Aurora – Epilogue

(Daybreak on a Peaceful World)


Peace came to both the Ameci Region and the Thekohnian Region for years to come. After the new treaty was signed, these lands oversaw a new era of peace and an opportunity for an even better future. Amos Ahnle, who had no intention of ever becoming king in the first place, adapted quickly and became a respected leader not only in Ahnlikohn, but throughout the region.

Over in the island nation of Kikuisha, the next-in-line empress Kiku Izumi began her training. After marrying Noa Mzade, Kiku then succeeded her mother and became the youngest empress in her country’s history. People regarded her as a benevolent and sociable leader, even seeing her at the park from time to time, though she still traveled alongside her guards Ayame Hayashi and Igor Kuznetsov, who married not long after. Noa, meanwhile, continued his work in the Kikuishan tourism industry, leading to a boom in tourists from all around the world.

Luna Del Bosque’s career as a singer found roaring success once she was discovered by an Ameci manager in Admorse. She traveled all over the lands, bringing her talent to many an audience and an eventual career in the theater. Luna later met a charming man around her age and eventually married him. The two continue to tour around the world as a duet.

Pekka Varjostaa left behind his past as an ex-convict and found a purpose working with Luna’s father as a construction director. He helped rebuild many abandoned buildings in Glora, leading to many businesses establishing inside the mountain city. Pekka never did forget about Johan, but did eventually hit it off with a fellow worker. Soon after, Pekka moved to Rezar with his husband and found jobs working with Gavin Power.

Law Power and Ayanna Ansa grew to have a stable marriage. Law proved himself to be a faithful and supportive husband to Ayanna, who kept her last name. He continued his career on the stage while she became a general of the highest regard. Some have even wondered if she would eventually decide to run for prime minister. The two have a son on the way with many more planned, at least according to Law. Ayanna still continues with her work in making Iiayikohn a better place.

Gavin Power remained a single man, though his love for cooking became known across the world. Many travel in order to experience the fine cuisine for themselves and give their regards to Gavin. He has to remind himself daily not to let the praise go to his head. Alongside his work as a chef, Gavin has begun selling coffee all over the world.

Eva Bellamy quickly returned to Ameci and proceeded to assist Henry in his mayoral duties. Though she misses the days when she was a nurse, Eva soon found herself working as an advisor in Henry’s campaign for senator. She then fell in love with a journalist and the two wed eleven months afterward. She still keeps her sword in her house, though she never uses it anymore. Eva still keeps up with the other members of the Swords of Eight, though they have lives of their own as well.

Henry and Tori Randolph welcomed their daughter into the world, though he soon returned to work. As mayor, Henry saw high approval from the citizens of Admorse. This led him to pursue higher office, which in turn helped him to become senator. But Henry did not stop there as he had aspirations of presidency and of helping Ameci and its people. His two sons followed in his footsteps, with one becoming an up-and-coming junior lieutenant and the other attending law school. Tori, meanwhile, still keeps up with Rohan Fercewend’s wife Laila and wonders when Fercewend will finish serving his time.

Rain Zano Thedam became regarded as a highly popular leader and well beloved by her citizens. She was able to lead effectively in organizing the treaty and has helped humanitarian efforts all throughout the Thekohnian Region. Her consort, Mina Rask, became the trainer for a newly formed Royal Guard, and her strength became well known to many across the region. The two live a happy life together and occasionally travel the countryside by themselves. Rain’s sister and Mina’s mother became quick friends, while Drake still continues his work as a locksmith in Rezar. Mina still visits him often.

No one ever saw Johan Kuu again, though some have said that the Moonlit Silence still continues their work behind the scenes. Whether or not Johan was able to see the results of his work was unknown. Sorin still wonders about him and surmises to himself that Johan is still out there somewhere. Whether or not that is true, however, is another case. But no one ever forgot about Johan, even as the years went by.

Sorin and Gale quickly got married after their trip and she took his name. Gale then proceeded to leave the Kunigunde name entirely behind and renamed her father’s company. As the owner and president of Wilk-Hudde, Gale turned the company around and it quickly became the number one name in travel, with plans of flight becoming a possibility. Off work, she and Sorin spend as much time as they can together.

Sorin Wilk, meanwhile, sought a career in art. He soon became well known for his paintings, but remained in Ameci so he could support his wife. His friends come to visit him time to time and he does much the same. Still, though, he chose to stay in Ameci with Gale and the two have a happy and healthy marriage. Sorin knows that none of this could have been possible without everyone’s support. Each night, Sorin looks up to the sky and wonders if his family can see him, but he knows that they would be happy with the man he has become. To this day, Sorin Wilk looks on Ameci with a beaming smile upon his face.


The End


Previous | END

Aurora – Chapter 40 (Part 1)

[1st of January, 2741 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle Hall]


Rain expected a visit from the government of Kikuisha, but she did not expect to see Kiku Izumi and her bodyguards to arrive out of nowhere. Noa also attended, which led to a brief confrontation between him and Gamal. All Rain could do was watch as the two men talked it out.

“I promise I’m not that suspicious!” Noa said. “You’ve seen me before, haven’t you?”

“Of course, we’ve met before,” Gamal replied. “I just wanted to greet you, that is all. That’s the polite way of doing things, isn’t that right?”

“But… But I heard that President Khadir would be here,” Noa said. “How am I supposed to remain calm when he’s here?”

“Nona, we’ve been through this before,” Kiku said. “It’s no different than what happened last time. You don’t need to worry because you have me at your side!”

“I know, I know, I may just be overthinking it,” Noa said. “The last time, it wasn’t even that bad… but what if he was just putting on an act just to make me feel secure so he could let me have it the next time we meet?”

“I doubt that will happen,” Ayame said. “That man doesn’t seem the type to hold a grudge, especially not against you.”

“You think so?” Noa asked. “Wait, what exactly do you mean when you say that he especially wouldn’t hold a grudge against me?”

“It means you shouldn’t worry about it,” Ayame replied. “We can keep on talking about this or we can talk to Her Majesty. Thank you for letting us in, Sir Gamal.”

“Yes, thank you,” Igor said. “It’s a pleasure to see you again.”

Gamal shook Ayame and Igor’s hands. “You’re very welcome,” he said. “Of course, President Khadir won’t be here until tomorrow morning.”

“Wait, really?” Noa asked. “I thought that he’d be here today! Then what in the world was I getting worried about?”

“See, I told you not to worry,” Kiku said as she grabbed Noa by his arm. “We don’t need to worry about the little things.”

“Yes, there are greater problems to worry about,” Rain said. “I was under the impression that Yamazaki would make her way here, though. Is something the matter?”

“There isn’t,” Ayame replied. “She will also be arriving tomorrow. Madame Izumi just insisted on coming a day early because she wanted to see you, Your Majesty.”

“Let’s not be so formal around our friends, Aya,” Kiku said. “I know how serious this is, but we can afford ourselves a little break in the work, can’t we? I certainly would like to think that we could spend a little time with Ray here; she must be so bored without Minnie around to comfort her… Speaking of which, is Minnie a jealous type?”

“Why do you ask that?” Rain asked.

“Oh, forget about it, Ray,” Kiku said. “Please forgive me for asking a trivial question.”

“I don’t think now is the time for trivial questions, madame,” Ayame said. “We’re here because Her Majesty believes we need to set out a course of action before we go about tackling this organization.”

“That’s exactly why we’re here and why we’re having Khadir as well,” Rain said. “But that isn’t all I’ve got to say. There is some good news.”

“Well, I like hearing good news,” Kiku said.

“It’s fortunate that you arrived when you did,” Gamal said. “Her Majesty’s made a breakthrough with the Ahnle royal family.”

“You did?” Kiku asked. “That’s great, Ray!”

“None of it would have happened without the help of others,” Rain said. “I must thank them for their efforts, though I can’t say that they escaped completely unscathed.”

After she spoke with Amelia, Rain received another call from Sorin. As she found out from him, Rain knew that she could not do much in the moment to go and support them after Jelka’s demise. She knew there was no reason for her to blame herself, but Rain felt like she owed it to Jelka for what she had done. That was the least Rain could do for her. But for now, Rain had to remain focused on what was ahead of her now that she had that connection with the Ahnle family once again.

“I’m so sorry,” Kiku said.

“Life is pretty unforgiving sometimes,” Noa said. “Even when something goes right, the cost can be pretty high.”

“We won’t let her death be in vain, that much I can guarantee,” Rain said. “She wanted to take down Foundation as much as the rest of us, so I’m sure she’d be encouraging us no matter what.”

The room turned silent as no one had another word to say. Rain was not sure if she should add to it or move on to the next topic at hand. Soon enough, though, Kiku had something to say.

“I know that I never knew her, but I believe so, too,” Kiku said. “I want to help in any way possible, Ray, so if there’s anything that we can do, then please let me know!”

“Madame, are you sure about this?” Igor asked. “The empress hasn’t even arrived yet, so I’m not sure we should act so outlandishly before she arrives to give her statement.”

“Oh come on, Iggy, this is important,” Kiku replied. “Mother would say the same thing too if she were here, but she isn’t, which is why I’m saying it! We need to act now before things get out of hand! Kikuisha must unite with the Kingdom of Thekohn and put a stop to Foundation!”

“How long has it been since you were this passionate, I wonder,” Ayame said. “Normally, I would agree with Igor, but sometimes we can’t just stay on the sidelines while injustice is abound.”

“Then you agree, Aya?” Kiku asked.

“I think you’re right, madame,” Ayame replied. “No, I know you’re right. I don’t want things to escalate any further than they already have. That is why we have to unite with Rain here.”

“Well, I don’t know if I can call this official, given that Yamazaki isn’t here yet,” Rain said. “Until I talk with her, I can’t exactly move forward.”

“You can,” Kiku said. “Just let me handle things with my mother. I know I will be able to convince her because she will understand the plight!”

“Consider it official, Your Majesty,” Ayame said. “She may not wield all the power, but Madame Izumi is still an important figure. After all, she is the next in line and this is a good example of the leadership that she is capable of showing in trying times like these.”

“Then all I need now is President Khadir’s help,” Rain said. “That should be easy, I believe. Thank you, Ayame. Actually, thank all of you.”

“You’re thanking me?” Noa asked. “What did I do?”

“It’s obvious, you know,” Kiku said. “You were such a help to Ray back then, she just wanted to give you a proper thanking.”

“I figure that since we have some past together, we can cooperate together and see how we can take on Foundation,” Rain said. “You wouldn’t mind lending us your insights, would you Noa?”

“You… You really think my insights are valuable?” Noa asked.

“We’ve got some good allies helping the kingdom,” Rain said. “It wouldn’t hurt to add another, especially since you’re trained in a field that none of the others have that much expertise in.”

“See, Nona?” Kiku asked. “You’re already valuable!”

“Just my luck, I guess,” Noa said. “I mean, you’re really sure about this? I’m not that much of an expert, but I suppose that I can help you out.”

“I’m asking you this because I trust you,” Rain replied. “Maybe you don’t think so, but I like to think that we can operate on that trust.”

“I understand,” Noa said. “If you believe in me, then I’ll do it. I will lend my hand to this cause, because I know you’re fighting for what’s right. Foundation is no different from the True Thekohnians and the Neu Thekohnian Order, and I’ll do what I can to help you stop them.”

“I’m glad to hear that, Noa,” Rain said.

“It’s because the way you speak your message is real,” Noa replied. “I can believe in you because of that… and I can consider you a friend because of it, as well. You, Sorin, Mina, and all the rest.”

“As do I,” Ayame said.

“Then I’ll be looking forward to working with you,” Rain said. “Right now, however, the sun has already begun to set. You’re welcome to lodge here at the castle if you want.”

“That wouldn’t be a problem, would it?” Kiku asked Ayame.

“I don’t see why not,” Ayame said.

“You could ask me too, madame,” Igor said. “Though I don’t have a problem staying here as long as you want to stay here.”

“Is it me or have you gotten better at speaking the local language, Igor?” Rain asked. “That is, if you don’t mind me asking you that question.”

Igor chuckled. “Ayame’s been on my neck about learning advanced Theias,” he replied. “So I’ve been reading and reading and reading and I feel like I’m at the point where I can grasp some of the regional phrases, though I guess I’m not at the final point yet.”

“It certainly shows,” Rain said, not bothering to correct Igor’s mistake. “Keep it up.”

“I will,” Igor replied.

