Better Worse 08

I won’t say I wasted too much time on being shocked. Not with my anger boiling to the surface, hot and insistent. As much as I could not believe my Drules had been defeated, the fact remained that they had. That they had suffered more than just defeat, losing their lives in the process. I was outraged. After all, these were men and women I had spent the last three years of my life with. I had formed friendships with them, had spoke of dreams and ambitions with them. It was those ambitions that had led them to follow me, to journey with me to Arus in a grand scheme to prove ourselves to the rest of the Doom Empire.

Now they were dead. I couldn’t understand how that had happened. Alfor and his men were only human. They shouldn’t have been a match for the Drules, or so I believed. I was full of arrogance, a false sense of superiority. I looked down on the humans when it came to their strength and fighting skills. I could not even comprehend that seasoned veterans could out maneuver recruits fresh off the academy.

I wanted to deny what had happened. What was still happening to me. I began making threats the moment I woke up, not yet in my cell. There were guards all around me. Not all knew what had happened in the meeting. But the ones that did know, were malicious. They were intent on making me suffer. Blows would come often, though this time they avoid any that could render me unconscious.

I suffered through their strikes, gritting my teeth and vowing every last one of them would end up dead before the day was through. If not by my hand, then by the Drules who would come to rescue me. But just the thought of needing a rescue grated on my nerves. I was no helpless damsel. I was a Drule, strong and proud. And yet I was defeated for the moment.

It didn’t stop me from making threats. I growled and screamed, snarling at the men around me. I practically foamed at the mouth, so enraged was I. I struggled, men hanging off my body in an attempt to keep me from running. Even with chains weighing me down, I fought. It was stupid of me, but my pride wouldn’t let me go meekly into the dungeons. Even if it meant a severe beating would be the retaliation for my efforts.

I could not avoid being locked up. No matter how much I fought and screamed, how much I tried to escape, they wrestled me into the small cell. More chains were added to me, a long length of them securing my hands to a manacle on the floor. There was enough length for me to pace my cell, but even if the door had been open, I wouldn’t have been able to step through it. Not with the chain preventing me from walking that far.

I continued to snarl and make threats, even once the door was closed. Several of the guards stood in front of the bars, glaring at me. They were hostile enough for me to know they had been part of the contingent that had escorted Alfor and Diana to the meeting. They might have even seen the hologram, and now knew I had defiled their princess. And for a reason far worse than amusement and pleasure.

I did not yet regret what I had done. I was still arrogant, believing–hoping that the remaining Drules would come for me. And if not them, then my father. I was certain Alfor could not truly do anything to me. Not without my father exacting retribution. It made me smug, my bloated sense of self importance fueled by my righteous anger. I’d snarl out threats to the guards, telling them what would happen, what I would do to them once free.

It disgusts them. Enough that they walk away from my cell. Not all leave the dungeons. I can hear voices just out of my range of sight. They are whispering, voices so soft I cannot make out just what the topic is. I wonder if it is the scandal I caused with Allura that they discuss. I think and hope that word will travel, that gossip will be fueled by the soldiers discovery of the hologram. Let Alfor and his daughter suffer humiliation in return for this indignity done to me!

I walk inside my cell. It is a small room. There is just barely enough room for the cot, sink and toilet. There is no window here. We’re too deep down underground for that. The only way out of this cell is through the locked door. My agitation mounts. And all because I have no way to get that door open. It is reinforced steel by the looks of things, with lazon bars surrounding it. The bars will burn if I touch them, and I have no key to use on the door.

My cheek has stopped bleeding. No one has bothered to offer me aid for that cut, or the one that grazes across my chest. I expect better of Alfor and Diana. But I can understand why they might not be in a rush to tend to my wounds. I had used their daughter, and incurred Alfor’s anger. I was lucky to be alive, considering how much of a rage Alfor had been in.

He probably was still angry. Fathers are almost always overprotective of their daughters, even when there is no need. But I had given him a reason. I had done one of the worse things possible to the man’s daughter. What’s more, I had flaunted my actions, tried to use them to blackmail Allura’s parents. Alfor might still kill me, but I don’t think him a fool. He has to know there will be no turning back if I am killed. Doom will forever be his enemy, my father Zarkon not resting until I am avenged.

Thoughts like these give me comfort. But more than that, they make me smug. I am sure I will be free soon, I just need to bide my time. Wait until Alfor realizes his error, and comes to release me. He probably won’t apologize, but then sorry won’t be good enough for the insults we have given each other. Doom and Arus’ relationship will never be the same. I know OUR relationship will have been ruined. A father doesn’t get over the hurt of seeing his daughter used in such a way, even if my reasons had been far more noble than just pursuing pleasure.

I don’t yet regret what I have done. I might regret that my actions led to the deaths of friends and trusted allies, but I don’t find fault in my ambitions. It was Arus I had been thinking of. The preserving of the planet, and the relative safety of it’s people. So much death and destruction could have—should have been avoided. But I had never taken into account how violently Alfor would react to my blackmail.

