Chapter 6

I felt like I was losing my mind, they kept calling me Sklave, and that was messing with my perception, I felt like a was losing the battle with myself and I was becoming Sklave again.  As I watched Kimball fighting them, trying to free himself so he could help me, new tears started rolling down my face, I knew he was fighting that hard because of me, he wanted to help me, and he didn’t want them using him to control me, but every time he moved, a new shot hit his body.  I opened my mouth to ask them to stop, but I couldn’t get the words out, part of me was stopping me.  As Kaiserin, I never cried, I never begged, but as Sklave I never had any problem with any of that, I had spent all my time as Sklave begging for mercy that never came, I had no problem humiliating myself, and at that moment I wanted to be like that and do whatever it took to save Kimball, I wanted to help him, even if I had to be Sklave to do that.

“Don’t do it,” Kimball said, maybe noticing that I was about to give them what they wanted.  “Don’t let them win.”

They were hitting him again for talking, but I was brought back by his words, he was right.  I knew that at the moment they got what they wanted, Kimball wouln’t be useful to them anymore, they would have the control.  Another shot hit Kimball’s chest, and my thought scattered again.  I knew that his uniform was bullet proof, but the shots were too close, and they had to be doing a lot of damage, I guessed he had at least a few broken ribs because of the hits.

“I’m not a patient man, Sklave.  Are you going to beg me?  Or do you want me to kill him?”

“Don’t…” I didn’t know what to do or how to act, I was breaking and I wasn’t sure what would become of me.  I didn’t want to go back to being the pathetic, weak, woman that Agmong had created all those years before, but I felt more like her every minute.

“I love your tears,” the impostor said, he was licking them, while he grabbed me by the hair, it was such a familiar feel, and I wasn’t surprised when a new electric charge hit me, it was a familiar feeling, one that sent me back in time, that send me deep into my memories.

I felt weak, I was under my enemies’ power, and my life, my Kimball was on his knees, suffering because of me, about to die.  My mind was breaking and I couldn’t stop it.  Nightmares and reality were blending together and I knew I would break and never be the same, I was about to lose the battle.

I opened my mouth again, I was about to tell them I was giving up, that I would do whatever they wanted, but then I felt the broken pieces fixing themselves, the emptiness inside me was filling fast, my powers were back.  Kimball had saved me again, his gift had freed my powers, giving me a fighting chance, giving me hope and the chance of recovering.

The first thing I did, I connected to the weapons they were using, I knew the firearms they were using, and it was easy to disable them.  I knew that wasn’t the solution, but it would help Kimball and give him a chance, I trusted that without the weapons he would have a chance to fight back, just like I did.  With the weapons out of the way, I focused on the man next to me, his hand was still grabbing me hair, exposing my neck so he could bite me, while he was digging on the wounds on my back with his other hand, causing new waves of pain shake my body.

“Do you know what happened to the real Agmong?” I asked him.  “He bleed to death, I nailed him to the wall and watched as the light died on his eyes, I watched as he fought for his life, until the realized there was no way out, I watched as he realized he was going to die at my hands, and that for the first and last time in his life, he was at my mercy.  You will die the same way.”

The damage done to my body affected my powers, but that didn’t stop me from pulling a few stakes from the nearest wall and pushing the impostor to them.  One stake pierced his lung, but I was careful not to touch his heart, I wanted his death to be slow and painful.  Another one went through his stomach, that was a mortal wound, unless he got help in the next few minutes, the rest of the stakes got him through legs and arms, pinning him to the wall and stopping him from escaping.  Almost as soon as I finished, the terrakinetic started working on reverting my work, freeing the impostor, but the damage was done, his face was already morphing back to his original features, like every metamorph, he was going to die with his original face.  I watched the face they had brought back from my nightmares melt and disappear.

“Don’t stand there like fools, stop her!” Temur ordered, thinking they still had a chance of stopping me, but it was too late, the pain and rage inside me were fueling my need of vengeance.

I used my powers to connect to the chains holding me, and extended my power to reach the chains they had used to subdue Kimball, who was already fighting the soldiers that had attacked him.  I could see his movements were slow and a little off, I wasn’t sure if he was still suffering the effects of whatever drug they had used on him, or if he was injured worse than I thought.  I took the chains and wrapped them around the soldiers’ necks, and then I used them to hang them from beams in the ceiling, but some of them were psychics, and they were trying to use their powers to free themselves.  I knew that pain would make it harder for them to concentrate hard enough to use their powers, so I broke their legs, and then their arms to distract them, and when the attacks stopped, I knew I had been right.  Some of them were too busy trying to escape, but using their broken bones made it more difficult.  The screams and grunts from the soldiers hanging from the ceiling were mixed with the terrified screams of the rest of the hostages, that I’m sure thought they were next.

There was just one person still standing, and that was Temur.  There was no one else stopping me from going after him, my true target.  He had tried to take Kimball as a shield, but even tired and slow, Kimball was capable of fighting back, and was not an easy target.

“Finish him,” Kimball asked, but not because he wanted him dead, but because he knew I needed to kill him so I could feel like myself again, and not like a victim.

“I told you, you were a dead man from the moment you decided to come after me,” I told him.  Temur tried to attack me, and I knew that I had to stop him before he had a chance of to reach me, I was still vulnerable, hanging from the ceiling, my body was useless, and my powers were the only thing allowing me to fight back, powers that were fueled by my hate, rage, and even my fear.

Temur went to where the impostor was, he didn’t look like Agmong anymore, he was wearing his true face, and clearly fighting to stay alive, maybe thinking someone would come to help him.  He stretched his hand to Temur, asking for help, but Temur didn’t waste any time thinking about his dying ally, he grabbed the gloves out of his hands, the gloves I already suspected were producing the electricity he had used to mimic Agmong’s powers, a power I wasn’t going to allow him to use on me again.  Before Temur had a chance to reach me, I used my powers to build a stake that hit him in the chest, with so much force that he was lifted in the air, before he could move or escape, another one hit him from the back, holding him in place, I used my powers to break the stakes and build branches, that went through his body.  He tried to scream, and one of the branches got out of his throat, killing the scream.  It wasn’t my best job, it was a very basic and raw tree of pain, it wasn’t like the one I had used on Faakhir when I was strong enough to take care not to touch his vitals, this one was doing much more damage, and I knew his death was going to be faster, but I couldn’t focus enough to take care where the branches were getting out, I was just making the tree grow.

“Kaiserin?”  Kimball was crawling to where I was, but he fell before reaching me.

I needed to get to him, but first I needed to get down.  I used my mind to open the cuffs around my wrists.  I hadn’t been that high, just high enough for my feet not to be able to touch the ground, but the fall shook my body and sent waves of pain through my body.  My legs weren’t strong enough to hold me and I fell hard to my knees.  My legs and even my arms were covered in welts, some of them bleeding, thanks to the whipping, and I could see a large bruise on my side from the kicks and even if I couldn’t see my face, I knew it was bad, I could hardly open one of my eyes, it was so swollen, and I didn’t even want to think about my back, it felt so raw and hurt so much.  I tried to move my arms, and couldn’t, every time I tried the pain was so bad that I felt like I would pass out.

I used my powers to move Kimball closer to me, taking care not to hurt him, and as soon as he was close enough, he put his arms around me, taking care not to hurt me.

“Kaiserin, I’m so sorry… I failed you, I couldn’t help you…”  I couldn’t see his face, but I could tell he was crying.

“I was able to escape thanks to you, your gift saved me again.”  Using the contact with Kimball I connected to him to try and see the extent of the damage he had sustained, and I realized he was worse than I thought, at least three bullets had managed to get inside him, and I didn’t even need my powers to tell that his lungs were damaged, his breathing was both shallow and hard.

I was already suffering the effects of a psychic headache, and the pain was increasing faster than normal, and I realized I was under attack, again, one of the soldiers had to be a telepath, a strong one if he could get over the pain and attack me.  I tried to move and look for the person responsible for the attack, and I found the faces of the other hostages staring at me with fear, and worse, with pity.  I hadn’t realized the implications of them being there, but I didn’t want them witnessing my humiliation.  But first, I needed to find my attacker, which was easy.  I let his chains go, and he fell to the ground, I dragged him closer to me, and he tried to attack me, but Kimball found the strength to fight him.  While Kimball was holding him still and punching him, I used my powers to move my hand until it rested on him, and I used my powers to steal his energy.  I was so weak and hungry that I was able to drain him in a couple of minutes.  Once I finished him, I felt stronger, so I repeated my actions and pulled the rest of the soldiers to me, so I could drain them too.  It was actually a mercy, a quick death that they didn’t deserve, but I needed their energy more than revenge.

There were seven soldiers, without counting the impostor and Temur, and I was able to drain them all.  Kimball was by my side, struggling to stay conscious so he could protect me.  I used the energy I had stolen and focused on the other hostages, I couldn’t let them keep their memories of me at my lowest.  Killing them to protect my secret was unfair, but there was another choice, and I knew how to deal with them, thanks to my father I knew exactly how memories worked.  I knew that a big trauma would be enough to erase their memory of the last few minutes, with the adrenaline and the impact of the situation, I was sure none of them had had time to store the memories in the long term part of the brain, and a trauma would erase them before they had the chance.  I gathered my powers and went inside their minds, letting the attack go and burning their minds.  The last attack was too strong and too painful and I lost the battle with the darkness, I passed out.

“Kaiserin, Kaiserin!” Kimball’s voice was reaching me from far away, he sounded scared, worried, and all I wanted to do was to calm him and tell him everything was going to be ok.

“Kimball…”  I tried to open my eyes, but my eyelids were too heavy.

“Please, just hold on,” Kimball said, but he sounded as bad as I felt.  I remembered where we were, and why.  The rest of the hostages had also passed out because of my last attack, and our enemies were either dead or dying.  I finally managed to open my eyes and I saw Kimball, he looked bad.  I took what was left of the energy I had stolen and gave it to him, he needed it more than me.  “What are you doing?”  he asked, he was feeling the energy and knew exactly what I was doing.

I started shaking, and I felt my nose bleeding.  The psychic headache was hurting too much, but we still had to get out of that place, we needed to escape.  Kimball would have to do it, because I couldn’t go on, I was at my limit, and I couldn’t hold on, I passed out again.

I woke up screaming, my shoulder felt on fire.

