Sundown – Chapter 44 (Part 1)

[23rd of September, 2740 AD; Copper Hotel, Oelaans, Thekohn – Felis District]

 

Sorin sat in the hotel room sharpening his sword. Along with him were Gavin and Law, who decided to stay in the room with Sorin overnight. Since there were only two beds, but Sorin elected to take the floor before anyone was able to fight about who got which bed. Sorin slept peacefully, without any interruptions throughout the night, which in turn made him relaxed and ready for the fight ahead of him.

“So, are you nervous, Sorin?” Law asked.

Sorin placed his sword back in its sheath. “A little,” he replied. “I’m about to head back to place I’ve already been, but this time it won’t be as warm a welcome as it was before.”

“I’d be saying that if too I ever went back to Ameci, so I understand how you feel,” Law said. “Then again, we’ve got such a nice operation going on here that I believe we are more than capable enough to defeat the Neu Thekohnian Order.”

“We are getting some extra assistance, so I’m not worried there,” Sorin said. “It’s just how hostile that that kingdom has become…”

Gavin loaded his gun. “That’s not a concern,” he said. “I would advise you to worry about what’s ahead of you and not what’s behind you.”

“What’s your plan, then?” Sorin asked.

“I don’t know why you’re asking me,” Gavin said. “We haven’t even met up for breakfast yet.”

“Yeah, I imagine that everyone else is just getting up, too,” Law said. “I, for one, am curious to see if Eva got a full night’s sleep.”

“I don’t know if I should ask why you’re so curious about her,” Sorin said. “Then again, I guess it’s not that surprising.”

“I think you should be concerned about her, too,” Law replied. “You’re kind of like her student, aren’t you?”

“Well, it’s been a while since she’s taught me anything new,” Sorin said, “But I have to admit that you’re probably right.”

“I do wonder myself how much of a toll this is for Rain,” Law said. “Maybe it’s just me, but when I see her smile, I can’t help but feel that she’s trying her best not to give in to the pressure.”

Gavin stood up and placed his gun in the holster. “You can just go and ask her yourself later,” he replied. “Come on, we don’t want to keep everyone waiting for us.”

He made his way for the door and opened it, stepping outside. Law looked back over to Sorin and nodded to him before standing up.

“We’re close to the big time,” Law said. “I’m not about to face the day on an empty stomach and I’m sure nobody wants to, either. Mina, especially.”

Sorin stood up as well. “Sounds like a plan.”

They hurried after Gavin, who was out in the hall with Eva, Luna, Pekka, and Noa. The four all appeared to be rested and were busy talking amongst each other when Law interjected. Sorin could not help but notice the difference in how Eva wore her hair as it was now done in a ponytail instead of her usual freed up style. He thought little of it, though, and joined in the group.

“So what’s going on?” Sorin asked. “Where’s my father and the others?”

“Kirk’s already decided to go on ahead with the Maeitakohnian soldiers,” Eva replied. “I would say he’s just being his normal self, but it seems like this was all Lowell’s idea.”

Noa sighed. “They already left me behind again…”

“They got out of here pretty quick, didn’t they,” Law said. “Sorry about that, Noa. I guess that’s just how life goes sometimes.”

“Seems like it happens all of the time,” Noa replied. “I’m not even sure I even want to go now…”

“Don’t even begin with that bullshit,” Gavin said. “If you want to go and piss off around here, that’s fine, but you’re not going to fucking bring down our morale at a time when we need to keep our heads up!”

“Noa, you have your purpose in our group,” Pekka said. “If you’re not there to watch out for us, then who will be?”

“Well, there’s already another sniper in the Maeitakohnian troop,” Noa replied. “It’s not like you’re going to miss me if I don’t show up.”

Law snickered. “Look at you, man, making excuses,” he said. “What’s it going to be this time? Flu? Migraine? Diarrhea? There’s an entire catalog of illnesses of which you could use!”

“It’s none of that, I promise you!” Noa exclaimed.

“Well, Eva used to be a nurse back in the day,” Law said. “Perhaps she should check you out just to make sure? Maybe you can even convince her to wear a provocative nurse uniform.”

“I’d rather stab the both of you before that ever happens,” Eva replied. “Good lord, Noa, you’re just trying to reach for new lows, aren’t you? What would Kiku think if she saw you standing here like this?”

