The Nine Headed Bug (in Chinese: 九頭蟲), also known as the Nine Headed Prince Consort (in Chinese: 九頭駙馬), is an antagonist of the 16th-century Chinese classic novel Journey to the West by the late Wu Cheng'en, and its multiple adaptations. He is the Wansheng Dragon King's son-in-law and the one who gave his father-in-law the idea of stealing the Sarira of the Golden Ray Monastery in the first place.
In his humanoid form, the Nine Headed Bug is a man who has nine faces, and wears armor, holds a Crescent Moon Spade. However, in the 1986 series, he simply has one visible face like a regular person, wears regular purple aristocratic clothes, and a crown which consists of nine snake-like heads (hinting at his true form). The Bug's true form is that of a gigantic bird that looks like an eagle, with nine heads, and blood on his back. His true form is never been fully revealed in the 1986 TV series, but a few heads of him hints of how it looks like.
The Nine Headed Bug was married to Wansheng Dragon King's daughter, the Wansheng Dragon Princess, and collaborated with his father-in-law to steal the Sarira from Golden Ray Monastery in the Kingdom of Jisai, caused the pagoda to lose its magical shine, and release a rain of blood in the kingdom, which the king perceives as an ill omen, thus believed the monks in the monastery to be the culprits and started persecuting them.
3 years later, when Xuanzang's group arrived in Jisai, Sun Wukong managed to uncover the truth when he captures the Wansheng Dragon King's two henchmen that the Nine Headed Bug ordered to guard the pagoda earlier. Upon learning this through the two henchmen that Wukong and Zhu Bajie released back to the Emerald Waves Lake, The Nine Headed Bug led his army to fight the two monks. After a battle, the Bug revealed his true form, and captured Bajie. The monster and his father-in-law chased them, only for Wukong to brutally killed the Dragon King, forced the Bug and the Wansheng Dragon King's family to retreat for a funeral. In the morning of the next day, when the funeral was going on, Zhu Bajie showed up and killed one of the Dragon King's children. Angered, the Nine Headed Bug lead his army to fight with Wukong and Bajie once again. Wukong and Bajie, aided by the celestial forces, fighting the demon's army, and eventually the Nine Headed Bug had one of his heads bitten off by Erlang Shen's celestial hound but managed to escape. What happened to him afterwards is unknown, but it is obvious that he cannot harm anyone anymore.
In the series, it is added that the Wansheng Dragon Princess was once the youngest Western Dragon Prince's (who is also the White Dragon Horse, Xuanzang's steed) lover, but once discovered that she's cheating on him by hanging out with the Nine Headed Bug, the prince and the Bug fought, but the Bug escaped. Angered, the prince burned his father's valued pearl, which led to him being punished and eventually Xuanzang's steed. Thus, this makes the Nine Headed Bug being considered to be the catalyst reason of the prince becoming Xuanzang's companion.
When Wukong and Bajie asked him to return the Sarira, the Bug and the Dragon King refused to admit stealing it, and intended to poison Wukong and Bajie through cups of wine. However, Wukong knew this and quickly switched the cups, thus the Dragon King foolishly drank the poisoned cup of wine and died. Knowing that his plot had been exposed, the Nine Headed Bug fought Wukong, Bajie and the celestial forces. Erlang Shen destroyed most of his heads, and Wukong gave him one final kick, apparently killed the Nine Headed Bug. His body was then washed away by the sea.
Powers and Abilities
- Fighting weapon: The Nine Headed Bug is armed with a Crescent Moon Spade (in Chinese: 月牙鏟).
- Nine heads: The Nine Headed Bug has nine heads, and can even create a new head if he wants.
- Hand-to-hand combat skills: The Nine Headed Bug is very good at fighting. He stated that this is due to he had met many great martial artists during his youth.
- In the novel, the Nine Headed Bug is the last underwater villain to be introduced, with Tuolong as the first one. However, in the 1986 TV series, he is the first one to be introduced, with Tuolong as the last one. Also, in all the three (Nine Headed Bug, King of Spiritual Touch, Tuolong), he's the only one who appears in season 1 of the series.
- Despite being called a bug, the Nine Headed Bug shares no trait with an actual bug at all. In fact, his true form looks like a nine-headed eagle.