Life under Joshes’ command was as different from Agmong’s command as night and day, but it was the same. Lamia was right in asking us to stay away from Joshes, once she got you under her influence there was nothing you could do to get free. I didn’t understand how Lamia had been able to get away from her, once Joshes got to you the only thing in your mind was a compulsion to please her. Agmong had used fear to force people into doing what he wanted, Joshes used her power to make you want to do what she wanted. She could turn you into a sex driven animal, capable of anything. In a way it was far worse than what Agmong did, it turned my own body against me, it made me want and crave the pain and humiliation. I hated her, but I loved her, I wished I could kill her while wanting her hand on my skin and my lips on hers. I hated her and hated myself and my weakness.
First time I had seen Joshes’ bed, I had wondered about the size, I didn’t understand the need for one so big. After being part of her first orgy I understood. Despite her powers and her compulsion, it was often too much for me, so I made a habit of escaping the nights to go into the astral planes. I came back to my body to piece together what had happened based on my bruises and pains.
Once again, I woke up as part of a tangled mess of bodies on Joshes’ bed. I still had the custom of waking early from my days with Agmong so I was the first up. I took my things and went for the showers, trying to find a time alone before the others woke up.
“Do you need help scrubbing your back?” asked Crven, one of Joshes’ favorites. He was the lieutenant that had walked with me to the infirmary my first day as one of Joshes’ lieutenants. I didn’t know much about him and except that first day we hadn’t even talked, still we had spent a lot of nights together.
“Get away from me Crven” I warned him, I had no choice but to endure him when Joshes was around, but I wasn’t going to let him touch me if I had a choice.
“So much rage is not good for the soul Kaiserin” he said as he opened a shower close to mine.
“Just leave me alone Crven, I don’t want to talk to you.” I let the water wash the soap and shampoo and got out of the shower.
“You need someone you can talk to or you will go crazy,” he said as I was getting ready to leave. “I have seen many going through what you have gone, they end up being either the perpetual victim or becoming the perpetrator. What do you want to be?”
“That doesn’t matter to you, just stay away from me.” I was about to go out but Crven blocked my exit.
“You need to get away from Joshes, is obvious to me that you don’t want to be with her, you need to break free from her before is too late.”
“You say it as if it was easy” it wasn’t as if I hadn’t thought it before. “If it is so simple, why are you still with her?”
“Unlike you I enjoy being with Joshes, most of us do, but you don’t, anyone who wants to see can tell. Just stay away from her.” I used my mind to push him out of my way.
It was true, being with Joshes was breaking me again, but as long as I stayed near her, I loved her, despite the nocturnal hell Joshes was actually kind to me. I dressed myself and prepared for the new day. But I couldn’t help but think about what Crven had told me.
Most of the day I spent with Joshes, she was always trying to get information from me, asking how things worked on the Palace, how the generals behaved, how things were in other parts of the empire. Sometimes I answered her. I knew she was using me to get information and even when I didn’t want to help her I couldn’t help but to cooperate, she was my superior and I wanted to please her.
The time I didn’t spend with her I was in charge of training. It was an arrangement that suited me well, it was both an opportunity for me to train and improve my powers and to take revenge on those who had abused me. Joshes had even let a couple of “accidental deaths” slide as if nothing had happened.
“Walk with me,” called Joshes after breakfast, startling me because it was time for the training to start.
“Where are we going?” I asked. Joshes was in a good mood.
“You know that we have had some conflicts in our borders with the Rebels Clans, right?”
“Are we going into battle?” None of the fights with the rebels had been important, but I knew how fast it could escalate.
“I don’t know that, what I know is that major Brau died during the last fight and as none of us is happy with his replacement we are going to protest.”
“Protest?” I couldn’t imagine how a protest could go or how serious something like that would be taken in sector 32.
