[3rd of December, 2740 AD; Drake Rask’s house, Rezar, Iiayikohn]
After a long day of chef training, Gavin returned to the house. He saw Sorin sitting at the table in the kitchen and went over to him. Sorin greeted Gavin as he took a seat on the other side.
“So how did it go?” Sorin asked.
“It went well,” Gavin replied. “The training was nothing to me. If only you were there to see it, then maybe you would begin to take your own abilities more seriously!”
“Thanks, but I think I’ll opt to do my training elsewhere,” Sorin said. “I’m afraid I’m not cut out for that kind of job.”
“It’s not for everyone,” Gavin said. “The culinary world is grueling and is not be taken lightly. I know for sure that Lawrence wouldn’t even last one second inside the kitchen!”
“Which is why he’s not doing it, looks like,” Sorin replied.
Gavin sighed. “And you, of all people, seem to be fine sitting back,” he said. “Aren’t you worried about what will happen?”
“Of course I am,” Sorin said. “Actually, Rain called me earlier.”
“She did?” Gavin asked. “Was Mina there as well?”
Sorin nodded. “She was enthusiastic as usual,” he replied. “She’s even taken up some special training of her own. I even promised to help her out with using a sword as well!”
“So Mina’s learning swordplay, is she?” Gavin asked. “After what I taught her… Give me a break, Sorin.”
“What are talking about?”
“Nothing,” Gavin answered. “I’m happy for her, that’s all. Was that all that she said?”
“Well, no, it wasn’t,” Sorin said. “Rain told me where the summit was going to be held and when it will happen.”
“Really? Tell me more,” Gavin said.
Sorin then told Gavin about what Rain had told him.
“And that’s pretty much it,” Sorin said. “What do you think?”
“Guess we’ve got a trip next door in the coming weeks,” Gavin replied. “Though it’ll be nice to see Mina and the queen… I’ll be sure to let Lawrence know about the news.”
“Speaking of which, Rain did mention she had something she wanted to say to Ayanna,” Sorin said. “Maybe it’d do us some good if we headed over to the prime minister’s office and told her.”
“There’s no harm in that, I suppose,” Gavin said.
“Good, then we can go right now,” Sorin replied. “It’ll be awhile before Drake and Wilma return, so we can get this done before dinner.”
“You better believe we’ll get this done before dinner,” Gavin said as he pushed up his sunglasses and grinned. “I’m going to show you how a good day’s worth of training creates succulent cuisine, just you watch!”
Sorin got up out of his chair. “Can’t wait.”
After ten minutes of driving, Gavin and Sorin made it over to the prime minister’s office located in the Deca District. The silence in the halls of the prime minister did not unsettle Sorin or Gavin as they went upstairs to Ayanna’s office. The door was closed as Gavin went up and knocked on the wooden surface while Sorin waited behind him. A few seconds passed until the doorknob turned and the door opened as Ayanna showed up.
“Ah, you two are here,” she said. “What’s going on?”
“Not that much is happening,” Sorin replied, “But we do want to speak with you concerning something.”
“What are you concerned about?” Ayanna asked. “We can talk about it inside my office.”
“That would be good,” Gavin said. “It’s for the best, probably.”
Sorin and Gavin followed Ayanna inside and over to her desk. She took a seat across from the two and pulled out a pen and paper. With no hesitation, Sorin took the time to explain to Ayanna exactly what had happened earlier in the day.
“So we’ve got ourselves a definite time frame for this summit,” Ayanna said. “That’s good to know.”
“Right, but it seems like Rain has some business with you,” Sorin said. “I don’t know what she wants, but I’m guessing that it’s very important.”
“I’ll be sure to contact her,” Ayanna replied. “Luckily, it shouldn’t take too long to get in touch with the queen.”
“Great,” Sorin said. “I guess that should be it, then.”
Ayanna smiled. “Law’s already told me about you, Gavin,” she said. “It would be rude of me not to come over and celebrate.”
“Celebrate nothing,” Gavin replied. “It’s the first step of many, that’s all. Nothing more, nothing less.”
“Call it what you want, Gavin,” Ayanna said, “But we should just head back to Drake’s; I’ve already let Law know about the plan for tonight.”
“The plan?” Gavin asked.
“Oh, I must have let that one slip,” she replied. “Don’t worry, you’ll find out soon enough once we’re at the house.”
“I’m not sure how I should feel about you keeping a secret from me,” Gavin said. “Then again, I doubt that Lawrence is truly plotting anything beyond his usual buffoonery.”
“Despite your demeanor, I know that you like it,” Ayanna said. “Come now, we shouldn’t let Law arrive at Drake’s first.”
“Yeah, yeah, I got it,” Gavin said.
“Thank you, Ayanna,” Sorin said.
“You’re welcome,” she said. “It’s not that much, but we’re all on the same page. That much is important, I believe.”
With that, the three left Ayanna’s office and headed back to Drake’s house. There was not much else they could do at the moment, but Ayanna would soon have to call Rain in order to find out what she had to say. Until then, there was little to do but sit back until the day of the summit arrived.
[3rd of December, 2740 AD; Burning Light Lane, Hurst, Iiyaikohn]
Jelka took a look outside the window. Ameci soldiers were positioned just outside of a nearby building, just as she thought. The masked traveler looked to her and nodded as Jelka did the same.
