Once Jo Gyu-Min exited the cafe while tapping on his phone, Kang Jin-Ho sighed softly and stared aimlessly outside the windows.

“You ’ve tasted various hardships since a young age, so it ’s understandable why you ’re so distrustful of people, child.
However, it is impossible to live alone in this world.
A man who can ’t trust others certainly can ’t trust himself.
Failing to trust himself means he will never reach his peak.
If you wish to live in this world, you should first learn to trust others.”

Words from a long, long time ago suddenly flooded his mind.
Then again, those words had already been branded deep into the recesses of his memories.

’I don ’t trust people, is it…? ’

Indeed, Kang Jin-Ho had always stepped up personally to deal with everything.
Sometimes, he did rely on the strength of Jo Gyu-Min or Hwang Jeong-Hu, but the task of tying up loose ends had always fallen onto his lap.

Until now, he hadn’t found anything wrong with this arrangement.
His tasks should be his to finish, after all.
However, after listening to Ju Yeong-Gi, maybe it was time that Kang Jin-Ho thought about this from a different perspective.

Kang Jin-Ho ’s teacher, the orphanage director, and even Ju Yeong-Gi…
They all had said roughly the same thing to him.

’Relationships, huh… ’

The core of their advice centered around ’relationship ’.
Kang Jin-Ho thought he had assimilated pretty well with the modern era, but the people who got to learn a little more about him all said he should be more willing to ’approach ’ others first.

Did that mean Kang Jin-Ho ’s methods were wrong? Obviously, different people lived their lives differently.
So, Kang Jin-Ho didn ’t really need to change himself to follow their opinion.
However, there was a need to think about it some more if his methods were making things difficult for the people around him, as Ju Yeong-Gi had alluded to.

“Hey, man.
Whatcha thinking about?” Ju Yeong-Gi noticed Kang Jin-Ho ’s contemplative expression and smirked a little.
“Y ’know what, let ’s pop outside for a minute.
Looks like you need a smoke break.”


After exiting the cafe and mouthing a cigarette, Ju Yeong-Gi addressed Kang Jin-Ho with a slightly solemn expression.
“Hey, Jin-Ho?”


“Haven ’t you helped me?”

“…Mm? What do you mean?”

“I ’m asking you.
Haven ’t you helped me before?”

“…?” Kang Jin-Ho wasn ’t sure what was being asked of him, so he could only stare in confusion at Ju Yeong-Gi.
Just where was Ju Yeong-Gi going with this?

“Look, man.
I ’m Ju Yeong-Gi.
I might look like a small fry to you, but I still have pride in myself as a man, you know?”

I never said that, though.”

“Just look at the way you ’re acting, you dumbass.” Ju Yeong-Gi shook his head while crossing his arms.
Kang Jin-Ho frowned a little, unable to understand Ju Yeong-Gi ’s attitude.
“You see, humans should know how to be grateful when someone does them a favor.
Or know when to pay back a grudge.
Sure, some people don ’t do that, but at least, people around you do, including me.
Since I owe you a lot, I came here to see if I can repay you in some way.
You honestly think I ’m sticking around here ’cuz I can ’t get a job on my own?”

Kang Jin-Ho shook his head at that last question.
With Ju Yeong-Gi ’s sociability skill, he probably could get a job anywhere if he wanted to.
Kang Jin-Ho never once thought that Ju Yeong-Gi wanted to rely on him for everything.

“But now, look at you, dude! ’I ’ll do it.
When I do it, it ’ll be better.
Don ’t interfere.
Let it be.
I ’ll take care of it. ’ That ’s all you say to other people, man.”


“If you take care of everything that way, what should the rest of us do? Sure, sure.
I know you ’re amazing.
You’re so amazing that the best of other people just don ’t meet your standards.
Here ’s the thing, though.
That ’s not how you deal with people, you dummy.” Ju Yeong-Gi spat some saliva on the floor before continuing, “The way I see it, you are gonna have more and more people coming under you as years pass by.
So, you gotta figure this one out now.
In the future, I might not be able to give you any advice, but for now? I know more than you, so you gotta listen to me.”

Ju Yeong-Gi scowled as he lightly tapped on the ground.
“If the people around you do something but don ’t meet your standards, then make them do it again until you ’re more or less happy with the result.
If you keep stepping up to redo something just because you don ’t wanna waste a little bit of time or energy waiting for others to do it, then let me tell ya…
For the rest of your life, the only things you ’ll get to do are those within your reach.
That ’s it.
However! If you learn to be more patient right now and inform others what your standards are so that they can get better over time, things you can do later in your life will be ten times, no, hundreds of times bigger.
You get what I ’m saying?”


