"The Ambassadors of Arus."

Story by Adele
Story Copyright 2002
A story based on the series, "Voltron, The Third Dimension"

The characters of Voltron are the property of World Event Productions.  All other characters are the copyright of Adele.  Please do not use them without asking for permission.  Thank you.


Chapter 13
A Final Farewell

Morning came much too quickly for Lance.  He arose from his cot, feeling half-frozen from spending the night outside.  But it was well worth it to look after the Princess.

He quickly moved the cot back to his tent, so that Allura wouldn't see it there and attempt to scold him for hovering around all night. 

Lance then met up with Pidge and Hunk near the fire.  The two of them had already started cooking breakfast for them all.  Hunk was eating things as he cooked, and Pidge was hollering at him for doing so. 

Allura emerged from her tent, her face drawn and her hair in disarray.  She didn't seem to care, however. 

"Princess!"  Pidge called out.  "Breakfast is served!  We've got eggs and ham!  Come on and eat something!"

Allura looked over toward the group and attempted a smile.  "Thank you, Pidge.  But I'm afraid I'm not hungry."

Hunk stood up, holding his plate in his hand.  "Princess, you haven't eaten anything since yesterday!   You have to eat something!  You have to keep your strength up!"

She shook her head at Hunk.  "I can't eat, Hunk.  I... I just can't."

Lance grabbed Hunk's pant leg and tugged at it.  Hunk looked down and saw Lance shoot him a disapproving look.  Hunk sat down next to him. 

"Well, if you get hungry, just let me know, Princess."  Pidge said.  "Chef Pidge is on the job!"

She smiled again.  "Thanks again, Pidge.  I'm going down to the river to freshen up.  I'll be back shortly."

Lance had a mouth full of food as he tried to talk.  "Don't be too long.  We'll be leaving soon!"

"I won't.  I'll be right back."  She shouted as she walked away.

As she reached the riverbank, she stopped and just gazed at the water.  It looked so clear... so clean.  Like the rivers on Arus. 

She knelt down on the ground and looked into the undisturbed water.  Her face was drawn and pale.  Her eyes were swollen and bloodshot.

As she looked up over the water, she suddenly grew homesick for Arus.  She wanted to go back to her chambers and have a good, undisturbed cry. 

As she continued to gaze over the water, she heard twigs snapping behind her.  She put her head down, trying not to get angry.  She was sure Lance was only trying to look after her.  She woke up in the middle of the night, and decided to take a brief walk around in the night air.  She had seen Lance, asleep in his cot next to her tent. 

She decided that she needed some time alone before they left.  She turned quickly around to tell him just that... "Lance, I don't need a chaperone every minute!  I would like..."

Allura suddenly gasped, stopping in mid-sentence.  It wasn't Lance at all standing behind her. 

It was Keith... 

A bewildered look suddenly came over her.  She quickly turned her head back around, aware of her haggard appearance.  She didn't want him to see her like this.  Keith stood there for a few moments.  Then, he took a seat next to her by the riverbank. 

She couldn't look at him; instead, she awkwardly looked at the water, waiting for him to say something.  He obviously came here for a reason.

"How are you?"  He asked quietly.

She sighed gently.  "I... I've been better.  And you?"

He pressed his lips together.  "I'm okay, I guess."

Silence fell on them both, as they listened to the birds and insects around them.  Keith finally cleared his throat,  "You look terrible." He said at last. 

Allura rolled her eyes upward in disgust.  "Thank you!" she said abruptly.  "But I'm sure you didn't come here to comment on my appearance."

"No, you're right...I didn't." he replied softly.

She still hadn't looked at him yet.  "Then what did you come here for, Keith?" she asked.

Keith sighed and then shook his head as he held out his hand. "I came here to give you these."

She finally looked over toward him.  In his hand, he was holding his Alliance uniform, and the key to the Black Lion.  "I thought you might need the key."  He said quietly.  "To get home...you know?   You can't operate Black Lion without the key.   Just set the lion's controls on auto and tow it back to Arus."

She nodded her head, and reached over to accept them.  "Is that all?" She asked, suddenly exasperated with him.

"No, I thought we could talk this out.  I want you to understand why I'm staying here, Allura."  He said.  "It's important for me to know that you understand."

