“This thing… this thing is alive!” whispered Su Jin to Kano Mai. The Demon Lord’s Eye was only able to give Su Jin information on any living thing. If the statue were just a piece of stone, the Demon Lord’s Eye would not have reacted at all. But since the Demon Lord’s Eye had actually given him information, it meant that this statue wasn’t a non-living thing.
Kano Mai had no idea how Su Jin knew that this statue was alive, but she didn’t doubt his words. Since this man was someone who understood the mystery of parallel universes, it seemed natural for him to also have a few skills that she didn’t know about.
“If I said that I think the “deepest part of the Temple” that our mission talks about is actually the stomach of this statue, do you think it’s plausible?” Su Jin started thinking about what the next step was. If this main hall did not have a secret door to open like the dial in the front hall, then the next possible path ahead was possibly actually inside the statue.
Kano Mai looked up at the statue. The statue was humongous, so it was highly possible that there was something on the inside. She said to Su Jin, “Well, if you want to know whether it’s plausible or not, we’ll just need to get up there and take a look.”
She aimed her Soul Whisperer at the statue’s head and patted the rifle. It turned white and shot a beam of light out towards the statue’s head. The other end of the light turned into a hook and hooked itself onto the statue’s mouth.
“Come on, let’s go!” Kano Mai stretched an arm out and motioned to Su Jin to hold on to her.
“Wh-what?!” Su Jin was suddenly a little awkward. An incredibly beautiful woman was offering to embrace him with open arms. That was something he used to only dream about.1
“Hurry up! The longer we wait around, the more dangerous this place will become!” Kano Mai started hurrying Su Jin when she saw him hesitate.
He wasn’t the one getting taken advantage of anyway, so he walked over and put his arms around her waist. She immediately tugged on her rifle and the beam of light began retracting and pulled both of them upwards.
As they flew up towards the statue’s head, Su Jin trembled as he looked down at the main hall and felt that something didn’t seem quite right. When he looked more closely, he gasped.
“What’s wrong?” Kano Mai noticed his panic.
“Look at the white statues in the main hall. They’ve… they’ve come alive.” Su Jin pointed to the statues in the main hall. The white statues weren’t moving, but they were no longer engaged in a fighting position with the black statues like before, so it was clear that they had moved.
“Watch out!” Su Jin stomped hard against the statue with his foot, causing them to swing to the side. And immediately after they swung aside, a spear made from stone that was as thick as an arm hit the spot where the two of them had been and turned into dust.
They looked at where the spear came from and saw one of the giant statues standing with an empty but raised arm. That statue must have thrown that spear just now.
“Look at the statue’s shoulder!” Kano Mai had excellent vision, so she could see someone hiding in the shadows on top of that statue’s shoulder.
“That’s… that’s Chen Jing!” Su Jin narrowed his eyes. Even though his vision wasn’t as powerful as Kano Mai’s, he could roughly make out the person on the statue’s shoulder to be Chen Jing.
Chen Jing had already hopped off that statue and jumped onto another one instead. This second statue had a longbow in hand, so after Chen Jing hopped on it, the statue immediately drew the bowstring back and aimed its arrow at Su Jin and Kano Mai.
“Damn it! Can this thing go any faster?” asked Su Jin.
Kano Mai didn’t say anything as the beam of light continued to propel them upwards. The longbow was aimed straight at them, so Su Jin held on to his Demon Lord’s Boning Knife. If he activated the knife’s skill, he would probably be able to slice right through the oncoming arrow. But he threw that idea out immediately after thinking of it.
Even if the knife could slash through the arrow, the force from the oncoming arrow alone might kill him first. He grabbed hold of his Handbook again. If he really had to, he was prepared to use his Demon Lord’s Longbow. But that was his trump card, and he didn’t want to use it if he didn’t have to.
“Hang on tight!” yelled Kano Mai suddenly.
Su Jin was stunned but before he could ask why, he heard a terrible whooshing sound headed towards them. And now, he didn’t need to ask why he had to hang on to Kano Mai, because they suddenly started falling at high speed. Kano Mai had cut off the light beam that was carrying them up to the statue’s head, and so they managed to avoid getting hit by the oncoming arrow.
After that, Su Jin could feel them stop mid-air as Kano Mai shot a new beam of light at the statue’s head and steadied them.
“Hey, you don’t have to hang on so tightly anymore,” Kano Mai’s voice rang in his ears.
His entire face was buried in her bosom now, but it wasn’t because he was trying to take advantage of her. Su Jin’s greatest weakness was that he was afraid of heights.
“I’m… I’m sorry!” Su Jin pulled his face away from her chest, but he was still clinging tightly to her.
Kano Mai had probably figured out by then that he was afraid of heights considering his face was so pale, so she comforted him softly, “If you’re scared, just close your eyes and leave the rest to me.”
