The summons had been waiting for him the instant Lotor stepped off the ship, his father’s guards hurrying towards him. They had been eager with intent, ready to drag him off to see their King, with little care or regard to the girl that accompanied Lotor. It was only due to Lotor’s fiercesome reputation that he had held them off from such actions, Lotor ordering them to inform his father that he would come soon enough.
It had taken subtle pressure, Lotor reminding them of just how long he had gone without killing, but eventually the guards had come around to seeing things his way. They had hurried off, leaving Lotor the freedom to take Allura on a brief tour of the castle. He had barely covered the major points of interest, too worried about his father’s reactions to do more than show Allura to the rooms he had appointed to her.
She had looked disappointed at his leaving, Lotor hiding a smile to think his mistress had already grown attached to him so quickly. She was a changed woman from the first day of their encounter, some of her timidness and fear being chased away due to her sexual awakening. Lotor had worked hard to see that she blossomed under his care, the prince feeling remorse that their first hours together had been less than ideal for Allura.
It almost left him shamed, Lotor diligent in his attempts to make amends by pleasuring Allura to the point she couldn’t think straight. His own thoughts were no better, Lotor making up for the last two plus months of abstinence with a vigor that might have astounded a woman who had not been trained in the art of pleasure. He wondered if Allura thought this was normal for a Drule, and would have smirked at the thought if he hadn’t reached the bend in the hall that turned into his father’s private wing of the castle.
There was a bustle of activity here, guards and servants moving about, each on their own tasks. They gave him cursory glances, pausing to do bows of varying levels of respect. Lotor tried to ignore them, schooling his face to be devoid of thought and feeling. But his palms were starting to sweat underneath the glove’s fabric, Lotor feeling nervous at the thought of seeing his father after so long.
Not since that disastrous night of sex and drugs had he seen his father, Zarkon choosing to stay away and leave Lotor to stew in the effects of withdrawal. Deprived of everything that could have given him pleasure, Lotor had been miserable for over two months now, harboring resentment within him. Not just over being denied drink and women, but also that Zarkon had killed his children.
Lotor still felt he had a score to settle with his father in that regard, and no matter how pleased he was with the acquisition of Allura, he refused to forget this grudge. No matter how many times he was told Zarkon had done the right thing, that killing those women and children had protected the Empire, Lotor could not forget the anger and sorrow he had felt upon the learning of what the King had done.
The trouble was he didn’t know how to get revenge for Zarkon’s actions, Lotor wondering if he’d ever be at peace with what the man had done. He thought it would be just one more indignity, yet another sin to add to the list of the things Zarkon had done in order to make sure his son was worthy of the Drule throne. He had gone through much over the years, each act carefully planned to make him fit to one day rule the Doom Empire. Lotor wondered if this made him ungrateful, the Drule hardly appreciating his father’s actions no matter how much they might benefit him at the end.
Zarkon was a strict believer in the ends justified the means, but Lotor often wondered and worried about the paths taken to get to what he desired. Such thoughts would only disappoint Zarkon further, Lotor being careful not to speak them out loud. Zarkon would merely see it as a sign of weakness if Lotor admitted to sometimes worrying about the effects his actions had on other people and then measures would be taken to rid him of such troublesome thoughts.
He didn’t want that, Lotor desperate to hang on to some small part of his identity. Better to keep his thoughts private than risk his father’s wrath. Just the thought of his father’s notorious temper had Lotor shivering, the prince glad for the movement of his body. His hurried walk hid the shudder he had let out, no one thinking to look at him funny as he drew near his father’s private study.
There was two guards on the door, the men dressed in the colors of the King’s private guards. These men accompanied Zarkon almost everywhere, and Lotor took the sight of them to mean his father was inside the room and not somewhere else in the castle. He nodded to them, these men bold enough to make eye contact with their prince. But their emotions were hard to read, the men easily hiding how they felt about Lotor.
One turned to the door, fist knocking rapidly in three quick successions. He heard the faint sound of his father’s voice, Zarkon bidding them to enter. The doors opened, and Lotor found himself ushered into the room, a guard on either side of him. He wondered for whose protection those men were there for, his or Zarkon’s, Lotor fighting not to make fists at the sight of his father’s face.
He looked just as intimidating as the night in that dingy motel, but there was no anger in his face. Boredom perhaps, the King choosing to ignore his son’s arrival to study the papers in front of him. He knew Zarkon had to be aware of him, Lotor sure this was just another game of his, or perhaps punishment was the better word. And all because he had kept his father waiting!
Now Zarkon sought to make Lotor do the same, the prince trying not to fidget in place. Without the King’s acknowledgment he could do no more than stand there, Lotor unable to even take a seat without his father’s permission. He fought not to frown and clear his throat in an attempt to grab Zarkon’s attention, Lotor standing there with his hands held loose at his sides.
The key to keeping his anger at bay was to breathe, Lotor taking in soft, controlled breaths. The guards were more patient than he, but then they were paid to wait around, their every action dictated by the King’s whims.
