Mask 11

It was a kind of pandemonium that followed Allura’s dramatic reveal, the sound of men’s cursing filling the room, bringing a blush to Allura’s painted cheeks. She was aware of Lotor turning to her, his eyes flashing with a furious light that should have scared her to see. Instead she lifted her chin higher, holding a stubborn slant to her expression.

“Just what do you think you are doing?!” Lotor demanded, looking very much like he wanted to reach out and shake her.

“They needed to know Lotor!” Allura retorted, proud that she didn’t back up even one step in the face of his fury.

“That is debatable!” snapped Lotor, even as several things happened around them at once.

The man known as Drake was steadily swearing, one curse after another. But amidst those foul words were a stunned exclamation, almost a mantra that repeated endlessly. “This is big! This is fucken big!”

The Baron Krieg and Duke Alistair were suddenly moving, one taking up position at the door as though to stop the pair they hoped to hire from fleeing the room. Baron Krieg moved to stand closer to Lotor, effectively blocking Allura’s view of Devana and Drake.

“They needed to know.” Repeated Allura, gazing up into Lotor’s eyes.

“Allura…”

“It was the only way…” She added before he could offer more protests and recriminations. “They wouldn’t have helped us otherwise.”

“They still haven’t agreed to anything yet.” Lotor muttered, and turned suddenly. The woman, Devana, was suddenly besides him, her painted lips parting on a gasp as Lotor hands made manacles around her slim wrists.

“Easy big boy.” Devana had managed to regain her composure, almost purring seductively at Lotor. “I mean no harm to you or the princess. I just want to check something.”

“Check something?” Lotor demanded, tone rife with suspicion. Devana nodded, and cast a side long glance at Allura. The princess nodded, but that was not enough to get Lotor to let go of the woman.

“It’s okay Lotor. Let her approach…”

“If you harm so much as a single strand of her hair…” Lotor began, only to get his cheek patted lightly by the purple skinned Drule. He growled at the insulting way she handled him, and seemed even less pleased by her words.

“Yes, I know your highness…” Devana smirked, not having missed the name Allura had used when addressing the prince of Doom. “You’ll kill me or worse.” She squeezed past him and the Baron, and approached Allura who stood there staring at her. A warning growl came from Lotor when the Drule female reached to touch Allura’s face, but the princess did not flinch back.

Devan’s touch was soft, her fingers doing a gentle rubbing that had her skin coming away blue. “Powder…” Devana murmured, not bothering to wipe the blue make up off her fingers. “I should have known.” She suddenly smirked, placing her hands on her leather clad hips. “No, Drule, not even a female is as short as you!”

Again Allura flushed under her make up, thinking that even with the added height of the heels she wore, she had been too short to pass as a Drule. “Will you help us?” Allura asked, eyes hopeful as she looked back at the female.

“Hmm..that depends….”

“Depends on what?!” Lotor growled yet again, his words almost lost to his anger.

“On your story.” Devana stepped away from Allura, walking to rejoin Drake by the table. She leaned back on her elbows, still looking amused. “Well? Someone speak!”

“It’s kind of a long story.”

“We’ve got time.” Devana said, gesturing at Allura to continue. She held back a sigh, shifting from foot to foot, trying to think of where to begin.

“A condensed version then.” Lotor said, and Allura nodded.

“I was lured to this planet under false pretenses.” Allura began, licking her lips nervously. “Prince Tristan’s invite led me to believe this was a normal party he was holding. But it wasn’t.” She could feel how heated her face was as she recalled the debauchery she had seen, Allura closing her eyes. But she couldn’t block out the images, or the shocked feeling she had felt at seeing so many masked nobles in flagrant disgrace.

“It was….was a sex party.” Drake began laughing again, Allura’s cheeks burning in humiliation.

“Surely you don’t want revenge on Tristan just for one of his X-rated parties.” Drake was snide in his tone, Lotor shooting him a glare.

“NO! That could almost be forgiven if not for what happened next.” A vicious twisting of her fingers, Allura using the pain to block out the vivid memories of what had almost happened. “He took me to a room, pretended to be my friend, pretended he was going to get me out of the situation. but once there, he locked the door. He jumped on me, forced some drugged drink down my throat, and tore at my clothes.” She closed her eyes, the shame overcoming her. “He tried to rape me…”

“Tried to?” Devana seized on those words. “But did not succeed?”

“No. Lotor arrived in time. He heard my screams, broke down the door, and pummeled the prince bloody.”

“I would have killed him.” Lotor’s voice gritted out gruffly. “But Allura insisted on leaving him be. Wanted me to get her out of there.”

“A foolish mistake, considering Tristan seems to think the princess is his fiancee.” Devana pointed out.

