Sundown – Chapter 9 (Part 1)

[9th of September, 2740 AD; Abandoned Manufacturing Complex, Glora, Ahnlikohn – Outer Boundary]


“Looks like we’re closing in,” Henry said.

The large gate got closer as the truck stopped. The back door opened as the other soldiers began to step out, save for Henry and one other soldier. Sorin was still there, too, as he turned to Henry.

“Mars, are you hesitant?” Henry asked the man with short, neatly combed black hair and a small goatee.

“Not at all,” he replied, “And please, call me Korbin.”

“I’m glad to hear that,” Henry said. “Sorin, I assume that you’re ready?”

Sorin slowly nodded his head. “As long as we’re working together, I think we’ll be okay,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about, right?”

“Take it that you’re ready, then,” Henry replied. “Let’s roll.”

Henry jumped out of the truck as Sorin set to follow after him. Korbin stopped him, however, with a light tap on the shoulder.

“I’ve heard a lot about you,” Korbin said. “Didn’t know we were going to be fighting side by side so soon.”

“Well, I wasn’t originally planning to come,” Sorin replied, “But after what I’ve heard, there was no way that I couldn’t go.”

Korbin grinned. “Sounds pretty noble,” he said. “I’ll be looking forward to seeing you in action, Sorin Wilk.”

He picked up his rifle and stepped out of the truck. Perhaps it was just him overthinking, but Sorin found that interaction to be odd. Maybe it was best not to think too deeply about it, he thought, since he had something else he needed to focus on right now.

“Hey, Sorin, we don’t have all day!” Henry called.

“I’ll be right there!” Sorin responded.

He joined up with Henry and Korbin, who were busy walking behind the other soldiers in the squad. The lack of sound in the forest, save for the light rustle of the trees, was comforting yet ominous for Sorin.

“Best to keep our guards up,” Henry said as he gripped his gun. “This means all of you!”

“So what’s our plan of attack?” Korbin asked. “Obviously it doesn’t seem like we’re going to be going in all out. Kind of disappointing, don’t ya think?”

Henry tilted his head towards Korbin. “Need I remind you that this is a rescue mission, Mars?”

“With all this training, I was hoping to put my skills to good use,” Korbin said. “I’m sure you’d agree, wouldn’t you, Sorin?”

“Henry’s right,” Sorin replied. “I’m in this for my friend.”

Korbin laughed. “I’m sorry,” he said. “It must be weird to have someone you don’t know say your name, isn’t it?”

“I wasn’t going to raise that question,” Sorin said, “But it is sudden.”

“You must think I’m weird, don’t you?” Korbin asked. “Let’s restart this on a good note. The name’s Korbin Mars. Nice to meet ya.”

He reached his fist out to Sorin, who responded by bumping his fist into Korbin’s.

“That’s not too awkward, is it?” Korbin asked. “I had no idea I’d be walking alongside the son of a legendary swordsman!”

“Anyway, training isn’t all shooting and combat,” Henry said. “Sometimes we have to perform tasks that aren’t all glitz and glory.”

Just then, the soldiers ahead of them stopped as they came upon a split in the path. There was a brief discussion among the soldiers as Henry scoped the immediate area to see if there were any enemies in sight.

“Keep your heads up,” Henry said. “That means you too, Sorin. Be ready in case of an ambush.”

He directed the other soldiers to the right path, which would take them to a higher vantage point. They were still not on the premises but according to Henry’s planning, they would have a much better time approaching from the side entrance. Sorin took Henry’s word as his hand hovered above the handle of his sword, ready to go should the moment arise. He believed that he and Henry could trust each other enough to fulfill this mission.

“This route’s getting pretty steep,” Korbin said. “I wonder if it’s because the ‘True Thekohnians’ believe that this is a good defensive strategy.”

Sorin raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean by that?”

“Come on,” Henry said. “We all know that the True Thekohnians are no longer in operation.”

“Guess that answers my question,” Korbin said. “What about you?”

“Same,” Sorin replied.

Their march up the hill continued as they came closer to the vantage point, passing by the tall trees as sunlight scattered through the leaves above. A distant conversation could be heard from ahead as Henry and the other soldiers readied themselves, just in case.




Inside one of the trailers, Johan Kuu sat near the window, the bright sunlight shining on his light gray shirt and brown hair. He thought to himself about what was going to happen now that he was in the captivity of the Neu Thekohnian Order. He was not concerned about what they would do, however, as much as he was concerned about what the Ameci military would do. They were coming for him, that much was certain. Johan was unbound and free to roam but remained locked behind bars as the door to the trailer slammed open.

“Now who could that be?” Johan asked in a soft-spoken tone.

In walked Jelka, who approached the bars causing Johan to stand up. He walked up to her with an enthusiastic smile upon his face. Jelka, however, did not share that same enthusiasm as she gripped the steel bar and sported a scowl.

“It seems that your comrades have come to rescue you,” Jelka said. “I’d advise you to cease with that smug look if I were you.”

“Well, you’re the one who believes that she can lead a group to victory,” Johan said. “I’m not going to stop you there. Not like I could in my position, anyway.”

“When this is over, you’ll see,” she said. “The Neu Thekohnian Order will bring about a revolution to the Thekohnian Region. You’re powerless.”

“Is that what you think?” Johan asked. “You need to give your enemies more respect. After all, that’s what caused the downfall of Walton Lokke.”

“Lokke was scum that deserved what he got,” Jelka replied. “I only wish that I was able to kill him myself.”

