Sundown – Chapter 41 (Part 2)

[22nd of September, 2740 AD; Inside Ahga Manor, just outside of Oelaans, Thekohn]

 

The battle ensued with Sorin landing the first strike, his blade clashing against Korbin’s as the two stood off against each other. Sorin stared Korbin in the eyes while Mina decided to run in and attack Korbin from the side. She threw a punch at him, but Korbin backed off of Sorin and swung at her. Sorin was quick to block the attack, however, as Mina landed the punch on Korbin’s face. Korbin reeled backward and clutched his face.

“There’s no way you’ll be able to stop us,” Mina said.

“You stand no chance at beating us,” Sorin said. “Withdraw your sword and surrender, Korbin. It’s clear you can’t win.”

Korbin started to laugh. It was a gasping, maniacal cackle that unsettled Sorin and Mina, who remained on guard. Korbin stood up straight, laughing all throughout, and pointed the tip of his sword at Sorin. A large smile was on Korbin’s face as he began to laugh again.

“I can’t win?” Korbin asked. “You really have no idea, do you?”

“We’ve already proven we can take you on,” Mina replied. “Nothing could be clearer than that!”

“Shut the fuck up!” Korbin yelled. “I’m not done talking yet! Now, where was I? Oh, yes, isn’t it obvious what Bradley is doing?”

“What are you talking about?” Sorin asked.

“We’re not here just to kill that princess, but we’re here to destroy the trail as well,” Korbin replied. “Bradley is a goddamn genius… He’s got it so that this entire mansion will blow once we’re done here! I’d tip my hat to him, but as you can see, I’ve got no hat on.”

Sorin gasped. “What the hell?”

“You intend to destroy this place?” Mina asked.

“Isn’t that what I just fucking said?” Korbin said. “You must not listen well, woman, so I’ll say it again: we’re blowing this shithole up to the sky and there’s nothing that you two can do about it!”

“Damn it,” Sorin said. “What the hell were you even thinking, Korbin!?”

“Don’t blame me,” Korbin replied. “Shit, I wonder if Bradley has already finished the job. Couldn’t be too hard, could it?”

“You’re wrong,” Mina said, “Rain would never lose a fight to a villain like him and certainly not to Ahga, either!”

“Well, he hasn’t said anything yet,” Korbin said. “I wonder which one of us right, though? What do you think, Sorin? Do you truly think believe what she’s saying? Hehehe…”

“Nothing has happened yet,” Sorin said. “That is to say, Mina and I haven’t even begun to fight you, Korbin.”

He raised his blade and directed his view at Korbin. Mina raised her fists as well and nodded at Sorin. Sorin looked back at her and nodded as well. For some reason, he felt like he had no need to tell her what was going to happen next because there was the notion that it was obvious what they had to do in order to defeat Korbin. Now was the time for both of them to act.

“Begun to fight me?” Korbin wondered. “Is this some sort of trick you’re pulling on me? Some sort of psychological-tastic bullshit or something? Whatever it is, there’s nothing you can do, so fucking bring it!”

“Oh, we will,” Sorin replied.

He looked again at Mina and nodded as she did the same back at him. Sorin set his left foot forward while Mina set her right foot forward and stood next to the end table. There was only one chance to do this right and Sorin could not afford to make any missteps in fighting Korbin.

“There’s only one chance now,” Sorin said. “Mina, let’s do this!”

“Got it,” Mina replied. “Take this, villain!”

Mina picked up the table next to her and spun around three times as Sorin stepped aside. With the last spin, Mina aimed for Korbin as she unleashed the flying table at him. Korbin smirked and took out his sword with the table coming at him with increasing speed.

“You call this an attack?” Korbin asked.

He used his free hand and made a fist as the table neared him. With his fist, Korbin punched the table out of the way, but that was when he saw Mina running at him with Sorin’s sword in her hands. She screamed out loud as she swung as hard as she could, but Korbin blocked with his sword. The two matched up well, but Korbin had the edge. His experience made it so that he could turn the blades downward and gain control.

“Unexpected, but a stupid choice!” Korbin exclaimed.

Mina grinned. “You’re wrong,” she said. “This was our plan all along! Sorin, vanquish him!”

She dropped to the floor and rolled out of the way as Korbin swung his blade sideways. In that split second, Korbin lifted his head and saw Sorin running right at him. He had no time to react as Sorin delivered a punch to his face. The impact made Korbin reel and spin as he dropped his sword to the floor. Korbin spent a moment to catch his breath when he realized what he had just done. He tried to reach for his blade, but Sorin and Mina were already there. Sorin placed his foot down on the floor and kicked Korbin’s sword away from him while Mina stretched her arms.

