She felt like she had died and gone to heaven, Allura standing in the glass enclosed shower stall, basking in the warm spray of water. It was an amazing thing, this invention of the Drules, Allura marveling that there hadn’t been any need to heat up enough water to fill a bathtub before she could bathe. No, instead the hot water had been instantaneous, and all it had required was a turning of a knob.
She tried not to play with those knobs now, although she understood there was little chance of making the water scalding. Lotor had explained there was some kind of control in the shower, a preventive measure to keep a person from getting burned. She was fascinated at the idea, almost as much as she was fascinated by everything in the bathroom, Allura having spent several minutes just flushing the toilet over and over to watch the water swirl around.
Lotor had seemed amused at her awe and interest, and she kept wondering if it was possible to set up indoor plumbing inside the castle. It was just one more marvel, one more thing that could surely benefit her people, and Allura made a note to make sure to mention this to her father. She felt he would be as impressed as she was, and though he might hide it better, Alfor would be suitably awed and eager to secure such an advancement for their kingdom.
It wasn’t just the bathroom that held marvels for Allura, the princess walking through the ship with a dazed look on her face. Every where she looked, she seemed to spy something new and exciting, from the ship board green houses, filled with lush plants bearing many vegetables, to the children playing out in the halls with fancy toys that they controlled with tiny boxes.
Those toys moved on their own, and some looked like metal made animals, doing tricks at the children’s commands. Others were ships, Allura astounded to see a miniature model of one soaring over the head of one sullen looking boy. She had wondered why the child had worn such an expression, Lotor quick to explain that many of the children were stir crazy, some having never been off the ships before. She had been shocked to realize that a few were so young, they had either been born aboard the ships, or were too young to remember a time when their world wasn’t limited to a few rooms.
What’s more, Allura felt her sympathy rise towards those children, the girl wanting to take them off the ships and give them the chance to roam free. She wanted to take them to Altea’s playgrounds, let them have fun and meet other children their age. And yes, there was some children who didn’t fit Allura’s ideal of beauty, or even normalcy, the children resembling more lizard than man. But she forced herself not to be frightened, to keep an open heart and mind in her dealings with them and their parents.
Not that she had had much interaction with the Drules aboard the epiphany. Not with her clothes torn, her appearance so dirty and disheveled. Allura felt she must look a fright to the children, the boys and girls who looked up from their toys stopping to stare at her open mouthed. The adults schooled their reactions to her better, giving only the briefest of glances before hurrying away. Allura assumed it was because of how she looked, and she’d be partly right, at least where the children were concerned.
The children had little to no experience with humans, Allura being among the first they had ever been near. The adults however, were chased off by the glare their King gave them, Lotor feeling overly protective of Allura. He wanted her to be seen as the lady she was, respected and treated with courtesy. Not the object of curiosity and gossipy speculation, the Drules staring at her, wondering how she had come to be onboard the ship, and in such a disheveled state.
Not that he was any better, his face swollen and bruised, marring his normally gorgeous looks. Lotor could admit to being a vain man, the King grateful that the worse he had suffered was swollen cheeks, and dark purple bruises discoloring his skin. Carp had just missed his chance to break Lotor’s nose, and thus had avoided to doing any permanent changes to Lotor’s appearance.
He didn’t know, but to Allura he was still handsome, and all because those bruises had been earned defending her. She couldn’t know what was in his heart, the girl unable to read his true feelings, and Lotor keeping them closely guarded. But she liked to tell herself he had done more than he should have, leaping to her defense not out of a sense of duty, or a sense of what was right, but because he had to have felt something for her.
She’d simply go mad if he didn’t return her feelings, Allura sighing as she reached for a new bar of soap. Lathering up her hands, she hoped she wasn’t imagining more behind the looks he gave her, and the words he spoke to her. And though they had spent roughly four days alone together, she was sort of sad their imprisonment was at an end, for it meant they would be separated now.
