There was the constant sound of something booming, the noise so similar to thunder, but holding danger to it. With each thunderous boom, the castle seemed to shake, plaster falling off the cracked ceiling in the process. Allura held back her startled cry as she stumbled, falling against the wall. It kept her from ending up on the floor, the girl leaning heavily against the marble.
Another explosion rocked the castle, Allura waiting for the shaking to stop before she continued walking. She wanted to run, and yet with the condition of the floor, she didn’t dare, Allura not wanting to stumble onto a weak spot. Already there had been a collapse on one of the upper floors, a woman falling to great injury as the floor gave out beneath her weight.
Allura wanted to avoid that happening to her, the girl taking slow, careful steps, testing the floor before walking on it. She knew it would be wiser to remain in one spot, but she couldn’t stomach the waiting, Allura anxious and worried. It had little to do with the explosions bombarding the castle, and everything to do with her father, King Alfor having left the castle early in the night. And all to face the King of the Drules, those alien savages having at last reached their home world, destroying cities and killing so many people.
It was a shock to her, all that was happening, Allura hardly believing that just a scant ten hours ago the planet had been free of such devastation. But that was when their robot defender was still whole, back when Arusian ships filled the sky, fighting valiantly against the Drule invaders. She was still foggy on the details, but as night fell, an image had appeared in the sky. That of a woman, some kind of Goddess made entirely of lights. But she was no benevolent creature, the Goddess striking down the robot, tearing it apart into five pieces.
Those pieces had scattered over Arus, even now some still searched for the remains. But much of their forces were spent trying to protect the planet from the Drule, the people numb and disbelieving of what was happening. Even Allura wondered how anything could have destroyed their protector, the girl not knowing how a Goddess could side with a race as evil as these would be invaders.
“AHHH!” She cried out again, being slammed into another part of the wall. Plaster rained down on her, coating her hair. Allura coughed, and continued to move, worrying that the castle would not hold up much longer from the treatment it was receiving. At this rate there’d be no home for her father to return to, and that was even assuming he was alive to come back to it.
“NO!” She shook her head, knowing she mustn’t think like that, mustn’t doubt his survival. Her father would defeat the Drule King, put an end to this nightmare, and peace would return. Not just to Arus, but to all of the Denubian Galaxy. She just had to stay positive, Allura inching her way forward at a snail’s pace.
Much of this floor was empty, the few people that remained in the castle busy elsewhere. She knew her cousin Romelle was on one of these floors, and she wished to find the girl. It would make the waiting more bearable to be in the company of her cousin, Allura needing to talk to someone, needing that distraction. She felt pity that Romelle had chosen to visit her at such an awful time, but then no where on Arus was safe. The attacks were occurring in all the cities spread across the planet, many of them wasted to nothing. Romelle would be no safer in her own kingdom than she was here in Allura’s home, and at least the castle was managing to keep from crumbling completely.
A new crack appeared in the ceiling, as though taunting her thoughts. Each crack and hole worried her anew, Allura knowing they was just this much closer to dying. But the call to evacuate never came, not when there was no place to run to. She shivered and sighed, reaching the staircase, Allura letting her shaking hands grip the railing as she inched down the steps.
By the time she made her torturous climb down to the main floor, she heard shouts, people sounding more horrified than excited. She didn’t know what was going on, but didn’t hurry towards the voices. Not until she heard Coran’s familiar voice, the man shouting out something that had Allura gasping.
“Alfor, my King!”
Her father was back! Joy uplifted her heart, even as her mind whispered that the bombings should have stopped upon his return. She ignored that whisper, gathering her skirts, and running through the halls, no longer caring about the danger as she rushed towards the front gates of the castle.
And abruptly stopped when she saw her father, King Alfor laying on a gurney that three soldiers labored to hold up. All were in bad shape, clothes torn and dirty, and one was bleeding profusely. But it didn’t compare to the amount of blood her father was losing, great big puddles on the floor beneath him, and soaking through the gauzy bandages wrapped around his chest.
There was more on his arms, and one thick bandage wrapped around his left thigh. They didn’t bleed anywhere as badly as his chest wounds, Allura staring, unaware she had issued a scream.
Immediately Coran turned to her, he looked astonished than chagrined to see her. “Princess! You mustn’t be here!” He snapped, moving to stand in front of the gurney. “Return to your room at once.”
“Father!” Allura ignored Coran, shoving at him to get a better look at Alfor. “What happened?!” She knew then how foolish a question she had asked, Allura realizing he must have lost his duel with the Drule King.
Coran refused to budge, catching at her arms as she continued to shove him. “Allura, you shouldn’t see this.”
“Let me go!” Allura retorted, wet, hot tears blurring her vision. “I have to be near him. I have to…have to see him!”
“Allura…” Her father’s voice, breath rasping out with a wet sucking sound. It spoke of the damage to his lungs, Allura shuddering, then screaming.
“He needs a doctor!”
“Child…it’s too late for that…” whispered Coran, and Allura reared back, slapping him across the face.
