Porcelain 59

The room hardly made for an ideal battleground, the space cramped and confined, even without the desk crowding them close towards one another. He supposed he should have let his father come to him, but he had been acting in the spur of the moment, wanting to get the first strike in. It was laughably sick that for all his eagerness and strength, his father had drawn first blood, Lotor feeling it trickle down his left arm.

His father gave him a mocking smile, a quick nod of the head at Lotor’s arm. Lotor seethed, eyes narrowing further into a glare, even though the cut was merely superficial, shallow enough that it wouldn’t even leave a scar. But it irked him to let his father get the best of him in any way, Lotor forcing himself not to give in to rage any further, as he crossed blades with Zarkon.

His mind was reeling, the words spoken in this room replaying in his head a thousand times, Zarkon’s angry voice hissing out how he had engineered it all. From his mother’s death, to the terrorist bombings on Zabatos, the King trying to kill off the only witness to his crime of murder. Lotor had suffered privately for years, the pain in his heart never going completely away from the loss of his mother and his childhood friend.

Even now, he still found it hard to think of Allura as being alive, Lotor hearing her gasping somewhere behind him. She had fled when the sword fight broke out, wisely running across to the opposite side of the room, putting herself out of harm’s way as best she could. Lotor intended to keep her there, the prince blocking his father from rushing past the desk, not trusting the Drule to behave towards Allura.

“You’ve taken everything from me!” Lotor screamed, swinging his sword in a wide arc towards Zarkon’s middle. The King brought his sword downwards in descent, just managing to deflect his son’s blade. Sparks seemed to shoot off the lazon, the hum of the blades growing distorted as their electrical fields played havoc with one another. “My mother, Allura, my childhood….my happiness!”

“Quit your bawling and be a man, Lotor!” Zarkon sneered, and pushed back on Lotor’s sword. “I gave you purpose! Focus! I made you into a Drule!”

“All at a price I find too high to have paid!” Lotor snapped, refusing to be budged back by Zarkon’s strength. He’d give his father credit where it was due, the larger man had muscle, the strength to bow back Lotor’s arms. The prince was forced to grip his sword with both hands, muscles tensing as he shoved into Zarkon’s blade. His movement ground to a halt, Lotor slowly pushing Zarkon’s arm back, each inch a hard fought ground he won.

For all the noise, all the shouting and screaming, no one had come to investigate, Lotor praying the guards he had hired would be enough to hold off his father’s men. He didn’t need nor want their interference, didn’t want anyone coming into this room until the matter between them was settled. Lotor glared at his father, seeing his unapologetic face, and knew in that instant that only one of them would leave this room alive.

“Greatness always comes at a price.” Zarkon told him, a chuckle erupting from deep within. “Kings and Empires have always had to sacrifice, to be made better at the cost of others. Do you honestly think if your mother, that bitch Adaline had lived, you’d be who you are today?!”

“Stop calling my mother that word!” Lotor snarled, blades still locked together as the two men glared at each other.

“Think son! Think back to those days when you were just a child, wet behind the ears. How you clung to her skirts, and cried at the slightest provocation.” Zarkon’s lip was curling, the man disgusted with the memories. “You were little more than human, tearful and whiny. The other Drule would have eaten you alive if given the chance, spit you out until you were less than nothing! And they would have been right to do it!”

Lotor let out a wordless snarl, lashing out with his foot to try and break the stalemate they were locked into, Zarkon stepping back to avoid his foot. Lotor immediately lunged forward, slashing wildly at the spot his father had been standing in, the King whirling out of the way at the last instant.

“By all rights, I should have smothered you at birth!” Zarkon continued. “Such a weak, bawling brat. I knew even then you were more human than Drule!”

“Why didn’t you?!” Lotor demanded, and this time it was Zarkon who sliced his sword through the air towards the prince.

“A moment of bad judgment on my part.” Zarkon conceded. “I knew I’d have to ride you hard to make you into a Drule worthy of the throne. It would take years, and a hand that was heavier than most to mold you into a worthy heir!”

“And you think that excuses the abuse?!” Lotor questioned, his arm on constant move, blocking Zarkon’s strikes and slashes. “You nearly killed me several times over with your deranged care!”

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” Zarkon sneered. “You should know that by now! I cultivated in you strength! Survival! I planted the seeds that would allow you to bloom into your Drule viciousness. Everything else was cast aside, weakness cut away, the human poison in your blood sapped out!”

