Descent of the Demon Master
Going on a Trip (4)
On the day of departure…
“Be careful during your trip, son.”
“Don't forget to call us, too.”
“Yes, Mother, Father.” Kang Jin-Ho bade goodbye to his parents and stepped outside the house.
Even though he wanted to stick to his trusty Golden Elephant regardless of his destination, Kang Jin-Ho had to admit that riding a bicycle all the way to the city of Incheon was a little over the top.
Besides, he also had his luggage to consider.
Catching a taxi was an option, but Kang Jin-Ho had gotten too used to Jo Gyu-Min's stable driving technique.
As such, he had developed a certain level of aversion toward taxis.
“I guess there's no helping it, then.”
Kang Jin-Ho headed to the garage.
He didn't hesitate to take out his car on days like this.
“…Tsk.” Kang Jin-Ho unhappily tutted.
This car didn't seem to know the meaning of 'stealthy' at all.
All Kang Jin-Ho did was turn the ignition on, yet its engine let out a loud roar.
Thankfully it wasn't a high-pitched screech but a low, bassy rumble.
Still, the engine's noise bothered Kang Jin-Ho's hearing.
“And it drinks fuel like crazy, too…”
He had driven this car only once after filling up its tank, yet the fuel gauge was showing near-empty already.
At this rate, it would be more apt to say this car was dumping fuel on the road instead of burning it to move!
Noisy, costly to run, and was an attention magnet as well; Kang Jin-Ho just couldn't understand why people drooled over a car like this and wanted to drive it around.
Of course, there was one thing he did like about it, and that was…
The car's explosive response whenever he touched the accelerator.
The slow-as-turtle car Kang Jin-Ho had driven in the driving school frustrated him to no end, but this Aventador was the opposite.
That was its only good point, though!
Kang Jin-Ho pulled out his phone while 'slowly' depressing the accelerator.
– Hello, Mister Jin-Ho.
Have you finished packing up?
“Yes, Mister Gyu-Min.
I'm on my way now, actually.”
– I see.
I'm also getting ready to depart as we speak.
But, uh, I think I might be delayed a bit.
“Delayed? How come?” Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head.
-I was getting my final morning lesson, but someone parked their car in front of mine, and I can't get out.
Looks like I'll have to grab a taxi.
“Wait, are you still at the cram school?”
– Of course.
Kang Jin-Ho grinned wryly at that straightforward reply.
It seemed Jo Gyu-Min was properly head-over-heels.
To think he would still 'persist’ with the lessons on the morning of the departure!
Jo Gyu-Min had triumphantly declared, “Leave it to me!” but Kang Jin-Ho obviously couldn't do that.
So, he found a different cram school offering a similar service and studied on his own.
Which meant Jo Gyu-Min didn't need to be this…
this passionate about learning Chinese.
In that case, wait for me.
I'm nearby, so let me pick you up as well.”
– Oh, really? That'll be a great help, then.
“Okay, I'll be on my way now.”
– Thank you.
See you soon.
Kang Jin-Ho turned the steering wheel and took a detour toward the cram school.
Jo Gyu-Min had forgotten something—something he should have never forgotten.
He felt this weird tickling sensation at the back of his mind after seeing Kang Jin-Ho's sleek supercar glide to a stop in front of him.
Instead of listening to that quiet little murmur, though, he climbed aboard the vehicle because he didn't want to miss the flight.
That was his mistake.
The moment Kang Jin-Ho stomped on the accelerator was when Jo Gyu-Min's memories rushed back to the fore.
However, it was too late by then.
He was already in the car and was buckled securely into the slender carbon fiber seat.
Their white supercar flew down the road and narrowly avoided the cars in front while rapidly changing lanes.
The brakes screamed as the car bucked wildly every time its driver stabbed the brake pedal.
“W-what the?! What's! The! Rush?! Aaaah?!” Jo Gyu-Min screamed again.
However, Kang Jin-Ho frowned deeply in response as if he couldn't understand.
“What's the matter, Mister Gyu-Min?”
“Mister Jin-Ho?! Why! Your driving! Uwaaaah?! D-Defensive driving! Don't you know how to drive defensively?!”
“I am driving defensively right now.”
‘What? You call this defensive driving?!’
‘You crazy son of a b*tch! How dare you call this defensive anything?! The car's bucking like a bull going on an offensive, not defense, you know!’
Profanities were threatening to jump out of Jo Gyu-Min's mouth with no regard to his continued employment.
However, his torrent of expletives was stopped not by Jo Gyu-Min's superhuman willpower but by Kang Jin-Ho suddenly applying the brakes.
