Sundown – Chapter 12 (Part 2)

[10th of September, 2740 AD; Royal President’s House, Admorse, Ameci – Atlas District]


People crowded around the entrance to the interior library inside the royal president’s house as Kirk Wilk waited for President Hasker to arrive. While he waited, Kirk spotted Lowell Page and Tre Hendricks over by one of the book shelves. Deciding not to stand around and do nothing, Kirk walked up to the two men who were already in conversation.

“If what I’m hearing is true, then it ain’t good,” Lowell said. “Things are changing pretty fast around here, Tre.”

“No doubt about that,” Tre replied. “I’m just wondering when the hammer drops and all this hard work goes to waste.”

Lowell sighed. “Fucking shame is what it is,” he said. “That president’s got a lot to explain, I’ll say.”

“Ah, but we ought to just wait for him to arrive first, don’t we?” Tre asked. He then noticed Kirk standing by his side. “So you decided to come and see Piere, haven’t you Kirk?”

“Well, it was more like he invited me,” Kirk answered. “Special access and all, you know.”

Tre grinned. “I take it you saw the ruckus outside?”

“It’s interesting,” Kirk said. “Apparently something happened last night in Iiayikohn, according to the president.”

“Between not going to the meeting in Rezar and this, something stinks,” Lowell said. “Only way to find out is to hear it from the man himself.”

“Perhaps he had a bad meal the night before?” Tre asked. “Nah, seems too likely to be true. What do you think, Kirk?”

“Only General Fercewend knows,” Kirk replied.

“Rohan isn’t one to share the secrets, especially if they’d be detrimental to Ameci,” Tre said. “Though, if you ask me, the guy you really oughta look for is Kunigunde. Wonder if he’s going to show his face here.”

“I hope he does,” Lowell said. “That way I can tell that bastard to his face that I have no interest in giving up my shipyard to his company.”

The door at the other side of the library opened and revealed President Piere Hasker and Isaac Kunigunde. Hasker wore a black suit as he walked over to the desk and took a seat behind it while Isaac, in a gray suit, took a seat next to him. No one else entered, so the other three men decided to take their seats to the opposite of the president and Isaac.

“There was a little fire in my ear just now,” Isaac said. “Seems to me that you were just talking about me right now, Lowell. Something about calling me a ‘bastard’ of some sorts?”

“I’m not afraid to say it,” Lowell replied. “You are truly a fucking bastard.”

Isaac clapped his hands. “Oh, that’s what I expected out of you, Mr. Page,” he said. “Brash as ever! It takes some serious nerve to say what you just said.”

“Let me just apologize for my friend’s words here,” Tre said. “Clearly we’re here for something more important, aren’t we? After all, it was the president himself that called us over here.”

“And thank you for bringing that up,” Hasker said. “You two can talk about your problems afterwards. Now, though, is a time in which I must deliver some difficult news.”

“What is that?” Kirk asked.

“I’ve received a call earlier from the vice prime minister, Wilson Dezine,” Hasker began. “That call happened because the prime minister, Alan Berry, was assassinated early this morning. Since you were all connected to him, I felt it important to inform you.”

Lowell grumbled. “And you have no idea who is responsible?”

“The Iiayikohnian government doesn’t know yet, either,” Hasker answered. “Clearly, though, with this news we are entering uncertain times.”

“I knew there were some people who didn’t like Alan, but to think that someone would go out of their way to kill him… I can’t believe it,” Tre said. “It feels like I’ve just lost my brother.”

Isaac smirked. “Don’t let the fact that he’s dead distract you from the reality,” he said. “This was an inevitability based upon Berry’s own lack of rigidity regarding the True Thekohnians. Opponents saw that and figured that they could take advantage of a foolishly idealistic man.”

“You want to say that again?” Lowell asked. “It might just be my old age, but I could’ve sworn you were trying to besmirch Alan’s good name!”

“Feel free to think what you want, Mr. Page,” Isaac replied. “Just so you know, this is not what I think but rather it’s what the masses believe. That’s right, the man you call your ‘brother’ is nothing more than an afterthought in the eyes of the world.”

“There’s no reason to drop this low, Isaac,” Kirk said. “We all know why you’re here, anyway.”

“Dezine’s already set to make an announcement,” Hasker said, “And with that, there’s still a funeral to attend. My main reason for asking you here was to attend with me to said funeral.”

“That’s not something you needed to ask us,” Kirk replied. “Of course we’ll go. Why would we not?”

“It’s only a formality,” Hasker answered. “I knew that you all wouldn’t say no once you’ve heard the details. Besides, it would be a good chance for me to make up for not appearing in Rezar earlier.”

“Time is passing by with each day, I’d say,” Isaac said. “It would be a good idea for me to stretch my legs once more and personally see through that we set things right with our allies in Iiayikohn.”

“Anyway, Hasker, I assume that we’ll be moving soon,” Kirk said. “I would guess that you’ll have a ship ready later today.”

“That’s correct, Mr. Wilk,” Hasker said. “Of course, I will give you three some time to gather whatever you wish to take. Two hours from now, meet us at the Official Dock.”

“Don’t need to tell me twice,” Lowell said.

“Besides, us three had a vow in case something happened to one of us,” Tre said. “There’s no way we’re missing out on seeing Alan one last time.”

Hasker smiled. “Great, then everything is set,” he said. “I will await your arrival.”

He stood up and walked out the same back door in which he entered, while Isaac stayed behind. Kirk got up to his feet, as did Lowell and Tre, and proceeded to leave.

“You know, it’s really a shame for you three,” Isaac said.

Kirk turned around and looked at Isaac. “Pardon me?”

“Alan Berry was the leader of the Swords of Eight, was he not?” Isaac asked. He stepped out of his chair and approached the three men. “There were people who believed in what he said so deeply, that this news is only going to bring them pain as they realize that their hero wasn’t so invincible after all.”

“Are you looking for trouble?” Lowell asked. “Because if you want, I can give you some trouble.”

“Go ahead, Mr. Page,” Isaac said, “But you should know that what happens in this room stays in this room and if you choose to make a stink about later, I can assure you that you will experience humiliation on my behalf.”

“Mr. Kunigunde, while I respect you, I can’t respect your attacks on my good friend,” Tre replied. “We’ve only just gotten the news and you only wish to antagonize Alan despite all the good he accomplished.”

“You keep thinking that this is what I think,” Isaac said. “Like I’ve stated before, it’s not my belief but rather those of the public. I suppose that I could excuse your simple mindedness based on your relation to Alan, though that train of thought is exactly the same one that Alan had and we all know what happened to him.”

Kirk took a deep breath and exhaled. “Isaac, perhaps it’s best if you followed President Hasker’s example and took your leave,” he said. “We’re all busy men here, after all.”

“Please, none of you are as busy as I am,” Isaac replied. “In fact, I had to cancel an entire week’s worth of meetings just so I could take this little excursion overseas.”

He quickly turned around and saw himself to the exit in the back as Kirk looked back at Lowell and Tre. Lowell had his eyes closed and his arms crossed as Tre just laughed.

“That man certainly is a joker,” Tre said.

“Only he doesn’t make me laugh,” Lowell replied. “I’d like to see exactly how he’d react if one of his closest friends bit it, but I’m not even sure if that man has friends.”

“Best not to think about it too much,” Kirk said. “Isaac’s clearly trying to get a rise out of us for his own amusement.”

“Hard not to when he’s trying to join himself at the hip with Hasker,” Tre said. “Really wonder if those rumors are true.”

Kirk’s eyes lit up. “Rumors?”

