The Hero Returns

Chapter 278



Chapter 278: Chapter 278


It was a peach that boasted a pink hue so clear and pristine that it verged on being transparent; its size was slightly larger than Su-hyeun’s fist.


For sure, it was shaped a little differently from all the other types of peaches Su-hyeun knew about. It even slightly looked like a plastic toy shaped like a peach.


“So, this is the Peach of Immortality.”


It was an amazing reward indeed.


Unless one consumed it, one would have a hard time understanding its full effects. However, Sun Wukong did eat these things and ended up acquiring a physical body that cannot be killed and near-infinite amount of energy.


Of course, he didn’t consume just one. However, the fact that this peach was a heaven-defying miraculous medicine capable of giving Su-hyeun power similar to Sun Wukong remained the same regardless.


However, rather than shocked or excited even after receiving such a reward, Su-hyeun was as cool as a cucumber.


“I did expect something like this, though,” he thought.


The Peach of Immortality was brought up several times during this trial. In addition, in many situations similar to this one, the rewards for passing a trial tended to be related to the theme of that particular trial itself.


What Su-hyeun had issues with right now was not the reward itself but with how it had been delivered to him.


“Why was the reward delivered to me through the first brother?”


He found several points pretty strange to behold.


For one thing, Su-hyeun couldn’t move to the next floor even if he wanted to, as no message to that effect had popped up yet. He could get back to the outside world, but this was practically the same thing as being trapped on the 60th floor.


Maybe it had something to do with that meeting of the administrators.


“What’s wrong?” the Bull Demon King asked as he stared at Su-hyeun who was wordlessly fidgeting with the Peach of Immortality.


Su-hyeun soon realized that he had been thinking for too long in front of the Bull Demon King and quickly shook his head to get rid of those thoughts for now. “No, it’s nothing important.”


“What do you mean, not important? Well, I can see that you have a lot on your mind right now. However, you shouldn’t overthink it,” the Bull Demon King chuckled affably. “Whatever the case may be, I’m just glad that you can stay with us for a little while longer.”


Su-hyeun grinned a little at that. Unlike his own tangled thoughts, the Bull Demon King must have found that part more important than anything else.


And just like his sworn older brother had said, he didn’t think that was such a bad thing.


Whatever the case might have been, he was still given a little more time to spend in this place until the administrators’ meeting came to an end.


“Big brother…” Su-hyeun then decided to ask another question currently bugging him aside from the matters of Sun Wukong and the Roc Demon King. “How are you doing, though?”


Many meanings were condensed in that one question.


A quick answer to that would seem complicated, but the Bull Demon King replied with a bright grin on his face. “I did resolve myself for it initially. I wondered if my chance to become a god would be ruined again by doing such things.”


“But then, why…?”


“The Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King…Once upon a time, he too used to be a part of my family. Of course, he would’ve been an even ‘closer’ family member to our third brother, but…In any case, I made a pledge that day that I’d personally kill the one responsible for tearing the third brother’s heart to pieces. Sun Wukong might not have known it, but I definitely made the promise.”


“Was that why you couldn’t become a god until now?”


“That could very well be it. For some reason, I wasn’t able to let go of that promise.”


It seemed that the event on that day constantly weighed heavily in the Bull Demon King’s mind.


“There is more than one way to let go of your lingering attachments. One is to give up on them, and another is to fulfill them,” he continued.


“Brother, which way did you initially choose?”


“I chose to give up. Even though I knew that the Snub-nosed Monkey Spirit King was alive somewhere, I tried to turn a blind eye. But doing that was harder than I thought.”


Despite possessing enough power to shoulder the entire world, he still found controlling his own mind truly difficult. In the end, the Bull Demon King had no choice but to acknowledge this fact.


That’s why he chose to tackle this matter from another angle. “But then, I decided to fulfill them instead. And now that I’ve resolved one of my attachments, I feel a little lighter than before.”


“I’m relieved to hear that.”


“You don’t have to feel sorry about it. You weren’t at fault, after all.” The Bull Demon King lightly patted Su-hyeun on the shoulder and got up to leave the room. “Rest some more, last brother, and make sure to prepare yourself properly before eating that peach.”