“Even so, Lokke was able to manipulate those around him to do what he wanted,” Johan said, “That is, except for one. One man who still lives on, despite all that has happened to him.”

“That man has no significance nor no reason to live,” she answered. “I’d be surprised if he isn’t dead by now.”

She made her way for the door, but stopped and turned around.

“A change of heart, Miss Arne?” Johan wondered. “Please, I’m all ears. Not that I have any better to do, you know?”

He laughed as Jelka slammed her hands on the bars. Johan scratched his head and reached out his free hand to her.

“I wonder if you believe in your cause,” he said. “There’s no doubt that corruption still exists, even with a good deal of players out of the game.”

“You dare challenge my belief?” Jelka asked. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that an Ameci would do such a thing.”

“That’s not at all what I’m trying to do,” Johan replied. “I’m not looking to change your opinions overnight. In fact, I would rather hope that you keep believing in yourself.”

Jelka glared at him. “Why would an Ameci soldier like you say that?”

“I think you’ve got my role all wrong,” Johan said. “I’m no soldier and I truly despise fighting.”

“Then perhaps I should kill you now,” she said.

She drew her sword and pointed the blade at Johan, who did not break his smile. Jelka thrusted her sword forward but Johan dodged her attack with a quick turn to the right.

“You’ve got a beautiful sword, no doubt about it,” he said. “Anyway, I’m not planning on dying any time soon. Too many things I still need to do here before I go to the other side.”

Jelka withdrew her sword as Johan continued.

“You shouldn’t mess with me,” he said. “I may hate fighting, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t know how to survive. I’ve got three rules I follow: don’t get in any fights that I have no business being in, always watch my opponent, and if there’s another way out, take it.”

“Looks like you’ve already failed on at least two of those,” Jelka replied.

Johan chuckled. “Have I, though? I think that we have yet to see if you’re right or not,” he said. “Of course, I’d like to hope that I’m right, but you’ve got your own hope in all this.”

“Unlike you, Ameci, I don’t rely on things like hope,” she said. “My group will decimate anything in their way.”

“Whatever helps justify your belief,” Johan said, “But you can’t deny that we all hope things will work out in our favor. Some people pray, some have a simple exercise they do when they wake up, and others do the things that sound just plain absurd to everyone.”

“And what do you do?”

Johan shrugged. “I just believe in myself,” he said. “Simple, I know, but it’s what’s brought me this far and what’s going to get me out of here.”

“If that’s all you’ve got to say, then I’ve got other things to take care of,” Jelka said as she started for the door.

“What are you hoping to gain from me?” Johan asked.

“Unfortunately for you, I’m not answering your question,” she replied.

And with that, Jelka was gone. Johan was disappointed that he wasn’t able to continue the conversation with her. If they were to meet again next time, he would definitely get that answer from her, that much Johan knew.

“You’re an interesting one, all right,” he thought aloud. “Just who are you answering to, I wonder?”


To be continued…


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Chapter 9 – Part 3

[2740 AD; Macro Plaza in front of Iiayine Castle – Deca District]


The morning sun shined as security was lined up from side to side, citizens gathering in the plaza to watch the speeches that would be given today. Kirk’s group arrived early, running into Gavin, Law, and Mina who were already there.

“Why are you out here?” Sorin asked Gavin. “Shouldn’t you be with the Ameci army?”

“I suppose you of all people wouldn’t understand,” Gavin replied. “I do things my way. Besides, being here would be advantageous.”

Law tilted his head towards Sorin. “All these soldiers, you honestly don’t think that there’ll be at least one assassination attempt?”

“I’m sorry,” Gavin said. “None of you had the chance to meet. As much as it pains me to say it, that’s my brother.”

“You’re Lawrence?” Gale asked.

“Well, last time I checked,” Law replied. He gazed into Gale’s eyes for a split second. “It’s nice to meet you, but I would suggest waiting a couple more years before we can do anything serious.”

Gavin raised his hand and brought it down, slapping the back of Law’s head. “Show some restraint for once!”

“I am, bro,” Law said. “I was letting this girl down gently.”

“It’s Gale,” she said. “And I’m 18…”

“18, huh?” Law asked. “If we’re doing the math, one and eight make nine. Nine flipped over is six, which happens to be my lucky number. Do you want to know why, Gale?”

“Don’t answer that, Gale,” Gavin said. “You will only want to hit him afterwards.”

“Okay,” she said.

Law shook his head. “You really know how to piss on my fun, don’t you?”

“Anyway, perhaps it’s my turn,” Sorin said. He put on a smile and his hand forward. “I’m Sorin… That’s my father Kirk and his friend Eva.”

“Sonny and Kurt, is it?” Law asked. “Well, it doesn’t matter. I want to know her story.”

Eva pointed at herself. “Me?”

“You seem so elegant, even though you don’t dress that way,” Law said. “And there is certainly a story behind that eyepatch. Maybe after the speech you can tell me while we walk in the park.”

Eva looked over at Kirk, as Kirk just scratched his head. “Sorry to disappoint you, young man, but no,” she said.

“If it’s Kurt there, I can take him,” he replied.

“Can you hit him again, Gavin?” Kirk asked. “At least until he starts calling me by my name.”

Gavin cracked his knuckles. “My pleasure.”

“Bro, wait!” Law said. Gavin’s hand hung in the air as Law started to laugh.

“They certainly are brothers, aren’t they, Sorin?” Gale asked.

“It really seems like it,” Sorin said.

