The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage chapter 43

The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage

“He’s pretty good at this after all…”

They had been driving for about twenty minutes.

Contrary to Gang Ho-yeon’s worries, Gang Tae-han’s driving skills were better than expected.

It wasn’t just about the speed and handling; he could accurately gauge the position and intentions of the other cars on the road.

He changed lanes smoothly without any erratic maneuvers, and most importantly, there were no reckless moves.

His sense of the car’s width was almost supernatural, rarely favoring one side over the other.

Whether Gang Ho-yeon was overly concerned or had come to acknowledge his son’s ability, his face had relaxed considerably, and he began to look around at the passing scenery with more ease.

The landscape felt unfamiliar, despite not being far from Daejeon, a sensation he recalled from their last trip to the golf course. It had been a long time since they’d ventured this far from their neighborhood.

After driving for a while, Gang Tae-han casually asked, “Father, are you feeling hungry?”

Seeing the sign that they were 1km away from a rest stop, he added, “How about stopping at the rest area for a bit?”

“Sounds good.”

Gang Tae-han decelerated slightly and smoothly took the exit to the rest area.

Shortly after, the two of them sat opposite each other at a table in the dining area with their ordered food between them.

“Let’s eat well, father.”

Gang Tae-han had ordered yubu udon.

As he lifted a generous forkful, thick noodles and pieces of yubu came up together. He let the noodles cool for a moment before transporting them into his mouth.

Slurping noises filled the air as he devoured the noodles. The thick udon noodles had a pleasant chewiness, and the pieces of yubu added a texture amongst them. The oil absorbed by the yubu, along with the udon broth, blended nicely in his mouth, creating an exquisite balance of flavors.

Of course, it was the typical taste one would expect from a rest stop udon dish, but he enjoyed its peculiar charm that whetted his appetite.

Gang Tae-han quickly finished his bowl and took a large sip of the broth.

“Come to think of it…”

As their meal was nearing its end, a recent event crossed Gang Ho-yeon’s mind, and he mentioned it nonchalantly.

“How did things end up with that young lady you were with?”

“Huh? The lady?”

Who could his father be talking about?

The first person to come to Gang Tae-han’s mind was Yoo Se-ah. However, since his father had never met her, it seemed unlikely he was referring to her.

“You know, the young lady you met at the driving range. What was her name… Chae, Chae…”

“Oh, Eun-bi?”

“Yeah, that’s right. Chae Eun-bi. What happened with her?”

Recalling the memory, Gang Ho-yeon eagerly awaited the answer with a nod.

“Well, I just offered her a massage for her discomfort.”

“And then?”

“What else? We had a meal together and then parted ways.”

Gang Tae-han spoke indifferently, as if he were discussing a casual dinner with a friend.

Gang Ho-yeon’s eyes drooped slightly at the reaction.

“Why not give it a try?”

“With me? With Eun-bi?”

“Yes.”

Gang Tae-han looked incredulous.

“Ah, I don’t know why you’d say that. It sounds like you think I was trying to start something with Eun-bi at the driving range.”

Wasn’t it?

Though it looked that way to an outsider at the time, Gang Ho-yeon decided not to voice this as Gang Tae-han seemed genuinely perplexed.

“Eun-bi is… a younger friend I’d like to help. She’s cute, and we’ve gotten quite close recently.”

“Hmm. Is that so?”

It seemed that they had formed a bond, albeit not in the direction Gang Ho-yeon had hoped for.

Relationships are unpredictable and can change at any moment, yet, for now, that did not seem likely.

Gang Ho-yeon, losing interest, took a sip of water.

“Ah, father. I’m going to check my KakaoTalk messages for a moment.”

“Do as you please.”

In the midst of their conversation, Gang Tae-han’s phone vibrated with a KakaoTalk notification.

When he checked his phone, he saw a message from Yoo Se-ah.

[Tae-han, did anything happen to you yesterday?]

Perplexed, Gang Tae-han wondered what she could be referring to but quickly replied.

[I just had dinner as usual and went home to sleep. Why do you ask?]

[No particular reason, just that there was a big accident reported yesterday, and since it was in the same area where you work, I was just checking if you’re okay.]

The reply came after a slightly long pause.

He couldn’t recall hearing about any accidents, but it was still nice to be cared for.

Gang Tae-han smiled gently and typed on his phone.

‘…It looks as if he’s handling it well on his own.’

Gang Ho-yeon had worried a bit as he had never heard his son mention a girlfriend, but on reflection, Gang Tae-han had always fended for himself.

Watching Gang Tae-han send messages on KakaoTalk, Gang Ho-yeon shrugged his shoulders without realizing it.

* * *

The re-opening of classes, or “Gaekang.”

In its literal sense, the term signifies the commencement of lectures, but for college students, it also symbolizes the end of rest and the return to academic life.

Although there is a lingering regret that the holidays are over, there is an exciting atmosphere about the new semester.

As a result, the campus tends to be slightly unsettled yet vibrant for a while after reopening…

However, the seniors, already worn down from campus life, exude an exclusively gloomy aura.

Currently, Choi Seong-hyeon sat in a classroom that embodied this very atmosphere, filled with nothing but seniors.

“Wow, I thought you’d extended your leave, but you’ve returned too?”

“Yeah, gotta graduate eventually…”

“What happened with that contract job you mentioned?”

“Dropped my resume and that was the end of it.”

Even the occasional conversation was starkly realistic!

For all intents and purposes, the campus romance was merely a myth in this setting.

Choi Seong-hyeon let out a small sigh at the scene.

‘I’m envious of Tae-han.’

