Su Jin activated Hell’s Bar for his team, since they hadn’t gone to the new area after the team had risen in level. Also, he was very interested in this Gods’ Ceremony, so he hoped to get some information from the people in the bar.
Unfortunately, he didn’t run into the middle-aged man in the bar. He could only put up a notice to reward anybody with information on this matter.
This time, he didn’t have to wait long. A man covered entirely in a cloak came forth to strike a deal with Su Jin. Su Jin offered the blood clotting bandages he got from the Lucky Draw Bags and the other party seemed satisfied with that.
“Actually, information on the Gods’ Ceremony isn’t considered very valuable information, since there are many rumors about the ceremony,” said the cloaked man honestly. “Nobody knows when it first started, but the ceremony requires five unique sacrificial items, and it’s said that there are a few thousand of such items.”
“A few thousand?” Su Jin was shocked. He thought that there would only be five unique items.
The cloaked man nodded and continued, “That’s right. So far, more than 2,000 different items have been discovered, but after a particular item has appeared, it never appears again. So, there are some who think that each item only appears once or for a limited time only.”
“Why does it work this way? What’s the point?” Su Jin was very puzzled. There was no point in having a few thousand different sacrificial items, unless these items had some special use of sorts.
“There’s also a rumor that different combinations of items will get you different gifts,” said the cloaked man.
Su Jin’s eyes lit up. It did make sense that if you only needed five items out of the thousands of items, then the only reason why you had so many eligible items in the first place was to differentiate the gifts you could get out of the ceremony.
“How many types of gifts have there been so far?” asked Su Jin.
But the cloaked man shook his head. “It’s really difficult to activate a Gods’ Ceremony. The number of sacrificial items are many, but the chances of getting one is very low, and nobody knows it’s a sacrificial item unless you appraise it. There is no pattern to the items and they appear in any Challenge at any level. Also, nobody uses them to make a deal with other owners. That’s why the number of owners who have managed to gather five sacrificial items is probably very few. And even if someone managed to get all five, they would probably activate the ceremony in secret and they wouldn’t tell anyone else what gift they got.”
Su Jin nodded in agreement. That made sense. Something like that would be a trump card of sorts, so nobody would go around telling everyone what they had. If he could activate this ceremony, he would keep the gift he got a secret too.
“But there’s also another rumor that the leader of the group that’s been going around robbing other owners owns something that can enable owners to travel across universes, and apparently that item was a gift from a ceremony,” added the cloaked man.
Su Jin was rather surprised by that additional information, since it never crossed his mind that the leader of this group of robbers was possibly someone who had successfully activated this ceremony before. Once the cloaked man had shared all the information he had, he left.
Su Jin walked to the bar counter by himself and started asking the boss how many points it would cost to find out more about this ceremony.
“The Gods’ Ceremony? I’ve got a few thousand pieces of information and each one isn’t too expensive, just 1,000 points each,” said the boss with a big smile.
“That’s daylight robbery!” Su Jin gasped. In short, he had to spend tens of millions of points just to find out everything there was to know about this ceremony. If he had that many points to spare, he would rather use that to get himself out of the Handbook universe.
The boss shrugged. “It’s your choice. And even though we didn’t manage to strike a deal, we’re still friends, right?”
Su Jin just laughed sadly and shook his head before walking away. He really couldn’t count on the bar’s boss for information after all. He walked back to his team’s table, since they had their own in this new area as well.
Shortly after Su Jin left the bar counter, someone else left the same bar counter as well. That person was Ye Yun. She had a bored look on her face as she looked around the bar. Her gaze swept past Su Jin but she did not think much of it and left the bar not too long after that.
Back in the real world, two men had arrived at a mountainous area near H City in A Province. This was one of the poorest regions in the country.
“That fellow suddenly left S City, so there’s nothing else we can do but to target his parents instead,” said a dark-skinned man with a large earpiece. He spoke in a confident and decisive manner.
“It’s better to be careful. You don’t know if he has other companions. If this doesn’t go well, the boss will be unhappy.” The other man was fair-skinned and had a grim look on his face.
The two men seemed very familiar with this area. They went down a few small paths to venture further into the mountains to arrive at a small village at the foot of one of the mountains.
By the time they got there, the sun had already set. But that was exactly what they wanted. They were too visible in the daytime and they knew that if they attracted too much attention, the authorities would come down on them very quickly.
They located the house they were looking for and knocked on the door. The sound of their knocking wasn’t very loud, but it was enough to alarm the residents inside.
