The trip back to the Dominion was very different, we all could feel Sofia’s happiness, but Camil emotions were harder to read. One moment he was happy, then worried, then angry or even scared. His face didn’t betray any emotion, and because of that Sofia didn’t see them, or chose not to, anyway.
“Do you want me to use my powers to calm him down?” Ethan asked mid trip.
“No, he is too used to Melchizedek’s influence, it will be good for him to be able to experience his emotions freely.”
“Your friends are very nice,” Kimball said. “I’m glad to know you had them to help you through your hard times.”
“You have no idea how grateful I am for having Melchizedek and his family in my life. Some of the best memories I have, are from the time I spent with them. I have no idea what I would have done if Melch hadn’t been there to teach me how to use my clairvoyance powers.”
We spent the rest of the journey sharing memories, even Sofia and Camil joined us at some point. Even if the chat was light and happy, Camil was getting more nervous as we approached our destination. We knew it wasn’t a good idea to take him directly to the Dominion, so we were taking him to one of his family’s castles, Sofia was going to be with him, teaching him about our society and giving him time to get used to the Dominion. At first we had considered taking him to Aquarium, but he didn’t need a secure place like that, there were no longer any threats against him.
We stayed at the castle one night, in part to make sure Camil felt at easy, in part to make sure everything was ok, but at the next day we continued our way to Capital City. As soon as we landed, a car approached the plane, and William came out to greet us.
“Black lady, it’s good to have you back.”
“William, what a surprise, I didn’t expect you to come welcome us.”
“You know I didn’t want to leave the Dominion with just one of us here, but now that you arrived, I think there won’t be a problem if I go visit my mother and nephew.”
“No, I don’t think it will be, take as long as you need.”
“Thanks, Kaiserin,” I could tell he had a lot of questions, but instead of asking, he turned around and went into his car, without even bothering to greet Kimball or Ethan.
“I’m surprised he wasn’t at the castle to greet his family,” Ethan said, coming to where I was standing.
“Someone had to be here, one of us gone is no problem, but two of us is another matter,” I said.
“It’s not like your work intercedes that often, you all have different tasks to do.”
“Still, we always have to be prepared in case something unexpected happens, the Dominion is a huge place, and there are many scenarios that need the attention of all of the Dominion’s leaders,” Kimball explained.
“We have been lucky, there haven’t been any crisis lately, but that’s not a reason to neglect our responsibilities,” I said, but I couldn’t help but recall all the occasions I had left the Dominion to take care of personal problems, or just because I needed some rest.
We didn’t wait to see William leave, we went directly to the Palace, back to real life. Even if I wasn’t officially back until the next day, I couldn’t help but go to my office to check my messages and make sure nothing had happened while I was gone. Even if it had been just a few days, I couldn’t help but feel unease, I wasn’t sure if I was just feeling guilty about leaving, or if it was something else, but I knew that it was better to make sure everything was fine, instead of taking unnecessary risks.
Ethan had been more and more interested in my work, and anything related to the government, so it didn’t surprise me when he asked to go with me, and I didn’t bother trying to tell him no, I knew that any training he could get by my side would be useful for him in the future, no matter what path he decided to take.
Everything was just as I expected, the reports and files were what I would normally find on my desk, nothing out of place, mostly just routine work, but still, that didn’t make me feel better.
“What are you worried about?” Ethan asked.
“Nothing specific, I just had a feeling something was wrong, but maybe I’m just feeling guilty for all the time I was away, leaving my people unattended.”
“Isn’t the Dominion’s advantage the fact that it is just a regulatory body? Once all the rules are set and the programs are running, most of the work is done by the different countries, you only have to make sure everything is going as planned, just supervising work.”
“That’s a rather simplistic way of explaining it, but you are right, if our work is done well, then sooner or later we reach an equilibrium where everything is fine. Of course, we still have to be on our guard in case something unexpected happens, like a conflict between nations or a natural disaster, that’s when we really need to work.”
“But right now, everything is fine, right?”
“That’s right. I think I just needed to make sure by myself to be calm, we only were away for a few days, still the trip was not something planned, and we had only returned from Aquarium, so I feel like I’m not doing my job, that I’m leaving my responsibilities.”
“Have it ever occurred to you that you take on too many responsibilities?” Ethan said, and I could tell he was serious, and even if his words were sincere and his worry was real, I couldn’t help but laugh.
“If you want to rule one day, you can’t think like that.”
“You know I’m not talking about that, I know your main responsibility comes from being the Prime Minister, but still, you worry about things going on in other places, first it was only the Empire, but sometimes is what’s going on with the Allied Clans, and not what happens in the Light Kingdom.”
“I’m a Seeress, Ethan, if I have a vision about something going on in any of those places, then I’m going to worry, but you know that most of the time I don’t even have to interfere.”
