Bonus 4

“Sensei, we have received a call, Faakhir is dead and Kaiserin’s people are requesting our support to keep the people in our country calm after this notice.”

Since Kaiserin had defeated their father, Katsuo and Kazue had taken over his work as protectors of their people, and had worked hard to keep the rebellion alive.  They had a network that covered the whole country, and they even had contact with the people who was hidding their Emperor, protecting him from Emily’s wrath.  It was important for them to keep him alive long enough for him to reclaim his throne and help rebuild their country, and that day was getting closer and closer.

“We will keep a low profile for now, I trust Kimball to call and explain the situation better, after that we will determine the next steps to take.  Until we are able to talk to our father, we need to be cautious and follow Kaiserin’s orders,” Katsuo said to his people.

“Still, we need to be prepared and be sure that our people is ready to act, just in case something happens,” Kazue added.

“They also told me that they are opening communication to Aquarium and that you will be able to talk to Sensei Ueshiba directly,” the soldier said.

“Those are excellent news,” Kazue said.  In the years since her father had gone away, she had learned to accept Kaiserin, but she didn’t trust her, not completely, but her father was someone in whom she trusted blindly, and being able to talk to him and get his advice was truly important to her.

“The moment we have been waiting for is about to arrive.  Our people is tired of being abused by the Dominion, they want freedom and the chance to rebuild their lives.  Right now I don’t care how, all I care is that we get our freedom back.”

Chapter 18

I wasn’t sure how I was going to fight Ueshiba in a way that could both protect him and make Faakhir satisfied, but I needed to figure out what to do, and fast.  At least I knew that he could understand me, I was worried that the language barrier could cause us even more problems, even with the help of mental talk, that could sometimes overcome languages, I wasn’t sure I would be able to get through to him, a person like him, with such strength could be very difficult to talk to telepathically.

Faakhir had managed to move the group to the patio, to a place where most of his disciples could watch us fight.  I was getting nervous, there was a lot at risk.  The man I was supposed to fight was someone important to Kimball, someone he respected and liked.  To fail in saving him meant to fail Kimball, and I wasn’t sure I could stand that, even if he said it didn’t matter, I knew he would resent me.

Faakhir told us to fight, but master Ueshiba didn’t move, he was just standing there.  I knew he was expecting me to attack, because that would give him the advantage in the fight, but only in a hand to hand combat, I had many long range attacks I could use.  I stood my ground and threw a wave of energy through the ground, making it break under our feet, that would give me the terrain advantage.  The master didn’t even flinch, so I used my powers to grab him and lift him in the air, just to buy some time.

As soon as I lifted him I noticed something weird, my mental hold, that was supposed to be perfect, wasn’t.  He was moving his body in a weird way, and my hold was getting harder to maintain.  It was getting too difficult to hold him, so I used a little bit more force to throw him up, and then I moved the ground to form some spears that would receive him once he fell.  The problem was that he moved again, and managed to dodge all my spears, he even got hold of a couple of them, breaking them and throwing them to me.

I needed to show him just who he was dealing with, so I decided not to dodge his attack, using my psychic wall to break the spears.  The sound of the spears hitting my wall and breaking was very loud, but that was good, it showed better just how strong my defenses were.  Despite the show we were giving them, none of us had done anything to harm the other, or to take any advantage over the other.

I used my powers to create a small whirlwind and fed it with sand, I knew that even if he managed to dodge it or escape it, the sand would at least harm him.  But despite my efforts, he managed to stay just outside of my whirlwind reach, and even if he was getting some burns because of the flying sand, it was nothing significative.  I felt like I was fighting Kimball, there were many similarities in their fighting style.  I dispelled the whirlwind and created more rock spears, I tried to take him by surprise, but I wasn’t fast enough and he managed to dodge every attack, he even took some of the spears and threw them back to me.  I tried to use my mental connection to the spears to attack him while he was holding them, but he noticed and changed his tactics.

I needed to do something drastic if I wanted to reach my goals.  The way things were going he would have the upper hand in no time.  I couldn’t keep going at the same rate for much longer, but he was fighting smart, barely wasting energy.  I took some branches from near trees and broke them into even smaller pieces, then I lighten them on fire before calling another whirlwind, my idea was to form a wall around us with the smoke and the fire, to hide us, to give me a chance to speak to him and get his cooperation.  Once he agreed I would use the lack of oxygen to make him pass out and make him look dead.

