There was no clock in the storage room, leaving Lotor with no clue as to how many hours he and Allura had spent imprisoned inside this room. He couldn’t come close to estimating the time passed, but his stomach strongly hinted that they had missed not one but several meals. Even Allura’s stomach did the occasional rumble, the princess blushing in embarrassment even when Lotor’s stomach did an answering cry.
He wondered if Merla’s game was to leave them to starve, the bitch hoping to weaken him to the point of agreeing to whatever she wanted. He refused to be brought down low by his hunger, Lotor choosing to tinker with the computer in the hopes he could repair it enough to get a message sent out. Fortunately for them both, there had been tools inside the crates, instruments he was able to use to pry off the back plate of the large computer.
He was now currently studying a mess of wires, trying to figure out which one had shorted out in the hopes that replacing or removing it might activate the computer. Allura sat next to him, the girl kneeling on the floor. She pretended to be interested with the insides of the computer, but he could tell she was far more taken with staring at him. Every once in a while she shifted, inching closer and closer, until her arm was touching his. And still he said nothing, pretending not to notice how she was trying to snuggle up to him.
There was a few parts in front of them, laid near to the computer, along with the blanket. That blanket was within reach, Lotor ready to throw it over the computer at the first sound of the door being unlocked.
At first Allura had shown interest in the parts, asking him questions about what they were and what jobs they did. He had tried his best to answer her questions, though he was by no means an expert when it came to such an ancient and archaic piece of machinery. Lotor barely had hopes of getting it to work long enough for the screen to power on, the King wondering if perhaps he was doing this more to occupy himself as they waited for someone to come visit them.
Except for her hunger, Allura did not seem bothered by their imprisonment, and more than once Lotor had wondered if she wasn’t enjoying the time spent with him. He knew she understood the seriousness of their situation, but she held on to this hope that everything would work out for the best. For both them, her people, and his. Lotor wished he could be half as optimistic as Allura, the King fearing the damage Merla was doing at this very minute.
An electric jolt shocked him when he touched one of the wires at the connection port, Lotor letting out a hissed out word. “What happened?!” Allura cried out, alarmed, and she pressed against him in such a way that her breasts rested on his arm. He tried to ignore that, tried not to pay attention to their softness, or how round they felt, seeming to strain against her form fitting bodice.
“Are you hurt?” She continued, and he realized he had avoided answering, more focused on her breasts than that which had shocked him.
“I’m fine.” Lotor assured her, voice coming out more gruff than he would have liked. Allura was reaching for his hand, dragging it away from the wires before he thought to protest. She immediately ran her fingers over his flesh, but she couldn’t find a mark on him. “I just got a bit of a shock.”
“A shock? Like lightning?”
“Something like that.” Lotor agreed, thinking now was not the time to try and explain electricity to her. “But it’s good this happened!” Lotor added, and reclaimed his hand from her grip. He tentatively touched the connection port, and jerked back when it sparked.
“Good?” Allura sounded doubtful then, remaining so even when he grinned.
“That means there’s still some juice in this old relic.” He explained, and this time he pulled the faulting wire free of the connection port. “If I can just find a wire to replace this one…” He began touching the other wires, trying to figure out their various functions. “Perhaps if I sacrificed one function for another, I could temporary rig this computer up to send out outgoing messages….yes…” He was talking more to himself now, leaning in to study the wires. Allura leaned in with him, peering over his shoulder, her warm breath blowing on his ear. “We can do without receiving messages….we just need to be able to send them to another computer…to several computers preferably. But I think I can manage it…I just need to do some rearranging of these wires…”
“I don’t understand even half of what you’re saying.” She admitted plaintively. He turned to look at her, and almost gasped, Allura so close they could kiss if he so desired. She seemed to realize it too, two spots of pink appearing on her cheeks as her gaze locked with his. He noted with some amusement that she didn’t try to move away, the princess determined to maintain their closeness.
“It’s all right…” He said, voice soft now. “Someday, if we get out of this, I will show you a real computer. I’ll let you see all the things one can do, and maybe then you will be closer to understanding it’s functions.”
