[20th of September, 2740 AD; Drake Rask’s house, Rezar, Iiayikohn]
Two days had passed since the revelation that Lauren Ahga and the Queen of Thekohn were the leaders of the Neu Thekohnian Order. Sorin wondered to himself if a possible solution existed that did not involve the creation of a major international incident in the Thekohnian Region. Something had to happen, that much Sorin knew for sure. As long as he had his friends, then there existed hope no matter how small it was.
Sorin took a sip of his coffee as he looked out into the forest before him, remembering what Johan had said the day they had reunited. Was Johan lying to Sorin the entire time? Did he plan to betray Sorin and his friends from the very beginning? Those thoughts were unescapable in Sorin’s mind as he continued to ponder the very meaning of Johan’s turn to the Neu Thekohnian Order.
“Are you just going to stand there?” Gavin asked.
Sorin turned to Gavin. “What do you mean?”
Gavin walked up to Sorin with a mug of coffee in his hand. “I know what you’re thinking,” he said, “You’re wondering why Johan Kuu defected to the Neu Thekohnian Order, aren’t you?”
“Is it that easy to see?” Sorin asked.
“Every time I see you looking off, I can see it coming off your lips,” Gavin replied. “Johan this… Johan that… He’s all you’ve been able to think about these past couple of days.”
“I mean, it’s hard not to, isn’t it?”
Gavin sighed. “Good grief… You just don’t get it, do you? He’s our enemy now and no amount of nostalgia can do anything to change that.”
“That’s wrong,” Sorin said. “Johan wouldn’t just turn against us for no reason. He’s better than that.”
“I don’t care what his reason is,” Gavin said. “Even if it was to help his mother, the fact that he chose to side with the enemy means that we must treat him as a threat.”
“I know that,” Sorin replied. “I know we can’t just treat him lightly, but I just want to know why. Why would he do this to us?”
Gavin pushed up his sunglasses. “If you’re that hung up on wanting to know, then perhaps it’s best you put down your sword,” he said. “The last thing you want is for your emotions to cloud your vision.”
“That’s not going to happen,” Sorin said. “Before this is all over, I will get my answer from him. That is the very least I can do about him.”
“I can only hope you would be able to do more than that.”
“If it comes down to it, I will fight him,” Sorin continued. “He may not look like it, but he’s as capable a fighter as anybody out there.”
“You are certain that you’ll be up to the task?” Gavin asked.
“I have to try at the very least,” Sorin answered.
“That doesn’t sound so certain to me,” Gavin said. “Then again, there’s no reason to think that I’d be able to convince you otherwise. You’re dead set on confronting Johan, aren’t you?”
“You really are like Kirk, it seems,” Gavin replied. “Guess Eva was right after all. Fuck, that means I owe her a beer.”
“Are you done?” Sorin asked.
“Not at all,” Gavin said. “We’re going to meet with Ayanna later to discuss our plan going forward.”
“But we’re trying not to get the military involved,” Sorin said.
“I know that,” Gavin said, “But she has promised to keep our little mission under wraps while Iiayikohn deals with Ahnlikohn.”
“The only question is how long we can keep all of this out of sight,” Sorin replied. “If word gets out that the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn is working with the Neu Thekohnian Order…”
“We’ll make sure that that doesn’t happen,” Gavin said. “Come on. I’m supposed to make breakfast and I’m sure that Mina’s going to be asking for a lot on her plate. Even Rain and her sister are coming over.”
Sorin grabbed his coffee and headed for the door. “Do you want my help? I’m not exactly a good cook or anything like that but I figure you could use a little assistance.”
“I guess it wouldn’t hurt,” Gavin answered. “Come to think of it, I’ve never seen Gale cook anything either. Is that an uncommon thing?”
“What is?” Sorin asked.
“For both people in a couple to not cook,” Gavin said. “I was under the impression that at least one of them would be adequate at the very least when it came to cooking.”
“Well, Gale isn’t exactly great, either,” Sorin replied, “But don’t tell her I said that! It’s really the thought that counts.”
Gavin sighed and shook his head. “Seriously, you’re something else…”
They both went inside and found everybody already awake and dressed. Sorin and Gavin headed into the kitchen where Law was making more coffee as Mina watched him. Meanwhile, Drake spoke with Gale and Eva just outside in the dining room. Sorin had no idea where the others were but assumed they would be around for breakfast. The smell of coffee filled the room as Gavin pulled out a container of eggs.
“I want you to to start cutting,” Gavin said. “Get some vegetables and a cutting board. It should be simple enough since you’re good enough with a blade, so don’t let me down.”
“Got it, I guess,” Sorin said. “You’re a bit more stern than usual, to be honest with you.”
“What are you doing?” Gavin asked. “Get to work!”
“Fine, fine, I’ll do it,” Sorin replied. “No need to be so pushy with me. Now where is that cutting board?”
Law chuckled as he operated the coffee press. “If you’re looking for a cutting board, Sorin, you ought to ask Eva,” he said. “She should be very familiar with flat surfaces, if you catch my drift.”
“What does that mean?” Mina asked.
“Nothing,” Law replied. “Here, I finished brewing the coffee.”
“Ooh, awesome,” Mina said. “Can I have some?”
“I think you should calm down first,” Law said. “Maybe go see if our lovely princesses have arrived yet.”
“Right, I’ll go and check,” Mina replied. “See you, Sorin!”
Mina left the kitchen as Sorin turned to Law, who placed the coffee press on the table.
“Hey, as long as you’re here, you should help us,” Sorin told him.
“Oh, I think I’ll pass on that one, my guy,” Law said. “I can only wish you luck with this, though, cause bro is a serious stickler when it comes to cooking. Surprisingly so, I’ll say.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Sorin replied.
