Descent of the Demon Master-Chapter 724. Grappling (4)

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Chapter 724. Grappling (4)

"What are we supposed to do now?"

"What do you mean?"

"You know. Should we go to South Korea?"

"Well, our demon emperor said we gotta go, so we should, but..."

The demonic cultivators sounded listless. Almost lifeless, even.

The atmosphere within the underground space was dominated by strange and indescribable emotions.

Right after the demon emperor, Kang Jin-Ho, revealed his plan, this underground space was a boiling cauldron of excitement and hope. After all, they were informed that merely following the demon emperor would allow them to get stronger. That declaration was like the nectar of the gods to the people dying of thirst.

The demonic cultivators got together in groups of threes and fives to discuss the way forward. However, once their heat of the moment had cooled... Some people began waking up to the starkness of reality.

Li Xufeng was one of those people.

He addressed the people around with a scowling face. "I'm not going."

"Da ge! Don't say that!"[1]

"Let's be serious, okay? Why should I believe him and hop over to Korea? What guarantee do I have that things will change if I do that?"

"Da ge, the demon emperor promised us, didn't he?"

"Promise?" Li Xufeng slowly shook his head. "Look, guys. It's not like I'm trying to disrespect the demon emperor, okay? And I'm not doubting what he's saying, either. Here's the deal, though. How long will it take to get stronger if we start from scratch?"

"...Well, uh, no one knows, da ge."

Li Xufeng sighed, then addressed the people around him in a rueful voice. However, it was also unwavering. "Of course I want to become stronger. I'm so sick and tired of bowing my head to those orthodox faction bastards. You know what my life's one wish is? It's to beat the living sh*t out of those bastards and spit on their faces before I die. I'm sure you know why I say that."

Zhu Gang listening on the sideline nodded weightily. Demonic cultivators hated all the orthodox faction martial artists. Even then, Li Xufeng's hatred was especially extreme. So much so that people around him had to step in and stop him from going too far sometimes.

Zhu Gang addressed Li Xufeng. "Isn't that more the reason to go to Korea? By following the demon emperor to Korea, we might get that chance you've been wishing for all this time."

"Chance, you say?" Li Xufeng scowled deeply. "Are you telling me to throw away everything I have for a so-called chance of something that may or may not happen?"

"It will work out, da ge."

"Sure, sure. It might. But it might not, too. Or you think I'm wrong?"

"..." Zhu Gang could only grimace without saying anything.

Obviously, he believed in the demon emperor. He witnessed the demon emperor's godly power with his own two eyes, after all. However, that didn't mean all of his uncertainty had been dispelled.

'Yeah, there's no doubt that the demon emperor is ridiculously powerful.'

Zhu Gang got to personally confirm how powerful a demonic cultivator could get by mastering a 'proper' demonic cultivation technique. However, did that strength really stem from the cultivation technique? That was where his uncertainty came from.

The demon emperor was strong, but was his strength the result of the demonic arts? Wouldn't he still be able to display his godly might by mastering orthodox cultivation methods?

'I guess that is a distinct possibility.'

Zhu Gang believed the demon emperor would've been strong regardless of the cultivation technique. But his respect as a fellow martial artist was inadvertently weakening Zhu Gang's faith in demonic arts.

Kang Jin-Ho would probably offer a new type of demonic cultivation technique to his followers since that was what he promised earlier. However... Would Zhu Gang grow to become as strong as Kang Jin-Ho by mastering that new cultivation technique?

No, that seemed extremely unlikely.

He had no doubt he'd become stronger than his current self. However, was it wise to bet his entire life when he didn't know how much stronger he'd get?

This uncertainty kept Zhu Gang from criticizing Li Xufeng's decision. This adventure held no guarantees of a brighter future. Not participating in it might actually be a smarter choice.

Li Xufeng continued to speak. "If I was alone... Yeah, I might have been swayed by the offer. No, scratch that. I am swayed by it even now. However, I have a family to feed, man. We aren't living in a fantasy land but a damn reality."

"No, I get it, da ge." Zhu Gang was left with no choice but to nod in acceptance.

Similar conversations were taking place here, there, and everywhere. From those who believed in the demon emperor and overflowed with enthusiasm to head to South Korea to those who argued they needed to be realistic and rejected the offer, and even those who couldn't make up their minds...

