Allura had been frightened when she caught her first glimpse of Lotor’s father, the Drule King. He was like no other Drule she had seen, ugly features twisted with cruelty, eyes shining with evil intent. His skin had been a bluish purple color, far darker than Lotor’s azure toned hues. His lips were fat, and even with his mouth closed, two prominent fangs rested against them. Not that he kept his mouth shut for long, the foul King growling continuously at Lotor.
Allura had no idea what they had been saying, the two Drules sticking to their own language, rendering the conversation private. She was left to just stare in mute frustration, studying the language of their bodies. But her eyes kept drifting to Zarkon’s face, the girl wondering how he and Lotor could possibly be related. Had his all too human mother softened the genes enough to spare Lotor such a horrendous look? She didn’t know, nor was Allura one to judge based on appearances alone, but something told her that looking at King Zarkon was like looking at pure evil itself.
She had to remind herself several times that all Drule were not evil, that some good had to exist in a race that could love so strongly. And yet listening to Zarkon’s mocking laughter, she shivered, hugging her arms to her. She didn’t need to understand the language to know the conversation was not going well, Lotor hand’s clenching into fists as his voice grew more heated with every word spoken.
When at last the screen fizzed out to static, Lotor let out a most fiercesome sounding word. She couldn’t help jumping in place as he pounded his fists on the computer’s console, Allura fearing the delicate equipment would break under his assault. Lotor seemed to have forgotten he wasn’t alone, he was raging, but more than that, she had a sense he was scared.
That he could fear something, anything, touched her heart, moving Allura towards him even as Daphne tried to stop her. The communications tech’s hand was on Allura’s arm, the blonde haired woman shaking her head no at Allura. The princess frowned at the tech, and jerked her arm free, walking determinedly towards Lotor. She thought he wouldn’t notice her approach, but Allura had forgotten how attuned he was to the woman he swore was his mate.
“Zarkon’s continuing the invasion.” He had gone still, fists just resting on the keyboard. His blunt announcement had her blood going cold, Allura unable to keep the gasp from escaping her.
“He doesn’t even care.” Lotor said in reply, seeming to sag somewhat against the heavy piece of computer equipment. She looked puzzled at him, and he sighed. “About us, about mates in general. He’s all too eager to ignore the bond between us, to laugh in the face of it.”
Allura didn’t know what to say, but she stepped closer, placing a hand on his arm in silent comfort.
“I used to be just like him.” Lotor continued, looking troubled by his confession. “Not caring about the sacredness of the mating bond. I looked down on my fellow Drule, thought them weak, insipid. They disgusted me….the same way I now disgust Zarkon.”
“He said that?” She was astonished, and even more so when he nodded. “How can he be so cruel?”
“I was a fool to expect anything more from him.” Lotor said.
Allura shook her head no. “He’s your father Lotor! Of course you should expect support from him.”
“Maybe if I had anyone else as a father…” Lotor whispered, then turned to look at her. “You’re lucky. You had two loving parents. Parents I’m sure would support your decisions, who would be proud of you, who would be HAPPY for you to be in love.”
“Why do those words make me feel guilty for being so fortunate…” Allura asked, feeling a twinge of remorse in her heart.
“I’m sorry..” Lotor gave her an unhappy smile. “I don’t mean to do anything more than point out how fortunate you are to have had the parents you had.”
She knew that, and she nodded at him, but the unhappy look did not leave his eyes. “I think they would have liked you.” He cocked his head to the side, lips parting in surprise. “They were never ones to judge a person based on a people’s actions, and what’s more, you’ve done so much to help me. And not only me! You saved my cousin and friends. You saved Captain Darius!”
“Even though my actions were what led all of you to be captured in the first place?” Lotor wondered, and she didn’t hesitate.
“Yes! Because you did what was right in the end! And that’s all that mattered!”
He actually looked away, seeming flustered by her praise. She followed his eyes to the static filled view screen, and then Lotor was talking. “My…” A hesitation, Lotor changing his mind at the last instant. “Zarkon is preparing to fight. I’ve no doubt he’s contacting Morduck, telling him to pursue the plan for Arus. It’ll be all out war if you fight him…..are you prepared for that?”
