World“s First Demon Lord Chapter 54: Cutscene

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April 21, 11:40 pm, London, England

The sun was high and bright over the vast city today. Despite the early showers of the morning, there was nary a cloud in sight right now. The Thames sparkled like a living sapphire, flowing through the city, while the buildings gleamed with promise of a good day.

I walked back into the building, just coming back from allowing some millionaires rub elbows with me. Thankfully, they knew their place and it was actually enjoyable. I nodded at my front desk staff, who all bowed. I was in a good mood, which is why I was walking into the building instead of just teleporting. I was feeling gracious enough to allow them in my presence, in other words.

I made my way up to my office in my personal elevator, hot chocolate in hand, and strode over to my desk. I took a sip as I booted up my computer.

I took a sip as I looked over work responsibilities: I still had to hire a secretary. Not to mention a bunch of other meeting I had to go through with other millionaire and some billionaires too.

But I already did something today. I should reward myself with some entertainment.

I turned on the projection and leaned back in my seat, kicking my feet up.

"Now," I muttered to myself. "Who shall we start with?"

***

Irade

April 21, 6:45 pm BT – 4:45 pm UT, Outskirts of Turpan

Irade needed a shower.

She had been wearing the same set of clothes for over 24 hours now, and had even slept in them. Sure, the clothes were comfortable – nice loose slacks with a professional blouse – but that didn't stop them from getting dirty after a full day of roughing it in a train.

Of course, Irade's train ride wasn't that uncomfortable. In fact, her bed-seat was actually quite nice. It was just that she didn't have the things that most people had when they traveled: a toothbrush, more clothes, more underwear, food…

She managed to buy some food with her remaining money, but once she spent that it was gone. She didn't have anything left for...well, anything.

For now though, she was fine. She walked back from the food compartment to her seat, to find an old man sitting up on one of the other seats.

Irade blinked in surprise, but she had kind of expected this. She first saw the old man when she woke up in the middle of the night. She had gotten quite a shock, before realizing that he was probably just another passenger, who boarded at one of the layover stations.

This was the first time she had seen him conscious, however.

He was definitely old; even his wrinkles had wrinkles on them. Despite that, his dark eyes were full of a cheerful mischief that shone through his crooked smile. He wore a green, diamond-shaped hat that for some reason Irade wanted to grab.

He said something to her in Uyghur, which made Irade feel uncomfortable. She had no idea what he said, but it was probably something like, 'hello' or 'how are you?'


In response, Irade just shook her head, and went back to her seat.

"Ah, hello!" said the man, this time in Mandarin Chinese. "It's nice to see another Uyghur on board!"

Irade turned and smiled at the man, a wave of gratitude coming over her body. She met a couple of Uyghurs back in Beijing, but all of them lost interest in her once she showed that she couldn't speak Uyghur.

"Where are you heading?" she asked him.

He said a name of a place in Uyghur, and then:

"Also called Turpan!"

Irade nodded, stating that they were near there now. They chatted for a while about themselves; Irade learned that this old man was coming back from a trip to see an old friend, and that his name was Tursun.

"And what is your name?" he asked.

Irade hesitated a moment before answering.

"Irade," he said, surprised. "You pronounced it the Uyghur way very well."

She smiled a little sadly. Old Man Tursun seemed to notice.

"Do you want to learn Uyghur?" he asked.

Irade bit her lip. She didn't really know how to answer that question. When she asked herself that question all she felt was...nothing.

"I don't know," she answered truthfully. Old Man Tursun nodded.

"That's fine," he said. "You have plenty of time to learn. Besides, you're going to Urumqi! There are plenty of Uyghurs there."

"My mum says that the Uyghur in Urumqi is full of Chinese loanwords," said Irade.

Old Man Tursun stared at Irade for a moment, before bursting into laughter. Irade watched him, a little bemused as his laughter slowly turned into hacking coughs. She was about to come down and help him when he finally stopped, gasping for breath.

"Full of Chinese loanwords," he chuckled. "It's true, it's true."

"Your mother is from Kashgar, isn't she?" he said, still wheezing slightly. "No, wait. From Gulj- Yining?"

"Kashgar," Irade replied, trying to make it sound like the way she remembered her mother saying it. Old Man Tursun chuckled again.

"Kasgharliqs are very proud of their language," he explained. "That's why I guessed Kashgar."

Irade nodded, just letting him talk. She found that she didn't mind his weird little anecdotes, despite only knowing him for about ten minutes.

"So why are you going to Urumqi?" he asked.

Luckily, Irade had an answer ready. She told him that her father was from there, to which Old Man Tursun nodded.

"How long has it been since you last saw him?" he asked.

Irade waited maybe just a little too long before answering.

"A long time," she said, looking out the window. "Too long, I think."

She didn't notice Old Man Tursun still nodding.

"Well, it's good you are going to see him," he said. "He'll give you a nice welcome home."

"You think so?" she asked before she could stop herself. But Old Man Tursun didn't seem to take offense.

"You're his child, aren't you?" he said simply. "No matter how long you've been away, he'll always welcome you home."

"Even if I'm not the person he thinks I am?" she asked. She didn't know why she was asking basically a stranger these questions. Then again, it was easier to ask someone who she knew she would never see again.

"Especially then," said Old Man Tursun. "I'm sure he would love to get to know whoever you are now. That's his job as a father: to love you unconditionally."

"But what if I don't love him?" Irade asked. She turned to finally look at Old Man Tursun, gaze hard.

He simply smiled, his teeth yellowed, but straight.

