Chapter 6.
The Demon Emperor Has Returned (5)

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Just as Detective Yi Jong-In tried to rush toward the young man, the serial killer raised his knife and cried out.
“Stop right there, you son of a b*tch!”

The detective lurched to a reluctant stop.
He knew that he had to yank that idiot boy away from there, but doing so could potentially trigger the killer.
Yi Jong-In's frustration quickly reached a boiling point after finding himself stuck in a rock and a hard place.
“Gimme a f*cking break, will ya! Hey, boy! Get out of there, right now!”

The young man in question was, of course, Kang Jin-Ho.

Kang Jin-Ho was deeply puzzled by the actions of these detectives.
What on earth were they even thinking? Letting the criminal go right now might prevent a disaster from unfolding in this place.
Were these policemen seriously hoping that a serial killer would release the hostage unharmed after escaping from the hospital?

Sure, the killer had been shot, which hindered his movements to a certain extent.
There was no reason to lug around a hostage that would become unwanted baggage.
Besides, he could take someone else as a hostage if things went sideways later on.
It would be great if he released that child hostage without a fuss, but the odds of that happening were fatally low.

Considering the level of bloodlust bubbling in that serial killer's eyes, he was definitely not the type that would release hostages unharmed.
Kang Jin-Ho had seen far too many murderers in his lifetime, and he could recognize that breed of humans in his sleep.
He had been living most of his gangho life inside the Demon Cult, and that place was famed for being a gathering of the worst crazies among the murderous types.
That was why he was so sure that the serial killer would never let the hostage go in one piece.

Of course, that didn't mean Kang Jin-Ho should care.
It didn't matter one jot to him whether the serial killer took the life of a person or a dog, but that was only if…

… If only that girl wasn't the hostage in question.

'Her name was Ji-Eun, wasn't it?' 

Kang Jin-Ho quietly observed the girl's state.
Her face was deathly pale while her figure was trembling pitifully.

That kid bought him a can of cola and called him “Oppa from outer space.” Kang Jin-Ho owed a debt to her, and that was why he resolutely rejected the idea of watching the kid die without getting a chance to repay her.
If she died now, he would never get to square up his debt with her for the rest of his life.
As such, he just couldn't allow that to happen.

“Who the hell are you?!” The serial killer pointed the knife at Kang Jin-Ho and tried to threaten him. That was when their eyes met.


The serial killer's figure shrunk back so much that it was visible to the naked eye. 

'W-who the f*ck is this punk?!'

Beasts were capable of recognizing their own kind.
Those who killed accidentally may not know it, but those who killed for fun could easily pick up the scent of their own kind.

The serial killer stared at the young man before him.
This boy didn't even look older than twenty yet.
However, the glare in the boy's eyes made the killer's heart tremble in fear. This boy…
He was a murderer.
Not just any, but a wild beast that had murdered countless people until now.

Today wasn't the serial killer's first time running into a fellow murderer.
He ran into someone emitting the same smell as him while walking on the street one day.
Hell, he even coincidentally stumbled upon a scene of a murder, too.
The eyes of those folks were undoubtedly different from those who had never experienced taking a human life.
They all possessed something beyond description that allowed their kind to recognize each other anywhere.

But this boy…
Compared to this boy's eyes, the eyes of those idiots belonged to innocent little puppies.

Kang Jin-Ho slowly addressed the killer.
“Let go.”

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‘Let what go? The hostage? Do you really think that I'll release the hostage just because you told me to?!’

The serial killer wanted to mock Kang Jin-Ho, yet no laughter wanted to come out.
He tried so hard to curl the corners of his lips upwards, but his face was like a stone, stiff and unmoving.
Only faint tremors rippled on his facial skin, not much else.

The killer cried out. “Who the hell are you?!”

Kang Jin-Ho replied emotionlessly, “I won't repeat myself again.
I already told you.”

The serial killer's eyes visibly trembled.

He could instinctively tell.
Even if the cops stepped aside, this monster-like bastard would never let him go quietly. Even worse, this young man would not hesitate to make his move to kill his target even if his actions could harm other people around him.

Detective Yi Jong-In helplessly watched the situation from the side. He couldn’t help but yell out in frustration.
“Hey, you insane as*hole! Step back already! I said, step back, now!”

