As soon as Yoweri left, I went to take a quick shower, I knew it wouldn’t erase the memory of their hands on me, no one but Kimball could help with that, he was the only one capable of replacing bad memories with good ones, but until I could go to him, a shower would have to be enough.
When I went back to the room where Faakhir was, I felt the group coming my way, I wasn’t worried about it, I could feel their minds and I recognized Mbali’s among them, what surprised me was the anger I felt from her when she entered the room, I didn’t understand why she could be mad. I turned my attention to the rest of the group and I saw they were just a few of my men, I quickly realized that they had decided to arrive in small groups, so they could move without attracting attention.
“Are you alright?” Mbali asked, but I knew she didn’t really care about the answer. ¿What happened here? How did you manage to kill all of these people? Forget the how, why? Months of planning gone down the drain because you couldn’t control your temper,” she said, angry at me as if my actions had actually hurt her.
“Why? Because he found out I wasn’t under his control, and he found some memories that I didn’t want him to see. He was angry and wanted to make me pay for lying to him.”
“And you thought only about yourself and your anger ant attacked him without thinking of the consequences,” she accused.
“I attacked him because he gave me no other choice, he went inside my mind and he wanted to find what else I was hiding from him, all he knew about was that I was faking being under his control, but if he had found out about the rest of my plans, no one would be safe, not our allies or our cause.”
“Don’t pretend, you are too strong for that, if you really wanted to, you could have kept that information from him, just like you have been doing for the last few years,” she said, she was clearly angry but I couldn’t understand why, and by the reaction of the others with her, I wasn’t the only one surprised by her attack.
“I’m sorry Mbali, but I my loyalty to the cause is not so big that I would allow him to bring Sklave back and abuse me just so others wouldn’t be inconvenienced,” I said, taking the clothes out of her arms and marching to the bathroom where I could dress without them watching me.
“What does Sklave has to do with this?” Mbali asked.
“Faakhir found out about Sklave, and liked what he saw, so he decided to bring her back.”
“Who’s Sklave?” Ivan asked. Mbali and I had been using one of the least known languages of Mzansi, but Ivan knew enough to understand what we were talking about.
“She is my worst nightmare, and someone I don’t want to have to deal ever again,” I said, switching back to the common language used in Capital City, so everyone could understand.
“Are you ok?” Soriya asked once I got out of the bathroom, fully clothed and feeling so much better for it.
“Yes, I am. Faakhir focused on attacking me mentally, and as you can see, I was able to fight back just fine.”
“You did all of this alone?” Onyesha asked. “It seems impossible for a single person to do this much damage,” she said, moving closer to where the bodies of the guards were and examining the wounds.
“You do amazing things at desperate moments,” I said. I haven’t been easy, but she was right, stoping that particular group of elite warriors wasn’t something easy to do, and all I could think was that the energy I had stolen had helped me, that and the fear and adrenaline running through my body, there was no other explanation of how I had managed that particular feat.
While they were trying to understand how I had managed to do the impossible, and Mbali was trying to control her anger, a new group arrived, their focus turning immediately to Faakhir, who had passed out while we were talking. Some of them looked horrified, but others enjoyed what they were seeing.
“Is he dead?” Gina asked.
“No, not yet, but the pain must have been more than he could deal with, so he passed out,” I said. Gina nodded and then crossed the room, she took a water pitch and proceeded to throw the water to Faakhir, waking him up. A sound that must have been a scream, but sounded weird thanks to the branch in his neck, filled the room, his body started shaking, until he could control it enough to stop it, doing his best to minimize the pain he was feeling.
“What are you doing?” Mbali asked. “Do you have any idea of how much he is suffering right now in that thing?”
“No,” Gina said, “but I’m sure he is in a lot of pain, and that’s the least that monster deserves, so the least he can do is suffer every second of it. People like him don’t deserve an easy or calm death.”
Mbali was getting out of control, but I finally understood what her problem was, when she saw the tree of pain, it wasn’t Faakhir who she saw there, it was her cousin. Kimball had almost died in one of those, and it was clear that it still bothered her.
