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.

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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.

Bonus 5

Ethan knew something bad had happened from the moment the soldiers started to arrive to school and they were called for a student assembly.  It was normal for students to stay late for extracurricular activities, but as the day progressed and they weren’t allowed to get out, most people started to get worried.  He wasn’t worried like the others, he could recognize that some of the soldiers were loyal to his mother, and that made him feel safe, unlike his friends or the rest of the students.

The announcement that they would have to stay there the night was received with surprise, but mostly with fear, so much that Ethan had to block his empathy because he was starting to feel sick by all that fear.  It only got worse when the rumor that both Faakhir and Emily were dead and that his mother was to blame for that.  Like it usually happened, most people started to get mad at him, blaming him for his mother’s actions.  Luckily for him, his friends stayed with him, acting as human shields against the rest of the school.

“What’s going to happen now?” Oliver asked.  “What do you think your mother is going to do?”

“Probably take over, which I guess she is already doing, after that, I’m really not sure,” Ethan said.  He wanted to say more, to explain that they were going to be safe, but he couldn’t do that and betray his mother’s secrets.  “I wouldn’t worry so much, I’m sure things are going to be better with her in charge, she is not a fan of killing indiscriminately like Emily, she is tough, but just.  Most of the horrible things she did, were because she was following orders, not because she enjoyed doing them.”

“I don’t think she will change that much now that she is in charge, I think she will get even worse now that there is no one to control her,” Dymtro said.

“Don’t be so pessimists, you may be surprised by her, besides, my father will be there to keep her in line,” Ethan said, thinking that a reminder of his father would help ease their minds, after all, they all liked and respected him after he had rescued them.

“Do you really think your father will be able to help?  He doesn’t seem to be able to control her that much,” Hye Ki said.

“I get why you would think that, but believe me, everything is going to be ok now that my mother is in charge.”

Chapter 43

When we arrived back in Mzansi, it was late, so I wasn’t expecting to find Ethan running towards me as soon as we got out of the plane, with Kimball not far behind him.

“How are you? How was the Empire?” Ethan asked.  “Did you know my grandfather is awake?  Dad found a way to make him better, grandma said that dad saved his life.”

“I’m glad to hear he is better,” I said, happy to know that Makgatho was getting better, I knew how important he was to both Kimball and Ethan.  And I had to admit that, even if I never doubted Kimball’s ability to help him, I felt relieved to know he was out of danger.

“How was your trip?” Kimball asked, finally reaching us and kissing me tenderly.  “Is everything ok with Greca?  How was your other stop?”

“Greca is in good hands, and I guess by now she is out of danger.  And my last stop went well, my visit to the Empire had a small problem, but overall it was ok.  I got what I needed out of it, I hadn’t realized how much it bothered me to be away from my family, and having the chance to talk to them, no matter how briefly, was nice.  How about you? How are things here?  I hope everything is ok, I need to go back to Capital City as soon as possible, Faakhir is getting angry because I haven’t gone back to him.”

“There is no problem if you want to go back, but before we go, there’s a couple of things I want to show you and talk about with you.”

I knew that there were a lot of things we had to discuss, but my first priority was to get some rest.  I wanted to visit Kimball’s parents before going back to my job, and also, I knew there was something bothering Kimball, something we needed to talk about, but in another place, somewhere not as public.

It was late by the time we arrived to the house, and still, I spent some more time talking to Ethan and telling him about my time in the Empire.  By the time Ethan finally fell asleep, I was exhausted, but I still needed to talk to Kimball.  As soon as we were alone, I noticed Kimball’s demeanor changing, and I knew that whatever we needed to discuss was serious.

“What happened to my father was no accident, he was infected on purpose.  If it wasn’t for the stroke, we wouldn’t have noticed the virus until it was too late and his body was beyond help.  After we found out that my father had been infected, they started an investigation and found out that he wasn’t the first mutant to get admitted to the hospital in suspicious conditions, the only difference was that the other mutants were dead.  From the investigation we found out that the virus is only contagious in very specific conditions, but we are worried about the existence of the virus.  Most think that it’s part of biological attack with very specific targets, but we don’t know who is behind the attacks.”

“What’s the risk?  You say that the virus is not highly contagious, so I guess we are safe from an epidemic, right?”

“After getting some samples, the people from the Health Department found that the virus that infected them was basically the same, but that there were small mutations that looked like they have been improving the virus from patient to patient.  The government is afraid that this is just the test stage, and that once the virus is ready, they are going to start an even bigger attack.”

“But why attack you?  It doesn’t make sense.”

