Life, Once Again! - Chapter 1020
Chapter 1020. Han Haneul
I paid attention to the masked man’s actions. The words he said kept tugging on my mind. This will probably be the last time? What would that mean? The world kept flowing on without the slightest hint of a change. My husband and Han Haneul met just like before and fell in love. They even had a child. There was no change that signified an end.
Eventually, the accident happened. My husband died in a car crash. No, this time it wasn’t an accident; it was murder resulting from resentment. This had not happened before. The thousands or tens of thousands of deaths took different forms every time, but not once was it a homicide.
I looked at the man who was laughing like a madman while driving. I knew his name. He was an actor named Kang Giwoo. It was natural that they would be in a bad relationship since their first meeting was a bad one, but I did not know that my husband would die because of him. The masked man’s words brushed past my head again: this will probably be the last time.
After seeing my husband’s body disappear into a pile of ash, I approached Han Haneul. It was just before I was about to ask the questions I asked numerous times and hear the already set answer.
The world started flowing in reverse. I panicked. I had not yet asked Han Haneul for her opinion nor had I guided my husband. The world suddenly started returning to the starting point on its own.
“This was really the last time.”
The masked man was standing next to me. I needed an explanation. The frame of common sense was breaking yet again. This world should not be one that moves without procedures.
“So he’s here already. You should hear from him,” the masked man said as he looked behind them.
The grim reaper was there.
“Ms. Han Haneul. Long time no see.”
I spoke as I ignored the grim reaper’s words, saying that I did not do anything, yet the world is returning to its starting point.
“The time has come. It’s time to end this game.”
The grim reaper gave me a piece of white paper. It was the confirmation paper that he received from me when I first decided to start this game.
“Nineteen thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine times. Mr. Han Maru has gained enlightenment in his cycle of reincarnation, so it is time to return to the original time. The price of foolish greed to bring back the dead to the living has been paid by the time you have spent, Ms. Han Haneul, so you need not worry.”
I was suddenly dazed. The grim reaper gave me a piece of paper, telling me to take it. I lightly grabbed it. When I did so, information flowed into my head. I was startled and let the paper go. The paper that fell down burned up in red fire and disappeared.
“Yes. This is the end.”
“This is the victory condition?”
“You must know by now. There’s no need to confirm it with me. Everything you just found out is a part of this game.”
I grabbed the grim reaper’s sleeves. My fingers froze up like they were about to fall off. It was painful, which I hadn’t felt in a long time.
“You lied to me. You said this game has no bad ending.”
“I have not lied in my status as an envoy. Also, what came out of my mouth was the will of those above. So please, if you’d like to complain, do it to them.”
The grim reaper’s body blurred before appearing a step away. I collapsed. This couldn’t happen. I did not spend all this time in order to meet an ending like this.
“Ms. Han Haneul. This is absolutely not a bad ending. You will keep living on. Not only that, everything you’ve experienced will disappear from your memories, so you should be at ease. Watching twenty-thousand reincarnations will just be a dream. If you forget, there is no pain.”
I chuckled in vain and looked at the world below. My husband returned to the situation just before the reincarnation. He was just about to die in a traffic accident while driving a bus. The world was halted there.
“If this goes on… my husband will die at Kang Giwoo’s hands.”
“I have endured all this time in order to prevent his death.”
“I am aware. Watching twenty thousand human lifetimes is a pretty long time even for us. I know very well how long it is.”
“And now you’re telling me that I have to watch my husband’s death?”
“That is just nature’s course. And, you must know by now. Mr. Han Maru decided to die right before he was hit by the car. He realized the victory condition of this game.”
The grim reaper put on a thick smile and looked at my husband sitting on the bus driver’s seat.
“Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised. Not one person in my charge has reached this conclusion. Even if they do, it’s not easy to give up one’s own life. But, that person has died in your stead without a shred of hesitation.”
“No, something must be wrong with this.”
“Not at all. You should have seen it as well. You should have seen his smile right before the crash happened. And you must have also seen that if Mr. Han Maru did not get into an accident and was safe, he would have chosen to commit suicide not long later.”
I thought I had become a tree. A numb human tree that could neither display emotions nor sympathize with others. However, the moment I heard the grim reaper’s words, frustration welled up in me just like during the time I was living.
“I will not let him die. Even if this is the way to end the game.”
