SSS-Class Suicide Hunter - Chapter 147 - Friend (3)
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Translator: thursdays Editor: Yahiko
The class president’s smile was perfect.
The corners of his mouth curved just the right amount. His lips creased graciously, and the tips of his eyes smoothly slid down. I wasn’t exaggerating. Then, his mouth retracted and his eyes darted up, returning to the class president’s usual expressionless face, and I felt like I was going nuts.
The class president stepped up onto the stage.
As I stood horrified, the class president grabbed the microphone.
“Students of Shinseo High School.”
His voice pierced the uproar of the auditorium.
“The video you are watching now shows Hwang Eunseo from Grade 2, Class 5 assaulting his classmate, Kim Yul, in a group. This has not been staged. It is the scene of a real assault.”
The class president was not holding any paper to read off of. He was delivering a speech that I had never heard, that he had never practiced in rehearsal.
“I was able to obtain material like this thanks to an anonymous informant. Yes. There was more than one. The crimes committed by Hwang Eunseo of Grade 2, Class 5 have been recorded in 103 tapes, 311 videos, and 30,790 photos.”
“Broadcasting club president. Turn over to the PowerPoint presentation.”
The projector illuminated light onto the auditorium wall. Rows of pictures were displayed. The images weren’t that sharp, but our school uniforms were recognizable to everyone.
“We plan to report Hwang Eunseo of Grade 2, Class 5 officially after this presentation ends today. Of course, the victim, Kim Yul of Grade 2, Class 5, will press charges against Hwang Eunseo.”
“I want to ask. Did anyone among the teachers of Shinseo High School know of this violence? …I see there is none. Yes, of course. Aside from the regular criminal activities that took place for the past year, the teachers who are supposed to be responsible for our school lives took no action at all. This is the reality of Shinseo High School.”
The reactions of the teachers weren’t much different from my own. All of them looked shell-shocked. A few of them frantically whispered to their colleagues, and the division head rose from his seat.
“Wait a moment. Wait! You! Come down! What do you think you’re—!”
“I trust that all of our teachers will help with the police report. I am informing everyone of the violence at our school.”
“No, if you do it like this…”
“Everyone, please be aware that my presentation is currently being recorded and taped. The evidence has already been sent to media outlets this morning.”
The head of the grade stopped standing and looked at the principal. All of the staff stared at the principal. The principal opened and closed his mouth stupidly while looking at his phone, saying, ‘J-just a moment. Please wait just a moment.’ Maybe he called someone, or maybe someone called him, but he was kowtowing to someone with his head down.
The school staff seemed paralyzed by his behavior.
“I-it’s a lie!”
I yelled into the microphone I gripped in my hands.
“All the pictures are fabricated! They’re fake!”
But the speakers did not relay my voice. Belatedly, I realized that the broadcasting club president must have disconnected my microphone.
“Please look at Hwang Eunseo as he stands here.”
Only the class president’s voice boomed loudly in the auditorium.
“Do you recall what Hwang Eunseo said in his apology just now? He said, [When I saw my classmate being bullied, I didn’t do anything to stop it]. [Instead, I joined the other kids in bullying him]. Do you remember?”
The students bristled.
“He excused himself by saying he only ‘joined in.’ That is, he claimed that he was not the main culprit. Though he himself organized, filmed, and shared the videos of the violence, Hwang Eunseo did not admit his fault up to the end. Then he pretended to have truly repented and put on a show for you.”
Every student in the room was staring at me.
“Please look at Hwang Eunseo’s face. Remember his expression.”
That was right.
The class president was a bastard.
“Remember Hwang Eunseo’s logic. Remember his methods. The way he led the violence, the way he tried to scurry away—observe every bit of it.”
This bastard was the one hunting me behind the scenes.
The class president lowered his microphone. With his right hand still wrapped around the device, he turned to me. Then, he spoke in a voice only I could hear.
“Ah. This was tough.”
His voice was so calm that I felt like I was slipping from reality.
“Anyway, Hwang Eunseo, your life is over. You’ll probably be surprised to hear how many kinds of crimes you committed. Even so, you probably won’t spend your whole life in jail since you’re a minor, but oh, well. It’s fine. We can just end your social life.”
“It was hard for me to act like your friend, too.”
The class president sighed.
“Really. I’m too emotional as a youth. Just talking to you made me nauseous. It’s nice that my back doesn’t hurt, but I viewed the world too simply… Well, that’s how I ended up in college,” the class president complained.
“Did you know? It costs a lot of money to improve society. Every little thing you do requires money. It costs money to plant a tree. It costs money to travel to a disaster zone. Taking care of teachers costs money, too. Haa… If I knew this during my school days, I would have…”
“Fucking bastard! What the hell are you saying?!”
