Descent of the Demon Master – Chapter 48.
Time Moves On (5)
Wolbaek13-17 minutes 24.07.2022
“S-stop tormenting my grandson!” Choi Myeong-Gil cried out, his breathing became heavy and dangerously shallow.
Kang Jin-Ho ignored the old man and continued to taunt Choi Yeong-Su.
“Look at your grandfather.
He's like that now because of you.
Do you understand me now? I told you that you should not provoke me.
This is the price of your actions.”
Jo Gyu-Min watched on silently and bit down on his lower lip.
Just why did Kang Jin-Ho come here? What did he want to achieve by doing this? To have a laugh at the wretched state of Choi Yeong-Su and his grandfather?
What a cruel thing to do that was…
Kang Jin-Ho continued.
“What do you think, Choi Yeong-Su?”
“I asked you, what do you think?”
The fear in Choi Yeong-Su's eyes weakened, and a different emotion eventually broke through—it was rage.
Kang Jin-Ho smirked deeply.
“You think this is the worst that can happen?”
“No, it's not.
At the very least, you still have a family member to rely on and enough time to restart your life.
But the 'hell' I've experienced? Your current reality can't even compare to how hellish it had been.”
are you saying?”
“The reward for overcoming that hell was an opportunity.
An opportunity for a new life.
And so, I clung to that opportunity and tried to live my life.
Then, one day, I remembered you.”
“You've fallen to despair as I had.
However, who will give you an opportunity? That's right, nobody.
No one will give you an opportunity for a new life.
And that is plainly unfair, isn't it? You understand what I'm saying, don't you?”
Choi Yeong-Su slowly nodded.
His eyes finally regained their clarity.
“Your grandfather has lost all of his powers.
He only has you now.
In other words, it's time for you to step up.
But do you have the resolve to do that?”
I swear to kill you!”
Kang Jin-Ho smirked even deeper.
He took out an envelope from his inner pocket, then tossed it at Choi Yeong-Su.
Choi Yeong-Su glared right back, realizing that Kang Jin-Ho wasn't literally telling him to stand up on his feet.
“You've paid for your sin, so this situation must be so unfair to you.
Maybe you are thinking that the punishment is too much.
However, that's what the world is like—someone's prank can become worse pain than death to someone else.
You've been on the side of those who give, but today, you are on the receiving end.”
“And so, I shall give you an opportunity.
Stand back up with the money I'm giving you.
Overcome this mess.
And once you're ready, come find me.
I'll give you an opportunity, then.
An opportunity to stand back up again…
And also to take my head.
You understand what I'm saying, don't you?”
Choi Yeong-Su quietly nodded away.
Kang Jin-Ho narrowed his eyes and stared for some time before letting go of Choi Yeong-Su's head.
He muttered while turning around to leave, “It will take time.
Your body is a mess, after all.
So, don't rush it.
I won't run away or hide from you, anyway.”
“Kang Jin-Ho…” Choi Yeong-Su called out, stopping Kang Jin-Ho in his tracks.
“Why are you…
Kang Jin-Ho grinned brightly.
However, there was this spine-chilling eeriness hidden in that smile.
His eyes burned fiercely as he spoke, “I told you already.
I'm giving you an opportunity.
I don't know if this opportunity will help you or make you fall further into despair.
It's up to you to decide, isn't it? If you're scared, use that money and hide somewhere.
I won't appear before you ever again, though.”
With those parting words, Kang Jin-Ho leisurely walked outside.
Jo Gyu-Min watching from the sideline stopped his trembling right arm with his left hand.
He was scared.
For the first time in almost a year, Jo Gyu-Min was scared of the young man walking past him.
The 'Kang Jin-Ho' who had grabbed Choi Yeong-Su's head and said all those things was definitely not the high school student 'Kang Jin-Ho.’
They might look the same, but the inside was…
The only way Jo Gyu-Min could describe this would be that a complete stranger must have slipped into the shell named Kang Jin-Ho.
“Let's return, Mr.
Gyu-Min.” Kang Jin-Ho glanced behind him and said to Jo Gyu-Min after having already reverted to being the high school student 'Kang Jin-Ho.’
But that terrified Jo Gyu-Min even more.
Just how many different faces existed inside this young man? The current 'Kang Jin-Ho' and the 'Kang Jin-Ho' from a few seconds ago…
Which one of the two was his real self?
Jo Gyu-Min suppressed his trembling voice and nodded.
Hwang Jeong-Hu's expression was filled with genuine intrigue.
