Game 11

It was relatively quiet onboard the command deck of the ship. The battle for Arus still waged outside it’s walls, the sounds of laser fire and explosions muffled by the thick metal. It wasn’t quiet enough to hear a pin drop, but at least no one was talking. Few would dare, given the situation and the mood of Prince Lotor. To talk now would be to draw his attention, and no one wanted to end up the focus of that rage.

Lotor couldn’t blame them for their fear. The way he felt now, it would be soothing to erupt into violence. To lose himself to the solace of killing, spilling as much blood as it took for Lotor to calm down. But Lotor had a feeling he could kill every last soldier and technician aboard this ship, and he would still be upset. Still angry and bothered by the fact that Merla and his unborn child were now prisoners inside the castle of lions.

It was something that should never have happened, Merla usually too quick and too powerful to ever fall prey to a bunch of humans. Even another Drule should have had trouble getting the drop on Queen Merla, what with those telepathic powers of hers. Merla should have easily disabled any and all attackers that came after her, and yet she hadn’t. That worried Lotor, the prince recalling the blood on her face. The blood he had been so quick to dismiss in his eagerness to chase after Allura.

His hands open and closed, Lotor unable to keep still. Unable to stop remembering other details about Merla that he had chosen to ignore earlier. She had seemed so tired, a defeated look in her eyes. Had her skin been a paler shade of blue than normal? Just how hurt had she been, and how had it happened in the first place? He didn’t think Allura was truly responsible for Merla’s injuries. Especially given the fact when he had come across the two, the Queen had been close to choking the last remnants of life out of the princess.

There was so much he didn’t know. So much he hadn’t cared to question. He certainly hadn’t bothered to find out from Allura the details of her encounter with Merla. Not when he had been more focused on other things, such as the removal of his and Allura’s clothing. With pleasure on his mind, it had hardly seemed important what Merla had attempted to do.

But now that he thought about it, it seemed clear Merla had come away from the fight the worse for wear. It didn’t make any sense to him, how Allura could hurt the Queen, let alone hurt Merla THAT badly. It worried him, Lotor surprised to find out he wasn’t just fearing for his unborn child’s life, but for Merla as well. He didn’t really want the Queen to die, not even by his own hand now that Lotor had had time to calm down over Merla’s earlier transgression.

Of course he was still upset that Merla had tried to kill Allura. But he also recognized that the Queen was mostly likely irrational due to a combination of her pregnancy and the jealousy she harbored. Drule females could be as possessive and territorial as the males, and clearly Merla viewed Lotor as belonging to her. Naturally she would move to eliminate her competition. It was almost flattering in a way, save for the fact Allura had almost ended up dead. If not for the very real threat Merla posed to Allura, Lotor would have been amused. But he still remembered the bruise marks on that pale throat, Lotor brushing his lips over each and every one.

Now Lotor almost wished he had taken time to question Allura. If only to have a better understanding of just how hurt his wife was. Her coloring hadn’t looked improved even as Merla had shouted at him. As angry as she was, Merla hadn’t been able to hide her exhaustion. Nor did Lotor think Coran would offer Merla any type of medical treatment, short of the Queen ending up practically dead. Lotor worried for Merla, just as he worried for the health of his unborn child. A child he didn’t know much about, not the date of conception, not even what week of pregnancy Merla was in!

He vowed to himself he would find out. That he would personally sit Merla down, and discover everything she knew that had to do with her pregnancy. But first he had to rescue her, to somehow finagle a release of the Queen which would still allowed him to keep custody of Allura and Arus. But he didn’t know how he was going to manage that, Lotor not having the slightest clue what he could say or do to get that stubborn advisor of Allura’s to hand over Merla.

And that infuriated Lotor, the Drule wishing he could have ten seconds alone with Coran. He wouldn’t need more time than that, to end the human’s miserable life and with the spilling of Coran’s blood would come a satisfaction. For one brief moment Lotor was more concentrated on getting to Coran, as if killing the human would end all his current problems. With Allura captured, Coran dead, and the rest of the Voltron Force out fighting in the lions, the remaining humans inside the castle wouldn’t know what to do, who to turn to. It would be easy to claim victory, and retrieve Merla. The problem however was Coran was in no way stupid. He would never put himself near to Lotor without a large military escort for back up.

