Aurora – Chapter 44 (Part 1)

[2nd of January, 2741 AD; outside of the Ameci Embassy, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


Sorin and Gale arrived outside the Ameci Embassy and caught a glimpse of the commotion inside. It had taken them several minutes to get there from where they started at, but still Sorin did not expect it to be any different. He had many questions that only Isaac Kunigunde could answer for and only so little time for him to answer. So when he and Gale entered the main hall, Sorin was met with a great surprise as several soldiers and General Fercewend crowded together in a huddle. Fercewend was barking orders at the soldiers as they then began running around the embassy with haste.

“Call an ambulance,” Fercewend said, “We’re not going to have a casualty in this embassy. Not here, not now!”

He then knelt down as Sorin proceeded to get a better look. He could not believe what he saw as Isaac Kunigunde lay on the ground in what appeared to be a puddle of his own blood. Gale hurried towards Fercewend as he looked over at her and reacted with great surprise.

“Gale?” Fercewend asked. “What in the world are you doing here?”

“We’re here because we wanted to confront Isaac,” Gale said. “But I can see that that’s not important right now. Is he doing well?”

“He’s still conscious,” Fercewend replied. “It’s a miracle, really.”

Sorin walked up to Isaac and looked down at him. “Who did this?”

“I… I’m not going to answer you,” Isaac said. “I’d rather die than surrender to you…”

“We’re not going to allow you the satisfaction of escaping with your crimes, Isaac,” Gale said. “Once we’re at the hospital, you’re going to confess to all of what you’ve done from the True Thekohnians to the Neu Thekohnian Order, as well as Foundation itself.”

“You… You would stab me?” Isaac asked. “After what I’ve done, you’d still stab me in the back?”

“It’s always been about you, hasn’t it,” Gale said. “Even now, you’re lying on the floor because your selfish ways caught up to you and yet you still think about no one but yourself.”

“Gale, please,” Fercewend said. “Isaac… he’s the victim of an unfortunate encounter with a rogue soldier. I’ll make sure the one responsible is caught and punished severely for his crime.”

“He’s not a victim at all,” Gale replied. “Can’t you see that, Rohan? Isaac is only using you. He’s been using you all this time!”

Fercewend sighed. “I can’t afford to go back now,” he said. “If I must face the consequences, then I will do so, but I’m not going to allow any disruption to the order. Not as long as I’m general.”

“That’s absurd,” Sorin said. “After all that’s happened, you still want to side with him?”

“It’s not as if I’ve got a choice,” Fercewend said. “If you want to say Isaac is guilty, then so be it. But it would also mean that I, too, am complicit.”

“That’s… That’s right,” Isaac said. “No matter what happens next, Rohan will remain loyal to me…”

“So you intend on dragging him down with you to the very end,” Gale said. “Even if that means you’ll go to jail for the rest of your life, you don’t want to be the one to suffer alone.”

“I… I’m not going to suffer,” Isaac replied. “I… My body… I will remain… on top…”

Isaac lifted up his arm, which dropped to the floor the next second. Gale held back a gasp as Fercewend checked his pulse. The sound of sirens began to grow louder as Sorin glanced out the window.

“He’s alive,” Fercewend said, “Though we’re going to need a lot of hope now.”

“Please tell me, Rohan,” Gale said. “If Isaac won’t admit it, then you’ll have to do it instead. You saw what happened to him, right?”

Fercewend stood up with his fist clenched. “That I did,” he replied. “If only I weren’t so hesitant, then maybe Isaac wouldn’t be so wounded right now. Damn my foolishness!”

Gale looked over at Isaac once again. “Who was it that shot him? You did say it was a soldier, after all.”

Before Fercewend could respond, Sorin spoke up.

“I think we already know,” Sorin said. “There’s only one person with a deep connection to Isaac, and he has the exact method to do it.”

“I know,” Gale said. “But Rohan doesn’t want to admit it.”

“It isn’t that I can’t admit it,” Fercewend said. “I don’t want to believe what I saw earlier, but that man with Private Mars… He truly walks again?”

“There’s more to Isaac’s relationship with Harold,” Gale said. “A lot that I believe he never let you in on.”

“I can’t believe it,” Fercewend said. “After all that happened to his family, I could not even begin to imagine that Private Mars would be working alongside his father all this time.”

“Korbin was never in it for Ameci, or anyone, for that matter,” Sorin said. “He only has his own desires to fulfill and I’m sure that some of them relate to what Harold wants as well.”

“And Isaac, I assume, never suspected a thing,” Gale said.

“None of us could,” Fercewend said. “Though it does make me wonder…”

“What is it?” Gale asked.

“It’s nothing,” Fercewend replied. “It appears as if the ambulance is here. Let’s go.”

“Go ahead,” Gale said. “We’ll catch up with you later.”

Fercewend nodded. “Very well.”

Sorin left with Gale as they wondered what to do next. As they stepped onto the sidewalk, they were met with Gavin, Henry, and Law who made it all the way from the new prime minister’s office. As the three looked over towards the ambulance, Sorin and Gale went over to greet them.

