Descent of the Demon Master - Chapter 35
Chapter 35. Getting Help (4)
The following day…
Kang Jin-Ho was sitting at his desk, knowing that the school meeting was already underway. The result should be out soon.
He stared at his desk with a slightly rigid expression. Several doodles and scratches he was responsible for in the past could be seen here and there.
‘Is it really impossible for me after all?’
Trying to live an ordinary life seemed so monumentally difficult. He hadn’t done anything particularly wrong, yet the world didn’t want to leave him alone. He had lost too much for not looking away from something evil once.
His friends saw his rigid expression and couldn’t say or do anything other than kick the poor floor every now and then. The class should have started, but no teacher had come in, and everyone remained strangely quiet.
Jeong In-Gyu tried to lessen his friend’s worries. “Hey, Jin-Ho. Don’t worry too much. I’m sure it’ll work out fine. It’s not your fault, after all. Our homeroom teacher had done it of his own volition, right?”
“Mmhm…” Kang Jin-Ho nodded.
‘But will it really end that way?’
Logically speaking, Jeong In-Gyu was right. After all, Teacher Kim Seong-Ju’s role in this matter was far greater than Kang Jin-Ho’s.
However, Kang Jin-Ho couldn’t take things easy since he knew that the true aim of this ‘inquisition’ was him all along. Choi Myeong-Gil’s hostility had always been at him, and this attack was definitely meant to take him down. Kim Seong-Ju was simply caught in the crossfire
In a ‘normal’ situation, Kang Jin-Ho would have received a light punishment while Kim Seong-Ju would have to bear most of the consequences. However, the result this time should be different as Choi Myeong-Gil’s target wasn’t the homeroom teacher.
‘Was what I did worthy of going this far?’
Kang Jin-Ho was already aware of Choi Yeong-Su’s current condition. Paying a visit a couple of times was enough for that Choi boy to suffer from nightmarish hallucinations involving Kang Jin-Ho. So, he stopped seeking Choi Yeong-Su out from that point on. There didn’t seem any point in torturing the kid when his mind was already doing that for him.
Of course, Kang Jin-Ho did intend to fix Choi Yeong-Su at a later date if he thought the latter had paid enough price. But that would be a story for another time.
In any case… Choi Myeong-Gil probably hadn’t discovered any traces of Kang Jin-Ho paying a visit to his grandson since the ‘visits’ only happened a couple of times. Even then, the Chief Director was still maliciously attacking Kang Jin-Ho.
It was pure malice—raw and naked malice.
Choi Myeong-Gil had no way of knowing what Kang Jin-Ho had done. It was also most likely that he didn’t think Kang Jin-Ho was responsible for Choi Yeong-Su’s current mental instability. However, that old man still was oozing with a sickening level of unfiltered malice. It was amazing to see a man with that many years behind him lose himself to an unexplainable hatred and a need to blame someone.
“What a bizarre era this is…”
The people of this modern era liked to put up a facade up front, but when out of sight, they seemed to be overflowing with far worse malice than the people in the ancient past.
The law had limited the extent of malice one could unleash on others, which ended up giving a false impression that the modern era was a lot less ‘savage’ than its ancient counterpart. However, the darkness in people’s hearts hadn’t disappeared at all. This darkness—malice, hostility, etc—had simply lost its outlet and began festering in the hearts of their hosts instead, while the safety nets set up by society continued to monitor their behaviors.
Kang Jin-Ho’s current situation was a good example of this. What Kang Jin-Ho had done to Choi Yeong-Su shouldn’t have blown up to this extent. Yes, there was no getting away from the fact that he had acted rashly back then. Even if that was true, however, how was he or anyone else supposed to understand Choi Myeong-Gil’s current behavior when that old man was directing all of his anger and hatred in Kang Jin-Ho’s direction despite having no proof?
Kang Jin-Ho chuckled softly to himself. There was no need to understand now, was there? Since when did he try to understand those people he couldn’t care any less about?
In any case, there was nothing he could do about this now. If the matter was beyond the scope of Kang Jin-Ho’s powers, then Heavenly Crimson Demon Emperor would step forward to handle it.
Sometime later, the classroom door opened, and the homeroom teacher, Kim Seong-Ju, stepped inside. “Everyone, be quiet.”
He ordered the students to be quiet, but that was unnecessary as the classroom was already unusually silent.
Kim Seong-Ju continued. “Class, you will be self-studying for the time being.”
Jeong In-Gyu got up from his seat. “Sir, can you tell us what happened?”
“In-Gyu, you sure are too curious for your own good.”
