Wang Xiaoming took the elevator to the 11th floor. As soon as he stepped out of the elevator doors, he saw a young man about his age, wearing a pure white suit and a tie of wine red embroidered with gold threads, waiting by the door.
“Hello, are you Manager Wang, the substitute for Wang Sis? My name is Gao Qifa, but you can call me Big Fa.” The young man smiled slightly and his ordinary features lit up and exuded friendliness.
Though Wang Xiaoming hadn’t officially worked yet, he’d heard many stories about rivalries at the workplace. So when he realized the man in front of him not only didn’t hate him for swooping in randomly but was actually very polite, Wang Xiaoming felt a little unsure of what to do with the honor. “Pleased to meet you.”
Big Fa’s smile didn’t change. “You’re too polite. If you don’t understand anything later, come ask me. Let me get you acquainted with your coworkers first.”
Wang Xiaoming breathed a sigh of relief. This counted as him being on good terms with the team right?
Baal gave a cold laugh. “I’ll bet you that the coworkers you meet in a bit will either be arrogant and unapproachable, or coldly sarcastic.”
Wang Xiaoming said wearily, “Can’t you think of something positive?”
“This is me thinking positively,” Baal answered. “If I thought negatively, I’d imagine them stabbing you with knives or throwing acid on you.”
“You know about acid?”
“I smell it.” Baal twitched his eyebrows in the direction they were walking.
“…” Wang Xiaoming’s footsteps immediately shrunk until they were minuscule.
Big Fa suddenly turned around. “What’s the matter?”
“I-I,” Wang Xiaoming reached up and wiped at the sweat forming on his brows. He chuckled dryly, “I think this hallway looks pretty and I want to spend more time looking at it.”
Big Fa looked around at the hallway he had walked who knew how many times. “You like this style?”
Wang Xiaoming laughed along, “Yeah, looking at the paintings, they’re so realistic. I was just admiring…” He turned around and the smile froze on his face—
The “painting” next to him wasn’t a painting but a mirror.
Big Fa looked away from the mirror and nodded. “You do have a nice figure.”
Wang Xiaoming watched him turn around and start leading the way again. He whispered quietly, “Did he just, compliment me?”
“No idea. I only use one sentence to praise humans.”
Baal shook his head.
“Kind?” The outside wasn’t important, it was what was on the inside that mattered.
More head shaking.
“Uhhh, unity!” A million ants could bring down an elephant. One of the principles that humans kept talking about was unity. Wang Xiaoming thought he couldn’t be wrong this time around.
He didn’t count on Ball still shaking his head.
“Then what?” Wang Xiaoming directly demanded the answer.
“They taste good,” Baal said with a smile, revealing all of his teeth.
Wang Xiaoming ran ahead like his butt was on fire.
As the main office to the Silver House’s housekeeping division, the room was wider than Wang Xiaoming had imagined. In fact, it didn’t even look like it was for the housekeeping division and seemed more like a break room.
A horizontal and a vertical pair of long sofas made up two sides of a square. Opposite them was the loveseat from the same series. In the middle was a round coffee table with a potted lily at its center.
When they walked in, Wang Xiaoming stayed behind and made sure to look around, checking if acid or knives would come flying at him, before sighing and walking in.
Big Fa had his back to Wang Xiaoming, so he didn’t catch any of Wang Xiaoming’s actions. Big Fa pointed to the office desk against the window and said, “This is Wang Sis’s desk. You can use it while you work.”
Wang Xiaoming looked at the card pyramid on the table and couldn’t imagine how Wang Sis usually worked.
“I’ll go call the team leaders for each floor,” Big Fa bowed slightly, “so sit down in the office for a while.”
“The team leaders for every floor?” Wang Xiaoming looked confused.
“Oh sorry, I forgot this is your first day on the job.” As Big Fa said the sentence, his face was sincere, with no visible hint of dissatisfaction on it. But Baal could still detect the jealousy that flashed across Big Fa’s eyes.
“The Silver House has twelve floors, divided into two zones: the upper and the lower. The lower zone is the regular area for the enjoyment of any of our guests. The upper zone is the Hao Qing Ge that is meant only for the VIP guests.”
Wang Xiaoming finally figured out that this is what Wang Sis and Chu Zhao had meant when they kept talking about Hao Qing Ge.
“I’ve been working here for three years and only got transferred to Hao Qing Ge in the last six months. You get to work here as soon as you’ve joined. That’s unheard of.” Big Fa stuck out his tongue slightly. “What’s your secret?”
Baal half-leaned against the desk and said casually, “His heart is being consumed by the flames of jealousy.”
Wang Xiaoming let out a dry laugh and rubbed his nose.
Big Fa didn’t say anything even though he didn’t receive an answer; he still left with a smile.
When the door closed, Wang Xiaoming immediately asked, “How did you know he was jealous of me? I couldn’t tell at all.”
“If you could tell, then it wouldn’t just be him being jealous, but rather him cutting at you with a serrated knife.”
“… You know about serrated knives?”
Baal glared at him. “I’m from Hell, not some primitive forest.”
Wang Xiaoming read the room and shut up.
Baal demanded unhappily, “You don’t believe me?”
“No, I believe you.” Wang Xiaoming let out a quiet sigh. “Anyone would be unhappy in my kind of situation.” Immediately hired and then promoted. He suddenly turned around to look at Baal. “Did you have anything to do with this?”
Baal retorted gruffly, “Do you think there’s a difference to me between you being a housekeeper and you directing housekeepers?”
