Regret 13

It takes time for me to get over the worst of my hurt, my depression clinging to me. I can’t even look at Allura, not while the pain is so raw and reflective in my eyes. I won’t allow her to see even a glimmer of it, for I can’t tolerate even the chance that she will laugh in response to it. I know if the situations had been reversed, I the helpless victim of Allura’s every whim and desire, I would have taken a vindictive pleasure to know she was suffering. I would have especially enjoyed it if I had known the misery was of her own making, of a situation she had helped cause.

Not that I blame myself for the problems between us. Even as I need her, even as I desire her with a lust stronger than anything I thought possible, I resent Allura. I resent her for the girl she had once been, the teenager that had been forced to grow up too soon, who had been too stupid and irresponsible to make the smart choice. Allura hadn’t even considered my proposal, outright rejecting it as she had done so many times in the past. No real thought had been given, Allura not even deigning to consider the things the marriage would give her and her people.

It is difficult to think of that time, to think of the crushing rejection she had dealt me. Of the day when she had refused me so vehemently, that I was left with no doubts to her hatred of me. That was the day I stopped deluding myself, stopped hoping for the chance that things could be different for us. I had spent two years chasing her, outright stalking her. I had kidnapped her on several occasions, had threatened the lives of her friends and her people. Always when I had asked her to marry me, it had been under duress, during situations where she had to choose which evil she could tolerate more. She had despised me for my ruthless courtship, for my dirty tactics that were designed to force her to capitulate. But I had behaved as much like a gentleman as I could, doing no more than stealing a few kisses from her and demanding her answer.

Back then she had had the devil’s own luck, the Voltron Force always managing to rescue her before Allura could give me the yes I was so desperate for. And I know she would have said yes, if only to keep even one more person from being killed. Sometimes I think I went about the proposal completely wrong once I became King of the Doom Empire. Sometimes I think that I should have never abandoned my old tactics, think that I should have kidnapped her one last time to make her watch as one by one her friends died for her refusals. Instead I had tried the respectable route, arriving on Arus with a small escort of ships.

There had been much fanfare with my arrival, trumpet players and the king’s own private army standing ready in the red and black uniforms of Doom’s castle guards. It wasn’t just members of the military that had traveled with me to Arus. I had a small entourage of friends, ready to lend me their support, ready to cheer me on and celebrate my engagement.

There had been slaves present, that of over a hundred healthy Arusians. I had intended to make a gift of them to Allura, giving them their freedom, their very lives back. Someone was appointed to carry and present the beginnings of a lengthy peace treaty between our worlds, the concessions written inside it generous in return for Allura’s agreement to marry me. I had come ready to hand her not only her world, but that of the whole of the Denubian Galaxy, and all I asked for in return was for her to commit to a marriage between us and to learn to love me.

She hadn’t even wanted to see me, but I had held onto my delusions. Thinking, insisting that someone, most likely that advisor of hers, was keeping her away. It had taken all my self control not to order my guards to storm the castle, to find and bring Allura to me. I had been determined to do things right, flowers, silks, even jewels ready to be bestowed upon my bride.

It would take nearly two hours before Allura would reluctantly appear before me. The Voltron Force acted as her escort and guard, crowding in close around us. Some feet back, were the gray and blue clad palace guards, their weapons held at the ready. I tried to be magnanimous, tried to be understanding of this lack of trust between us. But mostly I tried to focus only on Allura, to ignore the sneers of the Voltron Force, and the curious faces peering from the castle windows.

My every action scrutinized, I had poured out my heart to Allura. I had spoke of my great love, of my admiration and respect for the young ruler. I had made apologies for my father’s tyranny against her world, warmly promising the war was at an end, and that bonds of friendship would be formed between Doom and Arus. I showered her with the gifts I had brought, trying to dazzle if not overwhelm her into saying yes. I had made further promises, telling her she would be my queen, my equal in the new empire I would build. I let her know how much I valued her, how much more I wanted from her, how I saw her as a life long companion, the other half to my heart. And then I had waited on bent knee, a ring with the largest diamond Allura had most likely ever seen, being offered to her.

Even now as I flinch with the memory of her instantaneous rejection, I seethe with anger. Seethe with the knowledge that she had let me go on at length for over an hour. Allura hadn’t even done me the courtesy of pretending to need to spend some time thinking about her answer. She had refused me right then and there, and thrown insults to my face. Denouncing me as worse than my father. Monster, pervert, murderer. Those were just some of the words she used in her scathing attack. I never want to see you again, was another.

Allura told me she’d rather die than be my Queen, rather than suffer my affection. She showed no pity to the distress and horror of my expression, Allura ruthless in a way I had never expected her to be. My perfect angel had been revealed to have venom in her, using her words to hurt and humiliate me. She all but spit in my face, standing tall, her proud frame trembling with her anger.

