Aurora – Epilogue

(Daybreak on a Peaceful World)


Peace came to both the Ameci Region and the Thekohnian Region for years to come. After the new treaty was signed, these lands oversaw a new era of peace and an opportunity for an even better future. Amos Ahnle, who had no intention of ever becoming king in the first place, adapted quickly and became a respected leader not only in Ahnlikohn, but throughout the region.

Over in the island nation of Kikuisha, the next-in-line empress Kiku Izumi began her training. After marrying Noa Mzade, Kiku then succeeded her mother and became the youngest empress in her country’s history. People regarded her as a benevolent and sociable leader, even seeing her at the park from time to time, though she still traveled alongside her guards Ayame Hayashi and Igor Kuznetsov, who married not long after. Noa, meanwhile, continued his work in the Kikuishan tourism industry, leading to a boom in tourists from all around the world.

Luna Del Bosque’s career as a singer found roaring success once she was discovered by an Ameci manager in Admorse. She traveled all over the lands, bringing her talent to many an audience and an eventual career in the theater. Luna later met a charming man around her age and eventually married him. The two continue to tour around the world as a duet.

Pekka Varjostaa left behind his past as an ex-convict and found a purpose working with Luna’s father as a construction director. He helped rebuild many abandoned buildings in Glora, leading to many businesses establishing inside the mountain city. Pekka never did forget about Johan, but did eventually hit it off with a fellow worker. Soon after, Pekka moved to Rezar with his husband and found jobs working with Gavin Power.

Law Power and Ayanna Ansa grew to have a stable marriage. Law proved himself to be a faithful and supportive husband to Ayanna, who kept her last name. He continued his career on the stage while she became a general of the highest regard. Some have even wondered if she would eventually decide to run for prime minister. The two have a son on the way with many more planned, at least according to Law. Ayanna still continues with her work in making Iiayikohn a better place.

Gavin Power remained a single man, though his love for cooking became known across the world. Many travel in order to experience the fine cuisine for themselves and give their regards to Gavin. He has to remind himself daily not to let the praise go to his head. Alongside his work as a chef, Gavin has begun selling coffee all over the world.

Eva Bellamy quickly returned to Ameci and proceeded to assist Henry in his mayoral duties. Though she misses the days when she was a nurse, Eva soon found herself working as an advisor in Henry’s campaign for senator. She then fell in love with a journalist and the two wed eleven months afterward. She still keeps her sword in her house, though she never uses it anymore. Eva still keeps up with the other members of the Swords of Eight, though they have lives of their own as well.

Henry and Tori Randolph welcomed their daughter into the world, though he soon returned to work. As mayor, Henry saw high approval from the citizens of Admorse. This led him to pursue higher office, which in turn helped him to become senator. But Henry did not stop there as he had aspirations of presidency and of helping Ameci and its people. His two sons followed in his footsteps, with one becoming an up-and-coming junior lieutenant and the other attending law school. Tori, meanwhile, still keeps up with Rohan Fercewend’s wife Laila and wonders when Fercewend will finish serving his time.

Rain Zano Thedam became regarded as a highly popular leader and well beloved by her citizens. She was able to lead effectively in organizing the treaty and has helped humanitarian efforts all throughout the Thekohnian Region. Her consort, Mina Rask, became the trainer for a newly formed Royal Guard, and her strength became well known to many across the region. The two live a happy life together and occasionally travel the countryside by themselves. Rain’s sister and Mina’s mother became quick friends, while Drake still continues his work as a locksmith in Rezar. Mina still visits him often.

No one ever saw Johan Kuu again, though some have said that the Moonlit Silence still continues their work behind the scenes. Whether or not Johan was able to see the results of his work was unknown. Sorin still wonders about him and surmises to himself that Johan is still out there somewhere. Whether or not that is true, however, is another case. But no one ever forgot about Johan, even as the years went by.

Sorin and Gale quickly got married after their trip and she took his name. Gale then proceeded to leave the Kunigunde name entirely behind and renamed her father’s company. As the owner and president of Wilk-Hudde, Gale turned the company around and it quickly became the number one name in travel, with plans of flight becoming a possibility. Off work, she and Sorin spend as much time as they can together.

Sorin Wilk, meanwhile, sought a career in art. He soon became well known for his paintings, but remained in Ameci so he could support his wife. His friends come to visit him time to time and he does much the same. Still, though, he chose to stay in Ameci with Gale and the two have a happy and healthy marriage. Sorin knows that none of this could have been possible without everyone’s support. Each night, Sorin looks up to the sky and wonders if his family can see him, but he knows that they would be happy with the man he has become. To this day, Sorin Wilk looks on Ameci with a beaming smile upon his face.


The End


Previous | END

Aurora – Chapter 50 (Part 2)

[5th of June, 2741 AD; Executive Hotel – Ballroom Number One, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


“To a new beginning!” Law exclaimed. “I really couldn’t have imagined we would be here, but I’m so glad that we are.”

“I’m so glad, too,” Ayanna replied. “To a new beginning!”

Ayanna and Law shared a kiss as everyone clapped. Once the wedding was over, everyone went over to the Executive Hotel for the reception. Law sat next to Sorin and slapped him on the back, laughing as he did. Ayanna, Gavin, and Gale watched as everyone celebrated.

“It’s really a shame you’ve got to head out so soon, man,” Law said to Sorin. “It’d be a hell of a lot of fun if we could have a couple of drinks, but I understand you and Gale got a lot to see.”

“I appreciate the thought,” Sorin replied.

“Just remember that you’re always welcome with us,” Law said. “It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, you can see us any time.”

“We’ll be sure to drop by,” Gale said. “So Gavin, how’s business working out for you?”

“It’s going well,” Gavin answered. “Right now it’s slow, but it’ll pick up once the summit happens.”

“Yes, it all seems to be coming together now,” Ayanna said. “In fact, I even had a wonderful discussion with Rain earlier today.”

“Where is she, by the way?” Gale asked.

“She should be around here somewhere,” Ayanna replied.

“Last I saw, she and Mina were talking to Kiku,” Law said. “Oh, and I guess Noa was there, too.”

“Well, we can talk with them later,” Gale said.

“Everyone’s busy, you know,” Law said. “But I would be lying to myself if I said that I didn’t miss the action.”

“You’d be the only one,” Gavin replied. “I’m glad the fight’s over.”

“So am I, but you gotta admit that we had some fun times together,” Law said. “All of us working together and all… But then again, I wouldn’t be able to have this moment with the love of my life here by my side.”

“I love you too, Law,” Ayanna replied, placing her hand on his.

“So how about it?” Law asked. “You don’t mind getting up on the floor and dancing with me, do you?”

“With you, of course,” Ayanna said.

They stood up together and began walking towards the open floor. As Sorin and Gale waved them off, they turned back to Gavin who took a drink of coffee. He sat the cup down and looked over to them.

“They just got up like that, huh,” Gavin said. “As for me, I’m fine where I’m sitting, though it looks like I’m gonna need another cup of coffee soon.”

“You don’t want to join them?” Sorin asked.

“It’s not that I don’t care,” Gavin replied. “Besides, you could use this time to see everybody else before you leave.”

“Maybe we’ll stay for a little longer,” Sorin said. “I imagine they’ll come and talk with us sooner or later.”

“I’m sure they will,” Gale said.

“Very well,” Gavin said. “May as well get a cup or two before you go.”

“Good idea,” Sorin said.

As Sorin and Gale joined Gavin for some coffee, they enjoyed the rest of the evening as the reception continued on. Like Sorin said, everyone came to talk to them while wishing Ayanna and Law well. It was a time for celebration and one where no one had to worry. It was a time where Sorin could spend time with his friends before he and Gale had to leave the next day. The journey may have been over, but Sorin knew that this was far from the last time he would ever see his friends again.




[6th of June, 2741 AD; Port of Iiayi, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Morning Shine]


The air felt warm on Sorin’s face as he gazed at the Great Iiayine with Gale. Eva went to see them off as everyone else had gone on with their lives, though Sorin and Gale did make sure to say goodbye to them before they left. As the ramp opened up, Sorin looked over to see that Eva was smiling at them both. It was a welcoming sight to see as Eva had gone through a lot during their journey together. She put back her hair and handed Gale a bouquet of flowers.

“I… Even now, I still don’t know what to say,” Eva said. “After all that’s happened, I don’t even know where to begin…”

“It’s fine, Eva,” Sorin replied. “Thank you for the flowers.”

“You look beautiful,” Gale said to Eva. “And thank you for coming to see us off.”

“You’re welcome,” Eva said. “I don’t want to keep you for too long, so you can go already if you want.”

“I want to thank you,” Sorin said. “For everything you’ve done, I want to thank you for helping me. If it weren’t for you, I don’t think any of this could’ve been possible.”

“You don’t need to… I mean, I should thank you, too,” Eva replied. “It was because of you and everyone else that I’m here now.”

“We all came this far together,” Sorin said. “And I know that you’ll always be there for us as we will for you.”

“I know,” Eva said, rubbing her eye.

“Is everything alright?” Gale asked.

“Of course everything’s alright,” Eva said. “I’m seeing off my friends and it won’t be long until we meet again.”

“That’s right,” Sorin replied. “Soon we’ll all meet again… You’ll be there too, right?”

“I wouldn’t dare miss it,” Eva said. “And I know Kirk wouldn’t want me to miss it, either.”

“I’m pretty sure he would say that if he were here,” Sorin said. “Wherever he is now, I know he’s proud of us all.”

“He would be,” Eva replied. “That’s why I’m happy now, because I still have much to do before I’m done.”

“I’m happy that you’re happy,” Sorin said.

“Thank you,” Eva said. “Anyway, you should go now, right? You don’t want to miss out on a good view.”

“We won’t,” Gale replied. “We’ll see you later, Eva.”

“Oh, I can’t just hold back,” Eva said. “Come here, Sorin.”

She reached out her arms and hugged Sorin. He returned the gesture while the ship’s horn rang out. Sorin knew that the respect between him and Eva was mutual as she then let herself off of him. Eva then reached out to Gale and gave her a hug in turn.

“You two have a safe trip,” Eva said.

“We will,” Gale said. “Sorin?”

“It’s okay,” Sorin said to Eva. “I guess this is truly goodbye for now…”

Sorin and Gale then said goodbye to Eva and proceeded to board the ship. As they made it onto the deck, Sorin went over to the railings to see Eva waving them goodbye. She kept waving to them, so Sorin and Gale returned by waving back at her. They continued on saying their goodbyes to Eva until the ship began to move, which at that point became a sign that a new journey began for Sorin and Gale as they set their sights on the vast world that awaited them.

“It’s finally nice to have some time for ourselves, isn’t it?” Gale asked. “We can finally see the rest of the world and what it has to offer.”

“Yep, I can’t wait to see it,” Sorin replied. “And I especially can’t wait to see it all with you.”

“It’s going to be fun,” Gale said, “Not just because of what’s ahead of us, but because we’ll always be able to cherish the memories together.”

“I know,” Sorin said as he held Gale’s hand. “I’m ready to see it all with you and go wherever this journey takes us.”

With the light breeze of ocean air flowing through, Sorin then shared a kiss with Gale. There was no telling what the future held for them, but Sorin knew he and Gale would take it on together. Everything that they had worked towards had finally been achieved. Now they walked a new path hand-in-hand with nothing but support from their friends. With everyone able to secure their own futures, Sorin was happy. And with Gale at his side, nothing could deter him from sharing that happiness with her.


Previous | Epilogue – Daybreak on a Peaceful World

Aurora – Chapter 45 (Part 2)

[2nd of January, 2741 AD; New Prime Minister’s Office, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


“And that’s why Her Majesty has left the choice up to me?” Reiss asked. “Interesting.”

Everyone gathered in the prime minister’s room as Reiss stood by the filing cabinet. A group of people had gathered out on the streets to celebrate Dezine’s removal from power, yet it was only the beginning of what was to be a new era in Iiayikohn. Mina knew that everything had rested on Reiss to make the choice and she, as well as Eva, Luna, and Pekka, watched the general speak with Ayanna and Dierk.

“What are your thoughts about it, sir?” Dierk asked.

The general gazed at the empty desk. “I’d planned myself for retirement in the next couple of years, but right now Iiayikohn needs a leader,” he said. “This may not be so sudden to you, Ayanna, but I am wondering if you’d be willing to lend me a hand.”

“Of course I would,” Ayanna replied.

“Obviously, I will only act as prime minister until we’ve elected someone to take the reins,” Reiss said. “That time comes soon, you know.”

“If I recall, Iiayikohn’s election is less than two years from now,” Eva said. “I’m sure that this will be a great test for you, but if anyone can do what Alan did, then that person is you.”

“Alan did always strive towards fulfilling the needs of the people,” Reiss said. “However, I am not Alan. I cannot assure that I can ever hope to accomplish what he has, but I will do my damnedest to try.”

“I think that’s all we’re asking for,” Mina said. “Alan Berry was a great hero and I know it’s hard to do what he did, but everyone here believes in you!”

“That is true,” Ayanna said. “You got to where you are because of the fact that people trusted and believed in your ability as a leader. I’ve no doubt in my mind that you could use some of that leadership to do what Alan did.”

