Chapter 11

“Is everything ready?” I asked Fatima, who had been with me all morning.

“Everything it’s ok,” she said, but I could tell she was a little distracted.

“What’s wrong?”

“Something weird was going on in the fog, I couldn’t get a good reading as to what was going to happen today, and I couldn’t contact Sofia to see if she could see something different.”

“I haven’t had a chance to get into the fog, but I talked to Sofia yesterday and she told me that everything would be fine today.”

“I haven’t seen William yet, did you?”

“No, I’m afraid he is late, he decided to go to the old house outside the city where he used to live, he asked to spend the night there.  He should arrive soon, but that’s ok, in a way it will be better if he arrives and surprises everyone.”

“It’s time to go,” David announced, opening the door just far enough for us to hear him.

I just waved Fatima goodbye and stepped outside to head to the Congress room, where all the Representatives, Ambassadors and other government people was already waiting.  As we expected, the universal translators had arrived on time and everyone had one, Kimball had tested them and said they were working perfectly, with their help nothing would be lost in translation.

I could feel the weight of everyone’s stares as I walked inside the room, Kimball was already there, wearing his gala uniform, as general of Mzansi’s army, a look that only helped to keep the idea that he would be the next King of the Dominion.

“Thank you for being here,” I said in a tone just loud enough to be heard.  “I believe that most of you know why I called you here, but for those that don’t know, I want you to know that my mission from the start was to reestablish the old system.  Right now I have the titles of Queen, Prime Minister and President of the Dominion, but today I will relinquish one of those titles and I will return the title of King to its rightful owner.”

“Kimball is not the rightful heir,” someone yelled from the other side of the room.  I couldn’t see who said that, I could easily find out who had, but I wasn’t worried about it.

“Before, the King or Queen was also known as the High Judge, that person was also in charge of applying the law and giving justice.  Emily was not the right person for that position, and all she did with it was abuse the power it gave her and corrupt it.  The new King won’t be like that.”

“Kimball has been covering your crimes for years,” Kozak said, “that makes him an accomplice and the worst person to fill that position.”

“As you know, or should know, when Queen Sofia left her position, she left it to her son Charles, going over Emily.  As Charles died and no one ever found out what had happened to his son, the crown went to Emily, and after Emily’s death, who didn’t have any heirs, the next in line is her brother William.”

“It will take a long time to go over all the succession line until we reach Kimball,” Representative Arctander protested.

“It’s not necessary to go that far,” I said, acknowledging for the first time one of their comments.  I gave David the signal and he opened the door.  William walked in and the room fell into complete silence, only to erupt in noise a second later as people started screaming protests and accusations.  I hit the podium with my palm, using my powers to amplify the noise and with that the room went back to silence.  “Let me introduce to you your next King, the son of former Queen Sofia, and younger brother of Charles and Emily.  The rightful heir of the crown, King William III.”

“William is dead,” someone yelled, breaking the silence.

“Good afternoon everyone.  I know that you are probably surprised by my presence, and I know that most of you heard from my sister that I died in the same accident my brother did.  The truth, that most of you know or at least suspect, is that my sister killed my brother, but left me alive, not because she felt bad about killing a relative or because she liked me, but because she used me, for years, as a tool to control my mother and force her to help her with her nefarious plans.  Once my sister decided my mother was no longer useful, I lost my usefulness too.  I should have died years ago, but Kaiserin saved me, and now she is giving me back my rightful place as King of the Dominion.”

Again the noise went up as people talked and questions were asked all at the same time.  The translators were doing its best to work, but there were too many voices and most of what was being said was getting lost.  A question managed to rise above others.

“Are you willing to work with the woman who killed your mother?”

“I know that Kaiserin is accused of a lot of crimes, and I know that as the Judge it’s my job to go over the evidences and judge if a person is innocent or guilty based on the laws that as King I swear to follow.  Because of that, my first action as King of the Dominion will be to judge Kaiserin and decide if she is fit to keep her position.”

“What the hell are you doing?” I asked William, that was not what we had agreed on.  “This is not part of the plan,” my men looked confused and didn’t know how to act, but a few people weren’t surprised by the turn of events.

