The skies of Arus were crowded with ships, so many that the battle for the planet could not be contained over any one Kingdom. Instead, the ships were spread out, hovering over every major city on the planet. Even a few small villages were as unlucky as to have ships over them, both Drules and humans fighting it out in an attempt to gain control of Arus. As many soldiers as there was dying, it was the civilians who truly suffered. Their homes destroyed, the farm lands razed, it was devastating. If Arus won this latest battle, the planet would have to spend a small fortune in gold to recover from all the damages done to it.
Three days was plenty of time for Zarkon’s armada to half ruin the world. Even as the Drules suffered their own losses, Arus was being hit harder. The people of this planet would not forget this attack, Doom leaving it’s mark on the land. Even should the Drules pull back now, the Arusians would need years to recover from all that had been done to them.
It was no surprise to Lotor, the viciousness of Zarkon’s attack. Arus had long been a focal point of Zarkon’s rage and displeasure, the King having two years worth of anger to take out on the planet. Two years of defiance, of open rebellion and defeats handed to him. It was no wonder the King was being especially ruthless in his attacks, laying waste to just about everything. Many of the Arusians had already abandoned their homes, fleeing to the underground caves in order to survive such devastation. Even that might not save them, Zarkon simply that angry.
Zarkon’s anger was such that it might make even Lotor shiver. The prince couldn’t help but hope the King was working through some of his upset, Lotor not wanting to think what it would be like to have the focus of Zarkon’s anger turned on him and Merla. In Lotor’s opinion, it was better for Zarkon to take out all his anger on the Arusians, work out whatever urges to maim, to punish, to even kill out on the people of this planet rather than turn those malicious intentions on his own family.
Lotor did not know for certain if Doom would win this battle. For all their ships, all their attacks, Arus was somehow managing to hold on, bravely resisting the Drule’s might. It left the war between their planets far from over, the victor up in the air as to who would win this latest battle. Lotor wasn’t even sure who he was really rooting for, given the circumstances surrounding this battle. There was trouble to be had, no matter who won, Lotor aware that Allura was in danger. As bad as it was, the thought of her out there, flying her lion in defense of her planet, there were other worse fates to consider. In as bad a mood as Zarkon was in, there was no way the King would allow Lotor to have Allura. The King would make an example of her, torture than kill the princess. That horrifying potential future was something Lotor couldn’t stomach the thought of, the prince close to praying for Arus to win this day.
However, Lotor was also aware what was at stake for himself personally, should Doom lose. Zarkon would be beyond livid, furious to have wasted so many lives and ships on a loss. He would blame Lotor, and Merla, might even decide to kill them to rectify the embarrassment and waste they had caused him and the Doom Empire. Lotor was stuck with two unappealing outcomes, the prince unsure of what to hope for. He didn’t want Allura dead, but neither did Lotor want to die in her place! Nor did he want to sacrifice Merla in exchange for his own life.
It was a strange feeling, this urge to want to protect Merla. It was three days since he had confessed to sort of liking her, and Lotor still struggled with his feelings for his wife. With the emotions she stirred, the desires that went beyond just having sex with her. He didn’t want Merla harmed, and it didn’t all have to do with the baby she carried. A baby they had yet to inform Zarkon about, the King too consumed with the war, to want to talk to Lotor and Merla.
That was fine with Lotor, the prince thinking to use Merla’s pregnancy to maybe manipulate a reprieve for them both. The shock of it might be enough to get Zarkon to stay his violent hand, might even give the King the excuse needed not to punish Lotor and Merla. Of course there was danger in revealing that pregnancy too. Zarkon might decide he didn’t need Lotor anymore, not with Merla carrying his grandchild. Zarkon might spare Merla but punish, even kill Lotor, thinking the throne now secure.
