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    You damn bastards didn’t say it would hurt this much.

    Sa-yoon bit his red lips forcefully and brought his trembling hand to his eye. It hurt too much to even speak. The inner throat muscles were so contracted that it seemed to block his airway and esophagus.

    The blood flow seemed abnormal, requiring hemostasis, so he pressed his bloodshot eye with his hand. A vivid, dark liquid flowed down his wrist.

    Drip.

    The red line drawn on his pale skin plummeted to the floor. At the same time, a pain like mucous membranes being scorched came.

    It felt as if someone was stabbing the inside of his pupil with a heated iron and scraping off the mucous membranes on top of that. That’s how hot and agonizing it was. Even when he received orders like ‘The true evil of humanity easily endures torture’ and was tortured for a month without eating or sleeping, it was less horrific than this.

    His toes trembled and vibrated. The pain that came as if drenching his whole body surpassed all the pain he had experienced so far.

    “Ugh!”

    Sa-yoon, exhaling roughly, pressed his eye. It was so excruciating that he wanted to cut off the painful area if he could. Thump, Sa-yoon collapsed on the bed and madly scratched the innocent sheet with his toes.

    Curses welled up to the tip of his tongue, but the pain suppressed them. All he could spit out were groans, so he bit his lips tightly. Even the moans trying to squeeze out were swallowed, and his red lips finally burst.

    He thought the pain would lessen if dispersed, but the pain from his eye was so great that he didn’t even feel his lip splitting.

    With his remaining hand, he crumpled the white sheet haphazardly and kicked his foot once more. Even though the pain wouldn’t disappear by venting, Sa-yoon expressed his agony through actions instead of suppressing his screams.

    Finally, choked groans burst out and the sound of suffering spread, prompting the black snakes resting in the room to slither out and climb onto the bed. Any other time, he would have patted the creatures climbing up out of concern for him, but now he had no leisure to do so.

    Hiss hiss!

    “Ugh!”

    Tears welled up involuntarily from the intense pain. Even though it was a physiological response, the snakes, noticing moisture in Sa-yoon’s eyes, twisted their bodies here and there in panic and hissed. Feeling them covering him with their bodies, Sa-yoon gritted his teeth.

    The terrible and excruciating pain subsided only after a long time had passed.

    “Ha…”

    A tired sigh flowed from his parched mouth.

    He thought he would turn into an idiot.

    It wasn’t an exaggeration, but for real.

    The pain reaching his head, unable to think at all – it wouldn’t be strange if he became intellectually disabled like this.

    All his energy drained, lying sprawled on the bed, the snakes approached and pushed their heads, asking to be touched. Sa-yoon, too exhausted to do anything but gaze at them, turned his head. The bed sheet was red. His right eye was soaked in blood, making it difficult to even open properly.

    In common sense, doesn’t a person die from losing this much blood?

    It made no sense for blood flowing from the eye, not some other part, to soak the bed sheet. It meant his body had been toyed with by the system’s prank again, so Sa-yoon, staring at the ceiling drained of energy, raised his pitifully trembling hand.

    He brushed back his sweat-soaked hair and closed his eyes in fatigue. As he listened only to the snakes acting cute, a familiar notification sound rang in his ears with a ding.

    Right, gotta check the result.

    No matter how much it hurt, it was a small price to pay for the power to resist the system that seemed inescapable for life. Sa-yoon lifted his heavy eyelids to check the skill acquisition and stared straight ahead.

    A blue window was floating.

    <Eyes of Catastrophe skill synchronization 50% complete! Remaining synchronization will proceed in 10 minutes. ( oᵔ▽ᵔ)o>

    <Synchronization can be abandoned at this state. Do you wish to abandon synchronization? However, the consumed karma will not be restored upon abandonment. ( oᵔ▽ᵔ)o>

    The blue window contained content he didn’t really want to believe.

    “…”

    He was so drained that no words came out. As if the system had stolen his voice, Sa-yoon, unable to make a sound, brought his right hand still trembling in front of his eyes.

    The blood-soaked hand looked hideous. After taking in his relatively clean left hand for a brief moment, Sa-yoon lay on the bed and stared at the hollow ceiling.

    “Ha. Haha. Hahahaha…”

    A futile laugh flowed out.

    “Right, you wouldn’t give it to me easily just because I gathered karma.”

    As if he’d only been deceived by the system once or twice.

    Just wait until he obtains Eyes of Catastrophe. He’ll definitely find someone who meets the activation conditions for Resister and escape the system.

    “F*cking bastards.”

    Muttering furiously, he pressed to proceed with synchronization. One more left meant he was halfway there. If he gave up here after enduring that pain, he’d be crazy.

    <Synchronization will begin in 30 seconds. Beware of the pain. ( oᵔ▽ᵔ)o>

    As always, it was an annoying emoticon.

    18, 17, 16… Sa-yoon, reciting along with the decreasing time, sat up when 10 seconds remained. Eventually, when the last 10 seconds ended, fierce pain struck like lightning.

    It wasn’t a pain one could adapt to just because they experienced it before. Sa-yoon writhed like last time, twisting his body on the bed.

    The snakes, thinking it was over and relieved, thrashed about again, and groans continuously leaked from Sa-yoon’s mouth. If Jongsik had been outside the door, he would have caused a commotion out of worry.

