It had seemed like an innocent enough suggestion to Allura, the girl wanting to help Lotor in any way she could. She knew on the grand scale of things, a massage was little, and yet if she could help him relax enough to get some much needed sleep, she’d be happy. Lotor had seemed reluctant at first, needing to be coaxed into agreement, the Drule always so leery of anything that hinted at magic. But once resting on her lap, with her fingers caressing back his hair, a half smile had crossed his lips, Lotor relaxing against her.
She stroked her fingers all over his face, but focused much of her attention on rubbing his temples. When she felt some of the tension ease out of him, she began deviating from the technique Haggar had taught her. Allura found she missed touching Lotor, missed the feel of his skin beneath her finger tips. She was almost wistful as she touched him, brushing her thumb over his bottom lip in an absentminded manner.
She knew it had been ages since he had last kissed her, and if she searched her feelings she’d find she truly missed that shared experience. She was so lost in her thoughts, finger moving sensuously over his lip, that she nearly gasped when his eyes opened. He had asked her a question, and she had been unable to fight the blush, blurting out a half truth about wanting to never forget his face.
Her words had moved him into action, Lotor reaching up to touch her cheek. It took little amount of guidance from him, the prince pulling her down as he moved her hand away from his face, blue lips puckered for the kiss he was about to claim. She said his name, and it was lost against his lips, Allura hearing Lotor moan with pleasure to be kissing her once more.
It quickly turned into heat, passion flaring as he kissed her. She could sense how hungry he was for this contact, and to her surprise she mirrored his need, working her mouth urgently against his. But even as she kissed him, she wondered, wondered if Haggar had known the outcome of what would happen. Did the nursemaid teach her the massage in the hopes such an encounter would turn into something more?
Allura would have to ask her about that, but for now she pushed thoughts of Haggar away, fighting not to lose herself completely to Lotor’s kiss. Her breath seemed to be lost at a rapid pace, and she was grateful when he allowed her the chance to regain it. But he didn’t stop kissing her, nuzzling his lips along the side of her jaw. I love yous were murmured into her skin, and before she could respond properly, his mouth sealed over hers again.
This kiss seemed even more intense, Allura sensing things were about to rapidly spiral out of control. She knew if Lotor wanted to have sex with her, she wouldn’t refuse him, Allura reluctantly admitting she missed the closeness between them. It was surely bad timing on both their parts that the door opened at that moment, Cossack appearing on the threshold of the room.
Even as the commander whistled, she felt Lotor giving her one last peck against her lips, the Drule growling the instant he released her. “You have got the worse timing.” Lotor hissed, though Allura was of mixed opinion about that. On one hand she was annoyed at the intrusion, but the other was relieved things had gotten interrupted before they had gone even further.
“You’ll thank me in a minute.” She caught sight of Cossack’s wide smile, the man in a jovial mood. He actually winked at her, and that set her off blushing harder, Allura averting her eyes to avoid looking at the commander and the prince. She’d do it better if Lotor wasn’t still holding her so close to his face, his fingers gripping her hair a tad too tight.
Lotor seemed to realize her discomfort, slowly relaxing his hold on her. Allura immediately straightened, her head whipping back towards Cossack’s direction when she heard him proclaim that the latest lion had been found. She was still gaping at the commander when she heard Lotor make a pleased sound, the prince sitting up fast. The pillow on her lap fell at his movement, thumping against the carpeted floor. She made no move to pick it up, still staring at Cossack.
“That is excellent news.” Cossack’s eyes practically twinkled at Lotor’s words, the man nodding. “Where was it found?”
“It’s funny that…” Cossack chuckled. “We wasted so much time on deep sea exploration, and it was practically under our noses.”
“Where?”” Lotor repeated, a tad impatiently.
“It’s actually near Allura’s former home…” Cossack began, falling quiet at Allura’s pained sound.
“My home? The castle?”
“Er yes….” Cossack nodded. “It was in the lake that doubles as a moat for the castle.”
Allura was amazed. “All this time, and we never knew….”
“It’s kind of a funny coincidence…” Cossack continued. Both Lotor and Allura looked at him confused. “So far, all the lions have been found within close proximity to the castle, even yellow lion in it’s desert is only a few miles away.”
