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.
“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.