Sundown – Chapter 7 (Part 1)

[7th of September, 2740 AD; Iiayikohn High Security Prison, Aesker, Iiayikohn]

 

The wind blew gently as two guards escorted Wihll out to the yard as it was now the time for his execution. This was what he expected, Wihll thought, after all the back and forth between him and the government. It was the more preferred outcome for him, even if it would cost him his life. Nothing would mean more to the True Thekohnians than for Victor Wihll himself to become a martyr. As the guards guided him up to the gallows, Wihll closed his eyes as he awaited the inevitable.

“Nice of you to drag it out for this long,” Wihll said. “I was honestly getting bored of waiting.”

The first guard helped to put the rope around Wihll’s neck. “Do you have any last words?”

“I’ve come to think of a few, to be honest,” Wihll replied, “But wouldn’t you know it? I seem to have forgotten them.”

“What a shame,” the guard said. “Very well, let’s not waste anymore time and proceed with the execution.”

The hangman walked up to the gallows and grabbed the lever. Wihll shut his eyes and braced for the floor to drop beneath him, but it was interrupted by the sound of gunshots.

“What the hell!?”

The hangman looked around as some of the guards fired back at the people that were shooting at them. A group of people in dark red uniforms ran out onto the yard, shooting back at the guards as Wihll opened his eyes.

“Those clothes must mean one thing,” he said, turning to the hangman. “Are you this daft?”

“What!?”

Wihll stretched out his leg, kicking the man away from the lever as he tried to undo the noose with his hands tied behind his back. Despite his struggle, he could not undo it but was helped out as a stray bullet passed over his head and went through the rope and broke it. As he turned his sights down to the yard, Wihll saw a short-haired man standing there with a gun pointed at him.

“So it was you who shot,” he said. “Were you aiming for me?”

“Only for the rope, Mr. Wihll,” the man replied. “The guards are too distracted, let’s go!”

“I have no choice, then.”

Wihll leapt off of the gallows and followed after the man into the prison. It was like he said, as guards were too busy with the Neu Thekohnian Order to notice Wihll was making his escape.

“Follow me!”

Wihll noticed the man run into what looked to be a dead end. There was a noticeable gap in bottom of the wall, enough for a person to go through, at least. The man helped Wihll out by untying the rope that bound his hands together and taking off what remained of the rope around his neck.

“Tell me your name before we leave,” Wihll said. “It’s the least you can do.”

“Call me Pariton,” he replied.

He crawled into the hole, to which Wihll continued after him. The path went on for what seemed to be miles, but eventually the two found light at the end and emerged out of the prison. Wihll gasped for air and dusted himself off as he looked back at the prison, havoc still going on as gunshots kept ringing out.

“Looks like my job is done,” Pariton said. “Best of luck out there.”

“You better hold on!” Wihll exclaimed. “Who are you and why did you bother to save me?”

“I’m just a player in this game,” Pariton replied. “I’m just doing what I was told to do. Nothing more.”

Pariton ran off, leaving Wihll to figure out exactly what he meant. He then remembered what that masked man said to him two nights ago. Perhaps this was the “potential” he was talking about: having someone break him out of prison. But for what purpose? Wihll knew that that masked man had his own agenda, and perhaps freeing him was part of it. It could all just be a trap, Wihll thought.

“If he thinks he’s got me cornered, then he’d better watch out!”

Wihll laughed for a moment, but stopped as he realized that he had no way of getting to any of the big cities. Aesker was quite a drive from Rezar, not to mention that there was high security at the outskirts of the prison.

“I’m going to have to think fast,” he said. “What can I do to get out of here?”

It looked as if there were no possible way for Wihll to make a move, but then he saw a car sitting on the road near him. He did not even have to think twice as he headed towards the door and broke open the window with his fist. All he had to do was wire it and he would be able to leave the prison.

“Let’s get this going now,” Wihll said as he fumbled with the wires. “Just one last move and there we go.”

As Wihll got the car started, Pariton watched from a distance atop a small hill. With Wihll driving off, Pariton put away his binoculars and smiled.

“Seems like it’s all progressing smoothly,” Pariton said. “I’ll be sure to let him know that Victor successfully made the escape.”

 

*****

 

[7th of September, 2740 AD; Drake Rask’s house, Rezar, Iiayikohn]

 

It was nighttime as everyone got back from Kun. Gavin stepped out of the car and headed towards the house while Law helped Gale and Sorin with their luggage. They had taken the trip by train, which had proven to be quick enough for them to make it back in time for dinner.

“Looks like we haven’t missed much, have we?” Sorin asked.

They had left for Rezar early in the morning. Kiku, Ayame, and Igor were kind enough to say goodbye to them at the train station, Kiku giving each of them a hug goodbye. She promised that she would try to come and visit them soon, while Gale said that they would try to come back to Kikuisha in the future. As Sorin continued to remember that morning, Law looked over at him and Gale.

