Chapter 17: False Happiness
EndlessFantasy Translation EndlessFantasy Translation
The firewood crackled as Melina sat by the fireplace and watched the dancing flames. The warmth from the fireplace dispelled the cold and moisture from her body, reminding her of the fact that she was still alive.
Melina was too old to be cheering and celebrating like the young ones. She continued to live on even after her family had been torn apart, just to see through her husband's last wish. She was already prepared for her miserable life to end in the Demonic Realm, yet she survived.
Not only did she survive, but the gods also gave her a new goal, a new reason to live.
"Belle, I'm going to the city the day after tomorrow."
Melina turned to the young girl sitting on the other side of the fireplace. Ynor was holding a book and reading it while sitting in front of the fire.
There were no precious items like books in the village, and that book was part of the only goods that Melina had left.
The bandit's raid had almost destroyed all of her belongings, and all she had left was just a carriage as well as an old horse.
Fortunately, Melina carried her money with her, and even without any cargo, she still had property back in the magic city of Norland.
As long as she was alive, there was always a way to live on. However, Melina did not only want to live, but she also wanted to send the girl, who liked to read, to school.
"The city? Aunt Melina... will you take me along?"
Ynor looked away from the book and verbalized his sad reality. In actuality, Ynor did not know how to read human words or demonic words for that matter.
As a succubus who lived in the gutter of the Demonic Realm, he could only think of surviving under the threat of persecution and suffering. Studying was out of the question. So, holding the book was just Ynor playing his part well to fool the human before him.
Until now, Melina had not doubted him as her relationship with Ynor deepened. They had spent the most difficult time in their lives together, and despite it being barely half a day, Melina was determined to treat Ynor as her own daughter.
"Yes, but I will need some time. That carriage can only fit two persons. Don't worry, I will come back and bring you to the city. There is a big library with all sorts of books in it, and I will send you to a school to learn everything you want."
Melina's servant was still taking care of the old horse and the carriage in the stable. With Melina's old bones no longer suited to drive the carriage, she had to rely on the hired servant to drive her to Norland.
It would take three days to get to Norland from the village, and two trips would take about nine days.
"Thank you, Aunt Melina... I don't know how to thank you."
Ynor did not know where the kindness of this human came from. He had lived in the Demonic Realm for so long, but never once did a person treat him so well.
No... perhaps it was just that he held a different identity now. It was because he was Belle, a beautiful and kind human girl.
If Melina found out his true identity as an inferior succubus, she would definitely see him the same way the others in the Demonic Realm saw him—a repulsive piece of trash.
Therefore, Ynor did not think too much as he tried his best to complete the mission that Joshua had given to him. It was the only way he could survive as Ynor, not as Belle, the fictional character.
"It does not matter, child. In the future, if you achieve good grades in school, that will be thanks enough."
Melina had begun to look forward to the life she would have in Norland.
Ynor, however, was suffering. It was the kind of suffering one felt when one was being stared at by the boss at work.
His innate senses as a succubus allowed him to vaguely sense that Joshua had entered the room, and he could feel Joshua's gaze... The feeling of being watched by a high demon was something Ynor could not be more familiar with.
"What's wrong, Belle?"
Melina could see a flicker of uneasiness flashing past Ynor's face, and she thought that Ynor may have recalled some unpleasant memories, like how her parents were slain by the bandits for instance. So, she held her hand out to touch Ynor's.
Ynor was slightly stunned as he felt the warmth from the back of her hand. His uneasiness was soon soothed by Melina's calming touch.
Was this what people called loving care? It was... incredible.
Although Ynor knew that it was all just an ephemeral mirage and he would lose everything once Joshua's mission for him ended, if he could enjoy the warmth even for a short while, it was fine.
"Is it right to deceive an old lady like that?"
Ciri had just come out of Melina's room, and it happened to be raining lightly outside. As the drizzle landed upon Ciri, they washed away all of the Wraith Dust.
"Deceive? Isn't that something humans think that we demons are extremely good at?" Joshua asked as he shoved the camera and crystal into his briefcase.
With Ciri's help, Joshua had spent the entire afternoon capturing the film based on its original form.
While the layout was not as satisfactory, it was unrealistic to expect a scene as beautiful as the one in the Disney movie in the small village.
"That... is true."
Ciri recalled how humans saw demons, and aside from being cruel and evil, demons were also cunning and despicable.
Ciri had heard tales that if one were to listen to a demon's whisper, one would be tempted to fall into darkness, but it was all just hearsay.
Today, Ciri had finally seen something tangible. It was so real that she could write a documentary and call it, "The old lady who was deceived by a succubus"?
"Besides, I don't think there is anything wrong with this deception."
Joshua stood at the edge of the forest as he looked into the room that Melina was in. He could still hear Melina and Ynor chatting.
Judging from the merchant's "performance" earlier, she had indeed considered Ynor as family and was clearly enjoying the time spent with her loved one.
Ynor seemed to have gotten a little too engrossed as well.
Joshua did not want Ynor to have any emotions for the old lady because affection by deception was as wonderful and as deadly as opium.
Once the filming ended, Belle, the character would no longer exist... No...
Why could she not exist?
If that merchant could accept Ynor's true identity, Joshua did not mind letting Ynor live on with her.
"Perhaps I can develop a demon summoning business in the future."
Joshua did not think that there was anything sinister or evil with the ritual of demon summoning since everyone just had to fulfill their end of the contract. Plus, in modern terms, they were no different than business partners.
Perhaps it was the price of life required for the ritual that led to its infamy.
In reality, human life was of no use to demons, though. They could not eat it or use it to strengthen themselves. They would prefer for it to be replaced with something much more practical... like gold or currency. Those were much more useful.
Ciri lost count of the number of times she had heard Joshua spout some bizarre terminology.
"It is something like the Demonic Cartel, the Demonic Agency, or the Demonic Yoruzuya or whatnot. Maybe it can drive the economy in both the Demonic and Human Realms. Then, I can promote it using "A summoning circle will solve all of your problems." as a catchphrase. Well... it's just an idea."
It was just something Joshua had envisioned, and his vision depended on the premise of humans trusting demons.
In order to reach that goal, Joshua would need plenty of time, but the first step now was to shoot the movie first.
At present, the only plotline left was Belle singing along with the villagers during the day. However, it was already evening in the Human Realm, so Joshua had to wait until the next day to continue shooting.
"Time to check out the other shooting spot."
The next scene was in the all-important castle, and the Royal Castle in the Demonic Realm was simply too far away. Hence, before he had started filming, he identified a more suitable castle via the map of the Demonic Realm.
Whether the owner of the castle would allow Joshua to use it as a shooting location was still a question, and it was one that Joshua needed to resolve immediately.