Sundown – Chapter 8 (Part 1)

[9th of September, 2740 AD; on the road to Glora – Ahnlikohn]

 

Sorin sat in the back seat with Henry, who was looking over the map of Ahnlikohn. Outside the window, the truck passed by more and more trees as it began to ascend up the sloped road past the town of Aesker.

“So where exactly is Johan being held?” Sorin asked.

“There’s an abandoned warehouse just outside Glora,” Henry replied. “Somewhere within that building, intel is sure that that’s where he’s being held.”

“I see.”

Sorin stared out of the window, going through his thoughts as he wondered what exactly would happen once they got there. He had barely any experience in battle, but here was a situation where he wanted to fight. Johan had written him in the past, but recently, communication had ceased between the two. Hopefully the reunion would not bring up any ill will, Sorin thought.

“You’re thinking about him, aren’t you?” Henry asked.

“It’s hard not to,” Sorin said. “I knew Johan as a peaceful guy, but even I knew that he had his reasons for joining the military.”

“Whatever they are, they seem to have been a positive effect for us,” Henry said. “He’s offered us some very valuable intel in the past, so it’s imperative to the Ameci military that we rescue him.”

“Don’t disagree with you there,” Sorin replied. “Hopefully there’ll be no need to draw our weapons once we get there.”

“We can only hope, Sorin,” Henry said.

Sorin felt as if there was nothing left in that conversation, so he decided to ask Henry about something else. “How is my father doing? Are he and Eva doing well?”

“Tori and I have been keeping in touch with them,” Henry replied. “Kirk is faring well, but it seems like he’s still trying to figure out how to make an impact back in Admorse.”

“I guess.”

“As for Eva, I think she seemed to be bored the last time I saw her,” Henry said. “Maybe it’s just because things have been peaceful over the past few months, but perhaps she’s expecting something from your father.”

“What do you mean she’s bored?” Sorin asked.

“I don’t think I’d be comfortable saying why,” Henry said. “Mostly because I don’t want to feel like I’m disrespecting her privacy.”

“Honestly, if it’s something you don’t want to discuss, then that’s fine,” Sorin said, “But if you’re bringing that up, then I deserve to know.”

Henry shrugged. “I mean, it’s just something that I feel like she wants to keep a secret,” he said. “That feeling she had is something I knew all too well the past few years.”

“I wish you’d just say it,” Sorin replied. “Eva was my mentor for a while, so it’s okay to tell me what it is. Don’t just leave me in the dark.”

Henry did not answer.

“You’re really going to do this?” Sorin asked.

“Sorry, but I can’t just go and say it,” Henry said. “Ask her for yourself, that’s all I’m going to say to you.”

“Fine, then I guess I’ll just have to do that, then,” Sorin said.

Perhaps it was better that way, Sorin thought. He probably did not need to have these thoughts going through his head during the mission, anyway. Besides, Sorin knew that he’d meet with Eva again sometime in the future. If only there were some other way to pass the time before the squad ended up in Glora.

 

[9th of September, 2740 AD; Abandoned Manufacturing Complex, Glora, Ahnlikohn]

 

A gentle wind blew through as he stepped between the large trees, his mission clear as he carried a large bag on his back. There was only one problem, though: he had no idea what his target looked like. The tall man with black, neck length hair knelt down and set his bag on the ground.

“Okay, Noa,” he said, “This isn’t your first target you had to take out… So why the hell does it feel like I have butterflies in my stomach!?”

Noa Mzade’s hands shook as he slowly unzipped the bag to reveal all the parts to a sniper rifle. He was considered the very best in assembling his weapon amongst those in the Maeitakohnian military, but despite that, Noa had a difficult time speaking with others. This was most apparent whenever he had to speak with women, but Noa always felt inferior amongst some of the other men in the army. That was part of the reason why he was glad that he specialized in sniping, since he didn’t have to engage in close combat like the others.

“Damn it!”

The stand of the rifle slipped out of Noa’s hand and dropped to the ground, bouncing its way near a bush. In his shock, Noa leaned over, reaching for the part as he heard someone begin to talk.

“Gotta be quiet…”

Noa crouched down as he heard the footsteps coming closer. There was not a sound from him as he looked up to see the leader of the Neu Thekohnian Order, Jelka Arne, walking by. Her presence left Noa petrified with his eyes wide open and breath held until she walked away. As soon as she was gone, Noa clutched his chest and resumed his breathing.

“That was too close!” Noa said. He slapped himself on the head as he started to put his rifle together. “Why!? Why can’t you just keep your cool around women, you moron!?”

Despite his self-doubt, Noa continued to assemble his rifle in wait for his target to show up. What he did not know, however, was that his target had already passed by him only a few moments ago. Whatever it was, though, Noa now had to wait for his target to appear again.

 

*****

 

[9th of September, 2740 AD; New Prime Minister’s Office, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]

 

Alan Berry stood in the Greater Library on the second floor when Ayanna entered the room. She held a large envelope as Alan turned to greet her.

“I assume that’s for me?” Alan asked.

“You told me to pick it up this morning,” Ayanna said, “And as you’ve requested, prime minister, I’ve made sure to analyze the contents firsthand.”

“Very good, Ansa,” he said as Ayanna handed the envelope to him. “You know, I had no idea how you would react to this demand of mine.”

