The three of them climbed down the mountain wall to the bottom.
Ren Ze wondered, “After the spider silk ladder is opened, it is only one per cycle, right? Now that it is broken, we can’t climb the spider silk ladder to Paradise?”
Xie Chi nodded.
Ren Ze frowned. “However, if the problem of the people isn’t resolved then it is almost impossible for us to go up when the spider silk ladder grows again in the next reincarnation. The old things will repeat themselves.”
“There are two methods,” Xie Chi spoke lightly.
Ren Ze looked at him.
“The first is to win. No matter how hard you try, only one person can enter Paradise. If this person has a lot of luck then winning is possible.”
“Or we can use resources to make others give up.”
Ren Ze was slightly surprised.
Xie Chi continued, “They know that there are so many people in hell. The probability that it is them who will enter paradise is too small. A spider silk ladder will grow once every three days and it won’t grow once broken. Just because someone enters doesn’t mean there is no other chance to go in. It just means ‘no one can go in again for three days’. We just need to use a sufficient amount of energy to exchange with them so they give up contending during those three days. They need energy if they want to survive. Survival is before Paradise.”
Xie Chi glanced at Ren Ze. “If it were you, would you like to exchange a very small probability of entering Paradise with real energy so you can survive in hell?”
Ren Ze thought carefully. “If I am an NPC and I am in the lower levels of the ladder then I would definitely be willing. It is because I lack energy and survival is the first thing. If I were an actor and my position was high then it is hard to say. If I have strength and enough energy then it doesn’t make sense to me. Going out of the movie is more important because it means my overall ranking is high.”
“Yes.” Xie Chi smiled. “Therefore, this method can only handle the group of people underneath so they don’t work together to shake the spider silk later.”
“Then how do you prevent the group that hurts others for self-interest? It is the group above who cuts the spider silk ladder.”
Xie Xinglan turned back from where he was surveying the terrain. “Go up to the top of hell.”
Ren Ze was taken aback and then expressed his confusion.
Xie Xinglan’s words were indeed a fundamental solution to the problem. As long as the people at the top and the people underneath don’t work together to break the silk ladder, there was no need to care about the group of people cutting the silk. If they cut it then they were only harming the interests of the people at the bottom. It was impossible to deprive the people at the top of their competition qualifications.
“However, everyone knows that the higher the number of floors, the higher the position on the spider silk ladder. It will definitely be harder to go up in the next cycle. No one will want to pull me…”
“Therefore, the situation isn’t optimistic.” Xie Chi confessed. “The best thing is if we find the key to open the door of Paradise in the knife mountain hell. This way, we can reach Paradise from the first layer of the eight hot hells.”
Ji Xingchen opened his eyes and found that he was floating on the sea of blood that contained some flesh and broken limbs. Obviously, he was lucky and fell into the sea of blood instead of directly on the knives. He wasn’t injured. In the living hell, the battle between prisoners would first consume energy. It was only after energy was exhausted that life was lost.
Ji Xingchen was afraid that Xie Chi would come down to find him and plunged into the disgusting blood.
He now had less energy than Ren Ze. According to the system, he would automatically fall to the next layer after a while. This was a good thing for him now. He wouldn’t be killed, wouldn’t lose energy and would get out of trouble.
Ji Xingchen stared at his mobile phone. There was a minute and a half left until he dropped to the next layer. He just had to last for this one minute and a half. He waited. A minute and a half later, nothing happened. The phone screen lit up first.
[It has been detected that the one with the lowest energy on this level has been replaced. The new person with the lowest energy will drop five minutes later.]
What was this? A delay? Five minutes later? Ji Xingchen secretly cursed.
Just then, the bloody water trembled slightly. Ji Xingchen held his breath as he looked at the blood film on the surface of the blood. The blood film was shaking so badly that it seemed like it would burst at any moment.
The shaking was becoming more and more obvious! In the midst of the thick blood, Ji Xingchen saw a big mouth.
“Ji Xingchen isn’t dead.”
Xie Chi saw the message from the app.
“I’ll kill him,” Xie Xinglan stated.
Ren Ze quickly followed Xie Xinglan. Then he turned his head and found that Xie Chi was standing still.
“What is it?”
His head was lowered as he silently stared at the phone screen with a gloomy expression.
Xie Xinglan just wanted to inquire about it when he frowned. “The ground is trembling.”
His senses were several times sharper than normal.
“What?” Xie Chi looked up.
The sea of blood and the knives were shaking. There was a slight buzzing sound and the gravel on the cliff trembled and started to roll down.