Du-ru-ruk—


After he left, Su-hyeun alternated his gaze between the Peach of Immortality and the gruel that had gotten lukewarm as he and the Bull Demon King chatted earlier. He hesitated on what to do for a little while before wrapping up the peach once more and picking up the spoon.


He decided to finish the gruel prepared by the Bull Demon King first.


**


[Peach of Immortality]


* It is a peach found in the Heavenly Peach Garden that appears once every 9,000 years and requires another 9,000 years to ripen. This particular peach is the highest-grade item found in the Peach Garden that lasts for 18,000 years. Some legends state that this item will grant one an eternal life.


After finishing the gruel, Su-hyeun took the peach and headed to the mountain behind the residence.


He checked the details of the peach’s effects on his way, and sure enough, it was indeed now a part of the system. The proof of that was the detailed explanation about it that entered his mind so clearly.


“Highest grade among the peaches, is it?”


The Peach of Immortality that the administrator gifted him was not an ordinary item but was the highest-grade item among all the peaches found in the Heavenly World’s garden.


Even the bullsh*t-sounding explanation about eternal life at the end shouldn’t be completely made-up nonsense when looking at Sun Wukong’s case.


“I need to absorb it properly.”


Su-hyeun settled down on top of the tall and unobstructed cliff.


He paid even closer attention to his breathing technique and took a deep and expansive gulp of air.


He then performed the final inspection of his current status.


[Name: Kim Su-hyeun]


[Magic count: 89] [Magic Level: 8]


[Strength: 99] [Agility: 98]


[Stamina: 98] [Reflex: 97]


[Death Aura: 35]


[Skill: Leap * advanced]


[Skill: Transfiguration * advanced]


[Skill: Flame]


….


[Fatigue: 0]


Although his “Strength” stat had stopped rising at 99, all the others had risen up by one point each. And as expected, the biggest change could be seen in his “Magic count” stat.


This stat reflected the total reserve of his magical energy, and it also happened to be the hardest stat to raise than the others. But perhaps, thanks to the effects of the breathing technique, it had already risen up to 89.


It had seen an increase of two points. Not to mention, the purity of his magical energy was incomparable to the past as well.


“The magic count will rise along with the magic level, which means my current hurdle is raising the level.”


The difference between levels 8 and 9—Su-hyeun knew that vast gap pretty well since he had already experienced it in his previous life.


Of course, differences also existed even within level 9. In fact, once one broke past the count of 90, an increase of just one point would result in an enormous leap forward in the total reserve of one’s magical energy.


The current Su-hyeun had already exceeded the stats from his former life.


Even his skills couldn’t be seen as lacking compared to the past, especially more so when he had acquired both the Somersault cloud and the Sage Arts. Therefore, he was certain that he had managed to create the necessary foundation to become so much stronger than his past life.


However, as long as his magic level remained stuck at eight, it would be no different to going around in endless circles.


“It would be great if I can break through this hurdle with this peach.”


Su-hyeun took out the peach from the cloth bundle and held it in his hand. At the same time, he also took out a small chest hidden within his inner pocket.


Clack—


The chest contained small medicine bottles emanating a purple color. Not just one but three of them to boot.


These were potions that he got to drink several times by now.


[The highest-grade magical energy catalyst.]


He used up his saved points to buy these catalysts, just so that he could consume them with a rare elixir. He wasn’t sure when he would get to use them, but there’s no denying that taking them all at once with a powerful elixir would double their original effects.


“I shall drink all three of them today.”


The wall blocking his entry to level 9 was especially thick, but Su-hyeun was determined to break through that wall using this opportunity.


He figured that it was very much doable, judging from his magic count currently sitting on 89 points.


Plop—


He popped the corks off the catalyst bottles. The smell that remained horrid no matter what assaulted his nose once more when he sniffed it.


He squeezed his eyes shut and scowled deeply as he dumped the contents of all three bottles in his mouth.


Gulp—


Blergh…


He barely managed to hold back his sudden urge to wretch.


The potions remained seriously disgusting to him despite having taken them several times before. To make matters worse, this was his first time drinking three bottles in one go.


“I hope this thing tastes better than those.”


The potions tasted so rancid that, right now, he was praying more for the peach to help him cleanse his palate rather than worrying about the item’s potential effects.


He opened his mouth wide and took a bite out of the Peach of Immortality.


