Sundown – Chapter 24 (Part 1)

[15th of September, 2740 AD; Executive Hotel, Rain’s Room – Deca District]


Rain took a look out the window of her hotel room. The morning overlook over the city and its people made Rain think about why she went on her trip. The people of Iiayikohn had looked up to Alan Berry and Rain wanted to help ensure that his legacy would not be forgotten. That was why she had to prevent the attack from being made on her father.

“As long as I have them, then I know that anything is possible,” she said.

She turned away from the window and headed off to the shower. Today would be the day that she would go back home, this time in order to prevent her father’s assassination. Rain knew that there were some diversions, but this time she had to stay focused. Nothing could divert her from the path she had to take.

“I can’t let anything get in my way,” Rain said. “Not even my feelings…”

As she finally finished up and got out of the shower, Rain wrapped a towel around herself and went back into the main room. A knock on the door entered her ears as she turned to the door.

“Hey, Rain, it’s me, Mina!”

Mina’s sudden voice startled Rain. “Oh, um, just a moment!”

Rain hurried up to get dressed, donning on a light red blouse and black slacks. She rushed over to the door and opened it to see Mina and Sorin on the outside.

“You’re both here,” Rain said. “What happened to Noa?”

“He’s downstairs,” Sorin replied. “We’re sure that we’re setting off today, right?”

“That’s correct,” Rain said, “We can’t afford to waste any more time. Today we’re going past Helm and right to Oelaans.”

“Sounds good to me,” he said.

“It’s what we’re set to do as heroes,” Mina said. “We have to stop evil’s grasp on this region, and it involves stopping the Neu Thekohnian Order and their plans! That, and stopping them from assassinating the king!”

“Mina, is there someone you fight for?” Rain asked. “I know for certain that Sorin fights for his brother and Gale, but is there someone that you hold dear?”

“Of course there is,” Mina answered. “I can never forget you and Sorin here, as well as Gavin and Law! I mean, all of you are very close to me when not even a year ago, I didn’t even have any friends!”

“That is such a nice thing to say,” Rain said. “I’m so glad that you can call me your friend.”

“It’s no problem,” Mina said.

“When this is done, I’d love to be able to see the kingdom for myself,” Sorin said. “I’ll even tell Gale about it as well.”

“Of course, of course, Sorin,” Rain replied. “I’ll take all of you there and show you where I grew up. That will be my promise to you.”

“Then it’s a plan,” Sorin said. “Come on, let’s not keep Noa waiting.”

Rain left her room and went with Sorin and Mina downstairs. In the main lobby, Noa was busy dealing with some familiar faces that Sorin knew. Noa dropped to his knees in front of Kiku, as both Ayame and Igor stood behind her. It appeared that Kiku was taking some delight in the situation as she had a small smile on her face.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you!” Noa exclaimed. “Please, just let me go; I’m just a stupid idiot who has no tact!”

“You crossed Madame Izumi,” Ayame said. “If it weren’t for me, she’d have to deal with a serious bruise upon herself, and that would not have been fun at all!”

“I don’t know, Aya, I think he’s kind of funny,” Kiku said.

“Is something the matter?” Rain asked.

Rain walked with Sorin and Mina over to Noa. Kiku noticed Sorin and greeted him with a prompt hug.

“Wilkie! It’s so good to see you again,” Kiku said. “Where’s Gigi?”

“Uh, she’s with the others,” Sorin replied. “What’s going on here?”

“Oh, well, I guess this guy’s your friend too, isn’t he?” Kiku asked as she separated herself from Sorin. “Maybe Aya was being a little too harsh to him, all things considered.”

“If he’s a friend of Sorin’s, then I suppose he means no harm,” Ayame said.

“And for the love of god, just watch where you’re going next time,” Igor said, “You almost made Madame Izumi fall amongst herself!”

“You’re sure?” Noa asked. “You… you don’t need me to do anything else?”

“I think you can stand up now,” Rain said. “I would like to say that I am completely sorry for this misunderstanding.”

“Don’t be,” Ayame replied. “It wasn’t your fault, Your Highness.”

“Anyway! You’ve got to introduce me to these friends of yours, Wilkie,” Kiku said. “Especially that lovely lady with the red shirt and striking boots!”

Mina looked around. “Are you talking about me?”

“Of course I’m talking about you, silly,” Kiku replied. “Who else could I be talking about? You look so strong!”

“I know, right?” Mina asked as she flexed her arm. “Do you want to feel it for yourself?”

“Funny enough, I was going to ask but thought it to be too rude,” Kiku said. She reached out and placed her hand on Mina’s upper arm. “Oh my, I bet that you probably can beat Wilkie in an arm wrestling match. Am I right?”

Mina laughed. “I’ve never faced him, but I bet I could!”

“Again, I’m glad we’re fighting on the same side,” Sorin said. “Anyway, I guess I should get you up to speed, Kiku.”

He introduced Rain, Mina, and Noa to Kiku, who was delighted with each introduction. Rain gave an enthusiastic handshake to Kiku, while Noa just hesitated as he slowly shook her hand.

“Are you scared of me?” Kiku asked Noa.

“N-Not of you,” he replied, “But those two bodyguards of yours might actually kill me if I breathe on you wrong…”

“Hehe, you ought to lower your guard a little, scaredy cat,” she said. “Aya and Iggy are really nice once you get to know them.”

Noa turned away. “That’s reassuring, I guess.”

“You’re probably overwhelmed,” Kiku replied. “Now Minnie here just knows how to shine like a supernova. If only you weren’t so busy, I’d ask for you to carry me in your arms!”

“Thanks!” Mina exclaimed.

“Likewise, we would love to stay and chat but indeed we must head off,” Rain said. “Perhaps if you are still around, we can have a nice little chat.”

“It would be a delight, Ray,” Kiku said. “This mission of yours must be important enough if you had to enlist the help of both Wilkie and Minnie.”

“They are both capable and also my friends,” Rain replied. “There’s no better people that I could have asked.”

Kiku grinned. “I’m sure they are,” she said. “Especially Minnie. You two just look so perfect together, do you know that?”

“Well, it’s certainly true that Mina and I work well together,” Rain said, “But we will be heading off now. No further delays must be taken! Come now, everyone!”

Rain hurried past Kiku, Ayame, and Igor and out the door as the others looked onward. Noa decided to follow her out, followed soon after by Mina. This left Sorin to himself as he turned to Kiku.

“It was nice to see you again,” he said. “I’ll see you later.”

“Likewise, Wilkie,” Kiku replied. “If I happen to see Gigi, I’ll let her know how you’re doing.”

Sorin smiled. “Thank you for that.”

“Don’t worry too much about madame,” Igor said. “We’re planning to stay around here for a week, so there’s a chance we can have a little Ron de Vows once you’re done with whatever it is you need to do.”

“Do… do you mean ‘rendezvous,’ Iggy?” Ayame asked.

“What do you mean?” Igor asked.

“Never mind,” Ayame said. “We wish you well, Sorin. Please be sure to stay safe out there.”

“I will,” Sorin replied.

He took no time in joining back up with Rain and the others as they made their move to the train station. The experience of being in a new country awaited Sorin at the end and he could not wait to get there.




Onboard the train to Helm, Sorin sat next to Noa while Rain sat next to Mina. Despite being on a similar train, Sorin felt that the experience was just as new as it did the first time. Sorin wanted to know more, however, and turned to Rain.

“I never really got to ask you what Thekohn is like,” he said.

“What would you like to know?” Rain asked. “I can tell you about anything I know and what you want to know about.”

“Oh, oh! Tell us about the food,” Mina said, “I want to know all about how good the food tastes in Thekohn!”

“You always seem to talk about food and eating,” Noa said. “That or being strong… Is that all you think about?”

Mina pumped her fist. “Not all the time, Noa,” she said. “Besides, I need to keep eating if I want to compliment the energy I exert! You really should try it sometime!”

“I think I’ll pass,” Noa replied. “Overeating makes me sick.”

“Well, since you two are finished, I can tell you a bit about Thekohn’s food,” Rain said. “There’s a lot of teas we have, but the most popular is the tulip tea.”

“That’s the one that increases your intelligence, right?” Sorin asked.

“Well, that’s just a myth,” Rain answered, “But you have heard of it, it seems like.”

“Only because I had the opportunity to hear about it thanks to my friend from Kikuisha,” Sorin said.

“Oh, you mean that girl we ran into this morning?” Mina asked. “She was so nice! I bet she’d be really good to get to know!”

“There’s no denying that,” Sorin said.

“She was nice?” Noa asked. “I’m not so sure…”

“You’re only saying that because you’re scared of her,” Mina replied.

“Y-You’re not wrong,” Noa said. “She made me feel so small back there; I just didn’t know what to do until you guys showed up.”

“Yeah, Miss Kiku really made you look like that, didn’t she?” Mina asked. “It almost looked as if she was going to crush you underneath her shoe!”

Noa whimpered. “I’d like it if you didn’t create that mental image in my head, thank you very much.”

“Oddly enough, I would have thought you would be the kind of person to enjoy that sort of thing,” Sorin said. “I guess that that’s not the case.”

“I had no idea that anyone could enjoy that sort of thing,” Mina said. “Who are these pain enjoying kinda people?”

“You mustn’t worry yourself, Mina,” Rain replied. “Anyway, let’s continue with our little discussion about Thekohn, shall we?”

“So what are your parents like?” Sorin asked. “I saw your brother back in Jiaikohn, but I never really got the chance to speak to him personally. Do you have other family members, too?”

“Well, first things first, I will say I have two younger siblings: a brother and a sister,” she said. “That said, I have nothing but respect for my mother and my father. I love them all very much.”

“I don’t think any of us doubt that for a second,” Sorin said.

“That’s why it’s important that I do this,” Rain said. “I care deeply about my family, not only for their sake but for the people of Thekohn as well. The Thedam family is a representation of the entirety of the Thekohnian Region and I find great honor in being a part of that.”

“And that’s why we have no problem helping you,” Mina said. “All of us, even Noa, too!”

“Even me, huh,” Noa said. “That’s nice to know.”

“Maybe you’d be able to share with us your goal?” Sorin asked. “My friend always says that everyone has a goal or a dream that they’d like to make a reality. I’m sure it can’t be too ridiculous.”

“You would trust a man you barely know?” Noa asked.

Sorin shook his head. “We’ve journeyed together for a while now,” he said. “I think that we’re all well aware of who you are.”

Noa looked down at his feet. “That’s really funny.”

“Come on, just tell us already!” Mina said. “I want to be the greatest hero in the world! There, now you tell us yours!”

“My goal is to become a better artist,” Sorin added. “I’ve only just taken to the craft, but I’d like to improve it once this is done.”

“Those are your goals?” Noa asked. “Maybe it’s okay after all, then.”

“No matter what it is, I will promise to you that I will not make fun of you,” Rain said. “So go ahead.”

Noa sighed as he moved part of his hair past his ear. “My only dream is to find a place to call home,” he said. “I want to find a place where the people will accept me… and I guess also marry a beautiful woman whose love for me knows no bounds.”

“Is that really your dream?” Rain asked.

“Now that I’ve said it out loud, I’m not too sure,” Noa replied. “Just looking at your smile makes me think that you really do see it absurd.”

“That’s far from what I think, Noa,” Rain said. “I simply find it amusing and endearing to hear you speak because I can tell that despite your anxiety, you have aspirations to belong.”

“It just feels like a steep mountain to climb,” Noa said. “How can I be sure of where I’m going if there are so many dangers in my way?”

“I think you would know,” Sorin responded. “You’ve had to deal with a lot to get where you are now, that much you’ve told us.”

“You’re right about that,” Noa said.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Sundown – Chapter 22 (Part 2)

[14th of September, 2740 AD; location unknown, Hurst, Iiayikohn]


Two men entered the dim room as they took their seats at the table near them. One man had black hair with a touch of gray and wore a light blue button up shirt and pants while the other had light blond hair that was thinning on the top and wore a beige suit. Another man stood at the end of the table, though he faced the telephone on the wall as he spoke with someone on the other end. He had short, black hair and wore gloves that felt out of place with his brown suit.

“You know full well about what happens when you go on one of your self-indulgent trips,” the man in the brown suit said. “Pull a stunt like that in public again and I’ll be sure that it’ll be your last!”

Silence followed his words as the two men watched. They then looked at each other as the man kept talking.

“It really is true,” the graying man said. “Are you sure about this, Mr. Paul?”

“If we don’t speak with Harold Mars, then how are we going to get any support?” Paul asked. “Listen, Carsen, we need all the help we can get. Our business isn’t going anywhere.”

“I know that, but is this a good idea?”

“Just follow my lead,” Paul replied.

Harold gripped the phone in his hand as the other person kept talking. “Idiot, I didn’t ask about the girl,” he said. “I asked why you went and picked a fight with that man. What exactly did you hope to gain from dueling Mr. Wilk?”

A long pause followed.

“Should we say something?” Carsen asked.

“Let’s try not to get on his bad side,” Paul said. “Whoever he’s talking to, it must be extremely important.”

“Then if it comes down to it, you know what to do, don’t you?” Harold asked. “You know your role, so play it!”

Harold slammed the receiver back onto the phone and turned around. He came into eye contact with the two gentlemen and grinned.

“And how long have you two been waiting?”

“We… we just got here, Mr. Mars, sir,” Paul answered.

“Long enough to take a seat, it seems,” Harold replied. “I don’t appreciate liars, you should know.”

“I’m sorry!” Paul exclaimed as he bowed. “Please forgive us for our stupidity!”

Harold sighed. “And that pathetic individual with you,” he said, “He’s one of your employees, I take it?”

Carsen kept a wide stare as he nodded. “Oh yes, yes, sir!”

“We came to you today because we were looking for help,” Paul said. “He and I are in need of some money for our business.”

“What is this business?” Harold asked. “Based on your answer, I might think about lending you my assistance.”

“R-Right, sir,” Paul replied. “We’re an up-and-coming transportation company and we wanted to see–”

Harold slammed his fist on the table. “What is your name?”

“Me? Well… it’s Paul, sir.”

“Can you tell me why I should support you?” Harold asked. “There’s enough transportation going around; what makes you so special?”

“Our company–”

“I didn’t ask about your company,” Harold said. “I asked about you. Why do you think you’re so special?”

“I… I don’t think I’m that special, sir,” Paul replied. “Just a businessman trying to help his company.”

“That’s all you are, then,” Harold said, “But you’re not even good at that. You thought you could just roll into my establishment and pitch to me your wildest dream, but all you have is a tame hallucination!”

Paul tried to hold back the tears. “My apologies, sir.”

“Tell you what,” Harold replied, “I will give you something special that will help you in your journey. Hold out your hand.”

Paul did so, his hand open on the table, as Harold walked up to him. Just then, Harold reached into his pocket and pulled out a dagger. Without a second thought, Harold stabbed Paul’s hand into the table. Carsen backed up in his chair as Paul began to scream out loud.

“Will you calm down, you insolent ignoramus?” Harold asked. “If you want to deal with the crows, you’d best be prepared. That goes to you, too.”

