The Eastern Prince, The Western Knight
Earth 53: Prince Snart/ Knight Lance
Part IX: ...And Suddenly Nothing Makes Sense
Leonard skulks through the castle unseen, his massive paws silent against the marble floors. The palace is nearly silent, the only goings on are that of the servants preparing the palace for the day. Within the next few hours the dignitaries will begin to rise, the people will begin to stir and the day will move forward toward what would be a historic event.
The first king coronated outside of house Snart in over two hundred years. Leonard intended to ensure it never happened.
The temple of Epoch exists on the Northern side of the palace, perfectly aligned with the Kronos Star. Leonard had been there himself a handful of times, once with his father, but all others with his tutors. As the future king it was important for him to learn and understand the various deities and religions his people and advisors worshipped and practiced.
Leonard slipped through the ornately carved doors into the temple. The temple is empty. At the center of the room is a large sundial, but there are no windows to let the sun in. On the farside of the circular temple sits an altar of sorts, a small riser capped by a massive circular piece of white quartz.
Leonard steps up onto the altar and sits, catty green eyes focused on the doors.
Zaman Druce knows a lot of things. He knows exactly how much pressure to apply to any given situation to tip it in his favor. He knows the weakness of every member of standing in the East. He knows what strings to pull to make someone dance. And most importantly, he knows without a shadow of a doubt that he would succeed. It was his destiny, Epoch had told him himself. He was destined for greatness. He deserved everything.
Druce had already systematically removed everyone in his way. First Eobard Thawne, the author of the region wide coup. Everyone followed him without question, ready to help raise him up to rule over the continent. But Druce had wasted too much of his life following the orders of those who were beneath him and he was far beyond ready to take power for himself. So, he got rid of Thawne, made it look like an accident, made sure there were witnesses to attest to the fact.
Next was damien Darhk. He and Thawne had been close allies, so the other conspirators had turned to Darhk to take Thawne’s place and quickly fell in line. His plan to get rid of Darhk had to be a bit more subtle.
It started with unrest in the south. Turning everyone against the Elliots was easy enough. They’d inherited a large amount of debt and a crumbling infrastructure. It was merely a matter of pushing the right buttons.
Darhk went south to help their conspirator, crowned Prince Thomas Elliot, get everything under control, but a little push from Druce sent the impatient Prince after his parents. His mother escaped and Darhk took credit for the killing of the King, cementing himself as a hero in the eyes of the people. Darhk easily paid the council off, leaving him in the perfect position to set up the south for conquering. He didn’t have to remain in power for that however.
So, Druce moved on to the next phase. Quentin Lance had long suspected that something was amiss with their Western conspirator, Sebastian Blood. Darhk’s sudden rise to power in the south distracted him for a bit, but he soon began to dig again. So, when he spoke out against Darhk during the summit of the four emperors, Druce saw the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.
It was a simple matter to convince Darhk to send soldiers after Quentin and his family and Druce promised to send his own men out to ensure there were no witnesses along the way. All it took was a “lone survivor” surviving long enough to tell those who came to help what happened and just like that, the world had suddenly turned on Damien Darhk.
Lady Sara not being there that night was a miscalculation on his part. She should have died along with her family, thus crippling Leonard’s ability to concentrate on his own investigation, but she had escorted her step sister to Star City to announce her betrothal to Prince Oliver. He had underestimated the level of rage at Darhk’s escape and knowing what Darhk was capable of, he sincerely hoped he could finish her off once and for all.
Unfortunately, when he’d heard Darhk had been defeated, Druce knew his plans would have to change drastically. Darhk had found a way to extend his life through the years and if he had the foresight to prepare for his possible demise, then it wouldn’t be long before Darhk made his eventual reappearance with enough evidence to turn the conspirators against him. He would have to be rid of his opponents before Darhk regained his strength and returned.
Druce steps into the temple and genuflects to the sundial. As he rises once more he freezes, his eyes landing on the large cat sitting atop the altar.
Oh right, there was the matter of Prince Leonard to deal with also. He’d been content to let him go, trapped in his cat form for the rest of his life, but his reappearance here and with Sara of all people concerned him greatly. He’d have to finish the job himself.