    Then, a snake that had been wagging its tail, unable to do anything, left Sa-yoon’s bedroom. Naturally, Sa-yoon had no capacity to pay attention to it.

    He tossed his body at the rushing pain. Never having experienced such pain in his entire life, his violent impulse surged. An innocent snake approached and got smacked in the face by his flailing arm. Still, thinking it was good, the creature wagged its tail, making Sa-yoon frown as he put his hands behind his back and interlocked his fingers, enduring the pain.

    “Ugh…!”

    Suppressed groans burst out a few times. The pain that pierced his eyes and even struck his mind only slyly retreated when Sa-yoon was driven to the brink of fainting.

    Sa-yoon grabbed his fading consciousness with venom.

    He forcibly raised his uncooperative body and headed to the bathroom. His reflection in the mirror was no different from a horror movie protagonist.

    His face was pale, cold sweat dripping and soaking his body, and his white gown was stained red all over like clothes at a murder scene. Thinking it had been a while since he had been in such a wretched state, Sa-yoon exhaled and turned on the faucet.

    He washed his hands and face repeatedly under the running water. After a considerable time had passed and he had completely washed off the blood that wouldn’t come off easily, he raised his head and saw the ridiculous blue system window he had been anticipating enough to endure the pain.

    <Eyes of Catastrophe skill synchronization complete! You will feel slight pain when using the skill. Be careful not to overdo it. ( oᵔ▽ᵔ)o>

    It wasn’t a very pleasing description, but still, seeing Eyes of Catastrophe in his skill list made his mood delightful. It was so joyful that he could even forget the suffering from the pain.

    That’s because a path had finally opened.

    ‘One Who Defies the Flow.’

    And.

    ‘I Alone Am High.’

    He just needed to find one of those two. Then he could bid farewell to the damn system and live on.

    The mere thought made him hum a tune involuntarily. Sa-yoon, wearing a deep smile, hung the towel he used to wipe his face around his neck and exited the bathroom.

    Bang bang bang bang!

    As soon as he stepped out of the bathroom, a loud noise rang out. Someone was knocking on the door to his quarters so fiercely as if to break it, so Sa-yoon, expressing his doubt, moved his feet and opened the door.

    “Boss!”

    As soon as the door opened with a click, a giant man barged into the room. Frowning at the one who charged at him as if pouncing, not even thinking about his own size, Sa-yoon pushed Jongsik’s face away.

    “What, how did you come?”

    “Boss! Are you okay? Boss, your clothes… Gasp! The room, why? No, why is the sheet like that…!”

    At first, Jongsik seemed to worry about him, seeing the blood-soaked gown, but then he gasped as if his breath would stop at the sight of the room in a mess with expensive crafts shattered and the sheet stained red with blood. Chuckling at his attitude, unclear if he was worried about him or the room, Sa-yoon hit Jongsik’s forehead.

    With a slap, round eyes widened and stared at Sa-yoon.

    “I asked how you came.”

    “Ah, this guy…”

    Hiss hiss!

    Lowering his head, a ringed snake was wagging its tail and looking at Sa-yoon. Admirably, it seemed to have gone to call Jongsik when he was suffering from pain.

    When he patted and praised the snake for its hard work, a small complaint flowed from Jongsik’s mouth.

    “I also rushed here busily from the gate…”

    “This fella went all the way to the gate?”

    “No, the one that came was a crow. It seems this guy asked the crow.”

    Then that was even more impressive. As he was marveling at when it became so smart, the snake hissed happily. Sa-yoon gave the snake a reward of access to the snack storage too.

    “Boss, I also have…”

    “Yeah yeah, since you’re here, change the sheet.”

    “…”

    “You don’t want to?”

    “…Who said I don’t want to? No, so what happened to your clothes? Was there an attack?”

    He sure asked quickly. When Sa-yoon retorted that he should have asked that first instead of worrying about the sheet and decorations, Jongsik rubbed his neck, looking sheepish. Clicking his tongue, Sa-yoon took off his blood-soaked gown and handed it to Jongsik. He was wearing underwear underneath, but Jongsik still screamed and covered his eyes.

    “I told you not to take off clothes so casually like shedding skin!”

    “What, why? I’m not fully naked, and we’re both men. Anyway, Jongsik. I need to find someone.”

    “A person?”

    “To be exact, one of two people.”

    “Pardon?”

    Jongsik, not fully understanding Sa-yoon’s vague explanation, blinked while holding the gown. Regardless, Sa-yoon walked to the closet, took out a shirt, put it on, and raised the corners of his lips.

    “Where could they be, our cuties.”

    He had never seen their faces, but the nickname for the disposition holders was set as cuties. If he actually met them, he planned to treat them with utmost sincerity, so he thought it was fine to give them a nickname in advance.

    Let’s see if he could catch just one of those two.

    He didn’t know the name, age, or face, but he was already excited as if he had met them. The pain vanished as if washed away, and Sa-yoon hummed a song popular in his childhood, passing by Jongsik who was standing bewildered, heading towards the window.

    Although it was like finding a needle in a sand beach, he felt he could somehow do it.

    It was three months later when he realized how absurd that thought was.

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