Bonus

“Sir, you have a call,” one of his soldiers said.

“I will take it in my room.”  Kimball knew who was calling, and he didn’t need anyone hearing about Kaiserin.  So far he had convinced everyone that Kaiserin was in the Villa healing from the attack.  Everyone thought that she was there because she wanted, not because Kimball had forced her.

“Greeting General.”  Dalitso was nervous, so Kimball knew that something bad had happened.

“What wrong, Dalitso?  Did something happen to Kaiserin?”  Even while trying to convince himself that everything was alright, he wanted to run to Kaiserin and make sure everything was right.

“Yes, but I’m not sure what.”  Dalitso didn’t know how to explain, everything was fine one day and the next…

Every day Dalitso had called to report on Kaiserin’s day.  The first couple of days everything was okay, then she started to try to escape.  Dakarai was strong, fast and smart, and had frustrated every attempt, no matter what she tried, Dakarai was able to stop her without hurting her, despite her every attempt to kill him.

“Explain Dalitso.”  Kimball didn’t have time for riddles.

“Do you remember that yesterday I told you that I was afraid that Kaiserin seemed to be tired and that had spent most of the day in bed?  It was something else, I’m not sure what happened, at first I thought she was getting depressed, but it’s worse.”

“I don’t understand what your saying.”

“She’s catatonic, she doesn’t react to anything we try.  Dakarai thinks it’s a trick, but I’m not sure, it’s like her mind is not there…”

Kimball needed to see for himself what was happening to her.  He excused himself and told his people that Kaiserin’s health had taken a turn for the worst and he had to go.  He had reflected a lot about the decisions he had taken about Kaiserin.  He was sure he was doing the right thing, she never cared for her own safety, she seemed to think she was invincible, and although most of the time she was, Kimball had been there to save her when she wasn’t.  He couldn’t forget those ocassions he had nursed her back to health.  She wasn’t alone anymore, the risks she was taking didn’t involve just her, his own son was at risk too and she just couldn’t be careful.

He arrived and ran directly to Kaiserin’s room, and found her just like Dalitso had told him, her mind just wasn’t there.  Dalitso was watching them, and he felt her disapproval, but all he had done was protect his family, whatever had happened wasn’t his fault, and once Kaiserin got better she would understand that he was only protecting them.  Kimball got in the bed and hugged Kaiserin, touching her face and her hair, trying to find the problem.

“Why don’t you react? What’s wrong my love?”  When Kaiserin started moving Kimball felt relieved, she was okay after all.

“You’re killing me.”  That’s all that she said before collapsing again.

Kimball thought back to everything he had done the past days, and then about the things she had told him about Agmong and Vasuman.  She sometimes defended Vasuman’s actions saying he had helped her, despite his abuse, but Kimball had thought that Vasuman wasn’t better than Agmong, both men using their power and rank to control and abuse her, was he doing the same thing?  Had he gone too far?  Kimball realized what the problem was, hadn’t Kaiserin tell him that if she went back to the Empire her family would destroy her while trying to protect her?  Kimball had made a mistake, one that he hoped he could fix.

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Chapter 51

I hid in the superior planes, feeding on the light and warmth of the place, but I wasn’t safe, every time I looked down, I could see the beings of the inferior planes moving around my body, looking for a way of severing the link my mind had with my body.  The spirits were trying to take over my body as the evil spirit had done before.

I tried to focus, not to let the fear take hold over me, I knew if I did, I would fall to the inferior planes and I would drown in the darkness.  It was hard, because I knew it wasn’t healthy to stay outside my body.  I tried to go back to my body at least for a few minutes to strengthen the link between body and mind, but I kept going back to the astral planes every time I felt someone near me.  I knew that I couldn’t keep escaping like that forever, at some point I had to face reality, but not yet.  For years I had fought for my freedom, and to lose the fight to someone I trusted was just too painful to face.  To think I had left my family behind because I feared they would do what Kimball had done, to think I had chosen him because I trusted he would never hurt me.  What had gone wrong?  What had changed?  I knew Kimball wasn’t happy with me for leaving Greca in the Fortress, but he had understood my motives, haven’t he?  Had he fooled me, waiting for the moment to take revenge?  Was he waiting until I gave him another child?  I kept thinking and thinking about it, but I wasn’t sure what had happened.