“O-Okay!” Carsen replied.

“Consider yourselves lucky that you caught me in a good mood,” Harold said. “Now get out of here!”

Harold then pulled the knife out from Paul’s hand and wiped off the blood with a clean cloth. Carsen helped Paul up to his feet as the two men hurried out of the room. With the two men dealt with, Harold turned back to the phone on the table. There was another call he had to make and he was sure that the other person was going to be able to pick up on the other end. He wasted no time in dialing the number and waited until the other person picked up.

“Hello, it’s been quite a while, hasn’t it?” Harold asked. “How are things going, Isaac?”




[14th of September, 2740 AD; Golding Motel, Habicht, Ahnlikohn]


Just north of Helm, Johan and Pariton had reached the small town of Habicht after their encounter with Korbin. The motel was about the only thing notable in the town as Johan entered with Pariton close behind him. A small room awaited them with only a single bed and bathroom inside. Johan sat on the bed while Pariton leaned against the wall and looked out the window.

“You can sit here too if you want,” Johan said.

“I… As much as I’d like to, I think I’m fine here,” Pariton replied. “I’d like to talk to you about the mission, if that’s okay with you.”

“There’s no problem with talking to me about it,” Johan said, “We are partners, after all.”

Pariton chuckled. “I should never doubt you, Mr. Johan. Anyway, you were speaking about that woman earlier and I did some scoping out around Habicht. Seems like I’ve found out something interesting.”

“Your skills are developing into quite an asset,” Johan replied. “Then again, you always had that potential inside of you. What did you find out?”

“About five miles to the north is a campground,” Parition said. “It’s been abandoned for quite some time but from the conversation I had with the owner of the motel, it seems that someone has been going there and back lately.”

Johan rubbed his chin and closed his eyes. “A lead, then.”

“We have to check it out,” Pariton replied. “They would have to be there if someone is occupying the campground.”

“Why not go there now?” Johan asked. “Sun’s about to set soon, so we can go and sneak in.”

“A great idea,” Pariton said. “Let’s waste no time… Mr. Johan, behind you, outside the window.”

Johan turned around and caught a glimpse of a person, but they quickly ducked under and out of sight. A shrug followed as Johan turned back to Pariton.

“Suspicious,” Johan said. “Or maybe I’m just being a bit paranoid. Best not to think about it, Pekka.”

Pariton got off of the wall and stood up straight. “If anyone tries to attack, I’ll be sure to rough them up. I won’t allow you to get hurt.”

“That’s greatly appreciated, but it won’t be needed,” Johan replied. “This is a stealth mission, so we’re looking to avoid conflict.”

“Then I’ll follow your lead.”

Johan stood up. “We’ll be fine so long as we work together,” he said. “Now let’s go and find the Neu Thekohnian Order.”

They headed out of the room and out into the lot. Johan looked to both his left and right, but no one was there. Whoever was peeking through the window had already left by now, which made Johan think that they were just a passerby that happened to stumble on his conversation. He did not think much of it since he had other plans that involved infiltrating the campground at night.

“If we’re to find her, then that’s only place,” Johan said. “Shall we?”

Pariton followed after Johan as the two walked away from the motel and towards the town’s exit. They were headed to the campground by themselves, but another trailed behind them several yards away. A woman of average height hid behind the corner of the building as she watched the two walk out and decided to follow them. She had brown hair tied back in a ponytail and wore a light blue shirt and pants with a dark blue cloak. Johan and Pariton continued to walk out of town as the woman made sure to keep her distance.

“There’s no doubt about it,” she said. “If I follow them, I’ll be sure to find the person that killed my brother!”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 21 (Part 1)

[11th of September, 2740 AD; Old Church Steps, Helm, Ahnlikohn]


Korbin flaunted his sword. “Bring it on, Sorin Wilk!”

The air felt warm on Sorin’s face as he gripped the handle of his sword. He had no idea how Korbin was going to attack but had to anticipate anything. Sorin knew that this was not just a random enemy, but an Ameci soldier that knew of Sorin’s father. Whatever Korbin had planned, Sorin had to stay on his toes.

“I can see the look upon your face,” Korbin said. “That’s the look of uncertainty. The look of a man that hesitates to kill when given the chance. Well, allow me to show you what I’m made of!”

In that moment, Korbin rushed Sorin, swinging his sword swiftly. Sorin stopped each successive strike with his sword. With each attack, Sorin struggled to find an opening for a counterattack. Korbin’s wild and almost unpredictable attacks continued to keep Sorin on guard.

“What’s the matter, Sorin?” Korbin asked. “I haven’t even begun to sweat and you look like you’re ready to drop to your knees!”

Sorin stood his ground, blade raised. “You certainly didn’t lie about being good with a sword,” he said. “Who did you learn from?”

“So you like my style, don’t you? Well, I guess I can share that bit with you,” Korbin said. “Well, it’s a bit off the style that my dad says is from Lauren Ahga, whoever the fuck that is.”

“Wait, you can’t possibly mean that you know Sir Lauren, do you?” Rain asked.

“Hey, it’s like I said: I don’t know who that is,” Korbin replied. “Dad just tells me and I learn it through strenuous and torturous training.”

“Torturous?” Sorin asked.

“Don’t tell me you haven’t experienced it,” Korbin said. “Everything I’ve done was the result of pain thanks to my old man. Hell, I can still remember the scars he gave me years ago.”

“I don’t even know what I can say about that,” Sorin said.

“Ah, but you really didn’t get the chance to spend a lot of time with your dad, did you?” Korbin asked. “They said that he was a warrior of compassion, always sparing those he fought. Hah, like that’s believable!”

Sorin frowned. “Excuse me?”

“You really believe that shit? Seriously, who would fucking do a thing like that,” Korbin said. “It’d be easier just to end those worthless lives just like that, you know?”

“Are you trying to making me mad?” Sorin asked.

“I’m trying to have a fight here,” Korbin replied, “So make with it and fight me already!”

Sorin felt his anger rising towards Korbin, who stood there as he awaited the next attack. Korbin relaxed his stance, which left himself wide open. It almost seemed too easy for Sorin to strike next, almost as if Korbin expected it to happen. Because he felt that such an attack would prove foolish, Sorin continued to stay where he was.

“You’re almost too calm there,” Sorin said. “Are you sure that you’re not trying to lure me into your next attack?”

Korbin rested the back of his sword on his shoulder. “Only one way to find out, right? Better do it now, or else…”

“I’ve got no choice, then,” Sorin replied.

Sorin charged forth at Korbin. The tip of Sorin’s blade edged closer and closer to Korbin, who turned his body at the last moment. As Korbin brought his sword down, Sorin spun around and raised his sword to block the attack. The sharp clash of the two blades pushed Sorin and Korbin against each other as they both tried to best the other.

“Looks like my intuition was correct,” Korbin said. “The son of Kirk Wilk is quite as good!”

“You forgot one thing, Korbin,” Sorin replied.

“What’s that?”

Sorin increased the grip on the handle. “I’m not him.”

Korbin felt the sudden pushback as Sorin kicked out his leg and tripped him. As Korbin dropped to his knee, Sorin held up his sword in a defensive pose. Korbin wasted no time getting back up on both feet as he started to laugh.

“What’s so funny now?” Sorin asked.

“I haven’t had a fight this exciting in a while,” Korbin replied. “Usually I just win in a matter of seconds, but you… you really can put up a fight!”

Sorin had no time to respond as Korbin rushed him again. With each swing of Korbin’s sword, Sorin matched it with a block of his own. There looked to be no end in sight to the Ameci soldier’s energy as Sorin continued to block each attack. Then, Korbin landed a strike upon Sorin’s blade, which proved strong enough to knock Sorin to the ground.

Sorin picked up his sword. “Damn it!”

Sorin rolled out of the way as Korbin swung his sword down. As he got up and standing again, Sorin found himself on the defensive once more. The two moved around the front yard of the church, their movements being tracked by the others watching.

“You think someone’s going to come save you?” Korbin asked.

Sorin kept defending each blow with his sword. “What?”

“That friend of yours, Johan Kuu, is it? He’s not going to save your ass,” Korbin replied. “If you really want to stop this, then you know what to do!”

Sorin did not respond. Instead, he charged forth towards Korbin again. Once again, the two men fought with their swords clashing against one another. Another slash, another defend. Now Sorin just wanted to prove a point. He wanted to prove that he was not going to back down. Sorin wanted to prove to Korbin that he was not about to let the Ameci soldier run amuck, doing as he pleased.

“You’re doing a lot better,” Korbin said, “There’s that fire I’ve been waiting for!”

“I’m not going to let you get away with this!” Sorin exclaimed.

With a swing of his sword, Sorin struck Korbin’s blade and caught Korbin off guard. As Korbin backed up, Sorin stood in place as he awaited for what would happen next. Korbin then decided to sheath his sword and laugh, which led to confusion on Sorin’s part.

“Any more like that and you might’ve actually hit me!” Korbin said. “That’s all for now, though.”

Sorin sheathed his sword as well. “You mean that?”

“I just wanted to test you, that was all,” Korbin replied. “Besides, I believe we both learned a little about each other, didn’t we?”

“That doesn’t make sense,” Sorin said.

“You’d be a fool to think I see you as a threat,” Korbin said. “What’s the point? We’re practically on the same side, you and I!”

“I doubt that,” Sorin replied. “You still have to hold up your end of the bargain, don’t you?”

Korbin’s mouth was agape as he laughed. “Well, you certainly are persistent,” he said, “But you’re right. I guess it’s up to me now, isn’t it?”

“You want to just hurry it the fuck up already?” Gavin asked. “Sorin’s already played your little game long enough, so just hand her over, asshole.”

“Certainly, certainly,” Korbin replied. “Erik! You heard the guy in the sunglasses! Let’s get this over with!”

“Alright, then,” Erik said, pulling Silvia along with him. “Come on, you.”

“Oh thank god,” Ayanna said. “You’re not hurt, are you, Silvia?”

Silvia kept herself quiet.

“We’ll have to ask you a few questions when you go back to prison, but at least I’m glad that you’re safe,” Ayanna continued.

“I guess she’s in such a glorious state of shock that she’s got no words,” Bradley said. “It’s a bit anticlimactic, but I guess you guys are going to get what you want, won’t you?”

“Hey, Sorin, you mind moving a little?” Korbin asked.

Sorin felt as if he were caught off guard by that question. “What for?”

“I want to help see the poor girl off,” Korbin replied. “After all she’s been through, I’m sure she deserves a little help to the end.”

He walked over to where Erik and Silvia were and extended his hand. Erik nodded as he handed Silvia over to Korbin. With the two men nodding to each other once more, Korbin led Silvia towards Ayanna and the others.

“Ah, but don’t you think that this is a little too boring, Silvia?” Korbin asked.

Silvia looked back at Korbin. “What do you mean?”

Korbin looked over at Ayanna. “She’s a friend of yours, ain’t she? What’s more touching than to have a moment the two of you will never forget?”

“Dare I ask what you’re talking about?” Ayanna asked.

Korbin cracked a devious smile. “I mean this!”

In that instant, Korbin pulled out the knife from the back of his belt and stabbed Silvia in the back. The sudden, painful shock brought Silvia’s eyes wide as she coughed up blood.

Ayanna exclaimed. “Silvia!”

Silvia was not able to move. “But… why?”

Korbin chose not to respond and instead pulled his knife from out of her back, only to stab her once more. With another stab in the back, Korbin dropped Silvia to the ground as Ayanna hurried over to her side.

“I’m sorry… Ayanna…”

Ayanna held Silvia in her arms. “Don’t be,” she said as tears formed in her eyes, “It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.”

Gavin clenched his fist and directed his sights at Korbin. “You piece of shit! What the fuck is wrong with you!? You were supposed to hand her over unharmed!”

“Now where did you get that idea?” Korbin asked. “I was only going to hand her over; it doesn’t matter if she’s dead, right?”

“The fuck did you just say?” Gavin asked.

“Hey, you should be thanking me,” Korbin replied. “I basically did Iiayikohn a favor by disposing of her. That’s good enough to be called a hero, isn’t it?”

“You’re no hero!” Mina shouted. “You just killed a defenseless woman for no reason!”

“Of course I had a reason,” Korbin said. “She’s a True Thekohnian, so she had to be taken care of. Especially since she had a hand in killing that prime minister!”

“She wasn’t responsible for the prime minister’s death,” Law said. “That was a different party altogether.”

“You’d be surprised how fast the news travels,” Korbin replied. “On the way here, Bradley and I decided to listen to a little radio. News station said that the Iiayikohnian government found a couple of suspects in the assassination of Alan Berry.”

“That’s right,” Law said. “My bro and I caught the guys responsible.”

“Ah, good for you,” Korbin said, “But you see, that doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that she was the last one seen with the prime minister. That’s all the evidence in the world to me and my boys.”

“Besides, you two could’ve just caught the wrong people,” Erik said. “Now her, here, she’s the real deal. A True Thekohnian, no less!”

“Like I said: doing a favor for you all,” Korbin said. “Now can I ask that lieutenant general  to stop her pathetic display of crocodile tears? It’s really getting on my nerves.”

Ayanna looked down at Silvia’s now lifeless body. “I’m the one who should be saying ‘sorry,’ Silvia,” she said. “The only thing I can do now is make sure that your death won’t be for naught.”

She rested Silvia over to the side and stood to her feet. As she wiped the tears out of her eyes, Ayanna pulled out her gun and aimed it at Korbin.

“You wretched, deplorable waste of a human,” she said. “Have you little regard for the lives of others? All you are is a heartless killer!”

Korbin gave a jovial smile. “So?”

“So? So you’ve killed my friend!” Ayanna exclaimed. “I should just kill you where you stand!”

“Then do it,” Korbin replied. “You know who my dad is, right? I’m sure he’d be delighted to deal with the likes of you.”

“His father’s quite a big deal,” Bradley said. “Has connections all over the place. I’m sure there’d be no time wasted in erasing you.”

Ayanna held her stance. “I’m not afraid of your empty threats.”

“Oh, they’re not empty,” Korbin said. “There’s a name they gave my old man. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? ‘The Ruthless Ameci of the Underworld,’ that’s what they call him.”

“Ayanna, you don’t have to fight him,” Law said. “Because I’m just as willing to do it for you!”

Law jumped forward and rushed Korbin, hoping to land a hit. However, Korbin could see it coming and grabbed Law. He wrapped his arm around Law’s neck and produced his knife once more.

“Lawrence!” Ayanna yelled.

Gavin whipped out his gun and aimed it at Korbin. “Let him go, asshole!”

“If you really want me to unhand him, then do as I say,” Korbin said. “Drop your weapons, leave here, and pretend none of this ever happened.”

“Like hell we will!” Gavin exclaimed.

“Yeah, we’re not going to waste any time taking care of you,” Mina said, “There’s more of us than there are of you!”

“Right,” Sorin said. “What you’ve done is unforgivable, Korbin!”

