Sundown – Chapter 50 (BOOK TWO FINALE)

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


The wait at the front door made Kirk wonder if he was even in the right place. According to the map in his hand, Kirk entered the residential district and found Dia’s house in a matter of seconds. However, there was no way for him to see if Dia was home, so he decided to head for the front door and knock. A few moments passed. Kirk knocked again and waited once more, which only served to make him wonder even more if he was just wasting his time. He shrugged and turned to head back to his car, but that was when the door opened.

“What do you want?” Dia asked.

Kirk looked back. “Ah, you are here,” he said. “Sorry if I was interrupting anything important. Am I?”

“Don’t worry, you weren’t,” Dia said. “It’s just been a bit of an uneventful day here, save for that one guy that came here earlier.”

“Do you mean Henry Randolph?” Kirk asked.

“Why yes, I do,” Dia replied. “How do you know him? And how did you find me, for that matter?”

“Oh, well, he and I are friends,” Kirk said. “Actually I’m working with him on his campaign, if you can believe that.”

Dia shook her head. “You expect me to know that?”

“I wasn’t, honestly,” Kirk replied. “I know you’ve been quite busy… if what Henry said was any indication.”

“So you two are just going to do this, then?” Dia asked. “You’re just going to keep bothering me for what? What is it that’s so important about me that you just cannot stop yourself?”

“I wouldn’t come to you if I didn’t have a reason,” Kirk said. “My name is Kirk Wilk. I knew your husband for a bit, though I wouldn’t say that I knew him quite well.”

“You want to bring him up, then,” Dia said. “I think I’m going to go back inside.”

“Before you do, please hear me out,” Kirk replied. “I’ll leave here once I’ve said what I need to say.”

Dia sighed. “Fine then.”

“Thank you so much,” Kirk said. “It’s about your son, actually. He and my son knew each other quite well.”

“Yes, I think he mentioned to me quite a few times about this kid,” Dia said. “If I had to guess, he’s about the same age Johan would be.”

“Well, you’d be right,” Kirk said.

“Is that all you wanted to say to me?”

“No, not at all,” Kirk answered. “There’s something that your son wanted to do ever since he learned the news about Voitto. Something that he hoped that he would have been able to make happen. My son told me a bit about this dream before and I can’t help but find a way in which I can help.”

“It’s just like him to have had quite the ambition,” Dia said. “I guess that if you’re looking to help your son, it only makes sense to tell me about it.”

“That’s not all I’m here for,” Kirk said. “I need your help specifically. You’re the only person who can really help me with this plan.”

“What makes you think that?” Dia asked. “I’ve got no idea how I can even begin to think about helping you.”

“You can help by getting your voice out there,” Kirk replied. “Your son fought for what he believed in and I think you need to be able to fight for what you believe in as well.”

“I don’t have much to believe in,” Dia said. “I just lost my only son. How can I even do anything?”

“You can fight for others,” Kirk said. “That’s what I’ve been doing and that’s what my son and his friends have been doing. Even if it scares you, you have to find a way to move forward and help create the world that Johan envisioned. That is what you can do for me.”

“And how do you suppose I go about doing that?” Dia asked. “I’m not really a fighter, nor do I wish to be one, and I don’t have the presence for a big stage like they have in politics.”

“You can help me friend, Henry,” Kirk said. “He’s looking for all the help he can get so he can help Ameci. I think having you would be a good idea.”

“I don’t suppose that he put you up to this, did he?”

“He knows not about this,” Kirk replied. “At least for now, anyway. So how about it? Will you do this for me? For Ameci? For the world?”

Dia closed her eyes and looked to be deep in thought. “There’s a lot that makes sense,” she said, opening her eyes. “I will give it some consideration. How can I reach Mr. Randolph?”

Kirk gave Dia the necessary information. “Though I will say that he’s currently out and about right now,” he said. “He and his wife are taking all the steps they need to take to get this campaign off the ground.”

“Very well,” Dia said. “I’ll hold onto this info and call him later, then.”

“Please do,” Kirk said. “He will appreciate it, that I’m sure.”

Dia chuckled. “It must be nice to have hope,” she said. “I suppose this won’t be the last time I see you, will it?”

“We’ll see,” he replied. “Until then, I’ll be keeping up with Henry. Goodbye.”

Kirk walked off the property and to his car as Dia turned back to her house. He had a good feeling that everything went well, judging from how Dia reacted. But this was not the last thing Kirk would do for Henry, because he was only getting started.




[23rd of November, 2740 AD; Port of Iiayi, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Morning Shine]


(Sorin’s Soliloquy)


The ocean was a familiar, welcoming scene, yet it was also one in which I did not want to be a part of. Due to a sudden turn of events, Gale had to head back to Ameci to meet with Lowell Page. I had hoped that he would be able to come here instead but that was not a possibility, so Gale and I spent as much time as we could before she had to leave. We valued each passing day, yet I knew it was only a matter of time until the fated day came. We headed over to the port thanks to Gavin and spent some time before the ship was ready to board. There was a bench nearby, so I decided that we should take a seat for the time being. Gale agreed and we both sat down, with her rested her head against me while the ship prepared for boarding.

“I’ll miss you,” she said.

“I will, too,” I replied. “It’s not going to be that long, is it?”

“I don’t think so,” she said. “Maybe two weeks at most? Lowell’s pretty interested in my idea, to be fair…”

“Well, let’s hope it’s two weeks, then,” I said. “Hey, maybe it will go by fast and you’ll be back in Rezar before you know it!”

“Hopefully… You know, Sorin, it’s been over half a year since we first kissed here,” Gale said. “You remember it, don’t you?”

“Yes, I remember,” I replied. “I knew how you felt about me, but I had no idea how you’d react. Everything was just kind of rushing around in my head as I tried to figure out what would happen next.”

“I was just really shy,” Gale said. “If, for that entire time, you never once reciprocated my feelings, I probably would have just gone on with my life as usual. I would have probably went back to my old job in Admorse and this would have all been just one distant memory.”

I understood, because I knew also that I probably would have done much of the same had things not gone the way they did.

“To be honest with you, I don’t put too much of my faith into a higher being or beings,” Gale said, “But maybe meeting you was part of some destiny that helped me realize my dreams. What do you think?”

There was that word again. Dream. The same word that had been said over and over again over the past few months. Perhaps Johan was rubbing off on both Gale and I. Yet, I knew that this was not about him.

“I think that it might be true, Gale,” I said. “Then again, maybe it’s just a coincidence.”

“Is it?” Gale asked. “Are you saying we’re only together because of a little coincidence? Is that what you’re trying to say?”

“No… No, of course not! I wouldn’t suggest that,” I replied. “I was just kidding with you!”

Gale smiled. “I was kidding, too,” she said. “Not everything needs to be so serious all the time, you know?”

I eased myself and began to laugh. “I know, I know.”

“If it weren’t for these ships and the people, this would be quite a romantic view,” she said. “I bet if Kiku were here right now, she wouldn’t stop talking about how romantic it would be to gaze over the ocean like this with Noa…”

“It is a bit odd, isn’t it?” I asked.

“What is?”

“How Kiku and Noa got together,” I replied. “Not that it’s a bad thing, but just the fact that she seems so enamored with him.”

“I don’t think it’s that bizarre,” Gale said. “I actually think that they’re good together, if you ask me.”

“Suppose you’re right,” I said.

We spent more time watching the ships until the horn blared. There was no way for anyone to not hear it, which meant that it was time for us to get up. Gale and I stood up and walked towards the ramp, as people were already lining up to get on. I took one look at her as she did the same. Looking in her gorgeous eyes, I could tell that she did not want to go just yet, if at all.

“Well, I guess this is where we say goodbye,” she said. “I… I don’t know what else to say…”

“I don’t think we need to say anything,” I said.

“You don’t?”

Of course not. I pulled her closer and showed her what I meant. It was like the first time that Gale and I kissed, but now I knew that this would carry much more of an impact in comparison. It was a reminder that I would not forget about her and that I would be sure to be there for her as well. Judging from the look on her face, Gale understood as she held back her tears.

“Thank you,” she said. “I… I’ll be back as soon as I can!”

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll be here when you arrive.”

“I know,” she replied. “All of these people, are they staring at us? Well, I guess I don’t care if you don’t care.”

“It’s fine.”

“I suppose so,” Gale said. “I really should hurry before this line gets longer, though…”

She picked up her bag and headed for the line. I waved goodbye to her as she did the same while entering the back of the line. One by one, people climbed up the ramp of the ship as I watched Gale go along with them. I kept my eyes on her as she went up, making sure that she would get on safely until I could not see her from where I stood. I could have left, but I decided to stay until the ship left the port and sat back on the bench again. Soon enough, only a couple of people remained at the ramp’s entrance as the sailor led them on board.

“Okay, this looks to be the last of them! Gotta let the captain know that we are ready to set sail!”

And with that, the sailor hurried up the ramp as the ship’s horn blared once again. Now it was ready to set sail. I watched as it moved off, going on and on until it was completely separated from the dock. There was nothing for me to do but keep watching until the ship was but a small speck in the distance. Two weeks was not that long, but it would feel like it without Gale around. I knew that I had the others to go around with, but it was not the same.

However, there was still one more pressing matter that had to be resolved. It kept at me in an endless attempt for me to do something about it and I knew I had to play my part because of him. Because of what he said to me. Because of that word.

“Dreams… Johan, I think I’m ready now…”

Evil was not about to take a rest, which meant that I had to move. The one man behind everything was still out there and it was only a matter of time until he struck again. I had to be ready for what came next, as well as who was waiting for me: Rysol and Jelka. It seemed that finally, my brother had found his purpose and it looked like Jelka did, too. They were ready to fight in order to make Johan’s dream possible and I had the feeling that they were going to do whatever it took to create a world without wars. Most of all, I was ready because if anybody was going to make this happen, then it was us, Johan.