“I’ve no hesitations in taking this job,” Reiss replied. “Once I’ve filed in all of the necessary paperwork and spoken with the board, I’ll be sworn in as the next prime minister.”

“Sounds like a long night,” Pekka said.

“Given that we’ve gone through this not long ago, I’m sure the transition will be much more swift,” Reiss said. “That reminds me: Ayanna, have you and Dierk informed the soldiers?”

“We did,” Ayanna replied.

“I’m hoping we’ll be able to organize quickly,” Dierk said. “If what Mr. Kuu said is true, then we’ll have to keep our heads up.”

“Let’s worry about what we can do here,” Reiss said.

“Then what about Isaac Kunigunde?” Luna asked. “Though I guess we still have to hear from the others about that, don’t we?”

“I think our time here is done,” Eva said. “Ayanna, I assume that you and Dierk are going to handle everything with Reiss.”

“That would be correct,” Ayanna replied.

“Then we should go and see if we can’t catch up with the others,” Eva said. “Mina, I think we know where we should start.”

“Of course!” Mina said, pumping her fist. “But you should lead the way so we can get there faster.”

“So you’re telling me that you don’t know, Mina,” Eva replied. “That’s fine, then.”

Mina followed Eva as they hurried downstairs. Luna and Pekka followed them down until they made it to the front doors. Where they were going to next, Mina was not sure, but she knew that they had to run into the others. But as Mina and the others exited the building, they saw an interesting sight.

“Over there!” Mina exclaimed. “Is that Sorin?”

She looked over at the nearby intersection as a motorcycle passed through. The engine’s roar was recognizable as the sound left an remarkable impression upon everyone. However, the motorcycle flew by too fast for Mina to get a clear view, but she was certain that she saw Sorin and Johan on the vehicle. Eva looked to where Mina was, but by that time the two had already left the scene.

“It seems like they’ve got a good idea where to start looking,” Eva said.

“So they’re on the chase,” Pekka said. “Where are they headed?”

“It looked as if they were headed towards the Nano District,” Mina replied. “I’m not exactly sure how far they’ll go, so maybe we should follow after them!”

“We’ll get tired if we go by foot,” Luna said. “Is there any other way?”

“I don’t think that will be needed,” Eva answered. “There’s only one reason why they’re headed towards that district: to take on Harold Mars.”

“By themselves?” Luna asked. “That’s dangerous, though!”

“It is,” Eva said. “But Sorin and Johan must know that as well.”

“Johan has an idea,” Pekka said. “He wouldn’t pursue Harold unless he had something planned.”

“I think he’s depending on all of us,” Mina said. “That’s got to be the reason why he and Sorin would go it alone! This is all to have us join in at just the right time so we can finally defeat this evil man once and for all!”

“Which is to say we’re working at Johan’s whim again,” Law said.

Mina turned over to the direction of Law’s voice and saw him at the other end of the sidewalk along with Gavin and Gale. It was a surprise how quick they were to arrive, but Mina was enthused to see them all the same.

“That was quick,” Eva said.

“We had to get moving,” Law replied. “We do have to go after the bastard responsible for a lot of this mess, don’t we?”

“Where’s Henry?” Eva asked.

“He’s got a thing or two to sort out with the general,” Law answered. “Guess there’s just one thing Henry needed to find out, though I’m not exactly sure how it will help us.”

“We can take anything at this point,” Pekka said.

“So you managed to see both Sorin and Johan before they left, didn’t you?” Mina asked.

“That guy thinks he can just show us all up, doesn’t he,” Gavin said. “Well, I know that we can’t truly corner Harold unless we’ve got the whole place covered. We’ve got to get moving!”

“Calm yourself, bro,” Law said. “We did just run all the way here from the hospital, after all.”

“So it seems,” Eva said. “But we just saw them and we know where we’re going to go next.”

“You do?” Gale asked.

“The only question is where exactly Harold’s hiding,” Eva replied. “Finding that out will give us a good idea how to go forward with a strategy.”

“But we’ve already got a good idea,” Mina said. “We gotta get going towards the Nano District!”

She proceeded to run off in the direction she saw Sorin and Johan head off. It was not a question of if she could catch up to them, but rather if she would be able to help in any way she could. Mina was well aware of how dangerous a person Harold was, but with her friends, she knew that they would have to come up victorious. And with Ayanna on their side, Mina knew that there was an even better chance that they would have the advantage no matter what Harold had ready for them.




[2nd of January, 2741 AD; on the streets of Gel Heights, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Nano District]


Wind blew into Sorin’s face, but that did not deter him from facing forward as Johan drove through the empty streets. Gel Heights remained empty as ever, though Sorin knew that this had to be the place where Harold was hiding. Sorin could feel that they were getting closer, even as the location continued to elude the two. The abandoned buildings made perfect sense for someone like Harold, as they provided a viable hideout like the one in Hurst.

“There’s one thing I’ve got to tell you,” Johan said. “It was only recently that I learned this news, but I think you should know before we confront Harold. It concerns our old friend Korbin.”

“Really?” Sorin asked.

“Yes, it should shed some light on a lot of things,” Johan replied. “As it turns out, Harold is way beyond the point of no return. A man who would kill his own wife and child deserves no pity.”

“What do you plan to do?” Sorin asked. “It’s obvious we’ll have to confront Korbin at some point, but are you saying that there’s much more to him than we thought?”

“Don’t get me wrong, buddy,” Johan said. “Korbin already passed that point a while ago, but he never got to choose for himself. Harold had an entire network that saw to it that Korbin would be willing to do anything that Crawford Bradley told him to do.”

“So is that why you believe he’s acting differently?” Sorin asked. “Because Bradley is dead?”

“That could be the reason,” Johan said. “But whatever the case may be, he’s just as dangerous as he was before. Perhaps even more so now that Harold’s got him underneath his thumb. That threat that he could suffer the same fate as his twin brother probably drives Korbin to fight more than you think.”

“How… How in the world was all of this possible?” Sorin asked. “Wouldn’t we have found out about Harold’s crimes a long time ago?”

“You’re underestimating Isaac’s willingness to protect Harold,” Johan said. “Of course, this lines up with the time where your father confronted him on that ship. Perhaps Kirk knew about it, but didn’t know enough to confirm whether or not it was true…”

As Sorin speculated about Harold’s crimes and how he was able to get away with murder for so long, Johan began to slow the motorcycle down. Soon, the two arrived at a complete stop in front of a large office building, empty as it could be as Johan got off of the motorcycle. Sorin wanted answers, but he knew that they were getting close enough that it did not matter. Now was the time for them to find Harold and stop him before he could slip away once more.

“Our problem lies in front of us,” Johan said.

“You believe they’re hiding in there?” Sorin asked.

He took another look at the building. The broken windows caught Sorin’s eye as well as the large, wooden doors with paint peeling off of them. If Harold was in there along with Korbin, then it would be easy for Sorin and Johan to try and corner them. However, Sorin was certain that Harold would have a trick or two ready for them.

“He’s not going to run,” Johan said. “Not yet, anyway.”

“Then we need to give it our all,” Sorin said. “No more running away… We will make sure that this is the end for Harold Mars.”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 43 (Part 2)

[2nd of January, 2741 AD; New Prime Minister’s Office, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


Mina led the group down the halls of the new prime minister’s office as they hurried their way towards Wilson Dezine’s office. Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, they saw five guards arrive from the second floor. Each one was armed and ready to fight, but Mina knew that she and the others could not afford to waste any time fighting with them. The lead guard cocked his gun with the other four following in succession.

“You’re not going to pass through us,” the guard said.

“Unfortunately for you, we’re in a hurry,” Pekka said. “This defensive hold isn’t going to hold up.”

The front guard aimed at Pekka. “You wish to try me?”

But Pekka had already moved forth and thrust his fist into the guard’s gut, sending him to the floor as he struggled to aim. The other guards tried to follow, but were met with quick action from both Mina and Eva. Pekka and Luna joined in, too, as all four of them knocked out the guards with ease. Mina then went up the stairs, but stopped as Pekka looked over the guns on the ground.

“To think they believed they would stand a chance against us,” Pekka said as he took the time to empty the chamber of each gun. “Even someone like me can see they’re all inexperienced with their guns. Let’s get going.”

As Pekka pocketed the bullets, Mina rushed up the stairs. Dezine’s office was nearby now and only two more guards stood at the top floor. However, Mina knew that this could not be the only security that Dezine had left. She took a look down the hall once more, then over to Eva.

“So far, it’s been too easy,” Mina said.

“You’re suspicious,” Eva replied. “I have to admit that I am suspicious as well. We should continue on with caution.”

“We shouldn’t have to worry, right?” Luna asked. “Ayanna said that she and the others are going to come bursting in at any moment, so that should be really good for us.”

“Don’t speak so loud,” Eva said.

“Oh, um, sorry,” Luna replied.

“Anyway, we should act as if they’ll take a while longer to get here,” Eva said. “This is something we have to take care of right now before Dezine has any chance to retaliate properly. Got that?”

“I do,” Mina said. “We’re going to show him that his corruption is going to come to an end tonight.”

“Then let’s finish this,” Eva said.

Eva jumped ahead with Mina right after her. Luna went next with Pekka in back as the four charged at the two guards by Dezine’s door. As the guards had no time to react, Mina, Eva, Luna, and Pekka made quick work of them and knocked the two guards out cold. Pekka bent down and checked the weapons while Mina placed her hand upon the doorknob. She leaned up against the wall next to the door as Eva readied her sword.

“So far, we’ve managed to not spill any blood,” Eva said. “I’ve held back as much as I could, but beyond that door, I may need to show the sharp edge of my blade to Dezine and his men.”

“I’m just happy to fight alongside you,” Mina replied. “Just being here is an honor and to take down one of the vilest of villains is something I never thought I would have the chance to do. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Eva said.

Pekka stood up with a gun in his hand. “Let’s not dwell too long here,” he said. “Our enemy is on the other side and he knows we’re here by now. If we’re going to bring him down once and for all and free Iiayikohn from Foundation’s grasp, we’ve got to do it now.”

“Of course we have to,” Luna said.

“Then let’s not waste another second!” Mina said.

Mina turned the knob and opened the door. Beyond the barrier, they saw Dezine sitting at his desk with several soldiers at either side. The entire room was crowded with soldiers as they all readied their guns at the group.

“I knew that there was something suspect about this uprising,” Dezine said. “You’re the girl that’s been tagging along with Thedam, aren’t you?”

“So what?” Mina asked. “You’re the one that’s in trouble here!”

“I wonder about that,” Dezine replied. “To think that the queen would go so far as to stage a coup against me is unbearable. I think that the people outside the building should know who exactly is leading this operation, because it sure isn’t in the interests of Iiayikohn’s people for me to step down!”

“Save your words for when you stand trial, you lowly scum,” Eva said. “You had a hand in Alan Berry’s assassination all so you could rise up the ranks.”

“Don’t make me laugh,” Dezine said. “I can tell these guys to fire any time I want; do you think you matter if I care about such a weak man?”

“Alan was far from weak,” Eva said. “He was a much better leader than you and a much better person! The only reason he died was because Isaac Kunigunde needed someone to help fuel his greedy desires for war!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” Luna said.

“I’ve got no interest in that man or what he has to say now,” Dezine said. “I would rather die of thirst than drink the poisoned water he sells.”

“Are you trying to deny your connection to him?” Eva asked. “There’s proof that you and him have been working together for months now, so you’d be wise not to act as if Isaac never contacted you.”

“Oh, I assure you that what I say is true,” Dezine replied. “Isaac Kunigunde is nothing more than a footnote in my legacy. I’m the leader of this country and I will lead by disposing of the trash that infests it! Ready your weapons!”

The soldiers did so and pointed their guns at the four. But before Dezine could give the word, Pekka raised his gun and cocked it.

“You’re nothing more than a failure,” Pekka said. “These soldiers only serve you only because you promised them something in return.”

“Preposterous!” Dezine exclaimed. “Do you expect me to believe such a foul lie such as that?”

“I don’t expect you to believe me,” Pekka replied. “After all, I’m nothing but a criminal in your eyes. However, there’s a much more captivating voice willing to convince these soldiers by your side that they’re nothing more than pawns for your selfish deeds.”

“These men serve under me because they are loyal to Iiayikohn,” Dezine said. “I’ve made no such claim and there’s no way that you can prove it!”

“Maybe we can’t prove it,” Mina said. “Maybe you’re right because there’s no way someone like you would ever dare have their methods questioned.”

“There is no question about it,” Dezine replied. “I am an effective leader!”

“Yet there’s enough to see from your men alone,” Mina said. She took a look around the room at each soldier, then back to Dezine. “Everyone! This villain isn’t fighting for you! He’s only using you!”

There were murmurs within the group of soldiers, each one looking at each other as their weapons began to lower. Dezine observed his soldiers and went in a panic, standing up in the process.

“Don’t… Don’t listen to this idiotic woman,” Dezine said, “She’s only trying to fool you with falsities! Take her out already!”

“They may have carried out your villainous deed, but only because you told them a lie,” Mina said. “I’ve got no idea what, but it has to be something really good if they were willing to work with you!”

“Most likely, it was money,” Eva said. “They may have been hired because they thought they were going to receive some sort of payment for their work.”

