Chapter 7:


Curiosity Killed The Cat

Reohn studied himself in the mirror of his bathroom. His hands raised again to style his brown hair. Did that look ok? Was it too much? Not good enough? Whatever. He had spent enough time here. He abruptly left to finish his morning routine. As he put on his uniform, he tried to remember the lines for his important interview later today. It was going to be broadcast live, after all.

The life of a national hero was a busy one. He didn’t have time to waste around in this small space. He put on his dark red gloves at the end of the routine, just like every day. One last check in the mirror and he was out. The door loudly closed behind him as he took off. As he walked down the hall, he made sure to bang on Kothur’s door. It was just to keep him on his toes. Got to make sure he doesn’t oversleep, right?

The sun had barely begun to rise as he walked along the sidewalk outside of the apartment building. It was quiet and the grass held small dew drops that shone when he walked by. This was probably his favorite part of the morning. He looked up at the wide sky. No clouds. It was a nice sight.

The building he entered was already crowded with other uniformed men. Some greeted him excitedly, which he made sure to return with a greeting equally as enthusiastic. He made sure to treat his comrades with respect, no matter how he felt about them individually. Keeping up the morale of the country was his main job. He thought it was an important one as this world was looking rougher every day.

The research and training division men were already waiting for him by the time he arrived. “Took your sweet time again today, I see.” Major Heonse spoke with a voice full of snide.

“Some soldiers were extra gabby this morning. I can’t be rude and cut them off. Wouldn’t look good, sir.” Reohn replied happily. Yes, happily. No matter how much he wanted to punch the person in front of him.

Heonse gave a sigh. His worn face was never happy to see him. It wasn’t like Reohn wanted to see his face either. Don’t let it bug you, Reohn thought to himself. It didn’t really. Heonse didn’t really matter. All that mattered was knowing the people of this country count on me. I can’t let them down.

Today’s plan looked something like this: help rookies with their training, meeting with supervisors, lunch with Kothur, national interview, then strength training. His days always had him running around. He enjoyed the busy work though.

The training room Reohn walked in had five young men with riffles. All the rifles were military issued with the same red glowing dael gem near the top of the muzzle. Today he was going to help them perfect their form. It was their first time shooting them. He raised his hand to give them a cool greeting. They were all very pleased to see him. What a nice feeling.

Reohn called on the first member to start with. The shooting range had bullseye targets down a long stretch. The first lad set up his gear. As he lined up his shot and put his finger near the trigger, a red cross appeared in front of his eyes. He flinched and started to reel back.

“Don’t be scared now. That deal technology is there to help you lock onto your target. It works best when you’re calm.” Reohn advised him.

The young man took a deep breath and a loud shot rang out. The bullet had missed. It landed just to the left.

“It’s ok. It missed because of your wrist positioning. You don’t want your wrist limp. Steady them and try again.” Reohn tried to show him the correct posture.

Another loud shot. A perfect bullseye. The young man was overjoyed. The rest of the men went through their turns as well. Many scored bullseyes on their first shot.

“See, you guys don’t even need me here.” Reohn laughed.

“That’s not true, sir! We are so grateful for someone like you to help rookies like us. We couldn’t have done it without you.” They tried to tell him.

Reohn wore a big grin at them. Of course it’s true, he thought. Didn’t you see? The rifle practically puts in all of the work for you. It just needs a working hand and both eyes to work. The top guys just put me in front of the newbies to hide the fact that we are going to be replaced soon. Until then we feel like manly heroes protecting our country. We are only here to enjoy our time in the sun while it lasts.

It wasn’t long after the training that Reohn was sitting in a bright meeting room with three of his supervisors. Major Heonse was among them with his arms crossed. He looked at them with his arms on the table. He didn’t really know what this meeting was going to be for and he didn’t really care. He just hoped it wouldn’t take too long.

“Good work today, soldier. I heard the rookies were really pleased to have you as their teacher today.” One of the well-adorned men spoke to him in a kind voice.

“It was my pleasure, sir.” Reohn responded.

“I’m sure you’re wondering why we called this meeting today. You have been doing a great job in your work in keeping the troops’ morale up. It's just that you’ve been at it for a few years now and you aren’t getting any younger.” He put his hands together. “During the national broadcast today, we want you to mention you are getting married.”

Reohn stared in shock. “W-what? Why? To who??” He couldn’t keep his usual cool composure at the strange turn of events.

“Sorry to spring this so suddenly on you, son. The higher-ups were taking their time on a decision on who your wife-to-be would be.”

“I couldn’t be part of this decision?” Reohn asked indignantly.

“What’s wrong, soldier? This should be a happy moment for you. Don’t you like women?” Heonse was messing with him with a cruel smile.

“I don’t-! I’m not-!” Reohn waved his hands nervously. “I mean... it’s just so sudden, is all.” He tried to remain calm. He cleared his throat. “I’ll announce it during the interview, no problem. Can I at least ask who my bride will be?”

“It will be one of the head branch teachers. I was told her name is Sibelle." He noticed Reohn's continuing displeasure. "An unmarried man at your age would be off-putting for the public. This would increase your general appeal. It’s the best course of action.” 

Reohn accepted his fate without much struggle after that. Nothing he said would change their minds anyway. He knew they were only bringing up this publicity stunt to keep him from falling off in popularity. It had been some years since the event that made him a hero happened and it was uncertain if they were going to send him to fight in Rydes. That event was a fluke and the higher-ups could tell. Anything to keep from getting replaced and throw out.