At last Zarkon spoke, not looking up from the documents in his hands. “So.” A pause, as though Zarkon had found something especially worthy of reading. “You’re back.”
He exhaled slowly, and nodded, Lotor pleased his voice came out even. “Yes.”
“Haggar tells me the trip was uneventful.” Lotor wasn’t surprised the witch hadn’t wasted time in reporting to his father, she was an all too accomplished spy where he was concerned.
“There was no attacks from Demos if that is what you are referring to.” Lotor said, thinking that meeting and acquiring Allura was definitely event worthy.
“You left so suddenly, I doubt their spies had a chance to report on your movement.” Zarkon sounded satisfied, at last looking up from the papers.
“Or maybe they just didn’t want more men to die needlessly.” Lotor heard his father snort, the man looking amused.
“Demos hardly cares if more of their soldiers die, just so long as they can take out our Empire.”
“The King of Demos may not care, but I bet his people most certainly do!” It was a familiar argument, Lotor often thinking of the people and resources Demos was wasting in an attempt to destroy Doom. Not that the Drule Empire was any better, but at least Doom seemed to be winning most of the battles for ultimate supremacy in the galaxy.
“The people can cry and whine all they like.” Scoffed Zarkon. “It’s not they who make the decisions that keep an Empire running. Heh…it would be too much like a democracy if they did.”
“What has Demos been doing these last two months?” Lotor wanted to know, having been denied all information on the war, except for what he could glean from the news coverage. That had been limited information, heavily censored so as not to worry the people of the Doom Empire nor of the Demos Empire.
“Oh the usual.” Zarkon gave a dismissive wave of his hand, appearing unconcerned. “There’s been attempted raids on our planets, and the occasional skirmish in space. Doom has won most of those.”
“Are we any closer to getting a chance to strike a personal blow to the ruler of Demos?”
“No.” Lotor felt disappointment surge through him, the prince fighting not to show how dejected he felt at that one word. “He and his family is too protected. There hasn’t been any opportunities made available to us to use against him.”
Lotor fought to keep from whining, the prince making fists out of his frustrations. “It’s been almost nine years and we have yet to settle the score with that bastard!”
“You still take this war too personally son.” Zarkon pointed out, his expression unreadable. “It’s not healthy, this…this obsession you have with revenge.”
“Sometimes that revenge is the only thing that kept me going.” Lotor muttered in a rare moment of vulnerability. He knew his father wouldn’t like that, especially not in front of the guards, but Lotor had been unable to remain silent.
“Revenge can be an admirable trait. But do not let emotions and sentimentality for the past drive you so hard.” Zarkon advised. Lotor nodded, though he thought that he would never be able to get over the loss Demos had caused him. Sometimes he wondered why he was so attached to the ghost of a dead ten year old. He reasoned to himself it was compensation in part for the loss of his mother, Allura’s death coming on the heels of Adaline’s removal form his life. He hadn’t been able to avenge his mother, but he’d be damned if he couldn’t do his part to get justice for Allura. Maybe then he’d be able to put the ghosts of the past to rest, and move on with his life.
“What else has been going on during my…absence?” Lotor asked.
A pause, Zarkon seeming to consider him carefully. “Our scientists have finally made the break through needed to crack the mystery of Arus’ robot.”
Lotor’s eyes widened, the prince gasping out a response. “What?”
“A Voltron of our own will soon become a reality.”
Lotor stared, stunned. This was big, replicating Voltron had been a dream of Zarkon for years, for most of Lotor’s life. In fact, Lotor couldn’t really remember a time when Zarkon hadn’t been pressuring his men to crack the codes for the robot’s mainframe system. “When did this happen?”
“About a month ago.” Came Zarkon’s answer.
“Why wasn’t I told immediately?!” Lotor demanded, shock being replaced with a slow to burn anger. How could his father keep something so important from him?!
“You had other concerns.” Zarkon replied, and Lotor lifted a puzzled brow at him. “Honestly son, do you really think you were in any condition to help things along?”
“I was fine…” began Lotor, but Zarkon cut him off with a sarcastic laugh.
“You were sex addled and drug addicted. The last things this Empire needs when it comes to it’s leaders.”
“It was only a one time thing with the drugs!” Lotor protested, even as he knew his father would refuse to believe him. “The most I normally partake of is hard liquor.”
“And the women? What are your excuses for them” Zarkon demanded with an arch of the eyebrow.
“That was…they were merely a momentary diversion!” Lotor said, feeling heat rise in his cheeks.
Another snort from his father, the man hardly amused. “A distraction that was as dangerous as it was thoughtless.” Lotor could only sputter wordlessly, inwardly knowing his father spoke some of the truth. He hadn’t been thinking when he took stranger after stranger to his bed, and worse yet those women had been the ones to pay for his lustful actions.
“If you wanted women…” continued Zarkon, gaze level with Lotor’s. “You should have come to me. Not picked up strays off the street!”
“What would you have done?” asked Lotor, crossing his arms over his chest. “Sent me to your harem?”
