Sundown – Chapter 10 (Part 1)

[9th of September, 2740 AD; Klein’s Sea Shack, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]

 

After Sorin and Johan made it back to Rezar, the first thing that they did was inform Rain and the others. With the group reunited, Mina suggested that they go and celebrate Johan’s rescue at the local seafood restaurant.

“It will be great!” Mina exclaimed. “We can eat tons of food and get to know your friend better, so why not?”

Nobody opposed the idea, not even Ayanna. That’s why they made the trip to the restaurant on short notice and got a table for the entire group. Johan sat at the end of the table with Sorin sitting to the right of him while Mina sat at the left. Gale sat next to Sorin, while Law was sitting on the other end away from Johan. Ayanna and Gavin were on Law’s left and right respectively, while Rain found herself in between Ayanna and Mina. After informing the server of their orders, the group began to chat.

“I’m glad we got that sorted out,” Law said.

“Odd that you were so insistent on sitting at the end,” Ayanna said. “I’m used to seeing Mina sit there whenever she goes on one of her food rampages.”

“You never pass up an opportunity to make a scene, do you Lawrence?” Gavin asked. “It’s almost as if you’re envious of Mr. Kuu over there.”

Law grinned. “Hey, I never intended to take away from him at all,” he said. “After what Sorin did to bring him back, Johan is lucky to come to a feast such as this.”

Gale peered over at Johan. “He did order a lot of food,” she said. “I guess it’s to be expected after what he’s been through.”

“Nice of you to think about me in that way, Gale,” Johan replied. “You really found yourself quite a cutie, haven’t you, buddy?”

“It was a few months ago, but yeah,” Sorin said.

“That so, Sorin?” Johan asked. “Gale, quick, close your eyes; Sorin, what color are your girlfriend’s eyes?”

“I’m not doing that,” Gale said.

“Really though, I’m glad to be here,” Johan said. “If it weren’t for Sorin here, I wouldn’t be sitting with you all tonight.”

“It’s almost like a curse,” Law said.

“Don’t you mean a blessing?” Gale asked.

“Blessing, curse, it doesn’t matter,” Law replied, “Whichever way you put it, Johan is special. Isn’t that right, Mr. Kuu?”

Johan laughed. “I guess could say that,” he said. “Then again, I’m nowhere near as special as any of you guys. Even I had no idea that Sorin was friends with a royal princess!”

“A princess, an energetic warrior, and two brothers who mean business,” Law said. “That’s quite enough friends, I’d say. Sorin’s probably way too busy to deal with you anymore, Johan.”

Silence was the only response Law received, except for Johan, who merely smiled and clapped.

“You always were a joker,” Johan said. “It reminds me of a time back in our days working together. That sure was a wild card game, wasn’t it?”

Law rubbed his shoulder. “It sure was…”

“I don’t know why you’re acting so antagonistic,” Ayanna said. “Sorin’s friend is back, so I would assume you’d be happy about it.”

“He’s jealous,” Mina exclaimed. “Law never likes it when it’s not about him! He’s totally jealous!”

“And here I’m wondering when the food is going to come,” Law said. “You’re all hungry, aren’t you?”

“It has been a while,” Rain said. “Perhaps we should pass the time by playing a quick game?”

“What do you have in mind, Your Highness?” Johan asked.

“It’s an old game I used to play back when I was younger,” Rain replied. “I whisper a message to someone, and they pass it on to the next person, and so on and so forth until the last person says the message aloud.”

“That’s a bit juvenile, isn’t it?” Gavin asked.

“Oh, I had no idea you were too old to play games, Gavin,” Rain said. “Besides, it was merely a suggestion.”

“Even so, I wouldn’t want to play with Johan,” Law said. “Be it cards or board games, I know better than to deal with the devil himself.”

“Now I’m convinced that you’re jealous,” Ayanna said.

“Nah, he probably just means that I’m devilishly handsome,” Johan replied. “I’ve received those kinds of compliments from women before, but I don’t mind a man saying them to me either. Just know that I don’t see you in that way, Law.”

“Good news: I’m already taken,” Law said. “No need to act all pompous in front of me and Ayanna.”

“Well, anyway, perhaps I should move on,” Johan said. “Namely, there’s something I wish to know about Her Highness over there.”

“And what would that be, if I may ask?” Rain asked.

“He told me a little about what you were planning to do,” Johan said as he pointed at Sorin. “It’s surprising to hear such a thing come out of the royal kingdom, and from its princess, no less.”

“There were not that many options,” Rain said. “It was only because of Mighty Mina that I’m able to be with all of you. I would even say that it is destiny that I happened to meet her.”

“Meeting with you is my destiny,” Mina replied. “No hero would turn down the chance to meet a member of royalty such as you! Especially not a princess!”

“It’s a pleasure to hear you say that,” Rain said as she patted Mina on the back of her head. “Anyway, Johan, if you’d like, you can come along our little band of heroes to my home country.”

“As much as I’d like that, I have to decline,” Johan responded. “Don’t get me wrong, Sorin; I’d like to join you, but I’ve got some of my own duties I’ve gotta carry out.”

“Really?” Mina asked. “But there’s so much intrigue and maybe even villains we’ll probably have to fight! And to do it alongside Sorin, even!”

Johan shook his head. “I’m not much one to fight,” he said. “I feel that it’s completely trifling and only serves to hurt others. Especially when it comes to all out war.”

Sorin knew that Johan’s feels were true, even when Johan had helped him out earlier against Jelka Arne.

