Costly 01

It’s those eyes that first draw my attention, colored so pretty a shade of blue, and glistening with a look I’ve not yet often had the privilege of seeing. At least not on her, that desperation there, a look that I find suits Allura all too well. It’s partnered with a gleam that hints at a barely leashed panic, the woman already besides herself before I’ve even spoken a single word to her. She is the very embodiment of fear, and it is a terror that has been born long before I had ever even considered stepping inside this room. It’s an enticing mix of anxiety, all her worries brought to life and magnified by my actions. By the hesitation, Allura having been made to consider the all too troubling and real possibility that I might turn her away. That I might send her away before she can get what she is in so desperate a need of.

It’s the utmost in ironic, how the need and positions have changed, how I am no longer the one desperately running after that which I have needed and craved more than life itself. I can’t help but smirk over the reversal of the situation, finding it beyond funny how Allura for once, is the one forced to do the chasing. It gives rise to an air of perverse satisfaction in me, that smug delight that I don’t even make the attempt to feign in not feeling.

“It’s been a while.” For all my twisted amusement, my voice itself lacks emotion to it. Instead the words come off cold and distant, as though mine Is a heart completely indifferent to this woman and her reasons for coming here. That she doesn’t like that, is all too apparent, the shock of it leaving Allura completely unguarded in the moment. Showing just how unprepared she had been for the reality of this meeting, and the difficulties that will need to be faced. All because I am not the man she had once known, not the prince so in thrall to his lust, that he had been ripe and ready pickings, ever so easy to be taken advantage of.

No longer so thoroughly ruled by my desires, I instead use them to get whatever it is that I want. Money, power, women…entire kingdoms crumble apart before me, my reach such, that it is beyond any ONE planet. It’s an empire that I control, a galaxy mine to command. I no longer fall over backwards to please, and there is no one’s bidding but that of my own that I do, any decisions that I make all for the sole furthering of my own goals and ambitions.

There is no ambition I hold more personal, than that of the woman before me. No desire is stronger, than to see Allura’s complete and utter ruin, the woman brought to her lowest in an attempt to appease the shattered remains of the heart I had once handed her. It’s an intoxicating feeling, to have one’s revenge finally in reach. She doesn’t even seem to realize it, doesn’t yet recognize the true danger before her. She tries to revert us back to a simpler time, tries to extend a familiarity that she has no real right to.

“Lotor…”

I do nothing save to coldly assess her with my eyes. That is enough to bring an instant regret to her, Allura coloring in a bright pink cheek embarrassment. She actually needs a moment, exhaling s shaky breath before the woman can recover.

“Your Majesty….” She corrected, Allura withdrawing all pretense at maintaining that closeness, at claiming a friendship we do not have. Not now, and not ever, and it’s been through no fault of my own, that things are this way now. It was Allura who had seen to it, Allura who had insisted on things being this way. On titles and the distance such propriety gave us.
“Queen Allura….” There’s no real interest feigned in the acknowledgment that I do give to her, no warmth to color my eyes as I stare her down. I give her nothing but that cold amusement, and an even chillier tone. “I was not expecting you to come all this way to the heart of the Doom Empire.” That lie spills easily across my tongue, it’s laugh lodged in my throat as I think on how Allura has had no other real choice. Not when Arus and it’s people are suffering, denied the aid that they are in so desperate a need of. I’ve shown not one ounce of caring, refusing Allura’s every attempt to earn help, everything from her calls being ignored, to the shredding of the letters and many penned petitions that she has sent. They’ve barely been spared so much as a single glance, this cold practicality of mine leaving the young queen with no other true option than to come and attend to me in person. She’s had to swallow a whole lot of her pride, and along with it just the smallest of tastes, Allura at last learning what it feels like to be so thoroughly denied the getting of something she is in so desperate a need of.

It’s only one part of the lesson, that denial and the desperation a fitting reward after all that damage that Allura has done. All that heartbreak and refusals, the dashed hopes and dreams she has given ME. I find it’s long been time to pay back that favor, our roles reversed so that the young queen will learn first hand that I am now no more merciful than she had ever been when in our dealings together. In fact I am WORSE, my shattered heart no longer capable of even an attempt at pretending otherwise. Crushed by her, by Allura’s disinterest and rejection, mine will see that she is not the only one to have suffered in return. All of Arus will, all of that world already HAS, Allura’s people starving and sick, actively dying by the day. That death toll rises by the hour on that war stricken planet, no one around to protect them, no one around to care enough to even try. Not even Voltron, or the would be heroes that had once piloted it, no savior of any sort to be found within reach.