“It’s over now,” Sorin said.

“You really think it’s over?” Korbin asked. He started to laugh. “This isn’t… Hahaha… This isn’t over, not until I say so!”

“Then you leave me no choice,” Sorin replied.

Korbin tried to move, but Sorin surprised him and grabbed his right arm and twisted it behind him. Sorin then used his other hand to subdue Korbin’s other arm and hold him back.

“You’re going to tell us where Bradley is,” Sorin said, tightening his grip on Korbin. “You’ll tell us everything we need to know, otherwise, Mina here will not hesitate to use her special moves on you.”

Korbin grunted. “Fuck… Fuck you,” he replied. “Fuck you and that dumb, screaming, idiotic bitch over there!”

“You villains don’t like to remember names, do you?” Mina asked. “Well, I’d be glad to help you remember. My name is simple, see?”

Mina pounded her fist into her palm and walked up to Korbin. He could only struggle in Sorin’s grasp while Mina punched him in the stomach. Korbin reacted with a gasp of air as the she punched him in the same area again.

“It’s easy,” she said will each sequential punch. “It’s starts with an ‘M,” an ‘I,’ an ‘N,’ and an ‘A!’ My name is Mina!”

She landed her last punch on Korbin’s face instead. It was almost the same place where Sorin had struck him. Sorin loosened his grip on Korbin as the other man fell to his knees and tried to catch his breath.

“You… This is totally unfair!” Korbin said. “I can’t win like this!”

Korbin tried to crawl away, but Mina was able to catch up to him without much effort on her part.

“You’ll be the first one to experience this move!” Mina said. “I call it the ‘Mighty Mina Elbow Drop’ and it goes like this!”

She jumped up and dropped down with her elbow first. Korbin tried to turn around but was met with her elbow striking him in the back of his head. It knocked him out cold as Mina landed on him. She then sat up and got back up to her feet while Korbin did not move another inch.

“He’s going to be okay, right?” Sorin asked.

Mina rubbed her elbow. “That should knock him out for a bit,” she said. “You know, I was practicing this move on Law a while back and you would not believe what he suggested to me!”

“I’m afraid to ask,” Sorin said, “But what was it?”

“He told that I should use my butt instead of my elbow when dropping on people,” she replied. “I mean, I guess I could understand it, but it feels much more satisfying to punch villains instead of sitting on them, don’t you think?”

“I agree with you,” Sorin said. “Law’s pretty skilled, but he’s good at what he does and you’re good at what you do. Trust me, I would know.”

Mina giggled as she brushed Sorin’s arm with her fist. “I knew that you’d agree,” she said. “How about that punch of yours, though? I had no idea you were able to hit so hard!”

“I guess it just came naturally,” Sorin said.

He knew it was part of his plan, but Sorin was surprised at how well he was able to pull the trick off. It was easy to let Mina in on his plan with little communication, but he did not imagine how well he was able to use it in action against Korbin. But as Sorin thought to himself, he heard the sound of a door opening and closing, then another door opening.

“Sorin, look!” Mina exclaimed.

Sorin spun around. The door at the end of the hall shut but he was certain judging from Mina’s reaction that Johan had passed through.

“There’s no time to waste,” Sorin said.

Mina punched the air before her. “Alright!”

They hurried after Johan and went further into the mansion. However, Sorin could feel as if he and Mina were straying further from what they were meant to do here. He could only hope that Rain, Luna, and Pekka were able to take care of Lauren Ahga, because Sorin knew that he could not let Johan run away. Not again. This time, Sorin was going to confront him and get him to say everything.

 

*****

 

Rain found herself in the backyard of Ahga Manor, looking back at the mansion as Ahga opened the door and emerged outside. She hoped that the open yard would be a benefit to her, but it was still Ahga’s territory and she had to acknowledge that. He walked towards her with his sword drawn while she stood in place with her sword out as well.

“You’ve proven to me that you haven’t given up,” Ahga said. “I wonder how long that will last until I cut you down with my blade, though? I didn’t earn my title for nothing, you know.”

“I do,” Rain said. “But even though I have learned a lot from you, there was much more I’ve learned alongside my friends.”

“Friends only carry you so far, Your Highness,” Ahga replied, “Which is why I will kill you right here and now, so you can feel the despair of dying with no one around to help you!”

Rain felt her eyes begin to water. “You’ve spoken a lot about how other people are useless,” she said, “But even so, you fight for my mother, do you not? What makes you different from me?”

“You are just trying to get in my head, aren’t you?” Ahga asked. “Isla is more than just a friend to me! You wouldn’t get that at all, would you now?”

