Neither of them was wearing his headset because Keith was including private information in the briefing. Some of the private information was a light scolding of Lance’s scheme.
“That was VERY dirty, Lance. And it could have ended VERY badly. How could you do that to us, anyway? You really, really, hurt Allura. Do you realize what we have to live with the rest of our lives?”
Lance humbly accepted the scolding, bowing his head.
“I had to do it, Keith. Punish me however you want.”
“In order to keep you with us Allura and I each did something that could have cost us…you. If someone hadn’t done something about it…but it shouldn’t have been you. Our behavior is for the High Judges to correct as the Treaty commands. Fortunately this was a matter than was best handled…quietly. It will not be known of beyond the village.”
Lance lightly bit his tongue so he would stay quiet.
So people DID talk about it. Surely even the gods heard all that racket.
And Keith wisely hadn’t said “never”. The universe had spies and mind-readers all over it. The right price could loosen tongues.
Maybe the Guards that came with them talked, too. Or WOULD. Both Keith and Allura showed up at the house alone, which means whatever Guards came with them hid in the forest, so they probably didn’t see much. If anything. But all that freaking racket! Anyone who heard could easily have guessed what was going on.
Keith didn’t appear to notice Lance’s musings. Or he was ignoring it.
“I did consider how to punish you. I came up empty…until one option came to mind. You know what that was.”
Something thin and cold struck Lance’s heart. He growled.
“You wouldn’t DARE keep me from my child,” he snarled.
Keith was unfazed.
“We have to consider Allura’s feelings. She is Ambra’s mother, and she too has rights regarding her. And she’s the Queen. So her rights automatically supersede yours.”
Lance bounced to his feet. Tears stung his eyes.
“Just say it,” he growled.
“I said was. Sit back down,” Keith commanded.
Keith sighed, then continued: “We’re not kicking you out. But you’re not her bodyguard anymore.”
Anger made Lance shake.
Allura insisted. But it doesn’t matter. They’ve separated us.
There was more; he sensed it. He forced himself to stay put to hear it.
Keith’s eyes softened.
“Instead, and I insisted upon this, you will spend a few hours with her every day. Your other duties will remain as they are and you will continue to see Lia only at night.”
Joy and relief made Lance plunk back down.
But There’s a concession to Allura in there somewhere popped into his head.
“I think she knows you’re her father.” Keith looked sad for a second. “I can’t put my finger on it but there are clues…sometimes…at the least, she seems to sense that you two are bonded in a way that she and I aren’t. No one has the right to keep you two apart. Just don’t…”
“Don’t let her call me ‘Daada’ in your presence,” he said.
“You understand. As you should. And one more thing.”
Uh-oh, Lance thought.
Keith’s eyes twinkled deviously.
“That Maid. I’m keeping her.”
“I…care deeply for Allura. I know that now. But I’m not in a hurry to have more children. And Allura-”
“I get it. Just don’t create a harem.”
“I have the right to create one, you know.”
Lance facepalmed. It was true. The men who had created and signed the Treaty had been battle-hardened and quite hard-minded about certain things, like women. They had made sure to include certain “provisions” in the ultimate set of laws for royals.
“I wouldn’t. I don’t have the stamina for it. I’m not interested, anyway.”
Lance glared at him.
“Not yet, you’re not.”
Keith shook his head.
“Really. I wouldn’t. Leave things like that for you-know-who’s.”
Lance probed further.
“Stop it,” he warned.
“Okay. What more is there for me to know?”
“That I’m grateful.” Keith stood up and extended a hand to Lance. “You’ve done more for people than you’ll ever know.”
Lance could only blink at that as he took the offered hand.
Keith pulled him up; they shook hands, then bumped fists, a gesture that said more than words could.
But Keith said: “I’m glad we’re still friends.”
Lance grinned and said: “Always. Like we’re permanently married.”
