"Belle, do you have anywhere to go once you escape this place?
After chatting for a few hours, Melina had taken a liking to the passionate and optimistic girl. Under her influence, the atmosphere of despair in the cell had also changed a little.
At least the villagers were now willing to talk to each other. They used it to ease the despair and tension brought about by their imminent death.
"Also, Father has always wanted to let me go to school in the city. I want to visit the library there. There must be many books there, right?"
Using the script that Joshua had given to him, Ynor's established image was successfully accepted by the villagers, and he became the center of attention in the cell.
It was akin to a group of castaways floating about on the dark Atlantic Ocean only to suddenly see a beacon before them.
While they may not know how far the shore was, it still gave some comfort in their hearts.
"Of course. There is a city called Norland, and the library tower there is hundreds of meters high. Belle, I can bring you there."
Melina had not given up hope, hence the reason why she thought of various wonderful things that could happen after they escaped the place. That hope came from the little girl before her.
Was it Heaven's way to recompense Melina? By allowing her to meet this young one at the lowest point of her life...
If the child was truly homeless, Melina would want to take her in as her own daughter. She would then have company in the future and never feel lonely again.
However, that was all dependent on Melina escaping from the prison. Only then would she have the chance to live on. But, no... it was the little girl's chance to live on.
So, Melina began to pray to the gods in her heart. It was her first time praying to the gods, and her prayer was not for herself but for the girl before her.
Her prayers were soon answered, but the ones who answered her prayer were not the gods. Instead, it was the demons.
Demons as a race were much more efficient than a god could ever be.
Weird noises rang out from the dungeon as a crow appeared outside the cell. It tilted its head as it looked at the humans before it flapped its wings and flew to the windowsill beside it.
Immediately afterward, two figures walked out of the darkness at the end of the prison.
The figures were not dressed like the masked wardens...
"It's the mage!"
"She really came back!"
The villagers immediately recognized their only hope of escaping the place.
They ran to the edge of the cell in excitement as they clutched the rusty iron bars with both their hands. Their emotions were running high not unlike when a national football team scored a goal. They were that close to cheering.
Joshua could understand their feelings. The elation and excitement of being saved from certain death was not something that could be put into a few words.
However, Joshua finally understood why a large-scale prison break was only possible during the French Revolution.
If Joshua had not already bribed the wardens in the dungeon prior to this, their cheers would have probably seen them sent off to the guillotine.
"Calm down, everyone. Do not attract the wardens' attention!"
Alright... the wardens were actually looking over by then.
Joshua glanced at the two wardens, who were hiding in the shadows from the corner of his eye. They were there to monitor Joshua, to prevent him from releasing any prisoner other than the "harmless creatures" during the chaos.
However, the act had to be done as a whole, and he did not know if the prisoners realized that their every move was being watched by the wardens.
Despite that, Joshua felt a tingling sensation within. The thrill of "a prison break under the watchful eyes of the police" sure was exhilarating.
Joshua deliberately lowered his voice as he spoke. It was soft, but every single person who comprised the thirty-odd prisoners in the cell could hear him clearly since their attention was all focused on him.
"He... He... is my... master... yeah... master..."
Perhaps Joshua had read "An Actor Prepares" before, but Ciri certainly never had. That was the first time she had to deceive so many people in public.
But what pressured Ciri the most were the two wardens in the dark corner.
Even so, in order to see the ending of "Beauty and the Demon" as soon as possible for free, Ciri cooperated with Joshua and played her role.
"I will save everyone. Follow me once you get out. This is the Demonic Realm, running around like a headless chicken will invite a fate worse than death."
Joshua tried his best to play the role of a seasoned mage while Gaston, in the original script, should have been a hunter.
Having said that.. for a human hunter to break into the Demonic Realm with just a musket, then sneak into a Demonic Realm dungeon so easily?
Most of the hunters in this world were not able to tame pets or use rapid-fire, and melee hunters were the majority of their kind, the so-called demon hunters.
