His voice was eerie.
For the first time in her life, Lee Hyeon-Ju learned what ’eerie ’ truly meant thanks to a person ’s voice.

It wasn ’t as simple as sending a creepy chill down her spine either.
A devil was panting its hot lava-like breath near her ear while tickling her nape with its sticky cold forked tongue…
Now that was the fitting description of this eeriness that terrified her.

How would a rat react after coming face-to-face with the eyes of a snake hidden in the darkness? When the distance between the two was too close to even attempt an escape?

It wouldn ’t be able to do anything.
The only option available would be to cover its mouth, roll into a small ball, and pray ardently that the predator would look away.
Then, pray again.
Unfortunately, that was the current story for Lee Hyeon-Ju.

She acutely understood her current situation, yet she also couldn ’t understand the ’how ’ of it.
In front of this absolute presence, pure terror was ruthlessly crushing her.
Her body had escaped from her brain ’s control.

This was why she couldn ’t understand it.
Wasn ’t Lee Hyeon-Ju the granddaughter of the Martial Assembly ’s Assembly Master? She didn ’t let her status stagnate her; she worked exceptionally hard to acquire a considerably powerful position in the Assembly.

Unsurprisingly, she met countless people in her journey to her current position.
Being affiliated with the Martial Assembly meant she got to meet and converse with countless top-tier martial masters, many of them strong enough to represent South Korea on the international stage.
She even had a few chances to spar against them, too.

Considering all this, Lee Hyeon-Ju should have long been ’used ’ to the presence of true experts.
She felt terror from a man who looked younger than her.
Something like that should have been unimaginable.

Her body continued to shrink back while fighting against her mind trying so hard not to give in to fear.
And the battle between the two ended far too quickly.
When she saw Kang Jin-Ho ’s crimson eyes burning away in the darkness, with the lone cigarette light flickering somewhere between them, even her mind began to say the same thing: escape.

She must not, under no circumstances, antagonize this man.

Kang Jin-Ho leisurely opened his mouth.
“So, you wanted to talk to me?”

That sounded like an awfully simple question.
However, Lee Hyeon-Ju could sense from Kang Jin-Ho ’s tone of voice that he was displeased about something.

Kang Jin-Ho ’s hand slowly extended from within the darkness.
His hand, enveloped in the inky-black darkness, was inching closer and closer toward her face.
Even though she could see it, Lee Hyeon-Ju could not resist it.

His hand eventually stopped inches away from her face.

Kang Jin-Ho muttered, “I already warned you.”


“I warned you not to interfere with my life.”

Lee Hyeon-Ju ’s back was soaked in cold sweat as she listened.

“Maybe the message didn ’t get across to you? My warnings, I mean.” While Kang Jin-Ho muttered, the hand hovering in front of her face resumed moving and slowly clutched her throat.
He then yanked Lee Hyeon-Ju closer and glared straight into her eyes.
“Did you believe I ’d be rejoiced by you offering up information? Or did you think we ’d become friends afterward?”

Lee Hyeon-Ju stuttered some words out.
“N-no, that ’s not…”

“I did not give you permission to speak.”

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“…!” Lee Hyeon-Ju ’s eyes widened after she finally realized something.
And that was…

This young man was insane.
She shouldn ’t have approached him so carelessly like this.
The Martial Assembly should have utilized everything at its disposal and carefully, oh-so-carefully, approached this young man.
Even then, it would still be anybody ’s guess how this atomic bomb-like existence would react!

Lee Hyeon-Ju admonished herself.
She should have thought about why the Martial Union was after this young man ’s life, and why the Yeongnam Group would go as far as setting loose a crazed murderer just to keep him in check.

“I always keep saying this.
I told you people to leave me alone.
It seems none of you understand me.
Maybe, you thought I was politely asking you for a favor.
Or, you thought I was making a suggestion.
Is that it?” Kang Jin-Ho ’s low chuckle echoed lazily within the underground parking lot.

As his laughter dug into her ears, Lee Hyeon-Ju tried everything in her willpower to crack open her lips again.
This bone-chilling gut feeling that said this crazy man would suddenly break her neck if she didn’t say anything was driving her mad inside.

’He ’s…
totally crazy! ’

This young man was a different breed from the Fallen.
While that demonic arts practitioner had lost his grip on sanity and only relied on his instincts and compulsion to murder, Kang Jin-Ho was different.
He was normal.
Normal, but insane!

Lee Hyeon-Ju finally managed to say something.
“I, I was merely…”

But then, Kang Jin-Ho strengthened his grip on her throat and slammed her into a nearby pillar.