“No, well… I was just…”
Kim Seong-Ju’s expression was rigid and openly miserable. Kang Jin-Ho could easily tell from his expression about what had gone down during the meeting.
“Jin-Ho, come outside to the corridor for a sec.”
“Yes, sir.” Kang Jin-Ho got up and exited the classroom.
Complicated emotions filled Kim Seong-Ju’s face as he stared at Kang Jin-Ho before a long sigh leaked out of him. “Fuu… Jin-Ho. Listen.”
“I’m truly sorry. I tried my best, but it didn’t work out.”
“Let me get to the point. You are…”
“You are expelled, that’s what!”
A sharp, cold voice rudely interrupted Kim Seong-Ju’s explanation.
Kim Seong-Ju glared at the one responsible. “Chief Director?!”
It was none other than Chief Director Choi Myeong-Gil, making an odious grin while glancing at Kang Jin-Ho and Kim Seong-Ju. “Oh, and your homeroom teacher will be resigning, too.”
Kang Jin-Ho cocked an eyebrow. “Why?”
“You think my school is soft enough to let a teacher and a student who had been caught tampering with grades off the hook with a slap on the wrist?”
“This is the obvious end result for you.”
“What do you mean, obvious?! Sir, this student hadn’t done anything wrong other than doing what I told him! I’m the guilty one here, so I should be the only one getting punished! So why are you expelling a student who knows nothing?!”
“You’re being noisy! It has already been decided.”
Kim Seong-Ju gritted his teeth. “People like you shouldn’t be running schools.”
Choi Myeong-Gil retorted sourly, “You! Keep running your mouth like that, and you won’t have a good time later on.”
“So what?! It can’t get any worse than this, anyway!” Kim Seong-Ju roared. He was mere moments away from pouncing on the Chief Director.
Kang Jin-Ho grabbed the arm of his homeroom teacher and pulled him back.
“Sir, please calm down.”
Kim Seong-Ju faltered. Afterward, he deeply sighed. He was the adult here, so he should have been comforting Kang Jin-Ho, but the latter was trying to calm him down instead.
Kang Jin-Ho stared at the Chief Director. “So. Am I being expelled?”
Choi Myeong-Gil snarled, “That’s right, boy.”
Kang Jin-Ho silently glanced at his homeroom teacher.
Kim Seong-Ju patted his student’s back, hoping to ease the boy’s worries. “It’ll be fine. You can simply transfer to another school.”
“If the management wants the reporting to the board of education to be hassle-free, they won’t have a choice but to treat this as you willingly dropping out. Unlike expulsion, you dropping out will make the transfer process that much simpler for you. So, all you have to do is find another school.”
“Oh? And who said he’ll be reported as a dropout?” the Chief Director snorted derisively.
Kim Seong-Ju’s puzzled but hostile glare landed on the old man.
Choi Myeong-Gil growled, “You think I’m scared of the board of education? It seems that you have been underestimating me!”
Kim Seong-Ju’s expression hardened.
“Why don’t you go ahead and try transferring to another school? If they accept you, that is! However, you better forget about private schools, boy. Even then, I wonder how many public schools would want you? If you get lucky, you might find a school on the outskirts of a city or somewhere in the sticks. Well, I guess that’s better than not going to school, no? However, would your parents be able to find work in such areas?”
A creepy grin slowly formed on Choi Myeong-Gil’s face and his eyes burned in pure malice. Those eyes resembled a cat’s eyes toying around with a dying rat.
Kang Jin-Ho was familiar with such expressions. He had plenty of chances to witness people making such expressions after his ‘rebirth’ in Zhongyuan. Moreover, he also had to sometimes endure those leering gazes as a paraplegic in the past.
Unsurprisingly, Kang Jin-Ho detested expressions like the one the old man was making.
“…Are you done?”
“Huh?” Choi Myeong-Gil could only chuckle hollowly at the surprisingly composed Kang Jin-Ho.
“In that case, I’ll be on my way, then.”
“You… You bastard…!” Choi Myeong-Gil deeply furrowed his brow and glared at Kang Jin-Ho, but the latter didn’t even glance at the old man.
If he could help it, Kang Jin-Ho wanted to live a quiet life. However, his situation somehow devolved into this current state even though he hadn’t done anything to deserve it. Then again, he was the trigger, so maybe this result was inevitable.
If he had acted blind, deaf, and dumb back then, he would have still been attending school without too many issues and enjoying the ordinary life. But… But that would be the wrong way to live for Kang Jin-Ho.
