Su Jin had quite a bit of Demon Lord Spirit Power left, but now, he had one more consideration to make before using it again. He had to find out how he could best use the Demon Lord Spirit Power to his advantage.
As he was thinking about these things, two figures came running out from another portal door. The two of them looked terribly exhausted. It was Chu Yi and his partner.
“How are you two? Are you guys hurt?” Su Jin asked Chu Yi. He didn’t have to ask about whether they got the treasure because he could see a red jacket in Chu Yi’s hands.
Chu Yi panted heavily as he shook his head. “Good god that was terrifying! I’m going to be very scared of all these lolita looking girls from now on!”
“Was the Little Red Riding Hood very hard to deal with?” asked Gu Ming curiously.
Chu Yi immediately nodded and shivered slightly as he said, “The Little Red Riding Hood was alright, actually. The problem was dealing with her after she had transformed, and she transformed not once, but twice!”
“What do you mean?” Gu Ming was a little confused.
The other girl started explaining, “After we entered the story, we didn’t run into any dangers and we found the Little Red Riding Hood rather quickly too. In fact, she was very willing to hand her jacket over to us. But…once she gave us the jacket, she instantly turned into the hunter!”
Su Jin and his two companions widened their eyes as they heard how odd this other fairytale had also become.
Chu Yi picked up from there, “The hunter wasn’t really too bad, actually. It took quite a bit of time but I eventually killed him off. But once the hunter died, the wolf leaped out of his stomach! This wolf’s attacks could cause a lot of damage and nothing could hurt it besides my Spirit Power. We were chased down like a pair of criminals!”
Judging from how exhausted Chu Yi looked, Su Jin guessed that the wolf must have been really tough to handle. Otherwise, there was no reason why a veteran would end up looking so worn out.
“So, how did both of you get rid of the wolf?” Gu Ming asked.
The girl shook her head and said, “We didn’t get rid of the wolf. We just kept running and running and eventually spotted a bright light that looked like a portal door, so we ran right out and got back here.”
They continued chatting while waiting for the other two teams to return, but even after waiting for three days, Kano Mai’s and Yang Mo’s teams didn’t come back.
Su Jin became anxious. Could something have happened to them? He tried to walk into the portal door leading into the story of Snow White, but the door refused to let him in. The Challenge was ongoing and nobody else was allowed to enter at this juncture.
“Brother Su…do you think they’re alright?” asked Chu Yi worriedly.
Su Jin shook his head and furrowed his brows as he started regretting his decision to split the group this way. Splitting the group made completing the Challenge more efficient, but the risks were also higher. He initially thought that a Level C Challenge wouldn’t be too difficult for old timers like Kano Mai and Yang Mo, but it was clear that he had underestimated the Challenge.
“We can’t just sit here and wait. Even if Mai and the rest can’t complete their missions, I think they would still be able to come back alive. So, instead of just waiting around, why don’t we try the other fairytales? That way…that way, even if Mai and the rest never come back, the rest of us will complete the Challenge.” It was impractical to hope that everyone would make it out of a Challenge alive, after all.
In fact, Su Jin was already mentally prepared that he might lose his teammates in a future Challenge. But that didn’t mean he just resigned his team to that fate. He would still put in his best efforts to protect his teammates. However, there was only so much he could do, so he could only try his very best.
Since he couldn’t help Kano Mai and Yang Mo directly, the only thing he could do right now was to search for the other treasures from the other fairytales. The others had no opinion on Su Jin’s decision.
After some discussion, they decided to enter the story of Cinderella. This time, Su Jin didn’t split them into two groups. The fact that Kano Mai and Yang Mo’s teams still hadn’t come back told him it was better that all of them moved together.
They walked through the portal door and found themselves standing in the midst of a bustling city. The people here wore similar clothing to the people in the Little Mermaid story, so Ning Meng got clothes from her Wardrobe of Wonders for everyone again. It seemed as though she could retrieve clothes from this Wardrobe infinitely, and eventually everyone had a set of suitable clothing.
Su Jin, Gu Ming and Ning Meng kept away the armor they got from the Little Mermaid story into their Handbooks, and Su Jin also kept his Triton’s cloak away.
“I’ll just recap the story for everyone, alright?” Even though Su Jin was pretty sure that everyone knew this story, he decided to go through it anyway.
“Cinderella is a Grimm Brothers story, and it’s basically the story of a kind girl who gets abused by her stepmother. A fairy godmother helped her to get a chance to attend the ball at the palace and caught the prince’s eye. But because the effects of the fairy godmother’s magic started wearing off, Cinderella ran off before the effect wore off completely, leaving a glass slipper behind.”
