The Main Characters That Only I Know - C.313:

Prev
Next

Yu-hyun, who was paired up with Lean, didn’t say a word.

He had many things he wanted to ask him, but he felt overwhelmed by the situation and didn’t know where to start. And Lean felt the same way.

He didn’t want this team arrangement either. He had been avoiding Yu-hyun on purpose because he didn’t want to see him.

‘I left the team selection to someone else for a while, and this is what happened.’

It was his fault for telling Ringug to distribute the members as he saw fit.

Who would have thought that Ringug would deliberately make the teams like this? But Lean couldn’t blame him. It was Lean’s job to do it in the first place, so in a way, he was responsible for dumping his work on Ringug.

But still, the fact that they had to go to a new exploration area today was undeniable, so Lean and Yu-hyun didn’t complain to each other.

Their uncomfortable silence lasted for more than three hours as they walked through the cold snowstorm.

“Let’s rest here for a while.”

Lean was the first one to break the silence.

He felt the blizzard getting worse and looked for a place where they could take a break.

It was a huge frozen rock that was over hundreds of meters in size, and under it, there was enough space for two people to fit in comfortably.

They sat down there and placed a small piece of stone they had brought from Gondulbor’s workshop on the floor.

A rune appeared on the surface of the stone and soon it emitted a hot heat. It was a runestone that could be used as a portable heater.

The cold air outside and the heat from the runestone clashed, but it was more than enough to melt their frozen bodies.

“…I heard we’re going pretty far this time.”

Yu-hyun decided to speak first, thinking that it would be better than staying silent.

He remembered that they were going to bypass the area where the previous exploration had ended and go beyond it.

They were heading to a new area that they had only thought about but never dared to try before, and Yu-hyun ended up going with Lean because of that.

The place they were going to now was too far away to go and come back in one day like before.

So they decided to send a small group of the best people ahead of time as a scouting team.

Yu-hyun had only been here for about a week, but he had adapted to the job much faster than the other explorers and showed a skill that could even be called veteran, so he got to go with Lean.

Yu-hyun suddenly wondered.

‘Does this guy want to be with me so badly that he did this on purpose?’

As Yu-hyun’s eyes sharpened, Lean hurriedly opened his mouth.

“First of all, let me say one thing. I have nothing to do with this team selection.”

“Who said you did?”

“…Your eyes looked suspicious, so I said it.”

Lean had nothing to say if Yu-hyun asked him why he knew that. After all, he had been watching Yu-hyun’s appearance, Keira’s appearance, for a long time since the past.

Lean just left that excuse and closed his mouth again.

But Yu-hyun seemed to interpret Lean’s silence differently and pressed him further.

“Is that really all?”

“What else is there?”

“If there’s nothing, then fine.”

“You’re not Keira in the first place. I have no reason to look at you and her together.”

“That’s…”

Yu-hyun stopped talking and sighed.

“I know. I just look like this, but I must seem like a bad person who ruins your past memories.”

“…I don’t think that badly of you.”

Lean was surprised by Yu-hyun’s words and said defensively.

“I don’t think you’re bad. You’re different from those who came before. You worked hard as an explorer and fought against the frost giants.”

“But you don’t deny that I ruin your memories.”

“…That can’t be helped.”

“I’m sorry about that too. But I’m not doing this because I want to.”

“They all said that too. But in the end, they used their appearance. They begged me or asked for help with Keira’s face.”

“Do you think I’ll do that too?”

“That’s…I don’t know.”

Lean was confused by what he had heard from Yu-hyun in the past week.

He knew that Yu-hyun wouldn’t do that even as they were talking now, but the memories of what he had gone through before were still vivid and strong.

His reason told him not to trust him, but his feelings told him he could trust him enough.

Lean couldn’t choose either one.

“Since we’re talking anyway, let me ask you something. Why do you think I appeared here looking like this?”

“…Why are you asking me that?”

“I think I know why.”

Lean couldn’t help but be interested in his words, even though he was cold and aloof.

Yu-hyun didn’t care about Lean’s glaring eyes.

“Keira was one of the great five sisters. And even though it’s hard to say it with this appearance, you and I had a close relationship.”

“…We did.”

“She said she would stop the curse of the frozen land with her sisters.”

“But, she failed.”

“Yes, I failed. And after that, what appeared were Tellers like me, who looked like Keira. But why did they look like Keira? Why her, of all the sisters?”

“…What are you trying to say?”

“What I’m saying is, this situation itself might be something that Keira did.”

The curse of the frozen land had occurred.

And after that, even the great five sisters failed to solve the curse and lost contact.

No one knew what happened to the original Divine Spirit, who was called the god of this world. And even the five sisters, who could be called the apostles of the Divine Spirit, failed.