“You and I both know that Hasker ain’t exactly the most liked guy around the neighborhood,” Tre replied. “Nothing against him, because I think he’s a nice fellow, but when he’s turning to Isaac Kunigunde of all people, you know it’s not good.”

“I was worried about that,” Kirk said. “I can only wonder what will happen if Hasker is ousted.”

“You want my opinion?” Tre asked. “Take a look at Fercewend; he’s setting himself up for a potential shot at president. Even now, people are looking at him to take the reins once Hasker’s done.”

“The only question is when will Rohan make that announcement,” Lowell said, “But I’m already getting tired of being here. You two are free to stay, but I have to get ready.”

Lowell left Tre and Kirk as the two decided to follow suit and head out themselves. Kirk had to prepare for the trip, which was something he did not expect to happen. There was also the fact that Eva was travelling to Iiayikohn, Alan’s death unbeknownst to her. Kirk tried to get things in order before he had to make his departure as a cloud of uncertainty hanged above him.




[10th of September, 2740 AD;  Helm – Outer Area, Ahnlikohn]


It was only a hunch that he would appear, but Johan spotted Victor Wihll running through the forest as he made his way to approach the escaped inmate. Wihll took a stop to catch his breath while Johan clapped his hands.

“I had a feeling that you’d be here,” Johan said. “Something told me that you would never risk going back to Rezar.”

Wihll spoke between breaths. “Who the hell are you?”

“Come on, Victor, don’t you recognize a friend when you see one?” Johan asked. “After our little conversation the other night, I was sure you’d greet me with a much more friendly gesture.”

“Sorry, but I’ve no time to chat with someone I don’t know,” Wihll said. “Not when I’ve got these Neu Thekohnians chasing my ass.”

Johan looked around. “Doesn’t seem like they’re close,” he said. “I think you might have actually shaken them off.”

“You’re not pulling my leg, are you?” Wihll asked.

“I wouldn’t lie,” Johan replied.

Wihll awkwardly straightened himself up and cleared his throat. “It was all because of that damned man,” he said. “The son of a bitch appeared out of nowhere and helped me without a care in the world.”

“Perhaps it’s a sign,” Johan said.

“My ass it is!” Wihll retorted. “Death still sticks on me like a rotten odor. Is that truly a sign from god?”

“It just means that your potential will only get better from here on out,” Johan answered. “God or no god, that potential is inside you and I’m sure that you’ll put it to good use.”

“You say that, yet I don’t believe you,” Wihll said. “You must be an Ameci for sure. If I had a weapon, I’d kill you right about now.”

Johan laughed. “I’m not here to play sides,” he said. “My nationality means very little in regards to my plans.”

“Only an idiot would believe something as stupid as what you just said,” Wihll replied. “A bunch of lies!”

“That’s what you want to think?” Johan asked. “Either way, I know for a fact that you’ve got nothing right now. That’s why I’m here.”

“What could you possibly want with me?”

“I personally don’t need you by my side,” Johan said, “But there is someone who you will want to run into. Someone who can help you take down the Neu Thekohnian Order.”

Wihll growled. “You think I want to take them down?”

“They’re not very fond of the True Thekohnians, from what I’ve gathered,” Johan replied. “What they want is an all out war for their own desires. My goal is to prevent such a thing from happening.”

“And that’s why you came to me…”

Johan shrugged. “I’m going to repeat what I told you that night,” he said, “Right now, your opponent has you in check. The purpose of your next move is not only to get out of check, but to also avoid a possible checkmate.”

There was the faint sound of wind rustling through the trees as the leaves and branches moved. Wihll had no response, but Johan took a step closer to him.

“If you want to kill me right now, then I invite you to do it,” Johan said. “What’s another corpse to you, after all?”

“You’re screwing with me, aren’t you?” Wihll asked. “The moment I lay my hands on you, an entire troop is going to capture me… isn’t that right?”

“I’m by myself right now, Victor,” Johan answered as he walked away from Wihll. “That’s when I do my best work, by the way. Besides, I don’t think you want to kill me, anyway.”

“You seem so sure of yourself,” Wihll said.

“Only because I can tell what would happen next,” Johan said. “You want to capture the pawn but your opponent has already anticipated that move. Instead of taking the easy kill, you should work several more steps ahead so you can put your opponent in check.”

“Get to the point.”

“The person you will want to run into will certainly be passing through Helm,” Johan replied. “I suppose you will have some problems going into town dressed as you are, so I’m going to leave you with a little gift. The bushes behind me has a small brown bag stuffed inside.”

With no choice but to listen, Wihll staggered over to the bushes and put his hand inside. Past the green he found the bag exactly as Johan described and picked it up. Victor unzipped it and pulled out a green cloak.

“It should look familiar to you,” Johan said as Wihll quickly put the cloak on. “There’s no guarantee that you’ll go unspotted but to meet with this person, you do not want to draw any more attention to yourself. I’m surprised that you put that on without much question, though.”

“What you say is true, as much as I don’t want to admit it,” Wihll replied. “Don’t take this as me thanking you, however, because I’m only in this for myself.”

“Then I’ll make my exit,” Johan said. “I really wish that we could have these conversations under different circumstances, but we’ll have to take what we can get.”

Wihll chose not to respond and instead ran off for Helm as Johan chuckled and took a seat by the tree nearby. Everything was starting to move in the right direction, Johan thought. All he had to do now was make sure that his plan would stay on course before someone tried to interfere with it. Johan knew that there was little time before he had to move again and with the Neu Thekohnian Order fast approaching his location, he had to act fast.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 12 (Part 1)

[10th of September, 2740 AD; New Prime Minister’s Office, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


Eva rushed through to the inside of the office past the crowd of soldiers at the door and through the hallway. She had to find her answer even if it proved to be one that Eva did not want to hear. As she hurried through, Eva bumped into Ayanna at the base of the stairs.

“Hello, Eva,” Ayanna said. “I’m sorry but I can’t stop to speak with you.”

“Just tell me what’s going on,” Eva replied. “What happened to Alan? Tell me!”

Ayanna turned away. “I’m very sorry,” she said. “I know how much he meant to you, but…”

“No… you can’t be serious,” Eva said.

“We’re planning to break the news in an hour,” Ayanna said. “It’s been hell trying to hold this off because even I don’t want to believe it, but it’s the truth.”

Eva knelt as she focused on the floor. “This is all a dream, isn’t it? A terrible, awful dream that I just need to wake up from.”

“I can only give you my deepest sympathies,” Ayanna replied, “But you can’t just stay there on the floor forever. Would Alan have wanted to see you like this?”

“Just tell me who did it,” Eva said. “Tell me so I can find the asshole who decided to take Alan’s life and kill them myself.”

“We’re still trying to figure that out.”

“Then work harder, lieutenant general!” Eva exclaimed. “Right now, someone is walking around free and you can’t just let them get away with it!”

She stood up and gripped the handle of her sword while her free hand clenched into a fist.

“Because… because if you let them get away, then Alan’s death will never be avenged!”

“Eva, wait!”

Ayanna’s words came too late, however, as Eva decided to leave the building and head off. There had to be a way she could bring Alan some peace, Eva thought, as she tried to find out who killed him. To Eva, Alan was more than just a prime minister. He was more than just the leader of the Swords of Eight. For her, Alan was very meaningful friend who believed in her when no one else did and gave her the chance to prove herself.

“I will make this right, Alan, I swear,” Eva said. “Whoever did this, I’m going to make sure that they’ll never breathe another breath!”

“There you are!” Gavin shouted.