The situation, already bad, could have worsened even more. I remember my people’s appalled reaction, the silence that followed Allura’s last words. None of the Drules could believe the princess stupid enough to turn her back on all I had offered. I could scarcely believe it myself, shocked that she hadn’t even tried to think upon the benefits of a match between us.

The silence was shattered when the pilot of red lion spoke, talking to me as though I was trash. Telling me to get up off my pathetic ass, and go home or else. The King’s guard reacted instantly to that veiled threat, their own weapons being drawn. The humans would tense for a fight, and only the fact that their princess would have been caught in the crossfire, kept them from opening fire at once. Still reeling from Allura’s rejection, I could have given the order for my men to shoot. But as hurt as I was, I hadn’t wanted Allura to die. Even as my heart was breaking, I had thought to protect her.

It wasn’t just that one time. For years I had used Doom’s power and reputation to keep away the worlds that would invade Arus. But that was the extent of my mercies, leaving Allura and her people to slowly starve. Denying them the help they so desperately needed, only sending food and medicines after Allura had sold me the five lions. Voltron was the only thing of true value the planet had had left, and without it Arus had held little interest for Doom. It still doesn’t, the planet no longer so fertile from all the wars ravaging it’s lands. Food is scarcer then ever, an expensive, hard to find commodity whereas in the Empire it is so plentiful as to allow even the slaves to grow fat from it’s taste.

The abundance of good food is something I’ve always taken for granted. But looking at Allura, seeing how thin she now is, I almost feel humbled by the luxury and wealth I have been born into. I also feel a sense of satisfaction that I can see personally to Allura’s needs, that I have the money and power to make sure she never goes hungry again. It is with this thought in my mind, that I make a call for breakfast. I am shocked to learn it is later than I thought, Allura and I having spent more hours in bed then my schedule can allow. I have appointments to keep, meetings to hold, briefings to hear. Much as I would like nothing more than to spend the rest of the day just lazing in bed, I cannot afford to waste any more time.

Brunch is ordered, a meal fit for at least five people being delivered to my room. I take a shower while waiting for it’s arrival, and Allura rouses herself long enough to eat a few choice tidbits from my hand. I attempt to coax her to eat more, but it is clear her interest lies more in the nap the meal has interrupted. I leave her to that nap, closing the door to my bedroom as I await the arrival of the first of my staff. With them my work begins, concerns being aired out.

I hear about the latest from planet Mingdalia, a world that has proven rich in deposits of Lazon. Yet another promising vein of the substance has been found, and the Mingdalians will need even more slaves in order to excavate this newest lode of lazon. In it’s unrefined state, the lazon is a toxic substance. a slow acting poison that eventually kills off those who maintain prolong contact with it. The Mingdalians have been going through thousands of slaves in order to supply the Empire with the lazon that fuels so much of it’s energy, but the expense is well worth it. We NEED that lazon, more than we need the lives of those slaves, and I do not hesitate to order another fifty-thousand sent to Mingdalia, all the while knowing I am sending those people to their deaths.

Along with those slaves, I will send ships, a sizable fleet being assigned to guard the transport of the newly mined Lazon to one of the processing facilities on nearby planet Likalia. There the lazon will be treated, transformed into energy and fuel, even forged into weapons for my soldiers to wield. No longer toxic, but still deadly in it’s new form, the lazon will bring me several lifetimes worth of riches in the use of it.

Not all the news pertaining to the lazon is good. There’s been negligence on planet Falsilla, the government lax in maintaining the rigid safety protocol towards it’s processing facility. An accident has happened, one that will have global effects on at least a third of the planet. The people that worked in the processing plant that day? Dead, along with the inhabitants of the three cities that were closest to it. The plant has suffered a meltdown similar in type to one of a nuclear nature, lazon spilling into the waters, even affecting the air and making it a vaporous poison to breathe.

This is not the first time such an accident has happened. Seven years ago, on another planet, we had been foolish enough to house a handful of processing plants on a single world. When one had gone down, the others had followed in quick suit, killing off the entire planet down to the smallest of insects. The planet would never be a recoverable world, too ruined by the melt down to ever house life again. But it’s people’s lives were not sacrificed in vain. The number of processing facilities per planet were lessened, the safety protocols increased. Doom was determined to never again repeat the mistakes of it’s past, to never again lose so much lazon in one careless rush to make the substance useable.

Lazon drives us. It is essential to the Empire’s way of life. But it is not the only thing I hear about on this day. A planet newly admitted into the Empire, is close to having it’s slaves rebel. That cannot be tolerated, cannot be allowed to happen. Doom, and I, have worked too long and too hard to allow some insignificant insects dare think they can affect their situations with a few violent riots. I will not allow their situation to improve, will not reward them with anything but even more miserable conditions. I feel very much like a God, as I decide their fate and that of their planet, drunk off the power I wield.

