Pause 09

Amestris was an industrialized world, it’s vast number of cities taking up much of the land. The few acres of land that remained undeveloped was allocated towards farming, although much of Amestris relied on importing the foods and medicines it’s people needed. It wasn’t a green world, all concrete and plaster. Building upon building fitting cramped against each other. They were tall, the people of Amestris no longer having room to build outward. Instead they built up, tall skyscrapers that were towering monstrosities, and always the upper levels under constant construction.

The buildings were so tall and so many, that ships couldn’t fly in close to the city. Instead they had to land at one of the designated space ports, a strip of land that was built in mind with all the ships that came and went from Amestris. Included among those ships was the faction from Doom, a small but impressive amount of Drule ships taking up residence in the space port.

Garrison’s ships would be at another space port, one located to the east of the city where the trial would be held. The Alliance had wanted no chance of the two groups meeting before their arrival at the court house, as if that could prevent fighting from taking place. Lotor smirked at the thought, thinking the Alliance fools. If he wanted a fight, it would happen, regardless of the precautions the Alliance took.

But for now he behaved himself, leaning back in his seat. It wasn’t as luxurious a surrounding as he was used to, this transport the Amestrians had provided. But it was large in the rear, able to sit comfortably at least eight people. With only Haggar and Cossack present, it was more than enough space for Lotor to stretch out his legs. If he glanced towards the cruiser’s windows, he’d see his reflection on the glass. A reflection that would show a secretive little smile on his face, his eyes filled with anticipation. There was an air of smugness about him, Lotor feeling as though Allura was already in his possession. Of course they still had to get to court, still had to get key players into place.

That included whoever had been chosen to accompany Allura to the courthouse. His spies onboard the Garrison ships, had managed to procure a list of names for him. He was pleased to note the captain of the Voltron Force wasn’t included on that list. It was one less complication to his plans, though he had made one should Keith have accompanied Allura to court.

Lotor had many plans, many back ups should his main one fail. But to his relief, the name he had been hoping to see, had indeed been on the list. He smirked then, thinking who better to use against Allura than her. With that woman poised to fall into his hands, it was now just a waiting game. Lotor knew he could be patient just a little while longer, although he hoped he wouldn’t have to endure too much of the trial.

The trial was looking to be a long drawn out affair, one that would prove as tiresome as it was trouble. He very much looked forward to escaping at the first opportunity that presented itself. Lotor was a man of action, more prone to the battle field, than fighting it out with lawyers. He would have preferred to have captured Allura before coming to Amestris, but Garrison had made that impossible. There had simply been no way to get to Allura if they had remained on Arus.

Of course, even with his eagerness, Lotor had put on a show of resistance. When Garrison’s ships had taken a board Allura and her entourage, he had had his ships attack. He knew they would have been suspicious if Doom had allowed Allura to leave Arus without a problem, so had forced an encounter between the two sides. Many ships had been destroyed, though the Drules had been careful not to attack the ships that were escorting the princess of Arus.

The lions of Arus had been quick to join in the fight. Lotor let them think they were distracting his men from Allura. It was almost amusing how fast Garrison scurried the princess away, the ships flying at top speed to escape the planet. Lotor would follow a day later, accompanied by a more sizable entourage than the one Garrison had given Allura.

It would take three days to reach planet Amestris from Arus. And during that time Lotor’s blood boiled, the prince angry and impatient. He felt as though the closer he got to accomplishing his goals, the more volatile his mood became. Part of it might have been nerves, Lotor well aware of all the things that could go wrong. And the punishments that would await him if he lost Arus yet again.

He tried not to scowl as he glanced at Haggar. The witch was talking quietly with Commander Cossack, seeming unaware of the dark look her prince was sending her way. Haggar had not waited to contact King Zarkon, filling Lotor’s father in on what she had learned. To say the king had been displeased was understating his anger, the Drule livid that Lotor would jeopardize things yet again to capture the girl that was his obsession.

