She awoke just as suddenly as she had gone to sleep, Allura sitting up with a gasp, her heart beating wildly in her chest. For one brief second she merely sat there, clutching a blanket to her chest as she stared straight ahead, not registering her surroundings.
Dreams troubled her mind, the nightmare replaying the attack she had suffered through, Tristan’s leering face over her as his hand gripped and tore at her clothing. His breath had been heavy, ragged with desire, and slowly the sounds faded until Allura became aware of her own panting. ~Just a dream.~ She thought to herself, trying to calm her nerves. ~He’s not here, he can’t get to you now.~
But new thoughts formed in her mind, Allura frowning as she realized she did not know where here was. It certainly wasn’t the hotel room, as lavish as the suite had been, it couldn’t compare to the extravagance that surrounded her now. The hotel simply did not have the resources to put such wealth on display, Allura taking in the soft muted colors of the wall and carpet, and the many expensive items situated throughout the room.
Across from the large bed she lay in, a stone fireplace was built against the wall, the remains of burning embers dying down in it’s pit. Over it’s mantle was two swords, crossed over each other, a crest of some kind hovering over them. She stared at the four panels painted onto the crest, recognizing one as the symbol for Doom, and a shiver went through her.
She couldn’t be on planet Doom, Allura was sure of that. She simply couldn’t have slept the entire time it would take a ship, even one that traveled at top speed, to reach Doom. And yet she was clearly on Doom property, her heart beat steadily increasing in anxiety as she slowly recalled just who she had left the party with last night. She didn’t quite moan at her stupidity, wincing as she recalled the way she had clung to Lotor, needy and unrestrained in her actions.
~I made a fool of myself last night!~ She thought fretfully, remembering how she had kissed him, not once, not twice, but several times! How she had wanted him to do more to her, and the way she had freely spoken to him on her feelings and desire to have a choice in her life. ~I really must have been drugged if I would speak like that to Prince Lotor! It’s something I’ve never told anyone…anyone at all.~
She almost fell back against the sheets, biting her bottom lip as she lamented why in her first bid for freedom, did she choose to confide in Lotor of all people. He was her enemy, the tormentor of her people, she had no right getting friendly with him! And now she was here, in the proverbial monster’s den, alone without even a dress to her name.
A dress! She quickly jerked back the bed sheets, expecting to see herself still clad in her ruined gown. Instead she found she had been stripped of it, a man’s oversized dressing shirt covering her body. The cool silk pressed against her chest, leaving Allura to realize she was still naked underneath the shirt. A blush started on her face as she wondered just who had dressed her while she had been unconscious.
Other details made themselves known, Allura becoming aware that her hair was freshly showered, hanging damp and loose down her back. And her hands had been tended to, fingers bandaged around her nails, some sort of healing cream placed on her skin. Quite a bit of care had gone into her while she had been asleep, and if not for the embarrassed suspicions she had over who had seen to her dressing, Allura would have been grateful for having her needs taken care of.
With a quiet sigh, Allura pushed at the blanket, drawing her legs out from beneath it as she began inching her way across the mattress. It barely made a sound, allowing her to reach it’s side without alerting anyone to the fact she was awake. Her feet touched the floor, Allura feeling a shiver go up her legs at the touch of cold tile. Allura crossed her arms over her chest, rubbing her hands against her skin to stave off her chill.
She wondered what time it was, the room dim, and without over head lights. A bit of sunlight filtered in through the windows, the thick heavy gray curtains unable to hold it back. She walked towards it now, Allura drawing open the curtains to let sunlight flood in. It was a relief to feel it’s warmth, Allura knowing it was another sign that she was not on Doom. That planet was cold, practically lifeless, and always as dark as night.
For a second she just stood there, letting the sun warm her, her eyes closed. It was a luxury she felt she could not afford, Allura forcing herself to look out the window, seeing it opened onto a courtyard that was empty save for a few people. Alarmingly, they were all Drules, their skins colored shades of blue and green, and dressed in dark clothing that reminded her of the uniform of a servant’s.