It was upsetting to be so uncertain of his own future. Lotor’s sleep had suffered for his troubles, the prince worrying incessantly over what Zarkon would decide to do. He didn’t regret chasing after Merla, but Lotor wished he had done things differently. Had something, anything to show for his troubles. But he had nothing, no Allura, no Arus, and none of the Voltron Force had been killed. What did it matter that Arus was suffering colossal losses, the land and lives of the people ruined? It meant nothing to the Drules.
He hated to admit it, but Haggar was right. He and Merla should have kept their problems private, shouldn’t have allowed things to escalate so that they involved an entire war into their marriage. Lotor was aware that was more Merla’s fault than his, but he wasn’t about to throw her under to save himself. But he knew Zarkon would be disappointed, the King thinking Merla a level headed Queen. The kind of woman who should have been a good influence on Lotor, Merla considered the better choice in wives than Allura could ever hope to be. Merla was supposed to be someone who was calculating and cold, someone who did not let emotions cloud her judgment. Zarkon, along with Lotor, had never expected the Queen to develop real feelings for the prince, let alone become irrational and jealous because of them.
Lotor couldn’t even cheer himself up with thoughts that he was such a prize that he made such an unfeeling woman go crazy with desire. Not now, not when Merla’s streak of insane jealousy stood to get them both killed!
“There has to be a way around this…” Lotor muttered under his breath. His look was more gloomy than angry, though Lotor wouldn’t mind stabbing someone if the opportunity presented itself. Displays of violence usually helped make Lotor feel better, though they didn’t always calm him down. The Drules onboard his ship knew that fact very well, and were purposefully avoiding their prince. It left the halls all but empty, the soldiers busying themselves elsewhere with excuses of work.
It was just part of life as far as being a soldier of Doom. Especially one under Lotor’s command! What might have once been considered a high honor, was looked on with terror. Everyone in the Empire knew of Lotor’s notorious temper, and how quick he was to draw and use his sword. It made soldiers reluctant to be assigned to Lotor’s fleet, especially to the main ship where they would be up close and personal with the prince.
The soldiers who survived working under Lotor, were the ones who knew how to make themselves scarce when the prince was upset. It frustrated Lotor, to not be able to find a target to vent his upset on, and somehow attacking Arus wasn’t satisfactory enough for the mood Lotor was in. He had given half hearted commands, watching for a time, the battle around him. Nothing he did seemed able to affect the outcome, the fight continuing it’s stalemate.
Eventually even the battles had not been enough to hold his interest, Lotor having grown bored enough to leave. He had been walking for little more than twenty minutes, with no real destination in mind. And yet he eventually found himself before the commander’s cabin, a large suite of rooms that were reserved for his and Merla’s use alone. Merla had all but been secloistered inside the cabin, spending the last three days resting. She had submitted far easier to the doctor’s examination than Lotor would have, the Queen and the baby she carried getting as thorough a check as could be managed given the ship’s med bay wasn’t equipped to deal with pregnant women.
The baby Merla carried seemed to be in good health. None of the stress, or the magic Haggar had used on Merla, seeming to affect the child. Merla however, was a different case, the Queen more injured than she had let on. There was some swelling in her brain, the cause rumored to be a mix of Haggar’s magic and Merla’s extensive use of her powers over such a long distance and for such a long time. Allura had played her part in damaging the Queen, the princess’ own surprising resistant mind weakening Merla the longer she had tried to control her. It left Merla exhausted, both mentally and physically, the Queen ordered by the doctor to spend her days in bed resting.
But it wasn’t as simple a matter of just getting some sleep. Merla wasn’t allowed to use her powers, and the situation had been such she couldn’t switch them off. She heard everyone’s thoughts, picked up on their moods, experienced their emotions. And all it took to trigger this reading was to have someone wander too close to the Queen. It left her hurting, and Merla couldn’t easily sleep with her mind a constant receiver to everyone near.
Upon returning to one of the main command ships, Lotor had taken control of the situation. He had barred off the cabin and the surrounding corridors, forbidding everyone but one simple servant and the doctor from coming near the Queen. It had taken some rearranging of the sleeping quarters, many of the ship’s crew forced to abandon this part of the ship and seek lodging in less comfortable areas. But Merla and the baby were Lotor’s priority, the prince not giving a damn if the rearrangements inconvenienced his crew. He’d boot everyone off the ship if that is what it would have taken to get Merla to make a recovery.