“I’m sorry,” Kimball said, his voice was weak and his breathing was getting worse.  “I needed to fix your shoulder, I still need to work on the other one,” he warned.  After the pain faded a little I realized I could move my arm again, but then Kimball grabbed my other shoulder, and when he pulled I passed out again.

I was surrounded by shadows, I was cold and was feeling those dark beings touching me and stealing the heat I had left, they were making me sick.  I felt like I needed to be somewhere else, but I didn’t know where, I just knew I wasn’t supposed to be there, and I wanted to get away.  I felt something pulling at me, and I found myself being pulled out of there.

“Kaiserin,” someone was calling my name.  Everything was hurting, my body was on fire and my head felt as if it was going to break in two.  “Kaiserin, we need to get out of here,” but that wasn’t possible, I couldn’t move, I was in too much pain.  “Kaiserin,” it took me a moment to identify the person calling me.  It was Kimball, my Kimball, my life, my love.  How could I forget him even for a moment?

I still couldn’t believe what they had done, they had brought my nightmares to life, and it was thanks to Kimball that I was holding on, I knew that without him I would have lost contact with reality and I wouldn’t be able to differentiate between nightmares and reality.  I could feel his arms around me, he was being careful because of my injuries.

“I just need a minute,” I asked, but my words sounded false even to my own ears.

“You need to activate the suppressor,” he said, “you are losing control, and the pain is only going to get worse, I can’t lose you because of a psychic headache,” he explained, but the idea of being without my powers again scared me.

“I’m scared,” I confessed.  I felt like something bad was going to happen, but then I realized why he was so worried, the floor was vibrating with my power, and I realized my powers were out of control, I was about to get into a destructive spiral, but even then, the idea of being powerless made me hesitate.  “Please, don’t let anyone hurt me,” I asked, even knowing that Kimball was also hurt.  I managed to get my hand on my necklace, Kimball’s gift, and used it to save me again, not by freeing my powers, but by suppressing them.

An explosion shook the cellar, and a moment later I heard people running inside.  I hugged Kimball and hid on his side.  I heard voices, some of them sounded angry, others surprised, and at first I couldn’t even understand what they were saying, but I wasn’t paying that much attention, I was at my limit and afraid, because I was powerless.  I thought about disabling the suppressor so I could fight, I could at least save Kimball.

“Is she alive?” the voice sounded familiar, and there was pain in his question.

“Kaiserin, it’s ok, help just arrived,” Kimball said, and tried to move to see who had arrived, but it took too much effort, and I couldn’t move that much.

“Kaiserin?” another familiar voice, that one close to me, too close and I couldn’t protect myself.  I wanted to believe Kimball would protect me, that if he said I was safe, then I was, but when I felt a hand on my leg I did my best to move away from the touch.

“Don’t let them hurt me,” I asked Kimball, and I heard a weird sound, like a sob, and someone started cussing, I wasn’t sure why.

“They are here to help, not hurt you.  Let Soriya help, she can heal you,” Kimball explained.

“I don’t need her help, I will be fine, I just need to rest and I will be fine.  You need help, you are hurt, my fault, you were hurt because of me,”  I felt the hand back on my leg, and I tried to get away again.  I was able to turn enough to see the woman, and I realized she was crying.

“It’s ok, let me help.”

“I’ll be fine, help Kimball.  I don’t want him to die, not because of me, I will be fine, I just need to rest,” I tried to let Kimball go, I wanted to give them space so they could help him, I had finally recognized them, and I knew I could trust them, they wouldn’t hurt me, they had sworn to protect me, and the best way to help me was by helping Kimball.  “I just need to close my eyes for a minute, save Kimball, I will be fine, I will be ok…”  I went back to the astral plane where there was no pain.  I knew what I was doing, I needed to go up.  In the superior astral planes I could find peace, I could recover.

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Chapter 5

“You don’t have to come with me,” I told Kimball again.

“You’re still at war with the Tech Committee and now you are going to also face the Agriculture Committee, which only makes everything more complicated, since I don’t trust either group, I’ll go with you.”  I could see he was concerned, and I didn’t want to tell him I was worried too, nor how relieved I was that he was coming with me, but as always, I was sure he suspected something.

I’ve been having a bad feeling about the reunion for days, and I knew better than to ignore my instincts, but every time I had tried to use my visions or take a walk in the fog to see what was triggering my instincts, all I could see was the past, I was thrown into memories of Agmong.  I knew that couldn’t be right, Agmong was dead, I had killed him and there was no way he could come back and torment me like that.

“Everything will be ok,” I told Kimball, wondering if he could hear the doubt in my voice, “there’s nothing to worry about.”

“Why is the reunion taking place in the vineyards?  It’s not the kind of place you usually like.”

“This was one of Emily’s favorite places, you know she thought herself a wine connoisseur, and she had a weird attachment to the place.  When all the problems with the food supply started, she decided that this place was more important to keep afloat than the others.  I want to see what was done here to keep the place producing a high quality harvest, I want to find something that will help others to be as successful.  We need to work on the food supply asap, between the droughts, fires, war and Emily’s impossible requests, half the Dominion is our of food, and if we don’t do something fast, people will start dying.”

“I’m not sure if this is the right approach.”

“I saw some of the designs that Faakhir vetoed from the Tech Committee, and I think some of them could be adapted to help with this issue, if they work along the Agriculture Committee, I’m sure they will find a solution to our problem.”

“We’ll see,” Kimball said, not convinced.  I knew that it wasn’t how things were usually done in the Dominion, but it was how things were done in the Empire, and the only way I knew.  “How are we going to play it this time?”

“The same way we have been playing, we will be two people who can barely stand each other.”

“Of course, I guess I will pretend to be mad at you for almost letting our son die.  You know that some of the people there were calling me on behalf of their children to ask about Ethan’s wellbeing.”

“I’m glad to know that Ethan has such good friends.  I only hope that what happened won’t affect their friendship.”

Our talk was cut when we arrived at our destination.  I got out of the vehicle without waiting for Kimball, but I heard him following me.  Everyone was already there, mostly because I had asked them to be there an hour before my arrival.  By the time we arrived some of them were already angry, but there was nothing they could do about it.

“Thank you for coming,” I greeted the people there.

“I didn’t know it was optional,” one of them said.

“It wasn’t,” I answered.

“Welcome to my humble vineyard,” the owner of the place greeted me.  I knew he wasn’t a fan of my predecessors, they had practically taken over his life and his vineyard, but in a way he should be relieved that that attention had allowed him to prosper when others failed, saving his land while others had to fight droughts and lack of foundings.  There were a few other places in the Dominion with a better reputation and with centuries of prestige, and they had also received some support, but this one was closer and that made it easier for it to gather Emily’s attention.  “Would you like a tour of the place?  We have everything ready if you want to know what we do here.”

“Of course, that’s why we are here,” I said, trying to appear a little bored, but dying to start the tour and learn what made that place different from others.

The start of the visit was a little chaotic, because the group was too large, but the place was interesting and soon everyone was focused on the tour, learning about the process and learning how they used a combination of classic and modern techniques to keep the harvest healthy and plentiful.

Once we were done with the tour and with a cup of wine in our hands, we were taken to the dinning hall where we were given a simple, but bountiful banquet.  I knew that they were presenting us with was probably most of what they had, but I kept thinking that it was ok, if everything went according to plan, we would have more than enough food for everyone, not just for a few lucky ones.

“It was a very nice and interesting tour, but I would like to know why we were brought here, this is not exactly our area of expertise,” Representative Burgos said.

“You are here because I want you here, I wanted to get to know this place better, to see why it was so interesting for my predecessors.  I also want you to tell me about the projects that Faakhir vetoed from you.”

“That is a long list,” Jeong said.

“Then, I would suggest you start with the first thing that comes to your mind,” I said, expecting them to bring up those that were related to the place we were at, I wanted sustainability projects.

While they discussed among themselves, trying to decide which project to expose first, a group of servers presented us with trays with cheeses and cold meat cuts, to go along with our wines.  After a while I noticed something odd was going on, the air looked funny and I didn’t feel well.  I put my psychic walls up, and started to search for the threat that I knew was lurking.  I noticed that the others have finally noticed that something was going on, and Kimball got out of his seat, and tried to move, but his movements were too slow, when I tried to move, I noticed that my arms and legs were too heavy and I couldn’t move them.

A group of warriors wearing gas masks entered the room, Kimball tried to attack them, but one of them faced him and stopped him, using a taser.  I used my powers to throw them against the wall, but my attack wasn’t as strong as it was supposed to be, and it failed to do much damage.  I felt darkness trying to pull me down, but I fought it as I watched the rest of the people at the table falling down on the table.  I was doing my best to stay conscious, and I felt someone approaching me from behind, I turned to face the threat, and found myself face to face with Agmong.  I was frozen, thinking it had to be an illusion, but then he used his whip on me and it wrapped around me before blasting me with electricity, making me lose the battle and fall into unconsciousness.

I woke up when I was hit with a bucket of cold water, it took me just a second to realize that I couldn’t use my powers, and the weight on my neck let me know that they had used a powers suppressor on me.  I looked around, and realized we were on one of the wine cellars, all of the guests were there, chained to the walls or the wine barrels.  Kimball was wrapped in chains that were locked to the ground and walls, and looked unconscious.

“I’m glad you woke up already,” a man I recognized as Temur, one of Faakhir’s trusted guards, said to me.  “Now that you are awake, we can start this party.”

“I’m surprised to find you here, since you ran away after I killed Faakhir, I thought you would stay hidden,” I stood up, surprised to find myself free.  Temur was thinking that I wasn’t a threat just because I didn’t have my powers, I was determined to prove him wrong.

“I had to go away for a while, to look for some friends, but I hope you are not stupid enough to think you would get away with killing Faakhir and keeping the Dominion for yourself.”

“I already have control of the Dominion, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Whatever you are planning, it won’t work.”

“My plans are already working, everything is going according to plan,” he said, “your men are being hunted right now, and they will pay for betraying our boss, none of you will get away with it, I will make sure to have all of the survivors under my control.”

“You are crazy if you think that will work, I don’t follow anyone’s orders, you know that, and you know what happened to the last man that thought he had me under his control.”

“All you need is someone to remind you of your place,” he said with an unnerving smile.  I knew that all I needed was to wait for Kimball’s necklace to do his job and disable the suppressor, I just needed to distract Temur for a few minutes.

“You are a dead man, I hope you know that.  You will share your boss’ end.”

“Soon the Dominion will be mine, and you will give it to me yourself.”

