Sundown – Chapter 25 (Part 2)

[15th of September, 2740 AD; Iiayine Castle Interior, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]

 

Brook could only guess as to why his mother, Isla, would want to see him at the Iiayine Castle. Why he was summoned even though there were no meetings today, he had no clue, but Brook honored the request anyway. He entered the parlor but found no one else inside as he stepped forth. The loneliness did not last for long, however, as another man entered. It was the current prime minister, Wilson Dezine, who was then followed by Isaac Kunigunde, Piere Hasker, and finally Isla Zano Thedam.

“So you’ve arrived,” Isla said.

“May I ask a question?” Brook asked.

“I see no harm in asking,” Isla replied. “Go ahead, my dear.”

Brook adjusted his glasses. “To what is this meeting for? I’m uncertain as to why I was summoned here. No disrespect to you, of course, mother.”

“None taken,” Isla said, “But to answer your question, I was hoping that this fine gentleman could explain it for you.”

Dezine stepped forward. “I’m glad that I finally get to meet the prodigious prince of the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn for myself,” he said as he reached out to shake Brook’s hand. “I’ve heard the story of you emerging victorious in Jiaikohn, so I’m honored to share the same room as you.”

“Thank you, prime minister,” Brook said.

“I know it must be hard to take time out of your day to honor me with your presence,” Dezine said. “That’s why I’m going to get straight to the point: we are preparing to go to war with Ahnlikohn.”

“W-What?” Brook asked.

“Believe me, I didn’t want to think it was possible, either,” Dezine replied, “But to assassinate the man that held the highest position in this country is an action that must be met with retaliation.”

“And that is why we are here as well,” Hasker said. “We are allies, after all, so it would only be fair to offer our support in this time.”

“It only seems fair,” Isla said. “I am deeply saddened by this turn of events, but sometimes we must be able to correct the problem as we see fit.”

“I know that the Neu Thekohnian Order has been popping up recently, but is that really a reason to go to war?” Brook asked.

“After what they’ve done, it’s the most logical decision,” Dezine said.

“I know there’s no denying that they were the ones responsible for Prime Minister Berry’s assassination,” Brook said. “That doesn’t mean that we should rush in headfirst. Not without considering all the options.”

“We took the time to consider everything,” Isaac said. “Luckily, my friend Piere here was able to convince these two that we must stand strong together and deal out retribution to those who have wronged Dezine’s land.”

“That’s very right,” Isla replied. “As for you, dear, there’s just one thing you’ll have to do. It’s simple, really.”

“Whatever it is, I will have to decline,” Brook said. “I have no interest in carrying out actions that help towards starting wars.”

“Don’t think of it as starting wars,” Isla said. “You will be responsible for the transfer of Amile Ahnle to his new home.”

“Again, I must refuse,” Brook replied. “No matter how many time you ask, I won’t do anything in support of war.”

“An unfortunate answer, but I won’t pursue it anymore if that’s what you desire,” Isla said. “I will simply have someone else do it instead, though I wish you would do it if only to help bolster your world experience.”

“Fortunately for me, I’ve already got that covered,” Brook answered. “I do thank you for being considerate, mother.”

Isla nodded. “Thank you.”

“And I can’t forget these gentlemen, either,” Brook said. “Thank you. I shall be on my way now.”

Brook made his exit out into the lobby. A clock was ticking down, ticking until whenever that impending strike was to happen. He wondered to himself what he could now in his position in order to at least mitigate the impact for Ahnlikohn and its people. Brook then remembered that he had a short chat with Rain in that she was heading back home and that she was going to pass through Helm on the way there.

“Perhaps she can help,” he said. “Anything to stop this…”

“You really are ignorant, aren’t you?”

Brook turned around and saw Isaac Kunigunde closing the door behind him. He approached Brook, closing in on him as he looked him directly in the eyes. With nowhere to turn, Brook smiled in a returning gesture.

“Mr. Kunigunde, to what do I owe the honor?” Brook asked.

“You would do well to play your role in this,” Isaac said. “We are men, after all, so it’d do you best to hold yourself high and strike back before they’re able to bloody your nose.”

“Surely you don’t believe that this will solve Iiayikohn’s problems,” Brook said. “We’ve seen what war can do to a land and its people.”

“No, you haven’t,” Isaac said. “I’ve seen what happens in war; all you’ve experienced is what you’ve read in some ragged history book. You have no real experience to speak of, much less create on your own.”

