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Two Shadows Went, Chapter 21

Updated: Apr 12, 2019

The palace was probably the most crowded Lance had ever seen it over the next few days. He wasn’t—Lance wasn’t sure what Shiro’s intentions were, but he wasn’t letting Lance anywhere within the palace. He been pulled away from balconies, he’d been shuffled into secluded sitting rooms, he had taken most of his morning meals in their new rooms as well as evenings too. He rarely saw Shiro, and saw him even rarer just by himself. It turned out the gold fitted around his neck—Lance couldn’t take it off, he’d even asked Antok to help and was informed—only Shiro would be able to take it off.

So that night as a servants had entered Lance was jerked out of his reveries, reading at one of the large window seats of the room.

Honerva stepped in promptly, her face held at an ever present frown it seemed.

Lance perked but didn’t get up from where he lounged across the pillows.

He hated her.

There was no two ways around it.

"Your Highness—"

"Antok," Lance huffed as he looked over.

His guard had seemed to relax around him since the overturning, it was possibly because they spent just about every moment with each other as it was. And he turned from where he stood to face Lance.

"Please let the acolyte know I’m simply not in the mood. Have her sent out." Lance turned back to look through the book he had rested over a pillow.

Antok gave a nod before stepping forward.

"Lance—" Honerva snapped like an affronted mother.

Lance narrowed his eyes as he looked up. "That—is no way to address me." He gestured back to Antok. "She can leave."

"Of course, Your Highness," Antok shifted back to the woman and took another step forward.

Honerva stared down the guard. "This is blatant disrespect, Lance."

Lance finally shut the book, his legs uncrossed and he squared the woman with a glare.

"Because the people in this palace definitely have opinions of me I should keep intact," Lance hissed. "It's not like I’m unsure if I'll keep my head tomorrow," he huffed. "So you know I’m not all that concerned with whether or not I’m rude to you."

Honervas brow raised as she looked over. "You, my young nephew, are alive because of me."

Lance snorted. "I highly doubt my father's murderer cares much for my life." He stood with a swift action as he continued to the small drinks cart in the sitting room. "And for the love of god, never call me that again." He hissed under his breath.

The woman didn’t seem to know quite how to compose herself.

Lance poured himself a drink. As he turned he even took a sip of the dark amber liquid and faced her.

"I am not the aggressor here," Honerva settled on. "I am here vouching on your behalf."

Lance nodded. And took another drink. "So your story is that Shiro killed my father then?"

Honervas head shot up, "His Majesty—"

"That prick," Lance corrected. "May have set all the pieces up, but I’m very confident I know who pulled the trigger."

"Your Highness, that is careless and insolent—"

Lance gestured as if to brush it away with an eye roll. "He’s my husband, I can call him whatever I like, especially after all he’s done." Lance leaned back against the cart. "I have to see him, for the rest of my life, no matter how long or short that will be, for the rest of my life he is intrinsically tied to me—so when he walks into this room, I let him speak. ...unlike you."

She seemed to finally be catching on as her gaze darkened on Lance. "Your father was a tyrant."

"And so you dealt him justice?" Lance hissed. "By letting him fester away in bed for months?" Lance gestured around himself. "It's obvious now—every turn that Shiro needed more time at—My father seemed to get better, just long enough for Shiro to iron out the details—because he had you pulling the puppet strings."

"You’ve no idea what you’re talking about boy."

"I like that less," Lance pointed out. “Especially considering I'm fairly confident I know who let every Galra here in on the great family secret!" Lance gestured out around him. "Not a single soul in the palace knew I was connected to the lions or the temple—except you! Shiro brought me to your domain so you could watch me light the place up—a personal show just for him!"

Honerva lifted her chin. "His Majesty asked me to confirm your value."

Lance nearly started to laugh. "My Value?" He shook his head. The temple flashed before Lance’s mind—it was so so vivid—and so distressing. The set up—He’d had no clue. And Shiro had carefully walked him into a bear trap.

"You are alive." Honerva’s voice held a conviction. "You were on all of their radars before—and you are alive because of me. They would have escorted you straight to the gallows if it wasn’t for what I’ve done for you."

"How gracious of you," Lance’s lip curled. "Is that what this was about—keeping me alive? I don’t see how my father's death fit into that."

Her narrow face only seemed to grow more gaunt. "Your father deserved his end."

"This palace," Lance’s hands gestured all around. "Was built by my father. As far as forging an empire goes he did pretty well."

"And he did it on the bloody bones of your mother!" Honervas voice was shrill this time.

That stilled Lance.

He wasn’t stupid—though... some facts were harder to face than others. Lance had always seen his father—as the most perfect man in the world and the thought...

"Did you really think, a life force—" Honerva hissed. "Could be obtained without cost?"

He didn’t have an answer for that.

But as his narrow eyes lifted, Lance asked his own question. "What makes you think any of these new rulers will hesitate to do the same to me?" Lance’s head tipped. "Or to you?"

She fell silent. "I don’t hold the bloodline."

Lance nodded considering.

"Just my mother did." Lance spoke. "And they broke her to form the Bayards..." it felt—odd saying it out loud. Lance wasn’t even sure he could form the words in his mouth.

"Your father murdered her." Honerva’s voice held a lift then, a self assurance. "For power."

Lance pondered a moment more. "Why do you seem so fine with my sister in chains, yet revel in the victory of me at your Emperor’s bedside? Because she’s not the child of your sister, like me? She’s still innocent of my father’s crimes.”

Honerva’s face seemed to grow stoney.

Lance shook his head. "You don’t care."

"I saved your—"

"My life," lance finished for her. He shrugged. "You killed my father in return, and had a hand in toppling everything he built—including the down fall of his children."