“Well, since you’re going to do that, I suppose I should greet the guests of honor,” Law said. “Rain’s off the board, but maybe her sister would love to have a little chat and some coffee.”
Law exited the kitchen as Sorin could only hope that that was the only thing that happened. He walked over to the pantry and took out a few of the vegetables from the bag and moved over to the counter. Sorin saw the cutting board close by and grabbed it as he took a knife from the rack. He began to cut one of the onions in half and dice it as Gavin watched over him.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Gavin asked.
“I’m… cutting an onion,” Sorin replied. “What does it look like?”
“If that’s your idea of dicing an onion, then you’ve already lost,” Gavin said. “The pieces are too big to be used. Cut them smaller!”
“And don’t take too long!” Gavin exclaimed. “Cut the vegetables properly and swiftly!”
“Okay, okay!” Sorin answered.
“And pick up your fucking pace,” Gavin continued. “I’m going to start cooking the eggs now, so you better hurry up!”
Sorin sighed. “I’ll take care of it…”
Fifteen minutes passed as the rest of the group arrived. Sorin finished helping Gavin as they decorated the table with food-topped dishes. To no one’s surprise, Mina was the first to sit down at the table as Rain joined her. Law was the next to sit down, followed by Gale and Eva. Drake sat down, too, as Noa sat next to Pekka, who sat right next to Luna. However, it looked there was only room for one more person to sit down. Sorin looked at Gavin, and then to Storm.
“Crowded table, it seems,” Law said.
“If you want, you can take that seat,” Sorin said to Storm.
“What are you talking about?” Gavin asked. “Of course she’s going to take that seat, dumbass!”
“I was offering it to her,” Sorin replied.
“When you’re the one doing the cooking, you make sure everyone gets first crack!” Gavin exclaimed. “So obviously she’s going to take the seat!”
He pulled out the seat for Storm as Sorin looked on in bewilderment.
“Um, thank you,” Storm said as she sat down.
“You’re very welcome,” Gavin said. “I hope you all manage to enjoy this breakfast that we made for you.”
“Are you seriously not going to eat, Gavin?” Rain asked.
“It would be rude of me to not let all of you eat first,” he answered. “Sorin and I will eat soon as you guys are done.”
“You didn’t tell me this,” Sorin said.
“Don’t you have any sense of manners?” Gavin asked. “It’s customary in the Ameci military to for the cook to eat last. I figured you would at least know that, you fucking moron!”
Noa looked to Law. “Is it just me, or is he meaner than he usually is?”
“He takes his cooking very seriously,” Law replied. “Bro, I think you ought to lighten up on Sorin. He had no idea about the Ameci military culinary customs and how strict you are about them.”
“Don’t try to be an asshole with me, Lawrence,” Gavin said. “I will come over there myself if I have to!”
“I think we should just eat now,” Storm said. “Thank you, Mr. Power, for making this food. You too, Mr. Wilk.”
“Yes, it’s for the best if we move on,” Eva said as she glared over at Gavin. “That means you, too.”
“I… I understand,” Gavin replied. “I’m just going to get out of the way for now and clean up the mess. Sorin!”
“What is it?” Sorin asked.
“Don’t ‘what is it’ with me,” Gavin said. “Make sure everyone is satisfied with their food.”
“I got it,” Sorin said.
As soon as Gavin left for the kitchen, Drake began to laugh as some of the people began to eat.
“Boy, I don’t think I’ve seen him act like that before,” Drake said to Eva. “You really got him to bend to your will, though. Guess I shouldn’t be surprised by that!”
“He would never admit that he’s scared of me,” Eva replied. “Even a man like him has weaknesses once you get past that rigid exterior.”
“You don’t have to tell me that,” Law said. “I grew up with the guy, so I know all about how to push his buttons. That said, I can’t really ask for a better person to have as a brother than him.”
“That’s a really nice thing to say,” Storm said. “You really do admire him a lot, don’t you?”
“I admire the entire lot of you guys,” Law replied. “I could say a lot about you, my dear, but it still looks like you have a ways to go before I can consider taking things to the next level.”
“The next level?” Storm asked. “What do you mean?”
“Just ignore that,” Gale said. “He’s clearly trying to mess with you.”
“Please, it’s anything but that,” Law said. “Storm’s still a growing girl and I want to uphold that respect before she has to handle serious matters.”
“Do you, now?” Gale asked. “Well, at least I can sleep well at night knowing that even you wouldn’t stoop so low.”
Law tried not to laugh. “And what exactly does that mean?”
“It means that you should quit while you’re ahead,” Gale replied.
“If that’s what you want, then I won’t put up a fight,” Law said. “After all, I don’t want to see you angry.”
“I can believe that, somehow,” Gale said as she reached for her coffee.
“Oh my goodness!” Mina exclaimed. “This is so good! You helped, right, Sorin?”
“That I did,” Sorin answered.
“Well, tell Gavin that I really like this omelette,” Mina replied, “It’s seriously the best thing I’ve ever eaten!”
“Funny, I thought I heard you say the same thing just yesterday,” Noa said. “Guess you are just that easily impressed…”
“It is really good, though,” Luna said. “I had no idea that that guy could cook such a fantastic breakfast!”
“Had me fooled, at least,” Pekka said.
“Yes, I can say that this is quite pleasing,” Rain added. “Anyway, the reason we’re all here is because of Ayanna, is that right?”
“That’s what she told me,” Law replied. “If we want to get going soon, then we should finish with our little feast here.”
“Sounds like a good idea to me,” Rain said. “Let us hurry up now before it gets too late.”
To be continued…
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