“I thought that was you.” Druce says as he steps closer. “Have the others figured out who you are?” Leonard growls. Druce smirks. “I’ll take that as a no.” he takes another step closer. “It’s been too long Leonard, since the night I killed your parents, wasn’t it?” Leonard growl cuts him off and he chuckles. “What’s wrong your majesty? Cat got your tongue?” he laughs. “I’ll be honest, not everything in this grand scheme has gone to plan, but in the end I know it’ll all come together. You’ll be dead, the throne will be mine and in just a few short months the rest of the continent will be mine as well.”
If Leonard could smirk he would. Instead he settled for the element of surprise, jumping down from the altar and shifting back to himself. Druce takes a startled step back, staring wide eyed at Leonard. “My apologies Druce, did I step on your moment?”
“... how?” he struggles to speak.
“You underestimated Sara. You should know better by now.” Leonard replies, looking around him. Druce turns just as Sara, Wells and Malcolm step out of the shadows. There’s a sick satisfaction in the fear he sees on Druce’s face.
“Game over Druce.” Wells says and it’s just the queue he needs to turn and run for the unguarded doors. They, however, swing open before he can make it, admitting the palace guard. With his retreat cut off, he backs into the temple again, keeping everyone in sight as best he can.
“It’s… it’s not true! I’m being framed.” he says to the line of soldiers, desperation setting in. None of them react, standing strong against him. It’s only in final desperation that he turns to Sara. “Now would be a great time to step in.” he calls out to her and the confusion on her face mirrors the rest of the room.
“What are you talking about?” Sara asks, stepping forward, ready to strike out. Druce takes a step back. It takes a moment for her to realize she’s being watched and she turns to catch both Leonard and Malcolm’s eye. “You don’t believe him, do you?” she asks in outrage.
“Not in the way you might think.” Malcolm replies, stepping toward her. “We need you to trust us Sara. We will help you.”
“You’ll have to help yourselves first.” Wells speaks up and they turn to see him waving his hands around in intricate patterns.
Suddenly, Sara doubles over in pain, holding her head as she drops to her knees. Malcolm steps forward to help but a wave of dark magic emanates from Wells, pulsing outward and knocking Malcolm, Leonard and the guards back against the curved walls. It’s only a second before they realize they can’t move, forced to watch in horror as Sara straightens up, her vibrant blue eyes now green, a smirk on her face they know all too well.
“I’ll be honest.” she speaks. “I was in that last body so long, I think I’m going to miss it.” she says, turning to Wells.
“Don’t worry we can do something about that.” Wells tells her, but something is wrong with his voice now. It’s familiar, a voice Leonard hasn’t heard in quite some time.
“How?” Druce questions, drawing their attention. “How can you be…”
“Alive?” Wells asks, stepping forward. Like a veil lifted from their eyes, his form shifts, the image of Harrison Wells giving way to Eobard Thawne. “Really Druce, you should know better than to double cross the Legion.”
“Thawne saw your betrayal coming long before you rose through the ranks. I’m sorry to say I gave you the benefit of the doubt.” Darhk speaks through Sara’s voice. “Of course, your betrayal with the Lance family was all the proof I needed.” he explains. “Laying dormant inside this body until I was strong enough to take over was immeasurably painful, but finally getting to this point was worth it.” he continues, stepping up to Druce all the while.
“As much as I would love to watch whatever you have planned for him, old friend, we need to get going before it’s too late.” Thawne interrupts.
Darhk sighs, pulling a dagger and stabbing Druce in the abdomen before he can break away.
“No.” he grunts.
“Just remember.” Darhk tells him as he pulls back. “None of this would have been necessary if you would have just learned your place.”
Darhk turns then, uniting with Thawne and following him out.
Leonard watches in horror as Sara, or her body at least, walks out of the temple with a man thought long dead. He struggles against the paralysis keeping him secured against the wall, but it’s no use, once again he’s forced to watch the love of his life leave him behind. His eyes cut to Druce across the room, the man struggling to cross the temple floor, his hand to his abdomen as he makes his way toward the door. Leonard renews his struggle, desperate to keep Druce from escaping. Again it’s no use. Whatever force Thawne used against them is more powerful than his own meager magical ability.
As Druce makes it to the doors, he’s stopped once again, this time by King Robert’s guard. The councilman halts, letting out a pained breath and dropping down to sit on the floor in what can only be described as defeat. Not far behind them is King Robert himself with Cisco, Barry and… Harrison Wells.
“It would appear to be worse than we thought.” Wells says, waving a hand and dispelling whatever magic kept them prisoner. It’s Robert’s voice that cuts off Leonard’s mad dash for the doors.
