Rules 25

Allura almost bumped into the back of one of Salteris’ men, not realizing they had stopped walking. She had still been staring at the closed doors to Lotor’s bedroom, already mourning their separation Which will be a brief one. She promised herself.
“Ah King Anador…” Salteris said, his tone simpering and obedient. “You’re Grace…” He bowed, and the other men, including Allura, imitated the movement. Peeking through her eyelashes, Allura got her first good look at the King. He was a portly man, a round stomach straining at the waistband of his pants. He was bald, but the hair he did have left, was a bright cherry red color, covering the back of his neck, and around his ears. “Tis a fine day for a wedding.”

“Hmm yes…” agreed Anador, not really paying attention to Salteris. This slaver lackey was beneath him, not worthy of holding his attention long. His black rimmed orange eyes strayed to the slave girl in one of the men’s arms. “I take it he is awake then.” And not waiting for an answer, he brushed by Salteris, heading towards the bedroom.

“Let’s go.” said a scowling Salteris, as the King began knocking on the door. Wordlessly, they followed their leader, only Allura pausing in hopes of gaining one last glimpse of Lotor. The door opened, and she saw her heart’s desire. Lotor saw her too, somehow managing to remain expressionless.

“Ah Anador…I figured you’d be showing up any moment now.” Lotor said, sounding sullen and sarcastic.

“Lotor it is far too early in the day to put up with any of your snotty remarks.” admonished Anador, pushing past the prince. “At least try and be civil. It is your wedding day after all.”

“A fact you have been pounding into my head with a hammer for weeks now.” Lotor pointed out, turning towards Allura when Anador’s back was turn. He silently mouthed at her, “Go now.” She hastened to comply, almost running the few steps towards the departing men. Salteris and his conspirators ignored her, the short chubby male being beneath their notice. And the guards? They too paid no attention to her. She was moving away from the King and the Prince, while an approach would have required a security check, a pat down for weapons, confirmation of identity. What did it matter to them how many men had entered the Prince’s bed chamber, just so long as they all left? Their orders were only to guard the prince, keep him safe from would be assassins, and above of all else, make sure he stayed put!

As they walked, Allura glanced down a side corridor, and saw maids hurrying off on their appointed tasks. Two were pushing a wheeled cart that had an elegantly dressed mannequin standing on it. The princess had to bit back a gasp as the realization hit her, this was Lotor’s bride to be’s wedding gown! Temptation nipped at her heels to break away and take a closer look, perhaps gleam a bit of knowledge over what sort of person Corral was by her choice in clothing. Maybe even follow the dress all the way back to the princess herself.

And do what?

Allura demanded, forcing herself to look away. Talk some sense into her?! Tell her she can’t have Lotor cause you want him–you LOVE him, and he loves you? Oh yes! That will go over real well. Maybe she won’t have you beheaded until after the wedding!

And so with these thoughts, Allura continued on her chosen path, determined to not let herself be deterred from her next planned course of action. The maids continued on with theirs, wheeling the heavy dress towards their young princess’ chambers. The anxious bride had many visitors, many having to be turned away at the door, for she couldn’t receive all the warm wishes AND be ready in time for the wedding!

Dressed in a loose fitting dark green robe, Corral sat perched before her vanity, only half listening to the chatter around her. All she was really aware of was the butterflies in her stomach, and hearing the words spoken through a distant echo. She had been up for hours already, but had refused breakfast, being too nervous to eat. She stared at her reflection as servants fussed with her hair, running a silver brush through her luxurious orange-red hair. Another knelt on the floor, gripping her left hand, applying light pink nail polish to her nails.

A hush descended on the room, as the maids enter, wheeling forth their heavy load. “It’s beautiful!” cried one woman.

“It must have cost a fortune.” Another said enviously.

“Oh Corral, you will look absolutely gorgeous dressed in that!”

The princess stood, shooing away her attendants, and approached the gown. It really was a marvel of silk and lace, taking seven expert seamstresses, working round the clock in shifts to get this gown done in time. The center panel alone had taken almost a week to get all the pearls sewn into place. If Corral were to lose her crown, and fall into poverty this night, the pearls on her dress would be enough to fund her living a modest lifestyle for many years to come. Jewelers had to scour the planet to find enough for her dress, the pearls being of a variety that was a creamy white, but when they reflected sunlight, it made their outline a metallic sheen of blue, purple or pink. Twelve more pearls adorned her sleeves, six on each line, on the outset of each diamond shape pattern.
There was black lace around the heart shaped bodice, and on the sleeve tops. Her shoulders and collarbone would be bare, only covered by a dusting of powder to give her skin a luminescent quality to it. There was also long strands of black satin down both sides of the pearl covered panel. The rest of the dress was white, a massive train several feet long would trail out behind her.

