As soon as I stepped back from the threshold, the door of the ward closed.
I simply stood there staring at the tightly shut closed door.
The image of the woman lying on the bed was so clearly imprinted in my mind that I couldn’t move a muscle.
[‘Sung Hyun-sook’ is sad and says “Poor young man.”]
I was out of my wits and leaned against the wall next to the door.
Where should I begin?
The woman lying on the bed I saw…
I mean ‘Yoo Sung-soo’s mother’, where should I begin speaking about how she looked like?
Her swollen skin from the top of her head till her toes?
Her eyes, which were bloodshot and wide open as if they were about to bleed any minute?
Oh her pale white hair faded like that of an albino patient’s?
I didn’t know.
The fact that Yoo Sung-soo was dealing with such a circumstance…
I know the name of that disease Yoo Sung-soo’s mother is suffering from.
I am not the only one who knows about it.
There is likely no one who doesn’t know about those symptoms in a time of cataclysmic change.
In the gate, which acts as the boundary between reality and dungeons, flows a slight but certain wavelength of mana.
And those wavelengths can very rarely cause a disease to nearby citizens whose bodies are not in harmony with the mana.
And that disease is called mana poisoning.
In addition, it is a terminal illness.
- Mom. I’m a bit late today, aren’t I? But there was a good enough reason for it.
Just then, I could clearly hear Yoo Sung-soo’s voice through the closed door.
Soundproofed walls don’t work due to heightened hearing thanks to increased stats.
- Today I entered a gate for the first time you know? A player who’s recently very popular offered to take me.
Patients suffering from mana poisoning cannot move their bodies just like a person in a coma but their consciousness is definitely awake.
By that I mean, she can clearly hear what Yoo Sung-soo is saying currently.
- I’m really grateful to him…and plus he was so cool. I always saw players fighting from afar but actually seeing someone fight up close….it was like a movie scene. To the point where I felt like, Ah, so this is why people call players superheroes.
I thought he was flattering me simply because I was in front of him but he was being serious?
But he doesn’t really have to boast about me to his sick mother…
Wait but do I really need to keep eavesdropping on this?
I think my face is blushing up.
- …How great would it be if I can be like that too?
At that moment, Yoo Sung-soo’s voice, which was filled with joy, became a little choked up.
- If I become a strong player and earn a lot of money then I would be able to off your hospital bills more easily than now…
- And when you wake up later, I would be able to show you a brave and amazing side of myself…
The end of his words was blurred almost as if a cry was mixed with it.
- But still, you know…I’m trying hard nonetheless. Even if I don’t become an amazing player, I would like to be an amazing son to you, mom. I’m working hard at my job and doing my best at studies without neglecting them…and, and…
Yoo Sung-soo’s voice filled with sobs gradually started to sound distant.
Even though I’m sure he’s been sitting beside her bed for a while now.
Such a voice is heard when usually one speaks while burying their head in the sheets.
- Later, you have to tell me no matter what, okay? Things like my son has grown up so well, he has grown up so wonderfully. So, mom…
A year later.
Yoo Sung-soo didn’t smile much even when he became an S-class player, a position dreamed of by everyone.
No wonder he got the nickname ‘stone statue’.
Back then I didn’t understand why he had such a dark atmosphere around him but now I know why.
- Please wake up…
Humans suffering from mana poisoning usually die within three months and six months at the longest.
‘The time I met Yoo Sung-soo is about 1 year from now…’
In that case, by then Yoo Sung’s soo’s mother will…
- Mom… Mom…
I should stop listening.
It would be rude to keep listening any further.
It would be the same as me committing a crime against Yoo Sung-soo.
‘I remember he said his father passed away due to an accident while working in a factory. On the other hand, he kept his mother’s story a secret…’
Without discontinuing <Stealth>, I quietly left the hospital.
The evening wind coolly blew over my heart which felt stuffy like a lump of lead had fallen in it.
‘During that time, it probably must have been something he didn’t want to recall to tell anyone about it. ‘
What must it have felt like?
When he became an S-class player that he had so dearly dreamt of after his mother died.
When he realized he can’t show her his ‘amazing side’ that he so dearly wanted to show her anymore.
I can’t even fathom the emptiness he must have felt at that time.
‘It’s not something I don’t know of.’
I can be sure about one thing.
‘When I lost my parent, I felt like the world was falling apart.’
The despair and loneliness of being left alone in the world, I am well aware of it.
It’s not just some mere sympathy…that’s right.
It’s a sense of kinship.
When I realize that the other person is someone who has experienced the same situation as me, a sort of inexpressible difficult feeling starts growing in my heart.
And I feel choked up.
‘She’s still alive.’
3 years back where I’ve regressed, Yoo Sung-soo’s mother is still alive.
Of course, there isn’t much time left.
