Chapter 65: Showing Off (3)
The first thing Kang Jin-Ho asked after arriving at the Dongmyeong High School chief director's office was...
“Did something happen”
Jo Gyu-Min had never once called on the phone and asked Kang Jin-Ho to come to the office before, but that was precisely what he had done today.
He guided Kang Jin-Ho to the office's couch.
“Please take a seat first...”
Kang Jin-Ho settled down and asked a question that had been on his mind for quite some time now.
"By the way, why are you still here"
"There are some things that I still need to wrap up, you see.
Also, my new position at the new place hasn't been finalized yet."
“Your new position Where”
“Isn't that obvious, Mister Jin-Ho It's Jaegyeong Uni, of course.”
“Huh” Kang Jin-Ho was momentarily left speechless at this nonsensical initiative-taking of Jaegyeong Group.
“Let me guess, is it also the position of chief director, again”
"That's only possible in a high school, Mr.
In universities, even the deans are chosen through an electoral process."
That's a relief.”
Jo Gyu-Min grinned and explained even further, "The plan is to create an important-sounding position for me.
Chief of Administration, for instance."
“I see.” Kang Jin-Ho nodded, then went back to the topic at hand.
“What did you want from me”
Jo Gyu-Min stared at Kang Jin-Ho with a slightly weird expression.
“It's not me who wants something from you, Mr.
“What do you mean”
"Actually, it's you that has a business to attend to," said Jo-Gyu-Min, prompting Kang Jin-Ho to narrow his eyes and stare suspiciously.
"You have a guest today, you see."
“A guest, you say”
Jo Gyu-Min called out.
"You can come in now."
The office door opened, and a familiar face slowly stepped inside.
Kang Jin-Ho faintly grinned after discovering the identity of the guest.
The guest was making a cold, stiff face, something he had never made in the past.
He didn’t have that look when Kang Jin-Ho visited him not too long ago.
This was proof of how much a person's appearance could change simply from the state of their mind.
Kang Jin-Ho leaned against the couch and spoke calmly, “So, you finally came.”
The guest stared back at him and coldly retorted, "You thought I wouldn't"
"The money I gave you was enough to live a fairly okay life, after all."
“I can't afford to do that.”
Kang Jin-Ho scanned the guest, Choi Yeong-Su, from top to bottom.
This man once tried to harm Kang Jin-Ho and his family, only to fall into the pits of despair.
Then, he grabbed on to Kang Jin-Ho's hand of salvation and crawled out of his personal hell.
Was it because he had experienced so much already Choi Yeong-Su's face was hard and cold, which wasn’t suitable for his age.
He stared straight at Kang Jin-Ho and spoke, “I came to find you as you said.
To acquire the opportunity you told me about that day.”
“The opportunity, you say”
Choi Yeong-Su's expression didn't even waver once.
“An opportunity to chop your head off.”
Kang Jin-Ho grinned when he picked up on Choi Yeong-Su's murderous intent.
It contained a mixture of resentment and anger and noisily set off Kang Jin-Ho's senses.
This feeling automatically brought back his memories of the past.
“Right, I did promise you.” Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded.
“In that case, I assume that you've resolved yourself”
"Resolve" Choi Yeong-Su asked suspiciously.
The resolve to kill me.
Because, that's not going to be easy.
Only by going through hell incomparably worse than what you've already experienced would you be given a glimmer of an opportunity.”
Choi Yeong-Su nodded.
"I know that."
“Is that so” Kang Jin-Ho narrowed his eyes and stared quietly at Choi Yeong-Su's face.
This kid's life had been turned upside down after getting tangled up with Kang Jin-Ho while the latter had to revise his plans because of the trouble stirred up by the former.
If someone wanted to find out who had gotten the short end of the stick in their encounter, Kang Jin-Ho would unhesitantly point at Choi Yeong-Su.
What this boy and his grandfather had done might be excessive, but Kang Jin-Ho's retaliation was several times crueler, after all.
Of course, Kang Jin-Ho didn't see that as wrong.
The world was like that, wasn't it The strong had always preyed on the weak.
If Kang Jin-Ho was the weaker one, his opponents would've devoured him alive.
However, he was the stronger of the two parties this time, and that was how he avoided losing everything.
“Choi Yeong-Su, I shall grant you the opportunity you speak of.”
“Do not ever forget it.” Choi Yeong-Su chewed his words out, prompting Kang Jin-Ho to stop talking and listen.
“I swear, I will...
"And you'll regret ever giving me an opportunity to get my revenge."
Kang Jin-Ho nodded, then cocked his head to the side.
"By the way...
