Kimball had been very patient while waiting for me, but he needed me to make a decision, and by looking at the clock I could tell that the tournament was about to start.
“Have you decided what to do?” Kimball asked, trying to act like he didn’t care, even if I knew how much he wanted to be there to watch our son fighting.
“Emily used to go every year, in fact, she is the reason there is a tournament at all. I think it won’t look suspicious if I go,” I could see the relief in his face.
“Perfect, I will call for transportation and will send a message so they know we are going. Ethan must already be there with his cousins. The rest of the family should already be there, even my parents mentioned something about going,” Kimball said, as he worked sending messages and programming routes and security protocols.
They were waiting for us when we arrived, and I was escorted to the best place in the gym, from where I could watch everything that was going on. Many fights were going to be taking place at the same time, and the spaces for each one were already delimited, each one for a different age category. It wasn’t hard to spot Ethan among the participants, like it wasn’t hard to notice something wasn’t right.
“Is he using a suppressor?” I asked Kimball, knowing he would know what I was talking about.
“It was his idea, he said he didn’t need his powers to fight the other kids, and that it would help him not to accidentally use too much force.”
“I’m not saying it was a bad idea,” I said after thinking for a moment, “but without his powers he is at a disadvantage. I’m not saying he isn’t capable, but some of them are mutants, and he could get hurt.”
“Ethan is pretty sure he won’t be at risk, the only ones who could be a problem are his cousins, and he will only be fighting one of them in that category,” before I could protest that his cousins could cause a lot of damage Kimball continued, “but Ethan knows him and his fighting style, and he knows how to avoid being injured. And even if something happened, we can help him.”
“If you are sure he is going to be fine,” I said, not entirely convinced, I had a bad feeling. I had seen the future, and even if I hadn’t wanted to see exactly what was going to happen during the fights, I knew that Ethan was going to survive without a scratch.
After a short ceremony to start the event, the kids started to fight. The actual fighting wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, it looked nothing like the kind of fighting students did in the Empire. There were many rules about the kind of hits and movements they could use, and they were using a point system to establish the winner of each fight. The points were awarded if the kids hit certain areas in a specific way, that reduced the risk of injury a great deal. After learning that I was surprised that Emily liked the tournament so much.
Despite the suppressor, Ethan had no problem winning his fights. I had thought the event was going to take longer, and that it would be very late by the time the finals started, but by midday the finalist had been chosen, and they were given some time to rest before the final fight. We were taken to another room where a buffet was laid for the participants and other guests. Ethan came to talk to his father as soon as he saw us, but I moved to where the Principal was to ask a few more questions about what to expect.
A while later the start of the finals was announced. Since it was the main event the fight were no longer going to be held at the same time, but consecutively, starting with the younger ones. It was going to be a while before it was Ethan’s turn, so I didn’t pay much attention to the fights, I took the time to study Ethan’s opponent. He had already defeated his cousin in one of the first battles, and the kid he was going to fight was far beneath his level. He wasn’t bad, but he was a telepath, and even if Ethan was using a suppressor, the toxicity of his mind would stop his opponent from reading it, giving Ethan the advantage.
I was watching the fight previous to Ethan’s when the vision arrived. I knew immediately that the bad feeling I had been so worried about had nothing to do with Ethan. I recognized the people in the vision immediately, and the only comfort I had is that for what they were saying I still had time to act, but how much?
“What happened?” Kimball asked as soon as I got out of the vision.
“A vision, our daughters are in danger,” I explained, and I could see the change in his demeanor, in just a second he was ready to fight. “The good news is that we still have time, we still can watch our son win this thing,” I said, trying to calm him down.
“Are you sure,” he asked, and I just nodded.
Even if I had told him we had time, I started reaching to my men, selecting those I wanted to go with me to save my daughters. As I watched Ethan’s fight I started issuing orders, so everything would be ready for us to leave as soon as possible. Beside me Kimball was doing the same, using all his gadgets to make plans, even as he watched his son fight. No one was surprised to see that Ethan had won.
Kimball went to congratulate him for his victory, but I remained in my seat. The tournament was going to end soon, and then we would be free to go. From the beginning I had planned to leave before the celebration started, and since I had something much more important to take care of, the need to leave was only getting stronger.
As soon as the last fight ended, I got up to congratulate the winners and left the gym as soon as I could, not even looking back to see if my people was following me, but knowing that Kimball was going to be right behind me, probably with Ethan by his side. And as I expected, both of them got inside the limo behind me.
“What happened?” Ethan asked.
“Congratulation,” I said, moving closer to him to give him a hug.
“Thanks, but I know something is going on and I would like to know, if I can,” he added sheepishly.
“I had a vision, one of Dendro’s Colonels and Ivy are planning on selling your sisters as slaves. Apparently Ivy had already promised him to make his daughter Antrax’s partner, and when they announced Malkia as his partner, he got angry.”
“We need to stop them,” Kimball said, his fury barely controlled.
“And we will. Our transportation is being prepared. I don’t know what excuse are we going to use, or if we even need one, but we need to start travelling as soon as possible. I’m not sure how much time we have, but I want to move before they can be hurt. I will take a walk in the fog as soon as we have a chance, to gather more information.”
“I also started making preparations as soon as you told me they were in danger. All we might need should be already be prepared. I think you should let William and Dante know you will be leaving, at least so they know you won’t be here.”
“I will send them a message with one of my guards.”
