Chapter 63

During the days following the meeting, several groups from the Republic were defeated and the king and queen started to lose control. Other nations realized that their army was in trouble and started to revolt. I spent most of my time in the fog of the future, trying to find out Emily’s and Faakhir’s next moves so I could inform other countries what to expect. My warnings were not always successful, but nevertheless, they were loosing terrain and that made them act even more ruthlessly to contain their people. The way the massacred people showed me that they were psychopaths that needed to be defeated, but I couldn’t do that alone. My victories were a short term solution, but I knew I couldn’t keep going like that forever.

The world was much bigger than I ever imagined, the territory Emily and Faakhir controlled was easily bigger than the Dark Empire, the Light Kingdom and the Rebel’s Clan territory combined. They were a very powerful enemy, even for me, I had been able to hit them and contain them, but I was starting to understand what Sofia had tried to say, one day they would take control over Mzansi, not because they were better or had better strategies, but because of sheer numbers. I knew how people like them operated, and I knew that if they couldn’t defeat us, they would destroy us, better to have us disappear than to break their balance.

“Sofia told me that there was a chance Mzansi could be free, at least for a few years, you need to go to Emily and Faakhir and make a deal,” I told Kimball once it was clear that they were getting tired and frustrated with all the failed attacks.

“By making that deal, we would give them the rest of the world on a silver plate.” Kimball wasn’t happy with the idea that he could buy Mzani’s freedom in exchange of others falling.

“I realize that we can’t win this war, and we can’t keep losing people. We need this truce, even if it’s temporary, to plan our next step.”

“This is not your war to fight Kaiserin, you have done enough.”

“No, Sofia was right, knowing what I know, I can’t turn my back on so many people, it’s against my nature. Once Acuarium is ready, we will move there. Then, I will start planning Emily’s and Faakhir’s defeat. It won’t be something we will win by fighting as we have been fighting until now, we will need to be smarter and defeat them at their own game.” Kimball wasn’t convinced, but he took my proposal to the rulers of Mzansi and with little negotiation they struck a deal, just like Sofia had said.

For the following weeks Kimball worked hard on getting Acuarium ready. All the precautions we were taking were working, very few people knew about the project, and even less knew about the place it was located. Most of the people who knew, was going to be living in it, so they had no intentions of doing something that could risk their new home.

Despite the promise we got from Emily and Faakhir that they would stop their attacks, the new generations of Mzansi’s royalty was going to be sent to Acuarium for protection, mostly toddlers, those they wanted to keep out of Emily’s and Faakhir’s radar, so they couldn’t use them to blackmail their parents, like they had done in other countries.

While I was waiting for Acuarium to be ready, I worked on making sure that the countries that were still independent could keep that way, that would buy us even more time. Sofia had said she could buy us a few years, enough for me to enjoy my family and watch Ethan grow, but I couldn’t trust her completely, her daughter Emily was unstable, and even if she was playing on defense at the moment, she would soon forget why she had agreed to give us a chance and would attack again.

I worked beside Kimball on getting the list of people that would be going to Acuarium, it was not just people from Mzansi, we had invited scientists and intellectuals from other countries, expecting to use their mind to our benefit. All of them had jumped to the opportunity of staying out of Emily’s and Faakhir’s control, no one wanted to be under their orders.

Time was crawling, but at the same time it was flying. Acuarium was ready sooner than I expected and we were ready to move. The place was a biosphere, a self sustainable environment ready to house five hundred people. Kimball, Ethan and I were among the first to arrive, the only people that had been earlier were maintenance and security people. Kimball took me to the control center and introduced me to the people there. At first I didn’t notice anything weird, people from Mzansi was so diverse that I was used to seeing different skin colors and features among its population, but once they started talking I realized that most were foreigners. Most of the people in security had no ties with Mzansi, they were people who had been offered the opportunity to go to Acuarium to escape the King and Queen’s attacks, they had jumped at the opportunity to move their families somewhere safe. Without Kimball having to explain, I understood that he had done it for me, he had given me people I could trust, people who wouldn’t have loyalty conflicts while working for me. It was just another sign that Kimball had changed and was willing to do everything he could to make me feel safe and protected.

As the day progressed the rest of the inhabitants of Acuarium arrived, by the end of the day I was exhausted and I had gone to one of the few parks in Acuarium, from where I could watch the ocean. Because of how deep we were and how late it was, I couldn’t see much, just a few shadows swimming past the glass, showing that there was life outside our bubble.

“Kaiserin? What are you doing?” Kimball asked.

“I’m thinking.”

“About?”

“About you,” I confessed. After the fear I had felt when I thought he was going to die, I couldn’t keep denying my feelings. I knew deep down that how I felt for him hadn’t changed, it was just that the hurt, betrayal, and even fear had shadowed the love I felt for him.  After thinking I was going to lose him I realized that I was more afraid of losing him than of him hurting me again.  I have had time to think about my options, he had told me that if I wanted he wouldn’t be staying with me in Acuarium, but I couldn’t be there without him.  “I always thought that I was a strong woman, that I was strong and smart enough to learn from my mistakes, but apparently I’m not.  I decided to give you another chance.”

“You won’t regret it,” Kimball said, not even trying to mask his happiness.  “I know I made mistakes, but I swear I won’t make them again.  I won’t forget who you are again, I will do everything I can to make you happy.”

“I want you to understand something first, things won’t go back to what they were before over night, I’m willing to give you a chance, but I can’t trust you yet.  I kind of understand why you did what you did, but you hurt me, and that’s something I can’t forget.”  He flinched, as if my words were causing him physical pain, and I felt his anger, but I thought it was directed at him, not me.

“I want to focus on being a family like we should have been from the start.  When we moved to my country, I never intended to involve you in our problems.”

“You have responsibilities, I understand that and I won’t reproach you for that.  What I hope for is that we can be partners again, that we won’t try to control each other, to hurt each other.  We are supposed to be a family, not enemies.”

“And we will be.  Let’s take this opportunity to start again and make things right.”

After years of fighting and running and hiding I had a real opportunity for some peace.  I knew that I had a lot of work to do if I wanted to plan for Emily’s and Faakhir’s downfall, but my main goal was to watch my son grow and rebuild my relationship with Kimball.  I knew we had a lot of work ahead of us, but for the first time in my life I felt hope.  I knew that I was safe, at least for a few years, and I had a real opportunity for happiness.

With Ethan in my arms and Kimball by my side, we walked to the apartment where we were going to be living for the next few years.  I felt good knowing that my life had changed completely, for the first time I had everything I thought I would never have, a family, peace and security, and I was going to enjoy it as much as I could for as long as I could.

 

 

This is the end of book 2, it’s not exactly what I was planning, but I realized that if I kept going to where I originally intended the book to end the book would end being twice as long, so I decided to trade my trilogy for a four book series.  I will need to rethink a few things before I can start with the next book, so I’m afraid I won’t be posting for a few weeks.

I hope you liked this story and that you will come back for book 3.

 

 

 

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Chapter 62

I got out of the jet and started walking to the outside of the base, the crew that had flown me there were surprised that after my insistence of going to meet Kimball I was walking outside, but I had my reasons and I didn’t need to give them any explanations.  It took me almost an hour to reach the place where I knew the Republican troops were waiting.

“Stop!  Don’t move.”  A soldier approached me with a rifle pointing at me, I knew they were going to be suspicious of any people walking to their hideout and I was glad they had opted for approaching instead of just shooting at me, maybe they were trying to minimize to avoid attracting attention.

Two other soldiers got out of their hiding places, and I felt someone trying to enter my mind.  I didn’t fight him, I let him enter my mind and see that I was looking for them.

“She knew we were here, but she didn’t say anything to anyone,” one of the men informed the others what he had found out in my head.

“That was a big mistake,” one of them said, he grabbed my chin and moved my head so he could see me eye to eye.  “What were you thinking coming here alone?”

“I wanted to give you a choice, if you go now and forget your orders I will let you live,” my words were received with laughter, they didn’t believe that I could face an armed group, but my powers were already working in disabling their weapons.

“Are you sure no one knows she is here?” The man holding me asked the one who had invaded my mind.

