Descent of the Demon Master
Wu Yuan's expression hardened like stone.
No, it wasn't merely 'fast.’ Wu Yuan believed there was enough distance between him and the demonic art practitioner, but that young man was closing in so quickly that it felt like space itself had been compressed.
'As expected of the demonic arts?!'
Although the 'demonic arts' were a collection of lowly miscellaneous techniques, they were proven to enhance the user's physical abilities to the extreme.
However, it also had the fatal flaw of turning the personality of the practitioner into a monster.
That was why any demonic art practitioner reaching a certain realm had to have their cultivation destroyed or—
“…Or they must be killed!” Wu Yuan bit his lower lip and got ready to face the charging Kang Jin-Ho.
Kang Jin-Ho was fast, but he was moving in a straight line.
Xing Yi Quan was a school of martial arts that contained suppleness.
If Wu Yuan let the incoming attack slip past his shoulder, then land a two-fist strike on Kang Jin-Ho's sternum at the same time… The momentum of the demonic art practitioner's forward charge should be reflected back to the former in full.
A successful counterattack boasting such an impact would no doubt inflict fatal damage to the demonic arts practitioner's body, no matter how sturdy it was!
Relying on pure brute strength and nothing else to attack didn't deserve to be called martial arts.
Today, this young demonic arts practitioner would get to learn the painful truth!
The fist of the young demonic arts practitioner tore through the air.
What a terrifying sonic boom that was! Wu Yuan gritted his teeth, then expertly deflected the incoming punch past his shoulder.
No, wait; he thought he had done that, but…
is going on?’
‘What just happened to me?’
Wu Yuan's dazed eyes slowly scanned his surroundings.
'Where am I?'
He needed a few seconds to realize that he was still inside the same mountainside.
It had to be, as he could also see the demonic arts practitioner in the distance! But why was his consciousness in a chaotic mess? As if it was a roll of film being abruptly chopped and ripped apart?
Blood? Wu Yuan realized he had just coughed blood.
However, that realization also led to a sudden eruption of intense pain akin to sharp knives mercilessly stabbing into his flesh.
More blood gushed out of his throat, making it difficult to scream from the pain.
Just what the hell happened?!'
Wu Yuan forced his head to slowly drop to take a look at his chest.
Then, his body involuntarily trembled from shock.
The clothing covering his front…
had literally disappeared.
‘Could it be?!'
His blinking eyes scanned his immediate vicinity, finally noticing that he was inside a fairly-deep crater on the side of a dirt mound.
I was flung back this far?!'
With just one strike?! Wu Yuan couldn't believe it.
No, he refused to believe it.
Unfortunately, the horrifying pain coming from his torso made it impossible to deny the truth.
Besides, what other possibility was he supposed to rely on to explain this pain akin to every bone in his body shattering into pieces?
He wanted to say something, but his body refused to listen.
Not his arms, nor his legs; they all betrayed his brain and refused to move an inch.
How was this even possible?
The most-probable culprit responsible for Wu Yuan's state, the young demonic arts practitioner, leisurely walked over to where his victim was.
This couldn't be happening.
However, Wu Yuan couldn't keep rejecting reality anymore.
Looking at this scene objectively, it seemed Wu Yuan had failed to deflect the demonic arts practitioner's strike.
And now, all he could do was pant laboriously and watch as Kang Jin-Ho came closer to him.
What did I just witness?” Jo Gyu-Min muttered while rubbing his eyes several times.
However, he already knew rubbing his eyes would never change the reality no matter how many times he repeated it.
That didn't mean he was ready to accept what just happened right before his eyes, though.
'How the heck can a person even do that?!'
Everything happened so fast that Jo Gyu-Min couldn't catch anything.
However, his ordinary eyes could still see the result of the unknown 'clash.’ The Chinese man with an antique fashion sense was struck by Kang Jin-Ho, and he had flown away like a human cannonball before slamming deep into the mountainside dirt!
'He must've flown at least twenty meters, right?!'
Was a human body capable of flying away that far? Hell, even getting hit by a truck wouldn’t have enough momentum to fling a human that far away! On top of that, that Chinese man didn't fly away in an arc where his body rose up in the air first before crashing down.