“I have a file with all the crimes you have been accused of.  According to the old laws of the Dominion, no person is fit to rule over us unless she is innocent of any crime.”

“I offer my services as a lawyer to defend Kaiserin,” Jean Dupont, Madelaine’s brother-in-law offered.

“Agreed,” William said, and another wave of furious yelling started.

“Are you going to defend the woman who destroyed your brother by killing his wife?” one of the Ambassadors asked.

“Why do you assume she was involved in the death of my sister-in-law?” Jean asked, his voice full of suspicion.

“Maybe because he was involved in my kidnapping,” Madelaine answered, her physical aspect changing in front of everyone, her skin and hair getting lighter, morphing in front of everyone to the aspect we all recognized.  “I’m sure he is still mad that Kaiserin ruined his plans with me when she saved me from Faakhir.”  Madelaine’s presence caused a bigger reaction than William’s.  “Some men can’t take no for an answer, and he helped Faakhir, hoping that once he was done with me he would get his turn.”

“Madelaine, what are you doing?” I asked, still feeling out of control and a little lost.

“I won’t let them blame you for something you didn’t do, you saved me, and I won’t let you try to punish you for my kidnapping, or my supposed death.”

“I will wait until the preliminary trial to present the motion to dismiss the charge for Madelaine’s murder,  and I will present another 54 motions to dismiss other murders.  Some of the murder charges, I will ask to be changed to self-defense,” Jean said.

“Enough!  This has gone too far.  Who do you think you are to do something like this?  I won the right to rule this place, and this game of you is unacceptable.”  I told William, trying to understand what was going on.

“You gave me the right to judge you when you named me the King.  This is the best for everyone.”

“This is not part of the plan, you can’t do this,” by then, most of my men were placed around me, and Kinball had moved to my side.

“It wasn’t part of the plan to kill my sister either, you were supposed to give me the chance to face her.”

“I won’t accept this.  Did you forget who is in control?  Did you forget who saved you from death?  Is this how you pay me?”

“You asked me to come here and do my job.  This is me doing my job, it’s my duty to make sure that no criminal is in charge.  You are not the only one who is going to be facing trial, I will clean this place.  It’s like with the man Madeleine just accused of wrongdoing, he will be charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping and any other charges that my people can find.  But I’m going to start with you.”

“This is for the best,” Sofia said.  I realized that she was being escorted into the room by a very confused Yoweri.  In that moment I understood that Sofia and William had conspired to fool my people, and that only helped to fuel my anger.  “This is the best way to proceed,” she said, her voice so soft only I, and people close to us, would be able to hear her.

Sofia walked to the podium I had used a few minutes ago, and that her son was using, and put her hand on his shoulder, so he would give her space.  Sofia’s sudden appearance had rendered the room silent once again.  Most people in the room had attended her funeral, cried for her, heard the stories of how I had murdered her in her garden, with her daughter’s blessing.  Her death was one of the main reasons people hated me, because even if Sofia had been by her daughter’s side, they didn’t forget how good she had been to them as a Queen, and they all considered her another victim or her daughter, not an accomplice.

“Mother?” William asked, not just confirming her identity, but prompting her to speak.

“Things are not always what they look like,” Sofia said, breaking the silence.  “When my daughter started seeing me as a threat to her rule, she decided to get rid of me, but she sent the wrong assassin to do the job.  She asked Kaiserin to kill me, but instead, Kaisern offered me protection and a second chance.  She also gave me my son back.  I know you all expect this trial to show how unfit she is for the position she took from my daughter, but it will only show how right she is to rule the Dominion.  I’m grateful for the offer from Dupont to represent Kaiserin, and I offer my testimony to prove her innocence in most charges.  And I want to add, that I’m as guilty as her for those charges she is guilty of, because we worked together for years.”

“That’s not possible, she has to be controlling them,” a voice yelled from the back of the room, “they are trying to trick us.”

“No, we are here to try and fix what my sister broke,” William said.  “Kaiserin,” he said, turning to face me, his voice full of power.  “Could you tell me…” he started to say, but I used my powers to grab his neck and cut his words.

