The morning’s breakfast was laid out before her, a simple meal of colorful fruits, their skin glistening with drops of moisture. Various dips were interspersed between the platters of fruit, honeys and syrupy glazes, even whip cream. All meant to heighten the sweet taste of the fruit, to cause a sinfully good taste explosion in one’s mouth. Allura just stared at the table, her fingers prodding a selection of dark blue berries with a spoon.
She found she had no appetite, her actions listless as she looked over the various food stuffs, unable to bring herself to take even one bite. She wondered if her refusal to eat would bring Lotor to her, if the prince would finally put in an appearance if only to threaten and force her to eat.
It wasn’t the first time Allura thought of doing something that would force a confrontation between them, in fact it was a thought that occupied most of her free time. It had been more than a day since she had last seen Prince Lotor, his face twisted in anger as he pronounced her a liar. He hadn’t been back to the bedroom since, and that worried her though she was loathe to admit it.
She kept waiting for the other foot to fall, for something, anything to happen. This waiting game was driving her mad, affecting her sleep and her mood, her thoughts going round and round in circles. Paths that led all back to Lotor, Allura fearing his anger, fearing what way he would seek to punish her for not following through the other night.
The worry gnawed at her, it affected not only her appetite, but her moods, extending to restless nights where she tossed and turned. The bed seemed too big without him by her side, Allura missing the warmth of Lotor’s body as he lay snuggled up to her side.
When she did sleep, it was only for a few minutes at a time, Allura waking up with gasps, panicked and afraid. She had dreams, a manifestation of her inner turmoil, Allura sure she was awake and seeing Lotor standing over her, face solemn as he looked at her. Sometimes she thought he was real, could swear she heard his even breathing, felt his fingers on her skin. But then she’d slip back into sleep, and upon awakening he was gone, with no sign that he had ever been there in the first place.
She didn’t know if she could take this separation from Lotor for much longer, even as she wondered why she should care so much. Allura knew she should be rejoicing at the free time this afforded her, to be left alone and unburdened by the things he demanded she do with him. She was afraid, a blossoming fear that she was becoming accustomed to him, used to his touches and his actions, body conditioned to be left with a certain kind of longing. A longing she could not explain, finding when she tried to put it in words, at best the explanation that came to her was that she MISSED Lotor.
But that couldn’t be….she hated him, didn’t she? Allura knew she was frowning, troubled by her thoughts. She wanted to do something to distract herself, anything, and yet there was nothing to do in this bedroom but think. No entertainment was afforded to her, no books, no holos, not even a person to talk to. Not that she had anyone she could confide in, Sasperella and the other girls from Arus locked away in the harem on planet Doom. The servants who came to bathe and feed her were no better than the jealous harem girls here on Pollux, at best they ignored her, doing their duty without smile or spoken word.
Others were angry, surely blaming her like her cousin Romelle did, their actions harsh, eyes angry and full of accusation. And yet they dare not do anything to hurt her, not so long as it appeared she was still in Lotor’s favor. A favor Allura herself doubted, wondering where Lotor spent the past nights, and with whom.
She sighed, Allura rising to stand, her meal untouched. She began pacing about the bedroom, her long skirts dragging on the floor. Early this morning, after her bath, the servants had dressed her once more in the skimpy garments that suited a slave of the harem. The glossy satin material was cool against her skin, it’s colors a dazzling blue and gold, bringing out the color of her eyes and the highlighting the gold in her hair.
She wondered what it meant, to be dressed like this once more, having grown used to the coverage the simple night gown had offered her. Allura sighed, walking over the window, the doors that led to the balcony locked tight against her. She pressed against the glass doors, peering out into the courtyard. It was full of Doom soldiers, the Drules lines up in rows, marching out towards the gates in lines of three.
Allura hadn’t seen this many Doom soldiers gathered in one place since their arrival on planet Pollux, the girl wondering what such a display of power could mean. She squinted, trying to see if she could see Lotor standing amongst the groups of commanders spread out in the courtyard. But no sign of white hair was to be found, Allura feeling disappointed at the lost chance of seeing him.
She heard the door unlocking, Allura turning with high expectations in her heart. She didn’t smile, though she found herself holding her breath as she waited to see just who was coming into the bedroom. To her disappointment it was not Lotor, Allura seeming to deflate on the spot as she looked at the green skinned Drule, with his darker green head ridges.
“Come.” Ordered the man, voice a grating growl as he pointed at the spot before him on the floor.
It was the first time in days that someone had raised their voice to issue commands to her, Allura responding with a sigh as she moved towards the Drule. He nodded, but did not crack a smile, hand taking hold of her arm in a rough grasp that was this short of bruising. Allura didn’t protest the hold, moving when he began to drag her out of the room, wondering just where they were going.
~Perhaps he’s taking me to see Lotor!~ She thought without much hope in her heart. She started to open her mouth, a question on her lips when the Drule barked out a command.
