The Hero Returns is a web novel produced by Heuk Ahin.
This webnovel is presently Ongoing.
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Chapter 530: Chapter 530
The current location was on top of a certain World Tree, where there existed a world populated by G.o.ds.
This world didn’t have a name. It was too small for one, and the G.o.ds living there simply called it “town.”
This town was supposed to be in the middle of its apocalypse. However…
“It’s him again.”
“With the Predator he killed this time, I hear the number he killed now exceeds four digits.”
A certain man was dragging along a ma.s.sive Pterosaur-like monster with nothing but his bare hand.
This monster was as big as a small mountain, at the very least. Even if he was a G.o.d, it shouldn’t have been easy to drag around something that humongous.
But the G.o.ds wouldn’t be talking about this event with so much enthusiasm if the only noteworthy thing about the monster was its size.
“Just how many G.o.ds have ended up in the belly of that beast already?”
“It’s not for nothing that the monster earned the nickname ‘devouring G.o.d.’”
The nickname, “devouring G.o.d,” was initially meant to reference a G.o.d of eating.
However, it meant a completely different thing when attached to this monster.
A monster that devoured G.o.ds was the true meaning of its nickname.
“But he still managed to hunt down that devouring G.o.d?”
“Since he’s gone and done it, the next one on the list should be… that thing.”
“Well, he’s killed the devouring G.o.d and all, so…”
The man dragging the Pterosaur-like monster heard the murmurings of the G.o.ds and glanced at his surroundings.
He realized they were talking about him right now, but Su-hyeun didn’t care either way and continued to drag the monster forward.
“I’ve hunted it down.”
“You really did it, fella,” a male G.o.d watched Su-hyeun walk up to him, surprised.
This G.o.d was quite old. His name was Gawul, and he was the top deity in charge of running the “town.”
“And so, all I have to do now is to wait, yes?”
“You sounded so confident of yourself. That’s why I told you about it, but honestly speaking, I’m still very much worried.”
“Is that creature so terrifying?”
“Indeed. It’s one of the Ten Great Evils. In other words, it’s strong enough to be counted in the top 10 calamities of this wide, expansive universe!” Gawul shuddered softly. “Fella, you’ve never met this creature, and that’s why you don’t know its terror. No, wait, other than me, no one else knows—”
“What about other G.o.ds?”
“They are all uninvolved. They don’t even know the true nature of the creature. They never had a chance to fight it, so that’s only par for the course.”
“Have you fought it before?”
“I have,” Gawul nodded, his legs shaking. “And that’s why I badly wish to run away from here right now.”
His fellow G.o.ds could be seen smiling among themselves.
This town had been driven to a corner. The G.o.ds lost their homeworld to the horde of countless Predators led by a certain existence and had to hole themselves in a tiny village.
But Su-hyeun’s appearance gave them hope.
Only Gawul was the exception. He couldn’t see that hope. He was still too afraid.
“In that case, why haven’t you run away yet?”
“Because I know I need to fight back somehow,” Gawul replied while clenching his fists tightly. “I can’t keep running away and hide for all eternity, now can I?”
One could spy his determination from what he said just now.
Since their first meeting, Gawul always had this look of a man being chased by something. Su-hyeun initially wondered why, but he understood this older G.o.d’s position better after listening to the reason.
Gawul was the top dog in this town. That might give him many privileges, but it also came with many responsibilities.
“Being a G.o.d isn’t that different from being a human, isn’t it?” Su-hyeun thought to himself.
These beings, born with the promise of eternal life, were relatively poor at controlling their emotions, unlike the Bull Demon King, Buddha, or Master Subhuti.
They were afraid of the unknown and decided to form a herd to survive.
This town—their small village—was the last of the last stronghold for these pitiful beings.
“In that case, you’re all fully resolved, then.”
“Well, it’s not ‘fully,’ but—”
“If not, that’s going to be a big problem.”
Darkness suddenly drew upon the spot Su-hyeun and Gawul stood on.
Their shadows vanished, and the light in the skies also went away. Gawul’s complexion paled in an instant.
“Here it comes.”
“Dammit, so b.l.o.o.d.y quick,” Gawul muttered in a trembling voice as he stared at the darkened sky.
The other G.o.ds also began to murmur noisily. That was because this phenomenon wasn’t unfamiliar to them.