“Yeah…well, the others are waiting for us upstairs. We need to get going. Brief them. Eat. Then Allura and I will leave and you’ll get to your duties. Lia’s probably being fussed over now to no end by Nanny. Typhoon Nanny, I should say. And as we all know too well. Anyway, tonight, both of you should be ready for some R and R.”
“Why can’t you ever say it? Sex, Keith. Just say it. Seexxxxx.”
Keith shook his head.
“You wouldn’t be with her if that was all she had to offer.”
“You can’t say it.”
“Let’s get going.”
“Yeah. Even a King should at least pretend to respect schedules.”
“The only thing that makes me nervous about putting you in charge is that if people really act up, you’ll go through the Palace with guns blazing on ‘kill’ instead of ‘stun’.”
“Nanny would be the first to go.”
“Watch it. Ears and eyes all around here, you know.”
“You didn’t disagree with me though.”
Almost as soon as Keith and Allura left, problems popped up all over the planet. With Coran’s help, Lance separated the problems into “right now”, “can be suitably delegated” and “can be reasonably delayed”. What he could fix himself he did; the rest of the “right now” and “delegated” problems were portioned out accordingly among the Palace staff and some of the planet’s residents.
But even with the help, he couldn’t get away to see Ambra. He wasn’t surprised, though it put him in a sour mood. Keith had probably expected this, which was likely why he hadn’t made changes to Lance’s “night duties”.
“No one has the right to keep you two apart.”
Well, SOMEONE was!
In the meantime, Nanny had been in a snit for most of the afternoon. She had convinced a few Guards to take her, a handful of Maids, and the unwillingly Lia to a mall planet for a “Special Day”. After the women had dragged Lia from one shop to another for a few hours, using the poor Guards as shopping carts, the “Day”‘s target had put a stop to the insanity. Firmly, but politely, Lia had reminded Nanny that she was a “guest” in Lance’s life, not a “permanent fixture”, and if she and Lance broke up, how would Nanny justify spending so much of Keith and Allura’s money?
Nanny had become huffy and had ordered her little group to go home, because “since the lady does not appreciate our generousity, let us not show her any more of it.”
None of the “goods” were returned, but Lia’s share was still with the “shopping cart” Guards and it wouldn’t be released without Nanny’s permission. Which of course she had yet to give.
As the afternoon became evening, Lance took a break, intending to set Nanny straight about her behavior. It wasn’t because it was Lia; he’d have done the same for anyone on the planet that Nanny had treated that way. And he wouldn’t enjoy telling her off. But it needed to be done. She more than most couldn’t be allowed to behave like a pouty-mouthed, spiteful brat.
Coran stopped him in a hallway. He said that he’d already spoken to Nanny, and that Lia’s scolding wasn’t the entire story behind the snit. She’d also had grand, sweeping-off-feet romantic plans for The Date, including makeovers for both Lia and Lance, and Lia’s scolding had properly slammed Nanny’s own feet back on the ground. That Lia – fortunately – didn’t know about the plans – only Nanny and the handful of Maids had known about them – didn’t make a difference. If she had known…no. It was better that she didn’t.
As Lance sagged from the weight of all this, Coran said, with a touch of sympathy: “I suggest that you two leave the planet tonight.”
Lance sighed. He knew why Coran had suggested that: Publicity. One could get only so much of it on one’s own planet. The sight of a Voltron pilot in public with the significant other would do so much for so many…wallets…but it would also bring a wide variety of threats to so many.
Lia wasn’t ready to handle such a burden yet. But he could take her off the planet. It would be a nice change. There were many “entertainment planets” in the universe, varying in size from “hundreds-occupancy” from “billions-occupancy”.
“I suggest a entertainment planet for the grown,” Coran continued, intentionally interrupting Lance’s thoughts. “You two shouldn’t have any trouble blending in there.”
Lance nodded just to signify that he’d heard. Entertainment planets for grown-ups, which of course started at “millions-occupancy”, were stuffed with various forms of entertainment that adults wanted, from the gods’-gift gorgeous to the gutter. And unlike the “hundreds-occupancy” planets, all of them were cash-only.
