Sundown – Chapter 5 (Part 2)

After having some drinks and conversation, Sorin watched as Gavin stood up and head outside. He decided to join the other man outside and found him looking up at the sky. It was a cloudless night and even though the streets were illuminated by the streetlights, the stars could be seen shining with the bright side of the moon peeking out. Sorin stood next to Gavin, joining him in looking up at the stars.

“It’s quite a view, isn’t it?” Gavin asked.

“Never thought I’d hear that from you,” Sorin said.

“Just goes to show you that you should expect the unexpected.”

“I guess so,” Sorin replied. “Do you just like wearing your sunglasses all the time, or is there something I don’t know about?”

Gavin looked at Sorin. “You have a problem with me wearing sunglasses?”

“Of course not,” Sorin said.

“Sorry, that was rude of me,” Gavin said. “These sunglasses belonged to my father. You could say that I’m wearing them in his honor.”

“I didn’t know. I’m sorry if I brought up any bad memories.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Gavin replied. “Nobody actually bothered to ask me about it, so you’re the first one.”

“Is that why you joined the military?” Sorin asked.

“No,” he said. “It was for Lawrence and myself. One can only work part time jobs for so long before desiring stability.”

“I see.”

“It’s surprising to me that you never considered joining,” Gavin said. “Was that delivery gig that good?”

Sorin shook his head. “The past few years I had a one room apartment,” he said. “I had a little money saved up, but nothing better than that.”

“It’s a pain in the ass is what it is,” Gavin replied. “You and I have some similarities after all. Consider yourself honored.”

Sorin was not sure if he should laugh.

“I try not to think about it too much,” Gavin continued. “Besides, I don’t live in Ameci anymore and, if I’m being honest, I don’t miss it one bit.”

“Because of your brother, right?”

“I care about him a lot, but no,” Gavin said, “Ameci’s been going down the shitter ever since the War of the Lands, and people like my brother and I have no place in it. Hard work can only get you so far, because money and power are the only things that matter there.”

“I know what you mean…”

“You told me your father wanted to change things back home, right?” Gavin asked. “I wish Kirk well, because it’ll be a hell of an uphill battle for him.”

“Thanks, I guess?”

“You don’t need to thank me,” Gavin said. “If there’s any word that can describe your father, it would be persistent. Nothing wrong with that at all.”

“Not wrong about that at all,” Sorin replied. “Sometimes I wonder if what I’m doing is the right thing… Is this the path that I’m supposed to take?”

“Oh please, I’ve told you before, haven’t I?” Gavin asked. “You’re the one who chose your path, so you better keep fighting. Get stronger, because you’ve done it before.”

“Maybe.”

“I don’t know how I can simplify it for you even further,” Gavin said.

There was not a response Sorin had for that, so he decided to change the subject. “So this person you’re looking for,” he said, “It’s an interesting task, bringing you all the way down here.”

“It was Lawrence’s suggestion,” Gavin replied. “There was a chance that one of them could be here in Jiaikohn, plus the reward is quite generous. Hard to pass up a bounty like that.”

“Can’t argue with you there,” Sorin said.

Their conversation was interrupted by a brief rustling nearby, the sound of falling boxes ringing in Sorin’s ears. Gavin turned and looked as did Sorin, and saw an unidentifiable person jumping over a waist-high fence on the other side of the street.

“Wait right here,” Gavin said.

He started to walk off in the direction of the fallen boxes, but Sorin decided to go with him.

“What are hell are you doing?”

“Sorry, Gavin,” Sorin replied. “I want to help.”

“You can’t be serious,” Gavin said. “You’re just going follow me regardless, so I guess you should just back me up.”

They made it over to the other side where the boxes were, and hopped over the fence as they pursued the unknown person. Off in the distance, Sorin could see they had long, black hair and what appeared to be a sheathed sword at their side. He did not think it was possible, but perhaps that it could be Rysol. All Sorin could do was keep going and try to catch up with them, because the other person showed no signs of slowing down.

“This person you’re looking for,” Sorin spoke between breaths, “They wouldn’t happen to know about Rysol, would they?”

“What kind of question is that?” Gavin asked.

