Chapter 10 Journey
Kaladan and Lotor ran with all their strength from the coloseum heading back to Alma's tavern. Since most of the guards had been killed back in the pit, there weren't many to track the two down. But knowing there would be more sent after them, they continued running until they saw the tavern within site. They ran toward the door and Kaladan banged on it to get Alma's attention. Alma rushed to the door to see the two drules gasping for air. She rushed them both in before anyone saw them.
"It's true. You were the one meant to free Kaladan from the pit." She said.
"Alma...we...need the...ship." Kaladan gasped.
"Come. I'll take you to where it is. We have to hurry. There's not much time." Alma replied as she led Lotor and Kaladan to where the ship was hidden. She led them far behind the tavern to a secluded spot in front of a desecrated forest.
"Alma, where's the ship?" Kaladan asked still trying to catch his breath.
"Right in front of you." She said as she raised her hands. Her eyes glowed and suddenly a chrome silver vessle appeared before their very eyes.
"Alma, how did you..."
"I have talents I've kept hidden from most of the inhabitants here. It's how I have sucessfully kept this ship hidden until the time came for it to be used. It's old, but it should work. There's a cloaking device on it but, I'm not sure how long it will run."
"Thank you Alma. I can never repay you for all you've done for me." Kaladan said.
"You can repay me by getting yourself and the prince off this planet alive."
"Lotor, come on. We don't have much time." Kaladan called.
"I pray you reach your princess in time." Alma replied.
Back on Planet Antheris:
"Get him you fools!" Kurgan shouted as he watched his guards being systematically picked off. Genar moved too fast for them to keep up with him. One after another they rushed at him, and one after another he knocked them out with side chops and kicks. While the guards were too dazed to run after him, Genar made a leap for the wall Avian was bound to. He hurled himself through the air like a ball and landed square on his feet like a cat. He ran toward Avian and produced two knife like weapons gripping them between his fingers by two curved bars. He turned them downward and stabbed them through the the manicals. The restraints cracked open as Avian's arms fell to his side. The two stood beside each other as reinforcements entered the room.
"Just so you know, while you were getting your ass kicked here Kezrin woke up!" Genar yelled as the small troop advanced foward.
"I can imagine he was in a mood." Avian replied punching the first head that came toward him.
"He wasn't very happy at remembering it was Haggar who almost killed him." Genar said taking a side kick at another guard.
"Is he all right?" Avian asked punching a guard in the gut.
"He's weak right now. He hasn't regained his full strength. We have to get back as soon as possible. Leena's with him right now but he's not strong enough to protect her if the worst should happen."
"Let's get the hell out of here!" Avian shouted punching left and right.
"We're leaving Taebos. Let's hope this cloaking device is worth the price we've paid for it." Kaladan said as he engaged the cloaking device.
"I don't understand why we're not being chased." Lotor replied.
"Taebos is a dumping ground. Any weapons on that planet are generally useless unless they're small range devices. Most weaponry there are swords and guns, and unless they have someone with unparelled strength and can hurl a thousand blades at once, they won't be firing on us. But no doubt the pit masters are in a rage. I was their main draw and that gave them a great deal of wealth." Kaladan responded.
"As long as we don't have any run ins with planet Doom we should be all right." Lotor said.
"That's where this cloaking device comes in. Hopefully their technology won't detect it. Alma said it was an old ship, but at least it works. I'm setting course for planet Arus. Do you think princess Allura will listen to what you have to say?"
"I don't know, but I have to get through to her."
"Your father spoke only of how great of a conquoror he was going to make you. You had just left planet Doom upon your first campaign of conquest when he made me high commander of his armies. But he never spoke as a father would speak of his son. There was never warmth in his voice. He was always cold. I always believed a father would take pride in his heir. I felt only ice come out of his voice when he spoke." Kaladan stated.
"My father has never had anything remotely related to warmth unless his ass was on fire. And in that case, I'd stand there with a glass of wine and enjoy the spectacle." Lotor said with a growl.
"Personally, I'd rather hurl him into hell with my bare hands, and watch him scream all the way down." Kaladan replied.
