yu Jung-Hyeok coming back home empty-handed were also very high.
And their story could disappear as mere cosmic dust in some distant universe.
The departing Yu Jung-Hyeok should know about that, as well. Even then, he chose to leave. He left, for his own sake. Maybe, also for other companions, too.
“If it’s Kim Dok-Ja, he’ll read it,” replied Han Su-Yeong.
At the very least, the people of this world would be able to carry on with their lives while waiting for his news – waiting for Yu Jung-Hyeok’s return.
“He made a promise with me, you see.”
The ark’s flames lit up as it reached towards the distant galaxy. The companions endlessly looked on at the ark getting further away as if it was an expedition ship sailing towards another world. A story written through their lives was disappearing to a place forever out of their reach.
[The ‘Ark’ is entering the atmosphere.]
[Waiting for the user Yu Jung-Hyeok’s destination input.]
Yu Jung-Hyeok inputted the coordinates of the world-line Yu Sang-Ah told him. Even the coordinates of the next nearest world-line to it was incredibly far away. Just as she said, that place might not have <Star Stream> there.
[The dimensional acceleration will commence.]
[Portion of necessary energy will be substituted by the Coins.]
Coins amassed in the other world-line were injected as the energy source of the vessel. They had lost their value with the weakening of the system, but still, they used to be the strongest Fable in the world once upon a time. Before long, the planet Earth could no longer be seen.
[Entering the Dark Stratum to escape from the world-line.]
Yu Jung-Hyeok recalled what Yu Sang-Ah said.
– The world-line Dok-Ja-ssi has reincarnated into is located very far away. Meaning, I don’t know how long it will take to get there if you leave the world-line through the conventional means.
The world Kim Dok-Ja had reincarnated into existed outside the ‘Ways of Survival’ – a place that had completely escaped from this world-line’s influence.
– More than likely, you’ll have to go through the ‘doorway’ that allows you to leave this world-line.
How long passed by like this? Things resembling bubbles began appearing far ahead of him. These bubbles of various hues expanded and contracted repeatedly within the ominous currents. He even sensed this faint feeling of foreboding, too. Yu Jung-Hyeok knew what caused this feeling.
The ‘vice-king’ of the ‘Outer Gods’, as well as the master of the dimensional doorway between the world-lines. And the existence that opened the path to the 1863rd turn for Kim Dok-Ja once upon a time. Yu Jung-Hyeok unknowingly swallowed back his own saliva. This thing before him possessed more than enough power to make him nervous, the man who managed to clear the scenarios.
[[Y o u a r e.... n o t t h e P l o t t e r.]]
A massive eye could be seen within the sea of foams. Yu Jung-Hyeok increased the speed of the ark, not even trying to dodge that eye. In order to get to the world-line at the furthest edge of the universe, he simply had to go through this path.
[[T h a t i s outside t h e story]]
“Doesn’t matter. Step away, or I’ll cut you down.”
Yu Jung-Hyeok aroused every bit of his Fables and pushed the ark forward. The vice-king didn’t try to stop him. However, it only spoke in a pitying, empty-sounding tone of voice.
[[Oh, t h e o n e dreaming o f t h e dream’s outside, y o u r dream c a n n o t b e f u l f i l l e d.]]
The moment he collided with the doorway, the view before his eyes completely distorted. He gritted his teeth and fought back against the storm pouncing on him.
A violent storm of sparks began ravaging and devouring his entire body. He endured the urge to scream as horrifying pain akin to his whole body breaking apart took him over.
– There’s one last thing I wanted to ask you about.
Han Su-Yeong’s voice trickled past inside his disoriented head.
– Why are you going so far to save Kim Dok-Ja? You’ve lost many comrades by now already.
– Having lost many comrades before doesn’t mean you become accustomed to the pain of loss. And also...
Explosions began going off inside the ark. Debris from the broken instruments began floating away in the universe.
– ....I have something I need to ask that fool.
Yet another explosion resounded out, and an object pierced into Yu Jung-Hyeok’s torso.
[Failed to read the world-line’s coordinates!]
[Warning! An error has occurred in the coordinate recognition device!]
[An error has occurred in the interior temperature modulation device!]
[An error has occurred in the ship’s navigation system!]
Sparks exploding abruptly dominated Yu Jung-Hyeok’s entire body. His vision was dyed in pure white, and his consciousness faded away.
By the time he managed to open his eyes, he was already lost in space.
<Epilogue 5. The Eternity and Epilogue (2)> Fin.
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