Aurora – Chapter 48 (Part 1)

[2nd of January, 2740 AD; in the alleys of Gel Heights, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Nano District]


“You’re completely surrounded,” Mina said to Harold. “No matter what you try to do, we’re not going to let you get away! You’re going to pay for everything you’ve done!”

Sorin and the others had Harold surrounded. At either end of the alley, it was going to be a tough time for Harold to try to escape. But Sorin was not about to call it a victory just yet. Harold had thrived all this time by being out of grasp of the heroes and had the capability to flee once more should the opportunity arise. That was why Sorin kept his sword out and pointed it at Harold. No doubt could remain in Sorin’s mind any longer; he had to end this fight.

“So what’s it going to be?” Law asked. “You try and run again and we’ll just keep chasing you.”

“He’s got something, that’s for sure,” Johan said. “All this time you called the shots from within the shadows, but now that you’re out in the open, you’ve all but given yourself up.”

“You believe I’ve given up, then,” Harold replied. “Nonsense!”

Harold threw a punch at the wall to his left, creating another large gap. He ran into the hole as Sorin gave chase. Mina and Law followed after him, but Sorin had to focus on what was ahead. As Sorin made his way through the dark, damp, abandoned hallway, he heard the destructive sound of structures crumbling. He had to be getting close to Harold now, but that was when Sorin realized that it was not just Harold escaping.

“Damn it, we can’t just stay here,” Sorin said. “Mina! Law! Let’s hurry back before it’s too late!”

But as Sorin turned around, a large amount of debris fell from above and blocked his path out. He had to trust in Mina and Law to escape, but could not confirm their safety. After all, this was what Harold wanted and Sorin could only express anger that he did not see the trap sooner.

“Whether or not they leave is not my worry,” Harold said. “But now I’ve got a good chance to finally end you myself! Enjoy your burial!”

Sorin had one choice. It was the only one he could take if he were to get out of the collapsing building alive, but it carried a risk as well. Harold hid within the darkness once again, but to Sorin, what mattered most was his own life. He could not let everyone now, nor could he grant Harold the chance of escape. With all of the building beginning to crumble, Sorin ran forward.

“Yes, come closer,” Harold said. “No matter what you do, I’ll be right here to deliver your much needed silence!”

“Not going to happen!” Sorin replied.

Sorin’s chance revealed itself. Harold was in his line of sight now, and all Sorin had to do now was strike. The slight gleam of the moonlight helped Sorin to see his assailant standing before him, even with the shroud of darkness covering him. With momentum at his side, Sorin swung his sword. The clash of metal rang out as Harold defended himself. However, Sorin knew he was not about to settle for a mere standoff. He had to take the moment.

“If anyone falls here, it’ll be you,” Sorin said. “This is not just for me, but for everyone else! For my family, my friends, and all the people you’ve hurt, I’ll end this fight myself!”

“Do you truly believe you’ll break through?” Harold asked. “I’d like to see you try!”

Sorin needed not another word. He had this. With all of the strength put into his sword, Sorin turned it as Harold struggled to hold him off. Then, Harold broke away and backed off as he tried to catch his breath. Sorin needed just one more hit. He lifted up his leg and sent a roundhouse kick, hitting Harold with just enough strength to knock him to the ground. Then, Sorin looked to the window next to him and leapt through it.

“Not enough time for him to escape,” Sorin said.

He dashed as fast as he could away from the building. Sorin kept running until he made it onto the street several meters away. Everyone else waited there as well as they all observed the building collapsing to the ground. As it did, Gale was quick to greet Sorin with a hug. It was all over, Sorin thought.

“I’m so happy you made it,” Gale said.

“Believe me, I had to keep moving,” Sorin said. “But it seems like you guys are all here.”

“Yeah, once you shouted to us what was happening, we started to turn and run,” Law said. “I really wanted to head back in there, but I just knew you had it all in the bag.”

“We were both really ready to go and help you out,” Mina said. “It was Law who wanted to run, but I knew that I could trust you to make some sort of daring escape!”

Mina patted Sorin on the back while Law just shrugged. Sorin still could not believe that it really was over but with his friends surrounding him, he had to assume that the battle had been won. Even someone like Harold could not get out of the wreckage that he had created. Still, there was much to be done. Sorin saw Johan move closer to the site of the wreck as Gale looked to him.

“It’s probably nothing,” Gale said, separating herself from Sorin. “I’m sure he’s only taking a look, right Johan?”

Johan observed the wreckage and sighed. “Perhaps I’m imagining things,” he said. “This truly does seem to be the end, after all.”

“Come on, Johan, there’s no way that anyone could possibly survive having an entire building collapse on them,” Luna said. “Even a scary freak like that has to be dead!”

“You’re right,” Johan replied. “It was just a silly thought.”

“You’ve got quite the definition of that word there,” Pekka said.

“Guess we’re all still taking it in,” Dustin said. “Sorin especially, since he had one hell of a fight!”

“If only I could have seen it myself,” Gavin said. “You did real good, Sorin. I know that somewhere out there, Kirk and Rysol are proud of what you’ve become in such a short time.”

“I was going to say the same thing,” Eva said. “But now he can rest happy… It’s finally over.”

“So I guess we should head back and see how Ayanna’s holding up, right?” Law asked. “Since it appears we all agree that everything’s done here, we can just go.”

“Right, just because Harold’s finished doesn’t mean everything else is,” Gale said. “Which means we should inform Rain about what happened here as well as what we’re supposed to do next.”

“Oh, she’s got ideas,” Mina said. “After everything’s taken care of, we can go and have a huge victory party!”

“Yeah, I’m sure it’ll be nice,” Johan said. “I’m sure Jelka would have wanted me to go ahead and celebrate, too.”

“Well, what are we waiting for?” Dustin asked. “Let’s go on and get out of this place!”

Everyone agreed and headed in the direction of the Deca District. However, Sorin stopped as he noticed that Johan began to lag behind. Sorin turned to the others and informed them that he would catch up with them soon. Whatever it was that Johan was thinking about, Sorin knew that he had to ask. With just him and Johan by themselves, it was only a matter of time until Sorin needed to find out for himself. Johan went over to the motorcycle and looked over the wreck one more time as Sorin confronted him.

“What are you doing?” Sorin asked.

“Tell me something, buddy,” Johan said. “What do you plan to do now?”

“I’ll figure it out,” Sorin replied. “Why do you ask?”

“I wonder… If it’s all truly over, then why do I feel like I’m incomplete? Is it because of the fact that Foundation is no more? Or is it because this goal of mine is finally being realized?”

“Well, maybe because this goal is in reach is why you don’t know what to do next,” Sorin said. “But it doesn’t mean that you can stop. There’s plenty that you could do now that this is over.”

“I probably agree with that,” Johan said. He looked over to the wreck once again. “Did you hear that?”

Sorin shook his head. “Is something wrong?”

“Just listen,” Johan replied.

Sorin did what Johan said and kept an ear out while focusing on the wreck. He was not sure what to listen for, but he had a bad feeling about what was going to happen next. Then, a rustle caught Sorin’s attention. The light sound of objects moving around made Sorin nervous as he hovered his hand above the handle of his sword. Johan prepared himself, also, as the two men watched piece after piece fly up into the air as the sound grew louder. A loud roar erupted as a metal hand emerged from underneath, the voice familiar to Sorin’s ears.

“It’s not over!?” Sorin asked.

“Get ready,” Johan said. “I knew I wasn’t imagining it.”

Harold leapt out from under the wreckage with his sights set on Sorin and Johan. Sorin took out his sword while Johan stayed by his side. Everything that they had fought for still remained at stake as the battle with Harold proved itself unfinished. However, now Sorin truly did have to complete this fight with only Johan to support him.

“To think you’d call victory before it was over, Sorin Wilk,” Harold said. “I will make you regret your cocky words!”

Harold rushed at the two and screamed. Sorin had to fight. He knew that he had been exhausted, but the same had to hold true for Harold as well. Johan stepped in as he tried to shield Sorin from Harold’s attack. Harold, however, had only Sorin in his sights.

“Out of my way, you pathetic lowlife!” Harold exclaimed as he smacked Johan to the side and left him lying in a heap. “It’s him I’m after!”

Sorin checked to the side of the other building. “Johan!”

It was enough of a gap for Harold to have an opening. Sorin found himself unable to defend as Harold grabbed him by the neck with both hands and lifted him off the ground. As Sorin struggled to breathe, Harold laughed.

“This is the only end to this fight,” Harold said. “To make you suffer… I’m going to enjoy watching you fight for what little breath you’ve got left!”

“Better think again!” Gavin yelled.

Two shots rang out and struck Harold in the head. Blood spurted from his forehead as the sudden shock caused Harold to drop Sorin. With some of Harold’s blood on his clothes, Sorin regained his breathing as he checked up on Johan.

“Johan… Johan, answer me!” Sorin said, shoving him.

“Don’t worry about me,” Johan said. “Worry about them…”

Sorin turned around. Gavin and Eva had shown up ready to fight as Harold remained still. He twitched as more blood splashed onto the ground while Gavin continued to have his gun trained on him.

“To be honest with you, I’ve never killed someone before this,” Gavin said. “But there’s always a first, especially for a piece of shit like you.”

“He’s done,” Eva said.

Harold coughed up blood. “Sorin Wilk… What a delight,” he said. “Sorin, I don’t mind it one bit if you watch…”

“How can you still be alive?” Sorin asked.

“It doesn’t matter if I live or die anymore,” Harold replied. “Right now, I’m just going to make you suffer! I’ll carry you down to hell with me if I have to, but first I’ll make you feel complete and total despair!”

Harold faced Sorin, who was still on his knees. But what Harold had in mind was different as he lifted up the motorcycle next to Sorin and threw it at Eva and Gavin.

“Look out!” Sorin exclaimed.

On instinct, Gavin and Eva leapt out of the way. The motorcycle struck the ground and broke in half. However, Gavin slipped and fell to the ground while Eva tried to regain her composure. But Sorin could tell that Harold was far from done. Harold had an unrelenting force as he charged towards Eva. Sorin needed to get back up on his feet.

“You two made a grave mistake,” Harold said. “Now I’m going to end it all right here!”

“We’re not finished, Harold!” Sorin said as he stood up.

Harold stopped and turned around. “So you want me to hurry it up, don’t you? Well, I suppose I can give you friends a chance to run like the dogs they are while I kill you.”

“That’s what you want to think,” Eva said. “But we’re going to stay. We’re going to keep on fighting until you’re defeated.”

“And we’re sure as hell aren’t to lose to you,” Gavin said. “I’ll be damned if I let an asshole like you run away.”

“Do you understand?” Johan asked. “We’re not going to surrender here. Not to you.”

“So be it,” Harold said. “Right now, it’s just Sorin and I, but I’m going to give you hell afterwards.”

“Then face me,” Sorin said. “I won’t settle until I see you on the ground, so you better bring everything you’ve got!”

“Those cocky words again,” Harold replied. “Very well, if you want to skip the suffering, I’ll be glad to finish you off right here!”

Sorin just needed one strike. A single move would end the fight and put an end to Harold and his schemes. Everything rode on a single swing of Sorin’s blade as he readied himself. There was no excuse not to use all his efforts into this one move he had left. After all, Sorin did not expect Harold to hold back.

“Bring it,” Sorin said.

Without another thought, Sorin flew at Harold. Harold dashed at Sorin. The two came closer and closer until they were less than two feet apart. Sorin swung his sword and struck true. He delivered a deep hit to Harold’s chest. With the hit complete, Sorin moved out of the way and rolled over near Gavin. Harold stood still as Sorin watched.

“That should be it,” Sorin said.

However, Harold laughed.

“Idiot! I’ve yet to be done with you,” he replied. “I’m going to kill you where you stand!”

But Harold did not turn around. He remained in place as Sorin got up and sheathed his sword. Gavin stood up, too, as Sorin tried to process what would happen next. He had delivered the final blow as Harold was not moving, but he had to wonder what would happen now.

“Impossible,” Harold said. “I… I can’t move! My legs! My… My arms! I can’t move a single limb!”

Sorin then heard a small explosion. Smoke emanated out of Harold’s body as he continued to stand frozen in place. It could only have been the technology inside Harold’s body that had gone haywire, Sorin speculated. After a few more seconds, the smoke cleared as Harold fell face first into the ground with a loud, clanging thud.

“Is it finally over?” Gavin asked.

“It has to be,” Eva said.

Sorin had to know. He went over to Harold’s body and checked for a pulse. As he suspected, Harold did not have one. It was over. The battle had been won and Foundation was no more. Sorin put away his sword as he breathed a sigh of relief. For his father and Rysol, Sorin had avenged them. For everyone else, it was a relief that Sorin could help them make their dreams realized.

“That’s right,” Sorin said, a tear rolling down the side of his face. “It’s finally finished.”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 47 (Part 1)

[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Harold Mars’s Temporary Hideout, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Nano District]


“You are a fool to the very end,” Harold said. “I guess it’s no surprise since you take after Kirk so well.”

Sorin prepared himself. He kept his sword pointed up and in front of him while he remained vigilant. The fight would not be an easy one and Sorin had to give everything he had in order to win. Harold laughed once again as he balled his right hand into a fist.

“No one stood a chance against these hands of mine,” Harold said. “These hands can create and destroy and I’m going to destroy the both of you!”

“You really underestimate Johan and I,” Sorin replied. “We’ll make you pay for all of it.”

“The only one who will pay here is you,” Harold said. “And you’re going to pay with your life.”

“No more words,” Johan said.

Harold charged at the two. “I’ll show you!”

Fists flew fast as Sorin backed up and dodged. Harold’s barrage proved to be formidable, which led Sorin to defend himself. Johan jumped in and tried to help by creating an opening for Sorin. However, Harold caught on to Johan fast and defended himself with his left hand. Sorin swung his sword at Harold but found it difficult to get past Harold as he caught the blade with his hand.

“You forget that I’ve been given a gift,” Harold said to Sorin. “This gift of mine makes it easy to stop your pathetic attacks!”

He gripped harder on Sorin’s blade. Johan moved down and delivered a sweeping kick to Harold. The kick proved to be enough to catch Harold off as he let off of Sorin. With his sword free, Sorin stepped back and readied himself once more. Sorin had to get a decisive blow now. He looked over to Johan, who was standing at Harold’s left.

“Johan, quickly!” Sorin exclaimed.

Johan nodded. “I see.”

They rushed Harold from both ends. Sorin needed to have Johan throw Harold off guard, even for a moment. Johan moved in first as Harold turned towards him, leaving his back exposed to Sorin. But as Sorin began to close in on Harold, Johan stopped himself only a yard away from the menacing man.

“You don’t listen very well, do you?” Harold asked, looking back at Sorin. “Your worthless attacks mean little to me because I’ve got the gift!”

“Watch out,” Johan said.