Allura backed away from the window, letting the curtain fall back into the place. ~I have to get out of here!~ She thought to herself, a bit frantic. But where would she go, when she had no suitable clothes to wear? Fretting, she twisted her hands together, wondering if she could knock out a maid, and steal her uniform. It would be something to wear long enough to make it back to her hotel, and arrange for transport off the planet.
Mind still full of planning the details of escape from this Doom residence, she began pacing back and forth across the floor. At one point her walk drew her nearer to the fireplace, Allura eyeing the swords mounted there, wondering if their blades were as deadly as they looked. She ended up on tip toe, reaching for one, when a door slammed open.
“They’re real you know.” Lotor’s voice, causing her to cringe, guilty at being caught in her quest for a weapon. “One hundred percent steel. And sharpened to a deadly point. Heh…” A laugh then, Lotor in a good mood. “Hardly able to stand up against a lazon blade.”
“Oh.” Allura went flat footed, her voice disappointed as she turned to look at Lotor. He was standing in the doorway, a covered tray in his hands. Allura’s stomach gave a quiet growl, the princess realizing she had not eaten anything since that one pastry at the party last night.
“No, you won’t be able to fight past Baron Krieg’s guard with one of those weapons.” Lotor moved, allowing the door to close behind him, a jovial smile on his face. “I’m sure you’re very hungry. You’ve slept through breakfast, and almost missed lunch.”
She warily watched him set down the tray, Lotor calmly sitting down before the table, his hands gesturing for her to join him. “Baron Krieg?” She asked, reluctantly moving towards him and the table.
“You met the Baron last night.” Lotor explained, uncovering the tray. Allura’s mouth watered at the sight of the food, the rich aroma tantalizing her sense of smell. “The masked Drule with the dark hair.”
“Oh yes. I remember.” Allura said, recalling he had sniffed at her hair.
“The other Drule that accompanied me is Duke Alistair.” continued Lotor. “This is the Baron’s home on planet Alazne. We should be safe here for a while.”
“A while?” Allura questioned. “You mean, we are not leaving for…for Doom anytime soon?”
“No.” Lotor said. “I have arrangements to make, the ship that brought me here is not expecting me to return to Doom so soon. They’ve already begun the flight back to my home planet, and it will take a while for them to cover the distance back to Alazne.”
“It’s a busy time Allura. All the shuttles have been chartered by the guests of Tristan’s masquerade ball, plus it is the time when Alazne busies itself with the transport of goods. It’s difficult to buy a ship during this season of commerce.” Lotor explained.
“Believe me when I say I am not in any rush to leave for Doom!” Allura exclaimed, reaching for a fork to scoop up what looked like a poached egg. Whatever it was, it tasted good, Allura letting out a hmmm of appreciation that had Lotor smiling.
“Baron Krieg’s chef will be pleased.” Commented the Prince. She said nothing to that, eating slowly, careful not to spill any of the food. Lotor chose to fill in her silence with words of his own, giving an offhand gesture towards her. “I’ve sent a servant to town. To pick up some dresses for you.” A smile then, Lotor continuing. “The Baron did not have any clothing in your size, and a maid’s uniform would hardly be fitting for my…intended bride.”
She nearly choked on her drink, Lotor standing concerned. She waved him off before he could pound on her back, Allura blushing as her coughs calmed down. “I am not your bride!”
“Not yet.” Lotor said, calm in the face of her excited refusal. “But when we arrive at Doom, you will marry me.”
“We shall see about that!” Allura snapped, narrowing her eyes at him. “Lotor, I do not agree to marry you. I….Just because I left the party with you, doesn’t mean this is some sort of concession on my part!”
“Ah but you did leave the party with me. If that is not a surrender, than I don’t know what is.” Replied the prince.
“I wasn’t in my right frame of mind!” protested Allura. “I was traumatized, and needed comfort. And I was drugged, as you so helpfully deduced.”
“Be that as it may, I have caught you fair and square Allura.” Lotor pointed out, a smirk on his face. “In time you will accept it, and realize this is what is best for both you and Arus.”