“Maybe they know she is here, but they don’t know why she is here.  We need to move to a safer place, from there I can take a better look at her mind and find more information.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” someone else said.  “Look at her eyes, she isn’t normal, she is Mzansi’s demoness.”

“That’s just stories, no one can defeat a whole squad without backup.”

“Are you sure about that?” I asked the man holding me at the same time that I used my powers to find his energy and started draining him.  At first he didn’t understand what I was doing, but when he realized what I was doing and tried to let me go, it was too late.

“Help me! Shoot her!” He was screaming, trying to get free, but the weapons didn’t work and nobody could shoot me.

The rest of his men got out of their hiding places.  One of the soldiers ran to us and tried to help his leader, but as soon as he touched me I started to drain him too.  Using the energy from the first man and feeding from the second, I used my powers to trap the others.  Some of them had already realized something was going on and tried to run, but most of them were too startled to act and were easy prey.  Using my powers I opened the floor under them and buried them, some just the legs, others most of the body, leaving just their heads over ground.

I felt the mental attacks, but after fighting the telepaths from my Clan, those attacks were nothing but pathetic attempts that had no effect over me.  A few tried other methods to stop me, one used fire, and another a sonic attack, very similar to what Molpadia could do, but with the help of the extra energy I was stealing it was easy to stop the attacks and reinforce the prisons to stop them from attacking me.  Once I had drained every drop of energy out of the two men I moved to the others.

For me it had never been easy to control how much energy to steal, the first times outside forces had severed the connections, and after that I had required a great effort to stop the process.  I hadn’t even tried to stop with the first two, draining them until they were empty, dead, but with the others I took the opportunity to test my control, taking only enough to make them lose consciousness for a few hours or a couple of days.  It wasn’t easy, because everyone had different energy reserves, I had to learn how to read them and their limits, but it was a great training exercise.

Feeling much better, enjoying the power that the stolen energy gave me, I dug out the soldiers and walked back to the base, using my mind to drag the soldiers with behind me.  It took me less time to walk back, even with the added cargo, the energy flowing inside of me made it easier.  When I arrived back at the base I found a large group waiting for me, I knew that news of my arrival and departure had already spread inside the base.  I had been gone just a couple of hours, enough time for everyone to hear about me and my curious behavior, but Kimball wasn’t there, so I guessed he was still in the meeting.

I walked inside and let the guards take care of my prisoners while I went looking for the meeting place.  I knew that I had to time my entrance just right, of the consequences could be fatal.  There were many guards inside the building, a couple of them were outside the door of the meeting place where the leaders of the Free Nations were talking.  I stood outside the door, the two guards looked at me, but since I didn’t try to go in, they didn’t try to stop me.

“What you ask is impossible, we will never surrender to the Republic,” Kgosi was saying.

“Our nations had fought with you, but it’s a lost battle, all we will accomplish is to lose our people.  The attacks are more violent, more frequent.  It’s really worth it?  Can we afford to keep fighting?” Said a person I didn’t know, but that I knew was working with Emily and Faakhir thanks to my visions.

“I think is worth it.  Do you really think that things will improve if we surrender?” Kimball said.  “Just ask the people who had been under their control, the king and queen are only concerned with their needs, they will take all of your resources without caring if you have enough for yourself.  They won’t kill your people with guns, they will starve you to death.”

“That’s true,” one of the rulers said, I knew him because Mzansi had helped his nation to escape from the Republic’s control.  “It’s a different kind of fighting, but there is fighting.  We thought that surrendering, we would help our people, but they asked for more than we could give, we had to fight for our freedom.”

“Maybe we can negotiate something, as for certain guarantees,” insisted the traitor.

“Do you really think they will honor their word?”  Kgosi asked.  “Once they get what they want, their armies will take the control and all the agreements will be forgotten.  People like them have no honor, rumors say that Emily killed her own brother so she could take the throne.  After everything she had done, I believe the story is true, and a person willing to sacrifice her own family cannot be trusted.”

“You can believe in rumors,” another voice said.

“All I know if that you don’t accept to become part of the Republic, you will regret it.”  Those were the words I was waiting for, I knew that after that everything was going to get out of control.

“I need to go in,” I told the guards.  They exchanged a look and for a moment I thought they wouldn’t allow me to go in, but after a moment they opened the door and let me go in.

Everyone noticed my entrance, all the faces turned to me the moment I crossed the door.  Kimball looked surprised to see me there, and I noticed he was worried, his first reaction was to think something had happened to Ethan or me, but then he noticed something in me that relaxed him, he knew I had another reason to be there.  Zola looked curious, and Frederik was happy to see me, Kgosi not so much.

“This is a private meeting,” one of the leaders I didn’t know said.

“What I have to do will only take a moment,” I said calmly, as I used my mind to grab the traitor and throw him against the wall.  All the people there got out of their seats and several guards stormed inside, some didn’t know what to do, but a few of them went after me, but before they could act I used my mind to open the man’s shirt and reveal the explosives he had strapped to his body.  “I don’t think I have to explain what he was planning to do if you didn’t accept his suggestions.”

“This can’t be happening,” one of the leaders said, “there must be an explanation for this.”

“The war won’t end until all the nations are under the king and queen’s control.  You are only delaying the inevitable,” the traitor said.  “None of you will leave this place alive, I’m not the only one the Republic sent.”

“No, there are also a few warriors sent here to attack the place, that are currently under our army’s control.  Using my powers I took the explosives, using my powers to make sure they wouldn’t explode.  “The plan, if things didn’t go as they wanted, was to make these explosives explode and then, when all the guards were here trying to find out what had happened, the warriors were going to attack and take control of the base.  It was a good plan, but they didn’t take me into account, they never thought someone would find out about their plan and stop them.”

“I can’t believe this, this cannot be real,” one of the rulers was saying, almost talking to herself.

“This is happening more and more.  The enemy keeps infiltrating our circle.”

“Is he the only one?  Who else is going to attack us?  How can we know who to trust?”  Someone else asked.

Using my powers I moved the traitor back to his seat and with my power held him down.

“You can trust me,” I said, “at least for now.” I moved to the keyboard in front of me and worked with the computer to bring a map of Africa to the surface. I highlighted the points where I knew the enemy was gathering before their attacks.  “I need you to pay attention to this, because it’s very important.  This points to the places where the enemy is gathering.  If you move fast, you will be able to take them out.  Your window of opportunity is not big, and you need to act fast or you won’t have another chance.”

I could see Kgosi arguing with Zola.  Frederik was talking to the leaders next to him.  Kimball was staring at me, but he didn’t say anything.  The people around me were agitated, afraid, and unsure of what to do.  It was hard to get into some of their minds, not because they had defenses as strong as the Mzansiers, but because I didn’t know some of their languages and that made things harder to interpret.

“Is this what you saw in the fog of the future?” Kimball asked.

“Yes, I noticed that our enemy has a Seer working with them, that’s how they manage to stay a step ahead of us.  The thing is they weren’t expecting us to have a Seeress as well.”  I turned to face the man that had tried to blow us up.  “Go and tell your bosses that they lost their advantage.  Now that I know there is someone walking the fog, I can go in and ruin their plans.  Every action they take I will see.  Tell them that Mzansi’s demoness will make their lives a living hell.”

“You are not suggesting we let him go, are you?” Kgosi asked.  “He is our enemy, we need to punish him.

“He will be punished, believe me, but first he has a message to deliver.”

“You are forgetting your place, yet again.  You don’t make the decisions here, we make the decisions.”  Kgosi said.

“I have seen what my actions today will do for our cause.  If you don’t let me act, we will be set back.”  I couldn’t waste time trying not to hurt Kgosi’s pride, I had other things to worry about.  “You have the information you need, and very little time to act.  By the end of the day I will give this man back to his masters, and then they will know that their troops locations are compromised.”

“That doesn’t give us enough time,” one of the leaders complained.  “Give us at least a couple of days to prepare.”

“By tomorrow morning our enemies will know that their plan didn’t work and will act accordingly despite of what we do.  I recommend you to stop wasting your time.”

“I suggest you listen to her,” Zola said, “her visions have been correct in the past, and she had saved us from falling into the Republic’s hands in several occasions.”

