Regret 14

The days on Doom keep me busy, hour after hour spent in meetings. If I am not meeting with the senate, I am dealing with petitioners, or with the problems my staff brings to my attention. I oversee much, going over documents with a fine tooth comb, weeding out problems, finding and removing the corrupt, doing what is needed to keep the machine that is the Doom Empire running.

I’ve always thrown myself into such work, expending the effort, the time, the energy needed to see my empire thrive. It hasn’t always been easy. There is so much more to the Doom Empire, than just invading other worlds. The conquering days of my youth have long since passed, new and fresh faced recruits working to do the manual labor of living through the invasions. I don’t always envy them the experience, though a part of me misses the fighting. Misses the sheer exhilaration that came with destroying others not with my words, but with my own two hands. I can command millions to be slaughtered, and yet it doesn’t give me the same feeling as being there in person. Of wielding my sword, and getting drenched in the blood of the fallen.

I’ve put that kind of life behind me. With my father dead, and no other legitimate heir to the Doom Empire, I cannot risk myself even for the thrill I long for. Perhaps it is that absence of the kill, that has spiraled into compulsion, into my downright obsessive need to manage just about every detail of the Empire and the worlds that belong to it.

There is another reason. I’ve often thought the reason I work so hard, involve myself in so many things at once, has to do with an attempt to distract myself from Allura. From the lack of her in my life. The months after her crushing rejection were spent in frenzy. Plots were made and just as easily dismissed. I was involving myself in learning everything there needed to be known about running an empire, and running it smoothly. I had juggled my studies with schemes, worlds being targeted, even conquered. Bit by bit, the empire had been expanding, though I could never forget Allura and her insult towards me. That insult, that refusal, it drove me to make something of the Empire. To make it something more than what it had been, make it greater than the Galaxy Alliance. To make it so grand, so important, so imposing that even Arus, even Allura, would see how much she needed me.

Revenge has motivated me well. But throwing myself into my work wasn’t all about shaping Allura’s destiny with my own hands. Part of it had to do with needing a distraction from the pain. From the all too potent memory of Allura’s refusal. If I kept myself busy every moment of the day, I couldn’t think about her. Nor did I allow myself much time to think at night, woman after woman filling my bed, some eager, some not. I lost myself to the pleasures of the flesh, indulging in sex the way I could not with wine and drugs.

It’s been a hellish decade, little true laughter or enjoyment shown my way. I’ve never truly healed from the pain Allura has dealt me. My heart has never mended, nor have I wanted it’s shattered remains to heal. I’ve lived for revenge, been motivated by the desire for it.

I can’t say if my revenge is as satisfying as I dreamt of. Not yet. Not when it’s only been a handful of days, with Allura’s nearness tearing me up inside. I tell myself it’s because the pain is still too raw, that she hurts me because I never allowed myself to recover from the damage she had done me. I tell myself it will get better, that in the coming weeks—months, Allura will be the only one who suffers. I lie to myself that the tears in her eyes, the shadows that haunt her face, the very way she flinches at my touch, won’t matter. Just as I tell myself it doesn’t matter that the sex is ultimately unsatisfying, the high I receive from her lasting only as long as my climaxes, and leaving me to wallow in a hollow, empty feeling after.

It’s that kind of feeling I have now, and it’s powerful enough to keep me distracted from the documents on my lap. I don’t know how long I’ve been staring at the top sheet of paper, or how often I’ve reread the same two sentences in a vain attempt to grasp their meaning. But it’s clear I won’t be catching up on my work load tonight.

It’s Allura’s fault. Her very nearness has me afflicted with thoughts of her. My senses are full of her, of the scent of her, of the taste of her, even the remembered warmth of her body wrapped around my dick. She doesn’t make much noise in her sleep, except for a few harsh breaths that linger long after Allura has cried herself to sleep.

I’ve not been able to fall asleep myself. I’m restless, the energy inside me angry. I don’t know why I thought I could use this time to catch up on the work that piled up during my late morning with Allura. Not when it’s clear I can’t concentrate on much of anything that doesn’t have to do with the exhausted woman in my bed.

I don’t want it to be this way. I don’t want my thoughts going in endless circles of Allura. To that end I welcome any and all distractions, tossing aside the documents, but making calls. Rousing staff members from their beds, demanding status updates on a dozen different situations. I can see the shock in their eyes. I’ve never been one to work this late. The Doom Empire runs according to my schedule, to my whims and desires. It’s always been the thing that bends to my will, not I to it. And yet even when I, it’s King, is indisposed, the worlds of the Empire keep on turning. In the hours that I sleep, numerous problems crop up, the worlds waiting eagerly for me to rise and deal out solutions to them.

