Chapter 16:

Ch 16 - The long queue

St Chaos Healer

We rushed back into the inn to fetch our luggage.
My mom carried one bag, meanwhile, dad and I carried two luggage bags each. I have no clue what these guys were thinking packing so many things. No point in complaining now.Bookmark here

The bell was an alarm, warning people that the train will be arriving shortly and the ticket holders should be ready to board anytime soon.Bookmark here

After getting out of the inn we saw a long queue of people hurrying in one direction, the place where the railway track was located.Bookmark here

This town was actually built at the edge of the railway line and there was also a tall wooden stairway structure leading up to the track above. I had seen the tall stairway from afar even before I came to this town and right now we are heading there.Bookmark here

Like a flock of sheep, my mom and dad grabbed my hands and joined along with the queue towards the train stop platform. There were other people but they stood sideways in a distance while waving their arms at us bidding us goodbyes. There was also a lot of cheering and wishing all the kids good luck and giving their blessings.Bookmark here

After a few minutes of walking along with the queue, I saw a few people dressed in black long coats followed by black caps. They were all armed with swords hanging by their hip as they stood beside the queue. Some were standing with their arms crossed while others standing up straight and looking vigilantly at the crowd.Bookmark here

All the people were avoiding their gaze from those guys dressed in black.
I asked my mom and she just hushed me and told me to keep quiet and keep on walking.Bookmark here

If my guess is right, they must be guards overseeing this event. But why were my parents so paranoid about these guards? Aren’t they here to protect people?Bookmark here

It wasn’t soon I saw the wooden stairway leading up to the railway platform above came into view.Bookmark here

The stairways were quite wide and there were two different queues climbing up the stairs side by side. More guards were standing at the entrance and few guards were standing on the sidelines of the stairs overseeing the queue.Bookmark here

I also noticed that each and every one of the guards looked at us with a cold gaze. It’s like they didn’t see us as humans but like mere bugs.Bookmark here

People in the queue were quiet and even the noisy kids were hushed by their parents. There were some muffled noises of kids whose parents shut their mouths forcefully.
What’s with this atmosphere turning so serious all of a sudden?Bookmark here

Just when I was looking around I saw another queue of people coming from the other side heading in the same direction as us.Bookmark here

But these guys were quite different from us. They were dressed very poorly with just rags as clothes. Hair was disheveled, the face was all dirty, and walking barefoot. They all had lowered their heads not daring to raise their eyebrows. But in the arms of those people were kids. They were holding these kids as if they were some precious treasure that anyone might try to steal.Bookmark here

The kids seemed to be the same age as I, but they were all wearing tattered clothes. Their bones seemed to be visible and cheeks were caved in. But each kid’s eyelids were quite lively and shining as they curiously looked around their surroundings.Bookmark here

These must be the people who are at the bottom of the social hierarchy.
Each of those people was either slaves, servants, beggars, or homeless people who had nothing to lose. Bookmark here

The kingdom even wants kids of such people to participate in the ceremony?
If any of those kids become a mage, their life will turn around. Their family would get a new life. Now after seeing this I believe the kingdom was really serious about the ceremony.Bookmark here

When I looked back at the people in my queue, they looked at the poor people with disdain and contempt. They didn’t open their mouths to say anything but I can just feel how each and every person stared at them with disgust.Bookmark here

They didn’t look at them as people but as if there was repugnant filth staining the view. I am quite familiar with such a gaze because I had my share of disdain gazes during my life back in the demon realm. Especially when I had my coronation ceremony, many demon nobles gave me the same looks. But all they could do was stand on the side and curse in their hearts. Bookmark here

Ah, good Ol’days!Bookmark here

On second thought, maybe this and that gaze aren’t exactly the same but you get the idea.Bookmark here

After a few minutes of walking in the queue, we finally came in front of the stairs.Bookmark here

There were two types of stairs used by the two queues.
The stairs in front of me were moving staircase heading upwards to the railway platform. The stairs seemed to be empowered with mana. There was a weird glow as the stairs rise above and new stairs would emerge in their place from the ground.Bookmark here

We climbed on board the staircase along with my parents and started ascending above.
I didn’t notice this magic staircase before, only after it came in front of me I noticed it. This staircase is really handy. Climbing the stairs with so much luggage would be a cakewalk for me but my parents will have a hard time. Thankfully there were these magic stairways.Bookmark here

I looked at the other queue.
But to my surprise, the poor people’s queue didn’t have the luxury of such a magic staircase. What they were climbing were ordinary stairs. They slowly climbed the stairs while lowering their heads without complaining. Meanwhile, their kids seemed to be looking at our queue with awe.Bookmark here