Dangerous as the imprisonment had been, with distasteful aspects that weren’t just limited to the encounters with Merla and Carp, Allura yearned for more time with Lotor. Time to do what she wasn’t sure, the girl wondering if it would make any difference, even if they had all the time in the world. She wasn’t a practiced seducer, couldn’t imagine scenarios beyond a few stolen kisses and talking with him. But she wished for more, wished for it with every fiber of her being, Allura wanting to be wild and wanton, and down right foolish.
She reached for another bottle of shampoo, the girl determined to try each and every one of the hair care products and soaps laid out in the shower. This shampoo was a pale green color, smelling strongly of mangos as she massaged it into her scalp. Before her shower was through, she’d smell like a particular fruity platter of foods, ones that was perfumed by roses and other strong smelling flowers.
She was enjoying the showering process in a way she had never before, Allura luxuriating in the feel of getting clean. She didn’t care about time, and there was no one to pull her out, the princess remaining until she started to prune up from the water. She wondered if she’d ever get to experience another shower like this one, Allura stepping out of the stall, onto the rug. She reached for one of the many towels laid out for her, drying herself off vigorously before pulling on the available robe. It must have belonged to Lotor for it fell down well past her knees, Allura all but swimming in the soft, fluffy material.
Her hands were lost in the sleeves, and even when she pulled them up to her elbows, they quickly unraveled. She used one of the sleeves to wipe the steam off the mirror, and frowned at her reflection. Being clean did not help the bruises, they seemed to stand out even more in contrast to her unmarred side. She wondered what her father’s reaction would be to the sight of them, Allura fearing he would lose his temper towards Lotor and the other Drules. She could only be glad Lotor was similarly injured, then maybe her father would find Allura’s rough treatment slightly more forgivable.
With a sigh, she exited the bathroom, stepping into the stately bedroom, with it’s plush, ankle deep carpeting. The carpeting stretched from wall to wall, so different from the heavy rugs they used to warm the floors at the castle. In fact, the Drule ship did not need rugs for either the floor or the walls, being insulated from the weather, and having something called climate control. Lotor had explained that with a computer program and a push of a button, they could easily adjust the temperatures of the room, keeping it pleasant at all times.
It was just another marvel she wanted to give to her people, Allura thinking how much nicer it would be to keep one’s home warm without having to chop down trees and build a fire out of their wood.
The carpet was soft against her feet, Allura padding barefoot towards the large bed that sat against one wall. A grazing of her fingers confirmed the silk was soft, and cool to the touch, Allura noting the flawless state of the material. Pillows and cushions were littered about the headboard, many dyed shades of color she had never thought possible to reproduce.
The room was otherwise sparse in it’s furnishings, a leather couch that could sit three people situated opposite the bed. Before it was a small table, low to the floor and hardly suitable for dining. Everything was bolted down, Lotor having explained it was a precaution to keep things from sliding across the floor when the ship moved.
There was a painting on the wall, some city landscape that left her wondering if it was a photograph from Doom. And in one corner, there was a closet, Allura gravitating towards it. Curiosity drove her to open it, men’s clothing being revealed. It was Lotor’s shirts and suits, and she snagged one off it’s rack, bringing the blouse to her face. Inhaling deeply, she smelled the scent of him, some sort of spice and another scent, one she couldn’t identify. She rubbed her nose into the fabric, trying to get in more of the scent when the door opened.
Allura immediately flushed, glad her back was to the door. She hoped it wasn’t apparent what she had been doing, the girl quickly returning the shirt to the closet before turning. She didn’t know it, but she lit up when she saw who stood there, Lotor freshly showered, hair still wet and slicked back. And he was staring at her, Allura thinking she did not imagine the heat in his eyes.
He was staring at her, and Allura swore it was an appreciative look, the girl doubly glad she had taken her time in the shower. She struck a more flattering pose, not caring that she was all but swimming in his robe. She could swear his lips were twitching, Lotor fighting some expression that she hoped was a smile.
“I’m sorry.” He said at last, though he made no move to come closer to her. “We’re having a little trouble locating some clothing that will fit you.”
