1 You Know Me, but I Know You More

"The steamliner to Derbury departs in five minutes!" A man wearing a brown coat and a hat trotted beside the length of the train, shouting the same message over and over again.

A young man who looked no older than 22 strolled past the announcer. Every passer-by gave him an intrigued glance. It was not that he was overly handsome or anything; his two eyes which were silver like two full moons, and his hair which shared the same colour were an exotic sight. Very few witnessed one of these traits before, let alone both of them in the same person.

The silver of his hair and eyes contrasted perfectly with his black getup- black shoes, black pants, a black suit and a black long coat. He tipped his hat, veiling his eyes before hastening forward.

He reached the front of the train. To his right, the cylindrical nose of the engine puffed out smoke, ready to depart. And to the left, lay a wooden monument- covered with black and white photos of the steamliner, and the people who were involved in its development.

He showed his ticket to the employee standing beside the entrance of cabin zero, the compartment next to the engine, and hopped in.

He walked through the chandelier-lit corridor and entered room seven.

The light that seeped in through the open window lit up the room. There was a small rectangular table at the centre with two couches sandwiching it. He closed the door and sat on the comfy couch facing forth, right beside the window.

Soon, a whistling sound echoed throughout as the vehicle jerked to a start. The scenery outside changed as the train chugged out of the station- from the bustling crowd of the dark station to the serene waves of paddy fields. The breeze tousled his hair.

He put the hat to his side and leaned back, closing his eyes.

Time passed. Only the rhythmic clattering sounds of the carriage remained, along with periodic whistles. An announcement interrupted the rhythm.

"We will be entering the Rakhalia Tunnels soon. If you need light, open the door."

He opened his eyes. Ahead, through the windows, there was a small range of hills. The mountains got bigger and bigger each second until the train pierced into them. Darkness enshrouded everything.

According to his calculations, they should be able to get out of the tunnel in two minutes. And he was right. The railway carriage exited in the predicted time, lighting everything again. But he was not the only person in the room anymore.

Opposite him, sat a moustached middle-aged man draped in black. Like the majority of people in the country, he had black hair and brown eyes. He seemed hardened, his sharp eyes fixed on the youth.

"Greetings, Mister Xavier Godwin." The man pulled off his hat and placed it on the table. "Pardon my sudden intrusion."

Xavier stared at the man, his eyes unblinking.

"Xavier Godwin, aged 24. Sent abroad by the Holy Crescent Orphanage because of his extraordinary brilliance at the tender age of 3." The moustached man took out a piece of paper and put it on the table. He continued bringing out other articles as he spoke. "Returned a year ago. The moment he did, he bought an expensive mansion in the poshest district of the capital, despite not having a 'valid' occupation.

"Eight months ago, he was spotted lurking in the corners of Plaistow, where we later discovered a black market- one that illegally sold potioneering materials." He gave Xavier a look. There were two new articles on the table- two pictures. They were not black and white like the ones posted back at the station, but coloured and clear.

The man continued, "Six months ago, during the Nomara Slum incident, the fire that threatened three thousand lives was extinguished all of a sudden, he was there. Two months ago, someone 'anonymously' donated a massive sum to 31 orphanages across the country. The one that gained the highest was-" he looked right into Xavier's eyes, "the Holy Crescent Orphanage." There were now two more contents on the desk- a total of five- three of them being photos and two of them- reports.

"Relax Mister Godwin," the intruder said. "I came with good wishes. Both of us know that you are 'beyond' normal. But for people like us, it is the law to join a 'Society'. It's for the well being and safety of our beloved nation. Else, you will be branded a criminal of the highest degree. And-"

Xavier finally made a move, interrupting the stalwart man. He picked one of the photos. There was a huge two-storied mansion surrounded by a green yard, with an idyllic garden at the front. The main building itself was a wonderful and mystical piece of architecture, crafted by one of the best on the continent. He never bought the place. It was always his.

"George Arnolds, a veteran." He opened his mouth for the first time, his tone- nonchalant. "Lives with his wife and two children."

The man's eyelids twitched.

