The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage chapter 34

The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage

“Hmm…”

Kang Tae-han casually crossed his arms and slowly looked around.

The place he was now sitting in was the driver’s seat of a car.

And the car was none other than the Santa Fe that Shin Jun-ho had mentioned.

When Kang Tae-han half-jokingly asked if the car had any defects because it was priced so low, Shin Jun-ho responded, “That’s not the case, just come and see for yourself,” and immediately brought Kang Tae-han to where the car was parked.

‘I’m not sure of the details, but… it’s been five years, and isn’t it in incredibly good condition?’

Seeing no reason to refuse, Kang Tae-han was now sitting in the driver’s seat examining the interior… Shin Jun-ho had said that the car hadn’t been driven much, and indeed, the odometer showed less than 40,000 kilometers.

There was some dust accumulated on the exterior, making it look dirty, but that was simply due to it being parked for a long time.

At least from the outside, there seemed to be no problems with the car.

“They were trying to hit you with a lowball offer on this?”

“Ha… Yes, something like that.”

If they were trying to hit on such a good quality car, they must have had a lot of nerve.

Of course, it was all made-up, so Shin Jun-ho’s gaze slid away, avoiding Kang Tae-han’s eyes.

‘They say a relationship formed through a good deed brings blessings…’

A faint smile crossed Kang Tae-han’s lips, who had already roughly figured out what was going on.

This was a connection that stemmed from the accident scene they encountered at Mount Gyeryong that day.

Had Kang Tae-han simply passed by without giving it much thought, he wouldn’t have received the remedy, nor this present.

“Is it okay if I start the engine?”

“Why not? Just take it for a spin.”

Vroom…

As soon as he pressed the start button, the engine came to life with a smooth hum.

It reacted as if it had been regularly used, rather than being old.

‘It doesn’t seem to have any major internal problems either.’

Although Kang Tae-han was not well-versed in automotive structures, he could roughly sense whether the circulation was problematic or going smoothly through his instincts.

Given that each component moved smoothly without any unusual friction or collision, it seemed that the care was not only external but was well-maintained overall.

‘Now then…’

He gently placed his hand on the steering wheel, released the parking gear, and gently pressed the accelerator with his right foot.

The car glided smoothly out of the parking lot, threaded through a narrow alley, and soon got onto the road.

“Oh, looks like you’ve driven quite a bit before.”

After a while, Shin Jun-ho, who was sitting in the passenger seat, casually started a conversation.

As they took a casual tour around the city streets.

The way Kang Tae-han smoothly exited a narrow alley, along with his gentle acceleration and cornering, made it clear that his driving skills were no ordinary feat.

However, Kang Tae-han’s reply was not what Shin Jun-ho had expected.

“No, this is my first time driving since I got my license.”

“…Huh? When did you get it?”

“Sixty… no, about six years ago.”

He had just finished speaking when the car entered a sharp curve section.

Without slowing down, the vehicle smoothly entered the cornering motion.

There was only a slight feeling of inertia, but the car body completed the curve without any issues.

Shin Jun-ho’s astonishment was evident as he watched the contents of the plastic bottle he was holding barely sway from side to side.

“But it’s easier than I thought. They say you don’t easily forget what you learn with your body.”

Kang Tae-han looked entirely at ease.

It might have been the first time he held a steering wheel in sixty years, but with just a few turns of the wheel and presses of the pedal, he seemed to have already mastered most of the techniques and sensations.

The width of the car, the feel of the steering wheel, and the sight lines – everything felt natural, as if they were extensions of his own body.

“Yeah… You’re really good at this.”

Meanwhile, Shin Jun-ho, with a slightly stiff expression, gripped the assist handle above the passenger seat.

The smooth, experienced driving of what seemed to be a dormant license…

He found the combination of these seemingly contradictory terms unsettling and felt the need to hold onto something.

* * *

Phew…

A middle-aged man entering the bathhouse let out a long sigh.

