Descent of the Demon Master
Kang Jin-Ho stared outside the window, slightly dazed.
He came home early today since the cafe was practically devoid of customers.
His father sent him home as soon as the evening rolled in despite Kang Jin-Ho ’s protest about how he had nothing to do at home.
Kang Yu-Hwan ’s firm “You still have nothing to do here at the cafe, son,” forced Kang Jin-Ho to obediently accept his situation and retire for the evening.
he ’s dead. ’
Kang Jin-Ho half-expected that outcome, but it still felt like a bit of a missed opportunity.
’He shouldn ’t have died that easily, though… ’
This feeling of frustration didn
’t want to leave him alone.
The thought he had after running into countless many murderers was…
When an individual had committed an unspeakable crime beyond human comprehension, a way to properly punish that person basically didn ’t exist.
As an example, imagine Adolf Hitler not killing himself and surviving the Second World War.
How should he be punished for his actions?
According to the modern era
’s law, it would be a measly little execution.
But would one death be enough to compensate for all those other deaths? Kang Jin-Ho didn ’t think so.
That was why he tormented and hurt the Fallen.
He physically hurt that serial killer, then even stole away that man ’s sight and hearing.
He even promised to come again soon, so the Fallen had to have been trembling in fear while trapped in the darkness until his final moments.
’Every minute must ’ve felt like a year to him… ’
Kang Jin-Ho shook his head to get rid of the useless thoughts.
Whether the punishment was adequate or not, well…
It didn ’t matter anymore.
The old ’Kang Jin-Ho ’ wouldn ’t have dwelt on the past for long like this.
So, why couldn ’t he stop thinking about it?
Was it because he had gotten weaker? Or was he concerned about how he cruelly toyed with that serial killer? If that wasn’t it, then maybe…
It felt like something was missing—as if he was overlooking something…
’…I ’m tired. ’
Kang Jin-Ho quietly closed his eyes.
Fatigue was washing over him.
Since he didn’t feel physically tired, this had to be psychological.
And it was also something he couldn ’t quite understand.
Quite a few incidents had happened to him recently, but they were nothing much to worry about compared to all the life-or-death struggles he had experienced back in Zhongyuan.
He knew this, so what was the reason for his fatigue?
While he mulled over his situation, Kang Jin-Ho
’s phone buzzed.
He picked it up.
– It ’s me, Jin-Ho.
What ’s up?”
– Are you busy?
Kang Jin-Ho waited for Park Yu-Min inside a cafe.
He didn ’t have to wait for long as his friend stepped inside soon afterward and waved his hand.
Park Yu-Min walked up to the table and grinned.
“You know, it feels like ages since we last hung out together.”
“Mm? But, haven ’t we seen each other not too long ago?”
It just feels that way, right?”
Kang Jin-Ho chuckled and nodded slightly.
Anyway, what ’s up? What did you want to talk about?”
“Hmm…” Park Yu-Min leaned against the bench ’s back while making a dissatisfied face.
Kang Jin-Ho cocked an eyebrow.
“…What ’s the matter?”
“I know you
’re a terribly popular person lately, but to think I need a reason to talk to you…
What a sorrowful reality this is, don ’t you think?”
“Mm…” Kang Jin-Ho awkwardly scratched his head.
Park Yu-Min was right.
They were friends and could hang out and waste time together whenever boredom took over.
After Kang Jin-Ho finished his military service, though, it felt like they weren ’t as close as before.
’I need to reflect on that, too. ’
Relationships between humans didn
’t deepen when left unattended but would stagnate into nothingness.
Unless one was family…
No, even if one were family, failing to meet regularly to share their life stories would lead to the development of nearly insurmountable awkwardness.
That was what humans were like.
Park Yu-Min chuckled.
“You don ’t have to make that face, you know? I was just kidding.”
“Mm.” Kang Jin-Ho nodded, thinking that it didn ’t sound like a joke to him.
Park Yu-Min brought the drinks from the counter, then began sipping on his.
“How are you? Have you been busy?”
“Yeah,” Kang Jin-Ho nodded.
“I ’m not doing anything in particular, but various things have been keeping me occupied.”
“I guess that
’s not that surprising.
I mean, you must be in the middle of opening the new store, right?”
Kang Jin-Ho flinched inwardly.
In all honesty, he hadn ’t paid attention to that matter at all, as he simply dumped the responsibility on Jo Gyu-Min ’s shoulders.
What would his friend retort with if he revealed how he was killing his free time by working part-time at his father ’s cafe?
Park Yu-Min continued, “I was wondering how you were doing lately.
I thought it was kinda weird to ask you on the phone, so…
I figured if you have time, might as well meet up.”
Good call.” Kang Jin-Ho nodded in acceptance.
“And the kids at the orphanage seem to miss you, too.”
