Aurora – Chapter 10 (Part 1)

[6th of December, 2740 AD; Admorse Shipyard – Boarding Area, Admorse, Ameci – Gardner District]


The clear skies and morning breeze felt welcoming to Gale, who was ready to leave for Iiayikohn after her trip back to Ameci. Though she felt disappointed that she could not find anything out about her father regarding Foundation, Gale was happy that she was able to return regardless. It made her think that one day, she and Sorin would be able to travel the world once this was all over. For now, though, Gale at least made some headway with her blueprints and perhaps had a powerful ally in Fercewend.

“It was nice coming back here again,” Gale said. “I promise that it won’t be the last time, Ameci…”

She placed the bag she held by her feet as she stopped at the dock where the Ameci Atlas rested. Named for the legendary Ameci general himself, the Ameci Atlas was a ship that Gale could admire from both up close and afar. She knew that Kirk and Dia, both of whom had decided to accompany her, had admiration for the magnificent ship as well. Lowell Page also attended, but only to see the three off before he had to return to his job.

“Well, it’s almost time,” Lowell said. “You sure you’ve got everything you need, Gale?”

“I do,” Gale answered. “Thank you so much, Lowell.”

“Not a problem,” Lowell replied. “You ever need my help, don’t hesitate to give me a call. Hell, you can drop by anytime you want!”

“Well, you’d probably want to do it during the day,” Kirk said. “It would be a little rude to call him while he’s sleeping.”

“That’s a bit of a pain in the ass,” Lowell said, “But sometimes, you’ve got to answer an emergency call.”

“I guess it’s easy for you,” Dia said.

“Somebody has to do it,” Lowell replied. “I do hope you’ll find peace after this trip.”

“It was a spur of the moment idea,” Dia said. “I guess you could say that she inspired me to do it.”

“I had no idea that it was because of me,” Gale said, “But I’m glad to travel with you either way, Dia.”

“You see, you are making an impact on people’s lives,” Kirk said. “Even if it’s a few people or just one, you’ve become an inspiration.”

“Seeing you so passionate about your work, it reminded me of both Voitto and Johan,” Dia told Gale. “Both of them wanted to make a change in this world, and now it’s my turn to do the same.”

“Your turn?” Gale asked.

“Yes,” Dia replied. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go on board the ship. I’ll see you two on the deck.”

Dia then headed off towards the Ameci Atlas, leaving Gale with Kirk and Lowell. She was surprised by Dia’s sudden change in attitude, which was not to say that it was a bad thing, but Gale had only just met her a couple of days ago. Was it all because of what had happened at Kunigunde Industries? Gale was curious, but she decided not to ask about it until later.

“I couldn’t have done it without your help, Gale,” Kirk said to her. “Everything up to this point is going along well, don’t you agree?”

“Do you think this is okay?” Gale wondered. “I have no problem taking her to where she wants to go, but is it really okay?”

“Gale, she’s been with you for quite a bit,” Kirk said. “I didn’t ask you just because I wanted you to get to know her. She needed courage and you were just the person to show that to her.”

Gale shifted her eyes to the side. “I suppose if you have no problem, then I don’t,” she said. “This is all part of your plan, isn’t it?”

“Your plan?” Lowell asked. “Seems like you’re still feeling grief after what happened all those years ago, Kirk.”

“It always was a little strange,” Kirk replied. “Eva and I are connected now, but it was only because of the tragedy that brought us together.”

Gale knew what Kirk meant. “Sorin’s mother…”

“April died protecting him, but it was Rysol who suffered the most,” Kirk said. “All these years, I looked into why I was targeted, why they killed April, and who took Rysol, yet still, I feel as if I’m nowhere near close to the truth.”

“It wasn’t Lokke?” Gale asked. “I thought he was the one who kidnapped Rysol…”

“He had a role in it, but he was merely a lackey to a much greater power,” Kirk said. “Finding that out was frustrating, to say the least.”

“Oh, I see,” Gale said.

“But since you now know who supported the Neu Thekohnian Order, we’ve got a good idea who may have been behind Rysol’s abduction,” Kirk continued. “The tricky part is getting Isaac to admit his involvement, which you realized for yourself why that’s so difficult.”

“That’s right,” Gale said.

“He would never dare implicate himself around someone he doesn’t trust,” Kirk said. “That has been and will be the barrier we face moving forward.”

“What’s your idea, then?” Lowell asked. “Guy isn’t going to run his mouth unless it’s a controlled environment, and we all know how much Isaac likes being in control.”

“There has to be a clue with those who were directly involved with the Neu Thekohnian Order itself,” Kirk said. “There was that one woman… Sadly, I can’t seem to recall her name, but she was very much a part of the NTO. At least, for a moment or so.”

“I guess so,” Gale replied.

As Gale thought about it, the blare of the ship’s horn sounded off. Several people walked by as Kirk turned his head towards the Ameci Atlas.

“We’ll have plenty of time to think about it,” Kirk said. “Plus there’s plenty of time to consider our possibilities.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Gale said. “Anyway, I’ll see you, Lowell.”

Lowell waved his hand. “Of course,” he said. “Guess I gotta say the same to you, too, Kirk.”

Kirk nodded. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ll be back soon enough.”

“You don’t have to make promises with me,” Lowell replied. “I already know you’re as diligent as they come. In a couple of weeks, we’ll be out having some drinks or something!”

“Let’s hope so,” Kirk said.

“Alright, fine,” Lowell said. “Just go already! I gotta get back to work and make sure my guys aren’t sitting on their asses.”

With their goodbyes exchanged, Gale and Kirk headed off for the Ameci Atlas. The past week had been eventful with Gale delivering her presentation, as well as the sudden news that President Hasker had fallen ill. All Gale could do now, though, was to head back and work towards helping everyone in their quest to take down Foundation.




[6th of December, 2740 AD; Green Fir Hotel, Bel, Maeitakohn]


The lack of activity during the dead of the early morning did not stop Johan, who waited in his room for a specific phone call. He was certain that Sorin was going to call at any minute. By now, the secret had to be out. Everyone that was involved with Johan was sure to find out that he was still alive. Johan knew that he had no more reason to conceal himself, especially since Korbin knew full well the information.

However, that was all part of Johan’s plan. He knew that there was no way he would have been able to keep up his masquerade for too long, because Johan knew that everyone in Foundation would get suspicious. Isaac Kunigunde and all those that worked with him were bound to notice once Rodik Mahrk resigned from his position, depriving them of their immediate connection to Maeitakohn. Cutting off that limb would prove to be useful, but only at the expense of Johan making his presence known. Now he had made his move and the only option for Foundation was for them to react.

Johan fixated his eyes on the hotel room telephone again. He had to pass the time, somehow, before Sorin called. It had been a long time since the two had met in person, as the last time they did, Johan was still in disguise. Meeting up with Sorin would prove to be difficult as long as Korbin was still around. There had to be a way to deal with him, Johan thought. There had to be a way to take care of Korbin without the need to drop to his level. As Johan pondered this, the phone began to ring. Johan picked it up in an instant; this had to be the call from Sorin now.

“Hello,” Johan said. “Who is this?”

“Johan, it’s me,” Sorin said. “I’m sorry that I couldn’t call sooner. We… We got caught up in something earlier.”

“Tell me about it, buddy,” Johan replied.

Sorin began to explain what had transpired earlier in the night. Johan was correct as Sorin represented that confirmation of the suspicion that he had. The clock did not stop for either of them and Sorin’s account only served to make that claim stronger. For the next phase of their plan, Johan knew that he and Sorin, as well as Jelka and Rysol, needed time to set everything up.

“Listen to me, Sorin,” Johan said, “Since we both know that Korbin’s not going anywhere, staying out of sight is the best option until the summit.”

“So we’ll have to wait until that date,” Sorin replied.

“This next phase of our plan revolves on other people acting accordingly,” Johan said. “As long as the leaders are all in the same place, we already know that Isaac Kunigunde will be there. There, I will unveil my secret weapon… The secret weapon that will ultimately bring down Mr. Kunigunde.”

“You’re sure that your idea will work?” Sorin asked.

“I know it will,” Johan answered.

“They’ll be looking for you, though,” Sorin said. “There’s no way that the Ameci military won’t be looking for you. As far as their concerned, you’re just a traitor to them…”

Johan sighed. “It’s too late to be concerned,” he said. “Korbin has already killed me once. I’ve got no reason to fear him or the rest of the Ameci military, and neither should you.”

“He’s not the only one that we should be worried about,” Sorin said.

“Believe me, buddy, I’ve got plenty of reason to worry,” Johan said. “The fact that there are people like Isaac who can walk freely worries me, which is why I’m still working towards my goal. Nothing will stop me from doing that, not even death.”

“I know that,” Sorin said. “I know you well enough to know that that won’t be a problem…”

“Rain will be able to handle this summit she has planned,” Johan replied. “Despite whatever Isaac and Foundation may think, she isn’t the type to buckle underneath the pressure. You should know that, of all people.”

“I don’t doubt Rain, not for a second,” Sorin said, “But we still haven’t heard anything regarding Chancellor Harring. After what’s happened with the Ahnle family, I’m surprised that there hasn’t been any moves from them.”

“It surprises me as well,” Johan said. “I think it’s because they know that everyone is expecting them to do something about it, yet they also hold the most important card in that Ahnlikohn is where the summit’s taking place.”

“So they might wait until after the summit to do something about Harring, then?” Sorin asked.

“Plus, the news will be moving quickly,” Johan said. “Having this much turnover in these countries in such a short span of time will have a certain look that I’m sure the Ahnle family will want to avoid.”

“So we can’t do anything but wait,” Sorin said.

“It’s for the better,” Johan replied. “By the way, you mentioned that something happened to Jelka, right?”

Sorin did and went into detail about how Jelka was taken in. Johan could tell that Sorin did not sound certain about Jelka’s fate, though Johan knew that there was no way that they would be able to keep her in for long.

“They’ll likely release her tomorrow,” Johan said. “If what Rain said to you is true, she’ll be able to help her leave Iiayikohn.”

“You know well enough about hiding,” Sorin replied.

“Laying low in Glora may be the best option we can take,” Johan told him. “It may be a risk, but it’s the best option compared to the alternatives.”

“You don’t think a trip to Kikuisha is in order?” Sorin asked.

“Well, it’d be an easy option,” Johan said, “But keeping an eye on Glora is more important.”

“Guess I can’t disagree with you there,” Sorin replied.

“Hold out until it’s close to the summit,” Johan told him. “Rain’s going to gather everyone involved and we’ll be able to finally make our move. Patience is what we must need now.”

“Then I suppose that this conversation is over,” Sorin said. “It seems like that’s all we can talk about.”

“Don’t worry,” Johan said. “When we meet up in Glora, we’ll be sure to spend some time before the next phase of our plan goes into action.”

“I hope you’re right,” Sorin replied. “I should get some rest… I’ll see you when we meet in Glora, then.”

“Same to you, buddy,” Johan said.

With the conversation finished, Johan rested the receiver down on the phone’s base. He knew that his trust in Sorin was unbreakable and nothing would change that, yet Johan understood his friend’s lament over the fact that their meetings boiled down to one simple thing at this point: taking down Isaac Kunigunde and Foundation. That was one of the big reasons why Johan had to make sure that he had to succeed in his plan. He had to, not just for his sake, but for Sorin’s as well.


To be continued…


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Aurora – Chapter 7 (Part 2)

[5th of December, 2740 AD; Drake Rask’s house, Rezar, Iiayikohn]


After time passed, Sorin, Gavin, and Law went to the train station with Ayanna in order to meet with Rain and Mina, as well as Rain’s advisors. Once they arrived, it was a brief but heartwarming reunion amongst the group. Sorin was the first to receive Mina’s greeting as she ran up to him and wrapped her arms around him. As he did his best to maintain his footing with her, the others did their best not to laugh as Sorin eventually fell to the ground with Mina on top of him.

“I still can’t believe how easy it is for me to bring you to the floor,” Mina said, getting up. “You should really improve on that, Sorin!”

“I think everyone’s looking at us,” Sorin replied as he sat up.

“Seems more like they’re astounded,” Mina said. “Here, I’ll help you!”

Mina lent out her hand, which Sorin reached for with his. As he got back up onto his feet, Rain walked up to him and greeted him as well.

“It’s nice to see you again, Sorin,” Rain said. “And to all of you, too, Mina and I have missed you so much.”

“And we’ve missed you,” Law replied. “Say, Rain, is it just me or is this the first time I’ve seen you wear such an extravagant dress?”

Rain looked down at her dark green dress, decorated with jewels in the shape of the kingdom’s flower. “Yes, this is a special dress that I’ve picked out for this occasion,” she said. “I expected to meet with the prime minister today, but it seems like that plan has changed.”

“I knew it,” Law said.

“I’m sorry about that,” Ayanna said.

“Don’t be sorry, lieutenant general,” Gamal replied. “We understand that the prime minister may simply be preoccupied with other matters at the moment and Her Majesty will be meeting with him tomorrow.”

“Gotta get that head start, don’t we?” Dustin asked. “Well, it’s nothing we can’t handle!”

He burst into laughter and slapped Gamal on the back while Gavin adjusted his sunglasses and turned to Rain.

“Let’s just take the time to catch up,” Gavin said. “Anything you have in mind, Rain?”

“Well, that’s entirely up to Mina,” Rain replied. “After all, she hasn’t been back here in a bit and probably wants to pick the place for us. Isn’t that right, my love?”

“I know just the place,” Mina said, “But we should go back to my uncle’s and see how he and my mother are doing!”

Rain smiled and nodded. “Of course,” she said. “I would also like to see how they’re doing as well.”

And at that, they proceeded to head back to Drake’s house. Once they were there, Mina saw Drake hanging out on the porch and rushed over to him. He noticed her in an instant and welcomed her with open arms, while Wilma walked out to see all of the commotion. Mina then saw her and then ran over, giving her mother the same embrace that she had given Drake.

“I’ve really missed you both!” Mina exclaimed.

“Yes, yes, Mina, I’ve missed you too,” Wilma replied. “You’ve really grown a lot since last I saw you, haven’t you?”

“Have I?” Mina asked.

