[17th of November, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle Main Hall]
The Thekohnian Festival came and went with the event proving to be a surprising success. Once all the festivities had finished, Rain and her sister said goodbye to their friends, with Rain sending Mina off with a special goodbye. The next couple of weeks were more of the same as Rain became used to her new role as the new Queen of Thekohn. The coronation was a day after Rain’s birthday and she was busy preparing herself for the ceremony.
Still, there was much that Rain had to learn. The five members from the Swords of Eight helped her out, but only Eva and Rado decided to stay in Thekohn as Kirk, Lowell, and Tre had to go back. Lowell and Tre wanted to head back to Ameci to go back to their jobs, while Kirk wanted to see Sorin once more before he had to head back to his home. Eva, however, wanted to stay for at least a while longer. However, during one day of walkthroughs, Rain bumped into Eva and found out the real reason why the swordswoman decided to stay in the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn.
“Have things taken a turn for the worse?” Rain inquired.
“It’s nothing like that,” Eva said. “Kirk and I… Well, it’s just that I need a little time by myself… again…”
“Well, you’re welcome to stay here as long as you want,” Rain said, “I can’t exactly offer any advice to you, unfortunately, but I can provide to you a place in which you can stay.”
“Thank you,” Eva replied. “You don’t need to worry about advice; I’ll be just fine on my own.”
“You’re still pretty young,” Eva said. “You should cherish the relationship that you have with Mina.”
“I will,” Rain replied. “I let her know exactly how I feel every chance that I get to be with her.”
“That’s good,” Eva said. “You are the hope of Thekohn, after all, but what’s most important is to be the hope for the one you love. If only I had known that sooner, then maybe… No, I’d rather not say.”
“Well, if it’s something you’d rather not mention, then I won’t ask about it,” Rain said. “I just hope you solve whatever it is you have with Kirk.”
Eva looked down at the floor as some of her hair obscured her face. “I sure hope that you’re right.”
After that day, Rain tried to improve her friendship with Eva. On some days, she was successful. Other days, Rain noticed Eva becoming more and more distant as her attempts were nowhere near as fortunate. Rain wanted to help out, but as her workload increased, talking to Eva was difficult unless it was for a reason related to training.
Soon enough, time passed until it was the day before Rain’s coronation. Her big day was already here, however, as her friends gathered to see her on the day before she became queen. A surprise guest also arrived for the party as well: General Karim Khadir. He strolled in first as Rain went over to greet him. Dustin and Gamal followed and greeted the general as well.
“So this is where the whole shindig is going down?” Khadir asked. “I will have to admit that I’m quite impressed.”
The entire castle had its usual decorations, but for the occasion, there were plenty of ceremonial banners and tapestries hanging throughout. Residents were welcome to come and and visit, though both Dustin and Gamal were diligent in their work as they kept themselves next to Rain.
“We’ve been working our butts off to make this happen,” Dustin said. “You better believe that decking out this castle wasn’t an easy job.”
Gamal chuckled. “You sure know how to overplay things,” he said. “Come on, man, it’s not like we were doing construction work!”
“Now you two, please,” Rain said. “The general just wants to compliment us, that’s all.”
“I’ve got nothing but the utmost respect for you, Your Majesty,” Khadir said. “When I heard the news you were going to throw a party, I just had to come and see for myself. I might even get to see Noa as well!”
“Yes, I believe he should be arriving soon,” Rain replied. “You must really want to see him, don’t you?”
“When he came to me and told me that he was planning to drop everything that he was doing and move down to Kikuisha, I was shocked!” Khadir exclaimed. “That took some serious balls to just walk up to me and tell me that, I’ll have you know!”
“Oh, Noa really did that?” Rain asked. “I knew he was going there, but I didn’t know he went to you first.”
“It was like getting slapped in the face with a fish,” Khadir said. “That’s why I want to go up to him and just pat him on the back! Maybe I’ll even get a drink and see the gal he’s with, too!”
“Well, I’ve been on many a boat in the past, but I’ve never been slapped in the face by a fish before,” Dustin said.
Khadir scoffed. “My friend, when Noa said that to me, it was as if he undid his pants and laid out his business on my desk,” he replied. “Normally, I would be aghast at such a display in my office, but since it was Noa, I knew that then and there he had grown as a man.”
“I’m glad that you’re taking it well,” Rain said.
“He’s earned his happiness,” Khadir replied. “Besides, he seemed really happy about this girl he mentioned. I just want to see for myself what kind of girl has ol’ ‘Noa the Nervous’ wrapped around her finger. I bet that she’s quite a surprise herself!”
“I think that you’d be right about that,” Rain said. “When you do see her, I assume you will be rather surprised.”
