A person was hidden among the mess of black veins. After shining a light at the area, Su Jin realized that the person stuck here was actually Tan Xin. Her entire body was covered with the sticky liquid and she seemed to be unconscious.
The two of them exchanged glances. Su Jin had suspected that there was a snitch among the four of them. He wasn’t sure but the possibility existed, and if there was a snitch among them, Tan Xin would most likely be the one.
Su Jin thought about it for a while, but eventually said to Kano Mai, “Can you think of a way to get me over there?”
After taking a moment to think, she nodded. She retrieved a long whip from her Handbook, then whipped it towards the black vein that was holding onto Tan Xin. One end of the whip wrapped itself very accurately around that vein and Kano Mai pulled hard on it.
Su Jin lodged his feet in between the black veins, then carefully used his Demon Lord’s Boning Knife to cut through the black veins around Tan Xin. He was really surprised to find that these black veins were so difficult to cut through. The Demon Lord’s Boning knife had been sharpened by the Demon Lord himself and was extremely sharp even without activating its powers, but cutting through these veins proved to be tough for even such a knife. It took Su Jin quite some patience and energy to finally get through the vein.
“Something’s coming for us!” Kano Mai suddenly exclaimed. Three statues suddenly started falling from above and were headed towards them.
Su Jin immediately let go of Tan Xin and pushed Kano Mai in the stomach so that she would move out of harm’s way, while the black vein he was hanging onto ensured that he wasn’t going to fall.
Doing this managed to help them avoid one of the statues, which fell right to the bottom. But the other two managed to catch hold of the black veins and started heading for Su Jin and Kano Mai separately.
Su Jin held up the Boning Knife, wrapped a vein around his arm, then activated the Boning Knife’s Attack of the Demon Lord skill. A flash flew out from the blade of the knife. The statue approaching Su Jin stopped in its tracks, then fell apart at the waist. That attack had actually slashed the statue into half.
“Crap!” Su Jin let out a gasp as that chilling feeling spread through his body again and made him feel weak for a moment. If he hadn’t already wrapped the vein around his arm securely earlier, he would have fallen.
Meanwhile, Kano Mai was still suspended in the air. She wasn’t able to use her Soul Whisperer, which made it very hard for her to defend herself. The statue used its palm to strike her and the impact of that strike caused her to fly and crash loudly against the other side of the throat of the Heavenly Statue.
Su Jin ignored the discomfort he felt in his body and sent out another Attack of the Demon Lord from his Boning Knife. The statue shook violently, cracked from its shoulder to its waist, then fell to the bottom.
“Mai, are you alright?!” yelled Su Jin.
“I’m okay!” Mai’s face was pale and she was bleeding from the mouth because of the statue’s attack. She clearly wasn’t as okay as she claimed to be.
Once Su Jin got Tan Xin out from the mess of veins, Kano Mai used her whip to hook herself onto the vein near to Su Jin and he pulled her over to his side. Su Jin found that having to carry Tan Xin made it very difficult for him to move, so he cut another piece of vein and used it to tie Tan Xin onto his back.
The injuries Kano Mai suffered earlier weakened her and carrying an additional two others with her made her face turn a whiter shade of pale. Su Jin could even see beads of perspiration on her forehead now.
“Why don’t you rest for a while?” he said to her.
She smiled faintly, gritted her teeth and shook her head. “I’m fine. Judging from the distance so far, I think we’re almost at the bottom!”
Shortly after she said that, they realized that they could now see the floor. They noticed that there were smashed pieces that belonged to those statues that came after them earlier. But to Su Jin’s horror, the broken pieces seemed to only make up about two statues or so and he didn’t see any other statue nearby. In other words, one of the statues did not get destroyed when it hit the floor.
“Is it hiding somewhere?” wondered Su Jin to himself. Su Jin and Kano Mai found a dim corner to check if Tan Xin was all right. Neither of them had any sort of medical knowledge, so besides confirming that Tan Xin was still alive, there was nothing else they could do.
“If this statue is the same as a human anatomically, then we should be in the lungs now. The heart is behind the lungs and the sound of its heartbeat is very clear now.” A blasting sound resonated at a regular pace in her ears, so the Heavenly Statue’s heart had to be nearby.
Su Jin nodded in agreement. Since the heart was probably just behind the lung lobe they were in right now, it meant that he just needed to slice through the lobe and they would be able to see the statue’s heart.
“So, the Spark of Light mentioned in the Handbook is probably referring to the Heavenly Statue’s heart, right?” Su Jin murmured to himself.
“It’s possible. The deepest part might be referring to some place in the heart. We could try getting there,” said Kano Mai.
Joshua gave it a thought, then said, “We have no choice but to do that. Our priority is to complete this challenge successfully. We don’t have to complete the other missions.”
The three of them were not really that powerful, so if he could complete his additional missions along the way, that would be a bonus. But if he couldn’t, then he wasn’t going out of his way or risking his life just to complete those missions. After going through the first Challenge, Su Jin felt that levelling up his own body and abilities was the wise thing to do.
