[1st of January, 2741 AD; New Prime Minister’s Office, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]
“Just what in the world is the meaning of this?” Isaac asked. “I want you to answer me now, Wilson, because I am at a loss for words about what you’ve just done here!”
Fercewend followed after Isaac stormed into Dezine’s office as the furious man slammed his hands upon the desk, which startled the prime minister. Isaac received the word of Dezine’s latest action less than an hour ago and decided to head over to meet with the man himself. It came as a complete surprise to Rohan, too, who remembered the conventions that prevented an action such as this. As Isaac stared Dezine down, the prime minister regained his composure and put on a large smile.
“I’m glad you noticed, Isaac,” Dezine said. “I think it’s about time that we went and took some action, don’t you agree?”
“Don’t try and take me for a fool,” Isaac said. “Reckless actions like this only serve to hinder our cause, if not outright hurt it. I want you to cease this border lockdown at once!”
“I get it,” Dezine replied. “You two are worried about your soldiers, are you not? Well, I may be willing to make an exception, only if you agree to let me run things as they should.”
“Prime minister, I must remind you that there are various repercussions for violating the Thekohnian conventions,” Fercewend said. “I know it’s none of my business as an Ameci, but it would be wise to recognize the breach where it is visible and stand back where necessary.”
“I’m flabbergasted that you would be so concerned, General Fercewend,” Dezine said. “Wasn’t it you who wanted to deal with the Ameci traitors? What better course of action than to stop them before they can even cross the border to Iiayikohn?”
“You’re acting like a fool,” Isaac said. “I don’t want to soil my own hands trying to stop the traitors myself. That’s why we have the military and that’s why you have your own special guard. Throwing all caution to the wind just to get ahead of the traitors will only burn your own hide, Wilson.”
“Is it my hide that’ll burn?” Dezine asked. “Or will you be the one to fall next? I hear that your vice president is currently incarcerated because you claim you’ve no use for him or his son anymore.”
“He’s being held for conspiracy,” Fercewend said. “Isaac had nothing to do with what Bradley did.”
“So you’re going to fall on the sword for Isaac’s behalf, aren’t you,” Dezine said. “Well, it’s not as if it’s my problem what happens to you, general.”
“It will be your problem soon enough, I promise you,” Isaac replied. “The walls will soon close in should you walk the path of recklessness.”
“Did you forget what you did to ensure that I would be prime minister?” Dezine asked. “That little piece of paper that keeps me safe… The ‘Prime Minister Protection Act,’ don’t you know?”
Isaac grumbled. “You’d be digging your own grave,” he said. “Even that law has a drawback.”
“People depend on travel between the lands, prime minister,” Fercewend said. “Doing this to stop the problem we have will only bring it into the light for all to see, which will only cause panic. Do you truly wish for that to happen to your people, sir?”
“I don’t think I asked for your opinion, general,” Dezine replied. “Why don’t you just be a good boy and let me do my job.”
“Don’t act as if I don’t have a say in the matter,” Fercewend said. “As both Hasker and Bradley are out, I’m the one in charge of all Ameci actions.”
“Are you now?” Dezine asked.
“That is correct,” Isaac said. “For now, Rohan is the acting president of Ameci, so you’d best take me seriously.”
“I see how it is now,” Dezine said. “Unfortunately for you, I do not need the help of Ameci in regards to dealing with the traitors. My soldiers are trained well and will shoot on sight.”
“That’s not what this is about!” Isaac exclaimed.
“If you’re going to raise your voice to me, then you leave me no choice,” Dezine responded. “I will not hesitate to invoke the law should I feel threatened, and I must say you two are imposing on me quite a bit…”
Dezine reached for the phone as Isaac lifted his hands off of the desk. He turned around and headed for the door as Fercewend did the same. It was clear now that Dezine did not want to talk any further, which left the general at a loss. But as he looked at Isaac, Fercewend could feel some reassurance.
“Then we will go,” Isaac said. “I do have one last word for you, however.”
“You really have nothing but your inflated ego, don’t you?” Dezine asked. “Very well, I’ll let you say your little spiel.”