Furious, I yelled. A beat after, I realized that my voice was too loud and that it had spread through the auditorium. I paused. Unlike the class president’s quiet murmurs, my outcry was uproarious.
The class president smiled.
“I was muttering nonsense precisely to make you yell like that. Brat. You fell for it hook, line, and sinker.”
When I saw the guy smile, my head went blank again.
“You’re probably thinking of reaching out to your connections… Pfft.”
The class president covered his mouth with his left hand and laughed.
“Ah. Sorry. It’s just funny.”
This son of a bitch.
“Anyway, you probably believe that your connections will help you. They won’t. Your ex-girlfriend? We negotiated to erase the videos that she was present in. All of your ‘clients’ struck a deal. Remember this. The children of well-to-do houses actually have no interest in you. They only care about [avoiding association with the incident].”
In this chaos, the broadcasting club president had continued to go through the PowerPoint slides. The pictures connected. The student body’s rumblings turned into a commotion, and throughout the auditorium, responses like ‘Fuck’ and ‘Is he crazy?’ popped up.
“Though I feel sorry for Kim Yul-ssi… This is as far as your report goes. It can’t be helped. Haven’t I always told you since you were young, Gongja?”
The class president wore a polite, friendly smile on his lips.
“A person must do what he can.”
That smile made my mind snap.
“You meet someone one day that makes you think, ah, the world would be dirtied if you left this person be. These sorts of people exist, and instead of regretting it later, you must get rid of them quickly. You have to wreck them when you can so that you don’t have regrets.”
Roaring, I lunged at the class president. He didn’t resist. Instead, he smirked lightly.
“Well. I suppose this is why people say you need to raise your kid right so you’re comfortable in your old…”
I swung my fist. I knocked him over and crushed him. There were screams behind me, but I did not stop. Bastard. Motherfucker! Because of you! How dare you, you bitch?! My life!
“Hey, Hwang Eunseo! Calm down! Teacher! We have to stop him!”
“Broadcasting Club President! Stop! Can’t you stop recording this now?!”
“E-even if you yell at me… I have to do this, so…”
[The clear requirements have been achieved.]
[Considering the uniqueness of this stage, requesting judgment.]
I lived doing the best I could… Even if I didn’t lead the best life, I really did my best! Who here worked harder than me?! Was there a student who lived more earnestly than me?!
[The Lord of Manseng accepts the clearing.]
[However, ‘The Tale of the Ascending City – Side Story’ will not be included in the true history.]
I couldn’t accept this! I couldn’t! This was unfair! I was cheated. This was unreasonable! It wasn’t right! Yeah, this was wrong! It was human rights abuse! My human rights! All people have a right to a fair trial… I’m a person, too! This was wrong!
[Today, the 29th floor Stage has been cleared.]
I was wronged.
Sympathize with me… Come on. Have pity.
[The Lord of Manseng announces instead of the Tower.]
[Good work, everyone.]
—did nothing wrong.
[Though I am on everyone’s side, with this much, others would also turn a blind eye. I am a little more generous to those who struggle.]
Nothing at all.
[May luck be with you all.]
That was my first defeat.
I took in a rushed breath, and with a grunt, I raised my body upright instinctively. My heart was throbbing. It wasn’t the first time I had become completely immersed in a character, but the ache in my heart as I returned to my senses was hard to get used to.
When I looked around, I saw we were in a corner of the Great Library.
The Constellation Killer and the director also rose up one by one. For a while, the three of us caught our breaths. We had no energy to do anything else. Our brains had been jumbled.
Over 10 minutes later, the director quietly mumbled, “Gongja…”
“Come over here…”
The director weakly beckoned with a finger. Somehow, it felt ominous. The fierce light in the director’s eyes was the same as it was when the kids in the orphanage got into a fight. I obediently went to the director and sat on my knees.
“Um, I’m here…”
“A long time ago, in the Spring and Autumn period, there lived a man called Wu Zixu.”
I felt more and more on edge.
When the director scolded us as kids, he never told us off right away. He drew it out. When we asked him a question, he made us wait for a day to think. When he got angry, he unhurriedly told us a story. From what I remember, the tale of Wu Zixu was an S-Class alarm.
“I’ve told you this many times, so I know you remember this. He was someone who dug up the corpse of the man who killed his family and whipped it until the bones turned to dust. But think about it.”
“Wu Zixu wanted to dig up the grave for his revenge, but what’s this? Someone already bore into the ground to make it easier to exhume the corpse. They even pulled out the coffin. Then, do you think Wu Zixu would be thankful or happy that someone dug up the grave? Or do you think he would be mad that someone touched the grave of someone he lay claim to?”
“Half of the revenge has been stolen by someone else. Isn’t that right?”