I felt the link growing weaker and I knew I had to go back to my body.  As soon as I returned I noticed something was different.  I had learned to control my body and hide my reactions, so I didn’t flinch when I felt someone holding me, but it was going to be hard to keep quiet while I felt like panicking.

“Why don’t you react?” It was Kimball’s voice, he was the one holding me, and I didn’t know if it was better or worse that it was him.  “What’s wrong my love?”

My hand moved to the suppressor before I could think better about it.  I felt his surprise when I moved, he changed position so he could see my face, and I saw the happiness and relief in his face.  “You’re killing me,”  I said.  I watched the emotion on his face, surprise and then confusion, as if he couldn’t understand what I had said.  But I didn’t stay to analyze his reaction, I had to leave.

I took a step back and my astral projection stood next to my body in the material plane.  I watched as Kimball got out of the bed and started moving, ordering his men to do something.  I felt the dark energy of the inferior planes moving closer to me and I knew I couldn’t stay for long, I had to escape before the dark spirits could get to me, but as I kept watching at Kimball I knew I couldn’t leave.  When I saw Kimball taking the suppressor off I didn’t know what to think, but I knew I had to act fast before he had a chance to put it on, again.  I moved back to my body I prepared to fight for my life.

I used my mind to push Dalitso and Dakarai against the wall, with enough force to knock a normal person out, even break a few bones, but they were too strong to fall because of my attack.  I felt the connection to the IV they had put on me when they started to worry about the baby not getting enough nutrients, I took the IV out of my arm, but kept my connection to the liquid on it.  Using my mind, I gathered the liquid in front of me, my pull was so strong that I felt liquid breaking out of other bags around the room.  The liquid stood in front of me, as a shield between my captors and me.

“Take it easy Kaiserin,”  Kimball didn’t have any weapons on him, but I knew he was just as lethal with his bare hands, so I couldn’t trust him, I had to stay away from him.  “I just want to help you.”

“Then why are you trying to destroy me?”  The other two were already recovering and I knew they would try to attack me soon.  I decided to let them try, while I could use my powers I had the upper hand.  If they still thought I was the weak and pathetic prisoner they were used to, they were going to be surprised.  I moved a little so I was facing Kimball and my back was to Dakarai.

“Stop Kaiserin, there’s really no need for this.  Let’s talk about this.”

“No more talking.  I trusted you!  I believed that I would be safe with you and you betrayed me.  You are just like everyone else, you only care about yourself and how you can use me.”  I saw Kimball give a signal to the people behind me, but if he was expecting to take me by surprise, he was mistaken, with my powers I could feel them moving behind me and I knew what they were going to do.

Dakarai was the first to move, he grabbed me from behind, putting his arm around my neck in a submission hold, just like I expected.  I knew they wouldn’t risk hurting the baby, Kimball cared too much about him, so I didn’t worry about shielding my body, I used my mind to find the ribbon of energy emanating from Dakarai and took hold of it, pulling his energy into me.  Dalitso moved closer to me, holding a syringe, she grabbed my arm and prepared to shot me with whatever drug she had in the syringe, but I didn’t give her the chance, I took hold of her energy and pulled so hard that she felt it and lost her hold on the syringe, letting it fall to the floor.

On the other side Kimball was getting ready to make his move, so I used part of the liquid to stop him, condensing it in the form of a spear and freezing it, it was difficult, whatever the liquid was, it was harder to freeze than water, but I used the energy I was stealing to help me with the task.  I threw the frozen spear to Kimball, stabbing him in the chest.  Some of the liquid fell to the floor, waiting until I needed it again, but I couldn’t keep my hold any longer, I needed to move fast before one of them found a way to stop my escape.

“What’s going on?”  Dakarai had realized that I was taking his energy, his hold was weak and I could feel his body ready to collapse.