Gale then frowned and sighed. “I just got what Lawrence meant by his lucky number,” she said.

“What did he mean?” Sorin asked.

“You don’t know?” Gale asked.

“I’m not really a numbers guy,” he replied.

“Maybe I’ll show you later,” she said, and then muttered to herself, “Although I guess I’d be learning, too.”

“You two!” Gavin said. “Are you going to just have a conversation to yourselves?”

“Why not?” Gale asked.

“Maybe because I’m not done introducing people yet,” he answered. He turned to Mina.

Mina smiled. “You didn’t forget me!”

“Unlike loverboy over there, I actually try to remember people,” Gavin said. “Go on, introduce yourself!”

“Okay! Hi, my name’s Mina,” she said with a giggle. “I’m this city’s hero and every villain’s worst nightmare!”

Sorin shook her hand and was surprised by how much force she had put into her handshake. “N-nice meeting you, Mina,” he said. “Go easy with Gale, okay?”

Gale waved her hand at Mina. “Hello,” she said. “You actually fight bad guys?”

“Of course!” Mina replied, fists clenched. “I even beat Law here!”

“How many times do I have to say it? That was a draw,” Law said. “And you even said it yourself: I’m not a villain!”

“Then maybe you would like to have a rematch?” Mina asked.

“Oh no, I can’t possibly do that,” Law said.

“Are you scared?” Mina asked. “I thought that you were fearless because you believed in luck.”

Law scoffed. “I can’t just make my luck work like it’s an on/off switch,” he said. “Certainly not when it comes to the ladies.”

“Wow, that’s the first thing you’ve said all day that’s made sense,” Kirk remarked.

“Are you speaking to me, Kurt?” Law asked. “I didn’t expect you to be the one dropping the dry wit.”

“Oh no, I was just giving you a compliment,” Kirk insisted.

“That’s too bad for you, then,” Law said. “If Eva there had said what you said, I would already be on one knee.”

“And I would tell you ‘no’ yet again,” Eva said. “Learn to take a rejection when you see it.”

“Oof, clipping the wings before the bird gets fly,” Law said.

“Drop it,” Gavin demanded.

“Fine,” Law said. “I guess I’ll shut up.”

Law wandered off to the side, leaving Gavin to turn back to the rest of the group. Many more people arrived into the plaza as the Ahnlikohnian soldiers made their way to the stage.

“Looks like things are about to go underway,” Gavin said.

“Maybe I can talk to Alan,” Kirk said.

“Good luck with that,” Gavin said. “I spoke with major Ansa before you got here and she said that he’s under maximum security right now.”

“I’m certain that he’d be okay if I talked to him before the speech,” Kirk replied. He moved up into the crowd, excusing his way through the groups of people that were forming.

“What are you doing!?” Eva asked. “You can’t be serious!”

It was too late, though, as Kirk soon was closing in on the stage.

“You stubborn man,” she growled. “Sometimes it’s like you just want me to be angry at you.”

“Is he going to be okay?” Sorin asked.

“They’ll probably just kick him out,” Gavin replied.

“Why would he go by himself, though?” Gale asked. “I thought that we were all in this together…”

Before anyone could answer, the sound of microphone feedback filled the air. It was time. The Chancellor of Ahnlikohn had taken the stage, making his way up to the podium. The big moment was about to begin.


Up on stage the chancellor spoke with a calm, reassuring tone to the people of Iiayikohn. Fercewend and Alan watched with Henry and Tori as the chancellor began to wind down his speech.

“Harring knows how to put people at ease, doesn’t he,” Fercewend said.

“It works with his people,” Alan said. “Why not go with what works?”

Fercewend chuckled. “I have to admit that I am shaking,” he said. “I’ve spoken before my men many times, but I’ve never had to address an entire country before.”

“Consider it a learning experience, Rohan,” Alan replied. “I have no doubt that you’d make a good leader some day.”

“To hear you say that is an honor,” Fercewend said. “Though perhaps you are just trying to reassure me.”

“Rohan, you know I would never tell a lie,” he said. “I know that Henry can attest to that.”

Henry nodded. “I’m surprised to even be here,” he said. “It takes a lot of leadership to do that.”

“I agree,” Tori said.

“Well, I guess if you’re all saying it, it must be true,” Fercewend said as a roaring applause broke out. “Looks like I’m up next.”

“Good luck,” Henry said.

“Thanks, Henry.”

Fercewend approached the podium, grabbing both sides as he looked at the mass of people standing before him. They applauded him as he thanked them for being there. As the applause began to die down, Fercewend cleared his throat and began to speak.

“A great man once said to me: ‘In the times of darkness, that is when the sun burns the hardest.’ That man happened to be my mentor, Albert Atlas,” he said. “Currently, we are in a similar moment with Maeitakohn…”


Wihll placed the last bomb at the base of the interior, wiping his forehead as he watched outside the window. Fercewend’s speech appeared to be coming to a close as cheers were muffled by the glass.

“Our glory will be realized soon enough,” he said. “Silvia, what the hell do you think you’re doing!?”

Silvia looked out of the window. “We’re doing the right thing…”

“Are you listening to me?” Wihll asked, grabbing her by the wrist.

“Let me go!”

“I know a traitor when I see one,” he said. “Do you know what happened to the last person to betray me?”

“I… don’t know,” she answered.

“I put a knife in his back!” Wihll exclaimed. “That is, if I see him again, but you’re welcome to be his replacement if you want…”

“No, don’t,” she uttered. “I’ll do what you say.”