The impact caused an almighty dust cloud to kick up as the surroundings rumbled.
In fact, it was as if the entire structure shook around from the shock.
Kang Jin-Ho leaned closer to whisper to Lee Hyeon-Ju, currently writhing away from the intense pain, “When I did say you can speak?”

“…!” Lee Hyeon-Ju gasped as tears began pooling on the edges of her eyes.

She couldn ’t even understand what Kang Jin-Ho was talking about, and she also couldn ’t understand why she was being subjected to such humiliation, either.
Of course, it wasn ’t as if she had no thoughts of using Kang Jin-Ho.

If she provided the information, which was an act of releasing bait, Kang Jin-Ho would become more amiable toward the Korean Martial Assembly.
And that would mean he would inevitably become an enemy of the Yeongnam Group by association.
If Kang Jin-Ho were strong, that would be great.
Even if he weren ’t strong, though, he would still be useful.

Kang Jin-Ho would surely be displeased if he learned about her private thoughts.
However, Lee Hyeon-Ju still hadn ’t done anything yet.
So, how could she accept the punishment for a ’crime ’ that hadn ’t even happened yet?

“I ’ve already told you people that I don ’t want to get involved, yet you people are still trying to bother me.
And then, here we are, eventually leading to this incident.
So, I want to ask you a question.”


Kang Jin-Ho ’s white teeth…
slowly bared from within the darkness.
Tears began to trickle down from Lee Hyeon-Ju ’s eyes.
She had failed to withstand the fear rising from the thought of this crazed man biting and tearing her apart at any second now.

“Do you people really wish to see me join your world? Is that what you really want?” Kang Jin-Ho grinned eerily as he whispered into her ear, “You think you can handle me?”


“What on Earth is it this time?” Jo Gyu-Min groaned loudly after hearing about how Kang Jin-Ho got involved in the latest murder case.
And now, he was currently on the road.

He mouthed a cigarette while stomping on the accelerator.
He just couldn ’t calm his restless mind.
What tortured him right now wasn ’t all these incidents happening around Kang Jin-Ho.

When he heard about Kang Jin-Ho ’s ’involvement ’ in the murder, the first thing Jo Gyu-Min thought of wasn ’t ‘How did he get tangled up in that?’ but more like, ‘Oh no, he has finally done it!’

What resolved his suspicion was his follow-up thought.
Funnily enough, it wasn ’t ‘Mister Jin-Ho wouldn ’t do something like that,’ but more along the line of, ‘That guy wouldn ’t have done such a sloppy job.’

Indeed, Jo Gyu-Min was being tortured by his mind that instinctively thought that Kang Jin-Ho being the murderer wouldn ’t be sloppy enough to leave evidence behind and let the cops apprehend him.
It could only mean that deep down, Jo Gyu-Min had already started seeing Kang Jin-Ho as a ruthless individual capable of cold-blooded murder as long as it served his interests.

’And that evaluation is not far off the truth, isn ’t it? ’

Since Jo Gyu-Min had witnessed some things back in China, it was getting harder to refute that line of thought.
And all these negative thoughts Jo Gyu-Min had? They were his subconscious perception of Kang Jin-Ho inadvertently rising to the surface, that was all.

Truth be told, Jo Gyu-Min thought of Kang Jin-Ho as a good person.
The young man possessed ’power ’ but tried not to haphazardly wield that power.
And he wasn ’t overbearing—mostly—toward the people around him.
He might not actively use all of his available powers to help another person, but he would still try his best.
Finally, he had never tried to suppress or destroy others just to secure his status.

Jo Gyu-Min had experienced plenty of times how ’power ’ could corrupt and control people, so he knew how honest and straightforward Kang Jin-Ho really was.

Jo Gyu-Min also knew something else—he knew about Kang Jin-Ho ’s other side.
That young man was definitely a good person with a surprisingly soft heart, but a beast was lurking within him.
Even if he knew that the beast would never bite him, he couldn ’t get rid of that anxiety about the inevitable crisis as the creature continued to aimlessly hover around his vicinity.

’It feels a bit inadequate to compare him to a lion, too… ’

Compared to the monster sealed within Kang Jin-Ho, a lion was like a cute cat, or rather, a cute little kitten.

“I hope it ’s nothing major…”

Why did it feel like more and more incidents were creeping up around Kang Jin-Ho lately? Before Kang Jin-Ho ’s military service, there weren ’t many…
’incidents ’ to worry about, but after his discharge? It felt like a series of incidents was always just around the corner.