“How dare you use your power against me?  Did you forget who taught you to take advantage of your powers?”

“Kaiserin, calm down, we are together in this,” Sofia said, moving closer to me, but I was beyond mad at that point, mad at her betrayal.

“We were,” I said, and as soon as she was near me, I slapped her and sent her to the floor.  “We had a deal, and you broke it when you decided to go behind my back.  Remember that this alliance between us, it’s only valid as long as you are useful to me, when your usefulness runs out, so will our alliance.  I promised you would get to be King, so I will keep my word and let you play your games.  You have a week, in a week I will take control once more.  If this doesn’t work out in my favor, then I will just grab control by force once more, and I will make sure that no one will dare to get involved in my business again.”

“I’m sorry, but that’s not how things work.  I’m afraid that I will have to put you under arrest.  But I promise I will take care of this as soon as possible,” William explained.

“An who is going to arrest me?” I asked.  “The soldiers still loyal to the crown are not match to the ones loyal to me.  Are you going to start a war just a few minutes after assuming your new role as King?”

“Don’t make this more difficult.  You know you need me by your side.”

“That’s not true, I could do what I should have done years ago and kill you and your mother, and take the crown back, keep being a tyrant.”  I moved closer to William and whispered to him.  “Or I could go looking for your nephew, your brother’s son, the true heir to toe crown, I’m sure I can make sure he remains loyal.”

“What? But… What are you talking about?” William asked, confused, waiting for an answer I had no intention to give him.  “Come back here!” he ordered as he noticed I was moving out of the room.

I could feel him moving after me, but my men surrounded me, creating a barrier he couldn’t break, and making me feel better, knowing I still had people on my side.  I couldn’t get over the fact that I had been betrayed once again by people I trusted completely.  I stepped out of the room and found Reka and Konstantinos waiting for me, both of them looked worried and that only made me realize that there were more problems to deal with.  I could hear Kimball discussing back in the room, but I couldn’t focus on what he was saying, I needed to find what had them so worried.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m not sure how it happened,” Konstantinos said, “but we were just informed that the people from Aquarium it’s arriving at the Towers, most going to their old homes or to their relatives.”

“This can’t be happening,” I said out loud, even as I realized that William’s and Sofia’s betrayal was even worse than I originally thought.  “The army is still under my power, that means that we can still act, we need to declare Martial Law immediately if we want to keep control of the situation.  I want the army on the streets, no one gets in or out of the city and I want increased security around the Towers, it’s possible that with the arrival of the refugees some our enemies decide to act, we can’t allow that.”

“Understood,” Reka said, “we will start working on that right away.”

Ivan,‘ I called with my mind, ‘I need you to go pick Ethan from school.  Things can become dangerous and I need to know he is safe.‘  I read an affirmative answer on his mind and I moved to the next step.

“Kaiserin?” Sofia called.

“No!” I yelled as I turned to face her.  “You don’t want to be near me right now, it’s hard enough to control myself right now, all I want right now is to break your neck.  For your own safety, stay away from me.”

“It’s for the best, Sofia, your action today did a lot of damage,” Fatima said.  “We trusted you and you fooled us, you hid your plans from us.  We are supposed to be a team, and you manipulated the situation to stop us from seeing what you were planning.”

“My son thinks this is the best way, the trial will show that all the action taken these years have been for the good of the Dominion, people will see you for who you really are,” Sofia said.

“That was never the plan and you know it.  We looked at all the options and decided that that was not the best way.”

“You said it yourself, plans change.”

I wasn’t in the mood to hear her excuses, so I signaled my people to follow and walked away, heading to my suite.  I knew that I was partly to blame, experience had already taught me that I should trust no one, that no matter how close people were to you, no matter who they were, people could betray you any time.  Even people you could swear would give their lives for you, could change their minds any moment and stab you in the back.


Bonus 3

“It’s finally happening,” Pierre told his wife.  Madeleine didn’t look like she used to look.  When she had been kidnapped by Faakhir, when he tried to make her one of his lovers, Pierre had thought he would never be able to see her again.  For a long time he mourned her death, he had been depressed for a time, and then he had gotten together with some people that loved her almost as much as he did, and worked towards making her killers pay.  It had been a miracle that she had returned to him.  She wasn’t the same physically, now she looked like a mzansier warrior, with beautiful dark skin and dark hair.  Most people thought she was a killer sent to punish him for trying to get Kaiserin killed, but that she had fallen in love with him and decided to stay by his side and protect him from the evil Kaiserin.