“It ’s fine for people like me to just do their jobs.
But that ’s not the case for you.
Sure, you doing your job well is important.
But you also need to make others do as well as you.
I ain ’t so good with words, so I can ’t tell if you understood me or not.”

“No, I did understand you.”

Even though I was talking gibberish, you still heard me just fine, eh?” Ju Yeong-Gi nodded in approval.
“I ’m confident about reading people, see? And my gut feeling says you are gonna have a ton of people under you whether you want that or not.”

Kang Jin-Ho groaned softly while listening to Ju Yeong-Gi.
He wanted to say that was unlikely, but then…
Even he had to admit that things were heading in that direction already.
Not just the people around him right now, but there was also the matter of Chang Min in China currently gathering the remnants of the ancient demon cult.
Considering all those things, Kang Jin-Ho would have to lord over a lot of people in the near future, regardless of whether he liked the sound of that or not.

“But you fundamentally don ’t trust other people, you know? You might ask others to do some things, but you always think it ’d be better for you to step up personally, don ’t you? That ’s why you don ’t discuss or ask for advice from anyone else.
I ’m telling you, man.
Humans can ’t live like that.
We ’re not machines, after all.
We talk, we discuss, and eventually, we grow closer and well…
Uh, what was the other word for belief?”

“You mean, faith?”

“Right, faith.
We start having faith in each other.
I knew all about that even while working for some crappy shady organization, so how come a smart guy like you doesn ’t know about something so simple as that until now?”

’…So, is that what happened back then? ’ 

Kang Jin-Ho suddenly had an epiphany.
It felt like he had finally found the answer to one of the questions that had been plaguing his mind.
And that question involved the Azure Demon.

The final moments of Kang Jin-Ho ’s second life were an unbearable memory to him.
Not because he was defeated, no—but because he got betrayed.
However, he had never figured out why Azure Demon had betrayed him like that.
Hadn’t he always treated Azure Demon well? Kang Jin-Ho had defeated all the enemies aiming for Azure Demon’s life and even granted him a position that maybe, he wasn ’t even qualified for.
Kang Jin-Ho even gifted him one of his favorite swords as well.
That was how much he valued Azure Demon as his close confidante.

So, why did Azure Demon choose the path of betrayal?

’All I did was give away without building a relationship… ’

One of the questions that had been tormenting him during this life finally had an answer.
And the fact that Ju Yeong-Gi was responsible for this resolution greatly surprised Kang Jin-Ho.

’So, different people have different perspectives on things… ’

Kang Jin-Ho had never imagined that Ju Yeong-Gi would help him resolve one of the biggest quandaries plaguing his mind.
And the implication behind it was rather significant.
Maybe, Kang Jin-Ho personally stepping forward to take care of every matter was not necessarily the best idea.
Different people had different good points, after all.

It can be hard to make great work when its stolen from bit.ly/3iBfjkV.

Just as Kang Jin-Ho began nodding, Jo Gyu-Min walked up to him while making a stiff face.
“Mister Jin-Ho, about this matter—”

Kang Jin-Ho cut him off.
“I ’ll let you handle it.”

Jo Gyu-Min ’s eyes opened wider.
He thought he ’d have to try his best to convince Kang Jin-Ho, so this was an unexpected turn of events.
To think this young man would say that he would delegate the work to someone else!

Kang Jin-Ho narrowed his eyes.
“However, please do make sure to handle it properly.”

“Of course.
Leave it to me.
All I can offer for now is my apologies for showing such a disgraceful sight to you all the time, Mister Jin-Ho.
However, I ’ll make sure to perfectly deal with this problem.”

Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded away.

has to be the way. ’

After cooling his anger and objectively thinking about this situation, Kang Jin-Ho realized that Jo Gyu-Min ’s way of doing things could be a better option here.

Kang Jin-Ho ’s style was to completely obliterate the problem at its source.
For instance, back when Kang Eun-Yeong was still an aspiring idol trainee, he made sure Starwiz would never get back to their feet for what they had done to his sister.
He had done the same to its director by utterly crushing him and his reputation so that the fool could never show his face in public anymore.
And he had handled the incident in the military the same way, too.

However, Jo Gyu-Min ’s method was different from that.
He started off from the premise of treating the opponents as fellow human beings and worked toward limiting the amount of influence they could exert on his side.

As far as ’results ’ were concerned, Kang Jin-Ho ’s style was more permanent, but if it was the question of which was right? Then, even Kang Jin-Ho would have to admit that Jo Gyu-Min was the winner there.

