Sundown – Chapter 49 (Part 1)

[18th of November, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Flumen Field]


The cold air made Sorin reach for his scarf and wrap it around his neck as he visited the makeshift grave marker in Flumen Field. He visited Johan’s grave about a month earlier, but this was the first time he had visited during the day. Off in the distance, Sorin heard Rain’s speech echoing through the city as he knelt down next to the wooden plank with Johan’s name on it.

“When Meredith Rio Thedam first founded this kingdom, he had but one goal in mind: to unite a land divided,” Rain began. “Right now, we are entering a time in which uncertainty and distrust have begun to rise. We are entering a time in which greed and hatred influence decision making. We are entering a time where for those less off, the only thing they know is despair. But we cannot allow ourselves to sit back and let these forces of divisiveness drive us towards war. We need to work towards a world where we do not need to fight wars in order to solve our problems.”

Applause followed as Sorin looked down at the grave marker and smiled. He was sure that the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn was in good hands and that Rain would have no trouble carrying on Alan Berry’s ideals.

“I hope you heard that, wherever you are,” Sorin said. “We’re working towards that future and we will not stop until we’ve made that dream possible. Do you hear that, Johan?”

Of course, Sorin had no way of knowing. How could he? No, it did not truly matter if Johan had heard Rain’s speech. All Sorin really cared about was making sure that that dream could come true. At least, it would motivate him to move forward and continue to get stronger. He was sure that Isaac Kunigunde and the organization Foundation would do their best to prevent that from happening, but Sorin knew that he and the others would not back down. Sorin knew that Rain would not back down, either, as her speech continued.

“The Neu Thekohnian Order was formed because of one person’s hate and paranoia,” Rain said. “Though they are now but a scar on Thekohn’s history, the fact is that it will not take long for another group to pop up in their place. If that happens, then I hope that we will be able to notice them in time and stop them before they are able to accomplish their goals.”

She did mention it, but Sorin was certain that Rain spoke about Foundation and what they had planned. If Isaac Kunigunde was able to influence the Neu Thekohnian Order, then there was no room for doubt that he was in the middle of plotting something new.

Rain’s speech continued as she went on about the future of the kingdom and the steps that she would take to restore the people’s trust in the Thedam Royal Family. Though she had avoided mentioning Isla’s name for most of the speech, Rain did mention her towards the end of her speech.

“Finally, I would like to offer some final parting words to my mother,” Rain said, “Despite what you have done, I would not be here today if not for you. Deep down, I would like to believe that you thought that you were doing the right thing. Unfortunately, it did not appear as such, and unfortunately it costed you everything that you held dear. However, I will do my absolute best to restore the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn and I am hoping that we in the Thekohnian Region are all able to unite once more.”

A loud applause came afterwards. Sorin could not see it, but he assumed that Rain was ecstatic and hopeful as she held the floor.

“Thank you so much,” she said. “I have but one last thing to say: where there is evil, there is good, and where these is hate, there is love. I am hoping that we will all work towards a world in which we have good on our minds and love in our hearts. And with that, I thank you.”

The speech was over as Sorin stood up. He rubbed his eyes, even though he was not crying. If Johan were with him, Sorin was sure that he would do the same thing if not moved even more. In spite of all the trouble that he had gone through because of Johan, Sorin knew that it was because he was working towards this kind of world. He knew that such a world would not be possible without making a few moves that were unpopular. That was why Sorin knew that he needed to leave the kingdom.

“I really hope you can do this, Rain,” Sorin said. “Ah, what am I saying? I know that you can.”




[18th of November, 2740 AD; Dia Kuu’s house, downtown Admorse, Ameci – Wyse District]


Henry went and visited the mother of Johan Kuu at her house in Admorse. She had personally requested him after she had heard about his relation to her son. It was in the afternoon when Henry decided to stop by and pay her some time, entering the front yard and walking up to the door. He was about to ring the doorbell, but the door soon opened and revealed a woman of average height and brown hair just like Johan’s.

“Henry Randolph?”

Henry nodded. “That would be me, ma’am,” he said. “You’re Dia Kuu, I take it? What was it that you wanted to speak to me about?”

Dia propped the door open all the way. “Come in,” she said. “I don’t feel comfortable talking with you outside.”

“As you wish,” Henry said.

He followed her inside the house. Inside was a stillness that Henry felt was unsettling. There was a radio nearby on the table in the main hallway, but it was not turned on. Henry continued to follow Dia until they were in the living room. A few steps later, Henry made it to the couch and sat down while Dia took a seat across from him.

“Do you want anything?” Dia asked.

“No thank you,” Henry replied. “I want to offer my condolences. If I had known about Johan sooner, I would have done something to prevent his death. I’m very sorry.”

“You don’t… You don’t have to do that,” Dia said. “I understand what has happened and I know that this world is cruel. I… I just wish I could have heard from him one last time…”

“I know,” Henry said. “This must be tough, what with losing both your husband and your son to war…”

Dia shook her head and looked down. “It has been twelve years since Voitto died,” she said. “You were one of the two survivors of that attack, weren’t you? I would hope that you understood the pain that Johan and I had felt.”

“Yeah, I think I do,” he replied. “It seemed as if Johan intended to carry out his own personal agenda… Not even for one second could I have believed that he would have ever worked with the likes of the Neu Thekohnian Order.”

“Is that what you believe?” Dia asked. “Or did the general tell you to say that to me?”

“Well, you were the one who called me here,” Henry replied. “Besides, I no longer serve in the Ameci military.”

Dia looked up and at him. “Is that so?”

“This battle is over,” Henry said. “I’m not getting any younger and I need to move on to making this country a better place.”

“That must be nice,” Dia said.

“One day, I want to make it so that people like you won’t be left behind,” Henry told her. “I know the feeling all too well and it’s about time we started paying attention to those less fortunate.”

“Well, if that’s what you’re going to do, I can’t stop you, now can I,” Dia said. “Anyway, there was something that I needed to ask you about. Something of Johan’s that I hoped you brought with you.”

“Of course,” Henry said. “I didn’t forget it.”

He reached into his coat pocket and produced a framed photograph. Inside the frame was a picture of Johan when he was younger and his father, Voitto. He handed the frame over to Dia, who took one look at it and held it tightly against her chest.

“I’ll always have this,” she said. “Thank you, Mr. Randolph.”

“You’re welcome,” Henry replied. “I hope you will be okay…”

“I’ll be fine,” Dia said. “Please… if you will…”

“Oh, yeah, of course,” Henry said, standing up. “Thank you for inviting me over to your house, Mrs. Kuu.”

He made his way out of the living room and said goodbye to Dia. Henry then left the house knowing that he had made her life somewhat more bearable after the loss of her son. What this meant now was that Henry was even more motivated to move forward towards his new path. He would have to get started soon if he wanted to become the mayor of Admorse.


To be continued…


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Sundown – Chapter 48 (Part 1)

[17th of November, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle Main Hall]


The Thekohnian Festival came and went with the event proving to be a surprising success. Once all the festivities had finished, Rain and her sister said goodbye to their friends, with Rain sending Mina off with a special goodbye. The next couple of weeks were more of the same as Rain became used to her new role as the new Queen of Thekohn. The coronation was a day after Rain’s birthday and she was busy preparing herself for the ceremony.

Still, there was much that Rain had to learn. The five members from the Swords of Eight helped her out, but only Eva and Rado decided to stay in Thekohn as Kirk, Lowell, and Tre had to go back. Lowell and Tre wanted to head back to Ameci to go back to their jobs, while Kirk wanted to see Sorin once more before he had to head back to his home. Eva, however, wanted to stay for at least a while longer. However, during one day of walkthroughs, Rain bumped into Eva and found out the real reason why the swordswoman decided to stay in the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn.

“Have things taken a turn for the worse?” Rain inquired.

“It’s nothing like that,” Eva said. “Kirk and I… Well, it’s just that I need a little time by myself… again…”

“Well, you’re welcome to stay here as long as you want,” Rain said, “I can’t exactly offer any advice to you, unfortunately, but I can provide to you a place in which you can stay.”

“Thank you,” Eva replied. “You don’t need to worry about advice; I’ll be just fine on my own.”

“I understand.”

“You’re still pretty young,” Eva said. “You should cherish the relationship that you have with Mina.”

“I will,” Rain replied. “I let her know exactly how I feel every chance that I get to be with her.”

“That’s good,” Eva said. “You are the hope of Thekohn, after all, but what’s most important is to be the hope for the one you love. If only I had known that sooner, then maybe… No, I’d rather not say.”

“Well, if it’s something you’d rather not mention, then I won’t ask about it,” Rain said. “I just hope you solve whatever it is you have with Kirk.”

Eva looked down at the floor as some of her hair obscured her face. “I sure hope that you’re right.”

