[2740 AD; Interior of the Ameci Atlas]
The first day of training had taken Sorin by surprise. He went in expecting that training with Bellamy would be difficult, but he did not realize how strenuous it was for him. Of the many hours he had practiced sword fighting, Sorin had felt as if his body was engulfed in flames, each swing of his sword being met with an expert block. Eva had looked as if she was not even trying hard when she did, and when she struck back, Sorin had froze just moments before she stopped her blade from coming in contact with his head.
“If this were a real fight, you’d be dead right now,” she told him.
Sorin let out an anxious breath. “Do you think you could ease up?”
“This is easy for me,” she replied.
“Are you kidding me?”
Their practice continued late into the day, training within the quarters they would be sleeping in that night. It was surprising that they were able to have such a space to train, although there were several times they had to stop due to other passengers knocking and wondering what was going on. Eva reassured them by saying it straightforward: they were training.
“Please, go along,” she said to a fellow passenger.
“Wait!” Sorin said. “Do you think we should take a break?”
“I never took breaks when I trained,” Eva said. “That was when I was half your age and your height. Let’s get back to it.”
The training continued. Sorin started to figure out how to wield his weapon, the blade being crafted in a similar style to his father’s. During one moment, he actually managed to knock away Eva’s sword to the side. Sorin was so surprised he did not notice Eva deliver a kick to his shin, causing him to drop his own sword and clutch his leg in pain.
“Ow! What the hell?”
“You can never expect your opponent to fight fairly,” Eva replied. “Why expect them to?”
“That doesn’t mean you can just kick me!” Sorin exclaimed.
“Of course it does,” she said. “Not all warriors fight with honor. Some fight because they enjoy it, and others fight because they have no other option.”
“The person who attacked you and Belkley… what kind of a fighter was he?” Sorin asked.
“Kirk asked something similar,” Eva replied, “And I will tell you what I told him: I think he was scared. I can’t explain why, but looking back on that encounter I felt like if Belkley was not there to stop me…”
“Pick up your sword,” Eva said. “We’re not finished yet.”
Meanwhile, up on the deck of the Atlas, Gale and Kirk spent the time discussing what would happen once they arrived in Iiayikohn. Gale wondered about what life was like in the country, to which Kirk answered any question that she had. He would explain to her about the capital, Rezar, and how it is the main connection between the Thekohnian Region and the Ameci Region.
“Ameci and Iiayikohn are good allies,” he said. “It’s been that way for many years now, ever since before the War of the Lands.”
“Has there ever been a time where it wasn’t?” Gale asked.
“Yes,” Kirk replied. “It was long before I was born, however.”
“I’m afraid so,” Kirk said. “Anyway, I’d like to move onto a different topic, if you don’t mind.”
“What would you like to talk about?”
“Well, you, to be honest,” Kirk replied. “I met you at a repair shop. What is the daughter of Isaac Kunigunde doing working a job?”
Gale looked away. “It’s something I really don’t like to talk about,” she said.
“I don’t want to talk about your father,” Kirk said. “I want to talk about you. He was someone I considered talking to, but I was more interested to speak with you.”
“Really? Why me?”
“Because I already know about Isaac,” Kirk replied. “He’d tell me what he thinks I want to hear. I want to hear from you about what you think.”
“About what, exactly?”
“The mission,” Kirk answered. “I want Sorin to understand why I’ve been fighting these past few years. Sorin wants to meet the brother he never knew. Do you know what your mission is, Gale?”
“I don’t know,” she said. “Everything has just drastically changed the past couple of days, I have no idea.”
“All people have a purpose in this world,” he said, “This is something I know. You will know your purpose soon.”
“Thanks,” Gale said. “I’m going to go check on Eva and Sorin. I’ll talk to you later.”
“Okay,” he said. “Please don’t forget.”
Gale ran off to the interior of the ship, while Kirk walked around to explore the deck of the ship. Night was already here as Kirk explored the deck, finding little to do besides watch the moonlit ocean for the next few hours. It might be time to go and see his son again anyway, he thought. That was when he bumped into Gavin once again.
“I knew I’d find you eventually!” Gavin said.
“Excuse me,” Kirk said.
“Hey, I’m talking to you!”
“I can see that,” Kirk replied. “Aren’t you the Ameci soldier I spoke to earlier?”
“It’s junior lieutenant Gavin Power,” he replied. “I believe I had business with you.”
“Well, you sure sound like you’re in charge,” Kirk said. “A bit odd coming from a junior lieutenant, I’d say.”
“What do you know about the Ameci military!?” Gavin asked. “You think you’d understand how things work, but you’d be dead fucking wrong!”
“That was quite rude.”
“Don’t just start leaving!” Gavin yelled. “Fine, I’m sorry! All I want is to have a normal conversation with you!”
“Okay, if you want to have a conversation with me, then you’re going to have to actually have something to talk to me about,” Kirk said.
“Right, I know that,” Gavin said. He rubbed his chin. “The man, the man I asked you about before. I’m sure you’d see some trace of him on this ship.”
“What was his name again?” Kirk asked. “I think I remember… Rudolph, was it?”
“No, no, no! That’s wrong!” Gavin stomped his foot. “Randolph! Henry Randolph! That name! Does it ring a bell to you?”
“I told you before, did I?”
“You did, but I think you’re lying,” Gavin replied.
“Hah! I didn’t realize I was lying,” Kirk said. “Let’s say that I do know him. What would you do then?”
“Well, I’m pretty sure I’d have to question you, at least,” Gavin answered. “That doesn’t matter, anyway! I’m only after Henry Randolph, not you!”
“Then I have nothing to add,” Kirk said, “And if we’re being technical, even if you did find him on this ship, you wouldn’t be able to arrest him.”
“Say what now?”
“You can’t arrest him,” Kirk replied. “One: we’re on international waters. At this point, we’re far enough from Ameci that the laws of that country don’t apply here.”
“That can’t be true, can it?”
“From what I know, it is,” Kirk said. “The second point, a point apparent to me when you introduced yourself, is that you’d be unable to arrest him because you lack the authority to.”
“And why should I believe you?” Gavin asked. “You’re not a secret agent, are you? Someone sent from the headquarters to watch me, making sure I don’t screw up?”
“No,” Kirk said. “I’m just familiar with the laws, which are something you apparently need to read up on.”
“I know you’re lying again,” Gavin said. “You think you can just keep that sword at your waist without me noticing? I know a member of the Ameci military when I see one, so don’t try to hide it!”
“This?” Kirk asked, drawing out his sword. “I’m just a random traveller. This sword’s just a gift given to me by an old friend.”
“I refuse to believe that,” Gavin said. “Nobody just carries a sword without a reason!”
“Well, then my reason is to make sure that nobody attacks my group,” Kirk said. “Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen, at least for now. I know you won’t do anything, so…”
“You can’t just say that!” Gavin said. “You can put away your sword and walk all you want, I’m going to find out exactly what your story is!”
“Then I guess we’ll meet again,” Kirk said. “It’s not like I can avoid you, anyway.”
Kirk walked away from Gavin, leaving him by himself. Kirk decided to check up on Sorin and see how he was doing, and after that he would probably eat and turn in for the night. It would be a couple more days until they would land at Iiayikohn, so there would be more time for Sorin to get better at using a sword. At least that was what Kirk thought; he would still have to make sure that everything would go as planned.
To be continued…