The first sound that greeted her upon their return from the cave was mean spirited snickers. Allura flinched back from the sound, grateful for the darkness that kept her from seeing their knowing looks. But she knew there was no hiding the blush on her cheeks, Allura turning even redder as she thought about what Lotor’s men must imagine had happened between them.
She could still hardly believe it herself, wondering what Lotor was thinking. There was few times in her life that could compare to the humiliation she had just suffered at his hands. Indeed the only thing that came close was the time her nanny took it upon herself to spank her in front of her friends, the Voltron force. And even that paled in comparison to the dismay and embarrassment she had felt, as Lotor’s eyes roamed over her naked body.
It was a first for her, being stared at so openly by a man who clearly wanted her. Even worse had been his touches, Lotor caressing her breasts, his hands wandering even lower as he stripped away her remaining garments. Yet for all his heated stares, and grabbing of her body, he had actually behaved once she stood before him bare. She didn’t understand it, but she was relieved, knowing that though her virtue had been smudged around the edges by the experience, it was still intact.
Now if only she could block out the laughter of the men, wanting to shout out the truth to them. Instead she gritted her teeth, looking straight ahead as Lotor maneuvered her to sit amongst his soldiers. He took care to deposit her within reach of a large Drule with purplish skin, his large muscled arms easily having the length to reach out and grab her foot should she try to stand without permission.
She tried to ignore the men, squinting to see in the dim moonlight, just barely making out the shadowy form of Lotor as he went to converse quietly with his men. The voices were different this time, it appeared they had changed watch as she was in the cave, leaving her to wonder just how long her ordeal had truly been.
“Has there been any news?” Lotor’s voice, the prince sounding as arrogant as he normally did.
“None yet Prince Lotor.” Came the answer, Allura wondering what that could mean. She didn’t have to wait long, the Drule was continuing. “They’ve been trying to get in contact with both parties. The lack of communication on both fronts has them worried enough to send out a search party.”
Allura didn’t dare let her hope build, knowing that even if the search party was sent out, it would still take them time to find her. Lotor had a large head start, it would be hours before anyone stumbled upon him and his men. She sighed, when Lotor spoke, his cocky laugh sounding as he confirmed her fears.
“It matters not.” Lotor said. “We have the advantage of a good few hours on them. Even if they find the captain and his men, they will still be delayed in freeing them. They’ll soon realize they’ll have to meet us at the falls if they want to catch up to us at all.”
Allura sighed, folding her hands together, a silent prayer whispered in her mind. She hoped that Keith would have time to come up with a plan to rescue her, knowing Coran would be quick to supply the ship Lotor had demanded. Whatever the case, she could not be on it when it left, fearing what would happen to her and her people if she was brought to Doom.
“Praying Allura?” Lotor’s curious voice asked her, causing her to look up startled. He moved like some silent panther, having snuck up on her while she was distracted. “It won’t do you any good.” He continued, voice conversational. “The Gods can’t save you now.”
“You haven’t won yet Lotor!” She hissed furiously. “There’s always a chance for salvation!”
“Really?” Lotor asked, looking down at her. “I will look forward to having a discussion of religion with you at a later date. Perhaps you’ll convince me that this salvation you speak of extends to everyone, even people like my father and Haggar.”
Allura bit her tongue, wanting to argue that those two had gone too far to hope to ever be saved. In fact, at the moment Allura wasn’t even sure Lotor could be, even if he turned repentant of his sins.
Seeing her disinterest in speaking to him, Lotor moved away, settling a few feet from her. He leaned against a tree, his back positioned so that the bark guarded it. All around her, the men settled down, voices silent as they started to drift off. A lone soldier kept watch, while another sat with her communicator, listening for information. Allura wondered if she should attempt to flee, wondering if things could get any worse for her if she attempted and failed to escape Lotor’s clutches.
Instead she huddled her legs close to her body, frowning at the lack of a fire. It figured they would be too smart to light one, knowing the smoke would give away their location. Allura was aware of the ever creeping cold, the temperature dropping slowly but surely. She wondered if Drules were affected by the cold, Allura wishing she had worn her insulated pilot suit this night.
“Are you cold Allura?” Lotor’s voice, his keen eyes perceptive to her shivering.
“Maybe just a little.” The princess admitted. Silence for a few more minutes, leaving her to wonder why Lotor had even asked. It would be just like him not to express concern over her well being, she thought bitterly.
“Come here.” He said at last, Allura glancing in his direction. “I’ll warm you up.”
“No thank you!” She snapped angrily, remaining rooted to the spot.
“I insist.” Lotor said. “Come here or I shall fetch you myself.”