“Oh yeah, that’s a good point,” Luna said.

“She’d laugh and tease me,” Noa replied. “But I guess that’s what makes her so appealing.”

“I would think she’d be here encouraging you,” Eva said, “And she would not stop until you found it in yourself to go forward.”

“I don’t know how many times we have to tell you this,” Gavin said. “But if you’re not up to it, then perhaps it’s for the best that you sit this one out. At least none of us will have to worry about you.”

“You shouldn’t worry about me,” Noa said.

“Then I guess it’s settled,” Gavin replied. “Everyone, let’s go and get some breakfast already.”

“I wasn’t finished!” Noa exclaimed.

“What is it now?” Gavin asked.

“I’m telling you guys not to worry,” Noa said. “I’m going with you and you can’t do anything about it! Whether you guys… Erm, whether you like it or not, I’m going to be the one that backs you guys up!”

Law rubbed his chin. “You are good at sniping, at least as far as I’ve heard,” he said. “But are you absolutely sure you can hold up under pressure?”

“Don’t doubt me, Law,” Noa replied. “We’re fighting with a common goal in mind and I intend to play my part. Besides, if I didn’t… how can I even face Kiku and give her back her hairpin?”

Noa took out the flower hairpin and fastened it to the button hole of his uniform pocket. He took one look at it and let out a sigh of relief as he picked up his bag. In response, Law patted Noa on the back, making the taller man almost jump up.

“Just… Just lay your hands off of me, please,” Noa said. “I mean, you know, until after we’ve completed our mission.”

Luna clapped her hands together. “I bet you only want Kiku’s hands touching you, anyway! Wrapped around you, I mean. Well, she’ll probably do her best to celebrate with you for when we go back, so you don’t have to worry about her one bit, Noa!”

“Nice one,” Pekka said.

“Thanks,” Luna replied.

“So where are Mina and Rain, anyway?” Sorin asked. “Did they already go ahead of us?”

“No, they’re still in the room,” Eva answered.

“I assume it’s personal, then,” Law said. “I can only imagine what they’re doing in there right now. You’d probably want to find out too, wouldn’t you, Noa?”

Noa frowned. “Don’t ask me!”

“I’d smack you in the back of your goddamned head, Lawrence, but it’d be a waste of both my time and yours at this point,” Gavin said. “Whatever it is, I’m sure we’ll see them at the table soon enough.”

“Hurray!” Luna exclaimed. “I can’t wait to eat! Oh, do you guys think that they’ll serve fried Thekohnian Toast? It’s been a while since I’ve eaten that and I’d bet Mina would love to scarf some of it down as well, though I guess she’s more a fan of stuff like eggs and sausage but it never hurts to ask her. She’d probably love it either way, I guess.”

 

After breakfast, everyone gathered outside the Copper Hotel to discuss what they were going to do. Gavin, with Sorin and Rain’s help, took the time to plan out who would be where and what route they had to take. Rain brought up the secret passage that they had used before, which Gavin included into his ultimate plan.

“So you guys know where this passage is, then,” he said.

“We’ll waste no time getting through,” Rain said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if my mother has that passage guarded, however.”

“Good to know that the queen’s pulling out all the stops for you,” Pekka said.

“We have no choice but to go through,” Sorin said. “She’s watching out for Rain no matter what, so going through the secret passage is the least dangerous of our options.”

The last time Sorin had went through that passage, it was when they had to escape from Victor Wihll and his attack. He could not believe that the actual path itself led itself into the country of Thekohn, but according to Rain, it was used for various other escapes as well in the past. However, she and her siblings had used it when they were younger to go into Oelaans unnoticed and meet and speak with the residents of the city.

“But I guess that my parents knew about it either way,” Rain said. “At least, that was what my father told me.”

“So the entrance is in the back of the hospital, then,” Law said. “Any reason why it the passage goes through there?”

“When the passage was created, there was no hospital at that point,” Rain replied. “It used to be an embassy for Bryn, if I recall…”

Mina looked down. “I can’t help thinking about what she was doing then,” she said. “My mother, I mean.”

“So let’s decide, then,” Gavin said. “Rain obviously has to use the passage, so some of you are going to go with her.”

