[22nd of September, 2740 AD; Copper Hotel, Oelaans, Thekohn – Felis District]
Gavin arrived at the hotel lounge where Noa and the other Maeitakohnian soldiers waited. He came alone due to the fact that Law and Eva wanted to call Ayanna and find out what was happening over in Iiayikohn. There was little that Gavin or the others could do to help ease the tensions with Ahnlikohn, but they could stand a chance of doing something if everything was to go according to plan. With one more look around the room, Gavin walked up to the table where the soldiers sat and sat down in the empty chair before him.
“Are we going to move towards the kingdom today?” Noa asked.
“There’s not much we can do right now,” Gavin replied. “All we can do is wait for the others to arrive.”
Noa gazed down at his feet. “Oh, I see,” he said. “Then what are we going to do in the meantime?”
“Like I said: we wait,” Gavin said. “There’s no point in acting recklessly, otherwise we’re going to be at a vast disadvantage.”
That was when Gavin spotted from out of the corner of his eye three men sitting at a table located a few feet away from him. It would not have mattered much to Gavin, but seeing the trio staring at him caught him by surprise. He did not show any reaction, but pushed his sunglasses up as he turned back over to Noa. The other soldiers continued to drink and talk amongst themselves even though Noa did not participate.
“Not much of a drinker, are you?” Gavin asked.
Noa shook his head. “Only once,” he replied. “It was a bad experience.”
Gavin crossed his arms. “That so?”
“Is that all you have to say?”
Gavin looked up and sighed. “Give me a fucking break,” he muttered. “Where the hell are those two, anyway?”
“Sorry about that,” Law said. “Got held up a bit, but now we’re here!”
Gavin turned to the side and saw Law and Eva in the doorway. They walked over to the table but could not sit since the other chairs were already taken by the soldiers.
“You can get a couple of chairs, can’t you?” Eva asked Law.
“Heh, of course I can,” Law replied. “Listen up, Noa, because this is vital information: when a lady asks you to do something, you should do it without hesitation.”
“Are you going to listen to yourself speak or are you going to go get the chairs?” Gavin asked. “We haven’t even begun discussing our plans yet!”
“Well, you’re the one holding things up, bro,” Law said.
He walked over to the next table and got his hands on two empty chairs, but stopped in his tracks. Gavin wondered what Law was doing, but soon found out why he stopped. The three men were glaring at him, not once breaking their focus as Law lifted his hands from the chairs.
“It’s funny, isn’t it?” Law asked.
Gavin stood up. “Those three have been there the entire time,” he said, glancing over at the men. “Hey, you! I hope you have an explanation for this, because if you don’t, we’re going to have some problems!”
“Seems like they’re up to no good,” Eva said.
Gavin, Law, and Eva walked up to the table the three men occupied. Upon closer look, each man possessed an intimidating physique underneath their coats. One had brown hair, one had a buzzcut, and the other had no hair at all. Law stepped up first and slammed his palm on the surface of the table.
“I couldn’t help but notice you staring at me,” Law said. “Now, I’m used to having the women gaze upon my irresistible beauty, but I would have been fine with having you three ogle me if it weren’t for the fact that you’re obviously part of the Neu Thekohnian Order.”
The three men leapt up to the feet, which was when Law rushed the nearest one, the bald one, and held him from behind.
The bald man struggled in Law’s grasp. “Unhand me, asshole!”
“I may not look it, but I possess quite a bit of strength,” Law replied. “Well, enough to hold you back, anyway.”
The brown-haired man took out his gun and pointed it at Law. “You think you’ll get away with this?”
“Pal, I think you picked the wrong group of people to fight,” Law said.
“I’ve had my eye trained on you this entire time,” Gavin said as he pointed his gun at the other man. “Tell us what we need to know, because if you don’t, we’ll have our buddies over there take care of you instead.”
The other two men looked over and saw the soldiers stand up from their seats, save for Noa. They surrendered instantly as Law let the bald man go. Gavin and Eva remained focused on the three as the Maeitakohnian soldiers walked over to the table.
The leading soldier stepped up first. “Should we interrogate them? There may be others lurking around here.”
“That would be a good idea,” Gavin said. “Though I’m not exactly a fan of doing it here. Is there another place we could use?”
“Don’t worry about that,” Law said. “I’ve got a good place for these guys. The rest of you guys round these fools up, because I want to get that information out of them myself.”
“Fine, I guess you’ll be the one to handle talking to these assholes,” Gavin said. “I do trust that you’ll be able to pull something from out of them, after all, so you don’t really need my help, do you?”
“Of course I appreciate your help,” Law replied. “Come on, we can’t break up the team, can we?”
“Then we’ll see you in the room,” Gavin said.
“See you there, bro,” Law said.
Law, with the help of the Maeitakohnian soldiers, then took the three men out of the lounge. With that out of the way, Gavin sighed and looked back to Noa. He was still at the table when Gavin made his way back with Eva, only looking up when Gavin got his attention.
“What is it?” Noa asked.
“Get up,” Gavin said. “There’s somewhere we need to be right now.”
“Okay, I got it,” Noa said, standing up. “Don’t need to tell me twice…”
“So, what do you think?” Eva asked Gavin.