With no other options, and no real hope for the future, it’s a desperate queen that had turned to the most reviled of her past. To the love sick prince of her memories, the man who had been so eager to rush to do Allura’s bidding at the slightest snapping of her fingers. It is that Lotor she comes in search of, that she tries to find even a thin sliver of inside me. Those pretty colored eyes, try and work their magic, try to drown me in their blue depths. It is as though she hasn’t yet realized it, hasn’t yet accepted that the man she had come in search of, is long gone. Not even a fragment of that Lotor remains, a King birthed in his place instead. A man so powerful and commanding of an Empire so vast that it dwarfs Allura and her pitiable planet.

Both Allura and her world are now entirely beneath my notice. It has taken years for it to get to this point a decade long endeavor of personal growth needed, a whole lot of time and effort put forth, so that I could be this way now. It’s not just Allura who has had realizations to make. It’s been myself, the man that I now am, discarding the prince I had once been, that Lotor absolutely useless when it came to getting anything that he had ever wanted. That youth would have never been able to do it, would have never been able to maintain his distance or that of the silence. He’d have failed at maintaining the complete lack of interest Arus and it’s many problems give me, too quick and too eager to go play hero on just the chance of Allura’s approval.

The Lotor that I once was, would never have had the fortitude to wait. To sit back and watch as Allura came crawling back to him. The Lotor of old simply wouldn’t have had it in him to be the driving force that this situation now needs. It is my cold indifference, that complete shut down of any lingering feelings that might have once remained, that has brought the Arusian here. It is her feeble and fading hope that enough has not changed, that there still exists some spark of affection that she can now twist and use against me. It’s that spark, that chance of it still being there in some shape or form, that is all Allura has left to cling to. It’s all that she can hope to use in her desperate bid to improve her planet’s situation.

She’ll come away disappointed for that. I’ve no real feelings left that Allura can use to manipulate me towards her whims, no chance and no hopes of anything but my desires being met this day. It’s a fire she plays with, MINE, and I will leave her burnt for the attempt.

There’s not a doubt in my mind about that. I know her. I know that Allura is still the same bleeding heart, the same earnest soul that works for the good of the people. She’s still the woman that would starve herself if it meant a single child could eat just a little more. She makes herself vulnerable, with that willing and self sacrificing nature, but all of her honest intentions won’t amount to squat in the end. Because it’s not a saint that she faces, but the ultimate in sinners, and my price WILL be paid if Arus is to be saved.

Almost giddy with the thought, I still keep that stern disinterest in place. Still play at being bored by her very presence. I cant help but wonder what Allura makes of this new me, if that lack of feeling makes her think she is safe from my notorious lust. She’s not, as she’ll soon learn, once the terms of Arus’ saving has been laid out between us.

“I had to see you.” Allura breaks into my thoughts, all her desperation and hope aglow in that blue gaze. Those eyes have stayed locked on me, tracking my every breath and movement, as I go to stand before the room’s window. I make a show of staring out at a view that is so vastly different from what it once was, a now thriving city built up around the castle that is still my home. But those buildings, and the people on the streets below then, are not what how my attention. It’s Allura, my eyes intent on studying that reflection of hers that is on the glass. I take in her ethereal beauty, but more than that I enjoy the way that she is fidgeting with her hands, such an act not only betraying a nervous tic, but broadcasting her increasing upset to the entire room. She is bothered by what is happening, bothered by the fact that I have made no real response to her words, Allura going so far as to bite at her bottom lip as though fighting back some harsh recrimination.

“Why have you ignored me? She then asks, and even her voice sounds weak. Vulnerable. “Why have you refused my calls…?”

“I am a busy man, your Majesty.” I tell her. “I simply do not have the time to speak with everyone who would call on the ruler of the Doom Empire.” Her reflection seems to wince at that, surely because Allura remembers a time when I wouldn’t have ignored her calls.

“What about the letters that I sent? The official requests? Surely you had time to look them over….” But the uncertainty is in her voice.

“I have.” I don’t leave her time to be relieved. “My decision remains the same. Doom will no longer send aid to Arus.”

“Why?” A single word, but all the hurt, bewilderment she feels, is in it.

“It’s got nothing to do with me.” I sound unfeeling. “Or Doom.”

“But…” She shakes her head no, looking as though she might start crying. “Your Majesty, Arus needs that help. We need that money, and we need those soldiers. Without Voltron…”

“You’re all but defenseless I know.” I interrupt her. “But as Arus as it now is, is a worthless planet. Far too in debt to ever repay the Empire for the aid we’ve already given it in the past.”

“We gave you Voltron.” She points out. “Surely that…”

“Just how much worth do you put on that robot?” I demand harshly. “It’s been ten years, your Majesty. Ten years without a return on the Empire’s investments. Voltron could only buy you so much help….without something of equal value, I’m sorry to say the Empire cannot help you.”

