[24th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Thedam Castle Basement Cell]
Sorin was not sure what to expect when he went downstairs with Gavin to the holding cell, but he knew that Erik would be there under Gamal’s watch. Rain had also decided to join with them as well as Eva and Mina. At the other end of the room they saw Erik lying on the floor behind the bars. Once the four made it over to the cell, Erik stood up and gazed at them with a curious stare.
“So you’re finally awake,” Gavin said.
“Where am I?” Erik asked. “Where the hell’s my sword?”
“You’re still in the castle,” Rain answered. “As for your sword, it’s currently in our hands.”
“So you’re going to keep me here, aren’t you,” Erik said.
“Trust me, I did not want it to come to this, but these two here insisted that it would be for the best,” Rain said as she motioned over to Gavin and Eva. “You came here by yourself for a reason and the only way we’re going to figure that out is by asking you a few questions.”
“There’s no need to be nice with this asshole,” Gavin said. “He works with the Blood Ravens and Foundation, so he’s not going to tell us anything if we just play nice with him.”
“I’m inclined to agree with Mr. Power, Your Majesty,” Gamal said.
“Then there’s no other choice,” Rain said. “Gavin, I will trust you to handle the interrogation with Mr. Ellis.”
Gavin approached the bars. “I’ll find out what he’s planning.”
“If anything goes wrong, we’re all here,” Rain said.
“Yeah, like if he somehow tricks you and gets out, I’ll just punch him again,” Mina said. “But I know you can do it, Gavin!”
“It’d be hard for Erik to escape, anyway,” Sorin said.
“You really think you can break me down?” Erik asked. “I’d love to see you try, dumbass!”
Gavin slammed his hands on the bars and glared at Erik. “There’s only one dumbass here,” he said. “And that dumbass is you! Quit fucking around with us already and tell us what Isaac Kunigunde has planned.”
“Oh no, it looks like there’s no way out for me,” Erik replied. “Are you going to torture me? Beat me up? Or will you do nothing at all?”
“I’m not going to torture you,” Gavin said. “What I will do, however, is that I will make sure that you don’t cause any trouble as long as we are fighting this battle against Foundation and Ameci. Hell, Rain can just let you sit here and let you think about how good you had it until you decided to fuck with us. So what are you going to do, dumbass?”
“You really can’t be serious,” Erik said. “I’ve got a reputation to keep! I can’t spend the rest of my life here in this tiny-ass cell!”
“Then tell us everything you know,” Rain said. “I can’t say for certain what will happen to you if you confess, but if you do, then perhaps there’s a way you’ll be able to spend your life carefree in exile.”
“Because there’s no chance that you’ll be able to live peacefully after all you’ve done,” Gamal said. “I’m sure that there are plenty of people who will want nothing more than to see you dead; if you agree to tell us everything, then there is a chance in which you can live freely. I can’t guarantee your soul will feel much better, though.”
Sorin had no idea if Erik would agree to that condition. He had seen it once before when they had dealt with Isla, but now they were dealing with a different threat and Erik was just one soldier in the Ameci military and the third in the Blood Ravens. Korbin and Bradley would still be able to operate even without the help of Erik, which frustrated Sorin. However, if Erik was able to unveil any kind of useful information, then Sorin was welcome to hear it.
“Please,” Sorin said to Erik. “Just tell us everything that you know. We both know what kind of person Korbin is, so I don’t know if you would even want to head back when you’ve already failed your mission.”
“You think you can talk down to me?” Erik asked. “You’re the one that’s gone and killed the Chancellor of Ahnlikohn, aren’t you? Or at least that’s what I was told… You know, I don’t really care what you say!”
“What do you think?” Sorin asked.
“I think you’re just a bunch of liars,” Erik said. “Do you really think you can convince me of anything, you hypocrite?”
“If that’s what you think, then there’s no reason I should keep talking to you,” Sorin replied. “You’re just as bad as Korbin. Maybe you should handle the rest, Gavin.”
“I’d be happy to come in there and advance my interrogation,” Gavin said. “Gamal, you’ve got the keys, don’t you?”
Gamal nodded. “I’ll be happy to open the door.”
“Good, I’d really like to teach this shithead a few things,” Gavin replied. “You hear that? I’m going to get the answers out of you, one way or another, and I’m not going to show you any mercy!”