"How can you know that, before knowing who he is?" he asked simply.

"I know who he is," she said defiantly.

"How can you, if you haven't seen him for so long?" Old Man Tursun scoffed. "All you've heard are the things people have told you about him. You can't know a person like that."

'You're wrong,' Irade thought. 'I know what he thought privately.'

"And people change too," he continued. "Even if you knew him before, there is always the chance that he is not the same person anymore."

Irade looked back out to the desert passing by outside.

"Do you really think so?" she said after a while. "That people can change?"

"People always change."

Irade gave Old Man Tursun a dirty look at that answer. A look that said, 'what the hell is that supposed to mean?'

Old Man Tursun sighed.

"Change is inevitable," he said. "It is only people that firmly believe in something that don't ever change."

"Isn't that a good thing?" said Irade, once again turning to face Old Man Tursun. This time, she had an eyebrow raised.

He shrugged.

"Only if you want it to be," he said. "Are you okay with the person you are now?"

Irade crossed her arms.

"I don't know," she said.

"That's wonderful," he replied. "That means you can be whoever you want. Try as many things as you like, and whichever you like most, you can keep."

Irade watched as the dunes rolled past.

"It's not that easy," she muttered. "I can't just...change."

"What's stopping you?" Old Man Tursun asked. Irade was a little annoyed; she hadn't expected him to hear what she had been saying.

But it got her thinking. Why couldn't she change?

Did she even want to change? Why?

What exactly, did she want?

She was getting tired of asking herself that question. But right now…

"I just...want to know who I am," she said through gritted teeth.

Old Man Tursun snorted.

"That's easy," he said. "You're Uyghur."

Irade rolled her eyes.

"Am I though?" she said. "I don't even speak Uyghur."

"So what?" he said. "Do you feel Uyghur?"

"How do you 'feel' Uyghur?" Irade shot back, eyes narrowed.

"How do you feel right now?"

"Kind of annoyed."

"That's a very Uyghur feeling," said Old Man Tursun, grinning.

Irade was torn between the urge to laugh and punch the man in his weirdly straight-but-yellow teeth.

"Being Uyghur can mean basically anything," he went on. "There are all sorts of Uyghurs. Even Uyghurs that don't speak the language, that know nothing of their own culture, and can barely remember what their hometown looks like."

"How?" said Irade. "How can someone be Uyghur if they don't even know anything about Uyghur people? Just because my parents were born somewhere in the middle of the continent, that means I inherited something I don't even want?"

"Of course," said Old Man Tursun. "But what you do with what you inherit, what you decide to do with your life, is up to you. After all, you can always just give away your inheritance. It's yours. And you can do whatever you want with the things you own."

Irade was really annoyed now. On the one hand, she had the owner telling her that her past was her way to her future. On the other hand, she had this man telling her that her past didn't matter at all, and that whatever she decided, she would be fine.

Was the world conspiring to make her as angry as possible? Was she placed on this earth simply to be some idiotic plaything for an immortal being that didn't care about her?

"Then again, you should always examine what you have before you throw it away," added Old Man Tursun after thinking about it for a while. "It might be something you need."

Irade watched as the old man stroked his chin, deep in thought. It was then that she realized that this old man was just trying to help her, with the little information he had. After all, it wasn't like she had told him everything that was going on with her.

She sighed, all her anger suddenly evaporating. She knew he couldn't help her. Not really.

Not in the way she wanted to be helped.

"Now arriving in Turpan Railway Station," said the announcer suddenly, causing Irade to jump. She had almost forgotten that they were near Turpan.

She looked out to see the outer areas of an actual city. Irade was a little surprised; although she knew that Turpan was actually a city, she had always felt that Xinjiang was more like a collection of villages than an actual place with cities and infrastructure. She watched as the train slowed down, coming inside a tunnel before coming out into a platform.

Where a bunch of people in black SWAT uniforms were all waiting. Irade blanched. There were way too many people here for her to take on. And there was basically nowhere to hide on a train.

"There is one thing that all Uyghurs have in common," said Old Man Tursun. "At least here in this part of the world."

The train came to a stop, and all the armed members started coming into the train. Irade had to think fast. What was the quickest way out of here?

"What's that?" she asked, looking out the window as the people slowly left.

"We're all victims of oppression," he said simply.

Irade gave him a look. He simply smiled back, and stood up, groaning.

"I'll hold them off for you," he said, doing some small stretches. He could barely stand without a walking stick; there was no way he could hold anyone off, especially not trained soldiers. Irade felt a lump well up in her throat as she watched him move towards the entrance.

"Why?" she asked, somehow managing not to choke. For all he knew, she could be a terrible criminal.

"Because you're young," he said simply. "No matter who you are, you still have room to change."

Irade stared at him for a moment, as the sounds of footsteps got louder. Her body wouldn't move, it wouldn't respond to anything. She knew she should run, she knew she should get out as soon as she could, but there was a weight over her heart and she needed to get it out before moving on. She needed to say something, anything, in order to express the gratitude she felt at this moment.

"Rehmet," she said. One of the few words in Uyghur she still remembered.

Thank you.

He simply nodded, not even turning to face her as he watched the doors slam open.

"Freeze!" yelled a male voice, pointing a gun at them.

Irade wasted no time. She threw a fist at the window, which immediately shattered. She activated [Flight], and in the next second, she was gone.

Old Man Tursun looked down the barrels of all the guns facing him.

"If you're here for the girl, she left," he said, grinning. "You just missed her."


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