The dapple gray stallion, it’s powerful legs pounding into the pavement as it carried it’s riders quickly, and effortlessly away from the Cathedral. “As much as I love the scenic route…I hope you have a quicker get away than this waiting for us.” Lotor said, sparing a quick nervous glance backwards, the sight of no pursuit doing little to help relax him. They were too exposed here on the open plain, nowhere to hide, in this sea of grass, with only a few distant trees breaking up the monotony of flat land. Even staying away from the main road, it was risky, with the Cathedral to their backs, and the Castle awaiting them in the distance.
“Just keep going…” advised Allura, the princess sitting relaxed before him. “We’re almost there…”
“Almost there? There’s nothing around for miles yet!” Lotor frowned, flicking the reins, urging the horse to flee faster. “Allura, unless you know something I don’t know…”
She chuckled. “I’ve gotten us this far, haven’t I?” She patted the hand that gripped her hip. “Just put yourself in my hands, and soon we will be gone from this planet…” It was worry alone that kept Lotor from responding with an innuendo ridden comment. “Get us over to that tree…” She pointed at a weeping willow.
“Fine…” Slight pressure from his knees guided the horse towards that direction. The horse snorted nervously as they drew nearer, slowing down, then stopping altogether. “Come on…” Lotor said, annoyed. He gave a hard jerk of the reins, but the horse only shied away from the tree. “Stupid beast…” muttered Lotor, the stallion now refusing to obey any of his commands to go forward.
“It’s all right Lotor…” Allura said, shifting about, so that both her legs dangled off the same side of the horse. “It senses the presence of Blue Lion…”
“Blue Lion?!” Lotor said in disbelief, as the blonde slid off the horse. “Here?!” He watched as Allura approached the large tree, arms out in front of her, feeling the air, like one who was blind would, as though to keep from bumping into something. She reached the tree, and with one arm to her side, the other one felt up the branches. “This is it Lotor!” Allura cried, having found the shirt she had tied to the tree.
Extremely reluctant to do so, Lotor dismounted, but kept a firm grip on the horse’ rein. “Allura…do we really have time for this?” The former Prince of Doom kept glancing over his shoulder, fearing that at any moment, a platoon of soldiers would appear.
“Trust me!” She said, moving past the tree, arms still fondling the air before her. He watched her stumble about, inwardly imagining the worst case scenarios. “It won’t be much longer before they discover the ruse with the other horse!” Lotor yelled out in frustration.
“I found it!” Allura said, standing in front of an empty space that looked identical to everywhere else she had touched.
“I don’t see anything…” Lotor pointed out doubtfully.
“That’s because I left the cloaking mode on…” She was walking again, the cold metal of Blue Lion a reassuring feel against her palms. She heard Lotor let out a cry, when she suddenly started walking up the back of Blue Lion, surely to him it looked as though she was traversing a staircase of air. “Now do you see?!” Allura asked, hands on her hips.
“I think so…” Lotor said, letting go of the reins. The horse gave a toss of his head, and finding no resistance from Lotor, turned tail, and took off for greener pastures. “I bet Doom intelligence never had anything to say about this particular feature in their reports.” boasted Allura, having dropped down to hands and knees, as she felt about for the entrance hatch.
“No…” agreed Lotor, drawing near to the invisible Lion. “We had no idea the lions were capable of such a thing…” He stuck out his hands, needing to feel the truth behind the illusion. “For such a small ship to have the power capable to do such a thing…” Lotor murmured. “It’s…it’s amazing…”
“Isn’t.” smiled Allura, just before disappearing into the lion. She settled herself into the familiar chair, ignoring the sharps pangs from her shoulder, as she strapped herself in. Placing her key into it’s specifically designed slot, she keyed in the start sequence. Once the computer acknowledge her, she turned off the cloaking mode, Lotor finding himself standing next to the lion that mirrored him in color, the bright white and blue metal seeming to glisten like a beacon to all to come find them.
“Well?” Allura’s voice drifting out, half teasingly. “You coming or not?”
A slow smile spread across Lotor’s face, and he called back, “Do you even have to ask?!” With three leaps, he was on top of the lion’s back, and he strode forward, to dive feet first down the entrance. “I’ve always wanted to see the inside of a lion…” Lotor said, looking around with interest, as the hatch sealed itself shut. It was larger than he had expected, though not lavishly so. There was room enough to walk about, there being boxes and a cot laid out in back, while the front was taken up with machines and monitors which Allura sat before.