It seemed to be working too. Merla had spent the last three days in a heavy sleep, waking only long enough to eat a little here and there. The servant he had standing watch over Merla, made frequent reports to keep Lotor briefed on how his wife was doing. As did the doctor, the man confidant that in time the swelling would go down, and Merla’s powers would eventually switch off. As long as she didn’t exert herself trying to use them, there would be no further damage. Someday she might even be able to use them the way she had in the past, though the doctor had been strict about how Merla was to avoid using any more amplification spelled potions made by Haggar’s hands.
Sometimes Lotor wanted to wring Haggar’s scrawny neck. He wasn’t surprised she had given Merla a spell that was so dangerous. The witch hadn’t like Merla very much, and had probably known the spell would hurt the queen. Hell, she had probably been counting on it, Haggar not caring who was hurt so long as Arus was captured for her King. It left Lotor with the certainty that Merla wasn’t the only one who would be out to punish Haggar for this offense.
The desire to protect was strong in Lotor, and just as unsettling now as it had been three days ago. Once he would have said such feelings were limited to Allura alone, but now there was Merla and the baby to consider. The people that mattered to him were increasing in number, and this wasn’t exactly happy news. The more people he cared for, the more there was that could be used against him. Even by his own father!
Uneasy, and knowing he had many enemies that would love to exploit any vulnerability and weakness, Lotor still opened the door to the cabin. The servant was sitting in the outer chamber, an open book on her lap. She immediately stood up, then bowed to her prince, a questioning look in her eyes.
“It’s fine.” Lotor spoke softly, not wanting to rouse Merla should she be sleeping. “Go…get yourself something to eat. I will watch over her.”
Still maintaining that surprised look, the servant girl nodded. He wouldn’t bother to watch her leave, Lotor already heading towards the rear room of the cabin. It was dimly lit in the bedroom, Lotor’s eyes adjusting to the change in light. Merla lay in the bed, a blanket loosely tangled around her legs as though she had fought some demon in her sleep. Her nightie, one of the more modest pieces she owned, was riding up her thighs. Lotor couldn’t help but appreciate the view, Merla on her side, so that her curvaceous bottom lay half exposed from how the hem of her nightie sat.
Padding forward on silent feet, Lotor approached the bed. Merla did not immediately stir, giving Lotor the chance to leisurely look her over. Her hair was unbound from it’s normal braided fashion, the pink waves cascading down her back. She wore no make up, and without it she looked years younger than usual. As though she had no burdens, no weight of her crown upon her.
It was a rare chance Lotor had received, the prince seeing Merla as she would have looked if she hadn’t been the Queen of her own struggling kingdom. She looked almost innocent then, untouched by all the troubles, drama, and problems of both the Empire and her own marriage. He wondered if his own sleeping face ever looked as peaceful, as innocent as Merla’s did in the moment.
Probably not, he reflected ruefully, reaching to gently untangle the blanket from around Merla. He couldn’t quite keep the first traces of desire from stirring, Lotor letting his hands linger on Merla’s bare legs. He didn’t often get to touch her like this, in a way in which Lotor could savor the feel of Merla’s body. The times they had joined together had been frantic, angry. They had torn off each other clothes, sinking claws and teeth into each other’s flesh. Sex had been done in a frenzy, both angry and hostile but lusting so strongly. Enjoyable as that had been, there was something to be said about taking one’s time.
Wondering if he would ever truly get to take his time with Merla, Lotor freed her from the blanket. He didn’t quite jump in startled reaction when Merla spoke, her voice a throaty murmur. “Maybe if you start being nicer to me, you would.”
“Merla…” Lotor said, watching as her eyes slowly flickered open. And then what she said registered, the prince frowning. “Nice is overrated…and aren’t you supposed to NOT be reading my mind?”
