Aurora – Chapter 4 (Part 1)

[3rd of December, 2740 AD; Burning Light Lane, Hurst, Iiayikohn]

 

“I never liked you, you son of a bitch,” Korbin said. “And I knew that I had a good reason! You always wanted to make me mad, you know that? Well, now it’s my turn to piss you off, Johan Kuu!”

Jelka stood only a couple of feet away now as she readied her sword. Bradley was close, too, as he awaited the next attack. But none of that seemed to matter as Korbin stared down Johan, who felt the pressure of Korbin’s boot on his hand. He then found himself looking at the barrel of Korbin’s pistol, which was directed towards his face. Still, Johan knew he had a way out of this, even if Jelka had no clue.

“I have to applaud you,” Johan said. “Figuring out my identity is something I thought that no one would be able to do. I must say that I’m honestly impressed, Korbin.”

“Don’t even try to flatter me,” Korbin replied, “Because I’m going to finish what I started!”

As he cocked his gun, Korbin kept his stance over Johan. Jelka, however, charged Korbin and swung her sword. Korbin moved to the side and left Johan to face Jelka’s blade. She stopped, though, and turned back to Korbin while Johan got up to his feet.

“You will not take another life here,” Jelka said. “Now tell us where Rysol Wilk is!”

Korbin grinned as he rolled his eyes. “Ah shit, guess I’m no good at keeping a secret, am I?”

“I guess it’s pointless to keep this mask on, then,” Johan said, grabbing his mask and tossing it aside. “It was only a small chance, but even so, it looks like I was right: following you would lead to Rysol.”

“We fucked up, Korb,” Bradley said. “What will we do?”

“You see, it’s funny to me that you’d say that, Johan Kuu,” Korbin said. “Because it wasn’t that long ago that Rysol Wilk was last seen around here, wasn’t he? You’d tell me that, right? Well, would you, damn it?”

“What do you think?” Johan asked. “Also, if you were going to shoot, you would’ve done it by now, wouldn’t you?”

“I think that you’re begging for a quick death,” Korbin replied. “You know, I was going to put a bullet in your head, but hearing you talk is really beginning to piss me off! I think I’d rather make you fucking suffer instead!”

Johan sighed. “And yet, still no word about my ally,” he said. “You continue to speak without much substance to show for it. I’d say I’m disappointed, but that would be high praise for you.”

Korbin growled as he put away his pistol and rushed Johan. “Fuck you! Fucking die, Johan Kuu!”

He shoved Johan to the ground and got on top of him. Before Korbin could strike with his fists, however, Johan began to laugh.

“The fuck you think is so fucking funny?” Korbin asked.

“You intend on avoiding my questions to the very end, it seems,” Johan said. “You could’ve just said that Rysol was dead and it would be over with, but the fact that you haven’t means he’s still alive somewhere. You know that, don’t you? He’s of high interest to Foundation, if I had to guess.”

Korbin gritted his teeth and began to breathe rapidly. “You… the questions that you ask are just like you, you know,” he said. “They’re all fucking useless! Useless, I tell you! They’re useless, you goddamn son of a bitch! That’s all they are!”

“The only useless one here is you,” Jelka exclaimed, “So get up and fight me… that is, unless you don’t think you can take me.”

There was no time to sit back as Jelka swung down her sword at Korbin. Johan anticipated for Korbin to move out of the way, but was surprised that he did not. No, that was not the surprising part, Johan thought. What was surprising was that Korbin lifted up his right arm, without looking back, and caught the blade of Jelka’s sword with his hand.

“What the hell?” Johan asked.

“I knew that this overzealous woman would come out swinging her sword at me,” Korbin said. “You’re shocked, aren’t you? This arm of mine… I guess I gotta thank Rysol, because without his help, I wouldn’t have had to chance to gain something like this!”

“It’s the same as Rysol’s,” Johan said.

“No matter,” Jelka replied. “Whether it is flesh or steel, I will cut through! Prepare yourself!”

As she set her feet, Jelka pulled back her sword and readied once again, but that was when Johan noticed the look in Korbin’s eyes. The look was far from his usually devious demeanor; rather, it was a look that made Johan feel dread as he watched Korbin turn his head to the side.

“Oh, I’m prepared, alright,” Korbin said.

That was when Johan saw it. A single bolt emanated between the fingers of Korbin’s metal arm. It lasted for only a second, but Johan saw the danger that was in Korbin’s hands. He had to act.

“Jelka!” Johan exclaimed. “Hold back!”