“Then maybe the final lion will be found quicker if we focus on that area first in our search.” Lotor had stood, looking as though he was bracing himself for bad news. “Tell me Cossack. What’s the repeating symbol. Where will we find our final lion?”
“Um…that’s the thing…” Cossack was hesitating, clearly uncomfortable with the questions.
“What’s wrong?” Allura asked softly, and Cossack shook his head no.
“Cossack….” Lotor walked towards him, as though intimidating the man with his closeness would get him to open up all the faster.
“It’s just…don’t kill the messenger all right?”
“Tell me!” Lotor said impatiently.
“All right, all right…” Cossack let out a heavy sigh, using the sleeve of his uniform to wipe at his sweaty brow. “There is no repeating symbol.”
“What?!” Lotor didn’t quite roar out his disbelief, glaring at Cossack who had flinched back from Lotor’s half shout. “How can that be?! It has to have a symbol!”
“Symbol?” Allura echoed, curiosity in her tone as she looked at the two Drules. She was ignored, Lotor glaring at Cossack as though it was all his fault.
“It does have a symbol, it has more than one symbol.”
“That’s good….right?” A frowning Lotor asked. His expression grew annoyed at Cossack’s head shake, Lotor gritting his teeth together. “And why is it not a good thing, commander?”
“I hate it when you use that voice.” Muttered Cossack under his breath.
“The symbols are all pointing to the other lions. What little that is new, is indecipherable. Our researchers don’t have a clue as to what the message reads. There’s no way to find the final lion!” Lotor’s face fell at Cossack’s words, disappointment warring with disbelief in his eyes. Cossack seemed just as alarmed as Allura to see Lotor like this, the commander nervously touching the prince’s shoulders. “It’s not so bad…” He began, and Lotor snorted, unreassured by his words. “Four out of five is nothing to sneeze at.”
“Without the final lion we can’t form Voltron.” Lotor informed him, tone cold. “Without it, all this has been for nothing…”
“Aw….not for nothing.” Cossack quickly said, glancing at Allura. “The lions saved Allura’s home world from destruction. And we still have four lions to use in the war…can’t you look on the bright side….?” Lotor’s morose look had Cossack sighing. “Guess not.”
“Are our researchers sure they can’t decipher the new message?” Lotor demanded, and Cossack nodded.
“Damn!” swore Lotor, grumbling other curses under his breath.
Allura was frowning, looking at the two Drules. She had followed their conversation closely, and felt just as disappointed as Lotor that the final lion would not be found. “Message?” The two Drules glanced at her, looking surprised to see her. It was as though they had forgotten she was in the room. “What kind of message is in the lion’s lair?”
“Each lion bears an inscription set in the stone walls of their lairs.” Lotor explained. “It’s an ancient language, like nothing we’ve ever seen. Bearing pictures of things that help us guess at just what type of terrain a specific lion can be found in. It’s by no means a fool proof method, we’ve spent many weeks searching all over your planet for the lions.”
“Pictures?” Allura repeated slowly, wondering if it could possibly be what she thought it was. “Do you mean to say….hieroglyphics?”
“Hyro-whatics?” Cossack asked.
“Hieroglyphics.” Allura stated patiently. “It’s a a ten thousand year old language of Arus. It’s what my people spoke before the language became what it is today.”
“Allura….is there anyone on your planet who would know how to interpret those symbols?” Lotor asked, and she could see the hope in his eyes. It was dashed immediately by her answer.
“No. However…” A small smile curved her lips upwards, Allura amused by the men’s reactions. “I happen to have taken lessons in deciphering those symbols.”
“You have?” She could see Lotor was trying not to get excited, the prince taking a step towards her.
“It’s the royal obligation of all Arusian royalty to learn the language of our ancient fore fathers.” Allura explained.
“Then why did you say no one on your planet would know it?” Cossack asked, and she glanced his way.
“Because that knowledge is limited to Arusian royalty, we alone bear the honor of learning it.” She looked down at her lap, pain accompanying her next words. “With the destruction of the royal family…I am the only one left who knows it’s secrets.”
A shadow fell over her, but she did not look up, Allura staring at her hands on her lap. “Allura…” Lotor’s voice, letting her know it was he who stood before her. “I’m sorry…but this is wonderful in another way!”
