The hill had evened out into a level of flat plain, the tar covered ground stretching out for miles to the North. And in the near distance was the welcome sight of blue lion, Allura’s face lighting up in a relieved smile. She wanted to run forward, to cover the distance as quickly as possible, and it was the fear that was ever present on this planet that almost made her give in to that impulse. But it would have been foolish, not without surveying the area, checking to make sure those who hunted them were gone.
She leaned Lotor against an ashy stump of a tree that had burnt down, only it’s roots and part of it’s base remaining. He was struggling to keep conscious, watching her instead of the lion in the distance. He didn’t speak to her though, as though he was too tired to form words, and that made Allura hurriedly rummage through her pack. She talked while she did it, voice a constant stream of noise, giving Lotor something to focus on.
“We’re almost there Lotor…!” She said excitedly, fingers grasping hold of something metal. “We only have a little ways to go, and we’ll be able to board blue lion. Why, I bet we could make it there in ten minutes time…” She pulled out the micro binoculars, adjusting the settings on it’s side. “We’ll go there soon, just gotta scout out the area, make sure it’s safe.”
She rose to stand, and faced the direction of her lion, micro binoculars being held before her eyes. The lion came into extreme focus, Allura smiling to see the familiar blue and white metal of it’s hide. She scanned along it’s body with the binoculars, and froze at the sight of a shadow climbing up it’s right side. An adjusting of the micro binoculars’ range, and the shadow showed the red skin, and dark, ragged clothing of a Keraclon.
The alien menace was drawing itself up onto the head of blue lion, it’s many claws scrabbling for purchase. It found it easy enough, tearing strips of the paint off the roof in the process. And then when the Keraclon was settled into place, it began using it’s claws to try and pry open the roof hatch of her lion’s entrance.
“What is it?” Lotor had noticed her tension, and it worried him enough to speak. She didn’t look at him, Allura pulling back the view to gaze at the ground around the lion. There was two more of the Keraclon there, and they prowled about the lion’s paws, poking and prodding at various spots on the ship. “What’s wrong…”
Wordlessly, she handed him the micro binoculars, and heard Lotor curse when he saw the Keraclons. “Now what do we do?” Allura asked out loud, and Lotor sighed.
“Not much else we can do but fight.”
“Fight?!” Startled, she turned to him, Allura looking at the pitiful sight Lotor made in the moment. He was hunched over, hand resting on the bandages of his stomach’s wound. His uniform was sliced open, showing off the fine lines of his chest that were now marred with many cuts and scrapes. His face was dirty with soot, and his once pristine hair was now streaked with ash and blood. “You’re in no condition to be much of a threat…”
“Don’t you think I know that?!” Lotor demanded angrily. “But I am a Drule Warrior. We do not go down without a fight. It would bring shame to me, to allow them to capture me without causing them difficulty.”
“Yes, I’m sure there’s a lot of pride in bleeding all over the enemy.” Allura retorted, and he growled. “Lotor no…you have to stay here. I’LL deal with them.”
“You?” Lotor looked shocked at the very thought. “What can you do?!”
“I’m capable of more than you think!” Allura retorted, flushing at his disbelieving look. “I am! I’ve been training!”
“Ah yes…your training…” He didn’t sound reassured, giving a shake of his head no. “Allura really, do you honestly believe you can take on THREE Keraclon by yourself?”
“I won’t know until I try.” She said determinedly, earning a displeased frown from Lotor.
“I admire your resolve, but think! If you go down there now, at best you’ll only be captured…”
“If I don’t go down and fight, you’ll BLEED to death. Do you want that?!” Allura demanded.
“But what?!” She asked, and she swore his look was a flustered one.
“I don’t want you to be hurt…” Came Lotor’s admittance, and she stared at him. He shifted, uncomfortable with the look she was giving him. “What? Is it that hard to believe?”
“Well…yes….especially after all the times you’ve tried to blow up Voltron with me in it!” Allura exclaimed, and Lotor grew even more uncomfortable.
“You never noticed all the times I held back in battle…all the times I could have won, if not for my concern for you…:”
“You have a funny way of showing that concern.” muttered Allura, and he growled.
“Allura, we are at war! It’s hard enough to get close to you, the best I can do to show you that I care, is to make sure my men don’t focus their attacks on you.”
