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Two Shadows Went, Chapter 28

Two Shadows Went Index

He didn’t have a lot of time to get up the palace stairs. With Blue at his back, she held any advancing guards off as Lance raced up the stairs and through the massive doors.

He found the grand entryway deserted, luckily for him. Any guards must have been outside with the proceedings. Lance looked around as he topped the stairs up to the marble foray. The palace around him was silent. He gripped the blue bayard and felt the rush of waterfalls through him as it flashed out into a blue short sword. Even with the ceremonies outside there had to be someone waiting for him. He hadn’t hid the fact he was headed in this direction.

He gave one last look around before he stole forward run again.

It wasn’t until Lance encountered a Galra servant that he remembered he was practically a lightbulb still. The small Galra shrunk away from him, and Lance looked across to a tall mirror in the halls. Every mark he had was lit bright blue. He looked utterly ethereal and as Lance glanced at the Galra -- he must have been terrifying to them. A beacon of the last empire, the villain they all feared would seize power again.

It was the pounding feet of guards that jolted Lance back into a run. They must have gotten Shiro to safety and were already regrouping.

He had a lot to accomplish, Lance turned away from the shivering servant to keep running. They may have sent guards out looking for him but he was counting on them still being disorganized enough, he could slip through their fingers.


As Lance mounted the final steps leading to the throne room he stopped. He had no plans to go past the doors to the massive hall, but he needed to pass this way.

This was bound to happen.

Lance gripped the short sword at the ready as he watched Keith across from him. He stood at the doors, solemn faced as he watched Lance.

His black and red armor gleamed. It was new, galra made, and gleamed with his new position as the right hand to a Kon.

“How dare you,” Keith grit out to Lance. His jaw was tight as he spoke to Lance.

Lance opened his mouth to answer. His eyes pleading he wasn’t sure he could say, wasn’t sure there was anything he could say--

But he snapped his mouth closed as with a cry Keith rushed forward and Lance was forced to dance out of striking range.

“He trusted you with everything!”

Lance leapt out of the way as Keith swung his whole body into the seep of his sword wide enough he probably could have cut Lance in half, had he not skittered out of the way.

“Lance!” Keith advanced again.

And Lance just danced away. He didn’t lift his sword. He knew this wasn’t a battle he could win by force. Keith had always been a much better swordsman and Lance sharply couldn’t forget it now.

He’d been through this enough with Keith. There was no way Lance could beat him now. Keith had trained all his life for this moment, for his chance to defend a Kon. Lance had trained a couple of months, and finally gripped his resolve less than a few days before.

“Face me!” Keith snarled as he chased after Lance again and swept his red long sword back through the air.

Lance shook his head as he watched keith for a second, ready to leap out of the way again when he needed too. “You know I can’t.”

“You’re--” Keith's teeth ground so hard his jaw clenched.

Visibly Lance winced as he saw Keith searching for the right words.

“You had to know,” Lance shook his head. “It’s all I’ve ever asked of him.” Lance knew there was a desperation in his voice, but he didn’t have any ounce of will to stop it. He needed every bit of what he had for what was ahead. “I just needed him to save her. That’s all I wanted from him. I would have done anything he wanted for the rest of my life if he just--he would have come through on his promise.”

With another cry Keith leapt at Lance--and again and again--he charged forcing Lance to skip away faster and faster.

He wasn’t fast enough though, Red’s were always swift--it was in their nature after all, like a wildfire, they consumed and soared like none of the other Paladins could--and Lance was finally forced to lift his sword and deflect Keith.

Lance used the deflect to push himself away though, the force of Keith’s blow still shook through his arms as Lance steadied his feet again.

Visibly angry, Keith’s enraged face broke into a new level as Lance managed to get away yet again.

“I’ll kill you for this,” Keith finally spat at Lance. “I’ll kill you!”

Lance just shook his head. “You won’t.” He couldn’t. Lance couldn’t let him right now. He still had things to do.

“I’ll have to,” Keith huffed. “Sooner or later I will have to,”

His voice cracked this time, for the first time.

“I’ll have to,” Keith repeated as his stance finally faltered. His shoulders dropped as his deep magenta eyes watched Lance. “You don’t understand, I won’t have a choice.”

Swallowing, it finally fell together for Lance. “Shiro would never make you do that.”

“You think they’ll let Shiro have any say after you’ve done this?” Keith pointed to the palace entrance with his sword. “You--” His teeth grit. “They’ll make me slit your throat for this.”

Lance’s sword dropped to his side , the blade flashing back to his bayard. “I couldn’t do nothing. You have to know that I couldn’t.” Lance took a step closer. “If it was Shiro--could you let him die like that?”

“I--” Keith stopped, but his mouth hung open. He clearly wanted to say something but he couldn’t. He shook his head, whether in response to Lance or in an answer to his own internal turmoil it wasn’t clear.

“I’ll face whatever consequence they have for me,” Lance said,. “I just have to finish what I started.” He held his hands up, the Bayard held loosely hooked with his thumb. “After today--”

“You won’t be allowed to live after today.” Keith huffed. His chest heaved with every breath. “Kollivan has already demanded you be brought before the war councils to answer for charges of treason.”

“Shiro won’t let anyone kill me,” Lance said with as much confidence as he could muster. He raised his chin, letting his self assurance lead If he sounded confident, he at least wouldn’t sound scared.

“It won’t be his order,” Kieth looked down. “I can’t--” His head shook as his arm went limp.

Lance stepped closer. “Keith,” he murmured low. “There’s nothing you have to do,”

“Doing nothing is all I’ve ever been allowed to do,” Keith hissed as he stole forward, in long steps charging on Lance again, but his sword still dropped this time. “You’re destroying everything!” He snarled at him as his hand struck out.

Lance didn’t move, even as Keith slipped closer into his personal space.

“There’s nothing I’ll be able to do,” Keith's voice broke again.

There really wasn’t. Lance had already demonstrated power and already commited a crime. He’d already undermined his Kon, put that man in danger and committed treason. Lance didn’t have a way to just slide out of it unnoticed.

“Keith,” Lance sighed.

Keith looked like he wanted to grab Lance, like he wanted to shake him and snap him out of his actions. “You don’t understand.”

“I think I do,” Lance tipped his head to try and look into Keith’s magenta eyes.

“I--” Keith shook his head, his eyes closing as his face scrunched. “I can’t.” He swallowed in a think depp sound. “They’ll order me to do it. Kollivan knows Shiro will fight the decision and he won’t do it himself--so I’ll be ordered to do it.”

Keith finally lifted his head to look at Lance. “And I can’t.”

Lance took one last step forward, nodding. “I know.”