Porcelain 23

He couldn’t help smiling, Zarkon’s grin one of self satisfaction as he thought on how smoothly things were proceeding in the wake of his wife’s murder. It was almost as though he had planned to kill the bitch, things falling into place in a way that was supremely satisfying, to the point he tossed back his head and laughed in the privacy of his study.

It had really been all too easy to make arrangements in the wake of Adaline’s death, Zarkon remaining calm and composed as he called his men to him. They had lined up before him, noting the blood splatters on his clothes, and the scratches on his face, and had said nothing. He would have killed them all instantly if they had, his men required not to have brains but the brawn to back up their King and his latest schemes.

They had barely blinked in reaction as he played at being regretful, Zarkon managing to tamp down his still seething anger over Adaline’s attack. He had told him his wife was dead, murdered in her own bedroom, the killer on the loose somewhere in the castle. He almost laughed then and there at how absurdly close to the truth those words were, the king ordering a small regiment of guards to accompany him as he hunted down Adaline’s killer.

He left a few guards behind to deal with the clean up, knowing what they would find. He was uncaring of the evidence he had left behind, it was his right after all, to dispose of property anyway he deemed fit, even if that property was a living, breathing person. In some ways it benefited him that Adaline had not been Drule, there would have been questions asked if his slain wife had been a highborn Drule noble.

Instead the people around him played at being ignorant, all the while suspecting what had really happened. They had heard the argument, the screams of both Zarkon and Adaline, had seen the injuries on his face, all leaving no doubt in their mind as to who had really killed the woman. But they played along, following their king through the castle as Zarkon mentally reviewed just who was his greatest dissident among the nobles.

The list was surprisingly short, a name coming to him, the King tracking the man down. It was Zarkon’s right to kill someone for the deed of damaging his property, the punishment fitting the crime. Since a life had been lost, another one had to be given up to him, and Zarkon had mourner’s choice in deciding just who would die. Technically he should have just accepted the life of one of the man’s slaves, but Zarkon needed someone to take the blame for him.

It was all part of his plan to bond his son to him, Zarkon knowing the boy would have a hard time accepting what he had done. So he killed another Drule, pinning the blame on an innocent man, leaving him to death and dishonor, his family leaving the Doom court in disgrace.

It was only then that he returned to his son, sword bloody and face tingling in pain from Adaline’s scratches. His son had barely even noticed the injuries on him, surely assuming Zarkon had gotten that way in fighting with his mother’s killer. Lotor had been more upset with the fact that Zarkon had denied him the kill, a bloodthirsty side emerging in the boy as he hungered for vengeance.

Zarkon delighted in the fire that smoldered in his son’s eyes, the king fanning the flames hotter as he whispered of accomplices in the plot to kill Adaline. Lotor ate up such news as though he was being spoon fed a delicious delicacy, Zarkon promising him that the others would die by Lotor’s hand. He could barely contain his glee at his son’s reaction, the boy almost eager to kill a direct contrast to his previous hesitations.

No doubt about it, getting rid of Adaline had been a smart move, her death proving the catalyst to turning their son into a killer. Zarkon looked forward to seeing Lotor exact his revenge, the man already making plans to hold the executions before the court. He had no doubts it would be a blood bath, for vengeance had been in Lotor’s eyes, the thirst for it and the willingness to take it.

His humanity was starting to crumble, and with Adaline gone, there would be no one to bolster it. His wife could no longer sink her nails into Lotor, pull him back from the brink of the abyss that Zarkon cast him into. He would become ruthless, cold and uncaring, the perfect king to rule over the Drule. The universe would know fear, and it would be Lotor who brought that terror to it.

There was however one small problem, Zarkon frowning as he thought of Alfor’s brat. That child of Arus weakened Lotor, made him cling to his human emotions, stirring desperate need and pity in the boy. Her catatonic state only hindered Lotor’s growth, the boy becoming as dependent on the girl, as she was on him. Zarkon had seen the way Lotor catered to her, the boy almost fanatical in his need to bring her back to herself.

