Descent of the Demon Master - C.703. Proving (3)

Descent of the Demon Master

C.703. Proving (3)

One's cultivation was accumulative. One trained over and over to accumulate their cultivation. Rather than building up, the more correct term would be 'buffing' up instead.

One repeated the same actions to build up their muscle memories. This process would be repeated over and over again. Repeated for a day, for a year, for a decade... The training of repeated actions would continue on for as long as possible.

Once upon a time, Morigawa Atsushi wondered why this was the case. Why did they need to repeat themselves? 'They' being martial artists in this case, of course.

Did mathematicians repeatedly practice addition and subtraction until they grew sick of them? Of course not. Even if those two concepts formed the foundation of mathematics, the mathematicians still wouldn't force themselves to repeatedly practice those two things again and again.

That story applied to practically all professions. Even in sports, where basics were seen as crucial to success, the pro athlete wouldn't spend the whole day training in them. A pro soccer player wouldn't practice dribbling all day, for instance.

That was the case for pro athletes, so what about martial artists boasting superior muscle memories than them? What was the point of the lengthy process of repeatedly doing the same thing?

Morigawa Atsushi couldn't understand it. However, his questions were always met with non-answers.

“That is the way of mastering martial arts, Atsushi.”

“You might not understand it now, but give it enough time. You will understand it, then.”

“Only by constantly repeating your training can you perfectly master your techniques!”

All the replies had been in the similar vein of those three. It was as if he was chasing after floating clouds. But now?

Morigawa Atsushi could finally understand the point of all the repeated training.

Engraving those actions to one's body...! Not to one's brain, but to the body itself! Only now did Morigawa Atushi finally learn what that meant.

His body was currently paralyzed from top to bottom. When the monster before his eyes leisurely reached out, all thoughts inside Morigawa Atsushi's mind emptied out, leaving a blank space. His muscles seemed to have turned into stone as the monster's hand closed in on him.

His blank brain couldn't even shout at him to move, that staying still like this was suicide. Like a mouse paralyzed by the sight of a hissing snake before its eyes, all Morigawa Atsushi could do was remain stiffly still.

However... His body suddenly moved.


His sword moved according to the trajectory Morigawa Atsushi had trained in for tens of thousands... No, hundreds of thousands of times!

Even though he hadn't thought about it... Even though he didn't even will it, his body still searched for its role, found it, and acted accordingly.

Engraving it to one's muscle memories! The act of repeating things until he almost died of boredom... has saved his life this once.


Of course, that didn't mean Morigawa Atsushi managed to wound the monster. As a matter of fact, the monster deflected the Japanese's sword strike with an annoyed flick of his hand. A sword that could chop through steel like a hot knife through butter couldn't even leave a nick on human flesh.


However, it was still enough to sober Morigawa Atsushi up. He roused every ounce of power and jumped back before hurriedly panting away to regulate his breathing.

'That was close!'

A flood of sweat suddenly broke out all over Morigawa Atsushi's body. With this amount of sweat, maybe he could have even washed himself! Before his brain could process it, his body figured out first how close to death he had been.

If his body instinctively hadn't reacted, his head would've been separated from the neck by now! All those repeated training had indeed saved his life. Of course, that still didn't change the situation by much.

Morigawa Atsushi couldn't say this hellish situation had tilted in his favor just because he managed to create a bit of distance between himself and that monster. Kang Jin-Ho was still standing before him, after all. And that monster's glowing eyes were fixed on no one else but Morigawa Atsushi!

This intense pressure was making it hard to breathe. It felt like he was trapped inside a small cage with a wild beast. There was no escape. Meaning...

He had to fight and win somehow!

'Mm? Has my sword... always been this slender?'

Morigawa Atsushi's gaze briefly shifted to his katana. It was his favored weapon. He liked it so much that he even named it 'Moon River' like a pet.

Looking at it always calmed Morigawa Atsushi's mind. However, his favorite weapon looked so thin and weak today for some reason. His anxiety rearing its ugly head must be the culprit for his warped perception.


Kang Jin-Ho resumed walking toward Morigawa Atsushi a step at a time.

One step, then another...

Every time he took a step forward and closed the distance, the pressure crushing down on Morigawa Atsushi intensified. The Japanese warrior bit down hard on his lip.

'If it's impossible to escape... Then I must fight!'

The knowledge of there being no escape kept pushing him from behind. Then again, Morigawa Atsushi knew that turning his back to someone of Kang Jin-Ho's caliber was akin to suicide, anyway. The only way out was... forward!