The End…


Previous | END

Sundown – Chapter 49 (Part 2)

[Various dates, 2728-2740 AD; downtown Admorse, Ameci – Wyse District]


(Unending Dream)


Johan Kuu was born into a decent middle-class family in Gardner’s Peak, Ameci. It was a quiet town that overlooked the beach and the Amthe Ocean and was about an hour drive from Admorse. That was where Johan’s father, Voitto, worked as a government official. He made decent money, being able to provide for both Johan and Dia, the latter of whom occupied herself with becoming a teacher.

Johan himself was an attentive student in school; he did not get the highest marks of the class, but did come close many times. However, what set Johan apart from his peers was that he was always the most outspoken and perceptive out of the entire school, even for a child of his age. Despite receiving praise for his rich intelligence, Johan grew bored of the usual routine that was his school life, until one day, he met someone who would end up creating a lasting impact on him.

“Hi, my name is Sorin… Sorin Wilk… What’s your name?”

“Johan Kuu,” he replied. “Nice meeting you, Sorin!”

He shook Sorin’s hand in the back of the classroom and from that day on, Johan had a friendship he was sure would last for many years to come. Sorin lived only a few minutes away from Johan, so the two were able to meet up after school and do whatever it is that they wanted to do, or at least what two young boys were able to do in a small ocean town.

Some things were not meant to last, however, as Sorin met up with Johan one day at Johan’s house. Right there, Sorin learned some devastating news that was sure to have an effect on him: Johan was leaving with his mother for the big city of Admorse. At the time, Sorin had no idea that Johan’s father had died, nor did he know anything else about the attack that took Voitto’s life. But still, in Johan’s young mind, he knew that this was something that neither boy wanted to hear. It had to be said, though.

“I’m sorry,” Johan said.

“No, it’s okay,” Sorin replied.

“I… I promise I’ll call you every day!” Johan exclaimed. “And if not that, I’ll write letters to you! I’m sure my mother will send them!”

And from that day, Johan and Sorin continued their talks via letter. It wasn’t always the most efficient, but the two were able to maintain their bond over a long distance. Johan enjoyed being able to read tales of Sorin’s adventure with his “uncle” Raymohnd Smith. However, as time passed, Johan was not able to write to Sorin as much.

With each passing year, Johan noticed his mother’s condition continue to decline. She was not getting sick physically, but rather, Dia began to withdraw from society. Each day that went by, Dia remained holed up in her house, unable to go outside or even communicate with other people save for her son. Johan was not sure what to do about it, which was why he began to seek out solutions to his mother’s evergrowing reclusiveness. That was when, at the age of sixteen, Johan had an idea: he was going to create a better world. A world where people did not need to fight. A world where no one had to die because of war. Johan was going to make that world happen because he did not want what happened to his mother to happen to anyone, but first, Johan had to plan. On one breezy day, Johan stood outside his house and looked up to the cloudy sky above.

“Mother, I feel your pain,” Johan said. “When I heard the news that father had died, I… I didn’t know what to say. All my life, I had grown up with this belief that you and father were invincible, like nothing could ever bring you two down. It was foolish of me to think that and for that, I’m sorry. I’m sorry… I’m sorry that I couldn’t do more. That ends now, though.”

He eyed the carrier bag by his side and held it close to him. Inside Johan’s bag were a few essential items: his identification card, some money, a small bag of cookies, a change of clothes, and the most important thing of all, a framed photograph of Johan and his father from when he was very young. Johan remembered that day well because it was when his father took him to the place where he worked. Johan did not remember the name of the place due to the fact that it had been a long time ago, but he knew now that it was of vast importance in passing Ameci laws. However, Johan’s destination was not there, but rather with the military. He approached the recruitment agency nearby stared at the glass doors.

“I don’t necessarily want to do this, but I have to if I want this dream of mine to come true,” Johan said. “The general’s name is Fercewend, right? I know that I’ve got this…”

And thus, Johan went into the Ameci military with a simple goal in mind. He had to use these means if it meant succeeding in creating his vision, but even so, Johan knew that he was not meant for such work. The thought of training for battle displeased him and he had nothing but contempt for the usage of violence to achieve one’s goals. That did not mean that Johan was willing to use means that would be considered questionable to some, and he was willing to close his eyes and fight if his life was on the ling. But what it did mean was that Johan did not want to take anyone’s life, even if they were the enemy. That was why he had opted to become a spy for Ameci instead.

“At least I won’t have to worry about fighting anybody,” he said to himself. “This seems like a good start. Don’t worry, mother…”

He had just made it into the military and was ready to go. Johan’s plan was set forth and now he just needed to take the proper steps. The problem, however, was that he was not sure where to start. There were many out there that were looking to create a world that was the antithesis to the one which Johan desired, and thus, Johan knew that they had to be eliminated. At that point, he knew that he had to lay low and out of sight until he saw the right opportunity to put his entire plan into motion.

Then, one day, it happened. After his mission to find Pekka Varjostaa in the town of Hurst, Johan knew then and there that it was the right time to move along with his plan. He had made a valuable ally at the time and was only getting started. Once that was done, Johan knew that there was a much larger enemy than the True Thekohnians. One that had aligned itself with Walton Lokke and were only getting started. To find this enemy, however, Johan knew that he had to draw them out. Fortunately, a chance meeting in Oelaans with Lauren Ahga was all that Johan needed for him to work his magic.

“Ah, do you mind watching where you’re going?” Ahga asked.

“Sorry about that,” Johan replied. “I can’t help but notice the sword at your waist. Are you, by chance, a member of the Royal Thekohnian Military?”

“Not at all,” Ahga said. “Though I wonder what caused you to come to that conclusion…”

“Just a guess,” Johan said. “But you are from the kingdom, aren’t you?”

“Let’s just say that I am,” Ahga said, “And we’ll leave it at that, okay? Now, if you’ll excuse me…”

Though it was a brief moment, Johan saw Ahga long enough to remember all of the important details about him, as well as his outfit. There was no mistake about it: Johan had the chance to make his plan happen and he was going to take that chance without hesitation.




[18th of November, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Rio Grove]


“You’re leaving already?” Rain asked.

“I’m afraid so,” Sorin replied. “Gale and I have to hurry back over to Rezar. Looks like it’s really important.”

Rain met with Sorin and Gale at the Rio Grove two hours after she gave her speech to the residents of the kingdom. She had expected her friends to leave, but seeing Sorin and Gale be the first to go surprised her.

“If that’s the case, then I won’t stop you,” Rain said. “Just promise me that you two will come back and visit, okay?”

“Of course we will,” Gale said. “Once I’m done with my presentation, we’ll be sure to come back and tell you the good news, hopefully.”

“I can’t wait to hear all about it,” Rain said. “I truly hope that your vision is realized.”

“Well, if what Lowell said was true, then he wants this to come true just as much as I do,” Gale replied.

“I believe he said that he wanted to show off your success and stick it to Isaac Kunigunde,” Sorin said. “I, for one, can’t wait to see that happen.”

“Yeah, I can understand why,” Rain said. “Gale, I know you’re not on the best of terms with him, but still, it must be devastating to know what your father did to influence the Neu Thekohnian Order…”

“It’s not much of a surprise to me,” Gale said. “At least I know that I have Rohan to look up to, as well as Sorin… Oh, and I can’t forget you and everybody else, can I, Rain?”

Rain smiled. “You will always be appreciated here,” she said. “I’m sure that we will find a way to bring Isaac to justice.”

“I hope that you’re right,” Gale said.

“Don’t worry about it,” Sorin said. “If the Neu Thekohnian Order can be defeated, we deal with Isaac just fine.”

“And I’m sure we can do that without much of a problem,” Rain added. “Anyway, I guess I shouldn’t hold you two up any longer, should I?”

“Thank you for everything,” Gale replied.

“Yeah, thank you, Rain,” Sorin said.

“You are very welcome,” Rain said. “Thank you, too.”

Sorin and Gale then said goodbye to Rain and left the Rio Grove, leaving the queen by herself. Rain knew she would have to say goodbye to the others as well, but at least she knew that they would always be there. Mina, especially, would be there for Rain and would drop everything if Rain called for her. Rain had so much more to do, though, and headed back to the castle to see what awaited her next. Once she made it to the castle, she went and met with everybody else and sent them on their separate ways.

Kiku, Noa, Ayame, and Igor were the first to leave. Noa was able to meet with General Khadir and found out that he did not have any issues with Noa leaving the Maeitakohnian military. Rain could see that Kiku was pleased to meet the general as well, with her saying that Khadir praised both her and Noa. With both the party and ceremony over, Kiku said that they would head right back home and relax. She and Rain promised to meet again, as well as get together with the others and catch up.

After Kiku’s group left, Rain met with Luna and Pekka. They were going to head back to Ahnlikohn and to Luna’s family, where Pekka would stay for an indefinite amount of time. He was not sure where he would go next; there was no place for him in Iiayikohn, nor was there much else for him to do. Luna said that she would try to carry on her brother’s legacy in any way that she could, but said that if she were ever in the area, she would hurry over to see Rain.

Gavin, Law, and Ayanna were next, as Rain noticed them leaving through the side entrance. According to Gavin, he did not want to cause too much of a ruckus, but Rain wondered why they had to leave so quickly. Ayanna stated that she had to head back and meet with General Reiss and the prime minister in order to discuss future options with Ahnlikohn. It seemed that any possible option for war was averted, but they still had much to discuss with the country of Ahnlikohn. Rain reminded Ayanna of the summit and said if Ayanna was able to, to meet with her to discuss further. Ayanna promised and left with Gavin and Law as Rain waved goodbye to them.

Finally, there was Mina. Mina did not go with Gavin and the others and opted to stay in the kingdom for a little longer. Even if Rain was busy, Mina wanted to be there for her. Rain was delighted and promised to Mina that she would spend as much time as possible with her. Mina smiled as she hugged Rain, who returned the favor. They were about to share a moment together, however, Eva walked in.

“I’m sorry if I’m interrupting anything,” Eva said, “But I need to tell you something, Rain.”

