The Hero Returns

Chapter 276



Chapter 276: Chapter 276


Cruuuch—


Shatter!


The giant golden palm descending on Su-hyeun’s head shattered into many pieces and began falling to the ground.


Bang, thud—!


Each of the shattered pieces was bigger than Su-hyeun’s body, yet he didn’t care whether or not they were falling near where he was standing and simply pulled out another spear.


The Jade Emperor frowned deeply at the pain coming from his hand. Since he controlled this technique through his physical body, there was little he could do about sharing some of the pain when the palm was damaged.


But that wasn’t what the emperor was shocked about.


“He attacked the Gyeol,” he realized.


Su-hyeun’s spear accurately pierced through the palm’s Gyeol.


That Gyeol caused cracks to form on the palm, so in the end, only a small amount of impact was needed to bring about a much bigger result. This wasn’t something someone could pull off without having a good deal of familiarity in seeing and cutting Gyeol down.


Shu-wuwu—


“He even opened his Sage’s Eye, too?”


The Jade Emperor discovered the bluish light gleaming within Su-hyeun’s eyes.


The Sage’s Eye—the eyes of a sage that allowed one to see through the truth of the world.


Since the human didn’t start mastering the Sage Arts a long time ago, it could only mean that he managed to gain enlightenment on both the Sage’s Eye and the Gyeol in the past half a year.


“During the battle half a year ago, never mind the Sage’s Eye, he could barely maintain the basic breathing technique,” he thought.


The Jade Emperor did witness Su-hyeun’s battle with Prince Nezha back then. And that’s when he realized that the human had only started mastering the Sage Art, so the level of shock the emperor felt right now was indescribable.


“He’s too dangerous.”


Only half a year. Even to a human capable of living only for 100 years, that length of time wasn’t all that long.


He needed only half a year to reach this level, so what about 10 years later? Maybe becoming a Taoist god with a mere human’s body wouldn’t be an impossibility anymore.


“It seems that I must get rid of you today.”


CLAP—


Go-ooooh—


The Jade Emperor clapped his hands loudly, and a golden aura suddenly enveloped his surroundings.


[Tathagatha Buddha—Union with God]


“The Jade Emperor’s aura has changed,” Su-hyeun observed.


For the first time, Su-hyeun, as he gripped the spear in his left hand, became wary of the Jade Emperor.


The strange aura coming from the emperor became just a bit clearer. Not only that, but Su-hyeun could also sense danger from the old man.


“It’s as if he’s become a completely different existence.”


The sense of presence the Jade Emperor emitted bore down heavily on Su-hyeun’s entire body. His hand gripped the spear even harder than before from this powerful sensation.


Right after that…


Paaa-aang—!


The Jade Emperor’s illusory punch flew toward Su-hyeun.


**


Drip, driiip—


Kkeuh… Kkeu-uh-euh…


Blood that was leaking out from a torso with all four limbs torn off was forming a deep pool on the ground.


It would only be normal to die from such grievous wounds, yet the Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King was still clinging on to life. Rather cruelly, the Bull Demon King was torturing him just enough to not let him die.


That’s how deep the Bull Demon King’s understanding of the subject was—how to not kill the Monkey Spirit King but still inflict the maximum amount of pain and let him slowly wither away while regretting everything he did.


“Tsk. He passed out,” the Bull Demon King muttered softly when the Monkey Spirit King no longer screamed. He then shifted his attention away. “I’m sure he’ll wake up if I wait for a little.”


His voice didn’t contain any notable emotions, yet Erlang Shen felt nasty goosebumps breaking out all over his body as he listened to the Bull Demon King from the side.


As the Heavenly World’s general, he thought he had witnessed all sorts of unimaginable things throughout his battle-filled life. He saw countless bloodletting and enough corpses to last a lifetime and then some.


However, never did he feel this much icy chill running down his spine like right now.


“Ah, looks like I must apologize to you. I’ve forgotten that you were with us all this time, Erlang Shen.”


“…Actually, I’d have preferred that you kept forgetting about me.”


The Bull Demon King laughed at that. “You don’t have to be on guard like that. The only one I will kill today is this one over here, after all. By the way…” The Bull Demon King shifted his gaze to the Jade Emperor who had appeared not too long ago to start fighting Su-hyeun and then asked Erlang Shen, “Looks like you aren’t all that interested in that battle over there.”


“…”


Erlang Shen couldn’t bring himself to answer right away.


What the Bull Demon King said just then should be the truth, for someone infinitely close to becoming a Taoist God wouldn’t lie.


Even if Erlang Shen chose to interfere in that battle and help the Jade Emperor out, the Bull Demon King wouldn’t do anything.


Despite knowing that…


“Great Sage who Pacifies Heaven, I don’t think I can do that because I fear you.”


Honestly, he felt this was for the best.


The Bull Demon King seemed to have seen through Erlang Shen’s mind. “What are you thinking?”