Just where did a lunatic like him jump out from?! Sure, this world might be full of unhinged bastards, but why did one of them have to be in this place and jump out of the crowd right at this critical moment?! Detective Yi Jong-In couldn't walk up and drag that crazy boy out of there lest he triggered the serial killer.
All he could do was just stand there while sheer frustration continued to burn his heart down to cinders.

The serial killer ever so slightly shifted his direction toward the exit.
But Kang Jin-Ho unhesitantly moved to block his escape path.

“You…!” The serial killer's face crumpled in anger.
“Y-you motherf*cker! You wanna see this kid die today? Is that it?!”

The killer's knife pressed tightly against the hostage's throat.
The girl pitifully trembled as her voice, which was softer than the buzzing of a mosquito, leaked out of her lips.
“O-Oppa from outer space…”

Kang Jin-Ho's eyes narrowed to slits.
“Don't do it.”


“You leave just one small flesh wound on her, and I promise you…
You will die a very painful death.”

The serial killer's hands began shaking.
“Huph…!” He even ended up sucking in a cold breath, too.

‘What's gotten into me? Just because of this damn punk? Why am I losing my sh*t over some little punk threatening me?!’

‘Have I gone insane?’

‘His eyes? But, what about them? Am I shaking in my boots from that young punk's threats because of something as insignificant as his eyes?!’

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The serial killer growled.
“You motherf…”

Kang Jin-Ho's figure suddenly dashed forward in that split second.


“Son of a…!”

Urgent cries exploded from the crowd. The serial killer reflexively swung his knife at Kang Jin-Ho’s figure.


However, Kang Jin-Ho's right forearm blocked the killer's swinging arm before his left fist slammed lightning-fast into the latter's chin.

“Kkeuk!” The serial killer spat out a pained grunt, but his left hand still held onto the child hostage.
Both he and the girl tumbled to the floor.
Kang Jin-Ho grabbed the killer's knife-wielding wrist and pounced on top of them.


“Aaaaaahk!” The killer screamed in pain and began struggling like crazy when Kang Jin-Ho's knee accurately slammed into the latter's gunshot wound by his waist.

Detective Yi Jong-In cried out right on cue. “Grab him, now!”

The cops in the area charged ahead and quickly grabbed the killer.
They finally managed to subdue him.

“You son of a bi*ch!”

“It's the end of the line for you!”

Kang Jin-Ho left the killer to the detectives.
He picked up the girl and walked out of there.
After putting the girl down someplace away from the crowd, he quietly asked her, “Are you hurt?”

The girl's shock was so great that she even forgot to cry.
A nearby doctor hurriedly rushed up to the girl and asked her, “Ji-Eun, Ji-Eun! Are you alright?”


“How about your chest? Does it hurt?”

“Just a little.”

The doctor cried out urgently at a nurse next to him.
“Hurry, take her to her ward! And prepare an echocardiogram right away!”

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While this was happening, one of the detectives walked over and stopped the doctor.
“We still have to take statements, so can't you wait for a bit first?”

The doctor rewarded the police officer with a yell. “This child has a heart condition! We're cutting it close even if we test her right now, yet you want to delay that?! Will you take responsibility if her condition worsens?!”

The detective sheepishly backed off.
“…I-is that so?”

“What are you all doing?! Hurry up and take her to the ward!”

The nurses quickly replied, “Yes, Doc!”

But the girl sneaked up to Kang Jin-Ho's side and tightly held his hand instead. “…Oppa from outer space.” Kang Jin-Ho wordlessly stared at her as she continued. “Thank you.”

The nurse butted in right then. “Ji-Eun, we can't waste any more time.
Let's go with the doctor and return to your ward, okay?”


The nurse picked Ji-Eun up in an embrace and headed to the ward in urgent steps.
Kang Jin-Ho watched them leave without saying anything before glancing at his own hand.

That warm feeling…
It didn't feel bad at all.

“…Mm?” That was also when he noticed a streak of blood trickling down his forearm.
He must have gotten injured while trying to block the killer's arm that swung the knife around.
Kang Jin-Ho deeply frowned. 

'To a trash like him, I…?'

In gangho's standard, that killer would have been around third-rate? Around there? No, never mind third-rate, he was easily worse than commoners getting kicked to the curbs in gangho.
Despite never getting a chance to learn martial arts, those people still possessed superior physical abilities compared to the serial killer.
That was what the world of gangho was like, however…

Kang Jin-Ho was injured by someone like that? Such a thing would have been unthinkable in the past.

