It took roughly three days before the doctor agreed Lotor was stable enough to travel, and it was not a moment too soon as far as Allura was concerned. The days spent in the medical facility had seemed endless, boring one minute, and tension filled the next. There wasn’t much to do in ways of entertainment, Allura and her team mates mainly spending their days watching videos.
Of course, that was when they weren’t taking turns trying to weasel out answers out of Lotor. But no matter who tried to question him, Lotor remained secretive, wearing that infuriating smirk of his. Keith was the most stubborn when it came to Lotor’s questioning, the captain of the Voltron Force determined to somehow trick Lotor into revealing what he knew. Keith reasoned that if Lotor accidentally let slip the secret to the Keraclon’s defeat, then they wouldn’t have to give in to his conditions.
Lotor was being as secretive about what his conditions would be, as he was about the Keraclon. It didn’t make Allura feel any better that the one and only demand he had made was to be taken to Arus. Especially when Lotor kept smiling at her, a darkly intense look in his feline like eyes, The looks made her uncomfortable, and she tried to avoid him as much as she could. But between Lotor’s requests to visit with her, and her own team mates begging her to work Lotor over, she found herself in the Drule’s presence one too many times.
It was almost a relief when the doctor said Lotor could leave the medical facility, even as Allura quelled in fear at the thought of Nanny’s reaction to the Drule coming to live at the castle of lions. Coran of course, already knew the situation, suitably aghast yet resigned to giving in to Lotor’s demands. It was for the greater good after all, the Keraclon needing to be stopped before they continued their ruthless genocide of the other races in the Denubian Galaxy.
But neither Allura nor Coran had prepared Nanny for Lotor’s arrival, the advisor not wanting to deal with the woman’s hysterics on his own. Allura wasn’t looking forward to the scene Nanny would most likely cause upon their arrival, even if she was eager to get home and back to some semblance of normalcy. Not that she expected much, Allura knowing Lotor’s continued presence in their lives would send everything topsy turvy.
He was already succeeding in just that, Keith in a continuos bad mood, the captain hostile and angry almost every time he spoke. Keith didn’t like that Lotor was coming with them, and he had managed to assert his authority by forbidding Lotor ride with Allura in blue lion. The princess might have taken offense at being ordered around like that, but in this case she had been glad to submit to Keith’s command.
In the end, Lance had volunteered to let Lotor ride in red lion, and it seemed as good a plan as any. Keith would have preferred to have Lotor ride in black lion, but both men were too angry and hostile towards one another for that to be a viable option. They were liable to kill each other mid flight, and though Lance was somewhat of a hot head, at least he could keep his calm around Lotor.
One condition of Keith’s was that Lotor be bound while traveling to Arus. The Drule prince had hardly looked pleased, and Allura had expected another argument to break out. But Lotor had just sighed, as though all the fighting was tiring him out, allowing them to hand cuff his good hand to the ladder in red lion. Even with Lotor secured, Keith had insisted that Lance keep open contact at all times, his radio always tuned in to black lion.
Sometimes Allura tuned her radio to red lion’s frequency, listening in quiet bewilderment at the almost friendly conversation the pilot and prince managed. It was mainly talk about girls, the two both sharing an open appreciation of the fairer sex. Lance seemed especially intrigued by Lotor’s harem, and the prince began detailing some of the beauties he kept as pleasure slaves.
When Lotor’s tone turned boastful, telling of more lewd things he had done with his harem, Allura quickly shut off the radio. She told herself she was only upset because the women he had done those things to were slaves, their choices taken away from them. She didn’t care how he pampered them, a slave was a slave, no matter how adored.
Eventually, after a day and a half of traveling, and covering thousands upon thousands of light years, they reached Arus. Allura’s nerves began to wind up, tension coiling in her body. She was so nervous about facing Nanny, she almost felt fear! She thought to herself that Nanny had to be part Keraclon herself, to be able to cause such a reaction in her.
Coran and Nanny were waiting for them on the front lawn of the castle, the advisor’s face grave and concerned. Allura was surprised Nanny didn’t suspect anything from the look on Coran’s face alone, but then Coran usually looked that serious.
The lion’s landing stirred up the wind, Nanny struggling to keep her skirts and petticoats from blowing up. Allura did the shut down procedures, delaying as long as she could before exiting her lion. It appeared Lance had the same idea, for he was the last to come down, Lotor nowhere in sight. Keith frowned, and immediately rushed over to Lance, his voice raised in a shout.
“You left him alone in your lion?!”
“Relax Keith.” Lance tried to calm him, patting the key on his uniform’s breast. “Our guest is going nowhere. Not without this.”