“Iggy really has come a long way, hasn’t he?” Kiku asked. She then went up to Rain and whispered in her ear. “Maybe he’ll finally be able to ask Aya out after this is all over…”

“Oh my,” Rain said.

“Madame, what did you just say to her?” Igor asked.

“You don’t need to worry,” Kiku replied. “It’s just a little exchange between a queen and the empress’ daughter. Pay no mind.”

“Whatever it was, it sure managed to leave an impression on Rain,” Noa said. “Well, maybe I shouldn’t ask…”

“I wonder what she said,” Ayame said. “Though I would guess that it most likely doesn’t matter at this point.”

Rain felt no need to comment any further. She had already attained full support from Kikuisha thanks to Kiku. She thanked the four, as did Gamal, with them accepting the thanks as they then went upstairs. Everything was beginning to move in the right direction, Rain thought. However, as she wondered what to do now,  Rain noticed Ayanna walking towards her with a concerned look on her face. Something had to have happened.

“Rain, I have some urgent news,” Ayanna said.

“What is it?” Rain asked.

“I just received a call from Gavin,” Ayanna replied. “Looks like Dezine just placed Drake Rask under arrest. Foundation is acting quickly.”

“They’re moving fast,” Rain said.

“What’s our plan, Your Majesty?” Gamal asked.

“Well, I’m wondering about Mina first,” Rain replied. “I think it’s important that she knows what’s happening right now.”

“They’re staying at that hotel,” Gamal said. “Do you want to call them right away?”

“Before you do so, Rain, I’ve got more news,” Ayanna said. “Gavin said that he heard from one of the officers that Dezine’s has begun lockdown in Iiayikohn. No one can enter or leave the country, even if they are of Iiayi descent.”

“So to protect Isaac Kunigunde, he’ll take drastic measures,” Gamal said. “I have to say that this Wilson Dezine has some dedication to his cause, twisted as it may be.”

“Measures that are against Thekohnian conventions,” Rain said. “There is no way he can get away with closing off Iiayikohn to the rest of the region. We’ll make sure of that.”

“It will be a matter of time before people realize,” Ayanna said. “Travelling between Iiayikohn and Ahnlikohn is popular, and for those stuck in between, the change will be noticed. Absolutely no one will stand for it.”

“No, of course not,” Rain said. “We established this after the War of the Lands ended. Dezine’s sudden actions will be felt immediately.”

“If you ask me, I have my doubts that this is to protect Isaac Kunigunde,” Ayanna said. “Regardless, we must act now.”

“Then let’s go,” Rain said.

Ayanna had a point. Why would Dezine do something against Thekohnian convention in order to protect Isaac? Rain had to think about it, but for now, she needed to reach out to Mina and the others in Ahnlikohn.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 20 (Part 1)

[23rd of December, 2740 AD; The Robin’s Nest, Glora, Ahnlikohn – Erithacus District]


Rain looked across the long table. It was only five minutes since Khadir had left, going out the same bombastic way in which he had entered through. Still, the only thing that had not changed was the accusation of assassination against Sorin and the trouble that Foundation had caused to influence Amelia’s decision. Rain knew that Amelia was being led away from the truth thanks to Isaac, but even with Khadir’s assistance, there was only so much they could have done yesterday. Now with several of the other leaders, including Wilson Dezine, bowing out of the summit, Rain had no choice but to postpone it indefinitely.

“Don’t be upset at yourself, Your Majesty,” Gamal said. “It’s that damned Isaac Kunigunde’s fault for creating this mess.”

“There’s no point in remaining upset,” Rain replied. “We just need to head back to the kingdom and think up some strategies. I have no doubt in my mind that this isn’t the last we hear from Isaac, so it’ll do us good to move as soon as we can.”

“And we can even check on Sorin, too,” Mina said. “I’m sure him and Gale are just waiting to see us again!”

“Are you forgetting someone?” Gavin asked.

Gavin entered the room with Luna and Pekka behind him. Rain and Mina got up to greet the three and welcomed them to the lounge room. Along with the three were Kiku, Noa, Igor, and Ayame, who Rain also greeted as well.

“How did you know we were here?” Mina asked.

“Let’s just say I had a feeling you’d be here,” Gavin replied.

“I told Gavvy that you might be here,” Kiku said to Rain. “It was quite a bit of a walk from the hotel, but luckily Nona was willing to carry me up the steep hills all by himself!”

“They were pretty steep,” Noa said. “We could’ve taken a bus or something, you know…”

“Give me a break, it wasn’t that far of a walk,” Gavin said. “Anyway, Rain, I think we need to talk about what we’ve got to do next.”

“I was thinking the same thing, actually,” Rain replied, “But it’s not going to do us any good to stay here. We have to head to the kingdom.”

“Yeah, that Queen Amelia’s been busy lending her ear to Isaac,” Dustin said. “Really makes us feel unwelcome in this land, you know?”

“He’s just been a terrible nuisance!” Luna said. “And shame on Her Majesty for even entertaining Isaac in the first place!”

“I know how you feel, Luna, but keep your voice down,” Gavin replied. “Get too loud about that and it’ll attract a lot of unwanted attention towards ourselves. Got it?”

Pekka crossed his arms. “Our lanes are closing one by one,” he said. “Isaac Kunigunde is making sure of that. Slowly the canvas will be painted blood red as he looks to turn all of the Thekohnian Region against Rain.”

“That was pretty poetic, PK,” Kiku said. “Even if it is a little scary to think about.”

“It’s what has happened before,” Pekka replied. “Isla came under similar fire and yielded the throne because of it. The only difference now is that we’re the ones being labeled the villains.”

“If Isaac Kunigunde thinks he can label us the villains, then I’d be glad to remind him just who the villain really is here!” Mina exclaimed. “He’s nothing but a coward that hides when things don’t go his way!”

“Seriously, do I have to say it again?” Gavin asked. “This isn’t a private place, even if we’re in a different room.”

“Oh, sorry,” Mina said. “It’s just that I’m just so worked up about thinking about this. I’m just tired of sitting around doing nothing!”

“That’s why we’re thinking of something, Mina,” Gavin replied. “We can’t just be reckless, because that’s what Isaac wants us to do. What we need to do is weaken Foundation, and the only way we can have a chance at doing that is if we plan accordingly.”

“Then we don’t have any more time to waste,” Rain said. “Tonight, just after sundown, we will be heading back to the kingdom. I hope that you will all be able to come on time.”

Gavin grinned. “If there’s anything I hate, it’s not being on time,” he said. “I will be at the station whenever you are ready, and I’m sure that these two will be ready as well.”

“Well, we’ll have to if we want to see Ahnlikohn at peace again,” Luna said. “I don’t want to sit idly by either, Mina, which is why I’m ready to help you beat the crap out of Isaac!”

“I doubt Isaac would put up much of a fight,” Pekka said. “I’d say it would be unfair, but he’s screwed people over long enough that it doesn’t really matter anymore.”

“That’s great,” Mina said. She looked over to Kiku. “What about you guys?”

“We’re happy to be of assistance,” Ayame said. “But it is unlikely we will be able to join you, at least for the time being.”

“Yes, it seems as if my mother has her own idea about how to move things forward,” Kiku said. “I don’t doubt her one bit, but still I worry about what might happen. Hopefully I can convince her to arrange a trip to the kingdom so she can meet with you, Ray!”

“Please, let her know,” Rain said. “Even if the summit itself is over, I’m very willing to meet with her.”

“We’ll let Madame Yamazaki know as soon as possible,” Ayame said.

“And we’ll be sure to let you know once we let her know that you wanted to let her know that you wanted to meet her,” Igor said.

“That’s a lot to know,” Luna said.

“And a lot we already know,” Gavin said. “But we shouldn’t waste much more time while we’re here. There’s still somebody I want to meet.”

“Of course,” Rain said. “I will see you later, then, Gavin.”

“Same to you,” Gavin replied. “Kiku, are you guys coming or do you want to stay here?”

Kiku looked to Rain. “I think I might stay a little longer,” she said. “I could always do with more Ray in my life, as well as Minnie!”

“Okay, fine,” Gavin said as he glared over at Luna and Pekka. “Come on you two, let’s go.”

Gavin knew, however, that he still had not met with Kirk and Eva and was determined to find them before he had to leave. There were many places within the city where he could find them, but Gavin could not find a reason as to why they would leave the hotel. Thus, Gavin’s best bet was to head back with Luna and Pekka to the Sparrow Hotel and look for Kirk and Eva.




[23rd of December, 2740 AD; Sparrow Hotel – Rooftop, Glora, Ahnlikohn]


“So you’re all set?” Eva asked Henry.

“It’s as set as we’ll ever be,” Henry replied. “It is a bit disappointing to think that we’ll be cutting the stay in Glora short, but it must be done.”

Henry had finished packing up with Tori their belongings, as well as the kids. They were going to leave Ahnlikohn and head towards Thekohn, with a trip to the kingdom as well. Henry came to this decision after speaking with Eva and Kirk earlier, knowing now that Glora was no longer safe for his family. Now, with everything set and ready to go, Henry took some time to reflect upon his stay in Glora. Both Eva and Kirk decided to join him up on the rooftop, as they were tired from trying to find Gavin with no avail.

“So you’ve told me about what happened two days ago, but I’m still trying to understand what Isaac’s goal is,” Henry said. “He had Harring assassinated so he could pin the blame on Sorin? I can get trying to place the blame on somebody else, but why the chancellor? Last I heard about him, he was quite unpopular with Ahnlikohn’s citizens.”

“It’s not about whether or not Harring was popular,” Kirk said. “Harring had been protected for Isaac’s sake, which was why he remained chancellor even after what had happened.”

“Then why kill him?” Henry asked. “If he was useful, then why couldn’t Isaac have somebody target the royal family instead? Both the queen and the prince were shaken up over Prince Amile’s actions and I’m sure that there are many who would’ve liked to see them pay.”

“He was useful to Isaac, that much is true,” Kirk replied. “That’s why Isaac disposed of him. Harring was just a tool for Foundation do they could stage their attack and create panic within the borders. Ahnlikohn’s already taken hits before, which is why it was easy for Isaac to do what he did.”

“I understand that,” Henry said. “Though I have to wonder about Sorin and why the queen blamed him for the assassination. Was that part of Isaac’s doing, too?”

“I’m pretty sure of it,” Kirk said.

Henry placed his hand on his chin. “It truly does baffle me,” he said. “Why did Isaac target Sorin, then? They don’t have any connections to each other, do they?”

“If I had to suspect, it’s because of me,” Kirk replied. “No… was this also the reason for Rysol’s abduction as well?”

“Rysol?” Henry asked. “Are you saying that Rysol was kidnapped by Isaac? Was he trying to draw you out?”

Kirk cradled his forehead in his hand. “That can’t be it,” he said. “No, Isaac was in Ameci when that happened…”

“You’re not talking about what happened earlier this month, are you?” Eva asked. “We would have seen him by now if Isaac had taken him.”

“Damn it, this is confusing me,” Kirk said. “Sorin was blamed, but Rysol was kidnapped. Isaac… he isn’t working alone in this.”

“We know that,” Eva said. “He’s got the president and General Fercewend at his command!”

“I still can’t believe what Rohan did,” Henry said.

“No, I’m not talking about either of them,” Kirk replied. “They’re just tools for Isaac to use. Who I’m talking about is not involved at all with Ameci, nor are this man a part of the Thekohnian Region. Damn it, I really should have seen this a lot sooner…”

“Who are you talking about?” Henry asked. “Would I happen to know this man?”

“You’ve probably heard about his name, but nothing more than that,” Kirk replied. “He’s… Well, let’s just say he’s a unique case.”

Eva sighed. “Please tell me you’re not talking about him,” she said. “Kirk, it’s been many years… There’s no way that he could possibly be alive, especially not after what he did and what happened to him!”

“Eva, it’s hard to believe it myself, but it makes way too much sense,” Kirk said. “I had wondered why all of this was happening now, but considering what we’re dealing with right now, it only stands to reason that he’s still alive and kicking.”

“Don’t be an idiot, Kirk,” Eva replied. “You ought to know what happened to him! He’s dead and there’s nothing more to it than that.”

“I want to believe that, I really do,” Kirk said, “But that man is resilient. He doesn’t know how to give up, even when it looks like the odds are stacked against him. Such a strong will would be admirable if weren’t for his crimes.”

“Okay, I think I get the idea,” Henry said. “At least, I get the fact that we’re dealing with a lot more than just Isaac digging his claws into Ameci affairs. What I don’t understand is why you’re just coming to this conclusion all of a sudden, Kirk. How does this man you’re talking about factor into this?”