Jo Gyu-Min couldn ’t help but wonder if Kang Jin-Ho was the source of all these incidents.
Well, that young man was different from everyone else, after all.

Maybe, all these incidents were simply the ripples created by the beast finally being let loose in society.
Up until now, he had been contained within restricted spaces like schools and the army, but now that those were gone…

“Fuu-woo…” Jo Gyu-Min sighed and stubbed his cigarette in the car ’s ashtray as he neared the cafe.
“Where should I park…

While searching for a parking space, Jo Gyu-Min ’s eyes shifted toward the side street.
He noticed a man and woman pair walking toward the cafe.
The man was Kang Jin-Ho, while the woman was someone Jo Gyu-Min didn’t recognize.
And she was quite a looker, too.
Her modernized hanbok seemed to be designed to look vintage, while her hair was neatly rolled up into a luxurious bun.
For a moment there, Jo Gyu-Min wondered if that woman was doing cosplay or something.

However, her facial features were more than enough to make him forget about such useless questions in his head.
Unfortunately, though, Jo Gyu-Min ’s attention couldn ’t linger on the woman even if he wanted to.
He quickly fixed his gaze on Kang Jin-Ho ’s face.

’Son of a…! ’

Jo Gyu-Min had only seen that expression on Kang Jin-Ho ’s face a handful of times.
Whenever that young man made such a face, though, something major had almost always happened.
Jo Gyu-Min ’s insight that was built up over the years he had spent next to Kang Jin-Ho was clearly telling him that…

…Someone had lit the fuse on the powder keg called Kang Jin-Ho.

Jo Gyu-Min bit down on his lip while quickly parking the car, then jumped outside.
Although his car was jutting over the parking space lines a bit, he had no spare time to correct his sloppy attempt at parking.
He cautiously walked over to Kang Jin-Ho.

The young man wordlessly raised his head and stared right back, causing a deathly chill to run down Jo Gyu-Min ’s spine.
No, never mind the chill, it felt like tingling arcs of electricity were numbing his entire body from the base of his spine.
His breathing clogged up as Kang Jin-Ho ’s beast-like eyes stared at him.
And this was Jo Gyu-Min.
Someone Kang Jin-Ho accepted as his close acquaintance.
What would it be like with a total stranger?

“Good to see you, Mister Gyu-Min,” said Kang Jin-Ho as his expression relaxed after he confirmed who had blocked his path.
Only then did Jo Gyu-Min finally release some of the tension in his muscles.

Two disparate emotions quickly formed inside Jo Gyu-Min ’s mind.
One, the pure terror that reminded him about how scary Kang Jin-Ho was.
Two, the satisfaction of knowing that Kang Jin-Ho did think of Jo Gyu-Min as an important person, someone close enough for him to force a smile despite his burning rage.

Knowing that Jo Gyu-Min had his foot across the line Kang Jin-Ho had drawn on the ground to keep the world away, he suddenly felt like he had nothing to fear.

“Mister Jin-Ho.
This lady is…?” Jo Gyu-Min was finally able to glance at the woman again after his psyche had calmed down sufficiently enough.

“Hmm…” Kang Jin-Ho wordlessly shifted his gaze to Lee Hyeon-Ju.

’…I guess it ’ll be a tall order, huh? ’

Lee Hyeon-Ju was completely frozen up from fright right now, so it seemed nigh-on impossible to make her talk about…
anything, really.
Even Jo Gyu-Min could tell that this poor lady had to have had a ’private chat ’ with Kang Jin-Ho’s monster mode, so it would be difficult for her to maintain her usual self.

Kang Jin-Ho grunted.
“This explanation might take a while…”

“In that case, I can wait until you ’re finished, Mister Jin-Ho.” Jo Gyu-Min briefly nodded.

However, Kang Jin-Ho shook his head.
“This isn ’t something I wish to hide from you, Chief Jo.
Let us go back inside the cafe.”

This was when Jo Gyu-Min suddenly received a powerful premonition.
The moment he became a part of the conversation about to take place between Kang Jin-Ho and this woman, Jo Gyu-Min ’s world, the one he thought to be real, would be completely obliterated out of existence.
That was what his gut feeling screamed at him.
In that case, refusing the offer and walking away could be the wisest option.
Well, Jo Gyu-Min ’s world and Kang Jin-Ho ’s were quite different, after all.


Let ’s go in, then.” Jo Gyu-Min smiled and opened the cafe ’s door.
Even if the ’new ’ world he was about to be exposed to were actually Hell, it wouldn’t be such a bad trade to stand next to this young man.

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