Khadir grinned. “I guess it’s never too early to have a little fun, is it? Well, I should hurry myself up and see what you’ve got going on here. Be sure to tell Noa that I’m here and want to see him.”
“Will do,” Rain said.
The general made his way past Rain and into the other room as Law and Ayanna approached her. They were both dressed well for the event, with Law wearing a flashy lavender suit and Ayanna wearing a long, elegant green dress. Rain greeted them both as she shook their hands.
“Glad to see that the general decided to drop by,” Law said. “Maybe I ought to go and pay him some time.”
“I’m sure that he would appreciate it,” Ayanna replied. “Anyway, it’s nice to see you again, Rain.”
“Same to you both,” Rain said. “I’m so glad you decided to come.”
“If you’re so glad to see us, then I’m interested in how you’ll react when you see Mina,” Law said, running a hand through his hair. “Guess there will be fireworks going off from both outside and inside the castle…”
“Please, Law, you don’t want to put pressure on Rain,” Ayanna said. “She’s already has a lot going on, what with the whole party and the ceremony that’s happening tomorrow.”
Law rested his hand on Ayanna’s back and brought himself closer to her. “That wasn’t my intention, my love,” he said. “She may be the queen, but Rain’s still young and has oh so much to do. If all goes well, then the people of Thekohn have it set for quite a while.”
“I hope you’re right, Law,” Rain said. “By the way, where is your brother? It’s strange not seeing him with you.”
“Oh, well, he’s coming,” Law replied. “There was something that he needed to do before he got here, so we decided to go on ahead without him.”
“Something tells me that you didn’t tell him you were going to go on ahead,” Rain said. “Ayanna, am I correct about this?”
Ayanna smiled. “I’m sure that Gavin will understand,” she said. “You know, after the initial anger, of course.”
“So he really doesn’t know, then,” Rain said.
“Hey, I know that he’ll be here soon, so can you just let him know where we’ll be hanging?” Law asked. “And maybe try to calm him down a bit, if you can try to do that.”
“Law, she’s the queen,” Ayanna said. “You can’t just order her around to deal with Gavin like this.”
“No, it’s fine,” Rain said. “I’m enjoying seeing all of you again, so it will be nice to run into Gavin.”
“And we’ll be here, too,” Dustin said.
“You got that right,” Gamal said. “So many people, not nearly enough time to meet them all. That’s where we come in.”
“Glad to know,” Law said. “Though, Rain, I do wonder about your sister. Where in the world did she run off to?”
“She is around, don’t worry,” Rain answered. “We have so much yet to do that she is with the staff making sure that everything is up to par.”
“Then maybe we should pay her a visit as well,” Ayanna said. “Is that alright with you?”
“Go right ahead,” Rain said.
“Then that’s our cue to get moving,” Law said. “Come on, we’ve got more to do and people to meet!”
Ayanna and Law went to see the rest of the castle and Storm. Meanwhile, Rain continued to greet people with Dustin and Gamal. People came and went, but Rain was happy either way.
“Ray, look over here!” Kiku exclaimed. “I made it! We made it!”
Rain turned and saw Kiku standing with Ayame, Igor, and Noa. They had just arrived and were properly dressed. Both Ayame and Igor wore their usual uniforms, while Noa wore a shirt and pants with a floral pattern waistcoat over his shirt. Ayame and Igor stood back while Kiku and Noa walked up to Rain hand-in-hand.
“I can see that,” Rain said. “Oh, I don’t think you guys got to meet my advisers yet, have you?”
Dustin reached out his hand and greeted Kiku. “It’s very nice to meet you, miss.”
“I’m pleased to make your acquaintance, Dusty,” Kiku said.
“Don’t forget about me,” Gamal said, greeting himself as well. “Her Majesty says you came quite a long way. If you want, I can get you a seat.”
“No, that’s not needed,” Ayame said. “We will take care of the madame as the night goes on.”
Igor clapped his hands together. “Madame Izumi is in no need of sleep,” he said. “I mean, she’s in no need of a seat!”
“Well, if I do get weary, I could always use Nona,” Kiku said, “But I truly do appreciate the gesture, Gam.”
“It’s… no big deal,” Gamal said. “I got a little caught up, that’s all.”
“Don’t we all,” Kiku said. “So, Ray, what’s the big news?”
“You don’t know?” Rain asked. “I was certain that in the letter I sent out, it stated that the coronation was tomorrow.”
“No, not that, silly,” Kiku said. “I mean with Minnie. How are things going with her?”
“Perhaps that’s something she doesn’t feel comfortable answering,” Ayame said. “I wouldn’t ask you about all the things you do when you sneak off with Mr. Mzade, would I, madame?”
