Through me the way into the suffering city,
through me the way to the eternal pain,
through me the way that runs among the lost.
Justice urged on my high artificer;
my maker was divine authority,
the highest wisdom, and the primal love.
Before me nothing but eternal things
were made, and I endure eternally.
Abandon every hope, who enter here.“
“Pride – its fault is haughtiness, the punishment is a heavy weight;
Jealousy – its fault is covetousness, the punishment is to have their eyes sewn shut;
Wrath – its fault is anger, the punishment is blinding acrid smoke;
Sloth – its fault is laziness, the punishment is to run endlessly;
Greed – its fault is always wanting more, the punishment is to lie face down;
Gluttony – its fault is excessive focus on bodily comforts, the punishment is to starve;
Lust – its fault is misguided sexual desires; the punishment is an intense fire.“
After Ning Meng finished reciting the entire poem, Su Jin blinked in surprise.
“The back half is based on Purgatorio, the second volume of Divine Comedy. My classmates and I took an interest in some of these things so we studied it before, but I couldn’t recall it at once. But when the Original Sin was running after me, I suddenly remembered it,” said Ning Meng.
“You and your classmates were interested in this sort of thing? The younger generation takes an interest in different sorts of fantasies huh,” said Su Jin jokingly, hoping to help Ning Meng feel more relaxed.
Ning Meng wasn’t that afraid anymore since Su Jin was carrying her, so she stuck her tongue out cheekily and said, “Well, that’s only normal. I was so interested in things like angels and demons when I was in high school, and when I think about it now, I really have no idea why I was interested in such things. Boss, what were you interested in when you were in school?”
“Hey, don’t make it sound like I’m an old man! But if you’re talking about high school, then it would definitely be comics, like Dragon Ball, YuYu Hakusho, and my favorite was Journey to the West!” Su Jin put his hands together as if he was doing the famous Kamehameha move.
Ning Meng laughed and plastered her cheek against Su Jin’s back. Three months ago, she had been pulled into the world of Hell’s Handbook and she had lived in fear all this time. But after she joined Team Boning Knife, this fear had decreased significantly.
She was a clever girl and knew that she couldn’t possibly survive Challenges by herself and needed a team to protect her, so she was also willing to contribute whenever she could.
In school, she had learned that teamwork was vital for working well together, but the first Challenge she was facing after joining a team turned out to be a Level A Challenge. This was a very unlucky thing for her indeed, since every owner in a Level A Challenge was in grave danger.
Fear consumed Ning Meng’s heart again as a result. An Original Sin had targeted her and she had nearly given up after being chased by it for so long. Just then, Su Jin appeared and saved her, so she was so glad that she had joined this team. She believed that she would be able to survive the Challenge with such a team and return to her own life soon.
On the other hand, Su Jin was still thinking about the poem that Ning Meng had recited to him. The back half was about punishments for each of the seven deadly sins, but the introduction to the Challenge already included a list of punishments. Did the Challenge purposely take texts from two different sources to create this Challenge? Or did the back half that Ning Meng remembered actually mean something else?
Su Jin’s head really hurt now. He was the brains of the group, so everyone relied on him to come up with suggestions and plans on how to tackle each Challenge. But that was only possible when he had enough information to work with. Without sufficient information, even the most intelligent person wouldn’t be able to come up with anything.
This Challenge was a Level A one, so the amount of information given was very little, which also contributed to its difficulty level. But as long as things were happening, they would be a source of information. The only difference was how much information was provided.
“The punishments are not the same in both texts, the Original Sins would possess the body of the one who has more of that Original Sin, after possessing one person, that Original Sin would not appear again, or so it seems. Also, the Temple of Light is our final destination,” Su Jin repeated the information that he had gathered again and again, but these pieces of information didn’t seem sufficient for him to reach any sort of conclusion.
As he continued walking through the desert with Ning Meng, he continued to search the area for those traces of his Spirit Power. The desert was seriously too vast and the eight of them had gone in different directions, so they would be miles apart by now. If he didn’t have his Spirit Power, he wouldn’t know how to find his team mates at all.
Several hours later, Su Jin’s eyes lit up. He could sense some of his Spirit Power nearby. It had to belong to either Chu Yi or Kano Mai.
“What’s wrong, Boss?” asked Ning Meng when she felt Su Jin suddenly come to a stop.
“I’ve found one of our team mates, but I’m not sure if it’s Chu Yi or Mai.” Su Jin quickly started moving towards that bit of Spirit Power but he soon realized something was amiss. That tiny bit of Spirit Power seemed very unstable, like it could be snuffed out anytime.
“How did this happen?” Su Jin was very puzzled. Psychokinesis was a type of Spirit Power, so it was not possible to get rid of it unless the other party had Spirit Power or someone else with Spirit Power was attacking the person with his psychokinesis.
“Is it Chu Yi? Or has Cai Dexiang been possessed by an Original Sin?” There were only three veterans between the two groups, so it was either Chu Yi, or Cai Dexiang was attacking Chu Yi. But he didn’t know if there were veterans in Team Shadow of Thor.
