For a trip that had been made on short notice, Brook Rio Thedam gathered together a small travelling bag full of clothes for his voyage to Iiayikohn. When he had received the phone call from his sister yesterday, Brook was just getting back from Jiaikohn and setting his trophy in the main hall of Thedam Castle. At first Brook was reluctant, but was convinced by Rain after she said she needed his help. Seeing as she had been so nice, he thought, how could Brook refuse?
He sat by the window and read through a book detailing the long history of the Thekohnian Region. History had been a favorite subject of Brook’s, going from the Great Thekohnian Wars that happened over a hundred years ago all the way to the current events. Perhaps it was a chance to even meet with the prime minister himself, Brook thought.
“Attention, this is your conductor speaking,” the voice spoke over the speakers. “We’re arriving in Rezar right now. Please be sure to gather all your belongings and exit to the left once we have stopped.”
“Looks like I’ll have to resume this later,” Brook said as he closed his book.
With the train in a stationary position, Brook stood up to pick up his bag and step off. However, he was distracted by a small commotion on the other side as a young boy called out to a man that had begun to run out of the train with a large case in his arms.
“Somebody help!” The boy’s father pointed to the burly man rushing into the station. Brook sighed as he stepped off of the train and followed after the man. Though the crowd proved to be quite abundant, Brook was able to catch up with the man and tap him on the shoulder.
“Excuse me,” Brook said.
The man frowned. “What do ya want?”
“That case isn’t yours, is it?”
The man dropped the case to the ground as he shoved Brook away. “That’s none of your business, you son of a bitch!”
Brook clenched his fist. “I was going to have to settle this peacefully,” he said in a calm tone. “Guess that’s out of the question now.”
“I’m going to break your face, pretty boy!”
The man charged at Brook with his fist raised, but Brook was able to move to the side and grabbed his arm. With only a moment to react, Brook punched the man in the face and knocked him to the ground. A guard came running to the man on the ground as Brook picked up the large case.
“This is yours, isn’t it?” Brook asked as he handed the case back to the father. “A rather large instrument, I may guess?”
“Thank you, young man,” the father said. “Wait a minute, aren’t you Brook Rio Thedam?”
“It seems like you’re well informed,” Brook replied. “I just happened to passing by, so please pay me no mind.”
He walked away from the two as Ayanna came running up to him.
“Your Highness,” Ayanna said. She introduced herself to him as he shook her hand.
“Glad to meet you,” Brook said. “I’m sorry you had to see that.”
“They’re taking care of it now,” Ayanna replied. “Come now, we have somewhere to we need to be.”
Back at the prime minister’s office, Brook was escorted by Ayanna to the Questioning Chambers. Gavin, Law, and Gale sat at the other end of the table as Brook took a seat.
“I knew there was something bothering me about you,” Brook said to Gavin. “If only I had known who I was dealing with, then perhaps things would have gone differently back in Jiaikohn.”
Gavin scowled. “The hell is that supposed to mean?”
“Had I known that I had been facing off against the prominent junior lieutenant of the Ameci military, then perhaps I might have pulled a few strings to face you,” Brook replied.
There was a prolonged silence in the room as Brook grinned.
“But seeing as I’m not type to make humorous remarks, it’s to be expected that that one flies over your heads,” he said.
“So, as I was saying to you earlier,” Ayanna said, “It appears that Princess Rain is in need of your help and these three are a part of it.”
“Do tell,” Brook said.
Law smirked as he put his hands together. “Sadly, your dear sister isn’t here to tell you, so I suppose I’ll be the one to drop the news,” he said. “You see, she has been quite taken with myself. The other day, even, she asked to hold my hand as we walked to the local confectionery.”
Brook looked over to Ayanna. “Are you serious?”
“Law, you told me this was important,” Ayanna said.
“It was,” he replied, “Which is why what I said just now was a joke.”
Everybody else in the room groaned as Law chuckled.
“Hey, if our royal prince here can wisecrack with us, then why not I?”
“Let me take over, then, since you don’t seem at all interested in leading the conversation,” Gale said. “We’ve been doing some research with your sister yesterday and have come across some startling information.”
“Or rather, the lack of information,” Law said, “But that’s the far from the point we’re trying to make here.”
“Then what is it?” Brook asked.
“You can tell me, right, kid?” Law asked. “Your sister mentioned to us a potential assassination attempt on the king. Surely this is common knowledge to the entire royal family?”
Brook sighed. “It’s nothing surprising,” he said. “Anyone with enough power will be sought after. However, most of them just peter out or are apprehended before the damage can be done.”