A few minutes later the leaders got up and went away, to plan their own actions and contact their own troops.  That left me with Mzansi’s leaders, Kimball, and my prisoner.

“Time to go to sleep,” I told my prisoner before knocking him out.

“This is a good moment for you to explain,” Frederik said.

“I had a chat with Queen Sofia,” my words were received with surprise and anger, “she doesn’t share her daughter’s ideas, but she has been forced to cooperate with her plans.  Talking to her I realized that Emily and Faakhir are afraid of me.  I think it’s time to act.  With a few well planned attacks and a few hits to their troops, we will make them realize that they can’t win against us.  After that you could make a deal with them.  After we are finished with them, you will be able to ask them to leave Mzansi alone, in exchange, you will neutralize the thing they fear: Mzansi’s demoness.  They know I’m the only one that can stop Sofia, and after they see what I’m capable of, they will accept the deal.”

“I’m not sure if I understand your plan,” Zola said.

“In a few months Acuarium will be finished, you will tell our enemies you are getting rid of me, and I will go to Acuarium, to a place they won’t be able to find me.”

“I think it’s a good idea,” Frederik said.  “I propose you and the General start working on this immediately.”

I looked at Kimball, waiting for him to protest, to say it was too dangerous and that I should stay out of it, instead, he nodded and got up.

“It’s been a long day, if you don’t mind, we will start tomorrow morning.”  He extended his hand to me and walked with me outside the room.

Chapter 61

It was my third trip to the fog, I needed to make sense of my future and those trips were the only way. Despite making the decision of going to the Acuarium that Kimball was building and accepting keeping him in my life, I still found that some paths didn’t have his presence. I needed to know why, but the paths were many and it was hard to find what I was looking for. Besides, I could see a lot of paths that kept distracting me, trying to make me see further away in my future. I knew it was important, but I didn’t have the will or the time to go there. First, I needed to understand my own future, then I could see the others.

“What are you looking for?” Someone asked me. I knew that any number of Seers could be in the fog at any given moment, but I never thought that I would find someone there, the space was too big for company to be an issue.

“Who are you?” There was something familiar about the woman that had interrupted me.

“I’m someone from your future. Our paths will cross in a few years, and if everything goes according to plan, they will stay together for a long time.”

“Sofia,” I knew her, I knew why she was so familiar, her face and her paths had been intruding into my exploration. “I’ve had a lot of visions about you during my travel, but I haven’t planned on studying about you and how our paths relate until another time.”

“Our time together is yet to come. It will be a while. If our paths cross before their time, it could be very bad for us. It’s better if our encounter stays here for now. It will be years before you are ready to face the future where we are together.”

“I haven’t decided what path to take. I’m trying to find the best one for me.”

“Don’t you care about the best path for everyone? You are an important piece for the future of many nations. The decisions you make could affect millions of people.”

“No pressure, huh? I have sacrificed myself for others before, and I decided that I won’t do that again, I’m looking out for me.”

“And what about your son’s future? What kind of world do you want to leave for him?” She knew me, she knew how to grab my attention, but I wasn’t going to let her manipulate me.

“Are you going to tell me what to do? If you know me, you should know that I don’t follow orders anymore. I choose my own destiny.”

“I’m here as a guide. Let me know what you need and I will do my best to show you the way. I know it’s hard to find the right path, especially when you are alone. It’s easy to get lost here,  easy to lose your goal.”

“No offense, but how do I know your intentions are good? For all I know you could be trying to manipulate me into doing what you need me to do, to create the future you want.”

“You are right, you don’t know me and have no reason to trust me. Why don’t we take a look at my past so you can understand me better? Maybe if I show you where I’m coming from, you will find that you can trust me.”

“No, the path is too long and I still have a lot to do. The future is too confusing and I need to make sense of it.” I looked back, to the single path that showed my past, it was easy to travel because it was already set, but I didn’t have the time to go looking for Sofia’s path, I needed to focus on myself.”

“The more lives are involved, the more decisions need to be taken, and the more elements you have to take in consideration, the more paths will open in front of you. But, there are places where paths cross, where no matter what decisions are taken, you have to experience them no matter what. Let me show you those crossroads, maybe that will help you reach a decision.”

I knew that I shouldn’t trust her, but I was curious, it wasn’t as if she could fool me, the future couldn’t be manipulated, I understood enough about the paths to know which one were more probable and which ones were just possible. I followed Sofia, she showed me some key moments in the fight between the free nations and the conquering kings, she showed me some battles where the nations fought to be free of the king’s control just to be stopped, losing hundred or thousand of lives. Sofia was linked to most of those scenarios, and I knew it was because her hand had something to do with it happening.

“Why do you want that to happen?” I asked after noticing her influence on the battles.

“It’s not something I want, it’s something I have to do. You are the only one capable of changing the future, only your influence can make my predictions crumble. You think I want you here so I can hurt you or fool you, but that’s not what I want. I need your help, but I want to help you too.”

“I can feel your touch on these visions.”

“The truth is that I’m trapped, my daughter is forcing me to use my gift to help her. Maybe you think I’m helping her kill my people because I want to, but the truth is, it could be worse. I’m trying to do the best I can, I want to avoid a massacre, but it’s not easy, my daughter and his husband are too thirsty for power and they want the fights to happen. I’m doing my best to get them to back off of Mzansi, but there’s nothing I can say to change their mind. Your power and your presence it’s making things more difficult for my daughter, but it will be a time when even Mzansi will fall.”

“Mzansi won’t fall, it’s people is strong and will fight until their last breath, and I won’t fall, no matter what I will remain free.”

“You are an intelligent woman Kaiserin, you will see that sometimes you need to lose a few battles in order to win a war. I know that you don’t like to lose, but sometimes you need to make some sacrifices for the greater good.”

“Is that what you are doing? Are the lives that are being lost just a sacrifice for the greater good?” I knew the terrible things Emily and Faakhir had done, the lives that had been lost in their search for power, and I knew that Sofia had allowed that to happen by staying out of it.

“Believe it or not, it could be worse. Until now you have been the only element I can’t control. The victories you have had over my daughter’s army have put you on the top of the list, you are their greatest enemy. Until now I have been able to justify my errors with the excuse that you are also a Seeress, but that won’t keep them from trying to stop you. You have been able to stop them before, and if you do it one more time, I can give you some peace, a time for you to be free and enjoy your family, you certainly deserve that.”

“All I want it’s to be left alone and be able to watch Ethan grow, I don’t want to be part of your people’s fight. They are your problem, not mine.”

“It’s also the problem of Kimball and his people. Are you going to turn your back on him too?”

“He turned his back on me first, I don’t care what happens to his people, all I care about is my son.”

“So you don’t care if he dies?” For a moment I wasn’t sure if she was speaking hypothetically or is she knew something. I pretended I didn’t care, but I couldn’t think of a future without Kimball without feeling sick. Despite everything I couldn’t let him go.

Without realizing it, Sofia had taken us to a crossroad where I could see the point where my paths grew with and without Kimball, the moment of his death. I knew that if I wanted to stop his death, I didn’t have much time left.

“You knew about this. Do you know when it’s going to happen?” I asked Sofia, I couldn’t pretend I didn’t care anymore.

“This is my daughter’s last plan, her husband and her, found a way to stop your husband and his people. If this fails, they will have to listen to me when I say they won’t be able to stop you, but if they succeed, the fight that will start will take years to finish and will claim the life of half of Mzansi’s people and many of Republican’s lives. You are the only one who can stop this from happening, and I have the power to give you and your people a few years of peace.”

“What is it going to cost me?  I know you wouldn’t do that for free.”

“It will be a time when our paths will cross and I will need you to help me save my son.  My time is over, but he still have a future ahead of him, and if can get out of his sister’s control, he could help free the Republic.”

“I can’t make promises right now, it will be years before our paths cross, and if you help me now, I can’t promise I will be able to help in the future, I don’t know where I’m going to be and if I can fulfill any promises.”

“You can’t change who you are, I know that when the time comes you will be the right thing, you are an honorable person,”  with those words the figure of Sofia vanished in the fog.