“It’s fine.” Allura said, feeling a delicious thrill go through her. She was all but naked, alone in a man’s room. In LOTOR’s room. It would be quite the scandal if word got out, Allura knowing her reputation would pay a stiff penalty for her unchaperoned nearness to the King. And yet she didn’t care, liking the freedom of it all, her heart pounding in excitement.
“It will just be a little longer…” He added, and she nodded. “Until then, I’m having them prepare a meal for us.”
“Prepare? You mean you have not mastered a way to have a meal be ready instantaneously?!” She was half teasing, half serious, Allura thinking the Drules capable of just about anything.
“Well, we have a way to heat up leftovers quick enough, but the old ways are best when it comes to preparing food. There’s just something about the taste, that is lost when we try to rush things.”
“I see.” She smiled at him, too far away to notice the way he inhaled sharply at her dazzling grin. “I am looking forward though, to trying out a Drule cuisine.”
“I hope it won’t be too spicy for you.” He said, still gazing at her with that heated look.
“I’m sure anything will taste good after four days without a meal.” She gasped then, realizing how that had sounded. “Forgive me. I meant no insult.”
“None taken.” He was amused, and that feeling chased away some of the desire in his gaze. As did what he had to tell her, Lotor sighing as his expression became more grave. “There’s been an exchanging of information.”
“Yes. I’ve had the time to inform Commander Cossack of all I know.” Explained Lotor. “He in turn filled me in on Merla’s comings and going.” He turned frustrated then. “Not that he knew as much as I would have like, but then Merla is playing this close to her chest. She’d have to, if she wanted her plans to overthrow me from my throne to go off without too many hitches.”
“Then what do we know?” Allura asked him, and frowned at his answer.
“She’s paid a visit to each of the three kingdoms. She’s been in talk with the rulers there, although we don’t have any information on what she told them.” Lotor lifted a hand to his hair, ruffling the wet strands into messy disarray. It gave him a sexy, almost rakish look, Allura’s heart swooning even as she tried to concentrate on the seriousness of what he was telling her. “Merla only allowed her most trusted associates to accompany her on those visits…”
“Then we need to find those men and women, and get the information out of them!” Allura saw a hint of surprise in Lotor’s face, which was swallowed up by approval.
“A wise suggestion my lady.” He grinned then. “One the commander and I have taken the time to do. Currently, a number of Merla’s captured associates are enjoying the tender mercies of Commander Cossack. It won’t be long until they talk…”
She couldn’t help shivering at that, not liking much the thought of hurting any one on purpose. Even for a necessary good.
“There’s more.” Continued Lotor, Allura wondering just how quick his shower had been to find out all this information. “Merla, Mogor, and Yurak, their whereabouts are currently unknown. At least as far as the ships are concerned. Lord Kratos, along with Phor and Albatos have taken command of the ships they are on, any and all who are suspected to be in league with Merla are currently imprisoned. Our ship’s holding cells are at a full capacity, and I don’t doubt we have some innocents.”
He sighed then. “Some of those who were part of the infighting and riots, really had nothing to do with a grander scheme. They were just malcontents, upset with the way I was handling the merging of our people with yours. There’s much to blame on Merla, but I too have had a hand in disappointing my people.”
“I’m sure you didn’t disappoint them!” Allura protested quickly, but Lotor was shaking his had no.
“I have. I should have insisted on introducing both races of Drule to your people. Maybe not the first day, but within the first week…”
“I’m not sure my people would have reacted favorably…” Allura admitted with a sigh.
“And now they might never, not with all Merla has done.” He scowled then, Lotor angry. “She kept the people of my inner circle busy trying to control the rioters, and giving them false orders from me. None had a chance to venture off the ships. They don’t know what the state of things are, especially not at Pelphine temple.”
Allura felt she paled then, the girl remembering the scene of the night when everything had turned horrible inside the temple. “You…you don’t think they’ve hurt Fordham and the other temple workers?”
