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 2)

[2nd of January, 2741 AD; up on the rooftops in Gel Heights, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Nano District]


Gavin pursued Harold Mars atop the building. He and Law looked around to find the ruthless man himself, but only found Eva and Mina in wait on top of the neighboring building. The fact that Harold could not be found baffled Gavin, but he remained on the trail. Harold had to be hiding somewhere amongst the rooftops and Gavin knew that he was going to find him sooner rather than later. Law stuck by as the two scoped out the immediate area.

“You two saw him, didn’t you?” Law asked Eva and Mina.

“I’m sorry to say that we did not,” Eva replied. “It’s unfortunate, but it looks as if Harold is just out of our reach.”

“We did hear that explosive noise, though,” Mina said. “Surely we can use that to find him!”

“Damn it, has this monster evaded us?” Gavin asked, tightening the grip on his gun. “We know you’re hiding somewhere, so it’s no use trying to evade us!”

“Getting loud may not be the best option,” Law said. “If we really want to find this guy, bro, then we’ve got to start looking.”

“Even someone like him has limits,” Eva said. “It doesn’t matter what he’s got, Harold will have to show himself soon enough.”

“Let’s start looking,” Mina said. “Nothing is impossible if we take a look around the area!”

Gavin traced his steps back to the door. That could only be the way up to the roof as no other route existed. As he tried to deduce Harold’s method, Gavin recalled the situation back in the room where he and Law joined up with Sorin and Johan. Two possible locations existed, yet it was unlikely Harold would try to descend to the streets.

“Come on, think,” Gavin said. “Where is he right now?”

It was then that Gavin realized a new possibility: Harold went through the hole in the floor, but did not go all the way downstairs. From that, there was one way Harold could go up, Gavin thought.

“Is it so?” Gavin asked himself.

“You look like you’re on to something,” Law said.

“Lawrence, keep yourself alert,” Gavin said. “That spreads to both of you, as well. There’s only one way for our enemy to hide right now!”

“So you figured it out too,” Law said. “Didn’t think a man his age would be able to pull it off, but I guess that’s what makes him so formidable.”

“But now that we know, we’ve got the upper hand,” Eva said. “Somewhere along the walls of these buildings, Harold is clinging on.”

It was the only explanation. Gavin tracked the edges of the building as he tried to find any trace of Harold. He would have to emerge sooner or later, Gavin thought as he continued to focus on Harold’s next move. It was then that Harold laughed, his deep cackle echoing in the alleys below.

“You’re not nearly as idiotic as you appear,” Harold said.

Gavin looked around to find him, but still could not find a single trace of Harold. At that moment, a loud, destructive crash broke out as Gavin turned to his left and aimed his gun forward. Law readied himself as well. Another crash rang out as Harold leapt over the edge of the building. His shirt had been torn in a couple of places, but overall he remained the same as before.

“Step back!” Gavin ordered Law.

Gavin wasted no time. He fired off three shots at Harold, all three hitting him in the chest. Harold stopped and clutched where he was shot as Gavin kept his line of sight trained on him. As Gavin continued to hold Harold at gunpoint, Harold laughed once more.

“It appears I was wrong,” Harold said. “You’re as every bit half witted as I thought!”

“I shot you three times, asshole!” Gavin exclaimed. “How the hell could you laugh at a time like this?”

Harold guffawed. “It’s hopeless to try and stop me,” he said, unbuttoning his shirt. “Your efforts are all for naught!”

Gavin could not believe what stood before him. Where he had shot Harold was in what appeared to be a metallic plate that covered the entirety of his chest. He saw the small bullets lodged within the metal, further proving what Harold said was true. However, Gavin knew that Harold was wrong about one thing in particular and he was going to show him that.

“All that means is that I’ve gotta change my target,” Gavin said. “Thanks for giving me the hint!”

“Unfortunately for you, you won’t have another chance!” Harold exclaimed as he charged at Gavin and Law.

“Look out!” Eva said.

Gavin cocked his gun again. “I just need one shot.”

Harold, however, threw down his fist at the ground. The explosive impact caused debris to fly up, distracting Gavin as he tried to get a good shot in. Law then decided to tackle Gavin to the floor, both men getting out of the way as Eva and Mina jumped in. As everything began to clear, the four surrounded Harold as he had nowhere to run.

“You really are so concerned, aren’t you Lawrence?” Gavin asked as he got up to his feet. “No matter. It looks like we’ve got this prick cornered.”

“Don’t underestimate him,” Eva said. “I’m sure we all would like to have a crack at this despicable excuse of a human, but he’s far from done.”

“You all think you’re ahead of me,” Harold said. “I’ve already shown you why it’s foolish to fight me.”

“Why don’t you just shove it, you fiend,” Mina replied. “You can’t run nor hide from us anymore! You can’t even attack!”

“I can’t attack?” Harold asked. “What a marvelously foolish remark! Dare to put that theory to the test?”

“You won’t get a chance,” Eva said.

“The moment you showed your pathetic face was the moment you lost, don’t forget that,” Gavin said. “Because once you make your move, I’m going right for the head!”

Harold did not respond and lowered his head.

“What’s the matter?” Law asked. “Are you already out of excuses to try and justify yourself?”

“I must thank you,” Harold replied. “You gave me just enough time.”

“Just enough time?” Mina asked. “There’s no time for you at all!”

A sudden realization hit Gavin. He remembered how Harold escaped to the roof, throwing down his fist at the ground much like he did moments ago. Gavin could only see smoke after that happened, which helped in Harold’s escape. The scene was the same as before, only under different circumstances. That sudden realization alerted Gavin to what Harold was going to do next. But Harold threw down his fist at the ground first.

“Everyone, look out!” Gavin exclaimed.

Smoke appeared from where Harold punched as everything clouded up for Gavin and the others. It was both Harold’s escape and method of attacking, Gavin thought. That was why it was important to remain on the defensive until the smoke cleared out.

“He can’t get away!” Mina said.

“Don’t worry,” Eva said, “I’m not going to let him do that.”

“So this is how he responds,” Law said. “Like a coward, he uses obscurity to try and attack us while we’re not looking!”

“Very perceptive,” Harold said. “It looks like you’re catching on and that’s exactly why I can’t let you live!”

Gavin had to take a chance. Out of him, Law, Mina, and Eva, there was only a one-in-four chance of guessing who Harold would attack first. There would be no room for error; however, Harold’s words gave Gavin a clue. Strong as they may be, Harold had one easy target. A target that Gavin was confident would be able to defend, but Gavin knew that he could not afford to give Harold any sort of chance at attacking.

“I’ve found you!” Gavin said.

He hurried over in the direction of Law’s voice and threw his fist out in a horizontal motion. Gavin could not risk it with a bullet, so he settled on his next best option. The strike proved to work as the smoke started to clear out as Gavin caught a glimpse of Harold. Gavin had landed a successful strike upon Harold’s face as the two were in a standoff with Law bearing witness to the scene.

“That’s the bro I know,” Law said. “Acting upon that instinct really did you some good, though it did much more for me in the end.”

“I-Impossible,” Harold said. “Just how? How were you able to see through the smoke?”

“I didn’t,” Gavin answered. “And it’s not as if I’m going to tell you. Besides, I’ve got you all figured out now.”

Harold uttered a parted chuckle. “That’s rich,” he said. “You figured me out like some sort of tactician? I’d laugh, but you’ve given me quite the pain.”

“Save it,” Gavin said. “You can’t attack us without trying to hide first. I’d wager that you can’t use your most devastating attack without the help of some obscurity, which was why you tried so hard to make it difficult for us to see but I managed to see through the ruse.”

“You can’t even fight fair,” Mina said. “But why should we expect you to when you’ve been hiding from us all this time?”

“Is that so?” Harold asked.

“There was no way Kirk would lose to you in a fair fight,” Eva said. “That can only mean you had to sneak up on him to kill him. I’ll never forgive you for such a cowardly act, nor will I forgive you for what you did to Kirk!”

No one said a word. What followed next was the faint sound of something rustling from below as Gavin stared Harold down. Then, Harold cracked a large smile as he looked back at Gavin.

“If it’s a fair fight you want, then it’s a fair fight you get!” Harold exclaimed.

In the span of what seemed to be less than a second, Gavin felt a sudden pain hit him in the abdomen. He dropped down to his knees as Harold withdrew his fist. Though it was nowhere near as powerful as Gavin saw before, the punch packed just enough to send pain into his body.

“Bad choice, man,” Law said. “Now it’s our turn!”

Gavin turned his head up to see Law run at Harold. On the other side, Eva and Mina helped Law in the fight. Harold kept his arms near his face and the back of his head while Gavin struggled to get up. Gavin had to get back up. It was his best bet now to look for an opening and take the next shot. However, with Law, Eva, and Mina fighting Harold, that shot would have to wait. Gavin decided to look at his gun and saw how many bullets he had left: two.

“Like I’ll need another shot,” Gavin said.

