Descent of the Demon Master
Kang Jin-Ho was enjoying a rare break from the action.
’I ’ve been too mindlessly busy lately. ’
Scheduling a rest day for himself meant he could now afford to take a day off per week.
It wasn ’t as if he felt physical fatigue, though.
However, getting stuck in the pizzeria all day long meant Kang Jin-Ho couldn ’t find enough time to attend to his personal matters.
’t recall the last time he got to sit in his father
’s cafe and enjoy a cup of his father
He even got to learn that this calming me-time was actually healing him inside as well.
’Maybe I ’ve gotten frailer? ’
There was a time in Zhongyuan when Kang Jin-Ho had to escape from the seemingly-inescapable net set up by the experts of righteous sects.
However, even that life-or-death battle for survival failed to tire Kang Jin-Ho.
Never once did he think, ’I ’m tired, ’ as he desperately ran with his life on the line for three days and nights, Even though blinking was a luxury he couldn ’t even afford back then as countless dangers constantly zeroed in on him.
But for him to feel fatigued by something so insignificant?
’But it ’s kind of natural, no? ’
Humans were supposed to get tired after working.
And they were also supposed to rest when they were tired.
Life in Zhongyuan was about constantly suppressing that natural order of things or pretending that it didn ’t even exist.
However, did Kang Jin-Ho have a reason to repeat that lifestyle in this world? Of course not.
Kang Jin-Ho savored the coffee ’s aroma tickling his nostril and slowly stirred the dark liquid in front of him.
’How did I even survive without coffee back then? ’
The absence of coffee was already a strong-enough reason to denigrate his life back in Zhongyuan.
“How is it? Good?” Kang Yu-Hwan asked after approaching his son.
Kang Yu-Hwan grinned as he took a seat opposite his son.
”How is your pizzeria, though? Are you doing okay there? ”
”It ’s harder than I thought, Father. ”
“Is that right?”
Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded.
Running it is a different challenge from working here.”
“Sounds about right,” said Kang Yu-Hwan as he leaned back in his chair.
“But Father, why is that? Why is it different?”
“Hmm…” Kang Yu-Hwan rubbed his chin in contemplation before a grin bloomed on his face.
“I don ’t see it as ’different ’ per se.
But if there ’s something different…
Then, well, this is my store, and the pizzeria is yours.
That ’s about it.”
’s what responsibility does.
If you cause a problem here, someone else will deal with it, namely me.
But in your own store, you need to take accountability yourself.
That ’s why you feel more burdened by it. ”
That seemed plausible.
His friends were assisting him, but the ultimate responsibility was with Kang Jin-Ho.
The weight of his decisions rested on his shoulders, no one else.
’How laughable… ’
The more he thought about it, the stranger it seemed.
Once upon a time, Kang Jin-Ho was the leader of the demon cult who lorded over tens of thousands of cultists.
But he couldn ’t remember feeling the weight of responsibility or its oppressive pressure back then.
Naturally, he thought he was the type who wouldn’t feel such a thing.
But now, he was feeling the burden of responsibility from running a pizzeria with a measly three…
No, four employees.
So I was this incompetent… ’
He finally figured out why so many people opposed his ascension to the demon cult leader position back then.
Having said that, Kang Jin-Ho didn ’t become the leader of his own volition but was merely following Azure Demon ’s advice that it was the only way for him to survive.
No wonder those people were opposed to the idea of someone so incapable as Kang Jin-Ho becoming the leader responsible for the lives of many.
Back then, he thought those people were simply wary of a man only joining the cult for his survival and wanted to keep him in check.
Now that he had thought about it some more, though…
Perhaps that wasn ’t their only reason.
I wasn’t devoted, I didn ’t have a sense of responsibility, and I was also clueless back then. ’
Even Kang Jin-Ho had to admit that he couldn’t be more unfit to become the demon cult
No wonder his final moments were so wretched.
Kang Jin-Ho groaned under his breath.
“What an idiot…”
“Mm? Did you say something, son?”
It ’s nothing,” Kang Jin-Ho quickly shook his head.
Kang Yu-Hwan quietly stared at his son before saying something.
’s what responsibility is like.
It will seem insignificant to you initially, but the fact that you have to be there all the time to get anything done can become a rather large burden to deal with. ”
”Everyone is under some kind of a strain, both big and small.
But you mustn ’t avoid being responsible just because it feels like too big of a hassle, son. ”
“…I ’ll engrave that to my heart, Father.”
“Look at me, for instance.
What could have happened if I avoided being responsible? Let me tell you—your mother would have gone through twice the hardship.”
Kang Jin-Ho quietly smiled to himself.
Kang Yu-Hwan was not the kind of person to shuck his responsibility.
Back in the past life, hadn’t Kang Yu-Hwan slept less and taken on more work as the family ’s finances got worse? It was all so that his children would get to live without being envious of other kids.
“That is why you must not avoid your responsibilities, Jin-Ho.