“There’s a lot to explain,” Sorin said.

“You’re telling me,” Gavin said. “We’ve got news for you, too.”

“Yeah, some pretty good news, in fact,” Law said. “Gale, are you ready to be wowed by what I’ve got to say?”

“Just say it already,” Gale replied.

“Geez, fine,” Law said. “I was really going to talk up Mina, but I suppose we can only really account everything after the fact.”

Law explained to Sorin and Gale about Dezine’s ousting and what Mina did to insure his removal. With Wilson Dezine gone, another member of Foundation was defeated and Isaac’s power diminished because of it. Still, Sorin felt as if that was not the only news Law had.

“What about Reiss?” Sorin asked.

“What of him?” Law asked. “He’ll be here soon enough, don’t worry.”

“I guess,” Sorin replied.

“You don’t really seem that enthusiastic,” Law said. “Man, we really came at a bad time, didn’t we?”

Everyone turned as the doors to the nearby ambulance opened up. Two paramedics rushed into the embassy with a stretcher as Sorin looked back over to the other three. Gavin, Law, and Henry remained focused as they caught sight of who was being carried out of the embassy, with Fercewend following after the paramedics as he went into the ambulance with them and Isaac.

“He isn’t actually dead, is he?” Henry asked.

Sorin shook his head. “Still stable,” he replied. “Though we’ve still got a lot we want to talk to him about.”

“As well as a lot he has to answer to,” Gale said. “And I’m sure that Queen Amelia wants to let the people know exactly what happened between her and Foundation.”

“I can’t help but feel it’d be better if he actually did die,” Gavin said. “I’m sorry, I’m still pissed off after what happened.”

“This should be good news,” Henry said. “As long as Isaac’s still alive, we’ll be able to hold him accountable for what he’s done.”

“I wonder about that,” Sorin said.

He then explained to the others about how Korbin, directed by Harold, shot Isaac. Sorin surmised that Isaac was supposed to die but Korbin messed up the shot and left with Harold in an instant before they could confirm whether or not Isaac died.

“If I had to guess, it was pressure,” Henry said. “Having that man breathing down your neck can’t be good for you, even for someone like Korbin.”

“He has been acting a lot more paranoid,” Sorin said. “It’s pretty difficult to believe that Korbin could even act that way, but it makes sense.”

“Harold’s ramping up the pressure, that’s why,” Law said. “Whatever that guy wants, no one was offering enough to him. That’s why he saw it fit to have his son attack Isaac.”

“Either way, we’d have to hurry to the hospital,” Henry said. “As long as both Rohan and Isaac are together, Isaac will continue to use him. I’m not about to let him keep doing that.”

“Rohan is set on falling with Isaac no matter what,” Gale said. “Even if he knows that Isaac’s a criminal, I can’t convince Rohan to stop what he’s doing and denounce Isaac.”

“It doesn’t mean we can’t keep trying,” Henry replied. “I’m going to keep believing in my friend even if he can no longer do so, because I know he has done the same for me. Because I know how it feels when everything seems lost.”

“Looks like we should move on, then,” Law said. “I’ll be sure to let Ayanna know where we are.”

Everyone agreed and headed in the direction of Helmut Hospital. Still, the fact that Harold and Korbin were roaming around the city remained prevalent in Sorin’s mind while he walked with his friends. The rule of Foundation seemed to be all but over, but still the lurking terror in the darkness worried Sorin. He had to wonder if Johan was getting any closer to the truth, and if it would be enough to take down the last remaining leg of Foundation.




[2nd of January, 2741 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle Hall]


“Wilson Dezine’s reign is finally over,” Rain said. “I am beyond glad to hear that from you, Mina.”

It had been a long day in the castle as Rain spent most of her time speaking to the other leaders about what to do in Iiayikohn. With the news of Dezine’s fall, however, Rain was ready to turn that discussion towards one of productivity. It all began when Amelia called her earlier in the day. Ahnlikohn’s queen wanted to come forward with everything she knew about Foundation, even if it came at the cost of her own status. Rain agreed, the two settling on the next day for Amelia to inform the citizens of her country about all that had happened and what she had to do next. Still, Rain knew that this was only the first step of many and could not call it a day, not when there was much to resolve with Ameci.

“So I guess we’re just waiting for Reiss, aren’t we?” Mina asked.

“Has he not arrived? I was hoping to speak with him,” Rain said. “Tell him this when he gets to your location: it’s up to him whether or not he wants the task of leading Iiayikohn. Other than that, tell him ‘thank you’ for everything.”

“I’ll be sure to let him know,” Mina replied. “Hope to see you soon!”

“Me too, Mina, me too,” Rain said. “I’ll see you soon.”