"I think you made yourself perfectly clear yesterday, when you shoved me out of your way."  She snapped at him.  "It has become obvious to me that I've become nothing but a nuisance to you.  So, what further is there to say?"

"I don't want you to leave like this."  He said, attempting to reason with her.

"Like what, Keith?  Feeling like I've been betrayed?" she asked sarcastically.

Keith put his head down.  "Yeah, something like that.  Anyway, Amy thought it would be a good idea to clear the air."

She regarded him for a moment.  "Amy thought?   Oh, I see!  Tell me, Keith, is there anything you think to do on your own these days?"

Keith looked at her, his eyes growing angry.  "Listen, I didn't come here to argue with you!  I just wanted to clear the air before you left!  That's all!"

He stood up and looked down at her.  "I'm sorry things are the way they are.  You have to get used to the idea that I'm staying here with Amy!  I'm sorry if I've hurt you."

She looked up at him.  "I'm sorry that you're not thinking rationally!  The Keith I knew would never do what you're doing!   Do you even understand what you're giving up?"  Allura exclaimed, now holding in front of her his uniform and the lionship key.  "These used to be the most important things in the world to you!  Do understand that you're throwing away all that you've dreamed of and worked so hard for?"

"Yes I do... I think...  But I can't leave her!  Why can't you understand that?"  Keith shouted, throwing his arms up in the air in confusion.

She rose to her feet.  "Because, it doesn't make sense, Keith!  Can't you see that?  One moment, you're my commander, then next, you're her lover!  You're giving up everything you've cherished...every goal you've worked so hard to obtain!  Why?  I want to know why!"

He said absolutely nothing... he just stared at the sky...as if it were calling to him somehow.

She tried again, this time, more sternly.  "Commander Hunter!  As Princess of Planet Arus, I demand that you explain to me why you are resigning as Commander of Voltron!"

Keith turned suddenly and took a few steps away from her.  "I... I don't know why, exactly.  I just feel like I have to!"

Allura's attitude softened, as did her voice, as she walked up behind him and put her hand on his shoulder.  He froze instantly at her touch.  "Keith, why won't you talk to me?"

Keith dropped his head.  "Because, I'm not even sure that I understand it.  It's like Amy is my life now.  But the weird thing about it is that I'm going to miss my old life."  He looked at her.  "Seems strange, huh?"

"No.  It doesn't seem strange.  I know somewhere in your heart, you remember who you are, and what you have to do.  Please, Keith.  Look for yourself there.  Before it's too late!" 

Keith turned around and looked at her.  He was becoming confused as he tried to absorb what she was saying.   "I... I have to go.  I can't stay anymore.  Please understand!"

She turned around and walked back to the water.  "Well, I guess there's nothing left to say to each other, is there?"

"No.  I guess not."  He somberly replied.

"I do want to thank you though, for all that you've done for Arus.  We will never forget you.  I hope you never forget us."  Allura's sad blue eyes caught his attention.

Keith sighed, trying to ignore them.  "I have a new life here.  Arus will always be a part of me.  But it's in the past now."

Unexpectedly, Allura turned around and ran into his arms.  "Keith!  I... I wish you the best!  To you...and to Amy!"  She looked up into his eyes.  "Remember... you'll always have a home on Arus, if you ever need one."

He moved his arms around her instinctively.   "I'll remember..." he said, holding her close.  His head became clouded for a moment.  It was as if the woman he was holding, was someone more important than his decision to stay.  But, he somehow couldn't recall why.  He broke off the embrace suddenly and held her at arm's length.  "I must go.  Good luck, Princess.  I wish you well."

"And I, you, Keith.  I'll miss you terribly.  I...I love you...my dearest friend!"

He suddenly appeared confused and dazed, reaching his hands up to his head, and winced in pain.  Allura moved toward him.  "Keith!  Keith are you okay?"

He squinted and then closed his eyes shut.  His mind began trying to recall visions, but they were clouded over.  He couldn't quite visualize in his mind what his heart was trying to convey. But he felt his heart breaking, sending a message that rang through his head... 

"I love you too, Allura!  More than you'll ever know...more then just my dearest friend!" he thought.  His mind quickly began to fight it off. "How can you love her?  You love Amy!  You must love only Amy..."

