Translated by satellite of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
He could definitely appreciate how this magic show seemed to be simpler than the last, yet was somehow still captivating to the eye, making it impossible to look away. In particular, their ace’s skill and technique was completely beyond the comprehension of human physics.
Watching as the ace turned into a rabbit and leaped away in the finale, Feisha stood in applause. At most, human magicians would turn a hat into a rabbit, but would never turn themselves into a rabbit.
Mammon smiled and asked. “Was it satisfactory?”
Feisha muttered. “He must have family connections or something right?” He didn’t point out who specifically had connections, but it was quite obvious who he was referring to.
Mammon raised an eyebrow. “What makes you say that?”
“How else would he have been chosen as the ace?” Wasn’t this the unspoken rule of rising through the ranks? Otherwise, with all the master magicians here in Hell, how was he the only one who made it? Right!?
Mammon pondered it over for a while and got a basic idea of what he meant. He explained. “Although there are many master magicians in Hell, they are masters of terror, and are absolutely not looking to entertain anyone.”
Feisha nodded as he seemed to come to an understanding.
Mammon was quite curious. “What are you thinking?”
Feisha replied. “I’ve hereby come to my conclusion– it is time to take the road less travelled, and to hell with practicality!”
“……” Mammon was left speechless.
Isefel stood. “Let’s go.”
“Won’t you stay a bit longer? At least have a glass of wine.” Mammon said.
“No, don’t drink it.” Feisha turned it down immediately.
Isefel and Mammon both stared at him.
“He said he was treating us, but he only said he’d be treating us to the show. If we drink, it’ll definitely be on our own bill. And it’ll probably be an astronomically high bill at that in order to cover the expenses of watching the show in the first place.” Feisha hadn’t worked all these years in hotels for nothing. He was more than familiar with all these tactics.
Mammon hid a moment of shock beneath the mask of his usual smile before replying. “I might be greedy, but that doesn’t mean I’m petty.”
“Greed applies to everything, including what’s already yours.” Feisha corrected him.
Mammon smiled wryly. “So now you think I’m not being greedy enough?”
Feisha replied. “Oh, do you give to charity?”
Mammon stared blankly for a moment before laughing out loud. “You’re asking a demon of hell whether he gives to charity?”
Feisha once again concluded. “If you don’t even give to charity, then you’re truly just a despicable man. This is the key difference between the fakers and the truly despicable. The fakers are casting a long line and waiting for the biggest fish to bite. (1) So they won’t try to scam you of every cent immediately. They may even give you a little bit of a bonus at first, let you get a taste of the good stuff so that you’re charmed thoroughly into selling yourself, body and soul. But the truly despicable man, he won’t even bother with all that. He’ll go in straight for the kill and make whatever money he can as fast as he can. After all, there’s no shortage of foolishly rich bastards. Once you’re done with this one, you can just move on to the next.”
Mammon’s smile vanished and he looked at Feisha completely seriously. “Would you consider coming to help me in Hell?”
“Huh?” Feisha openly stared in shock.
Isefel’s gaze grew sharp.
“Talking all that big logic is one thing, but wouldn’t putting it to action be even better?” Mammon avoided his gaze and instead fixated on Feisha. “If you desired, you could very quickly accumulate vast and countless wealth.” He held out a finger so that the massive purple gemstone on his ring caught the light and shined. “A human life is limited. Wouldn’t it be better to make some good money then live in luxury?”
Feisha’s mouth had gone dry and his heart thumped loudly, like a deer in headlights. He didn’t doubt Mammon’s promise. After all, his position in hell was basically Bill Gates plus the Vice President of the United States. But…… “Who said my life was limited?”
Mammon replied. “Human lifespans are about a hundred years or so, no? Though if you stay in Hell, you could live much longer. Since time here passes much more slowly than in the human world.”
Feisha was quite proud as he replied. “Hehe, well that was all in the past. I’m now living an eternal life in my immortal body.”
