"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.

Enjoy!

Chapter 17
A Heart's Hope

Princess Allura was under minimum guard, confined to the dungeon.  She was so weak from lack of food and water by her own choice, that she could hardly move.  She was chilled to the bone too.  The dungeon's brick walls retained a lot of the cold night air, acting like a very
large refrigerator.

But she didn't seem to really care. Even the thought of being handed over to Lotor didn't seem to matter anymore. Keith was gone, and in her mind, there was nothing left to fight for.  She even tried to put her people into perspective.  But it was no use.  She didn't feel she could carry on without her best friend. All she could think about was his empty room for those five long years and how she couldn't go back to that again.

She just couldn't imagine not seeing him ever again.

So, since that was reality, Lotor could have her, for all she cared.  The way things were going; she would soon die of dehydration.  At least then, the pain would stop. The awful pain her heart felt at his words...


"I'm staying here on Zorn with Amy."



Her tears were a continuous flow down her cheeks.  Her hair was tangled and dirty.  But she just didn't care. Even if Lance and the other boys managed to pull together a plan, what good would it do her now.

She decided to roll over and try to forget about him as if that would ever happen.  As if she could ever put his face out of her mind...

As she settled in, she heard a whispered voice, coming from the dungeon window.

"Allura... Allura, turn around!"

She thought she recognized the voice but decided her heart wanted to hear his voice, and so she did. She chose to ignore it at first.  The she heard it again a distinctive calling for her attention

"Allura!  It's me!  Please, Princess... turn around!  We don't have much time"

She half-heartedly rolled over and looked up to the window.
She squinted as she tried to focus at the figure
in the barred window above.

"It's my mind." she sadly thought.
"He's not here. You're just dreaming it, Allura."

The shadow spoke again. " Allura!  It's me!  It's Keith!"

Too weak to move very much, she crawled over to the window and pushed herself up against the wall.  Using it for leverage, she reached up as Keith extended his arm through the window for hers.

Their hands met, and as they did, Allura's eyes came to life.  His touch...his voice... "Keith... is... is that really you?"

He reached down his other hand and gently caressed her cheek, wiping away the tears. "Yes Princess... it's me!"

She felt the touch, "If this is a dream, I wish to never awaken!" she thought.

"Allura... I..." he started to give a rehearsed apology. He stopped suddenly; realizing this wasn't the right time for it. They could be discovered at any moment. "We've come to get you out of here!" he whispered down to her nstead.

Her eyes grew wider... "It is you!  It is you, Keith!" she said in a hushed voice, a sudden burst of adrenaline coming over her.  Her tears started again, but this time, they were tears of joy.
"But...how?  I thought you were staying with Amy?"

"I did what you said. I listened to my heart!" Keith turned his head around for a moment, checking to make sure no one was around.  He turned back to Allura. "I'll have to tell you later.  Right now, Hunk and I are going to cut you out if here. I need to you move away from the wall for now, and post yourself as a lookout for any guards."

He released her hand and she slid down the wall... "Lotor's here in the palace, and I'm to be a wedding present in exchange for Lotor not destroying Zorn." She said.

Keith gritted his teeth together. "They'd sell something that doesn't belong to them and accept slavery, rather than fight for freedom!"

"It appears that way." She said.

"Nice..." he thought. "They're as blind as I was." He looked around again, then motioned his hand behind him. Hunk appeared from behind with a laser cutter in his hand.

"Get back, Princess...hurry!" Keith motioned with his hand for her to back up.

"Keith! I... I don't think I can walk very far." She said. "I'm so weak...so tired..."

"I'll carry you if I have to! Don't worry about that now!  Just get back, Princess!  We're coming in after you!" He replied.

"Okay. I'll keep watch for the guard." She weakly said.

Keith stood aside as Hunk moved in and began to cut the bars away with the laser.  Allura had her eye on the front of the cell.

They had three of the five bars removed when Keith got a COM message from Lance. "Keith... you have company approaching from the south!"

Keith immediately turned to Hunk, grabbing his arm. "Hold it, Hunk!"

Hunk turned off the laser and both men quickly crawled into the shadows of the palace. 

Moments later, four Doom Fighters flew overhead, on night watch. Keith tucked himself close to the palace wall. It was extremely cold, and sent a shiver up his spine.  But he remained still. Hunk was next to him, a bit more toughed-skinned, as the cold didn't seem to bother him as much.

When the Doom ships had passed, Keith crawled out of the shadows to check to see if the coast was clear. He turned around and motioned for Hunk to get back to work. Hunk quickly crawled back over to the bars and resumed cutting.

Keith kept his eyes to the skies and the grounds, watching for any other unexpected visitors. He gazed into the dungeon once or twice to check on Allura.  All the while, he continuously pushed the thought out of his mind that he was to blame for what was happening right now. But he would have plenty of time to blame himself after the Princess was safe.

The fifth bar was finally removed, and Keith immediately crawled up to the window.  He turned around to Hunk. "I'm going in. Grab my arms and lower me down!  I'll grab the Princess and bring her to you.  Then you lift her out of here, got it?" He said.

"Got it!" He whispered back, with a nod of his head.

