A Woman Grownby Tamysan
Lotor had barely started his explanation when the other Voltron Force members came back. Their face showed their surprise when they saw Lotor seated across from Coran as if it were a normal occurrence. Lance's eyes narrowed as he approached the two. Coran was about to say something but Lance held up his hand.
"Where's the Princess, Lotor?"
"She's in your infirmary." Lotor said coolly.
"Where's Keith?" Lance itched to shoot this bastard here and now.
"In hell for all I care." Lotor's eyes darkened with the memory of how he had hurt Allura.
"Why you – !" Lance exclaimed but Coran stood up and stopped him.
"Lotor is here under our protection, Lance. You will not harm him!"
"Are you crazy, Coran?" Lance's eyes were wide. "Damn, he tricked you too!"
"No. He did not." Coran said flatly. "He brought Allura back. She was injured – " He hesitated.
"By Lotor, right?" Pidge joined their group. "You low–down creep! Allura doesn't want you!"
A slow smirk crossed Lotor's face. If only they knew but then he would not tell them.
"Sit down, all of you." Coran commanded.
"But – " Lance started to say.
"That is a command." Coran said sternly. "Since the princess is not here, I will do what is best in her place. Could you please continue, Lotor?"
Lotor looked at the Prime Minister. He seemed to be a capable and intelligent man, so why did he allow Allura to be treated as if she were but a child?
"I will. But answer me this. Why do you allow Allura's governess to humiliate her in front of her – " He paused. "Comrades?"
Coran's brows knitted. "What do you mean, Prince Lotor?"
"I don't know. She told me she was allowed enough slack to pretend that she was free but she was not. That woman – the one who has a screech like a robeast, she is her governess – has to be. They're all alike."
Lotor saw the Voltron Force members exchanged glances, Lance's face looking especially guilty. Coran thought back and then he remembered the day before – Nanny spanking Allura in front of everyone and he just stood there alongside Keith. Lance had been laughing as Allura flailed and screamed in indignity. That she had felt that way he hadn't known. Coran looked at Lotor and wondered if perhaps they had driven her into his arms.
"Nanny is very protective of the Princess. She has cared for her since she was an infant."
"She's an infant no longer, nor a child either. And here I thought my father had the market on humiliation." Lotor said dryly.
"Hey, Lotor, nobody said you had a right to say anything about the Princess." Lance glared at him.
"And I just bet you were the one laughing your ass off, am I correct?" Lotor straightened in his chair and watched as Lance looked uncomfortable.
"Prince Lotor." Coran interrupted. "If you would continue."
Lotor shrugged. "I admit that it was Haggar who lured the Princess into the woods and I was going to meet her – to convince her one more time to be my wife."
"More like force!" Hunk growled.
"You know, interrupting the Crown Prince would result in the cutting out of one's tongue on Doom." Lotor said.
"Hunk... " Coran said. "No more interruptions."
"Thank you." Lotor nodded his head. "We had a bit of a scuffle but nothing terrible. Perhaps it would have ended in much the same way had your intrepid captain came along. But he did not, and it was then that the Princess and I talked."
"Talked?" Coran asked.
"Yes, talked. She spoke of feeling trapped. I can heartily say that that is a subject that I do agree on with her."
"She asked me to make love to her – which I did."
"You BASTARD!" Lance had his weapon out.
"Humph! You're no better than your Captain! Shooting an unarmed man... " Lotor smirked.
"No worse than you would have done!" Lance was ready to shoot.
"LANCE!" Coran barked. "Put the gun down or I will have you confined!"
"You're – kidding!" Lance's eyes widened.
"No, I am not." Coran said. "Sit down or you will be escorted out."
"I don't believe this... " Lance shook his head, but lowered his weapon. He sat down.
Lotor, without any prompting said, "I did not force her to do this. She made her own decision and I can never refuse her anything. If I had forced her, do you really think I'd be here? No."
"What – happened – after?" Coran flushed a little. The thought of Allura actually been involved that way with their greatest enemy was disconcerting.
"Your Captain came." Lotor said coldly. "He accused Allura of betraying Arus, of being my whore."
"What?" Hunk looked shocked. "No way! Keith said that?"
"Yes, he did." Lotor said. "This angered your Princess and rightfully so. We fought and Allura stopped us. Then your Captain fired upon me. Allura took the blow for me – fortunately she had my laser sword in her hand and it deflected the blow, only injuring her instead of killing her. She went down and Captain Keith just stood there. He did nothing for her. I took her back to my ship and brought her here since she needed medical attention. and Doom was too far away. And here we are."
