Chapter 7: Fragility of Humans
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Summon some more mages? In fact, the Demon King could do it.
Although he can’t open the summoning door to the human world, he can make a semi-finished product that only one hand can pass through. He didn’t want to. He didn’t want to communicate with any mages except Arlette.
Only Arlette is trustworthy and only Arlette is cute. Arlette’s contract states that he will serve demon city until he dies. The Demon king thought it would be a long process, he knew that the human lifespan was short, but it was not so short as to die. He thought that many things could be considered in the long run.
After talking with the ministers, the Demon King went to his study and read many documents about human beings. He found that the concept of ‘long-term’ in his mind was not the same as ‘long-term’ in human eyes.
Suddenly, he understood why Arlette was upset.
They will part one day. For Arlette, every sunrise and sunset was increasingly urgent and may be the last, and the Demon King didn’t notice it. When he saw the aging hands of the human, he saw only a little difference, not helpless vicissitudes.
The Demon King was back in the sandbox field. He couldn’t delay it anymore.
Of course, there was life and death in the purgatory. Demons also died naturally. Different from human beings, their death was due to the wear and tear of their strength, not the aging of their bodies. In purgatory, the weak may have only a few decades to consume, and the strong can have hundreds or thousands of years. If a demon can make himself stronger and never lose, he may be able to approach eternity.
The Demon King has a unique advantage in this respect, he is of an ancient pedigree and has strong power. He also has the dragon blood gem, which can repair the wounds of the biological body and soul.
However, because the remains of the dragon are buried in this cave layer, the gem can only play a role here. If it leaves the cave layer, its effect will gradually decrease from near to far. If it leaves the purgatory plane, it will only be a beautiful stone.
The Demon King has to bring Arlette over as soon as possible to stop his debilitation with gems. So they don’t have to separate anymore.
The Demon King has a lot of timers in the sandbox force field. Mechanical watches, pendulum clocks, water clocks, hourglasses… There were timers everywhere in the demon king’s view, reminding him of the passage of time. His research went very smoothly, and there’s new progress every day, but it was not enough, even if it was fast enough.
This speed was a miracle for purgatory, but what about for humans? Could Arlette wait for success?
Later, the Demon King moved his mirror to the bed, holding Arlette’s hand and saying something for a while before each break.
Now it was early summer, Arlette handed over a small package of fragrant medicine, “It’s called lavender, which can calm your nerves. I hear you haven’t been sleeping very well lately.”
“Yeah,” said the Demon King, “insomnia is a nuisance.” He looked at the small bag for a long time. After a while, he asked, “Arlette… It’s not a demon item, is it? “
“Of course not.”
“I remember you said that only demon items can be submitted across planes, and ordinary items will be damaged. I’m not questioning you! I believe everything you do. I just…”
Arlette laughed. “You’re right. I lied to you about ‘ordinary things will be damaged.’”
“It’s okay to lie to me,” the Demon King said immediately. “I’m just curious. Why?”
“I cheated you a lot.” The mage’s hand tightened. “When I was young, I had no dignity, but I had strong self-esteem. I didn’t want to tell you the truth.”
What did this have to do with self-esteem? Demon king didn’t understand, so he listened to the mage.
Just now, Arlette said, “When I was young….”
Maybe he’s really old. Now he had to stop every few words he said, either to breathe deeply or to drink some water to moisten his throat. Once upon a time, he was able to chat all night with the demon king, who mistakenly thought that that was the physical strength of human health.
“I remember when you were going to give me the literature about the dragon blood gem,” Arlette said. “I found a reason to lie to you and let you read it to me.”
“Mn, I remember.”
“I didn’t do this because I was afraid that the book would be damaged, but because I can’t read at all.”
“What? Didn’t you know the purgatory language?” The Demon King found it strange that they were using purgatory language in their conversation.
Arlette laughed again, “It’s not that you don’t know the words, I can’t read them. I can’t see, my Lord.”
“Can’t you see? When did it start? Have you ever been treated?”
“I never saw them. I became blind before you summoned me. I can only read Braille, and purgatory literature had no Braille versions.”
“But… It shouldn’t be… You made demon items so good, so fast…”
“That’s the other thing I cheated you about,” Arlette said. “In fact, in the beginning, I made demon items that were very bad and slow. Only from the perspective of purgatory time, can I think that my speed is fast. It became better in the next few years. I became more proficient and I had more money. I could hire servants to help me with my chores, or…”
It seemed hard for him, but he still grinned bitterly. It seemed very difficult for him, but he said it with a wry smile, “I got in touch with your former colleagues and paid for the demon items you wanted.”
Demon king was stunned and speechless for a moment. He thought of those maple leaves. Arlette couldn’t see the color, so he gave him a bunch of leaves that hadn’t turned red. There were also the rose bundles, where Arlette could feel whether the flowers were full, but couldn’t see the discolored petals, let alone choose paper and ribbon with harmonious colors.
Arlette’s food had always been very bad, ugly, and tasteless. It was not easy for him to cook and feed himself after he became blind. It was basically impossible to make the food full of color, flavor, and texture.
