It was dark inside the moving vehicle, I could barely see a few figures on the inside, but I couldn’t see their faces. Most of them looked small, I was sure most of them were kids, but I couldn’t be sure. I knew that the vehicle had been traveling for a while, but I couldn’t remember when it had started, I just had a feeling it had been a long time ago. And just as I was thinking about it, the vehicle stopped moving and the back door was opened, letting light in, showing me for the first time the faces of the people there. Most of them were kids, like I guessed, no older than twelve or thirteen. They started to climb down, all but a girl that was laying down in the corner. A soldier got into the vehicle and grabbed her by the arm, dragging her out, and letting her fall on top the fresh snow, as the kid was having a coughing fit. The girl turned to glare at the soldier and I saw her face, a face I had never laid my eyes on, but that I knew very well, the face of my daughter Greca.
The scream woke me up, and it took me a while to notice that it was me who was screaming. I turned to search for Kimball, but the bed was empty, so I tried to get up in a hurry, with the sheets getting tangled in my feet and making me lose my balance and fall, hitting my head.
When I opened my eyes again, I was back in bed, with Ethan holding something cold and wet to my head.
“How are you feeling?” He asked, and I could feel he was worried about me.
“Like an idiot.” Had I really fallen in my own room, I couldn’t believe I had been that clumsy, vision or no vision. But I couldn’t deny that the image of my sick daughter had affected me more than I was willing to admit. It was Ethan’s laugh that cut my wondering.
“Father said that you would feel like that, mortified about having such a silly accident, but not worried about the hit to your head,” he explained the reason for his laugh.
“And where is your father? Knowing him I expected him to be hovering over me, worried sick about me.” As soon as I questioned him, his laugh died and I could feel he was worried again. Something bad had happened, and that something had nothing to do with me.
“Grandma called a while ago and told my father that something happened to granpa. My father must be arranging a flight to Mzansi.
“What happened to him? Did someone attacked him?”
“I think he is sick or something like that. My father didn’t explain, and you know it’s very hard to read a mzansier.”
“It’s also very hard for them to get sick. Isn’t your grandfather supposed to have accelerated regeneration?”
“He does, that’s why we are so worried about him,” Kimball said, entering the room. “How are you feeling? Do you feel any pain?”
“A little, but nothing to worry about, I’m sure I’ll be just fine. What happened to your father?”
“He suffered a cerebral embolism. The doctors can’t explain why he hasn’t recovered yet, and my mother wants me to go and help them find what’s wrong with him. It’s not my area, but I’m sure I can help. I have to go to Mzansi, and I would like for you to go with me. Do you think you can manage to go with me?”
“I will find a way, I can handle Faakhir, and I’m sure that there won’t be a problem if Ethan misses a couple of school days. At least it’s almost the weekend, so he won’t lose that much school time.”
“Perfect, then we need to get ready, the plane should be ready in a couple of hours,” Kimball was already moving out of the room.
“Wait! Something happened, I had a vision, something I have to take care of. I will go with you to see your father, but I will probably have to go to the Empire to take care of this.”
“The Dark Empire?”
“Something is going to happen to our daughter, I have to make sure exactly what is going on first, but I don’t think I have much time before my vision comes true.”
“Malkia or Greca?”
“Greca of course,” I was surprised, yet again, that he was claiming Malkia as his, even if they didn’t share the same blood. My own father had refused to acknowledge me because we didn’t have the same Family, even if we shared blood, but Kimball never doubted to claim my daughter as his. “Malkia is in good hands, but Greca is in danger. I don’t know the details, I will need to go into the Fog to find more.”
“Any idea of the time frame we are talking about? We need to go to Mzansi right now, but from there we can find what’s going on with Greca and make plans. I hope my father’s illness isn’t too bad and I will be free soon to go with you to the Empire.”
“Are you coming with me?”
“Of course, it’s been a while since I saw my daughter,” but I knew that he intended to bring her with us, if Greca was in trouble, just like I suspected, then it would give him the perfect excuse to bring her with us. I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to leave her again, so I wasn’t sure I could stop Kimball if he decided to bring her with us. It was one of the reasons I never accepted to go with him during his yearly visits to the Fortress.
We were ready to go in no time, and by the time we arrived to the airport, our plane was ready to go. I knew that we would be in the air for a while, so I took the opportunity to go into the fog. I knew that my daughter would need my help, and the best way to do it was to get as much information as I could. I was still walking in the fog, trying to find my way when I felt someone calling me back to the present. We had already arrived to Mzansi and were getting out of the plane to go to the hospital.
“I’m sorry to wake you up,” Kimball was carrying me on his arms, “but I wanted to know if you would want to go to the hospital with me or head to my parent’s house with Ethan.”
“I want to to go the hospital,” Ethan said, “I want to know how’s granpa.”
“I think we can go to the hospital, once there we can see if we need to stay or if it’s better to go to the house,” Kimball suggested.
“Just remember that I have work to do. We may need to leave to the Empire soon, so I would suggest to keep a plane on call, ready to take us there if we need it.”
“Ok, I will leave that to you, you have the power to make any arrangement you want, but I need to go to the hospital.”
When we arrived, we found most of Kimball’s family there, his mother was there, obviously, but there were other people I didn’t expect, like Zola. After a brief talk with them, Kimball left the room and went to talk to the doctors and healers working on his father. Victoria was sad and worried, but having Ethan there was helping her, I wasn’t sure if it was because he was using his powers, or just because he was there.