“You are really crazy if you think I will do that,” I was ready to fight, I knew Temur and he was even worse than Faakhir, he was a sadist, and I was sure that the only reason he hadn’t killed me was because he wanted to make me suffer first.

“You will do whatever I want you to do, all you need is someone to remind you of your place… Sklave.”  He knew that using that name was going to throw me off.

“My name is Kaiserin, you know that.”

Temur signaled his men and saw a few moving my way, I stood still, waiting for the right moment, and once they were close enough I attacked.  I was able to get one of them by surprise, breaking his neck before he had a chance to react, but another kicked my legs from under me, throwing me to the floor.  As soon as I hit the ground I rolled and tried to get up, but the ground under me moved, trapping my foot, my leg up to my knee, and both my hands.  Another soldier started kicking my stomach, and even my head a couple of times while another stood still in front of me, manipulating the ground and keeping me trapped.  I tried to break free, but the ground wasn’t giving me any space.  When the guy got tired of kicking me, he grabbed one of my arms with a strength that almost broke it, then one of my hands was free, but the guy put a cuff around it before I could do anything to stop him, and then he did the same with the other, chaining them together behind my back.  Once they were secured, they attacked a chain hanging from the ceiling to them and started to pull, when they couldn’t pull more, they finally freed my legs.

“You should know that there’s no point in trying to resist, Sklave,” Temur mocked me.  “Doesn’t this situation reminds you of something?”

“I don’t know what your game is, but if you think you will win this easily, you are mistaken,” I felt my arms being raised, the chain being pulled even more, I felt the tension in my shoulders when my feet were no longer touching the ground, and I knew that my shoulders were about to pop out.  Agmong used to love hanging me from the ceiling, most of the time with my arms behind my back, my weight eventually dislocating my shoulders, it was a slow and painful torture, but as time went by, the process was easier, my shoulders so damaged that they popped out very easily.  Just as I expected, the sound of my shoulders getting out of their sockets echoed in the cellar.  Waves of pain hit my body, caressing me like a forgotten memory.  It was very hard, but I bit back the scream that tried to escape my throat, and looked defiantly at Temur, knowing he was expecting my pain, and refusing to giving it to him.

“It wasn’t what I was expecting, you are not doing your part,” he said, angry at me.

“Don’t worry, I will help her remember her role,” a familiar voice said from behind me.  “Come on, Sklave, scream for me,” I felt a hand on the back of my neck, and then an electric charge hit me.

I felt like I was going to break my teeth with the force I used to shut my mouth and stop the screaming that wanted to escape, I refused to give in to them.  My already hurting arms were on fire as my body shook with the electricity.  I was exhausted by the time the attack stopped, but I knew things were about to get even worse.  The man behind me moved to the front, and it took me a moment to understand what I was seeing.

“Did you miss me, Sklave?” asked a man that looked exactly like Agmong.

I had ignored the warning and the vision, thinking there was something wrong with them, because there was no way that what they were showing was accurate, Agmong couldn’t be back to torture me, he was dead, I had killed him, I have watched the life get out of him.  I felt cold and scared, because if Agmong, or someone looking like him, was in front of me, then all the visions of torture were true, and I was about to get into a nightmare.

“You are not Agmong,” I said.

“I missed you,” he said.  He moved closer to me, and as soon as he was in my reach, I put my legs around his neck, trying to choke him, but the pain in my arms and back, and the awkward position didn’t allow me to do much damage, and the impostor started hitting me, but it wasn’t until someone hit me in the head that I finally lost the battle and let him go.  “You will regret this,” he said, taking a knife out of his belt and cutting my clothes off of me.  I knew what was coming next, it was as if he was following a script straight out of my nightmares.

“This was Faakhir’s plan, wasn’t it?  This impostor was his plan B, just in case he couldn’t break me himself,” I asked Temur.  “But Faakhir was wrong, and you will fail, just like him, you will die for your mistake, like he did.”

“Brave words, but you will change your tune soon enough,” Temur said, confident he was going to break me.

Once I was completely naked, the impostor gave me a satisfied smile, I had to keep reminding myself he wasn’t Agmong.  When he lifted the whip, a wave of fear washed over me, but there was nothing I could do.  I relaxed my body, trying to minimize the pain, but I couldn’t avoid the damage, soon the blood was flowing from my wounds, and my whole body felt on fire.  Despite the pain, I kept glaring defiantly at Temur, I knew he got excited by pain, and I knew he was only waiting for me to break to attack me.

“This is not working,” he complained.  “According to Agmong she should be crying and begging by now.”

“If that’s what you want from me, you are wasting your time.”

The impostor went to talk to Temur.  The respite only helped to highlight my wounds, since there were no distractions.  The impostor had done a good job at hurting me, and all my body was hurting.  I heard chains moving, and realized Kimball was awaking, he was staring at me, guilt and fury written in his eyes.  I knew he was going to do something.  I looked around and saw that everyone was awake, they were all staring at me with horror, and I knew I had to be looking very bad for them to show pity for me.

“I’m very disappointed in you,” the impostor told me, getting into Agmong’s role.  It was getting harder to remind myself he wasn’t the same person, the pain and the situation pulling at my memories.  “I only asked one thing of you, and you haven’t done it,” he moved closer and put his hand on my neck.  I noticed his gloves and that helped break the illusion, the real Agmong didn’t use gloves, they affected his powers.  “You need to scream for me.”

The electricity hit me, the pain was too much, but I wasn’t going to scream, but I was so overwhelmed that I had to leave my body and move to the astral plane, at least for a moment.  As soon as I watched the impostor releasing me, I went back to my body to the pain.  I could see that Temur was losing his patience, he wanted me broken, crying and begging.  I suspected that Faakhir had seen more of my memories than I had first thought, and apparently he had shared what he had found with Temur, maybe even showed him the memories telepathically.  I could imagine Temur jacking off to the thought of a broken, crying, Sklave.

“You are wasting your time, I won’t give you what you want,” I said, but my voice wasn’t as strong or secure as before, the pain affecting me more than I wanted to acknowledge.

“You were broken once, we can break you again, it will just take longer than I thought.”  Temur signaled the impostor, and he turned his attention back to me.

I couldn’t help but flinch when he approached me, betraying my fear.  The impostor rested the handle of the whip against my collarbone, and moved it down to one of my breasts, drawing circles around it.  I knew what he was going to do, something Agmong liked to do, and I couldn’t help but being afraid, my heavy breathing betraying my fear.  The electricity hit again, I had been expecting it, but that didn’t stop the pain or the memories that flowed.  I could see Temur and the impostor smiling at my reaction, and I knew that they weren’t buying my act any more.

The impostor moved the handle even lower, and I knew what was going to happen.  Agmong liked to electrocute me from inside, and I knew that the impostor didn’t have the same power, he was using his gloves to mimic Agmong’s power, but I was sure he was going to use the handle on me and I panicked.  I fought the impostor, but my desperation only confirmed that he had found something that would really affect me.  He grabbed one of my legs and used his hold to open my legs, but before he could put the handle on me, a loud sound distracted him.

Kimball had escaped his chains and was fighting the soldiers, trying to reach me.  The sound of shooting echoed in the cellar, mixed with the screams of the representatives.  Kimball fell to the ground, most of the shots had hit on his bullet proof clothes, but a few had hit on unprotected parts, and there was blood already flowing out of him.  Kimball was on his knees, but was trying to get up, but another shot rang and he fell again.  A heartbreaking cry filled the place, and it took me a second to realize it was me who was screaming.

Temur looked at me, satisfied, and then pulled a gun went to where two of his men were subduing Kimball.  “You are not so indifferent as you pretend, you do care about him.  The question is, how much?  What would you do for him?  Would you beg me for his life?”  I shook my head, but I wasn’t sure if I was answering his questions, or trying to deny the whole situation we had landed in.  “Beg me for his life.  Promise you will do anything I ask of you in exchange for his life,” he ordered, putting the gun on Kimball’s head.

I felt out of control, but nothing proved how gone I was as the pair of tears running down my face.  Kaiserin never cried, Sklave did.  Temur was about to win the battle, and I was about to lose myself.

Chapter 4

It took forever to get to the hospital, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to find once I got there.  I trusted Kimball to save our son, but part of me still felt afraid that something could have gone wrong.  I felt like I was failing them again, I felt like I should have used my powers to see the future and assess the risks, or even gone with them and used my powers to keep Ethan stable, but I haven’t, and all I could do was trust that Kimball would keep our son alive.

The psychic headache had finally arrived and I had a constant and painful ache that had forced me activate my suppressor, not because it took the pain away, but because it helped keep my powers from trying to make it worse.  The downside was that, even surrounded by loyal people, people I trusted, I was feeling insecure and fearful, scared that something could happen to me and I would be unable to fight it back.  After a battle like the one I had endured, I preferred to go and hide in a safe place to recover, but I couldn’t do that, I had different priorities, and the main one was Ethan, I had to make sure he was ok.

As soon as we arrived at the hospital, I noticed that something was going on in there, the tension was so strong that I could feel it, even without my powers.  I noticed some of my men there, even a few that I haven’t realized that had already left the school, but had obviously left before me.  I watched the hospital workers running around, looking with fear at my men and just the soldiers in the place.

“I think you still have a few patients waiting for you in that area,” Khalid told a young nurse when she tried to get to the area he was guarding.

“We usually attend people depending on how bad their injuries are, not by the order they arrive, and the men that just arrived…” she was trying to explain.

“Their injuries are not important, the scratches and bruises on the teachers and students are a bigger priority that the injuries of those who hurt them,” Khalid said, his cold voice making it clear he wasn’t going to discuss it, but the nurse was not ready to let it go.

“If those men are not treated right away, they could die because of their injuries,” the nurse said, trying to get around Khalid.  I had to recognize her bravery, she really cared about her patients an her job, no matter what kind of people her patients were, or maybe she just didn’t see those men as the bad guys.

“If your wish of saving the warriors that had no problem hurting innocents is keeping you from helping those innocents, maybe I should just get rid of them so you could focus on your job,” I said, getting closer to where they were talking.

“That won’t be necessary,” the nurse said, her voice betraying her fear.  “I will go back to the students.”

“Do you know where Ethan is?” I asked Khalid.  Trying to ignore the nurse that was getting away from us as fast as she could.

