The sound of marching feet drove Lotor onwards, the prince stabbing his sword into one of his five remaining opponents. The Drule cried out, a gurgle that ended with blood spurting from his lips. He jerked the Drule close to his body, using the dying man as a shield for the lasers that suddenly torpedoed his way. Cries of anger and disbelief arose around him, the enemy Drules with the swords hardly believing that their own men had opened up fire while they were caught in the cross hair.
It was a dirty tactic, the enemy Drules so eager to take out Lotor that they would sacrifice some of their own men in the process. He watched with impassive eyes as one of the sword wielders went flying back, a photon burst’s impacting deep in his chest. Lotor himself was fine, the corpse shield becoming riddled with smoking craters on it’s flesh, but protecting Lotor from the worst of the lasers.
He continued to hold onto the body, inching his way backwards towards a large piece of fallen ceiling. It wasn’t until he was in range, that he shoved the body away from him, Lotor diving for cover amidst the frantic fire of the Drules. He knelt down, hating that he was pinned, and eyeing the floor before him. There was bodies and parts of them laying scattered, and the fates must be smiling on him, for a severed hand lay within his protective coverage. Within it’s frozen finger’s grasp was a blaster, and Lotor quickly pried it free of the hand’s grip.
Checking the charger, Lotor saw he had quite enough blasts to play with, the prince turning to peer over the piece of ceiling he hid behind. A laser nearly sliced off the tip of his ear, Lotor swearing and jerking back down. But he raised the gun, levering it’s charged tip on top of the rubble, and began to open fire. His shots were unsteady, wild and without target, but the Drules he was battling cursed, and all dove for cover as well.
It left a minute of cease fire, Lotor raising his head to take aim. His blast caught a solider in the back, the man in the midst of trying to run into an open doorway. The Drule screamed, and collapsed, smoke curling off his back in thick rolls.
And then one of his enemies opened fire, Lotor ducking back down. It became a game, one side would hold off shooting, long enough for Lotor to return fire. Sometimes he hit a person, sometimes he did not. But he wasn’t making any kills aside from that first soldier.
Minutes turned into an hour, and Lotor wondered if Allura and the others had managed to leave the castle yet. He had the horrific suspicion that his mate would not leave without him, and he feared what would happen to her if he failed to kill these soldiers here and now. He checked his blaster’s charge a second time, seeing he had used up thirty percent of it, and knew he had to make his shots count.
Lasers were singing the wall behind him, the Drule soldiers keeping constant with the firing of their weapons. And then it stopped, Lotor spying a soldier waving at him. The prince immediately went to shoot him, and the Drule jerked back out of sight. “Don’t shoot”!
“Give me one good reason why not!”
“We have a bargain for you!” Came the answer.
“A bargain?” Lotor raised an eyebrow, and snorted. “What could you possibly offer me?!”
“We won’t kill you…if you surrender now.” Lotor had to bite down on his lip to keep from laughing. “If you toss down your weapons, and don’t put up a fight…”
“I refuse!” Lotor retorted, voice bristling with his anger. “You’ll kill me at your first available convenience, but more than that, you’ll hunt down my mate, and kill her!”
“We’ll give her a quick death…a merciful one….it’s better than any other option you have.”
Lotor began to growl like a wild animal, infuriated at the words being spoken to him. “You won’t get the chance to lay one hand on my woman!” he snarled. “I’ll kill all of you….mark my words, you die today!” With that he was raising his blaster, firing off several quick shots in the direction of the voice’s coverage.
“Fool!” Shouted the voice, and lasers began shooting at Lotor once more. He wondered if they knew he only had his sword, and a blaster that’s charger was rapidly being depleted of energy. It didn’t allow him to consider surrendering even for one instant, Lotor growling as he fired off blast after blast.
More time passed, maybe ten minutes in all, and the stand off continued. And then he heard the sound of more feet running, this time coming from the direction behind him. Lotor risked turning his head to peer over his shoulder, wondering if the Drule soldiers had succeeded in taking the bottom half of the castle. He was not expecting to see Captain Darius leading a handful of human soldiers towards him, but he felt elation all the same.
“Darius!” Lotor called out, and the humans all dove to hide behind doors or rubble. “What are you doing here?!”
“Princess Allura insisted we come find you.” The captain answered, and Lotor couldn’t quite hide his relief. “And I see we are just in time.”
“The humans will die quickly!” shouted one of the Drule soldiers, and the two sides began shooting off lasers, the hallway thick with the colorful beams of energy. No one was looking where they were shooting, merely holding up their weapons to fire off wild beams in the hopes of taking out an enemy or two. It soon became apparent they were at a standstill, no one on either side was dying, and it seemed the weapons would not run out of charges anytime soon.
“This is taking too long.” One of the human guards complained. Lotor privately agreed, though Captain Darius admonished the guard.
“Quit your whining! And don’t lose focus, or try to hurry. You’ll just end up dead that way!”
“You’ll end up dead anyway, human!” Sneered a Drule solider. “All of you will!”
“Shut up!” snapped a human guard, firing off a random laser towards the Drule’s hiding spot.
“I don’t like this…” Lotor muttered, and Darius made a questioning sound. “Reinforcements are bound to arrive….and as long as we’re here, Allura won’t leave the castle…” He both loved her for that endearing trait of loyalty, and cursed her for the fact, Lotor wanting Allura to get as far away as possible from the danger.