Corral blew on her nails, wishing they would hurry up and dry so she could actually put on her dress. She wondered how Lotor would react to the stunning sight she would make. Would he still consider marriage to her a death sentence? Why should it bother her so that he didn’t want her–claimed he never would…No. The pretty redhead thought, trying not to frown. It doesn’t matter. We will be wed, and he will just have to learn to deal with it. Perhaps once the marriage was a sure thing, he would accept it–accept her. She had experienced first hand how charming and sweet Lotor could be when he put his mind to it. Maybe after a time, it would no longer be an act, and he would come to love her. Until then, she could be happy with the lie…

 

Allura had been prepared to make her own way to the castle’s hanger area. After all, she had received some training in finding her way back from anywhere, as long as she had seen the way there. It had been something Keith insisted on, giving her an abbreviated version of Galaxy Garrison’s training. He would take her and the guys to long abandoned ruins on Arus, and leave them alone in labyrinths. They would have tracer’s on them, so that if at the appointed time, they hadn’t found their way out, a search party could come rescue them.

At first she had been terrible, needing rescue every single time. But now she was a lot better at navigating her routes, though she still wasn’t an expert at it like Keith was. Last night, when she had been taken off the slaver’s ship, she had paid careful attention to her surroundings, confident she would find her way back, the instant she hit a familiar corridor. It turned out she needn’t rely on her memory, for the slaver’s were headed there.

They entered the large hanger area, and the princess had to do a double take. The place was jam packed with people and ships! There was even what appeared to be several floats in the hanger area, along with a horse drawn open carriage. “What’s going on…” She murmured. “It looks like a parade!”

“It IS a parade.” An older woman said, alerting Allura to the fact she had spoken aloud. “It is Demos’ own version of the wedding procession.” The look the woman gave her said she either thought Allura stupid, or ignorant for not knowing the planet’s customs.

“Oh…” Allura said softly, eyes darting back and forth between the woman and the men. Apparently it was not required of them to return right to the ship, for the four split up, mingling into the crowd, flirting or jostling for a better position to view the goings on. “OH!” She repeated, this time trying to sound gruffer and manlike. “You mean…the wedding is taking place outside?” For Allura didn’t see how those floats could fit in the castle halls.

“The parade yes.” agreed the woman. “It will give the villagers a sense they got to take a small part in the wedding. Of course the actual ceremony will be invitation only. It will be held at a nearby chapel.”

“A chapel?” Allura’s brow furrowed. She had thought the wedding would be held inside the castle. This didn’t change her plan too much. In fact it might make it easier!

“Yes, that’s what I said. If you will excuse me…” The woman said, already walking away. “Brother dear, there you are!”

“Ah Lapis!” Anador smiled at her approach. He ran a critical eyes over her body, her light orange hair was in a bun. Her dress was almost skin tight, the dark blue skirt floor length, with spaghetti thin straps holding up the bodice. A long sleeve shirt, with a turtle neck bodice was underneath it, the color a light shade of blue, almost see through. “You are looking as lovely as ever.”

“Flatterer.” Lapis said, allowing a slight smile to cross her lips. Her eyes shifted towards the young man standing to the right of her brother. “Hello Lotor.”

“Lapis.” Lotor said, hissing her name through his teeth with open hostility.

“My but you are handsome.” Lapis said smirking at the prince. “Even after a beating.” She stared at his face, quirking an eyebrow. “Odd…I took care not to cut your face up too badly for Corral’s sake, but Lotor…you are either a remarkably fast healer, or my brother let you see a doctor.”

“Both. Plus my father’s witch arrived to see to my wounds.” Lotor replied.

“Hmm…” Lapis turned her back on him, sub vocally dismissing him. “And where is my darling niece? She has certainly been taking long enough to put in appearance.”

“Don’t worry Lapis! It’s not as though the wedding can start without her!” laughed Anador loudly.

Now there’s a tempting thought.

Allura thought, pressed against a ship staring at Lotor and his in-laws. Too bad I didn’t think of it sooner…I could kidnap Corral and force them to hand over Lotor!

She stared at Lotor, who looked absolutely miserable as he stood next to the two Demosians. Even sad, he looked handsome, dressed in a midnight blue tuxedo that was several shades darker than his skin’s color. It had gold piping down the pant’s leg, and sleeves, with gold flaps on his waist coat. A white shirt peek out of the opening in the jacket, with a ruffled neck line, a black bow tie at the base of his throat. His long white main was tied back in a pony tail with a gold bow.
Two more figures approached the royal trio, Zarkon, his bald head encased in his largest crown, the gold buffed to gleaming haze of yellow. He wore the same tuxedo as Anador wore, the color scheme being black, with a blood red shirt underneath. And in his arms he carried the Doom symbols of office, his scepter gripped in one hand, the eye of Ra in the other.

The other person almost forced Allura down to her knees once she made the connection who she was. It was Hagger, having shed her usual drab cloak, for a form fitting black evening gown. Allura had no idea if Hagger was normally so built in the chest area, or if the witch had somehow enhanced her curves. She almost broke into a fit of giggles over the mental image of the old witch stuffing tissues in her bra!

A full head of hair, short and curly, framed her face, a face that had been smoothed over, bearing neither wrinkles nor hints of the scars she earned while attempting to destroy Voltron nearly ten years ago. Apparently Zarkon was allowing her this vanity for this special occasion. It had only been her voice, cackling as she laughed at something Zarkon had said, that had allowed Allura to make the connection to just who this woman was.