She said her goodbyes to Mina and hung up the phone. The empty room was an odd, but welcome, sight. Everyone had gone to take a break from all of the talks, but Rain still remained inside because she was awaiting the call from Rezar. Now that the call was over, however, Rain saw little need to stay in the war room and headed out into the main hall. There, she found Kiku and Noa talking with Khadir, who started to laugh aloud. Gamal was also there, as was Rado, the two speaking with each other as Rain approached them.

“Good news, isn’t it?” Rado asked.

“That’s what we’re hoping for,” Rain said. “It’s all going well, but still we’ve got one last matter of business to take care of before we can truly move forward and bring peace across the region.”

“Indeed, we’ve got Mr. Kunigunde to worry about,” Gamal said. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now with one of his closest allies ousted from power. To be honest with you, I don’t believe he sees it as much of a scratch.”

“He’d drop Dezine in an instant,” Rado said. “Then he’d claim that Dezine was never strong at all. Not worthy.”

“So, Your Majesty, what will be the next course of action?” Gamal asked. “I would think that our priority now is to go forth and confront Ameci’s officials on their actions regarding Mr. Kunigunde, but it’s all up to you.”

“We don’t have much of a clue about Casper Bradley’s whereabouts,” Rain said. “Hasker will also be difficult to reach as he’s still crossing the sea. I believe it would be best if we let the others take care of Mr. Kunigunde right now, because if we don’t, he’ll find a way to escape.”

“She is right,” Rado said.

“Then I hope we’ll find out soon,” Gamal said. “For now, I’ll keep waiting until we hear more from Rezar. I will inform you if anything interesting comes up, Your Majesty.”

“Very well,” Rain said.

“Your Majesty, are you going to just stand there and not pay some mind to our guests of the hour?” Khadir asked.

Rain looked over as Khadir cracked a smile. Kiku and Noa noticed, too, as Kiku motioned to Rain to come over. Rain decided that it was a good time to see for herself what was going on and went over to the three who were still deep in conversation.

“I was just saying to Noa here that he should really think about coming back to Maeitakohn,” Khadir said. “Not forever, obviously, but at least to see all of the sights he’s probably missing.”

“And I was saying to Khaddy that it would be a wonderful idea,” Kiku said. “But I don’t want it to be just us, you know, right Ray?”

“I suppose I do,” Rain replied.

“When this is all over, you and Minnie could join us,” Kiku said. “It’ll be just like a whole trip and everything. We’ll see all the sights in Maeitakohn and have a lot of fun! You could really use it, too!”

“I’ll certainly think about it,” Rain said.

“It would be fun,” Noa said. “Then again, what’s this whole region going to look like after this is all over? I really don’t know…”

“That’s for all of us to figure out,” Rain replied. “We’re here because we’re trying to put an end to the problems at hand. We’re closer now, but questions do remain in regards to what we’re going to do once this is all over.”

“True,” Khadir said. “This is merely the starting point once again. I’m sure with Kunigunde and Foundation both taken down, though, we’ll be able to work together towards peace once more”

“I know that we will,” Rain said. “As long as we have hope, then none of this is impossible.”

Just then, Rado approached the group and interrupted the conversation. Gamal followed behind him as Rain turned towards the two as she wondered to herself what happened now.

“You have a moment, Your Majesty,” Rado said.

“What’s going on now?” Rain asked. “Has something happened in Rezar?”

“Could say that,” Rado replied.

“We just got a call from Ayanna Ansa,” Gamal said. “She wanted to tell you that Mr. Kunigunde is in the hospital right now.”

“Does Ayanna know why he’s in there?” Rain asked.

“That I don’t know yet,” Gamal replied. “According to Miss Ansa, she heard it from Law. Seems like whatever happened to Mr. Kunigunde may turn out to be serious, though.”

“So we don’t know for sure,” Rain said.

“Isaac is a coward,” Rado said. “Whatever is the reason, he must be trying to draw sympathy.”

“Perhaps, but we should gather all the details we can first,” Rain said. “I’ll see if I can reach the hospital.”

“That’d be a good idea,” Gamal said. “Mr. Power should be there as should his brother, according to Miss Ansa.”

“If that’s the case, then I want to know, too,” Khadir said. “Hell, we might even learn a thing or two about what this son of a gun’s going to do now.”

“I feel like I ought to know as well,” Kiku said. “Since I’m next in line to lead Kikuisha, it’d be important to learn this sort of stuff so we can never have to deal with problems like this ever again. Wouldn’t you agree, Nona?”

“If it means no more wars, then I’m all for it,” Noa said.

“Come along, then,” Rain said.

Rain knew that there was much that she wanted to ask but getting answers out of Isaac himself would be a difficult task, even in his fragile state. Still, Rain could not give up. Not when Foundation’s end was nigh. The kingdom depended on Rain and her leadership, and she was not about to let an opportunity like this slip away from her. This was her chance and she had to take it.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 23 (Part 1)

[24th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle Queen’s Office]


Everybody moved around the room, shuffling to gather their papers as the announcement from the royal lieutenant general caused a stir. Rain received word that the part of the Ameci military had already begun to advance toward Oelaans and now she had to respond. Several soldiers had been dispatched to the city, but Rain worried that it would not be enough to hold the opposing forces back. As she placed both hands on the table and leaned forward, Rain looked to Rado, Ayanna, and Reiss for advice.