Sorin halted himself, but Harold had already turned. He threw back his left arm at Sorin, who braced himself by using his arms to defend himself. However, it was too late as Harold struck Sorin and sent him flying into the wall. Sorin hit the wall hard while his sword fell to his side. Though it was not a fatal hit, the blow was strong enough to make Sorin reel as he tried to get up.

“I’ll deal with you later,” Harold said to Sorin. He then turned back over to Johan. “Right now, I’m going to make you suffer. I’ll do what that fool could not and end your life here!”

“I understand now,” Johan said. “How much power do you truly have? I’m willing to bet that you’re on a time limit, because there was no powerful sound behind that strike.”

Harold growled. “You are delusional if you think I’d tell you.”

“So Sorin is okay,” Johan replied. “Guess we’re about to find out how far you can go before it all comes to a stop.”

Meanwhile, Sorin struggled to get up. He got onto his knees, but found it painful to do so. He had no broken bones, yet felt an intense pain surging in his wrists. Sorin felt pain in his back and head as well, but was fortunate enough to not feel that pain in his legs. For all the threat Harold posed, what Johan said was true. Sorin knew now that Johan was trying to buy him some time as he tried to get up without Harold noticing, even if it was painful to do so.

“You can’t stop me,” Harold said to Johan. “Even if I had a limit, it would be long after I’d kill all of you!”

“Then why don’t we test it out?” Johan asked. “How far can you go before your power runs out?”

“I’ll be glad to show you!” Harold exclaimed. “Die, Johan!”

Sorin had to get up. He knew Johan could only hold off Harold for so long before he became too much to handle. One-on-one was not enough to deal with Harold and Sorin had to help. He did not care about how much it hurt to move, nor did he care about how sprained his wrists were. Sorin had to pick up his sword and fight. But before anything could happen, the door kicked in.

“Not so fast, asshole!” Gavin yelled.

Harold stopped and looked to the doorway. Sorin looked, too, as he saw Gavin and Law enter. Gavin had his gun ready and aimed at Harold, while Law was ready to fight as well.

“So this is the stain that killed Kirk and Rysol,” Law said. “What are you going to do now that you can’t hide from us anymore?”

“You may think you’ve got an advantage, but I’ll run through you all the same,” Harold said. “I’ll spill the blood from every last one of you!”

“The only blood that’s gonna spill here is from you,” Gavin replied. “Take another step and I’ll be glad to put one through your head.”

Harold clenched his fist. “So it would seem,” he said. “But did you really believe that you’d win so easily!?”

He threw his fist down at the ground. The explosive sound rang through Sorin’s ears as smoke began to fill the entire room. The sound of boards cracking followed as everyone coughed while trying to figure out where Harold was. Only after a few seconds did Sorin realize what had just happened.

“The smoke!” Sorin exclaimed. “Somebody let out the smoke!”

The smoke continued to fill the room as another loud explosion boomed throughout. Sorin was not sure where Harold was and had to keep his guard up in case he struck again. But as seconds began to pass, the smoke started to clear out of the room. Sorin got helped up to his feet as the smoke slowly dissipated from out of the room. Gavin stood in front of Sorin, but that was not the most important part.

“He… Harold’s gone!” Sorin exclaimed.

Pain surged again through Sorin as he tried to maintain his composure. Gavin helped by keeping him on his feet. As that happened, Sorin took a look around the room. In the middle a large hole had been made in the floor while in the wall opposite Sorin was another gap.

“That prick is on the run now,” Gavin said. “We’ve got to get going if we’re going to stop his ass.”

“I know,” Sorin said. “But where do we go now?”

“There’s two possibilities,” Johan replied. “Let’s get up to the roof first, then we’ll be able to figure things out.”

“Are you sure about that?” Law asked. “From what I see, Sorin’s looking a little bit hurt.”

“I’ll… I’ll be fine,” Sorin said. “We can’t let him escape.”

“Please,” Gavin replied. “Lawrence and I will go up top. We’ll rendezvous with Mina and Eva while taking a look around the area. You two go and meet up with the rest down by the entrance.”

“If you say you’ve got it, then I’ll trust you two,” Johan said. “Harold can’t be too far off if we have the immediate area locked down.”

“That just means we’ll have to keep a lookout on the ground,” Sorin said. “Okay then.”

Sorin proceeded to split up with Gavin and Law and went downstairs with Johan. They needed to move to the next position fast. Sorin had to hurry soon if he wanted to catch up to Harold. But first, he had to reunite with the others who were already in wait on the ground. Sorin and Johan descended down the flights of stairs and caught detail of the fact that the lower floors remained unchanged. That could only mean one thing, Sorin thought.

“He can’t get away now,” Johan said. “Harold’s strong, but he’s not reckless. I assume he’s going to try his best to wiggle out of this, but our friends aren’t the type to give up.”

Sorin hoped that Johan was correct. Harold posed a threat, but he was even more of a threat in hiding. If they were to let Harold escape, then there was no telling what he’d be able to do back in the darkness. Sorin had to continue to fight through the pain and stop Harold before that happened.

“We’re here,” Johan said.

They reached the ground floor and hurried outside the building. Gale and the others were quick to greet them by the motorcycle as Sorin turned back to the building and looked up. Wherever Harold ran to, Sorin knew that Gavin and Law along with Eva and Mina would be there to confront him. However, now Sorin had time to try and recover from his encounter with Harold. He rested himself against the wall while Gale went over to him.

“Are you okay?” Gale asked.

“It’s nothing too bad,” Sorin replied. “All it is is just a minor sprain… Well, two sprains to be honest.”

“Let me see,” Gale said as she took a hold of Sorin’s hand. “I had a feeling something like this would happen to you…”

Sorin winced. “It could’ve been worse,” he replied. “I had no choice but to defend myself the best I could. Ah, just be a little easier on my wrist, okay?”

“Surely there’s something we can do about this,” Gale said.

“That’s where I come in,” Dustin said. “Sprains are a kick in the ass, but I can help Sorin out.”

“You’re oddly prepared,” Pekka said. “What do you have?”

“Oh, it’s not much,” Dustin replied. “Just some bandages, but it’ll have to do for right now.”

“Are you sure about that?” Gale asked.

“Look, it’s the best I can do,” Dustin said. “Besides, Sorin’s not gonna just go down and keel because of a little sprain in the wrist. Guy’s got determination if he really can fight through it.”

“But it must be tough to hold your sword like that,” Luna said. “I mean, I’d have trouble holding a large blade like that myself, but for you it must be even more difficult with that pain.”

“If anyone can do it, it’s Sorin,” Gale said. “Please give the bandages to me, Dustin.”

“Well, now I can’t turn down that request,” Dustin said as he did what Gale asked him. “Hell, it’ll make you look all battle worn and ready, if you don’t mind me saying.”

Sorin watched as Gale wrapped the bandages around his hands and wrists. He was glad that she was there for him, even in the possible face of danger. As he stood there, Sorin waited as Gale put the finishing touches on his treatment.

“It looks good now,” Gale said. “Do you feel better?”

“I feel great,” Sorin replied. “Thank you.”

“So what’s our next move?” Pekka asked. “Johan, I know we’ve got a lot to deal with regarding Harold Mars, but we’ve still got to figure out how to cover the ground effectively.”

“The alleys,” Johan said. “Our key is in the alleys. Harold relies on hiding to do his dirty work, so it’s vital to us that we prevent him from using the alleys. We must keep a good eye out for that.”

“It’s always possible Harold could just drop in on us, too,” Dustin said. “So that means we’ve got to look out for that.”

“That’s true,” Johan replied. “We’ve got to commit to a good plan on that front. I want you, Pekka, and Luna to track the alleys while Sorin, Gale, and I keep an eye on what’s above.”

“Sounds like a good idea to me,” Dustin said. He looked over to Luna and Pekka. “Are you ready for this?”

“It’s not as if we’ve got much of a choice,” Pekka said. “There’s not that many possibilities out there for this man to escape, but we still can’t afford to underestimate him.”

“Yeah, even Sorin defended himself but was hurt,” Luna said. “You’re sure it’s fine, right Sorin?”

“I already said I’m okay,” Sorin replied.

“I’m just making sure,” Luna said. “It’s not as if I don’t believe what you’re saying; I’m just trying to be a good friend, that’s all I’m trying to do.”

“Thank you for that,” Sorin said. “But I’ll be okay. Johan and Gale will be with me.”

“If anything, having you makes me feel okay,” Johan said. “I feel like we’re almost at the end of this. Our goal is that much closer and there’s nothing Harold can do to stop us from achieving it.”

“Let’s just focus on stopping him first,” Gale said. “Then we can celebrate the victory.”

“Then let’s go,” Dustin said. “Keep those eyes peeled, everyone!”

As the two groups split up, Sorin had to keep an eye out for any possibility that Harold could descend from up above. No matter how little the chance, it was possible. Sorin had to wonder what exactly was going on up above and could only try to listen in on what happened. He believed in his friends, but the danger still remained as Harold continued to lurk around. What possible tricks Harold had left, Sorin was not sure about. What Sorin was sure about, however, was that he trusted that Gavin and the others would not let each other down. Together, they would finish this fight.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 46 (Part 2)

[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Subdivision of Gel Heights, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Nano District]


“Over there,” Mina said, pointing to the motorcycle. “They’ve got to be here somewhere!”

She spotted the vehicle several feet away from the group. After walking for a few minutes, Mina and the others reached the empty streets of Gel Heights. The sight before them told everything they needed to know about where to look next. Sorin and Johan were not that far now as Mina evaluated the surrounding area and determined that the two had already found Harold Mars. But now, Mina knew that she and the others would have to decide on what action they had to take next.

“That means in one of these buildings around us, we’ll be able to find Sorin and Johan,” Gavin said. “Guess it’s a good thing that he brought that motorcycle after all.”

“We’ve got to tread carefully,” Eva said. “It wouldn’t do us good for us to go charging into one of these buildings all at once.”

“The likely answer is the most obvious one,” Law said. “Johan could’ve just stopped a few meters away, but he stopped here because he had a hunch. At least, that’s what I’m taking from this.”

“So our best option remains to surround the area,” Pekka said. “Luna and I will cover the outside here, then.”

“Yeah, we’ll wait here just in case,” Luna replied.

“I guess you two have got a hold of this,” Gavin said. “So where does that leave the rest of us?”

Gale looked up and down the building standing before her. “They’ve made their way on the inside,” she said. “So we’ve got to keep close somehow… Still, we already know how dangerous Harold is.”

“You didn’t have to follow us,” Eva said. “None of us would blame you if you wished to head back to the prime minister’s office right now.”

“Thanks, but I’ll be okay,” Gale replied.

“You’re sure about that?” Gavin asked. “I wonder where Rain’s advisor is right now… I figured he would do well in this sort of situation.”

“Oh, right, I almost forgot about him,” Law said. “Maybe he’s busy relaying the message over to Rain?”

“I don’t think you need to worry about that,” Dustin said.

Everyone looked over towards the intersection where Dustin stood. He had arrived at just the right time, Mina thought to herself. She waved to him as he ran over to where they were standing. As he got closer, Mina noticed a sword resting on Dustin’s belt to his left.

“You’re really ready for action!” Mina said.

“As ready as I’ll ever be, you know,” Dustin replied. “Don’t know how much we can do, but we only know so much about what this guy’s capable of doing.”

“That’s why we should remain cautious while proceeding forward,” Eva said. “We can’t afford to make any mistakes.”

“Then I’ll help cover the streets,” Dustin said. “That sound good to you?”

“It would be helpful,” Pekka said.

“I’ll be here, too,” Gale said.

“Okay, then let’s hurry up,” Mina said. “We’ll be there to help any way we can! Let’s make sure that that villain Harold Mars is stopped!”

“Then you and I can take the building next door,” Eva said. “There’s plenty of room for Harold to run, but we’ll get a good view of the streets if we reach the top of the building in case he tries to escape.”

“So I guess that means we head straight into the fire itself,” Law said. “That is okay with me. Let’s go, bro.”

“You don’t need to tell me that,” Gavin replied. “Right now, it’s all about us making sure that this shitbag doesn’t get the chance to escape unpunished.”

Mina knew that not another word needed to be said. She rushed into action with Eva as they went into the building next door. After Mina entered with Eva into the building, Mina looked back and saw Gavin and Law running to the other building. They had to have Harold cornered now, Mina thought. She knew that they could not afford to let Sorin and Johan down as the pursuit continued on in the subdivision of Gel Heights.




[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Harold Mars’s Temporary Hideout, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Nano District]


The climb up to the top floor was a cautious one as Sorin felt the weight of each step in his feet. He knew there existed one option that he could not deny yet even so, Sorin was not sure if he would be able to go through with the action if it proved to be the only one remaining. Harold was beyond any redemption, Sorin knew that; however, Sorin had never used his sword to kill. He was on his way to confront the very man that was responsible for his family’s death but still had to wonder if it was the right option. As Sorin made it up to the next to last floor, he and Johan stopped as they looked for the next set of stairs.

“I know it’s not the best time to ask,” Sorin began, “But do you think it will be possible to stop him with your methods?”

“Sorin, I’ve been on this journey and have seen a lot,” Johan replied. “With what I’ve seen, it has made me think about what is and isn’t possible.”

“So what are you thinking about right now?” Sorin asked.

“Our top priority is to stop Harold Mars,” Johan answered. “If we want to make sure that Foundation has no way of resurrecting itself, we must deal with every last member of the organization. Harold is that final pillar we must take down if we are to accomplish our goal.”

“You’re right about that,” Sorin said.

“Whether or not we can get Harold to surrender means naught since he’s the one who struck first,” Johan said. “He’s been pushing back against the peace that so many have strived for, because the world he wants is one that is at war with itself. Harold Mars must be dealt with.”

“I know,” Sorin replied. “I know what must be done, but…”

“You and I have the same goal, but you’re the one who has the chance to end this,” Johan said. “This battle awaits us both and I will do what I can to help you stop him.”

“You’ve come a long way, haven’t you?” Sorin asked.

“I guess I have,” Johan said.

“There’s just one more floor we’ve got to go,” Sorin said.

“Before we move on, I’ve got one more thing,” Johan said. “Harold can try to dissuade us both however he wants, but no matter what, we must not let him get to us.”

“Got it,” Sorin replied.

“And sometimes, the only way you can bring about peace in the face of evil is to strike it directly,” Johan said. “Even if it means killing Harold, you and I both know that a world without wars would be better off without him.”

Sorin knew that what Johan said carried truth. It was also true that Harold had no qualms whatsoever about his actions, nor what he would try to do to them once they confronted him. Sorin had no need to be hesitant about the reality that stared him in the face and decided to press forward with Johan. He climbed up the stairs to the top floor, confident in his decision as well as his ability, and made it up to see the dimly lit hallway before him. Only the room at the end of the hall caught Sorin’s eye as Johan took a fateful step forward. At the end, a small beam of light emitted from the bottom underneath the door, which only meant that Harold awaited them on the other side. As the two got closer and closer to the door, Sorin kept his hand near the handle of his blade.

