Sundown – Chapter 44 (Part 2)

[23rd of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Douglas Junction]

 

Lowell put down his binoculars. “They’re well guarded, alright,” he said. “So what do you think, Kirk?”

Kirk grabbed the binoculars from Lowell and looked at the castle himself. It was just like Lowell said: guards were placed at every entrance he was able to see. He handed the binoculars back over to Lowell and began to think.

“Considering what Sorin will want to do, I think it’s necessary to help draw out the enemy,” Kirk said. “I expect that Queen Isla will anticipate this, however, so we will need to do our best.”

“Hey, as long we have our Maeitakohnian friends over here, we should be able to win the battle,” Tre said. “Doesn’t matter how many soldiers the other side has, it just matters how we use the territory around us!”

Kirk agreed. He had spoken with General Khadir early in the morning to discuss what they needed to do in Thekohn. That was when Kirk learned that the general would be sending more troops to the kingdom today just in case. Kirk did not know how to respond, but Khadir had told him that he knew about what the princess intended to do and made sure that until they were certain that Isla had surrendered, the Maeita forces would hold the line.

“Well, how are we going to draw out our opposition?” Lowell asked. “I think we better start moving our asses.”

“True, but we still have to wait for the others,” Kirk replied. “I assume they’re not all going to arrive together.”

“Look at it this way,” Tre said, “If we move, we’ll have the early start.”

Around Kirk, he saw the architecture surrounding him and his group. The best course of action that he thought would be beneficial would be for them to use height to their advantage. Already, the one Maeitakohnian sniper was up on the roof of the building nearby and hid himself from view. Kirk also knew that the other sniper, Noa, was set to arrive soon as well as the others.

“We can’t count out the possibility that they have people high up as well,” Lowell said. “Then again, I can’t help but wonder if they’re taking their time planning out their shots before they strike.”

Tre laughed. “Again, I already know we’ve got the advantage,” he said, pointing his finger at the castle. “Even at my age, my eyes don’t fail me. Look over there, please.”

Lowell picked up the binoculars and viewed where Tre was pointing. “Son of a bitch,” he said. “Well, it looks like we already know where their point man is standing…”

“Yeah, he’s just waiting for the order from his superior,” Tre replied. “How about we give him a little head start instead?”

Kirk nodded and looked over to the Maeitakohnian commander next to him. “You got that? Tell the sniper to aim close to their point man, but don’t hit him. We need to draw them out.”

The commander picked up his receiver. “Yes, I’ll let him know right away,” he said. He relayed the order over to the sniper and turned to the other soldiers in the troop. “I want you all to get ready. This will not be an easy fight, so I don’t want to see any of you dragging your feet!”

Kirk watched as the point man from the castle stood over. He waited for the shot to ring out, but nothing happened. That was when he heard the footsteps starting to grow louder from the right.

“Look out!” Kirk exclaimed as he drew his sword.

Everybody else turned and saw several men in red charging at them. The commander directed his soldiers to counterattack, but the Neu Thekohnian Order were quick enough to get in a few attacks. Kirk could see that they were at a slight disadvantage in numbers, but Lowell had already drawn his blade and went in to help the Maeitakohnian troop.

“Damn, looks like they got the jump on us,” Tre said. “You ready to go, Kirk?”

“We got no choice,” he replied. “I don’t know what happened to the sniper, but we’ll have to worry about that later.”

There was no hesitation from Kirk as he thrust himself into the fray. The plan was far off course now and he had to salvage it any way he possibly could. That did not hold up for too long, however, as one by one, the Maeitakohnian forces were brought down by the Neu Thekohnian Order. The small disadvantage between Kirk’s group and the enemy grew larger as several soldiers lie on the ground suffering from their wounds.

“We could really use some help right now!” Lowell exclaimed, swinging his sword from side to side.

Kirk, Lowell, and Tre held up well with the remaining Maeitakohnian soldiers, but soon found themselves surrounded. There did not seem to be any sign of escape, Kirk thought. He would have to fight his way out alongside his allies. Before anyone could do anything, however, a single shot rang out, striking one member of the Neu Thekohnian Order in the head. The rest of the members looked around, as well as Kirk. Kirk turned around and saw the sight of Noa Mzade holding his sniper rifle atop a Maeitakohnian truck.

“Way to go, Noa!” Law said.

“Are you guys kidding me?” Gavin asked. “Are you trying to make Eva worry with all this? Good lord…”

Gavin, Law, and Eva stepped outside the truck as several more Maeita soldiers joined the battle. Noa used his precise aim to assist as Kirk led Lowell and Tre from out of the thinning group of Neu Thekohnian Order members. With the assistance from the arriving soldiers, there was relief on Kirk’s side. The ones left standing were captured by the Maeita soldiers. Kirk hurried over to Eva, who just shook her head.