The fact that they had completely disappeared from this frozen world meant that hope was practically gone.

“Keira did something behind the scenes?”

“That’s what I’m saying.”

“No way. When the apostles of god disappeared, all hope for this world was gone.”

“I don’t think so. The fact that I fell here in this form means that Keira must have done something behind the scenes. What is she hoping for?”

“What is she…”

“Even though she knew she had failed, she didn’t despair and left her traces behind… Maybe it’s because she still believed that there was hope in this world?”

“Hope?”

Leann laughed bitterly for the first time.

He couldn’t help but retort to Yu-hyun’s absurd words.

“Have you forgotten? This is a world where even hope freezes.”

“Then why are you holding on? Why are you protecting the Guardian?”

“Because I can’t just sit still and die.”

Leann looked down at the glowing rune stone with a sunken gaze.

“Even without hope, I can’t choose death. I can’t coldly reject the people who beg me to save them, who want to live somehow. So… I’m just living without dying, even though I’ve lost hope.”

“If you really had no hope, wouldn’t it be better to just kill everyone and end their suffering?”

“How can you do such a thing?”

Leann turned to look at Yu-hyun sharply.

His eyes were filled with emotion for once.

“How can you casually discard those people…”

“That’s hope.”

“…”

“People who can’t do anything beg for their lives, people who struggle to survive and find a way for others to live. And warriors who form exploration teams and scour this frozen world desperately with them. That’s the hope you say you’ve given up on.”

“…That’s nonsense. I’m just wandering around with the exploration teams to show them something.”

“Liar.”

Leann clenched his fist at his firm words.

“You’re lying right now.”

“I’m lying?”

“Tell me honestly. You must know something. Especially since you were a candidate for the next Divine Spirit.”

“…!”

Leann suppressed his urge to ask how he knew that.

But he had already revealed that Yu-hyun’s words were true by his actions.

“There were five candidates for the next Divine Spirit. And you were probably the one Keira was in charge of.”

“…So what?”

“There must have been four other candidates besides you. But they’re nowhere to be found. And neither are the other sisters. But Keira keeps sending her traces, her fragments, to this world.”

Why? When even the five sisters failed, and everyone else failed too. Why?

And why did they look like her, of all the sisters?

As if she was calling out to someone proudly.

“Leann. You were the hope of this world that she had in mind.”

“I’m not any hope!”

Leann couldn’t hide his rising anger and shouted as he got up from his seat.

He couldn’t stand listening to Yu-hyun’s words.

“Me! The one who couldn’t do anything among the candidates, the one who became weak and cowardly! How can I be any hope when I couldn’t even live up to her expectations!”

Leann still remembered that time.

In his very distant past, Leann was named as a candidate who might become the next Divine Spirit.

He didn’t understand why he became such a candidate. Leann was weak and exhausted, and above all, he couldn’t stand fighting.

The other great sisters mocked him too, and so did the other candidates.

‘A worthless loser.’

‘How can someone like him be a candidate?’

‘Whatever. It’s better if one less competitor is gone.’

The more he received those looks, the more he shrugged his shoulders and lowered his head. He couldn’t even get angry at their words. Because they were true.

His childhood self that he remembered was a crybaby and a coward who never looked up at the sky. He couldn’t deny it even now.

But she was different.

Keira, who chose him, was different.

-Lift your head, Leann.

-Kaira?

-Why are you walking with your head down? You should be proud, stand up straight and look ahead. That’s the least you can do.

-But, I’m just a half-breed coward. Do I really deserve to be a candidate?

The Guardians, who revered strength, would get furious if they heard him belittle himself like that. It was the opposite of a warrior’s mindset.

The same went for the other sisters, who could be called the protectors of the Guardians.

That’s why the other four sisters mocked and despised Lean.

But, Kaira smiled softly at his words.

Her warm hands touched his cheeks.

-Lean. You avoid fighting because you know how much pain it brings. And you’re worried that it will also cause great suffering to others, because you’re considerate.

-But still, my body is weak. I can’t even swing a sword properly.

-Lean. No matter how great a warrior is, they weren’t born great. They also had times when they were weak and lacking, and they became warriors by enduring them. Lean. You just haven’t bloomed yet, but if you do, you’ll blossom into a more beautiful flower than anyone else. I know it.

She always smiled gently at him and told him he was amazing.

Even when the other sisters questioned why they chose such a guy as a candidate, Kaira believed in Lean’s potential and defended him.

Lean didn’t just sit there and nod.

He also put in a lot of effort.

To live up to Kaira’s expectations, to not make her uncomfortable, to show that he had at least some qualifications as a candidate.

And then, when he was about to see the light after years of training.

