Sundown – Chapter 30 (Part 2)

[17th of September, 2740 AD; Copper Hotel, Oelaans, Thekohn – Felis District]


Inside the hotel, everyone met inside the lounge as Sorin began to explain to Gavin, Law, and Eva everything that had happened within the royal kingdom. Rain and Mina also added in details, as did Storm, with Gavin not once breaking his focus away from Sorin. Once Sorin finished going over the details, they were all ready to speak until Mina jumped in.

“You guys actually found my mom?” Mina asked.

“Seems like it,” Gavin replied. “Of course, there’s no way to confirm it until we head back to Rezar.”

“Well, thank you, Gavin,” Mina said. “I don’t know how I can repay you guys for what you’ve done.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Gavin said. “I’m just happy that we’re able to give you a chance to meet your mother.”

“I’d think Mina has a lot of questions she would probably like to ask her,” Eva said.

“Speaking of questions, I’ve got one,” Law said. “Who do you think I should congratulate: Her Highness or Mina? On one hand, Mina’s the kind of woman one would love to have a chance with, but on the other is the Princess of Thekohn.”

“Get serious, Lawrence,” Gavin said as he slapped Law on the back of his head. “We’re here to discuss our next move, though I guess I should say that I’m happy for the two of them.”

“Thank you for that, Gavin,” Rain said. “As for our next move, I think we should make our way back to Iiayikohn. We’re not in the kingdom, technically, but I don’t feel like we’ll be safe staying here in Oelaans for much longer.”

“They’ll be too focused on setting up their attack,” Law said. “It’s a damn shame it’s come to this. All of Ahnlikohn is going to be under duress when we should be trying to take down the real leader of the gang.”

“I still can’t believe that the queen would be behind the Neu Thekohnian Order,” Eva said. “It shouldn’t make sense.”

“It must be especially tough for both of you,” Law said to Rain and Storm. “Not exactly a candidate for mother of the year, is she?”

“She was always so nice before,” Storm said. “I remember when I had finished my preliminary studies, she and father congratulated me. To think that she would just turn on us…”

“Even if we don’t know why, we have to stop her,” Eva said. “Do the two of you understand?”

“I do,” Storm replied. “She might be my mother, but she and Sir Lauren cannot be allowed to get away with this.”

“Don’t worry, sister, we’ll take care of them,” Rain said. “I’m not going to waver even if it hurts in my heart, because I know what we must do to defeat the Neu Thekohnian Order.”

“That’s good and all, but how will we do that?” Pariton asked. “It’ll be tough to gain access back into the kingdom as long as we know they’ll be there.”

“No doubt they’ve got their military ready as well,” Law said. “They’re not exactly something a small team like us would be able to overpower, no matter how skilled we are.”

“We can’t just give up!” Luna exclaimed. “You guys took down those True Thekohnians, didn’t you? Why couldn’t you just do it here?”

Law snickered. “Well, lovely Luna, I wasn’t there,” he said. “My bro would tell you that a lot had happened there, though.”

“By the time we came face to face with Victor Wihll, many of his men were already dead,” Gavin said. “All thanks to Sorin’s brother, of course. That’s a man that doesn’t know the meaning of the word fear.”

“I don’t think that that’s possible,” Sorin said. “I mean, we did see him in Jiaikohn and he was certainly surprised to see us there.”

“Who knows?” Gavin asked. “What matters is that things are different this time around. The True Thekohnians were not controlled by such a high ranking person, whereas the Neu Thekohnian Order is being led by the Queen of Thekohn. We’re going to need a real plan this time.”

“So we’re going to need to get back to Rezar in order to do that, then,” Sorin said. “We should hurry.”

“Then we’ll waste no time,” Gavin said. “I hope all of you are ready.”

“Yeah, and perhaps I should sit next to Luna on the train ride back,” Law said. “I’ve only just met her and I’d like to pick her brain on the way.”

“That sounds gross,” Luna replied. “Are you going to use some sort of hook to go in my ears and pull out my brain and look at it or something?”

“That’s not exactly what that means,” Pariton said.

“And I wouldn’t suggest sitting next to him, either,” Eva said.

“Really? I mean, I guess I should trust what you say,” Luna said, “Because there must be some reason you don’t want me sitting next to him besides the whole wanting to see inside my head thing.”

“Come on Lawrence, you’re sitting next to me,” Gavin said.

“Guilty as charged, I guess,” Law replied. “Oh well, I guess I’m going to have to learn about our young, new ally later.”

Everyone then decided to leave the hotel and head for the train station. As they arrived, however, there were several guards blocking off the entrance as a crowd of people started to form.

“What’s happening now?” Sorin asked.

“This can’t be good,” Rain said as she walked up to one of the guards. “I’m sorry, but we need to head to Iiayikohn immediately.”

“I can’t do that, Your Highness,” the guard replied. “As of today, we are to bar anyone from entering Ahnlikohn.”

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Rain said. “Damn it all, we can’t let this happen!”

Rain turned away from the guard and headed back to the group. A blaring horn sounded out as everyone turned towards the exit to the kingdom where the sound came from. Many people began heading towards the source of the sound as Rain and the others decided to go see what it was all about. At the right of the gate was a stage, set up for a presentation as members of the Royal Thekohnian Army made their way on stage.

“Is this some sort of show, perhaps?” Luna asked.

“It’s not that,” Rain answered. “No, this is far from some sort of show.”

“This hasn’t been done in years,” Storm said. “I can’t believe they would actually go through with this.”

“Must be to set an example,” Rain replied. “They found someone they could use as a scapegoat.”

“What are you two talking about?” Mina asked.

“Long ago, the kingdom used to hold public executions,” Rain said. “Mostly to make a statement against people who’d break the law. They ended up retiring the practice when my father took the throne but now that he’s gone, it looks like they’re bringing it back for this moment.”

“Public executions, huh,” Law said. “Sounds like Queen Isla’s ready to flex that ruling muscle all over the Thekohnian Region and what better way to show it than to perform an execution.”

“Not a lot we can do about it, is there?” Sorin asked.

“I… don’t think I can watch,” Luna said. “This all sounds so gruesome.”

Up on the stage, Lauren Ahga made his way to the center with Johan right behind him. Johan angled his head toward one of the soldiers at the steps, leading them to direct the person set to be executed onto the stage. The person’s face was obscured by a sack on his head and his arms tied behind his back as he was led to the center where Ahga stood.

“Very good, very good,” Ahga said. “Let’s get this show going, shall we?”

“If you must, Sir Lauren,” Johan replied. “Sit him down on his knees, now.”

The soldier forced the man to his knees and bound the restraint holding his hands together to another rope that then got tied to a latch on the floor. With no possible way to escape, the man struggled as Ahga removed the sack on his head. To most of the crowd’s surprise, Victor Wihll’s bruised, beaten face displayed for everyone to see.

“They turned on him?” Mina asked. “But they were working together!”

“Calm down, Mina,” Rain said. “I have a feeling that they were planning to turn on him from the start.”

“And Johan seems to be okay with this,” Pariton said.

Luna covered her eyes, but took a peek between her fingers. “He would do this, that traitor!”

Sorin sighed. “I still can’t understand…”

With no warning, Ahga pulled out a gun and pointed it at Wihll’s head. The Thekohnian soldiers then started to push the crowd back as everyone started to move away.

“Victor, I must say it’s truly a wonder you’ve been able to survive for this long,” Ahga said. “To think you were crushed beneath a chandelier, beaten to near death, and stabbed several times is quite a testament to your willpower. But no longer!”

Wihll started to cough, hacking up blood all over the floor. “When I see in you hell, I’m going to make your life ten times worse!”

“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t make a mess of this stage,” Ahga said, hitting Wihll with the barrel of his gun. “You have always been that insignificant little worm that always manages to find a way to keep on living. If you were born a better man, then perhaps that trait would be admirable. Alas, you are but a simple thug that turned to a life with the True Thekohnians.”

“I don’t need your false pity,” Wihll said. “If you’re going to kill me, then make it quick.”

“Ask and you shall receive,” Ahga said as he loaded his gun. “What’s really funny to me is that all you’ve ever fought for turned out to be a lie.”

Before Wihll could have any chance to answer, Ahga put the barrel of his gun to Wihll’s temple and pulled the trigger. A single shot rang out throughout the city of Oelaans. A single shot was all that it took to end Wihll’s life as his corpse leaned forward, only to be stopped by the restraint behind him.

“Oh god!” Luna dove her face into Pariton’s shoulder as he held her tight.

“That’s how it ends for Victor Wihll, I suppose,” Law said as he clenched his fist. “I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but I’m angry.”

“Wihll was used,” Eva said. “He’s killed someone important to me, but I can understand why you’d feel so angry.”

“He and I weren’t that different,” Noa said. “If the circumstances were any different, then it might’ve been me on that stage with a bullet through his head.”

Gavin grumbled as he adjusted his sunglasses. “There’s no way any of us would ever forgive him for what he’s done, but I agree,” he said. “Especially when it’s Ahga who killed him.”

“We can keep talking about Wihll later,” Rain said. “We have to leave now, though, or else they’ll notice us.”

“Good point,” Eva replied.

“How are we going to leave, though?” Mina asked. “They blocked off the way to Ahnlikohn!”

“Don’t tell me you forgot how we got here, Mina,” Law replied. “Bro, we’re gonna make some room for the rest of them, right?”

“It’ll be crowded,” Gavin said, “Though I’m sure we’ll find a way.”

“There’s a better way,” Rain said. “There’s a bus that heads out towards Bel which will take us a bit longer to get to Rezar, but it’ll be worth it.”

“What are we waiting for, then?” Law asked. “Sorin, you still with us?”

“I am,” Sorin said. “I was just deep in thought. Let’s go.”

As Sorin and the others left the area, Johan was busy watching over the stage as he noticed his friend leaving. He decided to keep his mouth shut as Ahga and some of the Thekohnian soldiers wrapped up Wihll’s corpse in order to carry it off the stage. Johan continued to watch as Sorin left with his friends, though, as a smile formed on his face.

“This game is getting a lot more fun now, isn’t it, Sorin?”


To be continued…


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Sundown – Chapter 29 (Part 2)

[16th of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Thedam Royal Hospital]


Night had come as Sorin leaned on the wall. He looked out of the window to the castle that was not that far from the hospital that he had made it into. Rain and Storm had stayed at Brook’s side the moment they had arrived, never once leaving him while Mina tried to offer her support. Noa, meanwhile, sat outside the treatment ward and sighed to himself.

“It’s rough, isn’t it?” Noa said.

“I know it is,” Sorin replied. “I hate to admit it, but it’s pretty bleak right about now.”

“What are you guys going to do now?” Noa asked.

“I’ll have to talk to Rain, I guess,” Sorin said. “This was her mission and I guess we never had the chance to succeed.”

“When the enemy is your friend, I guess it’s that much more difficult,” Noa said. “Sorry about what happened with that Johan guy, by the way.”

“You don’t need to apologize for that,” Sorin said. “No one could have seen that coming, not even me. To think he’d just turn on us like that…”

That was when Storm barged out of the room Brook was staying in with tears in her eyes. Mina hurried behind Storm and tried to console her. Storm just cried as Mina embraced her.

“What happened?” Sorin asked.

“It’s Brook,” Mina replied as she had her hand on Storm’s back. “He’s… they said that the wound to his vitals were very bad.”

Sorin was confused. “Very bad? Don’t tell me he’s already…”

“Dead,” Noa said. “They can’t treat him because the wounds he sustained did enough damage that it’d be too difficult to operate on.”

“No, this isn’t right,” Sorin said. “This wasn’t supposed to happen.”

A dreadful silence filled the room as Rain entered. She had her head down as she walked over to the wall nearby. Nothing could be said now that one of the most important people to her had now departed. With a pained sigh, Rain slammed the palm of her hand directly on the wall.

“Why?” Rain asked. “Why are we the ones to suffer? Was this all just one big lie? Was this journey all for naught?”

“Rain, I’m so sorry,” Sorin said.

“My mother and my most trusted ally, they were just planning to kill us all from the very beginning,” Rain said. “I thought that I would be able to prevent my father from meeting his end, but in the end I was a fool. A stupid fool to even believe that I could make even the slightest bit of difference.”

“We can’t give up now,” Mina said, “We have to stop them!”

“Can we, though?” Rain asked. “They’ve got the Neu Thekohnian Order plus the Thekohnian military on their side. There’s very little that we can do now, lest we just run away.”

“I wouldn’t mind doing that,” Noa said.

“Is that really what you believe?” Sorin asked. “That doesn’t sound like the Rain I know.”

“It’s no use,” Rain replied. “What can we really do?”

“I’ll tell you what you can do,” Mina said, “You keep fighting with us. Fight for Brook. Fight for Storm. Fight for all of the good people that live here in the Thekohnian Region, because that’s what heroes do!”

“Mina, thank you, but I don’t know,” Rain said. “How are we going to keep fighting against a force like the Neu Thekohnian Order and my mother?”

“I have no idea,” Mina said, “But we can’t just sit here and do nothing! We have to keep fighting!”

“Is that going to work, though?” Rain asked. “I don’t know if we can really do it. I’ve always believed that we’d be able to succeed, but now I don’t know if I can believe any more.”

“We believe in you,” Sorin said. “Every last one of us believes in you, so you should believe in us and in yourself. They may have the upper hand now, but that’s no reason to give into despair.”

“Yeah! We have to do this for all of the people who believe in us,” Mina said, “And I’m not just saying this because I believe in you, but because I love you! Nothing is going to stop us as long as we keep believing in each other!”

Rain rubbed her eye. “Thank you, Mina,” she said. “You, Sorin, and Noa… I really should thank you three for still believing in me, even when I could not.”

“Even me?” Noa asked. “I couldn’t do anything. I almost ran away; I could have left you to die!”

“But you didn’t,” Mina replied. “You stayed with us even if you were about to pee your pants in fear of Victor Wihll! That’s really heroic of you!”

“Well, thanks,” Noa said. “That means you still want my help, even if I still lied to you?”

“Of course,” Sorin said. “Though I wonder what you are going to call yourself now.”

“You can keep calling me Noa,” he replied. “That’s the man you know me as and that’s the man I’ll continue to fight as. It’s the least I can do to honor the man who took care of me all those years ago.”

Luna then entered the room with Pariton, who had part of his shirt torn off and wrapped around his shoulder. He moved away from her and approached Sorin as Luna tried to stop him.

