Clark/Chloe/Lana/LexElseworld (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.
She was warm in his arms, warm and soft and perfect. The scent of her filled his head, and the feel of her body against his ignited a familiar fire deep inside him, the same fire he'd felt when last he kissed her. He deepened the kiss.
Somewhere in the distance, he was aware of soft laughter, and the contemptuous murmur, "Courtiers. Always tumbling one another..."
And then he vaguely heard footsteps, receding down the flagstones of the long corridor. But he didn't stop kissing her. He couldn't. His arms were locked around her, his tongue brushing against hers...
And then her hands were on his shoulders, and she was pushing him away.
He took a step back, blinking in confusion.
She looked just as confused as he felt. "That was... very good," she murmured.
A bubble of pride grew inside him. He was hardly an expert kisser, but he was strangely pleased she had found his kisses adequate.
She promptly shattered the bubble by adding, "A very good job of pretending we were involved, that is. Clearly we fooled them into thinking we were a couple."
He almost opened his mouth to blurt out that they were involved, that they were a couple, but he forcibly held the words back, because suddenly he remembered that they weren't. Despite the strange feeling of rightness he'd experienced when he held her in his arms... Chloe wasn't the woman he'd always loved.
"Come," she said, patting him on the arm. "We have innocent people to save."
He nodded. He pushed aside his confusion and his personal concerns, and followed her out into the hallway.
"I can walk down the passageway of the dungeon," Clark whispered a few moments later.
"No, Clark. You must not risk it."
The two of them had tiptoed down the dark, curving stone staircase, and now they peered cautiously around the corner. A single torch burned, its wavering light illuminating two armed guards. The doorway to Level 3 had stood open earlier, but now the massive oaken door had been thrown shut, barring the way into the dungeon. "I did it before. The green rocks are in the cell walls."
"But I threw one of them out into the passageway," she argued. "Remember? It is likely still there, and if it is... well, you must not take the risk of entering the dungeon, Clark."
Reluctantly, he had to agree. He was not brave enough to risk exposing himself to the bone-searing pain again, nor would he do anyone any good if he wound up writhing in agony on the floor.
He dared not enter the dungeon, but it was an easy enough matter to incapacitate the guards who stood at either side of the door. A blur, two quick taps on their heads, and the guards lay sprawled on the stone floor, quiet and still. Chloe nodded approvingly.
"Are there any more?" she asked in a whisper.
Clark cocked his head. Inside the dungeon, he could hear the sound of booted feet striding back and forth. After today's events, security had apparently been increased.
"One more," he replied softly.
"We must lure him out." She reached for the great bronze handle of the door, but Clark caught her arm.
"What are you doing?"
"I told you." She blinked at him. "I intend to lure him out."
"By using yourself as bait? I think not."
"Clark..." She flashed her bright smile. "You will not let anything happen to me. I know that. Do not concern yourself so. I assure you, I do not intend to step more than a foot or two inside the dungeon. Just so he sees me. I have a plan."
He shook his head. "Somehow I knew you were going to say that."
"Clark." She looked up into his eyes. "Trust me."
He hesitated, his fingers still wrapped around her slender wrist. She looked so different with her coiffed dark hair and brocade gown. It made her appear feminine, almost fragile. But he reminded himself that she was the same sturdy, competent girl he'd always known. He released her, and nodded.
She pulled open the stout oaken door and disappeared inside. Clark stood behind the door, letting it conceal him, but he could hear her desperate, low call.
"Please! Please, help me!"
There was a pause, and then the booted feet moved rapidly in their direction. Chloe backed out of the dungeon, and as the guard followed her out, Clark reached out from behind the heavy oaken door and tapped him on the head, too.
"Also a useful skill," Chloe said approvingly, looking down at the pile of inert bodies. She bent and removed the keys from one of the guard's belts. They jingled slightly, but she muffled them by grasping them in one hand.
Clark could not prevent a smile from curving his lips. "I try to be helpful."
"You do well. Now guard the door while I release the innocent prisoners."
She turned to walk into the dungeon, but Clark suddenly stiffened, and she turned back. "Clark? What is it?"
"Someone is coming..." He realized too late that he'd been so focused on the guard inside the dungeon that he hadn't been listening elsewhere carefully enough. Now he heard footsteps proceeding stealthily down the staircase, but too late to do him any good. His voice trailed off in a moan. "Chlo..."
He dropped to his knees, doubling over and groaning.
A greenish glow lit the spiral stairs, and Prince Lex appeared.
On his finger, a green rock blazed with emerald light.
Read Chapter 19 here.