Just a heads up. I went and changed the ending to chapter 50. I’m much happier with the change now…
The crystal goblet was a thing of fragile beauty, bearing fiber thin cracks in it’s surface from how tightly his fingers held onto it. The amber liquid sloshed inside it’s crystal chamber, pearling through the cracks to wet his finger tips. Anymore tension, and it would shatter, leaving him gripping broken shards in his hand. It was all the more reason to hurry, Lotor lifting the goblet to his lips, draining it dry of the brandy inside it’s center.
None too gently he set the goblet down on the stand next to him, hearing the tinkle of broken glass as the crystal split into shards, slicing into his fingers. A vicious curse tore from his lips, Lotor dropping the crystal’s remains, bringing bloodied fingers to his lips. His blood tasted coppery and warm, Lotor licking at his wounds, a growl emerging from his throat.
It was the perfect end to a less than stellar day, Lotor staring glumly at his hand. Just as it had started with the spilling of his blood, now it chose to end it in the same manner. He sighed, but made no move to get up, going as far as to lean back in his chair.
A hiss of air was heard, breaking up the silence in the room. Lotor barely reacted, only looking out the corner of his eye as the crack in the door grew wider, spilling the light of the hall into the darkened room. A tall figure appeared in the now open doorway, one hand on his hip as he surveyed the inside of the room. A tsking sound was heard, moments before the man stepped inside, hand seeking out the panel on the wall.
The room was instantly flooded with light, Lotor blinking his eyes, and stifling a growl at the sudden intensity of it. He caught sight of dirty white hair, the tangled strands spilling out underneath a double horned helmet. Yellow eyes looked at him, unreadable for the moment as the man sighed, allowing the metal door to slide close behind him.
“Cossack.” Lotor said, relaxing even more now that he knew his visitor wasn’t a threat.
“Your highness…Just what is going on?” Demanded Cossack, the Drule slowly making his way towards the chair Lotor lounged on. “I come to see you, and find your room all but in shambles, all traces of your presence erased, Allura anxious and alone.”
“It had to be done, Cossack.” Lotor said, seeing the commander frowning at him. “We had to separate for the good of the relationship.” A wry twisting of his lips, Lotor sighing. “If we’re to have a future, we have to work on our present.”
“What are you babbling on about?” Cossack asked, his eyes doing a quick survey of the empty bottles sitting on the stand next to Lotor. There was even a bottle upturned on it’s side, it’s blood red liquid spilling onto the carpet. It was surely a small fortune in blood wine that Lotor spilled, but the prince could hardly bring himself to care, choosing instead to stare morosely at the wall that separated him from Allura.
“Just how much have you drank?” Cossack hurried over to right the bottle, carefully avoiding the crystal shards on the stand’s surface. He silently counted the number of empty bottles, brows being drawn together in surprise.
“Enough.” Lotor said, proud that he wasn’t slurring his speech. “Enough to make it easier….” Another sigh, the sound heavy and full of regret. “Enough to make it so I don’t want her half as much as I normally do.” He turned to look at Cossack, expression unguarded as he tried to explain. “She doesn’t want to marry me.”
“I wasn’t aware Allura had a choice in the matter.” Cossack said, his words causing Lotor to snort angrily.
“She shouldn’t. But she does…” Lotor didn’t quite moan, bringng a hand to cover his face. “Am I being foolish, giving her choices, letting her dictate to me where our relationship goes?!”
“Er…not foolish…not exactly no…” Cossack was clearly uncomfortable with this line of questioning, shifting from foot to foot as though he sought to make a break from the room.
“I must be insane.” Lotor dropped his hand, reaching into his pocket to remove the discarded half of Allura’s slave collar. Cossack’s eyes immediately widened at the sight of it, the man quick to ask a question.
“Hey isn’t that…..?”
“I set her free Cossack. Free.” Lotor’s fingers clenched tight around the silver band.
“You didn’t!” protested Cossack, but he too stared at the proof in Lotor’s hand. “Why?”
“It was the only way.” Lotor shrugged his shoulders, eyes on the largest jewel set in that band of metal. “I wanted to prove to her I changed…that I love her.”
“Did it work?” Cossack asked. Lotor immediately fixed a furious glare at the commander, the Drule raising his hands defensively. “I’m sorry. Obviously it didn’t, if you’re sharing separate rooms now.”
A short burst of bitter laugh from Lotor, the prince wearing a grimace on his face. “That was my idea…and damn if I don’t already regret it!” He moaned again, shaking his head. “I’ve made a deal with her Cossack. A stupid wager that has the potential to cost me everything.”
“What did you do?” Cossack wanted to know.
Lotor hesitated, his mind not yet clouded enough with drink to forget his tongue’s traitorous promise to Allura. “I put a time limit on love.” Lotor reached for a bottle, choosing to drink directly from it’s neck.
“Uh sire…” Cossack’s voice was cautious, the man lifting a hand towards Lotor. “Perhaps you’ve had enough.” At the angry look from the prince, Cossack sighed, hand lowering. “Guess not.”
“I told her, told Allura that we will have nine more months together. Nine months for me to properly woo her. If I can’t convince her in that time frame…” It almost hurt to get out the words, Lotor gritting his teeth as he spoke. “I’ll let her go.”
“Go?” Cossack was puzzled. “What do you mean? Didn’t you already set her free?”
“I….I told her…” He couldn’t sit still any more, Lotor struggling to his feet. He began angrily pacing the length of the rooml, making angry gestures with his hands. “I told her that if in nine months time, if she still wanted to leave me…she could.” A hiss from Cossack, Lotor speaking over the sound. “That I would set her up on some distant planet, with money and a home to call her own.”
