Her tears weren’t so quick to dissipate, nor did her madly beating heart calm down once the Drule was gone from the room. Allura knew he could return at any moment, bringing with him a whole host of problems for her. The least of which being his insistence that they meant something to each other. Allura didn’t understand what game he was trying to play, didn’t know how he could manage a straight face as he spoke on the concept of mates and their importance to the Drule.
She didn’t understand, but more than that Allura didn’t believe, the girl knowing the concept of Drules and their mating rituals were well outside her realm of experience. Perhaps outside the knowledge of most of the humans in the Denubian Galaxy! It wasn’t as though the Drule had shown a softer, kinder side to their savagery and blood thirstiness. In fact there was few things known about them that didn’t have to do with their war mongering, and bid to conquer every planet in the known galaxy.
Such actions only fueled the talk of what a vicious race the Drule were, their list of crimes growing. Violence was an every day thing with the Drule, they raped and pillaged both the planets and it’s people, enslaving and working them till nothing but dried up husks remained in their wake. It was hard to imagine the Drule showing any
kindness, any type of compassion or love. It was even rumored they had none, and Allura kept on reminding herself of that now.
It certainly helped to make her heart steel against the Drule who had captured her, the man staring at her with expressive gold eyes. As alien as those eyes were, they still held a hint of human to them, conveying his emotions well. And what emotions he had shown her, Allura startled by the force of them. As taken aback as she was by the desire in them, she hadn’t expected the softening of his face, the gentle, almost loving looks he tossed her way.
Those looks had unnerved her, Allura unable to escape his eyes. Every time she glanced his way, he had been staring at her, a look of such hopeless yearning on his face. She was unused to receiving such a look, Allura experiencing at the most a few appreciative glances her way. But never had she bore witness to a man’s full desire, the emotion leaving her unsettled.
Such a look belonged on the face of a lover, not some stranger she had just met. It worried her, for Allura wondered how one could desire something so strongly and keep from taking that which they wanted. Especially when they were Drule!
And yet her Drule, and she frowned to think of him that way, had held back. She knew and understood he could have done far worse to her than some stray touches and stolen kisses. She had expected more, ready to endure it all with grace and silent tears, though he had noticed her upset. Even more miraculous, he had stopped, seeming to grow upset at her heart felt plea that he not rape her.
Allura didn’t know why he had stopped, but she was grateful all the same, even as his behavior confused her. She had sat there, huddled on the bed, watching the Drule pace about the room. His every movement had radiated his agitation, and not even the sight of her seemed to calm him. It was as though she had set him off, leaving him tormented by her own upset.
And yet he wouldn’t do the one thing that was guaranteed to make her happy, Allura asking him to let her and her friends go. He had stubbornly refused, insisting to her that he was incapable of letting her go. A brief talk had followed, the Drule once again insisting she was his. He always spoke so possessively of her, the words sending shivers down her spine.
Even as she trembled, and fought not to cry, Allura had been gathering courage to her. It had taken everything within her not to have her voice betray her nervousness, Allura telling him he had made a mistake. He had reacted in a violatile manner, all but screaming at her that he did not make mistakes. She didn’t know what had scared her more, his shout or the absolute truth that rang in his words.
Either way, she had almost broken down, attempting one last chance to get through to him. “People will come looking for me.” Allura had warned, and even that did not get the reaction she was hoping for.
Instead chilling words were given to her, the Drule far more fearsome than if he had lacked all emotion. He had stated it as fact, promising her that they and any others who tried to take her from him would die. That promise had been the breaking point, Allura giving in to the need to cry. She tried not to make any sound as she wept, but the Drule was attuned to her in ways that weren’t natural.
He had noticed her tears, and staggered back as though they wounded him. He had actually whispered a plea for forgiveness before taking off from the room, not even casting one backwards glance her way. She should have been relieved for that time alone, but right now she was barely in control of herself, fitful tears still leaking down the sides of her face.
