Su Jin found himself surrounded by darkness and he had no idea where he was at all. A bright light suddenly appeared in front of him like a movie screen, and a zombie movie began to play before his eyes.
Humans have always been a greedy race. Since primitive times, humans always wanted to be fed and wanted to be safe. In the age of civilization, they craved money and power. And now, humans wanted to live forever.
It seemed impossible to ever satisfy the desires of humans. At the same time, humans were intelligent beings, living creatures blessed by their creator. Not only did they possess intelligence of their own, but they also passed knowledge down from generation to generation, slowly finding their way towards a territory that once only belonged to God.
The Key to Immortality was the greatest invention of the 21st century, a substance that put an end to ageing. Once injected with the Key to Immortality, the human body would undergo a tremendous change. The cells would have greater vitality, possess an incredible ability to multiply itself and create a much more resilient body.
But the Key to Immortality came with a problem. Those who were injected with it would become infertile. Then again, what was the aim of reproduction? What were children for?
For some people, children were a continuation of life, a continuation of civilization and the continuation of their race. Indeed, children were a way of extending life as their ancestors knew it.
But if one could live forever, then did extending life in the form of children mean anything anymore? Humans were now immortal and they could do all the aforementioned things. And so, the human race fell into this temptation, or rather, they were persuaded to go in this direction.
The vast majority of humans chose to be injected with the Key to Immortality, and only a very small group refused. This group were called the Fools and they were treated as a lower life form.
Indeed, after the Key to Immortality came into the world, discrimination moved from being a matter of skin color to a matter of the choice you made regarding immortality.
Unfortunately, these happy times did not last long. A few centuries later, the side effects of the Key to Immortality began to surface.
Everyone injected with the substance slowly began to lose their conscious minds. Their bodies began to rot and they started craving for blood. They had become the creatures that the movie studios centuries ago had created – they had turned into zombies.
Destruction came without warning. Besides the small group of Fools, the rest of humanity turned into zombies, and it didn’t take long for the Earth to become a planet of zombies.
God never only provided the world with despair, however. Hope was small, but it still existed. The small group of Fools banded together, and they were now much smarter compared to all the zombies who had lost the ability to think for themselves. They were intelligent beings who could make use of tools and weapons to fight the zombies. As long as they could rid the world of zombies, the Fools would be able to change the world back to what it was before.
But they were really badly outnumbered. The zombies refused to die even after they had been severely injured, while humans could be infected with the side effects of the Key to Immortality with just once scratch. Those infected at this stage did not remain as humans for a few centuries. They turned into zombies in a very short time.
Time and tide wait for no man. The last group of Fools are now trapped in a Safe Zone, but the safety of this zone is about to be compromised. Go forth and save the Fools!
The movie wasn’t long and it was probably only as long as a long movie trailer, but it stated the context of this Challenge very clearly.
As Su Jin looked at the screen that was now covered in bloodstains, a large hand suddenly appeared and slammed its palm against the screen. That was the hand of a demon. A terrifying cackle that sent shivers down his spine followed soon after.
As the cackling echoed and slowly faded, Su Jin opened his eyes with a start. He was panting and all his hair was standing on end. He was in the middle of a pile of rubble, and everything around him was a mess, as though he was in what was left of a house that had just been violently demolished. Kano Mai and Chu Yi were next to him, and they also looked like they had been frightened.
Besides his two teammates, there were five others with them. There were three men and two women. Two of the men looked like they were in their 30s, the last man and one of the women looked like they were in their 20s and the last woman looked like she was around Chu Yi’s age.
Su Jin said to his team mates, “Explain the situation to them, I’ll go read up on the introduction to the Challenge and any missions.”
He opened his Handbook and looked through the content on this Challenge. The content was very simple, since it was basically a summary of what Su Jin watched earlier.
“Challenge: Zombie Frenzy, Level D Challenge!” Su Jin breathed a sigh of relief. He was finally going through an easier Challenge. Since his team were all veterans now, this Challenge was probably going to resemble a tour of a zombie movie set more than a Handbook Challenge.
“Mission one, reach the Safe Zone where the Fools are. Mission two, kill any mutants. Killing one Level 1 mutant will earn you 2 points, a Level 2 mutant is worth 20 points, a Level 3 mutant is worth 50 points and a Level 4 mutant is worth 100 points.”
Su Jin tapped his nose as he contemplated these words. In short, these zombies could actually mutate and level up. A Level 1 zombie was probably the really slow and dumb type, but as they levelled up, their prowess clearly increased proportionately to the points they were worth.
“A Level 4 mutant is worth 100 points. Logically speaking, they probably wouldn’t be as powerful as the hunters in Fengxi Town, right?” thought Su Jin. In general, this Challenge didn’t look too difficult. Even though a Level 4 mutant was powerful, it was probably not going to stand a chance against the combined attack of three veterans.
