[1st of January, 2741 AD; Aesker River, outside Aesker, Iiayikohn]
Rysol shook the frigid snow from off his beard. He sat up and looked to the left towards the cloudless, orange sky. The unpleasant feeling of waking up made Rysol wonder why he still walked the earth. He had failed. In an effort to keep his father at bay and prevent him from coming closer to Harold Mars, Rysol failed to do so. And after Harold revealed himself, Rysol had to fight back but failed again. As a result, Rysol lost the use of both of his arms, but the biggest loss of all was his father as he could only run away from the scene.
“I know it was your last request, father, but still,” Rysol said. “Still I should have fought on!”
It was useless to say, but Rysol could only lament. At least, that was what he thought for the past few days. He had to move forward somehow, even if he had no way of fighting. Rysol knew he had to help Johan and Jelka, but most of all he knew he had to help Sorin somehow. He had to if he wanted to see everything to its conclusion. That meant getting rid of Isaac Kunigunde, but first, Rysol had some unfinished business. He needed to settle the score with Harold Mars before he could do any more harm. Rysol had to avenge Kirk.
“That’s right,” Rysol said. “I have to do it. I have to right my wrongs! I can’t be a coward no longer!”
Rysol looked down at the broken sword by his feet. Even though it was not in good condition, Rysol kept the blade because he felt as if needed it. And now he needed it more than ever, Rysol thought.
“Harold Mars, I promise you this,” Rysol said, “I am going to kill you. I’ll kill you, even if I go down fighting along the way!”
With his best effort, Rysol got up on his feet. Then, he used his left foot to try and kick up the sword by the handle. He did so and watched as it went up in the air, twirling for a moment before he went forth and caught the handle with his teeth. There was only one place now that Rysol could go now, and he knew that he had to give Harold everything he had if he wanted to eliminate him once and for all.
[1st of January, 2741 AD; Iiayine Prison, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Giga District]
Gavin eyed the two guards over by the door. He could not make out what they were saying, but he had a hunch that they were talking about Drake. After what had happened earlier, Gavin and the others went over to the prison as soon as the soldiers left the premises. There were only a few reasons as to why they had to arrest Drake, and Gavin felt as if he already had the answer. Right now, however, he had to wait until the questioning was over before he could speak to Drake about why he was arrested.
“Do you believe that this has to do with the prime minister?” Wilma asked. “Whatever it is, I don’t like any of this.”
“It’s odd, I’ll give it that,” Henry said. “If Dezine really wanted to, he could have just decided to send out a warning towards Rain and have us killed. That wouldn’t be a problem considering what has already happened.”
“Which is why we’re waiting here,” Law said.
“What a pain in the ass,” Gavin said. “If Dezine’s trying to scare us by doing this shit, then he’s a damn fool.”
“Sounds like he’s trying to pressure a reaction out of you,” Dia said. “We’re just sitting here trying to find out what’s going on while he already knows what the next move is going to be.”
“That may be true, but I’d like to think that we’re ready for whatever he decides to throw our way,” Henry said. “There’s no way he should be able to get away with this, not as long as he doesn’t have some sort of warrant.”
“Yeah, just because he’s the prime minister doesn’t mean he’s above the rules,” Law said. “Even he has to be held accountable, or at least, should be held accountable. That ‘Prime Minister Protection Act’ could be his ace in the hole if this goes any further.”
“He’s certainly prepared in that case,” Henry said.
“So there’s no way to challenge him directly,” Dia said.
“Not exactly,” Law said. “Get enough people to turn, then it’ll become a problem for Dezine. The question is, though, what must be done in order for that to happen.”
“Hey, what’re you talking about over there?”
Gavin turned his head over to the guards and saw that they were looking at the group. The guard that asked the question leered at Law and walked over with a rifle in his hands.
“Are you that bored that you’re going to go and eavesdrop on a personal conversation?” Law asked.
“Personal my ass,” the guard replied. “What’s this you’re saying about the prime minister? You’re not planning on some sort of uprising, are you?”
“Oh no, that’s not what I was saying at all,” Law said. “I’m only wondering about whether or not Wilson Dezine will be able to handle the adversity coming his way.”
“Don’t think we haven’t been aware of what’s going on,” the guard said. “I heard that Dezine’s already closed the borders, so even if you troublemakers try to flee, we’ll be able to catch you before you can even think about it!”
“What’s this now?” Henry asked. “You can’t be serious, can you?”
The guard scoffed. “Think I’m joking, do you? The prime minister’s only acting out of concern for the good people of Iiayikohn, so even if Thedam and her soldiers try to invade us, we’ll be ready for them.”
“That’s preposterous,” Henry replied. “Are you even aware of what you’re trying to say?”
“Say another word and I won’t hesitate to take you out,” the guard said. “You should be lucky that you’re only here for the night.”
