(Antar date 06.11.71306)
To his Generals, Max outlined the plans and assignments for the conference he was hosting for his supporters. The war was over but there was still a lot to do, starting with a reorganization of the government.
Usually Liz would be at his side, but she had felt unwell the last few days and he had left her in bed. He was worried about her, and concerned about what her feelings of foreboding might mean. The whole meeting he had been distracted, and now that it was over he just wanted to get back to her. But before he could leave, his mother stopped him and pulled him aside.
Kasha waited until she and Max were alone in the room before she spoke. “I am worried about Liz,” she said.
Max’s eyes snapped to his mother. “Why? You think she’s in danger?”
“No,” Kasha said, “but she seems reluctant about some of the things that must be done. I’m worried that she may sway you to be merciful now that the war is over. But now more than ever you need to show strength, my son.”
Max nodded. “I know, and I’ve learned my lesson about mercy. Liz has a soft heart, and that’s one of the reasons I love her so much. She’s worried about me, but she will come to understand that what I’m doing is the best for all of us.”
His mother reached out to touch his face. “You’ve been keeping things from her, Max. What if she doesn’t understand?” Kasha asked.
Max shook his head. “I don’t want Liz involved in all of this. I want her to retain whatever innocence she has left. With the war, the killing, the torture, she’s seen too much already.”
Kasha spoke softly, “Jaetus suggested…”
“Jaetus!” Max cut her off with a roar.
The priest rushed back into the room, bowing low before Max. “Your Majesty.”
“Liz is mine!” Max roared. “And you had better do as you are told priest!” Max turned to encompass his mother too. “If anyone so much as touches one hair on Liz’s head I will assume you are two are colluding and I will kill you both!”
“Of course your Majesty,” Jaetus groveled. “Your word is law. I meant no disrespect.”
Kasha simply smiled.
Liz frantically searched through the books in the archive. She had to figure out the truth. She had to prove that Khivar was lying, that he had manipulated her mind.
Automatically she bypassed anything that had been published by Khivar’s regime, knowing that they would be filled with propaganda. Finally she found a dictionary thousands of years old and quickly flipped through the pages searching for the ancient Antarian words that Khivar claimed comprised Zha’an’s name. And to her horror Khivar was right. Zha had been the Antarian word for angel, and an was the word for death.
Liz shook her head automatically. It didn’t mean anything. It could just be a coincidence that Khivar had used to his advantage.
She pushed the dictionary aside and quickly scanned the titles of the many tombs, looking for a book about Zan’s family line. And on a high shelf there was a large dusty volume with the swirling design of Zan’s family. Liz used her powers to summon it to her and cleared a space on a desk. She started at the beginning, looking over the history of Zan’s family, and her heart thudded faster and faster as Khivar’s story seemed to be confirmed by the book.
Each of Zan’s ancestors was listed, from the first King, through the emergence of the Zha’ans when the Granolith was discovered. The book chronicled the reign of each King Zha’an down through number sixteen, where the book abruptly stopped. And she could see how over time the name had changed from Zha’an to Zan.
Liz purposefully made her eyes look past the image of Zan the sixteenth, and skimmed briefly over his exploits, including torture, murder, and the subjugation of various peoples and worlds. Only then did she allow herself to look at the picture. Tears started in her eyes as she recognized the man Max used to be, and she started crying in earnest when she saw the caption. Just as Khivar had said, it read Zan the Sixteenth, Slaughterer of Millions. But below that was an even more disturbing statement, Zan’s personal motto. Look on my works and despair.
A gasping sob escaped Liz’s lips before she could stop it. When Khivar had spoken to her about Max and Zha’an she’d felt instinctively it was the truth. And she realized now that’s why his story had affected her so much, making her break down in front of him. But she couldn’t believe that about Max, she couldn’t accept it. So Liz had convinced herself that Khivar was lying, that Isabel was wrong, that her own instincts were playing tricks on her.
But Khivar was right, Zan had been evil, and Khivar had been the hero all along. He had worked to depose a powerful tyrant and free Antar, and then sent a group of soldiers to Earth, on a probable suicide mission, to make sure that Antar would remain safe.