Kirk took a few steps away from Henry and Eva and turned around. “When April was killed trying to save Sorin and Rysol, I wanted to know desperately who would do such a thing,” he replied. “Was it a terrorist? Was it the workings of the Thekohnian military? Or was it just a sick fuck looking for a cheap thrill? That day, when it felt like nearly everything had been taken away, I knew that there was more to it than that.”

“Was Isaac behind it?” Henry asked.

“The thought crossed my mind, but no, he had nothing to do with it,” Kirk said. “Isaac had only just inherited Kunigunde Industries from his father; with that as well as the birth of his daughter, Isaac was too busy with paperwork back then to even think about plotting against me.”

“Yet he does hold contempt for you,” Henry said. “I guess it’s not surprising, given Isaac seems to think less about a lot of people…”

“When you fight to change the world for the better, it attracts attention,” Eva said. “A lot of attention, both good and bad. Isaac would prefer to stay with the status quo for his sake, though there are others who genuinely believe in following that path because that’s all they’ve ever known.”

“There’s a lot of people who want to see me meet my end,” Kirk said. “One such man existed in Ameci, though I could never guess why he had such hatred for me. Now, though, it makes more sense why he’d carry out such an attack against my family.”

“Kirk, please, there’s no way he’d be alive,” Eva said.

“I think it’d be easier for me to understand if you just told me who you guys are talking about,” Henry said.

“I’m sorry,” Eva said. “It’s just that this idiot is too stubborn to realize that we’ve already been through this once before and there’s no need to dwell on it any longer.”

“Perhaps it’s okay to tell you, Henry,” Kirk said. “Although, I’ve said you may have heard of his name, just telling you his name wouldn’t do you any good. No, there’s more to it than that.”

“That much I can tell, apparently,” Henry replied. “Please just say it and quit stalling.”

Kirk nodded. “Understood. I’ll tell you all that I know,” he said. “There’s a reason why I avoid mentioning this man’s name. Not only has he caused a great deal of ire towards many people thanks to his ideas, but he had earned a moniker befitting of his mannerisms and the pain he caused.”

Henry listened as Kirk revealed this title: The Ruthless. A simple name, yet one that carried ample amounts of dread that made Henry’s stomach twist. The name brought up memories of the past that Henry thought he and several other Ameci had forgotten, but now it had came back to the forefront. There was no doubt about what The Ruthless had done for so many years during the War of the Lands that countries were still trying to recover from his evil. That was when Henry realized where Kirk was going when he brought up the name, and he soon would not forget about it any time soon.

“Now where should I begin?” Kirk asked.


To be continued…


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Aurora – Chapter 19 (Part 1)

[23rd of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle Hall]


The snow continued to fall from the sky as Sorin looked out the window. He and Gale spent the night bundled together in bed as he tried to take his mind off of the past couple of days. At least for now he could relax, Sorin thought. For how long, though, was another story and one that Sorin would have to answer to if he were to make it out of this mess Foundation had created. There did not exist any doubt in Sorin’s mind that this was just the beginning. As Foundation was the one behind Chancellor Harring’s death, Sorin had to wonder when, not if, they would devise their next attack. Sorin worried that the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn may become the next target, but he was confident that he and Rain would form a strategy for any and all attacks that could come their way.

“You know, I’ve never seen this much snow before,” Gale said. “At least for as long as I’ve lived, it’s never snowed quite this much.”

“It really is something, isn’t it?” Sorin asked.

“To be honest, I’ve always enjoyed cold weather,” Gale replied. “I kind of want to go down there and walk around and leave footprints.”

“Yeah, it sounds kind of fun,” Sorin said.

Truth be told, Sorin did not mind the cold, but the snow was a different story. When he worked with his father’s friend Raymohnd Smith, Sorin found the snow to be rather bothersome and had always made trips to and from cities to be excruciating. Though now that he was traveling alongside Gale, Sorin found the snow to be much more of a delight than a burden.

“There’s also other things that are more fun when it’s cold,” she said. “I’ve never been held so tightly like you did last night…”

“Oh, yeah, of course,” Sorin said.

“It’s just times like that take my mind off of what’s happened,” Gale said. “You agree, don’t you?”

“I do,” Sorin replied. “Being with you has made happier, that much I can say. Even now, of all times, I feel happiest when I’m with you.”

Gale hugged Sorin. “And I can say the same,” she said. “It’s been hard to express how I’ve felt over the years, which is why I felt it tough to open up to anyone, much less towards someone I loved. That’s why I’m so relieved to hear you say that to me, Sorin.”

Sorin rested his hand on Gale’s back. “Well, it’ll be relieving once this is all over,” he said, “But until then, I won’t leave you. I promise you that no matter what may happen, I will make it through for you.”

He spent a few more moments with Gale close to him. So many people that Sorin could count on, but one person above all else provided him the motivation to keep moving forward. He knew he had given himself an expectation that may prove to be tough to follow, but Sorin knew that he had to fight in order to make sure the future was clear. Any obstacle in his way, Sorin would confront it head on without a doubt in his mind.

“So, I guess we should go downstairs, right?” Sorin asked. “I think Storm said there would be a big breakfast waiting for us.”

“She did say that, didn’t she,” Gale said. “Let’s go and see what they made for us, then.”

They made their way downstairs and towards the dining room where both Storm and Rado waited for them. Indeed, it was as Storm had said last night as a bountiful breakfast awaited Sorin and Gale as they took their seats next to each other. Storm smiled as the two took their share of omelette and pastries, while Rado was busy eating his share of food.

“I’m so glad to see you two are happy,” Storm said.

“I’m glad to see you,” Gale said. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it? How have you been?”

“Well, I have been keeping up with my studies,” Storm replied. “There is so much that I’ve learned in the past couple of months considering all that my sister has gone through.”

“Yeah, it’s been rough,” Sorin said.

“She mentioned to me last night that there seemed to be some sort of deal between Queen Amelia and that Mr. Kunigunde,” Storm said. “He’s the one who was aiding my mother, was he not?”

“That’s correct,” Gale said. “She was being used by him.”

“I see,” Storm said. “If only I knew beforehand about it, then maybe mother would still be here today. Maybe she wouldn’t need to turn to that man’s help and sacrifice everything…”

“It’s already done, Your Highness,” Rado said. “Isla made her choice. Now she pays for her sins.”

Storm looked down at her plate. “I guess so,” she replied. “She is fortunate that she’s still alive after what she did. Even if she wanted to kill Rain and I, it is still hard to completely forget about her. Is that a bad thing?”

“It’s difficult,” Rado replied. “Family is tough to disregard, especially ones who you know for so long. But sometimes you must know to let go.”

“Maybe a day comes when that happens,” Storm said. “How about you, Gale? Mr. Kunigunde is your father, right?”

“He may be in name, but I never had much of a connection to him,” Gale answered. “I don’t have any guilt in my heart when I say that I hate him.”

Rado pushed the cleaned off plate forward. “Easy to understand,” he said. “I know Isaac. Have since the war. He supplied weapons, took the money, and ran. That’s it. He cares only about himself.”

“Do you happen to know about him before the war?” Sorin asked. “Perhaps there’s something we don’t know.”

“Nothing personal,” Rado replied. “But I hear he looked up to Rohan even though he’s older.”

“If anything, he sees Rohan as a tool,” Gale said. “That’s what it seems like to me.”

“Maybe so, maybe so,” Rado said. “Isaac has two faces: one of the public, and the real face. We saw the real Isaac.”

“I’m just worried about Rohan,” Gale replied. “I can’t even begin to imagine what he’s thinking right now.”

“It’s difficult for me to say since I don’t know him,” Storm said, “But I think you have to believe in him.”

“I do,” Gale said. “He has been nothing short of nice to me for all of these years. I would never turn away from him after what he’s done for me.”

“We will see about the general,” Rado said. “He has much aspirations that I am sure he will want to keep. If it is a choice, Gale, will you believe in him?”

“You’re asking me if will believe in him?” Gale asked. “I said that I believed in him, didn’t I?”

Rado shook his head. “For now,” he replied. “But a person can change. Even Rohan. I ask because he holds the third highest rank in Ameci. Something were to happen to Bradley? Rohan’s next man up.”

“So you think that he’s trying to climb the ranks?” Storm asked.

“It has to be Isaac,” Gale said. “It would be as close as he could get to such power and he has the means to do it if he wanted.”

“You keep mentioning Isaac,” Rado said. “He’s a problem, yes. He’s not what I speak of, though. I don’t doubt that Rohan’s thinking about it, too.”

“It’s likely,” Sorin said. “Then again, he’s been awfully quiet. I wonder if that means anything.”

“One can change if they are promised power or wealth,” Rado said, “Or it reveals their true self. Isaac places the idea in Rohan’s mind and walks away. It’s then Rohan who ponders it. Does it change him or is it who he’s always been? If you ask me, I say it’s changed him.”

“I just have trouble believing that,” Gale replied. “Even if Isaac offers him the world, I doubt Rohan would take it if it meant others would get hurt.”

“You can believe, but I’ve seen good men turn bad once their wallets weigh them down,” Rado said. “They start out protecting others, but only hold regard for themselves once they’ve got pay.”

“No matter what it is, I pray that Gale will not have to worry about that,” Storm said. “If he’s as Gale says, then I doubt Rohan would change because he is offered power.”

“It’s not bad to hope, Your Highness,” Rado replied. “But you also know that it has happened before. Your mother, she turned. She went bad because Isaac had promised her power as well. She did what she could to have it.”

“That is true,” Storm said. “But even so, I still want to believe.”

“Be hopeful, not foolish,” Rado said.

“It’s best if we continue with what to do next,” Sorin said. “We can talk and talk about General Fercewend all we want, but it won’t change the fact that Isaac is still our top priority.”

“That is right,” Rado said. “We get nowhere if we keep talking. It’s time for action. That means we must move soon.”

“Are we moving already?” Storm asked. “There’s not many places we can go…”

Rado guffawed. “Ah, I speak in metaphor,” he said. “We must plan ahead or else we suffer consequences. That Foundation and Isaac will be looking here soon if we don’t plan.”

“Well, why don’t we do that?” Sorin asked. “I’m done with breakfast. What about you guys?”

“Do you ask?” Rado asked. “I am done.”

“I guess I wasn’t as hungry as I thought,” Gale said as she looked down at her plate, still full of food. “Oh well.”

“Oh, don’t worry about it, Gale,” Storm said. “We can have lunch together and not have to worry about bringing up any bad thoughts.”

“That would be nice,” Gale replied.

“So, do you have any ideas, Mr. Liffe?” Sorin asked.

“Strategy was never my strong spot,” Rado said. “I can assist, however, but it is Gale who has ideas.”

Gale stood up. “I’ll try,” she said. “Even if I can’t fight, I know that I want to help. This is something I want to see through to the end.”

“True,” Rado replied. “Isaac cannot go on longer. Now let’s head to the war room.”

Sorin, Gale, and Storm agreed and followed Rado out of the dining hall. It was good to know that they had someone like Rado on their side, Sorin thought to himself. He did wonder, however, when the others would join up with him and Gale, since the status of the summit was left up in the air.




[23rd of December, 2740 AD; Sparrow Hotel – Interior Parlor, Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Gavin looked around the room. The group had been splintered off since the attacks, which only served to fuel Gavin’s unease. With Sorin accused and on the run, Gavin knew that he had to be the leader. He had to since both Ayanna and Law left for Rezar and Rain had not yet arrived at the hotel. That said, he took a look at who was sitting down: Luna and Pekka, who decided to meet with Gavin, and Kiku with her bodyguards and Noa. He wanted to see Kirk and Eva, though they did not respond when he knocked on the door to their hotel room. Sighing, Gavin sat down and clapped his hands together.

“Guess we’re going to work with what we’ve got right now,” Gavin said. “It will have to do.”

“What are you talking about?” Pekka asked.

“I’m talking about working together,” Gavin replied. “Right now, I don’t care about what hangups you may have about Sorin and Johan. What we need now is cooperation and I’ll be damned if we can’t come together, so I suggest to you and Luna that the two of you help us out.”

“But how can I do that when neither Sorin nor Johan are here?” Luna asked. “If they can’t even be here in this room, then how am I supposed to trust either of them?”

“Look, I can understand how you feel about Johan, I honestly do,” Gavin said. “To be honest, I think he’s in it for his own gain. What it is, I don’t know, but I know that he cares more about having control than he does about teamwork. That said, I do not blame Sorin for the actions he took, because I know he was worried about keeping everyone safe at the time.”