“And what about Mr. Rask?” Gavin asked. “What the hell has he even done to warrant an arrest?”
“That’s for the prime minister to know,” the guard replied. “We’ve got our eyes on you, so don’t even think about trying something funny.”
Gavin could only watch as the guard turned around and went back to his colleague. There were several points of interest to take in after that, but Gavin’s first thought was about Iiayikohn’s border. If what the guard said was true, then that created a problem for the others.
“Looks like there isn’t much of a choice,” Dia said.
“Well, if we can’t do much right now, then at least we can get the message out to the others,” Law said. “Don’t you agree, bro?”
“That seems like the best option,” Gavin replied. “But the thing is whether or not we’ll be able to make that call.”
“It shouldn’t be a problem,” Henry said. “At the very least, you should say to those guards that you need a quick moment at the phones.”
“But they’re already watching over us,” Wilma said. “Is it going to be that easy for Gavin?”
“Don’t worry about me,” Gavin said. “I should be able to handle this, even if those pricks try to get on my bad side.”
“Sounds like they already have,” Law said.
“I know the limits,” Gavin replied. “No matter what, I’m not letting anyone stop me here.”
Gavin had only one task in mind at this point. He needed to inform Rain and the others about Dezine’s latest moves and what they needed to do about them. To say he was not worried would be a lie, but Gavin kept his head up as he approached the guards. Nothing could deter him from what he needed to do and he had only one chance to do it.
[1st of January, 2741 AD; Outside the Chancellor’s Mansion – Entrance Gate, North Glora, Ahnlikohn]
In the depths of the night, Johan went back to Ahnle Mountain so he could access Chancellor Harring’s mansion. There was one point of interest that Sorin brought up that Johan just could not ignore and he wanted to see for himself if he could find anything noteworthy. But that was not the only reason he headed back, Johan thought. Jelka had fallen not too far away from the mansion, a scene that proved her willingness to fight until the absolute end. And Johan knew that Jelka managed to land a blow on Korbin before he could escape, which explained the change in scenery afterwards.
Johan never got to say to Jelka himself, so he figured that he could do the best he could to honor her. His visit with the Ahnle family provided the ability and Johan felt that, despite all that had been done by Queen Amelia, he found a way to give Jelka the tribute she deserved. The Arne name had suffered a great deal of pain because of Harring, but because the truth came to light, it was by Amelia’s hand that Jelka and her family could be cleared of all charges.
That was not the only thing, however, as Johan asked a request by Amos. He asked the crown prince if there was a way to honor the Arne family, or at least if there was a way to honor Jelka. Amos gave it a brief thought and settled on an idea, which he told Johan. With that said, Johan thanked Amos for what he had done. That was about the time Amos asked Johan if he could meet with the others in the group. Only after meeting with the others back at the hotel did Johan feel as if he could trust Amos to make the right decision. As for Amelia, Johan felt that only time would tell.
Johan spent some time looking around in the mansion to see if he could find anything, but turned up next to nothing. Sorin and Jelka had already been through, and what Sorin had found had to have been the only evidence that was of note. Though he expected as much, Johan did feel a slight disappointment that there was nothing more incriminating towards Isaac Kunigunde. Johan still had hope, however, that his mission would come to succeed. After all, he had people that he could trust even if some were no longer around to hear it. That was when he found himself at the entrance gate once again. The scene reminded him of what Korbin did and how Johan could never forgive him.
“No matter where you are, I know that you’re scared,” Johan said. “You’re scared because you felt fear. Fear that you won’t be able to get away with what you’ve done.”
However, Johan continued to remain committed to his methods. He would not resort to violence, even if he had to go up against Korbin himself. Johan knew that there was a better way to take care of Korbin than falling to his level. Even if it would be painstaking, Johan could not go against his own beliefs.
Still, even though Korbin was the one responsible for Jelka’s death, it did not mean that Johan had to go out of his way to deal with him. Korbin was only a small part of the problem at hand and with Bradley no longer alive, he stood out even less in Johan’s eyes. Perhaps that was why Johan felt pity for Korbin despite all that he had done.
But there was only so much time Johan had before the morning and he did not want to spend anymore time in Ahnlikohn than what he felt was necessary. Though he had to leave Jelka behind, Johan at least was able to see to it that she received a proper burial and a tribute that would make sure that she would not be forgotten by the people of Ahnlikohn. It was that final request that Johan felt he would be able to say goodbye to her. As he closed his eyes, Johan could not help but feel a single tear roll down the side of his face. The reality had finally begun to set in: this was it and there was no going back. The only thing that Johan could do now was chuckle because he was familiar with the feeling. That pain he felt all those years ago when he lost his father was there once again, but this time the ache was more meaningful.
“Wherever you are now, Jelka, I hope that you are finally able to rest,” he said. “I’ll never forget about you as long as I live, and I hope you’ll be able to see the future I’m going to create.”
To be continued…