You wouldn’t dare was on the tip of her tongue, but Allura knew better than to goad him by saying it. Instead she let out a heavy sigh, making it clear of her displeasure as she stood and walked over to his tree. He reached for her hand, tugging her gently towards him.
Caught off balance, Allura toppled forward, into Lotor’s waiting arms. “What are you doing?” She whispered, hands against his chest as he held her close.
“Keeping you warm of course, my dear princess.” Lotor chuckled. “Wouldn’t want you to get frostbite and lose those cute toes of yours.”
“I think my toes interest you least of all.” Allura muttered, feeling Lotor settled her more firmly against his body. She laid against the length of him, body positioned between his legs, torso pressed against his chest. His arms wrapped securely around her, leaving her all to aware of his manly presence. This close she could smell his personal scent, a heady combination of musk and some exotic spice.
She never wanted to be this close to Lotor, and now for the umpteenth time this night, she was in his arms. She knew she was turning red, embarrassed by the situation. Allura nearly jumped out of her skin, when Lotor’s hand touched her unbound hair, winding his fingers through the strands. He was attempting to pet her she realized, trying to lull her into relaxing. The thought made her stiffen, and still he continued.
“Sleep Alllura.” Lotor advised, seeming content to play with her hair. “We don’t have much time until sun up.”
“Oh?” She asked, glancing up at his face. She wished she could see his expression, wondering if he was wearing that damnable smirk of his. “We will be moving out soon?”
“Yes.” Lotor said, a quick nod to punctuate that word. “It’s best you rest while you can. We will still have quite a distance of ground to cover.”
“All right.” Allura said reluctantly, laying her head against his chest. Faintly she could make out his heart beat, a strong steady rhythm in her ears. Between that and the petting, she was soon fast asleep, the princess having failed to realize how tired she truly was.
It was like she had blinked, and the sky had lightened, Allura relieved to see sunlight streaming into the forest. It no longer left her so dependent on her other senses, Allura now able to see clearly with her own two eyes. Blinking them now, she lifted her head, seeing Lotor was watching her, a hand idly playing with the ends of her hair. His men were up and about, trying to erase the signs of their camp, others stretching out their muscles, or stifling yawns.
“Morning.” Lotor said to her, smiling.
She stared back at him, then sighed. “Morning.”
“Did you sleep well?” He wanted to know.
“No, I kept dreaming some overbearing ogre was trying to crush me in his arms.” Allura retorted, trying to sit up. He didn’t let her, Allura narrowing her eyes into a glare at him. “Turns out it wasn’t a dream!”
Lotor laughed, apparently charmed by her words. “Princess Allura, you never cease to amuse.”
“That was not my intent!” hissed Allura, beginning to struggle in his arms. To her surprise he released her, Allura rolling off him, and onto the grass. She quickly sat up, brushing back her hair. Still watching her, Lotor stood, stretching out his arms as he worked out the night’s kinks.
“I’ve slept in better places, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for any other.” He announced to her. “You are a delight to hold.”
“And you are a beast!” She snapped, floundering about for an insult.
“A beast am I?” Lotor quirked an eyebrow at her, looking amused. “A fine thank you after I kept you warm during the night!”
“I wouldn’t have needed you to do that if you hadn’t kidnapped me in the first place!” Allura retorted angrily. “I could have been home in my bed, if not for you.”
“And I could have been home in MY bed if not for your Voltron attacking my ships.” Lotor pointed out. “There’s no point in wasting your breath on what ifs. They only serve to exasperate.”
“Hmph!” Allura said, looking away from him. His shadow fell on her, Lotor bending down to take hold of her arm. He pulled her to her feet, but he was looking at his men when he spoke.
“Let’s move out. If we’re lucky, we can make it to the Crystal Falls before nightfall.”
“Yes sir!” The Drules dutifully chorused back, falling into formation. Lotor began dragging Allura behind him, intent on taking the lead.
“You needn’t hold onto me!” Allura hissed, yanking on her arm. “I am not going anywhere.”
“Then stay close to me.” Lotor advised, leaving a surprised but grateful Allura free. “If you try to make a run for it, I will tie your hands and feet, and carry you all the way across these woods.”
“You wouldn’t dare!” She gasped, horrified at the thought of being tied up.
“Don’t test me on this Allura.” Lotor replied, and with a push on her back, he was prodding her forward. “Now move!” She responded to that command, feet propelling her forward. She heeded his threat, sticking close to his side, her feet stepping confidently on the ground. Now that it was daylight, she had no reason to stumble, being able to see her way clearly.