“That’s true. The salary seems to be the same.” Wang Xiaoming scratched his head. “Then why?”
Baal asked, “You don’t know?”
“Of course I don’t know.” Wang Xiaoming had a face full of questions. “If I had been fired, I’d understand. But I wasn’t fired… This is so strange.”
It must have been a new experience to be this misfortunate, to the point where being unlucky feels normal but being lucky makes one question reality.
Baal suddenly felt a spark of pity for this stupid and fragile human, but he felt even sorrier for himself—
Out of all the humans in this world, why did Lucifer have to pick this damned one? Who knew whether the guy’s misfortune would affect how fast his body recovered! … Goddammit.
They waited from five in the afternoon until eight in the evening.
Baal and Wang Xiaoming were involved in a boring game of Zheng Shang You1争上游(“To fight for the upper hand” or “who runs the fastest”) is a card game in China. The main goal is to get rid of all the cards in your hand first. During each round, players take turns putting down cards from their hands. The card value you put down must be equal to or greater than your predecessor’s. Card order goes from 3-10, J, Q, K, A, 2, big joker, small joker, and there are various combinations that result in specific outcomes. and then Wang Xiaoming discovered—
“Baal, don’t you feel that the number of cards in our deck keeps getting smaller and smaller?”
“Is it?” Baal’s face remained unchanging and he tossed out a pair of As.
Wang Xiaoming put down a pair of 2s.
Baal spread his hands out, “I’m out of cards.”
“…” Wang Xiaoming complained, “I just saw you with two cards in your hand!”
“You saw incorrectly.”
“…” Wang Xiaoming silently gathered up the clearly slimmed-down deck, shuffled the cards, and then dealt them out. Finally, he stopped and the corners of his lips twitched as he said, “We’re missing a card.” Originally there were 17 cards for each person with plenty of cards left over. Now they didn’t even have enough to give everyone a full hand.
Baal tossed the cards in his hand aside. “I don’t want to play anymore. I win every round and it’s boring.”
That was because you had cheated every round.
Wang Xiaoming dejectedly organized the 33 cards that had escaped Baal’s wrath.
In the kitchen.
The chef, who had already fished out 21 cards from the pot, finally had enough. “You… Chinese pots, what is happening? Why are there always float… float… floating cards?”2The Chinese is written with broken grammar and accents, probably to indicate that this chef either does not speak Mandarin fluently or is likely to be a foreigner.
The sous-chef sweatdropped and said, “I guess it must be tired of playing mahjong.”
Wang Xiaoming returned the cards to their original pyramid shape. Of course, the pyramid had clearly shrunk in height.
“Uhhh, why do you think they haven’t come yet?” He was a bit antsy.
Baal sat on the sofa and crossed his legs. “This is called isolation.”
“If they were going to isolate me, why welcome me?”
“That’s so you don’t wander off.” Baal looked at his own fingers. Come to think of it, humans always played the same tricks over and over again, no creativity at all… Such a waste of the few years he had spent learning about this. Who knew that it wouldn’t be effective at all? He thought about his horrendous defeat in the land of Genesis and his expression turned sour.
Wang Xiaoming couldn’t help but shiver.
Baal’s eyes swept over him.
Wang Xiaoming subconsciously backed up a few steps.
“But you’re better than Shi Feixia.” At least more malleable, someone he could bend to his will.
Wang Xiaoming didn’t know whether that was a compliment or an insult.
The door was knocked on a couple of times before being quietly pushed open.
Wang Xiaoming immediately straightened his body.
But it wasn’t any of his imagined coworkers that entered. Rather, it was Xiang Wenxun, whom he had the fortune of meeting twice in half a day.
“President Xiang.” Wang Xiaoming was extremely nervous. Did this count as being caught slacking off? Adding this to the time he got caught slacking off in the afternoon… he should probably start counting down his time at the Silver House.
“Are you getting used to today’s work?” Xiang Wenxun smiled slightly.
“Uh…” Wang Xiaoming blushed at the question and his eyes instinctively drifted over toward Baal.
Baal squinted because he realized that Xiang Wenxun seemed to be looking at him too.
Xiang Wenxun only looked over once before moving his gaze away as if nothing had happened. He sat down on the other sofa and said, “Chu Zhao already told me about you substituting for Wang Sis. I think it’s a great idea. Though housekeeping sounds simple, it’s actually a very important part of the Silver House. If the Silver House isn’t kept clean, then no matter how good our entertainment is, the guests would run away. So I’m always a fan of the housekeeping division improving. Wang Sis may be experienced, but that’s all. She’s not really familiar with information management. I hope that you can bring new ideas to the housekeeping division.”
Wang Xiaoming carefully answered in the affirmative.
“Then again, there are so many college kids in China. It doesn’t have to be you.” Xiang Wenxun looked at him with a smile.
Wang Xiaoming knew this was the time to declare his loyalty. He unhesitatingly gave it. “I will not betray your trust.”
“I don’t need your promise.” Xiang Wenxun slowly turned his head and looked at Baal. “I need your friend over there to do me a favor.”
- 1争上游(“To fight for the upper hand” or “who runs the fastest”) is a card game in China. The main goal is to get rid of all the cards in your hand first. During each round, players take turns putting down cards from their hands. The card value you put down must be equal to or greater than your predecessor’s. Card order goes from 3-10, J, Q, K, A, 2, big joker, small joker, and there are various combinations that result in specific outcomes.
- 2The Chinese is written with broken grammar and accents, probably to indicate that this chef either does not speak Mandarin fluently or is likely to be a foreigner.