Sundown – Chapter 27 (Part 1)

[16th of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Thedam Castle Interior Hallway]

 

Morning came around and Sorin got up early to prepare for the day. He had spoken with Gale for a considerable amount of time last night, which helped set him at ease as he knew he had no reason to worry. Sorin asked about the progress in Maeitakohn, to which Gale responded that Gavin, Law, and Eva were now in Bel looking for Mina’s mother and helping Henry’s troop stop the attack from the Neu Thekohnian Order. After that, Sorin rested easily and knew that he had to keep going as well. Downstairs, he went to the courtyard and saw that Rain was awake and humming a tune to herself.

“You’re exceptionally happy this morning,” Sorin said. “Did you receive the good news you sought?”

“No, it’s nothing like that,” Rain answered. “It’s just a simple song I learned as a child.”

“Really?”

“Well, I had a good sleep last night and felt like humming it,” she said. “Do you ever just feel that way?”

“Last night was the first time in the past few days I’ve had a good night’s sleep,” Sorin replied. “So I guess I can see where you’re coming from.”

“Glad you’re able to understand,” Rain said.

Sorin chuckled and nodded his head. “Speaking of last night, do you mind if I ask you something?”

“Go right ahead.”

“What happened, anyway?” Sorin asked. “Is your father alright?”

“That was what I heard,” Rain said, “But I can’t help but shake the feeling that something is going on.”

“You can’t rest until you see him for yourself, can you?”

“That’s it,” Rain replied. “It’s been over a month since I saw him last. Mind you, he’s always been a busy man but he had taken the time out of his schedule to speak with me and my siblings.”

“And not a word since then, I assume,” Sorin said.

“I fear that all I can do is wait,” Rain said. “Whatever’s coming our way, I just have to wait. At least I know I have Mina at my side… as well as you and Noa, of course.”

“Have you seen Mina, by the way?”

“Not since I woke up,” Rain answered. “Perhaps she’s sleeping in after the dinner we had with my sister.”

“It’s a bit unlike her, but you might be right,” Sorin replied. “If you happen to see Mina, let her know that I want to speak with her.”

“I will do that,” Rain said. “Are you going to go look for Noa now?”

Sorin looked back at the castle. “That’s what I’m going to do,” he said. “It’d be best to gather everyone here so we can figure out what to do next.”

“That’s a good idea,” she said. “I’ll await for you for you to return with Noa, then.”

“It won’t take too long, I hope,” Sorin said.

He went back into the castle and proceeded to look for Noa. Sorin was able to find the Maeitakohnian sniper looking around the Thedam family armory room and told Noa to come with him to the courtyard. Despite Noa wanting to stay longer, he agreed and went with Sorin to reunite with Rain. Outside, they found the princess and Mina as well, who were already talking to each other.

“I really did get quite a good rest last night,” Mina said. “Your bed is really comfy, Rain!”

“I’m glad you that were able to get the rest you needed,” Rain replied. “It really is quite a big bed, isn’t it?”

“You must have had no problems being able to sleep, either,” Mina said. “After what you said to me, it felt good to finally lay down.”

“Hey, we’re back,” Sorin said.

“Ah, Sorin, you’re in luck,” Rain said. “Mina happened to pop up just when you went back inside!”

“I see that,” Sorin replied. “Did something happen between you two overnight?”

“Not really,” Rain answered. “She just wanted to see how comfortable my bed was, that’s all.”

“That’s it?” Sorin asked.

“Indeed, that’s all it was,” Rain said.

“Those pillows were especially fluffy, too!” Mina added. “I can only think that that’s what sleeping on a cloud would be like.”

“Well, if that’s all it was, then I’m not going to pry any further,” Sorin said. “Though I have the feeling that that isn’t all there is between you and her…”

“Did you say something?” Rain asked.

“Nothing at all,” Sorin said. “Let’s just go over what we should right now.”

Sorin proceeded to go over the past few days. As he did, a visitor showed up which caught Sorin off guard as he stopped talking. In the gates was a man that Rain knew all too well. She turned around and smiled once she saw him.

“Sir Lauren!” Rain waved over to him. “You’re back so soon.”

“Ah, nice to meet you again, Your Highness,” Lauren replied. “I see that you’ve made quite a few friends on your travels.”

“Yes, it has been quite a journey for me,” Rain said. “Where is mother? Was she not with you?”

“I needed to make a stop before I head back to Rezar,” Lauren said. “There are some things I must retrieve.”

“So you’re in a hurry,” Rain said. “Would you care to at least meet with my friends before you go?”

Lauren grinned. “I suppose I can humor you all for a spell,” he said. “There must be a lot to learn from all of you, that much I’m sure of.”

“It would be nice,” Sorin said.

“Well, let’s get going, shall we?” Lauren asked. “There’s plenty a tale I could learn about you, Sorin Wilk.”

Before Sorin could respond, Lauren headed of for the castle. Sorin had to wonder how exactly he knew his name, but did not raise any questions about it. Instead, he just decided to follow after him with Rain, Mina, and Noa as they decided to delay talking about their plans for now.

 

*****

 

[16th of September, 2740 AD; New Mahrk Plaza in the Callitris District, Bel, Maeitakohn]

 

Gavin was the first to arrive at the plaza, along with Law and Eva as they stood in wait for Henry and his troop. The bright sun was already out in full force in the cloudless sky as Gavin adjusted his sunglasses. Though it had only been a few months since the Battle of Bel, the plaza was much more lively with people walking around.

“It looks like they do have an embassy for Ameci after all,” Law said. “We’ve got quite a lot of catching up to do, bro.”

“It looks like it,” Gavin replied.