Memories came rushing back to Liz of the Skins actions on Earth. The Skins could have threatened her, or Max’s parents, or any of the humans to make the Royal Four surrender, or they could have simply destroyed all of Roswell. But they had never harmed any humans purposefully. Maria’s death had been an accident, she could see that clearly now. In fact, the Skins had gone to great lengths to save humans. They had used the green rod to make all of the humans disappear, getting them out of harms way, while they searched Roswell for the Royal Four.
Even when she, Max and Tess had been captured by the Skins in Copper Summit at Whitakers’ funeral, and Liz thought the Skins were going to kill her, she realized now that they had never actually threatened her. All they had said was that they wouldn’t let her go because she knew too much.
Future Max had told her that they were taken over by their enemies, but she only had his word for that, and maybe he had been evil too. Or maybe, Liz suddenly realized, she’d only assumed that it was Khivar and the Skins who had taken over the Earth. Future Max had said enemies but not Khivar specifically. With all of the terrible things Zan had done he could have any number of enemies. It could have been any one of them who had conquered Earth.
The only aliens Liz knew who had deliberately taken human lives had been Max’s loyal shape shifter protectors. Nasedo alone had left a trail of bodies all over the U.S., and he had been willing to sacrifice her to Pierce to keep Max safe.
Suddenly Liz remembered something Max’s mother had said in the message they had seen in the pod chamber. She had called Max the beloved leader of their people. Liz laughed hysterically through her tears. His mother was probably the only one who thought so, except maybe those crazy priests.
Then more memories assailed Liz.
The scene she had witnessed in Max’s mind when Nicholas had captured them in the school rushed to the front of her mind. Nicholas had stood before Max taunting him. “You used to determine the fate of entire armies with the flip of a coin.” Liz had assumed that Nicholas was just taunting Max, trying to hurt him because he didn’t remember the past, but now she knew Nicholas must have been telling the truth.
And then she remembered what Maria had told her that Courtney had said to Michael. “The short version is that our planet was on the brink of a golden age, and then it all fell apart. You were the one who could have united our planet, pulled together the warring factions, brought peace. But you weren't on the throne.”
“Max,” Michael had said.
“You wouldn't betray him,” Courtney had continued. “That loyalty cost your lives and those of everyone you loved. Please, just don't let history repeat itself. You're the one we need. You're our leader, our salvation.”
Then Liz thought of the day when Michael had been so unnerved by Khivar’s General, the former Michael worshipper. The General must have told Michael the truth about Max and Zha’an then. That was why Michael had been so upset. And suddenly Michael’s last words made so much more sense. He didn’t want to betray Max, his brother, his King, and that was why he’d been so relieved to die.
With a shaky hand Liz reached out to touch the picture of Max’s former self, and suddenly her body stiffened as images filled her mind.
She saw their past on Earth, but this time her mind was open to truth and the vision was painfully clear. All the terrible things that had happened to Max had contributed to his downfall; his time in the White Room, Tess’ betrayal and torture, the deaths, the killing. Each one had pushed him a little farther down the path. But the thing that had started it all was Tess helping him to retrieve his memories. Even if Max couldn’t consciously remember details of his other life, Tess had opened the door and his unconscious had been infected by Zha’an.
And Liz realized that she had contributed to his downfall as well. She had allowed his behavior to continue, and even encouraged him. Her own fear and hunger for revenge had clouded her judgment. She had wanted him to slaughter their enemies, and she had stood by while he killed Tess, and Isabel and Khivar.
Zha’an feelings were infecting her too through her bond with Max, through his power. They had been since she and Max had gotten back together she realized. That’s why she hadn’t objected to all of the terrible things Max had done. His emotions had shaped her own, his twisted sense of morality had subtly warped her, starting to make her like Zha’an too.
What was she becoming, she asked herself? The realization made a terrible pain rip through Liz’s mind and she didn’t know how much longer she would be able to hold on to her sanity.