“What do you think we should do?” Rain asked Rado.

“We trust our soldiers,” Rado said. “They along with the Thekohnian forces will hold up Oelaans before the enemy has a chance.”

“I don’t doubt their ability,” Rain said, “But I know that our enemy will be fighting with everything they’ve got. They’ll use any trick in the book if they have to and I’m worried that our best may not be good enough.”

“We shouldn’t have to worry,” Ayanna said. “They may attack first, but we possess the advantage.”

Gavin glanced over at Johan. “You said that they’d attack us first,” he said, “So explain to me why they’re leading an assault on Oelaans as we speak!”

“It’s not a good idea to shoot your messenger,” Johan said. “As I’ve said to you, this is what I’ve learned from one of my crew. He’s the one who learned of Ameci’s intents and he wouldn’t lie to me.”

“Now you’re just trying to pass off the blame,” Gavin replied. “Quit fucking around already!”

“I did say they would lead an attack on Thekohn, didn’t I?” Johan asked. “I have only said the truth to you all. They’re attacking because they know I’m here and want to bring down the kingdom in the process.”

“Then do something about it, asshole,” Gavin said.

“I’ve done everything that I could,” Johan said. “I’ve already exposed Isaac Kunigunde and Foundation for the threats that they are. What happens now is all up to you.”

Gavin jumped up to his feet. “You’ve done jack shit for us! I ought to kick your ass right here, shithead!”

“Gavin, calm down,” Gale said. “It’s pointless to get mad at him when we have much more to worry about.”

“I didn’t say I was done,” Johan said. “I said ‘what happens now,’ not what happens in the future. If you want to keep listening to me, then I’d be happy to help you out.”

“You’ve already proven how valuable you are,” Rain said. “I can’t thank you any more for that, Johan.”

“Well, I’m happy you think so, Your Majesty,” Johan said. “I knew I wasn’t wrong about you.”

“Great, let’s just keep moving,” Gavin said. “I don’t really care anymore, so let’s think about what we’re going to do next.”

“It’d be best for us if we stayed with Rain,” Gale said. “We have to protect the kingdom, after all.”

“There’s a lot that needs to be done here,” Jelka said. “If you hold them off at Oelaans, then there’s little need to worry about here.”

“But we should prepare for the worst, in any case,” Ayanna replied. “As it stands right now, we’re defending ourselves. As long as we can do that, we will be able to start the counterattack.”

“Right, that’s our next objective,” Rain said.

Being in command of a strong military was a new concept for Rain, as was the fact that she was fighting against an enemy military. This was the one thing that she was trying to avoid but as it stood, Rain had no choice but to exercise the use of that military force. What she hoped for next is that the conflict would be resolved sooner rather than later.

“So we’re ready,” Rado said. “Oelaans is secured and they will hold the line until the next move.”

“If that’s the case, then we’ll head out,” Johan said. “Jelka and I must meet with one of our allies tonight; he may have even more valuable information that could be of use to you.”

“Just go already, then,” Gavin said.

“If you learn anything new, then please don’t hesitate to inform us,” Rain said. “I am surprised you want to leave so soon, however.”

“Well, it’s like I told Sorin, Your Majesty,” Johan replied. “Actually, I should just drop the formalities, shouldn’t I? You’re Sorin’s friend, and anyone who’s a friend of his is definitely someone I can trust.”

Rain cracked a smile. “That’s very nice of you.”

“Thank you, Rain,” Johan said. “Anyway, there’s no real point in me trying to stay in one place for too long, especially since the Ameci government is after me. Of course, I don’t intend to lose anytime soon, so they still have a long way to go before they can catch up to me.”

“Let’s just hope you’re right,” Gale said.

“As do I,” Johan said. “Well, Jelka and I are off. See ya.”

With that being said, Johan turned and left the room. Jelka then looked to Rain and bowed.

“I must thank you for taking the time to listen to us,” Jelka said. “I promise that we will return soon.”

“Please, I should be thanking you,” Rain said.

“You’re too humble,” Jelka replied. “But I suppose that that’s why you are so highly regarded in the kingdom.”

Jelka then said her goodbyes and followed Johan outside. There was little for Rain to do now that the plan was in place to defend Oelaans and Thekohn against the oncoming attack. Rain was fortunate to have people like Johan and Jelka on her side, even if they were seen as enemies by other people. As she began to think about what to do now, Sorin, Mina, and Eva entered the office once more.

“Ah, you’re done training with Dierk, I take it?” Rain asked Mina.

“Not exactly,” Mina replied. “Sorin and Eva came by and everything just kinda went in a different direction.”

“It’s not important,” Eva said. “What is important is that it looks like you made a lot of progress.”

“Indeed, we discussed a lot,” Rain said. “Now that we know what their next move is, we’re ready to lead a counterattack. That is, once we successfully defend Oelaans of course.”

