Lotor looked over the documents once more. He loathed knowing what needed to be done.
As he had taken Voltron from the prior paladins, and his ally and adopted brother was his right hand, he posed a bold move.
He would do all he could to not use Voltron in his claim to power. He refused to be a leader through fear like Zarkon had been before him. It was one of the reasons he had sent Lance away. One of many.
As much as Lance was his greatest ally, he was also, in the Galran eyes, the weakest aspect of Lotor. Those who had seen them interact casually could easily spread rumors that Lance was the one in control, that Lotor was a puppet to an outsider. He knew it. His most trusted allies knew it. He wondered if Lance had noticed it with his sheltered aspects of being the Paladin of the empire under Zarkon.
Most likely, he did.
"Acxa, so glad you could join me."
"Narti has sent some unfortunate information. Your father is leading planning a coup to try and overthrow me."
Acxa didn't look surprised.
"Sendak is a proud soldier. And Haggar did much to control him and line his thought process up with Zarkon. It is no surprise he is going against the empire's changes."
"It's a thorn. But it is best dealt with quickly. But killing him may rally more Galran's against me." It would seem hypocritical at best with senseless violence to keep his changes towards peace. He couldn't ignore him without being called ignorant, nor could he engage. His eyes trailed over to Acxa. He let out an irritated groan.
"How is your relationship with your father?"
"Unremarkable. He doesn't acknowledge me as a half blood but won't refute I am his daughter either with my proven success."
"How would you feel about a higher ranking?"
"Excuse me? I am one of your personal generals. I can't rank any higher without taking your life Lotor."
Acxa's eyes widened for a brief moment, then relaxed.
"I see. If that is your proposal, I can't refute the effectiveness. It would have me ranked higher than my father, and I could challenge him as a superior relative rather than an emperor who can't control others."
"If you accept, you know you can't go back on it. I won't force you to do this."
"Nonsense. It is for the betterment of the empire. And I have no one else as a prospective suiter. I accept."
"Thank you Acxa."
"You know, Lance will want to be involved in the ceremony."
"I know," Lotor said with a warm smile. He reached into his pocket and pulled out an amulet. "Wear this. If anyone asks-"
"It's your proposal relic."
"Yes. I trust you know what to do."
"Then you may go," he said gently taking her hand and kissing her palm, "My darling."
"You shouldn't flirt like your little brother."
"Who is to say I didn't teach him?"
"I think we all know Lance was flirting long before you my sweetness."
Lance felt a shiver down his spine just as he was leading his small delegation to the "party" earth was throwing for them. Something had happened with Lotor, he knew it. But what was it?
"My Paladin? Are you alright?"
"Remind me when I get back to call Lotor. Let him know what's going on in the Milky Way," he said casually. If it were dire, Lotor would send a message to him. Even not, he was certain there would be a thrum of energy from his Lady Blue. Even if he couldn't pilot her, he still felt close. If he were wrong, perhaps his Hot Mama would get the message and get his blood pumping to get back to the heart of the empire.
"Of course my Paladin."
"Oh, and one more thing," he said stopping his tracks.
"Everyone refer to me as Lance. I want as little questions as to my Paladin hood as possible. I have no doubt that the Earth Paladins have spoken about it. I want to know how much they've leaked. So please don't mention it."
"Vrepit Sa," the group responded.
"And remember? Have fun," he added. He then skipped on ahead.
He was quickly followed by the delegates to the main room where they had been agreed to meet. Not once were they ever unwatched, he knew. There were occasional stray and armed individuals working at the Garrison.
Two guards stood waiting at the door for them, opening it and welcoming them under the microscope of the human race.
Lance smiled seeing food, tables, people from all over, both diplomatic and military and a familiar face he was actually happy to see.
"Mix and mingle everyone. I've got a roommate to say hi to."
Lance glided over the floors, not showing a care that people were watching him or the Galra. He casually threw his arms over the two near identical looking light brown hair humans he met in space.
