The Main Characters That Only I Know Chapter 18

Chapter 18

The Labyrinth of Labyrinths.

Initially, many Collectors had attempted it, but in the end, after repeated failures, it was abandoned.

At the foundation of these failures, there was always the same being.

It was the monstrous Minotaur, born from the union between the queen of King Minos of Crete and a bull sent by Poseidon.

This creature, with the body of a human and the head of a bull, was a famous fantasy being often featured in the media, recognizable to anyone.

According to the original myth, Theseus, with the help of Ariadne, was meant to defeat it, but this place was the world of ideas.

Here, the Minotaur was still alive, wrapping its hungry belly as it waited for intruders to enter the labyrinth.

‘Even a fairly skilled Collector would find it difficult to face.’

Famed monsters of myth lived up to their reputations with terrifying strength.

Even the spirits knew it, as evidenced by their eager indirect messaging that they had already started to spam.

[The flower blooming in the ruins swells with anticipation.]

[The Silver Witch’s eyes sparkle with excitement at the thought of a tale.]

[The one who runs above the clouds urges you to show the story quickly.]

Was it because of the great expectations gathered from the first narrative poem?

The number of watching spirits had already surpassed 80. At this rate, it seemed I could achieve a few more Submissions soon.

‘Truly an extraordinary pace.’

As a Teller, the growth of my library was almost nonsensical.

However, the explosive popularity now was nothing but a momentary phenomenon.

‘There is no guarantee that a good beginning leads to continuous success.’

The spirits visiting my library were not all captivated by my narrative poem. Sure, some were, but most were not.

The current popularity was merely the result of a crazy stunt pulled from the very first poem that had maintained its momentum.

If I don’t keep pushing, the tale will halt.

‘So the next two or three times will be the critical juncture.’

I had drawn attention with an act others had not attempted in the first narrative poem.

Having achieved that initial goal, my task now was to appeal to the audience gathered here with the charms of my library and lead them forward.

The number of watching spirits had already breached 90 and was approaching 100.

A notification of completing a Submissions popped up, along with a small amount of points.

‘Have all the spirits who will come arrived?’

The rapidly rising number of watchers reached 110 before it sharply slowed down.

Waiting any longer seemed pointless, and I intuitively sensed it was time to begin.

“Let’s go. Today’s menu is beef head soup.”

“Uh… you mean we’re actually going to eat?”

“Are you seriously going to eat it? I’m just saying.”

While having a light exchange, I didn’t forget to monitor the reactions of the watching spirits.

Most were like patrons checking if a renowned restaurant truly lived up to its reputation. If I couldn’t present a proper narrative poem here, they wouldn’t hesitate to leave my library behind.

They were potential customers that I absolutely needed to retain.

‘More importantly, I’m not the only one watching this.’

Tellers were also taking an interest in my library.

There were as many as ten Tellers checking out my library.

Their intention was obvious. They came to see what was going on with a Teller’s library, which had recently made a surge—is it a threat to them?

They would analyze, critique, and pick apart if they could.

Their intentions were clear.

‘Fine. Look all you want.’

There was no intention to halfheartedly keep up appearances.

Whether they perceive me as a threat or not, my primary goal today was to captivate these watching spirits.

“Let’s start. Hye-rim, please take this.”

“This is…?”

What I handed to Kang Hye-rim was a large ball of yarn. Understanding its purpose, she immediately accepted it and began to unwind the thread near the entrance.

The labyrinth created by Daedalus was very complex. Without a blueprint, once you were lost in it, it was said you could never escape.

But in the myth, Theseus managed to escape the labyrinth by retracing his steps using the yarn that Princess Ariadne had given him.

As the original story went, the yarn now was for an unplanned escape, just in case.

“Good luck, then.”

With those words, I moved to the [Room of Observers].

But I wouldn’t just be watching. I had also arranged for a remote communication only for Kang Hye-rim.

It was a long-distance communication only possible between contracted Collectors and their Tellers.

“Ah, can you hear me?”

-Yes, I hear you well.

“Good, it’s fortunate you can hear me. First off, aside from the Minotaur, there are no fantasy creatures here, so don’t worry and move as you see fit.”

-Are you sure I can just go ahead without worrying? It’s a labyrinth, won’t I get lost?

“Do you understand? This labyrinth was designed to confine the Minotaur and to provide it with prey. It’s complicated to escape from the inside, but moving from the outside towards the center of the labyrinth is quite easy.”

Thus, even blind movement through the labyrinth would inevitably lead to the Minotaur’s dwelling.

It was unclear exactly how things flowed in that way, but it was possible, considering it was a labyrinth crafted by Daedalus, the greatest inventor of the mythological era.

“Just proceed with confidence, Hye-rim. As if to show that such a thing is trivial, move forward boldly.”

-Okay, I understand!

Kang Hye-rim acted upon my instructions. She straightened her back and slightly lifted her chin, the gloomy and damp labyrinth seemingly unable to hinder her path. This image of her fearlessly approaching the trial perfectly fit the ideal scenario that the watching spirits wanted from a hero’s story.