Brook did his best not to roll his eyes. “You may be right about my lack of experience, but I’ve spoken with many across this region and they all had stories to tell,” he said. “Stories about how their families were fractured, how they’ve lost their towns and friends, all of that due to the war. They are too busy trying to rebuild what they’ve lost to have it all taken away from them again.”

“Regardless of your little anecdotal blather, you should heed my word,” Isaac said, “If you dare to stroll into the lion’s den, then you’d best be prepared to strike. This holds true in both war and in politics.”

“And I take that you have great experience in both?” Brook asked.

Isaac did not to respond. Instead, he delivered a punch to Brook’s abdomen which caused the younger man to drop to his knee. He spent a moment to catch his breath, looking up to see Isaac glaring down at him. The fact that this man had assaulted Brook was a surprise, much less the fact that he had done it out in the open. Brook looked around, but found no one else besides him and Isaac.

Brook stared up at Isaac again. “W-What was that for?”

“What are you going to do now?” Isaac asked. “Are you going to cry? Run away? Obviously you don’t have the mettle to counterattack, so you should just go home now and let the adults handle things now.”

“You… still haven’t answered my question…”

“Consider it a strong warning,” Isaac replied. “If you try to interfere, then I would say that it will not end well for you.”

Isaac walked away, leaving Brook to catch his breath. After he was finished collecting his breath, Brook stood up and dusted himself off. He checked to see if Isaac had left any long term damage to him, but found nothing. Despite it being a quick an unexpected jab, Brook felt as if Isaac did not possess great strength. Still, Brook had a job now and he had to inform Rain before it was too late.

 

*****

 

[15th of September, 2740 AD; on the road to Oelaans, Ahnlikohn]

 

Korbin eyed the apple in his hand as he rode in the passenger seat. Erik drove the truck while Bradley was busy speaking with the other soldiers. Not much could be said about the drive, at least that was what Korbin thought to himself. Instead, he turned to Erik and started the conversation.

“You want to know what I think?” Korbin asked. “This Neu Thekohnian Order must’ve been started by that Victor Wihll guy!”

“That’s the guy who led the True Thekohnians, right?” Erik asked. “But they were already heard of before he escaped from prison.”

“Yeah, sure, but he seems like the kind of guy who would have some connections,” Korbin replied. “We all know that these terrorists are still roaming around the region, which is why they decided to group up under a new name. How’s about that?”

“Your deductive skills are quite good, Korbin,” Erik said.

“Hey, it’s what I do,” Korbin said. “Any of those types I see, I just gotta act on instinct. Shoot first, shoot second, and if that isn’t enough, take a knife and stab away.”

“That’s the way to go,” Erik said. “Still, I can’t believe even some of our trusted allies would find sympathy for the True Thekohnians.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Korbin replied. “After all, I’m just in it to have fun. The job just makes it more interesting for me.”

“It’s the fun that counts,” Lance said from the back seat.

“How about you shut the fuck up, Lance!?” Korbin exclaimed. “No one here asked you for your opinion!”

Lance backed down. “S-Sorry…”

“So, Erik, how far are we away from making it to Oelaans?” Korbin asked. He took a bite of his apple and began to chew.

“We’re still quite a ways away,” Erik said. “Hey, Bradley, where’s the road towards Oelaans?”

Bradley sighed. “Didn’t I just tell you an hour ago?”

“I think you did, but you know the old noggin of mine,” Erik replied. “Being a boxer in school really did a number on me.”

“Just take the path towards Helm,” Bradley replied. “We’re on a mission from the general, so let’s not fuck this up.”

“If it’s the general you’re worried about, then don’t be worried,” Korbin said. “There’s only one man that I fear in this world, and he’s nowhere near where we are right now.”

“That’s exactly why I said that,” Bradley said.

Korbin laughed as he tossed the apple core out the window. “I’ve been dealing with the punches all my life,” he said. “That’s why I’ve got to punch even harder, so I can show him show how far I’ve come!”

Not only that, but there was unfinished business with a certain spy. Korbin was all but certain that Johan had defected to the other side and had a feeling that he would be running into him again. If that happened, Korbin would not hesitate to go all out. Then again, there was also Sorin, the man Korbin held in high regard. Somehow, Korbin knew that he would have to meet him too. Perhaps even sooner than he thought.

 

To be continued…

 

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