The princess badly wanted to get closer to Lotor, both to be near him, and to better eavesdrop on the conversation. But she dared not approach with Hagger now on the playing field. She had to content herself to sit back and watch from a far.

A trumpet sounded, issuing the traditional fanfare that accompanied the arrival of someone important. Corral! Allura thought, for who else but the bride would be the center of attention on this day.

“And now presenting…” Six guards marched in side by side, four women followed, clearly the maids of honor, their dresses similar in design, but each a different pastel color. One pink, one blue, one purple, and one a very pale yellow. “Her most Serene Royal Highness…” A beautiful woman with long orange-red hair appeared in the doorway. It was woven into an ornate, two strand braid, a black ribbon wound through it, a golden tiara on her head. A translucent veil descended from that crown. “The Princess Corral!” A deep sigh of appreciation rose from everyone’s lips at the princess’ beauty. Behind her trailed two eight year old girls in yellow, struggling to hold up her train. And following close behind was six more guards.

The princess smiling, looking radiant and happy, allowed herself to be led towards the horse drawn carriage. She didn’t talk much, merely nodding her head at snatches of conversation whispered to her as she passed by, eyes locked onto the figure who was standing by the carriage Lotor! She thought excitedly, with a touch of lovesickness in her smile. How handsome he looked in the tuxedo she had picked out! She didn’t even notice he wasn’t smiling back at her, standing frozen with an all too blank expression on his face. Her vision was blurry, she was almost to the point of swooning. She prayed she wouldn’t do something as embarrassing as faint at the wedding.

Lotor watched Corral, surrounded by adoring fans, slowly approach him. He knew it was just his paranoid imagining’s, but he swore he could almost hear the clinks of chains grow louder as she approached. The sound of the proverbial ball and chain that was said to be fastened around a man’s ankle once he was married. Any moment now, he was sure he would break out into a sweat, and run screaming from the hanger. Or at least try. He’d get apprehended almost immediately, severely reprimanded for being such an embarrassment for both their families. Perhaps thrown in the dungeon, whipped and beaten by Lapis again.

“Lotor…” Corral said in a breathy whisper, a white choker around her throat, her U.N.I.T.Y. diadem attached to it.

“Corral…” He said, doing his best to be civil. “You look wonderful.” He said that grudgingly, though he had to admit, if only to himself that she was definitely a sight to behold. Under different circumstance he could see himself chasing after this princess, trying if not for her hand in marriage, then to get her to accept a place in his harem.
“Thank you!” Corral said, her smile growing more dazzling upon receiving the compliment.

He turned from her, climbing into the carriage, wondering how she would fit in here with that dress. One of the guards dropped to all four, another gently taking hold of her hand. She stepped onto the guards’ back, her free hand reaching out beseechingly to Lotor. He sighed, but took hold of her wrist, pulling her up. He judged the weight of her dress wrong, thinking it heavier than it was, and she shot forward, almost knocking the two of them down onto the cushion seats. Lotor managed to keep his balance, one arm going around her waist, steadying her. She let out a sigh, one hand darting out to caress the front of his chest.

“Ah…I thought I saw a speck of dust.” Corral said in reply to the questioning gaze he shot her. She made brushing motions, before pulling away, and sitting down. He followed suit, sitting next to her. She seemed relax, leaning against the back of the cushions, while Lotor perched nervously on the edge of his seat. One of her bride’s maids was fooling around with her train, fussing over how it would be a shame to get it all wrinkled by folding it up into the carriage. In the end, it’s wrinkle free state was sacrificed, and another woman approached the carriage, holding a bouquet of white and yellow flowers in her arms. She handed it to Corral, before returning to her group.

The bridesmaid’s and flower girls all climbed aboard one of the hover craft propelled floats. They were all fussing with their make up, smoothing down their skirts, deciding on poses. On another float, the immediate family would ride. Zarkon, Hagger, Anador, and Lapis were already on, all except Anador looking grumpy and grouchy. The rest of the procession would consist of armed guards. Some on foot, others riding on jet bikes. Still others would be standing guard in hidden areas of the parade route. As for the invited guests they would see them off, then fly on ahead to the chapel.

It appeared that everyone and everything was in place, so Anador gave the signal to begin. Guards started ushering guests away from the floor to ceiling length bay doors of the hanger, ordering they clear out to make room for the procession. It took about fifteen minutes to clear everyone out of the way, but at last the parade could begin. A guard climbed onto the front of the bride-groom carriage, taking hold of the horse’s reign. He snapped them, urging the horses’ into a slow canter.

A gust of wind blew, stirring up the confetti that was released just outside the castle, lightly showering Corral and Lotor. Everyone around was cheering, crying out in excitement. The in-law float was the next to go out, and by the time the bride’s maid float started to move, everyone had turned away. They were intent on getting to the chapel, making a mad dash for the prearranged transport. No one paid the slightest bit of attention to Allura, who was rushing towards a seemingly empty corner of the hanger…


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