After that day, Rain tried to improve her friendship with Eva. On some days, she was successful. Other days, Rain noticed Eva becoming more and more distant as her attempts were nowhere near as fortunate. Rain wanted to help out, but as her workload increased, talking to Eva was difficult unless it was for a reason related to training.

Soon enough, time passed until it was the day before Rain’s coronation. Her big day was already here, however, as her friends gathered to see her on the day before she became queen. A surprise guest also arrived for the party as well: General Karim Khadir. He strolled in first as Rain went over to greet him. Dustin and Gamal followed and greeted the general as well.

“So this is where the whole shindig is going down?” Khadir asked. “I will have to admit that I’m quite impressed.”

The entire castle had its usual decorations, but for the occasion, there were plenty of ceremonial banners and tapestries hanging throughout. Residents were welcome to come and and visit, though both Dustin and Gamal were diligent in their work as they kept themselves next to Rain.

“We’ve been working our butts off to make this happen,” Dustin said. “You better believe that decking out this castle wasn’t an easy job.”

Gamal chuckled. “You sure know how to overplay things,” he said. “Come on, man, it’s not like we were doing construction work!”

“Now you two, please,” Rain said. “The general just wants to compliment us, that’s all.”

“I’ve got nothing but the utmost respect for you, Your Majesty,” Khadir said. “When I heard the news you were going to throw a party, I just had to come and see for myself. I might even get to see Noa as well!”

“Yes, I believe he should be arriving soon,” Rain replied. “You must really want to see him, don’t you?”

“When he came to me and told me that he was planning to drop everything that he was doing and move down to Kikuisha, I was shocked!” Khadir exclaimed. “That took some serious balls to just walk up to me and tell me that, I’ll have you know!”

“Oh, Noa really did that?” Rain asked. “I knew he was going there, but I didn’t know he went to you first.”

“It was like getting slapped in the face with a fish,” Khadir said. “That’s why I want to go up to him and just pat him on the back! Maybe I’ll even get a drink and see the gal he’s with, too!”

“Well, I’ve been on many a boat in the past, but I’ve never been slapped in the face by a fish before,” Dustin said.

Khadir scoffed. “My friend, when Noa said that to me, it was as if he undid his pants and laid out his business on my desk,” he replied. “Normally, I would be aghast at such a display in my office, but since it was Noa, I knew that then and there he had grown as a man.”

“I’m glad that you’re taking it well,” Rain said.

“He’s earned his happiness,” Khadir replied. “Besides, he seemed really happy about this girl he mentioned. I just want to see for myself what kind of girl has ol’ ‘Noa the Nervous’ wrapped around her finger. I bet that she’s quite a surprise herself!”

“I think that you’d be right about that,” Rain said. “When you do see her, I assume you will be rather surprised.”

Khadir grinned. “I guess it’s never too early to have a little fun, is it? Well, I should hurry myself up and see what you’ve got going on here. Be sure to tell Noa that I’m here and want to see him.”

“Will do,” Rain said.

The general made his way past Rain and into the other room as Law and Ayanna approached her. They were both dressed well for the event, with Law wearing a flashy lavender suit and Ayanna wearing a long, elegant green dress. Rain greeted them both as she shook their hands.

“Glad to see that the general decided to drop by,” Law said. “Maybe I ought to go and pay him some time.”

“I’m sure that he would appreciate it,” Ayanna replied. “Anyway, it’s nice to see you again, Rain.”

“Same to you both,” Rain said. “I’m so glad you decided to come.”

“If you’re so glad to see us, then I’m interested in how you’ll react when you see Mina,” Law said, running a hand through his hair. “Guess there will be fireworks going off from both outside and inside the castle…”

“Please, Law, you don’t want to put pressure on Rain,” Ayanna said. “She’s already has a lot going on, what with the whole party and the ceremony that’s happening tomorrow.”

Law rested his hand on Ayanna’s back and brought himself closer to her. “That wasn’t my intention, my love,” he said. “She may be the queen, but Rain’s still young and has oh so much to do. If all goes well, then the people of Thekohn have it set for quite a while.”

“I hope you’re right, Law,” Rain said. “By the way, where is your brother? It’s strange not seeing him with you.”

“Oh, well, he’s coming,” Law replied. “There was something that he needed to do before he got here, so we decided to go on ahead without him.”

“Something tells me that you didn’t tell him you were going to go on ahead,” Rain said. “Ayanna, am I correct about this?”

Ayanna smiled. “I’m sure that Gavin will understand,” she said. “You know, after the initial anger, of course.”

“So he really doesn’t know, then,” Rain said.

“Hey, I know that he’ll be here soon, so can you just let him know where we’ll be hanging?” Law asked. “And maybe try to calm him down a bit, if you can try to do that.”

“Law, she’s the queen,” Ayanna said. “You can’t just order her around to deal with Gavin like this.”

“No, it’s fine,” Rain said. “I’m enjoying seeing all of you again, so it will be nice to run into Gavin.”

“And we’ll be here, too,” Dustin said.

“You got that right,” Gamal said. “So many people, not nearly enough time to meet them all. That’s where we come in.”

“Glad to know,” Law said. “Though, Rain, I do wonder about your sister. Where in the world did she run off to?”

“She is around, don’t worry,” Rain answered. “We have so much yet to do that she is with the staff making sure that everything is up to par.”

“Then maybe we should pay her a visit as well,” Ayanna said. “Is that alright with you?”

“Go right ahead,” Rain said.

“Then that’s our cue to get moving,” Law said. “Come on, we’ve got more to do and people to meet!”

Ayanna and Law went to see the rest of the castle and Storm. Meanwhile, Rain continued to greet people with Dustin and Gamal. People came and went, but Rain was happy either way.

“Ray, look over here!” Kiku exclaimed. “I made it! We made it!”

Rain turned and saw Kiku standing with Ayame, Igor, and Noa. They had just arrived and were properly dressed. Both Ayame and Igor wore their usual uniforms, while Noa wore a shirt and pants with a floral pattern waistcoat over his shirt. Ayame and Igor stood back while Kiku and Noa walked up to Rain hand-in-hand.

“I can see that,” Rain said. “Oh, I don’t think you guys got to meet my advisers yet, have you?”

Dustin reached out his hand and greeted Kiku. “It’s very nice to meet you, miss.”

“I’m pleased to make your acquaintance, Dusty,” Kiku said.

“Don’t forget about me,” Gamal said, greeting himself as well. “Her Majesty says you came quite a long way. If you want, I can get you a seat.”

“No, that’s not needed,” Ayame said. “We will take care of the madame as the night goes on.”

Igor clapped his hands together. “Madame Izumi is in no need of sleep,” he said. “I mean, she’s in no need of a seat!”

“Well, if I do get weary, I could always use Nona,” Kiku said, “But I truly do appreciate the gesture, Gam.”

“It’s… no big deal,” Gamal said. “I got a little caught up, that’s all.”

“Don’t we all,” Kiku said. “So, Ray, what’s the big news?”

“You don’t know?” Rain asked. “I was certain that in the letter I sent out, it stated that the coronation was tomorrow.”

“No, not that, silly,” Kiku said. “I mean with Minnie. How are things going with her?”

“Perhaps that’s something she doesn’t feel comfortable answering,” Ayame said. “I wouldn’t ask you about all the things you do when you sneak off with Mr. Mzade, would I, madame?”

“Oh come on, Aya, it’s not as if I’m asking what color her panties are,” Kiku replied. “Besides, I don’t ask those sorts of questions unless Ray really wanted me to know.”

“If you’re asking about Mina, I haven’t seen her yet,” Rain replied. “She’s supposed to be here soon, though.”

“Is that so?” Kiku asked. “Minnie must absolutely be nervous!”

“That would be a first,” Noa said.

“She’ll be fine once she sees all the food,” Rain said. “If I know her well, Mina will be happy once she gets some food inside her.”

“Isn’t that how it always is, though?” Kiku asked. “Comfort the person you love with some food, or am I remembering that wrong?”

“Well, it’s probably better than what Igor would say,” Noa said.

“And what of you, Noa?” Rain asked. “I heard from General Khadir that you went and quit the military.”

“You… You heard that?” Noa said. “Oh no…  He’s not here, is he?”

“He is, actually,” Rain said. “He even told me to let you know that you were here. He even wanted to see Kiku, too!”

“Ooh, now I really want to see him,” Kiku said. “I wonder what he’ll think when he sees me with you, Nona!”

Noa groaned. “I don’t,” he said. “It took all I could to muster up the courage and let him know what I was doing…”

Kiku giggled. “You already did it once, didn’t you? That was all by yourself, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, but now I know what he’s going to think,” Noa replied. “I know what the general’s like when he’s angry and when he’s not.”

“It seems to me like you see him in a much more different light than the rest of us,” Rain said. “You shouldn’t be so worried, Noa.”

“She’s absolutely two hundred percent right,” Kiku said. “Besides, I just have the feeling that he would be beyond ecstatic if he saw you!”