He sprinted to Eva, who turned around and stood up. Law was right behind Gavin as the two brothers joined up with Eva.

“Glad we were both right, bro,” Law said. “Eva, I’m sorry you had to learn about what happened this way.”

“Are you done?” Eva asked. “Because I really don’t want any pity.”

“We’re not here to pity you,” Gavin replied. “I know how you feel, but whatever it is you’re planning to do is probably foolish.”

Eva grumbled. “You’re okay with letting a murderer walk?”

“No, not at all,” Gavin said. “Believe me when I say I want whoever’s responsible behind bars.”

“Prison is too good for Alan’s killer,” Eva said. “The only good would be for me to find them and kill them myself.”

“You can’t just do that,” Gavin said.

“Of course I can,” Eva replied as she eyed the sword at her hip. “I’m not afraid to kill, especially when they’ve already killed those I hold dear to me.”

“Well, I don’t blame ya,” Law said. “I’d love to just meet this person myself and give them the one-two but without any lead, we’re stuck.”

“Especially when we have no idea who carried this out,” Gavin added. “It could’ve been anyone out there.”

“No, it couldn’t have been,” Eva said. “What happened here, whoever killed Alan had a reason to want him dead. It had to be somebody important.”

Gavin sighed. “I understand that. I do.”

“Then you’d understand why I want to do this,” she replied.

“Look, we’re getting nowhere,” Law said. “Let’s pay Ayanna a quick visit while we’re still here and try to move things forward.”

Gavin adjusted his sunglasses. “I’m going to tell you one thing, Eva,” he said, “We’ll find out who killed Alan. No one assassinates the prime minister and gets away with it as long as I’m around.”




[10th of September, 2740 AD; Executive Hotel, Entrance Lobby – Deca District]


Noa stood frozen in place as he stared Sorin down. Nobody said a single word, which allowed for the ambient sounds of cars passing by and people walking to be heard.

“Excuse me, but how do you know about Rysol?” Sorin asked

“Are you lying to my face?” Noa asked. “Who else could mistake the long hair and sword by your side? It’s… it’s so painfully obvious!”

Sorin raised an eyebrow. “You have long hair, too, you know.”

“Hey, don’t call me out on that!” Noa exclaimed as he placed his hands on either side of his head. “All I know is that I received a request to target Rysol Wilk and I know you look similar to him, so there!”

“Just because we have similar traits doesn’t mean we’re the same person,” Sorin replied.

“Besides, you’ve got the wrong person,” Gale said. “Sorin is Rysol’s younger brother.”

Rain took a step forward. “May I ask something?”

“I… I know who you are, too!” Noa said. “You’re the princess of Thekohn!”

“Indeed, it is I,” Rain said. “I can see that you hail from the Maeitakohn military. Exactly what brought you here today, besides the obvious reason?”

“You asked me a question,” Noa replied. “Oh god, I’ve never had a girl ask me a question before, much less talk to me… What do I do?”

“I can’t believe what I’m hearing,” Gale said.

“Even I didn’t expect that the princess would be speaking to me as if it were nothing,” Noa continued. “Dear lord, she’s even more pretty than I imagined!”

“He’s still talking to himself,” Sorin said.

Gale shook her head. “Hopeless.”

“I’m sorry,” Noa said. “N-No I’m not! What am I saying!? It was because of you that I came here, Rysol Wilk!”

“You’re sorely mistaken,” Sorin said.

“Sorin’s got nothing to do with you, you weirdo!” Mina said. “If you don’t stop harassing him, I’ll clobber you!”

Noa dropped to his knees and raised his arms above his head. “Please don’t hurt me!”

“I think you should just answer my question,” Rain said. “It’s not at all that difficult.”

“Can’t say,” Noa replied. “Can I just go now?”

Mina walked up to Noa and grabbed him by his shirt. “Explain yourself!”

“It’s not at my liberty to disclose that!” Noa shrieked. “I really don’t want to get hurt right now, so please just let me go…”

“I think it’s best if we let him go,” Rain said. “It’s obvious that he’s clearly wrapped up in his own misapprehensions.”

“Yeah, I’m just a nobody,” Noa responded. “I’m just a dummy whose got no business being here!”

“Fine, then,” Mina said as she let go. “You wanna know what I think? I think that even a villain would say you’re pathetic.”

“You’re not holding back on him, are you?” Sorin asked.

“I was being nice,” Mina replied.

“I’m just going to go… now,” Noa said.

Noa jumped up to his feet and dashed off. No one had any desire to stop him, at least not until Sorin noticed that Noa left his bag behind. Sorin walked up to the bag and tried to pick it up, to which he found that it weighed more than he expected it to weigh.

“What the hell is in this thing?” Sorin asked.

“Let’s find out!” Mina said.

“I don’t think it’d be right to look,” Sorin replied. “Who knows what secrets are in here.”

He set the bag back down and looked at it again. If it was similar to the bag that Noa had in Glora, perhaps there would be a reason to look. Sorin decided against it, however, and turned to Rain and Gale.

“So do you think we should wait for him?” Rain asked. “It would be rather unfortunate should that bag go missing.”

“No, let’s just head over to the prime minister’s office,” Mina said as she lifted the bag up over her shoulder. “I’ll take care of this thing no problem!”

“That’s what I expected you to do,” Rain said. “Though I do have some difficulty believing that that man will react with delight should he see you holding his possessions.”

“We can worry about that when we find him,” Sorin said. “Or if he happens to find us.”

Mina led the way to the prime minister’s office as Rain, Gale, and Sorin followed after her. Despite everyone looking out for Noa, there was no sign of him anywhere as the four closed in on their destination. Outside, Eva was already speaking with Gavin and Law as the others decided to join in.

“What’s going on?” Mina asked.

“Just waiting to get in,” Law replied. “We’ve settled things down so Sorin doesn’t have to worry about Eva.”

“I’m really sorry I didn’t tell you,” Sorin said.

“You had a reason not to,” Eva said. “My only wish is that we didn’t have to meet under these circumstances.”

“I agree with you,” Sorin replied.

“Anyway, we’ve got no idea where we can go from here,” Gavin said. “Right now, Eva’s pretty much set on finding whoever’s responsible and dealing with them herself. I’ve got to admit it’s also something I want to do, too.”

“Because of the bounty?” Gale asked.

Gavin sighed. “You must think that low of me to believe that I’m only in for the pounds,” he said. “It’s hardly about any of that when there are much bigger things are at stake.”

“It’s up to us three, then,” Law said. “Eva, you will not believe how amazing I’ve gotten during the past few months.”

“Is that so?” Eva asked. “Well, I hope you’re ready to show it.”

Law reached to his hair and flicked it. “Don’t worry, I’m always ready to impress when given the chance.”

“Anyway, I was wondering why Mina’s lugging that around,” Eva said.

Mina placed the bag down on the ground. “Oh, this? It’s just something some guy dropped and we’re hoping to get it back to him soon.”

“Speaking of which, isn’t that him over there?” Rain asked.

She pointed over to Noa, who stood across the street surrounded by a couple of Iiayikohnian officers.

“I don’t know anything,” Noa said. “Please just let me be!”

“Hey, you!” Mina exclaimed.

Noa turned his head and yelped as soon as he saw Mina. “Oh no, no, no, no, no! Not you again!”

As she picked the bag up, Mina ran towards Noa and the two officers. Both of the officers moved towards her as Mina set the bag down again.

“Excuse me, miss, but we’re busy here,” the clean shaven officer said.

“Yeah, we’d appreciate it if you’d go along,” the other officer said. “This isn’t exactly a place for civilians to be right now.”