“NO!” She railed, and Coran looked stunned by her attack. “It’s not too late. He still lives! He can still talk…!” She shoved the shocked Coran aside somehow, and collapsed to her knees besides the gurney. She reached for Alfor’s hand, noting the fine tremble that shook it, Allura lacing fingers with her father. “Father, it’s okay…” She tearfully said, trying to be brave. “You’re home now….Doctor Gorma will tend to you, and everything will be fine.”
“I failed you…” Alfor whispered, opening his eyes long enough to look at Allura. “I failed Arus.”
“No, you did not.” Allura tried to reassure him, bending to kiss the back of the hand she held.
“I did.” He insisted. “I played right into his trap…let him ambush me…”
“Ambush?” Allura echoed, and it was one of the soldiers who answered.
“The Drule King never showed. That scum.” He spat to the side of the gurney, looking disgusted. “It was his soldiers that was laying in wait for us. The lot of them overpowered us, and ganged up on your father…stuck him with their swords, as though he was nothing more than an animal…”
“Enough!” Coran snapped. “The princess doesn’t need to hear this…”
“Yes, I do!” Allura retorted, glaring though her anger was for the Drule. “I deserve to know what they did to my father…Oh father, rest now…we will get you to Doctor Gorma, and all will be well…”
“It’s too late for me…” Alfor said, and she cried out a no. “I can feel myself dying…”
“Father no!” Allura protested. “Don’t leave me…”
“I don’t want too!” He said, but even his words lacked force to them. “But I’ve lost too much blood, suffered too many wounds…something is broken inside of me…leeching away the last of my strength…”
“Just try to hold on…Gorma…”
“Gorma will do nothing….” Alfor insisted, earning a despairing moan from Allura. “At least not for me. But there are others that he can help…let him…” She realized he was referring to the soldiers holding up his gurney, but Allura stubbornly refused to let them abandon her father.
“No..you just hold tight…we’ll get you to Doctor Gorma.” She turned to glare at the soldiers now. “What are you waiting for?! Take him to the doctor!”
“Yes, princess!” came the hasty reply, Allura trying to let go of her father’s hand. His hold turned strong, the man gripping her hand.
“There’s not much time left…you must leave…” Alfor was saying, and seem to grow frantic at her head shake. “You must! You don’t want to know what the Drules will do to you…”
“I can guess…” She answered grimly.
“Allura, you have no idea!” insisted Alfor. “That King and his son….they have plans for you…horrific plans…but I still don’t regret anythign I’ve done….I just wish I had been strong enough, wise enough to keep Arus out of their hands…”
“Coran take her.” Alfor said, turning his head to the side so he could squint at his advisor. “Take her and run. Leave this place…”
“There’s no place to run to!” Allura interrupted. “Everywhere on Arus is ether under attack or destroyed!”
“Then you must leave Arus!” Alfor snapped, and she was shocked. She could barely imagine leaving her castle, let alone her home world. She had never even been to the other side of the planet, and the thought of leaving Arus to go to another world was shocking to say the least. “Promise me!” Alfor choked on his breath, blood bubbling out of his mouth, horrifying Allura. “Promise me…” he repeated weakly, closing his eyes. “Keep her out of the hands of the Drules…”
“I’ll do my best.” Coran swore.
“We all will.” Spoke up one of the soldiers.
Alfor seemed to relax, though he was still doing that awful coughing. “Allura, daughter….I love you. Always remember that…”
“I will father. I…” His fingers had gone limp, he no longer gripped her hand with any amount of force. Her vision blurred, Allura trying not to sob as she gripped his hand and cried out to him. “Father! No! Father, don’t you dare! Don’t you die on me!” There was no response, Coran reaching to pull her away from the gurney. “NO!!”
“Princess…I am sorry…” Coran said, voice resonating with his sorrow. “Your father…his soul…it’s departed this plane…”
She was openly screaming now, weeping and shaking, beating her fists against Coran’s chest. Now more than ever she hated the Drules, hated them for all the times they had stolen away her father from her side in the last five years. Allura was eighteen now, and she had barely spent any time with her father, and knew now she would never get the chance again.
“Princess Allura there is no time…” Coran was hugging her awkwardly, enduring her fists pounding on his chest. “We must find your cousin and leave this place at once…”
“No!” Allura snapped, and forced her way free of Coran’s awkward embrace. “Not until I have my revenge!”
“Revenge?” gasped Coran, and shook his head. “Be reasonable princess…what can we do?! There’s little chance of surviving, let alone hopes of paying the Drules back for what they’ve done.”
She didn’t care, Allura spinning about, and rushing towards the nearest stair case. She could heard Coran shouting after her, trying to entice her with the idea that they had to survive long enough to one day make a bid to free Arus from the Drules. She didn’t care about that in the moment, only focused on revenge, and making the Drules suffer a loss as great as hers.
Uncaring if she fell through the floor, and ignoring Coran’s shouts, she ran up the stair case. She could hear Coran’s footsteps, the man chasing after her alone. The guards were too injured to join in the pursuit, and Allura could only hope they would stay to watch over her father’s body. A sob issued out of her, the girl realizing that if they left now, they’d never have the chance to give Alfor a proper burial. And that was something unacceptable to Allura.