“You’ve got this whole maturity about you,” Drake said. “Guess you’re taking a lot more after your mama than you realize, Mina!”

“Well, in some places, Mina takes even more than that,” Law said. “Rain would agree with me, right?”

Gavin stepped on Law’s foot. “Not another word.”

Law pulled back his foot in pain. “Ah come on, bro.”

“Really, Law, you’ve said enough,” Ayanna said. “I think Mina deserves a little more time with her mother and uncle.”

“Yes, I think we can spend a little more time here before we head back to the city,” Rain said. “Perhaps we can head inside and catch up for a bit?”

“I don’t see why not,” Drake replied.

“Sounds like a good idea to me,” Sorin said.

“Oh, but I gotta tell you something first,” Drake said

However, Sorin was in a hurry and walked past Drake towards the front door. Everybody else followed him inside, but Sorin was concerned about something else. He headed towards the first floor bathroom and arrived at the door. Sorin placed his hand on the doorknob and turned to head inside, but as he opened the door, he discovered an unexpected sight sitting right before him: Eva Bellamy.

Eva shrieked. “What the hell are you doing!?”

Sorin shut the door in that instant and tried to forget what he saw. He hoped that Eva would forget about it, too, but with her, Sorin had no idea. It was not something that he would have wanted to talk to her about, though he knew that he would have to confront her sooner rather than later. Mina walked up to Sorin, confused at his reaction.

“Are you okay?” Mina asked. “You look really pale!”

“Do I?” Sorin wondered. “I mean… Don’t go in there!”

Mina looked at the bathroom door. “In there? Why not? Oh, don’t tell me you didn’t, Sorin!”

“It’s not that, not at all,” he replied. “No, it’s just that I didn’t expect that to happen.”

“It’s even worse?” Mina asked. “Don’t tell me that you clogged the toilet! I can’t handle that!”

“What? No, I would never do that,” Sorin said. “I haven’t even stepped into the bathroom yet! That’s impossible!”

As he tried to defend himself, the door opened from behind Sorin. He backed away from the door as Eva stepped out and confronted him. He feared the worst as Eva glared at him with ferocious intent.

“I didn’t see anything!” Sorin said.

“Sorin… I’m not mad that you saw me with my pants down,” Eva replied. “I’m mad because you didn’t even knock! Haven’t you learned anything from Kirk!?”

Sorin braced himself for what was next, but Eva turned around and headed off towards the living room.

“Oh, so you just walked in on her while she was peeing,” Mina said. “I guess it wasn’t as bad as I thought!”

“Mina, please, watch what you’re saying!” Sorin exclaimed.

“Wait, that means Eva’s here, too,” Mina replied. “Wait up, Eva! I want to talk to you!”

Mina hurried after Eva into the living room, while Sorin was too shaken up by the turn of events to do much else. He soon came to his senses, however, and went after Mina and joined her in the living room with the rest of the group. It was in the past now, Sorin thought as he took a seat next to Gavin.

“What the hell was even going on back there?” Gavin asked.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Sorin replied.

Law chuckled. “Well, it seems like you saw something worthwhile,” he said. “Maybe you can tell us all about it, Eva…”

“Don’t waste your time,” Eva said. “Besides, it’s my fault for not informing you guys of my return.”

“I was just about to tell them,” Drake said. “You just dropped in all of a sudden and gave me quite the surprise!”

“I’ll say,” Rain said. “Eva, if it’s not too much to ask, how are you holding up?”

“I’m fine,” Eva said. “I just wanted to have a little change of scenery, that is all.”

She explained in brief manner her trip to Kikuisha and her encounter with Kiku and Noa.

“I’m glad to see you’re okay,” Rain replied. “I won’t lie when I say that I was worried about you when you left.”

“She seems to be good now,” Gavin said. “I think it might have been just as she said.”

“Yeah, bro, sometimes you gotta jump up and take the next ship,” Law said. “Though I am curious, Eva, about what you did with Kiku. Do you care to tell us more about that?”

“It’s not that important,” Eva replied. “I just bonded with her and Ayame for a bit, that is all.”

Law raised his eyebrow. “Bonded? Oh my…”

“Yes, which is why it isn’t that important,” Eva said. “I want to know what’s going on with you, since I’ve told you everything that you wanted to know.”

“If you say so, Eva, then we’ll not ask you any further,” Rain replied. “As for us, we were about to head back to the city for some fun, but we can share some of the details along the way.”

“That sounds like a good idea to me,” Ayanna said. “We’ll have plenty of time to catch up once we’re moving. I hope you don’t mind that, Eva.”

“Of course not,” Eva said.

“It’s settled, then,” Gavin said as he stood up. “Let’s go already!”

Everyone followed Gavin’s word and left the house, save for Drake and Wilma. Mina took time to say goodbye to the two, not sure of when she would be back, and went along with the others on the way to the city. Sorin, meanwhile, wondered about Eva’s return. He knew that there was more to her arrival but he chose not to say anything about it lest he bring up that unfortunate event from earlier. There was also Korbin, as Sorin knew that he was still around in Rezar somewhere. He hoped that their paths would not cross again, at least not for the rest of the day, though Sorin remained uncertain about that happening. All he could hope for was a relaxing night uninterrupted by trouble.




[5th of December, 2740 AD; Kunigunde Industries Headquarters, Admorse, Ameci – Atlas District]


Gale walked out of Kunigunde Industries with Dia and Lowell as all three survived the meeting, much to Gale’s relief. It proved tough in the beginning for Gale to present her ideas, but as time went on, she was able to secure herself against Isaac’s remarks. To her surprise, however, Isaac had remained subdued for most of the meeting as Casper and Fercewend were the ones who showed the most interest in her project.

This could prove revolutionary,” Fercewend said. “Not only for our military, but for the world as well!

What do you think, Isaac?” Casper asked.

Isaac sighed. “It seems to be that way,” he said. “I suppose if the two of you approve…

Though it felt like a relief, there was not much for Isaac to say besides what he had said on Gale’s project. That made it difficult for her to find anything regarding Foundation, which almost made it feel like a waste for her to even consider bringing along Lowell’s recording device. She wondered if he knew about it, but there was no way for Gale to even tell.

“Don’t feel too bad about it,” Lowell said. “After all, this meeting was for your benefit.”

“I know that,” Gale replied. “I just wish I was a little more helpful to Sorin. He and the others don’t have much in the way of incriminating Isaac and I thought that this would be my chance to do something.”

“He’s aware,” Dia said. “That is a man that is much too concerned with his own image. Of course he wouldn’t say anything if he felt like his words were going to be used against him.”

“That just means we’ll need a different approach,” Gale said. “I’m supposed to head back to Iiayikohn tomorrow, but maybe you can help me with something, Lowell.”

“You got another idea?” Lowell asked.

“Well, you, Tre, and Kirk can help me out on this one,” Gale replied. “The summit’s coming soon and I know that Isaac will be there in some way.”

“So you want us to find out about his movements,” Lowell said. “Fine, I’ll get in touch with Kirk and Tre and we’ll work something out.”

“I’m happy to hear that,” Gale said. “I’m sure the others will be ecstatic when they hear this, too.”

“Yeah, tell them ‘you’re welcome’ for me,” Lowell replied.

“I’ll be sure to,” Gale said. “What about you, Dia? It seems like you were able to get what you wanted to say off your chest, so what now?”

Dia’s comments, in particular, stood out to Gale. She had never seen such a calm display of anger before her until today. The impact of Dia’s response to both General Fercewend and President Bradley was not something that Gale was soon going to forget.

You’re the mother of Johan Kuu, are you not?” Fercewend asked. “I will be the first to say that I apologize for the way things turned out.

If that was the case, you’d have prevented it a lot sooner,” Dia replied. “At the very least, you could have informed me of Johan’s actions.

I’m sorry, but we simply forgot,” Casper said.

You forgot?” Dia asked. “Like you also forgot about Voitto?

There was little that Fercewend and Bradley could say, and even less from Isaac. He had no interest whatsoever regarding that conversation and it showed as he looked off in the distance with contempt. Gale knew that he did not want to be in the meeting, but had to fulfill it for whatever reason he had today.

“Actually, there is one thing I want to do,” Dia said.

“What is it?” Gale asked.

“Voitto… well, there’s a specific place that he treasured,” Dia replied. “I was wondering if you’d take me there, Gale.”

“Of course,” Gale said. “Where is it?”

“It’s Rieder Park,” Dia answered. “It’s where we first met and I want to go there one last time.”

“I can take you there,” Gale replied. “I know where it is, so it should be easy to get there.”

“Thank you,” Dia said. “You said you were leaving tomorrow, right? Then I’ll see you over at the shipyard.”

Gale nodded. “I’ll see you in the morning, Dia.”

As Dia left, Gale was left with Lowell. She was sure that Lowell would not fail in his task, so she had to remain diligent with hers. At the minimum, Gale had accomplished what she set out to do, with the results bringing forth satisfaction as she went back to the hotel. She had a lot of fun spending time in Ameci; but soon enough, she would arrive in Rezar. Gale could not wait for the morning as she would be on her way back to the city she came to love.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 6 (Part 2)

[5th of December, 2740 AD; Cupressaceae Markets, Bel, Maeitakohn – Cupressaceae District]


The clouds in the sky gathered as Johan looked up. He had finally made it to Maeitakohn. It was only a matter of time until he made it all the way to the President’s Palace, Johan thought. For now, however, he had time to think about what he had to do once he was finished with his business. Johan looked down and to the marketplace, where various people roamed throughout. He smiled and took a large cookie out of his bag.

“These people truly have no idea,” Johan said, “But they will understand when this is all over. I know that they will.”

He was not in disguise only because Johan knew that there was little, if any, Ameci presence down in Bel. The plan to oust President Mahrk seemed to be an easy one at this point but Johan understood that there was a chance that the security would be abundant, even during a time of peace. As Johan chomped into the cookie, an idea appeared in his mind. There was one way for him to enter the President’s Palace, but it required Johan using his abilities to their maximum potential. After all, using those skills was how Johan got to where he is and it was with those skills that Johan would be able to execute his plan to oust President Mahrk without a hassle.

Taking down Rodik Mahrk would be easy but getting in was the hard part, Johan thought. However, as he watched a couple of Maeita soldiers walk by, his idea came to light. If there was a way for him to secure a soldier’s uniform, then Johan would have an easy time entering the palace. However, there was but one question he had: how would he go about obtaining a uniform? Johan did not wish to take one from the passing soldiers, but he soon thought about where else he would go to get one. Yes, that was it, he concluded to himself.

“Time to make my move,” Johan said, standing up. He scanned around the immediate area and found what he was looking for. “I see. Looks like this will be easier than I thought.”

Off in the distance, a lone bus sat idling by the curb. Johan had read up on the city’s bus system before he had arrived, but had no map of his own. If Johan’s hunch was correct, however, then the bus would take him to his destination at the military base. He rushed towards the bus and got on, with several other people occupying the bus as well. Johan could see some soldiers sitting as well, furthering his conclusion that there was a connection to the base. Once the bus began to move, Johan gazed out of the window towards the market.

“Looks like it’s all moving along well,” he said. “Jelka, I know that you’re thinking the same thing, too.”




[5th of December, 2740 AD; Kunigunde Industries Headquarters, Admorse, Ameci – Atlas District]


The cold air of the cloudy, early morning only served to make Gale’s visit to Kunigunde Industries more foreboding. She had to be here but a small part of her mind was telling her to turn back. To run away. Gale found it difficult to ignore those thoughts, but she continued to remain strong. With Dia Kuu and Lowell going along with her, Gale knew that she had to move ahead with her intentions, even if that meant facing her father.

“Feeling nervous?” Lowell asked.

“A little,” Gale replied.

“That’s understandable,” Lowell said. “I guess we should be fortunate that he wanted to meet us so soon after what happened to the president.”

Dia stared at the building before her. “It feels wrong,” she said. “I don’t know why, but something about this whole meeting puts me at unease.”

“I feel the same way, too,” Gale said, “But we’ve got no choice.”

Gale spoke with Dia at Kirk’s suggestion. To hear that Dia wanted to help her was a surprise, but Gale welcomed it all the same. If Kirk was the one to suggest Dia, then Gale felt like she could trust the other woman.

“What else are we going to do?” Lowell asked. “Besides, this is the perfect opportunity, right?”

Gale nodded. “Right.”

She looked at her bag and held it close to her. Inside were her blueprints, as well as the recorder that she had asked Lowell to get. It was switched off for now, but Gale would have it ready once the meeting started. Though the chance was slim, Gale had hope that there would be some sort of slip-up from her father and that would give her something that Sorin and the others could use in taking down Foundation. Still, anxiety was difficult to subside and Gale could feel it in the bottom of her stomach.

“Even if it’s a trap, you’ll still walk into it?” Dia asked. “I suppose that this would be the only way to find out what it is you need to find out.”

“If we go running around like our asses are on fire, then we’ll never get anything done,” Lowell said. “I already know what Isaac’s thinking: he’s thinking that he’ll be able to intimidate Gale. Intimidation is his modus operandi, which isn’t surprising at all.”

It was rare for Gale to speak with her father growing up, but when she did, it was always the same. He had always resented her. Gale had thought it was due to the fact that her mother had died when she was born, but as the years went on with no change in Isaac’s behavior, she questioned that belief she held. A mother she never knew, yet Gale felt sympathetic towards her. Isaac was always a cold, distant man, who prided himself on his legacy, Gale thought. That alone was reason enough for Gale to think the Isaac always considered her as nothing more than a mere afterthought.

“He’s obsessed with himself,” Gale said. “He doesn’t care what others think of him, which is why he thinks he can get away with his crimes.”

“Seems to be the case with most of these men,” Dia said.

“No one is invulnerable to justice,” Lowell replied. “Even those who wield power that feel like they will never falter, they will eventually lose out.”

“You seem certain that it will be the case,” Dia said.

“Believe me, when you’ve lived as long as I have, you learn plenty of things,” Lowell said, “And one of those things happens to be the fact that a man like Isaac can hold his head up high, unaware of what fate awaits him from below. It has happened before and it will happen again.”

“I guess we’ll see whether or not your assumption is right,” Dia replied.

