Chapter One: 2 Years Ago
Speaking straightforward, my life was already over.
If there was one thing to talk about in this life that had already ended, then that would be my father. My father was truly a trash like man.
There was a time where my father got drunk and harassed a girl. A female high school student at that. Even though I was dumbfounded, since it was my father, I knew that it was more than likely to happen.
"If you had to sexually harass someone, did you have to choose a female high schooler?"
"Girls these days sure are developing quite splendidly."
That was the response I got when I went to meet him.
Let me correct myself.
My father wasn't just trash, but food waste.
"That girl is younger than me by 5 years."
"Only by 5 years? Are you perhaps still in college?"
My father narrowed his brows.
His expression was incredibly serious.
"I thought you were about 41 years old."
"If you look at me properly you'd know that I have a childlike face."
"Bahaha! Don't make me laugh. You've had a mustache since you were just an infant."
If only killing intent could actually kill.
My father's expression shifted and gave me a worried glance.
"Is your mother really upset?"
I gave him a slight temper.
"There are at least 4 people I can call mother. I'm not really sure which one you're referring to."
"I'm talking about your mother."
I let out a sigh.
I'll say this now.
Harem is a crime.
It wasn't enough to make a bunch of lovers, but to also have a child here and there as well, that was inexcusably the worst.
The person concerned may be fine.
But in the position of the child, I wanted to kill myself.
Even after the age of forty, the mothers continued the bloody competition and feud over my father. My father was constantly indecisive and never made a choice.
As a result, the ones to come to harm were the children. The only ones dying in the struggle between mothers were innocent little us.
'If you were smarter then wouldn't your father pay more attention to me! You have to get first place in your whole school no matter what!'
Do you understand how it feels to hear this kind of thing every single day. Circumstances for me were a bit better though since I was male. My little sisters were really pitiful. In order to gain even a little bit more affection, they had to flatter him each and every time they could.
In the position of myself who had to watch all this happen, my impression of my own father was the worst. The chances of something good about my father coming out of my own mouth would be asking for the impossible.
"Listen carefully. I'm going to tell you slowly and exactly what you should do from here on out. Nothing bad has come from listening to my advice before, right?"
"Naturally. I'm ready to listen carefully to whatever you have to say."
"Then first, do your best to try to stay in prison for as long as possible and notcome out."
My father furrowed his brows.
"That's a bit different direction of advice I was hoping for."
"Do not come out of prison and just stay there forever. Until you die. If the word 'dismissal' starts to float around or something, do not latch onto it. End your regret filled life in a cell."
"I've never doubted that my son was dutiful up until now, but I'm starting to have my suspicions. Son. Is that really the best option?"
"My mother is trying to kill you."
My father tilted his head.
"Are you saying that she's angry enough to might kill me?"
"No. I mean exactly what I said. She is trying to kill you."
"Korean is quite hard—. It's difficult to understand—."
"According to the Standard Korean Language Dictionary made by the National Language Department, the verb 'kill' has eleven meanings. Amongst those I'm using the first meaning; my mother is really trying to kill you."
"Can I ask what the definition for the first meaning is?"
"To cease or end another one's life."
"It was a life without any hopes or dreams......"
My father pressed his head into his hands.
He had finally grasped the seriousness of the situation.
"You've been calling my mother by some weird word like 'tsundere' for a long time now, but I'll tell you this now. My mother is a 'yandere'. Resent yourself for marrying someone you most shouldn't have while also having multiple wives."
"But when she looked at me with those bloodthirsty eyes my body would tingle...... That's your mother's charm!"
"Be great if you just died already."
I muttered unintentionally.
I do not believe in God. There's only one reason for that. If God really existed then the man in front of me would have been smited long time ago. My father was a Satanic person, an infectious germ that turned the people around him into atheists. I called it the 'Human Trash Virus'.
"I didn't know she was a high schooler in the first place. No, I groped that person's butt not even knowing it was female. It's unfair."
"Then you lifted that skirt thinking it was a man? Congratulations. It's fortunate that you were finally able to discover your actual sexual preference at that late of age. If you had realized 25 years sooner then the world could have been more peaceful, families could have been more tranquil, and my life could have been smoother."
"I had 7 bottles of soju so I wasn't sane."
"Are you ever sane?"
I stood up from the seat.