“Do you think I buy that bullshit? I know you’re going to try something funny, so I’m not going to let you go.”

Silvia walked with Wihll as they proceeded to leave the building, the bombs ready to go off. What was going to happen next, Wihll was sure that no one was going to forget it.


“People of Iiayikohn,” Alan began, “I speak to you today because as the prime minister, I am the extension of yourselves. You all are the reason why I stand here right now, speaking to you.”

Henry clapped his hands as he spotted Kirk moving through the crowd. He appeared to be in a chase, so Henry scanned the crowd as he saw the person that was being chased. It was then that Henry realized who the gray and brown haired man was and leaned forward, ready to leap out of his seat.

“The path to Maeitakohn and it’s prosperity is a tough one,” Alan said, “But as a united front, all of us, be it Iiayikohnian, Ameci, Ahnlikohnian, Maeitakohnian, or any of the other countries in the Thekohnian Region, will stand together regardless of who is threatening us!”

Cheers erupted as flashes of light filled the air. Glass began to break as explosions boomed throughout. The cheers soon turned to awe, and then to screams as people began to realize what was happening.

“The prime minister!” Ayanna exclaimed.

She rushed to the stage and met with Alan. A couple of other Iiayikohnian soldiers were there, too, and helped escort him, Fercewend and Harring out of the area. Tori started to look around, but Henry was nowhere to be seen. Gunshots rang out as Gavin tried to direct the people away from the scene. Eva yelled to Sorin and Gale, while Law and Mina moved along with Gavin. Despite everyone’s efforts, however, it was clear that the damage was already done. Chaos filled the streets as the True Thekohnians got what they wanted.


Previous | Next Chapter

Chapter 9 – Part 2

Fercewend sat across from Henry and Tori in the Questioning Hall, his presence hard to ignore. They had been talking for the past two hours, most of it just small talk. Rohan had even offered water to the both of them, to which Tori accepted while Henry declined. They all knew that there was unresolved tension, however, which Tori attempted to tackle.

“So,” she said, “Has anything changed, Rohan?”

“Like what?” Fercewend asked.

“About Henry’s… accusation,” Tori said.

“Is that what you wanted to talk to me about?” Fercewend asked Henry.


“It wasn’t the first thing I was thinking of,” Henry replied, “But yes, I wanted to state my case.”

“You should have said so in the first place!” Fercewend said. “There isn’t a day where I think about what happened that day. Every young recruit I’ve spoken to has cited you as their influence, and your work has not gone unnoticed.”

“Then you should be able to do something, shouldn’t you?” Tori asked.

“You know it’s extremely complicated, right?” Fercewend asked back. “We are talking about national secrets here. Somebody had to have leaked them to the True Thekohnians.”

“At that time, I was planning to marry Tori,” Henry said. “Especially after what she told me the night before.”

“What did you tell him, Tori?”

“That I was pregnant with his children,” she replied.

“That’s it?” Fercewend asked. “I was worried that it would be something more sinister. Glad to see that isn’t the case.”

“Anyway, you would say that would be an acceptable alibi, wouldn’t you Rohan?” Tori asked. “I just can’t stand to see this going on for any longer.”

“A bit too much information for me, but I suppose it is good enough,” Fercewend replied. “I will file a report to the president about it and hopefully we can put this entire thing behind us.”

“That’s great to hear,” Tori said. “Henry, do you hear that? We did it!”

“I wish I could say I did, but it was your idea,” he said.

“It does not matter now,” Fercewend said. “What does matter is that I can start helping you get back into the military. It’s been a long time, commander Randolph.”

“Don’t you think that you’re being too careless, Rohan?” Isaac asked.

Isaac walked into the room with Gavin right behind him. Fercewend turned and greeted his cousin while Tori and Henry watched.

“I appreciate the hello, Rohan,” Isaac said, “But what I don’t appreciate is the fact that you’re so willing to throw away a serious case under such flimsy pretenses.”

“Listen, Isaac, we both know that there wasn’t much in the original accusation,” Fercewend said.

“And you’re willing to accept Mr. Randolph’s excuse, even when there isn’t any evidence to suggest that he is innocent?” Isaac asked. “I expected better of you, Rohan Fercewend.”

“I wonder why you feel so strongly about Henry, Isaac,” Fercewend said. “Was it not you who declined to join the military? Was it not you who, afterward, wanted to become chief strategist?”

“Hold your tongue, Rohan.”

“I’m not finished,” Fercewend said. “I’ve entertained you for as long as I could, but now is where I put my foot down.”

Isaac laughed. “So I suppose that this is where you tell me that you have the final say,” he said. “Fine by me. You win.”

“That’s it?” Gavin asked.

“He’s the general, after all,” Isaac said. “You would know first hand, wouldn’t you, soldier?”

Gavin didn’t answer.

“You don’t have to look so sullen, my boy!” Isaac said as he patted Gavin on the back. “Well, I’m going to go now. Business calls, you know?”

“I will see you later, Isaac,” Fercewend said.

“Goodbye,” Isaac said.

With that, Isaac Kunigunde left the Questioning Hall. Gavin stood around for a brief moment until he decided to leave too.

“Now that that’s out of the way,” Fercewend said, “Perhaps you two would want to have dinner? It’ll be my treat.”

“We’d love to,” Tori said.

“Yeah, it wouldn’t be too bad at this point,” Henry added. “I could use after that trip.”

“Then we should go,” Fercewend replied. “I know of a good restaurant around here.”


