The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage chapter 36

The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage

It’s an obvious statement that athletes’ physical condition is directly linked to their performance in competitions. In the professional world, even a slight dip in concentration or feeling distracted can sometimes be fatal. This is the very reason why some athletes obsessively cling to what may seem like inconsequential superstitions.

What if an athlete suffers from injury or post-surgery complications? That would be undeniably devastating. Unlike the more abstract mental aspects, this directly impacts the physical realm.

However, pro athletes and injuries are an inseparable pair. Setting aside regular training, every match they must push their physical limits within a short period. This inevitably places excessive strain on their bodies, accumulating and compounding over time, which will eventually lead to problems. Muscle or ligament tears are common, and a single injury could abruptly end an athlete’s career. It’s no wonder the average career lifespan of a pro athlete is short.

‘But if it could all be reversed…’

Most injuries, unless caused by a direct accident, are due to accumulated damage and fatigue. What if it could all be reset? Not only could this prevent injuries, but it could also enhance athletes’ condition to its peak. Even if just to the extent of what he’s currently experiencing, which is unbelievably effective.

Of course, improved condition won’t create talent where there is none, but at the very least, it can maximize the use of the talents they possess.

‘There’s more than just one or two who could benefit from this…’

Players whose performance has declined due to post-surgery effects, or veterans wealthy in experience but now unable to play frequently due to physical constraints—just thinking of potential candidates exceeds the count on two hands. Just this alone could significantly bolster the team’s strength.

“Heh… That pretty much confirms Fall Baseball for next season, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s time for a grand celebration with fireworks? Hahaha!”

Weak depth in key players and inconsistent game potential might be addressed all at once.

Just the thought brings a smirk to Oh Jae-yoon’s lips, curling up at the corners almost reaching his ears.

“That would be nice,” replied Choi Tae-joon, with a chuckle, as if he could see right through Oh’s thoughts.

“But first, we’d need to start with scouting, right? You said you came without doing anything.”

“Ah, right. Should I just go and ask at the counter over there?”

“Probably?”

“Good. I’ll be right back.”

Choi Tae-joon points towards the counter, and Oh Jae-yoon begins to walk in that direction, his stride seemingly lighter, as if he’s shed years from his age.

* * *

“Then, rest well and come out.”

“Ack.”

The moment his Sleeping Point is pressed after the massage, the client, lifting his head slightly, collapses onto the bed, deep in sleep and without a dream, dedicated entirely to recovery for the next hour unless otherwise disturbed.

‘I should replace the towels, too.’

Anticipating drooling, he places a towel under the client’s head first, then adjusts him into a comfortable position.

‘Rest well.’

He sets the massage bed’s temperature to match the client’s body heat, covers him with a blanket, and finally turns off the lights before ending the session.

Hoping the client will wake up feeling refreshed and recovered, Kang Tae-han cautiously closes the door behind him and steps out.

“Ah, you’re back?”

His next stop is the prep room, stocked with various supplies and client refreshments. A staff member, busy organizing, greets Kang Tae-han.

“I just finished. By the way, we’re running out of towels in room 3. Would appreciate a refill later.”

“The Master Course in room 3, you mean?”

“Yes. Also, please serve the usual Arrowroot tea.”

“Room 3, Arrowroot tea… Got it.”

The staff nods and sets a one-hour timer as per routine, indicating when to serve the beverage after the client wakes up.

It’s a strange notion—how can anyone predict when a person will wake up? Yet, oddly enough, when Kang Tae-han delivers the refreshments at the specified time, the client is just waking up.

It’s as if the bed has a built-in vibration alert or the room an ultrasonic alarm clock. Curiosity might have led to searching the room, but it would only be in vain. Now it’s just accepted as possible.

“Oh, by the way, the manager was looking for you.”

The staff member stops Kang Tae-han as he’s about to leave.

“Manager Hwang? What for?”

“Not sure… but when you’re done, could you stop by the office before heading to the break room?”

Hwang’s office is only used for dealing with paperwork or occasional client meetings.

“Alright, thanks.”

What could it be? It’s only the second time since the bonus increase. With possibilities in mind, Kang Tae-han walks down the corridor.

Knock, knock.

“Manager Hwang, it’s Kang Tae-han.”

“Come in, Tae-han! Welcome.”

Entering the office, Kang Tae-han is greeted warmly by Manager Hwang and, on the opposite side, by Oh Jae-yoon, the director of Hanha Hawks they’d met just a few hours earlier.

“Yes, nice to meet you, Director. My name is Kang Tae-han and I work as a masseur here.”

When their eyes met, Oh Jae-yoon was the first to introduce himself and offer a handshake.

Kang Tae-han took his hand and bowed his head lightly.

‘The atmosphere has changed.’

During the massage, despite his youthful appearance, there was a strange sense of oppression, but now that feeling was gone, leaving only a dignified atmosphere behind.

