I knew that, despite his promise, Trajan was still looking for me, so I did everything I could to put distance between me and the Empire. The first part of our journey out of the Empire was done in a helicopter. Flying was a weird experience for me, not many people in the Clans used flying machines, for the most part they were easy to break and dangerous things, but the one the Shadows were using was camouflaged and impossible to see once it was in the air.
Our first stop was an island a few hours from the coast. Kimball told me that the island wasn’t part of the Empire and didn’t have ties to his Republic either. People from the island allowed the Shadows to have a base there, in exchange for protection from the Navy Clans that were part of the Empire. The island wasn’t big, and only about five thousand Shadows were living in the base. I knew that was only a tiny part of what the Shadows Clan really was.
We arrived at night and were immediately taken to a room where we could rest, so I didn’t have an opportunity to see the place until the next day. By the time I was awake, someone had already brought breakfast. We ate and then went out to get a look at the place. The base was separated from the rest of the island by a metallic grid, so we could see what was going out outside. Kimball and I watched life outside the base, the families, their houses, the boats they used to fish. He told me that they had some farmlands inland, but we couldn’t see them from where we were.
“Major Kimball?” A soldier asked.
“You are needed at the command center.”
“Ok. Come on Kai, let’s see what they want.”
“I’m sorry, but I was asked to take you there, alone.”
“That’s not going to happen, Kaiserin goes where I go.”
“Don’t worry, that’s ok,” I told him, “I can continue the tour on my own. You can look for me once you are done with your meeting.”
“Are you sure? I don’t want to leave you in a place you don’t know.”
“I don’t think it would be a problem, this place is safe, isn’t it?” I knew Kimball didn’t want to go, but I needed to prove him and myself, that I wasn’t afraid to be alone. I didn’t need his protection, I was able to take care of myself.
“Of course, still…” I could see Kimball’s doubt in his face. “If you are sure you will be ok, then I’ll go, but I will go to you as soon as I can.”
“Take your time, I will be fine, I’m sure I will find something to entertain myself while you are gone.”
I could see that Kimball didn’t want to leave me alone, but the soldier was insisting he needed to go and I was reassuring him I was going to be ok, so he left.
I walked around the perimeter of the base for a while, watching life outside on the island. After a while I decided to explore the base. People around me was talking in different languages, some I understood, some I didn’t. Kimball had told me that in his territory there were many official languages, one of them was very similar to the one spoken by the Rebel Clans, another one was the one he was teaching me, but there were others I had no idea.
After a while I found a gym and went inside, the place had a lot of equipment and many people was there exercising. I decided to walk around to see what the gym had to offer, but I felt that people weren’t happy with my presence. At first I wasn’t sure why, but then I started to hear their mumbling: Is that the woman that arrived with the prince? Who does she think she is? What is she doing here?”
“Hello, I’m Fara.” A woman said using the language of the Rebel Clans. “Are you lost or something?”
“I’m just exploring, I was curious about this place.” I told her. I felt resentment and anger coming from the woman, and I was surprised, because I didn’t even know her, I couldn’t understand why she felt like that.
“You arrived last night, right? With the prince.”
“Are you from the Empire? I heard some rumors that the prince had gotten himself a… friend, during his travel.”
“I am an Imperialist, but I met Kimball while we were with the Rebel Clans.”
“Interesting.” I was liking the woman less and less every minute. “What are you? A telepath or something?”
“That’s right.” I was getting angry by her interrogation, but I didn’t want to offend the Shadows, so I was trying to be patient.
“You have such bad luck, that power is useless while dealing with us. You should be careful, you are virtually powerless here, it could be dangerous.”
“Is that a threat?” Even if her voice was sweet and her wording sounded like an advice, I could feel the reality behind her words.
“I’m just saying, you are far away from home, and you are vulnerable.”
“If that’s what you think you are terribly wrong, I’m more than my telepathy, and you would be surprised to see what I’m capable of. You should be careful, you will burn if you play with fire.” And I wasn’t being metaphorical, I could burn her.
“Is that a threat?” She mocked me, using my words. “Be careful Imperialist, you wouldn’t last 5 minutes fighting a true warrior.”
“Wanna bet?” I didn’t know what the woman was capable of, but I was sure that she wasn’t as strong as Kimball, and if I could take him, I could crush her.
“It’s obvious that Kimball brought you here for a reason, and I’m sure it wasn’t for your fighting skills. I don’t want to break your pretty face, he could get mad at me.” Jealousy, that was her problem, she was jealous of me, and I was sure that despite her words, she would love to break my face.
“Five minutes. You think I won’t last even 5 minutes. Let’s make a bet; you and I, in a fighting of your choosing, let’s see who last longer. The winner will have to recognize the other one superiority.”
“I like it, but let’s change it a little bit, the winner stay, the loser goes back to where she came from.” During our discussion, some people had gathered around us, some of them were discussing about us, some were trying to get Fara to back down, but none of us were paying attention to them.
“You are so sure of yourself, but in a few minutes you will regret your words.” I accepted her challenge and then thought about the consequences. I didn’t know their customs or how serious something like this was, all I knew was that I had been insulted and I couldn’t let her get away with it.
She guided me to the other side of the gym, it was a clear space, obviously for combat training. She grabbed a couple of wooden sticks and gave me two, then she took two for herself. She offered me a piece of cloth, and I rejected it, she took it and wrapped one of her hand with it, around the wooden stick.