I met my mother again as a representative and a guardian deity but Yoo Sung-soo won’t.
If his mother passes away again, it becomes an eternal farewell for Yoo Sung-soo.
I can’t let it happen.
‘I need to save her no matter what.’
Is it to gain more likeability from Yoo Sung-soo?
Yes, in case.
In case, things go well…the way Yoo Sung-soo looks at me will take a 180-degree turn.
If he expresses the likeability, then my life which is supposed to be a bed of flowers will bloom even brightly.
But to be honest, the likeability is not my priority right now.
Besides that, there is another emotion I’m feeling first.
It’s the emotion of just ‘innocently’ helping Yoo Sung-soo and his mother.
‘Currently, mana poisoning is an incurable condition, but two years later a cure is discovered.’
After long research, the world’s leading pharmaceutical company develops a drug that can cure mana poisoning.
The problem is that the drug will be commercially distributed only two years later.
By then, Yoo Sung-soo’s mother would have already passed away so what’s the point?
‘And it’s not like there’s any way I can speed up the development of the drug…’
I’m going nuts.
There are not only pros to regressing huh.
My mind is way ahead but the reality doesn’t follow it.
While I was being frustrated as if I swallowed a whole sweet potato.
[Guardian deity, ‘Sung Hyun-sook’ takes urgent measures!]
[‘Sung Hyun-sook’ leaves for a while after saying “I have a good idea!”]
“All of a sudden?”
I asked pitifully like a child looking devasted at their parent’s back growing further and further away.
“W-where are you going, mom?”
And the cold silence came back as it was only obvious.
Well, I mean, it’s fine if you leave for a while but will it cost you something to tell me beforehand?
‘…Maybe they sell the drug that can cure mana poisoning at the Hall of Fame?’
Since it’s a place that transcends the realm of human beings and where Gods live, there may be at least one item such as a ‘panacea*’.
*T/n: a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases.
Though I doubt it can be bought with the amount of ‘God coins’ mom has.
After a while.
Along with mom’s return, an unexpected message came before my eyes.
[Guardian deity, ‘Sung Hyun-sook’ has invited a Guest.]
…What? A guest? Out of nowhere?
Who is it?
[Guardian deity, ‘Sung Hyun-sook’ opens a chatroom of the ‘underworld’!]
[The invited Guardian deities start chatting anonymously while hiding their real names.]
While I went ‘huh’, a phrase appeared above the empty space.
But unlike complete sentences that pop up at once as system messages, this time the phrase kept appearing one letter at a time as if someone was pressing the keys on a typewriter.
Certified saintess: Hi? So you’re Hyun-sook’s son Jae-min huh.
Oh my God.
Another guardian deity actually sent me a message in the chat.
The ‘underworld’ has this type of technology too?
No, besides that, what should I reply?
Confused, I bowed my head in front of the empty space like a crazy person and spoke.
“Yes, I-I am her son…”
It’s a request so next time, please give me a heads-up.
Even while I was sweating buckets deep inside, the message slowly build each syllable at a time.
Certified saintess: Fufu, you look quite mature. Ah, the chat is really slow, right? Sorry. I’m an oldie so I’m not very familiar with things like this…hope you understand.
I’m about to go crazy because I’m not familiar with the current situation either.
Certified saintess: I’ve heard about your situation from Hyun-sook. So you need a treatment to cure mana poisoning?
The moment the word ‘treatment’ was mentioned on the chatting window that was slowly getting filled above me.
I swallowed by breath unwittingly.
I erased the awkward smile from my face, and nodded with a firm look.
Certified saintess: I like that attitude. Because it’s hard to find people who are so agonized over treating someone else’s illness and not theirs. Especially in this day and age where you live.
Everytime the message continued, my throat was parched and my heart was pounding.
Isn’t that a given?
If it’s not simply a username chosen without much thought then the image which comes to my mind is that of ‘A sacred guardian deity that encompasses miracles’.
I’m not sure about her real name, but if the image that popped up in my mind is correct then…
‘She will definitely be able to cure the mana poisoning.’
And judging from the flow of conversation so far, the saintess likes me.
Maybe she will happily agree to…
Certified saintess: However, it’s very unfortunate. Even if it’s me, I can’t male a cure for a disease that didn’t exist in the time I lived.
…Wait. What did she say?
Certified saintess: Ah, don’t make such a disappointed face. That surprised me. I’m not hitting keys on a typewriter just to tell you that it’s not possible.
My face turned into a serious expression unknowingly.
Anyway, what she said in the end, means there must be some way, right?
Certified saintess: I’ll let you especially use my workshop.
Certified saintess: It’s not good for a guardian deity’s reputation to be worried about earthly matters. I don’t know about the particular disease called ‘mana poisoning’ but if it’s about curing any earthly disease, then that can be done through an essence and the method of preparation for that can be found in my workshop. Well, it’s a recipe to some extent.