“I don’t need your protection.” She retorted, though Allura knew that she hadn’t been that good a fighter to be able to survive against attacks from determined Drule warriors. Especially over and over again! She was almost touched by his confession, and now she could see how apparent it had been that the Drule never focused too long on the weakest link of the Voltron Force.
“You have it all the same.” Lotor told her, tone and expression earnest.
“That’s…almost sweet of you, Lotor.” She told him. “And now I am going to extend that same sentiment to you. I will protect you. On my honor as princess of Arus, I will get you off this planet, and to a doctor.”
For an instant his expression softened, but then he grimaced. “I’m a fool if I allow you to attempt this…”
“You’re a fool if you think you allow me to do anything!” retorted Allura, hands on her hips. Lotor opened his mouth to retort, and she was suddenly there, pressing a finger to his lips. “No, don’t waste your breath arguing with me. My mind is made up.”
“And what am I supposed to do while you’re off risking your neck?” Lotor demanded, and she cast a worried glance at his bandaged waist.
“Just try to keep from bleeding all over the place.” Allura advised, the fear too real for her to smile just then. Lotor grumbled in response, Allura moving to step back from him. She didn’t move fast enough, Lotor suddenly snagging her waist with his good hand. Before Allura could do more than gasp out a protest, he hauled her against him, and it was only the thought that her struggles might loosen his bandages that she held herself still.
“Lotor, what are you doing?!” She demanded, just before he kissed her. There had been few times in Allura’s life where she had been kissed, and none could compare to the thorough way Lotor had at her mouth. She was completely unprepared for the probing surge of his tongue, that velvet muscle as insidious as the Drule, curling and caressing against her own.
Allura made ineffectual squeaks against his mouth, knowing she could pull away but not without a fight. A fight Lotor was all too prepared to engage in, the man calling on some hidden reserves of strength to kiss her soundly. Her fingers curled around the empty air, she was close to flailing her arms anyway when he let her go, Allura taking a stumbling step backwards that nearly toppled her down to the ground.
Lotor looked as smug as he looked tired, staring at her. Her fingers flew up to her mouth, but she stopped herself from touching her still warm lips. Instead she blinked repeatedly at him, before growling out a question. “What the hell was that for?!”
“If we’re going to die..” Lotor began, looking as though he had no doubts about the outcome of her impending duel with the Keraclon. “Then I don’t want to leave this mortal coil without knowing your kiss.”
“You…” She sputtered, trying to gather her wits about her. “You overbearing thief! We are not going to die! You didn’t have to do that!”
“You better pray the Keraclon grant us a quick death Allura.” Lotor’s words had her anger lessen slightly, a chill going through her at the knowing look in his eyes. She didn’t have to imagine the kind of things he must be thinking, the Keraclon known for their wicked and cruel hospitality.
“I pray for many things.” Allura told him, already picking her way along the tar strewn path that led in the direction of her lion. “Death is never one of them.”
Lotor didn’t have an answer for her to that, but she could feel the weight of his gaze on her back, watching as she walked away from him. They were still far enough away from blue lion, that to the Keraclon they would seem like mere specks on the hill, just one more part of the scenery. She knew she couldn’t rely on them to think that indefinitely, and Allura began to look around for large boulders and trees to hide against.
As she walked, Allura drew her blaster, adjusting it’s setting from stun to kill. She would not make the same mistake like last time, this time she came to kill. It was a daunting thought to know her purpose in initiating this encounter was to kill, even if it meant her and Lotor’s survival. She kept her finger on the trigger of her blaster, hand gripping it so as to be ready to fire off a quick shot. Allura was so jumpy, that if a stray animal had wandered into her path, she might have fired on it. Fortunately for all, the Keraclon’s waves of fear kept all native creatures away from this segment of land.
The fear was strong in her, amplified by Lotor adamant thought that she would fail against the Keraclon. If she didn’t constantly fight against the fears and uncertainties trying to fester in her stomach, Allura would have turned back towards Lotor. She didn’t know what they would have done, where they could have gone, but at least for a brief moment they’d be safe from the Keraclon around her lion.
Without Lotor slowing her down, it only took about five minutes to cover the distance to the lion. The Keraclon weren’t alerted to her approach, too focused on trying to get the lion open. Allura debated on what to do, her fears overcoming her, seeing what looked like three Zarkons before her. Her hands shook, and sweat pooled on her lower back, Allura taking a deep breath as she hid herself behind a large boulder.