“Our biology is very particular.  Our people come from various genetic backgrounds, but still most of our people share some very specific traits that you don’t find in other people.  My theory is that they are using us to perfect the virus because they want to be able to target specific traits and we are the best candidates for that.  The other theory is that is someone that is angry at our people and what they perceive as unfair advantages that are given to us by the Dominion.  It could be revenge or experimentation, I’m not sure which one is better or worse.”

“I think there could be other possibilities, but the best way to find answers is in the fog of the future, I think I will have to travel there and find out what’s going on.”

“Yes, but not now.  First, you need to rest, then talk to Faakhir.  We can’t risk to make him angry at you right now.  You said it yourself, you are close to finding the last pieces of information you need to set your take over in motion.”

I knew Kimball was right, and I needed to recognize that I needed some rest after everything I had to face the previous days.  First, Greca’s rescue, the fight with Kozlak, the talk with my cousins and friends, all of that had left me exhausted, physically and emotionally.  Besides, I needed some time with Kimball so I could find my balance again, my center.

As it happened every time I was near Kimball, I had no trouble sleeping, and even overslept in the morning, taking advantage of the calm and security that Kimball gave me, with him my defenses dropped, making me relax and calm down.  But my rest was interrupted in the morning by a vision that left me tense and afraid.  I had seen Ethan in a hospital room, and he looked sick.  As soon as I woke up and went looking for him, but as I ran towards his room, I realized I couldn’t feel him anywhere near me, and that could only mean that he wasn’t there.

“Kaiserin, what’s wrong?”  Kimball asked when he found me running through the hallways.

“Where’s Ethan?”

“He left a while ago with my mother, they went to the hospital.  My father is much better and he may be released today, my mother wanted to go and help him get ready to get out of there and Ethan wanted to go with her.”

“We have to go, I had a vision about him getting sick, and I have a very bad feeling about this.”

“Do you think this is something that’s going to happen soon?”  Kimball asked, but he was already moving.

“I’m not sure, but I want him close to me until I know what it is about, it would make me feel better,” I explained.

“Ethan’s biology is different from mine, his genetic map has so many elements that I don’t think he would be targeted, the previous attacks were on people with strong mzansier genetics.”

“You said that they were after something that all mzansiers shared, and Ethan is so different that she should be safe,” I said, trying to convince myself as the feeling that something bad was about to happen only got stronger, and my need to make sure I had nothing to fear grew.

We arrived at the hospital and I immediately used my powers to locate Ethan.  He wasn’t near Makgatho and Victoria, and that only made more afraid.  Without waiting for Kimball, I started heading in the direction I was sure Ethan was, it didn’t take long to realize that I was heading to the cafeteria, and that made me feel better, if he had gone to buy something to eat, then he was safe, there wasn’t a reason to fear he was in trouble.

When I arrived at the cafeteria, I saw Ethan walking out of it from the other side, and I went after him, but at a more relaxed pace, since I could see him and make sure he was safe.  He was just a few yards ahead of me when a nurse approached him.  The woman looked out of place, and not because she was light skinned when most mzansiers had dark skin, there was a small percentage of light skinned mzansiers, but there was something else about her that made me unease.  When she tried to grab Ethan, I put a psychic barrier between them.  I saw her surprise and anger at being unable to grab him.  It was then that Ethan noticed I was there, because of my powers.

“Mother?  What are you doing here?  Father said that you were probably going to sleep all day.  Are you here to visit my granpa?”

“Who are you?” I asked the woman, ignoring Ethan’s questions.  “What do you want with my son?”

“Good morning, I was just trying to see if he was lost, I wanted to take him to his parents,” she explained, but I knew there was something wrong with her.

“What’s going on here?” Kimball asked, he had been following me, but had kept his distance until that moment.

“Do you know her?  I have a feeling that that woman doesn’t belong here,” as soon as I spoke the woman tried to escape, but I grabbed her using my powers before she had a chance to get away.  If I was suspicious before, her escape attempt only made it worse.

“Kaiserin?” I could tell Kimball didn’t understand the situation, and I was aware that some of my actions could seem a little over the top, and I couldn’t deny that her escape attempt could have been just because she was afraid of me and not because she was hiding something.

“I’m telling you, there’s something wrong with her, you need to see if she is really an employee here and who she is,” I told Kimball, starting to get angry at his lack of action.  At least Ethan had moved away from her and closer to me.  I put my arm around his shoulders and pulled him closer to me, I wasn’t going to let him out of my sight until I was sure what was going on.