[2740 AD; Number One Bakery in Rezar – Deca District]


What had happened before happened again. Law and Ayanna could only watch as Mina began tearing through her meals: a large pizza and whole roasted chicken. She was about halfway through the chicken when she looked up at Law and Ayanna.

“Is something wrong?” Mina asked.

“How… how do you even manage to do that?” Ayanna asked. “With your figure, how do you…?”

“Oh! That’s easy,” Mina said, “I just have tons of fighting spirit!”

“I’m just writing it off as one of the wonders of this world,” Law concluded, “The bottomless pit that is Mina’s stomach.”

“Of all the things I have seen, this is probably the most staggering,” Ayanna said. “I think I’ll elect to eat my food later.”

Gavin stood outside the restaurant and saw the three through the window. He appeared to scream and hurried inside, stumbling his way to the table. He stopped just short of Law, who eyed the exhausted man before him.

“Guess who decided to show up,” Law said. “I’ll give you two ladies three guesses.”

“Weren’t you going to look for the Ameci general?” Ayanna asked.

“Things happened,” Gavin replied. “I’d rather not talk about it.”

“You’d rather not talk?” Law asked. “That’s a first. What is this, a joke?”

Gavin took a seat next to Law. “You want a joke? I’ll give you a joke.”

“This should be good,” Law said.

“Do you know why I am always in top shape?” Gavin asked. Law chuckled to himself. “Because I always Power walk!”

The silence around the table was all Gavin needed to know. He hung his head in shame, as if he had just realized what he had just said. Mina continued to eat as Law burst out laughing.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Law uttered between laughs, “But you really… really shouldn’t quit your day job!”

“I really should get a box for this,” Ayanna said, eyeing her half-finished food. “Where is the waiter?”

“Maybe it is for the best,” Law said. “After all, if that joke were truly funny, Mina would most likely be choking on her food right about now. You just saved her life, bro!”

“Fuck you,” Gavin said.

Law shrugged. “Man, I was only trying to bring the mood around this table up after that let down of a joke.”

“Excuse me,” Ayanna said to the waiter passing by, “Can I have a box, please?”

The waiter nodded and went off the retrieve a box.

“Okay, so anyway, why are you here?” Law asked. “Seriously, I mean.”

“I want to know why you left,” Gavin answered. “You are the only family I have now. Just tell me… please?”

“Man, you honestly could have just written me that letter,” Law said. “Then again, you did come all the way to see me. I do appreciate that.”

“The general said that you went AWOL,” Gavin said. “Do you have any idea what that even means?”

“I know,” Law replied. “If I go back, I’d be committing suicide.”

“Why would you abandon your post?” Ayanna asked.

“Trust me, it wasn’t something I did on a whim,” Law said, “But if you knew what I knew, you would understand.”

Gavin pounded the table. “What’s understandable about desertion!?”

“Gavin, you and I both know what is was like growing up,” he said. “Dead parents… All the mockery we faced… You even had to work three jobs just to hold the roof up over our heads each night.”

“Do you think that excuses what you did?” Gavin asked.

“Of course it doesn’t,” Law replied. “I had no choice, though. I had to pull that trigger, because if I didn’t my luck would have run out.”

“You honestly expect me to believe that crap?”

“I don’t expect you to,” Law said. “I just expected you to listen to what I had to say.”

“Well, I did,” Gavin said, “And I’m just as confused as before.”

“I expected that from you as well,” Law responded. “Are you almost finished there, Mina?”

“Just a little more to go!”

“Good,” he said. “Gavin, look, I know you don’t understand. I get that. Maybe nothing I say will make you do, but I know that I will always support you.”

“I’m glad to hear that,” Gavin said, “But I still want to know why you decided to leave.”

“Here’s your box, ma’am,” the waiter said to Ayanna.

“Thank you,” Ayanna replied. “Maybe you should tell him, Law. He’s your family; he deserves to know why, at least.”

“Well, I almost never turn down a request from a pretty woman,” Law said. “Where should I start? Ah, I know…”

Law leaned forward, hands clasped together as he eyed the rest of the table. Gavin prepared himself for what Law said, as did Ayanna.


[2740 AD; Executive Hotel – Deca District]


Fercewend’s recommendation of the restaurant at Rezar’s Executive Hotel was a delight to Henry. The bright lights and calming music that was being played by the local pianist was welcoming as Henry and Tori took their seats at the table. Again they sat across from Fercewend, but this time it was for a casual dinner between friends instead of supposed enemies.

“How did you like your food, Henry?” Fercewend asked.

“It was good,” he replied.

“Yes, thank you, Rohan,” Tori said.

“You two don’t need to thank me,” Fercewend responded. “This is what friends do, after all?”

“I mean, hasn’t it been eating at you?” Henry asked. “I’ve wasted ten years of my life because of it…”

“Henry, you’re speaking not with Fercewend the general,” he said, “You are speaking with your friend and colleague, Rohan. Tonight’s a night where we can drop the formalities, wouldn’t you agree?”

Henry closed his eyes and gulped. “I agree.”

“That is what I want to hear,” Fercewend said. “Now I know tomorrow I have a speech, but I would love to have you and Tori there watching.”

“Is that okay?” Henry asked. “Are you sure you wouldn’t get in any trouble?”

“I will speak to Alan, but I am sure he would be okay with it.”

“What will you be talking about?” Tori asked. “It seems that I’m in the dark about what is truly happening here.”

