Chapter 336 - Successors of the Monkey King (11)

Second Life Ranker

Thwak! Kahn stumbled from the pain of the slap on his face. However, he caught his balance and didn’t fall, and the pieces of the Ruyi didn’t drop to the floor.

Kindred smirked at him. Do you think anything will change? Do you think I don’t know what you’re thinking?

It’s a misunderstanding.

A misunderstanding? Misunderstanding… Kindred scoffed. Thwak. He hit Kahn’s other cheek so violently that Kahn felt like his neck had been wrung. The inside of his mouth was torn, and he could taste blood.

I really don’t like that word. Kindred’s eyes flashed sharply, indifferent to Kahn’s condition. You can use that word for anything. “It’s a misunderstanding, I think there’s been a misunderstanding…” It’s a convenient explanation, right?

Like I said, it’s all a misunderstanding.

Really. What a useful word. Kindred flicked his finger. The pieces of the Ruyi Bang in Kahn’s palm floated up and whirled above him. Sure. Do whatever you want. People should always jump at any chance they get. You won’t be bored then.

A man behind Kindred quietly stepped up and held a golden sphere out. The sphere began to glow, and the pieces whirling in the air rushed to the sphere, locking into the empty gaps of the sphere. Clack, clack!

The sacrificial vessel slowly took shape. It was made of hundreds of pieces of the Ruyi Bang and couldn’t be called a single piece anymore. Kahn looked at it with his jaw clenched. Some of the pieces in the vessel were from the Devil Army, but over forty percent were the result of his near-death battles.

For the last few years, he had been the Devil Army’s assassin. He killed any successors the Devil Army discovered and took their pieces. He didn’t even want to think about the number of people he had killed. Each time, Kindred grew happier because the pieces would have more grudges, and he said that it was the best material to use to craft the vessel.

Kahn might have been a demon, but Kindred was an even greater demon. As for the Heavenly Demon, Kahn felt like he knew why the divine being was slumbering so deeply that he didn’t respond to their summons. Who would like such lunatics? The current Head Bishop had murdered the previous one, Black Dawn, and a few other bishops to take the top spot.

Because he didn’t have a legitimate claim, he had to depend on the Heavenly Demon. Even if others called him a heretic, as long as he had the favor of the Heavenly Demon, he would be considered the true leader. However, the Heavenly Demon hadn’t responded at all to the Head Bishop’s desperate calls, and the Head Bishop was forced to use another way by looking for the other faces of the Heavenly Demon.

Kahn was only a hired sword and he didn’t know the exact teachings of the Devil Army. He only knew that whenever the Heavenly Demon reincarnated through Samsara, he would teach the world important lessons or learn more things to make his soul complete. These reincarnations were what the Devil Army called the Heavenly Demon’s other faces.

The Monkey King had been one of the strongest reincarnations of the Heavenly Demon and it was no wonder that the Head Bishop desired him. However, the real Monkey King had disappeared when the Heavenly Demon entered his slumber, and so the Head Bishop had no other choice but to take his exuviae through the sacrificial ceremony.

Everything had been prepared, and the exuviae had been bound tightly with divine iron because he refused to leave the palace. The sacrifices had already been spread throughout the mountains for his descent, and the altar was ready. Fire burned in bronze braziers as the officials of the Devil Army—the bishops, diocesan bishops, high priests, ordinary priests, and honorary priests—waited.

Only the prayers remained, and as soon as the descent was completed, they would immediately exterminate all the insects in the holy territory of the Five Mountains. After that…

‘It’s better not to think about it.’ Kahn shut his eyes. They wouldn’t succeed. He wouldn’t let them. He’d cause a huge ruckus, but he didn’t want to think about what would come after that.

You said the insects in this sacred place have nothing to do with you? Kindred said as he looked at the glowing sacrificial vessel. 

Kahn opened his shut eyes and bowed. Yes, sir. Kindred was talking about the Monkey King’s Palace. To him, Yeon-woo’s party and their pursuers were insects that had to be exterminated for daring to step into such a sacred place. 

Come back after you get rid of them all. Only then will you get what you want. Kindred’s gaze turned to the altar, where a robed man prayed before the bronze braziers. There was a glimpse of a youthful face underneath his hood, and a subtle glow around him made him look like a saint.

Kahn gritted his teeth and bowed. Thank you for trusting me.

You three, follow him. Four, five, six. Three Apostles followed Kahn as he left the central area of the palace.

Kindred snorted, looking at Kahn walk away before he slowly moved to the finished sacrificial vessel. The Third Bishop followed him. 

Why are you letting him live? He’s a hunting dog who no longer has any use.

The Devil Army wasn’t planning on keeping their promise even if Kahn did all they asked. Doyle was too important an asset who would lead them to a new era. They needed to take care of Kahn quietly. 

Who said I’m letting him live? Kindred snorted. We’re in front of a holy altar. We’ve already offered plenty of sacrifices; is there a need to use dirty blood? It’ll just be bad luck.

I didn’t think about it carefully. The Third Bishop belatedly understood Kindred’s plans. He was planning on taking care of Kahn after Kahn got rid of the insects for them. Kahn would be tired by then and wouldn’t be able to fight back.