“I’m going to be level with you, Brook,” Law said, “Rain is an exceptional lady and the second most beautiful woman that I know. Clearly, though, there’s something more than meets the eye on this whole thing, isn’t there?”
“If you’re asking me, then I do not know,” Brook answered.
“No turmoil or anything of that sort?” Law asked.
“Things at the castle have been quiet,” he said. “The queen has been completely busy with her duties in my father’s absence, however.”
“Absence?” Gavin asked. “Let me guess, Your Highness: the king’s gone missing, hasn’t he?”
“It seems like I’ve spoken too much,” Brook replied.
“I promise that we’ll keep it a secret,” Gale said. “You would agree, wouldn’t you?”
“If it’s important to whatever it is my sister is doing, then I suppose I have no choice,” Brook replied. “Late last month, my father became deeply ill. From what I’ve heard from the doctors, though, it is treatable.”
“Ah, finally, we hear something that’s intriguing,” Law said. “Nobody else knows about this, am I right?”
“Only within the family and our advisors,” Brook said.
“That’s a key word there, wouldn’t you agree, Gale?” Law asked.
Gale pushed up her glasses. “Why are you asking me?”
“I feel like there’s one question you’re not asking here, Law,” Ayanna said. “Namely, what do you want the prince to do about this?”
“This kid’s a valuable asset to us,” Law replied. “Whatever happens to the king, it will be considerably damaging to the royal family, regardless of who is next in line.”
“I think you’re being a bit over dramatic,” Ayanna replied.
Law leaned in. “How so?”
“You’re acting under the assumption that the king is already under attack,” she said. “That’s very dangerous conjecture.”
“Nothing’s escaping this room, right,” Law said. “Bro, come on, back me up here.”
“Don’t ask me,” Gavin replied. “You’re the one who brought it up.”
Law took a deep breath and sighed as he stood up. “It seems like I’m just going to have to do things myself, then,” he said as he walked around the table. “A man gets a taste of power, so what does he do? He sets out to satiate that hunger by doing whatever it takes to fill his gluttonous gut with that authority. If we’re dealing with such a person, then we will need to advance our investigation.”
“Even you should realize it’s not that simple,” Ayanna said.
Gavin shook his head and scoffed. “He’s not exactly the kind of person to see the problems introduced by his reasoning,” he said. “Still, though, it isn’t like he’s wrong, either.”
“I know there’s no chance in hell that the Iiayikohnian government will get involved,” Law said. “This is a purely internal matter for the kingdom, yet it also carries a lot of weight for everyone else. Even Ameci and Elemci would have to be affected.”
“Maybe Ameci would, but their neighbor hardly has anything to do with it,” Ayanna replied. “Anyway, it’s nothing that I feel is too concerning. Your Highness, are you quite satisfied?”
Brook eyed at Law. “I do not know what it is my sister said to you, but what I would like to say is that I want little to do with it,” he said. “I was on my way home in order to prepare for the summit in Glora when I was sidetracked.”
“I would like to apologize,” Ayanna said. “It seems like these three were mistaken by what the princess had said.”
“You really don’t need to apologize to me,” he said. “I packed well enough to go from here to Ahnlikohn right away.”
“Do you not want to see your sister before you leave?” Gale asked.
“Well, I was expecting to run into her, but it seems like she’s off on her own adventures,” he said. “I knew she had this streak in her, which was why she was so excited about this trip in first place. There will be another chance for us to reunite before the Thekohnian Festival begins, that much I am sure of.”
“Really? What’s the festival like?” Gale wondered.
“If it interests you that much, then feel free to come,” Brook said.
“The Thekohnian Festival is one of the most well known events throughout the region,” Ayanna added. “Lots of people come far and wide to see the dancers, singers, and everyone else that comes to celebrate this vast land.”
“So we’d be good to see it in person sometime, you think?” Law asked. “You really should just try and catch that break around then.”
“I’ll think about it,” Ayanna replied. “As for you, Your Highness, I’d be glad to escort you to the train station.”
“Honestly, it seems like a hassle,” Gavin said. “You could have just declined and not have to go through all that nonsense again.”
Brook stood up as he headed for the door. “It doesn’t bother me that much,” he said. “What does bother me, though, was what I heard from Rain.”
Gale got out of her chair. “Did she tell you something we haven’t heard?”
“Ask her for yourself,” Brook replied. “Other than that, I must take my leave right now.”
“I will see you guys later,” Ayanna said. “Please try not to get into any trouble, Law.”
Ayanna walked out of the room with Brook as Gavin stood up out of his chair. He turned to Gale, who was thinking to herself. Law, meanwhile, was trying not to laugh.
“Do you think we screwed up?” Gale asked.