“Ready yourself,” Johan said as they finally made it to the door. “We don’t want to be caught off guard once we go inside.”

Sorin nodded and took out his sword. “I’m ready.”

“We’ll finish this, don’t worry,” Johan said.

Johan opened the door with fervent force. Upon arriving inside, Sorin saw Harold kneeling at the other end of the room. Next to Harold was a medium-sized object that made noise similar to an engine. As Sorin attempted to figure out what Harold was doing, Johan walked a few steps ahead before stopping. Sorin decided to follow him and went forth to where he was and stopped as well.

“It seems as if you noticed,” Harold said as he stood up. “This is only a mere sample of the sort of power I have. Unfortunately, Rysol Wilk made it difficult for me to achieve my full potential.”

“Your full potential?” Johan asked. “Just what the hell are you doing?”

“Don’t act as if you’ve no clue what a generator is,” Harold replied. “You’ve been quite the thorn to my plans, Johan Kuu.”

“This plan of yours is beyond reproach,” Johan said. “You only want to see the world crumble as you try to plunge it into another war.”

“Is that a problem?” Harold asked. “This world of mine thrives on strength and strength alone. You’d be wise to accept that fact.”

“This world doesn’t belong to you,” Sorin said.

“Leave it to you to act as if you’re superior,” Harold scoffed. “Your father died by my hand because he lacked strength. My world doesn’t need people like him infesting it.”

Sorin scowled. “You… Do you even hear what you’re saying!?”

“If you’re that mad at me, then I’d welcome you to try,” Harold replied. “But just know that you’ve got no hope against me.”

“I’m not scared of you,” Sorin said. “I’ll never be scared of someone like you who hides in the shadows like a coward!”

“Think what you want, but I only hid because it was in my better interests to do so,” Harold said. “Now, however, I am almost complete. Power is only a few moments away from me, but if you’re still willing to get in my way, then I have no problem showing you a small sample of what I gave that footling fool earlier.”

“To speak that way about your son is twisted,” Johan said. “Treating him as if he were only a tool… That’s inhuman.”

“Please, don’t act as if you cared about him,” Harold replied. “Useless trash like him die because they outlive their utility. He had long passed that point only because I wanted to prove to you both the point of how hopeless it is to stand up against me.”

“It doesn’t matter how much you try to intimidate us,” Sorin said. “We’re not going to back down, no matter what you try to do!”

Harold laughed. “Then I’ll be glad to show you the true hopelessness that you’ve resigned yourselves to,” he said. “And one I’m done with you, this world will run by my methods. No one in Ameci or the Thekohnian Region will be able to deny my pure strength once I’m through with the likes of you!”

The generator stopped. Sorin stood ready as Johan did the same. Nothing but calm determination and rage ran through Sorin’s mind as he thought about his father and Rysol and the pain that both had suffered before they died. He knew that they, as well as everybody else affected by Harold, suffered for years due to this man’s brand of pain. Sorin was ready to put an end to that pain right now and knew that he had valuable allies on his side. He knew that Johan would assist him in any way he could. Sorin knew that they were going to win no matter what and Harold had no chance against them. Sorin knew that because he could not afford to let everyone down. Sorin knew because he was ready to fight.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 43 (Part 1)

[2nd of January, 2741 AD; outside of the New Prime Minister’s Office, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


As the night rolled in, a quiet silence surrounded the exterior of the new prime minister’s office. Not a single person could be seen or heard when Ayanna arrived with Dierk and a communicator in tow. Ayanna began to grow suspicious of what was happening, but she knew now that she and the others were closer to taking down Dezine than they ever were before. At least, that was what she had thought. With Johan’s help, Ayanna was able to organize a large group of people ready to lead the charge against the current prime minister. It astounded her how well Johan was able to get these people to protest considering the fact that he did not go with the others to Rezar. Elsewhere, Ayanna had to count on Sorin, Mina, and the others to lead their way into the building. As for her, there was something else that Ayanna had to do, but first she had to confirm something with Dierk.

“Everything went well with Reiss, I assume?” Ayanna asked.

“Affirmative,” Dierk replied. “The general seemed pretty upbeat about our chances, though we still may have to worry about what to do next after we deal with Dezine.”

“That’s something we can talk about once we’re finished,” Ayanna said. “As far as we’re concerned, our main priority remains taking on the prime minister. Never in my life did I think that I would have to utter those words, but we’ve got no choice and no way to turn back now.”

“It is tough,” Dierk said. “Even if we oust him overnight, how Dezine rose to power will remain a stain on this country’s history.”

“Not as if Iiayikohn was clean before then,” Ayanna said. “If only Alan were still around, then we wouldn’t be here right now participating in the coup.”

“He kept things in order, for sure,” Dierk replied.

“Which is why I can never forgive Dezine,” Ayanna said. “He and Isaac are the reason why Alan is no longer around. To think that a single member of the Iiayi government would willingly plot the assassination of the prime minister is beyond reprehensible.”

“Certainly, he will have to pay for what he’s done,” Dierk said.

Ayanna looked back at the building on the other side of the street and continued to wait for the next move. Soon enough, she and Dierk could hear the sounds of people chanting. As they both looked down the street, a large group of people walked down the street towards the prime minister’s office. Within that group were a couple of faces that Ayanna recognized: Law, Gavin, and Henry. At just the right time, those three had returned from Hurst in order to help lead the charge against Wilson Dezine.

“Over here!” Ayanna said as she waved over to Law.

Law hurried over while both Gavin and Henry followed.

“The people are rising up, it seems,” Law said. “I suppose I’ve to hand it to Joahn… Getting this many people organized had to be quite a task in such a short amount of time.”

“He does have that group,” Henry said. “The Moonlit Silence is always working even if we’re not a witness to their methods.”

“Guess there is some merit to Johan keeping his big plans a secret,” Gavin said. “Say, Ayanna, are we about ready to lead this charge or what?”

Ayanna looked down at the communicator. “We’re waiting for the guards to show up,” she said. “Once we’ve got the attention of Dezine’s guards, I’ll go and give the word to Sorin and Mina.”

“Good,” Henry said. “I can already hear the people calling for Dezine. A lot of calls for him to surrender himself, sounds like.”

“I wonder if that’s gonna make him use his protection powers,” Law said. “This many people going up against the big man himself? Well, he’s going to have plenty to deal with, but we know that the good people of Rezar aren’t going to go down without a fight.”

The chants grew louder, with each person facing the front doors of the new prime minister’s office calling out Dezine by name. As the streetlights lit up, the doors to the office opened up as several soldiers spilled out onto the streets. The group of protestors, however, did not stop.

“That’s our cue,” Henry said.

Ayanna picked up the receiver. “I’m going to contact Sorin now,” she said. “Hopefully this is enough to help them get inside.”




On the other end of the building, Mina, Eva, Pekka, and Luna all waited outside on the opposite side of the street. Dustin looked at the communicator that was given to them by Ayanna as it chirped on and picked it up. He eyed the back doors as he placed the receiver close to his mouth.

“Dustin here,” he said. “Are we ready to storm the castle?”

“Yes, yes we are,” Ayanna said. “But I thought that Sorin would be the one to answer. Do you mind putting him on?”

“Yeah, about that,” Dustin said.

“Hold on,” Mina said, grabbing the receiver out of Dustin’s hand. “Ayanna, it’s me. We’re out here, ready to go when you are!”

“What about Sorin?” Ayanna asked.

“Oh right, I guess we should have contacted you about that,” Mina replied. “Sorin and Gale aren’t here.”

“Sorry about that!” Dustin said.

“She can’t hear you,” Eva said. “Mina, just tell her already.”

Mina nodded. “Okay, well, you know how Johan said that he wanted to do his own thing?”

“Of course I know,” Ayanna said. “Don’t tell me Sorin decided to go with him…”

“Well, not exactly,” Mina replied. “He said that he wanted to go after Isaac himself, and I guess Gale decided to go along with him.”

“That doesn’t make sense,” Ayanna said.

“You’re telling me,” Dustin said. “Guy was all about doing this together and now he’s off on the trail of the mastermind of this whole operation?”

“They were talking to themselves on the way here,” Luna said. “Sorin and Gale talking with each other, saying to us that it was nothing, yet now they’re the ones all after Isaac now. We don’t even know what to expect now!”

“It means Sorin has an idea and he doesn’t want to go and put us at risk,” Pekka said. “Though that doesn’t explain why Gale wanted to go with him. It’ll be dangerous either way and she’s not a fighter at all.”

“You should have some faith in them,” Eva said.

“Mina, where exactly are Sorin and Gale right now?” Ayanna asked.

“There’s really only one place I can think of off the top of my head,” Mina said, “And that’s the Ameci Embassy.”

“I see,” Ayanna replied. “Thank you.”

“What are you going to do now?” Mina asked.

“I’m helping lead the charge, of course,” Ayanna said. “Johan managed to help stir up a group of people just outside the door… It’s impressive.”

“I knew we could count on him,” Mina said. “I knew that Johan had a pure, heroic heart all this time!”

“So there’s a lot of commotion, then,” Pekka said. “Guess we made Dezine turn his head just enough for us to waltz in.”

“Good luck, guys,” Dustin said. “I’ll stay back here just in case… Don’t want to push things further, you know.”

“Well, if we need help, then you better be ready to come rushing in,” Eva said. “Let’s get going already, Mina.”

“Of course,” Mina replied. “We’ll see you on the inside, Ayanna!”

“We will see you in a moment,” Ayanna said.

With that, Mina shut off the communicator and handed it to Dustin. There was only one goal on Mina’s mind right now and that was to take down Wilson Dezine. Once that was taken care of, Mina was sure to hurry over to the Iiayine Prison and rescue her uncle. With the back entrance to the office unguarded, the group hurried their way inside as no one could stop them now.




[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Ameci Embassy, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


Rohan Fercewend looked down the hall as people in the embassy bustled about. A lot had changed in such a short amount of time and staff members were trying their best to keep up. Even Fercewend himself felt it all come to a sudden shock once Casper Bradley confessed. All it took was hearing the news of his son’s death and Casper broke down. Still, it felt odd to Fercewend that all of this had taken place in the same amount of time that Dezine turned his back on Ameci. It was something that Fercewend wanted to know more about. What could possibly be gained from such a move? Fercewend felt as if he had only Isaac to believe in during this turbulent time and little time outside of work to actually speak to him now that Casper had been removed from his position.

“Ah, Rohan, what’s got you thinking at a time like this?” Isaac asked.

Almost like it was on cue, Fercewend turned and saw Isaac at the top of the stairs. The reassurance that everything would work out returned. Now that Isaac was here, Fercewend knew that he could focus.

“It’s nothing,” Fercewend replied. “I’m just merely thinking about all that has happened within the past couple of days.”

“It has been quite a wild turn of events,” Isaac said. “Men looking to bite the hand that feeds them just because they feel as if their bellies have yet to be full, only to get punished in the end! Truly this is an interesting time for Mr. Dezine over at the prime minister’s office.”

“What do you mean?” Fercewend asked.

“Have you been so lost in thought that you’ve lost course of the direction of the wind? Go and take a look outside,” Isaac said.

Fercewend did as Isaac suggested and went over to the nearest window. He then saw out on the street a group of people outside marching towards the new prime minister’s office, chanting for Dezine’s removal.

“They’re protestors?” Fercewend asked.

“Dezine wanted action,” Isaac said. “Well, he’s about to get what he wants, though I can’t say he doesn’t deserve it.”

“It’s… unheard of,” Fercewend said. “I know that there has been unrest in the region before, but I didn’t think that it would arrive here.”

“Come now, you said it yourself,” Isaac replied. “Dezine betrayed the order and now he’s going to pay for it dearly.”

“Then he’s already fallen?”

“God has abandoned him,” Isaac said. “That dear friend of mine… heh, I’m amazed at the things he told me.”

“I wonder what happens next,” Fercewend said.

“Someone will clean the mess Dezine created,” Isaac said. “That much I can assure you.”

“You assure me of that?” Fercewend asked.

“Believe in the process, Rohan,” Isaac said. “It’s not that we failed Dezine, but rather he failed himself. Iiayikohn’s next prime minister will not be as big a fool, you can bet on that.”

“You sound sure of it,” Fercewend said. “Then I am inclined to believe in what you say.”

“As you should,” Isaac replied. “A good president listens to his most trusted advisor, after all.”

Fercewend turned away from the window. “May I ask you something?”

“What’s on your mind now?” Isaac asked.

“When President Hasker arrives, I will resume my position as the general, correct?”

“With things as they stand, that will be the case,” Isaac replied. “Obviously, we should be grateful for his awaited return to power.”

“Of course,” Fercewend replied. “I’m just wondering if there was a way I could assist him further. I want to help Ameci in any way I can, because I know that that’s what’s expected of me.”

“Don’t worry too much about that,” Isaac said. “As of now, Piere is Ameci’s president, though he is not acting. That would be you.”

“I know.”

“But this is the important part,” Isaac continued, “Hasker’s term is set to end in a year. Given all that has happened, I’m sure that the good people of our country would want a new face at the top.”

“So that’s where I would come in,” Fercewend said.

“You’re getting it, and quite well, I may add,” Isaac said. “Yes, if all goes as planned, we’ll be able to have you run for the highest position of power in Ameci should Hasker not be up to task.”

“That sounds good.”

“You just have to believe in me and let the process sort everything out,” Isaac said. “As long as you do that, then there’s absolutely nothing that cannot be accomplished under your name, Rohan!”

Isaac’s encouragement convinced Fercewend that he too would be able to accomplish anything. With an ally like him, there was little that Fercewend could not do and a lot that he could. Even the power of president would be in his grasp as long as Isaac was there to guide him along the way. But as those thoughts went to his head, Fercewend heard the creaking of a door in the now silent embassy. He looked around and down the stairs, but no one was there.

“Wait right here,” Isaac said.

“What’s going on?” Fercewend asked.

“It’s nothing important,” Isaac replied. “Please, go on with what you were doing before, Rohan; I’ll be back in a moment.”

Fercewend could not help but watch as Isaac went down the stairs. The curiosity behind the sudden silence and immediate change caused Fercewend to follow Isaac down the steps a few feet away. As he got closer to the bottom of the stairs, however, Fercewend caught a glimpse of an unbelievable sight. At the entrance stood Korbin Mars pointing a gun at Isaac.

“What… What in the world are you doing!?” Isaac asked.

A deep laughter echoed across the hall as Harold entered the embassy. The mere sight of the man caused Fercewend to hesitate. He knew the face looked too familiar, but could not believe what he was seeing.