“That’s right my dear Kaiserin.” Joshes stopped for a moment, so we could talk face to face. “Things here are done differently from other sectors, we do take seriously the fact that the strongest one should be in charge. What you did the day I made you lieutenant is how you conduct business in other sectors, we don’t usually wait for an invitation from our superiors to take what we think is ours. We are going to challenge the new major and if one of the captains is able to make him submit or kill him, then that captain is going to become the new Major.
“The strongest one is not always the best one to lead.” It was a lesson I had learned since I was a kid, one of the memories I had recovered.
“That doesn’t matter here Kaiserin.” She started again toward the clearing where the other captains were reunited around a man.
I could understand why they were unhappy with the major. The man was tiny, not the kind you normally found in the sector, I guessed he wasn’t from around. He looked frail and weak, but I knew that appearances could be deceiving, after all Lamia looked like a delicate doll and was a demon in disguise. The man was way too confident to be weak. There was something about him that the others were not looking.
“Have you seen him before?” Joshes asked me. I just shook my head, trying to analyze the situation. “He’s not from here, I thought that perhaps he was from the Palace.”
“The empire is a big place, he could have come from many places,” I said, “but I have the feeling that your ‘protest’ is not going to work, that man is dangerous.”
“That man is tiny” Joshes wasn’t paying attention.
Captains Kroppen and Tankene were talking to the man. They were a dangerous team and I was curious to see what they had planned. Everyone was surprised when the man simply stepped closer to the brothers and with quick and certain hits, to which they offered no resistance, took them out of combat.
“My kids,” said the major, using the most denigrating term available, “it’s so sweet of you to plan this intervention, but I assure you that I am more than capable to face the tests that this position can throw my way. I am more capable than any of you.”
“Look old man,” said another captain, “I don’t know what trick you used, but it won’t work with the rest of us.”
“The ideal approach would be for you to come for me one by one, but I don’t care if you all attack me at the same time, there is nothing you can do against me anyway,” the man mocked them.
“If something happens Kaiserin I want you to watch my back, I don’t want any of the captains to take advantage of a moment of vulnerability to attack me.” Joshes went ahead. I knew what she was planning, she would wait for the other captains to weaken the major and then she would use her powers to cloud his mind with thoughts of sex and then attack when he was distracted.
I have observed for a while, not knowing what was going on. As soon as the captains approached the major they froze or became disoriented, not one of them was able to touch him, but he easily took them out one by one until there was no one left standing. A couple of captains managed to recover enough to try again with the same results.
“Are you going to try kid?” the new major asked me. “Well, it seems at least someone recognizes her limitations.” I haven’t even thought about trying, but once he gave me the idea I couldn’t shake it.
“I knew you were dangerous, but I haven’t figured out why or how” I walked to him, careful to keep my distance and not taking my eyes off of him. “I don’t like to go blind into a battle, I like to maintain control.” As I closed the distance I noticed something odd, I heard steps, but he wasn’t moving.
I closed my eyes and the noise got louder, I opened my eyes but the man was still on the same place. From the corner of my eye I catch movement and moved by instinct. Once I moved the man appeared in front of me, he had just missed me, he had hit the space where I was standing just a second before.
“How did you do it?” I was confused.
“That’s my secret, you don’t expect me to tell you, do you?” He wasn’t moving, but his voice was reaching me from a different point. I realized that I couldn’t trust my eyes.
“No, you’re right, I will have to find out by myself.” I closed my eyes since I couldn’t trust them and focused on the sounds, there were too many, it was difficult find one person moving.
I felt someone close to me, it was just a sensation, a feeling, but I trusted it. Using my mind, I pushed all around me, I hit someone and opened my eyes to find the major on the floor just a few steps from me. Some of the captains were regaining consciousness and were watching me. The major was getting up, but I still didn’t know what he was doing. I didn’t want to take my eyes off of him, but my last attack has raised a cloud of dirt and I had to clean my eyes. I rubbed one of my eyes and as I opened it again, I found a strange scene before me. There were two images in front of me, in one the major was approaching me, in the other he was just standing. All the people were watching the one that wasn’t moving.