“Eternal life?” Mammon stared at him. “As far as I know, there are only two who have the power to grant humans eternal life. God, and Metatron.”
He wasn’t sure if it was just his imagination, but Feisha felt like when Mammon mentioned Metatron, his expression became a little odd. But, after all, one of them was an angel, and the other a fallen angel– some animosity between them would be normal. He didn’t give it much thought. After all, it wasn’t like people could just go up to where Metatron was anyway.
“It was Metatron.”
“You’ve seen him?” Mammon asked calmly. But his fingers tightened around his cup.
Mammon’s gaze turned downwards. Just as Feisha was starting to get impatient and preparing to leave, he asked quietly. “Is he doing well?”
Feisha thought it over. “I guess he’s doing fine?” After all, people’s standards for good or bad weren’t exactly the same. If he were stuck in the same place day after day, he’d probably suffocate and die. But everytime he saw Metatron, he seemed pretty happy. But then again, he might just always be wearing that warm smile, even if he were actually dying of boredom.
Mammon remained silent.
Isefel wrapped an arm around Feisha and said. “Time to go.”
Feisha paused and picked up the unopened bottle of wine. “It’s really free?”
Mammon was pulled from his daze with a laugh. “Of course. Just consider it a wedding gift from me to you.”
Feisha clutched the bottle tightly while protesting politely. “Oh, but how could I accept?”
Mammon shot back. “You want to refuse it?”
Isefel asked. “Only a bottle of wine?”
“……” Feisha looked up at him, his eyes full of unspoken praise. Well said.
Mammon laughed. “It’s rare that you two come to visit Hell. If my gift were too shabby, I’m afraid I may not receive a particularly warm welcome the next time I visit Noah’s Ark.” He might not need to use Noah’s Ark as a transit point when leaving for other worlds, but Hell was full of people that would.
Isefel said nothing to confirm, but nothing to deny it either.
Feisha patted his chest quite boldly and said, “If you’re going to offer a bribe you’d better hurry. Once you miss this chance, it won’t come again.”
Mammon slowly walked to the other side of the room.
That was a very white wall. Feisha found it very funny. People from hell should like red and black more, but all the decor here was mostly white. Mammon’s hand pressed lightly against the wall. The wall immediately turned into an eighteen by eighteen set of square drawers.
“There are a total of 324 drawers, and each one contains a precious gift inside.” Mammon gestured them with a little bow. “You are free to choose one.”
Feisha’s eyes lit up. “We’re two people after all, so shouldn’t we get two?”
Mammon smiled. “Don’t forget the wine in your hands. Once I’ve given a gift, I won’t take it back.”
Feisha was quite annoyed with himself. If he’d known earlier, he wouldn’t have taken the wine. How nice it would be to get some sort of gold, silver, or precious gemstones. He tugged Isefel over to the wall and whispered. “Can you sense what’s hidden behind?”
Isefel shook his head.
“This wall was specially built.” Mammon said.
In a past life, he must have had preternaturally good hearing. As he thought of this, Feisha had forgotten that Mammon was probably older than the concept of good hearing itself.
“Oh right.” Mammon added. “I forgot to mention, but Borja’s nudes are also quite precious.”
…So he could accidentally open a drawer filled with Borja’s nudes inside?
The black lines of depression were almost visible on Feisha’s face. Although Borja did a decent job as the acting manager and part-time chef during Isefel’s absence, this definitely didn’t mean he wanted to see his nudes. If he wanted nudes, there were tons in the human world already, practically a whole industry of its own.
“And, if I remember correctly, there’s more than one.” Mammon was just dropping one bomb after another, each one bigger than the last.
Feisha’s eyes darted from drawer to drawer, like the second hand ticking on an alarm clock. “Isefel, you pick.”
Isefel looked down and stared at him.
Feisha sighed and said. “All my life, other than getting that flyer from Noah’s Ark, I’ve never been particularly lucky.” Even now he hadn’t figured out how he managed to scored that one-in-a-billion chance.
“What do you want?” Isefel asked.