“You two should brace yourselves,” Law said.

Sorin had no time to respond as Mina opened the door and screamed in delight. He only had a few seconds to anticipate as Mina came running to him, wrapping her arms around him as he spun around.

“We missed you so much, Sorin!” Mina exclaimed. “I almost didn’t see you there, Gale! How are you?”

“I’m great,” Gale replied. “You don’t need to hug me, I’m good.”

“So how was your trip?” Mina asked. “Tell me all the details!”

“Maybe we should talk about it after dinner,” Law said. “It’s quite a bit, so you’ll want to hear it all after you’ve had your fill.”

“Well, about that,” Gavin said as he stepped out of the house, “It seems that we need to hear from Mina as well.”

“Oh, right,” Mina said. “I was so excited, I forgot to tell you that the princess of Thekohn wants to talk with you guys!”

“The princess?” Sorin asked.

“Let’s go,” Law said. “We should hear what she has to say, since it’s not every day that a princess decides to drop by this place.”

With no hesitation, they headed inside Drake’s house. He was finishing up making dinner, while Ayanna and Rain were sitting at the table. Ayanna was still wearing her uniform while Rain was dressed in civilian clothes, a long sleeved shirt and pants with her hair drawn back in a ponytail.

“Welcome back,” Drake said. “Didn’t expect to be cooking up quite a meal, but I don’t mind it one bit!”

“It’s nice of you to treat us all to dinner, Mr. Rask,” Ayanna said.

“How can I not?” Drake asked. “You’re friends of Mina’s, so of course I’ll treat you like family!”

“And I am pleased to see that Mina has such a man like you to be her guardian,” Rain said. “That and all of her friends, too.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Your Highness,” Gale said.

“Don’t worry about formalities,” Rain replied, “For now, we’re all friends, so please call me Rain.”

 

After dinner, the group went out onto the patio and sat around as they caught up with what had happened the past few days. The patio was lit up by the backlights as Mina explained in her own way about what happened, with Ayanna adding in further details.

“So the Ameci military is still here, then?” Gavin asked.

“Yes,” Ayanna replied. “Why do you ask?”

“No reason,” Gavin said. “Do you have any clues to the whereabouts of the True Thekohnians in Ahnlikohn?”

“We’re still working on that,” Ayanna said.

“And the Ameci military has interest in that country as well,” Law said. “I guess you’ll be working with them, then?”

“I’ve already spoken with junior lieutenant Randolph,” she replied. “As soon as we get intel, then we’ll set up a route to Glora.”

“How is Henry doing, anyway?” Sorin asked.

“He is doing well,” Ayanna replied. “Henry’s quite determined to fulfill this mission, it seems.”

“From what you’ve told me, he’s scouting out the general area,” Rain said. “He and General Fercewend seem to have quite a good relationship.”

“It’s not really that surprising,” Gale said.

“So he’s still out in Ahnlikohn, then,” Sorin said. “If you happen to see him again, let him know that I said hi.”

“I’ll be sure to tell Henry the next time I see him,” Ayanna said as she stood up. “If you don’t mind, I’m going to go see if Mr. Rask needs help cleaning up.”

Ayanna stood up and headed back inside. Rain turned towards Sorin and placed her hands on her knees as she leaned forward.

“Mina’s told me a lot about you, you know,” she said. “I suppose it’s no surprise a hero like her would know the son of the legendary Kirk Wilk.”

“Thanks,” Sorin replied. “I wasn’t expecting to have someone with such high an authority to say that to me, but I guess it’s already happened before, so…”

“You’re so humble,” Rain said. “You don’t mind if I call you Sorin, do you?”

“Not at all.”

“Very well, then I shall tell you my request,” she said. “I already told Mina about it, but I guess I can go over it again.”

Rain explained what was going on with her father and the rumors of an assassination attempt. Gavin and Law listened in, taking into consideration that there might be some involvement from outside groups as well.

“And Mina told you we’d do it?” Gavin asked. “Well, Your Highness, I must that if you were expecting the best of the best, then you’ve come to the right person.”

“Yes, she has said good things about you too, Gavin,” Rain replied. “The bond between you and your brother is rather endearing.”

“It’s nothing like that,” Gavin said. “I’m just the one watching out for Lawrence’s recklessness.”

“Bro, I don’t know why you keep denying it,” Law said. “Our alluring princess over here is plenty informed on many topics, after all.”

Rain smiled. “Oh please, it’s only because Mina speaks so passionately about all of you,” she replied. “You’re truly blessed to have such a core group of friends you can rely on.”

Mina uttered out a small laugh. “Thanks,” she said.