“Can’t help it.” Merla told him, slowly sitting up. She made a show of stretching, extending her arms up straight in a way that made her breasts jut out even more
noticeably. Lotor’s eyes were drawn to the way her breasts seemed to strain thin the fabric of Merla’s nightie. He’d miss the smirk, but not fail to note the way she continued to practically purr at him. “With the way my powers are acting, if someone projects such strong thoughts and emotions my way, I’m bound to pick up on them.”
“So you’re still not back to normal.” Lotor said, choosing to focus on the problem at hand rather than the desire developing steadily within him. Merla stared at him with half lidded eyes, the look such that Lotor knew Merla was picking up on his own interest in her. It was almost embarrassing, but he told himself he had nothing to be ashamed of. Merla was his wife, and there was nothing wrong in wanting to get to know her better. To enjoy her, savor and explore her body and taste.
“Nothing wrong indeed.” Merla sounded way too satisfied as she responded to his thoughts. Lotor frowned harder at her, wishing she would stop doing that, and instead focus on what he was saying out loud.
“But what you’re thinking is infinitely more appealing.” Merla told him, a throaty laugh escaping her.
“It wasn’t just a few minutes ago.” Grumbled Lotor, remembering how he had worried about Zarkon, and the problem of his and Merla’s punishment. His desire didn’t go away, but Merla pouted all the same.
“Spoil sport.” She propped herself up against the pillows, taking on a regal air as she reclined before him. Though she wore no crown, no jewels, she very much looked like a Queen ready to hold court with a multitude of subjects. And the look in her eyes was far from innocent, Merla still reveling in the desire Lotor had shown for her. “Can you blame me?” Merla asked out loud. “You don’t often pay me such a compliment.”
He knew that was true, their past sexual encounters based on anger and insults. Happening so fast that there wasn’t time to properly reflect on the emotions stirred up. “Then I have been remiss in my duty to such a beautiful queen.”
“I don’t want you to see bedding me as your duty.” Merla protested.
“It’s true once I would have looked on the act as nothing more than that. A chore…..but surely you can pick up enough off my mind, to know that’s changed.” Lotor told her.
“It’s still surprising.” Merla admitted. “And I can hear enough of your thoughts to know this confuses you as much as it does me.”
“Indeed it does. I never expected to like you. To care about what happens to you.” Perching on the edge of the bed, Lotor fixed Merla with a serious look. “I don’t know how it happened, or when….but something has changed between us.”
Merla’s expression turned unreadable, making Lotor almost wish he had the power to delve into her mind. He thought it would make things easier, and was surprised when Merla let out a tired laugh. “Reading my mind would not be enough to lessen the complications of our relationship.” She told him. “Not when I myself don’t understand everything I am feeling.”
“What ARE you feeling?” He asked, curious to hear her set forth an explanation of her feelings towards him.
“I don’t think I can put it in words.” Her look was almost evasive then, Merla sighing. Lotor couldn’t know that Merla wasn’t ready to be that vulnerable, to expose the depths of her feelings to anyone, let alone him. He was about to urge her to try, when Merla spoke again. “Besides. We have more pressing issues to worry about….”
“Zarkon.” Lotor breathed out his father’s name as a growl, his displeasure apparent in that sound.
“Zarkon.” Merla agreed, nodding. “If this war doesn’t go in Doom’s favor…”
“We will most likely suffer as a result.” He reached out to touch her closest hand, covering it with his. “But Merla. Whatever happens, I vow to you he will not touch you.”
“Somehow I don’t see you as the self sacrificing type. Especially for me.”
“It’s not just you I have to worry about.” Lotor told her. “You carry my child.”
“You and I both know you could always make a new one.” Merla’s look was a dark then. “It would be easy for you to hand me over to Zarkon. To have me take all the blame for what has happened.” A pause, and then she was almost causal as she spoke. “If I was dead, that would solve many of your problems. You could take Allura for your wife, and birth many human babies off of her.”
