[20th of December, 2740 AD; Glora Grand Hall – The Wings of the Albatross, Glora, Ahnlikohn]
Wilson Dezine overturned the small table and punched the nearby wall. “I cannot believe this!”
Fercewend watched as the Iiayikohnian prime minister rested the top of his head on the wall. It was a sight he had trouble believing. Given the reactions of both Isaac and Casper, however, there may have been a reason for the prime minister’s outburst. What had been broadcast on the speakers an hour ago was quite a lot to take in. Fercewend found it hard to believe that such letters existed and that everything described within them had transpired. There were moments where he did question Isaac’s judgement, even his actions, but never once did Fercewend think that his cousin would be capable of conspiring with an enemy, nor did he think it was possible for him to work closely with Casper and Dezine in such a manner. Yet still, parts of what had been read over the loudspeakers made Rohan think. He sighed as he continued to watch the three men before him as he remained undecided about what he should say.
“You should calm down,” Casper said. “People might hear us talking, plus it may not be good for your health if you get worked up about this.”
“Calm down?” Dezine asked. “It’s hard to calm down now when everyone’s going to start rising up against us! This whole damn thing is over!”
“Dezine, you really must listen to my friend Casper here,” Isaac said. “As I’ve already told you when you became the prime minister, we’ve your back, so I would suggest that you do the same and unite.”
“You’re kidding me,” Dezine said. “Have you not paid any attention to what happened in Maeitakohn? Mahrk went down in less than a day and you expect me to remain calm!?”
Isaac chuckled. “Rodik was a weak-willed man,” he replied. “He was a loser through and through because he couldn’t keep his people under control. You, on the other hand, have all the cards you need to win: the role of prime minister and the assistance of Foundation’s top men.”
“It won’t matter one bit if the Iiayikohnian military starts getting ideas,” Dezine said. “Make one move and I know full well that the people will start to question.”
“Let them question,” Isaac said. “You do know why Iiayikohn is the crown jewel of the Thekohnian Region, obviously.”
“Yes, I do,” Dezine answered. “I know exactly why…”
“We’re all in this together, Wilson,” Casper said. “If we’re to succeed in our goal, then we have to stick together. Not doing that was what brought down the others, because they couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain. You wouldn’t dare back down now, now would you?”
“Of course not, Casper,” Dezine said. “Becoming the prime minister of Iiayikohn was my dream for so many years… I don’t know where I’d be without your help, Mr. Kunigunde.”
“Don’t thank me just yet, prime minister,” Isaac said. “Now, as for what to do about that meddlesome broadcast… Rohan! Have your soldiers figured out where that signal came from yet?”
Fercewend shook his head and sighed. “We’re still working on it,” he said. “It will take some time, but we will figure it out.”
“Is that so?” Isaac asked. “Because I was under the impression that you were equipped to handle any sort of threat that comes our way. Have you been getting rusty, general?”
“In due time, we’ll locate the origin of that signal,” Fercewend said. “But it should be obvious who sent it out.”
“Of course we know who sent the signal out, Rohan,” Isaac replied, “It was that damned spy that turned on us!”
“Believe me, Isaac, it was a surprise to hear the news as well,” Fercewend said. “I thought he had died months ago, but it seems as if he rose from the dead, so to speak.”
“General Fercewend, you’re not being paid to offer your thoughts on the matter,” Casper said. “We want this man captured and made an example of, you got me? We’re all tired of having this man run around and act as if he’s going to be some sort of fantastical hero when in reality he’s just another terrorist.”
“I will do that, Mr. President,” Fercewend replied. “Just give us some more time, if you will.”
Isaac placed his hand on Fercewend’s shoulder. “Listen to me,” he said. “I see that you care deeply for your family… Your wife and your kids see you as an invincible man who appears incapable of showing weakness, your daughter Ari in particular. Now, you wouldn’t want to disappoint them with your weak showing, would you?”
Fercewend furrowed his eyebrows. “You’re not suggesting what I think you’re suggesting, are you?”
“I’m quite jealous of you,” Isaac said. “It would be stupid of me not to admit how green I am when I see that you have a family that respects you. Even with all of my strengths and smarts, I could never get that damned girl to look me in the eyes without having contempt for me.”
“Don’t you dare bring Gale into this,” Fercewend said.
“And yet she respects you,” Isaac replied. “She should be thanking me for that! I was the one who recommended you to General Atlas, was I not?”
“You and Hasker, yes,” Fercewend said.
