The Main Characters That Only I Know Chapter 19

Episode 19

Despite the somewhat bewildered dialogue she had just shouted, Kang Hye-rim moved without superfluous motion. She was graceful like a leopard and fluid like a cloud. More importantly, her steps had quickened since the last time at the Kobold mines.

‘Has she further blossomed the power of her traits through continual battles? Is that it?’

Kang Hye-rim hadn’t fully awakened her own trait yet. Moreover, she still had two unopened traits left. There was plenty of room for her to grow stronger, and there was no need to be puzzled by this fact.

However, the reactions of the Holy Spirits, unaware of these circumstances, were different.

[The majority of the Holy Spirits open their eyes wide in disbelief.]

[Some speculate whether she’s been hiding her strength all along.]

[A drunken reveler at the tavern starts dancing with excitement on their shoulders.]

They hadn’t even considered the possibility that Kang Hye-rim could display such skill on her own and could not hide their astonishment.

No matter how much weaker and eroded it had become compared to the original, the opponent was a Minotaur. It was the ruler of this labyrinth and a mythical being that had long reigned as a monster.

And now, the Minotaur was helplessly pushed back by Kang Hye-rim.

‘When they first collided, Kang Hye-rim handled it well.’

It was crucial that she had cut the tendons in both of the creature’s ankles at the first strike.

Consequently, the Minotaur, unable to stand properly, had to confront her in an awkward stance.

‘I had advised her to do just that based on my experience of hunting large monsters in the apocalypse.’

If she had not severed its tendons from the start, the battle would have been disadvantageous for Kang Hye-rim.

‘Of course, it’s not something just anyone can do. To counterattack in the face of an attack meant to crush you, without a moment’s hesitation – that’s difficult for anyone.’

Humans have something called instinct.

If something flies at us, we instinctively blink, or flinch without knowing, or stretch out a hand when we fall, and so on.

This type of reflexive behavior has caused many Collectors to be seriously injured in real combat.

Suppressing such instincts generally requires repeatedly suppressing them through real combat. Like a boxer who doesn’t blink at the sight of a punch to the face, it takes relentless practice and accumulating real combat experience.

Yet, Kang Hye-rim managed to do it, despite her lack of experience.

‘It means she was born with inherent talent, right from the start.’

At the first confrontation, when Kang Hye-rim saw the Minotaur’s attack, she did not stop. Instead, she accelerated, deftly slipping between the creature’s legs.

Any hesitation, and she would have been crushed headfirst by the attack. It was a crazy feat to pull off under such pressure.

‘Is it her traits that enabled this, or did she receive her traits because she can do this? I wonder.’

Booooom!

With each flash of Kang Hye-rim’s sword, the Minotaur’s forearms were slashed, drawing blood. The red blood dripped down its forearms to the floor, and each time, the creature let out pitiful screams of agony.

Being unable to move its legs had a severe impact. And since Kang Hye-rim’s style relied more on speed than strength, she was attacking the Minotaur in a rather irritating one-sided fashion, not allowing it any chance for a counterattack.

Swish!

Scrape.

When the Minotaur flung its arm in rage, she dodged as if she had been waiting and counterattacked.

The creature, having attacked hastily, left itself open, and its wounds only multiplied.

[You have received a donation of 100TP.]

[You have obtained 21TP.]

[You have received a donation of 100TP.]

[You have obtained 21TP.]

[You have received a donation of 100TP.]

[You have obtained 21TP.]

A few Patron Spirits who had immediately subscribed to my novel ever since the first chapter were jumping excitedly as if they expected this. Even the Holy Spirits checking to see if my story was worth their time could not impose their strict standards at this moment.

As the battle went on, the incoming points grew.

Even while checking the points, I couldn’t take my eyes off Kang Hye-rim’s fight. I had to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances.

Kang Hye-rim moved swiftly and beautifully.

Clad in her white martial suit, she moved softly, looking like a majestic swan.

