The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage chapter 2

The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage

“Excuse me, sir. It appears your card is insufficiently funded…”

“Ah, right. It slipped my mind.”

Kang Taehan awkwardly accepted his card back and rummaged through his wallet.

Luckily, he had some cash on him, so he took out a 5,000 won note and extended it towards the cashier.

“Thank you, please come again.”

With the employee’s farewell ringing in his ears, Kang Taehan stepped outside.

What he had purchased was none other than a 500ml bottle of cola, cold enough to chill his palm.

“Kuh-euh! That’s the stuff, wonderful!”

He took a swig immediately, feeling the electrifying sensation cascade down his throat.

It was as if he was being reminded of a modern life he had long forgotten.

“Fortunately, it’s not as unfamiliar as I thought.”

Kang Taehan had lived decades in the martial world—a full sixty years to be precise.

During that time, he had nearly forgotten about his original world, but once he stepped outside, most of his memories quickly resurfaced.

“I worried for nothing.”

He had concerns about adjusting and even finding his way around after such a long time, but they were unfounded.

Familiarity tugged at him, yet nothing felt awkward or unfamiliar.

After all, even though he had spent sixty years away, time had scarcely passed here.

It was as if he had simply woken from a slightly long dream.

“I could take the subway, but…”

Kang Taehan checked the time.

He had plenty of time before his appointment with Choi Seonghyun, but he had come out early to stroll around the streets, something he hadn’t done in a while.

Step by step, he walked at a leisurely pace.

“It’s not that far after all.”

Kang Taehan decided to walk, partly to acclimatize.

He confirmed Choi Seonghyun’s location sent via KakaoTalk and traced the route.

The jjimjilbang Choi Seonghyun had marked wasn’t hard to find—just a simple search brought it up on the first page, indicating its significant size.

Reportedly, there was a sizeable massage parlor inside, which was looking for extra hands.

Of course, both he and Choi Seonghyun were students yet to graduate, but with a certificate, they were qualified enough.

“A certification can be of use someday, they said.”

The saying proved true in this situation.

It was, in truth, the benefit of a qualification he had secured six decades ago.

“But on another note, my body is really weak.”

Kang Taehan took in a deep breath.

He had only walked about seven thousand steps, but he could feel a mild ache starting in his calves.

His training in martial arts had left him with a poorly conditioned body, devoid of any significant internal strength.

Fancy moves like light body techniques were out of the question, and he could barely manage the most basic of fundamental principles, let alone the third-rate stepping techniques.

“Knowing dozens of secret manuals is useless without the strength to use them.”

Once called a Celestial Demon, he had learned and mastered most of the martial arts and mental disciplines in the martial world.

However, those disciplines were methods to absorb qi and store it as internal power.

Without any internal power to begin with, let alone a body and internal power to control it, it was impossible to put those methods to use.

And this was the modern world.

As he walked, he took note of the environment and, as expected, found the concentration of qi floating in the air to be drastically thinner and murkier compared to the martial world.

Naturally, the efficiency of the mental disciplines was significantly diminished.

“Well, that’s what is average here, I suppose.”

This wasn’t the martial world and there was no need to worry about one’s physical prowess.

He had to discard the standards of his past life.

But still, shouldn’t a man possess enough strength to protect himself? At least enough to make it reassuring, like stopping a truck if needed.

“Maybe I should find a decent mountain to train on.”

In this state, it might take him at least 20 years, perhaps even longer, to build up a proper base of internal power.

“Hey, Taehan! You made it!”

Just then, someone waved from up ahead.

It was none other than Choi Seonghyun.

Seeing the face of his old friend, Kang Taehan couldn’t help but smile unwittingly.

“It’s been quite a while.”

He began to form a cupped-fist salute, but then suddenly remembered where he was and waved his hand instead.

Without realizing it, an instinct from his martial world days had almost surfaced.

“‘It’s been quite a while’? I told you to ease up on those martial arts novels. When are you going to drop that act?”

“…Indeed.”

A smirk tugged at the corner of Kang Taehan’s eyes.

The way of speaking and habits he had adopted were from the martial world.

It would be better to adjust them now that he was back in modern times, but it still felt awkward.

“Quite the amusing situation.”

Initially, in the martial world, his contemporary speech and manners made him the odd one out. Now, it was the other way around.

Well, he would take his time adjusting.

Taehan let out another chuckle and performed the cupped-fist salute again.

“I just spent last night watching a martial arts film.”

“…Your commitment to the act is solid. I give up. It’s not the first time for you doing this. At least, thank heavens it’s only the speech.”

