Descent of the Demon Master - C.723. Grappling (3)

Descent of the Demon Master

C.723. Grappling (3)

"What did you say?"

The Crimson King's voice was still filled with authority and dignity.

Even so, Cai Kechang didn't miss a hint of flabbergast in his liege's voice.

'I'm not surprised. It is flabbergasting, after all.'

Didn't Cai Kechang also get flabbergasted by this news and rush here to convey it to his boss? Even though the Crimson King had reached the lofty peak that allowed him to contemplate the matters of the entire world, news like this one should still surprise and fluster him.

Cai Kechang spoke while bowing deeply. "Although it's hard to believe, it seems Kang Jin-Ho is currently in China."

"In China, you say?"

"Yes, my liege!" Cai Kechang grimly replied, then carefully raised his head to look at the taishi armchair atop a flight of stairs.

The Crimson King, brimming full of the unmistakable aura of a king, was sitting on this impressive wooden taishi armchair. He was resting his chin on his hand while staring directly at his subordinate. "Hmm... Cai Kechang?"

"Yes, my liege?"

"You're not trying to prank me, are you?"

"Such disrespectful behavior...! I wouldn't dare, my liege! Even this servant finds this situation improbable, but it is still true."

"I see. So, he's really in China...?" The Crimson King muttered, a subtle grin breaking out on his lips. That grin looked a little dismayed, maybe even a bit hollow. However, one emotion seemed to override them all, and it was unsurprisingly 'interest'. "Kang Jin-Ho... Kang Jin-Ho. Is he looking down on me? Otherwise he wouldn't have even dreamed of stepping foot inside my land."

Cai Kechang cautiously studied the Crimson King's moods as this matter was more than enough to earn his boss's wrath. Despite being a martial artist hailing from a minor nation, the Crimson King's faction failed to eliminate Kang Jin-Ho, forcing Cai Kechang to entertain the idea of forming an alliance.

The Crimson King was opposed to the idea, but... If the situation continued to fester, even he would have no choice but to accept this outcome.

However, what about when Kang Jin-Ho waltzed into China of his own volition? A country where he had zero protection? Wasn't that an act of disparaging and insulting the Crimson King's faction?

Either Kang Jin-Ho thought the Crimson King's faction wouldn't detect his presence in China... Or he didn't care even if he was discovered. It didn't matter which was his original intention as both options were a slap to the face of the Crimson King's faction!

However, the Crimson King didn't seem all that displeased. In fact, he was chuckling somewhat. "Hah. He certainly is unpredictable, isn't he?"

Cai Kechang sneakily sighed in relief. He anticipated a variety of reactions from his boss, none of them peaceful, but this response could be considered positive. Well, it was a hundred times better than facing the Crimson King's wrath, wasn't it!

"So, where is Kang Jin-Ho right now?"

Cai Kechang bowed his head again. "We're still searching for him, my liege."

"Haven't found him yet...?" The Crimson King's bros quivered. "Zhongyuan is vast. Even so, can you find him?"

"It won't be easy, my liege. However, we will definitely find him."

"Very good!" The Crimson King briefly nodded. "Cai Kechang!"

"Yes, my liege!"

"Utilize every means at your disposal. Do whatever it takes to find Kang Jin-Ho!"

"Yes, my liege! I shall bring Kang Jin-Ho's head as a trophy and present it to you!"

The Crimson King silently stared at Cai Kechang.

Such a weighty stare! The untold power behind that stare forced Cai Kechang to plant his forehead on the floor. He wasn't sure what he had done wrong this time, but that stare was already ample-enough proof of the Crimson King's displeasure.

Eventually, the Crimson King broke his silence. "It seems you have not been listening."

"M-my sincerest apologies, my liege. As this servant is foolish, I..."

"I merely told you to find Kang Jin-Ho, not kill him. Do you understand the difference between those two?"

"I see! Yes, I understand, my liege!" Cai Kechang hurriedly replied, then carefully raised his head to study the Crimson King's current mood.

'Maybe he's developed a favorable view on Kang Jin-Ho?'

Just like how Cai Kechang harbored a favorable view on the Korean demonic cultivator, maybe the Crimson King felt the same? If not, why would he want to let Kang Jin-Ho live?

Of course, it wasn't as if Cai Kechang would dare guess what was in the Crimson King's mind. That didn't mean he could get over this unpleasant aftertaste in his mouth, though!

"Don't you still understand?" The Crimson King suddenly asked again.

