Shell 02

 Hands bound behind her back, Allura walked at a brisk pace, aware of the laser rifles trained on her body. She showed no outward fear, playing at presenting a mask of indifference to her fate, though inwardly she was shaking with a combination of anger and fear. She was surprised she hadn’t slipped into a state of permanent shock, Allura feeling overwhelmed at the sight of the Drules inside her beloved castle.

The enemy soldiers were everywhere, both inside and out, and that crab like robeast sat sleeping on her lawn, a deep snore rumbling out of it’s throat. The sleep was a lie, she knew it could awaken at any moment, all it took was a command by Haggar the witch and the monster would once again continue it’s rampage. She held back her sighs, refusing to give the soldiers escorting her through her own home the satisfaction of any type of reaction.

But she burned, body stiff with tension as she remembered how they had come for her while she lay trapped in her lion. The soldiers of Doom had barely waited for her to open the hatch, they had been eager to retrieve her, and ready to saw open blue lion’s metal hide. When she cautiously climbed out of the hatch, hands had grabbed at her from all angles, dragging her up out of the lion, and down onto her knees.

They treated her like she was a dangerous criminal, and not the valued hostage she truly was, Allura’s hands being bound behind her back with thick steel cuffs. Unbreakable by her feeble human strength, she had then been dragged onto a cruiser, her laser pistol taken from her. It had been a short ride to the castle, Allura ignoring the leers and the taunts of the soldiers, knowing that for all their threats they couldn’t hurt her. Not if they wanted to risk their master’s anger.

She wondered if she flushed at the thought of Lotor, Allura hardly believing he had finally conquered her home world. She felt worried at the thought of Arus in Doom’s hands, wondering what would become of her people. Becoming slaves was the most likely answer, their treatment would be harsh at the abusive hands of the Drules. Allura supposed it would be no less than the type of suffering she would receive at Lotor’s hands, the girl stifling back a shudder as she thought on how he had insisted she agree to his terms.

She wasn’t looking forward to seeing him, but she dared not slow her pace, Allura being jabbed in the back by the point of the rifles every time her steps turned hesitant. She could hear the accompanying guards talking, their words in basic as they speculated just what Lotor would do to her. It wasn’t a pretty picture they painted, Allura torn between paling and blushing.

She wondered if he’d even wait until they were properly married before molesting her, Allura gritting her teeth as she and her guards drew near to the command center of the castle of lions. She could hear voices speaking, unfamiliar males with the heavy accent of the Drules. Her heart beat wildly at the thought that they had invaded so deeply inside the castle, Allura starting to shake with rage.

“Ah…” Lotor’s voice, rife with satisfaction, spoke the moment she stepped through the doorway of the command center. “There she is. There is my bride!”

“Princess!” Nanny called out, the woman moving to take a step in her direction. The Drules on guard immediately barred her way, the woman’s face twisting into anger. “Let me pass, damn you!” Such was her agitation that she let loose with a curse, the woman struggling against the hold on her arms.

“Nanny..” Allura said softly, noting the woman’s hands had been bound. Dirt was smudged on her nanny’s cheeks, and her dress held the stain of dust, ragged tears on the hem. Proof of her harried flight to avoid the robeast’s claws. “Coran…” He was standing silent, weapons trained on him, his solemn face staring at her.

“I am sorry Allura. I failed you…and your father’s trust in me.”

“Oh no Coran, don’t say that!” Allura protested, even as Lotor took a step towards her.

“Allura, you will quickly learn I do not take well to being ignored.” She refused to look at him, instead gazing sadly at her trusted friend and advisor. Lotor made a sound, annoyance at the heart of it. “Come now…” He was suddenly in front of her, hands reaching for her face. “Smile for your husband.”

“You are not my husband!” She snapped, her eyes narrowed into a glare. Allura wanted to step back, to avoid those hands of his, but suddenly rifles pressed into her back, a warning to remain still. She froze, enduring his hands cupping either side of her face with a sigh.

