Porcelain 66

She was seething mad, Allura’s vision practically colored red as she angrily paced her bedroom. She felt like a caged animal, and the reality of her situation wasn’t that far off, Allura currently confined to her apartment inside castle Doom. She had already attempted to sweet talk her way past the guards, though fat lot of luck that did. They were more interested in obeying their king, then a mistress who seemed to have fallen out of favor.

The frustrating thing was Allura had done nothing wrong, she knew Lotor was overreacting, trying to be protective of her. It didn’t mean she forgave him for treating her like this, for assuming she couldn’t make her own decisions, and smart ones at that. Regardless of what could happen, it was her right to decide, and right now she wanted nothing more than to leave this castle and travel to planet Arus.

Over twenty-four hours had passed since Lotor had left her alone, and in that time her desires had not lessened. Allura NEEDED to go to Arus. She felt as though she might go mad from an overwhelming need to learn of her past, of her parents, of her people. She had already been on the computer, scanning the archives, of not only Doom’s media, but of Arus.

It had been a dismal amount of information available on the damaged Arus servers, much of it’s archives deleted or asking for a pass code one of her rank did not have. She wanted to ask Lotor for the proper codes, but pride kept her from asking him for any favors, no matter how small.

She was left to root about through what pages she could access, Allura at last finding a small article about the royal family. It didn’t give her as much information as she would have liked, certainly it didn’t tell her much about what kind of personalities her mother and father had. But there had been a picture, and she had teared up to see it. A child had been in the woman’s arms, Allura assuming that was her at age three.

But she barely took note of the little girl, too busy devouring details about her parents. Her father was tall, perhaps not as tall as a Drule, but he stood a good head above the woman next to him. He had shaggy brown hair, and a beard and mustache that was colored the same shade. His eyes were blue, and they looked stern in the light of the camera. She felt that sternness was deceiving, Allura sure that her father had been a kind man, if he would sacrifice so much for her.

Her mother was beautiful, Diana baring a strict resemblance to Allura as an adult. She had the same shade of golden colored hair, the same button nose and high cheekbones. Only the eyes were different, a pale green that twinkled with happiness. Diana had been smiling for the picture, almost looking proud.

Allura had already printed out the picture, leaving it on her desk. She vowed to get a frame for it, wanting to preserve the image in case it was all that was left to her of her parents. She hated even thinking that thought, Allura shuddering and hissing furiously to herself that they had to be alive.

She was more focused on the thought of them living, then anything else, Allura having yet to properly come to terms with the fact that she was of royal blood. If she had doubted such a thing, the picture proved her wrong, Allura having spied the crown on Alfor’s head, and the bejeweled circlet Diana wore across her forehead. It awed
her, and yet she wasn’t able to get excited over her noble birthright, Allura quick to understand she was princess no more.

That life had ended the moment she had been brought to Doom, maybe even the instant she had been captured. She’d be little more than a pauper if not for Madame Elianza, the woman giving her a purpose and a career. It was more than what Allura would have gotten if she had remained on Doom, the girl realizing even before Adaline had been killed, her options were limited at best.

What sort of life could a human have on Doom, besides being a slave? She could think of almost no other job, save for the brothels. What would Zarkon have done to her if he hadn’t wanted to kill the only witness to his crime? Would she have been tossed out of the castle once he deemed Lotor no longer needed a friend? Would she have been made a slave, or worse?

Better to not dwell on such thoughts, Allura shaking her head, her unbound hair falling forward at the sudden movement. Instead she continued to think about what she had tried to learn, Allura searching the ruins of the Arus online library, trying to learn of customs and holidays. Much of that was lost, the articles damaged so that there was only a few legible words amidst nonsense.

She had to give up on that route, Allura logging off the Arus server, and returning to Doom’s. It was then that she began trying to access her bank account, only to learn her assets had been frozen. Lotor’s handiwork no doubt, the King taking no chances that she would flee when he wasn’t looking. Allura had nearly broken her keyboard, slamming her hands on top of the keys in frustration.

It was beginning to look like she would have no choice but to remain here, a veritable prisoner as she waited for Lotor to somehow discover what she needed to know. It left Allura wondering how he hoped to gain the knowledge, would he threaten innocent people? And would those same people be willing to tell the truth when they had nothing left to lose?

