SSS-Class Suicide Hunter – Chapter 149: Prologue. (2) >

Prologue (2)

Chapter 149. < Prologue. (2) >

Translator: thursdays Editor: Yahiko

2.

Now, let’s talk about someone’s prologue.

“Mm! It’s been a truly joyous and gratifying time.”

We were in the forbidden books section of the Great Library. The other Hunters had gone back, and only the Librarian and I remained.

The Librarian seemed to want to say farewell to me separately. Below the bookcases, where old hardcovers lined up like bricks, the Librarian looked incredibly small.

“Do you know, Death King?”

“About what?”

“The thing called happiness disappears quickly.”

The Librarian smiled.

“Happiness is something you savor in the moment. A moment so lovely that you can’t help yourself. Alas, time is an endlessly flowing stream. Happiness floats away like a maple leaf, again and again.”

The Librarian sluggishly waved his left arm.

Volumes of Apocalypses flew to him and gathered in one place.

Among them were Apocalypses that I had overcome and Apocalypses that other Hunters had conquered.

+

22nd Floor: Chronicles of the Heavenly Demon (Genre: Martial Arts, Fusion)

23rd Floor: Saga of the Iron Knights in Space (Genre: SF)

24th Floor: Dawn Mountain Cabin Journal (Genre: Mystery, History)

25th Floor: The Tale of Sormwyn Academy (Genre: Romance, Fantasy)

26th Floor: Festival City Apocalypse (Genre: Sports)

27th Floor: Bakery Street Epic (Genre: Cooking, Business Management)

28th Floor: Me and Our Scapegoat (Genre: Fairytale)

29th Floor: The Tale of the Ascending City – Side Story (Genre: School)

+

“Ahh, how pretty… The [library catalog] isn’t bad. Though not flawless, it is much better than the catalogs completed by the warriors of the other worlds. No, it’s incomparably more admirable. So much so that I feel regretful I must gift them to your world.”

The Librarian’s eyes twinkled like a little kid’s.

Everyone finds a personal treasure when they’re young. A fake jewel made of translucent plastic or a rare white BB-gun pellet mixed in among a red and black batch. A doll that was cheap but had pretty fingers.

We always need a secret treasure of our own. The Librarian was looking up at his personal treasure.

“What did the Hunters of the other worlds do?”

“They did one of two things. They chose either an easy Apocalypse to challenge or an Apocalypse that will be helpful to the Tower.”

“If you want to nitpick, we also did the latter.”

“Huhu.”

The Librarian covered his mouth with his sleeve.

“You’re much too humble. If merely clearing the stage was your goal, there was no need for you to resolve the Heavenly Demon’s regrets. Do you know what would have been the simplest strategy?”

“What is it?”

“Hiding in some secluded cavern.”

The Librarian tapped The Chronicles of the Heavenly Demon.

As he did, the scene around us shifted. Whooosh! Light shrouded my vision. In the blink of an eye, the library disappeared. Suddenly, we were floating above a snowy mountain where gusts of snow whirled about.

-Hey. From what I see, we just need to wait until they die.

Hunters I had never seen were hiding in a cave. Attire completely different from our world’s. I realized that they must have been Hunters from a different world.

-Nothing really hard about it. We just need to watch for the zombies wandering around.

-Great! Let’s all hang in there and wait it out!

Looking down at them, the Librarian spoke.

“This is a record from the far past. These Hunters made an attempt at [The Chronicles of the Heavenly Demon] long ago. They were climbing the Tower of another world. These fellows chose to hide and wait until the Heavenly Demon and the Murim Lord died.”

“……”

“Ten days after the starting point, the Mjrim Lord dies. The Heavenly Demon goes mad. While mad, she recklessly uses her innate true chi and dies. Tada! The stage is clear!”

The Librarian playfully wiggled his fingers.

“Well, these fellows’ hiding spot was poor, so the zombies caught them off-guard and slaughtered them. But their strategy itself was not wrong. [The Chronicles of the Heavenly Demon] would clear itself if they just waited. They only had to prepare measures against the cold, plan out provisions, and have the skills to avoid the zombies and the Heavenly Demon. Isn’t the B-Class difficulty just right?”

“……”

“But Death King, you did not do that.”

The Librarian looked at me.

The long-ago snowstorm over the Constellation’s shoulders looked like a hologram.

“You always treated the characters as people. You gave your utmost effort. You felt anger and you felt sorrow. You accepted the stories of the Apocalypses as your own.”

