[2nd of January, 2740 AD; in the alleys of Gel Heights, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Nano District]
“You’re completely surrounded,” Mina said to Harold. “No matter what you try to do, we’re not going to let you get away! You’re going to pay for everything you’ve done!”
Sorin and the others had Harold surrounded. At either end of the alley, it was going to be a tough time for Harold to try to escape. But Sorin was not about to call it a victory just yet. Harold had thrived all this time by being out of grasp of the heroes and had the capability to flee once more should the opportunity arise. That was why Sorin kept his sword out and pointed it at Harold. No doubt could remain in Sorin’s mind any longer; he had to end this fight.
“So what’s it going to be?” Law asked. “You try and run again and we’ll just keep chasing you.”
“He’s got something, that’s for sure,” Johan said. “All this time you called the shots from within the shadows, but now that you’re out in the open, you’ve all but given yourself up.”
“You believe I’ve given up, then,” Harold replied. “Nonsense!”
Harold threw a punch at the wall to his left, creating another large gap. He ran into the hole as Sorin gave chase. Mina and Law followed after him, but Sorin had to focus on what was ahead. As Sorin made his way through the dark, damp, abandoned hallway, he heard the destructive sound of structures crumbling. He had to be getting close to Harold now, but that was when Sorin realized that it was not just Harold escaping.
“Damn it, we can’t just stay here,” Sorin said. “Mina! Law! Let’s hurry back before it’s too late!”
But as Sorin turned around, a large amount of debris fell from above and blocked his path out. He had to trust in Mina and Law to escape, but could not confirm their safety. After all, this was what Harold wanted and Sorin could only express anger that he did not see the trap sooner.
“Whether or not they leave is not my worry,” Harold said. “But now I’ve got a good chance to finally end you myself! Enjoy your burial!”
Sorin had one choice. It was the only one he could take if he were to get out of the collapsing building alive, but it carried a risk as well. Harold hid within the darkness once again, but to Sorin, what mattered most was his own life. He could not let everyone now, nor could he grant Harold the chance of escape. With all of the building beginning to crumble, Sorin ran forward.
“Yes, come closer,” Harold said. “No matter what you do, I’ll be right here to deliver your much needed silence!”
“Not going to happen!” Sorin replied.
Sorin’s chance revealed itself. Harold was in his line of sight now, and all Sorin had to do now was strike. The slight gleam of the moonlight helped Sorin to see his assailant standing before him, even with the shroud of darkness covering him. With momentum at his side, Sorin swung his sword. The clash of metal rang out as Harold defended himself. However, Sorin knew he was not about to settle for a mere standoff. He had to take the moment.
“If anyone falls here, it’ll be you,” Sorin said. “This is not just for me, but for everyone else! For my family, my friends, and all the people you’ve hurt, I’ll end this fight myself!”
“Do you truly believe you’ll break through?” Harold asked. “I’d like to see you try!”
Sorin needed not another word. He had this. With all of the strength put into his sword, Sorin turned it as Harold struggled to hold him off. Then, Harold broke away and backed off as he tried to catch his breath. Sorin needed just one more hit. He lifted up his leg and sent a roundhouse kick, hitting Harold with just enough strength to knock him to the ground. Then, Sorin looked to the window next to him and leapt through it.
“Not enough time for him to escape,” Sorin said.
He dashed as fast as he could away from the building. Sorin kept running until he made it onto the street several meters away. Everyone else waited there as well as they all observed the building collapsing to the ground. As it did, Gale was quick to greet Sorin with a hug. It was all over, Sorin thought.
“I’m so happy you made it,” Gale said.
“Believe me, I had to keep moving,” Sorin said. “But it seems like you guys are all here.”
“Yeah, once you shouted to us what was happening, we started to turn and run,” Law said. “I really wanted to head back in there, but I just knew you had it all in the bag.”
“We were both really ready to go and help you out,” Mina said. “It was Law who wanted to run, but I knew that I could trust you to make some sort of daring escape!”
Mina patted Sorin on the back while Law just shrugged. Sorin still could not believe that it really was over but with his friends surrounding him, he had to assume that the battle had been won. Even someone like Harold could not get out of the wreckage that he had created. Still, there was much to be done. Sorin saw Johan move closer to the site of the wreck as Gale looked to him.
“It’s probably nothing,” Gale said, separating herself from Sorin. “I’m sure he’s only taking a look, right Johan?”
