The Main Characters That Only I Know Chapter 3

Episode 3

As I arrived above Seoul, escaping the limits of the atmosphere, the sight that greeted me was one of towering skyscrapers standing intact alongside the noisy bustle of cars speeding down the roads. The first emotion that struck me was a sense of welcome familiarity.

‘How long has it been since I last saw an Earth so whole?’

After apocalypse’s onset, I ran tirelessly forward in a desperate bid for survival. How many years had passed in that relentless scramble for life? The exact count had faded from memory, though I was certain it had been a dreadfully long while. The planet I knew had crumbled and shattered beyond recognition.

‘But this place… it remains unchanged.’

I landed discreetly, avoiding the curious stares of the people below. Thanks to the [Blessing of Genesis], I could move in defiance of physical laws. I was free to soar the skies or transport myself to any desired location.

‘I can see why those Tellers were so harsh with their contractors.’

They were armed with the conviction that no human could touch them – a confidence rooted in this very [Genesis System].

It was this system’s blessing that even allowed me to breathe in the vacuum of space.

‘My first task is to find Collectors.’

Regardless of anything else, the mission was my priority. Before the end times, only a select few could become Collectors. Despite their numbers, finding one uncontracted by a Teller would be a challenge.

‘Plus, there’s no way to gauge their potential talent.’

Most uncontracted Collectors were greenhorns, their worth unproven, likened to unscratched lottery tickets – a fitting comparison given the dismal odds of stumbling upon one destined for greatness.

‘Luckily, with the support of the system, I can easily locate Collectors.’

As I glanced at the system’s map overlay, numerous red dots scattered across it. These identified Collectors integrated into the system, earning points and amassing [Stories] as part of their compulsory registration in the [Genesis System].

Amongst the sea of red, a sprinkling of blue dots stood out.

‘Red for the contracted Collectors, and blue for those without a contract.’

I selected the area in Seoul with the densest concentration of blue. The system’s power whisked my body there in an instant. The initial disorientation felt upon teleportation was now just a familiar sensation.

‘Is this the place?’

I had arrived at the officially sanctioned Collector Association, which, to my surprise, remained standing intact. During the apocalypse, it had disintegrated like ash. Around me, a multitude of Collectors bustled through the park and the expansive hall inside the building.

‘Hmm. Is this how it’s used?’

I immediately started to manipulate the system window to capture the scene around me. Using it like a camera, the heads of the pictured Collectors were overlaid with red and blue hues and their names, along with some basic personal information, appeared as well.

Yet frustratingly, it wasn’t clear what abilities these Collectors possessed.

‘This isn’t enough.’

Basic information like names, genders, ages, and living areas couldn’t reveal their capabilities.

As I continued to scan the nearby Collectors using the system window, someone approached me.

“May I ask who you are? Are you a Collector?”

Seemingly suspicious of me standing around and observing, a man had come to inquire. He was a Collector, draped in a red aura – a security guard from the association.

“I’m just looking for someone. Please don’t interrupt.”

“But you can’t just hang around here. Don’t you know that?”

He seemed to consider me an outsider and reached out to push me away, but I stood there immobile.

When his hand almost touched me, the [Blessing of Genesis] activated.

Crackle!

“What the—?”

With a faint shock, the man recoiled as his hand was repelled. His widened eyes betrayed only one possible explanation.

“Y-you’re a Teller?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“I… I didn’t mean to offend you. I mistook you for a regular person.”

His demeanor shifted instantly as he offered an apologetic bow. I felt a strange dissonance, but it sunk in that I had genuinely traveled back in time.

Before the collapse, Tellers were almost revered like nobility; after all, they were indispensable to Collectors and always held the upper hand in contracts. Post-apocalypse, however, Tellers were regarded as harbingers of doom – the onset of their arrival precipitated trials that led to masses perishing.

Yet no one dared challenge them, fueled by helplessness and hatred.

Now was a time when Tellers were treated with respect. Rank as interns meant nothing. The sole fact that one was a Teller – potentially a party to a future contract – was all that mattered.

“My apologies.”

The guard bobbed his head nervously, then quickly made himself scarce.

With a dismissive thought, I minimized the system window and that’s when I noticed something peculiar.

‘What’s that?’

Hovering above the heads of those traversing the artificial park were… books?

I blinked hard, wondering if I was hallucinating, but they were real.

‘What is this?’

Engrossed in observing through the system window, I hadn’t noticed them before. Toggling the window on and off, it became clear that this was something only I could see.

The people roamed oblivious to the books floating above them.

“…”

With roughly 37 minutes left on my mission, time was not an issue.

Reaching out towards one of the books drifting over a passerby’s head, I half-expected failure, but to my astonishment, the book obeyed my will, trailing after my hand.

‘It actually works.’

The cover of the book displayed…

The book was made of leather and sported a brown hue. A faint light was emanating from it, a glow that was no different from the brown of its cover. After examining the brief information about the book’s owner through the system window, I opened the pages.

