Chapter 1

 


The Only Healer in a Warrior’s Party

 

     When I awoke after a lifetime of chronic illness, something indistinct was floating in my dim view.
A thin square that shone a disparate blue light in the middle of a dark room.

      I thought I was seeing things because my fever hadn’t subsided yet; however, looking closer, I saw well-defined letters written in black ink on its surface.

 

「Save the world! ‘Sun Yihan-nim’, pleasure to meet you.」1

 

      Uhh… I’m Sun Yi-han for sure, but… What is this? Is this a dream?

 

「A long time ago, there was a very peaceful world.」

「However! Through the depths of this world’s reality, evil beings began to cross over, one by one.」

 

     ​​Even the letters written on the surface began to transform.
As if it had read my mind, the window changed to the next sentence when my eyes scanned to the end of what was written.

 

「The lamenting people–the ruin of a slow, provincial life…」

「Children learned to muffle their cries before they learned how to walk.」

「Funeral dirges rang louder in the mornings than a rooster’s crow.」

「The age of darkness had arrived.」

 

     Hm? I was waiting and reading, but this thing seemed to be spouting nothing but unbelievable nonsense.

     Every now and then, even this merciless and harsh world didn’t feel much like a doomed and ruinous country.
It might even be fair to call this place a peaceful land.

 

「Oho? You’re disagreeing? You’re saying the world is peaceful as it is now?」

 

     …As expected, I had no idea what this thing was, but it must be able to read my mind.

 

「Correct.
And we’re talking about a different world.」

「But, it’s too early for you to feel relief.
Cracks are opening in this world as well.」

「Well, not that you have to worry too much about that either.」


「After all, there are warriors who will sacrifice their bodies to protect the peace.

 

      Though it seemed like we were conversing, this was a one-sided conversation.
Still, I was strangely caught up in the tale it was spinning, so I inadvertently read completely focused.

     Perhaps my fever was beginning to rise again; my eyes were burning, and my head felt heavy.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t take my eyes away–even to blink–in fear that I’d miss a new sentence.

 

「However, is their sacrifice justified?」

「Who knows.
At the very least, it’s not a clear yes.」

「Now that you know about their situation, you can’t just sit around anymore!」

「Stand up! Run to them and share their burden!」

「 S T A R T ? 」

 

     “Huh…?” Something was wrong with the last few letters that popped up.
Bewildered, I automatically exclaimed out loud.

      S T…A R T? Before I could fully understand what that meant, in the blink of an eye, a new sentence formed.

 

「Acceptance Received! Commencing .」

 

     Wait, no? I’d never accepted anything…? No way, did it take my exclamation as some sort of answer?

     Still entrenched in bewilderment, the scene before my eyes gradually faded.
I had no idea if this was because of that thing or from my horrible physical condition.

     My head rang, like someone was pounding it with a hammer.
Immediately afterwards, I heard the click of a door opening.

     However, I couldn’t be totally sure, as I lost consciousness at that moment.

 

◇~◇~◇~◇~◇

 

     Even though the only person who could read its letters had fainted, the black letters on the blue window flickered without a care, creating new sentences.

 

「Resetting your title.」
「Restarting the system.」
「Save the world! Pleased to meet you, ‘Sun Yihan-nim,’ the only healer in a warrior’s party.」
「Mitigate the penalties, heal the warriors, and reach □□□ □.」

「The □□ that’ll save the world is there.」 2

 

◇~◇~◇~◇~◇

     I had a dream.

     A white, empty space.
I couldn’t hear anything, and my feet touched nothing.
I couldn’t even tell if I was breathing or if time was passing.

     My mind was blank.
I might have been blind–or even deaf.
Otherwise, something must have gone wrong in my brain.

    Anyway, what’s certain was that if I stayed in this space, I might truly go crazy.

*Rustle*.

     Then, from somewhere, a breeze gently brushed past me.

     I turned my head quickly enough to hear a crack from my neck.
From the direction of the breeze, I could see the crouching back of a child.

     Their black, neatly cut hair fluttered gently.

     The wind was getting stronger, and it was harder to keep my eyes open.
Nevertheless, the child sat with no problems, as if we were in separate realms.

     “Hurk…!” Something seemed to fly towards me in the wind; I took a reflexive breath.
With both eyes shut tightly, I clumsily blocked my front with my arms.

     There was nothing to be ashamed about–anxiety in this situation was normal.
However, contrary to my expectations, something thin and soft tickled the back of my hand.

     I guess whatever flew at me wasn’t hard.
What a relief.
I was a little embarrassed to be so cowardly when I was already 17 years old.
Since nothing dire happened, I opened my eyes.

     ‘A sky-blue flower?’

     While gripping the flower that tickled my hand, I looked far into the distance.
The flower was translucent, almost watery.
The light blue color that resembled the sky stood out clearly in this white space.

     The flower–which looked similar to a Camelia–had not withered nor been damaged from its fall.

     Somehow, this flower felt familiar.
Perhaps I saw it somewhere.
As I fumbled through my memories, the child that sat still in the distance suddenly stood up and slowly turned towards me.

     He was holding a small flower with no stems or leaves in their arms–the same plant that flew towards me.
His round eyes, staring at me, slowly blinked.

     He had creepy black eyes that obscured their inner thoughts.
While studying him, I thought, ‘Somehow, I think I might have those eyes too.’

     The strong wind bouncing off my body staggered me; the scent of flowers permeated through that wind.
My vision spun round and round–everything within view had begun to become blurry and melt away.

     Again, I fell into an even deeper slumber.