Crunch—


Chew, crunch, chew—


Much to his relief, the peach was wonderfully sweet and succulent, much more so than any other peaches he had in his life so far. He didn’t get this feeling just because he finished drinking a vile-tasting catalyst either.


Even putting aside the fact that the peach was an elixir, it tasted so good that he would not hesitate to spend all his fortunes to eat another one again.


The gods of the Heavenly World would apparently hold a heavenly peach banquet every few thousand years, and the succulent sweetness of the fruits might be the true reason for the gathering rather than their medicinal effects.


Crunch, crunch—


Not wanting to miss out on even a tiny bit of the fruit’s effects, Su-hyeun chewed and swallowed the seed as well.


Gulp—


He consumed the entire peach and then firmly closed both his eyes and mouth, hoping to prevent any leakage of the fruit’s medicinal effects in case he breathed slightly off-kilter or some such.


Wiggle—


The effects appeared not too long afterward.


The impossibly tasty fruit instantly transformed into a massive bundle of energy after it entered his body. This great bundle of energy met with Su-hyeun’s own reserve before spreading to all corners of his flesh.


“I made the right call by eating some food first.”


A grin spread on Su-hyeun’s lips after he confirmed the quantity of that energy.


He had some inkling that he would end up receiving the Peach of Immortality as a reward somehow, and after eating one, he realized that its effects far exceeded even his wildest imaginations.


“I will need a lot of time to absorb it completely.”


Fuu-wu-wuph—


Su-hyeun regulated his breaths while maintaining the breathing technique.


From this point onward, a lengthy and tiring battle would take place in his body.


**


Dururuk—


“Where are our little brothers?”


The heavily bandaged Roc Demon King, whose injuries were mostly healed now, entered the Bull Demon King’s room. He was the last one to regain consciousness of the three that the latter brought home from the Heavenly World.


“They went out to run some errands.”


“Those errands can’t be toilet-related, so what are they really doing?”


“The third brother went to fight Erlang Shen. As for his reason, well, I’m sure you know why.”


“Figures. With his personality, fighting someone will probably do wonders with clearing out his head. In that case, what about the last brother?”


The Bull Demon King guffawed greatly and asked, “Oh, so you finally decided to accept him as your last brother?”


The Roc Demon King sheepishly avoided meeting his gaze and mumbled some things instead. “K—keu-heum. In any case. Where did he go?”


“He too had a business to take care of, so he left for a little while.”


“A little while, huh? Which means he hasn’t completely left yet?”


“I’m sure we’ll have enough time to say proper goodbyes. Even if he can’t stay with us for too long.”


“Tsk. Is that so?”


The Roc Demon King ruefully licked his lips at the Bull Demon King’s reply.


The reality of Su-hyeun needing to leave soon felt even starker than before. The Bull Demon King mentioned it before the war against the Heavenly World commenced, but he was doing his best not to show it on his face.


The Bull Demon King muttered, “How mystifying.”


“What is?”


“I never guessed that a fool who deeply hated humans would end up accepting our last brother so quickly like this.”


“Well, that’s because…”


The Roc Demon King was going to deny it but then spat out a groan instead. He wouldn’t be able to fool the Bull Demon King here even if he said something different from what he was actually feeling.


Not only that, but there was also no reason to do so, anyway.


“Well, he’s different from the other humans that I know, after all.”


“Is that all?”


“Yes. I just, you know, got to learn my lesson, thanks to this event. Although rare, some humans are alright, it seems.” The Roc Demon King fake-coughed and turned around, looking a bit embarrassed. “Even if there aren’t that many of them.”


“It’s fine as long as you know.”


The Bull Demon King smiled contentedly at the Roc Demon King.


The latter developed his distrust and contempt toward humans a long time ago. But as long as those feelings were resolved, even if by a little bit, then it was all satisfactory in the end.


“Don’t leave so soon. Since you’re here, stay and enjoy some tea first. It’s good timing too, as the tea should taste the best right about now.”


“You know that I don’t like bitter things, don’t you? Forget it, I’ll just go and sleep some more—”


Gu-wuwuwu—


Just as the Roc Demon King was trying to leave the room…


Whoosh—


He swiftly turned his head at the massive aura emanating from a distance.


“Last brother?”



Tip: You can use left, right, A and D keyboard keys to browse between chapters.