She stepped over to the bed, a deep sigh shaking her body as she plopped down. Allura lay on her back, staring up at the ceiling, frowning her frustration out. She barely heard the hesitant knock on the outer chamber’s door, Allura blinking in surprise. Even more annoying was the fact that Lotor didn’t wait for her to let him in, the King opening the door, and hurrying into her bedroom.

“Don’t you know it’s rude to enter a lady’s bedroom without permission?” Allura asked, glaring at him as she propped herself up on elbows. Lotor hardly look apologetic for his actions, the King closing the bedroom door behind him. She didn’t give him a chance to speak, Allura arching an eyebrow at him. “Well? What do you want? If it’s to talk, I have no interest in anything you could say.”

“Oh you’ll be interested in this.” Lotor said, leaning against the bedroom’s door.

“Oh? Have you come to your senses and decided to end my imprisonment?” She was being snide, not expecting him to give her the answer she longed for.

“Yes, but not in the way you think.” His answer surprised her, Allura pushing up to sit upright and stare at him. He actually had the nerve to smirk at her, Allura wanting to throw a pillow at him in retaliation for his smug tone of voice. “That got your attention, didn’t it?”

It had, but she refused to admit it, Allura’s tone remaining sarcastic. “Oh? Am I to be moved to the castle dungeons perhaps?”

“I would never throw you in that awful place!” Lotor said, frowning at her. “Don’t even joke about it.”

“Oh but you would take away my freedom otherwise!” fumed Allura.

“I didn’t come here to fight with you. Nor did I come to argue semantics.” Lotor told her.

“Then what did you come here for?” Allura wanted to know. Once she would have assumed he came to make use of her body, but it had been weeks since they had slept together, Lotor’s touches chaste and holding no more affection than that of an older brother.

“I’ve been thinking…” Lotor began, and the look on his face warned her against making a rude comment. “About you, about us, about Arus.” Allura was really only interested in the last, the girl studying him as he began to pace away from the door. “You’re right. It won’t be easy to find out the information you want. The natives don’t trust the Drule, and frankly I can’t blame them after what we’ve done.”

She knew from her searching of the archives that Doom had done it’s typical enslave and put the populace to work routine. The Arusians had all been made slaves of, many of them forced to work their own land to feed and make richer their Drule overlords. The ones that did not remain on Arus had been shipped elsewhere, some to Doom to work in the lazon mines, or to far away planets where labor was short handed. They even were sent to war, slaves that did the work no one else wanted to be paid to do, deep in the bowels of the large war ships.

Homes had been destroyed, families torn apart, people raped and killed. The Arusian slaves no longer had roofs over their head, being forced to live in caves or camp out in tents provided to them by the Drules. They owned nothing save for the clothes on their bodies, and even that could be taken form them. They were overworked and underfed, and slowly dying out.

The Arusians were a proud race, preferring to become extinct rather than birth children who would be enslaved once they were old enough to walk. With the rate they were dying out from the cruel treatments at the hands of the Drule, it wouldn’t be much longer before the Arusians were nothing more than an example of what happened when one defied the Drule Empire.

Lotor was still speaking, Allura giving a shake of her head to stop her thoughts from wandering. “I don’t know if they would trust you either, especially going in the way you want to. I mean, imagine for a second you were in their place, and some rich human friend of the Drule came amidst them. Asking all kinds of questions, stirring up the past….”

“Then I can’t appear to be a friend of the Drule….” Allura said, realizing he was right. “What if….” She hesitated, wondering if he would handle this. “I went in as a slave…?”

“Absolutely not!” Lotor looked furious at her suggestion. “I am not risking you in that manner.”

“Then how?” Allura asked, trying not to show how disturbed she was by his angry gaze. “How will we find out anything if they won’t trust either one of us to talk?!”

“I’ve an idea…” Lotor said, and she leaned forward eagerly. He disappointed her by veering away from talk of his plan, instead asking her a question. “How much do you know about the current situation on Arus?”

“Not much.” Allura admitted. “I tried accessing more information on both the Arus and Doom servers, but my way was barred.”

“You wouldn’t find this information made known to the general public.” Lotor replied. “It’s highly classified…only the nobles and the military personnel would know.”

“Know what?” Allura asked, getting interested despite herself.

He strode over to her desk, reaching for the chair, which he straddled from behind. He folded his arms over the top, resting his chin on them as he stared at her. “The Arusian slaves are rebelling.”

“Rebelling?!” She blinked in surprise, and suddenly recalled overhearing something about it. But that had been the day Lord Mundi had announced Lotor was to be married, and Allura had quickly forgotten all about the details of Arus’ trouble. “Is that even possible?”

