[22nd of September, 2740 AD; Ahga Manor – Backyard, just outside of Oelaans, Thekohn]
Swords clashed as Rain and Ahga fought in the backyard of his mansion. The wind did not prove to be a factor as Rain moved forward. She moved in a deft manner, spinning around as she defended herself against each one of Ahga’s attacks. Rain continued to look for an opening as Ahga continued his attack. Every second on defense meant that Rain had to stay sharp.
“You’re moving quite well, Your Highness,” Ahga said, “But you can’t dodge this!”
He thrusted his sword forward at Rain. She turned to the side as Ahga’s blade missed her. That was when Ahga tried to swing at her again, but Rain stopped that attack as well. No matter what happened, both fighters could not land a hit on each other. Rain was fortunate not to have suffered any damage, but she still needed to hit him.
“I’m not going to let you win!” Rain said.
“Persistent as ever,” Ahga replied, stepping back. “It seems like I’ve truly met my match.”
“You’re pulling back now?” Rain asked.
“If anything, it means I am honored,” Ahga said. “I would have thought that you’d buckle against adversity, but it seems that my teaching has paid off for you. I’m happy knowing that I’ll be granted the privilege of a killing a warrior worthy of my praise.”
“Not if I have something to say about it,” she said.
Though Rain had to admit that she was indeed on level with Ahga. There was nothing she could do to say otherwise. However, what she had over him was the fact that he could not expect what she had planned. All Rain had to do was make that plan happen, but first she had to catch Ahga off guard.
“I’ll take you down!” Ahga exclaimed.
He thrusted his sword forward once again as Rain dodged. It was not as clean a dodge as she thought, though, as the blade came into contact with the sleeve of her shirt. It created a tear in the sleeve as well, grazing Rain’s upper arm as well. She stopped herself and gasped as she realized the cut on her body.
“Now I’ve got you,” Ahga said. “Prepare to die!”
He swung at Rain again with a horizontal slash. She looked on at him and started to smile. Now she had won.
“There’s just one problem,” she said.
Rain ducked, Ahga’s blade missing her, and returned the favor with a vertical swipe. Ahga could not react in time to stop the attack as Rain’s blade struck him from his left leg all the way up to his chest. His scream could be heard all throughout as Rain caught her breath. The sword strike caused Ahga to fall backwards and drop his sword. As Rain looked at the wound on her arm, she also had to make sure that Ahga could not get back up. She walked over to him, her sword still in her hand, and looked as Ahga groaned aloud.
“Your Highness, it’s… it’s not over,” Ahga said. “As soon as I pick up my sword, I will get back up. I’ll get back up on my feet and finish you off.”
“Do you not see the state you’re in?” Rain asked.
Ahga looked up. The large cut on his body was obvious, even from his point of view. Blood started to stain his clothing as he struggled to sit up.
“You can’t move,” she said. “No matter what you say, it is impossible for you to continue fighting.”
Ahga sighed. “Then finish it,” he said. “If this is the fate I’m doomed to, then at least kill me. I can’t afford to look Isla in the eyes now…”
“I’m sorry,” Rain replied. “I am truly sorry for this, Sir Lauren.”
She walked over to Ahga and looked over his body. The wound was deep enough to cause massive bleeding, but it was not the lethal blow that Rain had thought that it was at first. There was comfort in her heart that Ahga was still alive, because she could end this fight with no more room for doubt. She lifted her sword and pointed it downward at Ahga. Rain closed her eyes and sighed as she thrusted down into the ground next him instead.
“You missed me,” Ahga said. “Was that on purpose?”
“But why? Why are you deciding to spare my life now?”
Rain picked up her sword and sheathed it. “Because even though I know that what you’ve done is horrible, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re still like family to me,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean I will let you get away with what you’ve done, nor will I excuse my mother’s actions either.”
“So you intend to lock me in prison instead?” Ahga asked. “Would it not be easier to kill me right now? You’ve already inflicted such a major wound on me, so what are you going to do about that?”
