[23rd of December, 2740 AD; The Robin’s Nest, Glora, Ahnlikohn – Erithacus District]
Rain looked across the long table. It was only five minutes since Khadir had left, going out the same bombastic way in which he had entered through. Still, the only thing that had not changed was the accusation of assassination against Sorin and the trouble that Foundation had caused to influence Amelia’s decision. Rain knew that Amelia was being led away from the truth thanks to Isaac, but even with Khadir’s assistance, there was only so much they could have done yesterday. Now with several of the other leaders, including Wilson Dezine, bowing out of the summit, Rain had no choice but to postpone it indefinitely.
“Don’t be upset at yourself, Your Majesty,” Gamal said. “It’s that damned Isaac Kunigunde’s fault for creating this mess.”
“There’s no point in remaining upset,” Rain replied. “We just need to head back to the kingdom and think up some strategies. I have no doubt in my mind that this isn’t the last we hear from Isaac, so it’ll do us good to move as soon as we can.”
“And we can even check on Sorin, too,” Mina said. “I’m sure him and Gale are just waiting to see us again!”
“Are you forgetting someone?” Gavin asked.
Gavin entered the room with Luna and Pekka behind him. Rain and Mina got up to greet the three and welcomed them to the lounge room. Along with the three were Kiku, Noa, Igor, and Ayame, who Rain also greeted as well.
“How did you know we were here?” Mina asked.
“Let’s just say I had a feeling you’d be here,” Gavin replied.
“I told Gavvy that you might be here,” Kiku said to Rain. “It was quite a bit of a walk from the hotel, but luckily Nona was willing to carry me up the steep hills all by himself!”
“They were pretty steep,” Noa said. “We could’ve taken a bus or something, you know…”
“Give me a break, it wasn’t that far of a walk,” Gavin said. “Anyway, Rain, I think we need to talk about what we’ve got to do next.”
“I was thinking the same thing, actually,” Rain replied, “But it’s not going to do us any good to stay here. We have to head to the kingdom.”
“Yeah, that Queen Amelia’s been busy lending her ear to Isaac,” Dustin said. “Really makes us feel unwelcome in this land, you know?”
“He’s just been a terrible nuisance!” Luna said. “And shame on Her Majesty for even entertaining Isaac in the first place!”
“I know how you feel, Luna, but keep your voice down,” Gavin replied. “Get too loud about that and it’ll attract a lot of unwanted attention towards ourselves. Got it?”
Pekka crossed his arms. “Our lanes are closing one by one,” he said. “Isaac Kunigunde is making sure of that. Slowly the canvas will be painted blood red as he looks to turn all of the Thekohnian Region against Rain.”
“That was pretty poetic, PK,” Kiku said. “Even if it is a little scary to think about.”
“It’s what has happened before,” Pekka replied. “Isla came under similar fire and yielded the throne because of it. The only difference now is that we’re the ones being labeled the villains.”
“If Isaac Kunigunde thinks he can label us the villains, then I’d be glad to remind him just who the villain really is here!” Mina exclaimed. “He’s nothing but a coward that hides when things don’t go his way!”
“Seriously, do I have to say it again?” Gavin asked. “This isn’t a private place, even if we’re in a different room.”
“Oh, sorry,” Mina said. “It’s just that I’m just so worked up about thinking about this. I’m just tired of sitting around doing nothing!”
“That’s why we’re thinking of something, Mina,” Gavin replied. “We can’t just be reckless, because that’s what Isaac wants us to do. What we need to do is weaken Foundation, and the only way we can have a chance at doing that is if we plan accordingly.”
“Then we don’t have any more time to waste,” Rain said. “Tonight, just after sundown, we will be heading back to the kingdom. I hope that you will all be able to come on time.”
Gavin grinned. “If there’s anything I hate, it’s not being on time,” he said. “I will be at the station whenever you are ready, and I’m sure that these two will be ready as well.”
“Well, we’ll have to if we want to see Ahnlikohn at peace again,” Luna said. “I don’t want to sit idly by either, Mina, which is why I’m ready to help you beat the crap out of Isaac!”
“I doubt Isaac would put up much of a fight,” Pekka said. “I’d say it would be unfair, but he’s screwed people over long enough that it doesn’t really matter anymore.”
