[11th of September, 2740 AD; West Gate Entrance, Helm, Ahnlikohn]
As Korbin and his gang pulled up to the entrance to the town, they could hear the explosions from afar. Bradley stopped the truck and turned over to Korbin, who was smiling as he reached for his gun.
“Looks like they’ve been hit,” he said. “Finally, some excitement!”
“Think it’s the Neu Thekohnian Order behind this?” Bradley asked.
Korbin loaded his gun. “If it means getting some target practice, I sure hope so,” he replied. “This is going to be so fucking cool!”
“I’ll tell them to get ready, then,” Bradley said.
“Oh, get the other thing, too,” Korbin said. “No telling if we’ll be running into them today, but if we do, then I want a piece of him. I want to see how strong he truly is.”
“Very well,” Bradley replied. “I’m sure Lance put a good amount of time into polishing it, so it should be fine.”
“Good, good,” Korbin said as he opened the truck door. “Let’s get ready to roll out! If you happen to see those crimson uniforms, shoot away!”
He hopped out of the truck and ran into the town as Bradley got out and headed to the back. Lance and Erik were busy watching over Silvia as Bradley opened the back door and set his sight on the one thing that Korbin was talking about. Bradley had heard from Korbin about his intentions and had a clue about what he wanted to gain from facing this man he spoke of, but was not sure that they would be able to meet here. Still, Bradley complied with his friend’s request and went into the back of the truck.
Inside the shopping district, Sorin and Rain looked around to see where Noa ran off to, but they could not find any trace of him. That was when Sorin saw a couple of men in crimson uniforms, who belonged to a group that he was well familiar with, and turned to Rain.
“You’re okay with this?” Sorin asked. “I don’t want to end up having to deal with one of my friends getting hurt.”
“Please don’t worry yourself,” Rain said. “I’m capable of handling whatever may come our way, that much I will assure you.”
“Then let’s not waste any more time,” Sorin said.
With no time to spare, they headed into the plaza where many of the people had already cleared out. The two members of the Neu Thekohnian Order stood around as Sorin drew his sword.
“Tell me: have you seen a man in a Maeitakohnian military uniform pass by?” Sorin asked. “You’ve got ten seconds to answer.”
Rain waited to the side of Sorin, her sword still sheathed. “These must be the ones behind the attack,” she said.
The first man took out a short sword. “What’s it to you two?”
As he charged at Sorin, the other man drew his blade and decided to attack Rain. As Sorin anticipated the oncoming assault, he turned his sword sideways and thrusted forward to block the attack. Meanwhile, Rain watched as the other man sprinted towards her and kept her hand close to the hilt of her sword.
The attacker thrust his sword forward, but Rain turned and dodged to the left as the second man passed her. In the next moment, Rain unsheathed her sword and swung at him and scored a successful hit on him, her blade making contact with his wrist. The sudden slice caused him to drop his sword and cover his wound. Rain lowered her sword as she stared the second man in the eyes.
“Who are you!?”
On the other end, Sorin deflected attack after attack until his assailant paused to catch his breath. His opponent’s guard lowered, Sorin struck swiftly and slashed the opposing man’s arm. Though his opponent did not drop his weapon, Sorin continued his attack as he ducked and dodged to the side. From there, Sorin caught the first man off guard and swung his sword again. Mere inches separated the blade of Sorin’s sword from the first man’s neck as it hung in the air above him.
“It seems you’ve made a big mistake,” Sorin said. “I’ll ask you again: have you seen a man in a Maeitakohnian military uniform?”
The first man looked to the second. “Shit, we need to run!”
The second man attempted to cover his wound. “They’re stronger than I thought,” he said. “The boss is going to be mad at us this time!”
They took their swords and proceeded to make their exit. However, a gunshot rang out as the first man was struck in the back of his neck by a bullet. The second man looked around as the next gunshot boomed and the following bullet hit him in the head. Both men fell to the ground as Sorin and Rain looked on in shock.
“You two!” Noa exclaimed. “Sorin! Your Highness! I’m sorry!”
“Noa, is that you?” Sorin asked. “You did that?”
“They were attacking you, so I decided to step in,” he replied. “Looks like I was useful after all!”
Rain withdrew her sword. “Where are you?”
“I’m up on the rooftop!” Noa said. “I could see some more of those guys up ahead. It’s probably a good idea to go now!”
“That’s true,” Sorin said. “We were only supposed to find you, after all.”
“No, we shouldn’t let this happen,” Rain replied. “I can’t stand to see this kind of misdeed acted out on innocent people. We have to help.”
Sorin understood as he took a deep breath and exhaled. “I know,” he said. “My father wouldn’t have just left all of these defenseless people to fend for themselves.”
“Then you know what we have to do,” Rain said. “Noa, can you hear us?”
“I can, but is this such a good idea?” Noa asked. “Surely the officers are doing their best to secure the area!”
“You have a good view of the area, do you not?” Rain asked. “Sorin and I trust that you can provide backup should we need it, right?”
“And we have reason to believe that the Neu Thekohnian Order is running around through the area, causing more trouble,” Sorin said. “As long as you’re up there, I’m sure you’ll be able to pick them off.”
“Then I’ll do my best,” Noa said.
“We’re counting you,” Sorin replied. “Let’s not waste any more time!”
And with that, the three of them set off. Noa took to the rooftops as Sorin and Rain ran through the plaza in pursuit of the Neu Thekohnian Order. They could not have gotten too far, Sorin thought, as he was certain that they’d be able to confront the leader of the group. They just had to find her, that was all.
