Sundown – Chapter 31 (Part 2)

[20th of September, 2740 AD; New Prime Minister’s Office, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]

 

After breakfast, Sorin went with the others to the prime minister’s office to meet with Ayanna. However, Noa decided not to go with them because he felt as if he would not be welcome inside. Pekka said much of the same due to the circumstances his past for the most part. Storm also decided to stay back at Drake’s house as well. Luna chose to stay as well, citing that she felt the Drake might need her help. So with that decided, Sorin and the others met up with Ayanna in the questioning hall to discuss their plans.

“Glad to see you’re doing well, Your Highness,” Ayanna said. “Law told me all about what had happened, so I’m here to help.”

“Thank you, Ayanna,” Rain replied.

“You’re welcome,” Ayanna said, “Though I can’t say how much of a help I can be if we want to solve this problem as quickly as possible.”

“Well, the prime minister is all but ready to launch a strike on Ahnlikohn, last I heard,” Law said. “It all seems to fall right into place for the Queen of Thekohn, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, and I’m ready to handle that as needed,” Ayanna replied. “I can find a few ways to bend the rules and send a troop to Oelaans, but it would be a large task to convince Dezine otherwise.”

“We don’t need his help,” Gavin said. “It’d be better if we handled this ourselves. Besides, we have enough experience running a small operation on our own.”

“I’m inclined to agree,” Eva said.

“If that’s the case, then what is our next course of action?” Sorin asked. “I feel like if we head back, we would only be met with hostility at the very best. That’s not even getting into what would be the worst.”

Gavin rubbed his beard. “It’s hard to think they wouldn’t try to come after us, anyway,” he said. “This Ahga guy doesn’t seem like the type of person to leave a job unfinished.”

“Are you saying he’s already planning something, Gavin?” Mina asked.

“That’s what I’m thinking,” Gavin replied.

“Truly, Sir Lauren does a lot for the kingdom,” Rain said. “He’s always been at mother’s side, as well, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility.”

“Is it really necessary to keep calling him that?” Law asked. “For a man who tried to kill you, you still call him with such a high honor.”

“I know what has happened, but I cannot believe that he would disregard me and my sister entirely,” Rain replied. “Brook would feel the same way, that much I’m certain of.”

“That is something to behold,” Eva said. “I suspect you feel the same way about your mother as well.”

“Well, that is true,” Rain said. “It conflicts me that the family I love tried to kill us, but even so, I can’t bring myself to hate them. It’s something I just cannot, in my heart, do.”

Mina looked over with concern in her eyes. “Rain…”

“Believe me when I say that right now, I hesitate in confronting both Sir Lauren and my mother,” Rain replied, “I am doing my best to stay strong not only for the sake of my sister, but for all of you as well. Especially you, Mina.”

“Thank you!” Mina said.

“Seeing the two of you like this really tickles something in the romantic side of me,” Law said. “That said, tackling this mastermind duo is something I’m sure we’ll be able to take care of, with or without the help of the Iiayikohnian military.”

“At the very least, I should help,” Ayanna said. “Seeing all of you working this hard for Her Highness is almost enough to move me to tears.”

Law laughed. “You really do appreciate her presence, don’t you? Am I going to be jealous?”

“Leave your jests at the door, Law,” Ayanna replied. “I am just expressing my appreciation for the royal family, even if the queen happens to be our enemy.”

“There’s one thing I want to know, however,” Sorin said.

“What is it, Sorin?” Gale asked.

“It’s about the Ameci military,” Sorin replied. “Last we saw of them was in Oelaans, but I haven’t heard anything about their whereabouts.”

“If you’re asking about them, then I’ve already spoken with Henry,” Ayanna answered. “They are currently in Bel right now on a separate task.”

“I see,” Sorin said.

“Something’s on your mind,” Gale said. “Could it be about him?”

“It’s not that I think he’s up to something, but still, I’m concerned,” Sorin replied. “Guess I can’t really think about it too much for now.”