I hope you understand me, son.”
So, talk to me, son.”
“I ’m sorry?” Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head.
His father pointed outside the cafe
Kang Jin-Ho turned his head to look and spotted Lee Hyeon-Ju standing in a spot that wasn’t very visible from his sitting position.
“Son, she has been standing there fidgeting for a while now.
You know who she is, right?”
I hope you used protection? Or was there an accident? ”
Kang Yu-Hwan cackled loudly.
”Well, it ’s fine if you conveniently forgot.
I ’m one of those guys who don ’t mind welcoming a grandchild as soon as possible anyway! Let ’s be honest here, my son is good-looking, wealthy, and a model student, to boot! No one is allowed to raise a fuss even if you want to get married a bit young. ”
“…I ’m telling you… it ’s not like that.”
I know that, but…” Kang Yu-Hwan ’s voice became somewhat more serious.
“Regardless of the business between you and her, a young maiden standing around like that because of a guy is not a good look, don ’t you agree?”
”Draw a clear line if you need to.
Otherwise, be straightforward with her.
That is actually for the best for her. ”
For someone who didn
’t know the actual story, Kang Yu-Hwan
’s advice managed to strike the essence of the situation.
Kang Jin-Ho quickly drank his still-lukewarm coffee and got up to leave.
“What brings you here?” Kang Jin-Ho asked after exiting the cafe and walking up to Lee Hyeon-Ju.
She seemed a bit flustered by that.
More correctly, she seemed worried about confronting Kang Jin-Ho without steeling her resolve before anything else.
So, she wasn’t exactly ’flustered,’ then?
’Her eyes… ’
Kang Jin-Ho furrowed his brow a little.
Lee Hyeon-Ju resembled a little kid getting scolded by her mother by how she was cautiously trying to gauge his mood.
He found such eyes a bit burdensome.
It ’s not burdensome, is it? ’
He simply didn ’t like it.
Those eyes made him recall the unpleasant part of his past, after all.
Most people had similar eyes to Lee Hyeon-Ju while facing Kang Jin-Ho back in Zhongyuan.
Whether they were enemies, allies, or the demon cult worshipers who trusted him as their leader and followed his commands…
They all couldn ’t hide the trace of nervousness in their eyes.
’And I ’m responsible for it… ’
Lee Hyeon-Ju witnessed the aftermath of Kang Jin-Ho slaughtering twenty-plus people.
No matter how much she tried to look nonplussed, it would be impossible to remain composed in front of him.
Kang Jin-Ho could understand that.
However, the fact that he felt displeased by her response was enough proof that he was still an egocentric man.
“E-excuse me…” Lee Hyeon-Ju finally broke the silence in a nervous voice as she stared at Kang Jin-Ho.
“Can we talk in private?”
“I didn ’t know that we had more things to discuss?”
”…Yes, we still do.
I have an important request. ”
”A request, is it… ” Kang Jin-Ho scowled, feeling somewhat unhappy about this revelation.
Why should he humor another one of this woman ’s requests? However, if he were to turn her away now, he would be going against his father ’s advice.
All relationships had to be crystal clear.
A relationship where one side held onto some impossible hope was bound to become poison in the long run.
I ’ll hear you out.” Kang Jin-Ho nodded, then pointed at the cafe.
After entering the cafe ’s staff room, Kang Jin-Ho handed over a cup of coffee he had gotten from his father to Lee Hyeon-Ju.
Thank you… ” Lee Hyeon-Ju bowed slightly.
She seemed to have calmed down a little.
Earlier, she looked like a little puppy that had been thrown in front of a hungry predator.
However, her expression became noticeably brighter after stepping into the cafe.
Was it because she thought Kang Jin-Ho wouldn ’t harm someone in full view of his father? Or was it because Kang Jin-Ho was willing to hear her out?
Whatever the case, Kang Jin-Ho welcomed Lee Hyeon-Ju finding some kind of composure.
It would have been tough to talk with someone constantly shivering away in fright like earlier, after all!
”So, what is your request this time? ” asked Kang Jin-Ho as he leaned back in his chair.
Lee Hyeon-Ju took a small sip of the coffee, then silently gazed at Kang Jin-Ho.
But then, tears suddenly started gushing out of her eyes.
“Huh…?” Kang Jin-Ho was taken aback.
Why was this woman bursting into tears all of a sudden?! She seemed to be wailing in pure sorrow from the look of it, yet she was making no sound at all, so…
It was a bizarre and pitiful sight at the same time.
“W-why are you crying, Miss Lee?!”
“Please, spare us…”
” Kang Jin-Ho blinked his eyes.
When did he say he was going to kill her? ”What are you talking about? ”
“Please help my grandfather, Mister Kang Jin-Ho…”
Kang Jin-Ho chuckled hollowly.
”What? Did someone kidnap him or something? ”
It ’s not that, but…”
“You ’re planning to kill him, aren ’t you?”
