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 50 (Part 1)

[18th of November, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Outside Thedam Castle]


It did not take long for Rain and Mina to find Eva, who was standing near the front gate of the castle grounds. Eva faced the large tree by the gate as Rain and Mina came closer. Rain did not want to unsettle Eva, which was why she kept herself at a distance and called out to Eva.

“Are you okay?” Rain asked.

“I’m fine,” Eva replied. “You don’t need to worry yourself with me… I’m going to be just fine, okay? Please, go on about your day and forgot I ever said anything, Your Majesty…”

“Eva, please, I know you think you may be a burden, but I promise that you’re anything but,” Rain said. “You’ve been beyond helpful in training Dustin and Gamal, and I never made a big decision without first seeking your insight. You’re not useless at all.”

“I know you’re trying to be nice, Rain,” Eva said. “After all, that’s what you are. Being here clearly states that and has only reminded me of how lowly I am. I may as well not be here.”

“You aren’t lowly at all,” Mina said, “Because… Because that’s not who you are at all! You’re somebody who isn’t afraid to face her fears and doesn’t break at the first sign of danger; that’s not something that a ‘lowly’ person would do, is it, Eva?”

“Please just stop,” Eva replied. “I know that you two are trying your best, but please… please just leave me be.”

“At this point, I can’t turn away from you,” Rain said. “At least not until I know what’s troubling you.”

“I already told you,” Eva said, “It’s nothing. I’ll be okay.”

“I know that that’s not it,” Rain replied. “Mina and I can see from here that there’s something going on. If you truly don’t want us to know, then I won’t press any further and I’ll let you go.”

“You would do that?” Eva asked. “I… I don’t even know what I can say to that…”

Rain sighed. “I bet that if I ask everyone to describe you, they would say the same thing,” she said, “That you’re strong and they would be right. But what truly matters, though, is how you exhibit that strength.”

“I believe in you, Eva,” Mina said. “I know Sorin does, too, and so do Gavin and Law. Everybody does… even if you don’t!”

Eva looked down at the ground. “I appreciate your concern, but you two are just wasting your breaths,” she replied. “Someone like me doesn’t deserve to be called strong. In fact, it would probably be a lot better if I didn’t exist.”

“That’s wrong,” Mina replied, “Because I don’t think that that’s true!”

“Hold on, Mina,” Rain said. “Perhaps it’s better if we approached this a little differently.”

“If you think so, then I’ll let you go ahead,” Mina said.

“Very well,” Rain replied. “Eva… can I ask you something?”

“What is it?” Eva asked.

Rain took one step towards Eva. “Why do you believe that? Why do you that it would be better if you didn’t exist?”

“It doesn’t matter,” Eva said. “No matter what I do, nothing changes. Even when I try to sleep, the same thoughts repeat endlessly. I really don’t want you to keep worrying about me… because I’ll take care of it myself.”

“What does that mean?” Rain asked.

“It means that I’ll be fine,” Eva replied. “Goodbye.”

Eva did not speak another word as she headed out through the main gates. Mina attempted to follow after her, but Rain stopped her before she could. The two watched as Eva continued to hurry off into the city.

“Why aren’t we following after her?” Mina asked.

“I think she needs time alone,” Rain said. “I can imagine that the recent events have taken a toll on her and as much as I wish I could help, I don’t know what else I could really say?”

“But I’m afraid that Eva might do something,” Mina said. “I don’t know what, but it makes me worried.”

“I’m worried too, but I don’t think that she’s going to do anything drastic,” Rain said. “Just give her some time.”

“Okay,” Mina said. “If there’s nothing we can do, then I guess that you’re probably right.”

“I hope so,” Rain replied.

Nothing else could be said. Whatever was on Eva’s mind, it was clear that she did not want to talk about it and Rain acknowledged that. Rain hoped that in the future, Eva would be more willing to open up, but she had no clue if that would happen. All Rain could do now was go on with her life while everybody else went on with theirs. That was when she looked to Mina, who keep staring in the direction that Eva left, and held her hand.

“You know, it is getting close to lunch time,”Rain said. “Why don’t we just go back for now and eat? I could go for some food right now.”

Mina looked at Rain as a huge smile formed on her face. “Yeah, we can do that! I haven’t even eaten since breakfast!”

“I’m so glad to hear that you haven’t lost your appetite,” Rain said. “Well then, shall we go?”




[18th of November, 2740 AD; Eva Bellamy’s house, Admorse, Ameci]


Kirk looked around the empty house. He knew it had been some time since Eva decided to stay longer in the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn, but even so, Kirk felt the loneliness growing. He wondered to himself if she was feeling the same way. No, Kirk was certain that Eva was also feeling lonely and he only wished that he was there for her. Yet, he also knew that the reason she had decided to stay was not because she did not like him, but because she was afraid of growing attached to him in only a few months.