“Best for me? For Arus?!” She sputtered angrily, setting down her fork to glare at him. “Your planet will enslave mine, my people will be worked to death by your King!”
“It’s the end to the war Allura.” Lotor replied. “I’m sure arrangements can be made to see that your people are taken care of in a way that suits you.”
“I don’t believe you.” Allura said. “Doom knows nothing but cruelty towards others. My people will be miserable….and so will I!” Her eyes flashed with her upset, Allura pushing away from the table to stand. Lotor moved at the same time she did, leaping to his feet, his hands held up in supplication.
“It’s not true. I have been good to you.” Lotor said, slowly approaching her. She backed away from him, wary of his intentions. “I can make you happy Allura. I know I can. And last night in the carriage…you seemed to like me back!”
“I was drugged!” She snapped seeing a slight quiver of his lips at her words. “I wasn’t in the right frame of mind, or I would never have spoken to you like that. I would have….have never kissed you!” He looked hurt at her words, Allura almost feeling bad for him.
“The date rape drug Tristan slipped you…how do you think it works?” The questioned surprised her, Allura looking confused at Lotor. He sighed, and answered for her. “It doesn’t make you feel things you don’t normally feel. It merely lowers your inhibitions, makes you unguarded with your actions and words. Deep down, you let out your true feelings, and though you haven’t said you loved me, you at least like me enough to kiss me!”
Her cheeks burned, Allura positive she was as red as a tomato. “I also talked about choice, and how much I liked having one. Something you are taking away from me with your insistence we be married!”
Lotor sighed. “Forgive me. I suppose that makes me no better than your caregivers. But I am positive I am what is best for you, and in time you will come to agree.”
“Never.” Allura swore, flinching back when Lotor lifted a hand towards her face. Her cringing didn’t stop him from touching her, his fingers stroking her cheek. A movement that set her off trembling, Allura staring back at him.
“I’m different from Tristan.” Lotor suddenly said, continuing to caress her cheek. “I won’t ever harm you, or force you into my bed. I won’t ever bruise you the way he did.”
“No…” Bitter derision in her voice. “You’ll just force me down the aisle.”
“If I wait a while…” Lotor began, now brushing back her stray curls from her cheek. “If I take you to Doom, and try to convince you to marry me…would you be willing to give it a chance? A life with me?”
“I just want to go home!” Allura said, avoiding answering his questions. Lotor frowned, and dropped his hand, his head shaking no. “Why not?!” She demanded, anguish in her voice.
“I’ll never get to be with you if I let you return to Arus.” Lotor sighed. “Your friends, the Voltron Force will keep me away, your caregivers will find me unsuitable, your people will protest, there are a millions reasons why we will never get a chance at love together.”
“Isn’t that proof enough that we are not meant to be?” Allura asked him, seeing Lotor flash her a dark look of annoyance.
“I won’t accept that.” He announced. “I refuse to believe we can’t have a future together.”
“Why?” Allura demanded. “Why are you so fixated on me? Is…Is it because of Voltron? Is marriage to me just an excuse for you to get your hands on the lions?” He looked shocked at her accusations, Lotor rapidly shaking his head no.
“Allura, no! How could you even say that?! I love you.”
“You don’t even know me.” She whispered, seeing him frown.
“I know more than you think.” Lotor said. “I have spies you know. A great intelligence network, that tells me things. They’ve done countless research on you, your moods, your likes and dislikes, on what makes you happy, what makes you sad.”
“You’ve been stalking me?” Allura asked, shocked.
“Studying you…” Lotor corrected. “I think I know you better than I know myself…I guess you assume I want you for your throne, or Voltron, because of your past experience with suitors. But I’m different from them. I want you for you. Damn it Allura, I love you!” He didn’t quite smile, looking frustrated. “And isn’t that what you told me you wanted? A chance for love? What if this is your only chance, your one real shot at love, and a marriage that is something more than one born of convenience?! Would you really turn your back on it?”