I spoke while sullenly looking down at my father.
"Never bring up alcohol while in court. If they put that into consideration then your sentence will most likely be shortened. The day you leave prison, my mother will be waiting for you with a knife."
"My beloved son......"
"Yes? Go ahead and speak, my not beloved father."
"You must make good choices in life."
"When you're the one saying that, that sounds incredibly persuasive."
"I'll come visit whenever I have the time so make sure to behave."
No matter who saw, my father was a failure of a husband.
There was no room for sympathy.
However, he was not a failure as a parent. Starting from me, my 6 siblings and I all were able to live wealthy lives. This was an incredible achievement. Also, while a person lives their life, be it as a husband or a parent, as long as they are successful in even one category I think they're admirable. This way of thought still has not changed.
Stay in prison forever.
My father gladly listened to my last advice.
In the end, it became so.
Four days later, my father had passed away because of a heart attack.
"I'm completely exhausted......"
After sorting out my boxes and furniture, I lied on my bed.
For the last month I had faced Hell. This was not a joke. If a demon could have seen my unsightly and miserable figure, then even they would have felt so much sympathy for me that they'd end up ascending as an angel.
I folded my fingers down one by one.
"The funeral is over. Set all the real estate in order. Passed over the foundation......"
I roughly threw away everything I needed to throw away from life.
Give up on the inheritance.
As soon as my father passed away I had dropped this bombshell.
My mother fainted and my half siblings made a commotion. My second half little sister was especially terrible. She clung onto me until my pants tore. However, my will was as firm as the snow piled at the very top of the Himalaya Mountains. If you want to break my stubbornness then you need to forward global warming by 600 years. Unfortunately, my mothers and siblings did not have the capability to immediately raise the carbon dioxide exhaust quantity around the world by seventy times the current amount at that time.
'If brother retires, we'll all be ruined!'
'Big brother is a stupid idiot!'
'I'm never contacting you again!'
Finally, once my second half little sister gave up, I escaped.
A smile of satisfaction floated on my face.
To live the rest of one's life is to live free from worldly cares. There's no point in pretending to be something you're not and buying things like a high noble. I'm too busy to go crazy and spend money on everything. While a few of my siblings were pleased that they had become the head of a company at such a young age, my second half little sister followed up with the statement— 'Even if we end up ripping his(brother's) ear off, we can't let him go! Our household will be ruined within 6 years without him!',—which I felt strongly for because I knew she was right.
"Okay. I've dealt with everything. I'm truly free now......!"
Thank you, father.
For passing away at an appropriate time.
This honest feeling may be an incredibly undutiful and immoral statement to say to one's parent and it shakes my conscience by 1 mg, but if you consider the large amount of crap that my father had left behind on my life, the already little amount of conscience that remained seems to have vanished on its own.
I will never forget the moment he used his own son as a shield in order to avoid the knife being swung by my mother (a painful mid-summer memory from my second year of elementary school), even if I die.
All things considered, I've already won the game of life.
Currently, in my bank account, was the large sum of over five hundred million won(TL note: about 425,000$).
Just because I gave up on the inheritance doesn't mean I didn't fill my back pockets. I can enjoy the remainder of my life without having to ever work.
Not the entirety of my life, but what remains.
I do not mean the definition to keep on living, but simply the meaning of what's left. I purely desired for only this.
I got up from my bed and with a brush I wrote in large writing on a piece of parchment.
For the next 50 years, this will be the terms that'll lead me for the remainder of my life.
1. Do not work.
2. Do not make friends.
3. Do not get married.
I was moved by my own writing.
I wonder if when Pythagoras discovered the law of mathematics, he was as deeply touched as I am now.
First, do not work.
This was stupidly obvious.
I've heard that there are some people in the world who enjoyed fruits of labor in their life. Thankfully, I'm not one of those perverted masochist.
Second, do not make friends.
This was also obvious.
There are only backstabbers and potential backstabbers in the world. Friendship is merely a vain dream, a virtual image, a fantasy. I won't take any counterarguments.
Third, do not get married.
-This was important.
My father had relations with five women. After having watched a live romance drama starring 6 people since I was a mere child, I've come to a grave and serious conclusion.
Marriage is an insane act.
Something like true love are all bull crap lies.
Love is merely a way of murder that has become surprisingly gentler. As a result, it's possessive desire and sexual desire.