Hunk grabbed his hands, and Keith scooted through the window and down to the floor. 
Keith ducked his head and quickly moved over to Allura.
He knelt down to her and grabbed her shoulders,
and then quickly scooped her up in his arms and turned
toward the window.  "Just hold on, Allura!" He whispered.


She contently nestled her head next to Keith's chest,
as he swiftly carried her to window.


Hunk waited patiently as Keith brought Allura over to him. "Careful, Hunk!" Keith said, as Hunk gently took her out of his arms into his own. Allura transferred her grasp to Hunk's neck, wrapping her arms around him as tight as she could, as he lifted her through the window.

Keith watched as they disappeared from sight. Quickly, Hunk laid her down against the wall near the window.  Then reached his strong arms through the window again. "Okay, Commander... I'm ready for you!" he motioned. Keith reached up and locked arms. Hunk pulled with all his might, as Keith used his feet to scale the wall of the dungeon.

Reaching the top of the window, Keith pulled himself through it until he wiggled his way out onto the grass.  Both men crawled over to the Princess.  She was shaking from the cold.  Keith quickly took off his uniform jacket and covered Allura with it. "Here..." he said. "Take
this."

She looked at him for a moment, seeing he was left with only a T-shirt on his torso. Allura shook her head to him. "You need this," she said as she pushed the jacket back to him.

"No, I'm fine." Keith replied, pushing it back to her. "Just take it."

She nodded and slipped the jacket over her body. Keith then looked at Hunk. "Now, it gets tricky from here."

"Yeah, getting out of here without being detected!" Hunk finished Keith's sentence.

Keith nodded, and scooped the Princess up in his arms.  She grabbed  onto his neck once again, lacing her fingers around him for support.  She was still shaking.

Keith looked down at her "It's okay, Princess... I've got you, and I'm not letting go... ever..."

She looked up at him, recalling he had said that once before recently, when he had rescued her from certain death. She smiled at him. "Do you promise this time?"

He looked into her deep blue eyes. "I promise... no matter what... I'll be here for you."

She closed her eyes, the smile remaining on her face as she buried her head back into his strong chest. Keith smiled gently at her affectionate gesture.  He could feel once again that his life had purpose protecting his Princess.  Then suddenly, the smile was erased from his face, as he returned his concentration to the task at hand.

He looked at Hunk. "Ready?" He whispered.

Hunk nodded. "Ready!" he said. The two men quickly dashed out of the shadows.  In the distance, Red and Green Lions waited in cloak.

In Red Lion, Lance had his radar on, tracking Keith and Hunk's return with the Princess.  He radioed Pidge over the COM. "They have her.  Get ready, Pidge!"

"I'm ready! Just let Lotor come out here now!" Pidge grunted. "I'll tear him apart!"

"Okay, lion boy! Retract your claws!" Lance joked.

Keith and Hunk hustled across the grounds toward Red Lion. When they reached it, Red Lion de-cloaked for a moment while the men climbed in through the escape hatch, with the Princess in tow.

As they reached the Red Lion's cockpit, Keith still had Allura in his arms.  Hunk brought up the rear. Lance turned his head. "Is she okay?" He said, looking at the Princess.

Keith smiled. "I think so. I think she fell asleep."

"Finally. She's not been able to do that for a few nights." Lance said, gently placing her dangling arm up to rest on her mid-drift. "She's needed to rest."

Keith looked at her carefully, her breathing was steady and constant.  She looked so beautiful, dirty as she was. She was a precious treasure in his arms. 

He shook his head and sighed. "Lance, Hunk... I was such a fool. I almost gave up everything for the wrong reasons."

Hunk put his hand on Keith's shoulder. "But you didn't in the end.  That's what really matters buddy!"

Keith smiled and returned his gaze back to the sleeping Princess he was holding. He looked up at Lance. "We better get out of here and back to camp, before we're discovered."

Lance agreed. "I'm on it!" He opened a hail to Pidge. "Keith and Hunk are on board with the Princess! Mission accomplished!"

"Excellent! Let's get out of here, pronto!" Pidge replied, firing up Green Lion's turbo engines.

"Right behind you, Pidge!" Lance said, now doing the same.

As the two mighty lions lifted off the ground, a thought ran threw Keith's mind. "This was way too easy even for us! I'll bet they let us escape for some reason."

Keith looked down at Allura again, shifting his weight a bit to support hers. Then he looked back out the front monitor. "But why?  Why would they just let us walk out with her? Someone must have detected us."

As they headed away from the palace, Keith started sorting things out. For whatever reason, they were allowed to escape with the Princess.  Otherwise, the place would have been crawling with Doom Soldiers and patrols. Even the reckless way he and Hunk dashed across the palace grounds toward Red and Green Lions the night patrol that circled earlier should have scanned their presence and attacked.

Something was wrong. It was planned for them to escape with her.  It was a set-up. It had to be! Even the place where she was being held prisoner...it was too easy to reach herand very few guards watching over her.  Why not put her in the tower, where she'd be harder to reach?

"They wanted us to take her." Keith thought. Then he looked down at Allura again. He studied her expression of contentment.

"Lotor...what are you planning now?" he wondered.

All they could do was wait for Lotor to reveal his intentions.  And knowing Lotorit wouldn't be long.


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