[10th of September, 2740 AD; Executive Hotel, Alto Bar – Deca District]
Law waited and waited at the bar with Gavin and Eva as people walked in and out of the doors. He had a feeling that Amile would pass through eventually and it would be with his brother. There was little that Law could do right now, so he turned back over to Eva.
“So what’s your drink of choice?” Law asked.
“I usually sit back with a Welsblaek Choice,” Eva replied. “Of course, during the war, I barely touched the stuff.”
Law rested his arm on the side of the bar. “But now’s a different story?”
“It helps me sometimes,” she said. “That’s… all I’ll say to that.”
“Say no more,” Law said, turning his focus over to Gavin. “What’s say you that we get some beers here before the prince drops by?”
“I’ve no idea why you chose a bar of all places,” Gavin said.
“You don’t understand at all,” Law said, “Prince Ahnle is a man who loves only one thing: women who can stroke his ego, among other things. Fortunately, that’s something I can somewhat relate to.”
“No skirting around the bullshit this time, I see,” Gavin replied.
Law shook his head. “In any environment, gratification is the main motivator for many of our actions,” he said. “It just so happens that his is of a more sensual nature, though my desires are more passionate given the fact that I’m a hopeless romantic.”
“Just get to the point,” Eva said.
“Fine, fine, you two win this round,” he said. “We’re here because I know for a fact that Amile cannot resist the call of alcohol and the chance to engage young, alluring women in hopes to conduct whatever unspeakable acts he can think of to them.”
“All of this while blind, though?” Gavin asked. “Forget it, you probably already have an answer for that.”
Fifteen minutes passed and soon, like Law said, Amile and Amos arrived. Amos looked around and spotted the three and tried to turn Amile around, but the taller man in shades thrusted his way through.
“Come on, I’ve earned the right to stroll the bar,” Amile said. “Maybe I’ll even earn the favor of a right doll!”
“But those two… they’re here,” Amos replied.
“Those two?” Amile asked.
Law got up out of his seat and walked towards the princes. “Ah, Prince Ahnle, I’ve been waiting to meet you!”
“Oh, so that’s what you mean, Amos,” Amile said. “I figure that the boisterous one is here as well?”
“He’s here, all right,” Law said. “Why not join us?”
Amile laughed as Amos tugged at his sleeve. “Unfortunately for you, I’ve got other plans,” he said. “Plans that don’t involve you, bud.”
“Oh, but come on, prince,” Law replied, “I think if we really got to know each other better, you’d find that you and I have a lot more in common than you think.”
“I think I’ll pass,” Amile answered.
He and Amos turned away and began to walk off. Law just shrugged and shook his head.
“I guess you’re not worried, then,” Law said.
Amile stopped in his tracks. “Excuse me?”
“Brother, let’s go,” Amos said.
“Not now,” Amile said. “What are you talking about, bud?”
“Talk with us and we’ll tell you,” Law replied.
“You’re not going to let go of this, are you?” Amile asked. “It’s like you’re that little piece of tissue that sticks to the bottom of my shoe.”
“He’s just being an annoyance,” Amos said. “There’s nothing to gain here.”
“Silence, Amos!” Amile replied. “I guess I will entertain your little group, after all, bud.”
“Then let’s head up,” Law said.
He led the brothers up to the bar where Gavin and Eva were still sitting. Gavin had a scowl upon his face while Eva remained indifferent as she stared Amile down. The two princes sat down as Law took his seat.
“So Amos is telling me that you’ve got a lady with you,” Amile said as Amos whispered into his ear. “Maybe the doll would like to introduce herself?”
“What did you just call me?” Eva asked.
“I’m asking you what your name is, doll,” Amile said. “It’s always a good thing for a pretty lass like you to pay me the attention I deserve.”
Eva lowered her hand down to the sword at her hip. “Do you have a death wish?”
“Um, Eva, perhaps you should still your hand for now,” Law said. “We’re trying to make a good impression here…”
“If that’s how it is, I’ll put up with this charade,” she answered. “My name is Eva. I don’t want to shake your hand, however.”
Amile chuckled. “It’s fine with me,” he replied. “My right arm’s been aching all over for a while now. Wrist, shoulder, hand… you name it!”
“When did you hurt your arm?” Law asked. “It can’t have been before the tournament, because you were quite impressive or so I’ve heard.”
“That’s not a thing I’m just going to disclose to you,” Amile said. “Besides, I’ve a doctor’s papers that detail my injury.”
“I trust that you can produce this paper, then,” Law said.
“Trust that it exists, bud,” Amile replied. “Anyway, I want to know a little bit more about Eva doll here. What’s a young woman like you doing in a place like this, and with these two no less?”
Eva set her drink down. “To hear you call me young would almost be flattering if it was from anyone else,” she said. “Needless to say, I have my own reasons for being here.”
“It must be so difficult hanging around these two,” Amile said. “Is there any chance I could earn your attention for later?”
“That depends on whether or not you want a broken arm,” she answered.
“I see that you’re an ice cold one,” Amile replied.