“That’s great,” Mina said. She looked over to Kiku. “What about you guys?”
“We’re happy to be of assistance,” Ayame said. “But it is unlikely we will be able to join you, at least for the time being.”
“Yes, it seems as if my mother has her own idea about how to move things forward,” Kiku said. “I don’t doubt her one bit, but still I worry about what might happen. Hopefully I can convince her to arrange a trip to the kingdom so she can meet with you, Ray!”
“Please, let her know,” Rain said. “Even if the summit itself is over, I’m very willing to meet with her.”
“We’ll let Madame Yamazaki know as soon as possible,” Ayame said.
“And we’ll be sure to let you know once we let her know that you wanted to let her know that you wanted to meet her,” Igor said.
“That’s a lot to know,” Luna said.
“And a lot we already know,” Gavin said. “But we shouldn’t waste much more time while we’re here. There’s still somebody I want to meet.”
“Of course,” Rain said. “I will see you later, then, Gavin.”
“Same to you,” Gavin replied. “Kiku, are you guys coming or do you want to stay here?”
Kiku looked to Rain. “I think I might stay a little longer,” she said. “I could always do with more Ray in my life, as well as Minnie!”
“Okay, fine,” Gavin said as he glared over at Luna and Pekka. “Come on you two, let’s go.”
Gavin knew, however, that he still had not met with Kirk and Eva and was determined to find them before he had to leave. There were many places within the city where he could find them, but Gavin could not find a reason as to why they would leave the hotel. Thus, Gavin’s best bet was to head back with Luna and Pekka to the Sparrow Hotel and look for Kirk and Eva.
[23rd of December, 2740 AD; Sparrow Hotel – Rooftop, Glora, Ahnlikohn]
“So you’re all set?” Eva asked Henry.
“It’s as set as we’ll ever be,” Henry replied. “It is a bit disappointing to think that we’ll be cutting the stay in Glora short, but it must be done.”
Henry had finished packing up with Tori their belongings, as well as the kids. They were going to leave Ahnlikohn and head towards Thekohn, with a trip to the kingdom as well. Henry came to this decision after speaking with Eva and Kirk earlier, knowing now that Glora was no longer safe for his family. Now, with everything set and ready to go, Henry took some time to reflect upon his stay in Glora. Both Eva and Kirk decided to join him up on the rooftop, as they were tired from trying to find Gavin with no avail.
“So you’ve told me about what happened two days ago, but I’m still trying to understand what Isaac’s goal is,” Henry said. “He had Harring assassinated so he could pin the blame on Sorin? I can get trying to place the blame on somebody else, but why the chancellor? Last I heard about him, he was quite unpopular with Ahnlikohn’s citizens.”
“It’s not about whether or not Harring was popular,” Kirk said. “Harring had been protected for Isaac’s sake, which was why he remained chancellor even after what had happened.”
“Then why kill him?” Henry asked. “If he was useful, then why couldn’t Isaac have somebody target the royal family instead? Both the queen and the prince were shaken up over Prince Amile’s actions and I’m sure that there are many who would’ve liked to see them pay.”
“He was useful to Isaac, that much is true,” Kirk replied. “That’s why Isaac disposed of him. Harring was just a tool for Foundation do they could stage their attack and create panic within the borders. Ahnlikohn’s already taken hits before, which is why it was easy for Isaac to do what he did.”
“I understand that,” Henry said. “Though I have to wonder about Sorin and why the queen blamed him for the assassination. Was that part of Isaac’s doing, too?”
“I’m pretty sure of it,” Kirk said.
Henry placed his hand on his chin. “It truly does baffle me,” he said. “Why did Isaac target Sorin, then? They don’t have any connections to each other, do they?”
“If I had to suspect, it’s because of me,” Kirk replied. “No… was this also the reason for Rysol’s abduction as well?”
“Rysol?” Henry asked. “Are you saying that Rysol was kidnapped by Isaac? Was he trying to draw you out?”
Kirk cradled his forehead in his hand. “That can’t be it,” he said. “No, Isaac was in Ameci when that happened…”
“You’re not talking about what happened earlier this month, are you?” Eva asked. “We would have seen him by now if Isaac had taken him.”
“Damn it, this is confusing me,” Kirk said. “Sorin was blamed, but Rysol was kidnapped. Isaac… he isn’t working alone in this.”
“We know that,” Eva said. “He’s got the president and General Fercewend at his command!”
“I still can’t believe what Rohan did,” Henry said.
“No, I’m not talking about either of them,” Kirk replied. “They’re just tools for Isaac to use. Who I’m talking about is not involved at all with Ameci, nor are this man a part of the Thekohnian Region. Damn it, I really should have seen this a lot sooner…”
“Who are you talking about?” Henry asked. “Would I happen to know this man?”
“You’ve probably heard about his name, but nothing more than that,” Kirk replied. “He’s… Well, let’s just say he’s a unique case.”
Eva sighed. “Please tell me you’re not talking about him,” she said. “Kirk, it’s been many years… There’s no way that he could possibly be alive, especially not after what he did and what happened to him!”
“Eva, it’s hard to believe it myself, but it makes way too much sense,” Kirk said. “I had wondered why all of this was happening now, but considering what we’re dealing with right now, it only stands to reason that he’s still alive and kicking.”
“Don’t be an idiot, Kirk,” Eva replied. “You ought to know what happened to him! He’s dead and there’s nothing more to it than that.”
“I want to believe that, I really do,” Kirk said, “But that man is resilient. He doesn’t know how to give up, even when it looks like the odds are stacked against him. Such a strong will would be admirable if weren’t for his crimes.”
“Okay, I think I get the idea,” Henry said. “At least, I get the fact that we’re dealing with a lot more than just Isaac digging his claws into Ameci affairs. What I don’t understand is why you’re just coming to this conclusion all of a sudden, Kirk. How does this man you’re talking about factor into this?”
Kirk took a few steps away from Henry and Eva and turned around. “When April was killed trying to save Sorin and Rysol, I wanted to know desperately who would do such a thing,” he replied. “Was it a terrorist? Was it the workings of the Thekohnian military? Or was it just a sick fuck looking for a cheap thrill? That day, when it felt like nearly everything had been taken away, I knew that there was more to it than that.”
“Was Isaac behind it?” Henry asked.
“The thought crossed my mind, but no, he had nothing to do with it,” Kirk said. “Isaac had only just inherited Kunigunde Industries from his father; with that as well as the birth of his daughter, Isaac was too busy with paperwork back then to even think about plotting against me.”
“Yet he does hold contempt for you,” Henry said. “I guess it’s not surprising, given Isaac seems to think less about a lot of people…”
“When you fight to change the world for the better, it attracts attention,” Eva said. “A lot of attention, both good and bad. Isaac would prefer to stay with the status quo for his sake, though there are others who genuinely believe in following that path because that’s all they’ve ever known.”
“There’s a lot of people who want to see me meet my end,” Kirk said. “One such man existed in Ameci, though I could never guess why he had such hatred for me. Now, though, it makes more sense why he’d carry out such an attack against my family.”
“Kirk, please, there’s no way he’d be alive,” Eva said.
“I think it’d be easier for me to understand if you just told me who you guys are talking about,” Henry said.
“I’m sorry,” Eva said. “It’s just that this idiot is too stubborn to realize that we’ve already been through this once before and there’s no need to dwell on it any longer.”
“Perhaps it’s okay to tell you, Henry,” Kirk said. “Although, I’ve said you may have heard of his name, just telling you his name wouldn’t do you any good. No, there’s more to it than that.”
“That much I can tell, apparently,” Henry replied. “Please just say it and quit stalling.”
Kirk nodded. “Understood. I’ll tell you all that I know,” he said. “There’s a reason why I avoid mentioning this man’s name. Not only has he caused a great deal of ire towards many people thanks to his ideas, but he had earned a moniker befitting of his mannerisms and the pain he caused.”
Henry listened as Kirk revealed this title: The Ruthless. A simple name, yet one that carried ample amounts of dread that made Henry’s stomach twist. The name brought up memories of the past that Henry thought he and several other Ameci had forgotten, but now it had came back to the forefront. There was no doubt about what The Ruthless had done for so many years during the War of the Lands that countries were still trying to recover from his evil. That was when Henry realized where Kirk was going when he brought up the name, and he soon would not forget about it any time soon.
“Now where should I begin?” Kirk asked.
To be continued…