[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Iiayine Prison, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Giga District]
After what was a restless night back at Drake’s house, Gavin hurried back over to the prison with Law and Henry. They had been given a release late last night after talking with the guards, but only because Henry had suggested that they would let Drake stay the night in a holding cell. None of them had wanted to leave Drake by himself overnight, but it was the only offer Henry received. That was why Gavin found it difficult to sleep. However, he had to remain alert now that they were returning to the hostile environment that they had been escorted to last night. Once they made it through the security, Gavin, Law, and Henry went straight to the visitor’s center to meet with Drake, who was still wearing the same clothes he went in with.
“Sorry about leaving you here,” Gavin said.
“You don’t have to apologize to me,” Drake replied. “I know you’re trying to do your best with these guys going around acting like their rear ends don’t smell funny, so I appreciate you three taking the time to see me.”
“Are you doing well, Drake?” Henry asked. “I can’t imagine what it must be like to sit in a cell for no reason…”
“They could’ve done much worse,” Drake said. “I got a thick skin, so I’ve not budged a bit the whole time!”
“Well, it has only been for a night,” Henry said. “They didn’t arrest you due to a crime; they arrested you because Dezine wanted to send a message.”
“A message only a coward like him can send,” Law said. “When you can’t hurt the other side directly, you take it out on those related any way you can. I’m sure that was what that old man was thinking when he sent his soldiers to your house.”
“It’s going to be a pain in the ass,” Gavin said. “Dezine has already acted. Now it’s our turn.”
“What do you have in mind, Gavin?” Drake asked.
“Charging after him head on isn’t a good move,” Gavin replied. “Our best bet leans on Rain and the other leaders to step in.”
“You think we’ve got the time to do that, bro?” Law asked. “No offense, but I don’t think we have the time.”
“That doesn’t mean we should sit by and do nothing,” Gavin said. “Henry, when are we going to Hurst?”
“I figure we could go soon,” Henry replied. “Our main course of action is to head to where the smoke is coming from and once we go there, we try to find the fire that’s been burning.”
“Quite a way to talk about Harold Mars, isn’t it,” Law said. “I think what we can do now, though, is see if we can get a lead.”
“Where do we even start?” Gavin asked.
“I think we’ve got a good lead here,” Law said, turning to Drake. “You’ve been to Hurst, haven’t you?”
“A few times,” Drake replied. “Not much happens there, which is nice for a quiet little town like that.”
“And perfect for someone like Harold to hide out at,” Henry said. “A perfect place to operate without much trouble.”
“So this guy’s been hiding there all this time?” Drake asked.
“As you said, it’s a quiet little town,” Henry replied. “I don’t think that he’d bring himself out into the open, not after what he’s done.”
Gavin knew the truth, as did Law. After asking Henry on the way to Rezar, he told the brothers about the crime Harold had committed. He told them all he had heard from Kirk before he died, as well as what Henry believed happened after their encounter on the Ameci Wyse. There was only one explanation that led to Harold Mars surviving his supposed death, which led Henry to believe that Isaac rescued him in some way. Still, there were many more questions that had to be asked and many more answers to those questions.
“And you reckon he’s related to all of this,” Drake said. “This Harold fellow has to have a lot of influence if you’re so set on going after him.”
“The only thing we don’t know is how deep this goes,” Gavin said. “For all we know, we’re looking at a puddle when it could be much more than that.”
“I think it’s already past that if you ask me,” Law said.
“Which is why we’ve got to find out for ourselves,” Gavin replied.
“Isaac’s the one at the center of all this, but Harold is an interesting person all on his own,” Henry said. “Granted, I only knew a little about him before Kirk told me all about his encounter, but we should be aware that this is only a scratch upon the surface of who Harold Mars is.”
“I wonder about that,” Law said. “None of us here have seen Harold for ourselves, though Sorin and Eva have. If only they were here, then maybe we would learn something.”
“They’d likely know only little more than us, I’m sure of it,” Gavin said. “We’ve only got so much of a lead from Johan, but I’m willing to place my trust in him because he’s good at gathering this kind of information.”
“He certainly was the reason why we went this far,” Law said. “It’s kinda like you said before, bro: Johan’s playing us like chess pieces.”
“It’s a good thing we’re on the same side,” Gavin replied. “At least, as much as we can possibly be.”
“I take it that you’re not too fond of him,” Henry said.
“I can tolerate him, but I’m not entirely crazy about having him lead us around,” Gavin said. “Even if he doesn’t admit it himself, we are setting off in that direction because of what he told you about Harold.”
