The Main Characters That Only I Know Chapter 1

# Episode 1

My mother used to say,

no matter how harsh and tough reality is, you should dream big.

In pursuing your dream, you’ll eventually become the protagonist of your life.

I, naive as I was, believed her words as solid truth.

Even when the Collector’s era ended and the apocalypse came to this world.

Even when I struggled in that hellish place for close to a decade, I didn’t lose faith.

Foolishly.

“Cough.”

Intense pain stabbed through my abdomen, and blood spilled from my lips. The metallic scent of blood provoked my nose, a smell I had become overly familiar with since the world ended, but this time it was different.

This smell of blood was my own.

‘Is this the end?’

I had no choice but to realize instinctively. I had overcome countless dangers up to this point, but it looked like the end had come for me too.

If it was merely a piercing wound in my abdomen, it could have been cured with [Healing Tales] or a potent potion with similar effects. However, this wound was made by a cursed demon lance, and no ordinary healing would work on it.

The only chance would be an elixir like [Elixir], which could rejuvenate all wounds and ailments.

‘As if I’d have something like that.’

Maybe ‘he’ had it. After all, since the world changed, he, who seemed chosen, could have gathered all sorts of benefits.

But,

‘Would that guy even bother to use a precious elixir on me?’

I, who had observed him more closely than anyone, knew. He wouldn’t save someone like me, now deemed unnecessary.

As soon as this thought crossed my mind, a group of people appeared, trampling over the rubble of collapsed buildings.

There were four in total. One man and three women.

Familiar faces. People I considered comrades, having overcome adversities together.

They, still showing signs of recent battle, were covered in scrapes and bruises, yet they bore no fatal wounds.

Noticing me leaning against the debris, they slowly approached.

Even as I was dying, their eyes showed no concern for me. Well, at least one of them, who I thought was on good terms, looked at me with pity.

I hated myself for being moved just by that look. It really meant that I had been treated too harshly.

“…”

The leader of the group, the protagonist who received the world’s blessings, looked down on me.

I felt no emotion in his gaze. Though we never got along, we had been together for years. His indifference was bone-chilling.

“Are you here?”

In the end, I was the one who opened my mouth first. The curse seared into the wound was consuming my whole body, making it hard even to move my lips. Cough! A mouthful of blood gushed out with a single word.

“…You.”

He opened his mouth, fixing his gaze on me.

“Even if you hadn’t interfered, I would have taken down that bastard myself.”

But his words were far from being concerned about me. It was more like a reprimand.

Yes. I didn’t expect any less. Instead, I could barely contain my laughter as the expected response came back to me.

“Khukhuk.”

“What’s so funny?”

“No, it’s just… you’re saying exactly what I thought you would.”

He was right. Even if I hadn’t stepped into the fight, this man in front of me could have defeated the calamity-spreading knight.

But the actual conclusion would have taken much longer. And who knows how the battle between beings beyond human limits would have impacted the surroundings? Did he even care?

No, he must have known. Yet he didn’t stop. As long as he achieved his goal, it didn’t matter how many around him died. Such a psychopath.

I glanced around with just my eyeballs. The blackened earth, the crimson sky, the strong winds swirling around – the once-gloriant Seoul was now a ruin. In its midst, I could see people moving, alive.

If I hadn’t intervened in the fight, they would have been swept away by the aftermath and perished. They had survived, in the end.

But not me.

“Khukhuk.”

The fact that those people lived while I was dying seemed ironic. Damn it. How much had I suffered to live, clinging to this psychopath to get this far?

And yet, in the end, to be swayed by sentiment.

With my last bit of strength, I asked the man.

“Do you have an elixir?”

“Yes.”

He didn’t even try to hide it. He knew that even if he denied it or kept silent, I would be sure of it.

“And you won’t use it on me.”

“…Yes.”

“That’s too much.”

“The value of an elixir is immeasurable. It’s my reserve life for the dangers to come. But you, you are not worth using this elixir on.”