“I’m going to teach you a lesson, I want you to know what it feels to be weak and afraid, to be at the mercy of others.  Let’s see how much you enjoy being on the other side of our relationship.”

“We were helping you.”  Dalitso protested.

“No, what you did wasn’t helping, you were hurting me.  I didn’t want any of this, you forced me to do what you wanted, you were destroying my mind.”  I felt myself losing control, the fear I had been living with had turned into fury.  They had brought the nightmares back by forcing me to live them.  They had taken my freedom and control, and I had promised myself I wouldn’t let anyone do that again, I had to make them pay.

“We were just following orders…”  Dakarai managed to say before passing out.  I knew that he would recover if I stopped taking his energy, but he would be weak and useless.

I cut my connection to Dakarai and saw him fall to the floor, Dalitso followed him a few seconds later.  The energy stored in the mutant’s bodies was larger than the psychic’s, and that much energy was making me feel uneasy, I needed to get rid of it, and I knew how.

Kimball had managed to get up by the time I was done with Dalitso and Dakarai, so I prepared to face him.  I took control of the liquid again and started to fuse it with the one in the spear, the one Kimball was trying to get rid of.  With the added liquid I started to grow it from inside Kimball’s body, growing new branches, like a tree growing bigger.  The new branches got through his organs and nerves, holding him in place.  Kimball tried to resist, but as the tree grew it held him in the air, robbing him of any support he could use to break free.  In just a few minutes the spear had shifted into a frozen tree, a tree of pain, my most vicious creation, the one I only used on the people I hated the most.  I remembered the horror my tree of pain had caused at the Palace after I had used it on Rimsin.  How long would it take for the Mzansiers to stop talking about it with fear?

Kimball started screaming in pain, but I didn’t feel better.  I knew his death would be slow and painful, and I felt a second of indecision, and even thought of reverting it, but his betrayal was too fresh and I didn’t change my mind.  He was supposed to protect me, he was supposed to be my rock, my shield, instead he had taken part of me and left me weak and defenseless, in the hands of people I didn’t even know.  Just thinking about it made me panic, but before the panic attack could take over me, I saw the scene in front of me: Kimball trapped in the tree of pain, with ice running through his organs, screaming in pain, and the other two unconscious, and who would be weak and defenseless even after waking up, who would have to wait days before recovering from my attack.  I felt in control, I felt safe, none of them would be able to stop me, or hurt me again.  I left the room, and I knew I wouldn’t be going back in there, I had to get away from them.

While I was walking through the hall I saw the young warrior that delivered my meals.  He was surprised when he saw me, and I knew he was going to do something to stop me, before he could even try I grabbed him with my mind and pushed him against the wall a couple of times until he stopped moving.

I didn’t even know where I was, I knew Kimball’s family had a lot of houses through the country and I could be in any of those.  I haven’t done much exploring during my astral journeys, just enough to know that I haven’t been there before.  I found my way outside the house and I saw a airstrip and hangar to the side, one of Kimball’s jets was there and some of his men were working on it.  I guessed it was the one he had used to get there and that they were doing maintenance in preparation for his departure.

I walked to them, I opened my senses, because, even if I couldn’t read their mind, I could feel his intentions and that would help me know if they were a danger to me or not.

“Hello,” one of them said when he saw me.  I recognized him, he was the chief of engineers and one of Kimball’s most trusted pilots.  “I’m glad you’re feeling better, we were worried about you, especially the boss, we never thought the enemy would attack the base.  I’m glad you knew the attack was coming and you warned our people, and I’m especially glad that you weren’t hurt too bad.”

“I was just doing my part.”  I could feel his words were sincere, and I also knew that Kimball hadn’t told them what he had done, they had no clue of his actions.  “Is the jet ready?  I’m tired of being here, I want to go back to where the action is.”

“Is that a good idea?” He asked, his eyes going to my belly bump.  I was just in the middle of my pregnancy, but I was showing more than with my previous pregnancies.

“Don’t worry, I’m just going to the Island for a while, if I can’t be in the middle of battle, at least I will help train those who are.”