Hearing tires screaming in friction while driving on a public road—what a rare and eye-opening experience this was.
Jo Gyu-Min hurriedly covered his mouth while thinking some silly things like…
'These tires must be expensive, though.
Will they have any tread left after today?'
He also told himself…
'I must be insane!'
‘How could I so stupidly get in a car with Kang Jin-Ho as the driver? Have you forgotten all those terrifying experiences from the past, Jo Gyu-Miiiiin!’
Jo Gyu-Min tearfully regretted his action, but the milk had already been spilled.
Objectively speaking, Kang Jin-Ho was not a 'bad' driver.
Rather, he should be seen as a great driver.
If judged solely on his driving skills alone, Kang Jin-Ho was beyond the level of 'good' and had broken through the realm of 'eye-watering.’
One only had to look at the current situation to know that.
Hadn’t Kang Jin-Ho somehow found a perfect sliver of a gap to scythe his way through between two cars, one in front and another to his side? But the issue wasn’t from his remarkable driving ability, though!
“Hey, you motherf*cker!”
An expletive-laden cry could be heard coming from somewhere behind Kang Jin-Ho's fast-moving vehicle.
'Me too, mister.
I feel the same as you…'
The usual response to someone swearing at you would be to swear right back at them.
However, Jo Gyu-Min was feeling quite sympathetic toward the other potty-mouthed road user.
There was no denying how eye-openingly good Kang Jin-Ho's driving skill was.
The problem was that such a skillset should be deployed on a race track, not on a public road!
Kang Jin-Ho's white Lamborghini charged toward Incheon while alternating between sudden acceleration and abrupt deceleration to overtake every car in front of it.
Oh dear Lord…!'
If only there had been a traffic jam! Jo Gyu-Min began praying for a traffic jam to suddenly materialize before them because no matter how good Kang Jin-Ho was behind the wheel, he wouldn't be able to do anything about it!
“Uwaaaaah! We'll get killed at this raaaaate!”
‘Getting into an accident at this speed is instant death, you crazy bastard!’
Kang Jin-Ho tutted.
“You're surprisingly prone to worries, aren't you?”
“Don't! Act! Like you don't! Get iiiiit!” Jo Gyu-Min screamed loudly enough to nearly rupture his vocal cords.
Lee Mi-Hye headed to the plane's first class, tension filling up her expression.
That was because she could still hear the voice of her manager ringing in her ears even now.
“We have a VIP in first class, so don't you dare make a mistake! Got it?”
The manager said that to Lee Mi-Hye during the briefing held before the boarding procedure.
The thing was, though, even a whole team of directors from one of Korea's top five corporations wouldn't get such a warning from the manager.
In that case, how important was the VIP passenger riding in first class today?
'One mistake, and it'll be my funeral!'
If she made any mistake today, it wouldn't be the VIP but the manager kicking her butt all the way to hell! No wonder Lee Mi-Hye was walking stiffly like a doll to the plane's first class.
Out of twelve seats inside the first class, only two were occupied.
'Who's the VIP, then?'
As long as one had paid for a spot in first class, they all deserved to be treated equally well.
There was no changing that fact.
Indeed, offering a different level of service based on the passenger's status was unthinkable.
However, Lee Mi-Hye still couldn't help but get curious about the VIP’s identity.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy to figure out the VIP in the current situation.
Only two men were in first class, one of them was wearing an expensive-looking business suit.
However, the man—he was sitting on his seat looking like his soul had abandoned him, and his complexion was as pale as a sheet of paper.
“D-dear guest, are you feeling alright, sir?” Lee Mi-Hye wouldn't usually start her job by saying things like that, but the situation forced her to change her repertoire this time.
Jo Gyu-Min looked up at her in a daze.
“…Can you get me a glass of water, please?”
“O-of course! I'll bring it right away!”
After chugging down a glass full of cold water, Jo Gyu-Min seemed to have regained his bearing somewhat, and then he started to glare at the seat next to his.
'…Who's sitting over there?'
Lee Mi-Hye cautiously craned her neck to see and spotted a young man focusing on his phone's screen.
'…He's the one.'
Lee Mi-Hye instantly figured out today's VIP.
That young man in not-too-expensive apparel, with a style that didn't shout 'I'm rich!' in any shape or form…! The clincher was his young age.
Anyone could tell that he didn't seem to belong in first class.
'And that's why he's the VIP!'
The manager wouldn't have warned her if the VIP was someone that looked at home in first class.