They were supposed to attend the class together. Ideally, Gang Tae-han should have been sitting next to him, but he was elsewhere.

The door opened quietly…

At the classroom’s front door.

With the sound of the door opening, the professor entered, causing the students, who had been conversing until then, to quietly take their seats.

“I’ll start with the attendance. Kang Nayeon.”

“Here.”

“Kang Minsu.”

“Here.”

“Kang Taehan… Kang Taehan? Ah.”

When no answer came, the professor raised his head and, appearing to recall something, continued calling the roll.

“Did everyone have a good break?”

Silence filled the classroom.

The professor continued with a weak smile.

“It must have been a tough break for seniors in many ways. That’s why I always tell you from your freshman year to get your certificates early on.”

Closing the attendance book, the professor leaned on the stand on the podium.

“Some time ago, I received a call from Hanha Hawks. They mentioned they really need one of our students, and they’re worried about attendance issues.”

“Oh…”

“Who is it?”

The Hanha Hawks were a professional baseball team known to everyone.

Of course, they were also famously known for their losing streaks…

Nevertheless, the students’ interest peaked instantly at the mention of a sports team they had heard of.

“So I told them not to worry about that. After all, you can learn more on the field than in a lecture hall.”

“You’re right, professor.”

A student sitting in the front row chimed in, feeling that the flow of conversation seemed to indicate that today, being the first day, lectures would start next week instead.

“But before you can go into the field, you need to understand the theory, right? Let’s begin the class.”

However, things would not go as one wished.

The professor clicked the mouse, and as the projector came on, a white screen descended.

Sitting in their seats, the students expressed their dismay in silence, opening their mouths wide or covering their faces with their hands.

‘A lecture on the first day, you’ve got to be kidding…’

This was an outcry without sound.

Amid this minor tragedy, Choi Seonghyun sincerely thought how envious he was of Kang Taehan.

‘I should have offered to become an assistant or something.’

He felt that Kang Taehan would have accepted, but now it was too late for regrets.

Choi Seonghyun began to take out his textbook and notebook without a word of complaint.

* * *

“Aigoo, Coach. What’s the occasion for calling me?”

Kim Taepyeong, the third baseman for Hanha, entered the room with a pleasant laugh, taking off the cap he was wearing.

“Ah, Taepyeong. It’s nothing serious. Just cool down from the sweat, get a massage, and take care of your condition.”

“Already? But I was in the middle of part training…”

Kim Taepyeong showed a puzzled expression.

Of course, time for conditioning and care was always allocated before the game, but that was after completing the basic and part training.

“Do I look like I’m in bad shape?”

“Hey, if it was something like that, I would have mentioned it during our meeting earlier, or you would have come to me first. It’s not that.”

Coach Jang negated it with a wave of his hand.

“The director has called in a masseuse and instructed that the people he named should have a massage and rest well before attending the game today.”

“Is that so? A masseuse, huh.”

There was a vague hint of a related memory.

Kim Taepyeong furrowed his brows for a moment, scratched his head, and then snapped his fingers.

“Ah, is it the person who fixed Taejun’s shoulder?”

“Right. I heard the director personally went to get them.”

“Heavens, our Director Oh really can’t resist what he hears. It seemed obvious Taejun was exaggerating.”

Choi Taejun’s tales of his fantastic massage experience had likely been heard by every player and coach in the club.

He would always bring it up whenever he had a chance.

However, no more than 10 percent of the listeners took Choi Taejun’s story at face value.

How could that be true? As if an electric current was running through the body, becoming tingly and the head light with pleasure. Even if it was an exaggeration, this was way over the top.

The common belief was that Taejun had finally seen the fruits of his labors, and it just happened to coincide with the end of his slump around that time.

It was similar to how superstitions are born.

For instance, you ate green grape-flavored candy before a game and hit a home run, so you tried the same candy the next day and hit another.

That’s the kind of feeling it was.

“Our director does have a susceptibility to be easily influenced…”

It seemed hard to deny this point, as Coach Jang slowly nodded his head.

“But today feels different. First off, it was after the director himself had it and decided, and… Kwangho was the first to receive it, and the reaction was different.”

“Kwangho hyung?”

“Yep. He was groaning, then suddenly let out a sound of exhilaration, and then screamed.”

Lee Kwangho.

He was Hanha’s catcher and the senior-most among the players.

Kim Taepyeong found it hard to imagine someone like him groaning and screaming.

“Anyway, since it’s the director’s order, go ahead and have one.”

“Understood. Where should I go?”

“You can go to your resting room. There are plenty of beds there.”

Kim Taepyeong nodded and then stepped out.

However, he remained skeptical.

Of course, this wouldn’t be his first time receiving a massage.

While massages were refreshing in the moment, he couldn’t recall any notable effects, and there was even one time the acupressure was so intense near the shoulder blade that it hurt continuously, causing him to miss the next game.

“Well, if you received it personally first and brought them… Hm?”

Just as he was about to enter the resting area,

A middle-aged player exited, opening the door from inside.

It was Lee Kwangho, the player mentioned in the conversation with the coach earlier.

“Oh, Taepyeong. Here for a massage too?”

“Yes? Yes. But…”

Kim Taepyeong stood still, staring intently at Lee Kwangho’s face.

Soon, as if puzzled, he tilted his head slightly to the left.

“Hyung, did you rejuvenate in that short time?”

Glossy skin, wider-looking shoulders, and most notably, a softer voice than usual…

Looking at Lee Kwangho, Kim Taepyeong unconsciously rubbed his eyes in disbelief.



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