“They have to realize their lives hold only as much value as I decide it does.” I tell my staff, who all bob and bow like fish on a hook. “To that end, I want you to gather up several hundred able bodied slaves. It doesn’t matter if they’ve participated in the riots or not, if they’re guilty or innocent of rebelling against the Empire. They will die all the same, their bodies carved up, their heads mounted on pikes for all to see.”

It is a violent response, cold and calculated to prey on the weakness of those who would riot. Those troublesome slaves might not give a damn about their own lives, but the lives of others? Of friends, family, loved ones, innocents suffering for their crimes? They’ll quickly fall into line, and if they don’t, I have no problem with killing off the entire population of slaves on that world. All to better send a message that disobedience would not be tolerated.

A planet of dead slaves is an insignificant loss to an Empire that holds hundreds of worlds. To an Empire where when one slave dies, there are dozens more to take that dead one’s place. The slaves that would rebel against my rule? They will soon learn how little they matter, dying not to further their cause, but instead to present proof of how futile it is to try and cause an uprising in an Empire as vast as Doom’s.

I do not limit myself to dealing with just a few troublesome slaves. I am swift to put an end to all threats to my Empire, from the space pirates who try to steal a piece of my fortune, to those would be usurpers to my throne. Not that there are many who would be foolish enough to try and take my throne from me. Not with my own grip secure on it, my people thriving under my rule. Those who benefit from my decisions, they have little to fear or suffer so long as I remain in power. I’ve made many rich beyond their imaginings, gained them power and security that my father had never been able to promise the people of Doom. As the situation stands now, there is little that can topple my Empire, little that can destroy it or me.

I am not overconfident. I am all too aware of that which could be seen as a threat to my rule. That perceived threat sleeps in my bed this very moment, the envy of many, the despised of even more. Allura is not a wanted presence here, barely tolerated, and definitely not accepted. Most will not dare speak a word against my decision to bring her back into our lives, but inside they worry. More than that, they might fear, rightfully concerned what effect Allura will have. On me and on the Empire. I know my words will be a meaningless attempt at comfort. Only through actions can I assure my people that nothing will change. That Allura will not change me or affect my decisions. But such reassurance takes time, and while they wait, they will scrutinize my every word, my every action.

They will find nothing to complain about with my decisions on this day. I remain as ruthless and merciless as ever, my judgments harsh but practical. Nor are my decisions tempered with a need to prove myself, or the need to prove Allura has had no effect on my rule. I do not triple the punishments needed for small offenses in a show of proving I am still the same Lotor I was just two nights ago. I am still the ruthless bastard, the merciless tyrant who has guided the Drule into a new era of unforeseen prosperity. We will continue to thrive, and nothing, no one can change this fact. Not even the woman in my bed, Allura stripped of all power, has the ability to get me to rethink my actions. Once it might have been different, once I might have allowed her to affect my own choices and decisions. That time is past. She can not be the voice of a conscience I no longer possess.

Does Allura even understand how different things could have been? Does she even realize the power she had come close to attaining ten years ago? As my queen, my wife, my love, she would have been able to do so much good in the galaxy. So many lives would have been affected by her decisions, and not just our own. Her life, her existence would have mattered, would have made life worth living for so many other people. The things she had accomplished as a pilot and keeper of Voltron would have seemed nothing in comparison to what she could have done as Queen of the Doom Empire.

Once again I feel the red hot embers of anger burn in me, leaving me to struggle not to close my hand and crush the papers I hold. I almost sneer then, thinking what a stupid, little fool the Allura of ten years ago had been. It doesn’t excuse that she had barely been an adult, that she hadn’t the wisdom to wear the crown of a Queen. I don’t feel better to know an older, wiser woman would have leapt at the chances I had offered Allura. The girl she had been, that naive idiot, had NEEDED the experiences of the last ten decades. She had needed to starve, to struggle, to fight for every bit of life she could get. Not only for herself but for her people. She had needed the wars, the attacks on her life, the sicknesses, and shortages of food and supplies. She had needed them all for her eyes to open, for Allura to realize just how badly she has needed me and the resources at my command.

She’s not my wife. She’s not even the woman that I love, though I want her desperately. She’s little more than a bed slave, unable to truly affect anything, let alone my politics, decisions, morals. It’s quite the mess that Allura’s made, the former queen ruining her life, and nearly that of her people. I can fix Arus, but there will be no saving of Allura. That fact is all the more satisfactory, because I know Allura knows it for the truth it is. It was with her own two hands, that she doomed herself. With those very hands that had pushed me away, Allura had sealed her fate. I only wish that knowledge could chase away the hollow feeling inside me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: