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“Sir, you have a call,” one of his soldiers said.

“I will take it in my room.”  Kimball knew who was calling, and he didn’t need anyone hearing about Kaiserin.  So far he had convinced everyone that Kaiserin was in the Villa healing from the attack.  Everyone thought that she was there because she wanted, not because Kimball had forced her.

“Greeting General.”  Dalitso was nervous, so Kimball knew that something bad had happened.

“What wrong, Dalitso?  Did something happen to Kaiserin?”  Even while trying to convince himself that everything was alright, he wanted to run to Kaiserin and make sure everything was right.

“Yes, but I’m not sure what.”  Dalitso didn’t know how to explain, everything was fine one day and the next…

Every day Dalitso had called to report on Kaiserin’s day.  The first couple of days everything was okay, then she started to try to escape.  Dakarai was strong, fast and smart, and had frustrated every attempt, no matter what she tried, Dakarai was able to stop her without hurting her, despite her every attempt to kill him.

“Explain Dalitso.”  Kimball didn’t have time for riddles.

“Do you remember that yesterday I told you that I was afraid that Kaiserin seemed to be tired and that had spent most of the day in bed?  It was something else, I’m not sure what happened, at first I thought she was getting depressed, but it’s worse.”

“I don’t understand what your saying.”

“She’s catatonic, she doesn’t react to anything we try.  Dakarai thinks it’s a trick, but I’m not sure, it’s like her mind is not there…”

Kimball needed to see for himself what was happening to her.  He excused himself and told his people that Kaiserin’s health had taken a turn for the worst and he had to go.  He had reflected a lot about the decisions he had taken about Kaiserin.  He was sure he was doing the right thing, she never cared for her own safety, she seemed to think she was invincible, and although most of the time she was, Kimball had been there to save her when she wasn’t.  He couldn’t forget those ocassions he had nursed her back to health.  She wasn’t alone anymore, the risks she was taking didn’t involve just her, his own son was at risk too and she just couldn’t be careful.

He arrived and ran directly to Kaiserin’s room, and found her just like Dalitso had told him, her mind just wasn’t there.  Dalitso was watching them, and he felt her disapproval, but all he had done was protect his family, whatever had happened wasn’t his fault, and once Kaiserin got better she would understand that he was only protecting them.  Kimball got in the bed and hugged Kaiserin, touching her face and her hair, trying to find the problem.

“Why don’t you react? What’s wrong my love?”  When Kaiserin started moving Kimball felt relieved, she was okay after all.

“You’re killing me.”  That’s all that she said before collapsing again.

Kimball thought back to everything he had done the past days, and then about the things she had told him about Agmong and Vasuman.  She sometimes defended Vasuman’s actions saying he had helped her, despite his abuse, but Kimball had thought that Vasuman wasn’t better than Agmong, both men using their power and rank to control and abuse her, was he doing the same thing?  Had he gone too far?  Kimball realized what the problem was, hadn’t Kaiserin tell him that if she went back to the Empire her family would destroy her while trying to protect her?  Kimball had made a mistake, one that he hoped he could fix.


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