[2740 AD; Rhodes Grand Hall in the President’s Palace]
There was one clear goal in Gavin’s mind at this point: stop Victor Wihll. Now was the time to do it, as he had the man responsible for injuring his brother and killing countless others in front of him. If there was any time for Gavin to prove himself, it would have to be now. It did not matter that Sorin would not be there to witness it. What did matter, though, was that this gave Gavin a chance to not hold anything back.
“Are you done thinking to yourself?” Wihll asked.
Gavin smirked. “I’m just giving you the last few moments to reflect on your pathetic life,” he answered, “Because the only one walking out of this room is the one who fights for justice!”
“What a fool,” Wihll said. “I’m sure as hell not going to make this easy for you, not one bit!”
Wihll lifted up his arm, gun in his hand, and aimed at Gavin. He fired at Gavin, who noticed just in time to dodge the bullet and run for the nearest column.
“Damn,” Gavin said. “How does he even manage to do that?”
“You talk a lot about justice and fighting, but hide the moment the gun is pointed at you,” Wihll said. “Perhaps I should applaud your cowardice!”
“Fuck off!” Gavin said.
He peeked from behind the column and made a quick shot at Wihll. The bullet just grazed Wihll’s shoulder and hit the wall behind him.
“So close, Mr. Power,” Wihll replied, “But not close enough!”
Gavin looked to the wall to his immediate right and scanned it all the way back to the entrance. That would be his breakaway. He sprinted away from the column, his gun still pointed at Wihll, and headed for the next column. Wihll turned, but Gavin was quick enough to fire off another shot. This one landed successfully on Wihll, striking him in his right arm. Wihll screamed and grabbed his arm as Gavin made it to the other column.
“You… now you’ve done it!” Wihll said. “I will destroy you!”
He laughed again. Gavin looked at his gun and counted the bullets he had left. Four. That was it. He had to make each shot count since Wihll did not seem to be bothered by his wound. Not one bullet could afford to miss.
“How can you even stand!?” Gavin asked. “You had a sword run through your gut, yet you manage to walk!”
“You never should doubt man’s desire to live when the stakes are high,” Wihll replied. “That’s how I’ve lived my life, and that’s how I’m going to end yours!”
“If you think you’re going to do that, you’re sorely mistaken, Victor Wihll!”
Gavin reached from behind the column and shot. Wihll did not move. Not even an inch separated the bullet’s trajectory from the side of Wihll’s head. Now there were only three left.
“Go ahead,” Wihll said. “Keep shooting! I’m having fun with this little duel of ours, how about you?”
“You’re having fun?” Gavin asked. “Then allow me to put an end to that!”
Gavin emerged from behind the column and ran towards Wihll. He had his gun out and fired a direct shot at Wihll, hitting him in the leg. Two. Wihll dropped to his knee, but still had a gun in his hand as he tried to aim at Gavin.
“I’m not gonna let you do that!” Gavin said.
He lifted his leg up and delivered a kick to Wihll’s hand, kicking the gun out and sending it flying to the wall. It caused the gun to fire off, hitting the ceiling as it did. Wihll looked up at Gavin, who was pointing his gun at him.
“Do it,” Wihll said. “Do it if you dare. You feel comfortable taking another man’s life? Then pull the trigger and kill me!”
“Don’t give me that crap,” Gavin said. “Only I get to decide when I can end you!”
“Is that so?” Wihll asked. “Just try it!”
Wihll reached out for Gavin’s arm and pulled Gavin to the ground. As Gavin hit the floor, Wihll jumped up to his feet and tried to make a break for the entrance. Gavin was not about to let Wihll get away, however, and aimed once more. With his second to last shot, Gavin’s shot hit Wihll in his unwounded shoulder. One more. Wihll stumbled to the ground and writhed in pain as he found himself next to another dead body. As Gavin stood up, Wihll eyed the silver gun and grabbed it.
“It’s now or never, Victor Wihll,” Gavin said. “As in: surrender now or never live!”
Wihll did not respond. His hand was still on the gun, but he did not move an inch.
“Then that’s your answer,” Gavin said. “Good riddance.”
He turned to the doors that Wihll banged on earlier and checked them. Just as he thought, they were locked. It seemed like there was no way to open them from this side. Gavin shook his head and turned around. Wihll stood in the middle of the room, blood all over his clothes, and had a gun trained on Gavin.
Wihll fired, catching Gavin off guard. The shot hit him in the chest, causing him to reach for it. Gavin yelled out as Wihll began to laugh yet again.
“How do you like me now?” Wihll asked. “It seems you were right after all: one of us is going to walk out of this room, and that person happens to be me!”
Gavin, with his gun in his hand, raised his arm. Shaking, his focus started at Wihll, but soon moved upward. There it was. With his final shot, Gavin shot up at the chandelier above. The bullet struck the chain, causing it to break. Wihll, who was still looking at Gavin, smiled and continued to laugh.