“I think he is in the OR,” he said, “but the one who knows is Mbali, I can take you to where she is,” Khalid offered, and I nodded my agreement.  As we walked away, I saw the nurse beside the door to the student’s room, and I knew she was going to try and get to the injured guards as soon as she had a chance, ignoring our warnings.

“Ivan gave me a list of the people you wanted to keep alive for interrogation, and they are already stabilized, a few other guards are still holding, but I assure you, none of them is going to be able to get away.  Our people is inside and around the hospital, keeping it safe and making sure no one can get in or out without our saying,” Khalid informed me.

“It doesn’t seem fair that while Ethan is fighting for his life, the people who helped put him there is ok,” I said, angry ant the unfairness of it all.

“Let’s be truly fair, and recognize that no one involved with hurting him is alive, the only ones still breathing are the ones you chose to keep alive, the rest didn’t even make it outside the auditorium.”

“That’s how it should be,” I said, without an ounce of remorse for my actions, just remembering Ethan in a pool of his own blood was enough to make my own blood boil.

We turned around a corner and found Mbali coming our way.

“I’m glad I found you, they were moved to a private room, and everything is supposed to be fine,” she said as soon as she realized it was me.

“They?” I asked.

“Kimball gave his blood to Ethan, and the doctors put him on bed rest until he recovers from it, it was a lot of blood.”

“He will be fine in a few minutes, I have witnessed him recovering from worse, I’m not worried,” I said, earning a look from Mbali that I couldn’t decipher.  Was she mad at me for not being worried about Kimball?  Or was she agreeing that he would be fine in no time?

“Here we are,” she said, pointing to a door.  I got in and the first thing I saw was Ethan in a middle of a bed.  I felt conflicted, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to feel relief that he was alive, or guilt that it had been my actions that had put him there in the first place.  I kept failing him.

“Kaiserin?  Is that you?”  Kimball asked from another bed, he sounded like he wasn’t sure I could be there.  Unlike Ethan, he was sitting on the bed, and looked well.  I knew there was nothing to worry about him.

“How are you?  I heard you gave your blood to Ethan?”

“He needed blood, and we couldn’t waste time.  I knew I was a match and I couldn’t risk anyone else giving him blood and him having a reaction to it.  Kaiserin, you did a good job,” he said, sincerely, and I couldn’t understand why he would say something like that.  “You know that my family’s regeneration can be a great aid or a curse, he could have started healing the wrong way, closing his vein shut, but because of your actions, because his blood kept flowing, the vein was already repairing itself as it should.  The surgery was a success, they repaired what was left of the damage easily.  With the help of the doctors and my blood, he will be just fine.”

I wasn’t sure that what I had done had helped that much, but he was already convinced that I had, and nothing I said would make him change his mind.  I just let the knowledge that Ethan was safe reach me and make me feel better.  I went to his side and took his hand between mine, he kept sleeping, and I knew he would stay asleep for a while longer, thanks to the anesthesia.

“There are a few of my men cleaning up the school, and Thalia is there to make sure that the guards that we post there are only loyal to us, so this won’t happen again,” I told Kimball.

“I’m sure everything will be fine.  We knew that after Faakhir’s death, something like this could happen, there’s many people interested in his position.  Things like this just happen,” Kimball said, and I knew he was just trying to ease my guilt, but knowing that something like this could happen, and still letting it happen made me feel even worse.

“I made a lot of mistakes, and those mistakes could have taken Ethan’s life.”

“You were doing your best, that’s all you can do.  You can’t blame yourself for what other people did.”

“I could have done a better job at preventing them.  I was sure I had it under control, I have no idea how I managed to let things get so out of hand.  I allowed Ethan to take unnecessary risks, you know that,” I was waiting for him to berate me, to recriminate me for my actions or lack of them.  It wouldn’t be the first time I had been accused of being a bad mother, and part of me wanted someone to tell me that and confirm what I was thinking.

“I think part of this was my fault,” Kimball surprised me by saying.  “I know what happened in there.  I think I pushed Ethan too far by denying him his freedom to fight, he acted like that because he was trying to prove himself, and I know that you supported him in that, that’s why you allowed him to act like that, to prove something to me.”

“And all I managed to do was put him at risk.  I know Ethan needs more freedom to act, and I know he’s strong and capable and maybe that’s why it was so difficult for us to see how much it was costing him to act like that.”

“You mean, how difficult it was for me to see it, you have already told me that Ethan needed more freedom, but once he found his friends I thought he would be ok.”

“I agreed that he needed to hide his abilities,” I didn’t like Kimball blaming himself, even if I agreed with part of what he was saying, “it was the role he had to play to stay safe.  When I took control of the Dominion, the last thing on my mind was how Ethan could stop pretending to be weak, it never occurred to me to change his role, he had to take control of his own life and change his role by himself.  Now, all we can do is see what is going to happen to him and how the new dynamics play out.”

“None of us thought about Ethan and how his circumstances had changed, we both failed him.”

“I feel guilty that he had to take things into his own hands.  I never wanted Ethan’s life to be like mine, I wanted things to be better, and I failed him, he has suffered just by being my child.”

“Ethan is eleven years old, same age as you when you had to fight and kill your way out of the Burrows, isn’t it?”

“Ethan was only five when Faakhir tried to use him against me, and eight when Jonas kidnapped and tortured him.  I should have done something to spare him, and I didn’t, I failed him.  Just like I failed him today.”

“What happened today couldn’t be avoided, but maybe it could be a good thing.  After what happened today, people will think twice before trying to hurt him to get to you.  Most of the guards died, and those who survived won’t talk again or will have other sequels from the fight for the rest of their lives.”

“How do you know all that if you stayed with Ethan?”

“Mbali kept me up to date, telling me what the reports were saying.”

“I’m scared that this is only the beginning, that there will be more attacks.  My men are working on preventing something like this from happening again, but I’m afraid it won’t be possible, like it wasn’t possible to prevent what happened today.  There are so many dangers, so many things that could go wrong.”

“Today was bad, but we will learn from our mistakes and won’t make them again, soon everything will be back in its place.  Before the year is over, we will bring Sophia back, with everything that implies.  There won’t be more fear or tyranny, we will be free, and happy.”

“I don’t think it will be that easy.  There’s a lot of work to do, a lot to rebuild.”

“It won’t be easy, I know, but we will make it.  It will be ok,” Kimball got out of the bed and took my hand, dragging me back with him.  “How’s your head?  You have the suppressor on, right?”

“The pain is under control.  You know it’s normal to have a headache after a fight like the one I had, but it will pass.”

“You should take the chance to rest for a while, I will wake you up as soon as Ethan does.”

“There’s still a lot to do,” I protested.

“Maybe, but you have capable people working for you, and you can spare a couple of hours to rest.  I can see that you are in pain, it’s not only the headache, your body also hurts.  So take a few minutes to rest, and give your body a chance to get better.”

“Just for a moment,” I accepted, but as always happened with Kimball, a sense of wellbeing surrounded me, making me feel so safe and relaxed that I fell asleep.

I woke up a few hours later, when Kimball got out of bed.  When I opened my eyes, I saw that Ethan was awake, and Kimball was with him.

“Are you in pain?” Kimball asked, and Ethan made a gesture, so, so.  “The damage was extensive, but you will be fine.  It’s one of the advantages of being a hybrid, right?”  Ethan tried to smile, but his face contorted in pain.  “Try not to talk or move too much, at least for today.  We had to put a suppressor on you, I wasn’t sure how much you had used your powers, but I was pretty sure that you abused your powers and didn’t want you to have a psychic headache making everything worse and working against your recovery.”

“With the way he fought the guards and everything else he did, I’m pretty sure he must be feeling a headache,” I told Kimball.  Ethan looked at me, as if he was just realizing I was in the room.  He tried to smile again, and he moved his lips, mouthing the words: Thank you for helping me.  “I should have done more…” I started to say, but Ethan was already shaking his head and hurting himself in the process.

“I think that Ethan doesn’t blame you for what happened, same as I don’t.  Now that Ethan is awake, I will start working on getting him moved to the Palace.  I will feel better if he is in a more controlled environment,” Kimball said.

“I think that’s a great idea.  I will go and walk around the hospital, I have to check on our prisoners.  I will catch up with you later.”

“That’s a good idea, is best if you are not seen with Ethan, that they don’t see your interest in him,” Kimball agreed.

“Ethan,” I said, getting closer to his bed, “I’m proud of you and what you did today.  I want you to know that you are a great warrior and I couldn’t ask more from you, you were perfect.”  Ethan threw his arms around my neck and hugged me, surprising me with his speed, I was expecting him to be too hurt to move like that, but I should have known better than to underestimate my son, he was strong, and he would recover from his injuries in no time.

Chapter 3

The vision I had that morning returned to me with incredible clarity, and I was afraid that if I didn’t act fast, Ethan would die.  I knew that his injury was bad enough to cause his death in a few minutes.

“It’s a pity you’re still on the other side of the barrier and can’t stop me,” the man mockingly said, as he finally let Ethan go and he fell on top of the machine.

I was moving before I realized what I was doing, all I cared was getting to the other side and the damage I could receive didn’t even bothered me.  I was already working on something to minimize the damage, when I noticed something missing, the low key buzz of the machine was gone, and realized that despite having his throat cut, Ethan had kept working on disabling the power blocker, and only once he had completed his task he took his hand off and moved them to try to stop the blood.

I jumped from the stage and as soon as my feet touched the floor, I let a strong energy wave loose, pushing the people standing up to the floor and getting doors and windows out of their hinges, creating several exit points.

“Get out of here!” I yelled to the hostages, I needed them gone or I would have trouble fighting without hurting them.  Luckily Ethan’s friends had been working on freeing the hostages and most of them were able to move to the exits.  A few were still tied up to their chairs, mostly the teachers that had been at the front, but Oliver and his brother were already working on them.  Most haven’t even noticed what had happened to Ethan, but after my order they were paying attention, and I could see Ethan’s friends looking for him with their eyes, it wouldn’t be long before they realized what had happened to him and things would only get more complicated.

“Queen Kaiserin,” the man who had attacked Ethan said, the bloody knife still in his hand, “good thinking, trying to get the hostages out, but I’m afraid I can’t allow it,” he said, just as doors and windows started moving back to their places, blocking the exits again and creating chaos at the back.  Some of the guards that Ethan had freed had moved to block the exists and were working on recapturing the hostages, while the others were working on getting the guards that Ethan’s friend had tied up, free, one of them had moved behind me and was trying to wake the ones I had attacked.