“Something about him never seemed right to me, either,” Law said. “But I’m not going to go and concern myself about what he does.”
“Neither am I,” Gavin said. “It’s just that I don’t know what he’s going to do once this is all over. None of us do.”
“Well, it’s none of our concern,” Henry said, “At least not for the moment. For now, however, we’ve got a trip to make.”
“You’re heading off?” Drake asked.
“I promise we’ll be back as soon as possible,” Henry replied. “I don’t know how we’ll work this out, but I’m not going to give up just because I don’t have an answer yet. I’m just going to do as I always do and keep moving forward.”
“You’re a good man, Mr. Randolph,” Drake said. “I promise that I won’t let a little setback like this deter me. Hell, I even bet Mina and the others will be here soon to let me out if they’re fast enough!”
“Got a lot of hope there, looks like,” Gavin said as he stood up. “We’ll make sure that we find a way to get you out of here. Dezine may have the upper hand, but he’s pushing a line that’ll get him in trouble if he moves further.”
“That’s right,” Law said. “I bet Mina would like to charge through here by herself if she had to and I know she’d win if it meant having to save her dear uncle in the process.”
Drake laughed. “I’m looking forward to it.”
“We’ll be back, don’t worry,” Henry said. “Goodbye.”
As Henry got up and headed for the door, Gavin and Law followed him. It was now their time to move and now they had their destination close at hand as nothing stood between them and Hurst. Wherever Harold Mars was, he was sure to be hiding there. The only Gavin worried about, though, was if they would find anything new regarding the mysterious man and, if so, would they be able to do anything about him. But Gavin had to have faith like Henry and Law did, so he put his trust in them as they went to the car.
[2nd of January, 2741 AD; location unknown, Hurst, Iiayikohn]
“Get up,” Harold said to Korbin. “There’s only so much time we have until our next move.”
Korbin sat up on the frigid bed as Harold exited the room without another word. He had arrived in Iiayikohn last night after leaving Glora, still wounded from his fight with Jelka. With Harold’s help, Korbin was able to leave the city without much of a notice. Korbin could not help but feel emptiness, however, as he left without coming up victorious against Sorin Wilk, nor was he able to go up against Johan Kuu. Even as his anger began to rise, Korbin had to be reminded by Harold about what was going to happen next.
“You’d better prepare yourself,” Harold said. “This the final chance to take hold of your fate, so I’d advise you not to waste the precious opportunity that has been given to you.”
“Who cares about that?” Korbin asked. “I just want to finish what I started, damn it! Why the fuck do I have to wait!?”
“Come on,” Harold replied. “I know you lack a good brain, but I know for a fact that you’re not that you’re not this amazingly daft. Pick up your feet and go to the back room.”
Korbin did as Harold said and went on his way to the back room. He had no way to deny what his father demanded of him, nor did he want to. After all, that was how Korbin always saw everything with Harold, at least as long as he could remember things being that way. But there were moments within Korbin’s memory that he could not recall, however he did not care since it was not in his best interest to remember any missing events.
“That shit doesn’t matter to me, anyway,” Korbin said. “What the fuck do you want me to do now, anyway?”
Korbin looked around the dim room for any trace of his father, but he was nowhere to be found. It was the room that had served to reawaken Rysol, where Korbin went head-to-head against the man himself. That was the fight that made Korbin realize how much of a force Rysol could be, which only served to remind him about much more of an established fighter Harold was. With that known, there was no doubt in Korbin’s mind that he would be okay.
“Now you know why I brought you here,” Harold said through the speaker on the wall. “I want to realize how much I need you, Korbin. You’re going to serve well in making this plan of mine a reality.”
“What do you need from me?” Korbin asked.
“It is your strength I need,” Harold answered. “Rysol failed because he was too weak to cut his ties. You, however, don’t have such ties that hinder you. Not now, anyway.”
Korbin looked away. He had received the news of Bradley’s death straight from Harold as they were leaving Ahnlikohn. It was because of Sorin and his friends that Bradley had died and that Korbin knew he had to forget about it, but it was difficult to do as Bradley was the only person Korbin considered to be a friend. He knew that his father was right, though, since he would not try to lie to him, especially not when everything was on the line.
“The moment you let those ties become a hindrance, you die,” Harold said. “That was what cost Kirk Wilk his life and what would have cost his son if not for that interfering woman. But luckily you managed to deal with one of the few pains in my side and for that, I must give you the little credit that you deserve. Enjoy it while you can, Korbin.”
