The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage chapter 65

The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage

“What’s this, are you making a scout offer right now?”

“Yeah. Business is something you can’t really do alone, right?”

Hwang Director glanced sideways discreetly around them as Kang Taehan spoke.

Although there was nobody around at the moment, the topic still wasn’t suitable to discuss in a place where other masseurs could come and go.

“How about we at least have a cup of tea first?”

“Sounds good.”

Hwang Director pointed down the hallway with his thumb, and Kang Taehan nodded in agreement.

Shortly after, the two sat facing each other in the office, with a tea set that Hwang Director had prepared between them.

“So…”

As he handed over the first steeped cup, Hwang Director started the conversation.

“You’re planning to open a shop, and you want me to work with you there?”

“Yes. That’s right. Although not everything has been decided yet, I can tell you what has been…”

He shared the location of the building, the estimated completion date, and mentioned that there would be a sauna and hotel above and below the floor where his shop would be. Moreover, the shop wouldn’t be a rental but an owned property.

At this point, Hwang Director’s expression was one of utter amazement.

“…Can this be true?”

Honestly, Hwang Director wasn’t worried that Kang Taehan’s shop would fail.

Even if he started from scratch in an unfamiliar area, with Kang Taehan’s skills, he would quickly secure regular customers.

A massage parlor is a place where one goes to receive massages.

Therefore, the skill of the masseur is the absolute standard for success, and Kang Taehan’s massage abilities are of a level so exceptional, they are incomparable.

With such a business location and the issue of rent taken care of, it would be nonsensical for the shop to fail.

“As for expenses like interior design, I supposed there’s no need to even ask.”

Of course, the cost of outfitting the shop in such a location wouldn’t be trivial; however, it’s not comparable to the ownership of the commercial property.

The person offering this must have intended to take care of that aspect as well.

As expected, when Hwang Director mentioned it, Kang Taehan nodded lightly.

“I have some funds set aside under the name of investment.”

“The shop will be to repay my father’s debt, so I’ll use my debt repayment as the initial business capital.”

Park Hoyeon had said this while intending to hand over a significant sum of money effortlessly.

Kang Taehan had only switched it to an investment to avoid feeling it was too much.

“Just as I thought.”

Upon hearing this, Hwang Director nodded.

He’d only heard bits and pieces about the situation, but it appeared there wouldn’t be any major issues until the opening, unless the building collapsed or something.

“But if you’re going to be in such a good location, a lot of high-profile people will probably want to come. Why do you specifically want to bring me along?”

It wasn’t that he didn’t want to go; it was a genuine question.

In response to Hwang Director’s inquiry, Kang Taehan answered honestly.

“From what I know, you’re the most reliable and knowledgeable person about this industry.”

His statement wasn’t an exaggeration.

In fact, while working here, Kang Taehan didn’t have to worry about anything else and was able to focus solely on massage therapy.

It may seem obvious that a masseur should only concentrate on massages, but that presupposes that all other aspects are smoothly handled – supplies, cleanliness of the facilities, customer management, scheduling among masseurs.

All these minor yet troublesome issues were well-managed by Hwang Director.

Of course, Hwang Director didn’t do everything alone; there were other staff members, but ultimately, he was the one orchestrating the work and making sure operations ran smoothly.

‘I’ve never seen any problems arise.’

He didn’t often see Hwang Director bustling about busily, but that was rather evidence that he was already managing things efficiently.

Though there had been client complaints due to massage therapists’ errors, there had never been complaints about other issues.

Hwang Director had the capacity to run an even larger shop and would have expanded the current one if it were his.

But it hadn’t happened because…

“Things haven’t been good with the boss here lately.”

“…Oh?”

Kang Taehan’s words brought a momentary startled expression to Hwang Director’s face, which soon turned into a bitter smile.

“You knew?”

“Roughly.”

The story was simple.

Ever since Kang Taehan came on board, the shop had seen a steady increase in customers and revenue. Hwang Director wanted to expand the massage parlor, but the boss was of the opinion that it wasn’t necessary to go to such lengths.

“The boss once made a big investment in a commercial property that failed. I understand where he’s coming from, but it’s still frustrating.”

Other disagreements, such as about interior renovations or contracts for masseurs, had also been common.

Even Kang Taehan’s terms couldn’t be negotiated immediately because of these issues.

“Are you personally close with the boss?”

“We’re not close… We just have a history of working together in the past.”

Hwang Director took a sip of his tea.

He pondered for a moment with the taste of tea lingering in his mouth, but it wasn’t long before he spoke again.

“To tell you the truth, I was actually planning to leave here if you left.”

“I had a hunch that might be the case.”

Kang Taehan nodded slightly. He’d sensed the signs, which is why he had made this proposal to Hwang Director.

“Having a person like you come in was a rare opportunity that practically fell into my lap. To let that go without making the most of it… there’s no future in a place like that.”

Hwang Director spoke with a heavy tone, filled with long-held concerns.

It wasn’t because of a personal bond or loyalty to Kang Taehan; he simply didn’t see a reason to stay in the long term.

“So, have you thought of a place you might transfer to?”

“I had a few vague ideas, yes. There were some people who wanted to work with me. But…”

Hwang Director set down his teacup.

Then, looking at Kang Taehan, a shallow smile crept across his face.

“Out of everything I’ve heard, this offer seems the least likely to fail.”