He had been trying his best to put on a brave front earlier, but after Kano Mai assured him, he shut his eyes and stopped thinking about the height they were at. But he could still feel himself rising and falling multiple times along the way. Chen Jing was clearly still using the statues in the main hall to attack them.
A few minutes later, Su Jin’s feet landed on solid ground. They had reached the head of the Heavenly Statue and were now standing on its eye socket.
“That must have been really tough, thank you, Mai.” Su Jin noticed that Kano Mai’s face was pale and looked very exhausted. Those few minutes must have taken a lot out of her both physically and mentally.
“Nah, don’t worry about that. But could you not hold me so tightly next time? I nearly suffocated to death!” teased Kano Mai as she smiled sweetly at Su Jin.
He rubbed his nose apologetically and turned to look back at the main hall. Chen Jing was standing at the top of a statue’s head and glaring at them from afar.
“We’re too far from him now, so he can’t do anything about us,” said Kano Mai.
Su Jin nodded in relief. After thinking about what happened earlier, he said, “Chen Jing is able to control the statues, but he can only control the white ones.”
“So it seems. But so what?” asked Kano Mai puzzledly.
“Before this, we had to choose to stand on the black side or the white wide and we both chose to stand on the black side, which represents darkness. Chen Jing can only control the white statues, which represent light. There might be some sort of connection between the two.” Su Jin was just guessing because he didn’t have enough information to be sure.
“Perhaps! Do you think that’s probably also why Tan Xin and Shi Teng got teleported just now?”
Su Jin nodded slightly. Only a short time had passed since they started on this challenge and this challenge had given them very little time or space to explore the place. Darkness slowly engulfed the temple, which in turn forced the Handbook owners to keep moving forward. This had made it very difficult for Su Jin to gather any information.
“Is it because the difficulty level is at Level C? If the owners were able to gather more information, it might make the challenge too easy, I suppose,” thought Su Jin to himself.
From the looks of it so far, this challenge was difficult because one had to keep moving forward, they had Chen Jing, a monster disguised as a newbie, and the possibility that one or two of the newbies was actually a snitch. In short, the difficulty of this challenge lay in the fact that Su Jin had very insufficient information to work on at all times.
“This statue… seems to have only one eye.” Kano Mai looked into the eyes of the Heavenly Statue and found that while the eye socket they were standing on was empty, the other eye socket was filled with a huge diamond eye.
Su Jin had never seen such an enormous diamond in his life. The diamond seemed as tall as a hill and the multi-faceted gemstone reflected the lights in the main hall so brightly, it made it hard for anyone to look upon it. The sparkle of the diamond was blinding.
“Aren’t diamonds a girl’s best friend? How do you feel now that you’re looking at such a huge one?” asked Su Jin with a laugh.
Kano Mai laughed too and shook her head. “In the past, I might have gotten really excited. But now, I don’t feel anything towards such things anymore. I can swap my points for such things in my Personal Hell Domain, and it doesn’t even cost a lot.”
As they spoke, they suddenly heard some noise coming from the foot of the statue. Kano Mai looked down and her smile faded instantly. She said to Su Jin, “Look! It’s those life-sized statues from the front hall!”
Su Jin held onto Kano Mai and looked down for a bit before straightening back up almost immediately after. “All the statues are white, so this must be Chen Jing’s doing. We can’t stay here anymore. Let’s go!”
They started walking into the empty eye socket, which felt like a gigantic mountain cave of sorts. After walking for a while, they noticed that the path seemed to be moving downwards. If this statue was built like a normal human on the inside, this eye duct would lead to the nose, the mouth, then down the oesophagus and into the stomach.
“Be careful!” said Su Jin as he tried to shine his torch downwards to see what was ahead, but the light of the torch wasn’t powerful enough.
Kano Mai used her Soul Whisperer to shoot a beam of light out and secured it before getting Su Jin to hold onto her again. It was safer to lower themselves this way rather than attempt to climb down.
They held onto each other and slowly made their descent. As the went down the oesophagus, Su Jin could see that his surroundings were no longer filled with statues. Instead, a thin and sticky film covered the walls of the oesophagus and he could also see dark veins trembling in some places. It looked really gross.
“This thing is really alive,” murmured Su Jin to himself.
After they had descended for some time, they could hear a pounding sound. They exchanged glances and concluded that the sound they were hearing was the sound of a heart beating. This heart wasn’t beating quickly, but it was strong. Each beat of the heart sounded like an explosion and the vibration was enough to make their entire body vibrate as well, which made them feel very uneasy too.
Boom! Just then, a life-sized statue suddenly fell past them and into the darkness. Su Jin frowned at this. Several of those white statues had been climbing the Heavenly Statue earlier, so the statues were probably not far from them now.
“Jin, there’s something over there!” Kano Mai suddenly patted Su Jin and pointed to one side of the throat.
Su Jin narrowed his eyes and shone his torch at it. The place where Kano Mai was pointing to was a mess of veins and he couldn’t see anything at first. But after he looked more carefully, his eyes widened in horror.
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