Snow fell on the world.

Endless snow.

The curse of the frozen land. When it broke out, the five great sisters and the rest of the candidates gathered in one place.

They argued that they had to solve this curse as soon as possible.

It was clear that the whole world would freeze if they continued like this. Kaira also agreed with them and prepared to solve the curse.

Except for Lean.

Lean instinctively felt that this curse of the frozen land was not a simple natural disaster.

He didn’t know why. He just thought it was dangerous to fly north right now.

-Kaira. This is dangerous. We need more time, we need to watch calmly before we act.

-Lean. But you know we can’t do that. Right now, a huge snowstorm is swallowing up the world. If we go on like this, the world will freeze over.

And, the frost giants that appeared inside the snowstorm were also one of the dangers.

Lean wanted to wait and see before making a decision, but Kaira and the others couldn’t leave it alone.

They had a responsibility, and they couldn’t just watch innocent beings die.

The other sisters and candidates laughed at Lean.

In the end, a coward is a coward, they said. If you’re too scared to fight, just hide and live by yourself.

And so, four candidates and five sisters headed to where the curse of the frozen land broke out.

And they never came back.

Lean was frustrated. More than anything, he felt like the world collapsed when he realized that Kaira, his teacher and lover, had died.

But he couldn’t just sit there and do nothing.

Lean shook off his seat and got up. People were dying at this very moment. Kaira died to save them.

So he had to save them too, even if he was a half-breed coward.

Because she wanted him to save them.

Lean gathered the scattered people together. He decided to build a city of survivors with them. In case Kaira came back after solving everything, he wanted to welcome her back.

Fortunately, he had a way to do that.

The sacred altar.

There was a device that would lead the next Divine Spirit to become the god of this world if they chose who it would be among the candidates.

The altar was made of ley lines that flowed with great power, and since the world hadn’t frozen completely yet, that power remained.

Lean used the power of the sacred altar. Before the ley lines froze completely, he gathered as much of the remaining power as possible and created a magic circle.

He borrowed the power of Kaira’s disciple, Gondulborr, who he met by chance for that purpose.

He built Guardian, the last city of humanity, inside the magic circle. And he gathered people who heard about Guardian.

And Lean waited.

He waited and waited and kept waiting.

Maybe she would come back someday.

Even though he knew she had failed, he didn’t think she was dead. He thought she would surely come back alive and find a way to solve this curse.

Then one day, not long after the curse of the frozen land broke out, Kaira really came back.

Lean was happy to see her. He asked her if she had solved everything, if this disaster was over.

But she wasn’t the real Kaira.

She was just another being wearing her appearance.

She had only two weeks left to live, and she met a miserable end after doing whatever she wanted.

The next one. And the next one too.

For 32 years.

For 32 years, Lean had to face dozens of beings with Kaira’s appearance.

And he had to see the same ending every time.

They died horribly, in the appearance of his lover whom he loved.

Even though he knew they weren’t the ones he had been waiting for, Lean felt a pain that tore his heart as he watched them die.

And so, Lean gave up all hope.

The hope that she would come back, the belief that he could restore this world to its original state.

He gave up everything.

“…Lean.”

“Don’t call my name in that state!”

Lean shouted, blinking his eyes.

Yu-hyun couldn’t say any words of comfort to him.

As long as he was in this form, anything he said would only hurt Lean with deception.

The sound of the blizzard outside echoed endlessly, until the rune stone burned completely and turned into ashes.

The two of them didn’t speak to each other after that.

They packed their belongings again and came out from under the rock.

They walked through the slightly weakened blizzard.

If they kept walking like this, they would reach the checkpoint before nightfall.

That’s what Yu-hyun thought as he walked silently. But he stopped in his tracks without realizing it.

‘What is it?’

He turned his head and looked at the faraway place where the blizzard was coming from at 9 o’clock.

He saw a wall of ice that stretched endlessly. He had seen it on the map before. It used to be a mountain range that crossed the northern continent, but after the curse of the frozen land spread, it became a huge cliff of ice.

Yu-hyun was drawn to the ice cliff as if he was bewitched.

Lean, who noticed that Yu-hyun’s presence had faded behind him, followed him with a frown.

“Where are you going? That’s not the direction we’re supposed to go.”

“Over there, beyond the ice cliff.”

“…The place where the mountain range used to be? Why there? That place has already been explored. It was concluded that there was no way to pass through because all the paths were blocked.”

“No.”

Yu-hyun shook his head. Lean was puzzled by what he was doing.

“There’s an entrance there.”

“What?”

Lean couldn’t see it, but Yu-hyun could.

The gap in the giant ice cliff.

Between them, a faint golden light was flowing out.

Prev
Next

Comments