Then let’s begin the ceremony. Kindred walked up the short stairs and put the completed sacrificial vessel on the altar. He wasn’t leading the prayer ceremony, and he was more of a facilitator who helped the one in charge proceed with the ceremony smoothly. 

The man praying in front of the altar slowly took off his hood. Doyle raised his head with blank white eyes. He said, Please answer, face of the Heavenly Demon.

* * *

Aw. Are you OK?

As he left, Kahn heard Nike’s voice and nodded discreetly. It was a small movement, and the bishops following him didn’t notice. ‘Yeah. I’m fine. Don’t worry.’

Nike had been resting quietly in Kahn’s mind. He was such an innocent and kind child that Kahn wondered how a guy like Yeon-woo met him. Nike must have activated Holy Fire because the injury inside Kahn’s mouth quickly healed, and Kahn was about to thank him when Nike said, Hey.


What kind of friend is Doyle? Nike hoped he wasn’t asking something he wasn’t supposed to, but Kahn only laughed softly and said in a nonchalant manner, ‘A hateful bastard.’


Kahn could sense Nike’s curiosity about his description, and his smile deepened. ‘Yeah, he’s hateful. He never listens to me and always talks back. I can’t beat him up either. Ugh.’ Kahn began to narrate their backstory. ‘It’s a bit boring, but do you really want to listen?’

Yeah! I like stories like this.

Thinking that Nike was the type of child old-timers would like, Kahn described how he’d met Doyle when he was fourteen. At the time, Kahn’s relationship with his father, Iron Lion, was troubled. By chance, he met a ranker called Red Skull who was a client of his father’s. Red Skull brought along a ten-year-old child called Doyle.

Red Skull?

‘This really dark, old guy. He’s the Third Bishop.’

Nike was greatly surprised. That meant that the Third Bishop had offered up his son to the Head Bishop. It didn’t make sense.

‘It does to those lunatics. They don’t think it’s anything unusual to sell their children to gain their god’s favor.’

No way. Nike, who only had good memories of his mother, couldn’t believe it. 

‘You can’t attempt to understand this world with logic.’ Kahn’s voice was cynical. He had been furious with his father, and Doyle was disgusted by his family. It seemed fate that they would meet and, in only a few hours, plan to run away together. They left a short note behind warning their families not to look for them.

‘Pointless, huh?’ Kahn laughed. He sensed Nike shaking his head.

It’s like what happened with me and Master.

‘You two?’

Yeah, yeah!

Kahn felt strange.

We went through something similar. And Kahn, you’re like Master.

‘Me? And him? Nah. How can you compare me to such a wooden person? Besides, aren’t I better looking?’ Kahn made a light joke. 

No. You’re similar. Very similar. Nike spoke firmly. Master is just like you. He wants to save his little brother. I’m envious because I wasn’t able to save my older brothers.

Kahn stopped walking. 


Why did you suddenly stop?

The bishops behind Kahn frowned, but Kahn didn’t hear them. A shiver went down his spine. ‘What…are you talking about?’


‘Cain.’ Kahn thought urgently. ‘He had a little brother?’

Oh, I’m not supposed to talk about this. Nike hesitated for a bit, then began to explain Yeon-woo’s situation, leaving the important parts out: a little brother who was trapped somewhere, Yeon-woo’s lonely journey to Tartarus, a clue about his brother’s whereabouts and what Yeon-woo had done to gain it. 

That’s why Master came here. To find you after getting that letter.

Kahn trembled. He felt like he had been hammered in the head. Yeon-woo was trying to save his little brother? That guy? That moment, images of what he had been through with Yeon-woo flashed through his head. 

“Sometimes, I’m jealous of you guys.” In the Tutorial, Yeon-woo had looked at Doyle and Kahn with longing eyes, his eyes filled with melancholy behind his mask. In the Five Mountains, Yeon-woo had been sympathetic about his separation from Doyle and said that Kahn could tell him anything. 

Kahn hadn’t understood at the time. He knew that Yeon-woo had something going on, but Yeon-woo had never explained it. However, what were the emotions in his eyes when he looked at Kahn and Doyle? Grief? Pain? The situation was more complicated than he’d ever thought. Everything must have been so painful to Yeon-woo.

‘I forced a guy…a guy who just managed to find a clue about his brother to come here?’ They had similar goals and Kahn’s surprise turned to guilt, drowning him until it turned into self-hatred. ‘I…’ He looked down at his hands sightlessly. He could feel them shaking. ‘What have I done?’

* * *

Why are you like this? In Yeon-woo’s memory, the Monkey King’s exuviae was a confident and proud being. The aura he exuded didn’t fall short of Hermes’. However, his existence seemed faint. What had happened? And what were those chains around him?

“I don’t know. Fuck. Don’t ask.” But he still had his pride, so he turned away and grumbled.

A thought occurred to Yeon-woo while he was looking at the exuviae. ‘In this condition.’ He looked down at his left hand. ‘Would Bathory’s Vampiric Sword work?’

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