Chapter 3 – Exploring the Hotel (1)
[User: Han Kain (Wisdom)
Date: Day 1
Current Location: Floor 1, Room 105 (Room of Rest)
Sage’s Advice: 2]
It was a magnificent meal.
Actually I wouldn’t know how the other dishes tasted because the steak and the spaghetti were the only ones I had, but those two at the very least were very delicious. Before the meal, my head was spinning from the confusion, fear and irritation but after filling up my stomach, I started to think it was fortunate that the food was delicious at least.
I guess humans are in the end still animals…
Judging from the satisfied look on everyone’s faces, it seemed they were thinking the same thing as me. That was when I checked the clock just to make sure. Lunch time was from 12 to 1:30, and it was currently around 1:24 – there were only 6 minutes left until the end of mealtime.
There was someone else who checked the clock apart from me.
“So, I think everyone’s pretty much finished with the meal. Why don’t we go to a different area?”
“Uhmm… Eunsol-unni. How about we talk here? I think they might also give coffee and other desserts,” replied Songee.
“We all experienced it, didn’t we? After mealtime, we won’t be able to see each other because this is an amazing hotel that respects our privacy. I don’t know why such a great hotel would kidnap us, but anyway there are a lot of things for us to talk about so we have to move to a different place. What about you, Jinchul-ssi? Is your arm alright?”
“I’m fine. It was just a little scratch. And I agree with what noonim said. We still have many things to decide on, starting from the immediate question of what we have to do now… So let’s go somewhere else.”
“I also agree with moving somewhere else, but should we go? The same monsters will be outside, and we will all disappear in our rooms after 1:30.”
As soon as I finished giving my opinion, an announcement showed up.
/Hello esteemed guests! Did you enjoy your meal?
We at Hotel Pioneer prepare fresh ingredients everyday and arrange the meal you can enjoy with the help of our carefully elected chefs. We hope you enjoy your meal every time.
Today’s Surprise Event: There are no bad animals in the world, has ended./
We were all struck speechless at the same time.
“That is a very timely announcement.” I started off.
“Way too… timely. At this point, it’s like this hotel is always watching us. Telling us the event ended immediately after we started talking about monsters, huh. Is it saying it’s safe outside now?”
After Eunsol-noona analysed the announcement, Jinchul-ssi opened his mouth with a complaint.
“There are no bad animals my ass. If a monkey swinging a sword to devour humans is not a bad animal, then what is? Seriously, what a crazy hotel. How did we end up here?”
“Animals sometimes get slightly violent when they see people because they’re scared. It’s not that they are evil or violent. It’s like, an aggressive self defence mechanism that shows up when they’re scared…”
Maybe she liked animals? Songee’s sudden remark was quite unfitting.
“Wait, Miss Songee. Do you mean the monkey stabbing my arm with a sword was also a ‘self defence mechanism’? How is that self defence?”
When Cha Jinchul-ssi, whose body alone was fierce enough to give off pressure, raised his voice, the timid Songee’s neck greatly retracted again like a turtle. Seeing that, Cha Jinchul-ssi couldn’t hide his fluster.
“Haht. No, that, that was just banter. Uhh… My voice was too loud. I’m sorry. Thinking of those monkeys stabbing me was a little annoying. I didn’t mean anything against you, Miss Songee.”
It seemed that this big hyung was actually nicer than I thought.
“Now, now! We only have 1 minute left. First off, let’s get up and go outside! We need to have some talk.”
Eunsol-noona, who was already completely like the leader of the group, confidently raised her voice. It was very natural and didn’t feel repulsive in the slightest, not because she was the oldest of our group or anything. It just… felt like she was very used to grabbing people’s attention and leading them.
We all got up after hearing her shout, walked out of the dining room and opened the door of Room 105.
[You have understood a little bit about your teammate.]
It was clean. Ridiculously enough, the outside was very clean considering how everything was thrown all over the place during the fight against the monsters. Did those ‘shy workers’ clean these up already?
Honestly, the aftermath of that fight would have warranted a large-scale repair instead of a simple ‘clean-up’, but it would be a waste of energy to bother worrying about every single thing.
We walked towards the front reception and found drinks and snacks prepared on top of a table near the reception desk. There was one for each person, and there was coffee, juice, soft drinks and other types of drinks, as if they had all been prepared to suit the tastes of everyone present.
“Hah… how meticulous are these guys with everything. And how shy are these meticulous people that I can’t see a trace of them? There are many answers I want to force out of them,” muttered Jinchul-ssi.
“This flavour… It’s more frightening than ridiculous at this point.”
“Is there something wrong with the flavour? Eunsol-unni?”
“There’s nothing wrong, but it is exactly the same as my favourite drink. The ratio of sugar, milk and even the coffee beans. It had the exact same colour so I thought maybe but… You should all have a look. I think it’s all going to be exactly the type of drink you want.”