“I’m sorry, Kirk,” Eva told him, “I love you, but I’m afraid I can’t do this… It feels all too sudden.”

“Take as much time as you need,” he said. “Whenever you’re ready to come home, just let me know.”

That was what he said to her and since then, it felt like years since Kirk last heard Eva’s voice. He could only wonder how she was coping by herself, but still, he could not bring himself to contact her. Kirk walked into the empty bedroom where he and Eva slept, which only served to remind him of the happy moments he had with her and the moments that were not as happy as well. Kirk sighed as he sat on the edge of the bed.

“It’s really been some time, hasn’t it?” Kirk asked.

But he was not able to delve deeper into that train of thought as the doorbell rang off in the distance. Kirk jumped up to his feet and gazed down the hallway and began walking towards the front door. He had no idea who was on the other side, but Kirk opened the door anyway. Henry Randolph stood on the other side of the door with Tori.

“Henry? Tori? What brings you two here?” Kirk asked.

“Well, we’re just wondering how you’re doing by yourself,” Henry said. “How are you, Kirk?”

“I’m doing quite well, thank you,” Kirk said. “I assume it’s about the same for you and Tori?”

“Pretty much,” Henry replied. “I just got back from visiting Dia Kuu and now we’re going to go to city.”

“Oh, do you two have a lunch date or something?” Kirk wondered.

“No, that’s not it,” Tori said. “It concerns Henry’s campaign for Admorse. We’re busy getting signatures.”

Kirk tilted his head to the side. “Signatures?”

“If I’m going to run, then I’ll need about five hundred signatures,” Henry explained. “We’ve already got one hundred and fifty, but that’s not going to be enough when we get to the deadline.”

“And the deadline falls on the first day of the new year,” Kirk said. “If I know you, you’ll get there before the beginning of next month.”

“You really think so?” Tori asked. “I should have expected you would say that, Kirk. Oh, here, why don’t you sign as well?”

Tori reached into her bag and produced a board with a few sheets of paper attached. Kirk took it from her and looked through each sheet, already with so many signatures written down. He took the pen and signed on one of the blank lines and handed the board back to Tori, who smiled and put it back into her bag. Henry reached out to Kirk and shook his hand.

“Thank you,” Henry said. “You know, perhaps we can work together on this campaign. That’s if you want to, of course.”

“It sounds interesting,” Kirk replied. “I suppose there’s a way for both of us to help Ameci and this would be a good way to do it.”

“So you’ll do it, then?” Tori asked.

“Give me a day or so,” Kirk said. “I will definitely call you once I’ve made my decision.”

“Well, I can’t wait to hear it,” Henry said.

“I think this will work out well for you, either way,” Kirk said. “Anyway, Tori, how are you coming along?”

“We’re doing well,” Tori replied.

“Yes, it’s been almost three months,” Henry said. “The boys are pretty excited about it, too.”

“I’m glad to hear that,” Kirk said. “I hope that it all goes well for you.”

“Thank you,” Tori said.

“Yeah, thanks,” Henry said. “Well, I guess we shouldn’t hold you up for any longer and besides, we should be getting back on the road…”

“Go on, then,” Kirk said. “I don’t want to get in your way of becoming mayor, do I?”

“You’re not in the way at all,” Tori replied.

“I know,” Kirk said. “I’d wish you good luck but you don’t need it; you’re Henry Randolph, after all.”

Henry grinned. “Great to know you’re on my side,” he said. “Well, we’ll see you later, then! Don’t forget to let me know!”

Kirk nodded. “I won’t.”

He watched as Henry and Tori headed to their car and left for the city. For Kirk, however, he still felt as if he was not able to do much in his position. All Kirk could really do was support Henry from the sidelines and wait for Eva to come home soon. Kirk then got an idea. He remembered what Henry said and wondered if it was not too late to pay Dia a visit. Kirk had no clue if his idea would even work, but there was no way of knowing unless he tried.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

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…


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Sundown – Chapter 49 (Part 1)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

“Henry Randolph?”

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

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

“As you wish,” Henry said.

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

“Do you want anything?” Dia asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That must be nice,” Dia said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

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 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 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 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…


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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…


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Sundown – Chapter 46 (Part 1)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You’re asking me?” Korbin wondered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Johan coughed. “I’m sorry, Jelka…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Finally got you now,” Jelka said.

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

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

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

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

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

“That’s it, huh?” Korbin asked.

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

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

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

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

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

“Did he just get stronger?” Sorin asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

“Are you okay, Sorin?” Kirk asked.

“I’m okay,” Sorin replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Did I?” Sorin asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That’s what I said,” Sorin replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Thanks, everybody,” Rain replied.

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

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

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

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

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

“True,” Lowell replied.

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

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

“See you… Johan…”


To be continued…


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