The journey back to planet Doom could be described as unpleasant at best. Everyone was on edge, and their tension did not all have to do with the fact that Doom had once again lost to Voltron. No, the real cause for worry was the fighting between their commander and his wife. Prince Lotor and Queen Merla had argued often, fights spilling into every day things as the pair had it out whenever and wherever they felt like it.
Perhaps a lot of the fighting could have been avoided if Merla hadn’t banished Lotor from their private cabin. Kicked out of his own rooms, the prince was forced to bunk down with the common soldiers. Lotor could have tried to evict Haggar from the only other cabin onboard the ship, but even the prince wasn’t that crazy. He’d much rather sleep in the crowded quarters of the soldier barracks, then be cursed by an angry witch.
Even as he reluctantly accepted his new sleeping arrangements, Lotor’s anger boiled. He’d seek out Merla nearly every chance he got, arguing with the Queen though no one knew what he had hoped to accomplish. Merla could have found out. All it would have taken was a quick probe into his mind with her powers. But she didn’t dare. Not when she feared just what she would learn. Merla neither wanted to see more of Lotor’s obsessive feelings for Allura, or find out how Lotor’s feelings had twisted where the Queen was concerned.
She especially couldn’t stand the thought of encountering a smugness in him. A smugness where Merla was concerned. And all because Lotor was sure he had Merla completely figured out, down to the finest of details. He thought he understood Merla’s feelings for him, but the Queen wasn’t so sure. How could Lotor understand anything, when Merla herself was so confused?!
It was a week later since that disaster of a day on Arus. Merla was not even one step closer to understanding her feelings for Lotor. They seemed to change by the hour, maybe even by the minute. Merla would go from wanting him, to absolutely hating him. To wanting to fuck him, to wanting to see him dead by her own hands. It was tiring, this push and pull of conflicting feelings and desires. She was resting more and more, hiding out in their private bedroom.
Of course, with King Zarkon present and ready to play mediator to the pair’s troubled marriage, Merla could not actually chase Lotor out of the bedroom long term. At best she could only put him in a temporary retreat, Lotor returning a few hours later, smelling of booze. But not of other women. Merla should have smirked to think that particular outlet was denied to him. His father had gotten rid of Lotor’s harem, and the few females who had dared show an interest to the prince, Merla had taken care of. There was no one for Lotor, no one to alleviate him of his sexual desires. Let him be as frustrated as Merla was, even if it was only in that one way.
Merla would be infinitely more happy if she could get rid of the one woman who truly mattered to Lotor. But Allura continued to be a problem whose solution eluded her. She wanted the princess dead. Wanted her gone almost as much as Merla wanted Lotor for her own. But Allura was proving as troublesome as a cat, and with all of the nine lives one was said to possess.
There had been dozens of plots enacted against Allura and her planet. Dozens upon dozen of failed plans, robeasts destroyed, Drules dying. Merla was currently seated in front of the bedroom’s computer, staring at the information on it’s screen. She had pulled up off the private military servers detailed reports on each and every attempt that had been made on Arus. There was a wealth of information to be had, so many creative ways Doom had tried to capture the planet. Some of their methods had come close to succeeding, but always, always Arus had pulled it together to accomplish a last minute win.
It was unbelievable the luck Arus was having. The wins they had were sometimes down right miraculous, and some of the reports swore Doom should have won. That it should not have been possible for Arus to pull a victory out of nowhere. But the proof was right in front of Merla’s eyes. They had won. Thousands of Drules were dead, killed in explosions when Voltrons’ blazing sword cut into Doom’s ships.
It was rather depressing to read about the many losses the Doom Empire had suffered. And yet Merla persisted, using her keen mind to analyze and make notes about any and all patterns she noticed in the reports. It was clear to her that robeasts alone weren’t going to get Doom the victory it so wanted. No matter how many improvements Haggar made to her monsters, Voltron was always better. Stronger, quicker, smarter. Merla was beginning to think they could throw a million different robeasts at Voltron, and the robot would STILL win.
In fact, as Merla studied the reports, one thing became apparent. It was not enough to take on Voltron as single unit. The lions when combined into the robot simply proved too powerful. No ship in the Doom Empire could match the robot, and the robeasts were nuisances at best to it. Powerful, but still easily put down by Voltron. To Merla it looked as though she would have to concentrate on the individual pilots in order to gain a win for Doom.
Of course, her preferred target would be Princess Allura. Merla tried to tell herself the princess was the logical choice, being the weakest member of the Voltron Force. But inside her heart she knew. She was targeting Allura because of what the princess meant to Prince Lotor. It was why she was going to so much effort, combing over the reports with an intent focus that surprised even Merla. But she wanted Allura dead, and to that end Merla would do almost anything to accomplish her goal.