And suddenly Liz saw the past, when Max had been Zan. Images flowed through her mind so quickly that she could barely see what was going on, but occasionally a single image would become clear. Liz witnessed Zan’s increasing violence as he grew from a boy into the man she recognized. She saw his cruelty toward his sister, his apathy for his wife, the torture and slaughter of his own people, the wars, the subjugation of other worlds, with the power of the Granolith a constant at his side. Then one image separated itself from the others, and Liz watched horrified as Zan killed his own father in order to take possession of the throne. And through it all she could feel Zan’s increasing hate, rage and bloodlust.
Then Liz saw a glimpse of the future. Max stood among a pile of bodies, men, women and children. He was covered with blood, as was the sword in his hand. But he wasn’t alone. Jaetus and the other priests encircled him, their hands and robes also covered with blood. Their faces were twisted with maniacal worship and adoration, and they chanted a single word with increasing volume. “Zha’an! Zha’an!”
A beautiful young man stood at Max’s side. He was perhaps ten or eleven and had dark hair and shining amber eyes, like his father.
Liz gasped realizing the truth. The boy was Max’s son, her son. And just as the evil had corrupted Max, it would take their child as well.
Liz came out of the vision and her hands automatically went to her flat stomach. Was it true? Could she be pregnant? Or was it something that had yet to happen?
Her mind raced trying to remember if it was possible. Max was meticulous about their birth control, always using his powers to make sure she didn’t conceive, except on one occasion. Liz couldn’t remember if Max had removed his sperm from her yesterday when he’d made love to her covered in blood. She used her powers, her heightened senses to look inside herself, but she couldn’t feel any differences. If she was pregnant, it was too early for her to tell.
Suddenly Liz felt sick and dropped to her knees. In her vision Liz could see that Max remembered much more from his past life than he had ever told her. He had remembered months ago about his enjoyment of the killing, the torture, but he wanted to shield her from it so he’d said nothing to her.
But he had asked his mother about his past, about the increasingly violent memories he was receiving. And his mother confirmed everything, reveling in the fact that her son Zan was gradually emerging from Max. Kasha had encouraged him too, urging him to slaughter their enemies, to execute his sister, showing no mercy and Max had willing followed her advice.
Isabel was right. Max’s evil had started emerging when they were on Earth. Just small things at first, his treatment of Isabel and herself. Then it had started to escalate. He had simply killed Lonni, but he had tortured Rath before killing him, and he had so cavalierly beaten Tess to death. For the last year his evil had been focused into the war and that’s why Liz hadn’t seen the continued escalation. But now that the war was over, she asked herself, what would Max do?
In his mind he had justified it all, using the excuses of self-defense, self-preservation and the war, the acts of a King to keep his people and himself safe. Max had killed and tortured countless men and women in the war, each act of violence making him crave the next. And the craving had only increased when he gotten the Granolith back.
Max was using the Granolith’s energy daily to augment his own. It made him feel so powerful and invincible, like nothing could touch him. But paranoia and rage was also filling him, pushing him to even more ruthless acts to ensure their safety. Soon the evil would consume him entirely.
Liz couldn’t deny the truth any longer. Max was the evil one and becoming more like his former self every day, each act of cruelty, anger and violence pushing him further over the edge. And with each evil deed, he was remembering more of his other life when he had been Zha’an, the Angel of Death.
Liz wiped her tears away and looked at the picture of Zan again. She knew what she had to do, she just didn’t know if she had the strength to do it.
(Antar date 06.13.71306)
Jaetus led Max through the palace corridors. “Your Majesty we’ve traced the three assassins back to a Duke Renlo who was a staunch supporter of Khivar. I sent your men to arrest him and we’re holding him in an interrogation cell.”
“Did he say anything?” Max asked.
Jaetus shook his head. “Not yet, your Majesty. And I knew you would want to handle it personally.”
Jaetus glanced at him. “Your Majesty how is the Queen? Feeling better I hope.”
“She’s upset because of the visions she keeps having where I’ve been murdered,” Max said. “But if you are right about this Duke maybe she won’t have any more disturbing visions.”
They reached the door to the cell and Jaetus held it open for Max to enter.
