The Novel's Villain - Chapter 158
46. The Great Demon’s Business (3)
The World Tree was gaining popularity all over the world. It was first released on this other Earth, but it was also soon released to which Jin-woo belonged. There was no need for cumbersome work because the Frontline Group and G&P were there to coordinate the logistics. Since the smartphone market had been unified with G&P’s operating system, a more upgraded version was released.
It was possible to use the personalized Spirit in real life by linking them with the artificial intelligence and hologram sensor inherent to the G&P smartphone. It was convenient to think of it as a very high-quality AR. Naturally, all the contents of the World Tree boasted explosive popularity on the Earth where Jin-woo belonged.
Jin-woo returned to the Sanctuary to quickly work on the movie since he had decided to make one. It was very fortunate that Young-hoon’s wish was specific. If it had been abstract, it wouldn’t be possible to proceed so quickly.
Jin-woo consulted with Young-hoon before heading to the Sanctuary.
‘S-Sir, I’m happy but… I’m happy, but somehow… I feel empty in my daily life. When I hear feedback from my handler, I feel chills, and my heart is filled with something…’
‘It’s just an illusion. Please just think calmly about writing your next novel.’
‘I-is that so? A-am I normal?’
‘Perhaps… I guess so.’
Jin-woo could not confirm that he was normal. Young-hoon had become addicted to the Moon Cannery and couldn’t leave now. Now, he couldn’t even be satisfied without the Person in Charge S’s whip. It was just a minor side effect, however.
‘Well, contentment and wishing are two different things.’
It didn’t matter if Young-hoon wasn’t happy. Anyway, all Jin-woo needed to do was make his wish come true. Upon returning to the Sanctuary, Arina, Maze, and Luna welcomed him. Heo-young showed up a little later and greeted him.
Jin-woo grabbed Heo-young’s shoulder before she could flee. Heo-young looked up at Jin-woo, trembling with anxiety. He leaned in close and took out the original setting notes of A Hero Story from the subspace. She was perfect for the role of Knight Ceres. Ceres was the heroine opposite to the protagonist Arun. She had received immense popularity since she was a lively and kind Knight. Following the release of the cartoon, her fame only continued to skyrocket.
It was far from Heo-young’s image, but anyway, their appearance perfectly matched.
“You, work a bit with me. You don’t have anything on your schedule these days, right?”
“T-that’s right, but…”
“It’s my vacation…”
“I’m on vacation too.”
Heo-young tried to relax and catch up on sleep because it was her first vacation in a long time, but in the end, she had no choice but to surrender. Jin-woo went to find Se-yeon next, catching her watching a cartoon in the central control room. She just happened to be watching A Hero Story. The magical girls also looked pleased while watching their work while the newest member, Yu-tian, was diligently cleaning the central control room.
He appeared to have grown used to the magical girl’s nagging. It still looked difficult, though.
Jin-woo looked at Duan Yu-tian for a moment. He was perfect for the handsome but vicious-looking villain and the main character’s rival, Siege. If he dressed up a little, Jin-woo thought they would match pretty well. Siege was also pretty good at martial arts, so Duan Yu-tian was perfect.
“Yes! My Great Emperor, did you call me?!”
Duan Yu-tian jumped up and quickly moved to his side using the Heavenly Demon Step.
“Are you good at acting?”
“I-I’ve never done it, but I’ll try my best.”
When Duan Yu-tian answered, Haruring glanced over.
“Hey, the Great Emperor asked you, so is that your answer? Do you even call that an answer? You seem to take it so lightly, huh?”
“I-I’m sorry! I’ll do my best. I will do well!”
Jin-woo thought it would be fine. Luna, who followed Jin-woo, watched with curiosity from beside Se-yeon.
“I’m going to make a movie.”
Luna and Se-yeon blinked in unison.
“It has to reach Hollywood.”
Jin-woo smiled and explained. As such, the plans for the A Hero Story movie were announced in the Sanctuary of Gold.
Lilith’s clan, experts in this field, gathered in the Sanctuary. They were talented people who were second to none in the video field across all dimensions. Though the concept of a movie was somehow unfamiliar for them, there was no problem at all. Lilith decided to write and direct the script, and Heo-young was in charge of acting guidance and being the heroine. Degurron and the dwarves would help make props.
A Hero Story was a standard fantasy world setting, so the demons and angels, as well as the elves and orcs, had to appear. Somehow, the main roles fit perfectly. There was no need to find extra talent from outside. They could create avatars in Heaven for the extras, and Arorong would control them. Every character was made with care to the tiniest detail while checking the original setting notes. Unlike the Maze: New World, even the internal organs were realistically implemented one by one.