“Anyway, we should go inside, right?” Gale asked. “We’ve been standing out in the cold for a while now…”

“You’re right,” Lowell said. “Let’s not waste any more time here.”




Inside the headquarters of Kunigunde Industries, Gale did not feel cold but the oppressive presence was still there. Knowing that Isaac was only a few rooms away from her made her tense up as she gripped the bag on her lap. She tried to figure out what she needed to say in order to move along the conversation. But Gale found it difficult to find the right words and that was what frightened her: not the fact that she had to meet Isaac, but the worry that she would not be able to even speak in his presence, which would she knew would confirm to him all that he believed. She hated that most of all.

Lowell glanced over at Gale. “Are you doing alright there?”

Gale nodded. That was all she could do at this point, because now it felt impossible to even speak.

“She’s nervous,” Dia said. “Even from here, it’s blatantly obvious that she’s feeling the pressure that’s been put upon her.”

“Look, we’re all nervous here,” Lowell said. “If she’s shaking in her boots, it’s only because of how close all of us are to the truth.”

“Did you not forget why Gale is here in the first place?” Dia asked. “I’ve talked with her beforehand and she’s made it clear to me what she wants out of this meeting.”

“I’m well aware, Mrs. Kuu,” Lowell replied. “I’m not diminishing Gale’s intentions in the slightest. There’s just a more important goal for us that we all have to accomplish, that’s all.”

Dia turned her head away from Lowell. “There was a voice in the back of my head before I got here,” she said, “Seems like it was right: coming here was an absolute mistake.”

Lowell groaned. “I’m trying my best to keep morale high here,” he replied. “What a pain in the ass… I’ll be sure to let Isaac know exactly how I feel once he shows his face.”

As if it were almost on cue, Isaac walked into the meeting room. Casper and Fercewend followed after him and both dressed well for the meeting. It was now or never, Gale thought, because otherwise she would end up second guessing herself on the way back to Rezar. It did not matter to her how daunting it was, she had to speak up. She got up to her feet, placed her bag aside, and decided to speak without hesitation.

“Hello, Isaac,” Gale said, “And to you too, Mr. President.”

Isaac raised his eyebrow as he glared at the bag on the chair. “That’s odd,” he said. “I was under the assumption that there were to be no bags of any kind at this meeting.”

“It’s an easy mistake to make,” Fercewend said.

“Yet, it stands out like moldy strawberries on a cake,” Casper said. “It’s much too much a risk to have here in this room.”

“Sorry, Gale,” Fercewend said, “But you’ll have to hand that bag over to me for the time being.”

Gale looked over at the bag. It would be difficult without the recording device, but what would make it worse is if the recording device was discovered. She felt hesitant to give it up to Rohan, but she felt like she had no choice in the matter.

“General, I believe we have more important issues at hand,” Lowell said. “It would be best if we didn’t sidetrack ourselves with trivial matters.”

“Trivial?” Isaac asked. “You know my policy, Lowell. You should consider it an honor to even be in the same room with me right now.”

“Let’s do as he says, Isaac,” Casper said. “Our friend’s got a good point, so maybe we should entertain his request for now.”

Isaac scowled, crossing his arms as he appeared to think it over. Gale, despite having confidence, worried about whether or not she would falter. She took a deep breath and eyed Lowell, who still sat in his chair.

“Very well,” Isaac said. “If you say it’s okay, Mr. President, then I’m okay with it. Let’s go.”

He turned away and headed back the way he came in. Casper left with him, while Fercewend met with Gale. She picked up the bag from the chair and held it close to her as Lowell and Dia stood up. It was official: there was no turning back from what was going to happen next.

“I guess we should go, too,” Gale said.

“It should be fine, Gale,” Fercewend said. “It’ll only be for a few minutes… I’ll make sure that Isaac understands.”

She wanted to thank him, but even if she did so, it still would not change the fact that Isaac had his sights set on her. It would be hard to convince him of her ideas, even with an open mind like Rohan in the room. Getting Isaac to slip up would be harder, but at this point, Gale had to try.

“I’ll be okay,” Gale replied. “I know I will.”

“That’s what I like to hear,” Fercewend said. “Let’s not waste any more time, shall we?”

Fercewend went on ahead, leaving Gale to think about what she would say next. Regardless, she could not stay in the same place.

“He’s right, whether we like it or not,” Lowell said. “I don’t like Isaac at all, but I’d rather not leave him alone with Casper for too long.”

“Then we should move,” Dia replied. “It’s now or never, Gale.”

“I got it,” Gale said.

The time for thinking was over, Gale thought. Now Gale had to act, and she was going to try and give her best performance in front of a tough crowd. Though she was nowhere near the level of someone like Law, Gale knew that she had to put on a brave face and face her fears. At the very least, she would not let Isaac bring her down to his level.




[5th of December, 2740 AD; location unknown, Hurst, Iiayikohn]


Rysol jarred himself awake with a sudden cough. The darkness surrounded him once again and he had no way to move. His arms remained restrained as the cold chains around his body made him shiver. There was no doubt about it in his mind that Harold needed him, however, Rysol was certain that he could continue his resistance. That was when the door opened inside his cell.

“I was wondering when you would awaken,” Harold said. “It seems that your resolve is strong, after all.”

“What do you even want with me?” Rysol asked.

“That useless idiot is running around right now in Rezar,” Harold said. “I can only imagine what he’s doing right now… It is tempting to do something about his recklessness, but I must stay my hand for now lest I repeat the same mistake.”

“Answer… Answer my question!” Rysol demanded.

“Ah yes, I was commenting on your resolve,” Harold replied. “I got so wrapped up in what Korbin was doing that I almost forgot about you. A simple, yet justifiable mistake.”

Harold walked closer to Rysol, who tried to move his hands but was restrained by the cuffs.

“Struggle as you will, those cuffs will not break,” Harold said. “You could say that my resolve is much stronger than yours.”

“You… You’re a lucky man that I’m in this state,” Rysol replied. “If it were not for that, I…”

Harold interrupted. “You would what? Kill me? Please, tell me that you would kill me,” he said. “Tell me that you’d take your blade and slash me across my throat, because I would welcome the challenge!”

He took out Rysol’s sword and pointed it at the other man. Rysol growled as Harold put the sword back into the sheath.

“You wonder why I haven’t killed yet?” Harold asked. “It’s because I want to know how much you’ll take before you succumb to the hopelessness of your situation!”

“You’re mad,” Rysol said.

Harold grinned. “Perhaps I am indeed mad,” he replied. “Perhaps I’m the one that’s mad and you’re the one who’s right. Of course, we both know that isn’t the case.”

“What are you talking about?” Rysol asked.

“Don’t you remember?” Harold asked. “Who was it all those years ago that saved you? The man that had taken you in after you witnessed that grisly tragedy so many years back… You remember, don’t you Rysol?”

Rysol gritted his teeth. This man had to be lying, he thought.

“I can see it in your eyes that you don’t believe me,” Harold said. “You wish to believe in your heart the man you call your father is a noble man with noble intentions, but we both know that that’s far from the truth.”

“Shut up,” Rysol said. “Shut up!”

“There is only so much on can go through until they realize how hopeless their situation is,” Harold said, “And once you’ve learned the truth… Well, I worry that your hopes will be dashed once I’ve told you everything that you need to know. What will happen once I do that, I wonder?”

Rysol did not want to hear it. Harold had a devious smile on his face that confirmed Rysol’s suspicions, but with no way to turn back, Rysol had no choice. He had to withstand it. For the sake of Johan and Jelka, Rysol had to remain strong. For the sake of his father, Rysol had to dismiss those lies. For the sake of Sorin, he had to believe in himself. That was the only way that he could remain sane against Harold’s despair.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 3 (Part 1)

[3rd of December, 2740 AD; Admorse Shipyard – Lowell Page’s Office, Admorse, Ameci – Gardner District]


“Son of a bitch,” Lowell said. “You mean to tell me that the president is in critical condition? What the hell happened last night, general?”

Gale watched as Lowell spoke on the phone. He towered over his desk, grasping the receiver of the phone as he listened to Rohan speak. Hearing the sudden news coming in surprised Gale, but she had a terrible feeling in the back of her mind. Something was wrong, she thought.

“Poisoning?” Lowell asked. “That’s what you think, general? Well then, let me ask you this: who the hell could’ve pulled off this feat under such intense security?”

Yes, it was that same terrible feeling, Gale thought. A suspicion that reared itself out into the open as Lowell continued to listen. Only by listening could there be a chance to figure out what had happened over the past few hours.

Lowell sighed. “That’s a damn shame,” he said. “What about that summit you’ve been mentioning? Is that still going to happen?”

Gale was sure that this news would reach overseas soon enough. After all, the news traveled quickly once everyone found out that Alan Berry had been assassinated a few months ago. There were many questions, but the one that stood out in Gale’s mind was whether or not her father was directly involved in Hasker’s poisoning. There existed no doubt that he was involved, but proving it would be difficult. She knew that Isaac would not act without some way to cover his tracks. Not as long as Foundation and the fall of the Neu Thekohnian Order were still prominent in everyone’s minds.

“So that’s the deal, then,” Lowell said. “Guess the whole thing’s up in the air for now… Well, I’ll be sure to let her know that, general.”

Lowell thanked Rohan and said goodbye, hanging up the phone as he turned to Gale. She could only imagine what Lowell was going to say, but Gale was certain that it weighed on him.

“I’ve got good news and bad news,” Lowell said. “Well, maybe ‘good’ is a little bit too generous.”

“It’s fine, Mr. Page,” Gale replied. “I think I’ve got the general idea just from listening to you.”

“Well, then I guess you should know that the meeting’s been canceled,” Lowell said. “Can’t do much in the way of presenting new ideas when we’ve got a crisis on our hands.”

“I understand,” she said. “Is it really true? You know, the way that President Hasker was poisoned?”

Lowell shook his head and sat down in his seat. “I can’t say for certain,” he replied. “Looked to me like he was just fine the other day.”

“I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out for ourselves,” Gale said. “So what’s the ‘good’ news?”

“It’s a pain, but it looks like we may still be able to have our meeting yet,” Lowell answered. “Though I can’t really say I’m too excited about it, nor do I think you’ll be once I tell you.”

“You can tell me,” Gale replied. “I’m sure that it isn’t that bad.”

“Like I said, it’s a pain, but we can still meet with the investors, though if it does happen, then the whole meeting will be headed by your father,” Lowell said. “You’ve already said to me some bits and pieces about how you don’t really see eye-to-eye with him, so I’m telling this as a heads up.”

“That will be no problem for me,” Gale said without hesitation. “I’m not afraid of Isaac.”

Truth was, he still intimidated her, but she was not going to say that out loud. This would be the chance for Gale to confront her fears head on and perhaps even gain some sort of information that could end up being useful to taking down Foundation. Having this meeting would be the first step towards doing that, so Gale knew that she would have the chance to find something out for the sake of everybody else.

“Would you mind if I asked you something?” Gale asked.

Lowell scratched his ear. “I don’t see why not.”

“Do you have some sort of recording device? It would help me if I could record the meeting,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be right now but if you have anything that could be of use, that would be great to have.”

“I’ll see what I can find,” Lowell replied. “Those sorts of tools are pretty hard to find… Quite a kick in the ass money wise, too, if you’re looking for the highest quality.”

“Okay,” Gale said.

“I’ll let you know if I find anything,” Lowell said. “I can promise you that. Now that that’s settled, I guess you’re going to head out?”

Gale stood up. “Yes, I’ve got lunch with Kirk,” she said. “He said he wanted me to meet with Henry. It sounded important, so I don’t want to waste any time meeting him.”

“Gotcha,” Lowell replied. “Tell them that I said hello.”

“I’ll let them know,” Gale said. “Thank you.”

Gale left Lowell’s office and out of the shipyard as she went over to her car. Indeed, she had what could be considered an important lunch with Kirk and Henry, for more reasons than one.




Over at the Admorse Casino, there was a restaurant on the other side of the street. That had to be the place, Gale thought. She parked her car and got out as the quiet ambiance of the winter morning made Gale feel alone, even though she had no reason to feel since she was going to meet both Kirk and Henry. She had to wonder if Sorin felt the same way back in Rezar.

“I can call him later,” she reminded herself. “He’s doing well back there. I know that, so I don’t need to worry.”

Gale wrapped the scarf around her neck and began walking towards the restaurant. Once she got closer, she saw the two men that were waiting for her standing outside the entrance.

“Hey, Gale! We’re right here!”

Kirk called out to her, waving his arm in the air while Henry cracked a smile. Gale rushed over to them and greeted them both.

“I can see you, Kirk,” Gale said. “It’s nice to meet you again.”

“And I can say the same to you,” Kirk replied. “So how did everything go with Lowell? I imagine he’s still the same as ever.”

“Well, he told me to say hi to you and Henry,” Gale said, “But really, he’s holding up well. I can’t exactly say the same for the meeting, however…”

“The meeting?” Kirk asked.

“We can talk about it inside,” Henry said. “It’s too cold to talk outside. At least let us get something before we can talk about what happened.”

Al three of them went inside, trading the frigid temperatures of the outside for the warm embrace of the restaurant’s interior. Henry led Gale and Kirk to an empty table as they did not need to wait to be seated. Henry took a seat across from Kirk while Gale sat on the side between them. After waiting for a few minutes, the three were greeted by a server, who took their orders and went off towards the kitchen.

“This place is pretty new,” Henry said, “But I’ve heard good things. I’m even friends with the manager here.”

“So you’re trying to gain support through here, are you,” Kirk said. “Guess that it can’t be helped…”

“So Henry, have you already heard about what happened?” Gale asked. “You know… about him?”

Kirk looked to Gale. “Him?”

“Being a part of this process means hearing the major news firsthand,” Henry replied.”So yes, I have indeed heard about it. Let’s try not to get too loud about it; only a select amount of people know right now and we want to avoid any potential crisis that might arise.”

Henry then informed Kirk about what happened with President Piere Hasker. Kirk nodded along and listened, closing his eyes as he took a breath. With an exhale, Kirk opened his eyes and laid his hand on the table.

“Well, it didn’t take them long, did it?” Kirk asked. “Looks like the sand has already begun to drain from the top, it seems.”

Henry rubbed his chin. “Do you suspect him?”