“The curtain’s closing, Isaac Kunigunde,” Harold said. “Your assistance is no longer needed.”

“I-Impossible!” Isaac exclaimed. “We still have plenty of time for our plan to work! You yourself told me that just yesterday, Harold!”

“How peculiar,” Harold said. “I don’t believe that I ever said something like that to you.”

“It doesn’t mean shit now,” Korbin said, his aim shaking. “Once I’m done… Once I’m done with you here, I’m gonna make sure that everything goes just like my dad planned!”

Isaac took a step back. “You wouldn’t dare!”

“God was never on your side,” Harold said. “In fact, you were just a mere tool to be used. To think that you would be so delusional to believe that you’d make it with spilling your own blood is laughable at best.”

“Give me a break,” Isaac replied. “This… This is a violation of our trust and you know it!”

“Just like with you and Casper, or with you and Dezine,” Harold said. “Or were you planning to go against god, too? I’m not afraid of the extreme, I’ll have you know.”

Harold headed for the door as Korbin kept his focus on Isaac. Fercewend wanted to jump in to save Isaac, but with Harold’s threatening presence, he did not want to jeopardize his one chance. That was, until Harold looked over to the stairs and spotted Fercewend.

“Do it,” Harold said to Korbin. “Let Mr. Kunigunde feel the despair grow as he dies knowing his own family betrayed him.”

Fercewend took that chance to move. He hurried over to Isaac’s side in order to protect him, but by then, the shot had already rang out. Everything had stopped as Fercewend watched Isaac drop to the ground. Time seemed to freeze while Fercewend could only blame himself for not acting sooner. He looked over to the entrance once again, but saw that both Harold and Korbin had made their exit. As he clenched his fist, Fercewend heard a weak cough coming from Isaac and checked in on him once more. The general tended to Isaac as he continued to bleed from out of the wound in his abdomen and onto the floor.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 42 (Part 2)

[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Open Area Shopping District, Helm, Ahnlikohn]


After a fulfilling lunch, Sorin and the others decided to take a stroll through the nearby shopping district. However, their stroll was short-lived once they saw Ayanna arrive with Dierk. Sorin had to wonder how long lunch went, but given both Johan and Mina’s appetites, it had to have lasted longer than he thought. He waved to both Ayanna and Dierk as the two went over to the group.

“I was wondering where you were,” Ayanna said.

“How long were you here?” Sorin asked.

Dierk looked at his pocket watch. “I’d say about close to an hour,” he said. “Fifty-seven minutes, to be exact.”

“We didn’t realize that you guys were waiting for so long!” Mina said. “If that was the case, then we should’ve found you two first so we could’ve had lunch together.”

“Thank you, but we already ate before arriving here,” Ayanna replied. “So it seems you’re still at a loss, aren’t you?”

“That’s what it looks like,” Sorin said. “We were too busy eating to even think about how we were going to enter Iiayikohn.”

“Just because we weren’t talking about the mission doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking about our next move,” Johan said.

“If you have something to say, then say it,” Pekka said. “Don’t leave us in the dark, Johan.”

“I wouldn’t leave you in the dark without giving you a source of light first,” Johan replied. “That is to say that I think I have an idea about how we can get into Iiayikohn without much hassle.”

“I’d prefer no hassle at all, but I’m interested in hearing what you’ve got to say,” Ayanna said.

“Right now, our current headcount is ten altogether,” Johan said. “That is to say that I’m including the two of you into our group.”

“So we’ve got a good amount of people,” Mina said. “Ten heroes is a good, even number that no villain can stop!”

“Indeed, having the numerical advantage is optimal,” Ayanna said, “But we aren’t dealing with just one person.”

“It’s just as I thought,” Johan said. “Sometimes the best answer usually is the easiest. Thank you, Ayanna.”

“You’re welcome, though I didn’t say much beyond the fact that we’re going up against multiple people in this organization,” Ayanna replied. “Are you trying to suggest that we’re better if we split up?”

“I’m not necessarily saying that,” Johan said.

“Then what are you trying to suggest?” Eva asked.

“If we just go after Wilson Dezine, Isaac Kunigunde will try to run away from his failure,” Johan said. “We can’t just lock down a single target without first trying to make sure the other target doesn’t evade us. That was what let Isaac get away with what he’s done up to this point.”

“It still sounds to me as if you want us to split up,” Ayanna said.

“Well, if you want to consider it that way, then yes,” Johan said. “Right now, the goal is to defeat Isaac Kunigunde. He’s the one that carries the most influence and the one with the most to lose should everything fail for him.”

“What’s the angle here?” Pekka asked.

“You want an easier way to get into Iiayikohn, don’t you?” Johan asked. “I think there is much to be said if a wanted man like myself makes his presence known to the entirety of an Ameci-occupied country and enters alone.”

Sorin looked over to Johan. “Are you saying what I think you’re saying, Johan?”

“An entire group of us will draw attention, sure, but to the Ameci military, I’m the one that they want,” Johan said. “To Isaac, all I am is nothing more but an existential threat to what he’s trying to do. He’ll obviously try to use his power to try and direct the general into capturing me, if not worse.”

“That’s… That’s beyond insanity!” Luna said. “I don’t want you to do this, not after we just lost Jelka! I don’t want this at all!”

“Surely this is some sort of bluff to try and get us to come up with a better idea,” Sorin said. “That’s gotta be what you’re saying, right?”

“I don’t think he’s trying to bluff us,” Eva said.

“You don’t?” Dustin asked. “Because even as a bluff, it’s quite a reckless one to make… You do know what will happen once Ameci’s sending its soldiers after you, you know that, don’t you?”

“I’ve already said that,” Johan replied. “I’m not going to stop in pursuing my goal, even if it brings me pain and misfortune. I already know what it’s like to come close to death itself, so I’ve got no reason to fear the Ameci military.”

“But what about Jelka?” Sorin asked. “After what she did to save us, you’d just risk it all?”

“I never said I was going to die, nor did I imply I’m afraid of it,” Johan said. “All I’m saying is that I’m willing to suffer in order to accomplish my goals. There is no way I can back down.”

He began to walk away from the group, only to turn back and shrug. Sorin could not stop Johan now, though he wanted to try. If there was any way to stop Johan from risking his own life, Sorin knew that it was right now that he had to do it.

“I’m not going to let you do this alone,” Sorin said. “If you insist on drawing Isaac Kunigunde’s attention, then I want to help you out at the very least.”

“Not you too, Sorin,” Gale said. “It won’t do us any good if you both throw yourselves at Isaac so recklessly.”

“She’s right,” Johan said. “This is something I’ve got to do on my own. If it gets out of hand, then we’d both be screwed.”

“It’s better than going by yourself,” Sorin replied. “Besides, if it’s going to get rough, then you’re going to need someone to fight alongside you.”

“Maybe it’s just me, but I think you’re trying to talk me out of this,” Johan said as he tried to hold back a chuckle. “You wouldn’t suggest coming along with me if I hadn’t said anything first.”

“Please, there has to be another way,” Sorin said. “I know you can think of something that doesn’t involve you risking yourself. Just… for all of our sakes, I want you to reconsider.”

“Regardless of what we do, there will always be a risk when we’re dealing with Foundation,” Johan replied. “Be it Korbin or be it the Ameci military, we’re going into battle against an enemy that has us in their crosshairs.”

“Perhaps it’s time we begin drawing up our plan,” Ayanna said. “Talking will only get us so far and this is not the place to plan our next move.”

“So it seems,” Johan said. “Very well, then we’ll go and find a place where we can straighten out our plan of attack.”

“That sounds like a good idea to me,” Mina said. “But we’d better hurry up, though!”

“Given what’s at stake, I’m sure we’ll come up with a plan that everyone can agree with,” Johan said. “You think so too, don’t you, Sorin?”

Sorin had to agree. He had to if they wanted to move forward. With the uncertainty surrounding the Iiayikohnian border, there was only so much time that they could spend. With Ayanna and Dierk, though, Sorin was sure that they could help devise a pathway back into Iiayikohn. But what still concerned Sorin was the fact that Johan did not bend in his will to go it on his own and draw out Isaac by himself. Whatever Isaac had lying in wait next, Sorin was certain that it would prove to be devastating, especially if it happened to involve Korbin and Harold Mars.




[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Burning Light Lane, Hurst, Iiayikohn]


Gavin had no idea what to expect when he arrived in Hurst with Law and Henry, but he did not expect to see a mass of officers occupy the area on Burning Light Lane. Once he got a look at the scene, however, Gavin understood. A crowd of people began to form, which had to be most of the citizens of the small town as they all appeared to wonder what just struck them.

“This is quite a shocking turn of events,” Henry said.

“You’re telling me,” Gavin said. “What happened here?”

“Well, why don’t we ask someone with a little more knowledge than us,” Law said. “With this many people in the area, we’d at least get a little rundown about what happened before we got here.”

As Law proceeded to ask around, Gavin tried to get a better look between the gaps in the crowd. The officers surrounded the block with their vehicles while they kept the crowd at bay, but Gavin could tell that something major had taken place. There was only one reason why officers of the Iiayikohnian military would show up in Hurst, which meant that it had to do with Harold somehow.

“Have you got a good view yet?” Henry asked.

“I think we’re too late,” Gavin said. “If you ask me, Harold definitely had a hand in what happened here.”

“I wonder if he was aware of the fact that we were after him,” Henry said. “If that’s the case, then it’s likely he brought down his own hideout in order to get away from us.”

“It doesn’t make sense, though,” Gavin said. “Why would he do such a thing when it would mean that he’d draw attention to himself.”

“True, that’s the contradiction with my theory,” Henry replied. “However, what if he had no choice?”

“I think I understand what you’re asking,” Gavin said. “Sorin’s brother… If he was here, then it’s possible.”

But Gavin knew there was nothing conclusive to the idea, at least not yet. As he wondered what exactly transpired, Law returned to the two as he tried to get Gavin’s attention.

“Yo, it seems like we’ve got trouble on our hands,” Law said.

“I can tell that just by looking,” Gavin replied. “Did you manage to gather anything important?”

“Well, it looks like that entire block was decimated with explosives,” Law answered. “Though from what I’ve gathered from the people here, all of those buildings seemed to be abandoned long ago.”

“Abandoned, you say?” Henry asked.

“That’s what I got from the people I spoke with,” Law said. “You do know what that means, don’t you?”

“We were a step too late,” Gavin said.

“There was no way we had a clue,” Henry said. “All it means is that Harold is on the run now. He knows we’re getting closer to the truth.”

“You sound pretty confident about it,” Gavin said. “But now I want to know how in the hell he blew up the whole place.”

“Maybe it’d do us good if we asked one of the officers,” Henry said.

“Sure about that?” Law asked. “The ones in Rezar weren’t so nice to us over in the prison.”

“Just let me ask the questions,” Henry said. “I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to ask that officer over there a simple question.”

He walked over to the officer closest to the crowd and whistled to get his attention. The officer turned to his direction and waved over at him. Gavin and Law followed him as they confronted the officer in front.

“Do you mind if I ask you a question, sir?” Henry asked.

“If this is for some sort of press, then I can’t take a question,” the officer replied. “Even we’re trying to figure out exactly what’s going on.”

“We’re not with any press, we just want a basic idea about what happened here,” Henry said. “Just from looking at it, it’s pretty obvious something nefarious took place here.”

“If you ask me, none of it makes any sense,” the officer said.

“Well, what about the buildings?” Gavin asked. “They were all abandoned from what we’ve heard. Do you think it was planned?”

“I don’t believe that it was a planned thing, no,” the officer answered. “No one in this town has indicated that there were any plans for a demolition of those buildings.”

“I see,” Gavin said.

“I’ve one more question for you, officer,” Henry said. “Did anyone happen to live in those buildings, and if so, are they here?”

The officer shook his head. “I doubt it.”

“Why do you doubt it?” Henry asked. “Even if those buildings were all abandoned, that doesn’t mean no one was there.”

“We’d have to find out for ourselves, then,” the officer said.

Almost as if on cue, another officer called out to the man. Gavin, Law, and Henry all looked to see the second officer arrive with something in her hand. It took Gavin one look to see for himself and realize what it was the female officer was holding.

“That… That sword,” Gavin said. “That sword looks familiar.”

The other officer turned to Gavin with the broken sword in her hand clear in view. “Do you know something about it?”

“Henry, you recognize that, don’t you?” Gavin asked. He looked back to the officer. “Where did you find it?”

“It was underneath some of the rubble,” the female officer said. “We’re still uncovering, but what we do know is that there is someone underneath.”

“Someone underneath the rubble?” Henry asked. “Who is it?”

“We haven’t identified him yet,” she replied, “But what I can say for certain is that this man is dead.”

Henry took a deep breath and sighed. “Thank you, both of you,” he said, turning back to Gavin and Law as he began to walk away. “I was wondering what happened to him, and it seems like we’ve got our answer.”

“What are you doing?” Gavin asked, catching up with Henry. “Are you just going to walk away like that without any other question?”

“Do you think we’ve got any other thing to do here?” Henry asked. “This is as far as we can go here if you ask me.”

“But the sword!” Gavin exclaimed. “That’s Rysol’s sword, damn it!”

“It is,” Henry said. “There’s nothing we can do right now and to stay here any longer would be detrimental.”

“So we’re just going to head back, then,” Gavin said. “Are we not even going to tell Sorin about what happened here?”

“We’ll let him know soon enough,” Henry replied. “But Rysol is a different case from Kirk, and I don’t need to tell you why that is.”

Law placed his hand on the side of his forehead. “It may sound cold, bro, but we’ve got no choice,” he said. “We have to leave Rysol here even though we know very little about why he was here or how he died.”

“Fine,” Gavin replied. “But I’m going to be the one to tell Sorin, got it? He needs to know what happened here… He needs to know that Rysol came here because he pursued the truth.”

“Of course,” Henry said. “I’ll leave it all up to you.”

The three continued to walk away from the scene of the destruction and headed for the car. But even though Gavin had promised that he would be the one to inform Sorin about Rysol’s death, Gavin knew that the news would not be any easier to bear as yet another loss came by the hands of Harold Mars. The ever growing threat that man posed was becoming more and more apparent with each passing moment and Gavin knew that it was only a matter of time before he tried to strike again.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 41 (Part 1)

[1st of January, 2741 AD; New Prime Minister’s Office, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


“Just what in the world is the meaning of this?” Isaac asked. “I want you to answer me now, Wilson, because I am at a loss for words about what you’ve just done here!”

Fercewend followed after Isaac stormed into Dezine’s office as the furious man slammed his hands upon the desk, which startled the prime minister. Isaac received the word of Dezine’s latest action less than an hour ago and decided to head over to meet with the man himself. It came as a complete surprise to Rohan, too, who remembered the conventions that prevented an action such as this. As Isaac stared Dezine down, the prime minister regained his composure and put on a large smile.

