Chapter 13

As soon as I arrived at my apartment, I noticed we had guests.  I could hear the children talking in the living room and I moved closer, just to confirm my suspicion that Ethan’s friends were there.  I was happy they had visited him, especially because I could tell by their voices and the emotions getting out of the room, that Ethan had nothing to fear about his friends, none of them were blaming him for what had happened, maybe they were blaming me instead.

“Ethan?” I called, to let them know I was about to enter the room.

“Mother,” Ethan looked at me, a guilty look on his face, “we have visitors.”

“I see that,” as I looked around at the curious, but not scared faces of the kids, I realized they knew the truth.

“My friends came to visit, they are not mad at me for what happened, but still, I want you to allow me to explain the truth to them.”

“Why are you asking for my permission if you already told them everything?”

“I’m only covering my bases.”

“I see,” I went to Ethan, and I could feel his friends going on alert, staring at me, they were worried I would do something to Ethan, even if the fear I was expecting wasn’t there.  “You did good, I know how hard it was for you to hide the truth from them, and I’m grateful that you understood how important it was to keep the secret while there was the chance that Faakhir’s men or anyone else could intercept the information and endanger us.  Now things are different, and I’m glad you have friends you can trust with this.  I just want you to keep in mind that you have to be very careful who you trust, especially as some secrets are not only about you, and you never know who can get hurt if you trust the wrong person.”

“I’m sure none of them would betray my trust,” Ethan said confidently.

“We would never go against Ethan,” Hye Ki assured me, “we won’t betray his trust,” the rest of the group agreed on that.

“I know, that’s why I encouraged your friendship with my son, I know, thanks to my visions, that you will be his friends for a long time, and that you will support him.  I’m actually glad that my son has you as his friends, but I also know that things can change very easily and you never know what the future can bring, and even if my visions show me a good future right now, that only means nothing will happen short term, but things can change.”

“You say you encouraged our friendship? You were always against us,” Dmytro protested.

“And what better way to ensure that your parents wouldn’t intervene in your friendship that being publicly against it?”

“So you manipulated our parents?” Iñaki asked.

“You could say that, but I did it for a good reason.”

“That’s ok,” Dmytro said, “I get it, even after Ethan saved us from Jonas, twice, my father wouldn’t have accepted our friendship if he had suspected you had a good relationship.”

“My father already suspects that’s the case,” Hye Ki said, “he said it wasn’t a good idea for me to keep being Ethan’s friends, but he IS my friend and that won’t change, he wouldn’t do anything to hurt me, so I won’t either.”

“I appreciate it, and as I said, it’s good to see that he has such loyal friends.  Still,” I warned Ethan, “you need to keep in mind that even the people who could at one moment give their own lives for you, those who swear they would do anything for you, could change their mind and stab you in the back without warning.”

“Still mad at William?” Ethan asked.

“With him, and at myself, I should have known better, I should have already learned my lesson, one I hope you don’t get to experiment, at least not for a long time.”

“I know, even those you trusted the most could, and in your case, have betrayed you.”

“I wish you didn’t spend so much time inside my head, you are losing your innocence.”

“You know in my position is better to know so I can be prepared.”

“I don’t know what I was expecting, but this is not it,” Oliver said.  “Even after hearing my grandmother’s wonderful tales, I can’t help but think of you as a heartless assassin.”

“And still, you are not afraid,” I pointed out.

“Ethan said we had nothing to fear, and we trust him,” Iñaki said.

“I talked to my brother and he told me what had happened,” Hye Ki said shyly, “and I wanted to thank you for saving him and ask your forgiveness for all the bad things I thought about you.”

“Not sorry for trying to kill me?” I asked, taking the girl by surprise.

“Try to kill you?  When was that?” Ethan asked, and it was clear he was mad about it.  Hye Ki was blushing, feeling bad about the situation.

“You knew about that?”

“There’s little I don’t know.  Your parents also tried that, and they were almost successful, but I have to give it to you, you were the youngest one to try that, and not many people would have thought of something like what you did.  The small robot you used to carry the poison was, in my husband’s words, an engineering marvel, but I’m sure you could find better uses for it than trying to kill someone.  I suggest that next time you take some time to think about the consequences of your actions.  Think about it, what if you had succeeded?  Would you have felt better?  Or would guilt eat at you?  It’s not easy to take somebody’s life.”