"You don't believe him, do you, Coran?" Pidge asked.
"Yeah, where's Keith then? Maybe he's dead." Hunk added.
Coran stood up. "The answer will lie with the Princess and Keith. Prince Lotor, you are not officially under arrest, but you will stay within the castle under monitor, is that clear?"
"Crystal, Prime Minister." Lotor got up and he bowed. "I only care for Allura's well–being."
When Allura awakened, she was in her own bed, the familiar pink and white decor both comforting and repulsive at the same time. Nanny was one side of the bed, her head bowed. Allura could tell that she had been crying. Allura reached out a hand and Nanny raised her head.
"Oh my baby!" She gushed, happiness spreading across her plump cheeks.
"Hi, Nanny," Allura smiled wanly at her.
"I'm so glad you're all right! I was so worried! And that evil Prince! Don't worry, we'll see that he gets what he deserves!" Nanny said.
"What? Lotor? Where is he?" Allura looked around.
"Don't worry, Princess." Nanny got up, she was all business now. "He's where he can never hurt you again and you'll forget about all that – " She paused. "Well we'll just arrange a little trip for you to see your Aunt Orla. You need a little break from all that Lion nonsense."
Allura sat up, feeling a surge of anger. She was being patronized!
"I don't want to go to Aunt Orla's and the Lions aren't nonsense and I want to see Lotor now!"
Nanny bustled about the room and looked at her in surprise. "You're obviously still sick! You just rest and I will get you some nice tea."
"Nanny, I'm not a little girl!" Allura exclaimed, a panic rising in her.
"Of course not! But you need your rest and – "
The door opened, admitting Coran, Lotor and the three Voltron pilots. Keith was not among them.
"Coran!" Nanny cried out. "What – what is HE doing here? That monster! That – that!"
"Lotor!" Allura smiled. He smiled back as Nanny looked on in horror.
"How are you, Princess?" Coran asked, ignoring the shocked looks of the others. She had actually called for the Prince of Doom! Was there something to what Lotor had said?
"Better. A little sore, but a lot better."
"I'm glad." Coran said. "There is a matter that we need to speak of. Keith has still not returned." Allura paled a little. "He – hasn't?"
"No. Lotor has explained what has happened and now we would like your side of it."
"You act like we're being accused!" Allura looked hurt.
"No, Princess. Please. I realize that this is hard for you but – "
"She's tired, Coran!" Nanny said this quickly. "And having HIM here doesn't help." She referred to Lotor who stood quietly.
"I'm not tired." Allura said flatly. "If Lotor has already explained then believe him."
"Allura, where's Keith?" Lance asked.
"I don't know." Allura said. "He – shot at Lotor and hit me instead."
"So that much is true... " Coran mused.
"He – " Allura's voice caught. "He called me Lotor's whore – a traitor to Arus!"
Everyone gasped, including Nanny. They knew that Allura was always truthful.
"Then – then, Lotor didn't – ?" Nanny looked half afraid.
"He didn't rape me. I wanted him to – to... " She blushed and then straightened up imperceptibly. "We made love. I wanted him to. I was tired of all the fighting, and I was tired of being treated like a child."
"Princess... " Coran said gently. "We didn't realize."
"You should have!" Allura now was sitting bolt upright. "You – of all people, stood there along with Keith while Nanny spanked me – and for what? For wanting to do what any ADULT would have done – defend her home! You expect me to be a good Queen someday, but you won't give me the chance to prove it! Well, I'm not going to wait for you to give it. It's mine to decide now. I'm not a child anymore. I am the Princess of Arus, and one day I'll be Queen – God willing. You and Nanny are not going to pass me off to some Prince or King OR pilot... " She looked over at Nanny. "You're not going to pass me off to someone so that they can take care of me. I'll marry for the good of Arus but I'll marry for myself too. Mother and Father did it and so can I."
Tears ran down Nanny's face. "We only wanted to do what was best for you!"
"Spanking me wasn't one of them, Nanny." Allura said gently. "It wasn't. I'm sorry if this hurt you, but I am grown and it's time I acted that way."
The room was silent and no one knew what to say. Lotor's eyes met Allura's and all she saw was admiration.
And then a voice came out of nowhere.