“I hope you know how to use those.” She mocked.
“Oh, don’t worry about me, worry about you.”
No one was working out at that point, everyone in the gym was watching us. Some were whispering, some didn’t even bother, but they were all talking about the woman that Kimball had found in the Empire, wondering what she was capable of. It was clear to me that most of them thought the same as Fara, that I was just a fuck toy for Kimball, not his real partner.
The woman attacked without warning, she was fast, but not super fast, as far as I could see her mutant power was strength and something about her joints that could bend unnaturally. When she was attacking her double joints helped her get more force behind her hits. I was using my telekinesis as a shield around my skin, helping me absorb the hits that connected with me, and she was connecting more hits that I was.
Our fighting styles were very different. Fara was using one of the sticks for defense, the one with the cloth around her hand, and one for offense. I was using both sticks for offense or defense as I needed. My hits were not as effective as I wanted, she was very resistant.
During our fight I was counting the minutes, just a couple of minutes into the fight Fara started to get angrier, because she realized that I wasn’t going to be easily defeated. She came into the fight expecting an easy, quick victory, but, even if she seemed to have the advantage, it was clear that I was going to last a lot longer than five minutes.
“What is going on here!?” Kimball roared over the noises of fighting and cheering around us. “Are you suicidal?”
“Don’t worry,” Fara said, moving out of my range, so she could look at Kimball, “I won’t hurt your little friend… much.”
“I think the question was for you,” I said as I attacked again. Just like before she dodged my attack, moving away.
“Why are you not using your powers?” Kimball asked. He had moved to the edge of the area we had selected for our fight. Most of the talking had subsided, people was trying to hear what Kimball and us were saying.
“As if her power would help her.” Said someone in the crowd.
I knew that the first five minutes were over, my first goal accomplished. I turned to look at Kimball. Fara noticed and thought I was distracted, just as she realized that her five minutes were over.
“I’m just using them for defense, your little friend thinks that I can last for even five minutes against one of you, I’m showing her otherwise.” I was obsessed with her taunt, those five minutes. I was being childish, but I didn’t care. “Don’t worry, I promise not to kill or maim anyone.” Fara on the other hand, wasn’t thinking the same.
It was easy to know that Fara was going to do something, the faces of the people around Kimball clued me one that, also I had a bad feeling, like a premonition. Both of those things made me increase the energy I was using for defense, strengthening my psychic shield. I felt the stick hitting my wall, and then broke with the force she was using. The stick never touched me, there was no pain or any indication that I had been hurt.
When Kimball arrived the volume of talking had diminished, but when the stick broke the silence around us became absolute, it was as if everyone was holding their breaths, trying not to miss whatever was happening. Kimball knew, he just shook his head at my actions. The silence was broken by Fara’s enraged scream as she tried to attack again. I didn’t wait for her to hit again, I used my mind to send an energy wave that sent her flying to the other side of the mat.
“You said you were a telepath!” She protested.
“I am.” I answered.
“But, you are using telekinesis.”
“Yes, I am.” To further prove that I used my mind to take another wooden stick from the rack and give it to her.
“Which one it is? You are either a telepath or a telekinetic, you can’t be both.”
“If you need a definition call me a psychic, one that can control all mental disciplines: empathy, telepathy and telekinesis.”
“That’s impossible.” She denied it, but her voice wasn’t so sure anymore.
“I’m good making the impossible possible.”
The woman attacked me again, but I didn’t bother moving, I used my mind to move the wooden sticks to block the attacks, using my mind to punch her, with a stronger force that I could manage using my body. People around us was talking again, and their voices were increasing, they couldn’t understand what was happening, apparently they haven’t seen a double mind at work before.
The battle continued for a few minutes, but it was obvious that I had the advantage this time. Her anger and frustration were clear for all to see.
“Don’t think that you are going to win, the bet was that the winner would be the one who lasted longer, and I can go for hours, but you, you will have to stop soon or you will risk having a migraine.” For most, a migraine or psychic headache was a death sentence, her words were a threat. “If you think I will let someone like you win, you are mistaken.”
“Someone like me?”
“You are nothing, you are just here to entertain the prince for a while.” She said, low enough not to be heard by the others. I knew she wanted to make me angry, so I would lose my concentration. “You are nothing but a cheap who…” I knew it was a mistake to get angry, but her words hit a nerve and my blood boiled in my veins.
With a thought I broke all four wooden sticks and let them fall to the ground, then I grabbed her by the neck, using my mind, and lifted her, cutting her air flow.
“I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but no one, NO ONE, talks to me like that. I am a warrior, I am a leader, and I will be your worst nightmare if you insist on insulting me. Do you think YOU can defeat ME? Let me show you what a useless telepath can do with someone like you.” I moved closer to her, and moved her so I could see her eyes. It was true that the way their brains worked made it impossible for me to read their mind, but I didn’t need to read them to make them hurt, there were some mental attacks that didn’t require any reading. Fara’s bloodcurdling scream scared some of the people around us. Just a few seconds later I let Fara drop to the floor, she was already unconscious.
“You didn’t kill her, did you?” Kimball asked, moving closer to me.
“No, I just have her a migraine.” I answered with a smile.