Noa gasped. “Two hundred… Two hundred percent!?”

Kiku pushed Noa in the direction of the party room. “Come on! We don’t have all day, do we Nona? I want to see him for myself!”

As Kiku led Noa off, Rain did her best to stifle her laughter. At least she knew that Noa had found acceptance and looked to be happy. Ayame smiled as she looked over to Rain while Igor followed after the couple.

“It looks like that’s our cue,” Ayame said. “I really should thank you for giving us the opportunity to visit your land.”

“You’re very welcome, Ayame,” Rain said. “Please let Kiku know that she is welcome to visit whenever she pleases.”

“I’ll be sure to tell her that,” Ayame replied.

Ayame followed after Kiku and the others while Rain waited for the rest of her friends to arrive.

“So, you wanna get some rest or something?” Gamal asked.

“No, I’m fine,” Rain answered. “I’ve still yet to meet the others, after all.”

“I see,” Gamal said. “Well, I guess Dusty and I can go meet some of the other guests while you wait.”

Dustin nodded. “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.”

“Okay then,” Rain said. “Just don’t go too far off, alright?”

As Dustin and Gamal went off, Rain continued to wait in the main hall. A few more minutes passed until the rest of the group arrived. Gavin was leading the way as Luna and Pekka followed him. Sorin and Gale were next, and with them was Mina. Every one of Rain’s friends had arrived, it seemed, though it did feel odd that it took some time for everyone to arrive.

“Well, the fact that Lawrence decided to just get a head start without my knowing really threw me off,” Gavin exclaimed. “Good grief, does that dumbass have any idea what he’s done?”

“I think you should tell him yourself,” Rain said. “He’s waiting for you in the parlor, if that helps.”

“That’s more than enough for me,” Gavin said.

“I’m sure he’d explain if you listened, you know,” Luna said. “There’s no reason to be so upset, especially not when there’s a party!”

Gavin sighed. “I’ll try not to…”

“Well, that’s good to know,” Rain said.

But Gavin passed her and hurried towards the parlor. Rain had no response but to turn back to the others.

“Guess there’s no stopping him,” Pekka said.

“Do you think he’s going to be alright?” Luna asked.

“This is Gavin we’re talking about,” Gale said. “I’m sure that after he has his colorful tirade with Law, he’ll be back on the level.”

“That sounds about right,” Sorin said.

“Well, I just hope that he doesn’t disrupt the other guests too much,” Rain said. “Anyway, how have you two been?”

“We’ve been doing well,” Gale answered. “I’ve got some good news for you, actually.”

“Oh really?” Rain asked.

“In a month, I’m going to be presenting my idea to Lowell Page,” Gale said. “Of course, that does mean either he’ll have to come to Iiayikohn or that I’ll have to go to Ameci. Hopefully, he’ll be coming here, but I’m ready to travel if I have to do so.”

“That’s great,” Rain said. “I was not aware that you were working on a big idea. What is it?”

“Oh, I guess I never mentioned it to you, did I?” Gale asked. “Well, I’ve already told Sorin and he’s been supportive of me since.”

Gale went into detail about her idea for flying machines that would make travel more convenient between the Ameci Region and the Thekohnian Region. Rain listened intently as Gale explained how she talked with Lowell about the idea and that he would be able to set something up in the coming month. Mina stood with Rain and listened as well, her reactions going from blank to outright excited.

“So you mean we’d be able to fly?” Mina asked. “That sounds so cool, but would it really be possible?”

“Of course,” Gale replied. “I’ve done my research and it has been possible, but with our current technology, we haven’t moved towards flight yet. However, that hopefully will change.”

“Neat!” Mina said. “So we’ll be like the clouds and the stars way up in the sky!”

“Well, I don’t think we’ll go up that high,” Gale said, “And I don’t think we’ll be able to start off big right away.”

“It’s good to know you’ve been making some progress towards your goal,” Rain said. “I do hope that you’ll be able to get this project of yours off the ground, in more ways than one.”

“Thank you, Rain,” Gale said.

“Yeah, I’m glad, too,” Sorin said.

“And what of you, Sorin?” Rain asked. “What have you been doing recently?”

“Oh, I can answer that,” Mina said. “He’s kind of been just staring off a lot, though I’ve also been seeing him paint a lot as well!”

“Um, thanks, Mina,” Sorin said. “I’ve just been trying to find some sort of inspiration lately, that’s all.”

“If you’re looking for inspiration, you could always reflect on the places that you’ve been,” Rain said. “You remember Habicht Forest, right?”

“How could any of us forget?” Luna asked. “Ooh, maybe you could experiment with some sort of groundbreaking idea like Gale! She’s trying to get us all to fly, so maybe you could get everyone to see some sort of new color that none of us have even seen yet, not even yourself! Though, I guess if you haven’t seen it yet, there’s no chance you’d be able to create it… But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, not at all! You just have to believe in yourself, Sorin!”

“There’s a lot that I need to do, actually,” Sorin said. “After all, we haven’t forgotten about what happened here, have we?”

“I know,” Rain replied. “It’s about him, isn’t it?”

“Yes, I just don’t want to have his dream be forgotten,” Sorin said. “I want to do whatever I can to help make it possible.”

“I understand,” Rain said. “I, too, also wish to see a world where war does not exist. What I hope to do as the new Queen of Thekohn is to set up a summit to discuss with the other leaders about making a treaty of unity. In fact, perhaps I can even have you tag along if you want, Sorin.”

“You could totally do that,” Mina said, “After all, you’ve got such a strong presence that I’m sure they wouldn’t forget you!”

“Is that so?” Sorin asked. “I guess I can do that.”

“Great, I’m glad to hear it,” Rain said.

“Just let me know when the summit is,” Sorin said. “I’ll be sure to head over as soon as I can.”

“Of course,” Rain said.

“That’s good,” Sorin said. “I guess Gale and I will go see what everyone else is up to.”

“Okay, I’ll be sure to catch up with you later,” Rain said.

Sorin and Gale headed off as Rain looked at Mina. Pekka, meanwhile, got their attention by clearing his throat.

“I think we’ll go with them to, right?” Pekka asked.

“Yeah, let’s go and stuff our faces already,” Luna said. “I haven’t eaten since last night because I just knew that there’d be a hell of a lot of food!”

“Damn, you look serious,” Pekka said. “And I thought that Mina was the only one with a bottomless stomach…”

Luna patted Pekka on the back. “What else are we going to do? Let’s go already!”

“Okay, have fun,” Rain said.

With Luna and Pekka leaving for the dining hall, Rain had only Mina with her. She felt as if that was how it was supposed to turn out. Now that she was with Mina, Rain finally knew what she wanted to do.

“Maybe we should go, too,” Mina said. “I’d like to see what kind of food you got out there for your birthday party…”

“We can check it out later,” Rain said. “Besides, there’s plenty of food to go around.”

“Oh, well, okay,” Mina replied. “I was going to get you a gift and all, but I forgot… Sorry about that!”

Rain smiled. “You being here is a great gift,” she said. “Let’s go upstairs, because I want to show you something.”

“Are we not going to greet the other guests?” Mina asked.

“Sir Dustin and Sir Gamal have everything taken care of,” Rain replied. “I just want to spend some more time with you.”

Mina uttered a small laugh as she blushed. “Okay,” she said. “Just lead the way… Rain!”

Rain giggled. “You really are beautiful, you know?”

And with that, Rain grabbed Mina’s hand and led her upstairs away from the party.


To be continued…


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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 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 1)

[23rd of September, 2740 AD; Copper Hotel, Oelaans, Thekohn – Felis District]


Sorin sat in the hotel room sharpening his sword. Along with him were Gavin and Law, who decided to stay in the room with Sorin overnight. Since there were only two beds, but Sorin elected to take the floor before anyone was able to fight about who got which bed. Sorin slept peacefully, without any interruptions throughout the night, which in turn made him relaxed and ready for the fight ahead of him.

“So, are you nervous, Sorin?” Law asked.

Sorin placed his sword back in its sheath. “A little,” he replied. “I’m about to head back to place I’ve already been, but this time it won’t be as warm a welcome as it was before.”

“I’d be saying that if too I ever went back to Ameci, so I understand how you feel,” Law said. “Then again, we’ve got such a nice operation going on here that I believe we are more than capable enough to defeat the Neu Thekohnian Order.”

“We are getting some extra assistance, so I’m not worried there,” Sorin said. “It’s just how hostile that that kingdom has become…”

Gavin loaded his gun. “That’s not a concern,” he said. “I would advise you to worry about what’s ahead of you and not what’s behind you.”

“What’s your plan, then?” Sorin asked.

“I don’t know why you’re asking me,” Gavin said. “We haven’t even met up for breakfast yet.”