Although no one raised their voices out loud, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to call this place a pit of messy confusion and chaos.

'Well, it's not that surprising, really...'

Zhu Gang sighed. The sudden appearance of the legendary demon emperor alone would have set the proverbial cat among the pigeons. And such a legendary figure even commanded the demonic cultivators to follow him to another country, too!

Even if the demon emperor cut a powerful, majestic and imposing figure, and even though his demonic qi reserve automatically roused the desire to offer absolute loyalty... Ultimately, these demonic cultivators were modern-era people. They wouldn't be familiar with being 'loyal' to someone like in the old days.

It wasn't as if they 'knew' the demon emperor from young age. He was a complete stranger who just appeared randomly one day. So, telling them to throw their everything away and follow that stranger to a foreign land?

'That ain't gonna work...'

Zhu Gang had personally witnessed the demon emperor's power. His soul was shaken up by the demon emperor's might. Even then, he still felt nervous about his future. No wonder it was so much worse for other people. Knowing that, he couldn't bring himself to criticize Li Xufeng or anyone else for that matter.

Besides, the origin of all these issues could be traced back to elders and their lackadaisical mindset. They believed that the demon emperor merely showing up before the cult members and offering the prospect of a rosy future would be enough for everyone to fall in line and do as told. That unfounded, lackadaisical belief had led to this breakdown.

'This isn't good, though...'

Just as Zhu Gang began thinking that this event could lead to the demon cult's destruction instead of its promised prosperity, he heard a loud shout coming from somewhere.

"Everyone, get in line!"

Zhu Gang turned his head to look. Elders were walking up on the raised platform by the front of the underground space.

'What is it this time?'

He thought there wouldn't be other 'events' for some time, so why were they being told to stand in lines again? Zhu Gang slowly got up. Although he wasn't happy, respecting the authority of these elders was a must.

'It's more cramped now...'

The lines were packed more closely now than earlier. More demonic cultivators rushed here after the news of the demon emperor's descent reached them. As a result, the underground space that seemed quite large now felt as cramped as an ant tunnel. Still, Zhu Gang didn't whine about it and stood in line.

This whole thing would be over in a few days, anyway. Soon, everyone gathered here must decide whether they would follow the demon emperor to South Korea or stay here.

"Hurry up, all of you! The demon emperor is headed this way!"

The elders urgently inspected the lines and the demonic cultivators forming them. Unfortunately, they hadn't had many opportunities to line up under the order of a higher-up before, so the lining-up process took quite some time. Still, they were martial artists with quick wits, and the end result was pretty good, even to Zhu Gang's untrained eyes.

Just as the crowd had gotten into organized lines, a man kitted out in black attire ascended the platform.


Zhu Gang sucked in a deep breath. That man was the demon emperor.

'Gee whiz. This is no joke, huh...'

Zhu Gang only heard about subservience due to demonic qi but never actually experienced it. Not even chatting with Elder Chang Min made Zhu Gang feel that way. That naturally led him to believe this whole instinctive subservience thing was just an urban legend. A myth.

However, merely staring at the demon emperor was enough to know what subservience due to demonic qi actually meant. All Zhu Gang could see right now was the demon emperor's back, but that was enough for all the rational thoughts in his head to fly out the proverbial window. Only the urge to serve the demon emperor remained to chaotically rock his mind.

'No, calm down!'

Zhu Gang knew. If he failed to resist this urge, he'd become nothing more than a mindless puppet that blindly followed that man's every command. He must never lose his self-control. His ego!

Meanwhile, Kang Jin-Ho slowly, oh-so-slowly, climbed up the platform and sat down on the taishi armchair placed in the center. Then, the elders of the demon cult stood on either side of him.[2]


A gasp instinctively escaped from Zhu Gang's lips. That sight alone was enough to let him know.

The demon emperor was born to rule. If not that, then maybe he thought nothing of lording over others, that it was the bleedingly obvious thing for him.

How could the demon emperor look so natural while leaning against the back of the taishi chair with his legs casually crossed? Like a painting by a master painter, this scene exuded so much dignity and majesty. Merely looking at it made Zhu Gang feel that obeying the demon emperor was what he was born for.