“Not yet. But that is easily remedied.” Lotor told her, his gloved fingertips caressing her cheeks. “All we need is someone to officiate the exchanging of vows between us.”

“Did you bring a priest all the way from Doom?” Allura asked, tone tart as she addressed him. “Because none of the priests on Arus will agree to wed me to a monster!” She saw his golden eyes flash, a look of anger to them. But she didn’t take back her words, standing before him as bravely as she could manage.

“Allura my dear, pray that you never see just how monstrous I can be.” Lotor told her, and his hands moved, Allura flinching back in fear. But it wasn’t too strike her, his fingers reaching for her helmet, gently pulling it free of her head. He looked at her, tossing the helmet down to the floor, the clatter of on the metal loud enough to make her jump. Lotor noticed, a smile curving the sides of his mouth, the prince studying her.

He liked what he saw, his fingers playing with the curls that had come loose of her bun. She wanted to yell at him, to refuse him that touch, but Allura knew it would be the first of many that she would have to endure as his war prize. Instead she looked away from him, sliding her gaze over to the view screen, the monitor focused on the burning wreckage of the town.

The robeast’s outer shell still sat there, green lion and yellow lion impaled on it’s claws. In the corner of the screen, obscured by a thick purple cloud, was the remaining two lions, the pilots silent. “You promised if I agreed to your demands, you’d spare my friends!”

“That I did.” Agreed Lotor, and Allura turned towards him, anxiety projecting in her every movement.

“Then where are they?! Why are they not here? At least call off the cloud…before it’s too late!” He smiled at her, but shook his head no, Allura letting out a frustrated cry. “Why not?”

“I won’t free them from their current predicaments until after we are wed.” Lotor told her, making her all but scream with impatience.

“It will take time to find a priest willing to marry us! Time Keith and Lance do not have!”

“Then we better hurry, because I will not risk losing everything when I am so close to victory.” Lotor ceased playing with her hair, turning away from her to look at the screen.

“I gave you my word!” Allura started, glaring at his back. “I honor my promises, unlike you Drules!”

Lotor snorted at that, the sound annoyed. “Yes, and I’m sure your friends will be most eager to hand over you and Arus to me. Come on Allura! Do you think me a fool? I won’t risk the captain and the others staging a last minute rescue. Do you think they will honor a promise you made under duress?”

She blinked surprised, shrugging her shoulders. “At least you harbor no illusions that I do this willingly.”

“No, you do not.” Lotor agreed, and turned to her, an unreadable look in his eyes. “But you will do this. We will be wed tonight, and Arus will be made part of the Doom Empire.”

“I already told you…we have no priest, and even if we did, it would take time for them to be persuaded to do this.” Allura said, surprised when Lotor smirked.

“You think I haven’t thought of that? That I haven’t looked up the traditions and culture of this world?” She shook her head no, and Lotor chuckled. “Oh but I have. I’ve made it my hobby to learn everything about you and your planet. And I know Allura…”

“Know what?”

“That in lieu of a priest, we can have a man of official standing wed us.” Her eyes widened, Allura fighting the urge to look at Coran. Lotor’s smirk widened, the prince turning from her to gesture to his men. “I believe Coran is just that man.”

“I will not do this.” Coran said, not denying what Lotor had said. “I will not marry Allura to you.”

“Have you no heart advisor?” Lotor demanded, a hand waving at the view screen. “Your men are in desperate need of aid. Some more than others.” He tsked, studying Coran’s face. “Have you no compassion, no loyalty to the boys who defended your planet for so long?”

“My loyalty is first and foremost to the planet and it’s princess.” Coran said, the man refusing to look at the view screen. “I would not tie either one to Doom.”

“You don’t have much of a choice. Arus will belong to Doom, with or without my marrying Allura. At least this way she still retains her honor!” Lotor told him, but Coran merely shook his head no. “Think of the lions…black lion and red lion will be ruined, unsalvageable. There won’t be enough parts left to power even a flashlight. And as for the pilot’s bodies well…” Lotor trailed off, letting them imagine what the corrosive cloud would do to flesh and bone.