It was a reasonable suggestion, but not an innocent one. Coran was trying to ease Lance into accepting the inevitable.
Publicity, with big screaming neon capital letters. Not tonight, people. It’s movies and her favorite fast food on a “hundreds-occupancy” tonight. And on my wallet.
Coran walked closer to pat his shoulder.
“Get some rest. You’ve done well. We’re all proud of you.”
Lance doubted that. But he nodded. And he’d just been politely relieved of further duties for the day. So why complain?
He saluted Coran. Coran saluted back. Then the two men parted company.
Nanny jerked awake and turned on one of the lamps on either side of her bed, wincing and squinting until her eyes adjusted to the change in light. Her Allura-instincts were tingling.
But she was with Keith, so there was no need to worry, was there?
No…she wouldn’t be able to relax until she knew for certain that Allura was all right.
She couldn’t do it herself because, to her endless frustration, she didn’t have a cordless headset even though she was a “First Staff” Palace member. And most of the Palace was asleep, including Coran, so she couldn’t rightly drag anyone to Castle Control and ask that someone move buttons and switches to check on her.
She couldn’t ask Lance either. And besides he was on a date…a nice date, she hoped, feeling a touch of depression because her plans had been soundly rejected.
Maybe the Guards could check. They had codes or something that let them speak directly to Keith, without having to go through “channels” or the Palace’s electronic operator as she sometimes did if she was away from the Palace.
Nodding, she found her robe under a pillow, slipped it on and walked over to the door, knowing that movement in a bedroom towards anywhere than the bathroom at late hours alerted the Palace’s security system and warned all the Guards, on-shift or not, to be prepared for action.
The door slid open to show a few serious-looking Guards, each with a laser rifle at the ready, looking all around and into the bedroom. Seeing nothing, one of them looked at her.
“What is it, Madame Nanny?” he asked her. Only Coran called her by her real name, and that was only when he was annoyed with her. It was another annoyance. But she knew that she had earned that one.
“I’m worried about Allura,” she said, and grabbed his arm for effect. “Something VERY BAD could be happening to her.”
Since she was with Keith, the Guards were initially tempted to downgrade her concern. But it couldn’t hurt to check, and there was the chance that she was right.
The Guard gently patted her arm, then eased her back into the open doorway to keep the door open.
“All right, Madame Nanny. We’ll check, and we’ll let you know immediately.”
Of course they weren’t going to let her see them do it. She might overhear whatever codes or something they were going to use to contact Keith.
She restrained a sigh, then nodded.
She stepped back, the door closed, and she could hear the Guards walking away. She faintly heard “primary” but she doubted that would help her in the future.
“Allura, PLEASE be all right!”
Whenever Keith’s headset buzzed, he went onto one of the grass-topped hills on this susprisingly verdant planet – surprising because Allura had thought that he would have taken her to a military base or a desert planet – and then he would disappear for up to two hours.
There was a cloaked spaceship or something somewhere in the sky watching them, she was sure of it. Occasionally she heard a spacecraft engine, as though the space-something was hovering close by; sometimes she heard the craft swoop, or grass and flowers would suddenly swing to one side.
It didn’t make her nervous, nor did Keith’s “disappearances” worry her. She didn’t care. She had her cordless headset of something went wrong. So did Keith, obviously. So what did he need to disappear for?
He had disappeared again a few minutes ago, which she saw from the kitchen window of the airy little two-story house they were staying in. It was a nice little house, but the breeze didn’t touch much – it had only the basics in it. Keith liked that just fine, and was trying to teach her to appreciate it.
Apparently he had forgotten the rough life that she and Lance had lived.
She sighed and turned away.
And sensed that she wasn’t alone in the room anymore.
She gasped and whirled.
Lotor, wearing a loosely buttoned shirt and well-fitting blue jeans, was standing about five feet away from her.
Surprise became anger, and that anger made her body shake.
