The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage chapter 32

The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage

“Anyway, it’s really boring.”

Even if I play golf, it’s not fun because I have to awkwardly control my strength.

It’s also awkward to go for a walk, so, in the end, Kang Taehan just watched other people practicing.

People who like golf come to practice even on weekdays in their free time, people who are practically dragged here as an extension of their work, and people who seem to have a lot of free time and look totally relaxed.

Despite it being a Wednesday afternoon, there was a variety of people gathered, and looking around was somewhat entertaining.

Among them, Taehan’s gaze lingered frequently on a young female student who was practicing nearby.

The reason was simple.

Among all the people here, she was the one with the most outstanding skills.

Despite appearing to be the youngest too.

Of course, since Taehan wasn’t a golf expert, he couldn’t make a detailed evaluation, but he could recognize the balance of power in each movement and the degree of technique.

If she had achieved so much at such a young age, she must not only have talent but also a serious commitment to it as a profession.

“However… that makes it all the more regrettable.”

Her posture was good, and the timing of her breathing and swing was appropriate.

It was a skill that undoubtedly came from a long time practicing the basics, without conscious thought.

But at the moment of the swing, her body twitched and lost balance when her waist turned.

It was a momentary lapse, difficult to spot at a glance, but those moments had a fatal impact.

Sure enough, the trajectory of the ball she had hit and her darkened expression as she observed it confirmed it.

This mistake happened once every few shots.

But the cause didn’t seem to be a lack of skill or practice, but rather an injury in her waist.

From Taehan’s point of view, it was a pitiful sight.

“Sigh…”

Maybe she was dissatisfied with her last swing, as she put her equipment down and sat on a bench behind her.

Since there were benches here and there, the one she chose was naturally next to Taehan’s seat.

“You play well.”

“Ah, yes.”

Taehan initiated conversation, and she responded decently, nodding her head.

There are always people willing to chat in a golf practice range, but she didn’t always welcome it.

However, after looking at Taehan, an intrigued expression briefly crossed her face.

“Ah, that strange golfing guy.”

“Strange?”

“I saw you from nearby earlier. Your posture looks self-taught, but you hit the ball quite impressively.”

You can usually tell if someone is professionally trained by their posture.

Yet, with just a glance, it was hard to judge Taehan.

His stance seemed far from standard, but it had a peculiar feeling of being proficient…

“I do get the feeling of someone who has played a lot on their own, but I’ve never seen someone at your level before. That’s why it was fascinating.”

“Do I look that much like I’ve never had lessons?”

“Quite a bit. But, well… Even if it’s unconventional, someone at your level doesn’t really need lessons if you’re just playing for fun.”

She, Chae Eun-bi, shrugged her shoulders as she spoke.

“It doesn’t look like you’re just playing for fun, though.”

“Why do you think so?”

“Even someone like me, who knows nothing about golf, can tell that your skills are solid. The feeling that you’ve built up the basics step by step, right?”

It was time to kill boredom anyway.

Since he had been watching with some interest, Taehan naturally continued the conversation.

“Ah, so Eun-bi has been playing since elementary school?”

“Yes, well. I think I got a bronze medal in some competition back then… When I wore it for the first time, I went nuts.”

Chae Eun-bi reminisced with a nuanced expression, feeling both embarrassed and proud of the memories that sparked her serious interest in golf.

“I was somewhat well-known even at high school level. You might find that out if you search it up.”

“Can I search it up now?”

“No, that’s a bit embarrassing… But if you really want to, go ahead.”

She was bashful yet evidently pleased as she spoke.

Had the conversation continued on for a bit longer?

“Then are you active as a pro now?”

Chae Eun-bi’s expression stiffened at Taehan’s sudden question.

She forced a smile and replied cheerfully.

“Ah, not anyone can just become a pro. Golf was just until high school, now I have to look for something else.”

“I see.”

Taehan nodded with a neutral expression.

Her words seemed to be a lie at first glance.

The expression on her face showed bitterness and longing when the pain from her injury caused a mistake while hitting the ball.

If she had really given up on golf cleanly, she wouldn’t be at a golf practice range, swinging a golf club.

