[2nd of January, 2741 AD; outside of the Ameci Embassy, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]
Sorin and Gale arrived outside the Ameci Embassy and caught a glimpse of the commotion inside. It had taken them several minutes to get there from where they started at, but still Sorin did not expect it to be any different. He had many questions that only Isaac Kunigunde could answer for and only so little time for him to answer. So when he and Gale entered the main hall, Sorin was met with a great surprise as several soldiers and General Fercewend crowded together in a huddle. Fercewend was barking orders at the soldiers as they then began running around the embassy with haste.
“Call an ambulance,” Fercewend said, “We’re not going to have a casualty in this embassy. Not here, not now!”
He then knelt down as Sorin proceeded to get a better look. He could not believe what he saw as Isaac Kunigunde lay on the ground in what appeared to be a puddle of his own blood. Gale hurried towards Fercewend as he looked over at her and reacted with great surprise.
“Gale?” Fercewend asked. “What in the world are you doing here?”
“We’re here because we wanted to confront Isaac,” Gale said. “But I can see that that’s not important right now. Is he doing well?”
“He’s still conscious,” Fercewend replied. “It’s a miracle, really.”
Sorin walked up to Isaac and looked down at him. “Who did this?”
“I… I’m not going to answer you,” Isaac said. “I’d rather die than surrender to you…”
“We’re not going to allow you the satisfaction of escaping with your crimes, Isaac,” Gale said. “Once we’re at the hospital, you’re going to confess to all of what you’ve done from the True Thekohnians to the Neu Thekohnian Order, as well as Foundation itself.”
“You… You would stab me?” Isaac asked. “After what I’ve done, you’d still stab me in the back?”
“It’s always been about you, hasn’t it,” Gale said. “Even now, you’re lying on the floor because your selfish ways caught up to you and yet you still think about no one but yourself.”
“Gale, please,” Fercewend said. “Isaac… he’s the victim of an unfortunate encounter with a rogue soldier. I’ll make sure the one responsible is caught and punished severely for his crime.”
“He’s not a victim at all,” Gale replied. “Can’t you see that, Rohan? Isaac is only using you. He’s been using you all this time!”
Fercewend sighed. “I can’t afford to go back now,” he said. “If I must face the consequences, then I will do so, but I’m not going to allow any disruption to the order. Not as long as I’m general.”
“That’s absurd,” Sorin said. “After all that’s happened, you still want to side with him?”
“It’s not as if I’ve got a choice,” Fercewend said. “If you want to say Isaac is guilty, then so be it. But it would also mean that I, too, am complicit.”
“That’s… That’s right,” Isaac said. “No matter what happens next, Rohan will remain loyal to me…”
“So you intend on dragging him down with you to the very end,” Gale said. “Even if that means you’ll go to jail for the rest of your life, you don’t want to be the one to suffer alone.”
“I… I’m not going to suffer,” Isaac replied. “I… My body… I will remain… on top…”
Isaac lifted up his arm, which dropped to the floor the next second. Gale held back a gasp as Fercewend checked his pulse. The sound of sirens began to grow louder as Sorin glanced out the window.
“He’s alive,” Fercewend said, “Though we’re going to need a lot of hope now.”
“Please tell me, Rohan,” Gale said. “If Isaac won’t admit it, then you’ll have to do it instead. You saw what happened to him, right?”
Fercewend stood up with his fist clenched. “That I did,” he replied. “If only I weren’t so hesitant, then maybe Isaac wouldn’t be so wounded right now. Damn my foolishness!”
Gale looked over at Isaac once again. “Who was it that shot him? You did say it was a soldier, after all.”
Before Fercewend could respond, Sorin spoke up.
“I think we already know,” Sorin said. “There’s only one person with a deep connection to Isaac, and he has the exact method to do it.”
“I know,” Gale said. “But Rohan doesn’t want to admit it.”
“It isn’t that I can’t admit it,” Fercewend said. “I don’t want to believe what I saw earlier, but that man with Private Mars… He truly walks again?”
“There’s more to Isaac’s relationship with Harold,” Gale said. “A lot that I believe he never let you in on.”
“I can’t believe it,” Fercewend said. “After all that happened to his family, I could not even begin to imagine that Private Mars would be working alongside his father all this time.”
“Korbin was never in it for Ameci, or anyone, for that matter,” Sorin said. “He only has his own desires to fulfill and I’m sure that some of them relate to what Harold wants as well.”
“And Isaac, I assume, never suspected a thing,” Gale said.
“None of us could,” Fercewend said. “Though it does make me wonder…”
“What is it?” Gale asked.
“It’s nothing,” Fercewend replied. “It appears as if the ambulance is here. Let’s go.”
“Go ahead,” Gale said. “We’ll catch up with you later.”
Fercewend nodded. “Very well.”