“I get it, you see the tree and it reminds you of your cousin, but look at it, it’s Faakhir who’s there, and he deserves every bit of pain he is feeling. And don’t you dare fight with Gina about this, if someone deserves to see him suffer is her, she deserves this after everything he did to her.” Mbali didn’t say anything more, she was quiet, thinking about what I said.
“I think that if someone deserves a death like that, it’s Faakhir. After all the pain he inflicted, I think he is actually having it easy,” Konstantinos said. “You can’t judge others if you never experienced the horrors of being under his control, we can’t just ignore all the damage he caused.”
Mbali was speechless, because she knew they were right. Some of Faakhir’s guards were with him because they wanted, but if Faakhir really wanted someone, he didn’t give a choice. He had kidnaped Gina when she was a teenager, and the only reason he let her go after years of abuse, was because in a fight, while she was protecting him, she got injured, and the scars she got in the fight made her unattractive in Faakhir’s eyes. He had sent her to protect Nysa when she didn’t want her anymore, and it wasn’t until after her death that I found her and was able to clear the programing that Faakhir had put in her mind. Konstantinos had also suffered because of Faakhir, he had taken his lands, his position, his family and even his freedom. He had brainwashed him and made him into one of his elite guards, just like he had tried to do with me.
They were not the only ones that were loyal to me because I had given them their freedom, almost 20 of the 45 elite guards that had joined me, had done so because I had freed their minds. They were people like Konstantinos, who had every reason to hate Faakhir, but that were forced to obey him because of his powers. They were people who would follow me without question because I had given them their lives back.
Mbali stayed silent while more people arrived, most of them glad to be able to have front row seats to Faakhir’s death. A few were affected by his pain, but most of then enjoyed his punishment.
“Is everything ready? Did you notify our contacts in the army?” I asked my men. I could feel that Faakhir’s end was close, and once he was dead, we would need to act.
“Everything is ready, we are just waiting for your orders,” Thalia said, she had arrived with the last group.
“Connor, I need you to take some men with you and take control of the school, we need to keep the Representative’s children under control. That worked for Faakhir and with my reputation it would be an effective threat, they all will believe me capable of killing their children if they don’t obey me,” I said, “but your main mission is to make sure that Ethan is safe. Make sure no one notices that you are there for him, but make sure no one hurts him.”
“As you wish,” he said.
“Ivan, Lim, Onyesha and Gina, you will go with me to face Emily,” they were supposed to be my enemies, and I knew that the impact it would have on them to realize they were my allies would be big. “I think that Zhou, Weza, Youseff and Sefina are guarding her, right?”
“That’s right,” Thalia said, “I already contacted them and told them that they had to be prepared.”
“That’s perfect, with those four and the four that will go with me, would be more than enough to control the other guards with Emily and take control of the Congress. For the rest of us, I need you to move and go take control of the army, and contain anyone you think could cause of trouble, any way you need to. You all know your roles, you know who to contact and who you can trust. This will work, only if we work together. We are doing here not just to take Emily down, we need to take control of the Dominion with as few casualties as we can. At first, they won’t know what’s going on, and that will give us time to act, but things will change once our enemies realize that Faakhir and Emily are no longer in control, they will believe they can move in and take over. If we don’t want that to happen, we need to take control as soon as possible and establish our rule.”
“What about Sofia?” Ivan asked. “Shouldn’t she be here? She could help us take control.”
“There is no time to bring her here, besides, plans had changed. We can’t bring Sofia out and risk one of her enemies attacking her, we need to identify and neutralize all the people that is loyal to the current power. And the risk is not only with those that truly believe in this government, but those who are still under Faakhir’s control, we don’t know what kind of programing he could have prepared against something like this.”
“Everything is going to be alright,” Fatima said. “It’s true that things got complicated, but we have been working towards this for a long time. We are ready. Everything is going to be alright,” she said again, I wasn’t sure if she was trying to convince us or herself. The fog of the future was still closed to me, so I had no choice but to face things as they came my way.
“What are we going to do about Emily? It’s lunch time, she will be getting out any moment now,” Ivana said.