“Coran…” Allura shuddered, her tone pleading. “Please…just do what he asks. Don’t let Keith and Lance die this way.”

“Yes…” Lotor agreed with a smirk. “Don’t let your subordinate needlessly suffer…”

“Princess Allura, I made vows to your father. And one of them was to protect you…” Coran began, but Allura angrily cut him off.

“But you can’t! Not from this…not from…not from him!” The advisor frowned, Allura continuing. “He’s right…he’ll take Arus any way he can get it. He’ll take me too. At least this way I won’t be his slave…I’ll retain some power as his wife…”

“I think slave and wife are interchangeable to Drules.” muttered Nanny, then cried out when a guard jabbed her in the side with his rifle.

“Please…” Allura begged, blue eyes staring imploringly at Coran. “Help me to keep my word to him…”

Coran stared at her for a few seconds more, and then sighed, his shoulder sagging. “All right. I will do this. But it is without any joy that I see you wed today.”

“Nor I Coran.” Allura agreed, hearing Lotor step closer towards her.

“Excellent.” The prince purred, placing a propriety hand on Allura’s shoulder. “Well, there’s no need to delay things…let us get started immediately.” He gestured at his soldiers, the men dragging Coran over before Allura. One of the soldiers fiddled with the control panel of the main computer, the screen changing to reflect the scene in the command center. Allura sent a questioning look towards Lotor, and he smiled.

“The ceremony will be broadcast to all of Arus and Doom.” He explained. “I want no one to be in doubt about our being united in holy matrimony.”

“There’s nothing holy or sacred with what is about to happen!” snapped Nanny, and Allura winced when a guard struck her in the back with the butt of his rifle.

“Hold your tongue woman!” hissed the guard, Lotor sighing.

“Do try to control yourselves. Both of you are upsetting my bride.”

“Let’s just get this over with.” Allura snapped, displeased to see the prince smile.

“Ah, so impatient is my bride. She cannot wait to be joined together with me in marriage.” Allura’s jaw dropped, her eyes wide with shock. Was he insane? Did he actually believe that? That hand of his slid from her shoulder down her arm, Lotor pulling her against his side. “Come Coran….say the words we’re both longing to hear.”

Coran stared at them, eyes showing his frustration at the situation. “Please Coran…” Her voice lacked hope, Allura sighing. “The sooner we do this, the sooner the boys can be freed.”

“Very well…” Coran agreed, and pull himself ramrod straight as he regarded the couple. “Marriage…” He paused, trying to think, Allura knowing it would be difficult for him to recall the proper words for a full ceremony. “It is a sacred bond…one that is not to be entered into lightly. Do you both understand this?”

“Yes.” Allura nodded, and Lotor smiled.

“Of course. It’s not everyday I choose to get married!”

“Right….Marriage is a vow to one another, a promise to love…” Coran seemed to choke on the words, as though he thought Lotor incapable of upholding the promises of marriage. “Cherish, and honor one another. Can you both do that?” Again they nodded their consent, and the first sounds of tears started. But they were not from Allura, but coming from Nanny, the woman sniffling and unable to blow her nose or dry her eyes with her hands bound.

“It’s okay Nanny.” Allura said, wanting to go to the woman and comfort her.

“It’s not…” Nanny said, and cried harder, practically bawling. The soldiers made no move to silence her, surely they were used to ignoring the tears of their captives.

“With these spoken vows, you will promise to forsake all others, placing your spouse as the center of your world…” continued Coran over the sound of Nanny’s tearful distress.

“I like the sound of that.” Murmured Lotor, Allura fighting the urge to frown at him.

“Er…..you really should be holding hands for this next part…” Began Coran, but Lotor interjected with a cut answer.

“We’ll save the hand holding for later. Continue with the ceremony!”

Coran let out an audible sigh, but nodded his head. “Do you…Prince Lotor of planet Doom, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

“I do.”