Sorin left with Gale as they wondered what to do next. As they stepped onto the sidewalk, they were met with Gavin, Henry, and Law who made it all the way from the new prime minister’s office. As the three looked over towards the ambulance, Sorin and Gale went over to greet them.
“There’s a lot to explain,” Sorin said.
“You’re telling me,” Gavin said. “We’ve got news for you, too.”
“Yeah, some pretty good news, in fact,” Law said. “Gale, are you ready to be wowed by what I’ve got to say?”
“Just say it already,” Gale replied.
“Geez, fine,” Law said. “I was really going to talk up Mina, but I suppose we can only really account everything after the fact.”
Law explained to Sorin and Gale about Dezine’s ousting and what Mina did to insure his removal. With Wilson Dezine gone, another member of Foundation was defeated and Isaac’s power diminished because of it. Still, Sorin felt as if that was not the only news Law had.
“What about Reiss?” Sorin asked.
“What of him?” Law asked. “He’ll be here soon enough, don’t worry.”
“I guess,” Sorin replied.
“You don’t really seem that enthusiastic,” Law said. “Man, we really came at a bad time, didn’t we?”
Everyone turned as the doors to the nearby ambulance opened up. Two paramedics rushed into the embassy with a stretcher as Sorin looked back over to the other three. Gavin, Law, and Henry remained focused as they caught sight of who was being carried out of the embassy, with Fercewend following after the paramedics as he went into the ambulance with them and Isaac.
“He isn’t actually dead, is he?” Henry asked.
Sorin shook his head. “Still stable,” he replied. “Though we’ve still got a lot we want to talk to him about.”
“As well as a lot he has to answer to,” Gale said. “And I’m sure that Queen Amelia wants to let the people know exactly what happened between her and Foundation.”
“I can’t help but feel it’d be better if he actually did die,” Gavin said. “I’m sorry, I’m still pissed off after what happened.”
“This should be good news,” Henry said. “As long as Isaac’s still alive, we’ll be able to hold him accountable for what he’s done.”
“I wonder about that,” Sorin said.
He then explained to the others about how Korbin, directed by Harold, shot Isaac. Sorin surmised that Isaac was supposed to die but Korbin messed up the shot and left with Harold in an instant before they could confirm whether or not Isaac died.
“If I had to guess, it was pressure,” Henry said. “Having that man breathing down your neck can’t be good for you, even for someone like Korbin.”
“He has been acting a lot more paranoid,” Sorin said. “It’s pretty difficult to believe that Korbin could even act that way, but it makes sense.”
“Harold’s ramping up the pressure, that’s why,” Law said. “Whatever that guy wants, no one was offering enough to him. That’s why he saw it fit to have his son attack Isaac.”
“Either way, we’d have to hurry to the hospital,” Henry said. “As long as both Rohan and Isaac are together, Isaac will continue to use him. I’m not about to let him keep doing that.”
“Rohan is set on falling with Isaac no matter what,” Gale said. “Even if he knows that Isaac’s a criminal, I can’t convince Rohan to stop what he’s doing and denounce Isaac.”
“It doesn’t mean we can’t keep trying,” Henry replied. “I’m going to keep believing in my friend even if he can no longer do so, because I know he has done the same for me. Because I know how it feels when everything seems lost.”
“Looks like we should move on, then,” Law said. “I’ll be sure to let Ayanna know where we are.”
Everyone agreed and headed in the direction of Helmut Hospital. Still, the fact that Harold and Korbin were roaming around the city remained prevalent in Sorin’s mind while he walked with his friends. The rule of Foundation seemed to be all but over, but still the lurking terror in the darkness worried Sorin. He had to wonder if Johan was getting any closer to the truth, and if it would be enough to take down the last remaining leg of Foundation.
[2nd of January, 2741 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle Hall]
“Wilson Dezine’s reign is finally over,” Rain said. “I am beyond glad to hear that from you, Mina.”
It had been a long day in the castle as Rain spent most of her time speaking to the other leaders about what to do in Iiayikohn. With the news of Dezine’s fall, however, Rain was ready to turn that discussion towards one of productivity. It all began when Amelia called her earlier in the day. Ahnlikohn’s queen wanted to come forward with everything she knew about Foundation, even if it came at the cost of her own status. Rain agreed, the two settling on the next day for Amelia to inform the citizens of her country about all that had happened and what she had to do next. Still, Rain knew that this was only the first step of many and could not call it a day, not when there was much to resolve with Ameci.
“So I guess we’re just waiting for Reiss, aren’t we?” Mina asked.
“Has he not arrived? I was hoping to speak with him,” Rain said. “Tell him this when he gets to your location: it’s up to him whether or not he wants the task of leading Iiayikohn. Other than that, tell him ‘thank you’ for everything.”
“I’ll be sure to let him know,” Mina replied. “Hope to see you soon!”
“Me too, Mina, me too,” Rain said. “I’ll see you soon.”