“Alright, I will take care of this, you take Ethan back to my parents,” Kimball said, getting closer to the woman, but that felt wrong, I didn’t want him anywhere near her.

My telepathy usually didn’t work on mzansiers, and because of that I had forgotten that there was a small percentage of the population that didn’t share the immunity most of them had, and that woman was part of that minority, that was if she was really a mzansier and not a foreigner.  I pushed my mind to hers and I could read her mind, she was waiting for Kimball to get closer to her so she could use her powers on him.

“Stop, don’t get closer to her.  I think she has something to do with the virus attack,” I kept looking into her mind and discovered that she was a biokinetic, and that her power allowed her to transport and transmit the virus, after modifying it to target specific victims.  I couldn’t let her near anyone.  The worst part was that she wasn’t working alone, I could tell she was part of a bigger group that was using the virus to target and eliminate people they considered traitors to their people.  “I will take her to a safe place, somewhere we can keep her isolated so she can’t hurt anyone else.”

“I could ask for the hospital to prepare one of the isolation rooms they use for people with infectious diseases, and lock her up there.  She will be at a place where she can’t spread the virus and would be unable to get out,” Kimball suggested.

“Do it,” I said immediately.  The woman was watching me with a mixture of fear and hate.  I didn’t give her a chance to talk, I just went inside her mind again and started to look for more information on what her plans were.”

I wasn’t able to see the whole plan, I knew her actions were part of a bigger plan, but she was just a small piece of the puzzle and didn’t have much information.  From what I could see I knew that she felt incredible hate for the people ruling the country, especially people from my family, because she felt we were betraying her and her people and only caring about our interests.  As I looked into her mind, I could see Kimball issuing orders and preparing everything so we could transport the woman to the isolation room, where they would be able to study her powers and the virus she was working with.  It was then that I noticed that she was confident she had managed to infect Ethan, and maybe even me.

“What’s wrong?” Kimball asked, noticing the change in me at finding about the possible infection.

“She is part of a bigger group, he has been taking orders from someone else, someone who gathered a bunch of biokinetics and taught them how to use and manipulate the virus to infect people.  She was given the chance to go after the people she hated, and she took it, she has been attacking people in the government and people close to them, waiting for the chance to go after her main targets.  But that’s not the worst part,” I said, staring at Kimball’s eyes, “she doesn’t need to actually touch people to infect them, just to be near them.  She is pretty confident she managed to infect Ethan, and maybe even me.”

“No…” Kimball whispered, trying to process my words, but despite the impact of my words, he never lost his control, he took a deep breath and started yelling orders, before turning his attention back to me.  “Don’t worry, this time we have the advantage, I know the virus, and if I was able to save my father, I will be able to help you.  Nothing will happen to you or Ethan.”

Chapter 37

It was dark inside the moving vehicle, I could barely see a few figures on the inside, but I couldn’t see their faces.  Most of them looked small, I was sure most of them were kids, but I couldn’t be sure.  I knew that the vehicle had been traveling for a while, but I couldn’t remember when it had started, I just had a feeling it had been a long time ago.  And just as I was thinking about it, the vehicle stopped moving and the back door was opened, letting light in, showing me for the first time the faces of the people there.  Most of them were kids, like I guessed, no older than twelve or thirteen.  They started to climb down, all but a girl that was laying down in the corner.  A soldier got into the vehicle and grabbed her by the arm, dragging her out, and letting her fall on top the fresh snow, as the kid was having a coughing fit.  The girl turned to glare at the soldier and I saw her face, a face I had never laid my eyes on, but that I knew very well, the face of my daughter Greca.

The scream woke me up, and it took me a while to notice that it was me who was screaming.  I turned to search for Kimball, but the bed was empty, so I tried to get up in a hurry, with the sheets getting tangled in my feet and making me lose my balance and fall, hitting my head.

When I opened my eyes again, I was back in bed, with Ethan holding something cold and wet to my head.

“How are you feeling?” He asked, and I could feel he was worried about me.

“Like an idiot.”  Had I really fallen in my own room, I couldn’t believe I had been that clumsy, vision or no vision.  But I couldn’t deny that the image of my sick daughter had affected me more than I was willing to admit.  It was Ethan’s laugh that cut my wondering.

“Father said that you would feel like that, mortified about having such a silly accident, but not worried about the hit to your head,” he explained the reason for his laugh.

“And where is your father?  Knowing him I expected him to be hovering over me, worried sick about me.”  As soon as I questioned him, his laugh died and I could feel he was worried again.  Something bad had happened, and that something had nothing to do with me.

“Grandma called a while ago and told my father that something happened to granpa.  My father must be arranging a flight to Mzansi.