Max went inside and got right to the point. “I know you sent those assassins to kill me Renlo, and now you’re going to tell me everyone else who is in this with you.”
Duke Renlo shook his head stubbornly. “You may as well kill me Zan. No matter how much you torture me I won’t tell you anything.”
Max felt an instant burst of anger and quickly built his powers intending to see if the Duke was as good as his word. He turned back to the Duke, his eyes shining with power.
Renlo gasped and Max smiled. “My name is Max now Renlo, and I didn’t say anything about torturing you.”
“What do you mean?” Renlo asked.
Max turned to Jaetus. “Arrest his wife and children, his friends, supporters, retainers, and their wives and children, and torture them one at a time until he talks.”
Jaetus nodded and he and Max turned to leave. “Wait,” Renlo called out stopping them. “I’ll tell you what you want to know, everything.”
Max motioned for one of the guards. “The Duke is ready to talk now.”
Jaetus followed Max out of the room. “Everything he says is suspect, your Majesty.”
Max nodded. “Check out everyone he mentions. If there is anything unusual about them at all execute them and anyone close to them, friends, family, wives and children. When you have everything Renlo knows, pubically execute him.’
“And Renlo’s wife and children?” Jaetus asked.
Max turned to him, his eye burning with power and rage. “Kill them,” Max said. “We can’t afford to have a son or faithful servant looking for revenge, so kill them all, every last man, woman and child.”
Unknown to Max, Liz had been just around the corner listening to every word he said. She waited until Jaetus left to do Max’s bidding and then she revealed herself. “Max, I’ve been looking for you everywhere.”
Max smiled. “Liz.” He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her forehead. “Are you feeling better?”
Liz smiled and leaned into him. “I’m starting to, my love,” she said hugging him back. “I'm really starting to.”
(Antar date 06.12.71306)
(Royal Palace – Conference Room)
Max stood at the head of the table addressing his generals. All of his supporters were gathered in the palace for the conference that was scheduled to start tomorrow, but arrangements for the extra security hadn’t been followed as Max wanted. He slammed his fist down on the table. “This is unacceptable General,” he bellowed. “I order you to…”
Max trailed off as he felt a surge of fear through the connection. “Liz!” he gasped. He raced out of the room and down the hall, followed closely by several guards and the head priest Jaetus.
That morning he had left Liz in their room again to rest, and he could feel through their bond that she was still there. Max burst into their room and looked around for danger but the only thing he saw was Liz sobbing on the bed.
The guards and Jaetus came into the room too, but paused when they saw only Liz.
Instantly Max was beside her taking her face in his hands. “What’s wrong Liz? You’re shaking.”
Liz met his eyes. “I had another a vision.”
“What was it?” Max asked.
Tears ran down Liz’s face. “I saw an assassin in our room killing you, killing us both. It happens during the conference.”
Jaetus dropped to the ground, bowing before them. “The Queen has had a vision that will save the King. She is Liz Zha’antet, oracle, goddess.”
Max ignored him, turning to the guards. “Lock down the palace, don’t let anyone in or out. I wanted everyone checked and rechecked.”
The guards bowed and hurried away. Max turned to Jaetus, who was still on the floor. “Leave us priest.”
Jaetus backed out the door bowing low, and with a wave of his hand Max slammed it behind him. He wrapped Liz in his arms and kissed the tears from her face tenderly as she trembled against him. “Nothing will happen to us,” he vowed. “I will make sure.”
Liz touched his face as she looked into his eyes, forcing a small smile. “I know, I’m just scared.” She leaned into him, closing her eyes and inhaling his familiar scent. “I’m so scared, Max,” she whispered.
He hugged her shivering form to him tightly. “Sssshhh. Everything will be okay.” Lightly rocking her, he placed a kiss on the top of her head. “It will all be okay.”
Liz looked up into his eyes as tears continued to roll down her face. “Make love to me Max,” she said touching his face. “I need to feel you over me, inside me. I need to feel your passion and strength. I need to feel your love.”