“I’ve never been a fan, you see.”


Clank—


The guandao had been ready for quite some time, but in the end, it saw no more action and was placed on the ground by its master, Erlang Shen, who then sat down next to it.


“Of the current state of the Heavenly World.”


“What does the Heavenly World of your ideals resemble, then?”


“Generally speaking, a god is supposed to protect the weak and keep a tight rein on the strong. That’s what I’ve been taught, anyway,” Erlang Shen said but belatedly added something else. “That would herald the advent of a better world, after all.”


“A better world, is it?”


“I do not know if that human is capable of defeating the Jade Emperor. But if such a thing happens, the Heavenly World might experience a transformation. Whether it’ll be a good change or not, we’ll have to see.”


“Sounds like I’ve become your pretext, it seems.”


“Even though that’s the case, I’ll still end up receiving some sort of punishment after this is over. Maybe I’ll have to resign from my position as a general, but that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. I have no attachment left, in any case.”


Erlang Shen finished speaking there, and then, while resting his chin on his hand, he quietly looked on at the distant battle between the Jade Emperor and Su-hyeun.


“However, I feel that no matter how strong that human is, I don’t think he can win this fight.”


Goh-oooooh—


The moment he said that, golden air currents suddenly enveloped the Jade Emperor’s surroundings.


“Because the emperor was planning to deal with the Great Sage Heaven’s Equal with his own two hands.”


**


Boom, ka-boom—!


Fwhooooosh—


A gigantic palm smacked Su-hyeun’s body away.


Rumble—!


His body turned into wisps of flames before disappearing from the spot. That just now was a clone made out of the divine Flame.


Su-hyeun flung himself back to dodge that golden hand. As sweat trickled down his face, he observed the massive “Buddha” statue that had materialized behind the Jade Emperor. The golden giant with eight arms and an eyeless round face closely resembled the outer appearance of Gautama Buddha Su-hyeun was familiar with.


“Now that is one bizarre technique,” he muttered inwardly.


Because of the giant’s massive frame, its speed should have been on the slower side, yet the arms were surprisingly agile. And even an idiot would be able to tell the medium responsible for making those arms move.


Pah-ahk!


Whoooosh—


The Jade Emperor’s leisurely moving hand suddenly pressed downward. At the same time, one of the golden giant’s palms began pressing down toward Su-hyeun.


Ka-boooom—!


The impact overturned the ground below.


Dodging the arms weren’t all that difficult. Through the Sage’s Eye, he could determine the opponent’s movements ahead of time, and the movements themselves weren’t too fast either.


[Flame – Land of Fire]


Ruuuuumble—


Flash!


The indigo-hued flames exploded out from Su-hyeun’s hand and instantly spread out everywhere. They then quickly surrounded the Jade Emperor, as well as the massive Buddha statue. Unfortunately, the flames failed to penetrate past the aura protecting the emperor.


“He sure looks after his body rather obsessively, doesn’t he?”


An iron-wall-like defense—that is, four out of eight arms of the statue—were devoted solely to protecting the Jade Emperor’s body. Those four arms protected the Gyeol of the other hands and set up a systematic defense.


Four arms for attacks and four others for defense. On top of this, the illusory punches that flew in toward him every now and then also possessed rather considerable power behind them.


The biggest problem facing Su-hyeun right now, though, was his right shoulder.


It was the shoulder he always used to swing his sword with, yet it hurt like crazy every time he tried to move it even a little bit. It was also the very shoulder that Sun Wukong struck earlier.


“Seriously, his strength is truly something else.”


Even if he managed to defend against it using the Somersault cloud, Sun Wukong’s attack was still quite damaging in the end. His inability to move his right shoulder freely was proof of that.


To make matters worse, he couldn’t be so laid back anymore considering the remaining reserve of his magical energy.


“Even though I’ve learned the breathing technique, I’ve used up a lot more magical energy than I anticipated.”


The Somersault cloud was a divine artifact that the current Su-hyeun couldn’t fully wield just yet.


What happened earlier was merely the artifact’s application rate that increased greatly for a short time. It was unknown to him why that happened—maybe the Somersault cloud had some remaining affection toward Sun Wukong, or it was simply responding to Su-hyeun’s strong will; no one could tell.


The cloud’s power was well beyond Su-hyeun’s expectation. However, its magical energy consumption was truly enormous as well.


He only used it a couple of times, yet he was already feeling the shortage of magical energy right now.


“How long are you planning to run around, human?”


Whoooosh—!


Ka-boom!


Four golden hands slammed down on the ground and broke Su-hyeun’s balance.


“I finally caught you.”


Claaaap—!


When the Jade Emperor clapped his hands…


BOOM!


The Buddha statue’s hands clamped down on Su-hyeun’s body from both sides.


The Jade Emperor thought that Su-hyeun would obviously explode like a balloon just like that. Not only human flesh could not withstand the emperor’s true strength, but Su-hyeun also couldn’t even use his right arm at the moment.


