The Importance of Being Elizabeth (CC,M/L,MTURE) (Complete)

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WR
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The Importance of Being Elizabeth Book 5

Post by WR » Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:11 pm

Part 23

Nikolas's mind finally reacted as he realized that the situation was rapidly running away from him. He quickly assessed the situation. Tess had managed to trick him, and his men, into believing that she was bringing Max here, as she had been commanded. Now, Max, Michael, Tess and two earthlings were inside the room, and were fighting back. The older human who had seemed so calm in face of all the strange goings on was reacting more like someone who knew just what the score was. Was he the decoy's protector? Then who was fighting in the kitchen? Trusting his warriors out there to keep whoever it was busy, he turned his attention back to this room. Liz was rising to join Max. Max was busy throwing small shields around the room, absorbing the energy beams that his men were now trying to fire at the invaders. Michael was trying to pick off these men, who were now trying to dodge him, and get close enough to the human's swinging those deadly bats. Another shower of dust signaled the loss of another man, and his man now fighting the mysterious old man was on the losing end of that struggle. He knew that K'Var wanted to posses Liz for himself, but he also knew that if she were left in Max's care, K'Var would never win.

"Kill her!" he commanded Lonnie, while he himself threw the full weight of his energy beam at Liz.

As Nikolas knew he would, Max created his shield to protect Liz from his blasts. This was better. He had now effectively pinned Max down. He would not give up his shield that protected the girl he loved, and this meant that his own men could attack the others freely. It also left Max open, and gave Lonnie a free shot at Liz. Lonnie raised her hand with an evil smirk. This would remove one competitor for K'Var's affections.

"No!" screamed Ava, hurling a blast of energy at Lonnie, and leaping between the decoy and Liz.

The force of the blast caught her full in the chest, and forced her backward into Liz, who sprawled across the floor.

"Ava!" she cried, quickly disentangling herself.

As Lonnie recovered from her own shock, received from Ava, she took aim again.

But Liz was thinking a little more clearly now, and realizing that she was placing people she cared about in danger, she created her own shield as a ring around herself, and the immobile Ava.

"Ava!" she cried. "Can you hear me? Please, Ava, speak to me."

"Take care of him, cornball," she smiled. "Help him save our planet."

Ava sighed, and her eyes closed. Her head slowly rolled off to one side. Liz hugged Ava to her, and started to weep.

With her own shield protecting Liz now, Max was able to direct his attention to helping Kyle and Jim, who were holding their own in the purely physical combats they were embroiled in. Brad cried out as he took an energy blast directed at Kyle's back, but the assailant was quickly knocked down by his own counter blast. Michael, pushing another advancing skin away and against the far wall, brought his bat down on the Skin's back, removing another threat to their safety. As yet another exploded under Jim's attack, Isabel moved towards Lonnie. There were old scores to settle here. The energy between the two crackled, burning a passing Skin. Everyone moved away from them.

"Alex," cried Max, throwing a small shield behind Jim, as a Skin moved onto him. "Take Liz, get out of here!"

Alex moved to Liz who still sat holding Ava. She was ignoring his attempts to attract her attention.

Nikolas directed two of the Skins who had just come charging down the stairs towards Max, and the four who had come up from the basement towards Michael, Tess and the humans. With everyone's attention elsewhere, Nikolas mentally hurled Alex away from Liz, into the back of Jim. Both men remained motionless. Nikolas then directed a concentrated beam of energy into Liz's shield. Max saw what was happening but was powerless to stop it. He was protecting both himself, and his two fallen friends, who he could see were merely unconscious, from the two Skins who had assailed him. Michael Kyle and Tess were now back to back, fending off the attacks of five more Skins. One had managed to maneuver himself to the front door, where he had an unrestricted attack on Michael's back. As he raised his arm to fire, he suddenly exploded into dust.

"Ha!" Maria yelled, entering the room with a large wrench clasped between her hands. "No one hits Space Boy but me!"


Nikolas quickly wore Liz down, and her shield started to dissipate. As soon as the way was clear, he reached in and grabbed her, pulling her to him, and leading her, kicking and screaming towards the doorway.

"Max!" she cried.

Max desperately sought a way to help, but the two Skins were furiously firing at him, Jim, and Alex. He was trapped. Michael, seeing what was happening, threw an energy blast at Nikolas' legs. It was only meant to stop him from trying to leave. Nikolas, feeling the weak blast, laughed, and turned Liz so that he was now using her as a shield. He started to back into the kitchen. There were two men struggling by the door so there was no way Nikolas could get out that way either. Instead, he opened the door to the basement, and manhandled Liz down the stairs.

Enraged at his inability to do anything, Max pushed his shield out against the two men, hoping it might break their attacks on him. He was surprised when both of them went flying backwards at it's touch, collapsing against the walls. As one of the Skins fighting Michael's group was killed off, Max called over to them.

"Tess, hide Jim and Alex. I'm going after Liz."

"Take care, Max!" Brad groaned from where he lay in the floor. "Nikolas is very strong."

Max nodded, and looked towards Isabel, who was still struggling with Lonnie. Max decided that was one fight he did not want to get involved in, and charged towards the basement.

***

With the element of surprise in his favor, Glister was quickly able to kill one skin, and disable another before the remaining two managed to react to the attack. Soon there was a stalemate as their energy only canceled each other out. They tried to close for a physical battle, but his metal bar managed to keep them at bay. As the disabled Skin was finally able to join the fray, he was finally able to strike one of the others, changing the balance to his favor, however slightly. He soon killed the injured Skin, but this let the last one inside the deadly arc of his extended weapon. The two men closed to grapple with one another. It was then that Glister saw Nikolas drag the dark haired Liz into the basement, followed a short while later by Max. It seemed an eternity before Glister finally managed to make a successful strike on the Skin's back. Finally free, he was at a dilemma. Max was facing Nikolas alone, but the others were still fighting. He knew what Max would want him to do, so Glister ran to the aide of Michael and Tess. Soon there were only two Skins left. They tried to surrender, but Glister quickly dispatched them with swift strikes to their unprotected backs.

