Clark/Chloe/Lana/Lex Elseworld (inspired by The Princess Bride and the Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom books)
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Read the previous chapter here.
Read the story from the beginning here.
Despite the pain and the nausea that racked him, Clark's first concern was for Chloe. "Chlo," he whispered, in as commanding a tone as he could manage-- not very commanding, considering that he was curled up in a ball on the ground. "Run."
"Do not be foolish," she answered shortly, glancing around. A stout branch lay on the ground, almost at her feet, and she bent and picked it up. Holding it aloft, she stepped between him and the lizard.
Clark groaned, in an agony of the spirit as well as of the body. He knew he was about to see his best friend killed, and there was naught he could do to prevent it.
He struggled frantically to get to his feet, but the lizard moved closer, and the waves of nausea and pain were simply too much for him to cope with. Even with Chloe's life at stake, he couldn't force himself upright.
The lizard came to a stop, just a few feet away, and stared at them with baleful small eyes. It opened its mouth further, displaying its dagger-like teeth.
"Go away," Chloe said, waving the stick threateningly.
The lizard didn't seem alarmed. Clark recalled that she'd struck it over the head last time, with an improvised oaken club, but that it had done little enough to slow the creature down. The only thing that had stopped it was flame. It was afraid of fire.
He lifted his head, squinting, endeavoring to use his eyes to create a fire. But with his strength sapped by the monster's proximity, he was unable to use any of his powers.
If only I can get far enough away from it...
Despite his every instinct, which demanded that he stay near Chloe, to try to protect her, he began struggling backward, dragging himself along the forest floor.
The lizard lifted its head, noting his movement, and darted forward in a motion that was surprisingly quick for so large a creature. Chloe moved just as quickly, bringing down the thick branch on its head like a club.
The branch shattered in a hail of woodchips.
The lizard turned its head, apparently undamaged, and made a hissing noise, opening its mouth wider than before.
She's going to die, Clark thought in despair. Chloe...
It was light enough now that he could see the entire drama playing out in front of him. As he watched, the first rays of the rising sun cut through the dense forest, illuminating Chloe's short hair, so that it gleamed golden. It lit the lizard's scales, too, and they glittered, iridescent and strangely beautiful.
The lizard suddenly began to shudder, and a terrible sound came out of its mouth. Forgetting its prey, it fell to the ground, writhing as if its back were broken.
Chloe took advantage of its apparent distraction. She bounded toward Clark and knelt, trying to lift him to his feet. He'd succeeded in getting some space between himself and the creature, and he managed to rise unsteadily to his feet. Together, arms around each other, they staggered away from the creature.
Some distance away, Clark paused and looked back at the lizard. It was still writhing, and noises of pain that sounded almost human rose from its throat.
"I think I can create a fire now, if one is needed," he said dubiously.
"I don't think it is necessary," Chloe said. She'd turned too, and she was observing the lizard with her customary bright-eyed interest. "I believe I understand now. It isn't afraid of fire, Clark, but of the light it brings. It is a creature of the night, and the bright light hurts it."
The lizard fell to the ground, thrashing, and its skin seemed to ripple.
"Is it dying?"
"I am not certain." Chloe frowned thoughtfully. "It must have a den it retreats to at daybreak. I suppose it was distracted by us, and failed to notice the sky growing lighter. It seems to be in terrible pain."
The monster's skin rippled, more than ever, and it thrashed wildly. It appeared to be changing shape, growing smaller. Clark stared at it, astounded.
"Chlo," he said softly. "I don't believe it is dying. I believe it is... transforming."
Chloe's eyebrows shot up, but she said nothing. They watched in amazed silence as the lizard's scales faded to a dull gray, then faded away entirely. Its tail seemed to withdraw into its body, and its enormous teeth shrank.
A moment later, the screams stopped. Clark gaped in shock. Where the lizard had been now lay a lovely, dark-haired young woman. Naked but for a simple necklace around her throat, she rose gracefully to her feet and stared at them with cool defiance. Clark stared back, his mouth hanging open.
The lizard, he realized, was Lana Lang... the girl of his dreams.
Read Chapter 11 here.