“YOU. Get the fuh-”
“I hate it when you speak men’s language.”
“I don’t care WHAT you hate! GET OUT! You-”
“Trespassing on private property? Heh.” He sneered. “Anywhere a royal goes is their home, Allura. Why do you think that zones and boundaries exist? It is merely so we do not step on each other’s toes. You should remember that.”
“You heard me. Get-”
“Or else what? You don’t have any power. Your people are not unified, you barely know anything about your new planet, you don’t know much about your surviving relatives and they’ve disowned you anyway, your staff is haphazard, and your main inheritance, one of the universe’s greatest creations, is in the hands of your commoner husband. With no force behind you, what possible weight do you think your words can bear? You are fortunate that your gods have not yet deserted you.”
All this hurt. Tears stung her eyes and she wanted to crumple at the weight of his words. But she stuck out her chin and remained standing.
“Your father was a powerful man. His words reverberated throughout the universe. He affected my father. He even touched my heart.” He paused for effect. “Killing him was both extremely difficult and an honor.”
He’d intentionally gone too far. But she didn’t run at him to rip him apart. He could crush her in one hand.
I will NOT cry. I will NOT let him win!
“Reminding you of our past is not why I am here. And insulting you is not my intention. But you-”
Her eyes blazed, more so when his lips parted in a slow, evil grin as a result of this.
“Your very EXISTENCE is an insult!” she screamed at him.
His eyes twinkled.
“Yes. Yes! That is my-”
“I am NOT your ANYTHING! GET OUT! DAMN YOU, GET OUT!”
The grin became a glare.
“ENOUGH!” he yelled, and it seemed the entire house shook.
She winced, but didn’t back down. He could rage all he waned! All that would happen was that his boiling blood would make his head explode! She would not move. She would not move!
And speaking of moving…how had he found her, anyway?
Merla always knew where she was. But why would she willingly tell Lotor where she was? And normally, in the interest of preserving her…investment, wouldn’t she have warned Allura that Lotor was on the way?
Something wasn’t right here.
Lotor’s eyes were blazing now.
“You little….do you think that your disgust, your anger, your willingness to send me to my gods simply because you don’t-”
“There is nothing SIMPLE about it! LEAVE! Murdering, disgusting bastard, you tried to take everything from me, everything that your stinking shit father left behind! And for WHAT! Because he had a STUPID point to prove and YOU wanted a FAST HOT-”
He moved quickly, grabbing her by the shoulders before she could react.
“You and what remainds of your people and your family are alive because I spared you. I! All of you would have been slaves or dust if I hadn’t-”
“You should have let us die. I’m not grateful. Never to YOU!”
“I LOVE YOU!” he yelled, then gasped and shoved her aside. She couldn’t stop herself from falling, but he didn’t seem to notice even when she cried out upon reaching the floor. Embarrassed as well as furious at his admission, he was now looking away.
But his training allowed him to recover quickly, and he glared down at her now-shocked face.
“And I don’t give a shit whether or not you believe me. Because you don’t give a shit about me. But you will do something for me, Allura. I will extract a promise from you.”
Her eyes widened as she wondered, then she realized what he was about to do and shook her head furiously, in denial.
“YOU. Will NOT!”
“And you will not.” Pinning her to the spot with his eyes, he roughly unfastened the jeans. “Because if you dare to go against me or this, if you break the promise…”
He grabbed and forced her into making sure that she had a perfect view of the Scepter slipping out to greet her.
“…I will kill BOTH of you.”
Her heart stopped beating for a second.
But of course he knew. He couldn’t be the King of the Drules if he was an idiot.
“Damn it, do it, Allura.” He was struggling to breathe. “Consider the consequences if you do not. And don’t play coy, you’ve wanted to give me a suck the second you first saw me.”
She winced. It was true. But she’d dismissed that desire as a stupid feminine reflex because his was the biggest crotch she’d ever seen.