“I don’t know,” Rain said. “What I do know, however, is that you do need to answer for everything involving the Neu Thekohnian Order. That is why I just cannot end your life here.”
Ahga started to laugh, but stopped. “And what of Isla?”
“I’ve already told you,” Rain said.
“Did you now? Okay, well then, I won’t ask about her any further,” he said. “Isla, I’ve failed her.”
“If I had to be honest, the only you’ve failed is yourself,” Rain replied. “You were once someone I respected. I guess I still respect you but now, I guess, it’s more out of nostalgia than anything else.”
“You’re going then, I assume?” Ahga asked.
“Before we do, there’s the matter of dealing with you,” she said. “I know you can’t move very far, if at all, but I can’t just abandon you.”
“There you are!” Luna exclaimed.
Rain looked up and saw Luna and Pekka step out into the backyard. They both ran right over to Rain’s side with Luna hugging Rain and Pekka looking down at Ahga.
“Go ahead and gawk all you want,” Ahga said, “I’ve got no strength to fight back anyway.”
“You should be fortunate that she was kind enough to spare you,” Pekka replied. “Though I can’t say how long you have left.”
Ahga gasped out a parted laugh. “Her Highness is only sparing me because she believes I should suffer for all that I’ve done,” he said. “To be honest with you, I find it difficult to disagree with her.”
Rain sighed. “Thank you guys,” she said to Luna and Pekka. “I’m so glad that you two are okay.”
“I should be saying that to you,” Luna replied. She then noticed the cut on Rain’s arm. “Oh my god, I can see your blood! Are you okay?”
Pekka shook his head. “Well, what do you think?”
“We should get you all taken care of,” Luna said to Rain. “You wouldn’t want to make Mina worried, would you?”
“Please, Luna, don’t concern yourself so much,” Rain replied. “I can just cover it up with some cloth for now and have it taken care of once we arrive in Oelaans.”
“You also jumped out of that window, too, didn’t you,” Luna said. “Is your body sprained in any way?”
“Again, she looks okay to me,” Pekka said. “Besides, we’ve got bigger things to worry about.”
He motioned over to Ahga, who was still lying on the ground. Then, Ahga began to sit up as his wound began to aggravate.
“Sir Lauren, you really shouldn’t be sitting up,” Rain said.
“I want you to grant me one last request,” Ahga said. “There’s something that I need to check before they come and take me away.”
“Then I’ll go with you,” Rain replied.
“No, I’m sorry, but it’s something personal to me,” Ahga said as he clutched his wounded side with his free hand. “I promise to you that I will not run away. Not that I’d be to in my current condition, anyhow.”
Pekka looked to Rain. “What do you think?”
“Very well,” Rain said. “It’s not likely that you’ll run, anyway, nor do I expect you to call my mother, either.”
“It will only take a few minutes,” Ahga replied. “And to show you that I am serious, I will leave my sword to you.”
He took the sheath of his sword from off his side and tossed it next to his blade. Rain went over and picked both of them up and placed the sword back into the sheath. Then, she turned back over to Ahga.
“You had a gun as well,” she said.
Ahga nodded. “Yes, guess I should give you that, too.”
“Allow me,” Pekka said.
He reached over to Ahga and retrieved the gun. Pekka then unloaded the gun and put the bullets away in his pocket while taking the gun and holster and attached them to his right side.
“Now you can go inside, Sir Lauren,” Rain said.
“I see, then,” Ahga said.
With that, Ahga made an effort to stand up. Rain decided to help him back up to his feet, to which he thanked her. He staggered back to the mansion as he held his side. Meanwhile, Luna took out a piece of cloth and wrapped it around Rain’s arm.
“It looks good now, don’t you think so?” Luna asked.
“It’s not like I wasn’t going to change out of these clothes,” Rain said. “But thank you.”
Pekka looked over at the mansion and furrowed his eyebrows. “You’re absolutely fine with him going about, Rain?”
“There’s nothing he can do now,” Rain said.
“I wonder where Mina and Sorin are,” Luna said. “What do you think is holding them up?”
