Aurora – Chapter 40 (Part 1)

[1st of January, 2741 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle Hall]

 

Rain expected a visit from the government of Kikuisha, but she did not expect to see Kiku Izumi and her bodyguards to arrive out of nowhere. Noa also attended, which led to a brief confrontation between him and Gamal. All Rain could do was watch as the two men talked it out.

“I promise I’m not that suspicious!” Noa said. “You’ve seen me before, haven’t you?”

“Of course, we’ve met before,” Gamal replied. “I just wanted to greet you, that is all. That’s the polite way of doing things, isn’t that right?”

“But… But I heard that President Khadir would be here,” Noa said. “How am I supposed to remain calm when he’s here?”

“Nona, we’ve been through this before,” Kiku said. “It’s no different than what happened last time. You don’t need to worry because you have me at your side!”

“I know, I know, I may just be overthinking it,” Noa said. “The last time, it wasn’t even that bad… but what if he was just putting on an act just to make me feel secure so he could let me have it the next time we meet?”

“I doubt that will happen,” Ayame said. “That man doesn’t seem the type to hold a grudge, especially not against you.”

“You think so?” Noa asked. “Wait, what exactly do you mean when you say that he especially wouldn’t hold a grudge against me?”

“It means you shouldn’t worry about it,” Ayame replied. “We can keep on talking about this or we can talk to Her Majesty. Thank you for letting us in, Sir Gamal.”

“Yes, thank you,” Igor said. “It’s a pleasure to see you again.”

Gamal shook Ayame and Igor’s hands. “You’re very welcome,” he said. “Of course, President Khadir won’t be here until tomorrow morning.”

“Wait, really?” Noa asked. “I thought that he’d be here today! Then what in the world was I getting worried about?”

“See, I told you not to worry,” Kiku said as she grabbed Noa by his arm. “We don’t need to worry about the little things.”

“Yes, there are greater problems to worry about,” Rain said. “I was under the impression that Yamazaki would make her way here, though. Is something the matter?”

“There isn’t,” Ayame replied. “She will also be arriving tomorrow. Madame Izumi just insisted on coming a day early because she wanted to see you, Your Majesty.”

“Let’s not be so formal around our friends, Aya,” Kiku said. “I know how serious this is, but we can afford ourselves a little break in the work, can’t we? I certainly would like to think that we could spend a little time with Ray here; she must be so bored without Minnie around to comfort her… Speaking of which, is Minnie a jealous type?”

“Why do you ask that?” Rain asked.

“Oh, forget about it, Ray,” Kiku said. “Please forgive me for asking a trivial question.”

“I don’t think now is the time for trivial questions, madame,” Ayame said. “We’re here because Her Majesty believes we need to set out a course of action before we go about tackling this organization.”

“That’s exactly why we’re here and why we’re having Khadir as well,” Rain said. “But that isn’t all I’ve got to say. There is some good news.”

“Well, I like hearing good news,” Kiku said.

“It’s fortunate that you arrived when you did,” Gamal said. “Her Majesty’s made a breakthrough with the Ahnle royal family.”

“You did?” Kiku asked. “That’s great, Ray!”

“None of it would have happened without the help of others,” Rain said. “I must thank them for their efforts, though I can’t say that they escaped completely unscathed.”

After she spoke with Amelia, Rain received another call from Sorin. As she found out from him, Rain knew that she could not do much in the moment to go and support them after Jelka’s demise. She knew there was no reason for her to blame herself, but Rain felt like she owed it to Jelka for what she had done. That was the least Rain could do for her. But for now, Rain had to remain focused on what was ahead of her now that she had that connection with the Ahnle family once again.

“I’m so sorry,” Kiku said.

“Life is pretty unforgiving sometimes,” Noa said. “Even when something goes right, the cost can be pretty high.”

“We won’t let her death be in vain, that much I can guarantee,” Rain said. “She wanted to take down Foundation as much as the rest of us, so I’m sure she’d be encouraging us no matter what.”

The room turned silent as no one had another word to say. Rain was not sure if she should add to it or move on to the next topic at hand. Soon enough, though, Kiku had something to say.

“I know that I never knew her, but I believe so, too,” Kiku said. “I want to help in any way possible, Ray, so if there’s anything that we can do, then please let me know!”

“Madame, are you sure about this?” Igor asked. “The empress hasn’t even arrived yet, so I’m not sure we should act so outlandishly before she arrives to give her statement.”

“Oh come on, Iggy, this is important,” Kiku replied. “Mother would say the same thing too if she were here, but she isn’t, which is why I’m saying it! We need to act now before things get out of hand! Kikuisha must unite with the Kingdom of Thekohn and put a stop to Foundation!”

“How long has it been since you were this passionate, I wonder,” Ayame said. “Normally, I would agree with Igor, but sometimes we can’t just stay on the sidelines while injustice is abound.”

“Then you agree, Aya?” Kiku asked.

“I think you’re right, madame,” Ayame replied. “No, I know you’re right. I don’t want things to escalate any further than they already have. That is why we have to unite with Rain here.”

“Well, I don’t know if I can call this official, given that Yamazaki isn’t here yet,” Rain said. “Until I talk with her, I can’t exactly move forward.”

“You can,” Kiku said. “Just let me handle things with my mother. I know I will be able to convince her because she will understand the plight!”