“I thought you’d say that. If someone gains enlightenment just like Mr. Han Maru, this always happens. A noble scene where a family member or a lover will gladly give up their own life for the other.”
I clasped my hands. The moment I grabbed the paper given to me by the grim reaper, I realized everything. Gods were truly fair beings. The moment I stepped into this game in order to bring back my vegetable husband to life, God proceeded everything under one absolute rule: price and compensation; and also that, the value of one life is one life.
It was possible to bring back the dead. It was not impossible to bring back my husband to life. It just needed one life.
“You always told me. You said that if my husband and I go on separate paths, we would both survive.”
“Yes, I did say that. However, you must know by now. In the nineteen thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine lives, have the two of them ever met some other person and gotten married?”
I shook my head. My husband had never given his heart to a woman other than Han Haneul.
“Why do you think the higher-ups gave you two an opportunity? It’s because they saw through you. The two of you are so close that it is not possible to describe the relationship with the word ‘special.’ You two are bound by fate stronger than the ties of blood. Even if you repeat another ten thousand times, the two of you will not part. In the end, death will arrive. That death will take away the life of Mr. Han Maru, who should have died originally. If that happens, this game will go on without end. That’s why Mr. Han Maru has chosen death. He has not realized it perfectly, but it’s not far off. He’s someone who’s had a glimpse at the providence by himself. If that man explains to him just a little more, he’ll be sure that ending his own life is the only exit out of this game, as well as the formula for victory.”
“Stop with your bullshit. Do you think I’ll just keep watching?”
“Of course, you must do something. God always gives you a choice. They are truly merciful.”
The grim reaper looked below.
“You must have understood that one life is necessary to bring one to life. In our case, we are left with two choices. Either Mr. Han Maru dies, like he was supposed to, or you die.”
“I will not let anyone die.”
The grim reaper nodded.
“The one I was in charge of just before you said the same thing. You must know her name, it’s Jung Haejoo. That person also tried her best in order to bring back her loved one over and over again. However, it was ultimately impossible to change fate. Instead, she chose to give up her own life in order to let the dead Mr. Lee Junmin come back to life. She was someone with great spirituality, unprecedented, in fact. The one who was supposed to realize the condition of victory was the person being reincarnated, but the contractor realized it first and chose to commit suicide. Thanks to that, the person who got to live is living a great life in the world of the living under the grace of god.”
“What happened to the woman who committed suicide?”
“She disappeared. She was deprived of even the opportunity for salvation in the six paths. She was erased.”
I clenched my teeth.
“I will not turn out like that.”
“That’s a very positive view you have there. While I like such attitude, this unfortunately will be the last opportunity.”
The grim reaper clapped. The world that returned to the past just before the accident started moving again.
“Mr. Han Maru will soon die. Once that happens, you just have to seek approval from the other you down there and bring Mr. Han Maru back to life. After that, Mr. Han Maru’s life will continue just as you saw before. The two of them will meet in high school and will both walk the path of an actor. You two will part ways in the middle, but you will meet again and ultimately, be killed by the person known as Kang Giwoo over there. If you keep watching, this will be the progress of his life.”
“What can I do?”
“You can try to smash a rock with an egg. I shall give you the chance to experience why it is impossible to go against a predetermined fate.”
The grim reaper clapped forty-nine times.
“From now on, you will be able to talk to Ms. Han Haneul down there, just like Mr. Han Maru over there with the mask on. However, you cannot expose any of the information you gained here. If you say everything, Ms. Han Haneul will easily choose to commit suicide. That goes against the flow. That’s why you should try to persuade Miss Han Haneul with only the things you’re allowed to say. Try to lead her to the best ending.”
“You’re not lying when you say that the two of them will live on if the two are not tied in a relationship, right?”
“Of course it’s the truth. However, I’m not sure if that will be possible. The higher-ups have a mean side to them as they place fruits that seem like they’re within reach, but rarely anyone reaches there.”
“Things will not go according to your will.”
“It’s not my will. It’s God’s.”
The grim reaper smiled and turned around.
“Don’t forget. This is the last time. As Mr. Han Maru has realized already, there must be an ending. Either he dies in a car crash, he chooses to part, or he chooses to commit suicide, there are these three choices. I wish you luck.”
The grim reaper disappeared. Following that, Maru died in a crash while driving a bus. I glared at Han Haneul who was just getting the news of his death. I was determined not to send him off in vain like this.