“So how are we supposed to stop this assassination plot?” Gale asked. “Do you have any clue on who would want the King of Thekohn dead?

“Alas, I lack anything conclusive,” Rain answered. “I only just heard about it a day prior to when I left home.”

“Perhaps somebody has it out for him?” Sorin wondered. “Maybe somebody who would serve to gain from the king’s death?”

“If there is such a person, I would be surprised,” Rain said. “My father is beloved by the country and is looked up to by many.”

Law smirked. “Perhaps there’s someone who wants to kill him in order to get with the queen,” he said. “Love and lust are two of the most common motivators to kill, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Don’t be so stupid,” Gavin said.

“And what if I’m right?” Law asked. “Sorin, you’d kill someone if it was for Gale’s sake, wouldn’t you?”

Sorin’s eyes shot up. “I… That’s a complicated question to answer,” he said. “I mean, if someone was threatening her…”

“But you can’t say it’s as simple as that, Law,” Gale said. “There are people out there that want to see this world come to war. Taking out the king would likely cause an incident.”

“Perhaps it’s that ‘Neu Thekohnian Order’ you spoke about, Gavin!” Mina said.

“Who knows,” Gavin said. “All I know is that we need more information. Your Highness, exactly how long do you plan to stay here?”

“I was planning for two weeks,” Rain replied. “I had the conference but was going to find out some information from the Iiayikohnian Archives during my stay.”

“You were going to do all that?” Law asked. “Being a princess certainly requires a lot of work, it seems.”

“Oh no, I find it quite fun,” Rain said. “Being able to meet new people and see new places is always nice. One day, I hope to make a voyage over to Ameci as well.”

“We’d love to see you there,” Gale said.

“It would be my pleasure,” Rain replied. “Perhaps if it’s not too much, Mina could come along with me and see where you’re from, too.”

“But I’ve never travelled by boat before,” Mina said. “I don’t know if I’d get seasick or not.”

Rain laughed and rustled her hand through Mina’s hair. “You needn’t worry,” she said, “There are plenty of trained captains who are able to handle navigating the Amthe Ocean. That way, you won’t have to fret about losing your lunch overboard.”

“I hope that you’re right,” Sorin said.

“She is, though,” Mina replied. “I can trust Rain because she’s just so pretty and worldly and stuff.”

Just then, Ayanna walked back onto the patio holding a tray full of small tea cups. She placed the tray on the table nearby and took a seat next to Law.

“Mr. Rask made some tea for us,” she said. “He says it’s pretty good, so we should drink up.”

“Always ready to treat a full house, that Drake,” Law said. “Is the old man already off to bed?”

Ayanna confirmed it. “He was pretty tired,” she said, “But he did say that he wanted to wish Your Highness a good night.”

“I’ll be sure to thank him in the morning,” Rain said. “I was planning on staying the night at the Executive Hotel, but maybe I can lodge here for the night.”

“Sadly, that’s not going to happen,” Gavin said. “It’s already too crowded with Sorin and Gale over there, and Law and I make four.”

“I’m sorry, Rain,” Mina said.

Rain still had a smile on her face. “I don’t want to see you frown, Mighty Mina,” she said, “It just doesn’t fit a fiery spirit like yourself. You will see me tomorrow, that much you can expect.”

“I can’t wait!” Mina exclaimed.

“Back at it, just like that,” Gale said. “You certainly lifted her mood, Rain.”

“Then I guess we’ll see you tomorrow?” Sorin asked.

“Of course,” Rain replied. “I have a meeting to attend in the morning, but come meet me near the archives around noon.”

“Sounds like we’ve got a plan for tomorrow,” Law said. “Do you think I should bring a deck of cards or something to pass the time?”

“This isn’t a social call, you idiot,” Gavin said. “We’re doing some research with the princess, not playing poker!”

“Hehe, maybe after we’re done, we can play some games,” Rain said. “Although I can’t say I’m exactly the best at reading opponents.”

“It’s fine, Your Highness,” Law said. “I’d be glad to teach you first hand about how to play, and no, bro, there’s no ulterior motive to that comment.”

“He’d probably be more likely to believe you if you didn’t make a big deal out of it,” Gale said. “Let’s just worry about what we’ll find out tomorrow, okay?”

“Great,” Rain said. “I look forward to working with all of you.”

With a handshake between Sorin and Rain, it was official. They were to meet tomorrow around the Iiayikohnian Archives and conduct thorough research regarding the True Thekohnians and how it could all be connecting to the assassination attempt. Sorin looked into Rain’s eyes and could feel that he had made the right choice and that she was indeed worthy of being the princess of the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn. It did not even cross his mind about the difference between them, because right now, he felt like she regarded them all to be important. Sorin was comfortable knowing that.

 

To be continued…

 

Previous | Next Part