Sundown – Chapter 26 (Part 1)

[15th of September, 2740 AD; Tulip Lane Station, Oelaans, Thekohn – Felis District]

 

At long last, Rain had made it back to Oelaans. With Sorin, Mina, and Noa in tow, she had come back all this way in order to enter the kingdom she called home. With her mission still incomplete, Rain hoped that her newfound friends would be able to help. If she was to stop the assassination of her father, Rain needed to stay strong.

“So, Rain, what’s going on around here?” Sorin asked.

As they got off the train, they watched as a group of soldiers blocked off the nearby road. A lot of people tried to get by, but ended up being turned away or shoved to the ground. Rain knew that they had to get moving, so she decided to take charge and walk up to the soldiers at the blockade.

“Excuse me,” Rain said. “May I ask what is happening?”

The leading soldier turned his head and almost jumped when he saw Rain. “Your Highness! We had no idea you would come this way,” he said. “It’s nothing, really! Just a request from the queen!”

“Mind you share that request with me?” Rain asked.

“I’m really sorry,” the soldier replied, “But I was told not to share that information with anyone besides Her Majesty and Sir Lauren. I hope you understand.”

“I still don’t get it,” Rain said. “At least let us through so we can get into the kingdom.”

The soldier shook his head. “I’m afraid we’re not allowed to do that,” he said. “At this moment, we’re not to allot anyone access into the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn except for Her Majesty and Sir Lauren.”

“What does that mean for me?” Rain asked. “For us? For the people of this great land? Please answer me!”

“I’m must say I’m sorry once more, Your Highness, but that’s not for me to answer,” he replied. “If you have questions, you’ll have to ask Her Majesty for yourself. She’s currently in Rezar last I heard.”

“Rain, I think we should do what he says for now,” Sorin said as he helped Rain away from the blockade. “We’ll find a way to get in, I know it.”

“Yeah, we’re going to get into the kingdom no matter what!” Mina said. “Let’s just go, Rain.”

“I suppose your right,” Rain replied. “I almost let my anger get the best of me.”

“If that what you’re like when you’re angry, then I really don’t want to piss you off,” Noa said.

“You shouldn’t worry about that,” Rain said. “We’re just going to have to think of a different approach.”

“That’s the right idea,” Mina said. “Nothing’s going to stop us! Not even the queen herself!”

Rain covered her mouth as she tried not to laugh. “Well, I would hope it doesn’t come to that,” she said. “I’m sure that it’s just a misunderstanding of some sort. I honestly do not believe that there’s any way that my mother would act without a purpose.”

“So what can we do now?” Sorin asked.

“I suppose we’ll have to look around until I speak with my mother,” Rain said. “Perhaps we should head to the Oelaans Gardens first.”

“I used to go there a lot, actually,” Noa said. “It… makes me feel something, that much I know.”

“Oh, that was with that man, was it not?” Rain asked.

“Well, yes,” Noa replied.

“Then I guess it would be okay to go, if that’s fine with you,” Rain said. “There should be a phone in there, plus you’ll get to see all the displays.”

“Wow, what kinds of displays?” Mina asked.

Rain smiled. “You’ll see,” she said. “Let’s go there now.”

They took no time in heading for the Oelaans Gardens. For the the four of them, though, they were not alone. Off in the distance was a man clenching his fist dressed in an Iiayikohnian soldier’s uniform with a hat and sunglasses. He stood atop the steps leading to the courthouse as he continued to watch Sorin’s group head towards the gardens.

“They actually thought that they were rid of me,” he said. “Looks like I’m going to have to pay them a visit, after all.”

 

*****

 

Inside the Oelaans Gardens, Sorin viewed in on a small, but colorful, plant in the left area of the greenhouse. He admired the long leaves that lead up to the stem of the plant, but also liked the mixture of yellow and green on the petals. If only he were able to share the moment with Gale, he would have, but for now it would just be a tale until the she could see it for herself once the two come back to Oelaans on their own terms. He had to admit, though, that it was somewhat lonely not being by her side and he assumed that it was the same for her back in Rezar. Sorin knew he had to stay focused, but wished he could talk to Gale right now.

“You look so lost in thought,” Mina said.

“Is it that obvious?” Sorin asked. “I guess that I’m just thinking about the things that have happened so far.”

Mina slapped her hand on Sorin’s back. “I knew it! Anyone could see it a mile away! So, what are you thinking about?”

“It’s Gale,” he answered. “I must admit that I miss seeing her. We’ve been together for the past few months, almost inseparable I might add, and this is the first time I’ve gone on without her by my side.”

“Well, it must be tough,” Mina said, “But that’s what being a warrior is about, isn’t it?”

“Maybe it is,” Sorin said.

“Warriors like ourselves have to take whatever challenges come our way,” she said, “And when we win, we get even better! You’ll get through this in no time, I’m sure of it!”

“I hate to break it to you, Mina, but you really can’t relate to how I’m feeling,” Sorin replied. “At least, not yet.”

“What do you mean?” Mina asked.