I keep on thinking as I walk. I wonder how long I have been in this cell. I don’t think I’ve been imprisoned for that much time, but even one minute is intolerable. They’ve treated me like I’m some kind of criminal, some low life scum who deserves no kindness or consideration. It’s just another insult heaped upon me, one that Alfor must pay for.

They’ve taken away my sword, and my communicator. I wish they hadn’t been so thorough in checking my clothing. I don’t want to stay here a minute longer, and wish I could somehow facilitate things so that the Drules orbiting Arus could learn of my situation. Not only learn of it, but take action to free me. I know a battle is coming to Arus. It might become a full blown war if Alfor doesn’t come to his senses. He has to realize the senselessness of his actions. Keeping me here will serve no purpose, will not change what I have done to his daughter.

In the midst of my thoughts, I hear the whispering stop. Something has drawn the guards’ attention. I hear the sound of footsteps, then frantic voices that aren’t quite whispering.

“Princess Allura! What are you doing here?!”

Why am I not surprised to hear she has come to see me? It is no arrogance to assume I am the reason behind her visit to the dungeons. There is no one else, the cells all empty save for mine. And I doubt she would come to visit the guards themselves. It is me she wants to see. I try not to roll my eyes, already anticipating the tantrum and accusations she will throw at me.

“Let me see him.” I hear Allura’s voice. She sounds grim, determined. “Let me see the prisoner.” She doesn’t wait for an answer, stalking past the guards. The two follow her, protesting against her demands.

“Princess this is not wise!”

“Your highness, you shouldn’t expose yourself to such a man.” Says the other. “Please, let your father handle him.”

She finally comes into sight of my cell. The instant our eyes meet, she stops. A sharp breath is inhaled, and then her eyes turn even angrier. She stalks forward, practically ignoring the men who trail after her. She walks right up to the bars, then gestures at the door. “Open it!”

“Princess no!”

“I gave you an order!” She says harshly. The guards seem torn over obeying and protecting Allura from the likes of me. I don’t help matters by smirking at them.

“This is highly irregular.” One mutters. “Your father will not approve.”

“That may be, but what I have to say–to do will not wait for my father’s approval.” Allura retorts. “Now open that door!”

“I still think you should limit all dealings with this fiend.” The man mutters, but moves to unlock my cell door. He tries one more time to reason with her. “Please, Princess. Allow your father to handle things with this miscreant.”

“What I must do is something I cannot leave up to my father.” She announces, then marches past the guards to enter my cell. Her head is held high. So proud for one who has been brought so low by me. Her blue eyes are sparking with anger, but I can see she doesn’t yet hate me so completely. I wonder if that lack of hate tortures her. Or if she’s too consumed by her anger to not make note of anything else that she feels towards me.

I do not comment on the emotions I am reading off of her. Instead I grin at her and speak. “So. Come to beard the dragon in his den, have we?” She walks right up to me, and I instantly know what she is about to do. Her hand rears up, Allura violently slapping me across the cheek. It is enough force to get my head to turn, my cheek feeling a sting of pain. But it is nothing compared to the guard’s blows earlier, and I turn to smirk at her.

That smirk infuriates her. Allura is slapping me a second and a third time. My lip actually splits in the process, but she doesn’t seem to notice. She goes to hit me a fourth time, and I growl, grabbing her wrist. Manacles may be around MY wrists, but the chains don’t prevent me from restraining the princess’ hands.

“Get your hands off of me!” She hisses, struggling. The guards are moving to enter the cell. I wish I wasn’t chained so thoroughly. And all because it prevents me from doing anything more than grabbing at Allura’s hands. If it wasn’t for these chains, I could take out the guards. Use Allura as a hostage and escape from this place. I don’t get further in my thoughts then that, for suddenly there is pain between my legs. I groan and let go of Allura, hunching over awkwardly.

The princess has smashed her knee into my groin. But she doesn’t stop there. She starts beating her fists against my chest. Fed up, I ignore the pain between my legs, and shove at her with my hands. Allura falls over with a startled yelp. The guards hurry over to help her up off the floor. She shrugs them off, and curtly orders them to step out of the cramped cell.

“You!” She growls at me. “How could you do this to me?!”

I don’t pretend to not know what she means. Instead I shrug, and manage a feeble smirk. “It was nothing personal Allura.”

She rears up to slap me again. My eyes narrow in warning. She doesn’t heed it. “Nothing personal?” Allura cries after slapping me for the umpteenth time. “How could it be anything but personal?! Lotor, you used me! And not just for sex! You tried to use me to steal Arus from my people!”

“Steal is such an overexaggeration of what I tried to do.” I say. “I merely took an opportunity presented to me, in order to obtain Arus in a way that would prevent a monumental loss of lives. There would be no need to steal this world, if your father would do the wise thing and give up Arus to me.”

“He will NEVER do that!” Allura swears, eyes blazing brighter with anger.

“So it appears.” I retort. “I am surprised though.” I admit. “I would have thought Alfor valued you a lot more than he has shown.”

“What is that supposed to mean?!” Allura demands.