I thought it was a good plan, and I was sure it would succeed, but as soon as we were surrounded I had a bad feeling, I knew something bad was going to happen, I just didn’t know what.  I was on alert, trying to prepare for anything, but the attack still took me by surprise.  So far in the fight, I had moved first, so I was surprised when he initiated the attack, I was sure he knew just how dangerous his situation was and wanted to finish it.

“Wait a minute!” I asked him, trying to make my voice sound loud enough to be heard by him, but not by others.

“No time for words.  Many lives are depending on me.  Lives that you may not care about, but that are very important to me.”

“I know what you mean, that’s why I want to talk to you, give me a minute to explain.”

“I don’t have time to listen to a person without honor, to someone that sells her abilities to anyone with power.”  His words hurt, even if that was what I wanted people to think of me, it still hurt to hear people thinking I had no honor.

Before I could try to reason with him, he attacked again.  My double mind allowed me to keep the whirlwind going, and still fight, but I didn’t have my psychic wall to protect me.  I couldn’t let him hit me, or I would be in trouble.

My enemy was fast, and every one of his hits were perfectly positioned.  It was true what Kimball had told me, he could find anyone’s weaknesses and use them against them.  I felt at a disadvantage, and despite all my power I felt like I could die if I wasn’t careful.  Maybe he didn’t know it, but I had more to fight for than him.  He was protecting his people, same as me, but I was fighting for all the innocents in the Dominion, not only one country.  I knew that some sacrifices had to be done for the time being, but in the long run, I would save more lives.

For a moment I felt like I was taking control of the fight, but in reality, master Ueshiba had given me a false sense of security to force me drop my guard, so he could get to me.  His hit left me breathless, and broke my concentration.  I fell to the ground, trying to get some air in my lungs, while master Ueshiba moved over me.  What he hadn’t considered when attacking, was the consequences of breaking my concentration.  The whirlwind I had created exploded, and the branches flew in all directions, even master Ueshiba was thrown into one of the buildings, not the one we had been using before, it looked like one of the buildings that the refugees were using as housing.  I wasn’t sure, but I had to get there before he could get out of it.

I was still feeling hurt and bruised, short of breath, after his attack, but I needed to keep going if I wanted to finish the fight in my favor.  I couldn’t keep going much longer without getting a psychic headache.  I got near the building and noticed that some of the branches had fallen near it, and it was already catching fire, I knew that because of the materials it was made of, the fire wouldn’t take long to extend.  The idea of letting the families without homes didn’t sit well with me, but it also helped to build my image as a heartless bitch.

I got in and found master Ueshiba already getting up from the place he had landed.

“People like you don’t deserve this kind of power,” he told me, and I knew he was insulting me.

“People like me are the ones that should have it.  People who had fought all their lives to get it, people that knows the price you have to pay when you have not enough power, people who are willing to lend it to those who don’t have it.”

“You don’t seem the giving kind.”

“That’s because you don’t know me.”  I heard a commotion outside, and I knew that our little talk was safe, the rest of the people was too busy trying to stop the fire to pay attention to us.  “You know my husband, what do you think of him?”

“He is one of the best disciples I had.  He is a person I admire a lot.”

“And yet you think him to be so blind as to give his love to a woman without honor,”  I waited for my words to get to him, but he had already decided what to think about me.

“Love can make people make mistakes.  After the death of his family he lost his way, you are a clear example of that.”

“Nor my husband nor I want to support Faakhir or the Dominion.  We are looking for ways to finish them from the inside.  I’m afraid I have to stop you, because your actions put mine at risk, but I hope that once you understand what we are trying to do you would help us reach our goals.”

“I can’t be part of a group that condones the actions of people like Faakhir and his queen.”

“This is for the greatest good.  I just hope that sooner or later people will understand what we are doing.”

“No matter what happens, I won’t leave my people alone.  These people are here because they wanted my help and my protection, and that’s what I’m going to give them.”

“Your solution is only temporal, I’m offering a long term solution, it will only take more time to achieve.”