Kang Jin-Ho frowned deeply.
Lee Hyeon-Ju shivered again after realizing that Kang Jin-Ho
’s tone became curt and abrasive.
She couldn ’t stop shaking as if to say that she was too aware of what his new tone signified.
”N-no, hold on,
” Kang Jin-Ho was taken aback again by her extreme change in attitude and tried to pacify her.
”Please calm down first, will you? ”
“I will try…”
A groan automatically escaped Kang Jin-Ho
’s lips while watching Lee Hyeon-Ju sob away.
Her initial cocky attitude that not only flabbergasted Kang Jin-Ho, but even pissed him off during their first encounter was long gone, never to be found again.
“Miss Lee, do I look like someone who just kills any random person?”
’t kill without a good reason.
And even if there is a reason, I don ’t kill those uninvolved.
Do you understand?”
”But, what if they
” Lee Hyeon-Ju
’s eyes were faintly trembling as she stared at him.
She seemed to be doing her best to be as unwavering as possible, but…
Kang Jin-Ho narrowed her eyes.
”…And how am I involved in your grandfather’s business? ”
“Aren ’t you going to support Director Bang Jin-Hun?”
”Hmm… ” Kang Jin-Ho briefly pondered whether he should respond or not, but a verbal answer wasn ’t necessary because it seemed that she already knew.
”Director Bang Jin-Hun is aiming to usurp my grandfather
With force, too.
The assassination attempt failed, so he ’ll now openly try to take my grandfather ’s life. ”
“If you help him, the end result will be plain for everyone to see.
My grandfather will leave this world, and Director Bang will become the new Assembly Master.”
Kang Jin-Ho nodded along since that was his intention.
As such, Bang Jin-Hun would become the next Assembly Master no matter what.
“Can you spare my grandfather?”
Kang Jin-Ho slowly leaned back and looked up at the ceiling.
Obviously, he could tell why she came to plead with him.
He could even sympathize with her in that regard.
“Looks like you ’re still looking down on me somewhat…” Kang Jin-Ho muttered as a cold grin appeared on his lips.
“N-no, not true, Mister Kang!”
”Did you really think I
’d humor your request if you just showed up here? Is this the extent of your plan? Did you really think that sobbing pitifully would soften me? Was that it? Like the last time?
” Kang Jin-Ho
’s grin transformed into a deep smirk.
”Looks like your bad habit of trying to manipulate people hasn ’t gone away at all. ”
Search tinyurl.com/2p9emv8w for the original.
He stretched his arm and lightly flicked Lee Hyeon-Ju on the forehead.
”Now, listen closely.
If you were serious about resolving this situation, you shouldn ’t have come to me but to your grandfather.
You should have begged him to give up on the Assembly Master ’s position as soon as possible and even retire altogether.
Wouldn ’t you agree that it’s the wiser move? ”
“However, you didn
’t do that.
You came to speak to me instead.
Why? Is it because you know your grandfather wouldn ’t listen to you?”
“In that case…” Kang Jin-Ho slowly but forcefully pressed his face close to Lee Hyeon-Ju
“Do I look like someone who ’d listen?”
Lee Hyeon-Ju was rendered utterly speechless.
She could tell that this discussion was going wrong, but she wasn ’t sure where to start fixing it.
“Listen well, Lee Hyeon-Ju.
Deliver my message in full to your grandfather.”
”Tell him to give up on the Assembly Master
’s position right now and disappear if he wants to live.
He has been sucking out all the benefits of that seat for far too long anyway.
So, if he wants to keep breathing, the wisest course of action is to disappear from my sight as soon as possible.
Do you understand what I ’m saying here? ”
Lee Hyeon-Ju hurriedly nodded.
”And you need to remember that, too.
” Kang Jin-Ho smiled gently at her.
He smiled so gently that it verged on creepy! ”I will forgive you this once for trying to manipulate me.
If you try to pull the same trick again next time, you will never get to open your mouth again.
Understand me? ”
Lee Hyeon-Ju nodded, and she nodded blankly, quickly, and urgently.
”You’re such a nice kid.
” Kang Jin-Ho chuckled.
His low cackle slowly filled the room.
Go and deliver my message.
Tell your grandfather to disappear.
Tell him to disappear if he doesn ’t want to deal with me.
Otherwise… he better use whatever tricks he can think of to stop me.
Only then would he greet his demise without feeling not so aggrieved. ”
Lee Hyeon-Ju ’s figure shivered like a lone leaf amidst the stormy winds.
Lee Hyeon-Ju rushed outside the staff room as if she were breaking out of prison.
Kang Jin-Ho watched her leave, then quietly massaged his face.
He knew that he shouldn ’t show his current expression to his father.
’So, it begins. ’
The declaration of war was finally made.
The time to hunt was near.
Kang Jin-Ho ’s mask, the one he had been working so hard to shape, was slowly, oh-so-slowly, falling down to reveal his true face.
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