“I’d like that.” Allura gave him the faintest of smiles. “I’d like to see all your people have to offer. All your marvels and technology.” She always pronounced the words technology and science with a hesitation, as though she was testing out the unfamiliar words.
“I’m sure that can be arranged.” Lotor told her, and then quickly turned away from her smile before it dazzled him any further. He went back to studying the wires, touching each connection port, and noting they did not spark, or jolt him in protest. Only the faulty wire had caused that reaction, and Lotor was still trying to figure out which wire did what when he heard the sound of the room’s electronic code being inputted.
Quickly, he grabbed the blanket, throwing it over the computer and it’s scattered parts. Allura had fallen over at his sudden movement, and her expression had turned nervous as she realized they were about to have company. Slumping down onto his knees, Lotor placed his back against the covered computer, and put his hands behind him to mimic the act of being shackled.
Allura did not ask him what he was doing, the pair had already gone over his plans, Lotor wanting their captors to think he was still cuffed. Instead, she sat some distance away from him, staring at the door with the bravest expression she could manage. He didn’t know who would walk through that door, and he almost wished that Carp would show his ugly face, Lotor wanting to pay him back for his rough handling of Allura the day before.
With a click and a hiss, the door unlocked itself, and Lotor spied several Drules out in the hall. They were all armed, blasters in hand, and aimed into the room to keep him from charging the door. Lotor glared, and pretended to be completely helpless, just kneeling there.
A click of high heels were heard, and then stepping past the guards was Merla, his traitorous former bride wearing a smug smile and form fitting leather. She looked supremely satisfied, walking into the room and meeting Lotor’s eyes as bold as can be.
“Merla…” He growled, noting the door swung close behind her. “You bitch.”
“Language Lotor.” She surprised him by speaking Arusian, Lotor wondering what game she played at to include Allura into the conversation. “There’s an impressionable young lady among us.”
“At least she is a lady.” Lotor retorted, but that didn’t so much as goad Merla into narrowing her eyes. Instead she continued to smile, watching him, though her gaze occasionally flickered towards the crates and Allura.
“I hope you’re enjoying the accommodations.” Merla was speaking pleasant enough, as though this was an ordinary social visit. “So much nicer than the ship’s holding cells wouldn’t you agree? And less crowded too, you and your pet human can be alone together.”
“Allura’s no pet!” Lotor retorted, and Merla let out laughter.
“You certainly dote on her as though she is one. And Lotor, we both know that’s all she can be.”
“What does that mean?” A frowning Allura asked, and Merla fixed her with a patronizing look.
“It means, your highness, that Lotor is a taken man. He’s soon to wed me, and at best, you’re just a distraction. A bad one.” Lotor growled during Merla’s snide words, but his former fiancee pretended to not notice.
“Lotor’s not going to marry you.” Allura was confidant then, and even Merla raised an eyebrow at her words.
“Oh? And why not?”
“He can’t stand you for one reason!” Allura answered, and Merla laughed. “You’re a traitor and a killer, and overall, you’re a not very nice person!”
“Bitch, I believe the word you’re looking for is bitch.” Merla was quite calm as she said that, smirking at the princess. “And it’s no crime to kill an inferior race…”
“Inferior race?!” gasped out an indignant Allura.
“You’re just one step above animals…” Merla continued as though Allura had said nothing. “It’d be better if you were completely mindless, though your people are certainly proving to be pretty stupid.”
“Merla, the humans are not stupid! They just haven’t….”
“Oh yes, I’ve heard it all before Lotor.” She said, cutting him off. She rolled her eyes, still smirking as she spoke. “The humans are smart, perhaps just as intelligent as we Drule. They just lack the thousands of years of knowledge we have. A pity for them, because maybe if they were more advanced, they’d be able to stop what was about to happen.”
“What’s going to happen?” Allura asked, her worry and upset showing. “What do you plan to do to my people?!”
“A good question. Merla, just what are you scheming?!” Lotor demanded, and she smiled again.
“Now that would be telling.” She walked closer to them, and through her cloak, Lotor spied the pommel of her sword, the King longing to get his hands on that weapon of hers. “And isn’t half the fun in guessing what I’m going to do?”
“That doesn’t sound fun at all!” Allura snapped, frowning.
