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The Hero Returns - Chapter 469
Chapter 469: Chapter 469
Su-hyeun and the Roc Demon King headed back to the outskirts of the village.
The sun was setting over a vast expanse of the grasslands while the villagers were still working hard at harvesting on the golden fields at some distance.
Now, normally, Su-hyeun would be spectating on this scene while feeling at peace. But at the moment, their situation wasn’t exactly conducive toward such a laidback atmosphere.
“So you’re saying that the uncle earlier was Master Subhuti?” Su-hyeun asked.
Su-hyeun heard that the outgoing uncle who called the Roc Demon King “Mister Wong” earlier was none other than Master Subhuti.
“That’s right. Even I found out not too long ago.”
“How did you find out, though?”
“He told me himself that he went to see my older brothers not too long ago. What’s the matter? Something wrong?”
Su-hyeun was mired in some confusion right now.
In all honesty, there was nothing wrong here. Whether Master Subhuti was a stout-figured uncle with an unkempt beard or a good-natured old man riding on some clouds to travel the world, it didn’t really matter how he looked—at least in Su-hyeun’s perspective.
What surprised Su-hyeun, though, was that he ended up running into Master Subhuti in a place like this and that one of the Five Godly Sages looked quite different from how he imagined him.
“Did you hear about him from First Brother?”
“Yes. He said that Master Subhuti wanted to meet me.”
“Really? In that case, what did you think he’d look like?”
“I haven’t really thought about what he’d look like,” Su-hyeun replied as such while shifting his gaze over to the rice paddy currently being harvested by Master Subhuti. “Although, if I’m honest, I didn’t think he’d look like that.”
The Roc Demon King chuckled at that reply.
His eyes, usually filled with sharpness and killing intent, had become a lot more relaxed and softened, even if he was wearing his human disguise right now.
“Hah, I guess you still haven’t figured it out?”
“That uncle is also in disguise, just like me. And he’s been staying in this village far longer than I have.”
Su-hyeun felt a chill run down his spine at the Roc Demon King’s explanation.
The thing was, he could clearly “see” the original appearance of the Roc Demon King before his eyes.
A Yogoe with long wings, blue feathers, and narrow eyes—that was the true appearance of the Roc Demon King, something far removed from a villager named Mister Wong.
In other words, even without Insight’s help, Su-hyeun didn’t find it hard to figure out the Roc Demon King’s true nature.
“I couldn’t see through him at all,” Su-hyeun thought.
Would things have been different if he relied on Insight? Su-hyeun still shook his head.
Even with that ability, he didn’t feel confident. There was no guarantee that Insight could help him clearly see someone that he had overlooked in the first place.
“Alright, so? Didn’t you say that First Brother sent you to find me?”
“Ah, that. Yes. He said he got some booze, so—”
“That booze, it’s not our big brother but me who procured it. It’s actually a pretty common drink among humans. They call it Bamboo Leaf Wine.”
“Yeah, but being common doesn’t mean its taste is common, too. Even our Big Brother likes it, probably due to its aroma or something. I’ll bring some later in the evening, so you should head back first,” the Roc Demon King explained before walking away.
He was carrying a farming tool, and it looked like he wanted to finish up what he was doing earlier.
Su-hyeun called out to the Roc Demon King, who was already making his way to return to the field. By now, the sun had set completely to welcome the night.
“Are you happy being here?”
When Su-hyeun asked that, the Roc Demon King stood still and didn’t reply right away.
But a short while later…
“Nope, not even close!”
His verbal reply was utterly at odds with his expression or what Su-hyeun could sense.
Su-hyeun watched the Roc Demon King get farther away. Then, he turned around to leave in the opposite direction.
“He’s still the same.”
The mere fact that he was stuck in a dilemma for a while there was a good enough indicator for what the Roc Demon King’s real answer was. If he really hated his current lifestyle, not only would he not take his time to ponder his answer, but he wouldn’t have persisted with this lifestyle in the first place.
It became very dark now.
Su-hyeun sped up his steps a little.