“When you have someone you care about as more than just a friend, things change,” Sorin said. “What I feel when I talk to Gale is much different than when I talk to you or Rain.”

“I guess so,” Mina said. “Do you mind if I ask you what that feeling is?”

“Not at all,” Sorin answered, “Though it’s difficult to describe.”

“You can’t say that!” Mina said. “Remember, we’re warriors; nothing should be too hard to overcome!”

Sorin chuckled. “Thanks for that,” he said. “So, I guess you could say that I want to do everything possible for Gale, especially now. If you had somebody like that, you would do the same, wouldn’t you?”

“Of course I would,” Mina replied. “That kind of person you speak of, well, I’d feel exactly the same as you do.”

“It’s not just that, either,” he said. “Actually, maybe I shouldn’t go into it, after all.”

“Why not?” Mina asked.

“It’s… something personal I’d rather not say out loud,” Sorin answered. “Say, have you seen Noa around here?”

“No, I don’t think I’ve seen him ever since we entered,” Mina said. “I know Rain wanted to talk to her mother, but I haven’t seen her either.”

“That’s odd,” Sorin said. “What’s taking her so long?”

“You know, she might miss her,” Mina replied. “She’s been traveling with us for so long, she probably just wants to see how her mother’s doing!”

“Maybe, but I had the feeling that it wasn’t going to be such a personal call,” Sorin said. “I think we should go and see for ourselves what’s taking Rain so long.”

Sorin then headed off to the front with Mina following behind him. They walked past one of the displays, which was a large orb that was covered in silver, and towards the entrance to the garden. What awaited them there was a shock for sure as Noa cowered behind Rain as she confronted the man that was dressed in an Iiayikohnian soldier’s outfit. He stood in the entrance, his intimidating physique helping block off several people from going in.

“Just who are you, anyway?” Rain asked.

The man pulled on his gloves. “It doesn’t matter, now does it? No, what I’ve really come for is him.”

He pointed over to Noa, who could only stand and look at him in fear. Sorin and Mina joined Rain as they noticed the “soldier” as well.

“Come on, we don’t want to have to resort to violence, do we?” The man adjusted his sunglasses as he walked up to Rain. “Now, let me interrogate him like I’m supposed to…”

“I’m not going to let you do that, sir,” Rain said. “No matter what your reason is, whatever it is you’re looking for, I’m sure that Noa has nothing to do with it!”

“Who is this man?” Sorin asked.

“Just a soldier who happened to be in town,” the mysterious man replied. “I happened upon you lot the moment I saw you leave the train station.”

“If you’re a soldier in the Iiayikohnian military, then you’d have no trouble telling us what your name and rank are,” Sorin said. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you during my time in Rezar, if I’m being honest.”

The man laughed. “That’s… that’s because I’m a special agent,” he said. “Only the best in the world would keep his identity hidden.”

“I have trouble believing you,” Sorin replied. “Perhaps you should just admit that you’re just an imposter.”

“Show us your face, you liar!” Mina exclaimed.

“Are you sure that you want me to show you? Maybe you won’t like what you’ll see,” the mysterious man said. “Fine, it wasn’t like I was going to stay in town for long, anyway.”

He unraveled his gloves and tossed them to the ground. Next was the hat upon his head, dropping right next to his gloves as he revealed his blond hair for all to see. Last were the sunglasses, which instead of being thrown to the ground, the man gently removed them from his face, folded them, and tucked them into his breast pocket. Sorin, Rain, Mina, and Noa were all too busy looking in shock as they realized who stood in front of them. The familiar, sinister smile could only belong to the man they thought had been escorted back to the cell that he escaped from back in Aesker.

Mina pointed at Wihll. “You! I thought we took care of you back in Helm!”

“You really think a single, simple soldier would be enough to apprehend me?” Wihll asked. “No, I’m no fool. Not anymore, at least.”

Sorin moved his hand to the handle of his sheathed sword. “What do you mean?”

“Don’t bother withdrawing your sword,” Wihll said. “Besides, I’m only here for that man cowering behind Her Highness.”

“You’ve got business with Noa?” Sorin asked. “How were you able to attain that outfit, anyway?”

“I bid my time during my capture back in Helm,” Wihll replied. “The dumb bastard never saw it coming and I took his clothes as a reward. After that, I made my way here and found out a very interesting fact regarding your friend along the way.”

“I honestly don’t know what to make of this,” Sorin said.

“What is this fact you speak of?” Rain asked.

“I thought that you would have known, Your Highness,” Wihll said. “Anyway, perhaps I shouldn’t divulge that information so easily. What would that spy think?”

“That spy?” Sorin asked. “You don’t mean…”

“You sound interested,” Wihll replied. “Too bad, I’ve got places I need to be right now, but I’ve given you a little something to gnaw on in the meantime.”

Victor Wihll turned around and made a dash out of the garden and onto the street. Mina tried to hurry after him, but was stopped by Rain at the entrance.

“No, don’t go after him,” Rain said.