“But I’m not! He hoped by raping me he’d be able to blackmail me into marriage. He talked about wanting Arus for Voltron, to use my people’s defender as weapon for
conquest. Right now Lotor and his friends are the only thing keeping me out of Tristan’s clutches.” To her horror, she felt like she was going to tear up, Allura blinking rapidly. “Please! You have to help us!”

“I think you should focus on getting on a ship and off of this planet!” Devana said, looking surprised when Allura shook her head no. “Why not?”

“My nanny!”

“Your…nanny?” Devana’s lips quirked in amusement, the woman finding it funny that a grown girl had a Nanny in her employ.

“Prince Tristan invited her to his villa. She doesn’t know she’s being used as a hostage.” Lotor explained, Allura too embarrassed to speak at the moment. “She believes his lies, and thinks I am the villain in this piece.”

“Ah but you’re not, are you Prince Lotor?” asked Devana. “You’re doing this out of the goodness of your heart?” It was a sarcastic question, and Lotor’s expression hardened to hear it. Allura stared at him, but he averted his face from her, seeming angry once more as he answered Devana.

“Allura and I have come to an agreement. I’ll save her Nanny and she will marry me.”

“Why not simply take her by force?” Drake asked, then held up his hands at Lotor’s annoyed growl. “I’m merely curious. I know a little about Drules, and that the women do not need to consent to the marriage for it to be binding.”

“Yes, your highness, I am curious about your motivations as well.” Devana said, eyes dancing with laughter. “Why go through so much trouble?”

“Becuase…” He hesitated, looking at Allura. “It would make me no better than Tristan.”

“Is that all?” Devana seemed to deflate in disappointment, and Allura could have sworn the look Lotor flashed her was that of embarrassment.

“No.” He coughed several times, words slipping in between the noise. “It’s because I love her.”

The love confession wasn’t the first time Lotor had said such words to her or about her, although it was the first time Lotor seemed anxious when speaking them. Allura knew her face was flaming, hot enough she wouldn’t be surprised if her make up didn’t melt.

“How sweet.” Devana said, and looked to Drake. “What do you think?”

“Well…” He shrugged. “It’s a lot to process. We need a little time to confer.”

“By all means.” Baron Krieg said. “But you will not be leaving this room to do it.”

“Fair enough.” Drake said, and Devana eased up to a standing position. She and the human moved further to the back of the room, and began a whispered conversation, not even once sparing a glance towards Allura’s party.

“It’s going well.” Krieg said, and Lotor nearly exploded.

“How can you say that?!” he gestured at nothing in particular, the movements angry. “This is a disaster. They know who we are, and they are aware of the situation
surrounding Allura’s so called abduction. For all we know, they’re planning to turn us all in for the reward Tristan is offering!”

“But they won’t.” Allura spoke up, the baron and prince glancing at her. “I sense a goodness in them.”

“Goodness? In those two?” It was Alistair by the door who spoke up, tone taunting. “That’s a right riot!”

“What are our odds if we have to fight our way out of this building?” Lotor asked, Allura gaping at him.

“There’s mainly humans in the tavern. And most are drunk.” Reported Alistair. “We should be able to handle them with ease. It’s our two friends conversing over there that I’m worried about.”

“Hmm…” Lotor looked positively devious in the moment, lowering his voice even further. “At the first hint of betrayal, we kill them.”

“Lotor no!” gasped Allura, a hand raising to her mouth.

“It may be the only way princess.” The Duke said, and the Baron Krieg looked very unhappy about this line of thought.

“Still it’s not right…” She shook her head, hardly appeased when Lotor approached her, his hands landing on her shoulders.

“Would you rather be given back to Tristan? Taken against your will, your planet and people’s well being jeopardized, Voltron used for evil?”

“No….” She whsipered it, but it was with bitterness that she spoke. In that moment she wondered what Lotor would do with Voltron once they were married, Allura staring worriedly at him.

“What?” Lotor cocked his head to the side, staring curiously at her. “What’s with that look?”

“It’s nothing.” She told him, trying to muster up the conviction to sound reassuring. He looked like he wanted to press her for more, but the baron made a sound, Lotor turning to eye the approaching pair.

“Well?”

“We have decided.” Devana announced, pausing long enough to cause everyone’s tension to increase. “We will help you after all.”

“Thank you!” Allura exclaimed, clasping her hands together. “Thank you so much. You are doing the right thing.”

“We’re not doing it for you.” Drake interrupted. “And we’re not doing it because it’s noble. We’re not even doing it for the money, though believe me when we say we’ll take all that you have to offer.”

“Then why are you doing it?!” demanded Lotor.