I took my time studying the crossroad, I needed to understand what was happening.  After that, I got back to the present, if everything went as planned I would have time to do more searching later.  I got out of my trance and found out I was very tired, more than normal, I had no idea how much time I had been out, but I was very thirsty and starving.  I got out of the room and headed for the kitchen, it was early and the cook was making breakfast.  I had just been there a few minutes when Mbali arrived.

“It’s good to see you, I was getting worried about you.”

“Good morning Mbali.  How long was I out?”

“Two days.  I was starting to think you were lost.”

“Where’s Ethan?  Is he with Kimball?”

“No, Kimball is gone, he went to a meeting yesterday, and should be there for a couple more days…”  Mbali kept explaining, but I was no longer paying attention.  If Kimball was gone, then the attack was coming sooner that I thought.

I didn’t realize I was moving, I had gotten out of the kitchen and was stepping out, looking for the office where the pilots of my jet were supposed to be.

“Do you know where Kimball went?” I asked as soon as I opened the door.

“Yes, he is at the base that the Elders Council is using, there is going to be a meeting there and he needed to go,” one of the mechanics said.

“I need to go to him as soon as possible.”

“We will need time to check and prepare the jet…” one of the pilots started to say.

“You have one hour to do what you need to do, I will be back then and I expect everything ready for departure.”  I got out of the office and started back to my room, I needed to get ready, and I needed a few minutes to visit Ethan before leaving.

“Kaiserin, what’s going on?”  Mbali looked worried, as if she was afraid I was losing my mind.

“Something is going to happen at that meeting, and I have to stop it, because if I don’t, Kimball could die.”

Chapter 60

After a few weeks I realized that I needed answers, it was becoming obvious that I couldn’t keep going the same way, Kimball was miserable, walking like a ghost, taking every opportunity he had to ask me to take him back, and I wasn’t that much better, being away from him wasn’t helping me feel better, but I couldn’t go back to him either. I wanted to go back to the way we were, but I didn’t know how. Mbali words kept coming back to me, I needed answers and I knew I could find them in the fog of the future, I needed to know I was making the right choices, but it wasn’t easy. Melchizedek was out of my reach, I couldn’t depend on him to help, and going into the fog alone could be dangerous.

The problem with the future was that the farther I needed to see, the more possibilities there were, to see a few hours or days wasn’t that hard, because the choices were few, but if I wanted to see weeks, months or years into the future, the possibilities grew exponentially. To see every possibility I would need an eternity, I needed to know what paths to walk, to know which ones were more likely to happen, but it wasn’t easy, especially without a guide to help me. Despite the problems, I needed to take the risk, I needed to stop wasting time and make a decision, I couldn’t keep living like that, without knowing what to do or where to go.

“Mbali, can you do me a favor?” I was lucky to find Mbali in the kitchen, I was hoping to find her there, I knew she didn’t like to have breakfast in the dining room, she preferred the kitchen where she could have any food available to her.

“Of course, you know you can count on me, I will help with whatever I can.”

“I need you to look after Ethan today, I need some time for myself and I don’t want to worry about Ethan, if you can keep an eye on him for a few hours, at least until Kimball is free to look after him, I would be very grateful. Kimball should be free in the afternoon.”

“That’s all? It will be my pleasure, you know I love to take care of Ethan, he is the most beautiful and charming baby I know. Don’t worry about anything, take your time, do what you need to do, Ethan will be just fine.”

“Thanks, I know he will be ok, I trust you.”

It wasn’t easy to leave Ethan with someone else, but I knew that I couldn’t be with him all the time, I needed to leave him with someone I could trust while I couldn’t take care of him. I wouldn’t be able to look after him while walking the fog of the future. I knew I was taking a risk by going alone, it was impossible to measure time while being there, but I trusted I would be able to return before long, I was expecting to be back before anything could happen to my body.

The first step was always the hardest, it wasn’t easy to walk into the fog, to feel lost. Usually I had a vision or something to focus when walking into the fog, but I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. I needed to find a path that would take me to a happy future, one where I could be safe, with my family, without fear. There were many paths in front of me, some were clearer, some more likely to become reality. I decided to start with the ones that I knew had the best possibility of becoming a reality. I couldn’t see everything while walking the paths, if I stopped to see every detail it would take an eternity, I was just looking for glimpses of the future, enough to let me get an idea of what it would be like. I needed to focus on the bigger picture, I would have time for details later.

Some of the paths showed Kimball by my side, in others I was alone. It didn’t take long to realize that the futures without Kimball were empty. I didn’t need details to know that without Kimball I would be missing something. The futures with Kimball weren’t all good, in some I could see fights and conflict, I couldn’t be sure that those futures were safe, or if we would still be fighting.

While I was walking the paths of my future, I kept catching glimpses of other futures, at first I tried to ignore them, but they kept blocking my paths. Melchizedek always said that sometimes the answers we needed weren’t in the place we expected, sometimes the goddess of Destiny tried to speak to us, and we needed to be willing to listen, so I realized that I needed to pay more attention to the futures trying to get my attention.

Sofía, her presence was strong, she was a key component of the future, not only mine, but the future of other countries and the Republic. I knew that I needed to make sense of the images, to pay attention to the paths that were crossing my own, but when I tried to focus, I felt like the fog was clearing and I found myself back in the present, trapped, not being able to move. I panicked, I tried to fight back and I was able to break free easily, just to realize that my prison were Kimball’s arms, and that he was setting me free.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you, I was worried about you, I thought you were gone again.”

“I was trying to see my future, you shouldn’t be that surprise, you have seen me gone before.”

“You were never gone for so long, it’s been more than a day since you asked Mbali to take care of Ethan,” Kimball’s words didn’t make sense, it felt like I had been gone for a few minutes, but I knew it was one of the risks I would face by visiting the future, it was easy to lost track of time. “I wasn’t sure what you were doing, but none of the options were good. I was afraid you were back inside your won mind, or that you had gone in an astral journey and got attacked again by the lower planes demons, and even the idea of you in the fog of the future wasn’t good, you told me that some seers could get lost there and lose their sense of time. There are many ways I could lose you, and I hate that there’s nothing I can do to protect you.”

“Don’t worry, I’m fine and I’m back, in fact, I think that you helped me get back. I need some food and rest, but I need to go back there, I haven’t found what I’m looking for.”

“Don’t move, get some rest and I’m going to get you some food, I’ll be right back,” he said at the time he handed me a glass of water, I was grateful for it, I was thirsty and haven’t even realized it until I saw the water he offered.

“I can go to the kitchen, you don’t have to do it.”

“I want to do it, please, let me help.”

“Okay,” I could feel Kimball’s feelings, he was scared, worried, and was having trouble keeping it under control. I wasn’t sure what instinct he was trying to suppress, but I knew he needed to do something or he was going to lose it.

As I was waiting for him to come back, I wondered what he was going to do, he was scared again, and I was afraid of how far he would go to try to keep me safe. With my powers I was able to sense how scared he was by what had happened, and I knew he wanted to keep me safe, but how would he do that if the danger was my own mind? What was he willing to do to keep me out of danger?

“I hope you like this, I didn’t want to waste time, so I grabbed what was availabe,” Kimball put a tray with food in front of me, and my stomach growled, reminding me that I haven’t eaten in over a day.

“This is great, thank you.” I watched the food in front of me and for a moment I doubted if it was safe, it could be possible for him to have put a sedative or some drug in the food.

“You don’t have to worry, the food is safe, I won’t try to drug you or hurt you ever again. I hope you can trust me, I just want you to have something to eat, I want you to be healthy.”

“You can’t blame me for not trusting you,” I accused him, as I took a piece of fruit.

“I know I made a mistake, but I wouldn’t like you to remember all the good I did, don’t focus on my mistakes.”

“It’s hard to earn someone’s trust, but it’s very easy to lose it, especially with me.”

“I know it won’t be easy, but I want to try.”

“Do you have any idea why most of the futures I saw showed me living under water?” I hoped he could shine some light on that.

