Chapter 50: Release
The next day.
Melina had just taken Ynor through the enrollment procedures of a magic academy before she brought him to the entrance of Weissenasche Theater.
It was almost noon, and the scene at the entrance of Weissenasche Theater was completely different from yesterday as a large number of carriages lined up one after another on the street before the entrance.
Young mages in wizard robes were standing together on the stairs at the gate of the theater, seemingly waiting for something.
Melina even recognized visitors from other countries based on their clothing.
The reason all of them had gathered there was a massive poster hanging by the entrance of Weissenasche Theater.
Melina's eyes were instantly attracted by the "Beauty and the Demon" poster.
There was no such thing as a poster in this world. The most were signboards made by a store using wooden boards. Yet, this "signboard" before Weissenasche Theater had totally broken Norland's perception—the world's even—of a signboard.
It was not a simple signboard with a few words on it, rather it was a complete image. The scene of the beauty and the demon dancing in gorgeous clothing within a magnificent hall was perfectly captured and presented in the poster.
The moment the poster appeared in Norland, it was destined that everyone who passed by Weissenasche Theater would stop and look.
Melina was no exception. She had pulled Ynor up Weissenasche Theater's stairs, driven by her raging curiosity. Only then did she suddenly realize that the girl embracing the demon was like Ynor who was next to her. More accurately, she was Belle whom Melina had met in the village earlier.
Ynor's hair was silver now, while Belle had flax-colored hair and a vastly different appearance from Ynor's…
That almost made Melina forgot that her adopted child was previously named Belle.
Just as Melina was about to ask Ynor about it, two tall women stood in front of them and spoke in a language that was not Norland's common tongue. Instead, they were speaking the language of Ishtar, the Land of Frost.
When she was younger, Melina and her husband had traveled all across the world, so she understood a little of every known language. This time, she clearly understood what the two Ishtarian young ladies were talking about.
"Stop crying Agatha. Didn't you kill many demons back when you were in the army? Why didn't I see you crying then?"
"But… But… this demon's innocent."
"It's just a play… No, the Norlanders seem to be calling this new performance a movie."
Melina walked past the two Ishtarian girls and stopped before the entrance of Weissenasche Theater. As the entire entrance had been blocked by the crowd, the efforts of a few attendants to maintain some semblance of order proved to be futile.
That many people?! Melina had been in the mercantile business for so long and been to several stage plays when she was still well-to-do, but she had never seen the entrance of a theater hall being blocked by a crowd like that before.
Joshua walked out of the crowd.
This time around, Joshua had underestimated the promotional effect of the poster. On Earth, he could see a poster almost every step he took. It was all too common, dated even.
However, this was the first time such a thing had appeared in this world. Driven by curiosity, many young mages were attracted by it.
While they did fully satisfy their curiosity after they finished viewing "Beauty and the Demon", the movie had also touched them and brought them much fun. It turned into a topic of discussion whenever they chatted with their friends.
In a world where newspapers were just a conceptual item, the best form of publicity was through word of mouth.
In the morning, there were only a few people in Weissenasche Theater's lobby, but by noon, the number of visitors increased exponentially as some of the visitors who had already watched it in the morning brought their friends to watch it the second time.
"Joshua… is this what you meant?"
Melina had plenty of questions to ask Joshua, but she had no idea where to start.
"It's the same thing I told you about last night. If you are still doubtful, go and watch the movie. After that, it will be time for you and me to talk about our cooperation."
Joshua asked an attendant to lead Melina and Ynor to the VIP seats. Even when the tickets for the entire theater had already been sold out, there were still a few VIP seats that were reserved for certain people.
With the attendant leading the way, Melina arrived at the VIP seating area of Weissenasche Theater's performance hall.
It was a separate room at the highest point of the entire performance hall, and sitting on the sofa in the room gave the person a clear view of the huge screen in the hall.
"Sit down, Ynor. It looks like I can only go along with Joshua's intentions."
Melina noticed the unease of her adoptive child, and she patted the empty spot beside her as she used the same comforting tone she always used to relieve Ynor's stress.
Ynor then sat on the sofa as the entire hall turned dark. During that time, Melina could still hear whispers from the rows beneath.
"Why isn't there a stage?"
"That background wall is too near…"
"Do you know which troupe is performing?"
"Shut up, this performance needs no troupes."
How did one present a performance without a troupe? The whispers Melina heard were also the questions she had in her heart, but what appeared on the screen immediately put everything to rest.
"A long, long time ago, there was a cursed demon prince, whose blood was half-human."
A specter working for the Duke of Bones narrated the background of the story, and following the moving images on the screen, the audience was instantly introduced to the world Joshua had constructed.
Following that was a place that Melina could not be more familiar with—the village by the edge of the mountains. The heroine of the story, Belle, who was actually Ynor beside her, slowly walked out as she sang along with the villagers to tell the audience what kind of girl Belle was.
"How could those farmers in those hovels give birth to such a beautiful girl?"
"She's beautiful, but I still think Ms. Gallolie is much more attractive…"
The whisperings immediately disappeared amidst the chorus by Belle and the villagers. As the story advanced, many simply forgot to talk to their friends anymore.
Once the story of the movie gradually unfolded, those who previously believed that the Flower of Farucci was the most beautiful lady in the world had begun to have second thoughts.
The legendary Flower of Farucci was indeed beautiful, but for most, she was simply too distant a persona, too distant that no one knew what her true personality was. They only knew her through the various characters she played. Wearing such a mysterious veil, it made her seem untouchable.
On the contrary, Belle was different. Although she was a screen apart, she seemed approachable. She was just an ordinary girl living in a village… until she put on the gorgeous dress and started dancing with the demon prince in the hall.
It really plucked the heartstrings of some of the younger folks in the crowd.
The ladies focused on a completely different thing, though.
"Is Farlow the Clock a familiar? I want to know how to summon it."
"Hey… that's a demonic servant, but I do want that teacup."
The other highlight of "Beauty and the Demon" was, of course, the speaking furniture.
Even though the watching experience differed from person to person in the audience, when the final sequence of the movie unfolded, the sounds of sobs rang out across the hall.
Joshua was sitting in the other VIP seat, and he watched the response of the audience below. Their reactions made him very satisfied, and without a doubt, "Beauty and the Demon" was a resounding success. A month from today, no, a year from today, this movie would be the talk of Norland!