“It’ll do neither of us any good to talk about this,” Eva said. “I’m… I’m just happy that you’re okay.”

“As am I to see you well,” Kirk replied.

“Oh, ain’t that nice,” Tre said.

“That’s great and all, but we’ve got bigger things to worry about,” Lowell said. “Those guys, for one!”

Gavin looked in the direction of where Lowell was directing and furrowed his brow as more Neu Thekohnians rushed his way. “Well, only one thing to do,” he said. “Noa! Get your rifle ready, because here they come!”

Noa set his sights to the oncoming opposition and steadied his aim. “I’ve got it… I got it…”

Before he could pull the trigger, however, a guttural scream filled the ears of everyone in the area. Kirk was the first to notice the man that had appeared before him and opened his mouth in surprise. Then, Kirk almost attempted to smile, but held his emotions back. His son Rysol had appeared almost out of nowhere, it seemed.

“Is that who I think it is?” Eva asked.

Rysol’s long, flowing hair moved while he dashed up to the group of soldiers guised in Royal Thekohnian uniforms. His sword was swift with each slice and slash, taking down each member of the Neu Thekohnian Order that stood in his way. Noa lowered his rifle and looked on in awe at Rysol’s onslaught of the enemies before him. Not a single Neu Thekohnian Order member was left alive in Rysol’s sights, with blood splattered all over the street.

“Well, that’s one way to take care of the problem,” Lowell said. “I can only imagine that more will be coming.”

“Rysol… You’re alive,” Kirk said as he hung his head. “I knew that there was no way you’d die back there. Not like that.”

Rysol sheathed his sword. “Father… why are you here?”

“It’s about the Neu Thekohnian Order, isn’t it?” Kirk asked. “I can tell that you’ve got some sort of unfinished business with them.”

“No… it’s not like that,” Rysol said, clutching his head. “I’ve come here to the kingdom because… because of a warning…”

“Gee, a warning,” Law said. “Who exactly would this warning be for, if I may ask kindly?”

Rysol growled. “That… She’s not here, is she? The one you’ve been helping this whole time… She’s not here!”

He looked up into the sky and screamed. Rysol looked at his metallic arm and shook his head as he started to run towards the castle. Kirk was left unable to say anything as yet again, his eldest son had run away from him. Refusing to accept this, Kirk hurried off in pursuit of Rysol. He was sure that the others would follow, too, but right now, he needed to catch up.

 

*****

 

[23rd of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Underground Secret Passage]

 

Once the passage was cleared of the Neu Thekohnian Order, Sorin and the others continued on their way. Rain went back to leading the group forward while Pekka kept himself to the back. He had to make sure that those soldiers had no chance of getting back up and attacking them again. But Sorin had a feeling that those guys would not try to attack his group any time soon. Not after the quick work that everyone made of them. It was impressive how well they had fought together, but Sorin knew that he and Rain and everyone else had much more difficult trials ahead of them.

“We should be getting closer to the end now,” Rain said. “I can already feel a bit of a breeze blowing this way.”

“Yeah, it sure seems like it,” Sorin said. “But if they already know we’re here, how will we be able to counterattack if they happen to have the exit surrounded?”

“There’s only one way to find out,” Rain answered.

“We’re not going to lose to them, Sorin,” Mina said. “We already dealt a blow to those villains bad there, so we can definitely handle a few more bad guys if they decide to attack us again!”

“Besides, I’ve kept our back guarded very well,” Pekka said. “And if, for any reason, Rain needs to back out, I am willing to put myself on the line.”

“I honestly hope that it doesn’t come to that,” Sorin replied.

Luna agreed. “You’re more than just an asset, Pekka,” she said. “I’m sure that even Johan would probably say that as well…”

“I know that,” Pekka replied.

But before he could say anything else, they arrived at the end of the secret passage where a ladder stood against the wall. Rain looked up and saw the hatch above, still closed as she put her hand on the nearest rung.

“Keep quiet for now,” she said. “Who knows what’s waiting for us once we get inside.”

Everyone nodded as Rain was the first to climb up the ladder and opened the hatch. She went inside as Sorin was the next to go, followed by Mina. Luna was next and then Pekka was the last to come up. Mina kicked the hatch shut as she realized where she was.

“I remember this place,” Mina said. “Not even Lauren Ahga knew about it, did he?”

Sorin saw through the darkness that they were inside what appeared to be a storage room. Boxes were stacked on top of each other and placed against the walls as Rain searched for a light. She came up to a lantern and looked around to see if she could light it with a match, but to no avail. However, there was a small beam of light coming from the door at the other end.

“I’ll go see if I can open it,” Sorin said.

He felt his way through the room, keeping a hand on the box near him as he moved through the room. Sorin did his best not to stumble on anything. Soon he was able to reach the door and trailed his hand downward until he reached what he assumed to be the doorknob. With a sigh, he turned the knob and found it unlocked.