“No, I’m here because he dropped this bag,” Mina said. “You forgot this over at the hotel; my friend Sorin couldn’t even lift it!”

The other officer raised his eyebrow. “Do you have any idea what’s in there, miss?”

“Not a clue!” Mina replied.

“That’s… that’s mine!” Noa said. “You really chose a bad time to give this back to me!”

Noa ran over to the bag and picked it up. However, the clean shaven officer grabbed Noa by the arm and pulled him back.

“What do ya got in that bag?”

Noa pulled his arm away. “It’s just clothes,” he said, “Simply heavy clothes, that’s all!”

“You must have really packed it hard, then,” Mina said, “Because I didn’t expect to be carrying that all over the city.”

“Yes, yes, I thank you,” Noa said, “Now can you just let me go?”

“Not so fast,” the other officer said, “Not until you show us what’s in the bag. If it’s really just clothing, you’ll have no problem, right?”

“Urgh, I’m not comfortable with that,” Noa replied. “You see… it’s, er, women’s clothing! Yes, my… my mother asked me to purchase clothing for all of my sisters! That’s why the bag is so heavy.”

The clean shaven officer let Noa go. “I find that hard to believe, but I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.”

“Seems like you got lucky,” the other officer added. “If it were up to me, you’d be sitting in a cold, dark cell like the rat that you are.”

Noa whimpered. “I’m sorry I caused you guys trouble!”

The two officers laughed as they walked off. Noa breathed a sigh of relief as the others crossed the street and approached him.

“You know, I really feel bad for you,” Mina said.

“Do you?” Noa asked.

“I wouldn’t lie,” Mina replied. “In fact, I’ve never met someone as pathetic as you before.”

“Wow, Mina, you wasted no time and got right to it,” Law said. “This guy, huh? It would be rude not to ask him his name.”

Noa gripped the strap of his bag. “Why’s that any of your business!?”

“Look, it’s obvious to anyone with half a brain that you’re not from around here,” Law answered, “And given that you were just in that scuffle, you are no ordinary person.”

“Are you calling me weird?” Noa asked. “I’m not weird!”

“I don’t think anyone was calling you weird,” Rain said. “You mentioned earlier that you had to take a request. I assume you are a mercenary of sorts?”

“Not at all… not at all,” Noa replied. “I still can’t believe I’m talking to you, it feels so surreal…”

Noa tilted his head and looked off into the sky, lost in thought. Gavin grumbled as he walked up to Noa.

“Stand up straight and look her in the eyes, you fucking fool!” Gavin yelled. “I wasn’t going to say anything to you, but seeing this ridiculous behavior really pisses me off!”

“O-Okay!” Noa replied. “My name’s Noa Mzade, and I’m just a normal guy in the Maeitakohnian military!”

“You’re Noa Mzade?” Eva asked.

“Yes, it’s… who I am,” Noa said. “Please don’t glare at me like that…”

“Do you know him, Eva?” Mina asked.

“No, I was just wondering,” she replied. “Please, carry on.”

Mina turned back to Noa. “So is that bag really full of clothing?”

“Er, that’s what I said,” Noa answered. “Just a bunch of clothing, and…”

“Tell me!” Mina said as she tried to look into Noa’s eyes, which made him away from her in response.

“Gah, I can’t!” Noa said. “It’s a lie!”

“I had a feeling,” Sorin said.

“With the way she looks at me, how could I?” Noa asked. “God, I’ve never received this much attention from a woman before!”

Gavin clenched his fist and punched Noa in the face. “Stop acting like a fucking idiot!”

“You didn’t have to punch me!” Noa exclaimed as he rubbed his face. “Fine, if you must know, I’m enlisted as a sniper, but recently I’ve been taking on these tasks the general gives me. He always sends me off to some far locations.”

“Seems like he’s just finding ways to get you out of his hair,” Law said. “Well, if he’s anything like Rohan Fercewend, then there’s no hair to speak of.”

“Now that I think about it, General Khadir did mention that he’d find a way make me useful,” Noa said. “Was it all just a lie?”

“Don’t worry about it,” Law replied. “Maybe it’s a sign that you should experience new things. Perhaps you should head to Ahnlikohn and climb some mountains; I hear it’s a good time of the year to climb.”

“No thanks,” Noa replied.

“Okay, I tried,” Law said. “Gale, you want to try talking to him?”

“I’m not interested,” she said.

Law chuckled. “Never mind, then,” he said. “Bro, do you have any ideas?”

“We should just talk to Ayanna,” Gavin replied. “This dumbass has no use to us whatsoever and all the time spent here is time we could be using to devise.”

“You and me both,” Law said. “Eva, maybe now’s the time we can get things going.”

“Sounds good to me,” Eva answered.

Law gave a thumbs up. “Alright then, shall we?”

“Wait, you’re just going to go?” Mina asked.

“You’re say that as if we’re never see each other again, Mina,” Law said. “That’s not the Mina I know, not at all. No, she’d eagerly pump her fist in the air and wish me, my bro, and the lovely Eva Bellamy good luck!”

“How could I forget?” Mina said. She hoisted her fist upwards and gave Law a determined look. “Of course you guys will be okay! Wherever you go, Law, I know that you’ve got Gavin and Eva on your side to protect you!”

“So let’s get the hell out of here,” Gavin said. “Later.”

That led Gavin, Law, and Eva to leave and head for the prime minister’s office as Sorin and the others were left to themselves. Noa still stood there, however, with a dumbfounded look upon his face.

“You’re still here?” Gale asked.

“I just realized something,” Noa said, “I’ve got nowhere to go. I’ve failed my mission. How can I show my face to the general after this?”

“What do you mean by that?” Rain wondered.

“I may not look like it, but I’m not exactly the most well liked soldier in the military,” Noa said. “Most people just ignore me at best and treat me like dirt at worst.”

“I’m not surprised,” Gale said.

“Now Gale, perhaps you shouldn’t be so quick to remark on Mr. Mzade’s misfortunes,” Rain replied. She turned back over to Noa. “It must be extremely tough having to endure what you went through. Are you sure there’s nowhere else you could head off to?”

Noa shook his head. “That’s a negative, Your Highness,” he said. “The only reason I joined the military was because it offered me shelter when nobody else could.”

“Perhaps, if none of you mind, you could travel with us for the time being?” Rain asked. “That is, if you want to, of course.”

“You mean that seriously?” Noa asked. “I’m… this isn’t one of those pranks you’re just going to play on me and make me look like a fool later, is it?”

“Heaven forbid the thought!” Rain said. “After listening to your story, how could I ignore someone like you?”

“It’s just something that we want to do,” Mina said. “We want to help people, even if they’re pathetic like you.”

“Wow, thanks,” Noa replied.

“Then it looks like that’s settled,” Sorin said. “Rain, if you still want to head over to the prime minister’s office…”

“No, we don’t need to go there anymore,” Rain said. “It looks like they have things under control. What we need to do now is go towards Oelaans and make it past the border to Thekohn.”

“So what’s the fastest way to get there?” Sorin asked.

“There are a few ways, but the quickest would be to head to Helm via train,” Rain answered. “I do feel guilt, though, as tickets for the fastest trains aren’t reserved for commoners.”

“It seems to be that way,” Gale said. “How else could those princes get in so quickly?”

“Can we not talk about them?” Sorin asked.

“There was quite a bit of commotion earlier,” Rain said. “I suppose that explains why, then.”

“Let’s just say that while they may be royalty, the princes of Ahnlikohn are anything but,” Gale replied.

