[5th of December, 2740 AD; Iiayine Street, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]
The captivating sunset helped to compliment the perfect, cloudless sky as Sorin sat back in his seat. He viewed the rest of the outside table as everybody else started to talk with one another. For now, he could sit back and relax.
“Damn, Eva, you’re already at it with the beer, aren’t you?” Gavin asked.
“You say that as if you want to challenge me,” Eva said.
Gavin took a deep breath and exhaled. “I’m not going to fall for your trap, you know,” he replied. “You’re going to try and get me drunk so you can catch me doing something less than tolerable, aren’t you?”
Eva picked up her mug by the handle. “Seems to me that you’re too proud to even think about losing,” she said. “No one else wants to try? Law?”
“Sadly, I have to refuse,” Law replied. “I enjoy a good drink or two, but I have a bit of a weak stomach when it comes to the harder stuff.”
Mina laughed. “Wow, you’re no good when it comes to alcohol either, are you? I can’t stand that stuff either!”
“Someone like you doesn’t need it, anyway,” Ayanna said. “And good on you, Law.”
“I suppose I could do with a drink,” Dustin said. “Waiter! How’s about a couple for me and my friend Gamal here?”
“Hey, don’t include me in that woman’s drinking game,” Gamal said.
“Relax, we’re not going to try and outdrink her,” Dustin told him. “No, I’m not foolish enough to do that. We’ll take things slow. Real slow.”
“So it looks like you two are up,” Eva said. “Okay.”
“Eva, remember, if you have to pee, just let us know,” Mina said. “That way, Sorin won’t walk in on you again!”
Sorin glared at Mina. “I thought that we weren’t going to mention what happened earlier!”
“Oh, sorry,” Mina replied, “I guess I let that one slip out of my mouth.”
Law shook his head and chuckled. “You know it’s a different case here, Mina,” he said. “It would be better for all of us if we let the past sit where it is and move on. Eva, wouldn’t you agree?”
“That would be wise,” Eva replied.
“Then again, there is the little thing about what you did with Kiku,” Law said. “Just for the record, you said you had bonded with both her and Ayame, is that correct?”
“Whatever you think happened, did not,” Eva said. “I only did it because she asked me and I had no reason to turn her down.”
“Well, well, well, that’s quite an answer,” Law said. “It would be pretty hard to turn down a request from a woman like Kiku, wouldn’t you all agree?”
He looked around the table to see if anyone would respond, but no one did. Eva continued to drink as Dustin and Gamal received their beverages. With the tension unbreaking, Gavin cleared his throat.
“You’re talking too much again,” Gavin said. “Rain, how is everything going along in the kingdom?”
“Everything is well,” Rain answered. “I assume that you’re doing well, also, Gavin. You appear much more focused than usual.”
“Of course,” Gavin replied. “My newfound calling has made it all possible… Everything possible now that I’ve chosen my path!”
“Good at cooking, good at gunslinging,” Law said. “I didn’t even think you’d have the patience for such a career!”
“Give me a break, Lawrence,” Gavin said. “What about you?”
“Haven’t I already told you, bro?” Law asked. “One of these days, I’m going to be the best there ever was on the stage. You’ll see.”
“I’d like to see you perform,” Rain said. “I’m sure that it would be quite an experience to remember.”
“Any time, Your Majesty,” Law said. “We’re due to travel in the next year, so maybe we’ll swing by the kingdom and perform for the people there.”
“That would be nice,” Rain said.
“What are you going to do on the stage?” Mina asked. “Are you going to sing out loud or something?”
“Nah, I’m an actor,” Law replied. “It’s actually supposed to be a play about the early years of King Iiayine, or so the script says.”
“Oh, I’m sure that my sister would love to see it,” Rain said. “I’ll be sure to let her know about it when I go back home.”
The conversation continued on as the sun finally submerged itself beneath the Rezar skyline. Time passed as Sorin wondered to himself about where Rysol was and if Jelka was getting any closer to finding him. He wanted to do something to help, but knew that he did not want to get in Jelka’s way. Sorin had to trust her. With nothing else to do at the moment, he decided to kick back and engage back in the conversation. He watched as Eva downed yet another glass and slam it down on the table, much to the amazement of the others.
“Man, Eva, you really put away those past couple of drinks,” Law said. “I’m astounded and relieved that I didn’t take you up on your offer.”
“That makes two of us,” Ayanna said. “You know, it’s not often we see some stars up in the sky like this.”
“You’re talking about stars right now?” Gavin asked.
“Well, perhaps you’d like to talk about something else?” Ayanna asked. “It wouldn’t hurt, you know.”
“I think I’m going to go take a walk,” Gavin said.
“You always do that, Gavin,” Mina said, “You always like to go and walk every time that we get together!”
Gavin stood up. “Anyone else want to go along?”
He looked over to Sorin, gesturing as if he wanted him to come along. Sorin looked back at him and shrugged.
“I guess I’ll go, too,” Sorin said.
Eva laid her head on the table and groaned. “Goddamnit, I’m so horny,” she said. “I haven’t been fucked by Kirk in forever; god, it’s so annoying!”
“I think I might go with you as well,” Ayanna said.
“Are you guys leaving?” Eva asked. “Don’t… Don’t go! Damn it, don’t go!”
“No, I think I just need to stretch my legs,” Ayanna replied. “We’ll be back soon.”
Rain rested her hand on Eva’s back. “I’ll stay here,” she said. “She may need my help later.”
“Well, if you three are going, then I’m coming along, too,” Law said. “As much as it would be fun to hear Eva tell some tales, I’d like to get a good walk in myself.”
