Anubis was the ancient Egyptian god of the dead, often appearing as a man with a jackal’s head, and enjoyed a very important place in Egyptian myths. And now, one of his fingers was inside this man’s Handbook.
Su Jin was more concerned about the part where the description said that this finger could lead an owner to Anubis’ mausoleum. If taken literally, this item would lead him straight to Anubis himself.
“What is this part about leading an owner into Anubis’ mausoleum about? What…what does that mean?” asked Su Jin puzzledly.
The man blinked in surprise at this question and he quickly realized that all the members of Su Jin’s team were staring at him blankly as well. “Oh! None of you have run into something like that before, I see. To put it simply, if you complete a Challenge and get a grade better than an A, you’ll get a prize similar to this.”
“Better than an A?” Su Jin raised an eyebrow. He remembered how the Gift from the Gods was graded as an Earth Level item. So, there were other aspects that were given grades beyond A to D.
“That’s right. Since none of you seem to know, I’ll explain this for free.” The man took the cigar out of his mouth, thought about how to explain this clearly, then said, “After you complete a Challenge, you’ll get a review of your performance. I don’t have to explain this to you, right?”
“Of course. But we’ve never gotten a grade better than an A before,” said Su Jin with a nod.
“Indeed, such a situation is hard to come by. You have to complete a Challenge perfectly, and that’s only possible if you get a Level D or a simple Level C Challenge. If you get a Level B and above Challenge, it’s pretty much impossible.”
“But if you do complete a Challenge perfectly and get a perfect score on it, Hell’s Handbook will give the owner a Guiding Object, like this Finger of Anubis. What a Guiding Object does is to send an owner to a place where a Challenge has happened before,” explained the man slowly.
Su Jin nodded and said, “But that’s still very dangerous, isn’t it? The Challenge is over, but many of these places remain very dangerous. If someone is sent there all by themselves, it would be very hard for him to deal with any dangers.”
The man nodded and smiled. “Your worries are valid, but that’s the good part about these Guiding Objects. If an owner runs into a situation where his life is endangered, the Guiding Object will pull the owner out of that place, unless…unless the owner himself is unwilling to leave.”
“But why? Why would someone risk their life like that?” Chu Yi asked with a confused expression on his face.
“It’s not hard to understand why one would do that. If whatever the owner is looking for is more important than his own life, then it would make sense for him to risk his life to get that item,” said Su Jin.
The man nodded again. “That’s right. There will always be some precious items that people are willing to risk their lives for out there. Guiding Objects are just there to lead the owner to the right place. If the owner’s will is strong enough and refuses to leave, the Guiding Object will not go against the owner’s wishes.”
“Got it. So, what item inside Anubis’ mausoleum is able to boost one’s soul power?” asked Su Jin.
The man flipped through his Handbook and showed Su Jin a different page. The item shown on this page was a bright red liquid. It resembled blood, but the color was a little more striking.
“Blood of the Heart’s Soul. Legend has it that the heart is actually where the soul lives. After one dies, one drop of Blood of the Heart’s Soul will flow from the heart. It carries a large amount of soul power, and there are rumors that this is the core of every new soul the god of the dead makes.”
“Anubis’ mausoleum has this liquid and I got one drop the last time,” explained the man.
“Oh? Could you sell that drop to us?” asked Su Jin immediately. If he could get one drop right now, either Kano Mai or Yang Mo could use it and they could see how effective it was.
But the man shook his head. “I’m sorry, but I’ve already used it. If you want any, you’d have to pay Anubis’ mausoleum a visit.”
Su Jin didn’t even hesitate and immediately agreed to this exchange. But he had no idea how this worked, so once the older man confirmed with Su Jin that he wanted to go ahead, the man stacked their Handbooks on top of each other.
“You just need to think about which item you’re exchanging and what you’re exchanging it for,” instructed the man.
“Exchange done!” The two Handbooks emitted a glow. The man took his Handbook and told Su Jin to open his to check.
Su Jin saw that his Handbook now contained the Finger of Anubis, while the other man’s Handbook now contained a leaf from the Tree of Life.
“It works so simply? What if I’m thinking of exchanging my item for something more valuable than what we agreed? What would happen then?” Chu Yi asked.
The man stuffed his cigar back into his mouth and laughed. “If the two parties are not thinking of the same items, the exchange will not happen. Also, don’t you dare try anything sneaky like that. The boss of this bar is not one to be trifled with!”
“Thank you so much! How do I address you?” Su Jin asked the man.
But he got up and waved his hands about. “Never mind what my name is. Once you know someone’s name, you’ll start a relationship with that person and form an attachment. But the world of the Handbook is a place where you could die anytime. Someday, we might walk in here again and realize that the friends we used to know are no longer around and we’ll only make ourselves sad for nothing. We’ll see each other again if we’re fated to!”
