His fingers drummed an impatient beat across the lacquered surface of the night stand, Lotor leaning back in the chair situated next to the small table. Except for the creaking of the chair’s leather, his finger’s noise was the only other sound in the room. He preferred it that way, Lotor taking care to listen for any and all sounds, alert to the fact that someone, anyone could walk in on him at any moment.
He wasn’t quite sure what he would do if that happened, Lotor knowing Allura would be displeased if he killed someone. He chafed at the idea of taking a hostage, knowing to do so would come with a whole host of problems, the least of which being he had little to bind and gag them with. Their absence would eventually be noticed, and that could send a whole search party of guards into his hiding spot.
He’d be dragged back to the dungeon or worse, and though Lotor found the dusty room distasteful, it was a million times better than the prison cell they had stuck him in. For one thing there was room to pace, Lotor moving about in agitation for hours at a time. He tried to distract himself from worrying by exploring his new hiding spot, pulling back the white sheets that covered furniture, revealing chair after chair, and a couch against the wall.
The room appeared to have once been some sort of sitting room, but now it had been abandoned, left to stock pile objects and gather dust as the occupants of the castle went on about their lives. There were books here, a whole shelf full of them, but they were useless to Lotor, their written language indecipherable to him. Portraits hung on the wall, their colors faded from the constant exposure to the sun that filtered in through the heavy drapes framing the lone window.
Lotor was grateful there was a window there, it let him breathe in the fresh breeze the wind blew, and helped him keep track of the time by the sun’s position in the sky. The sun had long since set though, hours going by since he had left Allura to travel through the secret passageways. The moon itself was out in a near starless sky, a thin silver crescent whose rays could not compete with the sun’s. It left Arus darkened, the beauty of the surface all but hidden save for the few pools of light from the erected lamp posts that surrounded the castle.
Palace guards patrolled outside, wielding flashlights, their golden glows bobbing back and forth as they traveled the stone pathways around the castle. Lotor made sure to stay well away from the window, though from this height the people walking about outside were nearly unrecognizable. He still wouldn’t chance being noticed, not when so much was at stake.
His fingers increased in tempo, the beat sounding faster as he all but willed the wall to open up. He didn’t know what was going on with Allura, didn’t know how she was faring against Keith’s inquisition. Was she all right, or were they convinced she had gone mad, quick to lock her away for her own good? He prayed that wasn’t the case, Lotor wondering how he would mount a rescue of her when he was without resources. He had no men, no sword, not even clothes that fit right, all facts that drove him wild with worry as he imagined the potential problems that could be occurring while he waited.
He had no fear that Allura would betray his location to the others, his confidence in her was secure, Lotor knowing the princess would refuse to give him up to Keith. He was also satisfied that there was little they could do to torture her, except to lock her away somewhere. That would just make Allura more stubborn in her refusal to help them.
He admired her for that quality, Lotor allowing a fond smile to cross his face as he thought of the princess. That stubbornness is what had kept her from giving up on him, on them. He hoped it would help them in other ways, Lotor praying his princess was just as tenacious as she was stubborn. His plans would fall apart if she faltered for even one instant.
His planning had gone on from most of the afternoon and into the late evening, Lotor overturning angles in his mind, examining paths that could potentially lead them to a future together. He knew Arus was all but out of the running as a place where they could spend their lives, Lotor sighing as he checked Doom off the list as well. Once he would have loved to have brought her to his home world, but that was before he had realized how horrific a place it would be to a girl as gentle as Allura. The people there would chew her up alive, and spit out the remains, leaving a broken, damaged girl.
And if they didn’t break Allura’s spirit, the harsh environment of planet Doom would finish her off. Allura was a creature of light, yearning for sunshine and flowers. She was not meant to be hidden away on some dark and dismal planet, where the wind blew too cold and dirt was all you could find on the surface. Better he take her somewhere else, somewhere similar to Arus so that she could be happy.
Lotor himself didn’t particularly care where he lived, knowing the Drules were a hard race that easily adapted to new environments. As long as he could be with Allura, he’d be happy, he was sure of it. He was ready to bank everything he owned on that very fact, Lotor hoping Allura would prove just as willing as he. If she didn’t, he didn’t know what he would do, aside from being crushed.
But he held little doubt in her reaction, after her repeated insistence that she wanted to be with him, even if it meant living on Doom. How much easier it would be for her if they left the Denubian galaxy, and took up residence in a distant star system. One that had never heard of Prince Lotor and Princess Allura, or Voltron. He wondered if such a place existed, but was determined to find it.
If only he had access to a computer, Lotor would already be researching on just where to flee to with Allura. He had transactions to take care, to wire his private, hidden fortunes to a new account, the money saved under different names for just this sort of emergency. He had always been prepared in case the Doom Empire fell, ready to sneak away and make a life somewhere else. Now he could put that money to good use, buying them a home, new names, titles and freedom.