“It really showed up.”
“It would be weird not to notice something that huge showing up, you know.”
“Everyone, are you ready for battle?”
“We’re always ready!”
G.o.ds were deeply tense at the creature showing up high above in the skies.
Gawul pulled out his weapons. He wielded short spears in both hands, then raised his fighting spirit even higher.
Almost at the same time, Su-hyeun also looked up.
He spotted a certain existence looming large well beyond the skies to block out the light from reaching the town.
“It sure is big,” he thought.
Although not as large as Ura.n.u.s, that creature was easily one of the biggest lifeforms Su-hyeun had encountered so far. It hadn’t even fully revealed itself yet, but it still managed to fill up half of the sky already.
“Is it about half the size of Ura.n.u.s?”
If Su-hyeun hadn’t already encountered Ura.n.u.s, then he would’ve been shocked out of his mind by this sight. But now, he wasn’t getting much of an impression. He didn’t see anything too special about this event besides thinking, “Wow, it’s big.”
Of course, the only person in this place who had run into Ura.n.u.s was Su-hyeun and n.o.body else.
“Now, do you understand?” Gawul asked while staring at Su-hyeun. The latter was wordlessly looking up at the darkened sky, so he thought the younger G.o.d had become scared, too. “Do you now see what kind of monster you have summoned here?”
“Well,” Su-hyeun replied with an att.i.tude not too different from a minute ago. “Now that I see it, sure, I can understand.”
Gawul was puzzled at Su-hyeun’s reply.
The creature emitted a sense of presence capable of numbing your entire body. Its magical energy reserve seemed truly limitless. And what about that ma.s.sive size clearly visible to anyone with eyes?
Despite all these factors, Su-hyeun looked just unperturbed right now.
“You said this earlier, didn’t you? That I don’t know its true terror since I’ve never seen that creature.” Su-hyeun recalled what Gawul told him just now and finally came up with his reply, “Well, now I’ve seen it.”
“What are you trying to say?”
“In that case, have you seen me?”
Su-hyeun pulled out the spear mounted on his back.
The spear, Gungnir, was enveloped in azure arcs of lightning. In the meantime, the Predator filling up the sky fully revealed its ma.s.sive size.
The monster was destined to block out the sun to devour it. In the myth, it was the great enemy of the sun G.o.d Ra, and as a Predator, its size was second only to Ura.n.u.s.
It was also one of the Ten Great Evils.
This gigantic monster snake fully revealed itself. Then, while opening its indescribably huge maw, it slithered closer toward the ground below.
Gawul stared at this scene in a daze for a short while, then quickly regained his wits. He was the only one among his group who had witnessed Apophis’s true appearance and fought it.
“Do not look at the creature’s eyes! The moment you do, your body will petrify, and—”
Even before Gawul could finish, the darkened surrounding was suddenly illuminated by the blinding light.
The flash of light had an azure color.
What followed next were thunderclaps loud enough to rip their eardrums off.
The thunderclaps went off one after another, causing Gawul to cover his ears involuntarily. He feared that his eardrums would burst apart from the shockwave if he hadn’t.
It wasn’t just Gawul who couldn’t do anything at the barrage of the light and thunderous booms. All the G.o.ds in town could only squeeze their eyes shut at the blinding light and anxiously wait for the noises to die down.
The first one to open their eyes was Gawul.
“Could it be?”
There was a humongous scorched-black corpse. It had already fallen on the ground, with its tough and thick hide weakly crumbling away. Meanwhile, its crimson eyes had turned milky white after its death.
But that wasn’t the end of the story.
“The other Predators too?”
Countless other Predators showed up along with Apophis, yet they, too, had been burnt to death, their corpses littering everywhere.
Some were even reduced to piles of darkened ashes only to scatter away. All of this happened because of the lightning bolt that shot out from the spear that Su-hyeun had hurtled forward.
This sight was just too unbelievable to behold.
“It—it’s really over?!”
Even if this town was much smaller compared to Asgard or Olympus, it was still a place of G.o.ds. So, it was unbelievable for a monster strong enough to almost drive such a world to its destruction to die in such a deflating manner.
As far as Gawul knew, only five beings were capable of easily killing a Ten Great Evils Predator like this.
“Five G.o.dly Sages!”
