The Main Characters That Only I Know - C.267:

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A day passed, and then another.

Only one day was left until the end of the 98th trial.

Until then, Yu-hyun visited Kang Seoha’s hideout regularly, checking on her condition or providing her with meals.

At first, Kang Seoha felt somewhat burdened by Yu-hyun’s actions, but now she greeted him naturally whenever he came.

“Oppa. Can’t we just go outside today?”

“Outside? What if we get caught?”

“We just have to be careful not to. It’s suffocating to stay inside all the time. Besides, you said the trial will be over tomorrow anyway.”

“…I guess it doesn’t matter if we just wander around this area.”

There were still many people looking for the 10th fruit, but Yu-hyun knew that people had stopped coming around here, so he agreed on one condition.

“We can’t stay long.”

“I know. Just, like a breath of fresh air.”

“Fresh air? The sky is always full of dark clouds, and the wind is dry and desolate.”

“But, this is the world we live in, right?”

The ruined world, that is. Yu-hyun muttered to himself.

Kang Seoha grabbed Yu-hyun’s arm and dragged him outside. She was wearing a large robe to hide her appearance.

The two climbed to the top of a bizarre structure on the ridge and took in the scenery of the apocalypse.

No matter how much they looked, there was nothing but dark, barren, and horrible sights, but Kang Seoha’s eyes were bright and cheerful.

“Oppa.”

“What.”

“I can live, right?”

“I guess so.”

The trial of obtaining the fruit would end tomorrow. What would happen to her, who had qualified for the fruit, when the trial was over?

He didn’t think she would die. Rather, his behavior of not eating the fruit even though he had it close by was probably an unexpected outcome for the organizers.

Yu-hyun analyzed the trials he had been through so far.

In many trials, various items or things were given as rewards.

And in most cases, when the trial period ended, the remaining items only lost their effects, but their essence remained intact.

Perhaps for those who qualified for the fruit, the effect of the fruit itself would disappear after some time, but they would not die.

He didn’t know if their names would come back, but anyway they could survive. That was enough.

“So just hang in there a little longer.”

“Hmm. But still, when it’s over like this, I don’t know what to do next.”

Kang Seoha also thought about what would happen after the 98th trial. Until now, she had been able to survive stably thanks to the qualification of the fruit, but that would be impossible after she lost it.

“We’ll just have to endure it as we do now. This annoying trial won’t last much longer anyway.”

“Is that so?”

“If you’re still worried, well…”

He thought he might be able to bring her into his party somehow by then.

He would never have thought of that if he was his usual self, but in the past few days, Yu-hyun had grown fond of Kang Seoha.

He gave her a name and fed her to keep her alive, and at some point he felt like she was his family.

Suddenly, Yu-hyun remembered his late parents.

“Oppa?”

“No, it’s nothing. Anyway… it’ll be fine. Don’t worry.”

“…Okay.”

Even though she had received Yu-hyun’s assurance, Kang Seoha’s face didn’t brighten up.

Yu-hyun felt like the atmosphere was getting weird and decided to change the subject.

“By the way, why did you want to see this scenery?”

“Just because.”

“Just because?”

“You never know when you might not see it again.”

“Isn’t that a good thing? I’d be scared if it came up in my dreams.”

“But… this is the realm we live in right now. Even if we end up living in a more peaceful place someday, these memories will never disappear anyway.”

She wanted to see more of this sight before it was too late, Kang Seoha said.

So that even if this moment became a distant past someday, she would never forget it.

The more she remembered and cherished this moment, the harder she could live as a person.

“…You’re really pitiful.”

“Pitiful? How rude!”

Kang Seoha puffed up her cheeks and protested to Yu-hyun.

“You’re young.”

“Age doesn’t matter. I’m a mature person.”

“Kids should act like kids. Don’t be like an old soul.”

“What does it mean to act like a child, as you say?”

“What do you mean, what does it mean? Just listen to adults well. Say when you’re tired. Don’t hide anything and be honest. And… live well, eat well, and smile a lot.”

“Ugh. You’re such an old man.”

“Hey. How dare you call me an old man.”

