When one plays Essence Scatter, does the target creature go back to the opponent's hand, or does it go to their graveyard?

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    Note: a "creature spell" is a spell that is on the stack and has not yet resolved. Once a creature is on the battlefield it is a creature.
    – John
    Apr 16 at 17:22

Essence Scatter counters a creature spell, and countering a spell is defined in the Comprehensive Rules 701.5a:

To counter a spell or ability means to cancel it, removing it from the stack. It doesn’t resolve and none of its effects occur. A countered spell is put into its owner’s graveyard.

Note that technically there is never a creature in this case: a spell becomes a creature only when it enters the battlefield.

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