“Oh you lack imagination Allura!” Merla sighed in response. “How about you, Lotor? Care to hazard a guess as to the human’s fate?”
“I won’t play your game.” He said, and she frowned at him.
“You’re no fun. But then…” She shared a secretive smile with Allura. “He never was. It’s a shame really. All that handsome looks, all that strength and intelligence, wrapped in a pleasing package and yet all he cares about is his duty to his people. Lotor is a very, very dull boy, if you got to know the real him, I’m sure you’d be bored to tears.”
“I doubt that very much.” Allura said stiffly.
“Ah, to be a young girl’s first crush…..surely she has blinders on when it comes to you, Lotor.” Merla smirked at him, almost within reach of Allura.
“Why have you come here Merla?” Lotor asked, not needing to pretend to be tired of her.
“Just wanted to see how you were doing.” Merla answered airily. “And to see how you felt about setting up a date for our wedding.”
“He’s not marrying you!” Allura snapped, and without warning, Merla back handed Allura across the face. Lotor was as shocked as he was pissed, bellowing out his rage as he started to rise up off his knees.
“Merla you bitch, never lay a hand on Allura again!”
Merla turned to him, and for a second her eyes were wide, the woman taking in his rage. “Well, well…” She said, after schooling her expression to be indifferent. “So you can feel something.” The look she gave him made Lotor instantly regret his show of rage, the King realizing Merla knew Allura meant something of value to him. It would be a weakness she would be sure to exploit, Merla reaching to snag Allura by the hair.
“Leave her alone!” Lotor hissed, furious and trying to control himself. But his nostrils were flaring, and the anger was apparent in his eyes and the clenching of his jaw. “You’ve done enough…”
“I haven’t begun to do anything!” Merla retorted, and hauled Allura up off the floor by her hair. It was a remarkably similar move to what Carp had done the previous day, Allura’s shocked face changing into a wince as Merla pulled on her hair. “But you have to know Lotor….I can’t give up this valuable tool towards your good behavior!” She smiled at Allura, and brought her free hand to touch the girl’s split lip.
“I won’t marry you.” He told her, fighting not to lunge forward and snatch Allura out of her arms. “I won’t leave my people or hers at the mercy of an unfeeling bitch like you.”
“But you’d leave Alfor without his precious daughter, his people without their beloved princess?” Merla inquired, still stroking Allura’s lips. “Because that is what will happen if you refuse me. I’ll just kill her.” She said it so simply, letting out an airy little laugh. Lotor was upset, but still had the presence of mind to think, pointing out the obvious with a growl.
“If you kill Allura, you lose your hold over me.”
“But you love the humans.” Merla retorted. “And I’m sure a replacement can be found that is equally endearing. Why we have a whole temple filled with those terrified pests…I could kill one a day until you acquiesce to my demands. Though I admit I’ll take a special pleasure in killing your favorite, in watching how devastated you become over her death, and knowing you know she died because of your stubbornness!”
Bitch no longer seemed an adequate insult for one such as she, Lotor growling wordlessly, all his hatred for her showing in his eyes. He had never realized just how bad a person she was, had never dreamed she could be such a cold, heartless killer.
Merla let out peals of laughter in response to Lotor’s growling, her fingers still tugging cruelly on Allura’s hair. Her head all but threw back with her mirth, Merla thinking she had won when it happened. Allura sunk her teeth into the Drule’s hand, biting her as hard as she could manage. Even for a human, with their much duller teeth, it was still a pain filled bite, Merla letting out a wild shriek.
Her grip on Allura’s hair loosened, the woman needing that hand to try and pull Allura off her other one. Allura held on, teeth clamped down firmly on the soft flesh of Merla’s hand, and now her hands gripped Merla’s arm, struggling with her.
“You brat!” Merla was screeching, and Lotor knew they didn’t have long before the guards came to see what was the matter. He surged upwards, then lunged forwards, and in one swift move, had drawn Merla’s sword. Another turn had him pulling her away from Allura, his one arm going around her waist, while he brought up the other to press her sword against her throat.
Merla’s enraged screeches died down with a gasp, and he thought he could faintly scent her fear. Allura spat out a mouthful of Merla’s blood on the floor, then raised her head up to lock eyes with the Drule female. “I feel sorry for you!” She said, and even Lotor was as surprised as Merla was.
