Su Jin knew that Anubis was a god that was worshipped by a great civilization, and yet when Anubis stood in front of him, he didn’t really feel that much pressure. In fact, he felt even less pressure here when compared to standing before the Mad Hatter and Pinocchio. Perhaps despite being the god of the dead, it had not reached the level of the elder gods within the Handbook world.
“Living soul, what is your purpose in coming here?” asked Anubis in a deep voice. He held a scepter in his hand and his muscular body seemed even more imposing in the dim light.
“I’m looking for Blood of the Heart’s Soul. Please give it to me,” Su Jin said directly. Since this god was willing to talk, Su Jin was happy to settle this matter without having to fight.
Anubis was initially surprised, then it hit the ground hard with its scepter before barking fiercely, “How dare you! Do you know what the Blood of the Heart’s Soul is?”
“It’s the main ingredient in creating new souls,” said Su Jin. He remembered what the older man in Hell’s Bar had told him.
“Since you know that, then you must also know that it is vital to my role as the god of the dead. How could I possibly give that to you?” said Anubis.
Su Jin knew it wasn’t going to be that easy to get this item, so he explained patiently, “I have two friends whose souls are about to wither if left alone, so I need this Blood of the Heart’s Soul to boost their soul power. Please, I only need two drops! I really hope you can give these two drops to me!”
“Humph! As I said, the Blood of the Heart’s Soul is vital to my role. Every drop counts!” said Anubis very sternly.
But he added, “However…if you are able to redeem yourself, I could give you one drop.”
“That is correct. Redeem yourself by atoning for your own sins and I will give you one drop of the Blood of the Heart’s Soul,” said Anubis.
It suddenly pointed its scepter at Su Jin and warned him, “I also need to remind you that even though you are much more powerful than an ordinary person, you are still no match for me. If you attempt to snatch the Blood of the Heart’s Soul from me, I will strike you down.”
Anubis thumped its scepter on the ground again, causing the entire place to shake. The sort of pressure Su Jin felt from Anubis was no greater than the elder gods, but it was greater than Prince Charming from the Fairytales of Horror.
Su Jin paused for a moment. Just like what Anubis said, trying to fight Anubis for the item he wanted was unlikely to work, so he had no choice but to give this self-redemption thing a shot.
“Alright then! I’ll go through this self-redemption.” The Finger of Anubis would transport him back to the real world if he was in a life threatening situation, so he wasn’t really too worried about this.
Anubis gave a pleased nod and waved its arm. Something came flying towards Su Jin from the back, taking away his Gold Armor, his Demon Lord’s Longbow, the Gift from the Gods and even all the clothes on his back before he even realized what was going on. All he was left with was a terrible pain in his back.
“You need not worry. You have agreed to go through self-redemption, so your weapons and clothing have been hidden temporarily. Once you complete this process, they will appear again,” said Anubis slowly.
Su Jin had already fallen to his knees from the pain in his back. The pain seemed to reach deep into his very bones. The pain subsided slightly after a while, so he tried his best to touch his back, only to feel something cold and hard there.
Anubis raised a finger and a mirror appeared before Su Jin, showing him what was actually on his back.
A metal chain had been stabbed directly into his back and was chained to his spinal cord. That was why the pain was so excruciating.
“What’s this?” Su Jin asked Anubis.
“These are sins. Every person in the world has sins. Minor sins weigh 5,000 kilograms, while major sins weigh 50,000 kilograms. These sins are now stuck to your back. Do you see that door over there? If you make through that door, you will be free of all your sins.” Anubis pointed to a glowing door that was a few hundred meters away from Su Jin.
“And now, your journey of self-redemption will begin. I hope you’ll be successful in cleansing yourself of all sins.” Anubis slowly retreated and disappeared into the darkness.
Su Jin didn’t have anything on himself at all besides that chain that represented sin on his back. He looked around but there was nothing but darkness.
He tried to move forward, but it was as if he had reached the end of the chain and it did not allow him to move forward at all. He tried his best but it seemed as though he didn’t have strength at all. He felt like a helpless baby. After physical strength failed him, he tried using his psychokinesis, but that failed to do anything too.
“Where’s my Handbook?” Su Jin suddenly realized that his Handbook was gone as well.
“How did things turn out this way?!” Su Jin began to feel uneasy. Was his Handbook also hidden away because he had chosen to do this?
Minor sins weighed 5,000 kilograms and major ones weighed 50,000 kilograms – all of this was on his back right now. It possibly weighed even more than a planet. He simply couldn’t move at all, never mind reach that glowing door a few hundred meters away.
