smoke and muttered, “I'm going to ask you a few questions.”

“Please go ahead.”

“First of all…
These returners you've been talking about, are they all affiliated with one organization?”

Nam Tae-Sik ruefully shook his head.
“That's not the case, unfortunately.”

“Then, what?”

“Well, as you may already know, returners are quite a freewheeling group of people, making it practically impossible for a…
for a single organization or a system to restrain them.
However, some of them have formed organizations of sorts, and they sometimes interact with each other,” Nam Tae-Sik diligently explained as Kang Jin-Ho's cigarette smoke wafted in the interior of the Retona.
“Excluding those we haven't identified yet and a handful of individuals with lone wolf tendencies, it's safe to assume that most returners are affiliated with one 'organization' or another.”

Kang Jin-Ho quietly listened, knowing that such information wouldn't be free.
Which meant this had to be a part of the appeasement effort.
Since others had already joined organizations, Kang Jin-Ho should stop doing things on his own and seriously consider joining Nam Tae-Sik's group—at least, that was the underlying message behind this explanation.

“I see.
And secondly…”

“Yes, Mister Kang?”

“How do you locate these…
returners? You shouldn't have any methods to sniff them out if they choose to stay in hiding?”

“…Mister Kang, do you honestly believe they will keep their powers hidden forever?”

Kang Jin-Ho narrowed his eyes, and his lips clamped shut again.

“Humans instinctively seek out those similar to themselves.
Honestly, we don't really need to search for the returners on our own.
I'm sure you've already done this before, but…
Just by mingling in society, returners will discover others like them sooner or later.”

Kang Jin-Ho nodded in agreement.
An example of this was when he discovered the trace of martial cultivation back in his high school days.
Didn't that fedora-wearing man approach him soon afterward? In other words, returners, including Kang Jin-Ho, would inevitably grow intrigued if they came across individuals possessing unique abilities that set them apart from the rest of society.

That was because humans sought out those similar to themselves…
Just like what Nam Tae-Sik had said a few moments ago.
Moreover, returners would always be different from other people, even if they were all humans at the end of the day.
It was inevitable for returners to approach those giving off similar vibes to themselves.

“There are other methods, but I'm not at liberty to disclose them, unfortunately.
Trade secret, you see.” Nam Tae-Sik grinned.

Kang Jin-Ho contemplatively nodded.


“Why does that fool, your boss, want to see me?”

Nam Tae-Sik's expression crumpled slightly.
It seemed he was not pleased with the word 'fool.’ Then again, nobody in their right mind would be happy to hear the person they served wholeheartedly being referred to as a fool.

However, Nam Tae-Sik's expression quickly regained its tranquility.
He was still unhappy about Kang Jin-Ho's attitude, but his current goal was to appease.
He thought revealing his emotions was unnecessary.
He cleared his throat first before responding, “Isn't it rather obvious why the one I serve wishes to meet you, Mister Kang?”

“Obvious, you say?”

The one I serve wants you, Mister Kang.”

“It'd be nice if you give me more detail.”

“Of course.
We're not simply talking about your strength, Mister Kang.
The one I serve wants you. Your existence itself.
The camaraderie from being a fellow returner, and curiosity regarding how your life has been…
The one I serve wants you, wants to know more about you in all those aspects.”

Kang Jin-Ho slowly rubbed his chin.
“I'm intrigued by your mention of my strength.
Are you implying that there will be reasons to use such powers in this era?”

Nam Tae-Sik sighed softly.
“I'm not sure how you see the current era, Mister Kang.
However, allow me to say this.
The power the returners possess has a far greater influence in this world than the one you have lived in before.”

Kang Jin-Ho also agreed with that assessment.
If Heavenly Crimson Demon Emperor possessed the same cultivation realm as the current Kang Jin-Ho, he would have been too weak to do anything noteworthy in Zhongyuan.
To be clear, Zhongyuan wasn't overflowing with experts on that level as if they were pebbles on the road.
However, most well-known sects or families had one or more experts exceeding the current Kang Jin-Ho’s level of cultivation.

That was the case for Zhongyuan, but what about now? If Kang Jin-Ho got serious about something, no one would be able to trace him.
Being a superhuman wouldn't be that difficult in the modern era.

“One of our roles is to accept such individuals and help them acclimatize to the current way of life.
And to prevent them from using their powers in an…
'incorrect' manner, of course.”

Kang Jin-Ho silently nodded.

Nam Tae-Sik grinned deeply.
“Well, then.
What do you think, Mister Kang? Are you willing to meet the one I serve?”

Kang Jin-Ho smiled back at Nam Tae-Sik.
However, the latter had forgotten to smile along when he clapped his eyes on Kang Jin-Ho's expression.
It was all because of the smile…
The smile was different from what Kang Jin-Ho had been making until now.
It was so creepy and scary that goosebumps had broken out on Nam Tae-Sik's skin.

Kang Jin-Ho growled.
“Now, let me inform you of one thing.”

Nam Tae-Sik didn't say anything.
He couldn't even if he wanted to.
His attention was solely focused on Kang Jin-Ho's expression and his slowly-approaching hand, leaving him with no mental leeway to mind anything else.
Kang Jin-Ho's hand leisurely closed in before grabbing Nam Tae-Sik's face.
His grip was definitely not strong at all.
No, other than just a hint of strength, it didn't seem like anything to worry about.

However, Nam Tae-Sik couldn't budge an inch.
That was because he instinctively knew.
If Kang Jin-Ho fancied it, he could crush Nam Tae-Sik's face in the blink of an eye.

“I don't want to know who your boss is.
I'm not even remotely interested.
However, I do want you to pass along a message.” Kang Jin-Ho bared his fangs like a growling predator.
“As a regular person, you don't bother me.
However, the story will drastically change with these returners you keep bringing up.”

Nam Tae-Sik's body began to shiver involuntarily.
He was certain of it now.
He hadn't been mistaken about it! Right now, from Kang Jin-Ho's figure…

A strange 'aura' was gushing out from Kang Jin-Ho right now.
An aura that Nam Tae-Sik had never, ever sensed before! And this aura was constricting Nam Tae-Sik's heart, his entire body, and even his soul as it slowly crushed them.

“Since your boss is living under the same sky as me, that fool shouldn't have dared to send an underling like you.
Go and tell them to come personally and prostrate before me.
If they are martial practitioners like me, they wouldn't even dare to raise their heads in my presence.”

Kang Jin-Ho's predatorial growl oozed terrifying power.

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