The Emperor's Queen

Prologue:

The young prince turned fitfully in his oversized bed, sleep evading him yet again. Bed rest had become something of a torturous affair for the Drule, slumber never coming natural. It seemed only fitting that a man who labored long hours campaigning, strategizing and conquering would find refreshment in the haven of his room, but that was not the case. Like everything else in his young life, rest was a difficult task.

Drink and pills aided in dulling his senses, but the royal heir tired of his self-destructive addictions. He longed for simpler times, simpler ways, free from the consumptive path his father laid before him; one he would be destined to inherit.

In quiet, still moments, away from the plotting and charging tirades he laid, he did have hazy memories…of a soft voice, a gentle touch, ghost-like kisses and caresses…. She had been very beautiful, his mother, his ghost. The idea of her seemed only that, though he hoped to recapture that through….

The Crown Prince of Doom was by nature a greedy and indulged young man, but bloodthirsty and violent were attributes he had been taught; they were not parts of his personality he had wholly inherited. The hostile and murdering traits of his character were instilled in him as easily as his lineage, for what else could a warlord expected to inherit an Empire be?

And yet, for all these terrifying flaws, the Drule had a most passionate heart. No one expected or foresaw it to happen, but the Crown Prince had fallen madly, deeply and desperately in love, and luck would have it that the object of his desire was none other than his perceived enemy.

"Allura," he breathed her name as he did every night for countless nights. Ever since he had viewed the fair princess of Arus through an observation window as he "introduced" himself to the members of the Voltron Force (abhorred humans, those Earthlings) he knew there would be no other. She was an indescribable beauty indeed, but it was not solely for her physical charms that he desired her. That first glimpse of her brought him back to his days of peace and innocence, and that was what he longed to recapture, even if he had to capture her in the process.

Foolishly, he had fought those sentiments, for longer had he been the son of a tyrant than one of a loving queen. His first intentions were to capture the farming planet and to enslave its occupants, royalty included. Oh, but he had special plans for the princess. She would remain by his side, to be at his beck and call and to serve him day and night, his every whim. He would literally strip her of all her goods whereas her livelihood would solely depend on him. He had done this with countless other royals and soon they accepted their fates, accepted him. She would prove no different.

Unfortunately for the Prince, she did prove different, and wholly uncooperative. The young Arusian fought him with every breath she had. Even on when occasion upon surrendering, she claimed to sacrifice herself for her planet. When the royal Drule attempted to take what he was due, the vicious gal struck him in the face. Shortly thereafter, the princess was rescued, as it seemed she always was, and the Prince had nothing more than to show for schemes than a bruised cheekbone.

Her continual refusals did not cool his passion; on the contrary, his longing and burden to get to her increased. His infatuation turned to obsession, transforming into love. Yes, he loved the young princess, despite his father's wishes, despite her barrage of insults, despite his own doubts, and he wanted nothing more (or less) to make her Queen of the Universe and lover of his life. The young lady did not reciprocate such sentiments, telling him how loathsome she viewed his offers, and she continued to fight against the cards Fate and Destiny laid before her. He could not understand why she failed to see the reason in his proposed outcome. It was beyond all measure the best end result for all involved.

Lotor sighed. In the end, it did not matter whether she came willingly or not, he would have her, but how much sweeter would it be if she came to him with a gracious heart.

Chapter 1:

With its clear, blue skies, gentle seas and green, rolling landscapes Arus was naturally primed for its weeklong festivities. It was an Arusian holiday, the founding of its government; its declaration of independence from the Denubian Galaxy and the oppressive forces that continually eyed the peaceful planet as if it were a morsel to be devoured. Arus would celebrate proudly.

Princess Allura readied herself for the opening ceremony. Her attendants giggled happily as they fussed over her single-strapped crème colored gown that tapered down in layers of soft tulle and lace. Simultaneously, the ladies added small white flowers to the young princess' fine honey-colored hair which flowed freely reaching down her back.

"You are a vision, princess," Siliana, the youngest of the group happily breathed. The other four servants quickly murmured their concurrence and blurted their own approbations.

"Thank you. I simply can't wait for the festivities to begin. Our people have been starved of simple fun!" At her heart, Allura was a teenager. Oh, she was wise for her eighteen years, but she still enjoyed parties and dancing and laughter. Her more mature advisor, Coran, had protested the celebrations, particularly the marking of these opening days. He lived his time as an eagle perched on the branch, watching and surveying for the first signs of trouble. To his credit, he had lived much longer than the young princess and had seen more horrors, thus his spirit was slightly more dimmed and sober than the young ward he tried so hard to keep safe.

Allura would not hear otherwise. She knew Doom would be at the wings, waiting to catch the planet at their most vulnerable moment, but Doom would perpetually wait and try…. She sighed trying to quell the sadness the constant attacks gave her. Today she would be merry. Even if it killed her.

One more flower to her hair, one final tug at her skirt, and the princess was free from the hands of her entourage. She raced out of her room, out of the palace, and onto the carriage that awaited her. Coran and her overpowering Nanny waited inside.

"Really, princess, that dress is too revealing for you! Coran, why did you allow this?" was the greeting given by the older woman.

Coran opened his lips to reply, but Nanny was already firing more criticism, commenting on the skimpiness of her charge's attire, the thinness of the material, the inappropriateness of the flesh-toned fabric, etc. etc. etc.