“…Oh.” Kang Jin-Ho quickly avoided making eye contact with Park Yu-Min and sighed inwardly.
can ’t even deal with this matter, huh. ’
It felt like only yesterday when he got fired up over the orphanage
’s matter and even wanted to set up his own foundation for it, but now? He hadn
’t been paying attention to it after some other events took his focus away.
It felt like he had committed a grave sin after thinking about how the kids back in Seongsim were waiting for him to show up again.
’It ’s still not easy. ’
He believed he had adjusted pretty well to this life, but maintaining relationships with the people around him still proved to be a tough task for Kang Jin-Ho.
He couldn ’t even deal with one event happening around him, so was it even possible for him to become the person Sister Yi had told him about? A man who could reach out to other people?
Kang Jin-Ho closed his eyes in contemplation.
’What have I been doing? ’
He went to China, worked part-time, then helped out in his father
And now, he was getting ready to open his own store.
That certainly seemed like his life had been quite busy, but the truth was, he hadn’t gotten to the essence of the matter in any of them.
Besides, shouldn ’t he focus more on becoming someone capable of reaching out rather than those things?
’Have I forgotten it already? ’
No, that wasn
He hadn ’t forgotten.
He was simply delaying it.
Even though he wasn ’t supposed to do that.
Kang Jin-Ho chuckled hollowly and stared at Park Yu-Min.
Park Yu-Min tilted his head.
“What ’s wrong?”
“…No, it ’s nothing.” Kang Jin-Ho briefly shook his head.
What would have happened if he hadn’t met Park Yu-Min? Not meeting Park Yu-Min, not learning about the Seongsim Orphanage, and never knowing about the existence of Sister Yi…
What would Kang Jin-Ho ’s life be like without those three factors?
He had no guarantee that the event Cha In-Cheol was worried about wouldn
’t have happened.
After all, a monster was still hiding inside Kang Jin-Ho ’s heart, and it was still clamoring for an opportunity to break free.
Park Yu-Min was puzzled by Kang Jin-Ho
Then again, he would never be able to guess how his simple mutterings were enough to undo all the taut tension winding Kang Jin-Ho up until now.
Kang Jin-Ho suddenly leaned forward.
“Should we go, then?”
Park Yu-Min blinked his eyes.
“Eh? Go where?”
“To Seongsim, obviously.
Didn ’t you say the kids there missed me?”
“What? You ain ’t thinking of forcing them to bow before you, right? If you go to Seongsim now, it ’ll be the same as dragging the kids away from whatever they are doing, you know? So, why don ’t we go there next time, okay? Next time.”
“Huh? But I thought the kids wanted to see me?”
’t have everything they want, anyway.
It ’ll be fine.”
“Really?” Kang Jin-Ho had to park his impatient butt down on the bench while making a somewhat dissatisfied face.
Thanks to his personality being what it was, he wasn ’t the type to patiently hold himself back once he set his mind on doing something.
However, Park Yu-Min ’s argument was also logical, so what choice did Kang Jin-Ho have other than to hold himself back?
Park Yu-Min changed the topic.
“You haven ’t even popped into the university yet.
What ’s up with that?”
“Mm, well…” Kang Jin-Ho made an awkward expression and looked away.
Park Yu-Min grinned at that reaction.
“Wow, the one and only Kang Jin-Ho can make a face like that? I guess assimilating to society isn ’t easy, after all?”
“What about you, then?”
“What about me?”
“What are you doing right now?”
Park Yu-Min confidently declared, “I ’m obviously preparing to debut as a pro.”
“Is it not going as well as you thought?” Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head.
Didn ’t Park Yu-Min say the same thing the last time? It seemed he hadn ’t made much progress since then.
I can ’t just blindly jump in, you know.”
“How come? Didn ’t you do just that when you started off as the pro gamer?”
“This and that are a bit different, you know…
Mm.” Park Yu-Min made a somewhat embarrassed face.
“When I debuted as a pro gamer all those years ago, no one expected anything from me.
No one except you thought I ’d be successful in the pro gaming scene, you know? So…
All I had to do was meet your expectations, and that was it.
And you wouldn ’t have criticized me too much even if I failed.”
Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded.
“That ’s true.”
“But now, my situation has changed a bit, you see? You know I
’ve managed to earn myself a few fans after playing Galaxy Craft professionally for a while.
And now that I ’m switching to a different genre, people have divided opinions.
Some are hoping for me to do as well as I have done in Galaxy, while others are…
Shall I say, they are complaining about how I betrayed them, so they want to see me fail real bad?”
Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded, thinking he could more or less understand what Park Yu-Min was talking about.
’t care even if I need to start at the bottom, but there are people who believe in me.
I want to do well from the start to thank them, you see? That ’s why I ’m practicing like crazy.