Gavin rested his hand on his forehead. “It’s long past time to think about him at a time like this,” he said. “Besides, the sides have already been set and there’s nothing we can do to change that.”

“That’s not who I’m talking about,” Sorin said. “I guess it shouldn’t matter too much, though it does concern me somewhat.”

“Then who is it about?” Gavin asked. “I can only think of one other person that might concern you; could it be him?”

“Wait, who are we talking about?” Mina asked. “You guys are confusing me!”

“Pay them no mind,” Law said. “The person that Sorin’s thinking of has nothing to do with us or our mission.”

“Anyway, since we’ve seem to hit a roadblock, I’m thinking we might need to reconvene,” Ayanna said. “There’s still a few days before anybody decides to do anything, so it would be for the best if we came back to this tomorrow. Would the same time be okay with you?”

“Looks like we’ve got no choice,” Sorin said.

“That’s good with me, Ayanna,” Rain answered. “I am sure we can find a way to progress sooner rather than later.”

“I am certain of that, too, Your Highness,” Ayanna replied. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a meeting with the general.”

Ayanna stood up and left the room as everyone looked at each other. The same uncertainty was the same as it was in the beginning and no one knew how they would move forward onto the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn. Lingering feelings floated around in Sorin’s mind as he thought to himself about how they would be able to carry such a large group in the kingdom. Even if were possible, there’s no telling what the queen and Lauren Ahga had in store for them.

“I think we should leave, too,” Gale said.

“I don’t disagree with you,” Eva said.

Everyone made their way out of the questioning hall and into the main hallway as Sorin took a deep breath. He could only exhale as he heard a familiar voice coming from down the hall.

“Wilkie? Wilkie, Gigi, it’s me! Over here!”

Everyone turned and saw Kiku waving at them with Ayame and Igor standing behind her. She hurried up to the group as the two followed after her. Sorin smiled, but he did not expect to be greeted by Kiku’s enthusiastic embrace. Kiku’s laughter filled the hallway as the others could only watch her hold Sorin close.

“It’s been quite a while, hasn’t it?” Kiku asked.

“Not even a week,” Sorin replied. “You’re free to let go of me now. I think Gale is staring at me with intent…”

“Oh, no, it’s fine by me,” Gale said. “I’ve come to accept Kiku’s little quirks.”

Kiku giggled as she unleashed Sorin from her grasp. “I’ve been quite lonely without seeing all of your faces,” she said. “Wilkie, Gigi, Lala, Gavvy, Minnie, and Ray… Oh, and I see you’ve brought another friend!”

“I’ve heard a bit about you from the others,” Eva said as she reached out her hand to Kiku. “I guess it would be rude of me if I didn’t introduce myself to the empress’ daughter. My name’s Eva Bellamy, one of the former Swords of Eight.”

“Well, it is nice to meet you, Evie,” Kiku said, shaking Eva’s hand. “The group you have here is really nice, you know? You’re about two more people away from fielding a baseball squad!”

“Or a basketball team with two bench players,” Law replied. “That reminds me… Kiku, do you enjoy playing card games?”

“What a wonderful question to ask, Lala!” Kiku said. “Sometimes I do, but Iggy’s such a sore loser that I don’t really do it with him. Aya’s too much of a stick, but even so, I can’t really be mad at her for that.”

“It was only the one time, madame,” Igor said.

“Really?” Ayame asked. “I could remember seeing how bad your poker face was that I just started laughing.”

“Now that you remind me, maybe I will consider it,” Kiku said. “Hearing your cute laughter always brings me up, Aya.”

Ayame looked to the side as she covered her mouth. “Please, Madame Izumi, you’re going to make me blush…”

“Well, if that’s the case, maybe you three would like to be treated to a little fun,” Law said. “Just to catch up on what’s happened and all that, if that’s good with you, Kiku.”

“Oh, I would love to,” Kiku replied. “Wait, you’re not trying to pull something, are you, Lala?”