“Yeah, I imagine that everyone else is just getting up, too,” Law said. “I, for one, am curious to see if Eva got a full night’s sleep.”

“I don’t know if I should ask why you’re so curious about her,” Sorin said. “Then again, I guess it’s not that surprising.”

“I think you should be concerned about her, too,” Law replied. “You’re kind of like her student, aren’t you?”

“Well, it’s been a while since she’s taught me anything new,” Sorin said, “But I have to admit that you’re probably right.”

“I do wonder myself how much of a toll this is for Rain,” Law said. “Maybe it’s just me, but when I see her smile, I can’t help but feel that she’s trying her best not to give in to the pressure.”

Gavin stood up and placed his gun in the holster. “You can just go and ask her yourself later,” he replied. “Come on, we don’t want to keep everyone waiting for us.”

He made his way for the door and opened it, stepping outside. Law looked back over to Sorin and nodded to him before standing up.

“We’re close to the big time,” Law said. “I’m not about to face the day on an empty stomach and I’m sure nobody wants to, either. Mina, especially.”

Sorin stood up as well. “Sounds like a plan.”

They hurried after Gavin, who was out in the hall with Eva, Luna, Pekka, and Noa. The four all appeared to be rested and were busy talking amongst each other when Law interjected. Sorin could not help but notice the difference in how Eva wore her hair as it was now done in a ponytail instead of her usual freed up style. He thought little of it, though, and joined in the group.

“So what’s going on?” Sorin asked. “Where’s my father and the others?”

“Kirk’s already decided to go on ahead with the Maeitakohnian soldiers,” Eva replied. “I would say he’s just being his normal self, but it seems like this was all Lowell’s idea.”

Noa sighed. “They already left me behind again…”

“They got out of here pretty quick, didn’t they,” Law said. “Sorry about that, Noa. I guess that’s just how life goes sometimes.”

“Seems like it happens all of the time,” Noa replied. “I’m not even sure I even want to go now…”

“Don’t even begin with that bullshit,” Gavin said. “If you want to go and piss off around here, that’s fine, but you’re not going to fucking bring down our morale at a time when we need to keep our heads up!”

“Noa, you have your purpose in our group,” Pekka said. “If you’re not there to watch out for us, then who will be?”

“Well, there’s already another sniper in the Maeitakohnian troop,” Noa replied. “It’s not like you’re going to miss me if I don’t show up.”

Law snickered. “Look at you, man, making excuses,” he said. “What’s it going to be this time? Flu? Migraine? Diarrhea? There’s an entire catalog of illnesses of which you could use!”

“It’s none of that, I promise you!” Noa exclaimed.

“Well, Eva used to be a nurse back in the day,” Law said. “Perhaps she should check you out just to make sure? Maybe you can even convince her to wear a provocative nurse uniform.”

“I’d rather stab the both of you before that ever happens,” Eva replied. “Good lord, Noa, you’re just trying to reach for new lows, aren’t you? What would Kiku think if she saw you standing here like this?”

“Oh yeah, that’s a good point,” Luna said.

“She’d laugh and tease me,” Noa replied. “But I guess that’s what makes her so appealing.”

“I would think she’d be here encouraging you,” Eva said, “And she would not stop until you found it in yourself to go forward.”

“I don’t know how many times we have to tell you this,” Gavin said. “But if you’re not up to it, then perhaps it’s for the best that you sit this one out. At least none of us will have to worry about you.”

“You shouldn’t worry about me,” Noa said.

“Then I guess it’s settled,” Gavin replied. “Everyone, let’s go and get some breakfast already.”

“I wasn’t finished!” Noa exclaimed.

“What is it now?” Gavin asked.

“I’m telling you guys not to worry,” Noa said. “I’m going with you and you can’t do anything about it! Whether you guys… Erm, whether you like it or not, I’m going to be the one that backs you guys up!”

Law rubbed his chin. “You are good at sniping, at least as far as I’ve heard,” he said. “But are you absolutely sure you can hold up under pressure?”

“Don’t doubt me, Law,” Noa replied. “We’re fighting with a common goal in mind and I intend to play my part. Besides, if I didn’t… how can I even face Kiku and give her back her hairpin?”

Noa took out the flower hairpin and fastened it to the button hole of his uniform pocket. He took one look at it and let out a sigh of relief as he picked up his bag. In response, Law patted Noa on the back, making the taller man almost jump up.

“Just… Just lay your hands off of me, please,” Noa said. “I mean, you know, until after we’ve completed our mission.”

Luna clapped her hands together. “I bet you only want Kiku’s hands touching you, anyway! Wrapped around you, I mean. Well, she’ll probably do her best to celebrate with you for when we go back, so you don’t have to worry about her one bit, Noa!”

“Nice one,” Pekka said.

“Thanks,” Luna replied.

“So where are Mina and Rain, anyway?” Sorin asked. “Did they already go ahead of us?”

“No, they’re still in the room,” Eva answered.

“I assume it’s personal, then,” Law said. “I can only imagine what they’re doing in there right now. You’d probably want to find out too, wouldn’t you, Noa?”

Noa frowned. “Don’t ask me!”

“I’d smack you in the back of your goddamned head, Lawrence, but it’d be a waste of both my time and yours at this point,” Gavin said. “Whatever it is, I’m sure we’ll see them at the table soon enough.”

“Hurray!” Luna exclaimed. “I can’t wait to eat! Oh, do you guys think that they’ll serve fried Thekohnian Toast? It’s been a while since I’ve eaten that and I’d bet Mina would love to scarf some of it down as well, though I guess she’s more a fan of stuff like eggs and sausage but it never hurts to ask her. She’d probably love it either way, I guess.”


After breakfast, everyone gathered outside the Copper Hotel to discuss what they were going to do. Gavin, with Sorin and Rain’s help, took the time to plan out who would be where and what route they had to take. Rain brought up the secret passage that they had used before, which Gavin included into his ultimate plan.

“So you guys know where this passage is, then,” he said.

“We’ll waste no time getting through,” Rain said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if my mother has that passage guarded, however.”

“Good to know that the queen’s pulling out all the stops for you,” Pekka said.

“We have no choice but to go through,” Sorin said. “She’s watching out for Rain no matter what, so going through the secret passage is the least dangerous of our options.”

The last time Sorin had went through that passage, it was when they had to escape from Victor Wihll and his attack. He could not believe that the actual path itself led itself into the country of Thekohn, but according to Rain, it was used for various other escapes as well in the past. However, she and her siblings had used it when they were younger to go into Oelaans unnoticed and meet and speak with the residents of the city.

“But I guess that my parents knew about it either way,” Rain said. “At least, that was what my father told me.”

“So the entrance is in the back of the hospital, then,” Law said. “Any reason why it the passage goes through there?”

“When the passage was created, there was no hospital at that point,” Rain replied. “It used to be an embassy for Bryn, if I recall…”

Mina looked down. “I can’t help thinking about what she was doing then,” she said. “My mother, I mean.”

“So let’s decide, then,” Gavin said. “Rain obviously has to use the passage, so some of you are going to go with her.”

“I can’t see why we should change anything up,” Sorin said. “Seems like what we’ve been doing has worked out so far, don’t you think so?”

“If you don’t have a problem, then I don’t, either,” Gavin replied. “I’d have asked the others as well, but since they already left, there’s no point in wondering about them.”

Eva grumbled. “Why don’t we just go already?”

“Sure, why not?” Law asked. “We can help rough up a few of those goons before the Ameci military arrives.”

“Remember, our mission is to make the queen surrender,” Sorin said. “The faster we can do that, the better.”

“If not for that, I would’ve gone with you,” Eva said. “As far I’m concerned, the only punishment for Isla besides death is to make sure that she is exiled from the region.”

“That’s something we’ll have to address when we get to it,” Rain replied. “For now, I think we should set off on separate ways until we meet again in the castle.”

“Luckily, I won’t hesitate this time,” Luna said. “We’ll have to face some of the best the queen has to offer, but I’ll be there on your side!”

“Thank you,” Rain said.

“And Mina, I know we both share the desire in wanting to defeat bad guys,” Luna continued. “It’s been an honor to fight along with you and I hope that maybe you can teach me some of your tricks.”

“I don’t use tricks!” Mina exclaimed. “They’re my special moves, but I would be happy to teach you one or two. Just don’t ask me about my secret ‘Mighty Mina’ technique, though, because it really is a secret.”

“I understand,” Luna said. “Sorin, I’ve barely known you, too, but you just seem to be the nicest person around. I’m sure you and Lenne would have been good friends were he still alive.”

“Thanks for that,” Sorin said.

“You going to wrap this up soon?” Gavin asked Luna. “There’s plenty of time for you to get misty-eyed later. We need to move.”

“Oh, um, sorry,” Luna replied. “Anyway, you’re the last for now, Pekka. You and I seem to have gotten along really well on this journey. I’m sure I can ask my papa to give you place to stay, if you want.”

