[2740 AD; Temporary Prime Minister’s Office – Deca District – Rezar, Iiayikohn]
A week had passed since the defeat of the True Thekohnians at Bel. It was still a somber mood as the Iiayi government tried to rebuild after the attack. For Ayanna, she walked into General Reiss’ office and took a seat in front of his desk. The old general had a stern look on his face as Ayanna settled in.
“Major Ansa, you know why I called you in here?”
Ayanna nodded. “There was something you wish to speak with me about, sir,” she said.
“Indeed,” Reiss said. “Major, I will make this to the point: I am promoting you to be lieutenant general.”
“You… you are?” Ayanna asked. “I don’t know what to say…”
“You could thank me,” Reiss replied. “I’m kidding, of course. As for why, I made this decision based on what you did in Bel last week.”
“Well, it was because of the cooperation between our military and the militaries of Ahnlikohn and Ameci that we were able to control the situation. Not just me.”
“Yes, but your work alone stood out to me,” Reiss said. “Ever since you were an officer, you were always focused on the task and never gave up. The prime minister himself even praised you, especially what happened when that assassin broke into the offices.”
“Sir, I really have to thank you,” Ayanna said.
“You are welcome, Ayanna Ansa,” Reiss said. “There is, however, another announcement that I have to make to you.”
“What is that, sir?”
“I am planning to retire in three years,” Reiss said. “I am getting older and I want to be able to spend more time with my family while I can. The prime minister has already been informed of my decision, and I will be disclosing it to the rest of the military today.”
“Understood, sir,” Ayanna said. “You are sure that you are okay with this decision?”
“I am,” Reiss answered. “It will give you enough time to gain experience when the time comes for you to become the general of our country’s proud military.”
“Thank you again.”
“I must say, though, that if you had told me six years ago that you would climb all the way to be lieutenant general, I would’ve laughed my arse off,” Reiss said, “But time does manage to change even a rigid mind like mine. I only have soldiers like you to thank for that, Ayanna.”
“Sir, I promise that you will not be disappointed,” she said. “Neither you nor the prime minister will regret this decision!”
“Good to hear,” Reiss said. “I would suggest that you celebrate this; after all, it is a big moment for you and your family, is it not?”
Ayanna agreed. “I will inform them,” she replied. “You’re free to come too, if you want, sir.”
“Ah, no, I wish I could,” he said, “But I wouldn’t wish to steal the spotlight from your accomplishments. Go on.”
“Okay,” Ayanna said. “I will see you tomorrow!”
Ayanna stood up and waved goodbye to Reiss before making her exit. She had to find a way to celebrate. That was when she thought of Gavin and Law. With a smile on her face, Ayanna went downstairs to make a phone call to the Executive Hotel.
[2740 AD; Port Hotel – main lobby – Deca District]
Sorin watched the fish in the aquarium swim as he thought about Rysol again. His father’s words echoed in his head as he placed a hand on the glass. If there was a way to Rysol could survive that fall, Sorin was unsure how he could have done it. It was the smallest bit of hope he could cling to, Sorin thought to himself, as it was the main reason why he even came to the Thekohnian Region in the first place.
“If you can swim well enough,” he said, “Then maybe…”
“Are you still thinking about him?” Gale asked.
Gale walked up to Sorin, who turned around and greeted her.
“I wish I knew what to say to you,” she said, “But I guess that you’ve probably heard it all by now. I’m sorry.”
“Gale, I think I’ve made up my mind.”
“I want to get stronger,” Sorin replied. “Not just at swordfighting, but in general. If… if you would, would you mind if I stayed with you in Rezar?”
“Of course not,” Gale said. “You’re welcome to stay with me as long as you want.”
“Have you already figured out where you wanted to stay?” Sorin asked.
“Well, no,” she replied.
“I guess that part can be figured out later,” he said. “Actually, there is somewhere we could stay.”
“Yes there is,” Sorin said. “It would solve our little housing problem, that’s for sure.”
“I’m glad to have you around, Sorin,” Gale said.
She wrapped her arms around Sorin, who reciprocated her by wrapping his arms around her. The two stood like this for what seemed to be minutes, although it was soon broken up by the arrival of Kirk and Eva.
“So, are you two just going to stand there like that?” Eva asked. “You know that you’re making everyone look at you, right?”
Sorin and Gale looked around and saw that what Eva said was true. Both of them separated from each other, as Sorin laughed while Gale looked at her feet.
“Hey, you shouldn’t interrupt them,” Kirk said. “They’re young. Let them have that moment together.”