With shaking hands, she rubbed at her eyes, trying her best to smother and dry any of the remaining tears. It took some doing, some deep, steady breaths and clearing her mind of the troubling talk she had had with the Drule, but eventually her tears stopped. Allura was left just to sniffle, the girl casting about for a tissue for her nose.
Her search allowed her to see the room for the first time, Allura becoming aware that other things existed besides the decadently large bed she sat perched upon. There was a couch pressed against the wall opposite the bed, with a table made out of stained glass that look far too fragile for a space faring vessel. Of course on closer examination she realized that all the furniture in this room was bolted to the floor, the carpet’s thick fibers covering the tell tale screws from sight.
There was a book on top of the table, a thick, heavy tome with gold glinted symbols carved into the cover. Inside was a messy scrawl, the illegible writing a direct opposite of the neat print that most books had. Allura realized it must be a journal or day planner or some kind, the girl staring at what had to be the Drule’s own hand writing. It was as messy as the room was neat, her surroundings almost sparse save for the few pieces of furniture spread across the floor.
She didn’t know what to make of her surroundings, wondering if the Drule had picked out the room’s furnishings himself. If he had, he had exquisite taste, the room’s appointments as lavish as they were elegant. There wasn’t many things in the way of decorative accents, no vases or statues readily available. She knew it would be foolish, those items could not be easily secured, and were liable to be dangerous hazard in the wake of the ship’s movements.
And yet Allura felt disappointed, for she knew if they had existed, she could have perhaps used one to bludgeon her captor upon his return. She didn’t want to kill him, but Allura did want out of this room. Not that she thought she could fight her way through an entire ship of Drules! Certainly not on her own. And yet something inside her burned at the thought of just sitting here waiting for the Drule to return.
Maybe she could find a weapon, though she tried not to keep her hopes from building. Certainly she wasn’t expecting much as she pulled open his closet doors, revealing hangar after hangar of near identical uniforms. She was left blinking in surprise, not sure what to make of the sameness of his clothing. Nor did she like the all too familiar scent of sandalwood and spice that surrounded her as she rummaged around his closet.
The clothing revealed nothing of use, Allura going up on tip toe to reach for the boxes that sat situated on the shelf over the clothing rack. Each box was thoroughly examined, Allura finding little of use. Certainly no weapons, not even one hand pistol, or the stun charges needed to arm such a weapon. There wasn’t even a spare communicator, Allura having hoped to find such a device and use it to get in contact with the castle.
Instead there was just books and a few pictures, Allura staring at faces she didn’t know, and at places she didn’t recognize. It certainly wasn’t anything she could use, the girl stuffing the items back into the boxes, trying to arrange them so as not to appear disturb. She didn’t know how the Drule would react to her handling his private things, nor did she want to find out, Allura placing the boxes back on the shelf.
There was another set of doors she had not investigated, Allura turning disappointed to discover they hid nothing more than a modest sized bathroom. What might have appear small at the first glance, was actually quite large when one took into account that this was a warship. Every bit of space counted, and only someone of high rank could dare command as large an apartment as the Drule prince had.
A quick cursory glance around the bathroom had Allura coming up empty, not so much as a razor to her name. There was a lot of hair care products, she might have even been amused by the amount if she wasn’t so worried about escaping!
She hurried back through the bedroom, and out to the main chamber, dashing for the doors that would lead her out to the ship’s hall. They were locked, and Allura bit back a curse, slamming her fist against the door. She didn’t know why she was surprised, the Drule couldn’t possibly have been so distracted as to leave her free reign to walk out on him.
She turned away from the doors, a frown on her face. Her disappointments were keeping her tears at bay, Allura growing more and more determined to somehow foil the Drule. Her eyes swept over the room, noting the things she had missed in her mad dash towards the doors. A table and chairs, along with more comfortable looking seats were distributed throughout the room. Surely here was where the Drule prince entertained some of the military higher ups.
She wanderer over to the table, and found a remote laying across it’s top. Allura grew excited at the sight of it, realizing what it was. The buttons were marked by symbols, she didn’t recognize even a third of them but still Allura began pressing down on them all. It took several tries before she triggered a reaction, a slit in the ceiling opening up.
