Note: What's this…a new chapter for this story…YEP! I reread the whole story, cringed as I read some parts (I think that's natural when it's your own work), and started watching some Smallville and Lois & Clark: the New Adventures of Superman clips and had to write something for this. Originally I had almost zero idea of how I was going to get to the end of this first book in the series. I knew where it would end, just not sure how to get there. As I was working on this chapter and rereading the previous chapters the way I would get to the ending began to form. There are still a few questions in the air that I have to figure out but it's a lot clearer now.
Hope everyone is doing well, have a fantastic and safe 4th of July weekend, and I hope that you all enjoy this new chapter.
Italics = speaking telepathically
Shortly after Nasedo left Michael's apartment in a huff, the four shell-shocked teens were still silently processing the massive info dump they'd received. Isabel had, to keep busy, gotten everyone something to drink but other than that no one moved and no one had spoken during the minutes their protector had left.
"Anybody feel like starting?" Tess tentatively asked, breaking the silence.
Max sipped at his drink, Isabel opened her mouth but then quickly shut it again, and Michael shrugged. Tess nodded, turned and sat on the couch.
The room remained tensely quiet for another couple of minutes until Max finally broke it. "Basically everything we've ever been told by Nasedo is now in question." He pointed to Tess, not angrily but just so she knew he was talking to her, "Were we even married on Antar? Is there a war going on there? Khivar clearly has next to zero interest in us, which after everything we've been told blows my mind. If there is a war going on, do we even have the right anymore to be considering putting our hats in the ring to save Antar? This was so confusing before but in a weird way it made sense…now nothing makes sense."
"The memories I have say we were married and there has been strife on our planet. Nasedo, however, conveniently left out who or what we're fighting against." Tess admitted. "All he ever said was we had to get ready, try to take the throne back, and that Khivar was evil."
"And we all just went along with it." Isabel breathed out deeply. "We questioned but we didn't ask the right questions."
"Ok, let's lay everything that we know out on the table." Michael proposed.
Tess shook her head. "We don't know much. Nasedo pulled us from the Quarry before we got anything that'd really help us."
Max agreed. "All we know is Liz, Kyle, Jim, and that Clark guy are Kryptonian." The three others were amazed that Max kept the contempt for Clark out of his voice. "Khivar according to him, isn't here for us. The Parker's, Ms. Deluca, and Clark's parent's know about everything." That time he couldn't keep the distain out of his tone. "Liz said their only goal was to live their lives but we all saw the exchange between her and Clark after she said that."
Michael nodded. While the two hadn't spoke at all, they were clearly communicating with each other. "There is something else going on there. They aren't just here to survive."
"And that's a possible threat." Tess put out there. Reluctantly the group agreed. They didn't want to assume the worst of their friends, of people they had known for ages, even if they'd only technically been friends for a year, but none of them could afford to blind themselves to the dangers that surround them all.
"On a more personal level, it's clear you and I, Michael, were never really together on Antar. Why Nasedo kept trying to put us together is still a mystery though." Isabel glanced at Tess, hoping she'd have an answer.
"All my life Nasedo has told me of Ava and Zan's great love. Whenever he mentioned Rath and Vilandra he'd say that Rath was the second in command, most trusted friend of Zan's, and the love of Vilandra's life. Vilandra was always Zan and Ava's best friend, completely behind Zan and supportive of our marriage even when their parents weren't thrilled, and she was Rath's friend and confidant before their betrothal." Tess revealed. "Then the destiny book only strengthened what he told me."
"What would lying to us accomplish?" Michael asked.
"Nasedo never wavered from the plan of going home. To have Max become the King he was and rule Antar again. Khivar was the obstacle and driving force of the opposite side. Nasedo said Khivar was desperate, our side was winning so he had us assassinated."
Raking his hand through his hair Michael paced the small living room. "Yet for someone who was threatened by us being alive on Antar, he certainly didn't care one bit about us either time we saw him. Just wanted us to stay away from Liz and Clark. We need to talk to Liz, get all this sorted out and get more information. We can't make an informed decision without that."