“We…owe Tristan some payback.” It was an almost unconscious gesture, Drake lifted his hand to finger his scarred eye. Allura wondered at the story behind his lost eye, having a good feeling it had been stolen by Tristan or someone in the prince’s employ.

“And it’s all the better to get revenge while being paid for it.” Added Devana with a smirk.

“Fine you have your reasons.” Lotor said. Now can we leave this wretched place?!” He looked at the baron as he said it, Krieg nodding.

“My accomplices have a hideout for us located not too far from this tavern.”

“Great, another dump.” Muttered Alistair, everyone choosing to ignore him.

‘Then let’s go there.” Lotor decided, and Devana bent down to pick the white cap off the floor.

“Princess, your hair…?” She held the cap out to Allura, the princess murmuring thanks as she set about to hiding her hair underneath the white cap. Once she was settled, the Duke turned to open the door, the party of six striding from the room. The tavern was even more crowded now, drink flowing freely as the shady characters drank and watched the odd procession of Drules and human cover the floor to the exit.

Allura noted that Lotor made sure to keep her between him and the wall, leaving little room for any wayward drunk to grab her this time. A fact that had her feeling grateful, even with the doubts she was currently suffering about Lotor and his behavior this night.

The cold wind greeted them as they left the tavern, Allura shivering in response to the chill in the air. Suddenly she felt something being placed on her shoulders, the princess turning in surprise to see a serious looking Lotor sans his butler’s coat. “Thank you.” She said, clutching the coat around her body. He nodded, and gestured for her to stay close to him.

The streets were still empty at this late hour, but Allura could have sworn she felt people watching them from the shadows and broken windows. She was grateful to be surrounded by so many strong men, knowing this kind of neighborhood was dangerous to a woman alone. Maybe even to a single man, Allura trying not to let her mind stray on thoughts of the kind of dangers that awaited both genders.

They walked several blocks in distance, then stopped at another decrepit looking building. “Why do disreputable types all stay in such God forsaken looking places?!” Lotor muttered under his breath, Allura picking up the faint words and nodding in agreement.

“It’s no villa or rich boy’s mansion, but it’ll do for now.” Krieg said, unlocking the rickety door, it’s hinges groaning in protest from rust and a long period of disuse. Allura noted it wasn’t much better inside the house, with ruined furniture spread about the room. Couches with torn holes in the sides, their stuffing and springs hanging out as though they had been disemboweled. Wooden chairs missing a leg or three lay on their sides, but there was a functional table that Lotor headed towards.

She watched him drop the duffel bag on it’s surface, the prince rifling through it’s contents until he found the plans he had been working on. Without comment he began smoothing them out on the table, Drake approaching him to peer over his shoulder. “That’s your plan?” He snorted, shaking his head in disgust. “We’ll be caught within
minutes.”

“It’s one of my plans, yes.” Lotor retorted. “Nothings final, if you have any feedback…”

“Indeed I do. First get me a computer…” Drake said, and Krieg hurried forward.

“This way…One of the upstairs rooms is fitted with the latest model.” The Baron gestured for Drake to follow, the man spitting out one final comment to his comrade.

“Count the money. Make sure they haven’t tried to short change us.”

“Will do.” Devana sauntered towards Lotor, her hands snatching at the gold heavy duffel bag. She went off to the kitchen area to count out the money, leaving Lotor to shake his head.

Alistair had taken up position by the closed door, once again playing guard, his eyes full of suspicion every time he looked at Devana and Drake. Allura glanced around, but was more interested in talking to Lotor than studying the falling apart room. She walked towards him, her quiet footsteps alerting him to her nearness. He turned to her, a question in his eyes.

“Lotor….can we talk?”

“Sure.” He agreed, and gestured for her to continue.

“I mean…alone.” She was grateful for the make up, knowing it hid her nervous blush from him. Still he studied her for a second before nodding his head.

“I take it there’s more than one bedroom upstairs. We can use it for privacy.” Leaving the plans spread out on the table, he reached for her hand. She almost shied away from his touch, Allura earning a disappointed look from Lotor. “For…” He shut his mouth, shaking his head no, having decided against saying whatever it was he had been about to voice.

Instead he turned from her, walking the way the baron had led Drake. He didn’t wait to see if she followed, trusting her need to speak with him would move her feet. Allura sighed, and hurried after him, and together they found the stair case located in the next room. It was made of wood, and groaned with their added weight, Allura fearing it would collapse before they could reach the second floor.

But somehow they made it, and walked past an open door showing Drake lit up by the glow of a large computer. His fingers were flying furiously fast over the
keyboard, the man muttering excitedly under his breath as the Baron watched him work. Lotor led Allura to a bedroom that was three doors down from the room with the computer, the prince holding the door open for the princess to pass by.

