[23rd of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Rio Grove]
“Isla Zano Thedam is dead?” Henry asked.
“That’s the truth of it,” Eva replied.
Eva was the first to speak as she, Kirk, Lowell, and Tre met with Henry’s troop in the Rio Grove. Overnight, Rain confided to her what she planned to do, which was to fake Isla’s death so that she could be exiled without problem. Eva, though reluctant at first, saw to it to make sure that Rain’s plan would succeed. She told Kirk, Lowell, and Tre about it on the way to the grove, to which they all agreed with the decision. Henry looked to the rest of his troop as Aron began to speak up.
“Well, that’s good, right?” Aron asked. “We were told that we were to help Her Highness Rain Zano Thedam in succeeding to the throne, so all of this is good news!”
“I do have one question, though,” Henry asked, “Where is it? Isla’s corpse, I mean.”
Tre grinned and shook his head. “Well, you really missed it,” he replied. “Those guys in the Maeitakohnian military… boy have they gotten a lot better since the last time! You wouldn’t believe that guy with the sniper rifle, what was his name, Noah Zaydee-something? Well, his name ain’t important, but his shot sure was!”
“So she was shot, then,” Henry said.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t locate her body,” Eva said. “I’m sorry.”
“What do you mean you couldn’t locate it?” Henry asked. “I’m starting to get a little concerned about what’s going on here…”
“It means that her body just fell into a river and was swept away,” Lowell replied. “If that answer doesn’t satisfy you, Henry, then you can go and cram it up your ass!”
Everybody reacted with a stunned silence.
“I’m sorry, Henry,” Lowell said. “Just got carried away there. I don’t mean any ill will towards you.”
“No, it’s fine,” Henry said. “I guess there’s not much I can do but accept that answer. What about the princess? Where is she?”
“She’s at the castle right now,” Eva said. “She only just found out about what happened.”
“I see,” Henry replied. “Can’t really begin to think how much this has all been for her, to be honest.”
“Her Highness is a much stronger person than you think, Henry,” Kirk said. “Besides, isn’t there a more pressing urge that you and the rest of the Ameci military need to worry about?”
Henry raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”
“Well, since the Neu Thekohnian Order is without its first and second in command, they’re bound to dissolve rather quickly,” Kirk replied. “I figure that you would take the time rounding up all the members you can find.”
“Yeah, and we may even learn something new from them,” Aron said.
“That’s true,” Henry said. “I guess there’s not much else we can really do, is there?”
“Well, you can inform the Iiayi military,” Eva said.
“Sounds like a good idea to me,” Henry said. “Aron, let’s go and get to the communicator. Also, let’s let the other troops know about this development.”
“Right, Henry,” Aron said. “You see, I am getting used to calling you by your full name!”
Henry smiled. “I told you it was fine,” he said. “Hopefully, I will see the rest of you later!”
Once Henry exited with Aron and the rest of his troop, Eva looked over to Kirk. She knew that there was a lot that needed to be done afterward, but she also knew that there needed to be a resolution.
“Our job isn’t done yet,” Eva said.
“That’s for damn sure,” Lowell replied. “All I know is that we just can’t sit on our asses anymore and pretend that everything around us all happiness and sunshine, you know.”
“Well, it starts with a clean slate,” Kirk said. “I have faith that Rain will lead this kingdom back on the right path.”
“Aren’t you ever so hopeful?” Tre asked. “But I do agree with you so long as she has the right people around her.”
“Let’s go back, then,” Kirk replied. “We’ve already dealt with Henry, so we need to assess the situation back in the castle.”
“Sounds good to me,” Eva said. “At least we can agree there.”
Eva hurried with the other three back to the castle. There was nothing else that they needed to do outside, so they went back. Either way, Eva knew that she had to check in and see how Rain was doing.
[23rd of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Flumen Field]
Sorin joined alongside Rysol and Jelka in the field a few blocks away from Thedam Castle. Johan awaited their arrival as he leaned up against a large tree. Right now, Sorin wanted to know what Johan had planned next now that it was certain that the Neu Thekohnian Order and its leader were dealt with, but there was also a concern in Sorin’s mind that something was amiss. Given all that had happened, Sorin wondered about Foundation and what their next move was going to be in the future.
“I guess keeping you in the dark wouldn’t be fair, now would it?” Johan said as he got up off of the tree.
“To be fair, you’ve been keeping a lot of secrets from almost everyone I know,” Sorin replied. “And it may end up costing you if you’re not careful…”
“Buddy, I don’t think that you should be worried about me,” Johan said. “Now, what you should be worried about is what’s going on with Ameci. Namely, the man that’s behind all of this.”
Sorin knew. “How do you plan on stopping Isaac Kunigunde?”
“Unfortunately, it’s far too late to reverse the damage that he has done,” Johan said. “Currently, Ameci is going to hear the news of Isla’s demise and they are going to celebrate, but not before Isaac ties up a few of the loose ends left hanging. He’s a meticulous person, for sure, so it wouldn’t surprise me if we hear some ‘shocking’ news out of Ameci.”
“He doesn’t trust anyone but himself, does he?” Jelka asked.
“You’re concerned because you feel like you might understand him,” Johan said. “I get what you’re probably thinking, yet I would advise you against treating Isaac lightly.”
