Sundown – Chapter 11 (Part 1)

[10th of September, 2740 AD; Drake Rask’s house, Rezar, Iiayikohn]

 

There was no trace of Johan’s presence as Sorin woke up from his sleep and looked around. Sorin walked around and searched, but was unsuccessful in his attempt to find Johan in the house. He went downstairs and found Gavin and Law hanging around the kitchen, both of them already dressed and prepared to head out for work.

“Did either of you see Johan?” Sorin asked.

“No,” Gavin replied. “He must’ve left early.”

“Just like him, I’d say,” Law said. “Sorry, I’m still just waking up. Bro, are we all set now?”

“Hold on, Lawrence,” Gavin said, taking the last drink of his coffee.

“Usually you’re the one prattling on about hurrying up,” Law replied. “It’s quite funny to see the tables turn like this.”

“Fuck off with it already,” Gavin said. “Let’s go.”

And with that, Gavin and Law left through the back door. There was little that Sorin could do now, so he decided to wait for both Gale and Mina to come downstairs. It was no use waiting for Johan to come back, so Sorin took a walk outside the house. There, he saw Drake warming up and doing stretches by his car.

Sorin walked up to Drake. “You’re still here, Drake?”

“Oh hey, Sorin,” Drake said. “I was just saying goodbye to ol’ Gav and Law. What are you doing?”

“Nothing, if I’m being honest,” Sorin replied. “I was hoping to see my friend before he left, though.”

“Yeah, that man seems to have split under the cover of darkness,” Drake replied. “Did you have anything you wanted to say to him?”

“A few things,” Sorin said. “It’s not really like him to leave without saying goodbye, at least.”

“Sounds like he’s got some sort of secret,” Drake said.

Sorin looked off to the side. “He sure didn’t tell me.”

Drake laughed. “You’re still pretty young,” he said. “I’m sure you’ll run into each other again someday.”

“I guess that could be true,” Sorin said.

“Hey, at least you got to meet him again,” Drake said. “That boy Johan was probably elated to see you after all that time. Don’t forget about that!”

“Thanks, I’ll try not to,” Sorin replied.

“Keep your spirits up, Sorin,” he said. “You’ve got yourself a good bunch of friends, Mina especially included. See you later!”

Drake hopped into his car and began to drive off. Now Sorin was outside by himself, so he decided to head back into the house and see if Gale and Mina were awake. A lot was on Sorin’s mind after his discussion he had with Johan last night and he really wanted to continue that discussion after thinking about what Johan said, but that would have to wait for another time. Sorin walked up to the back door and pushed it open to find Mina talking on the phone.

“Oh, he just walked in,” she said. “Hold on!”

“What’s going on?” Sorin asked.

Mina handed the phone to Sorin. “It’s Ayanna,” she said. “She says it’s very important that she talks to you.”

“Okay,” Sorin said as he put the phone to his ear. “Hello, this is Sorin.”

“Sorin, I need you to come here to the prime minister’s office,” Ayanna said with no hesitation.

“Ayanna, what’s going on?”

“I’ll talk with you about it when you get here,” she replied. “Look, I have to go right now, okay? Please just get here.”

Sorin did not even get a chance to put a word in as Ayanna hung up. With his eyes wide and directed at the phone receiver, Sorin placed the phone back on the hook and faced Mina.

“She sounded like she was in a hurry,” Mina said.

“Honestly not much we can do about it,” Sorin said. “Is Gale awake?”

“Gale’s probably getting dressed, if I had to guess,” Mina replied. “Though she usually likes to take long showers, which is why I wanted to get up early.”

“When did you get up?” Sorin asked.

“Somewhere around 6 A.M.,” Mina said.

“Sounds about right,” Sorin said. “When we were visiting Kikuisha, I know that I had to be at the up and ready if I wanted to get to the shower first.”

“Well, I guess I know what it feels like to be in a relationship,” Mina said. “Er, just kidding of course!”

Mina laughed in an awkward tone as Sorin shifted his hair to the side. “No, I know you were joking,” he said. “It honestly kind of reminds me of the friend me and Gale made when we were in that country.”

“Oh, right, you mentioned that girl before, didn’t you,” Mina said.

“I think you and her would be really good friends,” Sorin said. “Well, maybe she would consider it something else, but I’d still say friends regardless.”

“You should really take me the next time you two go!”

“Sure, we’ll do that, Mina,” he replied.

“That’ll be great, then,” Mina said. “Oh, I have a question for you and it’s about Rain!”

“Really? What is it?”

“Who do you think is more heroic to her: me or you?” Mina asked.

“I don’t know if I can answer that,” Sorin said.