“Okay, it looks like we’ve got a way in,” he whispered. “Everyone, behind me. I don’t know what they’ve got ready for us…”

As Sorin pulled the door open, everyone behind him braced themselves for what might happen next. To their surprise, though, no one was waiting for them. Confused, Sorin stepped out into the hall and looked to either end. Emptiness. That was all he saw in the hall decked out with glamorous decorations, as well as the others. Rain looked around and set her sights on the way to the main hall of the castle.

“This only mean one thing,” Rain said. “We have to move.”

“Okay,” Mina said, “I’ll be right at your side. No one is going to bring us down!”

Rain hastened through the hallway while everyone tried to keep up with her. Something was wrong, Sorin thought. Had things already escalated? He had no way of knowing from where he was, so he could only do what he had to and follow Rain. Once they made it to the main hall of the castle, Sorin saw a sight that he could not believe.

“You’re turning on me, too?” Isla asked.

“That implies that I trusted you,” Johan replied. “No, the answer is much more simple than that, I’m afraid.”

Isla was confronted by Johan. He had the assistance of several masked marksmen behind him, while Isla had her own loyal subjects with her.

“What… What the hell could you possibly mean?” Isla wondered.

“What I mean is that I knew your plan was doomed to fail,” Johan said. “The moment you turned your back on your own flesh and blood was the moment that I knew my plan was going to work.”

“You’re lying!” Isla exclaimed. “I haven’t lost yet!”

“If you haven’t lost, then let me ask you a question,” Johan said. “Actually, maybe she should ask you instead.”

He noticed Rain and the others arriving onto the scene. The standoff continued as Sorin tried to figure out what Johan was talking about. Isla looked over and scowled at what she saw as Rain took a step forward.

“This could be a trap, Rain,” Mina said. “I don’t know if we can truly trust Johan yet.”

“Johan, tell me about this plan of yours,” Rain said. “I think it’s obvious now that you and my mother do not see eye to eye.”

“Well, let’s just say that I’ve been aware of what’s been going on,” Johan replied. “Nearly every known military force is headed this way and it’s all because of a mistake that our late friend Sir Lauren made. Actually, I guess you could say I had a hand in helping him, but it was only a mere suggestion on my end.”

Sorin stepped up. “Are you talking about what happened in Ahga Manor?”

Johan shook his head. “Think back to a little earlier than that,” he said. “Something that involved our firebrand swordswoman.”

“You mean when she attacked me and Gavin in Rezar?” Pekka asked.

“Well, Pekka, that is the correct answer,” Johan said. “If not for that little incident, she would have never had the chance to run into the foundation that gave way for the downfall of the Neu Thekohnian Order.”

“You’re talking nonsense,” Isla said. “I should just kill you on the spot! All of you!”

“Before you do that, I do have a special guest with me,” Johan replied, wagging his finger. “I guess it about time for you to show yourself, don’t you agree, Jelka?”

One of the marksmen behind Johan stepped forward. Sorin gasped as he saw the mask drop to the ground and reveal Jelka Arne, armed and ready with her gun pointed at Isla. With a quick look around him, Sorin could see that the others were just as surprised as he was.

“While I am angry at this man, nothing compares to the hatred I have for you,” Jelka said to Isla. “If only I could kill you myself, I would, but even I know it won’t change much.”

“Johan, are you saying that you knew that this was going to happen?” Luna asked.

Johan chuckled. “Would you be mad if I said yes?”

“This isn’t funny, Johan!” Luna exclaimed. “How are you so comfortable with using people’s live like this?”

“You’re right,” Johan replied, “This isn’t something to laugh about so easily. What Isla has done has caused damage to this continent, but even so, she still has a lot more to answer for.”

“How are you going to get her to answer?” Rain wondered.

“Oh, that’s not going to be my job,” Johan said. “No, I’m going to let somebody else do that for me. Sorin, I believe you’re very familiar with my next guest, am I right, buddy?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Sorin said.

The front door to the castle busted open at that moment. Everybody looked to see who it was that had entered. Sorin was the first to notice the long, flowing hair and unkempt beard. As everybody could only gaze at Rysol, he meandered his way into the main hall.

“Johan, so it was you,” Sorin said. “You knew where my brother was, didn’t you?”

“Didn’t I tell you, buddy?” Johan asked. “He was headed this way. I told you no lies back in Ahga Manor.”

Isla stomped her foot. “Even you, Mr. Kuu, have some nerve,” she said. “This man… Rysol Wilk… You’re the one who found him?”

Rysol pointed his blade at Isla and laughed. “You appear to be frightened,” he said. “You should be… You should be, because I’m going to bring the secrets of the Neu Thekohnian Order to light!”

 

To be continued…

 

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