“Isaac and Dezine… they’re no different from Harring,” Jelka said. “How do so many of these men walk away from the mess they created without a single repercussion?”
“Asking that question isn’t going to change anything,” Johan replied. “The only way that we can fix this is if we step up and deal with these guys ourselves. You agree, don’t you, Sorin?”
“You certainly are dedicated,” Sorin said.
“Anything to make this dream of mine possible,” Johan said. “Isaac is but one direct threat to my dream, if not the biggest. He’s a man who cares about money and money only, and what better way to fill your pockets with cash than to play as many sides as possible and get the entirty of the Thekohnian Region to wage war against each other?”
“He’s the one… He’s the one who keeps making us fight,” Rysol said. “Even back then, before I got this arm, I was forced to fight for Foundation’s sake. I was a fool for not realizing it sooner…”
“Speaking of which, how did you get a new arm?” Sorin asked. “I still have the one from before, so what happened?”
Rysol turned away as he gazed at his metallic arm. “It is a complicated matter,” he replied, “But still… still I can’t go back to my home, no matter how much I desire a normal life.”
“Believe me, Rysol, when I say that all of us just want to live normal lives without worry,” Johan said. “That is why I must continue to pursue this dream and make sure that Isaac Kunigunde and the rest of Foundation is taken down, and I can’t do it without the help of you and Jelka.”
“And the rest of those people that were with you are also part of this?” Sorin asked. “How were you able to convince my brother to work with you, anyway?”
“He told me… what needed to be done,” Rysol said. “After I killed Rhodes in Maeitakohn, I… I wanted to run away, even when you tried to save me… I chose death because I thought I had no more hope left…”
“But that wasn’t the end of the road for you,” Johan said. “There was a purpose for you, just like there was a purpose for Jelka.”
Rysol sighed. “I should be thankful that I hit the water,” he said. “It was only after coming to my senses… down in Jiaikohn… did I realize that I was not done fighting yet.”
“Rhodes was only the smallest of steps that needed to be taken,” Johan said. “Slowly, we’re climbing up this ladder until we can take out the one at the top of all this: the leader of Foundation.”
Isaac Kunigunde. That was the only thing repeating in Sorin’s mind. Isaac was the mastermind hiding behind both Rhodes and Isla, and in turn was the one supporting both the True Thekohnians and the Neu Thekohnian Order. Sorin wondered how Johan would even be able to take down someone like Isaac, but he had a feeling that if there was anyone who could bring to light Isaac’s collusion with both organizations, Sorin knew that Johan was just the kind of person to pull it all off.
“The funny thing is that Harring is not even a member of Foundation,” Jelka said. “Though I guess it makes sense considering Isaac and Dezine wanted to start a war with Ahnlikohn…”
“Don’t worry, Chancellor Harring’s time is running out,” Johan replied. “Queen Amelia will want to save face after what happened, so Harring will be the casualty.”
“And what of the crown prince?” Sorin asked. “Last I heard about him, he was spending time at the prison in Aesker.”
“He’s not going to see the light of day for a long time,” Johan said. “Whether you think that’s a good thing or not, what I do know is that Ahnlikohn will be going through rough times in coming months.”
“I guess so,” Sorin said.
“So since you’ve asked quite a bit, let me ask you something,” Johan said. “What is your plan now? You’ve already seen that your brother is doing well, so that much you don’t have to worry about.”
Sorin was not sure what he could do after this. Was there any way that he could convince Rysol to come home now? At this point, Sorin had to feel as if he had no way to convince him to stop, not now, anyway.
“I don’t know,” Sorin said. “I do want to keep helping Rain and if there’s anything my friends need me for, I’d be happy to help them out.”
“Well, Rain does need help in becoming the queen of this kingdom,” Johan replied. “It’s going to be her place to rule and she’s going to need all the help that she can possibly get. But I assume that she’ll find the right people.”
“I do wish her well,” Jelka said. “I wonder…”
“What is it?” Johan asked.
Jelka shook her head. “It’s nothing.”
“It’d do you well to share to me how you feel,” Johan said, “But I’m not going to pressure you about it if you don’t want to answer.”
Johan took a step ahead in the field. Sunlight came through the clouds as he took a deep breath. With a long sigh, Johan continued to walk forward towards the street.
“I’m just glad you’re able to realize your potential,” Johan said to Jelka. “No matter what happens, I want you to have a dream worth living for. I want you to make that dream a reality, no matter what it takes.”
“Thank you,” Jelka said.
Johan looked up to the sky. “I can see the sun coming out now,” he said. “You see it too, don’t you, Sorin?”
Sorin wanted to reply, but was interrupted by an abrupt gunshot. His eyes shot up as he begun to look around. Jelka and Rysol did the same as well as they all wondered where the came from. However, Sorin looked over to Johan and saw him kneeling on the ground. He hurried over to Johan’s side and he could not believe what he saw.
“J-Johan, you’re bleeding!” Sorin exclaimed.
Johan gritted his teeth as he tried to look up. He was doing his best to cover his wound, but Sorin pulled his hand away and saw for himself where Johan was shot. The bloodstain started to grow larger around Johan’s stomach as Sorin tried to help out. That was when he heard a cackle that sounded all too familiar.
“Finally got you, Johan Kuu,” Korbin said, twirling his gun. “I’m finally going to give you what you deserve! Prepare to die!”
To be continued…