“So you think it was a good idea for him to lie to everyone,” Pekka said. “I too can understand the reason, but it doesn’t mean that I accept it.”

“He’s aware of that,” Gavin replied. “At least, that’s what he’s told me and I choose to trust him. There’s no reason for him to lie without a good reason, and his was sufficient to me.”

“Luna… What about me?” Noa asked. “When you and the others found out about my past, did you harbor a grudge towards me?”

“Well, I can’t say I didn’t have a little distrust of you,” Luna said. “But you didn’t lie to anyone.”

“I may as well have,” Noa said. “If it’s anything like Sorin, then I too have deceived you. Then again, I guess he lied to protect others while I lied to protect myself…”

“Oh, don’t beat yourself up over it, Nona,” Kiku said. “So what if you had a different name before? You’re who you are now and that’s all that matters!”

“I guess… No, you’re absolutely right, Kiku,” Noa replied.

“And Wilkie isn’t the type of guy who deceives, either,” Kiku continued. “He had to do it for all of you, didn’t he? He thought about every one of you the entire time and I’m sure that he wanted to tell you the truth, but couldn’t.”

“If anything, he was thinking a few steps ahead,” Gavin said. “All because he knew that danger was waiting just around the corner.”

“Oh, to have that sort of planning,” Kiku said. “I bet even now, Wilkie’s just thinking up some sort of idea to get out of this jam like the hero he is! You agree, don’t you Gab?”

“You know, that sounds like something Mina would say,” Luna said. “She’d probably say ‘Sorin’s going to go and beat the villains’ or something like that, and she would laugh with an infectious enthusiasm that I’d have no choice but to agree with her because she’s adorable like that and I can’t just say no when Mina gets all heroic and pumping her fists into the air. I… I envy that about her, if I had to be honest.”

Kiku did her best not to laugh. “It’s… It’s very cute,” she said. “I could listen to you talk for hours, Gab, and I would never get bored of what you say.”

“You think so?” Luna asked. “Er, I mean, we are still talking about Sorin, aren’t we?”

“Yes, we are,” Gavin said. “Am I supposed to take what you just said as a yes or no, Luna?”

“Well, Sorin never did stab us in the back,” Luna said. “I guess I can forgive him. Gosh, that makes me an idiot, doesn’t it?”

“No, it doesn’t,” Ayame said. “We all make mistakes.”

“Even Iggy makes mistakes,” Kiku said. “One time, before a public event, he woke up and went to the plaza square and forgot to put on some pants!”

“Madame, I thought you wouldn’t share that story,” Igor said. “And it wasn’t like I was going to the commander or anything! I still had shorts on!”

Kiku giggled. “It’s okay, Iggy,” she said. “So what of you, PK? Are you ready to forgive your friend Wilkie?”

“I am still upset about it, but I guess I can forgive him,” Pekka replied. “He had his reasons for doing what he did and there’s no reason for me to continue to harbor any sort of anger toward him.”

Gavin stood up and turned to the parlor entrance. “I’m glad to know that we’re on the same page,” he said. “Noa, you don’t have any plans, do you?”

“Why do you ask?” Noa asked.

“I need to know what you’re doing so I can confirm with the others,” Gavin answered. “If you want to sit back and relax, then that’s fine by me, but I gotta know now whether or not you’re going to aid us.”

Noa let out a mild groan. “I don’t know,” he replied. “I can’t imagine I’d be of much use to you guys, nor could I offer any insight.”

“Nona, we saw what happened,” Kiku said. “When a friend of mine is in trouble, it hurts me so much. I want to help Wilkie and everyone because they’ve been so nice to us, and I don’t want to abandon him when he needs us the most! We have to help Wilkie, even if it’s only of the slightest significance!”

“Even Madame Yamazaki expressed her concerns,” Ayame said. “For me, it was a shock to see as she is usually calm and collected whenever I see her. That is enough to tell me that we must do our part.”

Noa took a deep breath and exhaled through his nose. “I can’t deny any of that,” he said. “All of you have stood by my side during the worst, so it only makes sense for me to do the same for Sorin. I owe him that much.”

“Wonderful,” Gavin said. “Now let’s go see what’s keeping Rain.”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 15 (Part 1)

[20th of December, 2740 AD; Glora Grand Hall – The Wings of the Albatross, Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Wilson Dezine overturned the small table and punched the nearby wall. “I cannot believe this!”

Fercewend watched as the Iiayikohnian prime minister rested the top of his head on the wall. It was a sight he had trouble believing. Given the reactions of both Isaac and Casper, however, there may have been a reason for the prime minister’s outburst. What had been broadcast on the speakers an hour ago was quite a lot to take in. Fercewend found it hard to believe that such letters existed and that everything described within them had transpired. There were moments where he did question Isaac’s judgement, even his actions, but never once did Fercewend think that his cousin would be capable of conspiring with an enemy, nor did he think it was possible for him to work closely with Casper and Dezine in such a manner. Yet still, parts of what had been read over the loudspeakers made Rohan think. He sighed as he continued to watch the three men before him as he remained undecided about what he should say.

“You should calm down,” Casper said. “People might hear us talking, plus it may not be good for your health if you get worked up about this.”

“Calm down?” Dezine asked. “It’s hard to calm down now when everyone’s going to start rising up against us! This whole damn thing is over!”

“Dezine, you really must listen to my friend Casper here,” Isaac said. “As I’ve already told you when you became the prime minister, we’ve your back, so I would suggest that you do the same and unite.”

“You’re kidding me,” Dezine said. “Have you not paid any attention to what happened in Maeitakohn? Mahrk went down in less than a day and you expect me to remain calm!?”

Isaac chuckled. “Rodik was a weak-willed man,” he replied. “He was a loser through and through because he couldn’t keep his people under control. You, on the other hand, have all the cards you need to win: the role of prime minister and the assistance of Foundation’s top men.”

“It won’t matter one bit if the Iiayikohnian military starts getting ideas,” Dezine said. “Make one move and I know full well that the people will start to question.”

“Let them question,” Isaac said. “You do know why Iiayikohn is the crown jewel of the Thekohnian Region, obviously.”

“Yes, I do,” Dezine answered. “I know exactly why…”

“We’re all in this together, Wilson,” Casper said. “If we’re to succeed in our goal, then we have to stick together. Not doing that was what brought down the others, because they couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain. You wouldn’t dare back down now, now would you?”

“Of course not, Casper,” Dezine said. “Becoming the prime minister of Iiayikohn was my dream for so many years… I don’t know where I’d be without your help, Mr. Kunigunde.”

“Don’t thank me just yet, prime minister,” Isaac said. “Now, as for what to do about that meddlesome broadcast… Rohan! Have your soldiers figured out where that signal came from yet?”

Fercewend shook his head and sighed. “We’re still working on it,” he said. “It will take some time, but we will figure it out.”

“Is that so?” Isaac asked. “Because I was under the impression that you were equipped to handle any sort of threat that comes our way. Have you been getting rusty, general?”

“In due time, we’ll locate the origin of that signal,” Fercewend said. “But it should be obvious who sent it out.”

“Of course we know who sent the signal out, Rohan,” Isaac replied, “It was that damned spy that turned on us!”

“Believe me, Isaac, it was a surprise to hear the news as well,” Fercewend said. “I thought he had died months ago, but it seems as if he rose from the dead, so to speak.”

“General Fercewend, you’re not being paid to offer your thoughts on the matter,” Casper said. “We want this man captured and made an example of, you got me? We’re all tired of having this man run around and act as if he’s going to be some sort of fantastical hero when in reality he’s just another terrorist.”

“I will do that, Mr. President,” Fercewend replied. “Just give us some more time, if you will.”

Isaac placed his hand on Fercewend’s shoulder. “Listen to me,” he said. “I see that you care deeply for your family… Your wife and your kids see you as an invincible man who appears incapable of showing weakness, your daughter Ari in particular. Now, you wouldn’t want to disappoint them with your weak showing, would you?”

Fercewend furrowed his eyebrows. “You’re not suggesting what I think you’re suggesting, are you?”

“I’m quite jealous of you,” Isaac said. “It would be stupid of me not to admit how green I am when I see that you have a family that respects you. Even with all of my strengths and smarts, I could never get that damned girl to look me in the eyes without having contempt for me.”

“Don’t you dare bring Gale into this,” Fercewend said.

“And yet she respects you,” Isaac replied. “She should be thanking me for that! I was the one who recommended you to General Atlas, was I not?”

“You and Hasker, yes,” Fercewend said.

“Then you and the Ameci military should be able to complete the simple task of locating and capturing Johan Kuu,” Isaac said. “Otherwise, I can’t exactly say what will happen to those that respect you.”

Fercewend gritted his teeth. He had to object. However, he felt as if words were futile against Isaac and Casper. They were implied threats against him and his loved ones, but Fercewend did not respond. He had to do what was best for Ameci, which began with the location and capture of the traitor. Anything else was just an afterthought.

“Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it seems as if we’ll have to move forward with our plan,” Isaac said. “If we’re to accomplish our goal, then we’ll need to start making moves.”

“Yes, that’s true,” Dezine said. “I imagine that involves dealing with that upstart queen, too?”

“It has only been for a short time, but we have seen the potential problems that woman will cause for us going forward,” Isaac said. “Luckily for us, we know who she aligns with and how to deal with them.”

“You do?” Dezine asked.

“You’d be quite interested in the list of people that have worked with her,” Isaac replied. “Anyway, we’ve already written out the course of actions needed in order to damage not only her credibility, but the kingdom’s as well.”

“Right now, though?” Casper asked. “The summit is still happening and so many people are in the area.”

“Casper, what’s a little power without making a few sacrifices?” Isaac asked. “You know who said that, don’t you?”

“I understand,” Casper replied. “I’ll have someone write the prepared speech in the meantime.”

“Good, good,” Isaac said. “Prime minister, you shouldn’t worry about those letters becoming public; they’ll fade into the dark soon enough.”




[20th of December, 2740 AD; The Robin’s Nest, Glora, Ahnlikohn – Erithacus District]


A quiet murmur broke out amongst the lounge patrons after the broadcast ended. The regular program continued, but all people could talk about was what just happened. Sorin knew that there was much uncertainty now that Johan made light of all the crimes Isaac Kunigunde had committed. It was all out in the open now.

“Johan finally swung at them,” Pekka said. “I wonder, though, if it will be enough to make an impact.”

“The people are already beginning to question,” Sorin replied. “With this, I’m sure that Isaac and Foundation are on the defensive.”

“That’s true, but none of us are sure what Johan’s going to do next,” Pekka said. “He got what he wanted by unveiling these lost letters, but what’s the next part of his great plan? Do you know?”

“He hasn’t told me anything that far ahead yet,” Sorin said.

“Then we’re stuck waiting for what Isaac does next?” Pekka asked. “I know you trust him, much like I did, but forgive me if I have some doubts.”

“We’re all still pieces on Johan’s chessboard,” Gavin said as he rubbed the bridge of his nose. “The fact that we have no clue about the next part of his plan is a part of the design, not an error.”

“Do you mean to say that Cookie is the one leading the charge?” Kiku asked. “I never thought he’d be capable of being so brash!”

“Clearly you haven’t seen that side of him,” Pekka said.

“Yes, he’s quite a craftwork,” Igor said. “I could tell just by looking at him that he’s full of light!”

“How in the world do you know that, Iggy?” Ayame asked. “I don’t recall us ever meeting that man before.”

Igor looked around and began to crack a smile. “Oh, right, it’s my memory playing tricks on me again! Forget what I said.”

“Anyway, we’re still not sure where this plan of his is going to go next,” Sorin said. “I’m sure Rain and Mina are thinking the same thing, too.”

“But Rain’s probably not too concerned,” Gale said. “She has her kingdom’s priorities at the moment and the summit as well.”

“Still, this affects everyone,” Law said. “It’ll be tougher for good old Isaac to sleep tonight knowing he’s got a bunch of eyes and ears on him.”

“A scary image, to be sure,” Igor said.

“So what are we going to do, then?” Luna asked.

Gavin adjusted his sunglasses. “The better question is: what do we do when Isaac strikes back? Because we know that’s coming,” he said. “Of course, I don’t expect him to do anything right away, but that thought is going to remain in the front of my mind until the hammer falls.”