Pekka looked aside. “I’ll be sure to think about it.”

Luna patted Pekka on the back. “That’s a start,” she said. “Okay, well, let’s go then! Rain, you can lead the way since you brought us through the last time we went. It’s time to take down the queen!”

With that, the two groups split up once again. Sorin hoped it would be for a much shorter time, given that they won’t be too far away from each other this time. As he went with Rain, Mina, Pekka, and Luna to the hospital, all Sorin could think about was Rysol. Sorin wondered to himself if Johan was right and that his brother was headed to the kingdom. The likelihood of him running into Rysol was low, though, considering that he was going to go through a passage that only a few knew about.

As they made their way behind the hospital and entered the secret passage, Rain led the way while Sorin and Mina walked alongside each other. Luna and Pekka brought up the rear as they walked down the empty pathway. Sorin looked ahead while Mina looked at him as they walked.

“What will you do if we actually run into him?” Mina asked.

“I don’t know,” Sorin said. “I tried to chase him the last time we met, but it didn’t end well.”

“Yeah, I know,” Mina replied. “What do you think he’s doing?”

Sorin kept walking. “That’s what I want to know.”

The walk down the path continued. One thing Sorin noticed was that the secret path was longer than he remembered it being. He wondered if it was just due to the fact that the last time he went through here, it was because of the fact that he was trying to escape with the others. The secret passage was not tiring to him, but rather it was the fact that it seemed to go on and on with no real end in sight.

“You really took this path when you were younger?” Luna asked. “I mean, even as a kid, I was full of energy, but I would have gotten bored and turned the other way and gone home.”

“It’s not that long, is it?” Rain wondered.

“Well, in my experience, I used a similar sort of path in order to transport a fellow convict,” Pekka said. “Makes me wonder what else this path was being used for, or if it’s still being used to this day…”

“Not as far as I know,” Rain said.

Just then, Rain halted herself and reached her hand down to the handle of her sword. The others stopped, too, as Sorin noticed the same thing that Rain had taken notice of. A few feet away from the group stood five members from the Neu Thekohnian Order. Sorin knew what he and the others had to do as everyone got ready to fight. Isla was going to send her best to stop Rain from going further, but Sorin, Mina, Pekka, and Luna were not about to let them win. Sorin knew that Rain would not back down, either, as they prepared themselves for battle.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Sundown – Chapter 43 (Part 1)

[22nd of September, 2740 AD; Ameci Embassy, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


Ayanna arrived at the embassy with Gale and Dierk as the three hurried to meet with General Fercewend. She had received a sudden request from the prime minister and needed to meet with the Ameci side to discuss what they needed to do. They looked around and found Rohan in the office talking with President Hasker and Isaac Kunigunde, as well as the vice president, Casper Bradley. With a tap on the door, Ayanna poked her head through the doorway.

“Ah yes, Miss Lieutenant General, welcome,” Hasker said. “Is Reiss not joining with us tonight?”

“He has other business to attend to,” Ayanna replied. “So instead, I have brought along my trusted subordinate, Arthur Dierk.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President,” Dierk said.

“Anyway, I received this strange request from you and I have only one question,” Ayanna said. “This tip, where exactly did you hear it from?”

“Let me ask you a question,” Isaac said. “Why is it that she is here?”

Gale ignored her father and directed her attention towards Fercewend. “Maybe you can answer Miss Ansa’s question for us, Rohan?”

“We only just received the tip off a couple of hours ago,” Fercewend said, “But we have every reason to believe that what we’ve learned is absolutely one hundred percent true, right, President Hasker?”

Hasker nodded. “Correct,” he said. “Casper and I have been discussing this with the staff and we agreed that the best course of action is to go forth towards the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn.”

“The kingdom?” Dierk asked. “Are we not set on Ahnlikohn anymore, or am I remembering things wrong?”

“It has been the case,” Fercewend said, “However, we’ve learned that the real leader of the Neu Thekohnian Order resides in the kingdom.”

“That is to say, it is Queen Isla Zano Thedam,” Isaac added. “Never have I thought that someone who wields such grace would be the grand leader of a terrorist organization, but alas, it has come to this.”

“She played us all like fools,” Casper said. “That’s why we have to act with haste and begin moving on in the morning.”

Ayanna wanted to say something, but she did not know if it would be helpful to bring it up. She had a feeling that Gale felt the same way, which is why she did not speak either. Everything she had learned from the others suggested that it might come down to this, but Ayanna felt hesitant to speak up.

“I had no clue,” Dierk said. “There was much I’ve heard about, but to think that the queen has been leading this organization to do her bidding… All I can really say is that I can’t even begin to understand why.”

“It’s simple, really,” Isaac replied. “She believed that she was able to take advantage of Iiayikohn after its leader had been assassinated. Unfortunately for her and the Neu Thekohnian Order, we are not kind to those who seek to use us as tools for their own gain.”

“Casper and I have already spoken with Dezine earlier,” Hasker said. “The prime minister is in agreement with us.”

“Right now, our troops are in Helm,” Fercewend said. “They’re set to head off at my command. I expect that it will be a tough battle, but I know my soldiers well and they will emerge victorious.”

“So it seems,” Ayanna said. “Though you still have not answered my question as to who sent you this information about the Neu Thekohnian Order, General Fercewend.”

“I’m not at liberty to say, unfortunately,” Fercewend said.

“Yes, don’t you think it’s more important that our troops make a move on already?” Isaac asked. “I’m sure that you would understand what needs to be done here, lieutenant general.”

“If that’s the case, then I won’t bother raising further questions,” Ayanna replied. “I’ll be sure to inform General Reiss about what you said. Let’s go, you two.”

She motioned to Gale and Dierk and left the office with them. There was nothing that they could do to gain any more information, but Ayanna remained concerned with good reason to be as the focus shifted from one target to another. As for what could be done, Ayanna felt her options limited. In the main lobby of the embassy, she looked to Gale while Dierk checked his pocket watch.

“It’s not good, is it?” Gale asked.

“Well, I would feel a little better if I knew what exactly is going on,” Ayanna said. “It concerns me when Dezine doesn’t tell Reiss or I about the meetings he attends, especially when they actually involve our military.”

“I’m worried for Rohan,” Gale said. “It seems like he has become distant due to Isaac’s participation. I really don’t know how he’s been able to climb up the ranks so quickly…”

Dierk raised his hand. “If I may ask, this does concern the princess and the others as well, correct?”

“I haven’t heard from Sorin yet,” Gale replied. “I shouldn’t worry too much because he’s not the type to give up so easily, but he hasn’t called yet and all I can really do at this point is hope.”

“Well, if they are in Oelaans now, there’s only one place they would be,” Ayanna said. “If you want, we can make a call to the local hotel and see if they will respond.”

“That would be good,” Gale said. “We can tell them about what we’ve found out and see if they’ve learned anything on their end as well.”

“I guess it would do us best to get out of here first, then,” Dierk said. “But the lieutenant general likes to keep her door open to the late night, so it’s a good thing you have her on your side, you know.”

Gale agreed. “Now then, let’s get out of here.”


Back in Ayanna’s office, she handed the phone over to Gale. There was no telling if anyone on the other side would pick up, but they had to at least try. The phone started to ring on the other end as Gale clutched the receiver and held it close to her ear. Soon enough, the front desk picked up and asked who it was that was calling. Gale responded with her name.

“Can you tell me if Sorin Wilk available?” Gale asked.

“Let me check, miss,” the front desk clerk said. “I don’t see anyone by that name. I’m sorry.”

“Then what about Gavin Power?”

“One second,” the clerk replied. A few seconds silence followed. “He is staying here.”

“That’s great,” Gale said. “Do you think you could connect me to him? I’m a friend of his.”

“Very well, let me get you to Mr. Power right away. Hold on for one second, please.”

Gale then was put on hold as she waited once again for the other end to respond. She and Ayanna waited at the desk as the silence on the other end was broken by the immediate ringing on the other end of the line. At the very least, Gale knew that she could call back later if no one picked up now. However, she did not need to worry about that as the other end picked up.

“Who is this?” Gavin asked.

“Hey Gavin,” Gale said. “Is Sorin there?”

“Oh, Gale, I was wondering when you were going to call,” Gavin said. “As for Sorin, he should be around.”

“That’s great,” Gale replied. “Just go and tell him that I want to speak to him, that’s all.”

“Fine, I’ll go and see where he is,” he said.

“So are we not going to take this to speaker?” Dierk asked.

“Well, we can do that,” Ayanna said. “Gale, you don’t mind if we do that, do you?”

“No, go ahead,” she said. “I think it’ll be okay.”

Gale handed the receiver over to Ayanna, who then used it to set up the speaker. Again, they had to wait, but soon enough, Sorin came on.

“Hello,” Sorin said. “I’ve missed you.”

