Chapter 3: Introductions (Part 1)
Feisha has been caught
Feisha regretted it as soon as the words bird man left his mouth, because he thought of a species that was very similar to bird men. A wise man once said: Not everyone riding a horse is a knight in shining armour; it could be Xuanzang. Likewise, not every winged being is an angel; it could be a bird man.
Feisha feels like he’s been screwed over by that saying a bit too badly; he needs to look into reverse thinking.
Looking at the pair of jet-black irises, a certain phrase surfaced in his brain.
“Err, I was just kidding before,” Feisha said carefully, watching for any changes in the Isefel’s expression. Compared to titans and invisible people, he was more sensitive to the term fallen angel, because it was more widely known and taught, and has much more impact.
Isefel looked at him coolly, showing no reaction, “You’re the new human.”
“If I say no, will you let me go home?” Feisha felt a flicker of hope light up in his heart.
“Noah’s Ark can only stop at the human world once every year, on the 1st of April.”
The flame of hope was still burning. “There’s a thing called reverse driving, you know? Why can’t you just reverse back to the human world?”
“Why?” asked Isefel.
“Because I got on the wrong bus.”
“That’s your own problem.”
Feisha held the eye contact for a very long time, before asking, “C’mon, seeing as we’ve both got black hair and eyes, can’t you make an exception?”
“I am not human.”
His response made Feisha feel very indignant. Because, the tone Isefel used sounded as if he’d said “I’m not a dog” instead. Once a person gets angry, it can be very hard to control their emotions; of course, Feisha was not exempt from this, especially as he had never been big on self-control. Like the straw that broke the camel’s back, all of his pent-in feelings of resentment and terror came bubbling back in the form of a volcano, spitting puddles of scathing words.
“Hmph. No wonder you became a fallen angel, you must’ve committed the sin of pride.” Does the fact that you’ve got wings give you the right to look down on everyone else? Chickens also have wings, but you don’t see them showing off their wings.
——Other than KFC, that is.
Isefel stared at him. “If the sin I committed was the sin of pride, then you’d be meat mince already out there in the fracture of space and time.”
This is intimidation, Feisha told himself, still fuming.
Turning around, Isefel threw a sentence over his shoulder.
“I’ll take you around the hotel.” He smoothly made to leave, completely indifferent to whether or not Feisha was following.
His volcano had been frozen solid.
They walked in silence down the long hallway. The wings on Isefel’s back had long been put away; Feisha actually really wanted to take off the jacket to see if there were two holes on Isefel’s shirt to put his wings through.
“This is the front counter.”
The cold timbre brought him back to reality, and subsequently saw him running out onto the big observation deck in shock. The outside world could be seen clearly from the deck.
Up, down, left, right – no matter which direction he looked, the only thing that could be seen was absolute, unmitigated black. The faint glow of the hotel seemed simultaneously luminous and lonely.
“Wh- What exactly is this place?” Feisha stuttered.
Could it be space? Wouldn’t there at least be a few stars shining here and there?
“The gap between worlds,” Isefel answered. “This is the centerpoint of Heaven, Hell, the mortal world and so on.”
“How do you guys get any business around here?” Feisha’s occupational habits resurfaced. To open a hotel, one must first consider the potential flow of customers, the surrounding area, ease of transport… What kind of customer would come to a godforsaken place in the middle of nowhere like this!?
“Every world has a different gas field around them that clash at every dawn and dusk of the human world. The flow of air within this rift is especially violent after the human world, Hell and Heaven all consecutively retain survivors. Other than God Himself and Lucifer, only seraphim can manage to get through safely.”
Wouldn’t that make business even more abysmal? Even if you add them together it’s still only a few people. Feisha finally understood why he hasn’t seen a single guest since he first came to the hotel, whether inside or outside – bad management.
“But with the development of each world, the inter-world communication became more and more important. When the air flow nearly killed some adventurers in their journey, God used one tenth of his power to create Noah’s Ark and saved them.”
At this, Feisha realised that the Great Flood in the bible didn’t actually happen on earth, but was in this rift all along.
“At the approval of all the worlds, Noah’s Ark was left here to become the central hub within the rift.”
Isn’t that monopoly? Or is it charity?
“Who covers the necessities?” asked Feisha. Even if gods and monsters don’t need to eat, at the very least humans do. Tony looked healthy and well looked-after despite going missing for a week, so the food here must be better than his old hotel.
“We charge,” came the reply.
Even with such a succinct reply, Feisha understood Isefel’s meaning. “You mean Noah’s Ark charges its customers for their stay?”
There’s a thing called the Antitrust Law in the human world, though now that he thought about it, this place probably doesn’t have anything like that. What does that mean for business? It means that the money just keeps coming in, and you can raise the prices to your heart’s desire. During holiday season as well, you can enforce -20% off deals and customers will just have to deal with it.
He suddenly recalled something. “In the recruitment ad, you said that the monthly salary for front desk manager was $1700.”