I won’t truly do any good this night. Not in this melancholy mood, not plagued with thoughts and memories, the past haunting me just as well as my present. But I can’t sleep, not with this restless energy within me. Harassing my staff is the least I can do. I could order the court awake, demand entertainments and killings to pass the time. I could stir everyone up into a frenzy, order slaves whipped for my amusement. Instead I take an almost benign route, hearing about the matters that had come up once I had retired for the night.

Even then I can’t truly focus. Not on the work. It just doesn’t seem to matter, I just can’t muster up the energy to even pretend to care. I listen to the reports, but the words come from a distance. I only pick out sentences here and there, not really caring in the moment. It all seems so meaningless, so hollow. I have built the Empire as a means to attain my revenge on Allura, and yet now that she has been delivered to my hands, I am still unhappy. Still seeking something to make my pain, my bitterness and disappointments go away. I don’t expect them to be obliterated completely, but I had hoped for the past’s power to dull at least a little.

There’s only one escape from my thoughts, from the past and it’s power over me. And it’s an all too brief one. The actual act of sex with Allura somewhat soothes me, and only while we are engaged in the act. When it’s over, just like the tides of the ocean, that brief bit of satisfaction recedes, washed away by my memories and bitterness.

I can’t have sex with Allura every minute of every day. And I wonder now if sex isn’t the answer to what I seek. That brief high of bodily bliss? It might not be worth all the pain and dissatisfaction that fills me once my climax is done. That thought is the only thing keeping me from waking Allura now. I can’t fuck myself to happiness with her, and I don’t feel like dealing with the unwanted feelings that stir in me at her tears.

I’m angry, frustrated. I don’t know what I truly want anymore. For ten long years I told myself things would get better, that I would become happy once I had Allura in my power, her body mine to use, her soul mine to torment. So far I haven’t achieved one bit of that happiness I longed for. And yet I am stubborn, refusing to release Allura, refusing to try and find that happiness through a different route.

Some part of me needs Allura. Needs her in whatever way I can have. It’s an ugly truth, and one I don’t want to examine too closely. It’s just another way I work to delude myself. Just as I had deluded myself into believing things would get better once Allura was in my possession, I now try to ignore the need I have for her. The need that compels me to take and take and take some more, only to never get that which I am eternally seeking.

It’s cold comfort to know that while Allura gets that which she so desperately sought, she remains unhappy too. I know I am the center of her misery, the thing that torments her so. It is fitting, for she, her very existence, tortures me in return. It doesn’t matter if we are together or apart, either way neither one of us have been happy. Perhaps we are a damned pair, doomed to lead lives that ultimately prove unfulfilling. Right now, everything I have done, everything that has led to this moment seems meaningless.

The happiness that eludes me? It makes me want to hurt someone. To hurt a lot of people actually. For once I don’t immediately turn to Allura. This violence rising in me won’t be satisfied with our usual game of sex and despair. For all I’ve done to her, the bedding has never been as brutal as it could be. I’ve not been able to remain completely cold and dispassionate, but I haven’t allowed my own hurt and emotions to hurt her worse than I already have.

Refusing to use sex as an outlet for once, I set about to making other people suffer. To that end I order another planet to be invaded. It’s been a long time since Doom has had to throw it’s weight around in such a show of force, not with so many planets clamoring to join the Empire. I don’t pick some weak and pitiful planet either. The bitterness and hurt in me demands blood, demands a lot of lives be lost in the taking of a new world.

But to take a new world will take time, and this blood lust in me wants a quicker result. I start ordering slaves to be taken to the dungeons, thinking to myself perhaps whipping a few will help calm me down. I even search for traitors among my nobles, those few who would dare speak behind my back about my actions. I want so badly to tear into someone, to make someone scream in pain. How much blood will I spill this night? How much of it will be needed to appease my anger?

I won’t get to find out the answer to that anytime soon. As I scour through documents and files, a name amongst them stands out to me. The Drule I have appointed as the one to go to and assess the situation on Arus. He has been in contact with my staff. There was nothing urgent about the fact that he had reported in. After all he still had another two days before the expected solutions were to be handed over to me. And yet I was curious. He and his entourage had to have arrived on Arus by now. It was not enough time to begun to find a true answer to all of Arus problems, but he’d at least have some idea of what was going on. On what might be needed.

