The Hero Returns - Chapter 380: Chapter 380
Chapter 380: Chapter 380
The list of rankings floated up.
Sun Wukong, yawning grandly as if he was bored out of his mind, noticed a name on the list, which made his eyes open wider in surprise. “Huh?” He had to doubt his own eyes for a moment there and hurriedly rubbed them. “Huh? Youngest brother?”
“Eh? Did you call for me?”
Another voice came from right next to him. Sun Wukong narrowed his eyes and spun his head to the side in response.
Twinkling stars floated up in front of the monkey next to him. While the poor creature began shielding its aching head with both of its hands, Sun Wukong replied in an irritated voice, “Not you, dumbass.”
“Ouch…But, but! Who else is here beside me?” The monkey sneaked a glance around their vicinity and asked back in protest, “I mean, Lord Great Sage has killed practically everyone else, after all…”
Indeed, corpses littered the vicinity of Sun Wukong and the monkey. Every single one of them used to be other participants that rushed in blindly to steal or rob him of his golden leaves.
Sun Wukong never planned to go easy on the participants that came to attack him. In truth, he was pleased by the fact that he got to fight against so many enemies like this.
Of course, none of the fights lasted for too long.
Sun Wukong explained himself, “Remember I told you some stuff about my youngest brother?”
“Aha! Yes, I remember. You said he’s strong enough to rival you, Lord Great Sage…”
“You see over here, on the message? The second place?”
“You mean, Kim Su-hyeun?”
“That’s the exact same name as my youngest bro.”
The monkey’s jaw nearly dropped to the floor at Sun Wukong’s explanation. “T-then, he’s our youngest brother?”
“Of course he’s ‘our’ youngest. You think he’s ‘your’ youngest?”
“B-but it’s possible that it’s a different person with the same name, you know?”
“Stop saying something unlucky, will ya? Imma just…”
When Sun Wukong threateningly raised his fist, the monkey quickly crouched while shielding its head with both hands again.
If this was any other time, a fist might have come flying in toward the monkey’s head, but the story was different this time. Sun Wukong muttered while sounding genuinely happy about something, “You know, I just have a good feeling about this.”
* * *
Su-hyeun doubted his own eyes for a moment there.
“Wait, the third brother is here?” he thought.
He certainly didn’t read it wrong.
The message continued to hover in the air. No matter how many times he read it again or rubbed his eyes, the name “Sun Wukong” remained prominently on display on the rankings list.
Could it be someone else with the same name?
From the get-go, a name like “Sun Wukong” wouldn’t be that common.
Also, Sun Wukong was currently climbing the tower of trials, according to what the Bull Demon King had said. By borrowing the power of the tower’s system to travel between different dimensions, it shouldn’t be entirely impossible for them to coincidentally run into each other in some dimension or the other.
Finally, he thought that Sun Wukong as the person ahead of him in the rankings despite himself having acquired 13 golden leaves made a lot of sense.
“I mean, he does have his cloning technique, so…”
No matter how strong Su-hyeun was, in the end, he was still only one person.
On the other hand, Sun Wukong possessed a unique skill called cloning technique. Since he could create dozens or hundreds of himself, searching for the golden leaves would be inevitably simpler for him.
Without a doubt, the number of golden leaves Su-hyeun or Luslec managed to find would be nowhere near the total Sun Wukong had in his possession.
In that case…
“It’s the real deal,” Su-hyeun said, the smile on his lips growing wider.
Sun Wukong was really here.
“Eh? What is?” Luslec asked.
“It seems my older brother is also in this place.”
“Excuse me? Your older brother?” Luslec sounded rather puzzled by that. “You have a sibling?”
“Ah, no. He’s not an actual relative but a sworn brother. But we don’t get to see each other often because of how far away he lives from me…”
He did think that they might never see each other again, however.
“It looks like we might run into each other in this place.”
Su-hyeun’s eyes were sparkling several times brighter than usual. He couldn’t help but think that they might get an unexpected but still welcome reunion.
[The next stage will begin in five minutes.]
Only five extra minutes were given, which implied that they would only get that much to rest.
Such a rest period seemed hopelessly inadequate considering that it came at the end of 12 hours of hard labor. To those who had exhausted their magical energy reserve and stamina, five minutes should feel like a mere blink of an eye.
Of course, for Su-hyeun, those five minutes felt like an eternity.
“Hurry up already,” Su-hyeun inwardly said.
He wanted the period to be over already so that they could enter the next stage as soon as possible, especially because he believed he’d get to meet Sun Wukong when that happens.
“Come on, hurry up.”
Minutes ticked by at a crawling pace.
Thanks to his breathing technique, he had plenty of magical energy left, and that rest period of five minutes was more than enough time for him to recover from the negligible level of fatigue he had accumulated so far.
[The second mission will now commence.]
[Survive against the false World Tree’s parasites.]
[Hunt down the false World Tree’s parasites.]
[Acquire 1,000,000 points.]
[In case you knock out or murder another participant, you can acquire half of that participant’s accumulated points.]
[You may escape from the stage by declaring that you surrender.]
[In case you surrender, half of your points will be transferred to the nearest participants.]
[Additional rewards will be granted depending on the number of additional points you acquire.]
[Remaining time: 24:00:00]
At first, it was competition, but now, they would be hunting.
They were indeed simple-enough topics. If there were some things of note here, then it would be that one, the fixed amount of points acted as the qualifications to move on to the next stage, and two, you’d earn extra rewards depending on the additional points you acquired.
Finally, you could also take away half of what the other participants possessed when you murdered them.
“The methods are either surrender or knock the other party out or just outright kill them. Overall, it’ll be a choice between hunting down either the parasites or the participants.”