“There’s no doubt about it,” Kirk said, “Only one person stands to gain a tremendous amount from an incapacitated Hasker.”

“We already know what he’s capable of,” Gale said. “After all, he was involved with the Neu Thekohnian Order…”

“Yet as it stands, there’s no way to prove it,” Henry replied. “Short of Isaac confessing, there’s no way he could be taken down. Not without something to tie him to that group.”

“And I might be meeting with him, too,” Gale replied. “Well, at least I won’t have to meet him by myself.”

Kirk leaned back in his chair. “I wonder, Gale, if there would be a way for you to do me a favor.”

“What is it?” Gale asked.

“There’s someone that I want you to meet,” Kirk said. “I think that it would be great for both of us if you met them before you went to this meeting.”

“Interesting,” Gale said. “Who is it?”

“I’ve been speaking to them for a while,” Kirk replied. “You should know her, too, Henry.”

“I should?” Henry asked.

“Yes, and I know that she’s been dealing with quite a bit recently,” Kirk said. “I can’t blame her; she lost her only son, after all.”

Henry raised his eyebrows. “You don’t mean Dia, do you?”

“Indeed I do,” Kirk said. “It took a few conversations, but it seems like she’s willing to help out in any way she can.”

“Surely you’re not suggesting she’s fighting for the cause,” Henry said. “I can’t think that she’d throw down in any chance.”

“Oh, I don’t mean that,” Kirk replied. “She and I have a common goal, ergo I decided to help her out.”

“That’s all, then?” Henry asked. “Well, I guess I have no problem with that if that’s the case.”

“I’m glad you understand,” Kirk said. “So, Gale, would you be willing to meet with Dia?”

“I don’t see why not,” Gale said.

“Then it’s settled,” Kirk said. “You don’t mind going right after lunch, do you now?”

“You want to do it today?” Gale asked.

“It would be a good idea to have everyone aligned as soon as possible,” Kirk replied. “After all, I’ve got a plan.”

Henry chuckled. “Anything you say, Mr. Wilk,” he said. “I kid; this should be a good idea for all of us.”

Gale had to agree, at least. She trusted Kirk’s judgement and thus trusted Dia as well. As for what this meeting would mean for her, though, Gale had no clue about what to think of it. But what really loomed in the distance for her was meeting with her father later on. Her relationship with Isaac, if it could be called as such, was not one Gale like to speak about, though she had to remain strong and not let her fears get the best of her. That was all Gale had to do in order for her to make progress towards her goal.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Sundown – Chapter 47 (Part 1)

[7th of October, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Thedam Castle Upper Balcony]


“It’s a beautiful day today, don’t you think?” Storm asked.

“I can’t disagree with you there,” Rain said. “I only wish that Brook was alive to see it as well…”

It had been two weeks since the fight against the New Thekohnian Order in the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn. Though a substantial amount of time had passed, Rain felt as if it would still be a while until everything returned to normal. On top of that, she still had to reassess the royal guard as well as the kingdom’s military. A new general would have to be appointed soon, as well as new set of personal advisors. Luckily, Rain had the help from the members of the Swords of Eight that chose to stay and help her with the process.

“There are a lot of people that I wish could be here with us, too,” Storm said. “Brook, father… Even mother, despite all she had done… I can only hope that she’s able to find peace.”

“Well, if what General Khadir told me is true, she should have every reason to be happy,” Rain said. “Somehow, I doubt that mother would be able to find her peace now, though.”

Storm rested her hand on her head. “Rotipalc… That was the name of the island, correct?”

“It’s quite a bit away from where we are,” Rain replied. “I’m surprised that the general even thought of such a place, but either way, we don’t really have to worry about her anymore.”

“It’s for the best, I guess,” Storm said. “Oh, so when are we going to meet the new advisors?”

“Mr. Wilk told me that they would be coming in another thirty minutes,” Rain answered. “He was in quite a good mood when I spoke to him; maybe the two advisors left a good impression on him.”

“I hope that it all goes well,” Storm said.

Rain agreed. She had been occupied with business in the kingdom, not to mention the fact that the Thekohnian Festival was set to begin tomorrow night. She knew that she had to make a grand appearance, not because she had to, but because the residents needed her to be a strong leader. A lot rode on beginning this festival for the people to enjoy and in this time of need, Rain had to be the one who would inspire hope all across the Thekohnian Region.

“Well, we can only look over this balcony for so long,” Rain said. “Why don’t we just go and see if anyone’s arrived, sister?”

Storm nodded. “Yes, we should.”

The two left the balcony and went downstairs. Down in the main hall of the castle, Eva and Lowell awaited to see Rain. She greeted both of them with a wide smile and confident handshake, as did Storm.

“You’re doing well, Your Highness,” Lowell said. “I wonder when the time is going to come when we call you ‘Your Majesty’ instead.”

“Oh, well, that’s not for another month,” Rain said. “We have so much to do before that can be addressed.”

“She hasn’t even assigned a general yet,” Eva said. “Although, I think that there is a good chance we might see a familiar face in that position. Well, if he’s actually up to the task.”

“You shouldn’t worry about Rado,” Lowell replied. “He’s actually been very fired up since that battle ended.”

“Could have used that fire beforehand, you know,” Eva said. “What the hell was he even doing, anyway?”

Lowell cracked a smile. “You’ll see.”

“I believe that’s the first time I’ve ever seen you smile, Mr. Page,” Storm said. “You must be so certain about your claim.”

“Believe me, little miss, I know you may think of me as a codger, but I’m actually optimistic about what you’re running here,” Lowell said. “If Rain here can inspire hope in these people, then there’s hope yet that Alan’s vision for this region can be realized.”

“He really did believe in the Thekohnian Region, didn’t he?” Rain asked. “If only I got to know him better, then maybe I can put forth an even better effort for this kingdom.”

“You shouldn’t worry about that,” Lowell replied. “If Alan were here, he would be proud to call you an ally.”

“Thank you,” Rain said. “I hope that I can establish a similar relationship with the new prime minister of Iiayikohn.”

“As do I, but we’ll see,” Lowell said.

“Right, Dezine’s only been the prime minister not even for a month,” Eva said. “Though I guess it really doesn’t matter for you, Rain.”

“There’s been quite a bit of change in the region,” Rain replied. “But still, it would do us all good if we came together. Perhaps we may be able to arrange a summit, if Dezine and the other leaders agree to it.”

“That sounds like a good idea,” Storm said.

“And I would like it if we could get all of the current countries involved in the agreement here,” Rain said. “It doesn’t have to be soon, but I’d like to speak with the leaders of Elemci and Oci too.”

“If you can pull that off, that would be great,” Lowell said. “I think that if you got every country’s leader involved, that would be groundbreaking. You just need to be the leader that everyone expects you to be, that’s all.”

“Well, that’s something that I’ll have to arrange,” Rain said. “There must be a lot of people who are just waiting to hear from me.”

There was a knock on the front doors as everyone directed their attention towards that direction. The front door opened as Kirk walked in with two men behind him.

“I’m not interrupting anything, am I?” Kirk asked.

“Oh no, not at all,” Rain said. “I’m to understand that these are the two advisors you’ve been telling me about?”

“Yes, that’s correct,” Kirk replied.

The man with long, dark blond hair and a small goatee stepped forward. “Nice to meet you, Your Highness,” he said. “My name is Dustin Cage. It’s going to be nice to work under you.”

Rain shook his hand. “Thank you for your help.”

The other man with short, black hair and muscular arms laughed. “You really think that you have this formal thing all figured out, don’t you, Dusty? Damn, now you’re trying to make me look bad!”

“That wasn’t my intention,” Dustin said. “Besides, Gamal, you haven’t even introduced yourself.”

“You really didn’t get it, did you?” Gamal asked. “I was joking! Hahaha, that’s what it was: a joke, man. Oh, yeah, and it’s nice to meet you too, Your Highness. I’m Gamal Gomel.”

Rain shook Gamal’s hand. “You must be Mr. Gomel’s son, then,” she said. “I had no idea.”

“Ah hell, I guess that old man never told you,” Gamal said. “It was a wonder trying to get him to come off his fishing boat, but I guess that it can’t be blamed when he lost one of his best fishermen.”

“It was pretty tough,” Eva said.

“It still doesn’t explain why he had to keep Her Highness in the dark like this, though,” Gamal continued. “If I knew I had the chance to land a cushy gig like this, I woulda come sprinting sooner!”

“I’m glad you’re here now,” Rain said. “Both you and Dustin look to be good guys, so it will be nice to get to know you.”

“Say, where’s Rado, anyway?” Lowell asked Kirk.

“He’s coming,” Kirk replied. “I just wanted to get these two acquainted with Rain first.”

“That lazy bastard can really hold things up,” Eva said. “Though when he does put his mind to use, he is beyond compare.”

“Who are you calling lazy bastard?” Rado asked as he walked through the doorway. “Eva, do you think of me like that?”

“Yes I do,” Eva replied. “You really made Rain worry.”

“Oh no, no, no, I wouldn’t want to make the young lady worry,” Rado said. “I don’t want her to end up like you.”

“Oh, so you’re making jokes now, are you?” Eva asked. “I think you should watch what you say unless you want to challenge me. You know what I’m talking about.”

Rado guffawed. “Eva, you don’t want to do that,” he said. “I don’t care how many years it’s been since last, I still win any drinking contest!”

“I’ve been practicing,” Eva replied. “You’d sooner spill the contents of your gut before you could even think of defeating me!”

“Okay, alright, you two, let’s get serious,” Lowell said. “Rado, I’m glad that you made it despite the waiting.”

“Not my fault,” Rado replied. “Kirk’s the one who took that awful turn back in Helm!”

“Well, the road was blocked,” Kirk said. “How was I supposed to know that people were rushing their way to the kingdom?”

“People are passionate about the Thekohnian Festival,” Storm said. “Truly, it doesn’t surprise me one bit that everybody wants to come and see the royal parade.”

“It’s gonna be a hell of a time around here, isn’t it?” Lowell asked. “To be honest, I’ve never actually been to the festival myself. I’m sure that my grandson would enjoy it if he were here.”

“Perhaps in a year, you can bring him along,” Rain said. “Anyway, is there anything I need to know about these two over here?”

“Well, I used to play baseball in my younger days,” Gamal said. “There wasn’t a single person at the plate who could hit my fastball.”

“Oh, so that’s the reason for all that muscle?” Dustin asked. “Suddenly, my time as a sailor doesn’t seem so impressive…”

“I’m sure that the two of you will get along well with Rain,” Eva said. “Rado, you came all this way because of the vacancy at general, right?”

Rado rubbed the back of his head. “Yes and no,” he replied. “It’s not much my style to take such a task, but I did talk with Kirk. As a Thekohnian, it would be an honor to serve as general, but the times have passed me by.”

“So you’re not taking the position?” Rain asked.

“Ah, hold up, Your Highness,” Rado said. “Not what I said. I said the time has passed me by to serve as general, but that doesn’t mean I won’t help you find a suitable leader.”

“If that’s the case, then we can do that,” Rain said.

“Hey, looks like we got a compromise,” Gamal said. “So, when are we going to be all officially appointed and stuff?”

“That won’t be for a while,” Rain answered. “There will be some required training, of which I’m sure that Mr. Wilk and Miss Bellamy would be happy to help out.”

“Never thought I’d be back at this again,” Eva said. “Still, I’m honored that you would call on Kirk and I.”

“I think this is a good step in establishing a stronger relation between this kingdom and Ameci,” Kirk said. “That said, I’ve got plenty of things I can teach these two here.”

“Well, if what you say is true, Mr. Wilk, then I look forward to it,” Dustin said. “I may not have the bulk like Gamal, but I’ve got tons of determination and guile to go along with it!”

“I’m glad,” Rain replied.

After meeting with Dustin and Gamal, Rain was certain that the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn would able to move forward. With people slowly being set in place, all that Rain needed to do was prepare for the upcoming Thekohnian Festival. Her friends would be there, Rain knew that, but also the one person that was closest to her as well. Mina, the energetic and brave woman that Rain along the way, was going to be at the festival as well. It had been a while since Rain had seen Mina in person, but Rain knew that she wanted to see her again. Tomorrow at the festival, Rain would be able to reunite with the woman she loved.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Sundown – Chapter 46 (Part 1)

[23rd of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Flumen Field]


Though the sun was beginning to shine, it did not compare to the amazing, lightning-like entrance of Korbin Mars, who kept his pistol trained on Johan. At first, Sorin looked down to Johan and kept his distance away from Korbin. Soon, however, the turn of events was too much for Sorin to take as he set his sights on Korbin and drew his sword. Sorin stepped in front of Johan as Rysol and Jelka hurried over.

“The fuck are you doing?” Korbin asked. “I gotta make sure that he’s dead! Get the hell out of my way, Sorin Wilk!”

“You bastard!” Sorin exclaimed. “What gives you the right?”

“It’s my job,” Korbin said, “I’m good at it. The fact that this helps Bradley out is just the cherry on top!”

“Bradley?” Rysol asked. “What… What does he want?”

Korbin grinned. “He’s a good man, I’ll say,” he said. “He and my dad go back, that’s for sure, so it only makes sense to do him this favor and extinguish this flame going on.”

“I know what’s on, then,” Rysol replied. “You… You intend on supporting Foundation… That’s what this is, isn’t it?”

“You’re asking me?” Korbin wondered.

Rysol drew his blade. “I’m not going to let that happen!”

With a scream, Rysol charged at Korbin with his blade pointed forward. Korbin moved out of the way as he put away his pistol and took out his sword instead. Rysol spun around and swung at Korbin, but he defended himself with his blade. For Sorin, he saw the rare opening that he needed to use and began to rush right at Korbin’s back.

“Don’t think that this is like the last time, damn it,” Korbin said. “You can’t fool me twice, Sorin Wilk!”

Korbin then backed off of Rysol and moved once again to the side. Rysol could see Sorin coming at him with only one way to defend himself. Sorin, though, came to a stop a foot away from Rysol and turned to Korbin. All Korbin could do was laugh as Sorin began to realize what just happened.

“You really did make it easy for me,” Korbin said, sheathing his sword and taking out his gun again. “Go ahead and try to stop me, because it’s fucking over for him!”