Feisha’s eyes were bright as he replied. “Of course the more expensive it is, the better.”
Isefel looked over at Mammon. “You hear that?”
“Yeah. I still think he’d be a great fit as my assistant.” Mammon crossed his arms over his chest.
“Well then, I’ll pick.”
“……” Mammon was a bit stunned.
Isefel then added one last sentence. “Remember, the more expensive, the better.”
Feisha held onto Isefel’s waist and smiled so hard his face almost split.
Mammon asked. “What if I’ve got bad luck?”
Isefel replied. “Well in that case, I’m afraid I won’t have particularly good control over my strength.” (2)
Mammon tapped his finger twice before finally sighing. “Open them them all and pick one then.” Rather than offering the most expensive item, it was better to have them guess upon seeing which was the most valuable.
Feisha immediately lept into action. That was when he realized how devious Mammon had been. After pulling open twenty drawers, half of them were all photo negatives. It really was true that Borja made a hobby of taking too many nudes…
The rest of them had gold coins, silver coins, and chocolate…you could only tell what was better by comparing it to the rest of them. He suddenly felt like the bottle of red wine wasn’t bad. Because the wall was so tall, Isefel had to carry Feisha and fly up in order to open the drawers at the top.
And indeed, the good stuff was all at the top.
A ruby brooch, a crystal scepter, a tiger made of white jade…and some stuff that looked like antiques.
“Which one’s the best?” Feisha asked quietly.
Isefel carefully reached into a drawer, felt around inside, before saying. “This.” He was holding a bracelet inlaid with diamonds and amethysts.
“Looks like it’s worth quite a lot.” Feisha caressed it lovingly. Even though he wasn’t a woman, he couldn’t help but be delighted by the stunning beauty and exquisite workmanship.
“This one. You’re sure?” Mammon’s smile was looking a little less natural than it was before.
Feisha immediately placed it in his pocket. “Of course. You’re not about to say that this one doesn’t count right?”
Mammon replied with great reluctance. “Of course not.”
“Then thanks. We’ve received your gift. Next time you get married, come have your banquet at Noah’s Ark. We’ll host you free of charge.” Feisha was afraid he’d take it back, so even as he was already pulling Isefel away as he spoke.
Back in the room, Mammon took a out a piece of pitch black wood from the bottommost drawer. He smiled. “Sure enough, no one can tell that the most valuable piece of treasure here is you.”
On the streets, people come and go, the flow never pausing.
Feisha held onto the bracelet excitedly, looking it this way and that. “Did you see the look on Mammon’s face? He was so upset he was almost crying.”
“This wasn’t the most expensive item there though.”
“Huh?” It was as if a bucket of cold water were just poured over Feisha’s head.
Isefel took several other objects out of his bag and put them in his hand.
Feisha stared blankly at the earrings, rings, pocketwatch…all sorts of treasures big and small shining in his hand. It’s not stealing, not stealing, if it’s Isefel, it definitely doesn’t count as stealing. Feisha kept repeating to himself over and over.
Isefel said. “But all these added together, it should be worth a lot more than that one.”
“Why didn’t you just……take the most expensive one?” Take, yes take is a good word.
“He watches it too closely.”
1. Feisha’s “despicable man” here was originally “小人” in Chinese (lit. small person). This refers to a person of particularly lowly/vile/despicable character, and is generally used as the opposite of a true gentleman, or a “君子.”
Here he talks about the difference between a truly despicable “小人” versus a “伪君子” or a fake gentleman, someone who attempts to pretend to be a gentleman among others but isn’t genuine, and usually has some kind of end goal for acting noble.
2. In Chinese, one’s luck when doing things like scratching scratchers, picking numbers, etc. is often referred to as “手气” (shou qi) rather than the usual “运气” (yun qi). The first character “手” refers to one’s hand, so you could think of it like attributing luck to your hand (sort of like luck of the draw in English).
Mammon asks what if he had “bad hand luck” and Isefel replies that in that case he would have “bad control of his hand strength.”