Lotor had come away from the talks with his father, feeling his very neck was on the line. The trial couldn’t be allowed to play out to the end, he had to get Allura away before the judge made a decision. And all because he had gone too far, pushed past the point of no return as far as his father was concerned. Zarkon didn’t understand why Lotor was still infatuated with Allura, why he would risk everything for a girl who had humiliated him at the altar. His father’s disappointment was keen, the man disgusted that Lotor still wanted her. Especially when that want had nothing to do with making her pay with her life for the embarrassment and betrays he had suffered.

But as angry as Lotor was, he couldn’t imagine hating Allura. Hating and wanting to kill her. It would hurt something in him to see the princess’ life snuffed out, especially by his hands. He wanted revenge though, wanting to make her suffer just a bit so that she regretted the betrayals she had given him. Apparently the onslaught of attacks Doom had lobbed against Allura’s planet, hadn’t been enough to make Allura learn that regret. But there were other, more sweeter ways to make her become appreciative of all Lotor offered her.

Just thinking of that sweetness lessened his angry scowl. It was difficult not to lose himself to fantasy, though he made the effort. He couldn’t afford to arouse himself, especially when they were set to arrive at court any minute now. The transport was slowing down, the streets growing more crowded the closer they got to the courthouse. It wasn’t just street traffic, there was people on foot, everyone wanted to see the arrival of the key members involved in the Arus-Doom case.

Reporters lined both sides of the street, making a sizable crowd on their own. Camera men stood ready, the crowd trying to converge on each transport that pulled up before the building. Over thirty Drule guards were already present, trying to hold back the crowd. A keen sense of disappointment went through the reporters when the first transporter revealed the half dozen lawyers Doom was employing.

“Is everyone in place?” Lotor asked, as they waited for their chance to exit the transport.

“Yes, sire.” Answered Cossack. “We got our mercenaries spread through out the courthouse, just waiting for the chance to seize her!”

“Excellent.” He nodded approval, then noticed Haggar’s scowl. “Smile Haggar. This is going to work.”

“If it doesn’t, you’ll be a dead man.” She retorted. He tried not to flinch at that reminder. “I know you think she’s worth it, but no woman, no matter how good a fuck she is, is worth throwing your life away.”

“It’s too late now.” Lotor told her. “Even if I wanted to stop this, we’re here. This trial is going to happen.”

“At least no one will be able to say you didn’t throw your full being into this plan.” Haggar grumbled.

“I never do anything half hearted where Allura is concerned.” His words made her snort, Haggar looking ill at ease. But there was no time for any more snide retorts, someone opening the transport’s doors. Immediately lights flashed, the cameras going wild. He heard his guards growl at the reporters, telling them to stop with the flash photography. Lotor smiled at the crowd, though inwardly he seethed, hating how the bright lights hurt his dark sensitive eyes.

He stepped out of the transport, and Cossack would follow. The commander was sticking close to the prince, eyes intent on the crowd to make sure no sudden attacks were lobbed towards Lotor. Haggar seemed forgotten behind them, though the witch was ready to work her own magic should something unexpected happen.

“Prince Lotor, Prince Lotor!” The reporters cried, pushing against the Drule soldiers. Microphones were thrust towards Lotor, the crowd eager to gain an interview. Lotor couldn’t resist stopping and posing for the holo recorders, hoping they were capturing his best side.

“Just one question prince Lotor!” A reporter begged. He knew it wouldn’t be just one, they would continue to badger him for as long as they could. All in order to get a news worthy sound bite for the evening news.

“Please, your highness, a moment!” Another shouted. “Is it true you were alone with the princess of Arus for hours?”

“What did you two talk about in that time?” Came another question. Just as quickly, a snicker was born, one of the gossip rags lewd in her questioning.

“Did you even have time to talk? Or were you too busy ravishing her?”

Suddenly one of his lawyers stepped before Lotor. She was strict looking Drule female, head nearly bald save for the prominent sharp tipped head ridges. She wore a navy blue business suit, without a stray wrinkle to it’s stiff fabric. “Rumors of any alleged ravishment is just that. What the prince and the princess did onboard his ship was completely consensual.”