"You want more information?" The familiar voice of Nasedo came from the front door. "She'll help with that." He pointed to a woman of medium height with brunette hair wearing a silk slip like dress that went to the floor. Although the dress looked simple it had slim threads of gold and silver weaved throughout the material and it shined when she moved.
"Who is she and what are you doing back here?" Max stood and crossed his arms angrily.
"This is Cara. My contact on Khivar's ship. Khivar found out she was communicating with me and held her captive, she managed to escape and come to me. Cara, please tell the Royal Four what you told me."
Cara nodded and gave a small curtsey to the Royal Four. Nasedo, as she rose up from her greeting, put his hand on the small of her back, it would have seemed like it was for comfort or to steady her but Cara wasn't completely snowed. He didn't comfort, he was warning her—gently. There was only one thing he wanted her to tell them, her revelation was sure to get the four gathered in the living room fired up.
"Khivar took control of Antar, you already know this. But he took control from your parents…" Nasedo pinched her back, Cara fought to keep her expression neutral. "Khivar has them, in the basement of the home he is residing in while he is here. They are bound and gagged, trapped down there."
Isabel stood and joined her brother. "Our biological parents are trapped? Why would Khivar bring them here? Weren't Zan and Ava the rulers of Antar when we died? How were our parent's," she motioned between Max and herself, "still alive to have had control?" What she knew about many royal families and the succession of power was that the previous rulers, typically, died before the next was given the throne.
Cara was confused, what in the world was Nasedo telling these four?
"It works differently on Antar." Nasedo intercepted Cara explaining or asking for clarification. "Your parent's stepped down when Zan finished his training and reached thirty years. Zanrive and Niska, your father and mother, still live and were supportive of Zan's rule. When you four were callously murdered by a follower of Khivar's on Khivar's orders, no less, they took charge and rallied our people to continue fighting."
Max, Michael, Tess, and Isabel shared a silent conversation. They couldn't read each other's minds but in that moment it felt like they could. "You say that our parents are locked up in Khivar's basement? Correct?" Isabel tilted her chin up.
"Yes." Cara confirmed. "But…" She abruptly stopped when she felt the hand at her back heat up.
"But what?" Isabel glared.
"But you shouldn't go and confront Khivar. He has guards on the King and Queen and they have instructions to kill anyone who tries to free them." Cara explained. Suddenly the heat at her back disappeared. Nasedo was relieved she hadn't spilled the beans on the lies he told about their pasts.
"Do you know of Khivar's plans?" Max's voice softened. "Anything can help."
Cara nodded. "Some but I don't know what's truth or a lie. Whenever Khivar talked about anything concerning you four or Livara—" She stopped when they looked confused, "—I'm sorry I don't know her name here but it's who he's supposed to protect; anytime he spoke about her around me he knew I was Nasedo's contact and told false information, some he admitted was truth but he didn't tell me which was which. Any information I do know is useless."
"Wait," Nasedo moved in front of Cara. "Livara is here?"
"In Roswell?" He asked more specifically.
"Yes. That's why Khivar is here."
Nasedo slowly closed his eyes. So it was true, Khivar truly had no interest in the Royal Four. His duty brought him to Earth, yes, but he would have gone where ever Myr-Ra had sent his and his wife's child. That didn't change his own objective though, he still had to get Max, Michael, Tess, and Isabel to Antar. Preferably with Tess pregnant with Max's child. How that hadn't happened yet was beyond his understanding. He knew Tess and Max had been intimate at least twice but so far no pregnancy.
"Liz is Livara." Nasedo whispered more to himself than any of the others gathered. That explained a few things. Tess had told him how Liz rebuffed the Royal Four's protection. If she was Kryptonian then she'd have her own abilities, on Krypton they had certain abilities, abilities he knew he could combat, here…he had no idea what Earth's atmosphere did to a Kryptonian body.