He placed his hand upon his right pocket and felt the bullets hiding within. Gavin came prepared but he also had faith in himself. The pain had all but faded by now as Gavin got up to his feet. It was just the right time, too, as Harold had pushed back against Law while keeping Eva and Mina at bay with his other hand. No room for error now, Gavin thought.

“All this strength and still you can’t get through,” Harold said. “It’s just as I expected… You stand no chance against me!”

But as Gavin lined up to take his shot, Mina leapt at Harold. She sent a kick flying towards Harold and hit him in the head as hard as she could. Mina’s kick caught Harold off guard as he went reeling back.

“Just shut up already,” Mina said, “We’re going to beat you no matter what it takes!”

“Wow, that was some kick,” Law said. “Even he’s got to feel that one.”

Everyone watched as Harold continued to stumble backwards. Gavin had him now. He refocused his shot on Harold and aimed for his head. One bullet was all that was needed.

“You’re all a bunch of idiots,” Harold said. “It seems that none of you can pay attention!”

“The fuck are you talking about?” Gavin asked.

“I’m talking about this,” Harold replied, backing up towards the edge of the building. “Now watch as I make my escape!”

Gavin realized what he meant and fired his shot without another word. But it was already too late as Harold proceeded to fall over the edge of the building down into the alleys below. Eva and Mina hurried over to where Harold fell over while Law went over to Gavin.

“How the hell can that bastard be so damn slippery?” Gavin asked. “He took a kick to the head from Mina for god’s sake! How in the fuck does he have the audacity to use that to plot his escape?”

“It’s just like that,” Law said. “He’s getting desperate, so he’s gotta use every possible path to his advantage even if it causes him harm.”

“We’re on the move,” Eva said. “Mina, you and Law continue the pursuit by following Harold. Gavin and I are going back downstairs.”

“Wait, how are we going to do that?” Mina asked.

“We use the same path he took,” Law said. “Surely there’s something that we can use to climb down. It wouldn’t make sense for a multi-story building to not have one, after all.”

“Then it’s settled,” Eva said. “Now move!”

Gavin could not be upset now. He needed to stay focused. He followed Eva as their chase continued. Harold had slipped out of their grasp, but Gavin was not about to give up just yet. He also hoped that the others would not give up, either, especially not Sorin.




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


Sorin continued on as he, Gale, and Johan kept on the lookout for Harold. Then he heard it for himself. A succession of loud collisions filled the alleyway as Sorin tried to locate the source. Harold had proclaimed his escape a few moments prior, so Sorin had to keep on his guard. He had to for the sake of both Gale and Johan, both of whom remained unarmed.

“You can’t run from me now, Sorin Wilk!” Harold exclaimed.

As Sorin turned around, he watched as Harold leapt from the windowsill above and landed in front of him. Johan kept his distance away from Harold as did Gale. There was no use in running now, Sorin thought. Harold stood in front of him with nowhere else to go.

“I wasn’t going to run away,” Sorin said. “You like to think that you’ve got an upper hand, but it’s you who’s at a disadvantage now.”

“That’s right,” Gale said. “You stand no chance against us when we’re all united together.”

“How stupid,” Harold replied. “Do you intend to take me on then?”

“I won’t, but he can,” Gale said, looking over at Sorin. “And so will they, because your time is up.”

Just as Gale said, Mina and Law descended down from the roof by way of the nearby pipe. They stood opposite of Sorin and surrounded Harold, who now had no possible escape. Sorin needed to fight with everything he had if they were going to win, because he knew that the fight was not over yet.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

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 46 (Part 1)

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


Upon entering the building, Sorin and Johan were greeted with a moonlit lobby. Several boards and glass decorated the almost barren entrance as Sorin took a step forward. Harold Mars hid within the depths of the darkness alongside Korbin, both of whom had to be anticipating this pursuit. Sorin had to keep his guard up just in case one of them showed up while Johan continued to walk forth in a casual manner.

“It’s no use hiding from us, you know,” Johan called out. “You can only run so far until you’ve nowhere else to hide.”

“He’s close, isn’t he,” Sorin said.

Faint footsteps echoed about the building, hurrying as Sorin readied his hand by the handle of his sword. He had to be ready for anything. The sound of the footsteps grew louder as Johan turned towards the stairs. Sorin looked over and saw Korbin standing at the top of the stairs with his sword drawn out and ready to strike. Johan took a deep breath and sighed as Korbin walked down the stairs, each step heavier than the last.

“Get out of the way,” Johan said. “If Harold is using you to try and buy some time for himself, it’s not going to work.”

“You… You’d say that, wouldn’t you!?” Korbin asked.

“It’s pointless to fight me,” Johan replied. “I know what you’re going to do before you even do it.”

“Shut up!” Korbin exclaimed. “Just shut your fucking mouth!”

“You’re going to try and kill me, but it won’t work,” Johan said. “You think by getting rid of me, you’ll be spared. But you’re just lying to yourself.”

Korbin began to hyperventilate between each step. “Goddamn you, Johan Kuu, I’m not some shitty stooge you can break with your words,” he said. “I’m going to kill you like I did that bitch back in Ahnlikohn!”

“True, you did kill Jelka, but she left an impression on you that you can’t shake away,” Johan replied. “It’s the first time you’ve felt fear, wasn’t it? You’re afraid now that Bradley is gone, aren’t you?”

“Who the hell do you think you are to judge me!?” Korbin yelled. “I fight because it thrills me, not because I’m some weak ass pussy that can’t think for himself! Just watch me, Johan Kuu, as I run this sword through your gut!”

“Stand back, Sorin,” Johan said. “I got this.”

Before he knew it, Sorin watched as Korbin leapt off the stairs and lunged towards Johan with his sword pointed forward. Sorin was ready to fight back, but it was just like Johan said. Korbin came to a complete stop and looked at Sorin in the face.

“Impossible… How the hell did that happen!” Korbin exclaimed.

Johan had already moved ahead and seized Korbin from behind, raising both of his arms in the process. The sword pointed upwards now that Johan had Korbin secured, while Sorin just stood in amazement at how fast Johan was able to see Korbin’s attack. Though it may have been that Korbin had hesitation, the fact that Johan had the chance to disarm him proved valuable.

“You’ve already lost,” Johan said. “This entire fight was decided when you tried to attack me.”

“Do you think I’m going to lose to you?” Korbin asked. “I could just stab us both if I really wanted to!”

“Go ahead,” Johan replied. “I’m not going to fight back but I will make sure that you will never hurt me or my friends ever again, that much I can say to you, Korbin.”

“Put down your sword, Korbin,” Sorin said. “We’re here to stop Harold, not to entertain your twisted desire.”

“That’s what this fucking is, huh,” Korbin said. “This whole thing is to stop my dad, is it? Well, like hell I care! I just want to see bloodshed!”

Korbin struggled in Johan’s grasp, but could not escape. He then tried to move his sword and make good on his word to stab both himself and Johan, but that proved difficult as well. Johan remained strong in restraining Korbin while Sorin walked closer to the two of them.

“You’ll get no such thing from either of us,” Sorin said. “Stop standing in our way already.”

Korbin laughed. “That’s how it is, isn’t it? I’m just an obstacle for you, is that it?”

“Right now, you’re the only thing between us and Harold,” Sorin replied. “But if you really want to drag this out, then Johan and I won’t have any trouble dealing with you.”

“You think I just get in the way, huh?” Korbin asked. “Is that what Bradley thought of me, too?”

“He cared only about himself,” Sorin replied.

“Like hell I’m going to believe that!” Korbin exclaimed.

He erupted into a loud cackle and shook himself even further against Johan as he tried to break free. However, Johan spun himself and Korbin around and flung him over towards the stairs, causing Korbin to stumble until he fell and hit his face against the bottom step. His sword dropped and clanged against the cold hardwood floor as he tried to stand up. Korbin propped himself against the edge of the bottom step as a small amount of blood began to stream down the side of his face.

“I’d run if I were you,” Johan said. “I’d run far away as I possibly could if I were in your situation.”

Johan approached Korbin at a slow pace. It was a silent approach as the only thing that stood between both men was the fact that Johan would remain good on his word about not fighting back. Korbin looked at Johan, then to his sword which was a few feet away. Sorin kept himself ready for whatever Korbin had next. The distance shrank between Johan and Korbin now as less than a foot separated the two men with Korbin leaning against the stairs. Just then, Harold called out to Korbin.

“Just as I thought,” Harold said. “It seems as if you could only hold them up for so long until you finally broke.”

“N-No! That’s not it at all!” Korbin exclaimed as he backed his way up the stairs. “They just… Johan Kuu and Sorin Wilk are just trying to fucking cheat me, these sons of bitches!”

Sorin scanned the area, but Harold was nowhere to be found. He had to be hiding upstairs, Sorin thought.

“Keep your head up, Sorin,” Johan said. “Right now, we’re not too far away from our enemy…”

“Heh, it really does delight me,” Harold said. “I can hear your cautiousness from where I’m standing, Johan Kuu.”

