Alkaia’s warriors were watching me, they didn’t trust me, but they had to accept my presence because I was Alkaia’s guest. I couldn’t help but recognize that Alkaia was in complete control of her people and was obviously a good leader, but she was too confident. One of the most important lessons my mother taught me was that no matter who you are or how strong you are, there’s always someone stronger than you. It was true that I had on many occasions committed the error of thinking I was invincible, even surrounded by Amazons, possible enemies, I was still confident that I could take them down if I needed to, but I wasn’t letting my guard down, I was prepared to defend myself, my psychic wall prepared to repel any attack. Alkaia was totally relaxed, unconcerned of the threat I could become.
“We are getting farther away from the last place they were seen,” Bremusa, one of Alkaia’s cousins, repeated her complain. She was not only one of the Clan’s generals, but she was also the mother of the warrior the Militaries had attacked. “If we lose them because of this…”
“We are getting closer,” I interrupted her, “we will have to stop and continue by foot in about ten minutes, we need to approach them with care so they don’t notice our presence right away.”
“Do you believe that we need to hide from them? That we are scared of them?” Bremusa asked, her temper about to explode.
“What we need is to be careful so they don’t run away from us before we have the chance of capturing them.” I was calm, my voice soft and level, and I could feel how my confidence and cool was getting on her nerves.
Ten minutes later I asked them to stop and then guided them to a place where we could see the Militaries. The walk there took only a few minutes, but it felt longer because of the oppressive atmosphere that the warriors around me were causing with their mistrust. They relaxed a little once we arrived to the point from where our target was visible. Alkaia looked pleased and even Bremusa’s hostility eased a little bit, all her anger was now focused on the men that had attacked her daughter.
“I suggest you to order your warriors to surround the clearing, that way if any of them try to escape we will be able to stop them, we don’t want to lose any of them.” I told her.
“I don’t know who you are, but you are clearly underestimating me if you think I will allow that bastard to escape me.” Bremusa started walking to the clearing where the Militaries were having a reunion.
“Bremusa, wait!” Alkaia ordered. “I want you to circle the clearing and stand on guard. No one leaves here without my authorization.” She told her warriors. “You, follow me,” she told me, “Bremusa, walk by my side.” Bremusa started walking to Alkaia’s right, so I took a position to her left.
They noticed us as soon as we stepped inside the clearing, but the Militaries didn’t look worried about our presence. I couldn’t understand how after so many years fighting side by side the Militaries still insisted that the Amazons were inferior to them just because they were women. The fact that the Amazons thought that the Militaries were inferior to them because they were men didn’t help the situation. I just couldn’t understand how they could be allies.
“What’s going on Tank?” A man asked, he looked like the leader of the group that was meeting the Militaries. He was tall and slender, but I could see that he was strong.
“Nothing to worry about, you know women, they’re always coming to where they are not invited, don’t pay attention to them.” Tank dismissed the threat walking his way.
“I will enjoy teaching the little bastard how to treat a woman.” Bremusa said.
“I know how to treat a woman, if you don’t believe me just ask your daughter.” I couldn’t believe Tank, he couldn’t be so stupid, using those words with her. Bremusa prepared to attack, I could see her nails growing larger and the hairs on her arms turning hard as thorns, but before she could attack Alkaia put her hand on her shoulder in a silent order to stop.
“You will come with us, you and your men are going to pay for the crimes committed against my warriors.” Alkaia said.
“I don’t know what is the problem between you,” the leader of the other group said, “but we have nothing to do with it. Our business is finished, we will go and leave you alone so you can work out whatever you have to work out.”
“You are coming with us, I want to know why are you here. We will take you to our camp for interrogation.”
The man tried to talk to Alkaia again, but she wasn’t paying attention, her orders had been given and she was expecting obedience.
“If you want her to listen,” I suggested, “let the woman talk for you.” The woman I was referring to was busy checking the boxes the Militaries had given them, but when he heard me she looked at me. She was wearing big glasses that covered most of her face and a scarf that covered the rest. That and the baggy clothes she was wearing made it easy to take her for a man. After my words she took the glasses and the scarf off, showing a definitely feminine face.
“Did you let a woman touch the weapons I’m giving you?” Tank asked, he was furious at the fact and was ignoring Alkaia.
“That woman knows more about weapons that you and all your men together, so yes, I allow her to check them,” the man said. His words put Tank in a worse mood, but Alkaia was impressed by them.
“I was going to suggest we shared the whores,” Tank said as he looked at us, “but seeing you have your own toy and didn’t share, I’ll take them to myself.”
The group was getting restless, unlike the Militaries, they recognized the power of the Amazons and the danger they were in, Tank seemed oblivious to his situation. The group started moving, each one took a box and tried to retreat.
“Let the weapons down,” Alkaia ordered, “we won’t let you have them unless we are sure that you won’t try to use them against us or our Allies.”
“That’s enough, I won’t let you interfere with my business.” Tank signaled his men and they raised their guns. “It’s time you shut up and learn your place, I have better use of your mouths,” he made a rude gesture and his men laughed.
His words reminded me of Agmong and I felt a shiver down my spine, I hated that even after all the time a few words were capable of affecting me like that. I could just do one thing, what I always did when the memories threatened to overwhelm me, I used my fear and turned it into rage, and attacked. Stone stakes appeared around the men, creating improvised cells to contain them.