“Exactly what I said. I’ve given your father quite the ultimatum. Give me Arus, or have the footage of our tryst released to the media.” She instantly pales. I come to the realization she hadn’t known about that part of the blackmail.

“You….you…” She stammers, her upset making it difficult for Allura to know how to respond. “Do I really mean that little to you?!” She finally blurts out. “Do you care nothing for me, that you would humiliate me so?!”

“You do mean something to me.” I tell her. It is amusing how surprised she is by that. “You were supposed to be the fulfillment of all my ambitions towards Arus.” It’s not the kind of answer she wants, the sweet lie that would ease her pain. “You were a means to an end Allura. Nothing more than that.” Again she slaps me. “This is getting tiresome!” I growl through gritted teeth. My cheeks were hurting from the repeated slaps to them, my own temper rousing further in anger in response to her actions.

“How can you be so cruel?!” She demands, ignoring what I said. “How can you be such an unfeeling monster, to just use me like that?”

“You think me cruel?” Allura nods. “Is it any crueler to use you then it would have been to invade your world? An invasion that would have killed thousands if not millions? I may not be a very nice person Allura, but I am not that cruel. My way could–would have prevented all the deaths, all the destruction and poverty that comes from war. I would have saved so many people from suffering.”

“You could have avoided that suffering by never turning a greedy eye towards Arus!” She retorts.

I laugh then. It is a mean snicker of sound. “You are naive if you think that is possible. Doom has long since coveted Arus. My father has been spending years planning, waiting for the ideal moment to strike. If I didn’t take Arus, then he would.”

“We would fight you…” Allura points out. “There’s no guarantee Doom would EVER win.”

“There’s no guarantee we wouldn’t. My way was infinitely better.” I smirk again. “Not to mention far more pleasurable.” Her cheeks flush with color, her anger boiling as I look her over. Her hands clench into fists. Allura looks as though she is considering hitting me again. “I wouldn’t.” I warn her. I am prepared to shove her down a second time, should she continue to try and hit me.

For a moment it doesn’t look like she’ll heed my warning. And then she exhales, a deep breath that seems to release some of her tension. “You are a rat.” She announces. “A vile, mean spirited rat!”

“That doesn’t change the fact you are attracted to this rat.” I taunt her.

Allura blinks rapidly, an outraged gasp escaping her. “Were! Kindly note the past tense of the word!”

“Whatever you say, princess.” I am flippant then. She seems to visibly fume in response, which makes me want to grin.

“You deserve everything my father will do to you!” Allura snaps.

“And just what is that?” I demand. When Allura doesn’t answer, I narrow me eyes at her. “You have to realize he can’t really do anything to me. Not without the risk of war.”

“From what you’ve said, it sounds as if war between Arus and Doom is imminent!”

“It’ll come all the sooner if your father continues this foolishness! If I am harmed any further, you will all bring the wrath of King Zarkon down upon you and your people! Do you want that?!”

“No….” She shook her head then. “But you need to pay.”

“For taking something you freely offered?!” Again that angry color bloomed on her face, Allura’s expression hardening.

“I would have never done that had I known what you were truly like!”

“Sure, tell yourself that lie if it will make you feel better.” I tell her. She doesn’t like my tone, or my words.

“You disgust me!”

“It doesn’t change what is about to happen. Allura, you must speak to your father. Reason with him. Get him to understand why this is wasting all of our times. He must let me go!”

“No.” Allura shakes her head no. “Justice will be served. If not for what you did to me, then for the blackmail you tried to do.” She turns to leave, and I go to follow her. My chains clank, and pull me short of the door.

“My men will come for me.” I tell her. “Even now, we have a fleet of ships orbiting Arus. If I’m not set free and returned to those ships unharmed by day’s end, they will take this as a sign to begin acts of aggression.” She has turned back to me, not quite paling. “You only have a few hours left. If you don’t wise up…” She bristled at that. “And get your father to see the severity of the situation, war WILL happen.”

She didn’t say anything, just stared at me. I decided to play on her emotions, speaking softly. “I won’t be able to protect you then.” Her brows raise in surprise. “You, or your parents.”

“Protect me–us?” I nod. “The only one I need protecting from is YOU!”

“You don’t know how wrong you are!” I snap. “What do you think will happen when Doom’s invasion is a success? Do you honestly believe my father will allow you and your family to live? To continue to exist as symbols of the old regime. He’ll have you all executed. Every last one of you…”

She knows enough to pale at that. It is no threat, just truth. My father would never tolerate Alfor and his family to live. Not when the people could rally up around them and rebel.

“Do you really want to risk that fate?” I ask softly.

“No.” It is a hoarse whisper she lets out. “But we can’t let you win either.” This time she exits the cell, and doesn’t turn at the calling out of her name. The guards slam and lock the door, then hurry to follow after their princess. I am frustrated. I cannot tell if what I have said has made any difference in my fate, or the fate of Arus. But words are the only option left to me, the only thing I can do to change things. I can only hope and pray Allura will talk to her father, get him to see reason. Otherwise Arus would suffer, along with Allura and her family.


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