CHAPTER SIX

A few hours later…

“Hurry up, Romelle!” Bandor said excitedly, as we hurried down the stairs of the arena. “We don’t want to miss the fight!”

I had planned on sitting with father and Frans to watch the fight, but Bandor had insisted on coming down to the arena. The practical side of me wanted to warn him that I couldn’t run well in these sandals. I tended to twist ankles and bruise knees easily.

“You go on. I’ll stay here.”

He glanced back and frowned at me. “No, you won’t. You’re coming with me!”

Typical Rommedalh arrogance, I thought rebelliously. In ten years, Bandor would be every bit as overbearing as Avok. Nonetheless, at the moment he was only sixteen, and when I maintained a stony silence, his self-confidence seemed to desert him. “C’mon, Mel! Let me help you- I’m liable to wind up in military school if I don’t!”

I quirked an eyebrow at him. “Father wouldn’t do that to you, he’s very tolerant of you,” I said, in saccharine tone.

He winced. “But Avok would. He has threatened me with that prospect a few times. And I want to go with him in his campaigns around the galaxy. I know I can learn a lot from him, as much I’ve learned from you.”

His confession was so irresistible that I found it impossible to remain annoyed with him. It was obvious that Bandor idolized his big brother, but I felt no jealousy. How could I, when the three of us spend such delightful times together?

We reached the final step. By then Avok and Lotor had moved into the center of the arena. Dust swirled around them from the earth below as my brother took up his stance opposite Lotor. The Doom Prince wore a smile, which I couldn’t quite interpret. What did he hope to gain from this challenge?

“Oh no!” Bandor gasped, realizing that Lotor had cornered Avok. “COME ON, AVOK- DON’T GIVE UP!” He cried out.

Something had happened. My brother had allowed Lotor to best him, and that sent a panicked chill through my blood. Could Avok, with all his strength and skill be pierced by the clever thrust of a sword?

“DEAR BROTHER, WIN FOR US!” I cried.

Prince Lotor looked up, open-mouthed, and stared at us.

“My brother Avok is the greatest warrior of all the universe. Nobody has a chance against him,” Bandor said.

“He’s the greatest warrior and the bravest prince,” I agreed wholeheartedly

+++

I could hear Romelle and Bandor cheering me on. Lotor appeared to be distracted by something or someone. It was then that I tried a particularly deft move, and he seemed so surprised that he was unable to deflect the blow. He stumbled back in horror, as his lazon sword flew away from his hands, impaling itself in the earth. The crowd gasped as I pressed my advantage, only inches from his throat. And for one instant, it seemed that I would kill him. I saw to my delight, that beads of perspiration were forming on his forehead.

“You were lucky,” Lotor croaked. “Could you give me another chance?”

I chuckled softly. It would be so easy- slashing his throat and ridding the galaxy of one demon. But then his father would not keep his part of the bargain.

“Help me with my plan and you will live, Lotor.”

“It’s a deal,” he said, a smile touching his lips. “Hagar, come here!”

I lowered my sword and glanced back. The witch had entered the arena and was walking toward us. “Take this brave warrior to your laboratory.” Then turning his attention back to me, Lotor said, “And fare well.”

“Likewise.”

“If you want to become a robeast, please follow me,” the old hag offered.

“How exciting!” Bandor quipped. “Avok will become a robeast.”

“More exciting will be when he destroys Voltron,” I said. ~And we can leave this revenge behind us once and for all.~

“Voltron will be a mere toy before him,” Bandor went on.

+++

After dispatching Prince Avok, I jumped back onto the aisles and ran toward the Princess and her young companion. I stopped before her and gave her a quick bow. I couldn’t keep my gaze wandering down her body in frank admiration. She had beautiful honey blond hair. Her azure gown was a bit tight. Her breasts blossomed above the tiny row of pink lace that gathered above the bodice. Her waist was elegantly trimmed and adorned with a thin red ribbon. Her arms were delicate and her exposed feet were tiny.

I raised her hand to my lips and lightly kissed her palm. “Do you think your brother is the bravest man of the universe?”

She raised her gaze and I was struck mute. Those vivid, storm-blue eyes! They reminded me of the object of my obsession.

“Of course. I’m Princess Romelle,” she said in a husky, sensual voice. Then turning to the smiling red-haired boy, she added, “And this is my brother, Bandor.”

He gave me a quick nod.

“Please to meet you.” I proffered the young prince a mock bow; my eyes still on Romelle. “You’re as beautiful as your brother is brave.”

She offered me an engaging smile. “Bravery is something that you speak with authority, I’ve heard.”

I chuckled softly. “Fame follows me a like a bucket tied to a robeast’s tail. It makes a great deal of noise, but is damn inconvenient.”

The boy burst out laughing and Romelle giggled softly. “Milord- it’s been a pleasure meeting you…” she said, “but we must go back to father. He’s waiting for us.“

“How about a little stroll?” I blurted out, my hand closing over her slim fingers.

She hesitated for a few moments, and then looked searchingly at her brother. “Don’t worry, Romelle. I’ll tell dad that you are with Prince Lotor.”

“Oh, all right,” she replied smiling. She picked up the skirts of her gown and we walked down the steps of the arena.

“You look so much like Princess Allura.”

“Excuse me?”

I cursed myself for my loose tongue. I whirled around and saw her questioning eyes. “Nothing. I was just thinking out loud.”



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