The Hero Returns - Chapter 272

Chapter 272: Chapter 272


“That…bastard?”


What the Roc Demon King said at the end sounded far closer to an aimless muttering than a warning directed at Su-hyeun.


He couldn’t understand this situation. What he heard was simply not enough to form a full picture.


Whoosh—


Swish—


In the meantime, the massive golden palm flew in toward the duo once more. As if they had made a prior arrangement, Su-hyeun and the Roc Demon King dashed away simultaneously to dodge the incoming attack.


Su-hyeun quickly asked, “Okay, let me get this straight. Are you saying that we must not let our third brother meet a certain monkey?”


“That’s right!”


“You want me to take up that role, while you delay the Jade Emperor?”


“Right!”


“What about the other way around? I stay behind and you…?”


“No can do. If the third loses his mind and starts rampaging around, I won’t be able to stop him.”


“Eh?”


“In any case, stop wasting time and hurry up! You know I can easily lose this guy and get out of here if things get too dicey! Especially when I don’t need to worry about my back…” The Roc Demon King glanced at the Jade Emperor’s wrinkle-lined face, currently distorted unsightly, and finished the rest of his sentence. “I’m far quicker than him, anyway.”


“…Got it.”


Su-hyeun already knew full well that the Roc Demon King’s speed was truly incredible without someone drilling that fact into his ears.


That’s why Su-hyeun decided to act according to what he was told.


It would be a lie to say he wasn’t worried, but judging from the Roc Demon King’s reactions so far, he thought that preventing the meeting between Sun Wukong and this unknown creature was even more urgent at the moment.


“Where do you think you’re going?!”


Whoosh—!


The golden palm descended on the heads of Su-hyeun and the Roc Demon King once more.


They dashed in the opposite directions. Su-hyeun moved toward the exit.


“I won’t let you!”


Chwa-rururu—


Fwhoooosh—!


The jet-black air currents violently whipped about and rushed toward the Jade Emperor’s body. He hurriedly punched his way out and dissipated the storm winds created by the Roc Demon King.


“So, how is it now? Things have changed a lot compared to earlier, wouldn’t you agree, Jade Emperor?”


“Confuser of Heaven, you bastard…”


“My last brother is going to get pretty busy now, so why don’t I keep you company for a while, instead? You were so eager up until a second ago, so I’ll feel really lonely if you start looking away at someone else, you know?”


Despite the Roc Demon King’s glib remarks, the Jade Emperor still glanced at the back of Su-hyeun in the distance, having almost fully escaped from this underground area.


The Jade Emperor growled, “It’s too late. Even if he starts his chase now, he won’t prevent the meeting between the Great Sage Heaven’s Equal and the God of War.”


“Sure, that could very well be true. No, wait. It’s more than likely.”


Even the Roc Demon King understood that. He understood that it was already too late to start the chase now. That story would have been the same even if it was him giving the chase.


Despite knowing all of that, the Roc Demon King still chose to send Su-hyeun because he thought that chasing after the God of War was even more important than defeating the Jade Emperor in this place.


“It will be alright. The last brother will stop it, anyway.”


“He will stop it?! Do you genuinely believe those words?” The Jade Emperor laughed in dismay at the Roc Demon King and asked, “Are you saying that human will stop the Great Sage Heaven’s Equal?”


<hr />


Ka-boom—!


Pop, plop—


The fake Ruyi Jingu Bang thrown by a clone was shattered, its fragments scattering everywhere. Erlang Shen stopped swinging his guandao and carefully scanned between the gaps of the fake Ruyi Jingu Bang’s scattering fragments.


“Where are you?”


Whoosh, swish—


He could sense a presence darting around.


Sun Wukong was currently stepping on the falling fragments in the air to rapidly change his directions.


Although he had disappeared from sight, Erlang Shen could more or less tell where he was right now.


“So, when will you come at me?”


The seconds those Ruyi Jingu Bang fragments took to fall to the ground felt like an eternity to him. At the same time, though, he could clearly pick up on the movements of Sun Wukong as he made a move to stab him with the real Ruyi from behind.


Swish—


Whoosh—


As he spun his body around, he also took a powerful swing with his guandao. Almost at the same time, Sun Wukong, who was thrusting forward with his Ruyi Jingu Bang, immediately twisted his body and spun the magic staff about half-way up.


CLAAANG—!


The guandao and the Ruyi Jingu Bang noisily collided.


At this, Sun Wukong expressed his astonishment, “Wow, your instincts haven’t withered away yet.”