Kang Jin-Ho ’s method could create unintended side effects later down the line, while Jo Gyu-Min ’s was a little safer, even if it could initially feel a little conservative and frustrating.
In that case, Kang Jin-Ho should just acknowledge the advantages of different methods and utilize them accordingly.

“By the way, Chief Jo?” Kang Jin-Ho spoke in a serious tone.

“Yes, Mister Jin-Ho?”

“Regarding that franchise idea…”

“Ah, yes!”

“I ’d like to give it a go.”

“R-really?” Jo Gyu-Min ’s jaw dropped, flabbergasted by this sudden momentous revelation.
While he was on the phone for a little while, an angel or something had to have descended to have a chat with Kang Jin-Ho.
That had to be it, as this young man was now willing to do everything Jo Gyu-Min asked of him.
It wasn ’t even winter yet, so why did it feel like an early Christmas had come for Jo Gyu-Min?

He glanced at the person he guessed was the ’Santa Claus ’ responsible for this situation.
Ju Yeong-Gi noticed that gaze and held his thumb up with a wide smirk on his face.

Jo Gyu-Min nodded.

’I ’ll treat you to a nice meal later! ’

Ju Yeong-Gi nodded back.

’It ’s gonna be expensive, you know! ’

They finished negotiating through nothing but quick glances, then shifted their attention back to Kang Jin-Ho.

Kang Jin-Ho chuckled at that.
“I thought it could be a good experience for me.”

“You made the right call, Mister Jin-Ho,” said Jo Gyu-Min with a quick nod.
“Yes, it was the best call you could ever make.
Even if this idea doesn ’t seem all that grand, it ’ll undoubtedly become a huge help in your life moving on.
I guarantee it, so believe in me, Mister Jin-Ho!”

Ju Yeong-Gi directed a strange gaze at Jo Gyu-Min.
“Chief Jo, you sound like that con man I know.”

“Hush, Mister Yeong-Gi!”

Ju Yeong-Gi and Jo Gyu-Min boisterously laughed.
Kang Jin-Ho also smiled along, thinking that maybe he had been too stubborn until now.
After all, yielding just a little had resulted in such a good atmosphere.

Ju Yeong-Gi eventually stopped laughing, then remembered something.
“By the way, what ’s this about trying out a franchise?”

“Oh, that?” Jo Gyu-Min grinned and explained the situation.
“I was told to help Mister Jin-Ho set up a small franchise store and let him learn what it ’s like to operate it.”

“…What on earth is that even about?”

“I ’m sorry?”

Ju Yeong-Gi looked flabbergasted while staring at Jo Gyu-Min.
“You want Jin-Ho to run a small store? Just who came up with that dumb idea?”

“B-but, why…?” Jo Gyu-Min blinked his eyes in surprise.

“Tsk, tsk…” Ju Yeong-Gi shook his head as if he could already picture the carnage about to happen, then headed inside the cafe.
“I ’m gonna see our Miss Idol, fellas.
So, you guys do whatever it is you need to do.
Gee whiz.
And they say too much courage is just reckless bravado…
Tsk, tsk…”

Jo Gyu-Min was suddenly overcome by this unexplainable foreboding from Ju Yeong-Gi ’s pitying gaze directed his way.
“W-what is Mister Yeong-Gi talking about, Mister Jin-Ho?”

“Not sure myself.” Kang Jin-Ho shrugged his shoulders as if he also had no clue.

However, that only made Jo Gyu-Min more worried, though.

’Wait, Mister Yeong-Gi was in the same army base as Mister Jin-Ho, wasn ’t he? ’

Which meant Ju Yeong-Gi may have witnessed how Kang Jin-Ho acted as a senior to his squad members.
So, that kind of reaction could only mean…!

Before Jo Gyu-Min ’s train of thought could reach its destination, his phone rang and interrupted him.
He checked to see the caller, then answered the phone while making a weird expression, “…Yes, Chairman.
It ’s done, sir.
Of course! Ah, yes, sir.
He agreed to do it, sir.”

By the time the lengthy phone call came to an end, Kang Jin-Ho was already back inside the cafe.
Jo Gyu-Min took out a fresh cigarette and mouthed it while noticing his hands trembling rather unnaturally.

’Why does it feel like I have made a huge mistake…? ’

Unfortunately, he had already made his report to Hwang Jeong-Hu.
Meaning, it was too late to turn back the clock now.
He had no choice but to forge ahead.

And then…
Jo Gyu-Min would come to eternally regret this day ’s decision.
Of course, he had no way of knowing that right now.

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