The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage chapter 71

The Heavenly Demon Receives A Massage

“No matter how I think about it, something seems off…”

Veteran pitcher of Daesung Whales, Kim Hojeong, sat in a corner of the sauna’s heated room, meticulously peeling a boiled egg while muttering in a low voice.

“What’s odd?”

Choi Taegu, who had been lying next to him, responded to Kim Hojeong’s mutterings. To which, Kim Hojeong replied while dipping the freshly peeled egg into salt,

“I should be warming up lightly in the hotel’s fitness center around this time.”

Usually, this would be the time to start the day with some light exercise, but it felt awkward waiting in the sauna and peeling eggs instead. Moreover, the reason for waiting was to get a massage at the massage parlor attached to the sauna, which added to the sense of unease.

“To be honest, I don’t feel too bad about it…”

Kim Hojeong popped the boiled egg into his mouth and took a sip of the ice-cold sweet rice drink before he continued,

“Is it a sense of guilt I’m feeling? It’s hard not to wonder if this is okay, especially with a game scheduled in the afternoon.”

“From the look of things, you seem to be enjoying yourself quite a bit,”

Choi Taegu pointed out, looking at the tray in front of Kim Hojeong, which was piled with many peeled eggshells.

“And, who knows, maybe the manager has a plan.”

“That’s what’s so surprising. He’s usually so sensitive about us managing our condition.”

Athletes have a set routine they follow: wake up in the late afternoon, have a light meal, attend meetings and training, and then take some rest individually before the game. This process might seem simple, but for players accustomed to years of such routine, even a small change can affect their game readiness.

Especially Manager Shim values these routines, making sure to cater to the players’ diets and generally avoiding changes in their daily routines and training schedules.

Yet, he had given instructions to shorten sleep and get a massage at the sauna, which was quite uncharacteristic of him.

“It’s definitely strange. It doesn’t seem like I’m being given a break from pitching today either.”

If there were no game, one could interpret it as a signal to rest, but after texting the manager, the response came back stating that not only there was a game, but Kim Hojeong was scheduled to start, and he was told to ensure he gets a good massage.

“Or maybe… the massage here is extraordinary?”

A thought suddenly popped into Kim Hojeong’s head.

“The skills here must be good, if the manager insists we get a massage before the game. Isn’t that a given?”

“What I mean is, it’s not just good, but what if after the massage, your whole body feels rejuvenated, as if your blood is flowing freely? Wouldn’t that explain a few things?”

“Or what, do you turn back the clock with a massage?”

Choi Taegu let out a snicker at Kim Hojeong’s suggestion and replied while shaking his head.

“Yeah, that’d be great. You borrowed a novel before that had something like that, didn’t you? What was it called… Qi-Seeking… something Blood?”

“Chasing-Pulse Blood?”

“Yeah, that.”

“Come on, man, that kind of stuff only happens in martial arts novels.”

Such content usually represents fortuitous encounters in martial arts stories, quite rare to come by. Choi Taegu sarcastically waved off the idea as pure fantasy.

“I know. But isn’t that exactly the kind of scenario that would explain the manager’s directive?”

“If there was such a person, wouldn’t there already be rumors? Suddenly players’ abilities and the team’s performance would skyrocket…”

While dismissing the absurd idea, an insight suddenly interrupted Choi Taegu’s trail of thought. A particular team that perfectly fit this scenario came to mind.

“Hanha Hawks?”

“Wait, for real?”

When Choi Taegu mentioned Hanha, Kim Hojeong’s response shifted. The previously playful atmosphere turned serious.

The Hanha Hawks had made a remarkable leap in performance in the closing season. Their actions had been a topic among the coaching staff, and naturally, among the players.

The players, facing the opponents on the field, are more sensitive to changes in their condition and abilities.

“Indeed, Kwangho’s form seemed to return to his prime…”

Lee Kwangho, Ahn Kiho, Kim Taepyoung… Among others.

Veteran players from Hanha showed a sudden burst of incredible performance, almost as if they had regained their past physical prowess. The transformation was so dramatic that it prompted an additional round of doping tests at the request of the opposing team after a game.

But if it were all thanks to a massage? If Coach Song and the manager had discovered this and brought them here because of it? Then everything that happened today would make sense.

“Nah, that couldn’t be.”

“If it is, then it’s really like a martial arts novel, dude.”

Recognizing the utter improbability, they each waved a hand and shook their heads, dismissing it as mere fancy.

“Sorry, I was on the phone for a while.”

However, when Coach Song Namseop returned to the heated room after stepping away for a moment,

“Coach! About the masseuse we’re meeting today…”

“Do they have anything to do with Hanha by any chance?”

Despite having dismissed it as an improbable occurrence, both asked eagerly.

It might be a far-fetched idea, and Coach Song might respond with confusion, but that ‘what if’ harbored an alluring story.

“Oh, did I not mention it?”

Yet Song Namseop was surprisingly nonchalant in his response, as if it were an obvious fact.

“I’m not sure since when, but they’ve been making regular visits to Hanha. It’s assumed that’s when Hanha’s performance began to rise.”