An essence that can cure all diseases that exist on earth.
In other words, it’s a panacea?
If there’s such a thing then I won’t need to look for the mana poisoning treatment drug.
Certified saintess: Of course, since you’re not a guardian deity, there will be many difficulties while using the workshop. Maybe you will have to endure great amounts of pain and patience. Would you still like to do it?
Who would be scared enough to back down even after they know where the solution lies?
At least not me.
Certified saintess: I knew you would say that. No wonder you’re Hyun-sook’s son. You don’t care what the future has in store but recklessly live in the moment for now.
I don’t know if you’re insulting me or praising me, Miss certifies saintess.
Certified saintess: Then let’s see…H-hm? Hyun-sook, what do I need to press to sponsor this…Ah, found it. Alright.
[An anonymous guest has sponsored a ‘Ticket to the sacred land’!”]
A group of lights that gathered above the empty space shone at once.
Soon something soft came down like a feather and settled in my hand.
It was a square ‘ticket’ with a beautiful golden pattern and unknown letters that looked like they were embroidered.
Certified saintess: If you tear the ticket in half, the path that leads to my workshop shall open.
After reading those words, I ripped the ticket without hesitation.
At a rate similar to that of me ripping the ticket, the air in front of me ripped just like a gate appearing.
What actually appeared was a spiral-shaped ‘door’ connected to a space on the other side just like a gate.
[Would you like to enter the ‘sacred land’? Y/N]
I’ve already made up my mind, but the options that keep popping up are making me anxious.
I chose ‘Y’ without any delay.
There was the same sense of dizziness and floaty feeling as when I go in and out of a gate.
When I opened my eyes that were shut out of reflex, what I saw was…
Certified saintess: Does it look a little bizarre to an earthly human?
From size to colour…It was a white field with countless old books of various shapes and sizes flying around like bugs.
Certified saintess: think of them as ‘monsters’ and not ‘books’. Of them, only five books have pages that contain the method of preparation of the essence.
Only five books?
No, but, just by looking at it roughly I can tell there are over a hundred books.
Oh Holy saintess, this is too difficult.
Certified saintess: There’s no need to snatch them one by one and turn the pages. You can rip them apart or burn them. As long as you’re able to find it.
Does that mean it’s similar to when you defeat a monster in an RPG game and the item automatically drops in your inventory?
Though it’s easier said than done…
Certified saintess: Also, I’m sorry but you need to speed up. If you stay here for longer than 15 minutes then your body which is bound to the regulations of the earth will not be able to survive.
To make matters worse, there’s even a time limit.
I’m about to go crazy.
I don’t even have time to complain because as she said I will die if I stay here for more than 15 minutes.
‘As long as I find it, it doesn’t matter if I rip them or burn them apart huh?’
In short, it means that instead of elegantly checking through each book it’s best to go wild.
And instead of going wild with my bare hands, it’s probably wiser to have some sort of weapon with me.
[‘Pandora’s box’ will be opened!]
[A weapon that can be used most effectively against the ‘enemy’ recognized by the user will be summoned!]
The sipper opened, and a ray of light sprang from the inside of the bag and wrapped around my hand.
If the ‘Pandora’s box’ is wise then it will summon a wide-range weapon.
Please. I beg of you.
‘If possible, it’s easy to jump around with and weighs less.’
As soon as I wished for something light, my body tilted due to the heavy weight in my hand.
Certified saintess: Huh…?
Subsequently, I was speechless when I realized the identity of the weapon in my hand.
Because my earnest wish for the ‘Pandora’s box’ to be wise this time seemed like it didn’t come true.
Certified saintess: This is a bit…
It looked like a heavy machine gun.
However, what was attached at the end was not a gun muzzle, but a hose with a connected nozzle.
That’s right, no matter how much I look at it, it’s…
I hope the ‘Pandora’s box’ is wise this time?
That must have been upsetting for it.
Being wise is an understatement.
This time it’s fair to say that it’s overflowing with wisdom.
I pulled the trigger in high spirits.
Flame streaks filled with tremendous heat spurt out with fierce force.
A fan-shaped fire burned the old books in range randomly.
I think they say the most thrilling thing to play is with fire?
In that case, I think I might end up wetting my bed tonight because of how thrilling it is.
I sprayed the flames evenly as if I was watering a flower bed.
Which resulted in,
[‘First page’ acquired!]
[‘Second page’ acquired!]
[‘Third page’ acquired!]
[‘Fourth page’ acquired!]
[‘Fifth page’ acquired!]
I’m not sure which of those books that are quivering helplessly like a moth contain the ‘pages’.
But I don’t even need to know, do I?
Certified Saintess: …You’re actually a very petty guy huh.
It was nice meeting you too, Saintess.
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