“Come on, answer it!” Mina said. “I promise you I won’t get mad!”

“That’s not my concern,” he said. “Well, if I had to guess, I’d say Rain would probably pick you.”

Mina’s eyes lit up. “You think so?”

“If you really want to know, I’d ask Rain herself,” Sorin said. “You definitely would be her pick, though.”

“I hope you’re right,” Mina said. “Rain’s just really nice, isn’t she?”

“She sure is,” Sorin replied.

“I knew I’d find you both here,” Gale said.

Gale walked down the stairs and up to Sorin and Mina. She was completely dressed and was wearing her usual glasses.

“Hey Gale, I was just talking to Sorin about you!” Mina said. “Now that I think about it, the next time you two travel, you should save some time and just shower together!”

“Well, uh, that’s… something to think about,” Sorin stammered. “Oh, that’s right, we need to get going. Ayanna wants to meet with us at the prime minister’s office.”

“That’s a good way to change the subject, isn’t it?” Gale asked. “I wonder what she wants with us, though.”

“We won’t know unless we find out,” Sorin said.

“So what are we waiting for?” Mina asked. “Let’s go and see what Ayanna wants. It’s our duty as heroes, after all!”

 

*****

 

[10th of September, 2740 AD; New Prime Minister’s Office, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]

 

People crowded around the doors to the prime minister’s office as Sorin, Gale, and Mina arrived. There looked to be no way for them to enter when Gavin and Law showed up. Both brothers saw the three and reunited with them in an instant.

“Have you seen Ayanna?” Law asked.

“She called us over here,” Sorin replied. “What are you doing here?”

Law frowned. “You don’t know?”

“It’s not surprising that they don’t,” Gavin said. “Something happened last night. Something very, very bad.”

“Do you guys not know either?” Gale asked.

“All I know is that it’s one of those ‘incidents’ again,” Gavin answered.

“Apparently they didn’t find the body until early this morning,” Law said. “It’s seemed to affect everyone around here enough, so I’m assuming that Ayanna must feel the same way.”

“Sounds like it was a very important person,” Mina said.

The crowd in front of the door began to separate as a couple of soldiers came running through. Ayanna soon followed as she spotted the five on the sidewalk and jogged towards them.

“Good, you made it,” she said.

“Is everything okay?” Law asked. “We heard something had happened this morning.”

“Come inside,” Ayanna said. “It’s not a good idea to have this conversation out here.”

She led everyone inside the building, moving past the people that lined up to get indoors. Sorin watched as several employees rushed around, stumbling by each other. It appeared that no one had any time to think about the event that happened earlier.

“It’s been like this since the doors opened,” Ayanna said as the group ended up at the door to her office. “Here you go.”

As she turned the key, Ayanna pushed open the door. Sorin and the others quickly went inside as Ayanna shut the door and walked towards her desk.

“Are you okay?” Law asked. “It looks as if you’re wearing a shroud of stress over your face for everyone to see.”

“It’s just been a long morning,” Ayanna replied. “We were completely blindsided by what had happened that it’s a massive hit to our morale.”

“Lawrence and I know the basic details,” Gavin said. “It’s got to be someone big, right?”

“That’s why you brought us here, right?” Gale asked. “Ayanna, was that why you called us?”

Ayanna took a deep breath and sighed as she looked out the window.

“Please tell us,” Sorin said.

“At around 4:30 this morning, officer Arthur Dierk found a body partially submerged in the river,” Ayanna said, her hands shaking. “I… We confirmed that the body belonged to the prime minister, Alan Berry.”

A couple of gasps filled the room as Law stepped forward.

“I’m so sorry,” Law said. “I’m not even sure I can begin to imagine how you’re feeling on the inside.”

“With the other soldiers, I’ve been doing my best to keep a brave face,” Ayanna said, “But right now, I’m wishing that I was still asleep.”

“Who would do this?” Mina asked. “What villain would dare to assassinate the prime minister?”

“That’s something we’re still trying to figure out,” Ayanna said.

“Damn it,” Gavin said, “We only just got over that attack five months ago. Whoever did this is a real piece of work.”

“It’s unbelievable,” Sorin said. “Somebody carried out this attack when we least expected it. How could someone do such a thing?”

“Like I said, we’re trying to find out,” Ayanna replied. “Anyway, I’ve called you over here because apparently we’ve received a visit from the crown prince of Ahnlikohn today and I need you to go and greet them at the station.”

“We can do that,” Gavin said. “Besides, it’ll give us a chance to give the Ahnle family a nice warm welcome.”

“Thank you,” Ayanna said. “I don’t know what I would be doing without your help.”

