For two days we stayed in the house, barely getting out of bed, we both needed our rest, Kimball because of his injuries, and I because of my psychic headache. During that time we talked about everything that had happened in the months since we had seen each other. Kimball told me how the gathering of the leaders of the free countries, and how they had been betrayed by one of them. He said that it was my warning that allowed him to take the embassadors to safety, thanks to that none of them had died, but during the battle many of his own men had been lost, he almost died too. He had been shot several times, one of the bullets had gone into his heart. His fast recovery allowed the wounds to close, but the bullet was still inside and could do more damage if it moved to a vein or artery, the doctors knew they had to remove the bullet and they had to operate. It took more than one operation to take the bullet out and fix the damage to his body. He wanted to come back as soon as he could, but it took a long time for his people to let him go, they were worried about him.
I told him about my pregnancy. I told him how Rex had found me with the Amazons and I was forced to go to the Shadows Kingdom to avoid my people. I told him about Greca’s birth, how she had been born early, but despite everything she was still a strong, healthy baby. I talked about my vision of her and Malkia, and how I had taken her to the Fortress so she could be with her sister and they could help each other in the future. Kimball didn’t say anything, but I could feel his anger, he didn’t like that I had hidden my pregnancy from him, but he just told me that he was sad that he couldn’t be with me during that time, that it was his fault for leaving for so long. He wanted to meet his daughter, and it was hard for him to accept that she was away, but he said that he was happy that he had me.
The third day after my arrival, I woke up feeling well, the headache was gone and I felt strong again. Kimball’s injuries were almost gone, as if nothing had happened to him. We have spent our time just holding each other, but I knew we needed more than that. During my time with Agmong I had learnt how to please my superiors, I was good at that, it was something I needed in order to survive. With Vasuman it was just something that I had to do, it was my duty to keep him happy as my superior, I didn’t always like it, but it was something I had to do. But for the first time I was happy that I had that knowledge, because I knew that I could make Kimball happy, that I could give something to him. I woke him up with my kisses, and spent a good part of the morning worshiping his body. With Kimball it wasn’t just a physical need, it was a spiritual act. Once I was done Kimball returned the favor, and I couldn’t be happier.
I had asked the Amazons to give me back Kimball’s belongings, so Kimball was wearing his own clothes when we finally got out of the house. I needed to show everyone that he was different, I wouldn’t let him dress or act like a slave, he was more than that and the Amazons would have to accept it. A group of Amazons was outside my house, but none of them tried to stop us, I wasn’t sure if it was because they were afraid of us or if Alkaia had given the order to let us pass, but I didn’t care, I was just glad I didn’t have to fight them.
I walked into the Palace with Kimball by my side, no one tried to stop us as we went to Alkaia’s throne room. I was glad that no one tried to stop us, I didn’t want to fight if I could avoid it, but I was done being pushed around, I was done following her rules. I had played it safe, I had tried to stay out of the spotlight, but they had crossed a line and there was no going back, they would have to face the Empress. The room was full, it was evident they were waiting for us. Alkaia and most of her family were there: her generals, advisors, and their daughters were there.
“Greetings Pitonisa,” Alkaia said.
“Greetings Alkaia.” I kept walking until I was in the center of the room, I looked around to the women surrounding me until my eyes found Polemusa. I could feel the anger boiling inside me for the woman that had dared to hurt my Kimball. “Get out of here, I don’t want to see you.” I told her.
“You don’t have to power to order me around,” she challenged me. I used my powers to grab her by the neck and lifted her in the air.
“Pitonisa, stop it, please.” Alkaia said, but her voice didn’t have her usual strength, she sounded unsure of herself.
“Kai, this is not necessary, let her be.” Kimball said.
“But she hurt you.”
“She did, but there was no permanent damage, besides, if I wanted her dead, I would have broken her neck and not her arm. She can’t hurt us, even if she wanted, she is just a waste of energy, don’t worry about her.” I didn’t like it, but I understood him, and even if he wasn’t the only one that she had hurt with her actions, he was the main victim, and if he wanted her alive, I would comply.