“Let’s just ask them,” Pekka said. “How about it, Mina?”

“I’ll ask them,” Mina said.

“No, don’t!” Dezine exclaimed. “Why are you god damn fools so hesitant to shoot? I’ll continue to withhold all of your pay if you don’t!”

“So that’s it,” Mina said. “You’re keeping the money away from them!”

“To think he’d just admit it like it was nothing,” Luna said. “Are any of you really okay with working for a man like this?”

Dezine pounded his desk. “Take your guns and shoot them! Kill them all before I lose my fucking mind! Aim and fire!”

“You lost because a villain like you can never understand what it’s like for regular people,” Mina said. “They’ll never follow your orders now!”

The soldiers then lifted up their guns and aimed at Mina, Eva, Luna, and Pekka. Dezine smirked as Mina stood still. Then, the soldiers turned their aim at Dezine, who began to shake.

“What the hell is this?” Dezine asked. “What in the world are you doing!?”

The tallest soldier stepped forward and poked the barrel of this gun in Dezine’s chest. “I was only in this for the money,” he said. “Just what are you trying to gain from withholding my pay?”

Dezine gulped. “I… I can explain!”

Another soldier poked his gun in Dezine’s back. “Start talking!”

“Well… I thought that I would manage to make the money in time, but it seems like I made an error,” Dezine said. “That mansion had to be completed soon, you know…”

“That’s not good enough,” the tall soldier said. “Do you think a mercenary like me does some damn charity work for some bastard I couldn’t care any less about?”

Dezine whimpered. “N-No… I was going to pay you soon, I promise!”

The back soldier prodded further with his weapon. “That’s a lie if I’ve ever heard one!”

“You better explain what’s going on,” Eva said. “Otherwise this will not end well for you.”

“Just confess, you villain,” Mina said. “And release my uncle from prison, too, while you’re at it!”

“Damn you… Damn you all!” Dezine exclaimed. “Did you believe… I was going to take this like a little bitch? I’ll… I’ll kill you myself if you have to! That’s what I’m going to do!”

Against all the odds, Dezine broke free from the pincer attack and leapt over his desk. He made a quick charge at Mina, who stepped out of the way as Ayanna and Gavin showed up to knock Dezine onto the ground. Dierk arrived as well and handcuffed the prime minister behind his back. Henry and Law were the last to arrive as they got a quick look at the mercenaries in the room.

“We managed to get here just in time,” Henry said.

“You’re all going to hell, all of you!” Dezine exclaimed. “You’ll burn in hell before I ever even set foot in court!”

“Shut the fuck up,” Gavin said. “You pissed us off long enough, and by the looks of it, you managed to piss off those that served only you as well.”

“And if what he said is true, he made an enemy of Isaac as well,” Eva said. “He crumbled before he even had a chance to start his empire.”

“So either way, Isaac’s going to sleep soundly tonight,” Law said. “What an absolute pain.”

“We’ll have to see about that,” Ayanna said. “Sorin and Gale are going after him as we speak.”

“Guess there’s enough time, then,” Law said. “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to tie up the loose ends. Are you going to be okay here?”

“I think I’ll be fine,” Ayanna said. “We’ve got some back-up coming soon, as well as the fact that the news is traveling fast.”

“Those guards outside will know soon enough,” Henry said as he turned to Mina. “Maybe you ought to give the good word and let the people of Rezar know straight from their hero’s mouth!”

Mina smiled. “It would be a pleasure.”

“Very good,” Henry said. “What of the soldiers there?”

“All hired by Dezine,” Eva replied. “Obviously, they were all in it for the money but never received a single pound.”

“And that’s what brought this jerk down,” Luna said, looking at Dezine. “He was trying to play them all like a bunch of fools but they wised up once they found out the truth!”

“This… This isn’t over!” Dezine said.

“Can you just shut him up already?” Gavin asked Dierk.

“Unfortunately, I can’t,” Dierk replied. “It’s not as if he’ll get anywhere, though, so we’ve got nothing to worry about.”

“This really is a pain, isn’t it,” Gavin said. “Well, I wish you good luck, since it seems like he’s just going to be an asshole the entire way.”

“We’ve still got unfinished business,” Henry said. “We’ve got to catch up to Sorin and Gale and let them know about what happened in Hurst.”

“I guess that’s our cue, then,” Law said. “I expect things to sort out here as we head off. Let General Reiss know I said hello, okay?”

“I’ll let him know,” Ayanna replied.

As Ayanna and Dierk apprehended Dezine, all the mercenaries exited out of the prime minister’s room. There would be an abundance of questions for each one, but Mina knew that Ayanna, Dierk, and Reiss would be able to handle them. What was on Mina’s mind now, though, was letting everyone in Rezar hear of the good news. As she opened the window, Mina let the word of Dezine’s arrest ring through the streets of the city, much to the celebration of the citizens below while the guards at the front lowered their weapons. It was the beginning of a new day in Rezar and Mina was enthusiastic to shout the good word.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 43 (Part 1)

[2nd of January, 2741 AD; outside of the New Prime Minister’s Office, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


As the night rolled in, a quiet silence surrounded the exterior of the new prime minister’s office. Not a single person could be seen or heard when Ayanna arrived with Dierk and a communicator in tow. Ayanna began to grow suspicious of what was happening, but she knew now that she and the others were closer to taking down Dezine than they ever were before. At least, that was what she had thought. With Johan’s help, Ayanna was able to organize a large group of people ready to lead the charge against the current prime minister. It astounded her how well Johan was able to get these people to protest considering the fact that he did not go with the others to Rezar. Elsewhere, Ayanna had to count on Sorin, Mina, and the others to lead their way into the building. As for her, there was something else that Ayanna had to do, but first she had to confirm something with Dierk.

“Everything went well with Reiss, I assume?” Ayanna asked.

“Affirmative,” Dierk replied. “The general seemed pretty upbeat about our chances, though we still may have to worry about what to do next after we deal with Dezine.”

“That’s something we can talk about once we’re finished,” Ayanna said. “As far as we’re concerned, our main priority remains taking on the prime minister. Never in my life did I think that I would have to utter those words, but we’ve got no choice and no way to turn back now.”

“It is tough,” Dierk said. “Even if we oust him overnight, how Dezine rose to power will remain a stain on this country’s history.”

“Not as if Iiayikohn was clean before then,” Ayanna said. “If only Alan were still around, then we wouldn’t be here right now participating in the coup.”

“He kept things in order, for sure,” Dierk replied.

“Which is why I can never forgive Dezine,” Ayanna said. “He and Isaac are the reason why Alan is no longer around. To think that a single member of the Iiayi government would willingly plot the assassination of the prime minister is beyond reprehensible.”

“Certainly, he will have to pay for what he’s done,” Dierk said.

Ayanna looked back at the building on the other side of the street and continued to wait for the next move. Soon enough, she and Dierk could hear the sounds of people chanting. As they both looked down the street, a large group of people walked down the street towards the prime minister’s office. Within that group were a couple of faces that Ayanna recognized: Law, Gavin, and Henry. At just the right time, those three had returned from Hurst in order to help lead the charge against Wilson Dezine.

“Over here!” Ayanna said as she waved over to Law.

Law hurried over while both Gavin and Henry followed.

“The people are rising up, it seems,” Law said. “I suppose I’ve to hand it to Joahn… Getting this many people organized had to be quite a task in such a short amount of time.”

“He does have that group,” Henry said. “The Moonlit Silence is always working even if we’re not a witness to their methods.”

“Guess there is some merit to Johan keeping his big plans a secret,” Gavin said. “Say, Ayanna, are we about ready to lead this charge or what?”

Ayanna looked down at the communicator. “We’re waiting for the guards to show up,” she said. “Once we’ve got the attention of Dezine’s guards, I’ll go and give the word to Sorin and Mina.”

“Good,” Henry said. “I can already hear the people calling for Dezine. A lot of calls for him to surrender himself, sounds like.”

“I wonder if that’s gonna make him use his protection powers,” Law said. “This many people going up against the big man himself? Well, he’s going to have plenty to deal with, but we know that the good people of Rezar aren’t going to go down without a fight.”

The chants grew louder, with each person facing the front doors of the new prime minister’s office calling out Dezine by name. As the streetlights lit up, the doors to the office opened up as several soldiers spilled out onto the streets. The group of protestors, however, did not stop.

“That’s our cue,” Henry said.

Ayanna picked up the receiver. “I’m going to contact Sorin now,” she said. “Hopefully this is enough to help them get inside.”




On the other end of the building, Mina, Eva, Pekka, and Luna all waited outside on the opposite side of the street. Dustin looked at the communicator that was given to them by Ayanna as it chirped on and picked it up. He eyed the back doors as he placed the receiver close to his mouth.

“Dustin here,” he said. “Are we ready to storm the castle?”

“Yes, yes we are,” Ayanna said. “But I thought that Sorin would be the one to answer. Do you mind putting him on?”

“Yeah, about that,” Dustin said.

“Hold on,” Mina said, grabbing the receiver out of Dustin’s hand. “Ayanna, it’s me. We’re out here, ready to go when you are!”

“What about Sorin?” Ayanna asked.

“Oh right, I guess we should have contacted you about that,” Mina replied. “Sorin and Gale aren’t here.”

“Sorry about that!” Dustin said.

“She can’t hear you,” Eva said. “Mina, just tell her already.”

Mina nodded. “Okay, well, you know how Johan said that he wanted to do his own thing?”

“Of course I know,” Ayanna said. “Don’t tell me Sorin decided to go with him…”

“Well, not exactly,” Mina replied. “He said that he wanted to go after Isaac himself, and I guess Gale decided to go along with him.”

“That doesn’t make sense,” Ayanna said.

“You’re telling me,” Dustin said. “Guy was all about doing this together and now he’s off on the trail of the mastermind of this whole operation?”

“They were talking to themselves on the way here,” Luna said. “Sorin and Gale talking with each other, saying to us that it was nothing, yet now they’re the ones all after Isaac now. We don’t even know what to expect now!”

“It means Sorin has an idea and he doesn’t want to go and put us at risk,” Pekka said. “Though that doesn’t explain why Gale wanted to go with him. It’ll be dangerous either way and she’s not a fighter at all.”

“You should have some faith in them,” Eva said.

“Mina, where exactly are Sorin and Gale right now?” Ayanna asked.

“There’s really only one place I can think of off the top of my head,” Mina said, “And that’s the Ameci Embassy.”

“I see,” Ayanna replied. “Thank you.”

“What are you going to do now?” Mina asked.

“I’m helping lead the charge, of course,” Ayanna said. “Johan managed to help stir up a group of people just outside the door… It’s impressive.”

“I knew we could count on him,” Mina said. “I knew that Johan had a pure, heroic heart all this time!”

“So there’s a lot of commotion, then,” Pekka said. “Guess we made Dezine turn his head just enough for us to waltz in.”

“Good luck, guys,” Dustin said. “I’ll stay back here just in case… Don’t want to push things further, you know.”

“Well, if we need help, then you better be ready to come rushing in,” Eva said. “Let’s get going already, Mina.”

“Of course,” Mina replied. “We’ll see you on the inside, Ayanna!”

“We will see you in a moment,” Ayanna said.

With that, Mina shut off the communicator and handed it to Dustin. There was only one goal on Mina’s mind right now and that was to take down Wilson Dezine. Once that was taken care of, Mina was sure to hurry over to the Iiayine Prison and rescue her uncle. With the back entrance to the office unguarded, the group hurried their way inside as no one could stop them now.




[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Ameci Embassy, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


Rohan Fercewend looked down the hall as people in the embassy bustled about. A lot had changed in such a short amount of time and staff members were trying their best to keep up. Even Fercewend himself felt it all come to a sudden shock once Casper Bradley confessed. All it took was hearing the news of his son’s death and Casper broke down. Still, it felt odd to Fercewend that all of this had taken place in the same amount of time that Dezine turned his back on Ameci. It was something that Fercewend wanted to know more about. What could possibly be gained from such a move? Fercewend felt as if he had only Isaac to believe in during this turbulent time and little time outside of work to actually speak to him now that Casper had been removed from his position.

“Ah, Rohan, what’s got you thinking at a time like this?” Isaac asked.

Almost like it was on cue, Fercewend turned and saw Isaac at the top of the stairs. The reassurance that everything would work out returned. Now that Isaac was here, Fercewend knew that he could focus.

“It’s nothing,” Fercewend replied. “I’m just merely thinking about all that has happened within the past couple of days.”

“It has been quite a wild turn of events,” Isaac said. “Men looking to bite the hand that feeds them just because they feel as if their bellies have yet to be full, only to get punished in the end! Truly this is an interesting time for Mr. Dezine over at the prime minister’s office.”

“What do you mean?” Fercewend asked.

“Have you been so lost in thought that you’ve lost course of the direction of the wind? Go and take a look outside,” Isaac said.

Fercewend did as Isaac suggested and went over to the nearest window. He then saw out on the street a group of people outside marching towards the new prime minister’s office, chanting for Dezine’s removal.

“They’re protestors?” Fercewend asked.

“Dezine wanted action,” Isaac said. “Well, he’s about to get what he wants, though I can’t say he doesn’t deserve it.”