"What would you do with them?" he asked a stunned Michael.

A screech from Isabel turned their attention to the last fight going on. Isabel tripped over Ava's lifeless body and collapsed to the floor.

"Whadya know?" Lonnie gloated. "The bitch was good for somethin' after all."


She raised her hand to kill Isabel, but instead, she flew backwards and smashed into the wall, leaving a huge dent in it. She crumpled to the floor with a stunned expression on her face. Both Michael and Glister lowered their hands, and grinned at each other. Michael went to Isabel, while Tess and Kyle saw to Jim and Alex. Glister crossed to the injured Lonnie.

"You were supposed to protect us!" Lonnie accused in a gravelly voice.

She had clearly suffered internal injuries.

"No, Lonnie," he sighed. "I was supposed to protect the royal four. You should never have made the deal."

"He offered me immortality."

"No, he offered you a lie, and you took it. He only wanted the other girl. She is Zan's true love."

"Well, Nikolas has her now," Lonnie groaned.

She closed her eyes, and her head slumped forward. Glister rose, and looked own at the two dead duplicates. He shook his head sadly.

"I'm sorry," he whispered.

"Where's Max?" demanded Isabel.

"And Liz!" shrieked Maria."

As they all glanced towards the basement, there was a loud rumbling, and a corner of the house collapsed on itself, sending a plume of dust up through the basement door.

"Oh no!" they all cried.

***

Max cautiously walked down the stairs into the basement, alert to any danger that Nikolas might throw his way. He stopped at the bottom of the stairs, by the four doorways. He listened, but there were no noises coming from any of them. He had no idea how many Skins might be down here, especially as they had already encountered more than Liz had thought there were. He knew that he could not afford to get boxed into a room, with enemies both in front and behind him. He concentrated on calming himself, and hoped that he might somehow feel Liz's emotions. He knew that she would be feeling so very frightened right now. Yes, there it was. He was right, too. She was feeling frightened, but also concerned. Concerned that somehow, he might be hurt because of her. Max smiled, and hoped that she could sense just how calm he was feeling at that moment. He hoped that she might gain some comfort from it. Yes, she was behind the door to the right.

Cautiously, like he had seen them do on television, Max stood with his back to the wall, beside the door, turned the handle and threw the door open. Nothing happened. Bobbing backwards and forwards repeatedly, taking quick looks into the room, he ascertained that it was empty. He then entered the room, and double-checked everything, ensuring that there were no hiding places. Leaving the door open, he then repeated the same procedure on the other doors, until at last, it was just the one door he knew Liz and Nikolas to be behind. He leaned against the wall, and sighed. He wished this were all over.

"Nikolas, are you going to hide behind a girl?" he called. "Why don't you send her out, and then it will just be you and me!"

"Man to man?" laughed Nikolas. "Don't flatter yourself, Zan. I may have tha body of a boy, but I have the mind of a man. And I know you won't risk charging in here, cause you know I can snap her like a twig. I can erase her mind just like that!"

Max repeated the trick with the door, and was not surprised when a large object flew through the doorway. What did surprise him was when that large object - it appeared to be a video camera - stopped in mid air, and then accelerated back towards him. Max only just managed to get out of its way as it smashed into the wall.

"You watch way to much TV!" Nikolas smirked.


Max sighed. This was not going to be easy. He concentrated on Liz again, trying to get a feel for where she might be in the room. It 'felt like she was just the other side of the wall from him. He went into the room next that one, and tried again from one of the adjoining corners. When he repeated the action a third time, Max knew exactly where Liz was. Standing in front of the wall, he knew that she was just inches away from him. He slowly started to change the molecular structure of the wall, changing it from solid concrete back to it's base components, but leaving a wall of concrete just one millimeter thick. A pile of sand and cement now lay at his feet. Taking a deep breath, Max burst through the thin remnants of the wall, right behind a startled Liz, who was being held by an equally startled Nikolas. Max grabbed Liz, and pulled her free, pushing her back through the hole.

"Find Michael, Liz. Go!" he ordered, as he threw up his shield to protect her escape.

As Liz ran out of the room, and across the doorway towards the stairs, she stopped to see what was happening. Max and Nikolas were standing still, facing one another. The rainbows of strange colors that flew around their heads and the steady glow of Max's green shield was the only evidence that some kind of battle was taking place. Liz wanted to run, to get Michael so that Max would not have to fight Nikolas alone, but she could bring herself to flee. An ugly brown-red colored blob started to coalesce behind Nikolas now. Clearly, while one part of him kept Max busy, he was planning something else. The brown-red glow started to move, to flow, almost, over Nikolas, and across to Max. As the ugly color touched Max's green shield, she could sense it, sense him weakening.

"Max," she whispered, and sought to somehow connect with him.

She just knew that if she could add her little power to his, he might be strong enough to resist him. As her mind reached out to him, she sensed Nikolas' panic. He poured more energy into his brown-red light, hoping to finish this before the minds of Max and Liz touched. Liz pushed her mind towards Max even faster now. If Nikolas was that worried, it must be a good thing for them.

"Noooooooooo" Nikolas screamed in blind panic as at last, the minds of the separated souls touched.

The two were once again one! In that instant, a great song rang out across the Universe. Perhaps echoing the panicked cry of Nikolas, another voice, deep, dark and alone, also cried out in fear. As Max and Liz became one in both thought and deed, the room was filled with a golden light. There was a huge explosion, and the corner of the house rumbled. Max leapt towards Liz as the bricks, concrete and rubble rained down upon them.

***

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The Importance of Being Elizabeth Book 5

Post by WR » Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:12 pm

Part 24

Those still standing - Michael, Isabel, Tess, Maria, Kyle and Glister - remained silent and still, staring at the hole and at the rubble that had collapsed into it. The whole corner of the house was now open to the elements. It was Glister who reacted first.

"Isabel," he said urgently, "Will you and this other young lady..."

"Maria," Maria interjected with a stunned look on her face.

"... Maria. Will you two get the wounded into the vehicles."