Just like the night before, the Drules were eerily silent as they walked, blaster rifles in hands. At the slightest of sounds, they would aim their rifles, ready to shoot anything that moved. Allura frowned at the loss of wildlife they caused, especially when they killed a rabbit that was known to be nearly extinct on her planet. She wanted to say something snappish to Lotor, but instead she held her tongue, realizing he simply would not care.
She was also tired, not having gotten enough sleep in the little time allocated to her. Allura kept fighting the urge to yawn, her hand raising to her face to cover her mouth. A glance at Lotor showed no such sign, indeed none of the Drules were yawning, leaving Allura to be reminded that the alien race didn’t require as much sleep as humans. They’d still be fresh, alert from that brief respite Lotor had allowed them, while Allura’s own people had probably spent most if not all the night up looking for her.
As if in reply to her silent thoughts, her communicator crackled into life, a tinny voice calling out her name. “Allura, are you there? Speak to me!”
“Coran!” Allura gasped out his name before she could stop herself, Lotor giving a signal that caused his men to halt. The communicator was offered to the prince, Lotor taking it, his thumb pushing the relay button.
“Hello advisor.” Lotor said into the tiny oval machine, never taking his eyes off of Allura. “It’s a lovely day today, wouldn’t you say? Of course it cannot compare to the beauty that passes for a day on Doom.”
“Prince Lotor, I must insist you allow me to talk to the princess!” Coran said, and in the background Allura could hear the shouts of the Voltron force. Keiths’ voice was chief among them, and she almost gave way to relieved tears to know he had been found.
“You don’t order me around fool!” Lotor snapped, his voice a low, dangerous growl. “Now, have you prepared my ship?”
“Is the princess all right?” Coran asked. “At least tell me that much.”
“Yes.” Conceded Lotor, reaching out with his free hand to brush a stray curl back from Allura’s cheek. “She is unharmed….for now. But I cannot promise she will remain that way if my demands aren’t met.”
“You will have what you want.” Coran said, ignoring the protests of the Voltron force.
“Yes.” Lotor smiled at Allura, his fingers now stroking her cheek. “Yes, I will. Lotor out.”
“Lotor, you fiend!” Keith’s voice heard clearly now, but Lotor was already turning off the communicator. He looked at it for a moment, seeming to debate what to do with it. He settled for hooking it on the belt of his tunic, and then was turning Allura around. Without a second glance, he was moving forward, trusting her to keep on following him.
“Do you even know where we are going?!” She soon asked, wondering if they were moving about the forest aimlessly.
“Of course.” Lotor said confidently. “I have made a habit of studying your planet’s landmarks extensively.”
“You have?” Allura was surprised. She had always thought Lotor a bit lazy, never dreaming he would bother to learn anything that didn’t have to do with conquer.
“Yes. It always helps to know the terrain in case something unfortunate happens.” Explained Lotor. “I’ve studied what is and isn’t edible on your planet, and can hazard a guess as to what wildlife can be found in these very woods.”
“I….I see.” Allura told herself she would not be impressed, but even Keith hadn’t bothered to learn about the local wildlife of her planet.
They fell silent once more, making quick time as they traversed the woods. All too soon the trees began to thin out, more of the sky being seen as the foliage grew less dense. Grass gave way to rocky outcroppings, Allura scrambling over large boulders with Lotor’s hands on her waist. She didn’t offer him thanks, ignoring him as best she could. She knew they were close to the falls now, she could hear them, the water roaring as it tumbled downwards.
The Crystal Falls lived up to it’s name, being surrounded by clear crystalline rock that was so sheer as to be impossible to climb. The water that flowed over the falls was pure and unpolluted, the freshest spring water Allura had ever had the privilege to taste. She dropped down to her knees gratefully, dipping her hand into the water for a drink. Lotor’s men soon joined her, two at a time, the others keeping watch.
“They’re late.” Lotor growled, a scowl on his face.
“They’ll be here.” Allura told him. “Unlike you Drules, we Arusians keep our promises.” Perhaps that was the wrong thing to say, Lotor’s glower turning towards her. “You’ll see…” She said softly. “You’ll get your ship.”
Soon all the Drules had had a drink of water, Lotor ordering the men back into the cover of the woods. Allura leaned against a tree, watching as the men scanned the sky, waiting for a sign. Allura began to give up hope, when suddenly a ship’s engine could be heard. A sleek air cruiser followed it, Allura could make out Keith and Lance besides Coran.
Both the space ship and the cruiser landed next to the falls, and Keith’s voice shouted out. “Okay Lotor, we are here! Now come out!”