“That’s something I wanted to talk to you about, it was supposed to be a surprise, but I know it’s hard to surprise a Seeress. A few years ago, before Emily and her husband took over, a group of scientists started a project known as Acuarium, they were trying to build a submarine habitat where they could study the ocean and its ecosystems. The original plan was to have about a hundred scientists living there, working under the sea. Emily’s attacks and total control over everything put a stop on that, most people simply forgot about it, but a friend of mine, Matthew, knew about the project and talked to me about it. Together we started planning on reviving the project, his interest is scientific, he is a construction engineer, his wife a marine biologist who wanted to be part of the original project, but couldn’t get a spot, Matthew wants to make the project real for his wife. I have a different interest in the project, I think that a submarine habitat would be very hard to find and attack, I would like to use it as a safe heaven for people at risk. Originally we planned to send the Elders Council and maybe the President, but I think it’s more important to send the families of those fighting, the kids that cannot defend themselves.”

“And you want Ethan and me to be there, safe.”

“Basically yes, but that’s not all, I would like you to be in charge of the place.” I had seen the place in the fog, but I wasn’t sure about it, I couldn’t help but think there was a catch.

“Is this a trick? Are you sending me to the bottom of the sea, so I don’t have any chance of escape? Is that just a new prison?”

“No! That’s not… I just want you to have a place to call your own, ok? A place under your control. You will be in charge of everything there, you will decide who can or can’t go in there. If you want it, not even I will be able to go there.”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“I’ll understand if you don’t want the responsibility, you can go as an inhabitant, not the one in charge, it’s just an option.  Originally I wanted us all to go, but I will respect whatever you want.”

“In most of the paths I traveled today I saw myself in that place,” at least in the ones Kimball was still part of, “so I guess that I will go, I accept, but I would like to see what do you have planned regarding the security and when do you plan on us moving.  There is not much space, it will be hard to choose who will go.”

“We are working on expanding the place so we can send at least 500 people.  At least half will be children, and that helps and complicates things.  They need less space, but they won’t be as helpful with the running of the place.”

“It’s good that we talked about this and that I know about the project and your plans, now that I had made a choice my future must have changed and it will be easier to see the future, many paths should have closed.  With less options it should be easier to find the answers I’m looking for.”

“I’m glad you accepted my offer, but, do you really think it’s a good idea to go back to walking the fog?  Isn’t it dangerous there?”

“Don’t worry, I won’t get lost.  Besides, you pulled me back to the present once, I’m sure that if you are really concerned and I’m gone too long you can do it again.”  I got up, I needed to go look for Ethan.  “For now all I want is to go get Ethan and get some more rest.  Tomorrow I will spend the day with Ethan and the day after tomorrow I will go back to the future:”

“If that’s what you need to do.”  I could feel Kimball rebelling to the idea of me going back and putting myself in danger, but he wasn’t doing anything to prevent me from doing it.  I wasn’t sure what to think of that.  “Get some rest Kaiserin, and remember, if you need me all you have to do is ask for my help, I will be close by in case you need me.  You can count on me for anything.”

“Thanks, but I don’t need anything right now.”

Kimball left and I got ready so I could go looking for my son.  The journey through the fog hadn’t given me the answers I needed, I had gotten more questions that answers.  I knew I needed to go back and try to make sense of my future.

Chapter 59

I was working out in the gym, trying to make up for lost time, I knew Kimball had the gym prepared just for me. While I was doing my push ups I couldn’t help but burst laughing at baby Ethan, doing his best to mimic my movements. His efforts were so funny that I couldn’t concentrate and had to stop. He didn’t know I was laughing at him and started laughing as well. Finally, I stopped and moved to the bench to work on weights, Ethan followed me, crawling at super speed. He got to the bench and used it to support himself while trying to stand up, he managed to stay on his feet for a few seconds before falling on his ass. Suppressing a giggle, I took a couple of weights and prepared to start my workout, Ethan took a weight as well, he wasn’t strong enough to lift it, but he was holding it hard and I used my mind to lift it, until Ethan was hanging from it, but refusing to let go.

“Be careful, he could get hurt,” Kimball warned me. I hadn’t realized he was in the room, he had come inside while I was distracted with Ethan. Without stopping my workout I gently put Ethan back on the ground and turned to face Kimball.

“I would never do anything to hurt him, I had him, I knew he wouldn’t let go, and it wasn’t that high,” I protested, mad that he still believed I didn’t care about Ethan and his well being.

“I know, that’s not what I meant, I know how far you are willing to go in order to protect him, it’s just that if he thinks he can do stuff like that he won’t be careful in the future and you can’t always be there to help him. Sooner or later he will hurt himself, we can’t be always with him to keep him out of danger.”

“We can try. Besides, if he was in real danger I’m sure my visions would let me know.” Ethan had let go of the weight and had moved closer to Kimball, but at midway he had stopped and was crying. “I don’t think is a good idea to be together in front of Ethan, his empathy could contaminate his feelings for you, I’m sure he’s picking out my hostility towards you and that’s not good.”

“All little kids can pick up the tension in their parents, he’s nervous because we are both uneasy, but that’s not something to worry about. But I agree that we could work on being friends again.”

“I know what I’m talking about, I know my son and I know that my emotions are affecting him, his feelings are a mirror to my own. I try not to feel like this when he is with me, but I can’t help it, I’m not that good with empathy.”

“Kaiserin… I have given you space, but sooner of later we will need to make a decision, you need to give me another chance.”

“Ethan stayed up longer today, I think he is going to start walking soon. Is it normal for him to take so long to walk?” I needed a change of topic, I wasn’t ready to talk about the both of us.

“It’s actually soon. Normal kids start walking after a year, with mutants, it’s different, I walked at seven months, but I, like most in my family had an accelerated development. I think Ethan will be walking before he’s eight months old, that’s soon enough. Better than most, especially for a hybrid.”

“I think he has move psychic characteristics than mutant ones, we can’t compare him with you.”

“Do you know why you had so many complications during your pregnancy?” Kimball’s question took me by surprise and I couldn’t think of how to answer him.  “Women from Mzansi usually have shorter pregnancies, we always thought it had something to do with the mothers, a mutant thing, but after what happened with you, I’m starting to think it’s related to the child, not the mother.  I think that Greca was born at term, she wasn’t premature, and even if Ethan was premature, it wasn’t that premature.  Our babies develop faster, and the mutant bodies are able to compensate the rapid growth, your body wasn’t ready for that, and with the added stress you were under, it’s not surprising that you just collapsed,” he looked away and I could tell he was ashamed.  “You didn’t need the added stress, you were already hurting.”

“I already knew it had to be your fault,” I tried to joke, but there was truth behind my words, and, as always, Kimball could tell.

“Kai, I know you want me as I want you, you would have left me otherwise.  Please, let us be together again, let’s start over and be happy again.”

“This is too much, you can’t keep doing this.  Don’t you have pride?  Stop asking for an opportunity.”  I wasn’t sure what I wanted or why I was still there, I missed the way we used to be, but I was too afraid of being betrayed again.  I wanted to hurt him, anger him, drive him away, I just didn’t want to risk my heart again.

“As far as you and Ethan are concerned, no, I don’t have any pride.  I will keep begging for an opportunity as long as I think I have a chance with you.  I know you still feel something for me, and I hope someday you will acknowledge my feelings for you and realize I will never hurt you again.”  Ethan was still crying, and I knew it was my fault, my sadness, anger and confusion were affecting him.  I tried to use my empathy to get a hold of my feelings, and I thought I had succeeded when he stopped crying, but it could easily be because Kimball had taken him into his arms.

“I think Ethan needs to spend some time with you, I know he misses you.  Why don’t you take care of him while I finish my workout?”  Kimball knew I was just trying to get rid of him, but he didn’t complain, he just left.

At times like that, when I could feel Kimball’s regret, pain and frustration, I wondered if I was making the right choice, maybe he had learned his lesson, maybe we could be together again, but I still had doubts, I had trusted him once, and he had broken that trust.

“What are you thinking about?” Mbali asked, she had come into the room and taken the bench next to mine, ready to do her own workout.

“Your cousin.”  In the week since I had regained control of my body I had seen Mbali just a few times, and we hadn’t really talked, most of the time she was avoiding me.

