Chapter 476: Episode 90 – One Person (5)
I sensed the power of a vast Fable oozing out from Yu Jung-Hyeok’s entire frame.
[<Star Stream> can’t take its eyes away from the Incarnation, ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’!]
The will of the entire world was now paying attention to him.
[Absolute majority of Constellations watching the scenario have raised their wariness due to the existence of Incarnation, ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’.]
[Constellations of the ‘Final Scenario’ are stunned by the Fable of Incarnation, ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’.]
[Portion of the Bureau’s Great Dokkaebis are demanding a ⸢Probability Suitability Evaluation⸥!]
[The ‘King of Stories’ has rejected the demand.]
[The ⸢Probability Suitability Evaluation⸥ is restricted within the applicable scenario.]
Every single Yu Jung-Hyeok’s Fable that I knew felt ‘complete’ now. This feeling couldn’t simply be described as him merely becoming stronger. This ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ before my eyes was a different existence to the one I became familiar with.
I got a little tense as I asked him. “Our companions?”
“You being here means the ‘Secretive Plotter’ has decided to do me that favour, right?”
My final alternative plan in case even the plan B failed was to awake the sleeping Yu Jung-Hyeok.
[Incarnation ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ currently has abnormally activated the ‘Disconnected Film Theory’.]
[Film’s connection is incomplete!]
[The entire film may cease to exist if this connection is forcibly maintained.]
The last-ditch method that I didn’t want to resort to if at all possible, yet simply had to when left with no other options – the greatest ace up our sleeve we currently possessed.
[‘Yu Jung-Hyeoks’ of all the regression turns are now looking at you.]
And I felt distant, numerous gazes coming from within him. Suddenly, I had this ominous foreboding. What if this Yu Jung-Hyeok wasn’t the ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ that I knew of….?
“Excuse me, but which regression turn Yu Jung-Hyeok are you?”
He then stared at me. I could see the thick scar on his cheek, a wound the 3rd turn Yu Jung-Hyeok didn’t possess. I was about to ask something else, but then, several sentences flowed out from his body as if to shut my mouth.
⸢Terror of All Stars⸥
⸢Strongest Incarnation in Star Stream’s history⸥
⸢The Iron-blooded Conquering King⸥
⸢The Usurper of the Scenarios⸥
The history he had lived so far was floating up as the crude, coarse sentences from the ‘Ways of Survival’. The sentences gathered to become a Fable, and that story soon became the man standing before my eyes, the existence that waded past 1864 lives.
“I am Yu Jung-Hyeok.”
He was not Yu Jung-Hyeok from any of the regression turns. Not from the 0th turn, not from the 1st, and not even from the 1863rd.
He was simply Yu Jung-Hyeok from all regression turns.
The 999th turn’s Yi Ji-Hye dazedly looked at us, her eyes wide open in disbelief.
And then, another Yi Ji-Hye shouted out at that girl. “Master! Hurry! Take care of her! She’s trying to destroy our world-line!”
She yelled out with so much anger.
I was thinking of adding something there. However, such thoughts scattered away the moment I saw Yu Jung-Hyeok’s side profile. He didn’t bother to assume the attacking stance and simple stared at the two ‘Outer Gods’ present here.
[Character, ‘Master of the Sunken Island’, is looking at the character, ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’.]
[Character, ‘King of Silverlight Heart’, is looking at the character, ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’.]
And the two people from the 999th turn was staring back at him in return.
Yi Hyeon-Seong looked quite agitated at the moment. [[This fable… But, it can’t… Could it be, really….?]]
Just like how I was searching for the ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ I knew from this particular Yu Jung-Hyeok, they were now looking for the ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ they recognised.
[3rd turn’s ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ is remaining silent.]
[41st turn’s ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ is remaining silent.]
[362nd turn’s ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ is remaining silent.]
[666th turn’s ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ is remaining silent.]