“I’m glad you noticed, Isaac,” Dezine said. “I think it’s about time that we went and took some action, don’t you agree?”

“Don’t try and take me for a fool,” Isaac said. “Reckless actions like this only serve to hinder our cause, if not outright hurt it. I want you to cease this border lockdown at once!”

“I get it,” Dezine replied. “You two are worried about your soldiers, are you not? Well, I may be willing to make an exception, only if you agree to let me run things as they should.”

“Prime minister, I must remind you that there are various repercussions for violating the Thekohnian conventions,” Fercewend said. “I know it’s none of my business as an Ameci, but it would be wise to recognize the breach where it is visible and stand back where necessary.”

“I’m flabbergasted that you would be so concerned, General Fercewend,” Dezine said. “Wasn’t it you who wanted to deal with the Ameci traitors? What better course of action than to stop them before they can even cross the border to Iiayikohn?”

“You’re acting like a fool,” Isaac said. “I don’t want to soil my own hands trying to stop the traitors myself. That’s why we have the military and that’s why you have your own special guard. Throwing all caution to the wind just to get ahead of the traitors will only burn your own hide, Wilson.”

“Is it my hide that’ll burn?” Dezine asked. “Or will you be the one to fall next? I hear that your vice president is currently incarcerated because you claim you’ve no use for him or his son anymore.”

“He’s being held for conspiracy,” Fercewend said. “Isaac had nothing to do with what Bradley did.”

“So you’re going to fall on the sword for Isaac’s behalf, aren’t you,” Dezine said. “Well, it’s not as if it’s my problem what happens to you, general.”

“It will be your problem soon enough, I promise you,” Isaac replied. “The walls will soon close in should you walk the path of recklessness.”

“Did you forget what you did to ensure that I would be prime minister?” Dezine asked. “That little piece of paper that keeps me safe… The ‘Prime Minister Protection Act,’ don’t you know?”

Isaac grumbled. “You’d be digging your own grave,” he said. “Even that law has a drawback.”

“People depend on travel between the lands, prime minister,” Fercewend said. “Doing this to stop the problem we have will only bring it into the light for all to see, which will only cause panic. Do you truly wish for that to happen to your people, sir?”

“I don’t think I asked for your opinion, general,” Dezine replied. “Why don’t you just be a good boy and let me do my job.”

“Don’t act as if I don’t have a say in the matter,” Fercewend said. “As both Hasker and Bradley are out, I’m the one in charge of all Ameci actions.”

“Are you now?” Dezine asked.

“That is correct,” Isaac said. “For now, Rohan is the acting president of Ameci, so you’d best take me seriously.”

“I see how it is now,” Dezine said. “Unfortunately for you, I do not need the help of Ameci in regards to dealing with the traitors. My soldiers are trained well and will shoot on sight.”

“That’s not what this is about!” Isaac exclaimed.

“If you’re going to raise your voice to me, then you leave me no choice,” Dezine responded. “I will not hesitate to invoke the law should I feel threatened, and I must say you two are imposing on me quite a bit…”

Dezine reached for the phone as Isaac lifted his hands off of the desk. He turned around and headed for the door as Fercewend did the same. It was clear now that Dezine did not want to talk any further, which left the general at a loss. But as he looked at Isaac, Fercewend could feel some reassurance.

“Then we will go,” Isaac said. “I do have one last word for you, however.”

“You really have nothing but your inflated ego, don’t you?” Dezine asked. “Very well, I’ll let you say your little spiel.”

“Oh, I’ll make it quick, Wilson Dezine,” Isaac replied. “I’ll make it quick as the fall you’re going to take: you’ve made a mistake.”

“The only mistake I’ve made was letting you in my office,” Dezine said. “I will win this fight with or without your help!”

“If that’s the case, then you’ve already lost,” Isaac said. “Not even god will help you out of the mess that you’ve created. Rohan, let’s go before I lose my head over this goddamn madman.”

Fercewend did as Isaac said and left Dezine’s office. The numbers were dwindling around Isaac, but Fercewend knew that he needed to remain strong in order for Ameci to succeed through an uncertain time. Even so, Fercewend felt as if the pressure was only going to get worse as time went on. He wondered about Isaac and if he felt the same way. Fercewend did not want to admit it, but he was starting to doubt Isaac as well. It was not as if he did not trust him, but in regard to the recent events, Fercewend wondered about Isaac’s motivations and if it was okay to question them.

“Let this be a lesson, Rohan,” Isaac said as he continued to walk down the hallway. “Trust only goes so far until the other side sees no use for you. Dezine is such a man that would place his own interests before anyone else… The nerve of that man to think he has authority only because I was willing to offer him my helping hand and write that law for him. It was my written word that protected him and this is how he repays the favor!?”

“What do you mean?” Fercewend asked as he kept up with Isaac.

“Nothing,” Isaac answered. “Forget about Dezine. He’s set on failing so bad, then let him fail. We still have a way to win, even without his help.”

“Forgive me if this is rude, but what is Ameci’s goal?” Fercewend asked. “I only ask because it seems as if these people we put our trust in seem to fail when adversity strikes at its hardest.”

“Our goal… Ameci’s goal is to be strong,” Isaac replied. “It has always been the goal. There are people who want to undermine us and take advantage of us, which is why being rigid in our approach is important.”

“I understand,” Fercewend said, “But what of Casper Bradley? Was he always trying to undermine us?”

“He had tried to take advantage of you, yes,” Isaac said. “But I had my eyes on him the moment he stood in Hasker’s place. Casper merely let the power go to his head, becoming delusional as a result and… well, you should already know the rest.”

“One must wonder why it is that this power drives men like Casper and Dezine to the brink,” Fercewend said.

“Look no further to the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn and you’ll see why,” Isaac said. “Rain Zano Thedam is an ever growing problem and there’s only so much time we have until she tries to challenge you head on.”

“You believe that it is so?” Fercewend asked.

“Rohan, right now, you’re needed more than ever,” Isaac replied. “You’re the rock that serves to stabilize Ameci. Your people need you now more than ever and you must be able to rise to the occasion.”

“I can do that,” Fercewend said. “But where do you fit in?”

“It’s simple,” Isaac said, “I’m the one who will support you. This will not be an easy job, but with my guidance, you will be useful. Do you understand?”

“Of course,” Fercewend replied. “Ameci has counted on me before and I’ll do my best to serve as its leader.”

“As it was before,” Isaac said. “Even back then, becoming general wasn’t a guarantee, but I made it possible. I made everything possible so that you could succeed as a leader. This chance belongs to you and you alone, Rohan.”

“I won’t disappoint,” Fercewend said.

“I know that you won’t,” Isaac said. “A dear friend of mine told me that as long as god is on our side, we will win. God is on our side, Rohan, and we will use that to our advantage.”

“Then let’s not let that advantage go to waste,” Fercewend said. “It doesn’t do us good to doubt as long as we have that.”

“Very good,” Isaac said. “You made a smart decision, Rohan, so you should be very proud of yourself and what you’ve become to me.”

With the resounding encouragement that Isaac had given him, Fercewend knew what he needed to do now. He could not afford to hesitate any further now that he had executive power and he could not waste the chance that had been given to him. Regardless of the past, Fercewend knew that now was the time for him to act. Now was the time to do what he believed was right for Ameci, even if he had to cross an old friend or two. For Rohan Fercewend, he was ready to act in what he deemed Ameci’s best interest and nothing was going to stop him.




[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Quiet Falcon Train Station, Helm, Ahnlikohn]


Wasting time was no longer an option for Sorin and the others. He knew that they had to get moving once they heard from Rain about what Dezine had done overnight. The path to Iiayikohn became tougher to navigate, though it did not deter Sorin because he knew that Johan was not deterred by the setback. As long as Johan was with them, there was hope. Hope that they could devise a plan that Johan could draw out. Still, there was some doubt as the group ended up at the train station where Iiayikohnian guards barricaded the entrance. The large crowd stood outside as the guards remained firm at the front door, neither man moving a single inch from their positions.

“This is the action the prime minister is willing to take, huh?” Dustin asked. “Is there no way we couldn’t just try to sneak in or something?”

“It’s unwise to be reckless right now,” Johan said. “Of course, there is a path forward, but it looks like traveling by train is no longer an option.”

“Does the prime minister know no end to his villainy?” Mina asked. “He must be really stupid if he thinks this will stop us!”

“I don’t think he’s stupid,” Pekka said. “However, Dezine has to know that this is going to backfire spectacularly should he continue to pursue this action if he’s trying to protect Isaac Kunigunde.”

“Do you think he’s doing it on purpose, then?” Luna asked. “You know, like if he’s trying to sabotage Isaac for his own reasons?”

“We don’t know,” Johan said.

“As far as whether or not Wilson Dezine is doing this on Isaac’s behalf or not, we can’t really assume,” Eva said. “However, as it stands right now, Dezine’s actions are impeding us from completing our task.”

“Johan, you’ve got to have some idea on what we’re supposed to do,” Luna said. “You’re usually coming up with all these amazing plans! You’ve gotta have an idea floating up there, I know it because you’re scratching your chin which usually means you’ve got something on your mind and I know I’m not wrong when I say that!”

Johan sighed as he removed his hand from his chin and sat himself down on a bench nearby. “I was just wondering if there was somewhere we could grab a bite,” he said. “Thinking about all this has made me quite famished if I’m being honest with you, Luna.”

“Why in the world would you be thinking of food at a time like this?” Gale asked. “Surely you must be joking.”

“I’m not joking, Gale,” Johan replied. “It’s almost time for lunch and we didn’t have that much of a breakfast since we had to get going early. You feel the same way, right, Sorin?”

Sorin looked at Johan. “You may be right,” he said. “There’s not much that we can do right now, so we might as well get something to eat and figure out what we can do from there.”

“The fact we can’t go ahead back to Iiayikohn frustrates me to no end,” Mina said as she placed her index finger on her forehead, “But I can’t just say no to getting something to eat! It’s been too long since we did, anyway, and I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to take a little break!”

Johan looked back over to Gale. “See? I don’t think it’s worth worrying too much since we know that we’ll find a way,” he said. “Our work isn’t done, but that shouldn’t mean we can’t take the time to enjoy the sights.”

“I thought you just wanted to get something to eat,” Gale said.

“I did say that,” Johan said. “I was just wondering if it would be possible to do a little more during our time here in Helm.”

“What’s with the sudden change in objective?” Dustin asked. “I thought that you wanted to go on and take down Isaac Kunigunde. I didn’t think you’d want to go and relax so soon after what happened up in Glora.”

“Mind you, this isn’t about relaxing,” Johan said. “We can’t rush towards an enemy without knowing what they’re capable of. I figure until we have some clue about what they can do, we’ll just wait until we hear it from our allies.”

“Rain did say that Ayanna is on her way towards Helm,” Sorin said. “Then again, I’ve got no clue when she’ll get here nor do I know whether or not she’s arriving with the soldiers.”

“I doubt the Rain wants to do that,” Eva said. “The last thing we want to do is to escalate this to a breaking point.”

“You’re very wise,” Johan said. “There will be plenty of time to discuss our next course of action, so why go through the trouble of thinking about it now? I think we have enough time at hand before we head off for Iiayikohn.”

Nobody else had anything to say to that. Johan was right and there was no reason to suggest otherwise. As long as Gavin, Law, and Henry were in Iiayikohn, there was no reason to worry. Even with the sudden turn of events, Sorin had a feeling that those three would be able to get Drake out of trouble. But for now, the only thing Sorin and the others could do now was wait for Ayanna to arrive.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 39 (Part 2)

[1st of January, 2741 AD; Sparrow Hotel – Indoor Lounge, Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Escaping Ahnle Mountain was easy. Escaping the reality of what took place stood difficult, however. Sorin knew that. He could only imagine what Johan had to have been feeling while he was by himself, and if he would even come back this night. It proved to be a long day with little to show for it, but at least Sorin was able to get one thing out of it. One piece of proof that would provide a vital step forward in the fight against Foundation.

“That’s right,” Sorin said. “I almost forgot.”

“What is it?” Gale asked.

Sorin reached into his pocket and took out the two documents that he got from Harring’s study. He unfolded both and went through them one more time as he made sure to read over both papers in a thorough manner.

“You received those from the mansion, didn’t you?” Pekka asked.

“Of course,” Sorin replied. “It seems like Foundation made sure to assist the chancellor the best way that they could. That mansion was paid for by Isaac in exchange for Harring’s cooperation.”

“Yet he killed him in the end,” Luna said. “At least that’s what Bradley said to us.”

“How can you be so sure that what he said was the truth?” Eva asked. “For all we know, he lied in order to shift the blame away from him. Not that it matters any longer, but still…”

“Either way, Isaac is responsible,” Gale said. “Whether he killed Harring by his own hand or he had someone else do it, Isaac is culpable.”

“That’s completely true,” Mina said. “He’s the one who’s responsible for all that’s happened, even what happened today! All of it happened because of Isaac Kunigunde and we have to make sure he faces justice!”

“With Bradley out of the way, that may be true,” Sorin said. “However, we still have to deal with the entirety of the Ameci government against us, as well as Iiayikohn’s.”

“Yes, and the fact that Gavin, Law, and Henry are headed that way,” Eva said. “I’m not sure what they’re hoping to find, but I would hope that they keep their heads up.”

“I think Gavin would be able to keep things in check,” Sorin replied. “He’s been nothing but reliable and Law’s no slouch, either. And Henry, too, is going to be a great help.”

“I don’t doubt any of what you said,” Eva said, “But we’re getting closer. It’s only a matter of time that Isaac and Foundation will strengthen their side.”

“Well, we just gotta keep on moving ahead, right?” Dustin asked.

“That’s the only thing we can do now,” Sorin answered. “But we’re still just waiting for Johan, whenever he comes.”

“We may be waiting for a while, then,” Eva said. “He may not have shown it to us, but it’s obvious that Joahn is hurting.”

“We’ll see,” Sorin said.

But he could not deny what Eva said. It was possible that even Johan had a limit and Jelka’s death was that. Johan had to keep the bravest face of everyone in the group, but there was little that Sorin could do to say otherwise. That was until the doors to the lounge opened, which everyone turned to look and see that Amos Ahnle entered the lounge with Johan beside him.

“It looks as if what you said was correct, Mr. Kuu,” Amos said. “Thank you for your help.”

“Not a problem,” Johan replied. “Our talk proved to be very useful, and for that I should be the one to thank you, Your Highness.”

Sorin stood up. “Johan, what’s going on?”

“Just let the prince here explain everything,” Johan replied. “You’ll find him to be very helpful to our cause.”

“Today has been filled with many revelations,” Amos said. “When that man stood there and dared to threaten the royal family, it was then that I realized that there was no use holding back any longer.”

“You’ve got something that you want to say, then,” Eva said.