“You can’t tell me what to do, you are no one,” I said, while I used my powers to hold him and throw him to the ceiling, trying to harm him, but also trying to buy some time.  ‘Ethan, can you hear me?‘ I asked, using telepathy to communicate with him.  I was just a few steps away, and I wanted to run to him and take him into my arms, but I restrained myself, knowing that I needed a cold mind if I wanted to help him.

Mother…‘ I could hear his voice in my mind.

I need you to pay attention to me,‘ I said, bending over him and letting my hand rest over the hand he was using to try and stop the blood, ‘I know that you are afraid, but I need you to calm down‘, I explained, as I used my powers to connect with him and try to take control over the flow of his blood.  On many occasions I had used that trick to stop hemorrhages on myself, but I had never tried it on someone else, not that I had any options, I needed to make it work.  ‘Can you feel what I’m doing?  I need you to copy my actions, I need you to feel the blood flowing inside of you, and make it remember where it should go, you need to keep the blood inside your veins.’

I don’t know how,‘ Ethan said, but my power was making the blood flow like it was supposed to, and I could feel Ethan’s power around me, trying to replicate my actions, his Vlad heritage helping him copy my actions and learn.

You do know how, you just have to do the same thing I’m doing,‘ I opened my mind and senses to him, so he could understand better what I was doing, so it would be easier for him.

I felt Ethan’s power taking control, and could see that the hemorrhage had already stopped, but Ethan had already lost a lot of blood and I knew that he needed medical attention as soon as possible if he was to survive.  I had been so focused on Ethan that I didn’t notice what was going on around me, and the only warning I got that I was being attacked was the hit on my back.  There were still fire guns on play, I had missed one, but the bullet had hit me, and the only thing that had saved me was my cape, the shot had hurt, but haven’t penetrated, still, the hit had thrown me away from Ethan.  I got up as fast as I could, and faced my attacker, the same man that had almost killed Ethan.

“Worried about your son?  I knew your speech was nothing but words,” said the man that had pretended to be a captive.  “Faakhir had his faults, but he was right about moving all the kids of the Dominion more important people to the same place.  The parents of these kids are going to do exactly what I say as long as that keep their children safe.  For years I have been in charge of the security of this place, and even when you tried to take my job away, I was able to fool your people, I only convinced them that all I cared about was the safety of little brats and they believed me.  The truth is that I wanted access to them, so I can use them in this game.”

“You should have run away while you had your chance, not that it would have helped you much, but it would have bought you a little more time to live.  I hope you understand that you forfeited your life the moment you decided to go against me, I can’t have something like you opposing me and threatening my control over the Dominion,”  I said, trying to focus my attention on my enemy, even as I still had my connection to Ethan and was working on keeping his blood flowing.

“I thought it would be better to get rid of you once and for all.  I know you Kaiserin, I know your limits,” he lifted his gun, letting me see it, it was a design I didn’t know, one that I couldn’t connect to or disable.  “I got this gun specially for you, I’m sure this is a design you have never seen before,” he pointed the gun to me and I knew he was about to fire, so I used my mind to move the barrel up, diverting the bullet, but at the same time I was doing that, the floor under me moved, making me lose my footing, while another guard attacked me.  Since one of my mind was still connected to Ethan, and my focus had been on the gun, I was defenseless.

The new attack sent me back to the floor, but I was able to move in time to dodge a new bullet and another hit by my new opponent.  Another attack hit me, a mental one, going after my mind and breaking my concentration.

I’m ok mother,’ Ethan said to my mind, ‘I think I get it now, I can keep my blood flowing on my own, you don’t have to keep helping me, I can do it on my own, focus on your fight.‘  Ethan was right, I needed to focus on my fight, but I was afraid of what could happen to him if I let go.  ‘I will be fine, I promise,‘ he added, maybe feeling my worry and my fear.

I needed to trust him, or I would be in danger too, and I knew that I wouldn’t be of any use to Ethan if I got hurt too, the best I could do was to take care of them as fast as I could so that I could help Ethan.  I sent another expansion wave to stop my enemies and buy some time.  I returned the mental attack and saw one of the guards that Ethan had freed falling to the ground.  I took the knives Kimball had given me a few years before out of a pocket on my cape.  The knives were as sharp as a scalpel, and I knew they were going to be useful in the fight.

I remembered that only five guards had been tied up in front of the stage, I looked around and saw that one of them was helping Draco, while another was still trying to wake the guards that had taken me there, with the one I had taken out with my psychic attack, that left only two, because the guards that had fought Ethan and had been already freed again, were focused on trying to capture the hostages that Ethan’s friends had freed.

Connecting to my knives I prepared my attack.  They were familiar to me, like an extension of myself, and it was easy making the connection.  I looked at the number of enemies and prepared an equal number of knives, then I sent them after my enemies.  Most of them were distracted, but even those that had seen them coming were too slow to dodge them.  The knives went through their necks, cutting their jugulars and causing them to bleed.  The only one who was able to get out of my attack was the man that had attacked Ethan.

“You really take an eye for an eye seriously, don’t you?  I’m sure you would love to be able to do that to me.”

“I will,” I said, but no matter how fast I moved the knives, he was able to dodge it.  I added a few more knives, but I wasn’t able to touch him.

Draco was one of the few that had been only grazed by my attack, and even if he was panicked by the cut on his neck, the injury wasn’t lethal.  I knew that he wasn’t the mastermind behind the attack to the school, the man I was fighting was, but he was a key piece and I knew he would have information I would need, so I couldn’t let him get away.  With a little effort, I sent another wave out, taking the doors out of their hinges once again, but then using them to make a cage around Draco, to make sure he would stay in place until I could get to him.

My opponent was moving closer and closer to me, and his attitude showed that he wasn’t afraid of me, he really thought he would be able to win, and I didn’t trust that attitude, he was hiding something.  Before he could use his gun again, I used my mind to try and pluck it out of his hand, but he took advantage of my actions to move even closer to me.  I managed to lift my psychic wall in time to stop his attack, but I knew that having him so close to me was dangerous.  I saw him drop something around me, and I thought they were stunt grenades, and they kind of were.  With a movement he activated them, and energy arcs started to run between them.  My psychic wall was acting as an insulator, but I knew that the protection would stop as soon as my wall fell.

My enemy seemed to know me well, even if I couldn’t place him among Faakhir’s or Emily’s forces, but he still was missing a key element of my power.  He was trusting that once he activated his trap I would have to keep my wall up and would be unable to move, or would be forced to let it drop and would be hit by the electricity, what he didn’t know was that I had a double mind.  Letting one of my mind focus on maintaining the psychic wall up, I used the other to grab my enemy and pulled him to his own trap, using the energy to stop him.  Once he fell to the floor, I connected to the floor under me and used the carpet to wrap him up, so he wouldn’t be able to move, even if he regained consciousness.

The guards on the stage had escaped my knives attack, but they were stirring, and I knew there wouldn’t be long before they got back into the fight, so I went back to the stage, and putting my hands on the ground I connected to it and used the floor boards to trap them, so even if they came back, they wouldn’t be able to attack me, at least not immediately, and it would buy me the time I needed for my backup to arrive.  I saw that Yoweri was also starting to move, and I felt better knowing he would be ok.

The scene around me was pure chaos, the hostages were running, doing their best to escape, all but Ethan’s friends who were moving closer to him, I heard the blood curling scream escaping from Hye Ki’s throat when she saw Ethan lying on a pool of his own blood, and another one of his friends moved to the side so he could throw up, the image of Ethan too much for his sensibility.  The other were a little stronger, and were already moving to Ethan’s side to help him, but I needed to stop them, knowing that Ethan needed to focus on his blood flow, and couldn’t be distracted, and whatever help they wanted to give could distract him and affect him.  So I used my mind to move a section of the seats to their path, blocking them from getting closer.

“There’s nothing you can do for him,” I told them, “it would be best for you to leave.  I will take care of my son.”

For a moment I thought they wouldn’t obey me, but then Ethan managed to turn enough so he could face them, and let them know that it was ok for them to leave.

Some of the enemy guards had already passed out from blood loss, other were stumbling around, trying to get to the exits and look for help, but I knew they wouldn’t get far before my men or Kimball’s could stop them.

I went to Ethan’s side and noticed how pale he was, it was more evident because of the dark blood around him.  I felt sick, and even knowing that there was a good chance of him being ok, I couldn’t help but think that everything was my fault.

Stop worrying mother, I’m fine,‘ Ethan said, but as soon as his mind touched mine to deliver his message, I noticed some blood getting out of his wound and remembered that Ethan wasn’t like me, he had a double mind, but for him it was almost impossible to maintain two psychic tasks at the same time.

“Stop worrying about me and focus on yourself,” I scolded him, while I took notice of all the blood he had already lost.

“What happened here?” I head Kimball’s voice asking from behind me.  I looked over my shoulder and noticed that the scene before his eyes had frozen him.

“I’m so sorry,” I said, ‘don’t say anything Ethan, save your strength,’ I added to my son, knowing he would try to defend me.  “I tried to help as soon as I could, but he lost a lot of blood, his jugular is severed,” I got up and went to Kimball, touching him and getting him out of his trance, “he needs your help, you need to fix him.”

Kimball looked at me for a couple of second, and I wasn’t sure what I saw on his eyes, if he was blaming me too or not.  Kimball went to Ethan’s side and took him in his arms.  Without a word he stormed out of the place, I knew he was taking him to the hospital or somewhere where he could save our son.

There was nothing I could do for him, so I just stayed on the same place, waiting for the rest of my men to arrive so we could take care of the mess that the fight had left behind.

Chapter 2

I felt everyone’s eyes on me, the soldiers posted on the sides of the auditorium, the students, teachers and other hostages focused their eyes on me, waiting for my reaction.  None of them had their eyes on Ethan, none of them noticed his smile or saw him wink at me.  His attitude made me feel better, and gave me the calmness I needed to go ahead.

“Why would I do something so stupid?” I asked, trying to sound bored and at ease.  “If he got himself in this situation, that’s not my problem, he shouldn’t have let himself be captured in the first place.  For six years I had to be under Faakhir’s control, waiting, planning, preparing for the perfect opportunity to take control of the Dominion, and you expect me to throw away all my efforts?”

“I told you it wouldn’t work,” Ethan said, his smile was gone and he sounded defeated, when people looked at him they found a broken kid, one that didn’t want to fight anymore, and if it wasn’t for the memory of his smile, even I would have believed his act.  “You are just wasting your time.”

