Descent of the Demon Master - C.712. Squashing (2)

Descent of the Demon Master

C.712. Squashing (2)

Kang Jin-Ho silently rubbed and massaged his chin after the briefing ended.

Chang Min cautiously gauged the demon emperor's mood. As usual, Kang Jin-Ho was expressionless. In other words, his emotions and thoughts weren't visible on his face, and that made Chang Min's job that much harder. Even so...

'Without his expression, I can still figure it out...'

Kang Jin-Ho's hand had been wandering aimlessly until not too long ago, but it now slipped into his pocket to take out a packet of cigarettes. That alone was a good indicator of what Kang Jin-Ho must be thinking about.

That didn't surprise Chang Min at all, though. Even he felt so lost and hopeless while briefing the demon emperor. So, how much worse would it be for Kang Jin-Ho?


Kang Jin-Ho used a lighter to light his cigarette up, then leisurely puffed away in silence. Meanwhile, Chang Min silently waited for the demon emperor's angry rebuke like a dead soul waiting for King Yama's judgment.

Eventually, Kang Jin-Ho broke his silence. “It's not as bad as I thought.”

“I beg your pardon?” Chang Min's eyes grew wider. “My liege, although it's shameful and heartbreaking to say this with my own mouth... The situation of our demon cult is as desperate as it can possibly get.”

Chang Min stopped there and hurriedly wiped the sweat off his forehead.

“Out of everyone calling themselves a demonic cultivator, almost no one cultivates in a complete, true demonic cultivation method. At least the demonic art I've inherited contains some essence from the past, but I cannot pass on my attainments to another as my powers had been transferred to me by my predecessor. As a result, only the shabby, trash-like cultivation methods remain in this day and age, my liege.”

“I see.”

“If I'm allowed to speak frankly... The only thing our demon cult currently possesses is the number of believers. Even then, that number is steadily decreasing, too...”

Chang Min's expression grew pained as he spoke.

Kang Jin-Ho understood the hurt this old man was feeling. The world might disparage and detest the demon cult, but the cult believers' affection and loyalty toward the cult still easily exceeded what the disciples of other clans and sects felt for their own organizations. Then again... People who could've led a 'normal' life wouldn't have thrown their lot with the demon cult in the first place.

To them, the demon cult was like the last refuge left in this world they could still call home. And Chang Min had been witnessing the gradual decline of his 'home' for over a century now, starting from when the name of the demon cult still carried some weight in the world to when the suppression and persecution intensified to cause the cult's rapid decline... And eventually, to the current era when the cult had to go underground to survive.

Chang Min had witnessed all this with his own eyes and ears. He had to endure all those years until Kang Jin-Ho's return.

'Besides all that, though...'

Kang Jin-Ho sighed under his breath, then raised his voice. “Actually, I wanted to ask you several questions.”

“Your servant shall answer, my liege.”

“First question. Just who created this... story about my return and spread it around?”

“Unfortunately, I do not know, my liege. This legend has been handed down since ancient times, so...”

“Is that right...” Kang Jin-Ho slowly shook his head. He wasn't expecting to hear a clear answer, anyway.

Tales of a noble savior always inevitably appeared among persecuted and oppressed races and religious bodies. And in this case... It indicated the cult believers had no one to lean on for comfort and mental support other than the hope of an incoming savior.

'It's not like I can't understand, anyway.'

Kang Jin-Ho's predecessors, the previous cult leaders, were all literally lunatics. But that was inevitable. Only the strongest cultivator in the demon cult could become the cult leader. In other words, the cult leader must possess the deepest attainment in demonic arts in that era.

Which also meant that that individual was the craziest bastard around, too. After all, the greater the attainment in demonic arts meant more and more demonic qi would have filled up their brain, now didn't it?

If it hadn't been for the nameless cultivation technique his master had taught him, Kang Jin-Ho would've also become a madman in the end. The evidence was starkly clear even now—rousing up demonic qi for battle would always awaken his crazy side.

So, what would happen if the nameless cultivation technique of his master wasn't there to keep him in line? Kang Jin-Ho would've joined the ranks of the crazies a long time ago.

People whose brains had been taken over by demonic qi didn't differentiate between friend and foe. To the cult believers, the cult leader was not an existence they were meant to trust and follow, but to fear and dread.

However, among all the leaders, Kang Jin-Ho had been the most sane-minded, so...