Choi Seonghyun snorted in a mix of amusement and exasperation.

Known to be a martial arts enthusiast since high school, and always diving into it at least once a month…

There were times when such mischief was done regularly.

“But you can’t do that nonsense there?”

“Just kidding. But really, what should we do when we get there today?”

Kang Tae-Han asked in a somewhat more relaxed tone.

“Didn’t I tell you everything in KakaoTalk? We just wait there, and only take customers once all the massage therapists have left.”

It seemed that they would be deployed when the professional masseurs were all out, and there was a shortage of hands.

In other words, they were a reserve force.

Just waiting would already earn them the minimum wage, but if they got work, a portion of the earnings would be paid out as performance bonuses.

And those were quite generous.

“Of course, you do a bit of erranding while waiting, but even considering that, it’s a sweet deal. I originally planned to keep this honey to myself, but the manager said we were short on hands.”

Choi Seong-Hyun chuckled and took the lead.

After walking for a while, their destination appeared in front of them.

An eight-story building that included a parking lot.

A large building that was a bathhouse in its entirety, visible from far away.

“Manager! I’m here!”

“Oh, is that Seong-Hyun? You’re early.”

As they entered through the employee entrance at the back, they were greeted with a spacious area.

Apparently close with the staff, Choi Seong-Hyun waved first and went inside.

“And… This friend?”

“Yes. He’s a really good guy. Hardworking and skilled, and even gave a professor a shoulder rub.”

“Is that so…? He doesn’t look much on the outside.”

The man called the manager glanced sideways at Kang Tae-Han.

From the looks of it, his first impression wasn’t particularly pleasing.

“Hey, he’s really good. He passed his certification in one go, no one in our class can match him.”

“Seong-Hyun, since you talk so highly of him, I’ll push aside the others and give him a try…”

Their conversation went on for quite some time.

Not all of it could be heard, but one could guess what was being discussed through the context.

‘So that’s what it was about.’

Choi Seong-Hyun had apparently brought him due to a shortage of hands, but in reality, he had arranged a spot for him separately.

Kang Tae-Han let out a wry smile.

‘He always was that kind of guy.’

Although not outwardly obvious, he was someone who had a lot of compassion and worried about others.

He had been that way since high school.

Probably, he did this because he heard that Tae-Han’s living expenses were running low.

“Hey! We’re all set. Let’s get changed and start working.”

After finishing their conversation, Choi Seong-Hyun came back, still smiling.

“…Alright.”

“Shall we go to the hot pool and wash up? We came early and have some time.”

“Sounds good. We can use the bath too.”

Kang Tae-Han didn’t specifically say thank you.

He simply resolved to repay the favor someday.

* * *

“Ughhh…”

Thud.

The man collapsed onto the floor and immediately opened the lid of the rice punch container, taking a large gulp.

The ice inside crunched in his mouth.

As the sound of the ice breaking resonated cheerfully, he gazed vacantly into space.

“I’m dying, seriously dying…”

Deputy Nam Woo-Hyun.

Although his title said deputy, his treatment was not much different from that of an ordinary employee—it was just a title given so he wouldn’t be disregarded when going out for sales.

‘And on top of that, my work just keeps increasing…’

One task completed led to two more appearing, and just looking at the work schedule was enough to elicit a sigh.

Furthermore, he was part of the sales team.

Although the drinking culture is said to be improving these days, it was still a far cry from the sales department.

As a result, the longer he stayed at his job, the more his body seemed to deteriorate.

‘I’d like to get a new head.’

Although visits to the sauna were his only solace amid his tiring business trips… even that no longer brought him much excitement.

It felt nice to soak in the hot water, but once he stepped out, he was back to his original state.

‘I should just quit the company… Huh?’

Just as he reached the same conclusion as always and was about to drink more rice punch, a signboard caught his eye.

[Sports Massage]

[A Course: Intensive Fatigue Recovery 30/60 minutes]

[B Course: Intensive Skin Elasticity 20/40 minutes]

[C Course……]

‘Massage, huh…’

He had often visited saunas and bathhouses but had never received a massage there.

It felt strange, and frankly, it seemed like a waste of money.

But overwhelmed with fatigue, he craved a new stimulation.

He was drawn to such a signboard, something he would normally not even notice.

‘I wonder if they have many customers?’

It seemed that customers were coming and going.

Which meant that the place wasn’t utterly devoid of skill.

‘Let’s see… a thirty-minute session before heading back to the office would be perfect timing.’

Deputy Nam Woo-Hyun finished the rest of his rice punch and stood up from his seat.



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