“Guys, stand down,” Law said. “It’s not worth the trouble to deal with these guys.”

“Don’t worry, Lawrence,” Gavin said, “I’ve got my gun trained on his fucking head!”

“No, bro, it’s seriously not worth it,” Law replied. “Take it from me: it’s better to run from a fight as long as everyone survives.”

Ayanna looked at Korbin, and then to Law. “As much as I would love to deal with this murderer, I have to agree,” she said as she put away her gun. “Revenge is not worth the cost of another, especially if it can be avoided.”

“You’d still trust him?” Gavin asked.

“I’ve got nothing to do with this guy,” Korbin said. “What would I gain from killing him? Nothing.”

Gavin continued to stare Korbin down, but withdrew his gun. Korbin then let Law go, shoving him forward. Ayanna welcomed Law with a hug as she held him close to her.

“I really wish I could’ve done more, love,” Law said.

“You’ve done enough,” Ayanna replied. “It’s me who should have done more. I couldn’t save Silvia…”

“Don’t blame yourself,” Law said.

“If there’s a person to blame, it’s that man,” Rain said as she pointed at Korbin. “Have you no honor?”

“What are you talking about?” Korbin asked. “Me and Sorin agreed to a fight and I honored my end of the deal.”

He laughed as Rain walked up to him until she was face to face with him.

“To carry out such a cruel act and laugh it off as if it’s nothing is beyond atrocious,” she said. “Up until now, I did not believe that there was a person as twisted as you are. Unfortunately, it looks as if I am wrong about that.”

Korbin laughed again. “Oh, you’re serious? That’s truly hilarious! I haven’t been this entertained in forever!”

“Come on, Korb,” Bradley said. “Let’s just get out of here. No reason to keep ourselves occupied with this bunch.”

“I guess you’re right,” Korbin replied. “Hey, Sorin, it’s been a fun time, but looks like these guys are getting bored. Maybe we should have a little fun again sometime in the future?”

Sorin wanted nothing more than to deal with Korbin himself, but instead used his self-restraint. “You’re going to sorely disappointed,” he said. “Just take your guys and get the hell out of here.”

“Oh, don’t be too sad, Sorin,” Korbin said. “This is only the beginning, after all. You really do excite me, you know that?”

At that moment, both Johan and Pariton arrived behind the group. Korbin caught sight of Johan and frowned in an instant.

“You’re too late,” Korbin said. “I got bored and decided to take care of our little problem myself.”

Johan’s eyes lit up. “Oh my god, don’t tell me…”

He hurried past Gavin and Mina and saw for himself. Silvia’s corpse lay on the grass as Ayanna wrapped her coat around the body. Johan lowered his head as Pariton walked up to his side.

“I’m very sorry things didn’t go as planned, Mr. Johan,” Pariton said as he patted Johan on the back.

“We were too late,” Johan said.

“Sad that you couldn’t get to her first?” Korbin asked. “Just goes to show that a meddler like you is only good when he’s out of the way.”

“That’s not what I’m upset about,” Johan replied. “It’s clear that that woman meant a lot to Miss Ansa over there. I had my doubts about you, but I didn’t think you’d take it this far!”

“Shit, all of you are on your high horses today,” Korbin said. “Not like I care, anyway. I got what I wanted out of this, so what good does it do for me to keep talking to you?”

“You owe an apology,” Johan said. “An apology to Lieutenant General Ayanna Ansa, if not the entire Iiayikohnian government.”

“What for? I’ve already taken care of the problem,” Korbin replied. “Say, that man at your side… Is it just me, or does he look familiar?”

“You’re imagining things,” Pariton said.

“Hold on a second,” Korbin said. “I heard there was a mission you took a while back, Johan Kuu. Find a stray True Thekohnian, was it?”

“You’re not wrong,” Johan answered.

Korbin gave an enthusiastic laugh. “Oh, if word of this managed to reach that general, this’d be a hell of a scandal,” he said. “Imagine that a spy would find sympathy for some lowly scum and associate with him, no less! That is, unless I manage to take care of you both…”

He pushed Rain aside and withdrew his sword. Korbin then charged at both Johan and Pariton, who stood frozen in their tracks. Before Korbin could land any attack, Sorin rushed to Johan and Pariton’s defenses. Sorin took out his sword swiftly and blocked the oncoming attack.

“That is enough,” Sorin said.

“Even you’d spare the life of a killer, Sorin?” Korbin asked. “Fine. I would rather have a little chase with Johan before I get him, anyway.”

“You’re going to have trouble with that,” Johan said.

“All the more fun for me,” Korbin replied. “Fuck it, let’s get out here, guys. Get Lance, too!”

Erik nodded. “Understood.”

Korbin and Erik then headed out to the back of the church, while Bradley stayed behind. He looked over at Sroin, who now had put his blade away.

“Consider yourself lucky,” Bradley said. “You’re on Korb’s good side right now, Sorin, which is why he decided to spare your friend there.”

With that, Bradley ran off to join the other two. Sorin then turned to Johan and Pariton, who were busy helping Ayanna with Silvia’s corpse.

“How did you know we were here?” Sorin asked.

“I can explain that later, buddy,” Johan replied. “We need to take care of things here right now.”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Sundown – Chapter 15 (Part 2)

[10th of September, 2740 AD; Glora Grand Hall – The Wings of the Albatross, Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Johan arrived at the top of the stairs. He looked around through the sunlit hallway as he saw a pair of open doors at his left. That had to be it, Johan thought to himself, as he walked between the parted doors into the conference room and saw the man he had to speak with: one Sir Lauren Ahga, who was speaking with Brook Rio Thedam. Both men turned as Johan walked towards them.

“I hope I’m not interrupting something important,” Johan said as he waved his hand. “Lauren Ahga, would you mind if speaking with me?”

Ahga turned to Brook. “It looks like I’m needed, Your Highness.”

“So this is the man you were talking about,” Brook said. “That’s fine. I’ve got some business of my own, after all.”

“Can’t keep Her Majesty waiting, can we?” Ahga asked.

“When she demands your presence, it is hard to decline,” Brook replied. “Then I shall leave you two to yourselves.”

Brook walked by Johan and left the room. With just the two of them inside, Ahga reached out his hand and shook hands with Johan.

“I’ve taken quite a bit of time out of my schedule for you,” Ahga said. “For a simple soldier in Ameci military, you’ve got a good reason for requesting my audience, do you not?”

Johan chuckled. “I think you know why I’m here, Sir Lauren,” he replied. “After that lovely conversation I had with your friend yesterday, I began to wonder to myself who exactly she was working for. That’s why I decided to pay you a visit.”

“What do you mean?”

“Come on, is this the same Sir Lauren I spoke to a week prior?” Johan asked. “I remember you saying to me that there was going to be a storm brewing in the future. Who knew that you would have a connection to the catalyst?”

“I advise that you be careful with your next words,” Ahga said. “If you don’t, then I cannot say what will happen to you but it will be most unfortunate.”

Johan’s eyes widened. “Are you trying to unnerve me?”

“Take it as you will,” Ahga replied. “If you are trying to elicit an answer out of me regarding the Neu Thekohnian Order, then you will be disappointed.”

“Funny, I made no mention of them at all,” Johan said. “Guess I got the answer I wanted, after all.”

Ahga clenched his fist. “No, I’m not going to do that,” he said as his hand loosened. “I’m sorry, I almost lost myself for a minute there.”

“Good for both of us that you didn’t,” Johan replied. “It wouldn’t be a good look if the royal advisor to the Thedam family were to be found with blood his hands, would it? Especially not here.”

“You really think I’d resort to such savagery?” Ahga asked.

“Not at all,” Johan said. “In fact, I applaud you for not taking the easiest route and resorting to violence.”

“I would rather have someone else do my dirty work,” he said. “And besides, you’ve got no place to call me out about violence considering the sins committed by the Ameci fifteen years ago.”

“Believe me, Sir Lauren, when I say that I’m aware of the atrocities that war brings,” Johan replied. “How many families were torn apart? How many children were left without a home?”

“Too many, that much I know,” Ahga said. “It’s disgusting that we continue to pay respect to all of those that were responsible for the despair caused by the War of the Lands.”


“Let’s get back on topic,” Ahga replied. “You called me out on the Neu Thekohnian Order, so I might as well share with you what I know.”

“That won’t be necessary, Sir Lauren,” Johan said, brushing aside his hair with his hand. “I’ve already made a few connections based on what’s already happened. For example: the assassination of prime minister Alan Berry.”

Ahga gritted his teeth as his eyebrows furrowed.

“Your reaction tells me all that I need to know,” Johan said. “He was a close friend of yours, was he not? I’m very sorry about what happened to him.”

“Oh, that,” Ahga replied as his face eased up. “Yes, when I received the news, it left me devastated. Whoever did this is beyond redemption.”

“A bit extreme, but I do share your sentiment that it is devastating,” Johan replied. “After all that had went down, I was certain that we would have been on the road to peace. Looks like our work isn’t done, after all.”

“And yet no one seems to bat an eye around here,” Ahga said. “I’ve had my suspicions, but perhaps the Ahnlikohnian government has something to do with Alan’s assassination.”

Johan raised his eyebrows as he put his hands behind his back. “A bold claim,” he said. “Of course, I’ve heard that Harring and Berry were not exactly on the best of terms after the battle of Bel, but then again that’s not exactly something that you can base a claim off of.”

“Your ignorance is showing, soldier,” Ahga replied. “The chancellor has only his own interests in mind. As for the royal family of Ahnlikohn, that’s a different story.”

“Go on.”

“The crown prince, despite all appearances, is said to be a major pushover,” Ahga said. “Queen Amelia herself has only him to succeed the throne, despite the other prince.”

“Why not the other prince?”

“Again, it’s all due to appearances,” Ahga answered. “But even he cannot save this country by himself. If the Neu Thekohnian Order continues to gain power, then it will only get worse for the chancellor and the royal family.”

“Sounds like a real problem,” Johan said. “I can only imagine what would happen if something were to happen to one of the princes.”

“You mean the crown prince,” Ahga corrected. “That younger one would not last one second as the next in line. It all falls squarely on Prince Amile to succeed the queen here.”

“And what of your country?” Johan asked. “Who’s the next in line to rule the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn?”

“That’s something I’m not at liberty to tell,” Ahga answered. “Fortunately, they’ve got a secure plan in place should we come to desperate times. That’s the one of the main differences between the two royal families.”

Johan sighed. “I get it,” he said. “Well, I think you’re enjoying yourself here, if I’m being honest. If only I could stay for a little longer, but you’ve got much more important things to do than to talk to me.”

“That much is true,” Ahga said, “Though I’ll admit that you managed to keep me interested. Not bad for an Ameci.”

“Well, should we meet again, I hope it will be under more flexible terms,” Johan replied. “For now, though, I’ve got a date with a cute girl at the Sparrow Hotel and I wouldn’t be much of a gentleman if I were to be late.”

“Head off, then,” Ahga said. “I can understand when it concerns gaining the affection of a woman.”

“You think too much, Sir Lauren,” Johan said. “I will see you later, however, that I can assure you.”

Johan said his goodbyes to Lauren Ahga and left the conference room. He had gained enough information from his conversation, but still was not sure of how Ahga played into all of it. That would be something to think about later, that much Johan knew.




[10th of September, 2740 AD; Sparrow Hotel – Outdoor Lounge, Glora, Ahnlikohn]


The now moonlit lounge was illuminated by the lamps outside as Kiku entered by herself. Both Ayame and Igor were already asleep by the time she had snuck out as she wanted to meet Johan again. Within the lounge were some tables and chairs, but where Kiku wanted to sit was on the bench by the large, grey fountain. She took a seat and waited for him to show up; after a few minutes passed by, Johan entered the outdoor lounge and spotted her.

“So you are here, after all,” Johan said.

“Oh, Cookie!” Kiku said as she placed her hand on the open space next to her. “Come sit over here, next to me!”

Johan walked up to the bench. “You make an offer that’s pretty hard to refuse,” he said. “Do you engage other men like this?”

“Not just men,” she replied. “It doesn’t matter who, if they catch my interest, I want to know more about them.”

“I see,” Johan said, taking a seat next to Kiku. “I was lucky enough to find the hotel after standing around in the Wings of the Albatross for long. You know, it’s quite a venture on foot.”

“You walked all the way here?”

“Well, I was able to catch a ride from a passing driver,” he replied.

“If only I could arrange a ride for you,” Kiku said. “I could have had one of my friends come and pick you up. Oh, but you told me not to tell anyone about you, didn’t you?”

“That I did,” Johan said. “I am on a mission and having people know about my presence only hinders my progress.”

“I think I’ve figured out who you are, Cookie,” she said.

“You have?”

“But I’m not going to say it,” Kiku said. “I wouldn’t want to put your ‘mission’ in jeopardy, would I?”

She scooted up to Johan and grabbed his arm. Johan had a look of surprise on his face, but instantly responded by putting his arm across her shoulders.

“I really don’t know what you’re trying to do here,” he said.

“Yet you do so anyway,” she replied. “It’s usually much easier for me to tease guys compared to girls. Maybe that’s why I’ve taken such an interest in you.”

“We’ve not even known each other for a day,” Johan said. “Does that not cross your mind?”

“It does indeed, but that’s exactly why I want to know more about you,” Kiku answered. “Especially since you’re Wilkie’s friend and all.”

“Wilkie?” Johan asked. “Oh, I think you’re talking about him. He did say he and his girlfriend were visiting Kikuisha the other day, so I suppose that’s how you would have seen him.”

“You’re very good at figuring things out,” she said. “Say, Cookie, do you mind telling me what your mission is? At least… a little bit?”

“I can only give you the basic details,” he replied, “And only on one condition: you answer one of my questions.”

“That’s all?” Kiku asked. “Hehe, you could’ve have asked me to do anything beyond your wildest dreams and that’s the condition you set. Okay, I’ll do it.”

“I’m a simple man, Kiku,” he said. “My dream is to see a world where people don’t have to fight. A world where no war exists.”

“That is a nice dream.”

“My mission is to help make that dream come true,” Johan said. “What about you? What’s your dream?”

“A good question,” Kiku replied. “I guess you could say that one of my dreams is meet with as many cute guys and girls as possible. Another would be to have the greatest garden in the world. Although I guess they’re not as interesting as yours, are they?”

“Not at all,” he replied. “It’s always good to have dreams. The only question is what will you do those dreams possible.”

“I’ve never thought about it,” she said. “This is my first time leaving my home country, so I don’t have as much experience as I would like to have.”

“Everyone’s gotta start somewhere,” Johan said. “It doesn’t matter if you start as a child or as an adult, as long as you can begin work towards that dream, you can get ever closer to it.”

“You really know what to say, don’t you?”

“It’s part of what I know,” he said. “Do whatever it takes to achieve those goals of yours, Kiku, because I believe that you can do it.”

“If it were only that easy,” Kiku replied. “I dread the inevitability that I’ll succeed my mother as the Empress and thus lose my freedom.”

“I don’t think it has to be like that,” he said. “Your mother cares for you, right?”