"You may just get that chance."
Alma was cleaning up the tables when she heard pounding at her door. She knew who it was, and knew that her life was now in danger. As she made a rush for the back the door imploded after being repeatedly rammed. There stood a short, rotund man surrounded by five tall, muscular men.
"Bruno!" She shouted.
"I'm afraid he's been let go...permanantly." Said the fat little man named Altus pointing to a brute standing some distance behind Alma. In one hand was large knife with blood dripping off of it. In the other hand was a severed head. Alma gasped seeing the ghastly sight.
"Where is he Alma? Where is Kaladan and that white haired bastard who helped him escape."
"Out of your reach. You won't use him for your blood sport anymore." Alma growled.
"I don't think you comprehend the danger you're life is in wench. Tell us where he and this other drule escaped to." Altus ordered.
The guards marched toward Alma, but as they were about to grab her a wall of light suddenly appeared. The men were blinded by the display. Alma turned around and the blinding light flashed at Bruno's killer blinding him as well. While all were distracted, she rushed for the back of the tavern. She dashed out the back door making a run for freedom. But only a few feet away she suddenly fell to the ground clutching her neck. Her eyesite grew blurred and she felt lightheaded making her feel dizzy. She felt an overwhelming urge to fall asleep. Her surroundings became more and more blurred until her eyes closed and she lay on the ground unconcious. A woman dressed in black stepped out from the shadows carrying a dart gun in her left hand.
"She's back here!" The woman called.
"Well done Sylvana. Well done." Altus complimented as he smiled evilly down upon Alma's unconcious form.
Sometime later Alma woke up to find herself suspended a few feet off the ground by her wrists. Her eyes fluttered as she tried to regain control of her senses. She looked down to see her feet were off the ground. She also realized that she was naked. The dampness of the cell clung to her nude form. She heard the cell door creak open. There stood the lead pit master and the woman Sylvana. She held within her hands a cat o nine tails. A guard wheeled in a table full of torture implements. Sylvana looked at the instruments and got a wicked gleam in her eyes.
"This will be your one and only chance to spare yourself a painful death. Where is Kaladan and his comrade?" Sylvana demanded.
"Do what you will to me. Kaladan is free of your perversion." Alma said defiantly.
"Sylvana, I think it's time you persuaded Alma to have a change of heart."
"With pleasure Altus. With pleasure."
Sylvana walked slowly toward Alma and stalked behind her. She raised the whip and brought it down viciously against Alma's back. She groaned in pain as the razor thin strips clawed into her flesh.
"That is just a small taste my dear. If you wish it to end then tell Altus where that red headed son of a bitch Kaladan fled to. Tell him who is this white haired drule who runs with him."
"I don't know who you're talking about." Alma said as she gritted her teeth. Again the nine tails struck against her skin leaving a series of angry cuts along her spine.
"The one called Lotor, who is he? Why did he help Kaladan escape?" Altus demanded.
Sylvana stopped for a moment. "Lotor? The white haired drule's name is Lotor? I know that name."
"Who is he?" Altus inquired.
"He is heir to the throne of his father King Zarkon. Is he the one who defeated Kaladan in the pit?"
"Yes! I actually took interest in him as a new champion. He would have brought me even more wealth than Kaladan. And he actually helped that back stabbing ingrate escape!" Altus barked.
"Where are they?" Sylvana hissed striking Alma again.
"You can do this to me all you want. You will not have him again. You will not have either of them, ever. Even if you were to cross paths with Kaladan and Lotor, they would both kill you without thinking twice."
Sylvana grabbed Alma's head by her hair and forced it painfully backward. "It's your life you had better be thinking about insolent bitch."
Kaladan and Lotor continued on their way to Arus. "It will be awhile before we reach planet Arus. I suggest we both take some time to rest and nurse our wounds." Kaladan said.
"I agree. My body hasn't fully recovered from all the abuse I took on Carnos." Lotor replied.
"Carnos? That's the slave planet isn't it?"
