“This is more complicated than I expected,” I complained to Kimall. “I thought it was just a matter of telling them to choose a person to lead them, and they would take care of that.”
“You need to establish the process and…” he started to explain.
“I know!” I interrupted him. “It’s just that I would like this to be more direct and quick, this whole vetting process and the action we need to do to prepare and everything that has to be done before we even give it to them…” Kimball looked at me as if he wanted to discuss, but he didn’t.
“It’s almost ready, soon it will be out of your hands, and you will be able to go back to your other concerns, and the congress will be another person’s problem.”
“If you think that having another person in charge of congress will ease my mind, then you don’t know me that well. Even if the person they choose is someone I trust, I will still be worried.”
“There’s nothing to worry about, you still have veto power over laws that can affect us.”
“You said it yourself, that is a power I can only use in a few occasions, and William has to back me up, we need to overrule the vote. Everything is much more simple in the Empire, you give an order and everyone follows, if they don’t, you kill them, end of story.”
“I really doubt things are that simple,” Kimball challenged my words, but I didn’t want to discuss that with him, especially because things weren’t really that simple, it was just that they were simpler than in the Dominion. “Anyway, I think we already did everything we could, it’s time for rest, tomorrow you will need to face the congress and I know how much you hate that.”
“You’re right,” I closed the files in front of me and went to my room, not bothering to wait for Kimball, I knew he would be with me soon, and that he would help me forget all my worries.
Even in our most difficult times, I couldn’t help but recognize Kimball’s devotion to me. I knew that things would have been very different for me if it wasn’t for Kimball, he was my reward for surviving the most difficult parts of my life.
Before falling asleep, I usually tried to spend a few times in the fog, or to take a walk through the astral planes, but not that day, I needed a clear mind and lots of rest. I knew that it had always been part of the plan to give the power back to them, but I felt like I was losing control. When we had first discussed the tripartite government, I had thought I would have William on my side, and that I would have him by my side, still in control, but I couldn’t count on that anymore. I knew that it was the right step, but I couldn’t help but fear what a new player would do to our future plans.
I woke up well rested, but not less worried. What would happen that day would start a complete change in the dynamics of the Dominion. After eating a breakfast that I couldn’t even taste, and going to my office where I couldn’t do any work, the time for facing the congress finally arrived.
“Are you ready?” Kimball asked.
“As ready as I’m going to be.”
Kimball walked by my side to the congress hall, where I had scheduled a meeting half an hour before, I liked to ask them to be early, as a power play and to make sure everyone would already be there when I arrived. Even if most of them had changed their minds about me, and I wasn’t hated by everyone, I still could feel the atmosphere in the room changing at my arrival. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I had killed Emily in that place.
I took my seat, the seat that the President of the Congress usually took, but I didn’t talk, they still needed to wait another fifteen minutes, until William was scheduled to arrive. They were clearly uncomfortable with the waiting, but no one talked, which surprised me, they usually were more willing to confront me. After only ten minutes, William arrived and took the seat to my left.
“Now that King William has arrived, we can start. As I understand, most of the countries in the Dominion, and the Dominion itself, worked under a three power system. Even if the Dominion was created to act a supervising entity, it still had the same system, until Emily took control of the Dominion and took all three powers for herself, then extended them to her husband, and together, they worked on taking the freedom and independence from the countries, taking all the power and control for the Dominion. When I took Emily and Faakhir out, I assumed the same power they used to have, but I know that this is not how things are supposed to work.”
“The reason why Kaiserin called me today, is because she is ready to restore another of the old powers, and as an act of goodwill, she will let you elect a President of the Congress,” William explained, just as we had agreed. “After all these years, I know that electing a new President will be a crucial and very important task, but I trust you will be able to do the right thing. I want you to think of this announcement as the official call for elections, as the old statutes establish, you have two months to choose the candidates and vote one of them as your representative and President.”
“The old statutes establish that both William and I will have the power to veto the candidates that you choose. William will interview each one to make sure there are no connections with my predecessors. I want you to choose carefully and wisely. You need to choose the person who will be better for the position, don’t try to choose whomever you think will please us, or worse, the person you think will be able to fight against us. Remember that this new Dominion is a work in progress, and I’m prepared to change the rules if I see that the progress is not going well.”
“I think that is all I had to say. You have a lot to think about, and I’ll let you to it,” William said, getting out of his seat and walking away, as the people in the room erupted in questions.
“Those who have questions or are not familiar with the old statutes, all the files will be sent to you this afternoon. If you still have questions, those will be answered in another reunion here, in a week.”
“Are you really going to respect our choice?” one of the representatives asked.
“I need you to understand this. I’m trying to do what’s right for the Dominion. If you choose the person you think will be better for the people and for you, someone capable of helping us with this new project to restore the Dominion, then I will respect your decision, but if you take this opportunity and waste it trying to screw me over, then I will make sure you won’t have the chance again. William and I have had our issues, but I know that his heart is in the right place, that’s why we have let our problems behind us.”