“There’s no stopping him through talking?” Allura asked.
“Then we fight.” She said, and he turned to stare at her. “Arus is not without it’s defenses. We will make do with what we have at our command.” A pause, Allura letting her uncertainty show. “It will have to be enough.”
“You’re being very brave.” Praised Lotor.
“I’m terrified.” She confessed. “Arus has known few wars…and none occurred during my time.”
“I will lend you whatever support you need.” Lotor told her, and to Allura’s astonishment, he went down on one knee. He reached for her hand, and bowed his head over it, lips grazing her knuckles. “I swear my life to you in your service.”
Now it was her turn to be flustered, Allura remembering to hold still so as not to do his vow a dishonor by pulling her hand away. She reached out with her other hand, finding it was shaking as she touched his hair. “I accept your offer.” She managed to get out, Lotor raising his head to look up at her. Such a deadly serious look in his eyes, Allura shivering to be the focus of it.
“You need to call back your soldiers. They won’t find the Drule on Arus.” Lotor told her, slowly getting up off his knee. “I don’t know if there’s still time to catch them…they might not have time to move the entire armada.”
“Move? Move from where?” She wanted to know.
“They’ve been hiding on one of your moons. The larger one, with craters big enough to house even the largest of our ships.” Lotor explained, and she was blinking back shock.
“We have satellites in place to detect any abnormal activity. How in the world did they manage that?”
“Energy disrupters.” Lotor informed her. “That and an excellent cloaking mechanism. We Drule are excellent at stealth.”
“I remember…” Allura whispered. and now she pulled back her hand, turning to look to Daphne. The woman flushed, guilty that she had been caught listening so intently to the couple’s conversation. “Daphne…I want the word spread. Call back all our soldiers to the castle. Inform Coran of this. Upon their return, we will have a strategy meeting to prepare us for the upcoming battles.”
“Yes, princess.” Daphne said, and pulled out her hand sized communicator. She spoke a torrent of words into it, calling back all the communication techs, the woman needing their assistance to help spread word about Allura’s commands.
“Will you tell us what you know about the Drule’s weaknesses? Their offense and defense?” Allura looked pleadingly at Lotor. He gave a weak smile, showing his unease.
“You needn’t ask. I’ve already sworn myself to your service.”
“But you’re not comfortable with it, are you?” Allura asked. “This goes a step beyond what you did on the Drule ship. Your information will lead to killing your own people…”
“It’s either us or them.” Lotor said grimly. “I prefer to live, thank you very much.”
It still made her shiver, Allura wishing his father had been a more reasonable man. “Your father…”
“Please, he is no father of mine.” Lotor told her. Her eyes widened at that, and Lotor turned his back to her.
“Just what did he say to you?” She was touching his back, trying to make him turn to face her. “Please Lotor. Tell me. I won’t judge.”
“He disowned me.” Lotor retorted. “Didn’t even think twice about it. Said there would be no mercy shown to me.” She could feel how rigid he was holding himself, but before Allura could comment either way on his words, he turned. “It’s not the threat to me that bothers me.”
“No. It’s the threats he made to you. He means to hurt you.” A bitter snort. “Who knows, he might want to make you pay for proving to be his son’s supposed downfall.”
Now she truly trembled to hear that, Allura staring frightened at Lotor. “He would hurt me because I am…” She still couldn’t say it, as if fearing speaking the words would make it true.
“Because you are my mate.” Lotor finished for her. “He’s making you a target.” He grabbed both her hands, squeezing them gentle. “But I won’t let him succeed. I’ll do whatever it takes to protect you.”
She didn’t need him to say those words, Allura could tell he would just by the look in his eyes. The devotion he felt to her left Allura staggered, the girl blinking rapidly to mask her reaction. “Lotor…”
“Princess!” Daphne’s voice intruded, other technicians running into the room, the men and women taking up position before computers. “Coran is calling for you and the prince. He wants to assemble a private meeting before the one is held for the troops.”
