CHAPTER FOUR

I felt a modicum of pity for the rebellious princess swinging back and forth above me. I knew the chains were digging into her tender flesh, although she wasn’t carrying her entire weight on her wrists like other captives. But pity was not an emotion I dared to entertain. I would lose the respect of my men if I allowed Romelle’s behavior go unpunished.

“Are you comfortable, Princess?” I asked with bland indifference. If she would admit to her discomfort, I would release her immediately. But she bared her teeth at me. “As comfortable as I can be amidst an army of Drules.”

“Then you shall remain up there for the duration of the trip.”

“Someone will come to my rescue, you’ll see.”

I gave her a smug smile. “I beat Voltron and that little brother of yours. No one can defy Prince Lotor.”

She rose her chin mutinously. “You’re wrong. They will come back for me. I know it!”

“Don’t be a fool. There’s not the slightest chance they’ll ever come back here-”

And a shadow wiped over the view port, followed by a second, then a third. A tremendous thunder shook through the entire bridge as though a fusion bomb had detonated at its core.

“We have been shot down!” I said stiffly, clinging to the arms of my seat as the ship continued to tremble violently. Mogor fell and crashed on the deck. Hagar lost her grip as well, and thumped to the floor beside him.

I glanced to a bank of screens that showed images from the external cameras. “How did they get past our defenses?” I demanded.

Mogor struggled to his feet. “Renegade cruiser. There it is!” he said, pointing at the view port.

The image was amplified a couple of times, and Romelle immediately recognized that ship. “Bandor! I knew it!”

“Bandor? That little fool!” I scoffed.

Seconds later, the whelp appeared on the screen. “Lotor! I challenge you to fight me- man to man!”

I snorted. “Fight you? Why should I? See?” I said, inclining my head toward the Princess. “You forgot something, I’m the one in control here.”

Bandor gasped as he followed my gaze and saw his sister in chains. “Alright, if you won’t fight, I’ll fight you!”

Reacting to his words, I raised my sword and aimed at Romelle. “Try it, and you’ll lose your sister!”

And his young face creased in terror. “Romelle!”

“Bandor!” she cried, growing desperate. “Don’t worry about me. You must stop Lotor.”

“No! Romelle…”

“Bandor!”

And he looked at me with virulent hatred. “You call yourself a prince, but you have no honor.”

“You and your honor,” I sneered. “I found them extraordinarily boring. Victory is sweeter, when you cheat.”

Bandor’s face took on a deeper hue of red, and he gritted his teeth.

“I have destroyed this planet. My robeast stands at the gates of the castle. And unless you do as I tell you, it will be completely leveled.” And then I laughed at him.

“What do you want?” He hissed.

I met his questioning gaze and grinned. “Unconditional surrender!”

“Don’t do it, Bandor!” Romelle pleaded. “You must not surrender to him!”

“I have to,” he said, his voice cracking. He watched his sister with what seemed like resignation, and she turned away as tears came streaming down face. I suddenly felt sick inside for making her cry. But damn it, she deserved what she got for siding with them.

“I’m waiting!” I said impatiently at the little prince.

“This is Prince Bandor, I’m coming to surrender-“

The screen changed to an aerial view of the planet, and I squinted at a flickering gleam in the distance, a gleam that quickly burst into a ringlet of light.

“What’s that?” Bandor asked.

“It’s Voltron!” Someone exclaimed.

“Voltron? How did he get here?” I demanded.

“Voltron!” Romelle cried happily.

“He’s twice as powerful as ever!” Mogor cried. “Watch out!”

The destroyer convulsed as Voltron came abreast, its cannons spewing thousands of bolts that struck and irresistibly weakened her shields. Klaxons blared. Overhead lights switched to the dim crimson of battle. Behind me a panel of life-support monitors sizzled and shorted out, heaving a pungent scent that wafted through the bridge.

“Sire!” A drone said. “Voltron has targeted the ion engine control. If he scores a direct hit, we’ll lose all propulsion.”

~I don’t like this. How did he get off the Omega Comet? How?!~

Then Voltron formed his blazing sword, and with a roar, he charged toward the robeast and drove his weapon into its armor. The robeast crumpled, and its massive form fell against the castle, with a black cavity in its chest. There was another flash of steel, and the robeast shattered into a millions pieces.

“Let’s get out of here!” I ordered, before he decided to finish us off.



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