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The Hero Returns is a Webnovel made by Heuk Ahin. This webnovel is presently Ongoing.
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Chapter 511: Chapter 511
A curtain of fog filled up the surroundings.
One could see through it from the inside, but it was impossible to look in from the outside.
This much was easy enough to figure out because the spa.r.s.e number of pa.s.sersby walking past the thin curtain of fog didn’t even spare a single glance in this direction.
Barely regaining his consciousness, Michael could only open his eyes wide in shock at the scene of a merciless beatdown.
It was a scene of human bones breaking and human flesh blowing apart.
To someone like Michael, who led a sheltered life until now, it was a truly horrific scene to behold.
“Hmm…” But the one responsible for creating such a scene, Sun Wukong, rubbed his chin and muttered in disappointment, “What the heck? Why are they so weak? It’s no fun beating weaklings like you, you know?”
He even smacked his lips while turning his head because he noticed that Michael had woken up from his brief nap. Sun Wukong was the one who punched the punk’s jaw ever so gently to knock him out in the first place.
“Heeeeek?!” Michael got scared out of his wits and sucked in a deep breath in pure terror before squeezing his eyes shut.
He couldn’t see anything, but his heart kept pounding madly. It was as if his heart had jumped up into his skull, judging from how loud it pounded in his ears.
That voice came from right above Michael’s head.
“I already saw you, dude. Get up already, will ya?”
Sun Wukong lightly slapped Michael’s cheek.
That was a gentle little slap to the former, but to the latter, it truly hurt like h.e.l.l. Every time Sun Wukong’s palm landed on Michael’s cheek, the latter thought his face was about to be ripped apart.
“You know, it’s kinda hard to hit someone while I’m holding myself back by this much. And it’s gonna be too much work to try to torment a bunch of weaklings like you. Alright, so, open your eyes and take a good look, okay? If you don’t, I’m gonna make you open your eyes in a not-so-nice way, got that?”
That threat issued in a monotone voice was so scary that Michael had to open his trembling eyelids. However, he ended up sucking in a big gulp of air after taking a look into Sun Wukong’s eyes.
Some crimson energy was swirling within Sun Wukong’s eyes.
Michael inadvertently soiled his pants when he stared at the Fiery Golden Eyes. He was overcome with the terrifying hallucination of a ma.s.sive monster baring its fangs to swallow him up right there and then.
“No need to forget everything that happened here. Just forget about who I am or what I look like, that’s all,” Sun Wukong stared straight into Michael’s eyes. “You can do that much, right?”
Michael urgently nodded like a madman in response.
But it wasn’t merely him nodding his head. The memories of Sun Wukong were being wiped out of his mind right now, with the scene of the merciless beatdown the only thing remaining.
That was one of Fiery Golden Eyes’ powers.
“And now, go back to sleep.”
Sun Wukong slammed Michael’s head on the hard floor. The latter quivered pathetically before his whole body went limp. After confirming that, Sun Wukong left the scene.
The news of heavily injured people suddenly appearing in the middle of a street eventually reached Su-hyeun’s attention.
Countless people had arrived in San Francisco as the Ranking Wars loomed. Therefore, the city’s security had been beefed up to prevent any conflicts between awakeners. Even so, something as alarming as that happened right under their noses.
And so, on the day of the Ranking Wars…
Perhaps thanks to the low instances of dungeon generation recently, most of the world’s S-Ranks could partic.i.p.ate in this year’s Ranking Wars.
“You weren’t found out,” said Su-hyeun while reading an American news outlet.
Of course, the culprit of a crime no one could solve was none other than Sun Wukong. After being told not to kill anyone, he really didn’t kill anyone.
“Of course, I won’t get found out, you know. Besides all that, when is this thing called the Ranking Wars starting?” Sun Wukong looked bored out of his mind while saying that. He had already finished sightseeing the city by now, too.
Nothing made the time move slower than waiting for something to happen. While Sun Wukong yawned over and over again, Su-hyeun confirmed the time and explained what was about to happen. “There’s still a bit left to go. But Third Brother, you shouldn’t get your hopes up too much. I don’t think any opponent here is good enough to raise your expectations.”
“Well, I’ll just fight you, then,” Sun Wukong replied while sounding a little expectant.
The whole reason why he decided to enter the Ranking Wars was to have a proper match with Su-hyeun. Fights against other awakeners didn’t even matter to him, really.
