own mouth had just said that it revealed how useless he was in this situation.

Still, he regained some of his wits quickly enough to provide a desperate comeback.
”H-however, I can communicate with the one holding the necessary authority to decide, sir.
And that person definitely can grant you anything you want. ”

That wasn ’t enough, as Kang Jin-Ho ’s withdrawn eyes didn ’t want to brighten at all.

The cogs in Cheon Tae-Hun ’s started to churn even faster.
His survival instincts were being pricked awake by this desperate situation teetering on the edge.
He racked his brain and racked it some more until he stumbled upon the most suitable response in this situation, and then he yelled it out, ”K-killing me will be only a loss for you, sir! ”

And that was when Cheon Tae-Hun saw it.
Kang Jin-Ho ’s hand had momentarily flinched.
Was it because he was surprised? Of course not!

If those words hadn ’t been said out loud, Kang Jin-Ho ’s hand would have already yanked the sword off the floor and sliced Cheon Tae-Hun ’s head clean off! That was a prediction verging on certainty!

After realizing how the words he desperately squeezed out had saved his life, Cheon Tae-Hun sensed all strength seep out of his body.
He had no energy left from the relief of knowing he was still alive, and his fear of Kang Jin-Ho for unhesitantly trying to eliminate someone just because of their perceived lack of usefulness left him hollow and weak.

“Is it? Explain yourself,” said Kang Jin-Ho, issuing an ultimatum.

Cheon Tae-Hun knew his survival depended on what he said from this moment on.
Standing in a courtroom as a murder accused and trying to cook up non-existing evidence to save himself wouldn ’t be this stressful for his heart! A guilty verdict in the court of law wouldn ’t result in his head immediately flying off of his body after all!

“F-first of all…” Cheon Tae-Hun barely managed to crack open his lips.
“I, I can connect you to the person who instigated this incident, sir.”

Kang Jin-Ho wordlessly stared, waiting.

“That person has already taken over half of the Martial Assembly.
E-even if you rescue the Assembly Master now, the fight over the leadership will still take place, sir.
However, if you make a deal with that person, such a situation can be avoided entirely.”

Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded.
“Carry on.”

”A-and the Assembly Master has already lost the trust in his people.
Even if you forcibly reverse the flow of this situation, the push-back from the Assembly members will not die down.
Sir, the Assembly Master is not a king.
Even if he walks out of here alive, there will be a clear limit to what he can actually do for you.
Something like the unlimited support from the Assembly as mentioned before will be impossible for the Assembly Master. ”

Kang Jin-Ho cocked an eyebrow and stared at Lee Jung-Geol.

Lee Jung-Geol ’s face reddened in shame, but he didn ’t try to rebut Cheon Tae-Hun.
That was enough to confirm that Cheon Tae-Hun was telling the truth.

Kang Jin-Ho nodded again.
What else?”

Cheon Tae-Hun grew dazed once more.
What else was he supposed to say here? “…I-if you decide to rescue the Assembly Master now, you ’ll become the Yeongnam Group ’s enemy, sir.”

Kang Jin-Ho chuckled softly.
It was a sneer containing the emotion of dismay.
“I ’ve already killed over twenty of your people tonight.
But now, are you suggesting that there ’s a way for us not to become enemies?”

“Of course, sir,” Cheon Tae-Hun replied with unshakable confidence.

Kang Jin-Ho ’s interest was piqued, so he narrowed his eyes and stared deeply at Cheon Tae-Hun.
”How? ”

”It can ’t even be called a method, sir.
All you need is to let them know our negotiation was fruitful, that is all.
The leader of the Yeongnam Group is not the type of person to dwell on minor details like this.
No, he might even be glad to build a friendly relationship with you if all it would cost him were twenty non-essential martial artists. ”

So he ’s scum, then? ”

“Y-yes, he is…”

“I see.
So, is that all you have to say?”

“W-well, there ’s more…” Cheon Tae-Hun racked his brain again to find more things to talk about, but he couldn ’t think of any.
It seemed his brain had finally run out of steam.
As he struggled to think of something, a hushed voice stabbed into his ears.

”Those are useless nonsense to me… ”

Cheon Tae-Hun ’s face turned pale.

Kang Jin-Ho tutted, clearly unimpressed.
”The internal matters of the Martial Assembly don’t interest me.
Once someone promises me something, I always make them uphold it.
If that old man fails to do so, I will simply kill him.
That will be all. ”

Cheon Tae-Hun stuttered.
“B-but, sir.
Bang Jin-Hun can—”

”It doesn ’t have to be you.
If that Assembly Master behind you knows the instigator of this incident, having a face-to-face meeting with him wouldn ’t be difficult for me.
Having said all that… ” Kang Jin-Ho suddenly cackled in amusement.
”…Why should I even talk to that person? ”


“Didn ’t I say this before? I don ’t want anything from you lot.”

“T-the Yeongnam Group will—”

”You don ’t have to worry about that… ” Kang Jin-Ho muttered as a grin spread on his face.
And that grin was chilling—monstrous even.
The mere sight of it would send chills down one ’s spine.
It was that kind of grin.
”I ’ll personally pay a visit to the Yeongnam Group pretty soon, anyway.
So, it doesn ’t matter whether or not they view me as an enemy. ”

Indeed, why should he be worried about the group being hostile to him at this stage? He wasn ’t planning to forgive them for what they had done to him anyway.

Besides, it didn’t matter even if they weren’t hostile to him.
Kang Jin-Ho would make them hostile to him soon enough.

“So, tell me.”

Cheon Tae-Hun shuddered.
“…Tell you what, sir?”

“The reason to keep you alive, obviously.”

Cheon Tae-Hun ’s shivering intensified.
Failing to find the right answer would lead to his certain death.
Unfortunately, he couldn ’t think of the answer Kang Jin-Ho could be happy with no matter how hard he tried.

No matter how hard he racked his terrified brain, no answers jumped out to him.
But then…

Kang Jin-Ho muttered, “You can go…”

Cheon Tae-Hun thought he misheard it.
An auditory hallucination—something his desperate mind had created.

“Go and tell this instigator.
I ’ll give him two days, so he better come and see me personally.”

Cheon Tae-Hun desperately tried to nod, but his body didn ’t want to listen to him.
His body could only move up and down, frustratingly slow.

”However, if he doesn ’t show up in two days, I ’ll come and find you instead.
Try to escape if you can. ”

“…T-that won ’t happen, sir.”

“Okay, then.
Scram.” Kang Jin-Ho dismissively waved his hand.

Cheon Tae-Hun had to do a double—no, triple-take at Kang Jin-Ho.
He wanted to know if he really was free to leave.
What if he moved only for Kang Jin-Ho to change his mind? The thought terrified him to no end.

However, Kang Jin-Ho didn ’t display any other movements or reactions.
So Cheon Tae-Hun cautiously stepped forward toward the doorway.

I ’m alive.
Yes, I ’m alive!


But then, an announcement reminiscent of a devil ’s forked tongue licking his ear echoed in the room.

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