"My child... " Alfor's voice seemed to come from a far distance.
"Father?" Allura asked, wary. She had been tricked before and she looked at Lotor.
"If this is Haggar's doing, I know nothing of it." He said truthfully.
"It is not the witch's doing, but my own." The room darkened and then a bright light shone where a figure of a man now stood. It was of course Alfor, and Coran bowed to him.
"Coran, my friend... " Alfor smiled at him and then he looked at the rest of them. "My friends, I have visited you before when there was a need and I come again to assist."
"Is there going to be an attack on Arus?" Pidge asked.
Alfor did not answer that but instead looked at Lotor and then Allura. "Daughter, this day, you have made decisions in your life which shall affect the rest of it. I am glad to hear your words of affirmation. It means your mother and I taught you well."
Nanny looked fearfully at Alfor and the ghostly King turned to her and said, "I do not fault you for your care, Nanny, but what my daughter says is quite true. She is an adult and will one day become Queen of Arus."
Nanny mutely nodded, her head bowed. She didn't realize, hadn't realized what she had been doing. She had only known that she had looked after Allura so long. What would she do now? Go back to the village where she once called home?
"And you... " Alfor turned his gaze to Lotor. "Son of my murderer... " Lotor did not wince at this. "You are the father of my daughter's child... "
Gasps filled the room and Lotor's eyes widened. Allura, with his – child? Somehow the thought both scared him and warmed him at the same time.
"Do you love her truly, Prince Lotor?" Alfor asked softly.
Lotor looked at where Allura was sitting up and on impulse he strode to her and took her hand.
"I do." He said simply and Allura could see the truth in his eyes. "I have loved her from the moment I set eyes upon her."
"With love comes great responsibility, Prince Lotor. "I have withdrawn my favor for Captain Keith... "
"What?" Lance exclaimed. What in hell could Keith had done – besides obviously go off the deep end.
"Daughter, I will not make your decisions for you. As you say, it is time for you to make them. Both of you must make them but I – " He paused. "I favor this union – if both of you favor it for yourselves."
"Allura – and – and Lotor?" Nanny looked wide–eyed. She barely took in that Allura was pregnant.
Lotor looked at Allura's father with surprise. That he was in the presence of a spirit didn't surprise him much – for Haggar did much the same. But to know that her father approved of HIM when his own did not stunned him.
"But I am – your enemy." Lotor said.
"Your father was my enemy. I fight not against those who held no grudge against me or mine. You have constantly sought my daughter's safety – even when it cost you sure victory."
"Because of that, I sensed the love you had for my daughter. If you have the courage Lotor, you may yet see victory over your father."
The Prince of Doom looked startled.
"You think I do not know this?" Alfor smiled faintly. "Still, it will not be easy and I shall be gone... "
"Gone?" Allura leaned forward and gripped Lotor's hand.
"Daughter, as it is time for you to make your own decisions, so it is time for me to let go. You and Arus will have the Lions and you have your protectors too."
"But – what if I make the wrong decisions?" Allura looked afraid.
"Allura... " Alfor said gently. "That is all a part of growing up, of being an adult, a Queen, a mother, a wife... a pilot... You will make the wrong decisions and you'll make the right ones too. You are a smart capable Princess and you will make Arus a fine Queen."
A tear escaped from Allura's eye and Lotor, concerned, wiped it away.
"And you, Prince Lotor... you must make your stand as well Care and respect my daughter and your child... " He looked at all the others assembled in the room. " I bid farewell... "
"Father! Wait!" Allura reached out.
"I shall forever dwell in your heart, daughter... " Alfor faded away and the room turned back to normal.
The room was once again silent and Lotor squeezed Allura's hand to catch her attention. She looked into his eyes and they were filled with wonder. He knelt down by her bed and gently placed his hand on her abdomen.
"My child... " He said softly. "Our child... "
Allura blinked. She was carrying Lotor's child! She put her hand on top of his as if she expected her stomach to swell at any moment. She felt unsure and yet – she felt what? Could go through with this? Somehow the thought of ridding herself of this baby was something she didn't want to do at all. But Lotor worried her. Would he drag her back to Doom?
"Lotor... " Allura looked at him worriedly. "I can't – I mean not Doom. Not with Zarkon there... "
He frowned. She was right. He could not take her to Doom – not now. The moment his father knew that she was pregnant with his child, he'd either destroy it or destroy both he and Allura and raise the child to be twisted like him.