The sound of steps was consistent with the image that was moving, so when he came to me I was prepared. I saw the fist coming at me and took a step back to dodge at the same time that I threw a punch at him, he moved and blocked my attack.
“Can you see me?” he was surprised and suddenly there was just one version of him.
“I think I figured out your trick.” I told him as I closed one of my eyes. It was a visual trick, I guessed my double mind helped me escape the full effect.
“This is going to be interesting.” He attacked me again, when I opened my eye I found two images again. But both were moving so it was more difficult to identify the real one.
I defended as well as I could, but it was hard and I received a lot of damage. I tried to block a kick and my arm was almost unable to take the force of the hit. Another kick to the side sent me to the ground, I was focusing on defending and I received blow after blow, but I kept fighting. We kept the same pace until I could tell which one was real, for a while I pretended to be clueless, waiting for the right moment. When the time was right, I took the major with my mind and threw him up as far as I could. The illusion dropped after that so there was only one. He shifted in the air preparing for the hit, but the place where he was going to fall into was full with spikes I had created, there was nothing he could do to dodge. I had been easy, too easy.
I approached him and found that he wasn’t dead, but was disabled. One spike pierced his shoulder, another his arm and two went through his right leg, pinning him to the floor. I pulled the spikes back to the floor with my powers, walked to him and took the insignia from his chest.
“Good job Kaiserin” said Joshes behind me, “now give me the insignia.”
“Why?” I didn’t turn around to face her. I put the insignia on my uniform taking the one for lieutenant off. “I was the one who won the fight, I earned the insignia.”
“Don’t be silly Kaiserin” I could feel Joshes near me and I wanted to turn around and succumb to her touch, I wished for her to embrace me, so much that it hurt. But those were the desires of my flesh, not my mind. Without looking at her I used my mind to push her away.
“What’s your name?” I asked the defeated major. He didn’t answer, he just stared at me with fury and surprise.
“I think his name is Zounkla” said one of the captains.
“Well, someone should take him to the infirmary.” I said, wishing someone would listen, I wasn’t sure the insignia would be enough to command obedience. One of the captains approached him and helped him to walk to the infirmary.
“Kaiserin, what the hell are you doing?” Joshes wasn’t happy. “You are mine, your victory is mine, give me the insignia!” I wanted to go to Joshes, I needed her, but I remembered Crven’s words, I needed to stay away from her. “You can take my place as captain,” she offered. She was close again.
“I prefer to be Major Kaiserin. Kroppen, Tankene, keep Joshes away from me. I don’t care how, just do it.” I walked away, I needed a shower. I heard Joshes screaming and knew that Kroppen and Tankene were doing as I told them.
While in the shower, I kept thinking about what had happened. The strongest commands. I had a lot of possibilities opening to me. I was recovering my memories, little by little, but enough to make me feel better about myself. I got out of the shower for the second time that day and walked towards the infirmary. My arm hurt and was bruised, I was sure it was broken, maybe even one of my ribs was broken.
It took them just a few minutes to clean and dress my injuries from the battle, but they insisted on keeping me there so they could give me some pain medicines through an IV. Not long after I arrived there someone came looking for me. Someone I didn’t know.
“Allow me to introduce myself,” said the man, “I’m lieutenant colonel Isen. I personally selected Zounkla to replace major Brau. When I heard someone had defeated him I was surprised and I have to admit you are not what I was expecting.” I didn’t like the way he was undressing me with his eyes.
“I’m sorry to disappoint you.” I took the IV off and stood up to Isen. I wasn’t going to let him intimidate me.
“I’m not disappointed, just surprised,” he said, staring at me, “I wasn’t expecting a pretty young girl like you to defeat an experienced warrior like Zounkla” he consulted some papers on his hands. “Until two months ago you were known as Sklave, a soldier under sergeant Agmong’s command, then you became Kaiserin and became a lieutenant under Joshes’ command, who by the way is not happy with you.”