“You’d do best not to provoke me,” Eva said. “I was once known as one of the most feared warriors in the land. ‘Eva the Killer,’ they called me.”
“Brother, I think it’s time to go now,” Amos said.
“Think again!” Amile exclaimed. “So you insist upon that moniker, doll?”
“If you really want to know, dumbass, then let her demonstrate,” Gavin said. “Now stop fucking around and engage us.”
Amile laughed as he put his hand on the counter. “Guess he doesn’t want me to find out, huh? It doesn’t matter to me, anyway,” he said. “What is it you really want from me?”
“Glad to see that you’re friendly to us,” Law said. “As for why I wished to talk with you, it’s about the news earlier.”
“The news earlier?” Amile asked. “Oh, you mean the assassination of the prime minister. Yes, what of it?”
“You must be nervous stepping into this country during such a trying time,” Law replied. “Seeing a high-ranking official taken down must give you a little caution, wouldn’t it?”
“Bud, I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Amile said. “I’ve only just recently arrived, after all. What could any assassin want with me?”
“Perhaps they’re not done yet,” Law said. “The Neu Thekohnian Order has been rising up in various places lately and some of the rumors I’ve heard connect them with this assassination.”
“You believe they have something to do with this?” Amile asked.
“It’s a possibility,” Gavin said. “That’s… why we’re asking for your help.”
“My help, you say? I had no idea I was this needed,” Amile replied. “I don’t know how much help you expect me to be, seeing as I lack sight, but I can provide a little insight into the Neu Thekohnian Order.”
Law leaned forward. “Do tell.”
“Their leader is ruthless and a criminal,” Amile said. “Jelka Arne is someone who will not stop until the entire Thekohnian Region is toppled, and the Neu Thekohnian Order is merely an extension of Arne.”
“And is that all you know?” Law asked.
“That’s as much as I know,” he answered. “Those guys are no joke, I assure you. One wrong step and you’ll be on their bad side in an instant.”
“I take that your country has had prior knowledge of them?” Eva asked.
“Oh, yes indeed, doll,” Amile replied. “The Neu Thekohnian Order was founded in Ahnlikohn and they have been a problem for us for a while now. Even the queen’s men have been busy in dealing with these terrorists.”
“All the more reason for you to cooperate,” Law said. “After all, these aren’t simple ruffians going about.”
“I don’t think that’s necessary, Mr. Power,” Amos said. “We’ve got soldiers of our own protecting us.”
“Did I say a single word about protection?” Law asked. “I only want information about who did the prime minister in. Surely you would like to see the one responsible take responsibility for their misdeed, wouldn’t you agree, prince?”
Amile stood up. “That’s more of a thing for Iiayikohn to handle,” he said. “It’s a crime committed on Iiayi turf, which has no interest to us.”
“But didn’t you just say that your country was dealing with the Neu Thekohnian Order as well?” Eva asked.
“That’s not a job for me,” Amile replied. “My job is to kick back, have fun, and meet as many beautiful girls as possible.”
“Some use you are, asshole!” Gavin said.
“Don’t let it get you down, bud,” Amile said. “Even if I were to come in contact with this assassin, I certainly would put up a better fight than the prime minister did.”
Amos tapped on Amile’s shoulder. “It’s best we go now.”
“Before you do, let me say one thing,” Law said, “I believe I’ve gotten you all wrong, Prince Ahnle.”
“What do you mean?” Amile asked.
“I thought that you were merely a fool,” Law replied. “Honestly, though, I feel like we might have more in common than you think.”
“I’d like to hear this,” Amile said, “After all, I need a good laugh.”
“Laugh all you want, prince, but I’m serious,” Law said. “I’ll let you in on something: this isn’t the type of place that’s great for picking up women.”
“You’ve piqued my interest, Mr. Power,” Amile replied. “Where is this place exactly?”
Law pulled a napkin and pen aside and began writing. “I’ll pass this note onto Amos,” he said. “I trust you’ll be able to make it there around this same time tomorrow?”
“Don’t you think you’re being too friendly?” Amos asked.
“I’m not talking to you, though,” Law said as he handed the note to Amos. “You just do what the note says and meet me there.”
“Then I take that you have the best place,” Amile said. “Tomorrow it is then, bud. Now, dear Amos, let’s be off!”
Amile and Amos left the bar as Law chuckled to himself. He turned looked back over at Gavin and Eva who were still sitting down in their seats.
Law sat down next to Eva. “Were you not impressed?”
“I’m more impressed she didn’t eviscerate him on the spot,” Gavin said.
“The only reason I didn’t do it was because I didn’t want to start a fight here of all places,” she said.
“It certainly wouldn’t be good for the rest of these people to have a fight break out,” Law said. “Either way, my hunch is looking pretty strong right about now.”
Gavin picked up his drink. “It seemed unlikely,” he said as he took a sip.
“What’s the next course of action, Law?” Eva asked.
“I’m going to meet him, obviously,” Law answered. “I’m assuming that his little brother’s got no say in the matter and will lead him to the location.”