That earned her a grim smile from Lotor, the prince nodding. “Oh it’s possible. What’s more, they’re having a small modicum of success. Crops have been ruined, buildings blown, soldiers lives lost.”

She stifled a shiver at that, fearing the kind of punishment the rebels were earning for their—her people.

“They’ve even collapsed a few mines, of course when none of their people were inside it. The nobles are most furious about that, because of the lost of wealth those mines contained.” Lotor continued, deadly serious. “I think that is when they began to truly take the rebels seriously.”

“They’re pushing you to do something about it, aren’t they?” Allura asked, unable to keep the fearful note out of her voice. It only grew worse when Lotor nodded, Allura whispering out another question. “What would they have you do?”

“Kill the rebels of course.” Lotor promptly answered. “And if we can’t root them out, we start killing off the slaves at random.”

“You won’t really do that, will you?” Allura was half begging when she asked that.

“I’d like to avoid unnecessary bloodshed if we can.” Lotor said. “That’s where you come in….”

“Me?!”

“The rebels are claiming to be working under reclaiming the planet for the Arusians. But they don’t have a symbol to unite under. Their king and queen is gone, missing, and their defender Voltron is in the hands of their enemy. But if they were suddenly to learn their princess was still alive…” Lotor paused, and she blinked, slowly understanding him.

“You hope they’ll want to reinstate me to my throne….” Allura breathed out. “That they’ll want me as the symbol to rally under.”

“Yes.” Lotor grinned. “Always knew you were a smart one. They may try to get you back…we can use you to lure them out…”

“And then what?” Allura demanded. “I don’t want to be used to help kill anyone, even if they’re violent rebels…” He kept quiet at that, Allura realizing that was what Lotor was hoping for. “Lotor no….”

“You’ll get the chance to learn about your parents and your people.” Lotor said, tone persuasive. “I’ll have my men gather up a few slaves, and you can do the rest.”

“The rest?” She repeated blankly.

“Yes…I…” He looked chagrined now, as though he hesitated to tell her the rest of his idea. “You’ll have to appear to really be my prisoner….I’m afraid you’ll be spending some of the time on Arus inside the ship’s holding cell. We have to make this convincing Allura…”

She let how troubled she was show on her face, Allura frowning at him. “I don’t want to! Think of something else!”

“This is the best option!” Lotor retorted. “It’ll help catch the rebels, and hopefully spare lives on both sides.”

“There’s so much wrong with this idea!” Allura snapped. “You’re assuming the rebels will even WANT me! They may want to kill me, seeing me as the symbol that led my parents to betray all of Arus!”

“You won’t be in any danger!” Lotor tried to reassure her. “I’ll have plenty of my men stationed to guard your cell. They won’t be able to get past them…”

“No…I can’t do this…” Allura shook her head no. “Don’t you see Lotor? I would be betraying my own people if I helped you in this manner!”

“Then allow me to take away your choice in the matter.” Lotor pushed out of the chair, standing up to glower at her. “We are leaving for Arus, first thing in the morning. You can either walk on that ship of your own two feet, or be carried on. Regardless, you will come to Arus with me, and you will play the part of damsel in distress.”

“That’s not fair!” Allura all but shouted at him, also rising to stand.

“You wanted to go to Arus!” Lotor pointed out. “I’m merely giving you your wish!”

“No! Not like this!” Allura protested, hands on her hips.

“There’s no need to pack Allura. A wardrobe suitable for a prisoner will be provided to you.” Lotor seemed to be ignoring her protests, the King already turning to walk away from her. Allura inhaled sharply, wanting to smack him with her fists, and not daring too.

“Your father would be proud of you.” She couldn’t hurt him with her fists, but she could cut him with her words, Allura glaring at Lotor’s back. The Drule paused, but said nothing, just listening to hear what she would say next. “Acting like a Drule, like the perfect tyrant.”

“I merely am using whatever means are at my disposal.” Lotor said without turning. “It’s a pity you can’t appreciate it.” With that he was stalking out of the bedroom, Allura not trying to follow him. She felt there was no point, Lotor or the guards would stop her from leaving.

She waited until she heard the outer chamber’s door slam, and then she was screaming, Allura letting out all her rage and upset in the moment. No one came to check on her, but she hadn’t expect that, Allura dropping back onto the bed. She grabbed at a pillow, and pressed her face into it’s soft cushion, letting the fabric muffle her next scream.


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