Chapter 44: Guild
The main reception area of the Weissenasche Theater, after the end of the movie screening.
"No… Why did the demon die in the end?! He was so nice to Belle! I can't accept it!!"
Sansa wiped away the tears on her cheeks with a handkerchief. As someone who cried a lot, she was already on her second handkerchief, which she borrowed from Hyrlan.
"Aren't all citizens of Messai merciless toward demons?"
It was Ciri's fourth time watching the movie. She was mentally prepared to stop herself from crying during the emotional scenes in the movie and now had time to notice the details, such as how many scenes she appeared in.
On the contrary, Sansa got teary-eyed halfway through and sobbed loudly when the movie ended.
Ciri knew about the Holy Theocracy of Messai. It championed the idea that "all demons were evil invaders" and had shared an antagonistic relationship with demons for close to a century. In fact, the people's general impression of demons probably originated from the missionaries of Messai who promoted their religion around the world.
In other words, it was a matter of blind discrimination.
"This… This is different…"
Sansa was flustered due to Ciri's question, but she firmly believed that Belle and the demon should have been together in the movie and that they deserved a happy ending too.
That was because, in the first half of the movie, especially when the demon came to accept Belle, Sansa found that the relationship was quite… romantic.
The best tragedies always depicted the happiest moment of its characters before cruelly stripping it away from them!
"Don't cry, it's only a story."
Hyrlan sympathized with her friend and agreed that the ending was too painful to bear. She patted Sansa's back gently to console her.
Sansa's mentality was probably her reason for choosing to study in Norland.
Knowing that, Joshua did not have to worry about a bunch of paladins attacking the theater. After all, they were in the mages' territory.
"Sir, the backdrop will be finished tomorrow. With that, everyone in Norland will get to see the promotional poster."
Sir Weissenasche finally broke free of his aristocratic lady friends and reported to Joshua about their progress.
"We must hurry. On top of that, please add a few more ticket counters."
Joshua had taught the mages under Sir Weissenasche's employment how to use originium crystals to create projections. The Weissenasche Theater may have been long-dormant, but as the manager of the theater, Sir Weissenasche was an influential figure in Norland with many aristocratic friends from various countries, and most of them were ladies.
"That's done and settled. Also, here's the contract I've prepared for you."
Sir Weissenasche was not a shrewd businessman, but he did realize the kind of impact "Beauty and the Demon" would bring to Norland's entertainment industry. The Weissenasche Theater would rise to glory once again, and it would be wise for him to fully cooperate with Joshua, the man who made it all possible.
Joshua was the only person in the world who could produce movies! He would definitely not be satisfied with just one movie. There would inevitably be more great movies in the future, and if all of them were shown only in Weissenasche Theater… Sir Weissenasche did not dare continue the thought. The possibilities were enough to make his heart leap out in excitement!
"I get eighty percent?"
Joshua briefly glanced through the content, which basically comprised of business terms and conditions that were in line with Norland's patent laws. The summary of it was that Joshua would only need to sit back and count his money. The split on ticket sales profit was also amended from a 70-30 split to 80-20 in his favor.
"I still have some savings, Sir… You must have produced this masterpiece at a great price. Besides, my biggest spending is only to maintain this theater," said Sir Weissenasche.
He was a sincere playwright who devoted himself fully to the arts. Joshua accepted Sir Weissenasche's kind offer since he most definitely needed the money to carry out the next steps of his plan.
Joshua signed his name on the contract and returned it to Sir Weissenasche, who carefully stored it away.
"You can leave the rest to me, Sir. If you need help with casting for your next movie, please don't hesitate to contact me. I can get you the right people."
In fact, Sir Weissenasche was referring to himself in particular. As an actor and playwright, he hoped to star in Joshua's next movie, even if it was just as an extra.
"Casting? I do agree that it's time to work on this side of things. I want to set up a merchant guild."
"Beauty and the Demon" was going to be popular during its long theatrical run. All Joshua needed to do was wait until the movie's fanbase spread to all corners of Norland.
Once "Beauty and the Demon" became a sensation, people would start to notice the names in the rolling credits and the company logo before the movie began.
There would not be a lack of people interested in auditioning for the next movie like Sir Weissenasche, and there was no reason for Joshua to reject the request of the old veteran actor. Hence, he decided to set up a proper entertainment company.
In Norland, the closest thing to an entertainment company that he could find was a merchant guild.
"Are you interested in… trading, Sir?"
"No, this guild will be a bit like the guilds formed by spellcasters, except that the members in my guild will work as actors, painters, and the like."
Joshua wanted to build a merchant guild that focused on the trinity of the entertainment industry, namely gaming, film, and music. However, he had not decided on a name yet. He considered calling it the Earth Entertainment Guild, but that sounded a little weird.
"In that case, may I join it, Sir? I believe I can also provide the guild with an address."
Sir Weissenasche knew that spellcasters would form guilds to accept jobs and earn a commission. It was especially common for spellcasters skilled in combat to do so.
"Thank you for your offer, Sir Weissenasche, but I don't think the theater is suitable to be converted into a tavern."
His company needed an office. Joshua had set his eyes on a particular estate in Norland for that purpose, a building owned by the tradeswoman, Melina.
Melina had lost her goods to some thieves and also her status as a tradesperson. Joshua was willing to lend her a hand, but he wondered if she would be willing to take on a different role as manager of Hearthstone Tavern… That was Joshua's intended location for his guild office.