“We’re teammates, so it’s good for us to know more about each other,” said Su Jin with a smile.
“Hmm! Let me treat you to a meal when we’re back in the real world then! We can take the time to get to know each other better,” suggested Kano Mai.
He nodded and said with a laugh, “I should be the one giving a treat! It’s not my country’s culture to let the girl foot the bill.”
“Sure!” Kano Mai wasn’t going to argue with Su Jin over something like this. Money didn’t mean much to either of them anymore, so they didn’t have to fuss over a simple meal.
Su Jin and Kano Mai started introducing their newly exchanged items to each other. The items that Kano Mai had chosen were indeed very specific. They were chosen to strengthen her attack and survival.
“Skill: Soul Crusher. Requires 10 points of Spirit Power. You can add this to your attack, which will instantly crush your enemy’s spirit. Points required: 1200.”
“Shadow Cloak: Requires 50 points of Spirit Power. Wearing it will turn you into a shadow. It will also increase all your attributes and you will be immune to all physical attacks. Points required: 1500.”
Su Jin’s jaw dropped. These two items alone cost Kano Mai 2,700 points. He asked her rather puzzledly, “But you don’t even have Spirit Power. Why are you exchanging points for these items?”
“The best part about the team’s Hell Domain is that you get offered a lot of high level Spirit Power equipment. But there are many types of Spirit Power equipment and it’s not easy to find something that’s suitable for yourself. Since I’ve come across something that’s suitable, I’ve got to take this chance to exchange for it. I still have some points anyway,” explained Kano Mai.
After Su Jin heard her explanation, he thought he ought to take a look at the items offered inside the team’s Hell Domain. He didn’t have enough points to exchange for anything right now, but he could reserve them this time and exchange for them the next time.
Just like what Kano Mai said earlier, several of the items available here were all Spirit Power equipment. He was only offered about four or five Spirit Power equipment within his Personal Hell Domain and most of them weren’t suitable for him. On the contrary, the Team Hell Domain offered him a few dozen Spirit Power equipment. It would be much easier to find something suitable since he was given so many choices.
Besides Spirit Power equipment, the number of other helpful items were way more than what he saw in his Personal Hell Domain. There were even a few that made him regret getting some of the things he did earlier.
“Wait a minute. This is…this is a High Level Body Strengthening Elixir?” Su Jin noticed this item and his eyes widened. Was this just a coincidence? He got the Mid Level one through a lucky draw earlier, and now, the High Level one was being offered here.
“Oh, that’s not very useful. But if you’ve got extra points to spare, you could get that,” said Kano Mai after she glanced at it.
“It’s not very useful? Why not?” Su Jin didn’t understand.
“That’s because you need to get the Low Level and the Mid Level ones before you can consume the High Level one, otherwise you could exchange for it but you wouldn’t be able to use it at all. It’s also very rare for these body strengthening elixirs to appear in the point exchange menu. I’ve heard that some have gone through 20 or 30 Challenges and never came across this item,” said Kano Mai.
Su Jin scratched his head. He had always been an unlucky fellow, and the fact that he had been chosen to enter the Handbook’s world was proof of that. But it seemed like he was lucky in this aspect.
“So, if you never come across a body strengthening elixir, does that mean that an owner will never be able to strengthen his body?” asked Su Jin.
She shook her head and said, “That’s not necessarily true. Body strengthening elixirs are just the fastest and more efficient way for one to strengthen your body, but it’s not the only way. Both the Challenge itself and one’s Personal Hell Domain will offer owners the chance to strengthen your body. For example, you could spend some points on doing some training. These other methods are just slower in building you up, that’s all.”
Su Jin felt enlightened suddenly and thought further along this line. “If I want to strengthen my body to the point where it feels like I’ve taken a High Level Body Strengthening Elixir, how many Challenges would that take?”
“Er…I’m not really sure about that. But I’ve never met any owner at that level yet, so I suppose it must be very difficult to reach that point!” Kano Mai had no definite answer to his question and could only shake her head and make a guess.
Su Jin immediately reserved the High Level Body Strengthening Elixir. Unlike a Personal Hell Domain, each member of the team could reserve one item in a Team Hell Domain and it wouldn’t count against the items he had already reserved in his Personal Hell Domain.
When Kano Mai noticed that Su Jin had reserved the High Level Body Strengthening Elixir without hesitation, a thought struck her mind as she said, “Jin, you mean you…?”
“Oh! Well, I got pretty lucky two times in a row and got both the Low Level and Mid Level ones. I don’t have enough points for this High Level one, so I thought I’d just reserve it first. It’s just that 6000 points is really a lot!” said Su Jin with a sigh as he glanced at the price of the item. This was way higher than the price he had paid for the two lower level elixirs.
“Team leader-sama!” Kano Mai suddenly hugged Su Jin and even kissed him on the cheek, which made him both dazed and confused at the same time.
“Sorry! I’m just really so happy to hear this! You’ve been really lucky!” Kano Mai quickly let go of him when she saw his awkward expression and stuck her tongue out in embarrassment before hooking his arm again.
“Yeah, I guess! Haha…” Su Jin wasn’t sure how to react. A girl had never come this close to him like that before.
But Kano Mai looked at him seriously. “You’ve been really lucky,” she reiterated. “It’s really useful to have a physically strong member in the team. I’ve met owners who were so strong that even bullets couldn’t kill them. Such people are practically invincible in Challenges that involve modern weaponry.”