“Wonderful?” She echoed, glancing up at him.
“If you can read the language, you can tell us where the final lion is. We can finally form Voltron!” He placed his hands on her shoulders, bending over her. “Allura, will you help us, help me?” He seemed worried she’d say no, Allura staring at him as Lotor continued to speak. “With Voltron we may end this war. We’d stop Merla, stop her slaughter of innocents. Peace would be restored to Doom…”
“I know that…”
“But you’re hesitating…” Lotor pointed out, and she nodded.
“I just don’t think I can bear the thought of Voltron in the hands of someone like your father…” Allura shuddered at the thought of the damage he would do to the galaxy with Voltron at his beck and call.
“Don’t think of about him.” Lotor urged her, and she frowned.
“How can I not?”
“In times such as these, you have to think about the good you can do by helping us to uncover that final lion. Think of the lives spared. Think on how you, and you alone can end this war. The war that you blame yourself for.” Allura flinched at that, knowing Lotor had said the right thing to get her to consent to deciphering the symbols in the new lion’s lair.
“All right…” Allura sighed, and Lotor smiled. “I’ll do it.” Before she had even finished the sentence, he was helping her to stand, pulling her against him. He hugged her excitedly, a jovial laugh escaping him.
“You won’t regret this Allura.” Lotor told her. “With your help we’ll end this war, together with the lions.” Allura wished she could share in his enthusiasm, leaning into him as the prince hugged her. “How soon can you translate the message?”
“It’ll take some time. It’s a complex language, and the symbols can have several meanings.” Allura answered.
“That’s okay.” Lotor said, still smiling. “It’ll give us more time to train the pilots in combat situations.”
“How’s that going?” She asked, and Cossack was the one to answer.
“They’re getting better. As the pilots familiarize themselves to the controls, they’re no longer making stupid mistakes. Still they would appreciate any extra time needed to better their skills.”
“Commander, I want you to go and print out a copy of the lion’s latest message for me.” Lotor was still hugging Allura as he spoke to Cossack. “Bring it straight here, no dawdling. I want Allura to get to work on it immediately!”
“Yes, sire!” Cossack grinned, and glanced at Allura. “It’s good to have your help Allura.”
“I’m glad I could be of service for once…” She said, though she was still of mixed opinion on what she was about to do. Her troubled feelings must have shown in her eyes, Lotor was touching her hair, making a soothing sound. Cossack had already finished his bow, turning to step out of the room. The door swooshed close behind him.
“What’s wrong?” Lotor asked, guiding her to sit on the couch once more.
“It’s just…” Allura wrung her hands together, finding her palms were damp with nervous sweat. “I’m not sure I agreed to do the right thing. It was the Doom Empire that was the downfall of my planet. It was your father who killed my father. My father was the one who taught me the ancient language of Arus….how can I betray his trust by delivering our legend into the hands of his murderer!?”
“I’ve no easy answers for you.” Lotor said, sitting down next to her. He continued to touch her hair, the act calming them both in the process. “But from what I understand, from what you’ve told me, King Alfor was a kind man. The kind of king who would not want anyone to suffer, regardless of who they are, or who rules over them. He’d want you to do whatever you could to keep more blood from being spilled.”
He made sense, though she still had her doubts. “But what would he think after the war is ended. When your father tries to use Voltron to invade more planets?”
“That won’t be for a while…” Lotor began, and she could sense he was being cautious with his words. “He’ll want to study the machine, want to try and divine it’s secrets. Make a reproduction of it if he can.”
“What are you trying to tell me?” Allura stared searchingly at his face, Lotor not looking away from her piercing gaze.
“It’s just…my father won’t always hold the position that he holds now. And when that time comes, Voltron will be taken from him.”
“The demon seems undefeatable.” She told him, watching as the prince smirked.
“No one is. Not even my father.”
“You won’t do something foolish, will you?” She asked, and Lotor’s expression turned serious.
“I’ll be careful. I promise.” He tucked her in under his arm, allowing her to cuddle close against his side. She was still thinking about his words, Allura wondering at the cryptic message they held. She held back her sighs, leaning against him as she wondered if Voltron would be anything more than a weapon in the hands of Doom.