Allura lay where Lotor had left her, her only reaction to his departure was to sit up, and draw her knees close to her chest. She sniffled, free to cry to her heart’s content now that she was alone, Allura hugging her arms around her knees. She missed that, missed being touched in a manner that was not lustful but friendly, Allura wishing for the kind comfort of another soul to guide her through these dark times.
She lowered her head, bringing it to rest against the tops of her knees, letting her tears soak the skirt of her nightgown as she wept. Words echoed through her mind, angry accusations as she recalled the things Lotor and her cousin Romelle had said. “Is it really all my fault?” Allura wondered out loud, her voice sounding broken and hoarse. “Am I really to blame for Avok’s death?”
Allura closed her eyes, a shudder shaking her shoulders, the girl wanting nothing more than to let out a loud wail of grief. But she couldn’t block out the memories, once again seeing the moment Lotor’s sword severed Avok’s head from his neck. Avok had deserved better than that, his life lost, and his body defiled, Allura wondering if he had even been given a proper burial.
It hurt to think she had not been allowed to arrange a funeral for her dead fiancee and his brother, Allura grieving as she thought of them being dumped in some unmarked grave on ground that was not consecrated for burial. A part of her knew that was the most likely fate for Avok and Bandor, the girl having caught sight from the balcony window the wagons full of the recently deceased. So many had been killed, the carts filled to the brim, tarp doing little to hide the limbs that stuck out of it’s sides.
She hadn’t had the nerve to ask Lotor where they were being taken, not sure she wanted to know what was being done with the bodies removed from the castle. She didn’t know what kind of rituals the Drules practiced for the dead, Allura having a hunch that they would not extend those practices towards their enemies.
Everything seemed so barbaric about the Drules, Allura having yet to see one good thing about the people who had enslaved her. It shouldn’t have surprised her that Lotor had had Bandor killed, Allura’s eyes growing wetter as she thought of the young boy who had never had the chance to grow into a man. Foolishly, she hadn’t questioned Lotor about Bandor’s fate, preferring instead to live in hopeful ignorance.
That had all come crashing down in the face of Romelle’s arrival, the princess inadvertently revealing to Allura that both her brothers were dead. Murdered, a fact she blamed on Allura, hatred brimming in Romelle’s eyes.
“If only he had never loved you.” Romelle had hissed. venom dripping from each and every word. “If only he had never laid eyes on you. My brothers would still be alive! None of this would have happened!”
“Is she right?” Allura whispered out loud, not expecting an answer to her question. “Is it really all my fault?” Lotor had agreed with Romelle, telling her awful things, Allura only understanding half of what he said. But she knew enough to know he blamed her as much as he did himself, Lotor angry as he said desire for her drove him to do these things. He had said Avok had shared that same desire, but Allura couldn’t imagine Avok ever doing half of the things Lotor did to her.
Avok was kind and gentle, where Lotor was cruel. Avok’s desire for her had held the purity of love to it, she knew that, had seen it shine in his eyes when he looked at her. Avok had never raised an angry hand to her, had never said a mean word to her. Lotor just seemed to grow worse as the days went by, as angry as he was lustful, Allura wondering if he hated her to look at her with such tortured eyes.
“Avok…” She whispered his name, a slight hiccup escaping her. She conjured up an image of him, not of the last time she had seen him, dead by Lotor’s hand, but of another time. Of happier days, when their laughter filled the castle, and all who saw them smiled.
Allura could recall the smell of the flowers, their perfume hanging heavy in the air as she walked hand in hand with Avok through the castle’s gardens. His hand had engulfed hers, leading not dragging her among the rows of colorful flora, Avok constantly pausing to turn and smile at her. She had been smiling too, unable to keep the happiness off her face, dropping occasional glances towards the engagement ring on her finger.
He had proposed to her among the flowers, stealing a chaste kiss from her at her acceptance of his pledge to her. How Allura wished she had pushed for an early marriage, perhaps then none of this would have happened. Indeed if she had married Avok sooner, she would have been gone from Arus, safe on Pollux and away from Lotor’s hands. Arus would have still fallen, her father still slain by King Zarkon, but she would have been safe.
It was a selfish thought, but she had greater motivation than self preservation. For if she had been living on Pollux, Avok would never have needed to invite the Drules to the planet. There would have been no need to try and rescue her, no need to plunge the planet into slavery all for one girl. The burden weigh heavy on her shoulders now that Romelle had opened Allura’s eyes to all that had occurred, the princess of Pollux pointing out that everything that had happened, every person killed, every town burned, each and every slave, it all was Allura’s fault. And all because Avok had loved her enough to want to save her from Lotor!
Her tears trickled down her cheeks, faster yet, Allura quiet as she wept. She sat there for some time, just letting the tears flow, self recriminations echoing through her mind. When at last she moved, papers crinkled all around her, Lotor’s work spread out beneath her feet. Allura gave only a cursory glance at the documents, having no hope of understanding the written word of the Drules.
She slowly pushed herself up, holding onto the chair for support as she stood. She didn’t even bother smoothing down her dress, Allura staring blankly around the room. There was little in the way of entertainment, Allura left to wallow in self misery. She found being in this room was a million times worse than being inside the chamber allocated to the harem back on Doom. At least then she had company, the four girls from Arus there to distract her somewhat from her thoughts. Allura sighed, wondering if she’d ever see Sasperella and her twin again, wondering how long Lotor intended to keep her isolated here in this bedroom.
