"What stronger religion is there than one that has a living God who performs miracles daily." - The Book of the One Truth by Princess Lois
The princess looked over the city of Metropolis from the balcony of her penthouse. Often, she'd watch in rapture as Kal-El flew away on a mission or fly towards her as he came home. She had first seen him when she had seen him naked in the cornfield. At the time, she had no idea that he was really a man who had fallen from the stars. She had come to search for her cousin but found him instead and been swept up in his quest to save the world.
She felt as if all the times that she had ever wished upon a star had finally paid off. Her father had always made her feel second best compared to her talented and smart sister Lucy he had sent to boarding school. But now she was a princess, and not only a princess but one married to the man who had brought peace and prosperity to all the world. He had told her that he was sent to Earth on a mission from his father to save it. And he had. Every single day, there was news about a disaster averted, women and children saved and cheers from a devoted and grateful public.
It didn't mean that it had been easy. There were still rebels out there who besmirched his name. Their leader was Lex Luthor. She had heard of him even before she had come to Smallville. He was the son of the late billionaire Lionel Luthor and had been fighting her husband almost from the minute that Kal-El had revealed himself as the one who could make the world a better peace. Luthor had spread loathsome lies and propaganda against him like the hideous story that Kal-El had stolen an ancient artifact from him and nearly killed him by downing his private jet, leaving him the sole survivor of the fiery crash. One of his minions went by the code name Nellie Bly and somehow insinuated her viral videos throughout the internet to portray her love as a fraud and a tyrant.
Infuriated, she decided to write to counteract these lies. She had begged her husband to let her post. Amused, he allowed her to do so. With the help of her editor and under the supervision of the Communications Minister, she had written columns and books about the one she felt was being unfairly slandered by someone she knew was simply jealous of how powerful and wealthy Kal-El was. She was both flattered and enraged when, in response, Nelly Bly wrote scathing parodies and dissections of her works.
While she was being forced to walk with a bag over her head and her hands manacled in front of her, she briefly thought that perhaps the book tour hadn't been the best idea. If she hadn't left the safety of Metropolis to take a tour with several stops between there and Gotham, another stronghold, she wouldn't have been caught in a small town with few defenses. She should've known that she would've been too important a target to ignore.
She was thrown into a seat and the bag was roughly pulled up off her head, ruining her makeup and hair. She saw that she was in a cell. She glared at the bald man who stood in front of her. He was the only one who showed his face, the armed guards flanking him were wearing masks.
"The Princess herself? I'd say we did some good work today," said Lex. He read from her book called The Book of the One Truth. "When even the most evil of men comes to his senses to follow the true path that Kal-El has laid down before him, only then will there truly be heaven on earth." He turned to her and said, "Hmph, it must be great to be a published author. Well . . . that and the wife of the God Emperor of the planet who bankrolls the whole operation and the only one allowed to have such access to him."
"He's going to come and save me and then you'll be sorry," Lois said.
Lex closed the book and threw it to the side. "Oh, I'm sure he will try. But since you're here, I'm going to tell you a few things your husband failed to mention and show you what your enchanted life is protecting you from."
Lois laughed harshly with the confidence of the righteous. "If you're trying to turn me against him, you're seriously barking up the wrong tree, asshole."
Lex shrugged. "Actually, I'm just a bit curious about what kind of woman marries a man like that."
Lois snorted. "Anybody would be honored to marry him."
"I'm sure you believe that and all the drivel you've been writing."
"They're not drivel! They're best sellers!"
"Quantities sold are not indicative of quality."
A guard walked into the cell and whispered into Lex's ear. Lex looked surprised. "Thank you for the information." He turned to her and said, "Congratulations."
Lois looked confused. "What do you mean?"
"You don't know? One of my people is able to examine a person's condition by sight. It looks like you're pregnant."
"Pregnant?" she squeaked. Her mind reeled at the announcement. She mentally counted how many days it had been since she last had her period and realized that she was almost a week late.
"Hmm, that could be a problem," said one of the men. "It means that the tyrant is capable of creating a dynasty. And we don't know how long he and his offspring are going to live."