“It looks like you were right,” she said.
She did not expect herself to be back in Hurst so soon after what had happened to Rysol, but her masked ally suggested that they head back based on something they had encountered in Rezar after they had spoken with Sorin. A familiar face they had seen only a couple of months ago had been walking around the city without much care for what he had done. Jelka knew that that man would know full and well where Rysol was and so she decided to hurry back to the town of Hurst at the turn of dusk.
“Do you believe that Rysol is here?” Jelka asked. “I don’t know if they would willingly stay around this area, but knowing you, I shouldn’t really question your judgement.”
Jelka sighed as she felt the comforting hand of her companion on her back. She could trust this person, she thought to herself. It was bizarre to say, but that was the thought that Jelka had because of what this masked man had done for her during a time in which she felt as if she could not trust a single person. It was because of this person that Jelka could see a glimmer of light beyond the darkness that had shrouded her for so long.
“You know, I never did get to tell you,” Jelka said. “Hold on one second, what’s that out there?”
The masked traveler looked to the other side of the street and placed his hand on the window. That man that both Jelka and the masked traveler saw during their conversation with Sorin was standing outside having a drink with another person. She could have told Sorin about it, but Jelka did not want to involve Sorin in a fight he did not need to be in. That was not what Johan would have wanted, that much Jelka had a feeling about as she kept her focus on the familiar man. Yes, it had to be that man, she thought; his jet black hair and wild goatee were hard to not recognize.
“If only I had the chance to do it, I’d run my sword right through him,” Jelka said. “But I know that we can’t abandon our mission, and I know that I can’t let you down… Hey! Are you still listening?”
The masked traveler looked back to Jelka and nodded.
“There’s no one else around here,” Jelka replied. “It would be fine if you talked. In fact, I quite miss it.”
Silence. The time for talk would have to wait as Jelka looked back outside and saw that the man that she had been tracking walked off to her left. There was not that much time left, so she motioned over to her ally.
“He’s begun to move,” Jelka said. “Let’s go!”
They hurried out of the hotel they were staying in and onto the street. From this direction, Jelka looked to where she saw the man head off as the masked traveler ran past her.
“Wait up!” Jelka said. “We don’t know if they’re armed!”
But the masked man refused to listen as he rushed after their target. With no other choice on the table, Jelka had to follow. It was important to catch up with this soldier, but the risk was too high to meet him in a direct confrontation. That was why Jelka was surprised at her masked ally’s sudden outburst. Then again, given what had happened, perhaps it was not nearly as surprising as she had initially thought.
“Wait for me,” Jelka said.
She trailed after the masked traveler’s unrelenting pursuit as they ended up towards the edge of town. Night time approached with each passing second as the streetlights lit up around both Jelka and her companion. At the other end, however, was that familiar man and his cohort. It took no time for either man to recognize Jelka.
“So this is where the last of the Neu Thekohian Order is hiding,” Crawford Bradley said. “I guess we have a little unfinished business here, after all. Isn’t that right, Korb?”
Korbin Mars had a wide grin on his face. “That man in the mask… I can’t put my finger on it, but he seems familiar,” he said. “What do you fucking know about him, Jelka Arne!?”
Jelka reached down for the handle of her sword. “Rysol. Where is he? Tell me where he is, you pathetic waste of breath!”
“If I’m such a pathetic waste of breath, then why ask me?” Korbin asked. “Ahahaha, that’s such a needless remark! I ought to just kill you know and take the glory all for myself!”
“Best not think ahead too much,” Bradley said. “You know, now that I think about it, there is a certain way that that masked stranger reminds me of a certain turncoat. Oh, but I think you’ve already figured it out, haven’t you?”
“What… What do you mean?” Jelka asked.
“I wasn’t talking to you,” Bradley replied, looking over at the masked man. “Korbin, it seems like some rats just refuse to die, don’t they?”
Korbin chortled. “It’s like when I try to break a bird’s neck,” he said. “Sometimes the fucker just writhes around and doesn’t know what to do. That’s when I just pick up a brick and crush the sorry little piece of shit!”
He pulled out a gun and aimed for the masked man. Jelka kept her hand near the hilt as the masked man stepped forward.
“You’re coming closer, are you?” Korbin asked. “Do you really think you can get out of this one so easily?”
But before Korbin could do anything, the masked man rushed him. A second later, Korbin found himself restrained with his right arm held up high and gun pointed in the air. Bradley did nothing, which threw Jelka off. Something was not right, she thought.
“You know, you really are such a pain in my ass,” Korbin muttered. “This! This show of confidence! There’s no mistaking it!”
Korbin elbowed the masked man, which loosened his grip on Korbin and sent him falling to the ground. Jelka took out her sword and attempted to rush, but stopped when she saw the masked man holding his hand up.
“You can’t be serious!” Jelka exclaimed.
The masked man started to lift up his mask, revealing his mouth. “Trust me,” he said. “We’ll get out of this.”
He sat up, but was greeted to immense pain as Korbin slammed his boot down on top his hand. The masked man gritted his teeth and held back his pain as he found himself immobilized.
The masked man took a deep breath and exhaled. “You haven’t changed a bit, have you, Korbin?”
“I fucking knew it,” Korbin said. “That voice… that stupid, calm voice! It can only belong to you, Johan Kuu!”
To be continued…