Merla moved on to the next report, and would soon find a reference to an earlier incident. One that echoed the circumstances of the more current report. It seemed Haggar had tried at least two times to use her powers of illusion to lure the princess out of the safety of her castle. Checking the earlier report against the one Merla currently had opened, she noted Haggar has used her magic to make Allura think her dead father was communicating with her.
The first time such a feat had been enacted, Lotor had not yet been in the picture. The foolish princess had actually gotten herself and the other members of her team crucified. Hung on crosses, there should have been no way for them to pull a win. And yet according to the report, they had. Merla could only tsk and shake her head no, once again muttering about the unbelievable luck of the Voltron force.
She went back to reading the other report. Once again, Haggar had used her magic to make Allura think her father had gotten in contact with her. It surprised Merla that Allura could be so stupid as to fall for the same trick a second time. But she had, taking the warnings Haggar’s illusion gave her, and fleeing the castle. Allura would wander the forests that surrounded the castle, running practically into Lotor’s waiting arms. Unfortunately for the prince, the pilot of the black lion had come after the princess.
The fight that had ensured hadn’t been pretty. Allura would escape, but not without cost to Keith. The captain was nearly killed, cut open by Prince Lotor’s sword. Merla’s eyes widened as she read that Lotor had left without making sure the pilot was dead. She thought him an idiot, but also knew if he had followed through and made sure the captain had died that day, then she and Lotor would NEVER have been married.
She had mixed feelings about that. She wanted Doom to have it’s victory over Arus. But she also wanted Lotor! Merla decided it was better not to think about the past, and the almost victories and what they would have meant for her. It would only upset her, drive her mad to think of Lotor having Allura for his bride instead of Merla. Better to concentrate on her future plans, on how she would completely eliminate Allura from the picture.
She made a note of Allura’s gullibility where her dead father, King Alfor was concerned. It wasn’t just his image that got the princess to do stupid things. Merla remembered how Allura had been lured out of the castle just with rumors about her father’s potential return. Of course that scheme had been foiled by Lotor, the prince having one of his infamous weak moments where Allura was concerned. Merla gritted her teeth together, remembering how he had forced her to bring back Allura from the void the cosmotron had sent the princess to.
Still gnashing her teeth together, Merla made another note. One that said to not let Prince Lotor know anything about what she was planning where Arus and Allura was concerned. The less he was involved the better. Merla might actually succeed with her murderous plans.
Lotor had spies everywhere. Merla would have to proceed with caution, carefully pick out those who would know about her plans, and accompany the Queen to Arus. But first she needed to come up with something concrete to try! And that so far eluded her. But she was sure she was onto something, Merla looking at her notes, and seeing how it all came back to Allura’s naive belief that her father was trying to communicate with her from beyond the grave.
There had to be someway Merla could use that belief to her advantage. But she didn’t have the same powers as Haggar did. She couldn’t cast illusion, although she could get into somebody’s mind. Merla could make them believe almost anything, do almost anything she asked so long as the mind wasn’t particularly strong or resistant to her powers. Merla didn’t know how strong a resistance Allura could mount against the Queen’s telepathic assault. The most surprising of people had proved resistant in the past. Lotor was proof of that. He should have been easy to manipulate, and yet he hadn’t. Lotor would have Merla believe it was the power of his love, the strength and proof of the depth of his feelings for Allura. Certainly it had been his fear that he was losing Allura forever, that had motivated Lotor to break free of Merla’s control. But she couldn’t, wouldn’t take that as proof that Lotor’s love was REAL. It would be too upsetting otherwise.
Merla let out a sigh. She couldn’t keep thoughts of Lotor from her mind for long. Always they went back to him. Even her sudden study of Doom’s past failures, were centered on Lotor. On getting rid of her one rival for his affections. Merla really didn’t like that she could be so obsessed about anyone, let alone Lotor. She blamed it on her inexperience, Merla never wanting something as badly as she wanted Lotor. Was it the challenge of him? She wondered about that too. She wasn’t used to being refused, to being turned down so wholeheartedly. People WANTED her. Men and women both. If not for her beauty, then for her power, her status, even her wealth. There was always something to lure them to Merla, no matter how superficial. But Lotor didn’t want any of that. Yes, he could be affected by lust, but even once that faded, he was back to obsessing over Allura.
Merla couldn’t stand that. She wanted in under Lotor’s skin, wanted him to think about HER instead of Allura. Wanted him tormented with desire for Merla, to the point he couldn’t live without her. Maybe then they’d be on even ground where want and obsession was concerned. Such thoughts were enough to drive Merla to distraction, the woman ignoring the reports in front of her to seethe in frustration and anger over the state of Lotor’s disinterest.