Xavier dropped the picture on the table and took another one. It was dark, with dim lampposts barely illuminating the empty streets. A young man stood in its midst. A hat as black as the night covered his eyes, but strands of silver draped from the sides. Plaistow, Xavier thought, the place that housed the biggest port to River Speve. The influx of river-borne refugees and immigrants made it a hotspot for criminals to hide and black marketeers to trade.

Xavier had required some ingredients that day- to experiment on the new formula he came up with. He got what he wanted, but led a secret operative to them in the process. But he had no regrets; none of the black marketeers was virtuous anyway.

"Oriole Wright, your newest recruit. Unbeknownst to her, her newfound lover is having an affair." He flicked the photograph to the table.

The man scowled.

Xavier picked the final photograph. Smoke raged out from the slums as fire burned the already battered houses. Dozens of people, all wearing ordinary clothes, scurried out. Children wailed in the arms of their equally panicked guardians. One man stood out in the crowd. Wearing a lavish suit, he faced the doomed slums- his silver hair fluttering with the breeze.

The Nomara Rookery. Despite being the largest slum in the country, housing thousands of people- it garnered no adoration from the authorities. The Detectivete and the Fire Corps were no exception. The lives of a few hundred 'lower-class' people were not worth fussing over. But Xavier was different. He had a promise to keep.

"Jayden Smith, your youngest member. Lives with his sick mother. Used to work extra hours to cover her medical fees." Xavier unhanded the photo.

The intruder knitted his brows even further as his fingers dug into his palms.

Xavier finally plucked the remaining papers, one in each hand. One was an official paper of the Holy Crescent Orphanage that reported the transfer of a child, and the other was a list of 31 orphanages and the amounts donated to them.

"As for these," he looked right into the moustached intruder's eyes, "I always pay back my debts."

The man's eyes turned bloodshot. "Don't you dare-"

"You observed me, and I did the same to you." Xavier slid the two papers back. His voice turned cold. "Intervene in my life and I will not sit still."

The man closed his eyes, took in a deep breath and composed himself. He opened his eyes and heaved out a sigh. "I apologise for what we have done till now. But I hope you can answer this one question of mine."

Xavier kept his eyes fixed on the man.

"A week after the fire incident, an anonymous entity cleared all of Jayden's debts and also took charge of his mother's treatment. Was that…" The man raised a brow.

For the first time, a slight smile appeared on Xavier's face. "He is a good child. After taking the picture that day, he devoted all of his efforts on rescuing the inhabitants."

"Is that so?" The intruder sighed yet again. "I am sorry for disturbing you today. Have a safe journey." He put his hat back on and stood up, ready to leave.

Just as he was about to open the door, Xavier beckoned him, "Mr Devon Clark."

"Yes?" The man turned back, not surprised by the fact that Xavier knew his name.

"Don't you find it annoying when you want to spend some alone time, but you're not alone?"

"I understand." Mr. Clark nodded. "Rest assured. Today's the last." He finally left, closing the door behind.

"Sir, that way leads to the exit!" a shout came from the outside.

"Sir! The steamliner is moving. You can't get out! Sir! Siiir!"

The door abruptly slid open. The steamliner employee had panic written all over his face. "Sir! Your companion… he… he jumped off!"

"Relax," Xavier said calmly. "He is hard-boiled."


Xavier waved his arm.

The employee stopped in his tracks- shocked. After somewhat getting his composure back, he bowed and shut the door with trembling hands.

Xavier collected all photos and papers in his right hand. The articles blazed. The smoke obediently departed through the window instead of rushing to his face. In mere moments, nothing but ash remained in his hand. He spilt them out and clapped the lingering dust off.

Amidst the rhythmic clanks and whistles of the train, he took out a pocket watch from his suit and tapped it open. A chain dangled from the bow of the gold encased timepiece. The glassed dial revealed tens of gears rotating at different speeds, but in a periodic rhythm. There was only one word written on the dial- 'Zeitmann'.


Xavier drove his gaze away from the device to the sky. It was clear, or at least it appeared to be.

"192 minutes till impact."

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