She glanced up at the hum, Allura spying something being lowered through the thin slit. It was a view screen, longer than both her arms extended, and nearly half her height. Static crackled on the screen, the girl fiddling around with the buttons, trying to activate it. With a hiss, the snowy static cleared, a craggy rock outcropping appearing as it’s screensaver. There was writing on the lower half, more of those odd symbols she could not read.
Allura stared at the remote in her hand, wondering how she hoped to change the screen’s channel to be able to broadcast to the castle of lions. Especially when she couldn’t decipher the symbols meanings to even begin to have a clue as to what she was doing. “It’s hopeless.” She sighed out loud, feeling as though a fresh wave of tears wanted to fall from her eyes.
Pushing random buttons would not help, she was liable to make the situation worse. It was all she could do to keep from flinging the remote into the screen, Allura wanting to growl angrily. She couldn’t believe how close she was to calling for help, hated that she was thwarted by the symbols. It made her want to drop down to her knees, sag in place and just give up.
But a ruler did not rule for long if they fostered a defeatist attitude. Even in the most hopeless of situations there had to be a chance, some element for turning things around. She just had to find it, and fast.
But now wasn’t the time, she could heard the doors rattling, someone undoing the locking mechanism. She quickly began pressing buttons on the remote, wanting to return the view screen to where it belonged. But instead of rising back up into the ceiling, it continued to hang there, the rocks being replaced with a picture of a surprised looking Drule. They stared at each other a moment, and then the Drule was barking out some question to her, Allura shrugging helplessly in response.
It mattered no what the Drule on the screen was saying, for the door to the room opened, the prince entering the room. She had the briefest of shocks to see him carrying what looked like a bundle of Arus wildflowers, and then he was dropping them on the floor.
“Allura!” Her name snapped out of him with commanding authority, the girl flushing guilty as she was caught red handed before the view screen. She actually debated
hiding the remote behind her back, but a look at his furious expression had her sighing, Allura handing the remote to him. He all but snatched it out of her hand, Allura watching as the Drule stepped closer to the view screen.
He didn’t speak in Basic for her benefit, the two men holding a short, terse conversation. The Drule on the view screen nodded once, and saluted as the screen’s image faded to snow. Allura watched intently at the buttons her Drule pressed, learning at the very least the sequence of buttons to push that would send the view screen back into the ceiling.
He tossed the remote in the direction of the couch, the object hitting the cushions hard. The action had been violent, and she found herself speaking, trying to stave off whatever his temper might make him say or do. “I didn’t call anyone if that is what you are worried about.”
He didn’t glance her way, continuing to stare across the room at nothing in particular. The silence left her uneasy, Allura striving to fill it. “You were carrying flowers…” She glanced at the spilled group that lay scattered over the carpet near the door. “Why?”
“Why do you think?” Now he turned to her, the look in his eyes so immensely wounded it had her feeling bad. “I brought them for you.”
“For me?” She blinked rapidly in surprise, sure she was turning red when he nodded. “Why?”
“Because.” He hesitated, Allura getting the feeling there was a million reasons the Drule could give her. “They’re pretty. Like you.”
His words left her flustered, Allura wanting to hide her face from him. She settled for moving towards the flowers, the Drule stepping close behind her, watching her every move. She could read the atmosphere, tell he didn’t trust her so near to the open door. She surprised them both by dropping down to her knees, moving to gather up the flowers in her arms.
For one brief instant he stood watching over her, and then the Drule was kneeling besides her, reaching to hand her a yellow rose that had had it’s thorns carefully cut away. She kept her eyes cast downwards, peering at him through lowered lashes as she reached for the rose. His fingertips grazed the back of her hand, a purposeful touch that brought with it that puzzling undercurrent of warm electricity.
She was growing used to the jolts, Allura managing to hold onto the large bundle of flowers he had gathered for her. The scents were mingling, giving off a heady perfume that couldn’t quite disguise Lotor’s scent when he was so near.
