The Main Characters That Only I Know Chapter 17

Chapter 17

If you ask most people or tellers what the most important thing for a Collector is, they’ll discuss the Collector’s power.

A Collector needs to be strong. Only then can they easily defeat phantasms and have no trouble collecting stories. I too agreed with this point.

However, if you were to ask what the second most important thing is, the answers start to diverge.

The ability to assimilate stories and make them one’s own.

The discernment to pierce through the core of a story in the World of Ideals.

The outstanding leadership to guide others.

Such traits were often mentioned. But I can confidently shout out that the second most important thing for a Collector is ‘appearance.’

“Erm, is this okay?”

As I had anticipated, Kang Hye-rim’s current appearance was enough to astonish the spirits.

Kang Hye-rim asked me with an uncertain anxiety, but I responded just by nodding.

Contrary to her worries, the transformation in Kang Hye-rim’s appearance was so surprising that even I, who had been watching the whole process, was taken aback.

‘I knew she was pretty from the start. It was just a lack of dressing up that was the issue.’

However, Kang Hye-rim, who had been properly adorned, looked exactly like the majestic and beautiful Sword Princess I had seen in the past.

Her tailored white martial robe and her neatly tied hair, black as ebony.

Her makeup was light and barely-there, yet it highlighted her beauty manifold.

With a sword tied to her waist and standing upright with confidence, she seemed like the Sword Princess my past self had once yearned for.

Not only spirits, but even a few passersby, regardless of gender, couldn’t help but look at her. Maybe if she appeared on TV like this, she would become an instant star.

“Am I really okay?”

She, uncertain, asked me in a worried tone.

“Come on. Stand up straight and keep your mouth shut!”

“Yes!”

When I scolded her, she followed exactly as I had instructed.

Her appearance may be that of the Sword Princess, but I cautioned her several times to spare her words and be careful with her actions, knowing that her personality could potentially break the image.

Kang Hye-rim knew this as well, thus she kept her lips tightly sealed and portrayed the enigmatic and stunning Sword Princess perfectly. She was a flawless woman as long as she kept her mouth shut. That was Kang Hye-rim.

To ease her anxiety, I took a photo of her and showed it to her. On seeing her image on the screen, Kang Hye-rim’s eyes went wide, and soon the corners of her lips were twitching.

She was about to burst into laughter but, being aware of her image, she made an effort to hold it back. These little things had to be watched out for in the future, but for now, I left them be.

In any case, my plan to adorn Kang Hye-rim had definitely succeeded.

Ding. Ding.

[The Leader of Shaldraal supports Kang Hye-rim with 100TP.]

[You have gained 21TP.]

[A Drunkard from the Tavern supports Kang Hye-rim with 100TP.]

[You have gained 21TP.]

Instinctively enchanted by her external transformation, spirits had generously thrown their points at her.

Kang Hye-rim was inwardly surprised, not expecting this, but she did not react like a country bumpkin thanks to my stern warning to accept everything naturally.

As I watched the points flow in as payment, I couldn’t help but smile broadly to myself.

‘Certainly, a Collector’s appearance is important.’

Of course, what the spirits desired was a capable Collector. How frustrating would it be to have an inept protagonist in their beloved stories?

However, assuming a Collector was already capable, what the spirits looked at next was the Collector’s appearance.

‘Same capabilities, but the way one looks at a Collector fighting in sweatpants without dressing up versus one who is stylishly garbed is undoubtedly different.’

Visual aspects greatly enhanced the enjoyment of the play.

Just as people dream of fair protagonists in romances in movies and dramas, so do spirits pay attention to appearances.

“Now, before we enter the World of Ideals, master this.”

I handed her a few [Stories] that she had purchased, while Kang Hye-rim was still fixated on her own photo.

These [Stories], packed tight like balls of glutinous rice, shone with a pearly white light.

Kang Hye-rim accepted the [Stories] I handed her as if she was looking at something magical.

“Is it fascinating?”

“It’s my first time seeing it in person. I only heard about it vaguely.”

“From now on, you’ll see it often. Here, I picked out [Stories] that are necessary for you, Kang Hye-rim.”

The stories I handed her were [Triple Disaster Swordsmanship], [Alsor Mercenary Sword Skills], and [Sensory Maximization].

All of them were indispensable for her close-quarters combat.

“Will these help?”

“Yes.”

My answer was firm and assured.

Kang Hye-rim’s power was certainly formidable. However, that was clearly a power emanating from her [Traits]. Although traits played an essential role for a Collector, relying solely on one to battle was insufficient.

Collectors become stronger by accumulating [Stories] based on their traits, absorbing different [Stories], and using the collected points to enhance their stats.

This was the path to a Collector’s strength.

In other words, a trait should become one of the multiple pillars that compose a Collector’s abilities, not the sole pillar.

That was why I urged Kang Hye-rim to buy these basic [Stories], to press this point home.

“Your traits are certainly overwhelming compared to other Collectors. However, it’s crucial to understand that this trait alone will not cover all situations. As excellent as a trait may be, relying on it or being obsessed with it could lead to a grim fate.”

I have seen too many of such individuals during the post-apocalyptic period.