“Aren't you scared of me, Choi Yeong-Su”
The moment those words left Kang Jin-Ho's mouth, Choi Yeong-Su's complexion turned pale and his expression hardened like stone.
The emotion on his face changed with every passing second.
That sight alone was enough to tell how hard Choi Yeong-Su was suppressing the tide of terrible thoughts and toe-curling terror invading his heart.
“I...” Choi Yeong-Su finally opened his mouth.
“...am afraid of you.”
He dared to speak the truth, which earned him a high evaluation from Kang Jin-Ho.
Choi Yeong-Su continued.
So much so that standing in front of you makes my legs quiver until it feels like I'm about to collapse to the floor."
Kang Jin-Ho cocked an eyebrow.
"Yet, you wish to bring ruination upon me"
“I am afraid of you, and that's why...
That's why I can destroy you.”
Choi Yeong-Su slowly but clearly mouthed each and every word.
"I know how terrifying you can be.
So, I shall plan for every little contingency.
I shall consider and revise my plan hundreds of times.
Thousands of times.
And then, set a trap that you can never escape from.
What I'm saying is...
I will never forget how terrifying of a bastard you are.
The moment I do that will be my funeral, after all."
Kang Jin-Ho nodded.
"So you do understand."
"..." Choi Yeong-Su silently glared.
Kang Jin-Ho smirked and pointed at him.
"Do not forget.
If you do and I notice your slip-up, it'll be over for you.
I will do as promised by bringing you under my wings and granting you the opportunity.
However, before you can earn that opportunity, you will have to become my most trusted subordinate first.
Do you understand"
Kang Jin-Ho narrowed his eyes, his voice turned sterner "...Did you just say 'got it' to me"
Choi Yeong-Su faltered before correcting his mistake.
Kang Jin-Ho's smirk deepened.
Watching someone crawl up from the bottom was quite an entertaining distraction, even if that person's goal was to kill you.
Of course, Kang Jin-Ho would have never become the lord of the demon cult if he was soft enough to die to someone like that.
Choi Yeong-Su reminded Kang Jin-Ho of Blue Demon.
That man, whose loyalty was seemingly absolute, only for him to reveal his true colors at the end...
In that case, it might not be a bad idea to employ someone openly holding a grudge from the get-go, no
Kang Jin-Ho turned his head to look at Jo Gyu-Min.
“Chief Director's proxy.”
"Can you create a suitable position for this man" Kang Jin-Ho asked while glancing at Choi Yeong-Su.
"Aren't you going to make him assist you"
"He's too green to do that.
For the time being, teach him the ins and outs of what you do.
Choi Yeong-Su, I'm sure you don't have time to learn some useless stuff in a university now, do you"
“Yes, sir, I don't,” Choi Yeong-Su replied with a stiff voice.
Kang Jin-Ho lightly flicked his hand.
“Well, then.” Choi Yeong-Su bowed deeply, then exited the office.
Jo Gyu-Min waited until they were alone and asked Kang Jin-Ho, who had been watching Choi Yeong-Su leave.
“Why are you doing this, Mr.
“What do you mean”
“I don't see the point of going so far for that man.
You know that Choi Yeong-Su is hostile to you, so why do you want to hire him”
Kang Jin-Ho shrugged his shoulders.
"He won't even have a chance without being close to me, you see."
"I don't follow..." Jo Gyu-Min furrowed his brow.
Kang Jin-Ho replied in an unconcerned manner, “For now, think of this situation as finding a well-behaved gopher to make our lives a bit easier.
Nothing more, nothing less.”
Jo Gyu-Min stared at Kang Jin-Ho as goosebumps began breaking out on his skin.
Was this 'Kang Jin-Ho' the same person as the one who asked him about his new position at Jaegyeong University
His manner of speech was the same, and the way he carried himself hadn’t changed, but it felt like Jo Gyu-Min was talking to a complete stranger right now.
He was reminded of that eerie feeling he felt in Choi Yeong-Su's home several months ago.
'I just don't get this…'
Kang Jin-Ho desired an ordinary life.
To achieve his aim, he distanced himself from fame and fortune.
And he was extra careful in hiding his status.
Such was his obsession with being ordinary and plain that Jo Gyu-Min thought being a monk might be more glamorous.
How could one go about explaining the current Kang Jin-Ho This version was willingly taking on a risk by hiring someone aiming for his life.
That was simply too bizarre…
Kang Jin-Ho spoke of living a peaceful life.
It wasn't just lip service, though, as he genuinely seemed to be yearning for an ordinary life filled with nothing but peace.
But he also committed acts like this without a moment's hesitation.
Just which side of him was real
'Could it be...'
