Kang Jin-Ho wordlessly stared at the Fallen pitifully writhing on the ground.
His state could no longer be called human after all four of his limbs were severed and his eyes and ears destroyed.

This was excessively cruel, simply too inhumane.
Even Kang Jin-Ho had to admit to that.
Meanwhile, a part of him didn ’t think that he had gone overboard today.
Definitely not.
The number of victims who lost their lives to the Fallen had to have been over several dozen.

One death to compensate for all those lives lost would be impossible.
However, if the Fallen died, would those victims feel…
satisfied? Would they think that they had gotten their deserved vengeance? Probably not.

Kang Jin-Ho didn ’t think he had the qualifications to punish the Fallen, but if he did, he figured this should be the fitting punishment.
That belief meant he didn ’t hesitate once as he unleashed this cruel torture.

‘No, wait.
This was merely me venting my anger.’

Yes, that was it.
He was simply punishing the one who dared to intrude on his life.

Kang Jin-Ho looked down at the still-writhing Fallen on the ground.
What would this man be ’seeing ’ right about now? He no longer had eyes.
His ears were destroyed.
Also gone were his arms and legs.
In other words, he had practically lost every part of his body he could move with his willpower.
In that case, what would he be thinking about?

Kang Jin-Ho stood there, silently observing the Fallen, before turning around to leave.
Whatever that killer was thinking about had nothing to do with Kang Jin-Ho.
He dared to provoke Kang Jin-Ho, and he got punished for it.
That was the end of it.
This was where his ’connection ’ to the Fallen would end.

The Fallen could slowly die on the cold ground in that wretched state, or a passerby or two could stumble upon him and call an ambulance.
He could also end up as a snack for some passing animals.
Regardless of what was in store for him, that would be his fate.

Kang Jin-Ho left the open field without looking back once.
The chilly, spooky early dawn winds blew in his direction.


Lee Hyeon-Ju took a deep breath.
She could see the dignified, old-school interior of the cafe beyond the windows.
Obviously, this was not her first time visiting this place.
Back when she was here for the first time, she could enter the cafe without a care in the world.
But now…
that doorway resembled the gateway to hell in her eyes.

’Calm yourself, Lee Hyeon-Ju! ’

However, that seemed like a tall order, knowing that ’he ’ was waiting inside the cafe.
Thinking about how he would behave today to torment her caused this huge, frustrating lump to sit inside her chest.

’Even if it ’s now, wouldn ’t letting the Assembly know about him be the right move? ’

Objectively speaking, Kang Jin-Ho ’s matter was already beyond her capabilities to handle.
Controlling him? Such a thing was impossible from the get-go.
A little mouse couldn ’t control a tiger, after all!

Only now did she realize how stupid it was of her to show up before Kang Jin-Ho without doing any investigation beforehand.
And she was also deeply thankful about how she was still in one piece.
That didn ’t mean she could stand here and whine like a pathetic little kid, though.

Lee Hyeon-Ju took another deep breath to calm her ever-quickening heartbeat.
As determination filled up her expression, she pushed herself to enter the cafe.

’I need to fix my own mess, anyway! ’

She suddenly realized why her grandfather was still treating her like a child.
After all, the first thing she wanted to do after thinking she was in danger was to call her grandfather.

Having objectively evaluated her past actions, she finally knew that her confidence was based on the knowledge of her grandfather stepping up to resolve any problems she might encounter.
And that helped her understand how much burden she had been placing on her grandfather ’s shoulders.

If Lee Hyeon-Ju wanted to help her grandfather out, she had to stop relying on him for everything.
And the first step in achieving that goal was to learn how to solve her own problems.

’I don ’t care even if you ’re a specter or some kind of a dokkaebi.
If you think I ’ll be scared of you forever, well, you ’re sadly mistaken! ’

Lee Hyeon-Ju bit down on her lower lip before bravely pushing the cafe ’s door to enter.

Kang Jin-Ho greeted her first.

“…Ah.” For some weird reason, Lee Hyeon-Ju ’s body froze up on the spot at the sight of the neatly-dressed Kang Jin-Ho, and her previous resolution had already scattered in the winds.

His face was as expressionless as usual.
He wasn ’t even making a gentle smile or something! Even so, she instantly realized that the abnormal animosity Kang Jin-Ho had been harboring toward her had disappeared.
All that anger she felt from him was not there anymore.

