Well, we warned you didn't we? Anyway this is the last installment of this series.....although I never intended for it to be a series. For those of you waiting on And Now I Lay Me Down To Death, I'm really sorry, but I've been completely writer-blocked lately, and I'm also thinking of changing the name.
Also, while the whole series was based on the book, this last chapter will be based on the movie ending.
Warnings/Disclaimers: We own nothing but the plot and Ceto Aiolfi
Chartrand's breathing was heavy and his head reeled as he and several other members of the Swiss Guard chased the camerlengo through the Sistine Chapel. Carlo.
Chartrand's head reeled. He had trusted the man, followed him into the Necropolis—the City of the Dead, for God's sake—and it felt like a blow to the gut to learn it had been him all along.
He and the others rounded a corner to find the hallway empty. There was a paused as they all exchanged glances, then Chartrand's sharp ears picked out the sliding of fabric over the marble floor. He shot off down a corridor, the others following him. The corridor petered out into the Chapel of Confessions—the giant hall directly under the dome of the basilica, housing the Niche of Palliums—and Chartrand caught a glimpse of the camerlengo as he disappeared down the steps.
Before he and the others had even taken two steps, the chapel exploded with gunfire coming from the Niche—in seconds, Chartrand was the only guard left standing, and instinct drove him straight to the Niche, peering over the railing down at the camerlengo.
There was a girl in the Niche—the one that had gotten away from him earlier today, Chartrand realized—sitting against the railing that bordered the staircase down to the Grotto. The camerlengo stood before her, as stunned as Chartrand to see her there, his gaze transfixed on gun that lay in front of her. "You just shot members of the Swiss Guard."
The girl smiled. "You just killed the Pope."
They were silent for a moment, then the girl sighed and said simply, "So, Mr. Camerlengo, this is how it ends."
"This is how it has to end!!" The girl merely arched an eyebrow, and Carlo elaborated, gesturing wildly. "I am the Horror, and they," he gestured outside; to where people were singing in the square, "they are the Hope!" When the girl did nothing more then arch her other eyebrow, the priest sighed. "You wouldn't understand."
"Of course I would." Carlo looked up in surprise as the girl shrugged. "I was very religious when I was younger—and I paid for it dearly. I will never do it again, but I do understand where you're coming from." She sighed. "You see, it's not that I don't believe in God—he's there, end of story—it's just that I don't believe in Him. His promises have been nothing more than double-edged swords to me."
Carlo started to say something, but then closed his mouth again, considering her words. "But you're Illuminati.....?"
"Ceto. Ceto Aiolfi," she told him. "I am Illuminati, but I do believe in God. So did Galileo. The fact that I don't believe him doesn't mean He's not there." Ceto frowned. "I so wish you had won, Carlo—I was sent to help you, actually."
"So why didn't you?!" the camerlengo demanded.
Chartrand bristled as Ceto responded, "Because I knew you were going to lose from the very beginning. You were fighting against science; of course you were going to lose."
"That's the way sinners think," Carlo snapped.
Ceto shrugged. "Oh, I know I'm going to Hell. I just figure I should make my footprint on the world before I do. There is nothing more ordinary in this world than the wish to be extraordinary, and I suppose that makes me a very ordinary person."
Chartrand's hand flew to his gun—though he didn't quite know who he was going to shoot—as Ceto stood, crossing the two steps between her and the camerlengo, and kissing the priest lightly on the lips. Chartrand's jaw dropped as she stepped back and giggled. "I don't know who's more surprised, you or the man watching us."
That was a warning: I know you're up there.
As Carlo stammered and brought his hand up to his lips in surprise, the Illuminata asked, "Are you sure you want to do this?"
He nodded, his composure back. "Yes. I have no other choice."
The girl smiled sadly and fished the golden lighter out of her pocket—Carlo checked his own pockets, surprised to see it missing—and flicked it on. The two of them watched the hypnotic flame for several seconds, and Chartrand thought that Ceto was going to throw the flame at the camerlengo. But instead, Ceto's thumb came off the lighter and she flipped it around, handing it back to the camerlengo end-first.
"'This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live,'" she quoted.
Carlo glanced at her in surprise. "Deu 30:19."
Ceto nodded and smiled, placing a hand on Carlo's shoulder. "Everyone has a choice, Carlo." Her hand squeezed his shoulder, and Chartrand noticed something odd about it—the movement was almost mechanical. "I'm going to miss you."
Both Carlo and Chartrand watched her disappear into the Grotto—Chartrand got the feeling that when they searched them later, she'd be gone—and the camerlengo flicked on the lighter.
Three seconds later, the screaming started.
Kit & Violet