“We knew this time was coming,” Madeleine said, “but I thought they would let us know about it before i happened.”  Madeleine had been one of Aquarium refugees for a time, but then she realized her brother and husband were trying to kill Kaiserin and she had asked her to let her go back, she needed to make them understand that she was ok, because if she didn’t, she was afraid they would either succeed in their efforts to kill her savior, or Kaiserin would get tired and kill them.  It was a good thing that she could change her image and look completely different, that allowed her to hide in plain sight.  Many resented her husband for taking another woman, and especially a mzansier, but they didn’t care.  Just a few people knew the truth, but all of them were working with the resistance, and knew who Kaiserin really was, and what she was trying to do.  They were loyal both to Kaiserin and the cause, and they were committed to their people freedom.

“I’ll talk to your brother,” Pierre said, “I’m sure he will be able to convince the people in our government to support Kaiserin’s claim to the throne.  No matter what happens, the change is already starting, and it would be better if we can be part of it.  This will be our first step to take back our lives.”

“Things are definitely changing, and I’m sure it would be for the better.  The people in Aquarium love Kaiserin, they are few and live secluded, but they have everything they need and they are happy.  If Kaiserin can make the same happen in the Dominion,  it would be wonderful.”

“Things are already better now that Faakhir is dead.”

Chapter 26

I have been back from the Empire a couple of weeks and Emily had already recruited me to go with her on a trip.  I suspected that she wanted me to go with her just so I wouldn’t be alone with her husband, something had happened between Faakhir and some of the girls that have arrived at the Palace for the Festival, and that had made Emily’s jealousy skyrocket.  I had no problem going with her, because even if I missed Kimball, I preferred not to be close to Faakhir.  My illusions had worked on Faakhir and his interest wasn’t as strong as before, but the idea of having to use my powers to avoid him was enough to disgust me.  It was a good thing that I didn’t have to let him touch me, but just by watching his fantasies and making the illusions was enough to make me feel weak and vulnerable… Even Kimball wasn’t enough to keep the nightmares at bay after having to use my illusions on Faakhir, his fantasies were too similar to the memories I tried so hard to forget.

As I walked to Emily’s office to talk about the incoming trip, I found my way blocked by one of the Palace’s maids.  The young girl was in my way, and I was surprised by her actions, for a moment I thought of simply pushing her away, I had a reputation that would make it acceptable, but there was something about her that made me stop.  I could see her gathering her courage to speak to me, and again, I stopped and waited for her to say what she needed to say.

“Can you read my mind?” That wasn’t what I was expecting her to say, her question took me by surprise, but also reminded me who she was.

“I can do a lot of things, like making you regret you’re wasting my time.  Move, if you don’t want me to move you.”

“I know what you did,” she said out loud, but also her mind was screaming something else. ‘I know you killed my roommate, I can see energy and I saw your power move her body and push her.  It was you who caused her death.’

“If you know what I’m capable of, why do you keep bothering me?”  I couldn’t feel any negative feelings out of her, so I wasn’t sure what she wanted.  ‘If you think you can use that information to blackmail me, then you are mistaken, all you would accomplish is to end up like your friend.’

‘I know you saved her.  She was already dead, since Faakhir and the others started abusing her, she became someone else, but when she got pregnant, that’s when I finally lost her.  I think she was waiting for death, you set her free.’

‘It’s an interesting idea, and if you are done, I’ll leave, I have a meeting with Emily.’  I wasn’t sure why I kept talking to her, I shouldn’t have wasted my time with her, but I felt like I needed to listen to her, and the fact that she was communicating by having me read her mind and push my voice into her mind, told me that she didn’t want anyone else listening to us.

‘There’s someone else who needs your help.  I heard them planning the kidnapping of the wife of one of the Representatives, she doesn’t deserve what they are planning for her.  You helped my friend, I wanted to see if you would help her.’