"Then there's the problem of children and parents fighting over the throne. Trust me, I know something about these kind of dynamics," said Lex.
"Don't you think we should do something about it?"
"We should consider our options carefully."
"What do you mean by that?" snapped Lois.
The men turned and walked out without answering. She yelled and beat on the metal door but they did not respond, leaving her alone with her thoughts and fears.
The next morning, her door opened and Lex and two masked men walked in. One of the guards said, "I must say that I do not recommend, sir."
"I note your objections. I'll be fine. After I'm not going in there alone."
"If you're here to interrogate me, do your worst!" spat Lois, trying to hide her fear behind bravado.
Lex rolled his eyes. "What point is there in interrogating a sheltered pet? That would be a waste of my resources."
"I'm his wife!" While she was secretly glad that she wouldn't be tortured for information and forced to betray him, she was aghast how little they thought of her. Sheltered pet, she thought, shut the hell up, you arrogant cue ball. "Then why am I here?"
Lex smiled. "I did it to prove that your husband isn't perfect. That it is possible for the native population to resist the alien conquistador. The practical reason is that we're trying to negotiate a prisoner exchange. It's not in our interest to damage our bargaining chip. He has a lot of our people in facilities, being treated as if they are mentally ill for fighting against him." He grimaced. "I heard there's been anti-psychotic medication and ECT involved."
"ECT?" said Lois.
The other man who had been silent for most of this time spoke up. "It means that they zap your brain with electricity. In the right hands and for the right reasons, it can help people but I'd say that in these cases neither apply . . ." The man sighed. "So, you're the one who has been writing all these books? The Book of the One Truth, The Dawn of a New Sol, The Canonical Wisdom of Kal-El?"
"Do you write them or does someone else write them and you just put your name on it?"
"I write all my books!" It was true that she had assistants who edited her books by correcting spelling and grammatical errors and suggested ways to make her prose flow better but the words and ideas were hers.
The man gave her a crooked smile. "I know you don't know me but I used to be a writer myself though I'd have to say that the books I wrote were non-fiction . . . exposes or true crime. I used to be a reporter."
"Maybe it's not a good idea to talk about yourself," said Lex. "You don't want to give her enough information to identify you."
The man shrugged. "This is the only time I'll ever get to ask her these questions. Please indulge some old bad habits." He turned to the princess and said, "Also I believe that everyone including the princess deserves the truth."
"The Emperor has commanded that a lot of projects be put into motion."
"Of course," said Lois huffily. "There is a lot of things that still have to be done to improve the world."
"Yeah, but these projects are being done without any input from the people affected. There were protests but they were quickly squashed. That huge irrigation project in Egypt, it required that a million people had to be moved out of the way. Of course, they were compensated but most of them hadn't wanted to move in the first place. Anybody who tried to stay were forced to go to re-education centers until they admitted the error of their ways."
"I knew there was a project but I haven't heard of any protests." They're just trying to wear me down, thought Lois.
"That's because all the news outlets are told not to publish reports about them. I'm a newsman, maybe not as good as I used to be, but I couldn't stand by and do nothing as real stories were being repressed and your bullshit was being printed like it was the God's damn truth. And that project in Egypt's not the only project that's being pushed down people's throats."
The man had gotten really wound up. "And half the time, it's not like your husband and his government actually has to do anything to scare people into compliance. He's got legions of fanatics who wave one of your books around and go around making people miserable if they think they're not as fanatical as they are. They've bought into your husband's demand that the whole world has to be pushed into a golden age where old ideas, cultures, habits, and customs are left behind. They've informed on their neighbors, banned traditional festivals if they don't turn it into a celebration of Kal-El and bullied people in the name of progress. Scores of teenagers who mouth off against the Emperor end up disappearing. A few days later, their bodies are found floating in a river."
"Why should I believe anything you say? You want to kill my husband!" she said. "Just a few months ago, one of your people tried to use a poisonous black rock to kill him. If it weren't for some guards . . ." She remembered seeing her husband react violently as the assassin opened a lead box before she was hustled away from there by her bodyguards for her own safety. She had heard a shot ring out and the assassin had fallen to the floor with a shot to the head.
