Chapter 374: Episode 71 – 50 years later (2)
50 years? What the hell was that all about?
As my vision grew blurrier, I caught the smile floating up on the Warrior Monk’s lips.
– Oh, dear Bodhisattva. Please, try to endure time itself.
[Transfer to the Main Island has begun!]
[‘Wall that Decides Samsara’ is investigating information of your Fables!]
[Investigation has concluded!]
[The scenario location for you and your comrades has been decided.]
This was the very last message I heard before losing my consciousness.
[Sub-scenario, ‘Genre Selection’, has begun!]
Ricardo stared into the pitch-black liquid filling up his transparent cup and recalled the memories of the distant past.
⸢”Even if you train for 50 years, it’ll be difficult for you to become a royal court mage.”⸥
That was back when he first started learning magic.
⸢”You don’t seem to possess the suitable constitution to become a scholar.”⸥
That was when the number one scholar in the Kaixenix Archipelago came to tutor him.
⸢”Your hands are not suited to holding a sword.”⸥
And that was back when he grabbed a sword for the first time in the royal swordsmanship training grounds.
⸢”Some lives are like that. What’s important is to never fall into despair and continue to strive forward, son.”⸥
Ricardo’s father, Verchen Von Kaixenix, said those words.
That couldn’t console him, though. A man who had no talent nor desire to do anything wouldn’t be consoled after hearing those words, anyway.
Even with no talent, he should strive forward regardless? What would he become if he continued to live on like that, anyway?
Ricardo drunk himself into a stupor every single day. He hung around with the archipelago’s worst hooligans and did drugs. He even became addicted to gambling and squandered away the fortunes of his family, too.
He even fell in love. Once upon a time.
She was older, and the most beautiful woman in the entire archipelago. Unfortunately, even that had to end after she married his oldest brother.
Ricardo stared at that black liquid and muttered to himself.
“I’ll just kill myself.”
That resolution was the first time he swallowed the brave pill in his life.
He lightly grasped the cup, and as if drinking wine, he emptied its contents in one go. Its effect manifested itself not too long afterwards. His complexion became dark and lifeless, and his arms faltered to the side with no energy.
And exactly four hours later.
Someone else opened his eyes in Ricardo’s body.
Besides ‘Ways of Survival’, I had read quite a few other stories. When I was young, I read those great works of literature my mother recommended, and after I grew up a bit, I began selecting books on my own volition to read.
As an aside, the very first web-novel I read began with its protagonist harping on about his misfortune while dying before waking back up again.
Just like now.
“Your highness! Prince Ricardo! Are you alright, my lord?”
Someone was patting me on the back, and I vomited out the contents of my stomach for a long time.
I wiped my mouth and raised my head only to discover a mirror. The handsome face reflected in it was pale and charmingly attractive.
….It was definitely my face, but something felt unfamiliar about it.
Who was I?
⸢”You probably know this already, but I’m not a prophet. No, I am as far removed from such a being as you can get.”⸥
⸢”I’m not the ‘Demon King of Salvation’. I’m also not the ‘King of a Kingless World’.”⸥
⸢”Twenty-eight…. No, wait. I was twenty-eight, and I was an employee of a game company. My hobby was reading web-novels….”⸥
[Your Fables are resisting against the Great Fable that sets this world’s view!]
[Exclusive skill, ‘The 4th Wall’, is strongly activating!]
I slowly closed my eyes before opening them again, and was immediately overcome with the sensation of the world separating itself from me.
[‘The 4th Wall’ has impeded your character immersion.]
[Due to the effect of ‘The 4th Wall’, your ego has been fully retained.]
[Probability of the Island is suspicious of your preferential treatment.]
I was greeted by the feelings of an unfamiliar body. This one didn’t belong to me.
⸢I am Kim Dok-Ja.⸥
My consciousness returned to me in full, and the chain of memories was organised in an instant. I was participating in the ‘Great War of Saints and Demons’ scenario, and had just entered the Main Island.
It was awash with the various spectrum of 3rd generation Fables. Different Fables created different genres of worldviews, and the one right in front of my eyes was….
[A term not aligned with the worldview has been spoken!]
[Penalty will be imposed!]
By the time I woke up again, two hours would have passed by.
“Your highness, are you feeling alright?”
Someone was calling out to me from beyond my hazy view.
“….Please, may I have some water?”
[You have used language not in line with the worldview!]
“….Hand me some water.”
“Here it is.”