She said her goodbyes to Mina and hung up the phone. The empty room was an odd, but welcome, sight. Everyone had gone to take a break from all of the talks, but Rain still remained inside because she was awaiting the call from Rezar. Now that the call was over, however, Rain saw little need to stay in the war room and headed out into the main hall. There, she found Kiku and Noa talking with Khadir, who started to laugh aloud. Gamal was also there, as was Rado, the two speaking with each other as Rain approached them.
“Good news, isn’t it?” Rado asked.
“That’s what we’re hoping for,” Rain said. “It’s all going well, but still we’ve got one last matter of business to take care of before we can truly move forward and bring peace across the region.”
“Indeed, we’ve got Mr. Kunigunde to worry about,” Gamal said. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now with one of his closest allies ousted from power. To be honest with you, I don’t believe he sees it as much of a scratch.”
“He’d drop Dezine in an instant,” Rado said. “Then he’d claim that Dezine was never strong at all. Not worthy.”
“So, Your Majesty, what will be the next course of action?” Gamal asked. “I would think that our priority now is to go forth and confront Ameci’s officials on their actions regarding Mr. Kunigunde, but it’s all up to you.”
“We don’t have much of a clue about Casper Bradley’s whereabouts,” Rain said. “Hasker will also be difficult to reach as he’s still crossing the sea. I believe it would be best if we let the others take care of Mr. Kunigunde right now, because if we don’t, he’ll find a way to escape.”
“She is right,” Rado said.
“Then I hope we’ll find out soon,” Gamal said. “For now, I’ll keep waiting until we hear more from Rezar. I will inform you if anything interesting comes up, Your Majesty.”
“Very well,” Rain said.
“Your Majesty, are you going to just stand there and not pay some mind to our guests of the hour?” Khadir asked.
Rain looked over as Khadir cracked a smile. Kiku and Noa noticed, too, as Kiku motioned to Rain to come over. Rain decided that it was a good time to see for herself what was going on and went over to the three who were still deep in conversation.
“I was just saying to Noa here that he should really think about coming back to Maeitakohn,” Khadir said. “Not forever, obviously, but at least to see all of the sights he’s probably missing.”
“And I was saying to Khaddy that it would be a wonderful idea,” Kiku said. “But I don’t want it to be just us, you know, right Ray?”
“I suppose I do,” Rain replied.
“When this is all over, you and Minnie could join us,” Kiku said. “It’ll be just like a whole trip and everything. We’ll see all the sights in Maeitakohn and have a lot of fun! You could really use it, too!”
“I’ll certainly think about it,” Rain said.
“It would be fun,” Noa said. “Then again, what’s this whole region going to look like after this is all over? I really don’t know…”
“That’s for all of us to figure out,” Rain replied. “We’re here because we’re trying to put an end to the problems at hand. We’re closer now, but questions do remain in regards to what we’re going to do once this is all over.”
“True,” Khadir said. “This is merely the starting point once again. I’m sure with Kunigunde and Foundation both taken down, though, we’ll be able to work together towards peace once more”
“I know that we will,” Rain said. “As long as we have hope, then none of this is impossible.”
Just then, Rado approached the group and interrupted the conversation. Gamal followed behind him as Rain turned towards the two as she wondered to herself what happened now.
“You have a moment, Your Majesty,” Rado said.
“What’s going on now?” Rain asked. “Has something happened in Rezar?”
“Could say that,” Rado replied.
“We just got a call from Ayanna Ansa,” Gamal said. “She wanted to tell you that Mr. Kunigunde is in the hospital right now.”
“Does Ayanna know why he’s in there?” Rain asked.
“That I don’t know yet,” Gamal replied. “According to Miss Ansa, she heard it from Law. Seems like whatever happened to Mr. Kunigunde may turn out to be serious, though.”
“So we don’t know for sure,” Rain said.
“Isaac is a coward,” Rado said. “Whatever is the reason, he must be trying to draw sympathy.”
“Perhaps, but we should gather all the details we can first,” Rain said. “I’ll see if I can reach the hospital.”
“That’d be a good idea,” Gamal said. “Mr. Power should be there as should his brother, according to Miss Ansa.”
“If that’s the case, then I want to know, too,” Khadir said. “Hell, we might even learn a thing or two about what this son of a gun’s going to do now.”
“I feel like I ought to know as well,” Kiku said. “Since I’m next in line to lead Kikuisha, it’d be important to learn this sort of stuff so we can never have to deal with problems like this ever again. Wouldn’t you agree, Nona?”
“If it means no more wars, then I’m all for it,” Noa said.
“Come along, then,” Rain said.
Rain knew that there was much that she wanted to ask but getting answers out of Isaac himself would be a difficult task, even in his fragile state. Still, Rain could not give up. Not when Foundation’s end was nigh. The kingdom depended on Rain and her leadership, and she was not about to let an opportunity like this slip away from her. This was her chance and she had to take it.
To be continued…