“Oh, I’ll make it quick, Wilson Dezine,” Isaac replied. “I’ll make it quick as the fall you’re going to take: you’ve made a mistake.”
“The only mistake I’ve made was letting you in my office,” Dezine said. “I will win this fight with or without your help!”
“If that’s the case, then you’ve already lost,” Isaac said. “Not even god will help you out of the mess that you’ve created. Rohan, let’s go before I lose my head over this goddamn madman.”
Fercewend did as Isaac said and left Dezine’s office. The numbers were dwindling around Isaac, but Fercewend knew that he needed to remain strong in order for Ameci to succeed through an uncertain time. Even so, Fercewend felt as if the pressure was only going to get worse as time went on. He wondered about Isaac and if he felt the same way. Fercewend did not want to admit it, but he was starting to doubt Isaac as well. It was not as if he did not trust him, but in regard to the recent events, Fercewend wondered about Isaac’s motivations and if it was okay to question them.
“Let this be a lesson, Rohan,” Isaac said as he continued to walk down the hallway. “Trust only goes so far until the other side sees no use for you. Dezine is such a man that would place his own interests before anyone else… The nerve of that man to think he has authority only because I was willing to offer him my helping hand and write that law for him. It was my written word that protected him and this is how he repays the favor!?”
“What do you mean?” Fercewend asked as he kept up with Isaac.
“Nothing,” Isaac answered. “Forget about Dezine. He’s set on failing so bad, then let him fail. We still have a way to win, even without his help.”
“Forgive me if this is rude, but what is Ameci’s goal?” Fercewend asked. “I only ask because it seems as if these people we put our trust in seem to fail when adversity strikes at its hardest.”
“Our goal… Ameci’s goal is to be strong,” Isaac replied. “It has always been the goal. There are people who want to undermine us and take advantage of us, which is why being rigid in our approach is important.”
“I understand,” Fercewend said, “But what of Casper Bradley? Was he always trying to undermine us?”
“He had tried to take advantage of you, yes,” Isaac said. “But I had my eyes on him the moment he stood in Hasker’s place. Casper merely let the power go to his head, becoming delusional as a result and… well, you should already know the rest.”
“One must wonder why it is that this power drives men like Casper and Dezine to the brink,” Fercewend said.
“Look no further to the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn and you’ll see why,” Isaac said. “Rain Zano Thedam is an ever growing problem and there’s only so much time we have until she tries to challenge you head on.”
“You believe that it is so?” Fercewend asked.
“Rohan, right now, you’re needed more than ever,” Isaac replied. “You’re the rock that serves to stabilize Ameci. Your people need you now more than ever and you must be able to rise to the occasion.”
“I can do that,” Fercewend said. “But where do you fit in?”
“It’s simple,” Isaac said, “I’m the one who will support you. This will not be an easy job, but with my guidance, you will be useful. Do you understand?”
“Of course,” Fercewend replied. “Ameci has counted on me before and I’ll do my best to serve as its leader.”
“As it was before,” Isaac said. “Even back then, becoming general wasn’t a guarantee, but I made it possible. I made everything possible so that you could succeed as a leader. This chance belongs to you and you alone, Rohan.”
“I won’t disappoint,” Fercewend said.
“I know that you won’t,” Isaac said. “A dear friend of mine told me that as long as god is on our side, we will win. God is on our side, Rohan, and we will use that to our advantage.”
“Then let’s not let that advantage go to waste,” Fercewend said. “It doesn’t do us good to doubt as long as we have that.”
“Very good,” Isaac said. “You made a smart decision, Rohan, so you should be very proud of yourself and what you’ve become to me.”
With the resounding encouragement that Isaac had given him, Fercewend knew what he needed to do now. He could not afford to hesitate any further now that he had executive power and he could not waste the chance that had been given to him. Regardless of the past, Fercewend knew that now was the time for him to act. Now was the time to do what he believed was right for Ameci, even if he had to cross an old friend or two. For Rohan Fercewend, he was ready to act in what he deemed Ameci’s best interest and nothing was going to stop him.