“You know that we’ll go beyond the impossible,” Law said. “Especially me when it comes to you.”

Ayanna looked into Law’s eyes. “That sounds just like you,” she said.

Law placed his hands on Ayanna’s. “We will get through this,” he replied, “But for now, you can count on us.”

“Let’s hope we can find whoever’s responsible for Alan’s death,” Gale said. “I still can’t believe that he’s gone.”

“As long as Ayanna’s on the case, I’m sure that they’ll be caught in no time,” Mina exclaimed. “No villain stands a chance against us when we’re all united!”

“If it’s anything like what happened before, then I know that Alan’s assassin will receive a swift punishment,” Gavin said.

“Make no mistake about it,” Ayanna said, “Whoever did this will have to answer to the highest order in all of Iiayikohn.”

“There’s no time to waste, then,” Sorin replied. “Let’s get going.”

 

As they arrived at the train station, Sorin and the others saw the crowds of people throughout as they anticipated the Ahnle brothers making their gigantic entrance. The doors of the station opened as several Ahnle family royal guards stepped out in order to direct the two brothers off the train and into the station. Amile smiled and waved as his sunglasses glinted in the light while Amos kept to himself and stayed close behind his brother. The crowd cheered as they walked out onto the sidewalk and ran into Sorin’s group.

“It’s them, brother,” Amos said. “Those two bothersome guys from the tournament apparently decided to greet us.”

“Let’s just skip the bullshit,” Gavin replied. “We’ve been tasked with greeting you on behalf of the Iiayikohnian government.”

Amile grinned. “Too busy for us, it seems,” he said. “Though I guess it’s not a surprise that they’re running around like a bunch of headless chickens today.”

“You didn’t need to come here,” Amos said. “The Iiayikohian military only does these introductions because the prime minister sees himself a friendly leader.”

“And we weren’t going to go to the prime minister’s office anyway,” Amile said. “You really made a good choice of your time here, buds.”

Law peered at Amile. “Is that so?”

“What brings you here, anyway?” Gale asked.

“If you must ask, doll, it’s personal business,” Amile replied. “Amos and I have some deals to work out here while the queen handles things back in Glora.”

“We’re well aware of that,” Law said, “But I’m having a hard time you only came here on personal business.”

Amile crossed his arms. “Choose to believe what you want, bud,” he said. “Unless you happen to be a beautiful dame, then I’ve no business with you.”

Amos tugged at Amile’s arm and the two started to walk away, but Mina popped up.

“You can’t just walk away like that!” Mina said. “The government asked us to greet you for a reason, so you should at least hear them out!”

Amile turned around. “Looks like you’ve answered my call,” he said. “Okay, I’ll entertain you, my doll. What’s your name?”

“I’m not a doll, I’m Mighty Mina, basher of bad guys,” Mina replied, “And it would be helpful to Iiayikohn if you cooperated with us!”

“A voice that feisty can only mean that you’d be just as feisty behind closed doors,” Amile said. “If you’re not busy, perhaps you should pay my room a visit later tonight.”

“Are you done now?” Law asked. “Or do you want to continue and end up with a broken jaw and a few lost teeth?”

“I had no idea you were so steadfast to this Mina,” Amile replied. “Did I happen to strike a nerve with you?”

“Oh believe me, prince, even I know when not to cross a line,” Law said. “I’ve seen what Mina’s capable of and, if I’m being honest, you wouldn’t stand a chance.”

“If it weren’t for the animosity, I’d laugh,” Amile said.

Amos tapped Amile on the arm. “Come on, brother, we should go.”

“Anyway, seems he’s getting a little demanding, don’t you think?” Amile asked. “Maybe I’ll bump into you again next time, and if it’s either one the girls, I’d greatly enjoy that!”

Amile laughed as he departed with Amos. Law shook his head and turned back to the rest of the group as Mina had her fists clenched.

“He’s not a villain, but I really want to punch him!” Mina exclaimed.

“Forget about him,” Gavin said. “He’s about as interested in dealing with us as we are with him.”

Mina eased up and lowered her arms. “You’re right,” she said. “Whether he’s a jerk or not, attacking someone who isn’t a villain isn’t heroic at all.”

“No one would blame you,” Law said. “I almost came close to rearranging that man’s face, too.”

“What should we do now?” Sorin asked.

“We should inform Ayanna,” Law said. “At least have her know that they’ve arrived.”

“The less we talk about them, the better,” Gale said. “I wonder what Rain is up to right now?”

“Let’s get the unimportant stuff out of the way for Ayanna first,” Gavin said. “As Lawrence said, we have to let her know that fuckfaces one and two are here now.”