“You’re still bleeding!” Luna exclaimed. “Just let me take you to one of these doctors and they’ll help you out because that’s their job and they’ll really make sure that you’re all patched up and ready to go!”

“It’s nothing but a scratch,” Pariton said.

“You’re okay?” Sorin asked.

“I was able to hold Victor off for long enough,” Pariton replied. “He just shrugged me off in the end and left as soon as he could. I guess Luna here was lucky enough to be standing outside, because that’s why she dragged me in here. Guess it was a good thing she did.”

“You’re right about that, Pekka,” Luna replied. “Any longer and you’d be lying on the ground getting an infection or something and you’d no longer be able to use that arm, which would have meant that you’d have to get it amputated!”

“I’ve been in worse fights,” Pariton said. “Anyway, if it’s not too much to ask of you, would you be so kind as to let us join you?”

“Wait, what?” Luna asked. “I mean, I’ve got nothing against them, but are you sure that we can trust them?”

“There’s no other choice,” Pariton replied. “Mr. Wilk, if it’s okay with you, we would like to help you in any way we can.”

Sorin looked over to Rain and Mina. “What do you think?”

“Right now, we need the help,” Rain said. “If they want to help us, then I see no problem in letting them join our cause.”

“We’d be happy to,” Mina said. “What you did back there really helped us out, you know!”

“Well, I’ve got to atone for my sins somehow,” Pariton said. “Victor and I were once colleagues, but Johan had shown me the way. Since you’re his friend, I assume you can feel the same sort of betrayal that I feel, and that’s why I want to help stop him and the rest of the Neu Thekohnian Order.”

“You know, there is one thing I want to ask Johan before you do anything to him,” Sorin said. “That’s my main reason for helping Rain right now: so I can hear from him his answer.”

“I want to hear it, too!” Luna said. “Fine, then I’ll join you guys as well! I’m Luna Del Bosque, the third oldest of the Del Bosque family. Glad to make your acquaintance, everyone!”

She shook Sorin’s hand and then Mina’s, followed by Rain afterwards.

“Nice meeting you too, Miss Del Bosque,” Rain said.

“I still can’t believe that I’m actually shaking hands with the princess of Thekohn, though,” Luna said, “It’s like one of my dreams, except I’m actually living it and you and your sister are here! Wait, what about that Judy guy, though?”

“It’s not ‘Judy,’ it’s Guda,” Noa said, “And I prefer to be called Noa.”

“Don’t you worry about Noa,” Mina said. “He can aim a rifle pretty good, but talking to women isn’t exactly his strength!”

“Oh no, that won’t do,” Luna said. “You need to get out there and stop being so afraid of women!”

“I think not,” Noa replied. “Just let me be and let me do what I’m good at.”

Luna nudged onto Noa. “No, I’m serious.”

“Luna, drop it,” Pariton said. “Anyway, it looks like we’ll need to get out of here before they find out where we are.”

“What should we do?” Sorin wondered.

“A regroup is necessary,” Rain said. “I think having Gavin and the others with us would be imperative to helping stop this mess.”

“That would be a great idea,” Mina said. “Certainly with Ayanna, she could help and maybe even with the help of the Iiayi and Ameci militaries as well, we could begin our counterattack!”

“No, I don’t think it’d be wise to enlist the help from any of the militaries,” Rain replied. “All it would do would drive us deeper into a war we don’t want.”

“Then what do you suggest?” Pariton asked.

“Let’s head over to Oelaans and see if we can get in contact with them,” Rain said. “If they’re still in Bel, then we’ll know where to call.”

“What about me?” Storm asked. “I guess I can’t stay here, even if I wanted to be with brother one last time…”

“I’m sorry,” Rain replied. “I know it’s very painful to leave him behind like this but we have to keep moving forward, at least for his sake. He would have wanted us to do so.”

Storm sniffled. “Okay,” she said. “I suppose we can go now before the busses shut down for the night.”

“It’s settled, then,” Sorin said. “Let’s go now before it’s too late and find us!”

Sorin then led everyone out of the hospital as they made their way for the bus station. Back in Oelaans, they would have to find a way back to connect with the rest of the group and devise a plan to stop the Neu Thekohnian Order. That was not all, though, because Sorin did want an answer from Johan. He wanted to know exactly why his friend betrayed everyone; even if Sorin had to resort to fighting Johan, he would get his answer.




[16th of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Thedam Castle Royal Queen’s Room]


Victor Wihll entered the lighted room in the nighttime as Ahga and Johan both awaited him there. He had to shake off Pariton and escape before he could do any serious damage. Wihll felt that he was lucky enough to come back to the castle that was now under siege by the Neu Thekohnian Order, all of whom were now dressed up in Thekohnian military garb. Ahga sat down in the chair while Johan stood as Wihll approached them both.

“You made it back,” Ahga said. “Not a moment too soon.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t finish the job,” Wihll said. “I find her and I’ll kill her, as well her friends just to make sure!”

“No, no, you don’t need to do that, Victor,” Ahga replied. “Let them run away with their tails between their legs and tears in their eyes. You’ve done enough damage by eliminating the prince to send a message that we’re not to be messed with.”

Wihll grumbled. “Wasn’t my job to kill her? Why would you ask me to back off now?”

“Oh, I did tell you to kill her, but I came with a back-up plan because I had a feeling that you’d fail somehow,” Ahga said. “Why else would I end up bringing the Neu Thekohnian Order here to guard this castle?”

“I have to admit that I’m envious,” Johan said. “You prepared in case of the event that he’d let you down. If only I were capable of pulling off such a feat.”

“You have to watch and learn, Mr. Kuu,” Ahga replied. “That said, Victor has long outlived his usefulness by now.”

“What!?” Wihll asked.

“Don’t you see?” Ahga asked. “Whether or not you fulfilled your end of the bargain, I’m going to deal with you personally. It’ll send a message to the rest of the region that the leader of the True Thekohnians is dead and that Queen Isla is not a woman to messed with!”

“You traitorous bastard,” Wihll said. “You were planning to double-cross me this whole time, weren’t you!?”

Ahga laughed. “That’s rich that you thought that I would trust a scoundrel like you,” he replied. “Why would I trust a South Maeitakohnian to do anything right? No, it’s better to take out the trash.”

Ahga snapped his fingers as several members of the Neu Thekohnian Order entered. They surrounded Wihll in an instant as he clenched his fists. Though he tried to fight them off, Wihll was no match for the multitude of men that had piled on top of him. A few moments later, Wihll lay on the floor with his hands cuffed behind his back as Ahga walked up to him.

“Just so you know, once we’re done with Ahnlikohn, we’ll be storming your country next,” Ahga said as he looked down at Wihll. “If we’re to truly restore this region’s glory, there must be no mistakes!”

“Piece of shit,” Wihll muttered.

Ahga placed his foot down on Wihll’s head. “Mind saying that louder for me? I couldn’t quite catch what you said to me. Something about a needed wit?”

“I said that you’re a piece of shit!” Wihll exclaimed. “Johan Kuu! You knew that this was going to happen, didn’t you!?”

Johan shook his head. “Ahga came up with the idea all his own,” he said. “I’m just a bit player in all of this.”

“That’s right,” Ahga said. “Oh, and I hope you’ve made your peace with god, because your execution is due morning. I’ve got a place prepared in Oelaans so that the rest of the region sees this glorious man put an end to one of its most notorious terrorists!”

“You’re no better,” Wihll said. “Neither of you!”

Ahga pressed his foot down a little harder on Wihll’s head, which caused him to scream out in pain. “Funny, I thought that I was better,” he said. “I’m the one standing with his foot on your head, right?”

“Fuck you,” Wihll replied. “You can go to hell.”

“Before I do, I’ll be sure to send you there first,” Ahga said, “But I’m tired of looking at your face for tonight, so if the rest of you will do me a favor…”

Wihll was helped up by some of the Neu Thekohnians as he was forced out of the room as Ahga turned away. With the doors now closed, Johan looked over to Ahga.

“You’d do best not to cross me anymore,” Ahga said. “After all, you wanted to join, did you not?”

“Of course I did,” Johan replied. “I trust your judgement as do I with Her Majesty.”

“Good,” Ahga said. “I’m going to make my way to my chambers now. Hopefully you can get a good night’s sleep so you’ll be able to see the execution firsthand.”

“I’ll be sure to do that,” Johan said. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”


To be continued…


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Sundown – Chapter 29 (Part 1)

[16th of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle Main Hall]


Sorin could only stare in disbelief at what he had heard: his friend Johan was now an ally of the Neu Thekohnian Order. He thought about it, but still Sorin could not process this information. None of it made sense whatsoever. What could he possibly do at a moment like this? Lauren Ahga continued to stand at the stairs with his head held high as Noa stepped forward.

“That’s it, my friend,” Ahga said. “Come forward and admit your sin to everyone right now!”

“I’m not your friend,” Noa replied.

“Really? After everything Mr. Mzade did for you?” Ahga asked. “Oh, that’s right, you haven’t told them that, have you?”

Sorin was the only one that knew Noa’s deep secret. It was a secret that he had sworn to never tell anyone but that was useless now, too. Ahga just shook his head as he looked over to Noa.

“It’s funny,” Ahga said. “The last fifteen years you assumed the identity of a dead man. Easy to do when the rest of your family is dead, isn’t it?”

“You can’t possibly mean what I think you’re saying, are you?” Rain asked. “Noa… Who are you?”

“Don’t you see?” Ahga asked. “That man you say you are? Noa Mzade, am I right? That man has been dead for fifteen years!”

“You… you were lying to us, Noa?” Mina asked. “That’s gotta be a joke, right? Because heroes don’t lie, not at all! Right?”

Noa stood in silence as Ahga laughed.

“How unfortunate that this man has been deceiving you this entire time,” Ahga said. “The real Noa Mzade, as far as I know, took care of young boy that hailed from Kals Dale: a pathetic, insignificant South Maeitakohnian by the name of Guda Rhostami!”

Rain clenched her fist as she looked over to Noa. “Noa… just please say something!”

“Looks like the past has come to bite me in the ass,” Noa said. “It’s exactly like you said, Lauren Ahga. I am Guda Rhostami, not Noa Mzade.”

“Perfect, perfect,” Ahga replied. “You see? Telling the truth does wonders.”

“You’re hardly one to talk!” Mina exclaimed. “So what if he has a different name? It doesn’t change the fact that you’re a villain!”

“Oh, it doesn’t, does it?” Ahga asked. “How naive. Young lady, do you have any idea who the leader of the Neu Thekohnian Order is?”

“I’m not a fool, I know for a fact that it’s Jelka Arne,” Mina said, “She’s the one who orchestrated the attack on Helm and played a big part in Prime Minister Alan Berry’s assassination!”

“Oh how clueless you are,” Ahga said. “Johan, perhaps you could shed some light on the matter?”

“Well, I think it’s easy once you put the dots together,” Johan said. “I’m just surprised that Her Highness never figured it out.”

“You’re talking about my sister, aren’t you?” Storm asked.

“I’m as in the dark as you are, Storm,” Rain said. “I only wanted to prevent the assassination of my father, that was all.”

“How sad, Your Highness,” Ahga replied, “You went on your journey to help recruit people for your cause, but all you’ve done was waste time. Isla had taken care of the deed a mere few days after you left for Iiayikohn.”

“No, I don’t believe you!” Rain exclaimed. “Why in the world would mother want to do such a heinous act?”

“Sir Lauren, please, this must all be just one terrible joke,” Storm said. “You can’t possibly say what I think you’re implying, are you?”

“Believe it or not, Your Highness, but the king is dead,” Ahga said, “He was holding back our plans, so we had to take some extreme measures. Looks like it turned out to be the right move.”

Storm had no answer as she placed a hand upon her mouth as she tried not to scream. Meanwhile, Sorin still had questions.

“The right move?” Sorin asked. “What move could possibly justify murder? Not just murder of anyone, but the king of Thekohn! Why, damn it!?”

“Sorin, you know what happened in Bel better than most of the people in this room, including I,” Johan said. “People were close to a revolt had you and your friends not stepped in. What the Neu Thekohnian Order is doing is similar in method.”

“Don’t you even dare give me that crap, Johan!” Sorin exclaimed. “The Neu Thekohnian Order relies on intimidation and violence in order to achieve their goals. You can’t just tell me that the ends justify the means when it involves using people’s lives!”

“I just thought that you were on the side of good,” Luna said, “But you just wanted to play everyone while fulfilling your own selfish goals.”

“Am I the selfish one for wanting to end all wars?” Johan asked. “Perhaps, but sometimes to get to truth, you need a lie. A simple, yet effective lie that will one day result in the foundation of a world that is just and true. That’s the kind of goal that the Neu Thekohnian Order strives for in this world.”

“And it is by invading Ahnlikohn that we will create that world,” Ahga said. “Everything that we do works in order to make our dream a reality! It was by Her Majesty’s request that we deal with Alan Berry and it was Her Majesty’s request once more that we invade the ones responsible for assassinating him!”

“You’re the ones who assassinated him!” Mina exclaimed. “The ones who wanted the prime minister dead, that was you! No one else!”

“Ah, but Alan has had his fair share of enemies,” Ahga said. “He may have been a friend in the past, but he too was getting in our way.”

“So is that how you deal with those that oppose you?” Rain asked. “You just have them killed? Mother… she wanted father dead?”

“You should have paid attention, Your Highness,” Ahga replied. “He was already ill by the time I poisoned him, which only helped to speed up his eventual death. That said, Her Majesty is willing to make big sacrifices in order for us to succeed. I’d say ‘nothing personal,’ but it would indeed be very personal for you, Rain Zano Thedam.”

“Are you threatening me, Sir Lauren?” Rain asked.

“Well, let’s just say that I’m not going to be taking care of you,” Ahga said. “Rather, I’ve already got someone waiting for you in the wings. I believe you all know him well, right?”

At the top of the stairs the double doors opened. Out walked Victor Wihll, his presence enough to have everyone focused on him. He carried a knife on him, brandishing it as he walked down the stairs. Each step echoed throughout while Sorin could not turn away. No, Sorin continued to maintain his focus on Wihll and wondered what exactly Johan had gotten himself into.

“Let’s just make this quick,” Wihll said.

“Why would you work with him?” Pariton asked. “You hated the royal family, so why would you do this Victor?”

“This is what I consider a mutual benefit,” Ahga said. “Victor takes care of my problem and I will take care of his.”

