After some astral recognition, I went back to my body. The car was still moving without problems through the snow. Everything was painted white thanks to a thick blanket of snow, with only a few splashes of color getting through. I knew we were close to the mine, because we could see the smoke rising in the horizon, helping guide our way.
“Is everything ok?” Mbali asked, she was the only one that had come with me, I didn’t want a big group, it was easier to make a small group go unnoticed, and it was supposed to be a quick trip.
“Yes, we won’t encounter any patrol using this route, if we keep going at this rate, we will get to the limits of the mine without problem.”
“Are we on time?”
“I’m pretty sure we are on time, don’t worry.”
We didn’t speak for a few minutes. I knew Mbali, like many of Kimball’s family members, believed that Greca’s situation was my fault, and something that could have been avoided if I had taken Greca with me when I abandoned the Empire. I trusted my instincts, and I knew that leaving her behind was the best for her, no matter what they thought. But despite my beliefs, I still felt guilty sometimes, and I had to go back to the visions that showed me her future, and how things would be better for her as long as she stayed behind.
When we reached the limits of the mine’s territory I knew it was time to act. I modified my cape so I could wear the white coat over it, then I took another thick coat that I would use on Greca once I rescued her.
“I will stay here with the car, so I can have it ready when you come back with Greca.”
“It won’t take long, I hope.”
There were a few watchtowers on the perimeter, and I knew that there were soldiers using different powers to watch the place, but there were always ways to fool them. I took advantage of the terrain, of the snow and my white clothes. I used my powers to build an ice snowboard and used my powers to help me move it, at the time that I used some wind and snow to cover my tracks. When I was halfway to my destination the alarms went off. At first, I thought I had been discovered, but then I realized that it was Greca’s escape they were reacting to, and that they were trying to stop her from getting out. I forgot all about being careful and used my powers to move faster to exit point.
I arrived to the mineshaft and saw that many soldiers were already moving around, trying to find Greca. The mineshaft’s exit was on top of a small hill, and I climbed there, dragging the snowboard behind me. I saw the bars over the exit, and I noticed small hands holding onto them. I was just in time. I put my hands nest to Greca’s, and using my powers to connect to the bars and the ground around them, I managed to open the exit. At first nothing happened, and then the bars moved and I was able to lift them along with Greca that was still holding them. She felt too heavy, and I realized that someone was holding her legs, and I wasn’t lifting one, but two persons.
I used my powers to keep lifting Greca and kneeled next to the exit until I saw the person holding her. He was a mutant, some kind of shifter that had modified his body to make it thin enough to be able to move inside the tunnel. He was surprised to see me, and he took to long trying to decide if I was an ally or enemy, giving me time to act, I punched his throat, making him let go of Greca’s leg and start falling back into the mine. Greca had let go of the bars and was on the ground, trying to fight a coughing fit. While she was trying to recuperate, I used my powers to seal the exit once more. When I finished Greca as trying to move away from me, but she wasn’t sure what way to go, there were soldiers all around us.
“I’m here to help,” I said, trying to act nonthreatening. Greca stared at me, her face going from fear to surprise.
“Malkia?” She asked, hopeful, but doubting.
“No, but you’re close,” I said, as I put down my hood so she could see my hair. Kimball always said that Malkia looked more like me every day, and Dendro has thought the same, he had recognized Malkia as mine as soon as he saw her.
“Who are you?” She asked, as people started screaming around us.
“Let’s leave the questions for later, right now we need to get out of here,” I saw she was shaking and felt bad for forgetting, if even for a moment, that it was freezing and she wasn’t wearing much clothes. I took the extra coat and put it on her, at first she was surprised and then I saw the relief as she felt the warmth of the coat. “Jump in,” I told her as kneel on the floor and offered her my back, “hold tight.”
Once I had Greca on my back, I modified my cape to help hold Greca. I climbed up into the snowboard and used it to get away, using the little hill to gain some speed, while using my powers to build a snow storm to reduce visibility. When the air was heavy with snow and it was difficult to see I changed directions and headed to where Mbali was waiting for us.
