The Main Characters That Only I Know Chapter 13

Episode 13

Kang Hye-rim tensed in front of the kobold phantom, her nerves on edge. Her lips were parched, and her grip on the sword was sweaty. She forced strength into her hands so as not to lose her weapon.

‘Can I really do this?’

Doubt consumed her.

Even after becoming a Collector and receiving training, she had never swung a sword, nor had she ever fought such a monster before.

‘I’m scared.’

The hearts of Collectors encountering a phantom for the first time were always the same. Without will or readiness, facing a phantom burning with murderous intent and animosity towards the intruders of this world was frightening.

It was only natural for beginners confronting this spirit to be frozen with fear.

Moreover, the fact that she was being watched by more than one pair of eyes added to the pressure.

[The Ruler of Shalldrala clicks their tongue at your figure]

[The Drunkard of the tavern rejoices at your scared appearance]

[The Seeker of Pain anticipates your destruction]

The presence of these spirits mattered a lot to a Collector. While hunting phantoms provided points, the biggest earnings came from impressing these spirits.

She had to catch the spirits’ eyes. She had to satisfy their expectations.

Such thoughts shackled her, holding her back.

The immense burden and nervousness of the important first battle made Kang Hye-rim want to throw her sword away and flee at any moment. She was on the verge of saying she couldn’t do it.

Yet, Kang Hye-rim clenched her sword tightly and did not run away.

‘He said I could do it.’

She remembered her encounter with Kang Yu-hyun.

A mysterious young man who appeared out of nowhere to someone like her, who was nothing special. He told her she had talent. He said she could succeed.

In a cramped room of a shabby boarding house, where she didn’t know what to do and was aimlessly wasting her life, he assured her that she could do it.

‘If I run away here, I’ll be a nuisance to Mr. Kang Yu-hyun.’

It did not matter what happened to her, but she did not want to cause harm to her benefactor.

Fear, dread, and nervousness were outweighed by a single word: responsibility. It propped her up, preventing her from fleeing.

And to the spirits who wanted her to fail, to Kang Yu-hyun who held expectations of her, she wanted to prove something.

That she was not a coward.

‘Hold the sword.’

It was her first time gripping a sword for real combat. Apart from training sessions, she had never swung one.

‘Remember the sensation.’

Oddly enough, her mind was calm.

The rough texture of the sword’s handle seemed to whisper to her that she could grasp and slash through anything.

Screech!

The kobold bared its teeth and charged at Kang Hye-rim. This reptilian creature, with its protruding snout like a beast, was not just grotesque but downright repulsive.

A dagger in its grasp, sharp teeth – a brush with either would be painful and torturous.

As Kang Hye-rim watched, time seemed to slow down.

Within the slow passage of time, she recalled the sensation from when she swung her sword earlier that day.

‘It’s like I’ve become one with the sword…’

Swish!

The kobold closed in, and at the same moment, Kang Hye-rim acted.

Her sword, consistently stationary in midair, caught the faint light present in the mine and gleamed brilliantly.

It wasn’t a simple swing but an elegant trajectory as her hand moved in unison with the sword, slicing through the kobold’s dagger and its thin body.

Keeek!

The kobold emitted a crude cry as it fell to the ground, while Kang Hye-rim, who had passed it by unscathed, stood without a single wound – a natural and rapid counterattack.

The spirits watching the scene were astounded.

[The Ruler of Shalldrala admires your martial prowess]

[The Drunkard of the tavern can’t believe this scene]

[The Seeker of Pain…]

To the spirits, Kang Hye-rim was a beginner. She didn’t know what to do and lacked the proper mindset for combat. In their minds, they had imagined Kang Hye-rim getting scared and fleeing from just one kobold.

That should have been the case.

But Kang Hye-rim had splendidly defied the inflated expectations of the spirits. She felled the kobold with a single strike, a movement that was not that of an absolute beginner.

‘As expected.’

Yu-hyun, who had been observing the entire process from the observer’s chamber, grinned.

“That’s right, Ms. Kang Hye-rim.”

Her sword strike was so strong and beautiful that even Yu-hyun was captivated.

“That’s how you wield a sword.”

Sssssss.

The slain kobold instantly transformed into a clump of white characters (Text). As a phantom made of ‘stories,’ upon death it reverted to the most elementary units of text that composed its story.

Some of the text seemed to dissolve into thin air, while some was absorbed by Kang Hye-rim.

The text accumulated in Kang Hye-rim’s body converted directly into points, accruing within her.

[You have defeated a kobold.]

[You have gained 3TP.]

The points earned from her first monster defeat and the admiration of the spirits for her single-strike prowess didn’t register in Kang Hye-rim’s mind.

What she felt was an overwhelming thrill.

‘I did it.’

Her hand holding the sword trembled belatedly, but it wasn’t from nervousness or fear; it was a tremor of joy.

‘I really did it.’

Unable to contain her excitement, Kang Hye-rim suddenly recalled the past.

Her first awakening as a Collector, filled with lofty expectations, only to face nothing but scoffing at the training center.

‘You’re incredibly strong, yet why are you so scared?’

‘You’re too timid. You won’t be able to wield a weapon properly against a phantom.’

‘Well, at least with your physical capabilities, you can serve as a tank.’

The condescending gaze of the instructor and the disdain of peers weighed on her, whether she knew it or not.

She had given up her dreams of success and pride, living in worry about today, not tomorrow.

‘It’s different now.’

To others, it might have seemed like just another kobold defeated, but that first combat’s honor ran deep within Kang Hye-rim. Even if no one else recognized it, this was…

“Well done.”

Ah.”

No, there was one who recognized her.