This was truly the essence of the Sword Empress, who had heated up the world until the apocalypse came.

Booooom!

The Minotaur, unable to endure any longer, let out a bestial cry. It gripped its fists tightly and pounded the ground furiously.

Boom! Bang! Bang!

Each time fist met earth, the ground shook. The earth crumbled under the Minotaur’s blows, breaking into large chunks.

As I witnessed this scene, a feeling of unease crept over me.

And just as I suspected, the Minotaur grasped large boulders in each hand and hurled them directly at Kang Hye-rim.

Whoosh!

Two boulders, each the size of a child’s upper body, flew towards Kang Hye-rim, tearing through the air. The thrown attack, unanticipated, struck a weak point—unable to block and certain to be crushed to death by the impact.

The Minotaur, sensing its advantage, wore a vile smile across its hideous face.

Despite its appearance, it was a cunning creature. It had lured its opponent into complacency, waiting for the critical moment to counterattack.

But then.

Snap!

Without showing any fear at the sight of the flying boulders, Kang Hye-rim kicked off the ground and leaped up. Twisting her body in midair, she gracefully dodged the two boulders as if letting them pass by.

Boom! Bang!

The boulders that flew past shattered part of the hall’s wall, but Kang Hye-rim only had eyes for the Minotaur.

Her eyes, blazing with the heat of battle, shone with intelligence as if she could see through anything the Minotaur tried to do.

Feeling her gaze, the Minotaur, overflowing with rage, attempted to throw more debris, but it was too late.

With that thought, Kang Hye-rim had already moved.

She landed on the ground and bolted forward, finding herself inside the Minotaur’s reach in an instant.

‘Is it possible?’ I narrowed my eyes at this sight.

It was good to get close enough to prevent it from throwing the debris. However, ultimately, she had entered within the reach of the Minotaur’s hands.

The bull-headed monster seemed to understand this too as it discarded the debris and clenched its fist, readying to strike.

She swung her sword with a sense of determination, as if saying, “This time, I will end it for sure.”

‘The right to strike first is ours, but if we can’t finish the fight with a single blow, she will be the one at risk.’

The Minotaur was planning to counterattack right after enduring this attack. They were only a short distance apart. Kang Hye-rim, who had so far been maintaining distance and fighting, would not be able to avoid this assault.

Therefore, in this moment of vulnerability, she had to end the battle decisively.

‘However, with her current level, it would be impossible for her to inflict a fatal wound on the Minotaur.’

That was my concern.

She could have easily taken down a kobold, but the Minotaur was a much stronger boss-level phantasmal entity. How could she possibly bring down the beast with a single blow when even spears and swords could hardly penetrate its thick, tough skin?

‘So the strategy was to wear it down with hit-and-run tactics. Does she have some other plan?’

I was preparing to step in to deal with any unforeseen circumstances, but I had to stop when I saw her expression.

Kang Hye-rim’s face, as she brandished her sword, was the picture of seriousness.

There was no trace of unfounded pride, nor was there any sign of hope that the attack might be ineffective.

She simply swung her sword with a look that said it was the right thing to do.

“…Is that what happened?”

Watching the scene unfold from the [Observer’s Room], I couldn’t help but let out a self-deprecating chuckle.

Her deviation from the plan wasn’t out of recklessness or a panicked mistake.

It was conviction.

She made her choice because she saw a future where she could win.

And it was just as expected.

White energy rippled and gathered at the tip of Kang Hye-rim’s sword.

“Already wielding sword energy!?”

Sword Qi, or Sword Aura.

It was one of the techniques used by those who had reached a certain level, infusing their weapon with their own energy to enhance its power.

But what surprised me was not the ability itself.

Most collectors didn’t achieve such sword qi on their own, but rather learned of its use through [Stories]. It wasn’t difficult to acquire, so almost anyone who reached a certain level could use the technique.

‘Reach a certain level, that is.’

