[5th of December, 2740 AD; outside the New Prime Minister’s Office, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]
With the announcement that Rain would be coming to Rezar, Ayanna knew that the security would be important. There was also the fact that there was another arrival that was to come within the next week, but Ayanna knew that she did not need to worry about that event until it was much later down the line. At this moment, though, there was nothing that Ayanna could do until Rain arrived. That was why she requested Law, Gavin, and Sorin to meet with her at the local cafe only a block from the prime minister’s office so she could talk with them about what would happen.
Ayanna took a peak at the clock on the wall. “It’s almost time,” she said. “I wonder where they are…”
She sat at the table closest to the window, taking a drink of her coffee as she spotted the three men hurrying to the cafe. Looks like they were just on time, Ayanna thought. Gavin burst into the cafe and jerked the door open, with Sorin and Law following in after him. It was then that they saw Ayanna and went over to the table to take their seats. All three appeared to be out of breath, so Ayanna decided to wait until they were finished catching up.
Gavin caught his breath first. “Sorry about the tardiness,” he said to Ayanna. “Lawrence here just had to do some skirt chasing at the theater before we left.”
“Oh please, bro, you don’t know casual conversation from actual flirting,” Law said. “I was only telling that actress how her necklace really brought out her radiant smile…”
“Give me a fucking break,” Gavin replied.
“Whatever, it’s not important,” Sorin said. “Ayanna, is what you said over the phone true?”
“As of right now, yes,” Ayanna replied. “Rain will be coming here, though I’m not sure if she’ll discuss anything with the prime minister today.”
“It won’t happen today,” Law said. “That old man probably wants to get home before his five o’clock dinner, so Rain’s gonna have to wait until tomorrow to meet him.”
“You sound sure about that,” Sorin said.
“Technically, he’s not wrong,” Ayanna said. “We’ve been working hard since the battle in the kingdom and it feels like we’ve barely heard anything from the prime minister. I’m not sure what it is, but Dezine has been more distant than usual.”
“Well, he’s the one who’s gotta meet with our newly ascended queen,” Law said as he leaned back in his chair. “Hopefully Rain can meet him before he starts to go senile.”
“Say what you want, but Dezine’s still the prime minister,” Ayanna replied. “I may not agree with everything the man says, but I intend to fulfill my duty as the lieutenant general of the military and see to it that this meeting goes on with little interference.”
“I hope that you’re right,” Gavin said. “Hopefully we can achieve some sort of stability for the time being.”
“Considering who we’re up against, it’s quite a tall task,” Sorin said.
“You’re telling me, man,” Law said. “Isaac’s probably got a good eye on this meeting as we speak. Somebody here with an in on the Iiayikohnian side who has a deep connection to our friend Mr. Mustache.”
“That’s likely,” Ayanna said. “I just have a hard time seeing it be another one of our men and women… After what the True Thekohnians did to infiltrate the ranks, many measures were put in place.”
Law scoffed. “To people like Isaac Kunigunde, the rules don’t apply,” he replied. “He would murder a man in broad daylight if he knew that he would get away with it, but then again, Isaac’s not exactly the type to go and get his hands dirty.”
“That much is true,” Sorin said, resting his fist on the table. Ayanna could see the frustration in his eyes. “Damn it, unless we find a way to stop him, this is all going to happen again.”
“We can only wait for so long,” Gavin replied. “The summit isn’t too far off and Rain will have everyone around at the same place. We’ll have a better idea of what to do then.”
“Yes, it would be unwise to rush her,” Ayanna said. “Rain will handle things on her end while you’ll handle things on yours, Sorin.”
“Rain’s good at handling a lot of things, I think,” Law said. “Diplomacy, swords, grandiose parties… Hell, she can handle Mina pretty well, too!”
“She is well suited for the crown,” Ayanna said.
Law smirked. “Yes, which is why I’m a little envious of her position,” he said. “Mina’s quite a wild spirit, so it surprised me how Rain was able to take the lead in their relationship.”
Ayanna picked up her cup of coffee. “Doesn’t surprise me,” she said, taking a sip. “I, for one, can tell just from experience.”
