Aurora – Chapter 27 (Part 2)

[25th of December, 2740 AD; Copper Hotel, Oelaans, Thekohn – Felis District]

 

Johan entered the hotel room with Jelka after they took the ride to Oelaans. He knew that they could rest now that the next part of the plan was in effect with the Maeita army ready to assist. It appeared as if Khadir turned out to be a man that Johan could count on as he sat on the bed. Jelka, meanwhile, stood in front of Johan with a rare, anxious expression upon her face.

“Are you okay?” Johan asked. “You’re free to sit next to me anytime. There’s no reason to hold back with me.”

“I’m sorry,” Jelka said. “It’s just that in this context, I’m thinking about all of the things that we could do in this room together. I’m sure you understand.”

Johan tilted his head to the side as he looked up at Jelka. “Is that why you’re so nervous right now?”

“I’ve never had this sort of connection before,” Jelka replied. “I enjoy being here with you, but I’m still hesitant about what happens next.”

“What happens next?” Johan wondered. “Pardon me if this is too personal, but you’ve never been intimate before, have you?”

“I’ve never thought about it before I confessed to you,” she said. “I’d be so focused that nothing else mattered when I went to sleep each night. There was no way I could even think about intimacy during that time.”

“That makes sense,” Johan said. “If it were me, there’s no doubt that I’d be thinking the same. Your anxiousness is perfectly understandable, and to be clear and honest with you, quite endearing.”

“You really mean that?” Jelka asked as she looked away.

“I do,” he replied. “It may come off as a surprise to you, Jelka, but I’m pretty new at this as well. This is the closest I’ve been so far in my life, so you shouldn’t be anxious. At least, not as anxious as I am right now.”

“I see no reason why you would lie,” Jelka said, placing her fingers around the top button of her jacket. “Okay… I suppose I have no reason to hold back any longer. As long as it’s you, then it shouldn’t hurt to show you…”

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to,” Johan said.

“I’ve made up my mind,” Jelka replied as she began unbuttoning her jacket. “I want you to see me in my entirety, as I wish to see you as well.”

“Then I guess that there’s no stopping you,” Johan said. “Not that I’d want you to, anyway.”

With that said, Johan and Jelka stripped down to just their undergarments. He took at her almost bare body as she took a look at his. The lighting highlighted Jelka’s toned arms and legs while she covered her chest with her arm. Johan noticed Jelka staring at his still prevalent wounds on him as she began to lean in toward him.

“Seeing your body like this only reminds me how close we were to failure,” she said. “How close I was to losing you… Johan, I will do my best to protect you from now until my last breath.”

“I appreciate that,” Johan said. “But we don’t have to worry about that right now, you know. This night belongs to us and us alone.”

Jelka gave Johan a brief kiss. “I know that.”

There was no more need to talk as Johan reached over to the bed lamp and turned it off. Everything that he and Jelka were working for sat in the back of his mind as he drew even closer to her. The night was a welcome time as the two had a moment to spend alone with one another before the sun rose again.

 

*****

 

[26th of December, 2740 AD; outside Lead Campground, north of Habicht, Ahnlikohn]

 

Sorin exhaled, the sight of his breath reminding him of the cold air that surrounded him and Eva. Though he had been requested to come alone, Sorin knew that Harold had to have a trap or two set for him. That was why he went to Eva and asked her to come along with him. Sorin had also asked Gavin to come with him, but Gavin elected to stay back with Law and Henry in Habicht just in case something happened. Instead, Sorin was able to bring along a select group of ex-Iiayikohnian soldiers to the meeting place. Of course, Sorin made sure that they brought along Erik. There was no telling what Harold had planned, but Sorin was sure that he and his allies had the upper hand.

“This is it,” Sorin said. “I don’t know why, but I feel like everything rides on this moment.”

Eva covered her mouth with her hands and breathed so she could keep her face warm. “He said he knew where Kirk and Rysol were,” she said. “He has to be bluffing, Sorin.”

“Even if he is, we have to move forward,” Sorin replied.

He could still remember the casual, yet hostile, tone Harold carried in his voice three nights ago. Unsettling as it was, however, Sorin knew he could not let it get to him. There was no way he could let either Harold or Korbin throw him off guard, because that would mean defeat. Sorin was not going to let that happen as long as he wielded his sword and had Eva tagging along with him.

“Still, it’s not unreasonable to doubt,” Eva said. “We still haven’t heard back from Kirk at all… I know I shouldn’t be worried, but I can’t help but feel slightly concerned about him.”

“We’ll have to worry about it once we’re done here,” Sorin said. “Whatever Harold has up his sleeve, we’ll be able to counter it with these guys here. Isn’t that right?”

He looked over to the soldiers, all of whom agreed with Sorin. Meanwhile, Erik, who was cuffed and watched under two soldiers, did nothing to resist once they made it to the front gate. Snow covered the ground as well as the branches of the tree, with Sorin looking on towards the inside of the campground. There was one main building that stood straight ahead in Sorin’s field of vision, which made him wonder if that building was to be the meeting place.

“If you’re wondering about that building, it’s closed,” Eva said. “It has been for a while now.”

“You’ve been here before?” Sorin asked.

