[7th of October, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Thedam Castle Upper Balcony]
“It’s a beautiful day today, don’t you think?” Storm asked.
“I can’t disagree with you there,” Rain said. “I only wish that Brook was alive to see it as well…”
It had been two weeks since the fight against the New Thekohnian Order in the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn. Though a substantial amount of time had passed, Rain felt as if it would still be a while until everything returned to normal. On top of that, she still had to reassess the royal guard as well as the kingdom’s military. A new general would have to be appointed soon, as well as new set of personal advisors. Luckily, Rain had the help from the members of the Swords of Eight that chose to stay and help her with the process.
“There are a lot of people that I wish could be here with us, too,” Storm said. “Brook, father… Even mother, despite all she had done… I can only hope that she’s able to find peace.”
“Well, if what General Khadir told me is true, she should have every reason to be happy,” Rain said. “Somehow, I doubt that mother would be able to find her peace now, though.”
Storm rested her hand on her head. “Rotipalc… That was the name of the island, correct?”
“It’s quite a bit away from where we are,” Rain replied. “I’m surprised that the general even thought of such a place, but either way, we don’t really have to worry about her anymore.”
“It’s for the best, I guess,” Storm said. “Oh, so when are we going to meet the new advisors?”
“Mr. Wilk told me that they would be coming in another thirty minutes,” Rain answered. “He was in quite a good mood when I spoke to him; maybe the two advisors left a good impression on him.”
“I hope that it all goes well,” Storm said.
Rain agreed. She had been occupied with business in the kingdom, not to mention the fact that the Thekohnian Festival was set to begin tomorrow night. She knew that she had to make a grand appearance, not because she had to, but because the residents needed her to be a strong leader. A lot rode on beginning this festival for the people to enjoy and in this time of need, Rain had to be the one who would inspire hope all across the Thekohnian Region.
“Well, we can only look over this balcony for so long,” Rain said. “Why don’t we just go and see if anyone’s arrived, sister?”
Storm nodded. “Yes, we should.”
The two left the balcony and went downstairs. Down in the main hall of the castle, Eva and Lowell awaited to see Rain. She greeted both of them with a wide smile and confident handshake, as did Storm.
“You’re doing well, Your Highness,” Lowell said. “I wonder when the time is going to come when we call you ‘Your Majesty’ instead.”
“Oh, well, that’s not for another month,” Rain said. “We have so much to do before that can be addressed.”
“She hasn’t even assigned a general yet,” Eva said. “Although, I think that there is a good chance we might see a familiar face in that position. Well, if he’s actually up to the task.”
“You shouldn’t worry about Rado,” Lowell replied. “He’s actually been very fired up since that battle ended.”
“Could have used that fire beforehand, you know,” Eva said. “What the hell was he even doing, anyway?”
Lowell cracked a smile. “You’ll see.”
“I believe that’s the first time I’ve ever seen you smile, Mr. Page,” Storm said. “You must be so certain about your claim.”
“Believe me, little miss, I know you may think of me as a codger, but I’m actually optimistic about what you’re running here,” Lowell said. “If Rain here can inspire hope in these people, then there’s hope yet that Alan’s vision for this region can be realized.”
“He really did believe in the Thekohnian Region, didn’t he?” Rain asked. “If only I got to know him better, then maybe I can put forth an even better effort for this kingdom.”
“You shouldn’t worry about that,” Lowell replied. “If Alan were here, he would be proud to call you an ally.”
“Thank you,” Rain said. “I hope that I can establish a similar relationship with the new prime minister of Iiayikohn.”
“As do I, but we’ll see,” Lowell said.
“Right, Dezine’s only been the prime minister not even for a month,” Eva said. “Though I guess it really doesn’t matter for you, Rain.”
“There’s been quite a bit of change in the region,” Rain replied. “But still, it would do us all good if we came together. Perhaps we may be able to arrange a summit, if Dezine and the other leaders agree to it.”
“That sounds like a good idea,” Storm said.
“And I would like it if we could get all of the current countries involved in the agreement here,” Rain said. “It doesn’t have to be soon, but I’d like to speak with the leaders of Elemci and Oci too.”
“If you can pull that off, that would be great,” Lowell said. “I think that if you got every country’s leader involved, that would be groundbreaking. You just need to be the leader that everyone expects you to be, that’s all.”
“Well, that’s something that I’ll have to arrange,” Rain said. “There must be a lot of people who are just waiting to hear from me.”
There was a knock on the front doors as everyone directed their attention towards that direction. The front door opened as Kirk walked in with two men behind him.
“I’m not interrupting anything, am I?” Kirk asked.
“Oh no, not at all,” Rain said. “I’m to understand that these are the two advisors you’ve been telling me about?”
“Yes, that’s correct,” Kirk replied.
The man with long, dark blond hair and a small goatee stepped forward. “Nice to meet you, Your Highness,” he said. “My name is Dustin Cage. It’s going to be nice to work under you.”
Rain shook his hand. “Thank you for your help.”