“Even for you?” Dmytro asked.  “It’s clear now that you didn’t kill as many people as you were accused of, but you don’t seem to have a problem killing people, and I have seen the recordings of Emily’s death, and that wasn’t faked, she is definitely dead.”

“I grew up in a different place, where my options were to kill or be killed.  I don’t have a problem killing people who deserve it.  You could say I was forced to commit my first murder when I was about your age.  But things are different here, and you grew up with a different moral compass, one that says is not correct to kill, and puts a heavier burden on you when you do.”

“Can I ask you a question?” Hye Ki said.

“Of course, but I want you to be sure you want the answer.  I hope you already realized that I don’t know how to sugarcoat things, I say things as they are.”  She took a minute to think about it, and then asked her question.

“For a long time I have gone over that day, when you let my brother fall in my place.  I was sure I was going to die that day, and sometimes I think it would have been easier to let them kill me, to stop my brother before he acted, but you didn’t, why?”

“You are right, it would have been easier to stop him, but it wouldn’t have been easier on your father to lose you.  I didn’t know the whole story back then, but I knew your father had already lost a daughter, one your brother was a daily reminder of, and I knew how hard it would have been to lose another.  Any loss is painful, but I had the feeling that your father was going to be able to deal with your brother’s lost easier than yours.”

“So you did that for my father?  But…” Hye Ki didn’t finish her thought, but I could see that she was thinking about my words, they weren’t what she was expecting, and she was realizing that not everything they thought they knew about me was true, even if she couldn’t see that my motives were actually kind of selfish.  “You didn’t know us back then, there was no reason to do something like that.”

“Your father had already gone through a lot, he didn’t need to be tortured even more.”

“When my grandparents disappeared,” Oliver cut in, “when we thought you had killed the, there was a rumor, one my mother ignored, that said that Emily had ordered our deaths, and there was an incident when I thought we were going to die, just a few days before my grandparents’ death.  What’s the real story?”

“Your mother was too valuable to die, but since they didn’t assign her murder to me, I asked someone to stop the attempt from being successful, and then convinced Emily that her death wasn’t going to help anyone, and that it would be better to kill her parents, so she could see that the threat was real, and then used you and your brother to control your mother.  Since their deaths were assigned to me, I was able to take them to a safe place.  I’m sorry your grandfather didn’t survive, but I can assure you, there was nothing we could have done to stop his death, it was his time.”

“That’s what my grandma says.  I think that we have to thank you, not only for my grandparents’ lives, but also ours.  You don’t know much this means to us, thank you,” Oliver said, with all the formality the fifteen year old could use.

“Yes, thank you,” Iñaki added, copying his brother.

“I also have to thank you,” Dmytro said, “I didn’t know my grandparents as well as Oliver knew his, still I was very sad that they were gone.  Having them back and having a second chance at knowing them is a great gift.  And I know my father is very happy to have them back.”

“You don’t have anything to thank me for, I was just doing my job, what needed to be done.  You are making this a bigger deal than it is.”

“Maybe it’s nothing for you, but it’s everything to us,” Oliver said.

“Well, I know you didn’t come here to talk to me, you are here for Ethan, so I will leave you alone.”

I got up and prepared to leave when I heard a discussion from the direction of the entrance, and then I saw William and two guards walking towards me.

“We need to talk,” William said, his voice full of power.

“There’s nothing to talk about.  I already warned you not to look for me.”

One side of the room was made out of floor to ceiling windows, you could see the gardens, and farther away, part of the city.  I used my powers to open the windows and then I used them to grab William and throw him out.  Both guards ran to the windows and one of them jumped behind William.  Ethan’s friends were staring in horror at the scene.

“Did you kill him?” Hye Ki finally broke the silence.

“Your brother survived a fall from a plane and you are worried about a few stories?”

“It would be better for you if you could stop doing reckless acts like this,” the remaining guard warned me, “it wouldn’t be a good idea to keep pilling charges against you.”

“You do whatever you want, I don’t care about the stupid trial anyway.”

“You are lucky the King fell into the pond and wasn’t hurt, or you would be in real trouble.”

“Luck had nothing to do with that.  And tell your King that if he dares to show his face in front of me again, next time I won’t be so nice.  I can’t stand traitors, and that goes for you too.  I kind of respect your loyalty, I know you swore loyalty to the Royal House, but you work for me, and if you stand in my way again, you won’t like it.”

“Understood,” the guard said, walking out of the room.  It was obvious he was mad at me and wanted to yell back at me, but he wasn’t dumb and knew he would lose if he fought with me.