 

◇~◇~◇~◇~◇

 

     It was a very long dream.

     I saw that child in my dream–that child with dark hair and black eyes.

     The world that the child lived in was strange and unfamiliar.
Everything–from the huge buildings, the fast things with wheels, the pictures on small screens, and brilliant lights that glowed all night.
Everything.

     However, I soon adjusted.
I soon knew how that child lived and what thoughts were in his head.
Even though he and I were strangers, I grew to understand everything about him.

     Like I was peeping into someone else’s memory.

     He went to school, studied, played around, and met many people.
Fascinatingly, I felt his emotions in those moments.

     The fast-paced memory was like an old movie film–or like the flipping pages of a weathered book.
Loud noises swelled and subsided.
I realized, once the child grew up to become a young boy, ‘We look alike.’

     That boy had my face.

     Numerous years passed in the whirlwind of time; now the boy was already taller than me.

     At that moment, the flow of time slowed to a halt.
Every memory–every moment–came vividly alive.
It was as if the fast-forward function had been unexpectedly canceled.

     The boy stood upright in a spacious auditorium; people dressed like him were lined up around the area.

     The faint smell of wood; the sunlight entering through the window illuminated dust motes floating in the air.

     Through the low murmur in the auditorium, tapping sounds on the microphone echoed out.
After a mechanical beeping sound, the place fell silent–so quiet one could hear the sound of breathing.

     A calm voice penetrated through that silence.

[Congratulations on your high school graduation.]

*grip* 3

     The boy took off his cap and threw it up into the air with great vigor, as if he were trying to reach the ceiling.
Everyone else next to him also reached into the air as well; numerous square caps tangled in the air.

     It was only then that I finally saw it; everyone was holding a colorful flower bouquet and wore black gowns.
The piercing sound of applause grew louder and louder.
Excited voices slowly filled the space.

     All of this showcased pure happiness.

     ‘I’m jealous.’ I suddenly thought.
‘Is this what it feels like to become an adult?’

     The intense and unfamiliar emotion made my heart beat so fast that it almost hurt–that was what he felt.
A breath-taking heat that originated from the depths of one’s heart.

     If the moment one became an adult was this radiant, then I wanted to come of age quickly as well.

     The boy… No.
The man turned his head with a bright smile; sunlight, entering through the window, caressed his face.

     ‘…Is he happy?’

     I couldn’t tell whether I simply thought that inwardly or voiced it out loud.
I just couldn’t tell.

     For a moment, I thought his fathomless black eyes looked into mine.

     All sounds in my ears were cut off in that instant.

     The scene before me paused as well.

     The dream ended there.

 

◇~◇~◇~◇~◇

 

     I opened my eyes; I was in a dark room again.

    Silence settled around me.
I could tell I was back in reality.
I was lying atop a bed with a lukewarm wet towel on my forehead.

     It was obvious who did that for me; there was only one person that would.
Thanks to them, it seems that my fever subsided.

     Great.
Everything’s all fine.

     …But not really.
My heart thumped as if the aftermath of my dream was still haunting me, lingering in my thoughts.
However, before I could even puzzle out the meaning of such a dream, reality intruded and demanded my attention.

     Letters blinked in front of me, almost mockingly.

 

「Tutorial, complete! Your reward will be given shortly.

「You can check your reward through the ‘Status window’ screen.」

 

     That’s right–now I knew what this strange thing was.
I saw something similar to it in the dream that flashed by.

     That is to say…this is…

     “…System?”

     The blue window undulated once, as if to confirm my hypothesis.

     Aha! So I’m right, huh? This was similar to the window that would pop up while playing games.
But, why was this before my eyes now…?

     My thoughts stopped there.
It’s not like an answer would miraculously appear if I ruminated on the matter.
I sat up and leaned against the head of the bed.
My bewildered mind calmed down a little.

     ‘But there’s no way I’m inside a game now.’

     After living for more than 10 years, am I supposed to believe I’m some game character? That this world was just a game? That’s impossible.
It wasn’t mere speculation–I’m near certain.

     Everything I’ve been through.
The greetings I gave that were never returned; the empty, food-less tables I sat at; those who ignored my outstretched hand; those who simply listened to my labored breathing and ill, weakening body without lending help.
Even now, those memories were still vivid in my mind.

     So what if this was a game? I was living and breathing here–to me, this was reality.

 

Complete training for the foreseen future events.
 4

Time required: 6 days
Success: Gain the minimum level needed for ‘foreseen future events.’
Failure: Failure to gain the minimum level needed for ‘foreseen future events.’

 

     …A soon-to-be-doomed reality.

     As soon as the quest appeared before me, the door opened with a creak.

     It was the middle of the night outside.
The shadow of a man standing under the moonlight stretched towards me.
With a low, gruff voice, he said, “Sun Yihan.”

Footnotes

In Korean, the ‘ –nim’ suffix indicates respect to those either on the same hierarchical level or higher as you.
It’s equivalent to the Japanese ‘–san’ suffix.
These aren’t missing characters.
They’re actually boxes that stand for missing characters in the original text 😛 Your computer isn’t doing something weird.
This is supposed to be the sound effect for gripping something.
It’s a specific word in Korean…I don’t know if a counterpart exists in English.
미래시 (Mirae-si) This is a term for a future you know that will come and is often used in the gacha gaming community.
For example, if a game is released in Korea first, you have a general idea of what events on what schedule will come when the game releases internationally.
Then, you can plan your pulls/rolls for maximum efficiency.
Like a “roadmap”

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