Ren Ze had an ominous feeling.
Xie Chi suddenly asked, “What are we here to do?”
“Treasure hunt,” Xie Xinglan replied quickly.
According to the two pieces of information from the stone tablet on the first layer of the hot hells, they must be able to find the key to enter Paradise from either the blood pool hell or the knife mountain hell. It wasn’t in the blood pool hell so they came here…
Xie Chi noticed something. “Quickly! Go up!”
Ren Ze was startled.
They had no objections and left the knife mountain and knee high sea of blood at the fastest speed.
Xie Xinglan easily climbed up. He pulled Xie Chi up and then the two of them went to pull Ren Ze.
“There is something!” Ren Ze was panicked.
Half of his leg was still in the blood. There was a shiny white thing swimming in the blood and it would soon touch his leg. Xie Xinglan had good sight and saw that there were vampire-like teeth. He immediately threw the sword over. The fangs opened. Just as they were about to bite Ren Ze, the sword stabbed the mouth.
Ren Ze finally climbed up and gasped. “What is that—”
His words were stuck in his throat. The sea of blood stirred rapidly like liquid in a soymilk machine. The ground trembled and the edges broke. The next second, the entire bloody sea and mountain of knives rose from the ground!
The blood from the sea of blood splashed everywhere as it covered the sky. Xie Xinglan reacted extremely quickly and pulled Xie Chi into his arms. Ren Ze was splashed with blood while Xie Xinglan’s back was also wet.
“I’m fine,” Xie Chi spoke warmly.
He cocked his head slightly and saw the situation below them. The knife mountain’s blood sea was… a living creature. It was a big porcupine-like beast with thousands of steel knives as the thorns on its back! Its lower body was soaked in the bloody water that covered a dense ring of teeth. It had countless mouths on its lower body.
Ren Ze was stunned. Xie Chi thought that everything pointed to a disaster for Ji Xingchen.
The giant monster didn’t eat the three of them. It called out angrily twice before crouching down again, changing back to its original appearance. It had obviously fallen asleep.
“How did you guess…” Ren Ze gulped, the fear remaining for a while. If it wasn’t for Xie Chi’s quick response, he would’ve been caught by it.
Xie Xinglan remembered how Xie Chi had been staring at the phone previously. He pulled out his phone, glanced at it again and his expression suddenly changed.
Ren Ze felt a lingering fear. “Isn’t this a treasure hunt? Should we continue? This thing is too terrifying. At that moment, I had a very strong hunch that it doesn’t eat energy but directly eats life. If I was bitten by it then I would undoubtedly die…”
“No.” Xie Xinglan’s expression was a bit gloomy.
Ren Ze was puzzled and glanced at Xie Chi. The two men seemed to have reached a silent agreement while he had no clue. Xie Chi calmly explained. “The app just said that since the one with the lowest energy was replaced, the drop would be delayed by five minutes.”
“Is there a problem…? It is a bit strange but it sounds normal?’
Xie Chi raised his head and smiled. “This means it is feasible for everyone to be on the same level.”
“How is that possible?” Ren Ze was stunned. This viewpoint subverted Ren Ze’s long-standing perception. He could accept that four or five people could exist on a layer for a short period of time but the idea of everyone…
It was too big and terrible.
Xie Chi continued, “Not only is it feasible but it is much easier than trying to enter Paradise. If I want to enter Paradise, bribery and fighting is indispensable. I also have to take risks to grab the key from the hands of this giant monster to open the door to the world of Paradise.”
“Yes, everyone can be on the same layer as long as the energy flows. You have forgotten. Energy can be… transferred.”
Ren Ze felt choked up.
Yes, energy was transferable. So on one layer, those with less energy could always change. Then wouldn’t the limit of three people to one layer be broken?
The premise was that the one with the most energy should transfer most of their energy to the one with less energy who was about to fall. They would take risks and become the one with the least energy. By allowing energy to flow between prisoners at all times, this situation could be achieved.
“Something is wrong.” Ren Ze finally reacted. “Let me make a hypothesis. If there are 20 people on one layer, the 17 people with the least energy will fall. No matter how we operate, we can’t make these 17 people escape the state of having the least energy all at once.”
Xie Chi’s smile was full of meaning. “Then what if these 20 people have equal energy?”
Ren Ze’s expression stiffened and his blood was cold.
The last place drop system. Then what if there was no last place? 20 people with equal energy stayed on the same level. There was no last place and no… dropping. It was entirely possible for everyone to stay in the comfortable first layer of the eight hot hells.