“I think something stinks around here,” Gavin replied. “No doubt in my mind these guys aren’t the only Neu Thekohnians in Oelaans.”
“Agreed,” Eva said as she crossed her arms. “Maybe that’s why he’s coming here… Gah, that stubborn man doesn’t know how to give up, does he?”
“Something up?” Gavin asked.
“Never mind,” she said. “Let’s just go.”
Eva walked away out of the lounge as Gavin looked onward. Perhaps there was no reason to ask further, Gavin thought to himself, but there was concern regardless. As long as Sorin’s group was not here, there was nothing that Gavin could do in the meantime besides wait.
[22nd of September, 2740 AD; Inside Ahga Manor, just outside of Oelaans, Thekohn]
There was a feeling in her mind that Rain was being watched, but she had no choice but to move forward. It was the only way she could confront Ahga and begin to put this whole thing to an end. The only sound that Rain could hear now was the sound of her own footsteps, though she kept herself on edge just in case. Facing Ahga was the only thing on her mind right now and eventually she ended up on what she believed to be Ahga’s study.
“Let’s see,” Rain said as she placed her hand on the doorknob. “If he’s in here, then I’ve got no other choice.”
She evaluated her options before opening the door. Though she would have the advantage given that the room was at the end of the hallway, Rain had no idea what Ahga had in store for her. The other option would be to make him open the door, but that carried a risk as well. But that was a risk she had to take and so, Rain knocked on the door with a soft tap of her knuckles. A few seconds passed until no response was given, which probably meant that either Ahga was waiting for her or he was not in the room.
“Well, if there’s only one way to find out, then I’ve got to do it,” she said.
Rain opened the door, creaking it open inch by inch until she discovered that there was no one inside. The study was empty except for all of the shelves and desk at the other side of the room. That was when Rain noticed the small frame on the desk and walked over to it. Her jaw dropped when she saw the frame: inside was a photo of the Thedam family from what Rain deduced to be from ten years ago.
“Oh my god…”
It was a burst of nostalgia that made her think of the day when she first set off on her journey. Rain picked up the frame and looked it over. She wondered if this frame meant anything anymore now that Ahga and her mother had betrayed her and her sister. The moment would not last, however, as the door to the study slammed shut.
“It is a shame, isn’t it,” Ahga said.
Rain turned around, the frame still in her hand. “Why? Why go through all of this? Why me? Why Storm?”
“Believe me, in the beginning, I did not want to go through this either,” he replied. “Isla, however, is difficult a woman to say no to. That, I guess, was what helped influence my infatuation with her.”
“I don’t understand,” Rain said. “What is my mother looking to achieve by killing us?”
“It’s not about achieving anything,” Ahga replied. “She is merely trying to restore what was lost in the War of the Lands. Unfortunately, because Merton had wanted to achieve peace instead, Isla was left with little choice.”
“What do you mean by what was lost?” Rain asked. “Everybody lost something in that war. It wasn’t just us.”
“Wrong, you didn’t lose anything, Your Highness,” Ahga said. “But for Isla, she is proud of the kingdom’s power. The name of the Thedam royal family demands respect and obviously you and your sister would have never understood what Isla wanted!”
“Maybe so, but it doesn’t justify what you and her have done,” Rain said. “Nothing in the world could ever excuse any of it.”
“Same could be said of Ameci and Iiayikohn,” Ahga said. “They’ve been glad to do our bidding, but they will receive their retribution in due time. It’s only fair given what they’ve done to Isla.”
“It’s not about her,” Rain replied.
“Sadly, Your Highness, you fail to understand yet again,” Ahga said. “Isla is only taking what is rightfully hers.”
“Then I have no choice,” Rain said. “We have to stop her at any cost, even if that means I have to go through you, Sir Lauren!”
“I’ve got no clue on what those others are up to,” Ahga said. “It seems that the Ameci doubt what I’m capable of. I’ll show them what a man can do when he is motivated by love! I’ll show them all!”
“You’re mad,” Rain said, dropping the frame to the floor. “I can’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it, but you’ve changed. This isn’t the Ahga that mentored me, not at all.”
“To be honest, I saw a lot of Isla in you, which is why even now I hesitate,” Ahga replied. “But it should be over soon… I’ll take care of you, and then I’ll make sure that no one ever finds the evidence by burning this place to the ground!”
Rain knew that at this moment, she had the disadvantage. It had to be a trap, that was the only explanation. Ahga had anticipated Rain going into the study and cornered her instead. But with no way of escape, there was little that Rain could do but defend herself. If Luna and Pekka were close, then Rain could have their help, but nothing suggested that they would be headed this way. Rain looked around the room again and that’s when she saw the window. Of course, she was on the second floor, but still, she had to take the chance and gain a better advantage against Ahga.
“You have been quite a nuisance to us,” Ahga said. “No different from the man himself. That was why he had to die, too, you know.”
Rain did not care to listen to what Ahga had to say. Instead, she made a quick dash for the window. There was little time to waste, so Rain decided not to open the window itself, but rather, she would try and dash through it instead and try to make a landing somewhere outside. Using all the strength in her body, Rain dashed elbow first into the window and broke it with all the power she was able to use, which made the glass to shatter. Ahga realized what she was doing and tried to go after her, but Rain had already leapt outside.
To be continued…