“No, she won’t. The representatives are still discussing her new demands, and she won’t let them get out until she gets her way. You know how she likes to play with them, let them think they still have some control, just to see them crack and fall to her demands. I’m pretty sure that right now she is getting something to eat while the rest of the people just watch her and try to work on something she can accept,” Mbali said.
“It wouldn’t be the first time she keeps them there, starving, as if they were kids being punished for not doing their homework,” Ivan agreed. “The only problem is that Faakhir is usually by her side, trying to find a middle ground between her demands and what the countries can give her, trying to bring some balance to her demands. Sooner or later she will want him there and she will send someone for him.”
“We still have time before that happens,” Fatima said, with the certainty that only her powers could give her. That reminded me that I needed to talk to her about my problems, maybe she could help me understand what was going on with my powers.
There were a lot of things that had to be done, but I couldn’t send them away, I knew some of them needed to see Faakhir’s death. It was a grim spectacle, I knew that, it was one of the reasons I used that particular technique. Watching Faakhir like that wouldn’t change the years of abuse and oppression they had experienced under his rule, but it would make them feel better. Even some of the people that wasn’t directly affected by him were enjoying his suffering, and I knew that more than one wished that Emily was right beside him.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with Emily, Sofia and William were supposed to be there for that moment, they were supposed to handle her, but the situation had changed and I wasn’t sure what to do. Emily was unstable, and I was sure she was going to explode once she knew what had happened. I was afraid I would have to kill her too, because, even if I offered her a deal to spare her life, I was sure she was going to fight back, and it was very likely that I would be forced to kill her too.
It took hours for Faakhir to die, and even if some people feel better knowing he was dead and wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone else, ever again, some people were disappointed that his pain was over. It was over, and time to finally act. The groups I had previously prepared were ready to act and take over the Dominion, all I had to do was give them the order to act.
The four guards I had selected went with me to face Emily. As soon as we left the residential area, we found a couple of guards that I knew were loyal to Emily and that were heading our way.
“Is Faakhir already done with her?” One of them asked, thinking that they were there to contain me, not to protect me. “Where are you taking her?”
“Are you looking for Faakhir?” Ivan asked, ignoring their questions.
“Yes, Emily wants to talk to him, and she asked us to tell him that she needed his help with the Representatives. Their excuses are bothering her, and she thinks that the King can help them see things her way.”
“I’m afraid the King can’t go meet her,” Ivan said, looking at me, a silent question for support or maybe guidance.
“Their loyalty is for Emily, but I don’t know if it’s because of her, or what she represents, I don’t know if they follow the position or the person. Remember, we are supposed to minimize casualties,” I reminded them, hoping they would get the message.
Neither guard suspected us, from where they were standing I was surrounded by my worst enemies, so when Onyesha and Ivan moved to attack, they didn’t react fast enough, and that few seconds were enough for my people to contain them. By the time they tried to react, they were already under Onyesha and Ivan’s control, with Lim and Gina pointing their guns at them, in case they needed further proof that they were defeated. Once Onyesha was sure they wouldn’t try anything, she took a couple of syringes and injected them with a sedative that was supposed to take them out of combat for the rest of the day.
“Mbali gave me the sedatives, so I’m pretty sure they will work just fine. I will send a message to the other so someone can come and take them to the cells,” Onyesha said.
“We can’t leave them here, if someone finds them, they could alert others of our attack,” Gina said.
“They were looking for Faakhir, and we all know how he was, he did things on his own time, we still have time before someone misses them. Right now we have to get to Emily and finish this, that’s our priority,” I said.
After sending a message to inform the others of the two guards, we kept going. I knew that at that moment, all over the city, those loyal to me were fighting the people loyal to them, those who could cause trouble for us later on. We were constantly receiving reports of what was happening in other places as my men took control of the city. The best news was when Connor informed me that he had taken control of the school where Ethan was, and that he was safe and under supervision. Knowing he was safe helped me feel better about the situation.
By the time we arrived at the doors of the Congress, I was sure that everything was going to be fine. Things were going my way, and soon, everything would be over and the Dominion would be under my control.