But now she realized that her initial response was that of the true bad girl inside herself, the one she’d held back, the one who had always resented her constrained upbringing.
I want to suck him dry.
That was the same bad girl who had taken over after the attack on Arus, who had turned her back on her people and her duties and had run away with Lance.
I HAD my freedom. I did poorly with it.
She tasted him and was surprised that the Scepter was bland. Then a few drops of his juices fell on her tongue and she was further surprised at the richness.
And it was the same bad girl who had seduced Keith before their engagement announcement. She’d wanted sex and hadn’t been able to wait any longer for it.
I want him to come all over me.
He did care deeply about her. It had been in that groan.
He thinks that this will be the end of me and Merla wanting each other. But I haven’t promised him anything.
But her love for Lance was genuine. It had been the bad girl who had raped Lia, but Allura’s feelings had inspired her. The bad girl. Who was now suckling Lotor as though she would die if she didn’t.
“Ahhh. YES. AHHHHHHHHHH.”
He bent his knees and began to move forwards and backwards. First slowly, then faster, not seeming to care that it was almost choking her.
She grabbed his ass.
He grinned from ear to ear.
“My sweet Allura. Oh, my sweet darling.”
He was being sweet. Was this the Lotor that existed under the ego and the battle-hardened shell? The one that perhaps only his Ladies saw when he was in a good enough mood?
Or had he lost his mind?
Either way, she didn’t care. She just wanted it to be over-
He was going to come. She knew the signs. But he didn’t like that it was happening so quickly.
He jerked himself away from her, ran to the sink, and pumped what she thought was an amazing amount of seed down the drain.
She wanted to run. But she couldn’t go anywhere without Keith.
Where was Keith, anyway?
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. This will go into you one day. No. Day and night.”
He briefly turned on the taps.
“But for now…let’s not let this clog up the drain, yes?”
He was back to normal, which she realized she resented. He’d been easier to handle when she’d been suckling him and wondering where the Nice Lotor had come from. But she noted that weakness for future reference.
“Ignoring me, Allura? That’s quite all right. As long as you remember the promise.”
“And you will be mine someday. No matter what I have to do to put my unbreakable claim on you.”
He fixed himself up.
“I’m not so bad, once you get to know me.”
“I know enough.”
His eyes flashed.
“Then you know to stop fighting me. I will always win our wars, Allura. I might concede a battle or two, but ultimately, you will bestow me with your-” He glanced at her crotch. “-crown.”
Again, she fought the urge to tear him apart.
He smirked, then bowed.
“I will take my leave of you now. Merla will wake up soon.”
She involuntarily gasped. Lotor had likely sexed Merla into sleep, then whispered questions in her ear – including where’s-Allura questions.
The sneaky, disgusting-
“I will extract the same promise from her. I will kill her and Lance if she defies me.”
She just glared at him.
“You will let me leave in peace. Your reputation still precedes you, and someone else’s blood on it won’t improve the situation.”
He was right. But he didn’t have to make it worse, himself, with the reminder.
“Just…leave,” she whispered.
He casually walked past her and out of the kitchen without another word.
She relaxed a little when she didn’t hear his footsteps anymore.
I didn’t promise you ANYTHING! And you can KEEP Merla! I don’t want her anymore!
She gasped. Was that true? Had she broken the lust-spell? Or was she just upset with both of the Drules?
“Allura, why are you staring at the ceiling?” Keith asked from the doorway.
“Sorry I was gone for so long. It’s past a training hour, so we can do whatever you want – OH.”
She walked over to him and unfastened his pants, dug into his briefs, and set his already half-erect manhood free.
The bad girl will never leave me. But she and I can compromise. Yes?
Keith cared about her as well, but what would he defy to be with her?
I’ll dream about him much more than about Merla now. And I’ll like it.
And Lance would just have to be a little more patient.
“Yeah. OH yeah. You bad girl.” Keith stroked her hair.
She managed a smile.
I was. Once. Now I’m just…naughty.