He didn't even dramatically roll around on the ground, either…
No, he simply flew in a flat trajectory and got buried in the dirt! Just what should a human being do to another human to create a result like this?
When that Chinese man slowly raised his head while his entire body trembled from shock, Jo Gyu-Min was left utterly speechless by disbelief.
'He's still alive?!'
It wouldn't be surprising to see a human body literally get torn apart from such an impact, yet that man was still alive.
He was even raising his head to look! Something like this could only happen in an action movie, not real life!
Kang Jin-Ho remained oblivious to Jo Gyu-Min's bewilderment as he leisurely walked up to Wu Yuan before crouching near the heavily-injured man.
“…Mm. I made a mistake.” Kang Jin-Ho quietly muttered, regret clearly etched on his face.
“I got too excited, it seems.”
Wu Yuan shuddered in shock.
This demonic practitioner, he…
He was visibly disappointed about this end result—disappointed that he had ended the battle in one move—disappointed that he couldn't get to enjoy this fight for longer…
That was the meaning of the disappointed look on his face.
Sure enough, Kang Jin-Ho was indeed disappointed.
From the get-go, he knew his opponent could never match him.
Just one look was enough for him to know that.
Even though Kang Jin-Ho was weaker than his past self, he wouldn’t lose to a small fry like this man.
After all, he used to be an absolute being standing at the peak of martial arts, and his defeat came about only after almost every famous supreme expert under the sun had to work together to fight him.
His disappointment stemmed from how quickly he had finished this fight.
He had finally found an opponent he could exchange moves with, yet it all ended in a flash, so he couldn't help but feel rueful.
Even at a casual glance, it was easy to tell that Wu Yuan was no longer in a state capable of fighting.
Tell me, where do you sit in the pecking order? How high has this era's level reached?” Kang Jin-Ho asked Wu Yuan, but the latter could only cough continuously.
Kang Jin-Ho slightly shook his head, then pressed his palm on Wu Yuan's chest.
Wu Yuan's cracked and misaligned ribs were forced back into their correct positions, making it easier for him to breathe again.
Wu Yuan's disbelieving face looked up at Kang Jin-Ho, and his lips cracked open.
practitioner like you…?”
A sudden realization dawned on Kang Jin-Ho from what this man had said just now.
The status of modern-day demonic arts seemed to have fallen to the same level as some low-rank trivial schools of martial arts.
'Now that I think about it…
Isn't it obvious?'
The center of demonic arts back in Zhongyuan was the demon cult.
And Kang Jin-Ho's Records of Asura and Crimson Flames Art, as well as Azure Demon's Azure Flames Art, could be called the backbone of demonic arts.
With Azure Demon dying at Kang Jin-Ho's hands, the Azure Flames Art would have been lost, unable to be handed down properly.
Meanwhile, both the Crimson Flames Art and the Records of Asura died with him back then.
In other words, the three supreme cultivation techniques representing the demon cult had vanished literally overnight.
In that situation, the demon cult wouldn't have been strong enough to withstand the assault of the hyena-like orthodox sect bastards.
The demon cult's destruction would have resulted in the loss of the path of demonic cultivation as well.
It wouldn't be surprising to learn that the demonic arts were now seen as some cheap sorcery favored by the undesirable rabbles of society.
“How can your mind still be sane after cultivating in the ways of demonic arts?! How?!” Wu Yuan cried out, unable to comprehend this situation.
Two things were tormenting his mind right now.
One, this demonic arts practitioner was an expert at a realm Wu Yuan couldn't even imagine.
And two, a mere demonic arts practitioner was maintaining a lucid mind to engage in a 'civilized' conversation with him.
is that even possible?'
The demonic arts Wu Yuan knew of weren't like this.
No one doubted that the demonic arts could make a cultivator stronger several times faster than the orthodox cultivation methods.
So much so that it should even be called 'explosive' growth.
In that process, however, the demonic arts practitioner would inevitably lose their sanity and reasoning.
The degeneration of one's mind wouldn't be all that noticeable outwardly, but their humanity would still be shaven away—until they became nothing but an empty shell of a beast.
I can't understand this!'
In that case, this young man possessing such high attainment in demonic arts should have been reduced to nothing more than a bloodthirsty demon in human skin.
But, how could he remain utterly sane and converse with Wu Yuan like this?