“I won the battle, according to Joshes is all I need to deserve the insignia” Joshes had lost her opportunity to climb positions and had lost one of her toys, of course she was angry. “I earned the position as major.”
“From simple soldier to lieutenant and then to major. You are skipping positions, it’s only logical that people will mind.”
“Until a few years ago I was a captain in the Palace, I’m just making up for lost time.”
“Follow me, we need to discuss your new assignations” I didn’t like the smile creeping on his face, but I followed anyway.
We walked past the barracks and went to a building I had never accessed, the headquarters, where the offices for the high command were. On one side of the headquarters was a building where the rooms for the high command were. On the other side an infirmary and dining only they, us, had access.
“My room and yours are on the other side, on the back of the building” Isen told me, “I will show you the place you will be sleeping in later, for the moment, let’s go to my office.” We went into the headquarters, we walked through a long hallway with doors on both sides, almost at the end Isen opened a door to a small office. Isen sat behind a desk, I stood in front of him. “Brau was one of my best watchmen, good in battle and with good instincts. That’s why I brought Zounkla to replace him, I didn’t think I would find anyone here capable.
“Not everyone agreed with your choice” I said.
“No, they weren’t, because people here don’t understand that sometimes strength alone is not enough to win a battle, intelligence and instincts are also important. Brau had it, Zounkla too, but you, I don’t know.”
“I am a victor of many battles. My win over Zounkla is one of many and by far the least important.” I wasn’t sure what Isen wanted, but I wasn’t going to let go of my insignia easily.
“I won’t take away your victory or your earned rank, I couldn’t even if I wanted, too many people witnessed your fight and even if they don’t agree on what happened, they agree that you won.” Isen’s words weren’t giving me any comfort, I had a bad feeling about him. “Now all I have to do is find the best way of using you,” he stood up and walked around the desk until he was in front of me. “Take your clothes off,” he said, “I want to see what you can offer me.”
“What?” for a moment I thought I had misheard him.
“You are one of those soldiers trained to please her superiors, you were Agmong’s plaything and then Joshes’, I want to see what you can do, so strip.” I was frozen, that was not what I expected, I was trapped again in the same situation. “Do you want me to do it for you?” he took a step towards me.
“Get away from me” I stepped back to the door. “I am a warrior, not a sex slave and you are mistaken if you think you can do whatever you want with me.”
“I’m your superior, that means I can do whatever I want,” he said, “it’s the rule of the strongest” his face changed and I didn’t like what I saw.
I knew nothing about Isen, I didn’t know what his power was or how strong he was, what I knew was that I couldn’t take the humiliation from being his toy. An irrational fear was taking hold of me, I opened the door and ran out of the place. Before I reached the door, he grabbed my good arm. I immediately felt my arm going numb.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Isen was smirking at me. “We are not done talking.” My arm was useless, the other was in a cast and therefore I couldn’t use it either.
“I am not your toy Isen” I said, “go look for someone else.”
“You are whatever I want you to be” was his answer, he sounded angry, “stop resisting and do what I tell you to. It’s an order.”
“No!” my fear was quickly turning to fury. Using my mind, I pushed him away from me and he hit the wall behind him. “You won’t tell me what to do, I am better than you, I am stronger than you, and I am more capable than you.”
People came out of their offices to see what the noise was about. There were few people at that hour, some of them were out carrying out their duties, but is seemed that the few that were at the offices were being drawn to the fight.”
Isen recovered and took his gun out of the holder. I used my mind to grab it and threw it away. He ran to me and attacked me, he was so fast it was hard to follow his movements. I used the cast as a shield, but the pain of each blow was strong, even with the medicine I had taken for the pain. I tried to kick him, but he caught my leg and it started to go numb just like my arm. He threw against a door and I flew through it, breaking it to pieces as I landed in the middle of an office a little bit bigger than Isen’s.