There was no point in becoming one anymore as Yu Jung-Hyeoks were being torn apart within those gazes. They were searching for the ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ they recognised and were shoving away other ‘Yu Jung-Hyeoks’ in the process. They eliminated those they couldn’t understand and tried so hard to find that one ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ they recognised.
And so, how long passed by like that?
[999th turn’s ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ is slowly opening his eyes.]
And one of them finally discovered something among the patchwork of ‘Yu Jung-Hyeoks’.
Just before the ‘Master of the Sunken Island’ could take a large stride forward, the air before her split apart with a single ray of light. Accompanied by choking heat, a blinding beam of light crashed down like a lightning bolt.
Yu Jung-Hyeok lightly swung his [Dark Heavenly Demon Sword] to deflect that beam of light.
[[That man is not the ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ that you remember.]]
There was no need to ask who it could be.
[[He’s simply the ‘Outer God’ who stole the ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ we know of!]]
The ‘Living Flame’, 999th turn’s Uriel, cried out.
She lived only for the purpose of killing the ‘Secretive Plotter’. And she came this far to finally have her vengeance. The conflagration became even more vicious on her [Flames of Retribution].
The one to try and stop her was the ‘Master of the Sunken Island’.
[[H-hold on. Stop, Uriel. That ‘Captain’ is…!]]
[[Don’t be fooled. The ‘Secretive Plotter’ is permeating within him. Meaning, he’s the sworn enemy we’ve been searching for after all this time!]]
And right next moment…
[[Holy shit, so that’s the captain from this world-line? Been a while, but still, he’s so damn scary….]]
Finally, even the last ‘King’ arrived in the location.
He took a look around the battlefield, then spoke with his eyes almost bulging out of his face. [[T-there are two Ji-Hyes here?!]]
….It was the ‘Monarch of the Great Abyss’, the 999th turn’s Kim Nam-Woon.
[All ‘Outer God Kings’ have gathered in one place!]
[Every Constellation in <Star Stream> is paying close attention to this battlefield!]
[Every Nebula in <Star Stream> is fearful of the advent of the fallen beings.]
[A large number of Constellations are revealing their animosity!]
They simply ignored whatever the stars were saying and quietly studied each other.
⸢The ‘Living Flame’ that rises up from the east.⸥
⸢The ‘Master of the Sunken Island’, the calamity of the world in the west.⸥
⸢The ‘Monarch of the Great Abyss’, the ruler of the northern universe.⸥
⸢The ‘King of Silverlight Heart’, the ruler of the interstellar space in the south.⸥
⸢And the ‘Great Plotter’ that crawls from the place of nothing.⸥
The plan I began cooking up bit by bit ever since I discovered their names within the book written by the ‘Recorder of Fear’ and deduced their identities…
I sneaked a glance at Yu Jung-Hyeok. The original plan A was actually supposed to begin from here.
– Yu Jung-Hyeok.
My signal prompted him to step forward.
The Chaotic aura of an Outer God enveloped him, and he spoke in the true voice. [[Everyone has gathered, I see.]]
Those words contained emotions that I couldn’t even fathom. However, someone present here still managed to do just that.
[[Captain. I knew it. It is you, right? But how….]]
[[You dare to use yet another underhanded method…!!]]
The [Flames of Retribution] scythed past the air and flew in. The [Dark Heavenly Demon Sword] containing the power of the Transcender rose up to deflect the flames.
As the friction noises loudly tangled up with waves of magical energy, Yu Jung-Hyeok raised his voice. [[Been a while, Uriel. My old comrade-in-arms.]]
[[Shut up! You are not Yu Jung-Hyeok! You are…!!]] The 999th turn’s Uriel shouted out as if she had been made fun of just now. Conflagration of destruction spread out everywhere and ignited the oxygen in the air. Within this hell of choking, hard-to-breathe dry heat, she continued to speak. [[The Yu Jung-Hyeok I knew died in that place.]]
Her Fables growled like a wounded wolf. Her expression could only be made by someone who lost something far too precious to her. And while carrying such an expression, she pointed her sword at us.
[[And it was you bastard who killed him.]]