“Yeah Keith, it’s not like he’ll be able to hot wire the lion!” spoke up Pidge, and Keith shot an angry glare at green lion’s pilot.
Nanny had rushed over to throw her arms around Allura, seeming not to notice how she stiffened in response. “Oh princess, thank goodness you are safe!” The older woman was exclaiming. “I was so worried, and then when we got your message that you were off investigating some signal….”
“I’m fine Nanny. See? Not a scratch on me.” That wasn’t entirely true, Allura knew she had a few small cuts that were hidden under her uniform’s fabric.
“But still.” Nanny let out an angry hmph of sound. “You should have never gone on that survival exercise in the first place. It was simply too dangerous!”
“The exercise wasn’t dangerous.” Pidge piped in. “It was answering that distress signal that really made for a troublesome time!”
“What? What do you mean?” Nanny demanded, even as Keith continued to shout at Lance.
“Keep your voice down Keith!” Lance hissed, giving a jerk of his head in Nanny’s direction. Keith ignored him, continuing to rant and rave about the situation in red lion. It distracted Nanny from Pidge and Allura, the woman frowning.
“You brought someone with you?” She asked, and Allura reluctantly nodded. “Ah, I know…it’s the person you rescued, isn’t it…?”
“You’re not that far off the mark.” Allura muttered, then sighed. “Nanny, this person is going to be staying with us for a while.”
“A guest?” Nanny asked, then frowned harder. “Why didn’t you tell me this sooner. None of the guests rooms have been prepared! Oh, I’ll have to work the maids double time to make room for your guest!”
“The dungeons would be better for scum like him.” Muttered Keith, causing confusion in Nanny.
“What does that mean?” She wanted to know, and suddenly every one, even Coran was looking at Allura. The princess fought the urge to fidget, making herself look at Nanny, appearing calm and collected on the outside.
“Our…guest isn’t the typical kind of person we welcome into the castle.” Allura began, wincing. “In fact..you could say guest is too nice a word for our association with him.”
“I don’t understand.” Nanny complained. “Stop talking in circles and just tell me who it is.”
“It’s…It’s Prince Lotor.” She didn’t need to say anymore, Nanny knowing who that was.
“Lotor of Doom?!” Allura nodded, almost flinching back at Nanny’s shout. “I will not have that fiend in the castle! I will not have him near the princess, he’s liable to do anything!”
“Calm down Nanny.” Lance said, and Allura instantly wished he’d be quiet. “He had plenty of alone time with Allura. And yet she’s still fine.”
“WHAT?!” Nanny roared, her eyes seeming to look Allura over, as though she could find some mark on her that would point to Lotor’s defilement of the princess. “When?!”
“It’s a long story Nanny.” Allura said, then hastened to do a short explanation. “Lotor was the one who sent out the distress signal. I rescued him and helped him escape his pursuers…”
“Why would you do a such a thing?!” Nanny wanted to know.
“He was being chased by the Keraclon.” A sharp gasp from Nanny, and for a second she looked fearful, making a holy sign over her chest to ward off the nightmares. “You can understand, can’t you?” Allura asked. “I couldn’t leave him to those monsters.”
“Even though he is as big a monster as those….wretched beings are?!” Nanny demanded.
“No one is worse than the Keraclon.” decided Hunk, and Allura made a mental note to thank him for that later.
“I don’t understand.” Nanny admitted. “If you saved him, you should have handed him over to Garrison and the Alliance. Let them deal with making him pay for his crimes. Why did you bring Lotor to Arus!?”
“It’s one of his conditions.” Keith’s tone was disgusted, his expression cold as he sneered.
“Conditions?! Since when do we bargain with a killer?!”
“Since he knows how to defeat the Keraclon. Permanently.” Explained Allura. Nanny’s eyes widened at that, she looked torn between wanting to believe, and denouncing Lotor as a liar.
“So we have to humor him.” Coran spoke now, and Nanny turned to look at him, her eyes narrowed.
“You knew about this, didn’t you?” She accused, and Coran nodded. “And you kept this from me? Hmph! I don’t think this is a good idea, but all right, bring him down. Captain Keith is right, we cannot allow Lotor to be left unattended inside one of the lions.”
“Right…” Allura was relieved, thinking Nanny was handling this better than expected.
“Okay…” Lance said, and returned to his lion. He disappeared inside, and silence descended upon them, Allura and the others seeming not to know what to say as they waited. It seemed to take longer than expected, Allura didn’t know what Lance was doing, and she almost worried that Lotor had turned traitor and overpowered the pilot. But eventually the two emerged, Lotor on a crutch and being helped down by Lance.
Nanny waited until Lotor was off of red lion before she approached him. She got right in his face, her eyes doing a slow scan of the prince in his ill fitting, borrowed clothes. Finally she let out a haughty sound. “Hmph. You don’t look so tough now.”