There was no getting around it, she decided. Allura HAD to die. The sooner the better. Maybe then Merla could take control of her life, of her marriage and of Lotor. Maybe both their obsessions would end, or at the very least Merla would be secure in the knowledge that Lotor would never be able to throw her over for Allura with the princess gone from this existence. It would certainly lessen the worried feelings Merla was suffering. The feelings that led her to feel sick these last few days, Merla nauseous, at times dizzy. She wasn’t used to being sick, Merla normally quite healthy. It was just another thing to blame on Arus, Merla sure she picked up some nasty bug on the planet’s surface.
Grumbling to herself, she turned back to her readings. Flipping to the next report, reading up on the next failed scheme. Only to nearly fall out of her seat when the door to the room swung open, hard enough to slam into the wall.
“Merla!” It was her husband’s voice that bellowed at her. Quickly, Merla hit a button on her keyboard, having the computer close all evidence of the reports she had been reading. She didn’t want Lotor to know she was actively scheming against Arus, knowing he would insist on being a part of her plans all in order to interfere with any trouble she might cause Allura.
“Lotor…” Merla said, allowing her chair to swivel around to face him. He was still standing in the doorway, looking a bit wild eyed. His shirt was unbuttoned at the collar, Lotor in what passed for casual wear for a Drule prince. His hair looked a little mussed, as though someone had dared to run their fingers through those luxurious locks of his. Merla instantly felt an irrational surge of jealousy, wondering what bitch had dared. A saner part of her mind whispered it had probably been Lotor’s own fingers that had done the deed, the prince trying to smooth his hair into a semblance of order, only to mess it up more.
Putting jealousy aside, Merla tried for an indignant rage. She rose to her feet at the exact instant Lotor stalked towards her. “How dare you barge in here in this manner!”
“Shut up!” Lotor snapped, a single minded determination in his eyes. It surprised Merla that she was the focus of that determination, Lotor staring at her in an unwavering manner. Unfortunately for him, the effect was slightly ruined by the unsteady way he was walking. It became clear to Merla he was drunk, and that was before he got close enough for her sensitive Drule nose to pick up the scent of wine. And from the state of Lotor, he had obviously been drinking a lot of it.
“Shut up?” Merla repeated, then growled at him. “You don’t get to tell me what to do!!”
“I said…” He was within reach, grabbing her by the upper portion of her arms. His breath was heavy in her face, Merla nearly flinching back from how rank with alcohol it was. “SHUT…UP!”
She was still sputtering indignant protests, when he brought his mouth down on top of hers. Her mouth had been opened, Merla trying to give voice to the anger she felt at his terse command. It left her vulnerable to his kiss, a hot, angry, open mouthed one that swallowed her words and shocked her senseless. Merla didn’t know what was driving Lotor, but knew she could easily be swept up by the passion of his kiss.
It was more than just passionate though. She felt the anger. He was violently aroused, might be capable of anything, anything at all! That should have frightened her. Instead it excited her, even as Merla fought not to be affected by Lotor’s kiss and his nearness. She needed to put distance between them, Merla wanting to think. To figure out what was going through Lotor’s mind that he came to her like this. Especially after they had spent a week doing nothing but screaming at each other.
She began to struggle against him, her body brushing against his, feeling how rigid with excitement he was. But she wasn’t strong enough to break the bruising grip he had on her, Merla realizing she’d have to do something drastic. She readied her fangs to bite down on his tongue, and suddenly Lotor pulled back to glare fiercely at her. “Bite me and I won’t hesitate to punish you.”
He sounded so furious, so menacing. Her heart raced, Merla wondering just what sort of form this punishment would take. Even worse, she was excited at the thought of it, actually wanting to push Lotor over the edge to see what he would do next. And then he shoved her up against the desk, so fast and so hard, the computer monitor wobbled in place.
“Lotor! What’s come over you?!” Merla managed to gasp. He didn’t answer, just kissing her again. He had Merla trapped between his body and the desk, effectively holding her in place. And yet he still didn’t let go of her arms, using his mouth to express all his desire, his need. Each kiss felt like a small explosion to Merla, like fireworks going off, burning her lips on his. Lotor wanted so badly, she could easily read that desire of him, even without delving into his mind. But what was the cause? Where had this need come from? Again she tried to speak, finding he was only pulling back long enough to take in ragged breaths. She didn’t do the same, Merla wasting her time on trying to ask Lotor questions.
He ignored them all, kissing her. Nipping at her lips one moment, thrusting his tongue inside her mouth the next. It was hard to remain unaffected by such an ardent assault. Merla was melting bit by bit, almost forgetting why she shouldn’t. Almost but not quite, the Queen remembering how she hadn’t let Lotor have her since he had made the discovery of her jealousy. She hadn’t been able to bear the thought, not when Merla knew how smug and condescending Lotor would act, how he would strut about as though he had scored a great victory over conquering her.