Everything was going according to plan, but then, an ice wall appeared in front of us, I was able to change direction and avoided crashing into the wall. I felt people all around us and moved just in time to avoid a few ice spears that grew out of the ground. It was a trick I knew well, and used a lot, but it was hard to fight it with Greca on my back and my movements weren’t as fast as they should.
“This is your chance to surrender, your punishment won’t be as severe if you stop now, keep fighting and we will make an example out of you,” said a woman’s voice that was coming from some point in the snow storm.
“If you keep fighting, we will make you wish you were never born,” another voice, male, said from the other side of the ice wall.
I used most of my power to build and strengthen my psychic wall, making it a dome around us. I did it just in time, as a shower of ice shards started falling on us. I made Greca climb down from my back and could see how scared she was. To be able to build my wall, I had to stop feeding the storm and the air was starting to clear. I used my powers to connect to the ground and made a few rock spears that I used against the couple attacking us.
I knew that I couldn’t get into a long battle, I had to get rid of them fast, but I didn’t want to hurt them if I could avoid it. I managed to connect to their minds and trapped them inside mine, when both of them were with me, I used the chest inside my mind to cause them enough pain to take them out of combat.
When I returned my focus outside to see if we were out of danger, I saw that Greca had collapsed. For a moment I was afraid they had managed to hurt her, but when I touched her I noticed she was burning with fever. How had I not noticed before? I was sure that her body had reached its limit, I had no idea how long she had been sick or how much energy she had spent during her escape, but I was sure she had finally reached her limit.
I moved her until she was in a more comfortable position on the snowboard, and then I modified it to be more like a snow slider. I sat next to her, and again, used my powers to push us forward. With the snow storm gone, and the noise our battle had caused, many soldiers were already after us. I could see a couple of soldiers riding in snow bikes at high speed. Trying not to affect our own movement, I connected to the ground and moved a rock right into their path. Both soldiers hit the rock, one of them jumping into the air and the other falling to the side, with the bike falling on top of him. I cut my connection to the ground and built my wall again.
We managed to advance a few more yards before an explosion in front of us blocked my way, I had to move the snow slider in a new direction, that was once again blocked by an explosion, the third explosion confirmed my fears that they were herding us, and I stopped completely while I tried to decide what to do. One of the soldiers that I had attacked recovered and was running after us. Running on snow was very difficult, so I guessed he was using his powers, and I noticed that his feet barely touched the snow while he was getting closer and closer to us.
I took a minute to try to find the one throwing bombs, but I couldn’t find him before a new explosion made me decide not to waste my time and focus on one threat at the time. I modified my psychic wall to let my pursuer in, that way I was sure I could fight him without worrying about another explosion. I didn’t trust the other guy not to attack just because I was fighting one of his own.
“You don’t look like a slave,” the soldier said. “Why are you helping one escape?”
“Her presence here was a mistake, I’m just fixing that mistake. Just let us go, and I won’t hurt you.”
“I have a better idea, surrender, and I won’t hurt you,” he took a weapon out of his belt and pointed it at me. It was a weapon I wasn’t familiar with, so I couldn’t disable it. But I could use my mind to take it from him, and I did just that.
I focused on taking the gun from him, and focused my mind on moving it up. When he felt me trying to take it from him, he tried to shoot me, but the gun was already pointing up and it didn’t harm me. While I was wrestling him for the weapon, and maintaining the wall, I couldn’t move, and he knew that I couldn’t move, so she let go of the weapon, and before I could react, the tackled me to the ground. As we fell, he moved to be on top of me, and then used one of his arms to put pressure on my neck.
He smiled, sure that he had me, and I felt disappointed that he thought getting rid of me was so easy. I let my body relax, I knew I had enough time to stop him before the lack of air started bothering me. Just like he was trying to choke me, I used my powers to do the same, only I had more experience and knew exactly what to do and where to press. As I started my attack, he panicked and let me go, using his hands to try to stop my mental attack, but unable to find what was choking him. Just a couple of minutes later, he passed out, and after making sure he was still alive, I tried, once again, to find the other attacker.