“I’m only cautious because I know how far you’re willing to go in order to fulfill your awful deeds,” Johan replied.

Harold cackled. “So it would appear,” he said. “Very well, if you and Sorin wish to die by my hands so badly, then I welcome you!”

“This… This isn’t fair!” Korbin said. “I won’t be ignored! I won’t!”

Korbin sprung up to his feet and sprinted upstairs. Sorin began to move a little closer to the stairs, but stopped when Johan put out his arm.

“He wants us to get closer,” Johan said. “Harold wouldn’t say that unless he had something prepared for us.”

“How could he prepare so quickly?” Sorin asked.

“I don’t know,” Johan answered. “What I do know is that we won’t find out if we just stand here. Get what I’m saying?”

“The only way we can stop him now is if we proceed,” Sorin said. “Even if it means we’re headed straight into danger.”

“We will defeat him,” Johan said. He took a deep breath and exhaled. “We’ll defeat him because we’ve got great friends on our side, and because you’re here to help me. This is our goal, Sorin; let’s accomplish it together.”

He reached out his hand to Sorin, who in turn extended his own hand and shared a handshake with Johan. No matter what Harold was going to do, Sorin believed in himself. He believed in Johan. Sorin believed in everyone that fought alongside him all this time because he knew that they were all on the same side to defeat Foundation. Now it was their turn to defeat Harold Mars.

“Let’s go,” Sorin said.

Though he could not see much upstairs due to the lack of light, Sorin went up the stairs after Johan. The two used caution as they climbed the stairs as they made it halfway between the first and second floors. Upon the two making it up midway, Sorin looked up towards the second floor to see Korbin looking from behind the wall. As Sorin spotted him, Korbin then hid behind and moved from his spot. They were getting closer, that much Sorin was aware of. There were a few more floors to the building, which made Sorin wonder where exactly in the building Harold was hiding.

“Where we see one, the other’s not far away,” Johan said. “It wouldn’t be a surprise to me if Harold was at the top floor.”

Harold’s voice echoed out. “You’re close,” he said. “Very close.”

“He wants us to hesitate,” Johan said to Sorin.

“I can’t let him get away with what he’s done,” Sorin said. “Do you hear me, Harold?”

“I hear you both loud and clear,” Harold replied. “I even hear that idiot son of mine scurrying away from you like the frightened coward he is. This truly is the fight you want with me, isn’t it, Sorin Wilk?”

Sorin did not feel the need to respond. He was set in stopping Harold and nothing would deter him from doing so. Upon setting foot on the second floor, it was there that Sorin and Johan saw Korbin on the next floor, which had a large gap with guardrails. Even in the dark, Sorin could make out some of the wear on the railing as Korbin looked down at him and Johan.

“This is not over,” Korbin said, “This is not over! It’s not over, do you two hear me or not!?”

“You want to keep fighting?” Johan asked. “Then why are you running from us? Why do you still continue to hold a grudge against Sorin and I?”

“Because… Because all I can do is fight!” Korbin responded. “I’ll fight and fight on because I don’t want to give up to you!”

“That’s enough, Korbin,” Harold said.

Korbin looked from side to side. “What? That can’t be it!”

The impactful sound blasted throughout the open area. An explosive noise unlike anything Sorin had ever heard before rang in his ears. What followed next was a disgusting crunch and the faint sound of liquid splattering onto the floor below. Sorin looked up to a glimpse of Harold’s face right behind Korbin, who was now coughing up blood. Sorin then saw the cause of the pain as Harold had plunged his fist through Korbin’s back and exited from beneath his chest. Johan gritted his teeth in silence as Harold chuckled.

“I’ve always held your life in my hands, Korbin,” Harold said. “As easy as it was to have you at my side, you’re no longer needed in my plans.”

“I’m… not needed anymore?” Korbin asked.

“You’ve been a hindrance for quite some time now,” Harold replied. “As a matter of fact, you’ve stopped being useful long ago.”

“N-No way,” Korbin replied.

“Did you truly believe that you were nothing more than a tool to me? Even a moron like you can’t be that delusional,” Harold said. “You’re as replaceable as Isaac Kunigunde and once I’m done with you, they’re next.”

Sorin could not speak up to the unspeakable sight before him. Even Johan, who had been calm throughout, was at a loss for words. However, they were not aghast at Harold’s heinous deed but rather Korbin’s eyes. Sorin could only watch as tears began to roll down Korbin’s face. Harold withdrew his arm from Korbin’s body as he then proceeded to shove Korbin over the railing. Korbin fell down and hit the floor with a loud thud, his body landing in the pool of blood below. While Sorin could only look on at Harold in horror, Johan moved forward.

“You still want to fight me, don’t you,” Harold said. “So be it. Come up to the top floor if you really wish to die so badly.”

Harold then disappeared into the shadows above. Sorin snapped out of his daze and joined Johan, who knelt near Korbin. They both saw the devastating wound Harold left Korbin, the massive blow an unpleasant reminder to Sorin that Harold meant business. As Johan placed his fist on the ground, Korbin coughed and looked over to him.

“Johan… you two saw it, right?” Korbin asked. “My father… Harold, he… he’s stronger than both of you now…”

“He betrayed you, just like he did everyone else who worked with him,” Johan said. “Yet you fought for him anyway…”

“You don’t get it, Johan Kuu,” Korbin replied. “I didn’t have a choice… This was all I had…”

“Tell us,” Sorin said. “I can’t imagine you’ve got much time left, so just tell us about Harold. Tell us everything about that bastard so we can stop him. You can do that, can’t you?”

“Even I… can’t answer that,” Korbin said. “We only just got here… after all. This… This was all his plan…”

“His strength lies in his technology,” Johan said. “It’s how he survived and how he’ll try to take us on. His work benefits only himself.”

“He… So it’s all for him,” Korbin replied. “Rysol… Harold killed him like it was nothing… because I…”

Korbin drifted off. Sorin closed his eyes as he remembered the pain Harold caused him. The pain that had gone on for years had now struck again and Sorin had to stop it. He and Johan could not back down now.

“Harold’s responsible for so much,” Sorin said to Korbin. “You, too, are to blame for that pain and yet I can’t shake this feeling I have. The pain you had to endure for so long… even if you became numb to it, it was still going on.”

Johan checked Korbin’s body. “He’s dead,” he replied as he stood up and dusted off his pants. “It’s useless now to wonder now about what Korbin must have felt.”

“I know that,” Sorin said. “But still…”

“There is indeed a part of me that wonders about what would’ve happened had things been different,” Johan said. “Korbin might’ve had a chance if it all had gone differently. There were plenty of catalysts in his life that caused him to take the path he took, but even with that, Korbin had other paths to take.”

“That’s true,” Sorin replied. “I guess I was just trying to find a reason for all of this.”

“I understand,” Johan said.

“So we know where we got to go,” Sorin said. “Harold said it himself. Are you ready?”

“I’ve been ready for a while now,” Johan replied. “Let’s not waste any more time here, buddy.”

Sorin agreed. They had to follow after Harold. Despite the fact that Harold was capable of such a devastating move, Sorin continued on with Johan. On the top floor, they would find Harold waiting for them. Sorin could not say he was not afraid, but he had to press on and remain courageous. He had to because he was well aware that Johan felt the same way and they were walking towards a new future, but first they had to finish what had been started so long ago.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

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 1)

[Various dates, 2727 AD; Admorse, Ameci]


(Little Blood Raven’s Awakening)


Everything had happened so suddenly. The sudden shock in young Korbin’s eyes as he bare witness to the sight of the corpses of both his mother and his twin brother, Kormac, in the living room of his house. That day was the first time he had even seen a dead body and, unfortunately, it was the two people he was the closest with. It was all like a nightmare that seemed to have no beginning or end, with the time seemingly stopping as Korbin found it difficult to breathe. None of it even seemed real, but there they were, lying before him. His mother, lying dead on the ground void of air, while his brother was wide eyed, his neck snapped. It could not be real, Korbin denied.

“Shit, it looks like you’re already here,” Harold said. “I mean…  I’m sorry you had to see this.”

Korbin could not understand. His father looked calm as he bent down by him. His hand rested on Korbin’s shoulder as he tried not to cry. His father did not like to see him cry, which only resulted in pain and further crying. Korbin had to be strong for his father’s sake, lest he incur punishment.

“What you see here, Korbin, was an accident,” Harold said. “It was only an accident and nothing more. Do you understand?”

Korbin nodded, as it was the only response he could give. It was the only response he knew.

“I’m glad to see that you understand,” Harold replied. “I know it may look like something else, but I assure you that this was not my fault.”


“Not my fault,” Harold repeated. “You got that?”

Korbin gulped. “I… I got it…”

“Very good,” Harold said. “Now, this next part is going to be tricky, but if you do as I say, we’ll be able to forget about this. It’d be in our best interest for us to do so, so I’m going to need your help disposing of them.”

“D-Dispose?” Korbin asked.