"Hey Matt. She-Matt," he joked. His arm was pushed off of the younger sister of Matt.
"Hey Lance," Matt greeted.
"Oh don't you look spiffy," Lance commented looking over Matt. "And I can see where you get it," he added complimenting Matt's parents. "Kind genetics."
"Are you trying to flirt?"
Lance gave a mock look of hurt.
"Why, can't I just compliment my roommate?"
"Roommate?" his mother questioned.
"It was an interesting experience. He made me do yoga," Matt answered a little awkwardly.
"Yoga?" Lance gave a confused look.
"Flexible movements. Um... The rainbow one..."
"Oh! Ezor's stretches. Guess I've been gone longer than I thought. Yoga."
"It's a certain kind of stretches Lance. It was very much like yoga."
"Something else for me to look up later. Well, have a good evening everyone."
He left as quickly as he came in favor of getting food. His smile grew seeing a familiar form by the buffet.
"Hello Hunk. What do you recommend?"
"Oh Lance, good to see you."
Lance gave a set of finger guns and winked at the larger male.
"Even better to see you. So what's a Hunky Hunk like you recommending?"
"What do you remember eating as a kid?"
"Empanadas," he answered easily.
"Well, I happen to know these were made fresh. I think you'll like them."
Hunk served an empanada onto a plate for him and handed it to him. Lance raised a brow. He picked it up and took a bite. His eyes widened and his smile grew impossibly larger. He hummed in pleasure and delight.
"I swear this is the best tasting thing in existence," he moaned. "They're as good as memory serve."
"They taste familiar then Lance?"
"Do they ever," he continued eating the empanada.
"They're homemade. It took some effort to get them here."
Lance's cheeks were puffed out with pastry, interested where this conversation was going. Was he going to meet the maker and be able to get the recipe for the empire?
Hunk put his hands on Lance's shoulders and Lance let him lead him away from the table. He walked with Hunk to a group of people who felt different than the more political based people there. He felt a spark in his quintessence that he associated with Blue. Something comforting and familiar. A deep bond that he didn't quite recognize. Their backs were facing him as they were in a circle discussing among themselves.
"Mrs. McClain, someone wanted to compliment you on your empanadas," he spoke over the group. A woman turned and Lance swore he knew her from somewhere. The face, the eyes, something about her was familiar.
"Lance?" she spoke in a gasp. Her voice rang in his head. Love, disbelief, and hope in her tone blending with shock.
"Mom?" he heard himself say rather than feel. Her arms pulled him into a tight hug, he could feel the tears on his tunic from the sobbing woman and he felt warm and numb. Warmth radiating from his heart as a missing piece seemed to reconnect, but the numbness of not be ready to remeet a woman he hadn't even remembered. He didn't even know his last name. McClain? Hunk had said that her last name was McClain? His arms, as heavy as they felt, wrapped around her.
"Oh my god it is Lance," another girl's voice said. His mother let go and another set of arms wrapped around him. "You jerk!"
"Veronica!" his, oh god his mother, called out.
"Do you have any idea how worried we were about you?"
"We want to see Lance."
"Yeah, and dad wants to hug him too!"
"You two will have your turns," Veronica snarked back.
"C'mon Veronica, we haven't seen Lance since we were little. We want to hug him too," another younger girl argued. Lance let out a wet chuckle. He held back his tears from the overwhelming situation.
"Well, there is plenty of Lance to go around," he joked. He lifted his arms and gestured for the people who seemed to know him, to bring it in and hug him. They did not disappoint as he found himself surrounded by people who had features so similar to his own natural ones.
"You have to tell us everything that happened," Veronica spoke softly as she squeezed him a bit tighter.
"I-I will. And I will start off with saying I have a cow named Kaltenecker, and I have adopted an alien emperor as my brother."
Lotor's engagement. Acxa's father. Lance's chaos. EHEHEHEHEHE.
So, how is everyone? Doing alright I hope.