Pride 07

It had been a busy ten hours, the ships of his Empire fighting a hard battle, all in an effort to at last put an end to the threat that Arus poised. For much of that fighting, Lotor had held back, his ship along with several other command vessels laying in wait for the perfect opportunity. It wouldn’t come soon enough for Lotor’s liking, the prince impatient for Haggar and her coven to do their job. He didn’t like magic very much, but he could admit it had it’s uses.

Especially when it came to destroying a pesky robot, Lotor watching as Voltron was seared by the gathered magical might of Haggar’s witches. That spell had been powerful, arching towards the robot, and causing it to explode. What had been left was only five large pieces, each one burning with an orange glow as they hurtled in different directions. Even if the pieces did not melt upon reentry into Arus’ atmosphere, there was no way the humans would have time to rebuild the robot, and with it went their defense which rapidly failed them.

It had been a laughable sight, watching the humans try to recover from the loss of their defender. For the first twenty minutes following Voltron’s destruction, the Arusian ships had been slow to react, some crashing into each other, as they frantically moved across the battle field. The Empire’s own ships did not mimic such stupidity, moving in slow and careful, and taking down Arusian war vessels.

They gained ground in droves, the Arusians being destroyed, dozens dying every few seconds. It was a similar situation all over the planet, the word of Voltron’s defeat being spread across the airwaves, causing the humans to lose morale. The fighting only intensified, the Drules pressing the advantage, decimating ship after ship, and moving closer to the planet.

Of course there had been cracks in the human’s defense, even with Voltron still in one piece. They simply did not have enough ships to form a wide enough net to prevent the Drules from sneaking past, the Doom vehicles targeting the surface. Many cities were destroyed, bombs blasting, and fires raging. Monsters known as robeasts were unleashed, the creatures worked up to a fierce rage that had them rampaging in the city streets.

It was Zarkon’s will that Arus be blasted back into the stone age, and the Drules were only too eager to do this for their king. Many harbored private grudges against the Arusians, remembering how friends and family had died in the war between the two worlds. A war that had lasted five years. The people of Arus had many Drule lives to account for, and the deaths of the humans on this day couldn’t begin to make up for the losses the Doom Empire had suffered.

They all had grudges, even Lotor, the prince thinking back to a moment that had occurred three years ago. Back then he had still been a boy, not even old enough to have his own harem. He had been so desperate back then for a woman, he cringed now as he recalled how he thought any would do. He had never appreciated his position, the rights he should have, and how he should not have lowered himself to sleep with just anyone. Now he had his pick of women, and only the most beautiful would do, Lotor selecting the loveliest of slaves to warm his bed nightly.

But, and this he was loathe to admit, none seemed to compare in beauty to the princess of Arus, Allura growing only more lovely as she matured in years. Even when she had looked at him with sheer and utter hatred in her eyes, he had been taken aback by how beautiful she was. The reality of her could not compare to the pictures Doom’s spies had taken for him of her, she was absolutely gorgeous, a golden haired Goddess that could tempt just about any man into sinning with her.

Even when she was crying, tears leaking down her face, he had been enamored of her. He had harkened back to the call of three years ago, remembering his first sight of a fifteen year old Allura. Even then she had moved something in him, to the point he had become obsessed with her, with getting his hands on her. He had hoped the reality of her would reveal some imperfection, would somehow lessen the hold her looks had on him. But they had not, Lotor being moved to do something foolish, ignoring the potential danger to kiss her then and there.

She hadn’t responded to his kiss, not in any of the predictable fashions. She had neither screamed, nor tried to bite down on his tongue. Instead she had fainted, acting like the weak willed human these Arusians were rumored to be. He had almost felt disappointed in her collapse, but knew he didn’t have time to properly play with her. Not with the castle needing to be secured, Alfor be he alive or dead, reclaimed.

There would be time for a reckoning with the princess later, Lotor pausing only long enough to secure her and the man he had shot. That mustached human was not dead, and Lotor was counting on him being a valuable bargaining tool for the princess’ good behavior. He had seen how she reacted to the man’s injuries, she cared for him, a thought that nearly drove Lotor mad with jealousy. He didn’t want her forming attachments to anyone, even as he knew how valuable they would be towards gaining her compliance.