After a few minutes Kimball went back, and just by looking at his face I knew things were worse than he expected. There was not much I could do to help him, I was never good with biokinesis. Since there was nothing I could do there, I decided to head to the house and focus my powers on what I could do, search for more information on Greca’s problem. I had a bad feeling about her, but I trusted Kimball could handle the problem with his father. Ethan decided to stay with his grandmother, but Mbali agreed to go with me to the house.
Kimball’s parent’s house was more like a mansion, and it wasn’t hard to find a comfortable space where I could go into the fog. I knew Mbali was around, and that made things easier for me, because I knew my body would be safe with her. As always, walking into the fog was easy, the hard part was to find what I needed. After walking different paths for a while I understood that I was looking at the wrong places. I had gone into the fog with the idea that the vision was showing me something that was going to happen, but it was more accurate to say I watched it as it was happening. What I saw was something that had happened hours before, not something that was about to happen.
I couldn’t leave without enough information, so I went back to the beginning to find what had happened to my daughter. Greca had had trouble since her sister had left the Fortress, not only because she had lost her ability to use ferrokinesis, but because she had fought even some of her superiors while trying to find what had happened to her sister, even after they kept refusing to tell her. That had caused the people in charge to decide that she wasn’t cut to be a soldier and that would work better as a slave. They had sent her to one of the worse places in the Empire, the Northern Mines, where the outside temperature was way below zero, but the heat inside the mine was oppressive. Knowing that just made the fact that she was sick even worse, a respiratory disease could only get worse on those conditions, and Makgatho had already proven that even the strongest could succumb to sickness.
I walked a while longer along Greca’s path, and I realized that my daughter was a fighter, and a worthy heiress of Kimball, she would try to escape the mine, even if everything, especially the weather, was against her. In most of her futures she managed to escape, but on those she did, she lost against the cold and snow, she only survived on the futures where I was right there by her side, so I had to make sure to be there. I had made a big mistake by not being there for her before, I should have been more alert, I should have paid more attention to her, make more time to watch her path, I should have known what was happening with her, I should have contacted Malkia or Dendro and ask for his help before it could get so bad for Greca, or at least I should have been there while she was being transported to the mines, so I could rescue her before she had the chance to go there. I had failed my daughter, and I needed to fix that.
It wouldn’t be easy to travel to the Empire, especially not to that particular area. I had just a couple of days before Greca attempted her escape, and if I wanted to be there I needed to move fast. I took some time to travel Kimball’s path and confirmed that he needed to stay by his father’s side, I knew he would be mad if he couldn’t go with me, but he needed to save his father, I could take care of our daughter.
By the time Kimball arrived at night, with Ethan by his side, I had already made most of the arrangements I needed. I knew that I needed to tell Kimball, and that he wouldn’t be happy, but first I needed to make sure he was ok and his father was getting better, not that it would change my plans either way, but I knew I would feel better if he didn’t need me with him.
“How is he? Could you find something?” I could see he was exhausted and worried about his father.
“We are still not sure what happened, the embolism was just hiding the real reason he’s sick. It seems a virus infected him, a virus his body has no defenses for. It’s very weird that something like that happens, and I suspect it’s not a natural virus, but one bioengineered to attack people with regenerative powers. Now that we have a better idea of what the problem is the doctors could start him on a medicine that will help him, but he will have a better chance of getting better if we can create an antiviral serum targeted especially for him.”
“What’s the prognosis?”
“It’s good. I really think he can beat this virus, but it won’t be easy and we will have a lot of work ahead of us. I’m not an expert, I don’t normally deal with this kind of cases. The problem is that it’s so weird for us to get a virus that we no longer know how to fight them. There was a time we would suffer from viruses, but it’s been so long we forgot how deadly they can be.”
“I’m really sorry, if it makes you feel better, there’s a good chance your father will make a complete recovery, I know you will find a way to help him.”
“Did you take a look at his future to know if he would recover?”
“I was looking at our daughter’s future, but once in the fog, I thought of taking a look at your father’s.”
“And what did you find about our daughter?”
“I’m afraid I don’t have good news,” I knew he wouldn’t like what I had to tell him. “Please, sit down,” I took his hand took him to the sofa in our room. “Last night, what I saw, it wasn’t exactly a vision, because it wasn’t something that was going to happen, it was something that was happening at that moment. Greca was sent to the Northern Mines to work as a slave.”
“What!? How could that happen?” I could feel Kimball’s anger, and I knew how hard it was for him not to explode.
“After Malkia left the Fortress, Greca started having trouble. I’m afraid that in her quest to find what had happened to her sister, she attracted the teacher’s animosity. I know Greca will attempt to escape the mines in a few days. She won’t be able to do it alone, but if I can get there in time, I can make sure she gets away and take her to a safe place,” I didn’t add that she was sick and needed medical attention, or that she would freeze to death if she managed to get out of the mines alone.
“I will go with you,” he said, but I could feel his conflicting emotions, he wanted to stay with his father.
“No, you have to stay here and take care of your father, you save him and I will save Greca.”
“But…” he tried to say, but I didn’t let him finish.
“Do you trust me? I will go for Greca and take her to a safe place, you don’t have to worry about anything, I will take care of her. I know I should have paid more attention to what was going on in her life, but I didn’t, and now I have to fix that mistake. I will do anything I need to do to keep her safe.”
“If you are sure, take whomever you want with you, and take anything you need. Just make sure you save our little girl.”
“Don’t worry, I will save her.”