Of course, grown up members of society might have a different opinion than I. That's okay. Be satisfied with your bright and beautiful marriage life. However, if maybe, just maybe, you end up separating from your partner......compared to your marriage life, so much more beautiful days will lie ahead of you. I'll guarantee it. You have my word. For starters, the dangers of being stabbed by a knife disappears. This alone already seems like a huge benefit, don't you think?
I'm a pessimistic human.
I wasn't like this from the very beginning. Believe me.
Originally, I was highly positive. The world was beautiful and the righteousness in my chest flopped around like a just caught mackerel. To be specific, I was like this until a month ago. However, after having witnessed my mothers do a 1:1:1:1 deathmatch in the middle of the funeral, I politely recycled my hopes and dreams into the trash.
That's so. This world is tragic. Even if you're vexed, what can you do. This is the truth. The carbon dioxide exhaust rate won't go down, China will grasp capital over the entire world, Justin Bieber will receive the Nobel Prize in literature......, and in 122 years you'll be dead, I'll be dead, we'll all be dead. (TL note: Yes, the author really does mention Justin Bieber.)
Oh, I'll also tell you just in case; that adorable pet of yours will get hit by the front wheel of a bicycle and die...... I'm sorry to tell you the news, but what can you do? This is the truth.
If you're done being sad then drink a beer.
To start off my carefree life, I went to the convenience store and bought 60 cans of beer.
The part-timer at the convenience store gave me a look as if asking 'Excuse me, it's not of my concern but is your life okay like this?'. I thanked the girl's deep consideration and coolly swiped my card.
My card has damn five hundred million won. Five hundred million won is strong!
Take that! If you have a problem then come at me!
'Whatever you choose'
'Whatever you choose, you must choose better than me—'
I wonder if it was because of the beer.
I recalled something unpleasant.
A kind of trauma.
I opened a second can of beer and muttered.
"I succeeded in running away, father."
Those were my last words to my father.
I stayed in the corner of my home and didn't come out.
I'll be going to the world across the monitor.
—Two months passed in a blink of an eye.
I've conquered the computer games I couldn't enjoy for the past 4 years. (TL note: How the heck is that possible... in 2 months.)
"This is life......"
I was silently moved to tears.
I've been only consuming convenience store packed lunches, so my current figure was getting close to the border of that of a homosapien gorilla.
Trash was littered on all four sides of me.
The desk with my monitor on top was especially impressive.
The Empire of Empty Cup Ramens and the Republic of Empty Beer Cans were conquering the desk—continent, and having their own world war while drawing all kinds of geometrical national borders. In this world I'm what you'd call an absolute God. If it's unfavorable for the Empire then I'd add a cup ramen. If it's unfavorable for the Republic then I'd add a beer can. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that it was thanks to me that balance was able to be kept in this continent......
At that moment a notification popped up on my monitor.
An email arrived.
Moving my mouse over, I clicked to check it.
[Thank you for enjoying our company's game, <Dungeon Attack>. In order to improve for the next expansion, we are doing a survey. Participants will be able to gain the chance to be a beta tester for the next installment!]
It was a normal email.
My email address was probably subscribed when I bought the game.
Right when I was about to delete the mail, I hesitated.
"Next expansion, huh?"
A standard dungeon-capturing RPG, <Dungeon Attack>.
It was one of the games that I enjoyed during the two months.
Become a hero and defeat the Demon Lords.
The difficulty was a bit strange, so it was incredibly challenging. First run, I could barely defeat the mid-boss. Second run, third run, and finally on the sixteenth run, after tedious grinding, I was narrowly able to win against the final boss.
There's no business in grinding. (TL note: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
My hero character got stronger after each run.
In the NPC's perspective, I probably seemed like a fraud and a cheat, but what can you do? Life was irrational from the very start.
Some starts life with high stats while other's don't.
I accepted the survey with a click of my mouse. It'll probably ask me questions like; was the difficulty reasonable, was there any inconvenience with the interface, boring questions like that. Regardless, I was able to spend an enjoyable amount of time on <Dungeon Attack>. I'll play along.
A new page opened up on my monitor screen.
[1. In the end, I prefer small girls!]
[2. In the end, I prefer mature women!]
A completely unpredictable Mr. Question has appeared.