“What is it?” Rain asked.

“I think… I think that I need to leave,” Eva replied. “I’ve just been such a burden on you that I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be useful… I’m very sorry, but I need to go.”

Rain tried to ask Eva what was wrong, but the swordswoman walked as fast as she could out of the castle. The sudden outburst caught Rain off guard, but she had no idea what to do. It was easy to let it go and write it off as an isolated incident, but Rain knew that Eva would not just act without reason. She looked to Mina, who nodded back in agreement as the two decided to follow after Eva.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 48 (Part 2)

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


Rain’s birthday party went on into the night as the festivities carried on inside the castle. For Sorin, however, he wanted to spend some time by himself outside. It was not because he did not want to be there, but rather because he was waiting for someone to show up. He had spoken with this person in the morning before the party even started and told them to meet him outside the castle. Sorin waited by the gates as he wondered where they could be, but he had the feeling that there was but a slim chance that they would meet him. But Sorin continued to wait until he saw a familiar face dressed in a green cloak.

Sorin approached the man. “Rysol?”

“Hello… Is everything going well?” Rysol asked as he flipped back his hood. “I’m actually not supposed to be here… There’s still the chance that someone may be watching…”

Sorin looked around. Despite the brightness of the street lights, darkness draped over the kingdom with plenty of spaces for someone to hide. He began to wonder if there was anywhere the two of them could have their conversation without anyone eavesdropping on them.

“Still… I figured that it was important to see you,” Rysol said. “There’s a lot that we’ve learned over the past month… It truly isn’t over.”

“I see,” Sorin replied. “Listen, maybe there is a place we can talk without anyone overhearing us.”

“Very well,” Rysol said.

Sorin and Rysol then went from the castle gates over to the garden. It was dim, but it appeared that no one else was around, nor were there any places for someone to hide. Sorin scanned the garden, just to make sure, and led his brother inside. Rysol undid his cloak and dropped to the ground as he took out a folded sheet of paper and handed it to Sorin.

“We’ve been doing our best to make sure that Johan’s dream comes true,” Rysol said, “But as long as Foundation exists, we face adversity at every turn. It may be quiet now… but Jelka and I know that they’re not going to stop. As long as Isaac Kunigunde desires money, we will not see an end to the fighting and wars… That is, unless we do something about it…”

“What are you planning to do?” Sorin asked. “I know that we know he’s the one that was behind a lot of what the Neu Thekohnian Order did, but is there any way that we can prove it?”

“Luckily, Jelka did some digging at the Lead Campground,” Rysol replied. “We’ve obtained a few letters between Lauren Ahga and Foundation… Though I can’t exactly say how useful those letters will be…”

“How many letters are there, exactly?”

“Enough to cause an uproar should they be made public,” Rysol said. “I know that Johan had told me that there was some merit in holding onto these letters…”

“We should show them now,” Sorin said.

“I was thinking the same thing, but no,” Rysol said. “Johan… If there is a way we can topple Foundation, we have to take all of them down.”

“All of them?” Sorin asked. “Is Isaac Kunigunde not the only one we have to worry about?”

Rysol shifted his eyes over to the garden entrance. “That man is much too cautious,” he said. “We have a mastermind lurking about that’s smart enough not to get himself involved if it doesn’t benefit him… Besides, there are others that we need to worry about before we can even think of taking on Kunigunde.”

“You know them?”

“Even now, they’re running around like they know they can get away with it,” Rysol said. “They’re the leaders of countries… of many people… yet, they only care about personal gain.”

Sorin could not come up with a response. What else was there to say, he thought. He wondered about Rain and if she would even be able to make some sort of breakthrough if the other players were only looking out for themselves. The thought of such people made Sorin clench his fist.

“I used to have a lot of anger, too,” Rysol said. “It’s something to this day that I still feel… but once Johan spoke to me, I understood. I understood that we have to play this game out of sight and out of mind, because those who fight with public ideals face hardships no matter how strong they are.”

“Are you saying there’s no way we can expose these people?” Sorin asked. “What Isaac has done–no, what Foundation has done is unforgivable. They all wanted bloodshed in Thekohn and yet they get to walk away without a single repercussion?”

“Don’t you remember?” Rysol asked. “This fight has only just begun. They will lay low for now because acting right after Isla’s ousting would prove to be a bad idea. We must lay low, too, to prepare for what comes next.”

“So we need to get stronger,” Sorin said.

“Stronger and smarter,” Rysol replied. “I have no doubt in my mind about it… They will want to act fast once they’re ready.”

Sorin knew that Rysol was right. Whatever Foundation had planned, it was sure to be devastating unless Sorin and the others acted. But with the rest of the group unknown, Sorin was not sure how Foundation could be tackled.

“Do you happen to know anyone else?” Sorin asked. “If we’re to take on Foundation and win, we have to know who it is we’re going up against. You know, besides Isaac Kunigunde.”

“That… I don’t know,” Rysol replied. “I’m sorry, brother, but I have to go. It was already a risk being here… I don’t want anyone to notice me here, so I have to make haste.”

Before Sorin could respond, Rysol picked up his cloak and swirled it in the air and put it on. Rysol then dashed out of the garden until Sorin could not see him anymore.

“Damn it, there’s no choice, is there?” Sorin asked. “Johan… I know how difficult this was, but what can we do now?”

The truth was that Sorin knew what he had to do. He could not forget what was said that day, nor could he forget about Johan and his dream. Sorin would have to keep fighting if he wanted to defeat Foundation. Yet, there remained doubt about how he was going to help take them down. For one, Sorin had no idea who else was involved, but if what Rysol said was true, they wielded a lot of power. It would be no easy task to take down such people, but if Isla and Rhodes could be ousted, then there Sorin knew that the Foundation members could be taken down as well.




[18th of November, 2740 AD; location unknown, Hurst, Iiayikohn]


With each passing day, Korbin trained with his newfound right arm in the underground facility inside his father’s company. It was made with a steel similar to that of Rysol Wilk’s left arm, though it possessed a tougher design and could wield weapons. However, one late night, Korbin tired of the training and kicked the practice dummy to the ground.

“This fucking sucks!” Korbin exclaimed. “When the fuck am I going to get my goddamn revenge!?”

Harold walked into the training room. “Do you wish to lose your life like you almost did? Well, do you? I swear to god, if it were not for your skills on the battlefield, you would be nothing more than worm food, you dumb, idiotic shithead!”

“Sorry, I’m just so worked up,” Korbin said. “Thanks for the arm, by the way! It really feels like an actual one!”

Harold grumbled. “You’ve still got to get used to it,” he said. “Making that arm cost a lot of money, so I expect that you use it well. That means you shouldn’t go around fucking up the rest of your body.”

Korbin grinned. “That won’t happen again, I promise you,” he replied. “Just let me loose and the Blood Ravens will fly again! Me and Bradley will be sure to tear through whatever stands in our way!”

“Listen to me, moron,” Harold said, “Casper is going through a lot as we speak. You are not to do anything that will jeopardize his chances, you got it? Because if you don’t…”

“Sheesh, I understand,” Korbin said. “I know how important it is, but still I can’t rest until I know that Rysol Wilk is dead! Nobody attacks me and fucking gets away with it!”

“Exercise your patience,” Harold replied. “In due time, you’ll be able to take care of all those who resist us.”

Korbin laughed aloud. “Then there’s still so much to do,” he said. “So much more… Ahahaha! What an amazing day! What an amazing day!”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 47 (Part 2)

[8th of October, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Platinum Plaza]


The street lights lit up as people began to shuffle into the plaza. Meanwhile, Rain looked from above as she and Storm met everyone. Sorin and Gale were the first to greet her, followed by Gavin, Law, and Ayanna. Luna was there as well as Pekka. Finally, Mina was there as well. Everyone was dressed in formal clothing, even Mina herself.

“You all finally came,” Rain said.

“Of course we did,” Law replied. “I can’t miss this sort of thing, now can I? Seeing you and Mina together like this just brings a tear to my eye; it’s as if I’m watching my younger sister grow up right before my eyes…”

“That’s because Mina is grown up, you dumbass,” Gavin said.

“Law, I think I understand what you’re trying to say,” Ayanna said, “But perhaps it would be best if you showed your appreciation without being so overly dramatic.”

“Sorry about that,” Law said. “Guess the romantic in me just can’t help but say something, you know?”

“But Law, you like to talk a lot,” Mina said. “You talk a lot, even when it’s not romantic!”

Law dug his hands into his pockets. “Mina, please, I’m just trying to be a gentleman here,” he said. “Besides, don’t you have someone you should say hello to? You know, the beautiful young queen who’s standing right there with stars in her eyes?”

“Am I to take that things are going well for you, Law?” Rain asked.

“Well, the bounty hunting business has been booming recently,” Law said, “But to be honest with you, it’s not what I really want to do. No, there’s something else that’s been calling out to me… The stage, it seems, has revealed itself as an unseen destiny to me. You would certainly come and see me if I became an actor, wouldn’t you, Rain?”

“I would love to see it,” Rain said. “Surely you would be one of the best if you put your mind to it.”

Mina patted Law on the back. “You see, Law? Even Rain thinks that you’re kind of lazy!”

“How is that the takeaway from what she said?” Law asked. “Nobody else here thinks that about me, do you?”

“Well, you do work hard when you care about it,” Ayanna replied. “Though I can’t say for sure that your effort is completely consistent.”

“You kind of seem like the guy who likes to sit back and wait for things to come to him,” Luna said.

“That’s because Lawrence is,” Gavin said. “But there’s no doubt about his genius, that much is certain.”

“So, acting, then?” Pekka asked Law. “You are sure that you have what it takes to do it?”

“Of course I do,” Law said as he pointed a finger to his temple. “By the way, it looks as if you didn’t get enough sleep last night, or is that how you look all of the time?”

Pekka crossed his arms. “What do you think?”

Law chuckled and turned to Rain. “What I think is that I’m just going to keep speaking with our queen-to-be over here,” he replied. “So, what’s it like to be in command of so much power? Surely it makes you feel a little giddy to sit in that throne.”

“I don’t feel that different,” Rain answered. “At least, not physically…”

“We’ve only just gotten our feet back on the ground,” Storm said. “Brook’s funeral was only a week ago and I’m still a little melancholy about it.”

“Yeah, I can understand,” Law said. “You know, an old woman once told me after she lost someone important to her that it was important to keep living for that person. Do it for Brook, just like that old woman.”

“I don’t think Eva would like it too much if she heard you calling her old,” Sorin said.

“Hey man, I didn’t mention Eva at all, did I?” Law asked. “It seems to me like you’re the one who’s trying to call her an old woman.”

Sorin sighed. “You know what I meant, Law.”

“Are you okay?” Gale asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Sorin replied.

“It seems like I haven’t heard from you since two weeks ago,” Rain said. “Is it because of Johan?”

“It’s… well, I guess you could say that it’s because of him,” Sorin said.

“He’s been like this since he got back to Rezar,” Gale said. “If Johan’s death is still bothering you, we can head back to the castle.”

“No, I think I’ll manage,” Sorin said. “This kind of peace is what Johan was working towards. I know that he would want me enjoy this.”

“It’s just like what that old woman said,” Law said. “You know, come to think of it, I haven’t seen Eva at all since we got here. Is she still helping you out with the whole restoration?”

“We’re almost done,” Rain said. “Almost every position has been filled, though we’re still going to need a general down the road.”

“All the positions?” Law asked. “I would think that you’d at least find a position for Mina, or at least make up something.”

“Yeah, I’d love to help you out,” Mina said, “I can train recruits or even be that general you need!”

Rain smiled and placed her hand on the side of Mina’s face. “No, I don’t want you as a general, a trainer, or anything like that,” she said. “I just want you by my side, Mina.”

“I do like that,” Mina replied. “I… I don’t know if I say this enough, but I do love you a lot, Rain!”

“And I love you, too,” Rain said. “I wonder… well, maybe this isn’t the right place…”

“What are you talking about?” Mina asked.

Rain grabbed Mina’s hand. “Come with me,” she said. “Storm, you’d be comfortable keeping our friends company by yourself, wouldn’t you?”

“Yeah, I think she can handle it,” Law said.

“Of course I can,” Storm said. “I’ll be sure to keep them all entertained as the royal parade goes on.”

“Besides, I’m sure you want Mina to do something else,” Law continued. “You know what I mean?”

Rain looked to Storm. “Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome, sister,” Storm replied. “I won’t let you down!”

With that, Rain hurried off with Mina, holding her hand all the way. As she led Mina downstairs, Rain could hear Law’s distant lament but thought little of it. All that Rain cared about at this point was Mina. However, as she searched for a place for her and Mina to spend some time by themselves, the two ended up bumping into Kiku, Noa, Ayame, and Igor by the shop.

“Oh, so I finally get to see you in all of your gorgeous glory, Ray!” Kiku exclaimed, clapping her hands together. “And Minnie, too! I just knew that two of you would look perfect together!”

“Thank… Thank you, Kiku,” Rain said. “I’m surprised you managed to come here. I thought that you were going back to Kikuisha?”

“Well, I wasn’t about to turn down your offer, now was I?” Kiku asked. “Aya and Iggy had to do a heck of a job to bring me here!”

“Believe us, Your Majesty, it was actually rather easy to convince Madame Yamazaki to have us bring her daughter here,” Ayame said. “I would’ve thought that she would raise an objection, honestly.”

“I was absolutely ready to bump over backwards for her,” Igor said. “That’s how surprising it was when Madame Yamazaki said yes.”

Kiku giggled as she wrapped her arm around Noa’s. “But she doesn’t know about Nona! It isn’t fun without a little mystery, now is it?”

“It’s… well, I think that I should’ve went with you,” Noa replied. “Oh, and Igor, I think ‘bend over backwards’ is what you wanted to say. Not that it means much or anything like that…”

“Whatever it is, I’m just glad you decided to visit,” Rain said.

“It’s nice seeing you again, Noa!” Mina said. “I can’t believe you were able to get with Kiku, though!”

“It’s not like that at all!” Noa replied. “Kiku and I are just… she and I are just trying each other out… No, what I mean is that it’s a courtship! Er, I mean… I don’t know!”

“You can say whatever you want, Nona, but I can tell in your heart that you have deep, dark desires for me,” Kiku replied. “I could say what they are, but I’m sure that you wouldn’t want a cute girl like me to say such provocative things, now would you?”

“I’m not sure what to think,” Noa said.

“So what are you going to do now?” Rain asked. “Is there anywhere you’re planning on going to soon?”

“That I’m not sure of,” Noa replied. “I guess… I guess that maybe I could spend some time down south and see the flowers in Kikuisha… I suppose I can thank god that I’m not allergic…”

“Hm, what was that, Nona?” Kiku asked. “You said something there but I don’t know if anyone heard you.”

“It’s nothing,” Noa said.

“Really? I was certain you mentioned something about going to Kikuisha,” Kiku said. “Hehehe, you really do want to see me, don’t you?”

Noa did not answer.

“It’s okay,” Kiku said. “Sometimes silence is a stronger response than words themselves. I bet that your heart is beating pretty fast, isn’t it?”

“Mr. Mzade, would you like to sit down?” Igor asked. “Perhaps it’s best you do so, because Madame Izumi can be quite hands up with people she likes.”

“It’s fine,” Noa replied.

“Anyway, it’s nice to see you all again,” Rain said. “If you have the time, maybe you can drop by next month for my birthday.”

Kiku’s eyes lit up. “Ooh, I could do that,” she said. “I can even bring some presents for you!”

“You don’t really have to, but the gesture would be appreciated,” Rain said. “It’s the seventeenth.”

“And I’ll be sure to make a note of it,” Kiku replied. “After all, I wouldn’t forget the birthdays of my friends and family!”

“Yes, I remember the grand gesture you did for me back when we were in Iiayikohn,” Ayame said. “I did enjoy the gift you gave me, even if it did leave little to the imagination…”

Kiku covered her mouth, trying not to laugh. “Oh Aya, it’s just one of those little gifts between us, you know?”

“I don’t know what that means,” Noa said.

“And you shouldn’t,” Ayame said. “It’s not for your ears, Mr. Mzade.”

“Nona doesn’t need to know,” Kiku said. “Besides, he might get to see for himself one day when he’s with me…”

“Oh dear,” Rain said.

“Is that all?” Mina asked. “Me and Rain were going to go and head off somewhere. She had something she wanted to tell me!”

“I know what that means, Minnie,” Kiku said. “Very well, I won’t hold you two up any further from your moment.”

“Thank you, Kiku,” Rain replied. “And you too, Noa. Your help was much appreciated.”

“You’re… You’re welcome, Rain,” Noa said.

“Yes, we want to say the same, too,” Igor said. “Your Majesty, it’s been an honor to be in your presence.”

“Iggy, you don’t need to act so uptight!” Kiku said. “Now let’s let them go; I’m sure that Ray and Minnie want to spend some time alone without us watching over them. Or is that something that you and Nona would be into?”

“N-No, madame, that’s not what I was thinking!” Igor exclaimed.

“Oh well,” Kiku said. “Anyway, I hope that we can see you later, Ray and Minnie.”

“Oh yeah, I’d like to do that, too,” Mina said.

“Definitely,” Rain said. “I hope to see you soon!”

Rain and Mina then said their goodbyes to Kiku and her group. There did not seem to be anybody else that either woman knew on their way back to the castle. With the night coming in fast, Rain led Mina to the Rio Grove to a bench that was right by the fence. The bench overlooked the city as Rain sat with Mina and watched the festival.

“I know it happens every year, but this time I really don’t want this night to end,” Rain said. “Even now, I’m happy to be here with you.”

“I’m happy, too,” Mina replied as she held Rain’s hand tight. “This kind of moment… I just want to share it with you as long as I can!”

Mina rested her head against Rain’s as the two women continued to enjoy the festival. Rain and Mina kept watching until the first night of the festivities began to wind down. With everyone heading back, Rain decided to go with Mina back to Thedam Castle and spend more time with her there. At least, Rain knew that she would be able to spend a few more days with Mina by her side while the Thekohnian Festival went on.




[9th of October, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Rio Grove]


Sorin found himself awake in the early morning, way before the dawn. He was unable to sleep all night, not because he had stayed up late, but because of what had been on his mind. He felt a burden that he had to carry for the sake of his friend, all because of what had happened that fateful day. Words escaped Sorin as he strolled through the Rio Grove in search of the right course of action to take. Rysol and Jelka were still out there in the Thekohnian Region, somewhere in pursuit to help make Johan’s dream come true.

But Sorin could not tell the others, not even Gale, about what he wanted to do next. No, it was about what he had to do next. If he had a way to make it up to his friend, Sorin had to keep fighting for the world that Johan envisioned. Sorin had made his decision that day after Korbin’s assault, because Sorin did not want anyone to end up the same way that Johan did. He did not want anyone to end up the same way that Brook, Silvia, Belkley, or Alan did. Sorin was just tired of all of the tragedy and wanted to stop it. That way, Sorin live his life well knowing that he had helped his friend one last time.

“I’ll make it happen, my friend,” Sorin said. “That way, you and I can finally see the sun rise again.”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 46 (Part 2)

[23rd of September, 2740 AD; Ameci Embassy, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


After hearing the news of Isla’s demise, Rohan Fercewend made a few quick calls to his subordinates. He reached out to the commanders of each troop and congratulated them on a job well done as they awaited him to give them their next objective.

“For now, I want you to come back to the embassy,” Fercewend told them. “I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but it appears as if we’ll be heading back home soon.”

He was confident that the Ameci military would head home after this mission, though for some reason, Fercewend felt like there was still something that had to be done. Fercewend walked around the room, looking out the window while he thought to himself. Though he could not place a finger on what bothered him, Fercewend continued to pace as President Hasker entered the room.