“But what do we do?” Captain Darius asked, and Lotor was just as at a loss as the human was. He mulled over thoughts, occasionally firing off a laser blast as time continued to tick on. He had no way of knowing what the situation was like outside the castle, if Arus’ small military defense had already fallen in the face of the larger ground forces of the Drule. He couldn’t even check, for with the power so badly damaged in the castle, the communication grid had been knocked offline, leaving them clueless in the dark.
The lasers continued to fly about the hallway, and Lotor eyed the way to freedom. If only there was a break in the laser fire, he could duck to another piece of large rubble, and then another, making his way back the way he had come. He didn’t like the thought of fleeing from this fight, but he wanted to go down to the evacuation point and carry Allura away to safety. It tormented him, the thought of her waiting for him, anxious and upset, and foolishly remaining in a hot bed of war activity.
“Shit!” One of the human guards’ cursing caught Lotor’s attention, the prince being alerted to the fact more Drules were approaching. They wore the typical armor of Doom soldiers, and a few of them wore masks over their face, hiding their identities. At the same Lotor’s side noticed this arrival, so did the enemy soldiers, and the Drules began taunting the humans, vicious in their insults.
“All right meat bags! You’re dead now!”
“Reinforcements at last! You’re so going down!”
“Prepare to meet your maker, pathetic and puny wastes of air!”
Lotor and Darius did not bother to retort, just staring in dismay at the new arrivals approaching. The human soldiers tried to be brave, and let out angry retorts of their own, but Lotor swore he could hear the fight dying in their voices.
Just as the new soldiers were inching forward, they suddenly opened fire. But not at Lotor and the humans, but at their own men. Drule shouts filled the air, pained and dying screams, men demanding why as they breathed their last breath. One soldier turned, and opened fire on the new arrivals, snarling on a scream. “Why did you betray us?!”
He never got his answer, his body was riddled with laser blasts. Lotor knelt behind the rubble, and stared, not sure he dared give hope to the idea forming in his head. The human guards were staring, jaws dropped and gaping, and only one thought to fire off lasers.
A somewhat familiar voice snapped out an angry word, the man avoiding the laser blasts by ducking into an open doorway. “Call off your….” A hesitation, Lotor wondering what colorful choice of word the Drule had wanted to use. “Allies Prince. We mean you no harm.”
“Friends of yours?” Darius wondered out loud, and Lotor shrugged.
“Hold your weapons.” The prince ordered, and surprisingly the trigger happy human obeyed. “Who are you? why did you shoot your own men?”
“They’re not my men.” The Drule stepped into sight, and began to remove his mark. Lotor stared in surprise at the dark purple skin, seeing the face of the communications expert Ryder.
The Drule known as Ryder bowed, a slight smirk on his face. “Sorry we couldn’t get here sooner. It’s absolute chaos upstairs.”
“Am I glad to see you!” exclaimed Lotor, rising off his knees to stand. Darius also rose, and soon all the humans and Drules were mingling, the castle guards shaking hands, and clapping backs in gratitude and relief. “I had no idea there were any allies left on Arus!”
“Pardust couldn’t get us all transferred in time. And it’s a good thing too!” Ryder said. “Who knows what would have happened to you otherwise”
“We would have died.” A young human guard said honestly. No one bothered to confirm or deny that statement.
“How many are there of you?” Lotor demanded. “is it enough to help us win this invasion?”
“There’s not many of us here…” Ryder was apologetic. “Pretty much what you see before you is the most of us.”
“But it gets better.” Ryder’s smirk widened, fangs being flashed. “Morduck is in the castle.”
“Morduck?!” Lotor couldn’t help it, a growl escaped him and he took a step forward.
“Easy big guy.” Ryder said, holding out a steadying hand. “We can’t go rushing up there half cocked without a plan.”
“But if we kill Morduck, the invasion will fall apart without a leader!” Darius pointed out.
“Oh I didn’t say we weren’t going to kill him.” Ryder said reassuringly. “Just, we got to take this slowly and carefully.”
“We don’t have much time.” Lotor said impatiently. “The castle might fall to the ground forces at any second!”
“We can spare a few minutes for you to suit up.” Ryder glanced at the human guards. “You guys too.” A gesture of his arm took in the dead Drules. “Find armor that fits you. We’ll be going up pretending to be part of the invaders.”
Lotor suddenly realized why some of the soldiers were masked. The humans would need those masks, and so would Lotor, for the prince was too recognizable otherwise. “Ryder, you’ve thought of everything!” praised the prince, and Ryder allowed an immodest grin to cross his face.
“They don’t call me an expert for nothing!”
Lotor laughed at that, and together with both humans and Drules, they began looting the corpses on the floor. As he searched for armor that would fit him, he remembered the reason why he had stopped here in the first place. A glance at the rubble blocked door had him smirking. He had a feeling it was Romelle and Sabbath that were trapped in that room, and made no attempt to call attention to that tidbit of information. Not when he thought some time together, alone and with no chance for either party to flee, could serve the pair well.
~Sabbath.~ He thought to himself with a subdued chuckle. ~You’ll thank me for this later.~
No one called Lotor out on his grin, the men surely thinking Lotor was in good spirits over the upcoming capture and execution of Morduck. In truth, that too made Lotor smirk, the man taking wicked delight in the thought of what he would do to Morduck.