“So it’s not exactly the Penthouse suite accommodations you’re used too…” Allura said. “But at least there’s working water and…”
“I like it.” Lotor said, interrupting her. “It’s…cozy…” She heard his footsteps approaching her. “I like any place that forces me to snuggle close with you…” He said huskily, leaning over the chair, to look down at her. She blushed, and giggled nervously. “Allura…” Lotor frowned, as his hand traveled down her neck to rest against the wetness of her shoulder. “You’re still bleeding?”
“Hmm…what?” She shrugged, and immediately regretted the action. “A little…”
“I would have thought it have had stopped by now…”
“It’ll be fine…” Allura insisted stubbornly.
“But still…I’d like a better look at it…” Lotor said, just as stubborn as she.
“First let’s get off of Demos.” replied Allura, already keying in the take off sequence. The lion lifted up to the air, and Lotor stumbled as footing became shaky. The Drule fell against the metal walls, grabbing onto the handle bars for support, as Blue Lion sped up and away, barreling towards Demos’ stratosphere without obstacle or strife to hinder their flight.
Several soldiers had already begun dulling their blades against the door, when Hagger and Zarkon neared the fourth floor. “There has been no sound from the other side for over ten minutes…” Anador confided to them in hush whispers, as his men hacked away at the door. “I…I don’t know what to think…”
“Well I do…” Zarkon announced, not caring that Anador did not voice his worse fears in order to spare Lapis any further grief. “I don’t think we’ll find Lotor cowering in any corner…he’s probably killed himself–and the women–in order to spare themselves from any demise I might come up with for them.” The look in his eyes showed he could be most creative when inventing new forms of death.
“Don’t say that!” snapped Lapis, her voice breaking off into a sob. “Oh brother…” She fell against the front of Anador’s chest. “I knew Lotor was no good for her…I should have stopped this wedding from ever taking place…”
“There there…” Anador soothed. “No use imagining the worse…” He glared hatefully at Zarkon.
Hagger, meanwhile, was maneuvering her way up the stairs, pulling closer to the struggling men. “Out of the way dearies…this is no job for mere men.” She waved her hands in shooing motions, the soldiers backing way not wanting to be touched by the wrinkled old witch. “That’s right, move…” She said, shoving a slow moving man further up the already packed staircase. “You too…” She glared at the soldiers on the steps below. “Give a gal some room to work…” They dutifully backed away, while the three Royals gazed up at Hagger.
“Now…” The witch said, giving the door the once over. The wood was only faintly cracked, a long way indeed from ever being ripped open. “With the type of hardware you’re packing, you fools are more suited to cutting down toothpicks.” She cackled at the insult. “I, on the other hand, won’t even need to bring out the big guns…” She brought up her right hand, fingers posed next to her thumb. “Flame…” As soon as she snapped her fingers, flame burst from the tip, setting the door ablaze. The people on the landing cried out in horror, getting ready to stampede away.
“Settle down children…” Hagger said calmly, watching as the fire died down. “There’ll be no burning churches today…” She pursed her lips, and blew, the door turning to ash, and blowing inwards. She shot a quick look into the room, only seeing one figure sitting calmly in one corner. “Oh for pity’s sake!” cried Hagger in disappointment.
“What is it, what do you see?!” demanded Anador, as he and Zarkon began shoving their way towards the room.
“Out of the way…” Hagger ordered, and with a flick of her wrist, the armoire dragged itself away from the door. The witch strode into the room, hands on her hips, her eyes lighting up, as she spotted the discarded stave by the window. “Come to momma…” She cooed, rushing to take hold of her staff.
Zarkon and Anador stormed into the room, the bearded man immediately flying towards the figure in the corner. Zarkon let out a rapid fire stream of curses in Drule, while soldiers pressed into the doorway, weapons drawn, only to be relieved of their duty. “You boys might as well go make yourselves be useless somewhere else…” ordered the Drule King. “Our prey has taken flight elsewhere…” His eyes fell on Corral, who was being embraced by her father.
“You there…” Zarkon hissed, striding towards the redheaded princess. “Where did they go?!”
“I…I did not see…” Corral said, looking away from Zarkon. “It…it all happened so fast…”
“Not see?!” repeated Zarkon in disbelief. “How could you not see, when you had a front row seat to witness their escape!!”
“The window…” Hagger said, running her fingers across the frame. “It’s the only way out…”
“But which way did they go once down from the tower?” demanded Zarkon. “Answer me girl, or would you have me believe you were temporarily blind with incompetence!?”