“As much as I would love to, I have to refrain from speaking about it,” Fercewend said.  “There was an incident a couple of days ago, and security has been tight ever since.”

He explained about what Alan had told him about the attack on the office a few days prior. Fercewend also mentioned the attacks that have happened in other areas, too.

“I had no idea,” Tori said.

“The True Thekohnians… they really have gotten ruthless, haven’t they?” Henry asked. “Been a real long time since I’ve heard about them, Rohan.”

“It always was quite infuriating to have to deal with them,” Fercewend said. “To think that they’ve been running around causing havoc…”

“Let me guess,” Henry said, “Part of Alan’s speech has to do with them, doesn’t it?”

“Part of it,” Fercewend replied.

“Do you think the True Thekohnians might try to attack during the speech tomorrow?” Tori asked.

“There is a possibility,” Fercewend replied, “But I’ve spoken with Alan and major Ansa.”

“It seems like they’ve got things under control, haven’t they?” Henry asked.

“Indeed,” Fercewend said.

“Anyway, Rohan, I was wondering about something else,” Tori said. “It’s about Henry… Do you know Kirk Wilk?”


“Yes,” she said. “We ran into him a few days ago.”

“It was a while since I saw him last,” Fercewend said. “He seemed to be in good spirits. What about him?”

“Well, Henry wouldn’t tell me, so I was wondering if you knew why Kirk doesn’t like him.”

“I did not know this,” Fercewend said. “I thought that you and Kirk were friends, Henry.”

“Something happened,” Henry replied. “Something happened and now we are not on the same level any more. I can’t exactly blame Kirk for hating me.”

“You know that you can tell me, right?” Fercewend asked.

Henry let out a tired sigh. “I suppose I can,” he said. “You remember what happened when we first met Tori, right?”

“I do,” Fercewend answered.

“I never thought I’d have to hear this again,” Tori said.

“Which was why I wanted to avoid talking about it,” Henry explained. “When we were attacked on the way to Rusa Manor, there was another that knew of our route.”

Fercewend rested his hands on the table. “A third party?”

“Kirk was with us earlier that day,” Henry said. “We were going to meet up with him after the delivery, but we both know what happened next.”

“They say that one becomes desensitized to death after being in war,” Fercewend said, “But I can’t just forget that easily. Even now as a proud general, I still dream about what happened.”

“It haunts me, too,” Henry replied. “Anyway, after the mission, Kirk and I… we were talking when we learned about that man’s betrayal. You know who I’m talking about, right?”

“To think that Walton Lokke had been playing both Ameci and Iiayi forces the whole time,” Fercewend said. “Fortunately, that man is rotting away in prison as we speak.”

“I’m glad, too,” Henry said. “However, Kirk felt as if I had something to do with it and to be honest I think he might be right.”

“No one could have expected Lokke to turn on us,” Fercewend said. “How could Kirk believe you to be responsible?”

“Perhaps I was careless,” Henry replied. “Maybe I had trusted Lokke with too much, even with the Ameci army’s delivery routes.”

“It was a mistake,” Fercewend said. “An awful mistake that many of us have been trying to pay off for years now. I do not understand why it is you that he chooses to harbor a grudge with.”

“Maybe he believe you really did commit treason,” Tori said.

“That wouldn’t be out of the question,” Henry said, “But this is Kirk Wilk we’re talking about.”

“Looks like we’ll have to speak with him later,” Fercewend said. He eyed the clock at the right. “It looks like we’ll have to head to sleep soon. I’ll be sure to get you two a room.”

Tori clapped her hands together. “That’s great to hear!”

“I know,” Fercewend said, “So let’s go now.”


Previous | Next Part

Chapter 9 – Part 1

[2740 AD; Port Hotel – restaurant – Deca District]


It had only been a half of a day in Iiayikohn, but Sorin felt like he was overwhelmed by the city. He, Kirk, Eva, and Gale had stopped at the hotel near the prime minister’s office to secure a base of operations until they could go to Maeitakohn. After the talk that Kirk and Eva had with Isaac, the rest of the group wanted to get something to eat to take their minds off of what had happened. Once they were finished with dinner, they decided to stay for a few more minutes until they could go to their rooms for the night.

“It’s unfortunate that the prime minister didn’t see you guys,” Gale said.

“No, it’s perfectly understandable,” Kirk replied. “Alan’s a busy man. We’ll see him after the speech tomorrow.”

“You sound pretty sure about that,” Sorin said.

“We’ll be okay, Sorin,” Kirk said.

“He may be the prime minister of this country, but to us he’s like a father,” Eva explained. “We owe a lot to him for what’s he’s been able to do.”

“Then I guess we should be happy we can get to see him tomorrow,” Gale said. “I’ve never actually been to a speech like that before. It’ll be fun to to watch, I bet.”

“Thankfully Alan said he would secure us seats in the front row,” Eva said. “Now, as for you, Mr. Wilk…”

“Please don’t refer to me that way, Eva,” Kirk said.

“You can lighten up,” she said. “It was a good thing that Alan did arrive when he did, because if he didn’t… Ah, I’m sorry Gale.”

“It’s okay,” Gale replied.

“Anyway, that man is of no importance to the mission,” Eva said. “He’s just another pompous suit that thinks his opinion matters more just because he was born into a wealthy family. Again, no offense, Gale.”

“I told you it’s okay.”

“Well, well, well!”

A boisterous laugh echoed through the restaurant, causing everyone to turn their heads. In the doorway stood Gamil Gomel, the former member of the Swords of Eight. He stepped forward towards the table, with a surprising guest behind him. Eva waved at the man behind Gamil, and his face lit up.

