3 Luminous Entertainment 3

Altair rushed to conclude the meeting upon receiving a message from Saxon. After twenty-three years, he finally received news of Lorcan, along with the missing Laurel Crown.

He saw Elvira in the hallway, the young man with a resemblance to Lorcan. However, the passion that once filled Altair's heart was gone, all he awaited now was for Lorcan to give him an answer for leaving.

Saxon had told him Lorcan was dead and passed away today. Altair's gaze fell as he arrived at Elvira's address, to reclaim his family's heirloom, the Laurel Crown.

Elvira leaned against a small window, gazing blankly through the foggy glass at the city's dazzling neon lights, like a flowing painting. His desk was cluttered with a few bottles of beer and a worn-out milk powder can, containing ashes brought back from the crematorium. These were Lorcan's ashes.

He threw his head back and took a fierce swig of beer, feeling a warm sting spreading through his limbs. Squinting through the haze, he watched the flickering lights outside the window merge into lines until the entire window was filled with neon rays.

"Thud—thud—thud—" Someone was knocking at the door. Elvira, initially startled, couldn't think of anyone who would come to his house. Then he got up and slowly walked to the entrance to open the door.

As the door swung open, he saw Altair standing before him, like a meticulously carved piece of ice, untouched by desire, cold and clear. 

"I'm Altair Sterling," he said

Elvira squinted his eyes as if he were in the midst of the most fantastical, hazy dream where countless fireflies danced through the air, settling on their shoulders with the breeze.

Leaning weakly against it, elbow propped on the door, he smiled at Altair and whispered, "You've come? I'm a bit drunk, unfortunate timing."

Altair halted, taking in the sight of the young man leaning by the door, his eyes bright and beautiful, even a bit hazy. Thirty years ago, he had seen that same look under the aurora; Lorcan's gaze was direct and passionate, like the Northern Lights of Iceland, dazzling and brilliant, flickering with intense affection, plunging one into an endless, magnificent ocean.

Elvira lazily turned and entered the room, speaking as he moved, "Just come in. The electricity's been cut off because I didn't pay the bill the other day. Sorry about that, you'll have to make do."

The room wasn't entirely dark; instead, light from the outside seeped in, allowing the layout and furnishings inside to be faintly visible. Altair stepped inside into an apartment that was simply yet warmly decorated. The living room featured a window that offered a view of the bustling cityscape. Near the window stood a table, on which appeared to be a can of powdered milk.

Elvira pulled out a chair for Altair, gesturing for him to sit, and poured him a glass of water, placing it in front of Altair. "Make yourself at home, Mr. Sterling."

Altair's gaze fell on the powdered milk can, contemplative.

The room was enveloped in a cool scent of pine, reminiscent of birch trees on a snowy night.

"Do you want some powdered milk?" Elvira boldly placed the can in front of Altair and, grabbing a spoon, began to unscrew the lid, ready to scoop some out for Altair.

"No, thank you." Altair nodded, politely declining.

"That's too bad." Elvira shrugged and tilted his head, lamenting, "I thought you might like it."

Altair looked at the canister of elderly nutritional milk powder, then into Elvira's sincere eyes, remaining silent, merely lowering his head to take a sip of water. The dimly lit room seemed to be filled with invisible silk, drawing Elvira's gaze towards Altair.

He had an aura of cool composure, his solemn demeanor underscored by an inherent elegance.

Altair glanced at Elvira, the sealed memories cracking open like fissured ice, revealing the pulsing truth and sincerity hidden beneath the icy river.

"Lorcan is dead," Elvira took a breath, speaking softly, "Before he died, he asked me to return this to you." No sooner had he finished speaking than Elvira promptly took out a brocade box. Inside was the chest pin, indeed Altair's family heirloom—Laurel Crown.

Fashioned from pure silver, the lush laurel leaves sparkled with a cool light, cradling a dazzling moonstone, as if the moon itself illuminated the night.

Altair's gaze landed on the brooch. It had been twenty-three years since he last saw the Laurel Crown.

Elvira couldn't help but smile. The person Lorcan had obsessed over had remained indifferent upon hearing of his death, all attention fixated on the brooch. This elicited a peculiar thrill and a sense of schadenfreude in Elvira.

