The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage chapter 52

The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage

Jo Chanhyuk was at a loss in the current situation. Just moments ago, he had been in excruciating pain, his head threatening to split and his heart beating so wildly that he was nearly losing consciousness. Yet now, the symptoms had subsided as if it were all a lie. Though not completely recovered, as sweat still poured from him, the feeling of imminent collapse had been replaced by a tranquility akin to a still lake – a rapid recovery, no less.

Taking a moment to regain his breath, Jo Chanhyuk glanced once more at the young man seated beside him. The youth was on one knee, hand placed gently on the nape of Jo’s neck. Even without full knowledge, Jo intuitively sensed this miraculous turnaround was due to the young man’s assistance.

“Take a deep breath. It’ll help,” suggested the youth, Kang Taehan, whose own expression was the epitome of calm. No hint of anxiety, no sense of self-satisfaction from performing such a significant act. It was an expression so nonchalant, it would’ve drawn criticism for its inappropriateness in a movie scene. Instead, it offered a certain reassurance here.

With Kang’s prompting, Jo breathed deeply, easing the accumulated turbidity in his upper dantian as Kang pressed down on a specific acupoint at the back of his neck. Soon after, color returned to Jo’s face, his complexion visibly brightening.

‘It seems everything is settling down.’ His heartbeat, the rough flow of blood, the disturbed energy in his upper dantian – these signs of attack had been largely alleviated. It was a mere emergency measure and not a complete cure, but the immediate crisis was resolved.

Meanwhile, the bewildered cameraman, having watched from the side, remained clueless about what had transpired. One moment he’d been considering calling emergency services; the next, Jo Chanhyuk was showing signs of dramatic recovery.

“Excuse me,” Jo spoke up.

“Yes!” The cameraman responded, jolted out of his daze by Kang’s voice.

“Do you have some water?”

“Water? Yes, I do.” Variety show cameramen were always prepared, keeping hydrated being a top priority. He produced an unopened bottle from his vest pocket.

“Thank you.” Kang bowed slightly as he accepted the water, then released his grip on Jo’s nape and suggested, “It looks like the worst is over. Have some water; the ambulance should arrive soon.”

“Yes.” Jo obediently took the offered water despite the general caution against drinking during a panic attack. A sip brought a refreshed sigh.

‘I’ve survived…’ He realized the crisis had passed as artificially as it had appeared, as he saw the back of his enigmatic helper walking away.

“Sir, wait!” Jo called out, staggering to his feet. Luckily, Kang heard and stopped, turning around.

“What is it?”

“You were just going to leave without a word?”

“I was actually on my way to exercise,” Kang replied with a shrug, leaving Jo dumbfounded. Jo now understood; Kang truly viewed the act as a mere roadside assistance, with no intention of reward or thanks. His vast generosity sparked a deeper admiration in Jo.

“At least tell me your name,” Jo requested.

“That’s a good idea,” Kang agreed, pulling out a small wallet filled with business cards. He handed one over with a smile. “I had to leave in the middle, given the time and the place, but if you need more help, come here.”

“…You’re a massage therapist,” noted Jo, examining the business card.

“Yes, my schedule might be tight for a while… But if you contact me in advance and come after 7 PM, I’ll see to you separately.”

With that farewell, Kang resumed his way. Jo watched him, now understanding that Kang had only provided minimal attention due to the situation.

‘Was that because of the circumstances?’ The nuance seemed to suggest just that. Jo numbly scratched his head, then carefully tucked Kang Taehan’s business card into his wallet.

“Kang Taehan…” He murmured the name to himself repeatedly like a script, then securely placed the card into his wallet.

* * *

“Taehan, by chance, did you meet with senior Jo Chanhyuk yesterday?”

[Did you hear that he collapsed while shooting? I was shocked to hear it, but when I asked, they said he survived thanks to some precious connection. Hearing that, I couldn’t help but think of Tae-han. Was it you?]

Below the message was an emoji of a pink rabbit hastily pushing for a response.

Kang Tae-han let out a chuckle and replied, “I suppose that might be the case.”

The day after his meeting with Jo Chan-hyuk, Kang Tae-han had spent an utterly normal day.

He worked out at the fitness club, went home, ate an elixir, and fell asleep.

However, when he woke up and casually skimmed through online news, he was surprised to find yesterday’s events turned into an article.

[National Actor Jo Chan-hyuk faints due to poor condition on the street.]

[Jo Chan-hyuk suffers a relapse of panic disorder during a B-mission shoot. A passing civilian helps him recover consciousness.]

Articles of similar content were up, not quite the talk of the town but out there nonetheless.

Tae-han intuitively realized that these articles were about yesterday’s incident just from the headlines.

‘There was quite a crowd gathered.’

