He walked with a purpose, pace brisk and hurried, the servants struggling to keep up with him. He didn’t so much as spare a glance behind him, confidant they were following. No, Lotor didn’t waste even a single thought on the men hurrying after him, his attention focused all on the girl in his arms. She was curled up as best she could, hands clinging to his back, her face hidden from sight. Allura had been quiet since they boarded the ship, not even a pained whimper escaped her, not even when a soldier crashed into Lotor, jostling them both.
It had to have hurt, her injuries were great, and yet she had held her tongue, remaining silent. That silence worried Lotor, the prince fearing she was losing consciousness once more. That fear made him step quicker, hurrying towards the rear of the ship where the sleeping quarters lay.
A servant broke into a run, passing by Lotor as he hurried to reach the door and get it open for the prince. Lotor did not so much as nod at the man, striding forward into the lavishly appointed cabin. Even at it’s small size it was impressive, with the comforts of home laid out across the carpets. Lotor immediately gravitated towards the bed, the servant making a protesting sound.
“Your higness….the sheets….she’ll get blood on the silk.”
It was only the fact that he had left his sword behind on Merla’s ship, that Lotor didn’t react by lopping off the servant’s head. He growled out an angry retort, as he gently set Allura down on the bed. “Then we will just have to burn them, won’t we.”
Allura was still clinging to him, a desperate hold she was reluctant to relinquish, Lotor gently prying her hands free of his body. She ended up perched on the edge of the bed, keeping her exhausted frame up right as she stared at Lotor with an agonized expression.
“Get me clean water and disinfectant.” Lotor ordered. “Some gauze and cotton.”
“Yes, your highness.” The two servants scurried off, one rushing to retrieve the room’s first aid kit, the other disappearing into it’s private bathroom. Lotor sat down next to Allura on the bed, his hands reaching for her once more. She seemed to lean into his touch, shivering at the contact of his fingers on her waist.
“You should lie down.” Lotor’s tone offered no refusal, the prince already turning her towards the bed. Blood dripped off her back and onto the sheets, Allura wincing as he moved her. “It’ll be better if you lie down on your stomach for now.” He advised, Allura nodding. Her front was unmarked, a small miracle in itself, the girl pressing her naked body against the cool sheets.
Lotor held in a displeased hiss, looking at the extent of her injuries. His hand hesitated over her red soaked hair, fingers slow to peal away the sticking strands from her skin. Little by little, coming away in sticky clumps, her upper back was revealed, a large gash torn in across her right shoulder blade.
“Here your highness.” The servant’s voice was soft, presenting him with the bowl of water. The other put the first aid kit on the bed, snapping it open and reaching for the cotton washcloth. He went to touch Allura, and she made a sound, fearfully flinching back from his hand. The servant made a frustrated sound, moving again to touch her shoulder when Lotor’s fingers closed around his wrist.
“I’ll do it.”
The servant’s eyes widened, the man shaking his head no. “Prince Lotor….such a task is beneath you!”
Nothing was beneath him when it came to the woman he loved, Lotor jerking his head in the direction of the door. “Leave us. Both of you.” His nostrils flared, Lotor raising his voice. “I order you!”
“Yes, my prince.” The servant said, handing over the washcloth to Lotor. The two servants exchanged glances, then shrugged, heading towards the room’s exit. Lotor waited until the door slid shut, then dipped the cloth into the bowl of water.
“Thank you.” Whispered Allura, causing to Lotor to cock his head.
“For getting rid of them…for…for not letting him touch me.” She explained. “I…I don’t think I could stand to be touched by anyone but you…”
Her words almost got him to smile, Lotor’s serious expression giving way to surprise. He didn’t say anything in response to her confession, gently bringing the wash cloth to her back. He placed it just above the gash on her shoulder blade, washing at the skin around the tear. Even though he had yet to touch the injury, she shuddered, body breaking out into goose bumps as she moaned in pain.
“I’m sorry.” Lotor said. “I have to clean you….it’ll hurt….but if we act quickly, infection won’t set in.”
“I know.” Her voice sounded teary, Allura resigned to her fate.
Carefully, he touched the cloth to her gash, hearing her let out a hiss. Lotor flinched at the sound, his eyes turning angry as he cursed Morwin, wishing he could bring the man back to life and kill him a second time. He damned Merla for interfering with his torture of her son, feeling Morwin hadn’t suffered enough for what he had done for Allura.
There was so much blood on Allura’s back, the cloth soon turned red with it. And still it remained, clinging to her rump and the back of her thighs, cuts and bruises all over her skin. There was even welts just above the back of her knees, Morwin being efficient in covering her skin with the whip’s lash.
Lotor tossed aside the cloth, and began tearing strips of the silk, using the expensive material as a new wash cloth on Allura. It took five more swatches of the silk to get the blood cleaned up off her, Lotor relieved that most of the bleeding had stopped except for the gash on her shoulder. He now turned his attention towards the first aid kit, removing a bottle of disinfectant.