Song Playing: One Caress by Depeche Mode
Max brushed the hair away from her face and cupped her head gently, holding her gaze. “You know I love you, but I will gladly say it a million more times just so you can hear it.”
Liz smiled and more tears ran down her face. “Max.”
He leaned in kissing her tenderly, putting all of his feelings for her into it.
Max’s kiss was so sweet it brought more tears to Liz’s eyes. She opened herself to him, getting lost in the kiss as she felt Max’s overwhelming love and passion through their connection. His love for her was unconditional, and so powerful and Liz basked in the feelings. Everything but the two of them faded into the background as the sensations rushed through her.
He released the fastening on her dress and let it pool around her waist leaving her chest bare.
Liz’s hands went to the buttons on Max’s shirt quickly unfastened them, and parting the material she pushed it down and off his arms. She leaned in embracing him, pressing their naked flesh together.
Max wrapped his arms around her, holding her tightly and tracing light circles on her back.
Liz inhaled deeply Max’s familiar scent letting it fill her senses. She placed soft, wet kisses across his pecs, laving her tongue over his nipples. Her hands roamed over his back and around his sides to his chest, caressing his hard muscles. She continued with her kisses, moving up to his shoulder and down his powerful arm to his hand. Liz gripped his hand and placed a kiss on his palm and then turned to nuzzle her cheek against it.
Max cupped her face in his hands and kissed her thoroughly, lingeringly before trailing kisses down her throat. He laid her back as he continued down her chest, taking her breast into his mouth.
Heat flashed through Liz as Max’s mouth touched her and she arched up into him. Her hands went to his head, tangling in his hair, pulling him closer.
His hands smoothed down across her stomach as he continued to suck and lave her hard nipples. When his hands reached the material of her dress he gripped it and her panties, pulling them down and off her body. He took the opportunity of divest himself of the rest of his clothes and joined her on the bed again.
Taking possession of her breasts with his hands, he used the pads of his thumbs to stroke her nubs as he placed moist kisses lower and lower down her stomach.
Liz opened her legs to him, inviting him lower for the most intimate kiss, and Max greedily accepted her invitation.
He didn’t tease at all, his mouth going directly to her already moist core. With a long stroke of his tongue he dipped inside her, lapping her smoky juices.
Liz moaned with the sensations that Max was causing within her. It felt like a live wire connected her breasts and feminine core and her body writhed uncontrollably. It always amazed her that a few simple touches could drive her so totally wild.
Max continued to lick her lower lips, alternating between sliding his tongue between her folds and dipping it inside her. She was building quickly to orgasm and didn’t think the sensations could get any more intense until she felt Max’s fingers brush against her clit.
She arched into him and Max rubbed her clit quickly as he continued to plunge his tongue inside her. Max loved that he could make her wild with desire and Liz’s pleasure increased his own. Through their connection he felt that she was on the precipice and a final stroke of his tongue sent her over the edge.
Her whole body tightened as she came and her inner walls pulsed powerfully around his tongue. Greedily he lapped up her juices as she rode out her orgasm.
The sensations rushing through Liz’s body gradually lessened and she reached down touching Max’s shoulder. “Max, make love to me. I need you so much.”
Max’s smoldering gaze held hers as he climbed up the bed and settled over her. She was practically desperate for him and he wanted her just as badly. Reaching between them he led his rigid shaft to her damp slit, and his eyes never leaving hers, he so slowly inched himself inside.
He loved to watch the sensations that crossed her face as they made love. Liz’s reactions were so open and honest, her pleasure so evident that it increased his own to witness it.
A look of wonder, almost surprise was clear in her eyes as he continued to push into her. Liz was so sensitive and Max knew they both could feel every long inch of him sliding inside. And when he finally was sheathed completely within her, he saw her satisfaction and feeling of utter contentment.
Max stopped his motion when they were completely joined and Liz was glad. She held his eyes just wanting to savor the sensation and knew he wanted the same thing. Never did they feel closer to one another than when he was buried deep inside.
She continued to hold his gaze as she slid her arms around him. Max’s love and desire was all around her, flowing through her, and she would have been content to stay like that forever.
Instantly she heard his echoing thought through their connection.