“By the way, that Finger of Anubis was from a Level C Challenge, so whoever you pick to go to Anubis’ mausoleum…you’d better be mentally prepared for that.”
He then turned and walked away. Yang Mo watched the man walk away and laughed. “What a deep guy! But he’s right about one thing. Knowing too many people within the Handbook’s universe isn’t always a good thing.”
Su Jin didn’t disagree. But at least now they had something that could help them to get an item that would boost soul power. The five of them continued sitting in the bar for quite a while, but nobody came forward to offer them any deal. It wasn’t that easy to get information even though so many experienced owners were gathered here.
But going through an item exchange with another owner did seem a lot more worth it compared to just getting information from the boss. Besides adding something new to what they already knew, information from the boss did little else.
“Please be reminded that time in Hell’s Bar flows at the same rate as the real world,” their personal bartender suddenly spoke up.
Chu Yi jumped up instantly. “WHAT?! CRAP!! I’ve got an exam this afternoon! I’m doomed!!”
“If you go back now, you might still be in time to hand in your blank script!” said Yang Mo as he sniggered.
Su Jin was surprised that the flow of time in Hell’s Bar was the same as the real world. He said to Chu Yi, “It’s alright, I’ll go to Anubis’ mausoleum myself.”
Chu Yi fell silent for a moment, then nodded. He and Su Jin were the team’s most formidable members and it would be safer for one with Spirit Power to go to such a please. Since Su Jin was the team leader and he had made this decision, Chu Yi didn’t argue with him.
“Alright then, I’ll help the next time!” said Chu Yi.
The five of them waved each other goodbye and returned to their own universes. Su Jin and Kano Mai also reappeared in their house. Su Jin decided to use this Finger of Anubis immediately, since there was nothing else he needed to prepare and his body was in good shape.
Kano Mai looked worriedly at Su Jin and said, “You’re going all by yourself to a place where a Challenge took place. This really sounds way too dangerous. Why don’t you put this aside for the time being?”
“When did you become the type to procrastinate? Don’t worry, if the situation gets really dangerous, I’ll come back.” Su Jin smiled at her and retrieved the Finger of Anubis from his Handbook. As per the instructions provided, he crushed the finger and disappeared immediately, leaving behind one very worried Kano Mai.
Meanwhile, in B City, Situ Jin sat by himself in his office. The word “annoyed” was written all over his face. Bo Ya had just informed him that Xu Ran was refusing to meet him because he had gone into seclusion.
“Xu Ran, you’re still such an escapist!” Situ Jin knew this childhood friend of his very well. Whenever Xu Ran couldn’t resolve something, he would immediately run from the problem. Situ Jin couldn’t believe he was still the same even after so many years.
Unfortunately, Xu Ran was no ordinary man. Since he had declared that he was going into seclusion at the temple and could not be disturbed, Situ Jin couldn’t do anything about it despite being the head of the Department of Supernatural Affairs. In fact, not a single person in the entire country was allowed to disturb Xu Ran while he was in seclusion.
Situ Jin looked at his Handbook on the table. Nobody else could see it at all. He was feeling very conflicted right now.
As far as he could remember, he had gotten to know Xu Ran from his first day at the orphanage. He had heard that Xu Ran had been abandoned immediately after he was born. But Situ Jin’s case was different. He had been sent to the orphanage only when he turned seven. He had gone through different things and had a different dream altogether.
Situ Jin saw himself as the country’s guardian. His existence was to make sure that any mysterious forces that could not be controlled were extinguished before they became too big to handle. He didn’t think the country needed mutants or supernatural occurrences. The country needed peace.
The last thing Situ Jin had expected was to become the very sort of creature he hated the most. This caused him great inner turmoil.
But as he looked at the faint glow around his Handbook, he suddenly seemed to have sorted out something in his mind and a smile spread across his lips.
“As the saying goes, fight fire with fire. Perhaps…perhaps the heavens have allowed me to become such a person precisely to help me rein in their powers!” Situ Jin suddenly felt like he had found his direction in life again as he gripped his Handbook tightly with a rather frightening look on his face.
The Handbook seemed to respond to Situ Jin as the glow around it became brighter. Situ Jin and the Handbook then disappeared from his office as Situ Jin began his second Challenge.
Su Jin stood atop a high platform and looked at the countless monsters in front of him. He didn’t seem to have come at a very good time – these monsters looked like they were gathered for some special purpose.
“Would you believe me if I said I got an invitation to this party?” said Su Jin with an awkward laugh.
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