Allura wasn’t grateful for this interruption, but she nodded to Daphne. “Thank you. Tell him we will be down there shortly.” Lotor had let go of her hands, Allura gesturing for him to follow her. He fell into step besides her, and together they began walking the castle corridors, watching as more people ran past them. It wasn’t just the communication techs that were excited, there was soldiers moving about, talking to each other, or hurrying off to other parts of the castle. Word was spreading quickly of the meeting, the people preparing themselves for what was to happen.
“Who will be part of this private meeting?” A curious Lotor asked her.
“My planet’s greatest defenders.” She smiled as she said it, feeling proud of the men who fought so hard to keep Arus free of tyranny.
“I hope they are strong.” Lotor told her.
“They are.” Allura assured him. “Maybe not as strong physically as a Drule, but they have enormous strength when it comes to mind and will power. They have to, in order to fly Voltron.”
“Voltron…I remember you briefly mentioning that name before…”
“Did I?” Allura asked, trying to remember. He nodded.
“What is Voltron exactly?” Lotor wanted to know.
“It will sound unbelievable if I tell you.” She smiled with a twinkle in her eyes. “It would be better to show you.”
“But I want to know now.” Lotor pointed out.
“Can you not be patient?” Allura asked, and he teased her.
“I have shown extraordinary amount of patience where you are concerned.”
“So you have.” She agreed with a giggle. “All right Lotor. Voltron is a robot, that consists of five smaller ones shaped like lions. They each have their own strengths, and are nearly unstoppable on their own. But it is when they come together, that the true power of Voltron is unleashed.”
“Lions…” He was frowning. “Our intelligence reports have said nothing about unstoppable robots!”
“That’s because we haven’t had need to use them for a very long time.” Allura explained. “I didn’t think the time would ever come, or at least I hoped for it not to occur in my lifetime.”
They had reached one of the smaller strategy rooms, an off shoot to her throne room. Allura knocked several times on the door, before opening it. Coran and the members of the Voltron force were already there, and they rose to their feet at the sight of her and Lotor. The Drule prince started with recognition, having spied Keith among the men gathered in the room.
“Princess….thank you for coming as quickly as you did.” Coran said, nodding to her.
“It’s no problem Coran.” Allura said, then was gesturing to Lotor. “Allow me to introduce my friend, guest of this castle, and newly appointed knight, Prince Lotor.”
“Knight?” Lance, a young man with his brown hair cut in a rakish manner exclaimed in surprise. “He’s a freaking Drule!”
“Lance!” Allura frowned at him. “It doesn’t lessen his skills or abilities, just because he is not human.”
“If anything, my being a Drule would make me more qualified to fight in the princess’ service.” Lotor’s tone was arrogant, his arms crossing over his broad chest.
“You think we can trust him?” demanded Sven, a man with an accent nearly as bad as Nanny’s.
“Trust me when I say you’ll find no other Drule as devoted to my cause than this one.” Allura said, hoping to avoid having to bring up the mating business.
“Hmph.” The young Pidge was adjusting his glasses, blinking owlishly at Lotor. “And why is that princess? Why would he be so willing to fight for you? And against his own people no less!”
“I heard he’s a prince.” The large man known as Hunk said. “That’s awfully strange, to have a prince turn against his own people!”
“He helped me save my cousin and friends.” Allura pointed out. “He didn’t have to do that!”
“I think it was just a ploy to get you to trust him.” Pidge said. Lotor continued to glower at the men, goading them on to mistrust him.
“There are….complications surrounding the nature of my relationship with Prince Lotor.” Allura said stiffly, praying she would not blush. “Suffice it to say, because of it, I know, without a doubt he will work in my best interest.”
“We’re wasting time.” spoke Lotor. “Is this a strategy meeting, or merely a chance to interrogate your ruler about her private affairs?” Allura wasn’t sure she liked the way Lotor stressed those last two words, but at least the men seemed to be listening to him.