And in that moment, Jelka did as he said. She stopped in her tracks, her sword mere inches away from Korbin and his arm. A low cackle followed as Korbin stood up and faced Jelka, who continued to keep her composure as she too noticed what Johan had spotted.

“That is not a common prosthetic, is it?” Jelka asked. “His arm… electricity is running through it!”

Korbin put on a wide smile. “It’s quite a beauty, isn’t it? See, my dad’s a bit of a genius,” he said, “Tinkering with shit like this is his specialty, though it’s gotten harder for him in recent years. But I gotta be thankful. After all, I’m still trying to figure out how to use this thing!”

“He’s still here, then,” Jelka said. “Your father… he was the one that kidnapped Rysol. Well, now I know that this wasn’t a waste.”

“Careful, he still may have a trick up his sleeve,” Johan said. “We don’t even know what Korbin’s capable of with his arm.”

“Ah, so that’s what baffles you, is it?” Korbin asked. “I’d be happy to show it off, just for you!”

Korbin turned around and rushed Johan. However, Johan dodged his lunging attack and rolled out of the way.

“You think Korb’s just going to let you run away?” Bradley asked. “That’s funny, because neither of us really planned on having you escape in the first place.”

“I don’t even have to get that close to you,” Korbin said. “Right now, I’ve got what you could say is a two and a half meter distance separating us, Johan Kuu. I only need to get one and a half meters closer for me to send a high amount of electricity coursing through your body!”

Johan staggered forward. “So that’s why you’re so confident,” he said. “I see that this may be disadvantageous…”

“It doesn’t matter what he has,” Jelka said. “As long as you and I are still standing, then there’s no way he’ll run!”

“Oh, I was never going to run,” Korbin replied. “Actually, it’s the opposite; you see, there’s one mistake that you both made.”

“What are you talking about?” Jelka asked.

Korbin grinned. “You’ve failed to realize it? Well, then let me fucking show you just what you’re in for!”

“Jelka! Look out!” Johan exclaimed.

But he knew that it would be too late for her to back away from Korbin’s attack. Johan noticed a rock by his feet and picked it up. He had only one chance to get this, so he took aim for Korbin’s head. The rock flew threw the air but missed Korbin’s head entirely, leaving him to stop in his tracks and turn to Johan. Johan exhaled as Korbin began to laugh.

“What the fuck was that?” Korbin asked. “I’ve seen better aim from the trainees in the Ameci military! Shit, you really are just trying to piss me off, aren’t you? Fine then, I’ll kill you first!”

“I think you’re the one who failed to realize, Korbin,” Johan replied. “Look again.”

Korbin looked behind himself to discover that the rock that Johan threw had hit Bradley instead. The other man was on the ground, clutching his head as a small stream of blood was flowing out.

“Bradley! What the fuck just happened!?” Korbin asked.

“Ugh… caught me off guard,” Bradley replied. “Luckily it was a small stone, otherwise I’d be out cold. Shit!”

“You… You motherfucking shitpile!” Korbin exclaimed to Johan.

But before he was able to face Johan, Korbin found himself captive by way of Jelka and her sword. With the blade at Korbin’s neck, Jelka was able to hold him down as Johan stood up again.

“One false move will end you,” Jelka told Korbin. “Now tell us where Rysol is. Otherwise, I can’t say what will happen to both you and your comrade over there.”

“You think I’m scared of you?” Korbin asked. “Or have you forgotten what I can do, you stupid bitch?”

“I’ve not forgotten,” Jelka said. “But you seem to forget what position you’re in. If you try and shock me, you’ll end up hurting yourself as well.”

“You’re fucking crazy!” Korbin said.

“Did you not just say you’re still trying to figure out how to use it?” Jelka asked. “It seems like you’re the one who’s unable to grasp reality.”

Korbin growled. “Fuck… Fucking hell!”

He roared, which echoed around the lane until he could go no longer. Johan looked over to him and then to Bradley, who was still clutching his head. This had to be the end, Johan thought.

“Korb… I think it’s best if we fell back,” Bradley said. “You really don’t want to make your father mad, would you?”

“The fuck I will!” Korbin replied.

“Well, then we’re just going to keep standing here until you tell us,” Johan said. “I know Jelka. She’s tough and won’t let someone like you just run away. Oh no, there’s a lot you’ve got to answer for, my friend.”

“How about you kiss my ass?” Korbin asked.

Bradley glared. “Korb, I’m serious,” he said. “You know full well that it’s not completely over.”