“They’re dead now, so there’s nothing we can do,” Harold replied. “The best option is, of course, to make sure that no one can find them. We wouldn’t want anybody else to suffer the pain you’ve had to endure, now would we?”

“I guess so,” Korbin said.

“Good, good, now get up,” Harold said. “We’ll have to act fast if we don’t want to be seen by anybody else.”

Korbin did as he was told and went with his father in order to take care of the bodies. He still had trouble understanding everything, but complied because he knew he could not refuse an order from his father. It took everything Korbin had for him not to cry the entire drive to the river. Once they were there, they disposed of the bodies and left as fast as they had entered. From there, Korbin thought that the pain was finally over, but he had no idea what was in store for him in the coming days.




About a week later, Harold left Korbin with one of his trusted allies: a man by the name of Casper Bradley. It had been an experience that Korbin had not experienced before, but he felt like he had somewhere he could call home. He did want to ask his father where he was going, but Harold did not answer him. Soon enough, however, Korbin learned from Casper that his father had gone away for a few days and would be back later.

“You shouldn’t worry yourself too much, kid,” Casper said. “Your dad just needs to take care of some business with a friend of his.”

“When will he be back?” Korbin asked.

“I don’t know,” Casper replied. “All I know is that he’s with Mr. Kunigunde right now. They’re probably talking about a lot of stuff you don’t need to worry about.”

“I… Okay, I understand…”

“Now why don’t you go play with my son,” Casper said. “I’m sure you two will get along fine. Just try not to make a lot of ruckus, okay?”

Korbin nodded. He went outside and saw Crawford, who was busy looking at something by the bushes in the front yard. After Korbin asked about what he was doing, Crawford gave him a simple answer.

“I’m watching this little bird die,” Bradley said.

“Why?” Korbin asked.

“Because I want to,” Bradley replied. “Do you like it?”

Korbin hesitated to give a response. “I… I don’t know…”

“It’s just a weak little thing,” Bradley said. “Come on, maybe you should let it die. Oh, I’ve got an idea!”

He moved aside and let Korbin have a look for himself. It was exactly as Crawford described it: a small bird lying on the ground, writhing as it struggled to move its wings. A familiar liquid coated the creature as Crawford patted Korbin on the back. Something told Korbin that this was yet another situation that he had no way of stepping out of, so he began to wonder to himself. He wondered if it was all normal, that this was all a part of growing up.

“What are you waiting for, Korb?” Bradley asked. “You know what we’ve gotta do, don’t you?”

“I don’t know,” Korbin replied. “I really don’t know!”

“You’re bigger than it!” Bradley said. “Just stomp on it already! You can do this for me, can’t you?”

It was then that everything blurred. Korbin could not tell what happened next, but before he knew it, he found himself stomping his foot onto the dying bird, going over and over again as Crawford cheered him on. Korbin could not cry, his fear turning to anger and then to joy as Crawford’s repeated rallying did much to keep Korbin going. The blinding fury he exerted upon the now dead bird fueled deep feelings of excitement in Korbin.

“Do it, Korb!” Bradley exclaimed. “You’re the superior bird! Way to crush its neck!”

And before he knew it, Korbin was finished. An unrecognizable mess of feathers, blood, and dirt dropped off the bottom of his shoe as he turned back to Crawford. It was over.

“Feels good, doesn’t it?” Bradley asked.

“It… it does,” Korbin replied.

“Looks like me and you are friends now, then,” Bradley said. “As long as you follow me, then you’ll be okay. Got it?”

Those words were familiar to Korbin, but this time he did not hesitate to respond. “Got it,” he said. “I totally got it.”

Crawford cracked a smile and looked over to the house. “My father’s still working, so we can have a little more fun,” he said. “There’s a forest nearby. Let’s go, Korb.”

Korbin nodded and followed after Crawford. He felt as if he could rely on this boy to guide him ahead during a time where he rarely saw his father. Many years passed since that day, but Korbin had a feeling that he would reunite with his father soon. He never did find out what truly happened to his mother and Kormac, but as long as Korbin had Crawford, he knew that he could keep going on until he was stronger.




Nine years had passed since the last time Korbin had seen his father. That changed one day when he went overseas to a country called Iiayikohn with both Crawford and Casper. A lot had changed over the years, the most noticeable being the fact that Korbin could not help but smile from time to time. It made some of the other children stare at him, but Crawford had reassured that to the both of them, they were all just afraid.

“They only look away because they know they’re weaker than you,” he said to Korbin. “You don’t need to pay them any attention.”

One other change was the fact that Korbin had found it easier to kill. He no longer had any hesitation to hold back killing any animal that Crawford deemed to be pathetic. That extended to people as well, as only a month prior, Korbin had found himself in a scuffle with a local schoolmate. It was after school, outside of the city when he and Crawford came across the boy. Korbin could not remember the reason for the fight, but he knew it had something to do with Crawford. Most of the time, it usually did. This time, though, instead of ignoring the boy and going on, Crawford decided on something different.

“He should know who we are,” Bradley said. “Why don’t you teach him not to mess with us, Korb?”

That was all the encouragement Korbin needed to unleash himself upon the other boy. He wasted no time in tackling him to the ground and proceeded to pummel him. Korbin had gotten stronger to the point where he could just snap several branches with ease and used his strength to wail on the defenseless boy beneath him. The unstoppable barrage of fists kept coming until Crawford could see for himself and hurried over to Korbin.

“I think that’s enough,” Bradley said. “God damn, you really did a number on him, didn’t you?”

“He… can’t mess with us anymore, that’s for fucking sure,” Korbin said. “This son of a bitch… I killed him.”

Crawford patted Korbin on the back. “Good job,” he said. “But it looks like we can’t just leave him here lying all bloody and shit. Why don’t we take care of what we started, okay?”

Korbin felt it was too easy, however. He had a desire within him to fulfill and felt an ongoing anxiousness whenever he was not engaging in a fight. That he wanted to fulfill his desire only made him more bored whenever he was not fighting, and Korbin could only wonder when the next unfortunate person tried to cross paths with him and Crawford. But when he went to Hurst in Iiaykohn, Korbin reunited with the man that had left him so long ago.

“Just as I thought, you’ve survived,” Harold said.

Inside the dark lobby, Korbin could feel the chill going down his spine. It was an unfamiliar feeling to him, but Korbin remained strong. He could not let anything get to him, not even this foreign setting. Harold walked into the lobby and greeted Casper while glancing over at both Crawford and Korbin.

“I did,” Korbin said. “I wasn’t going to let some fucking piece of shit try and kill me, because I’d beat the shit out of them before they’d try!”

“It still seems like you’ve got some learning to do,” Harold said. “Though at this point, your brain looks as if it’s beyond saving…”

“So what are we here for?” Bradley asked. “This is getting into my training, I’ll have you know.”

“Calm yourself,” Casper said. “There’s a reason why we’re all here today and I’m sure Mr. Mars is going to tell us.”

“I’m only going to tell you,” Harold said. “These two children don’t have any reason to hear any of this, nor should they.”

“As I thought,” Bradley said. “You’re just going to waste my time.”

“Now, now, Crawford,” Casper replied. “This won’t take long at all. Besides, there’s plenty to do around here, isn’t there?”

Harold turned away and headed down the hall. “Come along, Casper,” he said. “Don’t worry yourself about those two, we’ve got more pressing matters to deal with right now.”

“Oh, is it about Isaac?” Casper asked.

He hurried after Harold while Crawford shook his head. Korbin wondered why they came here if Harold was not going to speak to them, but that was when he heard a loud noise. He looked over to the door nearby and went over with Crawford to find out what it was that made that noise. A roar came from behind the door as Crawford backed off. Korbin looked at him and saw a grin upon his face, so he looked at the door again.

“So that Wilk boy is behind the door, huh,” Bradley said. “Well, now I see why we’re here after all…”

This was the first that Korbin had heard of such a person. Someone was behind the door and, from the sound of it, was ready to break down that door. It only made Korbin more curious about who this “Wilk boy” was and if he would ever have to face him. Whatever the reason, Korbin knew that there was only one reason he was here: so he could become even stronger. That was why his father needed him and why Korbin was so willing to go along.




[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Harold Mars’s hideout, Hurst, Iiayikohn]


“You’re bluffing,” Harold said to Rysol. “You’re bluffing because you’re about to die with a gaping hole in your chest! That’s the only reason you’d say something so outlandish!”

“You think I’d come here… without a plan?” Rysol asked. “No… you’re the one without a plan, Harold. This whole place… it’s gonna come crashing down… Everything you’ve worked for is going to go… and you… are going to die along with me!”

“What the fuck?” Korbin asked. “What the fuck is he talking about?”

“Don’t listen to him, Korbin,” Harold said. “He’s desperately holding onto his life for as long as he can. He’s trying to break you!”

“There’s a couple bombs on either side of the building,” Rysol said, “It’s only a matter of time before they go off… Better start running, Harold… unless you care so much about your project that you’d rather die…”

“What about what you said earlier, asshole?” Korbin asked. “The fuck are you talking about? What do you know!?”