“I don’t know what you are offering, but I’m not interested,” with that he attacked me again, moving too fast to see.

The fire was extending and I could feel the heat reaching me.  I knew that I could be able to leave the place without problems, but I wasn’t sure what to do with master Ueshiba.  I couldn’t let him there, I couldn’t let him die.  Even if Kimball didn’t say it, I knew that he would have trouble accepting his death, and would probably blame me.  So I started to form a new plan.

Part of the floor was broken, so I moved to a place where I could connect to the ground and used my powers to build a ramp. At the same time I strengthened my psychic wall, I knew it could withstand his attacks for a short time, luckily enough time to finish what I was doing. I knew that once I finished, I would be exhausted and would probably have a psychic headache, so I needed to make sure the job was well done, or I would end up in a vulnerable position.

Once I finished clearing a space big enough for master Ueshiba to survive for a few hours, I started to move the different materials in the house. I needed to time it perfectly, because I knew that with someone like Ueshiba my task wouldn’t be easy.

“I hope that you will understand that I’m doing this to help everyone, even the people you are protecting. I hope that you will make the right decision and join us. If you decide to join me, you will live long enough to see the fall of the Dominion and the restoration of the old order. If you decide to go with Kimball, you will live to see a world without Faakhir. If you don’t, if you decide to show the world that I’ve been living a lie, that I haven’t been murdering, but saving people, then we will have to get rid of you. We can’t allow you to endanger people. You will have time. Think about this.”

I let the floor under him collapse, leaving him to fall into the room  I had created.  His quick reflexes allowed him to land without harm, while I was closing the space above wasn’t doing my job and he wasn’t doing my job any easier.  Taking several wooden stakes I let them rain over him.  He started to dodge my attacks, just as he had done before.  I wasn’t sure if it was because of luck or ability, but I managed to hurt him with one.  I knew that the injury wasn’t dangerous, but it was at his side, so it was painful every time he moved.  That gave me the time I needed to keep going.

Once I finished closing the space I knew he would be safe, and I let the rest of the building collapse over us. I knew Kimball was near, he would be able to reach his friend in time to save him, and if we were lucky, he would convince him to help us. After using so much energy I was exhausted, and I got a few scratches and minor injuries as I fought my way out of the rumble. The fire hadn’t touched me directly, but I felt my skin burned, it was red and tender, especially in my neck, where the burnt scar I had gotten from Vasuman was hurting like hell, making me remember another time.

Ueshiba’s son was the first to see me, and his face morphed into one of horror when he saw me alone, he ran to what was left of the building, but I put my psychic wall up and stopped his approach.  I needed time, I needed to convince Faakhir my job was done, and take him away from there before they started digging Ueshiba out.

“I’m sure that one of the supports fell on him and killed him, it was fast,” I said in a strong voice, making sure everyone heard me, even if most wouldn’t understand me. “Even if he wasn’t dead, the fire will finish the job. My part is done. Master Ueshiba is death.”

His son started screaming, trying to break my wall and get to his father. His daughter was smarter and she attacked me directly. I was too tired, and all I could do was dodge, but one of Faakhir’s men arrived and knocked her out with a hit to her head.

“I suggest you take care of the living and left the dead for later,” Faakhir said.  “Your father is dead because he challenged me and the Dominion’s power.  But I’m willing to show you mercy.  I will give you and your people a couple of days to mourn him.  I expect all of those who had stolen from me to go willingly to pay for their crimes at the concentration camps.  If they don’t go, my men will come and they will finish every single one of you.  Understood?”

I didn’t wait to see what their answer would be, Faakhir was doing what he did best, and I needed to send Kimball a message to tell him what had happened and what to do, and I really needed some rest. I was at my limit and about to collapse any minute, and when that happened, I needed to be in a safe place. Being vulnerable around Faakhir and his men was extremely dangerous, as much as being in a camp full of warriors ready to avenge their master.

Chapter 17

When I arrived at the airport, I found Faakhir waiting for me. I thought he was there to give me some last minute orders, but then I saw him getting into the jet and I started to worry. I went after him and I noticed that he was seated in the place next to where I liked to sit.

“Good morning,” I said, trying to sound respectful and not annoyed.