Kang Jin-Ho was wishing for it deep down in his subconsciousness Like a soldier addicted to war who spoke of peace while his heart longed for the blood-soaked battlefield...
Could it be that Kang Jin-Ho's true nature buried somewhere deep in his subconsciousness was already bored of this peaceful life
'Maybe I'm overthinking this…'
It was impossible to draw any conclusions, and Jo Gyu-Min's thoughts were not based on any evidence either.
Even then, he just couldn't dismiss this uncertainty in his mind.
What if his assumption proved to be spot on...
'Making him the heir can bring Jaegyeong Group down to its knees!'
This matter wasn't something Jo Gyu-Min could solve by himself.
He had to report it.
"What happened while I wasn't here" Park Yu-Min asked in an accusatory tone.
Currently, the preparations for the university's track-and-field meet were in full swing.
Kang Jin-Ho and Park Yu-Min were by the futsal field to watch their fellow university students practice for the upcoming meet.
As it was a group activity, the atmosphere didn't permit the slackers to laze around, and everyone seemed to be more or less genuine in their participation.
Kang Jin-Ho pondered how he should reply to Park Yu-Min's inquiry.
Did something happen to you”
“I was suddenly swarmed by people asking about your real identity, Jin-Ho.”
“I see.” Kang Jin-Ho nodded.
He had already expected something like this to happen.
That was why he tried to conceal the truth and not show off as much as possible.
However, he had no thoughts of criticizing the overreacting people around them.
They were simply reacting naturally to a fascinating situation, after all.
Honestly, he found the people of the modern era cute for reacting this way.
Especially when compared to Zhongyuan, where people groveled before Kang Jin-Ho's martial prowess and political power.
'Or maybe, the people here have stronger self-esteem...'
Whatever the case might be, it wasn't hard to predict this sort of outcome.
The problem was that there was a vast difference between what he felt in Zhongyuan and what he was receiving right now.
The level of intensity in the people's gazes was so much higher.
Enduring it was proving to be quite burdensome even for Kang Jin-Ho.
'That's funny, isn't it...'
What if the same thing happened to him right after his return He probably wouldn't have batted an eyelid about such gazes.
'Does that mean I've changed'
Kang Jin-Ho was becoming more self-aware of it—the rate of his change had become faster compared to the first few weeks after his return to the modern era.
He now had enough mental leeway to crack jokes and became more talkative than before, although it still couldn’t be compared to what he had been in the distant past.
All these had to be proof that he was acclimatizing to the modern era.
He had gained the wisdom to solve problems with other methods besides violence.
He had even acquired benevolence to smile and brush aside hostility directed in his way.
Kang Jin-Ho quietly closed his eyes.
The life he had been yearning for was slowly coming true.
- Are you happy
A voice came from deep inside him.
The voice belonging to a monster that should have been slumbering deep within was reaching out to him more frequently lately.
- Are you truly happy
What was the voice asking him about Why was it asking him After all, the answer was obvious, wasn't it There could only be one reply…
Kang Jin-Ho was happy.
Compared to the past, he was now several times; no, dozens of times happier and relaxed.
- Are you happy
“What are you thinking about” Park Yu-Min suddenly asked.
Kang Jin-Ho opened his eyes and shook his head.
“It's nothing important.”
He tried to get rid of the useless thoughts percolating in his head.
It seemed that being relaxed had inadvertently led to an influx of idle thoughts invading his mind.
Park Yu-Min continued.
"You know, it feels like the girls are smiling a lot more at you now.
But for some reason, the guys are the opposite."
“Hmm...” Kang Jin-Ho grunted after being reminded of the somewhat hostile glares directed at him.
Some men had acknowledged the chasm between themselves and Kang Jin-Ho and willingly gave up competing against him.
However, quite a few people refused to accept the unbridgeable gap, and seemed to be uncomfortable with all the attention Kang Jin-Ho was getting.
Their attitude wasn't surprising though, considering that their pride was being affected.
These people were proud of themselves for successfully entering Jaegyeong University, one of the country's pre-eminent learning institutions.
However, Kang Jin-Ho's existence had trampled on that pride.
'It'll all blow over if I stay quiet.'
One of the good points about the modern era was how short people's attention span was.
A topic that would have been discussed for years to come in Zhongyuan would become old news in less than one or maybe two months.
As proof, look no further than Kang Jin-Ho's relationship with Chairman Hwang Jeong-Hu; his high school had been in a massive uproar, but things died down on their own not too long afterward.
'A passing shower is just that.
It'll pass by soon enough.'
Kang Jin-Ho decided to not cause any more trouble for the time being.
Unfortunately, the world wasn't kind enough to humor his requests.