Rysol started to laugh. It did not last long as he soon began to cough. Then, he turned over once more and stared up at the ceiling.

“It doesn’t matter now… does it?” Rysol asked. “You’re gonna die here with me, too… Both of you are going to die…”

“He’s losing it,” Harold said. “I can’t let this project go to waste!”

He spun around and hurried down the hallway. Korbin could only watch as Rysol coughed. Korbin wanted to know what Rysol knew and went over to him and knelt next to him.

“You’re wasting… your time,” Rysol said. “I’m already dead… don’t you know?”

“Bullshit! What did you say about my mother and brother?” Korbin asked. “You’ve got to answer me right now!”

“Only you know about… how they died,” Rysol replied. “About how… that man killed them… and what he did to make sure no one would find out…”

“If that’s the case, then you shouldn’t know a damn thing,” Korbin said. “It was so long ago that I practically forgot all about having family members! It’s just me and him, damn it!”

“Harold… told me a lot more… than he thought,” Rysol said. “If only he had a clue… then he would’ve killed me sooner…”

With one final breath, Rysol closed his eyes. Korbin shook him but found it unsuccessful in waking Rysol up. Korbin balled his fist and punched the ground as he screamed. He was confused as to what happened and Rysol’s departure only served to further that confusion.

“Why, damn it!?” Korbin exclaimed. “What the fuck is going on anymore!? Why can’t I remember!?”

At that moment, a deafening rumble echoed. The explosions went off as the building started to collapse. Korbin was in further confusion as the walls around him shook while the ceiling started to crumble. Everything was crashing down as several more explosions set off, the impact destroying the entire hideout beyond recognition until there was no more. The entire building ceased to exist.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 41 (Part 2)

[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Iiayine Prison, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Giga District]


After what was a restless night back at Drake’s house, Gavin hurried back over to the prison with Law and Henry. They had been given a release late last night after talking with the guards, but only because Henry had suggested that they would let Drake stay the night in a holding cell. None of them had wanted to leave Drake by himself overnight, but it was the only offer Henry received. That was why Gavin found it difficult to sleep. However, he had to remain alert now that they were returning to the hostile environment that they had been escorted to last night. Once they made it through the security, Gavin, Law, and Henry went straight to the visitor’s center to meet with Drake, who was still wearing the same clothes he went in with.

“Sorry about leaving you here,” Gavin said.

“You don’t have to apologize to me,” Drake replied. “I know you’re trying to do your best with these guys going around acting like their rear ends don’t smell funny, so I appreciate you three taking the time to see me.”

“Are you doing well, Drake?” Henry asked. “I can’t imagine what it must be like to sit in a cell for no reason…”

“They could’ve done much worse,” Drake said. “I got a thick skin, so I’ve not budged a bit the whole time!”

“Well, it has only been for a night,” Henry said. “They didn’t arrest you due to a crime; they arrested you because Dezine wanted to send a message.”

“A message only a coward like him can send,” Law said. “When you can’t hurt the other side directly, you take it out on those related any way you can. I’m sure that was what that old man was thinking when he sent his soldiers to your house.”

“It’s going to be a pain in the ass,” Gavin said. “Dezine has already acted. Now it’s our turn.”

“What do you have in mind, Gavin?” Drake asked.

“Charging after him head on isn’t a good move,” Gavin replied. “Our best bet leans on Rain and the other leaders to step in.”

“You think we’ve got the time to do that, bro?” Law asked. “No offense, but I don’t think we have the time.”

“That doesn’t mean we should sit by and do nothing,” Gavin said. “Henry, when are we going to Hurst?”

“I figure we could go soon,” Henry replied. “Our main course of action is to head to where the smoke is coming from and once we go there, we try to find the fire that’s been burning.”

“Quite a way to talk about Harold Mars, isn’t it,” Law said. “I think what we can do now, though, is see if we can get a lead.”

“Where do we even start?” Gavin asked.

“I think we’ve got a good lead here,” Law said, turning to Drake. “You’ve been to Hurst, haven’t you?”

“A few times,” Drake replied. “Not much happens there, which is nice for a quiet little town like that.”

“And perfect for someone like Harold to hide out at,” Henry said. “A perfect place to operate without much trouble.”

“So this guy’s been hiding there all this time?” Drake asked.

“As you said, it’s a quiet little town,” Henry replied. “I don’t think that he’d bring himself out into the open, not after what he’s done.”

Gavin knew the truth, as did Law. After asking Henry on the way to Rezar, he told the brothers about the crime Harold had committed. He told them all he had heard from Kirk before he died, as well as what Henry believed happened after their encounter on the Ameci Wyse. There was only one explanation that led to Harold Mars surviving his supposed death, which led Henry to believe that Isaac rescued him in some way. Still, there were many more questions that had to be asked and many more answers to those questions.

“And you reckon he’s related to all of this,” Drake said. “This Harold fellow has to have a lot of influence if you’re so set on going after him.”

“The only thing we don’t know is how deep this goes,” Gavin said. “For all we know, we’re looking at a puddle when it could be much more than that.”

“I think it’s already past that if you ask me,” Law said.

“Which is why we’ve got to find out for ourselves,” Gavin replied.

“Isaac’s the one at the center of all this, but Harold is an interesting person all on his own,” Henry said. “Granted, I only knew a little about him before Kirk told me all about his encounter, but we should be aware that this is only a scratch upon the surface of who Harold Mars is.”

“I wonder about that,” Law said. “None of us here have seen Harold for ourselves, though Sorin and Eva have. If only they were here, then maybe we would learn something.”

“They’d likely know only little more than us, I’m sure of it,” Gavin said. “We’ve only got so much of a lead from Johan, but I’m willing to place my trust in him because he’s good at gathering this kind of information.”

“He certainly was the reason why we went this far,” Law said. “It’s kinda like you said before, bro: Johan’s playing us like chess pieces.”

“It’s a good thing we’re on the same side,” Gavin replied. “At least, as much as we can possibly be.”

“I take it that you’re not too fond of him,” Henry said.

“I can tolerate him, but I’m not entirely crazy about having him lead us around,” Gavin said. “Even if he doesn’t admit it himself, we are setting off in that direction because of what he told you about Harold.”

“Something about him never seemed right to me, either,” Law said. “But I’m not going to go and concern myself about what he does.”

“Neither am I,” Gavin said. “It’s just that I don’t know what he’s going to do once this is all over. None of us do.”

“Well, it’s none of our concern,” Henry said, “At least not for the moment. For now, however, we’ve got a trip to make.”

“You’re heading off?” Drake asked.

“I promise we’ll be back as soon as possible,” Henry replied. “I don’t know how we’ll work this out, but I’m not going to give up just because I don’t have an answer yet. I’m just going to do as I always do and keep moving forward.”

“You’re a good man, Mr. Randolph,” Drake said. “I promise that I won’t let a little setback like this deter me. Hell, I even bet Mina and the others will be here soon to let me out if they’re fast enough!”

“Got a lot of hope there, looks like,” Gavin said as he stood up. “We’ll make sure that we find a way to get you out of here. Dezine may have the upper hand, but he’s pushing a line that’ll get him in trouble if he moves further.”

“That’s right,” Law said. “I bet Mina would like to charge through here by herself if she had to and I know she’d win if it meant having to save her dear uncle in the process.”

Drake laughed. “I’m looking forward to it.”

“We’ll be back, don’t worry,” Henry said. “Goodbye.”

As Henry got up and headed for the door, Gavin and Law followed him. It was now their time to move and now they had their destination close at hand as nothing stood between them and Hurst. Wherever Harold Mars was, he was sure to be hiding there. The only Gavin worried about, though, was if they would find anything new regarding the mysterious man and, if so, would they be able to do anything about him. But Gavin had to have faith like Henry and Law did, so he put his trust in them as they went to the car.




[2nd of January, 2741 AD; location unknown, Hurst, Iiayikohn]


“Get up,” Harold said to Korbin. “There’s only so much time we have until our next move.”

Korbin sat up on the frigid bed as Harold exited the room without another word. He had arrived in Iiayikohn last night after leaving Glora, still wounded from his fight with Jelka. With Harold’s help, Korbin was able to leave the city without much of a notice. Korbin could not help but feel emptiness, however, as he left without coming up victorious against Sorin Wilk, nor was he able to go up against Johan Kuu. Even as his anger began to rise, Korbin had to be reminded by Harold about what was going to happen next.

“You’d better prepare yourself,” Harold said. “This the final chance to take hold of your fate, so I’d advise you not to waste the precious opportunity that has been given to you.”

“Who cares about that?” Korbin asked. “I just want to finish what I started, damn it! Why the fuck do I have to wait!?”

“Come on,” Harold replied. “I know you lack a good brain, but I know for a fact that you’re not that you’re not this amazingly daft. Pick up your feet and go to the back room.”