“Yes, I can understand that,” Rain said. “We’ve had meetings with the Ahnle family in the past, so I’m aware of what kind of person Prince Amile is.”

“There’s no use talking, though,” Sorin replied. “You’d be able to get us some tickets on short notice, wouldn’t you?”

Rain nodded. “That I can do with ease,” she answered. “It’s only a small trek away from where we are now.”

“Let’s go!” Mina exclaimed. “It’s the five of us hitting the road with one clear objective in mind!”

Sorin laughed. “Let’s head out,” he said. “Ready or not, here comes the Brave Fighting Sun!”

With that, they set off for the train station as Mina led the group. Though Noa lagged behind as he carried the large bag over his back, he still kept up with the other four. This time, their mission was clear.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Chapter 12 – Part 3

[2740 AD; on the roads – Maeitakohn]


The long, narrow road went on, sitting between acres of green land. Kirk drove his car down the road and sitting next to him in the passenger’s seat was Henry, who looked onward out the window.

“I want to make something very clear,” Kirk said, “Just because we both want to stop him doesn’t mean that I’m ready to forgive you.”

Henry sighed. “I know,” he said. “I’m not exactly sure if this was the right thing to do. Tori must be worried sick…”

“After the ten years you were absent, I doubt it,” Kirk replied.

“Excuse me?”

“At least she’s still alive, right?” Kirk asked. “You should be happy.”

“I don’t understand,” Henry said, “Why would you bring that up?”

“Because, Henry, true pain never goes away,” he answered. “No matter how much I tell myself otherwise, I can never get over what Lokke’s men did to April.”

“Perhaps I can’t relate, but I’ve been hurt, too,” Henry said.

“Then tell me why,” Kirk said, “Why did you led your fellow soldiers into a trap? Why did you, of all people, insist upon driving through Bel Dale?”

“It was a mistake.”

“I feel as if that has been the excuse for years now,” Kirk replied.

“It is the truth,” Henry said. “Rohan agrees, too.”

“Then perhaps the general is the one who made the mistake,” Kirk said. “A serious mistake in trusting you. Do you know how many people died because they never received their weapons?”

“You don’t have to remind me,” Henry said.

“It was that mistake that made it harder for the rest of us to make peace with the Maeitakohnian government,” Kirk said. “If you had taken the longer route, then we would not be having this conversation. We would not even be dealing with the True Thekohnians right now!”

“I agree.”

“If that is the case, perhaps you would do me a favor?”

“What favor, Kirk?”

“You will kill him,” Kirk replied. “To strike back at the True Thekohnians, you will kill Lokke.”

“I can’t,” Henry said. “I promised to Tori before we were to get married that I would never kill again. Silly, I know.”

“It’s noble,” Kirk said, “If it were anybody else. But this is you. You have fallen far from grace.”

“And you won’t do it?” Henry asked. “You always talked about how if you were to kill someone who committed atrocities, it would make you no better than them. Now you want me to do something you can’t? Do you even know what the fuck you’re saying!?”

“I never claimed to be perfect,” Kirk said. “I have my own reasons for sparing the guilty, too.”

“I’m just not going to do your dirty work.”

“We’ll see,” Kirk replied. “We’ll see what kind of man you are when we come face to face with Lokke himself. Will you let him walk, or will you break your promise?”

“Is there not another way?” Henry asked. “This is unlike you. By now, you would have had some solution to this dilemma.”

“If you have a solution, then you’re free to offer it,” Kirk said. “Of course, that would require some critical thinking on your part.”

Henry didn’t respond.

The two men didn’t talk for the rest of the drive, opting to look out the window instead as the city limits of Bel approached. Henry was thinking about what was going on in Rezar, especially with Tori. She had to have been worried, perhaps even figured things out by now. He assumed it was the same for Kirk, too, although there was no way Kirk was ever going to tell him. With a sigh, Henry watched as the car slowed down to a gentle halt.

“We’re stopping now?” Henry asked. “We’re not even in the city yet!”

“It would be stupid to drive into the city,” Kirk replied. “Pick up your knives, because we’re walking now.”

Henry followed after Kirk, who tried to maintain a steady pace over him. They were less than a mile away from the city as they heard gunshots.

“As bad as I thought,” Kirk said. “We need to keep ourselves to a low profile if we don’t want to attract any attention to ourselves.”

Kirk walked with his hand by his hip as he was ready to draw his sword at any moment. Henry was ready, too, with both knives hanging at either side of his waist. They strolled into the entrance to the city, going through the large, open gate and into the empty street before them. Looking around, Kirk kept his hand ready as he could hear footsteps coming closer. He turned around, almost ready to go as he saw it was just a small child looking up at him.

“I’m sorry, kid,” Kirk said. “Please get out here right now. Your parents must be worried.”

The child said nothing as she ran off. Kirk continued to look as Henry stepped forward.

“It’s too quiet,” Henry said.

“We must continue to be alert,” Kirk replied. “If he is here, then…”

Kirk shook his head. He began to walk again as another gunshot resonated through the air. It was much closer than the previous ones. Henry looked around, wondering where it came from. That was when he and Kirk saw them. A small group stood, with a familiar man to both of them leading the way.

“You’ve finally stepped in it, haven’t you Kirk?” Lokke asked.

Kirk drew his sword. “Who was it!?”

Lokke’s attention turned to Henry. “Is that who I think it is? You look like you’ve been through hell, Henry Randolph,” he said. “Perhaps I should do you a favor and put you out of your misery.”

“How are you still here?” Henry asked.

“It seems you’ve forgotten about a friend of ours,” Lokke replied. “Do you not remember the great prime minister of Iiayikohn, Iean Sergs?”

“I’m well familiar,” Kirk answered. “The day he left office was the day that Iiayikohn’s people saw his reign of terror come to a satisfying end.”

“It’s unfortunate that he left,” Lokke said, “But understandable. If only that delusional Alan Berry didn’t become prime minister, Sergs could still be in power! After all, it was he who gave the True Thekohnians life!”

“We both know you don’t care about the True Thekohnians,” Kirk said. “You only care about one person: yourself. It’s always been about you.”

“Everything you’ve done was for your benefit,” Henry said. “As long as you made a profit, it didn’t matter who died and who lived.”

“From a man who’s taken lives, that’s rich,” Lokke said. “Sure, I might have influenced people to kill, but could you even say that I bloodied my own hands?”

“What I did doesn’t matter,” Henry said.

“Then perhaps you should tell that to your friend,” Lokke replied. “Of course, you have no chance to prove I even did anything wrong.”

Kirk’s grip tightened. “Just tell us one thing,” he said. “Sergs, where is he? Why did he need you now?”

“I’m afraid you won’t be finding Iean around here anytime soon,” Lokke answered. “As for why he needed me, well, you can see that for yourself, can’t you?”

“I see,” Kirk said. “The attack wasn’t meant as a warning from the True Thekohnians… It was meant to start a war.”

“Then, you’ve yet again caused the deaths of many,” Henry said. “All because of your greed.”

“Oh please,” Lokke said. “You go on and on about my ‘greed,’ but we keep fighting for many different reasons. Why should I be the only one chastised for what everyone is guilty of?”

“You really don’t get it,” Kirk said. “Fine. We will not hesitate to defeat you once again.”

“Let me see,” Lokke said. “It’s the two of you versus five of my men, plus the fact that many more are around here as well. Do you really think that you’ll stop me before the war starts?”

“I’ve been through worse,” Kirk replied. “Henry, now is as good a time as any. You will do it, correct?”

Henry took out his knives and turned to Lokke. “You’ve caused pain for so many,” he said. “I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t want to drive these knives into your skull. However, I’ve made a promise.”