“To think that this was the location of a massacre only a few months ago,” Eva said. “Looks like life manages to go on for the Maeita citizens.”

“Well, with Rhodes going out the way he did and his successor stepping up, people seem inspired,” Law said. “Time will tell if that remains true, though rumor has it the Mahrk is just another face for a higher authority.”

“It always seems to be that way here,” Eva said. “This country’s president goes down and another is propped in his place until either he gets assassinated or ousted from power. Stability continues to be fleeting for the people here and I don’t blame them at all for their feelings on the matter.”

“Wonder how long this guy will last, then,” Law replied. “Bro, do you see Henry yet? It’s getting kind of boring just waiting outside the embassy.”

“If you’re that fucking bored, just go head to the nearest bar,” Gavin said. “You usually do that anyway, so why not now?”

Law laughed. “I’m not that thirsty.”

“Anyway, I think we’re still waiting for them to get here,” Gavin continued. “Henry is certainly doing his damnedest to get here late.”

“Am I now?”

Gavin turned to his right and saw Henry standing there with his troop behind him. “You really are an asshole.”

“Still at it with the salty language, I see,” Henry said. “So, shall we head in already? I don’t think it’s a wise idea to share plans out in the open like this.”

“Yes, I think that that’s for the best,” Eva replied. “Come now, boys.”

“Hah, first time I’ve been called a ‘boy’ like that,” Law said. “Since you said it, though, I’ll allow it.”

“Let’s just go, dumbass,” Gavin said.

“Fine, fine, I’ve got no problem with that,” Law replied. “I’ll carry my feet and make sure not to get in the way.”

 

Up on the second floor of the embassy, Henry directed his men to sit at the arranged chairs while Gavin, Law, and Eva continued to stand up. They were still waiting for the general of the Maeitakohnian army to arrive. A few minutes passed by and then finally General Khadir walked through the doors with a few of his men as well. His presence made everyone take notice: though he was not the muscular phenom that Fercewend was, Khadir still had an impressive frame that suited a general like him. The clean cut short hair and mustache with goatee combination helped to top off the grand impression that he made on everyone in the room.

“So this is the leader of Rohan’s trusted troop?” Khadir asked. “I would’ve thought this to be a more lively group.”

“Well, general, we were just waiting for you to arrive,” Henry replied. “I wanted my men to treat you with the respect that befits a man like you.”

Khadir erupted into laughter as he shook Henry’s hand. “I’m just pulling your leg, Henry Randolph! Just being here is the nicest gesture you can give me.”

Henry could only smile in return. “That’s a relief,” he said. “I’ve heard the stories myself, but to see the man in the flesh is another thing.”

“You are way too humble for your own good, Henry,” Khadir replied. “There’s not a single soldier in this army that doesn’t know about the legendary duo of Fercewend and Randolph. Puff out your chest and yell at the top of your lungs once in a while!”

“I will try to do that,” Henry said.

“And I see you’ve brought some friends as well,” Khadir added. “Of course, I can recognize those long locks of hair from a mile away. Miss Eva Bellamy, the swiftest blade of the Swords of Eight standing right before my eyes!”

“Hello,” Eva said.

“You would think to greet me as well, wouldn’t you?” Gavin asked. “I was the one that defeated Victor Wihll in the palace!”

“It’s nice to meet you as well, Mr. Gavin Power,” Khadir replied. “Looks like you’ve brought good company, Henry!”

“Are you seriously forgetting me?” Law asked. “And let’s be honest: it wouldn’t hurt to have a change of scenery, don’t you agree? Get out of here and find a place where we can take in the eye candy, right, general?”

Gavin elbowed Law in the side. “Don’t start.”

Khadir laughed. “I admire you, son,” he said. “You’ve got that look about you where you just don’t have a single care in the world. You remind me of a younger version of myself before I met my wife, god bless her!”

“Well, now that’s a story I’d like to hear for another time,” Law replied, “But we’d be going way off the rails if we started shooting the shot right here and now.”

“Once we’re done with this mission, perhaps we can do that,” Khadir said. “Now then, what our objective is is to find and rescue your missing person while my men take care of the Neu Thekohnian Order presence around here.”

“About that,” Henry said, “We’re curious about where it is we need to go.”

“Fortunately, I’ve already mapped out a radius of where your woman from Bryn is already,” Khadir replied. “I’ve received word from my best scouts that just outside Bel Dale exists a camp where these notorious terrorists are hiding out.”

“And we’re the ones that have to sneak in while you guys do the dirty work,” Law said as he began to clap. “Bravo, General Khadir. Bravo.”

“It’s been his modus operandi ever since he became the general of the Maeitakohnian military,” Henry said. “It is admirably pragmatic.”

“The way you say it makes me sound like nothing more than a simple, two-bit scoundrel,” Khadir replied. “Hahaha, just kidding! You do yourself well, you know that?”

“Whatever that means,” Gavin said. “It’s good to know that not everyone in your army is as spineless as that Noa Mzade.”

“That’s the first time I’ve ever heard someone call him that,” Khadir said. “Needless to say, he’s anything but spineless.”

“Really now?” Gavin asked. “That… I guess I’ll take your word for it, then.”

“Alright, let’s just get to the point,” Henry said. “General, you’ve already set forth that plan, haven’t you?”

“Not exactly,” Khadir answered. “Meet at the entrance to Bel Dale and we can discuss our strategy there.”

“Very well,” Henry replied. “Looks like we’ve got a place to be, everyone.”

General Khadir then left with his men as Gavin pushed up his sunglasses and moved to the open door. He was the next to leave, followed by Law and Eva. Henry then motioned to his troop that they would leave last as they all set out for Bel Dale where the rescue mission would take place.

 

To be continued…

 

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