[2740 AD; on the roads – through the Iiayikohn/Maeitakohn border]
Sorin drove down the road in the car that had been issued to his group. In the passenger seat, Gavin was watching the road for anything that would seem out of place. Eva decided to relax in the back seat while Mina tried to roll down the window and stick her head out.
“I’ve never been on a trip before!” Mina said, poking her head out of the window. The wind overwhelmed her, messing up her hair as she chose to sit down and not look out of the window.
“Stay inside, Mina,” Gavin told her. “Besides, I need to have some space should I need to use my gun.”
“Sorry,” she said.
“Mina, you’ve never left Rezar?” Eva asked.
“Nope,” Mina replied. “I was raised there all my life… I think.”
“You think?” Gavin asked. “Either you were or you weren’t. Do you not even remember where you were born?”
“I really can’t!” Mina answered. “Maybe I hit my head when I was young and lost my memory or something, like one of those heroes with unknown origins! That’s probably what happened!”
“Gavin, you know her the best out of all of us,” Eva said, “What exactly is her situation?”
“She’s strong,” Gavin replied. “It was Lawrence who said as much, and I can tell when he speaks the truth.”
Eva shrugged. “I suppose that’s as much as I’m going to get, is it?”
“You can ask her,” Gavin said.
Mina turned to Eva. “I can tell you, then,” she said. “What exactly did you want to know?”
“Just… your strength,” Eva replied. “It’s just a simple question.”
“Well, I can’t really explain,” Mina said. “But… But I’m certainly not inexperienced! I would love to just show you what I can do, Eva!”
“You’ll have to promise me, then,” Eva said.
“Don’t worry,” Mina said as she pounded the palm of her hand, “When I see those True Thekohnians, I’m going to lay them out on the ground!”
Eva sighed. “I really hope I didn’t make a mistake,” she said.
“I would never disappoint another hero!” Mina exclaimed. “I’ve heard all about how you and those other sword guys helped bring peace to this region! You really are the coolest of the cool!”
“Thank you,” Eva said.
“No, really,” Mina continued. “My uncle told me all about how you and that other guy helped out the citizens of Rezar during the war. A real hero always helps those in need!”
“It’s nothing,” Eva responded.
Mina leaned forward. “Seriously, though,” she said, “You must be really strong!”
“Can you please stop?” Eva asked. “I’m sorry; please don’t be sad. It’s just that I really don’t want to remember some of those things.”
“But I really want to know!” Mina said.
“Mina, a word of advice,” Gavin said, “If she’s saying that she doesn’t want to talk about it, then please respect that. She has her reasons.”
“Sorry, Eva,” Mina said.
“Don’t worry about it,” Eva replied. “You’re young and curious… I only wish that I had the same wonder of youth you have when I was younger.”
“Thank you?” Mina wondered. “I guess that’s it, then… Hey, Sorin.”
Sorin kept his focus on the road. “What is it?”
“You haven’t spoken at all this whole time!” Mina answered. “You have to tell me something I don’t know now!”
“Like what?” Sorin asked.
“If it helps,” Eva said as she whispered something into Mina’s ear.
“Wait wait wait, what?” Mina asked. “He’s your father? And you’re going to help him? That’s so heroic!”
“He needs all of our help,” Sorin said. “Not just mine, Mina.”
“Yeah, but we’re talking about a father and his son teaming up to fight evil, you know,” she said. “That’s like something you hear in the stories of legend!”
Gavin laughed. “They say that his father was rejected by the military,” he said. “Seems like just about anyone can overcome the odds, even a nobody like Sorin here.”
“Aren’t we on the same team?” Sorin asked.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Gavin said, “But it doesn’t matter who your father is. Besides, after what you said earlier, I’m fired up to show you what I’m made of!”
“I never even said any of that!”
“You can deny it all you want,” Gavin said. “Now I’m wishing Wihll was here right now so I can show the both of you not to mess with me or Lawrence!”
“I see what this is,” Mina said, “You two are rival heroes! I promise not to get in the way of your rivalry!”
“Actually, please do,” Sorin said. “I honestly want no trouble with Gavin if that’s possible.”
“He’s not my rival,” Gavin said. “He’s just merely a witness to the greatest sharpshooter to walk this planet! When I’m done with Wihll, you will get on your knees and weep, Sorin Wilk!”
“Fine,” Sorin said. “We both want the same thing to happen. It’ll be a matter of who beats Wihll first.”
“I don’t even need to use my eyes to make the perfect shot,” Gavin added. “It’ll be the first ever blind trickshot that will be recorded in the history books!”