She ran faster and higher, floor nearly giving out beneath her foot at one point. She heard Coran swear, the man having to side step the hole in the floor, and that delayed him further. She didn’t care, rushing onto the third floor landing, and heading for the closest tower. It was there she would find a weapon, one of the castle’s turret mounted laser guns.
Coran realized her intent to late, screaming at her to stop, that it was too risky. Allura continued to ignore him, stepping out into the open, and pushing the dead body off of the turret gun’s seat. It was still powered up, with more than half it’s charge, and she took her seat behind it. She stared up at the sky, at the many ships that were there, and screamed, letting all her grief and her rage manifest in that sound.
“Die you filthy Drule Scum!” She snarled, and began flipping switches, firing off a few rounds of lasers. That immediately drew attention to her, Allura glaring up at the ships, mocking them to fire on her. “I want you all to die!” She screamed, having no way of knowing if they could even hear her words.
“Princess Allura, stop this foolishness at once!” Coran had appeared in the tower’s doorway, the man too frightened to step out in the open. She refused to acknowledge him, weeping bitterly as she fired wild and random shots at the Drule ships. A few returned fire, the blasts hitting the tower’s roof, and all around her. She didn’t know why the lasers didn’t come close to touching her, and she didn’t care, Allura determined to take out as many Drule as she could before they killed her.
To her satisfaction, she hit a ship, the star cutter spiraling out of control. A dark plume of smoke followed it’s downward descent, she could see the flames eating at the metal. She laughed then, and fired again, muttering curses and threats, railing against the Drule and the fate they had delivered to her father.
“Allura please…” begged Coran, dropping her title. “Come back inside…we have to find your cousin…”
She thought she was beyond caring, so focused on bringing down as many Drule ships as she could. Not even the thought of Romelle somewhere in the castle, frightened and terrified, calmed her fury, Allura gritting her teeth and opening fire once more. And then it happened, a ship suddenly rose up before her, sleek black metal with curved wings resembling a bat. It barely had enough room for two people to sit inside, and it was close enough that she could see the pilot and him her.
She reacted with shock, recognizing the Drule guiding the ship. It had been three years since she had caught a glimpse of his face, and he had time to mature from boy to man. His white hair was longer now, well past his shoulder blades, and his eyes seemed to lock onto hers. Some foreign emotion flickered in his gaze, his lips quirking in amusement at seeing her behind the turret gun.
Her shock faded at his insolent smirk, Allura screaming as she forced the turret gun to aim dead center at his ship. It was fighting her, she didn’t have the strength to move it around as well as a man might have. The Drule narrowed his eyes at her, his lips parting as he shouted some order at her. She couldn’t hear what he was saying over the roar of the lasers, just aware that this was Lotor, crown prince of the Drule, and that he deserved to die for what his people had done to her father.
A blast hit the wing of his ship, but it wasn’t a damaging blow. The Drule prince seemed to sneer at her, and she saw him adjusting levers on the control panel. Coran rushed forward, at last getting over his fear to try and reach her. It was then that the Drule prince open fired on them, lasers shooting past Allura to slam into Coran’s chest. She screamed, watching as he stiffened, than dropped to the ground, her fingers going limp on the turret gun’s triggers.
“Coran…” She whispered, and somehow found the strength to climb out of her seat, and hurry to his side. She turned him over, cradling his head on her lap, exerting tenderness and care towards him. To her horror she noted his skin was smoking where the lasers had slammed him, and a fresh wave of tears fell from her eyes. “No…not you as well….you can’t leave me…”
Coran was beyond speaking, his expression frozen into that same fearful one he had worn when trying to reach her. She wept harder to see it, so confidant he was dying, and knew that it would be all her fault if he did die now. So consumed was she with her own private grief, she didn’t even notice that no one was firing down on her. Nor did she look up when a hatch opened on the side of the ship, a figure emerging from it.
It wasn’t until a shadow fell over her, Allura sniffling as she looked up to see a man standing over her. Her expression instantly twisted into hate, Allura correcting herself. It wasn’t a man she saw, but a beast, a Drule, and he deserved as much of her hate as any of the others did.
With a wild scream, she lunged to her feet, Coran’s body awkwardly being dumped on the floor of the tower. She didn’t think beyond trying to kill this Drule, Allura all but leaping into his arms as she began beating her fists against his chest. He said nothing to her, Lotor merely grabbing her arms, enduring her poundings. She sobbed as she did this, rage subsiding to give in to grief as she sagged against him.
“I hate you!” Weakly, she still struck at his chest, but she was rapidly losing her strength. She would have fallen to her knees if not for his support, Allura wearily leaning into him. She continued to cry, sobbing her heart out, then got the surprise of her life when he hauled her up on tip toe. Without warning, he was kissing her, forcefully thrusting his tongue inside her mouth to garner the taste of her.
Allura had no experience with being kissed like this, the girl lacking the energy to do more than the slightest of squirms. She choked on a scream, and then was doing the only option left to her, Allura fainting dead away.