“No,” Draco denied, “I know you are heartless, but even people like you need an heir, someone to continue your work, to keep your legacy, and I don’t believe you are the kind of woman that would start again, you don’t have a spare, you need him.”

“Do you really think he is my heir?” I asked, forcing a mocking smile on my lips.

“He is your only child,” Draco replied.

“Malkia is my heir, Greca is my spare, Ethan is… he is only a disappointment.”  Ethan’s shoulders dropped, and he moved as if my words were a physical blow, anyone watching would believe he was hurt by my attitude, even I had to remind myself that Ethan knew I was lying, he knew how much I loved him and how proud I was of him.  “My daughters are true warriors, in the same situation they would have already killed all of you.”

“What are you talking about?” Draco said, my response was something he wasn’t expecting.  “Ethan is your only child,” he repeated, not as sure as before.

“I have two older sisters, but they live in the Dark Empire,” Ethan explained, his voice so full of resentment that I wondered if there was some truth behind them, or if he was still acting.  “They are these perfect, deadly warriors that don’t think twice before killing their enemies in cold blood.  They are perfect copies of my mother.”

“But, you still wouldn’t let your son die without doing something about it,” Dracon insisted.

“Of course I wouldn’t, there will be consequences if you kill him, but I won’t lose what I have worked so hard for because of him, I will make you pay for hurting or killing him do.  And you are forgetting the other half of the equation, Kimball won’t let you hurt his son without paying dearly for that, believe me, you don’t want to know what happened to the people who murdered his first family, you would have nightmares for the rest of your life.  I prefer an eye for an eye, you take something from me, I take something from you.”

“I don’t have kids, so it would be a little difficult for you to do that,” Draco mocked.

“I could just take your lover, and your unborn child,” I threatened.  As soon as I spoke, the woman next to me took a step back and moved her hands to her belly, as if that act could protect her child.  Draco also lowered his gun, staring at the woman, confirming not only the woman’s pregnancy, but my guess that he didn’t know about it.

“Brave words, but do you really think I would let you hurt me?” the woman asked.

“There’s nothing you can do to stop me.”

“Enough!”  Draco ordered.  “You are not in a position to make threats, we have the upper hand here, we are more than you and you don’t have your powers to help you.  Besides, there are other ways of getting what we want, if you don’t care about your son, and won’t negotiate with us, then there is no reason to keep you alive.”

The woman pointed her gun at me, again, and pulled the trigger, but nothing happened, I had already taken care of the guns, disabling them as soon as I got my powers back.  I could feel the fear and desperation in the woman, as she pulled the trigger again and again without luck.

“Don’t stand there, shoot her!” the woman yelled at the guards, and they tried, but they soon found that their weapons weren’t working either, but they didn’t let that stop them, they attacked.  I could feel one of them probing my mind, trying to get inside, while others was already charging in my direction.

Using my powers, I pushed the guards towards the invisible wall dividing us and the rest of the auditorium, as the guards hit it, a strong electrical current rendered all of them, but one, unconscious.  They bounced back into the stage, the invisible wall, unfurtainly, still working.  The woman tried to run away, but I used the heavy curtains to trap her, wrapping it around her until she couldn’t move anymore, covering everything, even her mouth, but letting enough space so she could breathe.  After approaching the last standing soldier and knocking him out, I went back to where the woman was, putting my foot on her neck.

“How does it feel to know you are your enemy’s mercy?”  I asked, throwing her own words back at her.

“Stop!” Draco yelled, I’m sure he wanted the word to sound like an order, but it ended up sounding like a pleading.

“Don’t worry, I won’t hurt her unless you give me a reason to.  You can surrender right now, and I will show you mercy, maybe, but the longer it takes you to surrender, the worse it will be for you and your men.”

“Your powers, they were supposed to be suppressed, you shouldn’t be able to fight back,” Draco accused.

“Even without my powers I’m perfectly capable of squashing leeches like you, but unfortunately for you, this suppressor is too weak to contain me for long.”  I took the suppressor out of my neck and broke it, letting the pieces fall at my feet,   There is no way for you to win this battle, you can’t defeat me, you lost the moment you decided to face me, no one can stop me, my power goes beyond what your puny imagination can come up with.”

“You are still on the other side, there’s no way you can hurt me,” he was clearly losing control, I could hear the fear in his voice as he realized that the predator had become the prey.

“Do you really think something like that will stop me?”

“I warned you,” Ethan said, “you can’t stop her.  And it wouldn’t be the first time she crosses one of those blockers.”

“Don’t be a fool, you saw what happened to my guards.”

“They’re weak,” Ethan said.  “I had seen her crossing barriers like that, she may end up twitching a little and she may even be rendered immobile for a few seconds, but her mind will still be strong enough to take care of you and your people.”

“It’s not an experience I care to repeat, it’s not a pleasant feeling, but my son is right, it wouldn’t be the first time, you are not safe.”

“If you try anything, I will kill your son and then every student on this side, before you have the chance to cross to this side,” Draco threatened.

“And we’re back to the beginning, I thought we had already established that threats don’t work on me.  If I’m not willing to compromise for my son, what makes you think I will for other people’s children?”

I could see Draco losing control, his guards, still posted on the sides of the auditorium, were also getting nervous, not sure if my words were true or empty threats.  I knew that I had to so something fast before things got out of control, but I wasn’t sure what.  I knew that Ethan was safe, he was acting as if everything was ok, so I had to trust him, but I couldn’t get out of my head the vision that had guided me to that place.  I had to act, do something, and no matter how much I dreaded crossing the barrier and getting electrocuted, I had no choices, I needed to get to the other side and face Draco and his people before they had the chance to hurt the students.

“You should surrender, this will not end well for you,” Ethan suggested.

“Shut up,” Draco ordered, emphasizing his order with a hit to Ethan’s head, using his gun’s butt, but he only hit Ethan’s barrier.

“Ouch,” Ethan said, his response exaggerated, he moved his head in response to the hit, but his action was delayed, making it clear it was an act, and the hit hadn’t hurt him at all.

“What the hell…?”  Draco was losing his mind, he couldn’t understand what was going on, and for the first time he paid attention to Ethan and noticed that he wasn’t actually touching him, his hand was resting an inch above Ethan’s shoulder.  “What is this?  You have no powers, you can’t be doing this,”  he accused.  “I’ve heard your mother going on and on about what a disappointment you are, there’s no way you can do this.”

“Don’t worry, you’re not the only one to get it wrong, most people assume that my mother means that I’m weak or powerless, but actually, I have almost the same powers that my mother has,” Ethan explained, his posture and attitude changing once again, he was acting sure of himself, a little haughty, a little cocky.

“Ethan is my son, there’s no way he can be weak, he comes from a great heritage, that’s what makes his attitude so disappointing,” I said, hoping I was reading Ethan’s intentions correctly, and willing to follow his lead and see where he was going.  “What I can’t stand is that he has the power to kill all of you, and yet he chooses not to, I hate that he refuses to use his power.  It’s disappointing that he has so much potential that he refuses to explore, he could be the deadliest warrior in the Dominion and yet he refuses to train.  Ethan could be a monster, but he refuses to come under my wing and train by my side.”

“My father forbade me to fight, not because I couldn’t fight or didn’t know how to, but because I’m so strong he was afraid I would kill someone, like it almost happened a few years ago.  I used to train with my mother, along with some of her guards, but after I almost killed my cousins by accident, my father took me away from my mother and told me not to use my powers against those weaker than me, under any circumstances.  My mother doesn’t like that.”

“You’re lying,” Draco said, “if that was true, you wouldn’t have let us capture you.”

“I don’t care if you believe me or not, I just wanted to warn you that your plan is not going to work, not only because my mother doesn’t care what happens to me, but because you can’t hurt me.  The only thing stopping me from taking action is that I have to follow my father’s rules, rules that I don’t care about anymore, I think I’m capable of controlling my powers and myself quite well, I’m capable of making my own decisions and knowing when and how to use my powers.”  I wasn’t sure what was Ethan’s plan, but I could see he already had a plan in place.

“If you want control, all you have to do is agree to come back to me, and train under me, following my rules,” I offered, trying to open more options for him, wanting to know where he was heading with his words.

“I’m sorry mother, but I don’t want to go back to training with you, you are too much for me.  Even if I complain about my father’s rules, yours are not better, I know what you want of me, and I don’t want to have to kill anyone, but, I think we can reach an agreement.  If you help me with my father and make him agree not to enforce his rules, I will help you get rid of the power blocker, so you can move to this side without problem,” I finally understood what Ethan wanted to do, and I had to recognize it was a good plan, he was playing a good game.  He was making a public declaration, showing his powers, but at the same time he was putting distance between him and both his parents, that distance should be enough to keep him protected from my enemies, but also from his father’s enemies, by rejecting his rules and apparently his protection.  I knew that he also had other motives, he had been asking his father to loosen up his rules for a while, but Kimball was still afraid of what could happen if Ethan lost control of his powers, like what had happened with his cousins, but those rules had made him a victim of his schoolmates.  Even if none of them had been able to hurt him physically, the psychological damage was still there, taking its toll.  When I thought about everything Ethan had considered and how he had acted, I couldn’t help but smile pridely at him.

“You know?  Maybe there’s still hope for you, but you must know that every action has consequences.  I can keep your father off your back about using your powers, but he will be mad, and he won’t be there to help you anymore, and as long as you don’t agree to train with me, I won’t be there to help you with anything else.  You will be without our protection.”

“My father won’t let you hurt me, no matter how mad or disappointed he is at me,” Ethan answered, following my lead.  “And I don’t think he would hurt me either,” he added, adding just the right amount of doubt to his tone.

“If you are willing to take the risk, then we have a deal.  You will take care of them, and neutralize the blocker, and I will make sure your father doesn’t enforce his rules about not using your powers.”

“Enough!” Draco finally said.  “If you think I will let an eleven year old brat to scare me, you are mistaken.

“Are you sure of that?” Ethan asked, looking at Draco over his shoulder.  Draco let him go immediately, as he scrambled away from him, while trying to shoot him.  The gun wasn’t working either, and Draco threw it at Ethan, looking for any way of hurting him he could find.

“Fear?  Wouldn’t terror be better?” I asked, pointing out the fact that Ethan had used his empathy against Draco, in case someone hadn’t made the connection yet.