“She does, indeed,” Kiku said. “I only wish that she would be more lenient.”

“Well, she must have her reasons,” Johan replied. “I do think that you have that potential to gain the freedom you desire while still serving your role as the next in line.”

“The way you say that makes you sound so wise, yet I know it’s not true,” she said. “If only it were so easy, Cookie, then maybe I’d go with you.”

“Sorry, but I wouldn’t allow that,” he said. “There’s always the chance I’m throwing myself into the face of danger, and I wouldn’t want you to be subject to that danger because of me.”

“You really care about me, don’t you?”

“Of course I do,” he answered. “Any friend of Sorin’s is a friend that I can trust and care about.”

“Your friendship is really close with him,” Kiku said. “Are you sure you just think of him as just a friend?”

“He’s been my friend since childhood,” Johan said. “Of course I consider his opinion of things above all else.”

“But you didn’t answer my question,” she replied. “Oh well, I suppose you wouldn’t answer that no matter how much I asked.”

She rested her head on Johan’s shoulder and grabbed his hand. He responded by looking up into the sky where an almost-full moon stared him in the face.

“If only I could have more time with you,” she said, “Maybe we’d have the chance to get even closer.”

“I… That sounds interesting, but I don’t want to rush anything,” he replied. “Not that it would be a bad thing to do any of that stuff with you.”

Kiku lifted her head and looked at Johan with a smile on her face. “Wow, what a naughty line of thinking you have,” she said. “I guess it can’t be helped when you’ve got someone as cute as me this close to you, though.”

“It’s not that,” he said. “I run the line with fantasy from time to time, but I do my best to keep myself grounded in reality.”

“And I guess you won’t tell me what these fantasies of yours are,” Kiku replied. “I can probably guess what they would be, anyway.”

“You seem certain of that.”

“Only because I’ve had similar thoughts about my closest friends,” she said. “Obviously I wouldn’t do things of that nature with them unless they were completely okay with it, but the thought does cross my mind.”

“Maybe you should think about what that future of yours holds,” Johan said. “In my opinion, a bond that’s meant to be shared between two people is something that you should be completely sure of and I’m not sure if that would involve the two of us.”

“Are you saying you don’t want to do it?” Kiku asked. “Or are you trying to convince yourself of that?”

Johan took a deep breath and exhaled. “That I can’t answer.”

“I knew it! You really do wish to fulfill your desires with me,” she replied. “Unfortunately for you, I do think it’d be too early for us to have that moment. Better luck next time!”

Kiku laughed as she rested her head on Johan’s chest once again. He could tell that she was getting tired, her subsequently yawning only confirming that notion.

“You really like to tease, don’t you?”

“Only because I can see how nervous it makes you,” she said. “If you want, you can tell how nervous I am if you put your hand to my chest.”

“I think I’m going to have to pass on that,” he said.

“You really are one of the good ones, aren’t you?” Kiku asked. She yawned again and closed her eyes. “Getting this close with me… if I could, I would give you a medal…”

“Maybe you can come up with that award later, Kiku,” Johan said. “Don’t you think you should get some rest, though?”

Kiku smiled as she attempted to wrap her arms around Johan’s torso. “I think I could just sleep here, honestly…”

“I really have somewhere to be,” he replied. “If you want, I could help you to your room.”

There wasn’t a response from Kiku as Johan looked at her. She had already went to sleep as he thought about what to do next.

“If there’s one thing to admire about you, it’s that you don’t let go,” he said as he tried to remove Kiku from himself. He moved her arms off of him and lifted his arm from her as he laid her sleeping body on the bench. As Johan finished his task, he heard the door to the lounge open and turned around to see Igor enter.

“Madame Izumi, are you here?” Igor asked. That was when he saw Johan standing by her. “You! What are you doing–”

Johan walked up to Igor and placed his hand on Igor’s mouth. “She’s sleeping,” he said quietly. “It would be good for you and I if you respected that.”

“But… fine,” Igor said as Johan removed his hand. “Who are you?”

“Just a friend of a friend,” Johan replied. “You are the bodyguard for Miss Izumi, correct?”

“I am, but how do you know that?” Igor asked.

“That doesn’t matter,” Johan said. “Just make sure that Miss Izumi gets her rest and make sure that you tell no one about this encounter.”

“What makes you think I’m going to do that?”

“Do you really want to go through this with me?” Johan asked. “Just do what I say, please. It’s in her best interests, after all.”

Igor sighed. “Okay,” he said. “Only because Madame Izumi would be irate if she were to sleep on her own.”

“Glad we can agree,” Johan said.

Igor walked over to the sleeping Kiku and picked her up. “You do look rather peaceful like this, Madame Izumi,” he said. “Okay, now what about him?”

He turned around but Johan had already left the lounge. There was no reason to pursue him at this point, Igor thought to himself, as he decided to carry Kiku back to her hotel room. Still, though, he had to wonder what exactly happen between the two of them. At the entrance to the hotel, though, Johan was already on his way to his next destination as he caught the next cab to the city of Helm.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 15 (Part 1)

[Dates unknown, 2725 AD; Kals Dale, Maeitakohn – Oak District]


(Noa’s Loss)


I still remember that day vividly. It was like a ghost that refused to leave alone. The screams of the people around me as the houses burned to the ground still ring in my ears, as well as the sight of soldiers storming through and torturing people. I can even remember what I was doing: my family was trying to evacuate their house when a couple of soldiers showed up at the front door.

“Open up!”

“We know you’re in there!”

As the knocks got louder and more violent, my mother and father looked to me and my older sister.

“We want you both to leave out the back,” said mother.

“But what… what about you!?” I asked.

There was no time for either of them to respond, however, as the door broke down and in came the soldiers. Father shoved the two of us aside as my sister and I rushed through the back of the house and out the back door.

“Wait up!”

It was too late, however, as the next sound I heard was the sound of gunshots that I could fear had taken the lives of my parents. There was little for my sister and I to do as we ventured out into the chaotic scene that was playing out on the outside. Fire was burning all throughout the neighborhood as trucks rolled through.

“We… we can’t be here!” My sister looked around. “Sorry, mother… father…”

She led the way, holding tightly to my hand as we climbed over the fence and into the park. There were some places to hide, but unfortunately there were already soldiers strewing about for either of us to move forward. From the distance I could see another child, an older boy, surrounded by two of the men as they threw him to the ground and started kicking him.

“Hey, there’s gotta be more people here, right?”

“Aren’t we supposed to just capture the target?”

“The general gave us an order, didn’t he?”

“Yeah! By any means possible! Who cares if these people die?”

“That’s right!”

I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I just wanted to do something, but instead I was too scared to move. That must have been the signal for those soldiers to notice my sister and I standing as she snapped out of her daze and looked at me.

“Run! Now!”

There was no response from my lips as I just did what she said and began to run. I continued to run and run, but something did not feel right. Taking cover behind the nearest bush, I looked up and saw that they had already caught her. What was going to happen now, I wondered. Though I knew the answer why, I wondered to myself why I could not move as those soldiers did the unthinkable.


Those were the last words my sister uttered as the next bullet took her life right before my eyes. Here I was, the complete coward, too afraid to do anything as she lost her life in place of mine. I had little time to think though, as the reality of what had happened struck me as I still had to run. Only the heavens know how I was able to make an escape, but escape I did.


A week had passed since the day I lost my family and I was just getting by to survive. Sneaking around the next town, I managed to sustain myself, but it eventually began to take a toll on me. During one of my ventures, I lacked the strength to move and collapsed to the ground. The next thing I knew, I woke up in a twin-sized bed to the smell of hot soup boiling on the stove.

I rubbed my eyes. “Where… am I?”

“So you’re awake.”

I looked up and saw a man dressed in a brown jacket and jeans standing at a stove. Apparently, he had found me earlier and had decided to take me in.

“I normally don’t care for kids,” he said, “But I saw you just wandering about and I had to do something.”

“Who are you?”

“It doesn’t matter who I am,” the man replied. “Listen, kid, I heard there was an attack last week in Kals Dale. You wouldn’t happen to from there, would you?”

Next thing I knew, I was crying. The man had decided to bring up a still bleeding wound and I had no idea how I would cope.

“You… don’t have to cry, kid,” he said. “I understand.”

He walked up to the bed and sat next to me. There was something comforting about him, even though I knew nothing about him.

“If it makes you feel better, you can travel with me,” he said. “At least until I can find you some shelter.”


“Maybe you should tell me your name and I’ll tell you mine. At least it won’t feel like I’m a complete stranger to you.”

I struggled through the tears but I managed to tell him my name. Then he told me his. It was a name that I was not sure to forget, even to this day. I knew that he was going to make good on his promise and I was indeed able to walk alongside him travelling the Thekohnian Region. Days turned into weeks, which became months and then soon as I knew it, three years had passed.




“You must be tired,” he said.

It had been a particularly long day, a summer day during the war in which he and I were setting up shop in Oelaans. The two of us spent the time providing weaponry for the Thekohnian military. I had grown a lot over three years, which was noticeable to everyone around me.

“He seems to be getting used to this sort of thing.”

All the man in the brown jacket could do was laugh. “Kid’s got a strong desire to fit in,” he said. “Can’t believe there was a time I was gonna just ignore this kid.”

He looked over at me with a smile on his face, as if to say it was a comment all in good fun. This man was right, however, because I truly did want a place to belong. Who knew that it would be by working over in Thekohn?

“Hold on one second,” the man said, “Looks like they need me over for something. Just stay put over here, okay?”

I nodded and he went off with two Thekohnian soldiers as I continued to disassemble weapons and put them in the box. We were supposed to head out to Bel the next day and deliver goods to the soldiers there. As I was working, I suddenly heard yelling from the other side. That caused me to look up and see the man in the brown jacket run to me.

“I’ve got no time to explain, kid, but we have to go right now!”

“What’s going on?”

“Just go!”

He rushed me along as we tried to escape the city. Seems there was another attack from the opposing military and we were caught up in it. I again was caught up in a power struggle between two nations, but this time was supposed to be different. Or so I thought. We found ourselves caught up surrounded by the enemy troops, three of them to be exact, as they had our guns pointed at us.

“Shit, this isn’t good,” he said.

I was too scared to speak. This time really felt like it was going to be it. Here I was, certain that I was going to die.

“Should we shoot you first, or the kid?”

The man in the brown jacket growled as he suddenly leapt forward without second thought. It caught the gunners by surprise as they all tried to aim at him, but the man was much too quick for them to focus. For some reason, they all ignored me as he continued to fight. Bullets were fired, but even as the man got hit, that still did not stop him from knocking out two of the three soldiers.

“Why won’t you die!?”

The man gritted his teeth as he locked hands with the remaining soldier. “You chose the wrong guy to fuck with,” he said. “Hey kid, why’re you still standing there like a frightened fawn!? Go! I’ll meet up with you later!”

His words startled me, but I did do what he said under the impression that we would meet again. I ran as far as my feet could take me, stumbling over until I could not run any more. My legs felt like sticks that were close to breaking, but at least I could tell that I was far enough from the scene to the point where none of those soldiers would come after me.

“Where am I now?”

The field was vast and long, green grass growing everywhere as I crawled over to the nearest stone and rested on it. I remembered what the man in the brown jacket said to me, that this was the Rio Plains just outside of the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn. I was not far away from the boundaries of the kingdom and I wondered to myself if they were going to discover me. I could see someone the distance coming towards me, however, someone very familiar to me.

“So you’re here after all…”

The man in the brown jacket hobbled over to where I was sitting and dropped to the ground. He was covering his arm as I quickly turned him over to discover a major wound in his stomach. Blood was soaked throughout that part of his jacket as I panicked.

“You’re… you’re bleeding!” I exclaimed.

“Oh, that… that’s pretty bad, isn’t it?”

“That’s really bad!” I said. “I should get you to the hospital!”

The man laughed, which caused him to cough up blood. “The nearest one’s in that kingdom, right? Sorry, kid, but that’s not gonna happen.”

“Why not!?” I asked. “I don’t want you to die!”

“Think they’re going to take in a guy like me?” The man looked up into the sky. “Besides, it’s too late for me… I did all I could so you could escape. That’s my final gift to you.”

“D-Don’t talk like that,”  I said as I tried my best not to cry. “It’s too early for you to die! What will I do if you die!?”

“There’s… a guy I know,” he replied. “Of course… it’s going to be a long haul from here to Bel, but he’ll take you in.”

“But how can I get there?”

“Just… trust your instincts,” he said. “You’ve done well on your own before… All you have to do is ask for Karim Khadir.”

He coughed again, hacking up blood as I held onto him.

“I’m surprised I made it this long myself,” he said. “Don’t worry about me… kid. Just make sure you don’t forget me… Noa Mzade…”

His eyes closed for the final time. I did not want it to be true, but the man in the brown jacket was gone to the next life. I cried and cried as once again I was left behind all alone and without much certainty for the future, but he did leave me one bit of hope. That one bit of hope that I assumed would help me. It was those three words, “trust your instincts,” that gave me the ability to keep myself moving forward to where I am now.




[10th of September, 2740 AD; Tranquil Cardinal Inn, Helm, Ahnlikohn]


Night time approached as Noa sat back in his hotel room. He had gone over his past earlier with the others and now he had the time to reflect upon that past. Over in the corner of the room was Victor Wihll as Noa was tasked with watching over him to make sure he would not escape. Wihll stared at Noa as he quickly looked away.

“You shouldn’t fret yourself,” Wihll said, “I’m not planning on going anywhere. Not yet, at least.”

“Can I ask you a question?” Noa asked.

“I see no harm in that.”

“What happened that day? Why did they decide to attack our town?”

Wihll laughed. “That’s all you had to ask, huh,” he said. “Surely you would have figured that out by now, wouldn’t you?”

“I know that they were looking for someone,” Noa replied. “An escaped man, they said. But why did they decide to take us with them?”

“Because they are hypocrites,” Wihll replied. “Every last one of these leaders say they want peace, but behind all that is a legacy soaked in the blood of innocents. Innocents like you and I.”

“Please don’t associate yourself with me,” Noa said.

“Or what?” Wihll asked. “You really believe the lot of them? The same people whose fathers would gladly use us without a second thought?”

“I know one thing,” Noa replied. “I know that you had caused a lot of grief and havoc for all of us in Maeitakohn. You don’t take too kindly to anyone that challenges your beliefs and carried out attack after attack in the name of my country. Because of that, I cannot forgive you.”

“What a disgrace,” Wihll said. “After all they did to you? Your family? The man that had taken you in?”

“I ask the same to you,” Noa said. “You continue to hold this warped mindset even though you yourself killed many people. How many people died in that explosion?”

“Be that way, then,” Wihll replied as he turned to face the wall.

“I just want to understand why,” Noa said. “Why decide to through all the trouble? Was there a reason for joining the True Thekohnians?”

Wihll did not respond.

“You could answer my question!”

“Fuck you.”

Noa glared at Wihll. “I demand an answer!”

“Be quiet, Noa!” Mina yelled through the wall.

