There was both ups and downs to having sex in the shower, but one thing Allura could not deny was how it made for an easy cleanup after the act. A quick rinse, and she felt as good as new, with no sticky aftermath on her thighs. She couldn’t say the same for her bedroom, Allura stepping out of the bathroom to look dismayed at the mess Lotor had made of her things.
He didn’t offer apologies, the prince too arrogant to feel he had done anything wrong. Instead he merely kissed her cheek, telling her a servant would be along shortly to help her sort out the mess. He left her standing there bemused, Allura watching as the wet and bedraggled looking prince strode out of the apartment, Lotor intent on changing into dry clothing.
She sighed once the door to the outer chamber click close behind him, Allura looking around at the mess he had made. She wasn’t sure where to begin cleaning up, nor was she content to wait for a servant to come help her. Another sigh escaped her, Allura stalking over to her vanity, sitting down and staring at the topsy turvey mess of cosmetics.
She didn’t have much in the way of make up, Madame Elianza had always talk on at length about Allura’s natural beauty needing no enhancement. But she did have a lot of perfumes, many of which had spilled or even drained onto the vanity’s table top. She sighed and began righting the bottles, knowing it would be a while before she could get out the fragrant smells that had soaked into the wood.
A trip to the bathroom got her more towels, Allura walking back to scrub up the potent mess on the vanity. It soaked into the towel, changing it’s color from white to an orange gold. It didn’t look like the towel would be salvageable, but at least she had a start on cleaning up the mess.
Allura nearly groaned as she looked at the mess scattered on the floor, various belongings he had tossed aside while rooting through the drawers of her vanity. She was surprised nothing had ended up broken, Allura kneeling down to begin picking up stuff. She felt it a job only she could do, Allura having established a system of what went where inside the many drawers.
She had the rueful thought that Madame Elianza had never prepared her for this sort of day, Allura not being able to remember a lesson about what to do when an overly jealous paramour took his wrongful accusations to the extremes. She still could barely believe he had been ready to kill Lord Tarak. And all because she had been talking to him, albeit in such a way as to give the illusion of an intimacy she did not share with Tarak.
She wondered if such things would be the norm, Lotor driven to jealousy at the slightest of provocation. She guessed he didn’t trust her, or else he would have never reacted in that manner in the first place. She would have been hurt at the thought, but now that she knew he didn’t remember her, Allura understood she was a veritable stranger to the prince.
She sighed, folding her under garments into a neat stacks inside the one drawer, a frown on her face. She was still stunned by the revelation that neither Lotor nor Zarkon knew who she really was, and she had yet to come to grips with the information. Not when Lotor was manhandling her up against the shower wall, and certainly not when the King and Lord Tarak had been flirting with her.
She rose off her knees, Allura smoothing down the skirt of her bathrobe. She had many questions, and so little chance for answers, Allura wondering if she should approach Lotor with the truth of who she was. She didn’t know if he’d be glad to be reunited with a childhood friend, especially one that had been privy to the abuses he had endured.
Even worse, she wondered what Zarkon would think, Allura shuddering as she remembered that she had been practically beneath his notice as a child. That didn’t seem the case now, the girl shivering as she remembered the way he had looked at her, and the feel of his claws on her leg. Never had she imagined the monster of her dreams would turn an attentive eye towards her, Allura feeling ill at the thought.
She wandered over to the computer set up in the corner of the room, Allura sitting down before it’s screen. She wanted to look some things up, and she thought the computer would be her best bet. Now that she was on Doom, she’d have access to it’s media, able to scour news reports of things the rest of the galaxy didn’t think important enough to do a story on.
The computer booted up within minutes, Allura typing in her username and password. Electronic beeps were heard, the computer being slow to verify who she was, but at last she was logged on to the Doom planetary server. A wealth of information was at her fingertips, Allura typing away at the keyboard, searching for the archives for old news clippings.
She found them after several minutes, Allura having to take a tutorial to figure out how to locate exactly what she wanted. The site was in Drule, and once again Allura found herself thankful for teacher Veria’s schooling. The words came easy to her, Allura reading the language with a speed of a natural born citizen of Drule. She typed in the year she wanted, and soon article after article was coming up on the screen.
Allura scanned their headlines, clicking the windows close as she searched for something in particular. Make that two somethings, Allura interested in both Adaline’s murder, and the time when she had been sent away. She found the first easily enough, there was half a dozen articles written about the death of Lotor’s mother. To her shocked astonishment, there was no mention of Zarkon being the guilty party, Allura’s mouth dropping open as she read statements from several key witnesses.
Of course no one could admit to seeing the murder take place, but several talked about the suspicious sounds they had heard, and the silence that followed. It was the silence that brought the guards to investigate, the men finding Adaline’s brutalized body in one corner of her bedroom. The reports went into detail about how she had been killed, about the bruises all over her body, and the internal bleeding she had suffered before a sword to her middle had ended her misery.
