Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The returning team split up to rest, while Lerden was jumping on one leg, planning to find the ‘doctor’ to repair him. Han Xiao whistled, signaling for Lerden to go over.
“It’s you, can’t believe you’re still alive.” Lerden hopped in front of Han Xiao.
“I should be the one saying that.” Han Xiao looked at his broken limbs.
“Met a bit of danger, almost died,” Lerden said like it was nothing.
Although he was not very close to Han Xiao, he felt a little bit more relieved when he saw someone whom he considered a friend to still be alive.
Han Xiao raised the toolbox in his hand and said, “Seems like you need a very skilled Mechanic.”
“Is it free this time?” Lerden raised an eyebrow.
Han Xiao thought and said, “Get me a drink, in the same bar as last time.”
It was currently the break period of the Catastrophe; there was time to rest. The commanders had allowed Han Xiao into the city seeing that Black Star Mercenary Group had actively taken on the job of scouting.
Lerden had a backup implanted arm, so Han Xiao repaired and connected it very quickly. Originally, only Lerden’s right arm had still been made of flesh, but it was now broken, bound, and left alone. His expression was calm—he did not care about losing the only part of flesh that he had left.
The two entered the city and came to Herlous’ bar as Han Xiao had requested. There was quite a number of customers that day—all of them were civilians from nearby. The soldiers were bathing in blood and fighting outside the city, and most civilians hid in their home or in the official emergency evacuation areas. There were also some that chose to use alcohol to get rid of their terror. Ninety percent of the shops in the entire city were closed during the Catastrophe, but Herlous’ bar opened as usual, so the place was a little noisy.
Walking up to the bar counter, Han Xiao said, “Two glasses of your signature drink.”
Lerden immediately raise his hand and cut in. “Just one glass.”
Drunk, Herlous raised his head, and after seeing Han Xiao’s face, his expression changed. “You again!”
He remembered Han Xiao, a weird guy that came to find his brother’s old notebook out of nowhere who seemed to also know his secret.
“What do you want again?”
Han Xiao smiled and said, “Just here for a drink.”
Herlous stared at Han Xiao for some time then unwillingly took out a bottle of alcohol. Han Xiao did not speak to him again, just drinking and chatting with Lerden casually. Herlous saw this and kept his doubt. He turned away to attend to other customers while eavesdropping on the conversation between Han Xiao and Lerden.
Han Xiao looked at Lerden’s broken arm and said, “Don’t you feel pain?”
Lerden shook his head and said, “When I went through the implant operation, I told the doctor to cut off my nerves, so that injuries will not affect my combat ability.”
“You’re an Esper, so implants will weaken your power. Why did you do it?”
“It’s fine to be weaker,” Lerden said calmly. “I can live longer this way—a dead man is of no use.”
“To choose implants to live longer, and to actively execute the most dangerous mission, your love for your race really is strong.” Han Xiao’s eyes sparkled. “No one is born a hero; the supers of Sunil seemed to be too selfless. You guys must have your reasons, how about tell them to me? I’m quite curious.”
Lerden kept silent for a while. His expression became nostalgic, and the look in his eyes started to change a little. It was like he could hardly keep his calm when he thought about the past. He said slowly, “Just like every other Sunil, I once had a complete family. My father was strict, my mother was kind and warm, and I had two younger sisters. When DarkStar attacked, I was still a kid. Even now, I can still remember the laser cannons descending from the sky, thick like waterfalls, turning the largest buildings in the city centers into ash in an instant. We joined the evacuating crowd, and the military protected us. They knew clearly that staying behind meant death, but they still prioritized guarding us and sending us away.
“Unfortunately, my parents could not board Godora’s rescue spaceship. They died halfway there; a beam of laser turned my parents into ashes. I was just a kid in despair, and the only thing that I knew was how to cry. I followed the other refugees numbly. Every day, the army gave the refugees very little food. I was starving so much that I could not control myself at all. After I took the food, I hid more than half of the portion, only giving a little bit to my sisters. I just wanted to live at that time; I did not know how to think of anything else. Then… my two younger sisters starved to death.”
Lerden paused then said in a very low voice, “I can still vividly remember their expression, their bony palms grabbing my clothes as they stared right into my eyes, like they were telling me how hungry they were, but they had no energy to talk. Those two pairs of eyes filled with despair cut right into my heart. My brain was blank, and a few seconds felt like centuries. When their arms slipped down without strength, only then did I dare take deep breaths. I was completely petrified. I couldn’t believe what I had done. If I had shared the food with my sisters, even if I would be hungrier, at least we all could have lived, but I knew nothing back then—I only thought about having filling meals, I felt that if I ate less, I would be starved to death the next day…
“I followed the crowd up the rescuing ship numbly, not knowing where to go. There were many kids like me who lost their families back then; they were all given to veterans with a disability to raise. A group of kids and I were given to a veteran, too. From then on, we lived with him. He raised us and taught us how to fight. He was a rough, impatient man, but a good man and a good soldier. Many of us Supers were orphans that were raised by the race back then.
“As time passed, I gradually took that veteran as my foster father, but I always had a grudge in my heart. I felt my past was too dark; I felt I was an evil man. If I told my foster father, would he chase me away? One day, on impulse, I told him about my younger sisters’ death, and he gave me a serious scolding… but not because of my selfishness. He scolded me that if I had the heart to think about the past, I should be spending that time to train. He said that the race was on the verge of being wiped out, and there was no time to be held back by the past. Even if I was a criminal of countless sins, as long as I held the gun to protect our race, then I had only one identity—a soldier. No one would care about my past, only what I can do…”
Han Xiao touched his chin and asked, “What happened to that old veteran?”
“The first time the Catastrophe came, although the disabled soldiers could have been protected, he actively requested to go into the battlefield, where he died. Afterward, I heard that he belonged to the team that protected my group of refugees; I even once received food from him…” Lerden shook his head. “I owe everything to the race; therefore, I contribute everything I am able to.”
“So, your contributions are to return favors?” Han Xiao turned around and looked at Herlous, who was leaning over, eavesdropping. The man was expressionless, and he turned around and walked away impatiently as if he had absolutely no interest in this kind of conversation.
“Not entirely. It’s also for the continuation of my race.” After telling the nostalgic story, the sadness from losing comrades earlier was washed away a little. Lerden wanted to know more about Han Xiao as well, so he changed the subject. “Let’s not talk about me, let’s talk about you. You…”
This time, Han Xiao suddenly stood up and cut him off. “Pardon me, I have a private matter to settle. I need to leave for a while.”
Lerden was speechless. Shouldn’t friends share such stories? Why is he running away after listening just to my experience? I feel I’ve been taken advantage of.
Han Xiao walked to the side, found Herlous, and said, “I want to talk to you privately.”
Herlous suddenly became cautious. “What do you really want?”
Han Xiao was direct this time. “I know many things about you, such as your strength, what your older brother left for you, and other stuff. Maybe you will be interested to hear about Sunil’s future.”
This word made Herlous very surprised, and he became even more unsure of Han Xiao’s goal. “Who are you?”
“I’m a Foreseer, or you can call me… a Prophet.”
Han Xiao gave a weird smile.
The reason for him to come into contact with Herlous multiple times was because he knew Herlous’ hidden identity—he was the main character of the Sunils!