“H-hello there…” Lee Hyeon-Ju hurriedly bowed deeply as if she was meeting her childhood idol.

Kang Jin-Ho nodded back at her, then pointed toward the back of the cafe.
“How about in there?”

’…The staff room, again? ’

Lee Hyeon-Ju had no particular reason to refuse, but her feet still didn ’t want to move toward the staff room after recalling her prior experience with Kang Jin-Ho in that place.

“It ’s fine for you to use that room, so please wait for me in there.”

“…Ah, yes.
Of course.” Lee Hyeon-Ju nodded hurriedly, then headed obediently to the staff room.

’Wait, this wasn ’t what I… ’

Her previous resolution of displaying a firmer, more confident attitude was long gone by now, leaving behind a pathetic woman who obediently did everything as told.
That aroused this faint feeling of annoyance in her.

However, Kang Jin-Ho wasn ’t being hostile toward her, so acting stiff and cold didn ’t feel quite right, either.
Besides, wasn ’t she here to win Kang Jin-Ho over to her side?

Lee Hyeon-Ju didn ’t say anything else and entered the staff room, then turned on the light.
She sat on a chair next to the table and waited before Kang Jin-Ho stepped inside.
Thinking that his demeanor would instantly change, she tightly clenched her fist, but to her confusion, Kang Jin-Ho maintained the exact same attitude as a few seconds ago.

He asked her in a business tone, “What would you like to drink?”

Lee Hyeon-Ju stuttered out a reply, “M-macchiato, please.”

“Do you want it warm?”

“No, please make it cold.”

Please wait for a little while.”

Why was she even relaxedly placing a dumb order for coffee?! And why was he nonchalantly accepting her order, too?!

Kang Jin-Ho closed the staff room door behind him and left.
Lee Hyeon-Ju, now left alone, felt like a phantom or something had bewitched her.
“W-why is he acting like that?”

If she compared the current Kang Jin-Ho to the one she met for the first time, well…
It wasn ’t as if he had gotten gentler.
However, something about him felt different in her perception.
As if…
he was no longer wary of her?

’I don ’t get this at all. ’

Thankfully, Lee Hyeon-Ju didn ’t have to wait alone for long.
Not long after her imagination spilled over to the realm of delusion, Kang Jin-Ho returned to the staff room while carrying a tray containing one cup of macchiato and another one of Americano.

“Here ’s your order of macchiato.”

“T-thank you…” Lee Hyeon-Ju jumped up from her seat and hurriedly accepted her coffee.

Kang Jin-Ho put his down on the opposite side of her position, then settled down.
“What brings you here?”

“Oh, uh…” Lee Hyeon-Ju sucked in a deep breath.
“First of all, please allow me to apologize to you.”

She figured that apologizing before anything else should take priority.
Unless their messed-up relationship were fixed first, she wouldn ’t get to take the next step.

“Forgive me for showing up at your doorstep without your consent first.
My rationale at the time was that my actions were in our and your best interests.
I ’m sorry.”

“I see…” Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded away.

“If I knew my unannounced visit would displease you, I wouldn ’t have done that.
That ’s why…
Once more, I ’m sorry.”

“It ’s okay, miss.
I ’m also at fault for overreacting, anyway.”

“…!” Lee Hyeon-Ju shuddered imperceptibly.
She never thought Kang Jin-Ho would respond like that.
As a matter of fact, she would have been glad if he begrudgingly accepted her apology.

My evaluation of Kang Jin-Ho is still not quite correct? ’

Obviously, she had no thoughts of forgetting about the monster hiding within Kang Jin-Ho even if he was acting all polite and normal right now.
The experience of encountering that monster was something she couldn ’t forget even if she wanted to, anyway.
However, the day-to-day Kang Jin-Ho could be far more considerate and gentler than she had given him credit for.

Lee Hyeon-Ju took a second to compose herself, then continued, “As a sign of my apology, I ’d like to offer my full assistance in capturing the Fallen, Mister Kang.
If you want, I can mobilize more people besides me to help you.
The Fallen is a murderer we definitely wish to capture, after all.
Please allow us to assist you.”