“What happened to him?  Did someone attacked him?”

“I think he is sick or something like that.  My father didn’t explain, and you know it’s very hard to read a mzansier.”

“It’s also very hard for them to get sick.  Isn’t your grandfather supposed to have accelerated regeneration?”

“He does, that’s why we are so worried about him,” Kimball said, entering the room.  “How are you feeling?  Do you feel any pain?”

“A little, but nothing to worry about, I’m sure I’ll be just fine.  What happened to your father?”

“He suffered a cerebral embolism.  The doctors can’t explain why he hasn’t recovered yet, and my mother wants me to go and help them find what’s wrong with him.  It’s not my area, but I’m sure I can help.  I have to go to Mzansi, and I would like for you to go with me.  Do you think you can manage to go with me?”

“I will find a way, I can handle Faakhir, and I’m sure that there won’t be a problem if Ethan misses a couple of school days.  At least it’s almost the weekend, so he won’t lose that much school time.”

“Perfect, then we need to get ready, the plane should be ready in a couple of hours,” Kimball was already moving out of the room.

“Wait!  Something happened, I had a vision, something I have to take care of.  I will go with you to see your father, but I will probably have to go to the Empire to take care of this.”

“The Dark Empire?”

“Something is going to happen to our daughter, I have to make sure exactly what is going on first, but I don’t think I have much time before my vision comes true.”

“Malkia or Greca?”

“Greca of course,” I was surprised, yet again, that he was claiming Malkia as his, even if they didn’t share the same blood.  My own father had refused to acknowledge me because we didn’t have the same Family, even if we shared blood, but Kimball never doubted to claim my daughter as his.  “Malkia is in good hands, but Greca is in danger.  I don’t know the details, I will need to go into the Fog to find more.”

“Any idea of the time frame we are talking about?  We need to go to Mzansi right now, but from there we can find what’s going on with Greca and make plans.  I hope my father’s illness isn’t too bad and I will be free soon to go with you to the Empire.”

“Are you coming with me?”

“Of course, it’s been a while since I saw my daughter,” but I knew that he intended to bring her with us, if Greca was in trouble, just like I suspected, then it would give him the perfect excuse to bring her with us.  I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to leave her again, so I wasn’t sure I could stop Kimball if he decided to bring her with us.  It was one of the reasons I never accepted to go with him during his yearly visits to the Fortress.

We were ready to go in no time, and by the time we arrived to the airport, our plane was ready to go.  I knew that we would be in the air for a while, so I took the opportunity to go into the fog.  I knew that my daughter would need my help, and the best way to do it was to get as much information as I could.  I was still walking in the fog, trying to find my way when I felt someone calling me back to the present.  We had already arrived to Mzansi and were getting out of the plane to go to the hospital.

“I’m sorry to wake you up,” Kimball was carrying me on his arms, “but I wanted to know if you would want to go to the hospital with me or head to my parent’s house with Ethan.”

“I want to to go the hospital,” Ethan said, “I want to know how’s granpa.”

“I think we can go to the hospital, once there we can see if we need to stay or if it’s better to go to the house,” Kimball suggested.

“Just remember that I have work to do.  We may need to leave to the Empire soon, so I would suggest to keep a plane on call, ready to take us there if we need it.”

“Ok, I will leave that to you, you have the power to make any arrangement you want, but I need to go to the hospital.”

When we arrived, we found most of Kimball’s family there, his mother was there, obviously, but there were other people I didn’t expect, like Zola.  After a brief talk with them, Kimball left the room and went to talk to the doctors and healers working on his father.  Victoria was sad and worried, but having Ethan there was helping her, I wasn’t sure if it was because he was using his powers, or just because he was there.

After a few minutes Kimball went back, and just by looking at his face I knew things were worse than he expected.  There was not much I could do to help him, I was never good with biokinesis.  Since there was nothing I could do there, I decided to head to the house and focus my powers on what I could do, search for more information on Greca’s problem.  I had a bad feeling about her, but I trusted Kimball could handle the problem with his father.  Ethan decided to stay with his grandmother, but Mbali agreed to go with me to the house.

Kimball’s parent’s house was more like a mansion, and it wasn’t hard to find a comfortable space where I could go into the fog.  I knew Mbali was around, and that made things easier for me, because I knew my body would be safe with her.  As always, walking into the fog was easy, the hard part was to find what I needed.  After walking different paths for a while I understood that I was looking at the wrong places.  I had gone into the fog with the idea that the vision was showing me something that was going to happen, but it was more accurate to say I watched it as it was happening.  What I saw was something that had happened hours before, not something that was about to happen.