She had to hold herself absolutely still, so as not to be seen shaking her head in an attempt to distract herself from the sandalwood and spice smell. When she went to push off of her knees, the Drule touched her, his hands on her arm and the small of her back. It was with his assistance that she stood, Allura cradling the flowers in her arms.
“Th…thank you.” She risked another peek at him, and saw that all too familiar look of longing in his eyes. It seemed to push away all other emotions, the Drule prince forgetting he was angry. He stared at her unblinking, for so long she was ducking her face down shyly, pretending to occupy herself with smelling the flowers.
“You’re…welcome.” He said at last, words coming out hesitant, as though it was a phrase he wasn’t used to speaking. “Do you…like flowers?” He asked, and she quickly nodded.
“Oh yes.” The Drule seemed to relax even more at hearing that, a slight smile curving his lips. “I have a garden of my very own, with many different types of flowers.”
“A garden…” he echoed, cocking his head to one side. “What was your old home like?”
She frowned at him, not liking how he had phrased that. “My home is beautiful. With ivory walls, and a view of a lake from my bedroom window. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world, anything in this galaxy!”
It was a challenge in that moment, the girl daring him to say otherwise. A hint of emotion shone in his eyes, chasing the longing away. Was it regret? She did not know, nor did she like what the Drule had to say in the moment.
“Our home on Doom may not have a garden…” He ignored the furious whine she let out. “Or a lake side view, but there will be other things to replace those that you have lost.”
“Doom will NEVER be my home.” Allura told him.
“It will be your home.” Lotor insisted. “You will learn to adapt…to come to accept what must be.”
“And that is what?” She was being more snide than she should, Allura almost sneering at him now. “A life with you?” His nod made her want to throw the flowers in his face, Allura shaking her head no, so frantically her hair bounced all over the place. He reached out to calm her, the Drule catching both sides of her face in his hands.
“I understand it will be difficult at first…” He began, but she cut him off with a bitter sob.
“Doom is very different from Arus.” He continued.
“Too different.” She insisted. “There’s no way I could ever be happy on the barren world. I’d wither away just as surely as these flowers will!” He looked shocked at her outburst, Lotor frowning at her. It was an expression she was beginning to recognize, the Drule wearing it often enough around her. She didn’t apologize, just stared at him with a heated expression, Allura breathing a little quicker in the moment.
“You will live with me.” The Drule said, nearly earning a groan from her at his insistent tone. “I will help you to adapt. Allura, you WILL be happy. This I promise you.” Now it was her turn to frown, Allura shaking her head no, pulling free of his grasp.
“How?” She demanded, backing up a step from him. “How can you promise such a thing?!” Her question puzzled him, it was as apparent as the nose on his face.
“You are my mate.” Lotor said at last, and it took every ounce of will power not to make a rude noise in response to those words. “I will make you happy. And you will make me happy.”
“How?!” Another shake of her head, Allura heading into the bedroom. She didn’t have to look to know he followed close on her heels, the girl still talking. “We’re too different. Too incompatible.”
A breath then, hissing out sharply from behind her. She didn’t dare turn to look at him, frightened of the kind of expression he would be wearing. “You truly know nothing if you speak of incompatibility to me.” She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of asking what he meant by that, Allura’s cheeks burning with embarrassment. “Allura…you are my mate…my fated one. Destiny wouldn’t be so cruel as to give me a woman I could not make a future with.”
“Fate, destiny….all things I don’t believe in!” She told him, and walked into the bathroom. Allura had to cradle the flowers in one arm, the other needing to be free so she could work the sink. She stopped it up, letting the cold water collect before depositing the large grouping of wild flowers into the basin. She could see in the sink’s mirror the Drule’s reflection, Lotor watching her curiously.
“Flowers need certain things to live.” Allura said quietly. “Water and sunlight…the nutrition in the soil. You’ve cut their life short just by taking them out of the ground.” Her fingers played with a magenta petal, Allura staring at Lotor’s reflection.