“Oelaans?” Sorin asked. “I thought they were attacking here first.”

“There was a mixup,” Rain replied.

“Johan screwed up, apparently,” Gavin said. “It doesn’t matter, though. We know that they’re planning to strike tonight.”

“So they’re going to attack the city when it’s at its most vulnerable,” Mina said. “I should’ve expected them to go low, but to attack a sleeping city? It’s just unforgivable!”

“We’ve taken care of it,” Rado said. “Soldiers already wait at the city limits. They’ll do everything to hold strong and win.”

“And just in case the enemy forces try to pull another trick on us and come straight to here, we’re ready,” Ayanna said. “Reiss and I have organized a select group of former Iiayi soldiers who are ready to defend the kingdom.”

“And what about our other allies?” Eva asked. “Is Khadir going to be joining in as well?”

“I’ve spoken with him and he says he cannot at this time,” Rain answered. “That’s not to say he won’t support us in the future, however.”

“He seems to be busy with home,” Rado said. “There’s a lot he must do, I imagine.”

“It’s not a position he wanted to be in,” Rain said. “He’s adapting in his role as the temporary President of Maeitakohn but I know that, once he is able to do so, he’ll help us. Until then, we wait for tonight.”

“What do we do in the meantime?” Gale asked.

“Prepare,” Rado replied. “We shouldn’t be stupid. Small chance of failure is still a chance.”

“And that’s why I’ve got to kick some asses,” Gavin said, standing up. “First I’m going to find Lawrence. Second, I’m gonna go meet with these Iiayi soldiers. If there’s anything to teach them, it’s to focus on what’s ahead of them as well as behind them.”

“In that case, I’ll go with you,” Ayanna said.

“I was expecting you to say that,” Gavin said. He uttered a small chuckle and pointed at Sorin. “As for you, your ass is still on the line, so you should stay out of this one.”

“It wasn’t like I was going to go anywhere,” Sorin replied.

“I suppose I’ll stay here with Mr. Liffe,” Reiss said.

“What about you, Mina?” Sorin asked.

“I’d love to go, but I know I should stay here, too,” Mina said. “After all, I’ve got to show you some of my new moves!”

“Well, a lot of people would love to see them,” Rain said. “Eva… You’re not going to stay, are you?”

Eva brushed back part of her hair with her hand as she breathed a heavy sigh. “I’m staying here,” she said. “Rado is right: a small chance of failure is still a chance and I’m going to make sure that we don’t fail our task by staying here with all of you.”

“Then I welcome your support,” Rain said. “Everyone, thank you once again. I don’t know what I’d do without your help.”

Everyone responded with assurance as Rain knew she was happy to have friends like these. Without them, there was no telling what would have happened on her journey and eventual ascension to the throne. But now there was no time to reflect as nightfall approached with each passing minute. Rain and the others would have to get ready soon for the attack and there was no room for error on Rain’s part.




[24th of December, 2740 AD; Glora Bus Station, Glora, Ahnlikohn – Erithacus District]


It had taken over two hours to arrive by bus, but now Kirk was in Glora. He had to know for sure if what he heard was true. Kirk had to know whether or not Rysol was somewhere in the city. After a few minutes of asking the people around the local area, Kirk found no answers. He had to remain diligent, though, as Rysol was his reason for coming to Glora and in the mix was Harold Mars. Harold was the one who was responsible for Rysol’s disappearance and April’s death, and Kirk was certain that if Rysol was in Glora, then the chance of Harold trailing after him was high.

“Sir, have I seen you around?”

Kirk looked up and saw a young male Ahnlikohnian soldier standing in front of him. He had to wonder if the soldier recognized him, as Kirk guessed there was little chance of any ordinary person carrying a sword like the one he had at his side. Still, the soldier’s question had no authority behind it, nor were there any hints of malicious intent.

“Can I help you?” Kirk asked.

The soldier eyed the hilt of Kirk’s sword. “That blade you have there must be pretty good,” he said. “You’re not from here, I take it?”

Kirk chuckled and shrugged. “How did you know?”

“It was just a guess,” he replied. “I thought I had seen someone similar to you earlier today, or at least that long hair, which is why I asked you.”

“I see,” Kirk said. “Where was this, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“I’m not sure I can tell you that,” the soldier said. “There’s a whole lot of things that are important and I don’t know if I should be telling a traveler some of this stuff—”

“You don’t have to tell me,” Kirk interrupted. “I can obviously tell that I’m not the guy you should be looking for.”

The soldier nodded. “That’s true,” he said. “I guess it wouldn’t make sense, seeing as this person was heading towards Ahnle Peak, whereas you’re here in the city talking to me!”

“And I suppose that he’s checking out the sights,” Kirk said. “There is a lot to do in this part of the country from what I’ve heard.”

“So you’ve been reading the papers, haven’t you?”

“I know that there’s been a lot going on in recent days,” Kirk replied. “In fact, some may say that there’s still a lot yet to happen.”