Victor laughed as he angled his knife. “Yes, he made me a great offer and who am I to say no to something like that? I don’t really care what happens to any of you, nor do I care for Mr. Kuu over there, but a deal’s a deal and I’m going to enjoy slitting this woman’s throat.”

“Don’t you dare put your hands on Rain,” Mina exclaimed, “I’m going to pummel you and then we’re going to defeat you next, Ahga!”

“How cute that you think you’ll stop me,” Ahga said. “Not that it matters, since it’s all Isla’s plan anyway. She’s already won.”

“Stop it! Just stop it already,” Storm said. “All this betrayal, this deceit, the Neu Thekohnian Order. This isn’t the Sir Lauren that I know!”

“Oh will you shut up?” Wihll asked. “Perhaps I should kill you first in order to put the fear in your sister’s eyes!”

“Anyway, it’d be best if I made my exit,” Ahga said. “I’ve got to help Isla start a war and I can’t stand to see the sight of blood, if I am to be completely honest with you lot. Come now, Johan.”

Lauren Ahga walked towards the door and left while Johan turned to everyone.

“It’s looking like the curtain’s about to close on all of you,” he said. “How sad that none you still don’t get it.”

“You can’t get away with this, Johan!” Luna exclaimed as she ran up to Johan and grabbed him by the collar. “I swear to god, I’m not going to let you leave here!”

Johan chuckled as he placed his hand on Luna’s. “I’d advise you to run,” he said. “The Neu Thekohnian Order is already on their way here as we speak, so if you value your life, Luna, then you should heed my words.”

He pushed Luna off of him and followed after Ahga. She tried to run after him but was stopped by Pariton.

“Let him go,” Pariton said, “We’ve got a bigger problem now.”

Wihll looked at Storm, who stood in place unable to move. He charged at her with his knife at the ready, but Rain and Sorin both jumped in with their swords drawn and blocked his attack.

“Get out of here, sister!” Rain said as she looked back at Storm. “You know where to go, right?”

Storm broke out of her fearful stance. “Yes… yes! I’ll go right away!”

She ran off as fast as she could to the doors at the corner of the room. All Wihll could do was growl as he moved his focus to Rain. She and Sorin were locking their blades with his as he backed off of them and twirled his knife.

“This is fine,” he said. “I’ll just hunt her down and kill her later. I still have you to take care of, after all.”

“Not so fast, you brute!” Brook exclaimed.

“Who the hell are you?” Wihll asked.

“Sister, get out of here right now,” Brook said, “I’ll take care of him!”

With no time for Rain to respond, Brook charged forth towards Wihll and jumped him. Wihll swiveled around as he tossed Brook to the ground.

“No, I can’t just leave you behind!” Rain exclaimed.

“What a pathetic, ignorant whelp,” Wihll said. “Just sit right there while I run this knife through Her Highness’ neck!”

Wihll readied his next attack at Rain as she got ready to defend herself. He advanced on her but was stopped by Brook. Once again, he leapt up and grabbed onto Wihll’s arm.

“What are you standing there for?” Brook asked. “I’ve got him in my grasp! Now run!”

“I’m not going to do that,” Rain said, “But I do have a better idea!”

She then thrust her sword forward and stabbed Wihll in his abdomen while Brook continued to hold onto his arm. With the sudden stab, Wihll turned his head towards Brook.

Wihll growled. “Get off of me!”

Rain removed her sword from Wihll. “It’s over for you,” she said. “There’s no way you’ll get out of here on your own.”

With a bloodstain rapidly forming on his coat, Wihll laughed. He laughed as hard as he could, coughing along the way, as he threw Brook off of him. The young man tumbled backward and ended up rolling back onto his feet in a miraculous manner.

Mina pumped her fist. “Yeah, you better surrender now, villain!”

“Surrender?” Wihll asked. “What a ludicrous notion!”

“It’s all you’ve got,” Brook replied, “So it would be wise that you drop your weapon!”

“I’m getting really tired of hearing you speak,” Wihll said. “It’s time to silence you, right here and right now!”

He rushed Brook, who moved out of the way. However, Wihll spun around from behind him and thrust his knife deep into Brook’s back. The quick stab was enough to catch Brook off guard, dropping him to his knees.

Rain put her hand out open faced. “Brook!”

Brook coughed, blood spilling out of his mouth. “This… this isn’t good…”

“Seems I’ve hit your weak point,” Wihll said.

Rain gripped the handle of her sword as she pointed it at Wihll. “You… I won’t let you leave here alive!”

Rain attempted to rush Wihll with her sword pointed out, but Wihll dodged the attack and grabbed her by the throat. She tried to struggle out of his grasp, but Wihll lifted her up into the air.

“Time to finish the job,” Wihll said.

Sorin readied his blade. “Let her go!”

Mina, however, screamed as she charged at Wihll. She was determined to take him down and make him unleash Rain. When she made it to Wihll, though, he was fast enough to knock her to the side and onto the ground.

“I’ll deal with you next,” Wihll said, “But first, I’ve got business to attend to with your lovely princess.”

“You are just a spineless coward,” Rain said. “All you can do is negotiate with violence.”

Wihll grinned. “This is just what I’m good at,” he said. “You dare mock a man for wanting to achieve his goals? Then you must die!”

Before he could do anything, though, Sorin attacked him. Wihll defended himself from Sorin’s strikes, but that was when Mina joined in. She grabbed from behind his arm that was holding Rain until he could hold onto her no longer. Rain fell to the floor as Mina unleashed Wihll’s arm from her grip. With Sorin now engaged and fighting with Victor Wihll, Mina hurried over to Rain.

“Rain, are you okay?” Mina asked.

Rain groaned. “Is… Is my brother okay?”

“I don’t know,” Mina replied. “Sorry.”

Rain crawled over to where Brook lay and examined him. The wound in his back was producing blood at a rapid rate and spilling onto the floor beneath him. As she attempted to sit him up, Brook continued to cough.

“Forget… about me, sister,” Brook said. “You… need to escape…”

“I’m not going to leave without you,” Rain said. “I’m not the kind of person that will abandon her friends and family!”

Pariton ran over to Rain and knelt down. “I don’t know about you, but we’ve gotta get out of here,” he said. “I already see the Neu Thekohnian Order out by the front entrance from here.”

“You’re going to help us?” Rain asked.

“I’ve not much else to do right now,” Pariton replied. “Luna, we need to secure a route out of here!”

Luna hurried to him. “Got it, Pekka!”

“There’s a secret exit,” Rain said. “Only us in the royal family know about it, not even Sir Lauren is aware.”

“Got it, secret exit,” Luna said. “Pekka, what are we going to do about her brother, though?”

“We’ll have to carry him,” Pariton said. “What about that man?”

Luna looked to Noa. “Hey you!”

“Me?” Noa asked. “Yeah, I got the message.”

Noa moved forward, not wanting to be a part of Sorin and Wihll’s fight, and went over to Brook. He picked up the wounded prince and proceeded to carry him on his back.

“But what about Sorin?” Mina asked.

“That shouldn’t be a problem,” Pariton said. “You guys just focus on getting out of here.”

Luna eyed Pariton. “You don’t mean you’re going stay here and fight him, are you?”

“That man is Johan’s friend,” Pariton said. “At the very least, I should try to help him by distracting Victor.”

Pariton stood up and took off his shirt, exposing his build and numerous scars upon his body. He walked over to the fight scene and whistled.

“That’s enough,” Pariton said. “Sorin, was it? You need to escape.”

“And what do you think you’re going to do?” Wihll asked.

“I’m going to help the best way I can,” Pariton replied, “By taking you out, even it costs me my life!”

“What!? But you can’t just throw your life out like that!” Sorin replied.

“You’re Johan’s friend, right?” Pariton asked. “If you were to die here, would that be acceptable?”

“Just shut up already, Varjostaa!” Wihll exclaimed.

“I recommend you go now,” Pariton said. “Hurry!”

Sorin nodded and sheathed his sword as he followed after Rain and the others. He had to meet Johan again, that much he knew. Not only that, but he needed to help Rain any way he could not. As he escaped with the rest of the group, Pariton turned to Wihll.

“Get out of my way!” Wihll said. “I don’t care if I have to kill you, I just need to kill the princess!”

“It’s funny,” Pariton said. “I spent that past few years a member of the True Thekohnians thinking I’d be making a change, but now I know that at least I’m helping to ensure the future of this great land by letting the princess of Thekohn escape with her life!”

“You’re just another pawn to her,” Wihll replied. “What could you possibly prove by doing this!?”

“Even if Johan betrayed me, I still believe in his dream,” Pariton answered. “I want to help create that world he speaks of and I’m going to do it by not letting you go anywhere!”

“Enough!” Wihll yelled. “I might as well kill you, since it looks like you’re only going to be another obstacle to me!”

“I’m no obstacle,” Pariton said. “I’m Pekka Varjostaa and I will not waver against you, Victor Wihll! Come at me, if you dare!”

Wihll wiped his mouth clean of blood and wielded his knife once more. Pariton was ready as he got into his fighting stance. It did not matter that he was unarmed because Pariton knew that he’d have to hold Wihll back as long as he could. No, Pariton had to win. He had to stop Wihll right here and he knew that he was capable enough. With all the others out of the room, Pariton stood his ground as Wihll charged at him.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Sundown – Chapter 28 (Part 2)

[16th of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Rio Grove]


Sorin entered the park to see Noa pacing around back and forth. He had already seen Rain and Mina off as they spent their time treating Storm to a walk around the city. Meanwhile, Sorin had to know where Noa had gone off to and to find out if he was doing well. Noa was busy muttering something to himself as Sorin approached him.

“Are you okay?” Sorin asked.

“I’m fine,” Noa replied. “It’s nothing you should be concerned about, not when Her Highness has more to worry about.”

“Still, if something’s on your mind, it wouldn’t hurt to seek out some help,” Sorin said. “We’ve traveled long enough for us to be considered as acquaintances, if not friends.”

“Did Mina put you up to this?” Noa asked. “She always seems to target me for some reason.”

“I’m doing this for my own reasons,” Sorin replied. “At least tell me if you aren’t going to tell anyone else.”

“Why should I tell you?”

“Because if you don’t tell anyone, it’ll just get at you,” Sorin said. “It will continue to be a burden on your back and it really doesn’t have to be that way at all, Noa.”

“You don’t have to say my name like that,” Noa said. “Fine, if it will saitsify you, I guess I can say to you what’s on my mind.”

“Really?” Sorin asked.

“I could continue to refuse and you would keep pressing on,” Noa replied. “It’s a real pain in the ass, but maybe if I told you it would all be okay.”

“All that matters is that you take a step,” Sorin said. “Just one step forward does wonders.”

“Whatever it is, I’ll do it,” Noa said. “I just want to know if you knew the full truth, would you think of me any differently?”

“The full truth of what, exactly?” Sorin asked.

“What I told you all back in Helm, it was not the entire story,” Noa said. “Something that I couldn’t mention… No, I did not want to mention. Something that would change how you felt about me entirely.”

“I’m sure that it’s nothing that would change my opinion of you,” Sorin said. “If it’s too embarrassing to admit to everyone else, you can at least confide in me about it.”

“Then I guess it would be okay to tell you,” Noa replied. “Fine…”




At the front gate of the castle, Johan led Luna and Pariton to the guarded area and hid behind the nearby bushes. He was going to have to pull off a difficult move, with or without their help, and needed his plan to go off without any problems. Of course, Johan knew that things would have to work out regardless of what happened next. He still owed Lauren Ahga another visit, after all. He eyed the two guards with intent while Pariton turned to him.

“Mr. Johan, you’re certain that Ahga is here?” Pariton asked.

“He’s going to want to make sure that everything goes off without a hitch,” Johan replied. “That’s why Victor is going to through these gates without a single question asked to him. Preferential treatment, obviously.”

“We’re so close to stopping them, I can tell,” Luna said. “This close to taking down the leader of the Neu Thekohnian Order. I can’t wait to see the look on their faces when we thwart their plans and laugh in victory, don’t you, Johan?”

“Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, yet,” Johan said. “If we fail, then we’re going to end up paying the price with our lives.”

“I do wonder why Victor is able to join up with the Neu Thekohnian Order so easily,” Pariton said. “You said it yourself that he was on the run from them when you saw him over in Helm.”

“The game has changed,” Johan replied. “Right now, their side has made a very powerful acquisition at a very low cost. They’re going to need Victor right now if they’re to get what they want without too much hassle.”

“What do you mean?” Luna asked.

“If what my deduction is correct, then they’re going to eliminate a major threat to their plan,” Johan said. “That obviously cannot be allowed to happen if we want to avoid seeing a potential war break out.”

Luna grabbed onto Pariton’s shoulder. “War!? But we’ve been at peace for years, haven’t we?”

“Hey, let go of me,” Pariton said.

“That is their goal,” Johan said. “They’ve been wanting to see the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn to go to war with Ahnlikohn for a while now. Now that they’ve got a reason and an ally in the cause, it’s that much easier to do.”

“They lucked out with that prince,” Pariton replied.

“War’s the logical conclusion to that whole mess,” Johan said. “They were going to get their war one way or another.”

“If that’s what they’re after, then they’re even worse than I thought,” Luna said. “Not only are they cowardly enough to get the crown prince of Ahnlikohn to do their dirty work, but they want a war, too? It’s absolutely horrible!”

“Hold on, I think I see him coming,” Johan said. “Duck down.”

They crouched down behind the bushes as Victor Wihll arrived at the gate by himself. The guards took one look at him and nodded, which appeared to be enough to let Wihll pass through. Johan turned to Luna and Pariton and then over to the guards.

“I have a feeling that something’s up,” Johan said. “Follow me.”

“What, really?” Luna asked.

Johan stood up and hurried for the gate. Pariton could only follow, as did Luna. At the gates, Johan eyed the guards that were appointed as he walked up to them with Luna and Pariton right behind him.

“Hello,” Johan said. “I believe I have business here at the castle today.”

The right guard raised his eyebrow. “Do you now?”

“My name is Johan Kuu,” he said. “You would be able to check, wouldn’t you?”

“Hold on,” the right guard replied.

He walked over to the left guard and whispered a few words into his ear. The left guard whispered back to him, to which the right guard nodded. It was only for a few seconds but to Johan, it felt like minutes. Not that he minded, though he knew that he’d have answer ready regardless.