Allura felt ill anew to read such reports, the memories coming fresh in her mind of what she had witnessed. She forced herself not to cry, Allura reading on, eager to find out how Zarkon had avoided paying for such a crime. It was a shock when she came across statements by the King himself, the man expressing remorse and anger at the loss of his wife. She almost snorted in disgust at the very idea, knowing he hadn’t felt sorry at all for what he had done.
She read on, and gasped, staring shocked when it revealed that someone other than Zarkon was named as the murderer. She couldn’t believe the words she was seeing, Allura rubbing at her eyes, and rereading the sentences, trying to make sense of what she read.
The article talked about how it had been a plot by some nobles, some scheming family who had their eye on Zarkon’s crown. They had hoped the death of Adaline would leave the King so distraught that they could move on with stage two of their plan. The report didn’t cover what stage two would have entailed, it seemed enough that the scheme had been uncovered before it could go any further.
She read on, Allura in shock as she discovered Zarkon had hunted down the assassin, killing the man as was his right. There had been no trial, no searching out of the truth for the family associated with the assassin. They had been summarily executed, their names struck from the court, reduced to nothing more than a bad memory. It would take Allura reading the report three more times before the words sunk in exactly.
~I’m a witness to what happened.~ She thought to herself, shocked. ~The only witness….the only one besides Zarkon who knows what really happened.~ She shivered, realizing what that could mean for her life, Allura quick to catch on that Zarkon had, for whatever reasons, not wanted to be tied to Adaline’s murder. That put her in a dangerous position, Allura knowing a truth that could cost her, her life.
~No wonder Lotor doesn’t seem to hate his father.~ Allura mused, having thought it strange that the prince had never tried to take revenge on Zarkon for Adaline. ~He doesn’t know the truth. He might never know….Zarkon has him right where he wants him, loyal to a fault.~
Would Lotor believe her if she talked to him about the murder? She did not know, and it was a risk she wasn’t sure she wanted to take. Surely Lotor would confront
Zarkon with the news, and she wondered who Lotor would believe more. Her, the strange mistress he had recently acquired, or the man who had raised him.
It would be better to keep quiet, she decided, even as she frowned at the thought of Zarkon getting away with Adaline’s murder. At least until she could think of a way to use the information herself, although Allura doubted she’d be able to bring Zarkon to justice on her own. Never mind how ruthless and evil he was, Zarkon was the King of an empire, and she was just a courtesan.
It would be easy for the King to arrange an accident for her, Allura knowing she could disappear and save for Madame Elianza and the other courtesans, no one would care. She was all alone in the universe, and just as unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Which begged the question why didn’t Zarkon keep better track of her whereabouts? Allura did not know, closing the article windows and entering in a new search that took place just days later.
She hit pay dirt soon enough, reports coming up about the terrorist activity on Zabatos, the Drule Empire quick to do battle with Demos’ forces. Both sides were claiming innocence in the terrorist attacks, each one using the bombings as the excuse to begin warring over the planet. She tried to find mention of herself during all this, but she hadn’t warranted even a foot note in the articles. What did a lost child matter, even if she was a dear friend of the prince?!
But something drove her to keep checking, Allura finding a listing of names that covered the known deceased, people who had died during the bombing and the war that followed. She scanned over the obitchuaries, and easily enough found her name. She was sure she was the only Allura that could have come from the planet Doom, and the age matched up with the name.
It left her staggered, Allura sitting back staring at the screen. Did they really think she had died in those attacks? It would certainly explain a lot! Zarkon had probably laughed at the good fortune her death would bring him, the King getting rid of the only witness without having to lift a finger against her. Everything seemed to neatly fall into place for the man, and she thought how unfair that was.
She nearly jumped when a loud knocking sounded on her door, Allura guiltily closing all the windows that contained the news articles. She wanted no one to know what she had been reading about, Allura getting up to walk out of the bedroom. The knock sounded again, and she hurried towards the outer chamber’s exit. A maid was waiting on the other side of the door, the woman surprising Allura with a stiff curtsey.
“His highness sent for me.” The maid said, stepping into the room at Allura’s gesture.
“Oh yes.” Allura forced herself to think about something other than what she had just discovered, the girl bidding the maid follow her into the bedroom. “I could use some help putting things away.”
“All right…” The maid entered, and looked at the mess, quirking an eyebrow at Allura. The girl blushed but did not try to explain, instead gesturing for the maid to begin.
“I’ve taken the liberty to clean up the vanity…though I fear the perfume will ruin the wood…” She could really use a window at this point, Allura wishing she could air out the room. Keeping the doors to the bedroom open wasn’t helping, and she wondered if they’d have to dispose of the vanity after all.