“You missed me completely!” Wihll said. “You call yourself a marksman? How do you even manage to miss!?”
Gavin scoffed. “Here’s the thing,” he said, “I don’t miss.”
That was when it came crashing down. The large chandelier fell from its place. Wihll looked up to realize that he did not have any time to react as the chandelier landed on top of him. A ton of glass shattered all over the room as Gavin shielded himself from the shards, but almost all of it landed at his feet instead.
“Looks like I get the last laugh,” Gavin said. “Fuck!”
He reached into his breast pocket and pulled out the diary Law had given him. A single bullet was lodged within as most of the pages appeared to be ruined. Gavin began to laugh, but stopped as the pain was still apparent.
“Son of a bitch, that still hurts,” he said. “Your luck really helped, didn’t it, Lawrence?”
With no way to move forward, Gavin decided that he would leave the hall. Seeing as there was no possible way that Wihll could have survived, Gavin made his way out of the hall and out into the courtyard. The rain had stopped as the clouds began to clear. In the distance, he could spot some trucks driving towards the palace.
“The military is arriving,” he said. “I need to inform them.”
Gavin ran towards the gate out of the courtyard and to where the trucks were going to be. He’d have to meet with Ayanna soon, anyway, and give an update on Wihll. As for Sorin and the others, Gavin hoped that they would be okay. He was certain that with Eva there, they would manage just fine and find Kirk and Henry before it was too late.
[2740 AD; war room in the Ameci Embassy – Rezar, Iiayikohn]
Gale looked out of the window of the embassy. She wondered to herself about what was happening. Was everything going to be okay? Would Sorin be alright? What about Rohan? She had to know. Gale turned around and looked at Rohan, who was talking to her father.
“It’s just Isaac,” she said. “It’s just Isaac…”
She repeated those words in her head as she walked up to Rohan sitting at the table. Gale took a deep breath and began to speak.
“Rohan,” she said. “I need to talk with you.”
“What is it?” Fercewend asked. “Is there something worrying you?”
“General, please,” Isaac said, “Our conversation is too complex for someone like her to understand.”
“Hold your tongue,” Fercewend said. “I’m talking to Gale.”
Isaac turned away with his arms crossed. Fercewend looked back at Gale once more.
“You had something you want to say to me?” Fercewend asked.
“It’s just one thing,” Gale said. “I’m nervous about what is going to happen in Maeitakohn. Especially with Gavin’s group.”
“You’re worried, aren’t you?”
Gale nodded. “It hasn’t been that long,” she said, “But I’m worried about their safety. The armies have already arrived in Maeitakohn, haven’t they?”
“From what I’ve been getting,” Fercewend said. “I want you to tell you something important.”
“We’re in a delicate situation now,” Fercewend answered. “We may have the True Thekohnians cornered in Bel, but there’s no guarantee that they are all there. The time will tell if further action is needed, but know that we will stop them no matter what it takes.”
“You are confident about that?” Gale asked.
“I know it,” Fercewend replied. “We were able to bring the War of the Lands to an end, so this should be no problem.”
“It’s just that I was thinking about what Eva told us,” Gale said. “I’m only hoping that you’re right and we can put a stop to this.”
“Some woman with a sword means nothing to us,” Isaac said. “Do you really think that she would even make any sense?”
“Isaac, please,” Fercewend said, “This is not your conversation.”
“I don’t even care,” Isaac said, “The fact of the matter is that regardless of what happens, we have already won. Is that not true?”
“Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves,” Fercewend said. “Once we have confirmation, then we can start thinking about victory.”
“You really are interesting, cousin,” Isaac said. “You know what, go ahead. Keep talking to her. She’s the least of my concerns.”
“I am the least of your concerns?” Gale asked. “Do you not even care about anyone but yourself?”
“Silence, Gabrielle!” Isaac said. “I won’t hear another peep out of you, so do your best to remain quiet!”
Fercewend shook his head. “Isaac…”
“You wanted nothing to do with me my entire life, Isaac,” Gale said, “So why should I even listen to you now?”
“Because I am your father!”
“That might be true, but you don’t act like it,” Gale said. “After all the time I’ve spent on this travel, I know that there is no way you should even call yourself my father.”
“And what of it?” Isaac asked. “What good have you done? All you’ve been this entire time was just extra weight!”
Gale had no response.
“Who are you? I can answer that for you: no one. If it weren’t for your last name, do you even think that Kirk Wilk would bring you along?”
“That’s enough,” Fercewend said.
“Are you actually defending her?” Isaac asked. “Go on. It only proves my point.”
“The only point you’ve proven is mine,” Gale said. “As far as I am concerned, I no longer am your daughter!”