“That sounds good.  The jet will be ready in a few minutes, we can get out as soon as the boss is ready, and since the Island is one of the pre-programed destinies it won’t be difficult getting there, even if it’s not one of my usual routes.”

“That’s good to know.  Why don’t you and your men go and grab something to eat?  You need to be prepared and it’s going to be a long trip.”

“Thanks.” I was confused by his warm feelings and sincere good wishes, but I was at least happy to know they had no idea of Kimball’s actions.  He and his men finished his work and walked to the house, I walked with them part of the way, but walked slow until they were inside the house, then I turned around and went back to the jet.

Since we didn’t have that kind of transportation in the Empire, I didn’t trust them at first, because of that Kimball had taught me how they worked and how to use them, so I would feel comfortable flying in them.  I didn’t know much, but I knew enough.  Before they found what I had done and tried to stop me, I got in the jet and got it started, a couple of minutes later I was in the air.  I found the Island in the pre-programed destinations and let the auto pilot work.  From the Island it would be easier to find a way to get to the Empire and then to Melchizedek.  I knew I could stay with him until I decided what to do.

After several hours I finally arrived to the Island.  I was very tired and wasn’t sure how the locals would greet me, I didn’t know if they knew of what I’ve done.  It wasn’t a smooth landing, but at least I didn’t crash.  I saw people gathering around the jet and I prepared to lie to them if I needed, but I wasn’t expecting the person who greeted me.

“Kaiserin, dear, how are you?”  Victoria, Kimball’s mother, was the first to approach me.  “What happened at the Villa?  We have been so worried about you.”

Chapter 50

I tried to move, but the pain in my side stopped me. I did a quick inspection of my body using biokinesis and saw that I had only a bullet graze, nothing to worry about, I would be as good as new in a few days. I was tired though and I knew that the IV in my arm had something to do with it, it wasn’t a natural tiredness, it was the drugs that were affecting me and I didn’t like it. Using my mind, I took the IV off and tried to get up.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Kimball asked and I could hear he was mad.

“That thing makes me feel groggy” I said, but my voice sounded weird and my words sounded funny.

“That’s medicine, you need it, it will help you get better.” Kimball grabbed my arm and I knew he was going to put it back.

“No, I don’t want it, I don’t like it.” My voice was still weird, but my mind was getting clear, and I used it to create a barrier around my skin to prevent him from putting the IV back.

“Kaiserin, stop! We don’t have time for this. I need you to be sedated while I run some studies. I need to make sure that you are ok, and so is our baby.”

“No,” I protested, but it was weak. I knew that I was fine, and so was my baby, and I didn’t want to feel drugged. “Everything is fine!”

“Let me make sure of that.” Kimball tried again to put the IV in.

“I don’t like feeling like this… I feel vulnerable.” I said.

“No reason for that, I’m here to protect you.” He was right, wasn’t he?  He wouldn’t hurt me or let anyone hurt me, I relaxed and he put the IV.

By the time I woke up I was alone and my head was clear, the IV was still in my arm, but the drugs they were giving me weren’t as strong. After taking the IV off I put my clothes on and left the room. I went looking for Kimball, but I wasn’t familiar with the place so I wasn’t sure where to look for him. We weren’t at the base, that’s all I knew.

“What are you doing out of bed? You should be resting.” I haven’t noticed that Kimball was behind me.

“How long was I asleep? I can’t continue to be on that bed, I need to move, I’m tired of being in bed for so long.  Where are we?”

“It’s been almost a week, and you are tired because you were hurt. This is one of my family’s Villas, you will stay here until you recover.”

“I don’t need to stay here, I’m not that hurt, the only reason I didn’t react sooner was because the drugs you gave me. I know what I’m capable of, an injury like that doesn’t affect me, a day was all I needed, not a week. I’m ready to go back, there’s a war to fight, in case you forgot.”

“I don’t care about the past, right now you have to be careful, it’s not only yourself you are risking, you have a baby inside you. What if the bullet had hit you lower? You could have lost it. I don’t know what you were thinking going into battle like that.” Kimball was angry, but I was getting angry too, he had no right to treat me like that.

“I know what I’m doing, I was distracted because of a vision, but it won’t happen again, I’ll be careful.”

