Sundown – Chapter 7 (Part 2)

[8th of September, 2740 AD; Iiayikohn Archives Exterior, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]

 

Sorin saw Rain standing outside of the archives, she being dressed in the more formal attire of a long sleeved button-up shirt and pants. The whole group came with him, Gale walking alongside Sorin while Gavin, Law, and Mina walked behind the two. Rain noticed the group and ran over to them, greeting all of them individually.

“You made it after all,” Rain said. “Did you find getting here difficult?”

“Not at all,” Sorin replied.

“Yeah, I know this place because of that cutie over there working at the theater,” Law said. “Then again, I’m here with you, Your Highness.”

“I see you’re in high form today,” Rain said. “You sort of remind me of an acquaintance of my brother’s.”

“There’s this feeling I have that I know who you’re talking about,” Law replied, “And to be honest, I don’t agree in the slightest.”

“Oh, perhaps I shouldn’t have brought it up, then,” Rain said.

“You didn’t know,” Law said. “Best not to dwell on that matter, I say.”

“Then let’s get on with things today,” Rain said, “Because I would like to proceed with our research. Miss Ansa has already supplied me with some of the necessary documents I requested, but the rest should be within the archives.”

“And what do you want us to do?” Gale asked.

“I want us to read through some of the files covering the past few months,” Rain answered. “I’m sure we’ll probably find something there before the day is over, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Of course we do!” Mina said.

“Well, it seems like if we’re going to get this done, then we’ll have to put our eyes to the pages,” Gavin said. “I never really got the time to sit back and have a leisurely read like this before, so I guess this is a welcome change of pace.”

“You’ve never read anything while you were in the army?” Gale asked. “I know that Rohan likes to spend some time in the military’s library during off times, but I always figured you to be kind of a bookworm.”

“What exactly about me gives off a ‘bookworm’ vibe?” Gavin wondered.

“Gale, you’re severely mistaken about my bro,” Law said. “If anything, I’m more of the bookworm here. Hell, I even have a book of poems that I’ve written.”

“Is that so, Law?” Rain asked. “I would like to see some of your writing some time.”

“Don’t bother,” Gavin said. “If anything, it’s just going to be about things like Mina’s ass and other perverted stuff.”

“Now hold on,” Law replied, “There’s a reason why I wrote that. Obviously Mina is a very physical fighter, so I was making a note of your features for later reference.”

“What do you mean by that?” Mina asked. “What exactly did you say about my butt?”

Law laughed. “You see…”

“I’m going to stop you right there,” Gavin interrupted. “Consider it akin to me confiscating your shovel, because all you’re going to do is dig a deeper grave.”

“Let’s just go already,” Sorin said. “We’re just wasting time out here talking and not gathering information.”

“You have the right idea,” Rain said. “Shall we?”

 

Inside the left hall, where the bookcases went all the way up to the ceiling, Rain looked at the bookcase labeled with the year 2740 and pulled from it a large book. She skimmed through it for a brief moment and sat down at the table with Mina deciding to join her. Meanwhile, the others sought some other books that might have a chance of helping Rain out.

“I’m surprised that you can read all this,” Mina said. “I never really took much time to read myself, to be honest.”

“You don’t know how to read?” Rain asked.

“N-No, I know how to,” Mina replied.

“I’m just kidding,” Rain said. “It’s rather funny to see you get flustered like that, I must admit.”

Mina gasped out a small laugh. “It is?”

“Anyway, take a look at this,” Rain said. “It seems that they’ve recorded their capture of the True Thekohnian leader here.”

“Their ‘leader’ is dead,” Gavin said.

“Is that so?” Rain asked. “Because it says here that Victor Wihll is being held in a high security prison in Aesker.”

Gavin’s eyebrows furrowed. “Wait, what?”

“That can’t be true, can it?” Sorin asked. “For one thing, their leader was Walton Lokke and he died… due to my brother.”

“And the other thing is that Victor Wihll should be dead, too!” Gavin exclaimed. “I saw it myself; how could anyone survive having a heavy chandelier drop on them!?”

“Be quiet,” Gale said. “Is there nothing at all in there about Lokke being the True Thekohnians’s leader, Rain?”

“Please give me a moment,” Rain answered.