“Giving up on a dream at a young age because of an injury is terribly unfortunate…”

It was a pitiful situation, and he genuinely wanted to help, but…

It would be absurd to suddenly ask her to lie down and say he’d have a look at her back.

“By the way, I haven’t introduced myself yet.”

Taehan took out a thin business card wallet from his inner pocket.

It was a gift from Director Hwang when the master course was first established, and he’d been carrying it around since.

“Massage therapist?”

“Yes. It’s a bit awkward to say myself, but I’m pretty skilled. So…”

Taehan smiled lightly as he continued.

“If you have any discomfort in your body, come and see me. It’s my job to help when that happens.”

“Are you doing business now?”

“You could say that.”

Taehan shrugged his shoulders.

His demeanor was playful, but…

A subtly changed, more profound atmosphere lent an indefinable trust to his voice.

“Just contact me and come after 7 PM.”

“Why after 7?”

“I usually take appointments, but I’m making special time for you.”

“That’s a terrible sales pitch.”

She frowned briefly, but then laughed and tucked away the business card.

“Wow, that guy… I thought he didn’t need to take golf lessons. He wasn’t here for golf, was he?”

“Ha, that Taehan… quite a guy…”

Meanwhile, Kang Hoyeon and Jo Wonho had been watching the scene from a distance with amused expressions. They were wondering what he was up to since he was missing, only to find him engaged in that.

“I knew that our brother’s son was exceptional in many ways, but I had no idea he had this side to him as well.”

Of course, Taehan approached with good intentions, but to anyone else, it would seem like a clear romantic venture.

* * *

In an alley in Dong District, Daejeon, located Taehan’s restaurant.

Following Taehan’s suggestion, they had decided to close every Wednesday starting last week, but…

Despite it being Wednesday, there was still the sound of hand-pulled noodles being made.

Thunk, thunk…

Thump!

The one energetically pulling noodles was none other than Kang Ho-yeon. With each hefty sound that echoed, the large lump of flour dough gradually started to take the form of noodles. Watching this, Jo Won-ho burst out in admiration.

“It’s been so long since I’ve seen someone hand-pull noodles like this. Brother, you’ve got some serious skills, don’t you?”

“Ah, it’s nothing. People used to do this much back in the days.”

“Being modest, aren’t we? I come from those days too, you know?”

Kang Ho-yeon brushed off the compliment with a laugh, but as they say, even a whale dances to flattery. Slightly more force entered his hand movements as he continued to make the noodles.

Why were the two of them who had been at the golf range now here in this place? The process had flowed quite naturally. Kang Ho-yeon’s first golf experience had ended successfully, but how could they part ways immediately afterward without some kind of follow-up? Naturally, the offer to have a meal together arose.

At that point, Jo Won-ho had expressed his interest upon hearing that Kang Ho-yeon was a chef of Chinese cuisine who even pulled his own noodles…

It led to them naturally suggesting, “Then why don’t we go to your restaurant, Brother?” And so, they ended up in the situation where Kang Ho-yeon was pulling noodles.

‘I never expected it to turn out like this…’

While the events had flowed smoothly to this point, Kang Tae-han felt unexpectedly perplexed upon reflection. Initially, he had contacted Jo Won-ho hoping to find someone knowledgeable about golf, but not only did Jo Won-ho offer a one-on-one lesson, their relationship had now blossomed into something more like friendship.

Kang Tae-han knew Jo Won-ho had a sociable personality from the moment they met, but he hadn’t anticipated that his affinity would be to this extent. No, it wasn’t just one side being sociable; the two were a great match for each other.

‘Well… there’s nothing wrong with that.’

Kang Tae-han had speculated that his father had been so engrossed in work that his social circle had grown distant. Finding a friend with whom his father could connect was undoubtedly a good thing, especially since Jo Won-ho himself seemed to be a decent person.

“Wow, Brother! You could sell this, you know?”

A freshly made tray of jajangmyeon with steam rising from its hot surface had arrived. The glossy, chewy noodles and the sweet and savory scent of the black bean sauce combined with the freshly stir-fried onions made one’s mouth water before even tasting it.

Having taken a bite, Jo Won-ho gave a thumbs-up in admiration, which elicited a suppressed laugh from Kang Ho-yeon.

“Of course it’s for sale. Whose restaurant do you think this is?”