I couldn’t leave without enough information, so I went back to the beginning to find what had happened to my daughter.  Greca had had trouble since her sister had left the Fortress, not only because she had lost her ability to use ferrokinesis, but because she had fought even some of her superiors while trying to find what had happened to her sister, even after they kept refusing to tell her.  That had caused the people in charge to decide that she wasn’t cut to be a soldier and that would work better as a slave.  They had sent her to one of the worse places in the Empire, the Northern Mines, where the outside temperature was way below zero, but the heat inside the mine was oppressive.  Knowing that just made the fact that she was sick even worse, a respiratory disease could only get worse on those conditions, and Makgatho had already proven that even the strongest could succumb to sickness.

I walked a while longer along Greca’s path, and I realized that my daughter was a fighter, and a worthy heiress of Kimball, she would try to escape the mine, even if everything, especially the weather, was against her.  In most of her futures she managed to escape, but on those she did, she lost against the cold and snow, she only survived on the futures where I was right there by her side, so I had to make sure to be there.  I had made a big mistake by not being there for her before, I should have been more alert, I should have paid more attention to her, make more time to watch her path, I should have known what was happening with her, I should have contacted Malkia or Dendro and ask for his help before it could get so bad for Greca, or at least I should have been there while she was being transported to the mines, so I could rescue her before she had the chance to go there.  I had failed my daughter, and I needed to fix that.

It wouldn’t be easy to travel to the Empire, especially not to that particular area.  I had just a couple of days before Greca attempted her escape, and if I wanted to be there I needed to move fast.  I took some time to travel Kimball’s path and confirmed that he needed to stay by his father’s side, I knew he would be mad if he couldn’t go with me, but he needed to save his father, I could take care of our daughter.

By the time Kimball arrived at night, with Ethan by his side, I had already made most of the arrangements I needed.  I knew that I needed to tell Kimball, and that he wouldn’t be happy, but first I needed to make sure he was ok and his father was getting better, not that it would change my plans either way, but I knew I would feel better if he didn’t need me with him.

“How is he?  Could you find something?” I could see he was exhausted and worried about his father.

“We are still not sure what happened, the embolism was just hiding the real reason he’s sick.  It seems a virus infected him, a virus his body has no defenses for.  It’s very weird that something like that happens, and I suspect it’s not a natural virus, but one bioengineered to attack people with regenerative powers.  Now that we have a better idea of what the problem is the doctors could start him on a medicine that will help him, but he will have a better chance of getting better if we can create an antiviral serum targeted especially for him.”

“What’s the prognosis?”

“It’s good.  I really think he can beat this virus, but it won’t be easy and we will have a lot of work ahead of us.  I’m not an expert, I don’t normally deal with this kind of cases.  The problem is that it’s so weird for us to get a virus that we no longer know how to fight them.  There was a time we would suffer from viruses, but it’s been so long we forgot how deadly they can be.”

“I’m really sorry, if it makes you feel better, there’s a good chance your father will make a complete recovery, I know you will find a way to help him.”

“Did you take a look at his future to know if he would recover?”

“I was looking at our daughter’s future, but once in the fog, I thought of taking a look at your father’s.”

“And what did you find about our daughter?”

“I’m afraid I don’t have good news,” I knew he wouldn’t like what I had to tell him.  “Please, sit down,” I took his hand took him to the sofa in our room.  “Last night, what I saw, it wasn’t exactly a vision, because it wasn’t something that was going to happen, it was something that was happening at that moment.  Greca was sent to the Northern Mines to work as a slave.”

“What!?  How could that happen?” I could feel Kimball’s anger, and I knew how hard it was for him not to explode.

“After Malkia left the Fortress, Greca started having trouble.  I’m afraid that in her quest to find what had happened to her sister, she attracted the teacher’s animosity.  I know Greca will attempt to escape the mines in a few days.  She won’t be able to do it alone, but if I can get there in time, I can make sure she gets away and take her to a safe place,” I didn’t add that she was sick and needed medical attention, or that she would freeze to death if she managed to get out of the mines alone.

“I will go with you,” he said, but I could feel his conflicting emotions, he wanted to stay with his father.

“No, you have to stay here and take care of your father, you save him and I will save Greca.”

“But…” he tried to say, but I didn’t let him finish.

“Do you trust me?  I will go for Greca and take her to a safe place, you don’t have to worry about anything, I will take care of her.  I know I should have paid more attention to what was going on in her life, but I didn’t, and now I have to fix that mistake.  I will do anything I need to do to keep her safe.”