It was sickening, and it had been all Zarkon could do not to beat them both for the disgusting display they made of themselves. Lotor was coddling her the way Adaline had coddled him, trying to baby the girl into breaking her silence.

Of course Zarkon didn’t understand Lotor’s devotion to the girl, but he knew he had to separate the two. Not just for Lotor’s sake, but for his as well. The girl was a potential witness to what had really happened between Adaline and Zarkon, and if she should somehow recover enough to tell Lotor, things wouldn’t go well between them. She needed to be disposed of, but in a way that couldn’t be traced back to Zarkon.

And so he had come up with a plan to send the girl away from Doom. There on another world she would be outside Lotor’s notice, stripped of his protection. And once free of Lotor, Zarkon would act, removing the only threat that remained to him. He felt no guilt or remorse over snuffing the life out of a little girl, in fact he thought such a killing was long overdo Alfor’s brat living on borrowed time ever since Adaline had rescued her from the dungeons.

Of course it would take subtle manipulation on his part, Zarkon pretending to play the kind, caring parent. It was a role he was not familiar with, Zarkon almost bungling things with his impatience. But his son wasn’t thinking straight, too distraught over his mother and Allura to notice anything was amiss around him. Lotor existed in a void that centered on the broken Allura, becoming the fool Zarkon played him for.

He had approached him with grim concern, playing the role of a father concerned for his son’s peace of mind. Of course Lotor had resisted the idea of sending Allura away, but the seeds had been planted in his mind. It took only two more days for Lotor to make his decision, the boy reluctantly agreeing with Zarkon’s plan. He had smiled and soothed the boy as best he could, telling his son he was doing the right thing.

Preparations to send Allura away had already been made, Zarkon merely waiting for Lotor to concede to the plan. The girl was soon shipped off of Doom, and flying to the planet Zabatos, a world renowned for it’s medical facilities. It was also a planet on the verge of war, caught between Doom and Demos, another conquest hungry empire.

A hot bed of activity, it wouldn’t take much for the war to officially start, both empires intent on claiming Zabatos for themselves. It just needed one push, and Zarkon would give it to them.

He sat up from his slouched position, the smile still on his face. Eyes gleaming with cruel delight, he began keying up a sequence onto his computer, the screen opening up on a view of one of the many cities on the planet Zabatos. To the outsider observer the city wouldn’t seem important, save for the medical facilities that healed the sick and invented new cures daily for the many illnesses that plagued the Denubian Galaxy.

It was of no real importance to the King either, save for the fact his son’s pitiful human friend was stationed at one of the hospitals there. The child was currently undergoing the best treatment his money could buy, a small fortune being spent in order to get inside that locked up tight mind of hers. So far there had been very little progress, the girl remaining withdrawn to the point all she did was sit in bed all day.

The doctors remained optimistic, hoping for a breakthrough that would reach the girl, and free her of her catatonic state. It was a pity they’d never get it, Zarkon’s fingers flying across the computer’s keyboard, the city being replaced with a shot of the hospital. It was a tall building, all white and sterile even from the outside, and people walked to and from it’s doors, several at a time.

He stared for a minute more, fingers still typing out his commands, a new screen overlaying it’s image on top of the hospital. It was blue prints of the building’s architecture, key points highlight in red. Green lights flashed at those points, signaling the bombs that had been placed to weaken the structure. His eyes reflected the flashing lights, Zarkon watching as more people entered the building.

A brief pause, waiting for the doors to close, watching as a mother carried her child inside the hospital. And then he was pushing down on a button, multiple explosions going off in the hospital. The windows blew out, shattered to dust in an instant, the structure of the building weakening and caving in on itself. It took just a matter of minutes for the building to topple downwards, collapsing in on itself.

That was just the first of the buildings to be blown, other landmarks suffering a similar fate. Zarkon watched the devastation on his screen, the fires that spread through out the city, the chaos the panicking populace caused. It was wonderful in it’s sheer horror, Zarkon leaning back with a smile. Allura wouldn’t be a problem, not now, not ever, the king letting out a wicked laugh.


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