"What about Max?" Isabel demanded.

This seemed to snap Michael out of his stillness.

"We can't just leave them there," he stated. "They might still be alive."

"No, Michael!" Isabel cried. "He IS alive. He has to be!"

"Oh god. Liz!" cried Maria, tears rimming her eyes.

She started to cry now, and Isabel quickly followed. Even Michael and Kyle looked emotional. Wiping her own tears away, Tess took Isabel's hand.

"Come on, Iz," she said quietly, forcing herself to remain strong. "Let's help our friends."

"We'll see to him, Isabel," Glister said, and then turned to Kyle and Tess.

"Kyle, is it? Can you stay with them? They'll need help to carry them out."

Kyle nodded, his face a mask of sorrow.

"Tess, can you hide all this? We don't need the authorities on top of us for a while yet."

Tess nodded, and started to concentrate. Because she did not know just who would be watching, this was probably the hardest warp she had ever tried.

"Come with me, Michael," Glister sighed, heading for the staircase.


Michael followed Glister down the stairs and stared dumbly at the scene before them. There was rubble everywhere, with hugs chunks of concrete poking out. Strands of the reinforcing rods poked from the solid pieces of cement wall. There was a layer of dust everywhere. With a heavy sigh, Glister started to move the smaller pieces of rubble, trying to clear a path towards an arm that poked through a few meters away. Michael used his powers to disintegrate pieces of masonry that were in the way.

"No," Glister urged, placing his hand on Michael's arm. "Save your energy for the bigger pieces. Move the smaller ones by hand."

Michael looked like he wanted to argue, but nodded his head sadly. He started to manually move the rubble. Together, they worked as fast as they could. Isabel soon joined them.

"Were all loaded," she said quietly, staring at the rubble. Isabel started to sob. "Max!"

"Isabel, did you put the bodies of Ava and Lonnie in the vehicle? We don't need them falling into the wrong hands."

"Yeah, we did that," she answered through her tears.

Glister nodded, while Isabel started to help them by starting to dissolve the larger pieces.

"What was that?" she suddenly cried out. "Stop it, stop it! Shush!"

They all stopped working, and listened. Then they heard it, a soft whimper.

"Hurry guys!" Liz muffled cries came out. "Max is hurt!"

Everyone could sense the anguish in her voice.

***

It was strange to think that after all of that noise, everything should be so quiet. What had happened, Liz wondered? Oh yes, Nikolas. He had dragged her down into the basement, and somehow, the fight between him and Max, who had come to her rescue, had caused the house to collapse. It had fallen on top of them. Then she remembered the large piece of solid flooring that was falling towards her. She closed her eyes tight, waiting for the impact. When it hit her, it was softer than she had imagined. She still ached where the object had knocked her to the floor, and she could feel the cuts and bruises on her face. The object that fell on her did not feel right, she thought, not at all like she imagined slabs of broken concrete to feel. She suddenly remembered Max lunging towards her.

"No, Max!" she cried, suddenly realizing that the heavy weight on her was Max, and that he had taken the concrete's impact. The section of flooring was on top of him. He was somehow protecting her from it. "Max!"

A soft groan gave evidence that he was still alive, for which she was truly thankful.

"Max, can you move at all?" she asked.

"I love you, Liz," came his broken reply. "I would face any danger for you."

"I love you, too, Max." she said gently. "And we'll soon be out of this. You'll see."

There was no reply. She heard some noises coming from behind her.

"Max? They're coming," she said to him. "Just hang on, okay?"

Again, there was no reply, just silence.

"Max?" she cried. "Please Max. Don't go. Stay with me!"

There was still no reply from Max.

"Don't leave me Max!" she wailed, her heart breaking at the thought of life without Max.

She heard voices now, she heard Isabel demanding silence.

"Hurry guys!" she yelled as loud as she could. "Max is hurt!"

***

They worked frantically now. There was no effort made to conserve their energy. Working together, they dissolved the rubble, finally revealing Max's still body protectively cradling Liz from the shower of debris. Glister and Isabel gently lifted Max from Liz, and Michael helped her up.

"Are you all right?" he asked her urgently.

"Max!" she cried, ignoring Michael. "He saved me. He stopped me from being hit. Is he... is he..."

"No!" Isabel gasped with relief. "But he's very weak."

"I fear there is nothing we can do," Glister said very sadly, checking over Max's injuries. "We can't take him to a hospital, and his injuries are severe. He is your healer, isn't he?"

Liz and Isabel nodded, tears pouring from their eyes.

"Come on," Michael sighed. "Let's get him out of here."

Michael lead the way, with Glister behind him, carrying the limp body of Max, their friend, their leader, their... King. Behind him, the two women who loved him, though in different ways, followed, holding each other tightly while they sobbed their hearts out.

***

"Is she all right, do you think?" Maria asked Kyle, as they sat by Tess who was still concentrating hard.

Her face had gone very pale, and there were large beads of perspiration on her forehead.

"No, I don't think she is, Maria," Kyle answered, his voice full of concern.

"I haven't been very nice to her, Kyle," Maria admitted. "You know, over this whole destiny thing, She hurt my best friend, and I never forgave her for that. Yet here she is, doing everything she can for us all."

Kyle nodded, and glanced over at the stairway.

"I still love her, you know, Maria," he sighed. "Liz, I mean. Not that I could ever compete with Evans, I mean, I don't want to compete with him, you know? God, I hope they're both all right."

"Yeah," she gave a wan smile. "They're okay. They have to be. I mean, this is Max and Liz we are talking about, right? They would be the sole survivors of a nuclear holocaust."

"Yeah," laughed Kyle. "I guess."

They heard the footsteps coming up from the basement, and they both quickly rose. Michael emerged first; he looked extremely grim.

"No!" cried Maria, and ran to him, hugging him tightly while she watched Glister carry Max into the room.

"Oh, Liz!" she cried, instantly going to her broken hearted friend.

The commotion was halted only by the sudden cry from Tess. Kyle was at her side in an instant.

"I'm sorry. I couldn't hold in any longer," she gasped.