Korbin did as Harold said and went on his way to the back room. He had no way to deny what his father demanded of him, nor did he want to. After all, that was how Korbin always saw everything with Harold, at least as long as he could remember things being that way. But there were moments within Korbin’s memory that he could not recall, however he did not care since it was not in his best interest to remember any missing events.

“That shit doesn’t matter to me, anyway,” Korbin said. “What the fuck do you want me to do now, anyway?”

Korbin looked around the dim room for any trace of his father, but he was nowhere to be found. It was the room that had served to reawaken Rysol, where Korbin went head-to-head against the man himself. That was the fight that made Korbin realize how much of a force Rysol could be, which only served to remind him about much more of an established fighter Harold was. With that known, there was no doubt in Korbin’s mind that he would be okay.

“Now you know why I brought you here,” Harold said through the speaker on the wall. “I want to realize how much I need you, Korbin. You’re going to serve well in making this plan of mine a reality.”

“What do you need from me?” Korbin asked.

“It is your strength I need,” Harold answered. “Rysol failed because he was too weak to cut his ties. You, however, don’t have such ties that hinder you. Not now, anyway.”

Korbin looked away. He had received the news of Bradley’s death straight from Harold as they were leaving Ahnlikohn. It was because of Sorin and his friends that Bradley had died and that Korbin knew he had to forget about it, but it was difficult to do as Bradley was the only person Korbin considered to be a friend. He knew that his father was right, though, since he would not try to lie to him, especially not when everything was on the line.

“The moment you let those ties become a hindrance, you die,” Harold said. “That was what cost Kirk Wilk his life and what would have cost his son if not for that interfering woman. But luckily you managed to deal with one of the few pains in my side and for that, I must give you the little credit that you deserve. Enjoy it while you can, Korbin.”

Harold’s gratitude was rare, which was why Korbin had no idea how to react. He did not know if he should be thankful for the credit, or if he should just keep going. What Korbin did know, however, was that he had to be stronger. He knew that he needed to, especially now that his rivals were heading for Iiayikohn at this moment. But as Korbin continued to think, a loud crash rang out through the halls of Harold’s hideout.

“What the hell was that!?” Korbin asked.

“Do not move a single inch,” Harold said. “You just wait in that room until I come back.”

But Korbin wanted to know. He had to know. Waiting in an empty room for his father to speak to him again bored him. Korbin needed to find out for himself what caused that loud noise and why Harold wanted him to wait. He knew that he had to hurry, so he rushed out of the room without so much a second thought. Korbin ran down the hallway headfirst towards the entrance. Something had happened and there was only one way to confirm it.

“I’m not going to fucking wait just because you told me to,” Korbin said. “I gotta know what the hell is going on before we do anything!”

Harold did not respond, though Korbin did not care. There was only one thing on Korbin’s mind and that was getting to the bottom of this mystery. Once he made it towards the entrance, however, Korbin saw for himself the source of that destructive noise. The one man who stood superior to Korbin was standing in front of his father, though with both of his arms missing. Harold crossed his arms as Rysol inched closer to him.

“So the insect comes back,” Harold said. “After what I did to your father, I would’ve expected you to run away with what little pride you had left, but it seems as if you’ve got a death wish to fulfill.”

Rysol did not say a word. He had his broken sword held in his mouth while Harold laughed. Korbin could see the wounds on Rysol’s body and wondered how he was still able to stand. There was no time to answer that question, though, as Rysol charged at Harold with everything he had.

“If you’re that desperate to reunite with your father, then I’ll do you your favor,” Harold replied. “I was saving this for a special occasion, but I see no need to delay it any further!”

Harold uncrossed his arms and got into a fighting stance. Rysol stopped in his tracks and stared Harold down. The abrupt pause stood only for a second as Harold led with his fist and threw a punch at Rysol. However, Rysol defended himself from the attack as he ducked underneath the punch. He moved out of the way, but was caught by Harold by his left hand.

“You’ve still got fire, I’ll give you that much,” Harold said. “But you’re just a weakling now… I’ve got no use for you anymore!”

Korbin watched as Harold lifted Rysol up by his neck. He tried to see what was going to happen next, but Harold’s body blocked him from seeing Rysol, and there was no way Korbin could move another inch.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Harold said.

“Huh?” Korbin asked.

“You think this man has something to do with you, don’t you,” Harold said. “Let me assure you, fool, that this man is nothing to the likes of me. Not when I can so easily end his life like this!”

A familiar sound boomed into Korbin’s ears. There was no mistaking what he just heard. There was, however, the sudden sound of Rysol’s groans. Korbin watched as Rysol dropped the handle of his blade out of his mouth, letting it drop onto the puddle of blood on the floor. Rysol coughed once more as Harold began to chuckle. Indeed, Korbin could not mistake what had happened.

“Did you think you even had a chance?” Harold asked Rysol. “Even in your most ridiculous of dreams, you had to realize there was no hope for you. No such hope exists for someone like you, not as long as I’m around.”

“I wasn’t… hoping,” Rysol replied. “I’m… going to kill you…”

“Save your last breaths for something more meaningful,” Harold said. “I’m not going to wait around for you to spout off these last insignificant little bits of nonsense you’ve left.”

With a quick motion, Harold pulled back his left hand. Not a second later, he let go of Rysol, dropping him to the ground. Rysol continued to bleed out as Harold turned around and faced Korbin. There was nothing that could be said, not after what had happened. The one person that Korbin feared was now dying before him, all because his father took Rysol’s life with no struggle. But before the two men could go back, Rysol started to laugh.

“Did you think… that I didn’t expect this?” Rysol asked.

Harold scowled and turned around. “You’re still alive,” he said. “Looks like I need to finish the job.”

“Go ahead… and kill me,” Rysol said. “But I’m not… going to leave you two alive…”

“Son of bitch,” Harold said. “You can’t be serious!”

“What does he mean?” Korbin asked. “What does he fucking mean?”

“I didn’t come here… thinking I was going to leave with my life,” Rysol said as he rolled over. “Before I die here… I’m going to take you down to the depths of hell, Harold Mars!”

“You would do this just to make me suffer,” Harold said. “How petty can you be to the only man who understood your pain?”

“Like you gave a shit,” Rysol said, looking over to Korbin. “Why don’t you… tell me all about what happened to your mother and brother, little Korbin? Tell me all about how this despicable waste of a man killed them… This man, Harold Mars… tell me everything.”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 29 (Part 1)

[26th of December, 2740 AD; Lead Campground Inner Forest, north of Habicht, Ahnlikohn]


Jelka arrived with the Maeitakohnian forces by her side, much to Sorin’s relief. An overwhelming amount of soldiers crowded the forest’s exist as Jelka drew her sword. The light shining behind her from the portable spotlights did well to gain the attention of the Ameci forces, who turned their sights on the Maeitakohnian soldiers. The two soldiers who had Sorin pinned down got up, to which he responded by sitting up. He noticed Eva by the side and hurried over to here while everyone else was too busy with Jelka and the Maeitakohnian military to even notice him moving in the first place.

“Eva, can you hear me?” Sorin said as he tried to sit her up. “I have no time to explain, but we have to get out of here now!”

She did not reply. The only thing she did was continue to hold a blank stare while the standoff between Ameci and Maeita forces took place.

“Eva, please, we have to go,” Sorin said. “I’ll help get your sword, but we’ve got to leave while we still have the chance!”

“Why… Why should I even bother?” Eva asked. “It doesn’t matter anymore. None of this does…”

“Eva, come on, there’s no time,” Sorin replied. “We’ll have the time to think once we’re back in the kingdom.”

“How intriguing,” Harold said. “So the Maeitakohnians decide to crash this little party after all.”

Harold flexed his right hand as he began walking towards Jelka. She stood in place with her sword ready, while the soldiers behind her readied their guns at Harold. Sorin was not about to stay for the action, but he knew Jelka had a plan ready. That, and the fact that Johan had to be close as well.

“You’re nothing more than a soulless murderer,” Jelka said. “I would have reservations about killing someone, but for you, I won’t hold anything back.”

“I see,” Harold replied. “Jelka Arne, is it? Well, I suppose you know a few things about Foundation given that they were happy to provide you with help. Not that it matters to me, anyway.”

“The past is just that,” Jelka said. “I’ve made mistakes in the past, sure, but I won’t be making any mistakes once I’m finished dealing with you.”

“If it’s me you’re after, then perhaps I should even the score a bit,” Harold said. “After all, it is you who’s making the declaration that you will kill me, so there should be no need for any supporting players in our bout.”

Harold took off his coat and tossed it aside. With his upper body exposed, Jelka saw the true secret that Harold kept with him. She continued to have her sword out and her stance ready to fight, but even so, Harold continued to move towards her.

“If you want to die, then I’d be happy to oblige,” Jelka said. “I’ll end you regardless of whether you’re flesh or metal!”

She charged at Harold and swung, but he deflected her strike with his hand as he pushed her off to the side. Jelka regained her composure as she hurried and tried to attack him again. Meanwhile, Sorin continued to convince Eva to escape with him, but was interrupted when Bradley kicked him to the ground.