Being with you, inside you, loving you, is surely what I was born to do, he said.
We were born to love each other, Liz answered. She wrapped her legs around Max, changing the angle of her hips and pulling him even deeper inside her. Max exhaled a shuddering breath and she knew that he was concentrating to maintain control. It drove him crazy to know that he was inside her as far as he could go.
Involuntarily his hips bucked slightly, withdrawing him a couple of inches before he surged back in. Liz gasped with pleasure and Max couldn’t wait any longer. Still holding her gaze, he pulled out of her so slowly, every inch causing delicious friction between their bodies. When the tip of his cock was the only thing that remained within her he stopped, immediately reversing direction. He watched her eyes widen with pleasure as he pushed himself back inside all the way to the hilt, the angle of her hips causing every long inch of him to stroke against the sensitive spot inside her.
Again and again he slowly inched in and out of her tight passage, the pleasure almost excruciating for both of them. Liz whimpered and shuddered beneath him and a sheen of sweat covered his body. He was so close but he didn’t want it to end so quickly. He wanted Liz to feel every ounce of his love and passion to chase her fears away.
Still holding her eyes he reached between them stroking her clit and Liz immediately flew apart. He stilled within her, eager to see every emotion that crossed her beautiful face. Her velvety passageway squeezed his cock rhythmically and Max was forced to grit his teeth in the effort not to come. Instead he concentrated on Liz. As the spasms of her climax continued to wash through her, he stroked her smooth skin, his hand roaming over her chest and neck, caressing her with a feather’s touch.
Leaning down he placed wet open-mouth kisses on the same path his hands had just covered. He took his time, tasting the skin of her shoulders and chest, licking and grazing it with his teeth. Continuing, he kissed a line across her pale neck and throat devouring her delicate skin. He cupped her head and placed soft kisses on her chin, her cheeks, her forehead, her eyelids, her nose, worshipping every part of her. He was so caught up in his task that it surprised him when Liz took his face in her hands and led his lips to hers.
Liz tangled her hands in his hair and thrust her tongue into his mouth. The orgasm had been incredible but the feel of Max’s hands and mouth on her body had aroused her desire again.
The kiss caught Max by surprise but he quickly recovered and took over. He grasped Liz’s head holding her to him, his tongue dueling with hers. Again he started to slowly move within her and Liz’s body jerked in reaction.
She whimpered into his mouth and grazed his back with her short nails. Max broke their kiss as a hiss of overwhelming pleasure left him. The feel of Liz’s soft body under him, around him was driving him crazy. He arched his back as Liz dug her fingers into his skin and continued his slow pace.
Liz cried out, every languid deep stroke of Max’s hard length pushing her slowly closer to the edge. She started to writhe beneath him, the pleasure building to an impossible point. Her thighs involuntarily squeezed around him and she arched up instinctively wanting to be as close as possible. “Max,” she gasped. “Oh Max.”
Liz’s pleasure was his only concern and Max lifted her hips to bring their bodies even closer into alignment. He maintained his slow pace savoring every one of Liz’s reactions, her gasps and moans, the arching of her body, the grasp of her small hands on his back. With a few more strokes he felt the first sign of her orgasm as her tight passageway started to flutter around him. He groaned with the effort not to increase his speed, ignoring his instinct plunge into her.
He inched out again and so slowly pushed back into her, and when the tip of his hard length hit the sensitive spot inside, Liz bucked beneath him as a powerful orgasm ripped through her body. Her inner walls clamped down on his cock and with a groan of pure masculine pleasure Max followed her over the edge.
His breath came in gasps as he collapsed against her, savoring the incredible feeling of pleasure that only Liz could give him, and reveling in her pleasure that he felt through their connection. They floated on an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction, peace and love, for what seemed like hours. But gradually the sensations washing through their bodies lessened and their breathing returned to normal.
Max rose up to meet Liz’s eyes and smiled. He kissed her forehead and Liz smiled back at him. The lovemaking had been incredible for both of them and there was nothing Max enjoyed more than giving Liz pleasure, but he wanted to make sure that she felt his love. “I love you Liz,” he said softly, “and I’ll never let anything happen to you.”
