Jose was ready, but I wasn’t. After days of talks and preparations, the day in which we would take Mistral’s memories away had arrived. Mistral had asked us to do it, demanded even, but I still thought she was too young to really know what she was getting into, and it was so hard for me to know that after we finished with her, she wouldn’t be the same sweet little girl we all knew, she was going to be a shadow of her former self, and even worse, she wouldn’t even know who I was.
A sign that this situation was hard and important was that Melchizedek hadn’t picked up on my distress. I was sure that if he knew just how much it was affecting me, he would have stopped it. Melchizedek had listened to my concerns and discussed it with me, it was one of the reasons Jose was there, the old man was one of the most powerful telepaths in the Light Kingdom, he had ended up in the Shadowlands because the High Priests were worried about his power, and had sent him away where he couldn’t risk their positions.
“Are you ready?” Melchizedek asked.
“I am. Are you Mistral? Are you ready to do this?”
“Of course I am Madrina.” I still doubted that she understood the situation or the consequences of her actions, but it was her decision, and all I could do was try to help her.
“Then we need to start. First of all, I want you to relax and think happy thoughts, the best you can think of.”
“Ok.” Mistral smiled and then concentrated, her serious face showing how much importance she was giving to my instructions.
“Ready.” Jose asked. “I will see you inside her mind.”
Mistral’s mind didn’t have a landscape like the minds of telepaths had, it was a much simpler representation, just an open space filled with spheres where the memories resided. Some were alone, some were gathered in groups. Mistral was calling her happy memories to the front of her mind, I saw a sphere going into the air and exploding, the memory appearing in the air. The memory was of me during my last visit, I saw myself through Mistral’s eyes. For her, our time together, even if it was just a walk through the village, talking, was a happy time. I wanted to give up the task, to run away and avoid stealing her happy memories, to avoid breaking my own hearth. I knew just how difficult it was to live without memories, to go through life with just pieces of yourself, but I had to remember that it was what Mistral wanted, what Melchizedek needed. I had no choice when my father took my life away, but Mistral did, it was her choice, she had decided to sacrifice herself for the greater good.
“How do you suggest we proceed?” Jose asked.
“We need to find all memories related to her powers. The first time she used them, how she felt using them, how she feels every time she uses them, the things she can do with them… Everything related to her powers has to go, and not just that, the memories strongly related to the Shadowlands that can be passed as time in the Light Kingdom will have to go too.”
“How are you going to make them go?”
“Just worry about getting the memories we need, I will handle the rest.”
Using my powers I built a chest using Mistral’s mind essence, I took the memories Jose was bringing to me, and put them inside. It was hard to understand how the mind worked, but I knew Mistral’s mind was going to try and access the memories, even if they were inside the chest, just like my mind had tried to reach the memories hidden behind doors and inside chests like the one I was holding. I needed to find a way to keep her mind from accessing the memories, a way that wouldn’t make her scream in pain.
I found a way, by looking for happy memories and arranging them in a way that would distract her mind and stop it from getting into the memories I wanted to hide. Instead of stoping his brain from remembering by causing pain, I was hoping to distract it with happy memories. I was pretty sure it would work, and Jose thought the same. It was a hard and time consuming work, but we finally got everything ready and Mistral’s memories were gone.
During the time I was working in Mistral’s mind, I kept talking with Soturi and Melchizedek, explaining what we were doing and making sure they knew that everything was going according to plan. I wasn’t sure what problems Melchizedek had to face in the Light, all I knew was that the problems there had reached a critical point and he felt like it was his job to help. I knew that the Light was getting even more unforgiving, punishing people and sending them away even for the lightest of crimes. I didn’t know their laws and their problems didn’t concern me, I had my own problems to solve, but it was important for Melchizedek and I had to help any way I could, and one way of helping was by not adding my own problems to his. I was, once again, alone.
After a long time we finally finished locking away Mistral’s memories. When we got out of her mind, she was asleep, and she was going to stay that way until Melchizedek and Soturi were on their way to the Kingdom. She knew they were moving, but her memories would say she was moving between towns in the Light. It was better than she didn’t stay there any longer, waking up there could trigger a memory.
“It’s done. Mistral won’t remember anything, no ideas or teachings of the Shadowlands. You can teach her the ways of the Light.”
“I cannot thank you enough, I know how hard this was for you, don’t think I don’t.” Melchizedek said.
“You helped me when I needed it, you taught me to use my powers and gave me advice even when I pretended I didn’t need it. You have done a lot for me, I’m just giving you back a little of what you have given me.”
“You don’t realize it Kaiserin, but you touch the lives of everyone you meet. I know that you need a friend, and I should stay here and be for you, but I need to go and claim my rightful place, I need to be there for my people, and I feel terrible that I won’t be here for you.”
“Don’t worry about me, all I need is a place to hide while I figure out what to do with the rest of my life. You know how this works, every time I have problems I come here and hide until I have a plan.”
“He is coming for you. I need to tell you that you have a chance of fixing things with him, I’m sure he regrets what happened.” I couldn’t pretend I didn’t know who he was talking about, but the idea of Kimball coming for me angered me… and frightened me.