“No,” she replied. “It’s just that there was somewhat of a big deal when this place closed down. I suppose that makes it a good place for Harold to meet with you… Just keep an eye out, that’s all I’ll say.”

“I will,” Sorin said.

“I mean that,” Eva said.

“Got it,” he replied.

“Good,” Eva said. “I can see that you’ve grown from the time I trained you to now… I guess what I’m trying to say is that if Kirk were here, he’d be as proud of you as I am.”

“Thank you,” Sorin said.

Eva managed a small smile. “I thank you, too,” she said. “Let’s go. We can’t keep this man waiting for much longer.”

They continued on into the campground, making it past the main building as they saw a small light off towards the left near the forest. Sorin had to wonder if that was the meeting place and looked over to Eva. She nodded as the two kept moving, with the soldiers behind them ready to cover for any sneak attacks. Erik, on the other hand, stayed silent until the group got closer to the light source. The faint sound of laughter could be heard as Sorin drew his sword, with Eva doing the same. Soon, they came across the lone campfire as the laughter continued to grow louder. Sorin could not mistake that laugh: it belonged to Korbin, who had to be close enough to strike.

“We aren’t alone,” Sorin said.

“Of course we’re not,” Eva replied. “Keep your guard up. One misstep and it will prove to be costly for us.”

The laughter stopped as the leaves began to rustle. Sorin looked to his right as he saw Korbin appear from out of the shadows. Korbin had his sword drawn and resting upon his right shoulder while Bradley entered at Korbin’s left.

“I should’ve known you’d be too wise not to go alone,” Korbin said. “Do you think you’ve got a plan or something, Sorin Wilk?”

“What are you doing here?” Sorin asked.

“Oh, nothing,” Korbin said. “I was so fucking bored and wanted to see what my dad has planned for you. You know how much I hate being fucking bored, don’t you?”

“I think you’ve caused enough trouble,” Sorin said.

“Funny, it wasn’t like that when I went through that village earlier,” Korbin replied. “Bradley and I had a hell of ripping through as many townspeople as we could!”

“And of course, we did well enough to pass it off as self-defense,” Bradley replied. “Though I’m not sure how Queen Amelia’s going to feel about it, but that’s something she’ll have to take up with my old man later.”

“You assholes don’t care that you’re killing innocent people,” Eva said to Korbin. “Do you even realize how many people you’ve hurt?”

Korbin scratched his goatee. “Fuck if I know,” he answered. “That’s like if I asked Sorin what he had for breakfast three days ago. You think he’d remember off the spot? Fuck no!”

“That’s not the same!” Sorin exclaimed. “People’s lives are not something you can just disregard.”

“Spare me the bullshit,” Korbin said. “I’m not here to talk with you about stupid fucking shit. No, I’m here because I want revenge for the humiliation you and your pals have caused us!”

“I’ll just beat you again,” Sorin replied. “I know your tricks by now, Korbin, and I’m not going to lose to you!”

Korbin erupted into another round of laughter. Sorin continued to remain on guard as Bradley could not help but laugh as well. Soon, Korbin stopped and gained his composure in an instant.

“You really have no clue, do you?” Korbin asked. “All those times before, you only had the upper hand because I was ‘incomplete.’ I hadn’t even begun to mature! But now… But now, I’ve grown so much in so little time! Your friend… Gavin Power, was it? I coulda wasted him and his pathetic brother back over in Oelaans, but he’s nothing to me. No, killing him would’ve been boring.”

Sorin could see the lights flashing on Korbin’s prosthetic arm. The surging electricity coated the metallic limb as it started to travel through the steel of Korbin’s blade.

“There’s only two people in this world that I care about destroying,” Korbin said. “Johan Kuu is one of them… The other is you.”

“Like I said, I won’t lose to you,” Sorin said.

“Shut the fuck up!” Korbin yelled. “I didn’t even finish and you keep trying to fucking interrupt me!”

“Show him, Korb,” Bradley said.

“Oh no, not yet,” Korbin said. “There’s just the whole thing about my friend there… Erik!”

Sorin and Eva looked as one of the soldiers escorted Erik to the front. He was still handcuffed as he stepped forward. There was no telling what Korbin had planned right now, but Sorin knew he had to be ready for anything. Just then, Sorin saw Korbin crack a smile.

“Erik, you son of a bitch,” Korbin said. “You really went and got captured like that!?”

“It wasn’t my intention,” Erik replied. “I just found a passage somehow and ended up in the castle!”

“You don’t know where this passage is, do you?” Bradley asked.

“Sorin, this isn’t good,” Eva said.

“I know,” Sorin said. He turned his sights to Korbin. “It’s not important right now! You’ve got Erik back!”

“You think I care about this passage?” Korbin asked. “Sneaking around is a coward’s trick. I’d rather beat you head on with everything I got!”

“And where is Harold?” Sorin asked.

“Even if I knew, I wouldn’t tell you,” Korbin said. “Come on, now, Sorin… I’m going to make your life miserable! Yes, I’m gonna plant that seed of doubt inside you while you’re on your knees begging for mercy!”

Korbin grinned, licking his lips as he used his free hand to grab his crotch. Sorin was not sure what to make of Korbin’s gesture, but felt like he had to give it his all against his enemy now. With Korbin, there was no room for error and no room for turning back. Sorin had to win.

 

To be continued…

 

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