At Lotor’s nod, the Drule soldiers stepped forward, keeping their weapons trained on both the vehicles and the men. Lotor and Allura were the last to arrive on the scene, Lotor once again holding onto the princess’ arm. Allura looked with relieved eyes at her friends, wanting to call out to them. But she didn’t dare, keeping quiet as she watched Coran and the others approach Lotor.
The space ship’s door opened, Hunk emerging, dressed in his flight suit. Keith and Lance were still in civilian clothes, Keith’s arm in a sling as he stared holes into Lotor’s form. “We have kept our word.” Coran began, his expression grave. “Now keep yours.”
Lotor signaled to some of his men to secure the ship, Keith and Lance bristling with anger as they waited. Only then did he speak, Lotor turning to look quizzically at Coran. “Oh? Did I promise something?”
“Cut the bull shit Lotor!” Lance snapped, hands curled into fists. “Hand over the princess!”
“It occurs to me.” Lotor spoke as though Lance had said nothing, his expression thoughtful. “What’s to keep Arus, to keep Voltron from attacking us once we are in mid air? Hmmm?”
“We wouldn’t do that.” Protested Coran, but Lotor was speaking over him.
“No….Allura is coming with us. You see she makes the perfect hostage.” A smirk now, Allura crying out in horror.
“You won’t dare shoot us down so as long as she is on board.” Continued Lotor. “Nor will you be able to form Voltron without blue lion. I think it’s win win for me.” A laugh then, Lotor tossing back his head, gleeful.
“You truly are a terrible man.” Coran said, eyes sad and weary as he looked at Lotor. “You have no honor, you are a disgrace to princes everywhere.”
Lotor gave an uncaring shrug of his shoulders. “If I cared about what other people thought of me, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. Fortunately I do, and quite well I might add.”
He started to drag her away, Allura pulling against his hold, digging her feet into the ground. “I won’t go with you!” She shouted, voice panicked as she fought him. Lotor growled something in Drule, moving her bit by bit when Keith leaped forward, attempting to tackle the prince to the ground. He succeeded in jarring Lotor’s hold on her, Allura falling backwards onto the hard ground.
“Secure the princess!” Lotor shouted, already making a move to unsheathe his lazon sword. Astonishing enough, Keith grabbed it with his good hand, a quick pull and it was free, it’s hum faint compared to the sound of the falling water.
Allura was scrambling to her feet, eyes wide and anxious as she watched Keith slash at Lotor’s chest. The lazon sword shredded his tunic, leaving a wide arc of blood on the ground. Laser fire erupted, the Drule soldiers coming to the rescue of their prince, running towards them all. Lance returned fire, and even Coran had a small blaster gun in his hands.
The deadly blasts were traded, Drules falling down dead. One man, the purplish one that she had sat next to, was grappling with Hunk, the large man being a somewhat even match for the Drule. Allura didn’t know where to look, and she cowered and cringed from the lasers that came too close to her. Suddenly her arms were taken hold of, two Drules holding her prisoner, not at all trying to be gentle.
“Keith!! Lance!” Allura cried as they began to drag her towards the ship. Keith looked up at her call, and Lotor back handed him across the face. A punch to the stomach had Keith coughing up spit, the sword dropping from his hand and into Lotor’s waiting grip. Lotor lifted his arm, sword held up above his head, gazing down at the captain.
Keith was swept away from the decapitating blow Lotor attempted on him, Coran of all people barreling into the pilot. He didn’t escape unharmed, the lazon sword sunk into his shoulder, the man letting out a loud scream.
“Coran!” Allura shouted, feeling her eyes well up with tears. “You monster!”
“He’ll live.” Lotor said coldly, and then was running towards the ship, trusting his men to cover him with their laser fire. Lance continued to shoot at Lotor, not pausing to check on his friends. The Drule Hunk fought with, was knocked to the ground, Hunk firing off a shot dead center in his chest. But none of their efforts amounted to much more than a few dead bodies, Allura being dragged onto the ship, Lotor a few steps behind her.
He slammed his fist against the control panel of the door, metal sliding shut with a foreboding hiss. The Drules continued to hold onto Allura, the other men settling into positions behind consoles, firing up the ship’s engines. Lotor hurried over to the commander’s chair, trailing blood as he moved.
“Get us off the ground, now!” He barked out, as he settled into the chair. The voices that answered him were a distant sound to Allura, she was staring at the door, struggling to get free of the tight grip on her arms. The Drules were talking, technical babble that showed they knew what they were doing. Suddenly the engines roared, the whole ship shaking as it lifted straight up off the ground.
“No…” whispered Allura, and she would have fallen to her knees if not for the grip on her arms. “It can’t be…” She was sagging anyway, head hanging limply, realizing they were moving, and fast. She simply couldn’t believe it. Keith had failed to save her from Lotor!