So, a mage with limitless possibilities was a more credible profession.
A wave of gray magic radiated from Joshua's hands as he broke the rusty, unenchanted cell door.
Joshua did not hide his special magic. It was considered an extremely rare talent in the Human Realm, and aside from old archmages, no one would have heard of it, much less categorize it as a repulsive, evil power.
The dark and foreboding atmosphere within the dungeon was like cold water to the euphoric villagers.
"Over here." Joshua led the villagers toward the portal that Zenarth had created without any hesitation.
The interrogation chamber, where the portal had been set up, was in a deeper location within the dungeon, but the only person the villagers could rely on now was Joshua.
Guided by the two wardens, Joshua led the able thirty-two human villagers to the interrogation chamber without a hitch.
The portal had already been activated, and its pale blue light spun around in the chamber.
Upon seeing the shadow of the forest behind the portal, the villagers lost their minds as they charged toward the portal in elation.
"Master Mage... You are..."
An old lady at the end of the line stopped before the portal, and Joshua noticed that Ynor was following the old lady.
Was the person acting as Belle's fa... no, mother?
"Gaston, just call me Gaston. You can save the gratitude for later," Joshua urged as he nodded. He then pulled Ynor into the portal with him.
The moment all of them stepped into the portal, the prologue for "Beauty and the Demon" began.
Zenarth's massive frame then appeared at the door of the interrogation chamber. He was holding a suitcase the size of a briefcase in his hand. In it were all of Joshua's filming equipment.
"Sorry to trouble you, Zenarth."
Joshua took the briefcase from Zenarth's hand, and the space within the briefcase was much larger than its outer appearance suggested. It was still not as magical as Newt Scamander's  suitcase, though.
Joshua checked his equipment inside the briefcase, and his camera, as well as memory cards, were all there. There was also a bottle of invisible powder for him to hide.
Let's get it started then, the filming of "Beauty and the Demon".
"Ciri, didn't you want to see the ending of this story? Keep your eyes wide open from now on, then," Joshua said as he picked up his briefcase and walked into the portal.
"Write it first, then!"
God knows how long Joshua would take with the filming. If Ciri was able to beat Joshua, she would really hold him against the table and put a blade to his neck to get him to finish the ending!
Those were just mere thoughts, though. She had no plans to stay in the Demonic Realm as she quickly ran into the portal.
Zenarth stood in the interrogation chamber as he saw Joshua off. Just as he prepared to exact the next phase of Joshua's plan, he caught the scent of a human...
Zenarth poked his head out of the interrogation chamber and looked at the corridor of the dungeon. He saw a little girl running about in confusion.
It seemed that she had been separated from her parents, or... perhaps she had lost her parents long ago. The little girl had undoubtedly been left behind.
She was left alone in the treacherous Demonic Realm, and she would not survive there for long...
In the past, Zenarth would not have cared about the survival of humans, but Joshua gave him an order to ensure that all of the humans returned to the Human Realm safely.
The brave Sin Demon hesitated a little at that very moment. In the end, he slowly walked out of the interrogation chamber toward the little girl.
"Human, the exit to return to your world is over there!"
Zenarth tried to make his tone sound friendlier as he pointed at the interrogation chamber.
Yet, no matter how friendly his tone was, the flames in his mouth and the roiling magma in the cracks of his skin made the girl cry in terror.
The scene made Zenarth feel conflicted. If it were a foe crying before him, he could rip that person apart without any hesitation. But she was just a child... not an enemy.
Zenarth looked at his hands, thinking about carrying the girl and placing her into the portal. But, his razor-sharp claws could end up taking her life instantly.
"That day will come, trust me Zenarth. You will become a superstar, and human girls will scream for joy when they touch your mane. They will brim with pride when they stand beside you..."
Zenarth suddenly recalled the words Joshua had said not too long ago...
It was just impossible.
Facing the little human girl who was crying out of terror, Zenarth realized that there was only one way to get her to stop crying.
He started to move as his massive frame once again entered the shadows until he completely disappeared.