At that moment, Erik proceeded to burst into tears. Everyone reacted with surprise, as even Gavin was taken aback by the sudden change of personality. The man clad in Ameci military gear dropped to his knees as he motioned up to Gavin and began to beg.
“Don’t hurt me… please!” Erik exclaimed as he clasped his hands together. “I’m just a lowly lackey in the Blood Ravens… Not even Foundation thinks much about me!”
Gavin groaned as he placed his hand on his forehead. “Give me a fucking break, jackass,” he said. “Do you really think we’re going to be swayed so easily with this pathetic excuse of a plea?”
“But… But! I’m not lying! I really am just a useless fool to those guys,” Erik replied. “I don’t know anything at all!”
“That’s a lie and you know it!” Gavin said as he pounded the bar. “You can’t fool me one bit!”
“He’s really going to try and do this, isn’t he?” Eva asked.
“This must be desperation setting in,” Rain said. “He’s surrounded with no way to escape. It’s not surprising that he’d try to rely on his instincts.”
“It’s just sad,” Sorin said.
“Erik’s scared,” Mina replied. “If none of us were going to beat him up, then it was going to be Gavin!”
“I’m t-telling you the truth, though,” Erik said. “I’m just doing my job here… that’s all it is. You… You can’t punish a guy just for following orders… can you!? I’m just one guy… one guy who’s caught up in all this crazy mess! Please! Please don’t hurt me!”
Gavin pushed up his sunglasses. “You’re pathetic if you think I’m going to get fooled by that,” he said. “Hell, you’re not even worth my trouble, that’s how pitiful you are right now. Gamal!”
“So we’ll just leave you here for the time being, then,” Gamal said to Erik. “To think you would reduce yourself all to protect one man… That’s truly low, my friend.”
“It is a shame,” Rain said. “I had hoped you would change your mind and do what was right, but it seems like you intend on fighting us every step of the way. We’ll return in the morning and see if things will finally progress. Until then, I implore you to get some rest, Mr. Ellis.”
With Erik lying on the ground, still in tears, Sorin took one look at him before going with the rest of the group back upstairs. There was no way any of what Erik said was true; he was heavily involved with all of Korbin’s activities, after all. Sorin just wondered if they would be able to do enough to get him to confess, or if the entire interrogation was all a waste of time. But until the next morning, Sorin had to keep an eye and an ear out for any more potential threats to the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn.
An hour passed before everyone reunited in the queen’s office. Sorin sat at the table next to Gale, while Gavin and Law sat on the other side. Everybody else sat at the table as well except for Rain and her advisers. Rain was busy taking notes in her book when the phone began to ring once more. As the entire room fell silent, Rain turned her attention to the phone.
“That must be the junior lieutenant,” Gavin said. “I guess she’s wondering what to do now.”
Rain grabbed the receiver and put it to her ear while everyone in the room listened in. With the attack in Oelaans dissipated, Sorin had no idea what would be said, but he had a feeling that he too had to listen to the ensuing phone call as Rain began to speak.
“Hello? Can you tell me what the situation is in Oelaans now?” Rain asked. A brief silence followed after. “Who are you? How do you know Sorin?”
Now Sorin was concerned. His feeling was right and he hated that he had that feeling about the phone call. Whoever was on that line wanted to speak to him and Sorin felt like he had no way to avoid the call. But the silence broke once again when Rain responded.
“Whoever you are, I do not appreciate what you said right now,” Rain said. “And there is no way I’d ever honor such a request from someone like you. I will be sure of that.”
Sorin stood up. “Rain, perhaps I should hear this person out.”
“There’s no need to,” Rain replied, placing the receiver back on top of the phone. “It will do us no good to speak to a man who offers nothing but ill will toward us.”
“Besides, there’s much more important matters to discuss,” Gamal said. “I suppose that you’ll be contacting the president of Maeitakohn tomorrow, Your Majesty?”
“That’s the plan,” Rain answered.
The phone rang again. No one was sure who it could be this time, as the last person to call was someone nobody expected. Rain looked at the phone and then to both Dustin and Gamal. Sorin, however, had to find out for himself. He had to know why the person on the other end of the line wanted to speak with him, which was why Sorin was sure that that man called again.
“Please, Rain, I think it might be for the best if I answer this,” Sorin said as he hurried over and reached for the phone.
“Sorin, just wait,” Gale said.
It was too late. Sorin picked up the phone and grabbed the receiver in his free hand. Rain stood and watched as Sorin answered the phone. The nagging feeling Sorin had soon turned to worry as the man on the other end answered, his voice hostile enough to make Sorin tense up.
“Is this that woman again? Come now, answer me!”
Sorin took a deep breath and let out his doubts. “No, this is Sorin Wilk,” he said. “Who are you and what do you want with me?”
“Very good, Sorin. My name is Harold Mars.”
There was no trace of doubt in Sorin’s mind as he knew that this man was Korbin’s father. However, he still had no idea why Harold contacted him or how he even found out where he was. What he did know, though, was that he could not hesitate now with Harold on the other end. Sorin had to remain calm as he dealt this hostile man.
“I bet you’re wondering why I’m calling you,” Harold said. “You want to desperately know why I would bother with you, but I will answer those questions in due time.”
“So you’re Korbin’s father,” Sorin said. “Just what the hell do you want with me, damn it?”
“Yes, you’ve managed to best that cretinous son of mine a couple of times already, haven’t you,” Harold said. “Indeed, it would appear that you are much better than he is by a mile and then some. I’m not here just sing praises of you, though. I’m calling because I want to fulfill a promise that I made to a friend of mine.”
“A friend of yours?” Sorin asked.
“It’s no use to play games with you,” Harold said. “You’ve got a capable ally on your side that my maggots-for-brains son hates with such ferverance. The moron keeps speaking about him, crowing on and on like he’ll kill him. Oh, but this guy is too smart. Much smarter than my son.”
“Answer me!” Sorin exclaimed. “Who is this friend of yours?”
“Oh, I was getting to that,” Harold replied. “I’ll say it right now so you’ll quit asking me: I’m helping Isaac Kunigunde.”
It was both surprising and unsurprising to Sorin when he heard that. And yet, Sorin felt more enraged than he ever was before. Was Harold trying to taunt him? Sorin could not grasp a read off of Harold, yet all he could exhibit was anger towards him.
“So you’re our enemy,” Sorin said. “Then answer me this question: why do you support a man like Isaac Kunigunde, who only wants to create wars for the sake of his own gain?”
“Know your place, Sorin Wilk,” Harold replied. “Besides, there is a reason as to why I decided to call you.”
“Tell me already,” Sorin said.
“I’m willing to bet that you’re wondering where your father is, aren’t you?” Harold asked. He then followed up with a short laugh. “Go ahead and get angry if you want, but I know where he is.”
“How dare you!” Sorin said.
“Just as I thought,” Harold replied. “Well, if you really want to know where your father is, then come and meet me in at the Lead Campground in Habicht two nights from now.”
“Do you think I’m going to do as you say?” Sorin asked. “What makes you think that I wouldn’t see this as a trap?”
“That’s entirely up to you, Sorin Wilk,” Harold said. “Of course, I know the location of your brother as well, so perhaps you would see it best to listen to what I say unless you don’t care about him.”
Sorin stared down at the phone. “What’s the catch?”
“There’s no catch, no tricks, and in fact, I can assure you that the attacks on Thekohn and the kingdom will cease,” Harold answered. “Tell the queen that there will be a cease fire for the time being, just as long as you follow my orders. Oh, and be sure to come alone as well. I won’t say what happens if you choose not to honor my request, but it will be a price to pay nonetheless.”
“What makes you think that I’d believe you?” Sorin asked.
Harold chuckled. “Right now, one of Korbin’s friends is in the castle, am I correct? Well, I want you to bring him along,” he replied. “There was a reason as to why he decided to invade the castle, after all.”
“What reason?” Sorin asked.
Sorin was not able to get an answer, however, as Harold hung up without a response. Harold’s call served only to increase both Sorin’s doubt and anger, yet there was no doubt that Harold was keeping an eye on him somehow. Sorin also knew that there was some business between his father and Harold, which made it impossible to shake the bad feeling that plagued him. Yet still, Sorin knew that this man was also a threat, especially so considering the fact that he was Korbin’s father. In a room with everyone watching him, Sorin knew now that he was the one now standing as the center of attention with a lot to answer.
To be continued…