The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage chapter 17

The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage

“A healthy mind dwells in a healthy body.”

Even tasks that don’t require physical labor, first and foremost, demand a healthy body, and furthermore, every endeavor necessitates a fundamental level of physical strength. This small truth also encompasses the warriors of the martial world.

Internal energy, which governs Qi, and external strength, which handles physical prowess.

If one were to ask which is more important, the former would obviously be the answer.

The realms and depths one can reach are incomparable, and a water jug, no matter how large and sturdy, is just an empty vessel if it lacks water to fill it.

Thus, when martial artists measure each other’s strength, they use internal energy as their yardstick and divide their realms based on ‘how one can handle their internal energy.’

However, does this mean external strength is useless?

Absolutely not.

It’s just extremely ‘fundamental’ and ‘essential.’

A body tempered through external strength does more than enhance the power and techniques of martial arts; it clears and purifies the internal Qi and meridian pathways, leading to an increase in the efficiency of internal energy cultivation.

In other words, to reach a certain level of internal energy cultivation, it should be accompanied by appropriate external strength training.

Therefore,

“Hngh, huff, huff…”

Kang Tae-Han was immersed in physical training at the nearby fitness center after work today as well.

‘It seems my body is starting to become more resilient.’

Having finished his exercises, Kang Tae-Han paused in front of a mirror to inspect his physique.

His flab had shrunk, revealing more defined muscles covering his frame.

While not yet at his desired level, his body had significantly improved from when he first returned.

If he continued at this rate, he would soon reach his goal.

‘This body is free from injuries and scars.’

Honestly speaking, his current body is in an incomparably healthier state than before.

His martial world physique had even been a hindrance to him.

Innumerable injuries and dozens of scars, plus meridian pathways tangled by the adverse effects of practicing the Devouring Technique.

Externally and internally, his body had been a patched-up rag.

In contrast, what about his current body?

No scars, completely intact, and even brimming with youthful vigor.

Naturally, the efficiency of training is on a whole different level.

Moreover, even if he wasn’t knowledgeable about mental cultivation, the modern methods of physical training were much more technical and efficient.

Kang Tae-Han looked around lightly.

Various types of equipment were placed all around.

Designed to allow one to focus and strengthen not just arms and legs, but also endurance and even specific muscles, finely crafted weights could be adjusted to the desired intensity.

‘Nothing compared to my time in the martial world.’

Pummeling hot sand, climbing mountains with rocks on one’s back, or wiping vast floors annoyingly alone…

There’s romance in the tales of martial arts, but frankly, in the absence of exercise equipment, such training was what they resorted to.

If a martial artist from that era ever saw a modern fitness club, it could be comparable to the temple of a martial deity.

Modern technology is sometimes more mysterious than magic or faith.

‘My physique might even become better than it was at its peak.’

It’s been exactly one month since he joined this place.

With this rate of progress, his journey would be quite smooth.

Kang Tae-Han smiled, pleased as he looked at himself in the mirror.

Meanwhile,

“Look over there. Isn’t that the guy?”

“That guy?”

“Yeah, the one who improved his three major lifts from 300 to 500 in just a month. The manager mentioned him before.”

“Come on, does that even sound possible? Realistically, how can that be a body built in just a month?”

Kang Tae-Han’s training was not only under his own scrutiny.

His exceptional rate of improvement made him an unknowing celebrity in the gym.

‘Now, did I get a response?’

An encounter on Mt. Gyeryong, where a person had accidentally rolled down a steep slope, led Kang Tae-Han to save them and form a connection.

Before starting his workout, Kang Tae-Han had texted one of the people he had given his business card to, Park Ho-yeon, asking if it would be okay to visit the mountain they had talked about.

He had no intention of flaunting saving a life, but considering the potential benefits of the Platycodon wine he had tasted then, it was worth pursuing, even if it meant being brazen.

Maybe checking would be better.

Having finished his workout for the day, Kang Tae-Han headed to the locker room to check his smartphone.

