Chapter 97: Living Together (Part 1)
Translated by satellite of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Feisha was busily rushing back and forth through every corner of the hotel.
At first, Borja tailed along after him with great interest, but after following him for a long time without finding anything particularly noteworthy, he smacked him with a bottle, then left to amuse himself alone.
Only Layton and Gin continued paying him any attention.
Layton leaned on the rails on the third floor and looked down. “What exactly is he trying to do?”
“Probably taking a look around.” Gin stood next to him, a glass of bright red tomato juice in hand.
“Hasn’t he seen it all before?” Layton said. He still remembered how Feisha loved exploring about and familiarizing himself with everything when he first arrived. But with situations bombarding the hotel in one wave after another, this fondness slowly faded.
“It used to be fuelled by his curiosity. Now it’s more like keeping a cherished memory.” Gin paused a bit before continuing. “He probably wants to engrave this image of Noah’s Ark deep in his heart. After all, if he leaves this time, it’s unlikely he’ll ever return.”
Layton suddenly went quiet.
Gin turned and saw his sinking expression. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know.” Layton tried to reach up and rest his elbows on the rails. He looked down at the figure rushing about, in and out. “So many people have come and gone in Noah’s Ark, but this is the first time I’ve felt reluctant to see someone leave.”
“Really?” Gin sipped at his tomato juice.
“Ah, we have to recruit someone every year anyway right? Why don’t we just hire him every year?” Layton jumped up in excitement.
Gin’s hand froze midair while raising his glass. “Do you know why not a single human has been hired twice in all the years Noah’s Ark has been opened?”
Layton thought it over. “To keep them fresh?”
“…….” The corner of Gin’s eye twitched in a nearly imperceptible motion. “Humans are meant for working– they’re not food being prepped to eat. What’s the point of keeping them fresh?”
Layton clapped his hands in realization. “Ah! It’s because we don’t want humans dying here.”
“Two years here would only be two weeks in the human world. Even if they’ve got some sort of aging syndrome, they’re not going to grow old that quickly.”
“Then I don’t know.”
Gin explained slowly. “Because no human would be stupid enough to fall for it twice in a row.”
Layton was perplexed. “What do you mean?”
Gin looked towards Feisha’s silhouette and replied bluntly. “What I mean is, no human would ever be willing to board this falsely advertised ship again.” (1)
Layton stared at him blankly. “But Feisha’s different.”
“What’s different about him?”
Layton spoke without thinking. “He gets along well with all of us! He’s not like the other humans– we barely even saw a glimpse of them outside of work hours and mealtimes. They spent all their time holed up in their rooms. Not only did Feisha decide to leave his room, he even chased after us. He…should like it here…”
He could only hedge his words with an uncertain “should.”
Gin tipped his glass and downed the rest of his tomato juice before speaking. “Well, he knows what he’s doing.”
Layton watched as Feisha walked all the way down the end of the corridor before suddenly turning back and retracing his steps again. He quietly said. “I doubt it.”
Time always flies by fast.
Over the last few days, Layton tried his hardest to prod out Feisha’s true feelings on the matter, but ended up fooling around and joking away all his time. Then, the dawn of the first arrived with Feisha dressed in the same outfit he wore when he arrived. Early that morning, he was already waiting at the front doors.
Gin walked up quietly behind him. “You’ve decided?”
Feisha trembled just a little as he slowly reached up and stretched. “Mnn. Actually, on the first day I arrived, all I wanted was to go home. And now, the wish is coming true.”
Gin suddenly asked. “Then why are you afraid to turn around?”
“Afraid to turn around? I just can’t wait to leave!” Feisha placed both hands on his hips and twisted in another stretch. “My heart can’t help but pound just thinking about the fact that it won’t be an endless void behind the door.”
“You’re sure that your heart is beating because of what’s beyond the door? And not because you’re too scared to turn around?” Gin asked slowly.
Feisha remained silent for a long time. Then he turned and looked at him in reproach. “Gin, you really are getting more and more annoying.”
Gin lifted his head and spoke. “Stop. I am a noble member of the Blood Clan, and members of the Blood Clan have no need to charm or curry favor with anyone.”
“What about Hughes?”
“That’s love. It’s on a different level compared to mere favor.”
Feisha stuck both hands into his pockets. “The hotel’s short-staffed right now, you should have Hughes come back soon.”
“He’s still out searching for the moon prism. We heard that the Liberation Resistance were occupying one of the mountains in the werewolves’ territory, an easily defensible position that makes attacking difficult. Antonio is still driving himself mad at the foot of the mountain.”
Feisha’s eyes widened. “Why didn’t anyone tell me there was this kind of gossip going around?”
Gin pursed his lips. “You sure you’re in the mood for listening?”
“I’m all ears for gossip, anytime.” Feisha replied earnestly.
Gin grinned and seemed just about to say something when his expression suddenly cooled.
Feisha’s eyes wandered off. “We’re here?”
Gin stared at him. “You’ve really decided?”
“Is there a choice? My contract is up, my employment’s over. I should go home.” Feisha shrugged his shoulders.
Gin tried one last time. “But your contract isn’t up yet. And even if it is, a new one can be signed.”
Feisha looked down towards his feet and laughed a shallow laugh. “I’m human after all, and humans should stay in the human world. But I’ve seen so many things here, and it’s been a very fulfilling experience.” He looked up and smiled slowly. “I’m really happy I met you guys.”
Gin raised an eyebrow. “As a human that could meet a great and noble member of the Blood Clan like me, you shouldn’t just be happy. You should be deeply honored.”