Liz held his eyes and touched his face gently. “I know,” she whispered. “I love you so much Max. And even with everything that’s happened I wouldn’t trade a minute of the time we’ve had together.”
Max started to pull out of her, but Liz held him tight. “Just stay a few more minutes,” she said.
Max nodded. “I thought I might be getting too heavy.”
“No,” Liz assured him. “Never. I like feeling you on top of me, inside me. It makes me feel like everything will be all right.”
Max held her eyes. “Everything will be all right. I promise.”
Liz hugged him fiercely.
Shivers started through her body again and Max felt her fear through their connection. He held her tightly. “I’ll be at your side no matter what. You’ll always have my strength and love supporting you, and together we’ll face whatever is coming,” he vowed.
Liz nodded and released her grip on him and Max pulled out of her. He passed a hand over their lower bodies cleaning them and settled into bed next to her, covering their spent bodies with a blanket. He laid back and wrapped his arms around Liz cradling her against his chest, and placed a kiss on the top of her head.
Liz curled into Max’s side, relaxing against his muscular chest, lazily caressing it with her hand.
Gently he stroked her hair. “So many terrible things have happened, but from now on it will only get better,” Max assured her.
Liz nodded and answered solemnly. “Yes, it will only get better.”
Song Playing: So Cold by Breaking Benjamin
She listened to Max’s heartbeat as he continued to stroke her hair. Gradually his movements stilled and his breathing slowed until she was sure he was asleep.
Liz was careful to keep completely still for an additional hour, then she slowly rose up and carefully slid her leg over his body, straddling him. She could feel his soft, velvety cock pressing against her lower lips, and for a moment she paused as shivers of desire raced through her. More than anything she wanted to feel him rock hard, surging inside her, taking her breath away with his anger-fueled passion.
With her powers she turned the sheets into shackles and working quickly and silently she tightly strapped his wrists and upper arms to the bed.
When she was sure he was secured, Liz used a swipe of her hand to turn her pillow into a large dagger. And before she could change her mind, she used it slit Max’s throat, cutting deep to sever his windpipe and both arteries.
Max came awake immediately and attempted to sit up but the shackles held him securely. Blood sprayed from his throat and he was making terrible gurgling noises as he attempted to speak. Liz didn’t worry that Max would use his powers to undo his bonds, his energy poured from his body along with his blood. Her vision had shown her the way to kill him, silent, quick and effective.
His wide eyes met Liz’s where she still sat across him and she could hear him in her mind. Liz help me!
I’m so sorry Max, Liz answered him the same way.
Max pulled at the shackles attempting to reach up and heal himself, but the restraints were too strong. Suddenly he saw the bloody knife in her hand. Liz whatever is wrong we can work it out, but if you don’t help me I’m going to die.
Liz nodded. I’m doing this for you Max, for us. I love you too much to see what you’ve become. It would have killed us both.
What are you talking about? Max asked.
Tears fell from Liz’s eyes as she watched him struggle weakly. You weren’t meant to be like this. You were meant to be a good man, I know it.
Liz! he called out more desperately in her mind. Khivar did something to you. You’re not thinking rationally!
She could feel Max’s breathing and heartbeat slowing and his struggles ceased. Their naked bodies were covered with his blood and it had soaked into the bed around them. Liz reached up to touch his handsome face. You know I would do anything for you. This way I can save you and make everything right.
Max’s voice came softer in her head. Liz please.
She continued. I know we could have lived a normal, happy life if we hadn’t been pulled into all of this alien mess, the war, the death. You would have become the man you were meant to be.
Don’t let me die, he whispered in her mind, desperately holding her eyes. I love you more than anything. I don’t want to leave you.
For a moment he looked like the old Max, the innocent, sweet boy she had fallen in love with, and Liz knew she was doing the right thing. Tears ran down her face. I don’t want to be away from you either, and I will join you soon, I promise. She stroked his face gently. I love you Max, you’re everything to me too. That’s why I killed you. She pressed a kiss to his mouth and he released his last gasping breath.