“All right your ladyship.” The maid said, and began picking up dresses off the floor. She took the care to fluff them out before hanging them in the closet. Allura watched her a moment, then heard a beeping sound from her computer.
“Excuse me.” Allura said, but the maid wasn’t paying attention to her. She returned to the computer, and saw a video window was open in the corner, lights flashing to get her attention. She frowned, puzzled as to who could be contacting her this way. A message appeared on the screen, asking her to accept or deny the contact, and Allura hesitated just an instant.
“I hope this is not some pervert trying to hit on me…” Allura muttered, thinking she had had enough of that today! She clicked on the accept button, and suddenly a familiar face was smiling back at her. “Liandra!”
The girl’s hazelnut colored eyes twinkled with warmth, the girl’s teeth flashing as she grinned. “Hello Allura! Miss me?”
“Of course I did!” Allura exclaimed, overjoyed to see her. Liandra was one of her closest friends, in fact she may have even considered her, her best friend, the two having a long history over the years they had spent together under Madame Elianza’s care. ‘But…how did you know how to contact me?”
“Corrum got the number.” Liandra answered, leaning forward. “Madame Elianza keeps track of all who were in her care. All he had to do was sneak into her office, find your file, and voila! Here I am.”
“And just where are you?” Allura asked, not recognizing the surroundings of the room Liandra was calling from.
“Perceptive as always, my friend.” Liandra smile grew bigger yet, the girl gesturing at the room. “I’m currently calling from my room aboard a luxury ship.” Allura’s eyes widened, guessing what the change of scenery would mean for Liandra. “My contract was sold this morning. A Baron von Uberstein is my client for the next two years.”
“That’s…that’s wonderful!” Allura said, having noted that Uberstein was a decidedly unDrule like name. She was both elated for her friend, and a little saddened, Allura thinking it might be nice to see a friend among the Drules of Doom. But greedy as she was for friendly company, she wouldn’t ever want to put Liandra in such a dangerous position. Especially now with what Allura knew.
“It is.” Liandra said. “The Baron is a very busy man. One whose married.”
“Yes.” A smirk then, Liandra looking pleased. “I’ve gotten a cushy deal. He barely has time for much of anything aside from work. The way he’s set up his schedule I’ll only have to be in his bed two nights a week. The rest will be my time to do as I see fit.”
“I’m almost jealous.” Allura said, the two girls laughing. “What will you do with all that free time?” Allura had yet to have much time to herself since arriving on Doom, but the time she did get left her bored and unsure of what to do with herself.
“Oh, I’m sure I’ll manage.” An air of confidence was with those words, Liandra all cheer. “What about you? How is the prince? How is Doom?”
“It’s…it’s fine…” Allura said, and Liandra seemed disappointed at her answer. “I’m still getting settled…”
“No doubt your prince has been keeping you busy.” Giggled Liandra, her tone turning gossipy. “He certainly wanted you bad enough to pay the high price Madame Elianza was asking for. It was all we could talk about at home….once Corrum snuck in and looked at your file that is!”
“I just hope the prince finds me worthy of the price he paid.” She was blushing, well aware Lotor had paid an outrageous price for her contract.
“Oh look at you!” Liandra exclaimed. “Of course he’ll think you’re worth it. You’re gorgeous and have been trained by the best!”
Well aware of the maid who was now rearranging Allura’s shoes, the girl merely shrugged, not able to point out that neither her or Liandra’s training had been completed. “I guess….”
“I know so.” Liandra said. “Now…I’m sending you a letter with my new contact info. Feel free to get in touch with me night or day..”
“Liandra, darling….come back to bed…” crooned a voice that was slurred with drink.
“Is that…” Allura began, and Liandra nodded.
“I’m afraid our chatter has awakened the baron.” Another saucy grin, Liandra giggling. “I really got to go. Duty calls.”
“All right.” Allura knew better than to try and keep Liandra on the screen when her client was demanding her presence. “It was wonderful to talk to you again!”
“I feel the same.” Agreed Liandra, giving Allura a little wave. “Bye now.” The screen turned dark, Liandra having ended the communication. Allura checked her mail folder, and found the letter that contained the information that would allow her to get in contact with her friend. It felt good to know she’d was just a holo screen away. Allura grateful to Corrum for finding out the information to give to Liandra.
She just wished she could share her concerns with her friend about what she had learned. But she didn’t dare, Allura sure that if Zarkon somehow got wind of her true identity, he would not only kill Allura, but murder any of the people she had formed friendships with. All in an effort to keep his secret from getting out. She shivered at the thought, knowing whatever happened, she couldn’t let him know who she really was. She had more to protect than just herself, she had her friends and family from Ranxhi to watch out for.