I noticed a group of people moving fast toward us, but they were still out of range, and then, focusing better, I managed to find another mind, closer to where I was. I couldn’t see him, but I knew he was close. I was sure it was mutant, one able to hide himself using his powers to make him appear invisible. But I had other ways of finding him. I touched the snow and connected to it, and with that I was able to find his movements and make sure he was the same person that was throwing us grenades. I took a risk and let my wall go, then I used my powers to prepare an ice prison for the person I still couldn’t see. The prison took a lot of energy, but I managed to build it before he could do anything to avoid it.
I heard the snow bikes getting closer, and I knew that it was getting more difficult to fight, especially if I didn’t want to kill anybody. I knew that it wasn’t their fault that Greca had ended there, they were just doing their job. Since they weren’t at fault, it wasn’t fair that I took my anger at the situation on them, so I needed to spare them.
I laid down next to the unconscious soldier and let the soldiers get to me, I knew they were close, and I knew I didn’t have enough energy to face them. I had to do something that I didn’t want to do, but I had no other choice. It felt like hours while I waited for them, but in just a few minutes they arrived. Using my powers I managed to find out that they were five soldiers. Two of them remained on their bikes, another moved to where Greca was, and the other two went to where the soldier and I were, one to check on each of us. I wasn’t worried about Greca, I had a psychic wall around her.
As soon as I felt the hand on my neck, checking my pulse, I focused on finding his energy ribbon, and took hold of it, I started pulling it, stealing his energy. I knew I had to be careful, I needed to knock him out, but also avoid taking more than necessary and risk killing him.
“What the hell?” At first, the soldier was just confused by the feeling, but then he noticed he couldn’t break contact with me. “I need help!” He called before I could steal enough energy to silence him.
The soldier next to us touched his partner to check on him, but as soon as he made contact, I could see his energy ribbon, and I took hold of it too. My eyes were still closed, and all I could see and feel were the two soldiers, I still maintained the wall around Greca, but I couldn’t see what was happening with her. I could feel the first soldier reaching his limit, and I knew I had to let go or I would end up taking more energy than I should. I wasn’t sure how to keep taking energy from the second man without hurting the first, and since I didn’t want to accidentally kill him, I let them go. I opened my eyes and watched as the second soldier tried to get away, before he could, I grabbed his hand and continued draining his energy.
Just when I was about to let go of the second soldier, I was hit on the head and my focus broke, making me release the second one before time. I was sure I had taken enough energy from him to render him harmless, even if he was still conscious, so I had to focus my energy on the new threat. I moved in time to avoid another hit, and realized that I was surrounded by the three soldiers. Two of them attacked me at the same time, but I put my psychic wall between me and them in time to stop them, and then I made it grow so fast that they were pushed away. The third one got a gun out and pointed it to me. I knew I was safe, with my cape and the psychic wall to slow down bullets I was sure I would be safe, but when the bullets hit it still hurt a lot.
From my place in the ground I connected to the snow around me and melted and froze it around the soldier’s feet to trap them, and then I started to make the ice grow until they were surrounded by ice. I was sure that would stop them for enough time for me to get away, so I went to where my daughter was and used my power to move the snow slider and help it gain speed.
I could see the limit of the mine’s territory when I heard one of the snow bikes after me, I glanced over my shoulder just in time to see the soldier lifting his gun and preparing to fire. I was getting ready for the impact, I knew that it wouldn’t be a pleasant feeling, but I wasn’t worried about him hurting me, and I was positioned in a way that I was blocking Greca from harm, but before he could shoot, something hit him and he fell from the bike. I turned and saw Mbali and her dart rifle, she was looking for more targets using the rifle’s scope, when she didn’t find anything she turned and disappeared, I knew she had gone to get the car ready for us.
“Are you ok?” Mbali asked while I was getting Greca into the car.
“No, Greca is really sick, she has a fever and she lost consciousness while we were escaping. I’m worried for her.”
“Let’s get out of here and then I will take a look at her. Kimball gave me some medicines that could be useful.”
“I know, he told me, like a hundred times, before we left,” I took the first aid kit that Kimball had prepared for us and took one of the injections. I gave it to Greca, hoping it would help and I would be able to see her getting better.