The Librarian moved his left hand, tapping [The Tale of Sormwyn Academy] this time. Fwoosh! The snowscape neatly faded.

We were in Raviel’s basement.

Raviel was standing over an unknown man, who was chained and kneeling.

-Th-this is fraud! It’s a fraud!

The man was blood-stained as if he had been tortured.

-Based on the strategy guide, you love white flowers! Why isn’t my favorability rising even though I bring you flowers everyday, make you your favorite foods, and speak pleasantly?! This is a fraud! This sort of ending makes no sense!

-Tsk.

Raviel, with a weary expression, clicked her tongue.

-Pathetic man. Are all Constellations’ apostles like this?

-F-fall for me! You’re just a knock-off Constellation! Hurry up and fall for me!

-…Do the Constellations see my world as the universe’s trash can, by chance? Is that why they keep tossing trash one by one at me? Ah, for goodness’s sake. Caring for the subjects is hard enough, but my life only continues to grow more difficult.

Raviel nimbly poured poison over the man’s head. His scalp began to melt.

-Kyaaaak! Keeugh! Aaaagh!!

The man writhed at the application of the deadly poison. Raviel sighed deeply and left the basement. Bang. The basement door closed, silencing the man’s screams.

“This, too, is one of the things that occurred in the past.”

The Librarian shrugged.

“It is hard for humans to treat others as humans. I praise you for doing such a difficult task. We won’t be able to meet again, but… please remember that I will always cheer for you.”

“We can’t meet again?”

“Right! I must now invite and greet the warriors of another world.”

The Librarian chuckled.

“I cannot always attend to you. There are infinite worlds and towers. There are countless warriors climbing their towers, just like you all! I must greet them all because the Lord of Manseng… Ah, I apologize. I can say no more.”

The Librarian held out his right hand.

“Good work.”

The Librarian smiled softly.

“The Great Library of All Things will disappear from the 21st floor now. A small rest area will be placed there instead. Well, I shall take special care and give you a paradisial rest area.”

“Okay.”

I shook the Librarian’s hand.

“Thank you.”

“Uhuhu. To think that there would come a day when I would shake hands with my favorite character and take in another favorite character as a librari…an?”

There was a reason the Librarian hesitated at the end.

Squeeze.

The Librarian tried to release the handshake, but I did not let go.

“Death King?”

The Librarian tilted his head to the side.

“Are you sad to be parting with me? That makes me very happy, but your world has finished the 21st to 30th floors. Ah, the 30th floor will also be made into a rest area. There is a book called [Recuperation City Story]. It is equipped with recreational facilities that are almost heavenly, and as part of my special service…”

Expressionlessly, I looked down at the Constellation.

“……”

The Librarian became quiet.

“Death King…?”

To use the Librarian’s manner of speech…

“Why are you doing this? Y-you’re scaring me…”

…Kim Yul and the director finished their long prologue and entered the main story today.

“Librarian.”

But that wasn’t all.

“I have something to ask you before we part.”

“What is it…?”

“You.”

Since the time I beat The Chronicles of the Heavenly Demon.

“You don’t have a purpose in life anymore, right?”

I had been waiting for this moment.

3.

『Why do you like the Constellation Killer?』

『Lefanta Aegim is a man who kills Constellations. I can understand why you would hate him, but I don’t see why you would like him.』

On the day The Chronicles of the Heavenly Demon was complete, we went down to a certain snowy mountain. A dragon, blackened by death, was before our eyes, and the Librarian and I had our first candid talk.

『Since you’re the one asking, I’ll give you an answer. For a long time, I have had a dream.』

『A dream, you say?』

『Exactly.』

The Librarian’s eyes had shone innocently.

『It is to make an appearance in a novel that I enjoy!』

The Librarian said that ‘intervening’ in a novel was different from ‘appearing’ in one. He confessed how he wanted to appear naturally in a story as a character on the same level as the others.

『I refuse to intervene. That means there is only one way I can become a character in a story.』

『I can’t go up to the characters of a novel; the characters must find me.』

The Librarian whispered like a boy with his first love.

『Lefanta Aegim. The Constellation Killer tirelessly murders Constellations and moves between worlds. One day, he’ll come to visit my world, the greatest library of all time. To kill me.』

That was precisely the reason the Librarian loved the Constellation Killer.

『I am waiting. For the day when the Constellation Killer visits the Great Library.』

The only way that he could become a character in a story.