Mina grabbed the edge of the table as she stood up. “Then maybe I should go, too! You never know what kind of things are out there!”
“Relax, Mina, we’re going for a walk, not a damn journey,” Gavin said. “Though if you want to come, that’s fine by me.”
Mina jumped up and down. “Yay! You’re okay with that, aren’t you?”
Rain smiled. “Of course,” she said. “Sir Dustin, Sir Gamal, and I will keep a close eye on Eva.”
“Alright,” Mina said. “We’ll be back!”
Mina rushed off to join Sorin and the others as they went to take a walk on the sidewalk of Iiayine Street. With the streetlights leading the way, the group set out towards a path close to Iiayine Castle.
Sorin rested his hands on the metal fence surrounding Iiayine Castle as he gazed at the large structure. It was not that long ago that he found himself inside that building. He still remembered that day in which it seemed like everyone from across the region said their goodbyes to Alan Berry, the previous prime minister. In some ways, it only felt like yesterday while in others, it felt as if Alan’s death happened ages ago. Sorin had to wonder if everything that he and the others had done were the right choices and if they were truly on the right track towards peace.
Sorin turned to Ayanna. “Can I ask you something?”
“What is it, Sorin?” Ayanna asked.
“It’s about the current prime minister, Dezine,” Sorin said. “What do you think of him, personally?”
“Personally? Well, we’re nowhere close to the prime minister’s office, so I guess I can tell you,” Ayanna replied. “To be honest, I don’t know what to think of him. The very first thing I could say is that he’s very different from Alan.”
“That doesn’t surprise me, honestly,” Sorin said.
“I’m sorry, it’s difficult to put into words,” Ayanna said. “He’s very strict, yet at the same time he’s hands off. The way that Dezine speaks makes him appear capable of handling the job set before him, but his actions so far leave a lot to be desired.”
“So you would say he’s not nearly as effective, then?”
“Oh, don’t get me wrong, his message resonates well with plenty of people,” Ayanna said. “He’s had a lot of training and clearly plenty of experience, but part of me wonders sometimes if he really wanted to be the prime minister.”
Sorin turned around and rested his back against the fence. “Guess we’ll have to see what he does at the summit, then.”
“There’s a lot of uncertainty,” Ayanna replied. “Even with Rain, she’s been entrusted with so much so quickly. I can only imagine what she’s thinking about all of this..”
“True,” he said.
“Well, since I answered your question, it’s my turn to ask,” Ayanna said. “It’s about your friend Johan.”
Sorin tilted his head down. “What about him?”
“I’m sorry if it’s too personal,” she said. “I was only wondering because I know what it’s like to lose a close friend.”
“It’s fine,” Sorin replied. “I don’t exactly want to talk about it right now, if that’s okay with you.”
“I understand,” Ayanna said.
Sorin sighed and looked back up. He saw Gavin, Law, and Mina off in the distance near the castle park. One could only wonder what they were doing there, Sorin thought. He and Ayanna then decided to go along and see what the other three were up to at the park. As they arrived at the park entrance, however, Sorin saw the three familiar faces from earlier in the day confronting Gavin, Law, and Mina.
“There’s nothing better you can do?” Gavin asked.
“You know full fucking well what I’m talking about,” Korbin said. “That wild beast is roaming the streets of Rezar and one of you know where she is, damn it!”
“None of us have a clue what you’re talking about, pal,” Law said. “So why don’t you just get out of here already?”
“If there’s one thing Korb’s certain of, it’s Arne,” Bradley said. “She’s still around here… Korb can attest to that!”
“Yeah, he’s going to find that woman and deal with her himself,” Erik said.
“We’re don’t know what you’re talking about,” Mina replied, “And even if we did, there’s no way we’d ever work with you!”
Korbin guffawed, but stopped as he laid his eyes upon Sorin. “Aw shit, looks like I don’t even need to ask you,” he said. “Yes, I’ve got my answer right here! My goddamn ticket to finding that fucking bitch!”
“I really didn’t want to see you tonight,” Sorin said. “You and your Blood Ravens are only causing trouble around here, aren’t you?”
“Oh, don’t play dumb now, Sorin Wilk,” Korbin said as he approached Sorin. “What, you think that I don’t know what’s going on here?”
Sorin wanted to strike Korbin, but thought better of it. “Whatever it is you’re trying to do, you don’t need my help,” he said. “Come on, guys, let’s just go already and leave these guys alone.”
“Sounds like a good idea to me,” Gavin said.
Before any of them could leave, however, Korbin broke into uproarious laughter with Bradley and Erik joining in. Sorin continued to walk away, though he stopped once Korbin began to speak again.
“Listen to me, Sorin Wilk!” Korbin exclaimed. “You think I’m just some dumbass? I know that Johan Kuu is still alive!”
Sorin’s eyes widened as he gritted his teeth. Everyone stopped to look at Sorin and he could tell that they all wondered the same thing: was Johan Kuu really still alive? He knew that answer for sure but did not want to say it. He did not want to put his friend in danger, though now, it seemed that that thought was meaningless at this point.
“Sorin, what is he talking about?” Ayanna asked.
“He’s lying, obviously!” Mina said. “This villain’s just trying to play a trick on us and we’re not going to let him do that! Isn’t that right, Sorin?”
Korbin grinned. “Come on, Sorin,” he said. “You wouldn’t dare lie to your friends, would you? Johan Kuu is alive and you’re working with both him and Jelka Arne! I can fucking prove it!”
To be continued…