Sundown – Chapter 41 (Part 1)

[22nd of September, 2740 AD; Inside Ahga Manor, just outside of Oelaans, Thekohn]

 

Luna moved the shower curtain of the upstairs bathroom as the search for Rain continued. There was no one inside the shower, but Luna expected that to be the case. On the other side of the hall, Pekka tore apart the guest room, his search revealing nothing of note.

“It’s not like she’s hiding in one of these cabinets or something,” Luna said. “There’s not that many rooms up here at the top, are there?”

“Well, there’s the other end,” Pekka said. “Besides, I think we’re done looking around here anyway.”

They had been through one of the other bedrooms, an empty storage room, and an antique room as well. No matter where they looked, however, Rain could not be found. There was only the other end of the upstairs hall, where several more rooms awaited them. Pekka walked first, with Luna trailing him. As they got closer to the other end of the hallway, though, they heard a loud crash and the sound of a man yelling.

“That must be them,” Pekka said. “Get ready, because we’re going to go in headfirst!”

He attempted to open the door, but found it locked instead. However, Pekka decided to break down the door, cracking his knuckles as he charged the door with his shoulder. It was to no avail, however.

“Are you kidding me?” Pekka asked.

“Remember what Sorin and Mina did,” Luna said. “I may not be as strong as those two, but I can lend you what strength I have!”

Pekka nodded. “Okay, we’ll have to go on three,” he said. “One… Two… Three! Now!”

They lined up side by side and hurried to the locked door. Pekka charged with his shoulder once more, but Luna had something different in mind as she led with her foot. The combined strength of both his shoulder rush and her kick was enough to jar the door and reveal Ahga, who was looking out of the window. To both their surprise, though, Rain was not there.

“Where is Rain?” Luna asked.

“Where do you think she is?” Ahga said.

Pekka gritted his teeth. “You don’t mean…”

“She’s just hanging on, that lucky one,” Ahga replied. “Tell me, Your Highness, did you do only this because you knew that they would come rushing to your aid?”

Outside the window, Rain grabbed onto the railing just below the window and turned around. She had tried to move along and enter through a different window, but with Ahga looking down at her, it proved impossible. She could have made the drop to the ground without any worry of a major injury, though she could not afford to at this moment.

“Those friends of yours, you wouldn’t abandon them at all, would you?” Ahga asked. “I could go ahead and take care of them first, but since I’ve got you here, I should finish the job.”

“You would do so, even though I’ve no way of fighting back?” Rain asked. “I thought that you’d told me that it was dishonorable to attack someone with no way of fighting back.”

“Honor only means so much,” Ahga said. “But I’m talking about you.”

Ahga reached for his gun, but before he could grab it, Luna rushed in with her knife and planted it into his left shoulder. She held onto the handle as Ahga let out an agonizing scream, though he reacted quickly as he shoved Luna off of him and onto the floor.

“We aren’t finished with you yet,” Pekka said as he rushed Ahga.

“Are you an idiot?” Ahga asked. “I will kill you!”

Ahga pulled out his gun and tried to fire, but Pekka had already grabbed his wrist and brought himself closer.

“You underestimate me,” Pekka replied. “That’s an erroneous line of thinking, if you ask me.”

Ahga grinned. “You think I was talking about you?”

Pekka’s eyes lit up as he looked behind him. Luna still remained on the floor as she tried to get back on her feet as Ahga had focused his aim on her. With only a few seconds to act, Pekka moved Ahga’s arm to the side but was met with a knee to his gut, with Ahga pushing him away.

“Nice try,” Ahga said.

Pekka covered his stomach as he caught his breath. “Damn it,” he said. “Luna! Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” she said.

“If you are fine, then it would do you well to take back what you gave me!” Ahga replied.

He reached for the knife in his back and pulled it out, wincing throughout, and dropped it on the ground. He kicked it towards Luna, who tried to pick it up but was stopped by Pekka.

“You would do well to stay away,” Ahga said with his gun pointed at the two. “If you take another step forward, I won’t hesitate to shoot you. Now to deal with my other problem…”

But as Ahga looked out the window, Rain had already escaped. He looked all around the immediate area outside, but Rain was nowhere to be seen.

“Damn it, this really was all part of her plan, wasn’t it?” Ahga asked. “Oh well, I guess I can use a little target practice.”

Ahga turned away from the window and found that Pekka and Luna had also escaped. The knife was gone as well. Ahga looked down at his gun again and shook his head. Then, he started to laugh aloud.

“Oh please, Your Highness,” he said. “If it’s a fair and honorable fight you want, then a fair and honorable fight you will get!”

 

*****

 

Outside, Rain moved to the back of the mansion and looked for another point of entry. She had landed on the ground with her left foot first, which had caused her to stumble backward and roll onto her back. It was an inconvenience that she had to take in order to gain the advantage, but even so, Rain felt the slight, nagging pain in her lower back and left elbow. She shook off some of the remaining shards of glass from the window and ran over to the back door. This had to be the entrance through the kitchen, Rain thought.

“There’s no time to hesitate,” she said. “I can only hope that Luna and Pekka are okay…”

Rain pulled the door open and went into the kitchen. It was empty and the only thing that illuminated the room was the outside light. As Rain expected, no one was here and she could not hear anyone coming, either. At first, she was relieved and felt like this was a moment to rest, but then she remembered that Sorin and Mina were pursuing someone as well. She could only hope that they would be successful, too, as she did with Luna and Pekka.

“No one is here,” Rain said. “Sir Lauren has to be downstairs by now, so I have to counter him in any way I can.”