“I do not know….” admitted Lotor. “But there is a concern that Merla and the others are somewhere with a lot of humans around them. Maybe even at the temple, since that was a favored place for the Drules who had been let off the ships. I don’t mean to alarm you, but…I fear we will have a worse situation on our hands, the humans being taken hostage…”
“No!” Allura cried out, feeling the exact alarm Lotor didn’t want her to feel. “They’ll kill them won’t they?!”
“They may indeed.” Lotor answered with a sigh. “They’ll have little left to lose with their plans foiled. It may be all they have left is vengeance…” He trailed off at her approach, Allura all but running towards him. She didn’t seem to care in the moment about anything but the need to be comforted, Allura flinging herself into Lotor’s arms with such force he took a step back.
“You can’t let them do that!” Allura exclaimed, clinging to him with an imploring look in her eyes. “They don’t deserve to die!”
“Easy Allura…” he was tense, but he let his arms wrap around her, Lotor trying to offer comfort through his hug. “We don’t yet know that is what they will do…”
“But what else can Merla try?!”” demanded Allura, still upset. “She has no ships, and most of her allies have been imprisoned….And we still don’t know what it is she was trying to do with the humans….”
“We’ll get answers soon enough.” Lotor told her. “We’re going to meet with Alfor. The epiphany is ready to leave, just as soon as you’ve ate and changed your clothes…”
“I don’t know if I can eat now that I’m so worried..” She admitted, feeling him pet her hair.
“Please try Allura. Even if it’s only a few bites. I don’t want you weakening yourself any further…”
“All right..I guess I can…” She sighed, suddenly wishing he had waited until after the meal to tell her these troubling speculations of his.
“How was your shower?” Lotor asked, and she sensed he was trying to lighten the mood, as well as pull back from her possessive arms. “Did you find everything okay?”
“It was wonderful.” She answered, and tightened her grip on him in an attempt to prevent his escape. “I would very much like a shower installed in my home! Do you think it’s possible?”
“It would take some work…” mused Lotor. “We’d have to build up a system to pipe the water in, but with a little time and patience it can be done…”
“Then I will speak to my father about allowing some of this…modern plumbing to be installed.” She leaned into him, enjoying his nearness, and saw him swallow, the King seeming nervous.
“Doctor Reaver would like that.” She was surprised by his mentioning of the Drule Doctor, cocking an eyebrow at him. “If your whole kingdom gets onboard with plumbing and daily showers, a lot of sickness and disease can be cut down.”
“Oh.” Was all she said, someone knocking on the door. She refused to let go of Lotor, leaving him to do an awkward fumble for the door knob. The Drule females on the other side didn’t so much as bat an eye at their king being clung to by a strange, alien princess. Instead they offered low bows of respect, and entered with his permission.
“We finally found something that might fit her.” One of the females said, Allura studying her features. She wasn’t the prettiest of Drules, being stuck with reptilian features, but had the full head of hair of the more human like Drules. That hair was pinned back by barrettes, the female not trying to hide her looks around Allura.
The second female was far more “normal” looking to Allura’s eyes, looking more like a pale purple skinned human than the alien visitor that she was. She had clothing draped over her arms, Allura realizing they had brought a selection of things for her to choose from.
“Ah, thank you.” Lotor said, and managed to disentangle himself form Allura. Before the princess could do more than pout, Lotor was hurrying out of the room, leaving them to the privacy she needed to get dressed. She followed the two Drules over to the bed, looking at the clothing they had brought for her. It was all beautiful things, with a bit of the exotic in design. She saw form fitting leather, some kind of vest that would leave her arms bare, and the pants would ride low on her hips.
Another outfit was a dress, and it was simple in design, flowing down to her ankles. It was meant to go just a few inches past her knees, but compared to a Drule female she was woefully short. The dress had sliver thin straps, the fragile things looked like they would barely hold the dress up over her breasts. The reptile looking Drule female had laughed at that exclamation of hers, explaining they had some kind of double sided adhesive to secure the dress to her skin. It still left her uncertain of trying, Allura not wanting the dress to fall off her unless she was alone with Lotor.