But then…


Creaaak, creak—


Kwa-dududu—


The Jade Emperor’s hands were forcefully pried open. The same thing was happening to the Buddha statue’s hands that were squeezing down on Su-hyeun’s body.


“What is the meaning of…?”


Su-hyeun’s right arm, which was definitely hanging limply only until a second ago, seemed perfectly fine right now.


Not only that, but he was also withstanding the emperor’s power with his physical strength alone. Such a thing couldn’t have been possible unless the human was acting all along.


[The trait “Hero-Immortality” is activating.]


[Life force and stamina will rapidly recover. All status with abnormalities are being recovered.]


[Physical stats will rise significantly.]


The skill Su-hyeun had been saving for a long while now was finally activated.


If it was at all possible, he didn’t want to use it right until the end. And once the trait was activated, he couldn’t afford to drag things out anymore.


“The Immortality’s duration is five minutes,” he reminded himself.


Grip—


Su-hyeun’s handgrip easily crushed the Buddha statue’s palms. Soon after that, the spear connected to his left hand via the magical thread flew back in.


Swoooosh—


Grab—


Su-hyeun spun his body and began wielding the spear.


The statue’s hands were ripped apart into tiny pieces. At the same time, however, yet another illusory punch that flew out from the Jade Emperor’s hand was aimed at Su-hyeun’s heart.


Pang—!


Su-hyeun’s head exploded.


For a very brief moment there, the Jade Emperor believed he managed to kill the human. Only until Su-hyeun’s figure disappeared like a mirage, that was.


“Where are you?”


The Jade Emperor’s eyes darted around to find Su-hyeun, and the statue’s head closely mimicked his movement.


He eventually picked up on Su-hyeun’s presence coming from behind and immediately spun his whole body around.


“I found you!”


Whooooosh—


The four arms of the Buddhist statue moved simultaneously.


Before they could slam down on Su-hyeun’s body, however…


Clang!


Kwa-dududuk—


Su-hyeun moved his sword up in a slicing motion and cleanly cleaved the statue’s arms off.


One stroke and two arms were severed.


“What the…?”


“I don’t have a lot of time here, you see.”


Ruuuumble—


The flames burning on Su-hyeun’s blade were now flying toward the Jade Emperor.


“Not sure if this will work, though.”


Shu-wuwuwu—


His sword was moving quite slowly.


But right at that moment, the Jade Emperor felt a chill run down his spine. The sword itself wasn’t all that fast, yet the amount of magical energy contained within was suspiciously large.


“I need to defend against it,” he thought.


The Jade Emperor crossed his arms and quickly got into a huddled position.


Du-rururuk—


When he did, the statue also moved to wrap around the emperor’s body. Not even a single opening could be seen.


Shortly afterward, the divine Flame flooding out from Su-hyeun’s blade completely enveloped the statue.


Cruuuunch—, Craaack—!


The massive waves of flames pounded on the statue. The Jade Emperor remained in the crouching position within the protective embrace of the statue and waited for the attacks to end.


Ruuumble, rumble—


Not too long afterward, the pounding on the statue came to an end. The Jade Emperor moved the thick golden arms away and took a look outside.


Pant, pant…


Crackle, sizzle—


The scenery on the outside had changed quite a lot in that brief moment.


The entire surroundings had turned into a sea of flames, while the statue had been scorched completely black. As for Su-hyeun, he was panting away laboriously; perhaps his exertion of too much energy in one go was to blame for his state.


With that, the Jade Emperor became certain of his victory.


“It seems that this is the end of the road for you.”


Just now, when Su-hyeun said he didn’t have much time, and his strength saw a sudden explosive increase…


The Jade Emperor thought that Su-hyeun was squeezing out every ounce of his energy. Rather unsurprisingly, he didn’t doubt his victory since it looked as if his human opponent had finished with his final all-out attack.


However, Su-hyeun simply wiped away his sweat, swept his hair back, and then looked up into the sky. “Who said it’s the end?”


After hearing that, the Jade Emperor also looked up.


Drip—


And in that precise moment, a drop of rain fell on his wrinkled face.


“Rain? Now?” he thought.


Shwa-aaaaah—


But it wasn’t a single drop of rain.


A sudden deluge of rain poured down, and the emperor instinctively realized that this was not a coincidence.


Right then, he discovered a gigantic dragon flying around up in the air.


The Jade Emperor’s eyes shot open so wide that they almost popped out of their sockets. “A red dragon…!”


Sizzzzle—


Rain fell on the ground that was still burning in the indigo-colored flames, causing the surroundings to turn foggy in an instant.


Breathing in exhaustion, Su-hyeun extended his hand and spoke, “The end, you say?”


Shu-wuwuwu—


At the same time, the fog created by the flames meeting rain began shifting ominously.


“This is the end.”


[Somersault cloud]



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