She listened to the screams, voices both male and female, cut down in the middle of being voiced. That made her cringe, Allura wanting to cover her ears, almost as much as she wanted to close her eyes. But she did neither, watching wide eyed as Lotor fired off shot after shot, never hesitating as each new soldier stepped into his view. She could only tell herself to be grateful he wasn’t killing anyone, that the laser rifle he used was set on the highest of stun settings.
Still, it was the most violent scene she had ever born witness to, Allura watching shocked at bodies rocked backwards, some being flung off their feet from the force of the laser blasts. At least their skin wasn’t charred, Allura relieved there was no smell of burning flesh. Even so, she shivered and crept carefully behind prince Lotor, trying to keep her screams to a minimal.
It was easier than she thought, the girl getting used to the violence due to necessity. Though she would never accept it, Allura wishing there was some way to escape in a more peaceful manner. She watched Lotor effortlessly take down another soldier, the pretty female slumping to the floor. He showed no sign of strain, calm and devoid of remorse for what he was doing to his own people.
And all to protect her, Allura staring wide eyed in amazement. Lotor had meant it when he said he’d kill to protect her, though she was glad that so far the worse he had done was render people unconscious and sever one soldier’s hand. She didn’t think she’d be able to handle it if he turned into a killer, even in defense of her life and well being.
She still remained impressed, knowing the soldiers of her kingdom would lay down their lives to protect her. It was a sense of duty that moved those men and women, not the love and devotion this Drule claimed to feel for her. He was even going so far as to risk everything to help her cousin and the other women captured, and all because Allura had asked him to. He was very brave, and kind, and she felt the spark of something deeper form in her heart for him.
“Allura, catch!” Lotor said, tossing something her way. She blinked in confusion, his shout startling her out of her thoughts. She barely managed to catch the device in time, and when she had a moment to calm down, she realized voices were coming out of it. “We can monitor the situation with this.” Lotor said, sounding satisfied. Allura knew his own communicator had been rendered useless, a jamming signal being placed on it.
“This will let us know their position?” Allura asked, wishing she could speak the Drule language. He nodded, grinning, then saw the look on her face. Before she could do more than shout, he was spinning, blast already firing off to take out the soldier that had run around the corner of the hall. He flew back into the wall, Lotor hurrying forward.
“Perfect timing.” Lotor said, tossing his rifle on the floor. “I could use a new weapon.” He plucked the laser rifle from the downed soldiers’ hands, checking it’s charge. “Nearly full.” Grinned Lotor pleased.
“How much further to the ship’s dungeon?” Allura asked, worried voice full of tension.
“Not far.” Lotor assured her. “Just two more halls, and we’ll come across the stairs that lead down to it.”
She nearly groaned at his answer, thinking two halls might as well be a million miles away, what with all the Drule soldiers running interference in the corridors. Lotor inched towards the bend of the hall, cautiously peering around the corner before waving at her to follow him. She hurried towards him, the communication device crackling with voices, men and women shooting out orders, all of it sounding like jumbled nonsense to her. But Lotor seemed to be able to pick out the voices, going so far as to smirk at her.
“They haven’t realized our location. They’re running like witless fools all over this ship, hoping to stumble upon us before we make for one of the known exits.”
“They didn’t count on us going to rescue anyone.” Allura said quietly, and Lotor nodded.
“We’re being very foolish you know.” He tone was serious, all hint of good humor gone from him. “Wasting time and resources on this rescue of yours.”
“I think you’re very brave.” She said in reply. “Brave and kind and….” The word wonderful was on the tip of her tongue, Allura trailing off to just blush at Lotor. He hardly seemed mollified by her words, sounding gruff as he spoke.
“Brave yes. Kind? Hardly.”
“Oh but you are!” Allura insisted passionately. “You’ve shown nothing but kindness to me!”
“That’s different.” The more flustered he became, the more he sounded like he was growling. “You’re my mate….” He said it like that explained everything, and in a way she supposed it did.
Still she didn’t let it drop, Allura risking a smile at him. “You’ve also been very patient with me. Lord knows I’ve tested your limits of endurance these past few days.” A smile quirked his lips, Lotor allowing a nod. “And now you are doing so much to help me and my friends….”