“Pathetic, that’s what you are,” Bradley said as he pinned Sorin down. “Hey, Korb, perhaps you should take that sword and finish what I started. Nothing like a little aftercare, wouldn’t you say?”

Sorin watched as Korbin looked to Eva and then to her sword. “No way you wouldn’t dare,” Sorin said. “You can’t!”

“Fuck, what’s the goddamn point of it?” Korbin asked. “There’s no fun to be had in killing this woman when she doesn’t want to live herself! Why don’t you fucking do it, Bradley?”

Bradley got up off of Sorin and stood up. “Are you disobeying my order? I am the one in charge here, you know.”

“So what? That doesn’t mean I want to do it,” Korbin replied. “If I wanted to kill that bitch, I would’ve done so already. Doing it now takes the fun out of it all. At least with Sorin Wilk, he still wants to fight on!”

“I gave you an order,” Bradley said, “And now you want to disobey me? Are you out of your fucking mind right now!?”

While the two fought, Sorin’s chance at escape with Eva had revealed itself as he crawled over to her and picked up the broken handle of Kirk’s sword. With the Ameci and Maeita militaries facing off against each other, there was no one to spot them. There was only one choice Sorin had as Eva could not find it in herself to get up, so he decided to get her sword with his right hand while using his left to grab her hand and leave the forest. Korbin and Bradley continued to bicker as the sound of Harold’s oncoming onslaught against the Maeita soldiers began. As the painful screams from the soldiers filled the air, Sorin tried to block them out while he hurried with Eva to the main area of the campground.

“It’s going to be okay,” Sorin said to Eva. “Jelka and the Maeitakohnian troops will hold off Harold while we get out of here.”

As he continued to walk, Sorin could notice Eva’s grip on his hand loosen. He looked to her as she stopped in her tracks and looked down at the ground by her feet.

“Eva, we can’t stop here,” Sorin said. “Not when Harold and Korbin are not far off from us.”

“There’s no point,” she said. “It’s meaningless. This fight will never end and we’ll never see him again…”

“It’s not meaningless,” Sorin replied. “We’re almost near the entrance. We’ll be okay, I promise.”

“Just leave me behind,” Eva said. “Everyone that cares for me dies… I can’t let you suffer the same fate.”

“I can’t do that to you,” Sorin said. “Even if my father is gone, I won’t betray him or what he’s fighting for. Let’s just keep going for now.”

He reached for Eva and grabbed her hand as he continued on with leaving the campground. However, Sorin and Eva were in for a surprise as they spotted the Ahnlikohnian military standing off in the distance towards the campground entrance.

“Damn it, were they called here too?” Sorin asked.

“Over here!” Henry said.

With a quick look around the area, Sorin spotted Henry, Gavin, and Law by the main building. The three were accompanied by more Maeitakohnian soldiers, as well as Johan, much to the surprise of Sorin. As he had little other choice, Sorin hurried over them with Eva straggling behind him. Once he met with the group, Sorin heard the loud screams coming several meters away from where he was standing and looked back. The forest he had once been in was now ablaze as fire began to burn the trees down.

“I don’t care where any of you insects run,” Harold exclaimed, “Because I’ll go and burn this entire place down as long as it means killing you!”

Sorin worried about Jelka and the other soldiers still within the forest, but Johan stepped in before anyone could do anything to help.

“You shouldn’t worry too much,” Johan said to Sorin. “Go and take a look over there.”

As Johan directed, Sorin took a look at the trail leading towards the forest. Indeed, Sorin saw Jelka hurrying down the path with a few other soldiers behind her. The numbers of the Maeitakohnian forces had depleted but remained large in number as the two groups of soldiers reunited.

“We’ve bought enough time to escape from here,” Jelka said as she caught her breath. “It won’t be too long before Harold and the Ameci military realize where we are, but we’ve still got the numbers to match them if need be.”

“That shouldn’t be our concern,” Sorin said. “We need to leave right now! We can’t waste any time.”

“Well, I can gather as much just by looking at the two of you,” Henry said. “Eva, I take it that they were much more overwhelming than we previously had thought?”

Eva could not respond.

“I don’t think she wants to talk right now,” Sorin said. “It’s… It’s much more than either of us thought.”

“What is?” Gavin asked.

Sorin sighed. He had no other choice but to tell them what Harold told him. Though he was still trying to process it, Sorin knew that he had to tell the others about what Harold told him. He kept it brief but informative as he took out the handle of Kirk’s sword. Everyone listened to Sorin’s words while Henry hung his head down.

“I can’t believe it,” Henry said. “Are you sure about what you heard?”

“I don’t want to believe it myself, but it’s not good,” Sorin replied as he eyed the handle in his hand. “It’s hard to mistake this handle for any other.”

Henry grabbed the handle out of Sorin’s hand and analyzed it. “Even so… it doesn’t mean what you think it means,” he said. “There’s a possibility that Kirk is still alive, but hurt. That has to be the explanation.”

“What are you suggesting?” Law asked. “Think we can organize a search team? Where would we even start?”

Henry took one more look at the handle. “I have one idea,” he said. “I guess I should apologize, first, though.”

“There’s no time for anything,” Jelka said. “Why must we talk when the enemy is breathing down our necks? We have to go!”

Sorin saw what Jelka was talking about and looked to see that the Ameci military was headed their way. With the main entrance blocked off, however, Sorin had to wonder what the others had planned for an escape.

“Of course,” Henry replied. “Sorin, we’ll talk about this once we head back to the kingdom. Just leave the handle with me, okay?”

“I got it,” Sorin said. “But where can we go? Our best bet is blocked off by the Ahnlikohnian army!”

“It does look pretty bad, doesn’t it,” Henry said, “But I did some mapping out of this place and there is one exit that we can take.”

“It’s not going to do us good if we’re all together,” Johan said. “Trust me, the large crowd just makes us stand out that much more.”

“You’re right,” Henry said. “I did think that one over as well, which is why I have another route planned just in case we had to deal with any obstacles. Is that good enough for you, Mr. Kuu?”

Johan shrugged. “I suppose I shouldn’t doubt you,” he replied. “Jelka, could you go with Sorin?”

“I’ll do that,” Jelka said. “What about Eva? As I see her, she seems to be in no condition to fight.”

“I can understand why,” Henry said.

“Let me handle it,” Gavin said, walking up to Eva. “It will be okay, trust me on this one.”

Eva only sighed as Gavin took her hand. After a few steps, however, Gavin soon decided to carry her upon his back as he and Law joined with Henry.

“Even if what Harold said was a lie, it’s still despicable,” Law said. “I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised.”

Sorin saw the groups beginning to form as he and Jelka were to one side and Gavin, Law, and Henry were to the other with Eva in tow. Then there was just Johan, who looked at the Maeitakohnian soldiers circling two of the paths to the main building.

“So it is true, isn’t it?” Johan asked. “All of you are willing to go this far for the queen, aren’t you?”

“That is correct, Mr. Kuu,” the backmost soldier, a scrawny man, said. “We were given the order to protect the people closest to Queen Thedam by President Khadir himself. Even if that costs us our lives, I am willing to die in order to serve the best interests of Maeitakohn!”

“I suppose I can see where you’re coming from,” Johan said. “But it wasn’t as if I had any interest in changing your mind, so I guess I was just wondering if this was the path you’d take. Thank you.”

Johan turned around and looked at Sorin. Neither man spoke a word but they both knew they had a long road ahead of them. Wherever their route took them, Sorin knew that he could trust Johan.

“We’ll see you once we’re out of the campground,” Henry said. “Let’s not forget what we wanted to talk about later, okay?”

“Okay,” Sorin replied.

With that said, the two groups split up and left the Maeitakohnian soldiers to hold the line. Sorin rushed with Johan and Jelka to the left path while Henry and the others took the right. However, as they continued to rush, the growing fire continued to burn many meters behind them with no signs of slowing down. Their escape had to be quick, Sorin thought to himself as he continued to run with Johan and Jelka by his side.


To be continued…


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Aurora – Chapter 28 (Part 2)

[26th of December, 2740 AD; Temporary Base of Operations, Habicht, Ahnlikohn]

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Gavin said. “How the hell did that happen, damn it?”

“Bro, let’s just think for a second,” Law said. “As long as we know that Sorin and Eva are okay, then we’ll be fine.”

Gavin stared into the communicator’s receiver as Ayanna and Reiss were on the other end of the line. They had just received word about what happened at the campground and Gavin was waiting for what to do next. He was in disbelief, yet still Gavin continued to remain on the line for more details. Henry was also there as he stood with Gavin and Law in anticipation on what to do next. There was little that Gavin could say, but he was interrupted when Henry grabbed the receiver out of his hand.

“Hey, what do you think you’re doing?” Gavin asked.

“Hold on one second,” Henry said. “Ayanna, can you tell us what’s going on now? What’s the update?”