"You've done well, Tess. Let's get out of here," Glister ordered, and the sad group of friends headed for their cars.

Kyle wrapped his arm protectively around Tess's shoulders.

***

"I don't know what I'll do if he doesn't make it Liz," Isabel said quietly, as she sat with her by Max's side. "You know, he's my strength. Even when he learnt how I had betrayed him, he was still there for me."

They had taken everyone to Michael's apartment, and had laid Max out on the bed, while the other wounded cases sat about the living room, trying to come to terms with what had happened.

"Yeah, I know, Isabel." Liz sniffed. "Why did it have to be him, Iz? Why did he have to try and save me?"

"Because he loves you," Isabel stated. "Because he's Max, and he wouldn't be the man we love if he didn't do these things."

"It's all my fault," cried Liz. "Everything bad that has happened has been because of me."

"Everything good, too Liz," Isabel smiled reassuringly. "He'll make it, you'll see."

"Yeah, because he's so strong, you know? The things that have happened to him..."

"Is there any change?" Glister asked the two young women, when he entered the bedroom.

They both shook their heads sadly.

"We need to know what to do about Ava and Lonnie," he said to them.

"Why are you asking us?"

Glister smiled gently.

"Because you, Isabel, are the next in line, after Max. And I have no doubt that Liz is Max's Queen in all but legality."

"Lonnie can rot for all I care," spat Isabel.

"Is there anything we can do for Ava?" Liz asked. "Like when we healed Mich..."

Liz stopped, and looked at Isabel.

"The stones!" they both cried at once.


Liz leapt up, and charged into the room. Everyone stood up at her appearance.

"Liz! Has he come round?" Michael asked urgently.

"No. Michael, get in there, and help Glister! Maria, Jim, Kyle, get your cars. We're going to the pod chamber."

"I have never seen the pod chamber." Bradley sighed.

"Why the pod chamber, Liz?" Michael asked. "Do you think...?"

"We can stand around all day asking questions or reminiscing," Liz yelled. "Or we can save
Max's life. Now move people, your King needs you!"

Everyone leapt into action, as they executed their task given to them by Liz.

"Wow, Liz!" exclaimed Alex with a smile. She had seemed so... regal.

Michael and Glister carried Max out of the room, and through the apartment.

"Queen Elizabeth the 1st had nothing on you!" Alex continued.

"Save it for later, Alex," she ordered. "Go and get in the car with Maria, if you're coming."

Alex was one of her best friends, and his quips often made her laugh. Now was definitely not the time for them, though. Alex looked quite shocked. She followed Michael and Glister, carrying the inert Max outside. Knowing that the stones would heal Max, all traces of worry seemed to be lifted. She had a mission now, and she would prove herself worthy of Max's love.

"Put him in Jim's SUV, and then take Max's jeep. Get the chamber open for us, and dig out the stones," she commanded. "Oh wait!"

Liz ran into the apartment, and returned with a bottle of water. Michael nodded his head and smiled as Liz and Isabel climbed into the SUV next to Max.

"She's gonna be an awesome queen," he smiled. "And she's my sister."

"That doesn't give you immunity from her wrath, you know," Glister smiled. "It means you have to do better than everyone else."


Glister hung onto the seat for dear life as Michael threw the jeep over the potholes and bump that they would ordinarily have avoided. Liz had commanded that he have the chamber open, and the stones ready. He would not let her down. When the rest of the convoy arrived, Michael and Glister went down to meet them, to carry Max up to the chamber. The sun was high in the sky now, and at last they were safely ensconced in the coolness of the Pod Chamber. Isabel and Tess each picked up a stone and then stood beside Max. Michael picked up two, and held one out for Liz.

"What about the last one?" Maria asked.

"You take it, Maria," Liz smiled, taking the stone offered to her my Michael.

"Me?" Maria was startled.

"Yeah. I know how good you were to him last summer. It meant a lot to him. To me, too."

With the others looking on, the five stone carrying friends formed a circle around Max, each standing equidistant apart.

"Alex," Liz called to him. "Will you pass around the water bottle?"

"Right, the 'share' thing," he exclaimed, and then started to take the water to each one in turn.

"Remember what River Dog said," Liz urged. "Thing of Max, and all the good things we have shared."

As they concentrated hard on Max, each one suddenly found them selves in a strange place. It seemed as though they were in the desert, just outside the Pod Chamber. Max lay in the center of a large circle, from which five spokes emanated. One by one, the friends started to appear at the end of each spoke. Not surprisingly, Liz was the first to appear, followed by Isabel, Michael, Tess and then Maria. They could feel their healing energy flowing into Max, they could feel his injuries vanish, his balance restored. But still Max did not move. Liz walked down the spoke to Max, and placed her hand over his heart.

"Return to me, my beloved," she urged, using words that did not seem at all strange to her. Max remained still. She remembered the brief connection they shared for that moment in the basement of the house, and reached her mind towards Max. As their minds touched, there was a sudden golden glow, and an explosion of light and sound. Isabel, Michael, Tess and Maria were suddenly blown backwards, vanishing from the circle.

***

Back in the Pod Chamber, the four friends collapsed backwards with alarmed cries.

"Oh my God!" cried Isabel, quickly climbing up from the ground. "Max! Liz!"

The others rose, rubbing their new bruises. They all looked to Max, hopefully. He was still motionless, but now, collapsed over his chest, was a motionless Liz.

"She just walked up to him," Jim said. "She put her hand on his chest, said something in the strangest language I've ever heard, and collapsed.

"Was there a bright light? Like gold?" Michael asked.

"Yeah. They glowed. What does it mean."

"Look!" Kyle shouted, pointing at one of the Pods.

A golden glow from inside it was sending through a beam of golden light.

"The Granolith!" Isabel, Michael and Tess shouted at once, and they all filed into the Granolith Chamber.

"What about Max, and Liz?" Maria asked.

"They'll be fine, Maria." Glister quietly told her. "This might be important."

"Maybe someone from Antar is trying to contact us." Michael whispered, a little awe struck.