That story also applied to Su-hyeun, however.
“Well, there’s still no news regarding Brahma’s whereabouts, and…”
“Partic.i.p.ants of the preliminary, Kim Su-hyeun and Kyoi Ichiro, please come to the arena. Repeat, partic.i.p.ants…”
Finally, the announcement was broadcast into the waiting area.
The first match was about to begin.
The most-watched partic.i.p.ant was about to enter the most-watched match. The group’s formation and order of entry were supposed to be randomized, but judging from what just happened, that didn’t seem true in some circ.u.mstances.
“Hey, little bro, sounds like you’ll be first?”
“Would you like to follow me outside and see what’s what?”
“Hmm… It kinda sounds boring.” Sun Wukong’s half-reclined figure shot up from the chair, “But it’ll still be better than being stuck in here.”
“He’s here! He’s here!”
“It’s about to begin!”
The audience seats were placed very far away, but their voices still could be heard so vividly.
Only a few people in the entire world could watch the Ranking Wars from the grandstands. Even though the arena itself was ma.s.sive, it only allowed a few tens of thousands to spectate the matches.
Half of the spectators silently watched the proceedings with great interest, not wanting to sully what they thought of as refined appearances. Meanwhile, the other half cheered on loudly, and when Su-hyeun made his entrance, they erupted into a fever pitch.
Su-hyeun’s response to their cheering was simple enough. “Wow, so loud.”
What he said was captured by the cameras and transmitted to countless TV screens. He knew this would happen but didn’t mind it much.
He thought, “If I have been showing up in the Ranking Wars every year, I could have avoided going through this annoying preliminary match, but…”
The top-ranked awakener entered the final straight away. This was the rule of the Ranking Wars held every year.
The current number one in the world was, unsurprisingly, Gordon Rohan. Apparently, Hak-joon made it all the way to the final match last year, and the two of them had a pretty intense battle but couldn’t win in the end.
“So, I gotta start from the preliminary, huh?”
The preliminary match type was basically the same as before.
A stage was set up inside the illusion magic circle created by Johnny Brad, who turned out to be Loki in disguise.
The partic.i.p.ants were supposed to overcome the given trials and score points. One with the highest points tally would progress to the main matches.
“At least it’s still the same.”
Su-hyeun listened to the explanation on the type of the preliminary match. At the same time, an illusion began activating before his eyes.
With that, a new stage opened its doors. Its theme was a cavern-style dungeon.
One could score a point by hunting monsters. The rankings would be tallied at the end according to the points each partic.i.p.ant had scored.
Although old-school, this rule sounded reasonable and foolproof. That was why Su-hyeun liked it a lot.
“What a relief it is to meet you in the preliminaries and form a team together, Mister Su-hyeun.”
Four people approached Su-hyeun.
They were all S-Rank awakeners from various countries. One could even call them “minor” heroes for entering the Ranking Wars and boosting their respective nations’ international image.
“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mister Su-hyeun. Please look after—”
“Nice to meet you, too. However, I don’t think our meeting will last long enough to share in-depth friendly greetings like this.”
Su-hyeun shook the hand of the awakener that greeted him. He figured that refusing to shake hands would only make things awkward for everyone here.
After the handshake, Su-hyeun placed his palm on the floor. He briefly wondered if he should break the illusion, but that would be going against the rules.
Which meant that there was only one other way to save a significant amount of his time.
“There are quite a few, aren’t there?” he thought.
Electrical currents leaked from Su-hyeun’s palm and traveled along the cave’s floor and walls.
He used Insight to learn the cave’s layout and then sent the currents inside.
The strength of the monsters created through illusion was only around the green dungeon’s level. Compared to the Predators, these things didn’t even count as small fries.
The entire cave was bathed in bright light for a brief moment there.
This scene was witnessed not just by the awakeners standing around the starting point but even the cameras broadcasting the Ranking Wars.
Then, after the world was dyed in the white light for a little while…
[The trial has concluded.]
[First place: Kim Su-hyeun.]
[Second place: Yamamora Taki.]
[Second place: …]
[Second place: …]
One first place and then shared second places were announced.
With that, the “trial” was over.
That could mean only one thing.
“It’s… it’s a complete annihilation?!”
They couldn’t witness it directly, but the system of this illusion still informed them of what had just happened.