Even ordinary people attract a crowd if they collapse on the street, let alone a celebrity.

Although he didn’t check, he guessed the story would have spread on social networks too; it would be more surprising if articles hadn’t emerged.

‘At any rate, it shouldn’t cause a stir.’

The focus of the articles was on Jo Chan-hyuk’s collapse, and Kang Tae-han was simply mentioned as a brave citizen who lent a hand.

That was a natural enough interpretation.

It didn’t seem like he had given a proper massage, just supported a person who had collapsed by the roadside and helped stabilize their neck.

That was just as Kang Tae-han had intended.

After all, to him, it was nothing more than a trivial matter.

He leaned against the driver’s seat and stretched his arms lightly.

“Customer number 127! Your order is ready!”

Soon it was his turn, and a take-out carrier with two cups of coffee was handed to him through the window, which he placed on the passenger seat.

It was his first time using a drive-thru, and somehow the novelty of it intrigued him.

‘It’s time to go.’

Kang Tae-han was in Daejeon, on his way down from Seoul. When he contacted his father, he was told, ‘I’m at the store, so go home first.’

However, with a car, stopping by the store was just a small detour, so he decided to pick up some coffee his father liked on the way.

As he arrived at the store and carelessly opened the door to enter…

“Father, I’m ba—”

“Hey! It’s Tae-han! Let’s ask Tae-han directly, yeah?”

As soon as he entered, a familiar-looking man pointed to Kang Tae-han with an excited voice.

Following that, another man glanced over and stood up.

Mr. Kim and Mr. Choi.

The very two who previously argued over who was closer to Tae-han were now coincidentally gathered here once again.

“Tae-han, long time no see! Remember me? I gave you pocket money on your first leave and bought you pizza and chicken at your entrance ceremony!”

“Ha ha. Of course, I remember.”

Kang Tae-han nodded naturally, although he had no actual recollection.

It wasn’t the atmosphere for lying, and there was a note of insistence in the man’s voice, so he just went along with the mood.

“Didn’t I also give you pocket money on a holiday? It seems like just yesterday you and Minsu were in the same kindergarten Giraffe Class, and now so much time has passed, hasn’t it?”

“That’s… true.”

It was in this moment that he was reminded of a class name he had forgotten, one from sixty years ago.

Kang Tae-han gave an awkward laugh and scanned the room.

Then he locked eyes with his father, who was sighing softly.

“What’s wrong, father?”

“I’m sorry. I bragged about you a bit, and now they both want a massage, something like that.”

“Aha…”

There was no need to make a fuss; he could manage that much for a friend of his father’s.

Kang Tae-han scratched his head as he sensed the situation.

‘Besides, the pocket money from the first leave is memorable.’

Although he couldn’t recall the details, he did remember returning to his unit after a rather lavish holiday thanks to that money.

In that case, it seemed only right to repay such kindness.

“Whom should I help first?”

As Kang Tae-han approached a nearby table and pulled out a chair, Mr. Kim laughed heartily and said.

“Start with the one you like more.”

“Then it should be me.”

“What are you blabbering about?”

“Oh dear, you’re impossible.”

“Just play rock-paper-scissors.”

So Kang Tae-han, unable to bear it, tossed out the suggestion.

* * *

“How are you feeling these days?”

In a small cafe near Daejeon Paik Hospital, Park Ho-yeon took a sip of her freshly served coffee and casually asked her companion.

There was a hint of concern in her voice that went beyond mere small talk.

“I’m getting much better.”

The elegant woman across from her replied with a bright smile.

Park Ho-yeon, the director of Paik Hospital, and her close friend and wife of Shin Jun-ho, Chae Seo-yun.

While Seo-yun spoke cheerfully, Ho-yeon couldn’t help but form a look of sympathy on her face.

‘It’s always the same answer.’

Chae Seo-yun suffered from chronic joint pain, scoliosis, and a misaligned pelvis.

These conditions often caused her to feel a burning sensation, and in severe cases, she needed pain medication…

Yet, she hardly let it show to others.

It was partly due to her personality of not liking to complain, but more likely, it was out of consideration for Park Ho-yeon, who had been treating her at this very hospital for two years.

However, as is often the case with such ailments, there was little progress, and Park Ho-yeon’s personal attention didn’t change much.

It was a burden on Park Ho-yeon’s conscience.

“Then I’m glad to hear it.”

As a patient, she maintained a cheerful atmosphere, which Park Ho-yeon didn’t want to spoil.

She smiled gently and took another sip of her coffee.

“By the way, Ho-yeon.”

“Yes?”

“Have you ever met with student Tae-han?”

…Oh.

Hearing that name, Park Ho-yeon suddenly entertained a possible connection.



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