“I find it very hard to believe that after everything you did to take control of the Dominion, you would be willing to let go of it.”
“This has been the plan from the start, it’s something I talked about with the people who supported me. As long as I have one of the positions of power, and I’ve been told that Prime Minister is the most important one, I’m satisfied. Ruling is not an easy task, I don’t have a problem sharing the burden. Any other question?” I gave them a few seconds, when no question was asked, I left the room.
As soon as we crossed the door, I could hear the voices raising, and I knew they had already started the discussions to select their president.
“That went well,” Kimball, who had been by my side the whole time, pointed out.
“You think so? I’m not so sure, I’m losing control of the situation, and about to lose even more.”
“I thought this is what you wanted, things with William are better than before, none of your plans had been affected lately.”
“I know that, and still… Maybe is because I’m reaching the end of my mission. Soon I won’t be necessary, and I have dedicated years of my life to this project, and don’t know what to do anymore.”
“Everything will be fine, and no matter what happens, I will be here with you, to help you in any way you need.”
“I know I can count on you. I’ve known since that day with the Amazons, when I woke up after being sick, and found out you had been taking care of me. Before that I never thought I would be able to trust or depend on someone again.”
“We have come a long way since then,” Kimball said, putting his arm around my shoulders. “What’s going on? What’s really bothering you?”
“I’m not really sure, I have a bad feeling, and I really hope it has nothing to do with what we have been doing today.”
“Everything is going according to plan, we have left Emily’s and Faakhir’s problems behind us. Maybe it’s time for you to talk to Sofia and mend bridges with her.”
“Please, don’t even try, you know how I feel about that. Did I tell you I had a vision about Malkia?” I said, trying to change the subject.
“No, you didn’t mention that,” Kimball said, interested.
The trip from the Congress to my side of the palace was fast, so I waited until we were there to talk to Kimball about my vision.
“It seems that Dendro is going to make Malkia’s and Antrax’s relationship official. Once the announcement is made, Malkia will be the only recognized partner for Dendro, and her children will be the heirs to their clan. It will be as if they were married.”
“But Malkia is too young,” Kimball protested.
“You know things are different there, most women in the Empire have their first child around that age.”
“You were much older when you had Malkia.”
“But that wasn’t my choice. I wanted to have a child when I was Malkia’s age, but my partner at that time, Cervo, didn’t think he was the right person, and refused to make me pregnant. After he taught me the importance of choosing the right person, it was hard for me to try again, mostly because I was afraid of being rejected again by one of my partners. Did I mention that I got pregnant when I first arrived at Sector 32? It wasn’t my choice, and I lost the baby not long after because of one of the beatings Agmong gave me, after that I thought I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant again, I only could because of Ilum’s sacrifice, and I didn’t realize I could until I found out I was pregnant with Malkia.”
“Malkia arrived at the right time, when you were in the position to protect her, once you had healed enough to face the situation.”
“Ilum was the one who healed me.”
“I’m not talking about your physical scars, but the emotional ones. But I get the point, things are different here, you aren’t even considered an adult until you turn twenty here, so forgive me for thinking of Malkia as a child.”
“At least she is where she wants to be, and with the person she wants to be. That’s good for her.”
“If she is the partner of the clan’s heir, does that mean she will have to travel with them to the Empire’s reunions at the palace?”
“I don’t think Dendro will risk taking her there, not for the moment. As soon as they see her, they will realize who she is, so I don’t think he will take that risk until he is sure she will be able to defend herself is she needs to. Anyway, I will try to pay attention to the astral planes in case she needs to talk to me.”
“Kaiserin, are you happy?” Kimball asked, looking at me with concern. “I know this is not what you expected when you agreed to come with me.”
“Everything is fine, I have you and I have Ethan, and everything else helps keep things interesting. It’s just that now that we are at the end of our mission, we will have to make new plans for our future. For a long time all our focus was on saving the Dominion, and getting things back to what they used to be, now that things are on its way, it won’t be long before I’m no longer needed to keep things on track.”
“The plan was to force people to chase you out of the Dominion and go back to Aquarium or return to the Empire. Now that you can use your powers while you are having a vision we can go back without fear of your clairvoyance putting you at risk.”
“If we do that I will be able to see my daughter again,” he didn’t say it, but we both knew that was the only reason I would even consider going back. “But there is another option. Your people has been asking for you to go back to Mzansi and taking the position of King, and we need to think about that. I know that’s something you want, even if you deny it,” Kimball didn’t say anything, the fact that he didn’t immediately dismissed my words was very telling.
“I think we need to see all our options and find the best one for everybody, not just for me, or you, but for our children as well. You always say that there are multiple paths in front of us, we just have to find one where all our paths cross together.”
“And that’s what we will do,” I say, even if I didn’t have any interest in walking the fog at the moment, all I wanted was to live in the moment for a little while.