"I wouldn't dare haphazardly guess what your intentions are, my liege."

The sound of the Crimson King quietly tutting away entered Cai Kechang's hearing.

"Listen, Cai Kechang. You and your men... can never stop Kang Jin-Ho."

Cai Kechang's head shot up, his eyes filled with questions. They even contained a faint trace of disbelief, too. He'd never question the wisdom and insight of the Crimson King. Never. However, the Crimson King's declaration just now was so shocking that Cai Kechang couldn't help but cross the forbidden line. "M-my liege, but...!"

"There are no ifs and buts. You don't have the strength to stop Kang Jin-Ho."

"B-but... This is China, my liege. Kang Jin-Ho has no protection in this place. My liege... Do you believe that man has gathered warriors to protect himself?"

"Such a thing doesn't matter," said the Crimson King. His weighty voice crushed down on Cai Kechang.

"Whether or not Kang Jin-Ho has amassed a faction of his own is irrelevant. You still can't handle him."

"...!" Cai Kechang didn't dare argue back. That didn't mean he accepted the Crimson King's evaluation, though. 'We can't handle him?'

But why not? They were not in Korea but in China. And the events so far indicated Kang Jin-Ho was somewhere in the Crimson King's territory. If that was true, escaping alive from their grasp would be utterly impossible even if Kang Jin-Ho had wings! As a man who had been loyally serving the Crimson King and even assisted with building his faction, Cai Kechang was 100% certain about this.

"How foolish, Cai Kechang," The Crimson King quietly addressed his subordinate after noticing the latter's confusion. "Were you expecting failure when dispatching Vator to South Korea?"

"...No, my liege. I was not."

That question forced Cai Kechang to acknowledge the truth. Back then, he had no doubt that Vator would return after ripping Kang Jin-Ho's head off.

The Crimson King leaned back against his chair. "I had a hunch that Vator would fail."

Cai Kechang's eyes powerfully shook as he listened.

"Of course, that does not prove I was right all along. You believed Vator would emerge victorious even if Kang Jin-Ho found a helper. On the other hand, I thought Vator would fail if Kang Jin-Ho worked together with another expert. However, Kang Jin-Ho defeated Vator all on his own."

Cai Kechang dazedly nodded.

"The level of Kang Jin-Ho's martial prowess we deduced from the traces he left behind indicated he should not have won against Vator. In fact, Vator should have been far out of his league. So, do you finally understand the implications behind Kang Jin-Ho's victory?"

"...It means Kang Jin-Ho is getting stronger, my liege."

"Indeed!" The Crimson King finally made a satisfied expression.

However, was that satisfaction derived from Cai Kechang finally understanding him? Or the fact that Kang Jin-Ho was getting stronger?

"Yes, that man is getting stronger. At a frightening pace, too!" The Crimson King loudly muttered as if to make a declaration. "Since he defeated Vator, it means Kang Jin-Ho is a powerful expert that deserves our full attention. And it also indicates he must be even stronger now. That's why you cannot handle Kang Jin-Ho."

"But... My liege!" Cai Kechang planted his forehead on the floor again. "Your words are thousands, nay, hundreds of thousands of times correct. However, even two Vators wouldn't be enough to survive against the might of our forces. The forces bearing your name are not pushovers, my liege. Please believe in us."

"You are correct, Cai Kechang. Our forces could have dealt with two Vators without breaking a sweat. However, Kang Jin-Ho is a different story."


"You don't know the terror of the demonic arts, Cai Kechang. Do you know why the virtuous men of the past were so on guard against the demonic cultivators? The leader of the demonic cultivators, the one who has reached the absolute pinnacle of demonic... is no different than a walking natural calamity. Demonic cultivators will display even greater strength when fighting against many opponents. If you dare to confront Kang Jin-Ho, you and your men will crumble even before you have the chance to demonstrate your strength. Even if you succeed in stopping Kang Jin-Ho, your reward will be irreparable damage and losses to our forces. I do not wish to see any of those scenarios come true, Cai Kechang."

Cai Kechang could only stare at the Crimson King in slight stupefaction. His boss could be right. In that case... Why did Cai Kechang feel something was not right here?

'It feels like my liege is having... fun?'

The Crimson King had been warning Cai Kechang that their situation wasn't as simple as it looked and that Kang Jin-Ho was a difficult opponent to deal with. So why did he look pleased and entertained right now?

