Su Jin couldn’t help but laugh when he saw the monk in front of the shrine doors.
A man in a white kasaya was staring back at Su Jin. He clasped his hands together reverently and chanted Amitabh, but that wasn’t why Su Jin was laughing. Su Jin was laughing because that monk in white looked exactly like himself.
“Please, come in!” The Su Jin inside the shrine turned to one side to invite Su Jin in.
Su Jin stood outside and shook his head, then laughed and said, “Dude, you’re pretty good looking and I’m finding it hard to control myself even though I’m not interested in men. But I don’t think it’s necessary to go inside that shrine, so why don’t we just go our separate ways?”
The Su Jin inside the temple laughed and shook his head as he shrugged. “If you don’t come in, you won’t be able to move on. You’ve tried so many times, so I’m sure you’ve already realized that!”
Su Jin made a face. His doppelganger was right. He had tried to avoid going into the shrine so many times but the shrine would keep appearing again, as if he was walking in circles. This shrine was probably both an entrance and an exit.
With that in mind, he stopped hesitating and walked towards the shrine. His doppelganger stepped aside to let Su Jin walk in.
After walking in, he headed straight for the main hall. He burst out laughing again once he saw the god that was being worshipped in this shrine, because the statue in the middle of the shrine looked exactly like himself as well. He couldn’t believe he had actually become a god in this Challenge.
“So, which one of the Original Sins are you?” Su Jin asked his doppelganger.
“I suppose you’re Pride,” said Su Jin without even taking a moment to think.
The other Su Jin gave a pleased nod and smiled. “That’s right. I’m Pride. How did you know?”
“You’ve even made a statue of a god in my image. Besides pride, I can’t think of anything else that would do such a thing,” said Su Jin in a matter-of-fact tone of voice.
“What a clever person you are!”
“So, clever people are always prideful?” Su Jin turned to look at Pride.
Pride nodded. “Of course. I’ve never seen a clever person who isn’t proud. Or rather, the smarter one is, the more prideful one becomes!”
Su Jin nodded. Situ Jin had said something like this before and Su Jin fully agreed with that. When one could resolve a problem that nobody else could with his own intelligence, it seemed only natural for that person to feel a little complacent.
He walked around inside the shrine, but it didn’t seem to have any other rooms besides the main hall he was in. He asked puzzledly, “Isn’t the concept of the seven deadly sins a Christian one? And you’ve built a Buddhist temple instead? Don’t you think it doesn’t make sense?”
“Do not blaspheme my god,” replied Pride very simply.
Su Jin scoffed and shook his head. This fellow here represented a sin of a religion, yet he was against blasphemy and was even doing something against a different religion’s god. After thinking about it some more, he asked, “Why do you want me to stay here? Are you going to kill me?”
“Of course not!” Pride looked so hurt that Su Jin had misunderstood him, then he threw an arm around Su Jin’s shoulder and said very sincerely, “I’m trying to save you!”
Su Jin nodded, then suddenly whipped out a knife and sliced off the arm that Pride had placed around his shoulder.
Pride was a little shocked and stared puzzledly at Su Jin. Su Jin raised an eyebrow and said, “I’m sorry, but I hardly think that something that needs to hide itself and even steal someone else’s appearance like you can save me!”
Pride didn’t get angry and smiled even more brightly now. His severed arm didn’t bleed at all and a milky colored glow was where the rest of it should have been.
“Excellent! Excellent! You are a proud man alright! I’ve made the right choice!” Pride laughed loudly, then his smile faded instantly. His expression was somber as he said, “But I wasn’t lying to you. I am trying to save you.”
“What do you mean?” Su Jin refused to believe him. He didn’t think Pride would want to save him. It wasn’t as if he shared the same religion.
Pride said a little teasingly, “You’re so clever, so perhaps you could make a guess. I’ll just give you two numbers for a hint. One is seven and the other number is 14.”
He then kept quiet and looked expectantly at Su Jin, while Su Jin began to consider the two numbers very carefully. His expression soon fell as he said, “You’re making us kill each other! You’re…you’re collecting deadly sins!”
Su Jin felt a chill down his spine. These two numbers just looked like multiples of each other, but what they represented became obvious very quickly. The number ‘7’ definitely referred to the seven deadly sins, while the number ‘14’ was the original number of owners that were part of this Challenge.
When Greed took over that member of Team Moon in the Blue Skies, he killed off another team member and tried to attack the rest too, but did not manage to actually kill anyone else.
Su Jin came up with a hypothesis – every owner chosen for this Challenge carried one of these deadly sins, of which two of them carried the same deadly sin. The seven Original Sins were going to choose the one who had more of it, take control of that person and use him to kill the other.