He shook it off and opened his eyes again.  Suddenly feeling better, he let his hands drop to his side.  "I'm okay." He said finally as he turned to leave.  "Goodbye, Princess."

He walked away from her.  She wanted to run after him, but her heart stopped her. 

"I have to let him go." She thought.  "It's over...everything is over...."

She fell to the ground and wept once again, grasping the key to the Black Lion in one hand, and his uniform in the other. 

She pulled the uniform up to her face, and as she did, she could smell Keith's scent on it.  She began to quietly whimper.  "Keith.... Please don't leave me again...please...." 

She buried her head in the uniform and the material began to absorb her falling tears.

Back at the camp, Pidge and Lance were going over a few last minute details.  They suddenly stopped when they heard Hunk running up the dirt path, shouting at them.  "Keith!  He's back! He's coming up from the river!"

Lance became angry as his friend approached.  He walked ahead of Pidge and came to stand in Keith's path.  "So..." Lance began.  "Did you see Allura at the river?"

Keith nodded his head slowly. 

Lance abruptly grabbed onto Keith's shirt.  "If the only reason you went down there was to upset her again, I'll bash your head in, right here and now!"

Keith wrenched himself free of Lance's grip.  "Are you out of your mind?"

"I might ask the same of you!"  Lance shouted back.  "What were you doing down there?"

"If it's any of your business, I was saying goodbye to her!  I also gave her my uniform and the key to the Black Lion!"  Keith shouted back.  "And now I'm here to say goodbye to you guys."

Pidge became sarcastic.  "Save it!  You're abandoning us!  Worse than that, you're doing it for someone you don't even love!"

Keith flung his arms in the air and grunted out loud...  "Ur-r-r!   I knew this was a mistake!  I should have never let Amy talk me into doing this!"

"Oh, so Amy told you do this, huh?"  Hunk jumped in.  "Well, she shouldn't have wasted her breath!  What's she trying to do... clear her conscience for taking you away from us?"

"Aw, come on, Hunk!  You don't mean that!"  Keith turned and looked at him.  "That's not fair to Amy!"

Hunk walked up right into Keith's face.  "Neither is what you're doing fair to us!  And what about the Princess you so valiantly vowed to protect?   She's been sick to death over this!  She won't eat... she won't sleep....  and then, you go down there and rock her world all over again!  I ought to flatten you here where you stand!" Hunk shouted, clenching his fist to Keith's nose.

Lance got in the middle of Keith and Hunk.  "Okay, Hunk!  That's enough!  Back down!"

Hunk's fist was still clenched, and his teeth were gritted.  But he looked at Lance, standing between them, and realized Lance was right.  He back off a bit, "Keith, I hope you don't come to regret this decision.  Allura loves you, man!  And you're throwing her away like a rag doll!  How could you do that?" Hunk asked angrily.

Keith, still on the defensive, looked at Hunk.  "I... I don't know.  I just feel like I should stay here!"

Pidge stepped up.  "Keith, did you recall feeling strange, when you went to talk to Amy about leaving you alone?"

Keith looked at Pidge.  "What do you mean, feel strange?"

"I mean, did you feel like she had cast a spell over you?" Pidge probed.

Keith waved his hands in the air.  "Look, I told Allura this, and now I'm going to tell you!  Leave me alone!  I'm staying here... its what I want to do and what I'm going to do!"

Keith turned to leave.  "I just wanted to say goodbye!"

"Goodbye!"  Hunk shouted in anger.  "Now, get lost!"

"I'm going!"  Keith shouted back as he turned to leave.

Lance hollered after Keith.  "If you change your mind, we're following our original plan and heading toward the palace today!  We should reach it by tomorrow!"

"I won't change my mind!"  Keith shouted back as he disappeared down the path. 

Hunk hopped forward and took off running toward the river.  "The Princess!  Come on!"

Pidge and Lance quickly followed after him.  As they reached the river, they confirmed their worst fears  Allura was sprawled out on the ground, crying once again, gripping tightly onto Keith's uniform.

Hunk reached her first, "Princess!  We're here!"

Pidge and Lance also came along side her.  Pidge knelt down and placed his hand on her head gently.  "We love you!"

Allura looked up from the ground. "And I love you boys, too."

"We've always been your protectors and your friends." Pidge said with a gentle, comforting voice.  "We won't leave you...not ever!"

