Chapter III.

1 Feb

Endo gave the version of his life that the Chief Editor had invented for him to tell. He claimed to be a reclusive writer, too shy to appear in public. His use of a pseudonym was meant to protect his tender ego from harsh literary criticism. The last thing he desired was public fame. But the recent success of his first novella had compelled him to present himself to his readers. This had never been a part of his original plan, but had unravelled at the publication party.

From now on, there would be no way to preserve his privacy. It was impossible to go back to how it had been before. His anonymity was gone for good. The truth was out after the unanticipated revelation at the party. It could never be kept a secret again. He was now identified and known.

His masquerade was ended. He had to acknowledge and learn to live with it. Future novellae would have to be published under his real name. The writer was now ready to come forward as himself, without the use of an invented name.

Both father and daughter felt sincere empathy with the writer who now confessed who he was to them.

“We will see to it that you receive everything you deserve,” promised the publisher. “There is no going back on our word.”

Paena asked him an unexpected question that set him back for a moment..

“Have you started a third book for the Velvet World Series?”

A glance at Tado Foleg gave him a nod that he had.

“Yes, but the work so far is only preliminary. A final manuscript will take me time to complete.”

Her father presented a question. “Do you compose directly on a dactylographic device?”

Another look to the side was met with a second nod from Tado.

“Yes, I find that a swift method of recording what is in my mind.”

Tado, all at once, had an inspiration that he immediately expressed. “There is a possibility to consider. You could move in with me. Would that arrangement make it easier for you to work? Think about it. No need to give an answer immediately. But consider th idea from all angles.”

Endo turned away from the editor. His eyes fell upon beautiful Paena. He spoke as if addressing her alone, not the other two.

“I must get up and return home to where I now live. My relatives will be wondering where I am and what has happened to me.”

He raised himself to his feet and began to walk toward the sanctum door. Since he had not removed his coat jacket, Endo was set to climb down to the ground floor and exit, then make his way home to the Carq apartment.

He decided to hail a roaming hansom for the trip once he was outside on the sidewalk.

If he was soon going to make a lot of money, he might as well start to spend it at once.

How was he to negotiate the web of lies that was entrapping him? he wondered.

Endo sensed a great moral ambiguity in the new adventure he was about to begin. He was divided in two by what he was undertaking to do. Attempting to meet the Velvet author, he had become that person, occupying a vacuum created by Editor Tado Foleg. This was the secret psychographist behind the series of novellae he was now to claim as his own literary product.

What was going to be expected of him in days to come? he asked himself again and again.

Endo felt a trembling deep inside himself. How was he supposed to act and speak?

Would he prove himself adequate to such a difficult and complicated role? Was it right for him to take part in such a deception of the reading public?

His immediate task was to become acquainted with his supposed second creation, “The Velvet Schism”.  Then, he should know better how to carry out the role he had agreed to.

Endo revealed nothing to Bran and Erda Carq concerning the strange events at the office party and what occurred after it. There would be time for that after he read through the second novella in the Velvet series. The important matter now was to determine how he was going to carry out the plan conceived of by Tado Foleg.

He bought a copy of Volume Two at a small book store and took it home with him.

Not able to fall asleep, Endo lit the oil lantern on his study desk and began to plow through the second novella in the Velvet series.


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