The Hero Returns - Chapter 273
Chapter 273: Chapter 273
It happened about 10,000 years ago.
The Mountain of Flower and Fruit was turned into a devastated wasteland overnight. The blood that stained the mountainside all came from the monkeys that used to live in that mountain.
And the debris from the collapsed mountain continued to tumble down to the ground.
The Bull Demon King scanned this scene for a little while before muttering softly, “It seems that the shock our last brother has suffered was too much.”
“It’s my first time seeing him react like that, too. But it makes sense, considering that the monkeys of this place were his first family,” the Roc Demon King replied while taking in the sight of the mountain’s debris with some sadness in his eyes.
The Roc Demon King was in a bad shape himself. He and the Bull Demon King had to combine their strengths to subdue Sun Wukong when he went on a violent rampage upon learning about his family.
Even then, he didn’t pay much attention to the state of his body. He instead began emitting thick killing intent toward the unknown murderer, the instigator of this event.
“Just who was responsible for this?”
“I’m sure you’ve already guessed it by now.”
“Was it really him? The Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King?”
“I also do not wish to believe it, but…”
Even the Bull Demon King felt deeply confused about this situation. However, he had clearly seen it—he saw the sight of his other sworn brother, the Great Sage who Chases Gods Away, Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King, ceaselessly slaughtering the monkeys of the Mountain of Flower and Fruit earlier.
“I shall find that bastard and…!” the Roc Demon King hissed murderously.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“Isn’t it obvious, brother? I shall find him right away and rip him to pieces!”
The Roc Demon King’s rage-filled stomp caused the ground to crack apart. “That bastard has killed his own family! The family that he spent all of his life with! And, and…”
He couldn’t continue the rest of his sentence out of sheer anger. But after seeing the complicated expression etched on the Bull Demon King’s face, he calmed down somewhat and finally finished with what he wanted to say.
“And he ripped our last brother’s heart to pieces, you know?”
“Yes, I know.”
The Bull Demon King’s voice sounded heavy. His voice that always seemed to resemble roaring flames sounded so cold and calm right now.
That only happened when he was greatly enraged by something, however. “I know it only too well.”
Unfortunately, there was a reason why he couldn’t express his rage right now.
“Our last brother, are we certain that he doesn’t know who’s responsible for this event?”
“I think so. Who else would know the full truth other than you, big brother?”
“In that case, it’ll be fine.”
The one most enraged and saddened by this event was obviously Sun Wukong himself.
“In that case, keep this a secret between us. The Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King…has perished in this place as well. Our last brother must think that way. As for the Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King…”
This day would be forever etched in the Roc Demon King’s memory as the day that the Bull Demon King had exposed his strongest killing intent toward any living creature.
“I shall definitely exterminate him.”
A loud voice reverberated from a distance. Although it would be the first time either Erlang Shen or the Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King had heard that voice, they could instantly tell to whom it belonged.
“Is it that human?”
The human who had defeated the former God of War, Prince Nezha.
The Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King became extremely wary at Su-hyeun’s appearance. He no longer paid attention to Sun Wukong who had blood profusely spluttering out of his chest as he collapsed to the ground.
Su-hyeun’s figure landed in between the Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King and Erlang Shen.
He was so fast that, other than Erlang Shen, the Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King found him too quick to even respond to. The latter flinched nastily at the speed and hurriedly raised both of his arms to protect himself.
A spear that flew out of Su-hyeun’s hand rapidly closed in on the Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King.
The latter quickly dashed far back as blood dripped down from his arm. As for Erlang Shen, he had already dodged far into the sky by then.
As the two opponents moved to create some distance between them, Su-hyeun took a quick scan of Sun Wukong’s current condition as soon as he arrived on the scene. The Monkey King’s eyes were glazed over, and while shielding his head, his entire body continued to convulse intermittently.
Urgh, euh, euh…
Su-hyeun took a look at a “ring” that had appeared on Sun Wukong’s head.
“The golden headband?” he thought.
The Sun Wukong from the mission didn’t wear this unmistakable golden headband. Su-hyeun had been chalking this discrepancy down to this Sun Wukong being rather different from the “Sun Wukong” he knew from the epic, “Journey to the West.”
