[16th of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Thekohn Tavern]
Inside the quiet tavern, Johan took a seat at the table across from Pariton and Luna. He had just made it into the kingdom as he planned out his next move. There was little going on as one of servers approached the table. After the three took their orders, the server left as Johan looked over to Pariton.
“It’s easier than I thought,” Johan said. “Anyway, Luna, I’m surprised you insisted upon this place. Are you old enough to drink?”
“Oh come on, Johan, you never ever wanted to go into the depths of a seedy bar?” Luna asked. “This is the kind of place where all sorts of types just come in and discuss their diabolical plans! We’re kind of like that, aren’t we?”
“Well, I wouldn’t call it ‘diabolical,’ per se, but I can see where you’re coming from,” Johan replied. “What we’re doing is helping change the world, and I guess a few people would find that problematic.”
“They’re worried,” Pariton said.
“And it’s nothing we should worry about,” Johan said.
“You should know that I am an adult,” Luna said. “I can drink all I want… if I wanted to, of course, but I don’t actually like beer or liquor or anything like that because one time I had a couple of drinks at a family party and made a complete fool of myself. I can still remember what my mother said to me, you know?”
“But it’s the atmosphere here that you like, right?” Johan asked.
“That’s true,” Luna replied. “Boy, it’d be nice to actually eavesdrop in on a conversation or two. Too bad it looks like we’re the only ones here.”
The door at the front opened as a man walked in. Johan gazed at him as he instantly recognized who it was as the man approached the table behind Luna. She turned around and upon looking up, she almost fell out of her chair as she tried not to scream.
“It’s… It’s… It’s that guy!” Luna exclaimed. “That guy from those True Thekohnians! Victor Wihll!”
“Get out of the way,” Wihll said as he took the empty seat next to Luna. “Looks like I’ve finally run into you again, Johan Kuu. You’ve been ever so elusive, haven’t you?”
“I take it you’ve found your purpose now,” Johan replied.
“Why are you here?” Pariton asked. “We’ve got no business with you now.”
“Guess I have you to thank, too, Mr. Varjostaa,” Wihll said. “If not for you, I would be dead by now and that would have been very bad for my new friends.”
“Your new friends?” Johan asked. “I thought you didn’t want to have anything to with the Neu Thekohnian Order.”
“Very perceptive,” Wihll replied. “They made me an amazing offer that I just couldn’t turn down, so I took it and went all this way here for a business matter on the request of the leader.”
Johan raised his eyebrow. “And you’re telling me this because why, exactly?”
“Come on, do you think you can fool me?” Wihll asked. “Just because I look like a brute doesn’t mean I play the part to a ‘T.’ No, I feel like you have to know this, because if you don’t, then there’s no point to meeting you.”
“I see,” Johan said. “Do you mind sharing me this plan of yours?”
“Let’s just say I’ve been asked to take care of a little nuisance,” Wihll said. “If the Neu Thekohnian Order’s plan is to go off without a hitch, then it is up to me to wipe out the threats that stand in their way.”
“If there’s one thing I’d admire about you, it’s your confidence,” Johan replied. “The way that you’re acting tells me you believe that there’s no way in hell that I’m going to try to stop you.”
Wihll smirked. “What nonsense,” he said. “Aha, now I get it. You’re playing your cards close to your chest right now, aren’t you?”
Johan raised his hands up open palmed. “Good job.”
“Maybe I shouldn’t bother you, then,” Wihll said. “The way things are, I know that you’re going to be in my face again. I will guarantee that next time, however, I will deal with you and your friends personally.”
Wihll stood up and left the table as Johan shook his hand. He relaxed his arms as the server brought everybody’s beverages. Luna, though, had a whimper that turned into a frustrated groan as she pounded the table three times, which caught the server off guard as he walked away.
“Are you okay?” Pariton asked.
“Of course not!” Luna replied. “That man could’ve killed me if I looked at him the wrong way! What could I possibly do in that situation?”
“Victor’s not much of a pleasant man, I’ll give you that,” Pariton said. “It was Mr. Johan’s request, however, to break him out of prison and I do trust his judgement.”
“There really is nothing we can do about him, is there?” Luna asked.
“Well, he did give us a hint,” Johan said. “He owes a great debt to the Neu Thekohnian Order, which means that they had a hand in helping him somehow.”
“Which means they’re not that far from here,” Pariton said. “Do you think that Lauren Ahga is here now?”
“That’s the only explanation,” Johan said.
He knew that Ahga was already in the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn, though. It was why Johan had to come to the kingdom, because he had a reason to help Ahga out. All he needed to do now was find a way to distance himself from both Pariton and Luna so he could meet with the man himself once again before the rest of the Neu Thekohnian Order arrived in the kingdom.
“What could they possibly want here?” Luna asked.
“They want to enact chaos,” Johan answered. “What more chaos could they bring to the Thekohnian Region than to take out the king?”