After drinking large gulps of cold water, I felt my reasoning return bit by bit. My head was in a mess as the memories of someone else rushed in. I was now occupying the body of a man who had already lived for over 30 years.
⸢In certain areas on the ‘Main Island’, words that don’t align with the applicable worldview will be prohibited from being spoken.⸥
I could just about remember some stuff from the ‘Ways of Survival’. Although this particular turn barely got a passing mention, the novel definitely did feature a scenario such as this one.
The so-called ‘Possession scenario’.
I’d be advancing the scenario ‘Great War of Saints and Demons’ from this person’s perspective from here onwards.
[It is impossible to summon a Dokkaebi when in the applicable area.]
[You are unable to receive indirect messages from the Constellations when in the applicable area.]
….Not only that, strange restrictions were in place, too. This was a different development from the ‘Great War of Saints and Demons’ that I knew of.
“….Looks like I’ll have to collect information first.”
[You have performed actions befitting the personality of the host body.]
[Your understanding of the applicable host body is increasing.]
Straight away, I began rummaging through the memories from the ‘Ways of Survival’.
⸢The Kaixenix Archipelago, the isle of heroes that led the Age of Saints and Demons.⸥
I couldn’t really recall any particularly useful information. Why did it have to be an area that didn’t get much of a mention in the ‘Ways of Survival’?
But, it didn’t feel like a completely foreign place to me, though….
Was that because of the memories of the person I had possessed overflowing into me?
[Exclusive skill, ‘Character List’, has been activated!]
Now originally, I couldn’t see my Attribute Window. However, if it was the one belonging to the host body that I took over, then….
Name: Ricardo Von Kaixenix (Kim Dok-Ja)
Constellation Support: None (Currently, ‘1’ Constellation has shown interest.)
Exclusive Attribute: A Gifted Hoodlum
Exclusive Skills: [Royalty’s Outer Appearance Lv.3], [Soliloquy Lv.6], [Roleplay Lv.5]
Overall Stats: [Physique Lv. 10], [Strength Lv.10], [Agility Lv.10], [Magic Power Lv.10]
Overall Rating: The person you have taken over is the 4th Prince of the Kaixenix Archipelago. Unfortunately, he lacks talent in all types of combat abilities, including swordsmanship, magic, etc.
* Currently afflicted by Abnormal Status Condition: ‘Possessed’.
….Why was I stuck inside such a guy’s body?
The scenario’s message definitely told me that I’d occupy a ‘host related to me’. However, what did this wastrel prince have in common with me? Not only that, this dude’s natural muscular stat was 10. The only thing similar between us would be our age, but even then….
“Your highness, are you immersing yourself in roleplay once more?”
“Last time, you were imitating our First Ancestor…. You’re now wearing an outfit that I haven’t seen before, your highness. You’re dressed like the people from Earth’s chronicles, sir.”
I took a look at the mirror without thinking too much about it and spotted the familiar outfit. Bizarrely enough, all my equipment had been transferred along with my possession of the host body.
I replied in a dead-pan manner. “It’s an outfit of a certain Demon King.”
“….A Demon King, your highness?”
I reached into the coat’s inner pocket, and fortunately enough, I could feel the equipment I possessed still in there. I took out my smartphone first. In order to acquire more info on this place, I needed to check the contents of the ‘Ways of Survival’….
[The applicable item does not line up with the worldview and therefore cannot be used.]
….Screw this damn penalty.
The butler alongside me must’ve interpreted my actions in his own way, since he spoke as thus. “Indeed, your highness, it’ll be better to enjoy yourself for one last time. Soon, ‘his’ majesty will call for you. Well, then.”
Leaving behind those words, the butler went away from my side. And I was left all alone in this small room.
⸢Kim Dok Ja is lone ly.⸥
Right, it’s a relief that at least you’re here with me. I wonder what had happened to my other companions…
According to the last message I heard, it was highly probable that they all ended up in the same area as me. For the time being, I switched the scenario window on. The backlogged messages rose up non-stop in my view.
[You have entered Main Island’s ‘Kaixenix Archipelago’.]
[‘Kaixenix Archipelago’ is currently cut off from the ‘Great War of Saints and Demons’ conflict region’s space-time.]
[You can advance to the ‘Great War of Saints and Demons’ after solving the applicable area’s sub-scenario.]
I’d probably have to raise an army here and participate in the ‘Great War of Saints and Demons’. Meaning, this place would serve as a foundation to enter that war.
[You can’t view the information on the scenario yet.]