She ran out of the room and into the hallway. Isaac relaxed in his seat and turned back to Fercewend.
“The nerve of her!” Isaac said. “If it was not for me, she wouldn’t even exist in this world!”
“Isaac, I have a request for you,” Fercewend said.
“What do you want from me, cousin?”
“I want you to get out,” Fercewend replied.
“Do I need to repeat myself again?” Fercewend asked.
“You will not let this go, will you?”
“Get the hell out,” Fercewend said, “Or so help me god I will force you out myself.”
Isaac scowled. “Fine,” he said. “It seems that my point was made, regardless. I’ll see you later, Rohan.”
He got up from his chair and proceeded to leave the room. Fercewend was by himself now as he looked at the map. The phone rang as he did, which led him to pick up the receiver.
“General Fercewend speaking,” he said. “What are the current conditions?”
“This is Aron Arrington of troop 35,” the voice said. “We’re in Bel now, sir. It’s stopped raining here, but that’s the least of our concerns.”
“What has happened?”
“It seems that we came late,” Aron replied. “The True Thekohnians… they all seem to be dead.”
“Not just them,” Aron said, “But the Maeitakohnian forces have been decimated as well.”
“What the hell?” Fercewend asked. “Do you have any idea what happened?”
“If I could, I would tell you, sir,” Aron answered. “I’m getting a little nervous, to be honest.”
“Keep your wits about you, lieutenant,” Fercewend said. “There might be something worse out there.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Have you seen Power yet, lieutenant?”
“I thought I saw someone hobbling off in the distance,” Aron said. “Hey, you!”
Fercewend waited. He was not certain about whether or not Gavin had survived, but Aron’s response gave him some hope. He started to hear the familiar yells of a certain sunglasses wearing soldier fill the air.
“Hold on, will you?” Aron said to Gavin. “Looks like we’ve reunited, sir.”
“Give me that phone!” Gavin said.
Fercewend could hear the two men fight over the phone. He cleared his throat, which grabbed the attention of both Aron and Gavin.
“Don’t make me wait,” Fercewend said. “Put him on already.”
Aron sighed. “Okay.”
“General Fercewend!” Gavin said.
“I’m right here,” Fercewend replied. “What is the update, lieutenant?”
“It’s a massacre, sir,” Gavin answered. “As for the primary threat, I can safely say that you will not have to worry about him.”
“I take it you took care of him?” Fercewend asked.
Fercewend laughed. “I will take your word for it,” he said. “Have you met with Major Ansa?”
[2740 AD; President’s Palace – Outer Courtyard West]
“Negative, sir,” Gavin replied. “I am waiting for her to arrive.”
He looked over at Aron, who had his arms crossed. Several other trucks had arrived by now, parked just outside of the gates. Soldiers got out of the trucks and headed towards the palace.
“The others should be okay,” Gavin said.
“Are they not with you?” Fercewend asked.
“I was busy taking care of the primary threat, sir,” Gavin replied. “The others went on ahead after the targets.”
“Give the phone back to Arrington,” Fercewend said.
“Are you sure, sir?” Gavin asked.
Gavin sighed. “Here,” he said to Aron. “I thank you for your time, sir. I will see you again.”
He handed the phone to Aron and walked off. As the soldiers moved in, Gavin wondered if he should continue to wait for Ayanna or head back to the President’s Palace and reunite with Eva, Sorin, and Mina. The decision was made for him, though, when he spotted Ayanna from not too far off.
“Gavin!” Ayanna said.
She ran up to Gavin and caught her breath. The Iiayikohnian military had arrived and followed the Ameci forces toward the palace.
“Nice to see you again,” Gavin said. “How is he?”
“He’s as talkative as ever,” she replied.
“About the same, then.”
“Where are the others?” Ayanna asked. “Are they okay?”
“They should be fine,” Gavin answered. “I have a feeling that they’ve already reunited with who they were looking for.”
“So you don’t know if they’re okay, do you?”
Gavin shifted his eyes over to the palace. “All I can say is that Wihll is dead,” he said. “As long as that man and Lokke are out, the rest of the remaining True Thekohnians will fall.”
Ayanna looked at the bullet hole in Gavin’s coat. “No blood?”
“Unbelievable,” he replied as he pulled Law’s diary out. “If I told anyone else that it was because of this book that I survived a direct gunshot, they’d laugh in my face!”
“I doubt that even he’d expect that,” Ayanna said, “But he was thinking of you, after all.”
“Guess there’s no use debating it,” Gavin said. “I suppose I should head back to the palace and see what’s taking them so long.”
“I’ll go with you,” Ayanna said.
They headed off back to the palace, hoping that Sorin, Eva, and Mina had met up with Kirk and Henry. With most of the threats taken care of, it seemed that there was only one thing to worry about now: President Rhodes.
To be continued…