“Oh come on, Aya, it’s not as if I’m asking what color her panties are,” Kiku replied. “Besides, I don’t ask those sorts of questions unless Ray really wanted me to know.”
“If you’re asking about Mina, I haven’t seen her yet,” Rain replied. “She’s supposed to be here soon, though.”
“Is that so?” Kiku asked. “Minnie must absolutely be nervous!”
“That would be a first,” Noa said.
“She’ll be fine once she sees all the food,” Rain said. “If I know her well, Mina will be happy once she gets some food inside her.”
“Isn’t that how it always is, though?” Kiku asked. “Comfort the person you love with some food, or am I remembering that wrong?”
“Well, it’s probably better than what Igor would say,” Noa said.
“And what of you, Noa?” Rain asked. “I heard from General Khadir that you went and quit the military.”
“You… You heard that?” Noa said. “Oh no… He’s not here, is he?”
“He is, actually,” Rain said. “He even told me to let you know that you were here. He even wanted to see Kiku, too!”
“Ooh, now I really want to see him,” Kiku said. “I wonder what he’ll think when he sees me with you, Nona!”
Noa groaned. “I don’t,” he said. “It took all I could to muster up the courage and let him know what I was doing…”
Kiku giggled. “You already did it once, didn’t you? That was all by yourself, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah, but now I know what he’s going to think,” Noa replied. “I know what the general’s like when he’s angry and when he’s not.”
“It seems to me like you see him in a much more different light than the rest of us,” Rain said. “You shouldn’t be so worried, Noa.”
“She’s absolutely two hundred percent right,” Kiku said. “Besides, I just have the feeling that he would be beyond ecstatic if he saw you!”
Noa gasped. “Two hundred… Two hundred percent!?”
Kiku pushed Noa in the direction of the party room. “Come on! We don’t have all day, do we Nona? I want to see him for myself!”
As Kiku led Noa off, Rain did her best to stifle her laughter. At least she knew that Noa had found acceptance and looked to be happy. Ayame smiled as she looked over to Rain while Igor followed after the couple.
“It looks like that’s our cue,” Ayame said. “I really should thank you for giving us the opportunity to visit your land.”
“You’re very welcome, Ayame,” Rain said. “Please let Kiku know that she is welcome to visit whenever she pleases.”
“I’ll be sure to tell her that,” Ayame replied.
Ayame followed after Kiku and the others while Rain waited for the rest of her friends to arrive.
“So, you wanna get some rest or something?” Gamal asked.
“No, I’m fine,” Rain answered. “I’ve still yet to meet the others, after all.”
“I see,” Gamal said. “Well, I guess Dusty and I can go meet some of the other guests while you wait.”
Dustin nodded. “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.”
“Okay then,” Rain said. “Just don’t go too far off, alright?”
As Dustin and Gamal went off, Rain continued to wait in the main hall. A few more minutes passed until the rest of the group arrived. Gavin was leading the way as Luna and Pekka followed him. Sorin and Gale were next, and with them was Mina. Every one of Rain’s friends had arrived, it seemed, though it did feel odd that it took some time for everyone to arrive.
“Well, the fact that Lawrence decided to just get a head start without my knowing really threw me off,” Gavin exclaimed. “Good grief, does that dumbass have any idea what he’s done?”
“I think you should tell him yourself,” Rain said. “He’s waiting for you in the parlor, if that helps.”
“That’s more than enough for me,” Gavin said.
“I’m sure he’d explain if you listened, you know,” Luna said. “There’s no reason to be so upset, especially not when there’s a party!”
Gavin sighed. “I’ll try not to…”
“Well, that’s good to know,” Rain said.
But Gavin passed her and hurried towards the parlor. Rain had no response but to turn back to the others.
“Guess there’s no stopping him,” Pekka said.
“Do you think he’s going to be alright?” Luna asked.
“This is Gavin we’re talking about,” Gale said. “I’m sure that after he has his colorful tirade with Law, he’ll be back on the level.”
“That sounds about right,” Sorin said.
“Well, I just hope that he doesn’t disrupt the other guests too much,” Rain said. “Anyway, how have you two been?”
“We’ve been doing well,” Gale answered. “I’ve got some good news for you, actually.”
“Oh really?” Rain asked.
“In a month, I’m going to be presenting my idea to Lowell Page,” Gale said. “Of course, that does mean either he’ll have to come to Iiayikohn or that I’ll have to go to Ameci. Hopefully, he’ll be coming here, but I’m ready to travel if I have to do so.”
“That’s great,” Rain said. “I was not aware that you were working on a big idea. What is it?”