“That was a warning, don’t move, don’t resist, or the next stakes are going through you, instead of around,” I warned them.
“Stupid bitch, you think you can stop me that easily?” Tank screamed, breaking the rocks as if they were made of paper and ran towards us at top speed.
“I’ll handle him,” Bremusa offered, running to intercept him. The crash between them sounded like an explosion. I was sure the noise was heard even in the Militaries camp a few miles away.
While Bremusa and Tank were fighting, Tank’s men were trying to escape my cells, I had managed to put them in a position where they couldn’t use their guns, but if they could break free they would be able to fire at us. I used my powers to grab the guns and the boxes and pull them to me, but the other group was faster to break free and their leader took the boxes back. He was too strong and I was unable to get the boxes.
“Deal with them, I don’t want them to go until I know who they are and what they were doing with the Militaries,” Alkaia ordered me.
“I don’t believe they are a threat to us, we are here for the Militaries, we should concentrate on them.”
“I won’t repeat myself, I don’t like loose ends and I don’t know them, so do what I say and capture them.”
I moved towards the group, all of them were free of my improvised cells and were trying to escape. I saw the woman open one of the boxes and took one of the guns out, I guessed she was trying to use it against me and using my powers I heated the weapon until she was unable to hold it. She dropped the gun back into the box and closed it again.
Their leader started to shout orders in a language I didn’t recognize while I was trying to take the guns and boxes back. One of them took some knives and threw them to me, but my psychic wall was enough to stop it, only the distraction was enough to make me lose my hold on the boxes. While they grabbed the boxes, handling them as if they were weightless, and prepared to flee, their leader moved closer to me.
I extended my psychic wall and then push it against him, thinking it would be enough to stop him, but he surprised me by shattering it. In he blink of an eye he was in front of me, his movements too fast for me. His attack was fast, and I reacted by instinct, moving away from him. Again, I tried with my wall, instead of trying to cover a wide area, concentrating on a smaller one, making it stronger, and putting it in front of me. He hit the wall, but he moved as if he knew what I had done and quickly sidestepped it. He was in front of me again, faster than I could react. Instead of hitting me he grabbed my arm, and twisting it behind my back, he held me while he put the other arm around my neck. I was immobilized, his strength more evident than ever.
“I don’t want to hurt you, just let us go. No one needs to be hurt,” he said.
“It’s not me you should worry about,” I said. Not thinking about the harm I could do to myself, I lifted my legs, using my weight to throw him out of balance while using my mind to hit him behind the legs. He was still holding me, so the both of us fell hard on the ground. I fell on top of him so he was hurt more than me, and the blow was enough to relax his hold on me enough so I could escape him. I rolled out of his reach, but as I was getting ready to stand up I noticed he was already on his feet.
I tried to kick him on the legs, to send him back to the ground, but his balance was back and from the ground I didn’t have enough strength to throw him. He looked even taller and stronger from my position. As I was watching him I noticed for the first time his skin color, he had a color I had not seen before, I was used to brown skin, but his dark skin a was different shade, and it contrasted beautifully with his green eyes.
He tried to attack me again and I had to let my curiosity go so I could concentrate on the fight. Using my mind, I lifted his body as high as I could, his constant fighting was making it hard to keep my hold on him, but I just needed to lift him high enough that the fall would do the work for me. I let him go and while he was falling I used my powers to create more stakes, but it was useless, the warrior managed to slow the fall and avoid the stakes. Not only that, he broke one of them and threw it to me. I moved out of the way of the improvised spear, but in a second he was again in front of me. I realized that the usual tricks would not work on him, so I took my psychic wall and warped it around me like a second skin, concentrating its power on vital points, especially around my baby. The warrior tried to hit me, but I blocked him and I used my mind to strenghten the punch I gave him.
We started to fight, I used my wall as an armor and used all of the tricks I had learnt during my life to block and attack, but it was difficult, he was a formidable enemy. He seemed to know what my next move was going to be, but I knew that he wasn’t reading my mind. For a while I felt at a disadvantage, but then I noticed that he wasn’t as confident as he appeared. Blow by blow the fight kept going without any of us taking the advantage over the other. I tried to put some distance between us so that I could try other things, but he was over me all the time and I couldn’t let my psychic armor go enough time to try something else. He was too strong, I knew that without my protection all he needed to stop me was one hit, one hit and he would shatter my bones.
After a while we fell into a rhythm, I felt like I was sparring with one of my subordinates, not fighting for my life, he was deathly, but not really a threat. I started to feel discomfort in my head, early signs that I was pushing my powers to the limit. But I wasn’t the only one affected, my enemy was getting tired too, he was trying very hard not to show it, but he couldn’t hide the sweat covering his skin or his heavy breathing. I wasn’t sure how, but I knew that we have been fighting for a long time, maybe hours. It had been a long time since I had been unable to stop my enemies in minutes.
“What if we declare a tie and stop this?” He asked.
I was about to answer when a bloodcurdling cry broke the silence around us. The sound distracted him for just a second, but it was enough for me to hit him on the head and sent him to the ground. I was about to continue my attack, but he took some dirt and threw it at me, I used my powers to command the wind to stop it before it reached me, but he took advantage of the moment to use a stun grenade. It took me a while to recover, and by the time I did I realized I was alone, there was no trace of the man.
I had wasted enough time, I couldn’t keep on looking for him, I had to go back to Alkaia.