“Sir Lauren has anticipated your arrival,” the right guard said. “Am I to assume that they are with you, Mr. Kuu?”

“Yes they are,” Johan replied. “Thank you for confirming.”

“You’re very welcome, Mr. Kuu,” the right guard said. “Please go on in, and make sure not to cause too much of a ruckus.”

“Very well,” Johan said. “Let’s go, guys.”

With his entry confirmed, Johan walked past the guards and towards the castle. Luna and Pariton hurried after him, with Luna walking by Johan’s side.

“Wait, you actually have business with him?” Luna asked.

“Let’s keep going,” Johan said as he kept walking.

“Hold on, she had a question for you, Mr. Johan,” Pariton said. “Are you just going to ignore her like that?”

“We can’t waste any time,” Johan replied.

He entered the castle as Pariton looked over at Luna. She could only look back at him while Johan disappeared into the castle. There was only one thing Johan needed to do now and he needed to confront Lauren Ahga in order to do it. He stood in the middle of the main hall, which was currently empty, as Luna rushed in after him with Pariton not too far behind her.

“Just tell us what the hell is going on,” Luna said. “Do you or do you not have business with Mr. Ahga?”

“He does indeed have business with me, miss,” Ahga said.

She looked up to the stairs where Ahga was. He slowly walked down the steps as he grabbed the railing on the side. Pariton gritted his teeth and clenched his fists, going into a fighting stance as Ahga made it to the bottom of the stairs.

“Victor Wihll, where is he?” Johan asked.

“Oh, he’s off to complete the hit,” Ahga replied, “But I thought you already knew that based on the eavesdropping you did back at the hotel.”

“How do you know that?” Luna asked.

“My dear, I’m not stupid,” Ahga said. “And I know as well that Johan isn’t that daft, either, which is why I wonder you why haven’t told them yet.”

Johan did not respond and only continued to stare at Ahga.

Ahga smirked. “Even your lovely friend is badgering you for answers,” he said. “Do you think that little of your friends that you would keep a secret from them, no matter what the cost?”

“Johan, just answer us,” Luna said.

“You bastard,” Pariton said. “What have you got on Mr. Johan?”

“Oh, I’ve got nothing on him,” Ahga replied. “No, the choice he made was all his own doing. It’s a smart choice, but still I’m curious as to why you couldn’t have told them sooner.”

At that moment, Sorin entered the main hall with Rain, Mina, Noa, and Storm with him. Johan noticed him in an instant as Ahga laughed out loud, the laughter echoing through the room.

“Good, good, almost everyone is here,” Ahga said. “Well, except for one, but I guess he’ll be here soon enough.”

“Johan, what are you doing here?” Sorin asked.

“You’re his friend, yes?” Ahga asked. “And Your Highness, I have to admit that I’m a little disappointed.”

Rain looked at him. “What do you mean?”

“You honestly don’t understand,” Ahga said. “Then again, where are my manners? When you’ve got a guest in the house, you should let them speak first. Tell them, Johan, about your newfound allegiance with the Neu Thekohnian Order!”

Almost everyone gasped while Johan chuckled. There was no holding back now that it was all out in the open. He had no other choice, but then again, it all went exactly as he planned it.

“You can’t be serious!” Luna exclaimed. “No, I refuse to believe you!”

“He’s wrong, Johan,” Pariton said. “He is… isn’t he?”

“Johan, what is he talking about?” Sorin asked. “You’re not actually working with them, are you?

“Go ahead, Johan, tell them,” Ahga said. “You and I are allies after all now, aren’t we?”

Johan laughed. “You really know how to put a man in a corner, don’t you? Not like it matters anymore. Fine then, I admit it.”

“There’s no way this is possible,” Sorin said. “What would compel you to join with the Neu Thekohnian Order of all people!?”

“They’re villains of the worst kind!” Mina said. “How could you?”

“I can’t forgive you,” Pariton said. “To use my trust just to turn against us all… You are a coward!”

Pariton charged at Johan with his fist raised high. Johan, though, countered Pariton’s attack by grabbing him and throwing him to the ground. With the now devastated man flat on his back, he could only gaze up at Johan, dumbfounded at his betrayal.

“Nice try, Pekka, but you seem to forget that I used to be soldier,” Johan said. “Anything you can throw at me, I’m capable of striking back in self-defense. As for you, Sorin, I thought you would be better than this.”

“Just tell me why, Johan,” Sorin said. “You can’t actually be serious about this, can you?”

“Sorin, I’ve been a man of my word,” Johan replied. “I mean exactly what I say when I want to create a world without wars. I’m just choosing the side that will make it so.”

“But you just told us that the Neu Thekohnian Order wants to start a war,” Luna said. “You’re just a liar, aren’t you?”

“Well, he’s not the only one,” Ahga said. “I notice that particularly pathetic looking man alongside Her Highness over there. Now I remember where I’ve seen him from. You’ve betrayed the princess too, haven’t you?”

Noa grumbled as he slouched his shoulders. Rain turned to him, which only made him turn away in response.

“Noa, what is Sir Lauren speaking of?” Rain asked.

“I haven’t told you the absolute truth, Your Highness,” Noa said. “I was certain that this secret would be taken to my grave, but I guess I have to admit that I’ve lied to you, too.”

Mina looked at Noa with disbelief in her eyes. “Really, Noa? You would betray us, too?”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 27 (Part 2)

[16th of September, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Thekohn Tavern]


Inside the quiet tavern, Johan took a seat at the table across from Pariton and Luna. He had just made it into the kingdom as he planned out his next move. There was little going on as one of servers approached the table. After the three took their orders, the server left as Johan looked over to Pariton.

“It’s easier than I thought,” Johan said. “Anyway, Luna, I’m surprised you insisted upon this place. Are you old enough to drink?”

“Oh come on, Johan, you never ever wanted to go into the depths of a seedy bar?” Luna asked. “This is the kind of place where all sorts of types just come in and discuss their diabolical plans! We’re kind of like that, aren’t we?”

“Well, I wouldn’t call it ‘diabolical,’ per se, but I can see where you’re coming from,” Johan replied. “What we’re doing is helping change the world, and I guess a few people would find that problematic.”

“They’re worried,” Pariton said.

“And it’s nothing we should worry about,” Johan said.

“You should know that I am an adult,” Luna said. “I can drink all I want… if I wanted to, of course, but I don’t actually like beer or liquor or anything like that because one time I had a couple of drinks at a family party and made a complete fool of myself. I can still remember what my mother said to me, you know?”

“But it’s the atmosphere here that you like, right?” Johan asked.

“That’s true,” Luna replied. “Boy, it’d be nice to actually eavesdrop in on a conversation or two. Too bad it looks like we’re the only ones here.”

The door at the front opened as a man walked in. Johan gazed at him as he instantly recognized who it was as the man approached the table behind Luna. She turned around and upon looking up, she almost fell out of her chair as she tried not to scream.

“It’s… It’s… It’s that guy!” Luna exclaimed. “That guy from those True Thekohnians! Victor Wihll!”

“Get out of the way,” Wihll said as he took the empty seat next to Luna. “Looks like I’ve finally run into you again, Johan Kuu. You’ve been ever so elusive, haven’t you?”

“I take it you’ve found your purpose now,” Johan replied.

“Why are you here?” Pariton asked. “We’ve got no business with you now.”

“Guess I have you to thank, too, Mr. Varjostaa,” Wihll said. “If not for you, I would be dead by now and that would have been very bad for my new friends.”

“Your new friends?” Johan asked. “I thought you didn’t want to have anything to with the Neu Thekohnian Order.”

“Very perceptive,” Wihll replied. “They made me an amazing offer that I just couldn’t turn down, so I took it and went all this way here for a business matter on the request of the leader.”

Johan raised his eyebrow. “And you’re telling me this because why, exactly?”

“Come on, do you think you can fool me?” Wihll asked. “Just because I look like a brute doesn’t mean I play the part to a ‘T.’ No, I feel like you have to know this, because if you don’t, then there’s no point to meeting you.”

“I see,” Johan said. “Do you mind sharing me this plan of yours?”

“Let’s just say I’ve been asked to take care of a little nuisance,” Wihll said. “If the Neu Thekohnian Order’s plan is to go off without a hitch, then it is up to me to wipe out the threats that stand in their way.”

“If there’s one thing I’d admire about you, it’s your confidence,” Johan replied. “The way that you’re acting tells me you believe that there’s no way in hell that I’m going to try to stop you.”

Wihll smirked. “What nonsense,” he said. “Aha, now I get it. You’re playing your cards close to your chest right now, aren’t you?”

Johan raised his hands up open palmed. “Good job.”

“Maybe I shouldn’t bother you, then,” Wihll said. “The way things are, I know that you’re going to be in my face again. I will guarantee that next time, however, I will deal with you and your friends personally.”

Wihll stood up and left the table as Johan shook his hand. He relaxed his arms as the server brought everybody’s beverages. Luna, though, had a whimper that turned into a frustrated groan as she pounded the table three times, which caught the server off guard as he walked away.

“Are you okay?” Pariton asked.

“Of course not!” Luna replied. “That man could’ve killed me if I looked at him the wrong way! What could I possibly do in that situation?”

“Victor’s not much of a pleasant man, I’ll give you that,” Pariton said. “It was Mr. Johan’s request, however, to break him out of prison and I do trust his judgement.”

“There really is nothing we can do about him, is there?” Luna asked.

“Well, he did give us a hint,” Johan said. “He owes a great debt to the Neu Thekohnian Order, which means that they had a hand in helping him somehow.”

“Which means they’re not that far from here,” Pariton said. “Do you think that Lauren Ahga is here now?”

“That’s the only explanation,” Johan said.

He knew that Ahga was already in the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn, though. It was why Johan had to come to the kingdom, because he had a reason to help Ahga out. All he needed to do now was find a way to distance himself from both Pariton and Luna so he could meet with the man himself once again before the rest of the Neu Thekohnian Order arrived in the kingdom.

“What could they possibly want here?” Luna asked.

“They want to enact chaos,” Johan answered. “What more chaos could they bring to the Thekohnian Region than to take out the king?”

“And they already assassinated Iiayikohn’s prime minister,” Luna said. “We’re going to stop them, right? The Moonlit Silence doesn’t go quietly in the night, right?”

“We do work well in the shadows,” Johan said. “Come on, I think we’re done here. Let me just pay the tabe and we’ll head towards the castle and see if we can’t enter.”

“So we’re really going to see the castle,” Luna said. “That’s great! If we’re lucky, we might even see a royal or two along the way!”


Outside the tavern, Johan could see a couple of cars pass by on the street. There was nothing particular about them, but in that same direction Johan could see Wihll heading towards the nearby hotel.

“That’s our next stop,” Johan said.

“I thought you said we were going to the castle,” Luna said. “We were going to see the princess, perhaps, or maybe the prince if not the other princess. Maybe even the queen if she’s there!”

“Not everything is some grand story,” Pariton said.

“I know that, Pekka, but wouldn’t it be great if we saw something cool like that?” Luna asked. “That one princess, Rain, I heard was down in Helm a few days ago. If only I could’ve been there I would have seen her in person and maybe even meet her!”

Johan sighed. “Anyway, there’s a reason why Victor Wihll went into that hotel,” he said. “We might be able to get a closer eye on him talking with Ahga and see what we can learn from the both of them.”

“And we’ve got the chance to see the castle should we need the reason to,” Pariton said. “Okay, Mr. Johan, let’s get to it.”

They walked across the street and entered the hotel that Wihll had gone into, making sure not to cause much attention to themselves. Johan reminded both Pariton and Luna to keep quiet as he watched Wihll open a door close by and enter the room, closing the door behind him.

“We can’t follow him in there, can we?” Luna asked.

“Just wait,” Johan said.

He crept up to the wooden door and proceeded to place his hand on it. A light push on the front was all he needed to know as he looked back at Luna.

“It’s hollow,” he said. “We’ll probably be able to hear, but I want you two to be on the lookout while I try to listen in.”

“Got it,” Pariton said.

He turned around as Luna did the same. Johan closed in, placing his ear on the door as he heard Wihll talking.

“I’ve finally made it,” Wihll said. “Now what exactly do you intend to have me do? Who do I kill?”

“Now, now, Victor, I want you to think before you go off on this mission,” Ahga said. “There’s no telling what will happen if you happen to botch this one up.”

“I was a high ranking member of the True Thekohnians,” Wihll replied. “I couldn’t have gotten that far without stepping on a few insects. No, it was practically a requirement!”

“Quiet down,” Ahga said. “I don’t want you to draw out any unneeded attention to ourselves.”

“Very well,” Wihll said. “You would do me well to tell me the name of my target, however.”


Silence followed as Johan wondered who Ahga wanted dead. There was a growing concern now that he was at the behest of Ahga and the Neu Thekohnian Order, but Johan had a suspicion that this person was much closer than he thought.

“You really want me to go after this person, Lauren Ahga?” Wihll asked. “I’m surprised.”

“As you should be,” Ahga replied. “Still, it would be terrible if any sort of interference were to be left unchecked, no matter who they may be.”

“You’re a much more ruthless man than I gave you credit for,” Wihll said.

“Sacrifices must be made in order for our plans to work,” Ahga said. “There was a nice little breakfast I had earlier, which muddied my decision, but that’s why I’m asking you for help.”

“What’s in it for me?” Wihll asked.

“It will come in due time, Victor,” Ahga answered. “In due time.”

“How do I know you’re not just going to stab me in the back later?”

“After what she told you, you’re still not convinced?” Ahga asked.

“Let’s just say I want to read the fine print before I sell my soul away to you,” Wihll said.

“Read the note again,” Ahga said. “Don’t you wish you could have taken action earlier? But of course, things might have ended poorly for you.”


“Consider this a mutual benefit,” Ahga said. “You take care of my problem, and the leader will take care of yours. She’s a nice woman once you get to know her, Victor.”

“You’ve been praising her for a while now,” Wihll said.

“It’s an admiration I have for her,” Ahga replied.

“I see how it is,” Wihll said. “Fine, consider the task done.”

“Thank you,” Ahga said. “By the way, have you heard about what’s happened in Bel?”

“Can’t say that I have,” Wihll answered.

“Well, you’re probably going to thank me later,” Ahga said. “Now go on and go forth!”

Johan separated himself from the door as he motioned over to Pariton.

“Let’s go,” Johan said.

“What happened?” Pariton asked.