“He is really sorry about what he did, I think you should forgive him and move on.”

“Yes, he insists he is sorry, but it’s not that easy, I can’t just forget everything he did.  I trusted him, I put myself in his hands and he betrayed me,”  I was getting tired of repeating the same again and again.  Why couldn’t they understand my point of view?  The only way I could preserve my sanity was by feeling secure and protected, and how would I feel like that if I couldn’t trust him?

“I don’t think he would ever do that again.  He acted out of fear, but now that he knows the risk of losing you is higher if he tries to control you, he won’t risk it.”

“You can’t be sure of that.”

“You are a Seeress, aren’t you?  Why don’t you use your visions to see how he will act in the future?”

“The future is not easy to interpret, there are too many paths, and it’s not easy to go alone, I usually have someone to help me when I need to search for answers, but Melchizedek is not available to help, and I don’t know how to do it by my own.”

“So, you have been looking for answers.”

“I had too, I needed to know that I was safe here.  I know that he won’t do anything for now, but I don’t know if he will change again in a few years.  The future I see is too confusing to know for sure, I have no real answers to my questions.”

“What have you seen?”

“I have seen me living underwater.  I have seen myself fighting with Kimball, not mock fighting, real, raw, and intense fighting.”

“I understand the living underwater part, but I don’t believe the fighting part.  I really don’t think Kimball would fight with you again, not for real.”  I was surprised that my fighting Kimball was what she found unbelievable.

“What’s even weirder is that in the same path that I fight Kimball, that I hurt Kimball, I can see us together, like we used to be, as a couple.”

“That’s good, right?  That means things will get better, you need to be with him.”

“That can mean that he finally finds a way to keep me under his control, that he finally wins if he can get me to stay even when I’m willing to fight him like that.”

“Maybe I’m being selfish, but I want you two to be together.  My cousin started living again after meeting you, I don’t want him to go back to being a zombie.”

“It might sound weird, but I don’t want that either, but that doesn’t mean that I will sacrifice myself for him, I can’t be someone I am not so he can be happy.”

“He doesn’t want you to change.”

“I have to, if I want to be the person he wants.”

“That’s not true, you must remember that he didn’t want Sklave, he wanted you, the strong confident warrior that you are.”

“Please, let’s talk about something else, we are getting nowhere with this discussion.  I know what you all think and want, but you are only thinking about what he needs and what he wants, you are not thinking about me and my well being.  I need someone who won’t try to control me, someone who can let me be free.  I didn’t have an easy life, I have already paid for my errors and other people’s errors, I have paid for my faults and the faults that others thought I had committed.  Kimball was supposed to be my refuge, he wasn’t supposed to become another one of my hells.”

“I’m sorry you feel like that.  You are my friend and I do want what’s best for you, and I think that’s Kimball.  We all make mistakes, but my cousin learnt his lesson and he won’t repeat his mistake.”

“I don’t know if I can risk it, I don’t know if I can trust him again,” but even as I said that, my hand moved to the necklace that I was still wearing despite my doubts.  Wasn’t that a sign of trust?

“You should take some time to think about this: Do you really want to be away from Kimball?  Or would you rather give him another chance?  I know he loves you and I remember how happy you both used to be, you don’t look so happy anymore.”

“That’s your cousin’s fault, he is the reason I can’t feel at ease, but you are wrong, I am happy.  I have Ethan, and he gives me peace and comfort.  I don’t need anything else.”

“I hope you are not letting your fear get in the way of your happiness.  Kimball and you belong together, you complement each other perfectly, and now you have Ethan to think about, he will be someone that you will share forever, he belongs to the both of you.”

“As Greca, but that doesn’t change anything.  I won’t let anyone control me again.  I lived most of my life trying to find the freedom to be myself, I’ve been trying for years to be free, to have control over my own life and decisions, and I won’t give up that for anyone.”

“Freedom is an illusion, there’s always something affecting how we act.  You could say we are free, but the truth is that we are prisoners to circumstances, every action, every decision we make is focused on defeating our enemies.  Even while fighting for freedom we are being controlled.”

“You may be right, but you wouldn’t understand where I’m coming from unless you have been in my position.”

“Just think about it Kaiserin, sometimes is worth taking risks.”

Chapter 58

In the months I had been hiding inside my own mind, Ethan had grown a lot. At first I had been afraid he wouldn’t survive, but he was a strong, healthy baby, just like Kimball had promised. While I nursed him I felt a connection with him that I couldn’t even describe, it was like we were alone in the world, like everything in life was perfect. It was my happy time, a time when I had no worries, when all I needed was him.

I wasn’t sure why I was nursing in that room. It had been two days since the attack and Kimball’s people had done a good job restoring the place, it was almost as if the fight hadn’t happened. No one had questioned my return or tried to tell me what to do. Those who didn’t know me from before were surprised by my new personality, those who knew me were relieved that I was back. No one tried to question my authority or bother me in any way, but I knew some, like Mbali, were dying to question my actions, before and after arriving back in Mzansi.

Ethan finished his meal, but he wasn’t sleepy, the food had filled him with energy. He was restless and moving in my arms, he took my necklace with his little hand. The necklace that had grabbed his attention was a gift from Kimball, it was supposed to be a gadget capable of disarming any power suppressor. It was just one of his attempts to show me that he would never try to control me again, but I wasn’t sure if he was telling the truth. What if it was more than that, what if it was a suppressor, something to control me? I had no technical knowledge that would allow me to see if what he said was true. And then there was the cape, another gift meant to help and protect, but I could feel the technology in it. What if it did more than what he said? What if he could use it to control me?

I was confused. I had the chance to leave, but I was waiting for Kimball to wake up, and why? What was I expecting? I was angry at him, I couldn’t forgive him, or trust him, but I couldn’t leave him either. I hated him, but I hated myself for staying. Why I was even thinking about him? Why was I even considering staying with him. He had betrayed me once, he would do it again. Maybe he was trying to make me feel safe before attacking again. But Sklave’s memories showed a kind, considerate Kimball, a man that had done his best to make sure that Sklave was safe and happy, he hadn’t tried to take advantage of her even once, he had worked on making her stronger, more confident.

Ethan was getting frustrated with the necklace, his mind was so basic, his thoughts undeveloped, but sometimes he showed his Mzansier heritage, blocking his mind from me, it wasn’t the case, I could see his thoughts, he was mesmerized by the sparkling stones in the necklace, he wanted to capture it, take it for himself. His little hands started pounding on my chest, taking out his frustration on me, not able to contain it anymore. I couldn’t help but laugh at his tantrum, and that distracted him, he was no longer concerned about the necklace, he started babbling at me, as if we were discussing something important. I loved how easily he could change from one line of thinking to another.

I was startled when the door opened, too focused on Ethan to notice someone was approaching the room. The nurse that was taking care of Kimball got into the room and went to the bed to check on him. Once she started moving him, he started to react, I heard him moan in pain. The nurse informed him that he had been injured and explain the extent of his injuries and what they were doing about them. My head was down, focused on Ethan, but I could feel Kimball’s eyes on me. Once the nurse left, Kimball moved in the bed until he was seated, his back against the headboard.

“How are you Sklave?” His voice was gentle, as every time he spoke to Sklave.

“She is back where she belongs, at the back of my mind.”

“Kaiserin!” He was glad I was back, but I could feel his confusion and apprehension. “What happened? Why are you back? Did my messages finally reach you?”

“They were going to kill Ethan, I felt Sklave’s worry through my mind and I knew I had to come back and protect him. You did all you could, but they defeated you and I had to fight.

“I’m sorry, I failed you again, I did my best to keep both of you safe, but I couldn’t. I’m glad you’re back, though, you should never have left. I’m surprised you didn’t take off to the Empire as soon as you got back.” One of Kimball’s many presents was an airplane and the crew to fly it to wherever I wanted to go, I knew I could have gone to any place I wanted with Kimball’s full support.

“I should have, I’m not sure why I didn’t. Maybe because there is no place for me to go, I don’t belong anywhere.”

“I thought it meant that you had forgiven me.”