“Then you and the Ameci military should be able to complete the simple task of locating and capturing Johan Kuu,” Isaac said. “Otherwise, I can’t exactly say what will happen to those that respect you.”
Fercewend gritted his teeth. He had to object. However, he felt as if words were futile against Isaac and Casper. They were implied threats against him and his loved ones, but Fercewend did not respond. He had to do what was best for Ameci, which began with the location and capture of the traitor. Anything else was just an afterthought.
“Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it seems as if we’ll have to move forward with our plan,” Isaac said. “If we’re to accomplish our goal, then we’ll need to start making moves.”
“Yes, that’s true,” Dezine said. “I imagine that involves dealing with that upstart queen, too?”
“It has only been for a short time, but we have seen the potential problems that woman will cause for us going forward,” Isaac said. “Luckily for us, we know who she aligns with and how to deal with them.”
“You do?” Dezine asked.
“You’d be quite interested in the list of people that have worked with her,” Isaac replied. “Anyway, we’ve already written out the course of actions needed in order to damage not only her credibility, but the kingdom’s as well.”
“Right now, though?” Casper asked. “The summit is still happening and so many people are in the area.”
“Casper, what’s a little power without making a few sacrifices?” Isaac asked. “You know who said that, don’t you?”
“I understand,” Casper replied. “I’ll have someone write the prepared speech in the meantime.”
“Good, good,” Isaac said. “Prime minister, you shouldn’t worry about those letters becoming public; they’ll fade into the dark soon enough.”
[20th of December, 2740 AD; The Robin’s Nest, Glora, Ahnlikohn – Erithacus District]
A quiet murmur broke out amongst the lounge patrons after the broadcast ended. The regular program continued, but all people could talk about was what just happened. Sorin knew that there was much uncertainty now that Johan made light of all the crimes Isaac Kunigunde had committed. It was all out in the open now.
“Johan finally swung at them,” Pekka said. “I wonder, though, if it will be enough to make an impact.”
“The people are already beginning to question,” Sorin replied. “With this, I’m sure that Isaac and Foundation are on the defensive.”
“That’s true, but none of us are sure what Johan’s going to do next,” Pekka said. “He got what he wanted by unveiling these lost letters, but what’s the next part of his great plan? Do you know?”
“He hasn’t told me anything that far ahead yet,” Sorin said.
“Then we’re stuck waiting for what Isaac does next?” Pekka asked. “I know you trust him, much like I did, but forgive me if I have some doubts.”
“We’re all still pieces on Johan’s chessboard,” Gavin said as he rubbed the bridge of his nose. “The fact that we have no clue about the next part of his plan is a part of the design, not an error.”
“Do you mean to say that Cookie is the one leading the charge?” Kiku asked. “I never thought he’d be capable of being so brash!”
“Clearly you haven’t seen that side of him,” Pekka said.
“Yes, he’s quite a craftwork,” Igor said. “I could tell just by looking at him that he’s full of light!”
“How in the world do you know that, Iggy?” Ayame asked. “I don’t recall us ever meeting that man before.”
Igor looked around and began to crack a smile. “Oh, right, it’s my memory playing tricks on me again! Forget what I said.”
“Anyway, we’re still not sure where this plan of his is going to go next,” Sorin said. “I’m sure Rain and Mina are thinking the same thing, too.”
“But Rain’s probably not too concerned,” Gale said. “She has her kingdom’s priorities at the moment and the summit as well.”
“Still, this affects everyone,” Law said. “It’ll be tougher for good old Isaac to sleep tonight knowing he’s got a bunch of eyes and ears on him.”
“A scary image, to be sure,” Igor said.
“So what are we going to do, then?” Luna asked.
Gavin adjusted his sunglasses. “The better question is: what do we do when Isaac strikes back? Because we know that’s coming,” he said. “Of course, I don’t expect him to do anything right away, but that thought is going to remain in the front of my mind until the hammer falls.”
“I’ve always had a bad feeling about that man Mr. Kunigunde,” Ayame said. “He traveled to Kikuisha a few times in the past in order to sell his artillery to our military, but never once was he able to strike a deal with us. We are a peaceful country and Madame Yamazaki always kept that in mind in regards to both the past and future generations.”
“Isaac’s always put on a smile when he thinks he’s able to take advantage of someone,” Gale said. “It doesn’t surprise me that he’d go to such lengths, but now that Johan’s made things clear, it scares me even more of what Isaac’s capable of doing.”
“Yes, which is why I am concerned,” Ayame replied. “He will no doubt try to use his influence in order to bring harm to others.”
“Perhaps it would be best if we informed mother,” Kiku said to Ayame. “I have known you and Iggy for all my life and not once have I ever doubted either of your intuitions.”
“If you suggest it, madame, then we’d be more than willing to speak with your mother,” Ayame said. “I’m not certain what she’ll say, but as long as we’re here, then the top priority is to establish security.”
“Don’t worry, Madame Izumi, we’ll make sure that you’ll be soundly safe,” Igor said. “Even if this Mr. Kumigoode is trying to direct an attack, we’ll be there to keep you safe!”
“I think she gets the gist, Iggy,” Law said.
“So now what should we do?” Luna asked. “Are we still going to listen to the speeches?”
“Well, Rain said her speech isn’t until tomorrow,” Sorin said. “I don’t know for certain who’s going to speak today, but it’d be a good idea to keep an ear out just in case anything happens.”
“You really think Isaac’s gonna just counterattack right away?” Law asked. “Come on, man, I get being aware, but he’s not the kind of guy who’s going to go out swinging right away.”
“He’s not?” Kiku asked.
“He’s probably thinking that if he acts too soon, it’ll look suspicious,” Law replied. “Isaac’s probably working with his buddies to devise something in the next few days, not right away.”
“That makes sense,” Gavin said. “Whether he acts quickly or not, he’d be proving his own guilt otherwise.”
“So our best bet is to keep an eye out through the next week,” Sorin said. “I wonder if Johan’s thinking the same thing.”
“Forget about it,” Gavin replied. “I’ve already come to the conclusion that he’s just going to act on his own. There’s no real reason to think he’s just going to do what you want him to do, Sorin.”
“But he’s already been a help to us,” Sorin said. “He said that he’d make the letters between Isaac and Ahga known and he did that. If anything, we need to go back to Johan right away.”
Gavin sighed. “You want to do that, then fine,” he said. “But you want me to tag along with you and act as if I’m just going to go along with whatever Johan’s got planned just because he happens to have the same goals as us? Give me a break!”
“Yeah, I can’t say I’m too thrilled about wanting to hear whatever comes out of his mouth,” Law said. “It’s nice he wants to stop Isaac and Foundation, but he’s put us through the runaround too many times for me to trust him.”
“Really?” Sorin asked.
Luna looked over to Sorin as she clasped her hands together. “I don’t know if I’ve already told you this, but I don’t like it when people deceive me or my friends,” she said. “I’m sure you had your reasons for doing so, but not telling us about Johan makes it tough for me to believe that I can trust him. I guess that would include you, too, wouldn’t it?”
“It was because we had to stay out of Korbin’s focus,” Sorin said. “Please, I don’t want to have to argue about this.”
“I’m not arguing with you… am I?” Luna asked. “No, of course not! I’m just upset that you deceived us! I even saw you cry a little during Rain’s coronation! Was that part of your deception, too?”
“No, not at all!” Sorin exclaimed.
“You and Johan clearly have good intentions,” Pekka said. He stood up and began walking towards the front. “But those good intentions don’t matter when you’re leaving the rest of us out of the know. I had placed my trust in Johan and he left me behind, just like he did to Luna and even to you. If this is the sort of treatment to expect from you two going forward, then I’m out.”
Luna jumped up to her feet. “Pekka, wait!”
She followed after him as Sorin turned to Gale. It was clear to him that she was as stunned as he was as Luna and Pekka had now left the lounge. Gavin and Law remained, though they also appeared weary of what Sorin had to say. Kiku, Ayame, and Igor did not speak either, as Sorin suspected that the three of them were perplexed at the sudden turn of events. There was little that Sorin could do to change the mood. No one spoke up, not even Kiku. Everyone decided to leave only five minutes later as Sorin and Gale were left to themselves.
“I’m sorry,” Gale said, placing her hand in Sorin’s.
“You’re not the one who should be apologizing,” Sorin replied. “Damn it, this was the sort of thing I didn’t want to have happen…”
“There’s enough time,” she said. “Though, if I have to admit it, I was a little upset you didn’t tell us about Johan sooner. I understand why you didn’t but at the very least you could’ve told me about it.”
Sorin brushed his hair back with his hand. “There was too much risk,” he said. “I guess that I should’ve told you… I should’ve trusted you more, Gale, and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to do that.”
Gale smiled. “Please don’t worry about it,” she replied. “Let’s just focus on what was accomplished today.”
“You’re right,” Sorin said. “Well, we might as well head back to the hotel for now. Maybe we’ll run into Gavin or something…”
To be continued…