“Perhaps not,” Rain said. “What if I did, though?”

“All you’re is delaying the inevitable,” he said. “If you were truly a warrior worthy of the Thedam bloodline, you would quit your crying and realize what we are working for!”

Rain rubbed her eyes as tears ran down her face. “These tears aren’t running down my face because of weakness,” she said. “They are a reminder of the pain I have gone through and the people that have been lost because of my mother’s plans.”

“Your brother died because he could not stand aside,” Ahga said. “Very much the same reason you’ll meet your end, too.”

“And yet, Sir Lauren, I stand here before you,” she replied. “I cry not because his death has weakened me, but rather, because it motivates me to end this madness.”

“Is that so?” Ahga asked. “Do you plan on taking my life? What is the point behind what you are saying?”

“If it comes down to it, then yes,” Rain said. “If stopping you means killing you, then that’s the risk I have to take.”

“You’d kill me, your own mentor,” he said. “Did you not just say that the pain you feel is due to the people you have lost? You would kill me, even knowing that? Do you even realize what you’re saying, Your Highness?”

“I do,” Rain replied. “If the key to peace is having to deal with you, then I should not be hesitant.”

Ahga scoffed. “You’re just another liar, then.”

“No, not at all,” Rain said. “The thought of you dying had crossed my mind, and of course it was something I could not stand to bear. However, that has now changed.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s obvious, isn’t it?” Rain asked. “Of course, you’re only acting this way due to my mother’s influence, which is why you don’t understand. You wouldn’t understand what it means to face an opponent that doesn’t listen to reason, because you’ve become that very thing yourself.”

She steadied her blade and took a step towards Ahga. He responded by doing the same.

“I will say it again,” Rain said, “These tears of mine aren’t falling because I am weak, but rather because I am strong enough to face against your despair and do what is right.”

The wind began to pick up. Rain took another step forward. She had been grateful for all that Ahga had done to teach her, but she knew that she could not hold back anymore.

“But, Sir Lauren, I should thank you,” she said. “I could not have become the person I am today without your guidance. It’s why I’m able to move forward, no matter what.”

“You really think that will happen?” Ahga asked.

“Yes,” she replied. “Which is why I’m going to put an end to this. I know that Storm would agree and Brook would have as well.”

Rain lifted her hand and rubbed her eyes once more. She could see Ahga unobscured, his long hair lightly flowing in the wind. The Ahga that Rain knew was gone now and she accepted that.

“I am ready,” Rain said. “Whatever you may throw at me, Sir Lauren, I will be sure to counter it with everything I’ve got.”

“Then come!” Ahga exclaimed. “If you believe that you can defeat me, I welcome the challenge! Please, put an end to this!”

 

To be continued…

 

Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 41 (Part 1)

[22nd of September, 2740 AD; Inside Ahga Manor, just outside of Oelaans, Thekohn]

 

Luna moved the shower curtain of the upstairs bathroom as the search for Rain continued. There was no one inside the shower, but Luna expected that to be the case. On the other side of the hall, Pekka tore apart the guest room, his search revealing nothing of note.

“It’s not like she’s hiding in one of these cabinets or something,” Luna said. “There’s not that many rooms up here at the top, are there?”

“Well, there’s the other end,” Pekka said. “Besides, I think we’re done looking around here anyway.”

They had been through one of the other bedrooms, an empty storage room, and an antique room as well. No matter where they looked, however, Rain could not be found. There was only the other end of the upstairs hall, where several more rooms awaited them. Pekka walked first, with Luna trailing him. As they got closer to the other end of the hallway, though, they heard a loud crash and the sound of a man yelling.

“That must be them,” Pekka said. “Get ready, because we’re going to go in headfirst!”

He attempted to open the door, but found it locked instead. However, Pekka decided to break down the door, cracking his knuckles as he charged the door with his shoulder. It was to no avail, however.

“Are you kidding me?” Pekka asked.

“Remember what Sorin and Mina did,” Luna said. “I may not be as strong as those two, but I can lend you what strength I have!”

Pekka nodded. “Okay, we’ll have to go on three,” he said. “One… Two… Three! Now!”

They lined up side by side and hurried to the locked door. Pekka charged with his shoulder once more, but Luna had something different in mind as she led with her foot. The combined strength of both his shoulder rush and her kick was enough to jar the door and reveal Ahga, who was looking out of the window. To both their surprise, though, Rain was not there.

“Where is Rain?” Luna asked.

“Where do you think she is?” Ahga said.