She began pacing, arms crossed over her chest so that her fingers gripped hold of her arms. Allura kept shivering as though she was cold, hands rubbing her arms to warm them, the princess continuing to walk back and forth across the floor. Her thoughts led her back to Romelle, Allura wondering what her cousin’s fate would be.
“I have to see her…” Allura decided, turning towards the door, a purposeful look in her eyes. “At the very least I have to tell her I am sorry…!” She reached the door, pulling it open. There were guards on the other side, they turned in surprise to look at her, words erupting from them, their voices harsh and angry.
Allura gasped as their spears crossed, barring her way. “Please!” Her tone was begging, urgent. “Let me pass!”
“No. Go back inside!” One told her, eyes narrowed as he stared at her. Allura shook her head, and more angry words were issued her way, the spears remaining crossed before her. She refused to move, the guards growing agitated by her stubbornness.
“Slave must stay and wait for Prince Lotor.” The guard told her, the other snickering.
“But…” Allura tried to think of the words, ready to beg them to at least take her to where the other harem girls were being kept. “Please…” She began just as footsteps approached them. The guards split their attention, one eyeing Allura, the other turning to see who the newcomer was.
“Allura!” It was Lotor, frowning at seeing her standing in the open doorway. At a word from him, the guards lowered their weapons, though they were cautious and alert for any sudden movements from Allura.
“Lotor….” Allura looked at him, her eyes still holding the weight of her sadness in them.
“Allura go back inside.” Lotor ordered, hand gesturing in a quick wave at the room. “Lotor play with Allura later.”
She managed to bite down on her lip, holding back an impassioned cry of no, Allura knowing how much Lotor hated it when she said that word to him. Instead she turned pleading eyes at him, Lotor looking surprised at the sight of them. “Lotor…..please! Let Allura see Romelle!”
“No.” He said it dismissively, a hint of impatience in his voice. Allura noticed he had more paperwork in his arms, the man surely busy and eager to return to his duties. “Lotor, please! Let me see Romelle….just this one time.”
“Allura no.” Lotor refused, and Allura cried out, frustration in her tone. She took a step forward, throwing herself in Lotor’s direction before the guards could think to stop her.
“Lotor please!” She begged him, hands grabbing at his shirt, Allura pressing her body against his. “Allura be good…..Allura promise….Just let me see Romelle…” His lips twitched, Lotor hesitating. She continued to beg him, repeating her entreaty over and over again, hugging herself as close as possible to Lotor. She heard the rattle of metal behind her, a guard moving to pull her off Lotor.
Lotor raised his hand, shaking his head no, the guard stepping back with a frown. “Allura…” Lotor touched her face, his fingers gripping her chin, raising her head to look up at him. “If I allow you to see Romelle….you promise not to give me any more trouble?”
Allura was nodding her head, ready to agree to almost anything in order to be assured a visit with her cousin. Lotor sighed, letting go of her chin to do a quick run of his fingers through her hair. “All right then Allura.”
“Lotor…..you mean it?” Allura asked excitedly. He nodded, a gruff expression on his face. She didn’t quite smile, but she hugged him tighter, feeling Lotor stiffen in surprise. “Thank you.” She whispered into his chest. “Thank you Lotor!”
Lotor didn’t respond, not to her, his voice stern as he fired off a rapid round of orders to the two guards. They answered back, their words just as quick and indecipherable as Lotor’s. The prince then placed his hand on her left shoulder, gently but insistently pushing her back. “Allura…” He turned her to face the guards, the men looking grumpy and annoyed. “Go with them. They’ll take you to Romelle.”
Allura nodded, reaching to catch Lotor’s hand. She gave it a soft squeeze, and then moved to step away from Lotor. But he grabbed at her, arm around her waist and pulled her to him. She barely made a sound, too surprised to react when he hauled her up on tip toe, Lotor bending to close the distance between them. He pressed his lips against hers, and for once she didn’t fight him, merely accepting the kiss. It was something she felt she had to do, the proof that she was keeping her promise to him, ready to endure anything in gratitude for being allowed to see Romelle once more.
The intimate exchange seemed to go on and on, Lotor hardly hurried as he kissed her. He took his time exploring her mouth, his tongue doing lavish strokes against hers, his fingers digging into her back. She merely held on to his shirt, doing a shy flicker of her tongue against his, the action seeming to satisfy Lotor into pulling back. He was breathing heavily, as though he had exerted himself a great deal, and his eyes seemed to smolder as he looked at her.
She could feel the blush forming on her cheeks, Allura lowering her eyes to avoid that heated gaze of Lotor’s. Without a word, he let go of her, Allura stumbling backwards from the lack of his arm’s support. She was still staring at the floor as he turned and walked away, only looking up when a guard barked an angry word at her, taking hold of her arm.
She didn’t protest the bruising grip on her arm, Allura moving in the direction the guard dragged her in. She was aware of her heart beating faster, something she attributed to the excitement of getting to see her cousin. But a part of her had to fight not to reach up and touch her lips, Allura still feeling the heat of Lotor’s mouth on hers. A traitorous thought whispered in her mind that for all his sweet kisses, Avok’s had never felt as good as the one Lotor had just bestowed on her.