Value.

That word contained so much.

It was what I had failed to possess, and it was his measure for evaluating everything in this world and living beings.

“Khukhuk. Value, huh?”

I had no retort. Clearly, my life was far from being considered valuable.

Like a pebble casually kicked on the road, that’s all I amounted to.

The only reason I had made it this far was due to my quick wit to latch onto this man.

And naturally,

His life overflowed with the value he so arrogantly claimed.

To him, valuing someone’s life or existence, grading it to his liking, and deciding whether they lived or died were acts he performed without a second thought – the demeanor of a psychopath.

Ironically, that made him immensely popular.

“Really, it’s a damn world.”

I muttered dejectedly, looking up at the sky. The red sky was pierced by twinkling stars, each one watching over the man.

The celestial spirits of high heavens.

Beings who watched over the human struggle as entertainment, dispensing trials and rewards.

They liked him. They were enthralled by his ruthless ways, while someone insignificant like me didn’t even register on their radar.

Even now, that was the case. No celestial spirit mourned my death.

They never cared for me in the first place.

“And you’re a real son of a bitch too.”

“Do you think that’s too harsh? It was your choice to cling to me out of necessity, wasn’t it?”

“That’s true.”

In the end, the goal was to survive.

It was sheer luck to have found that man when the end of the world came. I thought that he could make it to the very end of this world, and so I clung to him as best I could.

He knew it, and so did I. Our association was nothing more than a temporary convenience due to mutual necessity.

That’s why I wasn’t angry that he left me to die.

After all, I had been the one to approach him, knowing what kind of person he was.

“Are you being too harsh?”

Just as I had casually cursed, a fierce-looking woman from the group who had been silent stepped forward to scold me.

Yes. We had clashed countless times. She really hated how a worthless guy like me had managed to cling to that man.

But even now, at the end of my road, couldn’t she be a bit more forgiving?

“Enough.”

The man cut off the woman and asked me.

“Just one question. Why did you do it?”

“Cough. Do what?”

“Interfering in the fight. You always provide information and then step back to wait for the outcome. But not this time. Your actions were akin to suicide. It was an action that brought you no benefit.”

Well, that was true. Although I knew how to fight, I wasn’t exceptional like that chosen guy.

I was never on par with the others, always at the very back. All I did was diligently gather information and pass it on to him. He fought, while I scouted and collected data.

This was the unspoken rule that kept our partnership intact.

That’s why he asked me.

Why I had broken our rule.

“Why, you ask…”

I chuckled as I replied.

“I just couldn’t take it anymore.”

“Couldn’t take it?”

“Heh, yeah. I couldn’t bear it any longer. Wondering how long I’d have to continue living like this. I was just tired. Tired of clinging to you, of living like this. To think that this was all there was to me, that this was my limit. That’s all there was to it.”

In truth, my interference in his fight wasn’t out of a mere whim.

It was driven by a small dissatisfaction I had harbored for a long time.

This time, it had erupted like a volcano.

I had wanted to be someone great.

I had dreams, and I was proud to say that I’d worked hard for them.

But in the end, this world belonged to the chosen ones, and I couldn’t be one of them. Even if I had to be a perennial sidekick to survive…

“It was a terrible choice.”

So, I had thrown myself into a fight that was out of my league.

All to find my own worth.

“You would…”

He narrowed his eyes when he noticed the survivors around us.

“…risk everything just to save these people?”

“No.”

I cut him off quickly.

“It wasn’t like that. I was just tired, that’s all.”

“Don’t lie.”

“Lie? You hardly know me well enough to be certain of anything. And frankly, you’ve never cared.”

He didn’t deny my words because they were true.

Still, I was surprised. For someone so indifferent to others, his insight into my feelings was sharp. Yes, upon reflection, he was indeed clever.

Ding.

Suddenly, a notification sound filled the air, and an entity appeared out of nowhere.