After briefly washing his face with the bathwater, he soaked in the warmth for a moment before speaking slowly.

“This bathhouse isn’t bad either.”

“Right? And coming here during the day has its own special charm.”

The young man next to him chimed in agreement.

O Jae-yun, the manager of Hanha, and Choi Tae-jun, a pitcher, were currently enjoying a bath at a sauna in Seoul during the daytime.

“But how do I make this up to you.”

“What do you mean?”

“I feel bad, you know, coming to the sauna with the manager on a day off.”

It was their day off in Seoul after a match.

The manager knew that many of the players were already out and about after winning the previous day’s game.

Choi Tae-jun chuckled and shrugged.

“If you feel bad, you could just give me your massage reservation for today.”

“What? You little…”

The manager glanced at him as if annoyed, and Choi Tae-jun laughed heartily and leaned back.

Then he added in a nonchalant voice,

“Well, If I didn’t want to come, I wouldn’t have followed. It’s nice to enjoy a sauna and get a massage… Of course, it would be better to have it done by Master Kang Tae-han.”

The fame of the massage parlor here was mainly due to Kang Tae-han, but even so, when he visited last time, the facilities themselves were quite decent.

They were reasonably large and well-managed.

Of course, he didn’t think they would compare to Master Kang Tae-han’s artisan course, but it was still sufficient for enjoying the sauna and relieving fatigue.

“…You’ve really gotten a lot more relaxed.”

“Huh? Oh. Have I been too comfortable?”

The pitcher was taken aback by the manager’s comment.

But O Jae-yun quickly waved his hand, startled, and said,

“You’re making this weird! Not relaxed like that, but yes… I mean something like your mindset has become more relaxed!”

There used to be a feeling that he was on edge, both mentally and physically.

Perhaps it was because he had become fixated on overcoming the initial shock of moving into the pros through effort and training…

The idea of him being able to crack a light joke like this was unimaginable not too long ago.

“It’s just that I’ve put down some of my load.”

Joe.”

There’s no need to satisfy everyone’s expectations.

The moment Choi Tae-joon realized that, his career as an athlete reached a major turning point.

At least it allowed him to overcome his long slump.

“I owe a lot of thanks to Teacher Kang. It’s not just the mental aspect, but I feel almost as if my body’s back to its original condition. Ah, of course, I have received even more help from the manager.”

Choi Tae-joon, belatedly aware of the manager’s gaze, gave a thumbs-up, prompting a snort of laughter from Oh Jae-yoon.

“Alright, kid. You wouldn’t listen to us when we told you to rest. You just ignored our advice.”

“Ah, well, I’m sorry for that… But back then, whatever people around me said just sounded like empty consolation. It didn’t feel like rest even when I did take a break…”

As Choi Tae-joon’s voice trailed off with a slightly bitter expression, Oh Jae-yoon sighed softly and shook his head.

He could guess how Choi Tae-joon felt all too well.

At any rate, it was fortunate that things had worked out.

Oh Jae-yoon changed the subject.

“So, is this Teacher Kang you’re talking about really as skilled with his hands as they say?”

“Yes. And now, Manager, you’ll get to experience that skill for yourself. Do you have any discomfort anywhere?”

“I’m here not really to receive treatment myself, but to assess the skill. I don’t necessarily need to have anything specific treated.”

Oh Jae-yoon gestured with his hands as if he were applying pressure points, implying that he was there for a preliminary inspection.

He had come to see whether Kang Tae-han was truly as adept as rumored and, if so, how much he could help with the players’ physical condition management.

What mattered wasn’t how much he could care for his own body but how well he could address common sports injuries like wrists, shoulders, and knees.

“But there’s no injury on you, right?” Choi Tae-joon asked with a touch of confusion.

At that, Oh Jae-yoon clicked his tongue and gave him a ribbing.

“Hey, just say something feels stiff and get it checked. You can tell how it’s done even if you’re not actually injured, right?”