“I’m sorry,” Noa replied. “Just… trying to do something…”

“That is pathetic,” Wihll said.

Noa could not come up with a response, nor could he get Wihll to answer his question. All Noa could do now was sit back on top of his bed as the others were left to themselves. He wondered what they were saying and if any of their conversations were centered around him. There was a nagging feeling in his mind that they were laughing at him behind his back, but Noa did not want that to be true. He really did not want Wihll to be validated in any way, nor did he want to feel like he was being left out. No, Wihll was wrong. Noa just had to trust in that belief.


On the other side of the wall, Mina and Rain shared a room. The princess was busy sitting in her bed, writing in a book while Mina took to some brief training. With little space and no additional equipment, Mina decided to work on keeping herself in top shape for what was to come and do at least one hundred sit-ups.

“Ninety-nine,” she said as she got closer. “One hundred! Hey, Rain, are you watching?”

Rain looked up from her book. “I’ve been paying attention, yes,” she said. “You really do continue to impress me, Mighty Mina.”

“Aw, thanks,” Mina replied as she stood up. “What kind of book is that?”

“It’s just a travel log I’ve been writing in,” Rain answered. “I’m keeping all the details of this trip until I get back home.”

“Can I see it?”

“I’m sorry, but I can’t,” she replied. “Hope you understand.”

“It’s okay,” Mina said. “Do you think I can ask you something?”

“Go ahead.”

“So what will you do once we get to the kingdom?” Mina asked. “If your father is still feeling sick, what will happen?”

“He’s still being treated, last I’ve checked,” Rain said. “What does need to be done is to make sure that he does not die during the treatment. I’m worried that someone might try to sabotage his recovery.”

“That’s really bad,” Mina said.

“What also worries me is that we might not have enough time,” Rain said.

Mina leaned forward. “What do you mean?”

“That man, Victor Wihll, we can’t go anywhere until the Iiayikohnian military comes to arrest him,” she replied. “Fortunately we have Noa to keep watch of him, but we cannot let him walk free.”

“I agree,” Mina said.

“Well, of course you would, after all,” Rain said. “Anyway, perhaps we can spend some time talking about other things. Something to get our minds off of what’s been going on.”

“Okay, I can do that,” Mina replied. “I really enjoy talking to you, Rain!”

Rain smiled. “As do I with you.”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Sundown – Chapter 10 (Part 1)

[9th of September, 2740 AD; Klein’s Sea Shack, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


After Sorin and Johan made it back to Rezar, the first thing that they did was inform Rain and the others. With the group reunited, Mina suggested that they go and celebrate Johan’s rescue at the local seafood restaurant.

“It will be great!” Mina exclaimed. “We can eat tons of food and get to know your friend better, so why not?”

Nobody opposed the idea, not even Ayanna. That’s why they made the trip to the restaurant on short notice and got a table for the entire group. Johan sat at the end of the table with Sorin sitting to the right of him while Mina sat at the left. Gale sat next to Sorin, while Law was sitting on the other end away from Johan. Ayanna and Gavin were on Law’s left and right respectively, while Rain found herself in between Ayanna and Mina. After informing the server of their orders, the group began to chat.

“I’m glad we got that sorted out,” Law said.

“Odd that you were so insistent on sitting at the end,” Ayanna said. “I’m used to seeing Mina sit there whenever she goes on one of her food rampages.”

“You never pass up an opportunity to make a scene, do you Lawrence?” Gavin asked. “It’s almost as if you’re envious of Mr. Kuu over there.”

Law grinned. “Hey, I never intended to take away from him at all,” he said. “After what Sorin did to bring him back, Johan is lucky to come to a feast such as this.”

Gale peered over at Johan. “He did order a lot of food,” she said. “I guess it’s to be expected after what he’s been through.”

“Nice of you to think about me in that way, Gale,” Johan replied. “You really found yourself quite a cutie, haven’t you, buddy?”

“It was a few months ago, but yeah,” Sorin said.

“That so, Sorin?” Johan asked. “Gale, quick, close your eyes; Sorin, what color are your girlfriend’s eyes?”

“I’m not doing that,” Gale said.

“Really though, I’m glad to be here,” Johan said. “If it weren’t for Sorin here, I wouldn’t be sitting with you all tonight.”

“It’s almost like a curse,” Law said.

“Don’t you mean a blessing?” Gale asked.

“Blessing, curse, it doesn’t matter,” Law replied, “Whichever way you put it, Johan is special. Isn’t that right, Mr. Kuu?”

Johan laughed. “I guess could say that,” he said. “Then again, I’m nowhere near as special as any of you guys. Even I had no idea that Sorin was friends with a royal princess!”

“A princess, an energetic warrior, and two brothers who mean business,” Law said. “That’s quite enough friends, I’d say. Sorin’s probably way too busy to deal with you anymore, Johan.”

Silence was the only response Law received, except for Johan, who merely smiled and clapped.

“You always were a joker,” Johan said. “It reminds me of a time back in our days working together. That sure was a wild card game, wasn’t it?”

Law rubbed his shoulder. “It sure was…”

“I don’t know why you’re acting so antagonistic,” Ayanna said. “Sorin’s friend is back, so I would assume you’d be happy about it.”

“He’s jealous,” Mina exclaimed. “Law never likes it when it’s not about him! He’s totally jealous!”

“And here I’m wondering when the food is going to come,” Law said. “You’re all hungry, aren’t you?”

“It has been a while,” Rain said. “Perhaps we should pass the time by playing a quick game?”

“What do you have in mind, Your Highness?” Johan asked.

“It’s an old game I used to play back when I was younger,” Rain replied. “I whisper a message to someone, and they pass it on to the next person, and so on and so forth until the last person says the message aloud.”

“That’s a bit juvenile, isn’t it?” Gavin asked.

“Oh, I had no idea you were too old to play games, Gavin,” Rain said. “Besides, it was merely a suggestion.”

“Even so, I wouldn’t want to play with Johan,” Law said. “Be it cards or board games, I know better than to deal with the devil himself.”

“Now I’m convinced that you’re jealous,” Ayanna said.

“Nah, he probably just means that I’m devilishly handsome,” Johan replied. “I’ve received those kinds of compliments from women before, but I don’t mind a man saying them to me either. Just know that I don’t see you in that way, Law.”

“Good news: I’m already taken,” Law said. “No need to act all pompous in front of me and Ayanna.”

“Well, anyway, perhaps I should move on,” Johan said. “Namely, there’s something I wish to know about Her Highness over there.”

“And what would that be, if I may ask?” Rain asked.

“He told me a little about what you were planning to do,” Johan said as he pointed at Sorin. “It’s surprising to hear such a thing come out of the royal kingdom, and from its princess, no less.”

“There were not that many options,” Rain said. “It was only because of Mighty Mina that I’m able to be with all of you. I would even say that it is destiny that I happened to meet her.”

“Meeting with you is my destiny,” Mina replied. “No hero would turn down the chance to meet a member of royalty such as you! Especially not a princess!”

“It’s a pleasure to hear you say that,” Rain said as she patted Mina on the back of her head. “Anyway, Johan, if you’d like, you can come along our little band of heroes to my home country.”

“As much as I’d like that, I have to decline,” Johan responded. “Don’t get me wrong, Sorin; I’d like to join you, but I’ve got some of my own duties I’ve gotta carry out.”

“Really?” Mina asked. “But there’s so much intrigue and maybe even villains we’ll probably have to fight! And to do it alongside Sorin, even!”

Johan shook his head. “I’m not much one to fight,” he said. “I feel that it’s completely trifling and only serves to hurt others. Especially when it comes to all out war.”

Sorin knew that Johan’s feels were true, even when Johan had helped him out earlier against Jelka Arne.

“Well, it’s been a while since there’s been an actual war,” Ayanna said. “I do agree with you, though, to a point.”

“How so?” Johan asked.

“I’m sure you remember why the War of the Lands was fought, right?” Ayanna said. “Even as a young child, you would understand.”

“Hate to say it, but you’re correct, Ayanna,” Johan replied. “Frighteningly so, I might add.”

“As long as there are people who exist only to abuse their powers, we will not stop fighting,” Ayanna continued. “To serve our people and to help those in need, that is the Iiayikohnian way.”

“Very noble of you,” Johan said. “I can see why Law cares for you so much.”

“Yeah, you probably couldn’t tell by looking at him right now,” Gavin said. “Still, Johan Kuu, to not fight would be to let corruption win.”

“And we’re not about to let the villains have their way, either,” Mina added.

“I can see that I’m probably not going to change your minds,” Johan said, “But that’s what makes us all unique. Still, it is a dream of mine to see.”

“What do you mean?” Sorin asked.

“A world without wars,” Johan said. “Think about it.”

“Are you sure?”

“Can you imagine a world where people didn’t need to fight?” Johan asked. He leaned back into his chair and put his feet up on the table. “A world without wars… I’m going to make that happen, Sorin, just watch me.”

“I hope that we can see that world someday,” Sorin said.

“As do I, buddy,” Johan said. “As do I… Oh, I guess I got carried away!”

He laughed as he removed his feet from the table and planted them on the floor. The waiter had just arrived with their food, and it looked to be the feast to end all feasts as plate after plate were placed upon the table. Everyone was set to enjoy their meals, at long last.


Johan had finally gotten done eating his fourth plate of grilled seafood, placing it aside as the others were finished eating as well. Mina, however, was still on her third plate.

“It looks like you’re still going through that salmon,” Johan said. “It’s quite a feat isn’t it?”

“You make it look easy,” Gale said.

“Guess you could put it that way, Gale,” Johan replied. “I grew up in a household where we were lucky if we had a full meal on the table. Glad to see that Mina has such an opportunity like this with friends like these.”

Mina paused her eating momentarily. “What was that?”

“Nothing, Miss Mina,” Johan answered. “Just keep eating.”

“Will do!”

“Being a hero takes a lot of work,” Rain said. “Eating well must be a very important part of your workout regimen, I would assume.”

“Important maybe, but it can be a little expensive,” Law said. “Speaking of which, you’re going to pay this bill aren’t you, my love?”

“Perhaps the next time we have a feast like this, we’ll do it at Drake’s,” Ayanna replied. “I can’t begin to imagine the number of Thekohnian pounds this all costs…”

Law patted Ayanna on the arm. “Best to not think about it so much, I say,” he said. “Anyway, isn’t about time you get out of here, Johan?”

“Knock it off with the rudeness, asshole,” Gavin said.

“No, it’s fine,” Johan said. “Law asked me a question, so I might as well answer it for him.”

“Are you really going to go so soon?” Sorin asked.

“Well, it’s not like I’m going to head off the moment the check appears,” Johan said. “There’s a special task given to me by General Fercewend himself, which was why my rescue was necessary. Heh, that old man is much, much more intelligent than people think.”

“But you’ll be going soon, then,” Sorin said.

“Let me assure you, buddy.”

Johan reached over to Sorin, but his hand accidentally knocked over Sorin’s glass of water. Some of the water ended up splashing on Sorin’s shirt, while the rest was all over the table.

“Ah, damn it,” Johan said. “Sorry about that!”

He laughed as Sorin set the glass upright and tried to mop up the water with his napkin. Mina, meanwhile, finished her last dish and set it to the side.

“Oh no, what happened?” Mina asked.

“It’s okay, Mina, we’ve got it taken care of,” Johan replied.

“Here, Mina, have some of my drink,” Rain said.

She reached her glass of water to Mina’s mouth and tilted it slowly as Mina started to drink. Rain smiled as Mina gulped down the water while Sorin continued to clean up the spill on the table.

“You really didn’t need to do all of that,” Johan said.

“It’s okay, Johan,” Sorin said. “It’s the least I can do for these guys.”

“That’s really considerate of you,” Rain said as she pulled her glass away and put it down on the table. “I suppose paying that bill is all we have left.”

“Maybe I should get the waiter,” Mina said.

She stood up and ran off while the others just watched.

“Sorin, Gale, can I ask you two a question?” Rain asked.

“Sure,” Sorin replied.

“What is it?” Gale asked.

“Do you, well… I don’t know how to ask this,” Rain said, “But have you ever had a moment where you weren’t certain of how you felt?”

“I have,” Sorin said.

“Sometimes,” Gale replied. “I mean, everyone does from time to time, Rain. Is there something on your mind?”

“No, it’s nothing,” Rain answered. “I just wanted to hear what you had to say about it, that’s all.”

“You could have just asked me, princess,” Law said. “I know all about feelings and certainty.”

“But she didn’t, did she?” Gavin asked. “I know you’re thick headed, but come the fuck on already!”

“It’s not like I was going to do anything nefarious,” Law replied. “Forget it, that question was for them, anyway.”

Sorin looked over and saw Mina arrive with a waiter. “Oh, you’re back.”

“And just in time, too!” Mina exclaimed.

“I guess we’re set, then,” Law said. “Well, Ayanna, it’s all on you tonight. Think of it as payback for the other night.”

“Usually you’d say that when it’s the other way around,” Ayanna said. “It doesn’t matter; I’ll take care of the bill.”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Sundown – Chapter 9 (Part 2)

The rustling of trees caused Noa to turn his head. What he saw sent him into a shock as the Ameci military were fast approaching his position. He had already set up his weaponry, and with how close the soldiers were closing in on him, Noa wondered if they were coming for him.

“Shit! W-Why are they coming here!?” Noa asked.

He hustled over back to his sniper rifle and started to disassemble it. There was no doubt in his mind that Noa would have to find a new point of attack if he wanted to take Jelka Arne out, but if the Ameci military was here as well, then he might as well back out.

“Nobody told me that I’d have to deal with these guys!”

The soldiers were getting closer, Noa thought to himself. He wanted to get out as quickly as possible, but his fumbling of the parts made it difficult to do.

“Hey, you,” Korbin said, “What are you doing here?”

Noa jerked his head towards Korbin’s direction as the other soldiers soon arrived. He could not speak as he dropped to the ground on his backside.

“Go away!” Noa said. “I’m not doing anything suspicious!”

Korbin looked over at the partially disassembled rifle. “You’re sure?”

“Mars, what’s going on?” Henry asked as he walked up to see what was going on. Sorin soon joined up with Henry and saw Noa stumbling on the ground.

“Looks like some guy just got lost,” Korbin replied. “That or maybe he’s one of those True Thekohnians.”

“No, no, no! I’m not a True Thekohnian!” Noa exclaimed. “You’re wrong!”

“He’s wearing a Maeitakohnian army uniform,”  Henry said. “Have you been separated from your squad, soldier?”

Noa crawled over to his rifle and commenced taking it apart. “No, this is a solo mission,” he replied. “W-Wait, why am I telling you that? You’ll just use that information for your own selfish needs!”

“We’re not here for that,” Sorin said.

“Hey, come on, Sorin,” Korbin said, “This guy probably has some useful information. Perhaps we should rough him up a little and see if he’ll answer us!”

He laughed as Noa hurried his disassembling.

“That wasn’t funny,” Sorin said.