“Atonement? How do I do that?” Su Jin quickly realized that he couldn’t rely on brute strength to get out of this place. He had to do something about this atonement.
Su Jin calmed down again and sat down on the floor to think about this. Time slowly ticked by. There were no seasons, day or night. He didn’t even feel hungry.
He quickly began to enter a trance of sorts. At times, he wasn’t sure if he existed at all. He would ask himself who he was, and he would then tell himself that he was Su Jin.
But when he thought about other things besides his own name, he felt even more lost.
Am I Su Jin only because I have this name? Without this name, who am I? Am I really the owner of this name? Why am I able to observe myself like I’m outside of this body?
I’m looking at this man named Su Jin, despising some of his actions and applauding others.
It felt like his soul had left his body and was just staring at his physical body.
The more time he spent thinking, the more confused he became. He slowly forgot who he was, forgot why he had come here, his soul just shaking his head in confusion.
This was actually a very dangerous state to be in. A person’s understanding of themselves was a result of not only his name, but also his actions, relationships and many other factors combined together. It was said that some astronauts lost their understanding of themselves after being isolated for too long without any communication with the outside world.
Su Jin was in a very similar situation now. This place was even more empty yet claustrophobic compared to outer space. The words “atonement” and “redemption” ringing in his head made Su Jin feel even more lost even faster.
“Atonement! Atonement! Atonement!” Su Jin murmured to himself. He seemed to have forgotten everything else but this word. He had to remember what his goal was. That was the only way he could find himself again.
“Every person in the world has sins. In that case…is every god of this world sinless?” Su Jin suddenly came up with this question. He had seen gods, elder gods and demigods.
The Demon Lord had killed so many people in an instant with no regard for human life, creating the Fengxi Town Challenge, which became a place for Hell’s Handbook to torture owners.
Prince Charming was a demigod who was so desperate to attain godhood that he killed even more people than the Demon Lord did. And after the Demon Lord egged him on, Prince Charming even wanted to swallow the entire World of Fairytales just to fulfil his own desire to become a god. Weren’t these deeds that clearly disregarded other forms of life a sin too?
Sinless humans only existed in an ideal world, while sinless gods only existed in stories. They were in a high and lofty position and therefore worshipped by many. But if there were no demons, there would be no Buddha; if there were no light, there would be no shadows!
Every yin had a yang, so similarly, as Su Jin sat on the ground, his soul was the complement to his body, his beliefs as opposed to his desires. Everything existed because the other did as well. There were no coins with tails on both sides, just like there were no coins with heads on both sides.
“If everyone were good, then how can good be defined? If everyone were evil, then how can evil be defined?” Su Jin’s soul muttered as he continued examining his body. At the same time, his body remained seated on the ground, chanting the word “atonement” over and over. The two Su Jins remained facing each other this way, one standing and one seated, as if they were trying to engage in a debate.
“I see!” Su Jin’s soul suddenly shouted loud. His shout was as ear deafening as thunder and carried great authority.
“Why the need to atone for sins?” Su Jin’s body opened his eyes with a start. His voice was faint like the gentle rains of spring, like he was just stating facts.
Su Jin stood up to look into the distance. He could see his other self standing in the darkness.
They smiled at each other. One was Su Jin’s soul and the other was Su Jin’s body. They walked towards each other, took each other’s hands and a flash of light shone as both body and soul became one. The new Su Jin was once again clothed in his Gold Armor, his Gift from the Gods and held the Demon Lord’s Longbow in his hand. His presence was dazzling in the darkness.
He took wide strides towards the glowing door and walked right through it. After that, Su Jin finally really opened his eyes. His journey of self-redemption had ended.
“We had an agreement!” Su Jin stretched his hands towards Anubis. Anubis had been standing there all along, quietly watching Su Jin’s journey.
Anubis tapped the air gently and a drop of red appeared in the air. Su Jin quickly opened his Handbook and caught that drop of the Blood of the Heart’s Soul.
“I seem to have vaguely caught a glimpse of the future, but the future does not belong to me. As a god, I should not have such troubles. Are you able to resolve these questions for me?” Anubis suddenly asked Su Jin.
But Su Jin shook his head helplessly. “I’m sorry, but I think I have even more questions than you do.”
Anubis was a little disappointed, but Su Jin added, “But I believe that nothing in the future is fixed. As long as you have faith, you’ll definitely have a place in the future!”
Anubis stared blankly at Su Jin for a moment and laughed sadly in response. But there was a sparkle in its eye now.
At the same time, Su Jin slowly faded into the darkness.
Countless people had gone through Anubis’ world. Su Jin was merely one of them.
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