“If that’s the case, I’m going to go with you,” Gavin said. “Despite his behavior, I have a feeling that he’s not the type to fold immediately.”
“Bro, if this were a poker game, he’d lose quickly,” Law replied.
“This isn’t a game, though,” Eva said. “Not when lives are at stake, and especially not when it’s Alan’s.”
“And that’s why I need you to contact Ayanna,” Law said. “We’re going to attempt to corner Prince Ahnle, one way or another. We won’t let him get away with what he did.”
[10th of September, 2740 AD; Tranquil Cardinal Inn, Helm, Ahnlikohn]
Several stares directed toward Victor Wihll, who sat at the edge of the lounge as Sorin and the others tried to decide on what to do next. There was no way that they could leave him alone and there was certainly no way they could move forward with their mission, either. Gale eyed the phone fastened on the wall and turned to Sorin.
“First things first, before we listen to him, we should inform Iiayikohn about this,” she said. “I wonder if we’ll be able to speak to Ayanna, though.”
“It wouldn’t hurt to try,” Sorin said.
“Then I’ll make the call,” Gale said as she got up.
Wihll looked over at Noa. “So tell me, Mr. Mzade,” he said, “The tragedy of Kals Dale impacted you greatly. Why, I ask, do you associate with these cretins?”
“To be honest, it’s because they’re the only ones who haven’t completely treated me like shit,” Noa replied.
“It seems like they’re just dragging you along,” Wihll said.
“Maybe they are,” Noa said as he viewed Rain out of the corner of his eye. “Maybe you guys are just setting me up to take the fall later…”
“We wouldn’t just drag you along, Noa,” Rain said. “That’s not my intention, nor is it anybody else’s.”
“Reassurance means nothing when it comes from the elite,” Wihll said. “Are you to say that you really care about any of these people? Can you say that to my face, even after all of what your family did alongside Ameci and Iiayi forces?”
“I know what has happened in the past, Victor, and I apologize on behalf of the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn for it,” Rain replied.
Wihll scoffed. “You truly are an ignorant princess,” he said. “Apologies won’t bring back my village nor will it bring back his family.”
He pointed over to Noa, who could only hang his head low.
“You might as well be spitting in my face,” Wihll continued. “To have the nerve to talk down to me like I’m some child is an insult to all of Maeitakohn!”
“What… can I do?” Rain asked.
“I’ve been wronged my whole life and still I live this joke,” Wihll said. “Yet you think by asking me you can attempt to absolve yourself of your crimes? Nonsense! It’s all complete nonsense with you!”
Rain had no response for him. There was nothing that she could say.
“No answer, huh,” Wihll said. “You leave people like me and Noa off as an afterthought and attempt to act as if you’ve got all the answers. What good comes out of the royal family when they continue to look us over?”
Mina sprung up to her feet. “Don’t let him get to you, Rain!”
“I don’t believe I was talk to you, was I?” Wihll asked.
“I’ve had with you, you villain!” Mina exclaimed. “You want to act like none of us care about what’s been going on, but it’s you who’s careless!”
“You’ve got some nerve sticking up for her,” Wihll replied. “I thought heroes were supposed to be against criminals?”
“The only criminal here is you!” Mina said. “You’re the one who’s destroyed and taken lives, not Rain!”
“If you’re going to call me a criminal, then you may as well call Noa one, too,” Wihll said.
“What? I’m not a criminal!” Noa replied.
“Noa is nothing like you!” Mina said. “Sure he’s not exactly heroic or exceptional, but he’s not as heinous as you!”
“And you really have no leg to stand on,” Sorin added. “The moment Gale is done with that call, we’re making sure that you won’t wreak havoc on anyone ever again.”
Wihll turned away and faced the wall. “Seems I’m as insignificant as ever.”
“You guys really don’t think I’m a bad guy at all, do you?” Noa asked.
“Not at all,” Sorin replied. “You just need to be more confident about yourself is all.”
“And even if you can’t be confident, we’ll be confident for you,” Mina said. “That’s one of our jobs as heroes!”
“Thanks,” Noa said.
“I’d like to thank you both as well,” Rain said. “I just had no idea what to say. I’m sorry about that.”
“You’re both welcome,” Sorin said.
Gale hung up the phone and looked back at the group. “I’m sorry to intervene on this moment, but I’ve got some news,” she said. “I called Ayanna, but it seems like she wasn’t at home.”
Sorin nodded. “Okay.”
“So I called the prime minister’s office instead and informed them,” Gale said. “Unfortunately, Ayanna wasn’t there, either.”
“But you did let them know, right?” Sorin asked.
“I did,” Gale replied. “There should be some soldiers heading over soon.”
“Then we’ve got nothing to worry about,” Sorin said. “Anyway, Noa, I was wondering if it was okay to hear your story.”
“My story?” Noa asked. “You mean… about what happened to my family?”
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to,” Sorin replied.
“No, it’s fine,” he answered. “If I want to be more confident like you said, then I have to conquer my past and not let it haunt me. I’ll talk.”
To be continued…