Name: Kim Sang-du

Race: Human (Collector)

Description: Awakened as a collector five years ago. He holds the rank of 8th class, possessing common skills that could be found anywhere. Timid and faint-hearted, he loathes fighting but is forced into confrontations with Phantasmals to make a living.

[History]

The book contained a simple description of the individual alongside their complete past. ‘Is this…’ With curiosity piqued, I examined other people’s books as well. Detailed information about each book’s owner was meticulously noted: who they were, how they had lived their lives, and what abilities they possessed.

Each book was a different color—some had silver covers, while others were brown with silver light shimmering from them. I narrowed my eyes.

‘Books that only I can see—could this be my unique ability?’ I hadn’t assumed that all Tellers could see these books. Just in case, I glanced above my head. There was nothing there.

‘My book… does it not exist?’ I wasn’t particularly hopeful, yet a tinge of disappointment crept in.

I continued to peruse other people’s books, which contained the narratives of their pasts and presents. Some entries were so detailed that, upon discovering the embarrassing anecdotes they surely wished to conceal, I instinctively squeezed my eyes shut.

With a snap, I closed the book and was certain of one thing: ‘This ability… it’s a jackpot.’ An ability that could reveal someone’s past, traits, and information—it was beyond extraordinary. To others, the mere idea of someone possessing such a power could be gut-wrenching.

‘Well, it’s about time I acquired a special ability like this, having reincarnated.’ This was common among novel protagonists. Upon regressing or reincarnating, they often awakened a new power.

Of course, such stories were typically reserved for fictional characters. However, having lived in this world for a long time, I was acutely aware of its peculiarities.

The Mixed Realm (混成界).

This term referred to the world I inhabited, where occurrences like this were rather normal. In the Mixed Realm, the immaterial could exist as firmly as anything in reality. Things that were inconceivable in the real world happened here as matters of fact.

From my previous life, I was well aware of what this Mixed Realm entailed: a place where all concepts and ideas became reality, holding value beyond anything else.

Myths, heroic tales, legends, ghost stories—all material and spiritual elements coalesced into a single realm made real. This was where I now lived.

In such a realm, stories weren’t just stories—they held immense power. Overcoming adversity made one stronger. The chosen encountered fortuitous events more often. The main character never lost. All of this was ordinary in the Mixed Realm.

‘Well, I realized this early on and clung to Choi Do-yun.’ Even when the end came, I didn’t gain any remarkable abilities. All I could do was serve under those who had them.

Choi Do-yun. Despite his annoying luck, his abilities and charisma were the real deal. Meeting him during the initial trials of the tutorial was a stroke of luck, and I immediately stuck by his side, highlighting my worth to him. Thanks to this, I managed to survive for some time in an apocalypse with a notoriously low survival rate.

‘In the end, I still died, but let’s return to the topic at hand.’

My resurrection and newfound ability weren’t strange in the Mixed Realm—it was almost ‘expected.’

‘The color of the book itself must represent the value of a person’s life, while the light that emanates from it indicates the potential and capabilities they hold.’ A silver glow on a bronze cover meant the person had the potential to rise to silver status. If the cover and light were the same bronze color, then their life was just average. And if there were both bronze and silver colors, there could be gold as well.

‘Is that about all the information available?’ I returned my book to its original place and opened the system window.

‘Now that I know about this ability, things should be easy.’ The book also showed a person’s future potential. This meant I could check beforehand which Collectors were a hit or a miss before any contracts were formed.

There was only one task ahead of me.

‘I’ll roam around focusing on the spots marked blue to find those with potential.’ I immediately used my blessing to transport myself elsewhere.

* * *

Sasarum Dor looked at the timer with less than three minutes left, crossing his arms. He tapped his metal-gloved fingers against his forearm.

The mission had a one-hour time limit, and the majority of the rookie Tellers had completed it. ‘Of course, anyone but a fool would achieve a nearly 100 percent success rate in this mission.’

There were the occasional unlucky or dim-witted individuals who couldn’t even manage this, but they weren’t Sasarum Dor’s concern. His interest was primarily in Kang Yu-hyun who had blossomed early on.

‘The others have already found their contractors, but he’s yet to find one.’

Keeping an eye on Kang Yu-hyun—who remained the only one without a successful mission completion—Sasarum Dor narrowed his eyes, the red glow deep within his dark pupils constricting.

“I thought he was exceptional when he changed as soon as he appeared, but is this not the case?” The disappointment was palpable as Kang Yu-hyun’s actions had betrayed his expectations. Sasarum Dor had thought he would achieve more impressive results than the others.

‘One minute left—practically over now,’ he thought as the timer’s digits steadily counted down.

Then, with about 3 seconds left, a beep sounded.

[All Tellers have completed the mission.]

Such a notification appeared before Sasarum Dor. Kang Yu-hyun had managed to complete it, just barely scraping through in the last three seconds.



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