My curiosity doesn’t chase away the other feelings in me. My mood is still violatile, my eyes brimming with malevolent intent. It might very well do me some good to make the Drules on Arus squirm, to see them desperately try to come up with ways to appease me.

No further thought is needed. I put the call in to the ships on Arus. It is still daytime on that world, no one being dragged from bed to talk to me. And yet it takes time before the leader of the Arus expedition appears before me, the Drule out of breath, and looking harried.

“King Lotor!” He exclaims, bowing nervously to the screen. “To what do I owe this honor?” I nearly snort in response, knowing it’s no true honor I do him now. I am merely a threat, dangerous and unwanted. With my moods unpredictable under the best of circumstances, they were now even worse with Allura back in my life.

“Wensen…” I say, giving the Drule a humorless look. “I understand you have arrived on Arus.”

“We made good time, all things considered.” That was as close to a chastisement as Wensen would give me. We both knew I hadn’t given the man true time to prepare, forcing him to leave on short notice, and without a more sizeable escort of ships and soldiers. I almost regret that now, having let my anger get the best of me at the moment I had given Wensen his mission to Arus.

I’d rectify that later, sending more ships, soldiers and whatever else Arus might need to make a start at turning around the planet’s bleak circumstances. But for now, I was interested in Wensen’s first impressions of Arus and it’s situation.

“You’ve been on Arus for what…..twelve hours now?” Wensen gives a confirming nod. “Tell me. What is your initial impression of the world?”

Wensen actually exhales slowly. “Regrettably, we haven’t had enough time to look around, let alone question the people that live here.”

I raise an eyebrow at that. “Oh?” It’s clear by my tone I am wondering just what the Drules on Arus had wasted those twelve hours on, instead of doing their appointed mission.

“The people on Arus…haven’t exactly been welcoming.” Wensen quickly tells me.

“I don’t expect them all to be.” I answer. “But you can handle a few hostile attitudes.”

“It’s more than just attitude they gave us.” Wensen’s eyes flash angry then, and if I hadn’t been dealing with my own bad mood, I might have laughed.

“Don’t tell me they attacked you?”

“They tried to.” Wensen confirmed. We both snorted at that, thinking it a laughable idea. The Arusians had little of anything, let alone the weapons and resources needed to hurt the Drule. That they had tried meant they were desperate, maybe even suicidal.

“No doubt they wanted the things you brought with you to Arus.” I say. I wonder if they had known the Drules had come to improve things on Arus, or if they had just been hoping to steal whatever food and medicines might be onboard those ships.

“They didn’t have the things needed to take on even one of our ships head on.” Wensen was saying. “They waited until we had landed, waited until a scouting party was on the ground to attack. Your highness, the group that attacked them? They seemed more interested in the weapons then anything else.”

“Makes sense in a way.” I muse. “They probably thought they’d have an easier time ambushing the others, if they had Drule weaponry in their hands.”

“Maybe so.” Wensen gave a shrug of his shoulders. “I’ve been studying what the previous reports from Arus say. The people have been split up into many separate factions. There are a few that stand out as more troublesome than the others….no doubt any one of those would love to get their hands on the advantage our ships and supplies would give them.”

“Do we have a name for the one behind the ambush?” I asked, just as Allura stirs in the bed. I don’t look at her directly, but out the corner of my eye I see movement, as she rolls onto her side. She is waking up, but I doubt she will understand much of anything being said. Wensen and I are after all, talking in Drule, a language few if any humans bother to learn.

“Not yet. These Arusians are surprisingly tightlipped.” Wensen frowns. “The list may be small, but still sizeable considering the number of nobles clamoring for the chance to rule over Arus.” He actually dares to look me in the eye. “And none of them will be happy at the thought of the Empire’s involvement with Arus.”

“It’s not the Empire they have to worry about.” I retort. “Arus is MY pet project, funded out of my own pockets.”

“You are too generous your highness. And far more than these…..humans deserve.”

“It’s not generosity that moves me.” I correct, but I still don’t look at the silent Allura. But I can feel her eyes on me, her gaze almost boring into me now. “I made a deal….”

“A deal that I am not sure you are getting the better side of.” Wensen mutters. “Your highness….from what I’ve seen of Arus….I doubt there is much return for any money on your investments. Even if you should make the people of Arus slaves….”

“Making slaves of them is always a possibility.” I agree. “But let us rule out other solutions before we go down that route.”