Confused, I stuttered, “T-teacher.”
“You’re not mad that I went overboard? Or that I chose a method that was too self-sacrificing? Uh. Are you not scolding me for not taking care of my body…?”
“Gongja. You’re an adult now. You have to take care of yourself. Why should I meddle? Raising you was hard enough. Do I still have to worry about you?”
The director spoke dryly. Amazing. The director who said such a thing so frankly was amazing, and my memory, which forgot for a moment that he was that sort of person, was amazing.
“I raised you kids to be as strong as possible. Sympathy can feel like a nice gift, but if a person receives nothing but sympathy, they will lose strength and wither. Gongja. I don’t pity your life at all. Live as you want.”
Bae Hu-ryeong muttered next to me. He was nodding like he understood something.
-I was wondering where Zombie’s temper came from. He’s learned it properly since he was young…
Suddenly, I wondered how the kids who grew up in the orphanage with me were doing. Hanbija was a member of the National Assembly now, right? Are there videos of him on the internet?
“Even if you did not hand me the recordings and videos, I would have worked hard to kick Hwang Eunseo’s… Sorry. No, I don’t need to be sorry. Right. I would have worked hard to kick Hwang Eunseo’s ass. Why did you dig up the grave by yourself? Do you want to be scolded?”
No. I can’t get scolded at this age! Let alone in front of Bae Hu-ryeong and Shiny!
“No, but I also had to do something… I entered the stage one year before you, Director. I-in addition, my immersion was at 95%. Don’t you think a person would be rushed and hasty in that position?”
The director hesitated when he heard ‘one year’ and ‘95%.’ Whoo! As expected of the director! Even I knew now that he was considerate toward others, though he pretended not to be. I had become an adult!
“That’s right. Director. You told us that we should live as we wanted. When I fell into the stage, I was doing as I wanted. I was following your teachings.”
Bae Hu-ryeong muttered. Again, his face looked like he had understood something.
-I was wondering where the brat’s tongue came from. He’s been training his fucking shamelessness since he was young…
At that moment.
The Constellation Killer stood up. Like someone who had cried during a nightmare, traces of water remained by his eyes.
“Death King. As you wished, I have come to understand [Kim Yul]. I felt him. I will remember him. I learned many things, but there is one thing I want to ask you.”
Without wiping his eyes, the Constellation Killer looked straight at me.
“What do you want me to do from now?”
I opened my mouth.
“Kim Yul is the victim. He was killed. As he died, he left his final words.”
The one that murdered me was you.
You killed me.
His grudge, assembled in three texts.
As he threw away his life, he passed on a scream so that the culprits, those beasts, would not forget what they had done. To be haunted by the memories. Forever.
I took out a handkerchief from my pocket and gripped it tightly.
The Constellation Killer tilted his head.
“What are you referring to?”
“The lives that were sacrificed when you killed the Constellations. The people of many worlds.”
On the 50th floor, where I had taken a shortcut to get, the Constellation had said this.
『I have amnesia, Stranger.』
That he couldn’t remember what he had done.
『My mistakes come down to two things. First, I did not think of the possibility that new Constellations would be born if a Constellation disappeared in a world. Second, I neglected the fact that a dead Constellation could cast a curse on the world.』
『I will not make the same mistakes in the future.』
『Tell me what you want as an expression of my gratitude for this advice.』
I clenched the handkerchief again.
“It was something done without knowledge nor intent. It’s over if you forget it and live on without remembering. But did [Kim Yul] think those beasts deserved to forget him?”
“The ones who tore apart Kim Yul were the worst types of bastards, Constellation Killer. But that doesn’t change the sin you’ve committed.”
What I wanted was…
“Don’t use the same excuse those animals did.”
…for you to change.
To return from being a puppet.
If it was possible to become human, to become human.
“Look at those who have wronged you. Then, look at those you have wronged. Please face it squarely.”
“Please make a decision here. If you hate it, I will not use 100 Ghosts Reincarnation to call you again. And one day, for certain, I will find and destroy all of your dolls. But if…”
The Constellation Killer looked at me.
The blue surface of his pupils was shaking.
“If I face it squarely, what will happen?”
Whether it was a trace of the person who had attended Shinseo High School, was a part of Grade 2, Class 5, or if it was the Constellation Killer himself who felt these emotions, I didn’t know.
Because I didn’t know, I asked.
“What would Kim Yul do?”
“What do you want to do?”
The Constellation Killer opened his mouth.
 Localization note! In the raws, the director says that the first two characters of a four-character idiom (look up Chengyu if curious) were taken out. The idiom in question is 굴묘편시, or 振墓鞭屍 in Chinese, which means to exhume a body for public flogging (lit. dig + grave + whip + corpse).
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