They had to work hard, as Jin-woo instructed them to make it with care. Indeed, all dimensions were working together to create the movie. Degurron was the most excited. By referring to the comics and cartoons, he crafted props that exceeded the original. The protagonist’s armor was the highlight among them.
“Oh, as expected, it’s perfect!”
“After all, the Great Emperor’s avatar suits the protagonist the best.”
Degurron explained excitedly. Kim Emperor was a perfect match for the main character, Arun. Thanks to entrusting Kim Emperor’s activities to the demons, he was currently very popular. Since he appeared on TV often, there would be no problem even if he became an actor. Wearing the armor made by Degurron, he looked just like Arun, and Dopplo’s subordinates would bring him to life.
Jin-woo inspected the filming site. For a filmmaker, the Maze: New World would be a dream site. Any place could be made at will, and it was also possible to set up details ranging from the weather to the grass and flowers. Although as a result, Haruring began to show signs of overwork.
“Cough! My Great Emperor! I-it’s completed.”
“Great job. Rest a little.”
What Haruring completed was a huge castle. It was more magnificent than what was portrayed in the comics and cartoons. At this rate, it would be correct to say that it was just like entering A Hero Story. Even the interior was completed beautifully, as expected of an Emperor’s power.
“Not there! Move this way! Hey! Are you out of your mind?”
Lilith was holding a megaphone and directing the scene. Unlike her normal self, she wore an aggressive look.
The first shooting was for the Great War, the movie’s prologue where the demon’s Dark Legion invaded the Antaris Empire. Thousands of demons had gathered to play supporting roles, but the soldiers of the Dark Legion reached in the hundreds of thousands thanks to the hard work of the avatar factory in Heaven. Since their movements could be adjusted one by one, it was incomparable to a CG shot.
Jin-woo approached Lilith.
“My Grand Emperor, you’re here.”
“How’s the preparation going?”
“Yes, since it is the first filming, I plan to pour everything into it. Iron and flame! Destruction! Screams of terror! Death! Everything will be tragic, but with beautiful sweeping visuals.”
“Please imagine it! Explosions! Body fragments scattered! Red blood sprinkling down! Haa…”
Lilith’s face reddened. It was easy to forget, but she was also a demon. The other demons were equally excited. They hadn’t enjoyed a good battle since they were all under Jin-woo, so they would take this opportunity to resolve all their regrets. They were as excited as if they were about to start a real war. As a result, the Imperial Camp against them was also forming a line.
The Imperial Camp consisted of elves, orcs, and humans, including Kim Emperor. In this war, the orcs would be corrupted, and Arun would be sealed for hundreds of years. Arun woke up centuries later, and the epic of A Hero Story began. Its overall setting was cliched, but it was a novel that anyone could easily read, thanks to the author’s excellent writing skills.
Jin-woo looked out over the filming set where the clouds of war were drifting above.
“Isn’t this too realistic?”
“It’s fine! No one will die! Isn’t this necessary to produce a satisfying masterpiece? Art is death!”
“No, you said no one would die.”
“There may inevitably be mishaps, but they exist everywhere.”
Jin-woo shook his head and looked at the script. There was only one line.
[The Dark Legion and the Imperial Army fight fiercely.]
That was all. The shoot was just like the real thing: Director Lilith embodied that mindset. Something was a little off, but Jin-woo decided to leave it all to her and move on.
‘It’ll be fine.’
He would step in if there were a life-threatening situation. Injuries were no problem. There were plenty of high-quality potions on stand-by, after all. Before filming, Sarah Vriac and Gallord came forward from the Dark Legion side.
“Dance in front of the flames of the Demon Realm, the dance of death! Your red blood will be a blessing!”
“Who wins is not in the script! Our Demon Realm Army must win!”
The demons screamed.
“Orc! Orc! We will not lose!”
“This is a good opportunity to get rid of the demons. Let’s kill them legally!”
When Gallock and Dellu shouted so, the Imperial Camp also set ablaze. Looking closely at both camps, Jin-woo noticed Maze and Arina were sneaking around on the Dark Legion side, and Luna stood near the Imperial Army side. Maze wore armor much too large for its slight figure as it excitedly wandered around.
“Your seat is ready.”
Yoo-na approached him. A special viewing set had been prepared by Haruring. Since it was quite high up, he could overlook the entire battlefield at a glance. Luxurious chairs and parasols were installed to provide comfort, with tea and snacks set on tables beside them. As Jin-woo sat down, the General Manager and Yoo-na took position on either side.
Arcana quietly appeared behind them.
“Master, please use this.”
“It’s expected to be a pretty intense fight.”
When Jin-woo put on sunglasses, the General Manager raised his hand. Then Lilith announced the start of filming, though no cameras had been set up. Even without a camera, all the scenes would be recorded by holograms, so all they had to do was edit them.