[11th of September, 2740 AD; on the road to Helm, Ahnlikohn]
Ayanna informed the other three of what had happened on the way to the town of Helm. Just moments after they caught the two people responsible for Alan’s assassination, Gavin, Law, and Eva traveled with Ayanna in order to find Silvia Roeik, who was being held captive by the Neu Thekohnian Order. At least, that was the information that Ayanna was tipped off to for her to set up the drive to Ahnlikohn. As she drove the car, the other three rode alongside her, with Law in the passenger seat and Gavin and Eva in the back.
“I just don’t understand,” Gavin said. “What do the Neu Thekohnian Order look to gain from holding this woman hostage?”
“That’s what I’m trying to figure out, Gavin,” Ayanna replied. “Still, we’d rather not let them have any advantage. That’s why this is important for us.”
“But why Helm of all places?” Eva asked.
“Well, they did originate in in the nation of Ahnlikohn itself, so it would make sense for them to hide there,” Ayanna said.
“That does seem to be the obvious answer, doesn’t it,” Law said. “Just think: a terrorist group giving away their location all for one hostage. Why go through all the trouble?”
“You’ve got an idea,” Gavin said. “I see what you’re saying, then.”
“Right, we have to consider that this could all be a set-up,” Law replied. He looked over to Ayanna. “Surely you’d think the same thing, wouldn’t you?”
Ayanna sighed. “Let’s just see for ourselves,” she said. “There are very few leads we have, anyway.”
“You’ve got that right,” Eva said.
“I want to ask you three something,” Ayanna said, “How did you find out that the prince was the assassin? To think I had spoken with him earlier, not knowing what he did…”
“Something didn’t seem right to me,” Law replied. “He said some things to us that he should have had no idea about, and that was what led me to believe that he had some part in the prime minister’s death.”
“Though he was being blackmailed, it was still his doing,” Gavin added. “Can’t say I really have any sympathy for him, though.”
“In fact, Prince Ahnle mentioned the Neu Thekohnian Order specifically,” Law said. “Think it’s too late to turn back and ask him if he knows anything about Silvia’s disappearance?”
“Of course it’s too late,” Ayanna answered. “We’re less than an hour to Helm. What would you want to ask him about, anyway?”
“Wasn’t Silvia the one who was last seen with Alan?” Law asked. “He might have a clue as to how she got out, or maybe that was part of his plan, too.”
“The report I had received was that someone had broken into the prison by pretending to be a visitor,” Ayanna said. “As for Silvia’s escape, that’s an answer that I intend on getting from her directly.”
“I’d like to hear from her, too,” Law said. “Seems we’ve got a similar goal in mind, my dear.”
“Just don’t go getting your hopes up,” Ayanna replied.
“It’s nothing too extravagant,” Law replied.
“I’m sure,” Ayanna said.
“Say, what about a reward?” Law asked. “We found the assassins, don’t you think we should receive some sort of honors? Maybe a medal or something?”
“That can be discussed with the general and the prime minister,” she replied. “They’ll be sure to give you the highest of honors, I assume.”
Law grinned. “You think they’d throw a parade for us?”
“You’re pushing it,” Ayanna said.
“What about you, bro?”
Gavin crossed his arms and closed his eyes. “You really want to know what I think? I’m in,” he said. “I would expect no less than a hero’s welcome once we got back to Rezar.”
“You two think so highly of yourselves,” Eva said. “Though I will say it’s a lot better than the attitude that prince gave to me.”
“Don’t even fucking think about comparing me to that asshole,” Gavin replied. “I’m the one who exposed his crime and cornered his ass.”
“I meant that as a compliment,” Eva replied. “I’m certain that Alan would have appreciated what you and Law did.”
“Anyway, we should stay focused,” Ayanna said. “Fortunately I’m armed, as I’m sure that Gavin and Eva are, too. I can’t say the same about you, though.”
“Oh come on,” Law said, “You know I fare much better unarmed, so long as I have luck on my side.”
“You can’t just continue to rely on such a fickle thing,” Eva said. “It might have worked out earlier against the prince, but what will happen if you run into a much more capable opponent?”
“I guess we will have to see,” Law answered. “All I know is that I’ve relied heavily on my luck and it has yet to fail me.”
“That’s such a stubborn thing to say,” Ayanna said, “Though I suppose that’s one of the things I like about you.”
“Only one of the things?” Law asked.
“Just try to not to get distracted,” Ayanna replied. “There’s always time later after we’re done here.”
“Glad to be reassured,” Law said.
He leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes as Ayanna continued to drive. Time continued to pass as the silence started to become too overbearing, which caused Eva to speak up.
“I wonder if the others are doing okay,” Eva said.
“Don’t worry about them too much,” Law said. “I think Sorin’s capable enough to lead them through.”
“Wouldn’t doubt him, honestly,” Gavin said.
“That’s true, I guess,” Eva replied.
“We’ll meet with them again soon,” Ayanna said, “So we don’t need to worry about them.”
“Just wanted to know if they were doing okay,” Eva said. “I suppose I’ll just have to find out later, then.”
Little time passed as they continued towards their destination. One thing that Eva was certain of, though, was that the person who had ordered Alan’s assassination was still out there. That was the man who wanted Alan dead, for whatever reason, and Eva wanted to deal with them personally. She wanted to make things right for Alan for all the good he had done. That was why Eva could not give up, not at this point.
To be continued…