Kang Jin-Ho's expression crumpled a little. “Chang Min?”

“Yes, my liege.”

“I'm asking you this just in case, but... Are you sure that the demon emperor meant to descend again calls himself 'Heavenly Crimson'?”

“Yes, I'm sure. The legend said that when the demon cult's faithful followers are whimpering in pain from the relentless darkness, the dawn's light will break and shine on them. It continues to say that when the Eastern skies turn crimson, the demon emperor will descend to this world once more. That is the legend that has been passed down to us.”

“The crimson skies to the East...” Kang Jin-Ho frowned. For some reason... He was getting goosebumps. “Then... How am I portrayed in the legend?”

“My liege. You are the strongest. You are the sole noble being under the heavens. The master of ten thousand demons and the ruler of all things demonic! However, rather unfitting for your strength, you are a caring, loving father to all cult believers. A man who is endlessly merciful, endlessly powerful, and...”

“That's enough,” Kang Jin-Ho abruptly ended Chang Min's words just then. If he heard any more, goosebumps might rise up in his innards, too, making him vomit blood!

It seemed his feats and tall tales cooked up by the later generations intermingled together to create a beast that strayed down a weird path.

“Chang Min, let me say this before any misunder—”

“Ah, my liege. There's no need to worry about that.”


“We're living in the 21st century. No one in their right mind would believe everything about the legend. Indeed, we only think it's a legend, nothing more.”

'What the hell? But you've been waiting for me for over a century on the basis of that legend, haven't you?!'

How on Earth Kang Jin-Ho was supposed to match this old man's pace?!

“The fact that the demon emperor has finally returned is enough for me. Whether you're benevolent toward us or unforgivingly strict, you will always remain a father-like existence to us, my liege. Regardless of what you are like... You will always be our father. Isn't that enough?”

When Chang Min put it that way, it all sounded rather moving and heart-warming. Unfortunately, Kang Jin-Ho still didn't feel all that good after remembering that a 180-year-old man was calling him father! Something about this situation felt a little sad and disconcerting to him.

Kang Jin-Ho shook his head. “Fine. I get it now.”

“Thank you, my liege.”

“I have another question.”

“Please ask this servant.”

Kang Jin-Ho sighed loudly. “When you first started cultivating... Were all demonic arts already lost? What about the standards? Were the cultivators back then as weak as now?”

“No, that wasn't so, my liege. The demonic arts had been lost by then, but the believers' level of martial prowess was much higher than now. However, as time passed, their standard continued to worsen. That's because demonic arts were mostly passed down orally, and with the deaths of cultivators, they also died out.”

Kang Jin-Ho frowned deeply. “Then... Did the demonic arts become forgotten?”

“That isn't accurate, my liege. By the time I started cultivating in demonic arts, all the higher-tiered cultivation methods had already been lost. The best we could do back then was compile what was left and try to reshape them into comparatively shoddier cultivation methods.”

In that case, Kang Jin-Ho had to assume that the inheritance of demonic arts had been cut off even before Chang Min was born.

'Just what happened in the past?'

Kang Jin-Ho frowned. He just couldn't understand it. All he could tell for sure was that this development was definitely not natural. It could not have happened without external interference.

'But... Why?'

Someone or a group possessing enough power to erase all traces of remaining demonic arts could have easily destroyed the already-teetering demon cult. However, this unknown party left the demon cult alone after erasing the demonic arts. What did that mean, though? Kang Jin-Ho couldn't wrap his head around it.

Even so...

Kang Jin-Ho quietly muttered, “Huh. Isn't this like a blessing in disguise?”

Chang Min tilted his head. “I don't follow, my liege.”

“The cult managed to survive until now because the demonic arts were lost.”

“Oh...” Chang Min nodded, his expression bitter.

If the demonic arts were not lost and ready to be passed down to future generations, the demon cult would've been thoroughly destroyed already by the orthodox factions. They would never let a dangerous factor like the demon cult continue on, after all.

“My liege. The orthodox faction bastards still suffer from mental trauma associated with the demon cult. Even though they can see that we have fallen to the pits of sheer ignominy, they still remain wary of us. This is all thanks to...”

“Me, I'm guessing?”

“Yes. My liege, as the demon emperor, you've been simply too exceptional. The name of the Heavenly Crimson is also passed down among the orthodox faction martial artists. As the story is from the humiliating part of their history, they tend to avoid mentioning you by your title, but those in the know still have not forgotten that Zhongyuan used to be ruled by us, the demon cult.”