Johan observed the wreckage and sighed. “Perhaps I’m imagining things,” he said. “This truly does seem to be the end, after all.”
“Come on, Johan, there’s no way that anyone could possibly survive having an entire building collapse on them,” Luna said. “Even a scary freak like that has to be dead!”
“You’re right,” Johan replied. “It was just a silly thought.”
“You’ve got quite the definition of that word there,” Pekka said.
“Guess we’re all still taking it in,” Dustin said. “Sorin especially, since he had one hell of a fight!”
“If only I could have seen it myself,” Gavin said. “You did real good, Sorin. I know that somewhere out there, Kirk and Rysol are proud of what you’ve become in such a short time.”
“I was going to say the same thing,” Eva said. “But now he can rest happy… It’s finally over.”
“So I guess we should head back and see how Ayanna’s holding up, right?” Law asked. “Since it appears we all agree that everything’s done here, we can just go.”
“Right, just because Harold’s finished doesn’t mean everything else is,” Gale said. “Which means we should inform Rain about what happened here as well as what we’re supposed to do next.”
“Oh, she’s got ideas,” Mina said. “After everything’s taken care of, we can go and have a huge victory party!”
“Yeah, I’m sure it’ll be nice,” Johan said. “I’m sure Jelka would have wanted me to go ahead and celebrate, too.”
“Well, what are we waiting for?” Dustin asked. “Let’s go on and get out of this place!”
Everyone agreed and headed in the direction of the Deca District. However, Sorin stopped as he noticed that Johan began to lag behind. Sorin turned to the others and informed them that he would catch up with them soon. Whatever it was that Johan was thinking about, Sorin knew that he had to ask. With just him and Johan by themselves, it was only a matter of time until Sorin needed to find out for himself. Johan went over to the motorcycle and looked over the wreck one more time as Sorin confronted him.
“What are you doing?” Sorin asked.
“Tell me something, buddy,” Johan said. “What do you plan to do now?”
“I’ll figure it out,” Sorin replied. “Why do you ask?”
“I wonder… If it’s all truly over, then why do I feel like I’m incomplete? Is it because of the fact that Foundation is no more? Or is it because this goal of mine is finally being realized?”
“Well, maybe because this goal is in reach is why you don’t know what to do next,” Sorin said. “But it doesn’t mean that you can stop. There’s plenty that you could do now that this is over.”
“I probably agree with that,” Johan said. He looked over to the wreck once again. “Did you hear that?”
Sorin shook his head. “Is something wrong?”
“Just listen,” Johan replied.
Sorin did what Johan said and kept an ear out while focusing on the wreck. He was not sure what to listen for, but he had a bad feeling about what was going to happen next. Then, a rustle caught Sorin’s attention. The light sound of objects moving around made Sorin nervous as he hovered his hand above the handle of his sword. Johan prepared himself, also, as the two men watched piece after piece fly up into the air as the sound grew louder. A loud roar erupted as a metal hand emerged from underneath, the voice familiar to Sorin’s ears.
“It’s not over!?” Sorin asked.
“Get ready,” Johan said. “I knew I wasn’t imagining it.”
Harold leapt out from under the wreckage with his sights set on Sorin and Johan. Sorin took out his sword while Johan stayed by his side. Everything that they had fought for still remained at stake as the battle with Harold proved itself unfinished. However, now Sorin truly did have to complete this fight with only Johan to support him.
“To think you’d call victory before it was over, Sorin Wilk,” Harold said. “I will make you regret your cocky words!”
Harold rushed at the two and screamed. Sorin had to fight. He knew that he had been exhausted, but the same had to hold true for Harold as well. Johan stepped in as he tried to shield Sorin from Harold’s attack. Harold, however, had only Sorin in his sights.
“Out of my way, you pathetic lowlife!” Harold exclaimed as he smacked Johan to the side and left him lying in a heap. “It’s him I’m after!”
Sorin checked to the side of the other building. “Johan!”
It was enough of a gap for Harold to have an opening. Sorin found himself unable to defend as Harold grabbed him by the neck with both hands and lifted him off the ground. As Sorin struggled to breathe, Harold laughed.
“This is the only end to this fight,” Harold said. “To make you suffer… I’m going to enjoy watching you fight for what little breath you’ve got left!”
“Better think again!” Gavin yelled.
