"Why aren't you telling your family the truth?"
Su Lin kept silent and didn't reply, a complicated expression on his face.
Seeing that he was reluctant to talk about it, Garen paused then said, "Let's change the topic. How did you get into this much trouble?"
Su Lin frowned.
"I don't know."
He scraped his index finger on the surface of the small table, which started creaking from the friction.
"If my friend in the mercenary industry hadn't passed me the information, I wouldn't have known what killed me. I'm guessing the opponent's motive should be to take a strike at my father and brother by killing me and my sister." At this thought, he started lamenting, "Duskdune Shura… How unsparing. That is a group which dares to proclaim themselves as one of the strongest assassin organizations. If I hadn't realized in advance and secretly tipped my family off, I'm afraid I would have really been killed this time. But this time, no one would have thought that a good-for-nothing playboy would have an additional extraordinary identity. Originally I didn't want to reveal it, but this time they've forced my hand."
"Duskdune Shura! How dare you threaten my beloved family members? I want anyone who dares come near them to be annihilated!"
At the mention of this name, his voice became very low, and a chill showed on his face.
"Garen, it's all up to you now," After witnessing Garen's terrifying strength, he was extremely confident in him.
"Don't worry. I'll do my best," Garen said in a deep voice.
The both of them stopped speaking and fell silent.
The train gradually stopped. Some people alighted while new passengers boarded.
Both of them sat in a cluster of six seats; four were still vacant. Soon, three youths boarded and sat with them.
Garen and Su Lin shifted slightly inwards to make space for them.
They were two boys and a girl. The only girl looked about 18 or 19 years old. She was very pretty, with a slim figure and long pale blue hair which was smooth and shiny like top-grade silk. Only her dressing seemed common.
Of the other two boys, one dressed extravagantly and was quite handsome, but he was slightly thin. He had a bourgeois air about him.
The other one was dressed ordinarily. He was well-built with dark skin, and there was constantly a gentle and polite smile on his face. He seemed to be from an average family.
The two boys sat next to Su Lin and Garen respectively, while the girl sat on the outermost seat.
In the presence of outsiders, Garen and Su Lin refrained from continuing their previous topic, and temporarily fell silent.
The both of them were traveling inconspicuously. They had their make-up artist conceal their extraordinary temperament as much as possible. Even Su Lin's overly handsome face had been covered in unhealthy colors, and he looked much paler. His clothes were swapped for the jeans and t-shirt of ordinary youngsters, nothing special.
When the three youths sat down, they glanced at Su Lin and Garen then didn't pay them any attention. After settling their luggage, they sat down and started to take out their prepared meals.
The well-built boy and the girl brought ordinary white bread and wheat crackers stored in plastic containers, paired with a small bottle of plain water that they had each brought. This was also the most common meal combination for most people on the train.
On the other hand, the thin boy took out cookies and milk, and small pieces of tiramisu cake.
"How pretty…" The girl saw the pieces of cake made into the shape of small animals and were instantly attracted by them.
"Eileen, Jeff, have a taste." The thin boy smiled, quite pleased with himself. He put the cake box on the small table, and deliberately placed the part of the cakebox labelled with the branding to face the most conspicuous angle.
"I'm alright," the well-built boy gave a stiff smile and continued munching his wheat crackers. He seemed uncomfortable with the gap in their family situation.
The girl noticed the stark contrast too, and smiled awkwardly, "No, thanks, Sharman. You eat it. I'm fine with just this."
"Don't stand on ceremony." Even though the thin boy had his faults and liked to show off, he was still quite sincere. He felt bad that he was eating well but his companions weren't, so he split the cake into three with tweezers, and stuffed one each into their lunch boxes.
"It's nothing fancy, let's eat it together. I have milk here too, I brought extra." He piled the milk cartons on the small table.
The other two felt embarrassed initially, but gradually let it go. The thin boy, Sharman, changed the topic and talked about interesting incidents on the last trip. The three of them chatted while eating; the atmosphere was warm.
Back on this side, Garen and Su Lin were slowly drinking some plain water and didn't eat anything. They quietly listened to the three of them chatting.
Maybe he felt embarrassed that only they were eating, the well-built boy, Jeff, touched Su Lin's arm.
"Buddy, did you forget to bring food? Have some." He distributed some wheat crackers and cake and put it in front of Garen and Su Lin.
"Uh, you don't have to, thanks. We're not hungry." Su Lin didn't expect him to be so generous.
"I feel self-conscious that we're eating over here and you're over there just watching us," Jeff smiled and said frankly. "Oh ya, are you two traveling together?"
"Yeah. The three of you are together too? Attending university in Harmony City?"
"Yup. We're students from the St Azure Art Academy. We're reporting for the start of term."
"St Azure, that place…I used to go there…"
Su Lin casually chatted a little with him, then stopped talking and just listened.
Garen didn't really understand the content of their conversation and couldn't get a word in, so he merely sat to one side and listened quietly.
He listened for a while and started to feel bored.