Jelka was the only one standing between Korbin and Johan. She was not about to move out of the way, however, as she took out her gun and aimed at Korbin.

“You wouldn’t dare,” Jelka said. “Unless you want me to decorate your skull with lead, you’ll put down your weapon at once!”

Korbin laughed again. “I’d like to see you try it,” he said. “Or do you not care about what happens to Johan over there?”

“Don’t even think of mocking me,” Jelka replied. “You have no chance of escape, no matter how hard you try and squirm your way out!”

“You think I’m going to escape?” Korbin asked. “You dumbass, I’m Korbin Fucking Mars! I’m not someone who’s going to fall back because it looks like I’m at a disadvantage! You… Hahaha… You really chose the wrong man to fuck with, Jelka Arne, because I will destroy you!”

Korbin took his gun and aimed at Jelka. He fired twice without any hint of hesitation. Jelka tried to aim, but was stopped. Not by getting shot, but rather, because she was shoved to the side. Sorin watched in disbelief as he and Rysol had no words. Johan stood there wounded once more in his stomach, as well as his shoulder, as Jelka sat up.

“No, why would you do this?” Jelka asked. “Johan, answer me!”

Johan coughed. “I’m sorry, Jelka…”

He collapsed to the ground and did not move. Korbin moved closer with his gun still trained on Johan.

“You move one step further and I will kill you,” Jelka said. “And if I can’t do it, they will.”

Sorin and Rysol readied themselves. All Sorin wanted to do now was make sure Johan got treated, but that would be impossible as long as Korbin was still around. He was not sure how, but Sorin wanted to deal with Korbin before anybody else arrived.

“Like I said,” Korbin replied. “Any of you move and I’ll fire again. Johan Kuu is already breathing his last breaths, anyway…”

“You believe… that?” Johan asked. “Sorin, we can’t… let him win…”

Johan tried to stand up, but when he placed his hands on the ground and pushed himself up, he collapsed again. With his face down, Johan could not move a single inch as Korbin aimed again. Sorin was at a loss at what to do, and he was certain that both Rysol and Jelka felt the same.

“I know it’s such a struggle for you to move,” Korbin said to Johan. “Hell, you may even be dead right now! But I’m not going to let a job go unfinished just because you don’t have the strength to fight back!”

No distraction could stop Korbin now, Sorin thought. At least, he thought so, but in that moment, Rysol begged to differ. Korbin could not even get a shot off as Rysol struck from behind and swung his sword. It looked to be a shock to Korbin as his right arm fell to the ground. Rysol had cut Korbin’s arm off, the gun in his hand dropping to the ground as well. Jelka dashed at Korbin and thrusted the barrel of her gun into the bottom of his chin. Sorin remained at the back and made sure that Korbin could not possibly pull off an escape.

“Finally got you now,” Jelka said.

Korbin’s breathing increased, his desire to scream growing. “You! You, you, you, you, you, you, you, you… son of a bitch, Rysol Wilk!”

“Better pray now,” Rysol said. “If you want any sort of mercy, it’ll have to be in death!”

“It’s over, Korbin,” Sorin said. “Surrendering won’t do you good now, nor will cowering for your life.”

“You… you would do this, wouldn’t you?” Korbin asked. “You’d kill me now after all that’s said and done?”

Sorin shook his head. “I’m not going to kill you,” he replied. “I can’t say the same for these two, though.”

“That’s it, huh?” Korbin asked.

“You’ve got only seconds to live,” Jelka said. “Not another word, you coward!”

Korbin smirked. “You think I’m a coward?”

“Asshole!” Rysol exclaimed. “With your life forfeit, you choose to mock us both?”

“I’m only getting started!” Korbin exclaimed.

He bursted into laughter as he used his remaining hand and grabbed Jelka’s wrist. Korbin turned the gun away from him as he headbutted her in the face. Jelka turned away and covered her face as Rysol attacked next, but Korbin quickly drew his sword and faced Rysol. Rysol attempted to attack, but Korbin defended himself from each blow. Sorin hurried over to help Rysol, but found himself unable to hit Korbin. No matter what he could do, Sorin could not land a single strike.

“Did he just get stronger?” Sorin asked.

“Impossible,” Rysol replied. “There’s no way he should be able to keep fighting!”

“You underestimated what a man like me is willing to do,” Korbin said. “It looks like I’m not going to see to Johan’s death, but it’s not like you fuckers can do anything about it, anyway! Farewell!”

Korbin swung as hard as he could, jarring both Sorin and Rysol. They were caught off guard by the instantaneous attack. Before Sorin defended himself, though, Korbin instead opted to run away. He ran as far as he could until he reached the hill and decided to roll down it. Rysol attempted to chase him, but was stopped by Sorin.

“He’s not going to get far, brother,” Sorin said. “Right now, we need to see if Johan is okay.”

“You’re right,” Rysol said. “As much as that man… As much as he infuriates me, we have more important things to attend to…”

They hurried over to Jelka, who was already at Johan’s side. Sorin wanted to believe that Johan would survive. He did. When he looked at Johan sprawled out on the ground, however, Sorin knew. He knew that the damage had already been done and that all he could do now was take the next step.




[23rd of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Outside Thedam Castle]


Walking back to Thedam Castle did not take too long for Sorin, yet all he could think about was Johan and his dream. There was no other choice in Sorin’s mind: he had to carry on Johan’s dream. He had to do it, somehow, but at least in his case, Sorin knew that he was not alone. That proved to be true once he made it back to the castle, where everyone, save for Gavin and Law, waited outside for him. Kirk was the first to greet Sorin, patting him on the back while the others ran up to him.

“Are you okay, Sorin?” Kirk asked.

“I’m okay,” Sorin replied.

“If that’s the case, then what the hell was up with those gunshots?” Lowell asked. “I was under the impression that all those Neu Thekohnian Order people were taken care of.”

“It’s already been taken care of,” Sorin said.

“Taken care of?” Eva asked. “Did something happen?”

Kirk looked around. “Rysol… Don’t tell me it involved him…”

“He’s fine,” Sorin replied. “Rysol just has some unfinished business that he needs to deal with, that’s all.”

“That man can’t really go back to Ameci,” Pekka said. “That’s what you believe, isn’t it? Well, whatever it is he has to do, you seem to be comfortable with the answer.”

“What about Jelka and Johan?” Rain asked. “If not for their help, who knows what would have happened with my mother…”

“Jelka’s with Rysol,” Sorin replied. “There’s a lot that they need to do right now and they’re not going to stop until they’re done.”

“You kind of already mentioned that,” Noa said.

“Did I?” Sorin asked.

“That doesn’t matter, honestly,” Rain said. “I’m just glad they’ll be okay after all this.”

“But Sorin, you haven’t said anything about Johan,” Luna said. “Is he with them, too?”

“Yeah, it’s weird you didn’t mention him,” Mina said. “Usually, Johan would be the first person you’d mention in this sort of situation!”

“Is it really that odd, though?” Pekka asked. “I suppose I do want to know what Johan’s going to do now that the Neu Thekohnian Order is no more. What about him, Sorin?”

Sorin turned away. “Johan… He’s gone now…”

“What? No, you’re kidding, aren’t you?” Luna asked. “Sorin, don’t leave me hanging like this! What do you mean when you say Johan’s gone?”

“That’s what I said,” Sorin replied.

He explained everything the group needed to know about the encounter between Johan and Korbin at Flumen Field. Luna was the first to react as she covered her mouth and muttered to herself, while Pekka just clenched his fist. Noa had nothing to say, but it was clear in his eyes that the news affected him, too. Rain felt the need to look off into the distance while Mina continued to listen to what Sorin had to say.

“I can’t believe it,” Mina said. “Korbin knows no end to his countless crimes at all!”

“We can get angry and sad all we want,” Eva said. “It’s only natural to feel that way, especially when it involves someone you know well.”

“But Korbin’s been severely incapacitated,” Sorin replied. “I doubt he’d be able to do much now in his current condition.”

“It still hurts, doesn’t it?” Luna asked. “Johan was your friend, wasn’t he? There’s nothing that any of us do now to bring him back!”

“There’s plenty of time to mourn his loss,” Eva said. “Right now, we still have to make sure everything is okay around here. Your Highness… er, I mean, Rain… it’s clear that you will need support.”

“Which is why we’d be happy to help you out,” Kirk said. “As a member of the Swords of Eight, we will be there every step of the way until you become the Queen of Thekohn.”

“And I’ll be there to help, too,” Mina said. “That is, if you want me to…”

“Thanks, everybody,” Rain replied.

“So have you heard from either Gavin or Law yet?” Sorin asked. “I’m not sure where they’re going to take Isla, to be honest.”

“Oh, about that,” Mina said, “Gavin said that he’d call us once he and Law made it to Maeitakohn.”

Rain explained that General Khadir had already been informed of the decision to exile Isla prior to the morning. That was when he offered to complete the process himself.

“We can trust Karim to handle this,” Kirk said. “If only I could say the same about Rodik Mahrk.”

“He’s sure to play by the rules for now,” Tre said. “The man’s trying his best not to rock the boat too hard down there, lest he ends up meeting the same fate as his predecessor.”

“True,” Lowell replied.

“But that’s not for us to worry about,” Rain said. “Come now, let’s gather inside. I’m sure that the royal guard has already cleaned it up by now.”

Everyone agreed and headed back inside. Sorin was the last to enter, though, as he looked back to the sky. The clouds were almost gone now and the sun was shining bright. He had no idea what was in store for him in the future, but as long as he remained dedicated, he would make Johan’s dream possible. That much Sorin could promise to his friend.

“See you… Johan…”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Sundown – Chapter 45 (Part 2)

[23rd of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Rio Grove]


“Isla Zano Thedam is dead?” Henry asked.

“That’s the truth of it,” Eva replied.

Eva was the first to speak as she, Kirk, Lowell, and Tre met with Henry’s troop in the Rio Grove. Overnight, Rain confided to her what she planned to do, which was to fake Isla’s death so that she could be exiled without problem. Eva, though reluctant at first, saw to it to make sure that Rain’s plan would succeed. She told Kirk, Lowell, and Tre about it on the way to the grove, to which they all agreed with the decision. Henry looked to the rest of his troop as Aron began to speak up.

“Well, that’s good, right?” Aron asked. “We were told that we were to help Her Highness Rain Zano Thedam in succeeding to the throne, so all of this is good news!”

“I do have one question, though,” Henry asked, “Where is it? Isla’s corpse, I mean.”

Tre grinned and shook his head. “Well, you really missed it,” he replied. “Those guys in the Maeitakohnian military… boy have they gotten a lot better since the last time! You wouldn’t believe that guy with the sniper rifle, what was his name, Noah Zaydee-something? Well, his name ain’t important, but his shot sure was!”

“So she was shot, then,” Henry said.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t locate her body,” Eva said. “I’m sorry.”

“What do you mean you couldn’t locate it?” Henry asked. “I’m starting to get a little concerned about what’s going on here…”

“It means that her body just fell into a river and was swept away,” Lowell replied. “If that answer doesn’t satisfy you, Henry, then you can go and cram it up your ass!”

Everybody reacted with a stunned silence.

“I’m sorry, Henry,” Lowell said. “Just got carried away there. I don’t mean any ill will towards you.”

“No, it’s fine,” Henry said. “I guess there’s not much I can do but accept that answer. What about the princess? Where is she?”

“She’s at the castle right now,” Eva said. “She only just found out about what happened.”

“I see,” Henry replied. “Can’t really begin to think how much this has all been for her, to be honest.”

“Her Highness is a much stronger person than you think, Henry,” Kirk said. “Besides, isn’t there a more pressing urge that you and the rest of the Ameci military need to worry about?”

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

“Well, since the Neu Thekohnian Order is without its first and second in command, they’re bound to dissolve rather quickly,” Kirk replied. “I figure that you would take the time rounding up all the members you can find.”

“Yeah, and we may even learn something new from them,” Aron said.

“That’s true,” Henry said. “I guess there’s not much else we can really do, is there?”

“Well, you can inform the Iiayi military,” Eva said.

“Sounds like a good idea to me,” Henry said. “Aron, let’s go and get to the communicator. Also, let’s let the other troops know about this development.”

“Right, Henry,” Aron said. “You see, I am getting used to calling you by your full name!”

Henry smiled. “I told you it was fine,” he said. “Hopefully, I will see the rest of you later!”

Once Henry exited with Aron and the rest of his troop, Eva looked over to Kirk. She knew that there was a lot that needed to be done afterward, but she also knew that there needed to be a resolution.

“Our job isn’t done yet,” Eva said.

“That’s for damn sure,” Lowell replied. “All I know is that we just can’t sit on our asses anymore and pretend that everything around us all happiness and sunshine, you know.”

“Well, it starts with a clean slate,” Kirk said. “I have faith that Rain will lead this kingdom back on the right path.”

“Aren’t you ever so hopeful?” Tre asked. “But I do agree with you so long as she has the right people around her.”

“Let’s go back, then,” Kirk replied. “We’ve already dealt with Henry, so we need to assess the situation back in the castle.”

“Sounds good to me,” Eva said. “At least we can agree there.”

Eva hurried with the other three back to the castle. There was nothing else that they needed to do outside, so they went back. Either way, Eva knew that she had to check in and see how Rain was doing.




[23rd of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Flumen Field]


Sorin joined alongside Rysol and Jelka in the field a few blocks away from Thedam Castle. Johan awaited their arrival as he leaned up against a large tree. Right now, Sorin wanted to know what Johan had planned next now that it was certain that the Neu Thekohnian Order and its leader were dealt with, but there was also a concern in Sorin’s mind that something was amiss. Given all that had happened, Sorin wondered about Foundation and what their next move was going to be in the future.

“I guess keeping you in the dark wouldn’t be fair, now would it?” Johan said as he got up off of the tree.

“To be fair, you’ve been keeping a lot of secrets from almost everyone I know,” Sorin replied. “And it may end up costing you if you’re not careful…”

“Buddy, I don’t think that you should be worried about me,” Johan said. “Now, what you should be worried about is what’s going on with Ameci. Namely, the man that’s behind all of this.”

Sorin knew. “How do you plan on stopping Isaac Kunigunde?”

