Descent of the Demon Master - C.709. Ruling Over (4)

Descent of the Demon Master

C.709. Ruling Over (4)

Li Xiaoyu now found himself in a tough spot.

For a while now, his back pain had been acting up again. Then again, that didn't seem so surprising. To meet up with the demon emperor's party as soon as possible, Li Xiaoyu and the rest of the demonic cultivators drove fast enough to nearly wreck their cars. And, after finally meeting the demon emperor, Li Xiaoyu practically had to remain kowtowing the whole time.

Although he was a martial artist, Li Xiaoyu wasn't a spring chicken anymore. As a matter of fact, he could've died of natural causes tomorrow, and people still wouldn't have found it strange since that was how old he was!

No wonder his poor back couldn't hold up against such a punishing itinerary.

To make matters worse, Li Xiaoyu had to remain stuck in a deeply tense state for a little while now, too!

Li Xiaoyu ever so slightly turned his head to look. Just a little. Even though he knew the front passenger seat of this van obscured the view, and the VIP passengers at the back didn't really care, Li Xiaoyu was extra careful in all of his actions.

The first thing he saw was Zhu Gang in the driver's seat, busy piloting the van.

'As I thought...'

Zhu Gang's expression was as stiff as it could be. It seemed that even this young demonic cultivator, who had already been serving the demon emperor, couldn't free himself from the majesty and dignity of their master.

'It's certainly not good for my old heart...'

Li Xiaoyu slightly raised his head to look into the rearview mirror. That gave him a good view of the people in the back. Thank goodness Li Xiaoyu and his peers had the foresight to bring along a large van like this!

The trio of men from South Korea were sitting comfortably in the back seats of this spacious van. And they were Kang Jin-Ho, Vator, and Zhang Dajing.

Li Xiaoyu sighed inwardly at how calm, nay, peaceful the trio looked.

'How can they be so unfazed?'

Countless lives returned to the embrace of mother nature not too long ago. Several Japanese martial artists suffering panic attacks tried desperately to flee, and Kang Jin-Ho didn't go out of his way to capture them. So, those who managed to run away should be higher in number than those who died on that nameless mountain road. That didn't mean the number of the dead was insignificant, though!

Li Xiaoyu lived for a long time and witnessed countless deaths and warfare. Even so, seeing so many people die at once was an uncommon thing for him. Considering that, how could those three men be this relaxed?

'Is it because he's the demon emperor?'

Li Xiaoyu already knew the answer, didn't he?

The demon emperor controlled all things demonic. And he was also in control of death itself. In that case, maybe the deaths of others were not something worthy of the demon emperor's attention. An eminently natural thing, in a way.

Just as Li Xiaoyu's thoughts reached that far, Kang Jin-Ho slowly opened his eyes. The two men's gazes met through the rearview mirror.

Kang Jin-Ho quietly asked, “What about the clean-up?”

Li Xiaoyu nervously gulped his saliva before replying. “We've left enough people behind, my liege. Their job is to clean the scene as spotless as possible. As they have a lot of experience, you don't have to worry, sire.”

“A lot of experience, you say...?” Kang Jin-Ho leaned against the seat. “Does that mean you've done similar things many times before? Or is it more like you were forced to clean up the mess left behind by others?”

“It's both, my liege,” said Li Xiaoyu.


“Yes,” Li Xiaoyu lowered his head a little in shame. “Demonic cultivators are not treated as proper martial artists. That's why we must do whatever we can to eke out a living.”

“Even if that means you're wiping the orthodox martial artists' butts?”

“My liege...” Li Xiaoyu cautiously replied, his voice trembling a little. “I do not know how you view the members of the orthodox faction. However, if you allow this foolish one to make a guess, you don't seem to hold a favorable view of them. However, my liege. We have to do those jobs in order to keep surviving. We had to clean up the mess of those we detest and hate. And we didn't hesitate to crawl between their legs if we had to. That was the only way for us to survive.”

“To survive, is it...” Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded. He, too, had lived through the time when he had to do whatever it took to survive. If he chose death in order to protect his honor and pride... The Kang Jin-Ho of now wouldn't even exist. Knowing this, how could he criticize the modern-era demonic cultivators? “So, you're saying it was a necessary evil?”

“Yes, my liege. That was precisely what we were. A group that annoyed you, so you wouldn't mind kicking them away, but they still had their uses, so you couldn't just wipe them all out... That was the position we held, my liege. And to acquire that ignoble and pathetic position, we had to suffer through countless trials and tribulations.”