“You’re lucky Polumusa, you will live to see another day.” I let her fall and she got up quickly. Her breathing was heavy as she tried to fill her lungs with air, but she was trying to hide the effort, she was trying to act as if nothing was wrong. “I warn you Polemusa, things won’t be the same, you crossed the line, you will need to start treating me with the respect I deserve, because I won’t tolerate any insults from you.”
“Pitonisa, I would appreciate if you stop threatening my family, remember you are our guest.” Alkaia said.
“I know, I remember now, it was a mistake to think that I was more than that, but don’t worry, it was a mistake I won’t repeat.”
“Pitonisa,” Molpadia was standing next to her mother, but as she spoke, she took a step closer to me, “please, this is all a misunderstanding.”
“I found out that I was a Seer years ago, and I wasn’t happy about it, in my Clan being a Seer means losing freedom. Seers are very valuable, and because of that, overprotected. It was a life I didn’t want, so I went to Melchizedek to explore my options. While I was there I kept having visions about you and the Militaries, about the war that was coming and how it would affect everyone, even the Empire.” I started to walk around the room, facing the Amazons, not sure yet if they were my enemies. “I knew what was coming, and as an Empress I had the power to use the knowledge to our favor, I could have gone back to my Clan and prepare them to fight you and the Militaries once you were weakened, I had the power to stop you forever. Instead, I decided to come here, I knew that helping you find Tank would postpone the war and let you build your defenses. By doing that I was giving you the time you needed to have a shot at winning the war. It was good for me, because I needed the time, but I wasn’t planning on staying here after my baby was born, but I made a promise,” I looked at Alkaia, “I promised to train your daughter and help her reach her potential, so I came back. I got involved, even after fulfilling my promise I stayed here and kept looking for reasons to stay, for ways to help you win the war and protect your people from harm. But it was a mistake, I sacrificed a lot by staying here, and you don’t even appreciate that. I should have stayed with Kimball after my baby’s birth, or at least I should have left with him when he had to return to his people.”
“I never intended to betray your trust in us,” Alkaia said, and I felt the sincerity in her words, “I had no idea of what was going on, if I could I would have stopped it from happening.”
“We can’t go back Alkaia, I now realize that I will never fit here, this is not my place and it would be better if I left.”
“Please don’t say that!” Molpadia was not happy with my words, I was important to her, I was a motherly figure for her and I suspected she thought of me as a mother.
“Pitonisa, you are one of us, you belong here.” Euryleia said, looking at her mother, begging her to support her words.
“It would be a pity to see you leave,” Alkaia said. “I don’t want to lose your support and your knowledge. Sister, nothing to add?”
“I won’t apologize for doing what I had a right to do.” Polemusa said. “She shouldn’t be here is she is unable to follow our customs. Are you really going to back her up? I was doing what I had every right to do, she wasn’t here, she had no claim for the slave, I could use him whatever way I wanted and I could punish him as I saw fit.”
“You weren’t exercising your rights, you were looking for revenge! Don’t try and hide behind customs, you wanted to hurt me and you did, what you weren’t expecting was for me to fight you back.”
“I don’t want to lose you Pitonisa, tell me, what can I do to fix this situation?” Alkaia asked. I could feel the need behind her words, she really wanted to me to stay, but why? Did she want me to stay, or just to have access to my knowledge?
“Sister? Please, you can’t mean that.”
“Since the first time I met her, she told me she wasn’t after my place, she told me that she needed a safe place to stay and told me what she could offer in return. She also said that she was strong enough to take my place as leader of the Amazons, but she promised she wouldn’t do that. At first I didn’t believe she was strong enough to do it, now I know that she wasn’t lying, about anything. She could have taken my position, but she didn’t, she respected me and followed my orders. You, sister, on the other hand, had never been strong enough to defeat me, but you have tried to anyway. First by fighting me directly, then by trying to make your daughter take my daughter’s place. As I see it, I owe her more than I owe you. If you ask me to choose, I know who has more integrity and loyalty.”