“Hmm...” Kang Jin-Ho rubbed his jaw. “It doesn't matter now.”

Nothing much would change even if they sat here endlessly analyzing the past. Focusing on the future would be a wiser move.

Kang Jin-Ho nodded slowly. “So... The priority now is to strengthen the believers.”

“My liege... That is our ardent wish. However... This foolish servant can't help but be nervous.”

“Nervous? Why?”

“My liege...” Chang Min swallowed his saliva down his dried throat before cautiously raising his voice. “I'm ashamed to say this, but the current-day believers don't have any deep loyalty and attachment to the demon cult. And they certainly lack respect and reverence toward you, our demon emperor. Teaching such people will be a lot harder and more involved than you might expect, my liege.”

“Is that right?” Kang Jin-Ho replied disinterestedly. “I'll handle that, so you don't need to worry.”

Chang Min prostrated on the floor again. “Please punish this incompetent servant for failing to reign in the cult until now.”

“Get up,” said Kang Jin-Ho.

“My liege, I...”

“I said, get up.”

Kang Jin-Ho's voice remained flat. Composed. However, Chang Min couldn't go against it. He shot up to his feet obediently.

Kang Jin-Ho wordlessly stared at Chang Min for a few seconds before saying something. “I also told you that things like loyalty cannot be demanded.”


“If the cult has done nothing for its members, it must not demand loyalty from them either. A religious organization should not seduce people and demand unquestioning loyalty. Didn't the demon cult in the past get painted as a corrupt, fake religious organization precisely because it used to do those things?”

Of course that wasn't entirely the reason. The crux of the blame should fall on how vicious and unforgiving the demon cult believers were, but Kang Jin-Ho's words weren't entirely wrong either.

“The era has changed. The result of repeating the same unreasonable tactics from the past in this era should be obvious. I don't need things like loyalty. But I do care about the cultivators willingly trying their best. If everyone wishes to achieve the same things and works hard for it... Well, the result will naturally speak for itself.”

“I see. Yes, you're absolutely correct, my liege.”

“However...!” Kang Jin-Ho suddenly stopped talking there. That prompted Chang Min to raise his head, only to flinch nastily.

He couldn't help but tense up after noticing Kang Jin-Ho's expression. There was this deeply disturbing ominous smirk etched on the demon emperor's face!

“Graciously granting everything without compensation is wrong, wouldn't you say? So, we will see. We will see if these people will obey as I want them to...!”

Chang Min's head faltered slightly.

'Our demon emperor is definitely not warm and kind-hearted...!'

Not demanding absolute loyalty or being rational, which didn't fit the image of a crazed demon cult leader, didn't automatically make Kang Jin-Ho a good person. What Kang Jin-Ho wanted was cult members who could meet his minimum standards. The demon emperor would be 'generous' enough toward those who do, while those who fail would be discarded.

“Chang Min.”

“Yes, my liege.”

“Let me be honest with you. I don't really care about revival or the future of the demon cult.”

“!” Chang Min raised his head and looked at Kang Jin-Ho after he was rendered speechless. Such words should not leave the demon emperor's lips! Just what was he thinking of while saying that?

Kang Jin-Ho continued to speak. “Don't get obsessed over the ghosts of the past. What's important is how we live the present. Whatever the demon cult looked like in the past, whatever the cult was pursuing back then... Forget about them. All of them. If a tradition doesn't fit with the present, bravely cast it away. Accept whatever you can accept without hesitation.”

“I shall obey the demon emperor's command.”

Kang Jin-Ho watched Chang Min bow deeply, then looked up at the ceiling.

'This is what Azure Demon might have said. Probably...'

Most of Kang Jin-Ho's tradition-shattering ideas came from Azure Demon's head. And now, Kang Jin-Ho had to become both Crimson Demon and Azure Demon. Obviously, it wouldn't be easy.

'I shall keep the cult alive. However, whether these people can revive the cult to its former glory or not... Now that's out of my hands. So, stop looking at me like that, Azure Demon.'

Kang Jin-Ho couldn't help but imagine Azure Demon smiling back at him. After failing to get rid of that mental image, Kang Jin-Ho also smirked unreadably before closing his eyes.

This was the moment the new chapter in the demon cult's history started writing itself.

This chapt𝓮r is updat𝒆d by (f)reew𝒆b(n)