“And do you, Princess of Allura of planet Arus…” Coran seemed to stumble over the words, and Allura realized the man was trembling. Not with fear, but with his unspoken rage at having to perform this ceremony. “Take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

Feeling faint, Allura hesitated, a held breath waiting for the rescue that would not come. At last she sighed and lowered her eyes, unable to stand looking at Lotor’s smirk. “I do…”

“Then…..you leave me no choice but to pronounce you husband and wife.” Coran all but growled out. “You may now kiss your bride Lotor.”

“Ah, the kiss is always my favorite part of a wedding.” Lotor was practically beaming now, happy and sure of himself as he grasped both her bound arms. Lotor forced Allura to face him, the prince bending downward to get at her face. Allura didn’t resist him, but she also did not try to aid him, staying flat footed on the floor. She stared at his face, looming ever nearer. His golden eyes were fixed on hers, and his lips parted slightly as he breathed out her name. “Allura….my love….my wife…”

He pressed his lips to hers, slanting them in place so that they molded together. She surprised herself by trembling against him, feeling a flicker of fear go through her as the realization set in. They were married, and with it came the right for him to kiss her. Her arm tensed, hands struggling against the metal cuffs as the old, familiar instinct to strike him rose up.

Lotor seemed oblivious to the internal struggle going on within her, the prince trying to deepen the kiss with flicks of his tongue. Coran coughed politely, and Nanny moaned, a tearful exclamation escaping her.

“Already that beast molests her!”

Her words were followed up with a cry, a soldier striking the woman for her impudent tone. Other Drules were speaking, cheering on their prince and making lewd comments. Allrua endured it all, refusing to part her lips as she tried to keep the kiss chaste. Eventually Lotor drew back, a half frown on his face as his hand lifted to her mouth. The pad of his thumb stroke the bottom of her lip, Lotor making a regretful sound.

“Soon you won’t fight me…even in this regard.”

“I’ve kept my word and married you. Now keep yours and free my friends!” Allura demanded, displeased at the smile Lotor gave her.

“Of course. My men will get to work on freeing them from their lions immediately.” A few signals from him, Lotor uttering commands in Drule. Some of the guards hurried out of the room, while two approached Allura. “They’ll enjoy a nice lengthy stay in the castle dungeon’s while you and I get better acquainted.”

“What? No! They’ve done nothing wrong!” protested Allura with a gasp.

“Allura…” Lotor dropped his hand away from her face. “They are enemies of my planet…..of me people. They’ve committed plenty of crimes towards us. A stay in your castle’s dungeons is the least I can offer them.”

“That wasn’t part of the deal! You said you’d free them!”

“Free them from their lions.” Clarified Lotor with a shake of his head. “I’m sorry if you expected something more for them.”

“Already he lies to her!” cried Nanny, but this time no one struck the woman for speaking out of turn.

“She’s right…you lie. It’s all you can do!” exclaimed Allura. “I should have known better than to trust you!”

“No, you should have known enough to negotiate better terms for your friends.” Lotor told her, then stepped away from her. Immediately the guards grabbed Allura’s arms, jerking her towards the command center’s doorway.

“What are you up to now? Where are they taking me?!” demanded Allura, giving frantic jerks on her bound hands.

“They are merely taking you to my room.” Lotor explained, and Allura’s eyes widened, the girl wondering which room he had claimed for his own. “You need to rest and prepare for me.” Lotor sighed. “There is still much work to be done here, that I cannot join with you immediately.”

“Thank the Gods for small favors!” Her statement had him frowning at her, his eyes taking on a hard light.

“But rest assured Allura, before the sun rises on this night, I will be by your side.”

“I can hardly wait.” Muttered Allura, just before the soldiers dragged her out of the room. She could hear Lotor speaking, his voice questioning Coran about the lions. Allura prayed Coran wouldn’t prove too difficult to the prince, the girl not wanting her friend to be harmed by him. It was easier to worry about her friends, than it was to think about the fate that lay in store for Allura, the girl knowing she’d break down trembling if she dwelled on her upcoming wedding night. She found herself whispering a prayer, begging the gods to let someone, anyone rescue her from the horror she was about to endure.

 


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