“It’s here.”

Fortunately, there was a text message waiting.

But its content was not what Kang Tae-Han had expected.

[Sorry for not contacting you sooner, Tae-Han student. I hesitated to tell you this because I didn’t want to worry you, but my friend who had the accident that day is still unconscious. So I’m afraid going to the mountain might be…]

“…Hm?”

It seemed he wouldn’t be able to visit right away.

* * *

The next day, Wednesday.

Taking the morning train to reach Daejeon Station, Kang Tae-Han immediately hailed a taxi to the hospital.

It was, of course, where Mr. Shin Jun-Ho, the patient Kang Tae-Han had saved, was admitted.

[If it’s urgent, I’ll let you know where the mountain is. I’m sure even if Jun-Ho had been conscious, he would’ve been fine with it.]

“Hmm.”

Kang Tae-Han re-read the contents of the text message he had received the previous day.

They were willing to share the location of the mountain and said it was fine for him to visit on his own.

In theory, he could skip the hospital visit and head straight there if he knew the location.

He was confident that he could navigate the mountain alone without a guide.

However,

‘It just doesn’t sit right to let this go.’

It wasn’t a matter of ethics in terms of bestowing charity to others.

This was about the fact that it seemed wrong to exploit the mountain while its master lay unconscious. To put it bluntly, that would be thuggish behavior!

It was still uncertain, but perhaps there was a chance he could assist.

Moreover, since it was a person he once saved who remained unconscious, Kang Tae-Han found himself more concerned.

‘But he seemed alright when I found him.’

Kang Tae-Han recalled the moment when he gave rescue.

Naturally, he had briefly checked the condition of the injured since they had lost consciousness rolling down the hill. There were injuries, of course, but nothing that seemed seriously life-threatening.

‘Guess I’ll find out when I get there.’

There could have been a deeper issue, or perhaps complications arose along the way.

Regardless, all would be…

Once it arrives and I check it, that’ll be the end of it. Before I knew it, the taxi had reached the destination. Kang Tae-han got out of the taxi and looked up. Baek Hospital. It was a large hospital at least in Daejeon, with a sizable property and buildings that could remind one of a small campus. The Park Ho-yeon I had met before was the director of this hospital. Then it made sense that his friend, Shin Jun-ho, would eventually be transferred here.

“It’s a bit awkward to go empty-handed.”

Suddenly, after noticing the gift sets displayed at the store near the main gate, Kang Tae-han looked down at his empty hands. The purpose of his visit was to pay a sick visit, and he had come to continue what seemed to be a good connection. So, Kang Tae-han stopped by the store and bought a box of nutritional drinks.

“This should be enough, right?”

“Ah, isn’t that Tae-han?” While he was checking the price tag of the gift, someone ahead recognized Kang Tae-han. It was Park Ho-yeon, one of the group he had met in the mountains.

“Hello… Director,” he hesitated at what to call her and quickly added a title.

“You really came. It must have been a long journey from Seoul.”

“I couldn’t stop thinking about it after hearing the story.”

“Then I should express my gratitude, for Jun-ho’s sake.”

Park Ho-yeon said with a faint smile, though it seemed somewhat bitter.

“Director, we are…”

“Ah, yes. You go on first.”

At Park Ho-yeon’s words, the group behind nodded and moved on. They looked like they were other doctors from the hospital.

“You seem to be on your way from a meal.”

“Hmm, I came out a little later than usual but meeting Tae-han like this, it turned out to be a good thing. Since you’re here for a sick visit, I’ll guide you there.”

“Is that really okay?”

“What’s there not to be okay about?”

“Then it would be great for me.”

Kang Tae-han smiled. Even during their previous conversation, he felt that this person, who seemed quite energetic, was really nice.

* * *

“No one is here.”

Click, Park Ho-yeon turned on the light as she entered the hospital room. A spacious four-person room with four beds. In it, only Shin Jun-ho was lying in bed. The patient’s side of the room felt warm despite the empty space looking somewhat desolate. This was due to the bunch of flowers and various gifts piled on the table, and a crudely drawn picture.