“If I do as you say, wouldn’t that be a nuisance? I can’t do anything by myself. It’s better to do what I can.”

“You can do that. If anyone tries to make you do something hard, that means the world is wrong.”

Yu-hyun said that with a smirk, as if he found his own words amusing.

“Well. When has this realm ever been right? The realm is wrong, and that’s why it’s ruined like this.”

“Do you hate this world?”

“What about you? Do you like this realm that forces you to eat my heart? Do you like this situation where people are dying?”

“…No.”

“I hate it. It makes me sick and nauseous. The fact that I have to kill someone to survive, the fact that I have to give up everything, even my pride, to live, and the fact that those stars are laughing at us from the sky.”

Yu-hyun clenched his fist, as if he couldn’t contain his anger.

Then he loosened his hand and looked at his palm with a self-deprecating expression.

“But what can I do? I’m weak. I can’t do anything.”

“…Don’t you want to be stronger?”

“What for? To eat your heart? If I become stronger by doing that, if I become one of those stars in the sky… then what?”

Yu-hyun didn’t care about the fruit anymore.

He wanted to become a Divine Spirit because he hated this horrible world and wanted to escape from it.

But after realizing that he couldn’t do that by giving up his humanity, his vision widened.

He firmly believed that someday he would have a chance, even if not now.

“But there’s always a possibility.”

“A possibility… huh.”

Yu-hyun always thought that he had to prepare for the worst.

He couldn’t argue with Kang Seoha when she said that.

“I want to live too. I was ready to die, but someone kept insisting that I should live.”

“That’s too bad for you.”

“But the ordeal is not over yet, and anything could happen. So promise me.”

Yu-hyun felt uneasy when she asked him to make a promise, but he suppressed it and asked.

“A promise? What promise?”

“If there’s really a situation where I have to die, please kill me. Don’t let anyone else eat my heart.”

“Hey, what kind of promise is that? If you say something like that again, I’ll get angry.”

“It’s just a possibility. It might not happen. You don’t have to be so serious about it.”

Kang Seoha smiled playfully at him, and Yu-hyun nodded without realizing it.

“…Fine. Whatever. It’s not like it’s going to happen anyway.”

“You promise?”

“Yeah. I promise. But that worst thing you’re thinking of won’t happen anyway.”

“I hope so too.”

It was getting dark.

The landscape of the ruined realm was sinking into darkness.

It was time for the monsters to start moving.

“We’ve been here too long. Let’s go down.”

“Okay. Got it.”

“Just hang in there a little longer. It’s not much left. We just have to make it until tomorrow. You know? Don’t get caught by anyone today, and stay hidden quietly.”

Kang Seoha nodded.

She had a sharp personality that didn’t match her young age, so she didn’t need Yu-hyun’s advice and could handle herself well.

He knew that, but he still said these words because he was so worried about her.

“See you tomorrow.”

“Yeah. See you tomorrow. Brother.”

They parted ways.

And so the last day of the 98th ordeal came.

***

The last day of the 98th ordeal.

Yu-hyun finished preparing to go out in the morning.

“I’ll be back from scouting.”

Choi Do-yoon was the leader of the party, even though he hated him, so he always reported the basics to him.

He never cared about or answered such things anyway, always ignoring him.

But Yu-hyun kept saying this as a kind of pride fight, to see how long he would not answer.

But then.

“You’ve been going out a lot lately.”

Choi Do-yoon, who normally wouldn’t even spare me a glance, opened his mouth first.

“…Well, there are still a lot of rumors that the tenth fruit hasn’t been found yet.”

“Are you aiming for that?”

“Now? I don’t care.”

“Really? Then why?”

“Huh. Since when did you become so interested in me that you ask me that?”

“…”

Choi Do-yoon didn’t answer. Yu-hyun thought that was enough for a conversation.

As he was about to turn around and leave, Yu-hyun suddenly had something he wanted to ask.

“Hey, Choi Do-yoon.”

“What? You’re calling me by my name, which is unlike you.”

“…Have you ever thought about adding more members to the party?”

“You’re asking me something I won’t answer. I never stopped anyone from joining the party. I just think they have to be worth it.”