This little one – this little glimmer that he had helped create – he who once bragged of being more of a destroyer than his father. He who had taken women for his own pleasure and who had never cared or loved for anyone, loved a Princess and now he had a chance for someone else to love and to love him in return.
"I won't go back." Lotor had made up his mind.
"You won't?" Allura looked surprised.
"I won't. I love you too much and I can't let you near my father."
Allura smiled and she squeezed his hand. "I knew there was something in you."
"I hope you are right, love." Lotor lifted her hand and kissed it.
Before anyone could do anything else, the klaxon blared and the castle shook. Lotor stood up in alarm. He had completely forgotten his father's plans!
"My father! He's sent a robeast – and his fleet to conquer Arus!"
King Zarkon, along with his witch Haggar, were in his lead flagship, leading the immense fleet to Arus. The flagship's crew was justifiably nervous, for while Lotor was quick of temper, Zarkon would not show his anger – if you slipped up, he'd merely aim that dreadful scepter and you would be nothing but ash. Zarkon thought that it was good they feared him – they would perform much better that way.
He had decided that Lotor had taken too long and that perhaps HE should get the job done himself. After all, it had been ages since he had actually tasted the thrill of battle. His last time was when Alfor had fallen – a victim of Zarkon's long heavy sword. Soon enough, his naive daughter, Allura would fall as well. There would be no quarter for her and her defenders from him. The men would die – just as they had been meant to when they had been captured before. After all they were escaped slaves, and what belonged to Doom always belonged to Doom, now and forever. As for the princess, perhaps he would give her to Lotor to keep him in line – after he had humiliated both she and his son. Let her have a taste of a King's love first and what it would be like for her to be his property to dispense as he pleased. Lotor would be angry, but Zarkon was not scared of that whelp. After his victory today, Zarkon knew he would want to whet his baser appetites on the young woman who had dared to defy him for so long.
"Is the robeast ready, Haggar?" Zarkon asked.
"Yes, Sire! He's ready to tear apart the Castle of Lions." Haggar grinned at him and Zarkon frowned.
"I don't need any of your fawning words, Haggar. I mean to take the castle – the Voltron Force and the Princess alive, is that understood?"
"Of course Sire... but what about the Prince?"
"He'll take his chances... " Zarkon smiled coldly. If Lotor died, he'd be relieved of his failure of a son. Siring another... hm, perhaps the Princess could be of more use than he had planned. He was not young anymore but next time he'd make no mistakes – it would be something to think upon.
"Release the roebeast... " Zarkon pointed his scepter at Haggar.
"Aye, Sire!" The witch bowed and disappeared. Moments later she summoned the beast from it's sleep in it's coffin–ship and it awakened with a roar. Haggar gestured with her staff and the robeast looked to it's creator and roared again.
"You know what to do, precious... " Haggar cackled. "Win one for mama!"
The robeast only roared back...
Everyone ran to Castle Control – even Allura, who was still in her nightgown. Coran quickly sat down in front of the large monitor and typed in some commands. Immediately the screen divided into four sections – one depicting the Doom fleet, one showing the huge coffin–ship and two others taking quick scans of Arus. All the activity was centered at the Castle of Lions.
"Where in HELL is KEITH!!" Lance grimaced. They had tried earlier to contact him and locate him but somehow his signal was jammed.
Coran ignored Lance's outburst and said, "It doesn't look good, but the Arun Defense Forces are up in the air now – they'll buy us little time though... how in blazes did they get past our Daystar defense shields?"
"Evidently my father found a way, Prime Minister... " Lotor wondered if his father was leading the attack. He didn't think so since his father seemed the type to play armchair Emperor.
"You mean YOU found a way, Lotor!" Pidge glared at him.
"We DO have scientists, boy... " Lotor sneered.
"Stop it, both of you." Lotor felt a soft hand on his shoulder. It was of course, Allura.
"As you wish love."
"Coran... " Allura went over to where Coran was seated. "Any transmissions yet?"
"I say we get Voltron out – now!" Hunk said.
"Yeah but without Keith and the Princess injured?" Lance asked. "Shit, I'll kill Keith for doing this crap."
"If we don't get killed first... " Pidge looked worried.