'I see.
It doesn't match up.'

If Kang Jin-Ho still possessed his former physique, some random punk like that serial killer could never even scratch him.
The story would have been the same even if he didn't possess any internal energy.
But starting from the length of his arms to the range of his joints' movements, his current body was completely different from his past self who had trained in deadly martial arts.

His physique had changed, but his brain was still stuck in the past, and he also couldn't move as accurately as he wished.
Of course, time would take care of this soon enough.
Besides, he also had the option of forcibly exerting himself to speed up the acclimatization process if all else failed.

His pride was somewhat wounded by the fact that a punk, who was not even good enough to be evaluated as third-rate in gangho, managed to injure him. But he knew that it was pointless to be proud of one's physical strength in this world.
This world was not ruled by violence, after all.

While Kang Jin-Ho stood there, Detective Yi Jong-In yelled at him and walked over.
“Hey, you!”

Kang Jin-Ho wordlessly stared at the detective as the latter began scolding him. “What were you thinking, kid?! If you got hurt earlier, who do you think would've taken responsibility for that?! Sure, things worked out fine in the end, but do you really think that your life is that cheap?! Do you really think that someone will speak highly of you if you died while playing the hero? I'm telling you, kids these days watch too many shows on those damned TVs!”

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Even though Kang Jin-Ho managed to capture the criminal, the detective was throwing a hissy fit instead of showing his gratitude.
However, Kang Jin-Ho thought that he could understand where this cop was coming from.
His brain wasn't the one that could understand him, though.
Instead, it was his senses that managed to pick up the hints of concern contained in the detective's voice.

And that was why Kang Jin-Ho obediently apologized.
“I'm sorry.”

Even in the past, he didn't let his useless pride get in the way of apologizing if he thought that it was necessary.
In fact, he believed that not apologizing out of pride when it was necessary was far more shameful.

“Next time, you… Argh, dammit.
It's no good if something like this happens again, right?! And it won't happen again, either! In any case, you mustn't do that again! What do you think will happen if you lose your life like that?! People might write some nice little comments on the news articles online to say how great you were, and then lose a tiny bit of sleep over you, but that's all! Come the next day, they would have forgotten all about you.
But your family will have to live on with the pain for the rest of their lives. Do you get what I'm saying?” The detective's words now contained traces of pent-up anger that seemingly stemmed from his personal experience.

Kang Jin-Ho replied quietly, “I do.”

“It's good that the hostage was unscathed, but still… If something bad happened to you, I'd be the one to…” The detective's expression crumpled after noticing all the blood trickling down Kang Jin-Ho's hand.
“You got hurt? Arrrrgh. Dear Lord, give me strength…
What am I supposed to say in my report now? Gimme a freaking break!”

Kang Jin-Ho calmly replied, “It's nothing serious.”

“Nothing serious? Can't you see all the blood?”

“Don't worry about it.”

“I'll be the judge of that.
Besides, what a relief that we're in the ER.
Go and quickly get that treated, okay? We'll pay for the cost.”

“No, there's no need.”

“Oh, are you the one earning the money for yourself, then?”

The detective continued to chide Kang Jin-Ho. “You're still a kid living off the money your parents worked hard to earn, so how dare you act big and say that there's no need? You don't have the right until you get a job and start making money on your own!”

The detective was right.
Of course, what Kang Jin-Ho meant to say was that he didn't need the treatment. But naturally, no hospital in existence would let a bleeding patient in the middle of their ER wander around unattended.

Kang Jin-Ho basically got dragged by Detective Yi Jong-In into the ER.
A young doctor, probably an intern, walked up and began cleaning the blood on Kang Jin-Ho's arm.

“You were amazing back there.” The young doctor began talking to Kang Jin-Ho, his face was still abuzz with excitement.
He also sounded impressed.
“How were you able to charge straight into that guy? I was so impressed, you know.”

Kang Jin-Ho calmly replied, “It just kind of happened.”

“Actually, I was also thinking of making a move earlier. I was waiting for my chance, but you charged in before I could.
If you had been slower by a few seconds, I would have captured that criminal myself!”

Kang Jin-Ho faintly smiled at the young doctor.

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