“It’s good to see you again, Kaiserin,” Zola greeted me as soon as I entered the room. There were other people there with her, including Frederik and Kgosi.
“Don’t say that out loud, you never know who could be listening,” I said, even though no one in that room would betray us, they already knew our secrets and the game we were playing with the Dominion.
“Don’t worry about that, no one here will talk, they know what’s at risk,” Frederik said.
“Faakhir is insisting I go back to Capital city, he wants me to spend more time there, which gives the perfect opportunity to move our plans forward and give this country a little normalcy.
“Don’t pretend you care what happens to this country. You have given us nothing but trouble since you arrived, and now you gave our country to our enemies in a silver plate so you could take what isn’t yours to take,” Kgosi said to me.
“As we already agreed,” I kept going, ignoring Kgosi, “I think it’s time to give the title back to someone who deserves it. I can pretend to still be in charge in front of Faakhir, and give you the freedom to rule this place as you see fit.”
“Do you want us to think that you would just give back what you stole from us?” Kgosi asked.
“The problem will be finding the right person for the position,” I just kept ignoring Kgosi.
“I think that, unfortunately, Kgosi is the only person I can think of that would work,” Zola said. “One of the reasons you gave Faakhir for doing this, was to have us under your control. I think that everyone knows there’s not lost love between you and Kgosi, and it makes sense to give him his title back, just as an excuse to have him following your orders. That’s the kind of things that Emily and Faakhir would understand, they would really enjoy the fact that someone who tried to push you back so many times is now following your orders.”
“That’s absurd!” Kgosi exclaimed.
“Are you sure there’s no one else who could be King? Maybe we could send Kgosi to Aquarium and claim I killed him for not following my orders.”
“Do you really want Kgosi in Aquarium? In your territory? I would risk it,” Frederik said.
“Yeah, you’re right. It was a stupid idea,” I agreed.
“Are you done playing? Would you listen to me?” Kgosi was getting mad, and his patience was at the limit.
“Maybe Kimball could take your place?” Frederik suggested.
“No,” I said immediately. “I need him with me, and if he becomes the King, he won’t be able to be there when I need him. I think we will have to reach an understanding,” I said looking directly at Kgosi. “I know that you don’t like this situation, but things could be worse. For the moment it’s in our best interest to work together. The decisions you make and the way you decide to rule will be up to you, just like before, but you need to pretend I’m in charge. Do you understand that?”
“I don’t see why we have to do that.”
“It’s for Mzansi’s wellbeing,” Zola said. “Or if you prefer I could retake the position of Queen and leave the Elders Council again, even if I would prefer to stay right here.” Zola’s subtle threat worked, Kgosi was silent and it was clear he was considering his options, reaching a decision.
“I’m willing to participate in this charade for Mzansi’s wellbeing, but I won’t take orders from a foreigner that knows nothing about our country and our people.”
“I would suggest you change your tune, if you keep talking to her like that when we are in public, we will have problems with Faakhir and Emily, they could insist in taking another approach to how they treat our country, just to try to show who is in charge. You will have to pretend to be one of my followers if you want the country to be spared.”
“Do you think you are up for the job?” Zola asked.
“I said I would do it, I’ll do anything for Mzansi,” Kgosi answered, enraged.
“For your own good, I hope you are right. If it wasn’t for the fact that you usually do what’s best for our people, I would say that your hunger for power is too dangerous for us.”
“Everything I do, I do it for our people. Maybe for you is just a game, but I take my job seriously.” Kgosi defended himself.
“I don’t doubt you, I trust I will leave everything in good hands.” I said.
“Just like it was before you arrived,” he said.
“You should be more grateful,” Frederik said, “it’s thanks to her that our country retains some freedom. It could be much worse.”
“Don’t ask me to be grateful of what’s going on. We are now under the Dominion’s control, under the power of a pair of crazy megalomaniacs that only have one objective, to have all the world under their control.”