“If you are sure, take whomever you want with you, and take anything you need.  Just make sure you save our little girl.”

“Don’t worry, I will save her.”

Chapter 30

I got a message from Kimball saying that Ethan was safe, but that he was injured.  I knew that was going to happen, Jonas was a psycho that liked to hurt people and make them suffer, and I knew that he was going to get a taste of his own medicine, he wouldn’t get away with hurting my son without facing the consequences.

“I’m sure this is the route he took,” Fatima said.  She had been traveling to the past to reconstruct Jonas’ actions after taking Ethan.  So far she had guided us outside the city, and I knew we were getting closer to the place he had taken Ethan.

“I think it will be better to stop for a moment, I would like to take an astral walk and explore the place.  If we are getting closer to where Jonas is hiding, I want to be prepared.  We need to be ready to take him by surprise.

“That’s a good idea,” Kulap said, “but make it fast, so many stops are wasting our limited time, I don’t think Faakhir will like that, he likes when we take care of things fast.  He likes us being efficient.”

“Do you have any experience in astral projecting? Have you walked the fog of the future? If you don’t know what you are talking about, then stay silent.  These things take time, and I’m sure Faakhir would prefer a job well done over a fast one.”  Kulap didn’t talk back, but I could see she was angry at my answer.

Our car stopped so I could go into the astral planes.  That was something I could do even while moving, thanks to my double mind, but it was easier and safer if my body was immobile.  I got out of my body and traveled the material plane.  We were close to our destination, I recognized the place.  I saw a group of helicopters moving closer, they were on route to the bodega.  Kimball had told me he had called the kids’ parents, so I was confident that the Representatives were on those helicopters.

“Did you hear the helicopters?” I asked when I got back to my body.

“Yes, and we saw them moving northwest from here,” Yoweri said.  I had forgotten he was in the car with us, but that was to be expected, it was his power, he could go unnoticed in any setting thanks to his empathy and emotional mimetism.

“I think those were the Representatives, and that could affect our mission, we need to be careful, we can’t let them ruin this for us, but we can’t attack them either, we need to make things better between them and the King, it needs to look like we are on the same side.  We need to move.  Go ahead and drive a couple more miles, then take the road on your right,” I told the driver, “keep going for another three miles and stop in the first clearing you find.  We will walk the rest of the way, I don’t want them knowing we are there until is too late.”

No one spoke for the rest of the trip, but it was obvious everyone had questions, even as they prepared for the mission.  We arrived at the clearing and got out of the car.  Another car stopped behind us, and the rest of the team joined us.  Without any questions, everyone started following me, with just one person staying behind to take care of the cars.

I took the direct route, I knew where the bodega was and how to arrive there faster, and I needed to take the short route, I had to get to where my son was.  Once we were close to the bodega, and could actually see it and the group of people standing outside, I used my powers to bring their conversations to us, so we could listen to them from the protection of the trees.

“Your children are safe, that’s all you need to know,” Kimball was saying.

“I think we deserve a better explanation,” Representative Burgos replied.  “How did you find them?  What happened to the people who took them?  “What happened to our children?”

“Do I have to remind you that my son was also taken by them?” Kimball’s voice hardened, and it was clear that the Representatives were on thin ice.  “I was just as worried as you were, so I decided to look for my son, and I found him.”

“And how did you do that?” Representative Jeong asked.  “None of our trackers were working, we couldn’t find them, I don’t get how someone like you could do what we couldn’t.”

“What do you mean by ‘someone like me’?”

“Let’s be honest, what we think is that you and your wife are involved in this.  It’s just too suspicious that you were able to find the kids so easily after we failed to find them, is even more suspicious that you refuse to let us see or speak with the people responsible for the kidnappings.  As far as I know you and your corrupt family could be behind this, maybe ‘saving’ them is just a way for you to try and look good in front of us,” Representative Kozak said.

“That’s enough father!” The voice sounded like Dmytro’s, but there was something weird about it.  “You don’t know what you are talking about, this is Jonas’ fault, not Kaiserin’s.  Jonas wanted to use Ethan to make Kasierin look bad, and we are safe only because the Mzansiers rescued us.  None of them hurt us, but if they hadn’t arrived when they did, the others would have hurt us, badly.”

“Please, stay out of this, this is an adult discussion,” his father tried to calm him down.

“But he is telling the truth,” Hye Ki said, “Ethan helped us while we were there, and his father rescued us, if he hadn’t arrived when he did, Carmina would have hurt me.  They saved us!”