The two of them continued moving forward. They didn’t dare to stay in one place for too long since Chen Jing was still sending statues after them. On top of that, one of those statues had gone missing in the vicinity, so there was the possibility that it could jump out from nowhere and attack them at any time.
Other than Chen Jing, they weren’t in any immediate danger, so Su Jin’s Boning Knife and Kano Mai’s Soul Whisperer were good enough to get by. If possible, Su Jin didn’t want to use the Demon Lord’s Spirit Power anymore. But Kano Mai was injured now, so he wasn’t sure if that was possible anymore.
After walking for a bit, they suddenly heard the sound of gunshots. Their eyes lit up because the only other person other than Kano Mai with a gun in this place was Shi Teng.
Just as they had thought, they turned a corner to see Shi Teng shooting like mad at a statue. The statue that had fallen earlier but did not break had run into Shi Teng instead.
Shi Teng’s shooting skills were really terrible and he wasn’t even aiming as he just kept shooting randomly at the statue. Thankfully, the gun that Kano Mai had given him had plenty of rounds and the bullets could shoot at high speed. The powerful weapon itself helped Shi Teng to keep that statue attacking him at bay.
Kano Mai aimed her Soul Whisperer at the statue and shot an explosive round at its head. The statue immediately collapsed onto the floor.
“Shi Teng, calm down, it’s Su Jin!” shouted Su Jin. He didn’t dare to walk over now while Shi Teng was in a panic. Shi Teng might shoot him in a frenzy.
After the statue collapsed, Shi Teng went into a daze for a while. But his face brightened when he heard Su Jin’s voice and Su Jin decided it was safe to walk over.
“You guys…you guys are still alive! I’m so glad!” Shi Teng looked like he was about to cry.
“It’s all right, calm down…tell me what happened after you disappeared suddenly,” said Su Jin once he had calmed Shi Teng down.
Shi Teng took a few deep breaths and said, “I’m not entirely sure either. I fainted and found myself here when I regained consciousness. I kept hearing these blasting sounds around me, so I didn’t dare to move.”
The blasting sounds he was talking about referred to the heartbeat of the Heavenly Statue. Su Jin didn’t get any additional information from Shi Teng, but after looking at the fallen statue and Shi Teng, he got an idea.
He didn’t say anything and just asked Shi Teng to follow them. The four of them were back together again. Even though one of them was unconscious, the fact that all of them were still alive was good enough.
After some time, they noticed that the blasting sounds had suddenly gotten much louder. Su Jin guessed that they must be really near the heart, so they just needed to cut a hole in the lung lobe.
Naturally, he chose the Boning Knife for this job, but the knife disappointed Su Jin this time. The purple lung lobes were so tough, the Boning Knife only left a scratch mark on it.
“Argh! Attack of the Demon Lord!” Su Jin had no choice but to activate the knife’s skill again and a slit appeared in the lung lobe. But the slit was so thin that not only was it impossible for them to get through, Su Jin couldn’t even use it to see what was going on outside.
He sighed heavily. He was now very sure that he lost part of himself every time he used the Demon Lord’s Spirit Power and the Demon Lord had been very clever in providing him with this source of Spirit Power. But in order to complete this challenge and get out of here alive, Su Jin had no choice but to consume more of the Demon Lord’s Spirit Power.
So, he gritted his teeth and unleashed the skill two more times, which effectively scored a triangle onto the surface of the lung lobe. The three of them combined their efforts to push that triangle outwards and a white light instantly poured in once the flap was out of the way. The light was coming from a ball of light that resembled a tiny sun.
The ball of light jumped up and down to a slow rhythm. Every time it jumped, it would not only give off a sound as loud as an explosion, but it would also shoot out glaring beams of light. This was definitely the heart of the Heavenly Statue.
“We’ll probably have to face the biggest crisis of this challenge next, so I need everyone to be in their best possible state,” Su Jin said to Kano Mai and Shi Teng.
Kano Mai frowned and said softly, “We don’t have time to rest and heal.”
“You don’t have to worry about that. I’ve got All Purpose Healing Pills here and you just need one pill to recover from any injuries and illnesses. I don’t suppose Shi Teng needs one of these, but Mai definitely does!” Su Jin took one of his pills and passed it to her.
“All Purpose Healing Pills! I can’t believe you actually managed to get your hands on this sort of thing. Such items are extremely precious to teams that don’t have any members with healing powers!” It seemed like Kano Mai was very familiar with this particular pill.
“Is that so? Dang, I should have exchanged for a few more! Never mind that now, you’d better take one quickly. I’ll give Tan Xin one too. Carrying her around like this will limit my movement and that might put us in danger later on.” Su Jin deliberated for a while and eventually took another pill out and put it into Tan Xin’s mouth.
Kano Mai exhaled deeply after taking the pill and color returned to her face in seconds. The pill had clearly taken effect. Meanwhile, Su Jin untied Tan Xin and put her down, and she slowly began to regain consciousness.
He helped her to sit up and asked with concern, “How are you? Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, thanks…what the…?!” Tan Xin’s voice suddenly came to an abrupt halt as she stared at Su Jin puzzledly.
Su Jin had just stabbed her arm with his Demon Lord’s Boning Knife.
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