He joined his men on a search through the castle, Lotor helping to ferret out any servants who were hiding. Many had fled the castle, foolishly thinking their chances would be better off in the woods. They didn’t know the Empire’s soldiers were prowling the land, searching for any and all humans that would hide.

That left mainly the soldiers inside the castle, the humans laying in ambush for Lotor and his men. These were easily dispatched, Lotor growing dirty from their spilt blood. He cut his own path to the castle’s command center, many of the Drules joining him there. Others remained deep in the castle, searching for any stragglers they had missed on their first sweep of the castle.

Alfor’s body was discovered, the human King having died from the many stab wounds given to him. Lotor hadn’t been present for the ambush on the King, that had been his father’s doing, Zarkon not caring to face Alfor in person. It wasn’t an act of cowardice, not exactly, the Drule King simply deciding Alfor was no match for him when it came to a fair fight. He had been after all human, and they could never hope to stand up to a Drule’s full strength.

Privately Lotor thought Alfor had deserved a better death, to have died as a warrior rather than a victim. He would have been honored to fight the human King, Lotor having heard tales of Alfor’s prowess with a sword. Between that and the man’s rumored intellect, Alfor had been quite the ruler, the King managing to keep the Doom Empire at bay for five years.

And not just of his world, but of neighboring planets, Alfor going so far as to start a Galaxy Alliance. That Alliance had been a thorn in Doom’s side for the past six months, expanding with more and more worlds, as whole planets flocked to them for protection. With the fall of Arus, the alliance would crumble, effectively crippled without their leader Alfor.

Even now Aflor’s body was being prepared, chemicals poured onto him, his body stuffed and mounted. He would be displayed, a constant reminder of what ultimately happened to those that went up against Doom. The body would be broadcast from Alfor’s own castle, the signal being sent across the Denubian Galaxy to all worlds, to show them what had happened to their sainted leader.

Lotor was currently in the command center, having given over a slave to one of his most trusted commanders. He felt that slave, Romelle, was a poor reward for the Drule. She may have looked like Allura, but there was a troublesome air about her, one that said she would be more trouble than she was worth. He hoped Sabbath was up to the challenge of handling such a slave, Lotor thinking she would be better suited to serving as a barracks’ whore.

His men were angry that they had been denied the use of her body, there was unrest in the air. What few women they had come across in the castle had been old or homely, nothing that stirred the men’s lust the way the former princess had. Lotor could understand Romelle’s physical appeal, she bore the same kind of sun kissed beauty that Allura had. Only their faces were different, Romelle’s nose sharper, face almost too thin for Lotors’ liking.

The comparison immediately made Lotor think of Allura, and his hands clenched into fists. He couldn’t afford distractions right now, couldn’t spend his time thinking about her. He was first and foremost a soldier, and there was things he had to do before he could relax.

“What is our status?” Lotor demanded, pausing besides a soldier who fiddled with the controls of one of the command center’s computers.

“We are in possession of nearly ninety-five point three percent of Arus.” Came the answer.

“Only ninety-five percent?” Lotor repeated with a scowl. “That’s not good enough. All of Arus should be in our possession. King Zarkon won’t settle for anything less!”

“It should only be a matter of time before the remaining four point seven percent falls! If you will just be patient…”

“Patient?!” Lotor slammed a fist on the control panel. “We’ve been patient for five long years! I’m tired of this waiting!”

“The pockets of resistance are here and here…” An image of Arus appeared on the monitor, the conquered areas in red. There was only a few smattering of green dots to show the free areas, and as Lotor watched, one of them winked out, replaced by a chunk of flashing red.

“Call our reinforcements to those areas.” Lotor ordered. “I want those humans defeated within the hour!”