"I shall obey your command, my liege. And... Once we discover Kang Jin-Ho's whereabouts...?" Cai Kechang cautiously asked, hoping to resolve the questions burning a hole in his heart. So, he tried to get a feel for what the Crimson King was planning to do. Such a thing was obviously disrespectful, but Cai Kechang decided to risk it in order to figure out what the Crimson King was thinking about.

"Of course, I...!" The Crimson King muttered while slowly sitting upright on the chair. It felt like that simple action had caused everything in the surroundings to tense up. The Crimson King stared directly at Cai Kechang. "...I shall personally step forward!"

"M-my liege!" Cai Kechang cried out. His guess turned out to be correct. He wondered why the Crimson King looked so excited and sure enough... The situation had reached this point! "My liege, in this servant's opinion, someone of your noble stature does not need to personally intervene in this matter!"

"Mm... Cai Kechang?"

"Yes, my liege!"

"Do not underestimate Kang Jin-Ho," said the Crimson King in a firm, unyielding voice. "It was our arrogance that allowed the situation to reach this point. If only we had utilized every means at our disposal to deal with Kang Jin-Ho when we first noticed him...! We wouldn't be having this conversation. And now, we can't go after Kang Jin-Ho unless the stars align perfectly."

Cai Kechang kowtowed deeply again. "It is this servant's incompetency to blame, my liege. Please punish this servant!"

"I'm not trying to blame you, Cai Kechang. Remember, I was also too arrogant to see the truth. I failed to see that Kang Jin-Ho was capable of pushing us this far. Before this sapling has a chance to grow and become an even graver threat, we must rip it out of the ground. If we fail to do this...!" The Crimson King clamped his mouth shut, his expression unreadable. He remained silent for a while, but his expression eased a tad as he leaned back. "The virtuous men of the past warned us to always be on guard against the demonic cultivators. They said no one can truly imagine what might happen if the demonic cultivators regain their lost demonic arts. I am also an inheritor of orthodox cultivation techniques. Hence, I cannot sit by and watch demonic arts that go against heaven's will to freely roam the earth. I'm not speaking as a man with the title of 'Crimson King', but as a martial artist! This is my will!"

"My liege! If that is your will, I, Cai Kechang, will even sacrifice my life to fulfill your command!"

"Good! I shall wait for your favorable news."

Cai Kechang remained prostrating as he backed away to exit the audience hall. He straightened up only after the doors to the audience hall closed. Only then did he dare to wipe all the sweat streaming down his forehead.

Even now, Cai Kechang still found handling the Crimson King's vigorous aura a taxing task.

'I'm sure he's enjoying this situation.'

From the perspective of the second-in-command, the Crimson King personally making a move was not ideal. The 'king' should not carelessly expose himself as far too many enemies were targeting his life.

However, as a fellow martial artist, Cai Kechang understood why the Crimson King wanted to do this. It was simple enough to figure out. For far too long, the Crimson King had not encountered a challenger worthy of his time. The conflict between the Three Kings was in a deadlock, and no one showed up to threaten the Crimson King's position. A reign of peace for a king was nothing more than boredom for a martial artist!

No wonder the Crimson King wanted to personally fight Kang Jin-Ho. Even if the opponent this time fell well short of the Crimson King's class. When Cai Kechang's thoughts reached that far, he finally understood everything, except for one...

"Before this sapling has a chance to grow and become an even graver threat, we must rip it out of the ground. If we fail to do this...!"

Those words still persistently swam inside Cai Kechang's mind, not wanting to leave him alone.

'I wonder... What did my liege want to say?'

The Crimson King didn't seem to be referring to his faction being threatened. Since that wasn't the case, the alternative must be...

'...! No, that's nonsense!'

What a disrespectful thing to even consider! Cai Kechang hurriedly discarded the sacrilegious thoughts trying to burrow into his mind and turned around to leave. At least he was sure of this one thing.

"I will definitely find you, Kang Jin-Ho! And kill you for sure this time!"

Was there a need to confirm what the Crimson King wanted to say? No, since Kang Jin-Ho's funeral would take place very soon. A dead man couldn't threaten anyone, after all!

Maybe this was the last chance the heavens had bestowed unto them. Cai Kechang slowly licked his lips.

'You should've waited a bit longer, Kang Jin-Ho!'

Just ten years...! If only Kang Jin-Ho had been holing himself in Korea for ten years, he might have gotten strong enough to rule everything under the heavens. But his fate was sealed when his impatience had gotten the better of his judgment.

Cai Kechang hurriedly walked away, his expression stiff.

The time to hunt was about to begin.

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