“This will sting.” Came his warning, Lotor pouring a generous amount onto the gash. It bubbled, Allura reacting with a scream, her hands grabbing at a pillow. She bit down on the soft cushion, trying to stifle her voice, Lotor dabbing at the gash with a dry cotton ball.
When her trembling lessened, Lotor set to packing gauze against the injury, Allura lifting up slightly, so he could wind the gauze around her body. He made it tight, hoping that would stop the blood flow, winding several loops of the gauze over it.
“Allura…just what happened to cause Morwin to do this to you?” Lotor asked, tying off the gauze. She lowered herself back onto the bed, hesitating to speak. His hands took hold of the disinfectant once more, Lotor spilling some onto her other cuts and tears. She made a muffled sound, but didn’t react as strongly this time. He washed her wounds with the cleansing liquid, fingers tracing the lesser welts, knowing that many of the cuts would scar.
He felt sadness and guilt at the thought, knowing her scars would forever be a reminder of how he had failed to protect her from his father’s schemes. He didn’t realize he was growling until Allura turned to look at him, eyes looking frightened.
“I’m not mad at you.” He was quick to reassure her, and she sighed in relief. “If anything….I am mad at myself.”
“Yourself?” She asked, curious.
“For letting this happen.” Lotor explained.
“It’s not your fault.” Her attempt to reassure him had him smiling, Lotor turning to hide the expression from her. He felt he had no right to smile while she was in pain, no right to feel any kind of pleasure after her ordeal. He busied himself digging in the first aid kit, fingers passing over various tubes and jars. “I…I bit him.”
Lotor looked up, surprise in his eyes, his hand on tube of ointment that had the potential to lessen scarring. “What?”
“I bit him…when he…” She looked away, her voice falling silent once more.
“What did he try to do to you Allura?” Lotor demanded, opening the tube’s cap. He brought it to her skin, letting the white cream coat one of her welts. “I have to know.”
“It’s in the past…” Allura began, and Lotor let his voice come out a sharp command.
“He….He tried to…” Her words were coming out broken, her voice sounding so hoarse from all the screaming she had done earlier. “In my mouth….he tried to stick it in my mouth. I….bit him for that….”
His fingers were rubbing the ointment into her cuts, all but slathering the cream over every available inch of her back. When he heard what Morwin had tried to do, his other hand tightened around the tube, ointment being forced out at an alarming rate. He looked at the mess on his hand, and then brought it to her thighs, rubbing the cream into the cuts there.
“And for that he nearly whips you to death?” Lotor angrily hissed, Allura turning to peer at him over her shoulder.
“Can you say you would have not reacted in the same manner?” Her question was bold, Allura’s eyes staring searchingly at him. Lotor hesitated, thinking about it. He tried to imagine what his reaction would be if a slave had bit him in such a delicate spot. He had a feeling he’d be no less forgiving then Morwin had been.
“That doesn’t excuse him.” Lotor said at last. “He shouldn’t have tried to….”
“To what?” Allura asked, gaze unflinching as she looked at Lotor. “To rape me? Isn’t that what a slave girl is for….?”
She was turning his perceptions upside down, making Lotor question what was right and what was wrong. He couldn’t answer her question, setting the ointment down as he just stared at her.
She was the first to look away, staring back at the bed sheets. Lotor reached for the gauze, and began wrapping it around her body, practically turning her into a mummy as he covered her from shoulder blade to the back of her knees. He glanced at the gauze on her right shoulder blade, holding back a curse as seeing it was starting to redden. The damn thing was still bleeding, and Lotor was at the end of his medical expertise.
It made him wish he had had the foresight to bring a doctor onboard his ship. But there had been no time, Lotor in a hurry to chase after Allura. His fleet was being flown by a veritable skeleton crew, the minimum amount of technicians onboard. He gave a shake of his head, sighing as he went to draw off his tunic, Allura glancing at him at the sound of his uniform rustling.
“Here…” He handed it to her. “Put this on. It’ll cover you until we can get you back to Doom and into some real clothes.”
Her movements were slow, her face showing her pain as she lifted her arms, pulling the tunic over her head. Lotor reached for the ends, drawing it down her body, watching how it bagged around her frame. The hem came down past her knees, and her hands were all but invisible, covered by the sleeves. Lotor couldn’t resist smiling, fingers reaching to roll up the sleeves on her arms.
“Thank you.” She said simply, and he nodded.
“I don’t deserve your thanks.” Lotor said, his smile disappearing with his sigh. “There’s so much to tell you….about my father and what he has done. Why you were brought to that ship, why you were made to suffer…” She was watching him, blue eyes curious. “And it all leads back to me.” Lotor finished with a whisper. “Because of my….my feelings for you…”
“Your feelings?” Allura echoed, and Lotor suddenly jerked away from her. He stood, his hands going to his hair, fingers trying to set right the rumpled strands. He didn’t look at Allura, frowning.
~What am I doing?!~ He thought to himself. ~Why am I so close to telling her everything I feel?! When I swore I would never tell her I love her.~ He knew it was foolish, knew that admitting such a thing would put them all in danger. But, and Lotor was loathe to admit this, the greatest danger was admitting to this girl he loved her, not knowing what her reaction would be to such a claim.
