Chapter 4: Arlette
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Arlette’s arm was so stiff that he must have been frightened by this. The Demon King went on to ask, “Arlette, do you have a concubine or lover?”
The mage seemed to smile weakly, “How could I have…”
“So, are you someone else’s favorite concubine or lover?”
“Of course not…”
“Isn’t that fine then?” The Demon King said, “I think you and I are very suitable for each other. Although not yet… This damned summoning can’t bring you over, I can only hold your hand.”
“Why do you think so? Is this a popular joke in purgatory?”
“It’s not a joke of purgatory, it’s our traditional mate selection criteria,” the Demon King said seriously. “With the progression of the times, we have become more open, and have a variety of ways to choose our lovers. In the old system, we demons had a special preference when choosing a mate – who helped us the most in battle – we regard that person as a forever partner, with him or her forever.”
Arlette seemed to be in a daze. If he was not in a daze, he was considering the proposal, the Demon King hoped it was the latter. After a while, the human said, “But I’m not the one who helped you the most in battle. That person should be your military division or general or something. Besides, you will encounter countless wars in purgatory, and there may be others in the future…”
“How many wars? In fact, Baku purgatory is very peaceful,” the Demon King said. “On average, we have a small war every three to five years, and there’s a demon-cave-level war every ten years on average. As for the kind of campaign that sweeps across the entire plane, that takes hundreds or even thousands of years to occur!”
“That’s a lot already, ok…”
The Demon King held the human’s hand with his left hand and his right hand placed on top. He looked at the mirror with deep emotion, “The so-called mate selection standard is just a statement. As you said, who can know which war is the grandest? Who knows what kind of help is the most important to himself? I’m not one of those old-fashioned demons who follow the rules. On the contrary, I’m following my inner feelings. So far, I don’t think any creature is cute except you.”
“That’s because you don’t see me and don’t know me,” Arlette said. “I’m not cute.”
“I’ll try to see you. I don’t really know you, but you can take your time.”
“Once you get to know me, you won’t have those ideas.”
The Demon King laughed. “You’re not me. How do you know what I think?”
“A lot of things are like this,” Arlette said. “People can only see the surface, which is either prejudiced or over-beautified. Once they understand, people’s opinions change and they will blame it for not conforming to their own inherent impressions.”
“Forget it. Don’t talk about it.” The Demon King sighed, “The more serious we talk, the harder it gets to respond. You humans always like to complicate very simple things. You think too much and too deeply.”
“You see, it’s not exactly your stereotype of ‘we humans’,” Arlette said
It seemed that they wouldn’t be able to get rid of the topic for a while, so the Demon King went on, “Maybe. Demons have heard from childhood that human beings are meticulous and narrow-minded creatures. They are stingy, insidious, and ambitious. Among all kinds of creatures, human beings are quite dangerous.”
“So…” Arlette said, “in a sense, that’s true. Of course, I can’t say exactly what human beings are, after all, there are many different kinds of human beings.”
“And you don’t feel the same way about me,” said the Demon King. “Although you are careful and a little narrow-minded…. Oh, I hope you’re not getting angry.”
The mage said, “It’s okay,” with a smile in his voice.
The Demon King went on reassuringly, “But I don’t think you are that kind of malicious creature. You’re not the same as the ‘human mage’ in many rumors of the purgatory.”
There was a pause, and the Demon King wasn’t sure what he was thinking. After a while, Arlette said, “I found…it’s a wonderful thing…”
“My Lord, do you know what humans think of demons?” The mage said, “We usually think that demons are cruel and cunning and have no feelings to speak of. They will not love anything except war and blood…”
“Do you think I am that way?”
“You like war and blood, but you are not so cunning…”
The mage’s tone was a little strange. The Demon King suspected that he was laughing at his own stupidity. It didn’t matter. Originally, human beings were better at plotting, and they didn’t feel aggrieved when they said they are stupid.
“Demons do love war, but we like lots of other things.” The Demon King glanced around his room, which was full of things he liked. “Take me for example, I actually like music…”
“You seem particularly surprised, huh? I really like music. If you don’t know what kind of musical instrument I can play, pick any kind, such as a stringer or a drum.” With that, the Demon King let go of the mage’s hand, “Wait, don’t leave the mirror. I’ll play for you.”
In fact, the Demon King’s playing skills were not good. He played well when he was a child, but now he’d abandoned it for too long. However, he still liked listening to music and playing pop music during his leisure time.
At the end of the song, the Demon King asked Arlette how he felt. Arlette didn’t know what a toutlin was and couldn’t tell the good from the bad. He said in a trance, “Aren’t you king of the demon city? Why do you like music…”
“It’s not surprising,” said the Demon King. “A lot of demons learn music when they’re kids. Oh, and painting too, we like to draw epic pieces. When I was a child, my mother forced me to practice toutlin, I had to practice every day, if I didn’t, I was not allowed to eat. She was a killer and a musician. She called me tough when I played. Thanks to her training, I became really fond of music. Moreover, my fighting skills improved very fast because I fought with her all year round.”