I grasped onto my mind that went blank for a moment.
What is this, a small joke? Are proper questions going to come out after this?
After thinking for a moment, I chose number 2. If you were someone with common sense then it was only appropriate to select number 2. Everyone, lolita complex is a mental illness.
On the white screen, the second question appeared.
[1. In the end, I get excited when I get hit by someone......!]
[2. In the end, I get excited when I hit someone......!]
"What kind of survey is this!?"
I shouted at the monitor.
The periods+exclamation mark at the end of the sentence made it feel pointlessly vivid. It looked as if you were confessing your secret sexual desires, doesn't it......!
I glared at the monitor with a disgusted look.
For now, I selected number 2. To be hit or to hit. If I had to choose between the two, then I could only choose the latter. I've heard that there was a group of people in the world who felt pleasure from pain, but thank the heavens, I'm not a pervert.
[1. I prefer a low difficulty.]
[2. I prefer a high difficulty.]
After that, I got normal quality questions.
They most likely placed the weird questions in the front to gain the surveyee's attention.
To compliment them for being smart, or to complain that they put too much thought into this survey.
[1. I solve my problems with strength.]
[2. I solve my problems with knowledge.]
Without any hesitation I chose number 2.
I stopped trying to solve my problems through force since the time I got beat up by the girl sitting next to me in kindergarten. People called humans like me a 'refined pacifist'.
[1. I gain benefit from keeping other people's secrets.]
[2. I gain pleasure from using other people's secrets.]
Once again, with no hesitation, I chose number two.
During kindergarten, once I obtained the information that the girl sitting next to me wet her bed every morning, I took advantage of it as much as possible. After having done so, I learned the greatness of information. Diplomatic studies call this kind of politics 'armed neutrality'.
[1. Friendship means to go forward together towards the same goal.]
[2. Friendship means a friend who hasn't betrayed you yet.]
Ooh. I don't know who it was, but they need to give a round of applause to the staff who made option number two.
Now that I think about it, I've been only choosing the second option. It must mean that number 1 points to abnormal and number 2 points to normal.
I think about thirty questions had passed.
A question with a different format was displayed for the first time.
[Do you know how this world ends?]
I stopped my mouse.
...... It was a question purposely made abstract.
It was a sentence that only players who very faithfully played the game could understand.
The hero subjugates the Demon Lords.
A simple structure.
However ...... in the end, the world probably arrives at destruction. The reason why the word 'probably' was included was simple. The game did not kindly tell you what happened to the world after the ending. This was merely the conclusion I came to on my own while going through the campaign.
In <Dungeon Attack>, Demon Lords are owners of magical energy, people with a massive amount of magical energy condensed into them. What happens if all these people are killed off.
The magical energy will overflow.
Like as if many reservoirs collapse at the same time and cause a flood.
The hero killed off the Demon Lords in order to protect mankind and as a result the balance of magical energy collapsed, then, contrary to what was intended, the end of mankind and the destruction of the world......
This was what I thought to be the 'true ending' of the game.
Thank you very much, protagonist.
Thank you very much, player.
Yet, we must apologize, that due to your efforts the world was destroyed.
No hopes or dreams.
That's why I liked it.
A pessimistic world outlook...... it suited my taste.
I spoke the words 'yes', and clicked my mouse.
As if it was calculating something, it took some time before the next question appeared.
The sentence to appear on screen was abstract again.
[If it were you, could you change the ending?]
To protect mankind and to also not slaughter demons.
In other words, to bring peace between the two races.
According to the setting, humans and demons have been going at each other for nearly 3,000 years. It'd probably be easier to make the leader of Islamic extremists reconcile with the president of the United States of America.
Would I be able to do such a thing......
I started thinking.
Then thought some more.
The sound of a click rang, and at the same time.
A bright white light shined from my monitor screen.
This was the last scenery I could remember.
A bell chimed somewhere. No, it could have been the sound of an explosion. The feeling of the world around me being flipped— as if my skull was being expanded on all four sides.
My hearing went numb and everything felt distant.
My vision kept blinking.
I couldn't move my eyelids on my own accord.
As if someone else was opening and closing my eyes for me.
My conscience stopped.
[The tutorial shall now begin.]
[Difficulty set to LUNATIC (Highest possible setting).]
Then I opened my eyes.