He had given a year’s worth of thought to the type of lifestyle he would choose if he could no longer be the crown prince. Lotor knew it was easy to buy an earl title, or become a land baron. He’d own houses and rent them out, as well as invest in more stocks, and raise a fine stable of racing beasts. It would merely cushion his large nest egg, leaving them to live comfortably for the rest of their lives.
He knew that would leave Allura dependent on him, it might take her years to adjust to the shock of no longer being a princess. But if he could make the effort, so could she. Lotor would help her ease into the transition, and it wasn’t as though it was a life of servitude she’d enter, there’d be no back breaking farm work for them, no pricked fingers from sewing dresses, or tears over cooking mishaps.
He was thinking on how many servants they would have, when the wall made a soft rumble. Lotor immediately leapt to his feet, staring anxiously at the wall as it slowly opened inwards. The darkened passageway loomed before him, and then, like an angel she appeared. She was lit by the soft golden glow of the torch she carried, flames flickering shadows on her body.
He had a second to note her gown, the frumpy, almost childish night dress that covered all but her face and her arms. She looked beautiful to him all the same, Lotor watching as she pursed her lips, blowing out her torch a second before she set it down on a cluttered book shelf. “Lotor.” She whispered his name, Allura’s face lit up with a smile as she moved towards him.
Lotor moved as well, finding he was suddenly holding her, Allura fitting her small body against his, practically shaking as she spoke. “I wanted to do this from the first moment I saw you in that cell.” Her arms wrapped around his waist, the girl pressing herself against him. Lotor found his hands in her hair, running his fingers through her golden strands. “But I dared not do anything to further rouse suspicion.”
“Understood.” Lotor said, dropping a kiss on the top of her head. “Your captain would have had a field day with that footage.”
“He’s not mine.” Allura protested, staring up at him with a sapphire gaze. “He never was, not really.”
“Glad to hear it.” Lotor smiled, and urged her to let go of him. She did so reluctantly, allowing him to lead her by the hand towards the uncovered couch. He sat down, and though he patted the couch cushion next to him, Allura surprised him by moving to climb onto his lap. He chuckled and wrapped his arms around her, allowing her to cuddle close. “What have you brought with you?”
“This?” Allura gestured to the shoulder bag she wore, and he nodded. “It’s not much, but it’s some of the meal they brought me for dinner. I know you must be terribly hungry.” She sighed then, lowering the bag to the couch. “I came as soon as I could. There’s been a stream of visitors coming and going from my bedroom nonstop. I had to wait until everyone had gone to bed before I could even risk coming here.”
“It’s all right.” Lotor was quick to assure her, nuzzling her neck with his lips.
“How you must have worried.” Allura murmured, leaning into his kiss.
“It gave me much time to think.” Lotor answered, then said, “Allura…what exactly has been going on since I last saw you?”
“Much has happened. I’ve been released from the hospital. There are guards on my room’s door.” She giggled then, turning to steal a quick kiss from his lips. “They don’t know about the secret passageways. It’s a royal family secret handed down from generation to generation, to be used in case something bad happens.”
“Just how many secret passageways are there?” Lotor asked, recalling the many pathways he had seen branching off from the route she had outlined for him to travel. Lotor knew that if he had ventured down even one, he would have become hopelessly lost, left to wander the castle’s secret maze until he expired from thirst.
“A lot.” Allura said, tone matter of fact. “There’s one in my bathroom. I ran the shower, so as to disguise the sound of it’s opening.” A wistful smile then, Allura fondly recalling a childhood memory. “As a young girl I used to play in these passageways. I’d spend hours inside them, and only emerged just as the castle was in a right state of panic over my disappearance.”
“Then they are used to you disappearing?” Lotor questioned, concerned. “Won’t they think to check in on you? Will they not suspect something?”
“No.” A shake of her head, Allura looking pleased. “As I grew older I learned to practice discretion, using the passages only when I absolutely needed to move about in secret. I dare say my childhood disappearance are a memory best forgotten by nearly all the staff.”
“I see.” He picked up her hand, noticing the absence of a ring. “So you managed to avoid marrying Keith?”
“Oh yes. That was a simple enough matter.” Allura told him. “I put my foot down, and though he tried to press me into the ceremony, even the priest refused to perform the vows so long as I remained unwilling.”
“A small victory then over the captain.” Smirked Lotor, wishing he could have seen the look on Keith’s face when the princess refused to marry him.
“One of many.” Allura said, then sighed. “If Keith had gotten his way, not only would we be married, but I’d be locked away in a padded cell somewhere. All because I said I loved you. Fortunately for me, I only said those words to Keith. No one else bore witness to my love confession. It was an easy enough matter to lie about what he heard.”