“Unlike a certain lazy monkey I know, I’ve tirelessly polished my spear skills every single day. Do not treat me the same as you.”


“This is why I can’t even praise you.”


Ka-clang—!


Their weapons got deflected away.


Sun Wukong spun the Ruyi Jingu Bang. Erlang Shen watched him regain his posture and asked, “Why haven’t you used your Somersault cloud yet?”


Erlang Shen had been in conflict with Sun Wukong for a long time, so he knew very well what kind of an artifact the Somersault cloud was.


It didn’t choose any master for what seemed like an eternity, so he found it incredibly strange when news got around that it chose some measly little Yogoe instead of a god as its master.


Until he finally ran into Sun Wukong, that was.


“Ah, that?” the master of that very Somersault cloud, Sun Wukong, replied while digging his ear with a finger. “I gave it to someone.”


“You gave it away? You gave away the Somersault cloud?!”


Erlang Shen’s expression crumpled in anger after taking that answer as an attempt to mock him.


The Somersault cloud was not something you could freely give away even if you wanted to. On the flip side, you couldn’t make it yours no matter how badly you wanted it either.


An artifact that chooses its own master—that was the Somersault cloud.


“That’s enough of your prank—”


Erlang Shen, furious at the thoughts of Sun Wukong messing around even now, suddenly stopped his sentence midway.


“A prank? Wait, why would he?” he thought.


If it were any other time, sure, but when it came to fighting, Sun Wukong would always be very serious.


But such a man was messing around in the middle of a fight?


There was no point in not using the Somersault cloud just to unsettle Erlang Shen’s psyche. Sun Wukong should know better than anyone that his opponent would not be shaken by a tactic to manipulate his emotions like this.


Which could only mean…


“The Somersault cloud really chose a different master?!”


The event of Sun Wukong acquiring the Somersault cloud happened well over tens of thousands of years ago. However, if the length of time that the artifact had been in existence would be considered, its ownership period shouldn’t be seen as an incredible length of time.


It was the “cloud of the beginning.” And the very first master it chose in hundreds of millions of years after its creation was none other than Sun Wukong.


Yet, “only” after a few tens of thousands of years later, the artifact’s new master had stepped forward. And only one existence among Sun Wukong’s acquaintances could be seen as a recent addition.


“It can’t be. That human…?”


“I’m telling you, you really do have quick wits, man,” Sun Wukong groaned at Erlang Shen’s muttering. “Forget about it for now, and let’s continue already. Otherwise, we’ll keep fighting until the next day like the last time we—”


Whoosh—


Before he could finish, though, Sun Wukong quickly turned his head, an expression of pure shock etched on his face. “…Big bro?”


“Big bro?”


Erlang Shen heard Sun Wukong’s own muttering and shifted his head to chase after his opponent’s gaze. It was at that point that he felt a familiar presence coming from afar.


“Isn’t this…the new God of War?” he thought.


This aura—it was the same one he felt coming from a hulking monkey-type Yogoe that stood next to the Jade Emperor.


“Why is the one supposed to guard the Jade Emperor and stay by side heading here?”


The thing was, he had been feeling something was off at the fact that a Yogoe had become the new God of War.


The current Jade Emperor was well known for his contempt of not just humans but Yogoes as well. Therefore, it was even harder to understand why such a person would bestow one of the most important positions of the Heavenly World to a Yogoe of all things. Not just any position either, but the prestigious and absolutely crucial role of a God of War at that.


Also, to Erlang Shen’s understanding, the role of the current God of War was to act as the Jade Emperor’s bodyguard.


Yet, such God of War abandoned the emperor, who should surely be fighting against the Roc Demon King right now, and was coming over here.


“What do you think you’re doing, God of War?!”


Erlang Shen was now furious about two things.


One, at the God of War who must have forgotten about his role that he left the Jade Emperor’s side to come here; two, at the fact that Erlang Shen’s battle against Sun Wukong would be interfered with by this intruder.


Fwhooooosh—


Gu-woo-woong—!


The God of War flew in rapidly from afar and landed on the ground, kicking up a mighty dust cloud in the process.


The surroundings had been leveled flat by the battle between Sun Wukong and Erlang Shen by now, so there was nothing left to destroy anymore.


The gods of the Heavenly World had already retreated to some distance away in order to not get tangled up in the battle between these two. This intrusion had brought about a temporary lull in the fighting.


The gazes of Sun Wukong and Erlang Shen shifted over to the newly arrived God of War—at the strange outer appearance of a Yogoe with long arms and heavy armor covering its entire body.