“Alright. Once I get back, I’ll put up a longevity tablet in your honor.” (2)
“What’s that for?”
“You’ll become more famous. Of course, that’ll have to wait until I achieve celebrity status.” Feisha coughed, and his voice suddenly grew quiet. “I should go now.”
Gin’s eyelids lowered. He silently stepped back and waved his hand. The doors that had remained shut since the day he arrived finally began opening slowly. Bright white sunlight slowly seeped through the crack between the doors, piercing Feisha’s eyes and forcing him to squint through the pain.
The angle of the door opening slowly grew from thirty degrees; sixty degrees; ninety degrees; one hundred and twenty degrees.
Feisha looked at the familiar streets before him, a scene from a lifetime ago. A gentle wind blew towards him, bringing with it the fresh scent of the trees, the faintest hint of charcoal from someone’s open barbeque…all mix together to create the flavor of the human world. He took a stride forward, one step at a time, and walked without looking back.
The sunlight poured over his body, a warmth surrounding him, as if melting him. After a few dozen steps, Feisha finally began feeling grounded again in the human world.
He suddenly turned back. The door was still standing there, and the lobby was still the same lobby. But that tall, lanky, and proud figure was no longer standing there.
Or perhaps he had never existed in the first place.
Feisha suddenly slapped himself in the head and muttered. “It couldn’t be that…it was all just a dream, from beginning to end?”
He looked up at the towering skyscraper.
That was…Noah’s Ark? A place connecting angels, faeries, werewolves, and vampires…?
Feisha suddenly felt a sense of uncertainty.
“Wait!” Suddenly a short figure came rushing out the doors, stopping right in front of him. “Your stuff…you forgot to take it with you.”
Feisha stared at him in a daze.
He stared right back.
A long moment passed between them.
Feisha finally spoke. “Layton?”
Layton’s eye twitched visibly. “We were just eating at the same table last night. Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten already.”
Feisha rubbed at his forehead, then sighed in relief. “I was just thinking that I had just imagined all the time I spent on Noah’s Ark, that it was all just a dream.”
“If you don’t believe me, I can smash your head in until you do.” Layton raised the object in his hand.
Feisha’s face remained blank.
The image of Michael’s six, emerald green wings stood before him.
Layton saw his silence and immediately stuffed the object into his hand. “Here. After all, you spent your own money on it. Also,” He handed him the domino earpiece that he was holding in his other hand. “This is a present from me, consider it a souvenir.”
Feisha looked down at the objects in his hands and smiled. “Thank you.”
“That’s it then. I’ll be going.” Layton waved at him, turned, and was just about to take a step forward when he suddenly froze in place, as if struck by lightning.
Feisha followed his line of sight, and also froze immediately in shock.
The massive, towering building that stood there just moments ago had vanished without a trace. In its place was a row of low-rise houses. And they were now standing in an abandoned yard.
Layton was completely stupefied. “What is this place?”
“I don’t know either. To be honest, before I received the flyer for Noah’s Ark, I’d never even heard of this street.”
Layton asked hesitantly. “Then where is Noah’s Ark?”
“……Seems like it’s left.”
Layton stood silently in place for three full minutes, before leaping up like a madman. “Goddamn Gin! He actually, he actually dared to just go ahead and shut the entrance doors to Noah’s Ark!”
“The doors to Noah’s Ark can only be opened once per place. Once they’re closed, they’ll disappear!” Layton was in a complete panic, scratching furiously at his head. “He doesn’t know how to navigate Noah’s Ark at all…and he hasn’t even found a representative for the humans yet, my god!”
“Err, I think, maybe we should solve the problems at hand first.” Feisha reminded him kindly. After all the ruckus Layton made, the deep, brooding mood he was in before all but evaporated.
Layton turned to him. “What problems?”
“For example, what are you going to do?”
Feisha took Layton back to the place he was renting out. Fortunately he had only vanished a week and not a year, otherwise the landlord would definitely have thrown his things out to the streets. As they walked upstairs, a mother and daughter just happened to be coming down.
The little girl saw Layton and suddenly shouted, “Ah, it’s a midget!”
Latyton stiffened, and he glared angrily at the little girl. Feisha immediately slowed down and stepped in front of him.
Layton’s ability in combat was definitely nowhere near the top in Noah’s Ark, but here in the human world, he’d be able to land himself at the top of the police wanted list just for swinging that axe around.
The mother seemed extremely apologetic, and immediately stopped the little girl. “Don’t talk nonsense.”
“But he’s clearly…” The little girl said woefully.
The four of them passed by each other. The mother smiled a bit at Feisha. Feisha smiled back. This was the type of normal communication expected of neighbors.
Just as he was sighing in relief at the normality of it all, he heard the mother whispering quietly to the little girl. “They’re father and son. You should be able to tell immediately.”
Feisha and Layton were both left speechless.
1. Gin actually calls Noah’s Ark a “贼船” (zei chuan), which literally means “thieving ship” or “pirate ship.” It’s also what people call ventures of…dubious merit or gain, so it fits really well as a metaphor for working on Noah’s Ark.
But it doesn’t have a good English equivalent. He’s referring to the false advertisement of “make a ridiculous amount of money in a week” deal that they use to recruit their humans, so I’ve translated it as such.
2. Feisha says he’ll put up a “长生牌位”, literally a longevity memorial tablet. It’s referring to something like this (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_tablet), a tablet that you put up in honor of someone or for some type of blessing.