I'm Not a Regressor

REAPER SCANS

 

I’m Not a Regressor

 

Chapter 224: What Dissipates, What Remains (2)

 

He couldn't remember.

Nothing came to mind.

When, where, why.

When had they become 'lovers'?

'Noona was held captive by Cheon Doyoon... I saved her using Heaven Unfolding... And then…’

And then.

What happened after that?

"…Ah."

He writhed, pulling at his hair.

No matter how much he thought, how much he retraced, he couldn't recall the events of that day.

‘Did I confess to noona? Or did noona?'

He wasn't sure.

He had known deep down that they had feelings for each other since they were young.

But due to their deep familiarity, they had been hesitant to rush into becoming anything more.

'Her and I... we’re together?'

His head throbbed painfully.

It felt like he was trying to piece together a filmstrip with missing frames.

Overwhelmed by a terrible and sudden sense of discomfort, he felt nauseous.

“Ohjin?”

Ha-eun caressed Ohjin’s back with a concerned expression.

"What's wrong?"

“…It's nothing.”

"Nothing? Your face changed like you've just eaten fish head curry."

Ha-eun scrunched up her face.

"Should I call the doctor?"

"I'm fine."

Ohjin managed to steady his harsh breathing and shook his head.

Cold sweat trickled down his spine.

The pain of a part of his memory being entirely erased was greater than the pain of limbs being severed.

“…Noona.”

"Hmm?"

"Do you like me?"

"What, what?"

Startled by his sudden question, Ha-eun jumped up with a surprised expression.

"Why, why are you all of a sudden asking something like that?"

Ha-eun repeatedly nudged him in the side as her cheeks were turning auburn like her hair.

She looked down, meaninglessly tapping the tip of her toes on the ground.

“Well… O-of course I like you. I… I am your g-girlfriend… after all?”

Ha-eun’s face was discolored in embarrassment as she answered. She narrowed her eyes and stared at him.

“Hold on, but why are you asking something like that all of a sudden, you jerk? Huh? Do you want to see noona die from being shy?”

Ha-eun angrily put him in a headlock and bumped his head with her fist.

"...I see."

He had forgotten, but she still remembered.

The day they confirmed their feelings for each other, one they hadn’t expressed for a long time.

The day they shared bodies, whispered words of love to each other.

Memories of the days that he could no longer recall.

She was the only one who remembered.

The only one who held onto them.

The only one who kept them alive.

She would continue to live with these memories.

“…I’ll be back in a bit.”

"Huh? Where are you going?"

"Just want to get some fresh air."

Ohjin shrugged and pulled himself up from his bed.

"Do you want me to come with you?"

"No, I've got some thinking to do."

"Dude, what is going on with you? Go and get some fresh air."

"Yeah."

Slipping into his slippers from under the bed, he hurriedly stepped outside.

Tap, tap, tap, tap!

He ran down the hospital corridor.

He pressed the elevator button, but it didn't come up, perhaps due to many passengers waiting.

"Haa, haa!"

He took to the emergency stairs, panting heavily.

He sprinted up the stairs as if flying.

He spotted the firmly locked rooftop door.

Bang!

With his bare hands, he smashed the lock and threw open the rooftop door.

"Bleugh!"

The abalone porridge he was fed by Isabella splattered across the hospital rooftop.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuuuuuck!"

Bang!

He punched the railing, hurling out curses.

"Haa, haa!"

His head was spinning.

It felt as if his life had been erased.

The disconnected memories were torturing him.

"Ah, ugh."

With trembling hands, he felt the left side of his chest.

The Stigma of Lyra, etched on his chest.

The Black Heaven, supposedly dormant within it.

‘If I continue to use Heaven Unfolding from now on...’

Would his existence disappear forever?

Not remembering anything, unable to recall anyone, with all the memories until now erased.

Would he become an entirely different entity?

"Haa, haa, haa!"

His limbs trembled in the face of the oncoming fear.

His teeth clattered unnervingly.

He could endure any pain.

He could withstand any torment.

But.

But.

But.

This.

"Damn it, damn it!"

Tears streamed down his cheeks.

He had known.

He had known that the side effect of Heaven Unfolding was memory loss.

But a complacent thought had crept into the corner of his mind that 'perhaps it would only make old memories hazy.'

Those memories that would naturally fade with time anyway.

He had hoped only memories that could be forgotten without consequence would disappear.

'You idiot.'

Self-loathing started to overwhelm him.

Ohjin slumped against the railing, resting his back on it.

He hugged his pitifully shaking legs tight.

Burying his face between his legs, he continued thinking.

'I didn't know.'

Until Ha-eun told him about being 'lovers' herself, he had completely forgotten the memory of even being in a relationship with her.

'But.'

He did not think it was strange.

He did not even feel awkward about it.

As if it had always been that way, he had naturally forgotten his relationship with her.

If so…

Every time he lost memories from now on, wouldn’t he be unable to even realize what memories he had lost?

"What if... "

If all memories of Ha-eun disappeared.