“You’re telling me,” the soldier said. “Things have been stressful ever since Prince Amile was arrested.”

“Well, it’s put a toll on the queen,” Kirk said. “But I’m sure that you’ve got much that you need to do besides talk with random strangers, so I’ll just go ahead and leave you be, okay?”

“Absolutely, sir,” the soldier replied. “I’m sorry for bothering you!”

“Don’t be, you did a good job,” Kirk said.

He walked away from the soldier and continued onward. Ahnle Peak. Kirk had to wonder why Rysol was headed there but if there was anything to go by, then Harold indeed loomed close. Even if he was hiding, Harold posed a threat and Kirk knew that he had to finish the job. It went against everything he stood for for the past eighteen years, all back to when he made a promise to April that he would never kill again, but this was an exception. No way would Kirk ever let Harold draw breath the next time they faced again, not as long as Kirk held his sword in his hand.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 21 (Part 1)

[24th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle Queen’s Office]


Two days remained before the Winter Festival was to begin. Sorin glanced over at Gavin, who laid a large map out on the table in the queen’s office. Rain circled out a point on the map with a pencil while Ayanna and Reiss took notes. Gale and Rado were also in the room as well offering their suggestions. Rain had an idea in mind and proceeded to get everyone’s attention.

“Okay, I believe that our path is clear now,” Rain said, “In order to take on Isaac Kunigunde and Foundation properly, we must gain the advantage. Rado, if you will, please tell us all what you have ready.”

“I have been ready,” Rado replied. “It is important to have a good position. We stop them before they get here, we stay in good position.”

“So Rado is suggesting that we head to Oelaans,” Gale said. “It is the single most important gateway to the kingdom and if my suspicions are correct, they’ll try to go through that way to get here.”

“Well, we shouldn’t count out other their opportunities,” Reiss said. “Every point is laid out right on this map, including the Thekohnian Wastelands to the east of us.”

“Don’t worry,” Rain replied, “Sir Dustin and Sir Gamal are already working on mapping out those points to the soldiers.”

“They’ve proven their worth, that much I can say,” Reiss said.

“General—er, I mean, Roderick—if I may, I would like to suggest an idea to the rest of the room,” Ayanna said. “Right now, we’re playing to defend against a potential attack, but what’s to stop the enemy from wreaking havoc like they did in Glora? I know it’s probably just speculation, but I think it’s worth looking into whether or not our allies are at risk.”

“Well, if we’re talking about Iiayikohn, its greatest ally is Ameci,” Reiss said. “But right now, our ally is the current president in Maeitakohn. Your Majesty, you have been keeping in contact with Khadir, haven’t you?”

“That’s correct,” Rain answered. “I’ve made plenty of notes and continued to keep him up to speed about what has happened. So far, he’s said that it’s been quiet down in Maeitakohn, but I will be sure to contact him later today to see if anything has changed.”

“He’s still got a lot to handle, though, given his immediate ascension,” Reiss said. “That country has gone through quite a lot in the past few months and I’m not sure what Isaac and the rest of Foundation thinks of Khadir at this point. For all we know, that’s their next move.”

“So we’ve got a lot more to worry about,” Gavin said. “Damn it, this is just a pain in the ass just thinking about it.”

“I know you’re frustrated, Gavin,” Rain said.

“If we’re going to worry about Thekohn, then we should also be concerned about Maeitakohn, too,” Sorin said. “I’ve got no doubt about Khadir’s ability as a leader, but it makes sense that Foundation may go after him first.”

Gavin stood up. “Guess it’s up to me, then,” he said. “Ayanna, I’m going to need some assistance.”

“You want me to go with you?” Ayanna asked. “Or do you need more than just my help?”

“I need numbers,” Gavin replied. “Even five people would be good enough for me. Lead me to the best men and women that Iiayikohn has to offer and I’ll be sure to do the rest.”

“You sound sure of yourself,” Ayanna said. “Fortunately, Reiss and I were able to round up a few soldiers that were willing to help us.”

“They didn’t take too kindly to Dezine’s new executive orders, so they just decided to join us once I told them everything,” Reiss added. “They were none too pleased about the connection Dezine has to Foundation, either, so we’ve got quite a squad ready to go.”

Gavin smiled. “Looks like I really will get the best,” he said. “So you were able to coax over plenty of soldiers to the cause, then?”

“That I was,” Reiss replied. “Two-hundred and fifty, to be exact.”

“Two-hundred and fifty?” Gale asked. “When you said a few, I didn’t think it would be that many. I thought it would be only thirty soldiers…”

Reiss chuckled as he laid his palm on the table. “Oh, believe me, Gale, as far as numbers are concerned, Dezine’s still got the upper hand,” he said. “But when you count the queen’s royal military as well as Maeitakohn’s, it becomes a little bit more even when we’re going up against Foundation.”

“Numbers are nice, but not enough,” Rado said. “You and I know that. It is why we are here, are we not?”