Kang Jin-Ho quietly closed his eyes.

'Is this how low they have fallen?'

There was no doubt in his mind that these demonic cultivators were descendants of the demon cult Kang Jin-Ho used to be a part of. The existence of the Asura's cave, Azuremourne and Crimson Destiny was all the proof he needed. So, why...

Even if Kang Jin-Ho and Azure Demon died at the same time, how was it possible for the demon cult to fall so thoroughly?

“I want to ask you something,” said Kang Jin-Ho, his gaze narrowing.

“Yes, my liege! Please give me your command.”

“When I met Chang Min, he told me that the demon cult had lost its essence. Its core techniques and arts.”

“Yes, that's correct, sire.”

“That's what doesn't make sense to me. There used to be countless techniques and cultivation arts back then, yet not one complete method was handed down?”

“Although it's shameful... It is the truth, my liege.”

Kang Jin-Ho frowned deeply. “What is the top-tier demonic art you have inherited?”

“My liege, when you say top tier...?”

“I want to know what is the strongest demonic cultivation method you can get your hands on right now.”

Li Xiaoyu hesitated. The question itself wasn't difficult to understand, but providing an answer wasn't so straightforward. “If you ask what the strongest demonic cultivation is... Forgive me, my liege. I can't give you an answer.”

“And why not?”

“A strong demonic art does exist. However, it is shockingly unstable. And it's known to steal the cultivator's humanity, so no one dares to cultivate it. That is why only those methods proven to be relatively stable have been handed down so far.”

“I want to know what that unstable cultivation method is.”

Li Xiaoyu nervously gulped his saliva again. “Those who have been verified are given a choice between the Heaven Shaking Murderous Flame technique and the Nothing Exists Above Asura technique, my liege.”

“Say what? Heaven Shaking Murderous...?” Kang Jin-Ho deeply frowned again. He never heard of those techniques before. “What did you cultivate in, then?”

“My liege. I cultivated the Heaven Shaking Murderous Flame technique. However, my attainment isn't deep. Just as I entered the third stage, I sensed my humanity degrading, so I immediately stopped cultivating, sire.”

Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded again. “Fine. Recite it for me.”

“My liege? I... don't follow?”

“The sutra. I want to hear it.”

Li Xiaoyu sneaked a glance to his side. He found it burdensome to recite the cultivation manual's sutra in Zhu Gang's presence.

However, Kang Jin-Ho remained adamant. “Do I have to repeat myself?”

“N-no, my liege! Please forgive me!” Li Xiaoyu panicked slightly and hurriedly recited the sutra. However, it soon became clear that his 'passion' had been ultimately pointless.

Even before Li Xiaoyu could get to the fourth verse, Kang Jin-Ho shook his head. “That's enough.”

“M-my liege. I'm not...”

“No. I know what you're going to say, and that's not why I stopped you.” Kang Jin-Ho sighed and sank deeper into his seat. 'That's just Burning Flame technique, isn't it...?'

A hollow chuckle leaked out of Kang Jin-Ho's lips. Indeed, what he heard just now were verses belonging to the Burning Flame technique.

The demon cult had always revered the sacred flame even when it was still known as the Cult of Zoroastrianism during ancient times. Unsurprisingly, its believers wished for the foundational cultivation technique to possess the nature of fire.

As a result, the Burning Flame technique was developed to meet their wishes. It was primarily taught to regular low-rank cult members who didn't even qualify for the position of 'Demon Servants'.

'Not only that, but it's been altered, too.'

If the modern-era demonic cultivators mastered the original Burning Flame technique from the past, they wouldn't even have to worry about mental instability. After all, this technique was the foundational demonic art almost on the level of a daily exercise routine meant to enhance the cult members' overall health!

So, one didn't need to worry about going insane while mastering it.

Was that why, though? It seemed the Burning Flame technique was used as the foundation, and lots of other things had been added crudely on top. That seemed to have slightly improved the destructive power at the cost of deteriorating the mental instability aspect to a precarious state.

'And... This is the best they have?'

It seemed the problem was worse than Kang Jin-Ho expected. If the best cultivation technique was the Burning Flame, these people didn't even deserve to be called the demon cult members. If this was in the past, these people wouldn't even qualify as floor sweepers of the main cult base!

The concept of worshiping and respecting strength! That was the essence of the demon cult. Wasn't it simple, then? Respect the strength—the one with the power would acquire everything. That was the rule. On the flip side, weaklings were not allowed to acquire anything.