“I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do that, I can’t forgive what you did. I don’t understand, I don’t even know who you are anymore. At first you were this wonderful person, and then you changed completely, you showed Sklave your softer side, but I’m not sure who I will find. I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to trust you again.” Ethan had heard Kimball’s voice and was twisting in my arms, looking for him, his little arms extended, wanting to go to him. I got up and closed the distance between us, letting Ethan go into his arms. At least something I could fully believe in was Kimball’s love for his son. “I don’t know if I can trust me, to make a good decision on what you are concerned.”

“I know I made a mistake, I noticed too late. I love you Kaiserin, I would anything for you, but I was scared, after we were captured and I was forced to see them torture you, I changed, I couldn’t let go of my fear of losing you. When I knew that you were pregnant with Ethan that fear only got worse. Do you have any idea of how I felt when I heard you had been hurt in battle? Losing you and my son was my worse nightmare, and I felt like it could become reality any moment.”

“So you decided to make MY nightmares real? Were you punishing me for scaring you? For going into battle without your approval? For not obeying you? You knew how your actions would affect me, you knew how much I sacrificed just because I wanted to avoid what you did. I was willing to do anything I could to prevent what you did.”

“I wasn’t even thinking about you and what it would do to you, I was selfishly thinking of me. I didn’t even realize how it would affect you until you went catatonic. That’s when I knew my actions were hurting you, and I took the suppressor off immediately. I don’t blame you for lashing out at me and hurting me, I deserved it, but believe me, even without your punishment, I would be repentant. I didn’t want to lose you, I never realized that my actions were the ones that would drive you away from me.”

“If everything you say is true, then why did you go after me? If you realized your mistakes, why repeat them?”

“I wasn’t planning to drag you back, I just wanted to make sure you and Ethan were safe. By the time we reached the Empire you were already with the Naturalists, and you didn’t seem to be in trouble, so I stayed away. When we saw your brother and his army we attacked them so they wouldn’t reach you, we gave you a chance to run away from them. If you hadn’t called for help, I would have shadowed you until you reached safety.”

“Then why make me swear to do anything you asked of me? Why take my powers away?”

“You were scared and distressed when I found you, I knew that your treatment would be complicated and I didn’t want you to fight me about everything I asked of you, but I was just referring to your treatment, it wasn’t forever, just for as long as it took to deliver Ethan. And I wasn’t trying to take your powers away, that was another misunderstanding, while we were treating you, your psychic wall came up twice, it was messing with our ability to help you, and when we realized we needed to operate, we couldn’t risk you creating your barrier in the middle of the operation, you could have bled out or Ethan died while we were unable to reach you. I asked them to take the suppressor off as soon as the operation ended, but the rest of the doctors were afraid and decided to leave it without letting me know. If you have Sklave’s memories you must know that I took it off as soon as I realized you had it.”

“That doesn’t mean anything, when you realized it was Sklave you were dealing with, you knew she would never fight you. Powers or not powers you had a willing slave.”

“I know I did wrong and I will do anything to show you how sorry I am, nothing like that will ever happen again. You have your necklace, your cape, your guards, transport to anywhere you want. If you want we could go back to the Amazons, I could be your slave again, I will do whatever you want.”

“You know it’s impossible to go with them, not with Ethan. I know that was my plan when I was pregnant, but there no way I can give him up now, not after spending so much time with him. I can’t leave him in the Fortress like I did with his sisters. And I’m not sure what to think about your gifts, I know that the guards and the crew are loyal to you, one word is all they need to turn against me. And the others? How can I know they do what you say they do? The necklace could be a suppressor as easily as it could be what you claim it to be. And the cape? I can feel the technology in it, and I don’t know what it does, how do I know it won’t be used against me?”

“You have my word, everything I said to Sklave is true. Trust me.”

“The last time I trusted you, I ended up drugged and locked away.  After that, your word doesn’t mean much.  You know why I stayed away from my brother, I was afraid of what he would do, afraid of being vulnerable and being taken advantage of.  You showed me that it was an error to trust you, that you can turn against me easily, betray me without a thought.  You were one of the few people that knew just how weak I really am, how afraid I am of losing control, and you took advantage of that.  You know my weaknesses and you exploited them, you used that knowledge to destroy me.”

“It’s the same for me.  You know my fears, you know my past.  Losing my family almost destroyed me the first time.  Just the idea of losing you turned me into a monster.  You have the power to destroy me.  You can grab Ethan and leave, and you would be taking my very soul with you.  I know letting you go will kill me, but I will do it if that makes you happy.  I know that you can’t read my mind, but you can feel what I feel, you know I love you and my son, you are my everything.  You are my reason to live, my strength, my weakness.  My life is in your hands and you can do what you want with it.”

“I wanted to destroy you, but I couldn’t.  I don’t know why, you were hurt, it would have been easy to finish you and get rid of you once and for all, but I couldn’t.  I should have killed you as soon as I could, and I tried, I really did, but couldn’t.  Why?  What did you do to me?”

“All I have done is love you.  I know I made mistakes and I hurt you, but I do love you.  I think you can’t kill me because you can’t live without me, same as me.  Please, give me another chance to show you I care, that I regret my actions.  I won’t hurt you ever again, I learnt my lesson.”

“I don’t know if I can,” I took Ethan back and moved away.  “You have to rest, I will bring Ethan later.  He misses you,” before Kimball could say anything I left.  Being near him was hard, I was confused and he didn’t help.  I wasn’t the same old Kaiserin, I had decided not to fall for anyone lies ever again, but he sounded sincere and I was afraid to trust again just to be hurt again.

Chapter 57

I was looking at Sklave’s memories of Ethan, surprised by how much he had grown up.  It was my favorite activity, watching him grow through Skalve’s memories, but sometimes it wasn’t enough.  I wanted to see it all, not just fragments, but I knew Kimball was out there, and I refused to touch the memories that I knew he was in, and they were many.

Something was wrong that day, something bad was happening to Sklave, I could feel her mind looking for ways to access her powers, her memories in disarray​.  I hadn’t put the same pain locks in her part of the mind as my father had done, but I had a few mechanism to keep her from using her powers, so Kimball wouldn’t keep the suppressor on her all the time.  That Sklave was so desperate to access those powers, was a clear sign that something was going on, something with Ethan, because I knew she would never risk it for herself.

For a little while I tried to ignore the signs, but after a while I couldn’t keep ignoring it, something was going on and I needed to help my son, I couldn’t let anything happen to him.  Little by little I let the most recent memories out, I needed to know what was going on with Sklave.

I saw memories of Sklave feeding Ethan, as usual, when the first explosion occurred.  Kimball had ran into the bedroom and taken both Sklave and Ethan to a secret passage, telling her to run, but she couldn’t escape, the passage had collapsed and there was no way out.  I wasn’t worried about Kimball or Sklave, but I couldn’t let anything happen to Ethan.

I tried to think of a different option, but I knew the only choice was to go back.  I had already worked a way to reclaim my mind, I had everything ready to tear apart the divisions in my mind.  Like an overflowing river new memories flooded my mind, letting me retake control of my body.  The first thing I heard was Ethan’s crying, the first sight I saw was Kimball’s body blocking the door, being hit with an endless rain of bullets.  He was wearing his armor, but I knew that even that couldn’t withstand the attack for long.  The room we had taken refuge in was big, but had nowhere to hide, in the middle I could see a blackened door, I was sure they had blasted it up trying to gain access to the room.  Kimball had managed to keep them out, trying to protect us, buying time until reinforcements arrived.

I extended my senses, so I could know what was going on outside of the room.  An enemy squad, about a dozen warriors were outside the room.  I heard screaming and a new explosion, my new memories let me know that we were underground and we could end being buried, we needed to get out.  As I was trying to come up with a plan to get out of there one of the enemies found a weak spot in Kimball’s armor and shoot him through the neck.  Kimball fell, trying to stop the blood from spilling with one hand, and taking a grenade with the other.

“Go to the other side of the room, use your cape to protect you,” Kimball ordered, his voice barely audible, just loud enough for me to hear and to know that although he was injured, it wasn’t so bad if he could still talk.