She leafed through page after page of the book and grabbed a nearby book that Sorin had placed on the table. Though there was intense dedication on her part to diligently read through the documents, Rain put down the book and shook her head.

“It seems like I’ve found nothing,” she said. “You can look through these books all you want, but I cannot say that there’s anything in these documents that suggest Mr. Lokke had anything to do with the True Thekohnians.”

“What the fuck,” Gavin said.

“You really can read fast,” Mina said. “I don’t know how you can do it without wanting to fall asleep, Rain.”

“I know it may not be your sort of thing, but this is quite fun for me,” Rain replied. “When I was a kid, I used to read a lot. Of course, most of the books I read were these old mystery novels that my father owned, but I enjoyed them all the same.”

“So are we just going to ignore the fact that there are no mentions of Walton Lokke?” Gavin asked. “He was even convicted in this country, wasn’t he? Can you check any of the older documents?”

“Rain’s not your personal secretary,” Sorin said.

“Then you do it!” Gavin replied as he banged his fist on the table.

“He doesn’t have to, bro, because I think I might know why we’re having this problem,” Law said. “Clearly there’s still some sort of influence here that’s poisoning these books.”

“And that may have to do with why Victor Wihll is being named as the True Thekohnians’s leader?” Gale asked.

“Let me ask you a question, Gale,” Law said, “Who is Victor Wihll? What significance does he have in the eyes of the powerful and wealthy?”

“According to what I’m reading here, his past is mostly unknown,” Rain said, “Save for the fact that he was born in Maeitkohn.”

“Sorin, you should know this,” Law asked, “Why did President Rhodes decide to take his own life?”

“There’s a lot of reasons why he did,” Sorin said. “He did mention the name ‘Foundation,’ however…”

Gale looked down. “Foundation…”

“It seems like you know something,” Law said.

“They’re a group made up of multiple people,” she replied, “All of them very wealthy and with a lot of influence in the world. I shouldn’t be surprised that they have something to do with Rhodes, but I am.”

“Why’s that?” Mina asked.

“Because Isaac Kunigunde is a member of that group,” Gale said.

“Ah, I think I get it,” Law said. “Bro, can you tell me what you know about Mr. Isaac?”

“If I ask why, you’ll probably say ‘humor me’ or something like that,” Gavin said. “His company is one of the most prominent weapon manufacturers in the world; anybody in the Ameci military knows who he is, as do those in other militaries.”

Law clapped his hands. “That’s the answer I expected,” he said. “Of course, I’ve done my own research in the past about these things. This sort of stuff isn’t meant for public knowledge but since you’re all my friends, I owe it to you.”

“How do you know so much?” Mina asked.

“I tend to listen around,” Law replied. “Some late nights, I head to the watering hole and hear what some of the Iiayi soldiers are saying. Other times, I just put my ear to the wall and take in information that way.”

“That is what you’re good at,” Gavin said, “Bluffs and tricks.”

“When you say it that way, it makes me sound like a bad guy,” Law said. “Give a former Ameci spy some credit, won’t you?”

“Interesting to hear you say that,” Rain said. “I suppose that it’s good that we have someone trained in espionage on our side.”

“If only we could put him to the task,” Sorin said.

“How convenient for you, Sorin,” Law replied, “Because I’ve got an idea myself. No need to thank me, not at all.”

“What is it?” Gale asked.

“I’ve met that genius brother of yours, Rain,” Law said. “Quite a good shot on him, if I do say so myself.”

“He always was more precise compared to my sister and I,” she said. “It’s too bad that I had to miss his victory.”

Gavin mumbled to himself.

“So if I recall, he’s probably on his way back to the kingdom, is he not?” Law asked. “There’s information there that could possibly be of use to me.”

“Then I will contact him,” Rain said. “I’m sure he’d be able to take some time from his duties to help us out.”

“Man, it’s almost too easy,” Law said. “Are you sure that you don’t want to go out with me, Your Highness?”

Rain covered her mouth and smiled as she tried to hold back a laugh. “I must politely decline.”

“It was a joke, anyway,” he said. “You do understand what all of this means, though, right? There’s a good reason to believe that the facts as we know them are being manipulated by a third party.”