Kang Jin-Ho smirked softly.
“It seems you've never witnessed true demonic arts.”
Wu Yuan looked up at the young man in a daze.
True demonic arts? Was there such a thing?
That was when Kang Jin-Ho's aura suddenly transformed.
“Kuh-huuhk!” Wu Yuan convulsed and shivered powerfully at the hand of a terrifying demon tightly squeezing his throat.
His senses hadn't dulled to the point of failing to sense the incredible level of strength contained in that hand.
Wu Yuan's neck would snap like a twig with just a single finger flick of this young man!
“It seems you're still under a wrong assumption…” Kang Jin-Ho smirked eerily.
That smile came across as more sinister and ominous than anything in this world.
“You don't have the right to ask questions.
Only I have that.”
“And you still haven't answered my question.”
Wu Yuan began to nod away.
He urgently nodded away, thinking that this was the only way to stop this demonic bastard from killing him right now.
Kang Jin-Ho eased his grip ever so slightly, allowing words to flood out explosively from Wu Yuan's cracked lips.
“I… I can't be called strong in this world.
People stronger than me are as many as pebbles on the road, y-you see? I-if you seek a truly strong opponent, t-then you should find someone else, not me!”
Kang Jin-Ho didn't say anything and quietly stared at Wu Yuan.
Feeling the pressure bear down on him again, Wu Yuan hurriedly revealed all the information he knew.
“If you want to find true experts in China, you must seek out the members of the Martial Union!”
Wu Yuan urgently nodded again.
“Y-yes, them! I merely receive orders from the Martial Union.
That's all! No one knows exactly who the ruling elites of the Union are, b-but I've heard they are peak experts that have surpassed the limits of humanity!”
“Hmm…” Kang Jin-Ho narrowed his eyes and stared at Wu Yuan; his interest was now genuinely piqued.
“How do I get in touch with this Martial Union?”
“…You already are.”
“I'm here, aren't I?! The Martial Union has sent me, after all! I might not know who they really are, but I still accept their commission to do jobs like this.
Kang Jin-Ho slowly let go, and Wu Yuan fell back while coughing his lungs out.
Kang Jin-Ho looked up at the heavens, somewhat unsatisfied.
'Martial Union, is it…?'
Should he consider this group as the modern-day equivalent of Zhongyuan's union of the so-called righteous sects? The way this Martial Union stayed hidden and schemed away in darkness reminded him of heretical cults instead.
Does this mean different factions in China have been consolidated into one group?'
Kang Jin-Ho couldn't tell whether this man only knew one group called the Martial Union or if this group had already subjugated the others.
One thing was clear at this stage, though—unlike the situation in Korea, it seemed one gigantic faction had seized power in China.
Thanks for the info,” said Kang Jin-Ho.
Wu Yuan kept nodding away, his body shivering from nervousness.
No matter how calm and amiable this demonic arts practitioner seemed right now, there was no getting away from the fact that such a man was like a walking ticking bomb that could transform at the snap of a finger.
Wu Yuan's life depended on such a man's whims, so how could he not be afraid?
Kang Jin-Ho cocked an eyebrow.
“What's your job?”
“…It's to monitor the airport.”
“The airport? Why?”
“For some time now, foreign martial artists have been entering the country to cause us headaches.
That was why I was assigned to monitor the airport and contact the Martial Union if I spotted a martial artist.
The Martial Union is supposed to decide on what to do, and then they give me the next order.”
“I see…” Kang Jin-Ho nodded before leaning in closer to whisper to Wu Yuan, “So, the order you received was to kill me?”
“N-no, it was not!”
“It's fine either way.” Kang Jin-Ho leaned back, no longer feeling like listening to this man.
Whatever the original order was, this man had tried to kill Kang Jin-Ho right after confirming that he was a demonic arts practitioner.
If Kang Jin-Ho had been weaker than this small fry, he would have ended up as a corpse by now.
“I understand that you were merely following orders.
And I also understand that you didn't pursue me out of your own will.”
That, that is correct.”
“However…” Kang Jin-Ho broke into a sinister grin.
“You still need to pay for daring to bare your fangs at me.
Don't you agree?”
Wu Yuan watched as Kang Jin-Ho's hand slowly extended toward his throat, despair quickly filling his eyes.
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