“Indeed, that’s why I came here,” Amos replied. “Actually, it was because of Mr. Kuu here that I made this decision. He truly has been a real help.”

“Guess I should add in a bit myself,” Johan said. “While you were busy with Bradley, I went over to the castle and met with the Ahnle family. Fortunately, they had just finished taking care of the remaining Blood Ravens.”

“Don’t doubt our royal military, not even for a second,” Amos said. “It was only due to the efforts of the soldiers that we managed to keep the damage at a minimum.”

“So the Blood Ravens must have been placed under arrest, then,” Gale said. “After what Bradley admitted regarding the chancellor, I’m certain that Queen Amelia must have been thinking it over for quite a while.”

“We were at a loss, I’ll admit,” Amos said. “I had no idea what to think, if we’re being honest. All this time I thought Sorin Wilk was the assassin, but after the incident, I can’t say that he was the one responsible any longer and neither can my mother.”

“Which is why that accusation no longer holds up,” Johan said. “Safe to say that you’re in the clear, buddy.”

“That’s pretty nice of you guys!” Dustin exclaimed. “Hell, that’s a hell of an accomplishment if I’ve ever heard one!”

“Let’s try not to get carried away,” Eva said. “We’ve got a ways to go before we can claim victory.”

“Then let me give you a reason to celebrate,” Amos said. “Of course, we will have to answer and atone for our compliance towards Foundation, but for now, it would be best for us to ally with Queen Thedam. Mother is speaking with her at this moment, in fact.”

“Really?” Mina asked. “That’s great!”

“You’re very willing to accept that as fact,” Eva said, turning her sights over to Amos. “But I’m just as willing to give you a chance.”

“Well, there is also another thing that Mr. Kuu asked of us,” Amos said. “But we can discuss that later.”

“It will be worth it, that much I’m sure of,” Johan said. His words began to trail off as he looked aside. “I know she would have, at least…”

“So what happens next?” Luna asked. “If we’re getting the Ahnle family on our side, that means that Foundation won’t have an advantage anymore! What’s going to be the next step?”

“We’re on to Iiayikohn, obviously,” Pekka said. “This is the break that we needed. It would be wise not to waste an opportunity like this.”

“One by one, each member of Foundation will fall,” Johan said. “Bradley’s demise means they lack an enforcer with enough notoriety. It’s a blow that none of them can afford, not even Isaac.”

“And our next move?” Pekka asked. “Korbin is still out there and is possibly even more dangerous now that he’s on his own.”

“He’ll move up the ranks,” Johan replied. “It’s not because he’ll have earned it, but because Isaac needs to have someone doing his dirty work.”

“And all this is happening while Rohan just sits by,” Gale said.

“We’ll worry about him once we get to him,” Sorin said. “What we should be doing is informing Rain, Ayanna, and Reiss about what happened.”

“You do that, then,” Johan said. “In fact, tell them that we’re moving on to Iiayikohn and to bring some help. If we’re going to take down Dezine, then we’ll need as much help as we can get.”

“Got it,” Sorin replied.

“Looks like this was a productive chat after all,” Amos said. “As for you, Mr. Kuu, I did want to tell you one more thing, but don’t you think it would be best if they heard about this as well?”

“I’ll tell them soon enough,” Johan replied.

“What do you have now?” Eva asked. “If it’s important, then there’s no reason to keep it a secret from us.”

“I’m not keeping it a secret,” Johan said. “Rather, I think it would be better if you saw it for yourself once it’s finished. Or rather, once we’re finished taking care of our mission.”

Without waiting to hear a response from Eva, Johan turned towards the door and left the lounge. Sorin felt that whatever Johan was talking about, it had to do with Jelka. At least that was what he thought when he heard Johan talking to the crown prince. But for now, Sorin had to reach out towards the Kingdom of Thekohn and let Rain know about what had taken place. He also needed to speak with both Ayanna and Reiss about moving forward onto Iiayikohn. Whatever was in store for him and the others, Sorin had to be ready.




[1st of January, 2741 AD; Drake Rask’s House, Rezar, Iiayikohn]


“Long time, no see!” Drake exclaimed.

After a few hours, Gavin made it to Rezar with Law and Henry. Their first stop brought them to Drake’s house, a familiar place where Gavin could call his home. However, with Casper Bradley on the run, Gavin could not afford to relax. He was sure that something was being planned and he wanted to make sure that there was no room for error. Still, it did not hurt to make a brief stop to see both Drake and Wilma, as well as Dia. Everyone gathered in the living room as Drake set down a tray of coffee.

“Thanks for that,” Gavin said, grabbing a cup as he poured himself some coffee. “Then again, this was kind of our home for a while, wasn’t it?”

“You know it, bro,” Law said. “Although I don’t know why you’d need to drink coffee at a time like this…”

“Is there something wrong with wanting coffee in the evening?” Gavin asked. “Well, is there?”

Law chuckled. “Of course there isn’t,” he replied. “Forget I even asked. I should’ve known how much you care about your coffee.”

“Iiayikohnian coffee isn’t something that you can get just anywhere, you know that,” Gavin said. “At least, not the kind that Drake brews.”

“The coffee really is flavorful, isn’t it?” Wilma asked. “I ask him all the time, but Drake never gives me a straight answer.”

“Perhaps he got it imported?” Henry asked. “The islands down south tend to be known for their wares.”

“It’s not an import,” Drake replied.

“Don’t bother asking,” Dia said. “Drake just brews the coffee and that’s it. If you really want an answer, you’ll have to ask the delivery person.”

“You just want to ruin the fun, don’t ya?” Drake asked. “Well, that doesn’t matter to me. How’s everyone doing? How’s Mina?”

“They’re fine,” Gavin replied. “There’s a lot more pressing matters to worry about, so we’re all working towards the same thing.”

“You just like to keep it right to the point, don’t you, Gavin,” Drake said. “I guess that’s a fine enough answer.”

“We can only stay for so long,” Gavin said. “I have to thank you once again for housing us, Drake.”

“At this point, you’re like family,” Drake replied. “No matter what, I’ve got enough room for both you and Law.”

“I always did wonder why someone like you had such a big house like this,” Henry said. “Before, it was just you and Mina, correct?”

“That it was,” Drake said. “It’s been that way ever since the day she came into my life.”

“And you’ve never even thought about kids of your own until that point?” Henry asked. “Sorry if I’m being intrusive with my questions.”

“No need to apologize, Henry,” Drake said. “It’s just something that’s never crossed my mind. I’m just a guy who likes to sit back and relax after a nice day of work, but Mina went and gave me a bit of new perspective on life.”

“She does that effect on people,” Law said. “It does make me wonder about the others, though… Do you think we’d be able to reach them right now?”

“There’s a few likely places where they’d be right now,” Gavin said. “But they know that we’ll be here, so we should expect to hear from them soon.”

“That’s a good point,” Henry said. “It is a little past sundown, so I imagine that whatever happened with them, they’ll be calling us soon.”

“Well, if you’re busy, I can take a note for you,” Drake said.

“I don’t think that we’ll need that,” Gavin replied. “If they’re on the move, then they’ll most likely stop here. It’s that easy.”

“Then why did you think they would call?” Dia asked.

“It’s either one,” Gavin said. “That’s the two outcomes in this situation, but we’ll be fine with either one.”

“If that’s the case, there is one thing I’m wondering about,” Dia said.

“And what would that be, if you mind me asking?” Law asked.

“It has to do with Johan, doesn’t it,” Henry said. “Well, I assume that he’s on his way here as well.”

A couple of loud knocks on the front door then broke the conversation. It made Gavin look over to the door as he wondered who it was that knocked. He got up from his seat and headed towards the door, though he did not expect any of the other group to arrive so soon. Gavin reached out to the doorknob, but as he did, he took a look out the window. Outside stood a group of Iiayikohnian soldiers with their weapons ready. Gavin gritted his teeth as he looked back over to the group in the living room. This had to be the work of Prime Minister Dezine and Foundation, Gavin thought.

“We have a problem,” Gavin said.

“What’s wrong?” Drake asked.

“It looks like we’ve got company,” Gavin said. “Damn it, looks like they’ve got an entire squad at our door.”

“Open this door at once,” the lead soldier said. “Drake Rask, you and your cohorts are under arrest!”

“They got something on me I don’t know about?” Drake asked. “What the hell do these people think they’re doing? Is this some sort of joke?”

Henry stood up and hurried over to the door. “I’ll see for myself,” he said, taking a look outside. “Judging by the looks of things, it’s serious.”

“Why would they come here?” Wilma asked.

“I can think of a few reasons why,” Law said. “Bro, are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“Yes, it’s all too obvious,” Gavin replied. “Shit, I guess we don’t have too much of a choice here, do we…”

Gavin braced himself. Whatever happened next, Gavin had to be on top of it before things got out of hand. That’s what he told himself, at least. He could not admit to the others that he was as worried about the outcome as they were. There was only one reason as to why the Iiayikohnian military was here, and Gavin was going to find out.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 37 (Part 2)

[1st of January, 2741 AD; Ahnle Mountain Base, North Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Eva made it to the base of the mountain with Mina. They had arrived late last night with plenty of time to rest and relax, though Eva felt as if she had little time to do so thanks to concern she had for Sorin and the others. Now, however, Eva and Mina knew that it was time to catch up and hurried towards the Ahnle Castle first thing after breakfast.

“I’m so full of energy,” Mina said. “Don’t you feel the same way, Eva? It’s like that breakfast we ate really made us even stronger!”

“I don’t think it’s that,” Eva replied. “No, we’re strong because you and I are determined. We’re both so determined to help the others that much that we’ll do whatever it takes to succeed.”

“Because we will,” Mina said. “We’ll reunite with everyone here and soon enough we’ll be on the next step to defeating those villains!”

“Not going to be an easy task,” Eva said, “But if there’s anything I know, it’s never easy in the first place.”

“You don’t have to worry about that,” Mina replied.

“I don’t?” Eva asked.

“Yeah, because we’re here now,” Mina said, “And because we’re here right now, we made it even though we were a little behind everybody else! That has to be pretty good, right?”

“That it is,” Eva said.

Mina smiled and looked over to the mountain. “Well, we’ve got to go up to meet with them,” she said. “I wonder how they’re doing…”

“Rain did tell us a bit about this place,” Eva said. “Fortunately for us, it’s a relatively simple path once we get moving.”

They started to walk up the path towards the castle, passing by the scenery as they found themselves within the forest. According to Rain, there were many paths branching out over the mountain, but the path to the castle stood out as the most straightforward. However, Eva and Mina’s trek into the forest stopped once they saw a couple of familiar faces running through the forest. It did not take Eva that long to recognize Gale and Dustin, the two now headed in the direction of Eva and Mina.

“What the hell?” Eva asked.

“Something must have happened,” Mina said. “Something bad, I’m almost absolutely sure of!”

Gale and Dustin arrived, with both of them stopping to catch their breaths. Off in the distance, Eva heard the sound of gunshots as well as yelling. It was then that Eva could conclude that Mina was right. It had to be the work of Foundation and Isaac Kunigunde, somehow.

“Gale, what’s going on?” Mina asked. “Is everybody else okay?”

Gale caught her breath and looked up. “Oh no, Sorin’s still out there with Jelka and Johan!”

“They’re still out there?” Eva asked, her eyebrows furrowed. “Where are they now?”

“Up at the mansion,” Gale replied. “Johan said that he was going to go after them if anything went wrong, but I haven’t seen them at all!”

“If it’s anything like what we saw at Ahnle Castle, then they’ve gotta be on the move, too,” Dustin said. “Seems like we’ve got a lot more to deal with with these Blood Ravens.”

“On top of that, Luna and Pekka are busy trying to deal with that awful Crawford Bradley,” Gale said. “I’m not sure how they’re holding up, but they do have an advantage over him… hopefully.”

“We can’t be sure of that,” Mina said. “You know that villains like him like to cheat whenever he feels like it! Who’s to say that he isn’t playing dirty right as we speak?”

“Looks like we’ve been called to task,” Eva said. “Gale, you and Dustin need to find a safe point where we can reconvene. Sooner rather than later, preferably. As for Mina and I, we’re going to go and help.”

“Got it,” Gale said.

“How about that hotel?” Dustin asked. “We’ll all meet there. Tell the others as well!”

Gale and Dustin hurried past Eva and Mina, leaving the two women to themselves once more. With the new information at hand, Eva knew what was needed and what she had to do: find a way to put a stop to the Blood Ravens’ plans and defeat them once and for all.

“Good enough,” Eva said. “Mina, you know what this means, don’t you?”

“Of course I do,” Mina replied, “It means we’re going to have to beat some villains and save the day!”

“Great,” Eva said. “I’ll go after Sorin, Johan, and Jelka while you go and help Luna and Pekka.”

“Very well,” Mina said. “I’ll see you soon, Eva!”

Mina then went off in the other direction. The urgency to find Sorin, Johan, and Jelka was high as Eva rushed up the path. She was well aware of what would be in store for her, so she kept her hand close to the handle of her blade while she ran as fast as she could.




[1st of January, 2741 AD; Outside the Chancellor’s Mansion – Entrance Gate, North Glora, Ahnlikohn]


The exit out of the chancellor’s mansion provided Sorin and Jelka a needed relief from Korbin’s assault. As Jelka grasped at her wound, the two made it over to the gates without trouble. However, once they were outside of the mansion, Sorin and Jelka discovered that Korbin did not come alone. Several soldiers off in the distance began advancing towards the mansion with their guns ready and their sights set on the two. Meanwhile, behind Sorin and Jelka was Korbin, who would not give up his pursuit of them.

“Shit, this is bad,” Sorin said. “Where the hell is Johan?”

“He must be on his way somehow,” Jelka replied. “With this development, however, it may be impossible…”

“What are you talking about?” Sorin asked. “We just have to hide, that’s all! We’ll just go through the bushes and use that to get to Johan and the others! We can just do that.”

“Johan isn’t going to get here in time,” Jelka said. “Those soldiers came here first. I know Johan won’t take the obvious path.”

“Then we can keep going,” Sorin said. “It’s like I said: we’ll go off the path and meet with Johan that way!”

Jelka chuckled, which turned into coughing. “I’m sorry,” she said. “It’s not as if I don’t believe you, but we’re trying to run and the only thing I can think about are the bullets inside my body.”

“It can’t be that bad, can it?” Sorin asked. “You were still able to fight! We can still get out of here!”

“You know as well as I do that Korbin’s not giving up,” Jelka said. “If we run away, he’ll still be on our heels. He and his Blood Ravens will be after us if we try to keep running.”

“You can’t give up,” Sorin said.

“Who said I was giving up?” Jelka asked. “I intend to fight with my sword until the very end.”

“If that’s the case, then I’ll fight with you,” Sorin replied. “I know the odds are low, but we can do it, I’m sure!”

