As a familiar energy came surging toward him, Su Jin narrowed his eyes as he detected immediately that this energy was psychokinesis, which was most probably a defense mechanism set up by Xu Ran.
“What’s wrong?” asked Situ Jin when he saw the change in Su Jin’s expression.
Su Jin did not respond because he was using all the psychokinesis he had to counter Xu Ran’s. He had to admit that Xu Ran had set up a fantastic defense mechanism around this place. Once it detected an intruder, it would attack the intruder’s consciousness and send information about the intruder to Xu Ran.
But Xu Ran probably never thought that this intruder would be someone with the same Spirit Power as himself, like Su Jin was. Su Jin was using his own psychokinesis to calm the waves of psychokinesis attacking him, slowly injecting his own into the sea of psychokinesis particles to take control of it and quiet it down again.
“Phew!” Su Jin exhaled deeply, then widened his eyes in disbelief. He frowned slightly as he used his psychokinesis to scan the priests in the temple and let out a gasp.
“What’s wrong?” Situ Jin was getting more and more anxious because he didn’t know what was going on with Su Jin.
Su Jin wasn’t sure how to explain things either. He scratched his head, hesitated for a moment, then said, “The temple is filled with dead people!”
“Uh huh. These priests are all dead… or wait, calling them dead isn’t quite right either…” Su Jin really couldn’t find the right way to explain the situation.
After a while, he said, “Let’s put it this way. These priests have bodies that are alive, but they don’t have a soul, so they’re like the living dead.”
“What? They can talk and they can move too?!” Situ Jin found it hard to believe what Su Jin just said, especially since he could see clearly that the priests were speaking to one another, while some were doing exercises and others were burning incense. There was no way a dead person could do any of this.
Su Jin tried a different way of explaining it, “You’ve seen androids before, haven’t you? These fellows are kind of like androids, just that someone programmed them with a very detailed operating system, which includes almost every possible scenario. So, they know how to react in a particular situation, what expression they should have and what they should say. Even if you tried to talk to one of them, you wouldn’t notice anything unusual about them. But… no matter how intricately designed and programmed a robot is, it’s still a robot. They don’t have souls.”
Situ Jin was too stunned to speak for a while. He paused to digest this information, then said, “But their bodies… used to belong to living people, right?”
Su Jin nodded. “That’s right. They used to be living people.”
“Who… who did this?” asked Situ Jin. He sounded hesitant because he already knew the answer to this question. The only person who could do such a thing in this place was Xu Ran.
“Xu Ran,” said Su Jin immediately. “Xu Ran has the same Spirit Power as me, that is, psychokinesis. To put it plainly, these people don’t have… a soul or consciousness. Someone removed the core of their very being and replaced it with a man-made soul, which is why they’re like programmed androids. I’m very certain that this operating system they’re running on was created with psychokinesis.”
Situ Jin had a frosty glint in his eyes. He and Xu Ran were not just friends but very close friends, but that did not mean he would turn a blind eye if Xu Ran committed wicked deeds.
“Is it possible for these people to go back to the way they were?” Situ Jin asked Su Jin.
Su Jin stared back at Situ Jin blankly while he pondered this question. Then, he laughed bitterly and said, “I’m not really sure. My understanding and use of psychokinesis is nowhere near Xu Ran’s. It’s like how you can’t expect a middle school student to be able to answer a research topic that a university professor is working on.”
He put himself in a much humbler position because Xu Ran had left such a deep impression on him. They were both owners with Psychokinetic Spirit Power, but Su Jin felt like an elementary school student in front of Xu Ran. He had grown a lot in this aspect since the first time he met Xu Ran, but he was still unable to turn seven owners to dust in an instant like what Xu Ran did in his house in S City.
“So now…” Situ Jin wasn’t sure about going into the temple anymore. He had witnessed how powerful Su Jin could be, yet Su Jin said that he was nowhere near Xu Ran’s level. He could hardly imagine how incredible his friend could be.
“Let’s go in,” said Su Jin resolutely all of a sudden. He looked at the puzzled Situ Jin and said, “If Xu Ran were here, I’d leave immediately. But since he’s not here, then…this is actually as good as leaving the gate wide open to me.”
“But isn’t Xu Ran very formidable? Aren’t you worried that he might notice something amiss?” asked Situ Jin.
Su Jin laughed and said, “If someone else tried to enter the temple, they would definitely be discovered. But not me. If this temple were a pool of water and I were a drop of water, do you think someone would notice a drop of water in the larger pool of water?”
Situ Jin nodded with a thoughtful look on his face, while Su Jin walked right in. He ignored the priests that he walked past and the priests ignored him as well, as though they hadn’t seen him at all.
Su Jin waved to Situ Jin to follow him. Situ Jin was doubtful, but he walked in anyway. The priests ignored him too.