Determination gradually filled Morigawa Atsushi's expression, and he slowly raised his sword to point at Kang Jin-Ho.

That was when the crimson lights of Kang Jin-Ho's eyes seemed to dance eerily. “Oh... So, you're not trash. Is that it?”

A quiet little chuckle followed afterward. However, he wasn't ridiculing the Japanese this time. Kang Jin-Ho was genuinely impressed, after all.

He had met quite a few Japanese martial artists until now, but not a single one so far managed to steel their resolve like this guy.

In that sense, Morigawa Atsushi deserved to be evaluated highly by Kang Jin-Ho. And no, this wasn't a matter of being stronger or weaker. This man had the right mindset of a martial artist.

A grin floated up on Kang Jin-Ho's face. Of course, what with all the demonic qi covering him up, Morigawa Atsushi only saw some eerie ripples around the mouth area of Kang Jin-Ho's face. Still, it was definitely a smile.

“Come at me, then,” Kang Jin-Ho beckoned at the Japanese. He was giving his permission for Morigawa Atsushi to attack. “At least you need to try everything in your power before dying, right? Only then would you have less to regret about.”

The Japanese warrior frowned slightly.

'What a bizarre situation this is...'

He could hear the voice of the interpreter coming from somewhere near Kang Jin-Ho's waist area. This spectacle had this weird power to drain all the energy from Morigawa Atsushi's determination. A wry smirk formed on his face next.

'Nakata Yuji-sama, this expedition has been a bad idea from the start...!'

Fighting someone of Kang Jin-Ho's caliber with so few combatants was asking for an impossibility. The Japanese should have zero excuses for tasting bitter defeat here tonight as it was their fault for incorrectly analyzing such a dangerous enemy. Actually, what a relief it was that slipping past the Chinese borders had been so difficult. Otherwise, more Japanese warriors would've been present tonight.

Since five hundred men came tonight, five hundred would die. If that number had been one thousand... The Japanese would have to prepare a thousand caskets.

As it turned out, Kang Jin-Ho was not someone they could suppress with the numbers game. After all, he was an absolute powerhouse!

Those who had reached the realm of 'absolute being' couldn't be dealt with mere numbers. Only those standing on an equal footing could fight them. In other words, another powerhouse was necessary.

If the Japanese wanted to kill Kang Jin-Ho... Instead of all these men, Nakata Yuji himself must step onto the battlefield!

Not knowing that horrifying truth was the cause of the Japanese's defeat today.

“Fuu-woo...!” Morigawa Atsushi sucked in a deep breath, the light in his eyes getting colder, more withdrawn. 'Our positions have been completely reversed.'

Only a few seconds ago, Morigawa Atsushi had been thinking that Kang Jin-Ho's composed, nay, brazen attitude in the face of death was admirable. However, the proverbial shoe was now on the other foot. Now Morigawa Atsushi was facing down the grim reaper.

In that case, shouldn't he at least try to copy Kang Jin-Ho's composure?

Even if his defeat was inevitable, Morigawa Atsushi believed that wasn't the end of everything. No, he still believed that how one faced defeat was crucial. After reminding himself of this belief, he gripped the sword's hilt even tighter.

The tip of the curved blade trembled a little.

'I shall not die an ignoble death!'

Morigawa Atsushi had already given up the commander position. His plan was to die as a martial artist.

His feet powerfully kicked the ground. It felt like every cell in his body was awake and razor-focused. Had his senses ever been this heightened before in his entire life?

Somewhat ironically, Morigawa Atsushi felt that his current condition was at its best. A state of absolute, peak condition that he longed to be in at least once in his life! He had finally achieved it.

It felt like his every fingertip and the strand of hair obeyed his command.

What followed after this process was the most powerful strike he had ever produced.

He could feel it in his bones. Every movement began from the martial artist's footing. The power generated from kicking the ground would travel up the legs to settle around the waist area. As the martial artist's coiled waist straightened, the gathered power would be converted into rotational force. And then, it'd travel to the chest before reaching the arms... And finally, down the elbows to permeate the sword.

This explosive internal energy! Today was Morigawa Atsushi's first time experiencing the phenomenon of putting his everything in one strike. The vigorous and explosive energy transformed his katana into a divine blade.

Like a cracking whip, the blade curved back even more. This was the purest combination of soft and hard, of speed and power!

It was literally the single greatest sword strike Morigawa Atsushi could produce. And the powerful satisfaction instantly washed over him.