“That wasn’t your choice to make!” Lotor said, trying to find an opening in Zarkon’s never faltering offense.

“If not me, then who?!” Zarkon roared back angrily. “Adaline?!” He actually spit on the floor at that, sneering once more. “She coddled you boy! What’s more, she tried to undermine my efforts at every available opportunity!”

“She loved me!” Lotor said, and thrust his sword forward, hoping against hope to impale the blade through Zarkon’s black heart. “She wanted what was best for me!”

“What was best for you?” Zarkon laughed, a mean snicker of sound. “She was selfish! She wanted you to be as human as she. If she really wanted what was best for you, she would have helped me to make you into a man, a Drule! Instead she gave you kisses and hugs, allowed you to cry, allowed you to be soft.”

“At least I would have been a man she could be proud of!” Lotor snapped, watching as Zarkon easily parried his thrust.

“Adaline would have never accepted your Drule half. Any sign of strength would have been met with disapproval on her part. I dare say you’ve since grown up to be a huge disappointment in her eyes!” Zarkon told him, Lotor snarling and swinging wildly with his sword. It left him open for Zarkon’s own slash, the blade cutting into his waist, lazon signing open his shirt, and tearing open his skin.

Allura let out a scream, but was otherwise silent, the girl surely realizing he couldn’t afford to be distracted by her. Lotor left hand went to the bleeding wound on his stomach, glaring at his father who shook the point of his blade at the prince.

“And son?” Each word was hissed out, Zarkon looking enraged. “Right now you aren’t in good standing in my eyes either!”

“You think it matters to me what you think?” Lotor demanded, feeling his hand grow slick with the blood he was letting out.

“It should.” Zarkon said. “It’s not too late to start over. To make a new heir. And this time I won’t be so foolish as to introduce human blood into the mix!” Lotor growled, and stabbed forward with his sword, Zarkon spinning to the left. Lotor’s sword slashed open the wall paper behind him, the prince turning just in time to cross blades with his father once more.

“You should have cut your losses long ago!” Lotor told him, blades sending up a shower of sparks. “You should have left me and my mother alone, and found someone else to make the son you wanted!” He gave a mighty heave of his arm, smashing his sword into Zarkon’s with a resounding crackle of electricity. “Why didn’t you?!”

“Call me a sentimental fool!” Zarkon retorted, backing up a step from Lotor’s blow. “I actually felt something for you. For you and your mother. It’s why I worked so hard to make something out of you!”

“If you’re trying to tell me you loved us, I have to let you know you have a twisted definition of the word!” Lotor said, glaring. He stepped forward, swinging his sword harder and harder with each word gritted out, watching as it smashed into Zarkon’s defense again and again.

“Where some men give hugs and kisses, I gave pain and discipline.” Zarkon replied, his back to the desk. Lotor saw him reaching behind him, the King frantically grabbing at something. Lotor immediately stepped to the side, just avoiding Zarkon throwing a bottle of the truth serum laced drink in his direction.

Porcelain shattered against the wall, the drink staining it’s paper a dark color. “And what about the time you left me for dead?!” Lotor questioned angrily, already stepping back into place so he could strike at his father once more. Zarkon tried throwing the shrimp tray at Lotor, the prince slashing it in half as he stepped forward. “Was that a carefully worded love letter from father to son?”

“It was nothing more than mere curiosity!” Zarkon retorted. “I wanted to see if you were strong enough to live, if you had the desire, the drive to pull yourself back from the brink of the death I delivered you to!”

“It always comes down to strength with you, doesn’t it!?” Lotor shouted out his question. “Am I strong enough to rule, am I strong enough to be a Drule. Am I strong enough to LIVE!”

“Might makes right in this universe!” Came Zarkon’s answer. “Never forget it!”

“Believe me I won’t. I can’t!” Lotor answered. “It’s a lesson you thoroughly ingrained upon me!”

“Then my efforts haven’t been in complete vain!” Zarkon almost sounded approving, a fact that only pissed Lotor off more. He screamed and went to slam his sword down on Zarkon, only to have the King kick out his foot, knee slamming into Lotor’s injured stomach.

“AH!” Lotor groaned and fell back against the wall, hand clutching at his middle, sword nearly dropping from his grasp. Zarkon straightened and smirked, eyeing him up and down.