Feisha felt his pulse quicken. As long as he doesn’t die, then he’d earn more than twenty thousand dollars. What’s even more worth it is that if he calculates according to time flow in the human world, then that’s equivalent to getting an extra twenty thousand in the space of a week, which is basically second prize for a lottery. The gears in his brain started to turn.
“My safety in this year though…” There wasn’t much point to having a lot of money if he wasn’t alive to spend it.
“Noah’s Ark is a peace agreement commonly approved by the leaders of each world. To indicate equality, the hotel must hold one representative from each world at any given time. After Adam died, there was no single leader that could represent the human world, but God was adamant in keeping humans in the loop. This is why Noah’s Ark must have a human before the 1st of April every year.”
To be honest, the humans seem to be having enough fun amongst themselves judging by all the drama going on with their world, Feisha thought. What with stuff like United Nations, NATO and the EU… There is really no need for them to get involved with issues here as well. Especially as their voting methods were totally unscientific.
“Uh, then can I just ask: why me?”
Isefel turned to face him.
Seeing a need to elaborate, Feisha pointed at himself. “Well, in regards to intelligence, physical appearance or academic history, no matter how you look at it I’m above average at best.” Even if you even those out, he’d still probably be right in the middle.
“It’s convenient,” stated Isefel.
Feisha stared at him in disbelief. “Huh?”
“Tony needed to go home, so we needed to stop there for a while.”
This matter concerns the representative of the entire human race; a lone person chosen out of several billion people. How could they make such an important decision so offhandedly? Even civil servants have to take an exam plus interview, for them to just choose a random person for front counter management…
Feisha was crying on the inside. Damn it, Tony, why did you have to go back home? Why couldn’t you have stopped by the Bermuda Triangle for a quick holiday?
Isefel spoke up again. “Your tolerance is also above average.”
Tolerance? He pondered the idea for a moment. “You mean, if I shit myself and broke down crying when I first saw the giant, you’d have let me go?”
“His name is Asa,” Isefel said.
“Okay. Asa, Asakritos. You know, I’ve always thought that my memory’s pretty good. Uh, so back to what I was asking before, if I…”
“Because you wouldn’t have broken down.”
Feisha decided that the first thing he was going to do when he got home was to become more of a coward. Now that the big questions were answered, he turned his attention to the details.
“Oh, right, why did you bring me here?”
“This is the front counter.”
Feisha nodded, and started walking back. His feet suddenly halted in their action as he turned back slowly to gape at Isefel.
“Your front counter isn’t the same as the one I’m thinking of, is it?”
“What about registration?” They can’t provide VIP home registration for every single customer, can they?
“Registration is not needed, just inspect their travel pass and allocate a room.”
Feisha suddenly thought of something that’s not quite right. “Why haven’t I seen any counter staff?”
“Because there aren’t any,” Isefel answered simply.
“What about the concierge, or bellboys?”
“There are none.”
“Don’t tell me you don’t have assistant managers, a business centre, or a telephone central exchange either.”
Feisha stood up straighter. “Are you saying that I’m basically a general without an army? That I’m the only one in front desk?”
No wonder the monthly salary here was nearly two thousand dollars; the money for the entire sector was given to him alone! This sure is a profitable business. Feisha cast a hopeful gaze at Isefel.
“Do you guys have trade unions here?”
“Is there a place for customers to file complaints?”
This has crossed the line from simple monopoly straight to daylight robbery.
“Then what the hell do you guys have?” asked Feisha, somewhat indignantly.
“Co-workers,” Isefel said as he walked back the way they came. “I’ll take you to meet them.”
That invisible man Hughes who turns transparent randomly? Oh, wait, he’s on room management.
Also that titan, Asa, who sprays spit everywhere when he talks. At least this head of security seems pretty reliable.
As well as that lecherous-looking guy called Gin. Feisha doesn’t even know what he does.
…He’s also gay.
Feisha came to the conclusion that maybe it’s better to not have any subordinates. It’s peaceful.
Not everyone riding a horse is a knight in shining armour, it could be Xuanzang.
You can read all about this delightful old man here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xuanzang
During holiday season as well, you can offer -20% off deals and customers will just have to deal with it.
And here we see the start of a long and painful road of Chinese puns ahead. (Seriously, this series has a ton of them.) As usual, the original phrase:
过年的时候，你还可以打折，打十二折，反正客人也没折。(lit. During new years, you can offer discounts, -20% off discounts, the customers can’t do anything about it anyhow)
This sentence uses the Chinese word, 折 (zhé), which means discount, to make a pun about how the customers can’t do anything about being ripped off. 没折 (méi zhé) in this context means to be helpless, and as I’m sure you’ve noticed, uses the same character for discount.
They can’t provide VIP home registration for every single customer, can they?
So apparently home registration is a thing in China where before you leave for your trip, the hotel sends someone from the branch near you to visit your house with the registration papers so you can register in advance and not when you arrive out in the lobby with your 50 suitcases.
I don’t know either.