“Good morning Kaiserin. After thinking about it, Emily and I decided that it would be better if I went along with you. I want to meet the guy that thinks he can challenge my power, getting defeated by my most powerful followers.” I didn’t like his choice of words, but I tried to smile and appear submissive. “It also will be a good chance for us to get to know each other better.”

“That sounds good, but if you excuse me, I have to prepare for the mission. I spoke to Kimball, and even if he tried not to help me, he let some clues escape him, he says that this will be one of the hardest fight I will ever have. I need to prepare, I think I will try to take a look into the future and try to find out what I will have to face.”

“Haven’t you done that yet? Didn’t you have days to prepare for that?”

“I have told you that you give that woman too much credit,” Ivan said, as he took a seat near us.

“You just gave me a couple of days to prepare for this mission, it’s normal that I still have things to do. Please, don’t bother me during the flight, I will be meditating.” In truth, I was unsettled by Faakhir presence, I wasn’t prepared to have him there, having him so close would make speaking to the master more difficult.

I closed my eyes and pretended to be disconnected from my surroundings. Faakhir, as a telepath, knew how important it was to meditate and be prepared before a fight. I knew that it wasn’t what he had expected, he had said that he wanted to get to know me better, and I wasn’t acting out his fantasies. We still had the flight back, and I needed to find another excuse to avoid him.

“Are you sure she is the right person for this mission?” Jonas asked when we were a couple of hours into the flight.

“I am. She defeated the people we sent against her again and again. This is not only about her physical strength or even her powers. The advantage she has over everyone else is her precognition. She can see what’s about to happen and act accordingly. It’s not exactly the same as Emily’s mother, but her power is there, and is strong enough.”

“Are you sure that’s going to be enough to fight someone like Daisuke?” Ivan asked. “We can’t afford to underestimate someone like him.”

“You have seen what she is capable of. You can’t keep denying her power. Eventually, you will have to accept that she can get the job done faster and better than you,” Faakhir said. “There’s no need to be jealous,” he said, even when I knew he wanted exactly that, to create conflicts between us, “despite everything, you have valuable abilities and that’s enough to keep your place as part of my people. You have nothing to worry about,” but even as his words said one thing, his tone suggested another. He seemed to be saying worry, be better, you are getting obsolete. If I didn’t know that Ivan was on my side, I would have been worried by their talk. As things were, I knew that if Jonas wasn’t a problem before, he would be one after that.

We arrived at our destination and went to the Imperial Palace, a beautiful building, that according to Kimball, had been rebuilt twice, both times worked to look exactly like the original.  The Imperial Family had lived there for generations, but since it was in hiding, the Palace was empty, and it was the kind of place where Faakhir liked to stay at, so we would be there, temporarily.  I knew that the Imperial Family was safe, because they had the least relationship with Emily’s family among the Royal Families.  Emily had ties with practically every royal member in the Dominion, even Kimball, on his mother’s side, could be traced back to her if you looked hard enough at their genealogy trees.  But the Imperial Family wasn’t on the succession list, so they were safe from Emily’s craziness.  It was one of the reason that neither of them had bothered looking into their desaparicion.  I knew that it was possible they had something to do with the uprising, and if that was the case it could be necessary to kill them, or send them to Aquarium, but there was a strong possibility that they had nothing to do with the rebellion.

After arriving at the Palace and went and hide in one of the rooms.  I ordered the servants not to bother me, and continued with my plan to avoid Faakhir.  I didn’t want him to forget that he needed me as a warrior and tried to give a different position.  I could feel him walking around, looking for an excuse to enter my room, he even knocked on my door a few times, but I ignored him and he eventually left.  I think that he realized that it was better for him if I was ready for battle, so I could defeat his enemies, than to have me for a night.

Morning arrived faster than I expected, we were already on the move before sunrise.  Faakhir’s people had already located where the leaders of the rebellion were hiding, and we were going there.  They weren’t hiding in a city, they were at a place deep into the mountains, and it took us some time to arrive.  I was traveling in the same car as Faakhir, Ivan and Jonas.  There was another car in front of us, and another behind.  When we were close to our destination, close enough to see the buildings we were heading to, I had a bad feeling.  I was certain that something bad was going to happen.