If there was one place where Rain knew she had the advantage over Ahga, it was her quickness. She knew that even he would admit to that, which was why Rain had to move to an area with more space. The kitchen was not that sort of place, but there was the main hall. Luring Ahga outside was also a possibility that she could use as well, as it was the most open of all the places around Ahga Manor.

Rain hurried through the kitchen and out towards the main hallway. As she assumed, Bradley was not around even though it was obvious from the dent in the wall that the fight from before had taken place.She ignored the site of impact and headed for the front door.

“Leaving so soon, Your Highness?” Ahga asked.

Ahga’s voice rang through the hall and through Rain’s ears. She turned around and saw him standing at the top of the stairs with his sword drawn out. Rain, in return, drew her sword as well.

“I see that there’s been a bit of roughhousing in my humble home,” Ahga said. “Seems like those Ameci have been up to no good. I’ll see to it that those stupid ravens pay dearly for wreaking havoc upon my house. You know, once I’m done with you.”

“I’m not going to run away, Sir Lauren,” Rain said. “Not when my friends still need me.”

“So it’s all about your friends, then?” Ahga asked. “You always were too attached to these sorts of ideals, weren’t you? Always believing in the absolute goodness of people, even those born of a different land… All those people are nothing more than disgusting worms writhing around in the dirt!”

“What of you?” Rain asked. “Was it not my father who hired you after all you’ve done for him? He may have not been perfect, but he was willing to learn from his mistakes and work towards a better future.”

“A better future? Don’t make me laugh,” Ahga said. “This dirt we sit on is all we’ve got and god knows how many years we have left on it. Why bother with unity when you and I both know that they’ll just turn on you in the end? Have you not been paying attention to what is going on in Ahnlikohn?”

“It was all because of you!” Rain exclaimed. “You and my mother… You wanted Alan Berry dead but you used others to do your dirty work. Not only is that deplorable, but cowardly as well!”

Ahga scoffed. “Cowardly? The only coward was the bumbling nitwit who couldn’t see,” he said. “He was only good for one thing, because regardless of whether he got away with assassinating the prime minister of Iiayikohn, Isla still won in the end!”

“You haven’t won yet, Sir Lauren,” Rain said.

“Is that all you can really say?” Ahga asked as he walked down the stairs. “Not that it matters to me, anyway. For you, however, it’s time for your journey to come to an end!”

“You’re forgetting something very important, Ahga,” Pekka said, “I’m not going to go anywhere and I’m certainly not going to let you go without a fight! Bring on your worst!”

Pekka and Luna arrived at the top of the stairs only a few feet away from Ahga. He looked at the two as Pekka got up on the railing while Luna edged closer with her knife drawn.

“When it’s three against one, you’ve got little choice,” Pekka said. “Right now, however, we have all the choices in the world!”

“What are you doing?” Rain asked.

Luna took her place at the top of the stairs. “Don’t worry about him,” she said. “He knows what he’s doing for once! We’re going to help contain Ahga so you can beat him!”

“What do you mean ‘for once,’ Luna?” Pekka asked. “You know what? Forget about it; I’ve already got all the power that I need in order to make this happen!”

Rain could only watch as she saw Pekka leap from up top the railing towards Ahga. He had his sword ready as Rain tried to figure out what to do next. She knew Pekka stood no chance unarmed against Ahga and Luna carried a disadvantage too despite carrying a knife.

“You think you have me beat?” Ahga asked. “Clearly, you underestimate why I am called ‘Sir Lauren Ahga’ of Thekohn.”

Luna hurried in with her attack, which Ahga tried to defend himself with his sword. Meanwhile, Pekka had made it to the guard rail of the stairs and held onto the rail with his fingers. Now Ahga had his back turned against Rain, who had all the opportunity she needed to make a strike from the back.

“H-Hurry up!” Luna said. “I can’t hold up much longer with him!”

Pekka attempted to crawl up over the railing. “I got it,” he said. “Come on, Rain, take your sword and do what needs to be done!”

Rain gazed off until she realized what Pekka said. “I know,” she replied. “Sir Lauren, even though this is the most painful decision I’ve ever had to make, it must be done if we are to achieve peace!”

She raised her blade and began to run towards Ahga. But as she did, he spoke out once more.

“You really don’t have a clue, do you,” Ahga said. “These two are nothing to someone like myself!”

Ahga pushed away Luna with his physical power behind his sword, to which she ducked underneath the swing. However, Ahga kicked her away and turned his attention to Pekka and backhanded him in the face. Pekka remained with his hands on the railing, but Ahga slammed his free hand down on Pekka’s fingers and made him lose his grip. Because of that, Pekka could not hold on anymore and fell to the floor below.

“Luna! Pekka!” Rain exclaimed.

“They’ll be fine,” Ahga said. “At least, for now.”

Pekka sat up, rubbing his head. “Damn, he had that coming this whole time,” he said. “Ugh, it hurts…”

“Ow… my head,” Luna said.

“Tell me, Your Highness, what good would it do me if I were to let you go outside now?” Ahga asked. “As long as I have the advantage inside, there’s no way I’m going to let you escape with your life!”

Rain knew now that she needed to run. Not because she was not able to take Ahga on, but because she had to create a better advantage for herself. As Ahga charged at her, Rain moved out of the way and into the next room. There was furniture all throughout, so Rain continued to move. As long as she had the speed to outrun Ahga, Rain continued to believe that she would be able to gain the advantage over him.

 

To be continued…

 

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