“Yes, I know that, Mr. Liffe,” Reiss replied. “I’ll tell you this, Gavin: go out to the courtyard. Arthur should be out there assisting the other soldiers as we speak, so finding enough people for your mission should be easy enough.”

“If I may add, you’re free to recruit anybody from the royal military if you so choose,” Rain said.

“Thank you,” Gavin said. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

As Gavin proceeded to leave, Eva stormed into the room. The sudden push of the doors caught Gavin off guard as he leapt backwards and placed a hand on his sunglasses. Sorin glanced over at Eva, who got the attention of everybody in the queen’s office as she stood still catching her breath. Rain put on a smile as she made eye contact with Eva.

“Are you looking for something, Eva?” Rain asked.

Eva breathed a heavy sigh. “It seems Kirk didn’t go through here, either,” she said. “That damn idiot… where the hell is he?”

“Didn’t see him earlier,” Rado said.

“Of course you didn’t,” Eva said. “As big as you are, you miss a lot!”

“Eva, it’s okay,” Gale said. “I’m sure Kirk is around. I don’t think he’d leave suddenly while we’re still on the defensive.”

“Besides, this is a pretty big castle,” Gavin added. “I’m sure he’s just off in a different room thinking about what to do in regards to our current situation. In fact, that’s what we’re all doing right now.”

“True, we are all thinking of ways we can move forward,” Ayanna said. “If I had to guess, Kirk is probably out in the courtyard.”

“So none of you saw him earlier?” Eva asked. “Not even you, Sorin?”

“I’m afraid that I didn’t see him this morning,” Sorin said, as he leaned his head against the palm of his left hand and sighed. “If you want, I can help you look for him.”

“Neither of you need to do that,” Rain said. “I’ll just ask my advisers if they saw him walking around. I think Sir Dustin should still be over in the armory, if I recall.”

Rain walked over to the phone on the cabinet near the wall and picked up the receiver. After a few rings, the other side appeared to pick up as Rain began to talk. One brief conversation later, Rain said goodbye and hung up. Sorin and the others waited as Rain looked back over to them with a hint of disappointment in her eyes.

“Well?” Eva asked.

“I spoke with Sir Dustin and it appears that neither he nor Sir Gamal have seen Kirk,” Rain answered. “Not in the morning, and definitely not now.”

“That doesn’t mean he left,” Sorin said. “He’s still probably around here somewhere… Maybe.”

“Way to sound reassuring to Eva,” Gavin said. “Good grief, Sorin, at least try to sound a little more positive.”

“Either way, I’m sure that there’s no reason for him to leave anyway,” Rain said. “We already have a plan in mind and I’m sure he doesn’t want to put that plan into jeopardy.”

“You don’t get it,” Eva replied. “There is a reason… Damn it, it’s all my fault that he just decided to leave!”

“Eva, please don’t start jumping to conclusions,” Rain said. “I don’t want to see you get hurt.”

Eva turned towards the door and walked away. “With all due respect, Rain, I don’t jump to conclusions,” she said. “I’m sorry, but I just need to know what the hell he’s doing before it’s too late.”

Without another word, Eva left the room. Now Sorin was concerned as he decided to follow after Eva. He hurried after her until both reached the outside of the castle and into the eastern courtyard. Sorin continued to follow Eva until she turned around and glared at him.

“Why are you following me?” Eva asked.

“Because this is as important to me as it is to you,” Sorin said. “If my father did leave here, then I want to know where he went.”

“I’ve no idea why it matters to you so much,” Eva said. “You barely knew him before a few months ago… He’s almost like a stranger to you.”

Sorin was shocked. “Eva…”

“I’m… I’m sorry,” Eva replied. “I’m so sorry. It’s just that I worry about him so much. You forgive me, right?”

“Of course I forgive you,” Sorin said. “I’m worried about him too. All of us are, honestly.”

Eva looked down at the ground and shook her head. “That idiot couldn’t at least give us a message or something?”

“Oh, you guys are here too?” Storm asked.

Sorin and Eva turned their heads to the front gate and saw Storm entering with a guard at her side. As he watched Storm thank the guard and walk away, Sorin greeted her as did Eva. There was an air of peace that Storm brought as both Sorin and Eva settled down. They then proceeded to tell her about Kirk and how he had left, which made Storm think.

“Do you remember seeing him?” Sorin asked.

“Yes, I did,” Storm replied. “It was just earlier this morning. I was outside in the other courtyard helping the guards clear snow from the pathway when I saw him leave the castle.”

“Okay,” Eva said. “Did he say anything to you? What did he say?”

“I waved to him, but I don’t think he saw me,” Storm said. “If it helps, I saw him head over towards the plaza where they hold the annual parade. I have no clue where he went after that.”

“Thank you,” Eva said. “Come on, Sorin.”

“We’re going now?” Sorin asked.

“There’s a chance that he may still be there,” Eva said. “Please don’t start asking any needless questions now that we have a lead.”