She began her struggles in earnest, trying to get free. But he was gripping her tight, too tightly. It was actually starting to hurt where he held her, and even as she snapped at him to let her go, he went in for another kiss. Lotor was completely ignoring the words she said, angry as he tried to coax a response from Merla. What’s worse, she feared she would give it to him, accepting defeat at his hands. And Merla couldn’t allow that.
She may not be as strong as a Drule male, but she had other weapons at her disposal. Her legs were just as pinned as her body, but there was no way for Lotor to stop her mind from working. She didn’t want to see what thoughts were in his head, so Merla focused on a concentrated blast. A probe meant to hurt Lotor enough that he would back off and let go of her.
“AHHHH!” Lotor screamed in surprise, his grip loosening. Merla sent another telepathic probe, pain spiking in Lotor’s mind enough that he was unbalanced when she shoved at his chest. He nearly fell over backwards, Merla quickly hurrying away from the desk. But not before she grabbed the thin dagger that doubled as a letter opener. She wanted a physical threat to back Lotor off in case he should be so foolish as to make another grab for her.
“What the hell was that?!” Merla demanded, her shields up in place around her mind. She was concentrating hard, keeping any thoughts Lotor might inadvertently leak out away from her. “What the hell is your game Lotor?!”
He was still wincing, fingers pressed to the side of his temple. He looked a bit disoriented, as though he hadn’t heard the question. She repeated it for his benefit, Lotor blinking rapidly as he looked at her. He no longer seemed as drunk, but then the level of pain blast Merla had given him had a sobering effect on most men.
“It was nothing.” He finally said.
“Nothing?” Merla hissed in displeasure. “You call kissing me NOTHING?!” She almost screamed when he nodded, tempted to throw the dagger at him. “Why even do it in the first place then?!”
“Maybe I was desperate.” He said at last.
“Desperate?” Merla repeated, incensed even further by that word.
He maintained eye contact with her, as though trying to judge how angry she was becoming. “Yes. Desperate. You’ve kept out of my bed for nearly a week. And both you and my father have made sure that there are no others willing to be your replacement.”
Her lips curled as she sneered. “So you what? Thought you’d make do with me?”
“Something like that.” He agreed, then caught the dagger she had thrown at him. She was pleased to see he had to scramble to catch it, blade cutting into the palm of his hand. A steady stream of blood was trickling out of the wound. It was the least he deserved for the upset Lotor had caused her.
“Get out.” Her voice was oddly calm, when inside Merla was anything but. Lotor looked surprised at her terse command, but it didn’t stop him from speaking.
“Get out? Is that all you have to say to me?” She just glared at him, tempted to rip apart his mind with her telepathic powers. “You disappoint me, Merla.” Lotor said at last, voice disgusted. “Where is the fire, the fight in you? Once you wouldn’t have hesitated to compare me to my father…to goad and taunt me into a fit of anger.” Why did she get the feeling Lotor would have liked that? And still she said nothing, wanting to turn her back on him in scorn. But Merla didn’t trust him enough to show him her back.
Lotor’s eyes narrowed in anger. He didn’t like her quiet, and was determined to do something about it. “You’re no Allura.” He abruptly said, advancing on her. He was still holding the dagger, seeming uncaring of his bleeding hand. “You could never be the half woman she is…”
Merla fought to keep from screaming, wanting to claw out his eyes with her nails. She’d actually take one step towards him, and then spy the crafty gleam in his eyes. The bastard wanted her angry! But why? None of this made any sense, not since the moment he had barged into their bedroom. He had arrived clearly aroused, and yet also smoldering for a fight. She didn’t understand him at all.
“Tch!” Lotor made a disgusted sound when he realized she wasn’t about to come any closer. “I’d have a warmer reception from one of Haggar’s robeasts than you!”
“Then go sleep with one of them!” Merla snarled. He looked at her another moment, then made that disgusted sound again. Without another word, he stalked out of the room, not bothering to slam the door behind him. Merla stared after him, puzzled, her upset violently roused. She didn’t know what that scene was about, but she didn’t like this new mood of Lotor’s. He had come here for something, and she wasn’t sure if it was sex or a fight!
Merla wasn’t used to not understanding people. Those who confused her, she’d quickly read their minds to better understand them. But Lotor’s was a mind she didn’t want to enter. Not since her infatuation with him had begun. Confused, and shaken by the whole experience, Merla turned back to her computer. The first thing she opened was her notes. She scanned over them quickly, trying more to calm herself then to take in the information. She couldn’t help but notice what she had written about Allura and her beliefs where Alfor’s ghost was concerned. Merla had no definitive plans, but she made a decision then and there. She would use her own powers to get in contact with Allura. To lure her out of the castle. It would be a strain on Merla, but what was life without a little pain? Especially if through her suffering, Merla could rid herself of the problem that was Allura! Maybe then she could have a normal marriage with Prince Lotor.