How many had failed and struggled to reach that stage?

Wasn’t it because that process was so difficult and painful that they resorted to using stories to acquire the skill?

Yet, Kang Hye-rim had pulled forth sword energy with her own power, without the need for any story.

This was something that even I couldn’t ignore.

‘This is an unbelievable talent.’

Her display of sword qi was over in an instant. To be fair, the sharpness and density of the sword qi could not be considered exceptional.

But it was enough to pierce through the head of the unsuspecting monster.

Thud!

The tip of the sword went through the Minotaur’s chin and out the back of its skull.

The monster’s eyes, red with rage, lost their light instantly, and its large body, which seemed unshakeable, slowly tilted to the side and fell to the ground with a loud noise.

Kang Hye-rim stood over the carcass, catching her breath, which she had been holding back.

-Haa. Haa.

Everyone held their breath and watched the spectacle.

The light pouring down from the void, and in the center of it all, the figure who had usurped the throne of this labyrinth.

Who could ridicule or belittle the hero who had defeated the beast thought unbeatable and surpassed her own limits?

After a frozen moment, time started to flow again.

Ding-a-ling!

[All the Holy Spirits cheer for the story Kang Hye-rim has shown.]

As if a dam had broken, the previously speechless Holy Spirits regained their senses and sent over explosive support.

System notifications filled my view, and the sound of accumulating points rang loudly in my ears.

Kang Hye-rim smiled as she caught her weary breath.

It was a smile of satisfaction from having broken through some barrier and achieved her goal.

-Hyun… Ah!

She started to wave at me in her excitement, then quickly stopped herself, realizing her situation. Luckily, it seemed that the Holy Spirits, still ecstatic over the victory, hadn’t noticed anything odd about her.

“Hmm.”

I sighed with relief and sat down in a chair provided in the [Observer’s Room].

Kang Hye-rim’s last gambit was something I hadn’t anticipated. Thankfully, things turned out well; I nearly thought my heart would stop.

‘I’m glad I didn’t have to step in.’

I clenched and unclenched my fist as I reflected on the recent events.

‘Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about rallying the Holy Spirits’ response since the atmosphere was sufficiently heated. Is that it?’

Even now, sponsorship was still pouring in. The number of viewers, which had already skyrocketed from 110, began to rise even more rapidly.

[Current viewers: 142]

[Current subscribers: 92]

The number of subscribers, previously at 46, had doubled. If it hits 100 by today, another sub-mission could be cleared.

It was another successful moment following the first feat.

‘Now then…’

I stood up.

While it was good that the Minotaur had been defeated, there was still one more trial remaining.

And to prove it…

-Hyun-ssi. Something is strange. We defeated the phantasmal entity, but the Thought World hasn’t cleared yet?

Kang Hye-rim, still on screen, tilted her head in question, looking at me.

It was typical for the Thought World to clear immediately upon the defeat of a boss-level phantasmal entity, but that it wasn’t happening meant that this Labyrinth Thought World had different clearing conditions.

I stepped out of the [Observer’s Room] and appeared before Kang Hye-rim. She seemed quite flustered by the ongoing state of the Thought World.

[Most Holy Spirits are puzzled by the persisting Thought World.]

[A Bar Patron donates 100TP!]

[What? Why isn’t anything happening? Wasn’t it supposed to be over?]

In this moment of collective confusion, it was my turn to step forward.

“Ladies and gentlemen. The Thought World is not yet over.”

“Huh?”

[The Holy Spirits are puzzled by your words.]

All eyes turned to me.

“You all must be curious. You’ve taken down a boss-level phantasmal entity, but why does the labyrinth remain? And since you’re all clever, you’ve probably already guessed. This Labyrinth of Labyrinths isn’t cleared just by vanquishing the Minotaur.”

In other words, from the start, the condition was never about defeating the Minotaur.

“I will tell you the answer.”

It was my time to shine.



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