“I don’t see how there can be another solution.” Wensen grumbles. “The planet, while not yet a wasteland, is still in dire straits. Better to take the people from this world, abandon this planet to be nothing more than a weapons testing ground. As slaves, the people of Arus would fare far better than they have, fighting against one another.”

It’s difficult for me to imagine what Arus must look like now, how far it has degraded from the emerald paradise it had once been. How much has Arus changed, that Wensen could be ready to dismiss it? To suggest it’s worth be nothing more than land to test our newest weapons on, almost saddens me. And I know it would never have gotten this bad, if Allura had agreed to marry me all those years ago.

Wensen is still talking, images filling the screen to the side of him. I see the ruined cities, the destroyed crop fields, even the brown, polluted waters of the lake that surrounds the crumbling form of the castle of lions. With all the wars ravaging the land, there’s been no real time for the Arusians to maintain their homes, to see to the care and upkeep of the buildings that make up their cities.

“Savages.” Sneers Wensen. “Too busy fighting and killing each other to actually live. Rather than fight for the chance to rule over this wretched world, they should be uniting to work together to maintain what they have left.”

“The most reasonable course of action is not always the most appealing.” I retort. “And there are always some greedy, immoral bastards that would rather see that which they cannot control, cannot own, destroyed than let another have it.” I give a bland smile then. “My father felt very much that way when it came to Arus and the lions.”

It’s clear Wensen doesn’t know how to retort to that last bit without giving offense. It’s fine, I continue to talk. “No doubt the ambush your men endured, will be the first of similar attacks. Many of those factions won’t appreciate the help Allura has bought for them. You’ll have to be on your toes.”

“Fools and savages!” snapped Wensen. “Too blind to see the chance that has arrived.”

“Ah but what chance is that?” I ask. “According to you, my best course is to enslave the lot of them.”

“I still feel that way.” admitted Wensen. “I cannot see how else you’d get anything worthwhile from involving yourself with these people. Anything of value they had, they’ve already mined and sold. And they can barely grow enough food on the land that is still of use to them.” His lip curled. “You’d be doing them a favor, if you made them slaves of the Empire. At least then they’d be fed and taken care of.”

“Better than they’ve taken care of themselves, I’ll bet!” I chuckle with a nod. It is at that point that Allura makes her presence known, the former Queen lurching up from the bed, her hands clutching the thin bed sheet around her.

“You can’t!” She exclaims, and one hand lets go of the sheet to grab at my arm. I turn a cold, assessing look on her, but Allura hardly flinches in response. Nor does she let go of me, her own blue eyes flashing with more spark and indignation than I have seen since her arrival in my palace. “That’s not what we agreed.”

I find it interesting that she is reacting to the conversation I have had with Wensen. That she could have understood the Drule language. It’s almost as interesting as it is infuriating, my own eyes narrowing as I wonder what other secrets Allura has kept from me.

“Allura….”

“NO!” She all but shrieks. “You cannot do this. You cannot make the people of Arus your slaves!”

“And you cannot tell me what I can and can’t do!” I snap in retort, jerking free of her grip as I rise to stand. She glares up at me as I tower over her, her hair wild about her face. In the background, on the view screen, Wensen watches in silence. But I know word will spread that Allura had tried to order me around, and spread fast.

“I didn’t come to Doom….I didn’t give up my crown, my right to rule…I didn’t hand over everything to you, just for you to make the people of Arus just another group of slaves!”

“No, you simply handed me a problem, hoping for the best.” I retort. “Your people are dying Allura! If they don’t succumb to starvation and disease first, then they’ll kill each other off.”

“Better they die free, then live a life of a slave!”

I stare at Allura shocked, searching her expression for a hint of how ridiculous she had to know that statement was. But I see she is completely serious in that belief. It makes me laugh, though I am not truly amused. “You little fool….how can you think like that, knowing what is happening on Arus?!”

“My people have fought for nearly three decades for the right to remain free.” Allura says.

“Freedom may be what your people prefer, but what they need is a strong hand to rule over them.” I retort.

“To guide them yes, not to control and strip away their rights!” Was Allura’s heated reply. “People need to have a choice….”

“Even when those choices ruin their very lives?” I demand then snort. “Sorry, Allura.” But I was anything but sorry. “It’s not a democracy I offer your people. I will make the tough choices that you and they could not. And they will be better for it.”