Suddenly receiving

Intoxicated with their own strength, they wreaked havoc carelessly.

Indeed, the traits they possessed were extraordinary, and not something the average person could recklessly interfere with…

But that didn’t mean they were immune to death.

There were events, such as an explicit counter to their special traits or temporary nullification of their traits. Even if the chances were slim, if there was a possibility it could happen, preparations were necessary. That was the shortcut to survival.

“Hyelim’s swordsmanship is certainly fast and fierce. However, it lacks the most important fundamental foundation. Relying on instinct and feeling to swing your sword will only trip you up at a critical moment.”

Thus, I shared with her the fundamentals of swordsmanship.

That alone could significantly amplify Kang Hyelim’s combat prowess.

What if someone with innate talent for the sword also solidified their foundation?

A real monster would come to life then.

“Th-thank you.”

Aware of my seriousness, Kang Hyelim nodded earnestly as she accepted the guidance.

The three white orbs were absorbed into her body. Perhaps her system screen showed something like ‘[You’ve absorbed the story].’

“Are you alright?”

“Ah, yes. I actually feel quite refreshed.”

“That’s a good response. Normally, each person has a different capacity to absorb [stories]. For a newly minted collector like you, a rank 9, it’s normal to get a splitting headache even after just two.”

“I feel perfectly fine?”

“That’s what makes you extraordinary, Hyelim. It’s no problem for you to absorb three at a time.”

Feeling refreshed implied she had properly assimilated the [story]. It wasn’t surprising anymore to know she was naturally gifted in this aspect as well.

“Of course, just receiving them is not the end. You have to continuously use these [stories] and make them your own.”

Just absorbing the stories wasn’t the end.

“In movies, they say knowing the path and walking the path are two different things.”

Hence, the need for a process to digest the absorbed story.

She had to keep using and practicing them until they became second nature.

“For now, just taking the basic [stories] should be enough. You might be able to gain skills later, but such things usually come at a high price in the [Dimensional Store], so it’s better to aim for them as rewards for clearing the conceptual world.”

Anyway, I had provided her with everything she needed at the moment.

Touched by my care, Kang Hyelim’s expression towards me changed.

Preemptively, I said to her,

“I appreciate your gratitude, but this is it. Now that the library is opened, it’s time to present a perfect face to the Holy Spirits.”

The future appearance of the Sword Saint might not match Kang Hyelim’s original character, but I believed she would handle it well.

“Yes. Trust me with this.”

“Alright, then let’s proceed.”

If Hyelim knew how many points I had spent for this, she might have a fit. To prevent that, I drew her into the conceptual world we were targeting this time.

The scenery changed swiftly.

Like the cobalt mine we first visited where the sky was unseen, this was an enclosed tunnel.

However, unlike the crude mine hewn from rock, this place was more akin to an intricate labyrinth.

“Where is this? It’s clear that it’s a neglected place seldom visited by people.”

Kang Hyelim asked in a deliberately serious tone.

Her face was marked with seriousness, severity, and integrity.

I had instructed her to act, but why did I almost break out into laughter at this sight?

Worried her nuanced performance might make me burst, I quickly answered,

“This is the Labyrinth of Crete.”

More precisely, it was the Labyrinth of Knossos (Λαβύρινθος) in Crete.

“It’s a conceptual world that collectors rarely visit.”

“Isn’t that from Greek mythology? Why is that here…”

“The emergence of conceptual worlds doesn’t pay attention to borders. Korean folklore can manifest as a conceptual world on the opposite side of Earth. Stories are much freer than we think.”

But that wasn’t the important part.

“This Labyrinth of Knossos has been the target of several expeditions but remains uncleared.”

“Why is that?”

“The clear condition has not been found. Plus, the very nature of a maze makes it quite tricky.”

At my explanation, Kang Hyelim looked around. The space was a bit dim, but after acquiring ‘Bright Eyes’ skill in the mines, she could easily pierce through the darkness.

Sure enough, as befitting a labyrinth, a complex maze with pathways opened in every direction surrounded us.

“The maze itself is complex enough to navigate without a map. Moreover, according to legend, a terrifying creature roams deep within.”

“…The Minotaur.”

Having recognized the well-known tale, Hyelim voiced the creature’s name.

As if answering her call,

Woaaah!

The roaring bellow of a huge beast carried from the depths of the labyrinth on the wind.

“The cobalt mine is different. The paths here are intricate, it’s dark as light doesn’t penetrate well. Even more, there’s only one creature here, the Minotaur, unlike other phantasmal entities.”

The fact that there was nothing to farm here was one thing.

Moreover, unlike regular creatures, this phantasmal entity was a boss-level threat. Most collectors were wary of facing such a formidable foe.

It was uncertain whether the current Kang Hyelim could even stand a chance against it.

‘Perhaps the only relief is that this bull-headed fantasy creature is confined to the labyrinth.’

Periodic expeditions were unnecessary due to this, leaving the Labyrinth of Knossos conceptual world largely neglected. Being rather tame, it hadn’t even been ‘eroded.’

That was just perfect.

Today’s goal was one.

To clear this Labyrinth of Knossos.



Leave a Reply

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