“I have no idea,” Rain replied. “What I do know is that they’ll be fine. They should come soon, hopefully.”
Korbin hurried out into the main hall of the mansion. He wanted to find Bradley and get out of Ahga Manor as soon as possible. He decided that he would not go after Sorin or Johan at this time because he knew that they would make it out in some way. To Korbin, this was a good thing because he wanted another chance against Sorin alone, as well as Johan Kuu.
“Bradley!” Korbin called out. “Damn it, where are the fuck you?”
He looked around in the main hall for Bradley, but he could not find him anywhere. That was when Korbin heard some groaning coming from only a few feet away from him. A closet door was near the stairs as Korbin went over to try and investigate. He opened the closet door and found Bradley tied and seated up against the back wall.
“Holy shit!” Korbin exclaimed. “What did they do to you?”
“Ugh, what happened?” Bradley asked.
Korbin knelt down next to Bradley. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “We gotta get out of here and blow this shit up!”
He proceeded to cut the rope surrounding Bradley and helped him up to his feet. The two men hugged each other and began to head to the door. Bradley rubbed his aching head while Korbin put his knife away.
“I feel like I’ve set a bad precedent,” Bradley said. “Those guys… they’re no fucking joke, you should know.”
“Believe me, Bradley, I know,” Korbin replied. “If only that damn asshole wasn’t here, I’d have gained my victory.”
“Right,” Bradley said. “I’m going to remember this just in case… No one humiliates me like that. No one.”
“So where did you hide the switch?” Korbin asked.
“It’s back at the truck,” Bradley replied. “It’s locked up right now but once I activate it, the bombs will go off in this place.”
“Cool, we’ll get to see this place blow over,” Korbin said.
They stepped outside and hurried as fast as they could back over the Ameci truck. Bradley took the key from his pocket and opened the safe in the back. In the front, Korbin took the communicator and saw that there was a call waiting to be picked up. He grabbed the receiver and turned on communications.
“Private Mars speaking.”
“You idiot, you can’t fool anyone with that half-assed attempt at formality,” Harold said. “What has become of Ahga Manor and the princess?”
“Well pop, I, er, we’re about to blast the whole place!” Korbin exclaimed.
“So you’ve failed to kill her, then,” Harold replied.
Korbin’s hand began to shake. “How… How did you know?”
“I can tell that you were doomed to fail the moment I heard that Wilk’s son would be there,” Harold said. “You had to go and divert from your duty, didn’t you? You’re lucky that I’m here in Rezar, you incompetent dumbass!”
“I’m sorry,” Korbin said.
“No matter how many times I beat it into that thick head, you never seem to learn your lesson, so why should I bother,” Harold said. “Go ahead and blow Ahga Manor up, but know this: the princess and her allies are preparing to head over to Oelaans.”
“I know that,” Korbin said.
“That’s why I want you two to let them go for now,” Harold said. “Right now, both you and Bradley need to regroup and head to the rendezvous point in Helm.”
“What? Why should I let her go?” Korbin asked.
“Because everything has changed,” Harold replied. “Our plan is moving fast and we have no need for those who can’t play by our rules.”
“Ahga seemed to have figured it out, anyway,” Harold continued. “But he realized too late how far his usefulness went.”
“Then what about Ahnlikohn?” Korbin wondered.
“You’ll get your time,” Harold said. “Right now, I’m going to attend a very important meeting with President Hasker. Until I’m done, don’t even think of contacting me.”
Before Korbin could respond, Harold closed off communications. Korbin set the receiver down and stepped out of the truck. Bradley had just taken the switch out of the safe and was getting ready to turn it on.
“So what’s the deal?” Bradley asked.
“I’ll tell you later, man,” Korbin said. “Ready to go?”
Bradley looked down at the switch. “Almost,” he said. “Got one last thing to do before I turn it on and blow this motherfucker up.”
“That’s good,” Korbin replied. “Looks like you’re getting another day to live, Johan Kuu…”
To be continued…