“It’s… unheard of,” Fercewend said. “I know that there has been unrest in the region before, but I didn’t think that it would arrive here.”

“Come now, you said it yourself,” Isaac replied. “Dezine betrayed the order and now he’s going to pay for it dearly.”

“Then he’s already fallen?”

“God has abandoned him,” Isaac said. “That dear friend of mine… heh, I’m amazed at the things he told me.”

“I wonder what happens next,” Fercewend said.

“Someone will clean the mess Dezine created,” Isaac said. “That much I can assure you.”

“You assure me of that?” Fercewend asked.

“Believe in the process, Rohan,” Isaac said. “It’s not that we failed Dezine, but rather he failed himself. Iiayikohn’s next prime minister will not be as big a fool, you can bet on that.”

“You sound sure of it,” Fercewend said. “Then I am inclined to believe in what you say.”

“As you should,” Isaac replied. “A good president listens to his most trusted advisor, after all.”

Fercewend turned away from the window. “May I ask you something?”

“What’s on your mind now?” Isaac asked.

“When President Hasker arrives, I will resume my position as the general, correct?”

“With things as they stand, that will be the case,” Isaac replied. “Obviously, we should be grateful for his awaited return to power.”

“Of course,” Fercewend replied. “I’m just wondering if there was a way I could assist him further. I want to help Ameci in any way I can, because I know that that’s what’s expected of me.”

“Don’t worry too much about that,” Isaac said. “As of now, Piere is Ameci’s president, though he is not acting. That would be you.”

“I know.”

“But this is the important part,” Isaac continued, “Hasker’s term is set to end in a year. Given all that has happened, I’m sure that the good people of our country would want a new face at the top.”

“So that’s where I would come in,” Fercewend said.

“You’re getting it, and quite well, I may add,” Isaac said. “Yes, if all goes as planned, we’ll be able to have you run for the highest position of power in Ameci should Hasker not be up to task.”

“That sounds good.”

“You just have to believe in me and let the process sort everything out,” Isaac said. “As long as you do that, then there’s absolutely nothing that cannot be accomplished under your name, Rohan!”

Isaac’s encouragement convinced Fercewend that he too would be able to accomplish anything. With an ally like him, there was little that Fercewend could not do and a lot that he could. Even the power of president would be in his grasp as long as Isaac was there to guide him along the way. But as those thoughts went to his head, Fercewend heard the creaking of a door in the now silent embassy. He looked around and down the stairs, but no one was there.

“Wait right here,” Isaac said.

“What’s going on?” Fercewend asked.

“It’s nothing important,” Isaac replied. “Please, go on with what you were doing before, Rohan; I’ll be back in a moment.”

Fercewend could not help but watch as Isaac went down the stairs. The curiosity behind the sudden silence and immediate change caused Fercewend to follow Isaac down the steps a few feet away. As he got closer to the bottom of the stairs, however, Fercewend caught a glimpse of an unbelievable sight. At the entrance stood Korbin Mars pointing a gun at Isaac.

“What… What in the world are you doing!?” Isaac asked.

A deep laughter echoed across the hall as Harold entered the embassy. The mere sight of the man caused Fercewend to hesitate. He knew the face looked too familiar, but could not believe what he was seeing.

“The curtain’s closing, Isaac Kunigunde,” Harold said. “Your assistance is no longer needed.”

“I-Impossible!” Isaac exclaimed. “We still have plenty of time for our plan to work! You yourself told me that just yesterday, Harold!”

“How peculiar,” Harold said. “I don’t believe that I ever said something like that to you.”

“It doesn’t mean shit now,” Korbin said, his aim shaking. “Once I’m done… Once I’m done with you here, I’m gonna make sure that everything goes just like my dad planned!”

Isaac took a step back. “You wouldn’t dare!”

“God was never on your side,” Harold said. “In fact, you were just a mere tool to be used. To think that you would be so delusional to believe that you’d make it with spilling your own blood is laughable at best.”

“Give me a break,” Isaac replied. “This… This is a violation of our trust and you know it!”

“Just like with you and Casper, or with you and Dezine,” Harold said. “Or were you planning to go against god, too? I’m not afraid of the extreme, I’ll have you know.”

Harold headed for the door as Korbin kept his focus on Isaac. Fercewend wanted to jump in to save Isaac, but with Harold’s threatening presence, he did not want to jeopardize his one chance. That was, until Harold looked over to the stairs and spotted Fercewend.

“Do it,” Harold said to Korbin. “Let Mr. Kunigunde feel the despair grow as he dies knowing his own family betrayed him.”

Fercewend took that chance to move. He hurried over to Isaac’s side in order to protect him, but by then, the shot had already rang out. Everything had stopped as Fercewend watched Isaac drop to the ground. Time seemed to freeze while Fercewend could only blame himself for not acting sooner. He looked over to the entrance once again, but saw that both Harold and Korbin had made their exit. As he clenched his fist, Fercewend heard a weak cough coming from Isaac and checked in on him once more. The general tended to Isaac as he continued to bleed from out of the wound in his abdomen and onto the floor.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 42 (Part 2)

[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Open Area Shopping District, Helm, Ahnlikohn]


After a fulfilling lunch, Sorin and the others decided to take a stroll through the nearby shopping district. However, their stroll was short-lived once they saw Ayanna arrive with Dierk. Sorin had to wonder how long lunch went, but given both Johan and Mina’s appetites, it had to have lasted longer than he thought. He waved to both Ayanna and Dierk as the two went over to the group.

“I was wondering where you were,” Ayanna said.

“How long were you here?” Sorin asked.

Dierk looked at his pocket watch. “I’d say about close to an hour,” he said. “Fifty-seven minutes, to be exact.”

“We didn’t realize that you guys were waiting for so long!” Mina said. “If that was the case, then we should’ve found you two first so we could’ve had lunch together.”

“Thank you, but we already ate before arriving here,” Ayanna replied. “So it seems you’re still at a loss, aren’t you?”

“That’s what it looks like,” Sorin said. “We were too busy eating to even think about how we were going to enter Iiayikohn.”

“Just because we weren’t talking about the mission doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking about our next move,” Johan said.

“If you have something to say, then say it,” Pekka said. “Don’t leave us in the dark, Johan.”

“I wouldn’t leave you in the dark without giving you a source of light first,” Johan replied. “That is to say that I think I have an idea about how we can get into Iiayikohn without much hassle.”

“I’d prefer no hassle at all, but I’m interested in hearing what you’ve got to say,” Ayanna said.

“Right now, our current headcount is ten altogether,” Johan said. “That is to say that I’m including the two of you into our group.”

“So we’ve got a good amount of people,” Mina said. “Ten heroes is a good, even number that no villain can stop!”

“Indeed, having the numerical advantage is optimal,” Ayanna said, “But we aren’t dealing with just one person.”

“It’s just as I thought,” Johan said. “Sometimes the best answer usually is the easiest. Thank you, Ayanna.”

“You’re welcome, though I didn’t say much beyond the fact that we’re going up against multiple people in this organization,” Ayanna replied. “Are you trying to suggest that we’re better if we split up?”

“I’m not necessarily saying that,” Johan said.

“Then what are you trying to suggest?” Eva asked.

“If we just go after Wilson Dezine, Isaac Kunigunde will try to run away from his failure,” Johan said. “We can’t just lock down a single target without first trying to make sure the other target doesn’t evade us. That was what let Isaac get away with what he’s done up to this point.”

“It still sounds to me as if you want us to split up,” Ayanna said.

“Well, if you want to consider it that way, then yes,” Johan said. “Right now, the goal is to defeat Isaac Kunigunde. He’s the one that carries the most influence and the one with the most to lose should everything fail for him.”

“What’s the angle here?” Pekka asked.

“You want an easier way to get into Iiayikohn, don’t you?” Johan asked. “I think there is much to be said if a wanted man like myself makes his presence known to the entirety of an Ameci-occupied country and enters alone.”

Sorin looked over to Johan. “Are you saying what I think you’re saying, Johan?”

“An entire group of us will draw attention, sure, but to the Ameci military, I’m the one that they want,” Johan said. “To Isaac, all I am is nothing more but an existential threat to what he’s trying to do. He’ll obviously try to use his power to try and direct the general into capturing me, if not worse.”

“That’s… That’s beyond insanity!” Luna said. “I don’t want you to do this, not after we just lost Jelka! I don’t want this at all!”

“Surely this is some sort of bluff to try and get us to come up with a better idea,” Sorin said. “That’s gotta be what you’re saying, right?”

“I don’t think he’s trying to bluff us,” Eva said.

“You don’t?” Dustin asked. “Because even as a bluff, it’s quite a reckless one to make… You do know what will happen once Ameci’s sending its soldiers after you, you know that, don’t you?”

“I’ve already said that,” Johan replied. “I’m not going to stop in pursuing my goal, even if it brings me pain and misfortune. I already know what it’s like to come close to death itself, so I’ve got no reason to fear the Ameci military.”

“But what about Jelka?” Sorin asked. “After what she did to save us, you’d just risk it all?”

“I never said I was going to die, nor did I imply I’m afraid of it,” Johan said. “All I’m saying is that I’m willing to suffer in order to accomplish my goals. There is no way I can back down.”

He began to walk away from the group, only to turn back and shrug. Sorin could not stop Johan now, though he wanted to try. If there was any way to stop Johan from risking his own life, Sorin knew that it was right now that he had to do it.

“I’m not going to let you do this alone,” Sorin said. “If you insist on drawing Isaac Kunigunde’s attention, then I want to help you out at the very least.”

“Not you too, Sorin,” Gale said. “It won’t do us any good if you both throw yourselves at Isaac so recklessly.”

“She’s right,” Johan said. “This is something I’ve got to do on my own. If it gets out of hand, then we’d both be screwed.”

“It’s better than going by yourself,” Sorin replied. “Besides, if it’s going to get rough, then you’re going to need someone to fight alongside you.”

“Maybe it’s just me, but I think you’re trying to talk me out of this,” Johan said as he tried to hold back a chuckle. “You wouldn’t suggest coming along with me if I hadn’t said anything first.”

“Please, there has to be another way,” Sorin said. “I know you can think of something that doesn’t involve you risking yourself. Just… for all of our sakes, I want you to reconsider.”

“Regardless of what we do, there will always be a risk when we’re dealing with Foundation,” Johan replied. “Be it Korbin or be it the Ameci military, we’re going into battle against an enemy that has us in their crosshairs.”

“Perhaps it’s time we begin drawing up our plan,” Ayanna said. “Talking will only get us so far and this is not the place to plan our next move.”

“So it seems,” Johan said. “Very well, then we’ll go and find a place where we can straighten out our plan of attack.”

“That sounds like a good idea to me,” Mina said. “But we’d better hurry up, though!”

“Given what’s at stake, I’m sure we’ll come up with a plan that everyone can agree with,” Johan said. “You think so too, don’t you, Sorin?”

Sorin had to agree. He had to if they wanted to move forward. With the uncertainty surrounding the Iiayikohnian border, there was only so much time that they could spend. With Ayanna and Dierk, though, Sorin was sure that they could help devise a pathway back into Iiayikohn. But what still concerned Sorin was the fact that Johan did not bend in his will to go it on his own and draw out Isaac by himself. Whatever Isaac had lying in wait next, Sorin was certain that it would prove to be devastating, especially if it happened to involve Korbin and Harold Mars.




[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Burning Light Lane, Hurst, Iiayikohn]


Gavin had no idea what to expect when he arrived in Hurst with Law and Henry, but he did not expect to see a mass of officers occupy the area on Burning Light Lane. Once he got a look at the scene, however, Gavin understood. A crowd of people began to form, which had to be most of the citizens of the small town as they all appeared to wonder what just struck them.

“This is quite a shocking turn of events,” Henry said.

“You’re telling me,” Gavin said. “What happened here?”

“Well, why don’t we ask someone with a little more knowledge than us,” Law said. “With this many people in the area, we’d at least get a little rundown about what happened before we got here.”

As Law proceeded to ask around, Gavin tried to get a better look between the gaps in the crowd. The officers surrounded the block with their vehicles while they kept the crowd at bay, but Gavin could tell that something major had taken place. There was only one reason why officers of the Iiayikohnian military would show up in Hurst, which meant that it had to do with Harold somehow.

“Have you got a good view yet?” Henry asked.

“I think we’re too late,” Gavin said. “If you ask me, Harold definitely had a hand in what happened here.”

“I wonder if he was aware of the fact that we were after him,” Henry said. “If that’s the case, then it’s likely he brought down his own hideout in order to get away from us.”

“It doesn’t make sense, though,” Gavin said. “Why would he do such a thing when it would mean that he’d draw attention to himself.”

“True, that’s the contradiction with my theory,” Henry replied. “However, what if he had no choice?”

“I think I understand what you’re asking,” Gavin said. “Sorin’s brother… If he was here, then it’s possible.”

But Gavin knew there was nothing conclusive to the idea, at least not yet. As he wondered what exactly transpired, Law returned to the two as he tried to get Gavin’s attention.

“Yo, it seems like we’ve got trouble on our hands,” Law said.

“I can tell that just by looking,” Gavin replied. “Did you manage to gather anything important?”