"Everyone, take a seat," said the demon emperor, drawing the crowd's attention to him. "This chat might take a while. So, take a seat. Don't waste your energy on unnecessary things."

The demonic cultivators glanced at each other while wondering about what to do. Could they really sit down?

"Don't make me repeat myself," said Kang Jin-Ho in a quiet, still voice. However, his words still vividly slammed into everyone's hearing.

The demonic cultivators began sitting on the spot, and once everyone had settled down, Kang Jin-Ho took out a cigarette and mouthed it. An elder next to him used his lighter to ignite the cigarette.

"Fuu-woo..." Kang Jin-Ho deeply inhaled the unhealthy smoke before leisurely exhaling it. He scanned the silent crowd below him. "You can smoke if you want."

Despite his relaxed-sounding voice, no one dared to take out their cigarette packets. And Kang Jin-Ho didn't force them to heed him, either.

"I figured the explanations might take a while. And I also figured I was a bit too rash earlier. Even though I kept yapping on and on about how the era had changed, I failed to follow through with what I preached. I wanted to speak to you now because I figured you might need more explanation."

Zhu Gang grew a little puzzled as he observed Kang Jin-Ho in the distance.

'He... kinda feels different, doesn't he?'

This Kang Jin-Ho felt like a different person from the demon emperor. Even if he didn't mean to, Kang Jin-Ho's presence pushed ruthlessly down on the surroundings. It seemed the 'regular' people could sense this pressure to some degree, but what the demonic cultivators felt was in another dimension altogether.

Just a casual hand gesture from Kang Jin-Ho was enough to make every demonic cultivator flinch nastily. And Kang Jin-Ho merely turning his head was more than enough to spook them. Just his mere presence alone overwhelmed their senses and reasoning.

However, this Kang Jin-Ho didn't give off that pressure.

'I see. He's consciously blocking it.'

As it turned out, Kang Jin-Ho was thoroughly controlling his demonic qi from leaking out without his consent. Zhu Gang accepted that gesture as a demonstration of the demon emperor's desire to hold an earnest discussion with the demonic cultivators without his status getting in the way. When his thoughts reached that far, Zhu Gang's view of Kang Jin-Ho changed a little. Didn't this situation mean Kang Jin-Ho wasn't the type to use force to lead his people?

"I'm not sure where to start this discussion, though. I was never silver-tongued, to begin with," Kang Jin-Ho muttered, then seemed to ponder something before nodding away. "Right, let's start with questions first. If you want to ask me something, go ahead. Anyone with a question?"

No one spoke up, which was unsurprising. Anyone daring to open their piehole now would draw the attention of all these people. That would be nerve-racking as hell! Not to forget, the one holding the impromptu Q&A session was none other than the demon emperor. Wasn't this almost on the level of psychological torture?

"Mm..." Kang Jin-Ho furrowed his brow when no questions were forthcoming. "I wanted to talk to you all today because it seems there have been several misunderstandings."

Zhu Gang and other demonic cultivators tilted their heads. Did the demon emperor say... misunderstandings?

"Yes, I did tell you to follow me to Korea. And I also told you that you shouldn't expect miracles after following me and that you should be satisfied by the prospect of getting stronger. However, I didn't say that to imply that your life in Korea will be worse than that of farm animals. It seems that's one of your misunderstandings, so..."

Zhu Gang's head tilting intensified. Why did it feel like this 'conversation' was heading in a weird direction?

'What is the demon emperor trying to say?'

Kang Jin-Ho suddenly began nodding. It seemed he finally settled on a topic that could kick-start this discussion. "Okay, so... How much do you want for your monthly salary?"

"...Eh?" Zhu Gang gasped and reflexively muttered back. "M-monthly what now?"

It wasn't just him, though. Everyone's eyes powerfully quaked after that unexpected question slammed into their hearing.

The demonic cultivator responsible for creating a welfare organization that had never existed before in human history leisurely addressed the stunned crowd.

1. "Da ge" means 'big brother'. Kinda similar to 'hyung', in other words. ☜

2. "Taishi" armchair is a traditional Chinese wooden chair and used as a symbol of power and status, usually found in palaces and government offices. ☜

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