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And Bridges To Be Burned

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This is a dream, isn't it. It certainly feels like one.

Allura, ruler of ravaged Arus, princess of a conquered planet, stood at the cunningly hidden mouth of a cavern passage -- one of many that led to the depths and the underground where her people cobbled their lives together -- and, lifting her face to the sun, banished thoughts of dreams from her mind.

No, damn it, that's defeatest talk and there's no time for that now. Not now, not when there's so much to do.

For all the times Allura had wanted to pinch herself over the last four months, she swore she'd be black and blue if she'd actually gone through with it.

It all seemed just so -- so damned impossible, by the golden god: An exploratory team sent from the Galactic Union ("nearly a decade and a half to late", that rebellious part of her mind whispered) to Arus to look for a myth. To find, a myth, she corrected herself. Voltron, here, present, a legend in the metallic flesh, was as real as she was, as the sun was, as her dreams had promised her all those long years in the dark ...

As real as the ruin of her planet and her people were.

But now we have a fighting chance again. A chance, and hope, where there was nothing left.

With Alliance techniques pooled with the remnants of Arusian technology, she could lift her people back out of the mud again. With the five lions, they possessed the brute strength needed to, literally, rebuild. With Voltron, Arus could -- finally, blessedly, with vengeance cold as ice -- fend off the Drule and send them packing.

And just how are you going to like that, hmm, Lotor?

Reflex drew her gaze towards the shattered ruins of the old palace, and the memory, still sharp as knives, of Lotor's ambush there just a few short months ago. He'd simply ... waltzed in and tried to claim her! "Spoils of war", indeed!

One hand balled into a fist, tight enough for her nails to draw blood from her palm. Spoils of war. That would be the last time he dared to say those words to her face. To think there was ever a time when they were friends -- that she'd ever believed they could be friends.

The Ninth Kingdom, and the Supremacy -- you, and your father -- destroyed Arus.

Firmly, deliberately, Allura shifted her attention from the ancient palace to the new Castle of Lions already rising steadily from Arus' battered earth. A bastion of shining metal, bristling with every sensor suite that could be scavenged from storage or downed Alliance ship, that Castle was far more fortress than palace ...

Which was just how she wanted it.

From that shining fortress, she'd reclaim her world, the Drule Supremacy -- and Prince Lotor -- be damned.

It's just as well your "honour" won't allow you to ask for mercy, Lotor, because I have none to give you. Childhood friendship? You've already dashed that to pieces.

Let's see how much you like a victim that bites back.