Chapter 48: Guests
Gallolie stepped into Weissenasche Theater and noticed a huge backdrop by the entrance.
Why would they move the backdrop outside? Was their show performed outside?
Gallolie knew that some troupes performing in smaller towns would employ said method, but they were usually the minority and more akin to a circus than a theater company.
However, there was no visible stage around this particular backdrop. Moreover, when Gallolie went inside the building, it was not as deserted as Professor Salinya had impressed on her.
There were at least a dozen people queuing up at the ticket counter, and most of them were aristocratic ladies dressed in the same kind of extravagance as she was. Meanwhile, an overweight man with light makeup on him was passionately explaining something to the ladies in the queue.
"There's nothing much to see here, Ms. Gallolie."
Professor Salinya had joined her inside the building, entering the theater.
The place was empty the last time he was there a few days ago. Even with the few noble missuses who had been invited to the screening, Weissenasche Theater was still miles away from the sight of the jam-packed ticketing zone in Norland National Theater.
Sir Weissenasche was quick to notice his two new visitors… or rather, one damned businessman and the star of Blackswan Theater! What?!
"Ladies, please excuse me for a moment."
Sir Weissenasche removed himself delicately from the midst of the noble ladies and dashed toward Gallolie.
"It if isn't Ms. Gallolie, here to visit."
Sir Weissenasche gently bowed at the Flower of Farucci. What mattered to him was not the young lady's title, but rather her talent on the stage. The star of Blackswan Theater was a brilliant actress and just brilliant enough to let him endure the rotten merchant who was accompanying her!
"My dear sir, are you just going to ignore your old friend here? Isn't that a little cold?"
Professor Salinya positioned himself between his adversary and Gallolie. After all, the people of Norland would usually have to pay thousands of gold coins just to get a glimpse of her.
"Friend? I don't know any vile merchant as a friend. Leave my theater now. I can't work when I smell the putrid air around you!"
Sir Weissenasche abandoned all pretense of civility and spoke his mind. Given that the man had nearly wiped out Weissenasche Theater's customer base, it took a lot to stop himself from punching Salinya in the face.
"I only wanted to help you. Considering that you can barely finance the maintenance of the building itself, why don't you hand over this theater to me? I promise to restore it to its former glory."
Professor Salinya remained courteous since Gallolie was standing right behind him.
"Former glory? Weissenasche Theater's glory has been reignited since yesterday! I don't need your help. Starting tomorrow, all of Norland will be reminded that there is only one theater in this city!"
Professor Salinya had been right in that Weissenasche Theater was on the verge of dissolution, but things had changed. With Joshua's assistance, Weissenasche Theater would be able to take on Norland National Theater, even if the latter was hosting the Blackswan company.
Sir Weissenasche was confident that Belle was just as charming as the star of Blackswan Theater! The actress would be given a nickname akin to the Flower of Norland one day.
"That's right, Sir Weissenasche, I believe that theater is Norland National Theater."
Professor Salinya could not stomach his rival's overbearing attitude.
Sir Weissenasche was about to order his men to drag the irritating merchant out when he saw two familiar figures at the door. The sight of them cooled him down instantly.
Joshua was not expecting the Mage Construction Guild hired by Sir Weissenasche to work so efficiently. The backdrop had been completed ahead of its scheduled completion, which was the day after.
Hence, Joshua decided to drop by after his visit to Melina's shop to inspect the backdrop since it was along the way home. He was about to project the poster onto the backdrop when the commotion inside the theater caught his attention.
Joshua did not hear much of the argument, but he could see that Sir Weissenasche was about to get rid of some visitors.
If word got out about the incident, it could damage the theater's reputation.
There was no need to kick anyone out even if it was a rival. Anyone who stepped into the theater was a potential audience member for "Beauty and the Demon". Joshua saw no reason to lose the opportunity to sell more tickets.
"You cannot resolve anything just by standing there."
Joshua, accompanied by Ciri, entered the building and interrupted the conversation between Sir Weissenasche and the man he obviously hated.
"Why don't both of you give the latest installment offered by Weissenasche Theater a go before you speak more on the subject?"
"Did a theater company finally agree to perform here?"
Judging from his words, Professor Salinya suspected that Joshua was probably a member of that company.
"Um… Weissenasche Theater is not hosting any theater company at the moment, and there is no need for that. In any case, I believe that you will enjoy our show."
The originium in his hand glowed as Joshua projected the image stored inside the crystal onto the white backdrop that was hung on a pillar.
In order to promote a show, the theater needed posters both at the entrance outside and in the interior to build up hype.
So, the poster for "Beauty and the Demon" was projected on the backdrop. It showed Belle and the demon dancing in the castle's grand ballroom, and they were both dressed extravagantly.
When the noble ladies who had seen the film saw the image, they shrieked in delight. The scene must have invoked the deep feelings they felt when they first watched the movie.
Professor Salinya and Gallolie were both enticed by the poster as well.
While it was impressive to see an originium crystal create the projection, Professor Salinya was more intrigued by the woman called Belle in the poster. That was because the moment he saw the young lady, he felt a hint of desire.
Of course, Professor Salinya was also impressed by the charm of the Flower of Farucci when he first saw her, but that was purely a man's natural reflex. This was different.
He was about to ask Joshua about the woman behind the role when Joshua put a finger to his lips to hush him.
"The easiest way to get your answers is to watch the show. Just two tickets will dispel the mystery behind it all," Joshua said.
Professor Salinya was greatly offended by Joshua's provocative response. There was no way he would buy a ticket from his competitor!
That was a principle that he had set for himself a long time ago. He would rather jump off a building than watch a show in Weissenasche Theater.
It would be an idiotic decision! No matter how beautiful the woman in the poster was, he would not succumb to foolery!
"I'd like a ticket, please."
Gallolie broke her silence and spoke to Joshua.
"Ms. Gallolie… Sigh, give me two tickets! Allow me to pay for yours, Ms. Gallolie."
Professor Salinya braced himself and paid twenty gold coins for two VIP tickets, which was a much cheaper price compared to the tickets of his own theater. No matter his principle, he had to keep Gallolie safe.
"Thank you. This way, please."
Since they had been converted to customers, Joshua gestured at an attendant to lead them both into the viewing hall.
After that, he handed the twenty gold coins over to Sir Weissenasche.
"We will not kick anyone out unless they are here to make trouble."
In fact, Sir Weissenasche was beaming inside. The awkward look on Professor Salinya's face made his day.
"That aside, please report the daily ticket sales to me, including details such as the number of tickets sold and net profit. Summarize the data for me… I believe that you are up for the task, Sir Weissenasche."
"Of course, I will prepare the report myself."
Sir Weissenasche understood the implications behind Joshua's words when the latter said he was "up for the task". Since he was planning on doing long term business with Joshua, he would not risk his reputation for any amount of profit.
Joshua was just done with the poster's installation when he felt someone's gaze on him. He looked up at the entrance of the viewing hall and noticed that it was Gallolie. However, his line of sight was quickly obscured by a hand that waved persistently to get his attention.
"What is it?"
Joshua turned away to look at Ciri.
"Nothing, there was a mosquito," said Ciri.