“I hope you made him look like a fool.” Lotor said, and Allura shrugged.
“I’m not sure if I accomplished much except to further anger Keith.” Her eyes grew stormy, Allura looking down at their hands joined together on her lap. “Once again they refused to listen to my decrees. Even as we speak, Keith has men scouring the planet looking for you. The ports are closed, and I have little idea how we are going to get off planet to Doom.”
“We’re not going to Doom.” Allrua jerked her head up to look at him, surprise in her eyes.
“We’re not?” She frowned. “But I thought…”
“I know what you thought. And you know how I feel. It’s not a good place for you.” Lotor said, watching her face carefully for her reactions to his words. “I’ve given it a lot of thought…and I think I know the solution. That is…if you’ll go along with it.”
“Of course I will!” insisted Allura, giving his hand a squeeze.
“Hear me out before you commit yourself to my plan.” Lotor warned, his free hand lifting to touch the pearl tiara that rested on her forehead. “You know I’ve never seen you without this crown.”
“It’s a symbol of my birthright.” Allura said, not protesting when he went to withdraw it from her head. He smiled to see a pale line of skin where the tiara had rested, hidden away from the sun all these years.
“Would you be able to give it up?” Lotor asked, seeing her head cock to the side. “Your birthright I mean.”
“I never thought about it.” Allura answered, then hurried to clarify. “But I suppose if there was a good enough reason for me, I could.”
“Would that reason be me?” He was hopeful, almost holding his breath as he waited for her answer.
“Of course. I thought you understood I’d do anything to be with you.” Allura chided with a frown on her lovely face. “Why are you even asking me that?”
“Because, Allura…I want you to run away with me.” Lotor set the crown down on the cushion next to him, his fingers returning to her face to brush back her hair.
“It doesn’t matter, we’ll find a place. Somewhere where they don’t know us.” Lotor said.
“Does such a place even exist?” She wondered out loud.
“I’m sure it does. It may not be as advanced as Doom or Arus, but we could spend out our lives living there.”
“Yes, together as husband and wife.” Lotor saw Allura smile, the princess leaning in close to whisper against his lips.
“Why Lotor, are you asking me to marry you?”
“Yes, I am.” Lotor said, and she laughed, throwing her arms around his neck, leaving excited kisses on his face.
“Yes, yes, oh yes!” Allura cried out, voice ecstatic.
“Some fiancee I am.” He said ruefully. “I don’t have a ring, and I ask you to give up your crown.”
“It doesn’t matter to me. Not anymore. I’m nothing more than glorified figurehead around here.” She pulled back to look at him. “But what about you? Can you really give up your throne for me?”
“I’ve been gone so long, Zarkon’s probably disowned me by now. I admit I’ll miss the power associated with it, but it’s not like we are going off to live as peasants.” Lotor explained. “We’ll have our own mansion somewhere, with land spread out as far as the eye can see. With stables and servants, and each other.”
“It sounds wonderful. But…” She hesitated, Lotor prodding her to continue. “How will you accomplish all this? Won’t we need money?”
“I have money.” Lotor assured her. “More than I can count. And not all of it under the prince of Doom name. I’ve got dummy accounts set up, just waiting for me to transfer the money. We can live comfortably, and need not give up the lifestyle we are accustomed to. Although you’ll have to get used to not having millions of piles of paperwork and ship battles to fight.”
“I can live without the paperwork.” Allura confessed, though her smile looked sad. “The ship battles….well….I’ll miss the excitement of them.”
“Life with me will be plenty exciting!” Lotor assured her, and she laughed, the sound wild and giddy.
“Let’s do it!” Her eyes sparkled, Allura hugging him once more. “What do you need to pull it off?”
“Right now I need access to a computer.” Lotor told her, and she nodded.
“I can get you mine. It’s portable, and has complete access to the castle computers.”
“That’s good, cause the next thing I needed was blue prints of the castle’s dock.” Lotor said.
“The dock?” Allura repeated. “What do you need that for?”
“If the town ports are closed, we’ll have to use the castle’s ships to get off the planet.” Explained Lotor. “I mean for us to hijack a ship, and fly off to our new future together.”
“Do you think we can pull it off?” Allura asked, and he shrugged.
“It may take a little bit of luck, and we’ll have to sneak down there during night time when most of the castle is asleep, but yes I do.” Lotor said. “Are you willing to take the chance with me?”
“If we get caught, we’ll both be locked away.” Allura murmured, then nodded. “But yes. I am willing to try.”
“We won’t just try, we’ll succeed.” Lotor said, allowing Allura to snuggle against him as he leaned back against the couch cushions.
“We have too.” Agreed Allura, as he pet her hair. “Our future depends on it.”