The human mage didn’t say a word and didn’t even move his fingers. It was probably due to shock. The Demon King asked, “Are you so surprised because you didn’t expect demon women to have the will to kill?”
“I’ve heard that human women don’t have the right to be a killer. Is that right? We demons are different.”
“You have a major misunderstanding of human beings…”
“That is to say, the rumor is false then? In fact, human beings can be killers of any gender, just like us?”
Arlette trembled a little as if laughing, “It seems right, and it seems a little wrong. I don’t know where to start… “
“Speaking of this, I really miss my mother. It has been more than 200 years since she died in the war. In my memory of her, I often organized toutlin performance contests and selected musicians from the whole cave floor…”
The mage murmured, “I’m so surprised… It’s true. I can’t say anything because of surprise… “
“I was surprised, too,” said the Demon King. “Remember that cake? You gave me food before.”
“Remember? What happened?”
“You gave me food, and you made it! I was very surprised, but I didn’t say it immediately. Until then, I had always thought that humans couldn’t cook.”
“Why? Why do you think humans don’t cook?”
“Oh, in the legend of demons, human beings usually live by hunting. It is said that human beings do not plant crops or keep livestock in captivity. They only go out to hunt young people every day, so they are always hungry. It is said that human prudence and ambition originate from this strange habit of life.”
After hearing this, Arlette laughed for a long time. He explained that this was true of human beings in the past, and maybe tribal people in some places still maintain this kind of life today, but now most human beings can plant, keep livestock and do business, no different from demons.
No different from demons…this sentence itself was strange enough.
Unconsciously, they talked about many details of life, from the change of stars in the sky to the maximum intensity and principles of earthquakes, from the prosperity of the Royal regime to brushing teeth several times a day. Suddenly, the Demon King kissed the back of the mage’s hand again. The mage was unprepared, and his fingers trembled.
“So I don’t know you enough, and you don’t know me enough,” said the Demon King. “You don’t know me. How do you know I don’t think you’re cute?”
“Why is the topic returning to this?”
“Arlette, shall we get to know each other slowly?” The Demon king asked, “If you suspect I don’t love you, and you don’t want to be my wife and concubine… Let’s change the way. I’ll hire you. You can be my counselor, or consultant, or assistant…”
“What are consultants and assistants?”
“Don’t you have that word? It’s a profession.” The Demon King unconsciously leaned forward, close to the mirror. “The contract is still there. You have to continue to serve me.”
“Of course, my Lord. On the other hand, I also need to be paid.”
The Demon King nodded and realized that the mage on the other side couldn’t see. Holding the human’s hand, he suddenly thought of one thing, “By the way, is your hand okay?”
“You said you fell down the stairs and broke your left hand. How is your hand now?”
“Oh, it is ok now. In fact, it has healed not long ago, otherwise, I will be affected when I cast.”
“Really?” The Demon King pushed the mage’s right hand into the mirror. “Change to your left hand, I want to see.”
“Is that necessary…”
The Demon King retracted his left and right hands and reached into the mirror with his right upper hand. It was his dominant hand, and he thought it would be more accurate. In the less successful summoning technique, he could only catch the arm of the summoned target, and it was impossible to grasp other parts. Otherwise, he would have asked the mage to extend his face.
He successfully grasped the mage’s left hand and gently pulled it to the side of the mirror. The mage said that this hand had been broken. Human beings were so fragile that the Demon King was careful not to break it again because he was too strong. Arlette’s left hand was normal in shape, moderately warm, and had a thin but intact arm. After initial confirmation that he was okay, the Demon King carefully touched and kneaded it again until he was sure that he was cured.
During the Demon King’s examination, Arlette was silent for a while until the Demon King gave him a kiss on his finger and said, “It’s best that it’s better,” he breathed a sigh of relief and spoke again.
“Mn, I’m going to rest.” Arlette took his left hand back. “It’s midnight on my side. You can summon me any time tomorrow if you need to.”
After saying goodnight to the mage, the Demon King went to the cloakroom to pack up and prepare for a walk. Now it was early morning in the purgatory.
Looking at his four strong arms in the mirror, the Demon King sighed. It was really inconvenient for humans to have only two arms; they couldn’t cast magic while holding the bow, and they couldn’t beat the time when playing piano, or they could only beat time with their feet.
Fortunately, the speed of human callus was still normal and not too fragile. Some races in Baku purgatory also have only two hands. For example, the half-man Naga not only has two hands but they’re also particularly vulnerable to fracture. After a fracture, it would be very difficult to recover. Demons usually needed several hours to one or two days to recover different degrees of fracture injury, while the half-man Naga needed hundreds of days. It is said to be a defect in their mixed blood.
On the day of the successful summoning, Arlette’s left hand was still in a splint. Up until now, how many days had it been?
Anyway, it didn’t take too long. It seemed that the mage had recovered, and there was no trace of fracture on his arm. The recovery ability of human beings was really poor, but it was acceptable. Judging from the situation of the mage, his healing process was not as long as a hundred days.
However, the Demon King noticed that there were two scars on the wrist of the mage’s left hand. All the wounds had been healed, but they left marks. It didn’t look too serious. Maybe it was left by the mage during his experiments, the Demon King guessed.