It was a long day, followed by an even longer night. I hadn’t been able to sleep, in part because I was afraid that as soon as lowered my guard and fell asleep, the nightmares would attack, after everything I had gone through during the day, I knew I couldn’t let myself vulnerable to my own mind. But I also stayed awake because there was a lot of work to be done, I needed to supervise all the activities that my men were doing all around the Dominion. The army, working under my command, thanks to a few well positioned contacts, was in control of all the important government locations around the Dominion, and in some parts, they had also taken some of the most important streets, making sure there were no one able to protest or fight me. The rebellions we had contacted during the last years had agreed to stay quiet, and let us take control, they would only act if we did something to affect their people of if the situation got out of control. So far, people had been either too surprised or too afraid to do anything against me.
I had an important meeting early next morning. I had chosen that time to give the other two time to rest, but as soon as I saw Fatima and then Sofia through the video conference, I knew neither of them had been able to sleep.
“Good morning Sofia,” I greeted the old Queen, once we established communication with Aquarium. Without Emily and Faakhir we had felt comfortable enough to relax some of the security protocols around Aquarium, and Kimball had agreed to open all communications between us.
“Good morning Kaiserin, it’s a pleasure to be able to talk to you again,” Sofia said, but I couldn’t be sure if she was as sincere as she seemed. It was the first chance I had to directly talk to her since I had killed her daughter. I had been able to send her a message telling her what had happened and asking her to have a meeting with me, but I haven’t been able to explain.
“I’m so sorry about everything, I know this is not how things were supposed to happen,” I sincerely told her, “I feel guilty for not being able to keep my promise, you were supposed to be with me when I faced Emily, and I couldn’t wait for you, I had to act before you were able to arrive.”
“Don’t worry Kaiserin, I understand. I know you wouldn’t have done it if there was another way. A part of me regrets not having a last chance to talk to my daughter and try to make her understand, to change her mind, but another part of me knows just how pointless it would have been, and that maybe it was better this way. I even prefer it, maybe I’m being a coward, but I’m glad my daughter didn’t have another chance to hurt me like she did so many times before.”
“Even so, I’m sorry for your loss, I know this is not how you wanted it to end. I would like to tell you that you lost your daughter to Faakhir’s manipulations, and that it was his mind control that changed her, but I know that you wouldn’t believe me. He did give help her become the woman she was, but it was something that would have happened with or without him.”
“I know that, and that’s why I don’t want you to feel guilty about what happened. I always knew she would end like this, no matter how much I wished for a different ending,” she said, and I felt a weight I didn’t realize I was carrying, lifting from my shoulders.
“Now that we cleared things up, I think it’s time to discuss our next steps.” I still was having trouble with the fog of the future, that’s why I needed them. I did my best not to let them know how worried I was, but I knew that if anyone would be able to help, it was them. They were both experienced Seeress, and they had proper training behind them. “First of all, I need to confess that the reason I was taken by surprise by Emily and Faakhir was that my powers are not working properly, I haven’t been able to read the future in a while. The last few times I even tried the paths were changing so fast that I couldn’t see a thing, and it was almost impossible to move in there.”
“We are approaching a critical moment in our history. It’s not the first time something like this happens, every time the world is reaching a turning point, the future becomes hard to read. Right now you can’t go into the fog alone, you need a guide or a helper if you want any chance of walking the paths,” Sofia explained. Her words reminded me of another time I had been unable to read the future on my own, only that time I had assumed it was because I was inexperienced, and since Melchizedek had been there for me, I hadn’t realized the two situations were the same.
“I can still see the near future,” Fatima said, “but it’s not as clear as usual. I think that for now, we should just let Kaiserin to keep going, to take over the Dominion and act as always. I think we should keep Sofia and William out of the spotlight for a little longer. They are safe, as long as they stay in Aquarium. Once Kaiserin takes control, officially, a lot of things can go wrong, it’s better if we keep best cards hidden.