“Hi Sorin, I missed you too,” Gale replied. “I’m with Ayanna and Dierk right now, so it’s a bit crowded here.”

“Oh really?” Sorin asked. “Well, we’re set to enter the kingdom tomorrow if everything goes right.”

“That’s good,” Gale said. “Just tell me that you guys will look for each other. That’s all I’m asking you.”

“Of course,” Sorin said.

“Listen, Sorin, we’ve got something that we need to tell you about,” Ayanna said. “It pertains to both the Neu Thekohnian Order and the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn, so you might want to get the others with you.”

“I’ll go see if can get the others, then,” Sorin said. “Gavin, do you think you can help me out?”

Gale could hear Gavin in the background as more shuffling went about. She had no idea if Sorin would be able to gather everyone, but even if he could not, they would learn about the information later. A few more moments passed until Sorin picked up his end again.

“Okay, I think I’ve got everyone I can find,” Sorin said.

“Alright, let’s get to the main topic, then,” Ayanna replied. “We just came back from the Ameci Embassy, so there’s a lot that you must know.”

Ayanna explained to Sorin about what General Fercewend had said. She went into detail about what both the Ameci and Iiayikohnian militaries would do starting tomorrow. In addition, Ayanna also mentioned the fact that Fercewend and the other Ameci officials had found out about Queen Isla being the leader of the Neu Thekohnian Order. Rain, in the background, requested Sorin to give her the receiver, to which he handed it over.

“So they already know?” Rain asked.

“That’s correct,” Ayanna said. “I’m not sure what it means for you, but I know that it means a lot to you.”

“Then it’s as Kirk says,” Rain said. “It’s suspicious, but still, we have no real choice other than to keep moving forward.”

“If you are successful in getting her to step down, then both Ameci and Iiayikohn will pull back their troops,” Ayanna said. “At least, that’s my opinion on what would happen.”

“If it’s about taking down the Neu Thekohnian Order, then it would be beneficial for the princes to succeed in her mission, right?” Dierk asked. “We should let both the prime minister and the general know.”

“In due time, Dierk,” Ayanna replied. “Besides, I have the feeling that they are very much well aware of what Her Highness is doing.”

“It’s not a surprise,” Rain said. “We’ve already run into a couple of Ameci soldiers on the way here.”

“Then you should be aware of what could happen next,” Ayanna said. “We’re finally going to be dealing with the leader of this organization that was responsible for Alan’s assassination.”

“That is true,” Gale said, “Yet I can’t help but feel that this runs a lot deeper than just assassination and murder. We never even found out how they learned about Isla being the leader of the Neu Thekohnian Order, for example.”

“Well, we’ve got no other choice,” Dierk said. “Lieutenant general, what do you think?”

“Right now, our priority is overthrowing Queen Isla,” Ayanna answered. “We can worry about what happens next after we’re done with her.”

“I agree,” Rain said. “Once she is taken care of, I will do my best to handle relations between all the countries involved.”

“It is a tall task, though,” Ayanna said. “I trust you, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any concerns.”

“Don’t worry, we will find a way,” Rain replied. “There are advisors that will assist me should I need them. It’s just a matter of ascending to the throne, that is all.”

“Do you think we can talk to Sorin again?” Gale asked. “Actually, it’s something that I want to talk to him about alone.”

“Of… Of course,” Rain said. “I understand what you’re saying. Here you go.”

Ayanna motioned to Dierk. “We should step out as well.”

“Really?” Dierk asked. “Is there anything else we can do?”

“Don’t worry about it,” Ayanna said. “I’m sure you would understand once you find someone.”

“Oh, okay,” Dierk said.

“Come on, I can show you something interesting,” Ayanna said. “Let’s just leave Gale to herself; we can just come back in ten minutes.”

Ayanna got up and so did Dierk. The two left her office as Gale began to speak with Sorin once again. There was a lot that Ayanna had learned from her conversation with Rain, but still, she remained skeptical about the motivations of Ameci and their relation to Iiayikohn. But there was little that Ayanna could do at this moment, so all she could do was go forward with Rain’s plan.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

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…


Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 42 (Part 1)

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


Swords clashed as Rain and Ahga fought in the backyard of his mansion. The wind did not prove to be a factor as Rain moved forward. She moved in a deft manner, spinning around as she defended herself against each one of Ahga’s attacks. Rain continued to look for an opening as Ahga continued his attack. Every second on defense meant that Rain had to stay sharp.

“You’re moving quite well, Your Highness,” Ahga said, “But you can’t dodge this!”

He thrusted his sword forward at Rain. She turned to the side as Ahga’s blade missed her. That was when Ahga tried to swing at her again, but Rain stopped that attack as well. No matter what happened, both fighters could not land a hit on each other. Rain was fortunate not to have suffered any damage, but she still needed to hit him.

“I’m not going to let you win!” Rain said.

“Persistent as ever,” Ahga replied, stepping back. “It seems like I’ve truly met my match.”

“You’re pulling back now?” Rain asked.

“If anything, it means I am honored,” Ahga said. “I would have thought that you’d buckle against adversity, but it seems that my teaching has paid off for you. I’m happy knowing that I’ll be granted the privilege of a killing a warrior worthy of my praise.”

“Not if I have something to say about it,” she said.

Though Rain had to admit that she was indeed on level with Ahga. There was nothing she could do to say otherwise. However, what she had over him was the fact that he could not expect what she had planned. All Rain had to do was make that plan happen, but first she had to catch Ahga off guard.

“I’ll take you down!” Ahga exclaimed.

He thrusted his sword forward once again as Rain dodged. It was not as clean a dodge as she thought, though, as the blade came into contact with the sleeve of her shirt. It created a tear in the sleeve as well, grazing Rain’s upper arm as well. She stopped herself and gasped as she realized the cut on her body.

“Now I’ve got you,” Ahga said. “Prepare to die!”

He swung at Rain again with a horizontal slash. She looked on at him and started to smile. Now she had won.

“There’s just one problem,” she said.

Rain ducked, Ahga’s blade missing her, and returned the favor with a vertical swipe. Ahga could not react in time to stop the attack as Rain’s blade struck him from his left leg all the way up to his chest. His scream could be heard all throughout as Rain caught her breath. The sword strike caused Ahga to fall backwards and drop his sword. As Rain looked at the wound on her arm, she also had to make sure that Ahga could not get back up. She walked over to him, her sword still in her hand, and looked as Ahga groaned aloud.

“Your Highness, it’s… it’s not over,” Ahga said. “As soon as I pick up my sword, I will get back up. I’ll get back up on my feet and finish you off.”

“Do you not see the state you’re in?” Rain asked.

Ahga looked up. The large cut on his body was obvious, even from his point of view. Blood started to stain his clothing as he struggled to sit up.

“You can’t move,” she said. “No matter what you say, it is impossible for you to continue fighting.”

Ahga sighed. “Then finish it,” he said. “If this is the fate I’m doomed to, then at least kill me. I can’t afford to look Isla in the eyes now…”

“I’m sorry,” Rain replied. “I am truly sorry for this, Sir Lauren.”

She walked over to Ahga and looked over his body. The wound was deep enough to cause massive bleeding, but it was not the lethal blow that Rain had thought that it was at first. There was comfort in her heart that Ahga was still alive, because she could end this fight with no more room for doubt. She lifted her sword and pointed it downward at Ahga. Rain closed her eyes and sighed as she thrusted down into the ground next him instead.

“You missed me,” Ahga said. “Was that on purpose?”

“It was.”

“But why? Why are you deciding to spare my life now?”

Rain picked up her sword and sheathed it. “Because even though I know that what you’ve done is horrible, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re still like family to me,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean I will let you get away with what you’ve done, nor will I excuse my mother’s actions either.”

“So you intend to lock me in prison instead?” Ahga asked. “Would it not be easier to kill me right now? You’ve already inflicted such a major wound on me, so what are you going to do about that?”

“I don’t know,” Rain said. “What I do know, however, is that you do need to answer for everything involving the Neu Thekohnian Order. That is why I just cannot end your life here.”

Ahga started to laugh, but stopped. “And what of Isla?”

“I’ve already told you,” Rain said.

“Did you now? Okay, well then, I won’t ask about her any further,” he said. “Isla, I’ve failed her.”

“If I had to be honest, the only you’ve failed is yourself,” Rain replied. “You were once someone I respected. I guess I still respect you but now, I guess, it’s more out of nostalgia than anything else.”

“You’re going then, I assume?” Ahga asked.

“Before we do, there’s the matter of dealing with you,” she said. “I know you can’t move very far, if at all, but I can’t just abandon you.”

“There you are!” Luna exclaimed.

Rain looked up and saw Luna and Pekka step out into the backyard. They both ran right over to Rain’s side with Luna hugging Rain and Pekka looking down at Ahga.

“Go ahead and gawk all you want,” Ahga said, “I’ve got no strength to fight back anyway.”