He frowned, and even then he realized it was a test of some kind, Merla surely reading his mind to see if he was at all tempted by the opportunities her death would offer him. Lotor made sure that his thoughts and emotions echoed the feelings behind his words, the prince squeezing her hand in a show of support. “I don’t want you dead. Not now…not after you’ve started to mean something to me.”
She gave him a searching look. “I’ve underestimated the feelings you have towards me then.” An almost smile quirked at the corners of her mouth. “I would have thought you’d jump at the chance to be rid of me….to seize Allura for your bride.”
He refused to feel guilty for the fact that once that would have been true. But a lot had changed since then, as evidenced by the fact he and Merla were having such a downright civil conversation between them.
Merla was still staring at him, waiting for something. He wasn’t sure what, Lotor knowing he hadn’t given up the idea of one day taking Allura as his wife. The instant he had that thought, the Queen frowned, her look becoming a fierce glare. “You still think that way?!” She demanded, and he shrugged.
“I can’t just switch off my feelings for Allura.” Lotor told her.
“You have feelings for me.” Merla reminded him.
“Feelings I don’t even understand, or know how to classify!” He retorted. “I LOVE Allura. I have for a long time now….” Merla struggled to get her hand free of his, Lotor tightening his fingers in an unyielding grip.
“I won’t settle for being second best. Not in your bed, or in your heart!”
“You’re my wife.” Lotor told her, and she scowled.
“All the more reason you should forget about Allura!”
“It’s not that simple…..” Lotor protested.
“Maybe not.” Her agreement was surprising. “But still you should make the effort! Rather than chase after a fantasy! Because Lotor, that’s all she is to you. She’ll never love you, especially after what you did to her. And if you try to force her to spend her life with you, Allura will make you absolutely miserable.” He had gone cold at hearing that, Lotor letting go of Merla’s hand now.
“Lotor!” Merla exclaimed, but made no move to touch him. “Wouldn’t you rather have a wife you can have a real relationship with? A wife you like, and who likes you, rather than some girl who would only tolerate you at best?”
“Allura will learn to love me.” His stubborn words cause Merla to let out a loud, exasperated sigh.
“Fine. Let’s say by some miracle, she does learn to love you, what then?”
“Then?” He blinked in confusion.
“Yes, then. Do you honestly think you two will live happily ever after?” Merla scoffed. “You fool! She’ll ruin you, AND the Doom Empire. Do you want that?”
“Of course not!” Lotor snapped, a defensive edge to his words. “Our life together may not be perfect, but it’s laughable to think Allura could ruin anything, or anyone. Let alone the man she loves.”
“She’ll try to change you. And the Empire!” Merla pointed out. “She’ll have you jumping through her hoops like a trained dog intent on pleasing it’s master! Fool that you are, you’ll do it too. All in some misguided attempt to keep her happy and in love with you!”
“Allura’s not like that…” Lotor protested angrily.
“You can’t honestly believe she wouldn’t try to make improvements to our way of live. That she would tolerate the slaves we keep, and the invading we do! She is not fit for the Doom Empire the way it is now, and you’ll destroy us all trying to mold us into something she can stand! Lotor…” Her look turned almost pleading then. “You have to give some real thought to this matter. You are in a position where you can’t let your…” She hesitated over the word. “Heart lead you. Nor can you let your lusts cloud your judgment. You have to do what is best for the Doom Empire….”
“And I suppose you think that is you?!” Lotor demanded angrily.
“Yes, I do!” Merla answered.
He scoffed then. “You’re one to talk. You let your feelings twist your actions, lead us into quite the mess. How much money have we wasted, how many Drules have died because you got jealous and decided you just HAD to kill Allura? Tell me Merla, is that acting in the best interests of the Empire?”
She was flustered but no less angry. “I made a mistake. But you can’t tell me that you’ve not done similar in trying to capture Allura! Lotor…” This time she placed a hand on his arm, her expression openly begging. “We need to put aside our past mistakes, and take that energy and use it to crush Arus. If we work together, I’m sure we could overcome even Voltron. But we have to stop working at cross purposes.”