"And Kal-El's here too." Cara revealed.
Nasedo's eyes flew open. "The heir to the House of El? What in the world is he doing on Earth? Why would Lord Jor-El send his son here?" He demanded, grabbing Cara and shaking her violently while yelling out in frustration. All of his plans were going up in smoke before his very eyes.
"Livara is his destined mate." Cara shrunk back confused at the rage burning in his eyes. She stumbled back as Nasedo let her go.
No, this couldn't be happening. He started to pace the living room as Michael had been earlier. The well-built newcomer he saw standing next to the Parker girl had to be Kal-El. They clung together like newly found mates.
"Nasedo!" Tess shouted at her protector, jumping in front of him stopping any further pacing. "What is going on? Talk to us."
"If Kal-El is here…his father was Lord Jor-El, the ruler of Krypton. Jor-El's goal, his main goal throughout his entire reign, was to colonize various planets. After he'd colonize them he'd rule…enslave, those planets people. And if his son is here, which he clearly is, you can guarantee that he's going to follow in his father's footsteps. Those interlopers have already started on Antar. Plus since he's found his mate they'll be more powerful and most likely pick up where Krypton and its power hungry ruler left off and they'll start with Earth."
"That's definitely more than wanting to 'just live their lives'," Michael stated. No wonder Liz and Clark didn't tell them everything, taking over the world kind of put a damper on a peaceful existence.
"We apologize for the inconvenience." Jeff handed a free meal coupon out to the last customer. "Please come back soon." He waved, then shut the door, locking it. They were a good six hours from actual closing time but Jeff and Nancy made the decision to close early.
"Don't worry about the cleaning Jose, we'll take care of it. Head on home." Nancy smiled at their long time employee.
"Thank you Nancy, but are you sure? I don't mind." Jose asked as he washed his hands.
"One hundred percent sure. We'll see you tomorrow." She waved goodbye to Jose and wished him a safe drive home and closed the back door. Once the back area was empty Nancy pushed out the swinging door while putting her hair up in a loose ponytail. "We're clear."
Gathered in the family owned restaurant were the Kent's, Parker's, Kyle, Jim, and Maria. Alex was at a band rehearsal and Khivar let them know he'd leave them alone to sort out everything and he'd be at the home he was residing in when they wanted to talk to more.
Maria sat at the counter munching on some fries, happy that work was cancelled for the evening. "So how'd you like zipping around at high speed?" She asked Kyle.
"Fun but hell on the shoes. I wore them and my socks down." Kyle grabbed a handful of fries from Maria's basket, earning him a light tap of indignation from Maria. "What, I'm hungry. Speeding around town takes a lot out of a guy."
"That's no excuse not to ask." Maria glared.
Kyle sighed. "Fine. May I please take some of your fries?" He gave her his best angelic expression.
"See, was that so hard?" She pushed the basket of fries more between the two of them.
Martha leaned against the booth next to Clark and Liz who were sharing an ice cream. She had to admit when they were just regular teenagers and not aggressive horny Kryptonians they were cute together. "So those kids and the guy that came to pick them up, are they a threat?
Liz fiddled with her spoon. "We don't know." She honestly stated. "We've been friends with them for a year, only recently we," Liz pointed to her, Maria, and Kyle, "haven't been because they thought being around us was too dangerous, too distracting, pick a reason." She scooped up another spoonful of ice cream. "They are aliens but not full aliens. They were mixed with human DNA and hatched here."
From there Liz, Maria, and Kyle switched back and forth telling the story of how they came to be friends with Michael, Max, Isabel, and Tess and the information that they knew. "Now we find out your people and their people are kind of enemies. It puts even more of a crimp in our friendships." Maria got up to refill her glass of soda.
"Bottom line, it's a fifty-fifty chance that they are a threat." Liz finished.