“And they already assassinated Iiayikohn’s prime minister,” Luna said. “We’re going to stop them, right? The Moonlit Silence doesn’t go quietly in the night, right?”
“We do work well in the shadows,” Johan said. “Come on, I think we’re done here. Let me just pay the tabe and we’ll head towards the castle and see if we can’t enter.”
“So we’re really going to see the castle,” Luna said. “That’s great! If we’re lucky, we might even see a royal or two along the way!”
Outside the tavern, Johan could see a couple of cars pass by on the street. There was nothing particular about them, but in that same direction Johan could see Wihll heading towards the nearby hotel.
“That’s our next stop,” Johan said.
“I thought you said we were going to the castle,” Luna said. “We were going to see the princess, perhaps, or maybe the prince if not the other princess. Maybe even the queen if she’s there!”
“Not everything is some grand story,” Pariton said.
“I know that, Pekka, but wouldn’t it be great if we saw something cool like that?” Luna asked. “That one princess, Rain, I heard was down in Helm a few days ago. If only I could’ve been there I would have seen her in person and maybe even meet her!”
Johan sighed. “Anyway, there’s a reason why Victor Wihll went into that hotel,” he said. “We might be able to get a closer eye on him talking with Ahga and see what we can learn from the both of them.”
“And we’ve got the chance to see the castle should we need the reason to,” Pariton said. “Okay, Mr. Johan, let’s get to it.”
They walked across the street and entered the hotel that Wihll had gone into, making sure not to cause much attention to themselves. Johan reminded both Pariton and Luna to keep quiet as he watched Wihll open a door close by and enter the room, closing the door behind him.
“We can’t follow him in there, can we?” Luna asked.
“Just wait,” Johan said.
He crept up to the wooden door and proceeded to place his hand on it. A light push on the front was all he needed to know as he looked back at Luna.
“It’s hollow,” he said. “We’ll probably be able to hear, but I want you two to be on the lookout while I try to listen in.”
“Got it,” Pariton said.
He turned around as Luna did the same. Johan closed in, placing his ear on the door as he heard Wihll talking.
“I’ve finally made it,” Wihll said. “Now what exactly do you intend to have me do? Who do I kill?”
“Now, now, Victor, I want you to think before you go off on this mission,” Ahga said. “There’s no telling what will happen if you happen to botch this one up.”
“I was a high ranking member of the True Thekohnians,” Wihll replied. “I couldn’t have gotten that far without stepping on a few insects. No, it was practically a requirement!”
“Quiet down,” Ahga said. “I don’t want you to draw out any unneeded attention to ourselves.”
“Very well,” Wihll said. “You would do me well to tell me the name of my target, however.”
Silence followed as Johan wondered who Ahga wanted dead. There was a growing concern now that he was at the behest of Ahga and the Neu Thekohnian Order, but Johan had a suspicion that this person was much closer than he thought.
“You really want me to go after this person, Lauren Ahga?” Wihll asked. “I’m surprised.”
“As you should be,” Ahga replied. “Still, it would be terrible if any sort of interference were to be left unchecked, no matter who they may be.”
“You’re a much more ruthless man than I gave you credit for,” Wihll said.
“Sacrifices must be made in order for our plans to work,” Ahga said. “There was a nice little breakfast I had earlier, which muddied my decision, but that’s why I’m asking you for help.”
“What’s in it for me?” Wihll asked.
“It will come in due time, Victor,” Ahga answered. “In due time.”
“How do I know you’re not just going to stab me in the back later?”
“After what she told you, you’re still not convinced?” Ahga asked.
“Let’s just say I want to read the fine print before I sell my soul away to you,” Wihll said.
“Read the note again,” Ahga said. “Don’t you wish you could have taken action earlier? But of course, things might have ended poorly for you.”
“Consider this a mutual benefit,” Ahga said. “You take care of my problem, and the leader will take care of yours. She’s a nice woman once you get to know her, Victor.”
“You’ve been praising her for a while now,” Wihll said.
“It’s an admiration I have for her,” Ahga replied.
“I see how it is,” Wihll said. “Fine, consider the task done.”
“Thank you,” Ahga said. “By the way, have you heard about what’s happened in Bel?”
“Can’t say that I have,” Wihll answered.
“Well, you’re probably going to thank me later,” Ahga said. “Now go on and go forth!”
Johan separated himself from the door as he motioned over to Pariton.
“Let’s go,” Johan said.
“What happened?” Pariton asked.
“No time to talk about it now,” Johan replied. “Just get out of here.”
“Okay!” Luna said. “Where are we going?”
“To the castle,” Johan said. “We’ll find a way in, one way or another.”
Brook stepped off the bus as he was now in the kingdom. There was little time for him to waste as he had to hurry to the castle. Rain had to be notified about what Brook learned back in Rezar.
“Damn it all, why now?” Brook asked.
He sprinted as fast as he could towards the castle, unaware of what was waiting for him. Still, if he was correct, then Rain was already there.
To be continued…