He lightly leaped and jumped across the forest.
But when he was about halfway over the forest…
He landed on a comparatively wide opening among the trees and turned around, “Are you planning to keep following me?” he asked, but no reply came his way.
The distinctive blue light swirled within Su-hyeun’s eyes next. Activating his Insight allowed him to see into the dark forest. The moonlight only faintly illuminated the surrounding, but Su-hyeun could see just fine as if he had gained a pair of a wild animal’s eyes.
His gaze then shifted toward the rear of a tree to the side. “I heard that you have something to say to me?”
“Isn’t using Insight now against the rules a bit?”
A large man with a thick beard walking on clogs stepped in front of the tree. It was none other than the “uncle” who called the Roc Demon King Mister Wong.
“Are you Master Subhuti?”
“Did that kid, Roc, tell you that?” Subhuti asked with steely eyes and a face that differed significantly from his good-natured expression earlier, “Or can you see me?”
Su-hyeun nodded slightly.
He couldn’t see as clearly as with the Roc Demon King. Still, he could see something. It seemed to be due to using Insight.
“You’re smaller than I thought.”
“Quite wrinkled, and…the farming tool in your hand, it’s actually a walking stick.”
“And what else?”
Su-hyeun didn’t answer. That was all he could see.
Insight, which was supposed to allow him to peek into another’s thoughts and even look into their future and past, could only let him see a part of Master Subhuti’s outer appearance and not much else.
Meaning his opponent had to be the real deal.
“Huh, huhuhuh!” Master Subhuti suddenly broke into a fit of laughter.
His appearance then gradually began changing.
It was as if the vivid mirage before one’s eyes was scattering away. The large man with a bushy beard transformed into a small-statured old man with a face stained deeply by many wrinkles.
“Did this old man’s prank go a bit overboard? If so, allow me to apologize. I’m sorry about that.”
“Oh, no, it’s fine, sir. No need to apologize…”
“You’re a nice fella,” Master Subhuti plopped down on the spot. He then pounded on his shoulder and leaned his back against a nearby tree. “All this harvesting is making my back and shoulders, heck, my whole body, sore like crazy. Fella, why don’t you take a seat over there, too?”
A branch nearby began stretching and arrived in front of Su-hyeun. It was fairly thick, so there shouldn’t be a problem sitting on it.
“Honestly, I’m fine over here, sir.” However, Su-hyeun didn’t sit on the branch but settled down on the ground opposite of Subhuti instead.
He didn’t want to make his conversation partner look up at him just because he was worried about getting his clothes a bit dirty.
“I knew it. You are a good person.”
“Do you know about me?”
“Wukong told me nonstop about you until I started bleeding in my ear. Also, even though the Bull Demon King hasn’t said anything, he seems to care a lot about you, too.”
Master Subhuti began describing all the tales he heard from both Sun Wukong and the Bull Demon King. Somehow, his storytelling carried on for a while. Even so, it wasn’t boring or anything like that.
Su-hyeun got to hear what Sun Wukong and the Bull Demon King were saying about him and about how the Roc Demon King had been fairing so far.
Apparently, he had been maintaining a surprisingly normal life of a villager for quite some time.
At the end of about an hour of nonstop explanation, Su-hyeun finally opened his mouth to ask, “Is there a special reason why you’re staying in that village?”
Master Subhuti was about to continue with his storytelling but stopped himself and stayed quiet for a little while. Since Su-hyeun couldn’t hear his inner thoughts even with Insight’s help, Su-hyeun had no choice but to wait until he decided to speak.
“Well, I’m in hiding, you see.”
“Right. I don’t know what’s so appealing about this old neck of mine, but there’s this fool who’s been obsessively chasing me down. Although, it’s been a long time since I managed to lose him.”
The truth he revealed with some difficulty was somewhat unexpected. No, it was actually quite shocking. Never in a million years did Su-hyeun think that Master Subhuti, one of the Five Godly Sages, was being chased around like a dog.
Worse still, he couldn’t think of many existences strong enough to do something like that. “Is it Shiva?”