“We can’t fix things, not after what he did to me. I won’t be able to trust him again. I told him my fears, and he used them against me. Besides, he must be angry at me for the way I left him, if he survived my tree of pain, he must be furious at me for making him go through that kind of pain.”
“I don’t want you to let go the opportunity to take back your happiness. I know he made mistakes, but there’s still hope for you. I just want what is best for you. You were happy with him, I want you to be happy again.”
“Thank you, but this time it won’t be possible. Do you know how long I have before he comes here?”
“You have a couple of days. Are you sure you will be ok? Maybe we can find a way for you to come with us, or move to another village…”
“No, don’t worry about me, I will find my way to the Amazons, Molpadia will help me, even if Alkaia is not happy with me, her daughter will do her best to hide and protect me, and I’m sure they won’t have any problems fighting Kimball and whatever army he brings with him.”
“If you are sure. Just let me tell you that there’s no way I can repay for what you did for us today. You know that if there is anything I can do for you, you just have to ask. You are a great friend, and a great human being, don’t think I don’t appreciate you. You may feel like the world is against you, but things are going to get better, you will find your happy ending.”
“Thanks Melchizedek. I hope things go your way, and that you can find a way to solve your problems. You know that you can count on me, you are the only one I can truly trust.”
After saying a final goodbye, Soturi and Melchizedek left for the Light. I knew we would see each other again, but it was hard watching them leave, they were true friends, and had been by my side through my difficult times. I felt sad and alone. I stayed on his porch, watching the road they had traveled, long after they had disappeared.
“I’m sorry, but I need to ask you for a favor.” Jose interrupted my thinking.
“No problem. What do you need?”
“There is an old lady in one of the other villages that has heart problems. She has been using her biokinesis to restart her heart every time she has problems, but it’s getting more difficult when it happens at night, and sometimes she is too afraid and it takes her a long time to gather her powers to use them. I want to implant a hypnotic order in her mind, so her power gets triggered automatically when her heart fails, and she doesn’t need to do it manually. I thought you could help me with that.”
“I don’t know if what you are saying is even possible.”
“It’s not a commonly used technique, but it works. It’s hard work to implant an order, so I thought you could help me, but if you don’t feel comfortable then I understand.”
“No, it’s ok, I’ll help you. It’s just that I never thought of doing something like that. In my world hypnosis and hypnotic programing is used as a weapon, to control people or harm them, it never occurred to me that it could be used to help.”
“You learn something new every day, don’t you?”
We agreed to travel the next day to the village where the old lady lived. The plan was to leave before sunrise and be there in time for breakfast, so we could start working after eating. I took advantage of the trip to question Jose about the other uses he had for hypnosis, how he had helped people with it. After a couple of hours I was convinced that hypnosis could help me with my problems. If I could plant an order that helped me create a shield around me every time a vision hit me, I would be safe, I would be able to overcome my greatest weakness, and no one, not even Kimball would be able to take me by surprise. If it worked, I could even go back to my Clan, without fear of being attacked while being defenseless. Being able to defend myself, even while having a vision opened a world of possibilities. I would need to test my idea first, but it could be the answer to my problems.
Even if I could make the hypnosis trick work, I would need to go to the Amazons first, I needed to save my son, or he would suffer the same destiny that Malkia was going to suffer in my Clan. Even if Kimball was an extremely powerful warrior, he was a mutant, and our son would be a hybrid, someone considered lacking in my Clan. My people would get rid of him at the first opportunity, and I couldn’t let that happen. I had to take him to a safe place, give him to the Fortress like I had with my daughters. If I managed to get back to my Clan, I could be able to go back and claim them back once they graduated and were powerful enough to defend themselves.
I was surprised by the old lady’s strength and the way she had overcome her limitations, using hypnosis to help her keep her heart working was impressive. As I helped Jose put the order in her mind, I had the opportunity to see how it worked. The more I saw, the more I wanted the same for me, but I didn’t have that much experience, so I asked Jose to help me. He agreed easily, he said that after everything I had done for them, it would be his pleasure to help me.
The complicated part was to find how to trigger the order, none of us knew how visions worked, how they were triggered, and since I couldn’t call visions at will, it took us some time to come up with a way to make it work. Once we had the hypnosis order planted we knew that the next step was to wait for a vision to arrive and see if the order was working, but I didn’t have time to wait around and see if it worked, I needed to go before Kimball arrived, I wasn’t ready to fight him again. It wasn’t only that the idea of fighting someone I used to trust, that I used to love didn’t feel right, but I wasn’t sure that I had the strength to do it. Even if I my pregnancy wasn’t that advanced, only five months, same as the first time I fought him, I wasn’t as strong as that time, I was getting tired easier, and I felt heavy and clumsy.
I needed to go away, and find a safe place as soon as possible, because I knew I didn’t have much time, soon I wouldn’t be able to defend myself. I needed a place where I could hide until my son was born. The Amazons had helped me before, I hoped they could help again.