Chapter 168 - Change in Style

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Su Jin, Kano Mai and Chu Yi sat together at their team’s table in Hell’s Bar and waited. Situ Jin came in after a while and plonked himself down at the table as well.

“Did you get beaten up?” Chu Yi looked curiously at Situ Jin because Situ Jin was covered in bruises and wounds.

Situ Jin threw him a glance, then turned to stare at Su Jin. His lips twitched as he said, “What a good job you’ve done. One versus 27, and you’re the one who actually survived.”

Su Jin didn’t say anything. He didn’t intend to hide what happened on Cloud Mountain from his team mates, especially Situ Jin. As a high ranking government official, he knew a lot more than most people in the country did. The fact that Cloud Mountain lost all of its snow in less than a day would have attracted the attention of Situ Jin’s department after he had left, so they would naturally have discovered the bodies of the owners he had killed.

“Boss, what’s this one versus 27 all about?” Chu Yi couldn’t understand their conversation and grumbled, “Why aren’t we from the same universe? What did I miss?”

Kano Mai glared at Chu Yi, then said quietly to Situ Jin, “Mr. Situ, everything can be settled, right? He walked past a lot of people on his way back to the hotel and I’m afraid he attracted a lot of attention along the way.”

Situ Jin scoffed and glared unhappily at Su Jin as he said, “That’s why I said he did such a wonderful job. A good 1,300 people saw him in that state and combined with the strange phenomenon on Cloud Mountain, it caused quite a bit of panic among the people there. I’ve already sent out everyone I could from the department and I also made use of the local government officials to settle this matter.”

There was good reason for Situ Jin to be upset. Su Jin had been so despondent after he watched Ye Yun being taken away by force. Under normal circumstances, he would have kept a low profile. But he had been so out of it this time that he couldn’t even remember how he managed to descend the mountain and walk back to the hotel. He only remembered he had gone on a rampage, killing 27 Handbook owners in less than an hour. Furthermore, he had accomplished that feat without using his Spirit Power.

“Those who are weak…get quashed like ants,” said Su Jin out of the blue.

Everyone blinked in surprise at Su Jin. Situ Jin had a glint in his eye as he pressed one palm against his Handbook. He could see that Su Jin was not himself today.

Su Jin was very powerful. Those 27 bodies found on Cloud Mountain was proof of that. If Su Jin’s state of mind became problematic and he did something that could cause harm to society, the consequences would be very severe.

“Situ, are you thinking of killing me?” After one night of rest, Su Jin’s psychokinesis had returned to normal levels and had even increased by a little. He could clearly sense the murderous intentions that Situ Jin had. But he shook his head slightly and said, “It’s too bad. Compared to me, you’re too weak. You’d never kill me, but I could kill you.”

Situ Jin’s eyes glinted even more brightly. He wet his dry lips and said in an icy voice, “I know that too. But if you become the type of human I must rid society of, I will not hesitate to do so, even if you’re more powerful than I am.”

Chu Yi and Kano Mai were confused by the tension between the two men. Chu Yi hurriedly cut in, “Hey, both of you, calm down! Calm down! What’s going on? We don’t support infighting in this team!”

“You will not hesitate to kill me? And what right does the weak have to be able kill a stronger person?” Su Jin snorted. He must have seemed as dumb to others as Situ Jin seemed to him now.

Situ Jin narrowed his eyes slightly and said, “While it’s true that attempting the impossible when you already know it’s impossible is foolish, but…deciding not to try just because you know it’s impossible is cowardice! I might be foolish, but I’m no coward.”

The atmosphere between them was tense and it looked like they might suddenly break into a fight.

But Su Jin suddenly said, “Then…do you want to become more powerful?”

“Of course. I even dream about becoming more powerful.” Situ Jin nodded as he replied without pausing to think. Before yesterday, he might even have been the member of the team who had wanted this the most.

Su Jin understood Situ Jin’s thinking. Situ Jin was a very responsible man. He wanted to become more powerful not for his own sake, but for the philosophy that he was in charge of safeguarding. One could consider Situ Jin to be a very frustrating, unfriendly and uncooperative, but nobody would say that he was an irresponsible man.

Next, Su Jin looked at Chu Yi and asked, “Chu Yi, do you want to become more powerful?”

“Me? I, uh…of course! I’m a martial artist to begin win, and the goal of a martial artist is to become even more powerful. Furthermore, I’m being hunted down by this insane group of cult followers, so my desire to become more powerful is now stronger than before.” Chu Yi started off a little flippant, but the look in his eye began to change as he continued speaking. Unlike Situ Jin, his reason for becoming more powerful was simply so that he could survive.

“What about you, Mai? Do you want to become more powerful?” Su Jin turned to ask his last team mate.

She nodded and said, “Of course. There are some things I cannot talk about now, but…I must become powerful. I have my own reasons for wanting to become more powerful.”

Su Jin gave the team a pleased nod. “Very good. Since everybody wants to become more powerful, then I think we need to change the way we handle future Challenges as a team.”

