49 – A Predictable Tragedy
[Anonymous7001: I changed it to a secret post. I want to know what happened… Is there a possibility that you’re still alive?]
[Trying Man: No. I am dead.]
[Anonymous7001: Then how are you leaving comments?]
[Trying Man: Although MacDerrus cannot feel it, I am watching over you right by your side in the form of a ghost. It was not my intention, but it seems that if I go beyond a certain range from my body, I return.]
[Anonymous7001: …I see. Is there any possibility of coming back to life?]
[Trying Man: There is none. It seems that MacDerrus had no information, but let me tell you in advance that this space is a message board for the deceased. When the body dies, the system offers two choices to the players. The first is to choose the immediate annihilation of the soul. And the second is to choose the lingering of the soul. If you choose to linger, you can access the Message Board for the Deceased.]
To either immediately annihilate the soul or temporarily stay in the afterlife. The system’s words, telling them to choose one of the two, were quite cruel.
Well, all they can do is watch. In the case of Trying Man, I can observe his movements as I am possessing him, but for most people, they can only stay there with their cold bodies and look at the Message Board for the Deceased.
Then why did the deceased choose to linger instead of annihilation, even though they have no influence on the afterlife?
“Of course, it must be regret.”
Everyone has regrets. Even if it’s just something that happened yesterday, the existence of humans is about regretting, saying to themselves, “I shouldn’t have done that” or “I should have acted differently.”
How much greater would the regret be for those who died unjustly?
But I must remember clearly. The fact that they are wandering in the afterlife is a curse upon themselves.
If they can’t come back to life anyway, it doesn’t change anything to say that they are watching something. Even if they obtained information using the Message Board for the Deceased, they are destined to be annihilated someday.
Everything comes to an end. And it can’t affect the afterlife in the slightest. Yet, despite all that, regret forced many people to choose to linger.
It’s a predictable story, but still, I wanted to hear Trying Man’s story.
[Anonymous7001: Trying Man. I want to hear your story.]
The Trying Man seems to have seen it too. The red rain pouring from the [Trauma] space. And my figure, unleashing immense power on that battlefield.
[Anonymous7001: It could make one arrogant, but to me, this power is nothing short of a curse.]
[Trying Man: That’s not true… I’ve always longed for the kind of strong power you possess. I wanted to have such overwhelming power in every breath I took. And that desire hasn’t changed even now.]
[Anonymous7001: Because you had such strong power, you had no choice but to kill countless people. Haven’t you seen it too? The people who died in my hands. And the people who begged for mercy from me.]
[Anonymous7001: I’m still with them. No matter what I do, they scream in despair at me. Asking if I had to kill them, if there was no other way.]
[Anonymous7001: Even though I also had power, I’m frustrated. I still want to turn back time. I would gladly make it as if it never happened. I don’t know how I appear to you, but even I am just an ordinary human who regrets every moment. So, I want to hear your story.]
I was curious about the story of the Trying Man. For some reason, his appearance resembled my school days.
Severe torment and people around me who treated me poorly. In the midst of scornful gazes and persecution, I collapsed instead of trying to overcome it like the Trying Man.
If it weren’t for the cheat-like ability of possession, I might have met an even more miserable end than the Trying Man. That’s why I wanted to hear this guy’s story. I wanted to find out what ‘regret’ he had… and I wanted to alleviate it even a little.
After all, the reason I wandered in this body was also because of that.
[Anonymous7001: I want to know. What regret do you still hold onto?]
[Trying Man: It’s a cliché story.]
With those words, the Trying Man began to tell his story.
— — —
Trying Man, his real name in the novel is Kael. Unfortunately, he was possessed by the body of a newborn baby. His mother and father abandoned him. The reason is unknown. However, Kael’s consciousness, who was possessed, vividly remembers that day. The emotion imprinted on his parents’ faces when they abandoned him was a sense of liberation.
The place that took in Kael was an orphanage. Perhaps this was a connection that his parents had made, as they left Kael near the orphanage after running away with a newborn baby.
But the parents who cut off the relationship with their own child with their own hands remained irresponsible to the end. They threw away their own child without properly investigating that the orphanage was an institution established for the sake of receiving government subsidies.
The director of the orphanage took in Kael, but to him, Kael was just a number. He was merely a means to receive government subsidies.
I will omit the stories of the cruel acts that were said to happen if one didn’t fall asleep on time. He only received the bare minimum of food and care. He was treated like livestock, not a human being.
The rations were distributed only once a day, barely enough to sustain them. Every day, they had to fight for their share of food. As Kaël grew older, he had to go outside and work, but even then, life did not improve.
As time passed, Kaël’s body became covered in wounds.
Because he couldn’t use magic, the tasks assigned to him by the inspectors were limited, and the compensation was minimal. As a result, the orphanage director treated Kaël no differently than livestock.
Realizing there was no hope for himself in this place, Kaël decided to escape one night.
Ironically, the orphanage director did not pursue him. He said it was better that the useless brat ran away.
Oh, by the way, I should mention that later it was revealed that the orphanage director lied to the country, shedding tears over Kaël’s kidnapping. He claimed that he needed equipment for protection and received money for it, which he used for minimal security measures and his own selfish desires.
Life after leaving the orphanage was predictable.
For an orphan who couldn’t even use magic, the world was quite cold. But the temperature wasn’t bad. It was not much different from when he was in the orphanage.
From the beginning, he had nothing to lose.
Afterwards, it seemed like he lived diligently. He found labor work to earn money and rented a small room where he could at least survive.
The place was bigger than he had expected. Of course, it wasn’t his own, but rather a form of paying rent monthly. The previous tenant had lived there for several years before dying alone, so there were some circumstances surrounding the room that allowed Kaël to rent it at a much cheaper price compared to its condition.
Ghosts didn’t scare Kaël. The fact that he had no food to eat the next day was much more frightening.
“Kaël. From today, I will pay you your proper salary. Just work hard without resorting to tricks. Got it? Be thankful that you have a place like ours that employs kids like you.”
As Kaël started working diligently at the labor job for several years, the director of the place finally began to pay him a normal wage. With his reduced salary restored to its original amount, life became a bit more abundant.
However, Kaël continued to eat only one meal a day and saved his money.
It was because he wanted to enter the Academy.
The reason he wanted to go there was simple. He needed friends. In this miserable life, Kaël had never had a friend his age. Even at the orphanage, everyone ignored him.
What Kaël wanted was a normal companionship. Graduating from the Academy and getting a good job that everyone else goes for was an additional goal. He had thought about it after admitting to himself that he couldn’t use magic.
He wanted to be acknowledged by everyone with a sword.
But his dream quickly crumbled. He was lucky enough to get into the Academy, but as a lone inspector, he had to endure a lot of torment from the students, and his relationship with the Academy students remained as hierarchical as it had been in the orphanage.
Kael was always a man who stayed on the ground.
In the past, and even after entering the academy alone.
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It was around that time.
The girl who made Kael’s heart race as if his breath was being taken away, the girl who had never made him flutter with emotions.
It was Levia who spoke to him.
“Hey… Kael… right? I feel like I’ve talked to everyone else… but I haven’t talked to you. Let’s be close from now on.”
Ironically, Kael fell in love with those words.