“Unfortunately, it’s far too late to reverse the damage that he has done,” Johan said. “Currently, Ameci is going to hear the news of Isla’s demise and they are going to celebrate, but not before Isaac ties up a few of the loose ends left hanging. He’s a meticulous person, for sure, so it wouldn’t surprise me if we hear some ‘shocking’ news out of Ameci.”

“He doesn’t trust anyone but himself, does he?” Jelka asked.

“You’re concerned because you feel like you might understand him,” Johan said. “I get what you’re probably thinking, yet I would advise you against treating Isaac lightly.”

“Isaac and Dezine… they’re no different from Harring,” Jelka said. “How do so many of these men walk away from the mess they created without a single repercussion?”

“Asking that question isn’t going to change anything,” Johan replied. “The only way that we can fix this is if we step up and deal with these guys ourselves. You agree, don’t you, Sorin?”

“You certainly are dedicated,” Sorin said.

“Anything to make this dream of mine possible,” Johan said. “Isaac is but one direct threat to my dream, if not the biggest. He’s a man who cares about money and money only, and what better way to fill your pockets with cash than to play as many sides as possible and get the entirty of the Thekohnian Region to wage war against each other?”

“He’s the one… He’s the one who keeps making us fight,” Rysol said. “Even back then, before I got this arm, I was forced to fight for Foundation’s sake. I was a fool for not realizing it sooner…”

“Speaking of which, how did you get a new arm?” Sorin asked. “I still have the one from before, so what happened?”

Rysol turned away as he gazed at his metallic arm. “It is a complicated matter,” he replied, “But still… still I can’t go back to my home, no matter how much I desire a normal life.”

“Believe me, Rysol, when I say that all of us just want to live normal lives without worry,” Johan said. “That is why I must continue to pursue this dream and make sure that Isaac Kunigunde and the rest of Foundation is taken down, and I can’t do it without the help of you and Jelka.”

“And the rest of those people that were with you are also part of this?” Sorin asked. “How were you able to convince my brother to work with you, anyway?”

“He told me… what needed to be done,” Rysol said. “After I killed Rhodes in Maeitakohn, I… I wanted to run away, even when you tried to save me… I chose death because I thought I had no more hope left…”

“But that wasn’t the end of the road for you,” Johan said. “There was a purpose for you, just like there was a purpose for Jelka.”

Rysol sighed. “I should be thankful that I hit the water,” he said. “It was only after coming to my senses… down in Jiaikohn… did I realize that I was not done fighting yet.”

“Rhodes was only the smallest of steps that needed to be taken,” Johan said. “Slowly, we’re climbing up this ladder until we can take out the one at the top of all this: the leader of Foundation.”

Isaac Kunigunde. That was the only thing repeating in Sorin’s mind. Isaac was the mastermind hiding behind both Rhodes and Isla, and in turn was the one supporting both the True Thekohnians and the Neu Thekohnian Order. Sorin wondered how Johan would even be able to take down someone like Isaac, but he had a feeling that if there was anyone who could bring to light Isaac’s collusion with both organizations, Sorin knew that Johan was just the kind of person to pull it all off.

“The funny thing is that Harring is not even a member of Foundation,” Jelka said. “Though I guess it makes sense considering Isaac and Dezine wanted to start a war with Ahnlikohn…”

“Don’t worry, Chancellor Harring’s time is running out,” Johan replied. “Queen Amelia will want to save face after what happened, so Harring will be the casualty.”

“And what of the crown prince?” Sorin asked. “Last I heard about him, he was spending time at the prison in Aesker.”

“He’s not going to see the light of day for a long time,” Johan said. “Whether you think that’s a good thing or not, what I do know is that Ahnlikohn will be going through rough times in coming months.”

“I guess so,” Sorin said.

“So since you’ve asked quite a bit, let me ask you something,” Johan said. “What is your plan now? You’ve already seen that your brother is doing well, so that much you don’t have to worry about.”

Sorin was not sure what he could do after this. Was there any way that he could convince Rysol to come home now? At this point, Sorin had to feel as if he had no way to convince him to stop, not now, anyway.

“I don’t know,” Sorin said. “I do want to keep helping Rain and if there’s anything my friends need me for, I’d be happy to help them out.”

“Well, Rain does need help in becoming the queen of this kingdom,” Johan replied. “It’s going to be her place to rule and she’s going to need all the help that she can possibly get. But I assume that she’ll find the right people.”

“I do wish her well,” Jelka said. “I wonder…”

“What is it?” Johan asked.

Jelka shook her head. “It’s nothing.”

“It’d do you well to share to me how you feel,” Johan said, “But I’m not going to pressure you about it if you don’t want to answer.”

Johan took a step ahead in the field. Sunlight came through the clouds as he took a deep breath. With a long sigh, Johan continued to walk forward towards the street.

“I’m just glad you’re able to realize your potential,” Johan said to Jelka. “No matter what happens, I want you to have a dream worth living for. I want you to make that dream a reality, no matter what it takes.”

“Thank you,” Jelka said.

Johan looked up to the sky. “I can see the sun coming out now,” he said. “You see it too, don’t you, Sorin?”

Sorin wanted to reply, but was interrupted by an abrupt gunshot. His eyes shot up as he begun to look around. Jelka and Rysol did the same as well as they all wondered where the came from. However, Sorin looked over to Johan and saw him kneeling on the ground. He hurried over to Johan’s side and he could not believe what he saw.

“J-Johan, you’re bleeding!” Sorin exclaimed.

Johan gritted his teeth as he tried to look up. He was doing his best to cover his wound, but Sorin pulled his hand away and saw for himself where Johan was shot. The bloodstain started to grow larger around Johan’s stomach as Sorin tried to help out. That was when he heard a cackle that sounded all too familiar.

“Finally got you, Johan Kuu,” Korbin said, twirling his gun. “I’m finally going to give you what you deserve! Prepare to die!”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 45 (Part 1)

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


Rysol brandished his sword once more. He moved past Johan, his group, and Jelka, and confronted Isla. There was a lot that Sorin wanted to say, but he was not sure he would be able to do so while his brother faced off against the Queen of Thekohn. The soldiers behind Isla readied their guns, but Rysol was quick to react. However, Rysol moved at a rapid pace, getting behind Isla and swung his sword, which sliced through one soldier’s neck. He sliced, slashed, and stabbed his way through the rest of the soldiers with ease as Johan looked away. Now only Isla remained and she had nowhere to run.

“Now… Now it’s time to confess,” Rysol said as he wiped his blade of blood. “The rest of your loyal army… they’re either dead or already occupied at the moment. Don’t even think about trying to run now…”

“Rysol, please!” Sorin exclaimed.

“Stand back, brother,” Rysol said. “I will get this woman to talk!”

“I don’t have to answer to you,” Isla said, “Not at all! There’s no way you can make me confess anything!”

But as she finished speaking, Isla noticed that Rysol had moved again. Only after noticing the blade against her neck did Isla realize Rysol was right behind her. He kept the sword close to her as she dropped to her knees, the sharp blade only an inch or so away from her skin.

Rain reached out her hand and took a few steps forward. “Mother!”

“Stop right there,” Rysol said. “I’m not going to kill her… yet…”

“What are you trying to do?” Pekka asked.

“The queen… she has a secret,” Rysol said. He looked down to Isla. “Go ahead! Tell them everything you know about Foundation!”

“Like hell I will!” Isla exclaimed.

“Mother, please, for my sake at least, tell us what you know,” Rain said. “You’ve got nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and after this is over, nothing to call your own. It’s best you tell us while you still can…”

She rubbed her eyes as Johan walked up to Rysol.

“Well, I think I can at least fill some of the gaps since Isla doesn’t seem to want to cooperate,” Johan said. “You see, this was all a collaborative effort that I found out about only a couple of weeks after the Battle of Bel. I stumbled upon a detailed conversation between two of these members of Foundation only after finishing my mission to locate one Pekka Varjostaa.”

“What does that have to do with this?” Luna asked.

“I’m getting there,” Johan replied.

He continued on as he recounted the conversation. Such details included how Foundation could get rid of Alan Berry, start a new war, and not only take out the country of Ahnlikohn, but even the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn as well. Johan only saw one person at the time, but even so, they had obscured their face so as not to be seen.

“Still, I’m pretty sure that I’ve heard that man’s voice before,” Johan said. “Isla, I know that you’ve spoken to at least one member of Foundation. I’ve got a pretty good idea of who it might be, but for the rest of the audience, tell us the name of the man that you spoke with.”

“You think I’d tell you?” Isla asked.

Johan sighed as he placed his hand on his forehead. “You’re choosing to defy even with your life on the line,” he said. “It would be admirable if not for the fact that you used your power and influence for evil.”

“I’m begging you,” Rain said to Isla. “Even though you’ve done so much for your own selfishness, you’re still my mother.”

Isla scoffed. “You truly don’t understand, do you? I’d rather have my throat slashed before I tell you lot!”

“Believe me… I don’t want to do this either,” Rysol said. “I already know what it feels like to lose the one who raised you… Killing you would only stain my heart while breaking hers at the same time…”

“You’re only making it worse for yourself, Isla,” Mina said. “Surrender yourself right now and tell us about who you spoke with!”

“It looks like I’ve failed,” Isla replied. “All this work, for nothing… What a failure I am!”

She began to chuckle, which then turned into laughter as Johan nodded to Rysol. Rysol looked at him and then back down at Isla. He took his sword away from her neck and sheathed it as Isla continued to laugh. Everybody else in the main hall could only watch as the queen began to compose herself and slowly get back on her feet.

“You’ve had yourself a good look, now it’s time for things to end,” Isla said. “Still, I do feel as if I accomplished at least one of my goals before all of you came here…”

“I will be sure to clean the mess that you made,” Rain replied. “As of right now, however, you must surrender yourself immediately.”

“And what will you do?” Isla asked. “You, with so little life experience, thinks that she can rule a kingdom? I worked hard to set this plan into motion, and yet you think you can come back here and take the throne?”

“I already have,” Rain said. “You just can’t admit it. I don’t know why you can’t, but you can’t fight any longer. Everyone is headed this way and you’ve got no other option but to surrender.”

“That is what you think, then,” Isla said. “Well then, what do you plan to do with me? Will you order my execution?”

Rain shook her head. “As heinous a person you are, I can’t do that,” she said. “There’s only one option for you now.”

“That’s right,” Johan said. “You must leave here at once. To ensure that Rain becomes the queen, you have to go into exile.”

“But before we can order that, you must be placed in captivity,” Rain said. “As long as you’re out here, they will not stop until you are dead.”

“I can handle this,” Pekka said. “Just tell me where she needs to be placed and I’ll take care of her.”

“I see,” Isla said. “Rysol, was it?”

“What do you want now?” Rysol asked.

“I heard about Rhodes’s demise at your hand,” Isla said. “But I know the truth. That man was a coward through and through and thus took the easiest option he could think of at that time.”

Rysol growled. “Are you saying that you’re not a coward?”

“I am saying that I am much braver than he was,” Isla replied. “Rain only won because I have more honor than Rhodes did.”

“You tried to kill your own daughter in this castle,” Luna said. “How can you even say you have honor after that? That’s lower than anything I could possibly think of!”

“Think what you will,” Isla said, “But I’m done here.”

“At least tell me that man’s name,” Johan said. “Before you do anything else, I deserve to know that.”

“You do not know how to quit, do you, Mr. Kuu?” Isla asked.

Johan clenched his fist. “Answer the damn question.”

“Fine, it’s not like I have anything left to fight for,” Isla said. “As I assume that you can tell, the man I spoke with is an Ameci. But I guess you already knew that, didn’t you?”

“Tell us his name!” Luna demanded.

“I was almost about to say it,” Isla replied. “His name is Isaac Kunigunde. There, I hope that that satisfies even the dimmest of bulbs here.”

Pekka took Isla’s arm while Luna ran over to assist him. Rain walked over and told the two where to keep Isla for the time being. Luna nodded as she and Pekka led Isla out of the main hall.

“She’s done more to help than she realizes,” Jelka said to Isla. “Now it is known not just between us, but with the princess and her allies.”

Jelka lowered her gun and walked Johan to Sorin. Sorin already knew that Isaac Kunigunde was a member of Foundation, but had no idea that he was this capable of pulling off a disastrous feat quite like this. Rain and Mina joined Sorin as Jelka faced the three.

“Johan told me everything he knows,” Jelka said. “This goes further than Chancellor Harring and Rain’s mother.”

“Because Mr. Kunigunde is at the top,” Sorin replied.

“What he has done is unforgivable,” Mina said. “Not only was he the cause of all this, but to do all of it behind the curtain? That’s the lowest of low for any villain!”

“And my job isn’t done yet,” Johan said. “Taking down the Neu Thekohnian Order is but a small step in making my dream a reality.”

“Without a leader to guide them, the rest of them should scatter all across the land,” Jelka said as she flicked her hair back, “But they are not the problem right now.”

“I’ll see to it that the entire staff and military are evaluated,” Rain said. “It should be easy after we pick up all the pieces, but I do need some help.”

“So what will you do now?” Sorin asked Johan.

Before Johan could answer, however, Kirk barged in through the front. He struggled to catch his breath and bent down, his hair dangling in front of his face. Lowell and Tre followed after, as well as Gavin, Law, Eva, and Noa. The rest of the Maeitakohnian soldiers were now at the front entrance of the main hall, also, as they lowered their weapons.

“Seems like things wrapped here pretty quickly,” Gavin said. “Here I was all ready for battle, too.”

“Where’s Isla?” Eva asked.

Rain explained what happened and where Isla was currently being held. She also revealed what she, Sorin, and Mina had learned from Johan and Jelka, as well as what had to be done next.

“And that’s pretty much it,” Mina added.

“You mean to tell me that that man has being playing the goddamn Neu Thekohnian Order all this time?” Gavin asked. “You gotta be fucking kidding me…”

“Johan Kuu’s just devilishly good at what he does,” Law said. “And I do mean that literally.”

“Speaking of which, why is he leaving right now?” Noa asked.

“Wait, you can’t be serious,” Sorin said. “Johan!”