The spirits were thrilled and began sponsoring points.

[A patron of the tavern sponsors 100TP!]

[To the end like this! Go!]

Unable to contain their excitement,

Some spirits were even sending direct messages, which cost points to use, rather than indirect ones. In particular, the drunkard who first came to my library seemed to like Hyerim and often donated points to her. Looks like I’ve caught a real sucker.

‘But are we about to arrive?’

The ominous energy in the labyrinth was becoming stronger, even though incrementally. Unlike the tidy entrance, damaged areas began to increase throughout. Traces of a violent struggle were evident.

Hyerim Kang, who had been walking confidently, momentarily stopped in her tracks upon seeing something ahead. I quickly caught on to what had made her halt.

-Ah…

“Shh. Don’t make any noise.”

I quickly covered her mouth, as she was about to say something. My reaction had been right. If I had been slightly slower, Hyerim Kang would have unwillingly let out a scream.

“It’s a corpse.”

It wasn’t just any corpse. It was one that had been eaten by something. Around it were scattered bones whose owner couldn’t be identified, and the stench emanating from various directions was overpowering. It was a sight that could induce disgust and nausea in anyone seeing it for the first time.

It was only natural that Hyerim Kang would react this way.

“Calm your breathing. You must not show the spirits that you are startled.”

She had to continue playing the character named 검후 (Geomhu). Screaming now could heavily damage the image she had been building.

More importantly, screaming would alert the creature waiting inside, potentially drawing it toward us quickly.

“Take deep breaths slowly.”

-Ssuk. Hoo.

“Judging from the degree of decomposition, it seems like a collector who hasn’t been here long. Likely someone who tried to exploit the uncharted thought worlds that others weren’t targeting.”

There were often those who targeted such neglected thought worlds precisely because they had no competitors.

As can be seen, however, their end was inevitably like this.

Collectors who had stepped in with confidence, but lacked the ability, often paid a heavy price for their audacity.

-Are you… alright, Yoo Hyun?

“I’m fine.”

I’d seen too much to be startled by such a scene. The body of someone whose face I didn’t know didn’t stir much emotion in me.

I followed up, almost as if making excuses.

“Tellers are different from normal people when it comes to emotions.”

-Ugh.

“Regardless, I’ll commend you for not screaming. Are you feeling any better now?”

-Taking deep breaths did help a bit.

“You need to stay on your toes, Hyerim. If you’re not careful, you could end up like that.”

-…I know.

By that time, Hyerim Kang’s voice had weakened slightly, likely having spent much mental energy. However, she hadn’t fallen into the panic common to others. Instead, she was accepting the current situation and earnestly regaining her composure.

‘I’m glad she’s mentally strong.’

Hyerim Kang’s strength wasn’t just in her abilities.

Unbeknownst to her, her mental fortitude far surpassed that of the ordinary collector.

Historically, remarkable people often had something extraordinary about them. What about the chosen collectors who had reached the apex among themselves?

‘She might not realize it, but her nature is anything but ordinary.’

In any case, it was a good development.

Having collected herself, Hyerim Kang hastened toward the labyrinth’s center at a quicker pace. The labyrinth itself did not hinder her, as if inviting her to come in quickly.

After some time…

The narrow corridor ended, and a wide hall emerged.

-This place… the center of the labyrinth…

Unlike the passageway with a ceiling and walls, the center was very spacious, seemingly 30 meters high, with a gaping hole in the middle, through which a pillar of pure white light descended.

In the center of that light sat a massive figure with its back to us.

A body and head covered in brown fur, with enormous horns protruding from its head.

I immediately warned Hyerim Kang.

“Stay alert. That’s the one.”

Minotaur.

The owner of the labyrinth sensed the intrusion and slowly rose from its place.

The creature was already taller than Hyerim Kang even while seated, and once it stood up, it appeared as though a mountain was solidly planted before us.

Standing about 4 meters tall, the flesh concealed beneath its brown fur was full of muscles hard as steel. Despite being unarmed, its presence was overwhelming.

Even a decent collector, if caught in those hands, would be wrung out like a rag.

However.

“We’ve come prepared as well.”

Sruung.

Upon spotting the Minotaur, Hyerim Kang unsheathed her sword without hesitation.

As though having never been frightened by the corpse earlier, her eyes burned intensely with a fighting spirit, a result of her ability as a [Goryeo Dynasty Swordmaster].

Her ability calmed unnecessary excitement, slashed away fear, and brought her mind to an optimal state for combat.

Roaaarrrr!!

With the Minotaur’s roar, Hyerim Kang charged in like a bullet. Her body grazed the ground as if fluttering just above it. The Minotaur, in response, raised its fist and brought it down from above in a smashing blow.

Boom!

The force was beyond what could simply be called a punch. The solid ground cracked, and fragments of stone scattered in all directions. However, Hyerim Kang was not where the Minotaur’s fist struck.

What?

Temporarily losing its target, the creature was briefly confused. 있다.



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