With a frown, Allura sealed her lips shut, concentrating on keeping up with the Drule’s fast pace. She knew if she stumbled, he would continue to drag her, uncaring of helping her up.
He led her through somewhat familiar halls, Allura recognizing the guest bedrooms awarded to visiting nobility. But he did not stop at any of the rooms, turning round a sharp bend, and leading her towards darkened staircases. He chose the one leading downwards, issuing an order to hurry at her.
Allura heard the sound of voices, a buzz of conversation that grew louder the further they descended down the stairs. Her curiosity was peaked, Allura hurrying down the last steps, and stepping through the archway into a corridor packed with people. The gathered men and women barely spared a glance at her, too self consumed with their appointed tasks.
She recognized them as the servants Lotor had brought with him from Doom. They were laboring with large chests and parcels, carrying some of the acquired wealth from Pollux as they hurried through the halls. She soon realized they were bringing their loads outside the castle, their intentions to load as much goods as possible onto the Doom ships.
A pull on her arm had her stumbling after the Drule, Allura still gaping at the servants. “In, in!” grunted the Drule, pulling her into a room that had the gathered harem slaves milling about. They looked up at her entrance, and though they looked annoyed to see her, some of their earlier animosity was gone. In fact a few girls smiled, cruel smirks as if they knew something Allura did not.
“Stay.” Ordered the Drule, and then he was hurrying out the room. Allura was left standing alone, uncertain of what to do, and where to look. She spun in place, casting her eyes about for a distraction, noticing the window set in the corner. Wordlessly she moved towards it, peering out into the courtyard. From this vantage point she could see the ships, their ramps lowered, soldiers and servants boarding them.
She cast another look at the courtyard, and her breath caught in her throat as she spotted Prince Lotor. He was standing, surrounded by a small group of men, an unrolled document in his hands. The men were nodding in reply to something Lotor was telling them, the prince’s eyes on the document as he spoke. Allura stared at him, wishing he would turn and look her way, give her some sign of acknowledgment.
But none was coming, he was too consumed with his tasks, lowering the document, lips moving as he gave commands. Several of the men moved, intent on following through on his orders, and as they cleared out, a new figure was revealed. Shorter than any of the Drules that had swarmed around Lotor, the blonde’s back was to Allura. Her straight hair hung down past her shoulder blades, revealing a line of bare back and hips that were barely covered in blue silk.
Allura stared at her, wondering why she wasn’t the one accompanying the prince, when the blonde turned. Allura caught sight of her profile, pointed nose and thin lips smiling a sickening sweet smile at prince Lotor. She placed a flirtatious hand on his arm, Allura catching sight of the slaver’s brand on the back of her hand.
“Romelle…” whispered Allura, eyes wide with shock. As if hearing her name, Romelle turned once more, catching sight of Allura at the window. Slowly she grinned, a mocking look in her eyes as she clung tighter to the prince’s arm.
“It seems Allura has fallen out of favor with the prince.” A taunting voice from behind her, Allura barely reacting to the words. She was too consumed with staring at Lotor and her cousin, her heart pounding a furious beat of anxiety.
“It was only a matter of time after all.” Another voice said, and now there was laughter accompanying the words.
“Princess Romelle has been with Lotor these past twenty-four hours.” This voice she recognized, the Polluxian language being spoken. “I am not surprised.” Continued Nubeya. “if anyone had the charms to cast aside the spell you placed on the prince, it would be Romelle.”
“Romelle….was with Lotor all this time?” whispered a stunned Allura.
“Oh you did not know?” Another giggle, the sound grating on Allura’s nerves. “He requested her specifically.”
Allura said nothing, but her fingers tightened on the window sill, the color fleeing from her knuckles due to her tight grip. Her lack of outward emotion disappointed Nubeya and the others, she heard a sigh, and the shuffle of feet, the women moving away from Allura.
~It’s what you wanted.~ Allura told herself, biting her lower lip to keep from making a sound. ~You wanted him to find someone else. To fixate on someone, anyone other than you. So…~ She had to fight to keep from sniffling, feeling her eyes growing wet. ~Why does it hurt so much?~
She had no answers, merely staring dully out the window, her vision blurred so she could no longer see Romelle’s triumphant expression. The chatter from the gathered harem girls faded into the background, their conversation lost to her. She was barely aware when the green skinned Drule returned, this time accompanied by guards. They grunted out orders, hands gesturing impatiently for the girls to line up.
She moved like she was in a dream, joining the back of the line, her actions slow and unhurried. She moved when prodded with the blunt end of a spear, staring at the ground as she walked. There was barely a reaction from Allura when they were led outside, the sky blue and clear of storm clouds though a chill wind still blew in the courtyard.
The guards led the harem slaves towards the flag ship of the Doom fleet, ramp already lowered and lined with soldiers. It seemed they were returning to Doom, their time spent on Pollux over with. Still numb with shock, Allura stepped onto the ramp, listening to the metallic thumps of her footsteps. If she had chosen to look up in that moment, Allura would have seen prince Lotor watching her, a look of yearning on his face.