“Asshole… fine,” Korbin said. “Just let me go and I’ll tell you.”

“That won’t happen,” Jelka replied. “I know trickery when I see it, and you’re planning on pulling a trick the moment I lower my sword.”

Korbin chuckled. “Well, then tell her, Bradley.”

“You really made a big mistake,” Bradley said.

He jumped up to his feet and threw a rock right at Jelka. It was the same one that Johan threw, which Johan was able to recognize. Jelka, though, dodged in time, but at the cost of losing her grip on Korbin. In that split second moment, Korbin was able to escape from Jelka’s grasp and hurried over towards Bradley.
Korbin took one look at Johan and then over to Bradley, who seemed to motion for the two of them to escape.

“Come back here!” Jelka said.

“No, this won’t do,” Johan said. “They’re heading back to the building. We have no choice but to let them go.”

“But they know where Rysol is,” she replied. “Is that not important to you?”

Johan sighed. “It is, but not at the expense of our lives,” he said. “Our group isn’t properly organized yet. If we followed them, we’d be heading into a suicide mission.”

“I know, I know,” Jelka said. “Very well, then we have no choice but to draw up a plan for next time.”

“Let’s go back, then,” Johan replied.

 

*****

 

It was through the back that both Johan and Jelka were able to return to the hotel. Now that Korbin knew that they were in Hurst, though, Johan and Jelka had to act quickly and move fast.

“So it would be better if we got out of here,” Jelka said. “I say we should head back to Rezar. What of you?”

“I don’t think that that’s possible,” Johan answered. “Staying here is like putting your hand in the fire; staying in Rezar is having your hand just above the fire. So long as the Ameci military occupies themselves in Iiaiykohn, we’re walking around with targets on our backs.”

“And heading to Ahnlikohn would do us no good, either,” Jelka said. “I’m still wanted there, you know.”

“I know that,” Johan said. “Even after all that’s happened, Harring still pulls the strings there and won’t hesitate using capital punishment, right?”

“It was only a few months ago that I had no regard for my own life,” she said. “But then you came along.”

“Only because I saw what you were capable of accomplishing,” Johan replied. “And once I heard your story, I became even more interested.”

“You did, did you,” Jelka said. “I… I guess that makes sense.”

“What’s the matter?” Johan asked.

“Tell me something,” she said, “Have you ever been conflicted about someone before?”

“Conflicted about someone?”

“You wanted to tell them something, but you weren’t sure how they’d react,” Jelka replied. “Like, maybe if you cared for them, but were afraid of telling them the whole truth.”

“Of course I have,” Johan said. “There are plenty of things I haven’t told Sorin, but it’s not because of what he’d think of me. No, rather, it’s for his own safety that I keep some secrets from him.”

“I see,” Jelka said. “Do you remember what I told you when I treated your bullet wounds?”

“I think so.”

“Well, I meant what I said,” she replied. “I would be at your side and help you accomplish your goal, no matter what.”

“I never doubted that,” Johan said.

“Yet, when I was helping you heal, I could see it,” Jelka continued. “You were in pain all throughout and it was the first time I’ve ever seen you look so vulnerable. The look in your eyes told me a lot and that was when I decided that I could trust you completely.”

Johan chuckled. “I suppose that if you had me almost naked on that bed, then I suppose you can trust someone like me with your life.”

“It’s not a joke,” she said. “How else was I supposed to treat your wounds?”

“I understand,” Johan replied.

“But it almost happened again,” Jelka said. “Korbin… he’s not a man that is going to let go easily, and as long as we stay here, then he’ll be after us again.”

“I know that,” Johan said, “But for your sake, don’t worry about me too much. It does us no good if we worry.”

“Johan, I can’t do that.”

“Why’s that?”

Jelka sighed. “Because I… Because I, well, I don’t want to abandon an ally of mine ever again,” she replied. “In the past, I couldn’t even trust those on my side and ran away. I can’t do that… Not when it’s you.”

“Believe me, Jelka, I know,” Johan replied. “You can’t change your past, but you can certainly change your future. Now, let’s get going.”

Johan headed out as Jelka looked down at the floor. She had almost told him right there, but at the last moment decided against it. Jelka knew that Johan was right: she did not need to worry about him because she knew just what he was capable of, and he felt the same way about her. However, Jelka had no clue if Johan would return how she truly felt. That would have to be a question for another time, however, as Jelka perked up and followed Johan out of the hotel room and onto the next destination.

 

To be continued…

 

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