“Yeah, I’m wondering what exactly Rain is having Mina do for her,” Law continued. “The sort of stuff that goes on beyond those doors is but a mystery to all of us, with them doing things that I just can’t say out in public. Wait, what do you mean when you say you can tell from experience, Ayanna?”
“I think you know full well what I mean,” she answered.
“Gee, guess that’s a ‘no,’ isn’t it?” Law asked.
Sorin shook his head. “You really don’t know?”
“Well, I want to know what kind of experience she’s talking about,” Law said. “It’s just a simple question.”
“Yes, which is why my answer is pretty simple,” Ayanna said. “I’m sure you know the answer since you’re so smart.”
“Oh, you think so?” Law asked. “Well, I know what else you’d compliment me on, but as I’ve said before, it’s not for public ears.”
“Anyway, before we get sidetracked any further, Rain will be arriving in a couple of hours,” Ayanna said. “I will do my best to make sure you three can come along so we can greet her and Mina, so I expect that you’ll be on time, correct?”
“We’ll do our best,” Sorin said.
“Don’t worry,” Law said, “I’ll be sure that my bro doesn’t get distracted.”
“Fuck off,” Gavin replied. “You’re the one that got distracted some woman’s chest, asshole!”
“Hey, she’s not some woman, bro,” Law said. “Em’s a fellow performer and I won’t have you say that sort of stuff about her.”
Gavin gritted his teeth and took a deep breath, which he then exhaled. “I’m sorry,” he said, “But that doesn’t excuse your incompetence!”
“Okay, you two,” Ayanna said, “Get it under control or I’ll do it for you.”
“Fine, fine,” Gavin said. “It’s a deal.”
“Very good,” Ayanna replied.
The bell rang as the door opened. Sorin looked at the door and could not believe who had walked in. Korbin entered the cafe with Bradley and Erik Ellis behind him, all of them wearing their uniforms as the door closed.
“So what the fuck are we doing in this cafe, Bradley?” Korbin asked. “Do you have some sort of coffee fix or something like that?”
“Hardly,” Bradley replied.
He motioned over to the table where Sorin and the others sat. Korbin looked in that direction and cackled. Ayanna, Law, and Gavin soon noticed, too, as the three Blood Ravens approached their table. Sorin looked up, but Korbin slammed his right hand down on the table to the left of Sorin.
“Looks like we’re truly inseparable, Sorin Wilk,” Korbin said. “This is quite a nice little gathering you got for yourself!”
“What do you want?” Sorin asked. “I’m not interested in speaking with you, considering what you’ve done to us.”
Korbin grinned. “That’s the past, isn’t it? Besides, we helped you guys out in ousting that queen, so you could at least thank us.”
“You arrived late,” Sorin said. “Besides, the two of us know what actually happened when you showed up.”
“We’re a little busy here, bird boy,” Law said. “So why don’t you and your flock just fuck off for once?”
Korbin chuckled as he walked over to Law. “You really think you can scare me, you little bitch?”
He threw a right hook at Law, but Law grabbed Korbin’s wrist right before he made contact. Law then jumped back in his seat after what appeared to be a shock came into contact with him.
“Law!” Ayanna said. “Are you okay?”
Law clenched his fist. “I’m fine,” he replied. “This guy, however, won’t be once I break his face!”
He leapt up out of his chair and attacked Korbin, however, Sorin stood in between the two men to prevent the attack from happening.
“I don’t know what just happened, but we can’t fight him,” Sorin said to Law. “It’s not worth it right now.”
“It’s not often that someone pisses me off,” Law replied. “Korbin… he’s got something up his sleeve, that much I know.”
“We can’t fight him here,” Sorin told him. “I don’t want this to become a scene.”
“He’s got a point, Law Power,” Korbin said. “So why don’t you sit your ass down and let me do the goddamn talking?”
Law glared at Korbin. “You’re scared,” he said. “I’d throw you down here right now, but since Sorin says he doesn’t want to fight, I’ll sit down.”
He took his seat next to Ayanna. Sorin, though, remained standing and faced up against Korbin.
“That’s what I fucking thought,” Korbin replied. “Normally, I’d be pretty upset about someone hurting my pride, but I gotta hand it to your brother, Sorin Wilk. The bastard has no idea what kind of gift I’ve been given!”