They had all gathered around the central column. The top half, the inverted cone, was glowing with a bright golden light. As they all gazed at the beautiful site, the lights dimmed, and they could make out figures in the middle. One, a young man, lay ion his back.
A young woman with long dark hair sat by his side, weeping. They both wore robes of gold.

"Oh my God!" exclaimed Isabel. "It's Max and Liz."

***

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The Importance of Being Elizabeth Book 5

Post by WR » Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:14 pm

Part 25

"What's happening?" Maria demanded. "Are they like... gonna go back in time or something?"

"What are you talking about, Maria?" Alex demanded. "Time travel? Yeah right."

"You don't think they're going to Antar, do you Michael?" Isabel asked. "They're not going to face K'Var without us, are they?"

"I don't know," Michael shook his head.

"If he is, it's not his doing," Tess added. "I mean, look, he's still unconscious."

"So what then?" Maria asked. "Is K'Var dragging them back against their will?"

"And why hasn't Max woken up?" Isabel wondered. "We healed him. I felt it. So why isn't he awake?"

"Because they are not completely one yet," Brad spoke from the back of the chamber.

Everyone turned to face him.

"Would you care to explain that?" Jim Valenti asked. "And while you are at it, just what part did you play in all of this?"


Brad indicated that they should all sit down, which they all complied with. With one eye on Max and Liz inside the Granolith, and the other on Brad, they prepared to listen to his explanation.

"This began almost sixty of your years ago. Max...Prince Zan, as he was then, had been sent to Earth on a scientific expedition. I was one of the Royal guards that accompanied him."

And so Brad told them the complete story, as he knew it, of Zan's meeting with the Lady Taysha, and how the two grew close. He told them of his trip to the planet's surface along with Zan and Geltar, another guard, their accident, and their meeting with Liz's grandmother. He continued the story of his life on Earth after Zan had been summoned home and how he had done everything he could to protect Claudia. He added what he knew of Taysha's experiences with Claudia, and how Taysha had given her the necklace that Zan had given to her.

"But what happened back on Antar? When Zan got home, I mean?" Alex asked. "Did he walk straight into a rebellion? And why didn't he marry Taysha if he was falling in love with her? Why did he marry Ava? Oh... sorry Tess."

"That I cannot answer, for I was not there," Brad shook his head sadly, as though he had somehow failed his King.

"But I was," Glister added. "King Zan had learned much during his time on this planet. He discussed the current political situation that was taking place down here. There was a great war going on. Claudia told him why it had started, and why so many countries had become involved. To someone as caring as Zan, this reminded him too much of the situation back home on Antar. So, being who he is, he resolved to change it. But Zan was no different to Max. He tried to do it all himself, all at once."

There was amused chuckling now, as their friends all nodded their heads in agreement. Max did have a tendency to want to control things. Glister continued the story, of how things deteriorated around Zan, how his sister Vilondra was seen courting not only K'Var, but Nikolas too. Her friends all turned and looked accusatorily at Isabel.

"So I did betray him?" she asked, sounding thoroughly miserable. "I had hoped that maybe they had made it up."

"No, Isabel. I'm sorry," he said gently, trying to sooth her bruised feelings. "It was shortly after Zan had issued his unpopular decrees. Chief among those decrees was you betrothal to Rath."

Both Isabel and Michael squirmed uncomfortably.

"Wait a minute," demanded Maria. "Are you telling me that the whole 'Isabel being pregnant thing' was because Max told them to marry? Wait till I get my hands on him. Keep those stones handy, Isabel, cause he's going to need them again."

"You must remember that Zan thought he was being kind." Glister said. "You had complained to him that you were unhappy, because you seemed to be so... lonely. So when we made these plans, we decided to program these dreams into your psyche, to ensure your coupling. We had to ensure that you would not be alone. You see, we deliberately made you nervous of the company of others."

"Hah," Maria snorted. "I guess you never counted on Liz and Max's magnetism."


"The point is," Glister continued, "that I believe that Vilondra did not really betray Max. All she did was to flout his betrothal of her. It did deflect a lot of the anger directed at Zan. People laughed at him."

"K'Var told me that it was me who had let in the soldiers that fought with Zan and Rath."

"I was watching from my hiding place, Isabel," Glister said. "I saw you rise, and walk to the back of the cathedral. You opened a door, and a squad of warriors dressed in ceremonial armor marched up to Zan at the dais. At the time, I remember thinking it was some special surprise from you. Then, of course, all hell broke loose."

"If that is true... if I did... betray... Max, does that mean... did... I mean, Liz? Did she... did she...?"

"No!" shouted Michael. "No, Liz did NOT kill Zan. She didn't! She would never betray him, never!"

"I thought the same of me," Isabel sniffed, and then added quietly, "but it seems that I did."

Michael explained about his memory, of how it appeared that Taysha had killed Zan, but how he had flown backwards towards her. It couldn't have been her. Glister heaved a sigh of relief.

"I have been so afraid that Za... um, Max had placed his trust in the wrong person again, that somehow, K'Var had managed to corrupt the prophecy."

"Does Max know?" Maria asked, a little high pitched. "That everyone thinks Liz... I mean Taysha killed him? And what prophecy?"

"Yes," Michael told her. "Max and I talked about this the other night. He knows."

"Like I said before," smiled Kyle. "He'll always know. Especially when it comes to Liz."
Everyone nodded their heads.


"So the prophecy?" Maria urged.

"Well," Glister started. "The prophecy is all about Zan, or Max's life, and his connection to Taysha, to Liz."

Glister told them how it had been prophesied that a Perdreian King would be reborn among the lands of an ancient enemy, which he believed was Earth, and restore the life of he lost love, a Kalithen Queen. Together, they would save the Universe.

"That's quite a story, Glister, and no one here doubts that Max saved Liz's life that day in the Crashdown," Jim Valenti said, his skepticism clearly evident. "But Liz Parker is one hundred percent human. I remember her mother when she was pregnant. I remember the day she was born, and Jeff showing her off to everybody."

"Nevertheless, Max, and his enemies, K'Var in particular, believe that she is the reincarnation of the Lady Taysha."