“Terror can lead to a heart attack, and I think I already said I don’t want to kill anyone,” Ethan pointed the gun to Draco, taking a shooting stance.  “Tell your men to disable to blocker.”

“In case you haven’t noticed, the gun isn’t working, kid,” Draco answered, mockingly, forgetting the fear he had felt just a few seconds before.

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” Ethan said, shooting Draco in the leg.  His screams echoed in the auditorium, and soon the screams of a few others joined him, some because of fear, most because of surprise.  “Now, I don’t need to kill you to convince you that it would be in your best interest to do what I ask of you.”

“Guards!  Stop him!”  Draco yelled, and the guards, that had kept calm until that moment, moved to attack.

Ethan was standing in the center of the auditorium, one foot slightly back, one arm extended and the other supporting it, both eyes on the target.  He started shooting, hitting the guards on the knees when he could, on the shoulders when not, careful that his shots wouldn’t accidentally the other hostages, knowing the price of mistakes after his experience with his cousins.  Each shot was precise and on target, but one of the guards was too fast for Ethan and was able to reach him, and hit his hands, sending the gun sailing through the air.

Despite Ethan’s words, we still trained together once in a while, and he definitely trained with his father all the time, so despite the fact that the guard was taller, heavier and older than Ethan, he was able to fight at his same level, blocking and attacking, using his size and weight against him.  Another guard had managed to reach them while they were fighting, and tried to take Ethan by surprise, but he already knew he was there, and using his mind he pushed the first guard against the new one, sending them tumbling down the stairs that were behind them.  By then, another guard, one he had shot on the shoulder had already recovered and tried to attack Ethan, but he anticipated the attack and moved out of his range, when his new opponent tried to reach him again, Ethan froze for a second, but then, another guard, one that had been hit on his leg, started screaming, and I knew he had tried to attack Ethan’s mind, only to find the mzansier’s poisonous mind.  Ethan recovered just in time to avoid a punch to the face, but he took advantage of the closeness to use of his father’s techniques and with a perfectly placed hit, and aided with his powers, he knocked him down.

The fight had taken no more than a couple of minutes, but it was perfectly obvious who had the advantage.  Draco had dragged himself away from Ethan, and then he had managed to take one of the hostages as shield.

“If you don’t stop right now, I will kill your classmate,” Draco threatened, putting a knife to the student’s neck.

“If you want me to cooperate, you should have chosen a guy that hadn’t spent the last few years making my life a living hell.  Do you think I care what happens to him?”  To drive his point home, Ethan recovered his gun and pointed it to Draco, not bothering to even acknowledge the fact he was using a kid as human shield, and pulling the trigger.

The echo of the shot was loud, even as the hostages screamed.  Ethan had shot Draco on the arm that was holding the knife, forcing him to drop it without hurting the student, but the scared student didn’t know about Ethan’s plans and he had pissed himself out of fear, as the stain rapidly growing on the front of his pants showed.

His humiliation was short lived, at least, for everyone turned their attention elsewhere soon after the shot.  While Ethan had been focused on Draco, another guard had grabbed Oliver, one of Ethan’s friends.

“Game over, kid,” the guard said, “stop right now or your friend will suffer the consequences.”  The guard had one of his arms around the kid’s neck, cutting his air, Oliver was red and already starting to suffer from the lack of oxygen.  Oliver was a strong boy, but the guard was stronger, and older.  The fact that Oliver’s hands were tied up only made things more difficult for him and limited his options.

I started to clap, cutting the tension and grabbing their attention.  “Well done,” I told him, “if there’s something that could send Ethan over the edge and get me what I want, is threatening his friends,” the guard, and most of the people returned their attention to Ethan, his demeanor had changed once again, like I knew it would.  I could see he was about to lose control, and I also knew he would regret it if he killed the guy, so I needed to break him out of his rage and force him to see the consequences of his actions before he could do something he would regret.  “You have no options Ethan,” I told him, “it’s him or your friend.  What are you going to do?  You have a clear shot to his head, you will have to shoot him and kill him, or your friend will die.  Do it, or you will regret it.”

Ethan didn’t answer, but he turned to look at me and I could tell he had heard me and knew what I wasn’t saying, he knew he had options, and I could see when he made his mind, soon after that the guard’s arms started moving on their own.  Ethan was using his powers to take control of the guard and free Oliver.  As soon as he had a chance, Oliver got away from the guard, and once he was out of his reach, Ethan let the guard go, but turned his attention and powers to the guard’s neck, the guy was scratching at his neck, trying to loosen up something that wasn’t even there, his face turning the same shade of red Oliver had only moments before.

“Ethan, I’m ok,” Oliver said, and that broke the trance Ethan seemed to be in.  He let the guard fall, and he started dragging air back into his lungs.  Oliver’s bindings fell to the floor, and he took the opportunity to go to the guard and take something from him, he then used his own Taser on him, putting him out of combat.

“It would have been easier…” I started to say.

“Shut up!”  Ethan yelled at me, holding his head with his hands and shaking a little, I could tell he had abused his powers and was fighting the early stages of a psychic headache.

“That’s no way of talking to your Queen,” I said, trying to sound menacing, “if you think I won’t make you pay for that insolence, you are mistaken young man.”

“Are you ok?” Oliver asked, going to Ethan’s side and offering him support.

“I think I went too far,” Ethan said, taking a look around and making sure there were no more threats.

“Now, you have to turn the blocker off, and I will take care of the rest,” I said to Ethan, trying to make my words sound like a threat.

“Hold on a minute,” he said, turning his back to me and going to where the rest of his friends were, and then he proceeded to untie them.

“Ethan…” I said, my voice a warning, “stop wasting time.”

“Hold on a minute,” he repeated, dismissing my warning, but I didn’t really care about his attitude.

“How are things going on outside?” I asked, noticing that Yoweri had arrived.

“We took care of the soldiers that were holding us, and General Kimball arrived with another squad, they are sweeping the installations, taking care of the rest of the enemy.  The General is looking for his son, but we had no idea where he was.”

“It would have been perfect if he had arrived here five minutes ago,” I said, turning my attention back to Ethan and watching him freeing the guards that were in the front of the auditorium.

“Ethan, what are you doing?  I told you to stop wasting your time.”

“You managed to recruit the young boss?”  Yoweri asked.

“Not exactly, but soon,” I said.

I turned my back to Ethan, I needed to question Yoweri about what was happening outside, and I needed it to use telepathy so no one else could listen into our conversation.

How are things going on outside?‘ I asked again telepathically.

The enemy had explosive devices outside the gym, and a few snipers posted on the roof of half the buildings, but Kimball’s group took care of them,’ Yoweri thought, allowing me to read his mind.

I was focused on Yoweri, but he was focusing on something going on behind me, his face let me know that something was going on behind me, something bad.  My fears were confirmed when Yoweri ran around me and headed to where Ethan was.  I turned in time to see Yoweri hit the invisible barrier and fall to the floor, but it was the scene that presented itself once Yoweri fell that froze my blood.

On the other side, one of the guards that had just been released was holding Ethan by the hair, his other hand holding a blade to Ethan’s neck, even as he had his hands over the power blocker, using his technopathy to disable it, his defenses down because of the use of his powers.  In slow motion, I watched as the guard cut Ethan’s throat, his blood flowing out in an arc, splattering the space in front of him.  I realized that my actions so far hadn’t avoided the fate I had seen in my vision, but helped it become a reality.

Chapter 1

Of all the challenges I had faced in my life, taking over the Dominion had to be the biggest one.  I had grown in the Empire, I had been raised as a warrior of the Imperial Clan and my world had consisted first of a cavern and then the Palace and surrounding grounds.  When I grew up, I had expanded my world to the Rebel Clan’s territories and then the Shadow Kingdom, and even if I had never been there, I knew that the Light Kingdom existed.  But nothing compared to knowing about the Dominion and being there, the size of it was beyond what I could imagine and the territories that formed it were bigger than everything I already know.  Taking control of such a big place had been an incredible challenge, and even if I had managed to do it without much complications, after years of planning, I was still waiting for the other shoe to fall.

Everything had been fine so far, but it was mostly because most people were still afraid after I had taken over, and I was in contact and had agreements with most of the rebel groups.  I knew that I had to act and start to make changes if I wanted to keep my advantages and to keep my allies loyal to me, and I needed to be very careful.  I knew that there were many people interested in retaining their power no matter what, and some people that even wanted to increase the power they already had.  I had already had to stop some attacks that I had been able to stop thanks in part to my visions that were slowly returning, but I still needed to be careful and keep watch so I could be prepared in case someone else tried to attack.

I was in my office, going over reports and making plans for my day, when I was interrupted by the Representative Jeong, that had entered my offices without announcing his presence first.

“I’m sorry,” my receptionists said from the door, “I couldn’t stop him.”

“Don’t worry, it’s ok,” I told her, trying to assure her everything was fine, as I turned my attention to the Representative.  “To what do I owe this visit?”  I wasn’t worried about him arriving like that, I was more than capable of taking care of him, that was without taking into account the two bodyguards standing inside the room, one that was practically invisible, thanks to his power, and another capable of disabling any opponent without trouble.

“I received an invitation for a reunion for the Committee, and I wanted to ask you what did you need from us, just so we could be prepared.  I don’t think it would be in the Dominion’s best interest to keep hiding and controlling all the technology that we have developed, it’s time to set it free and go to the next step.”

“That’s something to discuss during he reunion, now it’s not the time.” I said.

“If you want everything to go smoothly, then you should follow my advice,” Jeong warned.

“I don’t think you are in a position to tell me what to do, remember your place.  Have you already forgotten what I’m capable of?”

“How could I forget how you murdered my son in cold blood?  It’s only that things won’t go well if we keep stopping progress, it would be better to allow people to move forward and do what’s best for the Dominio.  It would be in everyone’s best interest.”  I agreed with him, and I knew he was speaking the truth, but I had a role to play and an image to maintain, at least for a little bit longer.

“The reunion will stay as planned, and I expect you and the other Representatives to be ready to hear me out and follow my wishes, or you will be in trouble.”

I was still talking to Jeong when I was hit by the vision, it was a weird one, it came to me with a weird clarity, and that was even more odd after weeks of hard to understand visions, and confusing images.