[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Quiet Falcon Train Station, Helm, Ahnlikohn]
Wasting time was no longer an option for Sorin and the others. He knew that they had to get moving once they heard from Rain about what Dezine had done overnight. The path to Iiayikohn became tougher to navigate, though it did not deter Sorin because he knew that Johan was not deterred by the setback. As long as Johan was with them, there was hope. Hope that they could devise a plan that Johan could draw out. Still, there was some doubt as the group ended up at the train station where Iiayikohnian guards barricaded the entrance. The large crowd stood outside as the guards remained firm at the front door, neither man moving a single inch from their positions.
“This is the action the prime minister is willing to take, huh?” Dustin asked. “Is there no way we couldn’t just try to sneak in or something?”
“It’s unwise to be reckless right now,” Johan said. “Of course, there is a path forward, but it looks like traveling by train is no longer an option.”
“Does the prime minister know no end to his villainy?” Mina asked. “He must be really stupid if he thinks this will stop us!”
“I don’t think he’s stupid,” Pekka said. “However, Dezine has to know that this is going to backfire spectacularly should he continue to pursue this action if he’s trying to protect Isaac Kunigunde.”
“Do you think he’s doing it on purpose, then?” Luna asked. “You know, like if he’s trying to sabotage Isaac for his own reasons?”
“We don’t know,” Johan said.
“As far as whether or not Wilson Dezine is doing this on Isaac’s behalf or not, we can’t really assume,” Eva said. “However, as it stands right now, Dezine’s actions are impeding us from completing our task.”
“Johan, you’ve got to have some idea on what we’re supposed to do,” Luna said. “You’re usually coming up with all these amazing plans! You’ve gotta have an idea floating up there, I know it because you’re scratching your chin which usually means you’ve got something on your mind and I know I’m not wrong when I say that!”
Johan sighed as he removed his hand from his chin and sat himself down on a bench nearby. “I was just wondering if there was somewhere we could grab a bite,” he said. “Thinking about all this has made me quite famished if I’m being honest with you, Luna.”
“Why in the world would you be thinking of food at a time like this?” Gale asked. “Surely you must be joking.”
“I’m not joking, Gale,” Johan replied. “It’s almost time for lunch and we didn’t have that much of a breakfast since we had to get going early. You feel the same way, right, Sorin?”
Sorin looked at Johan. “You may be right,” he said. “There’s not much that we can do right now, so we might as well get something to eat and figure out what we can do from there.”
“The fact we can’t go ahead back to Iiayikohn frustrates me to no end,” Mina said as she placed her index finger on her forehead, “But I can’t just say no to getting something to eat! It’s been too long since we did, anyway, and I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to take a little break!”
Johan looked back over to Gale. “See? I don’t think it’s worth worrying too much since we know that we’ll find a way,” he said. “Our work isn’t done, but that shouldn’t mean we can’t take the time to enjoy the sights.”
“I thought you just wanted to get something to eat,” Gale said.
“I did say that,” Johan said. “I was just wondering if it would be possible to do a little more during our time here in Helm.”
“What’s with the sudden change in objective?” Dustin asked. “I thought that you wanted to go on and take down Isaac Kunigunde. I didn’t think you’d want to go and relax so soon after what happened up in Glora.”
“Mind you, this isn’t about relaxing,” Johan said. “We can’t rush towards an enemy without knowing what they’re capable of. I figure until we have some clue about what they can do, we’ll just wait until we hear it from our allies.”
“Rain did say that Ayanna is on her way towards Helm,” Sorin said. “Then again, I’ve got no clue when she’ll get here nor do I know whether or not she’s arriving with the soldiers.”
“I doubt the Rain wants to do that,” Eva said. “The last thing we want to do is to escalate this to a breaking point.”
“You’re very wise,” Johan said. “There will be plenty of time to discuss our next course of action, so why go through the trouble of thinking about it now? I think we have enough time at hand before we head off for Iiayikohn.”
Nobody else had anything to say to that. Johan was right and there was no reason to suggest otherwise. As long as Gavin, Law, and Henry were in Iiayikohn, there was no reason to worry. Even with the sudden turn of events, Sorin had a feeling that those three would be able to get Drake out of trouble. But for now, the only thing Sorin and the others could do now was wait for Ayanna to arrive.
To be continued…