“I got an offer from a business that seems promising, so what choice do I have but to go there?” Director Hwang said with a smile, which was reciprocated by Kang Tae-han.

“Is it okay to say such things when you haven’t even seen the contract yet?” Kang Tae-han replied with a smile of his own.

“You’ll take care of it all, won’t you, Tae-han? Or should I say ‘President Kang~’ now?”

“Just call me Tae-han, please.” It felt awkward and like he was showing off unnecessarily.

Kang Tae-han grimaced in distaste and shook his head, then quietly sipped his tea.

“Even if you are leaving us, you know you still have to wrap up your current work properly, Tae-han.”

“Isn’t that obvious?”

Kang Tae-han responded as if it was the most natural thing.

“I’m just saying. No harm meant.”

Director Hwang chuckled and returned to the counter. As he said, nothing changed immediately. There were just no additional appointments.

The day went by without much difference from any other day. Except…

“Mr. Kang, Teacher!”

“Yes? What’s the matter?”

“There’s not some kind of problem, is there? You’re not quitting, right?”

It was the response of the clients toward Kang Tae-han. More specifically, it was their reaction upon being told after their massage session that they couldn’t book any further appointments.

“You can’t quit…”

There was an air of desperation in their voices, as if the oasis they had found in their lives was about to disappear, their plea surpassing a mere request.

“I’m not quitting,” said Kang Tae-han with a side glance around him.

As expected, the gaze of other clients in the lobby concentrated on them. It was a scene reminiscent of the ‘Teach me the path’ incident, producing an odd sense of déjà vu.

“I’m just moving to another location.”

But the situation was different from back then. While it was mortifying at that time, now it was an opportunity that could be used to his advantage.

With a light smile, he spoke in a calm voice that could be heard by the other clients, “Moving? To where?”

“I’m going to Dangsan-dong, but I haven’t decided on a name for the shop yet, so it’s hard to tell you more. But don’t worry too much; I’m not quitting.”

With those words left behind, Kang Tae-han walked into the back room. The remaining clients in the lobby naturally started murmuring among themselves.

“Did I hear right, Mr. Kang Tae-han is relocating?”

“Yeah, I wondered why I couldn’t book another appointment. Does this mean we can only follow up with existing appointments?”

“Hehe, I got my appointment locked in for three weeks from now.”

“But where did he say he was moving to?”

“I didn’t catch it all, but Dangsan? Isn’t that near Yeouido?”

“If the name isn’t set yet, it must be a new massage parlor that’s opening up.”

“Once Mr. Kang isn’t around, we know to watch for a new place in Dangsan-dong. I’ll rush to book as soon as it opens.”

The clients, initially focused on the rumor of him quitting, now began discussing and speculating about his new location.

* * *

At 7:10 PM, on a normal day, Kang Tae-han would have been off work or soaking in the hot waters of a bathhouse, but today he was still in the waiting room, expecting a particular visitor.

“I’m heading out first, Tae-han.”

“Take care.”

Having seen this a few times recently, Choi Sung-hyun left without much thought.

A few minutes later…

“It’s been a while, Mr. Kang.”

“Welcome, ma’am.”

It was Shin Jun-ho’s wife, Chae Seo-yoon. She had mostly dealt with her postpartum joint pains, but the pelvis and spine issues couldn’t be resolved in one session, and a follow-up was planned for today when she visited Seoul.

As he guided her down the hallway, Kang Tae-han struck up a light conversation. “How is Mr. Shin?”

“My husband took our son to the kids’ cafe. They’ll wander around for about an hour or two before returning.”

“Your son came too?”

“Yeah, I didn’t like the idea of leaving him home alone. Hehe.”

“That’s understandable.”

Kang Tae-han responded and opened the treatment room door, motioning to the bed.

“Oh, there’s a hole in the bed?”

“Just place your face there when you lie down.”

“This is so much better than a yoga mat.”

Chae Seo-yoon’s comment made Kang Tae-han chuckle, remembering the time he had given her a massage on a yoga mat laid out in the living room.

“You seem to be in much better condition now.”

“That’s true? Ever since you took a look, the joint pains have almost vanished. Now it’s only occasionally?”

It’s like the vitality in her body never dried up. Normally, she’d need a break in the middle of housework, and she’d feel worn out after doing the dishes in the evening…

But now, she was full of energy, even after finishing all the housework, going back to Pilates after a long break.

“I’m glad the treatment was effective.”

“It’s beyond just being ‘glad.’ Life is enjoyable again.”

Kang Tae-han smiled lightly as he began unwinding her body. With the blocked meridians and tensed muscles already taken care of last time, the intensity of the acupressure was moderate.

“Ahh… As expected, it’s refreshing and feels great.”

Unlike the other clients who would scream in pain during acupressure, Chae Seo-yoon took the massage in stride, remaining peaceful and leisurely enjoying it.

After some time, as the massage was wrapping up,

“Ah, I have something for you, Mr. Kang.”

“Now?”

“Yes, I might not be able to give it to you after I fall asleep…”

As she spoke, she rummaged through her wallet and handed him an envelope.

“This is a gift from my husband and me.”

“What is this?”

Kang Tae-han casually peeked inside the envelope.

Inside were three pieces of paper…

“Checks?”

“I heard about you opening your own business, Tae-han.”

Noticing Kang Tae-han’s slight astonishment, Chae Seo-yun smiled and continued,

“Starting a business can be expensive, so we thought this might help contribute.”



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