Su Jin felt exceptionally tired, and his eyelids were so heavy that he couldn’t keep them open at all. After some time, this feeling of tiredness finally began to fade.
“What just happened?” groaned Su Jin quietly as he woke up from his groggy state. But his heart nearly leaped out of his mouth when he actually opened his eyes. The deities that had been seated around them earlier had disappeared, and they were replaced by bloodthirsty and terrifying looking demons.
“What happened, Jin?” Kano Mai had woken up to see that Su Jin was seated stiffly next to her and looked like he was looking at something horrifying.
Su Jin shook his head and motioned to her to keep quiet. Kano Mai checked what he was looking at and stiffened up as well. If Su Jin hadn’t held her down, she might have jumped up in front.
“Don’t make a sound,” Su Jin used his psychokinesis to speak to her, then used it to wake Situ Jin and Wu Chen up as well.
“You’re both already awake, so listen to me. The deities that were seated around us have all turned into demons, so stay calm and don’t attract their attention,” said Su Jin after he discovered that both of them had just regained consciousness and were about to open their eyes.
The two men nodded and opened their eyes at almost the same time. They trembled slightly at the sight before them. If Su Jin hadn’t warned them beforehand, they would probably have had a bigger reaction.
“What’s going on?” thought Situ Jin. He knew Su Jin could sense his thoughts.
“I don’t know either. I think… I think it’s because day has turned into night. The train is called the Train of the Supernatural, after all, so since we only saw deities in the day, we only see demons in the night,” guessed Su Jin.
“Su Jin, I spot… I spotted a familiar looking ghost,” thought Wu Chen. He looked in a particular direction, then continued relaying his thoughts, “That’s a boss level monster I met in a Level B Challenge. It’s very powerful and it has the power to control minds, so owners end up dying without even realizing it themselves.”
“Jin, those fellows over there… look familiar too.” Kano Mai tugged at Su Jin and motioned to him to look in another direction.
Su Jin turned to look, and his eyes widened. A family of four were seated not too far away from them. It was the family from the Ghostly Games Challenge. He didn’t expect to run into them again so quickly.
“Damn it! Has this train summoned all the deities and demons of every Challenge?” Su Jin was puzzled. As far as he understood the Handbook’s universe, each Challenge was self-contained and made sense within itself. Besides, most of the characters within the Challenges had no idea about the Handbook at all. They seemed to be trapped in a never-ending cycle of their Challenge and just kept waiting for new owners to enter.
But this time, previously seen demons and ghosts had appeared here. Were these Challenges actually connected to one another?
Just then, the family of four seemed to have sensed that Su Jin and Kano Mai were looking at them. They turned around with a start to stare back at the two humans.
“AHHH!” The family of four let out a screech that was like an alarm clock that instantly woke everyone else inside the train carriage.
In that instant, a commotion ran through the demons. Su Jin and his team paled instantly. Every creature here was powerful enough to kill them on their own. If so many were going crazy at the same time, the team was doomed for sure.
“Rise up!” Wu Chen suddenly clapped his hands and a green light rose from beneath their feet and turned into a green ball of light that covered all the members of the team.
“What’s this?” asked Su Jin.
“It’s a weapon to ward off evil. I got it from one of the Challenges.” Wu Chen let out a sigh of relief and looked fearfully at the demon he had pointed out earlier, as if seeing that demon brought back very bad memories.
Su Jin started to observe his surroundings and felt that something was amiss. While it was true that the chances of dying in a Level A Challenge was very high, the Handbook Challenges would never put the owners in a completely hopeless situation. The way out might be difficult to find, but it definitely existed.
Bam! One of the demons slammed itself against the green ball of light and roared at the humans inside. Its roaring attracted the attention of other demons, and an entire group of them quickly ended up surrounding the ball of light.
Every demon here was extremely powerful and were clearly no less powerful than deities. Otherwise, there was no reason why the deities would leave at night and give up their seat to these demons.
“That’s right! Wu Chen, remove this protective barrier. We must not put up a defense,” Su Jin shouted to Wu Chen quickly. He had been puzzled as to why the demons hadn’t attacked them earlier and behaved as though they were invisible. Day had turned to night while they were asleep, and these demons must have appeared a long time ago already.
Instead, the demons only started reacting when they started to look at the demons in the carriage. Even so, they did not try and attack the four of them. They were now attacking the weapon for warding off evil that Wu Chen had set up.
Wu Chen was a little afraid to trust in Su Jin. Removing this protective barrier sounded suicidal, yet Su Jin looked very confident.