“Stop the car!” I yelled at the driver, who luckily did as I told him immediately.  Just a few seconds after our car stopped, the one in front of us started sinking. A long stretch of ground had opened and I knew that if we haven’t stopped in time, we would be trapped, just like the other car, at the mercy of our enemy, the groups of people getting out of the forest around us.

“Do you see now why she is in charge of the mission?” Faakhir asked, making a difficult situation even worse.

“I’ll go and see what’s going on.  Iván, could you go and get one of their weapons?  If I can connect to it and figure out how it works I will be able to disable the rest.”

“I don’t follow orders from you,” he answered, with enough venom in his voice that for a moment, even I believed it, I even used my empathy to make sure he wasn’t angry at me.

“For the moment you do,” Faakhir said.  “And you too Jonas, whatever she asks, you do.”

“We need a distraction,” I told Jonas, taking advantage of Faakhir’s words.  “We need to keep the King safe, the better route is to hide him from our enemies.”

Ivan opened the door and then, in the blink of an eye, he was gone, just to reappear with the gun of one of our enemies in his hands.  The weapon wasn’t that much different from others I have used, so it was easy to find a way to disable them, it just took me some time to connect to all the weapons in the field.  Little by little the shooting stopped, as more and more warriors found their weapons obsolete.  They had no other choice but to fight us without weapons.  Outside our car it was chaos, but I needed to go there.

“Those two are master Ueshiba’s son and daughter, his top disciples,” Ivan told me, pointing to a couple standing alone, apart from the rest.

“Go to them, tell them we want to speak with their father, and that we will give them a chance to take us with him without resistance, or their men will start dying.”

“I will try, but it won’t be easy to convince them.”

“I’ll do the convincing, you just pass along the message.”

As soon as Ivan went away, I used my powers to create a tornado.  I tried not to make it too bit, I didn’t want to burn my powers before facing the master, but I needed to make it big enough to show our enemies the danger they were in.

A couple of warriors noticed what I was doing and came at me to attack. One of them had a couple of short swords, and I could see electricity dancing on the blades. Before he could get close to me, I used the already broken ground to create more obstacles on their way and slow them down, while I moved the tornado to their path.  Before they could dodge it, both warriors were trapped by the strong currents of air, just to be tossed against the trees with enough force to shatter bones.  Faakhir’s people were fighting, and I could hear some of our people shooting the enemy.

As soon as they arrived, the enemy started to disappear.  Soon the place was empty and the only ones left were the couple I had seen before, along with Ivan and an older man.  They moved closer and closer until they arrived to the place we were waiting at.  Faakhir was right by my side, Jonas on his other side.  The older man started talking, but I didn’t understand what he was saying, he was talking in a language I couldn’t understand.

Since I had arrived to the Domain, I had encountered a lot of new languages.  The main language of Mzansi was very similar to the one used by the Rebel Clans, so I didn’t have problems with that one, and after arriving I had learned a few other languages used there.  Some were easy and were actually similar to the ones used on the Empire and other parts of my old land.  But the language I was hearing was one I hadn’t heard before.  I wasn’t sure if Faakhir could understand it or if someone else was going to translate for us.  After a moment I had my answer when one of the  them started talking, his son, if Ivan was correct.

“The Sensei asks: What brings you here?  If this is a social visit, would you like to come have tea with us?”

“I think you know why we are here,” Faakhir asked.  “Your little rebellion is getting out of control, it’s time you stop playing around.  My government won’t stand any uprisings.”

Again the old man started talking and then the son translated.

“The Sensei says he doesn’t know what you are talking about, and invites you again to take tea with him.”

“I think it would be a good idea to take this conversation to the inside.  Tell your father we accept his invitation,” Faakhir said. The young man translated, and then they guided us to the interior of one of the buildings.

Only Faakhir, Jonas, Ivan and I went in, the rest of our men stayed outside, surrounding the place, and getting prepared for an attack if necessary.  We were guided to a plain looking room, I could see that Faakhir was disgusted by the place, he was used to luxury and was offended by the place, even if it was the best they could offer, they weren’t the type to be surrounded by expensive things, they liked things simple.

