The sound was so vivid and unmistakable.
It was also quite unusual and unique to the extent that Cheon Tae-Hun needed some time to realize that the sound belonged to a sword ’s blade scything through the air.
And then…


Another sound rang out in the room, this time an object falling to the floor.

Cheon Tae-Hun plopped down on his butt.

The relief of knowing that he was still alive and a bizarre emotion that couldn ’t be expressed in words filled his entire body in an instant.
For some reason, tears started trickling down his face.

“You don ’t need two people for that…” Kang Jin-Ho muttered in a calm, disinterested voice.

That was when contempt took over all emotions in Cheon Tae-Hun ’s head.
However, it wasn ’t reserved for Kang Jin-Ho.
No, it was aimed at himself for feeling relieved about the death of his colleague right beside him.

He couldn ’t bring himself to turn his head and look at what happened to his now-dead colleague.
Without looking, he could still make an educated guess on the final destination of his colleague who only wanted to escape the room alongside him.

Cheon Tae-Hun had a feeling that if he looked, the tragic sight might break his mind right there and then!

Kang Jin-Ho coldly addressed Cheon Tae-Hun, “Do not forget.
If the instigator doesn ’t show up to speak to me, I will come and find you instead.”

Cheon Tae-Hun ’s knees trembled.
He tried to crawl out of here, but his extended hands kept slipping on the floor, causing his head to smack into the hard surface below.
However, he still forced his shivering body to drag itself out of here.

He couldn’t think of anything other than to escape.
Outside the room, outside that doorway! He had to escape… somehow!

Cheon Tae-Hun desperately crawled on the bloodied floor before finally exiting the room.


“Oh my god…” Lee Hyeon-Ju could only grit her teeth.

A man was crawling out of the open doorway.
It shouldn’t have been an extremely surprising sight, but Lee Hyeon-Ju was stupefied by that man ’s expression.
It was simply too bizarre and insane.

It was as if every human emotion was expressed on that man ’s face as he crawled away.
Just what had to happen for a person to end up in that kind of wretched state? Lee Hyeon-Ju couldn ’t even imagine it.

Sniff, sob…”

Even after escaping the room, the man still couldn ’t stand on his feet as if his limbs had been taken away from him.
He continued to crawl desperately by forcing his stiff arms and legs to row on the floor; his urgent desire to escape from the monster about to pounce on his back was far too apparent as he crawled past Lee Hyeon-Ju.

He obviously couldn ’t see her.
After witnessing a sobbing martial artist crawling past her while moaning and whimpering like a little kid…
Lee Hyeon-Ju wasn ’t sure how to describe her own emotions.

Still, she forcibly suppressed her trembling heart and controlled her body covered in a near-uncontrollable bout of goosebumps.
Once she felt calm enough, Lee Hyeon-Ju turned her attention back to the room at the end of the corridor where Kang Jin-Ho was.

No, wait…

The ’existence ’ wearing the facade of Kang Jin-Ho was there!

’Pull yourself together, Lee Hyeon-Ju! ’

Find the original at

Her grandfather was still with Kang Jin-Ho in that room.
Which implied that the…
’negotiation ’ was still ongoing.
However, her grandfather, Lee Jung-Geol, didn ’t know anything about the person named Kang Jin-Ho.
Without her standing next to him to give counsel, who knew what could happen in there?

Lee Hyeon-Ju bit her lower lip before pushing her reticent feet to move toward the doorway.


The scenery inside the room wasn ’t all that different from her expectations.
Two corpses were lying unmoving on the floor.
Her grandfather was tied to a chair.
And Kang Jin-Ho was sitting on another chair in front of her grandfather, Lee Jung-Geol.

“And who gave you permission to enter?” Kang Jin-Ho growled quietly.

The only thing in this scenery that didn ’t meet her expectations was Kang Jin-Ho.
He seemed different from the one Lee Hyeon-Ju had seen in that underground parking lot.

or what have I been seeing until now?! ’

Lee Hyeon-Ju thought that she had long seen through Kang Jin-Ho ’s facade.
She believed she had seen enough of his true nature, and that allowed her to deal with all the fear he could instill in her.
However, she was gravely mistaken.

This man in front of her eyes was different from the ’Kang Jin-Ho ’ she thought she knew.
If the man she saw until now was ’Kang Jin-Ho ’ who had been trying hard to suppress himself only to fail spectacularly, then this version was…
this one was like a wild beast without any restraints or reins holding it back.