A woman burst onto the scene, looking shocked to see the pair. Without even turning, Lotor fired off a shot in her direction, his gaze all for Allura. She couldn’t help shivering, and the third blast from Lotor caught the woman in the shoulder. It was enough, the laser spreading through her body, dropping her to the floor.
“I’m grateful….really..” Allura continued, feeling trapped by Lotor’s stare.
“I don’t want your gratitude Allura…” Lotor told her, and she nodded.
“I know…” But she couldn’t give him what he really wanted, couldn’t promise herself to him. It made her feel guilty, Allura wondering if she was just using him to accomplish her own goals. “You don’t have to do this…” Allura added, trying not to fidget with the communication device. The last thing she needed was to accidentally press the wrong button.
“Yes, I do.” Lotor bent down, pressing a kiss against her lips. “This decision was made for us the moment Morduck learned who you really are.” She blinked up bemused at him, lips still tingling from his kiss.
“It’s just that easy for you?” Allura asked, thinking it should be more complicated.
“Just that easy.” Lotor agreed, hefting the laser rifle in his arms. “Come…we have to cover more ground and quickly now.” He turned, and ran in the direction the female soldier had come from, Allura having to jog to keep near him. He never let her get ahead of him, Lotor always keeping a few steps in front of her. More soldiers appeared, and each time the prince took them out, never hesitating one instant.
It was that lack of hesitation that saved them, Lotor managing to avoid being shot. One blast would have been enough to end their attempts at a rescue mission, the prince would have dropped like a fly if hit. She tried not to imagine what would have happened next, Allura knowing Morduck was calling for her blood.
Eventually they made it to the staircase, Lotor dropping two more soldiers with his shots. She expected him to march down the stairs immediately, but he paused, an uncertain look in his eyes. “Lotor?’ Allura said his name worriedly, stepping over the bodies to come closer to him.
“This might be a little tricky.” His admittance surprised her, Allura lifting her eyebrows in question. “It’s closer quarters than what we’ve been facing.” Lotor said. “I’ll have to not only be quick, but precise with my shots. And if I’m not..”
“We’ll be caught.”
“There is that.” Lotor agreed. “But I was thinking more of the fact the blasts might be rebound into the holding cells. The last thing we need is for one of your friends to be rendered unconscious.” He sighed then. “I can carry only so much weight, and if I’m burdened with a body, I’ll have trouble shooting the rifles.”
“So what do we do?” Allura asked, hoping they hadn’t come all this way just to be stopped.
“You can stay on the staircase.” Lotor answered, and then winked at her. “And say a prayer for me and your friends.”
She blinked surprised, Lotor reaching to touch the communication device in her hands. “That’s your plan?” She hissed out loudly, not liking it one bit. The communication device went dead, the voices silent for the moment. Lotor gestured for her to follow him, a finger held to his lips signaling silence. Allura sighed, and followed him down the stairs.
They got about halfway down, and then he gestured for her to stop. She did so but was uneasy, worrying about all the things that could go wrong. Lotor smiled at her one last time, and then was inching downwards, his booted feet silent on the steps. She watched him clear the bottom most step, and then he was out of sight. But all too soon shouting was occurring, voices yelling in Drule, followed by the sounds of lasers being discharged.
Allura shivered, and clasping her hands around the communicator, began to whisper a prayer. “Please let him be safe….let him win this fight, and let my friends come out of this unharmed.”
She jumped when a laser bolt shot up into the staircase, Allura just managing to lurch to the side and avoid being hit. She heard Lotor’s voice, and he sounded MAD, a volley of lasers being discharged over his shouts. She took that he could talk as a good sign, Allura knowing if he had been shot, he’d be on the ground sleeping, not yelling.
And still the laser fight continued, Allura waiting with held breath, her heart beating faster. It would seem like an eternity would go by before Lotor called up to her, though in actuality less than five minutes would have passed.
“Allura! It’s safe to come down!” She just barely remembered to exhale, Allura hesitating so long that Lotor appeared at the foot of the stairs. He grinned up at her, eyes relived to see she was fine, and she felt something tighten in her chest at his smile. When he held out his hand to her, rifle slung over his shoulder, she did not hesitate, running down the stair case to him.
For one instant they just held hands, Allura not sure if she wanted to grin foolishly or cry tears of relief. She looked him over critically, trying to see if anything had come close to hurting him. But Lotor appeared untouched, and she felt nearly faint with relief.