It made him pace, an agitated walk before her, Allura silent and patient as she watched him. “Forget I said anything.” Lotor said at last, avoiding looking at Allura. “It’s all been a big misunderstanding. My father leaping to conclusions, and imagining things.”
“Oh.” Even to him that sound of hers was sad, Lotor frowning harder.
“Donovan is still out there.” He said, trying to change the subject. “Don’t worry Allura. I will find him, and make him pay for his hand in your suffering.”
“Please….you’ve done enough.” Allura said, and now he glanced at her, seeing her head lowered so that she looked at her lap. “More than enough for someone who is nothing more than a slave to you.”
How wrong she was, Lotor taking a step towards her. He wasn’t sure what he was going to say, and perhaps his moment of heartfelt foolishness was spared by the sound of Cossack’s voice echoing over the intercom system.
“Prince Lotor, we are now approaching the castle. We should be landing any minute now.”
Lotor stepped over to the intercom control panel, pressing down on a button. “Excellent. I…we’ll be down shortly. Lotor out.”
“Allura…? Can you walk?” Lotor asked, and she lifted her head.
“I think so.” She started to stand, and though she did not cry out, her face scrunched up in pain. Lotor was immediately there, sweeping her into his arms. “You don’t have to do this.” She protested, squirming slightly.
“I want too.” Lotor insisted, holding her close against his bare chest. He walked over to the door, using his elbow to hit the open button. The door lifted with a hiss, Lotor spotting the dismissed servants lurking outside the entrance. They turned at the sound, looking guilty to have been caught hovering. Except for one brief look, Lotor paid them no mind, strolling down the hall with Allura in his arms.
It took him several minutes to reach the middle of the ship, and by that time the fleet was setting down on the landing strip outside the castle’s entrance. Cossack was waiting for Lotor, an anxious look on his face as he stood next to the exit ramp of the ship. ~What now?~ Lotor wondered, nodding at Cossack.
“Prince Lotor….I need to warn you. Your father’s men have us surrounded.” Cossack was wringing his hands together, his whole body tense. “I don’t know how we’re going to get out of this one.”
“We’ll manage.” Lotor said, his voice confidant. Inwardly he was sighing, wondering that same question. “Tell them to stand down as we exit the ship.”
“Are you sure that’s wise?” Cossack asked.
“Allura needs a doctor. You do too.” Lotor said, with a glance at his commander’s shoulder. “We have limited supplies, at best we could only hole up on the ship for two days with the amount of food rations we have.”
“We could always try to flee to space…” Cossack began, trailing off at Lotor’s head shake.
“I will not be driven from my home. Besides…” A wry look, Lotor chuckling. “My father would send the rest of the fleet to shoot us down.”
“Wonderful…” Cossack sighed, and pulled out his communicator. He relayed the order Lotor had given, the two men pausing, waiting for confirmation from Zarkon’s men. It came within a few minutes, Lotor relaxing slightly.
“Well, it’s show time commander.” Lotor said, and Cossack sighed.
“And I have a ringside seat for the fun…” He grumbled, walking over to open the ship’s doors. They hissed and hummed, sweeping apart and extending a ramp down to the tarmac below. Lotor peered out of the ship’s exit, seeing a spot light shine onto his face, making him and Allura squint.
Through the slits in his eyes, Lotor could see hundreds upon hundreds of Doom soldiers, lined up in three rows, curving around the ship. They had their blasters drawn, trained on the ship’s ramp, and in the distance Lotor could see a few battle tanks, with their large gray cannons aimed at the Flag ship.
“Still wanna go through with this?” Cossack murmured through closed lips.
“Yes.” Lotor said, and with that he was setting foot on the metal ramp. Immediately guns were trained on him, the soldiers tensing at the sight of their prince. From this distant he couldn’t see their faces, couldn’t read their expressions to know how they felt to be threatening him. Lotor straightened his shoulders, hefting Allura more securely against him, and took another step forward.
No one shot at him, and he got halfway down the ramp, when an angry voice was heard. “Lotor!”
To the prince’s astonishment, King Zarkon clad in black and red robes pushed his way through the line of soldiers, disrupting the rows. Lotor was sure his jaw dropped, gaping open in surprise to see the king out on the landing strip. It had been years, maybe decades since Zarkon had last seen fit to leave the safety of his castle walls. Such a rare occurrence could mean only one thing—-Zarkon was pissed beyond measure.
“Lotor my worthless and troublesome son!” Zarkon was waving his scepter around, each swing of his arm causing soldiers to duck to avoid being hit. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t kill the BOTH of you this instant!”
He was deadly serious, Zarkon incensed and seeming all too eager to give the command that would have the soldiers open fire on Lotor and Allura. The seconds seemed to tick by, everyone waiting on Lotor’s answer. The prince took his time, speaking loudly, his voice shouting so that it carried to the ears of all the soldiers. “Because!” Lotor began, looking Zarkon straight in the eye. “She is pregnant with my heir.”