Ren Ze then thought of something more terrible.
“Common prosperity?” Ren Ze had a bitter expression. “Then what we are doing now is the primitive accumulation of capital.”
Xie Chi smiled. “Yes, so we have gone in the wrong direction from the beginning.”
Ren Ze’s heart was beating fiercely and quickly. “Still, the contradiction exists. Only one person in each reincarnation can enter Paradise. Even if the energy is equalized and everyone can live on the first layer of the hot hells, there is still competition between prisoners. They are competing to see who can enter Paradise in each reincarnation.”
Xie Chi smiled. “Then what if the world of Paradise doesn’t exist?”
Ren Ze broke out into a cold sweat at these words. “You… what do you mean?”
Xie Chi stood up and leaned against a rock. “In fact, it is very easy to determine. We entered hell to serve our sentence after committing sins. Then we became unable to leave the prison because we killed to survive. We can no longer leave hell and the only way out is Paradise. However, we are sinners. We have committed sins and sins are added on top of sins. It is unforgivable so how can we enter Paradise? Don’t forget, we ate people.”
“Keep pushing. The more energy you have, the heavier your sins right? It is because energy can only be obtained by killing. The higher the energy, the higher the place of residence. This means the less sinful ones will be killed.”
“However, it is these sinful people who are closest to Paradise while those who had less sins and are exploited are at the bottom.”
“If you really want to punish the sinners, what do you think would be the closest place to the sinners?” Xie Chi smiled slightly.
Ren Ze’s heart was cold. “It definitely isn’t Paradise!”
Xie Chi and Xie Xinglan exchanged looks before Xie Chi turned back to Ren Ze. “My boyfriend traveled through the 16 layers of the cold and hot hells as well as the blood pool hell and knife mountain hell. The only one he didn’t find is the… eternal hell.”
He cocked his head and spoke gently. “Where do you think the eternal hell will be?”
“Let me remind you that the meaning of ‘eternal’ means that prisoners will suffer endlessly. The sins here are unforgivable. They can’t be transcended forever and we are unable to fall out of reincarnation. We are now in reincarnation, we reincarnate every 15 days.”
Ren Ze’s body was soaked with sweat.
“It is called Paradise but why can’t Paradise and the eternal hell be the same place?”
“From the beginning, we learned that there is a chance of falling directly into the eternal prison and dying directly. However, as actors, you and I know that the app is a relatively neutral existence and won’t let actors die immediately. It doesn’t work like that. Therefore, this existence that has always been ignored by us has become a mystery. Once we get in touch with it, everything will be solved easily.”
“So I won’t look for the key. The painting in the blood pool hell is a hint, implying that a fanatical pursuit is just an empty bubble. The end of the pursuit is death and endless suffering, like a moth drawn to the flames. The giant monster of the knife mountain hell hides and confuses the prisoners, making the fanatical prisoners risk their lives to hunt for treasures when they are actually looking for… the key to open hell. Most of the prisoners will eventually become their food. It is because the spider silk ladder is in front of them but due to endless disputes, it has become useless. They have no choice but to find the key.”
“All of this has long implied that Paradise is an illusory dream and only sin is real. We are constantly sinning.”
“I was wrong as well. I forgot the setting and forgot my sins. I adapted to prison and was changed by the prison. I was complacent, thinking I am invincible because I have enough energy. I forgot that my sins are deepening and I don’t deserve to enter the world of Paradise.”
So far, all the clues had been pieced together. Ren Ze’s heart trembled and he couldn’t speak for a long time. On the steep mountain, only Xie Chi’s calm voice was heard.
“Do you remember when he asked you to let you and your inmate see each other’s marks?” Xie Chi pointed at Xie Xinglan.
Ren Ze nodded.
“Looking at each other creates trust so the spider silk ladder appeared.”
“If energy is evenly distributed then it is generosity and giving, it is compassion. Therefore, prisoners can live on the same floor in comfort at the same time.”
“You see, they are all conveying good qualities.”
Ren Ze keenly perceived another contradiction. “If this is the case, energy sharing is good and we have benefited. Yes, it is reasonable that we can gain benefits after the mutual sharing of trust. So why does the spider silk ladder lead to the eternal hell?”
Xie Chi looked at him with strange eyes. “Who told you that the spider silk ladder leads only to the eternal hell?”
“Eh?” Ren Ze was confused again.
Xie Chi walked to the edge of the cliff and pointed to the place where the spider silk ladder was originally. “The spider silk ladder has two ends. The upper part leads to hell and the lower part leads to the human world.”