Lexion’s soft voice wrapped around my ears.
He smoothly sliced the meat and put it in his mouth.
I glanced at him while picking up the already sliced meat and ate it.
The guide had defined his setting as ‘unknown.’
That meant his very existence was like a variable in this book.
‘I wonder if he remembered me because his settings were not defined.’
I wanted to ask him directly if he remembered me, but that would have given me a penalty.
It was restricted to let the characters in the book know that this world was inside it.
Unless I explained to him that this place was inside a book, there was no way for me to explain what happened before my return, so the frustration increased in my mind.
There was a time in my previous life when I talked about the book.
It was so unbearable for me that I wanted to say it to someone.
What happened was terrible.
A bizarre scene passed, I saw how I went back in time as if my body was rewinding itself.
After that terrifying experience, I didn’t even dare to try again.
I was afraid of trying and losing my body forever.
It felt like it wasn’t my body.
I was so lost in thought that I forgot to eat, then Lexion asked.
“Why aren’t you eating”
“Ah… I’m eating.”
I lifted the fork that was paused midway.
Every time I glanced at him, our eyes met.
Like in the past, when I kept looking at Lexion, waiting for his attention.
I had the illusion that he was looking at me like that.
Did the Lexion of my previous life look at me like this when I glanced at him all the time
I ate the meat he had cut with my head down.
Meanwhile, Lexion’s gaze didn’t leave me.
It was embarrassing to feel his stare as if it was the first time he saw someone eating.
“Why, why are you looking at me like that If you have something to say…”
You eat well.”
Lexion answered smoothly with his chin up.
As he smiled softly, my mouth felt dry.
“Zi, Zion too, hurry up and eat.”
I stuck my eyes on the plate and muttered in a low voice.
Only then he lifted the fork again.
After a bit, Lexion spoke kindly to me as I put the last piece of meat in my mouth.
“I think I’ll be a little late today.”
At his words, I stopped moving and asked carefully.
It was because the preview was still on my mind.
“Where… are you going”
“I’ve got some work to do before we head back north.”
He wiped his lips with a napkin and spoke calmly.
I shouted in a higher tone than usual, feeling sudden anxiety.
“I- I’m coming with you!”
When I suddenly shouted, Lexion’s eyes widened.
He blinked and looked at me.
Even I stared blankly at him, with my eyes wide open, surprised by the scream.
An awkward atmosphere surrounded us.
Come to think of it, it was the first time I’d ever voiced my thoughts to him like this.
In embarrassment, I covered my mouth.
At the same time, I shrugged familiarly, recalling the punishment the book would inflict on me.
But even after a while, the book didn’t penalize me.
―Travelers can act freely as long as the content given in the Preview is not disturbed.
‘That’s what the guide was referring to.’
I let out a sigh of relief, realizing that I wasn’t as severely restricted in my actions and speech as I used to.
The book still felt like a prison to me, but I felt a bit freer than before.
After a while, no penalty was given.
It means I was free to go on like this.
“You were able to make such a loud noise.”
At that time, as I remained in silence, Lexion said softly.
It was a friendly tone as if trying to soothe me.
He spoke again with a smile on his lips.
“It’s nice to hear.”
“I’m sorry to startle you.”
When I apologized in a meek tone, Lexion shook his head lightly.
Then he looked at me and responded calmly.
“If you have something you want to say in the future, you don’t have to hide it.
He tilted his head at my question.
I closed my mouth at the sudden outburst.
It was an impulsive question.
Because Lexion kept being nice to me, I felt anxious and insecure.
The thought that his kindness was due to the changed settings made my heart ache.
“Just… Because you’re so nice, I’m confused.”
I lowered my head as if I was saying something bad.
Still, a smile spread across my lips, it felt as if he saw me for who I was.
But in an instant, the smile was erased and anxiety suddenly rose.
It was because of the Preview.
The book, this world, was truly cruel to me.
I recalled the content of it.
[Tiarozetti feels strange emotions for Lexion, who saved her.]
As she is confused by the unfamiliar sensations she’s experiencing for the first time, she hears shocking news.