“You should be fortunate that she was kind enough to spare you,” Pekka replied. “Though I can’t say how long you have left.”

Ahga gasped out a parted laugh. “Her Highness is only sparing me because she believes I should suffer for all that I’ve done,” he said. “To be honest with you, I find it difficult to disagree with her.”

Rain sighed. “Thank you guys,” she said to Luna and Pekka. “I’m so glad that you two are okay.”

“I should be saying that to you,” Luna replied. She then noticed the cut on Rain’s arm. “Oh my god, I can see your blood! Are you okay?”

Pekka shook his head. “Well, what do you think?”

“We should get you all taken care of,” Luna said to Rain. “You wouldn’t want to make Mina worried, would you?”

“Please, Luna, don’t concern yourself so much,” Rain replied. “I can just cover it up with some cloth for now and have it taken care of once we arrive in Oelaans.”

“You also jumped out of that window, too, didn’t you,” Luna said. “Is your body sprained in any way?”

“Again, she looks okay to me,” Pekka said. “Besides, we’ve got bigger things to worry about.”

He motioned over to Ahga, who was still lying on the ground. Then, Ahga began to sit up as his wound began to aggravate.

“Sir Lauren, you really shouldn’t be sitting up,” Rain said.

“I want you to grant me one last request,” Ahga said. “There’s something that I need to check before they come and take me away.”

“Then I’ll go with you,” Rain replied.

“No, I’m sorry, but it’s something personal to me,” Ahga said as he clutched his wounded side with his free hand. “I promise to you that I will not run away. Not that I’d be to in my current condition, anyhow.”

Pekka looked to Rain. “What do you think?”

“Very well,” Rain said. “It’s not likely that you’ll run, anyway, nor do I expect you to call my mother, either.”

“It will only take a few minutes,” Ahga replied. “And to show you that I am serious, I will leave my sword to you.”

He took the sheath of his sword from off his side and tossed it next to his blade. Rain went over and picked both of them up and placed the sword back into the sheath. Then, she turned back over to Ahga.

“You had a gun as well,” she said.

Ahga nodded. “Yes, guess I should give you that, too.”

“Allow me,” Pekka said.

He reached over to Ahga and retrieved the gun. Pekka then unloaded the gun and put the bullets away in his pocket while taking the gun and holster and attached them to his right side.

“Now you can go inside, Sir Lauren,” Rain said.

“I see, then,” Ahga said.

With that, Ahga made an effort to stand up. Rain decided to help him back up to his feet, to which he thanked her. He staggered back to the mansion as he held his side. Meanwhile, Luna took out a piece of cloth and wrapped it around Rain’s arm.

“It looks good now, don’t you think so?” Luna asked.

“It’s not like I wasn’t going to change out of these clothes,” Rain said. “But thank you.”

Pekka looked over at the mansion and furrowed his eyebrows. “You’re absolutely fine with him going about, Rain?”

“There’s nothing he can do now,” Rain said.

“I wonder where Mina and Sorin are,” Luna said. “What do you think is holding them up?”

“I have no idea,” Rain replied. “What I do know is that they’ll be fine. They should come soon, hopefully.”




Korbin hurried out into the main hall of the mansion. He wanted to find Bradley and get out of Ahga Manor as soon as possible. He decided that he would not go after Sorin or Johan at this time because he knew that they would make it out in some way. To Korbin, this was a good thing because he wanted another chance against Sorin alone, as well as Johan Kuu.

“Bradley!” Korbin called out. “Damn it, where are the fuck you?”

He looked around in the main hall for Bradley, but he could not find him anywhere. That was when Korbin heard some groaning coming from only a few feet away from him. A closet door was near the stairs as Korbin went over to try and investigate. He opened the closet door and found Bradley tied and seated up against the back wall.

“Holy shit!” Korbin exclaimed. “What did they do to you?”

“Ugh, what happened?” Bradley asked.

Korbin knelt down next to Bradley. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “We gotta get out of here and blow this shit up!”

He proceeded to cut the rope surrounding Bradley and helped him up to his feet. The two men hugged each other and began to head to the door. Bradley rubbed his aching head while Korbin put his knife away.

“I feel like I’ve set a bad precedent,” Bradley said. “Those guys… they’re no fucking joke, you should know.”

“Believe me, Bradley, I know,” Korbin replied. “If only that damn asshole wasn’t here, I’d have gained my victory.”

“Right,” Bradley said. “I’m going to remember this just in case… No one humiliates me like that. No one.”

“So where did you hide the switch?” Korbin asked.

“It’s back at the truck,” Bradley replied. “It’s locked up right now but once I activate it, the bombs will go off in this place.”

“Cool, we’ll get to see this place blow over,” Korbin said.

They stepped outside and hurried as fast as they could back over the Ameci truck. Bradley took the key from his pocket and opened the safe in the back. In the front, Korbin took the communicator and saw that there was a call waiting to be picked up. He grabbed the receiver and turned on communications.

“Private Mars speaking.”

“You idiot, you can’t fool anyone with that half-assed attempt at formality,” Harold said. “What has become of Ahga Manor and the princess?”

“Well pop, I, er, we’re about to blast the whole place!” Korbin exclaimed.

“So you’ve failed to kill her, then,” Harold replied.

Korbin’s hand began to shake. “How… How did you know?”

“I can tell that you were doomed to fail the moment I heard that Wilk’s son would be there,” Harold said. “You had to go and divert from your duty, didn’t you? You’re lucky that I’m here in Rezar, you incompetent dumbass!”

“I’m sorry,” Korbin said.

“No matter how many times I beat it into that thick head, you never seem to learn your lesson, so why should I bother,” Harold said. “Go ahead and blow Ahga Manor up, but know this: the princess and her allies are preparing to head over to Oelaans.”

“I know that,” Korbin said.

“That’s why I want you two to let them go for now,” Harold said. “Right now, both you and Bradley need to regroup and head to the rendezvous point in Helm.”

“What? Why should I let her go?” Korbin asked.

“Because everything has changed,” Harold replied. “Our plan is moving fast and we have no need for those who can’t play by our rules.”

“Got it.”

“Ahga seemed to have figured it out, anyway,” Harold continued. “But he realized too late how far his usefulness went.”

“Then what about Ahnlikohn?” Korbin wondered.

“You’ll get your time,” Harold said. “Right now, I’m going to attend a very important meeting with President Hasker. Until I’m done, don’t even think of contacting me.”

Before Korbin could respond, Harold closed off communications. Korbin set the receiver down and stepped out of the truck. Bradley had just taken the switch out of the safe and was getting ready to turn it on.

“So what’s the deal?” Bradley asked.

“I’ll tell you later, man,” Korbin said. “Ready to go?”

Bradley looked down at the switch. “Almost,” he said. “Got one last thing to do before I turn it on and blow this motherfucker up.”

“That’s good,” Korbin replied. “Looks like you’re getting another day to live, Johan Kuu…”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Sundown – Chapter 41 (Part 1)

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


Luna moved the shower curtain of the upstairs bathroom as the search for Rain continued. There was no one inside the shower, but Luna expected that to be the case. On the other side of the hall, Pekka tore apart the guest room, his search revealing nothing of note.

“It’s not like she’s hiding in one of these cabinets or something,” Luna said. “There’s not that many rooms up here at the top, are there?”

“Well, there’s the other end,” Pekka said. “Besides, I think we’re done looking around here anyway.”

They had been through one of the other bedrooms, an empty storage room, and an antique room as well. No matter where they looked, however, Rain could not be found. There was only the other end of the upstairs hall, where several more rooms awaited them. Pekka walked first, with Luna trailing him. As they got closer to the other end of the hallway, though, they heard a loud crash and the sound of a man yelling.

“That must be them,” Pekka said. “Get ready, because we’re going to go in headfirst!”

He attempted to open the door, but found it locked instead. However, Pekka decided to break down the door, cracking his knuckles as he charged the door with his shoulder. It was to no avail, however.

“Are you kidding me?” Pekka asked.

“Remember what Sorin and Mina did,” Luna said. “I may not be as strong as those two, but I can lend you what strength I have!”

Pekka nodded. “Okay, we’ll have to go on three,” he said. “One… Two… Three! Now!”

They lined up side by side and hurried to the locked door. Pekka charged with his shoulder once more, but Luna had something different in mind as she led with her foot. The combined strength of both his shoulder rush and her kick was enough to jar the door and reveal Ahga, who was looking out of the window. To both their surprise, though, Rain was not there.

“Where is Rain?” Luna asked.

“Where do you think she is?” Ahga said.

Pekka gritted his teeth. “You don’t mean…”

“She’s just hanging on, that lucky one,” Ahga replied. “Tell me, Your Highness, did you do only this because you knew that they would come rushing to your aid?”

