Chapter 163.
Investigation (3)

Nothing really happened after Kang Jin-Ho called out.
However, Jo Gyu-Min kept his mouth shut and continued to observe.
After all, Kang Jin-Ho wasn't someone who would randomly say stuff for no reason.

Suddenly, cold winds began to blow…

'Feels like the air is getting colder…?'

For some strange reason, the coldness seemed to flood into the surroundings…
Then, a quiet voice suddenly broke the stillness of the night.

“How unexpected.”

Those words coming from the darkness were clearly spoken in Chinese.
Jo Gyu-Min narrowed his eyes.

Chinese? Is that who's coming?'

Of course, this was China, so it wouldn't be weird for a Chinese to show up before them.
No, the weird part was how Kang Jin-Ho knew that a Chinese would show up tonight and waited for this uninvited visitor.
How did he know?

“Last warning.
Come out.” Kang Jin-Ho called out again.

The bush not too far away seemed to rustle a little, then a man leisurely stepped out.
Jo Gyu-Min could only frown at the appearance of their new visitor.
the heck?”

Even if they were in the literal middle of nowhere, those clothes…
This man's attire was a little too old-school even for their current setting.
Such duds might be more at home in a wuxia movie or something.
And the visitor wearing such garments leisurely stepped forward to stand before Kang Jin-Ho.

This man took his time scanning Kang Jin-Ho before finally breaking his silence.
“You were really waiting for me?”

Kang Jin-Ho didn't bother to reply.
He just stood there, smiling eerily.

The man with old-school fashion sense narrowed his eyes.
“…Surprising, indeed.
It means you've detected my presence.”

Kang Jin-Ho slowly bared his fangs.
“How could I not detect you when you were emitting so much killing intent?”

“Hoh-oh?” The archaically-dressed man's eyes seemed to gleam briefly just then.

Meanwhile, Jo Gyu-Min was hurriedly taking his phone out to access its translation app.

'I don't understand what either of them is saying!'

It seemed that going through a crash course wasn't enough to overcome the limits of his embellished language skill.

Kang Jin-Ho looked at the man and spoke in clear disappointment, “Have you come alone?”

“Wait, wait.” The man lightly waved his hand.
“You speak as if I was busy pursuing you.
However, I am merely stopping by because you seem to be searching for me.”

“Is that right?” Kang Jin-Ho smirked and leisurely took a step forward toward the man with an archaic fashion sense.

That forced the man to involuntarily take a step back.

'…What? Why?'

Why did he back away just like that? Did he sense an indistinguishable intense pressure coming from this young man? Was that what it was?

Kang Jin-Ho continued, “You've been trying to probe me since the airport.”

The man with the archaic fashion sense narrowed his eyes.

'He picked that up as well?'

The man, Wu Yuan, gritted his teeth hard.
To think that he would be intensely pressured by a young brat not even half his age! Such a thing could not be allowed to happen!

What irritated Wu Yuan even more in this situation was how the young brat kept grinning ever since he appeared—as if he was quite pleased about this encounter!

“What are you so happy about?” Wu Yuan quietly asked.

Kang Jin-Ho's smile deepened.
“How can I not be happy?”

Indeed, how could he not? When he finally found 'it?’ The proof of the world Kang Jin-Ho used to breathe and live in…
That proof was standing right before his eyes, after all!

Korea might not, but China should have that proof, or so Kang Jin-Ho thought.
If his second life wasn't an illusion, a lie, then he believed he would find traces of Zhongyuan here in China.

He anticipated that there had to be someone, maybe even a group calling themselves ‘cultivators’ instead of 'returners,’ and that martial artists should still exist in this place.
His anticipation was being rewarded right this moment.

Kang Jin-Ho felt this irrepressible emotion trying to burst out of his chest.
The unnatural thirst that could not be quenched no matter how much he drank was finally being satisfied now.

“We can chat later.” Kang Jin-Ho's steps gradually gained pace.
“Right now, I can no longer hold myself back!”

That was when Wu Yuan saw it—a typhoon of powerful qi gushing out of the young man.


“Say what? Someone kicked your ass?” Lin Feng gasped in surprise.

Liu Chi sheepishly scratched the back of his head.
“Yes, Vice Branch Manager.”

“Hah. What a bunch of losers!” Lin Feng groaned helplessly while staring at the witness of the massacre standing before his eyes.
Dozens of members of the Righteous Association that ruled Guangzhou with an iron fist had returned to the base utterly wrecked.
So, how could the vice 'manager' of the association not get flabbergasted? Lin Feng asked another question, “Who was responsible? Was it those bastards from Death Sea Clan?”

“No, Big Brother…”

“Then, who?!”

Liu Chi could only lower his head in shame at Lin Feng's angry grilling.
it was only one man.”

“Huh? One man, you say?”

And he didn't seem to be from this region.
His accent was weird, and he was also carrying large luggage.”

Lin Feng was dismayed by that revelation.
“Wait, what…
You were beaten up by one dude?”

Liu Chi's head faltered even lower.
“…Yes, Big Brother.”


A loud gunshot suddenly rang out in the Righteous Association's office.
Liu Chi began dripping in cold sweat when he saw how the cement floor mere inches away from his feet had caved in from a bullet.

“You useless sons of b*tches…!” Lin Feng angrily growled and shot up to his feet while withdrawing his pistol.
“At least tell me you found out where that bastard went to!”

“Y-yes, Big Brother! I do! H-however, there is a slight problem…”

“What problem?!”

Liu Chi sheepishly replied, “That bastard and his companions entered the autonomous region, Big Brother.
More specifically, it's the border region to Guangxi, making it a bit troublesome for us to make a move.
To make matters worse, that bastard seemed to have entered the wilderness, Big Brother.
Tracking him is almost impossible now.”

Lin Feng angrily shouted, figurative flames shooting out of his eyes, “Are you trying to say you want to sit back and do nothing about this humiliation?! How dare you say that, you bastard?!”

“B-but, the reality is…”

“Should we find out if you can still yap about reality after I put a bullet in your head?!”

“My apologies, Big Brother.” Liu Chi's faltered again.

Lin Feng shook his head again and again in pure dissatisfaction.
“Whether it's you or some other punk, all of you are useless! So, you got beaten up by some random punk, yet you still have the face to come crawling here to report back to me?”

“But, Big Brother…” Liu Chi cautiously piped up.

Lin Feng was about to get angry again, but he somehow managed to suppress it.
That was because Liu Chi wouldn't be so stupid to cut Lin Feng off and keep making excuses like this.
Which could mean Liu Chi had something important to say. 

Lin Feng groaned and gestured with his hand.
“Speak already.”

“Big Brother, that bastard…
seemed to be a martial artist.”

“Huh? A martial artist?”

You know, that martial artist.
A cultivator…”

Lin Feng slowly sat back down on his chair.
His rage instantly calmed down while his boiling blood grew cold.
“Is that so?”

“Yes, Big Brother.”

“A martial artist, is it…” Lin Feng groaned softly.

If Liu Chi were telling the truth, then it wouldn't be so strange to see so many of the group's members get beaten up by a single person.
After all, people in the back alleys had to be most cautious about these two types of people: officers from the Public Security Bureau officers and martial artists.

Lin Feng groaned again.
“I don't get why people like them are still around this day and age.”


“How should we handle this, then?” Lin Feng asked Liu Chi, but the expected reply didn't come from him.

The office door was shoved open without warning, and a person stepped inside.
“Wondering about how to handle this situation is a problem itself, is it not?”

Lin Feng's eyes widened after recognizing the intruder.
He quickly got up and deeply bowed his head.
“What brings you here, sir?”

“Haven't we already indicated that our eyes are everywhere?”

“…Forgive me for my insolence, sir.” Lin Feng kept his head bowed, but his teeth silently gritted as the rude visitor arrogantly strutted into the office and settled on a chair.

'Stinking sons of dogs…!'

The visitor dismissively flicked his hand.
“Old Wu has already begun his pursuit, so I advise you to simply forget about this matter.”

“However, sir.
Our boys were injured by that man.”

“And? Your point is?”


“Do you wish to rebel against the 'Union'? Is that it?”

“There's no way that's true, sir.” Lin Feng put on a cramped smile.

It's important to know your place.” The visitor harrumphed, then got up to leisurely step outside the office.
“Our side will deal with that man.
All you have to focus on is your own role.
Nothing more.”

“Of course.” Lin Feng bowed his head again at the visitor walking out of the office.
Even after the door closed shut behind the rude man, Lin Feng kept his head down for a long time.
Eventually, though, he raised his head and glared at Liu Chi.
“Listen, Liu Chi.”

“Yes, Big Brother?”

“From your perspective, who was stronger? That bastard or Old Wu?”

“…I'm not sure, Big Brother.”

“Just tell me your gut feeling.”

“Well, uh… Honestly? I still can't wrap my head around that young punk's abilities, Big Brother.
I don't think Old Wu is capable of even replicating half the things that brat had done.”

“Is that so?” Lin Feng walked out from behind his desk and headed to the corner of the office where a temporary bed was installed.
He pushed it to the side to expose a hidden safe installed on the floor.
“In that case, how about…”


He yanked the safe door open, and the weighty steel let out a metallic clank.
Lin Feng pulled out a large sack from the safe's interior and placed it on the floor before dragging it to Liu Chi.
“…How about this?”

He triumphantly unwrapped the sack and revealed its contents.

“Mm…” Liu Chi gasped at what he could see.
Many black-colored pistols could be seen inside.

“This matter involves our honor.
The Righteous Association's honor! If we let the Martial Union handle this, it'll look like we have borrowed their power.
We won't be able to raise our heads again out of shame.
So, Liu Chi? Take the most useful members from our branch and go after that brat.
I don't care how long it takes, just put a bullet in that brat's head before Old Wu gets to him!”

“Yes, Big Brother! Leave it to me!”

“Hmph!” Lin Feng watched as Liu Chi slung the sack on his back and left the office before he sat on his chair.
He pulled out a cigarette and mouthed it.
“Doesn't matter whether you're a martial artist or not, a bullet will still take you down.”

It shouldn't be too long before he or anyone else stopped bowing their heads to those left behind in the rapidly-moving era.


Wu Yuan was vividly experiencing what it meant to have goosebumps sprouting all over his skin.

just what the hell?! What is this?!'

When the young brat before Wu Yuan's eyes suddenly unleashed his suppressed aura, the intense pressure went up several notches to constrict Wu Yuan's heart.
No, wait—it couldn't simply be the 'pressure' he was under right now.

If it had been merely the question of strength, then Wu Yuan, an expert who walked the warrior's path all his life, wouldn't have been this scared.
His body shuddered all on its own, while it felt like an invisible hand was tightly squeezing his heart.
The terror creeping along his skin was like thousands of ants climbing and crawling on his body.

“Demonic arts?!”

It had to be…
demonic arts.
Wu Yuan was now certain of it.
How could something as lowly as demonic arts exhibit this level of power?

'No, wait.
Worry about that later!'

If Wu Yuan failed to respond immediately, his heart could explode from this intense pressure! He hurriedly roused up and unleashed his qi externally to protect his body, then quickly got into a combat stance.

Kang Jin-Ho observed this scene while continuously smiling away.
Wu Yuan's response seemed to have pleased him greatly.
“Hmm. Is that a variation of Xing Yi Quan?”

“…Xing Yi Quan?” Wu Yuan tilted his head ever so slightly.

Kang Jin-Ho nodded contemplatively.
“Well, names can change.
It's been a long time, after all.
It wouldn't be so strange for the world to call it by a different name now.”

Wu Yuan narrowed his eyes.
“What are you talking about? What's been a long time?”

It was now Kang Jin-Ho's turn to tilt his head.
“You don't know?”

“I don't know what?”

“Hmm…” Kang Jin-Ho slowly shook his head.
It seemed that this man didn't know anything about the returners.
Perhaps, the Chinese returners were more careful about hiding in the shadows, or this man was too much of a small fry to know about the truth of returners.

Either way, it didn't matter.
The only thing, or things, that did matter were…

Kang Jin-Ho quietly asked, “Where do you sit?”


“I'm asking you how high you sit in the pecking order of the modern-era gangho with your level of strength.”

Had the world of Murim evolved into something better? Or had its standards degraded over the centuries? Common sense said that it wouldn't have advanced at all.

Cultivators could be seen practically everywhere in the past, so it was easy to exchange moves with new opponents and finely hone their craft.
Such people would never be weaker than modern-era martial artists cultivating in the shadows, away from society's eyes.

On the other hand, though, the knowledge of martial arts was capable of evolving and progressing with time.
It had been quite a long time since the days of Zhongyuan, so it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see the progress made by various modern-day martial schools.
And there was also the wild card of the returners.
Their influence could have resulted in a far greater advancement in martial arts than he could imagine.

After considering all this…
Just how good was this expert?

Wu Yuan asked quietly, “…You're asking me about my realm?”

“That's right.”

“Kekeke… Is there a need for me to tell you that? Listen, you practitioner of demonic arts! Before your heart gets any more corrupted by the demonic darkness, I shall send you off to the netherworld! So, why don't you ask King Yama?!”

“Oh, really?” Kang Jin-Ho smirked deeply.

‘That sounds good to me.
I was about to lose my self-control, you see?’

Ah, aaaah!

The ugly darkness usually slumbering deep within Kang Jin-Ho's chest was now awake, thrashing about and roaring wildly, demanding to be unleashed into the open.

'No, don't be impatient.'

He was already planning to unleash this darkness even if it hadn't caused all that ruckus, anyway.
Obviously, he was well aware of how starved his inner beast had been all this time.

Although this wouldn't last long…

“Let's have some fun.”

Kang Jin-Ho let out a sinister cackle as he dashed straight at Wu Yuan.

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