“One day you will accept that we are doing what’s best for everyone,” Zola said. “Don’t let your pride make you blind, we were going to lose sooner or later, at least this way our losses were minimal and we found a way to stay alive and in control of the country.”
“I will announce this afternoon that Kgosi will be back as King of Mzanis and that I will let you be in control of Mzanis while I’m away. I’m afraid that after this my stays in Capital city will be longer. Faakhir insists that I have to be there. I will be back as often as I can, but it won’t be as easy.”
“Don’t worry about that, you can stay in Capital city, there’s no reason for you to come back here,” Kgosi said.
“I’m afraid that as long as my family is here, I have plenty of reasons to come back here. But that’s my business. I will see you later.”
I left the room before I ran out of patience, I couldn’t afford a fight with Kgosi. I could understand him, everything was getting out of his control and in the hands of a person he hated, but as a ruler, he should have known that when the task is too big to do it yourself, you have to delegate. Zola and Frederik understood that what I was doing, was for them and because of them. I was acting in the best interest of the country and the Dominion, but Kgosi couldn’t see that. In just a couple of minutes I arrived at my room. As soon as I crossed the threshold, Kimball got up from his seat and went to hug me.
“How did it go?” By her tone of voice I knew that he had noticed that something was bothering me and that the meeting wasn’t as easy as I expected. He had refused to go because he thought his presence was only going to make things worse.
“Just as we imagined. Kgosi is still an idiot, but Zola and Frederik supported me.”
“Then everything is going according to plan. When do you have to leave for Capital city?”
“As soon as possible. I know that the Queen already started a campaign to eliminate potential enemies. I know that they are calling me to be part of it.”
“And how do you feel about it? I know that that is not what you wanted when you chose this path. I know that what you want is to avoid deaths, not to be killing in the name of the Kings.”
“What I’m thinking is that Aquarium will have some new inhabitants. If I can’t stop their desire to kill, then I will convince them that I’m the right person for the job and I will try to save as many people as I can. Instead of killing their enemies, I will gather them and create a group of people willing to do anything to get rid of them, people who will help me stop them. They will give me the means to gather those who oppose them. Once in Aquarium, William and Sofia will help me convince them to work with us to stop the King and Queen.”
“That will make you a very hated person. If you start ‘killing’ those who oppose the Kings, sooner or later everyone will know that, and people will turn on you. Many already hate you because they think you betrayed your people, but people will start to see you as a killer that is a danger to anyone on the Dominion.”
“That will teach them to fear me, and their hate will help me to become even closer to the Kings. It will work in our favor. I know that will get me many enemies, but it will also get me some allies.”
“Allies that won’t be able to help you because they will be hidden away from the Kings.”
“But it will help me on the outside as well. I trust that my actions will be of benefit on the long haul. I have a good feeling about it.”
“Have you seen it? Have you seen the future?”
“Nothing clear. Going to the future is not as easy as before. When I was with the Amazons there were thousand of lives being affected, and I could see the future easier, but here, millions of lives are at risk and the paths before me are too many. Besides, with the Rebel Clans, there were only a few people making decisions, only a handful of people could affect the future in a significative way. Many follow few. Here is different, not only the leaders and governors affect the future, many people are affecting the paths into the future. Even if a few have more weight than others, still, it’s hard to follow the changes. The more people involved, the more paths I have to walk, and I can’t spend my time doing that, I don’t have that much time. I think it’s easier to just let it go and see what happens.”
“As long as you know that you will be ok. I know that you want to help and that you know what you are doing, but I don’t want you to get hurt while doing your job. I can’t be there to help you, and even if I know what you are capable of, I fear that something could happen to you.”
“I know and I appreciate that, but nothing is going to happen to me, at least not in the near future. You have work to do here and I have work to do for the King and Queen, but right now we can be together. Let’s take advantage of the time we have before we are forced to go separated ways.”
“You are right, Ethan won’t come here for a while.” Kimball took my hand and guided me to our bed. We needed new memories to enjoy for the time we wouldn’t be together.