“And because of that, the truth is being hidden,” Sorin said. “Because of this ‘Foundation’ organization, Lokke’s involvement with the True Thekohnians has been omitted from the records.”

“Truly a man more valuable dead than alive,” Law said. “I hope that that irony is not lost on any of you.”

“So, Rain, what do you intend on doing from here?” Gale asked.

“There’s one thing I must show to you,” Rain said. “Something that I feel once you see, you’ll understand how serious I am about this mission.”

“What’s that?” Mina asked.

“I’ll show you at the hotel,” Rain replied. “My room, specifically.”

 

*****

 

[8th of September, 2740 AD; Executive Hotel, Rain’s Room – Deca District]

 

Inside of the polished bedroom, Rain displayed the suitcase sitting by the loveseat and placed her fingers on the zipper. She slowly opened the top and revealed a sheathed sword on top of her clothes.

“This is how far I am willing to go,” she said. “I will fight to protect the people I care for, no matter what may come my way.”

“That’s interesting,” Sorin said. “Who did you train with?”

“The person who trained me is a family friend,” Rain answered, “But I doubt that even Sir Lauren has any idea of what’s happening in Thekohn.”

“So you’re quite handy as a fighter, it seems,” Law said. “I wonder what would happen if you and Sorin were to compare skill against one another. Who do you think would win, bro?”

“Oh no, I have no interest in fighting against Sorin,” Rain said. “We are going to be a team, so it would be best that we work together instead of against each other.”

“It’s only a hypothetical,” Law replied.

“Still, I’d like to see for myself how our princess here stacks up,” Gavin said. “This ‘Sir Lauren’ of yours, I take, is pretty skilled isn’t he?”

“During the war, he was considered to be one of the best warriors,” Rain replied. “He even fought alongside my parents during the battle in Oelaans.”

“If that’s the case, then I suppose we’d have to take you at your word,” Gavin said. “Don’t think I doubted you, though.”

Rain picked up the sword out of her suitcase. “It’s fine, Gavin,” she said. “Right now, all that matters is teamwork and friendship.”

“Yeah, that’s what helped us the last time,” Mina said, “Because that’s what heroes like us do in times like these!”

“And if you’re ever in trouble, I’d waste no time protecting you,” Rain said. “I mean that for all of you, by the way.”

“You’d do that?” Gale asked. “I know it’s probably who you are, but even so, hearing a member of royalty say that is quite shocking.”

“Some choose to sit back and watch, which is understandable,” Rain replied. “Not me. I want to confront this problem because of how personal it is to me, my family, and my country.”

“So you’d have no problems with taking a life?” Law asked. “Even if that life was your enemy?”

“I would hope that things don’t come to that,” Rain said.

“Hope is a wonderful thing to have,” Law said. “Just talking to you really makes me want to put all my faith in you.”

Gavin slapped Law in the back of the head. “When are you going to get a clue, dumbass!?”

“Anyway, there’s lines that are hard to cross for anyone,” Rain continued. “Killing someone is one that I hope I do not cross, but if there’s no other option…”

“As long as we work together, there’ll be no worries about that,” Sorin said.

“Sorin’s right,” Mina said. “We’ll get our enemies to surrender faster after we finish pummeling them!”

Rain gasped and then smiled as she placed a hand on her chest. “Thank you so much,” she said. “I don’t know what else I can really say.”

“It’s okay,” Gale said.

“Then I guess there’s nothing else I can show you,” Rain said. “Because you are all so willing to help, I feel like this mission is going to be a breeze.”

“Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves,” Gavin said. “We haven’t even begun.”

“You’d let me know about that brother of yours, didn’t you?” Law asked.

“Of course,” Rain replied. “We just have to go down to the main floor so that I can make the call.”

 

Downstairs, Rain led everyone back to the lobby. Sorin noticed that the Ameci military was meeting here as he saw them sitting at a table close by. That was when he saw Henry Randolph, who looked to be in a good mood as he laughed amongst his fellow soldiers. The rest of the group soon noticed and decided to greet Henry.

“Hey,” Sorin said. “It’s been some time since we last saw each other.”

“Really?” Henry asked. “I had no idea. Time kind of flies when you’re busy, you know?”

“I suppose it does,” Sorin replied.

“What are you doing here?” Gale asked.