Sorin realized that there was no time to waste and agreed. He and Eva said goodbye to Storm and headed off to the plaza in hopes of finding Kirk. There was only a slight chance, but Sorin knew that it was better than nothing. Sorin wanted to find out what his father was up to, which was why he followed after Eva in the first place. What also got his interest was why Eva was so bent on finding him. He knew that he wanted that answer as well and so decided to ask her as they took a walk down the sidewalk.

“If it’s okay with you, I’d like to know what’s going on,” Sorin said. “What is my father doing, or what do you think he’s doing?”

“Sorin, it doesn’t have anything to do with you,” Eva replied. “Your father is just chasing some case that already ended years ago.”

“A case?” Sorin asked. “Like an investigation?”

“Something like that,” Eva said.

“Well, maybe it’s important,” Sorin said. “Perhaps I can help if I knew more about it.”

“Forget it,” she said. “Like I said, it has nothing to do with you. It happened years ago.”

“A lot happened years ago,” Sorin said. “If it involves my father, then it has to involve me somehow.”

“You don’t want to get involved in whatever he’s doing,” Eva said. “Besides, there’s more important things to worry about right now.”

“Then at least tell me what it is,” Sorin replied, “That way, I can tell whether it’s important to me or not.”

“It’s a very long story,” Eva said. “I’m even sure if I’d have enough time to tell you all about it. I wasn’t even involved with what happened.”

“When we get to the plaza and find my father, I’ll ask him,” Sorin said. “One way or another, I’m going to find out what the hell is going on.”




The plaza was busier than Sorin and Eva expected. People filled the area as the odds of finding Kirk were low, but Sorin knew that he could not back down now. He had the feeling that Eva also thought the same as they looked around the plaza. They looked around the shops close by when they saw Henry leaving one of the buildings next to them. He noticed them instantly and waved at them, which followed with him walking up to the two.

“Sorin, Eva, did you two come to check out the shops?” Henry asked.

“No, not really,” Sorin said.

“Henry, just tell us if you saw Kirk or not,” Eva said. “It’s important.”

“Well, I did see him near the inn earlier,” Henry said. “I was going to invite him for breakfast, but he declined my offer. Is he not at the castle?”

“That’s why we’re here,” Sorin replied. “We were told he went this way and maybe you could help us. Did he say anything to you?”

“We did talk for a few moments,” Henry said, scratching his nose. “But we weren’t talking about anything interesting. All he asked me was about my family and how they were doing and little things like that.”

“You’re not telling us the whole truth, are you,” Eva said.

“I’m not lying,” Henry replied.

“I didn’t say that, did I?” Eva asked. “You’re being vague. It’s not like you at all to leave out concise details.”

“He told you something,” Sorin said to Henry. “Something about a plan, perhaps?”

Henry sighed. “I’m sorry, Kirk,” he said. “I promised him I wouldn’t tell a soul, but I can’t keep you in the dark, Sorin.”

“You’ll tell us, then,” Eva said.

“That I will,” Henry said, pulling what looked to be an envelope from out of his pocket. “Kirk gave me this before he left. He said that he had to head back to Iiayikohn to meet with Gamil.”

Eva took the envelope from Henry and opened it. “I see.”

“Did he really write that letter?” Sorin asked.

“I don’t have any reason to lie about it,” Henry said.

Eva finished reading the letter and folded it up. “It’s his handwriting,” she said. “I believe you, Henry.”

“Thank you,” Henry replied. “It was nice meeting you, but I gotta meet back with Tori; we’re taking the boys to see the park and I don’t want to hold her up at the plaza.”

“Go, then,” Eva said. “I’m sorry if I snapped at you.”

“No, it’s fine,” Henry said. “Anyway, see you around!”

Henry rushed off, leaving Sorin and Eva to themselves. It was as Eva said: Kirk wrote the letter. Sorin, though, had no idea why his father would suddenly leave the kingdom without telling anyone, especially Sorin himself. It was yet another mystery that had to be solved and Sorin was not sure what he and Eva needed to do next.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 19 (Part 1)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh, yeah, of course,” Sorin said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yeah, it’s been rough,” Sorin said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Be hopeful, not foolish,” Rado said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That would be nice,” Gale replied.

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

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

“What are you talking about?” Pekka asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why do you ask?” Noa asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Sundown – Chapter 48 (Part 1)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

“I understand.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Will do,” Rain said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Go right ahead,” Rain said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That would be a first,” Noa said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gavin sighed. “I’ll try not to…”

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

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

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

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

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

“That sounds about right,” Sorin said.

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

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

“Oh really?” Rain asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Thank you, Rain,” Gale said.

“Yeah, I’m glad, too,” Sorin said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Of course,” Rain said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Okay, have fun,” Rain said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Sundown – Chapter 47 (Part 1)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Storm nodded. “Yes, we should.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lowell cracked a smile. “You’ll see.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes, that’s correct,” Kirk replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It was pretty tough,” Eva said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m glad,” Rain replied.

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


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part