I was able to have lime-flavoured pepsi zero immediately so it wasn’t upsetting or anything. Isn’t it a good thing that we can have delicious food and drinks? Let’s not dwell on how strange it was.
Slowly taking a sip, I was relaxing myself when someone opened his mouth. As always, it was Cha Jinchul-ssi who started the conversation.
“I still don’t really know what’s happening, but firstly, my phone has no reception. Is that the same for everyone?”
We all nodded back.
“I see… I’ve only seen things like this on news reports about the Calamity Administration Bureau. To think I was caught up in this myself. Anyway, our objective is to all leave this place isn’t it? Let’s head to the front entrance. They’re probably not going to let us out but we should still take a look.”
Fortunately, there was a rough map of the building next to the front desk and it wasn’t very complicated. Together, we went down by half a floor, turned left and followed down the corridor and was met with the front entrance.
After arriving at the main entrance, we were once again lost for words.
It was literally the sky. Outside the door there was nothing but the blue sky, with layers of cloud way beneath. The ground was so far beneath that we couldn’t even see it.
I was trying to open the door a little to check the bottom when an alarm popped up.
[Opening the door in the sky without any equipment is an act of suicide]
“Ah… Uhh… It says we shouldn’t open the door.”
“Kain, were you actually going to open the door? You can’t open windows in an airplane either; of course we shouldn’t open the door in the sky. I thought you were just going closer to it.”
“Hahaha. You’re right. I must have been too shocked by everything.”
“But seriously… is this hotel floating in the sky or something? I’ve never even thought this was possible.”
Eunsol-noonim dumbfoundedly expressed her agreement with Jinchul-ssi.
“I was thinking I’d experienced enough interesting and mysterious things all over the world, but I guess not. Definitely wasn’t expecting this.”
“At least we won’t be able to go outside through here. Unless we have wings or something. Haha, I wasn’t expecting Jeju Island to be such an amazing island! To think there was a hotel floating in the sky.”
“Here! There’s something written here!”
We all turned towards where Songee’s voice came from, and found a strange scribble written on the wall on the right side of the main entrance.
<Escape Route 2. Requires a special tool.>
What was this about? Escape Route 2? Did that mean there was 1 as well? And was the main entrance really one of the escape methods? Besides, what was that ‘special tool’ about; did we need something that could allow us to fly through the sky to escape this place?
And more importantly, who was the one that carved this on the wall? It probably wasn’t the hotel, at least in my opinion. Looking at the ways of the hotel thus far, the hotel would not use a method like this to share information.
If so, then was there someone else in this hotel? Thinking about it like that made me feel slightly spooky.
I immediately conveyed my opinion.
“It says Escape Route 2. That means there’s definitely 1, and there might also be 3, 4 and 5. I think… there would probably be at least one method that is easier than flying through the sky.”
For now, I decided to gloss over the identity of the scribbler. There were too many spooky things happening to us already, and I didn’t want to raise something else that could make the atmosphere awful again.
“That’s some good news at least. Let’s go back to where we had our drinks. The shy waiters were quite good at brewing coffee, and they were pretty nice.”
Although we were somewhat expecting it, the invalidity of our quick escape plan nonetheless made us feel slightly dejected as we walked back to the table. The table where we had our food was back to being tidy like nothing happened before, with the drinks and snacks prepared again.
This time, no-one commented on how surprising it was or said anything, so I opened my mouth.
“Firstly, how about we go around the hotel and have a look at the structure? There was something strange I found when we were looking at the map.”
“I didn’t see anything strange. Was there something?”
“There are no stairs. On the map was the basement, 1st floor, 2nd floor and 3rd floor as well as a gym and a swimming pool, but for some reason there were no stairs, and there was only the elevator. Well, it is rare to use stairs in a hotel but usually there are emergency stairs in case of fire and earthquakes right? It should have been included in the map but I couldn’t see it.”
Cha Jinchul-ssi immediately stood up and observed the map, and soon opened his mouth.
“You’re right. There are no stairs at all. Usually there’s the green sign of a man running, telling you to use this to escape in case of emergency, but it’s not there.”
“Hmm… Whatever it is, it is important to have an idea of this hotel’s structure. For starters, let’s get up after we’re done with the drinks and look around to see if there is anything strange. Ah, and let’s go around together if possible. It feels… a little off. This place doesn’t seem like the best place to move around alone.”
After Eunsol-noonim’s words, we all stood up together and explored the hotel.
At the end of an hour and a half of exploration of the 1st floor, we came to the following conclusions.
1. According to the map on the front desk, the place where the front desk was at was the 1st floor, and half a floor underneath was the main entrance and ‘small’ guest rooms. The 2nd floor had ‘medium guest rooms’ and the 3rd floor had ‘large guest rooms’.
2. There are no stairs in this building.
3. Using the elevator is the only method to move between floors.