“I doubt it,” Gavin replied. “The princess probably thought that there was little chance that her brother would be able to supply any information to us.”
“We have to speak to Rain,” Gale said. “I wonder where she and Mina are right now.”
“That is something I’d like to know, too,” Law said. “What possible things are they saying about me out of my earshot?”
“You know, calling Brook here was your idea,” Gale replied. “I was certain that you’d have some sort of brilliant deduction, but honestly it all felt like a waste of time.”
“Sometimes a broken clock is just that,” Gavin said.
“Come on, bro, I can’t just let that slide,” Law said, “And you, Gale… If it wasn’t for the fact that you’re cute, I’d be pretty mad at what you just said.”
“Sometimes it’s just best to know when to shut up,” Gavin said. “Besides, we all know you’re just going to forget this happened once we meet with Mina and Rain again.”
“Oh fine,” Law said.
“No, it’s not fine,” Gale responded. “I feel like we’ve let Rain down…”
Gavin sighed. “Let’s just get out here,” he said. “We’re just wasting more time if we don’t catch up with the other two soon.”
“I suppose we should,” Law said. “Best to get the girls before they go off on some wacky adventure without us. I mean, we’re already down Sorin, so it’ll be just you and me, bro!”
Gavin rolled his eyes. “Gale, you shouldn’t feel bad about this,” he said. “Just move past it and we’ll go.”
[9th of September, 2740 AD; Iiayine Prison, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Giga District]
“Are you enjoying this view?” Alan asked to Silvia.
Inside the courtyard, Alan took Silvia over to the large watchtower at the edge of the prison. There was a good view of most of the city and ocean as Silvia looked over everything.
“It was a long climb,” she replied. “Are you okay, Prime Minister?”
Alan chuckled. “If there’s any problem, I know my guards will look after me,” he said. “Besides, it’s not like I’m that old anyway.”
“I won’t question it, then,” Silvia said. “Why did you want to speak with me of all people?”
“The other day, a mysterious person came to visit you,” Alan replied. “There’s something that has been bothering me about this information, and I would like to hear it from you.”
“What is that?” Silvia asked.
“I cannot help but feel that this person sought you out because of a connection you still may have with the True Thekohnians,” Alan said.
“There has been no contact from them,” Silvia replied. “Nor do I wish to be a part of them anymore. All I’ve heard from the person who visited me was that they were setting forth a new order for the Thekohnian Region.”
“I see,” Alan said. “It’s not in this country’s interest, but they’re hiding in Ahnlikohn, aren’t they?”
Alan had spoken with both General Fercewend and President Hasker prior to today, both men stating there was some business that the Ameci military had in the city of Glora. Two different matters that Ameci had to deal with, in fact. The first one was one Alan had already known about and was preparing for already, while the other was a mission for the Ameci military. He knew nothing beyond that, but felt that there was something happening there that could affect relations between the countries.
“Yes, that is what I’ve heard,” Silvia answered.
“Perhaps there’s some truth to what you’ve heard, then,” Alan said. “If only I had time to figure it out…”
The time would have to wait, however, as a sudden commotion broke out below. Alan turned his head and looked down to the courtyard; both of his guards were firing at two masked assailants who did not appear to be occupants of this prison.
“What’s going on!?” Silvia asked.
“Just wait,” Alan said.
He looked to see one of his guards getting attacked by one of the assailants, while the other assailant disarmed the other guard and shot him. Alan knew that there was only one reason why these attackers were here, and it was because he was in the prison.
“Silvia, I want you to stay here,” Alan said.
“You can’t be serious,” Silvia said.
“These two, they’re not after you,” he said. “I’m going to try and buy myself some time. There’s a phone on the wall over there. Use it.”
“But they’ll kill you,” she said. “Is your life as the prime minister not important?”
“Silvia, there’s only one thing I consider important,” Alan replied, “And that is the safety and well-being of the people of this country–no–this entire world.”
Silvia frowned. “But how are you going to hold them back?”
“That doesn’t matter,” he said. “Just call the offices. Tell them there’s an emergency at the Iiayine Prison.”
Silva had no time to respond as Alan dashed down the spiral staircase. He was determined to hold back these two assailants, who had already gotten the better of his guards. Alan knew he was heading into an unfavorable situation, but he had to keep Silvia safe. After all, she knew what that mysterious person told her, and there was a chance that there was more information she could give.
“I guess I’ll have to do it,” Silvia said.
She reached over to the phone and picked it up. It rang only one time as the person on the other end picked up. This was a duty that the prime minister entrusted to her, Silvia thought. Despite all of her past misdeeds, she could feel that Alan saw her for more than that. She would have to make it up to him, somehow, if both of them were to make it out alive.
To be continued…