I knew exactly what was about to happen and who it would affect, for what I could see in my vision, it was something that was going to happen soon, because the clothes I could see Ethan wearing were the same ones he had been wearing that same morning.  I knew that I had time, but I wasn’t sure how much, I needed to move, fast, because there was no way I could let my vision come true.  I knew that I would be haunted by the sight of Ethan in a pool of his own blood for days, but that wasn’t something for me to worry about at the time, what I needed to do was to move fast, so I could keep the vision from becoming reality.  I needed to act.

When the vision ended, the Representative was staring at me, I was sure he knew what had happened to me.  I used my powers to call my guards and get them moving, I had to act fast, there was no time to waste.

“I’m sorry, Representative, but this meeting is over, anything else you need will have to be discussed during out reunion.”

“What’s going on?  Was that a vision?”  I couldn’t stop and answer him, so I signaled one of my guards to take him out of the room.  I knew he didn’t want to leave, he still had questions and things to discuss, but I had work to do and people to save and couldn’t deal with him.

I tried to contact Kimball using my mind, but that was a difficult task, his mind was naturally armored against mental intrusions.  I tried his technology next, but he didn’t answer my call, and I had to send him a text message, with just a few key words to tell him something was going on at Ethan’s school, I would have one of my people go to him and fill the rest.

“What’s going on?” Ivan asked, appearing in the middle of the room, answering my call.

“Ethan is in danger, there is going to be an attack at his school and I think he will be harmed, he could even…”  I couldn’t even finish the thought, that would make it real and the idea of losing my son was too much for me.

“What do you need?”  Ivan asked.  I knew I could trust in him, he was one of my oldest allies in the Dominion and someone I could trust.

“A small group of warriors, prepared to face anything, the group we will face won’t be easy to subdue, not if they were able to take care of the guards posted at the school.”

“Your best men?  I will be there guiding them, I won’t let anything happen to Ethan.

“I will go with you.  I won’t stay here while my son is in danger.”

“I thought your plan was to act as if you didn’t care about him.”

“And that is still the plan, but there are different ways of handling the situation and still accomplishing my goals.  I can’t allow Ethan become a target for my enemies, but I can’t allow him to be harmed either.”  I still remembered my first encounter with Faakhir and how I had been forced to harm Ethan in order to protect him.  I was afraid I was going to face a similar situation, but I had to believe everything was going to work out, I couldn’t let my fears to cloud my mind or affect my decisions.  “I trust you to find the right people for this, five guards is all we need for now, a bigger group will follow us and take care of the enemy while we distract them.”

“With all due respect, I think I should be part of your group,” Yoweri said, speaking for the first time, and I could see that Ivan agreed that he would be an asset to us.

“I agree, and I think I have the right people to fill the other spots for this mission,” Ivan said before vanishing from the room, just as Thalia was walking in.

“Did you call?” She asked.

“I need your help,” with Thalia I didn’t even need to talk, I just opened my mind and let her take a look at my vision and allowed her to see my plans, trusting that she would do whatever necessary to help me with them.

Trusting Thalia to do what she needed, and to find Kimball and fill him in on what was happening, I left the room, with Yoweri and Zhou following me without a sound, ready to face any danger.  I went straight to my room, the ones that I had taken after killing the former King and Queen of the Dominion, and started selecting the weapons I would need.  I was used to wearing the cape Kimball had made for me every day, but there were other weapons he had given me that I would need and that I usually left in the room, so I went there to retrieve them, there were a lot to choose from, and I found exactly what I needed in no time.

In less than an hour everything was ready, and I followed Ivan to a limousine that he had prepared for us, to take us to our destination.  Faakhir had built the school close to the building that had the Palace and the government offices, and near the Towers where the Representatives and Embassadors from the different corners of the Dominion lived.  It was all part of his need for control, the school was mandatory for the children of the people living in the Towers, it was a place where they could be controlled and watched.  The trip was a short one, and as soon as we arrived, we could see something was going on, there were more soldiers than usual, and the uniforms they were using were different from the uniforms of my army.  As soon as we stopped at the gate, a small group of soldiers surrounded us and started yelling for us to get out of the vehicle.  Ivan complied, teleporting outside and demanding to talk to the person in charge, while my other four guards waited for my orders.

I got out of the vehicle and started moving towards the school without a word, the soldiers around us lifted their weapons and pointed them at me, one of them made the mistake of pointing his gun at my face.  I was able to confirm that I was familiar with his weapon, and I expanded my senses, with a thought I connected to their weapons and disabled them.  At the same time I pushed the soldier out of my way and resumed my walk.  I kept moving, confident in my guards’ ability to protect me.  I heard yelling and threats around us, but I ignored them as I crossed the gardens and the parking lot and headed for the main administrative building.  Before reaching it the doors opened and a woman that looked familiar got out, followed by another group of soldiers.

“Greeting Kaiserin,” the woman said, “it’s so kind of you to come visit us.  Before you try anything else, let me tell you that we have taken the students hostage and we have them in two different locations inside, if you try anything against us, we will start killing them, starting with your son.”

I looked over my shoulder and saw my guards approaching me, and I knew that at least Ivan had heard the threat.

“What do you pretend with this?”  I asked, waving my hand around, “What’s your plan?”

“It’s not me who you need to talk to, I will take you to my boss, and your son, he will explain to you how things are going to be, but your guards have to stay here, we need to make sure neither one of you will cause trouble for us.”

I watched as she retrieved a powers suppressor and I tried to convince myself that everything was going to be ok, I had the necklace that Kimball had given me, and I was sure it would disable the suppressor and I would be free in just a few minutes.

“Do you want me to wear that?”  I said, trying to keep my tone neutral, I could feel that my lack of reaction was making her unease.

“You will, unless you want us to kill your son,” the image of Ethan in a pool of his own blood came to me, but I did my best to keep my fears from showing on my face.

“I think you are over estimating my love for my son, but I’m willing to play your game, for now.  Don’t do anything that could put the students at risk,” I ordered my men out loud, but I gave Ivan some further instructions directly to his mind.  ‘Wait for us to be gone, and out of sight and fight back, neutralize as many soldiers as you can, as long as you don’t put yourself or the students at risk.  Kimball is on his way with reinforcements, if you need to wait for them, that’s ok, if not, start working on securing the place.’

Are you going to be ok?‘  I could see the question on his mind before I broke the connection.

Don’t worry about me, worry about them if they dared to hurt my son.‘  I left Ivan’s mind and moved closer to the woman, she was happy, thinking that I was at her mercy and that once I had the suppressor on me they would be safe.

As soon as the suppressor was activated I felt the void inside me that indicated my powers were no longer working.  I tried to act normal as I touched the suppressor and then moved my hand to my necklace and discretely activated it.  I knew that it was programmed to look for any signal of suppression every few minutes, but by activating it, I was buying myself some time, and I knew by experience that in some situations every second counted.

“Satisfied?” I asked the woman.

“Very, what does it feel to be powerless?  How does it feel to know you are at your enemies’ mercy?”

“I think you are seriously underestimating me if you think something like this troubles me.  Now, take me to your boss, I don’t want to waste my time with you, I need to talk to the person in charge,” I was actually feeling rather vulnerable and a little afraid, but I had to be confident that everything would be fine.

I could see that the woman wanted to do something, but neither she, nor her soldiers dared to get near me, they were keeping their distance make sure I would be able to hurt them.  I was glad to see that they were still afraid of me, even when they thought they had me in their hands.

I had been to Ethan’s school a couple of times, and I had a vague idea of how it was laid out.  The school was actually a campus that included a few buildings and other installations.  It had an elementary, middle and high school.  Ethan was still in elementary school, but we weren’t moving in that direction, it was obvious they had the kids in another place.  It didn’t take me long to guess we were heading towards the auditorium, which made sense, it was a place big enough to house most students, but not all.  The woman had already told me that they had the kids in two different locations, and I knew that the other two likely spots were the cafeteria or the stadium.

It had been barely five minutes when I felt the rush of my powers coming back at me, and it had been just in time, as we were already reaching the auditorium.  The woman and the soldiers guided me through a side door and we walked through a series of back hallways.  When we finally reached our destination, I realized we were at the stage, we were behind thick curtains, and I knew that Ethan and the others had to be on the other side.  Trying to act natural, I put my hand on the curtains, connecting with them, keeping the sensation of the fabric locked so I could recall it later if I needed it.

The woman guided me to the center of the stage and only then the curtains started moving, opening.  Strong lights were turned on, all of them focused on me, blinding me momentarily and keeping the scene on the other side from me.  I wanted to break the lights or at least turn them away, but I couldn’t, that would have let them know that I had my powers back.  Eventually the lights moved, allowing me to see the other side.

In the area in front of me, between the stage and the first line of seats, where a group of guards, tied up and gagged, and I guessed they were part of the school’s guard.  In front of them, resting against the stage’s base, was a machine that I recognized as an area suppressor, the kind that they used on sport events to keep the viewers from affecting the results of the game.  I tried to push my powers beyond the stage and I realized that I couldn’t, the invisible wall at the edge of the stage was keeping me from using my powers, which made things more difficult for me.  Behind the guards, on the first few rows of seats were some older people that could only be teachers, there were not all the teachers, and I could only guess they were important, since they were with that particular group of hostages. At the back, in the other section of seats were some students, from different age groups, and whom I could identify as the children of the most influential persons on the Dominion.  In the access hallway, between the two seating areas, just in the middle, directly in front of me, was a man that I recognized as Draco, one of Faakhir’s followers, one that had fallen from grace a couple of years before, because he was too greedy for Faakhir’s tastes.  He had a gun in one of his hands, and the other hand was resting on Ethan’s shoulder.

“Welcome Kaiserin, you saved me a lot of trouble by coming here, it would be easier to talk in person,” he greeted me.

“What do you want?” I asked.

“I want you to give me the control of the Dominion, or I will kill your son,” he threatened me, moving the gun until the gun’s barrel was resting on Ethan’s temple.

News

Hello

I know I haven’t posted in a while, and I’m sorry for that, I promise I will finish Kaiserin’s story, it’s just that a lot is going on right now.  In about a month I will be publishing Kaiserin’s first book, the Spanish version.  I’m working on the English version as well, but it will probably take longer, I hope I will have it ready before the end of the year.

Right now the idea is having it on Kindle, I’m not sure if I’m going to have a paperback version.  If you would be interested in buying a paperback tell me and I will try to make it possible.

About Book 4, the idea is restarting the weekly posts in September, most likely mid-September, but I will let you know.

Thanks to all of you for reading Kaiserin