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Chapter 22

In the morning, by the time I woke up, Kimball was already gone and talking to Ethan.  The only reason I had not woken up on time was that a vision I had during the night had kept me awake for a long time.  I knew Malkia was having problems, and that Dendro had arrived in time to help her.  I felt terrible knowing that two of my children were going through a rough time and I couldn’t do anything to help them.  I had been able to offer a little help in Ethan’s case, but I was powerless to do anything in Malkia’s case.

I got up and went looking for Kimball and Ethan.  They were talking, and I could feel Ethan’s guilt was still strong, and Kimball was also feeling guilty about the whole thing.

“Good morning,” I broke into their conversation.

“Good morning mother,” Ethan didn’t have his usual cheerfulness.

“Good morning Kai.  I’m sorry I didn’t wake you up, but you looked so tired that I didn’t want to bother you.”

“What were you talking about?”  I already knew it wasn’t a pleasant topic, the atmosphere was so heavy that I knew it was something serious, most likely something about Angile.

“Ethan and I reached an agreement.  He already promised not to use his powers to fight.  At least not without a really good reason, and when having a responsible adult around.  If we are going to Capital City we can’t afford another accident.”

“I still believe that’s too much, now that he knows what can happen, he won’t be so careless again.”

“I’m sorry, but the decision was already made.  Ethan is no longer under your supervision, he is my student now and I’m deciding what’s best for him.  Besides, this will also help to keep him under Faakhir’s radar.  Anyone that sees him fighting can see your influence.  If we want them to keep thinking you care nothing about him, they can’t see how much you have invested in training him.”

“We have been talking for a long time now, and I think my father is right, this is for the best mother.  Forgive me, but I think this is good for me, I will learn my lesson and won’t repeat the same mistakes.”

“I don’t like this, things won’t be easy for you in Capital City.  I can’t guarantee that people won’t come after you.  You have to be able to defend yourself.”

“If that happens, I’m sure we can find a way to keep him safe without using violence.  I know this is my fault as well, I trained him and motivated him to get stronger, but I know that yesterday could have been worst.  If the hit had been a little bit stronger or higher, it could have been fatal.  It’s too dangerous, he needs to learn self control and be more aware of other people’s limits, for now, is best if he abstains from fights.”

Neither of them knew just how true that was.  Without my help, Andile would have been dead, and I knew that would have been terrible for Ethan.  I decided not to press the issue, sooner or later they would realize that they were overreacting.

While Ethan and Kimball were preparing their stuff for the move, I decided to visit some of the refugees that were living at Aquarium.  Most of them had made peace with their situation, some of them still rebelled about being there.

“You shouldn’t worry about them,” Sofía said.  “We both know that you are doing what’s best for them, and us.  I understand some of them are angry about it, but once you free us all from my daughter and her husband, people will understand why you did what you did, and they will love you for that.”

“I don’t think so,” I told her.  “I think that they will hate me, and given enough time they will rise against me.  For most people, my image will be too dark to accept.  It will be better if people keep thinking of me as an enemy, and that they unite against me.  Once Faakhir and Emily are out of the picture, I hope people will stop fearing the people in power and use their voices.  I hope my refugees will lead people in a new revolution and create a new world.”

“I don’t know if I like that plan…” Sofia started.

“Go take a walk in the fog, and you will see it would be our best option.  My revolution will give people the strength they need to take control of their destiny and start their own revolutions.  Many countries are building their resistances, but Faakhir is too strong, and those won’t work.  I need to destroy the Dominion first, so they will be able to raise.”

“I know that.  I worry about how many people will fall in the way.”

“Some sacrifices are necessary, but at the end of the day, the lives we save will be more than the ones we sacrifice.  I only wish we could make this happen faster.  I need my family by my side, but at the same time I’m afraid of the risks they will be taking by being in Capital City.  I worry about Ethan the most.  He feels so guilty about what happened yesterday that he vowed not to fight again.  I worry he will be left at the mercy of others.  I know that things are different here than back at the Empire, but I know how vicious young people can be.  I fear for what could happen to Ethan if he is thrown in the middle of people who has reason to hate me and that’s looking for ways to hurt me.”

“But you already proved to Faakhir that hurting Ethan won’t do anything to you, he won’t make that mistake again.”

“But I’m not worried about Faakhir or any other adult.  I’m talking about the kids, the ones who will be attending the same school as Ethan.  They are in a different league, they know I hurt people they care about, and they know they can’t do anything about it, they feel restless, powerless, angry…  Ethan will arrive there being a perfect target for their anger.  They can’t hurt me, but they can’t hurt someone, that for them, will be a representation of me.  I’m so afraid of what could happen, but Kimball doesn’t seem to think the same, and Ethan is so focused on his guilt that just doesn’t care.”

“You can worry once that happens, not before.  Ethan is a very strong and smart boy, he is your son after all, he will find a way to overcome any challenge in his path.”

“I hope you’re right.”  There was much to do and to think, and Sofia knew it, so she left me alone.

I was still shaken up because of the vision about Malkia.  I had thought she was safe at the Fortress, but I didn’t realize that her power and abilities would make her the target of the instructors, the people who couldn’t get a position in one of the armies and had been forced to teach a new generation to go where they couldn’t go.  Someone with a potential as great as Malkia’s was hard to miss and they soon realized that she would be going higher than any of them could dream.  For some of them their jealousy and fear had caused them to seek her destruction.  I wasn’t there to help her and keep her safe, luckly Dendro appeared just at the right moment, and now she was under his protection.  But I knew that the same reason that caused Dendro to be protective of her, would put her in danger.  Dendro would do anything to keep my daughter safe, but Ivy would hate her for the same reason.