“Oh, I guess I never mentioned it to you, did I?” Gale asked. “Well, I’ve already told Sorin and he’s been supportive of me since.”
Gale went into detail about her idea for flying machines that would make travel more convenient between the Ameci Region and the Thekohnian Region. Rain listened intently as Gale explained how she talked with Lowell about the idea and that he would be able to set something up in the coming month. Mina stood with Rain and listened as well, her reactions going from blank to outright excited.
“So you mean we’d be able to fly?” Mina asked. “That sounds so cool, but would it really be possible?”
“Of course,” Gale replied. “I’ve done my research and it has been possible, but with our current technology, we haven’t moved towards flight yet. However, that hopefully will change.”
“Neat!” Mina said. “So we’ll be like the clouds and the stars way up in the sky!”
“Well, I don’t think we’ll go up that high,” Gale said, “And I don’t think we’ll be able to start off big right away.”
“It’s good to know you’ve been making some progress towards your goal,” Rain said. “I do hope that you’ll be able to get this project of yours off the ground, in more ways than one.”
“Thank you, Rain,” Gale said.
“Yeah, I’m glad, too,” Sorin said.
“And what of you, Sorin?” Rain asked. “What have you been doing recently?”
“Oh, I can answer that,” Mina said. “He’s kind of been just staring off a lot, though I’ve also been seeing him paint a lot as well!”
“Um, thanks, Mina,” Sorin said. “I’ve just been trying to find some sort of inspiration lately, that’s all.”
“If you’re looking for inspiration, you could always reflect on the places that you’ve been,” Rain said. “You remember Habicht Forest, right?”
“How could any of us forget?” Luna asked. “Ooh, maybe you could experiment with some sort of groundbreaking idea like Gale! She’s trying to get us all to fly, so maybe you could get everyone to see some sort of new color that none of us have even seen yet, not even yourself! Though, I guess if you haven’t seen it yet, there’s no chance you’d be able to create it… But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, not at all! You just have to believe in yourself, Sorin!”
“There’s a lot that I need to do, actually,” Sorin said. “After all, we haven’t forgotten about what happened here, have we?”
“I know,” Rain replied. “It’s about him, isn’t it?”
“Yes, I just don’t want to have his dream be forgotten,” Sorin said. “I want to do whatever I can to help make it possible.”
“I understand,” Rain said. “I, too, also wish to see a world where war does not exist. What I hope to do as the new Queen of Thekohn is to set up a summit to discuss with the other leaders about making a treaty of unity. In fact, perhaps I can even have you tag along if you want, Sorin.”
“You could totally do that,” Mina said, “After all, you’ve got such a strong presence that I’m sure they wouldn’t forget you!”
“Is that so?” Sorin asked. “I guess I can do that.”
“Great, I’m glad to hear it,” Rain said.
“Just let me know when the summit is,” Sorin said. “I’ll be sure to head over as soon as I can.”
“Of course,” Rain said.
“That’s good,” Sorin said. “I guess Gale and I will go see what everyone else is up to.”
“Okay, I’ll be sure to catch up with you later,” Rain said.
Sorin and Gale headed off as Rain looked at Mina. Pekka, meanwhile, got their attention by clearing his throat.
“I think we’ll go with them to, right?” Pekka asked.
“Yeah, let’s go and stuff our faces already,” Luna said. “I haven’t eaten since last night because I just knew that there’d be a hell of a lot of food!”
“Damn, you look serious,” Pekka said. “And I thought that Mina was the only one with a bottomless stomach…”
Luna patted Pekka on the back. “What else are we going to do? Let’s go already!”
“Okay, have fun,” Rain said.
With Luna and Pekka leaving for the dining hall, Rain had only Mina with her. She felt as if that was how it was supposed to turn out. Now that she was with Mina, Rain finally knew what she wanted to do.
“Maybe we should go, too,” Mina said. “I’d like to see what kind of food you got out there for your birthday party…”
“We can check it out later,” Rain said. “Besides, there’s plenty of food to go around.”
“Oh, well, okay,” Mina replied. “I was going to get you a gift and all, but I forgot… Sorry about that!”
Rain smiled. “You being here is a great gift,” she said. “Let’s go upstairs, because I want to show you something.”
“Are we not going to greet the other guests?” Mina asked.
“Sir Dustin and Sir Gamal have everything taken care of,” Rain replied. “I just want to spend some more time with you.”
Mina uttered a small laugh as she blushed. “Okay,” she said. “Just lead the way… Rain!”
Rain giggled. “You really are beautiful, you know?”
And with that, Rain grabbed Mina’s hand and led her upstairs away from the party.
To be continued…
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