The war began. The Dark Legion mobilized their monsters made of huge skeletons and sent forth dark spells. The Imperial Army defended the fortress wall by responding with spirits and holy magic.
Lights flashed, and a mushroom-shaped cloud soared upward. The battlefield caught fire, and pieces of the ground were sent sailing in the air.
Shockwaves swept out in all directions.
Jin-woo’s hair was whipped about by the hot wind. The fortress wall was half-melted, in a scene more exciting than the comic or cartoon could capture. That was a matter of course. After all, it was the real thing. It was spectacular to see the masses of the Dark Legion advancing. It was so cruel to see them torn apart by the huge tornado that the elves conjured.
It would be produced for a 15-year-old audience, so that would probably be edited out.
“Their shield is gone! Charge!”
The sight of the huge spirit shield disappearing was majestic, signaling the end of an era. Winged demons flew over the wall while those without began to tear out the wall’s stones and climb up. The Imperial Soldier avatars were brutally slaughtered. Orcs and demons crashed together on the battlements.
Flames from the Dark Legion camp lit up the sky. The high tower of the castle leaned and shattered, signaling the fortress’s end.
When Lilith shouted, everything stopped. Lilith meticulously checked the video. Then, she shook her head slightly. She felt something was missing.
“It would be nice if there was a dragon…”
After Lilith mentioned that, Arcana transformed into a dragon, and the scene was reshot. The more re-shoots, the better the directing, so the filming took longer than expected. But, seeing the final result, Jin-woo was satisfied.
“Umm, it’s good. I think it’s fine if they keep doing this.”
“Understood. I will pass it on.”
The General Manager looked at Lilith and nodded. A Hero Story was a trilogy, and this was only the beginning of their shoot.
* * *
Lilith reset the scene and filmed it repeatedly until even the most minor imperfections were ironed out. Thanks to this, it took longer than planned. Still, it was shorter than a normal filming period.
First of all, it was scheduled to be screened in theaters and uploaded on the World Tree. It didn’t matter if it was put on the World Tree right away, but it would prove more effective to put it in theaters in advance. In the case of overseas theater releases, Razzle, the largest company in the film industry, agreed to help. Razzle’s executives agreed to join Richard as soon as they met him, insisting they handle all the petty matters of logistics.
Jin-woo didn’t care, but Rick and Tom worked hard. They organized corporate meetings and attracted people with money and fame to the showings. None of them hesitated to accept their deal. While the devil’s temptation was spreading like a virus, the filming concluded.
Richard and the thirteen businessmen dressed in black robes gathered in an abandoned building for the first meeting of the Great Demon Worship Society. Richard was the chairman, and the other thirteen were executives. Each of their companies was now connected like a spider’s web around them.
Richard first prayed to the Great Demon; then, the group moved to a round table to discuss matters.
“Chairman Richard, I heard that you went to the movie set.”
Richard once went to examine the movie set. He called the Great Demon to proudly report what he had done, but he was summoned to the filming site to discuss it in person. After reporting, the Great Demon had business in hell and left, but he remained on the set for a while.
Richard trembled at recalling the sight he had seen then. Blood and guts, flying limbs, and smashed heads. Humans were being consumed for entertainment like that. Richard wanted to vomit, but he barely endured it.
“…It was hell. In hell… countless humans were being slaughtered just for entertainment.”
“G-gasp! I-is that true?”
“The movie… all the scenes are real. It may seem like a simple movie, but the Great Demon must have put some evil magic on it using those people as sacrifices.”
Richard brought his laptop. He had a video taken with his cell phone set up on the screen. All thirteen businessmen looked to the laptop.
In the video, humans were being slaughtered by demons. Richard’s breathless scream maximized the sense of realism. Some businessmen leaned over and began to retch on the spot. They could also hear the demons conversing.
[Can’t we use this? Isn’t it for a younger audience?]
[Well, that’s a bit harsh. Let’s film again.]
[Get ready again!]]
Again, the humans were replenished. That was how the video ended. Each of the businessmen went silent for a while. What could they say when they saw this terrible sight?
That was when Tom’s cell phone rang.
“T-the teaser video came out.”
When he said that, everyone took out their phones and watched the trailer. Richard pressed the play button of the teaser video with a trembling heart. It was a short video of about 30 seconds.
[Blood War Begins!]
Humans were melting under a dragon’s fiery breath, and demons killed humans with spears as a voice dubbed over.
[Is there no hope in this hell?]]
A slumped soldier looked at a demon holding a scythe. The screen flickered the moment the scythe swung.
[A Hero Story on April 24]
There was only silence.
Richard was the first to come to his senses.
‘…People will enjoy this movie without knowing the truth.’
It was too cruel a play for humanity. Ah! What a wicked creature he was!