The third outfit was some kind of dress, with a complex top, that would wrap and criss cross over her torso, fastened on one side with butterfly pins. The skirt was full, and just as long as the other dress, but there was a slit going up to her hip in this one. Except for that slit, this dress would cover the most of her, and Allura felt downright prudish in it.
It came down to a choice between the other dress and the leather, Allura trying to imagine Lotor’s reaction to her in either outfit. She finally decided on the leather, unable to trust the thought of adhesive keeping the dress in place. The two Drules nodded, and helped her dress, Allura finding the pants snug, fitting her like a warm glove. It was the first time she had ever worn trousers, it simply wasn’t something the women of her planet wore. Even the workers of the farm fields did so in plain cotton dresses, and she thought her father might be scandalized by her choice in dress.
Of course he would be scandalize by the dress with the sliver thin straps as well. If he was here, Alfor would have chosen the third outfit, not giving a damn about his daughter;s need to have an effect on Lotor. And an effect she did have, the King reentering the room, a servant wheeling in their meal. That servant nearly crashed the meal cart into Lotor’s back, the King having paused to stop and gape at her.
Allura suddenly turned nervous, putting her hands behind her back so he would not see her fidgeting with her fingers. “Do you like it?”
“It…” he hesitated, Allura finding she was holding her breath. “It’s…” He shook his head, changing his mind, all but glaring at the female servants. “Wasn’t there anything else you could have dressed her in?”
“There was this one, your highness….” He looked livid at the sight of the thin strapped dress, the purple skinned female quickly holding up the third, more modest looking gown.
“You don’t think I look good in leather?” Allura asked in a small voice, letting her hurt be projected to him. He blinked, and quickly shook his head, offering protests.
“No! No, that isn’t it at all. You look lovely…beautiful even…I just…I just don’t think that outfit is appropriate for meeting with your father.”
“I’m sure he won’t mind.” Lied Allura, and put a little wiggle in her hips as she walked towards the servant and meal cart. Both Lotor and the other man watched her, eyes widening in appreciation. It fed her ego, the looks they gave her, though she only wanted Lotor to gaze at her with such desire.
“I’m sure he will.” Muttered Lotor, and gestured for the female servants to leave. “At least put on one of my shirts over that top!”
“It will give me peace of mind.” He answered, and she frowned.
“Is that the only reason?”
“What other reason could there be?” He asked, and her frown deepened. He just gazed back at her, lips a thin line, eyes serious. She turned to look at the male servant, who was unloading the cart onto the table.
“Do I really look that bad, wearing this?” She asked the Drule, and he glanced up at her.
“I think you look wonderful. Dead sexy even!” He said, earning a furious growl from his King. The Drule look startled at that reaction, and hurriedly put out the last plates of food. Lotor’s growls increased in fury every time the nervous man looked Allura’s way, until the servant was all but running out of the room, with muttered apologies. Allura smiled at Lotor, pleased by his reaction, even as his eyes narrowed at her.
“You’re not going out in public like that!”
“Why not?” Allura asked, curious.
“Because I can’t stand the thought of any other man seeing you dressed like that!” Lotor blurted out, then glared at her even more. He seemed incensed at his uttered revelation, and Allura nearly twirled in happiness. He was jealous! Maddening so, wanting to keep her hidden from the lustful gazes of any other man. She smiled at him, his expression hardening, Allura bending over to one of the uncovered plates. She thought she heard him swear, and she almost smirked then. “Allura…” A warning tone, the girl glancing over her shoulder at him.
“I will gladly wear your shirt.” She announced, than plucked a piece of steamed meat off the plate. Allura busied herself with eating, all in an effort not to giggle. She was affecting Lotor, perhaps more than he wanted. She reveled in the fact he wasn’t immune to her ample charms, and she had the stray thought that she wished they had more time together before they had to return to her home.