Chapter 1: Invitation to a Funeral (Part 1)
There’s a trap there
Feisha Shi was about to lose it.
The so-called Christmas feast only had vegetarian food, he could only tolerate it.
His office lights flickered so much that the entire room was like a disco; he tolerated that as well.
The need to knock back a few pills for heartburn after every company dinner; he tolerated it.
But when his receptionist came to him crying with a flaming red hand mark, he really, really couldn’t tolerate it anymore.
To hell with his monthly salary of a thousand dollars.
To hell with his chance of a promotion after a year.
To hell with his vacation to Hong Kong in three days.
There was only one thought in his mind right now – he was going to stomp on that despicable son-of-a-bitch’s face.
Zhenjian Wu just happened to be thinking of ways to spend less on his employees when the office doors were kicked open. To be honest, he was very annoyed at how every employee could eat a whole 50 cents worth of food every meal.
“Fucker!” In the second it took for him to look up, Feisha had already shot through the office and slammed his palms on his desk.
“Huh?” Zhenjian managed after a period of blank staring.
“Do you know what Christmas is? It’s Jesus’ birthday! Jesus isn’t Buddha, so why do we only have vegetarian food!? Tell me, you bastard.” All the blood rushed to Feisha’s head as he violently fisted his hand in Zhenjian’s collar.
Zhenjian looked at him like the answer was obvious. “Because it’s cheap.”
“Did you know that our offices light bulb has been broken for a month now? I’ve had to work under that stupid flicking light for a total of three hundred and sixty-something hours. Do you know how much overtime I’ve had to do, and how much my eyesight has decreased, bastard!?”
“Oh. We’ve already gone over the repairs budget for the month, but I can put your light bulb down for next month’s repairs.”
“Did you know about that lunatic from the marketing department who hit my receptionist!? My receptionist! Just because she’s slept with you doesn’t give her the right to hit my subordinates. Do you get it, you bastard!?”
“I’ve been hit before as well. Except it was on my bum, I’ll show you next time.”
“I can’t believe that you’d sleep with someone like her, that hag from marketing is old enough to be your mother. Can you not see the gigantic, pitch black age spots that look like they’re eating her face!?”
“But she’s free.”
Feisha released his grip on Zhenjian’s collar and calmly said, “I quit.”
“You have to give three months’ notice so that I can find a replacement,” Zhenjian said without pause.
“I don’t need this month’s salary,” Feisha emotionlessly answered.
Immediately, Zhengjian responded. “Approved.”
Feisha stared at him, continuing, “Did you know that you’re a bastard?”
“…You’ve told me many times today.”
“You’re also a fucker.”
“You told me that when you opened the door.”
“Aren’t you even slightly bothered by my swearing at you?”
“I am a man of discipline and self-control.”
Zhenjian waved at his back. “If you want to open a room, feel free to come back. I’ll give you a discount, group prices!”
Feisha paused before closing the door, turning back to give Zhenjian a last apathetic look. “By the way, I trashed the office room. Smashed everything that could be smashed. I think it might be worth a bit more than this month’s salary.”
At this, Zhenjian rushed out of the room, screaming into the hallway, “Get back here, you asshole! Pay me back! Feisha Shi, I order you to come back here right now!”
“…At least pay me back a couple of dollars,” Zhenjian sobbed.
The result of his outburst was that Feisha was now unemployed.
And then, just as he was about to find a new job, all the positions on the newspaper evaporated due to a sudden financial crisis, much like his dreams.
After that, Feisha watched the zeros in his savings disappear until there was only a zero left…
Even after that, he realized that what was important wasn’t whether or not the hotel was an international chain business, nor was it whether or not the salary was at least eight hundred dollars, or even if the position was counter management or not. The most important thing was…whether or not the job provided food, ideally three meals a day.
“Oh god, please give me a job that provides accommodation,” Feisha cried to the sky.
A newspaper appeared in front of him. Feisha looked at the old man in front of him who honestly looked worse off than he did.
The old man jabbed the newspaper into his face. “Didn’t you want a job that provides accommodation?”
“…” Feisha unwillingly took over the newspaper. Now that he looked at it properly, all four sides of the newspaper had the exact same thing on it. Basically, it was an ad that looked extremely like a newspaper. He didn’t have time to dwell on that specific detail, however, because a certain recruitment ad drew all his attention–
Counter Manager wanted at Hotel Noah
Monthly salary: $1700
Previous experience: 1-2 years of counter management
Address: 111 Harbour Rd
Monthly salary of one thousand seven hundred dollars? Just in case he read wrong, Feisha traced the digits with his fingers and looked for any decimal points. It was indeed one thousand seven hundred.
Holy shit, this is actually the epitome of a free lunch. Feisha excitedly hugged the newspaper and started giggling stupidly on the side of the road.