“You seem anxious, general,” Hasker said. “We’ve won in the battle against the Neu Thekohnian Order, so why the long face?”

“It’s just nerves, sir,” Fercewend replied.

“Well, that’s to be expected, I suppose,” Hasker said. “Just now, I spoke with Casper’s son. Seems like there was a skirmish between Private Mars and a small splinter of the Neu Thekohnian Order.”

“A skirmish?” Fercewend asked.

“Yes, but I guess that you’ve probably been informed about this by now,” Hasker replied. “It must be tough.”

“I’m afraid I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“That’s odd,” Hasker said. “I guess you haven’t received the call from Bradley, then.”

“Well, if it concerns a soldier, then I have to know what happened,” Fercewend said. “Please tell me, sir.”

That was when President Hasker relayed all of the information that he learned from Bradley’s father to Fercewend. The general kept an expressionless look on his face as he looked out of the window next to him. Somehow, he had a feeling that this was all coming.

“So it’s true, then,” Fercewend said. “Johan Kuu truly did defect and worked alongside the Neu Thekohnian Order…”

“It surprised me, too,” Hasker said. “But we don’t have to worry about him now, all things considered.”

Fercewend rested his hand on the wall next to the window. “I will not lie, sir,” he said, “All I can think of when I hear this news is that I wish I could have known about this sooner so I could have done something.”

“I’m sorry,” Hasker replied.

“And Mars… I know he’s unpredictable but damn it, a soldier of mine is still someone I have to look out for!” Fercewend exclaimed. “At least I should be able to check up on him in the ward.”

“About that, general,” Hasker said, “Casper told that Private Korbin Mars is currently resting in Hurst with his father watching over him.”

“I see,” Fercewend said. “Then there’s no chance that I could reach out to him while he’s with Harold, then?”

“Harold doesn’t usually respond when I call him,” Hasker replied, “So it’s doubtful that you’d be able to get through.”

Fercewend sighed. “That’s fine,” he said. “Just being able to know that our Ameci soldiers are doing well is good enough news to me.”

“That’s why I like you, general,” Hasker said, “You care a lot about your fellow man and aren’t afraid to show it.”

“I would hope that anybody in my position would feel the same way,” Fercewend replied. “We need unity now more than ever, and I’m hoping that we’ll be able to achieve that unity with the official successor to the Royal Thekohnian throne.”

“That I can agree with,” Hasker said. “Well, if you don’t mind, general, I’m going to go with Isaac and meet the prime minister.”

“Oh, okay,” Fercewend said. “By the way, let Isaac know that I wish to speak with him later tonight. It’s very important.”

“I’ll be sure to tell him, general,” Hasker said. “In the meantime, I’m sure you will be able to wrap things up around here.”

“Yes, I can’t wait to head back to Ameci,” Fercewend said. “The family has been very much on my mind as of late. My oldest, Ari, has been doing quite well in her studies. I intend to surprise her with a nice little gift I picked up the other day while I was at the market.”

Hasker smiled and turned towards the door. “That sounds good to me,” he said. “Hopefully all goes well with you.”

“I hope the same thing for you, sir,” Fercewend replied.

“Thank you.”

Fercewend then said goodbye to President Hasker. Now that he was alone once again, Rohan knew that there was one more call that he needed to make. He wanted to know how Gale was doing and if she had any plans to return home. That and he wanted to ask her about something, but only if he got the chance to meet with her in person.




About an hour later, Gale entered the Ameci Embassy by herself. She had to go alone due to the fact that Ayanna was occupied with communicating with all of the Iiayikohnian soldiers near the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn. After taking the call from Rohan, Gale knew that she had to find out about what he wanted to say to her. As she stepped foot into the main hall, Gale could not find Fercewend. She looked around, but alas, Rohan was nowhere to be seen.

“That’s odd,” Gale said. “Rohan told me that he’d meet me right here in the main lobby.”

She started to walk around, but that was when she heard the faint sound of someone speaking. It took a moment for Gale to realize that she knew the person that was talking and decided to follow the voice. As she got closer to the source, Gale heard another person speaking while the clarity of both voices got better. Then, she stopped a couple of feet away from the doorway and listened as she could not believe what she heard next.

“It’s all done, Casper,” Isaac said. “We have Isla and the Neu Thekohnian Order to thank for helping us get this far.”

“Good thing they went down pretty easily,” Casper said. “I guess you never expected it all to move so rapidly, did you? I sure didn’t.”

“Perhaps there is some use to that princess,” Isaac replied. “Of course, she does associate herself with that young man and his allies, so I find it unlikely that she would want to cooperate with us.”

“We could always use intimidation,” Casper said. “After all, it was they who attacked our ally, so why not set a standard with the kingdom?”

“Let’s hold off on that for now,” Isaac said. “If we move too fast, the people will start to get wise. It’s better if we let Rain Zano Thedam be for now. Besides, there’s another matter in which I would like to discuss.”

“Ah yes, that,” Casper replied.

Isaac chuckled. “Of course,” he said. “We want our valuable leader to rise to the helm as soon as possible, right?”

“Truly and absolutely,” Casper said. “Though perhaps it’s not the best to move forward, considering what happened with Alan Berry.”

“Don’t worry,” Isaac replied, “In due time, we will set forth our plan to restore the glory that was lost in the War of the Lands.”

“I can’t thank you enough, Isaac,” Casper said. “If not for you two, I would have been driven to my wits end.”

“Thank me once it’s all said and done, my friend,” Isaac said. “You will have a lot to look forward in the near future, so I suggest that you get yourself ready for when the day finally comes.”

“I cannot wait,” Casper said. “Say, you must have made quite a killing from all the gear that Lauren Ahga purchased from you, right?”

“Yes,” Isaac said. “Why do you ask?”

“I was thinking if you were interested in joining up with me,” Casper replied. “With your skills, we’d be the most formidable team in the world.”

“Unfortunately, the realm of political office is not for me,” Isaac said. “I don’t have nearly the same drive that you possess, but I do appreciate the offer.”

“I suppose that makes sense,” Casper said. “You probably don’t want to part ways with your business, anyway.”

“Well, even if I wanted to, there arises other problems,” Isaac replied. “I’ve only one successor to Kunigunde Industries, if we’re being completely technical. It’s better if we don’t speak about it.”

“Got it,” Casper said. “Anyway, do you have any other plans?”

“I’ve got to go and meet with him later,” Isaac answered. “He’s pretty busy, but he said he would make time for me if I hurried.”

“Heh, it’s not often I see you on the receiving end of a demand,” Casper said. “Usually you’re the one swinging your business around, if you know what I mean.”

“Yes, well, he’s a different matter entirely,” Isaac said. “Highly impatient, yet he’s one of the most valuable allies that I have.”

“You have to remind me not to get in a queue with him,” Casper said. “Ah well, I don’t want to hold you up any longer. Thank you for your assistance, Mr. Kunigunde.”

“I should be the one thanking you, Mr. President,” Isaac said. “Oh, I mean, Mr. Vice President.”

“In due time,” Casper replied.

Gale knew she had to move fast. She had no idea how Isaac would react if he saw her in the hall, but she did not wish to find out. Going back the way that she came, Gale looked to hurry herself back to the main lobby. Before she could enter, however, she noticed Fercewend waiting.

“Rohan, I’ve been waiting for you,” Gale said as she walked over to him. “Where were you?”

“Ah, so you did arrive,” Fercewend said.

“Sorry, I got lost earlier,” she replied. “It’s just been a hectic kind of day, you know?”

“I can understand,” Fercewend said. “You wouldn’t believe the stuff I’ve been hearing coming out of the kingdom.”

“Oh no, it’s not what I think it is, is it?” Gale asked.

“Nothing like that,” he replied. “It just involves a couple of soldiers, that’s all. I’m pretty sure that Sorin and all your friends are okay, judging from the reactions.”

“I know,” Gale said. “I was only worrying about you, you know.”

“That’s much appreciated,” Fercewend said. “Speaking of which, there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you about.”

“You told me that over the phone,” Gale replied. “Actually, can we talk somewhere else? I kind of don’t like the atmosphere around here…”

“Of course, of course,” Fercewend said. “I’m starting to grow a bit tired of this place myself, to be honest.”

“Thanks, Rohan.”

With nothing left to do in the embassy, Gale left with Fercewend as she still could not forget about the conversation she had dropped in on. What did it all mean? All Gale knew, however, was that something was up involving Isaac and she did not know what to do about it. It was not as if Gale had the ability to do much, though, but still it bothered her. It bothered Gale knowing that her father seemed to be up to something and she had no way of knowing what exactly he had planned.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 45 (Part 2)

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


“Isla Zano Thedam is dead?” Henry asked.

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

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

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

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

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

“So she was shot, then,” Henry said.

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

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

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

Everybody reacted with a stunned silence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Our job isn’t done yet,” Eva said.

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You certainly are dedicated,” Sorin said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I guess so,” Sorin said.

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

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

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

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

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

“What is it?” Johan asked.

Jelka shook her head. “It’s nothing.”

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

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

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

“Thank you,” Jelka said.

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

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

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

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

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


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 44 (Part 2)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Way to go, Noa!” Law said.

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

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

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

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

“Oh, ain’t that nice,” Tre said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I know that,” Pekka replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 43 (Part 2)

[22nd of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle King’s Office]


The cloudless night sky was all Isla could focus on as she awaited the news from her messenger. She had not heard from Lauren Ahga and started to become worried about what had happened. No one had called her, save for the one call from Isaac Kunigunde an hour earlier. Isla began to grow irate at what was happening to her. Everything she had thought was going according to plan was falling apart before her eyes. She viewed the phone once more and, without any hesitation, she picked it up off the desk and spiked it into the ground.

“That damned con artist thinks he can try to outwit me?” Isla asked. “I will show all of them that I am not going to give in!”