“You don’t get it,” Jelka said. “The only reason I’m still standing with you is because I still have the will to fight. Right now… Right now, my job is to stop the Blood Ravens and hold off Korbin!”

She took a deep breath and exhaled as she let go of Sorin’s hand. There was no way she could have Sorin fight a hopeless battle, nor could she find it within herself to look Johan in the eye in case something were to happen to Sorin. This was Jelka’s battle to fight, even as she knew she was going to have to fight it alone with a bullet somewhere close to her heart.

“Damn it, don’t do this,” Sorin said. “We’ve dealt with this mess before and we can sure as hell do it again!”

“Sorin, I can’t let you do that,” Jelka said. “If something were to happen to you, there’s no way I could even bear to tell Johan let alone look him in the eyes. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t do it!” Sorin exclaimed. “Jelka!”

It all happened too fast. Jelka took her hand and shoved Sorin backwards, which made him stumble into the bushes and into the forest. The time Jelka had diminished as she then turned to the arriving soldiers and took out her sword. It was going to take all she had to hold back long enough to ensure Johan and Sorin would be able to escape. Behind Jelka rang a distinctive cackle that belonged to only one man: Korbin Mars. Above all else, Jelka had to settle it with him and finish him off before he had the chance to leave.

“You’re too late,” Jelka said. “You only have me to deal with now…”

Korbin laughed as he twirled his sword. “I’ll just do myself a favor and have my boys do the dirty work for me,” he said. “Killing you myself would be boring, so I’m just gonna go ahead and find Sorin myself!”

“Not going to happen,” Jelka replied. “I’ll kill you before you even have the chance to move!”

Korbin smirked. The soldiers readied their guns. Jelka had to move fast as she charged at the soldiers. More gunshots rang out as the soldiers fired directly at Jelka. Some of the bullets made contact with her, plunging into her even as she rushed them. Jelka did not care at all as she had one thing on her mind. Her deft, driving swings from her sword made short work of each soldier standing before her, the blade slashing through each one. Once Jelka was done, the soldiers had all dropped to the ground, each one left with fatal wounds. Jelka looked before her as she ended up setting sights with Korbin once again.

“And now… you,” Jelka said.

“Looks like maybe I’ll have a little fun after all,” Korbin said.

There were no other distractions. Jelka had no idea where Sorin would end up, nor could she tell where Johan was at the moment. All she could hope for was their safety. But now, Jelka had one last problem to deal with. A single problem that had been going around for far too long stood before her with his sword in his hand. She remembered the pain that Korbin had caused Johan and how he was almost killed because of it. Jelka also knew that it brought her closer to Johan and made her able to trust in other people again. Now she was busy holding off a vile enemy while ensuring that her lover and her ally would both be able to escape to safety at the cost of her own life. Though she regretted not being able to see Johan one last time, Jelka felt nothing but gratitude towards him. She was glad to have met him, if only for a few months.

“I’ll be sure to make this right,” Jelka said. “For Johan…”




Sorin braced himself as he rolled down the hill. He had no control over what was going on and rolled around until his body struck a large tree. Sorin came to a complete stop as he tried to gather himself. The pain coursed through his body, but meant nothing now as all he worried about was Jelka. He wondered if she was still okay. However, his wonder did not last long as a sharp, agonizing scream rang out through the forest. Sorin no longer wondered as his fear came true, the distinct yell belonging to Jelka.

“He couldn’t have, could he?” Sorin asked. “It’s impossible… It has to be, damn it!”

Sorin keeled over and clenched his fist. He pounded his fist hard into the ground below him, all the while struggling to keep calm. A swirling combination of emotions went through Sorin’s head, his fist tightening while he bit his bottom lip. His eyes stayed wide open as he looked at the dry ground. Sorin knew that what had happened was not supposed to take place, yet Korbin had made a direct dent into their efforts. Sorin wanted to do something, but he had no idea where Korbin was right now. Korbin had to be on the move. He had to be looking for Sorin. After all, Korbin had just killed Jelka.

“He killed her,” Sorin said. “Damn it, Johan, I’m sorry!”

But as much as he admitted it, Sorin knew that he had no way of helping Jelka. She had already made up her mind and was already wounded. Sorin only denied it, not wanting to consider that Korbin would have continued with his pursuit no matter what. He would have devastated them somehow, because that was the kind of person Korbin was: a man that served his boredom with an evil intention unlike anything Sorin had encountered. It was then that Sorin realized that he had to continue onward with an inevitable truth entering his mind. A final, decisive truth that Sorin could not deny.

“I’m going to have to do that, aren’t I,” Sorin said as he stood up. “Korbin… When I see him next time, I’m going to do it. I’ll do it for both Jelka and Johan’s sake.”

“Finally found you, buddy,” Johan said. “Jelka… Where is she?”

Sorin turned around. The look in Johan’s eyes told Sorin everything. It was a terrible truth, a truth that Johan had already figured out.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 37 (Part 1)

[1st of January, 2741 AD; Inside the Chancellor’s Mansion – First Floor Study, North Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Sorin clenched his fist. He had nowhere to run to now that Korbin had his gun trained on him. Had Korbin figured out that he would be here? No, Sorin had a feeling that this was not Korbin’s idea. Isaac had to be involved focused on the Moonlit Silence. Sorin could not count out Harold, either, given that he also had a hand in helping out Chancellor Harring. Above all else, though, Sorin had to get out and find Jelka. But first, he had to deal with Korbin, who was standing right in front of him. There was only one way Sorin could with his adversary now, so he took a deep breath and exhaled.

“You already know I’m not going to lose to you,” Sorin said. “Just move out of the way, because I won’t give up.”

Korbin kept his gun raised, his hand shaking. “I’m not about to let you run off,” he said through parted breaths. “This is it… This is the final time between us, Sorin… And once I’m done with you, I’m going to kill Johan Kuu as well!”

“You didn’t come alone, did you?” Sorin asked.

“I’m not telling you a damn thing,” Korbin said. “All I know is that I’ve got a lot to prove now, and I can start by taking you out and doing everyone a real big favor! Don’t even think about running, because I’ve got my eye on you!”

“Then that means you’re alone,” Sorin replied. “Bradley’s not here with you, is he?”

Korbin growled. “Shut the fuck up!”

“So I’m right after all,” Sorin said. “I didn’t see any Ameci soldiers on the way here, so that means you’re all by yourself right now.”

“Say another word and I’ll shoot you right in the head!” Korbin exclaimed. “I’m not going to waste another second trying to kill you!”

“Go ahead,” Sorin replied. “But I know for a fact that no matter how hard you try, you’ll miss. You’ll miss me because all you know how to do is fail.”

Korbin grumbled. “You truly are a pain in the ass,” he said. “That’s what you think of me? I’m a failure to you?”

He proceeded to laugh. Korbin’s cackling unsettled Sorin for a moment, but he managed to remain focused on what was at hand. He knew that this would not last for long, but Sorin needed a way out sooner rather than later. Once Korbin finished laughing, though, he retrained his aim on Sorin and screamed as loud as he could.

“I’ve had enough of you,” Korbin said, “Now fucking die already!”

“Not a chance,” Jelka said.

Sorin looked behind Korbin and saw Jelka run towards him with her sword drawn. He knew that by having Korbin losing his nerve and yelling, it would help catch Jelka’s attention. Sorin just sped up the process, which turned out to be in his favor.

“You!” Korbin exclaimed as he spun around.

“Sorin, get ready!” Jelka said.

Sorin nodded and drew his sword. “Now it’s over, Korbin!”

He charged forward while Jelka did the same from her end. With both his front and back under attack, Korbin could not defend himself in time. That was what Sorin thought, anyway. With the next strike being important, Sorin swung his sword in a vertical motion. However, Korbin grinned.

“Did you think I wouldn’t have noticed?” Korbin asked.

With his left hand, Korbin pulled out his sword. He raised right behind the back of his neck and defended himself from Sorin’s attack. Meanwhile, he held his right arm up and defended Jelka’s strike. The encounter held still as no one moved an inch.

“I knew you didn’t come alone, Sorin,” Korbin said. “Did you really think I was that stupid?”

“You don’t give up, that’s for sure,” Jelka said. “But we are done playing around, which is why we’ll defeat you!”

“I said I had a lot to prove, Sorin Wilk,” Korbin said. “I didn’t come here to fight; I came to kill!”

Sorin had no idea what Korbin would do next, but he braced himself all the same. Korbin maneuvered himself and ducked down as both Sorin’s and Jelka’s blades connected with each other. They soon separated and turned to face up against Korbin once more. Korbin, though, had already moved and fired off his shot. Sorin could not even react in time, nor could Jelka. Sorin looked down at himself and found no wound, but when he turned to Jelka, all he could do was stare as time seemed to stop.

“I told you,” Korbin said, “I told you that I was going to prove myself… and now I just did.”

Jelka looked down and saw the bloodstain on her chest. She could not utter a word, although she managed to keep standing even as the pain began to arrive for her. Another shot rang out with the bullet hitting Jelka in her stomach, but still she remained standing on her feet. Sorin looked over to Korbin, who held his gun up once more.

“How could you,” Sorin said to Korbin.

He repeated himself again, but this time with an intense rage behind his words. Just as he was about to attack Korbin in retaliation, however, Jelka chose to move forth. She screamed as best she could with her sword raised high and rushed Korbin with all the strength that she had. Korbin fired another shot and got Jelka in her shoulder, but she continued to charge at him.

“You’re still fighting!?” Korbin asked.

“As long as I beat you, then it’s worth it!” Jelka exclaimed.

Sorin had never seen Korbin caught off guard before. The wounds did not appear to phase Jelka, who attacked Korbin head on. Korbin defended himself by raising his blade in time, but Jelka’s tenacity had already shifted the favor away from the leader of the Blood Ravens.

“What are you doing, Sorin?” Jelka asked. “Get out of here, now!”

“I won’t do that,” Sorin said, “Not while I can still help you!”

With his added strength, Sorin helped contribute to the momentum Jelka had over Korbin and knocked him down onto the floor. Korbin lifted up his arm and fired his gun twice more, but this time both of his shots missed Sorin and Jelka. For the first time, Sorin could tell Korbin was at a loss.

“You’re fucking kidding me,” Korbin said. “I was gonna prove myself! I was going to get my fill!”

“For you, it’s over,” Jelka replied as she brandished her sword. “You’ve got no way of getting out of this…”

She took a single step forward towards Korbin, but stopped as she began to cough up blood. Jelka could not move, and Sorin felt as if he could not either. He knew that he had to evacuate the mansion with Jelka and ensure that they both survive, but Korbin was ready to strike.

“I’m not taking any more god damn chances,” Korbin said, getting on one knee and lifting his arm. “You talk all you want about beating me, but I’ve already made my mark! Now die!”

Sorin had to think fast. Jelka was in a lot of pain and in critical condition. He not only had to get her out of the way, but escape as well. Above all else, that was Sorin’s goal. There was no time to consider the options, Sorin just had to take a chance and go with it before Korbin acted.

“Jelka, move!” Sorin exclaimed.

Without a second thought, Sorin hurried towards Jelka. Korbin had his gun ready and trained as he fired the last bullet. Everything felt like a flash of light as Sorin ran and took Jelka by her wrist, rushing with her while she still dealt with the pain Korbin had caused her.

“This… this is it for me,” Jelka said. “You… should’ve just ran for it…”

“If I did that, how could I face Johan?” Sorin asked. “I’m not about to leave you here to die… not while we still have a chance.”

He could not even think about what was happening now. Sorin had gotten what he needed from Harring’s possession and now had Jelka to save. He knew that Jelka’s inflictions were bad to the point of being fatal, but as long as they both continued to hold out long enough, Sorin could go and get Jelka taken care of as soon as possible. However, he had no idea what awaited them outside on the forest’s path.




[1st of January, 2741 AD; West Ahnle Pass, outside North Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Outside the castle gates, Pekka led the others through the chaos. The battle between the royal guards and the Blood Ravens happened as the group moved out of the way of the action. The skirmish continued with the roaring of gunfire and clashing of swords, the combatants oblivious of Pekka’s sneaking. Gale kept herself close behind Pekka and Luna, while Dustin brought up the back.

“You guys haven’t noticed it, have you?” Pekka asked.

“It’s hard to notice anything while we’re running,” Gale said.

“We’re a considerable distance away from the action, so we should be safe for now,” Pekka said. “These men, these Blood Ravens, they’re a much different group of people compared to the Ameci military.”

“You mean they aren’t from Ameci?” Luna asked.

“I think it’s safe to say that these men may have been hired to serve only the Blood Ravens,” Pekka replied. “It’s unlikely that General Fercewend would ever carry out an order such as this, nor would he be so blissfully unaware of such activities carried out like this.”

“What about Bradley?” Gale asked.

“Based on what Johan told me, the commander has his own agenda,” Pekka said. “Bradley acts on a different order from the general’s, which makes a lot of sense considering his father.”

“That’s true,” Gale said. “So Rohan absolutely has no idea this is happening, does he?”

“I know what you’re thinking,” Pekka said. “You shouldn’t hold your breath about this one: the general has a lot of oversight, so he would be complicit in all of this regardless.”

“Thought so,” Gale replied.

“We don’t have a lot of time to think about it,” Dustin said. “That Bradley guy’s still after our asses, isn’t he?”

“Right, we’ll have to talk about it later,” Pekka said.

He looked down the path and saw soldiers heading in the direction of the mansion. Johan was nowhere to be seen, either. Pekka began to worry about his safety as well as Sorin and Jelka’s, but he had faith that they would escape. He had to focus on the current group’s safety and nothing more.

“Did you think you could outrun me?” Bradley asked.

Everyone turned around as Bradley had just arrived. Though he was all by himself, Bradley remained a difficult foe. Pekka had to guess that for his pursuit, Bradley possessed an abundance of tricks in his repertoire. Unless they wanted to keep running away, Pekka knew that he and the others would have to take down this man first.

“Actually, this was just what I wanted,” Pekka replied. “I wanted to draw you out so you’d be all alone.”

Bradley snickered. “Is that so? Well, I guess I can’t blame you for being so cocky,” he said. “If it’s a fight you want, then it’s a fight you’ll get!”

“But first, I’ve got to ensure something,” Pekka said. “Gale, Dustin, you’ve got to run now. Luna, you ought to go with them as well. Let me handle what has to be taken care of.”

“No, I’m not letting you fight him,” Luna replied. “I’m going to go and fight alongside you. This creep is sneaky and he won’t hesitate fighting dirty, I can already tell by looking at him!”

Pekka tried to think of a way to convince her otherwise, but could not. He could trust her, but he had no idea what would happen against Bradley, either. It was a decision he had to make, but if Luna was ready to go, then Pekka had no real choice but to accept.