Two shots rang out and struck Harold in the head. Blood spurted from his forehead as the sudden shock caused Harold to drop Sorin. With some of Harold’s blood on his clothes, Sorin regained his breathing as he checked up on Johan.
“Johan… Johan, answer me!” Sorin said, shoving him.
“Don’t worry about me,” Johan said. “Worry about them…”
Sorin turned around. Gavin and Eva had shown up ready to fight as Harold remained still. He twitched as more blood splashed onto the ground while Gavin continued to have his gun trained on him.
“To be honest with you, I’ve never killed someone before this,” Gavin said. “But there’s always a first, especially for a piece of shit like you.”
“He’s done,” Eva said.
Harold coughed up blood. “Sorin Wilk… What a delight,” he said. “Sorin, I don’t mind it one bit if you watch…”
“How can you still be alive?” Sorin asked.
“It doesn’t matter if I live or die anymore,” Harold replied. “Right now, I’m just going to make you suffer! I’ll carry you down to hell with me if I have to, but first I’ll make you feel complete and total despair!”
Harold faced Sorin, who was still on his knees. But what Harold had in mind was different as he lifted up the motorcycle next to Sorin and threw it at Eva and Gavin.
“Look out!” Sorin exclaimed.
On instinct, Gavin and Eva leapt out of the way. The motorcycle struck the ground and broke in half. However, Gavin slipped and fell to the ground while Eva tried to regain her composure. But Sorin could tell that Harold was far from done. Harold had an unrelenting force as he charged towards Eva. Sorin needed to get back up on his feet.
“You two made a grave mistake,” Harold said. “Now I’m going to end it all right here!”
“We’re not finished, Harold!” Sorin said as he stood up.
Harold stopped and turned around. “So you want me to hurry it up, don’t you? Well, I suppose I can give you friends a chance to run like the dogs they are while I kill you.”
“That’s what you want to think,” Eva said. “But we’re going to stay. We’re going to keep on fighting until you’re defeated.”
“And we’re sure as hell aren’t to lose to you,” Gavin said. “I’ll be damned if I let an asshole like you run away.”
“Do you understand?” Johan asked. “We’re not going to surrender here. Not to you.”
“So be it,” Harold said. “Right now, it’s just Sorin and I, but I’m going to give you hell afterwards.”
“Then face me,” Sorin said. “I won’t settle until I see you on the ground, so you better bring everything you’ve got!”
“Those cocky words again,” Harold replied. “Very well, if you want to skip the suffering, I’ll be glad to finish you off right here!”
Sorin just needed one strike. A single move would end the fight and put an end to Harold and his schemes. Everything rode on a single swing of Sorin’s blade as he readied himself. There was no excuse not to use all his efforts into this one move he had left. After all, Sorin did not expect Harold to hold back.
“Bring it,” Sorin said.
Without another thought, Sorin flew at Harold. Harold dashed at Sorin. The two came closer and closer until they were less than two feet apart. Sorin swung his sword and struck true. He delivered a deep hit to Harold’s chest. With the hit complete, Sorin moved out of the way and rolled over near Gavin. Harold stood still as Sorin watched.
“That should be it,” Sorin said.
However, Harold laughed.
“Idiot! I’ve yet to be done with you,” he replied. “I’m going to kill you where you stand!”
But Harold did not turn around. He remained in place as Sorin got up and sheathed his sword. Gavin stood up, too, as Sorin tried to process what would happen next. He had delivered the final blow as Harold was not moving, but he had to wonder what would happen now.
“Impossible,” Harold said. “I… I can’t move! My legs! My… My arms! I can’t move a single limb!”
Sorin then heard a small explosion. Smoke emanated out of Harold’s body as he continued to stand frozen in place. It could only have been the technology inside Harold’s body that had gone haywire, Sorin speculated. After a few more seconds, the smoke cleared as Harold fell face first into the ground with a loud, clanging thud.
“Is it finally over?” Gavin asked.
“It has to be,” Eva said.
Sorin had to know. He went over to Harold’s body and checked for a pulse. As he suspected, Harold did not have one. It was over. The battle had been won and Foundation was no more. Sorin put away his sword as he breathed a sigh of relief. For his father and Rysol, Sorin had avenged them. For everyone else, it was a relief that Sorin could help them make their dreams realized.
“That’s right,” Sorin said, a tear rolling down the side of his face. “It’s finally finished.”
To be continued…