She looked down at the busted phone and pushed it aside. There was no point in worrying about Isaac now, because Isla was not going to stop once the Neu Thekohnian Order was done with Chancellor Harring. To Isla, the glory of the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn and the Thekohnian Region depended on the family’s leadership. That was why she felt that the king’s ability to rule was inadequate and thus machinated with Sir Lauren Ahga to remove him from the throne. Getting Ahga’s support was easy since Isla was well aware his feelings for her, and his position made it easier to influence lower ranking members of the royal military.

But that was not enough for the queen. To ensure that it would be easy to attack Ahnlikohn, she needed to give other countries a reason to strike. Isla saw the rest of the region as a chain and Iiayikohn its strongest link. If she could get them to break, the others would have followed suit soon after. That was when Ahga had suggested to her to have the crown prince of Ahnlikohn do their bidding for them.

Before she could think any further, however, Isla’s messenger returned. He stumbled his way through the king’s office, noticing the damaged phone on the floor. She turned and faced the short-haired messenger, his legs looking as if they were ready to give out at any moment.

“You look pale,” Isla said. “Come, stand up straight. There is no reason to fear for your life.”

“I… I… I’m sorry, Your Majesty, but I’ve got some really bad news,” he replied. “Sir… Sir Lauren Ahga… Sir Lauren Ahga is dead!”

Isla tilted her head down. “I see…”

“Sorry! Please… Please don’t kill me!”

“Why would I do that?” Isla asked. “You’ve only delivered me the news that I needed to hear. Why on earth would I kill you?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “But what I found out was that he died at Ahga Manor…”

“So she finally went through with it,” Isla said.

“I can’t believe it,” the short-haired messenger said, “The whole place blew down!”

“The whole place?” Isla wondered.

“Yes, it seems like someone had lined up some bombs to go off,” he replied. “Whoever did it must’ve had some incredible skill to pull it off!”

“I see,” Isla replied. “Thank you for telling me this. Do you know where Rain is right now?”

“I don’t know where she is,” he said. “I can go and find out…”

“No, you don’t need to do that,” she said. “I have a good idea as to where she is right now.”

“So you don’t need me now?”

“Go take a rest,” Isla said. “You obviously need some sleep after the hard work that you’ve done for me.”

“Okay, well, then I will take your suggestion,” he replied.

“Please do,” she said. “There’s a lot that is going to happen tomorrow and I want everyone here to be in peak condition for when it happens.”

“Then I’ll be back here first thing in the morning,” the short-haired messenger said. “I promise that when you see me next, I will be at my very best and ready to go at a moment’s notice!”

He bolted out of the room in the direction that he came, leaving Isla to herself once more. She had to prepare for what was coming tomorrow, but Isla was certain that she would win. It did not matter if Ahga died because Isla continued to fight. That was all that mattered to her.




[22nd of September, 2740 AD; Temporary Ameci military base, Helm, Ahnlikohn]


Henry sat on the bed polishing his boots as he awaited the next morning. The fact that the objective had changed so drastically made him wonder what had happened, but Henry trusted Rohan’s judgement. What really came as a surprise to Henry, though, was that the leader of the Neu Thekohnian Order resided in the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn. Henry had tried to ask Rohan for more details, but was met with a noncommittal response. That was when his subordinate, Aron Arrington, walked into the barracks.

“Sir, how are you doing?” Aron asked.

“Just fine,” Henry replied. “Everybody else seems to feel the same way. Still, I can’t believe at what’s happened.”

“My head feels like it’s spinning, too,” Aron said. “Not literally, of course, just in the fact that our tasks have been rapidly changing that I worry what’s going to happen next.”

“Yes, General Fercewend did seem to act as if he was also surprised by the new objective,” Henry said. “We’re putting boots to the ground before the ink has a chance to dry on the page.”

“Well, some of the other soldiers don’t feel that shocked about the sudden turn of events,” Aron replied. “I saw that Korbin and Bradley were quite ecstatic about the news.”

“Yeah, I’m not that surprised that they would feel that way,” Henry said. “Bradley’s an alright fellow, which I guess is a good thing that he has his eye on Korbin.”

“Right, I believe you,” Aron said.

“Tell me, Arrington, what is it that you want to do once this is all over?” Henry asked.

“Why do you ask, sir?”

“I’m asking because it’s good to know what my fellow soldiers dream of,” Henry said. “Just the other day, I learned that Private Edwin wants to get into carpentry and that Green is working on becoming an actor. Getting to know the others’ dreams was a welcoming experience.”

“Then what about you?” Aron said. “What is your dream, sir?”

Henry chuckled. “Well, back in the day, I was a pretty good boxer,” he said. “The only person that could actually go toe-to-toe with me and win was General Fercewend. If not for that incident, I would have gone professional.”

“Is it too late now, sir?”

“Well, I’m not that old yet,” Henry said, “But in sports, especially one as physical as boxing, I’m what they call ‘over the hill,’ so that dream is more a of longshot than anything else.”

“So not everyone has the chance to live out their dreams then, sir,” Aron said. “I guess that’s how life goes.”

“Not exactly,” Henry replied. “Even if my original calling is just a distant memory now, my life experience has given me a new purpose in life.”


“Not even a year ago, I almost took my own life,” Henry said. “With how stacked the odds were against me, I felt like I was drowning and there was no one around to help. That is, until a few people stepped in to help me.”

Henry placed the boots he had been shining on the floor and stood up.

“Because of them, I kept going,” Henry continued. “Because of them, they helped me right what had been wrong for ten years. I kept going. Because of my wife, I had someone to look up to. I kept going. Because of my friend, I had a goal that I wanted to achieve.”

“So you kept going,” Aron said.

“That’s right,” Henry replied, “And now, my dream is to protect those most important to me. After this is all said and done, I’m going to go home and help Ameci the best way I can.”

“What will you do, sir?” Aron asked.

“I’m going to run to become the mayor of Admorse,” Henry answered. “It’s a small start, but hopefully it will be enough to make a change.”

“Then I will be rooting for you,” Aron said as he stuck his thumb up in the air. “If there’s anyone that I know that’s good enough to be a leader in Ameci, it’s you, sir!”

“Thank you,” Henry said.

“You’re very welcome, sir,” Aron replied. “I can’t believe you would just lay all of that out, though… It must be tough to revisit such hardships.”

“It’s fine,” Henry said. “I consider you to be more than just my subordinate. You’ve been a good friend, Aron.”

“You really mean that?” Aron asked. “I never thought I’d hear those words coming from you, sir…”

“Please, just call me Henry,” he said. “You’d usually refer to your friends by their first name, don’t you?”

Aron rubbed the back of his neck. “Of… Of course,” he said. “Well, if that’s the case, then maybe I should tell you my dream. It’s kind of a dumb dream that I have, though.”

“I’m pretty sure no one would think that,” Henry replied. “At least I wouldn’t think so.”

“If you think so, then I guess it wouldn’t hurt to tell you,” Aron said. “You know how you want to be the mayor of Admorse? Well, I want to do my part in Ameci as well, which is why I want to work in law.”

“Like a barrister?” Henry asked.

“Something like that,” Aron said. “I don’t know too much about what it takes, so I guess it is stupid, isn’t it?”

“Do you want to know what I think?”

“What is it?” Aron asked.

“I think you should go for it,” Henry said. “Put in the time and learn what it is that you have to do. If you’re serious about this, then you have to work at it. Besides, I think that that’s a good thing to strive towards.”

“If you think so, sir, then I’ll do it,” Aron said. “Thank you so much for your help!”

“Yeah, you’re very welcome,” Henry said. “It’s getting late, by the way, so you should go and get some sleep.”

Aron nodded. “Understood,” he said. “Then I will see you at the crack of dawn, Henry… sir!”

Aron sprinted off as Henry muttered to himself about how the young man was going to have to get used to a first name basis with him. He smiled as he began to get ready for tomorrow. Henry had to be on alert since he knew little about what he was going to face, but had to remain optimistic if he and his troop were going to come out on top against the Neu Thekohnian Order.


To be continued…


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Sundown – Chapter 41 (Part 2)

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


The battle ensued with Sorin landing the first strike, his blade clashing against Korbin’s as the two stood off against each other. Sorin stared Korbin in the eyes while Mina decided to run in and attack Korbin from the side. She threw a punch at him, but Korbin backed off of Sorin and swung at her. Sorin was quick to block the attack, however, as Mina landed the punch on Korbin’s face. Korbin reeled backward and clutched his face.

“There’s no way you’ll be able to stop us,” Mina said.

“You stand no chance at beating us,” Sorin said. “Withdraw your sword and surrender, Korbin. It’s clear you can’t win.”

Korbin started to laugh. It was a gasping, maniacal cackle that unsettled Sorin and Mina, who remained on guard. Korbin stood up straight, laughing all throughout, and pointed the tip of his sword at Sorin. A large smile was on Korbin’s face as he began to laugh again.

“I can’t win?” Korbin asked. “You really have no idea, do you?”

“We’ve already proven we can take you on,” Mina replied. “Nothing could be clearer than that!”

“Shut the fuck up!” Korbin yelled. “I’m not done talking yet! Now, where was I? Oh, yes, isn’t it obvious what Bradley is doing?”

“What are you talking about?” Sorin asked.

“We’re not here just to kill that princess, but we’re here to destroy the trail as well,” Korbin replied. “Bradley is a goddamn genius… He’s got it so that this entire mansion will blow once we’re done here! I’d tip my hat to him, but as you can see, I’ve got no hat on.”

Sorin gasped. “What the hell?”

“You intend to destroy this place?” Mina asked.

“Isn’t that what I just fucking said?” Korbin said. “You must not listen well, woman, so I’ll say it again: we’re blowing this shithole up to the sky and there’s nothing that you two can do about it!”

“Damn it,” Sorin said. “What the hell were you even thinking, Korbin!?”

“Don’t blame me,” Korbin replied. “Shit, I wonder if Bradley has already finished the job. Couldn’t be too hard, could it?”