I saw him throw the grenade, but he was weak and the toss didn’t have enough strength behind it, so I used my powers to help it.  Our enemies knew what he was doing, and managed to get to cover, and just a few seconds after the explosion they were moving towards us.  The first warrior to arrive used the butt of his rifle to knock Kimball out.

“He’s still alive, we can take him with us for interrogation,” the man that had knocked him said, “if he doesn’t bleed out before,” he added with a laugh.

“Is she the one he was trying so hard to protect?” Another man asked, the first one to notice me.  “Take her, even if she doesn’t know anything, we can use her to make the General cooperate, and if not, we can use her for entertainment.”

A couple of warriors took Kimball by his feet and dragged him out of the room, while another couple advanced towards me, one of them keeping his rifle on me.  Sklave’s memories told me that the cape I was wearing was a combination of kevlar, metal and nanobots, designed to protect me, even from bullets.  Using my powers I made a connection with the material and I was surprised by how fluid and manageable it was, even if it looked pretty solid.  It was like working with water, but it was more powerful, I could use it for defense, but also to attack.

When the two warriors were halfway to me, I used my powers to bash their head together, leaving them disoriented for a moment, at the same time I used the cape to protect Ethan and move him to my back, where he would be out of harms way and would let me use my arms to fight, and move more freely.  Modifying the cape even more I managed to move the material into an armor to protect my most vulnerable parts, and I was even able to use part of it to form a sword, using the metal in the fabric to make a lethal weapon.

“You will regret this,” one of the men said, his voice low and menacing, he started walking towards me, his intentions clear.

I moved the sword in front of me in a defensive stand, and the other warrior pointed his weapon at me, I could tell by the way he was holding it that his intention was only to injure, not to kill, he wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be able to fight them.  I extended my senses, so I could feel his finger on the trigger, when I felt him starting to squeeze it, I used my mind to grab the other warrior and moved him so he would be between the bullet and me.  I heard the shot and then I saw the warrior’s head exploding, I was fast enough to lift my psychic wall in time to stop the blood and brain matter from reaching me.  His partner wasn’t so lucky as I was, his clothes splattered with blood.  His face was full of horror and he realized what had just happened, and then it morphed into one of rage, he lifted his weapon again, no longer looking to injure me, but to kill me.

“You damned bitch, you will pay for this!” He screamed at me before trying to shoot me, but I used my powers to grab the weapon and move it just enough to affect the trajectory of the bullets so they wouldn’t hit me.

The rest of the squad had realized the fight wasn’t going in his favor, and they had their weapons pointed at me, but they weren’t risking firing, for fear I would repeat the trick and make them shoot their partner.  Once the bullets ran out the man grabbed the rifle as a club and tried to hit me with it, but I could fend the hit using the sword.  For a minute we fought each other, but despite his strength and speed I was able to hold my own using my powers to help me.  I finally found an open, and with a quick slash I was able to cut his throat, his hot blood hit me and drenched me.  I knew the gun didn’t have any ammo left, but I grabbed it anyway trying to connect to it so I could learn its feel and working mechanisms.

“What are you waiting for?”  A woman, part of the enemy squad asked.  “Fire at her!”  But her order was late, I had already connected to their weapons and disabled them, the triggers not longer working.

“Attack!”  Someone else said after noticing their weapons weren’t working, a second later I felt someone hit my psychic wall, a speedster that had ran at me at full speed.

Using my sword I tried to hit him, but he moved out of my range before I could, he was too fast for me to adapt. Another warrior reached me and tried to punch me, he hit my wall with so much force that I felt it crumbling. Two warriors were dead, another two had left with Kimball, that left with eight of them for me to fight. Using my powers I threw one of them against his partners, but the strong one hit my wall again and broke it down, another warrior took that opportunity to hit me. I felt the punch to my stomach and wanted to bend over, but I knew that Ethan was at my back and I needed to keep him out of harms way, I couldn’t allow them access to him. The man tried to grab me and throw me against the wall, but I fought him, I couldn’t let him push me or Ethan would be hurt. While I was wrestling him I felt a grenade on his belt and managed to grab it, he tried to take it back, but using my mind, I used an energy wave to throw all of them away so I could move freely.

I used my powers to connect to the grenade, then I extended my senses to feel all of the grenades, most of the warriors were carrying one in their belts.  I took the pin out and threw the grenade, one of them managed to hit it and send it outside, but they didn’t know that I had activated all of the grenades at the same time.  Using my mind, I grabbed the door that was lying in the middle of the room and put it in front of me, then I rebuilt my psychic wall in front of me, that and my cape had to be enough to protect me from the explosion.  The noise had been very loud, and the silence that followed was eery. I let the door drop and moved to see the results of the attack, the room was full of blood and body parts, it was hard to know that they had been people just a few minutes before.

I felt Ethan move and realized he wasn’t crying anymore, I was scared his silence could mean that he was hurt so I used my powers to bring him back to my arms and started going over him, making sure he was unharmed, I knew I had nothing to worry about when he started laughing at me, as if my hands checking him were meant to tickle him.  As I saw his smile I realized it was the first time that I had really been with him, I was seeing him by myself, not through the eyes of someone else, and it was a wonderful feeling.  As I watched him, being happy and carefree I heard steps coming our way and realized that we were still in danger, I needed to keep him safe.  I put the cape around him again and fastened him to me so I could fight.

The two warriors that had taken Kimball away were back, they got inside and when they saw what had happened in the place they were horrified, one of them, the younger one, started throwing up, overwhelmed by the smell of blood and the sight of body parts.  The other warrior scanned the place and saw me, he knew exactly who to blame, he got his assault rifle up and tried to shoot me, but I had already disabled his weapon.  He got a different weapon out, a gun, one I didn’t know, so I used my powers to take it away and push him against the wall.  When I did that I lost my sight, the world around me turned black, then I noticed my hearing was also gone, my other senses affected.  I reinforced my psychic wall and my cape, knowing I was going to be attacked soon, and I was, I felt the hit to my wall and then I felt someone grabbing me.  I didn’t fight him, I used the connection to search for his energy as I moved my psychic shield to the surface of my skin, enough to keep me safe from his hits while I started getting his energy.  In just a few seconds the hits stopped and my attacker tried to let go of me, but I kept holding him.  I regained my sight and hearing and saw him trying to get free of me, but I wouldn’t let him, I used my powers to grab his head and twist it until his neck broke.

I heard a scream and realized I had forgotten about my other enemy, the young man was on the other side of the room, next to the door, when he disappeared, I was expecting him to attack, but after extending my senses I realized that he was running away.  Once again, I checked that Ethan was alright and started my way out of that place.  The young warrior had a good start on me, and he was fast, so by the time I got out he and the rest of his people was already waiting for me.  Around twenty warriors were outside, a few of them were guarding a group of Mzansiers, but most of them were waiting for me, their weapons ready to fire at me as soon as I crossed the door to the outside.  I used my powers to connect to the ground under my feet and caused the floor under them to shake, enough to break their balance.  After that I took control of their weapons and fired them at their owners.  Using the energy I had taken from the warrior I grabbed a few of them and lifted them in the air, just to drop them again over their partners, once they were all gathered together, I called a whirlwind to trap them all.  The strong winds tossed them around, causing a few of them to die and the rest to be injured.  Only one of them got away, the young man that had teleportation powers, making it hard to hold him down.

Once the energy was consumed and I couldn’t keep the whirlwind going anymore, I grabbed a gun and went to execute the ones that were still alive.  I heard a helicopter and saw the young warrior aboard, I thought he was going to use the weapons on the helicopter to attack, but he just ran away.  Once all the enemies were dead I went to where the Mzansiers were being held, I realized that most were servants, not warriors.  I recognized Mbali, she was kneeling next to Kimball, who was lying down, still unconscious, Tau was next to them.  I took a knife and cut the ropes holding the servants, Mbali was looking at me, but she didn’t say anything, not until I finally reached her and set her free.

“Kaiserin?” She asked, a little insecure and maybe with a little fear.

“I need to wash off the blood,” I said, “I’ll go to my room.  Don’t worry about Ethan, I will take care of him.”  Without further words I went back to the Palace, using Skalve’s memories to find my way back to my room.  I had a lot to think about, a lot to make sense of now that my memories were all together again.