The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage chapter 15

The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage

Celestial Demon.

The head of the demonic sect.

This sect venerates strength above all, upholding the supremacy of the powerful.

As such, the title of Celestial Demon naturally signifies the mightiest among them.

How did Kang Tae-han come to occupy this position?

When he first arrived in the martial world, Kang Tae-han had no interest in martial arts.

He couldn’t even fend for himself, so why bother with such skills?

It was only because his master, the one who took him in and helped him when he was a stranger in an unfamiliar world, was a martial artist.

His ascension to the rank of Celestial Demon happened after his own sect was destroyed and his benefactor, his master, was murdered. It all traced back to the schemes of the previous Celestial Demon.

Revenge.

From then on, Kang Tae-han lived solely for vengeance; doing whatever it took to survive.

As a weakling among the strong, he had no luxury of choice.

If killing was necessary, he did so without hesitation.

And when all his tasks were finished, he found himself as the new Celestial Demon.

It was as simple as that.

‘…But this is not something to be repeated.’

There was no regret.

Unlike the common teaching that revenge is but a bitter pill, to him, it was sweet.

However, as time passed and his hair began to grey, the words of his old master haunted him.

‘You don’t have to live like a sage, but live a life where you are thanked by others,’ that one sentence echoed in his heart.

‘A teaching I failed to honor in the martial world.’

Being a Celestial Demon meant becoming a symbol of power and fear.

By then, he had come too far, and it was too late to turn back.

But now, things were different.

The remaining years and even the era itself had changed.

Perhaps, it wouldn’t be so bad to walk the path of a life that could be thanked by others, as taught by his old master this time around.

‘…In a way, I might have unwittingly taken the right first step.’

Masseur.

A job he initially took for quick cash turned out to be different now.

His martial arts skills and knowledge had been honed exclusively for harming others.

He never had the chance or the means to help someone.

Yet, using these skills to aid others and receiving thanks for it wasn’t such a bad feeling after all.

Honestly, it was quite gratifying.

‘I have no plans of becoming a paragon of virtue, though.’

Making a livelihood by helping others, if circumstances allowed, even engage in charitable deeds.

A life of just that extent.

Whether he would make this work his profession was still uncertain, but at least he thought of taking it more seriously.

With these thoughts, Kang Tae-han moved forward.

* * *

Kim-Kwan-Ho, a manager at Cheonri Corporation, had been feeling good lately.

His body felt lighter, and waking up refreshed each morning after a good night’s sleep naturally kept his spirits high.

“Manager Kim, you’re looking quite radiant lately!”

Always smiling and never gloomy.

There had been concerns when he seemed under the weather, but now he exuded drive and passion, even on a Sunday heading out for golf with a business partner.

“Haha. Just the thought of playing with you, Executive Yu, gets my heart racing since the day before.”

“This guy, managing to keep a straight face saying something so nonsensical?”

“What? Is it true?”

Manager Kim exaggerated his gestures, prompting Executive Yu to wave him off dismissively.

“Cut it out. I know you like me just fine, but if there’s something good for the body, let’s share, eh? Is it something to eat? Or drink?”

Executive Yu mimicked chopsticks and then the tipping of a soju glass.

Manager Kim looked around warily before whispering a secretive reply with his hand to his mouth.

“Neither.”

“Then what is it? …Surely not this.”

Executive Yu’s suggestion came with the gesture of holding a syringe.

“Hey, don’t talk like that.”

“It was a joke, but you do seem kind of high as if you’d been on something. I heard you’ve been quite down until recently.”

“I’ve never tried drugs, but after the first session, I did feel like I was on something. Of course, it was all harmless.”

“So what is it? Why are you beating around the bush?”

Impatient with Manager Kim’s teasing manner, Executive Yu’s voice rose.

With a laugh, Manager Kim finally spoke up.

“Well, I was introduced to a massage parlor by an employee at a business and the skills of the masseur there are no joking matter.”

“A massage? Which neighborhood is it in?”

“It’s attached to a sauna.”

“…At a sauna?”

Executive Yu’s attitude cooled at the mention of a sauna-linked massage parlor—it usually meant nothing special.

Manager Kim gestured dismissively.

“It seems ordinary, but the experience is on another level. I took it lightly too, but I booked my next appointment right after I was done.”

“Really?”

“Yes, truly. I’ve been to renowned masseurs, sports massage centers, Thai massage places—you name it. But this was different.”

Since Manager Kim was known to have a good taste in these matters, Executive Yu knew there must be something truly exceptional.

“If you insist, I’ll give it a try next time.”

“Sure thing! The sauna is average, but it’s clean enough for unwinding before heading out.”

Manager Kim laughed warmly.

Little did he know, that Executive Yu would soon become one of Kang Tae-han’s regular clients.

Word of mouth may not seem powerful at first glance, but its slow, sure spread is an effective form of promotion.