“I really admire everything you do, still I think you could take it a little easier.”
“I’ll try,” I said, mostly just to calm him, but in part I knew he was right.
We went back to our side of the Palace and I went to rest, but the next morning I was still feeling uneasy and I knew that it wasn’t my imagination, I couldn’t keep telling myself it was just guilt, what I was feeling was a premonition, and that meant something bad was about to happen.
While we were having breakfast the feeling got worse, and then I noticed that Kimball was receiving messages. My fears were confirmed when one of my assistants arrived, followed by a couple of my guards.
“I’m so sorry for interrupting your breakfast,” Keith apologized, “but there is a situation that requires your attention.”
“No need to apologize,” I said, as I took one last bite, and got up from my seat, I looked at Kimball, waiting to see his reaction, he didn’t hesitate, he said goodbye to Ethan and got up after me. “Can this wait until we are in the office? Or do you want to explain what’s going on right now?”
“I think it would be better if I can explain at the office,” he said.
It didn’t take long to get to the office, and as soon as we arrived, I took my place at the desk, with my guards, who had followed us from the moment we left the Suite, taking their places around the room and outside of the door, while Kimball took his position behind me.
“I think that you can tell me what’s going one now.”
“We got some reports that one country is not paying taxes, when we asked about them, the King said that they are tired of the Dominion taking everything from them, and decided to declare their independence, and war to us. Everything is here,” he added, giving me a stack of reports with a detailed explanation of everything that had happened.
“Just when William decides to take a few days, this happens,” I said. “I suppose we will need to call the President, she will want to discuss about what to do, and we can’t agree on a course of action, then we will have to interrupt William’s family reunion, but not until it’s necessary.”
“Do you want me to call the President?” my assistant asked.
“Please, as soon as she can come,” he left the room right away and I was sure that it wouldn’t be long before the President arrived.
“We knew something like that would happen sooner or later,” Kimball said.
“But I didn’t think it would be in such an aggressive way.”
“What are you going to do about this?”
“You know that I had already been thinking about giving them the choice to leave the Dominion if they wanted, so I think I will give them what they want,” I said.
“Something tells me it won’t be that easy” Kimball said, his voice suspicious.
Not long after someone knocked on the door, and a moment later, President Yu walked into the office.
“Good morning,” she greeted me formally.
“Good morning. I guess you already know what’s going on.”
“Of course, I was informed about it early this morning, in fact, I already programed this issue to be discussed in the Congress. I know it’s your job to deal with this directly, but we also need to go over the situation and see alternatives.”
“We had already talked about this, when you took over Dante, even if it was superficially. I think it’s time to change the law to open the possibility of countries leaving the Dominion if they want.”
“Do you really think that’s a good idea? The Dominion’s power resides in our union.”
“Before Emily took charge, not every country was part of the Dominion, and even those who were, had more freedom than they have now, as far as I know.”
“You’re right, but despite all the problems Emily caused, there were a few good things, and one is that as long as everyone is under the Dominion, they have to follow the same rules as everyone else. If a country gets outside of the Dominion, then they will be able to do whatever they want and we won’t be able to do anything about it. All they want right now is independence, but, what would happen if they decide they need more territory? Or if they start taking what is not theirs?”
“If they do, then they will get exactly what it means to fight the Dominion. Any aggression against their neighbors will be dealt with all of our force. Besides, after a while they will realize just how hard it is to be without our support.”
“You might be right, but I don’t like this situation.”
“You said you are going to discuss this on the session today, tell them about my plans, lets see what they say about this. Give me some time, and I will go and present my point of view directly to them, and if they decide to support me, I will present a series of proposals on how to proceed. Obviously we can’t use the same rules that were used before Emily, because we are no longer in the same situation, and we need to make sure what the advantages and disadvantages of being part of the Dominion are.”
“That seems fair enough. I will leave you to your work, I will tell you at what time you can address the Congress.”
“Have you talked to William?”
“Not yet, but I will, soon, for the moment he is with Sofia, dealing with some family issues.”
“We don’t need him right now, but we need to keep him updated.”
Yu walked left the room, and Kimball moved to the other side of the desk, to the place that Yu had just left.
“While we work on the situation, we should move our troops to the border, to keep the situation under control,” Kimball suggested.
“That could be taken as an aggression and cause things to escalate.”
“Maybe, but they already declared war, and just the act of leaving the Dominion could be taken as an act of aggression.”
“Not necessarily. But you are right, we need to take precautions. Sent some people to make sure they have no surprises waiting for us, they shouldn’t have any weapons, but it’s better if we check on that. If they want to leave the Dominion, then we will make an example out of them, they will help us show that we won’t force anyone to be part of us, but they will also help us highlight the advantages and disadvantages of the Dominion.”