[2730 AD; Iiayikohnian Armory]
Eva entered the armory with her sword at her side. It had been a week since the last meeting of the Swords of Eight. She headed for the storeroom and saw a young man, a tall, skinny man with unkempt brown hair. He saw her and greeted her with a large smile.
Eva braced herself for his welcoming hug. “Nice to see you too, Belkley,” she said. “How is work?”
“It’s great!” Belkley replied. “I’m glad you came by.”
“Thank you,” Eva said. “I just wanted to make sure you were doing okay.”
“Of course I’m doing fine!”
“I know,” she said, “You’re about to get off of work soon, right?”
“Almost done!” Belkley said. “Did you want to do something, Miss Bellamy?”
“Well, it’s nothing, but there’s a show at the theater,” she replied. “I was thinking that you would like to go and see it with me. How does that sound?”
“That sounds great Miss Bellamy!” Belkley said. “Can you wait for just a second, please?”
“Thanks!” Belkley said as he darted to the back of the armory.
“Still as full as energy as ever,” Eva said. She rested against the beam close to her, thinking about how she had met Belkley seven years prior. It was a late night when she found the child wandering by himself. Belkley was a runaway trying to escape a bad home in Maeitakohn. It had taken a week of failed attempts to find him care, so Eva had taken him under her wing.
“Eva, I… You need to help me!” Belkley said. She jumped up from her spot and rushed over to Belkley, who was in the grasp of an Iiayikohnian officer.
“What are you doing!?” Eva asked.
“I’m going to have to ask you to step back,” the officer said. He pulled out a pair of handcuffs and placed them on Belkley. “This kid is suspected of being in the True Thekohnians!”
“You have no proof!” Belkley said. “Whatever you’re thinking, it’s a lie! It has to be!”
“What grounds do you have to say that?” Eva asked.
“We’ve been tracking a young member of the group for a long time,” the officer replied. “It seems he had come into the country illegally.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Belkley said. “I have nothing to do with those creeps!”
“At least hear him out!” Eva said.
“Unless you want to be arrested for abetting him, I suggest you remain quiet!”
The officer dragged Belkley along with him, while Eva clenched her fist. She knew that an accusation like that would end Belkley’s life, but to go against an official of the Iiayikohnian military would be suicidal. Eva would have to follow up at the jail later to talk with Belkley.
“Help me, Miss Bellamy!”
Eva reached for the handle of her blade, preparing herself for what was about to happen next. Before she could take out her sword to face them outside, a shadow had appeared in front of the officer and slaughtered him by slashing his throat. Belkley dropped to the floor and looked up to see a man with long, flowing black hair stand over him with a bloodstained sabre in his right hand and a knife in his left.
“You!” Belkley said. “Not you! You’re not supposed to be here!”
“They’ve come for you, Belkley,” the swordsman said, “You know you can’t remain here forever…”
“You’re wrong!” Eva said, jumping in front of Belkley.
“Who are you…?” the swordsman asked. His breathing slowed as he froze in place. “No, please, don’t… You’re not…”
Eva turned to Belkey. “Run! Now!”
Before he could, the swordsman kicked Eva to the side. Belkley had attempted to run, but his efforts were cut short as he was slashed in the back.
“Belkley!” Eva exclaimed. “I’ll kill you!”
She swung her blade at the young swordsman, who blocked it with his blade and knife. He backed off as Eva charged at him again. Another swing of the sword was met with another block, though this time was with just his sabre. Eva pushed him back once more, but the swordsman threw up his knife hand at her. The next moment, Eva’s eyesight had been hindered. A sharp, intense pain filled her face as she realized that she could no longer use her right eye. As the swordsman tried to run away, she let out an amazing scream. A swift slice soared through the air as Eva’s sword cut off the swordsman’s left arm up to his elbow.
“Grah!” The swordsman kneeled as he tried to stop the bleeding. Eva propped her blade above the man. She wanted him dead. It would have been easy, if not for the one last thing holding her back.
“Miss Bellamy, stop!” Belkley protested through coughs.
She halted her movement. Blood ran down the side of her face as Eva withdrew her sword. The swordsman took the opportunity to leave while he still could. That wasn’t Eva’s concern, though, as she came rushing to Belkley who was still on the ground.
“Are you okay!?”
“I’m… okay,” Belkley replied. “You… you really scared me…”
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry you had to see that,” she said. “Let me help you out.”
Belkley tore off a big part of his shirt. “Please, take this,” he said. “You look really bad, Miss Bellamy… No offense!”
“I’ve seen worse,” she replied as she wrapped the cloth around her head to cover her wounded eye. “Your wound looks treatable.”
“It does, does it?”
“I’ll take you to the hospital,” she said. “But I want you to do one thing for me after that.”
“What is that, Miss Bellamy?”
“I need you to run,” Eva replied. “I don’t know what’s going on, but I can tell you’re in danger.”
“Listen to me,” she said. “Whatever happened in the past is the past. I only know one Belkley, and that’s the one I believe in.”
“I… thank you!” Belkley said. He embraced Eva. “I think I can walk on my own, though.”
“Of course you can,” she replied.
[2740 AD; Bellamy’s house on the outskirts of Admorse]
“It was the last time I saw him,” Eva said. “He told me that he was trying to run away from the True Thekohnians.”
“That’s when you told him about Gamil,” Kirk said.
“He’s the only one from the old group I still remain in touch with,” Eva said. “Fortunately, Belkley seems to be doing fine the last time I spoke with Gamil.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” Kirk said.
“Are you ever planning to see him again?” Gale asked.
“He spends his time overseas fishing with Gamil’s crew,” Eva replied. “I can never tell where they’ll stop next.”
“Oh,” Gale said.
“We’ll have to go soon if we’re to make the next ship,” Eva said. She peered over to Sorin. “It’ll be a long five days. I hope you’ll be ready.”
“Ready?” Sorin asked. “For what?”
“Training,” she replied. “You will have that time to train. If it were normal circumstances, your training would take a year at best.”
“Wait, you don’t mean what I think you mean, do you?” Sorin asked.
“You really aren’t going to have second thoughts, are you?” Eva asked. “The training will have to begin as soon as we step on the boat.”
“I don’t even have a sword!”
“Don’t think I didn’t prepare,” Kirk said, patting Sorin on the back. “She’s a tough teacher, but I know you’ll do well.”
“You can’t do it!?” Sorin asked.
“I know I would be holding back,” Kirk replied. “And I can trust Eva not to hurt you.”
“I think it’s okay to trust her,” Gale said.
“Then it’s settled!” Kirk said. “Glad to have you join us, Eva!”
“Well, you kept going,” she said. “Hard to find someone more headstrong than you.”
“You say headstrong, but I say persistent,” Kirk replied. “Let’s go!”
The group of four embarked on the way back to Admorse, where their next stop would be the shipyard. It would be a long trip across the sea, but the goal was evident for them now.
To be continued…