“So, that's what happened.”
Jo Gyu-Min held his own shoulder as if the memories of that day still sent shivers down his spine.
“You had to be there to believe it, sir.”
“No, I get it.
I share the same thoughts, after all.”
Sir, you already knew?”
Hwang Jeong-Hu nodded.
“Yes, I do.”
“Why didn't you give me a warning, sir?” Jo Gyu-Min asked with a hint of resentment in his voice.
He wouldn't normally dare to whine like that to his chairman, but things were different this time.
Of course, Hwang Jeong-Hu understood where his subordinate was coming from.
“Do you really think you’ll believe me even if I told you?”
I wouldn’t believe you.” Jo Gyu-Min readily admitted to it.
Didn't he already say something about being there to believe it a second ago? “Mr.
Jin-Ho wasn't even talking to me.
I was merely standing there and watching, yet…
I couldn't stop myself from trembling, sir.
Jin-Ho on a regular day is just another student whose immaturity sometimes borders on naivety.
But on that day…
That couldn't have been Kang Jin-Ho, sir.”
Hwang Jeong-Hu nodded in agreement.
I was also flustered by that stark difference.”
Jo Gyu-Min cautiously spoke, “Chairman…”
“Mmhm, go ahead.”
He's too dangerous, sir.”
Hwang Jeong-Hu silently smiled and let Jo Gyu-Min speak.
“I honestly believe that having him near you will one day cause a massive problem to your wellbeing, Chairman.
Sir, you must distance yourself from him!”
“I can't afford to do that.
He might choose to distance himself from me, but that day will be my funeral.”
Jo Gyu-Min bit his lower lip.
“I just can't understand it, sir.”
Why did he go out of his way to find Choi Yeong-Su and help that boy regain his mind while saying this was an opportunity for that boy? Mr.
Jin-Ho even left behind a lot of money for him, sir.”
Hwang Jeong-Hu cocked an eyebrow.
“A lot of money? How much?”
“Around three hundred million won have been withdrawn from the account you set up for Mr.
I believe he gave that to Choi Yeong-Su during their last meeting.”
“Three hundred million, is it…? What a vague amount that is.
I can't even tell whether he's being generous or not.
You could say he's being stingy considering the wealth he has access to, but to Choi Yeong-Su, that amount must seem like a mountain of gold.”
Jo Gyu-Min shook his head.
“I still can't figure out why he did that, sir.”
Hwang Jeong-Hu grinned deeply.
“Fella, you have this tendency to overthink things.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“It's as Jin-Ho said.
He's simply giving Choi Yeong-Su an opportunity.”
Hwang Jeong-Hu tutted and continued with his explanation, “Realistically speaking, Kang Jin-Ho didn't suffer all that much from Choi Yeong-Su's schemes.
He might have been in danger of losing a lot, but all that has been overcome in the end, wouldn't you say? On the other hand, this conflict has left Choi Yeong-Su's family in ruins.”
“…Yes, that's true.”
“In that case, wouldn't he be thinking that one year of unimaginable squalor is a good enough punishment?”
Jo Gyu-Min was puzzled.
“Sir? Wouldn't it have been fine to just leave Choi Yeong-Su alone?”
“You'll find that some people in this world are very strict with their debts, Gyu-Min.
They never forget all the favors they receive.
And they also never, ever forget their grudges.
The funny thing is, those people are also not the biggest fans of excessive vengeance.
At the least, with vengeance greater than the sum of their grudges, that is.”
“They are difficult types of people to deal with then, sir.”
Hwang Jeong-Hu shook his head.
It's more correct to say they are the scary types.
People like that will resort to any means necessary to repay their grudges if someone slights them.
You should definitely not make enemies out of such people.”
“I think I understand, sir.”
“Kang Jin-Ho simply was trying to get this over with since that Choi kid has already paid for his sins.
As for that monetary opportunity, I think he was just acting on a whim.”
“On a whim, sir? Something like that was…
just a whim…?”
Hwang Jeong-Hu pointed at Jo Gyu-Min.
“You already know this, don't you?”
Jo Gyu-Min originally didn't work for Hwang Jeong-Hu, but for his eldest son, Hwang Min-Jae.
The Chairman had cut off not only his three sons from his life and the company, but he had also purged every single one he perceived to be loyal to his kids.
However, Jo Gyu-Min and Kim Seung-Hwan were spared.
Not only that, but Jo Gyu-Min was now directly answering to Hwang Jeong-Hu.