It wasn’t in Allura to just open fire on an unsuspecting enemy, to so ruthlessly cut down her opponent. She opened her mouth to speak, and found her voice came out a hoarse whisper. “Hey!” Soft though her voice was, it drew the Keraclon’s attention, one of the Zarkon’s hissing at her.
“Back away from the lion, and I’ll leave you be!” Allura told them, even as she knew it was futile to try and negotiate with the aliens.
Another hissed out sound, more snarl than anything else, one of the Zarkon’s stepping in her direction. Allura leveled her blaster to aim at the Keraclon’s chest, and it was then that she was hit with a potent wave of fear. She moaned in helpless fear, and it was an involuntary action on her part, that her finger squeezed the trigger, firing off a laser blast.
Stunned silence seemed to follow that shot, the image of Zarkon wavering, revealing the Keraclon with a smoking crater for a chest. It stared not at it’s wound, but at her, and even with it’s alien eyes, it’s shock was apparent.
The body began to fall over backwards, and the second Zarkon moved, sharp tipped projectiles seeming to come out of his clothing. She threw herself flat to the ground, a spike just missing impaling her arm, Allura wide eyed and swearing. Those things really could fire off their spikes after all, another wave coming her way, forcing her to roll frantically to avoid them.
The spikes hit the ground, embedding themselves deep into the tar. She continued to roll, getting onto her knees and took aim, firing off blast after blast at it. One laser smashed a coming projectile into a dozen pieces, Allura throwing up her left arm to shield her eyes. She kept on firing, hitting the moving Keraclon in the arm, watching as Zarkon’s image flickered long enough for her to see the true image beneath it. She had hurt the Keraclon, it’s arm hanging limply at it’s side though it was still moving. Allura grit her teeth, also on the move, and knowing between both their movements, it was making it more difficult for her to land a killing blow.
Sound from behind her, the third Keraclon leaping off of the head of blue lion. She was already turning, firing off her blaster repeatedly. This close to the Keraclon, it didn’t matter where she hit, each blast burning open chunks of flesh, green blood splattering everywhere. She screamed as she fired, the blood covering the front of her pilot’s uniform. The Keraclon fell forward, and Allura just barely missed getting pinned under it, the princess turning to try and track the third one.
She saw the surprising image of Zarkon running away, but she didn’t relax. Not when she saw he was heading the way she had come, and bound to run into Lotor. She screamed at the Keraclon, running after him, noticing she could breath a bit easier now that some of the fear had let up. She didn’t dare hope this was the only Keraclon still remaining on this section of the planet, Allura in hot pursuit.
The Keraclon was almost to Lotor, when Allura caught a lucky break. The prince had his sword drawn, ready to defend himself from the approaching threat. The Keraclon did not slow, Zarkon’s image lashing out with claws, ready to slice open Lotor even further. Allura’s blast caught the Keraclon in the back, and still it tried to attack Lotor, the prince stabbing his sword into the creature’s stomach.
Between Lotor and Allura, they had managed to kill the final Keraclon, the prince wearing a stunned expression. “You did it!” He exclaimed, his eyes on the green blood on her uniform.
“Was there ever any doubt?” Allura tried for a breezy tone, but suddenly she was gagging, feeling ill at all the killing she had done. She turned her back to Lotor, and quickly vomited up the remains of the most recent meal she had eaten. She heard a rustle of movement behind her, and feared it was the Keraclon, somehow still alive.
It turned out to be Lotor, the prince laying a hand on her back, rubbing her in an attempt to be comforting while she was ill. Allura was mortified to have him see her like this, and she gagged one last time, though it was a dry heave. She brought her hand to her mouth, using the back of her glove to wipe it clean.
“You did good.” Lotor said, and she looked at him, surprised by the praise. “I’m proud of you.”
“There’s nothing to be proud of when it comes to killing.” She retorted, and he frowned.
“Not even when it saves lives?” That earned a hesitation from Allura, the princess not sure how to answer that. She paused long enough that Lotor sighed. “Never mind.” He said, already maneuvering it so that his arm went across her shoulders. “Let’s just get to your lion, and get out of here!” Allura could only agree, knowing it was the best idea Lotor had ever had.