“Careful!” Lotor said, catching her around the waist when she actually sagged.
“I’m fine, thank you.” Allura quickly reassured him, noting how reluctant he seemed to let go of her. Truth be known she was in no rush to pull away from him, grateful for the moment of peace they had managed to snag on the staircase.
That peace was interrupted by voices, the scared females shouting, not understanding what had happened at all. Lotor grimaced, letting go of her. “We better go down and see to your friends. Before they bring the whole ship’s crew down on us with their complaints.”
“Right!” Allura said, and hurried past him into the dungeon. She saw the bodies of four soldiers laying on the ground, smoking weapons still clutched in their hands. But more than that, she saw her cousin and friends, the women rushing to the bars of their cell, calling out in excited voices.
“Oh cousin, it’s really you!”
“What’s going on?”
“I’m so scared! A Drule has gone mad!”
“Calm down.” Allura advised, taking the time to touch each woman’s hands. “I can explain…”
“You nearly killed us all!” Romelle shouted, having spied Lotor entering the room.
“But he didn’t.” Allura quickly said.
“What is that savage doing? now” Romelle asked, eyes on Lotor. The prince was bending over one of the guards, searching through his pockets for something.
“He’s….” Allura started to answer, but her eyes had noticed the cell next to them. A man was inside, watching quietly as Allura held her reunion with the women. “Captain Darius?” Allura gasped, recognizing the man even with the bruises and blood on his face. His captain’s uniform was tattered, some places charred from laser blasts. And all his medals of honor had been stolen. But there was no mistaking the grizzled face of the forty-five year old man.
“Allura.” Captain Darius said, his head doing a nod that could double as a respectful bow. She noted he was careful not to say her title, surely fearing Lotor would hear.
“What are you doing here?” Allura asked, as Lotor approached with a card key in his hand.
“I’m ashamed to admit I was captured by the Drule. Just one of a handful…and the last in line waiting to be tortured.” Darius answered, eyes brimming with anger. She instantly made a decision, coming closer to his cell, arm extending so she could touch his hand.
“You won’t be tortured. Not today!” She turned to Lotor, gesturing to Darius’ cell. “Please release him.”
Lotor took one look at the angry human, and shook his head. “You’ve got to be joking.” He said dryly.
“I am not. This is Captain Darius!”
“So I heard.”
“He’s in charge of security at the castle.” She explained, and Lotor frowned.
“Shouldn’t the head of security remain inside the castle, rather than traipse around the woods, looking for missing girls?”
“I don’t expect a Drule like you to understand.” A haughty sniff from Darius, his fists tightening on the bars. “I’ve watched Allura and Romelle since they were about knee high. I wasn’t about to sit back and let them remain missing, if I could help.”
“Some help. You ended up as trapped as they are.” Lotor pointed out, and Darius turned even angrier.
“Lotor…” A reproachful look from Allura, the prince sighing though he did not apologize. “Please….we have to take Darius with us! And he can help you fight! Surely another pair of hands would help us greatly.”
“I’ve been doing fine on my own.” Lotor replied. “And this man hardly looks like he’s in any condition to fight, let alone defend you.”
“I’m tougher than I look!” insisted Darius. “But I won’t beg. You can leave me to rot in here. But get the others out.”
“A fine idea.” Smirked Lotor, and Allure cried out.
“NO!” She shook her head, and actually stamped her foot, showing her distress at the thought of leaving Darius behind. “He comes with us Lotor. Or else…I won’t go!”
“Allura!” Darius protested, and Lotor snarled.
“If I have to, I’ll carry you off this ship, kicking and screaming!”
“That’s fine with me!” She was bold, crossing her arms over her chest. “But how will you get the rest of the women off? You can’t carry us all!”
“Right!” Romelle had caught on quick enough, the girl smirking at Lotor. “We won’t leave Captain Darius behind. We’d rather die!”
“You’re all being very foolish.” Lotor complained, and Darius actually agreed with him.
“Indeed. You must get to safety…don’t make our efforts be in vain.”
“No. You’re coming with us, and that’s final! Now please!” She thrust out her arm, wanting the card key. “Let me open his cell!”