Her Fable was crying out now.
⸢[I’ll kill him. I’ll definitely kill him. Without a doubt, I shall make sure to kill him.]⸥
The 999th turn’s Uriel held onto Yu Jung-Hyeok’s Incarnation Body wasting away due to the ‘Other World Pledge’ and cried in sorrow.
⸢[Regardless of what needs to be done, even if that means crossing world-lines, I will definitely avenge you. Even if I end up leaving the side of Good to become Evil!!]⸥
And so, the ‘Demon-like Judge of Fire’ became the ‘Living Flame’. She was an Archangel who chose to become an ‘Outer God’ for the sake of her vengeance. That was her reason for being here.
[[‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ doesn’t die. Only the regression waits.]]
[[Shut up! Such words won’t….!]]
Yu Jung-Hyeok deflected some more flames tinged with boundless rage and continued on. [[He awoke again, and lived through the 1000th turn. He then died, only to move onto the 1001st. And so, he continued to live on and on. And on.]]
I too know of that life. A life that no one remembered, a life that he couldn’t share with anyone else. Yu Jung-Hyeok continued to live such a life all alone.
[[And eventually, he became me.]]
Uriel pounced, looking as if she had heard something she shouldn’t have. She swung her [Flames of Retribution] in desperation, cutting his side, then slicing into his stomach. And in a blink, her blade circled around and took aim at his neck. He didn’t try to stop her, as if this was the just punishment he’d been waiting for. And then….
Like magic, Uriel’s blade came to a halt.
[[You, you, you…. are….]]
Uriel probably knew this, too – that her vengeance could never be fulfilled. Because, the one who stole away her most precious comrade-in-arms happened to be the very same comrade, that’s why.
Yu Jung-Hyeok spoke to her. [[If you want, go ahead and kill me. The ‘Secretive Plotter’ who took your world-line away is none other than me, after all.]]
Uriel howled out in anguish, then cried out loudly.
Just as her sword moved again, the ocean exploded along with the loud ‘Ka-boom!!’
Her sword was flung in the air. The Flames of Retribution stabbed into the ocean, and slowly sank beneath the waves while vaporising the water.
Yu Jung-Hyeok wasn’t responsible for that.
The cannon smoke rose up from the other side of the waves. It was the 999th turn’s Yi Ji-Hye who fired a shell.
[[That’s enough, Uriel.]] Her voice was thickly tinged with joy and madness as she carried on. [[Yes, we know it, too. We already knew it all too well….]]
She staggered across the ocean’s surface and approached this side. Yu Jung-Hyeok didn’t avoid her pale hand.
[[Captain. You’re inside somewhere, right? You’ve become something else now, but you as you are definitely inside, right? You’re still alive, right??]]
Rather than tears, Chaos flooded out from Yi Ji-Hye’s eyes like fine powder seemingly made out from the pitch-black darkness. He looked at her and nodded his head.
[999th turn’s ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ is looking at his old comrade-in-arms.]
The 999th turn’s Yi Ji-Hye grasped onto his sleeve and slowly crumbled.
I could only look at his back. His back, where I couldn’t read his expressions at all.
⸢It was the trickery of the world-line that caused Yu Jung-Hyeok to become many.⸥
Yu Jung-Hyeok who lived during the 0th turn became the 1st turn’s Yu Jung-Hyeok, then he became the 2nd turn’s. And the 2nd turn went on to become the 3rd – and then, the 4th.
Abnormal events of the past and future interfering with each other ran rampant and made everyone forget that crucial fact, but this was the undeniable truth.
⸢A regressor actually doesn’t regress. What actually regresses isn’t him, but everything else excluding him.⸥
The time for everyone else would rewind, but his own time would continue to march forward.
Even though the world-lines had split up and some became the 1864th turn’s Yu Jung-Hyeok while someone else became the ‘Secretive Plotter’, but still….
⸢From the beginning, he was just ‘one person’ who kept walking on one continuous, unbroken path.⸥
However, could these people be able to handle the truth?