The reason for doing this was to gather deadly sins. As long as the Original Sins told the owners that the owner with more of this particular sin would get a chance to survive, then the owners were bound to end up trying to kill each other. And in order to be acknowledged by the Original Sins as the one with more of that sin, they would try their best to increase that sin in themselves, which would also fulfil the Original Sins’ goal.
Pride gave a pleased nod and sighed. “Look at how intelligent you are! Isn’t it only natural to be proud of yourself? I only gave you two numbers and you deduced so many things all by yourself. Don’t you think you have the right to be proud?”
“In that case…everyone else is in danger!” Su Jin’s heart leaped in horror. If his deduction was correct, that meant that none of the owners could escape this impending disaster. Every single one was a target of an Original Sin.
“That’s right! My other brothers have already started on their mission. To be very honest with you, out of the two targets that I have, I prefer you. I’ve even transformed myself to look like you! Don’t you agree that I’m really saving you from harm?” said Pride as he beamed from ear to ear.
“You can read my thoughts?” Su Jin narrowed his eyes and scoffed. “You prefer me? I think it’s only because you know that the other target cannot fight as well as me and you don’t want anything unexpected to happen, so you chose me, isn’t it?” Su Jin was pretty sure he knew who the other target was. Since Pride had said that all intelligent people were prideful, the other target had to be the brains of Team Moon in the Blue Skies, Chen Xin’er.
Pride made a face, then walked to the statue in the middle, knelt down and began praying piously, “Young man, don’t let me down! Otherwise…the consequences will be terrifying!”
Su Jin walked towards the statue too, but remained standing as he said puzzledly, “I’m very curious about one thing. As an Original Sin, you’ve got the ability to take possession of a body by force, right? That’s what Greed did. So why…why aren’t you doing that to me?”
“I’m not so uncultured.”
Su Jin shook his head and continued in a confident voice, “I’m not like the others and…you’ve not been able to attack me. If I don’t invite you in or accept you, then there’s no way you can control me, right?”
Pride burst out laughing loudly. “Haha! What a joke! Did you think you’re not being controlled by me right now?”
Su Jin nodded slightly as he looked around at the shrine around him and suddenly smiled. “I get it now. That’s why you’ve been trying so hard to get me to come in. Coming inside here is equivalent to accepting you, isn’t it?”
“That’s right! But so what if you’ve figured it out? Your body is already mine!” Pride’s eyes turned completely black, unable to reflect any light.
But Su Jin didn’t feel afraid at all. He shut his eyes and fell into deep thought. He felt as though he had fallen into a vast nothingness when suddenly he opened his eyes again.
Pride was gone, and so was the statue and the shrine. All that was left was the sand billowing across the desert, as well as Chen Xin’er struggling to get up.
Chen Xin’er looked a mess. She had been cut all over and Rumor was stuck in between her shoulder blades. She floundered in the sand as she tried to crawl away. Su Jin had clearly been the one who attacked her.
“Crap!” Su Jin cursed inwardly. He had thought that he hadn’t spent a long time in the shrine, but Pride had already used that time to use him to kill Chen Xin’er.
“Don’t be afraid! I was controlled by one of the Original Sins, Pride, earlier! I’ve regained control of my body now, so you don’t have to be scared anymore,” Su Jin tried to coax Chen Xin’er gently, afraid to alarm her.
Chen Xin’er looked at him suspiciously and tried to get up, but her injuries were too serious, so she fell back down on the sand again. Su Jin took a step forward to help her but she shrieked in fear instead.
Su Jin could only sigh and attempt to explain himself. He told her about how the seven Original Sins were trying to force the owners to kill each other in hope of regaining her trust.
“Please believe me! I’m not lying to you! Besides, if Pride were still in control of me, I would have killed you by now instead of taking the time to explain all this to you,” said Su Jin.
The fear in Chen Xin’er’s eyes faded a little after hearing these words. She swallowed some saliva and asked hesitantly, “Are you…really Mr. Su right now?”
Chen Xin’er nodded and said, “You seriously attacked me too aggressively just now and I nearly died. Could you help me up?”
Su Jin felt bad when he saw how badly injured Chen Xin’er was and quickly ran forward to help her up. Chen Xin’er was already poor in fighting, so she was even worse off after getting so badly injured. All of this was his fault.
“Are you really not possessed by Pride anymore?” Su Jin was already holding onto Chen Xin’er, but she was still worried and asked him again anyway.
“I’m really not.” Su Jin was just short of swearing to god that he wasn’t possessed by Pride anymore. But he didn’t blame her for being so wary. She was so badly injured precisely because of him.
“That’s great!” Chen Xin’er smiled and nodded, but her smile suddenly made Su Jin’s scalp feel numb and all his hair stood on end.
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