I was also worried about Greca, she would be alone without Malkia, and her powers wouldn’t be as strong without the boost from her sister, and that would put her in danger.  Her vulnerability could put a bigger target on her back, or take the attention off of her, but without a doubt, it would be very challenging for her without her sister.  I knew her new situation would force her to grow, but I didn’t like her being in trouble.

To know my daughters were going through a rough time, and to know the dangers and challenges Ethan would be facing once we moved to Capital City were making me feel inadequate.  I just wanted the best for my children, I wanted them safe and happy, but I had failed all of them.  Everything I have done had been thinking of them, but it wasn’t enough.  Just by being their mother, I had made their lives more difficult.

Moving to Capital City and our apartment in the Black Tower was easier than I expected.  For some reason I was thinking the whole thing would be complicated, but Kimball had everything under control and the moving went smoothly.  Our only problem arrived later on the day we arrived.

“Kaiserin, I’m surprised to find you here,” Faakhir greeted me.  I didn’t understand his surprise.

“Welcome to my new home,” I said back to him, not knowing what else to say.

“I was waiting for you at the Palace.”

“I’m supposed to be the leader of Mzansi, I should be living accordingly, and not like one more of your guards in a little room at the Palace.  I think Emily was thinking of that when she asked me to go bring my family here to be with me.”

“Emily had no right to ask this of you.”  Even if his voice and manners were calm, I could feel his fury boiling under the surface.

“The move is done.  Did Emily change her mind?”

“No, she still believes this is for the best.  But I wished you were still at the Palace.”

“It would be weird to bring my family here and then let them alone.  Besides, you don’t need me all the time.  If something really bad was about to happen, then my powers would let me know with enough time to interfere and face whatever threat was there.  For small problems is enough with the people you already have.  Besides, Kimball will have to be early at work, every day, and I will be arriving with him and staying until late, my hours will be still the same.  And if for some reason you need me, I can get there in just a few minutes.”

“And what about your son?”

“What about him?”

“Don’t you need time to take care of him?”

“I don’t have time for him, besides, he is old enough to take care of himself, and if not, that’s Kimball’s job.  I had already told you that, Kimball is the one that takes care of Ethan.”

“I will be waiting for you early tomorrow.  And I’m warning you that you will be joining me on a mission away from him, so tell your husband not to expect you to be here for long.”

“I thought you would be satisfied that I would be spending more time here.  All is going to change is where I’m sleeping.”  I could feel that it was that what bothered him more.  Despite the years I had spent in Faakhir’s service, he hadn’t forced me to have sex with him, yet.  I could see his fantasies about me because of my powers, and that seemed to be enough for him.  Knowing I was under his power was all the satisfaction he needed, for the moment, but by not being at the Palace I had changed the situation, he couldn’t go to my room and watch me sleep and the illusion that he could get me any moment was broken.  He felt he was losing his power over me.

“Your place is by my side, it always have been and will always be.”  I felt Faakhir in my mind, the compulsion to get closer to him growing so strong I couldn’t pretend not to feel it, so I forced myself to follow it, so he wouldn’t find out that I knew what he was doing and was strong enough to stop him.  I forced myself to stay still as he caressed my face.  Before I could think about what I was doing, my mind was reaching to Kimball’s, crying for help.

“Faakhir,” Kimball’s voice broke through just a few seconds later, “to what do we owe the pleasure of your visit?”

“Kimball, I just found out you were moving in and wanted to welcome you.”  With the compulsion gone, I was able to move away without making him suspicious.  “So welcome.  I think I will be going back to the Palace now.  Kaiserin, I hope you are not too tired with the moving, I have a new mission for you and you will be traveling again in no time, probably for a few days.”

“I’m always ready for any mission.”

“Finish whatever you need to do here, because you have responsibilities at the Palace that you can’t ignore just because your family is here.”

“Don’t worry, I will be there first thing tomorrow morning.”

Faakhir got out and I felt wrapped in Kimball’s arms.  Despite trying to look relaxed Kimball knew that Faakhir’s visit had affected me.

“I heard your voice,” Kimball said, “I heard you in my head and I knew you needed me.  How did you do it?  No one is supposed to get into a mzansier’s mind.  What happened?”

“He hadn’t tried to control me in a long time, but he was doing it now, he wanted to kiss me.  He used his powers to plant a compulsion and it was very strong.  I didn’t know how to stop him without letting him know how much I can resist him.  I didn’t want him touching me, but I didn’t know how to stop him…”

“That’s why you called me.  You have told me he wasn’t trying anymore, that he was controlled.”

“He was, but I think that having you here is making him feel possessive of me.”

“I don’t like you being with him.  It’s not good for you, it’s not fair.”

“I just need to find a way to avoid him, a new way of fooling him.  It had been so long that it took me off guard, it won’t happen again.  I just have to prepare a counter measure, some way of tricking him and avoid him getting inside my head.  I can do that, I will have it under control.”

“We need to move forward with our plans, find a way to stop him for good.”

“Thanks for coming to help me.  For a moment I didn’t know what to do.”

“I think we will need to explore what just happened, the fact that you got inside my mind, that’s not something we can ignore.  Do you think we could repeat that?”

“It’s worth a try.  I really thought it was impossible and wasn’t even thinking of trying to do it, but if you really heard me, that means I reached out without thinking, it would be nice if we could replicate that on purpose.  It would be a great way of communicating without anyone knowing about it, no one would even suspect that I could use telepathy on a mzansier.”

“Well, if someone can manage to do the impossible, that’s you.”

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