Only the five powerful G.o.ds, including the Primordial G.o.d, Brahma, could do it. Gawul’s mind was immediately filled with the stories about them.
Gungnir was already back in Su-hyeun’s grip by then. He turned toward Gawul and asked, “Is that the end?”
“Fella, just who are you?”
Gawul had already asked this question several times. Just who was Su-hyeun?
If this young G.o.d were someone famous, then Gawul would’ve instantly recognized him. But other than stating his name, Su-hyeun didn’t explain anything about himself.
“Haven’t I already told you?”
“But I’ve never heard of your name before.”
“In that case, please do remember it from now on.”
A portal opened up right before Su-hyeun’s nose.
“Well, then, I’ll be on my way now.”
Watching Su-hyeun disappear through the portal, Gawul and the other G.o.ds stared after him, markedly stupefied with what just transpired.
They had finally regained their homeworld, but it just didn’t feel real at all.
Everything that happened just now seemed like a dream of some kind.
[You have cleared the 209th floor’s trial.]
[You have acquired the “Iris of Apophis.”]
[Will you start the 210th floor’s trial?]
“I knew it,” Su-hyeun sighed softly.
The trial reward wasn’t much to write home about. He killed a boss monster named Apophis, so he got an item related to it but nothing else besides. It seemed that he shouldn’t expect a boost to his stats at this point.
The trials he cleared so far were not particularly difficult or anything like that. The hardest thing he was asked to do involved hunting Predators in the ranks of One Hundred Evils or, like the last trial, killing one of the Ten Great Evils.
“Sure, there were a couple of annoying little missions, but that much is nothing, isn’t it?”
It had been 10 days since he began climbing the Tower again.
He needed one day to climb a floor, two days at the longest. The trial on the 209th floor took a bit of time, so in truth, clearing one of the floors didn’t even cost him a day.
That was a considerably fast clearing speed. When remembering that these floors were all above 200, his speed should be seen as exceptional.
Despite this, Su-hyeun wasn’t satisfied.
“I need to be faster.”
Even Su-hyeun had no idea just how much further he needed to climb.
Without the Bull Demon King’s advice, he would’ve hesitated due to uncertainty every time he broke through a floor, wondering if climbing the Tower was the right thing to do in the first place.
But he trusted his gut feeling.
“The other side should be worried about me, so…”
He hadn’t gone back home for over half a year.
He began thinking that they would be worried sick by now. Since s.h.i.+va’s area of activity was confined to the Path to Reincarnation, for the time being, Su-hyeun thought that there shouldn’t be anything too problematic to worry about back home. That was why he didn’t pay much attention to the “other side” for all this time.
“I do need to stop by, even if it’s only a brief stop,” he muttered to himself while immediately challenging the 210th floor’s trial.
This was his first 10th floor after stepping past the 200th floor.
The Tower always issued a specially challenging trial on every tenth and hundredth floor. Knowing this, Su-hyeun was inwardly antic.i.p.ating something big from this trial.
“But if nothing special has been prepared for this floor, I guess the next real hard one will be the 300th.”
That might be troublesome.
Even if it was Su-hyeun, reaching the 300th floor would be no mean feat. Rather than the problem of difficulty, it would be the issue of time for him.
If he a.s.sumed he would need one day to clear one floor, that would equate to a month. By taking into account the gradual rise in difficulty, he might as well a.s.sume one whole year to get to the 300th.
As s.h.i.+va had begun moving, time was more precious than gold dust to Su-hyeun right now. Who knows when something terrible might happen to Lang Mei, destroying the Path to Reincarnation?
Su-hyeun’s vision cleared up gradually as he reached the next floor, revealing the new world to him.
And right at that moment…
“What’s this? Isn’t that Kim Su-hyeun?”
“No one knew where he was for so long, yet he was actually here?”
He heard the murmurings of the crowd.
With a look of surprise, Su-hyeun quickly looked around his vicinity. This street seemed somewhat familiar.
The street he was on was crowded. It was early evening, and the pa.s.sersby out to have some dinner and maybe some booze stared at Su-hyeun while whispering among themselves.
Was this place going to be the stage for the 210th floor?
Su-hyeun quietly waited for the message window.
[The 210th floor’s trial will begin.]
[Please search for Brahma.]
“What?!” Su-hyeun ended up gasping, overcome with astonishment.
Here on Earth?
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