“Are you through with this tantrum boy?” He asked, and was continuing before Lotor could do more than glare. “It’s almost admirable of you to want to avenge your mother’s murder. But patricide is not the way to go about. Not when you have so much to be grateful to me for!”

“Grateful?!” Lotor’s eyes nearly bulged in disbelief, the prince shaking his head no. The room was starting to spin, no doubt the loss of blood was getting to him.

“Yes.” Hissed Zarkon, and Lotor snorted.

“Please tell me why exactly I should feel any gratitude to you!” Lotor began listing things. “When you killed my mother? When you made me believe my only friend had been blown to bits in a terrorist act you orchestrated? When you killed the children I didn’t even know I had? Or should we go back to the SMALL things, such as the daily beatings you gave me when training me on the sword?!”

“Are you still stuck on those things?” Zarkon let out a disgusted snort. “Really son. You’re like a broken record, unable to move past that one note. If you keep stubbornly clinging to past misdeeds, I might really have to kill you after all.”

“Then do it.” Lotor taunted him. “End me. At least then I will be away from your sickening influence and back with my mother.”

“A momma’s boy to the end? Hmph.” Zarkon’s eyes narrowed. “Don’t be so quick to embrace death. Not when you’ve just been reunited with your dear childhood friend!” Lotor wanted to look at Allura, but didn’t dare take his eyes off his father. “Do you really want to leave her all alone in the world? Or worse yet, all alone with me?”

“Don’t you dare threaten Allura!”

“Who is threatening? I am merely stating fact.” Zarkon smirked. “It would be such a shame, and so tragic. Childhood friends reunited then separated by death. Maybe I’ll send her to join you in death’s embrace….followed after a suitable amount of suffering. I do after all owe her for the mess she’s landed in my lap.”

He was fortunate his Drule coloring prevented him from paling in horror, Lotor staring up at Zarkon with his mouth open. “Leave her alone.” His fingers tightened around the hilt of his sword, Lotor trying to be subtle as he shifted into an attack stance.

“Why should I?!” demanded Zarkon, mirroring Lotor’s movements. “She’s brought ruin to my son. She’s turned you against me….”

“She merely opened my eyes to the truth!” Lotor snapped. “It was your actions that made me hate you!”

“If she had the good grace to stay dead, you would have never known about your sainted truth!” Zarkon shouted. “We could have gone on the way we were, we could have been happy, satisfied with the running of this Empire! But no! She had to come back and spill secrets that should have stayed buried.”

“I had a right to know!” Lotor said, and Zarkon screamed.

“You have no rights save for the ones I give you!” Both men moved, driving their swords towards each other. Lotor recognized the move his father was using, it was one he had performed often enough when training. Lotor pivoted on his heels, slow enough that the sword tore open his back. Zarkon laughed, and Lotor fought not to sag to his knees, thinking how hopeless it was to defeat the man who had trained him.

“Give it up Lotor. Before you force me to end your miserable life here and now!” Zarkon taunted him, and Lotor’s eyes flashed. His back was still to his father, he caught sight of the frightened Allura who was pressed against the wall, looking as pale as a sheet. Her eyes seemed to show the defeat she felt, the girl surely thinking Lotor had no chance of winning.

~I’ll prove you wrong.~ Lotor vowed to her, and lunged forward towards the desk, splotches of blood falling with each step. He heard Zarkon’s sword swinging through the air, the hum of the lazon close. His hands closed around a large plate of lox, Lotor turning with a scream as he flung it in Zarkon’s direction. The sword as already cutting through the plate, Lotor rolling over the desk, sword in hand as he scrambled for something else to throw.

He grabbed the end of the desk, sliding off it and up turning it in Zarkon’s direction. The desk flipped, Zarkon letting out a shout as it slammed into him. Lotor quickly turned, and dove forward with his sword, doing a wild stab that drove the blade into Zarkon’s right shoulder. It came out the other side, pinning him to the wall, the sword severing nerves, and deadening Zarkon’s arm all the way down to his hand.

The King could only loosely grip his sword, arm dangling like a piece of wood. But his left arm was still active, the King slashing with his claws, dragging them down the front of Lotor’s chest. Lotor winced, and grabbed the sword out of Zarkon’s dangling grip, stepping back to eye him speculatively.