“The way we handle future Challenges? What do you mean?” Situ Jin found Su Jin really strange today. If Su Jin turned out to be some psychopath serial killer after massacring 27 Handbook owners, Situ Jin wouldn’t feel so confused. What was Su Jin talking about now?

Su Jin scanned the other three and thought about how he should explain his thoughts to them. “The way we’ve gotten through the last few Challenges are honestly a little conservative. We were simply trying to get through them, so we didn’t actually get the most out of it. That limited our final reward at the end.”

“So, what you’re saying is…?” Situ Jin frowned at Su Jin.

“Risk is proportional to rewards. Since everyone has their own reasons for wanting to become more powerful, then I want to change the way we do things and try to gain as much out of each Challenge as possible. Of course, survival is still the top priority,” said Su Jin solemnly.

Chu Yi was the first one to nod in agreement. “I’m good with that. Boss is right – risk is proportional to rewards. I’m willing to take risks.”

Kano Mai nodded as well. “Me too. Rewards only come with taking risks. That’s definitely right.”

Situ Jin suddenly started laughing. He glanced at Su Jin, then removed his hand from his Handbook. He chuckled and said, “I have no idea what sort of trauma you’ve suffered, but…becoming more powerful is definitely up my alley!”

“Excellent! Since that’s the case, that’ll be the way we do things from now on! The aim of Team Boning Knife will be to become more powerful!” Su Jin clasped his hands together tightly. No matter how difficult the road ahead was, he was going to make sure he not just survived, but he also became more powerful.

Now that all four of them were in agreement, Su Jin said to Situ Jin, “The bunch that I killed on Cloud Mountain is a group of owners who move between universes to rob other owners for their own selfish gain. They’ve arrived in our universe, so I’m afraid you’re going to have more work to do in the near future.”

Situ Jin smacked his forehead. He ordered a beer of sorts, drank a mouthful of it, then said, “By the way, why don’t you join the Department of Supernatural Affairs?”

“Wait, what?” Su Jin’s eyes widened. He couldn’t believe what Situ Jin just said.

Situ Jin was calm as he said, “There are way too many owners doing wicked things in the real world, and just like you said, I’m too weak. There are so many owners that I simply can’t handle and I have to watch them do evil before my very own eyes…I need someone to help me.”

“Why don’t you ask Xu Ran to help you?” asked Su Jin puzzledly.

Situ Jin narrowed his eyes and Su Jin immediately realized he shouldn’t have said that. Situ Jin had never told Su Jin about Xu Ran before, so mentioning his name meant that they actually knew each other.

Just as Su Jin had expected, Situ Jin immediately asked, “How did you get to know Xu Ran?”

“Well, that…you can call it by accident, I suppose.” Su Jin shrugged even as he grumbled inwardly, it’s all because you tried to make things difficult for me in the first place!

Situ Jin did not pursue this matter and asked instead, “Do you know how I got my copy of Hell’s Handbook?”

“How you got your copy? As far as I know, the Handbook selects owners randomly. You could pick up some book in your house that you’ve read a million times before and when you open it, it turns out to be your first Handbook Challenge,” said Su Jin.

Situ Jin scoffed. “And what if I tell you Xu Ran was the one who gave it to me? What would you think of that?”

“Xu Ran gave it to you?!” Su Jin’s pupils constricted and his first reaction was that this was impossible. He had already asked all the other owners he had come across about how they became owners and all of them had similar stories. No owner knew exactly why they had been selected or what they could have done to end up becoming an owner. And most certainly, nobody had ever heard of someone being able to give another person a Handbook.

“That’s impossible. Hell’s Handbook is something that exists outside of the owners and even the elder gods in the Challenges have no control over the universe, or they wouldn’t have been trapped inside the Challenges. Unless…” Su Jin’s heart suddenly palpitated as his voice dropped to a whisper that only he could hear, “Unless…that’s impossible. If that’s the case, then…then what in the world are we doing? When Ye Yun said that Shen Wu and others like him had taken a different path, did she mean that?!”

Situ Jin frowned when he saw how Su Jin was muttering to himself. He rapped the table with his knuckles and said, “Why are muttering to yourself? So, are you interested in joining the Department?”

Su Jin put his thoughts aside for the moment since they seemed a little too farfetched. He gave Situ Jin’s proposal some thought, then finally nodded and said, “I don’t mind joining the Department, but I don’t want to become like one of your subordinates. Do you get what I’m saying?”

“Yes, I do. Don’t worry about that. We actually have many people working for us all over the country. While most of them are direct employees, everyone has plenty of freedom to do whatever else they want as long as they are willing to be mobilized when we need help and listen to orders during operations.” Situ Jin finally had a smile on his face. He really needed someone like Su Jin to help him.

“That’s a deal then. If you need my help, just give me a call,” said Su Jin with a nod.

Situ Jin took his wallet out and passed Su Jin a SIM card. “Insert this into your phone. It comes with unlimited call time, so it’ll be useful for contacting you.”

“Oh wow! Working for the government has pretty good perks, eh?” said Su Jin with a chuckle.

Just then, there was a loud bang as someone marched up to their table and punched the surface.

“How dare you lie to me like that!”

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