“I’m still waiting,” Ayanna replied. After a few moments, she spoke again. “We’ve suffered a few losses, unfortunately. From what I’ve heard, nearly half the squad has been killed.”

“And what of Sorin and Eva?” Henry asked. “Do you have any info on their whereabouts?”

Ayanna paused for a couple of moments before speaking. “The last thing I heard was that Sorin had directed the group to fall back,” she replied. “I have no idea if he’s okay, but I am hoping that he and Eva will escape unscathed.”

“I should’ve went with them,” Gavin said. “We all should’ve went together, then we wouldn’t be in this mess!”

“Don’t beat yourself up over it, Gavin,” Ayanna said. “Besides, you three are supposed to meet with the Maeitakohnian forces, aren’t you?”

“That’s the thing,” Gavin said, “We still haven’t seen them yet.”

“Give them a few more minutes,” Ayanna replied. “President Khadir said that they’d arrive soon and I don’t think he’s one to be lax on his time.”

“Understood,” Henry said.

“What are you going to do now?” Law asked Ayanna. “It seems as if we’ve gone and suffered a loss here… Any ideas?”

“We’ll have to regroup first,” she said. “Once everyone’s together, then we’ll be able to plot out what we should do next.”

“Then it’s Dezine we’ll be going after,” Henry said.

“Yep,” Law said. “That old man’s a Kunigunde loyalist through and through. Ayanna wants him out more than any of us do, however.”

“Let’s just focus on Sorin and Eva’s safety, first,” Ayanna said, “Then we can talk about we’ll do with Dezine.”

“Of course, babe,” Law replied.

“I don’t have to remind you that we’re on a mission, do I,” Ayanna said. “As for you, Henry, let Reiss and I know when you see them.”

“I’ll call back once they get here,” Henry said.

“Very well,” she replied. “Then I’ll speak with you three once everyone’s safe and sound.”

“Okay then,” Law said.

After that, the communications closed off as Henry set down the receiver. Gavin looked out the window to find some bright lights shining outside as several people began approaching the base of operations. Upon closer look, Gavin saw that they were wearing the uniforms of the Maeitakohnian military.

“Looks like they’ve arrived,” Henry said. “Come on, you two, let’s go and meet with them.”

Gavin went with Henry and Law outside to meet the Maeita forces, but he could not shake the anxious feeling in his mind. Sorin and Eva were not far away from Gavin’s location, yet he felt miles apart from them both. He wanted to rush over and help but knew that he could not do that. All Gavin could do was believe in Sorin and Eva to escape, at least until he could get moving again.

“Guess we’re a little late, aren’t we?” Johan asked.

The sudden voice from back in the group of Maeitakohnian soldiers caught Gavin, Law, and Henry by surprise. It was obvious to Gavin that Johan was here, but no one knew the reason except for Johan himself. With one group of soldiers parting to the left and the other to the right, Johan walked through the opened path as Gavin rushed up to him.

“You have a hell of a way of making an entrance,” Gavin said. “What are you doing here?”

“Now, Gavin, I think you know the answer by now,” Johan replied. “Oh, by the way, I should tell you that these guys here aren’t the entire group that Khadir promised you.”

“You’re kidding, right?” Henry asked. “From my count, I see thirty soldiers. You mean to tell me this is all we’ve got?”

Johan chuckled as a grin popped up upon his face. “Hey, I didn’t say that he was only sending along this group,” he said, “Just that this is one group you guys see before you.”

“Okay, then where are the other soldiers?” Law asked. “And what about that lady that’s always by your side? Lover’s quarrel, perhaps?”

“I’m glad to see I’m being treated to such a warm welcome here,” Johan said. “Well, let’s just say I had a feeling about how this night would go, so Jelka and I decided to split this group up.”

“I guess I don’t need to ask why you’d know so much,” Gavin said. “To ask would be pointless.”

“No, but we ought to hurry up,” Johan said. “I would imagine with the way you three barged out of that building that something’s gone down, am I correct to assume?”

“You would be right,” Henry replied.

Johan turned towards the direction of Lead Campground. “So then we have no time to waste,” he said. “We’ll have to hurry!”

With the cheers of the soldiers, Johan hurried ahead with the group. Gavin hated to admit it, but Johan was correct. He had been correct the entire time and now there was so little time to move that Gavin just sprinted off without a second thought. He had no time to affirm to either Law or Henry about following Johan that they just decided to follow him as well. As Lead Campground stood close by, there was no need to take a vehicle. That, however, was not what Gavin was concerned about as he knew that he had to catch up to Sorin and Eva before it was too late.


[26th of December, 2740 AD; Lead Campground Inner Forest, north of Habicht, Ahnlikohn]

Underneath the weight of the soldier on top of him, Sorin could only watch as Harold walked over to Eva. Bradley continued lift Eva up with his hands on her neck, but still she had her sword in her hand. What became the main concern in Sorin’s mind, however, was what Harold had just said. It was unbelievable to think that Harold would reveal that he killed Kirk as casually as possible that all Sorin wanted to do was deny it. Harold had to be bluffing. He had to be wrong. There was no way that it was possible, Sorin thought. His father could not have lost a fight, nor could Kirk have found himself in a situation he could not have won. Sorin leaned into his belief as Harold turned his head towards Sorin and smiled a wide, wicked grin.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Harold said. “You’re thinking that I’m just a simple man whose only purpose is to serve Isaac Kunigunde. You don’t need to answer me, because I know that’s what you think of me.”

“There’s… There’s no way you could’ve done it,” Eva said. “I don’t believe you…”

“Be quiet,” Bradley said.

“It’s a dilemma, isn’t it?” Harold asked. “Of course, this is only the lead of a much bigger declaration. Killing Kirk Wilk was just a simple task that I so easily pulled off at any time; even that good-for-nothing Rysol went running instead of choosing to protect his father!”

“You’re lying,” Sorin said. “You’re just trying to deceive us, that’s all. That’s all you’re doing!”

“Give it up,” Harold said. “I could keep playing games with you here, but I have much bigger things to pursue than deal with you.”

Harold reached into his coat pocket and pulled out what appeared to be the handle of a sword. Sorin recognized the hilt once Harold took the handle out and dropped it on the ground near him. Sorin could not have mistaken the symbol of the Sword of Eight anywhere as denial turned into disbelief. The handle belonged to Kirk’s sword, though the blade was nowhere to be found.

“He put up a fight, that much is for certain,” Harold said. “I really ought to be thanking him, however; were it not for him, I wouldn’t have succeeded in my plans.”

“Our plan, right?” Korbin asked.

Harold looked down at Sorin. “It’s no use fighting now,” he said. “This fight is one you’ve already lost the moment you stepped foot in my domain.”

“It’s not over yet,” Sorin said. “I’m not going to let you get away with this, not a chance!”

“Please, save the empty words when you stand trial,” Harold said. “Or is it that you wish to forgo the trial and meet an early demise? It’s not like you have a chance of being found innocent either way.”

“It’s an open and shut case!” Bradley said as he looked at Eva. “So should I just kill her already? Seems like she’s not trying to fight back.”

Sorin directed his attention over to Eva, who continued to remain still in Bradley’s grasp. She was still breathing, though her sword lowered towards the ground. However, it was only when her sword dropped out of her hand did Sorin see the lack of expression upon Eva’s face. A blank gaze with no emotion. There was no fury or sorrow in her eye, only a listless feel that all hope had been lost with no point of return.

“Eva, please, please don’t give up,” Sorin said.

“It’s no use… Sorin, it’s impossible,” she replied. “I can’t… Kirk… He’s really gone now…”

“No, you can’t let him get to you!” Sorin exclaimed.

“Quit being a nuisance!” Harold said. “You have no clue when to give up, do you, you son of a bitch!?”

He knelt down next to Sorin and grabbed his hair. Harold pulled Sorin’s head up by hair and slammed him face down into the ground. Sorin could do nothing to resist as Harold pressed down on the back of his head.

“Perhaps I should be the one to kill Eva,” Harold said to Sorin. “Once I’m finished with her, then you’ll realize the true state that you’re in!”

“Ah, finally, some progress!” Bradley said as he dropped Eva to the ground. “I’ll let you take care of business, sir!”

Harold laughed. “Watch me, Sorin,” he said. “I’ll plummet you towards the depths of despair with one fell swoop!”

He got up and took out his knife once again with the intent to kill. Eva lay on the cold ground still with the dull expression on her face. Nothing stood in Harold’s way now, though that would soon prove to be wrong as the sound of footsteps echoed. The sound kept echoing louder, each successive footstep more resonant than the last. Sorin had one last bit of hope as Harold turned to the direction of the footsteps. Then, a light flashed upon Harold, leading him, Korbin, and Bradley to cover their eyes. The Ameci soldiers followed suit as Sorin knew that the best was saved for last.

“So you’ve finally shown yourself to the world,” Jelka said. “Harold Mars, you’ve just made a grave mistake!”

To be continued…

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