The Drules weren’t trying to hide that Lotor and Allura had had sex. They weren’t intending to spare Allura any embarrassment on that front, though frankly Lotor couldn’t understand how the princess could find sex with him humiliating.

“It is said Princess Allura would never willingly lie with a Drule.” Persisted the gossip monger. “What…”

“No one ever expected Princess Allura to sign over control of Arus, and yet she did that too.” Retorted his lawyer. “Things change. They change all the time, especially people.”

“Is that not why you have come to court?” A more reputable reporter demanded. “Because the princess wants to contest that the papers she signed were signed under duress?”

“Yes, that is the princess’ story. We are here to get to the truth of the matter.” The crowd of reporters snickered at that, as though the idea of Drules and truth was something funny. “Arus will have it’s day in court.” Continued Lotor’s lawyer. “It matters not what they do, justice will be served.”

“And you think justice will side with you?” asked a reporter.

“It’s an iron tight contract.” The lawyer insisted. “Arus can try to deny it all it wants, but the fact of the matter remains. The documents are legal and binding.”

“What will you do if the judge awards Arus to Doom?” It was the gossip rag’s reporter. “Will you take Princess Allura as your bride?”

“My client has no comment regarding that.” His lawyer answered quickly before Lotor could open his mouth. A kind of disappointed murmur went through the crowd in response.

“Princess Allura left you at the altar!” The gossip reported reminded. Lotor fought not to scowl at that, knowing such an expression would be recorded. “Would you still even want her after the humiliation she caused you?” Once again he was blinded by lights, flash photography going off as they tried to capture a betraying expression off his face.

“Again, my client has no comment for that.” His lawyer insisted. Under her breath, she hissed a command to the guards. “Get him out of here!”

But the reporters weren’t moving so easily. Every step was a hard fought battle, more questions being lobbed Lotor’s way. Cossack was grumbling something under his breath, uneasy at keeping his prince out in the open so long. Haggar was surprisingly silent, the witch ignored by almost everyone save for the courthouse guards.

The questions continued, Lotor’s party almost to the courthouse doors. A new transport had arrived, and Lotor assumed it was a back up contingent of Drule soldiers. It was looking like they would need them for crowd control after all.

The transport’s side door opened. Lotor’s back was to it, but he heard the excited roar that went through the crowd. The excitement was such that he turned, curious and got the shock of his life. It was the group from Arus that had arrived, two of the Voltron Force pilots standing grim faced before the transport. Lotor instinctively knew that Allura was inside it, and he had to fight every impulse to go running towards the transport.

The lights were going off again, the reporters knowing this was a momentous occasion. The first meeting between the prince of Doom and the princess of Arus in over three months’ time. They wanted to get every second down on film, wanted to capture the two royals reactions to each other.

But Allura wasn’t emerging from the transport just yet. It seemed the two pilots didn’t want to let her out, didn’t want her so near to Lotor. The prince would turned inwardly amused, especially when he heard Allura’s voice.

“We have to face Doom sooner or later.” The princess sounded annoyed. “We might as well get this over with now.”

“But Princess.” The pilot dressed in yellow and white protested. “There’s no need to put yourself through any added unpleasantness.”

“As long as Lotor is around, it will always be unpleasant.” Grumbled the runt of the Voltron Force.

“Pidge, Hunk, move.” Ordered Allura.

With grimaces on their faces, they did as she commanded. A dozen reporters rushed towards the transport, eager to question the princess. But she had yet to emerge. Instead two woman stepped out. That Nanny of hers, the woman with the hazelnut colored hair, who was dressed in a rust red business suit. Next to her in white, with a powder blue undershirt was the woman rumored to be the new secretarial assistant to the princess.

Fighting impatience, and ignoring his lawyer’s attempts to drag him towards the courthouse doors, Lotor waited for Allura to emerge. She appeared, her business suit a pale pink salmon color. She wore a knee length skirt, that was straight and narrow against her legs. He couldn’t see what the top half of her suit looked like, for she wore a darker pink jacket, that was as bulky as it was baggy. She practically swam in it, and Lotor couldn’t fathom the need behind wearing something that had enough material to fit a much larger woman.