“We’re just strategizing our next move,” Henry answered. “Glora’s much different than what you saw in Bel, but given that this is a rescue mission, I’m hoping that we won’t have to use too much force.”

“Well, you’d definitely want the person to be rescued to be alive, don’t you,” Law said. “Otherwise, what would be the point?”

“That’s about it,” Henry said. “The general said that rescuing Kuu is very important to the military, so I’m motivated to accomplish this mission.”

“You’d do anything for Fercewend, wouldn’t you?” Law asked. “Careful now, you wouldn’t want to make little Tori jealous, would you?”

Henry chuckled. “Perhaps you should cut back on all this speculation,” he said. “After all, you’re still considered a deserter to Ameci.”

“Yet there’s nothing you can do about it,” Law replied. “I think you should have a little sympathy for me, anyway; it wasn’t that long ago where you were under the same scrutiny, correct?”

“It’s much different, Lawrence,” Gavin said. “Henry Randolph was falsely accused, while you chose voluntarily to leave.”

Law scratched the back of his neck. “Not like I had a choice, bro.”

“Anyway, Henry, you mentioned a name,” Sorin said. “You wouldn’t happen to be talking about Johan, would you?”

“I must have let it slip,” Henry replied, “But yes, he’s the person I’m talking about here.”

“This is sudden, but can I go with you?” Sorin asked.

“I mean, it’s not like I would refuse, but why?” Henry asked.

Sorin explained his relationship to Johan as Henry nodded. “That’s why I want to go,” he said. “I want to see him again and this would be the best way to do it.”

“But what about helping Princess Rain?” Mina asked. “We were working together, or at least that’s what you said to her.”

“No, it’s fine,” Rain said. “I’ve still got some work to do. Mr. Randolph, I presume?”

Henry stood up and acknowledged Rain with a bow. “It’s an honor to meet you,” he said. “I know that General Fercewend  has already spoken with you, but I would like to thank you for your hopefully continuing presence as we move forward.”

“You’re very welcome,” Rain said. “Now, I’ve got my own mission and I’ve already asked Sorin to help, but I don’t mind if he goes with you to Ahnlikohn. This is for a friend of his, and what is more noble than acting for a friend’s sake?”

“If that’s the case, then let me go with you!” Mina exclaimed. “All of us, actually! We could help you out–”

“No,” Sorin interjected. “Rain needs you here. I’m the only one who should go with Henry.”

“Might as well,” Henry said. “We leave for Glora tomorrow morning. Best to get yourself a good night’s sleep, buddy.”

“Same to you,” Sorin replied. “It will be nice to finally work with you.”

“Well then, if that’s all, then I must head off,” Henry said. “It’s been a pleasure, everyone.”

Henry left with the other soldiers, leaving Sorin with the assurance that their relationship was still on good terms. It would be a first-hand viewing to seeing the legendary Henry operate, now that he was back within the ranks.

“Now that that’s settled, there’s something I need to do,” Rain said. “Mina, you wouldn’t mind coming with me to the phone, would you?”

Mina pumped her fist. “Of course not!”

They walked off together as Sorin turned and faced Gale.

“They really get along well, don’t they?” Gale asked.

“Seems like it,” Sorin said. “You don’t mind me going with Henry, do you?”

“You’ll do fine,” Gale replied. “Henry’s on your side, as is his squad. It’s not like I could convince you otherwise, anyway.”

“There’s no need to worry about him,” Law said. “We’re all adults here, so there’s no need to act like Sorin can’t walk on his own two feet.”

“He’s got my old position,” Gavin said, “So he’s got a lot to live up to, that Henry Randolph!”

“I don’t think he’ll have to worry about that,” Sorin said.

“What do you mean?” Gavin asked.

“Henry respects you a lot, I believe,” Sorin replied. “There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to want to do his duty as a junior lieutenant well.”

Gavin laughed. “Either you’re bullshitting me, or you’re being completely honest,” he said. “It’s honestly kind of annoying.”

“Bro, you think Sorin’s a good liar?” Law asked. “Man, he wouldn’t last long at all in a poker game.”

“Well, I’ve never played before,” Sorin said.

“It’s not about playing, it’s about your opponent,” Law said. “It’s truly a tragedy that I never got a chance to play against Kiku. I’m sure she’d probably be a really good player.”