It was the news that Lexion Sparrow was killed by the evil dragon while trying to rescue Gregory Aden Werbel.
Tiarozetti belatedly realized that her feelings for Lexion were love.
A love that could not bloom.
[She is devastated after losing her tribe and the one he loved to the evil dragon.]
Was the extermination of the tribe not enough for me to kill the evil dragon
Is that why they tried to kill Lexion before I even fell in love
In the end, even the man I love was taken away by the evil dragon and that’s why I wanted to take revenge
―Lexion Sparrow’s existence itself is a variable.
He will be exposed to death from time to time.
The guide’s response to my plea was more hopeless than the Preview.
Even if he didn’t die this time, he was destined to continue facing death.
It was a harsh treatment for him, a former male lead.
My hands were shaking all of a sudden.
I didn’t want to act like the Preview.
The behavior and speech that had been familiar to me after playing the coward Tiarozetti for so long, weren’t originally mine.
I wanted to save him.
No matter what penalty this book would give me, I wanted to twist the content in a way that would save him.
At that moment, Lexion broke my thoughts.
“Don’t get confused.”
As I remained silent, he added.
“Because what you see are my sincere feelings.”
When I lifted my head at Lexion’s words, our eyes met.
His eyes were calm, unlike mine, which shook violently.
It felt as if a high breakwater was blocking the waves.
My heart felt heavy as I looked into that warm gaze.
At the same time, something suddenly came to mind as fast as a strike of lightning.
‘But how did Lexion break the set value and deviate from the original route’
I was sure the warning said he deviated from the original course and the setting changed.
But was that possible
―The characters in the book have no identity.
All are dolls that move as the book demands, and only the traveler can think.
The book clearly explained it like that.
The characters here couldn’t disobey the book’s will.
But, how did Lexion go against the book and change the ending
‘Is the book lying to me’
When my thoughts reached that point, I realized that I could no longer rely solely on the book.
Things that weren’t supposed to change, changed.
Lexion’s settings, the color of the cover, and even my role.
―Lexion Sparrow is a variable in this novel.
His settings will change from time to time.
Even if the book said so, the fact that Lexion deviated from the original setting in the first life didn’t change.
‘I must have been stuck in here for too long and my reasoning hardened.’
I was afraid of being penalized and afraid of being trapped here.
So I lived the first life trying to go according to the book without being penalized as much as possible.
‘Perhaps I was too scared and let the book do as it pleased.
There was plenty of room for change.’
As this thought kept growing, I had a rough idea of what to do next.
I don’t know why Lexion changed, but the fact that he changed gave me courage.
‘I’m gonna change too.
I will fight against this book that is trying to kill Lexion.’
Even if I get a penalty, I will endure it.
As I endured, something may change.
Lexion, who now played a supporting role in front of me, felt like proof of certainty.
‘To do that, I must save Lexion first.’
“Let me go with you.”
I smiled broadly and said to him, I was feeling a little lighthearted.
As I spoke, his eyes changed strangely.
I had a rough idea as to what he had to do before Lexion returned to the North.
‘Maybe he’s trying to meet Gregory.’
I couldn’t let him be alone with Gregory when the evil dragon might show up.
‘He died next to Gregory in the Preview, so I have to follow him.’
In fact, in the content that unfolded, I read that Gregory helped Lexion and was framed for it.
The story happened in a place I didn’t know.
For some reason, the novel was narrated from Gregory’s point of view.
‘No wonder his body is a mess, he was saving so much Knox in so little time.’
My heart ached when I recalled the contents of the book.
Because I knew he did it for me.
I didn’t know why he was risking his life to that extent.
Maybe it had something to do with why he became a variable in this novel.
So I had to find out.
What made him different.
Lexion pursed his lips at my determined face.
After a while, he covered his mouth with his hand and said,
“Okay, let’s go together.”
He seemed a little shy.
I smiled brightly when he gave me his permission.
He stared at me for a moment and the corners of his eyes folded prettily with his smile.
He ruffled his back hair with his hand and said in a somewhat bashful manner.
“I was going to ask you to come with me anyway.”