“They’re already gone Leonard!” he says and Leonard turns ready to argue.
“We couldn’t stop them from porting out as we approached.” Wells tells him and Leonard turns on him.
“And what the hell is this about?” Leonard demands, gesturing to Wells himself.
“It’s a long story.” Wells tells him. “Right now we have something more important to worry about.”
“What could possibly be more important than what just happened?”
“The bomb.” Druce’s voice filters up to them from the floor, pain lacing his every word.
“The what?” Barry questions from his place beside the dying man. He’s doing his best to stop the bleeding but Druce is fighting him with his own magic.
“It’s the failsafe, if the plan went awry the alternative was to take out every capital city and leave the people lost and confused. Then someone else in the organization would come forward to take leadership of the chaos.” Druce coughs, blood dribbling from the corner of his mouth. “It was Darhk’s idea, to put it at the center of the city and then get out before it went off. He claimed it would be so powerful, it would take out the countryside around the city as well.”
“Where is it?” Malcolm asks.
Druce coughs again. “I don’t know. I didn’t even know they’d actually built it.” he shakes his head already starting to fade. “I killed them, I killed them.” he muttered. “Why aren’t they dead?”
As he began to fade from consciousness, he lost control of his magic, allowing Barry to heal him. “If you want him to survive to face trial he needs a proper healer.”
Robert turns to a few of the guards. “Get him to the healing ward, do not let anyone who is not a healer near him.” obeying the order they scoop him up between them and carry him off.
“The best place to put something like that would most likely be the center of the city.” Leonard says.
“That would be here. The palace.” Cisco replies.
Leonard nods. “Logically there are only two places it could be without being discovered by mistake. The roof along the western edge of the palace and the catacombs.”
Wells turns to Leonard. “Do you remember how to dispel magical traps?”
“Good, then I’ll take Cisco to the Western Roof, you and Barry search the catacombs.”
Leonard agrees, putting aside his suspicions and leading Barry out. He can hear the footsteps of soldiers following after them, but he puts that and everything else aside. If he’s going to save Sara, he needs to survive today.
The catacombs exist in three sections. The tunnels where shipments of crops and supplies are moved through out of sight, the hot springs where hot water springs bubble up from the ground, and the burial tombs for the royal families.
The tunnels are too open and widely used for something to be placed there and the hot springs have magical properties that would and do interfere with magical objects and enchantments. That left the tombs.
Leonard tries not to think about the fact that his parents are here, or that he never got to say goodbye when they were placed here. He tries not to think about the fact that if he doesn’t find this so called bomb, he’ll be spending eternity here a lot sooner than intended.
“Len.” Barry calls out, drawing his attention. He stops short, turning to find Barry heading off into an abandoned tunnel. He completely passed it by, failing to notice what was an obvious opening. As he passes through the archway, he can feel the pull of dark magic like icy fingers, tearing at his skin. “Thawne hid the tunnel with illusory magic.” Barry says as if sensing the nature of his thoughts.
The tunnel looks every bit as abandoned as it seems. The masonry is cracked and unkempt, the names on the tombs along the walls chiseled off and the cobblestones in the ground are missing in some places.
“There.” Leonard says, pointing ahead. At the center of the tunnel is a large, glowing orb, the light it emits is a dull grey, but the longer they stand there, inspecting it, the brighter it gets. “Have you ever seen one of these before?”
“No, but I’ve heard of them. Their meant to be easy to hide, because they’re simple in design and easy to disarm.” Barry explains. “A focused dispel magic between the two of us should work.”
Leonard simply nodded, following Barry’s lead. They stood on opposite sides of the orb, light still growing in intensity and in the same way Barry and Wells had done to release him from his curse, he and Barry focused on the enchantments within the orb. It was difficult as safety measures fought them every step of the way, attempting to distract them with illusions and pain. Leonard felt like he was losing the fight, feeling the magic slipping through his fingers, but he kept going, kept fighting, because if he didn’t, there would be no one left to save Sara.
And then the unthinkable happened. The light grew brighter, suddenly an intense blue glow against his eyelids, a heat emanating from it that threatened to consume them. Like a wave of the ocean, it crashed into them, throwing them off their feet and out in either direction. Leonard could head screams of pain and suffering, but as he hit the ground all that remained was a distinct ringing in his ears. A dull ache rose up into shock waves of pain and agony. It overwhelms him, and he slips into darkness.