Not the believers, but the cult itself strongly encouraged this behavior. Kang Jin-Ho detested it since it was inhumane, but even he couldn't deny that this mindset had played a key part in the survival of demon cult members, who were basically outsiders to the people of Zhongyuan.

In any case, that was how much they revered strength. So, if the demon cult members from those days witnessed their modern-day descendants, how would they react? How would they feel after realizing that their descendants had mastered something that couldn't even be called a proper demonic cultivation technique? What would they say after seeing their descendants falling to the point where none of them deserved the label of demon cult members?

Wouldn't they shed tears of blood at this sight?

'Something is not right here.'

Kang Jin-Ho furrowed his brow. It was true that the orthodox faction suppressed and persecuted the demon cult after Kang Jin-Ho and Azure Demon were gone. Even so, wasn't this state of affairs strange? How could it have fallen so much?

The demon cult wasn't powerful because of Kang Jin-Ho and Azure Demon's presence. Even before Kang Jin-Ho joined its ranks, the demon cult was already a powerful faction that no one under the heavens dared to underestimate. Once Kang Jin-Ho joined, it gained the proverbial wings and became unmatched under the sun.

So, it made no sense for an organization like that to get completely obliterated into nothingness just because Kang Jin-Ho and Azure Demon were no longer around.

Not only that, but...

'Doesn't this imply that no demonic cultivation techniques have survived?'

Excluding the foundational cultivation techniques, there must've been well over a hundred different demonic arts for the demonic cultivators to sink their teeth into. The sheer power and variety would've easily rivaled the Shaolin Temple's famed 108 qi circulation techniques.

However, all those cultivation techniques were now lost?

'Is that even naturally possible?'

No matter how much Kang Jin-Ho thought about it, none of it made sense. He might've had an easier time understanding this state of affairs if the demon cult had been wiped out completely. However, there were still people hiding and mastering demonic arts to this day. So, how could all those demonic arts be lost?

'...No, it's not possible.'

Kang Jin-Ho's expression gradually hardened.

Since the essence of the cult had not been passed down, its members could have grown weaker. Without the cult leader to guide them, it was also possible for the members to lose their momentum and their fighting spirit.

However, there was simply no way that every single high-level demonic art failed to survive to this day, even though so many demonic cultivators were still around. Kang Jin-Ho was unequivocally certain about this.

The exclusive cultivation technique passed down only to the cult leaders was gone with Kang Jin-Ho's death, but how did that lead to all the other techniques also disappearing without a trace? That was simply not possible unless...

'...Someone made sure it'd happen.'

Kang Jin-Ho grew even more certain. Someone must've induced this situation. Without a doubt, someone with nefarious intentions worked hard to systematically erase demonic arts.

An unknown individual or a group must've destroyed all traces of demonic cultivation techniques to ensure the descendants would never learn them. And then, they even deliberately sought out and murdered anyone who mastered demonic arts.

“...Where is Chang Min?” Kang Jin-Ho asked in a cold voice. He needed to discuss this matter with Chang Min. That man was currently the oldest demonic cultivator alive, so he should know the situation better than others.

Li Xiaoyu respectfully replied, “Elder Chang Min is currently waiting anxiously for your arrival, my liege.”

“Is that so...?”

“He even shed tears of joy after hearing that you were in China, my liege. He said that finally, everything is where it should be.”

Vator butted in after hearing that. “Say what? That old man cried?”


“Really? That old man cried...? Even though he sure knew how to bite someone's head off? And I figured he must be in a good mood if he doesn't suddenly throw insults around.”

“...Sir, Elder Chang Min isn't like that,” said Li Xiaoyu.

“Hmph. We'll find out once I personally meet him,” Vator smirked deeply. “I'm tagging along because it's been a fun journey so far, but... Master, you must not forget this one thing. What good are your wings if you get hit by an arrow before taking flight? Remember that we are in China. The land we're walking on belongs to the Crimson King.”

“Don't worry, I haven't forgotten,” said Kang Jin-Ho while leaning against his seat. He closed his eyes and recalled the images from the distant past.

Tens of thousands of cult members, all kitted out in crimson and black outfits, were bowing simultaneously toward him.

That was the spectacle of ten thousand demons kowtowing in exaltation! If Kang Jin-Ho were to recreate that scene in the modern era, he must, at a bare minimum, reshape these people into cultivators deserving the adjective 'demonic'.

'That won't be easy.'

Not easy, but not impossible either!

Kang Jin-Ho's mind raced along to calculate and plan ahead for the future.

Updat𝓮d from freew𝒆bnov𝒆