"I don't get it," Alex added. "I mean, creating Max, Michael, Tess and... Isabel... as hybrids... I can understand, but reincarnation? I mean, the likelihood that Tayhsa was reincarnated so she would be the same age as Max when he came out of his pod, that suggests some... grand plan."

"Perhaps there is a grand plan," Brad added. "The pendant that Zan found when he was here, when he met Claudia, she called it a spirit stone. She told Zan that it..."

"Housed the essences of who they were," Glister continued. "It's how we created the hybrids. Zan came up with a plan, all four of you had your own spirit stone."

"Zan knew?" Isabel asked quietly. "He knew I would betray him?"

"Damn it!" Kyle burst out. "Even then the guy knew everything."

Maria couldn't help smiling.


"He only knew that something bad was going to happen. He said that the Granolith had warned him."

"The Granolith?" Michael, Tess and Isabel exclaimed at once, while they all turned to look at the strange artifact. Max and Liz could still be seen in the middle.

"Zan gave the stone to Taysha on their return journey," Glister continued. "After Zan's death, she just disappeared. Everyone thought she had killed him, and we had our own agents searching for her. During our flight here, we received word from Antar that someone had left a garbled message warning that our plans were known, and that a traitor was on board.
Later, we found Taysha on board the ship. I thought she was trying to sabotage the ship, but she claimed that she was stopping the traitor from sending the landing coordinates to Nikolas. I guess she was telling the truth. I guess it was her who left the warning."

"But the atmosphere here was deadly to her," Brad added. "She would have been safe at home, probably ruling by K'Var's side..."

"Reluctantly!" Maria snorted disdainfully.

"Yes, reluctantly," Brad smiled. "But she clearly loved Zan enough to risk her own life to save his... his new life. Even though it meant her certain death. By an amazing stroke of fortune, or perhaps not, she met with Claudia White before she died. She told Liz's grandmother to take her pendant after she died. It is my belief that somehow, the spirit of Taysha, captured in the spirit stone, passed into Claudia's son, Jeff. From there, it moved across to his wife, and then into Liz."

"But the timing!" Alex objected. "I mean, it all fits so neatly, you know? Too neatly."

"Like you said," Brad smiled. "A grand plan."

"So Max and Liz have loved each other for almost sixty years?"

"No," smiled Brad, "they have loved each other since the beginning of time."

***

"Max," Liz gently called out to her dark haired boyfriend. "Max, where are you?"

She had been connected to his mind for some time now, searching for his consciousness, but she had yet to find him. She could not understand why he was still not awake yet, because surely she was wandering through his dream. She knew that the stones had done their job, she could feel that his physical injuries had been healed. So why wouldn't he wake up? Her tears continued to flood her eyes as her physical self hugged Max's physical body tightly. Inside their joined mind, in the bleak, dark landscape that Liz knew was the manifestation of Max's imagination, she continued her search for Max. They had healed his body, but his mind, it seemed, was still wounded. In the dark hills that felt like they were to the north, a coyote howled. Liz shuddered with a tremor of fear. She didn't like coyotes.

"Max?" she whispered urgently. "Why is a coyote in your dream? You know I don't like them."

She briefly considered breaking their connection, and seeking Isabel's help. After all, she was the expert at walking through people's dreams. But Liz knew, instinctively, that it was down to her and her alone. Releasing a sigh of anguish, she continued her desperate search. It was almost as though... no, he would never do that, would he? Not now that they knew that they truly knew they were each other's destinies, that they were in fact, soul mates. It was almost as though Max was avoiding her. The more she thought about this, though, the more this seemed to make sense. As her sense of realization grew, so too did her anger. Just what did Max think he was playing at?

"Max Evans!" she shouted, her annoyance obvious. "You show yourself this instant, or I will make you wish that you were back with Agent Pierce in his white room!"


Liz sensed his shock. At least she got a reaction from him.

"You didn't have to say that, Liz," his voice echoed all around her.

She sensed the hurt in his voice, and remembered his pain that she had seen when they had kissed after his rescue that night. It seemed such a long time ago. She bit her lip, sorry that she had hurt him this way, but refused to give in.

"Yes, Max, I think I did," she answered. "And I refuse to talk to empty space. Show yourself!"

The space to Liz's left started to shimmer, and Max slowly started to coalesce in front of her. He was standing with his back to her, facing the dark hills. Liz walked up to him, and placed her hand on his shoulder.

"Hey," she smiled.

"Hey," he returned her smile, and placed his on hand on hers.

"Are you all right, Max?"

"My physical injuries, you mean?" he asked. "Yes. They have all been healed, thank you."

"I knew that already, Max," Liz said matter-of-factly. "I mean you, are YOU all right? Why won't you wake up?"

"Because I'm afraid Liz."

Afraid? Max, what are you afraid of? We just faced our greatest danger together, and we came through it, together."

"Liz, you were placed in that great danger because of me." Max said quietly. "You would never have been... kidnapped, if it weren't for your connection with me."

Oh no, Liz thought. Not this again.

"Max, that's not true, and you know it. You're just feeling a little guilty, is all."

"But Liz..."

"But nothing, Max! Haven't you been paying attention? Somehow, I am the reincarnation of Taysha, your true love from Antar. And I... she was somehow involved in the plots against you. Even if you never had to save me that day in the Crashdown, Nikolas would have come for me, he would have found me somehow. But you did save me, and we came together. You were there for me, then as you were now. And together we defeated Nikolas, Max. Together."

"But you will never have a normal life, Liz."

Liz looked up at Max, and gave a wry smile.

"What's so great about being normal?" she asked, her eyes twinkling.

They looked at each other, gazing into one another's eyes.

"So what do you say, Max? Do you want to wake up with me now?"