This was the Heavenly World’s new God of War.


“Is it…really you, big bro?”


Step, step—


Erlang Shen stopped questioning the God of War and turned his gaze over to his opponent, Sun Wukong.


Because his response seemed rather strange.


Sun Wukong was walking toward the God of War with a jumbled expression full of shock, excitement, and even gladness.


Erlang Shen had never seen such an expression before from Sun Wukong. Playful or serious—those were the only two state of emotions he had seen up until now, after all.


“Do they know each other?” he thought.


Erlang Shen didn’t know anything about the history between Sun Wukong and the new God of War, the Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King. But he thought that the relationship of these two had to be really close in order for all that joy to appear undisguised on Sun Wukong’s expression.


“It’s possible that the God of War might become an enemy instead.”


In the first place, he was a Yogoe—an existence different from the god race. As such, there was a good possibility for him to join Sun Wukong’s side rather than continue to serve the Heavenly World.


Erlang Shen grew extra wary at the God of War that suddenly appeared and tightly gripped his guandao.


“Big bro, you were really ali—”


But at that moment…


Stab—


The God of War’s long arm pierced into Sun Wukong’s chest. Although it missed his heart by a whisker, the attack still caused a grievous injury.


Cough!


Blood exploded from Sun Wukong’s mouth.


Erlang Shen’s eyes opened wide in shock at this sudden development. Someone of Sun Wukong’s caliber could have easily dodged such an attack, yet all he could do just then was to tilt his body slightly.


He didn’t do that consciously either.


“Indeed, that was not his doing but his instincts overriding his will in order to dodge that attack. But that’s about it,” Erlang Shen observed.


Erlang Shen had fought Sun Wukong more than anyone else, so he could tell the truth instantly.


“That fool! He never even thought about dodging in the first place.”


He could tell that Sun Wukong never considered the God of War before his eyes as an enemy.


Tremble, tremble—


Squeeze—


While trembling heavily, Sun Wukong grabbed the God of War’s arm that was still piercing into his chest.


He wasn’t trembling from the pain, however. He had already experienced a lot of pain in his lengthy existence, so he held no fear of it.


It wasn’t because of his fear of death either. He boasted an immortal body, so no matter how grave the injury was, he wouldn’t die and eventually recover.


There was only one reason for his trembling—the thought of “Why?”


This arm covered in brownish fur, this familiar warmth—this arm was definitely the same arm of the one Sun Wukong knew.


“Big bro, why…?”


“You fool.”


The mocking remark that came out of the God of War’s mouth became a cold dagger that stabbed deep into Sun Wukong’s heart.


However, despite the coldness in that voice, it sounded exactly the same as the one from his memories.


“You still call me your brother after that?”


“Big bro…?”


“Oh, dear Wukong. You truly stupid fool. Why do you think all the monkeys of the Mountain of Flower and Fruit, except for me, were killed off overnight?”


Sun Wukong’s complexion turned ashen at the God of War’s questioning.


At that question, he couldn’t help but think, “Could it be?” But in his mind, that possibility absolutely should not and could not be true.


The Mountain of Flower and Fruit was Sun Wukong’s birthplace and where his first family, the tribe of monkeys, used to live.


However, they were all killed overnight when he had to go somewhere else. As for this Yogoe who currently had his arm in his chest, he was nowhere to be found back then, and Sun Wukong held on to a slim hope that his big brother still lived somewhere to this day.


And such a brother did show up alive and well. But perhaps too cruelly, that one possibility of “Could it be?” which Sun Wukong didn’t even want to think about, turned out to be true.


“I killed them all.”


Snap—


At that very moment, Sun Wukong felt that a previously sturdy thread in his head had snapped in half.


“It seems that the Great Sage who Chases Gods Away, Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King, is alive somewhere.


Those words were spoken by the Bull Demon King.


The conversation Sun Wukong hadn’t told Su-hyeun about yet suddenly popped back in his head.


“Really?! Where?! Where is he?”


“You shall meet him again soon. When that happens, the seal on your golden headband might weaken.”


“What does meeting my brother have to do with the golden headband? Ah, ahh! I guess that can happen. If my bro is really alive, then I might get overwhelmed by my emotions, so yeah, that could happen for real. Alright, I’ll be careful, big brother,” Sun Wukong chuckled nervously.


“Indeed, do be careful.”


Split, tear—


A circular golden headband suddenly broke through Sun Wukong’s scalp and revealed itself.


“I sincerely hope that the golden headband’s appearance doesn’t happen.”