“I didn’t want to see!” shouted Corral, pushing her father away from her. “You think I wanted to spend any more time watching those two…shamelessly flirt before my eyes?! I couldn’t wait to get away from them!”
“You…” Zarkon’s eyes narrowed, and his fingers clenched as though he would take hold of her, and shake the information from her lips.
“Leave her alone!” cried Lapis, as she rushed into the room. “She’s told you all she knows!”
“Yes Zarkon. Surely you would not blame my daughter for this…it was your son who chose to make a mockery of today’s ceremony…” pointed out Anador. “It is an insult we will not soon forget!”
“He’s no son of mine.” Zarkon turned away from Anador. “Hagger, find them at once!”
“I too have my own way of tracking Lotor…” Anador said, reaching into his pocket to pull out a hand held scanner. There was a red blip on the screen, running about quite erratically. “He’s heading…southwest from the Cathedral…”
“If you had that thing all along, why didn’t you use it sooner?!” Zarkon whirled around, nostrils flaring. “We could have learned that he was no longer in the tower, and saved us the trouble of breaking down the door! And you!” He glared at Corral. “Why didn’t you respond to our inquiries? Let us know they had vacated the premises?!”
“You leave her alone!” hissed Lapis.
“No, it’s fine Auntie.” Corral said, emerald eyes evenly meeting Zarkon’s gaze. “Your son not only left me in front of the alter, in front of all my friends and family, but chose to do so with another woman. I have spent weeks planning what was supposed to be my special day, only to be made the laughing stock of the galaxy. If that was not enough, I was then threatened with death by your son, dragged through this awful place, all of which will keep the gossip mills running for months, if not years. I have literally been through the worst day of my life, so excuse me for wanting some alone time…” She stood up, and growled through clench teeth. “NOW BACK OFF!!”
“Women…” muttered Zarkon, as Corral mustering as much dignity as she could, stormed past him, her Aunt Lapis trailing behind her. “Hagger! Send out a robeast! We must stop Lotor from leaving the planet!”
“You brought a robeast here?!” cried Anador horrified.
“I don’t have one.” interrupted Hagger.
“What?” asked Zarkon. “You always have a robeast.”
“Not this time.” She replied. “Robeast don’t grow on trees you know. I have to cultivate them in my lab, imbue the specially selected creatures with my magic…any and all robeasts I have made recently, have been deployed to Arus…have you forgotten sire?” It was clear from the look on Zarkon’s face that he had.
“Well then…” Anador experienced a sadistic pleasure from witnessing Zarkon rendered speechless. “You will just have to rely on MY methods to capture the brat prince.” He held up the tracking device once more. “And I will take great pleasure in killing Lotor.”
That spurred Zarkon back into action. “Oh no you don’t, that pleasure belongs to me!”
“It is my daughter he wronged…” Anador retorted, as he and Zarkon rushed out of the room.
“Well I gave him life…much as it pains me to admit such a brazen fool could have been spawned from my loins…” muttered Zarkon. “I gave him life, it is only right I take it away!”
“It takes a fool to beget a fool…” replied Anador. “Besides, I have spent a great deal of money on this non-wedding. Surely that BUYS me the right to kill him…”
“Well I have to give back the dowry.” pointed out Zarkon.
“You’re lucky I don’t make you refund me all the money I spent on room and board for that bastard son of yours!” was Anador’s reply.
“I could make you cough up the credits for the expenses paid when Corral stayed on Doom.” retorted Zarkon.
“It’s not near as much as it cost me in keeping an all hour watch crew on Lotor!” snapped Anador. “Besides, Corral only spent a week on Doom, before Lotor sent her away…”
“Boys, boys…” Hagger interrupted, several steps behind them. “Why not settle it, by allowing me to kill Lotor?!”
“NO!!” Anador and Zarkon whirled around to glare at her, for once in agreement.
“It was just a thought…” She cackled, listening in amusement as they resumed their argument.
It didn’t take them long to get away from Planet Demos, what with Allura speeding like a maniac. All too soon the planet was all but a distant memory to them, and while they were no means home free, they were now safe…for the moment anyway…
“All right my little speed demon..” Lotor said, releasing his grip on the handle bars. “Why not slow down before you get us pulled over on a traffic violation…” He took a hesitant step towards her, slowly getting his space legs back after spending far too many months planet bound.
“Any enforcer who dared try, would find themselves no match speedwise with us.” Allura replied, watching as the speedometer’s needle crept up, inch by inch, as she worked the lion faster.
“That may very well be the case, but I would still like to take things much slower…” Lotor grinned. “For once in my life…No more excuses Allura.”