’No, wait.
It ’s too early to tell. ’

She shouldn ’t jump the gun just yet.
There was a chance that even this version of Kang Jin-Ho, the one where he had released all of his restraints, wasn ’t the ’true ’ Kang Jin-Ho.
Hadn’t she already made the mistake of assuming things and creating this catastrophe?

Lee Hyeon-Ju clenched her fists.
To be as upfront and forthright, with minimal trembling!

This existence named Kang Jin-Ho wasn ’t a nice, considerate man who would listen to the words of some pathetically-trembling woman in front of his eyes.
If Lee Hyeon-Ju wanted to express herself to him, she had to grit her teeth, furrow her brows, and speak with unshakable determination.
Only then would she have any chance of making him listen.

“I, I thought that your negotiation with my grandfather hasn ’t ended yet since you two are still in here.”

“Oh? Is that right? And then?”

”My grandfather doesn ’t know anything about you, so I thought the conversation would be a little easier for everyone if I was here.
Well, I do know you a little better than him, after all. ”

Kang Jin-Ho wordlessly stared at her before breaking out in a smirk.
“Hmph, spewing whatever nonsense you want, huh?”

Suddenly, Lee Hyeon-Ju noticed her vision dimming.
Her instincts told her that she had failed to get through to Kang Jin-Ho just now.

”That ’s fine.
You ’re not my underling anyway.
You don ’t have a reason to obey my commands.
You ’re free to do whatever you want, after all. ”

Lee Hyeon-Ju sighed quietly in relief.
The feeling of relief washed over her after she realized that words still worked in this situation.

Her legs nearly gave up on her as if she had been running a lengthy marathon.
Her body wanted to sag as fatigue crashed into her like a tidal wave and cold sweat soaked her clothes.

“However, I ’m also free to do whatever I want to a person approaching me without my permission, right?”


It only took a few words.
For the first time in her life, Lee Hyeon-Ju learned that just a few simple words were enough to toy around with a person.
She learned the hard way that the person holding the power could instill so much fear and terror with just a few simple words.

“Come over here.” Kang Jin-Ho beckoned at her.

Lee Hyeon-Ju walked over as if she was under hypnosis.

After making her come closer to him, Kang Jin-Ho peered deep into her eyes and quietly spoke, “In the past…
I treated you rather roughly, didn ’t I? Still remember that day?”

“…Yes, I do.”

“That was me sparing your life.”


”So, you owed me one for that.
And I asked you to deal with one of my matters.
With that, our debts are all squared up from this moment on.
Do you agree? ”

“Y-yes!” Lee Hyeon-Ju animatedly nodded away.
If the cost of squaring up the debts was her life, then she didn ’t even have to think twice about this trade!

“Alright, then…” Kang Jin-Ho slowly got up, shook his sword around to get the blood off of it, then sheathed it inside the scabbard.
He looked at Lee Hyeon-Ju and smiled refreshingly.
“Let me go and wash up first.
A conversation is meant to take place between humans, after all.”

Even with a bright smile, Kang Jin-Ho didn ’t look or feel like a human being when his face was covered in blood.
At least, he didn’t look human in Lee Hyeon-Ju ’s eyes.


Lee Hyeon-Ju wasn ’t really aware of what she had done.
By the time she had regained her wits, she had already freed her grandfather, dragged the corpses in the room outside the residence, and was now mopping the bloodied floor up.

Why did she do all that? Even she couldn ’t tell…

She faintly recollected her own dazed thoughts about how she at least wanted to turn this room into what it used to be before Kang Jin-Ho came back.
Only then would she avoid stoking Kang Jin-Ho ’s vicious, crazy nature again, something he was trying to wash up and suppress in the bathroom.

Her grandfather also seemed to be stewing in his own shock right now.
He didn ’t seem to notice Lee Hyeon-Ju mindlessly mopping the floor as he just sat on his chair while staring into the distance.

“…Grandpa?” Lee Hyeon-Ju finished mopping the floor and cautiously called out to her grandfather.
Lee Jung-Geol silently and weakly nodded in response.
“Please pull yourself together, grandpa.
You can tell what kind of a situation this is, can ’t you?”

Lee Jung-Geol didn ’t reply to her, but Lee Hyeon-Ju believed her grandfather had fully understood the graveness of their situation.
Lee Jung-Geol wasn ’t an idiot, after all.
It was just that the shock of what he witnessed had gotten the better of him temporarily.

Besides, the Korean Martial Assembly wouldn ’t have survived this far if its Assembly Master could end up being knocked out silly by an event like this!

