"Pardon me, My Lord, will the next song you play exude the same atmosphere?"
For the safety of both his and Ciri's life, Joshua had to confirm that before he listened to the next performance.
In the event that the next performance was also of a similar chilling nature, Joshua may very well be the "first Chaos Demon in history to freeze to death while listening to music".
As for Ciri... well, even if the Duke of Bones did not continue to play, she might not hold any longer should Joshua not find her a heater or a bonfire any time soon.
Zenarth was not allowed to enter the castle, otherwise with Zenarth, the portable heater around, Ciri could have felt much better.
"That is right. All of the songs come from this musical score. This is the only score I have."
The Duke of Bones picked up a score whose cover was already in tatters. Judging from the old marks on the score, the duke may have owned it for many many years.
Was he a performer but not a composer?
"Then... My Lord, would you allow me to play a song?"
Joshua once again made another reckless request, but the Duke of Bones did not show any anger to Joshua's interruption. Instead, Joshua could detect a playful gaze from the soulfire within his eyes.
"Your Highness, this piano is an old friend of mine, and its temper is much worse than mine. If your performance does not satisfy it, it will consume your soul! I will not have a way to save you if that happens."
The Duke of Bones placed his hands on the piano, and as if in response to the duke's words, the piano played a few notes by itself, appearing to mock Joshua's insolence.
"I am willing to give it a try."
Speaking of which, Joshua himself could not believe that his father had wanted to raise him to become a pianist when he was young. So Joshua was required to play the piano ever since he was six.
That lasted about half a year, and he did not even pass the examination before he gave up altogether.
As for the main reason why he gave up... like many other kids at that age, he was engrossed in video games.
After not touching the piano for so long, Joshua should have long forgotten about it. Yet, after he had merged with the prince's memories, Joshua's own memories became frighteningly clear.
Even the muscle memory from his practices when he was still a kid had returned to him.
Hence, Joshua thought that he would likely not have a problem playing a song.
"Are you sure? The last challenger was a well-known composer in the human world."
The Duke of Bones had no recollection of the third prince having any musical accomplishments, and his title of "the despicable human" within the Demonic Realm was definitely not a good epithet.
"My song will definitely satisfy your friend here."
A rather famous composer? Was he as good as Beethoven, Mozart or Chopin? Joshua refused to believe that the piano would not applaud after a performance of "Moonlight Sonata".
Oh, right... Joshua forgot that the piano had no hands.
Joshua had countless maestros of classical music back on Earth behind him. If this was a classical music competition, Joshua had no fear.
The Duke of Bones did not say anything else as he walked down the stage and went to a table at the corner of the room. He picked up a glass of red wine and was ready to watch the performance.
"Keep your body temperature as it is, do not fall asleep."
Joshua rubbed Ciri's cheek with his fairly warm hands and wiped the frost off her lashes.
Her body temperature showed no signs of recovery, and she was in a drowsy state. If she fell asleep, she might never wake up again.
There was no heater in the room, and Zenarth could not enter due to the duke's orders. Ciri had to rely on herself to increase her body temperature.
Unfortunately, her clothes were now soaked due to the melting frost, and Joshua's own clothes were the same too. At that stage, it was almost impossible for her to regain her body temperature with her own strength.
"Dying after listening to a musical performance is just too lame. I will not die so easily."
Ciri shook her head to get away from Joshua's hand. It seemed like his intimate gesture displeased her.
"In that case, please hold on for another ten seconds, Ciri."
Joshua pulled his hand back and walked toward the piano.
It had been almost eighteen years since Joshua last touched a piano. Despite relying on his memory to play, Joshua had no idea if he could do it well.
The moment Joshua pressed the first key on the piano, he felt a small part of his soul being pulled out of him...
There was something weird about the piano!
Be that as it may, Joshua was not afraid. Soon enough, both of his hands were on the piano, and he started to play.
The sound of the music was akin to standing under the warm sun and bathing in the spring breeze. Then... Joshua actually felt sunlight.
It was not an illusion. Joshua felt the warm touch of the sun and a pleasant breeze blowing through.
It was just like the experience of lying atop a lush blooming prairie and basking in the sun on a warm afternoon!
When Ciri, who had been suffering in the cold, heard Joshua's music, she was stunned.
A faint warmth immediately dispelled the cold in her body as if a pair of hands had hugged her tightly. Along with it came a comforting sensation.
The warmth was beyond anything Ciri could describe, and she felt like... she was going to cry as her nose started to tingle.
She then recalled many things from her early days of leaving home and living alone. Back then, she told herself to be strong and live on, yet in her loneliness and helplessness, she had no avenue to vent her grievances.
When she trained her gaze on Joshua who was still playing the piano, she slowly began to touch her face, and she could feel that the warmth from Joshua's hands was still there.
Immersed... Everyone seemed to be immersed in every note Joshua played, immersed in the gentle and warm melody...
Even the Duke of Bones was no exception. He was so stunned that he did not notice the glass in his hand had already fallen to the ground. He just continued to stand where he was.
Music really could awaken many things in someone, and unlike movies, novels, or paintings, which required a longer time to move someone, music only needed an instant, a note to tug the emotions of a person.
Just as the gentle tune rose to a crescendo and was about to reach the climax, it suddenly stopped...
And the Duke of Bones snapped back from the warm atmosphere.
"Go on! Why did you stop?!" the Duke of Bones exclaimed.
"Ugh... I do not know how to play the rest of it."
Joshua removed his hands from the piano. While he did not take the examination, Joshua's piano skill was between levels three to four. While the latter part of the song may have been very easy for a piano master, it was not something Joshua could play.
"You do not know?! You!!!"
After all these years, the Duke of Bones finally remembered the feeling of being vexed once again. The music had stopped just as it was about to reach its climax, and it made him want to smash someone's face in!
"What is this piece called?!"
But more than anything, the Duke of Bones wanted to know the name of the musical piece.
" It is called 'Canon in D', and it was composed by Johann Pachelbel, a great composer," Joshua said.