Max was quiet for a while, before he looked down at Liz. How could he have been so lucky to have deserved the love of Liz, of Taysha? He turned to face her, and pulled her into an embrace. As their lips sought each other, they started to kiss. It started out as a light, gentle kiss, that soon grew in its passion. Their minds still touching, they could feel the other's thoughts. They both felt how much love the other held for them. As their passion grew, so to did the golden aura that surrounded them. At the peak of their intensity, they felt an immenseness that they had never felt before. They heard music, and the multitude of voices raised in their praise for them. It was as if the entire universe rejoiced. But it was not the entire universe. There was one voice who did not rejoice in this unity, one that started to plot how he might defeat the greatest of his enemies, his own sister.

"Come on, Liz," Max sighed, breaking regretfully from her passionate embrace. "Let's go home."

Liz nodded, and the turned towards the sun, rising in Max's mind.

"Max?" she asked. "What's with the coyote?"

"What coyote, Liz?" he replied.

Hand in hand, the walked towards the sun.

"You look great in gold, Liz," he smiled. "Have I told you that before?"


Behind them, a coyote padded softly into the clearing where the two of them had finally accepted their love for each other. The coyote sat down on his haunches, panting the ever-warming air. With a sudden shimmering, the coyote changed into the old man dressed in a dark suit rimmed with gold piping.

"Yes, Max, Liz," he smiled benevolently. "Go home, relax, and just enjoy being together. For all too soon, you must test your love, and face your greatest enemy. But you have had good training, and good teachers. With your friends around you, and as long has you hold onto this love, you are unassailable."

***

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WR
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The Importance of Being Elizabeth Book 5

Post by WR » Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:14 pm

Epilogue

When the others saw Max and Liz rise in the upper cone of the Granolith, they instinctively knew that Liz had managed to wake Max up. They hurried back through the entrance, and back into the pod chamber to greet their friend. They were met by sight of the young couple again engaged in a rather intimate embrace. No one commented, however, they were just pleased to see both of them safe, sound and back where they belonged, together in each other's arms.

"Thank you," Isabel whispered to Liz, as she embraced her brother. Liz turned to greet the rest of her friends, only to be met with grins from Kyle, Maria and Alex.

"What?" she asked, as Michael and Tess took their turn to hug Max.

They had, after all, defeated their enemies.

"Okay, so how long have you known?" Maria asked with a smile. "About Michael, I mean."

"Can you give me a hint, Maria? Like perhaps what you are talking about?"

"She means how long have you known he was your brother, kinda?" Alex laughed.

Liz looked confused.

"What are you talking about?" she demanded. "Max? Do you know anything about this?"

With a slight chuckle, they all sat down again to bring Liz up to date with her part in this fantastic tale.

***

Liz did not know how to react to the news. She had lived her whole life, her Earthling life, as an only child. To suddenly learn that through some convoluted path, Michael was her brother was kind of daunting. He had never seemed the brotherly type. She couldn't really see drawing this discovery into her family tree.

"Are you all right with this, Liz?" Max asked. "I mean, knowing that a part of you is alien?"

"As long as it means we can be together Max, sure I am. It's just, this brother thing, you know? I mean, I don't see Michael as the brotherly type. And is he going to like, keep and eye on me now?"

"I'll talk to him."

They looked at each other now, ignoring the laughter from their friends. It was good that they were all in such high spirits. It could have turned out worse. Much worse. Then Liz remembered something, and looked over at the shapes of Lonnie and Ava, covered by the blanket that Maria had in her car. No one questioned too closely why she kept a blanket in the car.

"Max?" she asked, a little quietly. "Is there anything you could do, about Ava, I mean? She died saving me, Max. And if there is anyway you, or the stones could... bring her back..."


"I'm afraid that's not possible, Liz," Glister smiled sadly.

He had been watching Liz, knowing that she would make this request, once Max was safe.

"You see, they are human. The stones could heal them if they were injured or just sick, but they can't restore her life. Neither can Max."

"He brought me back to life," Liz objected.

"Because he was supposed to," Glister brushed her objection aside. "For the prophecy to be valid, it was necessary to make the distinction between him merely saving your life, or restoring your life."

"But..."

"No, Liz. It's just not possible, and Max could hurt himself trying. Would you want to take that risk?"

"No." she answered sadly. "Can we at least bury her? Somewhere nice. You know, so we can pay our respects."

"Not Lonnie though!" spat Isabel. "She doesn't deserve anything from us!"

"We can't just leave her to rot, Isabel," Liz looked up at Isabel, seeing the anger flash across her face.

"We'll bury them, out in the desert somewhere." Max interrupted, eager to avoid any discord among his friends, no, his family.

"What if someone finds their bodies, like they did Pierce's?" Michael asked.

"I can take them far away from here," Glister told them. "I'll bury them out in Death Valley, where no one will ever find them."

"Not Ava," Liz defiantly stated. "All her life, Ava was surrounded by people who did not like her, who she did not trust. Ava will be buried here, among her friends."

"Liz, we can't..." Michael started.

"She will be buried here, Michael!" she snapped, her eyes burning into his.

Michael could not hold her fiery looks. He turned away.

"Do you have somewhere in mind, Liz?" Max asked gently, silently laughing at Michael's discomfort. If Michael had thought to somehow use their new-found sibling status as some sort of hold over Liz, he was sorely mistaken.

"Yes, Max, I do," she smiled, grateful that he had not tried to stop her.

***

Liz lead the group into the small cave in the hidden ravine by the old radio mast, where she and Max had found that first orb, all those months ago. As Max entered, he was struck by the sudden sensation of a total love. It was like the sensation he felt from Liz.

"What is this place, Liz?" Max asked, his face showing the awe he felt.

"Do you feel it, Max?" she asked with a loving smile, taking both his hands in hers.

"Feel what?" Maria asked, while Max nodded at Liz.

"Yeah, I don't feel anything Liz." Isabel added.

The rest of the group looked equally blank.

"I don't know how many times I have been out here," Jim Valenti said quietly, "and I never knew this place existed. It's almost as though it's been deliberately hidden."

"Perhaps it has been, Jim," Brad smiled, mysteriously.

"So, reminding you of Max's question, Liz," Alex spoke up, echoing the sentiments of the whole group. "What is this place, and how did you know it was here?"