Hunk got angry again.  "Let him go, Princess!  He's not worth your tears!"

Lance and Hunk each took a hand and helped Allura to her feet.  Pidge reached down and picked up Keith's abandoned uniform and the Black Lion key that she left on the ground next to where she was laying. 

"Come on, Princess.  Come with us."  Hunk said.  "We'll take care of you.  Never mind about 'him'.  He's a jerk!"

"Yeah, time to go."  Lance said.  "Everything's ready.  I have your jetpack waiting for you near the camp."

Allura nodded her head, tears still coming down her face.  "I... I've lost him.  I've really lost him!  What did I do to him?"  She asked.

Lance put his arms around her.  "Nothing.  None of us have done anything to him.  He's under a spell that Amy cast on him somehow.  That has to be it.!   There's no other explanation for his behavior."

Pidge looked at his digital watch.  "Guys, we have to go now."  He said somberly.

Lance nodded.  "Come on, Princess.  Let's get out of here.  The sooner we get to the palace and get this mission over with, the faster we can head home!"

Lance and Hunk both helped Allura to walk.  She began to falter, her legs shaking so badly that she could hardly walk.  Hunk reached down and scooped her into his arms, carrying her back to camp.  She wrapped her arms tightly around his neck and laid her head on his strong shoulder. 

Once they reached the camp, Pidge gathered their equipment.  Hunk set the Princess down on the ground and grabbed onto their outdoor supplies.  Lance grabbed onto Allura. 

With their jetpacks on, they hit the sky, and headed for Voltron.  As they flew, Lance addressed Allura.  "Princess, I know you mainly know how to operate Voltron from the Black Lion.  But, if you want, I'll try it." 

Allura wiped her nose with the back of her hand.  "No, I have to pull myself together and do this.  The Alliance is counting on us to finish this mission.  I can't quit on them now.  I'll be okay to pilot Voltron from Black Lion.  We can leave Blue Lion on auto control."

Lance looked carefully at her.  "Are you sure?  Let me go in first, to make sure stuff from Keith isn't left behind."

"No, that's alright.  I'll take care of that.  You just get to Blue Lion and put it on auto pilot, and then get back to Red Lion."

"Okay, Princess.  Whatever you say."  He conceded. 

They flew up toward Voltron.  Pidge removed the security field placed around the giant robot, that prevented any possible tampering.  Everyone got into the individual lions. 

Allura slowly took her place in Black Lion.  She pulled out the key that Keith had given her, regarding it for a moment.  "He last touched this key," she thought. "Oh, Keith" She shook herself back to reality and inserted the key into Black Lion's control board.  With all the lion keys in place, Voltron came alive again. 

Allura looked over the controls and took several deep breaths.  She opened the COM.  "Prepare for liftoff in 5...4....3....2....1....liftoff!"

Mighty Voltron's feet left the ground and swooped upward... 

As Voltron passed above the village, Keith looked up from in front of Amy's house.  Amy was standing next to him, holding his hand.  He suddenly seemed so distant so consumed in thought.

"Why aren't I going with them?" He thought. "I should be going too.  Why am I staying here?"

She leaned over to him and purred gently in his ear.  "Is everything okay?"

He looked down at her suddenly... "What?" 

She purred again...  "I asked you if everything was okay!  Didn't you hear me?"

"Oh no, I... guess I didn't hear you.  Sorry."  He paused for a moment, trying to sort the chatter in his mind.  He then turned around quickly and grabbed hold of her shoulders.  "Hey, I'm starved!  Let's eat, okay?" 

"Breakfast coming right up!" she smiled.  Amy turned around and left for the house.  Keith stood there, staring up into the sky.  He was sure he was doing the right thing.  At least, he thought he was sure he was. 

He closed his eyes trying to blot out the image of Allura from his mind.  This was one thing that really didn't make sense to him.  If he loved Amy so much, why was Allura a constant factor in his mind? 

He remembered her face at the river... she looked so haggard.   She'd been crying... he could see that right away.  "Why am I doing this?  Why?"  He questioned himself.  "Do I really love Amy that much?"

He pushed back the thought in his mind, tired of thinking about it.  He decided to go and help Amy with breakfast.  

But the vision of Allura continued to haunt his heart.