Sundown – Chapter 43 (Part 2)

[22nd of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle King’s Office]

 

The cloudless night sky was all Isla could focus on as she awaited the news from her messenger. She had not heard from Lauren Ahga and started to become worried about what had happened. No one had called her, save for the one call from Isaac Kunigunde an hour earlier. Isla began to grow irate at what was happening to her. Everything she had thought was going according to plan was falling apart before her eyes. She viewed the phone once more and, without any hesitation, she picked it up off the desk and spiked it into the ground.

“That damned con artist thinks he can try to outwit me?” Isla asked. “I will show all of them that I am not going to give in!”

She looked down at the busted phone and pushed it aside. There was no point in worrying about Isaac now, because Isla was not going to stop once the Neu Thekohnian Order was done with Chancellor Harring. To Isla, the glory of the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn and the Thekohnian Region depended on the family’s leadership. That was why she felt that the king’s ability to rule was inadequate and thus machinated with Sir Lauren Ahga to remove him from the throne. Getting Ahga’s support was easy since Isla was well aware his feelings for her, and his position made it easier to influence lower ranking members of the royal military.

But that was not enough for the queen. To ensure that it would be easy to attack Ahnlikohn, she needed to give other countries a reason to strike. Isla saw the rest of the region as a chain and Iiayikohn its strongest link. If she could get them to break, the others would have followed suit soon after. That was when Ahga had suggested to her to have the crown prince of Ahnlikohn do their bidding for them.

Before she could think any further, however, Isla’s messenger returned. He stumbled his way through the king’s office, noticing the damaged phone on the floor. She turned and faced the short-haired messenger, his legs looking as if they were ready to give out at any moment.

“You look pale,” Isla said. “Come, stand up straight. There is no reason to fear for your life.”

“I… I… I’m sorry, Your Majesty, but I’ve got some really bad news,” he replied. “Sir… Sir Lauren Ahga… Sir Lauren Ahga is dead!”

Isla tilted her head down. “I see…”

“Sorry! Please… Please don’t kill me!”

“Why would I do that?” Isla asked. “You’ve only delivered me the news that I needed to hear. Why on earth would I kill you?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “But what I found out was that he died at Ahga Manor…”

“So she finally went through with it,” Isla said.

“I can’t believe it,” the short-haired messenger said, “The whole place blew down!”

“The whole place?” Isla wondered.

“Yes, it seems like someone had lined up some bombs to go off,” he replied. “Whoever did it must’ve had some incredible skill to pull it off!”

“I see,” Isla replied. “Thank you for telling me this. Do you know where Rain is right now?”

“I don’t know where she is,” he said. “I can go and find out…”

“No, you don’t need to do that,” she said. “I have a good idea as to where she is right now.”

“So you don’t need me now?”

“Go take a rest,” Isla said. “You obviously need some sleep after the hard work that you’ve done for me.”

“Okay, well, then I will take your suggestion,” he replied.

“Please do,” she said. “There’s a lot that is going to happen tomorrow and I want everyone here to be in peak condition for when it happens.”

“Then I’ll be back here first thing in the morning,” the short-haired messenger said. “I promise that when you see me next, I will be at my very best and ready to go at a moment’s notice!”

He bolted out of the room in the direction that he came, leaving Isla to herself once more. She had to prepare for what was coming tomorrow, but Isla was certain that she would win. It did not matter if Ahga died because Isla continued to fight. That was all that mattered to her.

 

*****

 

[22nd of September, 2740 AD; Temporary Ameci military base, Helm, Ahnlikohn]

 

Henry sat on the bed polishing his boots as he awaited the next morning. The fact that the objective had changed so drastically made him wonder what had happened, but Henry trusted Rohan’s judgement. What really came as a surprise to Henry, though, was that the leader of the Neu Thekohnian Order resided in the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn. Henry had tried to ask Rohan for more details, but was met with a noncommittal response. That was when his subordinate, Aron Arrington, walked into the barracks.

“Sir, how are you doing?” Aron asked.

“Just fine,” Henry replied. “Everybody else seems to feel the same way. Still, I can’t believe at what’s happened.”

“My head feels like it’s spinning, too,” Aron said. “Not literally, of course, just in the fact that our tasks have been rapidly changing that I worry what’s going to happen next.”

“Yes, General Fercewend did seem to act as if he was also surprised by the new objective,” Henry said. “We’re putting boots to the ground before the ink has a chance to dry on the page.”