Lotor risked a glance at Cossack, seeing his commander stare at him shock. “You’re just going to let her go?” Lotor nodded, and Cossack all but exploded at that. “After all you did for her, all you risked…..hell, you started a damn war for the girl! Doesn’t she appreciate your efforts?!”
“Apparently not.” Answered a morose Lotor.
“What is she going to do on her own?” Cossack asked. “I mean…she’s no longer a princess….does she even have any marketable skills beyond being a pleasure slave?! And what about the baby?” Cossack’s eyes went wide. “The baby! She’s not going to take the baby with her, is she?!”
“Of course not!” Lotor barked out, anger clearing his head for one brief instant. “I am not that stupid. I will not be giving up my heir! No…” A self satisfied smirk, Lotor leaning against the wall. “Allura will have a choice to make. To stay with me and my child, or to leave us both to go off on her own.”
“Not many mothers could abandon their child like that.” Cossack noted.
“I’m counting on that.” Lotor replied. “I’ll settle for any reason that she stays with me, even if it’s not for love. Even if my feelings go unreturned, just so long as I have her in my life, it will be enough.” A whisper then, Lotor sinking to his knees. “It has to be.”
“….Remind me never to fall in love…” Cossack said, breaking the silence that followed Lotor’s words. The prince jerked his head up, looking at the grim faced Cossack. “It seems to bring nothing but heart ache.” Continued the Commander, causing Lotor to nod his head.
“It’s horrible.” Lotor announced. “I’ve yet to reap the so called rewards of love. This emotion is difficult to tame, I can’t bend it to my will…instead I find myself jumping through hoops to please her. Love is a harsh mistress.”
“Can’t be any harsher than Queen Merla.” Cossack said, Lotor snatching onto the change of topic he offered.
“The Queen? Is there any news of her?” Lotor asked, and Cossack nodded.
“It’s why I came looking for you.” A glance at his throat, Cossack eyeing the jagged cut Lotor bore on his skin. “I heard about the day’s assassination attempt. Seems it wasn’t the only attempt by Merla. We found another wanna be assassin, the fool was trying to go after the king. Naturally his lordship is very displeased by this.”
Lotor snorted at that understatement. “Merla’s made a big mistake. My father may have overlooked her as a harmless nuisance before this, but now he will take this war very personally.”
“Yes, King Zarkon has already sent an official declaration of war to Queen Merla. The news has already been broken on the air waves, although it lacks certain details such as just why you were onboard the Elite.” Cossack looked harried. “No doubt it won’t be long before the Queen issues her own statement. It will not paint you in a good light to our people.”
“That’s for the castle’s press representative to handle.” Retorted Lotor. “She’ll find a way to do damage control or else.”
“Yes. Still it won’t look favorable for you, your madcap rescue of a slave. Your concern for Allura will make headlines, I’m sure it’ll be all the people can speak of for days.” Lotor groaned at this, the sound of which had Cossack unsuccessfully hiding a grin. “Of course…” Cossack was quick to add, trying to find a bright spot to this disaster. “It helps that Allura is pregnant with your heir. The people may just become a tad more understanding because of that. I mean….the people do like the thought of the royal family line being extended. And women are suckers for babies.”
Lotor said nothing, just continued to kneel on the floor, his mind fuzzy around the edges. He could feel the weight of Cossack’s eyes on him, the commander frowning in disapproval. “Damn but this thing with Allura has made you a mess.” Cossack sighed. “Ordinarily you’d already be formulating battle strategies…but in this current state, you’re no good for that.”
“I’ll be fine.” Lotor insisted, stumbling as he tried to stand. “I just need to sleep it off.”
“You need a cold shower, is what you need.” Cossack grumbled. “I’ll go get a harem girl to help you bathe.”
“No…” Lotor shook his head. “I can manage on my own.”
“You sure about that?” Cossack asked. “Might help with some of that pent up frustration you have for Allura.”
“No. It doesn’t work.” Lotor tried to keep from sounding anguished, leaning heavily against the wall. “Don’t you understand Cossack?! No matter how many girls I fuck, no matter how much they look like her, act or don’t act like her, it’s still not the same. I want her…I can’t get her out of my mind…it’s useless to even try.”
“I…I’m sorry.” Cossack said, voice low. “But if it’s that bad when she is so close at hand…well how are you gonna handle it when she’s separated by thousands of light years from you?”
“I don’t know…” Lotor whispered. His hair had fallen into his eyes, Lotor angrily brushing it back. “I don’t even know if I can go through with this promise to her.”
“Then don’t.” Cossack said bluntly. “Keep her. Do whatever you have to, but don’t let her get away from you.”
Lotor heaved a sigh. “Then she’ll hate me even more.”
“At least you’ll have her.” Cossack pointed out. “She needs to be made to understand…humans…slaves….don’t get a choice. Not in the Doom Empire. She may not be a slave anymore, but she still has no rank here. You’re giving her too much power in this relationship.”
Lotor stumbled past him, heading towards the apartment’s bedroom door. Cossack continued to talk, turning to track his movements as Lotor got the door open. “Are you even listening to me?”
“Enough lectures Cossack…I’m tired. This day has dragged on for far longer than I like.” The commander wisely did not follow him into the bedroom, Lotor hearing Cossack swear softly at his exit. The prince paused and stared at the bed, noting how empty it looked without Allura in it. This room lacked her essence, the air empty of her hair’s sweet perfume, the lights dim compared to how Allura brightened her surroundings with her presence.
He wondered if she was even missing him, if the lack of his presence by her side troubled her sleep. Right now he wanted nothing more than to go to her, even if it was just to sneak a glimpse of her angelic face. “I’ve no self control…” muttered Lotor, shrugging out of his shirt. “I’ll never be satisfied with just looking at her.” He angrily kicked off his boots, fingers on the button fly of his trousers, inwardly hoping that a new day would make things easier on him.