Allura smiled and looked longingly out the window. Truly, they had been blessed with a perfect day for this event. They were to meet in the center of the city, where most of the citizens had assembled, and Allura would give her speech, encouraging her citizens to remember Arus' great past and to look brightly onto the future. Yes, they had endured hardships, but they were survivors, fighters, and one day the threats that loomed over them would be nothing more than a distant memory. After her speech they would give way to music and dancing. There would be lots of dancing, and Allura looked forward to every minute of it.

Hopefully, Keith, her longtime friend, and the object of her own personal admiration would ask her to dance. It was a long shot; the Captain was very duty-bound, but if he failed to meet her expectations, she knew one of her other good three friends would ask. Heck, she'd even dance with Coran if he would remove that stuffy look from his face.

She briefly closed her eyes and imagined her dear Captain extending his hand to her to lead her in one of the dances. But in her mind's eye, instead of the warm, steady hand of a friend, she saw a pale blue, muscular one, not claiming her with gentility and ease, but with force and hunger. Her eyes flew open and she found her skin covered with goosebumps.

"Didn't I tell you that dress was too thin? Look at you, you're shivering!" Nanny scolded when perceiving Allura's body give an involuntary shudder. "Coran, take off your jacket and give it to the girl, at least until we get to the assembly and she is free from this draft!"

Coran quietly did as he was ordered, but Allura barely felt the slip of the fabric over her arms. Her vision had left her momentarily paralyzed.

***

The battleship and its armada came out of its warp speed and neared Arusian air space.

"Your highness, now entering Arusian atmosphere," General Mortack announced to the prince."

"Hold," was Lotor's single command.

"Sire?"

"We are to let the robeast work its magic on the village idiots before we go for the kill," Lotor informed, his voice dripping with disdain for the planet's residents. Were it not for the fair princess, the young prince would have ravaged the planet long ago; love held his hand.

Switching off his radio, he turned to the witch sitting by his side. "Haggar, it is ready?"

"Indeed, sire. This is my strongest creation yet."

Lotor swallowed the sarcastic remarks ready to spew forward. How many times had he heard that statement? "Let us hope so. We need this creature to wreak as much havoc as possible before Voltron can form." Voltron always formed. He could not understand how four hapless earth idiots could flee his clutches and thwart his plans time after time after time. He had received reports from his spies that they were away from the castle, gathered in the first of many celebrations that the princess herself had deemed necessary to celebrate during this time. From what he understood, the princess was still preparing in the castle, thus her personal bodyguards were away from her. While the robeast attacked without mercy, for a mindless creature could know none, he, personally, would march into the Castle of Lions and whisk his fair damsel away before further harm came to her planet. For it was a well-known fact that Drules were notorious killers and rarely stayed their hands at begs and pleas, even if the targets were unarmed.

Not that she'll thank me for my attentions, he thought ruefully, but just the image of his beloved quickened his pulse and made his blood race faster through his veins. His spies had provided multiple scanned images of his beauty in her newest gown. While the depth of her loveliness stole his breath, he fumed in jealousy that she would readily exhibit herself to her subjects in that manner. What was she thinking? If ever anyone was in need of his guidance and protection, it was Allura.

"The robeast is away, sire!" The witch cackled triumphantly awakening him from his thoughts.

"Don't laugh so soon, youold fool. Let's wait until we see some effective carnage," and he watched with baited breath as the coffin burned into an orange blaze as it soared through Arusian sky.

***

Allura's speech had been a success, but her people loved the young girl so dearly, so honestly, that anything she did or said would be perceived with warmth and support.

The festivities were underway, and Allura stood by watching as her people broke into dancing and laughter. It was a lively, fun-filled scene, one not generally witnessed in the heart of this war-torn city.

"This was a good idea," a voice by Allura's ear spoke. Immediately, Allura's heartbeat quickened. With great self-control she managed to lift her gaze and meet her faithful friend's eyes without fear of revealing what was in her heart.

"Thanks, Keith. I appreciate your support. I know Coran tried to get you to campaign against this."

"Not that you would have changed your mind, regardless." Keith gave her a friendly nudge that made the girl's cheeks tinge with the slightest shade of pink. She gave a hearty laugh at Keith's knowingness.

"You're right about that. The people's lives can't always be so monotonous."

"Do you mean living from attack to attack? Hardly a boring life."

She laughed again. Keith was in an unusually good mood. Hoping to capture the moment of his playfulness, she pulled on his hand and led him out into the plaza square. "Let's dance, Captain."

For a moment, he seemed to hesitate, but then he gladly fell into step. "Don't blame me if I step on your toes," he practically had to yell into her ear, so loud was the music.

"Not for an instant. But do you mean to tell me that the man who pilots Black Lion so perfectly through the air can't maintain a steady rhythm and appropriate distance between himself and his teammate?"

Allura's heart nearly leapt out of her chest when Keith pulled her into his arms and said, "It's hard to keep a distance from you, princess."

Dear God, did she make that up? The music, the sounds were so loud, it was possible he may not have said that at all, but if he had…! She could barely ask him to repeat a statement like that! Allura's heart thrilled and she jumped just as lively as her partner did (who happened to be a very good dancer.)

Neither of them heard the sirens go off from the castle, which was, unfortunately, quite a distance away.