“Fine, I trust your judgement,” Pekka said. “He’s going to fight dirty? Well, he should remember the last time he went up against us.”

“Gale, we’ll be back before you know it,” Luna said. “Dustin, make sure that Johan and Jelka and Sorin are alright, too!”

“Of course,” Dustin said.

“Please don’t get reckless, guys,” Gale said. “If it starts looking bad, just go ahead and run away.”

Luna smiled. “He’ll never have the chance to try,” she said. “Isn’t that right, Pekka? We’re going to beat the crap out of this guy!”

With that said, Dustin and Gale ran off down the mountain’s path. Pekka was sure they’d make it back safe, but had his own problem to worry about now. He glared over at Bradley, who was busy stretching his neck.

“You got the message, didn’t you?” Pekka asked. “Two on one here means that you’re at a disadvantage, even if you try to call your men.”

“I don’t think I’m gonna need that, my friend,” Bradley replied. “You want to fight me so bad? Well, you got it!”

Pekka leaned close to Luna. “We’re going to draw him away from here,” he whispered. “On the count of three, run.”

“What are you two doing?” Bradley asked. “Stalling for time or something? Are you already trying to chicken out of our fight, you two?”

“We’re only going to try and make it fair,” Pekka replied. “Something that’ll make it easier for us to defeat you… Three! Let’s run, Luna!”

At that moment, Pekka ran with Luna off the path and through the bushes. Pekka had to draw Bradley further away from the path and from his Blood Raven squad. By having him on their heels, Pekka could work with Luna to corner their opponent. Bradley’s men would also be further away and less likely to hear the fight, which was another reason why Pekka thought of his plan. All Pekka and Luna had to do now was defeat Bradley before he could try to escape.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 36 (Part 2)


[1st of January, 2740 AD; Royal Ahnle Castle – Queen’s Quarters, North Glora, Ahnlikohn]


The cool air and lit room did nothing to deter the unsettling feeling Gale had. Every time she peered over to Queen Amelia, Gale could feel the queen stare with what felt like contempt for her. Gale had to wonder how much the queen of Ahnlikohn truly knew, or if this was just how Amelia reacted towards visitors in general. Still, Gale was sure that most of this was in part due to Isaac’s plentiful involvement with the Ameci government. As she, Luna, and Dustin stood before the queen, Amelia turned away from them. With the silence hanging in the air, Amos stepped forth and cleared his throat.

“Well, mother, we are all waiting,” Amos said. “I am sure that you’d like to get this meeting over with, so I will step back and leave it all to you.”

He walked over to Amelia and handed her a folded up sheet of paper. Gale was sure that there was something happening, but she could not tell exactly what it was that was bothering her.

“Did Thedam send you?” Amelia asked.

“No, not at all,” Luna said. “This was all my idea!”

“I’m not an idiot,” Amelia said. “I can see that man standing by you. I’d like to think that you’d give a royal like me much more credit than that. I know well enough to know that whatever Queen Thedam has planned, it will end up being a complete disaster.”

“Come on now,” Dustin said, “We came all this way just to talk to you, you know. You think we’re doing this on Her Majesty’s behalf?”

“Dustin, what are you doing?” Gale asked.

“I want to ask you something, Your Majesty,” Dustin said. “Why have you been hiding from your people? Don’t the good people of this country deserve to know why you’ve remained distant towards them?”

“It’s none of your business,” Amelia replied. “However, I do recall that you are one of Queen Thedam’s advisors. Perhaps you can relay this message to her so she gets it: I want no part of this madness.”

“Excuse me, but you are very much my business,” Luna said. “I didn’t come here to be ignored and we won’t be leaving until you give us a good answer as to what you’re doing.”

“What a bother,” Amelia said. “Amos, is everything complete?”

“They are,” Amos replied. “It seems as if that tip proved to be quite useful for us.”

“Very well,” Amelia said. “Then I’ve no need to be here any longer.”

“Unfortunately for you, you don’t get to leave as you wish.”

Amelia stopped and looked around. From the back end of the room entered Crawford Bradley and several Blood Ravens. Gale, Dustin, and Luna were caught off guard by the sudden turn of events, though Gale could see that both Amos and Amelia were not surprised. What did surprise Gale, though, was the scowl upon Amelia’s face as she set her sights on Bradley.

“Explain yourself, commander!” Amelia ordered.

Bradley chuckled. “May as well,” he said. “It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to leave a mark anyway…”

“What are you doing here, you cackling freak?” Luna asked.

“That’s pretty simple, actually,” Bradley said. “I had a small hunch about our queen here and headed to the castle a day prior. Turns out it was pretty easy to secure my men here while I waited for the rats to show up. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, my hunch turned out to be true!”

“What were you hoping to gain from the queen?” Gale asked.

“You should know how influential Isaac can be,” Bradley replied. “It took a few hours, but we got all the cooperation we needed.”

“That didn’t answer my question,” Gale said. “You clearly came here for a reason and you won’t let Queen Amelia go because of it. What’s your endgame in doing this?”

“Control,” Bradley said. “Complete control of this region.”

“You deceived us!” Amos exclaimed. “How dare you!”

“Are you trying to make me laugh?” Bradley asked. “Because that was the funniest thing I’ve heard yet.”

Amos said not another word, instead opting to go straight for Bradley and strike him down. However, Bradley saw his punch coming and moved to the side. He then subdued Amos and dropped him to the floor.

Amelia gasped. “Amos! Soldiers, ready your guns!”

“I wouldn’t count on shooting me,” Bradley said, pressing his foot right on Amos’s chest. “Besides, ‘Your Majesty,’ do you want to put even more bloodshed to your name?”

“What… What are you talking about?” Amelia asked.

“Don’t you dare give me that bullshit ignorance,” Bradley replied. “You and I both know what atrocities Gerhardt Harring pulled on the people of this land. Do you really want to claim ignorance to that?”

“You’re no better at all,” Luna said. “How many people have you and your soldiers killed?”

“Everyone dies,” Bradley said. “The only thing that differs between us is the winner and the loser. That’s all that matters here!”

Dustin turned to Gale and whispered to her. “We have to leave.”

“I know that,” Gale said, “But it’s not like we can go unnoticed.”

“You there,” Bradley said to Dustin. “Don’t think I’m not paying attention to you two! Me and my men aren’t going to let you out of our sights!”

“So you finally noticed?” Dustin asked. “Hey, Your Majesty, are you going to let this guy and the rest of the Ameci military just boss you around like this?”

“You’re asking a stupid question,” Bradley said. “Amelia trusts us not to tell everyone Ahnlikohn’s darkest secrets! And that means that we can practically do what we want!”

“I’m willing to bet that there was a lot going on between Harring and Isaac behind the scenes,” Dustin said. “The way you talk to Her Majesty here, you let on more than you realize, bucko. Like maybe she knows some of the trade secrets and could be willing to help us out here…”

“Think Amelia’s going to speak out?” Bradley asked. “There’s way too much on the fucking line for her legacy to even consider telling everyone what she knows about them!”

“That’s a shame,” Dustin said.

“You know what happened, don’t you?” Gale asked Bradley. “You know all about who killed Harring and what they did to ensure they wouldn’t get caught. I can see it on your face.”

“What isn’t there to know,” Bradley said. “You’re Sorin’s little mistress, you should have heard it from the man himself! He shot the chancellor straight in the heart!”

Amelia glared at Bradley. “How do you know about this?”

Bradley grinned. “You told me, didn’t you?”

“I said nothing about how Chancellor Harring was killed,” Amelia replied. “I’ve not once disclosed that he died of a gunshot wound.”

“You… You’re the assassin, aren’t you?” Amos asked, grabbing at Bradley’s leg. “That’s why you said it so proudly! You did it!”

“Wait, did he really just blurt it out and not expect the queen to catch on?” Luna asked. “Is he that careless?”

“Turns out he’s as reckless as his friend Korbin,” Gale said.

Bradley cackled, then stopped. “Okay, let me get a few things straight here for you all,” he said. “Since it doesn’t matter anyway, Isaac was the one who shot and killed Harring.”

“I knew it,” Gale said.

“Second of all, and this is very important, do you really think I care about what happens to that shit-for-brains psycho?” Bradley asked. “Did you honestly believe that Korbin Mars and I are friends? The thought of having to deal with him on a day-to-day basis makes me want to laugh my ass off!”

“You’re just using him, then,” Gale replied.

“All he is is a useful tool,” Bradley said. “That’s what most people are, as a matter of fact. The only thing I do differently from the others is that I make that lowly cretin feel like he has someone to rely on in this world.”

“What an upstanding person you are,” Dustin said. “I’m sure that Korbin would love to hear that.”

“It’s not as if anyone likes him,” Bradley said. “Shit, if it weren’t for me, he’d be lying dead in the dirt somewhere.”

“That’s awful,” Luna said.

“What’s truly awful is the stuff that happened between him and his father,” Bradley replied. “I don’t know the entire story, but let’s just say that there’s a good reason why Harold’s known as ‘The Ruthless’ and keep it at that.”

He looked down at Amos and shook his leg out of the prince’s grasp. With a single turn, Bradley looked to Amelia and pulled out a gun.

“I think it’s about time I get to the point,” Bradley said. “The Blood Ravens have no intention of keeping anyone here alive, least of all you, ‘Your Majesty.’ It’s about time we burned this place down, am I right boys?”

The Blood Ravens took out their guns and cocked them, but at that moment the window facing the east gate broke open. Glass shattered and fell inwards onto the floor as Pekka leapt into the room.

“Pekka, what are you doing here?” Luna asked.

“I had a bad feeling about this,” Pekka said. “Looks like I was right. Let’s get out of here!”

Bradley scoffed. “You want to crash in on my fun? Well, fuck you! Ready and fire, boys!”

“I don’t think you understand, soldier,” Amelia said. “You’re the one who’s out of luck here. Now that I know what you’re after, you don’t get a chance to get out of this one!”

The royal guards raised their guns and pointed them at the Blood Ravens. As this happened, Pekka turned to the group.

“Our priority is to get out of here,” Pekka said.

“Agreed,” Gale said. “We’ll have to run fast.”

“But what about the queen and her son?” Luna asked. “We can’t leave them behind, can we?”

“You shouldn’t worry,” Amelia said. “These ruffians chose the worst time to mess with us. The time has come to shed light on everything!”

Amos stood up and looked at Amelia. “Mother, you don’t mean what I think you mean, do you?”

“If I get out of this alive, I will tell everything,” Amelia said. “Now go, Amos! You’re the last hope of Ahnlikohn!”

Amos’s eyes widened. “Okay!”

“What are we waiting for?” Dustin asked. “Let’s get going!”

“Oh no, I’m not staying here if you leave,” Bradley said. “I’ll fight every son of a bitch here as long as I get to bring you assholes down!”

The guards surrounded Amelia and aimed their guns. Not another second was wasted as Gale hurried with the others out of the queen’s quarters. However, even as the imminent gunfire faded in the background, Gale knew that Bradley would try to make good on his word. She would have to worry about that soon, as she was sure the others felt the same way.




[1st of January, 2741 AD; Inside the Chancellor’s Mansion – First Floor Study, North Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Sorin was not sure what he expected when he arrived at the mansion with Jelka, but he was ready to find out the truth. Whatever remained of Harring and his legacy was bound to be lying somewhere in his home. Evidence that would prove that there was a deal between the late chancellor and Isaac Kunigunde had to exist, but Sorin was not sure where he should start.

“It’s best if we split up,” Jelka said. “I will take the second floor.”

“Then I’ll look around here,” Sorin replied. “Let’s hope that we’re able to find what you’re looking for, Jelka.”

“Hope is nice,” she said, “But actual proof means much more. If we want to bring down Isaac Kunigunde, then we’ll need something that he can’t deny.”

“I’ll do my best,” Sorin said.

He looked through the halls of the mansion and opened each door he came across. Sorin could not find anything that he felt stood out to him, as he passed on through each room decorated with antique furniture. Given that he had little to no knowledge of the late chancellor’s personal life, Sorin wondered to himself the reason why Harring had such a large home in the first place. The one explanation would be Isaac, who would have had enough money to ensure Harring’s complete cooperation up until his death.

“Jelka never mentioned the chancellor having any family,” Sorin said. “I’m beginning to think this was just an ego boost for him…”

Sorin opened the next door at the corner of the hall. What he saw beyond the door was a medium-sized study filled out with shelf after shelf packed up to the top with books. Right next to the window was a large map of Ahnlikohn with various locations marked down and circled out. Upon this discovery, Sorin had a feeling that he would be able to find something of note. Something that would be a helpful addition to the cause. Something that would, beyond any doubts, prove that Isaac had Harring under his control.

“Well, let’s get started,” Sorin said.

It did not take long to begin looking for information. Sorin imagined that if Johan were here right now, he would have already found the vital evidence and would have gone off with it the moment he saw it. He had to think the exact same way Johan did when it came to acquiring information and evidence. Shaking his head, Sorin decided to take a look through the nearest bookshelf.

“Damn, there’s a lot more than I thought,” he said. “And Johan can get this stuff in less than a day, too!”

Sighing, Sorin skimmed through the shelf. There was no telling what would happen if he found what he was looking for, or if he did not find anything. All he could do was keep looking.

“This is going to take too long,” Sorin said. “None of these books have much to do with what I’m here for.”

Judging from the spine of each book, they were about Ahnlikohn’s history, but Sorin did not need that. He looked down to the next shelf and found the same sorts of books. But as he turned to look away for one second, Sorin caught a look at the table in the center of the study. On top was a large box that appeared to be closed shut and untampered with, which piqued Sorin’s curiosity. He went over to the table and inspected the box and found no lock on it.

“Could he have left something in here?” Sorin asked.

The fact that this box existed made Sorin wonder why it would be left out in the open like this. Even if Harring was all by himself, Sorin had the feeling that someone would have found the box. Someone would have had to have found it after Harring had been killed, Sorin thought. But he had the box before him now and he knew that he owed it to himself at the very least to look inside.

“Here it goes…”

Sorin opened the box and placed the lid aside. Inside were two brief but vital documents, as well as a sealed envelope. The envelope was addressed to the chancellor and sent from the Ameci embassy, though Sorin guessed that was just a guise for Isaac to have Harring do his bidding. As for the documents, one of the papers covered Harring while the other had information about the Ahnle royal family. Both sheets were signed at the bottom by Isaac Kunigunde and Harold Mars, which made Sorin all the more interested in looking through the letter in his hand.

“Just what’s in this letter, anyway?” Sorin asked.

But just as he was about to open the envelope, the door slammed open and hit the wall beside it. Sorin turned towards the door and saw Korbin standing in the door frame with the light shining behind him. Looking around, Sorin saw that he had been cornered.

“It’s about time you showed up, Sorin Wilk!” Korbin exclaimed. “Now just stay there… I’m going to fucking kill you!”


To be continued…


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