“I would think that after being with Agmong you would know how to behave.” Said Isen from outside the room.
“I never agreed on Agmong’s idea of obedience.” I used my broken arm to support myself, and with the help of a desk I stood up. My right arm and leg were numb and useless. “At the end I killed Agmong, maybe I should kill you too.”
“You can try, but it won’t be easy if you can’t even move.” I answered him by pushing him to the other side of the hallway. He hit the door, but didn’t break it. He recovered again. “I am very resistant, you will get tired by your mental tricks before I get tired.”
He was right, I haven’t had anything to eat and the fight with Zounkla had already taken its toll on me. But I haven’t escaped Agmong and Joshes just to fall into the same trap, I had already decided not to let anyone else take advantage of me. When Isen started walking towards me again I took one of the fragments of the door with my mind and threw it to him. He easily blocked it and kept walking. I started throwing everything I could. I noticed a sharp fragment that was still attached to the door frame. Isen walked into the office and I looked around searching for something else to throw at him.
“I don’t get it, how did you manage to defeat Zounkla with these tricks? It is time to stop playing” I tried to hit him, but with a broken arm and a frozen arm and leg I didn’t have many options. “Sweet dreams,” he said before grabbing my neck. I noticed that the same thing that had affected my limbs was now affecting my neck, I couldn’t speak and breathing was becoming difficult.
I focused my attention to the sharp fragment still attached to the door frame and taking it out I stabbed Isen in the neck with it, piercing his jugular. I saw the fragment protruding from his neck and the blood spilling, he let me go and stumbled backwards and I knew that I had won. He touched the fragment and looked at me with a mixture of pain and surprise. Using my mind, I took the fragment out and the blood arched through the room, painting walls, floor and ceiling with his blood. He fell to the floor and a blood pool extended from his neck. I fell too. I was fighting the numbness of my body, the lack of response. I tried to force air into my lungs, but my throat was frozen.
“This was one of the most entertaining afternoons in a while,” said a voice from outside the office.
“Sure, it wasn’t your office that got redecorated” said someone else, “just wait for Arkta to return, she will be furious.”
“Is he dead?” Asked the first voice.
“It seems like it,” a woman walked inside, close to Isen. “No one can survive after losing that much blood.” She walked to me but I pushed her away. “Easy girl, I just wanted to see if you were still alive. I see that you are.”
“I guess that’s Kaiserin, the one who beat Zounkla this morning.” Said a man from outside the office.
“How do you know that?” Asked the woman.
“Isen told me that he was going to look for her, she beat Zounkla and took his major insignia, so she was under Isen’s command. He also said that she was one of Joshes’ girls, trained by Agmong. We were going to have fun with her before deciding what obligations we would give her.”
The man’s words echoed in my ears, before I could fully register what he was saying I had already grabbed the weapon I had used against Isen and threw it to him.
“What the hell?!” yelled the man as he dodged my attack and got out of my sight. I heard people laughing at the scared man.
“I see that the little kitty has sharp claws, I bet Isen wasn’t expecting that” someone said once the laughter calmed down.
“It’s obvious what happened here, Isen bit off more than he could chew.” Said the woman and more laughter erupted in the hallway. “Come girl, we need to take you to the infirmary” she said as she extended her hand to me, “Isen produces a paralyzing agent in his hands, we need to treat you before something bad happens” by the way my throat was closing and my limbs growing heavy and frozen I knew she was right. “Come, let me help you, I promise not to let any of the wolves eat you.”
I tried to speak, but couldn’t.
“I’m colonel Modra” she introduced herself, “and I respect your strength, first Zounkla and then Isen, not many could accomplish such feat.” I let Modra help me, she put my useless arm around her shoulders and using her to support me I walked out. When we passed by Isen I used my mind to tear his insignia from his uniform and put in my hand. Modra laughed. “You earned it kid, keep it.”
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