“What do you mean?” Sorin asked.
He laid open the palm of his right hand and exposed it to Sorin. Indeed, it was nothing like Sorin had ever seen before; even Rysol’s arm could not compare to the arm that was now a part of Korbin’s body.
“It answers some questions,” Sorin said.
“Fuck yeah, baby!” Korbin exclaimed. “It’s even got things that even you couldn’t possibly understand!”
“Maybe it’s best we don’t spend too much time talking about that,” Bradley said. “You know why we came here, don’t you, Korb?”
Korbin scratched his nose. “Of course I do!”
“Well, you must have had a reason to single us out in a place like this,” Ayanna said. “I suppose that with things at peace for the time being, you’ve grown bored.”
“So Sorin, don’t think I’ve forgotten,” Korbin said. “We may be at peace now, but I know that a lot of people are getting real tired of that entire Ahnle family and their chancellor.”
Sorin sighed. “Your point is?”
“Don’t think I don’t know about what’s happening,” Korbin replied. “That friend of yours, the queen… Well, she’ll be in for a surprise if this summit ends up taking place!”
“What are you suggesting?” Sorin asked.
“You better not be insinuating a threat against the Queen of Thekohn,” Ayanna said, standing up. “I don’t care if you’re Ameci military or not; I will not tolerate that sort of rhetoric as long as I’m around.”
“What the fuck are you going to do?” Korbin asked. “If you want to kill me now, then do it. Oh, but we both know how that ended the last time, right? Maybe you should shut your fucking mouth and sit down.”
“Like bloody hell I will,” Ayanna replied.
“Listen, lieutenant general,” Bradley said. “All Korb’s saying is that your dear friend should know what her role is and respect those atop her. This thing she’s doing… it’s not that popular with those who have actual stakes in the game. Best the queen slows her roll before she gets in too deep, don’t you agree?”
“Leave now,” Ayanna said. “You’ve already caused enough trouble for us in one day.”
“Big words, coming from you,” Erik said.
“You should do as she says,” Gavin said. “None of us have any interest in speaking with you three.”
“Let’s go, Korb,” Bradley said. “You’ve already said what you’ve needed to say to them. Besides, we have other reasons for coming to Rezar.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Korbin replied. “We’ve got to find that dog that’s been roaming the streets, don’t we?”
Korbin turned around and left the cafe with Erik not too far behind. Bradley was about to leave, but then turned back to Sorin and the group with his finger raised up.
“One thing, before I forget,” Bradley said, “There’s a certain order that a certain someone wants to maintain. Your friend is looking to change that and that upsets this man greatly. Needless to say, he’s looking at all possibilities in order to take care of her.”
Sorin tightened his fist. “You’ve got some nerve telling me this!”
“I’m just a messenger,” Bradley replied. “A simple messenger that just wants to let you know how my superior feels about your friend’s efforts. If I were you, the next time you saw her, it would be wise to give her a fair warning.”
Sorin had no chance to respond as Bradley left the cafe. He was infuriated by what Bradley had suggested, but there was no way for him to tell him now. All he could do was sit down now that Korbin and his crew were gone, but even so, the tension rose higher with what was said. No one could say anything. That is, except for Gavin.
“You’re really going to let that asshole intimidate you?” Gavin asked. “Well, I guess it doesn’t matter now.”
“It’s not that,” Sorin said.
“We’d better do our best to make sure that everything goes well,” Ayanna said. “It’s important that we take this seriously, no matter what.”
“That’s a relief,” Law said. “I was getting worried that we would have to sit back and wait for that codger to make a half-assed statement about security.”
“I’m not worried about Dezine,” Ayanna said. “No, he’s none of our concern, at least not at this moment.”
Sorin knew that that was true, though he also knew that there was that influence working behind the scenes. It was only a matter of time until Isaac and Foundation acted again and Sorin had to be ready. With the summit getting closer and closer, he knew that Rain would have to pull it off in a spectacular fashion. He did not doubt her ability, but Sorin had the feeling that regardless of what Rain did, Isaac would make his presence known one way or another. The fact that it was a possibility continued to loom over Sorin, which made him think about it before he went to the train station.
To be continued…