The second man who had been quiet finally sighed. "It's true many of us want to kill him but that wasn't what she was trying to do. Chloe wasn't trying to kill him. The black kryptonite was supposed to return him back to normal, whatever that word means. She was trying to get her best friend back, the one she had known since junior high. She wanted to see the face of the boy she kissed when she moved to Smallville."
It took Lois a few seconds for the meaning to sink. "Chloe . . . You don't mean . . ."
"She was Chloe Sullivan, your cousin."
"You're lying! She died in that explosion . . ."
"The explosion was just to make Lionel think she was dead," sighed Lex. "We wanted her to survive long enough so she could testify at trial. Unfortunately, right before the trial, all hell broke loose and she went underground for real."
"Who do you think would choose an alias like Nelly Bly?" said the first man. Noticing her blank expression, he turned to Lex. "It looks like she really doesn't know anything."
"What Lex is saying is true, Lois," said the second man as he pulled off his mask.
"Uncle Gabe?" Lois said, gasping. He was older and tired looking but he was still the same man she remembered smoking cigars on the porch with her father.
"That was foolish of you," hissed Lex.
"What do I care? My only child is dead. What more can be done to me? Besides, Lois is still my niece," said Gabe. He turned to Lois. "I've seen with my own eyes the protests, the re-education centers . . ."
They were interrupted by a large explosion. Lex turned to Gabe and the first masked man and said, "Get everybody out of here!" The men ran out of the door. He grabbed Lois by the arm and said, "I still need you as leverage. If you think I'm going to let Gina and Mercy rot in a place like Belle Reve . . ."
Before he could drag her out of the prison cell, she saw the door being ripped off its hinges and saw Kal-El grasp Lex by his neck and push him against the wall, holding him several feet off the ground. However, he slowly set him back on the floor and the grip on Lex's neck slowly moved to his cheek. "Lex?" said Kal-El in a voice Lois had never heard from him. It shook with doubt and . . . pain.
"Clark?" said Lex. "Is it really . . ."
Kal-El shook his head and abruptly split into two people from the waist up. "No! Stop interfering!" one of them yelled as the other one grabbed him from under the arms as if to restrain him.
"Lex, run away! Go!" said the one restraining the other.
Lex stood for a second then turned and ran into the tunnels.
Once he was out of sight, the split being merged back into one man and fell to his knees. Lois slowly walked towards him and said, "Kal-El! Kal-El!"
"Do not worry about me."
"Then tell me what happened."
He said nothing before he swept her off her feet and flew away.
"Change is never easy. Awakening is even harder," - Canonical Wisdom of Kal-El by Princess Lois
"You haven't been writing much lately."
Lois turned to see her assistant Jimmy Olsen holding a tray of various treats like petits fours and a cup of vanilla bean gelato. "I guess blowing up like a beach ball after a few months of barfing hasn't exactly put me into the mood for it. I'm sure I'll get back to it soon enough." As fond as she was of Jimmy, she couldn't bring herself to talk to him about the doubts in her mind.
She had argued and pleaded with Kal-El to tell her what she had witnessed in the underground bunker. Yet, he would not or perhaps could not tell her. He had become melancholy and quiet, often looking out at the city and flying around even though there was no longer any crime in the city for him to worry about. He used to sleep like the dead at night but nowadays, she would wake up to go to the bathroom and find him looking through his things. When she asked him what he was looking for, he would say that he didn't know.
Seeing that part of what Lex had said was true made her wonder how much more of what he had said was true. She asked the guards where the body of the woman who had attacked Kal-El was buried. They told her that people who dared to attack the Emperor were not given the honor of a burial but had their bodies dumped in the wilderness for the wild animals to feast on the flesh and to scatter their bones. She has asked what the woman had looked like. They told her that the bullet to the back of her head had obliterated her face but that she had short blond hair and the few witnesses who remembered seeing her face thought she was cute with blue or green eyes.
Nowadays, when Lois looked over the city from her balcony, she wished that she too could fly into the clear blue sky.
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