‘Do you want me to kill her too?’

‘I want you to help her.  If someone can do it, it’s you.’

“I don’t know what you are thinking, but you are wrong about me.  Now move, it’s the last time I will ask.”  The maid moved, but I couldn’t help but listen to her mind as I walked away.

‘The wife of Representative Pierre Dupont will be arriving here at the Palace the same day Queen Emily is scheduled to go.  She is a well known artist, loved by many people.  She doesn’t deserve what they want to do to her.  No one does, but there are so many people who would do anything for her, there’s many people who love her.’

I couldn’t help but think about her words.  I hated Faakhir for what he did behind Emily’s back, and sometimes even in front of her, but I needed to worry about the consequences of my actions.  There was nothing I could do directly, if I got involved Faakhir would suspect me, his attention would move back to me.  The problem was that knowing what he was going to do, it would be very difficult for me not to do something about it.  I didn’t have a lot of time to act if I wanted, Emily’s trip was approaching fast.

“It’s about time you showed up,” Emily said as soon as I entered the room, “there is a lot we need to go over, we can’t lose time waiting for you.”

“All the planning is done, all is left is going over the details, everything is under control, I made sure of it.”

“It better be.  I need some time off, I need time away from Faakhir.  Maybe a few days without me will teach him to appreciate me more,” Emily said wishfully, not knowing that Faakhir was waiting to get rid of her so he could fulfill his darkest fantasies.  “After what happened to Faakhir in that trip a few weeks ago we can’t get overconfident.” Emily continued, making me forget about Faakhir’s plans.  “It’s hard to believe that even after all this time some people is still trying to change things.  Even you understood who is in charge, why can’t other people do it?  How hard it is to accept their place in the status quo?”

I decided not to answer, taking to Emily wasn’t worth it, she wouldn’t understand.  So I stood there, listening to her bullshit without speaking once, letting her vent her imaginary sorrows.  But as she talked, I started planning how to stop her husband from hurting another woman.

At the end the solution I found was simple, but dangerous.  There were many people and situations involved in what I wanted to do, so it was almost impossible to predict the result.  If everything went according to plan, then I would be able to save Madelaine, if not…  I had learned a lot about Madelaine in a short time, she was a legend, an actress that was loved by her public, not only in her country, but in all the Domain.  She had been out of the stage for years, but people still remembered her.

The group going with Emily was bigger than usual, which only made my job even more difficult, the more people there, the bigger the chance of someone finding out what I was trying to do.  I was especially worried about Thalia, she was a very strong telepath and if she paid attention to the details, she could piece together what was going on.

Once we were on board, a group of people moved around Emily, blocking her from me.  I didn’t need to be close to her to do what I had to do, but it was easier if I could at least see her.  As soon as the airplane started to gain altitude, I started talking to one of the guards.  Telekinetics couldn’t use their powers and have a conversation at the same time, using their powers required concentration, so I was sure no one would suspect me if I was talking to someone.  As I talked to the guard, I was using my powers to take the air out of Emily’s lungs, suffocating her.  I didn’t want to kill her, just scare her.  When the people around her noticed she couldn’t breath they immediately tried to do something.  The airplane was ordered to go back, and as soon as we started to descend I let my powers go, while trying to appear concerned, just like everyone else.

Since everyone knew that Emily hated me, I didn’t think that staying out of the way would be suspicious, so I let the rest of them take care of Emily.  After a while Emily decided that she was well enough to continue the trip and told the pilot to resume the flight.  As soon as we gained altitude I attacked again.  It wasn’t easy, I was expecting someone to notice the air current getting out of Emily, but everyone was worried about her so they weren’t paying attention to details like that.  Again the airplane turned around and went back to the ground.

Emily was taken to the infirmary attacked to the airport where she was checked by the physician.  I stayed away, but I could hear the different theories of what could have happened to Emily, most agreed that it was Emily who was causing herself the attacks.  The more likely diagnostic was that she was stressed, which caused Emily’s rage, because this trip was Emily’s chance to relax and be stress free, away from Capital City.  In a matter of minutes we were on our way back to the Palace.  When we arrived Emily tried to send us to the barracks, but someone insisted on escorting her back to her room, luckily for me, because I didn’t have to do it myself.