“Well… if you say so, Manager.”

Choi Tae-joon had a feeling that Teacher Kang would see right through such a lie, but…

For now, he played along with the manager’s words.

* * *

[Tae-han, how’s the weather in Korea? It’s totally pouring here.]

[It’s clear here with no issues.]

[Lucky you. Unless I come for fun, coming here for a shoot is just inconvenient.]

Below that text was a small crying rabbit emoticon, squatting and sobbing.

Kang Tae-han let out a snicker upon seeing Yu Se-a’s message.

After their last meeting, Yu Se-a started sending frequent KakaoTalk messages like this, asking about his well-being or sharing snippets of daily life.

She was currently on an overseas location shoot on some island in Thailand.

‘It somehow reminds me of my martial arts days.’

Back then, he also exchanged letters with friends who were far away or couldn’t easily meet due to their circumstances.

Of course, back in those days, it wasn’t easy to send even one letter in six months due to the circumstances.

Thinking back, these modern times felt incredibly convenient.

If he wanted to say something, he could send a message instantly, regardless of mountains or seas between them.

Kang Tae-han smiled lightly at the corner of his mouth and replied to Yu Se-a’s message.

[KakaoTalk!]

Just then, his smartphone alerted him to a new message—but it wasn’t from Yu Se-a, it was from someone else.

[Uncle, I’m planning to visit Seoul soon to meet a friend, is it alright to come by the time you mentioned?]

It was none other than Chae Eun-bi, who he had met recently at Jo Won-ho’s golf range.

Kang Tae-han thought for a moment before replying.

[Come whenever it’s convenient for you. I’ll make time whenever Eun-bi tells me she’s coming.]

That was the proper response since he had invited her.

However, he had to make sure she understood the condition that she should come after 7 p.m.

[ㅋㅋ What’s with that? Sounds like a cheesy pick-up line.]

…Why would it sound like a pick-up line?

Perplexed by Chae Eun-bi’s response, Kang Tae-han furrowed his brows.

“Who are you messaging so busily?”

Choi Seong-hyun, having finished his work, sat down beside Kang Tae-han.

Kang Tae-han subtly tilted the angle of his smartphone so it wouldn’t be visible to Choi Seong-hyun.

“Friends and a guest.”

Though Kang Tae-han spoke the truth, Choi Seong-hyun didn’t seem convinced, leaning in closer.

“Nope… To me, this feels like you’re in the pink of romance. You sure you’re not texting a love interest?”

“Hahaha.”

Kang Tae-han let out a dry laugh.

Although he was focused solely on honing his martial skills, he had spent sixty years in the martial world.

He could pride himself on having a keen eye for human emotions.

In that sense,

“Don’t worry, it’s nothing like that at all.”

Kang Tae-han was able to speak with a voice full of certainty.

His confidence excluded any possibility that he might be oblivious to romantic feelings!

He left Choi Seong-hyun, still doubtful, and rose from his seat.

“Where are you going?”

“To get ready to go out.”

It was nearly time for his guest to arrive.

Leaving a short response behind, Kang Tae-han walked towards the door.

“Mr. Kang, your guest is here.”

“Got it. Which room?”

“Room number three.”

Upon receiving the room number from an incoming staff member, Kang Tae-han nodded and stepped outside.

Kang Tae-han had four rooms assigned for his artisan courses.

He entered the third one.

Inside, a guest was sitting on the bed, waiting for him with sunglasses on.

‘Sunglasses, huh.’

There could be two main reasons for wearing sunglasses indoors.

Either they’ve had some medical treatment on their eyes or they want to hide their identity.

Who could it be?

If it weren’t for the sunglasses, he might not have given it a second thought, but now his curiosity was piqued.

‘Ah-ha.’

It didn’t take long for Kang Tae-han to recall the man’s identity.

Oh Jae-yun, the manager of the Hanha Hawks baseball team.

He had seen the face a few times in sports articles online.



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