A young lady came in and started preparing tea.  I remembered Kimball talking about a tea ceremony, a tradition that was almost a ritual and was from the time before the Great War, before the world was divided, even before mutations and psychic powers.  For a moment a was lost in my mind, looking at the young lady preparing the tea, but Faakhir started talking and broke the trance.

“Are you stalling?  No matter what you do, you are in big trouble.  You have done a lot of bad things, you have turned against your government, you have spilled the blood of my soldiers.  What do you have to say for yourself?”

“The Sensei says that he never did what you say he did,” his son said, after translating Faakhir’s words and getting his father’s answer.

“All over this country people are fighting against the Dominion, disobeying our rules and refusing to pay their taxes.  My men say that the fights can be connected to you.  Everything points to you being behind this, and I don’t appreciate you trying to make a fool of me.”

“It’s not our intention to offend you,” the man said before his father had a chance to speak.  “My father has nothing to do with what is happening.  My sister and I have been in a few fights, but we have only tried to protect ourselves, we don’t want any problems, but when we see injustices, we can’t just stay away, we have to help.”

“And what about the men that attacked us just a moment ago?” Jonas asked.

“Those are refugees, people who lost their land and houses because of the conflicts in the country.  Some of them lost everything because they couldn’t pay anymore, some just had their properties taken in the name of the Dominion.  It’s people who lost everything they had and can’t give anything else.  It’s not fair to ask them for more”

“So, what you are saying is that you are not behind the rebellion, you are just hiding and protecting those who are?”

“People come here looking for protection, for a place where they can survive.  If they also want to improve themselves by training with us, we can’t deny them.  Some have been under my father’s teachings, or even us.  We don’t teach them to look for fights, but we can’t tell them not to defend themselves.”

“It looks to me as if you are training an army.  I think you are using your reputation to raise an army, using these people to do your dirty work.”

“That is not our intention,” the woman said, the sister of the one translating.  “You have to understand, the whole country is having difficulties meeting the Dominion’s demands.  Many people are on the streets, incapable of paying what the Dominion demands.  These people need a place where they can be safe.  We are just providing them with a place where they can be protected.  Everything could be back to normal if you could just forget about some of their debts.  Give them an opportunity to have their land back so they can work again.”

“Every person have a function in society, their function is to serve me.  If they can’t do their job, then I can help them do it better.  That’s why we have the camps.”

“That’s unfair, not to mention inhuman.”

“That’s reality.  It’s time for you to make a decision.  I’m a forgiving person, and I think that maybe you didn’t realize what was happening, maybe you didn’t know what the people you are protecting was doing.  I wouldn’t like to punish you the same way I’m going to punish them if this was just a misunderstanding.  I have a free space on my Elite Forces, and I think that your father would be a good match.”

The man started talking before his son could translate Faakhir’s words, and that only confirmed what I suspected, he understood every word being spoken.  I didn’t know why the pretense, but I suspected that Faakhir knew that the man understood him.  What surprised me more was that he let him keep pretending, as if they couldn’t communicate in the same language.  Maybe it was a weird way of showing respect.

“The Sensei says that he can’t accept your offer.  He is not a soldier or a bodyguard, he is a teacher.  He really can’t accept,” the man translated his father’s words.

“I’m afraid that there is only a way to do this.  We can’t let his people, this… refugees, keep looking at you as if you were their saviors.  Even if you weren’t the one that caused this problem, you gave these people hope, and that made them dare to rebel against me.  The only way we can stop them is by destroying their hope, and I can only think of two methods that can do that: Either you come work for me, so the whole world can see you supporting me, or you fight my best warrior so everyone can see their dear defensor being defeated by the Dominion,” Faakhir said.

“And why would I accept to fight your people?  What would I gain by that?” The old man asked, using Faakhir’s language, even if heavily accented.

“Because if you defeat Kaiserin, I’ll let you and your people alone, I could even forgive their debts and give them the peace and freedom they want.”

“And how can I trust you?  You have no honor.”

“You have no choice, you will have to do this.”

I saw the face of Kimball’s master change the moment he decided to accept the challenge, his eyes turned cold and he looked at me as if he could read in my face how to defeat me.  I hated to do it, but I knew that that man had to ‘die’.  The people under his protection would be at Faakhir’s mercy.  I wondered if I was doing the right thing, but I knew that like him, I had no other choice.