“No time to talk about it now,” Johan replied. “Just get out of here.”

“Okay!” Luna said. “Where are we going?”

“To the castle,” Johan said. “We’ll find a way in, one way or another.”




Brook stepped off the bus as he was now in the kingdom. There was little time for him to waste as he had to hurry to the castle. Rain had to be notified about what Brook learned back in Rezar.

“Damn it all, why now?” Brook asked.

He sprinted as fast as he could towards the castle, unaware of what was waiting for him. Still, if he was correct, then Rain was already there.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 26 (Part 1)

[15th of September, 2740 AD; Tulip Lane Station, Oelaans, Thekohn – Felis District]


At long last, Rain had made it back to Oelaans. With Sorin, Mina, and Noa in tow, she had come back all this way in order to enter the kingdom she called home. With her mission still incomplete, Rain hoped that her newfound friends would be able to help. If she was to stop the assassination of her father, Rain needed to stay strong.

“So, Rain, what’s going on around here?” Sorin asked.

As they got off the train, they watched as a group of soldiers blocked off the nearby road. A lot of people tried to get by, but ended up being turned away or shoved to the ground. Rain knew that they had to get moving, so she decided to take charge and walk up to the soldiers at the blockade.

“Excuse me,” Rain said. “May I ask what is happening?”

The leading soldier turned his head and almost jumped when he saw Rain. “Your Highness! We had no idea you would come this way,” he said. “It’s nothing, really! Just a request from the queen!”

“Mind you share that request with me?” Rain asked.

“I’m really sorry,” the soldier replied, “But I was told not to share that information with anyone besides Her Majesty and Sir Lauren. I hope you understand.”

“I still don’t get it,” Rain said. “At least let us through so we can get into the kingdom.”

The soldier shook his head. “I’m afraid we’re not allowed to do that,” he said. “At this moment, we’re not to allot anyone access into the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn except for Her Majesty and Sir Lauren.”

“What does that mean for me?” Rain asked. “For us? For the people of this great land? Please answer me!”

“I’m must say I’m sorry once more, Your Highness, but that’s not for me to answer,” he replied. “If you have questions, you’ll have to ask Her Majesty for yourself. She’s currently in Rezar last I heard.”

“Rain, I think we should do what he says for now,” Sorin said as he helped Rain away from the blockade. “We’ll find a way to get in, I know it.”

“Yeah, we’re going to get into the kingdom no matter what!” Mina said. “Let’s just go, Rain.”

“I suppose your right,” Rain replied. “I almost let my anger get the best of me.”

“If that what you’re like when you’re angry, then I really don’t want to piss you off,” Noa said.

“You shouldn’t worry about that,” Rain said. “We’re just going to have to think of a different approach.”

“That’s the right idea,” Mina said. “Nothing’s going to stop us! Not even the queen herself!”

Rain covered her mouth as she tried not to laugh. “Well, I would hope it doesn’t come to that,” she said. “I’m sure that it’s just a misunderstanding of some sort. I honestly do not believe that there’s any way that my mother would act without a purpose.”

“So what can we do now?” Sorin asked.

“I suppose we’ll have to look around until I speak with my mother,” Rain said. “Perhaps we should head to the Oelaans Gardens first.”

“I used to go there a lot, actually,” Noa said. “It… makes me feel something, that much I know.”

“Oh, that was with that man, was it not?” Rain asked.

“Well, yes,” Noa replied.

“Then I guess it would be okay to go, if that’s fine with you,” Rain said. “There should be a phone in there, plus you’ll get to see all the displays.”

“Wow, what kinds of displays?” Mina asked.

Rain smiled. “You’ll see,” she said. “Let’s go there now.”

They took no time in heading for the Oelaans Gardens. For the the four of them, though, they were not alone. Off in the distance was a man clenching his fist dressed in an Iiayikohnian soldier’s uniform with a hat and sunglasses. He stood atop the steps leading to the courthouse as he continued to watch Sorin’s group head towards the gardens.

“They actually thought that they were rid of me,” he said. “Looks like I’m going to have to pay them a visit, after all.”




Inside the Oelaans Gardens, Sorin viewed in on a small, but colorful, plant in the left area of the greenhouse. He admired the long leaves that lead up to the stem of the plant, but also liked the mixture of yellow and green on the petals. If only he were able to share the moment with Gale, he would have, but for now it would just be a tale until the she could see it for herself once the two come back to Oelaans on their own terms. He had to admit, though, that it was somewhat lonely not being by her side and he assumed that it was the same for her back in Rezar. Sorin knew he had to stay focused, but wished he could talk to Gale right now.

“You look so lost in thought,” Mina said.

“Is it that obvious?” Sorin asked. “I guess that I’m just thinking about the things that have happened so far.”

Mina slapped her hand on Sorin’s back. “I knew it! Anyone could see it a mile away! So, what are you thinking about?”

“It’s Gale,” he answered. “I must admit that I miss seeing her. We’ve been together for the past few months, almost inseparable I might add, and this is the first time I’ve gone on without her by my side.”

“Well, it must be tough,” Mina said, “But that’s what being a warrior is about, isn’t it?”

“Maybe it is,” Sorin said.

“Warriors like ourselves have to take whatever challenges come our way,” she said, “And when we win, we get even better! You’ll get through this in no time, I’m sure of it!”

“I hate to break it to you, Mina, but you really can’t relate to how I’m feeling,” Sorin replied. “At least, not yet.”

“What do you mean?” Mina asked.

“When you have someone you care about as more than just a friend, things change,” Sorin said. “What I feel when I talk to Gale is much different than when I talk to you or Rain.”

“I guess so,” Mina said. “Do you mind if I ask you what that feeling is?”

“Not at all,” Sorin answered, “Though it’s difficult to describe.”

“You can’t say that!” Mina said. “Remember, we’re warriors; nothing should be too hard to overcome!”

Sorin chuckled. “Thanks for that,” he said. “So, I guess you could say that I want to do everything possible for Gale, especially now. If you had somebody like that, you would do the same, wouldn’t you?”

“Of course I would,” Mina replied. “That kind of person you speak of, well, I’d feel exactly the same as you do.”

“It’s not just that, either,” he said. “Actually, maybe I shouldn’t go into it, after all.”

“Why not?” Mina asked.

“It’s… something personal I’d rather not say out loud,” Sorin answered. “Say, have you seen Noa around here?”

“No, I don’t think I’ve seen him ever since we entered,” Mina said. “I know Rain wanted to talk to her mother, but I haven’t seen her either.”

“That’s odd,” Sorin said. “What’s taking her so long?”

“You know, she might miss her,” Mina replied. “She’s been traveling with us for so long, she probably just wants to see how her mother’s doing!”

“Maybe, but I had the feeling that it wasn’t going to be such a personal call,” Sorin said. “I think we should go and see for ourselves what’s taking Rain so long.”

Sorin then headed off to the front with Mina following behind him. They walked past one of the displays, which was a large orb that was covered in silver, and towards the entrance to the garden. What awaited them there was a shock for sure as Noa cowered behind Rain as she confronted the man that was dressed in an Iiayikohnian soldier’s outfit. He stood in the entrance, his intimidating physique helping block off several people from going in.

“Just who are you, anyway?” Rain asked.

The man pulled on his gloves. “It doesn’t matter, now does it? No, what I’ve really come for is him.”

He pointed over to Noa, who could only stand and look at him in fear. Sorin and Mina joined Rain as they noticed the “soldier” as well.

“Come on, we don’t want to have to resort to violence, do we?” The man adjusted his sunglasses as he walked up to Rain. “Now, let me interrogate him like I’m supposed to…”

“I’m not going to let you do that, sir,” Rain said. “No matter what your reason is, whatever it is you’re looking for, I’m sure that Noa has nothing to do with it!”

“Who is this man?” Sorin asked.

“Just a soldier who happened to be in town,” the mysterious man replied. “I happened upon you lot the moment I saw you leave the train station.”

“If you’re a soldier in the Iiayikohnian military, then you’d have no trouble telling us what your name and rank are,” Sorin said. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you during my time in Rezar, if I’m being honest.”

The man laughed. “That’s… that’s because I’m a special agent,” he said. “Only the best in the world would keep his identity hidden.”

“I have trouble believing you,” Sorin replied. “Perhaps you should just admit that you’re just an imposter.”

“Show us your face, you liar!” Mina exclaimed.

“Are you sure that you want me to show you? Maybe you won’t like what you’ll see,” the mysterious man said. “Fine, it wasn’t like I was going to stay in town for long, anyway.”

He unraveled his gloves and tossed them to the ground. Next was the hat upon his head, dropping right next to his gloves as he revealed his blond hair for all to see. Last were the sunglasses, which instead of being thrown to the ground, the man gently removed them from his face, folded them, and tucked them into his breast pocket. Sorin, Rain, Mina, and Noa were all too busy looking in shock as they realized who stood in front of them. The familiar, sinister smile could only belong to the man they thought had been escorted back to the cell that he escaped from back in Aesker.

Mina pointed at Wihll. “You! I thought we took care of you back in Helm!”

“You really think a single, simple soldier would be enough to apprehend me?” Wihll asked. “No, I’m no fool. Not anymore, at least.”

Sorin moved his hand to the handle of his sheathed sword. “What do you mean?”

“Don’t bother withdrawing your sword,” Wihll said. “Besides, I’m only here for that man cowering behind Her Highness.”

“You’ve got business with Noa?” Sorin asked. “How were you able to attain that outfit, anyway?”

“I bid my time during my capture back in Helm,” Wihll replied. “The dumb bastard never saw it coming and I took his clothes as a reward. After that, I made my way here and found out a very interesting fact regarding your friend along the way.”

“I honestly don’t know what to make of this,” Sorin said.

“What is this fact you speak of?” Rain asked.

“I thought that you would have known, Your Highness,” Wihll said. “Anyway, perhaps I shouldn’t divulge that information so easily. What would that spy think?”

“That spy?” Sorin asked. “You don’t mean…”

“You sound interested,” Wihll replied. “Too bad, I’ve got places I need to be right now, but I’ve given you a little something to gnaw on in the meantime.”

Victor Wihll turned around and made a dash out of the garden and onto the street. Mina tried to hurry after him, but was stopped by Rain at the entrance.

“No, don’t go after him,” Rain said.

“But Rain, I can’t just let him get away with it,” Mina replied, “He’s the villain and we have no clue what he’ll do next!”

“It’s not that,” Rain said.

At that moment, a truck sped down the street. It looked as if the driver was aiming for Wihll, who saw the vehicle coming as he dove out of the way at the last possible moment. The truck went and crashed into the nearby lamppost as Wihll then ran off.

“I can’t believe it!” Mina exclaimed. “Are they okay?”

“Let’s go check them out before we do anything else,” Sorin said.

Sorin exited the garden and walked towards the truck that now had smoke coming out from underneath its hood. As he got closer, however, he heard the most recognizable voice that he did not want to hear.

“For the love of fuck, Erik!”

Korbin thrust open the door and hopped out onto the street. Erik and the rest of the other Ameci soldiers soon made their way out of the truck as Korbin grabbed Erik by the arm.

“It wasn’t my fault,” Erik replied. “That asshole just leapt out of the way at the last second!”

“You goddamn dumbass, that was Victor Wihll!” Korbin yelled as he punched Erik in the face. “You think that general’s gonna like it when he hears you let an escaped man get away?”

“I’m sorry, Korb,” Erik said, “I’m not going to let it happen again!”

Korbin panted as he let out his frustration on Erik once more. “You let him get away, shithead,” he said, “As in you weren’t able to splatter his guts all over the fucking road!”

“How can say that?” Sorin asked.

Korbin stopped his assault and let Erik go as he turned around. “Ah, hey, Sorin! How’s life treating ya?”

“Just fine, thanks,” Sorin replied as he looked away.

“Oh, don’t be like that, man,” Korbin said.

“Hey, I don’t know if you know this, but our guy’s getting away,” Bradley said. “You can catch up with your buddy later.”

“Whatever you say,” Korbin replied. “Looks like we’ve got a job to do. I’ll happen upon you later, okay, Sorin?”

Korbin and the rest of his troop grouped together and hurried after Wihll in the direction he had ran off in while Sorin looked on dumbfounded at what had just happened. Rain and Mina were quick to join up with Sorin soon after as Noa slowly trailed them both.

“Dare I ask what that was about?” Rain asked.

Sorin shook his head. “I have no clue,” he said. “The past few minutes feel like a distraction.”

“It’s been like that since we’ve arrived,” Rain said. “Fortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of damage here.”

People gathered around as they were all focused on the truck that sat there, the front of the car dented thanks to the lampost. Sorin turned away from the wreck as he regrouped with the other three.

“You were really quick to notice that truck speeding in,” Mina said to Rain. “I don’t know what I can say except thank you!”

“It’s nothing, really,” Rain replied as Mina hugged her. “Oh, well, I guess that’s fine… Fine, indeed…”

Mina pulled herself off of Rain and laughed nervously. “Sorry, I guess I got carried away,” she said. “Wait! What about the blockade? Maybe now with what’s happened, we can get into the kingdom!”

“Well, this is certainly the way we can get in,” Noa said. “I have to admit I’m a little enthusiastic about seeing it for myself.”

“We can be happy once we get there,” Rain said. “There should be a bus that heads out to the kingdom in the Rio Plains, so let’s not hesitate any further.”




Johan entered Oelaans and watched from the window to see the chaos slowly unfold as Luna and Pariton watched with him. He had come at the worst possible time as he knew that there was a chance that the Ameci military was already in town. A couple of soldiers stood around the entrance while the bus made its final stop. He would have to hurry to the next bus, Johan thought to himself as he got up from the back seat.

“It seems like we’ve been beat,” Johan said.

“That’s bad, right?” Luna asked. “Can we still make it to Oelaans?”

“This might actually be the break we need,” Johan replied. “With the Ameci military running around, there’s probably a diversion that’s got the task force here scattered.”

“Oh, so I guess we don’t need to do much,” Luna said as she looked down at the floor.

“You sound disappointed,” Pariton said.

“Well, I wanted to try out my skills,” Luna replied. “Those guys would have probably wanted to hear the call of a cute girl like myself, but I guess we’ll never get to see what would really happen.”

“I bet they would’ve fallen for it,” Johan said. “With your gift, I’d bet they’d listen to whatever you had to say.”

“You really mean that?” Luna asked. “Hearing you say that really lifts my spirits now! I can totally do this!”