"I've heard that Harmony City is famous for its music events. It wasn't originally called Harmony City, but it was later changed to that," Garen recalled some Geography trivia he had learnt before.
"Indeed." Su Lin nodded, "There are three types of music events in Harmony City: large-scale ones, salon-style events and private concerts."
"I've been to the large-scale ones. It feels very comfortable," the girl Eileen continued. "You seem to have a strong physique, you must like to train? Your body should be very healthy, right?"
Her words were directed at Garen.
"I'm alright, I guess." Garen smiled. His physique was indeed quite buff compared to his peers.
"I'm so jealous. The weather has been really unpredictable this season; it's so easy to catch a cold if you don't take care. The last time I went to a concert I caught a cold which developed into a high fever, and it took me a long time and a lot of rest before I recovered," the girl said helplessly. "Have you been to a concert?"
"Uh…no." Garen shook his head. He couldn't tell the sound of a violin from the sound of an erhu, let alone been to any concerts.
"I went to a concert at the Lakeland Convention Center, it was a violin solo. I felt it was mediocre. Ever since Auter has been back from Weisman, his form has been getting poorer," the thin boy, Sharman, continued. "If you're interested, you can buy box tickets. They're only slightly more expensive than ordinary tickets, but there are staff who tend to a fireplace in the box, it's much warmer."
"Forget it. The money savings could be used for a lot of other things." The girl stuck her tongue out cheekily. "The tickets are expensive in the first place; I wouldn't be willing to buy box tickets."
Sharman smiled as he looked at Garen and Su Lin. "Compared to Auter, Cusey Freita's piano is much more pleasing to the ears."
"You like Cusey's piano too?" Said one of the three people who were playing cards to a side, a youth in a white shirt sat over in interest. The Confederate Legislative Council has passed a document to regulate the scale of musical events, and Cusey was one of the people who have been asked to rectify it. It's still uncertain how that will affect his form."
"Did they pass such a document?" The other people playing cards also came over to chat. A curly-brown-haired girl looked towards the white-shirt boy. "Where did you hear that, Hershey? From your dad?"
"It was the news that came out after an executive of the province, Mr Harris, came over some time ago and went fishing with the governor. Dad was at the governor's office handling the document. After a few days, your mother's department will receive the notice too. I've just known it a little earlier."
"Executive Harris?" Su Lin suddenly said. He looked stunned.
"Ordinary people probably haven't heard of him." The white-shirt youth took a look at him. "Working his way up from the municipal general department, it merely took him ten years to reach the sub-provincial level. He's the rising star among officials in Eliza now."
"That's not the point. It's Mr Harris! He's the youngest sub-province official, tsk tsk. Has your dad met him before? How is he like?" the girl asked curiously.
"He's never met him in person. I've heard he's a very serious man." The white-shirt youth smiled and seemed pleased with himself. "About the thing I mentioned earlier, those are documents coming down from the central government, to the province and then the city. It can't be wrong."
The three people here were listening to the other three chatting, and couldn't get a word in edgewise. Their level was too high for them, and their topic wasn't a common one that youths their age would be exposed to, even relating to policy from the Governor's Office.
Perhaps they were too absorbed in their conversation, and after gaining face in front of a pretty girl like Eileen, the white-shirt youth named Hershey got enthusiastic. "How about this? It's lunch time. Let me treat everyone to a meal in the restaurant! Don't say no. Whoever refuses is not giving me face! The taste and grade of the meals at the restaurant on K3 trains are fairly decent. I've eaten there many times."
He pointed a finger at the five of them on Eileen's side.
Su Lin politely refused.
The others found it hard to refuse such generosity, so Eileen and the other two followed Hershey towards the carriages in the front of the train. Among them, Sharman who originally had some sense of superiority had been suppressed to an intimidated state. He seemed shy to even speak loudly.
The six of them left temporarily.
Only Garen and Su Lin were left in their row of seats. The surrounding became quiet all of a sudden.
Garen looked at the odd expression on Su Lin's face.
"Is something wrong?"
"Nothing." Su Lin snapped out of it. "Seeing youths their age, I feel very old. I wish I could go back to the time when I was young…"
"You're not too old yourself…" Garen was speechless.
"Oh ya. I've arranged your accommodation for you. It's a newly acquired property at 43 Garden Street. Someone will deliver the keys when we alight. What type of car do you want?"
"I don't have a driving license."
"One order and it's settled."
"Then give me whatever's the most expensive," Garen threw all air of courtesy to the wind.
"You don't stand on ceremony, do you!?" Su Lin jokingly punched Garen and said. "I've give you my current Rossland S7. With a market price of 12 million, you've got a steal there!"
"Oh yeah. Why did you have a strange expression on your face earlier? Did you still have the nerve to show off and compare yourself to these kids?" Garen asked.
"Do you know who that Executive Harris that they mentioned is?" Su Lin questioned.
"Who knows!" Garen rolled his eyes.
"He's my brother."