“Leave the jokes at the base,” Henry said. “Though I would like to know why a Maeitakohnian soldier is out here all by himself.”

“It’s none of your business!” Noa replied.

“Hold on,” Korbin said. “Do you hear that?”

Sorin looked around as he set his eyes on a lone man standing around outside one of the trailers nearby, twenty-five yards from where they were. The man appeared to be scoping out the area as well until his eyes set on Sorin and Henry’s group. He started to run off but Korbin quickly drew his gun and fired, taking the man down with a headshot.

“How do you like that, Maeita?” Korbin asked. “There’s more of them up ahead, I can feel it!”

Korbin dashed in the direction of the man he just shot as Henry tried to stop him.

“Damn it, Mars,” Henry said. “Fuck, we better move out; they’ve almost certainly heard that by now.”

“What about him?” Sorin asked of Noa.

He turned around and saw that Noa had already ran away.

“Forget him for now,” Henry said. “You’ve got my back, Sorin. Goddamn it, Korbin, why the hell did you…”

Henry grumbled as he led the other soldiers after Korbin, whose laughter was heard throughout all of the complex. One thing Sorin knew, though, was that Johan was in there somewhere and he had to save him.

“Just have to have strength,” Sorin said.

He hopped over the bushes and ran in the direction of the trailer. Already several of the Neu Thekohnian Order were out in the open and shooting as Henry and the other Ameci soldiers hid behind a few of the large boxes laying about. Sorin looked for cover and opted to hide behind the trailer by the entrance. This was not the desired predicament that he wanted to be in, but Sorin had to think of a way out for everyone involved and fast.

“Sorin! Sorin!”

Sorin looked around. He tried to figure out who was speaking to him, but the Ameci soldiers were too busy dealing with the enemies to talk.

“Look up!”

Upon the voice’s request, Sorin looked up and could not believe it. Johan poked his head out of the window and smiled. The only reactions that Sorin had were shock, which soon turned to relief.

“Johan!” Sorin exclaimed.

“Lucky for you that I’m here, right?” Johan asked. “If it were anybody else, you’d be in a lot of trouble here…”

“I guess it’s good for both of us that this happened,” Sorin said. “Are you okay? You’re not hurt, are you?”

“Not a scratch, buddy,” Johan replied. “Could use a little more space, though. Maybe you can help me out?”

“Of course,” Sorin said.

He walked up to the door while the action continued behind him. Sorin turned the knob and pushed the door open to see Johan standing right behind the bars. A quick scan of the room provided very little to help open the cell door, much to Sorin’s dismay.

“The whole not having a key is kind of a problem, to be honest,” Sorin said.

Johan laughed. “Well, it’s not like you have another way to break that lock,” he said. “I’ll stand back over here, just in case.”

He backed himself up against the wall as Sorin drew his sword. The lock was a small but bulky lock as it kept the cell door from opening. There was only one thing for Sorin to do and so, he swung his sword at the lock. The blade’s impact upon the lock was strong enough to startle it open and have it drop to the floor. Johan walked forward as the door creaked open and Sorin walked in.

“Missed ya, buddy,” Johan said as he brought Sorin in with an embrace.

“How long has it been since we last spoke?” Sorin asked.

“Quite a while, I guess,” Johan replied. “What’s going on with you now?”

“It would take a while to explain,” Sorin said. “Come on, let’s try and get out of here so we can meet with the others.”

“Got it.”

Sorin led the way out of the trailer as he and Johan caught a glimpse of the action that was already moving forward. Henry was nowhere to be seen, but two Ameci soldiers were still there reloading their guns. Their view, though, turned to Johan as they both beamed upon his presence.


“Wow, so you were rescued by this guy, huh?”

Sorin started to walk, but Johan stepped in front of him and extended his arm. His eyes darted from left to right, his expression remaining unchanged as the wind rustled through Johan’s hair.

“Look out,” Johan said.

With no hesitation, the Ameci soldiers dropped to the ground as a forceful kick to one of the nearby crates sent it flying to the fence. Sorin turned to see Jelka standing in the entrance of one of the alleys, her sword drawn as she set her sights on Sorin and Johan.

“What a pain,” she said. “You really like to make our job difficult for us, Mr. Kuu, do you know that?”

“Sorry,” Johan said, “But I told you that I don’t plan on dying, didn’t I? My buddy Sorin here has nice sword himself and I bet that he can take you on.”

Jelka scoffed. “You believe this man can take me? No one, man or woman, can match me when it comes to a swordfight,” she replied.

She stared at Sorin, who remembered their encounter only a few days prior. He reached for the handle of his sword as the Ameci soldiers behind Jelka raised their guns.

“Don’t even try with me!” Jelka exclaimed.

She turned around and swung her sword at the two. Both soldiers tried to fire their guns but the swing of Jelka’s sword struck hard on their hands that it caused both of their guns to break and drop to the ground. The two reacted by standing up and running away. Jelka shook her head and turned back to face Sorin and Johan.

“Let’s not waste any time,” she said. “I’m interested in seeing if you really can take me on, boy.”

“She’s all yours, buddy,” Johan said as he patted Sorin on the back.

“Thanks,” Sorin said as he took out his sword. “I have only one question I want to ask you: what were you doing in Jiaikohn with Rysol?”

Jelka rested her sword upon her shoulder. “Fine, I’ll entertain your question since you asked so nicely,” she said. “There was a specific request I had to fulfill from a client. A business procedure, if you can call it that.”

She pointed her sword at Sorin, who got into a stance.

“But enough talk,” she said. “It’s time for me to finish you and that pesky spy off!”

Jelka dashed at Sorin with her sword raised as he tried to fend her off. Her quick movements made Sorin dodge from left to right as her attack continued. With each swing of Jelka’s sword, Sorin promptly defended with his sword. Their blades clashed as Sorin struggled to find an opening for an attack.

“You’re stronger than I gave you credit for,” Jelka said. “Something tells me that you’re more than you let on.”

“I’m only here to rescue him,” Sorin replied. “That’s all!”

“Now that I think about it, that man was your brother, wasn’t he?” Jelka asked. “I’m starting to see now exactly who I’m dealing with.”

She backed off as Sorin kept his sword up. Whatever she had planned next, Sorin had to keep on his toes as he waited for Henry and the rest of the soldiers to return. His eyes focused on Jelka as she took a deep breath.

“You may have the legacy of a washed up ‘hero,’ but I am different,” she said. “Only a handful of people have seen what it’s like to go up against the ‘Eagle’ of the Thekohnian Region!”

“Sorin!” Johan called. “Watch out for her right jab!”

Sorin watched as Jelka ran towards him, but instead of going with a jab, she leapt up into the air. He only had a split second to react as she brought her sword down. With a quick raise of his sword, however, Sorin was able to block Jelka’s attack.

“This isn’t over yet!” Jelka said.

She flipped over Sorin and appeared behind him. Though he turned around, Jelka continued her relentless attack. He could only defend himself until Jelka was able to bring in an attack with her free hand. The attack to Sorin’s face startled him as he dropped to the floor. Jelka raised up her sword, the sunlight reflecting off of it and to the ground.

“This is the end!”

But before Jelka could swing, she was interrupted by Johan. He delivered a quick uppercut to her face which sent her reeling away from Sorin.

“Consider this an unwritten rule of mine, Miss Arne,” Johan said as he rubbed his fist. “I always help my friends whenever they’re in trouble.”

He turned to Sorin, who was still on the ground. With Johan’s hand reaching out, Sorin grabbed it as Johan brought him up to his feet.

“I might not be able to do much,” Johan said, “But as long as Sorin’s here, I feel like we can take you on!”

“You are unarmed,” Jelka said as she stood up. “It was only lucky chance that you got the better of me.”

“Sometimes all you need is luck,” Johan replied.

“And a bit of skill,” Sorin added.

The other soldiers were getting closer as Jelka sheathed her sword.

“There’s little you can do now, anyway,” she said. “Go ahead, take your friend with you.”

“Wait a minute,” Sorin said. “You can’t just bolt out of here like that!”

“Just watch me,” Jelka replied, “Then you will finally get to see an ‘eagle’ fly before your very eyes!”

She ran up to the nearby trailer and started to dash up the wall. Jelka reached for the top of the trailer and grabbed the edge as several of the Ameci soldiers started rushing in. Before they could do anything, though, Jelka leapt up onto the roof and sprinted away from the scene.

“Damn it,” Sorin said. “I really wanted to ask her something, too.”

“Best to leave it be,” Johan said. “She’ll be caught sooner or later, I imagine.”

“Sorin, so glad I found you,” Henry said.

Henry walked up to Sorin and Johan, while Korbin trailed behind Henry. They were finally reunited as Korbin just stared at his feet.

“Seems like we’ve taken care of most of these assailants,” Henry said. “Looks like things turned out better than I thought they would, despite one person’s recklessness.”

“Sorry about that,” Korbin said. “I just got a little trigger happy and things just became a blur for me.”

“We’ll be sure to discuss your actions later, Mars,” Henry said. “Right now, I just want to affirm that Kuu is safe.”

Johan relaxed his arms behind his head. “Take a good look at me, junior lieutenant,” he said, “Just as happy as I’ve ever been.”

“Glad to hear that,” Henry said.

“So what happened to those other assailants that you were talking about?” Johan asked. “Is there any good information that we could draw out of them?”

Henry shook his head. “There’s already another troop coming here,” he replied. “I think it would be best if you went back to the embassy in Rezar.”

“Looks like you just don’t want me to do my job,” Johan said. “No, it’s totally fine with me. I wanted to catch up with ol’ Sorin here and see what’s been going on with him, anyway.”

“I’d like that,” Sorin replied.

“Well then,” Henry said. “Looks like we’ll get to go home a little earlier than I expected. I’m going to stay here until the other guys get here, so why don’t you and Sorin take the ride back with Arrington?”

Aron stepped forward. “If you would.”

“Let’s go, then,” Johan said. “Can you bring us back to Rezar before nightfall?”

“That’s what I’m here for,” Aron replied. “If the roads are fair, we’ll be back in the city before the sun sets.”

“Sounds good to me,” Sorin said.




[9th of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Thedam Castle Royal Queen’s Room]


Lauren Ahga walked into the queen’s room upon the request of Queen Isla Zano Thedam herself. She stood at her vanity, eyeing her long brown hair in the mirror as Ahga approached her.

“Sir Lauren, you’ve arrived early,” she said. “Is it just myself, or do you absolutely have nothing else to do?”

Ahga chuckled. “You know I am a diligent man, Your Majesty,” he said. “I’ve other tasks that I have already completed before I got here.”

“What a proud man you must be,” Isla said as she put on her necklace.

“I only do it for this family,” Ahga replied. “That’s worthy of earning your majesty’s approval, is it not?”

“You’re doing fine,” Isla said. “The role you have played so far has been more than admirable for me.”

“Those words are all I could hope to hear from you,” Ahga said. “Anyway, what exactly did you need of me?”

Isla moved over to sit on the chaise by the wall. “Tomorrow is a rather important day,” she said. “I take it that you’ve already spoken with Brook?”

“Last I saw of His Highness, it was almost a week ago,” he replied.

“That’s odd,” Isla said. “He was supposed to have come home after the tournament.”

“Perhaps he’s already made his way for the summit?” Ahga asked.

“It’s unlike him to make these decisions without my knowing,” she said. “So be it. Sir Lauren, I take it that you’ll prepare my luggage?”

“Of course I will,” he answered. “I do have one question, Your Majesty. Do you mind if I ask?”

“By all means, go ahead.”

“Merton… er, I mean, the king, how is his health these days?” Ahga asked. “It’s been quite a while since I’ve spoken with him.”

“Do not worry yourself about him,” Isla replied. “The doctors are busy attending to him as we speak, so I would advise you to worry about yourself.”

Ahga smiled. “Advising is my job, Your Majesty,” he said, “But thank you, I will take your words to heart.”

“Besides, even if something were to happen to him, that does not spell the end of this kingdom,” Isla said. “Do not forget that a capable leader is sitting right before your very eyes, Sir Lauren.”

“Capable and beautiful,” Ahga said. “That’s something that no one can take from you, I must say.”

Isla laid down. “Such flattery is befitting of you, Lauren,” she said, “But there’s something I must do before we leave this evening.”

“I understand, Your Majesty,” Ahga said.

“You can call me Isla,” she said. “Just as long as it’s behind closed doors.”

Ahga’s eyes perked up. “Is that really okay?”

“Just between us,” Isla replied. “Now head off; I have other matters to do right now.”

“As you say, Isla,” Ahga said. “I must attend to preparing your bags, after all.”

Ahga exited the room as Isla continued to lay on the lounge. She looked up into the white ceiling as a smile grew upon her face.

“Hmph, it seems like he’s unaware of the true situation,” she said. “It’s quite a shame, though I cannot blame him.”

Isla then got up off of the chaise and walked to the window as she viewed the courtyard below.

“I will save this kingdom,” Isla said. “By any means possible, I will save it!”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 9 (Part 1)

[9th of September, 2740 AD; Abandoned Manufacturing Complex, Glora, Ahnlikohn – Outer Boundary]


“Looks like we’re closing in,” Henry said.

The large gate got closer as the truck stopped. The back door opened as the other soldiers began to step out, save for Henry and one other soldier. Sorin was still there, too, as he turned to Henry.

“Mars, are you hesitant?” Henry asked the man with short, neatly combed black hair and a small goatee.

“Not at all,” he replied, “And please, call me Korbin.”

“I’m glad to hear that,” Henry said. “Sorin, I assume that you’re ready?”

Sorin slowly nodded his head. “As long as we’re working together, I think we’ll be okay,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about, right?”

“Take it that you’re ready, then,” Henry replied. “Let’s roll.”

Henry jumped out of the truck as Sorin set to follow after him. Korbin stopped him, however, with a light tap on the shoulder.

“I’ve heard a lot about you,” Korbin said. “Didn’t know we were going to be fighting side by side so soon.”

“Well, I wasn’t originally planning to come,” Sorin replied, “But after what I’ve heard, there was no way that I couldn’t go.”

Korbin grinned. “Sounds pretty noble,” he said. “I’ll be looking forward to seeing you in action, Sorin Wilk.”

He picked up his rifle and stepped out of the truck. Perhaps it was just him overthinking, but Sorin found that interaction to be odd. Maybe it was best not to think too deeply about it, he thought, since he had something else he needed to focus on right now.

“Hey, Sorin, we don’t have all day!” Henry called.

“I’ll be right there!” Sorin responded.

He joined up with Henry and Korbin, who were busy walking behind the other soldiers in the squad. The lack of sound in the forest, save for the light rustle of the trees, was comforting yet ominous for Sorin.

“Best to keep our guards up,” Henry said as he gripped his gun. “This means all of you!”

“So what’s our plan of attack?” Korbin asked. “Obviously it doesn’t seem like we’re going to be going in all out. Kind of disappointing, don’t ya think?”

Henry tilted his head towards Korbin. “Need I remind you that this is a rescue mission, Mars?”