Law smirked. “Now what would make you think that? I’m already tied down, so there’s no reason for me to set sail upon your ocean.”

“I think I’m going to throw up,” Gavin said.

“Please, Gavvy, your brother is only being nice,” Kiku replied. “He’s simply expressing himself in the best way that he knows, even if it happens to be a little overbearing.”

“That’s a bit ironic,” Gale said.

“Well, regardless, perhaps we should have that date after all,” Kiku said. “Are you thinking tonight, Lala?”

“Sure, why not,” Law replied.

“Then I’ve got a great place we can go to,” Kiku said. “Aya, what is the name of that club in the Deca District?”

“If I remember correctly, it was called Lost Blue, was it not?” Ayame asked. “Either way, I suppose we can take a night to share with our friends here. Your mother would understand, I’m sure.”

“Then it’s settled,” Kiku replied. “Meet us there after sundown, okay?”

“You mean all of us?” Sorin asked.

“Of course I do,” Kiku said. “Bring along any and all of your friends! The more the merrier, isn’t that what the people say around here?”

“Close enough,” Eva answered. “We’ll see you there, I guess.”

“You’re going too, Eva?” Gale asked.

“Why not? It’s not like we’ve got much else to do,” Eva said. “Besides, Kirk’s spending most of his time with Lowell and Tre. Can’t do much to make him budge away from them.”

“Oh, this is news to me,” Kiku said. “You should tell me all the details later tonight! Promise?”

“I promise,” Eva said.

“Then we shall see you later,” Kiku replied. “Don’t forget!”

Kiku then left with Ayame and Igor at her side. Sorin and the others looked at each other and decided to head back to Drake’s house to decide what they had to do next. At the absolute least, Sorin felt that they could figure something out before too long.

 

*****

 

[20th of September, 2740 AD; Executive Hotel, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]

 

Kirk went with Lowell and Tre inside the Executive Hotel’s Ocean Lounge and sat at one of the tables. According to Lowell, they were to meet with another former member of the Swords of Eight, Rado Liffe. What the three did not expect, though, was to see Gamil Gomel as well when the two men walked through the door. Rado hustled through on his way to the table as Gamil walked behind him, both men taking a seat across from Kirk and Tre.

“Long time no see, brothers,” Rado said.

“Same to you, Rado,” Kirk replied. “And it’s nice to see you’re doing well, Gamil.”

“We got the word from Tre,” Gamil said. “I was docked at Jiaikohn when I got the telegram. You had to see the faces on my crew when I told them we had to make a quick stop back here!”

Kirk laughed. “I’m sure they didn’t expect to come back around these waters so soon,” he said. “Still fishing out the big ones out there?”

“Better believe it,” Gamil replied. “Although my back’s been getting worse; pulling in those bad boys isn’t getting any easier on me.”

“Well, it would be nice to talk about fishing, but we’ve got other matters to discuss,” Lowell said. “You’ve been keeping up on the news, haven’t you?”

“With all that goes on, how could I not?” Rado asked. “The mountains of Ahnlikohn may be quiet, but even there I hear word of war.”

Gamil shook his head. “Alan tried his damndest to avoid this,” he said. “The six years he put in as prime minister… Were they all for nothing, damn it?”

“I understand your feelings,” Tre said. “I’m angry at those guys that gone and done the deed, but I’m also angry at the Dezine fellow for completely disregarding everything that Alan stood for as well.”

“The fight never stops,” Kirk said. “Even at peace, there was always something bubbling underneath.”

“If they go to war now, we all suffer,” Rado said. “People around, they suffer too. All because of greed.”

“There’s not a lot that we can do about it,” Lowell replied. “At least, on our own. Kirk, there is someone that we can reach out to, is there not?”

Kirk nodded. “Yes there is,” he replied. “They just got back only a couple days ago.”

“Good to hear,” Lowell said. “Call them and tell them I’d like to arrange a meeting as soon as possible.”

 

To be continued…

 

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