He gritted his teeth and finally decided to go with what Su Jin said. In any case, even if he didn’t retract it, this barrier wasn’t going to hold up much longer. He pulled his palms apart again, and the ball of light disappeared as well.
Everyone stiffened up as they saw the demons pounce toward them, which made Su Jin wonder if he had guessed wrongly. But just a moment later, the demons floated past them and did not try to attack them.
Su Jin breathed a sigh of relief. He had guessed right. If Wu Chen had not kept the barrier and it had collapsed instead, the demons might have gobbled them up.
“Don’t look at them and don’t think about them! To a certain extent, these demons are merely a construct. If you believe they exist, they exist. If you don’t believe they exist, then they won’t,” Su Jin said to his teammates using his psychokinesis as he shut his eyes.
But doing this was easier said than done. For humans, the more they were told not to think about something, the more they would think about it unless you were some great Buddhist practitioner or something like that. But all of them were merely ordinary humans.
The demons existed and became active because they were thinking about them, so they tried their best to not think about them. But this was not a long term solution, and they would eventually cave in after doing this for too long.
Su Jin had no choice but to use his psychokinesis to barge into the minds of the other three and erase the concept of demons and ghosts from their minds, which made them calm down again. Their minds didn’t know what these creatures were, so they couldn’t be afraid of them anymore.
The creatures around them slowly calmed down again, and Su Jin breathed a sigh of relief. He erased the concept from his own mind as well, otherwise there was no point even if he could do that for the other three. If he didn’t have this Spirit Power, everyone would be in danger.
Time slowly ticked by and they all kept their eyes shut. Su Jin warned them never to open their eyes and they trusted him.
Finally, the night passed and it was daytime again. When Su Jin opened his eyes once more, the demons had disappeared and the seats were filled with deities again.
The deities looked curiously at Su Jin and his teammates, clearly surprised that the four of them had survived. Diablo came around to check and make sure that none of the passengers had left or had barged in.
“Oh, you’re all still alive! How surprising! By the way, you have one hour of free time. All the carriages are open and you can go anywhere you like,” said Diablo before walking away.
“Is that giving us a chance to find a way to get out of this place alive?” asked Kano Mai puzzledly. In reality, she didn’t want to go anywhere because she didn’t know if they’d end up having to fight yet another deity. The demons the night before were scary, but at least they survived. On the contrary, Chu Yi had perished at the hands of a deity.
Su Jin thought about it, then said, “All of you stay here, I’ll go out and take a look.”
“Why don’t I go with you? It’s too dangerous for you to move around by yourself,” said Wu Chen as he got up from his seat. Moving around in this accursed train alone sounded like a suicide mission.
Su Jin shook his head. “Don’t worry, I think we’re all safe during this time. I think the Challenge has given the owners this time to take a breather and search for a way out of this place. In fact, if you come along with me, Mai and Situ will be left in a dangerous position instead.”
He was certain that Wu Chen was a capable owner. The older man was a veteran who had survived a few dozen Challenges after all, so he was both capable and experienced.
Wu Chen didn’t insist any further and Su Jin left the carriage. The first thing he did was to go to the carriage that Team High Mountain was allocated to. He figured that something bad might have happened to them the night before.
He walked past the connecting area between the carriages and immediately spotted the team’s seats. But where there was once a group of four, only Liu Bowen remained.
When he walked over, Liu Bowen looked up to see that it was Su Jin and his eyes instantly reddened. His hands were tightly clenched, and he didn’t seem to feel anything even though his nails had dug into his own skin.
Su Jin sighed heavily. He had no idea how to comfort Liu Bowen. His team had nearly gone mad from just losing one team member, but this team had met a greater tragedy. Liu Bowen was the only one standing after just one night.
“Take care.” That was the only thing Su Jin could say to him. He was having trouble keeping himself alive in this Level A Challenge, so he really couldn’t afford to do anything for someone else at this point.
After passing through that carriage, Su Jin started walking to where Team Red Dragon was and got there in no time. Compared to Team High Mountain, this team was in a slightly better shape, but their team was also incomplete. They were only left with Tai Shan and two others, including the woman who had lost years of her lifespan to Diablo.
Su Jin walked toward them, but when he passed by the carriage’s bathroom, the door opened and a hand reached out to drag him into the bathroom.
He got a shock and quickly retrieved the Boning Knife, then brought it down on the other party without hesitation.
But someone caught hold of his hand while it was still mid-air, and a man in a suit smiled faintly at him.
“Mad Hatter!” Su Jin’s eyes widened. He could hardly believe what he was seeing.
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