But when Su Jin continued reading the rest of the page, he stared in shock as he cursed, “Fuck!”
Everyone else around him was shocked by his sudden outburst. His expression was so nasty that the young lady around Chu Yi’s age looked like she was on the verge of tears.
The reason for Su Jin’s outburst was simple. The last thing written inside the Handbook was: This Challenge will seal all Spirit Powers and any equipment inside the Handbook.
“Sometimes, Challenges with such limits would appear because some owners are too powerful. The Challenge could seal a majority of your power so as to increase the difficulty of the Challenge,” Kano Mai explained to Su Jin with an equally frustrated look on her face.
Su Jin did not say anything and tried to use his psychokinesis, but it didn’t work at all. He tried to retrieve an item from his Handbook, but nothing happened. However, when he punched the wall next to him angrily, a smile finally appeared on his face.
The wall he had just punched cracked from the impact of his punch, spreading across the wall before the wall finally collapsed.
“My physical strength has not been limited, that’s great to know.” Su Jin breathed a sigh of relief. He didn’t have any supernatural power on hand, but having superhuman strength for a Level D Challenge was probably more than enough to get through it.
He looked at Kano Mai and Chu Yi, but they both shook their heads at him. Their Spirit Power and items had also been sealed off by the Handbook. He consoled them, “With Chu Yi and I around, we can just make a run for the Safe Zone. I think we’ll be fine.”
But Chu Yi smiled sadly and shook his head. “Boss, I’m afraid I won’t be of much help to you this time.”
“What do you mean?”
“Your physical strength has increased because your body has undergone a permanent transformation and you’ve been training it up as well. I, on the other hand, have been using my internal energy to give my body a boost. The strength and speed needed for my martial arts move are maximized with the help of my internal energy. Now that my Spirit Power has been sealed up, I’m really just any martial artist with a bit more fighting experience, that’s all,” said Chu Yi sadly.
Su Jin was very upset by this turn of events. He looked into the distance and he could see that a large number of zombies were wandering the area beyond the rubble area they were in right now. Once they crossed the border of the rubble, they would definitely be attacked by the zombies.
“We’ve got to confirm where this Safe Zone is first,” said Su Jin with furrowed brows.
Just then, one of the older men walked over and raised his voice angrily, “What the hell is this all about? I can’t believe a reality TV program is resorting to kidnapping people now! I’m not going to let you people off! You’d better compensate me, or I’ll see you in court!”
Su Jin widened his eyes, then glanced at Kano Mai and Chu Yi, since the two of them should have explained the situation to the five newbies with them for the Challenge. The two of them shrugged and shook their heads. This man clearly had not accepted what they told him at all.
“This world is full of dangers. If you don’t want to die, I suggest that you stay close to me. Also, this is not a reality TV program. This is a game designed by a demon,” said Su Jin.
The man pushed Su Jin aside and scoffed disdainfully before marching off. The other four looked at him and started wondering if they ought to follow him.
In most cases, because the Handbook transported owners mysteriously into a different world and also introduced the Challenge via their subconscious, most newbies would accept that they were really in a completely different dimension.
Unfortunately, there were always a few strange and stubborn ones, like this man. Not only was he about to walk into his own grave, his words had also raised suspicions in the hearts of the other four newbies.
“Should we stop him?” asked Chu Yi.
“Whatever for? He prefers to die, so let him be. Even if you try to stop him, he might think it’s part of the program or something. Something bad is bound to happen with the sort of attitude he has,” said Kano Mai plainly.
Su Jin hesitated for a while, but he eventually chose to agree with Kano Mai. This man was quite agitated and did not believe the situation he was in at all, so even if they managed to keep him with them for now, he was definitely going to cause trouble for them eventually.
By this time, the man had already walked beyond the border of the rubble area. The moment he took a step outside of the border, the zombies came surging towards him.
“HA! You think you can scare me? You think I’m afraid of these stupid costumes? Gosh, you’re really coming for me, huh? Oh gross! You’ve spilled all this fake blood all over my clothes! You’d better compensate me for ruining my clothes!” The man was quite violent and actually managed to bash a number of them aside, which made Su Jin and Chu Yi both look rather impressed.
But he couldn’t keep this up for long. One of the zombies came from behind the man and bit down on his shoulder.
“OWW! How dare you bite me!! OWW! OWW! AHH! You…Save me! SAVE ME!” The man finally realized that something was amiss. The dozens of zombies surrounded him, tearing and biting away at his body.
The faces of the newbies instantly paled, because it was clear that none of this was just acting. In less than half a minute, there was no more screaming. A human skeleton lay lifelessly on the ground, with some bloodied flesh hanging off the bones.
Su Jin glanced at the four terrified newbies and sighed. “I guess that speaks for itself. You can judge for yourself whether this is real or if you’re part of some TV program. So, now, it’s time to think of a way to survive this.”
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