“But Rain, I can’t just let him get away with it,” Mina replied, “He’s the villain and we have no clue what he’ll do next!”

“It’s not that,” Rain said.

At that moment, a truck sped down the street. It looked as if the driver was aiming for Wihll, who saw the vehicle coming as he dove out of the way at the last possible moment. The truck went and crashed into the nearby lamppost as Wihll then ran off.

“I can’t believe it!” Mina exclaimed. “Are they okay?”

“Let’s go check them out before we do anything else,” Sorin said.

Sorin exited the garden and walked towards the truck that now had smoke coming out from underneath its hood. As he got closer, however, he heard the most recognizable voice that he did not want to hear.

“For the love of fuck, Erik!”

Korbin thrust open the door and hopped out onto the street. Erik and the rest of the other Ameci soldiers soon made their way out of the truck as Korbin grabbed Erik by the arm.

“It wasn’t my fault,” Erik replied. “That asshole just leapt out of the way at the last second!”

“You goddamn dumbass, that was Victor Wihll!” Korbin yelled as he punched Erik in the face. “You think that general’s gonna like it when he hears you let an escaped man get away?”

“I’m sorry, Korb,” Erik said, “I’m not going to let it happen again!”

Korbin panted as he let out his frustration on Erik once more. “You let him get away, shithead,” he said, “As in you weren’t able to splatter his guts all over the fucking road!”

“How can say that?” Sorin asked.

Korbin stopped his assault and let Erik go as he turned around. “Ah, hey, Sorin! How’s life treating ya?”

“Just fine, thanks,” Sorin replied as he looked away.

“Oh, don’t be like that, man,” Korbin said.

“Hey, I don’t know if you know this, but our guy’s getting away,” Bradley said. “You can catch up with your buddy later.”

“Whatever you say,” Korbin replied. “Looks like we’ve got a job to do. I’ll happen upon you later, okay, Sorin?”

Korbin and the rest of his troop grouped together and hurried after Wihll in the direction he had ran off in while Sorin looked on dumbfounded at what had just happened. Rain and Mina were quick to join up with Sorin soon after as Noa slowly trailed them both.

“Dare I ask what that was about?” Rain asked.

Sorin shook his head. “I have no clue,” he said. “The past few minutes feel like a distraction.”

“It’s been like that since we’ve arrived,” Rain said. “Fortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of damage here.”

People gathered around as they were all focused on the truck that sat there, the front of the car dented thanks to the lampost. Sorin turned away from the wreck as he regrouped with the other three.

“You were really quick to notice that truck speeding in,” Mina said to Rain. “I don’t know what I can say except thank you!”

“It’s nothing, really,” Rain replied as Mina hugged her. “Oh, well, I guess that’s fine… Fine, indeed…”

Mina pulled herself off of Rain and laughed nervously. “Sorry, I guess I got carried away,” she said. “Wait! What about the blockade? Maybe now with what’s happened, we can get into the kingdom!”

“Well, this is certainly the way we can get in,” Noa said. “I have to admit I’m a little enthusiastic about seeing it for myself.”

“We can be happy once we get there,” Rain said. “There should be a bus that heads out to the kingdom in the Rio Plains, so let’s not hesitate any further.”

 

*****

 

Johan entered Oelaans and watched from the window to see the chaos slowly unfold as Luna and Pariton watched with him. He had come at the worst possible time as he knew that there was a chance that the Ameci military was already in town. A couple of soldiers stood around the entrance while the bus made its final stop. He would have to hurry to the next bus, Johan thought to himself as he got up from the back seat.

“It seems like we’ve been beat,” Johan said.

“That’s bad, right?” Luna asked. “Can we still make it to Oelaans?”

“This might actually be the break we need,” Johan replied. “With the Ameci military running around, there’s probably a diversion that’s got the task force here scattered.”

“Oh, so I guess we don’t need to do much,” Luna said as she looked down at the floor.

“You sound disappointed,” Pariton said.

“Well, I wanted to try out my skills,” Luna replied. “Those guys would have probably wanted to hear the call of a cute girl like myself, but I guess we’ll never get to see what would really happen.”

“I bet they would’ve fallen for it,” Johan said. “With your gift, I’d bet they’d listen to whatever you had to say.”

“You really mean that?” Luna asked. “Hearing you say that really lifts my spirits now! I can totally do this!”

“Let’s go now,” Johan replied. “Hopefully we don’t get caught out there…”

Johan hurried off of the bus and onto the streets as he watched the Oelaans officers run down the street nearby. With all the commotion, Johan knew that he would have an easy time getting onto the bus to the kingdom. Pariton and Luna came to his side as they moved past the crowd and towards the other side of the town. With nothing left to hold them back, Johan, Pariton, and Luna eventually arrived at the station and hopped onto the bus. What none of them knew, however, was that there was another passenger onboard. As the bus began to move, the blond haired man sat a few seats away from the three.

“So we meet again,” Wihll said. “What a nice surprise, Johan Kuu.”

 

To be continued…

 

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