He’s an expert. It’s like how a recommendation from a local friend holds more weight than dozens of online restaurant reviews scattered across the internet. Plus, there’s a chain reaction at work here. Nam Woo-hyun brings in Kim Gwan-ho, who then brings in new customers, and those customers become regulars who bring in even more people – it’s a continuous cycle. And this wasn’t an isolated case – it was happening with most of the clients who had come through Kang Tae-han’s hands.

“Father, didn’t you say you’ve been having some trouble with your back lately? I found a good massage place this time…”

“Min-su’s mother said that there’s a masseur there with truly incredible skills. Those foreigners are saying they’re brimming with energy now.”

“When you wake up in the morning, it feels different – as if you’ve become ten years younger, and it’s no lie.”

Word of mouth travels from one acquaintance to another. As a result, Kang Tae-han’s premium course was prospering even before it started.

“Maybe I should have charged a higher price?” Director Hwang mused with a slight sense of wonder, looking at the reservation chart on the screen beforehand. The Artisan Course was the premium course discussed before, available only to two massage therapists with a lot of regulars and great reviews, operating on a fully-booked basis.

However, the price is the factor that most significantly affects consumer sentiment. There had been considerable concern about this, and they couldn’t set a very high increase…

‘It’s laughable that I was worried.’ The reservation chart for Kang Tae-han was packed full. Only unpopular slots, like early work hours, remained for the coming two weeks, and even those were filling up.

“It doesn’t seem like the price was set too low…” Director Hwang brought up another reservation chart. It was for Kim Seong-hoon, another masseur who had become responsible for the Artisan Course along with Kang Tae-han and had a solid customer base and skills. But compared to Kang Tae-han’s chart, Kim Seong-hoon’s had significantly fewer reservations.

‘No, it’s not that. Kang Tae-han is the anomaly here.’ Kim Seong-hoon’s situation more closely matched the expected response. How could the Artisan Course be fully booked before it even began next week? It was just that the response to Kang Tae-han was unreasonably positive.

“But is Tae-han that skilled?” Originally, Kim Seong-hoon was the masseur with the best skills and the most clients in the shop. Yet Kang Tae-han, who hadn’t been there long, had quickly caught up and now had this significant difference in customer demand. At this rate, Director Hwang even felt tempted to receive a massage himself. Upon reflection, he recalled the clients who received massages from Kang Tae-han always had faces that seemed thoroughly relaxed, exuding a sense of immense satisfaction.

‘But to ask for a massage myself … feels a bit embarrassing.’ Director Hwang scrolled through the reservation list with a faint smile. Kang Tae-han came in late in the morning and worked non-stop until the evening, and still, the clientele was so numerous that appointments were backlogged.

It would be a shame to ask such a busy person for a quick massage. Director Hwang massaged his left shoulder and turned his neck.

‘Or is it because I slept badly…?’ His neck felt stiff as if kinked, and bending it caused pain. While it didn’t hinder his work, the sudden jolts of pain when he moved carelessly were inconvenient. He thought he might go to the sauna later after the counter staff arrived…

“Oh, Director Hwang. You’re here early?”

“Oh! Tae-han. Are you done for the day?”

“Yeah. If the client comes out, could you please attend to them?” Kang Tae-han, who was heading to the waiting room after finishing with a client, suddenly walked over to Director Hwang, as if he noticed something.

“You must have had a rough night’s sleep.”

“What? Do I look like it?”

“Did you change your pillow? Your left side seems to be bothering you.” Director Hwang was momentarily flustered and reacted awkwardly.

In contrast, Kang Tae-han pressed lightly on his left shoulder area, unfazed.

“How could you tell?”

“It’s obvious. The angle of your neck is different.”

“Angle?”

“Yeah. Anyway, if it’s alright, should I loosen it up for you? It’ll only take a moment.” Kang Tae-han approached without waiting for a reply.

“Just a minute, then.”

“Alright.”

“If it’s just that, no problem.”

No sooner had Director Hwang agreed, Kang Tae-han had already grasped his left shoulder and nape, pressing firmly into the knotted points with his thumbs.

“Ugh…?”

A sudden tingle shot through his body as if electrified. His body tensed, but almost immediately after, an unusual relaxation spread through him, as if he wasn’t being gripped but rather leaning into it.

As he was getting used to the sensation…

“How’s that?”

“…What?” Kang Tae-han had already stepped back, letting go of Director Hwang, who reflexively turned his neck and shoulders a couple of times. There was no stiffness, just a smooth, light movement as if his muscles had been oiled.

To put it in common terms…

“…It feels refreshing?”

“Feeling better? If there’s any discomfort, let me know next time.” Kang Tae-han gave a quick smile and waved as he entered the waiting room.

Director Hwang, still with a look of amazement, kept turning his head and shoulders. The stiffness that had been present just before seemed like a lie.

“Can this be real?” He glanced at the clock, not even a minute had passed, and the stiffness in his neck had already been relieved in that short time. It was almost believable if someone said it wasn’t massage but magic.

“There’s no wonder he has so many clients.” Just a moment of that treatment and he already wanted more.

With newfound understanding, Director Hwang nodded to himself.



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