"Yes. That's where my father exiled me to hoping I would die there. I was asleep in my room until these big ugly beasts broke into my room. I tried to fight them off but I was no match for them. I was knocked unconcious and when I awoke I was on Carnos wearing a slave's outfit. I had no power there. Instead of being a prince, I was a slave. If I mouthed off I got beaten. If I refused to work I was beaten. Hell, they even let the other slaves beat the hell out of me. I didn't think I would make it off that planet alive."
"How did you escape?"
"I got into big trouble with Kargos, the head of the ogre guards. I killed four of them. One I killed when he continued hitting me with his whip. The other three died when they refused to leave a young slave girl alone. Kargos pit me against the young girl's older brother who didn't think too highly of me. I can't say that I blame him for feeling that way now. Yet his sister talked him into helping me escape. He gave me some kind of solution that causes temporary paralysis and gives the illusion of death."
"That's why your father thinks you're dead."
"Yes. He saw what he thought was my dead body after the fight." Lotor said then stopped suddenly. He looked away with a forlorn expression. "Called me trash. That's all I ever was to him. I was just garbage. Bastard didn't even blink. He didn't want my body brought home for burial. He told them to get rid of it. It was just garbage. I was nothing but garbage to him. I was his son, and he didn't give a damn."
He gritted his teeth at the last statement. His eyes narrowed to slits thinking of the last words he'd heard from his father.
"I am not suprised. If he could do what he did to make an example out of me, then it does not shock me that Zarkon would cast his own son to the lions."
"Son? I was never his son. I was his scapegoat. I was his punching bag when things didn't go his way. He hated it when I failed him and he hated it even more that I fell in love with the very enemy he wanted destroy." Lotor growled.
"How did you get through all this?"
"Thinking of Allura. Imagining her smile and her sparkling blue eyes. My thoughts of her gave me strength and helped me cope with the pain I suddenly found myself in. And it was realizing the fate of a young woman I saved could very well end up her fate as well. I...I couldn't let that happen to her. Then I realized I might have condemned her to such a fate or worse because she would not be with me. It made me feel sick. Seeing how the other side had to live and fearing for her safety made me rethink the course of my life. I had to chose between my desire to rule the empire and my love for her. Ironically my father helped me make that choice."
"She must be a remarkable woman to inspire such devotion."
Time passed as the two drules talked of their life experiences. As they were talking Kaladan looked down and noticed a strange looking necklace on the floor of the ship. He picked it up carefully inspecting it. The chain was made of a silver like metal. The pendant was in the shape of a starburst embedded with irridecsent crystals.
"Alma must have left this here." He said.
"She must have been in a hurry to have left something that looks so valuable." Lotor replied.
"She must have been." Kaladan answered as he looked at the largest crystal in the center of the pendent. As he pressed his thumb against the largest center crystal he suddenly vanished.
"Where the hell did you go?"
"I'm right here." Kaladan's voice answered from the same spot he had been.
"The pendent...you vanished the moment you pressed the largest crystal in the center. It's made you invisible."
"Invisible?" Kaladan asked as he pressed the center crystal again. He materialized right in the same spot where he'd been sitting.
"I think we just found how to get into the castle without getting noticed. The guards can't shoot at what they can't see."
On planet Doom, a large cargo ship landed upon the surface. Haggar anxiously waited for the contents of the ship to be unloaded. She watched as a huge metal container rolled slowly off of the ship. Her grotesque lips curled into a wicked smile as the container was unloaded. King Zarkon entered the cargo bay with a scowl.
"What is this old witch? I thought I told you I didn't want another robeast sent for this task."
"This shall be no ordinary robeast sire. This shall be the instrument that shall ensure victory for your allies and total defeat of the robot Voltron. I've had it brought from the planet Azrinos."
"You had better make sure this works witch. I want nothing to stand in my way of total and complete conquest." The old king growled coldly.
"I assure you sire, this shall be my greatest achievement. And once it has defeated Voltron, your armies will go fourth and conqure all who stand in your way."
"You'd better be right."