“I’ve always had a bad feeling about that man Mr. Kunigunde,” Ayame said. “He traveled to Kikuisha a few times in the past in order to sell his artillery to our military, but never once was he able to strike a deal with us. We are a peaceful country and Madame Yamazaki always kept that in mind in regards to both the past and future generations.”

“Isaac’s always put on a smile when he thinks he’s able to take advantage of someone,” Gale said. “It doesn’t surprise me that he’d go to such lengths, but now that Johan’s made things clear, it scares me even more of what Isaac’s capable of doing.”

“Yes, which is why I am concerned,” Ayame replied. “He will no doubt try to use his influence in order to bring harm to others.”

“Perhaps it would be best if we informed mother,” Kiku said to Ayame. “I have known you and Iggy for all my life and not once have I ever doubted either of your intuitions.”

“If you suggest it, madame, then we’d be more than willing to speak with your mother,” Ayame said. “I’m not certain what she’ll say, but as long as we’re here, then the top priority is to establish security.”

“Don’t worry, Madame Izumi, we’ll make sure that you’ll be soundly safe,” Igor said. “Even if this Mr. Kumigoode is trying to direct an attack, we’ll be there to keep you safe!”

“I think she gets the gist, Iggy,” Law said.

“So now what should we do?” Luna asked. “Are we still going to listen to the speeches?”

“Well, Rain said her speech isn’t until tomorrow,” Sorin said. “I don’t know for certain who’s going to speak today, but it’d be a good idea to keep an ear out just in case anything happens.”

“You really think Isaac’s gonna just counterattack right away?” Law asked. “Come on, man, I get being aware, but he’s not the kind of guy who’s going to go out swinging right away.”

“He’s not?” Kiku asked.

“He’s probably thinking that if he acts too soon, it’ll look suspicious,” Law replied. “Isaac’s probably working with his buddies to devise something in the next few days, not right away.”

“That makes sense,” Gavin said. “Whether he acts quickly or not, he’d be proving his own guilt otherwise.”

“So our best bet is to keep an eye out through the next week,” Sorin said. “I wonder if Johan’s thinking the same thing.”

“Forget about it,” Gavin replied. “I’ve already come to the conclusion that he’s just going to act on his own. There’s no real reason to think he’s just going to do what you want him to do, Sorin.”

“But he’s already been a help to us,” Sorin said. “He said that he’d make the letters between Isaac and Ahga known and he did that. If anything, we need to go back to Johan right away.”

Gavin sighed. “You want to do that, then fine,” he said. “But you want me to tag along with you and act as if I’m just going to go along with whatever Johan’s got planned just because he happens to have the same goals as us? Give me a break!”

“Yeah, I can’t say I’m too thrilled about wanting to hear whatever comes out of his mouth,” Law said. “It’s nice he wants to stop Isaac and Foundation, but he’s put us through the runaround too many times for me to trust him.”

“Really?” Sorin asked.

Luna looked over to Sorin as she clasped her hands together. “I don’t know if I’ve already told you this, but I don’t like it when people deceive me or my friends,” she said. “I’m sure you had your reasons for doing so, but not telling us about Johan makes it tough for me to believe that I can trust him. I guess that would include you, too, wouldn’t it?”

“It was because we had to stay out of Korbin’s focus,” Sorin said. “Please, I don’t want to have to argue about this.”

“I’m not arguing with you… am I?” Luna asked. “No, of course not! I’m just upset that you deceived us! I even saw you cry a little during Rain’s coronation! Was that part of your deception, too?”

“No, not at all!” Sorin exclaimed.

“You and Johan clearly have good intentions,” Pekka said. He stood up and began walking towards the front. “But those good intentions don’t matter when you’re leaving the rest of us out of the know. I had placed my trust in Johan and he left me behind, just like he did to Luna and even to you. If this is the sort of treatment to expect from you two going forward, then I’m out.”

Luna jumped up to her feet. “Pekka, wait!”

She followed after him as Sorin turned to Gale. It was clear to him that she was as stunned as he was as Luna and Pekka had now left the lounge. Gavin and Law remained, though they also appeared weary of what Sorin had to say. Kiku, Ayame, and Igor did not speak either, as Sorin suspected that the three of them were perplexed at the sudden turn of events. There was little that Sorin could do to change the mood. No one spoke up, not even Kiku. Everyone decided to leave only five minutes later as Sorin and Gale were left to themselves.

“I’m sorry,” Gale said, placing her hand in Sorin’s.

“You’re not the one who should be apologizing,” Sorin replied. “Damn it, this was the sort of thing I didn’t want to have happen…”

“There’s enough time,” she said. “Though, if I have to admit it, I was a little upset you didn’t tell us about Johan sooner. I understand why you didn’t but at the very least you could’ve told me about it.”

Sorin brushed his hair back with his hand. “There was too much risk,” he said. “I guess that I should’ve told you… I should’ve trusted you more, Gale, and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to do that.”

Gale smiled. “Please don’t worry about it,” she replied. “Let’s just focus on what was accomplished today.”

“You’re right,” Sorin said. “Well, we might as well head back to the hotel for now. Maybe we’ll run into Gavin or something…”


To be continued…


Previous| Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 14 (Part 2)

[20th of December, 2740 AD; Sparrow Hotel – Indoor Lounge, Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Henry leaned back in his seat as he wondered what to do next. He waited for Tori to return from the local shop as she went with the boys to pick up some snacks. But Henry was not hungry in the slightest. After what took place earlier, Henry found it difficult to stomach the course of actions that took place during his meeting with Rohan about the comments that were made the night before. It was something he had to do, which was why Henry brought Tori and the kids along to meet Fercewend. However, the general was busy meeting with Isaac, so Henry had to deal with both of them at the same time.

“That man continues to harbor hatred towards me,” Henry said. “And to say that in front of Tori and the boys… Does Isaac Kunigunde have no decency left in him?”

One statement was all that was needed for Henry to have caution against Isaac. The words that he had said to Henry left him chilled and worried not only for himself, but for his family as well. It was the type of fear that Henry had felt many times during his days as a soldier, but instead of coming from enemy forces, it was straight from a fellow compatriot of Ameci.




“At the end of the day, decisions are to be made by the president and the general,” Isaac said. “Consider yourself lucky that you get to enjoy your little free time like this, because I’m certain that it will be the last.”

“You… What is it with you and Henry?” Tori asked. “All he did was ask Rohan a single question, and you step in to shoot it down with such contempt.”

“I don’t recall anyone asking you to speak, woman,” Isaac said. “Anyway, I’m sure that you know now that you’re walking on a thin rope. It was only a few months ago that the charges of treason against you were lifted, yet all the same they can come back should any new ‘evidence’ pops up.”

“But Rohan has already said that the claims were unfounded,” Henry replied. “As far as the law is concerned, I am innocent.”

Isaac raised a finger. “Do you forget, Henry Randolph? It was our general here who decided that,” he said. “Now he is a man of high stature, but if push comes to shove… well, I’m sure your tiny brain is able to figure it out. Rohan! What are you standing there for?”

“Of course,” Fercewend said.

“Hold on a second,” Henry said. “You know damn well what happened last night, and what’s happening now, Rohan. Say something!”

“Henry, you should know that above all else, we must work together to preserve order,” Fercewend said. “We must continue to have order, otherwise, we will end up falling into disarray.”

“Come on,” Tori said. “It’s not about ‘order,’ Rohan. It’s about doing what’s right.”

“Listen here,” Isaac said to Henry and Tori. He walked up to the family as his eyebrows furrowed. “If I had it my way, I’d waste no time filling out the papers for your execution, Henry Randolph.”

He turned away from them and went back to Fercewend.

“Have a nice day,” Isaac said. “Shall we, Rohan?”




Henry slammed his fist down on the table. He hated to admit it, but he was scared. Fear that everything could all come crashing down on him again. There was no doubt in Henry’s mind now: Isaac Kunigunde was a much more menacing adversary than anyone he had ever faced during the War of the Lands.

“Whatever sort of grudge he has towards me, I’ll just have to face it head on,” Henry said. “It doesn’t matter who he is; Isaac Kunigunde is still just another man and I can deal with him.”

“Are you alright?” Kirk asked.

Henry looked up from the table and found that Kirk and Eva by his table. The two were by themselves as Henry got up and greeted them. He did not expect to meet them at the hotel, of all places, though it was a pleasant surprise.

Kirk took the seat across from Henry. “I guess you had quite a morning at the Glora Grand Hall.”

“It’s not like there was any kind of scuffle or anything,” Henry replied. “But it does make the rest of this trip a little problematic for the family and I…”

“Then you just slammed the table for nothing?” Eva asked, taking a seat next to Kirk.

“I didn’t think anyone saw,” Henry said.

“Don’t worry,” Kirk said, “I’m not too fond of the guy, either. I’ve never been that fond of him, in fact.”

“You shouldn’t be surprised,” Eva said to Henry. “That man’s whole career is built on looking down on others and screwing over the unfortunate.”

Henry looked up at the ceiling. “I’m not, if I have to be honest with you,” he replied, “But I’m not worried about myself this time.”

“You’re worried about them,” Eva said.

“I can’t even begin to think what I’d do if anything were to happen to Tori or the boys,” Henry said. “That’s why I’m so tense right now.”

Eva sighed as she tilted her head down. “It’s a pain you shouldn’t have to experience,” she replied. “Pain that you don’t deserve at all.”

“Right now, I guess there’s little I can do,” Henry said, “But that encounter only furthers my resolve. There’s nothing that he can do that will stop that.”

“Good for you, Henry,” Kirk said. “Well, I guess it would be fair to tell you what we know about Isaac, since it may prove relevant for you.”

Henry raised an eyebrow. “What do you know?”

“I never told you about it back at the kingdom, but the leader of the Neu Thekohnian Order wasn’t Isla,” Eva said. “Well, she was, technically, but there was another who was pulling the strings from afar.”

After a lengthy explanation about all that had happened within Thedam Castle, which Henry listened to with high intent, many things were beginning to make sense for him. Still, he had many questions as well, which only served to confuse him as he was not sure that Kirk or Eva would be able to answer any of the questions that he had. What was obvious was that Isaac Kunigunde crossed a line. It was a line that if someone like Henry had crossed, there would be no time wasted in processing his arrest.

“To think that he would be this duplicitous… I knew that there was more beneath his facade, but to think he’s playing the Ameci government while he’s rubbing their shoulders at the same time?” Henry asked. He clenched his fist as it began to shake. “He’s secretly influenced that dangerous group for his own gain… All of this tragedy and bloodshed just because he’s not satisfied with how much money he already has?”

“I was worried about whether or not to tell you back then,” Eva said. “But I should know that you’ve been a good ally to Kirk and I…”

“It’s okay,” Henry said. “Now that I know exactly what that man’s capable of, I will do my best to keep on moving forward and fight.”

“What will you do now?” Kirk asked.

“Well, we were going to enjoy our vacation a little more,” Henry replied, “But since it seems like there’s plenty to deal with, I’m not sure what Tori and I can do to help.”

“You should stay with them for the time being,” Kirk said. “Your family is important, after all.”

“There’s not much we can do right now, anyway,” Eva said.

“It sure seems like that’s the case,” Henry said. “Say, where’s Sorin, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Kirk shrugged. “I don’t really know myself,” he replied. “Of course, I’m sure he’s doing something out there.”




[20th of December, 2740 AD; The Robin’s Nest, Glora, Ahnlikohn – Erithacus District]


Sorin looked at the clock on the wall. It was now an hour from noon and the summit had already begun, according the what Rain had told him. Due to the high amount of traffic surrounding the Glora Grand Hall, Sorin and the others were not able to attend up close. Instead, he and Gale decided to meet them at the closest lounge they could find. There, they went with Gavin and Law as well as Luna and Pekka. Much to their surprise, or rather their lack thereof, the group found Kiku and her guards there, as well as Noa.

“Wow, Wilkie, it’s really nice to see you!” Kiku exclaimed.

She embraced Sorin as he could only muster a small laugh, but he was glad to see her regardless. Kiku then backed off and shook hands with everyone. Sorin sat down as the radio on the speaker continued to play out the speeches at the summit, with a quiet speech from Elemci’s president first.

“You’re not over there?” Gale asked. “I thought you’d be over there talking with everybody.”

“Oh no, not me,” Kiku replied. “I know Ray and Minnie are there, but I can’t stand the tension! Not while I’m still so full of energy and excitement!”

“Besides, I’m not sure where I would fit in,” Noa said. “I’m not really an official or a part of the military… and I know Kiku doesn’t really want me to go wandering around by myself too much.”