⸢Someone only lived on for the sake of her revenge.⸥
Uriel, still raising her flames.
⸢Someone only lived on for the sake of continuing on with his will.⸥
Yi Hyeon-Seong, who couldn’t shed tears anymore.
⸢Someone only lived on for the sake of fighting him one more time.⸥
Kim Nam-Woon, standing askew in the air and glaring daggers in this direction.
⸢And someone only lived on for the sake of reviving those times she lived alongside him.⸥
Yi Ji-Hye, currently crumpled, looking vacant.
Yu Jung-Hyeok told them that ‘regression couldn’t change anything’. However, his regression did change someone’s life. The ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ was the world to these people. A world that helped them live on even after their own world-line was annihilated.
⸢Kim Dok-Ja’s plan was precisely about this ‘world’.⸥
If, by any chance, these people still remembered their world even now…
And, if they accepted this ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’ once more as their captain, then…
⸢If so, then there might not be a reason to continue with this battle.⸥
[[If you’re really the captain, then… You must know what I want, then.]] The 999th turn’s Yi Ji-Hye smiled brightly. [[Let’s go back, captain. Let’s start from the beginning again.]] She held onto his wrist and spoke. [[Let’s destroy this world-line together. Ng? We made a deal with the Dokkaebi King, you see? If we destroy this world-line, he will send us back. He will get in touch with your Sponsor, the ‘Most Ancient Dream’, and….]]
I hurriedly looked at him.
– Yu Jung-Hyeok.
He must never stimulate them negatively here. No, he definitely needed to use the most suitable words to win them over. Even if he had to lie, he needed to agree, before it was too….
Yu Jung-Hyeok looked at her and spoke. Not through his true voice, but with his physical voice.
The 999th turn’s Yi Ji-Hye shrunk her shoulders when subjected under his gaze. Just like on that day when she first learned to wield her sword from her master.
“Is that what you really want?”
“Do you believe that you’ll become happy if everything reverts to how it was back then?”
[[The captain I knew, he…. He’d never say things like that.]] The 999th turn’s Yi Ji-Hye bit her lip and let go of his hand. [[He’s someone who regressed 999 times. He didn’t falter even when living through that inordinate amount of time. That man, he’d never say something so weak, and….]]
“A man who regressed 999 times can grow tired by the 1000th,” said Yu Jung-Hyeok in a voice so honest that even I was left stunned. “Even if one endured 1000 lifetimes, one can still give up during the 1001st.”
The voice was so thick with boundless fatigue that even I became dazed by it.
[[There’s no way… That’s not possible. The captain I remember is….!]]
“He would not give up. Indeed. However, if that’s everything you remember about ‘Yu Jung-Hyeok’, then….”
I needed to say something. I need to tell him that he must not say these things. But I couldn’t.
“….Then, that Yu Jung-Hyeok is dead.”
That was his heart laid bare. A man who lived 1864 lifetimes, a man who had never truly expressed himself, had finally bared his soul.
Yi Ji-Hye cried out, sounding more like a shriek. [[Not true! That can’t be true!!]]
“He shall not regress anymore.”
I saw some things sparkle in the distant sky – they were stars.
[Constellation, ‘Demon-like Judge of Fire’, is scanning the vicinity with an anxious face!]
[Constellation, ‘Most Ancient Liberator’, is asking about his maknae’s well-being!]
[Constellation, ‘Abyssal Black Flame Dragon’, declares that he will use both of his hands this time!]
Stars that watched our stories from a very long time ago were approaching this side. And beyond them, our companions were also rushing towards us.
Han Su-Yeong, Yu Sang-Ah, Jeong Hui-Won… The people from <Kim Dok-Ja Company> who had lived with us in this world. Within the darkness brought on by the fading sunset, they looked like one giant constellation.
Yu Jung-Hyeok, now as one person, took in that sight and raised his voice.
“I can’t go back. My final regression turn is this one.”
<Episode 90. One Person (5)> Fin.