While Su-hyeun was thinking that, the next set of messages continued.
[The number of golden leaves in your possession will now be tallied.]
[Golden leaves in possession: 13]
[You will earn an additional 10% of points with every extra golden leaf in your possession.]
[Additional acquired points: 120%]
“Hah…” Su-hyeun chuckled wryly at that.
He had been wondering what the world that created the top-tier god would be like, but as it turned out, it didn’t differ all that much from the tower’s system.
“The condition of needing one million points to pass…At first, it’s logical to earn points by hunting down the parasites, but as the stage goes on, it’ll become increasingly more efficient to fight the other participants, instead.”
Su-hyeun imagined what might happen during this second stage. The first half would entail hunting, but the odds of the second half turning into a battle royale featuring the surviving participants were uncomfortably high.
“It might get dangerous if I waste too much of my stamina in the first half.”
The plan was simple—during the first half, take things slowly and leisurely, and then when the second half arrived, a pandemonium would naturally ensue. That would be the right time to go on a rampage.
Monstrous screeches came to him just as he finished organizing his thoughts.
It wasn’t all that hard to pinpoint the culprit of those screeches. Besides, you’d be truly stupid if you couldn’t figure that out even after reading the messages from earlier.
“Well, they are here,” said Luslec while pulling his sword out and summoning his shadows. “The parasites.”
“Sounds that way.”
What appeared next was green caterpillars at least several meters wide and nearly 100 meters in length. They revealed their ugly mugs above the World Tree’s branches as viscous liquid drooled out from their mouths.
Quite a few of them had shown up, and no matter where you looked, the only thing you could see were these critters.
[The trait “Necromancer” has been activated.]
[By using “Death Aura,” you can now see or command the dead.]
A blackish aura oozed around Su-hyeun’s vicinity, and almost at the same time, he opened his mouth and said, “Arise.”
The Death Aura flowing close to the ground began coalescing and eventually formed several silhouettes—from Gluttony and its small-hill-like physique to Prince Nezha and even boss creatures from various dungeons.
When it came to a wide-scale hunt, going this route was still the most optimal way.
“Go in that direction and sweep away as many parasites as possible.”
Gluttony let out a growl, while Prince Nezha nodded once before gripping his Yogoe Slaying Sword tightly.
Thanks to his improved Death Aura stat, as well as skill proficiency, both Gluttony and Prince Nezha had achieved an application rate of nearly 100% of their selves when they were still alive.
On top of that, they also consumed the potion Ellid had crafted, which turned them into combatants that were even better than an average apostle that possessed a qualification of godhood.
The Yogoe Slaying Sword continued to slice and dice the parasites apart, while Gluttony munched on the parasites. The other summoned creatures utilized their own unique abilities to hunt the parasites down.
[You acquired 240 points.]
[You acquired 155 points.]
[You acquired 600 points.]
[You acquired 340…]
Messages began appearing continuously. Thankfully, points accumulated diligently every time Su-hyeun’s summons eliminated the parasites.
Observing that, Su-hyeun suddenly gripped his sword tightly with both hands. “Blow away…”
A humongous wind began enveloping the blade, then…
A purple-colored flame danced along the path of the wind and enveloped the blade as well.
* * *
[You acquired 457 points.]
[You acquired 654 points.]
[You acquired 244 points.]
[You acquired 441…]
The messages floating up nonstop were making it hard for him to concentrate.
The points that he earned from the parasites depended on their sizes. At most, the points were around 800, while at the lowest, it was below 200. In other words, the difference was about four times.
Flames and winds raged on in a chaotic dance to sweep away all the parasites near Su-hyeun and Luslec.
Afterward, Su-hyeun confirmed the number of points that he earned.
[Current points: 142,234]
Over 140,000 points! He had earned quite a lot in a short period. He figured that by repeating this process a few more times, he should reach the goal of one million points in no time at all.
“Right. This mission isn’t the hardest to clear.”
The level of the parasites themselves wasn’t all that special.
However, these things must’ve been venomous because toxic gases continued to ooze out from their corpses, but such a problem could be dealt with by not getting closer to them in the first place.
Besides, with Su-hyeun’s stamina or magical energy level, his immunity against poison was already more than good enough.
“This is a stage to filter out the people that fall below a certain ability threshold. Also, I guess it’s to decrease the number of participants through competition.”
The parasites that had appeared in the vicinity had been all taken care of. It was time to change locations.
“Aren’t you being a little too much?” It was at that point that Luslec began speaking in a slightly dissatisfied voice. “Maybe you want us to part ways after this stage, seeing how you swept everything away by yourself?”
Only then did Su-hyeun become conscious of Luslec’s presence next to him and ended up making an “Oh, crap” face.
As all the parasites had been swept away clean by the Palm Leaf, Luslec didn’t even get a proper chance to hunt one down.
The remaining time was still around 24 hours. Even if a lot of time still remained, there was no guarantee whether or not Luslec would get to amass a million points if Su-hyeun didn’t pay him any attention and did as he pleased.
“Sorry about that.” Su-hyeun smiled awkwardly.
It was indeed his fault for not thinking about Luslec’s case.
Whatever the case might have been, they agreed to act as a team, so there was a definite need to work together until both of them reached the minimum stage clear condition of one million points.
“I’ll be more cautious in the next location. If not, we can always individually go—”
A loud shout came from somewhere to abruptly halt Su-hyeun’s suggestion. The volume of the call was loud enough to probably damage the vocal cord of the other person. However, the voice itself was rather familiar to him.
“Youngest bro—! Are you there—?!”
The incredibly loud voice even managed to shake the World Tree.
Su-hyeun’s brows shot up high at that voice as well. “Third brother?”