“Answer me, damn it!”

“Fine, I suppose you deserve to know,” Gavin said. “The other day, I received a request… It was your brother who they were asking for…”

“No way!” Sorin said.

“But we have reason to believe that a True Thekohnian is behind it,” Gavin said. “I assume that Rysol will lead us to this person one way or another.”

“Then there’s only one we should do.”

They followed the person deep into the empty park until they found him standing before a group of three people, all of them wearing dark red uniforms. Now that they stopped, Sorin could get a better view from afar as Gavin drew his pistol. The man had both of his fists clenched, growling as the group of three circled him.

“The rumors are true,” said the woman with lengthy, dark brown hair. “Rysol Wilk is indeed alive and well.”

“Do whatever you to me,” Rysol said. “Just leave them out of this.”

“You mean those two over there?”

She reached to her side and took out her sword. Gavin remained focused on her and the two men at either side.

“If you’re going to shoot, then do it,” she said. “Otherwise, leave us to our business.”

“That’s not going to happen,” Gavin replied. “I’ve been tasked to find a wanted criminal, and it looks like I’ve got more than I expected. It’s already over for you and the rest of the True Thekohnians, so give it up!”

The woman tried her best to stifle her laughter. “What an ignorant fool you are,” she said. “The True Thekohnians? We want nothing to do with such filth!”

“Yet you’re no better than them,” Rysol said.

“Claim it all you want, Rysol, but we have a purpose,” she replied. “To enact radical change within the Thekohnian Region, that is the ultimate goal of the Neu Thekohnian Order.”

“The what now?” Sorin asked.

“I’ve heard things, but it looks like you’re the real deal,” Gavin said. A grin formed on his face as his grip on the gun tightened. “That’s even better.”

“Quite an enthusiastic look upon your stupid face,” the woman said. “All the more reason for I, Jelka Arne, to strike you down as hard as I can!”

The two men drew their guns, which lead Rysol to take out his sword.

“If you want them, then you’ll have to go through me!” Rysol said.

“So be it,” Jelka said.

“Let me have the first crack, boss!”

The man on her left ran towards Rysol, his gun ready to go, but was struck in the arm by a bullet from afar. Sorin turned to Gavin, who was still pointing his gun at Jelka. Law then came running up to join them, Ayame following quickly behind him.

“You really ought to let me know when you’re going to have some fun, bro,” Law said. “I was about to miss the rumble, too!”

“I didn’t want to risk losing them,” Gavin replied. “Ayame, I take that it was you who took that shot?”

“There’s no time for that!” Ayame said.

Jelka lowered her sword. “It looks like I’ve been outnumbered,” she said. “No matter, I already got what I needed.”

The man on her right looked at her. “What you needed? But that wasn’t the goal, was it!?”

“You should be quiet,” Jelka said.

She thrust the butt of her sword into the side of the man’s neck, which caused him to fall to the ground. That was when she reached into the pocket of her coat and threw something to the ground. A large cloud of smoke appeared , obscuring Jelka from view.

“What the hell?” Gavin asked. He gripped the trigger and was about to pull, but Ayame intervened.

“You don’t know what you’ll hit,” she said, “But I suggest we keep our guards up just in case.”

After a few seconds, the smoke cleared and revealed that both Rysol and Jelka left. Only the two men remained, one ailing from a strike to his neck while the other tended to the wound in his arm. Ayame kept her gun trained on them, as did Gavin, while Sorin looked over at Law.

“Gale and the others, they’re fine, right?” Sorin asked.

“That other bodyguard’s there,” Law replied. “Figured he’d be good at keeping the peace there. Still, I would love to see what Kiku’s doing with Gale right about now…”

“That’s good to know,” Sorin said. “Shit, I didn’t expect him to run away so fast.”

Ayame knelt next to one of the men on the ground. “You,” she said, “Who do you work for?”

“I’d rather die than tell you!”

She pressed the barrel of her gun into the back of his head. “Do you really wish to test me? I know you’re hiding something from us, so unless you want to actually die, you will tell me.”

“We’re… from the Neu Thekohnian Order,” the second man uttered. “Jelka Arne… she’s the leader of the group…”

The first man scoffed. “Traitor!”