“Well, it looks like that entire block was decimated with explosives,” Law answered. “Though from what I’ve gathered from the people here, all of those buildings seemed to be abandoned long ago.”

“Abandoned, you say?” Henry asked.

“That’s what I got from the people I spoke with,” Law said. “You do know what that means, don’t you?”

“We were a step too late,” Gavin said.

“There was no way we had a clue,” Henry said. “All it means is that Harold is on the run now. He knows we’re getting closer to the truth.”

“You sound pretty confident about it,” Gavin said. “But now I want to know how in the hell he blew up the whole place.”

“Maybe it’d do us good if we asked one of the officers,” Henry said.

“Sure about that?” Law asked. “The ones in Rezar weren’t so nice to us over in the prison.”

“Just let me ask the questions,” Henry said. “I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to ask that officer over there a simple question.”

He walked over to the officer closest to the crowd and whistled to get his attention. The officer turned to his direction and waved over at him. Gavin and Law followed him as they confronted the officer in front.

“Do you mind if I ask you a question, sir?” Henry asked.

“If this is for some sort of press, then I can’t take a question,” the officer replied. “Even we’re trying to figure out exactly what’s going on.”

“We’re not with any press, we just want a basic idea about what happened here,” Henry said. “Just from looking at it, it’s pretty obvious something nefarious took place here.”

“If you ask me, none of it makes any sense,” the officer said.

“Well, what about the buildings?” Gavin asked. “They were all abandoned from what we’ve heard. Do you think it was planned?”

“I don’t believe that it was a planned thing, no,” the officer answered. “No one in this town has indicated that there were any plans for a demolition of those buildings.”

“I see,” Gavin said.

“I’ve one more question for you, officer,” Henry said. “Did anyone happen to live in those buildings, and if so, are they here?”

The officer shook his head. “I doubt it.”

“Why do you doubt it?” Henry asked. “Even if those buildings were all abandoned, that doesn’t mean no one was there.”

“We’d have to find out for ourselves, then,” the officer said.

Almost as if on cue, another officer called out to the man. Gavin, Law, and Henry all looked to see the second officer arrive with something in her hand. It took Gavin one look to see for himself and realize what it was the female officer was holding.

“That… That sword,” Gavin said. “That sword looks familiar.”

The other officer turned to Gavin with the broken sword in her hand clear in view. “Do you know something about it?”

“Henry, you recognize that, don’t you?” Gavin asked. He looked back to the officer. “Where did you find it?”

“It was underneath some of the rubble,” the female officer said. “We’re still uncovering, but what we do know is that there is someone underneath.”

“Someone underneath the rubble?” Henry asked. “Who is it?”

“We haven’t identified him yet,” she replied, “But what I can say for certain is that this man is dead.”

Henry took a deep breath and sighed. “Thank you, both of you,” he said, turning back to Gavin and Law as he began to walk away. “I was wondering what happened to him, and it seems like we’ve got our answer.”

“What are you doing?” Gavin asked, catching up with Henry. “Are you just going to walk away like that without any other question?”

“Do you think we’ve got any other thing to do here?” Henry asked. “This is as far as we can go here if you ask me.”

“But the sword!” Gavin exclaimed. “That’s Rysol’s sword, damn it!”

“It is,” Henry said. “There’s nothing we can do right now and to stay here any longer would be detrimental.”

“So we’re just going to head back, then,” Gavin said. “Are we not even going to tell Sorin about what happened here?”

“We’ll let him know soon enough,” Henry replied. “But Rysol is a different case from Kirk, and I don’t need to tell you why that is.”

Law placed his hand on the side of his forehead. “It may sound cold, bro, but we’ve got no choice,” he said. “We have to leave Rysol here even though we know very little about why he was here or how he died.”

“Fine,” Gavin replied. “But I’m going to be the one to tell Sorin, got it? He needs to know what happened here… He needs to know that Rysol came here because he pursued the truth.”

“Of course,” Henry said. “I’ll leave it all up to you.”

The three continued to walk away from the scene of the destruction and headed for the car. But even though Gavin had promised that he would be the one to inform Sorin about Rysol’s death, Gavin knew that the news would not be any easier to bear as yet another loss came by the hands of Harold Mars. The ever growing threat that man posed was becoming more and more apparent with each passing moment and Gavin knew that it was only a matter of time before he tried to strike again.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 40 (Part 1)

[1st of January, 2741 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle Hall]


Rain expected a visit from the government of Kikuisha, but she did not expect to see Kiku Izumi and her bodyguards to arrive out of nowhere. Noa also attended, which led to a brief confrontation between him and Gamal. All Rain could do was watch as the two men talked it out.

“I promise I’m not that suspicious!” Noa said. “You’ve seen me before, haven’t you?”

“Of course, we’ve met before,” Gamal replied. “I just wanted to greet you, that is all. That’s the polite way of doing things, isn’t that right?”

“But… But I heard that President Khadir would be here,” Noa said. “How am I supposed to remain calm when he’s here?”

“Nona, we’ve been through this before,” Kiku said. “It’s no different than what happened last time. You don’t need to worry because you have me at your side!”

“I know, I know, I may just be overthinking it,” Noa said. “The last time, it wasn’t even that bad… but what if he was just putting on an act just to make me feel secure so he could let me have it the next time we meet?”

“I doubt that will happen,” Ayame said. “That man doesn’t seem the type to hold a grudge, especially not against you.”

“You think so?” Noa asked. “Wait, what exactly do you mean when you say that he especially wouldn’t hold a grudge against me?”

“It means you shouldn’t worry about it,” Ayame replied. “We can keep on talking about this or we can talk to Her Majesty. Thank you for letting us in, Sir Gamal.”

“Yes, thank you,” Igor said. “It’s a pleasure to see you again.”

Gamal shook Ayame and Igor’s hands. “You’re very welcome,” he said. “Of course, President Khadir won’t be here until tomorrow morning.”

“Wait, really?” Noa asked. “I thought that he’d be here today! Then what in the world was I getting worried about?”

“See, I told you not to worry,” Kiku said as she grabbed Noa by his arm. “We don’t need to worry about the little things.”

“Yes, there are greater problems to worry about,” Rain said. “I was under the impression that Yamazaki would make her way here, though. Is something the matter?”

“There isn’t,” Ayame replied. “She will also be arriving tomorrow. Madame Izumi just insisted on coming a day early because she wanted to see you, Your Majesty.”

“Let’s not be so formal around our friends, Aya,” Kiku said. “I know how serious this is, but we can afford ourselves a little break in the work, can’t we? I certainly would like to think that we could spend a little time with Ray here; she must be so bored without Minnie around to comfort her… Speaking of which, is Minnie a jealous type?”

“Why do you ask that?” Rain asked.

“Oh, forget about it, Ray,” Kiku said. “Please forgive me for asking a trivial question.”

“I don’t think now is the time for trivial questions, madame,” Ayame said. “We’re here because Her Majesty believes we need to set out a course of action before we go about tackling this organization.”

“That’s exactly why we’re here and why we’re having Khadir as well,” Rain said. “But that isn’t all I’ve got to say. There is some good news.”

“Well, I like hearing good news,” Kiku said.

“It’s fortunate that you arrived when you did,” Gamal said. “Her Majesty’s made a breakthrough with the Ahnle royal family.”

“You did?” Kiku asked. “That’s great, Ray!”

“None of it would have happened without the help of others,” Rain said. “I must thank them for their efforts, though I can’t say that they escaped completely unscathed.”

After she spoke with Amelia, Rain received another call from Sorin. As she found out from him, Rain knew that she could not do much in the moment to go and support them after Jelka’s demise. She knew there was no reason for her to blame herself, but Rain felt like she owed it to Jelka for what she had done. That was the least Rain could do for her. But for now, Rain had to remain focused on what was ahead of her now that she had that connection with the Ahnle family once again.

“I’m so sorry,” Kiku said.

“Life is pretty unforgiving sometimes,” Noa said. “Even when something goes right, the cost can be pretty high.”

“We won’t let her death be in vain, that much I can guarantee,” Rain said. “She wanted to take down Foundation as much as the rest of us, so I’m sure she’d be encouraging us no matter what.”

The room turned silent as no one had another word to say. Rain was not sure if she should add to it or move on to the next topic at hand. Soon enough, though, Kiku had something to say.

“I know that I never knew her, but I believe so, too,” Kiku said. “I want to help in any way possible, Ray, so if there’s anything that we can do, then please let me know!”

“Madame, are you sure about this?” Igor asked. “The empress hasn’t even arrived yet, so I’m not sure we should act so outlandishly before she arrives to give her statement.”

“Oh come on, Iggy, this is important,” Kiku replied. “Mother would say the same thing too if she were here, but she isn’t, which is why I’m saying it! We need to act now before things get out of hand! Kikuisha must unite with the Kingdom of Thekohn and put a stop to Foundation!”

“How long has it been since you were this passionate, I wonder,” Ayame said. “Normally, I would agree with Igor, but sometimes we can’t just stay on the sidelines while injustice is abound.”

“Then you agree, Aya?” Kiku asked.

“I think you’re right, madame,” Ayame replied. “No, I know you’re right. I don’t want things to escalate any further than they already have. That is why we have to unite with Rain here.”

“Well, I don’t know if I can call this official, given that Yamazaki isn’t here yet,” Rain said. “Until I talk with her, I can’t exactly move forward.”

“You can,” Kiku said. “Just let me handle things with my mother. I know I will be able to convince her because she will understand the plight!”

“Consider it official, Your Majesty,” Ayame said. “She may not wield all the power, but Madame Izumi is still an important figure. After all, she is the next in line and this is a good example of the leadership that she is capable of showing in trying times like these.”

“Then all I need now is President Khadir’s help,” Rain said. “That should be easy, I believe. Thank you, Ayame. Actually, thank all of you.”

“You’re thanking me?” Noa asked. “What did I do?”

“It’s obvious, you know,” Kiku said. “You were such a help to Ray back then, she just wanted to give you a proper thanking.”

“I figure that since we have some past together, we can cooperate together and see how we can take on Foundation,” Rain said. “You wouldn’t mind lending us your insights, would you Noa?”

“You… You really think my insights are valuable?” Noa asked.

“We’ve got some good allies helping the kingdom,” Rain said. “It wouldn’t hurt to add another, especially since you’re trained in a field that none of the others have that much expertise in.”

“See, Nona?” Kiku asked. “You’re already valuable!”

“Just my luck, I guess,” Noa said. “I mean, you’re really sure about this? I’m not that much of an expert, but I suppose that I can help you out.”

“I’m asking you this because I trust you,” Rain replied. “Maybe you don’t think so, but I like to think that we can operate on that trust.”

“I understand,” Noa said. “If you believe in me, then I’ll do it. I will lend my hand to this cause, because I know you’re fighting for what’s right. Foundation is no different from the True Thekohnians and the Neu Thekohnian Order, and I’ll do what I can to help you stop them.”

“I’m glad to hear that, Noa,” Rain said.

“It’s because the way you speak your message is real,” Noa replied. “I can believe in you because of that… and I can consider you a friend because of it, as well. You, Sorin, Mina, and all the rest.”

“As do I,” Ayame said.

“Then I’ll be looking forward to working with you,” Rain said. “Right now, however, the sun has already begun to set. You’re welcome to lodge here at the castle if you want.”

“That wouldn’t be a problem, would it?” Kiku asked Ayame.

“I don’t see why not,” Ayame said.

“You could ask me too, madame,” Igor said. “Though I don’t have a problem staying here as long as you want to stay here.”

“Is it me or have you gotten better at speaking the local language, Igor?” Rain asked. “That is, if you don’t mind me asking you that question.”

Igor chuckled. “Ayame’s been on my neck about learning advanced Theias,” he replied. “So I’ve been reading and reading and reading and I feel like I’m at the point where I can grasp some of the regional phrases, though I guess I’m not at the final point yet.”

“It certainly shows,” Rain said, not bothering to correct Igor’s mistake. “Keep it up.”

“I will,” Igor replied.

“Iggy really has come a long way, hasn’t he?” Kiku asked. She then went up to Rain and whispered in her ear. “Maybe he’ll finally be able to ask Aya out after this is all over…”

“Oh my,” Rain said.

“Madame, what did you just say to her?” Igor asked.

“You don’t need to worry,” Kiku replied. “It’s just a little exchange between a queen and the empress’ daughter. Pay no mind.”

“Whatever it was, it sure managed to leave an impression on Rain,” Noa said. “Well, maybe I shouldn’t ask…”

“I wonder what she said,” Ayame said. “Though I would guess that it most likely doesn’t matter at this point.”

Rain felt no need to comment any further. She had already attained full support from Kikuisha thanks to Kiku. She thanked the four, as did Gamal, with them accepting the thanks as they then went upstairs. Everything was beginning to move in the right direction, Rain thought. However, as she wondered what to do now,  Rain noticed Ayanna walking towards her with a concerned look on her face. Something had to have happened.

“Rain, I have some urgent news,” Ayanna said.

“What is it?” Rain asked.

“I just received a call from Gavin,” Ayanna replied. “Looks like Dezine just placed Drake Rask under arrest. Foundation is acting quickly.”

“They’re moving fast,” Rain said.