“Ning Meng, wait here for me and don’t move! I’ll come back for you later!” Su Jin said to Ning Meng.
Ning Meng was feeling a little afraid but didn’t say anything as she nodded and hopped off his back. Su Jin left a bit of his psychokinesis on her so that he would know if she were in trouble.
After that, Su Jin ran towards where his waning bit of Spirit Power before it was extinguished completely. If he failed to find his team mate before that, he could forget about finding that person in this insanely huge desert.
He found his team mate shortly after and it did turn out to be Chu Yi. Chu Yi was now engaged in a fierce battle with Cai Dexiang, and a fight between veterans was definitely much more aggressive than one between ordinary owners.
But to his surprise, Cai Dexiang seemed to have trouble attacking Chu Yi. Cai Dexiang just kept dodging Chu Yi’s attacks and even though the former was good at moving quickly, he was still unable to shake Chu Yi off and was often sent flying by his attacks instead.
Su Jin didn’t dare to make any attack yet because he felt like there was something weird about this situation. He realized he couldn’t be sure which one of them was possessed, since it was possible that either one was.
Cai Dexiang quickly noticed Su Jin and was delighted to see him as he shouted, “Mr. Su!! Your teammate has been possessed by an Original Sin! You need to do something or else we’re all going to die!!”
Cai Dexiang looked terribly anxious and panicky because Chu Yi had been chasing him down for a long time. If he wasn’t an experienced old timer, he would be dead by now.
Su Jin looked at Chu Yi and saw a crazed look on Chu Yi’s face. Chu Yi was quick and nimble as he launched yet another attack at Cai Dexiang.
Su Jin had to make a move. If Chu Yi ended up killing Cai Dexiang now, it would be too hard for him to keep Chu Yi under control by himself and he might have to end up killing Chu Yi instead, which was something he didn’t want to do.
He threw Rumor at Chu Yi in order to stop Chu Yi from chasing Cai Dexiang. He didn’t dare to use the Demon Lord’s Longbow on Chu Yi because that weapon was way too powerful. He wasn’t going to use it unless he meant to kill Chu Yi.
He held his Boning Knife backwards and leaped onto Chu Yi, landing one foot on Chu Yi’s back. This was a pretty powerful kick, but he wasn’t afraid of injuring Chu Yi. As long as the Original Sin was willing to leave Chu Yi’s body, he had supplies on hand that could help Chu Yi recover from this much injury.
But Su Jin’s expression fell immediately. It seemed as though his foot had landed on a cushion of sorts. The flesh on Chu Yi’s back sank in like a sponge and absorbed the impact completely.
Chu Yi spun around and grabbed hold of that leg that Su Jin had used to kick him and bared his teeth fiercely. “HA! Another one is here! Excellent! You can both go to hell!”
He proceeded to fling Su Jin towards Cai Dexiang, hoping that they would collide into each other and die at the same time.
Su Jin immediately retrieved the Gift from the Gods from his Handbook and activated Walking on Air. He stomped heavily with both feet and there was a loud blast in the air as he nearly broke his calves doing this. Thankfully, it was enough to stop him from flying any further.
“Mr Su, watch out! This fellow is really powerful! Terrifyingly so!” Cai Dexiang warned Su Jin. There was a look of terror in Cai Dexiang’s eyes, as if Chu Yi had beaten all the courage out of him.
Su Jin nodded slightly. He knew that an owner possessed by an Original Sin would become stronger, but a lot of it depended on how strong that owner was in the first place. Su Jin had managed to kill the ones possessed by Greed and Pride because they weren’t very formidable, but he was now faced with Chu Yi, a fairly powerful veteran. He had no idea how much stronger the Original Sin inside would make him.
“You’ve got to be careful! This fellow is really formidable and I simply can’t seem to do anything about him!” Cai Dexiang wiped away the sweat on his forehead and his shoulders were trembling slightly from how much force Chu Yi had used to attack him.
“Mr. Cai, cover me and I’ll try to get him under control,” said Su Jin to Cai Dexiang.
Cai Dexiang was surprised to hear that Su Jin was going to try to get Chu Yi under control and not just kill him straightaway. But Su Jin was his only hope now, so he nodded and went along with it.
“Not coming over? I’ll go over then!” Chu Yi threw them a nasty grin and charged at them like a missile.
“Now!” bellowed Su Jin as he pounced towards Chu Yi as well. Su Jin was stronger than Chu Yi in terms of physical prowess, so he wasn’t afraid of colliding into Chu Yi head on like this.
Cai Dexiang didn’t stand there and do nothing either. He shot an orange beam of light out and covered Su Jin with it, so that Su Jin looked like he was wearing an orange armor.
“Time to meet your maker! Destroy the Moon! Flying Star Finger!” Chu Yi’s eyes were bloodshot as he used both his arms and legs to attack Su Jin.
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