However, it wasn’t that the headband didn’t exist; it simply couldn’t be seen until now.
“But, isn’t this…?”
The aura leaking out of Sun Wukong felt rather ominous. His previously pure aura was rapidly turning turbid, similar to the demonic aura emitted by the Roc Demon King.
It could only mean that the effects of the Sage Arts were getting weaker as his original Yogoe powers were getting stronger in turn.
Su-hyeun hurriedly placed his hand on Sun Wukong’s head and began injecting his magical energy. He did it to somehow suppress the aura that was about to go wildly out of control and to calm Sun Wukong’s chaotic mind.
“Erlang Shen.” It was at this point in time that the Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King turned around and addressed Erlang Shen. “We must get out of here. Right now.”
“Before that, I must hear your explanation of the current situation.”
“For now, let’s get to a safe distance first. Because soon…” A twisted grin floated up on the Monkey Spirit King’s face as he stared at Sun Wukong who was lying huddled on the ground below. “That idiot will start his crazy rampage.”
The moment he finished saying those words…
All focus left Sun Wukong’s vision, his eyes turning white, as he suddenly swung his fist without any warning. His sharp claws tore apart the ground below and overturned the earth.
Su-hyeun, who was observing Sun Wukong’s condition until then, hurriedly jumped into the air. If he had been a second late, those claws would have ripped him apart as well.
Sun Wukong’s current state was too strange.
The lack of focus in his eyes was one thing, but more concerning than that was the aura coming from him, as well as the overall atmosphere he exuded. Both of those things had completely transformed by now. More than anything, his enraged expression and the indiscriminate killing intent made him look like a total stranger.
“Is it because of the golden headband?”
Su-hyeun glanced at the Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King who was quickly creating some distance. It seemed that he had a role to play in Sun Wukong’s current state.
It was also at this point that he finally recalled the hint he got half a year ago from the gatekeeper before starting the 60th floor’s trial.
“Remember that the most dangerous enemy is always near you. This is your hint”
The most dangerous enemy.
Always near you.
When Su-hyeun first heard that, he figured that it must have had something to do with someone betraying him. However, the “enemy is always near you” didn’t necessarily mean a betrayer. Not always.
“So, that was the third brother?”
Su-hyeun gritted his teeth as he stared at Sun Wukong. Somehow this situation had progressed into one where he now had to fight against the Great Sage Heaven’s Equal.
“If the third loses his mind and starts rampaging around, I won’t be able to stop him.”
Those words belonged to the Roc Demon King.
It seemed that he was talking about a situation similar to this one. The Roc Demon King must have predicted that Sun Wukong would transform like this.
“So, I must stop him somehow?”
Su-hyeun raised his sword while keeping his eyes locked on Sun Wukong.
After Sun Wukong discarded the Ruyi Jingu Bang, he glared straight at Su-hyeun with his wild eyes. He seemed to have figured out that there was only one person in this wide area that emitted a strong fighting intent against him.
“Please get a hold of yourself, brother!”
Sun Wukong wildly swung his clawed hands and pounced on Su-hyeun. His movements were straightforward and rough yet also very fast.
Su-hyeun jumped up to evade the attack; the surrounding terrain was clawed and completely ripped apart into pieces. Several buildings were swept up in an instant and collapsed flat to the ground.
Su-hyeun had to wonder whether or not this was the same Sun Wukong he liked hanging around with.
It seemed that words would not get through to him either.
“In that case…”
There was no helping it anymore.
“Fighting you like this wasn’t what I wished for.”
Sun Wukong always wanted to fight Su-hyeun without holding back, and it was the same for Su-hyeun. To repay the kindness of the Bull Demon King and Sun Wukong who took him in and taught him for the past half a year, he wanted to show his third brother…
That he had gotten this strong, all thanks to them.
So they didn’t have to worry about him anymore.
Unfortunately, the fight he had in his mind definitely was not this.
“I’m sorry about this, third brother.”
Su-hyeun stared at Sun Wukong who was currently kicking the ground and rushing toward him and addressed him.
“Forgive me for this act of mutiny.”
The Heavenly World’s ground split apart, and the buildings continued to collapse.