"Where did he die?" Altair asked quietly, his voice as faint as a breeze that might be felt one moment and gone the next.

"In the hospital, late-stage bone cancer," Elvira observed Altair's expression as he answered.

Altair lowered his gaze without saying much more, his expression as impenetrable as a frozen mountain, unchanging for thousands of years, inscrutable to others.

"You're his son," Altair looked up, studying Elvira seriously.

Elvira felt a dryness in his mouth, his pulse racing, and his heart beating faster, an involuntary thirst taking over him.

"He wasn't my father, he was my uncle," Elvira suppressed his nervousness, feigning calmness, and smiled, adding, "If only he had been my father."

Altair remained silent, taking another sip of water, his fingers gently caressing the moonstone on the Laurel Crown brooch.

"He had a message." Elvira sighed, tapping on the milk powder can, paused, then added, "He was very sorry."

"He got married?" Altair raised an eyebrow, his tone more of a statement than a question.

Elvira's eyes shifted, hesitating for a moment, then after a long pause, he finally met Altair's gaze, "Yes, he got married."

"You didn't know?" Elvira asked with a cold smile.

Altair looked up, his gaze calm and sharp, like a statue standing in a vast, desolate wilderness.

"He thought of you till his last breath. You didn't know that, did you?" Elvira leaned in, his eyes as sharp as swords, pressing for an answer.

Altair watched Elvira quietly, his expression as serene as the moon hanging high in the sky, coldly stating, "It has nothing to do with me."

Elvira's eyes widened, his grip tightening on the cup, "Weren't you waiting for him?"

The wind slipped through cracks, carrying the faint scent of car exhaust into the room. Horns sounded from not too far off, stirring the stagnant air.

"No." Altair's gaze fell on the Laurel Crown, he spoke softly, "I'm done with him. Thank you."

Elvira turned to look outside, where the flow of cars, like bands of light, seemed to solidify into a painting. The silent clamor burst like sparks, igniting invisible flames.

What had Lorcan done in the sixteen years he vanished?

Altair looked around and said, "You could come to work at Luminous Entertainment."

Elvira turned, his gaze intently on Altair, and couldn't help but smile, "Noted. The day you need me to destroy your company, I'll be the first to drive a bulldozer through your company's front door, my dear boss."

"I'm doing quite well, thank you," Elvira waved his hand, "My parents passed away early, and I grew up in ConstOrphanage. Things have been alright since graduating from college."

"You might consider it." Altair took the Laurel Crown and placed it in his pocket, then pulled out a business card from his shirt's cardholder and handed it to Elvira, "Call me if you need anything."

Altair stood up, looking at Elvira. The flowing lights from outside cast reflections on Elvira's face, his features still strikingly handsome and well-defined against such rich colors, reminiscent of Lorcan under the aurora thirty years ago.

He sighed softly and nodded at Elvira, his gaze indifferent as he turned to leave, leaving behind a cold and upright silhouette for Elvira.

Elvira took a few steps forward, hesitating to speak. In the dim room, Altair was like a fading light. Elvira reached out, attempting to grasp it, but it was in vain.

He followed Altair with his gaze, feeling a profound sense of loss yet powerless to change the situation. Lowering his head, he read the text on the business card by the light from outside the window:

Luminous Entertainment Executive Director Altair Sterling

Contact Information: 34834-2342-56424

Elvira sighed, turned around to stare at the milk powder can, and walked step by step to the window, then laughed helplessly after a moment of silence. He tipped his head back, drinking beer after beer, forcefully slapping the can of ashes as he drank.

"Old man, you were almost with him forever." Elvira murmured with a smirk, "Soak your ashes in water for him to drink. What a wonderful idea. But he refused."

"The brooch and you—he cared more about the brooch. It's all settled between you two now; he doesn't want you anymore." Elvira swayed, holding the beer bottle, toasting to the can of ashes.

He drank bottle after bottle, finally pouring a whole bottle over the can of baby formula, letting the deceased Lorcan taste the beer his son offered in filial piety.

His gaze wandered, half-drunk, half-sober, visions of Altair's cold aloofness appearing before him, like snowflakes atop a snowy mountain. Elvira muttered to himself, "He doesn't want you, how about I try for you, old man?"

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