[Don’t be sick, Daddy]

A family drawing that seemed to be drawn by a child and the clumsy writing underneath. In addition, there were traces of many visitors and families who had stayed for a long time.

Kang Tae-han, holding the box of drinks, broke into a slight smile as he put it down among the gifts.

“It seems many people have visited.”

“He’s a person who’s been good with relationships since the old days.”

Park Ho-yeon stated plainly, but it’s likely that he wasn’t just good with people but rather one of those who might be called a truly good person. Sometimes, one can tell at a glance how someone has lived their life.

“He seems like a good person.”

It was a fortunate thing for Kang Tae-han. If one is to bestow kindness, it’s better to do so upon a good person rather than an evil one.

“If you don’t mind, may I feel the patient’s pulse?”

“Pulse… you mean?”

“I’ve learned a bit by watching.”

Uh-huh. Park Ho-yeon hesitated but nodded shortly after. It may not have been the best decision as a doctor, but remembering his performance on the mountain, she had a hunch that he might be onto something.

“Then, please allow me to focus for a moment.”

There was no reason to hesitate with the hospital director’s approval. Kang Tae-han carefully checked the pulse on Shin Jun-ho’s wrist and the arteries on the back of his neck.

‘…As I suspected, there’s no problem on the surface.’

The findings were consistent with what he had confirmed before. If one discounted the fact that Shin Jun-ho was wearing a bandage on his head and around his respiratory system, he appeared quite ordinary. His complexion was good, and his pulse was normal.

“There seems to be no serious issue with his body.”

“In the examination, no abnormalities were found.”

“But… I think I have a rough idea.”

“What do you mean?”

Kang Tae-han, without answering immediately, placed his fingers back to the nape of Shin Jun-ho’s neck. He closed his eyes slightly and drew up the internal strength from his lower abdomen, channeling it into the patient’s meridian pathways. Not a significant amount of internal strength was needed here. In fact, excessive internal strength could instead bring the risk of injuring the patient with internal damage.

Just a very minute amount. Sending only as much internal strength needed, he stretched it out like thread, expanding his sense like he was unfolding a sense-detecting perimeter.

‘…Just as I thought.’

There was a spot, from the neck moving closer to the upper energy center, which felt like hitting a wall. It looked as though the flow through the meridians was significantly weaker than normal.

“I can do it.”

“What… can you do it?”

Kang Tae-han’s gaze turned to Park Ho-yeon, who flinched momentarily. It was hard to explain, but… the atmosphere around Kang Tae-han had changed from just before.

“I think I can help this person.”

“What, what does that mean?”

Instead of replying, Kang Tae-han turned back to the patient. The upper energy center is responsible for cognitive abilities and the spiritual aspect, corresponding to the brain in physiological terms. It’s an essential part of maintaining life and constitutes the core organ that forms a person’s spirit and personality.

There’s a saying that if the lower energy center is damaged, a martial artist’s life is over, but if the upper energy center is damaged, life itself is severed. Even if one’s life is spared, it’s difficult to remain sane. In other words, it’s an inherently sensitive area that must be protected.

So sometimes, when faced with a severe impact or a threat to life, the connection to the upper energy center is severed, leaving only the minimum life-preserving functions active. Like a reflexive whelk retreating into its shell, it’s a last resort to protect even the upper energy center selbst.

Then, the solution is not difficult.

In that part of the meridians blocked like a wall, one needs to stimulate that area slowly, carefully coaxing it out from the inside out. Not only that, but the required preparation was already made.

A small amount of inner strength sent right up to that blocked entrance.

Using that, he lightly stimulated the obstructed entryway.

Once, twice, thrice.

‘If it were bewitchment or deep inner demons, this would be useless.’

But this was enough for the current situation.

After about ten or so repetitions,

“Hmmmm…”

The eyelids of Shin Jun-ho, the patient on the bed, began to twitch.



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