Kirk looked over at Henry. “Henry… I swear to god…”

“I’m not going to give you the satisfaction of killing you, Lokke,” Henry said. “Even if it is a detriment to everyone involved, I just can’t break that promise.”

“I suppose it can’t be helped,” Lokke said. “Looks like you’ve failed, Mr. Wilk. All this talk about wanting to bring peace? It’s laughable.”

“You’re forgetting one thing, Lokke,” Henry said.

Lokke scoffed. “What is that?”

“I never said I wasn’t going to hurt you.”

Henry dashed forward, flipping the knife in his left hand as he drove the handle end into Lokke’s forehead. The force of the blow was enough to knock Lokke to the ground as the other five men tried to take out their weapons. Henry turned to the nearest one and did the same move with his right hand, thrusting the handle into the side of the man’s head.

“You really do surprise, don’t you?” Kirk asked.

“Look out!” Henry exclaimed.

Kirk saw one of the other men run up to him, charging at him with a sword. For Kirk, he dodged the attack and used his free hand to strike the man on the back of his head. With the man dropping to the ground, Kirk turned back to Henry.

“We can’t all of them, Henry,” he said. “Let’s run!”

“Very well,” Henry replied.

Kirk and Henry ran to the left, going further into the city of Bel as Lokke sat up and rubbed his forehead. He was helped up by one of his henchmen as he pointed towards the direction that Kirk and Henry left.

“What the hell are you doing?” Lokke asked. “Follow after them!”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Chapter 12 – Part 2

After Gale explained what happened this morning, Gavin took a deep breath. He had his hand placed on his forehead as he sighed again.

“If I had to guess, the True Thekohnians were behind his death,” Gavin said.

“Why do you say that?” Sorin asked.

“They’ve already killed so many,” Gavin replied. “Belkley would just be another casualty to them.”

“That’s not right,” Gale said, “He’s more than just a casualty. He was like a son to Eva!”

“Do you think they care?” Gavin asked. “Groups like the True Thekohnians will do whatever it takes to reach their goal.”

“Sorry, Gale, but bro’s right for once,” Law said. He moved forward in his crutches. “You’re looking at someone lucky enough to survive. They don’t really care about the past of those they kill.”

“I know that,” Gale said. “I just don’t think it’s fair at all to him.”

“I agree that it’s not fair, Gale,” Law said. “I would know firsthand about that, but we can’t just let them get away with it.”

“We’re the heroes!” Mina said. “It’s our job to stop villains, and these villains will pay for what they’ve done!”

“She’s obviously fired up,” Gavin said. “The True Thekohnians need to be stopped, for everyone’s sake… And I’m going to be the one to stop Victor Wihll, Sorin Wilk.”

“You can do that,” Sorin said. “As long as I’m able to meet Rysol again.”

“Just you watch,” Gavin told Sorin, “Wihll is going to suffer for what he did. I can assure you of that.”

“Anyway,” Law said, “The lovely Ayanna is awaiting you guys upstairs.”

“That’s why we were waiting,” Mina said. “Let’s go!”

“Are you not going with us, Lawrence?” Sorin asked.

“You want me to risk going up those stairs with these?” Law asked, gesturing with the crutches he was holding. “I’m gonna just sit here and wait for Eva to arrive… Maybe get some one on one with her.”

“In a public place like this!?” Gavin asked. “That’s illegal, Lawrence!”

“Damn, I didn’t think your mind would go that way, bro,” Law said. “I was just talking about getting to know her.”

“I’m sure you did,” Gavin said. “Disgusting.”

Law laughed. “Whatever you say,” he said.

Gavin shook his head. “Fine, we’ll go,” he replied, looking over to Sorin and Gale. “Come on. You too, Mina.”

Mina leapt out of her seat. “Yay!”


Upstairs, soldiers from Ameci, Ahnlikohn, and Iiayikohn walked around as the meeting room’s door was ajar. Gavin walked in, with Sorin, Gale, and Mina right behind him, and greeted the generals. Rohan, General Anker of Ahnlikohn, and General Reiss of Iiayikohn all sat at the end of the room while Ayanna sat next to Reiss.

“Take a seat,” Reiss said.

Gavin sat down. “Thank you, sir.”

“It’s nice to see you, Gale,” Fercewend said. “I’m sorry you had to be wrapped up in this.”

“It’s okay, Rohan,” she said, taking her seat. “This affects us all, so I want to hear everything today.”

“Very well,” he said. “The other two, I assume, are friends?”

Sorin sat down. “Nice to meet you all,” he said. “I’m… Sorin Wilk. Kirk’s son.”

“Ah, so you’re the young one, aren’t you?” Anker asked. “Kirk did mention he had two sons… It seems like it was the right call inviting them over, Major Ansa.”

“Thank you,” Ayanna said. “Although I thought that one of the Swords of Eight was going to be here as well…”

“She’s coming,” Sorin said.

“Anyway, what about you, young lady?” Fercewend asked.

Mina stared at Fercewend. “I know who you are,” she said. “You’re the strongest man in the world!”

Fercewend smiled. “I haven’t been referred to that in a while,” he said. “It seems that some people here still hold me to that title.”

“Of course!” Mina replied. “People talk about your heroism all the time, including me!”

“I’m absolutely flattered,” Fercewend said. “Let’s move onto business, shall we?”

“Right,” Ayanna said. “You were talking earlier about how to approach Bel, General Reiss. I do like this plan you’ve laid out.”

“There’s something that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, Ansa,” Reiss said. “What exactly are they supposed to be doing?”

“Well, it was Power’s idea,” Ayanna said. “It seems that he wants to lead a small group of people into Maeitakohn to stop the True Thekohnian leader before we can move in.”

“This is the first I’m hearing of this,” Fercewend said. “Lieutenant, what exactly are you doing?”

“General,” Gavin said. “I know it’s unprecedented for us, but I can trust Mr. Wilk and Ms. Rask to hold their own.”

“Are you sure about that?” Fercewend asked.

“My own brother has testified about Rask’s strength,” Gavin replied. “Besides, she wants this all to end just as much as we do.”

“Your brother… he’s here?”

“Yes, sir,” Gavin said. “I’m aware of what he did, but it isn’t important at all right now.”

“There are bigger problems right now than him,” Fercewend said. “Gale, for the love of god, you’re not going with him, are you?”

“I can’t,” she answered. “As much as I would like to, I can’t. I’m staying here.”

Fercewend let out a sigh. “And you, Sorin?”

“I think I can handle myself,” he replied.

“If you are that confident,” Fercewend said, “Then I suppose I am able to trust the son of Kirk Wilk. What say you, Rask?”

“It’s Mina,” she said. “Mighty Mina, to be precise!”

“There’s another,” Gavin said. “A former Swords of Eight… Eva Bellamy.”

“Is that so?” Fercewend asked. He grinned. “Then maybe I shouldn’t be so worried after all.”

Gavin adjusted his sunglasses. “That’s a go, then?”

“If it is Bellamy, then I can give the go ahead,” Fercewend said.

“Fercewend, you are okay with it?” Anker asked. “Because I still have doubt in my mind that this will go well.”

“Have you doubted me during my speech?” Fercewend asked. “How about when I led my men multiple times to victory?”

Anker leaned. “But is Bellamy not the youngest of that entire group?”

“Ask the prime minister,” Fercewend replied. “He can attest that she can lead this group. So can I.”

Anker nodded. “Then I will take your word for it,” he said, “But if this mission fails, we will not hesitate to send our troops in.”