It seemed a bit softer, perhaps.

‘Maybe it’s a kind of routine or mindset.’

Many baseball players also change their demeanor once the game starts.

Their eyes look different or they suddenly start using dialect from their hometown they haven’t used before.

There are various other habits like adjusting their helmets before going to bat or turning the bat a couple times, or even chewing gum, but they all share the common purpose of focusing better on the game.

If this change of atmosphere in Kang Tae-han was also a kind of routine… it would make him all the more trustworthy.

It means he’s fully focused when giving a massage.

“I’ll be off to see to my business then.”

At that moment, Manager Hwang, who had been standing beside them, stepped toward the door and spoke.

Then Oh Jae-yoon asked with curiosity.

“Shouldn’t you stay with us, Manager?”

“Ha-ha. What need is there for me here? Tae-han is free to do as he likes with his work.”

It may look like they’re scouting talent from us.

So it was suggested that Manager Hwang should stay and mediate…

‘If there is a good opportunity, it’s only right to take it.’

They had no intention to unnecessarily hold back Kang Tae-han or force him to stay.

To them, he was someone who deserved better treatment and not someone they could restrain.

At least Manager Hwang sincerely thought so and had no intention of interfering with this situation.

Of course, if Kang Tae-han decided to leave immediately, it would have been extremely awkward, but at least the Kang Tae-han he knew wasn’t that sort of person.

“Ah, Tae-han! Still, you need to take the next client, right?”

With a wink.

Manager Hwang left these words, a thumbs-up, and headed out.

Though not fully aware of the implications, it seemed to be a gesture of support.

‘Sure enough, I’m not wrong about people.’

Kang Tae-han vaguely guessed why Manager Hwang had left the space.

There was some greed and reason to it, but it means he respects his choices.

And underlying it all was a wish for his well-being.

Understanding this, a faint smile formed on Kang Tae-han’s lips.

“Do you happen to remember me?”

In the brief silence after Manager Hwang left, it was Oh Jae-yoon who broke the stillness first.

“Of course. You came as a client around 3 o’clock, with sunglasses on.”

Kang Tae-han replied with a light smile, causing Oh Jae-yoon to awkwardly scratch his neck, clearly having been aware of who he was.

“Haha… Anyway, I was quite surprised. I thought the praise might have been exaggerated, but the actual experience exceeded expectations.”

Oh Jae-yoon swayed his waist gently from side to side as if someone had oiled the muscles inside, each moving smoothly.

“It seems you may not have much time to give, though.”

“Yes, I’m expecting another client shortly.”

Kang Tae-han spoke with a polite yet firm voice.

He would not consider canceling on someone who had made a reservation a week in advance, not only because it wasn’t proper but also because he had no intention to do so.

After all, a promise is a promise.

“I see. Then I’ll get straight to the point.”

Ahem, *clears throat*.

Oh Jae-yoon cleared his throat lightly.

“I would like you to look after our team players, sir. I’d like to request you provide massages.”

“That so…”

Kang Tae-han nodded lightly.

He had more or less guessed this was the case when he saw Oh Jae-yoon here.

What other reason would there be to call him aside?

“Just asking out of curiosity, but there’s no way to cancel the reservations you already have, is there?”

“Yes, it would be difficult for me to make time on the days I work here.”

Oh Jae-yoon nodded at Kang Tae-han’s response, already anticipating this.

“We’d like you to visit our club center one day a week… Wednesday and Thursday are your days off, right?”

“Yes, I take those two days off.”

“Then… how about coming on Thursdays? It’d be great if you could come every week, but even two or three times a month would be good.”

Wednesdays were tough because of the club’s schedule.

Oh Jae-yoon made the offer while casually gauging the reaction.

However, Kang Tae-han had his own commitments.

He shook his head from side to side.

“I’m sorry, but Thursdays will be difficult for me.”

“Oh… do you have another engagement?”

“I have classes to attend on that day.”

“Classes?” Oh Jae-yoon was momentarily puzzled by the unexpected word, and then softly voiced a possibility.

“Are you, by chance, a university student?”

“Yes, I still have one semester left to go. While I might manage Wednesday, Thursday is definitely difficult.”

“Ah… academics are… important, of course.”

Oh Jae-yoon stumbled over his words.

Wednesdays were fine, but they didn’t work from their side.

What then… should he start booking all the players’ appointments now?

It would be a hassle, but if that was the only option, what choice would they have?

In that moment of fluster, as Oh Jae-yoon was considering alternatives, Kang Tae-han quietly made a new proposal.

“However, if it’s just a matter of visiting the pro club… maybe my professor will give me attendance credit.”

It was a plan that could cover an outing, earn money, and not attend class while still getting academic credit.

“But I’m not sure the professor will agree, since they’re quite strict about attendance.”

“We’ll take care of it on our end. May I know the name of the school and professor?”

And Oh Jae-yoon eagerly accepted the proposal.



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