“I have absolutely no problem with this,” Ayanna replied. “I just want to know one thing, sir.”

“And what’s that?”

“Well, it’s something that’s been bugging me this morning,” she said. “Are we certain that we should be trusting of the words said by someone we don’t even know?”

“Ayanna, it is my opinion that any sort of information concerning potential threats should be taken seriously,” Alan replied. “If by chance that something turns out to be true and we don’t take it seriously, it would make us appear unwise and ill-prepared.”

“I know that’s true, but are you sure you should be doing this by yourself?” Ayanna asked. “You never know what could happen…”

“Please don’t concern yourself with that thought,” he said. “Besides, I am travelling with two guards and the place I am going to is highly secure. There’s little to no chance of trouble occuring.”

Ayanna sighed. “Hopefully you’re right.”

“I may not be the young warrior I was in the old days, but I’m just as sharp as I ever was,” Alan said. “Honestly, you needn’t worry about me.”

“Then it will be none of my concern,” Ayanna said. “You also called me over here for another, did you not?”

“Correct,” Alan replied. “It appears that the prince of Thekohn is arriving here this afternoon. I want you to head over to the train station and help escort him over here.”

“Understood,” she said. “Do you happen to know why the prince is coming here today?”

“That I do not know,” Alan said. “We just received the call this morning from the prince and that was it.”

“Sounds odd,” Ayanna said, “But I assume that the call was for real, so I will question it no further than that.”

“I will see you later, then,” Alan replied. “Take care.”

Ayanna nodded. “As should you,” she said. “Goodbye.”

She left the library and headed downstairs as her task was now clear. There was little time to waste as she had to greet Brook Rio Thedam and inform him of what was happening. What business he had in Iiayikohn, however, was something that Ayanna would have to ask the young man herself. Once she stepped out of the building, Law, Gavin, and Gale were there to greet her.

“What are you doing here?” Ayanna asked. “Aren’t you with the princess?”

“Nah, she’s with Mina,” Law answered. “Who am I to interrupt a passionate interaction between two young, beautiful women?”

“You would, though,” Gale said.

“Yeah, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Gavin said. “That would be exactly the thing you’d do.”

“Okay, you know you two don’t have to gang up on me like that,” Law said. “Besides, we’re here for another reason.”

“I’m busy, Law,” Ayanna said.

“Well, of course you are,” he said. “You have to meet the prince of Thekohn, right?”

“How do you know that?” Ayanna asked.

“Come on,” Law said, “You don’t have to think to hard about why the prince is coming here, do you?”

Ayanna shook her head. “Don’t tell me…”

“Shouldn’t be too surprised,” Law said. “Rain was the one who called Brook over here, so of course we knew.”

“That feels a little too convenient,” Ayanna said.

“It’s the truth,” Gale replied.

“Yeah, so, we’re here because we want to also want to greet Mr. Brook himself,” Law said. “Surely you don’t have a problem with that?”

“I don’t,” Ayanna replied, “But if you’re going to do this, I think it’d only be fair if I knew beforehand.”

Law walked up to Ayanna and placed his hand on hers. “My love, I am a man you trust to keep promises,” he said, “So of course I will remember that for the next time.”

He lifted her hand up and kissed it as Ayanna looked off to the side.

“I told you that these kinds of things embarrass me,” she said. “I don’t mind it in private, but…”

“You really are blushing, though,” Law said. “If only I were able to take a portrait!”

Ayanna pulled back her hand. “That’s enough,” she replied. “Very well, let’s go to the train station.”

Ayanna led the way as Law walked alongside Gale while Gavin walked behind the two of them.

“Do you ever get tired of being so audacious?” Gale asked.

“Hey, if I ain’t living life to the fullest, then what will my life mean in the end?” Law replied. “She would never say it, but Ayanna likes these kinds of grand displays I want to put on.”

“That’s not what I’m talking about, though,” Gale said.

“Well, tell me, then,” Law said, “You and Sorin get along pretty well, don’t you? Close enough to where you’re comfortable sharing your deepest secrets with him, right?”

“Lawrence…”

“You can shelve that line of thought, bro,” Law replied. “Gale, you’re quite concerned about Sorin’s safety, aren’t you?”

“Of course,” Gale replied. “Why are you asking me this?”

“Because I know exactly how far Sorin is willing to go,” Law answered. “We both happen to be men of passion, though where I love to put on my extravagant and flashy style, Sorin just wants to keep things simple.”

Neither Gale nor Gavin had a response. It did not matter, though, since they arrived at the train station. There seemed to be a small crowd gathered around the entrance as the people learned through local rumors that the prince would be arriving in Rezar.

“Looks like we’ve been beaten to the punch,” Law said.

“It’s not much of a surprise,” Ayanna said. “The prince has been getting a lot of attention through the news outlets lately.”

Law looked at Gavin. “I wonder why.”

“Shut up,” Gavin replied.

“You can get us to meet with the prince, can’t you?” Gale asked.

“That’s not going to be a problem with me,” Ayanna replied. “You three might do best to stay here, though.”

“I’d do anything for you,” Law said.

“I know you would,” Ayanna said.

She walked into the train station while the other three decided to stay outside as the crowd continued to grow. The train was about to arrive soon, so Ayanna stood in wait.

 

To be continued…

 

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