[25th of December, 2740 AD; Rask Locksmith, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]
“Well, looks like it’s time to open up,” Drake said.
Drake arrived at his shop in the morning as he was ready for another day of business. After saying his goodbyes to Wilma, all Drake wanted to do now was get to work. He hoped for a busy day with no interruptions, but as he placed his key inside the door’s lock, Dia spoke up. That was when a chord struck as he shook his head and chuckled.
“For the love of god, please tell me that you haven’t forgotten,” she said. “You did say that you were going to help me out, correct?”
“Ah, Dia, guess I just went and forgot,” Drake replied. “To be honest, I’m surprised that you’re still here.”
“For a locksmith, you can be pretty irresponsible,” Dia said. “Perhaps you should look into hiring someone. At least find someone who can run the shop while you help me out.”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m working on it,” Drake said. “Things haven’t been the same since Mina left and with all the commotion stirring about, it’s gonna be awhile ‘til I see her again, I imagine.”
He opened the door and walked in with Dia right behind him. Drake had taken Dia to visit Rieder Park during her stay, visiting the location where Voitto had proposed to her. Once a several minutes passed, Dia knew what she had to do next and turned to Drake for assistance.
“The two of us share that much,” Dia said, “And even though you and her don’t share the same bloodline, you care for her all the same.”
“That I do, ma’am,” Drake replied. “Mina’s out there paving her own path and I couldn’t be happier. No one can tell me otherwise.”
“Yes, you’re right,” Dia said. “Johan is as important to me as Mina is to you. I am happy to hear that he is alive and doing well, but even so, I remain worried about what will happen to him.”
“Eh, he can handle his own well enough,” Drake said. “Hell, I even heard he rivaled Mina one time at dinner!”
“That’s not a surprise,” Dia replied. “He was always an active boy growing up, which was why he was always so eager to eat once we got him down at the table. Of course, that was after we had to settle him down.”
Drake grinned. “That’s quite a thought.”
“You can laugh, but it wasn’t nearly as fun as it sounds,” she said. “After Voitto died, it was hard to put food on the table each night. I did my best, but my job’s pay rate was never nearly enough to cover all the expenses.”
“That does sound bad.”
“I learned the hard way how much Ameci truly cares about its people once they’re not of use,” Dia continued. “Voitto was a valuable asset to the military, but once he was killed, they paid little attention to Johan and I.”
“What a shame,” Drake said. “Not even a message?”
“Oh, we got a message,” Dia answered. “It was as impersonal and standard as it could get.”
“Sheesh, guess they weren’t too bothered to say much.”
“It’s fine now,” Dia said. “Whether my last name is Jorgenson or Kuu, I still care for Johan deeply. That’s why I want to do my own to help, no matter how insignificant it may be.”
“Well, that’s why I’m here,” Drake said. “Though I suppose I should ask why you need my help, of all people.”
“I wanted to ask Mr. Wilk, but he’s already left Rezar,” Dia said. “That’s why I had to turn to you instead.”
“Well, may as well lay it on me now,” Drake said. “Long as there aren’t any customers, I’m willing to do what I can.”
[25th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Regal Ocean Hotel at the Plaza]
Sorin and Gavin stumbled upon the hotel during their search in the plaza as they tried to find out where Henry was staying. With the Regal Ocean Hotel being known as a reputable hotel for travelers, it made sense for someone like Henry to stay there. Despite passing by quite a few times, the hotel never caught Sorin’s attention until now. He could see why it was as well known as people said, as the hotel was the tallest building in the plaza, standing out with the kingdom’s flag waving on top. Sorin wanted to take in the sight for a moment longer, though it appeared as if Gavin was already thinking ahead.
“There’s no time to gawk,” Gavin said, motioning to the front doors. “Come on and hurry up already.”
“Got it,” Sorin replied.
The two men dashed into the lobby of the elegant hotel and took in the sights standing before them. A large fountain sat in the middle of the lobby, flowing with clear water as a small statue of the first King of Thekohn decorated the top. In addition to that, the soft, gentle sound of a piano playing caught Sorin’s attention as he tried to figure out where it came from. However, he found neither a piano or a musician. But what really stood out to both Sorin and Gavin were the decorations: bouquets of Thekohnian Tulips which adorned the golden walls. They moved along until they made it to the ballroom, where the two ended up crossing paths with Tori. She was not alone, however, as both her and Henry’s sons accompanied her.
“Gavin, Sorin, I didn’t expect to see you two here,” Tori said. “This is a rather nice surprise.”
“Sorry to interrupt, but we’ve got a bit of business with Henry,” Gavin said. “Can you tell us where he is?”
“Oh, of course,” Tori replied. “He’s should be in the hotel room. We can go with you if you want.”
“Well, that would be great,” Sorin said.
“I don’t know why you wouldn’t,” Gavin said. “You’ve got the key, after all. It wouldn’t make sense for us to go without a key anyway.”