Zarkon was in a good mood. The robeast was doing as instructed, simply roaring and making a show of things. The idiots that comprised the Arun Defense Forces were futilely trying to take it down, but the robeast was only growing stronger. He decided to just hover there for the moment and let them wonder just what they were doing. Normally the Fleet would attack all at once, but not today.
The king of Doom only wondered why they did not bring out the Lions?
"Sire, incoming transmission from Arus!" The ensign who was manning the com looked nervously at Zarkon.
"Hmm, perhaps it's the Princess, ready to spout off her lines... " Zarkon looked smug. "By all means let it through." The ensign nodded and immediately an image appeared on the view screen. To Zarkon's surprise it was not the Princess at all, but the lead pilot of the Voltron Force.
"Oh – it's you, Captain Keith... " Zarkon shifted in his chair. "I suppose you're the designated spokesperson today, eh?"
Odd. The captain's face did not have it's usual look about it. There was something in it – something dark and mad within those dark eyes.
"I don't speak for THEM... " Keith smiled tersely. "They're traitors... so I figure they should get what they deserve... "
Zarkon's eyes narrowed. "I really have no time for this, Captain."
"But you do, Zarkon. You want to win don't you?" Keith's eyes took on a glimmer of something that Zarkon had recognized in men before – it was madness.
"I will, boy. Don't worry about that." Zarkon smirked, his hand ready to press the button that would end the transmission.
"I'm not. But you see, I can help you." Keith lowered his head a little. "I happen to know that Princess Allura is injured – and I – well, I'm not IN the castle. I won't set foot there again.Three pilots equal no Voltron... "
Zarkon leaned forward despite himself. What was this? He gestured to the ensign. "Locate where that is coming from!"
"I'm in the woods near the castle, Zarkon." Keith said, raising his head. "Your son Lotor is in the castle with those traitors. Give them what they really want, Zarkon... a world under YOUR rule and power. I will assist you in any way possible."
Zarkon's eyes gleamed. "Bring me the Black Lion, boy. Bring it to me and I'll consider your request. Perhaps I'll even make you an officer or perhaps even – rule one of my planets... "
"I only care that they get what they deserve." Keith shook his head, the pain in his heart threatening to overtake him again. Anger was good – it kept the pain and the picture of Allura and Lotor together away.
"Bring me the Black Lion, Captain Keith and I will make sure you see that they get what they deserve."
"I can probably get through the passages in the castle without being seen, but it may take time. I don't want them to know I'm there." Keith nodded.
"Then DO it, boy!" Zarkon laughed with dark glee. "Serve me well this day and you will be at my right hand! Captain of the seven Fleets!" Zarkon punched another button.
"Haggar!!" Zarkon bellowed. "Take Captain Keith and give him a shortcut to Black Lion! He has agreed to help us."
"Yes Sire!" Haggar cackled. She already knew that Captain Keith was quite mad. Ah what a day for Doom! She could taste victory! She appeared next to Keith in the woods of Arus and he turned startled.
"Don't worry, Captain Keith... We ARE on the same side now, aren't we?" Haggar cooed, running her clawed hand over his arm. My what a handsome one he was. Perhaps she could play with him later.
"Yes," Keith said tersely as he looked toward the Castle.
"I shall whisk you to Black Lion, my pretty Captain, before you can blink!" Haggar raised her staff and Keith was gone. Haggar disappeared to Zarkon's flagship where she saw Zarkon smiling, victory in his jaded eyes.
"I've done as you ordered, Sire!" Haggar bowed.
"Good!" Zarkon's eyes gleamed with excitement. "Still that robeast for now, Haggar. I want to see what our mad Captain will do."
It was then that Zarkon saw the stone lion statue on top of the parapets change into the mechanical Lion.
"Black Lion headed toward these coordinates, my liege!"
"Aim missile launchers at it." Zarkon barked. "If it powers up weapons, shoot it down – aim for the cockpit." He punched in a transmission line and he saw Keith in his uniform – although it wasn't quite the same as it had been. Instead of red and white, it was now black and red – the colors of Doom. How appropriate.
"Captain... " Zarkon purred. "I have missiles sighted upon your Lion. Your lion may be quite powerful, but missiles at such short range – well they can be quite lethal... "
"Understood." Keith said shortly. "Open your landing bay."
"Haggar, go the landing bay, deck 24... " Zarkon said with a smile. "Keep me informed – and bring the captain here to me."
"As you wish, Sire!" Haggar bowed and again disappeared.On to Parts 9-10