He would have to live a life not even recognizing who she was.

Accepting it as 'natural.'

"......."

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The arm hugging his leg trembled faintly.

Imagining himself living normally without even remembering Ha-eun made him nauseous again.

'Can I... avoid using Heaven Unfolding from now on?'

The Heavenly Demon.

The Transcendent targeting his Black Heaven would certainly approach.

Could he face that Transcendent without using Heaven Unfolding?

No, he didn't even need to think of the Heavenly Demon.

Even Kasia alone was powerful enough that he had no way of dealing with her without Heaven Unfolding.

'And that's probably not all.'

Fundamentally, the enemies of humanity were the monsters of the Demon Realm, not the Black Star Organization.

Although their activity had decreased recently, if the Named Ones became active again?

If the 'kings' ruling the Demon Realm came to Earth?

Could he protect his loved ones amidst all that adversity without using Heaven Unfolding?

"Ha, ha."

A hollow laugh escaped Ohjin's lips.

He knew.

Now that he knew of Heaven Unfolding existence, a day would eventually come when he would have to use it again.

'And then.'

They would be erased.

Forgotten.

Happy memories, painful memories, angry memories, sad memories.

One by one, everything would disappear.

And finally.

"…I can't."

His voice was a choked sob.

Tears rolled down his cheeks, soaking his clothes.

"That... can't happen."

If every memory was wiped clean, if there was no one left to remember or recall them, could he still consider himself the same person?

Wouldn't he simply become a different entity, bearing the name Gwon Ohjin?

'If that happens, I would...'

A suffocating sensation.

As his mind turned blank, a deep fear crept over him like poison.

Wooong!

Just then.

The pendant around his neck shone.

[My child! I heard from Deneb you have safely returned!]

Vega burst out from the pendant, making a fuss as she flew out.

[Hmm?]

Sensing something amiss, Vega cocked her head.

She fluttered over towards Ohjin, who was leaning against the railing, curled up into a ball.

[What is the matter?]

"It's... it's nothing."

[Come, now. I can clearly see the tear stains.]

Vega squinted her eyes with a stern expression.

[Are you unwell somewhere?]

"No, I was just remembering some hard times from the Demon Realm."

[...Is that so?]

Vega stroked Ohjin's hair with a sad look.

[Do not worry. Am I not right here?]

Ohjin blankly watched Vega stroking his hair.

"Vega."

[Yes? What is it?]

"You forgot all your memories from your past life, right?"

[...That is correct.]

"How did you feel when we first talked? You didn't have those memories, but I did."

[Hmm.]

Vega crossed her arms, deep in thought.

After a long silence, she slowly opened her mouth.

[At first, I thought you were spouting nonsense.]

"And then?"

[Did you not say we had a deep connection in our past life? But I had no such memories, so... it felt strangely empty.]

Empty, huh.

[But I am fine now.]

"You're... fine now?"

[Even if the memories are erased, what happened does not disappear, correct?]

"......."

Ohjin could not readily reply.

Because what had happened between her and him had not actually 'happened' in the first place.

[Close your eyes for a moment.]

"My eyes?"

[Hurry.]

Following her words, he closed his eyes.

Wooong!

Along with the sound of vibrating light, he felt the soft touch of two arms gently embracing him.

They were not doll-like small arms, but the arms of a full-grown woman.

"Vega?"

[Just because you cannot see me does not mean I am not by your side, correct?]

"......."

Ah, she was right.

As she said, even if the memories are erased, what happened does not disappear.

Even if he forgot all his memories of Ha-eun, Ha-eun would remain by his side as she was now.

'But.'

Ohjin gnawed on his lip.

She truly believed the lies he had casually told, the false memories, the false relationship, the false recollections.

She was cherishing it in her heart as something that had not 'disappeared.'

What about him then?

What would happen to him if all his memories were erased?

Would he live believing nonexistent things had happened, like her?

"What if... what had happened was not real?"

[What do you mean by that?]

“How would you feel Vega… If you and I were actually not connected in any way in our past life?”

[That…]

Vega's eyes shook.

[It would be... truly sad and heartbreaking.]

She smiled gently as she stroked Ohjin's hair.

[But I suppose it would not matter.]

"It... wouldn't matter?"

[What I know now is not your past self, but your present self, correct?]

A tender hand embraced him.

[I love your present self.]

"......."

[Ah! Not, not in a romantic sense! Th-That’s right! I love you as my child...!]

"Vega."

The emotions he had been holding back exploded out like a sudden impulse, and he broke down crying.

Wordlessly, Ohjin embraced Vega tightly and buried his head into her shoulder as he sobbed.

[Oh?]

Vega blankly watched Ohjin sobbing, then silently wrapped her arms around him as well.

[I do not know why you are crying.]

A gentle hand stroked Ohjin's back.

[Do not worry.]

Her voice reverberating in his mind drove out the fear devouring his body.

[Everything will be alright.]

The soft whispers warmly enveloped Ohjin as he cried.

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