“Grandpa, that man ’s behavioral pattern is completely unpredictable.
However, we have to make a deal with him and earn his cooperation, no matter what!”

“…Indeed.” Lee Jung-Geol muttered as sharp light returned to his eyes.

With a clear goal now in his sight, it looked like his confusion and stupefaction had finally ebbed away.
It was excellent timing, too, since Kang Jin-Ho stepped inside the room almost at the same time.

Lee Hyeon-Ju felt an unexplainable feeling wash over her while studying Kang Jin-Ho.
With all the blood soaking him washed away and his clothes ruined by blood gone as well, Kang Jin-Ho now resembled a university student leisurely heading to his next class.
He looked absolutely…

Kang Jin-Ho had this exceedingly ordinary appearance of a young man commonly seen on the streets.
Seeing him like this made it so much harder to believe that the monster bathed in blood not too long ago was the same individual.

“Sorry for making you all wait,” said Kang Jin-Ho.
Even his manner of speech had changed.

Maybe Lee Hyeon-Ju should be relieved by how…
’gentle ’ Kang Jin-Ho had become.
However, all she could feel right now was bone-chilling dread.

’This man, he…! ’

He had been living under this guise, all the while expertly hiding that earlier side of him from the rest of the world.

After being taught of that side’s terror, Lee Hyeon-Ju no longer viewed Kang Jin-Ho as a fellow human being.

Today, she learned something important.

Not all martial artists, cultivators, were built the same.
Some Martials weren ’t all that different from regular people, but some—some other martial artists had strayed so far away from humanity that they no longer seemed like human beings.
The Fallen was an example of the latter group.

“Okay, let ’s continue where we left off,” said Kang Jin-Ho while sitting on a chair.
He pulled out a cigarette and mouthed it.

Lee Jung-Geol quietly watched before speaking up, ”…First of all, allow me to express my gratitude for saving this old man, sir. ”

“It was nothing…”

”Regardless of your intentions, this old man has still received your grace.
Even if our negotiation does not resolve favorably for both parties, and you deem it necessary to reap my life afterward, please know that this old man will still be grateful for your grace, sir. ”

“Got it,” Kang Jin-Ho replied disinterestedly while lighting up his cigarette.
“Do you want one?”

“I ’ll gratefully accept…” Lee Jung-Geol nodded.
He briefly entertained the thoughts of rejecting the offer, but it seemed laughable to act all righteous and upstanding this late.
He mouthed the offered cigarette and lit it up as well.

’Even though I quit a long time ago… ’

Lee Jung-Geol quit smoking well over two decades ago, but a ridiculous opportunity was forcing him back to his old, bad habit.

After taking a long drag of the smoke, Lee Jung-Geol quietly asked Kang Jin-Ho, “What should this old man do for you, sir?”

I thought I already made myself clear? I don ’t want anything in particular from you.
I merely came here after your granddaughter pleaded with me to rescue you.
So, your side should be thinking about suitable compensation. ”

Lee Jung-Geol slowly nodded.
The gears in his head started grinding and turning noisily.
What should he offer to this returner? Just what would be enough to satisfy this man?

Since Lee Jung-Geol knew nothing about this returner, he couldn ’t think of a way to handle this negotiation.
Before he got to that part, though, a new question popped up into his mind.

“Before we proceed, may I ask you something first?”

“Help yourself.” Kang Jin-Ho shrugged his shoulders.

Lee Jung-Geol wet his parched lips.
Depending on the reply he would get, he could very well be facing his demise for the second time tonight.
“My question might be construed as rude and overstepping my boundary, but…
it is something that has to be asked, sir.”

“I see.
Ask away then.”

Lee Jung-Geol clenched his fists.
“Are you…
a demonic cultivator?”

This question was crucial.
If the Martial Assembly were to lend its support to a demonic arts practitioner, that would gift the other factions a great pretext to attack them.
If this returner said he was indeed a demonic cultivator, then it might be better for Lee Jung-Geol and his granddaughter to sacrifice their lives in this room right now to end this crisis before it could get any bigger.

“No…” Kang Jin-Ho lightly shook his head.

That brought a look of relief and elation to Lee Jung-Geol ’s face.
However, the next words coming out of Kang Jin-Ho ’s mouth transformed the relief in the old man ’s face into one of dread, and his complexion quickly lost all colors.

”According to your terminology, I ’m the Demon Lord or the Heavenly Demon.
I ’m not the same as some measly little demonic cultivators.
I am the ruler of all demons—the one who stands above everyone else—the pinnacle. ”

The Demon Lord had finally descended upon the world.

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