“Yes, sire!” The Drule hurried to relay his order, dialing up the proper channels on the computer’s communication grid. The room filled with the sound of several dozen Drules talking, all shouting out orders or keeping each other briefed on what was happening. There was a lull in the talk as Lotor’s orders were relayed, and then a resounding confirmation from the commanders, the men taking seriously the orders given to them.

Lotor continued to pace about the room, pausing occasionally to look over the shoulder of different soldiers, staring at the information written on their computer screens. Most was written in Arusian, and the Drules were hurrying to decipher the writing. They had computer programs that would rewrite the code, and translated the files into the Drule language. Any and all of Arus’ secrets would be discovered, Lotor knowing his father was interested in the science that had led the humans into building a marvel like Voltron.

Doom hadn’t even sent out any ships to look for the remains of the robot, so focused were they on attacking the remains of the Arusian defense force. Lotor wasn’t about to distract his forces from destroying the last of Arus’ resistance with a quest to find robot parts that had probably melted, or shattered upon impact on the surface of the planet.

If there was any remains, they would search them out later, along with cataloging the Drules that had died during this mission. He held back a smirk, Lotor knowing the Drules had incurred few losses this time around. It didn’t nearly begin to make up for the dead that Arus had caused them to lose during the past five years, but it was a nice feeling to know it was the humans who had been slaughtered and not the Drule.

“Prince Lotor!” A new Drule burst into the room, looking wild eyed and frantic. “It’s Commander Cossack!”

“What about commander Cossack?” Lotor demanded, already striding towards this new soldier. The young Drule seemed to hesitate, as though worrying that the messenger was about to be killed for delivering bad news. “Private! Don’t make me repeat myself!”

The soldier gulped, and spoke in a halting manner. “The Commander was pulled out of the wreckage. He lives but his injuries are extensive.”

Lotor drew in a sharp breath, trying not to let his worry show. “How bad?” He demanded, and again the soldier hesitated. “I asked you a question! How bad?!”

“The medical support team says they won’t know for sure until after they’ve operated and gotten the shrapnel out of his body. But…they aren’t optimistic.”

Lotor drew back from the soldier, the Drule trying to sneak away before Lotor’s infamous temper could rise and lash out at him. Lotor barely noticed his movement, too busy worrying over Cossack. The commander was his dear friend, and had been in one of the jets that had been circling around the castle when the princess had opened fire from a turret mounted laser.

To Lotor’s horror and immense displeasure, he had watched as the princess scored a direct hit on Cossack’s vessel, the jet spiraling out of control. With a plume of smoke marking it’s erratic descent, Cossack’s jet had crashed into the forest. It hadn’t looked good, Lotor fearing for his friend’s life. He still worried for him, praying to any God that would listen to make sure his friend survived his surgery with the minimum amount of injuries such a crash could cause.

If not, it would be one more reason to take out his anger on the princess of Arus, Lotor grim faced as he thought of just how much he owed her. He had three years of resentment to take out on her, Lotor never forgetting the insults his father had translated for him. Back then he hadn’t thought himself worthy of such words, hadn’t yet become the monster she claimed him to be. And yet because of her words, and her blatant refusal to marry him, he had set out to change, to dedicate himself to his kingdom’s empire. All in a sick desire to revenge himself on her.

If she thought him a monster, that’s what he would be to her. But he was getting distracted again, Lotor shaking his head and turning towards the nearest computer. Seventy-seven percent of the information stored in the memory banks of the castle had been downloaded onto the Drule’s computer, and thirty percent was already translated. Another two percent of the Arusian resistance had fallen, soon they would have full control of the planet.

“Contact Doom.” Lotor ordered. “I would speak to my father of our victory.”

“Yes, sire!”

There was a flurry of movement, fingers typing across the key pad, inputting the communication numbers for Doom. The biggest screen flickered to life, static being chased away by the still screen of a skull and cross bones. Words were written in Drule under the crossbones, advising the caller to wait one moment. The connection was made, and then Zarkon’s face appeared on the monitor. He had been waiting for this call, impatient for his son’s victory.

“Well?” Zarkon demanded sharply, and Lotor smiled.