“With all this training, I was hoping to put my skills to good use,” Korbin said. “I’m sure you’d agree, wouldn’t you, Sorin?”

“Henry’s right,” Sorin replied. “I’m in this for my friend.”

Korbin laughed. “I’m sorry,” he said. “It must be weird to have someone you don’t know say your name, isn’t it?”

“I wasn’t going to raise that question,” Sorin said, “But it is sudden.”

“You must think I’m weird, don’t you?” Korbin asked. “Let’s restart this on a good note. The name’s Korbin Mars. Nice to meet ya.”

He reached his fist out to Sorin, who responded by bumping his fist into Korbin’s.

“That’s not too awkward, is it?” Korbin asked. “I had no idea I’d be walking alongside the son of a legendary swordsman!”

“Anyway, training isn’t all shooting and combat,” Henry said. “Sometimes we have to perform tasks that aren’t all glitz and glory.”

Just then, the soldiers ahead of them stopped as they came upon a split in the path. There was a brief discussion among the soldiers as Henry scoped the immediate area to see if there were any enemies in sight.

“Keep your heads up,” Henry said. “That means you too, Sorin. Be ready in case of an ambush.”

He directed the other soldiers to the right path, which would take them to a higher vantage point. They were still not on the premises but according to Henry’s planning, they would have a much better time approaching from the side entrance. Sorin took Henry’s word as his hand hovered above the handle of his sword, ready to go should the moment arise. He believed that he and Henry could trust each other enough to fulfill this mission.

“This route’s getting pretty steep,” Korbin said. “I wonder if it’s because the ‘True Thekohnians’ believe that this is a good defensive strategy.”

Sorin raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean by that?”

“Come on,” Henry said. “We all know that the True Thekohnians are no longer in operation.”

“Guess that answers my question,” Korbin said. “What about you?”

“Same,” Sorin replied.

Their march up the hill continued as they came closer to the vantage point, passing by the tall trees as sunlight scattered through the leaves above. A distant conversation could be heard from ahead as Henry and the other soldiers readied themselves, just in case.




Inside one of the trailers, Johan Kuu sat near the window, the bright sunlight shining on his light gray shirt and brown hair. He thought to himself about what was going to happen now that he was in the captivity of the Neu Thekohnian Order. He was not concerned about what they would do, however, as much as he was concerned about what the Ameci military would do. They were coming for him, that much was certain. Johan was unbound and free to roam but remained locked behind bars as the door to the trailer slammed open.

“Now who could that be?” Johan asked in a soft-spoken tone.

In walked Jelka, who approached the bars causing Johan to stand up. He walked up to her with an enthusiastic smile upon his face. Jelka, however, did not share that same enthusiasm as she gripped the steel bar and sported a scowl.

“It seems that your comrades have come to rescue you,” Jelka said. “I’d advise you to cease with that smug look if I were you.”

“Well, you’re the one who believes that she can lead a group to victory,” Johan said. “I’m not going to stop you there. Not like I could in my position, anyway.”

“When this is over, you’ll see,” she said. “The Neu Thekohnian Order will bring about a revolution to the Thekohnian Region. You’re powerless.”

“Is that what you think?” Johan asked. “You need to give your enemies more respect. After all, that’s what caused the downfall of Walton Lokke.”

“Lokke was scum that deserved what he got,” Jelka replied. “I only wish that I was able to kill him myself.”

“Even so, Lokke was able to manipulate those around him to do what he wanted,” Johan said, “That is, except for one. One man who still lives on, despite all that has happened to him.”

“That man has no significance nor no reason to live,” she answered. “I’d be surprised if he isn’t dead by now.”

She made her way for the door, but stopped and turned around.

“A change of heart, Miss Arne?” Johan wondered. “Please, I’m all ears. Not that I have any better to do, you know?”

He laughed as Jelka slammed her hands on the bars. Johan scratched his head and reached out his free hand to her.

“I wonder if you believe in your cause,” he said. “There’s no doubt that corruption still exists, even with a good deal of players out of the game.”

“You dare challenge my belief?” Jelka asked. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that an Ameci would do such a thing.”

“That’s not at all what I’m trying to do,” Johan replied. “I’m not looking to change your opinions overnight. In fact, I would rather hope that you keep believing in yourself.”

Jelka glared at him. “Why would an Ameci soldier like you say that?”

“I think you’ve got my role all wrong,” Johan said. “I’m no soldier and I truly despise fighting.”

“Then perhaps I should kill you now,” she said.

She drew her sword and pointed the blade at Johan, who did not break his smile. Jelka thrusted her sword forward but Johan dodged her attack with a quick turn to the right.

“You’ve got a beautiful sword, no doubt about it,” he said. “Anyway, I’m not planning on dying any time soon. Too many things I still need to do here before I go to the other side.”

Jelka withdrew her sword as Johan continued.

“You shouldn’t mess with me,” he said. “I may hate fighting, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t know how to survive. I’ve got three rules I follow: don’t get in any fights that I have no business being in, always watch my opponent, and if there’s another way out, take it.”

“Looks like you’ve already failed on at least two of those,” Jelka replied.

Johan chuckled. “Have I, though? I think that we have yet to see if you’re right or not,” he said. “Of course, I’d like to hope that I’m right, but you’ve got your own hope in all this.”

“Unlike you, Ameci, I don’t rely on things like hope,” she said. “My group will decimate anything in their way.”

“Whatever helps justify your belief,” Johan said, “But you can’t deny that we all hope things will work out in our favor. Some people pray, some have a simple exercise they do when they wake up, and others do the things that sound just plain absurd to everyone.”

“And what do you do?”

Johan shrugged. “I just believe in myself,” he said. “Simple, I know, but it’s what’s brought me this far and what’s going to get me out of here.”

“If that’s all you’ve got to say, then I’ve got other things to take care of,” Jelka said as she started for the door.

“What are you hoping to gain from me?” Johan asked.

“Unfortunately for you, I’m not answering your question,” she replied.

And with that, Jelka was gone. Johan was disappointed that he wasn’t able to continue the conversation with her. If they were to meet again next time, he would definitely get that answer from her, that much Johan knew.

“You’re an interesting one, all right,” he thought aloud. “Just who are you answering to, I wonder?”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Sundown – Chapter 8 (Part 2)

For a trip that had been made on short notice, Brook Rio Thedam gathered together a small travelling bag full of clothes for his voyage to Iiayikohn. When he had received the phone call from his sister yesterday, Brook was just getting back from Jiaikohn and setting his trophy in the main hall of Thedam Castle. At first Brook was reluctant, but was convinced by Rain after she said she needed his help. Seeing as she had been so nice, he thought, how could Brook refuse?

He sat by the window and read through a book detailing the long history of the Thekohnian Region. History had been a favorite subject of Brook’s, going from the Great Thekohnian Wars that happened over a hundred years ago all the way to the current events. Perhaps it was a chance to even meet with the prime minister himself, Brook thought.

“Attention, this is your conductor speaking,” the voice spoke over the speakers. “We’re arriving in Rezar right now. Please be sure to gather all your belongings and exit to the left once we have stopped.”

“Looks like I’ll have to resume this later,” Brook said as he closed his book.

With the train in a stationary position, Brook stood up to pick up his bag and step off. However, he was distracted by a small commotion on the other side as a young boy called out to a man that had begun to run out of the train with a large case in his arms.

“Somebody help!” The boy’s father pointed to the burly man rushing into the station. Brook sighed as he stepped off of the train and followed after the man. Though the crowd proved to be quite abundant, Brook was able to catch up with the man and tap him on the shoulder.

“Excuse me,” Brook said.

The man frowned. “What do ya want?”

“That case isn’t yours, is it?”

The man dropped the case to the ground as he shoved Brook away. “That’s none of your business, you son of a bitch!”

Brook clenched his fist. “I was going to have to settle this peacefully,” he said in a calm tone. “Guess that’s out of the question now.”

“I’m going to break your face, pretty boy!”

The man charged at Brook with his fist raised, but Brook was able to move to the side and grabbed his arm. With only a moment to react, Brook punched the man in the face and knocked him to the ground. A guard came running to the man on the ground as Brook picked up the large case.

“This is yours, isn’t it?” Brook asked as he handed the case back to the father. “A rather large instrument, I may guess?”

“Thank you, young man,” the father said. “Wait a minute, aren’t you Brook Rio Thedam?”

“It seems like you’re well informed,” Brook replied. “I just happened to passing by, so please pay me no mind.”

He walked away from the two as Ayanna came running up to him.

“Your Highness,” Ayanna said. She introduced herself to him as he shook her hand.

“Glad to meet you,” Brook said. “I’m sorry you had to see that.”

“They’re taking care of it now,” Ayanna replied. “Come now, we have somewhere to we need to be.”




Back at the prime minister’s office, Brook was escorted by Ayanna to the Questioning Chambers. Gavin, Law, and Gale sat at the other end of the table as Brook took a seat.

“I knew there was something bothering me about you,” Brook said to Gavin. “If only I had known who I was dealing with, then perhaps things would have gone differently back in Jiaikohn.”

Gavin scowled. “The hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Had I known that I had been facing off against the prominent junior lieutenant of the Ameci military, then perhaps I might have pulled a few strings to face you,” Brook replied.

There was a prolonged silence in the room as Brook grinned.

“But seeing as I’m not type to make humorous remarks, it’s to be expected that that one flies over your heads,” he said.

“So, as I was saying to you earlier,” Ayanna said, “It appears that Princess Rain is in need of your help and these three are a part of it.”

“Do tell,” Brook said.

Law smirked as he put his hands together. “Sadly, your dear sister isn’t here to tell you, so I suppose I’ll be the one to drop the news,” he said. “You see, she has been quite taken with myself. The other day, even, she asked to hold my hand as we walked to the local confectionery.”

Brook looked over to Ayanna. “Are you serious?”

“Law, you told me this was important,” Ayanna said.

“It was,” he replied, “Which is why what I said just now was a joke.”

Everybody else in the room groaned as Law chuckled.

“Hey, if our royal prince here can wisecrack with us, then why not I?”

“Let me take over, then, since you don’t seem at all interested in leading the conversation,” Gale said. “We’ve been doing some research with your sister yesterday and have come across some startling information.”

“Or rather, the lack of information,” Law said, “But that’s the far from the point we’re trying to make here.”

“Then what is it?” Brook asked.

“You can tell me, right, kid?” Law asked. “Your sister mentioned to us a potential assassination attempt on the king. Surely this is common knowledge to the entire royal family?”

Brook sighed. “It’s nothing surprising,” he said. “Anyone with enough power will be sought after. However, most of them just peter out or are apprehended before the damage can be done.”

“I’m going to be level with you, Brook,” Law said, “Rain is an exceptional lady and the second most beautiful woman that I know. Clearly, though, there’s something more than meets the eye on this whole thing, isn’t there?”

“If you’re asking me, then I do not know,” Brook answered.

“No turmoil or anything of that sort?” Law asked.

“Things at the castle have been quiet,” he said. “The queen has been completely busy with her duties in my father’s absence, however.”

“Absence?” Gavin asked. “Let me guess, Your Highness: the king’s gone missing, hasn’t he?”

“It seems like I’ve spoken too much,” Brook replied.

“I promise that we’ll keep it a secret,” Gale said. “You would agree, wouldn’t you?”

“If it’s important to whatever it is my sister is doing, then I suppose I have no choice,” Brook replied. “Late last month, my father became deeply ill. From what I’ve heard from the doctors, though, it is treatable.”

“Ah, finally, we hear something that’s intriguing,” Law said. “Nobody else knows about this, am I right?”

“Only within the family and our advisors,” Brook said.

“That’s a key word there, wouldn’t you agree, Gale?” Law asked.

Gale pushed up her glasses. “Why are you asking me?”

“I feel like there’s one question you’re not asking here, Law,” Ayanna said. “Namely, what do you want the prince to do about this?”

“This kid’s a valuable asset to us,” Law replied. “Whatever happens to the king, it will be considerably damaging to the royal family, regardless of who is next in line.”

“I think you’re being a bit over dramatic,” Ayanna replied.

Law leaned in. “How so?”

“You’re acting under the assumption that the king is already under attack,” she said. “That’s very dangerous conjecture.”

“Nothing’s escaping this room, right,” Law said. “Bro, come on, back me up here.”

“Don’t ask me,” Gavin replied. “You’re the one who brought it up.”

Law took a deep breath and sighed as he stood up. “It seems like I’m just going to have to do things myself, then,” he said as he walked around the table. “A man gets a taste of power, so what does he do? He sets out to satiate that hunger by doing whatever it takes to fill his gluttonous gut with that authority. If we’re dealing with such a person, then we will need to advance our investigation.”

“Even you should realize it’s not that simple,” Ayanna said.

Gavin shook his head and scoffed. “He’s not exactly the kind of person to see the problems introduced by his reasoning,” he said. “Still, though, it isn’t like he’s wrong, either.”

“I know there’s no chance in hell that the Iiayikohnian government will get involved,” Law said. “This is a purely internal matter for the kingdom, yet it also carries a lot of weight for everyone else. Even Ameci and Elemci would have to be affected.”

“Maybe Ameci would, but their neighbor hardly has anything to do with it,” Ayanna replied. “Anyway, it’s nothing that I feel is too concerning. Your Highness, are you quite satisfied?”

Brook eyed at Law. “I do not know what it is my sister said to you, but what I would like to say is that I want little to do with it,” he said. “I was on my way home in order to prepare for the summit in Glora when I was sidetracked.”

“I would like to apologize,” Ayanna said. “It seems like these three were mistaken by what the princess had said.”

“You really don’t need to apologize to me,” he said. “I packed well enough to go from here to Ahnlikohn right away.”

“Do you not want to see your sister before you leave?” Gale asked.

“Well, I was expecting to run into her, but it seems like she’s off on her own adventures,” he said. “I knew she had this streak in her, which was why she was so excited about this trip in first place. There will be another chance for us to reunite before the Thekohnian Festival begins, that much I am sure of.”

“Really? What’s the festival like?” Gale wondered.

“If it interests you that much, then feel free to come,” Brook said.

“The Thekohnian Festival is one of the most well known events throughout the region,” Ayanna added. “Lots of people come far and wide to see the dancers, singers, and everyone else that comes to celebrate this vast land.”

“So we’d be good to see it in person sometime, you think?” Law asked. “You really should just try and catch that break around then.”

“I’ll think about it,” Ayanna replied. “As for you, Your Highness, I’d be glad to escort you to the train station.”

“Honestly, it seems like a hassle,” Gavin said. “You could have just declined and not have to go through all that nonsense again.”

Brook stood up as he headed for the door. “It doesn’t bother me that much,” he said. “What does bother me, though, was what I heard from Rain.”

Gale got out of her chair. “Did she tell you something we haven’t heard?”

“Ask her for yourself,” Brook replied. “Other than that, I must take my leave right now.”

“I will see you guys later,” Ayanna said. “Please try not to get into any trouble, Law.”