By now, all of the Heavenly World’s soldiers had fled from the place. As if this event had been predicted ahead of time, almost no one was in the capital city now.
“When was this plan made?” Erlang Shen asked as he observed Sun Wukong’s battle against Su-hyeun from afar.
“A really long time ago. Well, it began when the current Jade Emperor was crowned, that is,” the new God of War, the Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King, answered.
“So, all of you have been waiting for so long just for this moment?”
“Manipulate the Great Sage Heaven’s Equal and make him fight against his comrades…Although I’m not happy about the location being the Heavenly World, I cannot deny that it is indeed an effective method.”
Erlang Shen had no choice but to acknowledge it.
He might have been an excellent warrior, but that didn’t mean he was also an excellent strategist. That label suited the current Jade Emperor far better.
And for the purpose of fighting the Great Sage Heaven’s Equal, the emperor somehow managed to entice the Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King to his side and planned for a scene similar to this one in his mind.
And he had eventually succeeded in bringing that plan to life.
Erlang Shen muttered, “However…As I thought, I do not like this.”
Meanwhile, the Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King was grinning away at Sun Wukong who was rampaging mindlessly. Most likely, he was deriving some sort of twisted pleasure from imagining the aftermath of this battle.
“What a stupid Yogoe bastard.”
Erlang Shen felt deeply irritated by this whole affair, at the Great Sage Heaven’s Equal who didn’t finish the fight with him and began a mindless rampage instead, at this Monkey Spirit King for creating this situation in the first place, and finally, at the Jade Emperor who planned to use this stupid Monkey Spirit King and discard him.
Sun Wukong’s claws split apart the white clouds floating in the air.
This was the previously sealed instincts of the king of the Mountain of Flower and Fruit, the monster that devoured every Peach of Immortality of the Heavenly World.
Erlang Shen glanced at Sun Wukong before shaking his head.
“Not even worth fighting anymore.”
Fighting and winning against Sun Wukong in such a state was not even worth being proud of. In the end, Erlang Shen decided to not get involved in this fight.
But just as he turned around to leave the battleground…
From high up above the sky, a creature that possessed an immense presence landed on the ground with a bright flash of light.
“Who goes there?!”
Erlang Shen reflexively pulled out his guandao and pointed the blade at the newcomer. The choking dust cloud obscured the intruder’s appearance, but still, the Heavenly World’s general had never felt a presence this immense before.
“Just who can possess this level of oppressive pressure…?” he thought.
“It’s been a while.”
That voice was rather familiar.
That laid-back tone of the voice did not suit the current situation of the battlefield at all that Erlang Shen felt a sense of disharmony. Also, the owner of the voice wasn’t really trying to emit any oppressive pressure, but his simple choice of revealing his presence alone caused numbness to almost take over Erlang Shen’s whole body.
And this creature’s entrance caused the complexion of the Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King, who had been beaming happily only a second ago, to turn indescribably ashen.
“Oh, so I’m your big brother now?”
As far as Erlang Shen could tell, there was only one existence that the Great Sage who Chases Gods Away, Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King, would refer to as his “big brother.”
“The Great Sage who Pacifies Heaven, Bull Demon King…”
The dust settled down not too long afterward, and the Bull Demon King’s figure was fully revealed.
Erlang Shen ended up reflexively swallowing back his saliva.
He couldn’t even think about fighting. Just by being this close to the Bull Demon King, he felt his strength abandon him as numbness spread to his whole body.
He could never win against this creature.
More importantly, the atmosphere the Bull Demon King exuded right now was completely different from half a year ago.
“Is he angry?” he thought incredulously.
Similar to an enraged bull.
“Big brother, really? That doesn’t sound so good, honestly,” the Bull Demon King said.
The Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King cried out in fear, “What are you doing here, big brother?! You should stay out of this fight to become a god!”
The Bull Demon King appearing in this location could only mean that he had a change of heart.
“I came here to…”
Actually, there was only one reason why the Bull Demon King decided to come to this location.
“The Monkey Spirit King—I shall definitely exterminate him.”
And it was to keep the promise he made to himself 10,000 years ago.
“Fulfill my promise.”