“Are you only saying that because you wanted to see her naked?” Gale asked. “I know Kiku is Kiku, but this is another level.”

“Please, Gale, just give me more credit than that,” Law replied. “Ayanna and I are practically inseparable. I’d say how, but I don’t think you’ve gotten to that point with Sorin yet.”

“Nobody wants to hear your weird explanations,” Gavin said, “So why don’t you just give it a fucking rest!”

“We’re back!” Mina said.

She and Rain were smiling as Mina rushed over to Sorin. He braced himself for what was going to happen, but Mina stopped short of tackling him and just looked him in the eyes.

“You’ll do well tomorrow, I know it,” she said. “After all, you’re Strong Sorin so there’s no way you’ll fail!”

“That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that,” Sorin said.

“I thought about it on the way back from the phone,” Mina said. “Heroic names for all of you, obviously!”

“I’m curious,” Law said. “What did you choose for my heroic name?”

“You’re known as Lucky Law,” she replied. “Alongside your brother, Gunslinger Gavin, you two are an unstoppable duo!”

“That’s a name I can get behind,” Gavin said. “I’m not sure how Law’s fits in with this, but I must admit I like the little name you gave me.”

“It’s not little!” Mina said. “These names are big and awesome! What do you think, Righteous Rain?”

“Agreed,” she replied. “It’s quite a morale booster, I’d say.”

“And don’t think I forgot you,” Mina said to Gale. “Every great team of heroes needs a person who operates as the brains of the group. What more appropriate a name to give you than Gale the Genius?”

“I don’t know how to answer that,” Gale said. “You really think I’m a genius?”

“Not just a genius, but Gale the Genius!” Mina replied.

“That’s fine and all, but I have a question,” Law said. “Since you gave us all names, surely there’s a name for our group?”

“To be honest, I hadn’t thought that far,” Mina said. “I was figuring it would all come together like that.”

“I see,” Law said. “Anybody else have any idea of what we should call ourselves? What about you, bro?”

Gavin crossed his arms. “Don’t look at me.”

That was when Sorin had an idea. It only felt right that he carried on his father’s mission, so why not carry it out the same way? After what Eva had told him about that group his father led, Sorin knew that this was no coincidence that he’d be a part of his very own group. Maybe it was just Mina’s influence, but he did happen to like that name she gave him. There was no turning back now.

“If I may,” Sorin said, “I’d like to suggest a name.”

“I’d love to hear it,” Rain said. “Surely you’ll provide us a banner to wave with whatever magnificent name you suggest.”

“Then from here on out, ‘Brave Fighting Sun’ is what we’ll be known as,” Sorin replied. “Partly because of my father, and partly because we’re all heroes, so I would say it fits, wouldn’t you concur, Mina?”

Mina closed her eyes and looked to be deep in thought. “It is a good name,” she said as she opened her eyes. “I just wished I could have thought of it myself, because that’s how much I like it!”

“If it means anything, you could be the leader,” Sorin said.

“No, I think you should do it,” Mina replied. “You came up with the name ‘Brave Fighting Sun,’ so you should be the leader.”

“There are no objections, are there?” Rain asked.

Gavin raised his hand. “Don’t tell me I’m the only one who disagrees.”

“Sorry, bro,” Law said. “Mina’s got a compelling argument and also she’s much more cuter than you.”

“I can’t pick against him,” Gale said.

“So it’s settled then,” Rain said. “Congratulations, Sorin, you’re officially the leader!”

Sorin shook Rain’s hand. “I’m surprised you’re comfortable with it,” he said. “I know you’re humble and all, but still…”

“It’s the name you gave us, Strong Sorin,” Rain said. “Besides, I love nothing more than helping others. Now why don’t you worry about what you’re going to do tomorrow?”

“I guess,” Sorin said. “If I want to see Johan again, then I need the rest.”

Everything was settled. Sorin had no idea what would be in store for him on the trip to Ahnlikohn, but he knew that at the end of the road was his friend. The friend that he had not seen for a while. He wondered if anything changed the last time they spoke, but Sorin had faith that Johan was still the same person he always was. That would have to wait until after he helped Henry rescue him, however, because the mission had already begun.

 

To be continued…

 

Previous | Next Chapter