I was too angry to truly be smug, and my temper only worsened with the slap Allura gave me as her response. I heard the sharp, indrawn breath of Wensen, the man horrified over what the woman had done. She hadn’t been strong enough to turn my head, but still my cheek hurt. Worse yet, Allura didn’t seem to realize the wrongness of what she had done, staring up at me defiantly.

That defiant look didn’t fit with the eternally suffering woman she had grown up to be. It was almost like looking at an Allura of ten years ago, that foolish, naive twit. The words that followed that look, proved to me Allura hadn’t truly learned from her mistakes after all.

“I was wrong to come to you.” She said, voice almost a hiss. “You can’t help Arus. You never could. Well don’t worry, your highness.” She practically sneered with those words. “This…agreement that we have. This arrangement? It’s over.”

She actually dared to turn her back to me, and only the trembling of her shoulders showed how affected she truly was. For all Allura’s bluster and bravado, she was still frightened. Of me, of my response, of taking away what she had viewed as Arus’ only chance for salvation.

“Oh no.” I hissed, and grabbed her by the right arm. I didn’t take care with my nails, digging them into her delicate skin. She’d be bruised and bloodied by them, Allura trying to get away, even as I turned her around to face me. The bed sheet began to slide downwards, Allura abandoning her modesty to try and slap me again. I could hear Wensen snarling in the background, asking if I required assistance. I didn’t even look at him, catching Allura’s hand by the wrist. “You don’t get to decide when and how our arrangement ends.”

Allura opened her mouth to protest, trying to pull her hand free. I knew I had to be hurting her, my grip almost crushing in the moment. “Lotor…”

“You’re a fool, Allura, if you think I am just going to let you walk in and out of my life any time and any way you please!” I continued. My glare was angry, but hers was turning into a pain filled expression.

“You’re hurting me…” She whimpered, but I was without remorse. She then tried a different tactic, expression and voice pleading. “Do what you will with me….but Arus…..spare it…”

I didn’t give her an answer either way, just staring at her. She again attempted to shift in my grip, a hint of tears in her eyes. I made myself unfeeling stone, refusing to be moved by her tears.

“Lotor….please….” The bed sheet was crumpled on the floor, Allura’s uncovered breasts heaving on a sob. I was stupid enough to lower my gaze to them, to allow the sight of her bare body to distract me. That was my next mistake of the night, Allura moving, raising her leg in an attempt to knee me in the balls.

Grunting, and just barely managing to deflect the attack so that she got me in the thigh instead, I shook Allura hard. “There you go again Allura. Making the wrong decisions. It’s no wonder Arus declined under your rule!”

She looked shocked then outraged at that, and only struggled harder to get free. “Refusing to be my wife was only one of them.”

“Coming here was another!” She spat out.

“Handing Arus over to a man you don’t even trust might be the worst yet.” I retorted.

“I had nowhere else to turn!” Her voice broke on a sob, but the tears didn’t fall. “You saw to that yourself! I came to you in desperation….I never thought….”

“That’s your problem Allura. You never think things through, do you?” My own hurt and anger that had lingered for a decade’s time, had leaked into my voice. “Not now, and not then!”

“I don’t want my people to be slaves….” She whispered. “I thought you understood that…” She sniffled then, giving a fitful shake of her head. “But I was wrong…again. You toss aside the word for slave so casually when it comes to Arus. Tell me your highness, did you even consider any other possibilities before choosing on that fate for my people?!”

My grip loosened, my own expression empty of the shock I was feeling. “What exactly did you hear?” I asked. “How much did you understand?”

“I, hell everyone knows enough to know the Drule word for slave.” Allura said. “And you said it several times, and with Arus mentioned too!” A look that was more tired than accusing. “You even laughed at the idea of it!”

I let Allura go completely, aghast. She hadn’t known what was being said, Allura had only known a word or two, and had jumped to a conclusion. I had never agreed one way or another about whether to make the Arusians slaves or not. How like Allura to assume the worst of me.

“You really don’t trust me…” I say it slowly, dazed. “Or any help I agreed to give you.” Allura just stared back, not saying a word. In that moment, I felt a multitude of emotions, hurt and anger the strongest of all. I knew then I had to get away, that I was going to hurt Allura and badly if I stayed.

“Your highness…” Wensen said, when I turned my back on Allura. Again I ignored him, having nothing to say. Nor could anyone, not even Allura, say anything in the moment to make my mood any better. Without looking at either one of them, I simply walked out of my room, intent on finding an outlet to make my pain go away.


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