“Yes, of course,” Tori said. “I was just waiting for Henry anyway. But with you two, we should get there right about when he’s done.”
“Thank you,” Sorin replied.
“I hope you don’t mind,” Tori said. “The boys were getting restless and I didn’t want to have them running around in such a small room.”
“It’s fine,” Sorin said. “I don’t know about him, though.”
Gavin glared at Sorin. “Are you saying I have a problem with kids? Is that what you’re trying to say?”
“No… No, not at all,” Sorin said.
“Whatever,” Gavin replied. “We’re ready to go, Tori.”
With Tori’s direction, Sorin and Gavin followed her and the boys to the elevator. Once they were on board, Tori pressed the button to the top floor and watched the doors close. During the ride, Sorin noticed the look that one of the boys gave him, staring without breaking any contact.
“Brad, it isn’t polite to stare,” Tori said. “If you have a question that you want to ask Mr. Wilk, I’m sure he’d answer it.”
“Is that a real sword?” Brad asked.
“It is,” Sorin said. “But it’s very dangerous. I don’t really use it unless I need to, and those times are rare.”
Brad pointed at the elevator doors. “Can you cut through those?”
“I don’t think so,” Sorin replied.
“That’s boring,” Brad said.
Meanwhile, the othe boy, Henry Jr., cowered behind Tori as he looked at Gavin. “Does that man… Does he have a real gun on him?”
“Relax,” Gavin replied. “It’s unloaded.”
“They’re not dangerous, boys,” Tori said. “Come on, you’ve seen your father hold weapons before, haven’t you?”
“Yeah, but not this close,” Henry Jr. said.
“Give me a break, kid,” Gavin replied. “If you want, I’ll show you that I’m not lying.”
“Don’t do that,” Sorin said. He looked over to Henry Jr. “Just take Gavin’s word for it.”
Soon enough, they arrived at the top floor and stepped off. Sorin and Gavin continued to follow Tori and the boys down the hall to the hotel room. Once they made it to the door, Tori took out the key, placing her free hand on the doorknob. Before she could insert the key, however, the doorknob turned. Tori removed her hand as the door opened and out walked Henry.
“You guys are back so soon,” Henry said. “What’s going on?”
“Well, they wanted to speak with you,” Tori said as she gestured to Sorin and Gavin. “At least, that’s what I presume they’re here for.”
Henry stepped out into the hallway. “Is that so?”
“That’s exactly why we’re here,” Gavin said. “The Queen of Thekohn needs your help, which is why we’re here.”
“She needs my help?” Henry asked. “Tori, do you mind taking the boys inside with you?”
“Are you going with them?” Tori asked.
“It won’t be long, I promise,” Henry replied.
Tori nodded. “I understand,” she said. “Let’s go, you two.”
She then went inside the hotel room with the two boys as Henry closed the door behind him. Sorin then explained all that had happened over the past night as Henry listened with intent. After Sorin finished, Henry turned to Gavin.
“So you two need my help in dealing with the Ameci military?” Henry asked.
“We’re not looking to start a war of any kind,” Sorin said. “Of course, you should know just what they’re up to, thanks to Foundation.”
“And Harold called you out to Habicht,” Henry said. “No doubt he’s luring you into a trap… But I think that that’s the trap itself.”
“What do you think?” Gavin asked.
“I’m still fighting,” Henry replied. “I’ve made my promise to Kirk that I’d keep moving onward, but even so, I know that if I do, I’d be putting Tori and my sons at risk.”
“That’s understandable,” Sorin said.
“Still, we can’t really sit back,” Gavin said.
“I know that,” Henry said. “I have reasons to fight as well. If I’m to make any sort of impact in Ameci, I’ll have to fight for what I believe is right. That starts with dealing with Isaac Kunigunde and Foundation.”
“So you’ll help, then,” Gavin said.
“I’ll do my best to help,” Henry replied.
“That’s good to hear,” Sorin said.
“But first, there’s that other matter you spoke of,” Henry said. “To do that, I want to meet with the queen herself.”
“Absolutely,” Sorin said. “We can definitely arrange that meeting.”
Henry smiled. “You know, you’ve got the same look in your eye,” he said. “If he were here right now, he’d agree with me.”
“What are you talking about?” Sorin asked. “Are you talking about my father?”
“Now, let’s get going,” Henry said. “Gavin, I’m glad that we’re working on the same page now.”
“Feels odd saying this, but I feel the same way,” Gavin replied. “Glad to have you on our side, Henry Randolph.”
Sorin watched as Gavin walked with Henry. Overall, he was glad to have Henry on his side. Still, what Henry said made Sorin think of his father once more. Normally he would not be concerned, but this time Sorin was beginning to feel anxious about Kirk. He heard nothing so far and was not sure if Kirk would call today, either. All Sorin could do was keep moving with the plan as he joined up with Gavin and Henry at the elevator.
To be continued…