“Let’s go now,” Johan replied. “Hopefully we don’t get caught out there…”

Johan hurried off of the bus and onto the streets as he watched the Oelaans officers run down the street nearby. With all the commotion, Johan knew that he would have an easy time getting onto the bus to the kingdom. Pariton and Luna came to his side as they moved past the crowd and towards the other side of the town. With nothing left to hold them back, Johan, Pariton, and Luna eventually arrived at the station and hopped onto the bus. What none of them knew, however, was that there was another passenger onboard. As the bus began to move, the blond haired man sat a few seats away from the three.

“So we meet again,” Wihll said. “What a nice surprise, Johan Kuu.”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Sundown – Chapter 18 (Part 1)

[11th of September, 2740 AD; Tranquil Cardinal Inn, Helm, Ahnlikohn]


Early in the morning, Sorin and Gale woke up to the sound of someone knocking on the door to their hotel room. Sorin hopped out of bed and to the door while Gale tried to get ready. Opening the door, Sorin found himself face to face with one of the Iiayikohnian officers that had been tasked with coming to Helm.

“There you are,” the officer said, “Victor Wihll, you’re under arrest!”

“No, no, no, you’ve got that wrong!” Sorin replied. “Do I even look like Wihll to you?”

The officer took a look at his notes. “I was told that the escaped convict was staying here,” he said. “Am I to believe that we were misinformed?”

“No, not at all,” Sorin said. “We just had to make sure that he wouldn’t run off, so a Maeitakohnian soldier is watching over him in the room next door.”

“And you’re okay with trusting a soldier of the Maeitakohnian military?” The officer looked aside to the other room. “I suppose that I will have to see for myself.”

“Let me go with you,” Sorin said.

Sorin rushed over to Noa’s room with the officer and watched as the man knocked on the door. A few seconds later, Noa opened up and almost jumped in shock as he shrieked.

The officer pulled out his gun and pointed it at Noa. “So you’re the Victor Wihll that’s been on the run!”

“Please, you’ve got it all wrong!” Noa exclaimed as he put his hands up. “I’m just a simple soldier, not some wanted man!”

“Officer, if you would look behind him,” Sorin said.

Victor Wihll sat in the corner as if he had not moved at all the entire night. Noa moved aside as the officer walked inside with his gun trained on Wihll.

“If you’re going to shoot, do it now,” Wihll said.

“You’re coming with me,” the officer replied. “Stand up and put your hands behind your head.”


Downstairs, Sorin and Noa reunited with Gale, Rain, and Mina as they decided what they should do next. With Wihll out of the way, the path to Oelaans was made much easier. Still, Sorin had some concerns.

“I wonder if it’s really okay to go,” he said.

“What’s on your mind?” Gale asked.

“We haven’t heard at all from Ayanna,” Sorin said. “I’m wondering if they’ve gotten any closer to finding the assassin.”

“That was also on my mind as well,” Rain said.

“You guys don’t need to worry about that!” Mina replied. “I’m pretty sure they’ve already found the assassin and brought them to justice!”

“Still, it wouldn’t hurt to find out what’s been going on since we left,” Sorin said. “I feel like I should go make the call.”

“No, you don’t have to do that,” Rain said. “I have a hunch that Mina may be right about this.”

“But it’s… it’s not like there’s any reason why she might be right,” Noa said.

Rain smiled. “Well, when she says it with such conviction, it makes me believe as well,” she said. “I can’t say for certain, but it’s good to believe in your friends, isn’t it?”

“I don’t know,” Noa replied. “I guess it’s not worth it to argue with you, though…”

“Noa, tell me,” Sorin said, “Do you still want to go with us?”

Noa frowned. “Why do you ask?”

“If you want to go back, that’s fine,” Sorin replied. “None of us would stop you; however, I believe that you have something to prove.”

“I have something to prove?” Noa asked. “I’m kind of afraid to ask what you’re talking about.”

“We heard you out yesterday,” Sorin said. “I don’t even know what the right words to say are, but you did survive for your family’s sake.”

“It was only because of what I was told,” Noa said. “Running away and hiding from danger has gotten me this far. Why are you bringing this up now, all of a sudden?”

“Just genuine curiosity,” Sorin answered.

“I know it’s probably not much, coming from me, but I am deeply sorry for what happened to your family and the man that took care of you,” Rain said. “What Sorin’s trying to say is that you don’t have to embark on this journey with us, or at least the door is open if you so choose.”

Noa clenched his fists as he looked down. “I could do that,” he said, “But is that what you want me to do? Am I just useless overall?”

“No, that’s not what any of us are implying,” Sorin replied. “You’re a sniper, aren’t you? You’d probably be very useful.”

“Yeah, you might just be a hero yet!” Mina said.

“A hero? But even you called me pathetic,” Noa replied.

“Mina probably didn’t mean to call you that,” Gale said. “I think she was just trying to encourage you… in her own way, I think.”

“Look, I know what it’s like to lose a family member,” Sorin said. “Not being able to know what kind of person my mother was really hurts and I’m only now just getting to know my father better. I can understand your fears.”

“At least you still have a father,” Noa said. “I suppose I don’t have too much of a choice, though.”

“I’ve been saying you had a choice whether or not you want to keep going with us,” Sorin replied. “I don’t know, there’s just something I can see with the look in your eyes. Something that says you want to become better.”

Noa scratched the back of his head. “I don’t know what you mean by that.”

“He means you don’t want to be so pathetic anymore, right?” Mina asked. “Being around us must have awakened some special feelings in you!”

“Special feelings!?” Noa exclaimed. “I mean, I’m around some cute girls and all, but I can’t just spill out my guts all over the place!”

Noa muttered to himself while Gale just placed her palm on her forehead.

“You missed the point entirely,” she said.

“Don’t tell me you’re dating them all, are you!?” Noa asked to Sorin. “I’m not in any place to judge, but even I have limits to my fantasies!”

“You missed the point so hard, you’re up in the stars now,” Gale said.

“I’m sorry!” Noa said. “Sorry, sorry, sorry! Please forgive me for putting my foot in my mouth!”

“Besides, I’m only with Gale,” Sorin said. “Mina and Rain are our friends and allies in this journey.”

“That’s right,” Rain said. “Perhaps we should just get out of this boring inn and see what Helm has to offer?”

“Sounds like a good idea to me,” Sorin said. “What do you think, Noa?”

Noa just nodded his head.

“I’ll take that as a yes, then,” Rain said. “Well, what are we waiting for?”

With nothing else to do at the inn, Sorin and the others left and went into the city. Unbeknownst to them, however, the calm, peaceful city of Helm was being fast approached by many outside parties looking to make a move.




[11th of September, 2740 AD; Glora-Helm Direct Freeway, Ahnlikohn]


Johan gazed off into the clear sky as the bus made its second-to-last stop before Helm. Two people got off and only one got on the bus. The man with short hair noticed Johan and hurried in order to sit right next to him.

“Great timing, Pekka,” Johan said. “Funny how we just seem to meet on transport lately, isn’t it?”

“As long as I get to see you, Mr. Johan, I don’t care if we meet in a run-down hostel,” Pariton replied. “Anyway, I’ve brought some news for you.”

“So what have you got for me about our friend?” Johan asked.

Pariton smiled. “Seems Mr. Mars is coming to Helm,” he said. “Looks like he managed to catch his target.”

Johan placed his hand upon his chin. “Korbin actually managed to catch her, didn’t he?”

“You know who it is?” Pariton asked.

“Oh, pay no attention,” Johan said. “Just thinking to myself, that’s all.”

“Yeah, I’m surprised he’d actually go that far, to be honest,” Pariton said. “I mean I’ve done some things I’m not proud of, but still…”

“I don’t think he’s going to get away with it, though,” Johan said. “If things go according to plan, then Korbin’s plan will come to a halt in Helm.”

“Well, if you think so, then I believe you,” Pariton replied.

Johan chuckled as the bus started to move. “It’s not a matter of belief, Pekka,” he said. “Those Neu Thekohnian Order guys are there right now and are plotting their next attack, or so I’ve heard. Korbin and his crew are going to run either into them, or he might end up facing someone else.”

“Someone else?”

“You have to make a stop in Helm before you go to Oelaans,” Johan said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if they managed to cross paths.”

“I see,” Pariton said. “Anyway, you’re coming in from Glora, right? Did you happen to run into Victor?”

“Unfortunately, I did not see him,” Johan answered. “I did meet Sir Ahga, however, and I got pretty close with the daughter of the Kikuishan Empress.”

Pariton’s eyes shot up. “How close, exactly?”

“Nothing beyond holding hands, I’d say,” Johan said. “As for Sir Ahga, I have a feeling that he’s got a secret that he doesn’t want anyone to know about, and if it got out, it would spell trouble not only for him, but the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn as well.”

“Is that something we’d like to avoid?”

“It’s complicated,” Johan replied. “I’ve personally met with one of the princesses and she was extremely nice to me–she happens a friend of a friend, actually–but I’m not sure how I feel about the queen knowing what Sir Ahga’s been up to.”

“So, you’re not sure at all,” Pariton said.

“I guess we’ll see what happens going forward,” Johan said.

“Guess we will,” Pariton replied.

As the bus drove down the road, Johan could only think to himself about what would happen next. He knew that there was a chance he would run into Sorin again, so he had to think about how he would explain what it was that he was doing in the city. Johan hated the fact that he would have to lie to his friend, but he also did not want to subject Sorin to danger because of him.

“Hey, Mr. Johan, I want to ask a question,” Pariton said.

“Go ahead.”

“You remember the first time we met, right?”

“I think so.”

“Well, I just wanted to thank you again for what you did,” Pariton said. “It couldn’t have been an easy choice for you to make.”

“You’re welcome, but why are you bringing this up now?” Johan asked.

“I just wanted to, you know?”

“Understood,” Johan said. “The reason why we’re friends is because of our similar circumstances, so I think that it’s always good to remind ourselves of the past so we can create a better future.”

“Well said,” Pariton replied.

It was indeed a moment in Johan’s past where he had considered the circumstances of Pariton’s life compared to his. That moment was also the time where Johan had decided to carry out his mission on creating a world without wars. He remembered to starry night very well and the look on Pekka’s face when they first met. Of all the missions he carried out for the Ameci military, this one was a success, at least in Johan’s eyes.




[4th of May, 2740 AD; Burning Light Lane, Hurst, Iiayikohn]


Two weeks after the battle of Bel, the Ameci military had decided to stay in Rezar until things were completely clear. Johan had very little to do, however, until General Fercewend approached him. He tasked Johan with an easy mission: find and locate a stray member of the True Thekohnians. According to the general, the member’s name was Pekka Varjostaa and was considered to be a dangerous man. Numerous accounts were listed off by Fercewend as Johan nodded along.

“Capturing this man is essential for us,” Fercewend said. “It is imperative that you are able to find this man and inform us of his location. Do you understand, Kuu?”

“Affirmative, general.”

“Then do not let me down,” Fercewend replied. “Your father was a great soldier as well. If only he were still alive to see you now…”

Johan commenced his investigation into locating Varjostaa, only to come up short several times. That was when he came up upon a conversation in the quiet town of Hurst, a few miles away from Rezar. It was between two women who had mentioned a ghost that only appeared late at night. An odd talk, he had thought, but it was a conversation that he believed was worth pursuing. Later into the night, Johan strolled the alleys of the Burning Light Lane and came across this shadowy figure drinking from a brown bottle. He slouched against the wall as Johan stepped towards him.

“Are you the ghost the people have been talking about?” Johan asked.

“Interesting question to ask a stranger.”

“Then answer me a different question: Are you Pekka Varjostaa?”

Varjostaa tossed the now empty bottle to the side. “And what if I am? Are you one of those soldiers that’s been looking for me?”

“Well, you’ve pretty much confirmed to me that you are Pekka Varjostaa,” Johan replied. “Don’t worry, though, because I’m not going to take you in.”

“What is this, a joke?”

“It’s not a joke, Pekka,” Johan answered. “My job’s not to capture you. It’s only to locate you and I just happened to make an extremely lucky guess as to where you were.”

“You shouldn’t let them know,” Varjostaa said. “I… I can’t go back to prison. Not again.”

Johan was curious. “Not again?”

“It was only in self-defense,” he replied. “If I didn’t kill him, then…”

“It might not be my place to ask, but what happened?” Johan asked.

Varjostaa explained his self-defense against a man that had threatened his family. Though he had only been seventeen at the time, Varjostaa was determined to make sure that his family would not be killed. Then, one day, the man came to his home and attempted to attack, but this time, Varjostaa stopped him. With only a small knife in his hand, he successfully took the man’s life and ended the threat. At least that was what he thought, but as it turned out, the man happened to be part of a very powerful organization. An organization that would seek to put Varjostaa to death and subject his family to tragedy.

“But you broke out, didn’t you?” Johan asked.

“It wasn’t easy at all, but yes,” Varjostaa answered. “I snuck out of prison by sneaking into one of the large delivery crates that were supposed to go on the truck. It’s why I also ended up being recruited by them.”

“The True Thekohnians, you mean.”

“Lokke had offered me security,” Varjostaa said. “He made sure that once I got him out of prison, there would be no chance that my family would ever be threatened again.”

“You don’t know the kind of man he was, it seems,” Johan said.

“I was told about his crimes, but I had no real escape,” he said. “I couldn’t go out there alone because I would be dead!”

“But you’re kind of in that situation now,” Johan replied. “Do you really think that your family is still alive, Pekka?”

“I don’t know.”

“Then why keep fighting for the True Thekohnians?” Johan asked.

Varjostaa had no answer.

“If it means anything to you, I will let you go,” Johan said.

“Really? You’d do that?” Varjostaa asked.

“I would,” he answered. “As someone who has lost family of his own, I can relate to your pain. Even if it meant using violence, I understand why you had to deal with the man who had threatened you.”

“I… I don’t know what to say,” Varjostaa said. “Maybe I could go along with you, sir?”

“Call me Johan,” he replied. “Sadly, though, I don’t think the Ameci military would look too kindly upon me associating with a former member of the True Thekohnians.”

Varjostaa looked down at the ground. “Then… then what is your goal?”

“My goal?” Johan asked. “Well, it’s more like a dream, but I’ve always wanted to help create a world where no wars needed to be fought. A world where instead of bloodshed, growth is encouraged.”