Kang Jin-Ho wordlessly sipped on his Americano, before slowly shaking his head.
“There ’s no need.”

“…I ’m sorry?”

“The man named the Fallen is no more, after all.”

At first, Lee Hyeon-Ju failed to comprehend what Kang Jin-Ho meant.
However, it didn ’t take long for her questions to subside and for the realization to hit her.
And then, goosebumps broke loose on her skin, starting from her toes all the way to her scalp.

’…Already?! ’

She obviously didn ’t know what happened, but it wasn ’t difficult for her to understand one thing—that Kang Jin-Ho had already taken care of the Fallen.
In such a brief window of time, too!

Since Kang Jin-Ho was strong enough to treat Lee Seong-Hwi like a little child, taking care of the Fallen would be a piece of cake for him.
However, she was still flustered by how little time he needed to find the Fallen and deal with him.
Everything happened so much sooner than she had expected.

’Just how did he do it? ’

The truth was, it wasn ’t as if Kang Jin-Ho had personally found the Fallen, but the crazed murderer neatly presented himself in front of Kang Jin-Ho.
Of course, Lee Hyeon-Ju wouldn ’t know that, so her ’fear ’ of Kang Jin-Ho ’s skills only got worse.

Regardless of what she was thinking about him, Kang Jin-Ho continued to relaxedly sip his coffee.
“As such, you don ’t need to come and see me again.
Our business has concluded with that, after all.”

Lee Hyeon-Ju involuntarily bit down on her lip.
Their business had ’concluded,’ he said.
Something in her chest went tumbling down to the pit of her stomach at those words.
Just as she resolved to fix this situation with her own strength, everything was already over? Just like that?

In that case, what would happen to all the time she had wasted resolving herself? Besides…

’No, it can ’t end like this! ’

If she nodded in acceptance and took a hasty retreat now, it would be the same thing as completely severing any connection she had with Kang Jin-Ho.
Yes, that was what she ardently wished for, but…
Strangely enough, the thought of no longer getting involved in Kang Jin-Ho ’s matters left her dumbfounded and lost.

This matter was something she took charge of.
She couldn ’t afford to end it like this without getting anything back in return.

“E-excuse me!” Lee Hyeon-Ju blurted out something even though she hadn ’t finished organizing her thoughts yet.
Kang Jin-Ho stared back at her with questioning eyes, so she desperately searched for the right combination of words to keep him interested.
“I, I ’m sure this wasn ’t what you wanted, but Mister Kang, you ’ve already set foot on our side of the world.
You know this, don ’t you?”

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

Kang Jin-Ho ’s expression became ever so slightly withdrawn.
He already knew that, of course.
However, hearing it from someone else was still not a nice experience.

“…That ’s why I’d like to make a suggestion.
There ’s a way for you to sever your ties with our side of the world but still protect your current lifestyle.”

Kang Jin-Ho narrowed his eyes, questions clearly visible in his expression.

Lee Hyeon-Ju interpreted that as a sign of interest and fired the finishing blow next.
“How about…
meeting our Assembly Master?”


The next morning…

Kang Jin-Ho welcomed an unexpected guest at his home.

“Good morning, officer,” Baek Hyeon-Jeong greeted and stared at the visitor with a worry-filled face.

The visitor sheepishly scratched the back of his head.
“My apologies for bothering you so early in the morning, ma ’am.
I had several follow-up questions for your son regarding the case, you see.
Summoning him down to the station is certainly an option, but I figured this way would be less bothersome for everyone.
Please forgive me for my intrusion.”

Baek Hyeon-Jeong nodded and stepped aside.
That allowed Kang Jin-Ho to get a better look at the visitor, Cha In-Cheol the police officer.
He was there on the day of Lee Jae-In ’s murder and at the police station where Kang Jin-Ho made his witness statement.

“I heard that you work part-time at your family ’s cafe, so I thought speaking to you before you head off to work would be a better idea.
I hope I ’m not unduly bothering you,” said Cha In-Cheol.

“No, it ’s fine, officer.”

“I see.
I ’m relieved to hear that.” Cha In-Cheol chuckled, then looked straight at Kang Jin-Ho.
“How about we pop outside for a minute for a smoke break, Mister Kang?”

Despite the affable-sounding chuckle, Cha In-Cheol ’s eyes were definitely not smiling.

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