He inwardly shrugged, his eyes continuing to look Allura over. She looked a bit pale, and Allura seemed determined not to make eye contact with him. He narrowed his eyes at her, inwardly daring her to look at him. To the outside viewer, his expression was one of pure challenge, none of the desire he felt for her showing. And all because Lotor wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of recording just how badly he still wanted the princess.

“Princess Allura, how does it feel to come face to face with the Prince of Doom after all these months?!” Someone shouted. That set off a barrage of new questions, some downright obscene.

“Princess Allura, is it true you slept with prince Lotor before signing the documents?!”

“What’s Prince Lotor like in bed?!” demanded the gossip rag’s reporter. “Is he as big as they say he is?!”

“What will you do if the judge rules in favor of Doom?” Another wanted to know.

“I…I…” The princess seemed overwhelmed, and her attempts at speaking merely drew the reporters on her like vultures.

“Is it true, under the documents that you signed, you’ve would lose all power if you didn’t marry Prince Lotor?!”

“Stop badgering the princess!” Nanny suddenly said, her voice shouting over the reporters’. “She doesn’t have the time nor the desire to answer your rude questions!” And yet Allura and her entourage couldn’t move forward so long as Lotor’s was blocking the courthouse doors. He nearly smirked then, crossing his arms over his chest, a clear sign of how he wouldn’t be moving anytime soon.

“This is bad…” He heard Cossack mutter to Haggar. “It’s like a feeding frenzy out here….”

“Heh….and the pretty princess is the meal!” The witch cackled softly under her breath.

The questions continued, the reporters sensing a weakness in Allura that they wanted to capitalize on. They continued with their questions, Allura looking like a terrified animal caught in the spotlight.

“Where is Donovan?” Nanny was heard to demand. Lotor knew that was the name of one of the three lawyers Arus had in it’s employment. “He should be here…”

“I think Donovan and the others are already inside the courthouse.” Murmured Allura’s assistant.

“Enough of this!” Hunk decided. With a gesture, he and Pidge took up position in the back and front of the princess. Sandwiched between them and the two women, the group began moving Allura forward. Lotor lifted a brow in surprise, not having expected them to risk approaching him even as they grew desperate to escape the reporters’ questions.

He gave a signal of his own, ordering his guards to help Allura’s escort forward. That group of hers reacted in surprise, but no gratitude was sent his way. With the Drule soldiers’ help, they nearly reached the courthouse doors. His own lawyer was trying to urge him inside, saying it wasn’t a good idea to speak with Allura’s party before the trial. But Lotor ignored her, eyes boring into Allura as her group tried to ease past him.

“Don’t even look at him!” Came Nanny’s advice. “Just pretend he doesn’t exist.”

And yet Allura’s eyes briefly darted towards Lotor, the little color left in her face seeming to drain further. Lotor stared at her, unsmiling, enjoying the way she seemed to cringe in response. If she was squirming just from one look of his, he couldn’t wait until later. When he separated her from her friends and support, forcing her to deal with him all on her own.

The look between them was over with too quickly, Allura’s group hurrying her inside the courthouse. There was really no more reason to linger outside, Lotor at last giving in to his lawyer’s urgings. She was wearing a displeased frown, not liking that little moment between her prince and the princess of Arus.

“Man, not even a thank you from her.” Cossack was heard grumbling about Allura.

Gratitude was nice, but not really what Lotor wanted from Allura. At least not at this moment, the prince entering the court house. Allura’s group had pulled apart to give the princess some space. He stared at her back, and she seemed to feel it, a pale faced Allura turning to glance at him one last time. Her eyes were troubled by what she saw, and she seemed to shudder in response before turning away. He knew Allura couldn’t possibly suspect what he was planning to do. She was simply spooked by the mere sight of him. And that suited Lotor just fine.

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