Outside the window, Rain grabbed onto the railing just below the window and turned around. She had tried to move along and enter through a different window, but with Ahga looking down at her, it proved impossible. She could have made the drop to the ground without any worry of a major injury, though she could not afford to at this moment.

“Those friends of yours, you wouldn’t abandon them at all, would you?” Ahga asked. “I could go ahead and take care of them first, but since I’ve got you here, I should finish the job.”

“You would do so, even though I’ve no way of fighting back?” Rain asked. “I thought that you’d told me that it was dishonorable to attack someone with no way of fighting back.”

“Honor only means so much,” Ahga said. “But I’m talking about you.”

Ahga reached for his gun, but before he could grab it, Luna rushed in with her knife and planted it into his left shoulder. She held onto the handle as Ahga let out an agonizing scream, though he reacted quickly as he shoved Luna off of him and onto the floor.

“We aren’t finished with you yet,” Pekka said as he rushed Ahga.

“Are you an idiot?” Ahga asked. “I will kill you!”

Ahga pulled out his gun and tried to fire, but Pekka had already grabbed his wrist and brought himself closer.

“You underestimate me,” Pekka replied. “That’s an erroneous line of thinking, if you ask me.”

Ahga grinned. “You think I was talking about you?”

Pekka’s eyes lit up as he looked behind him. Luna still remained on the floor as she tried to get back on her feet as Ahga had focused his aim on her. With only a few seconds to act, Pekka moved Ahga’s arm to the side but was met with a knee to his gut, with Ahga pushing him away.

“Nice try,” Ahga said.

Pekka covered his stomach as he caught his breath. “Damn it,” he said. “Luna! Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” she said.

“If you are fine, then it would do you well to take back what you gave me!” Ahga replied.

He reached for the knife in his back and pulled it out, wincing throughout, and dropped it on the ground. He kicked it towards Luna, who tried to pick it up but was stopped by Pekka.

“You would do well to stay away,” Ahga said with his gun pointed at the two. “If you take another step forward, I won’t hesitate to shoot you. Now to deal with my other problem…”

But as Ahga looked out the window, Rain had already escaped. He looked all around the immediate area outside, but Rain was nowhere to be seen.

“Damn it, this really was all part of her plan, wasn’t it?” Ahga asked. “Oh well, I guess I can use a little target practice.”

Ahga turned away from the window and found that Pekka and Luna had also escaped. The knife was gone as well. Ahga looked down at his gun again and shook his head. Then, he started to laugh aloud.

“Oh please, Your Highness,” he said. “If it’s a fair and honorable fight you want, then a fair and honorable fight you will get!”




Outside, Rain moved to the back of the mansion and looked for another point of entry. She had landed on the ground with her left foot first, which had caused her to stumble backward and roll onto her back. It was an inconvenience that she had to take in order to gain the advantage, but even so, Rain felt the slight, nagging pain in her lower back and left elbow. She shook off some of the remaining shards of glass from the window and ran over to the back door. This had to be the entrance through the kitchen, Rain thought.

“There’s no time to hesitate,” she said. “I can only hope that Luna and Pekka are okay…”

Rain pulled the door open and went into the kitchen. It was empty and the only thing that illuminated the room was the outside light. As Rain expected, no one was here and she could not hear anyone coming, either. At first, she was relieved and felt like this was a moment to rest, but then she remembered that Sorin and Mina were pursuing someone as well. She could only hope that they would be successful, too, as she did with Luna and Pekka.

“No one is here,” Rain said. “Sir Lauren has to be downstairs by now, so I have to counter him in any way I can.”

If there was one place where Rain knew she had the advantage over Ahga, it was her quickness. She knew that even he would admit to that, which was why Rain had to move to an area with more space. The kitchen was not that sort of place, but there was the main hall. Luring Ahga outside was also a possibility that she could use as well, as it was the most open of all the places around Ahga Manor.

Rain hurried through the kitchen and out towards the main hallway. As she assumed, Bradley was not around even though it was obvious from the dent in the wall that the fight from before had taken place.She ignored the site of impact and headed for the front door.

“Leaving so soon, Your Highness?” Ahga asked.

Ahga’s voice rang through the hall and through Rain’s ears. She turned around and saw him standing at the top of the stairs with his sword drawn out. Rain, in return, drew her sword as well.

“I see that there’s been a bit of roughhousing in my humble home,” Ahga said. “Seems like those Ameci have been up to no good. I’ll see to it that those stupid ravens pay dearly for wreaking havoc upon my house. You know, once I’m done with you.”

“I’m not going to run away, Sir Lauren,” Rain said. “Not when my friends still need me.”

“So it’s all about your friends, then?” Ahga asked. “You always were too attached to these sorts of ideals, weren’t you? Always believing in the absolute goodness of people, even those born of a different land… All those people are nothing more than disgusting worms writhing around in the dirt!”

“What of you?” Rain asked. “Was it not my father who hired you after all you’ve done for him? He may have not been perfect, but he was willing to learn from his mistakes and work towards a better future.”

“A better future? Don’t make me laugh,” Ahga said. “This dirt we sit on is all we’ve got and god knows how many years we have left on it. Why bother with unity when you and I both know that they’ll just turn on you in the end? Have you not been paying attention to what is going on in Ahnlikohn?”

“It was all because of you!” Rain exclaimed. “You and my mother… You wanted Alan Berry dead but you used others to do your dirty work. Not only is that deplorable, but cowardly as well!”

Ahga scoffed. “Cowardly? The only coward was the bumbling nitwit who couldn’t see,” he said. “He was only good for one thing, because regardless of whether he got away with assassinating the prime minister of Iiayikohn, Isla still won in the end!”

“You haven’t won yet, Sir Lauren,” Rain said.

“Is that all you can really say?” Ahga asked as he walked down the stairs. “Not that it matters to me, anyway. For you, however, it’s time for your journey to come to an end!”

“You’re forgetting something very important, Ahga,” Pekka said, “I’m not going to go anywhere and I’m certainly not going to let you go without a fight! Bring on your worst!”

Pekka and Luna arrived at the top of the stairs only a few feet away from Ahga. He looked at the two as Pekka got up on the railing while Luna edged closer with her knife drawn.

“When it’s three against one, you’ve got little choice,” Pekka said. “Right now, however, we have all the choices in the world!”

“What are you doing?” Rain asked.

Luna took her place at the top of the stairs. “Don’t worry about him,” she said. “He knows what he’s doing for once! We’re going to help contain Ahga so you can beat him!”

“What do you mean ‘for once,’ Luna?” Pekka asked. “You know what? Forget about it; I’ve already got all the power that I need in order to make this happen!”

Rain could only watch as she saw Pekka leap from up top the railing towards Ahga. He had his sword ready as Rain tried to figure out what to do next. She knew Pekka stood no chance unarmed against Ahga and Luna carried a disadvantage too despite carrying a knife.

“You think you have me beat?” Ahga asked. “Clearly, you underestimate why I am called ‘Sir Lauren Ahga’ of Thekohn.”

Luna hurried in with her attack, which Ahga tried to defend himself with his sword. Meanwhile, Pekka had made it to the guard rail of the stairs and held onto the rail with his fingers. Now Ahga had his back turned against Rain, who had all the opportunity she needed to make a strike from the back.

“H-Hurry up!” Luna said. “I can’t hold up much longer with him!”

Pekka attempted to crawl up over the railing. “I got it,” he said. “Come on, Rain, take your sword and do what needs to be done!”

Rain gazed off until she realized what Pekka said. “I know,” she replied. “Sir Lauren, even though this is the most painful decision I’ve ever had to make, it must be done if we are to achieve peace!”

She raised her blade and began to run towards Ahga. But as she did, he spoke out once more.

“You really don’t have a clue, do you,” Ahga said. “These two are nothing to someone like myself!”

Ahga pushed away Luna with his physical power behind his sword, to which she ducked underneath the swing. However, Ahga kicked her away and turned his attention to Pekka and backhanded him in the face. Pekka remained with his hands on the railing, but Ahga slammed his free hand down on Pekka’s fingers and made him lose his grip. Because of that, Pekka could not hold on anymore and fell to the floor below.

“Luna! Pekka!” Rain exclaimed.

“They’ll be fine,” Ahga said. “At least, for now.”

Pekka sat up, rubbing his head. “Damn, he had that coming this whole time,” he said. “Ugh, it hurts…”

“Ow… my head,” Luna said.

“Tell me, Your Highness, what good would it do me if I were to let you go outside now?” Ahga asked. “As long as I have the advantage inside, there’s no way I’m going to let you escape with your life!”

Rain knew now that she needed to run. Not because she was not able to take Ahga on, but because she had to create a better advantage for herself. As Ahga charged at her, Rain moved out of the way and into the next room. There was furniture all throughout, so Rain continued to move. As long as she had the speed to outrun Ahga, Rain continued to believe that she would be able to gain the advantage over him.


To be continued…


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