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Chapter 31

Several countries had started to protest, as was expected after the King and Queen raised their demands once again, making their demands on the countries even more outrageous.  Because of that they had arranged a series of official visits so they could go to where the protests and uprisings were getting worrisome and stop them before they could really become a problem.

The problem was that in every country we stopped, we were received with attacks, and the rebels were getting more desperate every day and their attacks that much daring, the consequence of having nothing more to lose.  When we arrived and were told that there were organizing a parade in honor of the King and Queen I had a bad feeling about it, but despite my warnings Faakhir decided to go ahead because I couldn’t specify what the problem was going to be and he decided it was safe to ignore my warnings.

The other members of Faakhir’s elite forced had gone through the place and decided it was safe for us.  I had made my own scouting and haven’t found anything to warranty my fears, but the feeling that something bad was about to happen only got worse, so I kept alert.  The parade didn’t seem to have an end, and the longer it went on, the more nervous I was getting.  Some of Faakhir’s men had searched the participants of the parade and no one had found anything to worry about, but there were powers that could be easily concealed and that could do a lot of damage.

When I finally saw the last participants of the parade I thought that maybe I was being paranoid, but just as the last group stopped in front of the box, the feeling got worse and I knew that we were running out of time.  I extended my psychic wall to cover the box just as the people in the parade started throwing colorful powder into the air, painting figures in the air, the powder started moving in a way that was not natural.  The rest of the people in the box, including the rest of the guards thought it was just part of the show, but just as the powder was stopped by my wall, it exploded in flames, making the rest of the people finally react to the threat.  My power was protecting us from the flames, but the heat waves couldn’t be stopped and the heat was starting to get unbearable, affecting the people inside the box.

I felt the flames going out and noticed that Inger was using her power to move some water around, putting out the fires and containing the powder that had caused the fire in the first place.  Ivan and other guards were moving the Faakhir and Emily out of the box and taking them to a safe place.  I saw another group of guards going after the people who had thrown the powder, and decided to go after the first group, I would let the dirty job of taking down the rebels to the others.  As I moved I saw several fires had started around the place, but water was moving around and putting them out.  That’s why I didn’t pay attention to the liquid moving my way.

It was my instinct that told me to put up my psychic wall in time.  The wall stopped most of the liquid from getting to me, but some managed to get inside before I could consolidate my defense, and I felt my skin burning.  The liquid wasn’t water as I first thought, it was acid, and it had burned holes on my clothes and cape, and I was hurting in the few places it has managed to get to my skin.  I felt like my skin was on fire, and it was a feeling I knew very well, one I didn’t want to have to relive.

A new wave of acid hit my wall and I realized that even if the liquid wasn’t getting through the fumes that were raising around me were probably toxic and that I was going to be in trouble if I breathed it.  I used my powers to call a strong wind to blow the fumes away, just as another wave of acid moved my way, I used the wind to push the acid away, and started to move around, looking for the person manipulating the acid.

The place was chaos, people was running away and explosions were going on periodically, lighting more fires all around the place.  I guessed they were trying to stop the Faakhir and Emily from getting away, but the group moving them away was more than capable and was able to deflect every attack and keep them out of danger.

I finally found the one attacking me, he was behind a close building, preparing another, bigger, attack.  He had a few cylinders full of acid, and was taking every last drop out of them using his powers. I didn’t have time to investigate how had he been able to move such dangerous material so close to the place, I would have to see how nobody had noticed him or the acid, but later, first, I had to stop him. Just as I was preparing myself the guy finished gathering the liquid and threw it against me.  Instead of using my wall I used my telekinesis to take control of the acid and push it back, and I realized that my attacker was stronger than I originally thought.

It was always difficult to try and take control of an element from someone who was born with a natural affinity to that element, but it was more difficult than usual against him, and the acid was getting closer to me.  I had no doubt that the man was planning on drowning me in acid and let it consume me until there was nothing left of me.  His control was better than mine, but I had a double mind, and I used the second one to push him against the wall with so much force that he lost concentration, and at the moment he lost control, the acid sailed to him.  I tried not to flinch as I heard his inhuman scream of agony and I saw his skin melting away.  I moved closer to him and used my powers to break his neck and stop his suffering.  I knew that he was planning that agony for me, but I didn’t want any unnecessary pain.

“Are you ok?” Ivan asked, I hadn’t noticed that he had moved next to me, but with his powers it was not strange that he could sneak up to me.

“I have just some minor burns.”

“Chemical burns, they should be looked over.”

“Faakhir and Emily?”

“They were taken to a safe place, along with some of their followers here.  The rest of the soldiers are taking control of the streets, soon we will have to start looking for the people responsible for this chaos.”

“Faakhir’s net of control is bigger and messier than I originally thought,” I told Ivan, knowing that there was no one around us who could hear me.  “Stopping him is taking longer than I wanted, and I hate to see innocent people being hurt while I wait,” I extended my hand to pint to the destruction around us.  “This won’t stop any time soon, and there are many countries that had reached their tipping point.  Faakhir won’t understand that they are putting too much pressure, people won’t have anything left to lose.  Desperate people won’t care about consequences while trying to kill him.”