“I’ll head to the pay phone, then,” Gale replied.

She walked off towards the phone booth that was close by as Law looked back at Mina, who was busy talking to Sorin.

“It must take a lot for you to get mad,” she said.

“Well, I’ve dealt with guys like those back when I was doing deliveries,” Sorin replied. “Generally, those types of guys tend to pop up a lot in the upper class, especially if they have a lot of money.”

“I see,” Mina said. “Hey, you know who I miss?”

Sorin raised his eyebrows. “Who do you miss?”

“I miss Eva,” she replied. “I wonder how she’s doing.”

“Well, she’s spending time with my father,” Sorin said. “It would be nice to catch up with them sometime, though.”

“So we meet with our lovely princess once this is all said and done, then,” Law said. “I’d love to reminisce but we certainly wouldn’t want to keep her waiting, would we?”

Gavin sighed. “I suppose there’s little we can do standing around here,” he said. “Until we’ve got a clear idea of what’s happened to the prime minister, there’s not much any of us can do.”

“We’ll find them,” Mina said. “I know we will, because that’s just what heroes like us do!”

“Not once do you fail to bring the energy,” Gavin replied. His expression changed from a frown to an ardent grin. “If this assassin thinks they can get away with this, then they certainly haven’t met me!”

“Don’t get too ahead of yourself, bro,” Law said. “If we act without thinking, then we’re just going to end up going around in circles. Allow me to run as the brains of this team, because I’m certain we’ll find this killer.”

“You think so?” Mina asked. “Gavin told me about what happened with you and Rain’s brother, so I’m not sure I can believe that.”

“Never doubt the power of love, Mina,” Law replied. “This news struck Ayanna pretty hard and I could feel the pain just by looking in her gorgeous eyes. This may sound ridiculous, but we happen to share each other’s pain.”

“You’re right that that is ridiculous, Lawrence,” Gavin said. “Then again, seeing you speak with genuine passion is something I’ve never seen from you before until now.”

“I take it that you understand, bro?”

“Don’t get me wrong,” Gavin replied, “I still don’t care much for your pompous attitude, but at the end of the day we are a team. Nothing is ever going to change that.”

Law smiled and then burst out laughing. “Sorry, but that was the funniest thing you’ve said in a while,” he said. “I can tell you mean it, though, bro, and that’s what matters to me.”

Gavin reached out his hand. “Then let’s make it official.”

“Of course,” Law said.

The two brothers shook hands as Mina and Sorin watched. Law gently retracted his hand while Gavin pulled back his own and adjusted his sunglasses.

“Are you just going to gawk at us like a couple of hungry dogs?” Gavin asked. “Say something, Sorin!”

“Oh, yeah, that was really nice to see,” Sorin replied. “You really do care for each other, don’t you?”

Law shrugged. “I guess you relate with me more at this point, after all,” he said. “If Gale were ever in trouble, you’d run through the depths of hell to help. Shit, man, it doesn’t even have to be about love at all with you!”

Sorin looked down at his fist. “That’s true.”

“Everyone has their reasons,” Gavin said. “Let’s just focus on what we can do now, though.”

Gale walked back into the group. “So I let her know,” she said. “Looks like there’s no chance of us heading back there for a while, though.”

“Why’s that?” Mina asked.

“They’re still looking over everything regarding the assassination of Alan, so nothing has been released yet,” Gale replied. “There’s a conference happening soon, but that’s all Ayanna told me.”

“Well, guess we shouldn’t ruin the surprise,” Law said. “Round up enough people and I’m sure you’ll get someone who ends up squawking more than they should.”

“Now that we have that settled, let’s go and meet Rain,” Mina said. “Come on, she’s probably wondering where we all are right now!”

The others agreed and decided to head for the hotel where Rain was staying at. As they began to make their way to the hotel, an onlooker observed them from the distance behind a parked car. He watched with intent, but the weight of the bag on his back caused some problems as his hair kept getting caught in one of the straps.

“Gah, stop this!” Noa said. “Maybe I should have left the bag behind…”

He reached for the bag and set it down. On the inside was his sniper rifle, but the mission he was on was different from before. This time, he needed the help of someone with experience. Experience that Noa lacked. The only objective he received, however, was to look for a man with long, black hair. That sounded familiar to Noa, but he could not place exactly how he knew.

“Wait, are they still there?”

He looked up again and saw that they were gone. Now Noa remembered where he heard that name. It had to be one of them, that much he knew.

“Then there’s only one choice,” he said. “I… I have to be bold, damn it!”

Noa picked up his bag and chased in the direction he last saw the group heading off in. That way, he find his answers one way or the other.

 

To be continued…

 

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