“Daughter, please, let us deal with this, there are things you don’t understand yet.  We can’t trust these people, remember what happened with your brother.”

“I called and told you where to find your children as a favor, but if you think I will just stay here and let you question me and my motives, that I will let you insult me, then you are mistaken,” Kimball’s voice was cold and threatening, and I wasn’t sure if it was part of the act or if he was truly angered by their attack.

“Dad,” a pathetic voice interrupted the discussion, and the silence that followed that simple word was absolute, the shock was clear in the middle of the silence.  “Can we go?”

“Of course, give me a minute.  Just go back inside and rest,” Kimball’s voice changed to warm and calm while talking to Ethan.

“Time to move,” I tell my men, cutting the power that allowed us to hear them, and moving to where the group is gathered at the front of the bodega.

As soon as my group steps out of the cover of the trees all the eyes move to us, a few of the Representatives’ guards get their weapons out and point them to us, but using my power I take them out of their hands, leaving them weaponless.  At the same time my group takes their own weapons out and point them to the people there, warning them not to try something like that again.

“It seems I wasn’t invited to the party,” I said to the people there.

“You just sounded like a villain in a fairy tale,” Kimball said, and I had no idea what he was talking about.

“What are you doing here?” His comment managed to cut the tension, but his words confused me, and even if I was grateful for helping ease the atmosphere, I don’t like not understanding.  “I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that I find you here, in the place our investigation of Jonas’ actions has taken us.”

“You are late, just like I thought you would be,” he said.  “I knew that your priorities were different than mine, so I decided to put my energy on finding Ethan.  And it was a good thing I did that, if I had waited for you to find you, you would have been too late,” as he said the last word, he moved to the side, giving me a clear view of the van behind him, next to which Ethan was standing.

From the moment I realized that Jonas had Ethan, I had been worried about the things he could do to my son, but watching the damage I felt sick and angry, and I knew that I would have a hard time controlling my anger once I had my hands on Jonas.  Ethan’s face was a collection of colors, from red to black and blue.  He was full of bruises, one of his eyes was swollen shut, and a cut on his lips was still bleeding.  By the way he was standing I could tell his torso was also full of bruises, maybe a few broken ribs by how hard it was for him to breathe.  One of his arms and his wrists were bandaged, and from the blood that was showing in the bandages I could tell that his arm had a cut, and his wrists had been hurt, most likely rubbed raw by the rope used to bind him.  I felt my anger boiling, I had hoped that Kimball could arrive before Ethan could suffer that much damage, and I was furious that I had been unable to save him from that pain, furious that I had failed him again, and furious that Jonas had dared to hurt my son.  But despite the emotions burning inside me, I kept my face cold and detached, making sure no one could see how I really felt.

“He’s alive, I don’t see what the problem is,” just as I spoke I could hear the surprise and disapproval coming from the Representatives and their guards, they were getting angry at me for not caring about my son like a mother should.  I turned to where Ethan was standing, and I saw a tear falling from his good eye.  For a moment I thought my words had affected him, but when I expanded my powers to explore his feelings I realized that it was just part of the act.  But I could see his pain wasn’t fake, and I did my best to connect with him so I could ease his pain.

“I don’t know why I’m still surprised by your attitude,” Kimball said.  “If you are unable to see the problem, then I don’t know what to say.  You won could have died today, and you just don’t care.”

“I can see he’s alive, that’s what matters.  And I expect Jonas and the others to be alive as well, I need to question them.”

“Is that all you can think about?  You know what? I don’t care, Jonas and the others are inside the bodega, go and do your work.  I will take Ethan to Mzansi so he can recover in peace.”

“I’m sorry, but you know the rules, you can’t take Ethan outside of the city without the King’s permission,” Kulap said.

“That’s right, the hostage system.  Don’t worry, I’m taking my son, but I’m leaving my wife, that should be enough,” Kimball answered.

“Still, you need his authorization…” Kulap kept going.

“And who is going to try and stop me?” Kimball interrupted her.  “You?”

Kulap turned to me, waiting for me to continue the discussion.  All the attention was focused on me, so most people didn’t realize that Yoweri was moving towards Kimball.  For a moment I thought that Kimball wasn’t aware of him and was trying to find a way to warn him, but then I saw Kimball’s hand move to his gun and I knew that I didn’t have to worry about him.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Kimball warns, pointing the gun directly into Yoweri’s face, that is just a couple of steps away from him.  I hear a few surprised gasps, no one had realized that Yoweri was moving.

“Kaiserin, do something!” Kulap demands.

“Kimball, you know the rules as well as I do, don’t make this more difficult that it has to be.”