“What’s our plan, Your Majesty?” Gamal asked.

“Well, I’m wondering about Mina first,” Rain replied. “I think it’s important that she knows what’s happening right now.”

“They’re staying at that hotel,” Gamal said. “Do you want to call them right away?”

“Before you do so, Rain, I’ve got more news,” Ayanna said. “Gavin said that he heard from one of the officers that Dezine’s has begun lockdown in Iiayikohn. No one can enter or leave the country, even if they are of Iiayi descent.”

“So to protect Isaac Kunigunde, he’ll take drastic measures,” Gamal said. “I have to say that this Wilson Dezine has some dedication to his cause, twisted as it may be.”

“Measures that are against Thekohnian conventions,” Rain said. “There is no way he can get away with closing off Iiayikohn to the rest of the region. We’ll make sure of that.”

“It will be a matter of time before people realize,” Ayanna said. “Travelling between Iiayikohn and Ahnlikohn is popular, and for those stuck in between, the change will be noticed. Absolutely no one will stand for it.”

“No, of course not,” Rain said. “We established this after the War of the Lands ended. Dezine’s sudden actions will be felt immediately.”

“If you ask me, I have my doubts that this is to protect Isaac Kunigunde,” Ayanna said. “Regardless, we must act now.”

“Then let’s go,” Rain said.

Ayanna had a point. Why would Dezine do something against Thekohnian convention in order to protect Isaac? Rain had to think about it, but for now, she needed to reach out to Mina and the others in Ahnlikohn.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 30 (Part 1)

[30th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle Library]

Sorin turned away from the fireplace. All his hope meant nothing now that the news was confirmed: his father was found dead at the bottom of the cliffs of Ahnle Peak. There was nothing that Sorin could do about it as he tried his best to keep himself focused. Henry had been the one to deliver the awful news one day after the group made it back to the kingdom. Since then, the group remained at the castle as Rain tried to deal with the Ahnle family with little to no result for her troubles. Sorin recalled what Henry said to him after delivering the news of his father’s demise, as he noticed the obvious attempts by Henry to hold back his sadness over the loss.

I’m so sorry,” Henry said. “I don’t think that you will want to hear about the condition we found him in, but I’ll say this: there was nothing the doctors could do to save him, even with their best efforts.

Sorin could not find it in himself to say much except for one thing. “Thank you, Henry,” he said. “Really, thank you.

All that can be done now is to hold a funeral for him and hope for him to find his peace,” Henry said. “Though it’ll be tough, Kirk deserves that much from all of us here. I just wish that there was more I could have done to help him… Damn it all, if only I didn’t hold back and went with him to Glora, then none of this would have happened!

There’s a lot I wish I could’ve done, too,” Sorin replied. “But I’m not sure that any of us would’ve stood a chance against Harold that night. Even Rysol was left severely injured after his encounter…

Henry sighed. “Perhaps you’re right,” he said. “I’m just trying to handle this as best I can. Kirk’s my friend, which is why I’ll never forgive Harold for what he did to him, nor will I ever forgive Isaac.

The two men responsible for Kirk’s death continued to hold their presence over the entire Thekohnian Region, the royal kingdom still the main focus in all of the conflict. As long as Isaac remained involved with Ameci’s policies, Sorin knew that there was no way to avoid the oncoming battles ahead. He had to wonder if this was the only way, but given what took place a few nights prior, the Ameci military would continue to be an opponent. Sorin could tell as much when he asked Henry about it, which was enough to tell him that negotiations would be difficult to pull off.

“You’re still in here?” Gavin asked.

Sorin looked to the library entrance. Gavin entered the room alone and approached Sorin. They did not share too much with each other since the escape from the Lead Campground, but Sorin was glad to see Gavin regardless.

“I’m sorry,” Sorin said. “It’s been a rough couple of days.”

Gavin looked to the side as he pushed up his sunglasses. “I don’t fault you for continuing to mourn,” he said. “What happened was devastating and it’s easy to see how low morale has been since that day. Hell, it’s only going to get worse with Foundation preparing their next attack.”

“Yeah, they’re not going to give up,” Sorin replied. “I know we shouldn’t give up, either, but it’s… it’s really hard to keep going with a brave face when the losses are personal.”

“I would imagine that Rain thought the same thing,” Gavin said. “Quite a few of us have that in common. I suppose in a way, our losses are what brings us all together around here. That’s why you can’t run away just yet.”

“Giving up is not an option for me, especially not now,” Sorin said. “I can’t afford to lose now, which is why I’ll keep fighting.”

“I never expected you to give up,” Gavin replied. “I know that you’ll keep going no matter what. Who I’m really concerned about, though, is Eva.”

“Have you seen her today?” Sorin asked.

“That’s what I wanted to know,” Gavin said. He sighed and shook his head. “She’s not unfamiliar with loss, but ever since we got back to the castle that night, Eva has become much more distant.”

Sorin could understand why. His father was important to Eva, which only made her more distant ever since finding out the news for herself. Sorin wanted to help, but found it difficult to process as well. He was not sure what he could even say to Eva, considering she was the one who had done so much for him in the first place. What Sorin was sure of, however, was that he knew Eva had to be dealing with an unrelenting pain that did not go away easily.

“I noticed,” Sorin replied.

“Lawrence can read people better than I can, but even I can see the kind of agony that’s wrapped around Eva,” Gavin said. “You should seek her out and just talk to her, I guess.”

“I’ll try to do that,” Sorin said.

“We wouldn’t be so worried if it weren’t for that piece of shit,” Gavin said. “I’ll let you know this one, Sorin: we’re going to look deeper into Harold Mars and figure out how we can put that info to good use.”

“How are you going to do that?” Sorin asked. “It’s not like we can gain any of those records easily, especially considering the fact that we don’t know much about him.”

“Don’t worry about that one,” Gavin replied. “Henry and I are going to take care of gathering information; if we’re persistent enough, then we will be able to find a definitive connection between Harold and Isaac. Something that will surely take them both down.”

“Let’s hope so,” Sorin said. “I guess I should just go now…”

“Kirk didn’t give up,” Gavin said. “Even down to his final breath, that man kept fighting for a better world. The injuries say as much: your father did not go until his body could give no more.”

“I know.”

“I know you understand,” Gavin said. “But sometimes even I doubt our chances of winning… That’s why it’s important to say this so we don’t give in to apathy and despair.”

“And we can still win,” Sorin said. “I know if my father were here, there’d be no way he’d ever allow us to give in after our encounter with Harold.”

“Then you should know what to do,” Gavin said.

“Thank you,” Sorin said.

Sorin could not deny that truth as he left the library. He knew that he had to keep on no matter what stood in the way. However, Sorin also knew that it was necessary to keep everyone on the same path to victory and had to do his part in order to keep everyone’s spirits up, even after a devastating loss. Even with the pain still strong, Sorin had to keep pursuing peace. But first he had to find Eva and speak with her.


[30th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Rio Grove]

Mina crossed her arms as she tried to stay warm. She had to do more, Mina thought to herself. It had been too long for her since she had gotten involved and far too long since she exhibited what a hero was. And in this time of need, Mina had to help more than ever. To do that, she had to get out there and contribute once more in order to protect not just the people of the Thekohnian Region, but the people of the Ameci Region as well. Training would be different in the cold and snow, but Mina had to press on if she had to live up to the title she had set for herself long ago. But even so, Mina could not forget the one person that had been with her most of her life.

“I wonder how my uncle is doing in all of this,” she said. “I wish I could see him and my mother, too, but I don’t know if that’s possible right now…”

It was all the more reason for Mina to get back into the fight and help her friends. Everyone important to her was not only counting on her, she thought, but they were also doing their part to protect the Thekohnian Region. Mina knew that she had a goal in mind and she would do whatever she could to make sure that goal became a reality. As she trained, however, Mina noticed Eva walking off in the distance. She stopped what she was doing and hurried over as fast as she could to Eva and greeted her.

“Hi Eva,” Mina said. “How are you?”

Eva paused for a moment before turning away. “Good,” she replied. “I just wanted to take a walk…”

“Do you want me to go with you?” Mina asked. “It’s pretty cold even with a coat on.”

“No, it’s fine,” Eva said. “Just keep focusing on your training… Please don’t worry about me.”

Mina tilted her head a bit to the left. “Where are you going?”

“It’s none of your concern,” Eva said.

She started to walk away as Mina followed her. However, Eva spun around and put out her hand palm first. Mina stopped as Eva looked away.

“Don’t follow me,” Eva said.

“But why?” Mina asked.

“I already told you,” Eva replied. “It’s none of your concern. Please leave me alone, Mina. I mean it.”

“I just want to help,” Mina said. “I can’t even begin to imagine how much pain you’re in, but I want to do everything I can to help! To ignore that cry for help is something that I just can’t do, Eva!”

Eva said nothing and instead chose to turn back around and continue on with her walk. It was a conflicting feeling in Mina’s heart as she wondered to herself whether or not to keep following after Eva. The sorrow was obvious and Mina only wanted to help Eva during the down time. Mina was fortunate enough to not have to deal with losing someone close to her, and that was something she hoped she would never have to experience, but she knew all too well her friends losing those closest to them. It was not too long that Rain had lost her younger brother and Mina was there to help console her lover through the grieving. But now, with everything moving onward, Mina felt like she needed to be there again for yet another friend in pain.

“What can I do now?” Mina asked. “I can’t stop thinking about it. I don’t want to leave Eva alone, but it doesn’t seem like she wants my help…”

“There you are,” Ayanna said.

Mina looked behind her and saw Ayanna and Law. In almost any other circumstances, Mina would be delighted to see the two. This time, however, was much different.

“Oh, hi guys,” Mina said.

“So we didn’t miss anything, did we?” Law asked. “Because it looks like you were talking pretty deeply with Eva just a minute ago.”

“You saw that?” Mina asked. “I guess you guys heard me talking out loud again…”

“She’s still grieving,” Ayanna said. “There’s no doubt that out of all of us here, Eva is the one person who would be shaken up the most right now by the news of Kirk’s death.”

“Well, her and Sorin,” Law said, “Though he seems much more determined to fight on than ever before.”

“I just wish I could do something about it,” Mina said, “But no matter what I do, Eva just keeps pushing me away.”

Ayanna sighed. “Yes, she’s been more distant than ever,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve even seen her around the castle since that night, so I’m a little surprised to see her walking by herself.”

“Well, I know she had been in one of the guest rooms,” Mina said. “I usually went to the door to see if she wanted to eat, but she didn’t answer me.”

“So Eva hasn’t left that guest room, hasn’t eaten, and now just went off on her own and told you not to follow after her,” Law said to Mina. “I’ll go and see if I can catch up to her while you go and check out her room.”

“Are you going with him, Ayanna?” Mina asked.

“I think in this situation, Law should go by himself,” Ayanna replied. “It’d probably not be a good idea for us both to find Eva while she’s in this state. I’ll go and focus on talking to Rain instead.”

Mina nodded. “Okay!”

The three went on as Mina could not shake the thoughts from her mind. All she could do now was do what Law suggested. Mina was not sure what she was supposed to do once she got to Eva’s room, but Mina knew that Law had some sort of idea regarding Eva. All Mina needed to do was find out whatever that was and figure it out from there.


The calm weather outside did nothing to take Rain’s mind off of what had happened. Though she had little connection with Kirk, Rain could not help but feel sorrow even as she kept up a brave face for everyone. She knew that she could not give up on her goals, but Rain felt it hard to continue as she knew that her friends were dealing with the loss in their own ways. There was little for Rain to do but to look down at the map laid out on the table as Ayanna and Reiss walked in.

“Has there been any progress?” Ayanna asked.

“Unfortunately, we’re back to where we started,” Rain said. “The best that I could do was come into contact with the prince, but even his people are distant. So far, that’s the best I can do right now.”

“You’re clearly stressed,” Ayanna said. “As your friend, I advise you to take some rest for a bit and then come back.”

“It’s hard not to feel this way,” Rain replied. “After what happened, what we learned has only served to increase the urgency of accomplishing our goals. To sit back and do nothing, even for a moment, would do me no good as a leader.”

“I understand how you feel, but I did not say to forget about pursuing the meeting,” Ayanna said. “Our allies are growing by the day with the news about Foundation coming to light.”

“The only thing standing in our way is Foundation itself,” Reiss said. “But we’ve got Maeitakohn on our side as well as the president of Thekohn.”

“That is true,” Rain said. “I just wish we weren’t fighting so much. To think that these people would actively work against the best wishes of those who have gone through hell is disheartening. But I know that I can’t give up.”

“We’re not alone, not at all,” Ayanna said. “We’re all working towards the same goal, regardless of how we got here or where we’re from. As you wish for a region of peace, I wish for a day where I will never have to see a family broken by the tragedies of war because there will be no need to fight ever again. Perhaps it’s a high goal, but it is one that I wish to see in my lifetime.”

“Well, I’ve got a couple years left,” Reiss said. “Let’s work on kicking these Foundation hooligans in their arses and we’ll be another step closer to that goal of yours, Ansa.”

Just then, Sorin rushed into the room. Rain watched as Sorin looked around the office from right to left, his hands placed on either side of the doorframe. The sudden entrance by Sorin could only mean one thing, Rain thought, as she walked towards him.