“Please, Nona, when have I ever said that?” Kiku asked. “I was just worried about you getting lonely because you won’t have me to talk to, silly.”

“Really?” Law asked. “Because I’d like to think he’d be going around the town, searching for some fine ladies to talk to…”

“Calm down, Lawrence,” Gavin said.

“How… How dare you say that!” Noa said to Law.

Kiku giggled as she held Noa’s hand. “Though Nona isn’t really the type of guy who can just strike up conversations with women, I still love him,” she said. “Besides, if I wanted to, I’d be happy to talk to any woman for him!”

“Isn’t that a little too much?” Luna asked.

“I’d never play with his heart like that, Gab,” Kiku replied. “Nona and I are inseparable! I’d give my heart to him and I know he’d do the same.”

“It’s… true,” Noa said.

“So is that that ‘death to us part’ thing I’ve heard about?” Igor asked. “Or is that something else I mixed up?”

“I guess it could be like that,” Kiku said.

“Well, I’m not looking to die any time soon,” Noa said. “Not now, not later, not ever, hopefully!”

“That’d be pretty impossible,” Law said. “We all have to go eventually. All that really matters is what you do before then. I plan on gracing this world with my presence, which is why I’m working as an actor!”

“How is that going along?” Luna asked. “I ask because I’ve heard so much about acting and singing and I think it was Kiku there who told me I had a good singing voice. I was nervous about it, but the other day, I sang in front of Pekka and he said it was really good, though I feel like I could have done a lot better all things considered. I mean… How do you like being an actor?”

Law clasped his hands together and grinned. “I’m the star of the show,” he replied. “They love me on the stage and I even have the attention of a beautiful young stagehand named Em.”

“He has a supporting role,” Gavin said.

“Oh, that must be quite nice,” Kiku said. “Those bright lights must put a lot of pressure on you, Lala, but I’m not surprised that you have a natural talent for the stage.”

“Thank you,” Law replied. “You know, there is one scene in this play that I do need a bit of practice on… Maybe you could help me out, Luna.”

Luna’s eyes lit up. “Who? Me?”

“Well, who else could I be talking to?” Law asked. “There’s only one person here that I can think of that would be perfect for practicing with.”

“You better tell us where this is going,” Gavin said.

“In time, bro,” Law said. “Tell me, Luna: have you ever kissed anyone before?”

Luna turned her head aside and covered her mouth. “What… What kind of question is that!?”

“Well, if we’re going to practice this scene, I need to know how experienced my co-star is,” Law answered.

“I guess it was time,” Gale said.

Gavin placed his hand on his forehead and over his sunglasses. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Aren’t you already with that lieutenant general lady?” Noa asked. “Won’t she be upset?”

“He’s not going to do anything stupid like that,” Gale said. “All he cares about is getting a reaction out of Luna over there.”

“Hehe, it’s the perfect reaction for her, though,” Kiku said. “I’ve never seen quite a shade of red like that, so that’s a plus for you, Gab!”

“I think it’d be best you two leave the poor girl alone,” Ayame said. “Clearly, she is nervous being asked about such personal matters.”

“Oh, okay,” Kiku replied.

“I suppose that’s a no, then,” Law said. “Well, if that’s the word, then I’m not going to pursue it any further.”

Law stood up and started to head for the front of the room. Sorin, though, continued to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. There was no chance he was going to overlook Korbin and his Blood Ravens, nor was he going to sit back if they acted first. Still, when he glanced out to the street, Sorin could not find any of the Ameci soldiers strolling about.

“Not a trace, it seems,” Sorin said.

“What are you talking about, Wilkie?” Kiku asked.

Sorin shook his head. “I… I thought it was going to snow today,” he said. “Guess I was wrong.”

“We don’t get that much snow back home,” Kiku replied. “That said, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with winter. I like being able to cuddle when it gets too cold, but I don’t like having to wear such a thick coat! I wish it was warmer, you know?”

“Truly, it would be nicer if it were warmer,” Law said. “There’s something spectacular about the summer, if you catch my drift.”

“Oh, and what would that be?” Pekka asked.

At that moment, before Law could answer, there was a break in the radio broadcast. The static caused everyone to take notice, which was then followed by some piercing feedback that made everyone cover their ears. The noise quieted down, however, as the silence soon followed. Sorin knew now that it was time for the next phase.

“Sorry about that little noise,” the muffled voice said. “This kind of thing isn’t exactly my forte…”

Sorin was sure that the other patrons at the lounge, as well as some of his friends, were confused at what they were hearing. However, Sorin was happy to hear that Johan had finally established a signal for everyone in Glora to hear. He had to wonder how Johan pulled it off, but that would have to be a question for much later. Now it was time for Johan to reveal the truth.

“You may be asking yourself: who is this and why are they interrupting the summit? Well, that is simple,” Johan said, “I am the leader of the Moonlit Silence, the group that reaches into the depths of the dark and brings to light the truths that Foundation does not want you to see!”

“So this is his plan,” Pekka said.

“Huh? What plan?” Kiku asked. “That voice sounds familiar… Could it be who I think it is, Aya?”

“Let’s listen to what he has to say first,” Ayame replied.

“Before I reveal anything, I must tell you in advance that I have operated within the Neu Thekohnian Order for the purpose of obtaining these hidden documents,” Johan said. “The letters I am about to read to you detail important conversations between the leader of the Neu Thekohnian Order and their benefactor, Isaac Kunigunde.”

There was some chatter amongst the other patrons as Sorin continued to listen with intent. Naming Isaac made Johan a target, for sure, but Sorin knew he did not care about that.

“What I’m going to read to you today will not only unveil the crimes of Isaac Kunigunde, but those of Casper Bradley and Wilson Dezine as well,” Johan said. “Let this be known, Isaac: the moment I am done speaking, you will not be able to escape from your fate.”


To be continued…


Previous| Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 5 (Part 2)

[5th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Rain’s Living Quarters]


“Mina… Mina, wake up,” Rain said.

It had taken a few moments, but Mina awoke from her slumber as she was greeted to Rain tapping her on the shoulder. After setting up the summit, Rain had taken the day off to spend time with Mina and explored the countryside with her. Of course, they were accompanied by Gamal Gomel, but Mina could tell that Rain did not matter about that. All that mattered was that they spent their time together, which was something that Mina cherished. That carried over once they returned to the castle, where the two had a private dinner and soon after, spent the rest of the night in Rain’s bedroom. But now, Mina had to face the new day as the two lay naked in Rain’s bed while the sunlight greeted them through the open window.

“I’m awake, I’m awake!” Mina exclaimed, sitting up.

“I can see that,” Rain replied. “Oh, but don’t be too loud… At least, don’t be as loud as you got last night.”

“Oh, sorry,” Mina said. “I’m still… kinda new to that sort of stuff…”

Rain smiled laid on her side. “You’re fine,” she said. “Last night was an unforgettable night of passion with you. It was almost as good as the first time that we made love, don’t you agree?”

“I do,” Mina said.

Rain rested her hand on Mina’s thigh. “They say that no matter how strong you are, everyone has a weakness,” she said. “Knowing that yours is that inside of your leg, well, it is a special sight to watch you peak.”

Mina could feel the fluttering in her stomach. “You’re just so assertive,” she replied. “Even when I do it to you…”

“You’re a great listener,” Rain said. “There are so many things I could say about you and why they’re all the reasons that I love you, but sometimes I can’t help but feel a little selfish as I look at your bare body before me.”

“Thank.. Thank you…”

“You’re welcome,” Rain replied. “I could just run my hand over your stomach right now; your abs are something to truly admire.”

Mina gasped as Rain did just that. “If… If I could say something about you,” she said, “It’s that your legs are much stronger up close!”

“I suppose you’re right,” Rain said. “Of course, when pressed against you, my chest is nowhere near as endowed as yours. Then again, I’ve always been happy with how I am, as I am with you.”

Rain sat up and wrapped her arms around Mina, who responded by doing the same.

“Though I will say that looking down your back, your butt is particularly well developed,” Rain said. “I’d be lying if I said I did not want to feel it right now, love.”

“You… You can feel it if you want,” Mina replied.

“As much as I’d wish to continue last night, I can’t,” Rain said. “There’s only so many hours in the day and there’s important business to take care of regarding the kingdom.”

Mina felt Rain’s arms lift off of her. “I got it,” she said. “Is there anything I could do to help?”

“You know that I would never say no to your help,” Rain replied. “Actually, there is something that I want to tell you about, but I’ll tell you after I go and get dressed.”

Rain got out of the bed and walked over to the bathroom to wash up. As that happened, Mina watched Rain walk away. That was when she realized that she would have to get dressed, too, and leapt out of bed so she could shower and put some clothes on. Mina was certain that today was important, but she had to know firsthand what needed to be done.




Out in the main hall, Mina looked down the stairs. She had fun running up and down each step as part of her personal training, but Mina knew that there was more to training than that. With a deep breath, Mina prepared to take the first step, but stopped once she felt a hand on her back.

“Something tells me you miss Rezar,” Rain said.

“You can tell, can’t you,” Mina replied. “I guess it’s pretty obvious I miss them, but don’t get me wrong! I love spending time with you, especially on your days off!”

“I know that,” Rain said. “It’s okay to feel sad.”

“I’m not sad… No, I’m not,” Mina said. “It’s just that I don’t get to see my uncle that much, and despite reuniting with my mom, I barely hear from her. I miss them, as well as Sorin, Ayanna, Gavin, and the others!”

“I miss them all, too,” Rain said. “Oh, you know what would be a good idea?”

“What is it?” Mina asked.

Rain had a small smile on her face. “Well, it’s something that I wanted ever since I was a young child,” she replied. “You wouldn’t mind carrying me in your arms as we go down the stairs, would you?”

Mina’s eyes lit up. “Of course I wouldn’t mind! I’d love to do that with you right now!”

Rain adjusted herself so Mina could carry her. As Mina walked down the stairs with Rain in her arms, she felt happy that she could enjoy this moment. Once at the bottom, Dustin and Gamal greeted the two women.

“I see you’re enjoying yourself, Your Majesty,” Gamal said. “Still thinking about yesterday, I assume?”

Rain got to her feet with Mina’s assistance. “I just asked her to do that small task for me,” she replied. “That is all.”

Gamal chuckled. “If that’s it, then I suppose that you’re ready to discuss with us your upcoming trip.”

“I would love to,” Rain said.

“Wait, a trip?” Mina asked. “You’re going on a trip?”

“And this is the surprise I told you about,” Rain said. “All of us are heading off to Iiayikohn today.”

Mina gasped. “We’re going to go now? We’re really going to go to Iiayikohn and Rezar?”

Rain nodded as she patted Mina on the back. “I really wanted to tell you yesterday, but these two suggested I keep it a secret,” she said. “I can see that by your delighted outburst that it was a good suggestion.”

“Trust me, Your Majesty, I know the art of surprise,” Dustin said. “Nothing like a surprise trip for your loved one.”

“Well, it’s not just a trip of leisure, Sir Dustin,” Rain said. “Though it will be nice getting to meet everyone again, this trip is more about meeting with the Iiayikohnian prime minister to discuss the upcoming summit.”

“But we’ll still be able to see everyone, right?” Mina asked. “Right? Right? We can have a big feast and everything! I can show Sorin my cool new tricks and he’ll be very impressed!”

“She’s quite eager about going,” Gamal said.

“Oh, but what Storm?” Mina wondered. “Is she coming, too?”

“Unfortunately, she won’t be coming,” Rain replied. “She has to watch over the kingdom in my absence, after all.”

“I see,” Mina said. “We can bring her something so she doesn’t feel left out! How about it?”

“Of course,” Rain said. “Anyway, we should really get going to the station. Shall we?”

Nothing more needed to be said as the four headed out of the castle on their way to Iiayikohn. Mina could not wait to see everyone again and catch up with them in person. Still, it would not be everyone, as Mina remembered Eva and wondered to herself where the swordswoman was at this moment.




[5th of December, 2740 AD; Ji-Kiku Bay – off the docks of North Mikahana, Kikuisha]


Eva looked over the railing of the ship. The country she had spent the past few days in looked beautiful against the cloudless sky. After waking up earlier than she had expected, Eva spent her morning trying to get back to sleep, only for her to spend more time blowing off steam at her frustrations instead. Once that was done, Eva met with Kiku and her group and went for a large breakfast. It was after that when they decided to see Eva off when Kiku began talking to her at the docks while Noa, Ayame, and Igor watched.