“Miss Bellamy! I mean… Eva.”

“Belkley, please,” Eva stood up and greeted him with a hug. “It’s been too long, hasn’t it?”

“Long time no see, you two!” Gamil said. “What’s the occasion here? Are you two getting married or something? Or is it those two?”

“You tell a funny joke, Gamil,” Kirk said, “But no, there’s no wedding. At least not one that I know of.”

“Maybe I ought to get myself acquainted,” Gamil said. He turned to Sorin. “You, kid! How about you give me your name, and then the girl does too!”

“Sorin,” he replied.

“I’m Gale.”

Gamil laughed. “Ah, this is the boy, huh? Got to say he carries your looks well. Even managed to get himself a girlfriend, didn’t he?”

Gale’s face blushed as she turned her head to look down. Sorin did much of the same, but in a different direction.

“I’m just pulling your legs here!” Gamil said. “Anyway, Kirk, what’s up?”

“Do you want to sit down?” Kirk asked.

“Sure, me and Mr. Ghillard here have time to spare,” he replied. “We’re in town for a couple days until we have to set off again. Might as well.”

“Yeah, we’re more than happy to spend time with you guys,” Belkley said.

The two men took their seats at the table, glad to join in the conversation that was taking place. Kirk explained what he and the rest of the group were doing in Iiayikohn and what their goal was.

“It’s a good thing that you two haven’t given up,” Gamil said. “Perhaps it’s not too late for me to pick up my blade again…”

“I’d love to see your skills, Mr. Gomel,” Sorin said.

“Well, don’t get too happy,” Gamil said, “I was just joking. You see, being a fisherman has gotten me into some pretty interesting predicaments.”

“Oh yeah,” Belkley said, “Like the time you caught that shark and you almost went overboard?”

“My back’s just aching when you mention that, Belkley,” Gamil replied as he rubbed his back. “Needless to say I can’t just go out there just swinging blades and not expect to get my ass kicked by my own body.”

“It’s the thought that counts, Gamil,” Kirk said.

“I’d say that you got a good one in that son of yours,” Gamil responded. “He reminds me of you in your heyday, Kirk.”

“I’m not quite done yet,” Kirk replied.

Gamil guffawed as he slapped his knee. “That’s a good one, isn’t it? Now Eva, she’s someone I wouldn’t want to mess with.”

“What do you mean by that?” Eva asked.

“Oh, I heard it from Belkley,” Gamil replied. “I knew you had a fire in you, but I didn’t think you had the ability to pull the trigger like that!”

“You said you wouldn’t bring that up, Gamil,” Belkley said.

“It’s not something I feel too proud of,” Eva said.

“You’re quite a mysterious woman, aren’t you?” Gamil asked. “You never really talk much about your past much, do you?”

“It’s not like it’s relevant or anything,” she answered.

“Come on,” Gamil said, “We’re friends here. Maybe Kirk would like to add something since you two were always so close.”

“You don’t have to answer that,” Eva said to Kirk.

“I wasn’t going to say anything,” he said.

“Well if you two aren’t going to open up, then I won’t push it,” Gamil said. “You probably have your reasons. This Belkley kid doesn’t really tell me much about you either.”

“I’m sorry,” Belkley said. “I just can’t betray her like that.”

“Hey, I just wanted to know,” Gamil said. “I just know that none of you are going to tell me about it, so I won’t pursue it.”

“Thank you,” Eva said.

Gamil sighed. “Anyway, let’s move on,” he said. “How about you two? Sorin, Gale, perhaps you have something interesting you want to share?”


[2740 AD; prime minister’s office – Deca District]


Gavin decided to stay at the prime minister’s office due to the fact that Rohan was still around talking to both Tori and Henry. He had to wonder what they were talking about, if there was some way that Gavin could receive some sort of credit for his hard work. It was then that Ayanna approached him.

“What are you doing here?” Ayanna asked.

“That’s for me to know and for you to not find out,” Gavin replied.

“You do know that this is where I work, right?”

“I have respect for you, but there are even some things that I can’t just reveal,” Gavin said. “Especially when it comes to personal stuff.”

“I didn’t ask for your life story,” she said, “Just what you’re doing here.”

“And I already told you.”

Ayanna placed a hand upon her face and sighed. “Please just answer the question,” she said.

“Fine,” he said. “It seems like you’re not going to go away until I answer your question, so I might as well. I’m waiting to speak with General Fercewend.”

“I see,” Ayanna said. “You do look like an Ameci soldier, so it does make sense. What is your name?”

“I’m Gavin Power,” he replied, “Junior lieutenant and the best marksman in all of the military. You can ask the general himself.”

“Wait a minute,” she said, “Do you happen to have a brother?”

“Why would you ask me that!?” Gavin asked. “Nevermind, it probably doesn’t matter why. If you must know, yes, I do have one.”

“That’s interesting,” she said.

“Okay, so now what? Do you want to know my sign or something?”

“No, you told me all that I needed to know,” Ayanna replied. “You do deserve to know my name, though. Ayanna Ansa, major of the Iiayikohnian military.”

“Nice to meet you,” Gavin said.

“Do you mind waiting for just a bit longer?” Ayanna asked.

“Wait? I’ve got all day, major.”

“Very good,” Ayanna said. “I will be right back.”