As Yu Hyun emerged from the Observer’s Chamber, he nodded to Kang Hye-rim in approval, acknowledging her efforts.

Feeling something swell within her chest at this sight, Kang Hye-rim was about to speak when Yu Hyun preempted her.

“But, it’s too early to celebrate.”

Krrk! Krrrrk!

From deep within the mines, the sound of kobolds echoed. They had detected the presence of an intruder due to the noises from the previous battle.

With a composed heart, Kang Hye-rim nodded back. Was it because she was grasping her sword? She felt unusually clear-headed.

Yu Hyun, observing her, nodded with satisfaction.

“The fight for Ms. Hye-rim hasn’t ended yet. And there’s still no time for small celebrations.”

The world ahead was full of moments for Kang Hye-rim to rejoice.

She couldn’t be content or pleased just yet.

She had to yearn for more, to be more greedy.

“Can you do it?”

“Yes.”

Kang Hye-rim’s voice brimmed with confidence.

“Good. I wish you fortune.”

With those words, Yu Hyun returned to the Observer’s Chamber.

Now from a distance, the noises of approaching kobolds filled the air. It wasn’t just one this time but at least five. It was not a challenge that a novice could handle alone.

However, Kang Hye-rim oddly didn’t feel like she was going to lose.

‘That’s right. It’s too early to celebrate.’

She tightened her grip on her sword.

Simultaneously, the kobolds emerged from the darkness, breaking through the veil, and charged at Kang Hye-rim, burning with hostility.

Without hesitation, Kang Hye-rim also charged toward the swarm of kobolds.

* * *

[The leader of Shaldrala admires the contractor’s valor.]

[The tavern’s drunkards are speechless with mouths agape.]

The spirits who had wished for Kang Hye-rim’s downfall were now admiring her, a different attitude from what they initially showed.

Of course, they didn’t change their stance immediately. They believed the first fight was just luck and tried to nitpick Kang Hye-rim’s every move in order to give her unsolicited advice.

But as Kang Hye-rim started to wipe out the kobolds in the mine with one-sided victories, the spirits slowly became mesmerized by her martial prowess.

‘Really impressive indeed.’

The trait called [Goryeo Dynasty Swordmaster]. Though the name sounded playful, it was a protagonist-level trait. Its original owner was one of the strongest swordsmen in human history.

It was now showing its true worth.

Bit by bit, each time Kang Hye-rim swung her sword, she became more attuned to her trait.

‘Such terrifying growth.’

As if she had been unchained, Kang Hye-rim soared like she had grown wings. It was impossible to dismiss her as a mere low-tier collector.

Even the spirits, who initially cried foul and accused her of cheating, were now silently observing her fight.

I narrowed my eyes, gauging the spirits’ reactions.

‘So a spirit is still a spirit even if they jest at first, huh?’

They were deeply engrossed in the battle that Kang Hye-rim displayed. Even the one who trolled from other libraries, causing chaos, now watched her as if spellbound.

Moreover, as time passed, more spirits began to visit my library.

What started as a group of three watchers had now grown to ten.

‘No prominent spirits yet, but it’s going smoothly.’

The most crucial point was the atmosphere at the start.

In other libraries, the story would begin with criticism or spirits giving unwanted advice due to frustration.

However, the spirits that entered my library didn’t do so. They didn’t have the luxury.

They were simply captivated by the tale of Kang Hye-rim.

[The ruler of Shaldrala donates 100TP to Kang Hye-rim.]

[You have acquired 21TP.]

[The seeker of agony donates 100TP to Kang Hye-rim.]

[You have acquired 21TP.]

The spirits donated points to Kang Hye-rim, and a portion of those points returned to me.

This was the power of the contract. The more the spirits supported Kang Hye-rim, the more I benefited.

That’s why tellers must keep a good collector close—it’s the reason behind it.

“Now, spirit sires, what do you think? Collector Kang Hye-rim, this is her first battle. Isn’t that remarkable? To defeat a swarm of kobolds with the sword she’s only just held. Yet, this is not the end. She can still do more.”

I enticed the spirits to donate more points, and I played the role of keeping them from leaving the library.

The longer the spirits stayed in the library, the more my merits accumulated, which in turn became points for me. Of course, a portion of the points also went to Kang Hye-rim. Ultimately, the collector and the teller were in a reciprocal relationship.

‘Until the apocalypse comes, that is.’

Of course, that was a future yet to occur.

Kang Hye-rim, having swept through another group of kobolds, didn’t seem tired. The stamina she recuperated through her trait was greater than what she expended in the battles.

Before long, Kang Hye-rim reached the depths of the mine.

“This place is…”

“The boundary.”

I appeared beside Kang Hye-rim and replied as she observed the markings on the wall.

“Did the kobolds mark this?”

“No, people did. It’s a limit set to define ‘up to here’ as the farming area.”

The idea being, if you want to hunt for points, you only do so up to this point, as going beyond could affect the world of ideas itself.

The boundary was an unspoken agreement between collectors to maintain a stable source of income.

“Ah…”

Kang Hye-rim let out a sigh mixed with disappointment, thinking this was the limit.

Puzzled, I asked her.

“Why the disappointment?”

“Eh? But, don’t we have to go back now? This is the end, isn’t it?”

“When did I say this was the end?”

“Sorry?”

As Kang Hye-rim looked flustered, I lifted a finger to point beyond the boundary.

“Since you’ve come this far, you ought to see it through to the end.”

“To the end, you mean—”

As Kang Hye-rim’s eyes widened, I nodded.

“Yes. Correct. Today, you will fully clear this world of ideas.”

Boundaries? An agreement not to interfere with each other so that we can all profit easily?

Don’t make me laugh.

Today, we’re taking down this world of ideas.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *