“I ’m home,” said Kang Jin-Ho as he stepped inside the house.

“Welcome back, son…
Mm?” Baek Hyeon-Jeong ’s eyes narrowed in suspicion as she greeted her son.
“Why do your clothes look like that, Jin-Ho?”

Kang Jin-Ho inwardly grimaced.
The ’rough ’ shenanigans from earlier had left his clothes looking like dirty rags, but he forgot to change them as his mind was too occupied with other, more urgent thoughts.
“…The work got a little rough, that ’s all.”

“Are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere, Jin-Ho?”

“No, I ’m fine, Mother.”

Baek Hyeon-Jeong grew angry almost instantly.
“Your father suddenly went senile and sent our perfectly-healthy son to hard labor, and look what happened to you as a result! Jin-Ho! Are you really alright?”

“Yes, Mother.
I ’m fine.”

“I knew something like this might happen! Other families do their best to give their children the best foods and only the best possible life, yet why does your crummy father try so hard to put you through a wringer like this?! Even though he only served as a defense force serviceman and now lives a cozy life!”

’…Mother, I don ’t think this and father serving in the defense forces have anything to do with each other. ’

Kang Jin-Ho had half a mind to defend his father ’s honor, but carelessly saying something right now could get him utterly obliterated.
All he could do, at least for now, was pray that his father wouldn ’t get sucked into the Hell of Nagging later.
While lightly shaking his head, he headed to the bathroom.

Baek Hyeon-Jeong called out to him.
“Would you like something to eat, Jin-Ho?”

“After I shower, Mother.”

Hurry and wash up, son.”

Kang Jin-Ho took the change of clothes with him into the bathroom.
He turned on the cold water and stood below the shower nozzle.
It felt like the coldness of the falling water did its trick and managed to cool down his head.

’Who could it be? ’

After thinking about it some more, he concluded that there were two likely groups of suspects: the Chinese cultivators or their Korean counterparts.

However, the fact that he hadn ’t done anything too bad to earn the grudge of the Chinese weighed on Kang Jin-Ho ’s mind.
And even if someone related to Wu Yuan wanted revenge, would that person be able to avoid the eyes of the Korean martial artists and cause such an incident?

Moreover, Kang Jin-Ho ’s relationship with the Korean cultivators wasn ’t acrimonious to the point of wanting to eliminate each other at any cost.
Kang Jin-Ho shook his head, then tried to recall the assailant’s face.
He was certain of never meeting that individual before.

“It doesn ’t matter who he is.”

The one and only rule he had always strictly adhered to since the days of the demon cult—grudge must be repaid, regardless of the enemy!

Clearly repaying favors and grudges was the one rule Kang Jin-Ho simply had to adhere to.
And the grudge of trying to kill him was an unforgivable crime.


Kang Jin-Ho tightly clenched his fists.
He then noticed that a bizarre excitement had taken root in his heart.

’Am I…
rejoicing? ’

A bitter grin formed on Kang Jin-Ho ’s lips after he had objectively assessed his emotions.
Instead of rage or resentment from getting attacked, his heart was beating faster from the exhilaration of experiencing a life-threatening danger for the first time in years.

Among the cultivators of the demon cult, Kang Jin-Ho was seen as a cold, level-headed person.
Compared to regular civilians, though? It seemed he was no better than a regular run-of-the-mill cultivation-mad martial artist.
After all, feeling happy about going through such an event had to be a symptom of being a madman.

’How difficult… ’

The biggest obstacle in Kang Jin-Ho ’s pursuit of an ’ordinary ’ life turned out to be himself.
Even though he was no longer stuck in the past when the demonic energy had stained him down to his soul, something buried deep inside was still thirsting for a life different from the one he wanted to live.
Was this a side effect of demonic art cultivation? Or was it because Kang Jin-Ho had always been like this? He couldn ’t tell.

He slowly shook his head again.
He had never thought of himself as someone extraordinary.
However, he still held some pride when it came to his ability to not get hung up on problems he couldn ’t solve on his own.

’For now, I ’ll wait for the result of the investigation. ’

The odds of any evidence being found were fatally low.
But the scale of the incident wasn ’t small, so there had to be something that had been left behind on the scene.
It would be great if Jo Gyu-Min came through like a champ, but…

’It probably won ’t be easy. ’

Right now, two opposing thoughts were clashing inside Kang Jin-Ho ’s mind.
On one hand, he hoped that some kind of a trace could be found.
On the other hand, though, he knew that the modern-day martial artists wouldn ’t be so careless as to leave traces of themselves behind.
If they were that careless, their existence would have gotten exposed a long time ago.

’It doesn ’t matter either way. ’

Indeed, that assailant ’s goal was Kang Jin-Ho ’s life.
As long as Kang Jin-Ho continued living his regular life, that man would show up before him sooner or later.
So, all Kang Jin-Ho had to do was wait.

Kang Jin-Ho grinned faintly.
This was such an amusing era.
Even though the era seemed so peaceful, someone had brazenly tried to assassinate him in broad daylight.
Back in Zhongyuan, all the top experts of the righteous and unorthodox sects had to work together to kill him.
In other words, no single individual dared to attempt an assassination on him.
But in this era…

“Amusing…” Kang Jin-Ho muttered as he turned the shower off.
After turning off the water, he changed into new clothes and headed to the living room—only for his steps to come to a sudden halt.

“Yes, Jin-Ho! I ’ve finished getting your food ready.
Come and dig in.”

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“…What about Father and Eun-Yeong?”

“They haven ’t come home from work yet, of course.
Since they ’ll be running late, I ’m sure they can take care of their own dinner.”

In that case…
Was all that food meant for Kang Jin-Ho ’s stomach? Even though the dining table resembled a grand banquet during the first meeting of the bride and groom’s families?!

Kang Jin-Ho muttered in a daze.
So there was another one.”

Baek Hyeon-Jeong tilted her head.
“Mm? Did you say something, Jin-Ho?”

“…No, it ’s nothing, Mother.” Kang Jin-Ho shook his head and headed to the dining table.

Indeed, there was another one.
Another assassin out to take Kang Jin-Ho ’s life, that was!


“…Eun-Yeong ’s manager?” Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head.

Your father said I should do it,” said Ju Yeong-Gi.

“Is that right?” Kang Jin-Ho cocked an eyebrow and turned his head to stare at his father behind the cafe ’s counter.
Watching Kang Yu-Hwan so hard at work brewing coffee came across as rather strange to behold, for some reason.
Kang Jin-Ho looked back at Ju Yeong-Gi.
“Why a manager, all of a sudden?”

“Well, what happened was…” Park Yu-Min started explaining instead of Ju Yeong-Gi.

Kang Jin-Ho ’s expression stiffened a little after he was done listening.

Such a thing hadn’t happened while Kang Jin-Ho was around.
But it happened as soon as he vacated his position.
This situation seemed like a preview of the future, where things could get quite dangerous for Kang Eun-Yeong if she didn ’t have anyone to protect her.

And it happened in Kang Yu-Hwan ’s presence as well.
Even worse, the cafe at the time was packed with people who fervently idolized Kang Eun-Yeong so much they willingly skipped work to stay there.
Even then, they couldn ’t stop such an event from happening.

’It might be worse than I thought… ’

Kang Jin-Ho had heard about the issues of obsessive fans and stalkers before, but he had never thought it would be a big problem in his life.
After hearing about what happened earlier in the day, though? His thoughts went through a rapid change.
It seemed that someone capable of protecting Kang Eun-Yeong was a necessity.

Kang Jin-Ho silently stared at Ju Yeong-Gi.

“Whatcha want now?” Ju Yeong-Gi cocked his head and responded thuggishly when Kang Jin-Ho stared at him.

Wouldn ’t there be an issue with his image, though?” When Kang Jin-Ho boldly brought out the issue no one had dared to say out in the open so far, Park Yu-Min ended up nodding involuntarily in agreement.

“M-my image?! What do you mean by that?” Ju Yeong-Gi tilted his head in confusion, having failed to understand anything.

Kang Jin-Ho sighed deeply.
“You dress too much like a gangster, Yeong-Gi.
As a result, people are less likely to be thrilled by your presence.
The entertainment industry is already rife with rumors of connections to various organized criminal gangs, so if you walk around with your current attire, people will start saying Eun-Yeong is sponsored by gangsters.”

“Really?” Ju Yeong-Gi awkwardly scratched the back of his head.
There was not much he could do about this side of him, though.
He was born this way, after all.

Kang Jin-Ho crossed his arms and leaned back against his chair.
“But, are you interested in this job, Yeong-Gi?”

Ju Yeong-Gi shrugged his shoulders.
“I ’m an unemployed bum right now, so yeah, I ’ll be glad to take on any job, honestly.”

“I see…” Kang Jin-Ho nodded slowly.

He could have demanded the talent agency hire bodyguards or managers to shield Kang Eun-Yeong.
However, it wouldn’t be as reassuring as having someone he was familiar with staying next to his sister.
Besides, from what Kang Jin-Ho had observed so far, Ju Yeong-Gi was trustworthy.
Not only were they friends now, but this big guy was also honest and straightforward.
In addition, Ju Yeong-Gi ’s lack of interest in the opposite sex was also important.

During all those times when Kang Eun-Yeong came to visit Kang Jin-Ho at the military base, Ju Yeong-Gi would often deeply furrow his brow and chide his friend for being so uptight and harsh to a little kid.

’All things considered, he might be one of the best candidates, then. ’ 

Kang Jin-Ho quickly came to a decision.
“If you put on more appropriate clothes and clean up your hairstyle a bit more, I guess people will grumble less.”

“Oh, I guess that might work,” said Ju Yeong-Gi.

Then, you ’re gonna dress more appropriately.”

“By the way, Jin-Ho…?”

“Mm? What?”

“You ’ve been saying appropriately, but what does that even mean? I thought I ’m already dressed appropriately, though?”


“No, Yeong-Gi!”

Kang Jin-Ho and Park Yu-Min simultaneously responded negatively.

“This won ’t do.
We need to take this guy shopping.
Take a day off and prepare yourself.
I shall pick appropriate clothes for you.” Kang Jin-Ho tutted and declared in no uncertain terms.

However, Ju Yeong-Gi simply cocked his head, then muttered in a haughty tone, “Oh, you ’ll do that?”

“…!” Kang Jin-Ho ’s expression slowly stiffened, then he looked down at his own attire.
He could see a T-shirt and a pair of jeans…
bought by his mother.
And a pair of old sneakers that used to belong to his father.

“Or, will it be you, Yu-Min?” Ju Yeong-Gi shifted his haughty gaze over to Park Yu-Min, so Kang Jin-Ho followed suit and looked at his friend sitting next to him as well.

Park Yu-Min seemed to have gone all-in on the concept of a cost-effective sense of style where long-lasting, easy-to-wear, and cheap were the most important aspects.

Ju Yeong-Gi snarkily chuckled away.
Seriously, man.
Live long enough, and you get to see all sorts of miracles, huh? Did the two of you really just criticize my fashion sense? Really?”



Three men with terrible fashion sense fell deep into a serious dilemma just then.


Kang Eun-Yeong blinked her eyes in a daze.

“…That ’s right.” Kang Jin-Ho quietly nodded.

“Hnnng~? To think that a day would come when my dear orabeoni asks me for help! Just what on earth is going on today~? Will the sun rise from the west tomorrow~?” Kang Eun-Yeong burst into a delighted peal of laughter after acquiring the upper hand for the first time in five years.

Kang Jin-Ho had to flinch and take a step back after noticing the sharp glint in his little sister ’s eyes.
That light reminded him of an eagle with prey stuck to its beak.

Kang Eun-Yeong grinned brightly.
“My dear orabeoni has re-ques-ted my help, so how can I say no? Wouldn ’t you say so? Especially when you consider how long we ’ve known each other in this world.”

“That weirdly sounds like a perfunctory response.”

“Then again, my oppa obviously doesn ’t know how to choose good clothes.
Your fashion sense is just too cancerous, after all.
It ’ll cause cancer in everyone ’s eyes.”

Kang Jin-Ho clamped his mouth shut, unable to retort to that biting remark.
Whether it was back in Zhongyuan or here…
He had no concept of selecting his own clothes to wear.
Well, he did have a fashion sense of sorts, although it only amounted to, ’Grab a shirt, find a pair of pants, then put on some shoes, and that would be the end of it’.

Kang Eun-Yeong rubbed her chin.
“But, this shopping isn ’t for you, but for Yeong-Gi oppa?”


“Is he really gonna be my road manager?”

Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head.
“Road manager? What ’s that?”

“It ’s a person that brings my meals and checks my schedule.”

“…Let ’s just call him your bodyguard, shall we?” Kang Jin-Ho mumbled while looking away.
It might be more appropriate to call Ju Yeong-Gi a watchdog, though…

In that case, we might as well buy new clothes for you too, oppa.”

“…Huh?” Kang Jin-Ho blinked his eyes in surprise.

“Mom! Mom~!” Kang Eun-Yeong ignored him and rushed outside her room.
Shortly afterward, she came back inside with the determined-looking Baek Hyeon-Jeong.

The Kang family matron spoke in a grave voice, “You were planning to go to a department store, son?”

“…No, wait.
That ’s not it, Mother.
Actually, I…”

“One of my lifelong wishes has always been to choose nice clothes for you, Jin-Ho! You have a physique so nice that it ’ll sparkle like a marble statue if we leave you outside shirtless, so why do you always have convulsions whenever I talk about taking you shopping for new clothes?!”


“This is good timing! Don ’t say anything and just follow me! For you and for that big friend of yours—no, wait! Now that we ’re going shopping, bring Yu-Min with you, too! Seeing Yu-Min in those clothes every time he comes around here had always been killing me inside, son!”

Cold sweat began trickling down Kang Jin-Ho ’s forehead.
“M-mother, we are not going shopping for something like that, but—”

“Isn ’t this amazing! To think Jin-Ho is willing to go to a department store with us!” said Baek Hyeon-Jeong in excitement.
She was already too far gone to hear her son ’s voice.

Kang Eun-Yeong hurriedly asked, “Mom! Can I buy new clothes for myself, too?”


“Why not?!”

“If you start choosing your clothes, we won ’t have any time left to find your oppa ’s stuff.”

I guess it can ’t be helped, then.” Kang Eun-Yeong quickly accepted the truth, then smiled radiantly.

Baek Hyeon-Jeong turned to look at her son.
“Now that it’s settled, let ’s get this done pronto.
Call your friends and tell them to come tomorrow, at around the cafe’s opening hour.”

Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head again.
“…Mm? But, what about the cafe, Mother?”

“Your father will take care of it, somehow!” Baek Hyeon-Jeong harrumphed loudly.

Kang Jin-Ho was left speechless by his mother ’s unstoppable momentum.

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