“It was just a hug,” Gale said.
“Yeah, just a small, innocent hug,” Sorin said.
“So it would seem,” Kirk said. “Eva, you really shouldn’t interrupt their friendly little hugfest, considering what you did last night.”
“That’s personal,” Eva replied, “And they don’t need to know, ever.”
“What are you talking about?” Gale asked.
“Nothing,” Kirk answered. “Anyway, me and Eva are going for a walk. We’ll leave you two alone, okay?”
Kirk and Eva exited the hotel as Gale turned back to Sorin. He was still standing with his arm behind his head as he tried not to laugh.
“I feel a little disappointed,” Gale said. “Sorin, are you done?”
“For the most part,” he said. “Do you have something in mind?”
It was then that Mina rushed into the hotel lobby. She made her way to Sorin and Gale by the aquarium and stopped. Mina spent some time catching her breath as Gale turned to her.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m… I’m fine,” she replied. “I’ve come… with an announcement.”
“An announcement?” Sorin asked.
Mina pulled out a letter from her pocket. “Here,” she said. “It’s an invitation to a party.”
Gale took the letter and began to read. “An invitation to celebrate Ayanna’s promotion?”
“I know!” Mina said. “What food do you guys think they’ll have?”
“This is a big deal,” Gale said, “Lieutenant general in Iiayikohn carries a lot of weight. We should really go.”
“Who else is going?” Sorin asked.
“Oh, just Gavin… and Law,” Mina replied. “Also, I was trying to see if Henry could come along, too, as well as Kirk and Eva!”
“We’ll be sure to make it tonight, then,” Gale said, “And we’ll be sure to let the others know, too.”
Mina pumped her first into the air. “Great! I’ll see you guys later!”
“Bye, Mina,” Sorin said.
Mina then turned around and left the hotel. Once she was gone, Sorin turned back to Gale, who had already put away the letter into her pocket.
“If you want, we could take a walk as well,” Sorin said.
“I would like that,” Gale replied. “There’s actually a place I wanted to go to, so maybe now we can actually see it for ourselves.”
“What is it?” Sorin asked.
“I think you’ll be surprised,” she said. “Come on, let’s go!”
[2740 AD; Rezar Courthouse – Outside on the steps]
The decision was made the instant that Henry had returned to Rezar, as he and Tori stood outside of the courthouse celebrating their newfound unity. It may have taken them ten years, but Henry knew that this was a decision that he had wanted to make. Now that it was said and done, they looked each other in the eyes. Henry pulled Tori in and gave her what she wanted as they shared the moment for what seemed to be forever. It would come to an end, however, as Mina arrived with a letter in her hand.
Mina waved her hand. “Henry! Tori!”
The two broke off their kiss and turned to Mina who was standing at the foot of the steps.
“Gavin told me you’d be here,” Mina said. “Glad I could finally make it.”
“How are you, Mina?” Tori asked.
“Fine! Very fine!” Mina replied. “I have this for you two newlyweds!”
She handed the letter to Henry, who proceeded to open it.
“An invitation, huh,” Henry said. “But why us?”
“Gavin wanted to invite you,” Mina replied. “He said he wanted to tell you something.”
“He does, does he?” Henry asked.
“I’m only the messenger,” Mina said. “You’ll have to get the answer out of Gavin himself.”
“I see,” Henry said.
“Perhaps he wants to be your friend now, Henry,” Tori said.
“That’s doubtful,” Henry replied, “Gavin doesn’t seem the type to admit when he’s wrong.”
“Well, you two got married, right?” Mina asked. “Maybe you could use this party to celebrate your marriage!”
“Oh, we don’t want to take away from Ayanna’s accomplishments,” Henry said. “This was just something done on a whim. Once Tori and I are back in Ameci, the real celebration will begin.”
“Okay, but if you want to still come to the Executive Hotel, they’ll be waiting for you,” Mina said. “I hope you two do come, though!”
“Maybe we will,” Tori said. “We were planning on leaving tomorrow, but we can drop by for a little bit if that’s okay with you, Henry.”
“If you’re okay with it, my love,” Henry replied.
“Then tell Gavin we’ll be there,” Tori said to Mina.
“Of course,” Mina said. “You won’t regret it at all, I promise!”
“Thank you,” Henry said. “We’ll see you later, Mina.”
“Okay, bye!” Mina replied.
Henry looked back at Tori again as Mina ran off. They both decided that they would head back to the Executive Hotel and get ready for the celebration that would take place later tonight.
To be continued…