“And you….what do you need in order to live?” He wanted to know.
“Arus.” She said it simply, and saw he did not understand. “Sunlight…people….my friends and family…”
“I can make a gift of those things for you.” He stepped closer to her, his hands reaching for her shoulders. She tensed up at their approach, earning his displeasure. But at least he didn’t complete the gesture, content to just talk to her. “I can give you Arus on a silver platter, make you it’s Queen. You needn’t give up your world permanently, we could visit often if that’s what would make you happy.”
“And what of my friends? My family? Would you make them slaves, drag them back to Doom and force them to serve us?” Allura demanded, and saw his hesitation. “That wouldn’t make me happy!”
“You….are complicated.” His answer came with a frown, Allura nearly choking on the sudden, hysteric laughter that bubbled up within her.
“You have no idea…”
“Then tell me…” A hesitation, and then he followed it up with a, “Please.” Allura wondered what it cost Lotor to say that, even as she shrugged her shoulders, having no answers for him.
“This isn’t going to work out between us.” She told him instead. “We’re too different, our beliefs don’t match up.”
“It is difficult yes….” Lotor agreed. “But what kind of mate would I be to just walk away?” She wisely did not answer him, Allura lowering her eyes to study the mish mash of flowers soaking in the sink. It was a wide assortment of flowers, Allura noting the care that must have went into it to avoid repeating a single bloom. She wondered why he bothered, and told herself that Lotor could do a thousand gestures like this and it wouldn’t move her heart past fear and pity.
She nearly jumped when he touched her arm, her distraction with the flowers such that Allura hadn’t realized Lotor had moved. She turned at his urging, being hit with another look of utmost longing as he stared down at her. He hadn’t done more than look at her, and yet alarm bells were ringing inside her head. She didn’t want that look, hadn’t earned it, and certainly didn’t want to encourage him even one bit.
And yet Allura wondered if anything she said or did could discourage the Drule prince from his infatuation with her. “Please…” She began, tongue darting out to nervously lick at her bottom lip. His eyes seemed to narrow down on her tongue’s movement, the prince staring enraptured. “Let me go…” Her words broke the enchantment, Lotor reeling back as though she had slapped him.
“No.” He said, and she would have thought that was the end of it if not for him pulling her into his embrace. Allura stiffened immediately, and was no less reassured when Lotor pressed her against his chest. She could hear his heart beat, a thunderous loud thing, beating strong. “Do you hear that Allura? My heart beats for no one but you.”
She shifted in his arms, enough to gaze upward and saw him staring at her. His statement made her as uncomfortable as anything else he had said, though she tried not to show it. Pity for her that the prince was so attuned to her, that he noticed the look she was trying to hide from him.
“Why can’t you believe?” he asked, frustrated.
“Why won’t you drop this cruel game?” She countered.
“It’s no game.” Lotor retorted. “Mates are too precious to waste on such foolishness.”
“I’m not your mate.” She repeated for what felt like the umpteenth time. “Not now, not ever….” A sad smile was her answer, Lotor leading her out of the bathroom by her arm. Thankfully he did not try to bring her to the bed, instead guiding her over to the couch she had studied earlier.
“In time you will see how foolish this behavior of yours was.” But his voice lacked it’s usual confidence, Allura’s stubborn refusal to believe in his words getting through to him on some level. “You will regret this time.” Lotor added, hands urging her to sit down on the couch’s cushions.
He nodded. “Yes. For it’s a time we could have spent loving instead of arguing.” She blushed at his meaning, thinking she’d never regret keeping herself out of his bed. “I will look forward to that time.” He continued, and the look he flashed her then was smoldering with heat. “To showing you the error of your ways.”
Allura didn’t need Lotor to spell put what he meant by that, the girl blushing harder under his gaze. He seemed confidant that she would eventually come to see things his way, that she would accept this mate nonsense of his. She thought the Drule underestimated her, Allura just as stubborn as he, and determined to prove to him she was anything but the mate he was looking for.