“I can’t see why we should change anything up,” Sorin said. “Seems like what we’ve been doing has worked out so far, don’t you think so?”

“If you don’t have a problem, then I don’t, either,” Gavin replied. “I’d have asked the others as well, but since they already left, there’s no point in wondering about them.”

Eva grumbled. “Why don’t we just go already?”

“Sure, why not?” Law asked. “We can help rough up a few of those goons before the Ameci military arrives.”

“Remember, our mission is to make the queen surrender,” Sorin said. “The faster we can do that, the better.”

“If not for that, I would’ve gone with you,” Eva said. “As far I’m concerned, the only punishment for Isla besides death is to make sure that she is exiled from the region.”

“That’s something we’ll have to address when we get to it,” Rain replied. “For now, I think we should set off on separate ways until we meet again in the castle.”

“Luckily, I won’t hesitate this time,” Luna said. “We’ll have to face some of the best the queen has to offer, but I’ll be there on your side!”

“Thank you,” Rain said.

“And Mina, I know we both share the desire in wanting to defeat bad guys,” Luna continued. “It’s been an honor to fight along with you and I hope that maybe you can teach me some of your tricks.”

“I don’t use tricks!” Mina exclaimed. “They’re my special moves, but I would be happy to teach you one or two. Just don’t ask me about my secret ‘Mighty Mina’ technique, though, because it really is a secret.”

“I understand,” Luna said. “Sorin, I’ve barely known you, too, but you just seem to be the nicest person around. I’m sure you and Lenne would have been good friends were he still alive.”

“Thanks for that,” Sorin said.

“You going to wrap this up soon?” Gavin asked Luna. “There’s plenty of time for you to get misty-eyed later. We need to move.”

“Oh, um, sorry,” Luna replied. “Anyway, you’re the last for now, Pekka. You and I seem to have gotten along really well on this journey. I’m sure I can ask my papa to give you place to stay, if you want.”

Pekka looked aside. “I’ll be sure to think about it.”

Luna patted Pekka on the back. “That’s a start,” she said. “Okay, well, let’s go then! Rain, you can lead the way since you brought us through the last time we went. It’s time to take down the queen!”

With that, the two groups split up once again. Sorin hoped it would be for a much shorter time, given that they won’t be too far away from each other this time. As he went with Rain, Mina, Pekka, and Luna to the hospital, all Sorin could think about was Rysol. Sorin wondered to himself if Johan was right and that his brother was headed to the kingdom. The likelihood of him running into Rysol was low, though, considering that he was going to go through a passage that only a few knew about.

As they made their way behind the hospital and entered the secret passage, Rain led the way while Sorin and Mina walked alongside each other. Luna and Pekka brought up the rear as they walked down the empty pathway. Sorin looked ahead while Mina looked at him as they walked.

“What will you do if we actually run into him?” Mina asked.

“I don’t know,” Sorin said. “I tried to chase him the last time we met, but it didn’t end well.”

“Yeah, I know,” Mina replied. “What do you think he’s doing?”

Sorin kept walking. “That’s what I want to know.”

The walk down the path continued. One thing Sorin noticed was that the secret path was longer than he remembered it being. He wondered if it was just due to the fact that the last time he went through here, it was because of the fact that he was trying to escape with the others. The secret passage was not tiring to him, but rather it was the fact that it seemed to go on and on with no real end in sight.

“You really took this path when you were younger?” Luna asked. “I mean, even as a kid, I was full of energy, but I would have gotten bored and turned the other way and gone home.”

“It’s not that long, is it?” Rain wondered.

“Well, in my experience, I used a similar sort of path in order to transport a fellow convict,” Pekka said. “Makes me wonder what else this path was being used for, or if it’s still being used to this day…”

“Not as far as I know,” Rain said.

Just then, Rain halted herself and reached her hand down to the handle of her sword. The others stopped, too, as Sorin noticed the same thing that Rain had taken notice of. A few feet away from the group stood five members from the Neu Thekohnian Order. Sorin knew what he and the others had to do as everyone got ready to fight. Isla was going to send her best to stop Rain from going further, but Sorin, Mina, Pekka, and Luna were not about to let them win. Sorin knew that Rain would not back down, either, as they prepared themselves for battle.

 

To be continued…

 

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