“Consider it official, Your Majesty,” Ayame said. “She may not wield all the power, but Madame Izumi is still an important figure. After all, she is the next in line and this is a good example of the leadership that she is capable of showing in trying times like these.”

“Then all I need now is President Khadir’s help,” Rain said. “That should be easy, I believe. Thank you, Ayame. Actually, thank all of you.”

“You’re thanking me?” Noa asked. “What did I do?”

“It’s obvious, you know,” Kiku said. “You were such a help to Ray back then, she just wanted to give you a proper thanking.”

“I figure that since we have some past together, we can cooperate together and see how we can take on Foundation,” Rain said. “You wouldn’t mind lending us your insights, would you Noa?”

“You… You really think my insights are valuable?” Noa asked.

“We’ve got some good allies helping the kingdom,” Rain said. “It wouldn’t hurt to add another, especially since you’re trained in a field that none of the others have that much expertise in.”

“See, Nona?” Kiku asked. “You’re already valuable!”

“Just my luck, I guess,” Noa said. “I mean, you’re really sure about this? I’m not that much of an expert, but I suppose that I can help you out.”

“I’m asking you this because I trust you,” Rain replied. “Maybe you don’t think so, but I like to think that we can operate on that trust.”

“I understand,” Noa said. “If you believe in me, then I’ll do it. I will lend my hand to this cause, because I know you’re fighting for what’s right. Foundation is no different from the True Thekohnians and the Neu Thekohnian Order, and I’ll do what I can to help you stop them.”

“I’m glad to hear that, Noa,” Rain said.

“It’s because the way you speak your message is real,” Noa replied. “I can believe in you because of that… and I can consider you a friend because of it, as well. You, Sorin, Mina, and all the rest.”

“As do I,” Ayame said.

“Then I’ll be looking forward to working with you,” Rain said. “Right now, however, the sun has already begun to set. You’re welcome to lodge here at the castle if you want.”

“That wouldn’t be a problem, would it?” Kiku asked Ayame.

“I don’t see why not,” Ayame said.

“You could ask me too, madame,” Igor said. “Though I don’t have a problem staying here as long as you want to stay here.”

“Is it me or have you gotten better at speaking the local language, Igor?” Rain asked. “That is, if you don’t mind me asking you that question.”

Igor chuckled. “Ayame’s been on my neck about learning advanced Theias,” he replied. “So I’ve been reading and reading and reading and I feel like I’m at the point where I can grasp some of the regional phrases, though I guess I’m not at the final point yet.”

“It certainly shows,” Rain said, not bothering to correct Igor’s mistake. “Keep it up.”

“I will,” Igor replied.

“Iggy really has come a long way, hasn’t he?” Kiku asked. She then went up to Rain and whispered in her ear. “Maybe he’ll finally be able to ask Aya out after this is all over…”

“Oh my,” Rain said.

“Madame, what did you just say to her?” Igor asked.

“You don’t need to worry,” Kiku replied. “It’s just a little exchange between a queen and the empress’ daughter. Pay no mind.”

“Whatever it was, it sure managed to leave an impression on Rain,” Noa said. “Well, maybe I shouldn’t ask…”

“I wonder what she said,” Ayame said. “Though I would guess that it most likely doesn’t matter at this point.”

Rain felt no need to comment any further. She had already attained full support from Kikuisha thanks to Kiku. She thanked the four, as did Gamal, with them accepting the thanks as they then went upstairs. Everything was beginning to move in the right direction, Rain thought. However, as she wondered what to do now,  Rain noticed Ayanna walking towards her with a concerned look on her face. Something had to have happened.

“Rain, I have some urgent news,” Ayanna said.

“What is it?” Rain asked.

“I just received a call from Gavin,” Ayanna replied. “Looks like Dezine just placed Drake Rask under arrest. Foundation is acting quickly.”

“They’re moving fast,” Rain said.

“What’s our plan, Your Majesty?” Gamal asked.

“Well, I’m wondering about Mina first,” Rain replied. “I think it’s important that she knows what’s happening right now.”

“They’re staying at that hotel,” Gamal said. “Do you want to call them right away?”

“Before you do so, Rain, I’ve got more news,” Ayanna said. “Gavin said that he heard from one of the officers that Dezine’s has begun lockdown in Iiayikohn. No one can enter or leave the country, even if they are of Iiayi descent.”

“So to protect Isaac Kunigunde, he’ll take drastic measures,” Gamal said. “I have to say that this Wilson Dezine has some dedication to his cause, twisted as it may be.”

“Measures that are against Thekohnian conventions,” Rain said. “There is no way he can get away with closing off Iiayikohn to the rest of the region. We’ll make sure of that.”

“It will be a matter of time before people realize,” Ayanna said. “Travelling between Iiayikohn and Ahnlikohn is popular, and for those stuck in between, the change will be noticed. Absolutely no one will stand for it.”

“No, of course not,” Rain said. “We established this after the War of the Lands ended. Dezine’s sudden actions will be felt immediately.”

“If you ask me, I have my doubts that this is to protect Isaac Kunigunde,” Ayanna said. “Regardless, we must act now.”

“Then let’s go,” Rain said.

Ayanna had a point. Why would Dezine do something against Thekohnian convention in order to protect Isaac? Rain had to think about it, but for now, she needed to reach out to Mina and the others in Ahnlikohn.

 

To be continued…

 

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