“The women there would have welcomed the chance to practice their affections on you.” Zarkon retorted, and Lotor felt ill. He had no desire to make use of the same women his father used, the very thought had his skin crawling. But it was more than that, Lotor remembering the day of his mother’s death. How he had gone to spy on the harem ladies rather than play with Allura. He’d forever blame his infatuation with those slaves as part of the reason behind his mother’s death.
“It’s what they are there for!” added Zarkon, and Lotor shook his head no. “Hmph.” grumbled Zarkon, tapping a claw on top of his desk. “I suppose you prefer Haggar’s alternative then?”
As loathe as he was to admit he approved of anything the witch did, Lotor found himself nodding. Zarkon almost smiled, the curving of his lips ruining his face with a smirk. “Good. I was doubtful that one woman would be able to curb your appetites, but you seem quite taken with her charms.” Another nod from Lotor, the smirk deepening. “Haggar tells me you spent almost the whole trip inside the cabin with that slave of yours.”
“She’s not a slave…” Lotor began, and Zarkon waved him off.
“Mere semantics. You bought and paid for her, yes? You all but own her body and soul then. Do be careful not to break your new toy before you’ve tired of her.” Zarkon paused, eyeing Lotor. “I wonder…”
“Did you even think to use protection this time around? No, don’t answer that. I can see the answer plain enough on your face.” A tsk then, Zarkon looking disappointed. “After all my care and hard work in crafting a lesson you would never forget, you let a moment’s lust turn aside your good sense. No matter, she’s a paid whore. They at least know how to take care to prevent accidents from occurring.”
Lotor let out a growl, the sound rumbling deep in his throat. But he didn’t know what he could say to that, knowing the nineteen children had had sired was exactly that. Accidents.
“Careful Lotor.” Zarkon continued, the guards tensing up besides the prince. “You seem dangerously close to losing control. I’d hate to have to restrain you.”
“I’m fine.” Lotor said, fighting to get his anger under control. Zarkon fixed him with a disbelieving look. “It’s fine…I’m over what you have done.” It was words he knew his father wanted to hear, words Lotor did not entirely mean. But he said them anyway, seeing Zarkon smirk anew.
“That’s good to hear.” He reached under his desk, and to the prince’s astonishment his sword was brought out, sheathed inside it’s leather scabbard.
“My sword!” Lotor was already taking a step forward, even as the guards reached for his arms. “You found it?”
“Let this sword be another reminder of your carelessness.” Zarkon said, throwing the sword on the desk. “What if one of those sluts you picked up was an assassin? It’s not unheard of for the nobles to try such underhanded tactics to get a step closer to my throne.”
“I would have fought off any assassins.” It was no idle boast, Lotor was confidant in his skills as fighter, with and without his sword.
“Even with those drugs pumping through your system? Don’t be absurd.” Zarkon snorted. “Stick to wine Lotor. At least that leaves you with some sense about you.” A gesture from the King had the guards releasing their hold on Lotor, the prince hesitating before the desk. “Take it.” Zarkon said, nudging the sword closer in Lotor’s direction. “You’ll need it.”
“Need it?” Lotor asked, picking up the scabbard and attaching it to his belt. “I’m to return to the arena then?”
“On the morrow if you’re up to it.” Zarkon said, and Lotor nodded. He was more than ready to fight, almost yearning for the chance to trash someone or something, to
take a life. “Bring that whore of yours with you.”
“Allura is not a whore.” Lotor’s tone was quiet, but no less menacing. Zarkon paused at the name, and a brief flicker of surprise showed in his eyes.
“Allura? Is that the girl’s name?”
Lotor nodded. ‘Quite a coincidence is it not?”
“I suppose.” Zarkon murmured. “It’s not as though it’s an uncommon name….I hear she’s beautiful.”
“She is.” Lotor agreed, allowing a smile to cross his lips. “She’s breath taking.” That earned a sour look from his father, Lotor frowning. “What?”
“Don’t form too deep an attachment to her. She can be your bed mate, but never forget that one day you will have to look elsewhere for a more permanent solution to carrying on the family line.”
“Trust me I am not looking for love.” Lotor retorted. “I know enough to distant my heart from the women I bed.”
“Love has a funny way of finding one anyway.” Zarkon muttered, Lotor looking surprised at that. “No matter. You’ll marry not for love, but for the family. I intend to make to make a good match for you sometime in the future. One that will benefit the Drule empire greatly.”
Lotor kept silent at that, hardly pleased at the thought of his father picking out his future bride. “Don’t look so glum Lotor! Love is a luxury you can do without. It’ll only weaken you in the end.”
“And we wouldn’t want that.” Lotor said, holding back a sigh.
“No, we wouldn’t.” Zarkon told him, and gave a dismissive wave. “Go now. Do whatever you have to get ready for tomorrow. I look forward to seign you fight, and to meeting that girl you bought.”
“Yes father.” Lotor said, and offered a small bow to the man. Zarkon’s attention was already returning to the papers on his desk, the man shuffling through them to look for something in particular. Lotor cast him one last glance, and then was striding out of the room, the guards hurrying after him.