Allura found herself once again looking upwards, as Lotor leaned over her from behind. “Excuses?” She echoed, blinking innocent blue eyes up at him.
“Your shoulder…” He reminded her. “I’m not letting you shrug it off as being nothing no more.”
“Can’t get anything past you…” She had been hoping he would say something else.
“Well, you promised.” His words reminded her of another promise she had made him earlier this very day. “We’re safely off the planet…” His large hand covered her much smaller one, easing up off the throttle. “And moving rapidly away from it’s orbit. So…let me tend to your injury now.”
“All right Lotor…there’s a first aid kit in the back.” He slowly moved away, pausing long enough to allow his fingers to caress the side of her face. She smiled, but kept her eyes on the monitor, fingers poised over a keyboard. There was a moment of hesitation before she began typing furiously, the sound of Lotor rummaging about the back of the lion, spurring her into action. A flight plan came up, charting several ways home. She stared, considering what to choose. At last she smiled, pleased with herself, while Nav-com processed her order.
“Found it.” The sounds of cans hitting the floor accompanied the ex-prince’s words.
“Coming!” Allura called back, hitting the red autopilot button before she got up to join Lotor in the back.
“This kit seems to be missing it’s vial of antiseptic.” Lotor was frowning as he pawed through the kit’s contents. “We’ll have to make do with water, and hope that wound doesn’t get infec…” He trailed off as he noticed Allura’s approach. The princess was slowly, but purposefully walking towards him, a coy look in her eyes. Her hands were at her waist, playing with the buckle of her weapons’ holster. She pulled the strip of rawhide slowly out, the belt sliding free of her hips. She carelessly dropped it to the floor, and her fingers flew the buttons on her stolen blouse, and one by one they came undone, starting from the bottom up.
Lotor was staring in utter fascination, for though he had seen Allura in a lot less than this, he had never before been witness to her undressing. He wasn’t sure what he was feeling when it turned out she had the top of her Voltron uniform underneath the stolen soldier’s shirt.
She peeled off the military issue shirt, and reached behind her back. Her face wrinkled up in pain, and Lotor was immediately by her side. “Allura, what is it?!”
“I guess my shoulder’s worse than I thought…” She frowned. “I don’t think I can reach the zipper…could YOU help me Lotor?” It was pretty obvious she didn’t have to ask the former Prince of Doom a second time! An all too eager, “Sure!” was his answer, and she turned her back to him, pulling her long mane of sunkissed hair out of the way. He placed one hand on her waist to keep her steady, while the other undid the zipper, presenting her bare back to him.
“Thank you.” Allura said sweetly, and eased her arms out of the uniform. She did however NOT drop the pilot’s shirt to the floor. Instead she held it up with her hands, covering her chest, and primly sat down on a stool. Lotor reluctantly stopped ogling her, in order to examine her shoulder.
He tentatively fingered the wound, needing to see for himself that it was merely a flesh wound. Allura stiffened, an angry hiss of pain issuing from her mouth. “Sorry…” Lotor murmured, relieved to see it had stopped it’s bleeding at last.
“It’s all right…”
“I’m no doctor, but I have seen plenty of injuries in the course of my short lived career as a military genius…” Lotor had a towel out, and was dousing it with water supplied from the kit. “Sorry…” He chuckled. “Didn’t mean to sound boastful.”
“You wouldn’t be you, without some trace of that princely arrogance shining through.” Allura replied. “It’s one of the things I like about you…”
“You do?” He was surprised.
“Well…sometimes..” She fidgeted. “When you’re not driving me insane with that very same arrogant nature!”
“But Allura, you react so delightfully to my teasings.” Lotor said, bringing the wet towel to her shoulder. Her flesh goose pimpled, and drops of water slowly made their way down her arm, one straying to delve down under the held shirt. “Right now I envy that drop of water…”
Allura blushed, and decided to change the subject. “So doctor…” She studiously avoided looking at him. “Will I live?”
“You’ll definitely survive.” Lotor told her. “In fact, I don’t think you will need stitches, though I am a little worried about possible scaring…”
“Well some people get tatoos to prove their love, but I rather start a new trend, than follow an old one.” She didn’t let on how much the thought of a scar upset her. Her worry did not sneak pass his intense scrutiny.
“Allura…” Lotor now dabbing at the wound with a dry towel. “What’s troubling you?”
“You sure…?” He blew gently on her shoulder, and Allura shivered. Lotor then placed a square pad over the wound, winding gauze over and under her shoulder, the top of his hand accidentally brushing against the side of her breast.