The rest of the day was pretty chaotic while we finished our preparations and organized the trip. For a moment I thought that Ethan may ask to come with us, but he thought better and decided not to say anything, he didn’t even protest when we told him he needed to stay with his grandparents. Kimball as usual, had started acting without asking too many questions, but I knew he would want more information, soon. I trusted Dendro explicitly, but I had always had my doubts with Ivy, it seemed that the fact that our children were going to be a couple was more than she could stand.
Kimball waited until we were in the air to question me.
“What do you know?” he asked.
“I just know what they are planning to do. It seems that the Colonel is going to ask for both of them to assist him during a mission, and uses it as a cover for their disappearance. I guess that Greca got caught up in this just because she is Malkia’s sister, they want to get rid of both. The vision was about something that was going to happen, so I know that we have time, I just don’t know how much. Fatima will help me find more information,” I said, looking at where she was, “but it will have to wait until we both can be in the right place to go into the fog.”
“We will stop on the Island to get more people, you know that they are more familiar with the Empire and will be able to help better. During our stop there you both can go into the fog, while we prepare for the last leg of the trip. That will give us a better chance to be prepared for what is going to happen.”
“I feel guilty for leaving Ethan so soon, we didn’t even have a chance to celebrate his victory,” I confessed.
“Ethan understand, besides, this will help with the idea that you don’t care about him,” I tried to smile, agreeing with him. “We need to stay positive.”
I was grateful that Kimball didn’t remind me that it was my fault that our daughters were in the Empire, away from us and in danger, but then I realized that having Ethan with us haven’t stopped him from being in mortal danger twice already.
As soon as we arrived at the Island Fatima and I went to a bedroom where we could get into the fog. As soon as we got in, I went to where the paths I needed, those of my daughters, were. Most of the time their paths ran parallel to each other, but they crossed each other a few times, their lives were connected. It didn’t take long to find what we needed, but it made me realize we didn’t have as much time as I expected. I was hoping that I could have reached Dendro and have him stop this from happening, but that wasn’t possible. To be able to talk to him I needed to wait until I could reach his mind during his sleep, but by that time, they would be already out of his reach. I still planned to talk to him, but I would need to move if I wanted to keep my daughter from being hurt. By walking in the fog I had realized that my daughter were strong enough to get themselves out of the situation, but not before being hurt, and I didn’t want them to get hurt if I could avoid it.
Once we were sure we had covered all the possible scenarios, we got out of the fog and I went to Kimball to tell him all about it so we could plan for the best course of action. He wanted a direct attack, but I was convinced we needed to act with caution, in a way the Colonel couldn’t deny what he had been planing. Even if Kimball wanted something more drastic, he agreed that my plan was the best option if we wanted to stop him from trying again.
After some discussion, we decided to leave for the Empire and set camp near the spot where we knew the attack was taking place. Neither Kimball nor I wanted to risk something delaying us and risking our mission. After setting camp and going over the plan and the job everyone, Kimball decided we needed some rest. I went with him to bed, but after a while I extended my conscience, looking for the two minds that I needed to contact.
I decided first to try my brother, since he would need more time to act. Reaching him wasn’t going to be easy since the Palace had very strong defenses, but I knew that my brother was one of the few persons who could hear my calling, and he did.
‘Kaiserin? Is that really you?’ Our minds were connected, and I felt enveloped by a feeling of familiarity. Being away from the Empire it was easy to pretend that everything was fine, but feeling my brother reminded me that despite everything, the Empire had been my home for half my life.
‘Brother. I’m sorry to bother you, but you must know that there is an enemy clan in your territory. The Slavers are trying to come back.‘
‘Are you sure about that? I thought I had taken care of them years ago.‘
‘I’m sure,‘ I shared with him part of my visions, giving him enough information to identify the place.
‘Are you alright? I had been worried about you.‘
‘Everything is just fine, I am fine. I’m where I want to be, with whom I want to be. I hope you know how much you mean to me, and that you understand why I had to leave.‘
‘I get it, the last time we talked explained your motivations, but I still would want you to trust me more.‘
‘It’s not a matter of trust. I’m sorry, I would like to stay and chat, and if you want, we can talk some more tomorrow, but right now I have things to do.‘
‘Tomorrow. I will be waiting for you.‘
No matter how much I would have preferred to stay with my brother, I still had to reach Dendro, and see if I could reach Malkia and warn her what was going on. My first stop was with Dendro, and it wasn’t easy, but I finally could reach his dreams.
‘Dendro, it’s been a while,‘ I greeted him.
‘Are you a dream or real?‘ he asked.
‘I came to warn you that one of your men is going to betray you. The group that left yesterday is not going to reach its destination, your Colonel is planning to sell them to your enemies, as slaves. And you know who is part of that group.‘
‘Your daughters,‘ he said, immediately realizing the problem and the reason I was involved.
‘I will try to keep them safe, but they will need reinforcements, and it would be better if they were from your clan.’
‘Don’t worry, I won’t let anything happen to them,’ Dendro said, and I knew he meant that.
‘I would like to stay, but we both have work to do,’ I said, and I could tell he didn’t want our chat to end, but understood the need for action. ‘Thanks for taking care of my daughters. I know this is not your fault, but you must know that the blame belongs to someone very close to you.’
I left his mind before he had a chance to ask me any questions. I knew that accusing Ivy directly wouldn’t be a good idea, it was enough to plant the seed of doubt. There weren’t many people who would be interested in harming my daughters, and Dendro was smart enough to connect the dots.
I tried to contact Malkia, but after many failed attempts, I decided I was just wasting time, and that it would be better to leave and rest a little so I would be ready to fight.