As soon as we arrived at the door of her apartment, we could hear a woman crying.  Emily ran the last steps and opened the doors, storming into the room, clearly mad.

“How dare you bring one of your whores to our room?!” Emily screamed.  The rest of the group entered the room behind her, most of them because they were curious to see what was going on, even if most of us already had a pretty good idea of what was happening inside.

The sight froze me for a moment.  Madelaine was naked, on top of a table, her body looked different than the last time I had seen her, her curves exaggerated.  One of Faakhir’s guards had a rope around her neck, while another, one of Jonas’ friends, Carmina, was holding a knife against her chest.  Faakhir was also naked, and clearly surprised by Emily’s presence.

“What are you doing here?” Faakhir asked.

“What are you doing? How could you? Can’t you even wait a day before you go grab one of your whores?” Emily didn’t seem to notice the bruises on Madelaine’s body or how she was being held down, she didn’t acknowledge her crying and her fear, she only saw an enemy, not a victim of her husband.

While Emily was yelling at Faakhir I used my power on her, suffocating her again.  I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but I needed to keep pushing.  I was surprised to see Faakhir run to Emily’s help when she started suffocating again and fell to the floor.  One of the guards that had been with us explained to Faakhir her previous attacks.  Faakhir was scared, he started screaming for help and I stopped my attack before Emily passed out.

“Emily.  Emily!  Are you ok?”  Faakhir asked when she started breathing again.

“I will be ok as soon as you get rid of her,” Emily said, pointing a trembling hand to Madelaine.  “I don’t want to see her ever again.”

“Of course, my men will take care of her right away,” Faakhir accepted.

“No! I don’t want her at the Palace, I don’t want her in my city, I want her gone, I want her dead.”  Emily tried to get up, but couldn’t.  Faakhir helped her to her feet and then she turned to face me.  “Kaiserin, I want you to get rid of that garbage, I don’t want anything left of her.”  I didn’t say anything, but turned my attention to Faakhir, as if I was confirming the order.  “Didn’t you hear me?  Do your job and kill that woman, I don’t want to see her ever again.”

“If that’s what you wish,” I said once Faakhir nodded, apparently he was worried about Emily and he didn’t want to add to her stress.

“Let me do the honors,” Carmina said with a twisted smile, lifting her knife over her head and letting it drop on Madelaine.

Madelaine managed to move her arm and intercept the knife, and that action gained her a deep wound on her arm, several inches long.  There wasn’t much Madelaine could do to protect herself, she was at disadvantage against Faakhir’s people.  The other guard pulled the rope and Madelaine moved her hands to the rope, trying to get enough room for her to breathe.  For them, she was just a toy they could play with, a toy to break.

While Faakhir was calling his people, getting ready to take Emily to the Hospital, the other two were pulling at Madelaine as if she was just a rag doll.  I used my powers to induce Madelaine in a deathlike trance, at the same time that I used a simple illusion to move her head in a way that would made it look as if I was breaking her neck.

Once they noticed their toy was already broken, they went to Faakhir.  I thought I was alone, but then I noticed someone else had stayed behind, and it was Thalia.  We were alone, and I wasn’t sure what to do.  My plan was to take Madelaine’s body out of the Palace, but with a witness it would be harder to treat her with the care and respect she deserved.  It was already a hard situation and Thalia was making it even harder.

“I always like Madelaine,” Thalia said.  “My father took me to many of her plays.  I liked her movies too, but her live presentations were the best.  Her powers made her the perfect actress, she could adapt to any role.  It’s a pity it also made her the target for a sick man like Faakhir.”  I was surprised by her words, she was supposed to be one of the loyal followers of the King, but maybe I was wrong.  Thalia walked out of the room, only to come back a minute later with a blanket that she used to cover Madelaine’s body.  “Do you need help moving her?”

“No, I can’t take care of that, don’t worry.”

“I hope so.  Take care of her,” Thalia said, and I wondered if she knew the truth of what I was doing, and if it was possible I could turn her into another ally.