“You can’t be serious sister.” Polemusa’s eyes were full of hatred and incredulity, she wasn’t expecting that from Alkaia.
“Pitonisa, tell me, what do you want? How can I convince you to stay here?” Alkaia asked again.
“For starters, I would want a word with you, in private.”
“Alright. Please, leave us alone.” Most of the Amazons stayed at first, not sure of what to do, but a look from Alkaia made them move, they walked out of the room. Molpadia was the last one to walk away, she was expecting to be allowed to stay, but when neither me, nor her mother said anything, she left. “I thought you wanted a private chat.” She said looking at Kimball that remained by my side.
“I will prefer to keep him by my side for the moment. If I sent him outside Polemusa will attack him, he will kill her, and people will ask for his blood, but I won’t allow you to touch him, and you will have another problem on your hands.”
“You really think he will be able to kill her?”
“As I said, I could have killed her, I chose not to, and I didn’t do it for her or you, I didn’t kill her because of Kaiserin.” Kimball said.
“Pitonisa, I don’t want you to leave.” Alkaia repeated.
“I don’t think I could stay. I’m willing to be here for a couple of days and give you as much information as I can in that time, but that’s all I can promise.”
“And I promise that if you stay no one will bother you or your slave.”
“He is not my slave Alkaia, he is my lover, my partner.” I said.
“No one will bother either of you, you will be untouchable. If you stay I will give you control over my armies, you will be my second in command, I will be the only one over you. I’m a leader, and I know that my people is more important than anything else, even my pride, and I need you to stay here. You have a gift Pitonisa, you are able to explore people potential and help them reach it. You helped my daughter to become the woman she is now. Euryleia is stronger now than she was before her attack, thanks to you. Even Areto is stronger after a few days under your tutelage. If you can do the same for my army, then we will win. I owe my people to do my best to ensure their security.”
“Alkaia, we can’t go back, I reached my limit, after what happened to Kimball I don’t think I can keep my temper under control, I won’t allow anyone to disrespect me again, I will respond to any threat.”
“I promise you won’t have to do that, you will be above them, no one will question your authority.”
“Do you think they will accept? They will only hate me more.”
“I love my family, but I have a duty to protect all my people, and I know you will help me with that. And I have no doubt whatsoever that it’s in our best interest to keep you as a friend, and not an enemy. Please, stay with us. You asked me for help once, now I’m asking you to help me.”
“All I can do is to promise I will think about it.” I didn’t bow or showed any other signs of respect, I just turned around and walked out of the room.
“Pitonisa, will you stay?” Molpadia asked as soon as I exited the throne room. Her cousins Areto and Euryleia were with her and looked at me with the same hopeful expression. Behind them Valasca was looking at me with nothing but hate in her eyes.
“I have to admit, I didn’t want you here at first, but now I can accept that I was wrong about you. You have done a lot for us, and we need you. I know it may sound selfish of us, but you have to stay.” Bremusa said.
“Thank you, but I know that not everyone thinks like you, most people want me gone. But I will think about staying, that much I can do.”
We walked out of the Palace, back to our house. For the first few minutes we walked in silence, but once we were out of everyone’s ears Kimball started to talk.
“Was that what you expected?”
“Not really, I was expecting a confrontation. I expected Polemusa to attack me and Alkaia to back her up. I expected them to ask me to leave.”
“They are right, you know? They could use your help. Besides, you are mistaken, most of them want you to stay. I could see their faces, most of them admire you. What are you going to do?”
“What do you want me to do?”
“That’s your choice, I will do whatever you want me to do, I will go where you go. But there’s a reason why you stayed here for so long, and that reason hasn’t changed. I know that you are angry right now, but that can’t affect your decisions.”
“I don’t want anything to happen to you, you are my everything.”
“Nothing will happen. But it’s your choice, I just want you to know that I will support you in whatever you chose.”
“Right now all I care about is us being together.”