till remember that day?”

“…Yes, I do.”

“That was me sparing your life.”


”So, you owed me one for that.
And I asked you to deal with one of my matters.
With that, our debts are all squared up from this moment on.
Do you agree? ”

“Y-yes!” Lee Hyeon-Ju animatedly nodded away.
If the cost of squaring up the debts was her life, then she didn ’t even have to think twice about this trade!

“Alright, then…” Kang Jin-Ho slowly got up, shook his sword around to get the blood off of it, then sheathed it inside the scabbard.
He looked at Lee Hyeon-Ju and smiled refreshingly.
“Let me go and wash up first.
A conversation is meant to take place between humans, after all.”

Even with a bright smile, Kang Jin-Ho didn ’t look or feel like a human being when his face was covered in blood.
At least, he didn’t look human in Lee Hyeon-Ju ’s eyes.


Lee Hyeon-Ju wasn ’t really aware of what she had done.
By the time she had regained her wits, she had already freed her grandfather, dragged the corpses in the room outside the residence, and was now mopping the bloodied floor up.

Why did she do all that? Even she couldn ’t tell…

She faintly recollected her own dazed thoughts about how she at least wanted to turn this room into what it used to be before Kang Jin-Ho came back.
Only then would she avoid stoking Kang Jin-Ho ’s vicious, crazy nature again, something he was trying to wash up and suppress in the bathroom.

Her grandfather also seemed to be stewing in his own shock right now.
He didn ’t seem to notice Lee Hyeon-Ju mindlessly mopping the floor as he just sat on his chair while staring into the distance.

“…Grandpa?” Lee Hyeon-Ju finished mopping the floor and cautiously called out to her grandfather.
Lee Jung-Geol silently and weakly nodded in response.
“Please pull yourself together, grandpa.
You can tell what kind of a situation this is, can ’t you?”

Lee Jung-Geol didn ’t reply to her, but Lee Hyeon-Ju believed her grandfather had fully understood the graveness of their situation.
Lee Jung-Geol wasn ’t an idiot, after all.
It was just that the shock of what he witnessed had gotten the better of him temporarily.

Besides, the Korean Martial Assembly wouldn ’t have survived this far if its Assembly Master could end up being knocked out silly by an event like this!

“Grandpa, that man ’s behavioral pattern is completely unpredictable.
However, we have to make a deal with him and earn his cooperation, no matter what!”

“…Indeed.” Lee Jung-Geol muttered as sharp light returned to his eyes.

With a clear goal now in his sight, it looked like his confusion and stupefaction had finally ebbed away.
It was excellent timing, too, since Kang Jin-Ho stepped inside the room almost at the same time.

Lee Hyeon-Ju felt an unexplainable feeling wash over her while studying Kang Jin-Ho.
With all the blood soaking him washed away and his clothes ruined by blood gone as well, Kang Jin-Ho now resembled a university student leisurely heading to his next class.
He looked absolutely…

Kang Jin-Ho had this exceedingly ordinary appearance of a young man commonly seen on the streets.
Seeing him like this made it so much harder to believe that the monster bathed in blood not too long ago was the same individual.

“Sorry for making you all wait,” said Kang Jin-Ho.
Even his manner of speech had changed.

Maybe Lee Hyeon-Ju should be relieved by how…
’gentle ’ Kang Jin-Ho had become.
However, all she could feel right now was bone-chilling dread.

’This man, he…! ’

He had been living under this guise, all the while expertly hiding that earlier side of him from the rest of the world.

After being taught of that side’s terror, Lee Hyeon-Ju no longer viewed Kang Jin-Ho as a fellow human being.

Today, she learned something important.

Not all martial artists, cultivators, were built the same.
Some Martials weren ’t all that different from regular people, but some—some other martial artists had strayed so far away from humanity that they no longer seemed like human beings.
The Fallen was an example of the latter group.

“Okay, let ’s continue where we left off,” said Kang Jin-Ho while sitting on a chair.
He pulled out a cigarette and mouthed it.

Lee Jung-Geol quietly watched before speaking up, ”…First of all, allow me to express my gratitude for saving this old man, sir. ”

“It was nothing…”

”Regardless of your intentions, this old man has still received your grace.
Even if our negotiation does not resolve favorably for both parties, and you deem it necessary to reap my life afterward, please know that this old man will still be grateful for your grace, sir. ”

“Got it,” Kang Jin-Ho replied disinterestedly while lighting up his cigarette.
“Do you want one?”

“I ’ll gratefully accept…” Lee Jung-Geol nodded.
He briefly entertained the thoughts of rejecting the offer, but it seemed laughable to act all righteous and upstanding this late.
He mouthed the offered cigarette and lit it up as well.

’Even though I quit a long time ago… ’

Lee Jung-Geol quit smoking well over two decades ago, but a ridiculous opportunity was forcing him back to his old, bad habit.

After taking a long drag of the smoke, Lee Jung-Geol quietly asked Kang Jin-Ho, “What should this old man do for you, sir?”

I thought I already made myself clear? I don ’t want anything in particular from you.
I merely came here after your granddaughter pleaded with me to rescue you.
So, your side should be thinking about suitable compensation. ”

Lee Jung-Geol slowly nodded.
The gears in his head started grinding and turning noisily.
What should he offer to this returner? Just what would be enough to satisfy this man?

Since Lee Jung-Geol knew nothing about this returner, he couldn ’t think of a way to handle this negotiation.
Before he got to that part, though, a new question popped up into his mind.

“Before we proceed, may I ask you something first?”

“Help yourself.” Kang Jin-Ho shrugged his shoulders.

Lee Jung-Geol wet his parched lips.
Depending on the reply he would get, he could very well be facing his demise for the second time tonight.
“My question might be construed as rude and overstepping my boundary, but…
it is something that has to be asked, sir.”

“I see.
Ask away then.”

Lee Jung-Geol clenched his fists.
“Are you…
a demonic cultivator?”

This question was crucial.
If the Martial Assembly were to lend its support to a demonic arts practitioner, that would gift the other factions a great pretext to attack them.
If this returner said he was indeed a demonic cultivator, then it might be better for Lee Jung-Geol and his granddaughter to sacrifice their lives in this room right now to end this crisis before it could get any bigger.

“No…” Kang Jin-Ho lightly shook his head.

That brought a look of relief and elation to Lee Jung-Geol ’s face.
However, the next words coming out of Kang Jin-Ho ’s mouth transformed the relief in the old man ’s face into one of dread, and his complexion quickly lost all colors.

”According to your terminology, I ’m the Demon Lord or the Heavenly Demon.
I ’m not the same as some measly little demonic cultivators.
I am the ruler of all demons—the one who stands above everyone else—the pinnacle. ”

The Demon Lord had finally descended upon the world.

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