Passenger cars connected to the magic train.
Many people gathered at the first station.
People were crowding around the entrance gate.
At the ticket window, everyone was holding their winning tickets sent to them recently by the Helan consulate. With payment and a winning ticket, they could finally become passengers today.
All sorts of people were in the line.
An old man dressed in a high-grade coat was carrying his own luggage, while a young man smiled at the money he would save.
Behind them was a girl of about four years old carrying a big bag.
Then there was a sick man, all gangly from weight loss.
“So, what is this magic train I wonder?” a wife asked, talking to her husband…
I pretended I didn’t notice any of them.
Regardless, the number of people seemed to be quite high.
People joked about scalping their winning tickets for a large amount of money. All sorts of people were there to use their tickets though.
Since the employees were not yet used to their jobs, the station was usually quite slow, but today was going well. The departure time was not fixed because they planned to wait until every passenger got on board.
Although the destination was only a hot spring in Helan, it was doubtful anyone was disappointed because they were all there to ride the magic train more than anything.
The magic train, which had already carried large amounts of cargo across Helan, had finally been outfitted to carry passengers.
The first day the train had driven, the roar of the magic train made it feel like the ground was shaking, but now it’s sounds seemed almost cute.
The day Elie got off the magic train and made the circle sign, she seemed to start feeling better. From then on, people could ride the train.
Passengers who bought tickets boarded the magic train one after another.
I went through the gates to ride the magic rails too. I was going to act as
a waiter in the crew. Only customers who paid for the first ride could ride for free. I would be the Master of Service for today. I wanted everyone to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime luxury.
Watching the magic while thinking of the day ahead, a passerby bumped into me from behind and interrupted my thoughts.
I stepped to regain my balance and turned around.
It was a man of large physique, wearing a coat with a big hat that concealed his face. With his thick beard, he looked to be around 40 or so.
The man tried to leave immediately, but our eyes met for a moment.
Upon seeing me, the man looked startled and opened his eyes wide. I didn’t recognize him as anyone I knew, so my reaction was weak in comparison.
In the end, without knowing what his deal was, the man left quickly to board a car on the train.
Today, it felt like everyone was at a festival.
People were loose with their coin purses and they talked casually to others close to your seat, even strangers. In this peaceful atmosphere, only the man from before seemed foreign.
The encounter left a strong impression on me, sticking in my mind.
And that face…
I’d seen a similar face somewhere. But where? It was a face I had seen sometime this year…
Since I couldn’t remember, I stopped thinking about it.
I put on my crew hat and boarded the first car of the magic train.
The magic train finally started running, pulling the full passenger cars.
Magic was poured into the watering engine, and the magic train began to run with unparalleled stability and quiet. It was sounded nothing like it did previously.
The scenery soared by.
Passenger conversations became more active than before the departure. However, the quiet hum of the magic train muffled out what was being said further away.
My serving wagon had newspapers on the bottom row.
There were sweets above that, and then various things that passengers needed.
Finally, the top row had drinks. The juice and sake were specially made in Helan. We carried such products as a special service just for today.
I adjusted my hat, checked my clothes weren’t ruffled, and began pushing the wagon.
The first-class car was connected the cab of the magic train.
Occupied by the truly wealthy, the car was older.
There were many couples happily discussing next to each other.
Even those who came alone were deepening their ties with neighbors.
The slightly uplifting mood of the journey was likely tearing down the walls between people. Today was that kind of day.
I worked at my own pace.
I gave today’s newspaper to a gentleman who wanted one and received the payment for it.
A man wanting a drink noticed my identity when he turned his eyes to the wagon.
I put my finger straight on his lips and asked him to be silent.
The request was accepted, and the man silently received his liquor.
After that, I continued my work, taking customer requests. Most people were focused on the flowing outside scenery, so my identity went unnoticed except by sharp people like the man from before.
A girl sitting at the rear of the first-class car was talking to an older woman next to her. The women praised the girl for being so independent despite her age. Humbled, the little girl admitted her grandfather was on the magic train too. The lady apologized for prying.
I served a drink and a light meal to the girl and older lady.
“We look forward to seeing you on the magic train in the future.”
Next came the second-class car.
Inside, the wealthy and commoners, who rode less often, mixed.
This was where most of the boy meet girl situations happened on the train.
For example, in the nearby seat:
There was a skinny young man and an obviously well-off woman of the same age.
The two were talking to each other about how they came to be on the train. Both explained how they wanted to board first class. The man, however, was short of money so he exchanged his first-class ticket for second. The other was born to a wealthy family, but her parents disliked magic train, so she applied on her own and got onto the second-class car using her personal savings.