"Well, I didn't know that it was exactly here, if you know what I mean. It was in my Grandma's journal, she said it was out by the tower. Once we drew near, I knew exactly where it was. I could sense it."

Max looked at Liz, a little quizzically.

"What do you mean, you could sense it?" Isabel asked, a little peeved that Liz had some special gift that she did not share.

"It's where my Grandmother buried the Lady Taysha," Liz smiled, crossing to the symbol etched into the stone floor. "Right here."

"What is that symbol?" Michael asked. "I feel that I should know that symbol."

"It means heart," Max said quietly, walking up to Liz's side and placing an arm around her waist. "As in... love. Because that is what she was to me. To us. She was not only my heart, she was all of Antar's. And we have that heart back now. I have that heart back now. And I am not going to lose it. K'Var can run, but he can't hide."

Liz looked up and smiled.

"I would like to bury Ava here," she said gently. "She deserves that honor."

Max nodded, and smiled.

"Of course, Liz."

Everyone nodded their agreement.

***

The mood back in the Crashdown was light, and fun. The eight teenagers were kicking back, and relaxing, as all teenagers should do. Jim had decided to leave them to it, and after talking amongst themselves, Glister and Brad had made their excuses to leave. Brad would undoubtedly blend into the background and keep an eye on the kids, while he waited for Glister to return from his sojourn to Death Valley. Together they would share the task of protectors to the Royal four, or rather, the Royal five, and their court. At last, Max brought a little seriousness to the meeting.

"We may have defeated Nikolas," Max said quietly, "but there are still some Skins out there. I'll ask Glister to keep tabs on Copper Summit, but until their husks start to break down, they still might try something desperate. So no secrets. Talk to each other, don't feel afraid to speak, worried that we might think you are over reacting."

"Yes, Max." they all intoned with a smile.

Max let it pass with a smile of his own.

"And don't forget, K'Var is still alive, and as far as we know, he is still ruling Antar."

"Okay, okay," Alex interrupted, before that gang to intone another 'Yes Max'. "So we kicked K'Var's butt back to Antar. But he possessed me once, and he knows he can easily do it again. I mean, it gives him direct access to you guys. Frankly, I'm worried at the prospect of being made to do something to any of you, that I would not want to do."

"Don't worry, Alex," Max smiled, noticing the uncomfortable look Liz exchanged with Alex. Max knew that he would have to talk to Liz about that. "We know how to drive him out now. He knows that Liz can raise that shield, and that I can. He has to figure that Michael, Tess and Isabel can do it too. It would be too much of a risk to him to try possessing you again. Any of you."

Alex, Kyle and Maria all heaved sighs of relief.

"You know, I just can't get over the importance of it." Maria smiled, looking at her best friend in awe. "I mean, I've known her like, all of my life. It's just too awesome to comprehend."

"What is?" asked Alex, looking confused.

"The importance of being Elizabeth Parker!"

They continued to devour the milk shakes that they were taking in turns to buy. As he had promised, Kyle had treated everyone to their first. Kyle was sitting by Tess, quietly discussing where they should go from here.

"How about we just go out on a date or two Tess," he said gently. "Let's see where it goes from there."

Tess nodded her agreement, happiness lighting up her eyes.

"So Isabel," Alex started cautiously. "I know how you said that we were good friends, and how we should take things..."

"Yes, Alex." Isabel smiled.

"Yes, what?" he asked, looking slightly confused.

"Yes, I will go out in a date with you. So, the movies?"

"Okay, space boy." Maria snapped at Michael. "So why didn't you tell me about Liz. Can you imagine how stupid I felt? Did you know that I even asked Max if he thought something was up between you two?"

"What? You suggested to Max that I was after Liz?" Michael squirmed nervously, amazed that he was still in one piece. He felt sorry for the first guy who came along, not knowing of Max and Liz's obvious attachment to one another, and tried to ask Liz out. The guys of Roswell all knew that she was pretty much off limits. But what about the college crowd? He wondered who would give the guy the hardest time, Max? Or Liz?

"Yeah," Maria laughed, "but like Kyle says... he knew."

"Yeah," Michael smiled. "He knew."


"Oh! Oh! How many musketeers were there?" Maria asked suddenly bouncing in her seat.

"Four!" came seven resigned answers.

"So there's four humans and four aliens, right? We can be the 'Four by Four Musketeers.'"

There was a chorus of groans.

"But that's sixteen, Maria," Liz objected, after breaking herself away from Max's lips. "There's only eight of us."

"Well, if you count Brad and Glister, that's ten." Isabel added.

"And my Dad," Kyle continued. "That makes eleven."

"Yeah, the 'Eleven Musketeers' doesn't sound quite right." Alex joined in. "It doesn't have that ring."

"Wait! Wait!" continued Maria, undaunted, and circling her hand indicating the eight of them. "Well, WE can be the 'Two by Four Musketeers.'"

"I always knew you were a Plank, Maria!" Alex laughed.

The others laughed too.

"Wait," Max commanded, bringing silence from the rest of the group. "That would be a 'cedar' plank, right?"

Everyone groaned, and tossed their crumpled napkins at the grinning Max. Liz just watched the group, and smiled.

As the evening wore on, and the group started to joke about what things their futures might hold, Max took Liz's hand, and gently lead her up the stairs to her bedroom. A slight smile of triumph formed on Liz's lips, but this disappeared, to be replaced by a look of disappointment as Max continued through her room, and out onto her balcony. Up above in the night sky, they could clearly see the five stars of Antar, almost dominating the heavens.

"Since the beginning of time, Liz," he began. "I have loved you. And at last, I have realized that together, we are stronger. I think that I... that WE have an important task to perform Liz, an important destiny. Together, side by side, and with the assistance of our friends, we will face this destiny, and we will overcome whatever it is that we must face. And then we can live out our lives together Liz, in peace. We are a force to be reckoned with. Together, Liz... we are invincible."

In the distant hills above Roswell, New Mexico, a lone coyote cried out his agreement to the crescent shape of the new moon, while back in town, a young couple very much in love, shared a passionate embrace.

The End

***

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