“I want you to think about what you are about to do,” Kimball warns, “you can try to stop me, and things will get ugly really fast, or you can let us go, so you can finish your mission and find out why Jonas took your son and the other kids.”

“I think you know what will happen if you try to stop him,” Fatima said, in a voice that pretended to be just between the two of us, but that I was sure everyone could hear, “we will only lose valuable time, and your victory will come at a high price.”

“Listen to your friend,” Kimball suggested with a smile.

“Please don’t tell me you are afraid of him,” Kulap tried to goad me into fighting.

“Kimball is right, I can defeat him, but it won’t be easy and won’t be fast.  Our mission is to find Jonas and questions him, then take him to Faakhir.  If he wants to go against the rules, then he will have to face the consequences.  Think about your actions, because if you leave and Faakhir sends me to bring you back, you won’t like what I will do.”

I wasn’t sure why Kimball was forcing the confrontation, he could have gone without alerting us of his plans, but by declaring his intentions in front of the others he had put me in a difficult situation, but I trusted he knew what he was doing.  With a last look at Ethan, I went inside the bodega, followed by the rest of the group, even if they weren’t happy with the way things had gone.

Once we were inside, it was easy to find Jonas and the rest of his people, they were locked in cages, and they seemed to be drugged.  I guessed that Kimball had used the drugs to subdue them and avoid a fight, and I was glad, because the drugs would make my job easier, their minds wouldn’t be able to repel my attack and it would be easier to get what I wanted.

“Now you are in serious trouble,” I told Jonas.  He was awake, but seemed confused.  “The Representatives were furious because of your actions, and that caused trouble for Faakhir.  You made him look like a liar, you made it seem like he didn’t have control over his own people, you made him look weak.  As you can imagine, he is not happy with you at the moment.  Now, tell me, why did you do something so stupid?”

“You have been lying to us, and I will prove it, then you won’t be is favorite any more, and you and your family will be punished, like you deserve.” Jonas explained, he sounded like he was drunk, but I knew it was because of the drug in his system.

“I will go inside your mind, and I will see the truth behind your actions.  I would recommend not to resist, resistance will only make it painful for you,” I warned, but in reality he was going to feel pain one way or another, he was going to pay for causing Ethan’s pain.

“Shouldn’t we take him to Faakhir?  He can question him himself,” I heard someone saying.

“Kimball caught five of them, but we need to make sure there’s no more people involved, and we have to find out why they were involved, if they were willing participants or if Jonas somehow fooled them into helping him with his plans.  We need to see who is a traitor and who is a fool.  We can’t go to Faakhir without the whole story.”

No one said anything else, they stayed in silence as I moved closer to the cage in which Jonas was trapped.  I used one of my mind to get inside his mind and look for the information that I wanted.  I needed to know who was on his side, who his allies were, who I needed to worry about.  With my other mind I connected to his nervous system, attacking his nerves so they would get irritated and cause him to be in pain, in just a few seconds he was drowning in pain.  With me inside his mind, there was nothing he could do, but feel, he experienced an agony like never before.

Between the pain and the drugs, he couldn’t stop my search, and I was able to get the information that I needed in a short time.  I knew that Faakhir would look into his mind, just like me, so I went even deeper and made sure that there was nothing there that could affect me.  That exploration took me longer, about a couple of hours, and by the time I finished with him, he was barely conscious, he was exhausted by the pain.

Moving even closer to him, I made a complete connection to his system, and instead of just irritating his nerves to cause him pain, I attacked them, damaging just enough for him to be unable to move without feeling pain.  Damaged nerve terminations would mistake sensations, sending pain signals with any stimulation.

By the time I finish with him I’m exhausted, and even if the effort is not enough to cause me a psychic headache, it drained my energy and I knew I was reaching my limit and since I still had things to do I needed to be very careful with what I did.

“Did you find what you were looking for?” Fatima asked.

“Yes, it seems like besides Fidel and Carmina, the others had no idea what was going on, they were just following orders, they thought that Jonas was acting under Faakhir’s orders.  The problem we have is that Faakhir tried to recruit a few others, so there is more people who knew about his plans, and even if they refused to help him, they failed to alert Faakhir of Jonas’ plans.  Yoweri, I will give you a list with these people’s names so you can go pick them up and take them to Faakhir, I’m sure he will want to question them.  Kulap, take the two soldiers that helped Faakhir to the hospital so they can be checked, I’m sure Faakhir will want to deal with them, even if they were acting in good faith, I’m sure they will be punished for their involvement.  The other three, I will take care of them personally.