Malkia was starting to think that all the warning and horror stories she had been listening to the last few years were nothing but lies. Dendro had been nervous from the moment they arrived at the Palace’s territory, he couldn’t stop looking around, as if he was expecting an ambush at any moment, but so far they hadn’t found any problems, and Malkia was starting to relax. When they arrived at the area they would be staying in, one that they had been warned was private and not many were allowed inside, Dendro’s attitude had become even more cautious. Greca was the first to notice the change, but Malkia noticed not long after, and then she noticed a pair of imperial warriors coming their way.
“Dendro, it’s nice to see you again,” one of them greeted him, with a familiarity that Malkia was sure wasn’t well received.
“It’s a pleasure to have you again with us,” the other warrior said, his attitude a lot more respectful, “it’s an honor to hav…” the warrior’s eyes had been looking over them, and when his eyes made contact with Malkia his words died out and his attitude shifted completely. The warrior next to him noticed the chance and looked over to see what had caught his attention, and when he found it, his attitude also changed. “You have a lot to explain,” the warrior told Dendro, all his respect gone and his attitude turning aggressive.
“Nothing to explain, Maddan,” Dendro said. “Agis, I’m sorry I can’t say the same to you.”
“She looks like a very close copy of Kaiserin,” Agis, the other warrior said, “and for years you told us you had no idea where she was.”
“I don’t know where Kaiserin is, just that she trusted me with the care of her daughters. If she wanted you to know about this, she would have told you herself.”
“Daughters? Plural?” Maddan asked, his eyes going again over the group and stopping on Greca.
Greca felt his mind trying to read her thoughts, but with just a little effort she managed to avoid the invasion, mostly because Maddan didn’t press on with his attack.
Several hurried steps could be heard in the hallways, and soon another three warriors were with the group, two men and a woman. The three were looking at the group with open curiosity, all three of them staring at Malkia.
“Dendro? Is there something you would want to share with the group?” one of the warriors asked.
“I asked the same question,” Maddan said.
“What’s your name?” the woman asked Malkia. “And who is the young lady with you?”
“My name is Malkia, I’m Antrax’s partner and this is my sister Greca,” Malkia knew why the group looked so interested in her, but she didn’t try to offer more information.
“Your son’s partner?” Agis asked. “After the unfortunate accident of your own partner, I would expect you to take her as your partner.”
“I respect both Kaiserin and my son too much to do something like that,” Dendro said.
A heated discussion started between Dendro and the Imperial warriors, especially the first two they found, and after a while nor Malkia nor Greca fully understood what they were talking about, but they knew that the fight was about their mother and what they thought they deserved from her. After a few minutes they heard laughter from the other side of the hallway, and Malkia was surprised to see Kimball walking their way.
“What are you laughing about?” Agis asked.
“It’s fun watching you fight over something you already lost, especially since I have it.”
“You don’t even know what we are talking about,” another of the warriors pointed out.
“The correct term would be to say someone they lost, not something,” Ethan corrected at the same time the other talked, and that caught the attention of a couple of the warriors, the ones that haven’t been part of the discussion and therefore were more focused on what was going on around them.”
“Who do you think you are to interrupt our discussion'” Maddan challenged him.
“Father?” Greca chose that moment to ask, “What are you doing here?” Her words left the group in silence, some making the connection faster than others. Since Greca was Malkia’s sister, and Malkia was so obviously Kaiserin’s daughter, then that meant that Greca was also her daughter, and if Kimball was her father, that would make him Kaiserin’s partner.
“You shouldn’t have said that?” Ethan complained, “you are only encouraging him, encouraging his bad attitude.”
“I think you forgot a few things the last time we saw each other,” Malkia told Ethan.
“Do you think so? I believe everything has its time and place, that wasn’t the right moment.”
“I don’t appreciate you being here, especially since our mother insisted I had to stay away from the Palace for so long. What makes you so especial?” Malkia complained, her frustration so bad she forgot to think about the consequences of her words before speaking.
“Well, for starters, I’m not a copy of her, and if no one had said anything about me being her son, no one would have found out, I would have been able to enter and leave without anyone knowing about it, that gives me an advantage, one you can’t have while looking so much like her,” after his words Malkia looked around and realized everyone was watching them and listening to their conversation.
“There is no way this could be true. Kaiserin would never stoop so low as to have relations with a mutant,” Agis complained, using the word mutant as an insult.
“I don’t see how it would be bad for the most powerful psychic in the world to be with the most powerful mutant in the world,” Ethan said, speaking out for his father.
“I think our mother was being way too protective asking me to hide with the Assassins for so long,” Malkia said, still bothered with the situation and Ethan’s presence.
“Do you want to know why she insisted you needed to be away from this clan? Take a look at General Agis’ mind,” Ethan told Malkia, but it was Greca who took the initiative, and she didn’t like what found on his superficial thoughts.
“Ethan is right, you should see what he is planning,” Greca said, “he is thinking of going to the Emperor and request for you to be taken from the Assassins and put under his supervision, he will claim you belong to the Imperial Clan, but his intentions are…” Greca didn’t go on, she simply let Malkia borrow her powers so she could see the same things she was seeing.
