ke, the greater his urge would become.
If his urge managed to awaken the Heavenly Crimson Demon Emperor slumbering within his heart, then… Some things that could never be undone might occur.

So, for now…
he should just go to sleep.


The next morning…

“Excuse me? I'm fired?” Kang Yu-Hwan was getting ready for work when he suddenly yelled while holding his phone.
“Everything was fine until yesterday, so why am I suddenly being let go?!”

A calm voice came from the phone's speaker. 

– You jumped the light again yesterday.

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“It couldn't be helped as my son was in trouble at school! Of course, I was in a hurry! Besides, what do you mean, again? I've never violated traffic laws before!”

– We've received complaints regarding how you drive your taxi, Mister Kang.
And we're not talking about one or two calls, either.

“But there has never been a single word to me about this until now!”

– What's the point of telling you ahead of time? We wait and see if things improve, and when that's not working, we'll just cut our losses.
In any case, you're fired.
Don't come to work.

“Director! That's nonsense! This is unfair dismissal! I won't take this lying down!”

– If you want to sue us, go ahead.
And this is not easy for me, either.
Do try to understand that I had no choice, Mister Kang.

With that, the call came to an end.
Kang Yu-Hwan glared at the phone with a hardened look before shoving the device into his pocket.

“…Dear, what was that all about?” Kang Jin-Ho's mother cautiously asked.

Kang Yu-Hwan barely contained his anger before he squeezed out a reply, “I'll go find out myself, so wait for my call, dear.”


Kang Jin-Ho gnashed his teeth after eavesdropping on the call from his room.
He instinctively figured out what was going on. He was sure that chief director old man had done something—that was the only plausible explanation for this sudden development.

This method of leisurely and slowly tightening the hold and enjoying your opponent's pain was familiar to Kang Jin-Ho.
In fact, he had witnessed it far too many times in the past.
The bastards at the so-called righteous orthodox sects and the Imperial Family's eunuchs enjoyed deploying this type of torture method.
They would let a single ray of hope shine and gleefully watch as their victims desperately cling to it, only to mercilessly cut it off at the last second for maximum despair.

Of course, things might not play out the same this time.
This era was not gangho, after all.
Even so, Kang Jin-Ho still heard a familiar voice calling out to him from deep within his soul.

Haven't you endured enough?

Kang Jin-Ho squeezed his eyes shut to block out the voice of Heavenly Crimson Demon Emperor.
It seemed that the latter had awakened enough to address him.
Of course, that voice was Kang Jin-Ho's voice as well. After all, he was Heavenly Crimson Demon Emperor.

The urge to destroy everything was trying to overtake his mind right now.

‘Just where did things go wrong?’

Kang Jin-Ho wordlessly stared at his ceiling.


A day later, his mother also received a notice of dismissal from the cleaning company she was working at. The day after, Kang Eun-Yeong came home in tears and bitterly complained that her teacher suddenly began bullying her at school—which happened to be Dongmyeong Girls' Middle School. On the following day, the landowner of the place where Kang Jin-Ho's family lived suddenly notified them of a rent increase.

Since Kang Jin-Ho had to stay home during the duration of his suspension, he had no choice but to listen to all these development and stew in the dark atmosphere of his family.

The chief director's evil scheme was gradually tightening the noose around Kang Jin-Ho, one day at a time.

Later that day, the evening cast its darkness in the heavens, and… Kang Jin-Ho got up from the bed and stepped outside the room. 

As he and his sister got older, the family had to extend beyond their means to rent a three-bedroom home just so that the kids could have their own private rooms.
He found his father sitting alone in the living room, sipping on a glass of booze.

Kang Yu-Hwan looked back at his son.
“Where are you going, Jin-Ho?”

“Just to get some fresh air, Father.”

“I see…”

Kang Jin-Ho put on his shoes and reached out to open the front door.
His hand stopped when Kang Yu-Hwan called out to him again.


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“I'm sorry, son.”

“What for, Father?”

“You haven't done anything wrong.”


Kang Yu-Hwan's voice faltered.
“As your father, I should be praising you.
Indeed, you did the right thing, my boy.
Don't lose sleep over this.
But this father of yours is too powerless and has nothing going for him and…
And I can't even praise you for doing something right.
That's why I…
I'm sorry, son…”

Kang Jin-Ho's grip on the door handle grew tighter and tighter.
“…Please don't say that, Father.”

“I'm sorry.
I'm really sorry…”

Kang Jin-Ho wordlessly closed the door behind him and stepped outside.
He turned his head and stared at the slums located on a steep hillside.
His next destination was there.

Once he reached the highest point on the hill, he thought that the moon was close enough for him to reach out and grab it off the heavens.

'Where did things go wrong?'

He only wanted to live an ordinary life.
A life where he could laugh and make merry like everyone else.
But now…
that life was getting further away from him.
So, just what went wrong?

Was he at fault for failing to hold himself back? If he didn't hurt Choi Yeong-Su, would he be living that elusive ordinary life by now?

Maybe… He made a mistake by believing in others.
However, did he really believe that his classmates would be honest with their testimonies after he took down Choi Yeong-Su?

Was he too lackadaisical with the handling of this matter? Perhaps, he should have been smarter in preparing for the incoming threat.


Kang Jin-Ho's fist slammed into the ground as a mocking grin crept up on his lips.
He already knew the answer in his heart.
None of the above was the cause.
As a matter of fact, there could be only one to blame here.

'In the end, it's not so different here.'

He made a mistake by believing that this era would be different from gangho because people here didn't cross swords and openly threatened to kill each other.
He forgot that no matter where people lived, certain things would remain the same.

If you wanted to live like a human being in a society, you needed one crucial thing—power.

Kang Jin-Ho finally accepted that one truth he had been trying so hard to ignore.
Whether it was gangho or the modern era, the law of the jungle still applied.
The strong enjoyed the best that life could offer while the weak ended up as prey or playthings.
Regardless of how righteous you had been throughout your life, everything would go out of whack in an instant if that was what the strong desired—that was the truth of this world.

Kang Jin-Ho finally realized it.
No, wait—the truth was, he knew the answer from the beginning.
He already knew the mistake he had made.

“That's right.
I wanted to live an ordinary life.”

If one wanted something, one shouldn't just wish for it.
No, one should actively do something, anything, to fulfill that wish—that was the universal truth of life.
He wanted to live an ordinary life? Since that was his wish, he needed to put in the necessary effort.

Kang Jin-Ho came to understand this one thing during the last few days, and that was… 

“In order to enjoy an ordinary life, I need power.”

He broke out into a fierce grin.
His white teeth coldly gleamed under the faint light like the fangs of a predator drooling over its prey.

“I only wanted to live an ordinary life.
But now…” Kang Jin-Ho glared at the heavens while slowly chewing out his words.
“Remember that you provoked me first.”

He closed his eyes, sensing the creeping approach of an existence buried deep within his subconsciousness.

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