Pekka gritted his teeth. “You don’t mean…”

“She’s just hanging on, that lucky one,” Ahga replied. “Tell me, Your Highness, did you do only this because you knew that they would come rushing to your aid?”

Outside the window, Rain grabbed onto the railing just below the window and turned around. She had tried to move along and enter through a different window, but with Ahga looking down at her, it proved impossible. She could have made the drop to the ground without any worry of a major injury, though she could not afford to at this moment.

“Those friends of yours, you wouldn’t abandon them at all, would you?” Ahga asked. “I could go ahead and take care of them first, but since I’ve got you here, I should finish the job.”

“You would do so, even though I’ve no way of fighting back?” Rain asked. “I thought that you’d told me that it was dishonorable to attack someone with no way of fighting back.”

“Honor only means so much,” Ahga said. “But I’m talking about you.”

Ahga reached for his gun, but before he could grab it, Luna rushed in with her knife and planted it into his left shoulder. She held onto the handle as Ahga let out an agonizing scream, though he reacted quickly as he shoved Luna off of him and onto the floor.

“We aren’t finished with you yet,” Pekka said as he rushed Ahga.

“Are you an idiot?” Ahga asked. “I will kill you!”

Ahga pulled out his gun and tried to fire, but Pekka had already grabbed his wrist and brought himself closer.

“You underestimate me,” Pekka replied. “That’s an erroneous line of thinking, if you ask me.”

Ahga grinned. “You think I was talking about you?”

Pekka’s eyes lit up as he looked behind him. Luna still remained on the floor as she tried to get back on her feet as Ahga had focused his aim on her. With only a few seconds to act, Pekka moved Ahga’s arm to the side but was met with a knee to his gut, with Ahga pushing him away.

“Nice try,” Ahga said.

Pekka covered his stomach as he caught his breath. “Damn it,” he said. “Luna! Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” she said.

“If you are fine, then it would do you well to take back what you gave me!” Ahga replied.

He reached for the knife in his back and pulled it out, wincing throughout, and dropped it on the ground. He kicked it towards Luna, who tried to pick it up but was stopped by Pekka.

“You would do well to stay away,” Ahga said with his gun pointed at the two. “If you take another step forward, I won’t hesitate to shoot you. Now to deal with my other problem…”

But as Ahga looked out the window, Rain had already escaped. He looked all around the immediate area outside, but Rain was nowhere to be seen.

“Damn it, this really was all part of her plan, wasn’t it?” Ahga asked. “Oh well, I guess I can use a little target practice.”

Ahga turned away from the window and found that Pekka and Luna had also escaped. The knife was gone as well. Ahga looked down at his gun again and shook his head. Then, he started to laugh aloud.

“Oh please, Your Highness,” he said. “If it’s a fair and honorable fight you want, then a fair and honorable fight you will get!”

 

*****

 

Outside, Rain moved to the back of the mansion and looked for another point of entry. She had landed on the ground with her left foot first, which had caused her to stumble backward and roll onto her back. It was an inconvenience that she had to take in order to gain the advantage, but even so, Rain felt the slight, nagging pain in her lower back and left elbow. She shook off some of the remaining shards of glass from the window and ran over to the back door. This had to be the entrance through the kitchen, Rain thought.

“There’s no time to hesitate,” she said. “I can only hope that Luna and Pekka are okay…”

Rain pulled the door open and went into the kitchen. It was empty and the only thing that illuminated the room was the outside light. As Rain expected, no one was here and she could not hear anyone coming, either. At first, she was relieved and felt like this was a moment to rest, but then she remembered that Sorin and Mina were pursuing someone as well. She could only hope that they would be successful, too, as she did with Luna and Pekka.

“No one is here,” Rain said. “Sir Lauren has to be downstairs by now, so I have to counter him in any way I can.”

If there was one place where Rain knew she had the advantage over Ahga, it was her quickness. She knew that even he would admit to that, which was why Rain had to move to an area with more space. The kitchen was not that sort of place, but there was the main hall. Luring Ahga outside was also a possibility that she could use as well, as it was the most open of all the places around Ahga Manor.

Rain hurried through the kitchen and out towards the main hallway. As she assumed, Bradley was not around even though it was obvious from the dent in the wall that the fight from before had taken place.She ignored the site of impact and headed for the front door.

“Leaving so soon, Your Highness?” Ahga asked.

Ahga’s voice rang through the hall and through Rain’s ears. She turned around and saw him standing at the top of the stairs with his sword drawn out. Rain, in return, drew her sword as well.

“I see that there’s been a bit of roughhousing in my humble home,” Ahga said. “Seems like those Ameci have been up to no good. I’ll see to it that those stupid ravens pay dearly for wreaking havoc upon my house. You know, once I’m done with you.”