Putting aside the thoughts of killing Coran, Lotor began trying to think on the problem at hand. If he was Zarkon, there was no question what the solution would be. Allow one of the women to die, and keep the surviving one on as his wife. Zarkon wouldn’t care if Lotor’s unborn baby died in the process, the King reasoning Lotor could easily make a new child. He wouldn’t feel any attachment to a fetus, especially one whose existence he had only just learned about a few hours ago. But Lotor wasn’t like Zarkon. Not entirely. He had been shocked when Merla had revealed she was pregnant, but had also known instantly that he would do just about anything to keep hold of any child she gave him. Because unlike the King, Lotor valued family, the prince wanting the chance to be a better father than Zarkon had ever been to him.

But he also wanted a chance with Allura. To have more than a few stolen moments with her. He loved her, cherished her, practically worshipped the ground she walked on. And he wanted the chance to make a life with Allura as his Queen. The situation with Merla complicated everything, and Lotor couldn’t pretend not to understand that if something happened to Merla, it would be one less problem for him to worry about. He felt terrible for that thought, knowing the Queen deserved better.

He then wondered when he had begun to think like that, for at one point in his life Lotor would have thought anything bad happening was something Merla had earned. He hadn’t liked her very much when they had first met, and in the months that followed, the dislike had only increased. But somewhere during their marriage, during all her attacks on him, Lotor had come to actually like Merla. Maybe even care somewhat about what happened to her. It was a strange feeling, to care for a woman that wasn’t Allura. But somehow Merla had gotten in under his skin, and Lotor couldn’t even blame it entirely on all the sex they had had!

He wanted to rescue Merla. And he wanted to keep Allura. The two were conflicting desires, and right now seemed impossible to manage both. Scowling, and ignoring the frightened soldiers around him, Lotor paced over to nearest window. The ship was in prime position to allow him a view of the castle, though the sky was filled with many war ships. Drules were out there fighting, even dying for the chance to claim victory over Arus. They would not appreciate their sacrifice being wasted just to rescue a single woman.

He was glad Haggar was on a separate ship for the witch wouldn’t have hesitated to tell him what to do. The problem was her advice wouldn’t be anything he wanted to hear, Lotor neither wanting Merla killed or Allura hurt! And Lotor knew that short of actually hurting Allura, Coran would never consider letting Merla go. Nor would the advisor buy any of Lotor’s bluffs that the princess would die if the Queen wasn’t released. Lotor would actually have to make good on his threats, and hurting Allura was something he could not do!

Angry, he slammed his fist into the glass. It was thick, triple reinforced, and served only to hurt his hand. He snarled in response to the pain, Lotor glaring at nothing in particular. Ships flew past the window, but none of them were the enemy. The Drules weren’t letting the lions come anywhere close to Lotor or Haggar’s ships, keeping the Voltron Force overwhelmed with sheer numbers alone. As it stood now, if they had launched a robeast, the Voltron Force wouldn’t have stood a chance. Fortunately for them, Merla and Haggar had left Doom in such a hurry, the witch hadn’t had time to prepare a robeast.

Perhaps a robeast would have forced Coran’s hand. With such a monster rampaging in the cities, Coran might have been forced to give up custody of Merla. The fact that the robeast would be trampling on innocents, rather than soldiers might have moved Coran to make a decision to minimize the loss of civilian life. But it wasn’t worth thinking too much about this, not so long as they didn’t have a robeast. Nor could they leave with the intent to get one. Not so long as Merla was Coran’s prisoner. Weak human that he was, Lotor feared what Coran would do if the man got desperate.

Lotor himself was starting to feel desperate, and he hated that feeling. Hated being reduced to wringing his hands in worry. Everything had gone terribly complicated, leaving Lotor to wish he had thought to radio for back up before he took off in pursuit of Allura. Perhaps if he had requested some soldiers come to the forest to escort Merla back to the ship, she never would have been captured in the first place.

Again he punched the glass, ignoring the pain in his hand. He’d torment himself with a million what ifs, the should haves driving him nuts. Lotor knew he couldn’t change the past, and right now he didn’t feel much hope for the present. He wanted to scream, to howl out and curse the situation he was in. But he had to appear to be in control of himself, to not let those around him worry even further about what was going to happen.

