Hell's Handbook

Chapter 372
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Chapter 372

The primordial deities of the first universe had created Hell’s Handbook, but Kano Mai was the only surviving one now. She had died in countless past cycles, then was revived when a new cycle started. She technically never really died, but the continuation of her life was a form of torture to her.

“During this time… you must have felt very lonely, right?” asked Su Jin in a low voice.

But Kano Mai smiled faintly as she shook her head and said, “I had forgotten how it felt like to be lonely, but you and the team… reminded me again.”

“Oops, sorry!” Su Jin laughed bitterly. Then he said, “Since the primordial deities were the ones who created Hell’s Handbook, why are you the only one left?”

“Because we were tricked by the will of the universe.” A fiery anger filled Kano Mai’s eyes as she went on, “The reason why the will of the universe wanted a selection process wasn’t because he was hoping to preserve a few suitable civilizations. He was doing this because he was trying to find suitable lifeforms to replace the primordial deities!”

Su Jin nodded slightly and continued for her, “I get it now. The primordial deities had reached such a high point in their development, the will of the universe felt threatened, so he decided to destroy the primordial deities?”

She nodded and said, “That’s right. The primordial deities were a race that was superior to even gods, a race that could control Hell’s Handbook, and a people who could even threaten the will of the universe. But the will of the universe understood that even if he destroyed the other branch universes, new ones would grow sooner or later. That was something he couldn’t fight against.

“The will of the universe could not keep and gather all of the energy that was leaking out of the first universe. All he could do was to take back the energy of a new branch universe from time to time, which meant that he had to massacre a large number of intelligent lifeforms at once. He had the power to do that, but he was unable to do it perfectly, so there would be some incredible creatures that would escape the massacre, which became future, unseen threats. After enough cycles had passed, these lifeforms that had managed to escape death could gather together to form a faction that can threaten the will of the universe.”

“So, the will of the universe knew he needed help. He needed powerful lifeforms to help him get rid of the lifeforms that might have escaped the massacres. He needed Hell’s Handbook to gather the lifeforms with the highest potential into the framework he had prepared. But the help he definitely didn’t want was from the primordial deities!”

She nodded and said, “Right. Hell’s Handbook had created the framework for making gods, so every genius with potential would automatically strive to get themselves into this program. But once you were in, you would have reached the endpoint. You would not be able to develop yourself any further, so you would not be able to become a threat to the will of the universe, which was the aim of the will of the universe in the first place.”

The aim of the will of the universe was very simple. He lured every lifeform that might become a threat to him into the trap he had laid early on, then filed their claws down, pulled their fangs out, before assigning them their godly positions. The owners would think they had reached the pinnacle of life, becoming the lord over all forms of life.

But they did not know they had lost the chance to become something more. These geniuses no longer had the chance to become a threat to the will of the universe.

The will of the universe was able to destroy branch universes at will, so he would wait for the next time energy went out from the first universe to form a new universe, then massacre the universe before it could become a threat. The lifeforms chosen during each cycle would become the gods of the next cycle, to help the will of the universe manage the branch universes.

But at the same time, the will of the universe was also using Hell’s Handbook to create more new gods to prepare for the next cycle. The gods of the previous cycle would now be labeled as elder gods, trapped inside Challenges, to be used as instruments to train and groom new gods.

Elder gods, current gods, new gods.

They signified the start of a new cycle, its process, and its end. But from a broader point of view, they were really the same thing. The will of the universe treated all gods as trash to be eventually thrown out.

“My people did eventually uncover the will of the universe’s plan to destroy us, but we were unable to fight back by that time. The only thing we could do was to concentrate all our energies on one portion of the people.

“Our technological powers, our magical powers, our interdimensional powers… we used everything within our means, including transforming some of our people into other races, like the lava giants, for example.

“But when our final day came, we still fell into despair. Almost everything we had done had failed. Some of them had succeeded, but the gods that the will of the universe had groomed targeted them, so after a valiant battle, they died too. Only I was left… I had been transformed into an adaptive lifeform of sorts.

“My cells contain the most perfect regeneration system and the most perfect imitating system. I can live forever, and change my shape and form at the start of a new cycle. This method wasn’t seen as a good one at that time, but it has helped me to escape the massacre on my people safely, making me one of the few primordial deities who have survived.”

Su Jin asked puzzledly, “So… you weren’t actually the only one who managed to survive back then?”

“That’s right. Our population was enormous back then, and each one of us was really powerful. Some survived the first massacre like me, but the will of the universe continued to track them down. They were killed one after another over this long period of time, and I’m the only one left.”

Su Jin was taken aback. The powerful primordial deities had been powerful enough to create Hell’s Handbook, yet they had met such a tragic end, with Kano Mai being their only survivor.

“That is the secret of the universe, the secret of Hell’s Handbook. Knowing all this… are you sure you still want to go down this path?” asked Kano Mai with a sigh as she looked at Su Jin.

Su Jin knew why Kano Mai was sighing. As a primordial deity that could respawn again and again, as long as she wasn’t discovered and hunted down, she could survive cycle after cycle. But not him. If he went down on the path he wanted, he might die in a matter of days.

If he didn’t choose this path, he might be able to live for a longer time, but new gods would eventually become elder gods too. One day, he would get trapped within Hell’s Handbook to be used as a tool to train and groom a new batch of owners from the new cycle.

Either way, Kano Mai felt that she was going to have to watch her team leader head toward tragedy. Su Jin suddenly understood the sort of attitude the Mad Hatter and the Demon Lord had. Perhaps they were seeking life in a desperate situation, or perhaps they were trying to live their last days in peace. Either way, they were destined to end in tragedy like himself.

“Others have gone down this path too, haven’t they?” asked Su Jin with a faint smile.

Kano Mai nodded. She waved a hand past Su Jin’s face to create a screen of light that flashed images of noble characters from the past.

“It’s not easy to discover this path in the first place, and not everyone who discovers it has the courage to take it. The first one to discover it and go down this path was this man. His name at that time was Pangu!”

“That’s a god to the Chinese!” Su Jin exclaimed.

“That’s right. The Chinese on Earth are descendants of Pangu. But Pangu failed,” Kano Mai shook her head as the image on the screen flickered. She continued, “The Yellow Emperor, Shennong, the Jiutian Xuannü, Yu the Great all took this path, then… failed in the end.

“Allah, God, Zeus… Other civilizations had equally fearless, brave people. They came from different civilizations and spoke different languages, but they made the same choice in their pursuit of freedom. But in the end… they all failed.

“Every person you see here was a great person who chose this path. Some made it quite far, some met their end shortly after they started. But either way, they all failed. The will of the universe still exists and he controls the start and end of every cycle. So many of such people have come and gone… you are the newest one, but I’m afraid… you won’t be the last.” Kano Mai was quite pessimistic about Su Jin’s future. She had great faith in him, but she had seen how people stronger than Su Jin had also failed. That was the reality of the situation.

Su Jin watched the images flash past. They included humans, other creatures, monsters – just like what Kano Mai said, these brilliant lifeforms had chosen this path too, but they had all failed.

Su Jin had felt fearful and helpless too, but after looking through the stories of the people before him, he felt at peace instead. He said to Kano Mai, “These people had been forced to make the same choice as me when they decided to take this path. So… I have decided to walk down this path like they did.”

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