“Lieutenant, you will assure that this mission will not fail,” Fercewend said.

“My aim is true,” Gavin said, “And I never miss. Not now, not ever.”

“Good to hear,” Fercewend said.

“And I assume that is all, is it not, Power?” Ayanna asked.

“You know it,” Gavin replied.

“Then let me escort you all out,” she said. “If you would, General Reiss.”

“Go ahead,” Reiss said.

Ayanna proceeded to leave the room with Gavin, Sorin, Mina, and Gale when Fercewend spoke up.

“Gale,” he said, “Do you think you could stay for a moment longer?”

“What for?”

“It’s something… important,” Fercewend answered.

“I see,” Gale said. “Alright. Sorin…”

Sorin tilted his head. “Yes, Gale?”

“You’re going to go to Maeitakohn after this, right?” Gale asked.

“I think so,” he replied.

“There’s something I need to tell you first,” Gale said. “You see, I… I wish you all good luck.”

“We don’t need luck,” Gavin said. “Unlike Lawrence, I don’t rely on nonexistent things like that. Our success is going to be because of pure skill and determination!”

Mina pumped her fist. “Yeah! We’re a skilled team!”

“I think we’ll be fine, Gale,” Sorin said. “I will see you again.”

“Okay,” she said. “I’ll see you soon!”

They gave their goodbyes to Gale as Ayanna led them back downstairs. As they entered to lobby, Law and Eva were talking to each other. Gavin walked up to Law, who was still sitting down.

“Oh, hey, bro,” Law said.

“Don’t tell me,” Gavin said, “I see what’s going on.”

Law rolled his eyes. “Come on, man,” he said. “You’d think I’d do that given what she’s been through today?”

“It was actually a nice conversation, Law,” Eva said. “Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome,” Law replied.

“So we’re ready to go, then?” Eva asked.

Sorin gave her a nod. “General Fercewend seems to have no problem with it,” he said. “Oh, and I guess he wanted to see Gale, too.”

“I’m glad to hear that Rohan’s enthusiastic,” Eva said. “So, how are we going to head out?”

“I’ve taken the liberty of obtaining a car,” Gavin answered. “By that I mean that the Iiayikohnian military was nice enough to offer it.”

Law smirked. “That means it’s a beater,” he said. “I guess it should be good enough to make the trip, though.”

“So how long does it usually take to get to Maeitakohn?” Sorin asked.

“It’s a little over 160 kilometers to Bel,” Eva replied.

“That’s it?” Gavin asked. “Why the hell aren’t we on the road, then?”

“Do you not want to say goodbye, first?” Ayanna asked.

“Hey, I don’t plan on saying goodbye,” Gavin said, “Because I know that I’m going to be back.”

“Let’s hope you keep that promise, then,” Ayanna said. “I would hate having to break the news here to your brother if things went wrong.”

“You’re never going to have to worry about that,” Gavin replied. “Anyway, Sorin, you have a license, right?”

“Yeah, why?” Sorin asked.

“Someone has to drive,” Gavin answered. “I’m right handed, so being in the passenger seat would be beneficial to me if I need to start shooting.”

Sorin scratched his head. “What about you, Eva?”

“You should know why I can’t drive,” she replied.

“And I don’t even have a license!” Mina commented. “That means it’s up to you to drive us to Maeitakohn!”

“I guess I have to, then,” Sorin said. “Where’s the car, Gavin?”

“It’s close,” he replied. “Let’s get moving. If we’re going to have to catch up to Victor Wihll, then we mustn’t waste any more time, Sorin Wilk!”

“You really don’t have to use my full name,” Sorin said.

“Whatever,” he said. “We will be back, Lawrence!”

“See you later, Law!” Mina said. “We’re going to kick some butt!”

“One last thing, bro,” Law said. “When you see Wihll, be sure to tell him that I said hello.”

“I’ll be sure to,” Gavin said, “By putting a bullet in his head.”

“Looks like I don’t need to worry, then,” Law said.
Gavin left the building with Sorin, as Mina followed behind them. Eva turned back to face Law one last time.

“I need to thank you once again, Law,” she said.

“Sometimes it’s good just to talk to someone,” he said. “If you ever want to talk again, let me know.”

Eva smiled. “I will.”

She left to rejoin Gavin’s group, as Ayanna sat down next to Law.

“So what did you two actually talk about?” Ayanna asked.

“That’s a secret,” he replied. “I promised her I wouldn’t tell, and a guy like me respect’s a lady’s right to privacy.”

“Sometimes you surprise me, Law Power,” she said.

“Well, I’m just going to take that as a compliment,” Law said. “Say, do you have any siblings?”

“I do,” Ayanna replied. “I’m the oldest of six.”

“A trendsetter, then.”

“That’s an odd way to put it,” she said. “Anyway, four brothers and a sister. Actually, you might have heard of my parents, or at least know about their business.”

“It’s funny, but I don’t,” Law responded.

“Have you not heard of Ansa Farms?”

“Can’t say that I have,” he said. “Then again, I am always willing to see new places.”

“After this is all said and done, maybe I will take you,” Ayanna said. “I was going to tell Mina about it since she loves food, but I suppose you deserve to go just as well. I can even take your brother along as well.”

“I’ll make a reminder of it,” Law said. He reached into his pocket but found nothing. “Ah, that’s right, I gave my diary to my bro.”

“You needn’t worry about it,” Ayanna said. “When that time comes, I will remind you.”

“It’s just as well,” he said. “Perhaps he needs that book more than I do at this point.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Oh, nothing,” Law replied. “Just saying.”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Chapter 12 – Part 1

[2740 AD; Port of Iiayi – Morning Shine]


In the morning sunlight, Gamil walked up to his ship. It had been a long night for him as he agonized over Belkley’s absence. Upon arriving at the ship, Gamil saw a couple of Iiayikohnian officers kneeling by the water.

“Step back, sir,” one of the officers said.

“What is going on?” Gamil asked.

“That’s none of your business,” the second officer answered.

“It’s my boat,” Gamil said, “So maybe it is my business.”

“I’m sorry,” the first officer said. “We don’t want a lot of people to know what happened here.”

Gamil raised his eyebrow. “Ah, so it’s one of those incidents? Some unfortunate fool drowned in the water, huh?”

“It’s not like that,” the second officer replied. “This man was stabbed.”

“For officers, you’re awfully careless,” Gamil said.

He moved forward, peering over the two officers. When he saw the body, Gamil felt as if a heavy stone sat in the pit of his stomach. He did not want to believe what he was seeing, but reality was cruel. In the water Belkley lay, and Gamil had no idea how to react.

“Do you know who did it?” Gamil asked.

“We have no clue,” the first officer said. “You know this man?”

“Yes,” Gamil replied. “He’s… he’s a friend of mine.”

“We’re very sorry, sir,” the second officer said. “I can not begin to imagine how you’re feeling.”

“It’s okay,” Gamil said. “Although I guess I’m going to be the bearer of bad news to her.”

Gamil looked around for a payphone, finding one near the street. He knew that it was not going to be the easiest call he would have to make, but it had to be done. He dialed the number for the Port Hotel, and requested the room under the name of Kirk Wilk. One ring came and went. Gamil took a deep breath as the second ring sounded. Then, he heard her voice.

“Hello?” Eva asked. “Who is this?”

“Eva, it’s Gamil,” he said. “I… Can you come to the port? I’ll explain it to you when you get here.”


Two more officers had arrived between the time of Gamil’s call and when Eva’s group arrived. She, Sorin, and Gale met with Gamil, who pointed them over to the group of officers by the ship.