The door wouldn’t open all the way, leaving little room for both Lotor and Allura. It left her body brushing against his, Allura feeling static electricity at the contact. The shock of it made her jump, but she held back any comments until she was standing in the middle of the dusty bedroom. Lotor closed the door behind him, and looked at her, a lift of his brow showing he was waiting for her to speak.

Instead she clutched at her coat, sucking in a sharp breath as she tried to focus her thoughts. She had many worrying things to broach, the least of which was his displayed behavior at the tavern. Lotor seemed to read her mind, for he was suddenly speaking, words an echo of her thoughts. “If it’s about the tavern and what I did to that human who grabbed you….”

“You shouldn’t have been so violent!” Allura cringed back at how heatedly the words snapped out of her.

“Allura he grabbed you. What’s more he spoke disrespectfully to you and about you.” Lotor pointed out. “I couldn’t allow the insult to stand as it was.”

“Insult to whom?” She foolishly asked.

“Insult to the both of us!” Lotor retorted. “He laid his hands on you. He called you foul names. I would be remiss in my duties as your fiancee to allow such behavior to go unpunished.”

“But you didn’t have to beat him unconscious!”

“He recovered.” Lotor smirked then. “And hadn’t learned his lesson judging by his behavior with Devana.”

Allura shook her head, recalling the vicious way the Drule female had slapped the man. “Are all Drules like that…..reacting with their fists first?!”

“Did you honestly think to talk it out when a brute accosts you?” Lotor demanded in disbelief.

“Well, no…” She admitted, recalling how Tristan had not been swayed by her pleas.

“And you yourself slapped him!” Lotor added.

“I was reacting on instinct!”

“So was I!” Lotor snapped, voice just as heated as her own. She made wide eyes at him, then shook her head. “And that scares you, doesn’t it?”

“It does…” Allura whispered. “I can’t help but wonder what else is instinct for your people…”

“We’re not complete animals Allura.” Lotor sounded exasperated then. His mood wasn’t helped by what she blurted out next.

“But you act like it at times!” She gasped then, hands flying to her mouth as though she could stop the words. “If not animals, then savages…”

“I believe the word you are looking for is barbarian.” Lotor grumbled.

“That too.” She agreed. “Lotor, you were willing to kill that man tonight, weren’t you? No don’t hesitate, I can see the truth in your eyes. Just as you were willing to kill Devana and Drake at the first sign of betrayal…”

“What do you want me to say?!” Lotor demanded angrily. “I won’t deny my Drule heritage, nor will I go back on my promise!”

“Promise?” Allura was confused, and this time Lotor sighed.

“Allura! I promised to protect you from Tristan. To keep you safe, to keep you out of his clutches.” He reached for her hands then, gripping them just tight enough so that she couldn’t break free of his grasp. “That means doing anything and everything possible, including being the ruthless prince of Doom. Including killing those would betray us!”

“But they are innocent….” She protested faintly.

“Maybe of this particular thing, but make no mistake they’ve committed crimes in the past. They wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t.”

“It’s wrong…” Allura finally said in response to his words. “I can’t stand the thought of you killing, even to protect me.” To her misery, a tear slipped down her face, Lotor’s expression softening to see it.

“Allura….”

“NO!” she fought him as he pulled her against him, Lotor hugging her possessively to his chest. “Is this how it will always be?” Allura demanded, pushing futilely at his chest. He looked down at her, appearing not to understand so she clarified for him. “You killing, those who are good, and those who are bad, all dying by your hand based on your decisions of what’s right and what’s wrong?!”

“I don’t kill for fun.” Lotor answered her. “I kill those who deserve it…”

“What of the people your empire enslaves? The people who die fighting in Doom’s war?”

He slowly blinked, the annoyed air returning to him. “I didn’t expect to have to debate the rights and wrongs of death in war when you invited me for a private talk.”

“You do know what Doom does is wrong, don’t you?” Allura asked, staring anxiously at him. “That you’re not on the side of right when you attack other planets?”

“Might makes right.” Lotor was absolutely serious in what he said, Allura gaping at him shocked. “It’s always been a survival of the fittest, the strong ruling over the weak. It’s no different on any other planet…”

“You’ll use Voltron for evil, won’t you…” Allura breathed out, staring at Lotor. “Won’t you?!” She finished with a scream, starting to struggle in his arms again. His hesitation at her accusation only serve to make her more agitated, Allura fighting to get free of Lotor’s embrace.

“Allura…”

“Won’t you!” She repeated, and readied herself to fling more accusations at him. But she never got that far, Lotor’s mouth suddenly on top of hers, the prince kissing her hard. She could only choke out a moan of surprise, her struggles becoming even more vigorous as Lotor clutched at her body, keeping her trapped against him.


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