“I’m not going to run away, Sir Lauren,” Rain said. “Not when my friends still need me.”

“So it’s all about your friends, then?” Ahga asked. “You always were too attached to these sorts of ideals, weren’t you? Always believing in the absolute goodness of people, even those born of a different land… All those people are nothing more than disgusting worms writhing around in the dirt!”

“What of you?” Rain asked. “Was it not my father who hired you after all you’ve done for him? He may have not been perfect, but he was willing to learn from his mistakes and work towards a better future.”

“A better future? Don’t make me laugh,” Ahga said. “This dirt we sit on is all we’ve got and god knows how many years we have left on it. Why bother with unity when you and I both know that they’ll just turn on you in the end? Have you not been paying attention to what is going on in Ahnlikohn?”

“It was all because of you!” Rain exclaimed. “You and my mother… You wanted Alan Berry dead but you used others to do your dirty work. Not only is that deplorable, but cowardly as well!”

Ahga scoffed. “Cowardly? The only coward was the bumbling nitwit who couldn’t see,” he said. “He was only good for one thing, because regardless of whether he got away with assassinating the prime minister of Iiayikohn, Isla still won in the end!”

“You haven’t won yet, Sir Lauren,” Rain said.

“Is that all you can really say?” Ahga asked as he walked down the stairs. “Not that it matters to me, anyway. For you, however, it’s time for your journey to come to an end!”

“You’re forgetting something very important, Ahga,” Pekka said, “I’m not going to go anywhere and I’m certainly not going to let you go without a fight! Bring on your worst!”

Pekka and Luna arrived at the top of the stairs only a few feet away from Ahga. He looked at the two as Pekka got up on the railing while Luna edged closer with her knife drawn.

“When it’s three against one, you’ve got little choice,” Pekka said. “Right now, however, we have all the choices in the world!”

“What are you doing?” Rain asked.

Luna took her place at the top of the stairs. “Don’t worry about him,” she said. “He knows what he’s doing for once! We’re going to help contain Ahga so you can beat him!”

“What do you mean ‘for once,’ Luna?” Pekka asked. “You know what? Forget about it; I’ve already got all the power that I need in order to make this happen!”

Rain could only watch as she saw Pekka leap from up top the railing towards Ahga. He had his sword ready as Rain tried to figure out what to do next. She knew Pekka stood no chance unarmed against Ahga and Luna carried a disadvantage too despite carrying a knife.

“You think you have me beat?” Ahga asked. “Clearly, you underestimate why I am called ‘Sir Lauren Ahga’ of Thekohn.”

Luna hurried in with her attack, which Ahga tried to defend himself with his sword. Meanwhile, Pekka had made it to the guard rail of the stairs and held onto the rail with his fingers. Now Ahga had his back turned against Rain, who had all the opportunity she needed to make a strike from the back.

“H-Hurry up!” Luna said. “I can’t hold up much longer with him!”

Pekka attempted to crawl up over the railing. “I got it,” he said. “Come on, Rain, take your sword and do what needs to be done!”

Rain gazed off until she realized what Pekka said. “I know,” she replied. “Sir Lauren, even though this is the most painful decision I’ve ever had to make, it must be done if we are to achieve peace!”

She raised her blade and began to run towards Ahga. But as she did, he spoke out once more.

“You really don’t have a clue, do you,” Ahga said. “These two are nothing to someone like myself!”

Ahga pushed away Luna with his physical power behind his sword, to which she ducked underneath the swing. However, Ahga kicked her away and turned his attention to Pekka and backhanded him in the face. Pekka remained with his hands on the railing, but Ahga slammed his free hand down on Pekka’s fingers and made him lose his grip. Because of that, Pekka could not hold on anymore and fell to the floor below.

“Luna! Pekka!” Rain exclaimed.

“They’ll be fine,” Ahga said. “At least, for now.”

Pekka sat up, rubbing his head. “Damn, he had that coming this whole time,” he said. “Ugh, it hurts…”

“Ow… my head,” Luna said.

“Tell me, Your Highness, what good would it do me if I were to let you go outside now?” Ahga asked. “As long as I have the advantage inside, there’s no way I’m going to let you escape with your life!”

Rain knew now that she needed to run. Not because she was not able to take Ahga on, but because she had to create a better advantage for herself. As Ahga charged at her, Rain moved out of the way and into the next room. There was furniture all throughout, so Rain continued to move. As long as she had the speed to outrun Ahga, Rain continued to believe that she would be able to gain the advantage over him.

 

To be continued…

 

Previous | Next Part