“The prince went around looking for Cinderella with that glass slipper. Many women who hoped to marry the prince for materialistic reasons thought of all sorts of ways to fit their feet into the glass slipper, with some going as far as to chop their heel off. But all fairytales end well – the prince eventually found Cinderella, the stepmother was punished, while Cinderella and Prince Charming lived happily ever after.”
Chu Yi paused to think, then said, “Since we need Cinderella’s glass slipper, I suppose we need to head for the palace?”
“That’s not necessarily true. If the story has come to the part where the prince is looking for her, then we’ll have to get one side from the prince and I’m afraid we might have to get the one that’s with Cinderella as well. If she hasn’t gone for the banquet yet, then we just need to look for Cinderella,” said Su Jin.
Everyone nodded but they gave up on attempting to look for Cinderella. It was going to be quite hard to track down a young lady secretly being abused by her stepmother in such a big city.
In the end, they decided to just head for the palace directly. Along the way, Su Jin noticed several noticeboards but there weren’t a lot of people walking around. Upon closer inspection, the few people walking around were all male.
“That’s really strange.” Su Jin was a firm believer that no anomaly happened without a reason. This couldn’t be happening for no good reason.
Su Jin approached one of the noticeboards and realized that the language used here was the same as the one in the Little Mermaid’s story, so he didn’t have to make use of his Translation Watch again. But after he read the notices, he finally understood why there wasn’t a single woman in sight.
The notices read: Summoning all women to the palace to try on a glass slipper. Any woman whose foot fits the glass slipper will become the prince’s wife!
The content of the notice was very simple but Su Jin still found it strange. Even if there was a summon for all women to head to the palace, did it seriously include every woman regardless of age? If that was the case, this prince must have some really strange fetishes…
“Well, given how our fairytales were distorted and made more evil than we remember them to be, this isn’t completely impossible either,” said Chu Yi with a sad laugh.
But it didn’t take long for Su Jin’s group to become part of this problem. A group of soldiers representing the prince stopped them and said that all women had to go to the palace right now, including Ning Meng as well as Liu Jingjing, the girl paired with Chu Yi earlier. They were to report to the palace right away to try on that glass slipper.
Su Jin and the rest didn’t put up a fight and followed the soldiers to the palace. Once they entered the palace, the soldiers proceeded to escort the two ladies towards a different part of the palace.
“Be careful!” Su Jin instructed the two of them before the group was split up.
Su Jin and the other two boys were allowed to take a rest and Su Jin immediately noticed something amiss. He spotted someone familiar – the scrivener from the Little Mermaid story was here too.
“Either all the officials in the stories are identical, or…these two stories’ universes are connected!” Su Jin realized that they might be in trouble if that scrivener noticed himself and Gu Ming.
Gu Ming had clearly discovered this problem as well, so he kept throwing worried glances at Su Jin. Su Jin nodded slightly and motioned to him not to do anything. The scrivener slowly strolled towards them and suddenly flashed a smile at Su Jin.
“Hello, gentlemen! What a surprise to see you two here!” said the scrivener with a mirthless smile.
“Now!” Su Jin shouted loudly. The scrivener clearly recognized them, which meant that all of this could be a trap. There was no point in trying to pretend that they didn’t know the scrivener.
Chu Yi reacted the quickest and thrust a palm out towards the scrivener’s face. But a layer of green sparkles immediately surrounded the scrivener and Chu Yi’s attack completely failed.
“Double Qi Thrust, HAA!” Chu Yi gave a low shout as he threw a punch with Spirit Power, which broke through the green sparkles around the scrivener.
“Attack of the Demon Lord!” Su Jin retrieved his Boning Knife and used its skill without hesitation in hope of killing off this scrivener as quickly as possible.
The scrivener didn’t expect Su Jin and Chu Yi to attack him so aggressively at once. He didn’t even get the chance to escape and was sliced into half by Su Jin’s attack instead.
“Die!” The scrivener had already been sliced into two, but managed one last angry roar just before dying. His body turned into nothing but green sparkles and exploded on the spot.
Su Jin and Chu Yi were too close to the explosion and didn’t have time to get away. But just then, a layer of dust suddenly rose and formed a protective barrier around them. Gu Ming had made use of a magic scroll to protect the two of them.
After the impact of the explosion had faded, the protective barrier fell apart and they realized they were now surrounded by a large group of soldiers. But as long as none of the soldiers were as powerful as the scrivener, the three of them could deal with them easily.
“Come on, we’ve got to go! I’m afraid that Ning Meng and Jingjing are in trouble!” said Su Jin as he dashed out first. The soldiers were no match for Su Jin’s swift, nimble and strong body and his razor sharp Boning Knife, so Su Jin slashed a path through them in no time. After all, if trying to get the treasure the clever way didn’t work, then they would have to use force!
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