“And for what reason could you possibly pity me?!” Merla demanded, voice still so angry even as she trembled in Lotor’s arms.
“It must be awful to be so dead inside!” Came Allura’s answer, and Lotor nearly laughed at that, thinking the princess had hit the mark accurately with her words. Merla could only sputter with rage, the woman seeming incapable of thinking up a suitable answer.
“Quiet!” Lotor hissed, pressing the sword more firmly against her throat. It wasn’t a lazon blade, the heat of it would have split open Merla’s throat in an instant. “You’re going to do what I say…”
“You can’t possibly hope to get out of here alive!” Merla snapped, even as Lotor turned them to face the door that was opening. “They’ll kill you rather then let you leave!”
“Have your men stand down Merla!” Lotor ordered, as several Drule ran into the room, aiming their blasters at them. “Or I will kill you.”
“You’ll die with me!” Merla crowed triumphantly. “And so will that little bitch you so adore!”
“Allura is not a bitch!” Lotor couldn’t help but be goaded into snarling at her, and the next thing he knew she was laughing.
“You know his weakness! Shoot the human!”
“NO!” Lotor roared, and quickly maneuvered his body so that Allura was behind him. A few laser blasts shot off near his shoulder, but he was relatively untouched, as was Allura hidden behind him. “I’ll kill her if you don’t back away!”
“He’s bluffing!” Merla shouted. “He’d never kill a woman, even one he hates as much as he hates me!”
“What’s going on in here!?” Mogor had appeared in the doorway, hands on his hips. He took stock of the situation, and sighed, an eyebrow lifted as he locked eyes with Merla. “Lady Merla, just how could you let the situation get so compromised?!”
“I’ll kill her Mogor! And then where will you be!?” Lotor smirked. “My people won’t buy me marrying some other female, not after our years long engagement, and on the heels of Merla’s death. Are you prepared to lose my crown that way? It will be war if I die….the nobles fighting it out for the right to rule over us…is that what you want?”
“No.” admitted Mogor. “There’s no guarantee that our new ruler would not favor your kind over ours. At least with Merla, we would retain power.” He sighed. “But I can’t let you go either.”
“So it’s a stalemate…” Lotor retorted, and Mogor frowned.
“Not quite. We may not be able to kill you, or that human of yours, but what about the other humans?”
“What about them?” Lotor demanded, and Mogor smirked.
“They’re poised on the brink of extinction. We could hurry it along with some of our weapons, release a few nuclear missiles on their cities”
Lotor heard Allura gasp at that, though she was careful not to touch him so as not to impede his movement in the moment. “Mogor, you would dare?!” Lotor snarled, even more enraged. “You know what those missiles will do, the ruination they will bring. They won’t just kill the humans, they’ll devastate the lands, rendering it absolutely useless!”
“There’s plenty of untouched land for we Drules to live on. The humans are spread far enough apart, that a few ruined spots would mean nothing on the grand scale of things.” He narrowed his eyes at Lotor, the black and gold orbs more reptilian than catlike. “I’d stand down if I was you, if I really cared about this world and it’s people.”
“Damn you.” Lotor hissed, knowing they had won. “Fine, Merla lives….for now.” He didn’t lower the sword, still glaring at Mogor. “But Allura stays with me. And I will not be marrying this bitch of an ally of yours.”
“Agreed.” Mogor said, and gestured for the armed soldiers to back out of the room. “Merla if you please?” He held out his arm, hand gesturing for him to hand over Merla.
With a snarl, Lotor dropped the sword away from her throat, and gave a rough shove in the direction of Mogor. Merla stumbled, nearly falling into the other Drule’s arms, but she recovered almost immediately.
“You should have killed me while you had the chance Lotor!” She hissed, eyes narrowed into a hateful glare. “You won’t get another one!” With those spoken words, she was sweeping past Mogor, the man not trusting Lotor enough to turn his back for one-second. He walked backwards out of the room, and the door immediately swung shot behind him. No one had tried to retrieve the sword from Lotor, and he wondered when and if the next visit would come.