She stared at him, mouth open in shock. “If it’s not love I feel for you…would you let me go….? After a suitable time of getting to know one another?” He hesitated, causing Allura to sigh. “I should have known that would be too much to ask from you.” She abruptly moved away from him, walking towards the window, intent on gazing outside. It served double duty, allowing Allura to see a faint reflection of Lotor which she could watch secretly. She saw him raise a hand to his hair, brushing it back, the prince remaining still otherwise. It seemed she had rendered him speechless for the moment, Lotor merely sighing as he stared at her back.
“Lotor…..where are we exactly?” She asked to break the silence. “I know we are at the Baron’s home, but how far from town is it?”
“It’s quite some distance away.” Lotor answered, seeming grateful for the change of subject. “It’s pretty secluded, no other homes nearby.”
“Is that a warning?” Allura asked, curious. “To not go wandering off on my own?”
“Take it as you will.” Lotor said, another sigh escaping him.
“Hmmm….” A noncommittal noise from her, Allura staring at the servants who walked about the courtyard. She wondered how long it would take for them to return with some clothing for her, Allura feeling awkward and exposed in the silk shirt she wore. “Thank you.” Her sudden gratitude surprised him, she could see by the way he looked at her. She didn’t turn to face him, keeping her eyes on his reflection as she spoke. “For last night. For rescuing me. Even if…”
“Even if?” He prodded when she fell silent.
“Even if you had ulterior motives for doing so.” Allura told him. “It means a lot to me that you saved me from that awful man. But also…I am grateful you stopped when you realized I was drugged. That’s a mark of a good man in my eyes. You showed remarkable restraint in holding back from me.” A blush then, Allura looking down at her hands. “Especially when I so wantonly threw myself at you.”
“There’s nothing wanton about the way you acted.” Lotor was quick to reassure her. “You were affectionate at best. It was…..sweet.”
“Sweet…” She repeated softly, gearing up to ask him another question. But she never got to voice it, the door suddenly opened, men bursting into the room excited. Both Lotor and Allura turned to look at the intruders, the princess noticing they were a pair of Drules dressed in fine clothing, clearly the Duke and Baron Lotor had spoken of. The two men glanced briefly at Allura, the princess blushing and moving to stand behind Lotor. She didn’t quite touch him, just staring around his arm at the Drules who were clearly agitated.
“What is the meaning of this?” Lotor growled out his question, placing a hand on his hip. “How dare you just barge in on us!”
“Your highness it’s important!” The dark haired Baron exclaimed.
“It’s a disaster is what it is!” added the Duke.
“Have we been found?” Lotor demanded, concern now ripe in his tone.
“No, not yet!” The Baron was quick to assure him. “But it’s the second worst thing that could have happened!”
“Don’t just blather on incessantly! Get to the point and tell me!” ordered Lotor.
“It’s Prince Tristan!”
“What about Tristan?” Lotor asked, impatiently.
“It’s all over the news, the air waves are flooded with the story. It’s even being broadcast to other planets!” The Duke said, wringing his hands together.
“What? What is?”
“It’s all anyone can talk about. They say you’ve abducted Prince Tristan’s fiancee right from his mansion!” Lotor swore at the Baron’s words, and Allura actually touched his arm in concern. “They’ve already issued a formal pleas for help, and are offering a hefty reward for any information regarding you and the princess’ whereabouts.”
“All ships are prevented form leaving the planet.” Continued the Duke. “And they are barring Doom ships from landing. What are we going to do?! He’s determined to drag the princess back into his arms.”
Allura paled at that, clutching hard at Lotor’s arms. “No! Don’t let him get me!”
Lotor immediately turned towards her, catching at her hands. “Allura, I promise I won’t let him lay a hand on you. I’ll kill him first before I let that happen again!” She merely stared back at him, wondering just how they would manage to avoid capture by Tristan and his men. For once in her life, leaving to go to Planet Doom seemed like the best idea she had ever heard, Allura wishing she had woken up on Lotor’s ship, rather than the Baron’s villa.