Liz held him in her arms and cried quietly, careful not to alarm the guards outside.
She knew it was crazy, taking the idea of how to save Max from his psychotic mother, but Liz had realized Kasha was right about killing Vilondra to save her. Liz had to kill Max, it was the only way.
Using her powers, Liz returned the shackles and the knife to their original state and carefully removed any trace of blood from herself, the bed, and Max. Then she pulled the blanket up to cover Max’s ravaged throat, and pressed his eyes closed so if anyone entered the room it would look like he was sleeping.
Unable to move away from him she stood next to the bed and let her eyes roam over his handsome face. A trace of stubble was just visible along his jawline and his hair was still tousled from their lovemaking. The creases near his eyes and mouth were relaxed into soft lines, his lips parted slightly as if anticipating her kiss. He looked so peaceful and innocent, like he was only asleep, but the illusion didn’t hold up. Max was too still even for sleep.
Lines from Hamlet flooded into her mind and she whispered them aloud. “Good night sweet Prince. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
Suddenly guilt overcame her and she couldn’t bear to look at him any more. Quickly she moved around the room pulling on a pair of old jeans and a blouse she had brought from Earth. She put on a pair of sandals and slipped the pendant that Max had given her around her neck, a piece of him she could keep close to her heart. Without a backward glance she turned to the door, but stopped before her hand could reach the handle.
She turned and ran back to the bed, pressing her lips to Max’s one last time, kissing him fiercely, putting all of her love into it. A single tear escaped her eye and ran down her cheek, and she quickly wiped it away before turning her back on her beloved husband and walking resolutely out the door.
Shutting the door quietly behind her, Liz turned to the guards. “The King is sleeping. Don’t disturb him,” she ordered.
The guards snapped to attention, acknowledging her command.
Liz made her way slowly down the corridors, only passing a few servants on the way to her destination. Finally she reached the door to the Granolith chamber, entered the code for the lock and slipped inside. She released a ragged breath when she saw that she was alone and quickly turned to the panel beside the door, sealing the lock to ensure no one would be able to stop her.
Liz looked at the Granolith, the machine that Khivar had described as evil. She could feel an energy coming from it as always, but it didn’t feel malevolent. But perhaps that was part of its power. It was insidious, and slowly drew in the victim, changing them without their being aware.
Max had never suspected anything odd about the Granolith. To him it was simply a powerful weapon. Liz knew he had never believed that her visit from future Max had been real. He’d been convinced from the beginning that the whole thing was a mind warp, another of Tess’ tricks to keep them apart.
But she knew it had been Max who had visited her that night. He had used the Granolith to come back in time, she had no doubt in her mind. And she was about to bet her life on it.
However, she did now wonder about future Max’s real motives in coming back. Had he been evil too or was he genuinely trying to save them all? She shook her head, trying to clear it. She would never know the truth about future Max. But no matter what his motives had been, he had given her the means to save them all.
Liz crossed to the rack of blank control crystals and took one, pushing her instructions into it with a thought. Then she knelt and shoved the crystal into the base of the Granolith.
It only took a moment for the machine to whir to life and light spilled out around her growing brighter and brighter causing her to squeeze her eyes shut against it. Liz could feel the power building around her, straining to an impossible point, and for a moment, she wondered if it would destroy her. Then the power surged around her and she could feel it propelling her across the galaxies and into the past.
Please don't look at me this way
I am from the same seed as you
Take me back to the womb
I am weary of this life
Don't believe in my eyes
Don't believe in my mind
Don't believe in right or wrong
Don't believe in cruel or kind
But all this talk is only poetry
Only as true as we would believe
We must live to fight the negative
Not to court the self in defeat
Oh the pain of life is sweet
Is it wrong to long for death?
Must I cling to the thrills of life
Ash to ash and dust to dust
But all this talk is only poetry
Only as true as we would believe
We must live to fight the negative
Not court the self in defeat
You have looked at me this way
We are all from the same seed
Take us forward through the tomb
There's no finish to a life
Soaring With Angels |
Part 17 - Part 19
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