Fatima’s words made sense, I knew we still had a lot of enemies hidden in the shadows, and it was the perfect chance to bring them out in the open. It was in our best interest to keep their targets contained, so when they decided to attack, their focus would be on me. It would be also good to not let them know just how many allies I really had.
“I agree with Fatima,” Sofia said. “I think that for the moment we should wait. I know I’m asking too much of you, but if you could keep pretending to be that person, and take over my daughter’s position, I would be grateful. I hope you can start working on healing all the damage Emily did, I know you are the only one who can do it.”
“I will do my best to keep things in order, and to get rid of our enemies, but remember, the plan has always been for you to take back the power, you are supposed to be the savior, not me. Sooner or later you and William will have to take back your rightful positions.”
“Kaiserin, you were born to rule, just like me, maybe even more. Your place is at the top, you are supposed to rule, either the Empire, or the Dominion, and you are here right now.”
We kept talking for a while, we still had some things to define, actions that would have to be taken the next days, but there was something very important that I had to do that day, and soon the time to officially take control of the Dominion was approaching.
My meeting with the Representatives and Ambassadors was approaching fast, I had to see them at noon, that meant that I didn’t have much time to prepare before I had to face them. I didn’t want to go to war with any of them, and I hoped that all of them would recognize me. I knew that their words that day wouldn’t guarantee that they wouldn’t fight me in the future, but it would give me time to try and fix things before they had the chance to attack.
Before facing them, there was something else I had to do. I called Connor, the guard in charge of the school. I had been able to communicate with Ethan using my powers, so I knew he was ok, but I needed to know how the rest of the kids were before I spoke to their parents.
“Connor, report.” I asked, as soon as he answered my call.
“Some of the parents of the kids tried to get them out of the school yesterday, but as you asked me, I made sure no one left the building.”
“Good job. How are the kids?” I asked, I needed to know if the situation had affected them and how.
“All of them are ok, some of them are scared and most of them are worried, but in good health. Most of them are familiar with the hostage procedure and know what is expected of them. They are more worried about their parents than their own well being.”
“That’s the problem with war kids, they lose their innocence too soon, and learn to face the cruel side of life,” Kimball said, I hadn’t noticed he was there and that he was listening to my call, but I was glad to have him there, I always appreciated his support. “Those kids are smart enough to know that if they are being held it’s because something is required of their parents, and they are being used as to force their parents to do something they don’t want to do, and they feel guilty because of that.”
“It’s a necessary evil,” I said, “if we can convince their parents of accepting me as the new leader of the Dominion and swear their loyalty to me, we will be saving a lot of lives that would be lost in a war. They all think I’m a monster, a demon incapable of showing mercy. They think I could kill their kids without a second thought about it, and that will help me keep control, at least for now. Soon their parents will recognize me, and then we will be able to let the kids go back to their lives. In the meantime, I trust you to keep them under control, Connor.”
“I won’t fail you, you have nothing to worry about,” Connor said. “I will be waiting your new orders.”
I left the room, and Kimball followed me as I made my way to the Congress. Once we arrived at the public part of the palace, Kimball moved away from me so he could pretend that we were enemies and that he didn’t want to be by my side. I knew that it was just part of the act and that it was in our best interest to pretend we weren’t in good terms. The idea behind the act was that Kimball could become the bridge between me and the rest of the Dominion, a friendly face they could trust.
I took the same path I had taken the previous day, and I arrived at the same place where I had faced Emily, and was glad to see that it was full, it looked like they were all there. In a monitor I could see the faces of some of the leaders of different countries around the Dominion. For the next few hours I heard the Representatives and Leaders of the different countries pledge their loyalty to me and my new government. They were all there, and I was glad to see that things were going according to plan.
I was reminded of previous occasions when I had been in the same or similar situation, it reminded me especially for the day I had taken my place as Empress of the Dark Empire. That had been a day that had filled me with pride and satisfaction. Having the Dominion under my command didn’t feel as good as that, for some reason I didn’t feel as happy. I was glad I had been able to do my part, and I couldn’t deny that I was glad to be back at the top, but I felt like I still had a long way to go.