“Looks like your friend has compassion,” Ayame said. “Mr. Law, would you and Sorin mind alerting the authorities?”

“Come on, man,” Law said to Sorin. “Let’s let Ayame and my bro handle these two before it gets ugly.”

Sorin agreed and headed towards the nearest phone they could find and made the necessary call. A few minutes passed by and a couple of officers showed up to arrest the men. With that taken care of, Sorin, Gavin, Law, and Ayame headed back to reunite with the others back at the tea house.

 

*****

 

Back at the hotel, Sorin decided to spend some time by himself on the deck that overlooked the beach. However, Gavin, Law, and Ayame were already sitting at a table talking with each other. Seeing no other option besides sitting by himself, Sorin decided to join the three.

“Can’t sleep, can you?” Law asked.

“I keep thinking about what happened earlier,” Sorin said. “What could Rysol be doing here? Why didn’t he talk to me?”

“Honestly, I think we have more pressing issues to worry about,” Law said. “Like why a new group has suddenly showed up.”

“It’s just another group of terrorists that only want to cause havoc,” Ayame replied. “The Neu Thekohnian Order may be a younger group, but it’s all the same for us here.”

“I wonder,” Gavin said.

“You did mention that they wanted absolutely nothing to do with the True Thekohnians, bro,” Law said. “Perhaps a falling out occurred?”

“That would explain why they knew about your brother,” Gavin said.

“Possibly,” Sorin said. “Ayame, I wanted to ask you something.”

“Go ahead,” she replied.

“Back there in the park, you showed off a side I didn’t expect to see,” Sorin said. “Is there something personal between you and the Neu Thekohnian Order?”

“Not at all,” Ayame said. “The way I operate against each dangerous threat to Madame Izumi is the same way. I have no idea how you Ameci handle it, but that was the way I was taught.”

“Well, that’s what I like about you,” Law said. “Kiku is fortunate to have someone like you guarding her each night.”

“Only because I have Iggy with me,” Ayame replied. “I mean… it’s because of the teamwork between Mr. Kuznetsov and I that Kiku is safe each night.”

Law smiled. “I see,” he said. “If only he was keen on how you felt about him. I’d say I’m jealous, but I’m already pretty happy myself.”

“Please keep your wild thoughts to yourself,” Ayame said. “Anyway, Sorin, if you intend on becoming stronger, then you must be able to handle whatever threat comes your way. The enemy will not hold back, so neither should you.”

“Continuing off what Ayame just said, it’s also important to realize that all of these True Thekohnians, NTOs, and others have goals just like you and me,” Law said. “They’re only humans like us; why else would they fight so passionately for what they believe in?”

“More reason to fight back even harder,” Gavin said. “Up against Wihll, I knew that he was going to come at me with everything he had. If I held back, if I chose to have restraint there, well, I’d probably not be here today.”

“That’s why you’re you, bro,” Law said, “You may be as exciting as watching grass grow, but you go above and beyond for others.”

“Now if you only did your part instead of waste time, we’d be a perfect team,” Gavin replied.

“Okay, you two, that’s enough,” Ayame said. “Do you understand now, Sorin?”

“I think so,” he answered.

“It’s getting quite late,” Gavin said. “If we’re going to head to that thing tomorrow, then we’ll need to get to sleep now.”

Law stretched out his arms and yawned. “As much as I’d love to keep talking to Ayame, you’re right,” he said. “Besides, there’ll be plenty of times to speak in the morning.”

“Do it on your own time, Mr. Law,” Ayame said.

“Ah well,” Law replied.

He and Ayame headed back inside as Gavin followed. Before he entered, however, he turned back to Sorin, who was still looking out to the beach.

“Are you coming?” Gavin asked.

“Yeah, I’ll be there.”

All Sorin could do now was sleep, it seemed. There was no chance he would ever run into Rysol again, but it did give Sorin hope. Hope that his brother was alive, out there, fighting for his survival. If only he had a way to meet him again, he would, but until the next time Sorin would have to heed what his friends said to him. That was what he had to do.

 

To be continued…

 

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