If it wasn’t Su-hyeun but someone else before their eyes, they would’ve been convinced that some error had crept into the system.
No, wait—that still happened despite Su-hyeun being the one responsible for this crazy event. As proof, several people were already lodging their complaints, asking if there had been some error here.
“What a deflating turn of events that was,” Gordon Rohan muttered while resting his chin on his hand. He had been watching it all happen from a close vantage point.
The first preliminary match ended far too soon. This was a rather deflating result for all the spectators that came here to witness Su-hyeun.
A calculator inside Gordon Rohan’s head went into overdrive just then.
What kind of impact would this preliminary match have on the success of this year’s Ranking Wars?
After abusing the calculator for a while, Gordon Rohan began frowning a little, “No, wait, maybe this is for the better.”
He couldn’t come to a conclusion just yet.
That preliminary match ended far too soon, but that might have been a better way to grab the attention of everyone.
After all, a match ended in an instant.
Such a thing should serve to enhance Su-hyeun’s prestige even more, which in turn greatly boosted people’s antic.i.p.ation for the main matches.
“Well, the real deal this time is someone else, so it’ll be fine.”
He made plenty of calculations, and the result was “profit.”
No matter how brief, the sense of antic.i.p.ation had to be built up to a certain level. Only then would the antic.i.p.ation pumped up like a vast balloon blow up in one hit right at the climax.
Gordon Rohan looked down at the arena, and his gaze eventually caught a familiar face: a man with ragged clothing and long white hair that came down to his back.
“He’s supposed to be Sun Wukong, wasn’t he? The Great Sage, Heaven’s Equal…”
The tale Sun Wukong appeared in, the Journey to the West, was a rather famous mythical story.
He was an existence capable of devastating the entire heavenly world all by himself and also strong enough to rival the Jade Emperor.
Maybe this version wasn’t as incredible as that tale made him out to be. Even so, Su-hyeun called him “older brother.”
Then, there was Gordon Rohan himself. He faced Sun Wukong up close, yet he failed to discern the depths of the latter’s strength.
That meant that, at the very least, Sun Wukong should be stronger than Gordon Rohan.
“Well, now, let us have a good look.”
Without a doubt, the spectators wouldn’t even have dreamed of the kind of scene the new partic.i.p.ant would show them during the preliminary match.
Getting ready to enter the Ranking Wars’ preliminary match, Sun Wukong wordlessly looked around his surroundings.
He entered the tournament without changing his name. He didn’t have any proof of identification, but the Gordon Company guaranteed his abilities and acknowledged his partic.i.p.ation in the Ranking wars.
However, it wasn’t just the Gordon Company. Su-hyeun guaranteed it, too.
His guarantee was not something a regular S-Rank awakener could ever hope to earn.
“This guy… I’ve never seen him before.”
“His name is Sun Wukong? Really?”
“Does that mean the stick on his back is the Ruyi staff? And I suppose he rides around in the Somersault cloud, too?”
The arena was filled with the laughter of ridicule, along with disdain.
That was understandable, however. Sun Wukong wasn’t even a verified awakener and, worse still, someone added to the proceedings at the last minute.
It implied that he was a newbie who entered the S-Rank only recently.
At least that was what everyone thought.
“Pa.s.sing the preliminary of the Ranking Wars proves that you are upper ranked now…”
“One of the compet.i.tors will be a pushover.”
“I got lucky.”
Their inner thoughts were clearly reflected in their faces.
And Sun Wukong wasn’t a halfwit who couldn’t recognize what they were thinking of.
“Heh, this is getting interesting,” Sun Wukong smirked profoundly and pulled out Ruyi Jingu Bang.
Almost right away, the second preliminary match began with the illusion manifesting itself.
The scenery changed in an instant.
The new stage was a forest, and from this forest so vast that one couldn’t see its end, countless bizarre screeches and howls could be heard.
The first one was a cave, and now, it was a forest.
“Let’s see…” Sun Wukong scanned the stage for a bit, then muttered to himself, “I guess one hundred should be enough.”
“What did he say?”
Poof, poof, poof—!
Suddenly, thick smoke filled up the surroundings.
The other four awakeners, thinking that Sun Wukong had activated a skill without warning, tried to rouse up their own magical energies. But then…
One hundred Sun Wukongs had appeared before them..
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