c way.

Kang Jin-Ho turned around.
“Well, then.
I'm off.”

“Wait, let me go with you!” Han Se-Yeon quickly walked over in his direction.

He tilted his head a little.
“Your home's this way?”

“Only up until the subway.
It's kinda scary to walk this part of the town alone, you see.”

“Even though it's so well lit here?”

“I didn't mean the darkness, though.
It's the people that can get a bit scary.
Some of them keep glancing at me, and some might try to follow me, you know?”

“I see.” Kang Jin-Ho briefly nodded.
Although he didn't quite understand, he also didn't feel the need to question her.
If the girl said so, then in a way, it must be true.
It was her business, not his.
Besides, they were going in the same direction anyway.
As such, accompanying her didn't seem like too much work.

Han Se-Yeon began talking to him as they walked.
“By the way, your singing was amazing, you know that?”

“You think so?”

She nodded.
I never saw anyone sing as well as you.”

“I can only sing that one song.”


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“That's too bad.
I was thinking of recommending you to become a singer, you know.” Han Se-Yeon sighed in genuine disappointment.

Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head in confusion.
“I thought you wanted to become a singer?”

She shook her head.
“Nah, I'm not interested.
It's not like I can sing all that well, anyway.
It's not for me.”

“Is that so?”


This was surprising.
The kids' gossip made it seem like Han Se-Yeon was interested in becoming an idol.
But listening to her talk right now, she seemed to have already analyzed herself quite well.
If people kept kissing her butt and praised her all the time, she could've ended up with an inflated opinion of herself or with that lingering feeling of 'what if…?' but Han Se-Yeon seemed to have her head screwed on properly.

She continued chatting with him.
“Wait, I remember now.
Your little sister has signed with a talent agency, right?”

'That's true.' 

Kang Jin-Ho was reminded of that fact.
Maybe, Han Se-Yeon viewed his little sister as someone already living her dream?

He calmly replied, “Yes, she is.”

I guess it's in the genes, then.
If she's as good as you, I'm sure your little sis will make her debut pretty soon.”

“It won't be that easy…”

“Why do you say so?”

Kang Jin-Ho spoke in a philosophical tone.
“That path is a lot harder than it looks.
Besides, she's completely different from me.”

“Really? Let's forget about your sister for a moment, then.
I think you stand a good chance if you start practicing other songs.”

“That’s not going to happen…” Kang Jin-Ho firmly shook his head.

Han Se-Yeon asked, sounding genuinely confused.
“How come?”

“The training won't be easy, and besides, I'm not good-looking enough.”

“Mm, well…”

That reply left Han Se-Yeon in a pickle.
It wouldn't be nice to agree with him, but at the same time, it was also kind of weird to say that he was wrong, too.
It might be true, but the person in question wouldn't really say that about himself.
Worst of all, this topic didn't have an easy 'out' to steer the conversation in another direction, either!

“Uhm, well…
W-wouldn't it be possible after getting plastic surgery?” Han Se-Yeon hurriedly covered her mouth the moment she said that; she belatedly realized her slip of the tongue.

Thankfully for her, though, Kang Jin-Ho replied as if he wasn't bothered, “There's a limit to that, though.”

She stared at him, not really sure how to respond again.
are surprisingly cool about it, aren't you?”

“Cool? What's that?”

“Just, you know.”


They continued to chat about this and that until they reached the subway entrance.

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Han Se-Yeon looked at him.
“Aren't you going to ride the subway, too?”

“No, I can walk home from here.”

“Really? Okay.
I had fun today.
I'll see you tomorrow in school.”


“Then, bye.” Han Se-Yeon grinned and waved at him as she walked down the subway's steps.

Kang Jin-Ho watched her disappear into the tunnel before turning around to head home.
As he did, this slightly weird feeling kept gnawing at him.

'Have I been…
ordinary today?'

After coming back to the modern era, he went to school, sat through exams, and even went to a karaoke lounge with the other kids.

It felt like he managed to live a little part of what made an ordinary life ordinary today.
A life that he couldn't be a part of for decades—hanging out with friends, playing computer games—and having conversations free from conspiracies and schemes, never worrying about hidden motives.

What about this street, where he could walk around freely, knowing that no one would suddenly start attacking him? And what about his family home that he could return to whenever he wanted?

This was the life he dreamed about.
Although he still felt that this life was precariously on the knife’s edge, Kang Jin-Ho was smack dab in the middle of the life he dearly wished to live.

He looked up at the dark sky once more.
The starless night sky stared right back at him.

'I'm finally…'

It finally felt real to him—he had really returned to the modern era.
He really was living the life of his dreams.
He had to walk long and hard but he eventually reached his destination.
The life he had lived in Zhongyuan, the one filled with constant battles and struggles, was now a thing of the past.

The era of pure savagery that lorded over him for all those years no longer existed.
That realization sent this unexplainable pulse of excitement throughout his entire being.
He stood still and closed his eyes for a while.

Eventually, he opened his eyes again and a smirk had formed on his lips. 

“Time to head home, then.”

He really should go back home now.
Doing so before his mother started worrying about his whereabouts was the kind of thing an ordinary student would do, after all.

“Mm, this is…”

Kang Jin-Ho suddenly discovered a serious problem.
He knew the way back to school, but for the life of him…
How was he supposed to find his way back home from here?

“Which direction was it?”

Obviously, there was no one here to answer him.

“Mm…” Kang Jin-Ho spat out a deep groan, then turned around to go back the way he came from.
Asking the passers-by should eventually get him home, but that would take too long.
So, he unhesitantly returned to his school instead.

His plan was to go back to school first and then head home from there.
Such an annoyance couldn't be helped until he got more familiar with the lay of the land.

“An ordinary life is surprisingly hard…”

It seemed that for him to get used to this life, he still had many challenges to overcome.
However, he was quickly blending into the modern era.
At this rate, he should be able to mingle with other kids his physical age and enjoy living an ordinary life sooner or later.

After a few more years, Heavenly Crimson Demon Emperor of Zhongyuan would become nothing more than a fading mirage that would surely disappear without a trace, leaving behind Kang Jin-Ho with his ordinary life to live in the modern era.

Perhaps that was what he wished for the most.
Just to—just to live like this. Unfortunately, danger always showed up on your doorstep without any prior warning.

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