Lotor looked her over, and Allura wondered what he was thinking in the moment. “Madame, I can assure you. Even injured as I am, I am still capable of being a threat.” He did a slow smirk, purposefully flashing his fangs at her.
Nanny seemed to pale, though she didn’t back away from Lotor. Instead she let out a hiss of breath, and turned dramatic. “Did you hear that Allura?!” The woman demanded. “He just threatened me!”
“Nanny, he did no such thing.” Allura exclaimed, and Lotor didn’t help matters by leaning forward.
“Madame, you will know when I am being threatening towards you.”
Allura nearly threw up her hands, fed up with the exchange between the prince and the nanny. Coran took pity on her, and moved to guide Nanny away from Lotor. “Come Nanny.” He said. “Why don’t you go and prepare a room for our guest?”
“I will not!” Nanny hissed. “I am not doing anything to make that fiend comfortable! He shouldn’t even be allowed inside the castle!”
“Nanny, I am in complete agreement with you.” Keith spoke up. “Lotor, we brought you to Arus. Save us all a lot of time and aggravation and tell us what you know!”
“Come now, the least you can do is make me comfortable.” Lotor argued. “It’s been a long journey, and the accommodations inside the lion were hardly adequate.”
Allura almost felt sorry for him then, thinking it couldn’t be comfortable for him, sitting on the cold, metal floor of the lion. Handcuffed to it’s ladder, his one arm broken and in a sling, his ankle twisted. “All right Lotor…we can do that much for you.”
“Thank you Allura.” He smiled at her, and Nanny made an upset sound to see it. “Of course….we have quite a few things to talk about. Would you care to join me for dinner later on?”
“Look at him, he thinks he’s Mr. Smooth.” Commented Pidge in a staged whisper.
Allura was taken aback by his invite, blinking owlishly at Lotor. “I uh…”
“Of course I would like to dine with you alone.” He continued. then glanced at Nanny. “See to it that fresh flowers are brought to my room. And have the cook prepare his signature dish.”
“You’re not going to enjoy the princess’ company!” Nanny growled. “Not this night, not ANY night!”
“She’s right Lotor. I will not meet with you. Certainly not alone.” Allura said, and was surprised by Lotor’s smirk.
“That’s fine with me Allura. But do keep this in mind. The longer you refuse to dine with me, the longer it will take for me to remember any tidbits about the Keraclon.”
“That’s blackmail!” She exclaimed, and he continued to smirk.
“Call it what you like.”
“Lotor, you bastard! Stop manipulating Allura!” That was from Keith, who took a step towards Lotor, fists raised as though he wanted to take a swing at the prince. Hunk quickly moved to stand between the two men, holding his hands up in a gesture meant to calm Keith.
“Fine Lotor!” Allura was angry, face red in reflection of that. “I’ll meet you on tonight.”
“Alone Allura.” He reminded her, and she nodded. “And wear something pretty.” He continued, his next words were such that Hunk was barely able to keep Keith off of Lotor. “Something short and backless.”
“Lotor, you scum!” hissed Keith, bristling with impotent rage. Lotor ignored the insult, using his crutch to walk awkwardly towards the caste’s gates. He nodded to Coran as he passed by, the advisor looking put upon as he moved to follow the prince. No one trusted Lotor enough to allow him unlimited access to the castle, he would be escorted at all times, save for when he was in his room.
Nanny was wringing out her apron, hinting at how nervous and upset she was by the prince’s words. She was staring in the direction of the castle, eyes tracking Lotor and Coran’s progress. If looks could kill, Lotor would have been struck down by the daggers that were Nanny’s eyes.
“You’re not really gonna meet with him alone, are you?” Pidge wanted to know, and Allura sighed.
“What else can I do? If I want to get him to tell us what he knows….I have to play along with his games.” She flushed then, unable to keep from getting flustered. “I just hope he doesn’t take it too far.”
“Too far?!” Nanny whirled around, her eyes alarmed. “What do you mean by too far?!”
“It’s nothing Nanny.” Allura said, wondering why the kiss Lotor had forced on her had just sprang to mind. “Let him have his fun. In the end it won’t matter. We’ll use what he knows, defeat the Keraclon, and hand him over to Garrison.”
It was perhaps a sneaky maneuver on her part, but Allura was certain she had never promised Lotor he would have his freedom long term. She was determined to trick him, to get both the answers the galaxy so desperately needed, and put away one of the Denubian’s most dangerous criminals. A dinner and some one sided flirtation seemed the least she could endure, Allura hoping to wheedle out of Lotor everything he knew tonight.