“You really must come again sometime soon, Evie,” Kiku said. “Hopefully it will be under better terms.”

“Thank you,” Eva said. “I’m sorry if I brought things down for all of you.”

“No, it’s quite okay,” Kiku replied. “Everyone has moments where they feel like the clouds are grey and the flowers don’t seem to be blooming.”

“I suppose,” Eva said.

“I know that if it weren’t for Aya and Iggy, I don’t know how I’d be able to get through my youth,” Kiku said. “Oh, I should tell you something before you go, Evie. It’s kind of personal, so…”

“Pardon?” Eva asked.

Kiku leaned in towards Eva. “I talked with Nona last night,” she whispered. “It seems he’d be very interested in involving you during our personal time.”

Eva backed up and glared at Kiku. “Excuse me?”

“All I’m saying is that he didn’t say no,” Kiku replied.

“Surely you must be joking,” Eva said. “I mean… that’s not something I can see myself doing.”

“Oh, you really can see right through me,” Kiku said. “It seems like I’ve found the right buttons to press in order to get a reaction out of you, Evie!”

Eva placed her palm on her forehead. “I appreciate the thought,” she said. “But it’s not something I’d joke about so lightly.”

“What are you guys talking about?” Igor asked.

“It’s nothing important, Iggy,” Kiku answered. “But seriously, Evie, there is something that I wish to share with you and only you… Well, Nona knows, too, but you and him, I promise!”

“Tell me it’s not another one of your jokes, Kiku,” Eva said.

Kiku leaned in towards Eva once more. “I got myself a special item for me and Nona to use,” she whispered. “It… Well, it’s exhilarating but a little taboo, if you get my drift.”

“What are you talking about?” Eva asked.

“Let’s just say that this item is meant for the back,” Kiku said. “I figure you’d be experienced enough to know what I’m talking about, right, Evie?”

“Oh god, no,” Eva replied. “If that’s what you like, fine, but I want no part of it whatsoever!”

Kiku backed up. “My, you reacted with such vehemence,” she said. “Well, I’m also using it right now, if you must know.”

“That’s not something I needed to know!” Eva exclaimed. “I mean, I would never put something in there…”

“Oh no,” Noa said. “Please tell me you’re not telling her what I think you’re telling her!”

“Hush, Nona,” Kiku said. “This is a conversation between Evie and I. I’ll tell you all about it later.”

Noa groaned. “I guess I’ve got no say in this.”

Eva sighed. The ship’s horn blared, which caused her to look at the ship itself. She looked back to Kiku and then to the group.

“It’s about time,” Eva said. “You’re only trying to joke with me, I know, but some things are personal for a reason.”

“I understand,” Kiku replied as she hugged Eva. “I won’t tell you any more about that stuff.”

“Thank you,” Eva said. “It was nice seeing you again.”

“And it was nice to see you,” Kiku said. “Especially when we were in the sauna… Hehe, I guess that’s a little too personal, right?”

“Thanks again,” Eva replied.

As she separated from Kiku’s arms, Eva said goodbye to the others. With Noa and Igor, the farewells were brief, but Ayame was there to give extra praise to Eva before the swordswoman headed for the ship.

“Perhaps when it is warmer, we can spar,” Ayame said. “I’ve always been intrigued to see for myself the warrior inside you, Eva.”

“I’d be happy to,” Eva replied.

“Whenever the time is right, don’t hesitate to let me know,” Ayame said. “You are quite strong, after all.”

“Okay, well, I’ll think about it,” Eva said. “I must go, though.”

“Then we won’t hold you up any longer,” Ayame said. “Come on, Madame Izumi. I think it’s about time we headed back to the castle, don’t you think?”

“Do we have to?” Kiku asked. “I wanted to see Evie’s ship set off!”

Ayame sighed. “Very well.”

And that was the last sight Eva saw as she hurried onto the ship. Now that the boat had set off, though, Eva had to focus on what she wanted to do next. Would she head back to Ameci and reunite with Kirk? No, she was not ready to face him again. Not yet. There were only a few options she could pursue and the one that came to mind was to head back to Rezar and check up on Sorin and the others. As far as Eva knew, Mina remained in the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn with Rain and did not want to head back there yet.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “It will be a little while longer…”

Eva felt that she was unable to conquer the persistent thoughts inside her head. It all had to do with what Ayame had said to her before she got on the ship. Despite her attempt to pay no mind to the compliment, Eva could not shake the word away from her. Even though Ayame meant what she said as a compliment, the memories of that tragic night came rushing back to her again.

“Damn it, no,” Eva said as she pounded her fist on the top railing. “Go away, go away!”

No, it felt impossible, she thought. She needed to take her mind off of the past and had to keep moving forward. That was what Eva believed, but in this instance, that line of thought was hard to follow. From the day after she lost her fiance to this morning, there were certain words she dreaded. All they did was make her remember that night, that corpse, and the blood that had splattered over her. Eva knew full well all the vital points of a person’s body, which she used to her advantage in fights, but she did not feel like that made her stronger. Yet, she knew that she had to use it in order to survive during the war. But no matter what she could do, Eva felt overwhelmed by the sudden rush to her head.

“I need… I need to go lay down,” she said. “This can’t go on anymore… I can’t do this…”


To be continued…


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Aurora – Chapter 5 (Part 1)

[4th of December, 2740 AD; Market of the Flowers, Mikahana, Kikuisha]


Later in the evening, Eva returned to the city with Ayame and Kiku. At the market square were Noa and Igor, both of whom awaited their return. To Eva, she felt that today was both a long and short day at the same time. Still, she was glad to be back and meet with the two men that had been busy during the day. Everyone decided to go to the hotel where Eva was staying and sat at the restaurant where Noa began to talk. Igor had his hands clasped together and leaned forward while Ayame took a seat next to him.

“He was surprisingly quiet,” Noa said. “Does he usually get like that when you’re not around?”

“Iggy’s just shy,” Kiku replied.

“N-No, that’s not it,” Igor said. “I just had nothing else to do… You know, there is your training we have to attend to tomorrow.”

“I know that,” Kiku said. “You just don’t want to talk about how much Nona intimidates you, do you?”

“I intimidate him?” Noa asked. “I’m not intimidating at all! If anything… If anything, he intimidates me!”

“Oh my, you seem to be in denial,” Kiku replied. “You don’t have to sell yourself short to me. In fact, I quite like it when you’re intimidating…”

Noa shifted in his seat. “What… What are you talking about?”

“She says a lot of things,” Ayame said. “It seems that she’s just trying to rib you, that is all.”

Kiku placed her hand on top of Noa’s. “I’m not, Aya,” she said. “Nona’s got a look of determination in his eyes, almost as if he’s a tiger ready to pounce on his prey.”

“If he’s a tiger, then what does that make me?” Igor asked. “I’m scared to hear what you’ve got to say…”

“If that’s the case, why did you ask?” Eva said.

“Tell me,” Kiku said to Noa, “If you do anything in the world right now, what would it be?”

“Anything at all?” Noa asked.

“Surely there’s some deep desire in your heart,” Kiku replied. “Something you wish to do, but haven’t yet.”

“I don’t know what to say,” Noa said. “I’ve never thought about something like that… I mean, I have you, so there’s not much else I could ask for…”

“You really are sweet,” Kiku said, “But that’s not what I’m asking you.”

Eva sighed and stood up. She went around the table and walked up to Noa, who turned and realized what had just happened.

“Eva! What’s going on?” Noa asked.

Eva leaned in. “She’s asking what you want to do to her,” she whispered. “I won’t offer any more hints.”

Noa’s eyes widened. “I… Oh god,” he said. “Does that mean what I think it means, Eva?”

With nothing more to say, Eva turned to the rest of the group. “I’m getting tired,” she said. “I’m going to go to sleep.”

“You are?” Kiku asked. “Oh, but we were just about to hear what Nona had to say!”

“It sounds fun, but I’m leaving in the morning,” Eva replied. “There’s something that I need to do.”

Not another word was said by Eva as she left the restaurant and headed back towards her hotel room. Before she could enter, however, Ayame followed after her and stopped her before she could open the door.

“Please wait, Eva,” Ayame said.

“What is it?” Eva asked.

“I know that you don’t wish to stay for much longer,” Ayame said. “I get that. Saying goodbye is difficult, especially for Madame Izumi, but are you certain that you’re going to leave in the morning?”

“I am,” Eva said.

“Then at least let us see you off,” Ayame replied. “That’s the least we can do for you.”

Eva sighed. “Go ahead.”

“Thank you,” Ayame said. “I’ll let you go on your way, then.”

She said her goodbye to Eva, who returned the farewell as she headed inside her room. The only thing that Eva wanted to do was lay on her bed as she tried to push away the memories of her past. Eva let herself fall face first onto the bed as she attempted to forget about what she had said to Ayame earlier in the day.

Dying was something that Eva feared, with only the fear of losing those closest to her being stronger. These fears were realized almost twenty years ago, when Eva was a nurse for one of the top hospitals in Admorse. She was engaged to a fellow doctor and was set to marry him, but during one unfortunate night, she lost him to a rampaging killer. A killer that had eventually cornered Eva, forcing her to defend herself. That night was the first time she had ever taken another person’s life. She could still remember how horrified she was when she saw her fiance lying lifeless on the ground and the blood that had splattered all over her uniform once she had done the deed.

She thought that she would not have to remember that night again, but it was inevitable. It always was, Eva thought. Despite her attempts to avoid tragedy, she felt that tragedy hover over her like a dark cloud. Such was the same only five years after when she lost her second lover during the War of the Lands. At least during that time, however, she had Belkley Ghillard to care for, even if the pain of loss once again affected her. Eva, if anything, at least had someone she could be a guardian for, though that would prove not to last. It all happened not too long ago when she had lost the young man she treated like a son and to this day, Eva felt powerless. Despite her skill, despite her experience, she felt incapable of ever protecting people she cared about.

“That’s why I have to do it,” Eva said. “I have to leave soon.”

Sleep soon came as Eva drifted off, still lying flat on top of the bed as the sun started to set. Where she would go, however, was still unknown to her. She knew, however, that she had to leave her friends behind once again, even if it did hurt for her.




[4th of December, 2740 AD; Copper Hotel, Oelaans, Thekohn – Felis District]


It was a calm night in Oelaans as Johan and Jelka made it to the land of Thekohn. As far as Johan knew, the Ameci military was not stationed here, so it was easier for the two to plan their next move. The summit was still far off, so in the meantime, other measures had to be taken. Johan entered the large hotel room with Jelka, who was surprised by the size of the room in comparison to the one they had in Hurst.

“Well, your parents used to be politicians, right?” Johan asked. “I would think you’d be used to large rooms.”

“Yes, but it’s been years since I was in such a nice place,” Jelka replied. “Even more so seeing that large bed.”

She pointed over to the bed at the end of the room. The royal blue blanket covered the bed with several large pillows lined up against the headboard. Johan took a step further and ran his hand across the fabric while Jelka watched.

“It appears that we have been blessed by a bountiful bed,” Johan said. “You’re free to feel for yourself if you want.”

“Oh, no… No, I mustn’t,” Jelka replied.

“Guess you’re just about the business, then,” he said. “Of course, that’s why we’re here. I’ll start… that is, if you don’t have anything to say first.”

Jelka chose not to respond.

“I’ll take that as a no, then,” Johan said. “So if we want to find a way into defeating Foundation, we have to start somewhere. It would be easy and logical to take down Isaac Kunigunde, but he’s back in Ameci for now.”

“You’re not suggesting we make way to Ameci, are you?” Jelka asked. “If they find out that you’re still alive…”

“I’m not saying that we go after Mr. Kunigunde,” Johan replied. “What I am suggesting is that we remove a loyal supporter to the group. A man who, until somewhat recently, was underneath everyone’s radar. The True Thekohnians and the Neu Thekohnian Order paid Rodik Mahrk no attention, but that was only because he’s just a figurehead who was placed only to divert from Foundation’s fuck-up.”

“Then you’re saying our mission is in Bel,” Jelka said. “The past few days, we’ve been running around, but it looks like we’re finally set on a destination. How are we going to deal with President Mahrk?”

Johan chuckled. “That’s for me to figure out.”

“For you?”

“Jelka, as much as I appreciate your devotion, I’m afraid that I’ll have to go this one alone,” Johan said. “There’s a certain risk that this task entails and having more than one person on the job would jeopardize the mission.”

