At the same time, in Joshua's room...
White magical particles were converging in the room, and within a few seconds, the magical particles formed a human silhouette.
The silhouette then turned from an ethereal body into a tangible one.
A human female suddenly appeared in the middle of Joshua's room and fell onto the ground, exhausted. Her mage robes made it evident that stamina was not her strong suit.
On the edge of her short intricate magical staff was a line of tiny words: "Ciri Lloyd".
That was her name.
She was a wandering magic adept, and due to financial difficulties, she had hopped on a merchant caravan to Norland to seek help from her sister.
Yet, fate was a fickle master, or perhaps it was her absolutely lousy luck. Not only did the caravan she was on get pounced on by bandits, but she was also taken captive by a group of menacing demons.
Every time Ciri recalled the moment she was kidnapped, she shuddered. One needed to know that the existences like the Sin Demons were only creatures she managed to glean a little from the books.
The moment she came face to face with a dangerous existence like the Sin Demon, fear overtook her ability to even breathe.
After the demon took her and the surviving villagers captive, he only locked them into a cell with no signs of wanting to slaughter them.
As for what they were locked up for, Ciri had no idea. Perhaps it was to be fodder for that monster or to be sacrificed in a bloodstained ritual.
Demons were cruel monsters in the minds of humans, and Ciri could not stand waiting in the cell for her doom. So, she decided to use the most valuable item on her, a ring enchanted with a short-range teleportation spell.
As she witnessed the ring on her finger turn into dust, her heart turned into dust as well. That thing was valuable enough to feed her for three years, and it was something she had gotten from her rich sister after she swallowed her pride.
Using three years' worth of food in exchange for her life... It was worth it.
Ciri used that to convince herself, yet she was still within the Demonic Realm, a realm teeming with demons.
Escaping the cell itself meant nothing. She had to find a way to return to human civilization.
Ciri looked at the room, and its messiness was enough to convince Ciri that it was a storeroom. However, for a storeroom, there were so many books on the floor. Maybe there would be a map of the Demonic Realm in there?
With that in mind, Ciri started to rummage through the pile of books on the floor.
In a world where dangers abounded everywhere, running around like a headless chicken was a surefire way to die, and Ciri was not that foolhardy.
As long as she could find a map there, her chances of survival would increase. Hence, she started to rummage through the books nervously, and soon, her search radius increased to the table beside her.
Beauty and the Beast? What is this?
A stack of white papers on the table attracted her attention; more accurately, the title on the top paper.
Curiosity was something every mage was equipped with, and Ciri was no different. Thus, she flipped open the first page. The moment she saw the first row of words, she was totally enraptured.
"A long time ago, there was a rich merchant. He had three daughters, and the merchant was a wise man. To educate his children…"
The moment Ciri read the opening paragraph, the thought of escaping disappeared from her mind. In place was an engrossment caused by the story written on the paper.
As a magic adept, Ciri had found words to be very dry and that their only use was to record something.
All great mages used intricate and complex writings to record their latest findings or magical theories before they compiled them into a book. Most of the books in this world were like that. While they were very informational, they were so dry that Ciri could fall asleep from reading them.
Yet, at that very moment, to Ciri's surprise, she found words… to actually be so interesting.
How was the story going to progress? What happened to Belle's father? Did Belle go to the demon's castle?
All of those questions filled Ciri's mind, like a starving person finally tasting good food after a long while.
Just as Ciri really got into the story when Belle entered the castle to face the demon... she discovered that the next page was empty after she flipped over to it.
Why isn't there anything left?!
Ciri flipped through a couple more pages to be sure and found everything to be empty. The story had just stopped right at the climax.
The need to know what would happen next really put Ciri on the edge.
Who… Who wrote this thing?
She was overcome by the urge to seek the author out and force him to finish his work.
At that instant, Ciri finally realized that… she was still in the Demonic Realm! That meant the author was very possibly a demon, and she… she was supposed to escape!
Oh, my God!
By the time Ciri realized that she should be escaping instead of getting engrossed in reading, it was too late. The room door was slowly opened from outside.
Joshua left the reception hall and returned to the castle alone.
The casting of the main female lead was settled, and the biggest problem in his plan was the cameras.
Joshua needed to find a way to resolve the storage problem with the originium crystals.
Joshua was not someone with a terrible sense of direction, and after ten-odd minutes, he finally arrived at his room. But even before he pushed the door open, he could sense that there was a… mouse in his room?
The moment he pushed the door open, the magical elements around him roiled as a shockwave struck Joshua. The candles in the room were snuffed out as the shockwave struck him.
A wave of silver magic appeared on Joshua's hand, and with a gentle wave, the magical shockwave dissipated into nothingness.
While Joshua was the weakest among his siblings, he was not so weak that he had zero combat capabilities. There was a reason why a Chaos Demon stood above all other demons.
However, the little mouse had yet to cease her attack as white runes flickered around her. A couple of books on the ground floated up and flew at Joshua like projectiles.
Joshua's gaze shrank as the grayish magic roared in his hands, breaking the spell over the books.
The unique magical trait of a Chaos Demon was chaos itself. It applied not only to Joshua's own magic. He was also capable of turning his opponent's spells into chaos.
"Did your master not teach you how to treat books?"
Joshua picked up the three books from the ground, and as he dusted them, he yelled at the little mouse in the room.