“Well, some of the other soldiers don’t feel that shocked about the sudden turn of events,” Aron replied. “I saw that Korbin and Bradley were quite ecstatic about the news.”

“Yeah, I’m not that surprised that they would feel that way,” Henry said. “Bradley’s an alright fellow, which I guess is a good thing that he has his eye on Korbin.”

“Right, I believe you,” Aron said.

“Tell me, Arrington, what is it that you want to do once this is all over?” Henry asked.

“Why do you ask, sir?”

“I’m asking because it’s good to know what my fellow soldiers dream of,” Henry said. “Just the other day, I learned that Private Edwin wants to get into carpentry and that Green is working on becoming an actor. Getting to know the others’ dreams was a welcoming experience.”

“Then what about you?” Aron said. “What is your dream, sir?”

Henry chuckled. “Well, back in the day, I was a pretty good boxer,” he said. “The only person that could actually go toe-to-toe with me and win was General Fercewend. If not for that incident, I would have gone professional.”

“Is it too late now, sir?”

“Well, I’m not that old yet,” Henry said, “But in sports, especially one as physical as boxing, I’m what they call ‘over the hill,’ so that dream is more a of longshot than anything else.”

“So not everyone has the chance to live out their dreams then, sir,” Aron said. “I guess that’s how life goes.”

“Not exactly,” Henry replied. “Even if my original calling is just a distant memory now, my life experience has given me a new purpose in life.”

“Really?”

“Not even a year ago, I almost took my own life,” Henry said. “With how stacked the odds were against me, I felt like I was drowning and there was no one around to help. That is, until a few people stepped in to help me.”

Henry placed the boots he had been shining on the floor and stood up.

“Because of them, I kept going,” Henry continued. “Because of them, they helped me right what had been wrong for ten years. I kept going. Because of my wife, I had someone to look up to. I kept going. Because of my friend, I had a goal that I wanted to achieve.”

“So you kept going,” Aron said.

“That’s right,” Henry replied, “And now, my dream is to protect those most important to me. After this is all said and done, I’m going to go home and help Ameci the best way I can.”

“What will you do, sir?” Aron asked.

“I’m going to run to become the mayor of Admorse,” Henry answered. “It’s a small start, but hopefully it will be enough to make a change.”

“Then I will be rooting for you,” Aron said as he stuck his thumb up in the air. “If there’s anyone that I know that’s good enough to be a leader in Ameci, it’s you, sir!”

“Thank you,” Henry said.

“You’re very welcome, sir,” Aron replied. “I can’t believe you would just lay all of that out, though… It must be tough to revisit such hardships.”

“It’s fine,” Henry said. “I consider you to be more than just my subordinate. You’ve been a good friend, Aron.”

“You really mean that?” Aron asked. “I never thought I’d hear those words coming from you, sir…”

“Please, just call me Henry,” he said. “You’d usually refer to your friends by their first name, don’t you?”

Aron rubbed the back of his neck. “Of… Of course,” he said. “Well, if that’s the case, then maybe I should tell you my dream. It’s kind of a dumb dream that I have, though.”

“I’m pretty sure no one would think that,” Henry replied. “At least I wouldn’t think so.”

“If you think so, then I guess it wouldn’t hurt to tell you,” Aron said. “You know how you want to be the mayor of Admorse? Well, I want to do my part in Ameci as well, which is why I want to work in law.”

“Like a barrister?” Henry asked.

“Something like that,” Aron said. “I don’t know too much about what it takes, so I guess it is stupid, isn’t it?”

“Do you want to know what I think?”

“What is it?” Aron asked.

“I think you should go for it,” Henry said. “Put in the time and learn what it is that you have to do. If you’re serious about this, then you have to work at it. Besides, I think that that’s a good thing to strive towards.”

“If you think so, sir, then I’ll do it,” Aron said. “Thank you so much for your help!”

“Yeah, you’re very welcome,” Henry said. “It’s getting late, by the way, so you should go and get some sleep.”

Aron nodded. “Understood,” he said. “Then I will see you at the crack of dawn, Henry… sir!”

Aron sprinted off as Henry muttered to himself about how the young man was going to have to get used to a first name basis with him. He smiled as he began to get ready for tomorrow. Henry had to be on alert since he knew little about what he was going to face, but had to remain optimistic if he and his troop were going to come out on top against the Neu Thekohnian Order.

 

To be continued…

 

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