The mage engineers could have extended our stairs to help the poor people climb up. But, there are many people here who don’t like to share the stairs with these people.Bookmark here

Discrimination, nothing new.
I was used to these things and I’ve seen them a lot of times. My one goal after becoming the Overlord was to abolish this and unify all the demons in the demon realm. You know how that ends up.Bookmark here

I am pretty lucky that I was born to a pretty decent family.
Even if my parents were just humans, they are kind and caring. Not everyone is so lucky. In my previous life, I was an orphan. I always had to fight and steal to make a living. My whole childhood as a demon, I only remember that I was trying to steal food or running away from chasing soldiers.Bookmark here

Just when I was looking around, I saw dozens of people dressed very eloquently standing on a wooden platform a little further away. The platform that they were standing on was floating and rising heading above the railway platform. The people dressed lavishly were looking at our queue with a sneer. They must be also ticket holders as I can also spot a few arrogant 12-year kids. They were using an elevator unlike our magic staircase to go to the platform above.Bookmark here

No wonder I haven't spotted those fat rich arrogant fucks yet. It seems those rich people are using a different queue than ours. And from the looks of it, they have been provided with different treatment than us.Bookmark here

Escalators or Elevators, both do the same thing.Bookmark here

I let out a sigh and glanced at my parents. My mom was all smiles looking around while my dad maintained a gentlemanly demeanor looking around. Not only them, everyone was doing the same. It was like a big group of curious kids on a field trip.Bookmark here

Few minutes had already passed since we got on the stairs and we had already climbed halfway up the stairs. I looked back and saw the beautiful scenery behind me. The town below looked so small like dollhouses and the people down below looked like ants. The people-watching from below were making quite the racket while waving their arms. After glancing at the town I looked at the huge vast plains spread till the horizon. The only thing different that stuck out was the long bridge of iron pillars standing like a rock.Bookmark here

After waiting for more minutes we finally came on top of the platform.Bookmark here

We stood on a wide stone platform made of stone blocks. There were two such platforms besides the railway track. The track in the center was a long hunk of steel bars nailed on the iron platform. The texture of the iron tracks was quite shiny as it reflected the sun. Bookmark here

The train station platform where we were standing was quite simple. Just concrete blocks of rocks spread long and wide. There was also a roof overhead to protect us from the harsh sunlight thankfully. At the edge of the platforms, there were flags named with alphanumeric names.Bookmark here

Suddenly I felt people pushing us from behind.
There was no time to gawk around, people were rushing up from the stairs so we had to keep moving further ahead.Bookmark here

The two queues separated left and right.Bookmark here

The poor people’s queue went on one side and ours went the other way.
There were more guards redirecting these two queues.Bookmark here

There was a clear distinction between the poor folks and the normal citizens.Bookmark here

The elevator used by those rich folks was further ahead.
They seemed to be further ahead of us.Bookmark here

My dad reached out in his pocket and took out the tickets.
The tickets were a rectangle piece of paper with the name, “Ceremony train” written in bold words. There were details about the passenger like gender, age, and name inscribed in it. Along with wagon numbers allotted to us to board the train. We all three had the same wagon, of course. Our wagon number was B5-7. There was also a weird stamp mark with a glow.Bookmark here

It was a stamp created by the mage to authorize that this ticket was indeed genuine.Bookmark here

Looking at the flags, they were all allotted alpha-numeric wise.
The three of us hurried together with the crowd going further inside the platform to look for the particular flag.Bookmark here

The first flags I saw were named B1- 1, B1- 2, B1- 3, till B1-10. Soon the next flag was named B2- 1, B2- 2.. and so on. There was a wide area between each flag area, it should be how wide the wagon was.Bookmark here

It took us almost 20 minutes to walk all the way to reach our flag area.
We also had to take a break, mom was a bit tired and she had to fix her makeup. The usual women's problems.Bookmark here

When we reached our flag post there were already a lot of people already waiting to get on the same wagon as us. The people were all segregated into a small group, each group had 12-year-old kids with them. I also spotted some twins.
Many families had already befriended each other and introduced each other. They were already getting along.Bookmark here

Dad found an empty area and we kept our luggage together. Mom and dad were exhausted and sat on our luggage bag in a circle. It was the same as we were camping.Bookmark here

“Well you guys should fix your clothes.” my mom said.Bookmark here

She took out a make-up kit and came and stood in front of me,
“It’s time to shine. Straighten your back, you must look your best. You will be representing the almond family from now on.”Bookmark here

Saying so she started ravaging my already handsome looks without my approval.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.