“Aha! No wonder I felt like paying for the taste.”

And then, Jo Won-ho made one of the most enthusiastically expressive actions one makes when enjoying food—he began to eat voraciously without speaking.

“You should at least leave some room for the side dishes.”

Following up with a serving of jjamppong soup and yusan-seul, Kang Ho-yeon teased with a hint of laughter in his voice. The generous ingredients in the jjamppong and the abalone, not typically included in yusan-seul, seemed to reflect his mood.

“Uh-ha, this is impossible not to accompany with a drink.”

With the delectable jajangmyeon, spicy jjamppong broth, and the subtly savory yusan-seul, it was a full spread perfect for anju (food served with alcohol).

“Besides, you’re really picking up golfing quickly, Brother. You’ll be ready for a round soon, right?”

“What’s a round?”

“It’s when you actually play on a golf course. Technically, what we did today was just practicing swings. Real golf is out on the field. Ah, let me pour you another drink.”

Enjoyable conversation flowed naturally with the delicious meal, and the exchange of drink seemed to completely relax them. It was a fitting end to their holiday evening meal.

As the soju bottles emptied—one, two… When they were about to finish off the fifth bottle, Jo Won-ho looked at Kang Tae-han with a puzzled expression.

“…Tae-han, you can handle your liquor quite well, can’t you?”

Jo Won-ho enjoyed socializing and was used to attending drinking gatherings with a respectable alcohol tolerance. He had never been known to be weak with alcohol.

However, in his view, Kang Tae-han wasn’t just strong; he was beyond the usual limits. Even someone with a high tolerance gets tipsy, but now, despite the five bottles they’d gone through, Kang Tae-han’s face showed no sign of redness or intoxication.

“I’m on the stronger side, yes.”

Kang Tae-han replied with a light smile. There was a reason for his apparent immunity to alcohol.

‘I can’t get drunk in front of my father.’

Internal martial arts involve managing the body’s qi and meridians. Kang Tae-han, who could consciously regulate the flow of qi through his body, could purify alcohol before it even reached the liver. For him, drunkenness was a matter of choice.

Today was simply not the right occasion to indulge.

“Our Tae-han must have inherited the strong tolerance from me.”

“But you seem to be getting red in the face, Brother.”

“That’s why I’m not drinking more.”

Though Kang Ho-yeon was in a good mood and would like to drink more, he had to moderate as the restaurant would open the following day.

“Doesn’t that sound strange?”

“Just means I was strong back in my day. Anyway, I’ll quickly step out to the restroom.”

Kang Ho-yeon stood up, perhaps to clear his head, leaving for a moment.

During the brief silence that followed… Kang Tae-han spoke softly to Jo Won-ho.

“Thank you for today, President Jo.”

“Eh? Ah, don’t mention it. Thanks to you, I’ve enjoyed myself and got pleasantly drunk after a long time.”

Kang Tae-han shook his head in response to Jo Won-ho’s words.

“Actually, it seems like you’ve brought my father out for some fun. I’m worried my meddling might have gotten in the way.”

But Kang Tae-han shook his head again.

“No. Thanks to President Jo, my father learned golf comfortably… If it weren’t for you, he might not have had such a great time.”

Although the plan to spend time just with his father had deviated slightly, the goal of having an enjoyable holiday with him was perfectly achieved. Even without Jo Won-ho, they would’ve had a good time, but they wouldn’t have created such a merry atmosphere as they had today.

Sharing joy with family and enjoying time with a likeminded friend feel different. Last time he had seen his father’s joy from family, and today, thanks to Jo Won-ho, he had witnessed a different kind of happiness. For Kang Tae-han, it had been a satisfactory day.

“So in fact, I’m the one who is grateful.”

“Heh…”

For a while, Jo Won-ho just stared at Kang Tae-han in silence. As a father himself, though still with a young child, he couldn’t help but be profoundly moved by Kang Tae-han’s words.

‘Will my child ever speak like that…?’

Feeling envious towards Kang Ho-yeon, Jo Won-ho finished off his half-full glass.

“And by the way, President Jo.”

“Just call me ‘Uncle,’ not President!”

“…Excuse me?”

Caught off guard by this sudden progression in their relationship, Kang Tae-han was taken aback and asked again.



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