After some time Kaladan and Lotor neared planet Arus at last. Kaladan looked down at the controls and scowled. "The cloaking device has almost reached its limit. We'll have to hide the ship until it's recharged. We're running low on fuel as well. We may be on Arus for a while."
"I'd much rather be stranded on Arus than other places I've been on." Lotor replied.
"We're entering Arusian airspace. The cloaking device has enough power to get us in. Once we've gone under their radar we'll have to find a place to land. The fuel isn't going to last much longer. There's a forest below us. It appears to be pretty dense. The trees should hide the ship. After that, we're pretty much on our own." Kaladan said.
"We're in luck. I know this forest. It means we're not far from the castle of lions."
"Good. Think you're strong enough to start the trek toward the castle?" Kaladan asked.
"I think so." Lotor answered.
"All right. We'll head out toward the castle. Take the amulet with you. The last thing we need is to be seen right now."
"What about the ship? What if someone finds it?"
"Can't be helped right now. It isn't any vessle planet Doom would have sent. Hopefully anyone who finds it will think it's just an abandoned vessle and won't think any further than that. How far is the castle from here?"
"At least four miles. It's late noon now. If we start now we can be there after nightfall."
The two walked for some time making frequent stops to rest their aching muscles. At last they reached the majestic fortress known as the castle of lions. The black lion sat upon a giant pedistal silently guarding the palace. It was dark when Lotor and Kaladan arrived. As they expected, sentries were posted at several points of the outside of the castle to protect against intruders. The two druels looked at each other trying to figure out how to get in without causing a commotion.
"We'll have to put the amulet to good use. I know it makes one person invisible when the center crystal is touched, but can it affect two people at the same time?" Kaladan asked.
"Only one way to find out." Lotor answered holding the amulet. He and Kaladan both touched the center crystal. And both became invisible to all around them.
"It worked. We'll have to distract the sentries at the entrance. I'll keep watch while you warn the princess."
"Leave that to me." Lotor said.
The two guards stood stoicly at the entrance. The man on the left felt a sudden and powerful shove against his shoulder. He looked angriuly at the guard on the right.
"What was that for?" He asked in an annoyed tone.
"What was what for?"
"Don't shove me again."
"I never shoved you."
The two guards scowled at each other and went back to their watch. This time the guard on the fight was forcefully shoved.
"What's the idea of shoving me?"
"I never shoved you!"
Again the two guards scowled at each other and went back to their watch. This time both men felt shoved one after another.
"That does it!"
"You started it!"
The two started shoving, then punching and then wrestling around on the ground. While they were busy trying to pummle each other, Lotor pressed the button to open the castle doors. He slipped inside while Kaladan watched the two sentries fighting each other. When the two men got back to their feet, he stomped toward them both and knocked their heads together. The two guards fell to the ground completely out cold.
"Idiots." He grumbled.
Lotor made his way through the castle noticing most of the rooms were shut up for the night. While he was invisible, he could still be heard so he walked quiestly as possible to keep from waking anyone up. He continued on his way until he reached Allura's bedroom. He carefully gripped the door nob and very slowly turned it. It took him a moment, but he got the door opened. Carefully he walked into Allura's room where she lay in her bed sleeping. Slowly he closed the door behind him. But as he closed the door Allura began to toss and turn. The expression on her face was one of distress. He knew something was bothering her. Standing in the center of the room he watched as her motions became more turbulent.
Suddenly she woke up and pushed the covers away. She rose from her bed and walked toward the large window where she often looked out at the land when she was inside. She opened the window feeling the cool night breeze blow across her face. The full moon cast a beam of light into her room. An etherial glow surrounded the princess. She was unaware that someone else was in her room with her.
"How could I have been so cruel to her?" Lotor thought to himself.
He watched as she stood there at the window looking out into the night. She wrapped her arms around herself as she shivered against the chill of the air. Then she began to speak.
"Lotor..." she said quietly.
"My name, she said my name."
"Even in death you haunt my dreams. All I can think about are the last words you said to me before you ran off into the night. You told me you loved me. But if you loved me, how could you hurt me so much? Did you mean what you said? Did you mean it when you said you loved me?"