But when Sorin turned around, he found that Johan had left through the other entrance. Jelka and Rysol still remained in the castle as Sorin ran up to them. Kirk hurried over to Sorin’s side, his breath completely caught up.

“It’s about time,” Kirk said. “Rysol, I knew that you were alive this whole time. There was no doubt in my mind that what I believed was absolutely true, and here you are now!”

Rysol hung his head low. “Father… I appreciate the effort, but… but it’s not over yet,” he said. “This fight we’re fighting… it isn’t over.”

“We have to catch up with Johan,” Jelka said. “There’s something that we need to do right now.”

Jelka and Rysol began to walk toward the side entrance as Sorin extended his arm and called out for them.

“I’m coming with you!” Sorin exclaimed.

He ran past Jelka and Rysol to the doors and opened the left one. Rysol hurried after Sorin while Jelka just sighed.

“Really, he intends to go with us?” Jelka asked. “Well, if there is no other choice, then I don’t see why not…”

“I’m going, too,” Kirk said. “That much I can do for you.”

“No, it’s not wise to bring so many along,” Jelka replied. “That was what Johan told me, at least.”

“Come on, Kirk,” Lowell said. “We gotta get the message through to the other countries.”

“Yeah, we gotta tell them what happened over here,” Tre said. “I already know that the Ameci forces just arrived, so we can relay everything over to them.”

Kirk reluctantly sighed. “Okay, I’ll go with you guys.”

“That’s good,” Eva said. “Gavin, I’m going to go with them. What are you and Law going to do now?”

“I guess that’s for Rain to decide,” Gavin replied.

“Well, we still need to take care of my mother,” Rain said. “That and we do need to find the rest of the royal military that haven’t died or run away.”

“A lot of clean-up, it seems,” Law said. “Noa, you’re pretty good at that kind of stuff, aren’t you?”

“I guess I could do it,” Noa said.

“Okay, so you and the rest of the Maeita forces got that job,” Law said. “Now we just need to know what we have to do with the former Queen of Thekohn.”

“I already know what we need to do,” Rain said.

“Then let’s just make it happen,” Gavin said. “Come on, Lawrence, we’ve got to wrap this up.”

“Oh, I’d like to go with you!” Mina said.

“No, I think it’s best that we stay here,” Rain replied.

“Don’t worry,” Gavin said to Mina. “I understand what Rain wants to do, though I’m not too big a fan of just letting Isla walk free.”

“Oh, that’s not at all what I’m intending with this,” Rain said. “It’s exile from the entire Thekohnian Region, not a an exoneration.”

“You can say that all you want, but some people just don’t deserve to be spared,” Gavin replied. “Anyway…”

He walked with Law over to the place where Isla was being held. Rain looked back to Mina and let out a sigh.

“I… I think you’re doing the right thing,” Mina said. Then, she smiled as she pumped her fist. “I doubt Isla would want to come back to the kingdom after all the humiliation she suffered! We really put a stop to her and her villainy, didn’t we, Rain?”

“Mina, thank you,” Rain said. “There’s still so much to do, but thank you for what you’ve done.”

“Oh, you’re welcome,” Mina said.

Just then, Rain proceeded to hug Mina, who returned the favor.

“I know that this will take a while to fix,” Rain said, “But as long as you’re here with me, I feel as if I can’t fail no matter what comes our way. Thank you so much.”


Rain let go from Mina and looked into her eyes. “What is it?”

“Nothing,” Mina said. “I was just wondering what you were going to do right now.”

“Well, there’s a couple of calls that I’ll need to make,” Rain said. “One to the Iiayikohnian government and the other to the Ahnle royal family.”

“Alright,” Mina replied. “Let’s go!”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Sundown – Chapter 44 (Part 2)

[23rd of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Douglas Junction]


Lowell put down his binoculars. “They’re well guarded, alright,” he said. “So what do you think, Kirk?”

Kirk grabbed the binoculars from Lowell and looked at the castle himself. It was just like Lowell said: guards were placed at every entrance he was able to see. He handed the binoculars back over to Lowell and began to think.

“Considering what Sorin will want to do, I think it’s necessary to help draw out the enemy,” Kirk said. “I expect that Queen Isla will anticipate this, however, so we will need to do our best.”

“Hey, as long we have our Maeitakohnian friends over here, we should be able to win the battle,” Tre said. “Doesn’t matter how many soldiers the other side has, it just matters how we use the territory around us!”

Kirk agreed. He had spoken with General Khadir early in the morning to discuss what they needed to do in Thekohn. That was when Kirk learned that the general would be sending more troops to the kingdom today just in case. Kirk did not know how to respond, but Khadir had told him that he knew about what the princess intended to do and made sure that until they were certain that Isla had surrendered, the Maeita forces would hold the line.

“Well, how are we going to draw out our opposition?” Lowell asked. “I think we better start moving our asses.”

“True, but we still have to wait for the others,” Kirk replied. “I assume they’re not all going to arrive together.”

“Look at it this way,” Tre said, “If we move, we’ll have the early start.”

Around Kirk, he saw the architecture surrounding him and his group. The best course of action that he thought would be beneficial would be for them to use height to their advantage. Already, the one Maeitakohnian sniper was up on the roof of the building nearby and hid himself from view. Kirk also knew that the other sniper, Noa, was set to arrive soon as well as the others.

“We can’t count out the possibility that they have people high up as well,” Lowell said. “Then again, I can’t help but wonder if they’re taking their time planning out their shots before they strike.”

Tre laughed. “Again, I already know we’ve got the advantage,” he said, pointing his finger at the castle. “Even at my age, my eyes don’t fail me. Look over there, please.”

Lowell picked up the binoculars and viewed where Tre was pointing. “Son of a bitch,” he said. “Well, it looks like we already know where their point man is standing…”

“Yeah, he’s just waiting for the order from his superior,” Tre replied. “How about we give him a little head start instead?”

Kirk nodded and looked over to the Maeitakohnian commander next to him. “You got that? Tell the sniper to aim close to their point man, but don’t hit him. We need to draw them out.”

The commander picked up his receiver. “Yes, I’ll let him know right away,” he said. He relayed the order over to the sniper and turned to the other soldiers in the troop. “I want you all to get ready. This will not be an easy fight, so I don’t want to see any of you dragging your feet!”

Kirk watched as the point man from the castle stood over. He waited for the shot to ring out, but nothing happened. That was when he heard the footsteps starting to grow louder from the right.

“Look out!” Kirk exclaimed as he drew his sword.

Everybody else turned and saw several men in red charging at them. The commander directed his soldiers to counterattack, but the Neu Thekohnian Order were quick enough to get in a few attacks. Kirk could see that they were at a slight disadvantage in numbers, but Lowell had already drawn his blade and went in to help the Maeitakohnian troop.

“Damn, looks like they got the jump on us,” Tre said. “You ready to go, Kirk?”

“We got no choice,” he replied. “I don’t know what happened to the sniper, but we’ll have to worry about that later.”

There was no hesitation from Kirk as he thrust himself into the fray. The plan was far off course now and he had to salvage it any way he possibly could. That did not hold up for too long, however, as one by one, the Maeitakohnian forces were brought down by the Neu Thekohnian Order. The small disadvantage between Kirk’s group and the enemy grew larger as several soldiers lie on the ground suffering from their wounds.

“We could really use some help right now!” Lowell exclaimed, swinging his sword from side to side.

Kirk, Lowell, and Tre held up well with the remaining Maeitakohnian soldiers, but soon found themselves surrounded. There did not seem to be any sign of escape, Kirk thought. He would have to fight his way out alongside his allies. Before anyone could do anything, however, a single shot rang out, striking one member of the Neu Thekohnian Order in the head. The rest of the members looked around, as well as Kirk. Kirk turned around and saw the sight of Noa Mzade holding his sniper rifle atop a Maeitakohnian truck.

“Way to go, Noa!” Law said.

“Are you guys kidding me?” Gavin asked. “Are you trying to make Eva worry with all this? Good lord…”

Gavin, Law, and Eva stepped outside the truck as several more Maeita soldiers joined the battle. Noa used his precise aim to assist as Kirk led Lowell and Tre from out of the thinning group of Neu Thekohnian Order members. With the assistance from the arriving soldiers, there was relief on Kirk’s side. The ones left standing were captured by the Maeita soldiers. Kirk hurried over to Eva, who just shook her head.

“It’ll do neither of us any good to talk about this,” Eva said. “I’m… I’m just happy that you’re okay.”

“As am I to see you well,” Kirk replied.

“Oh, ain’t that nice,” Tre said.

“That’s great and all, but we’ve got bigger things to worry about,” Lowell said. “Those guys, for one!”

Gavin looked in the direction of where Lowell was directing and furrowed his brow as more Neu Thekohnians rushed his way. “Well, only one thing to do,” he said. “Noa! Get your rifle ready, because here they come!”

Noa set his sights to the oncoming opposition and steadied his aim. “I’ve got it… I got it…”

Before he could pull the trigger, however, a guttural scream filled the ears of everyone in the area. Kirk was the first to notice the man that had appeared before him and opened his mouth in surprise. Then, Kirk almost attempted to smile, but held his emotions back. His son Rysol had appeared almost out of nowhere, it seemed.

“Is that who I think it is?” Eva asked.

Rysol’s long, flowing hair moved while he dashed up to the group of soldiers guised in Royal Thekohnian uniforms. His sword was swift with each slice and slash, taking down each member of the Neu Thekohnian Order that stood in his way. Noa lowered his rifle and looked on in awe at Rysol’s onslaught of the enemies before him. Not a single Neu Thekohnian Order member was left alive in Rysol’s sights, with blood splattered all over the street.

“Well, that’s one way to take care of the problem,” Lowell said. “I can only imagine that more will be coming.”

“Rysol… You’re alive,” Kirk said as he hung his head. “I knew that there was no way you’d die back there. Not like that.”

Rysol sheathed his sword. “Father… why are you here?”

“It’s about the Neu Thekohnian Order, isn’t it?” Kirk asked. “I can tell that you’ve got some sort of unfinished business with them.”

“No… it’s not like that,” Rysol said, clutching his head. “I’ve come here to the kingdom because… because of a warning…”

“Gee, a warning,” Law said. “Who exactly would this warning be for, if I may ask kindly?”

Rysol growled. “That… She’s not here, is she? The one you’ve been helping this whole time… She’s not here!”

He looked up into the sky and screamed. Rysol looked at his metallic arm and shook his head as he started to run towards the castle. Kirk was left unable to say anything as yet again, his eldest son had run away from him. Refusing to accept this, Kirk hurried off in pursuit of Rysol. He was sure that the others would follow, too, but right now, he needed to catch up.




[23rd of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Underground Secret Passage]


Once the passage was cleared of the Neu Thekohnian Order, Sorin and the others continued on their way. Rain went back to leading the group forward while Pekka kept himself to the back. He had to make sure that those soldiers had no chance of getting back up and attacking them again. But Sorin had a feeling that those guys would not try to attack his group any time soon. Not after the quick work that everyone made of them. It was impressive how well they had fought together, but Sorin knew that he and Rain and everyone else had much more difficult trials ahead of them.

“We should be getting closer to the end now,” Rain said. “I can already feel a bit of a breeze blowing this way.”

“Yeah, it sure seems like it,” Sorin said. “But if they already know we’re here, how will we be able to counterattack if they happen to have the exit surrounded?”

“There’s only one way to find out,” Rain answered.

“We’re not going to lose to them, Sorin,” Mina said. “We already dealt a blow to those villains bad there, so we can definitely handle a few more bad guys if they decide to attack us again!”

“Besides, I’ve kept our back guarded very well,” Pekka said. “And if, for any reason, Rain needs to back out, I am willing to put myself on the line.”

“I honestly hope that it doesn’t come to that,” Sorin replied.

Luna agreed. “You’re more than just an asset, Pekka,” she said. “I’m sure that even Johan would probably say that as well…”

“I know that,” Pekka replied.

But before he could say anything else, they arrived at the end of the secret passage where a ladder stood against the wall. Rain looked up and saw the hatch above, still closed as she put her hand on the nearest rung.

“Keep quiet for now,” she said. “Who knows what’s waiting for us once we get inside.”

Everyone nodded as Rain was the first to climb up the ladder and opened the hatch. She went inside as Sorin was the next to go, followed by Mina. Luna was next and then Pekka was the last to come up. Mina kicked the hatch shut as she realized where she was.

“I remember this place,” Mina said. “Not even Lauren Ahga knew about it, did he?”

Sorin saw through the darkness that they were inside what appeared to be a storage room. Boxes were stacked on top of each other and placed against the walls as Rain searched for a light. She came up to a lantern and looked around to see if she could light it with a match, but to no avail. However, there was a small beam of light coming from the door at the other end.

“I’ll go see if I can open it,” Sorin said.

He felt his way through the room, keeping a hand on the box near him as he moved through the room. Sorin did his best not to stumble on anything. Soon he was able to reach the door and trailed his hand downward until he reached what he assumed to be the doorknob. With a sigh, he turned the knob and found it unlocked.

“Okay, it looks like we’ve got a way in,” he whispered. “Everyone, behind me. I don’t know what they’ve got ready for us…”

As Sorin pulled the door open, everyone behind him braced themselves for what might happen next. To their surprise, though, no one was waiting for them. Confused, Sorin stepped out into the hall and looked to either end. Emptiness. That was all he saw in the hall decked out with glamorous decorations, as well as the others. Rain looked around and set her sights on the way to the main hall of the castle.

“This only mean one thing,” Rain said. “We have to move.”

“Okay,” Mina said, “I’ll be right at your side. No one is going to bring us down!”

Rain hastened through the hallway while everyone tried to keep up with her. Something was wrong, Sorin thought. Had things already escalated? He had no way of knowing from where he was, so he could only do what he had to and follow Rain. Once they made it to the main hall of the castle, Sorin saw a sight that he could not believe.

“You’re turning on me, too?” Isla asked.

“That implies that I trusted you,” Johan replied. “No, the answer is much more simple than that, I’m afraid.”

Isla was confronted by Johan. He had the assistance of several masked marksmen behind him, while Isla had her own loyal subjects with her.

“What… What the hell could you possibly mean?” Isla wondered.

“What I mean is that I knew your plan was doomed to fail,” Johan said. “The moment you turned your back on your own flesh and blood was the moment that I knew my plan was going to work.”