In that case, this young man had to be the real VIP today.
She quickly approached the young man to offer her greetings.
“It's a pleasure to serve you today, dear passenger.
My name is…”
The VIP wasn't really attentive during Lee Mi-Hye's briefing.
When she finished speaking, the young man simply told her that he would call if he needed anything, then lied down.
He even closed his eyes as if he wanted to sleep.
'…Well, the real thing starts now, anyway.'
Indeed, the real battle would only begin after the plane takes off.
Her time to shine was when the passengers were allowed to undo their seat belts and ask for in-flight services.
That was why Lee Mi-Hye settled down on the crew seat and fastened her seat belt, then sucked in a deep breath.
Her service shouldn't be over the top, but she still had to be alert and ready to answer the passenger's demands as quickly as possible.
Lee Mi-Hye was determined to become a shining beacon for all flight attendants today.
She could only pout slightly while scanning the interior of the plane's first class.
In other words, 'ordinary' people would try to exploit this rare opportunity to ride first class by trying out as many different things as possible.
Being in first class didn't happen every day, after all.
The curiosity to enjoy the services on offer would be too strong to resist.
Not to forget, the information on first-class travel was shared widely online, so people would be even more compelled to try out the service as much as possible.
Thanks to those people, some flight attendants would be forced to cook as much ramen as the number of first-class passengers or hold an impromptu wine-tasting of ten different wines.
'…Why did they even bother to ride in first class?'
The answer was obvious, of course.
They had the money to buy the tickets.
Even if they had a ton of money, though…
Now that they were in first class, shouldn't they at least try to enjoy the minimum level of service on offer? The flight to Guangzhou would take around four hours, yet the two men riding in the first class didn't even bother to summon her once.
Feeling nervous, no, anxious, Lee Mi-Hye voluntarily went over to her passengers and asked if they needed anything.
However, they simply waved their hands and repeated the same words from earlier, “We'll call you when we need something, thank you.”
'Why couldn't they get a flight during mealtime or something?'
By a quirk of some unfortunate timing, this flight was in between mealtimes.
Which meant Lee Mi-Hye had nothing to do but sit and glare for four hours straight.
Just use me, damn it!'
This was another type of torture.
She used to think that passengers who made her sweat over every little thing were hell to work with.
However, they were angels compared to these two! Lee Mi-Hye had no idea that being tense and sitting still for four hours straight could be this torturous!
[All passengers, our plane has reached Guangzhou.
We'll be landing at Guangzhou's airport soon.
All passengers, our plane…]
Lee Mi-Hye sighed deeply in relief while listening to the announcement.
'Wow, they only drank water during this flight…'
In that case, why didn't they travel in economy class? To think that they rode first class just to get some water! Even passengers stuck in economy class would get that much if they asked the flight attendants nicely!
The plane soon landed, and the two first-class passengers undid their seat belts to disembark.
What they said in those moments nearly blew Lee Mi-Hye's fuse.
“Mm, we arrived pretty quickly.”
“It's nice to travel in something spacious, isn't it, Mister Jin-Ho?”
The two men exchanged banters like that while leisurely stepping off the plane.
“…Is this a new type of rude customer or something?” Lee Mi-Hye muttered to herself, then shook her head helplessly.
After passing through the customs, Kang Jin-Ho and Jo Gyu-Min exited the airport and headed to a nearby smoking area to get their nicotine fix.
Jo Gyu-Min spoke first, “I figured four hours would be pretty short, but after riding on a plane for that long, it sure was a slog, wasn't it?”
“Yes, it was…” Kang Jin-Ho nodded.
“In any case.
Where are we going now? I think it's fine to tell me now that we're here.”
Kang Jin-Ho switched his phone on and launched a map app.
“Huh?” Jo Gyu-Min frowned at the location Kang Jin-Ho pointed out.
“But, uh, why that location?”
Jo Gyu-Min was deeply stunned by this revelation.
Since they were headed to Guangzhou, he figured their next stop would be nearby Macau or Hong Kong.
However, the location Kang Jin-Ho had shown him was a massive mountain range located between Nanning and Guangzhou.
“…What’s the name of that place, Mister Jin-Ho?”
“Mm…” Kang Jin-Ho pondered something before replying, “It's usually called Shiwan Dashan.”
“Shiwan Dashan? What’s that?”
“It's also known as…” Kang Jin-Ho took his time before answering, “Tian Shan, the Mountain of Heavens.”
The place the demon cult used to call home—the Mountain of Heavens.
Ten Thousand Great Mountains ☜
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