Ayanna went upstairs, leaving Gavin by himself as he wondered what she was up to. He still had to wait for General Fercewend to return, too. Deciding to wait, Gavin decided to examine his gun and count the bullets inside.


Thirty minutes passed as Gavin waited for Ayanna to return. She had a smile on her face as she looked over at the front doors. The doors cracked open as Law and Mina entered the building. Gavin raised his eyebrow as he watched them both walk in.

“I have to hand it to you, Ayanna,” Law said. “How did you know I was seeing Mina at her job?”

“You’re not the only one who can connect the dots,” Ayanna replied.

“Hold on a second,” Law said. He had Gavin in his sights. “You gotta be kidding me! What brings you all the way here, bro?”

“Just this,” Gavin said.

He walked up to Law, as the older brother loomed over the younger. Mina started to back up and then jumped away as Gavin began to pummel Law to the ground. Ayanna’s jaw dropped as she watched Gavin assault Law. She soon rushed to break up the beat down, pulling Gavin away.

“What kind of a greeting is that!?” Law asked as he stood up and brushed himself off.

“Let go of me!” Gavin yelled. “I’m not done kicking his ass!”

“Calm down!” Ayanna demanded. “We can have a civil discussion, so put away your fists!”

Gavin grumbled. “I’ll break his legs! I’ll break his legs so he won’t run off again!”

“You could have sent a letter, bro,” Law said. “Then again, I only read love letters from ladies.”

“Law, please,” Ayanna said. “Perhaps you should do some explaining to your brother.”

“I don’t know, he seems unwilling to listen to reason,” Law replied. “I am willing to accept an apology, though.”

“Like hell I’ll apologize!” Gavin exclaimed. Ayanna tightened her grasp on his arms. “Ow! Fine… I’m sorry…”

“What was that?” Law asked.

“I’m fucking sorry, damn it!”

“That’s good,” Ayanna said. “Now, if I let you go, will you promise not to wail on your brother?”

“Okay! I won’t!” Gavin said.

“Very well,” she said.

She let Gavin go, leading him to reconcile with Law. The two hugged it out as Mina moved toward Ayanna.

“Wow, you’re pretty strong,” Mina said.

“It’s just years of training,” Ayanna said. “You’re the woman who was with Law the other night, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, that’s right.”

“You don’t need to remind me,” Ayanna cut her off. “If I recall, you proclaimed to be ‘every villain’s worst nightmare,’ did you not?”

“That’s what every hero does, right?” Mina asked. “Although I guess you could say I’m not quite there yet…”

“What do mean by that?”

“You know,” Mina began, “Every hero has to have a signature move. I was thinking up some names during work.”

“Really now?” Ayanna asked.

“Yes, like when I’m in a battle and I have my opponent cornered,” Mina said. “I was thinking that I could scream ‘Face Breaker’ as I slug them in the face!”

“That would be a fitting name, I suppose,” Ayanna said.

“I know, right?” Mina asked. “I’m currently trying to train hard so I could protect people. Maybe you could train me?”

“I’m sorry, but I can’t,” Ayanna said.

“Why not?”

Ayanna paused for a moment. “Well… There’s nothing that I could teach you that you wouldn’t already know,” she replied. “To me, to be a hero involves hard work. Given your devotion, I think you already are a hero.”

Mina’s eyes lit up. “You really think so?”

Ayanna nodded.

“Wow, thanks!”

“I’m glad I could help,” Ayanna said.

“Hey, what’s going on with you two?” Law asked.

“Oh, just two heroes having hero talk,” Mina replied.

“And you leave me out of it? I don’t know what to say,” Law said. “Am I not your hero, Mina?”

“I can’t really say you’re much of a hero, honestly,” Mina said. “Not really a villain, either. Actually, I don’t know what you’d be.”

“Ouch, that actually hurts,” Law responded.

“Well, all the real heroes have a motto,” Gavin said, “Like me: ‘Never let go.’”

Law smirked. “Seems simple enough for you.”

Gavin smacked him in the back of the head. “Get serious, Lawrence!”

“Anyway, I feel like my job is done here,” Ayanna said.

“Is that so?” Law asked. “Looks like I should get myself ready, then. We did have a date scheduled, didn’t we?”

“I don’t think I’ve ever agreed to anything like that,” Ayanna replied.

“What about now? Surely you could agree that this would be a good time to have a date,” Law said. “After all, Mina doesn’t think I’m her hero, but maybe I could be yours.”

“There you go again,” Gavin said. “I can’t even begin to comprehend what goes on in that head of yours.”

“That’s one of the many things you can’t comprehend, it seems,” Law said. Gavin smacked him in the back of the head again.

“Forget it,” Gavin said, “Do what you want. I’m going to go find the general.”

Gavin walked off, leaving Law, Ayanna, and Mina behind.

“Still as stuck up as ever,” Law said.

“Law, what exactly is your story?” Mina asked. “With your brother, I mean.”

“That’s a story I could tell you, but I won’t.”

“Law, you’re my friend,” Mina said. “Probably my first real friend, actually…”

“Huh, I thought someone like you would have tons of friends,” Law said.

“Being a hero is tough sometimes,” she said. “But I still had my uncle and now I have both you and Ayanna!”

“Well, then I guess I ought to tell you all I know,” Law replied. “Where are you going, Ayanna?”

“I’m going on break,” she answered. “Of course, you’re welcome to follow me if you so choose.”

“So is that a date, then?” Law asked.

“Make of it what you will,” Ayanna replied. “I don’t usually do this sort of thing, you know.”


To be continued…


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