“Shouldn’t you have mentioned that first!”

“I’m sorry. I barely woke up and… I thought I had told you.”

At Kim Hojeong’s words, Song Namseop scratched his head.

“And with that, it’s almost time for you to go get a massage. Who would like to go first?”


Without claiming precedence, Kim Hojeong and Choi Taegu exchanged glances. They were a battery, a pitcher and catcher duo, long synced with each other’s rhythm. Lengthy conversations were unnecessary. With a smile and a voice that seemed to imply it was obvious, they both spoke simultaneously.

“Of course it’s my turn.”

“I should go first.”

“Come on. As the pitcher, it’s only right I go first.”

“I have to step up to the plate, so I should be getting it, you know.”

“You’re going to do this even though you know my shoulder has been bad?”

“I might as well say my back’s about to give out, you know?”

Their voices escalated with each exchange, resembling less grown men and more middle schoolers bickering.

“Both of you will get a turn; it’s just a matter of 30 minutes… why don’t we just do rock-paper-scissors?”

It wasn’t until Coach Song suggested a mediation that they had been arguing to the point of tallying who paid for meals how many times.

* * *

Two hours later.

“This is insane, completely insane.”

“Can you believe this?”

Exiting the massage session, the two of them appeared transformed, their condition visibly improved. One could see the sheen to their skin.

“The Reviving Acupressure exists in real life, too.”

“That’s something you hardly even see in martial arts novels, right?”

“Yeah, exactly.”

Kim Hojeong kept moving his supposedly bad shoulder, while Choi Taegu twisted and turned his back, continuously voicing amazement.

What had felt creaky just moments before now seemed as smooth as if it had been oiled and reassembled.

“How was the massage?”

“Oh, Coach Song.”

As Song Coach waited for the two, Choi Taegu abruptly grabbed his hand.

“Just like you said! It feels different right after getting it. This isn’t just about conditioning… it’s like it’s extending a player’s career!”

The words were far from exaggerated.

Such a massage, if received even once a month, or let alone, every six months, would be incredibly beneficial to their sports career.

“That’s what I’ve been telling you.”

Reacting to the duo’s responses, Coach Song smirked and shrugged. A different dimension compared to the grumbling seen in the morning.

“So, do you think you can play well in today’s game?”

“Well, with this feeling…”

Kim Hojeong rotated his shoulder is thought. Known for often accurately predicting the outcomes of matches, he sometimes chimed in on the staff meetings.

“If we lose today’s match, I will retire.”

Then, Kim Hojeung made a bold statement. His confidence was overflowing.

“It’s like having revived my youth; as a pitcher, it would be a disqualification if I can’t secure one game, right?”

He looked to his long-time colleague and friend, Choi Taegu, for agreement. Choi Taegu responded with a nonchalant expression.

“I’m not retiring.”

Sports is always uncertain!

Especially baseball, and Choi Taegu neatly denied his friend’s statement.

* * *

“Dae Seong Whales win with an overwhelming score…”

In a masseur’s break room, a four-seater table was placed in one corner.

Choi Seonghyun, sitting there, read the title of an online article detailing yesterday’s game at Jamsil Stadium.

“The game highlighted the performances of veteran players Kim Hojeong and Choi Taegu. They seemed to show their prime form…”

The article briefly discussed the two players’ performance after their massage with Gang Taehan, concluding with anticipation for their future endeavors.

“Yesterday’s game seemed pretty exciting.”

And Gang Taehan responded with a smile.

Although he had only seen the highlights later, the game was quite enjoyable with many refreshing moments.

His hands had treated the two players who frequently appeared in the highlight scenes.

“At this rate, wouldn’t the outcome of the games depend on how many players receive massages from you?”

Choi Seonghyun joked.

But while saying it, he found the thought terrifying that it might actually be possible.

“Taehan, do you have a moment?”

As Hwang Director entered the waiting room, he spoke to Gang Taehan.

“I have something to show you.”

“Sure. I was just sitting around.”

Gang Taehan readily nodded, and Hwang Director sat down opposite him, while Choi Seonghyun, sandwiched between them, casually inquired.

“Is it something I can hear too?”

“No problem.”

Hwang Director laid the documents he brought on the table. Moving the shop with Gang Taehan was no longer a secret. Everything with the boss was finalized.

“What do you need to show?”

“That thing actually. You know, the one Taehan mentioned the other time.”

“If you’re referring to…”

“Surely, with the opening date taking shape, we could start making appointments with customers who have requested it,” Taehan had previously suggested to Director Hwang.

Naturally, taking reservations for Gang Taehan’s shop here would be unethical, so they decided to discreetly reach out to clients who had pleaded to be notified once the move was settled.

“Is there a problem?”

“A problem? Yes, there is. I started taking appointments two days ago, and…”

In response to Gang Taehan’s question, Director Hwang opened the documents. There was a chart filled with dense writing in each cell.

“…the appointments are nearly full already.”

The chart listed appointments booked for the week following the grand opening.

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