“Lotor!” Again she attempts to break free of the distance our titles would give us. “More of my people will die without your help…!”

“And I should care?” I ask. She twists her hands together, those eyes looking very much like they will start to cry. I would relish those tears, savor her upset while giving Allura the push that drives her further into the pits of desperation.

“You once would have.” She finally points out, Allura unable to completely hide the frustration boiling to life in her eyes. She’s closer to understanding, to realizing that I’m no longer willing to do just about anything in an attempt to please her. It’s slowly starting to sink in to her that it’s not about a misguided feeling, that it’s no longer her love that I lay claim to, if she is at all wanting me to care about her pathetic planet and it’s people. Gone are the days of my desperation, the sweet effect of that new resolve, resulting in Allura longing for the old days of our past.

“That was a long time ago.” Is my retort. “I have since become a very practical man.” I still won’t turn to look at her directly, instead keeping a careful eye on the window’s reflection.”Show me there is still value in Arus, still a reason for the Empire to loan you money and ships and the soldiers to fly them. Give me a reason to help your world.”

“It’s the right thing to do.”

“The right thing doesn’t always benefit the Empire. The right thing won’t bring a return on the Empire’s investments, won’t make up for the soldiers that might die fighting your wars. It won’t give me a reason to explain to MY people why we waste time defending a world that is worthless.”

“Lotor….please…..” Her voice actually cracks on a sob. “I am begging you…Help Arus…” She is blinking rapidly, all in an effort to keep from outright crying.

“No.” I start to say. “The Empire will not…”

“I am asking, begging YOU not the Empire….if…if ever I meant anything to you…”

“How terrible of you Allura. Trying to manipulate me like that.” My tone turns even colder now.

“My people are DYING. We don’t even have the money to take care of ourselves. Please…” She takes a shuddering breath, head lowering. “I would do anything….” That word is laced with heavy meaning, but even then I do not pounce. I’ve waited ten years for this moment, a few minutes more won’t hurt.

“Anything Lotor…” Allura continues, stressing the word. “Anything at all…”

“This meeting is over with.” I say, turning away from the window. Her blue eyes have turned dark, so swollen are they with Allura’s tears. It doesn’t hurt to see them, nor does it inspire a need to offer her any type of comfort, I’m simply that immune to her distress.

“Please….” Allura begs one last time, daring to reach for me with her hands. “I cannot go back to Arus without your promise to help us…”

I evade her touch but stop trying to go for the door. “And if I did help?” I ask. “If I lent you the money out of my own personal fortune, extended my hand rather than that of the Empire’s?” She didn’t so much as nod, just watching me with those wet, desperate eyes. I know that to Allura, it didn’t matter where the money came from, just so long as she got it’s promise. “What then?”

“Arus would be grateful…” She seemed to realize that that wasn’t enough. “I would be grateful.”

“Gratitude is not enough.” I inform her. “You will step down from your throne. You will give up control of Arus to me.” I give her a bland smile. “I think we both can agree Arus will prosper far better under my guiding hand than it ever did yours.”

She is ashamed then, Allura’s cheeks turning red with embarrassment. But she can’t deny that Arus has practically been ruined under her rule. For all her earnest attempts, Allura had never been able to get Arus out of it’s financial slump through traditional means.

“I’ll have my secretary prepare the paperwork.” I continue, once again moving. I am almost out the door, when I pause. Acting as though the thought just occurred to me. “There is one more thing…”

She turns to look at me, so weary and defeated in the moment. “You will come to my bedroom this evening.” I say it in such a way that there is no room for argument. There is no stopping tonight, no delaying what has always been inevitable. I will take the ultimate payment from her, and such is her lack of choice, that Allura can’t even truly protest. She doesn’t so much as gasp, doesn’t so much as have a reaction until after I am gone from the room. She must not remember just how sharp a hearing Drules have, even a half breed such as I, my ears picking up every second of her distress. The sounds of her sobbing and heartbreak, and it’s all I can do not to start laughing, drunk off my imminent victory.

I’ve waited for what felt like forever. Waited and plotted, eager for the day that Allura would have no choice but to fall into my grasp. It’s been a decade long undertaking, ten whole years passing, and not an hour going by without my being reminded in some way of the day she had so thoroughly rejected me. Allura had spit on my love, and had turned her back on everything that I had had to offer her and her planet. She had broken my heart, ripped it apart so completely, that I and my love had been ruined. In that moment I had both died and been reborn, vowing to myself that one day I would destroy her, stripping Allura of every thing of value in my attempt to finally obtain her. I’m not the Lotor that had once loved her, but then she’s not the same person either, Allura now someone entirely different. It doesn’t make it any less sweet to watch her fall, these hands of mine ever so eager to finally catch hold of her.

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