“You guys haven’t seen her, have you?” Sorin asked.

“I haven’t seen her,” Rain said. “Eva hasn’t been in this office at all today, to be honest.”

“Well, that was something I was going to tell you,” Ayanna said. “Mina did happen to see her just before I got here.”

“She did?” Rain asked.

Ayanna told Rain all about what she had seen and heard from Mina, which also caught Sorin’s attention. Rain knew that Eva had been going through a rough spot in recent days and the news about Kirk only helped damage that morale for Eva. All Rain could really do was offer her support as Eva had continued to lock herself up in the guest room without leaving. The account from Mina meant just a few possibilities, some of which Rain hoped were not the case.

“So Law is already out there looking for her,” Rain said. “I know why she doesn’t want us to pry too deeply, but I wish that I could’ve done a lot more for her this time.”

“We’ll have plenty of time after we find her,” Ayanna said. “It would be for the best if we don’t bring any of this up to her once she’s back.”

“I agree,” Rain replied.

“That is a good idea,” Reiss said.

“Does that help answer any questions you might have?” Rain asked Sorin. “I am again sorry for what happened to your father.”

“It’s fine,” Sorin said. “I just want to make sure that Eva is okay.”

He stepped into the office and left the door behind him. Mina ran into the room a few seconds after Sorin entered. Rain saw a folded sheet of paper sitting in Mina’s right hand, a piece of paper that looked familiar to Rain.

“Guys! Thank god you’re here!” Mina exclaimed. “I’m so glad I found you all before it gets too late!”

“Mina, you don’t need to be so loud,” Rain said. “Just tell us about what you found, okay? I’m sure you have a lot to say about what’s written on that paper, as it looks like it came from my desk.”

“But it’s important,” Mina said. “I can’t just stay calm! Eva might be… She might be in trouble!”

“I know,” Rain replied. “That’s why Law is out there looking for her. All of us just want to see our friends safe; that includes Eva.”

“But Law just said he couldn’t find her!” Mina said. “He just came back and he said he lost sight of her!”

“He said that?” Rain asked.

That was all Rain could say. Mina had no reason to lie and neither did Law. Rain knew Mina had an honest heart and Law was a trusted friend, so their two accounts were trustworthy. However, that did mean that Eva was still out in the city on her own with no one searching for her. Law came in, shaking his head as he placed his hands in his pockets.

“I could’ve kept following her, but I think we need a few more feet on the ground if we’re gonna find her,” Law said. “I know shouldn’t have come back here until I found her, but I looked around in the immediate area as well as I could. I’m sorry.”

“You don’t need to apologize,” Ayanna said. “You did what you could. We should get to looking, shouldn’t we?”

Rain thought for a moment and then looked to Ayanna. “Yes, we should,” she said. “Sorin… I’m sorry about this.”

“Mina, do you mind if I see that paper?” Sorin asked.

“I… I don’t mind,” Mina said.

She handed the paper over to Sorin, who then unfolded it and began to read what was written on it. His eyes lit up as he folded the paper back up and shoved it into his pants pocket.

“Excuse me,” Sorin said to Law.

He made his way past Law and out the doorway. Rain tried to stop him, but it was already too late as Sorin left. Whatever was written on that paper had an effect on Sorin, that much Rain was certain of as she looked over to Ayanna and Reiss. There was one more call that she had to make.

To be continued…

Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 28 (Part 2)

[26th of December, 2740 AD; Temporary Base of Operations, Habicht, Ahnlikohn]

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Gavin said. “How the hell did that happen, damn it?”

“Bro, let’s just think for a second,” Law said. “As long as we know that Sorin and Eva are okay, then we’ll be fine.”

Gavin stared into the communicator’s receiver as Ayanna and Reiss were on the other end of the line. They had just received word about what happened at the campground and Gavin was waiting for what to do next. He was in disbelief, yet still Gavin continued to remain on the line for more details. Henry was also there as he stood with Gavin and Law in anticipation on what to do next. There was little that Gavin could say, but he was interrupted when Henry grabbed the receiver out of his hand.

“Hey, what do you think you’re doing?” Gavin asked.

“Hold on one second,” Henry said. “Ayanna, can you tell us what’s going on now? What’s the update?”

“I’m still waiting,” Ayanna replied. After a few moments, she spoke again. “We’ve suffered a few losses, unfortunately. From what I’ve heard, nearly half the squad has been killed.”

“And what of Sorin and Eva?” Henry asked. “Do you have any info on their whereabouts?”

Ayanna paused for a couple of moments before speaking. “The last thing I heard was that Sorin had directed the group to fall back,” she replied. “I have no idea if he’s okay, but I am hoping that he and Eva will escape unscathed.”

“I should’ve went with them,” Gavin said. “We all should’ve went together, then we wouldn’t be in this mess!”

“Don’t beat yourself up over it, Gavin,” Ayanna said. “Besides, you three are supposed to meet with the Maeitakohnian forces, aren’t you?”

“That’s the thing,” Gavin said, “We still haven’t seen them yet.”

“Give them a few more minutes,” Ayanna replied. “President Khadir said that they’d arrive soon and I don’t think he’s one to be lax on his time.”

“Understood,” Henry said.

“What are you going to do now?” Law asked Ayanna. “It seems as if we’ve gone and suffered a loss here… Any ideas?”

“We’ll have to regroup first,” she said. “Once everyone’s together, then we’ll be able to plot out what we should do next.”

“Then it’s Dezine we’ll be going after,” Henry said.

“Yep,” Law said. “That old man’s a Kunigunde loyalist through and through. Ayanna wants him out more than any of us do, however.”

“Let’s just focus on Sorin and Eva’s safety, first,” Ayanna said, “Then we can talk about we’ll do with Dezine.”

“Of course, babe,” Law replied.

“I don’t have to remind you that we’re on a mission, do I,” Ayanna said. “As for you, Henry, let Reiss and I know when you see them.”

“I’ll call back once they get here,” Henry said.

“Very well,” she replied. “Then I’ll speak with you three once everyone’s safe and sound.”

“Okay then,” Law said.

After that, the communications closed off as Henry set down the receiver. Gavin looked out the window to find some bright lights shining outside as several people began approaching the base of operations. Upon closer look, Gavin saw that they were wearing the uniforms of the Maeitakohnian military.

“Looks like they’ve arrived,” Henry said. “Come on, you two, let’s go and meet with them.”

Gavin went with Henry and Law outside to meet the Maeita forces, but he could not shake the anxious feeling in his mind. Sorin and Eva were not far away from Gavin’s location, yet he felt miles apart from them both. He wanted to rush over and help but knew that he could not do that. All Gavin could do was believe in Sorin and Eva to escape, at least until he could get moving again.

“Guess we’re a little late, aren’t we?” Johan asked.

The sudden voice from back in the group of Maeitakohnian soldiers caught Gavin, Law, and Henry by surprise. It was obvious to Gavin that Johan was here, but no one knew the reason except for Johan himself. With one group of soldiers parting to the left and the other to the right, Johan walked through the opened path as Gavin rushed up to him.

“You have a hell of a way of making an entrance,” Gavin said. “What are you doing here?”

“Now, Gavin, I think you know the answer by now,” Johan replied. “Oh, by the way, I should tell you that these guys here aren’t the entire group that Khadir promised you.”

“You’re kidding, right?” Henry asked. “From my count, I see thirty soldiers. You mean to tell me this is all we’ve got?”

Johan chuckled as a grin popped up upon his face. “Hey, I didn’t say that he was only sending along this group,” he said, “Just that this is one group you guys see before you.”

“Okay, then where are the other soldiers?” Law asked. “And what about that lady that’s always by your side? Lover’s quarrel, perhaps?”

“I’m glad to see I’m being treated to such a warm welcome here,” Johan said. “Well, let’s just say I had a feeling about how this night would go, so Jelka and I decided to split this group up.”

“I guess I don’t need to ask why you’d know so much,” Gavin said. “To ask would be pointless.”

“No, but we ought to hurry up,” Johan said. “I would imagine with the way you three barged out of that building that something’s gone down, am I correct to assume?”

“You would be right,” Henry replied.

Johan turned towards the direction of Lead Campground. “So then we have no time to waste,” he said. “We’ll have to hurry!”

With the cheers of the soldiers, Johan hurried ahead with the group. Gavin hated to admit it, but Johan was correct. He had been correct the entire time and now there was so little time to move that Gavin just sprinted off without a second thought. He had no time to affirm to either Law or Henry about following Johan that they just decided to follow him as well. As Lead Campground stood close by, there was no need to take a vehicle. That, however, was not what Gavin was concerned about as he knew that he had to catch up to Sorin and Eva before it was too late.


[26th of December, 2740 AD; Lead Campground Inner Forest, north of Habicht, Ahnlikohn]

Underneath the weight of the soldier on top of him, Sorin could only watch as Harold walked over to Eva. Bradley continued lift Eva up with his hands on her neck, but still she had her sword in her hand. What became the main concern in Sorin’s mind, however, was what Harold had just said. It was unbelievable to think that Harold would reveal that he killed Kirk as casually as possible that all Sorin wanted to do was deny it. Harold had to be bluffing. He had to be wrong. There was no way that it was possible, Sorin thought. His father could not have lost a fight, nor could Kirk have found himself in a situation he could not have won. Sorin leaned into his belief as Harold turned his head towards Sorin and smiled a wide, wicked grin.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Harold said. “You’re thinking that I’m just a simple man whose only purpose is to serve Isaac Kunigunde. You don’t need to answer me, because I know that’s what you think of me.”

“There’s… There’s no way you could’ve done it,” Eva said. “I don’t believe you…”

“Be quiet,” Bradley said.

“It’s a dilemma, isn’t it?” Harold asked. “Of course, this is only the lead of a much bigger declaration. Killing Kirk Wilk was just a simple task that I so easily pulled off at any time; even that good-for-nothing Rysol went running instead of choosing to protect his father!”

“You’re lying,” Sorin said. “You’re just trying to deceive us, that’s all. That’s all you’re doing!”

“Give it up,” Harold said. “I could keep playing games with you here, but I have much bigger things to pursue than deal with you.”

Harold reached into his coat pocket and pulled out what appeared to be the handle of a sword. Sorin recognized the hilt once Harold took the handle out and dropped it on the ground near him. Sorin could not have mistaken the symbol of the Sword of Eight anywhere as denial turned into disbelief. The handle belonged to Kirk’s sword, though the blade was nowhere to be found.

“He put up a fight, that much is for certain,” Harold said. “I really ought to be thanking him, however; were it not for him, I wouldn’t have succeeded in my plans.”

“Our plan, right?” Korbin asked.

Harold looked down at Sorin. “It’s no use fighting now,” he said. “This fight is one you’ve already lost the moment you stepped foot in my domain.”

“It’s not over yet,” Sorin said. “I’m not going to let you get away with this, not a chance!”

“Please, save the empty words when you stand trial,” Harold said. “Or is it that you wish to forgo the trial and meet an early demise? It’s not like you have a chance of being found innocent either way.”

“It’s an open and shut case!” Bradley said as he looked at Eva. “So should I just kill her already? Seems like she’s not trying to fight back.”

Sorin directed his attention over to Eva, who continued to remain still in Bradley’s grasp. She was still breathing, though her sword lowered towards the ground. However, it was only when her sword dropped out of her hand did Sorin see the lack of expression upon Eva’s face. A blank gaze with no emotion. There was no fury or sorrow in her eye, only a listless feel that all hope had been lost with no point of return.

“Eva, please, please don’t give up,” Sorin said.

“It’s no use… Sorin, it’s impossible,” she replied. “I can’t… Kirk… He’s really gone now…”

“No, you can’t let him get to you!” Sorin exclaimed.

“Quit being a nuisance!” Harold said. “You have no clue when to give up, do you, you son of a bitch!?”

He knelt down next to Sorin and grabbed his hair. Harold pulled Sorin’s head up by hair and slammed him face down into the ground. Sorin could do nothing to resist as Harold pressed down on the back of his head.

“Perhaps I should be the one to kill Eva,” Harold said to Sorin. “Once I’m finished with her, then you’ll realize the true state that you’re in!”

“Ah, finally, some progress!” Bradley said as he dropped Eva to the ground. “I’ll let you take care of business, sir!”

Harold laughed. “Watch me, Sorin,” he said. “I’ll plummet you towards the depths of despair with one fell swoop!”

He got up and took out his knife once again with the intent to kill. Eva lay on the cold ground still with the dull expression on her face. Nothing stood in Harold’s way now, though that would soon prove to be wrong as the sound of footsteps echoed. The sound kept echoing louder, each successive footstep more resonant than the last. Sorin had one last bit of hope as Harold turned to the direction of the footsteps. Then, a light flashed upon Harold, leading him, Korbin, and Bradley to cover their eyes. The Ameci soldiers followed suit as Sorin knew that the best was saved for last.

“So you’ve finally shown yourself to the world,” Jelka said. “Harold Mars, you’ve just made a grave mistake!”