Ayanna walked out of the room with Brook as Gavin stood up out of his chair. He turned to Gale, who was thinking to herself. Law, meanwhile, was trying not to laugh.

“Do you think we screwed up?” Gale asked.

“I doubt it,” Gavin replied. “The princess probably thought that there was little chance that her brother would be able to supply any information to us.”

“We have to speak to Rain,” Gale said. “I wonder where she and Mina are right now.”

“That is something I’d like to know, too,” Law said. “What possible things are they saying about me out of my earshot?”

“You know, calling Brook here was your idea,” Gale replied. “I was certain that you’d have some sort of brilliant deduction, but honestly it all felt like a waste of time.”

“Sometimes a broken clock is just that,” Gavin said.

“Come on, bro, I can’t just let that slide,” Law said, “And you, Gale… If it wasn’t for the fact that you’re cute, I’d be pretty mad at what you just said.”

“Sometimes it’s just best to know when to shut up,” Gavin said. “Besides, we all know you’re just going to forget this happened once we meet with Mina and Rain again.”

“Oh fine,” Law said.

“No, it’s not fine,” Gale responded. “I feel like we’ve let Rain down…”

Gavin sighed. “Let’s just get out here,” he said. “We’re just wasting more time if we don’t catch up with the other two soon.”

“I suppose we should,” Law said. “Best to get the girls before they go off on some wacky adventure without us. I mean, we’re already down Sorin, so it’ll be just you and me, bro!”

Gavin rolled his eyes. “Gale, you shouldn’t feel bad about this,” he said. “Just move past it and we’ll go.”




[9th of September, 2740 AD; Iiayine Prison, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Giga District]


“Are you enjoying this view?” Alan asked to Silvia.

Inside the courtyard, Alan took Silvia over to the large watchtower at the edge of the prison. There was a good view of most of the city and ocean as Silvia looked over everything.

“It was a long climb,” she replied. “Are you okay, Prime Minister?”

Alan chuckled. “If there’s any problem, I know my guards will look after me,” he said. “Besides, it’s not like I’m that old anyway.”

“I won’t question it, then,” Silvia said. “Why did you want to speak with me of all people?”

“The other day, a mysterious person came to visit you,” Alan replied. “There’s something that has been bothering me about this information, and I would like to hear it from you.”

“What is that?” Silvia asked.

“I cannot help but feel that this person sought you out because of a connection you still may have with the True Thekohnians,” Alan said.

“There has been no contact from them,” Silvia replied. “Nor do I wish to be a part of them anymore. All I’ve heard from the person who visited me was that they were setting forth a new order for the Thekohnian Region.”

“I see,” Alan said. “It’s not in this country’s interest, but they’re hiding in Ahnlikohn, aren’t they?”

Alan had spoken with both General Fercewend and President Hasker prior to today, both men stating there was some business that the Ameci military had in the city of Glora. Two different matters that Ameci had to deal with, in fact. The first one was one Alan had already known about and was preparing for already, while the other was a mission for the Ameci military. He knew nothing beyond that, but felt that there was something happening there that could affect relations between the countries.

“Yes, that is what I’ve heard,” Silvia answered.

“Perhaps there’s some truth to what you’ve heard, then,” Alan said. “If only I had time to figure it out…”

The time would have to wait, however, as a sudden commotion broke out below. Alan turned his head and looked down to the courtyard; both of his guards were firing at two masked assailants who did not appear to be occupants of this prison.

“What’s going on!?” Silvia asked.

“Just wait,” Alan said.

He looked to see one of his guards getting attacked by one of the assailants, while the other assailant disarmed the other guard and shot him. Alan knew that there was only one reason why these attackers were here, and it was because he was in the prison.

“Silvia, I want you to stay here,” Alan said.

“You can’t be serious,” Silvia said.

“These two, they’re not after you,” he said. “I’m going to try and buy myself some time. There’s a phone on the wall over there. Use it.”

“But they’ll kill you,” she said. “Is your life as the prime minister not important?”

“Silvia, there’s only one thing I consider important,” Alan replied, “And that is the safety and well-being of the people of this country–no–this entire world.”

Silvia frowned. “But how are you going to hold them back?”

“That doesn’t matter,” he said. “Just call the offices. Tell them there’s an emergency at the Iiayine Prison.”

Silva had no time to respond as Alan dashed down the spiral staircase. He was determined to hold back these two assailants, who had already gotten the better of his guards. Alan knew he was heading into an unfavorable situation, but he had to keep Silvia safe. After all, she knew what that mysterious person told her, and there was a chance that there was more information she could give.

“I guess I’ll have to do it,” Silvia said.

She reached over to the phone and picked it up. It rang only one time as the person on the other end picked up. This was a duty that the prime minister entrusted to her, Silvia thought. Despite all of her past misdeeds, she could feel that Alan saw her for more than that. She would have to make it up to him, somehow, if both of them were to make it out alive.


To be continued…


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Sundown – Chapter 8 (Part 1)

[9th of September, 2740 AD; on the road to Glora – Ahnlikohn]


Sorin sat in the back seat with Henry, who was looking over the map of Ahnlikohn. Outside the window, the truck passed by more and more trees as it began to ascend up the sloped road past the town of Aesker.

“So where exactly is Johan being held?” Sorin asked.

“There’s an abandoned warehouse just outside Glora,” Henry replied. “Somewhere within that building, intel is sure that that’s where he’s being held.”

“I see.”

Sorin stared out of the window, going through his thoughts as he wondered what exactly would happen once they got there. He had barely any experience in battle, but here was a situation where he wanted to fight. Johan had written him in the past, but recently, communication had ceased between the two. Hopefully the reunion would not bring up any ill will, Sorin thought.

“You’re thinking about him, aren’t you?” Henry asked.

“It’s hard not to,” Sorin said. “I knew Johan as a peaceful guy, but even I knew that he had his reasons for joining the military.”

“Whatever they are, they seem to have been a positive effect for us,” Henry said. “He’s offered us some very valuable intel in the past, so it’s imperative to the Ameci military that we rescue him.”

“Don’t disagree with you there,” Sorin replied. “Hopefully there’ll be no need to draw our weapons once we get there.”

“We can only hope, Sorin,” Henry said.

Sorin felt as if there was nothing left in that conversation, so he decided to ask Henry about something else. “How is my father doing? Are he and Eva doing well?”

“Tori and I have been keeping in touch with them,” Henry replied. “Kirk is faring well, but it seems like he’s still trying to figure out how to make an impact back in Admorse.”

“I guess.”

“As for Eva, I think she seemed to be bored the last time I saw her,” Henry said. “Maybe it’s just because things have been peaceful over the past few months, but perhaps she’s expecting something from your father.”

“What do you mean she’s bored?” Sorin asked.

“I don’t think I’d be comfortable saying why,” Henry said. “Mostly because I don’t want to feel like I’m disrespecting her privacy.”

“Honestly, if it’s something you don’t want to discuss, then that’s fine,” Sorin said, “But if you’re bringing that up, then I deserve to know.”

Henry shrugged. “I mean, it’s just something that I feel like she wants to keep a secret,” he said. “That feeling she had is something I knew all too well the past few years.”

“I wish you’d just say it,” Sorin replied. “Eva was my mentor for a while, so it’s okay to tell me what it is. Don’t just leave me in the dark.”

Henry did not answer.

“You’re really going to do this?” Sorin asked.

“Sorry, but I can’t just go and say it,” Henry said. “Ask her for yourself, that’s all I’m going to say to you.”

“Fine, then I guess I’ll just have to do that, then,” Sorin said.

Perhaps it was better that way, Sorin thought. He probably did not need to have these thoughts going through his head during the mission, anyway. Besides, Sorin knew that he’d meet with Eva again sometime in the future. If only there were some other way to pass the time before the squad ended up in Glora.


[9th of September, 2740 AD; Abandoned Manufacturing Complex, Glora, Ahnlikohn]


A gentle wind blew through as he stepped between the large trees, his mission clear as he carried a large bag on his back. There was only one problem, though: he had no idea what his target looked like. The tall man with black, neck length hair knelt down and set his bag on the ground.

“Okay, Noa,” he said, “This isn’t your first target you had to take out… So why the hell does it feel like I have butterflies in my stomach!?”

Noa Mzade’s hands shook as he slowly unzipped the bag to reveal all the parts to a sniper rifle. He was considered the very best in assembling his weapon amongst those in the Maeitakohnian military, but despite that, Noa had a difficult time speaking with others. This was most apparent whenever he had to speak with women, but Noa always felt inferior amongst some of the other men in the army. That was part of the reason why he was glad that he specialized in sniping, since he didn’t have to engage in close combat like the others.

“Damn it!”

The stand of the rifle slipped out of Noa’s hand and dropped to the ground, bouncing its way near a bush. In his shock, Noa leaned over, reaching for the part as he heard someone begin to talk.

“Gotta be quiet…”

Noa crouched down as he heard the footsteps coming closer. There was not a sound from him as he looked up to see the leader of the Neu Thekohnian Order, Jelka Arne, walking by. Her presence left Noa petrified with his eyes wide open and breath held until she walked away. As soon as she was gone, Noa clutched his chest and resumed his breathing.

“That was too close!” Noa said. He slapped himself on the head as he started to put his rifle together. “Why!? Why can’t you just keep your cool around women, you moron!?”

Despite his self-doubt, Noa continued to assemble his rifle in wait for his target to show up. What he did not know, however, was that his target had already passed by him only a few moments ago. Whatever it was, though, Noa now had to wait for his target to appear again.




[9th of September, 2740 AD; New Prime Minister’s Office, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


Alan Berry stood in the Greater Library on the second floor when Ayanna entered the room. She held a large envelope as Alan turned to greet her.

“I assume that’s for me?” Alan asked.

“You told me to pick it up this morning,” Ayanna said, “And as you’ve requested, prime minister, I’ve made sure to analyze the contents firsthand.”

“Very good, Ansa,” he said as Ayanna handed the envelope to him. “You know, I had no idea how you would react to this demand of mine.”

“I have absolutely no problem with this,” Ayanna replied. “I just want to know one thing, sir.”

“And what’s that?”

“Well, it’s something that’s been bugging me this morning,” she said. “Are we certain that we should be trusting of the words said by someone we don’t even know?”

“Ayanna, it is my opinion that any sort of information concerning potential threats should be taken seriously,” Alan replied. “If by chance that something turns out to be true and we don’t take it seriously, it would make us appear unwise and ill-prepared.”

“I know that’s true, but are you sure you should be doing this by yourself?” Ayanna asked. “You never know what could happen…”

“Please don’t concern yourself with that thought,” he said. “Besides, I am travelling with two guards and the place I am going to is highly secure. There’s little to no chance of trouble occuring.”

Ayanna sighed. “Hopefully you’re right.”

“I may not be the young warrior I was in the old days, but I’m just as sharp as I ever was,” Alan said. “Honestly, you needn’t worry about me.”

“Then it will be none of my concern,” Ayanna said. “You also called me over here for another, did you not?”

“Correct,” Alan replied. “It appears that the prince of Thekohn is arriving here this afternoon. I want you to head over to the train station and help escort him over here.”

“Understood,” she said. “Do you happen to know why the prince is coming here today?”

“That I do not know,” Alan said. “We just received the call this morning from the prince and that was it.”

“Sounds odd,” Ayanna said, “But I assume that the call was for real, so I will question it no further than that.”

“I will see you later, then,” Alan replied. “Take care.”

Ayanna nodded. “As should you,” she said. “Goodbye.”

She left the library and headed downstairs as her task was now clear. There was little time to waste as she had to greet Brook Rio Thedam and inform him of what was happening. What business he had in Iiayikohn, however, was something that Ayanna would have to ask the young man herself. Once she stepped out of the building, Law, Gavin, and Gale were there to greet her.

“What are you doing here?” Ayanna asked. “Aren’t you with the princess?”

“Nah, she’s with Mina,” Law answered. “Who am I to interrupt a passionate interaction between two young, beautiful women?”

“You would, though,” Gale said.

“Yeah, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Gavin said. “That would be exactly the thing you’d do.”

“Okay, you know you two don’t have to gang up on me like that,” Law said. “Besides, we’re here for another reason.”

“I’m busy, Law,” Ayanna said.

“Well, of course you are,” he said. “You have to meet the prince of Thekohn, right?”

“How do you know that?” Ayanna asked.

“Come on,” Law said, “You don’t have to think to hard about why the prince is coming here, do you?”

Ayanna shook her head. “Don’t tell me…”

“Shouldn’t be too surprised,” Law said. “Rain was the one who called Brook over here, so of course we knew.”

“That feels a little too convenient,” Ayanna said.

“It’s the truth,” Gale replied.

“Yeah, so, we’re here because we want to also want to greet Mr. Brook himself,” Law said. “Surely you don’t have a problem with that?”

“I don’t,” Ayanna replied, “But if you’re going to do this, I think it’d only be fair if I knew beforehand.”

Law walked up to Ayanna and placed his hand on hers. “My love, I am a man you trust to keep promises,” he said, “So of course I will remember that for the next time.”

He lifted her hand up and kissed it as Ayanna looked off to the side.

“I told you that these kinds of things embarrass me,” she said. “I don’t mind it in private, but…”

“You really are blushing, though,” Law said. “If only I were able to take a portrait!”

Ayanna pulled back her hand. “That’s enough,” she replied. “Very well, let’s go to the train station.”

Ayanna led the way as Law walked alongside Gale while Gavin walked behind the two of them.

“Do you ever get tired of being so audacious?” Gale asked.

“Hey, if I ain’t living life to the fullest, then what will my life mean in the end?” Law replied. “She would never say it, but Ayanna likes these kinds of grand displays I want to put on.”

“That’s not what I’m talking about, though,” Gale said.

“Well, tell me, then,” Law said, “You and Sorin get along pretty well, don’t you? Close enough to where you’re comfortable sharing your deepest secrets with him, right?”


“You can shelve that line of thought, bro,” Law replied. “Gale, you’re quite concerned about Sorin’s safety, aren’t you?”

“Of course,” Gale replied. “Why are you asking me this?”

“Because I know exactly how far Sorin is willing to go,” Law answered. “We both happen to be men of passion, though where I love to put on my extravagant and flashy style, Sorin just wants to keep things simple.”

Neither Gale nor Gavin had a response. It did not matter, though, since they arrived at the train station. There seemed to be a small crowd gathered around the entrance as the people learned through local rumors that the prince would be arriving in Rezar.

“Looks like we’ve been beaten to the punch,” Law said.

“It’s not much of a surprise,” Ayanna said. “The prince has been getting a lot of attention through the news outlets lately.”

Law looked at Gavin. “I wonder why.”

“Shut up,” Gavin replied.

“You can get us to meet with the prince, can’t you?” Gale asked.

“That’s not going to be a problem with me,” Ayanna replied. “You three might do best to stay here, though.”

“I’d do anything for you,” Law said.

“I know you would,” Ayanna said.

She walked into the train station while the other three decided to stay outside as the crowd continued to grow. The train was about to arrive soon, so Ayanna stood in wait.


To be continued…


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