He was cloaked in a sinister black robe, his face shrouded in deep shadow with crimson light spilling from his eyes.

He was the teller, leading us through this apocalypse, showing the spirits our plight on their behalf.

“Very impressive. You’ve all survived remarkably well, beyond expectations.”

He prattled on, oblivious to the condition of the survivors. His message was simple: having survived this ordeal, prepare for the next. He also noted that the end of our trials wasn’t far off.

Despite many deaths, his voice was dry.

To them, human demise was nothing but entertainment for the spirits. It had been this way since the world changed.

At first, I felt anger and resentment.

But it wasn’t long before I realized that resistance was futile.

“Go.”

That’s what I told him.

“Go on. Lead your followers.”

“What? Followers?!”

A woman sputtered in response to my words. Really, nothing ever comes easy.

“Followers, or what? Should I call you ‘Queen’ instead?”

“You!”

“Sister, stop. Don’t listen to him. Let’s just go. It’s a waste of time to talk to that man.”

Another woman intervened, urging her to leave. The first woman glared at me murderously before quickly turning away. The others also discreetly slipped away.

“What about you? Aren’t you leaving too?”

“That’s right, Doyun. Ignor him and let’s go. It’s all his own doing.”

Yes, go, Choe Doyun. Go with the women who adore and treasure you.

It was always like this. You moved on your own accord, and following you was purely my responsibility.

But for some reason, Choe Doyun didn’t leave so readily.

Could it be that he developed some fond feelings at the last moment?

I laughed at the thought. That he, almost devoid of emotion, would hesitate now.

Gasping for air was painful as the curse spread to my lungs. I had my own strength to thank for not dying immediately. A regular person would’ve been instantaneously dead.

I didn’t want him to see me die. This death was wholly my own; I detested having onlookers.

So, with all my strength, I spoke what could be my final words.

“Choe Doyun. Go on. You shouldn’t stop here.”

“…”

“Or what, are you going to use an elixir on me?”

I said this with a sneer, even though Choe Doyun’s expression was unreadable.

One thing was clear: he was displaying emotions I had never seen before.

‘So, you are human after all.’

As seconds passed,

Choe Doyun turned his back, saying nothing.

Just like always.

If there was a difference, it was that I could no longer follow him.

‘Farewell.’

I was at peace letting him go. It was what I had hoped for. Knowing this, he’d turned his back without saying a word.

It was the first and last piece of consideration he’d shown me.

Time passed.

Choe Doyun had left for the dimensional gate, leading to the next trial.

Survivors cautiously began to follow him, full of naïve hope for what lay ahead.

Those I had saved, oblivious of my contribution.

Blindly following a man without knowing how to survive on their own.

None of them spared me a glance.

Truly,

“A futile existence.”

I wasn’t expecting gratitude, but I couldn’t help feeling slighted.

Cough.

Blood bubbled up my throat, more than ever before.

I could feel the curse reaching my heart. My vision started to blur, limbs losing sensation.

‘This is the end.’

I was never the hero.

Not in this world, not in my life.

All I had done was chase after the chosen hero’s spotlight.

I had lived my life for such a meager purpose.

Despairing and raging against a reality that offered no chances,

but complying nonetheless.

Hoping for paradise at the end of my life.

‘For what have I lived…?’

Exhausting my last reserves, I reached out with my right hand. It’s hard to tell if I succeeded, given my numbness.

In the dimming sight, I saw something moving; it must be my hand.

‘If I’m given another chance.’

I stretched my hand towards the stars.

‘To right these regrets.’

To reach for the unattainable desperately.

‘Then I wish for a different life.’

The dream I once had,

the dream I abandoned,

to rise higher than others,

to command respect, without envy from anyone, with pride in myself.

‘To live a life worth living.’

I wished,

I had wished to live.

My vitality ebbed away.

My consciousness sank into the abyss of the unconscious.

‘Ah.’

Right before my eyes closed for the final time,

The last thing I saw was a golden light descending towards me.



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