The other man with short, black hair and muscular arms laughed. “You really think that you have this formal thing all figured out, don’t you, Dusty? Damn, now you’re trying to make me look bad!”
“That wasn’t my intention,” Dustin said. “Besides, Gamal, you haven’t even introduced yourself.”
“You really didn’t get it, did you?” Gamal asked. “I was joking! Hahaha, that’s what it was: a joke, man. Oh, yeah, and it’s nice to meet you too, Your Highness. I’m Gamal Gomel.”
Rain shook Gamal’s hand. “You must be Mr. Gomel’s son, then,” she said. “I had no idea.”
“Ah hell, I guess that old man never told you,” Gamal said. “It was a wonder trying to get him to come off his fishing boat, but I guess that it can’t be blamed when he lost one of his best fishermen.”
“It was pretty tough,” Eva said.
“It still doesn’t explain why he had to keep Her Highness in the dark like this, though,” Gamal continued. “If I knew I had the chance to land a cushy gig like this, I woulda come sprinting sooner!”
“I’m glad you’re here now,” Rain said. “Both you and Dustin look to be good guys, so it will be nice to get to know you.”
“Say, where’s Rado, anyway?” Lowell asked Kirk.
“He’s coming,” Kirk replied. “I just wanted to get these two acquainted with Rain first.”
“That lazy bastard can really hold things up,” Eva said. “Though when he does put his mind to use, he is beyond compare.”
“Who are you calling lazy bastard?” Rado asked as he walked through the doorway. “Eva, do you think of me like that?”
“Yes I do,” Eva replied. “You really made Rain worry.”
“Oh no, no, no, I wouldn’t want to make the young lady worry,” Rado said. “I don’t want her to end up like you.”
“Oh, so you’re making jokes now, are you?” Eva asked. “I think you should watch what you say unless you want to challenge me. You know what I’m talking about.”
Rado guffawed. “Eva, you don’t want to do that,” he said. “I don’t care how many years it’s been since last, I still win any drinking contest!”
“I’ve been practicing,” Eva replied. “You’d sooner spill the contents of your gut before you could even think of defeating me!”
“Okay, alright, you two, let’s get serious,” Lowell said. “Rado, I’m glad that you made it despite the waiting.”
“Not my fault,” Rado replied. “Kirk’s the one who took that awful turn back in Helm!”
“Well, the road was blocked,” Kirk said. “How was I supposed to know that people were rushing their way to the kingdom?”
“People are passionate about the Thekohnian Festival,” Storm said. “Truly, it doesn’t surprise me one bit that everybody wants to come and see the royal parade.”
“It’s gonna be a hell of a time around here, isn’t it?” Lowell asked. “To be honest, I’ve never actually been to the festival myself. I’m sure that my grandson would enjoy it if he were here.”
“Perhaps in a year, you can bring him along,” Rain said. “Anyway, is there anything I need to know about these two over here?”
“Well, I used to play baseball in my younger days,” Gamal said. “There wasn’t a single person at the plate who could hit my fastball.”
“Oh, so that’s the reason for all that muscle?” Dustin asked. “Suddenly, my time as a sailor doesn’t seem so impressive…”
“I’m sure that the two of you will get along well with Rain,” Eva said. “Rado, you came all this way because of the vacancy at general, right?”
Rado rubbed the back of his head. “Yes and no,” he replied. “It’s not much my style to take such a task, but I did talk with Kirk. As a Thekohnian, it would be an honor to serve as general, but the times have passed me by.”
“So you’re not taking the position?” Rain asked.
“Ah, hold up, Your Highness,” Rado said. “Not what I said. I said the time has passed me by to serve as general, but that doesn’t mean I won’t help you find a suitable leader.”
“If that’s the case, then we can do that,” Rain said.
“Hey, looks like we got a compromise,” Gamal said. “So, when are we going to be all officially appointed and stuff?”
“That won’t be for a while,” Rain answered. “There will be some required training, of which I’m sure that Mr. Wilk and Miss Bellamy would be happy to help out.”
“Never thought I’d be back at this again,” Eva said. “Still, I’m honored that you would call on Kirk and I.”
“I think this is a good step in establishing a stronger relation between this kingdom and Ameci,” Kirk said. “That said, I’ve got plenty of things I can teach these two here.”
“Well, if what you say is true, Mr. Wilk, then I look forward to it,” Dustin said. “I may not have the bulk like Gamal, but I’ve got tons of determination and guile to go along with it!”
“I’m glad,” Rain replied.
After meeting with Dustin and Gamal, Rain was certain that the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn would able to move forward. With people slowly being set in place, all that Rain needed to do was prepare for the upcoming Thekohnian Festival. Her friends would be there, Rain knew that, but also the one person that was closest to her as well. Mina, the energetic and brave woman that Rain along the way, was going to be at the festival as well. It had been a while since Rain had seen Mina in person, but Rain knew that she wanted to see her again. Tomorrow at the festival, Rain would be able to reunite with the woman she loved.
To be continued…