After he caught up to Su Jin, he asked puzzledly, “What’s going on? Are they all blind?”
“How should I explain this? I guess you could say that I’ve given you an invisibility cloak!” said Su Jin with a laugh.
“You can obviously see me, so this isn’t an invisibility cloak at all,” grumbled Situ Jin as he followed behind Su Jin, earning a glare from Su Jin.
The two of them walked further into the temple. Situ Jin finally proved to be useful at this juncture because as a high ranking government official, he was able to get a copy of the temple’s floor plan.
Situ Jin led the way and they made their way around the temple in no time. However, they did not discover anything else besides those android-like priests.
“There doesn’t seem to be anything of note around here.” Su Jin had mixed his own psychokinesis in with the psychokinesis that Xu Ran had left behind, so he felt like he was really in his element, like a fish swimming in water. If he ran into an enemy here, he would definitely be a lot more powerful than he already was.
“Oh, there’s one more area we need to check out.” Situ Jin pointed to a standalone building on the map.
The temple wasn’t really that big, so they found that standalone building quite quickly. Su Jin pushed the door open to see an old man sitting cross-legged inside, his features resembling someone from a wuxia story.
“Priest Qiu Chan!” Situ Jin’s eye twitched violently. The man seated inside this building was Priest Qiu Chan, the one who had protected the country several times and was known as a national treasure.
But Su Jin’s expression did not flinch. He walked closer to the old man, scanned him over, then said to Situ Jin, “Don’t be afraid. Those priests outside are the living dead, but this guy here is really dead.”
“He’s really dead?! But that’s imposs…” Situ Jin wanted to say that it was impossible for the old man to be dead, but after seeing those android-like priests for himself, it seemed like anything was possible now.
Su Jin looked closely at Qiu Chan and found that the old man looked just like a real person, except that he showed no signs of life. He seemed more like a wax statue.
“Psychokinesis is not what keeps him going. No matter how powerful one’s psychokinesis is, it has its limits too,” muttered Su Jin as he reached a hand out to touch Qiu Chan’s body.
Woong! Once his hand touched Qiu Chan, the old man’s eyes suddenly opened. A tiny beam of light shot out from them as a powerful suction force from within his body caused Su Jin’s palm to get stuck to his shoulder.
“What just happened?” Situ Jin saw that Su Jin had tried to move away from Qiu Chan. Not only had he failed to do so, but his hand was now firmly on the old man’s shoulder. Something had clearly gone wrong.
Su Jin had a look of dismay on his face as he uttered through clenched teeth, “I’ve fallen for his trap. This priest is also a defense mechanism. Anybody who touches him will be trapped here and the victim will rapidly lose any energy within their body…I get it now. This Priest Qiu Chan moves by absorbing energy from others. I’m like his battery now.”
He wasn’t only losing physical strength at a rapid rate, but his psychokinesis was depleting as well. He was going to turn into a dry corpse in no time.
“What do we do now?” asked Situ Jin. He had a vicious glint in his eye as he said, “Or… why don’t I blow Qiu Chan up?”
“No! You’d attract Xu Ran’s attention!” Su Jin immediately rejected Situ Jin’s idea. Doing that might get him out of his current predicament, but that would definitely trigger a message of sorts to Xu Ran. And who knew what would happen if Xu Ran discovered that they’d barged into the temple?
Situ Jin frowned and said, “Or else, I’ll blow you up!”
“If I make sure you explode beyond recognition, that will also guarantee that my identity will remain a secret. You’re now a civil servant, so I’m sure you understand that sometimes, sacrifices have to be made for the betterment of the country,” said Situ Jin gravely.
“Sacrifice my ass!” spat Su Jin angrily. He just knew this man meant trouble. How could Situ Jin expect him to give up his life on his first mission?
“What should we do then? We’ve got to find a way out of this! You caused this problem, so you think of a solution yourself!” Situ Jin left Su Jin to solve the problem himself without thinking twice.
Su Jin glared at the other man fiercely and told himself that he’d quit once he found a way to resolve this issue.
He thought through what he could do and his eyes lit up as an idea hit him. Since he couldn’t get out of this problem himself, he was going to borrow the power of the Handbook.
Su Jin placed one hand on his Handbook and a badge appeared in his hand. This was a reward he got from completing the Zombie Frenzy Challenge perfectly. He didn’t expect it to be able to save him.
“I’m only able to use this method once, so please, do NOT touch Priest Qiu Chan!” Su Jin instructed Situ Jin. He crushed the badge and a white beam of light appeared for a second, then disappeared along with Su Jin.
Su Jin now stood in the midst of skyscrapers. The entire place was deserted, but there were no more zombies on the street. It seemed like this world was moving in a good direction now.
“Since I’m here, I’ve got to find a way to get my hands on those things.” Su Jin walked out from the shadows of the buildings and began searching for people.
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