For a long moment Lotor just stared at her, and she feared he would call her on her bluff. And then he was grumbling, handing the card key to her. She didn’t quite collapse in relief when she felt the hard plastic in her hand, Allura quickly turning to swipe the card into the cell’s lock. The light turned from red to green, the door unlocking with a hiss.
Darius looked at her with surprise, clearly shocked she had gotten the Drule to agree with her. “Thank you Allura.” It felt weird not to hear him call her by her title, but she smiled all the same.
“You’re welcome.” She was already hurrying to the cell with the women, ready to open it with the card key. She could hear Lotor grumbling, something about them possibly regretting this, and then she heard a shout. The women in the cell had a mixture of reactions, gasping and screaming, Allura already swiping the card key into the lock. She didn’t pause to watch the cell open, turning instead towards Lotor. Her mouth dropped down in disbelief, Allura seeing Lotor stagger back, a hand rubbing his jaw.
“Filthy Drule!” Darius spat in Lotor’s direction, hands curled into fists. “Romelle has told me all about you and your plans for Allura!”
“Romelle!” Allura’s eyes were huge, she turned to look at her cousin who was nonplused. “What have you been telling the captain?”
“Just the truth.” Romelle said, sounding defensive. “That crazy Drule of yours was down here the other day, talking about marrying you and what not. About being in love with you.”
“I shudder to think what he did when you were alone with him these past three days.” Said the brown haired Marie.
Allura tried not to blush, not wanting her color to betray what had happened. “It was fine. He did not hurt me…” Romelle was eyeing her intently, her look showing her doubt. “Really…nothing happened….”
“That’s not what you said the other day…” pointed out Marie.
“Yes.” Romelle’s blue eyes gleamed, a shrew look in them. “You said he did and said things that he shouldn’t. That reeks of inappropriateness to me!”
“N…no…” stammered Allura, knowing that right now she couldn’t admit the truth. Not with Darius wanting to kill Lotor. The Drule was having difficulty in restraining the man, and all because Lotor did not want to hurt Darius. He had a hold of both man’s wrists, Darius lashing out with his knee, catching Lotor in the stomach. The wind expelled forcibly from the prince’s lungs, but he did not let go of the captain.
“I’ll kill you!” Darius was shouting, seeming half crazed in the moment.
“You can try!” retorted Lotor, glaring at the man.
“I’ll do more than try, you planet invading scum!”
“Allura, call off your guard dog, or I will be forced to put him down!” Lotor’s tone of voice implied she would not like what he would do to subdue Darius.
“Darius stop!” Allura was calling out, wincing as he once again kneed Lotor in the stomach.
“No Darius, keep going!” cheered Romelle, and the other women were also shouting out encouragements.
“He’s trying to help us!” Allura added, and Darius snarled back.
“We don’t need the help of a Drule!”
“Really? Cause you were doing what exactly in that cell before I came along?” Lotor taunted. “Face it, without me you’d be next to be tortured. And not only are you further wasting our time, you are trying the last of my patience.” Lotor let go of one of the man’s wrist, just back handing him hard across the face.
“Captain Darius!” Allura cried out, seeing him stagger back stunned. He fell against the bars of his cell, and shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. His eyes looked enraged, and he suddenly bum rushed Lotor, arms going around the prince’s waist, and tipping the prince to the floor with him. The two began to wrestle, and Allura lost her temper, snatching a hand sized laser pistol off the floor.
“We don’t have time for this!” She shouted, firing a blast off into the air. “You two can stay here and kill each other, but I’m leaving!” Her shot just barely missed the two men, searing a fist size hole in the wall. She was shocked by the deadliness of the weapon, but quickly recovered, trying to pretend she had known what would happen.
“Now.” She said primly, aiming the pistol at the floor, rather than at anybody. “You’ve got twenty seconds to make up. I’m leaving regardless of what you decide.” Allura turned, looking at her cousin and friends. “Well?” She arched an eyebrow at the stunned females, one hand resting on her hip. “Are you coming with me or not?” She couldn’t possibly hope to fight her way free of the Drule without Lotor and Darius, but the women all murmured agreement, shuffling to follow her towards the stairs. Allura could hear Lotor and Darius speaking, the men voicing an uneasy truce that had them pulling apart, and the sound made her smile. It felt good to be tossing out orders, and having them obeyed, giving her a renewed sense of confidence she had been sorely lacking.