“Lotor…would you…” Allura trailed off hesitantly.
“Yes?” He was repackaging the first aid kit.
“Would you love me if I wasn’t perfect?” She watched him set down the kit, his back to her.
“Allura…you’ve never believed in the concept of perfection before…you’ve always argued the case that everything and everyone has flaws…” He still hadn’t turned around.
“But…” She fingered the bandage nervously.
“I want to show you something…” Lotor’s arms were moving, though at first she could not tell what he was doing. It was when his shirt slid off one shoulder that she realized he was removing it. The shirt dipped lower, his hair a brilliant snowy white against the back drop of his azure blue skin. But that was not all she saw…his back was decorated with purplish-blue welts, the slowly healing scars from a whip. “It was a lot worse looking before Hagger worked her magics…I have them on my chest and arms as well…”
“Who did this to you…?” Allura whispered, tears in her eyes.
“Lapis…” He practically growled when he said that name. “A relative of Corral’s…She was trying to get me to see the error of my ways.” He turned, a sardonic expression on his face. “Obviously it didn’t work.” He noticed her tears, and bent by her side. “Allura, beloved…why do you cry…?”
“So cruel…” Allura said, as he brushed her tear drops away.
“I’ve gotten used to cruelty in my life…” Lotor replied. “I pray you never have to. And I hope…you have no more reason to doubt yourself…doubt my love for you…”
“No, I don’t doubt you…doubt us…” Allura protested softly. “I can’t…not after everything we’ve been through…”
“But others will…Keith…your teammates…your advisor…” Lotor said knowingly, a twinge of pain in his eyes. “They won’t believe what we have is real…they’ll think it’s some sort of Doom trick…”
“Well make them understand.” Allura said confidently.
“I wish I had your belief…” Still poised on his knees, he picked up the towel, dousing it with more water. He then placed the clean side against her arm, slowly wiping away the blood that had stained the lower half of her arm. “It’s one of the reasons I’m not eager for this ride to end…”
“What’s the other reason?” She asked softly, as their eyes met, the towel rubbing gently against her arm. “I think we both know that you already know the answer to that…” He replied.
“Yes but…” Her eyelids fluttered, her cheeks turning pink from the intensity of the shared gaze. “But I’d like to hear you say it…”
“All right…Allura…I don’t want to reach Arus any time soon, because I want to be with you…” The towel dropped to the floor, as he clasped her hand in his. “Even if all we do in these close quarters is talk…”
“I admit, I am not anxious to return to Arus either…” The princess placed her free hand over his, leaning forward. “It will be chaotic…”
“Much more than that scene on Demos?” interrupted Lotor.
“You have no idea.” Allura said, thinking of the reaction her Nanny would have upon seeing her baby with the former Prince of Doom.
“They’ll probably arrest me on the spot…” Lotor said morosely. “That impetuous young captain of yours will probably start petitioning for my execution…”
“Anyone who dares try either option will have to answer to me!” announced Allura, blue eyes blazing with sparks of anger in them. It was once the sort of expression she had reserved only to use against Lotor, whenever he tried to sneak a kiss, or take her forcibly from her home. It had only endeared her more to him, and now his heart skipped a beat to see her turn that anger in the use of defending him.
“I suppose…you’ll have a rough time too…” Lotor said, finding the already short space between their faces, had gotten even smaller. “They’ll have words to say to you…many of them not good…and all too many questions, demands for explanation…”
“But we’ll get through all of that together…” Allura promised, her breath warming his face.
“Sooner, rather than later?” He asked, their lips almost touching.
“I think we earned a little reprieve from outside interference…” And this time their lips did touch, and as one being, the two lovers rose to their feet, the stool Allura had been seated upon being upturned in the process. Arms wound around each other’s bodies, locking them together, as lips worked against each other. They broke apart for air, shirts fluttering to the floor as Lotor uttered one word, “Reprieve?” Before they were kissing again.
When next they pulled apart, it was Allura’s turn to speak. “I arranged for autopilot to take the long way home…”
“So we could…?” His eyes twinkled mischievously.
“So we could talk.” Allura said, but her haughty facade was unable to remain in place for even a few seconds, a grin slowly spreading across her face, proving she was no longer impervious to his charms.
“Talk…right…” He grinned impishly, and Allura pouted cutely. “We do have to discuss what we will tell them…but…” Lotor didn’t miss the significant glance she gave him, before turning to look at the cot in the corner. “But later…” They both said, before embracing again.