Because I want to hear them say, ’Park Yu-Min is still Park Yu-Min regardless of the genre. ’ That ’s my goal.”
“…Not because you simply want to be good at both games?”
“Hoh? Quite perceptive, aren ’t you?”
Kang Jin-Ho quietly chuckled.
’How dependable… ’
Unlike Kang Jin-Ho, who had gotten swept away by this event and that crisis, Park Yu-Min seemed to know what his job was and was forging a path ahead for himself.
Regardless of whether the end result would be good or not, Park Yu-Min ’s attitude toward life looked far more mature than Kang Jin-Ho ’s.
That much was undeniable.
Seeing such an attitude from a kid not even half his age triggered this swell of unexplainable shame and embarrassment in Kang Jin-Ho ’s heart.
Search bit.ly/3iBfjkV for the original.
’Yeah, I need to pull my socks up. ’
Kang Jin-Ho took a sip of his coffee.
A little while later, outside the cafe…
Kang Jin-Ho asked first.
“How about stopping for a bite to eat?”
Park Yu-Min shook his head.
“Nah, no need.
You ’ve probably had dinner already, right?”
“Mm…” Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded.
“Forget food, Jin-Ho.
Let ’s go play some games.”
You ’ve been way too busy lately.
I bet you forgot to vent some steam until now.”
“…Vent some steam, is it?”
“Even if you
’re made out of solid steel, humans need to blow off their built-up steam, Jin-Ho.
Otherwise, it gets harder and harder to hold on, you know?”
Could that be it? Kang Jin-Ho furrowed his brow.
This seemed to make sense.
Why would he feel fatigued lately despite not facing too many ’serious ’ physical issues unless the cause was built-up stress?
“You can stop by at the orphanage maybe some other time.
I ’m not telling you to come and do some sundry jobs, though.
The way I see it, that place might be a more comfortable place for you to hang around.”
Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head.
“…More comfortable, you say?”
Those kids want nothing from you but still welcome you with open arms, right? Because they like you as who you are.
That can provide solace to people, you see.
It might sound weird as a comparison, but they are kinda like puppies in that regard?” Park Yu-Min cackled like a naughty kid.
Kang Jin-Ho stopped walking and slowly raised his head to look at the night sky.
’Was that why? ’
After Sister Yi, the orphanage
’s director, passed on, Kang Jin-Ho consciously avoided going to the orphanage.
Because ’it ’ was too heavy and too big for him to carry.
What she left behind for Kang Jin-Ho was already a heavy load to bear, and he lacked the confidence to make it happen, too.
Maybe, Kang Jin-Ho had been comforted by those little kids at the orphanage all along.
neither his enemies nor allies, just people he could hang out with.
They were different from his family, something he wasn ’t capable of describing just yet.
Kang Jin-Ho quietly called out to his friend.
“Director Yi told me something before she passed on.”
Park Yu-Min didn ’t say anything and slowly nodded.
“She asked me to become someone capable of reaching out to weaker people than me.”
Kang Jin-Ho stopped talking and remained lost in his thoughts.
Park Yu-Min didn ’t urge him on even as seconds continued to tick by.
become someone like that?”
Park Yu-Min unhesitantly nodded away.
You definitely can.”
Kang Jin-Ho pouted slightly.
“You could ’ve given it some thought before answering, you know?”
No need to waste time thinking about it when it doesn ’t need any thinking in the first place, Jin-Ho.
Do you know why?” Park Yu-Min suddenly held his shoulders and shivered as if something deeply cringey began assaulting his senses.
“I ’ve already seen you do just that, you know? Reaching out to someone, I mean.
You ’ve already done it before, so what ’s stopping you from doing it again?”
“Mm? I ’ve already reached out to someone?”
“When did I do that?”
Park Yu-Min chuckled in dismay.
He then raised his hand and pointed himself in a very exaggerated manner.
Kang Jin-Ho saw his friend ’s weird smile and couldn ’t stop himself from laughing as well.
“So, stop worrying about useless stuff and get ready to taste the bitterness of defeat today,” Park Yu-Min harrumphed proudly.
“…Oh, you ’ve become a big man these days, haven ’t you? Mister Park Yu-Min?”
“It ’s been a while, so how about a round of Galaxy? The loser picks up the bill for the PC Room fees.”
“Sounds like you ’ve got some money on you?”
“Let ’s go!” Park Yu-Min energetically shouted and took the lead.
Kang Jin-Ho watched his friend ’s back and quietly smiled.
’…It ’s gotten a little less awkward, hasn ’t it? ’
He glanced up at the night sky again and thought he could see the smiling face of Sister Yi.
’…I ’ll try a little harder, Sister. ’
’t let yourself get shaken up and keep walking, Kang Jin-Ho.
If I do that, I ’ll eventually reach the goal.’
That would be when Kang Jin-Ho stopped questioning himself.
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