It was not until these years that he gradually produced some cakes that looked like that. These things were like demon items, and were basically other people’s crafts.
Arlette took back his hand, went to drink some water, and then breathed heavily and reached back, “I’m not a good mage. At the beginning, I made some simple demon items. Later, those mass-produced ones, those with complex principles and simple operation, were not made by me. In the transactions with you, every time I got a very rich reward, which would be regarded as a huge wealth in human society. I not only relied on them to live a better life, but also hired other mages to help me do things. Well, I’m involved, but at best I’m a participant, not a designer.”
“This! It doesn’t matter!” The Demon King stroked the back of a man’s wrinkled hand. “Anyway, you did help me. I should have made you better…”
Arlette continued, “I’m not a wizard at all. At best, I’m just… what someone people used to call ‘a mage’. Before I met you, I was an apprentice, and I was one of the better ones. I didn’t boast that I was already the tutor’s assistant at that time. I helped him manage the mage tower and helped him organize his teaching. Other apprentices were more afraid of me than the tutor. But at that time, I was so young and proud that I made irreparable mistakes in the experiment. I lost my eyes and killed a colleague.”
The Demon King kissed his hand, both comforting and unintentionally. Now that Arlette had learned to accept it, he didn’t make a fuss about it anymore.
“Then I left the mage tower. I don’t know what kind of eyes my tutor and classmates used to watch me leave, I didn’t see it. I couldn’t see it then. I went back to my hometown village, where I was not a respected mage, but a loser who got into trouble and was expelled from the mage tower. Can you imagine that blindness is a fatal blow to a mage? Although I could still cast spells with both hands, it was very difficult for me to learn new magic skills and get involved in new knowledge…”
“So… Did you hurt your hand in that experiment, too?”
“Your left hand. When you were summoned, you said that your left hand was fractured and splinted?”
Arlette paused and laughed hard. His laughter was hoarse, far less clear than before. “I didn’t have a fracture,” he said. “I had a wound on my left hand and was bleeding. The wound was obvious, but not fatal. That’s why I said so many words without hesitation. Finally, I asked you for the herb that can stop bleeding.”
The Demon King was depressed. Now the atmosphere was not very good, neither sweet nor warm, like the repentance on the deathbed, and the confession before one dies.
After that, the Demon King was still busy with experiments every day, almost forgetting to eat or sleep. He contacted Arlette every night to see if he’s healthy with just a little bit of information.
In the middle of the summer, he gave Arlette some sunstroke sniffers, and Arlette said he rarely felt hot and was afraid he couldn’t use them. One day in late autumn, Arlette brought a pile of fallen leaves. He said that the servant’s daughter picked it up for him. He could not see the color. The little girl told him one by one.
The Demon King jokes, “You seem to be a very well-loved mage. The servants’ cubs love you so much.”
Arlette twisted the stem of one of the leaves and said weakly, “Yes, I am very satisfied with my life. Once I was very desperate, but now I am not. I’m satisfied, really.”
“I’m not good enough. I hope you can have a better life.”
“It’s good enough now. When I was younger, I couldn’t dream of the present day. My Lord, I even wanted to die before I met you…”
“What?” The Demon King was stunned.
“I don’t want to die now. It’s okay,” Arlette said. “It’s because I met you.”
The Demon King put the human’s hand to his cheek, “Arlette, I’ll get you here as soon as possible. Would you like to come with me?”
“Yes, but maybe… there’s no time.”
“Don’t say that. My research is going well. Wait a little longer…”
Arlette’s hand moved, flipped the angle, and the palms touched the Demon King’s cheek. “Help me, my Lord.” He said.
The Demon King reacted for a moment to understand that the human was too weak to raise his arm for a long time. The Demon King wrapped Arlette’s hand with his generous upper left hand, while the lower left hand held his arm, guiding him to slowly stroke his face.
“I’ve never seen you,” Arlette said regretfully. “Of course, you haven’t seen me either.”
“Don’t be scared when you see me,” the Demon King said.
“I know what demons look like. When my eyes were still normal, I saw the atlas.”
“That’s not always accurate,” the Demon King joked, but he couldn’t laugh. “I’m much more terrifying than my peers. Some smaller creatures are scared to death just at the sight of me.”
“I can’t see you,” Arlette said. “I’ve got an old eye injury, and a permanent injury to my eyeballs, which can’t be cured by purgatory.”
“It’s really a pity,” said the Demon King, carefully holding the old man’s hand and kissing each of his fingers. “But I want to see you, I must see you. Even if you can’t see me, I want to see you. You signed a contract with me, and your life belongs to me.”
“Of course, my Lord,” Arlette’s voice trembled, “my life… it’s all yours.”
In late autumn, the leaves fell, and the world ushered in the severe winter. Humans have winter solstice habits, but Arlette was too weak to participate in any carnival. He spent the winter solstice with the Demon King across time and space.
One midsummer day, the Demon King returned to his bedroom from his sandbox lab.
Standing in front of the mirror, he was stunned. The ripples on the mirror disappeared, and the cold and smooth mirror could only be touched by the hand.
This showed that the path to the other world had been broken, the summoning was over, and the contract was complete.
Arlette Hope died before summer came again.