“Arus is about to be ours completely.” He swept out his arms in a grand gesture, drawing Zarkon’s attention to his surroundings. “I speak to you today from inside Alfor’s own castle. The king is dead, his body being prepared to be put on display. And with it, the alliance’s hopes and dreams will be crushed, it very foundation falling apart without it’s leader.”

“Excellent.” Purred Zarkon, eyes gleaming with approval. “How soon can you set up the broadcast of his defiled body?”

“Within the hour.” Promised Lotor, and a soldier called out a reading.

“Arus’ resistance is down to point one percent.” The last of the green dots went out, and a cheer echoed throughout the room. “Arus has completely fallen!”

“Wonderful.” Zarkon said, a broad grin on his face. “Now all that’s left is to gather up my new slaves, and put them to work mining that planet dry.”

“Already on it.” Lotor told him, and Zarkon let out a truly delighted laugh. It sent shivers down most of the Drule’s spines, the soldiers not used to hearing their king so happy. “Those that survived the destruction of their cities are being hunted as we speak. There won’t be a free human left on this planet before I’m through with it.”

“That will send a message to all the others that Doom does not take resistance lightly.” Zarkon paused, as though a thought had occurred to him. “Did Alfor’s brat survive the attack?”

“Yes.” Lotor told him, and allowed a smirk on his face. “She’s currently enduring the hospitality aboard my command ship.”

“I hope that includes entertaining the soldiers.” Grinned Zarkon, and Lotor tried not to hesitate.

“Eventually….maybe…”

“Maybe?” Zarkon growled questioningly, eyeing him suspiciously.

“I have my own plans for her…” Lotor admitted. “I’m not ready to hand her over to anyone just yet…”

“Lotor, son…the princess of Arus is as treacherous as her father. She hates you, she hates the Drule. She is one slave you should not be getting attached too.” Zarkon chided him.

“I won’t get attached!” Lotor snapped out in protest. “I merely want to make her suffer for the insults dealt me all those years ago.”

“Far be it from me to advise against getting revenge for a wounded pride…” Zarkon sighed. “Just tread carefully. I wouldn’t put it past that lying minx to tell you false hoods, and make you believe something other than what really happened.”

“I won’t fall so easily just because she has a pretty face.” Lotor told him.

“Sometimes, a pretty face is all it takes to bring a man down…”

“Speaking of pretty…” Lotor began, hoping to distract Zarkon from talks of Allura. “There’s been a….sitaution with Haggar.”

“Haggar?” Zarkon arched one black brow, eyes brimming with curiosity. “What now? Is she crowing about a reward for what she and her coven managed to do?”

“Oh she’s vocal all right, but not in the way you think.” Lotor grimaced. “It seems there was a backlash of power when they destroyed Voltron. Fortunately for the coven, they merely collapsed, drained of the energy Haggar siphoned off. Haggar however was not so lucky…”

“What happened to her?” Zarkon was now concerned, Haggar was after all his best witch and a member of his council.

“We won’t know for certain until the bandages come off but…She appears to have suffered extensive burns all over her body. I’m afraid she won’t be quite so pretty to look at…”

“Eh…small loss.” Zarkon shrugged his shoulders, gaze cold. “Just so long as she can still function in a magical capacity…”

“That’s cold even for you father.” Lotor retorted, and his remark earned a predatory smile from Zarkon.

“No, that’s practical” corrected the King. “You’d do well to mimic this practicality as well.”

“I’ll try father.” Lotor attempted to promise.

“Now, hurry and finish things up on Arus. All of Doom will be waiting to welcome you and your men back.” A chuckle then, Zarkon giving him a rather lusty grin. “I very much want to meet your new slave. She may be a troublesome bitch, but she can still serve a purpose among us Drules.”

Lotor fought to keep his expression calm, not liking the thought of his father touching Allura. He knew his father was right to warn him about her, already he felt possessive of the wench, and he hadn’t even sampled her charms. How much worse would he be if he let her sink her pretty hooks into him? He shuddered then, thinking it would be better to use her, as often as it took to work himself free of the spell she had cast on him all those years ago.


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