“It’s bad,” Gamil said. “Belkley… he’s gone…”

“No, I can’t believe it,” Gale said. “Eva, I’m so sorry…”

Eva didn’t respond. She had to see it for herself. There was no way that this was real, she thought. She rushed over to the group of officers and attempted to barge in.

“Ma’am, please step back,” the third officer said.

“No!” Eva said. “Let me see for myself!”

She pushed her way between two of the officers and saw for herself. His clothes were soaked, but there was enough blood to signify that he was indeed stabbed. There was no other reaction, as Eva collapsed to her knees. A low growl emitted from her mouth as she punched the ground below her. She punched again and again until Gamil had to restrain her hand.

“Damn it,” Eva said. “Damn it, damn it, damn it!”

“Eva, please stand up,” Gamil said. “Belkley would not want to see you crying, would he?”

“I can’t begin to imagine,” Sorin said.

“He was a good man,” Eva said. “Why? Why take him now, damn it!?”

“I wish I could say,” Gamil replied. “Whoever did this… they can’t be forgiven for what they did.”

“I’ll kill them,” Eva muttered. “When I see the person who decided to kill Belkley… I’ll kill them.”

Gamil scratched his head. “Eva…”

“I’m not afraid to do it,” she said. “This sword of mine isn’t afraid to eviscerate Belkley’s killer.”

“I know what they did was inexcusable,” Sorin said, “But… But is it really okay? When you say that, it makes me uneasy.”

“Sorin, you know why your father fights, don’t you?” Eva asked. “If you knew what happened to me, then you would understand why he and I differ when it comes to mercy.”

“What do you mean?” Sorin asked.

“Your father holds himself up as noble,” she replied. “He has, as far as I’ve known him, never taken a single life in any of his battles. Even for the most deplorable of enemies, Kirk withdrew his sword and offered to spare them.”

“It’s truly admirable how he did it, too,” Gamil added. “He was such a skilled fighter, that he’d have them on the ropes. Kirk’d talk them up, just to have them surrender.”

“He was usually lucky,” Eva said. “He would have back-up most of the time, so there would’ve been no choice for enemies except give up.”

“You still fought for good, right?” Gale asked.

“Of course we did!” Eva replied. “But you can’t just think that we were all noble men and women that would never kill. Kirk maybe, but I knew that I wouldn’t survive long if I chose to spare my opponents like he did.”

“So, you have?” Sorin asked.

Eva nodded. “I’d rather not talk about how many I’ve killed,” she said, “But it is the truth. I’m truly sorry.”

“No, it’s okay,” Sorin said.

“You don’t hold it against me?” Eva asked.

“I know you have your reasons,” Sorin replied. “That I can’t change… But I do want to change myself.”

“I think you already have,” Eva said.

“This whole trip, I was feeling like a burden,” Sorin said, “But after yesterday, I saw him. I saw the goal.”

“You’re not even sure that it is him, though,” Gale said.

“You might be right, Gale,” Sorin replied. “It has made me want to keep going, because I realize what’s at stake here. What everyone has been fighting for.”

“Well, you’re getting there, alright,” Gamil said. “Think I even heard some of this before, but I’ll let you finish!”

“You stood strong for Belkley, Eva,” Sorin said, “And I want to be able to stand for someone important to me someday. I’ve decided I’m not a burden anymore; I’m a force knocking at the door, ready to break it down!”

Gamil laughed. “I knew it,” he said. “Kirk said something like that a long time ago. Boy, it brings back memories.”

“Anyway, you understand,” Eva said. “I can’t just spare Belkley’s killer.”

“I get that,” Sorin said.

He knew that if it came down to where if they happened to come face to face with that person, Sorin couldn’t stop Eva. Part of him felt like he wouldn’t, but there was part of him that had hesitation. Still, there was a common ground with Eva, and Sorin sought to maintain that.

“Sorin, we still have to see them,” Eva said. “You and Gale should head to the embassy. I want to be here for a little while longer.”

“Okay,” Sorin said. “Should we hope to see you there?”

“Of course,” she replied. “Go on and let me send Belkley off.”

Sorin and Gale left as Eva and Gamil turned back to the group of officers. Eva did not want either of them seeing her at her weakest as she moved past the officers once again. She knelt by him for what would be the last time.

“I’m going to make sure that your life won’t be forgotten,” she said.

“Kid deserved better,” Gamil said.

“It always seems to happen, doesn’t it?” Eva asked.

Gamil agreed. “These poor kids keep getting thrown into the mess the rest of us created,” he said. “Just a damn shame…”


On the way to the Ameci Embassy, Sorin and Gale stopped to get some coffee. After they received their drinks, the two continued onto the embassy. Sorin walked by Gale’s side as she was eyeing the small, warm cup in her hand.

“Do you think Eva was serious?” Gale asked.

“I don’t think she would joke about it,” Sorin replied. “She did just lose someone close to her. I mean, we met him too. He was a nice guy.”

“Yeah,” Gale said. “I’ve never actually seen a dead body before today… I really hope that Belkley’s is the last I see for a while.”

“Me too,” he said.

Gale took a sip of her coffee. “I’m… not comfortable talking about this,” she said, “Do you want to talk about something else?”

“What else do you want to talk about?”

“I don’t know,” she said, “How about you?”

“You were the one offering to talk about something else,” he said.

“No, I meant yourself,” she said. “You said you were an artist. What about that?”

“I mean, I already told you,” Sorin said, “I want to get better.”

“What do you usually draw?”

“Anything,” he replied. “I guess usually landscapes. Actually, some of the places around here have made me want to pick up and get at it… I mean, if I had the time to, of course.”

“What about people?” Gale asked. “Ever tried drawing someone?”

“Well, my usual point of reference for people was my friend Smith,” he said. “Not really much I could choose from there.”

“But you’ve met so many people so far,” she said, “Perhaps there’s someone who’s inspired you to consider starting?”

“I guess either my father or Eva,” he answered. “Both of them are interesting, but I could never ask them. It would be too awkward.”

“Are you sure there’s no one else?”

“Maybe Gavin,” Sorin said, “But if I asked him if I could draw him, he’d probably be upset that I didn’t get him right or something.”

“Perhaps you should start somewhere else,” Gale said. “Someone who you’ve been with over the past few days and who has always been there for you.”

“You’re asking about yourself?”

“I mean, only if you asked me, obviously,” Gale replied. “I wouldn’t have a problem with it, of course.”

“Well, I would like to, then,” Sorin said.

“What would you say is my best feature?” Gale asked. “I’m sorry, let me rephrase that: as an artist, what would you define as the most notable thing about me?”

“That’s kind of tough to say,” he said.

Gale looked away.

“But that’s because there’s so much about you,” Sorin added. “I mean, you’re smart and you have a nice smile…”

“Thank you, Sorin,” she said. “I guess that’s what I wanted to know.”

“So there’s nothing else you want to ask?”

“That was it,” Gale replied. “Hey, when this is all over… Do you want to stay here for a while longer?”

“In this country?” Sorin asked. “I mean, I wanted to go back to Ameci…”

“You have that job, don’t you,” Gale said. “I understand.”

“Still, I guess there’s still a lot I wanted to see,” Sorin said. “Especially if you’re here, Gale.”

“As long as you consider it,” she said. She stopped in her tracks, turning to the building beside her. “It looks like we’ve arrived.”

“So this is the embassy,” Sorin said.

A three story building stood before them. The two walked up the steps to the front door and opened it. Inside, Gavin, Law, and Mina were waiting for them.

“What happened?” Gavin asked.

“Let me explain,” Gale said.


To be continued…


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