Allura hissed as Dr. Gorma applied the antiseptic to the wound on her arm.

When the Alliance fleet had arrived, the Doom forces had withdrawn without engaging. Worried that the retreat was merely a ploy, the crews reluctantly return to the castle and the major Arusian cities. As soon as she had exited the Green Lion, Keith had ordered her to the med wing.

“You’re lucky this wound isn’t more serious,” Dr. Gorma stated, reaching for more gauze.

The princess glanced over her shoulder at him. “We all seemed to be pretty lucky today.”

“Still,” the physician said, applying more antiseptic, “you should kept this arm fairly immobile for the next day or so.”

Allura shook her head. “Not an option.”

“Fighting with this arm will only serve to aggravate the injury further, Your Highness.”

“We don’t know when the Drules are coming back, Dr. Gorma,” Allura said. “We will need all the pilots we can get. Do what you can so that I can fly at a moment’s notice.”

“I can apply some bandaging,” he stated thoughtfully, “but not the kind you will need, if you are going to fight. That will increase the chance of infection and scarring.”

“I’ll have to take that chance,” the princess replied.

Shaking his head, the castle doctor began to gather his equipment. “You’ll be in some pain. I could give you some medication for it, but it would slow your reflexes.”

“Then I’ll have to cope with the pain,” Allura replied.

With a sigh, he instructed her to lay on her stomach on the table. Ensuring the wound was clean, he began to work on the area. Despite the tenderness of the injury, the princess never complained. With a growing admiration for the determined young woman, Dr. Gorma proceeded to bandage the wound.

* * * * *

A while later, as Allura was zipping her uniform, Keith marched into the medwing. With a brief nod to Dr. Gorma, he headed to the princess and handed her one of the steaming cups he held. She smiled and took a cautious sip.

“Is it time for that talk now, Keith?” she asked, another sip masking her smile.

Giving her a warning look, Keith instead turned to the castle physician. “How bad was it?”

Dr. Gorma hesitated and glanced at the princess, who nodded her consent.

“It was fairly deep,” he explained. “Since the princess wished to be able to resume the battle at a moment’s notice, I was only able to superficially bandage the wound. I believe Her Highness realizes that this will increase the chance of infection and resulting scarring.”

“I do,” Allura stated, nodding once more.

Keith shook his head. “With Sven here, there is no need for you to fly the Blue Lion, Princess.”

The princess lifted her chin, her blue eyes flashing. “Has Pidge gotten the castle defense back up to normal, yet?”

“He’s still working on it,” the captain. “However, with Hunk helping him out, it should be that much longer.”

“Well, Captain,” Allura said, using her regal tone, “until then, you must put up with me a little longer.”

Thanking Dr. Gorma, she rose and headed out of the room. With a scowl, Keith followed. Trying to suppress a slight smile, the physician watched the two leave before returning to his work.

* * * * *

“Where do you think you are going?” Keith demanded, glad that the hallway was vacant.

The princess paused, then turned to face the captain. She had been happy earlier when he was concerned about her injury, but, now, he was trying to keep her from defending her planet and her people. With a sigh, she wondered what it would take to prove to her overprotective captain and her even more overprotective guardians that she was capable of fighting for Arus.

“To the Control Room,” she replied evenly. “I need to see what’s going on.”

“Princess, you’re injured,” Keith said, trying to resist the urge to yell at her. “I don’t want you flying.

“This is my home, Keith,” Allura cried. “I have to help protect it.”

The captain shook his head. “You are the heir, Princess, whether you like it or not. You have an obligation to stay safe.”

“My obligation is to defend my people,” Allura stated, narrowing the distance between them. “I have a right to be up there.”

“You gave command back to me, Princess,” Keith replied, his tone cool. “Anyway, when it comes to the Force, you are under my command. Sven’s flying the Blue Lion. My decision is final.”

Allura blinked back the threatening tears. “Why?” she whispered.

“The situation is too dangerous, Princess, for you to be out there,” he answered quietly. “I’m sorry, but Sven will be flying your lion.”

Seeing the finality of his decision, Allura just stared at him for a moment. Then she turned and headed to the Control Room before she could break down and beg him to let her fly. However, as she rounded a corner, she knew she couldn’t report to the Control Room just yet.

Trying to reassure himself that he had made the right decision, Keith ran a weary hand through his hair. He hated hurting the Princess more than he cared to admit, but the damage the Black Lion has sustained showed him how dangerous it was for any of them to out there, especially her. With a sigh, he went after the Princess.