“You’re wrong,” Mina said, “Rain would never lose a fight to a villain like him and certainly not to Ahga, either!”

“Well, he hasn’t said anything yet,” Korbin said. “I wonder which one of us right, though? What do you think, Sorin? Do you truly think believe what she’s saying? Hehehe…”

“Nothing has happened yet,” Sorin said. “That is to say, Mina and I haven’t even begun to fight you, Korbin.”

He raised his blade and directed his view at Korbin. Mina raised her fists as well and nodded at Sorin. Sorin looked back at her and nodded as well. For some reason, he felt like he had no need to tell her what was going to happen next because there was the notion that it was obvious what they had to do in order to defeat Korbin. Now was the time for both of them to act.

“Begun to fight me?” Korbin wondered. “Is this some sort of trick you’re pulling on me? Some sort of psychological-tastic bullshit or something? Whatever it is, there’s nothing you can do, so fucking bring it!”

“Oh, we will,” Sorin replied.

He looked again at Mina and nodded as she did the same back at him. Sorin set his left foot forward while Mina set her right foot forward and stood next to the end table. There was only one chance to do this right and Sorin could not afford to make any missteps in fighting Korbin.

“There’s only one chance now,” Sorin said. “Mina, let’s do this!”

“Got it,” Mina replied. “Take this, villain!”

Mina picked up the table next to her and spun around three times as Sorin stepped aside. With the last spin, Mina aimed for Korbin as she unleashed the flying table at him. Korbin smirked and took out his sword with the table coming at him with increasing speed.

“You call this an attack?” Korbin asked.

He used his free hand and made a fist as the table neared him. With his fist, Korbin punched the table out of the way, but that was when he saw Mina running at him with Sorin’s sword in her hands. She screamed out loud as she swung as hard as she could, but Korbin blocked with his sword. The two matched up well, but Korbin had the edge. His experience made it so that he could turn the blades downward and gain control.

“Unexpected, but a stupid choice!” Korbin exclaimed.

Mina grinned. “You’re wrong,” she said. “This was our plan all along! Sorin, vanquish him!”

She dropped to the floor and rolled out of the way as Korbin swung his blade sideways. In that split second, Korbin lifted his head and saw Sorin running right at him. He had no time to react as Sorin delivered a punch to his face. The impact made Korbin reel and spin as he dropped his sword to the floor. Korbin spent a moment to catch his breath when he realized what he had just done. He tried to reach for his blade, but Sorin and Mina were already there. Sorin placed his foot down on the floor and kicked Korbin’s sword away from him while Mina stretched her arms.

“It’s over now,” Sorin said.

“You really think it’s over?” Korbin asked. He started to laugh. “This isn’t… Hahaha… This isn’t over, not until I say so!”

“Then you leave me no choice,” Sorin replied.

Korbin tried to move, but Sorin surprised him and grabbed his right arm and twisted it behind him. Sorin then used his other hand to subdue Korbin’s other arm and hold him back.

“You’re going to tell us where Bradley is,” Sorin said, tightening his grip on Korbin. “You’ll tell us everything we need to know, otherwise, Mina here will not hesitate to use her special moves on you.”

Korbin grunted. “Fuck… Fuck you,” he replied. “Fuck you and that dumb, screaming, idiotic bitch over there!”

“You villains don’t like to remember names, do you?” Mina asked. “Well, I’d be glad to help you remember. My name is simple, see?”

Mina pounded her fist into her palm and walked up to Korbin. He could only struggle in Sorin’s grasp while Mina punched him in the stomach. Korbin reacted with a gasp of air as the she punched him in the same area again.

“It’s easy,” she said will each sequential punch. “It’s starts with an ‘M,” an ‘I,’ an ‘N,’ and an ‘A!’ My name is Mina!”

She landed her last punch on Korbin’s face instead. It was almost the same place where Sorin had struck him. Sorin loosened his grip on Korbin as the other man fell to his knees and tried to catch his breath.

“You… This is totally unfair!” Korbin said. “I can’t win like this!”

Korbin tried to crawl away, but Mina was able to catch up to him without much effort on her part.

“You’ll be the first one to experience this move!” Mina said. “I call it the ‘Mighty Mina Elbow Drop’ and it goes like this!”

She jumped up and dropped down with her elbow first. Korbin tried to turn around but was met with her elbow striking him in the back of his head. It knocked him out cold as Mina landed on him. She then sat up and got back up to her feet while Korbin did not move another inch.

“He’s going to be okay, right?” Sorin asked.

Mina rubbed her elbow. “That should knock him out for a bit,” she said. “You know, I was practicing this move on Law a while back and you would not believe what he suggested to me!”

“I’m afraid to ask,” Sorin said, “But what was it?”

“He told that I should use my butt instead of my elbow when dropping on people,” she replied. “I mean, I guess I could understand it, but it feels much more satisfying to punch villains instead of sitting on them, don’t you think?”

“I agree with you,” Sorin said. “Law’s pretty skilled, but he’s good at what he does and you’re good at what you do. Trust me, I would know.”

Mina giggled as she brushed Sorin’s arm with her fist. “I knew that you’d agree,” she said. “How about that punch of yours, though? I had no idea you were able to hit so hard!”

“I guess it just came naturally,” Sorin said.

He knew it was part of his plan, but Sorin was surprised at how well he was able to pull the trick off. It was easy to let Mina in on his plan with little communication, but he did not imagine how well he was able to use it in action against Korbin. But as Sorin thought to himself, he heard the sound of a door opening and closing, then another door opening.

“Sorin, look!” Mina exclaimed.

Sorin spun around. The door at the end of the hall shut but he was certain judging from Mina’s reaction that Johan had passed through.

“There’s no time to waste,” Sorin said.

Mina punched the air before her. “Alright!”

They hurried after Johan and went further into the mansion. However, Sorin could feel as if he and Mina were straying further from what they were meant to do here. He could only hope that Rain, Luna, and Pekka were able to take care of Lauren Ahga, because Sorin knew that he could not let Johan run away. Not again. This time, Sorin was going to confront him and get him to say everything.




Rain found herself in the backyard of Ahga Manor, looking back at the mansion as Ahga opened the door and emerged outside. She hoped that the open yard would be a benefit to her, but it was still Ahga’s territory and she had to acknowledge that. He walked towards her with his sword drawn while she stood in place with her sword out as well.

“You’ve proven to me that you haven’t given up,” Ahga said. “I wonder how long that will last until I cut you down with my blade, though? I didn’t earn my title for nothing, you know.”

“I do,” Rain said. “But even though I have learned a lot from you, there was much more I’ve learned alongside my friends.”

“Friends only carry you so far, Your Highness,” Ahga replied, “Which is why I will kill you right here and now, so you can feel the despair of dying with no one around to help you!”

Rain felt her eyes begin to water. “You’ve spoken a lot about how other people are useless,” she said, “But even so, you fight for my mother, do you not? What makes you different from me?”

“You are just trying to get in my head, aren’t you?” Ahga asked. “Isla is more than just a friend to me! You wouldn’t get that at all, would you now?”

“Perhaps not,” Rain said. “What if I did, though?”

“All you’re is delaying the inevitable,” he said. “If you were truly a warrior worthy of the Thedam bloodline, you would quit your crying and realize what we are working for!”

Rain rubbed her eyes as tears ran down her face. “These tears aren’t running down my face because of weakness,” she said. “They are a reminder of the pain I have gone through and the people that have been lost because of my mother’s plans.”

“Your brother died because he could not stand aside,” Ahga said. “Very much the same reason you’ll meet your end, too.”

“And yet, Sir Lauren, I stand here before you,” she replied. “I cry not because his death has weakened me, but rather, because it motivates me to end this madness.”

“Is that so?” Ahga asked. “Do you plan on taking my life? What is the point behind what you are saying?”

“If it comes down to it, then yes,” Rain said. “If stopping you means killing you, then that’s the risk I have to take.”

“You’d kill me, your own mentor,” he said. “Did you not just say that the pain you feel is due to the people you have lost? You would kill me, even knowing that? Do you even realize what you’re saying, Your Highness?”

“I do,” Rain replied. “If the key to peace is having to deal with you, then I should not be hesitant.”

Ahga scoffed. “You’re just another liar, then.”

“No, not at all,” Rain said. “The thought of you dying had crossed my mind, and of course it was something I could not stand to bear. However, that has now changed.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s obvious, isn’t it?” Rain asked. “Of course, you’re only acting this way due to my mother’s influence, which is why you don’t understand. You wouldn’t understand what it means to face an opponent that doesn’t listen to reason, because you’ve become that very thing yourself.”

She steadied her blade and took a step towards Ahga. He responded by doing the same.

“I will say it again,” Rain said, “These tears of mine aren’t falling because I am weak, but rather because I am strong enough to face against your despair and do what is right.”

The wind began to pick up. Rain took another step forward. She had been grateful for all that Ahga had done to teach her, but she knew that she could not hold back anymore.

“But, Sir Lauren, I should thank you,” she said. “I could not have become the person I am today without your guidance. It’s why I’m able to move forward, no matter what.”

“You really think that will happen?” Ahga asked.

“Yes,” she replied. “Which is why I’m going to put an end to this. I know that Storm would agree and Brook would have as well.”

Rain lifted her hand and rubbed her eyes once more. She could see Ahga unobscured, his long hair lightly flowing in the wind. The Ahga that Rain knew was gone now and she accepted that.

“I am ready,” Rain said. “Whatever you may throw at me, Sir Lauren, I will be sure to counter it with everything I’ve got.”

“Then come!” Ahga exclaimed. “If you believe that you can defeat me, I welcome the challenge! Please, put an end to this!”


To be continued…


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Sundown – Chapter 40 (Part 2)

[22nd of September, 2740 AD; Copper Hotel, Oelaans, Thekohn – Felis District]


Gavin arrived at the hotel lounge where Noa and the other Maeitakohnian soldiers waited. He came alone due to the fact that Law and Eva wanted to call Ayanna and find out what was happening over in Iiayikohn. There was little that Gavin or the others could do to help ease the tensions with Ahnlikohn, but they could stand a chance of doing something if everything was to go according to plan. With one more look around the room, Gavin walked up to the table where the soldiers sat and sat down in the empty chair before him.