Scowling, still fighting the urge to scream, Lotor turned away from the window. No one onboard the command deck was looking his way, all studiously pretending to be busy with other things. They were like mice, hoping not to catch a hungry feline’s attention. Lotor couldn’t blame them for feeling that way, but he tried to rein in his first impulse to do real harm to the people here.

“Cossack!” Lotor shouted out loud, the commander practically falling out of his seat.

“Yes, sire?” Cossack sounded uneasy, as though he too feared Lotor. It was an absurd thought, since Lotor considered Cossack one of his best friends. He’d probably never hurt him, especially with so many other targets around.

“Maintain radio silence with the castle of lions.” Lotor told him. “I want that advisor to squirm, not knowing what we will do.”

“What WILL we do?” Cossack wondered out loud.

Lotor gave him a bleak look. “That my friend, I really don’t know.”

Cossack didn’t look all that shocked, simply nodding in acceptance. Lotor knew he was leaving the ship in good hands, as he walked off the command deck. The corridor outside the deck was all but empty, many of the soldiers having been briefed on the situation so that they knew to avoid the prince. They weren’t very brave, but at least they were smart enough to want to preserve their lives.

Grumbling to himself, Lotor moved through the many corridors of the ship. Sometimes he’d pass by windows, but he wouldn’t stop to watch the fighting taking place outside. He wouldn’t stop for much of anything, Lotor heading to his own private cabin. He needed to see Allura, needed that desperately. But Lotor didn’t think he would find any answers looking at the princess. Instead he would be filled with even more certainty that he couldn’t bear to part with her now that he had finally had her.

He unlocked the door to his cabin, not bothering to switch on the overhead lights. In the rear bedroom, Allura lay huddled on a couch, a thin blanket pulled over her sleeping form. The poor dear had cried herself to sleep, the tears looking like they had not yet had the chance to dry on her skin. Lotor went to kneel besides her, brushing his fingers against the blonde curls that caressed the side of her face.

“What should I do?” He whispered to her, knowing what Allura’s answer would be. She would tell him to let her go, to exchange her for Merla. But that wasn’t what Lotor wanted to do, the prince wanting both women in his life. He knew then that he was greedy, to want such a thing. But Merla had begun to satisfy an urge inside Lotor, an urge that Allura could never hope to do the same. Allura simply wasn’t violent in the way that Merla was, the girl innocent and naive, especially when it came to sex and foreplay. It was an endearing innocence, and it satisfied a different craving of Lotor’s. He wanted both, wanted each of his needs satisfied by these two very different women.

“There has to be a way.” Lotor whispered, staring down at Allura. “Some way for Doom, for ME, to win!”

He kept on stroking her silk soft hair, Lotor’s thoughts working furiously. Thinking on how to solve the problem Coran had presented to him. He felt a little more calm as he caressed his fingers over Allura’s hair, the act of petting her working to ease some of the tension Lotor felt. He’d continue to think, to pick and pry at the problem, until he thought of a possible solution. A hint of fang was in his smile, Lotor grinning as he brushed a gentle kiss on Allura’s lips.

She didn’t so much as stir, too exhausted from the day’s events to do anything more than sleep. Lotor would not try to wake her, instead walking out of the cabin, and back into the ship’s hall. He wanted to laugh, feeling the first real confidence he had had since learning Merla was Coran’s prisoner. And all because Lotor was sure he could pull off the scheme that had formed.

Still grinning to himself, he pulled out his hand held communicator. Cossack was the answering voice on the other end, Lotor fighting his excitement. “Cossack. Get a hold of Coran. Tell him we’re going to exchange Allura for Merla.”

“We’re WHAT?!” Cossack demanded, sounding shocked.

Lotor really did laugh then, too excited for his own good. “We’re going to do the exchange.” He smirked then. “And in the middle of it, we’re going to back stab that stupid advisor of Allura’s. Ha ha! In one fell swoop, I’ll have both Allura and Merla in my custody!”

Cossack was rightfully uncertain, and would remain so even once Lotor had explained the scheme. But the prince wouldn’t let the commander ruin his elated feelings, Lotor supremely confidant all would work out in his favor. Even as Cossack was putting a call in to the castle of lions, Lotor was calling Haggar, ready to inform the witch of her role in this plan of his. Lotor was sure nothing and no one could stop Doom now, and it was all the prince could do to stop himself from going back inside the cabin, to celebrate his impending victory with Allura.

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