“Well, it’s been a while since there’s been an actual war,” Ayanna said. “I do agree with you, though, to a point.”

“How so?” Johan asked.

“I’m sure you remember why the War of the Lands was fought, right?” Ayanna said. “Even as a young child, you would understand.”

“Hate to say it, but you’re correct, Ayanna,” Johan replied. “Frighteningly so, I might add.”

“As long as there are people who exist only to abuse their powers, we will not stop fighting,” Ayanna continued. “To serve our people and to help those in need, that is the Iiayikohnian way.”

“Very noble of you,” Johan said. “I can see why Law cares for you so much.”

“Yeah, you probably couldn’t tell by looking at him right now,” Gavin said. “Still, Johan Kuu, to not fight would be to let corruption win.”

“And we’re not about to let the villains have their way, either,” Mina added.

“I can see that I’m probably not going to change your minds,” Johan said, “But that’s what makes us all unique. Still, it is a dream of mine to see.”

“What do you mean?” Sorin asked.

“A world without wars,” Johan said. “Think about it.”

“Are you sure?”

“Can you imagine a world where people didn’t need to fight?” Johan asked. He leaned back into his chair and put his feet up on the table. “A world without wars… I’m going to make that happen, Sorin, just watch me.”

“I hope that we can see that world someday,” Sorin said.

“As do I, buddy,” Johan said. “As do I… Oh, I guess I got carried away!”

He laughed as he removed his feet from the table and planted them on the floor. The waiter had just arrived with their food, and it looked to be the feast to end all feasts as plate after plate were placed upon the table. Everyone was set to enjoy their meals, at long last.

 

Johan had finally gotten done eating his fourth plate of grilled seafood, placing it aside as the others were finished eating as well. Mina, however, was still on her third plate.

“It looks like you’re still going through that salmon,” Johan said. “It’s quite a feat isn’t it?”

“You make it look easy,” Gale said.

“Guess you could put it that way, Gale,” Johan replied. “I grew up in a household where we were lucky if we had a full meal on the table. Glad to see that Mina has such an opportunity like this with friends like these.”

Mina paused her eating momentarily. “What was that?”

“Nothing, Miss Mina,” Johan answered. “Just keep eating.”

“Will do!”

“Being a hero takes a lot of work,” Rain said. “Eating well must be a very important part of your workout regimen, I would assume.”

“Important maybe, but it can be a little expensive,” Law said. “Speaking of which, you’re going to pay this bill aren’t you, my love?”

“Perhaps the next time we have a feast like this, we’ll do it at Drake’s,” Ayanna replied. “I can’t begin to imagine the number of Thekohnian pounds this all costs…”

Law patted Ayanna on the arm. “Best to not think about it so much, I say,” he said. “Anyway, isn’t about time you get out of here, Johan?”

“Knock it off with the rudeness, asshole,” Gavin said.

“No, it’s fine,” Johan said. “Law asked me a question, so I might as well answer it for him.”

“Are you really going to go so soon?” Sorin asked.

“Well, it’s not like I’m going to head off the moment the check appears,” Johan said. “There’s a special task given to me by General Fercewend himself, which was why my rescue was necessary. Heh, that old man is much, much more intelligent than people think.”

“But you’ll be going soon, then,” Sorin said.

“Let me assure you, buddy.”

Johan reached over to Sorin, but his hand accidentally knocked over Sorin’s glass of water. Some of the water ended up splashing on Sorin’s shirt, while the rest was all over the table.

“Ah, damn it,” Johan said. “Sorry about that!”

He laughed as Sorin set the glass upright and tried to mop up the water with his napkin. Mina, meanwhile, finished her last dish and set it to the side.

“Oh no, what happened?” Mina asked.

“It’s okay, Mina, we’ve got it taken care of,” Johan replied.

“Here, Mina, have some of my drink,” Rain said.

She reached her glass of water to Mina’s mouth and tilted it slowly as Mina started to drink. Rain smiled as Mina gulped down the water while Sorin continued to clean up the spill on the table.

“You really didn’t need to do all of that,” Johan said.

“It’s okay, Johan,” Sorin said. “It’s the least I can do for these guys.”

“That’s really considerate of you,” Rain said as she pulled her glass away and put it down on the table. “I suppose paying that bill is all we have left.”

“Maybe I should get the waiter,” Mina said.

She stood up and ran off while the others just watched.

“Sorin, Gale, can I ask you two a question?” Rain asked.

“Sure,” Sorin replied.

“What is it?” Gale asked.

“Do you, well… I don’t know how to ask this,” Rain said, “But have you ever had a moment where you weren’t certain of how you felt?”

“I have,” Sorin said.

“Sometimes,” Gale replied. “I mean, everyone does from time to time, Rain. Is there something on your mind?”

“No, it’s nothing,” Rain answered. “I just wanted to hear what you had to say about it, that’s all.”

“You could have just asked me, princess,” Law said. “I know all about feelings and certainty.”

“But she didn’t, did she?” Gavin asked. “I know you’re thick headed, but come the fuck on already!”

“It’s not like I was going to do anything nefarious,” Law replied. “Forget it, that question was for them, anyway.”

Sorin looked over and saw Mina arrive with a waiter. “Oh, you’re back.”

“And just in time, too!” Mina exclaimed.

“I guess we’re set, then,” Law said. “Well, Ayanna, it’s all on you tonight. Think of it as payback for the other night.”

“Usually you’d say that when it’s the other way around,” Ayanna said. “It doesn’t matter; I’ll take care of the bill.”

 

To be continued…

 

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