“We cannot.” Lotor told her, and stood. “You will always desire to kill Allura. For what she means to me.”
“Not just for that.” Merla retorted. “Lotor, she is our enemy. She is a war criminal in the eyes of Drule, a terrorist who has killed thousands of our people! She should die for her open rebellion against us!”
“I will not stand here and listen to such talk!” Lotor told her.
“It’s nothing your father hasn’t said a million times before!” Merla snapped. “He’s fighting right now, not just to capture this planet, but to put an end to Allura for her defiance. He at least, is Drule enough to do what is needed for our people.”
His hands closed into fists, Lotor not liking what she implied. He heard the shift of the mattress, and then Merla was winding her arms around him from behind. “Lotor. I don’t say this to be cruel. But you seem to not want to accept the reality of the situation where Allura is concerned….”
“You’re right, I don’t accept it.” Lotor told her. “There has to be a way….A way to win Arus and get Allura for my bride.”
Her arms which had been hugging him, suddenly went stiff with displeasure. “And what about me?” Merla asked in an even tone of voice. “And what about the child that we created together?”
“I….” Already she was pulling away, Merla most likely having picked up on his thoughts. He grew angry then, turning to face her and growling. “Damn it. This shouldn’t even be an issue. I shouldn’t have to be hesitating about what I want to do!” He glared at her, not liking how sad Merla looked in the moment. “By all rights I should WANT to be free of you!” Seizing hold of her, he pulled her to him. “But I don’t.” A humorless smile then. “You’ve gotten to me, little by little, until even I don’t know for certain what I want to do anymore.”
His mouth was hovering teasingly over hers, lips brushing hers with every word spoken. “I don’t want to give up on Allura.” That made Merla try to jerk free of his grip, Lotor tightening his hold on her arms. “But I also don’t want to give YOU up.” He kissed her then, and it was as primal as it was possessive, Lotor staking his claim on Merla. She stiffened against him, as though refusing to yield to that claim as long as he made similar ones on Allura.
Her hands touched his chest, Merla attempting to push Lotor away from her. He wouldn’t be moved that easily, Lotor leaning into her hands’ touch. Her fingers curled, sharp tipped claws digging into the fabric of his tunic. He relished that bit of pain, the sharp sting of her nails, Lotor responding by sweeping Merla’s legs out from under her. That move toppled them down to the bed, Merla actually letting out a startled gasp that Lotor quickly took advantage of.
Thrusting his tongue into her mouth, he kissed her as though she was a new world to be conquered. His own mouth was hard, unyielding, exerting a bruising force against her. Her own tongue faltered against his, Merla not ready to submit to him. He felt her struggles against his body, his weight pinning her down against the mattress. Claws moved with a purpose, Merla slicing open his shirt and the skin beneath it. He growled, and shifted enough to grab at her body. His own nails tore slashes into her nightie, Lotor continuing to try to coax out a more favorable response from Merla. But that response continued to elude him, Merla’s fangs grazing over his tongue.
Pulling back with a growl, Lotor glared at her. “You can do better than that!”
“So can you!” She spat out, her own glare just as fierce. Her voice held a breathless quality to it, her chest heaving harder against the confines of her nightie. Lotor could have enjoy the sight of her breasts struggling with her every breath for ages. Instead he gave careful consideration to her challenge. If a wicked look appeared on his face it would have matched the thoughts he was now having. Thoughts Merla picked up on, her own gaze narrowing. “Don’t…” It was more warning than plea, Lotor slowly smirking in response.
“But you issued a challenge to me, my dear wife. And you above all others should know. I never back down from a challenge.”
“There is always a first time for everything.” Her own tone was flat, Merla wearing an angry glower. “Now get off me.”