“Well?” Zarkon gritted out through clenched teeth. “You’ve got me right where you wanted. Finish me!”

He stared into his father’s eyes, and felt nothing but hatred and resentment, Lotor lifting the sword. But he didn’t make a killing strike, instead driving the second sword into his left shoulder, deadening the nerves there as well. Zarkon hissed but didn’t give Lotor the howl of pain he wanted, the prince pulling back the sword, and eyeing him once more.

“I haven’t had much time to think…” Lotor began conversationally, well aware of how much blood he was losing. “Certainly not enough time to properly devote to how I would make you suffer for what you’ve done. However….I always did think about what I would have done to my mother’s killers if you hadn’t taken the kill from me.” He touched the sword’s tip to Zarkon’s chest, and began dragging it along it’s surface, cutting open skin and fabric.

“I know this….killing is too good for you…” The robe fell open, revealing his chest and the trickles of blood and open flesh. “It’s too quick….relatively pain free. Merciful. And father? You deserve far more pain than a quick stabbing of the sword can give you.” With vicious accuracy and precision, he sliced off his father’s left nipple, the King howling in pain.

“Heh…” A half chuckle from Lotor, his eyes gleaming an instant before he drove the sword into his father’s thigh. Zarkon’s breath hissed out of him, then he screamed when Lotor began twisting the sword deeper into his leg. Vaguely he heard Allura squeak out a sound, but Lotor wasn’t trying to listen to her, his attention all for Zarkon and his suffering.

“My mother was beaten to a bloody pulp before she was killed.” He left the sword in Zarkon’s leg, and made fists out of his hands. “Her face was unrecognizable….What is that human saying? Tit for tat?”

“S….” Lotor’s fist slammed into Zarkon’s cheek, cutting off whatever the king had been about to say. He followed that punch with another, and another, watching in satisfaction as one of Zarkon’s front fangs broke off. It wasn’t only his face that he hit, Lotor began alternating blows to Zarkon’s stomach, watching as the Drule coughed up blood.

“Drules can endure a lot..” Lotor added. “Heaven knows I found that at first hand by you. I wonder how many beatings YOU can take before you die!” He began kicking and punching his father in earnest, barely aware he was shouting, the screams wordless as he let years of pent up rage fly free. He continued to beat at his father, right up until a hand touched his back, Lotor whirling around to knock Allura to the floor.

Only when she landed, a startled shriek escaping her did he blink, Lotor coming back to himself. “Allura?”

“Please…” She said, laying where she had fallen, as though too frightened to sit up. “Enough is enough!”

“You would beg mercy for him?” Lotor asked, stunned. A snarl escaped him seconds later, Lotor unable to understand what her reasoning could be.

“Just…just get it over with.” Allura told him, sneaking a glance at Zarkon’s pummeled form. “Kill him.”

“He deserves to suffer for all he did Allura!” Lotor told her, and she nodded.

“yes…but not like this. not from you.”

“If not me, then who?” He demanded, then let out an incredulous word. “You?”

“Let his fate be in the devil’s hand.” Allura told him. “Please your highness…if you continue, you prove you are no better than he is.”

Zarkon somehow managed to snicker around the swelling in his mouth. “Are you going to start listening to humans now? Tch. Truly pathetic Lotor.”

“Shut up!” Lotor said, and punched him again. Allura flinched at that assault of his, but didn’t turn away, watching as Lotor drew his sword out of Zarkon’s thigh. “He deserves to suffer…” he repeated, and she nodded.

“Yes….but if you do it, you let him win. You become EVERYTHING he’s ever wanted.” That seemed to decide it for Lotor, he suddenly drove his sword into his father’s heart. Zarkon made a rattle of sound, voice hissing out one last time.

“I’m glad to die if it means I won’t be around to see you brought low by your human side…”

“Always have to get the last word in, don’t you father?” Lotor demanded, jerking his sword downwards so that it thoroughly cleaved the Drule’s black heart in two. The light began to fade out of Zarkon’s eyes, the king’s body slumping downwards as best it could despite being pinned to the wall.

“It’s over….” Allura sighed in relief. “The monster is dead, and he’ll never hurt us again.”

“Yes, never…” Lotor let go of the sword, and stepped backward. The next thing he knew he was falling, Allura screaming out his name as he slammed into the floor. He caught a blurred vision of her face looking worriedly down at his, and then was blacking out completely.

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