“Do you really think I've employed you because there's no one else I can rely on?”
Jo Gyu-Min quietly replied, “…No, sir.”
Hwang Jeong-Hu might have been bedridden, but he was still Hwang Jeong-Hu.
If he seriously wanted something done, countless people would come rushing and prostrate before him.
However, he still chose to retain Jo Gyu-Min's services.
“That is what's called acting on a whim.
Humans are capable of doing that every now and then.
And people who stand above others have capricious whims that no one can quite understand.
Acting as their fancy takes them, in other words.”
What Hwang Jeong-Hu had said just now contained a hidden meaning.
Didn't he just imply that Kang Jin-Ho was one of those who stood above others? Even though he was merely a high school student? Was he also implying that he had acknowledged that young man?
“Gyu-Min, keep observing him.”
“He's a dangerous man.
That much I do know.
However, when you get to my age, you naturally develop eyes to discern people.”
“Sir, the danger is just too great.
The most unsettling thing about Mr.
Jin-Ho is that his actions just don't match his age.
It makes figuring out what he's like an impossibility, sir.” Jo Gyu-Min tried to argue his case one more time.
However, Hwang Jeong-Hu shook his head and asked something unexpected, “Fella, do you believe in miracles?”
“Sir? When you say miracles…?”
“I am a believer.”
“There are things in this world that science or logic can't explain.
People call those miracles.”
“Y-yes, that's true…”
“However, does that mean science has stopped progressing?”
“No, sir,” Jo Gyu-Min replied, getting even more confused.
Something that can't be explained by current scientific knowledge will be treated as a miracle or a supernatural event.
But when science advances enough to explain that thing in a few years, what would you call that then?”
difficult to answer, sir.”
Hwang Jeong-Hu chuckled.
“That's why I don’t have blind faith in science.
If science can explain everything, then it would be great.
But I wouldn't reject or dismiss an event just because science can't explain it.
Kang Jin-Ho is like that.
Impossible to explain, but an existence that shouldn't be rejected or dismissed.
Unlike you, Gyu-Min, I don't have many years left to live.
Since I'm not scared of my demise, I can look at this matter objectively.”
“…I see, sir.”
Hwang Jeong-Hu's voice became heavier.
“Keep observing him.
See how far and high that man will reach.
see how big of a help he'd become for our Jaegyeong Group.”
Jo Gyu-Min quietly stared at Hwang Jeong-Hu.
Kang Jin-Ho was already an inexplicable existence, while the chairman was just as extraordinary for hoping to use such a man for the company's benefit.
'Did I get stuck between these two titanic monsters?'
Jo Gyu-Min suddenly had an epiphany—he realized the true meaning of the 'important task' Hwang Jeong-Hu had told him about a year ago.
He was involved in what could well become one of the pivotal moments in the Jaegyeong Group's existence.
Jo Gyu-Min could only sigh.
Time continued to move along at a quick pace.
The National University Entrance Exams were now just around the corner.
Kang Jin-Ho scanned the textbooks laid out on top of his desk.
He had already finished studying his personalized curriculum that spanned from the first-year elementary school all the way to the high school senior years.
He had even finished going through the reference textbooks to prepare for the entrance exams.
What he had been doing was simply accumulating knowledge.
His focus wasn't on the application of what he had learned, though.
Instead, it was on broadening his knowledge base for the time being.
He had already learned all those years ago that you needed to know something first before you could apply it in your life.
Kang Jin-Ho glanced at the calendar.
'D minus 2'
Two days left until the entrance exams.
In other words, he only managed to finish his preparations only two days before the D-Day.
“I was actually cutting it close,” Kang Jin-Ho muttered while wiping his forehead.
He could have finished earlier by hurrying up a bit, but he had chosen to spend his time wisely and just finish everything within the self-assigned time frame.
It was all because studying was indeed important, but living a life was even more so.
“Wow, are you really done?” Park Yu-Min asked while scanning the books.
Kang Jin-Ho grunted, “Mmhm…”
Park Yu-Min looked genuinely impressed as he spoke, “You really did finish just on time.”
As precise as I'd like.”
“You're the weird one here, though.
Most people would try to give themselves some wiggle room, you know?”
“Are you doing the entrance exams too, Yu-Min?”
“Yeah, I am.
I gotta do it since I don't want all the time I spent in school to go to waste like that.
Besides, there are no tournaments or matches on that day either.”
“I see.” Kang Jin-Ho nodded and got up from his desk to leave.
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