“You automatically thought of the Three Destroyers?”
“There aren’t any other beings strong enough to target you, sir.”
Su-hyeun was confident of his own powers, so confident that dealing with the Ten Great Evils didn’t feel all that difficult for the current him.
However, it would be a different story against the Three Destroyers. Not only Uranus, but even Shiva was a being in another realm compared to him.
Every single one of them was an existence capable of changing the fate of the universe itself, just like the Five Godly Sages.
“You’re right. It’s one of the Three Destroyers, but not Shiva.”
“It’s some punk named Osiris. He’s one nasty character, that fool. I wandered around here and there trying to avoid him, but in the end, I chose to return here and hide in that village.”
Osiris—Su-hyeun made sure to remember that name. That was a god from the ancient Egyptian pantheon, who happened to be the god of the dead.
“Even so, he hasn’t tried to find me in the past couple of centuries or so. Thanks to that, I didn’t have to be anxious all the time and could leisurely help out with the village’s harvest like today.”
“What’s his reason?”
“Well, we can’t really say it’s not related to you, friend.”
“Sorry?” Su-hyeun wondered what Subhuti was talking about and made a puzzled face, but then…
[Will you start the 202nd floor’s trial?]
A message suddenly popped up before his eyes.
As Su-hyeun’s expression morphed into a flustered one, Master Subhuti asked him, “What can you see?”
“It can’t be.”
“Looks like you have guessed it. Indeed. It’s all because of that.”
It was because of the “system,” the device Master Subhuti had created to counter the apocalypse brought on by Shiva.
“Although the rest of the Five Godly Sages helped me with its creation, only I know the method to break the system apart, and Osiris is hell-bent on finding that out.”
“If the destruction of the system is Osiris’s goal, does that mean his ultimate goal is the same as Shiva’s?”
“Yes, it is, but they will probably never work together.”
“They are bitter rivals. But, more correctly, Osiris is the only one feeling the heat of the rivalry between them.”
Master Subhuti then got back to his feet. Su-hyeun followed suit and walked along with him.
While staying one step back, he listened to the next part of Subhuti’s explanation. “Just like Shiva, Osiris wishes for the annihilation of the universe so that his territory can be greatly expanded. The Five Godly Sages, including me, created the system to counter them, but Osiris now desires to bring it down, too.”
“Shouldn’t you stop him in that case?”
“Of course. That’s why we exist, after all,” Master Subhuti replied as such, then came to a stop and turned his head.
Su-hyeun also stopped when Subhuti did and stared back, puzzled.
“To achieve that goal, your role is also very crucial, friend.”
“Do you believe that you ended up here this time just for the sake of sharing a cup of booze?”
Su-hyeun shook his head. He initially thought that, but now, he knew that wasn’t the case anymore.
“But sir, I don’t think I was brought here to deal with these small fries.”
When Su-hyeun said that, he felt the faint multiple presences around them more clearly.
They had begun gathering up one by one a while ago, and before long, their number had swelled up dramatically. Their appearance was also why Master Subhuti suddenly got up and started walking in the middle of their conversation.
Sure enough, Subhuti seemed to have cottoned on to their presence as well, as he didn’t display a single hint of fluster at what Su-hyeun said.
“It seems that this lifestyle of mine is drawing to a close now,” Subhuti began chuckling affably.
The presences within the forest began emitting bloodlust one by one. Without a doubt, they were here for Master Subhuti.
Su-hyeun stood before Subhuti protectively and unsheathed his sword.
“Trees feel pain, too.”
Now that was a totally unexpected observation.
Su-hyeun was about to move out but stopped himself and looked back at Master Subhuti.
“If it’s possible, please ensure that they aren’t harmed. Can you do it?”
Subhuti said that trees would be damaged if they fought inside the forest, so Su-hyeun should take extra care.
If it was anyone else, they would have argued back while saying, “What kind of nonsense was that?”
But strangely enough, Su-hyeun no longer thought that way. He simply smirked back at Subhuti and replied, “That’s a rather easy request..”
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