“You’re lying!” Isla exclaimed. “I haven’t lost yet!”

“If you haven’t lost, then let me ask you a question,” Johan said. “Actually, maybe she should ask you instead.”

He noticed Rain and the others arriving onto the scene. The standoff continued as Sorin tried to figure out what Johan was talking about. Isla looked over and scowled at what she saw as Rain took a step forward.

“This could be a trap, Rain,” Mina said. “I don’t know if we can truly trust Johan yet.”

“Johan, tell me about this plan of yours,” Rain said. “I think it’s obvious now that you and my mother do not see eye to eye.”

“Well, let’s just say that I’ve been aware of what’s been going on,” Johan replied. “Nearly every known military force is headed this way and it’s all because of a mistake that our late friend Sir Lauren made. Actually, I guess you could say I had a hand in helping him, but it was only a mere suggestion on my end.”

Sorin stepped up. “Are you talking about what happened in Ahga Manor?”

Johan shook his head. “Think back to a little earlier than that,” he said. “Something that involved our firebrand swordswoman.”

“You mean when she attacked me and Gavin in Rezar?” Pekka asked.

“Well, Pekka, that is the correct answer,” Johan said. “If not for that little incident, she would have never had the chance to run into the foundation that gave way for the downfall of the Neu Thekohnian Order.”

“You’re talking nonsense,” Isla said. “I should just kill you on the spot! All of you!”

“Before you do that, I do have a special guest with me,” Johan replied, wagging his finger. “I guess it about time for you to show yourself, don’t you agree, Jelka?”

One of the marksmen behind Johan stepped forward. Sorin gasped as he saw the mask drop to the ground and reveal Jelka Arne, armed and ready with her gun pointed at Isla. With a quick look around him, Sorin could see that the others were just as surprised as he was.

“While I am angry at this man, nothing compares to the hatred I have for you,” Jelka said to Isla. “If only I could kill you myself, I would, but even I know it won’t change much.”

“Johan, are you saying that you knew that this was going to happen?” Luna asked.

Johan chuckled. “Would you be mad if I said yes?”

“This isn’t funny, Johan!” Luna exclaimed. “How are you so comfortable with using people’s live like this?”

“You’re right,” Johan replied, “This isn’t something to laugh about so easily. What Isla has done has caused damage to this continent, but even so, she still has a lot more to answer for.”

“How are you going to get her to answer?” Rain wondered.

“Oh, that’s not going to be my job,” Johan said. “No, I’m going to let somebody else do that for me. Sorin, I believe you’re very familiar with my next guest, am I right, buddy?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Sorin said.

The front door to the castle busted open at that moment. Everybody looked to see who it was that had entered. Sorin was the first to notice the long, flowing hair and unkempt beard. As everybody could only gaze at Rysol, he meandered his way into the main hall.

“Johan, so it was you,” Sorin said. “You knew where my brother was, didn’t you?”

“Didn’t I tell you, buddy?” Johan asked. “He was headed this way. I told you no lies back in Ahga Manor.”

Isla stomped her foot. “Even you, Mr. Kuu, have some nerve,” she said. “This man… Rysol Wilk… You’re the one who found him?”

Rysol pointed his blade at Isla and laughed. “You appear to be frightened,” he said. “You should be… You should be, because I’m going to bring the secrets of the Neu Thekohnian Order to light!”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 42 (Part 2)

[22nd of September, 2740 AD; Ahga Manor – Backyard, just outside of Oelaans, Thekohn]


Sorin and Mina stepped outside through the back door of the mansion. They found the others waiting by the back gate and ran up to them. Rain was the first to see the two and greeted them. Mina, in return, jumped onto Rain and wrapped her arms around her while Luna and Pekka just smiled.

“I’m so glad you’re okay!” Mina exclaimed. “But I knew you would be, you know, because I believed that you would be!”

“Thank you,” Rain said. “I’m happy you’re happy, but maybe you should loosen your hold on me… maybe a little bit?”

Mina noticed and pulled back. “Oh, sorry,” she said. “We’re not exactly in the right place to celebrate, are we?”

“It’s fine,” Rain said, placing her hand on Mina’s chin. “We ought to be able to celebrate even the smallest of victories, shouldn’t we?”

“You’re right,” Mina said. “It only inspires us as heroes to celebrate our victories over the villains and stuff…”

Rain closed in on Mina and the two shared a brief moment together. After their kiss, Mina was about to return the favor but noticed Sorin looking back off towards the mansion.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” Mina asked.

“I was just wondering about what Johan said,” Sorin replied. “Sorry about earlier, by the way.”

“Oh, no problem,” Mina said.

Sorin thought about the small conversation he and Johan had earlier. After chasing him down with Mina, Sorin was able to corner Johan in a closed off room and asked him what his plan was now. Johan explained to him and said to Sorin that in order to stop Queen Isla and have Rain succeed her as queen, there would have to be a lot of effort. Curious, Sorin asked Johan what he meant, but instead of answering his question, Johan brought up something else relevant to Sorin’s interests.

I saw him,” Johan said. “Your brother, I mean. He’s not too far off from where we are right now.

Really?” Sorin asked. “Around here?

Not exactly,” Johan replied. “I mean that he’s headed towards the kingdom right now.

Sorin could only look at Johan in disbelief. “Why are you telling me this? More importantly, why are you telling me about this?

Consider it a helpful clue towards stopping Isla,” Johan replied. “After all, he’s one of the most important players in this game.

This game?

You’ll see,” Johan said. “In chess, you need to stay at least two steps ahead of your opponent. You just need to know who your opponent is, Sorin.

After that, Johan escaped through the back window.  Sorin wanted to pursue him but there was no use doing that, especially after Mina had broken down the door. He explained to her in minor detail about what Johan told him, to which she deduced that he must be talking about the queen.

“Why do you think he’s helping us now?” Mina asked. “Isn’t he working with Rain’s mother?”

“I wonder about that as well,” Rain said. “Perhaps he’s changed his mind about supporting the Neu Thekohnian Order?”

“That seems too convenient,” Pekka replied.

“Who knows,” Sorin said, “But we’ve got to keep moving. Our goal isn’t Johan, it’s the Queen of Thekohn.”

“And what about Mr. Ahga?” Mina asked. “Have you already… taken care of him, Rain?”

“He’s inside the mansion right now,” Rain said. “Fortunately, he’s not able to run away, but it is taking him quite a bit of time to come back…”

“Do you think we should head in?” Luna asked.

But before anyone could respond, Sorin and the others heard a rumble from inside the mansion. Right after that, an explosion echoed from the inside, followed by several more. The blasts broke the windows and severed several structures of the mansion as there seemed to be no end to the explosions. Rain could only look onward, shocked at what was happening before her.

“What are you guys doing?” Pekka asked. “Get down now!”

Sorin and the others agreed and dropped the ground for cover. They were far enough from the location of the blasts, but Sorin knew that they wanted to make sure nothing else happened. Sorin kept his eyes closed until he heard no more explosions. Just to make sure that his ears were not playing tricks on him, Sorin stood up and indeed, that was the last of the explosions. It was also the last of Ahga Manor, as the once vintage mansion was now dilapidated due to the destruction delivered onto it.

Rain looked at the ruins. “Sir Lauren!”

“I doubt he would have made it out in time,” Pekka said. “There’s only a couple of people who could have done this… Johan…”

“There’s no way it was him,” Sorin replied. “Korbin must have done this with some help. That has to be it.”

“Him and that repugnant soldier, then,” Pekka said. “Seems like evil loves to keep good company.”

“Well, we know that they were trying to target you,” Luna said to Rain. “I guess they thought you were still inside.”

“Is that so?” Rain asked. “I wonder if they’ll come after us once they find out they killed the wrong person.”

“This must be so conflicting for you,” Luna said. “I can’t even begin to imagine what you’re thinking right now. It’s so horrible.”

Rain exhaled. “I don’t know,” she said. “But what I do know is that we’ve only one thing we should do now. Come on, we must not keep everyone waiting in Oelaans!”

“There’s no other choice,” Pekka said. “We can’t just wait here any longer, now can we?”

“Nope,” Luna said. “We just need to move on already and put an end to the afwul Neu Thekohnian Order!”

“Alright! We’re going to Oelaans now,” Mina said. “I can’t wait to finally see the others again!”

“Me neither,” Sorin replied.

However, Sorin wondered if everyone was trying to keep it together after what they witnessed. The fight was far from over and Sorin knew that Rysol was going to be there as well. It had been a while since he had seen his brother, but now Sorin was trying to figure out how his brother played into the matter of the Neu Thekohnian Order. Whatever it was, Sorin knew that he could not afford to hesitate now. Not when the future was at stake.




[22nd of September, 2740 AD; High Restaurant, Oelaans, Thekohn – Felis District]


With the nightfall approaching with each passing hour, Gavin began to wonder if Sorin’s group would arrive before the darkness. He had already went through question the three members of the Neu Thekohnian Order, to which little was actually learned. After questioning, two of the Maeitakohnian soldiers called the local officers and had the three men taken away.

Once that was done, Gavin went with Eva, Law, and Noa to a restaurant that Law had picked out. He soon learned why exactly his brother chose the place and it was due to the fact that the entire staff was made up of attractive women. Gavin sighed as he looked over the railing of the patio.

“So we didn’t learn anything new, did we?” Eva asked.

“Well, nothing we didn’t already know,” Law said, “But I did see that you enjoyed my impression of Kirk, did you not?”

“That… I was only thinking of something else,” she replied, “Though I can acknowledge that your impression of him was very close.”

Law laughed. “Thank you! At least someone understood what I was going for,” he said. “Bro, are you even listening?”

“What are you trying to do?” Gavin asked.

“I want to know if you’ve been paying attention,” Law said. “It’s been a bit of a slog trying to wait for them, hasn’t it?”

“They’ll be here soon enough,” Gavin said.

“So nothing about this place interests you?” Law asked. “You don’t even want to try the local dish?”

“I don’t even know what you’re trying to accomplish here,” Gavin replied. “You must be up to no good, given the fact that you chose this place.”

“Nothing wrong with hitting up the top spot in town,” Law said. “Wouldn’t you agree with me, Noa?”

“Why are you bringing me into this?” Noa asked.

“If I had to guess, it’s because of those girls over there,” Eva said as she looked at Law. “Sometimes he can think rather clearly, but other times, he just ends up thinking with what’s in his pants instead.”

“Whoa, hold up, that’s not at all what I’m trying to do,” Law replied. “I’m a man who’s in a happy relationship. I just want us to enjoy our time together before we have to head off to the kingdom.”

“Sure, say that,” Eva said. “I’ve heard it all, by the way.”

“So this is where the party’s happening, huh?”

Gavin directed his attention to the outside. On the other side of the railing was Kirk Wilk, as well as Lowell Page and Tre Hendricks. The three waved at the group and hurried over to meet them on the other side of the railing.

“Not who I expected,” Gavin said, “But it’s good to see you.”

“It’s good to see you guys, too,” Kirk replied. “Especially you, Eva.”

“So you really are going to fight,” Eva said. “I knew it.”

“Well, we’re not leading the front lines,” Lowell said. “My fighting spirit is no match for old age.”

“But we are ready to help in whatever way we can,” Tre said. “Even if that means we’re the ones who have to clean up all of the mess!”

“Just be careful,” Eva replied. “At least tell me you can do that,.”

“You know that I would never try to make you worry,” Kirk said. “Didn’t I tell you that?”

“No matter how many times you keep saying it, I know how stubborn you can be,” she said. “All I want is for you not to act recklessly.”

“Hey, I got my eye on him,” Tre said. “If there’s anyone you can count on to make sure Kirk doesn’t go all out on his own, it’s me.”

“So what are we doing?” Law asked. “Our lovely princess has yet to arrive and, to be honest, it is a little boring doing nothing around here.”

“Yet you use this time to look at women,” Gavin said. “Give me a break, Lawrence.”

“Then maybe you should suggest something, bro,” Law said. “I don’t see you seeking out something for us to do in the meantime.”

Gavin sighed. “It’s not important.”

“Well, if you come up with something, I’d love to hear it,” Law replied as he sat back in his chair. “Now should be the time for us to get the check, don’t you guys think?”

“So this is where you guys have been!” Mina exclaimed.

With no time to waste, Mina dashed over to where the group sat while Sorin and the others joined her side. Everyone was now together as Gavin stood up and greeted the group.

“It’s about time you made it here,” Gavin said, shaking Sorin’s hand.

“We were held up for a bit,” Sorin replied. “It’s a complicated, but I guess we can explain what happened.”

They took their time to explain what had happened in Ahga Manor as well as what Sorin had learned. Everyone listened with intent as Rain spoke about Ahga and his motivation in addition to his demise.

“So the right hand of the queen is dead,” Law said. “I wish I could say that that was a good thing, but if what you said is true, then the Ameci military is not too far off from where we are.”

“Sounds to me like we have to keep our eyes open,” Kirk said. “I think that something is in the air and it’s not good at all.”

“What do you mean?” Mina asked.

“I think we need to be aware of what forces are driving behind the scenes,” Kirk replied. “If the queen falls, that’s the end of the Neu Thekohnian Order, but if the Ameci military is working with them? It only spells trouble.”

“Seems like it,” Lowell said. “We can’t just turn a blind eye to the evil that’s happening in our own land.”

“That is something we have to pay attention to,” Kirk replied. “Anyway, Sorin, was there anything else you found out while at Ahga Manor?”

Sorin did not mention anything about Rysol, but he felt like there was a need to do so. But what could he say? They would end up running into him if what Johan had said to him was true. He did not want his father to worry about Rysol, not at a time like this, but there seemed to be no other choice. At least, Sorin would have to talk to his brother again.

“No, that was all we learned,” Sorin said.

“Is that so?” Kirk asked. “Well, at least we know what to watch out for moving forward.”

“That is true,” Law said, “But we’re not going to be able to do much while the sun is going down. Why don’t we just take the night to have some fun and live a little before the morning?”

There was some agreement amongst the crew, but all Sorin could not stop thinking about what might happen tomorrow. There was much he was uncertain of, but there was little he could really do before the morning came.


To be continued…


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