“Wait, where’s Harbour Road?” he realised after he finished giggling to himself. As a born and raised local, Feisha knows that the city is called Harbour City, but he’d never heard about a Harbour Road. Opening the newspaper, he found under the bold black letters a crisply rendered map. The directions on it were so clear that even a child could probably find their way there without getting lost.
“The crossroads at Midmount East Road?” Newspaper in hand, he turned around abruptly to find a tranquil little alleyway directly behind him.
“Hold on, was that alley there before?” How had he not noticed it this entire time? The idea sounded a little too out there for Feisha; had he finally gone insane from the recent job hunting frenzy? He entered the alleyway a little confused anyway.
The two sides of the alley were residential areas that he found vaguely familiar. Maybe he’s come to this place before and just forgot, he desperately comforted himself. However, the most eye-catching feature of this alley weren’t the residential buildings, but the mansion that stood next to it. No, it wasn’t a mansion; it was more like a castle. The castle, in all its 30-or-so floored glory, towered over him. Standing where he was, Feisha could see the bright neon lights– HOTEL NOAH.
He’d worked in hotels for two years now but somehow had never heard of this particular one. On account of the grandeur of the building in front of him though, Feisha decided to categorise this one as due to his own ignorance rather than the obscurity of the hotel itself.
Walking up quietly to the entrance, he found a suspicious lack of both staff and customers. This hotel is indeed in need of a brilliant counter manager like him, he thought. At the very least, he wouldn’t allow the footmen to slack off like this under his supervision.
The doors of the hotel was made of wood, stretched to about 3 floors high and was more than 10 metres wide. It immediately put the common glass revolving door to shame with sheer style and impact.
The doors were also wide open.
Feisha felt his own insignificance weighing him down as he walked through.
It almost felt like standing between two mirrors because the ceiling is nowhere to be seen, creating a surrounding that repeated itself over and over with no end in sight. The building itself as well was like a big chimney with a dizzying concentration of floors shooting through the clouds.
Feisha tried to remember if the building had seemed this big from the outside. It had only looked around thirty five floors tall at most, why was the interior so much larger? Was it an optical illusion?
“Hey, Feisha,” a voice came from his right. “How have you been?”
Feisha’s eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. “Tony! Where did you go? Your hotel said that you didn’t show up for a week.” Being classmates back in school, they’ve kept in contact.
Tony’s smile was a little forced. “Really?”
Feisha looked him over, taking in the suit and tie, “Don’t tell me, you work here?”
“I did,” Tony said. “But I resigned today.”
“What? Why?” Feisha was instantly suspicious. There was usually a reason for someone to quit their job.
Tony hesitated. “Because the contract was up.”
“So a week ago you were Hotel Kaise’s head counter manager, but now you’re saying that your contract with this hotel is up?” The doubt in Feisha’s tone was clear as day. “Does this place only do week-long contracts?”
Tony walked over slowly, seemingly wanting to say something but settled for patting Feisha on the shoulder.
“Good luck.” He left before Feisha could ask him any questions.
Maybe he should run after him for some answers, especially now that Feisha can feel that there’s something not quite right about this hotel. Just as he was about to move, however, a person approached him.
“Are you Feisha Shi?”
At the inquiry, Feisha had no choice but to give up on his pursuit of Tony and turned around to face the golden-brown haired young man beaming at him.
“I am, but how do you know my name?”
“Because I received your resume,” the young man said, pulling out a large envelope from under his arm. Feisha recognized his handwriting on the envelope as soon as he saw it.
“But I don’t remember submitting my resume to a place like this…” The more he thought about it, the more he felt as though something was off about this place. Despite how much he wanted this job, obviously his safety took priority. There has been a size-able influx of scammers lately, all of whom seem to be trying to one-up each other in terms of scumminess. He decided to go find a safe dishwashing job.
“This is such an obscure hotel. To tell the truth, I just swung by to have a look. Now that I’ve had my look, I’ll be taking my leave.”
“This is not an obscure hotel.”
The young man lazily spoke up as Feisha turned around to leave.
“This hotel is actually very famous, just overlooked by many,” he said with an indecipherable smile. “It could be called the oldest hotel in the world.”
“What?” Feisha whipped around. The man was still smiling.
“This hotel’s full name is Noah’s Ark.”
The heavy doors behind him slammed shut with a bang.
Chapter 1: Invitation to a Funeral
The Chinese title is入瓮. It’s the second half of the Chinese idiom, 请君入瓮 (lit. step into the vat of your own creation). This idiom basically means to be subjected to an ordeal you used on/thought up for somebody else. The ‘funeral’ in the title is in reference to the saying, invitation to your own funeral, which was what Feisha handed to himself when he decided to go to the hotel.
石飞侠 – using conventional pinyin, his name would be Shi Fei Xia
Jesus isn’t Buddha, so why do we only have vegetarian!?
What Feisha actually said wasn’t Buddha, but Guanyin.
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