“But if that’s the case, then it would be better to go together,” Jelka replied. “There’s no telling what could be in store for you if someone were to spot you, especially if they’re an Ameci!”

Johan turned to Jelka, placed his hands on her shoulders and looked her in the eyes. “There’s a more important job for you,” he said. “We still have to worry about Rysol, do we not?”

“He still needs to be rescued,” she said. “We still have no clue as to where he’s being held captive and following after Korbin would be unwise.”

“Yet I think that that may be a clue itself,” Johan replied. “The Ameci Embassy is in Rezar, not Hurst, so it seems strange for a soldier like Korbin to stay in that town. Jelka, I know you and I believe that you might have an idea as to how you can get closer without Korbin spotting you.”

“You do?” Jelka asked.

“Of course I do,” Johan said. “There’s no one I know that’s like you, and I mean that as a compliment. You won’t give up, which is a truly admirable trait and one of the reasons why I came to you.”

He then removed his hands from her shoulders and sat upon the bed. As he did, Jelka looked away.

“So am I to assume that that’s all you wish to tell me?” Jelka asked.

“There’s nothing else I can talk about,” Johan replied. “Our goals are clear and it would be a good idea if we both got some sleep.”

“I guess so,” Jelka said. “Although, I have to say that having only one bed brings up… an interesting situation…”

Johan looked at her, then down at the bed. “Oh, how could I forget,” he said. “It’d be rude of me to take this bed from you. You should take it instead; here, I’ll let you have it.”

With no warning, he jumped up from the bed to his feet and presented the bed to Jelka. She gazed at him for a moment, but then decided to just take his offer and sit on the bed.

“I should have realized sooner,” Johan said. “There’s a perfectly fine bathtub in the bathroom, so I’ll just go sleep in that for the night. Besides, you probably want to change out of those clothes, don’t you?”

“It’s not like I mind…”

“Well, I guess it’s time for me to head off,” Johan said as he picked up a nearby cushion. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

As Johan left the main room, Jelka tried to forget about it and focus on the task she had been given. She had no time to think about any of her unnecessary thoughts. Saving Rysol was the only priority for her at the moment and Johan’s priority at the moment was in Maeitakohn. Anything else would have to be discussed after they had taken down Foundation. At least, that was what Jelka believed.


To be continued…


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Aurora – Chapter 2 (Part 1)

[3rd of December, 2740 AD; North Gate Hotel, Mikahana, Kikuisha]


Eva sat up in her bed and sighed. “Oh, I’m awake… again,” she said. “Damn it all…”

After what felt like hours upon hours, Eva Bellamy woke up to be greeted by the morning sunlight coming in through the window of the hotel room. It had been an uneventful past few days for Eva, yet all the same, she felt like it had been a burden on her. She was on her own, so it would not have been that bad, but Eva missed Kirk. It was something that she hated to admit, but Eva missed him and his positive demeanor.

“I wonder if he feels the same way,” she said. “It really isn’t the same without you…”

Eva spent the past few days traveling the Thekohnian Region, all the while juggling so many thoughts in her mind. She had left Thedam Castle abruptly as both Rain and Mina watched, which only served to make Eva feel worse. Truly, Eva really did not want to leave the way that she did, but she did not want to be a burden to the new Queen of Thekohn.

“Someday, I’ll go back there,” Eva said. “I’ll go and see for myself exactly the woman you’ll become, Rain.”

She laid back down on the bed and looked to the lamp near her bed. It was on despite the fact that it was morning. Eva remembered why it was on: she had fallen asleep while thinking about Kirk. It had to be around then that Eva lost consciousness while seeking relief. Remembering that only served to make Eva wish that she was better and back in Ameci with Kirk, but for now, she could only make use with her fingers. She sighed again as she reached for her eyepatch and put it on over her right eye.

“Guess I shouldn’t sit in bed all day,” Eva said. “I’ll just get some clothes on and take a stroll for a bit, I guess.”

She got dressed and hurried out of her hotel room. There was not that much for Eva to do in the hotel, so she decided to head to the market and walk around. At least she might have been able to clear her mind, Eva thought. If there was something that she could do, Eva was sure to take that option. Perhaps she could go see the garden everyone spoke about.




After a small breakfast, Eva went to the nearby garden and took in the sight of all the flowers and plants around her. The garden had a welcoming feel to it, which put Eva at some ease as she took a few steps forward. There did not seem to be that many people inside, either, which comforted Eva as she took a stroll through the garden. As she tried to get closer to a bunch of growing daisies, however, Eva ended up bumping into another person. She looked immediately and found a recognizable face belonging to a towering man.

“Sorry! I’m so sorry,” Noa said. “Wait, I know you! Oh no, please don’t hurt me, Eva!”

Noa cowered while Eva shook her head. At least she knew that Noa posed no threat to her, though she did wonder what he was doing here.

“Are you waiting for someone?” Eva asked.

“I’m… I’m not,” Noa said. “Actually, this is part of my job. I work with the city’s recreational offices now.”

“I had no idea you moved here,” Eva said. “Though I suppose in your case, I can’t exactly blame you.”

“Well, it took me everything to make this move,” Noa replied. “If it wasn’t for her, then I might still be in the military…”

Eva smiled. “So you’ve really fallen for her, haven’t you?”

“What makes you say that?” Noa asked. “I mean, why do you say that, Eva? I never said anything about my relationship with Kiku at all!”

“You just did,” she replied. “Trust me, I know.”

Noa laughed as he shifted his eyes from side to side. “I wonder where my boss is right now,” he said. “Maybe he’s on his break or something?”

“I suppose it was too much to ask,” Eva said. “How long have you been living here, anyway?”

“Since the end of that battle in Thekohn,” Noa said.

He explained what had happened between him and General Khadir, and the ensuing trip that he made down to Kikuisha. It had taken him a few days to find the port in Kun, but after that, Noa was able to make it to the main city proper and found Kiku waiting for him near the docks.

“So you told her ahead of time, then,” Eva said.

“Well, no, actually,” Noa said. “I guess she went to the docks every day and waited for about thirty minutes; guess I got lucky and ran into her.”

Eva watched as Noa was then greeted from a pair of hands covering his eyes. Noa froze as he heard a familiar giggle.

“I guess that makes me a good luck charm, doesn’t it, Nona?”

“I can’t see,” Noa replied. “I can’t see!”

Kiku gasped and removed her hands from Noa. “Oh, then maybe I should give you back your sight,” she said. “It would be such a tragedy if I was the one who ended up depriving you of your sight!”

“I would never suggest such a thing,” Noa said. “I’m just happy to see you here, Kiku.”

“I should be the one saying that, you know,” Kiku replied. “What do you think, Evie?”

“You want my opinion?” Eva asked.

“I want a lot from you, actually,” Kiku said. “Hehe, I wonder… Well, maybe it would be a bit too forward if I asked you to do that with me and Nona…”

“W-What? No, I couldn’t!” Noa exclaimed. “No… No offense to you, Eva, but I wouldn’t do anything that would make Kiku upset.”

Kiku shoved Noa in the arm. “You’re no fun,” she said. “You never once thought about that?”

“Well, nothing like what you’re implying,” Noa replied, “And I know how active your imagination gets!”

“Whatever it is, I’m flattered,” Eva said, “But that’s not why I’m here.”

“I know, you’re in love with Quirky, after all,” Kiku said. “Where is he, if I may ask?”

“Oh, he’s back home,” Eva replied.

“Home? As in Ameci?” Kiku asked. “Oh no, you two aren’t fighting with each other, are you?”

“It’s… nothing like that,” Eva said.

“Something tells me that there’s something on your mind, Evie,” Kiku said. “Pardon me if this sounds rude, but you seem a little stressed.”

Eva brushed back her hair with her hand. “What makes you say that?”

“I can tell,” Kiku replied. “Are you sleeping well?”

“I’ve been sleeping well enough,” Eva said. “It’s not sleep that’s bothering me, it’s… it’s nothing. Please don’t worry about me.”

Kiku reached out and grabbed Eva’s hand. “You’re my friend,” she said. “How can I not worry about you? If there is something wrong, then I want to do what I can to help.”

“I appreciate your concern, but please, I can’t,” Eva said.

“Well, if you say so,” Kiku said. “You know, I wonder about where you’re staying… Why not spend some time over at the castle; that is, if you feel like it, of course!”

“That could be okay,” Eva replied. “I suppose it gets a little lonely just going through the city by myself.”

“Then Nona and I could be your tour guides,” Kiku said. “There’s even a place we could go where you could relieve some of that stress!”

“Wait, really?” Noa asked. “What kind of place?”

“Hehe, it’s not a place around here, that’s for sure,” Kiku replied. “It’s a couple of hours away from here, but we can definitely go if you’re willing to do so, Evie!”

“I’ll be sure to consider it,” Eva said, “Though I wouldn’t mind you two accompanying me around Mikahana.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” Kiku asked. “Let’s go already!”




Inside the residential district, there was a place that Kiku wanted to show off to Eva. The open area had an inviting feel to it as Eva soon discovered the place to be a casino of sorts. Set up all through the area were various games and card tables, all for people to play. However, judging from the look on Kiku’s face, Eva knew that they were not here to gamble.

“Do you come here often?” Eva asked.

“Oh, whenever I can,” Kiku answered. “This is usually a good place to speak to women, just so you know.”

“Good to know,” Eva said as she turned to Noa. “Do you come here often as well?”

“Oh no, no, no,” Noa replied. “I’m still too nervous to do any of that… Not that I would do it, of course!”

“I meant as in gambling,” Eva said. “Never mind, I can tell that you’re the type of person that doesn’t like to gamble.”

The three walked further into the open casino as the wind began to pick up. There was some commotion at one of the tables, but nothing that would have proven to be a distraction for everybody else inside.

“Sometimes the place closes due to the weather,” Kiku said. “Other times, they just pull out the covers and go on as usual.”

“I see,” Eva replied.

“You don’t really play games, do you?” Kiku asked. “That’s okay, you know; I’ve already told you that I don’t come here for this place’s intended purpose.”

“I knew that we would find you here, madame!” Ayame said.

Eva looked to the left and discovered both of Kiku’s bodyguards standing by one of the roulette tables. Ayame and Igor had been waiting for Kiku to arrive, as the two approached Kiku.

“Well, I’ve been asking you to come with me, but you never do,” Kiku said. “You two are just jealous that I’m spending this time here with Nona and Evie, aren’t you?”

“That’s not why we’re here, madame,” Igor replied. “It’s not about wanting to press the luck with you, but because you’re choosing to shirk your duty as the future leader of this land.”

“Oh, I can do that anytime, Iggy,” Kiku replied. “Mother’s not going anywhere anytime soon, so I’m just trying to have some fun while I still can!”

Ayame sighed. “I know you think that, but do consider how we feel,” she said. “There is always time for leisure, but right now is the time to learn and take charge. After all, your friend in Thekohn has just become the queen rather recently, did she not?”

“I know,” Kiku said. “I really can’t wait to visit her again!”

“When the time comes, we will see her,” Ayame said. “In fact, there’s supposed to be a summit soon, from what I’ve been hearing.”

“Oh, really?” Kiku asked. “Well, perhaps training wouldn’t be a bad idea after all.”

“I’m glad you understand, Madame Izumi,” Ayame replied.

“And maybe tomorrow, we can go to the recreational center outside of the city,” Kiku said. “I’m sure you’d like to go and work off some of that stress for a bit, wouldn’t you, Aya?”

“It’s tempting, I must admit,” Ayame said.

“But what about the training?” Igor asked.

“She’s already agreed to today’s training,” Ayame responded. “What is the harm in taking a day off? Especially since I do need to relieve the tension in my shoulders and back…”

“Then it’s a deal,” Kiku said. “And Evie said she’d come, too!”

“Oh, she did?” Ayame asked. “Well, I’d be interested in getting to know you better, Miss Bellamy.”

“I see what’s going on,” Eva said. “I can’t refuse at this point, can I? Very well, I suppose I’ll go with you.”

“What does that leave us?” Noa wondered.

“You have your job, Nona,” Kiku said. “I don’t want to make your boss upset, now do I?”

“Oh, I guess so,” Noa said.

Eva watched as Kiku covered her mouth and tried to suppress a laugh. It seemed that Eva was able to connect with some acquaintances once more, even if she still missed those that were close to her. She mustered a sigh of relief as the group decided to head over to Kiku Castle and prepare for the afternoon and night time activities.


To be continued…


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Sundown – Chapter 48 (Part 1)

[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.”

“I understand.”

“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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