“—Let’s continue.” Annan was unwavering in his eyes.
It would be too naive to think this was enough to intimidate him.
He had made up his mind to kill Danton, and nothing could turn him back.
It was just a choice between death and pain. Wasn’t that what life was all about?
Danton still did not show up.
The scene in front of Annan’s eyes changed again.
This time the world quietly changed without the painting emitting disturbing noises.
When Annan opened his eyes again, he realized that he had entered a dark world that looked like a colossal pen holder. There were densely packed human heads below, and what laid above him was the only light source.
At the same time, he was crawling upward, clutching a thin rope.
The rope seemed to be on the verge of breaking.
Annan seemed to feel something.
He looked down and saw that there were still many people under him clutching the slender rope.
The crowd gave off an impression of Detective Conan’s silhouettes . Annan was unable to discern their gender and age. What he could see were dense silhouettes gathered under him, like densely packed ants lined up along the honey.
Annan did not react at first.
But after looking down at this familiar scene, Annan realized in the blink of an eye.
Is this “The Spider’s Thread” by Akutagawa Ryunosuke ?
“I see.” Annan had understood the basic rules of the current fear fragment.
The moment he fell into a deep nightmare, he realized what the fear involved.
It was either a savior’s or forerunner’s “despairs of ignorant mortals”, or “desperation to fail when one step away from the finish line”.
Danton wanted to see Annan’s rage when he broke the spider thread or see Annan’s despair when he climbed to the highest point and saw the spider thread suddenly break.
“Ah…” Annan burst out laughing.
He shouted at the bottom of his throat, “Those below me, be careful!
“If you continue to climb up, the spider thread will be broken!” After issuing the warning, Annan ignored the people who followed.
Instead, he just focused on climbing up.
Although this nightmare was the spider thread, Annan was not Gandhara.
He would naturally give the people at the bottom a chance, and it was not mercy but “fairness”.
Of course, they had the right to climb up.
Annan did not want to stop them from pursuing their light of hope if they did not go down on purpose or hindered others.
—Even if their doom was impending when the crowd had gathered.
Annan did not order them to give up on their survival or stall their right to do so.
Annan knew what he should, could, and needed to do.
These people were not his subordinates or his servants. Annan was not their savior, their parent, or their master.
Annan did not have to crawl out of this hell, either. He did not have such a strong desire.
Instead, he did what he was supposed to do.
Going up was better than going down.
Thus, he climbed up.
If Annan fell with the crowd, it was their fate brought about by their choices.
Annan would love to see others pay the price of their stupidity… or rather, retribution.
However, he would never interfere.
That was because he should not be their retribution.
Annan looked up at the light, crawling intently on the spider thread.
Unsurprisingly, the spider thread snapped when Annan was nearing the top, just as he had expected.
Many people fell back into the abyss.
Annan was no exception.
When falling in the air, Annan’s mind came to such a thought, “Ah, I failed.”
“Can I get out of this fear like that?” While Annan kept falling back into the abyss, he did not lose any health points.
He fell into the stench of blood, and a thought suddenly appeared in his mind:
Now, a second has passed.
The next moment, the silver thread was condensed out of thin air again.
“Ha, that’s what it is.”
Annan laughed suddenly, “Every time you fail, only one second will pass. So, is this ‘the fear of repeating the same failure forever’? It is indeed a powerful move. For ordinary people, it may break them.
“It’s strange. Is there something going on outside? You’re suddenly quite desperate in your move. Are you worried that someone will save me from my dream?”
The corners of Annan’s mouth rose slightly while being submerged in the pool with a blood stench.
But Annan’s voice was so indifferent.
“Don’t think about such a piece of good news, Danton.
“Don’t expect anyone to come. That’s supposedly for you.”
He turned his head and looked at the “silhouettes”, keenly capturing fear and loss in their eyes.
Do I need to repeat failure many times here?
Toward the third time, or the fifth time?
There couldn’t be more. Their will had started to disintegrate. Any more, and they would lose their minds.
Let them suffer.
Let them fail.
Let them fall into despair.
“—But you can climb up with me as long as you lift your spirits.”
Annan slowly reached out his hand, held the highly fragile spider thread, and shouted, “Then let’s go together!”
Then, the second fall.
It was followed by the third fall.
The fifth attempt.
The tenth attempt.
Fewer and fewer people followed Annan crawling up the spider’s thread. Annan was the only one left to crawl up on the twelfth attempt.
But in the end, Annan would still fall just one step short.
But unlike those who looked up to Annan, he would climb again no matter how many times he failed.
Annan’s persistence did not come from the Reversed Winter Heart.
It was the trait that Annan possessed before soul-crossing to this world.
A minute had passed unknowingly.
It was not that Annan failed because of his mistakes.
The reason was the mistakes of others, the unprovoked suffering, and the so-called [Fate].
If it were an ordinary person, he might have been furious by now.
“Great.” Annan muttered.
His pupils shone brighter.
His life had been a smooth sail over the past few months.
Annan was about to forget the feeling of disciplining himself.
He used to never laze on the bed, smoke, drink, overeat, and laze around while working. He would stop playing with his phone after going to bed and stop eating three hours before bed.
The reason for him living such a regulated life included his rationality.
Another reason was that Annan enjoyed “self-restraint” — like an ascetic.
It was not easy to be ascetic in modern life. However, just being logical and abstinence was already considered ascetic in modern times where there were so many temptations.
However, Anana did not expect that just living an ascetic life (disciplined study, work, and even games) had already made him a fantastic person before he realized it.
“For that, I have to thank you, Danton.” When Annan fell for the hundredth time, the light in his eyes shone brighter.
Yup, it’s another fall.
Annan’s mind came up with the phrase he had seen thousands of times in a certain game.
Annan murmured, gripping the rope again.
Without wings, how can you go up?
“Probably because I’m abnormal.”
Maybe Annan did not even notice it.
The corner of his mouth showed a big, bright smile.
His pupils were brighter than the stars.
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