“He is not the only one they are desperate to get rid of,” Ivan said, his eyes on what was left of the man that had attacked me.

“It seems that more attacks are concentrating on me,” I agreed with Ivan, in the last few attacks, there had been someone going after me, it was as if they realized they couldn’t get to Faakhir and Emily and turned their efforts to me, and I wasn’t sure if it was because they thought that getting rid of me would help them get to them, or if they had something against me specifically, after everything I had done in the name of the Dominion.

“You need to be careful,” Ivan said, worried, and scanned our surroundings, making sure no one could hear our talk, “and you have to go have those burns checked,” he added, when he remembered my injuries.

We started our way back together to the Dominion fortress in the middle of the city, but before arriving Ivan disappeared, using his powers to move the last few yards to the entrance in the blink of an eye.  By the time I arrived the doors were open, waiting for me, and Ivan was nowhere to be seen.  All the soldiers were on alert, and most of them out on the streets, calming people and mostly hurting them so they could regain control.

I arrived at the infirmary and found a lot of injured people, most were burned, having been around the powder when it has ignited, but despite the great number of injured people I was moved to the front of the line as soon as they found out the nature of my burns.  I was taken to a small room where the healers washed my burns with different liquids and then applied different salves and medicines.  By the time they were finished and allowed me to go, the city was in calm.  I was sure that there was a curfew involved, and that those smart enough wouldn’t get out of their homes until morning, or later.

I went to the dining room and as soon as I approached it, I heard Emily complaining about the attack, going on and on about how stupid they were, refusing to see or understand the motivation behind those actions, not willing to see they were causing that response.  I knew that by the time we were gone a lot of exemplary executions would take place, that was their favorite way of cutting a rebelion early.

I went inside in silence, found an empty seat and prepared to wait until Faakhir and Emily were gone so I could eat something, but Faakhir noticed me.

“Kaiserin, I was wondering where you were,” at her husband’s voice Emily turned her attention to me, as most people in the room.  “I see you didn’t get out of the conflict unscathed.  Were you hurt by the fires?” He asked, as he sent a reproachful look at Inger.

“There was a guy playing with acid, and before I could neutralize him, he managed to get me with a few drops,” I explained.

“I hope that it wasn’t anything bad,” Faakhir said.  “I have to admit you were right and I should have listened to your warnings.  And I’m glad your instincts kept us safe.  I will try to listen to you in the future.

“Thanks, Your Majesty, I was only doing my job.  But I would be grateful if you listened to my warnings next time, I have a feeling that today wasn’t the last attack we will encounter during our tour.”

“That’s just not acceptable!” Emily said, and I expected her to start complaining yet again.  “We should teach them a lesson they won’t be able to forget, maybe that way people will learn and rebels will learn not to mess with the Dominion.  We should pick a city and raze it to the ground, maybe when they really find themselves with nothing, they will learn to appreciate the Dominion.”

“It’s not a bad idea,” Faakhir said, and I was afraid they would do that, but there was nothing I could do to change their minds without raising suspicion.  “For the moment we need to keep our schedule and move on.”

“I don’t have a good feeling about our next stop,” I said, when said bad feeling invaded me as soon as Faakhir mentioned our next stop.  “It’s probably that we will find an attack like the one today waiting for us.”

“We should arrive there in a couple of days,” Emily said.  “Maybe a group of you should go ahead and prepare the place so we don’t find any surprises waiting for us.”

“That’s an excellent idea,” Faakhir said.  “Inger, since you are from the place we are visiting next, you should guide the group.  Pick a squad to go with you, just include Kaiserin in the group and listen to her warnings.”

“As you said, I am from there and know the place and its people, I don’t need Kaiserin to help me.”

“Besides, she got injured today, if she had trouble in battle today when being at her best, what can we expect now that she is injured?  She would just be a hindrance to us,” Ivan said.  His words would have bothered me if I thought he meant them, but he was just trying to help me at the time that he tried to keep the image that he considered me his enemy.

“As always you underestimate what she is capable of,” Faakhir said.  “Her advice, if I had listened, would have saved a lot of trouble today.  And it was thanks to her psychic wall that we managed to get out of that inferno without damage.  No, I think she will be a great asset in this mission, and it’s not a suggestion, it’s an order.”

“Of course, as you wish,” Inger accepted, but I could see that she was not happy with the order.

Confident that everything was settled, Faakhir and Emily decided to go to their room, and once they were out of the room, everyone went to grab some food.  Inger and Ivan sat together, and started to discuss the mission.  I finished eating and got up, ready to go to my room to get some rest, but Inger’s voice stopped me before I could get out.

“We will leave tomorrow, midmorning,” Inger said.  “Make sure to be at the airport before 10 a.m.”

“I will be there,” I said, and I got a bad feeling about the mission, I knew that I would have to spend some time walking the fog of the future to make sure I was prepared for anything that happened the next day.

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