『I look forward to seeing him stand before me one day, following his own story and his own will. On that day, I will finally appear in the story of Lefanta Aegim!』

The Librarian had said—

『Isn’t dying at the hands of the protagonist the greatest epilogue?』

Then.

I opened my mouth and spoke.

“You don’t have one anymore. A reason to live.”

“……”

The Librarian’s face froze.

“…What are you talking about?”

“You said that becoming a character of a story one day is your dream. You didn’t want to force yourself into the story but rather appear naturally, and the Constellation Killer was the only one who could fulfill that dream. But…”

I smiled.

“You’re no longer waiting for the Constellation to come kill you, right?”

“……”

“Do you think the Constellation Killer who has met the director will do that?”

The Librarian gulped.

“No, what are you… I don’t know what you’re saying. Death King, the Constellation Killer who has met the director is just the result of your Hundred Ghosts Reincarnation. The Constellation Killer on the 50th floor is alive and well. Won’t that person someday come to kill me…?”

“That is true.”

I gripped the Librarian’s right hand even more tightly.

“But that Constellation Killer is not the route that you chose. I asked you earlier.”

Route 1.

The 50th floor Constellation Killer who had not met me nor forgave the director.

Route 2.

The Constellation Killer who did meet me and forgave the director.

I asked him to choose one of the two to accept as the Constellation Killer’s story.

“You selected the second route.”

Then, the Librarian accepted the latter as the true history. The story of the Constellation Killer possessing Kim Yul and receiving the director’s apology—all that had been accepted as part of the Constellation Killer’s life.

In other words.

“Let’s say that the Constellation Killer of the 50th floor finds you one day. Will… Will you really be happy when that moment comes?”

“The Constellation Killer who hasn’t met the director. Can you accept that man who hasn’t felt fury, sadness, revenge, and forgiveness as the real Constellation Killer? Can you accept an ending in which you are killed by that Constellation Killer?”

The Librarian likely didn’t think this far, but he had basically destroyed his own dream.

“There’s no way that you could. Because you’re someone who worships stories more than anything. You would never want to die at the hands of an [extra] you don’t accept.”

“Just so you know, there is no use denying it.”

Because I could see clearly before my eyes just who the Constellation loved.

‘Character window.’

+

Name: Corner Librarian

Favorability: 99

Favorite Genres: [Fusion], [Romance], [Mystery], [Adventure], [Horror], [History], [War], [Sports], [SF], [Myth], [Fairy Tales]…

Disliked Genres: N/A

Favorite Characters: [Character], [Death King], [Kim Yul]

Disliked Characters: N/A

Favorite Plot: [Story]

Hated Plot: [Serial Discontinuation]

+

The Constellation Killer’s name had been changed to Kim Yul.

The order had also changed. My name was originally behind the Constellation Killer’s, but now, it came before. It meant that the Librarian had come to love my story more as the Constellation Killer’s story ended.

“……”

Silence.

The Librarian’s face was blank.

He looked like he couldn’t believe it.

“Death King, you, what have you… Since when did you plan…?”

“That day. I planned this from the day I heard your dream on that snowy mountain. Of course, I hadn’t worked out all the details back then.”

But I had already drawn the big picture at the time. A project to make him like me more than the Constellation Killer. So I chased after the Constellation Killer persistently, maybe even obsessively.

To hunt a Constellation.

“Hamustra.”

The Librarian startled at his true name.

“You have two paths left to you.”

“Two paths…?”

“You can live here, forever unable to see your dream come true. You say goodbye to me. You throw away the hope that the Constellation Killer will grant your wish one day, invite in and greet the Hunters that treat characters like trash, and spend your days secluded in the library like you have always done.”

“Eugh…”

The Librarian trembled slightly. Naturally unable to break my grip, he squirmed. But the physical strength of the Librarian was insignificant, and my right hand held on firmly.

“If you don’t want that, give it to me.”

“What… What are you referring to…?”

“The book that contains your story.”

The prey I’ve hunted for so long.

“Give me the book in which your life is recorded.”

It wasn’t an Apocalypse that recorded the fall of another world nor contained a different world at all. It was this place. It was the book that contained the [Corner Librarian] who lived in [The Great Library of All Things].

“I will make it into the 30th floor of this Tower.”

“……”

“Then, you would naturally become a member of our Tower as well. Do you get it? You would become a character in our story. Become our colleague.”

The Librarian’s mouth dropped open.

“Ascend the Tower with me, Hamustra.”

~~~


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