Although Kal-El raged inside Clark when hearing about Liz and Max's previous relationship Clark was able to keep himself in check. He held and comforted Liz, giving her a sense of safety. He still had trouble picking up all of her emotions across their bond but the ones that were strong and near the surface came through clear as day. When she smiled up at him he felt like he could take on anything.
"When we talk to them again," Liz felt Clark tense, "you know we'll have too. And when we do we need to come with a game plan on how much to tell them."
"If we tell them anything." Clark argued. I still need to tell you about the message I got from my ship.
"I think we should tell them something." Tell me now. She gently prodded. Speaking telepathically to Clark was getting easier. It did take some mental strength and the ability to handle two conversations at once at the moment but it was becoming more second nature and less of a task.
"Why?" Clark pulled back and fully faced Liz in the booth. "The more they know the more dangerous they could be toward us." My father Jor-El, said that while one of my main goals was to find you, my other was to get stronger and get more in touch with my Kryptonian roots and essentially become ruler of Earth.
"But they were my friends for a year. We should be cautious but I don't think we should shut them out completely." When it was just her living in Roswell and no other Kryptonian's, at least to her knowledge, she didn't feel the need to tell them anything. They weren't a danger to each other, she wasn't going to hurt them and despite their fractured friendships, she knew they wouldn't hurt her. Now it was different, there were a lot more players in the game and she knew that Antarians and Kryptonians had a tumultuous history.
Rule Earth? Liz breathed in a shaky breath. Wow, Jor-El certainly had big ideas. She tightened her hold on Clark's hand. She wondered, not for the first time in her life, what her biological parents would have said to her in a message.
Clark remained silent, not responding to Liz's spoken comment. However their minds were anything but quiet. I know. It's not a goal I'm interested in pursuing. He quickly put out there. But it was Jor-El's main goal sending me here. Even though he's not alive anymore he wanted his kingdom and people to flourish. I think he saw Earth as a way to start over again. Rebuild his empire.
Why Earth? Did Jor-El know how our kind is effected here? Or was it the fact that we resemble humans so much that we could blend in until we overtook the planet? Kryptonian's got such a boost of strength from the sun in this galaxy that it would be impossible to resist for a power hungry ruler and it was handy that they blended in with the planets inhabitants.
Liz shivered and Clark gathered her up into his lap. I don't know. But I wouldn't put anything past him. She was so tiny in his embrace, the message from his father really shook her up. Jor-El's plan could take a flying leap, he wasn't there to rule Earth. Clark pressed his forehead against hers and lifted his other hand up to cup her cheek. He thread his fingers through the brown strands of her hair. Tension that had built up in her body eased. I can't do what Jor-El wants.
Neither can I. This planet is my home. My family, my friends, they're all here. Yes, we're Kryptonian but we're also the product of being raised by really great parents. Clark stroked his thumb down her smooth cheek and across her chin.
The gathered group had watched their interaction in confusion. One minute they were arguing back and forth then they went quiet, only to then be cuddling a few minutes later. Jim knew but the others were in the dark.
"Do you really think they can be trusted?" Clark finally spoke at loud, startling the others.
"If we can talk to them without Nasedo, yes." All he had spread, so far, were lies. Maybe some of what he said was the truth but how were any of them to know what was truth or a lie?
Clark thought it over, "Ok. We can talk to them, tell them more." He agreed.
Liz smiled and kissed him softly. "Thank you." Before their kiss could heat up, as it was usual to do, a scream and a crash pierced through the Kryptonian's ears followed by shouts of help.
"That's near the park on Grand." Liz pinpointed the location of the scream. Hopping out of Clark's lap she hurried from the Crashdown with Clark right on her heels.
Use to the sudden departures, Liz's friends and her and Clark's parents, didn't bat an eyelash. "Who wants something more substantial than fries or ice cream?" Nancy offered.
Immediately everyone nodded or raised their hand. Jeff took their orders and went to help Nancy in the kitchen as they waited for their kid's to return.