“I could be bulletproof?!” Then again, Blackie did say that his body was now comparable to Captain America’s. In that case, as long as no weapon managed to hit his vital organs, it would be very difficult to kill him. And if he did manage to get his hands on that High Level Body Strengthening Elixir, his physical body might really become invincible.
“You’ve got to work hard to get this High Level Body Strengthening Elixir! That way, we’ll be able to ace the modern technology Challenges!” She pumped her fists in support of Su Jin.
He laughed and reminded her, “I’m pretty sure the Handbook isn’t going to let us become invincible. I’m sure there’s some way to kill even the most physically strong without the use of supernatural powers.”
“Tsk, Jin, you don’t have a girlfriend, huh,” Kano Mai suddenly asked with a wry smile on her face.
“Wha-? Yeah, I don’t.”
“No wonder!” she laughed.
He blinked a few times before realizing what she was driving at. He just laughed bitterly before moving to the next topic. “I’m thinking of exchanging some points for training time. What would you suggest?”
“How many points do you have left?”
“50.” His shoulders drooped sadly. He had finished using all the points he gained from this Challenge and the leftover from the previous Challenge was almost all gone too.
“What sort of training do you want?”
“I want to train myself in martial arts and shooting.” Su Jin’s body was now stronger than the average human, so he wasn’t going to let that go to waste. Learning martial arts was definitely a good way to make use of this strong body. At the same time, he needed to learn how to shoot a gun now that he had Black Fire on hand.
After thinking about it for a while, Kano Mai said, “You should go for the martial arts training. I can teach you how to shoot. My friend owns a shooting range in S City, so we can go there to practice.”
“How is that possible? Guns are outlawed in my country,” said Su Jin with a puzzled look on his face. He came from a country with extremely strict gun laws, so nobody found it profitable to run a shooting range since nobody could own guns.
“I didn’t say my friend was some ordinary person on the street,” said Kano Mai with a smile. “Well then, I’ll see ya later!”
Kano Mai turned and walked through the black hole to return to her own Personal Hell Domain while Su Jin also returned to his own Personal Hell Domain to exchange points for training.
“I want to exchange points for martial arts training!” His surroundings instantly transformed into a traditional looking martial arts school. The floor was lined with linen carpets and calligraphy of martial arts related phrases were hung on the walls.
“Please choose a coach!” said Blackie as a telephone booth appeared before Su Jin’s eyes. He walked closer to the telephone booth and a shadow of a man appeared within the booth.
“What on earth…is Superman going to teach me martial arts?” Su Jin nearly rolled his eyes.
“The Handbook will provide a coach according to the type of martial arts you want to be trained in, but if your attributes are too poor or you do not satisfy certain requirements that the coach has, the coach may refuse to teach you,” said Blackie.
“Oh? So what types of martial arts can I choose from?” asked Su Jin.
“You can choose anything from cudgel techniques, spearing techniques, boxing, kicking techniques, Thai boxing, kickboxing and more. The Handbook has several coaches for each type of martial arts,” Blackie explained.
“I want to learn how to use a stealth weapon. Who should I learn from?” Su Jin had exchanged his points for what was basically a throwing star, so he had to maximize what it could do for him. In other words, he had to learn how to throw it unnoticeably but accurately.
“Here is the list of coaches you can learn from. Please pick a name. Please bear in mind that if you are not good enough for the coach, the coach has the right to refuse to teach you.”
A long string of names appeared on the glass of the telephone booth and Su Jin looked through the list carefully. He didn’t know most of the names here, but the few he did know made his jaw drop in shock.
“Li Xunhuan1(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiaoli_Feidao#Novels)] …Xiaolongnu2(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiaolongn%C3%BC)] … Zhang Qing3(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhang_Qing_(Featherless_Arrow))] …the head of the Tangmen…is it that same Tangmen I’m thinking about?!4(https://owlcation.com/humanities/A-Wuxia-Glossary#:~:text=Tangmen%20(%E5%94%90%E9%97%A8)%3A%20Also,many%20deadly%20and%20unearthly%20anqi)] Su Qianxue?! From Furious Sword, Mad Flowers?!5” Su Jin gawked at the names he actually recognized. These were superstars in the world of stealth weapons.
“Well, even though the Little Li Flying Dagger6(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiaoli_Feidao#Weapon)] isn’t really a stealth weapon per se, Li Xunhuan is a truly admirable character, so I’ll choose Li Xunhuan!” Su Jin didn’t hesitate any further. The Little Li Flying Dagger wasn’t always used in secret, but it was even more dangerous and mysterious than an actual stealth weapon. There were book critics that even claimed that this weapon was some sort of clairvoyant weapon because the target would die the moment it was thrown.
After making this decision, a light flashed in the telephone booth. A handsome man slowly opened the booth door and walked out.
[Li Xunhuan ↩️
[Zhang Qing ↩️
There's nothing in English on this, but basically this character appears in two of Gu Long’s wuxia novels, Lover’s Arrow (actually written by Gu Long) and Furious Sword, Mad Flowers (written by a ghostwriter). TLDR Su Qianxue was a beautiful but scheming woman who created a poisonous arrow that could be shot secretly (using Tangmen invented technology) and it could send her ex-lovers (who were all high level martial artists) into a daze, thereby making them easy targets for killing. ↩️
[Little Li Flying Dagger ↩️
Vincent Chiao, Taiwanese actor who played a bunch of famous characters in TV dramas based on wuxia novels in the 1990s, including Li Xunhuan ↩️
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