“Worth…huh.”

Just as I expected.

Yu-hyun thought that was a sufficient answer and left the hideout right away.

Choi Do-yoon sat in his seat and watched Yu-hyun’s back until it disappeared.

***

On his way to find Kang Seoha, Yu-hyun was filled with the thought of asking her if she had any special abilities.

If she had at least some ability that he thought was necessary, he could use it to get her into Choi Do-yoon’s party.

As long as it wasn’t a combat ability, she wouldn’t have to get involved in dangerous fights, which wouldn’t be bad.

“Hmm?”

As he arrived near Kang Seoha’s hideout, Yu-hyun noticed that the atmosphere was more strange than usual and narrowed his eyes.

‘What’s going on?’

Something was different. There was always a sinister aura in the apocalypse, but now it was more dangerous than usual.

The air that touched his skin was prickly, and one side of his head kept throbbing.

His instinct warned him that it was dangerous to stay here.

‘Seoha?’

Yu-hyun hurried to where she was.

When he arrived at the hideout, Seoha, who should have welcomed him as usual, was quiet today.

“Hey! Kang Seoha! Where are you!”

Could she be gone? Did some other wanderers break in at night?

Yu-hyun became anxious. He thought she might be dead.

He imagined a corpse with a hole in its heart.

‘No.’

Yu-hyun immediately went outside the hideout and wandered around the ruins.

As his heart moved, as he moved his feet, Yu-hyun felt that the more he went in one direction, the more restless the aura became.

But why did his feet keep heading that way?

His reason shouted that it was dangerous, but his emotion rejected it.

Soon after Yu-hyun arrived at one street.

“Kang Seoha…”

He found Kang Seoha standing still there.

Along with the relief that she was alive, he felt angry that she didn’t hide and came this far.

“Hey Kang Seoha! What are you doing…!”

As Yu-hyun approached her, Kang Seoha looked back at him.

Without the robe that covered her head, her bare face was exposed.

And as soon as he saw her expression, which was somehow empty, Yu-hyun had no choice but to stop in his tracks.

“Kang Seoha?”

“Oh, oppa. You’re here.”

“What are you doing? What’s going on? Why aren’t you in the hideout and in a place like this…”

Even as he spoke, Yu-hyun felt a sense of uneasiness creeping up on him.

Why? There was no message from the system yet, right?

Wasn’t the trial supposed to end today?

But this anxiety was…

Ssssss.

As if mocking him, a teller wearing a black robe appeared in the air between them.

A blue light flowed from the dark shadow that hid his face.

The angel of apocalypse. Exodus’s teller.

[Well, viewers. Today is the last day of the 98th trial. Of the 10 fruits that were sent down to the under realm, nine have already disappeared. But what’s this? There is still one fruit left. And surprisingly, this fruit is still alive.]

Something was about to happen.

The alarm that rang in Yu-hyun’s head exploded as it reached its limit.

[But don’t you think it’s a waste to use up the fruit like this? Don’t the Divine Spirits agree with me?]

Exodus Teller’s gaze turned to Kang Seoha.

His blue eyes curved like a crescent moon.

Yu-hyun felt his heart drop.

From that terrible Teller’s mouth, the words he didn’t want to hear came out.

[We can’t let the ripe and tempting fruit rot and fall like this.]

Stop. Stop it.

[The fruit must be taken by force. If someone dislikes it, we have to make them do it anyway.]

Don’t say anything more.

[So, as the administrator’s discretion, I will open a spot event.]

With that said.

Ding.

The system notification sound that he never wanted to hear echoed in Yu-hyun’s ears.

[The sub-mission of the 98th trial-Forced Taking has begun.]

[As soon as you see the last fruit, you will be intoxicated by its intense scent.]

[As soon as you see the last fruit, your reason will be paralyzed.]

[The last fruit can give you power even if you don’t consume it directly, but only kill it.]

[Reward-Power Increase]

The moment he saw it, Yu-hyun had no choice but to realize the fact that he wanted to forget so badly.

[Now, let’s start the unfortunate story that will end the 98th trial.]

This realm never gives any hope.

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