Harold’s gratitude was rare, which was why Korbin had no idea how to react. He did not know if he should be thankful for the credit, or if he should just keep going. What Korbin did know, however, was that he had to be stronger. He knew that he needed to, especially now that his rivals were heading for Iiayikohn at this moment. But as Korbin continued to think, a loud crash rang out through the halls of Harold’s hideout.
“What the hell was that!?” Korbin asked.
“Do not move a single inch,” Harold said. “You just wait in that room until I come back.”
But Korbin wanted to know. He had to know. Waiting in an empty room for his father to speak to him again bored him. Korbin needed to find out for himself what caused that loud noise and why Harold wanted him to wait. He knew that he had to hurry, so he rushed out of the room without so much a second thought. Korbin ran down the hallway headfirst towards the entrance. Something had happened and there was only one way to confirm it.
“I’m not going to fucking wait just because you told me to,” Korbin said. “I gotta know what the hell is going on before we do anything!”
Harold did not respond, though Korbin did not care. There was only one thing on Korbin’s mind and that was getting to the bottom of this mystery. Once he made it towards the entrance, however, Korbin saw for himself the source of that destructive noise. The one man who stood superior to Korbin was standing in front of his father, though with both of his arms missing. Harold crossed his arms as Rysol inched closer to him.
“So the insect comes back,” Harold said. “After what I did to your father, I would’ve expected you to run away with what little pride you had left, but it seems as if you’ve got a death wish to fulfill.”
Rysol did not say a word. He had his broken sword held in his mouth while Harold laughed. Korbin could see the wounds on Rysol’s body and wondered how he was still able to stand. There was no time to answer that question, though, as Rysol charged at Harold with everything he had.
“If you’re that desperate to reunite with your father, then I’ll do you your favor,” Harold replied. “I was saving this for a special occasion, but I see no need to delay it any further!”
Harold uncrossed his arms and got into a fighting stance. Rysol stopped in his tracks and stared Harold down. The abrupt pause stood only for a second as Harold led with his fist and threw a punch at Rysol. However, Rysol defended himself from the attack as he ducked underneath the punch. He moved out of the way, but was caught by Harold by his left hand.
“You’ve still got fire, I’ll give you that much,” Harold said. “But you’re just a weakling now… I’ve got no use for you anymore!”
Korbin watched as Harold lifted Rysol up by his neck. He tried to see what was going to happen next, but Harold’s body blocked him from seeing Rysol, and there was no way Korbin could move another inch.
“I know what you’re thinking,” Harold said.
“Huh?” Korbin asked.
“You think this man has something to do with you, don’t you,” Harold said. “Let me assure you, fool, that this man is nothing to the likes of me. Not when I can so easily end his life like this!”
A familiar sound boomed into Korbin’s ears. There was no mistaking what he just heard. There was, however, the sudden sound of Rysol’s groans. Korbin watched as Rysol dropped the handle of his blade out of his mouth, letting it drop onto the puddle of blood on the floor. Rysol coughed once more as Harold began to chuckle. Indeed, Korbin could not mistake what had happened.
“Did you think you even had a chance?” Harold asked Rysol. “Even in your most ridiculous of dreams, you had to realize there was no hope for you. No such hope exists for someone like you, not as long as I’m around.”
“I wasn’t… hoping,” Rysol replied. “I’m… going to kill you…”
“Save your last breaths for something more meaningful,” Harold said. “I’m not going to wait around for you to spout off these last insignificant little bits of nonsense you’ve left.”
With a quick motion, Harold pulled back his left hand. Not a second later, he let go of Rysol, dropping him to the ground. Rysol continued to bleed out as Harold turned around and faced Korbin. There was nothing that could be said, not after what had happened. The one person that Korbin feared was now dying before him, all because his father took Rysol’s life with no struggle. But before the two men could go back, Rysol started to laugh.
“Did you think… that I didn’t expect this?” Rysol asked.
Harold scowled and turned around. “You’re still alive,” he said. “Looks like I need to finish the job.”
“Go ahead… and kill me,” Rysol said. “But I’m not… going to leave you two alive…”
“Son of bitch,” Harold said. “You can’t be serious!”
“What does he mean?” Korbin asked. “What does he fucking mean?”
“I didn’t come here… thinking I was going to leave with my life,” Rysol said as he rolled over. “Before I die here… I’m going to take you down to the depths of hell, Harold Mars!”
“You would do this just to make me suffer,” Harold said. “How petty can you be to the only man who understood your pain?”
“Like you gave a shit,” Rysol said, looking over to Korbin. “Why don’t you… tell me all about what happened to your mother and brother, little Korbin? Tell me all about how this despicable waste of a man killed them… This man, Harold Mars… tell me everything.”
To be continued…