“I think that kind of confirms that you are still mad at William,” Ethan said.

“If he thinks he can walk into my home as if nothing happened, he has lost his mind,” just by seeing him my mood had turned sour again, and I wasn’t sure if the fact that Ethan’s friends were actually afraid was making things better or worse.  The plan was to be feared, wasn’t it?

“Maybe you should talk…” Ethan started to say, before being interrupted.

“I suggest you stop before you finish that sentence,” Kimball said, choosing that moment to walk into the living room.  He was wearing a brace on his leg, and using a cane, for a moment I worried I had been to harsh on him, but then I realized that William couldn’t have gotten inside without someone opening the door to him and got angry all over again.

“What happened to you?” Ethan asked, staring at Kimball’s broken leg.

“I finished that sentence and your mother didn’t appreciate it.”

“And as if that wasn’t enough, you go and invite that traitor into my home.”

“I didn’t invite him, I just arrived behind him.  I know you understand the concept of diplomacy, you did a great job using it with the Amazons, and even when dealing with Faakhir, so I don’t get why are you acting like this with William.”

“It’s not the same, I knew what I was getting into with them, I knew Faakhir wanted to take advantage of me, and with the Amazons, it was a mutual thing, both trying to get advantage over the other.  But William wasn’t supposed to be like that, he was supposed to be on my side.”

“He feels betrayed, maybe if you explained what happened with Faakhir.”

“He knows what happened with Faakhir, he found me out and attacked me, what else is there?”  I could feel the eyes on me, I knew the kids were listening and didn’t appreciate it, I didn’t want them to hear more than they were supposed to.

“All I’m saying is that you should talk to him and explain everything that happened, reach an agreement.  You are supposed to be trying to stop a war, not cause one.”

I looked out of the still open window, thinking of throwing Kimball out, maybe he would want to cool off in the pond with William.

“Please don’t throw my father out of the window,” Ethan asked.

“Yes, please don’t,” Kimball asked with a pout and a teasing tone, that instead of calming me down only made me angrier.

“I’m out of here, and I suggest you don’t follow me, for your own good,” I warned Kimball.

“Before you go, I just want to insist on how grateful I’m for what you did for my family.  You don’t know how much it means for us to have my brother back,” Hye Ki said, extending her hand for me to shake.  I decided to accept the gesture and took her hand, and as soon as I did the world around me faded, throwing me into a new one.

I saw a couple of people saying how they were running out of time, then I watched as they reached an agreement and reached a console, typing some commands into it before leaving the place.  The vision changed focus and I saw a young girl, her face extremely familiar, even if I had never seen her before.  She was locked in a room, and I saw how she started to work as soon as the alarm went off, going to the pile of blankets she used as a bed and retrieving a series of instruments.  The focus changed again and I watched the couple I had first seen walking out of a building, trying to get out of there in a hurry, it was then that I realized what was going on and what I needed to do.

When I got out of the vision I was surrounded by curious faces.

“A vision?” Kimball asked, even knowing the answer.

“We have to go,” I said immediately, I had finally got the information I needed to fulfill a promise I had done years before, thanks to the vision.

“You are under arrest, remember?  You can’t leave,” Kimball said.

“I don’t care about that.  When are you going to understand that I don’t care about William’s whims?  You have an hour to get ready if you want to go with me,” I warned Kimball, who only raised a brow and made a huge deal of looking at his leg, as if trying to remind me he was injured.  I ignored him and turned back to Hye Ki who was looking confused.  “I don’t know if it was because of you, but if you triggered that vision, then I’m very grateful to you. You can stay here as long as you want, don’t worry about anything and have fun.”

I left the room, and used my powers to reach Thalia.

I’m sorry,‘ she said as soon as I made contact.  ‘We were trying to stop Sofia from reaching you and William slipped by, we didn’t notice until it was too late.  Sofia managed to play us, again.  Fatima is not happy about it, and we failed you again.

Don’t worry about that, we have work to do.  I want you and Fatima to meet with me at the airport in an hour, we have a mission to complete.

“At least could you tell me what’s this about?” Kimball asked, from behind me.  He was moving really fast for someone with a broken leg.

“I don’t know, if I tell you, will you go to your new friend and tell him my plans?  I don’t want to risk him trying to stop me, I don’t want to have to kill him.”

“You must know I’m on your side, I really think that it would be a good thing to establish some form of communication.”

“I will deal with Sofia and William later, right now I have better things to do.”

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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.”