It didn’t take long for someone to open the main door. An honest-looking farmer stood at the door of his own house and his features looked similar to Su Jin’s.
“Who are you?” The two men weren’t Chinese, so the farmer was surprised to find two foreigners at his doorstep in the middle of a mountain village. Then again, more and more tourists were venturing out of the city these days, so he quickly calmed down again.
“Hello, are you Mr. Su’s father?” asked the fair-skinned man with a smile.
The farmer nodded and asked a little hesitantly, “Are you…are you Jin’s friends?”
“That’s right. We have some dealings with his company. Mr. Su told us the last time that if we come to H City, we could look for him here and he would bring us around,” replied the fair-skinned man with a cheery laugh.
The farmer did not suspect the man’s words at all and quickly ushered both of them into the house. “I’m really so sorry about this! Jin isn’t at home, but I’ll definitely take care of any friends of his! Just stay the night here, and I’ll bring you to see the scenery around here tomorrow morning.”
The two men exchanged glances when they heard that Su Jin wasn’t home. The darker-skinned man said, “Did Mr. Su leave something at home? He asked us to help get it for him.”
The farmer frowned puzzledly and shook his head. “No, he didn’t leave anything in particular here. He hasn’t been home for a while now. The only thing he sent recently was money.”
“What’s all this noise about?” A woman in her fifties walked out and got a shock when she saw the two foreigners in her house. ^note[racist section redacted LOL]
“Who are these people?”
“They’re Jin’s company clients. Our son told them that he’d take care of them if they came to visit, but this terrible boy didn’t even tell us that he was expecting guests,” said Su Jin’s father as he laughed heartily.
He said to the two men, “Please take a seat, my wife and I will get you some food and drinks. It takes a long time to get here from the city, so I’m sure you must be famished!”
He then dragged his wife to the kitchen. Once inside, his smile disappeared as he whispered to his wife, “There’s something fishy about these two fellows. Initially I did think they were Jin’s friends, but later they asked me about whether Jin left something behind in our house, which made me suspect that something was amiss.”
“Oh no… do you think…do you think something bad has happened? Do you think something’s happened to Jin?” His wife began to look a little panicky.
He glared at her and whispered, “Don’t let your thoughts run wild! Leave via the back door and call my brothers over. I don’t know why they’re here but it doesn’t matter. Let’s make sure we’ve got the situation under control first.”
His wife nodded and quickly opened the back door, only to find that the fair-skinned man was already standing there.
“And where do the two of you think you’re going?” The fair-skinned man snickered as he grabbed Su Jin’s mother by the neck and dragged her out of the kitchen.
“Let go of my wife!” Su Jin’s father roared before grabbing an ax meant for chopping firewood. He ran out after the other man and swung the ax at him.
The fair-skinned man did not dodge and Su Jin’s father stared in disbelief as his ax landed on the other man’s shoulder but failed to injure him in any way.
“Who…what are you?” Su Jin’s father was at a loss for words.
The fair-skinned man grabbed hold of the ax, flung it into the air and flicked his fingers at the ax, causing the entire ax to break into several pieces.
“What in the world…” Su Jin’s father gasped in horror. Was this guy even human? Who on Earth had his son offended?!
“You seemed quite gullible but you’ve turned out to be quite smart, or at least you’re very sensitive. If you did manage to find enough people to hold us down, we might really be in trouble,” said the fair-skinned man in an approving manner.
Su Jin’s father had a grim look on his face. “Who are you people? My son is only an ordinary office worker! How has he offended you?”
The fair-skinned man clapped and laughed. “Not bad! Not bad at all! Even in such a situation, you’re still trying to find out who I am! Are you hoping to leave a message for your son?”
Immediately after the man said that, he slapped Su Jin’s father hard across the face, sending the older man flying into the fence around the house.
“NOOO!” Su Jin’s mother started wailing at the top of her lungs, not only because her heart ached for her husband but also because she hoped that her screaming would attract the attention of the other villagers.
“It’s no use, we’ve soundproofed the place, so you can scream as loudly as you like and nobody will hear you.” The fair-skinned man laughed and shook his head.
“Why are you still wasting your time on talking to them? Just kill them and search their memories! I don’t want to spend anymore time in this filthy, rundown place,” snapped the darker-skinned man as he walked over, unhappy that his accomplice had wasted so much time for nothing.
Just then, a man burst through the gates of the Su family residence. He patted the dust off his shoulders and stared at the four people in front of him.
“Hello there, I’m the head of the Department of Supernatural Affairs in this country. My name is Situ Jin!”
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