[The plot of the applicable scenario will change according to the route you have chosen.]
The route I’ve chosen?
No, hang on a minute. At least I need to know what the conditions for failure is, so I can….
[You won’t fail the applicable scenario as long as you do not die.]
Now, this kind of situation would be my first.
In any case, I wouldn’t fail this scenario as long as I stay alive, was that it? I sat down on the bed and calmly organised my thoughts.
My name in the current worldview was Ricardo Von Kaixenix.
As this scenario was built upon the basis of ‘possession’, I had to perfectly carry on acting like the prince I took over.
My current priority should be to search for the other members of <Kim Dok-Ja’s Company>. It was highly possible that they were possessing other people like me, so only after I find them would I be….
“Your highness, are you in? It’s Knight Bilston.”
Just as I began thinking, someone knocked on the door.
The Knight Bilston Framer – if Ricardo’s memories were correct, then that guy was supposed to be my escort knight.
“His majesty is calling for you, your highness.”
The moment he pushed open the door to enter the room, I was immediately taken over by this unexplainable feeling. The person standing before me was a knight boasting white moustache in his early 40s. Without a doubt, I should’ve been unfamiliar with his appearance. But then…
[Your Fables are reacting towards the applicable individual!]
[Exclusive attribute, ‘Scenario Interpreter’, is displaying its effect!]
The knight’s face was changing bit by bit.
A voice that I really missed entered my head, even though it hadn’t been that long since last I heard it.
⸢”Back when I was still in the military, there was an incident where I lost a spent cartridge.”⸥
The Fable accumulated within the man was talking to me right now. Words that lost the majority of their strength were desperately pleading with me regarding something.
⸢”I told myself to never lose one ever again.”⸥
I knew the owner of that particular Fable well.
When I spoke up, Yi Hyeon-Seong stared back at me.
[Applicable individual does not understand your words.]
“It is you, isn’t it? Mister Hyeon-Seong?”
[Applicable individual does not understand your words.]
[Applicable worldview has recommended that you perfectly act according to the role you were given.]
Yi Hyeon-Seong staring at me with vacant eyes soon formed an awkward grin and replied back. “Hyeon-Seong? Haha, are you still in the middle of your roleplay, your highness? May I be permitted to inquire as to who you were imitating just now?”
It seemed that Yi Hyeon-Seong couldn’t recognise me at all – along with an expression of someone who didn’t remember me on his face.
I called out his name. “Lord Bilston.”
“Yes, your highness.”
“Do you not recognise this outfit?”
“Mm…. Is that the outfit of the Demon Hunters? Or, maybe, a member of Revolutionaries….”
Although my current face was different, my current attire was the white coat that I’ve been wearing all along. If this man was really Yi Hyeon-Seong, there was just no way that he’d not recognise it.
But the fact that he still failed to do so could only mean….
[Exclusive skill, ‘Character List’, has activated!]
Name: Bilston Framer (???)
Constellation Support: None
Exclusive Attribute: Loyalty, An Honourable Knight
Exclusive Skills: [Rapid Reaction Force Lv.8], [Kingdom’s Royal Swordsmanship Lv.8]
Overall Stats: [Physique Lv.80], [Strength Lv. 80], [Agility Lv. 80], [Magic Power Lv. 80]
Overall Rating: Once upon a time, there used to be two souls living within this body. He was a knight of the kingdom, and at the same time, a shield of someone else. The shield waited for his master to appear. He waited, and then waited some more. Finally, the master of the shield has appeared after a long wait, but the shield can no longer perform its role anymore.
While reading the explanation in the Attribute Window over and over again, I recalled the Invincible Fist Yu Ho-Seong’s warning.
– When you get to the Main Island, be careful of the ‘Great Fable’.
– If it’s a Great Fable, I think I can control it now.
– I didn’t mean it that way. You will end up fighting against a Great Fable itself when you get there.
Only then did I understand the meaning behind those words.
I raised my head to sense the movement of a gigantic Probability encasing the entirety of the archipelago. Something was staring at me. Something that was neither a Constellation nor a Demon King.
[Great Fable, ‘Kaixenix Archipelago’, is avariciously staring at you.]
I clenched my fists and bit down on my lip.
The still-oblivious Yi Hyeon-Seong continued to mutter to himself in the meantime. “Hmm, if it’s not the Revolutionaries, then maybe, another kingdom’s….”
The Yi Hyeon-Seong that I knew had been swallowed up by this world and disappeared already.
< Episode 71: 50 years later (2) > Fin.