With this strike, he felt like he could cut down anything. A creature made out of flesh and blood could never defend against such a strike!

Morigawa Atsushi didn't even need to cut anything. No, it would be his victory if he could make his opponent step back just once. With that, he would be able to stand before King Yama and proudly declare that he had managed to force a monster like Kang Jin-Ho back.

This single strike contained all of Morigawa Atsushi's pride and the weight of his life leading to this moment. Unfortunately...

He soon came to realize something. That something being how cold and uncaring this world could be!

Being able to achieve anything as long as one did their best... That was nothing more than inspirational nonsense.

Morigawa Atsushi had been constantly and diligently polishing his skills. He had accumulated and improved his cultivation as much as he could. However, what if someone else was improving a little more, a little faster, than him despite investing the same length of time as he did? The gap between the two would only exponentially grow bigger with time.

And it'd eventually become a gigantic wall that could not be breached no matter what anyone tried.


Morigawa Atsushi's strongest, greatest sword strike...! The one he'd never be able to replicate again in his life...! The attack that contained his everything... was caught by Kang Jin-Ho's empty hand. And quite unceremoniously, too.

Morigawa Atsushi's body froze stiff instantly.

His attack was ineffective?

Yes, that didn't seem so outlandish. Obviously, Morigawa Atsushi had morals. Even if this strike was his strongest ever, he never expected to defeat Kang Jin-Ho with it. Hell, he didn't even think he could gravely injure Kang Jin-Ho!

After all, the best a little kitten could do in a fight against a lion was biting the lion's nose, now wasn't it?

Even so, this... This wasn't what he wanted to see. A strike produced with his body and soul in unison was grabbed by a hand. It wasn't even defended or deflected away!


The reality was often unceasingly cruel and uncaring. Transcending past one's limits and defeating the enemy only happened inside the pages of shonen mangas. Such a thing never happened in reality. No matter how much a dog bared its fang, it was still a dog at the end of the day. It could never win against a tiger.

“Now, tell me,” said Kang Jin-Ho as he leisurely reached out again.

Morigawa Atsushi dazedly stared at the hand... No, the thing that should be called darkness itself gradually closing in toward his head.

Slowly, oh-so-agonizingly slowly...!

Thick demonic qi that resembled burning lava tickled Morigawa Atsushi's cheeks. The sensation of sticky, hot demonic qi that also felt ominous and eerie touching his face was similar to a warm snake hissing and licking his skin.

However, that sensation vanished pretty quickly afterward. After all, the only thing Morigawa Atsushi felt was his skin burning up when Kang Jin-Ho's hand, not demonic qi, finally gripped his head! This searing pain sent shockwaves throughout the Japanese's body, and his jaw fell from sheer shock.

“Tell me, who is the trash now?”

“Kuh-huh...!” Morigawa Atsushi continued to resist.

If Kang Jin-Ho had been someone who would spare anyone begging him for mercy, Morigawa Atsushi might have tried his luck. However, his instincts told him otherwise. This monster would never spare him. In that case... Shouldn't he at the very least try to maintain his dignity as a martial artist?

“Kill... me!”

Not losing his dignity and brazenness until the final moment... That was the only act of defiance he could offer.

Unfortunately for the Japanese warrior, though... He still didn't know the truth. He still didn't know what kind of a monster was gripping his head!

Kang Jin-Ho smirked. “I never thought of you as trash.”


“Everyone has a different way of assigning value. And, at least in my book, you are not trash. Honestly, I'm even willing to acknowledge you as a martial artist.”

Confusion quickly dyed Morigawa Atsushi's eyes. Why was Kang Jin-Ho suddenly saying all this to him? What was he trying to do here...?

Those crimson-hued lights burning within Kang Jin-Ho's eyes broke through the demonic qi dancing and wavering like the darkness itself. When those crimson eyes arched in a suspicious manner, Morigawa Atsushi was instantly overcome with inexplicable dread and anxiety.

“The one who thinks of you as trash is not me, but... It's your boss. If it had been me, I would've never sent someone like you to this place to die, after all!”


What was Kang Jin-Ho even saying? Just what was he trying to imply here?

Sent to die? Morigawa Atsushi was...?

“Don't tell me... You really had no idea? Or were you simply pretending to not have noticed the truth? In that case, let me ask you something. Did you really think you could fight me with pieces of weak trash like them? You... and your boss?”

Kang Jin-Ho's cackle...! That cackle containing a hint of madness drove Morigawa Atsushi's mind to the absolute edge of the breaking point.

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