Agis wasn’t going to stay still, as soon as he felt the sister’s minds, he started building barriers in his mind, but their curiosity and combined power was enough to tear them apart, still, Agis had an advantage over them, one that fell apart when a third mind joined them.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Agis complained. “Get out of my mind immediately.”
“Who do you think you are to try and take my partner?” Antrax, who had been quiet until then, asked. “I don’t care who Malkia’s mother was, she is my partner and she stays with me.”
“I said, out of my mind!” Agis repeated, attacking Ethan, who was the closest to him, but before he could connect, Kimball shook off the cuffs and grabbed Agis by his jacket, throwing him against a wall.
“I was waiting for you to give me a chance to do this,” Kimball said with a smirk, as he hit Agis against the wall again and again, but then his movements started to get slower, several threads of hair started wrapping around him, holding him still.
“It’s not that I don’t appreciate someone knocking some sense into Agis,” the woman said, “but I can’t let someone just attack an Imperialist in our own stronghold.”
“How is it possible for him to free himself?” Maddan questioned the warrior that had been escorting Kimball and Ethan. “And the kid is supposed to have his powers blocked before being allowed to enter this part of the Palace.”
“And we did,” the warrior answered, picking up the cuffs, “we even tried with a few other kinds, this are the strongest ones, and he said he wouldn’t be able to break this ones.”
“And I didn’t, I opened them,” Kimball said, he had been forced to let Agis go, his movements growing slower and more difficult.
“And I checked that the blocker was working myself,” the warrior said, “besides, he was classified as an empath, there was no reason to think he could do something like this.”
“I’m sorry,” Ethan said, but it was obvious he didn’t mean that, “but blockers make me feel weird, so I disabled it. And even if empathy is my main ability, I’m actually classified as a hybrid.”
Before they could continue the discussion, a flare enveloped Kimball, burning all the hair wrapped around him, freeing him from the bondage and returning him his freedom of movement. His dark skin showed a few burns that were healing before the eyes of the other warriors.
“I will take care of them,” Maddan said, and by the way his subordinate was acting, it was clear that more had been added telepathically.
“You feel dangerous,” one of the men told Ethan, “I can’t figure out why, yet.”
“I think, uncle Kozlak, that is because you can feel my confidence, and there’s only two kind of people that would be this confident in the middle or enemy territory, those that are incredibly stupid, and those who are very strong, and since you know who my mother is, you should know I’m not stupid. Knowledge is power, and I’m carrying quite the arsenal.”
“And what do you know?” another of the warriors challenged him.
“I know your name is Geb, and that you served under my mother’s command, and I also know you were with the group who found her and helped her get her memory back.”
“This is not the moment to be talking about that,” Agis said, he had managed to get Kaiserin’s children’s minds out of his, and had moved to where Malkia was standing. “Why don’t you come with me to a private space where we can discuss the situation more calmly?”
“She is going nowhere with you,” Antrax quickly answered, stepping between him and Malkia.
“You are wasting your time, Agis, Malkia won’t fall into your hands,” Kimball said.
“You think you can stop me?” Agis challenged him.
“I made sure, a long time ago, that if you dared put your hand on her, it would be the last thing you did,” Kimball said, with a menacing smile, while Maddan was checking the cuffs, probably looking for a way to put them back on Kimball, but he eventually decided it would be a waste of time.
“What do you mean by that?” Agis asked.
“If you were paying attention, Agis, you would have already noticed that she is Antrax’s partner, and he is the heir to the Assassins, there is a very particular characteristic that they must have so their union can be possible. I agree, we have a lot to talk about, and this is not the place for that,” the woman looked around, they were still in the hallway and sound could carry in that place.
“I have no problem with that,” Malkia said, “I too have a lot of questions. But I don’t want him to be with us,” she said, pointing to Agis, who still looked a little out of control.
“Don’t worry, we will make this first meeting a family affair.”
“And what about me?” Geb protested.
“You can come as my partner,” she said, and noticed Maddan’s stare. “We could include those two in the reunion, and you could come with the excuse of guarding them,” she suggested, pointing Kimball and Ethan.
“No matter how attractive the idea sounds, I have my orders with regards to these two, and now that I’ve seen what they are capable of, I think it would be best if I take care of them personally.”
Both Kimball and Ethan smiled at that, the similarities between the two becoming even more clear thanks to the identical expressions on their faces.
‘Will we see each other soon?‘ Greca asked Ethan using telepathy.
‘It depends, if everything goes well, it’s probable that we will make a lot of enemies and will be forced to leave the territory fast to avoid problems, the other option is that we will end in the dungeons.‘
‘Take care, there is a lot you still have to explain,‘ Greca warned.
‘You too sister, remember that you are in a greater danger than I.’
Greca had seen Agis mind and his hidden desires, she knew that Malkia was the one in the greatest risk, but she also knew that the attention could easily shift to her once they found out she was also Kaiserin’s daughter.