“Then I will help you make that dream a reality, Mr. Johan!” Varjostaa said. “If it means that less children will have to suffer the same fate as us, then I’m on board!”

Johan smiled. “Thank you so much, Pekka,” he said. “I really wish I could have done more to help you, though.”

“It’s no problem,” Varjostaa replied. “As long as I can help you, that’s a reward enough for me. I’m glad to have met you, Mr. Johan.”

“I’m glad, too,” Johan said.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

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 14 (Part 2)

[10th of September, 2740 AD; Executive Hotel, Alto Bar – Deca District]


Law waited and waited at the bar with Gavin and Eva as people walked in and out of the doors. He had a feeling that Amile would pass through eventually and it would be with his brother. There was little that Law could do right now, so he turned back over to Eva.

“So what’s your drink of choice?” Law asked.

“I usually sit back with a Welsblaek Choice,” Eva replied. “Of course, during the war, I barely touched the stuff.”

Law rested his arm on the side of the bar. “But now’s a different story?”

“It helps me sometimes,” she said. “That’s… all I’ll say to that.”

“Say no more,” Law said, turning his focus over to Gavin. “What’s say you that we get some beers here before the prince drops by?”

“I’ve no idea why you chose a bar of all places,” Gavin said.

“You don’t understand at all,” Law said, “Prince Ahnle is a man who loves only one thing: women who can stroke his ego, among other things. Fortunately, that’s something I can somewhat relate to.”

“No skirting around the bullshit this time, I see,” Gavin replied.

Law shook his head. “In any environment, gratification is the main motivator for many of our actions,” he said. “It just so happens that his is of a more sensual nature, though my desires are more passionate given the fact that I’m a hopeless romantic.”

“Just get to the point,” Eva said.

“Fine, fine, you two win this round,” he said. “We’re here because I know for a fact that Amile cannot resist the call of alcohol and the chance to engage young, alluring women in hopes to conduct whatever unspeakable acts he can think of to them.”

“All of this while blind, though?” Gavin asked. “Forget it, you probably already have an answer for that.”

Fifteen minutes passed and soon, like Law said, Amile and Amos arrived. Amos looked around and spotted the three and tried to turn Amile around, but the taller man in shades thrusted his way through.

“Come on, I’ve earned the right to stroll the bar,” Amile said. “Maybe I’ll even earn the favor of a right doll!”

“But those two… they’re here,” Amos replied.

“Those two?” Amile asked.

Law got up out of his seat and walked towards the princes. “Ah, Prince Ahnle, I’ve been waiting to meet you!”

“Oh, so that’s what you mean, Amos,” Amile said. “I figure that the boisterous one is here as well?”

“He’s here, all right,” Law said. “Why not join us?”

Amile laughed as Amos tugged at his sleeve. “Unfortunately for you, I’ve got other plans,” he said. “Plans that don’t involve you, bud.”

“Oh, but come on, prince,” Law replied, “I think if we really got to know each other better, you’d find that you and I have a lot more in common than you think.”

“I think I’ll pass,” Amile answered.

He and Amos turned away and began to walk off. Law just shrugged and shook his head.

“I guess you’re not worried, then,” Law said.

Amile stopped in his tracks. “Excuse me?”

“Brother, let’s go,” Amos said.

“Not now,” Amile said. “What are you talking about, bud?”

“Talk with us and we’ll tell you,” Law replied.

“You’re not going to let go of this, are you?” Amile asked. “It’s like you’re that little piece of tissue that sticks to the bottom of my shoe.”

“He’s just being an annoyance,” Amos said. “There’s nothing to gain here.”

“Silence, Amos!” Amile replied. “I guess I will entertain your little group, after all, bud.”

“Then let’s head up,” Law said.

He led the brothers up to the bar where Gavin and Eva were still sitting. Gavin had a scowl upon his face while Eva remained indifferent as she stared Amile down. The two princes sat down as Law took his seat.

“So Amos is telling me that you’ve got a lady with you,” Amile said as Amos whispered into his ear. “Maybe the doll would like to introduce herself?”

“What did you just call me?” Eva asked.

“I’m asking you what your name is, doll,” Amile said. “It’s always a good thing for a pretty lass like you to pay me the attention I deserve.”

Eva lowered her hand down to the sword at her hip. “Do you have a death wish?”

“Um, Eva, perhaps you should still your hand for now,” Law said. “We’re trying to make a good impression here…”

“If that’s how it is, I’ll put up with this charade,” she answered. “My name is Eva. I don’t want to shake your hand, however.”

Amile chuckled. “It’s fine with me,” he replied. “My right arm’s been aching all over for a while now. Wrist, shoulder, hand… you name it!”

“When did you hurt your arm?” Law asked. “It can’t have been before the tournament, because you were quite impressive or so I’ve heard.”

“That’s not a thing I’m just going to disclose to you,” Amile said. “Besides, I’ve a doctor’s papers that detail my injury.”

“I trust that you can produce this paper, then,” Law said.

“Trust that it exists, bud,” Amile replied. “Anyway, I want to know a little bit more about Eva doll here. What’s a young woman like you doing in a place like this, and with these two no less?”

Eva set her drink down. “To hear you call me young would almost be flattering if it was from anyone else,” she said. “Needless to say, I have my own reasons for being here.”

“It must be so difficult hanging around these two,” Amile said. “Is there any chance I could earn your attention for later?”

“That depends on whether or not you want a broken arm,” she answered.

“I see that you’re an ice cold one,” Amile replied.

“You’d do best not to provoke me,” Eva said. “I was once known as one of the most feared warriors in the land. ‘Eva the Killer,’ they called me.”

“Brother, I think it’s time to go now,” Amos said.

“Think again!” Amile exclaimed. “So you insist upon that moniker, doll?”

“If you really want to know, dumbass, then let her demonstrate,” Gavin said. “Now stop fucking around and engage us.”

Amile laughed as he put his hand on the counter. “Guess he doesn’t want me to find out, huh? It doesn’t matter to me, anyway,” he said. “What is it you really want from me?”

“Glad to see that you’re friendly to us,” Law said. “As for why I wished to talk with you, it’s about the news earlier.”

“The news earlier?” Amile asked. “Oh, you mean the assassination of the prime minister. Yes, what of it?”

“You must be nervous stepping into this country during such a trying time,” Law replied. “Seeing a high-ranking official taken down must give you a little caution, wouldn’t it?”

“Bud, I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Amile said. “I’ve only just recently arrived, after all. What could any assassin want with me?”

“Perhaps they’re not done yet,” Law said. “The Neu Thekohnian Order has been rising up in various places lately and some of the rumors I’ve heard connect them with this assassination.”

“You believe they have something to do with this?” Amile asked.

“It’s a possibility,” Gavin said. “That’s… why we’re asking for your help.”

“My help, you say? I had no idea I was this needed,” Amile replied. “I don’t know how much help you expect me to be, seeing as I lack sight, but I can provide a little insight into the Neu Thekohnian Order.”

Law leaned forward. “Do tell.”

“Their leader is ruthless and a criminal,” Amile said. “Jelka Arne is someone who will not stop until the entire Thekohnian Region is toppled, and the Neu Thekohnian Order is merely an extension of Arne.”

“And is that all you know?” Law asked.

“That’s as much as I know,” he answered. “Those guys are no joke, I assure you. One wrong step and you’ll be on their bad side in an instant.”

“I take that your country has had prior knowledge of them?” Eva asked.

“Oh, yes indeed, doll,” Amile replied. “The Neu Thekohnian Order was founded in Ahnlikohn and they have been a problem for us for a while now. Even the queen’s men have been busy in dealing with these terrorists.”

“All the more reason for you to cooperate,” Law said. “After all, these aren’t simple ruffians going about.”

“I don’t think that’s necessary, Mr. Power,” Amos said. “We’ve got soldiers of our own protecting us.”

“Did I say a single word about protection?” Law asked. “I only want information about who did the prime minister in. Surely you would like to see the one responsible take responsibility for their misdeed, wouldn’t you agree, prince?”

Amile stood up. “That’s more of a thing for Iiayikohn to handle,” he said. “It’s a crime committed on Iiayi turf, which has no interest to us.”

“But didn’t you just say that your country was dealing with the Neu Thekohnian Order as well?” Eva asked.

“That’s not a job for me,” Amile replied. “My job is to kick back, have fun, and meet as many beautiful girls as possible.”

“Some use you are, asshole!” Gavin said.

“Don’t let it get you down, bud,” Amile said. “Even if I were to come in contact with this assassin, I certainly would put up a better fight than the prime minister did.”

Amos tapped on Amile’s shoulder. “It’s best we go now.”

“Before you do, let me say one thing,” Law said, “I believe I’ve gotten you all wrong, Prince Ahnle.”

“What do you mean?” Amile asked.

“I thought that you were merely a fool,” Law replied. “Honestly, though, I feel like we might have more in common than you think.”

“I’d like to hear this,” Amile said, “After all, I need a good laugh.”

“Laugh all you want, prince, but I’m serious,” Law said. “I’ll let you in on something: this isn’t the type of place that’s great for picking up women.”

“You’ve piqued my interest, Mr. Power,” Amile replied. “Where is this place exactly?”

Law pulled a napkin and pen aside and began writing. “I’ll pass this note onto Amos,” he said. “I trust you’ll be able to make it there around this same time tomorrow?”

“Don’t you think you’re being too friendly?” Amos asked.

“I’m not talking to you, though,” Law said as he handed the note to Amos. “You just do what the note says and meet me there.”

“Then I take that you have the best place,” Amile said. “Tomorrow it is then, bud. Now, dear Amos, let’s be off!”

Amile and Amos left the bar as Law chuckled to himself. He turned looked back over at Gavin and Eva who were still sitting down in their seats.

Law sat down next to Eva. “Were you not impressed?”

“I’m more impressed she didn’t eviscerate him on the spot,” Gavin said.

“The only reason I didn’t do it was because I didn’t want to start a fight here of all places,” she said.

“It certainly wouldn’t be good for the rest of these people to have a fight break out,” Law said. “Either way, my hunch is looking pretty strong right about now.”

Gavin picked up his drink. “It seemed unlikely,” he said as he took a sip.

“What’s the next course of action, Law?” Eva asked.

“I’m going to meet him, obviously,” Law answered. “I’m assuming that his little brother’s got no say in the matter and will lead him to the location.”

“If that’s the case, I’m going to go with you,” Gavin said. “Despite his behavior, I have a feeling that he’s not the type to fold immediately.”

“Bro, if this were a poker game, he’d lose quickly,” Law replied.

“This isn’t a game, though,” Eva said. “Not when lives are at stake, and especially not when it’s Alan’s.”

“And that’s why I need you to contact Ayanna,” Law said. “We’re going to attempt to corner Prince Ahnle, one way or another. We won’t let him get away with what he did.”




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


Several stares directed toward Victor Wihll, who sat at the edge of the lounge as Sorin and the others tried to decide on what to do next. There was no way that they could leave him alone and there was certainly no way they could move forward with their mission, either. Gale eyed the phone fastened on the wall and turned to Sorin.

“First things first, before we listen to him, we should inform Iiayikohn about this,” she said. “I wonder if we’ll be able to speak to Ayanna, though.”

“It wouldn’t hurt to try,” Sorin said.

“Then I’ll make the call,” Gale said as she got up.

Wihll looked over at Noa. “So tell me, Mr. Mzade,” he said, “The tragedy of Kals Dale impacted you greatly. Why, I ask, do you associate with these cretins?”

“To be honest, it’s because they’re the only ones who haven’t completely treated me like shit,” Noa replied.

“It seems like they’re just dragging you along,” Wihll said.

“Maybe they are,” Noa said as he viewed Rain out of the corner of his eye. “Maybe you guys are just setting me up to take the fall later…”

“We wouldn’t just drag you along, Noa,” Rain said. “That’s not my intention, nor is it anybody else’s.”

“Reassurance means nothing when it comes from the elite,” Wihll said. “Are you to say that you really care about any of these people? Can you say that to my face, even after all of what your family did alongside Ameci and Iiayi forces?”

“I know what has happened in the past, Victor, and I apologize on behalf of the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn for it,” Rain replied.

Wihll scoffed. “You truly are an ignorant princess,” he said. “Apologies won’t bring back my village nor will it bring back his family.”

He pointed over to Noa, who could only hang his head low.

“You might as well be spitting in my face,” Wihll continued. “To have the nerve to talk down to me like I’m some child is an insult to all of Maeitakohn!”

“What… can I do?” Rain asked.

“I’ve been wronged my whole life and still I live this joke,” Wihll said. “Yet you think by asking me you can attempt to absolve yourself of your crimes? Nonsense! It’s all complete nonsense with you!”

Rain had no response for him. There was nothing that she could say.

“No answer, huh,” Wihll said. “You leave people like me and Noa off as an afterthought and attempt to act as if you’ve got all the answers. What good comes out of the royal family when they continue to look us over?”

Mina sprung up to her feet. “Don’t let him get to you, Rain!”

“I don’t believe I was talk to you, was I?” Wihll asked.

“I’ve had with you, you villain!” Mina exclaimed. “You want to act like none of us care about what’s been going on, but it’s you who’s careless!”

“You’ve got some nerve sticking up for her,” Wihll replied. “I thought heroes were supposed to be against criminals?”

“The only criminal here is you!” Mina said. “You’re the one who’s destroyed and taken lives, not Rain!”

“If you’re going to call me a criminal, then you may as well call Noa one, too,” Wihll said.

“What? I’m not a criminal!” Noa replied.

“Noa is nothing like you!” Mina said. “Sure he’s not exactly heroic or exceptional, but he’s not as heinous as you!”

“And you really have no leg to stand on,” Sorin added. “The moment Gale is done with that call, we’re making sure that you won’t wreak havoc on anyone ever again.”

Wihll turned away and faced the wall. “Seems I’m as insignificant as ever.”

“You guys really don’t think I’m a bad guy at all, do you?” Noa asked.

“Not at all,” Sorin replied. “You just need to be more confident about yourself is all.”

“And even if you can’t be confident, we’ll be confident for you,” Mina said. “That’s one of our jobs as heroes!”

“Thanks,” Noa said.

“I’d like to thank you both as well,” Rain said. “I just had no idea what to say. I’m sorry about that.”

“You’re both welcome,” Sorin said.

Gale hung up the phone and looked back at the group. “I’m sorry to intervene on this moment, but I’ve got some news,” she said. “I called Ayanna, but it seems like she wasn’t at home.”