For the most part at least, Lance letting out a staged whisper to Sven. “I heard the prince was seen in the princess’ bedroom.” Everyone chose to ignore him, Allura moving to take a seat at the table. The men all sat down when she did, save for Lotor who remained standing by her side.
“You are going to have to listen to me.” He said, all eyes on him now. “What’s more, you’re going to have to trust in what I say. The information I give you, may very well make the difference in winning this war, and stopping this invasion.”
“I don’t think we need a Drule turned traitor for that.” Commented Pidge. “We have Voltron. Surely that will be enough to turn the tide of battle.”
“Can Voltron stand up against a full armada of Drule warships?” demanded Lotor gruffly. “Because that is what you are up against. The armada is composed of fifteen fleets, each one carrying fighter craft and the deadliest weapons the Drule have ever designed.”
“Fifteen fleets?!” Hunk let out a soft swear, Allura’s ears burning to hear it.
“And just where are they hiding this much man power?” demanded Keith, and Lotor locked eyes with him.
“On one of Arus’ two moons.” Excited chatter erupted at Lotor’s words, Pidge already had a data pad in front of him, the boy’s fingers flying as he typed out commands.
“On one of our moons?” Coran sounded shocked. “That’s impossible. We would have known. We would have been alerted…”
“Energy disrupters.” Allura contributed to the conversation.
“They’ll play enough havoc to confuse your satellite’s readings of the moon’s surface.” Confirmed Lotor. “Between that and the cloaking mechanisms we employ…”
“I heard the Drule are the best when it comes to being invisible…” murmured a distracted Pidge. “What I wouldn’t give to be able to study one of their cloaking devices!”
“If you can survive the upcoming battles, you just may get your wish!” Lotor told him. “Now. It would be my strong suggestion to do a preemptive strike. You do not want the Drule landing their ships on Arus. The destruction would be unimaginable. It’s better to engage them while they are still in space.”
“This could all be a trick you know.” Lance said, staring a challenge at Lotor. “What if you have us waste all our manpower, send of all our soldiers to a space battle while your Drule buddies are already on Arus? The castle would be easy pickings with the majority of our military up in space, or worse ambushed by some of that armada you mentioned!”
“You’re just going to have to trust me on this!” Lotor was visibly frustrated with what Lance had said. The men were exchanging doubtful looks, Allura reaching up to touch Lotor’s hand.
“I trust him.” She said, her expression serious. “I trust him not only with my life, but with the fate of Arus as well.”
“You’re too quick to trust….” grumbled Lance.
“Prince Lotor can give you key details of the ships’ weaknesses.” Allura continued as though Lance hadn’t spoken. “It will give us a much needed advantage in this battle.”
“I can do more than just that.” Lotor said. “I can break down attack patterns, give you the favored tactics of the Drule. It’s valuable information that just might save your lives in battle. I know more than a hundred different battle strategies for the Drule Empire. It will be just a manner of recognizing which ones they employ during the fighting, and then I’ll be able to tell you how to neutralize it.”
“Fine…we may not trust you, but we’ll listen to what you have to say.” Keith allowed, and Lotor nodded at him. Allura realized it was the best the prince could hope for in the moment, the time for trusting him would come after the war was won.
“I would keep a few soldiers and ships present in the towns that surround the castle’s property.” Lotor was saying, the Voltron force listening intently. “Our original plan had been to capture those towns, to hold the people hostage towards the castle’s surrender. I wouldn’t put it past Morduck not to try something similar if only as a distraction technique.”
Allura leaned back in her seat, watching Lotor and the Voltron force begin to plan out the details of the upcoming battles. Lotor was doing much of the talking, but the members of the Voltron Force were occasionally interrupting him with smart questions. She was amazed at what they could think of, the men ready to cover every possible angle of the war.
Allura herself didn’t have much to add to the discussion, being more an over seer of the proceedings. She was ready to step in should a fight break out, or a challenge to Lotor’s authority arise. But for now it seemed she wasn’t needed even for that. She could only sigh, and glance at the room’s chrono meter, noting it would surely be a long and tiring meeting.