“Are we going to move towards the kingdom today?” Noa asked.

“There’s not much we can do right now,” Gavin replied. “All we can do is wait for the others to arrive.”

Noa gazed down at his feet. “Oh, I see,” he said. “Then what are we going to do in the meantime?”

“Like I said: we wait,” Gavin said. “There’s no point in acting recklessly, otherwise we’re going to be at a vast disadvantage.”

That was when Gavin spotted from out of the corner of his eye three men sitting at a table located a few feet away from him. It would not have mattered much to Gavin, but seeing the trio staring at him caught him by surprise. He did not show any reaction, but pushed his sunglasses up as he turned back over to Noa. The other soldiers continued to drink and talk amongst themselves even though Noa did not participate.

“Not much of a drinker, are you?” Gavin asked.

Noa shook his head. “Only once,” he replied. “It was a bad experience.”

Gavin crossed his arms. “That so?”


“Is that all you have to say?”

“I guess…”

Gavin looked up and sighed. “Give me a fucking break,” he muttered. “Where the hell are those two, anyway?”

“Sorry about that,” Law said. “Got held up a bit, but now we’re here!”

Gavin turned to the side and saw Law and Eva in the doorway. They walked over to the table but could not sit since the other chairs were already taken by the soldiers.

“You can get a couple of chairs, can’t you?” Eva asked Law.

“Heh, of course I can,” Law replied. “Listen up, Noa, because this is vital information: when a lady asks you to do something, you should do it without hesitation.”

“Are you going to listen to yourself speak or are you going to go get the chairs?” Gavin asked. “We haven’t even begun discussing our plans yet!”

“Well, you’re the one holding things up, bro,” Law said.

He walked over to the next table and got his hands on two empty chairs, but stopped in his tracks. Gavin wondered what Law was doing, but soon found out why he stopped. The three men were glaring at him, not once breaking their focus as Law lifted his hands from the chairs.

“It’s funny, isn’t it?” Law asked.

Gavin stood up. “Those three have been there the entire time,” he said, glancing over at the men. “Hey, you! I hope you have an explanation for this, because if you don’t, we’re going to have some problems!”

“Seems like they’re up to no good,” Eva said.

Gavin, Law, and Eva walked up to the table the three men occupied. Upon closer look, each man possessed an intimidating physique underneath their coats. One had brown hair, one had a buzzcut, and the other had no hair at all. Law stepped up first and slammed his palm on the surface of the table.

“I couldn’t help but notice you staring at me,” Law said. “Now, I’m used to having the women gaze upon my irresistible beauty, but I would have been fine with having you three ogle me if it weren’t for the fact that you’re obviously part of the Neu Thekohnian Order.”

The three men leapt up to the feet, which was when Law rushed the nearest one, the bald one, and held him from behind.

The bald man struggled in Law’s grasp. “Unhand me, asshole!”

“I may not look it, but I possess quite a bit of strength,” Law replied. “Well, enough to hold you back, anyway.”

The brown-haired man took out his gun and pointed it at Law. “You think you’ll get away with this?”

“Pal, I think you picked the wrong group of people to fight,” Law said.

“I’ve had my eye trained on you this entire time,” Gavin said as he pointed his gun at the other man. “Tell us what we need to know, because if you don’t, we’ll have our buddies over there take care of you instead.”

The other two men looked over and saw the soldiers stand up from their seats, save for Noa. They surrendered instantly as Law let the bald man go. Gavin and Eva remained focused on the three as the Maeitakohnian soldiers walked over to the table.

The leading soldier stepped up first. “Should we interrogate them? There may be others lurking around here.”

“That would be a good idea,” Gavin said. “Though I’m not exactly a fan of doing it here. Is there another place we could use?”

“Don’t worry about that,” Law said. “I’ve got a good place for these guys. The rest of you guys round these fools up, because I want to get that information out of them myself.”

“Fine, I guess you’ll be the one to handle talking to these assholes,” Gavin said. “I do trust that you’ll be able to pull something from out of them, after all, so you don’t really need my help, do you?”

“Of course I appreciate your help,” Law replied. “Come on, we can’t break up the team, can we?”

“Then we’ll see you in the room,” Gavin said.

“See you there, bro,” Law said.

Law, with the help of the Maeitakohnian soldiers, then took the three men out of the lounge. With that out of the way, Gavin sighed and looked back to Noa. He was still at the table when Gavin made his way back with Eva, only looking up when Gavin got his attention.

“What is it?” Noa asked.

“Get up,” Gavin said. “There’s somewhere we need to be right now.”

“Okay, I got it,” Noa said, standing up. “Don’t need to tell me twice…”

“So, what do you think?” Eva asked Gavin.

“I think something stinks around here,” Gavin replied. “No doubt in my mind these guys aren’t the only Neu Thekohnians in Oelaans.”

“Agreed,” Eva said as she crossed her arms. “Maybe that’s why he’s coming here… Gah, that stubborn man doesn’t know how to give up, does he?”

“Something up?” Gavin asked.

“Never mind,” she said. “Let’s just go.”

Eva walked away out of the lounge as Gavin looked onward. Perhaps there was no reason to ask further, Gavin thought to himself, but there was concern regardless. As long as Sorin’s group was not here, there was nothing that Gavin could do in the meantime besides wait.




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


There was a feeling in her mind that Rain was being watched, but she had no choice but to move forward. It was the only way she could confront Ahga and begin to put this whole thing to an end. The only sound that Rain could hear now was the sound of her own footsteps, though she kept herself on edge just in case. Facing Ahga was the only thing on her mind right now and eventually she ended up on what she believed to be Ahga’s study.

“Let’s see,” Rain said as she placed her hand on the doorknob. “If he’s in here, then I’ve got no other choice.”

She evaluated her options before opening the door. Though she would have the advantage given that the room was at the end of the hallway, Rain had no idea what Ahga had in store for her. The other option would be to make him open the door, but that carried a risk as well. But that was a risk she had to take and so, Rain knocked on the door with a soft tap of her knuckles. A few seconds passed until no response was given, which probably meant that either Ahga was waiting for her or he was not in the room.

“Well, if there’s only one way to find out, then I’ve got to do it,” she said.

Rain opened the door, creaking it open inch by inch until she discovered that there was no one inside. The study was empty except for all of the shelves and desk at the other side of the room. That was when Rain noticed the small frame on the desk and walked over to it. Her jaw dropped when she saw the frame: inside was a photo of the Thedam family from what Rain deduced to be from ten years ago.

“Oh my god…”

It was a burst of nostalgia that made her think of the day when she first set off on her journey. Rain picked up the frame and looked it over. She wondered if this frame meant anything anymore now that Ahga and her mother had betrayed her and her sister. The moment would not last, however, as the door to the study slammed shut.

“It is a shame, isn’t it,” Ahga said.

Rain turned around, the frame still in her hand. “Why? Why go through all of this? Why me? Why Storm?”

“Believe me, in the beginning, I did not want to go through this either,” he replied. “Isla, however, is difficult a woman to say no to. That, I guess, was what helped influence my infatuation with her.”

“I don’t understand,” Rain said. “What is my mother looking to achieve by killing us?”

“It’s not about achieving anything,” Ahga replied. “She is merely trying to restore what was lost in the War of the Lands. Unfortunately, because Merton had wanted to achieve peace instead, Isla was left with little choice.”

“What do you mean by what was lost?” Rain asked. “Everybody lost something in that war. It wasn’t just us.”

“Wrong, you didn’t lose anything, Your Highness,” Ahga said. “But for Isla, she is proud of the kingdom’s power. The name of the Thedam royal family demands respect and obviously you and your sister would have never understood what Isla wanted!”

“Maybe so, but it doesn’t justify what you and her have done,” Rain said. “Nothing in the world could ever excuse any of it.”

“Same could be said of Ameci and Iiayikohn,” Ahga said. “They’ve been glad to do our bidding, but they will receive their retribution in due time. It’s only fair given what they’ve done to Isla.”

“It’s not about her,” Rain replied.

“Sadly, Your Highness, you fail to understand yet again,” Ahga said. “Isla is only taking what is rightfully hers.”

“Then I have no choice,” Rain said. “We have to stop her at any cost, even if that means I have to go through you, Sir Lauren!”

“I’ve got no clue on what those others are up to,” Ahga said. “It seems that the Ameci doubt what I’m capable of. I’ll show them what a man can do when he is motivated by love! I’ll show them all!”

“You’re mad,” Rain said, dropping the frame to the floor. “I can’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it, but you’ve changed. This isn’t the Ahga that mentored me, not at all.”

“To be honest, I saw a lot of Isla in you, which is why even now I hesitate,” Ahga replied. “But it should be over soon… I’ll take care of you, and then I’ll make sure that no one ever finds the evidence by burning this place to the ground!”

Rain knew that at this moment, she had the disadvantage. It had to be a trap, that was the only explanation. Ahga had anticipated Rain going into the study and cornered her instead. But with no way of escape, there was little that Rain could do but defend herself. If Luna and Pekka were close, then Rain could have their help, but nothing suggested that they would be headed this way. Rain looked around the room again and that’s when she saw the window. Of course, she was on the second floor, but still, she had to take the chance and gain a better advantage against Ahga.

“You have been quite a nuisance to us,” Ahga said. “No different from the man himself. That was why he had to die, too, you know.”

Rain did not care to listen to what Ahga had to say. Instead, she made a quick dash for the window. There was little time to waste, so Rain decided not to open the window itself, but rather, she would try and dash through it instead and try to make a landing somewhere outside. Using all the strength in her body, Rain dashed elbow first into the window and broke it with all the power she was able to use, which made the glass to shatter. Ahga realized what she was doing and tried to go after her, but Rain had already leapt outside.


To be continued…


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