Turning a blind eye to bad things happening in front of him just for a chance to maintain his current lifestyle—what was the point of living like that? Kang Jin-Ho’s ‘ordinary life’ was about finding happiness in this world.
A peaceful life with no conflicts to worry about—that was what he wanted. He yearned for some kind of peace and stability, these two things that had been missing from his life for the longest time. However, what good was the ‘stability’ acquired through ignoring bad things he had the power to correct?
Kang Jin-Ho would have done the same thing again if a similar situation presented itself before him. Moreover…
‘If I have to give up. I’ll just do that, then.’
He would always repay favors, but more importantly, he would never forget his grudges. This was his way of life. If this world was going to stop him from living a peaceful life, then Kang Jin-Ho was prepared to resort to his old methods to make the world pay.
‘You will regret this, old man. You’ll regret provoking me, that is.’
Just as Kang Jin-Ho resolved himself, the classroom door opened, and a student slowly stepped outside with a limp. It was Park Yu-Min, and he had a stiff but determined face.
“Park Yu-Min? Go back inside!” Kim Seong-Ju hurriedly yelled at the boy.
But Park Yu-Min didn’t pay any heed and walked over to Kang Jin-Ho’s side before glaring at the Chief Director. “Please, stop this, sir!”
“And who are you supposed to be, boy?”
“I’m the one you threatened not too long ago, coercing me to testify that Jin-Ho had struck Yeong-Su first.”
“What nonsense are you spewing, you punk! When did I ever threaten you?!” The Chief Director yelled while scanning his surroundings. He realized that students from the nearby classes had come to the windows and doorways to spectate.
The principal also showed up just then and began yelling at the curious students, “All of you, go back inside your classrooms, now!”
Park Yu-Min was unfazed and continued with his testimony. “Jin-Ho didn’t hit Yeong-Su for no reason, sir. It only happened when he stepped in to stop Yeong-Su from hitting me and making me drink the dirty mop water. And the truth is, Yeong-Su has been physically and mentally tormenting me for over a year now, sir.”
The principal faltered but he still continued to yell, “What nonsense are you talking about?!”
“Everyone here has witnessed it, sir.” Park Yu-Min pointed at his surroundings, prompting the students to sheepishly nod in unison. “If you expel Jin-Ho, then I will report this matter to the Ministry of Education, including the fact that the Chief Director has threatened me. I’ll alert the media, too. If you try to gag the media, then I’ll just upload everything online. That alone will be enough to make you the topic of the town, sir!”
The Chief Director’s expression gradually crumpled. “And you have proof? Do you?!”
“We have plenty of proofs. There must be more than a few video clips saved on the phones, for instance. I’ve seen other kids taking them before. And my own phone still has all the threatening messages Yeong-Su had sent me!”
Choi Myeong-Gil chuckled in dismay. “Are you threatening me, punk?”
“Threatening you?” Park Yu-Min uncharacteristically smirked just then. His previous cowered expression was nowhere to be found now, making him nearly unrecognizable from what he had been in the past. “No, sir. I’m desperately fighting back.”
“Even worms squirm when you step on them, but I couldn’t even do that until now. If I squirmed, Yeong-Su would’ve hit me even more. However, this can’t go on anymore. I’ll regret it for the rest of my life if I don’t try to squirm now.”
A voice suddenly came from beyond one of the classroom windows. “Let’s be serious here, everyone. Aren’t you guys going overboard, sirs?”
“Who said that?!” the principal roared urgently, causing the murmurs of discontent in the classrooms to die down temporarily. He looked around, trying to locate the owner of that rude voice, but finding the culprit among these many witnesses wouldn’t be that easy.
That was the story only for the principal, of course. Kang Jin-Ho had already recognized that voice, and it belonged to none other than Jeong In-Gyu.
Kang Jin-Ho’s initial evaluation of that kid was… Jeong In-Gyu was an opportunist who didn’t have much courage to speak of. A man who only maintained superficial relationships; a man who had ruthlessly abandoned his so-called friends if they were no longer useful to him.
But now, someone like that had summoned all the courage he could muster to raise his voice—that was unusual for someone like Jeong In-Gyu.
His words had effectively opened the floodgates, and more discontent voices began rising up from the crowd.
“He’s right. Aren’t they going overboard here?”
“Yeah, they are being totally unreasonable.”
“Hey, hey! Get your phones out and record this. It might get real entertaining later on if you do.”
The students murmured and whispered their opinions on this situation to each other. After realizing that this matter was heading in an unfavorable direction, the complexions of both the principal and the Chief Director began to turn red in fury.
1. Korean schools usually have large windows on the walls separating classrooms and corridors. ☜