Ethan was suddenly reminded of the Demon King’s words.
The Demon King had seen Ethan’s true colors, and he, too, had a dark side. That side of him radiated a demonic aura, which thrilled the Demon King so much that the demon chose to leave instead of hurting him.
The Demon King’s taunting laugh rang in his ears. It was boisterous and boastful—the brazen laugh of a man who had unearthed a priceless treasure.
Is it because he is sure of his victory?
Ethan’s face clouded over at the thought of that.
Fear seized Ethan as he watched the images on the water screen. It felt like the catastrophe had already become a reality.
Families falling apart, lost souls wandering aimlessly, children crying, people banished from their hometowns and dying on foreign land…
Ethan shook his head vigorously.
“No, no, no. I can’t let this happen, not over my dead body! I can’t let this happen!” he swore.
His eyes reddened. Ethan despised losing control of his emotions, but he could not help but get affected by the devastation shown in the images.
He had a high emotional capacity and was normally good at segregating others’ feelings from his own, but even he could not stop the raw desolation from seeping into his bones.
“Is this what you want?” he bellowed.
There was no one else in his vicinity, so it looked like he was talking to himself. However, Ethan was well aware that there was an omniscient presence, who was not only keeping tabs on him but also forcing tasks upon him.
He wanted to ignore the calling and shirk this responsibility, but it seemed predestined regardless of his disposition.
After a long while, the water screen dissipated and the Longevity Pond reverted to normal as if nothing had happened.
Ethan remained standing in the same spot long afterward, his feet glued to the ground. Eventually, he took a deep breath and left without another word.
Returning to the Heavenly Palace was an emotionally draining experience for Ethan. Not only was he awed by the liveliness of the realm, but he was also shaken to the core by the gruesome scenes shown on the water screen. He would hate to see the collapse of humanity come true.
If the day came, it would be every man for himself. There would not be even a sliver of compassion left. Even Ethan himself had a diabolical face that lurked beneath the good.
In fact, he would be the worst of worst if that evil consumed him, which was probably why the Demon King was so unperturbed.
Humans were inherently selfish. The Ethan before had nothing to lose—even his life was of no value to him back then. However, things were different now.
He had a family. As the image of his daughter flitted across his mind, Ethan knew that he could not a blind eye to the impending doom. How could he, when there was so much that he cared about?
He could be selfish; he was only human after all. He yearned to protect his own, even at the expense of others.
But now, he acknowledged that it was impossible.
It would be the end of everything once the world spiraled downward.
No one would be able to escape unscathed.
Ethan’s personality did a 180 after he returned from the Heavenly Palace. He was constantly solemn and seldom smiled. Clueless about what he had gone through, Li Diane simply assumed that he was stressed.
The same went for the others around him. To them, Ethan had always been a dependable character who would never crack under pressure. They had never seen his vulnerable side.
In fact, the idea of “Ethan” and “vulnerable” in one sentence sounded absurd to them.
Peter Pan was the first to notice Ethan’s drastic change.
“Did something happen at the Heavenly Palace?” he probed. “Don’t lie to me. I can tell from your demeanor that something is off.”
“It’s nothing,” Ethan insisted, shaking his head.
“Nothing?” Peter Pan repeated incredulously.
With a huff, Peter Pan continued, “Listen to me. If anything happens to you, a big group of people will be affected, and this is the burden that you’ll have to carry. Everyone has been walking on eggshells around you because they know that you’re tired, but I wish to be straight with you. What will be of Kye if you get into trouble? Tell me!”
Peter Pan could care less about Ethan, but Kye was his beloved disciple, so he could not sit by and watch her get hurt.