“You’re right, it won’t happen again because you won’t be doing any fighting. I won’t let you put our baby in danger.”

“You talk as if I didn’t care about our baby, I do. Do you think I planned the attack? That I let the enemy hurt me on purpose? Are you crazy? I would never do anything to hurt my baby, I love this baby as much as you do. You have to remember that this is not my first time, I know what I’m doing, or have you forgotten I was pregnant the first time we fought? Do you think I was risking my baby that time? No, I knew what I was doing and I did my best to protect her, just like I do right now.”

“But there is no reason for you to risk it, you don’t need to fight. There is no reason you can’t stay here where it’s safe, no reason you can’t stay here until our baby is born. Kaiserin, that would be best for everyone.”

“This is not your decision, I want to go back and keep doing my job, and if you don’t want me with you, then maybe I will go to Zola, I’m sure she could use a new bodyguard and an advisor.”

“I won’t let you Kaiserin. You will stay here, and that’s all.”

“That’s not for you to decide!” Using my mind, I pushed Kimball out of my way. I wouldn’t mind staying behind, if he had asked in a different way, but I hated that he was pushing me away and leaving me outside of the decision making. I had decided a long time ago that I wouldn’t let anyone control me, not even Kimball.

I turned around and walked back to the room, I needed to gather my things and find a way back to the border. I felt Kimball behind me, but I didn’t mind, I had made my decision and I would show him that nothing he could do or say would change my mind. I opened the door and entered the room, but I wasn’t in the room I had just left, I was in the middle of a field, looking at a person running in the distance. I turned around and found my brother and his guards. I didn’t need to hear his words or see more to know that my brother was hunting, and the person running didn’t have a chance.

The vision stopped as suddenly as it had appeared, but something wasn’t right, I felt sick, incomplete… It took me just a second to realize my powers were gone. I was moving, Kimball was holding me, and I didn’t understand what was happening.

“Kimball?”

“I told you, you will stay here, there’s no other choice.” Kimball let me down gently, in the middle of the bed.

“Something happened to my powers.” There had to be a mistake, it couldn’t be happening again, it was worse than last time, I had nothing, I hadn’t forgotten how to use them, they were completely gone.

“I had to make sure you wouldn’t try anything, I need you to stay here for as long as I want.”

“You can’t do this to me!” The surprise that had held me immobile was gone, I tried to get up but before I had the chance Kimball took my hands in one of his and held them against the bed, above my head, his other hand went to my neck, holding me down.

“I can and I will, I won’t lose another child because of you.” I was taken back by the force of his words, I couldn’t believe the rage behind his words, what the hell was happening?

“I would never…” I couldn’t finish my thought, his hand contracted, holding me tighter and cutting my words. For the first time in years I was really afraid for my life, I was defenseless and I wasn’t sure that Kimball wouldn’t hurt me.

“No, you won’t, because I won’t let you. You will stay here, where you and the baby are safe, you won’t be making more mistakes. Once the baby is born you can be as crazy and irresponsible as you want, not before.” Kimball let me go and moved out of the room before I could react.

I heard the door’s lock and knew he had trapped me inside, but I had to try, I got up and tried to open the door, but it didn’t work. I grabbed the collar on my neck, trying to get rid of the power suppressor, but it was too strong for me to break. I started kicking the door, but it was pointless, I wasn’t strong enough to break it. I was feeling claustrophobic, I felt the world collapsing on me. Angry and afraid I started trashing the place, breaking everything I could find, but there wasn’t a lot and soon there was nothing left to break. I was tired, and desperate, I sat on the mattress that had ended in the middle of the room.

After what felt like hours, the door opened, but it wasn’t Kimball, but a young soldier who entered. I saw his surprise when he saw what I had done to the room, but he didn’t say anything. He had a tray with food in his hands, he moved closer and put it in front of me. His eyes never left me, expecting me to react. Moving slowly, not to alarm him, I took the tray and pulled it closer to me. The young man relaxed and started walking back, satisfied that I wasn’t going to do anything, he turned his back on me, prepared to leave. In one smooth movement I took the tray and swung it, he looked at me when he heard the plates breaking, but I was already moving and I hit him in the head. The hit wasn’t enough to make him fall, but he was temporarily stunned, and it was enough to get past him and out of the room. I closed the door, but I didn’t know the code for the lock, so I knew he was going to be coming after me soon, so I ran.