Sorin nodded. “Okay.”

“So I called the prime minister’s office instead and informed them,” Gale said. “Unfortunately, Ayanna wasn’t there, either.”

“But you did let them know, right?” Sorin asked.

“I did,” Gale replied. “There should be some soldiers heading over soon.”

“Then we’ve got nothing to worry about,” Sorin said. “Anyway, Noa, I was wondering if it was okay to hear your story.”

“My story?” Noa asked. “You mean… about what happened to my family?”

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to,” Sorin replied.

“No, it’s fine,” he answered. “If I want to be more confident like you said, then I have to conquer my past and not let it haunt me. I’ll talk.”


To be continued…


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Sundown – Chapter 13 (Part 2)

On the other side of the door, Ayanna saw the two princes of Ahnlikohn off as they left her office. Now that that encounter was over with, Ayanna had something else to worry about: the meeting with temporary prime minister Wilson Dezine. Little could be done to calm the numerous nervous thoughts racing through her mind as she paced throughout her office. Ayanna could only hope that at the absolute worst, a mere warning would be issued.

“It’s not like you to wander around without cause,” General Reiss said.

“General Reiss!” Ayanna exclaimed. “You’re not already up there?”

“I wanted to see how you’re handling the news,” Reiss answered. “Believe me when I say that I am just as nervous as you are, Ansa. Not just for my sake, but the rest of Iiayikohn as well.”

“The fact that we’ve got no clue who assassinated the prime minister is troubling,” she said. “It will take a lot of effort on our part to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

“I know that Alan did not go down without a fight,” Reiss said. “He was a warrior through and through, struggling to the end. The preliminary autopsy said as much and that, to me, is a big clue in and of itself.”

“It’s true that we have that information,” Ayanna replied.

She remembered the scene was it was when she first found his body. After the initial investigation, there was also another bullet wound discovered in Alan’s abdomen that had been obscured by the dirt underneath. There had to be an explanation as to what happened between Alan and his attacker, Ayanna thought to herself.

“It’s not going to do us any good to keep standing here, however,” Reiss said. “Eventually we’re going to have to face Dezine and hear him out.”

“I know that, sir,” Ayanna said.

“Whatever may happen, know that this is a united force,” Reiss continued. “Stand tall, hand in hand with your fellow Iiayi. That’s the motto.”


Reiss laughed. “Glad to hear that,” he said. “Let’s get going.”

“Very well,” Ayanna replied.

Ayanna followed Reiss up the stairs and headed straight for the office that had belonged to Alan. Given the circumstances, Dezine occupied the room as he sat behind the large desk. Reiss walked in first and took a seat. Ayanna slowly went in and took the second seat right next to him. They both looked at the older, silver haired man as he laid the paper he was reading down on the surface of the desk.

“You’re two minutes early,” Dezine said. “Is there so little for both of you to do right now?”

“We only wish to speak with you so we can find a solution,” Reiss replied. “I know that you’re particular about meetings…”

“Excuse me, but a man has just been assassinated,” Dezine interrupted. “I don’t think people are ready to talk about solutions right now.”

“The civilians might not be, but that’s what we’re supposed to do, sir,” Ayanna said. “People are looking to us as we speak in order to make sure such a heinous act doesn’t happen again.”

“Lieutenant general, tell me something,” Dezine said, “If your job is to ensure the safety of the prime minister, why then do you try to tell me how to do my job?”

“I’m sorry?” Ayanna asked.

“The Iiayikohnian military is supposed to be the strongest force in all the land,” Dezine replied. “Strong enough to prevent any attack on our soil, but given what has happened over the past few months I’m not so sure that statement rings true anymore.”

“I know we’ve had attacks in the past, but we’ve dealt with the ones responsible,” Ayanna said. “Just like five months ago, we will find the assassin and make sure they get the justice they deserve.”

“She’s correct,” Reiss said. “Those who decide to attack us don’t get the chance to get away with it.”

“But was that not due to the help of both the Ameci and Ahnle militaries?” Dezine asked. “Alan had his hand in making sure that a joint effort would be made to stop the True Thekohnians, but I would think that a stronger, more efficient military would not have the need for such assistance.”

“With all due respect, Prime Minister, I disagree,” Reiss said. “It was in the interest of all three of our nations that the threat must be stopped. Had there been no unity, we wouldn’t even be talking here today.”

“You say unity, but I see it as overreliance,” Dezine said. “There is a lot to be said about this incident and it starts with both of you.”

“I understand,” Ayanna said. “Both of us will strive to better leaders for our troops starting right now.”

“Is that what you think?” Dezine asked. “You were just promoted only a few months ago, weren’t you?”

“That’s true, but…”

“Swift punishments are to be expected from me today,” Dezine said. “It may be unfortunate, but you are clearly not ready to handle the job.”

“Hold on a moment,” Reiss intervened. “Ayanna Ansa was not to blame for the prime minister’s assassination. If you are looking to punish someone, punish me.”

“You wish to stick up for her?” Dezine asked. “After all that’s happened?”

“If it weren’t for my ignorance, then Alan Berry would still be alive,” Reiss answered. “That falls on me, sir, and I am ready to accept any punishment so Ansa will not suffer.”

Ayanna looked at Reiss. “General…”

“Did I not tell you earlier?” Reiss asked. “I am willing to do what it takes. After all, it’s a united force, is it not?”

“It is,” Ayanna replied. “Thank you so much.”

Reiss grinned. “All I can expect from my troops is that they follow your example,” he said. “You should be able to lead them, regardless of what happens.”

“Well, it’s quite a passionate display you’ve put on here, Roderick,” Dezine said. “As befitting a general, I’d say. Very well, then.”

Dezine pulled out a notebook and pen and placed it on his desk. He opened it up and began to write. All Reiss and Ayanna could do was watch as Dezine’s movements crossed from one side of the page to the other. Finally he stopped and put the pen aside.

“Both of you will keep your jobs,” he said, “However, it is not without severity. Starting now, Lieutenant General Ansa, you will be serving a two week suspension. As for you, General Reiss, I will see to it that your power is severely reduced in the near future.”

“My arse it will be!” Reiss said. “If you’re going to suspend someone, suspend me, damn it!”

“And what good would that do?” Dezine asked. “Examples still need to be made. Be happy that it’s only two weeks, or I might just change my mind entirely.”

“You can’t be serious,” Ayanna said.

“People are expecting a lot out of me now that I’m the leader,” Dezine replied. “Right now, I can’t afford to have the general of the military out of work, but I cannot say the same of you.”

“That’s nonsense!” Ayanna said. “You can’t just ignore the general’s wishes like that!”

Reiss shook his head. “I’m sorry, Ayanna.”

“General Reiss?”

“I did all I could,” he replied, “But it looks like we’ve got no choice.”

Ayanna sighed. “Understood.”

“If that’s all, then leave,” Dezine said. “I’ve got an important call coming in later and I don’t want to miss it.”

“Okay,” Reiss said.

“Be glad with the deal you got,” Dezine replied, “And hope that I don’t change my mind later.”

Ayanna and Reiss hurried out of the office. Out in the hall, Ayanna looked to Reiss, his fist clenched as he pounded the railing. He did this two more times until Ayanna stepped in and stopped him.

“General, you don’t need to take it out for my sake,” she said.

“I’m sorry, but when I see my soldiers taking the brunt for me, I can’t help it,” Reiss said. “Be it on the battlefield or behind closed doors, I do what I can to make sure that they don’t lose. I’m sorry for failing you.”

“It hurts to lose work for what happened, but I don’t want you to worry about me,” Ayanna replied. “I will try to make everything right, general, I swear.”

Reiss lifted his head and chuckled. “I knew I made the right choice in choosing you to succeed me.”

“Thank you, again,” she said.

“You’ve got those friends of yours, don’t you?” Reiss asked. “I know I’ve seen that energetic girl pal around with you from time to time.”

“Well, yes, but she’s out of the city right now,” Ayanna replied, “But there is Lawrence and Gavin Power.”

“Ah, I do remember distinctly hearing about Mr. Gavin Power’s heroic deed,” he said. “If he’s eager to find out who assassinated Alan, then perhaps it’s best to seek out his help.”

“I have a feeling that he and Law might have already gotten the head start,” she said. “Since they are with Eva Bellamy, I’m certain that they have their own plan.”

“Had no idea that Miss Bellamy was here.”

“Yes, she caused a small scene earlier but I was able to calm her down.”

“Alan was quite a figure in her life, you know,” Reiss said. “Almost like a father I’d say. Fitting, since he was the leader of the Swords of Eight.”

“It’s up to us now,” Ayanna said. “For Alan’s sake.”

“Look, Ansa, it may be a tough road ahead, but if there’s one thing I know it’s that you’ll be leading that lot to find the killer,” Reiss replied. “Hell, if it weren’t for my restrictions, I’d be working the other soldiers on this too!”

“I’ll catch up with those three,” she said.

“Then I will see you later,” Reiss said. “One last thing: if it’s not too much to ask, I’d like to meet you later tonight at your place.”


Ayanna headed off in search of Gavin and the others. She had to find the three before the day was over, at least if she wanted to help them. Perhaps they had already found a lead to work with. All the more reason to catch up with them, Ayanna thought as she exited the building. There was one place that they could be as Ayanna turned to the direction of the largest hotel in Rezar.




[10th of September, 2740 AD; Quiet Falcon Train Station, Helm, Ahnlikohn]


The train rolled to a stop into the station of Helm as Sorin and the others waited for the doors to open. What felt like several minutes, with Sorin looking around and Rain peering at the door, was only a few seconds as the doors parted open and people began to finally exit the train. Sorin and his group were the last few people to exit the train. As the group exited off onto the platform, they decided to head out of the station and out onto the exterior.

“This is Helm?” Mina asked. “It’s so pretty!”

Within the city were many lush trees growing on either side of the streets, with buildings going down all the way to the end of the street. Though the size of the city did not rival Rezar, it appeared to be lively nonetheless. Some crowds were already surrounding one of the closer destinations, the theater, which was not too far off from the train station.

“It actually looks very peaceful,” Sorin said.

“This is considered to be one of the nicest places to visit in the spring,” Rain said. “It’s not too cold, nor too warm. They even have their own little celebration around the turn of the season.”

Gale adjusted her glasses. “Looks like we should come back here around then,” she said. “You know, when we have the free time.”

“That would be nice,” Rain replied. “Especially if I end up getting to spend that time with you, Mina.”

“Of course… Of course!” Mina said. “Um, Noa, you… you haven’t spoken up at all since we got here. Are you okay?”

Noa had his sights set on a man clad in a green cloak. “He’s looking at us,” he said. “What does he want?”

Sorin looked over at the cloaked man. “Hey you!”

The cloaked man walked up to the group and laughed. There was an unsettling feeling at the bottom of Sorin’s stomach as he hovered his hand over the grip of his sword.

“I don’t wish to fight… at least not right now,” Wihll said. He pulled back the hood of his cloak and revealed his face.

“It’s you!” Mina exclaimed. She rushed up to Wihll and punched him in the face, but Sorin intervened before she could deal more damage.

“Hold on, Mina!” Sorin said.

“Why should I?” Mina asked. “He’s the villain that messed with us and Iiayikohn!”

“I know that,” Sorin replied, “But I don’t think he wants to cause us trouble.”

Wihll coughed as he tended to the side of his face. “I remember now,” he said. “Seems that that girl holds the same contempt for me now that she did in the past.”

“You’re right that I do!” Mina answered. “How could we ever forget the horrible things you did to us, Victor Wihll?”

“And you were the one who organized the attack on the prime minister’s office, weren’t you?” Gale asked.

“I knew this was a mistake,” Wihll said. He looked over at Mina, who was still being held back by Sorin. “Fine, then do to me as you wish. I’ve got little to lose, so are you going to be the one to end my life here?”

“No, I’m going to get you back to prison where you belong!” Mina said.

“If that’s your answer, then you truly are naive,” Wihll replied. “This dedication you and your friends have to ‘heroism’ is sickening if not ridiculous.”

Rain stepped forward. “Victor, is it? Mind if I ask you a question?”

“Go ahead.”

“How did you escape from prison?” Rain asked. “Furthermore, how did you manage to get here of all places?”

“I’d like to say that some very generous people helped me out,” Wihll replied. “To think they’d help someone like me… Hah! It’s only because of them that I realized that I had to be here!”

“So whoever told you to come here knew that we were coming,” Sorin said as he let Mina go. “Who was it?”

“Do you really think I’m going to tell you that?” Wihll asked. “Besides, it’s not like I know his name.”

“We don’t care how you got here,” Mina said, “Just explain yourself!”

Wihll put his hood back up. “That’s not going to happen,” he said. “I’ve got somewhere I need to be, after all.”

Sorin unsheathed his sword and pointed it at Wihll. “Not another move.”

“Or what? You’ll take me in?” Wihll asked.

“There’s five of us,” he replied. “You’re already aware of what Mina can do and I know for a fact that Rain here will not sit idly by.”

Noa raised his hand up. “And… and me, too!”

“Seems I’m shit out of luck now,” Wihll muttered.

“There’s little use in resisting right now,” Rain said. “Come now, let’s get to a more quiet area, then we can alert the proper authorities about Wihll here.”

“You’re so sure of that, princess?” Wihll asked. “Fine, I’ll play your little game, Your Highness.”

“She never told you who she was!” Mina said.

“Regardless of how little you think of me, I do happen to know who this woman is,” Wihll said. “My opinion matters even less, but even so, I don’t think highly of the Thedam family. Not after what happened to my hometown and my country fifteen years ago.”

“Do you mind explaining?” Rain asked. “I have a bad feeling of what you’re speaking of, but please go on.”

“Are you sure, Rain? He might just be lying,” Gale said.

“He… he deserves to be heard out,” she answered.

Sorin put away his sword. “As long as we find a better place to talk.”

“I agree,” Rain said. “You don’t mind at all, do you?”

Wihll laughed. “I’ve got no choice in the matter,” he replied. “Then again, your bespectacled friend might also be right in that I may just choose to lie.”

“Mr. Victor Wihll, right?” Noa asked. “This incident you’re talking about… It wouldn’t happen to be Kals Dale, would it?”

“That’s right,” Wihll said. “How exactly do you know about that?”

“Because that incident is very important to me, too,” Noa replied. “It was when I lost my entire family.”


To be continued…


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