“Are we talking about stopping Wihll or setting some personal record?” Sorin asked.
“It can be both!” Gavin shouted. “I’ll show you! Just watch me!”
Gavin took out his pistol and aimed for a sign that was a few yards away. He put his focus onto the moving target, his eyes fixated onto the middle of the sign as it came into range for him to shoot. With a pull of the trigger, Gavin fired a bullet that struck the middle of the sign. The shot hit the sign hard enough to knock it off of its post, making it fall to the ground.
“I’ll admit,” Eva said, “That was impressive.”
“Awesome!” Mina exclaimed.
Gavin twirled his gun in his hand. “You were paying attention, weren’t you Sorin?”
“I’m driving,” he replied.
“Of course you didn’t notice,” Gavin said. “Then let me show you again! Where’s the next sign!?”
“We get it, Gavin,” Eva said, “Please save the rest of your shots for when we actually get to Bel.”
Gavin grumbled. “Okay,” he said. “There’s plenty of time for us to settle this anyway, Sorin, just you wait!”
Mina looked out of the window again. Clouds were beginning to form ahead of them and the sound of thunder boomed in the skies.
“Looks like it might be a storm,” Sorin said.
“No shit,” Gavin replied. “You better not crash this car!”
“Why do you care?” Sorin asked.
“It was issued to me, idiot!” Gavin answered. “I’m going to be the one getting his ass chewed out if it breaks, so don’t fucking break it!”
“I’m not going to,” Sorin said.
“Keep your eyes on the road, Sorin,” Eva reminded. “Just ignore Gavin.”
Sorin put it behind him as he gripped the steering wheel and continued to drive. Mina leaned forward, coming close to Sorin as he tried not to let her distract him.
“So, Sorin,” Mina said, “With you and Gale… Is there something going on between you two?”
“Wait, why would you ask that?” Sorin asked.
“I’m young and curious,” Mina said, eyeing back at Eva. “Is that okay with you? Is she somebody important to you?”
“Gale’s a good friend,” Sorin said, “I guess, if that’s what she thinks, too.”
“Oh, that’s how it is, is it?” Mina asked.
“Yes, but I would like to get to know her better if we come back to Rezar,” Sorin replied.
“When we come back,” Gavin interjected.
“That’s nice,” Mina said. “I always thought that there had to be a special someone that a hero holds close to their heart. I guess Gale’s your special someone, Sorin!”
“I was wondering where that conversation was heading,” Eva said.
“What about you, Eva?” Mina asked. “Do you have a special someone?”
Eva sighed, then gave a slow nod. “I can’t really say who it is,” she said, “But he is special to me, although he’s more than capable of taking care of himself.”
“That’s good,” Mina said.
“I’m going to save you the trouble and say no, I do not have a ‘special someone’ like Sorin Wilk does,” Gavin said. “And I don’t want to talk about why.”
“How could you forgot about your brother so carelessly, Gavin?” Mina wondered. “I thought that he was special to you…”
“Oh, that was what you meant,” Gavin said. “I suppose that you’re right. I guess that I wasn’t thinking properly.”
“It’s okay,” Mina said. “I forget sometimes, too. If that happens, you can always remind me, Gavin.”
“Then let me remind you of this,” Gavin said, “When we get to Wihll, remember that I get the first shot.”
“You do realize that the army is set to move in anytime, right?” Sorin asked. “They’re going to want to calm this whole thing down as soon as possible.”
“Which is why I take the first shot,” Gavin replied. “I may be a junior lieutenant, but I’m a lone wolf first! I didn’t become the greatest marksman in the army just by fitting into the mold, you know.”
“I know,” Sorin said. “It’s because you never fail to let any of us forget about it.”
“If you want to become anything in this world, you’re going to have to stand out,” Gavin said. “My father was a brilliant sharpshooter… I can only wish to be in the same league as he.”
“Sounds like you and Sorin have a lot more in common than you thought,” Mina said. “He wants to be a great swordfighter like his father, too!”
“I never said that!” Sorin said.
“I’m not the only one who was thinking it, was I?” Mina asked.
“Sorin, you want to be great?” Gavin asked. “A tall task for a nobody like you. If I’m still trying to be great, what hope could you have?”
“I just want to see the fighting stop,” Sorin answered. “We can all agree on that, right? Besides, there’s something I want to tell my father when we see him again.”
Drops of rain started to fall as Sorin drove down the road. They were heading into a storm, which looked like it was going to last for a while as he flicked on the wipers. Of course, they were not worried about this storm, as another one was already brewing in the city of Bel.
To be continued…