To be continued…

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Aurora – Chapter 25 (Part 1)

[24th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – outside Douglas Junction]


Ayanna awaited the inevitable. With the Ameci military and Korbin Mars getting away from the Thekohnian soldiers in Oelaans, there was the realization that everything depended on defending the junction. There were numerous roads which led into the kingdom, but Ayanna had been informed that Douglas Junction would be the most likely path that Ameci would enter. Being the main road which led to Thedam Castle, Ayanna knew that she and the other ex-Iiayikohian soldiers could not afford to lose the battle here. It had been some time since Ayanna last fought in a battle, but she believed that her skills remained as sharp as they were in the past.

“It feels like an age and then some since we last served on the field,” Dierk said. “How long has it been?”

“The Battle of Bel,” Ayanna replied. “I trust that you’ll fight with everything you’ve got, Dierk.”

“We know what they’re going to do,” Dierk said. “If I don’t fight with all I’ve got, then how can I even look at myself in the mirror the next morning?”

“I think you would do more than look in a mirror,” Ayanna said. “If we fail here, then it’s the queen’s life that is at stake.”

“They’d go that far?” Dierk asked.

“Make no mistake about it, Dierk,” Ayanna said. “Rain is a threat to Dezine and the rest of Foundation. They wouldn’t attack us without a goal in mind, and in this case, their goal is to assassinate her.”

“So we have to stop them,” Dierk replied.

Ayanna nodded. “As of now, our focus is on the Ameci military,” she said. “It brings me no joy when I say that they’re our enemy, but with Foundation in control and Dezine willing to work with Isaac, there’s no other choice. We cannot allow for them to gain any more ground.”

“I still can’t believe it,” Dierk said. “There are still so many people, so many friends, that still serve within the Iiayikohnian military.”

“You don’t want to go up against them is what you’re saying,” Ayanna said. “I hope that it doesn’t come to fighting our fellow soldiers, but they chose to stay in Iiayikohn and serve Dezine. Whether that’s out of fear or not, they’re going to fight us all the same.”

“It seems like you’re not bothered by that, Ansa,” Dierk said.

“Reiss and I spoke with as many people as we could,” Ayanna replied. “Of course, we were able to convince quite a few to come with us, but others chose to remain of their own volition. These are uncertain times, Dierk, and most of them made their choice because of that fact.”

“And the others?” Dierk asked.

Ayanna sighed. “Loyalty to the prime minister.”

“I wonder what they’ll do should Dezine be ousted,” Dierk said.

“That will be something to worry about once we’re finished here,” Ayanna said. “I intend to lead the charge into Rezar and I will do my damnedest to make sure that Dezine will pay for his crimes.”

“It’s daunting, but knowing you, we will make it through somehow,” Dierk said. “Is it just me or does it seem too quiet?”

“No, it’s not just you,” Ayanna replied.

There was a prolonged silence at the junction with no sign of any Ameci soldiers anywhere. Ayanna was not sure what to make of it, but continued to keep her guard up just in case. She knew that it would be easy to spot incoming troops, which made the silence all the more peculiar. There was no sign of an ambush, either, as Ayanna tried to key in on any stray sounds that may reveal a potential threat.

“Whatever they have planned, we have to watch out,” Ayanna told Dierk. “I want you to watch the other end of the road; there could be a chance that they’ve slipped through one of the other roads.”

Dierk turned around and looked. “I’ll do that,” he said, “But so far, I’m not seeing anyone suspicious in particular.”

“That doesn’t matter,” Ayanna said. “Just keep an eye out, because we may be dealing with a smaller force than we previously thought.”

“You think so?” Dierk asked.

“I’ve been thinking that from what Gavin said, we would have to deal with a battalion,” Ayanna said. “If that’s the case, then it’s possible that it was all set up on purpose in order to draw us out. I’m not entirely familiar with the area of this kingdom myself, but I do know that there are several areas that can be used as a way to sneak in, including the Thekohnian Wastelands.”

“But that would be inconvenient for them, right?”

“We have to consider the options,” Ayanna said. “I’m sure Rain and Rado have already thought about it, too.”

“Well, I still don’t see anyone that looks like an Ameci soldier,” Dierk said. “Should we remain here?”

“That’s the order, yes,” Ayanna answered.

“I wonder how the others are doing,” Dierk said. “I’m sure that Reiss is also worried, too…”

“We’ll call Reiss if nothing of note happens within the next forty minutes,” Ayanna said. She looked at the rest of the ex-soldiers in her group. “But we won’t be leaving this post until the next order. Do you understand?”

The ex-soldiers agreed as Ayanna continued to focus on the main road. She had no idea if someone had gotten through yet, but hoped that no one had made it through yet. The lack of an entrance made Ayanna cautious as she wondered if Rain, Sorin, and the others were cognizant of the possibility. There was only one way to check, however, but Ayanna had to hold off on that in case the enemy came through.

After enough waiting, Ayanna spotted a car off in the distance. It began to approach the main street as Ayanna signaled to Dierk and the ex-soldiers. With their weapons ready, Ayanna knew she had to remain cautious. Soon, the car stopped several feet away from the group as Ayanna proceeded to take a few steps towards the car with her gun at pointed in front of her. She came to a halt as the front doors of the car opened and out came Gavin and Law. Ayanna sighed as she put away her gun and greeted the two brothers.

“I didn’t expect to be greeted like this,” Law said, “But I guess I’ve got some explaining to do, don’t I?”

“You’re back already?” Ayanna asked. “What has happened?”

“That’s a good question, you know,” Law replied. “So nobody came crossing through here?”

“Negative,” Dierk said. “Weren’t you two going to lookout in Oelaans?”

“Everything’s already under control there,” Gavin said. “Dealing with these assholes is a real pain in the ass, I’ll say.”

“But seriously, you haven’t seen one trace of our raven-haired ruffian and his cohorts run about yet?” Law asked. “That’s truly strange.”

“That may be on purpose,” Ayanna said.

“What will you do?” Gavin asked.

“With the situation as it is right now, I think that it may be best to inform Reiss right away,” Ayanna replied. “Dierk, I want you and Kinsley to go and open up communications.”

“Got it,” Dierk said.

“Then we’ll be heading towards the castle,” Gavin said. “I hope you don’t mind us going through.”

“Of course not,” Ayanna said. “Everyone, move to the sides!”

The ex-soldiers moved out of the way and onto the sidewalk. Ayanna watched Gavin and Law get into the car and drive off towards Thedam Castle. She wanted to go as well but knew that she was not about to abandon the post she helped set up. Then, Ayanna saw Dierk and Kinsley come back with a radio communicator and helped them place it on top of the brick fence next to them. With the communicator in hand, Ayanna flipped the switch.

“Let’s just hope he picks up,” Ayanna said.




[24th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle Hall]


Sorin felt a strange unease as he paced around the main floor. It was not the fact that the Ameci military headed for the kingdom, but rather the fact that he had no idea where his father was at the moment. There was no way to tell by calling him because Sorin did not even have any sort of clue as to where his father stayed for the night. He could only hope to hear word from Kirk soon, but Sorin had a feeling he would be waiting a while longer before that happened. He glanced aside and watched Eva and Mina talk with other. Sighing, Sorin decided to join in.

“And if they come, I’m going to bash in their faces!” Mina exclaimed as she pounded her fist into her palm. “I’m going to make sure Korbin and his villainous crew pay for what they’ve done to the people of the Thekohnian Region!”

“I’ll be watching,” Eva said. “There’s no doubt that all of us want a piece of the action and the opportunity to make these assholes pay for their crimes. Isn’t that right, Sorin?”

“I agree,” Sorin said, looking away from the two.

“What’s wrong?” Mina asked. “Are you tired? If you’re tired, I can slap you in the face to help you wake up!”

“No, it’s okay,” Sorin replied. “I’m well awake, thank you.”

“It’s no use trying to hide it, especially from me,” Eva said. “I know what’s bugging you.”

“I know I told you that there was no need to worry about my father, but I can’t help but feel like something is wrong,” Sorin said. “I know it’s just me and my thoughts running wild, so I shouldn’t worry about it.”

“There’s not much we can do,” Eva replied. “We just have to wait for Kirk. You certainly cannot go until your name is cleared of suspicion, can you?”

Sorin shook his head. “I wouldn’t want to risk it.”

“If that’s the case, then our choice has already been made for us,” Eva said. “Even if I wanted to leave and look for Kirk myself, it wouldn’t be right for me to abandon you. Not now.”

“Yeah, don’t worry about it, Sorin,” Mina said. “I don’t think there’s any way at all that we don’t see Kirk again.”

“You’re probably right,” Sorin said.

However, Sorin could not help but feel as if he had failed with his promise to Kirk. He had made sure that he would find Rysol and bring him back to Ameci, but all his efforts were rewarded with Rysol getting abducted. Sorin was nowhere near close to reuniting with him, nor did he have any idea of the whereabouts of Rysol’s abductor. It felt even more like a failure that Kirk left on his own once more, because that was the only reason why he would go off in the first place. Sorin wished that he could have helped, but with everything as it was, he knew that there was no chance until some progress was made with Ahnlikohn.

“Where do you think they might try coming in?” Mina asked. “Do you think it’s the side entrance or the front?”

“Wherever they’re coming from, we have the advantage of overseeing both ends,” Eva replied. “No matter what, there are soldiers ready in case we have to battle against the enemy.”

Sorin exhaled. Then, a sudden creaking sound got his attention. A distinct sound which Sorin could not mistake for any other: the sound of a door opening and then closing followed.

“Do you guys hear that?” Sorin asked.

“Yes, I certainly heard that,” Eva said. “It came from inside. Mina!”

“Did they already come in?” Mina asked. “How in the world did they get past us? I’ll pummel them myself!”

“Mina, I think it’s pretty easy to understand how they got in,” Sorin said. “Do you remember the secret passage that we took with Rain?”

“But there’s no way they would ever know about that,” Mina said. “That’s just plain impossible!”

“It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s possible,” Eva replied. “What matters now is that we move! Mina, let Rain know that the plan has changed! Sorin and I will get a head start and secure the hallway!”

Mina did as Eva said and ran towards the queen’s office. Now Sorin had to keep his guard up that much more as he and Eva booked it to the back hallway. Sorin had to wonder how anyone outside of Thedam Castle would know about the secret passage, but he knew that there would be time for questions later after they took care of the threat. As he and Eva reached the back hall, they spotted the single intruder standing at the other end. Sorin recognized the man as Erik Ellis, the third of Korbin’s Blood Ravens. Erik turned and drew a sword the moment he saw Sorin and Eva staring him down.

“There’s no use fighting me!” Erik exclaimed. “I already know where I have to go and neither of you can do anything to stop me!”

Sorin saw Eva glance at him. “I’ll stand back and hold back the exit.”

“I only need one strike,” Eva said, “But it won’t hurt at all to have you back me up.”

“I believe in you,” Sorin said.

Eva nodded. If anyone had the best chance to incapacitate Erik, then it was Eva. Sorin had faith in Eva’s ability. He knew that all she needed was one swing of her blade in order to do damage to Erik before he could do anything to them. Eva rushed Erik with her sword drawn and swung at him. Erik, though he did not appear to be as good with a sword, defended himself from the potential attack. It became obvious to Sorin that Erik was nowhere near as experienced as Korbin, as Erik continued to hold up his blade in defense. Sorin knew Eva had the upper hand, but then he noticed the smile upon Erik’s face.

“I don’t have any time to fight you two,” Erik said. “So instead, I’m gonna go and leave you two in the dust!”

Not even a second later, Erik reached for his pocket. He then pulled out his hand and threw something to the ground. Smoke began to appear as both Eva and Erik were caught in the growing cloud.

Sorin hurried towards the cloud of smoke. “Eva!”

Another smoke bomb was thrown to the floor and Sorin found himself in the smoke as well. He covered his mouth as he tried to find Eva and Erik, but he could only find Eva after searching through the smoke.

“Eva, are you okay?” Sorin asked.

“He’s getting away,” Eva said. “Don’t let him get away!”

Sorin tried to find out where Erik went. He could not have gotten that far, Sorin thought, given that they were in the back hallway. Erik had made it more difficult, however, with the smoke throughout the hall. Then Sorin proceeded to hear footsteps going away from him and Eva. It could only be Erik going away into the castle proper, so Sorin decided to follow in that direction with Eva right behind him.

“Damn, I shouldn’t have been so reckless,” Sorin said.

“Just focus on our enemy,” Eva replied. “He won’t get far, I promise.”

But then, as they turned to the side, Sorin and Eva watched as Erik got away from them once more. However, that soon followed by the sound of two swords clashing against one another. What ensued next was the sound of one sword breaking and dropping to the floor, followed by the distinct sound of Erik getting hit as he grunted out in pain. Sorin hurried and saw for himself the sight before his eyes: Mina facing down Erik.

“You’re not going anywhere!” Mina exclaimed.

Mina then threw another punch and struck Erik in the side of his face. He fell to the ground and did not get up. Eva then caught up with Sorin and Mina as she saw Erik lying on the floor unconscious.

“I thought you were going to tell Rain,” Sorin said.

“I did,” Mina replied. “And I know I couldn’t let this bad guy get away from us. Not at all!”

“Well, it appears like he’s the only one who came in,” Sorin said. “What are we going to do with him?”

“First, we have to let Rain know what happened,” Eva said. “Then we’ll see what we can do from there.”


To be continued…


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