I had to get out of that place, as fast as possible, but I didn’t know where the exit was. I chose a direction and moved as fast as I could, but as I was turning a corner strong arms held me and stopped my escape.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Kimball asked, and I could feel his anger by the tone of his voice.

“Away from you.” I tried to kick him, but it was like kicking a wall, nothing I tried was working.

“You won’t go anywhere as long as you’re carrying my son,” he said as he started dragging me to another room, “and if you think I will let you harm him, you are mistaken.” By the time we arrived in the new room, two people were already waiting for us, a tough looking man, and a woman with a kind face, but with obvious scars that showed she could be as tough as anyone. “Now, let me introduce you to Dalitso, she will take care of you and the baby and will make sure that you eat properly, Darakai will make sure you don’t try to leave again.”

“You can’t do this. You can’t do this to me!” Kimball let me go in the center of the room, and I stood there, with Dalitso on one side, Darakai on the other, and Kimball in front of me. I knew there was nothing I could do against them, I was powerless against them, I couldn’t even fight one of them, let alone the three of them. “You will regret this.”

“I doubt it. Now, I will leave you, I have a war to fight, but you better behave while I’m gone.”

“Don’t worry, everything will be alright.” Dalitso said in a motherly tone. “Now, lets eat something, it’s not good for the baby is you start skipping meals.”

No matter what Kimball thought of me, the last thing I wanted was to hurt my baby, besides, I needed to keep my strength if I wanted to escape my jailors.  I ate, while they watched me, I wasn’t sure what their orders were, but it was clear they weren’t going to leave me alone for a moment.  Dalitso tried to talk to me, but I ignored her, she wasn’t my friend and I wasn’t going to make things easier on her.  I kept thinking of what had happened, it had to be a nightmare.  Kimball couldn’t be acting like that, he was my friend, my champion, there was nothing that could have made me think he could act like that, right?  But as I thought of the last years I started wondering.  Maybe the stress of being in charge of so many people had changed him?  But it was unlikely, he knew of my fears, about everything I had survived and was too scared to repeat, he wouldn’t do something knowing how much it would hurt me.  I had told him that the worst thing that could happen to me was to lose my freedom, to lose my powers, to be under other people’s power.  He wouldn’t deliberately hurt me, would he?

The first day I was too tired after my failed escape attempt and my fight with Kimball to do anything else, so after eating, and under my jailers watchful eyes, I went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep, I kept feeling as if the walls were closing over me, my breath wasn’t enough, and I was too afraid of what could happen if I closed my eyes.  I wanted to believe that Kimball wasn’t capable of hurting me, but I didn’t know the people watching me, I didn’t know what they were capable of.

The second day I was too tired after my sleepless night to resist Dalitso’s suggestions, so I ate, and I did some exercise that was supposed to be good for my baby, but her presence wasn’t helping me, I wasn’t relaxed, my body was tense and my heart rate was too high, my fear was too high.  By the third day I felt a little stronger and was already planning my escape.  I made it to the hall, but Dakarai was ready to stop me and was too fast and too strong for me.  While he dragged me back, I was assaulted by memories of the time I had tried to escape Vasuman and Boyar had caught me, I was terrified by the time we arrived to the room, but all he did was drop me back in the room and leave me there.

Despite my fear I had no choice but to keep trying, but by the second week I was desperate for any kind of escape.  They weren’t physically abusive with me, they kept saying they were watching me for my own good, but their constant vigilance and orders were hurting my mind and I almost wished they would hurt my body so I would have something to show.  Without my powers I felt incomplete, vulnerable, worthless.  The memories and nightmares were driving me crazy.  When I felt like I was going mad I had to do go with the only escape that was available to me with the suppressor around my neck, I left my body behind and escaped to the astral planes.