“No.” One word, but it was so effective in conveying his lack of interest in doing what she asked of him. Nor was he interested in listening to any more protests, Lotor moving to kiss her once more. But he abandoned his earlier show of brute force, Lotor’s kiss downright gentle as he touched his lips to Merla’s. If he could, he would entice her surrender with the sweetest of kisses, Lotor lips teasing with their feather light pressure.
He’d spend minutes just kissing her, lips doing soft nibbles one moment, and gently clinging the next. It was a test of both their patience, Lotor trying to urge Merla to weaken enough to melt in his arms. His fingers tangled in her hair, Lotor concentrating completely on Merla. On his desire for her. It was a dirty trick, to have his thoughts so single minded in their focus on the Queen. Especially given the fact she couldn’t stop herself from picking up on them.
It was a sweet assault, focused desire and kisses leaving Merla to relax little by little. Her nails stopped digging into his skin, and she no longer tried to squirm away. But she didn’t part her lips to his tongue’s probing, Merla refusing to be such an easy prize to win. It made him all the more determined to have her, and Lotor was a prince who was used to getting what he wanted.
Alas it was not meant to be, not today at any rate. Even as he felt Merla’s lips tremble with the effort to remain unaffected by his kiss, the world outside this room was intruding. There was the unwelcome beeping of his hand held communicator, the sound an annoying and insistent noise. He wanted to ignore it, but Merla’s hands had firmed on his shoulders. She was back to trying to push him away, and would have turned her face to the side if his hands in her hair would have allowed her that much freedom.
The communicator continued to beep, the person on the other end not willing to give up. It spoke to Lotor of how urgent the message had to be, but that didn’t make him any more eager to answer it. Not when he had been so close to gaining a favorable reaction from Merla.
“Saved by the bell it seems.” Lotor told her, but his smirk wasn’t happy. Merla continued to glare at him, leaving Lotor to worry she might try to attack him the instant he took his eyes off of her.
Moving with exaggerated caution, Lotor made a grab for the communicator on his belt. He’d growl into it, all to let his displeasure be known. “What?! What is so urgent that you had to bother me now?!”
“We’re pulling back from Arus.” It was Cossack who spoke, his uncertain voice sounding almost apologetic in the moment. The commander was well aware of what was at stake, what could happen to Lotor and Merla in response to another failure on planet Arus. “Official word came from the King’s armada just a few minutes ago.”
“Zarkon is giving up?” Merla had sat up, sounding shocked.
“Yeah.” Cossack had heard her question. “Black lion came a little too close to succeeding in taking out the King’s ship. As it is, the Obliterator has suffered extensive damages.”
“Hmph. Just like my father to turn tail and run, the moment his own hide gets a little close to the fire.” Lotor grumbled. But he wasn’t entirely happy to hear they were pulling out of Arus. He had no doubt it was a temporary retreat, but Lotor feared he and Merla would suffer for what Zarkon would take as yet another humiliating defeat for the Doom Empire. A part of him wished Black Lion had been successful, that Zarkon had been killed in it’s attack. But his luck wasn’t that good, Lotor letting out a heavy sigh.
“Haggar’s releasing a robeast she cobbled together at the last second.” Continued Cossack when it became clear Lotor had nothing more to say. “The lions will be too busy with it, to go after us.”
“At least the witch is good for something.” Grumbled Lotor. He didn’t even bother to say good bye to Cossack, abruptly switching off the communicator. Merla’s expression was worried, and Lotor was sure his own was similar in look to hers. “Don’t worry…” He tried to be reassuring, touching her hands. “It will all work out.”
“How can it?” Merla questioned. “One or both of us may be dead soon….”
The troubling fact was he couldn’t even argue against that. Not when he knew just how high the chances were for their deaths. And still he tried to comfort Merla, to block out his own doubts and insecurities about what would happen. He wasn’t very successful in either endeavor, Merla reading the worry off him. A worry that had dampened his earlier desire, Lotor understanding now was not the time to focus on his relationship with the Queen. It was a pity, and Lotor could only hope they’d both live long enough for them to finish what had started in this room.