"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 21
Surrender


Keith had planned that the entire team be on standby alert in a nearby position.  The only three that went to the Palace were Lance, Allura and himself.

Keith and Allura arrived in Black Lion,
while Lance piloted Red Lion.
The two mighty Lions touched
down close to the Palace. 
Keith got out first, then quickly
motioned for Allura to join him
on the lion lift. With both of them
on it, the lift began a slow,
progressive ride to the ground.


Lance too, was being carried down to the ground on Red Lion's lift.  They met together on the ground.  None of them said anything as they silently made their way to the Palace gates.

Allura was clutching onto Keith's arm on one side of her, and Lance's arm on the other side of her.



Inside the Palace, Hagar's magic globe on top of her staff projected a visual picture of the three Voltron Force pilots, making their way to the gate.  Lotor watched eagerly, anticipating that Keith wasn't as stupid as he was pretending to be.  He knew that Keith wasn't going
to willingly just hand over the Princess to him. Keith had to be planning something, if he, himself, was bringing her to the palace.

Lotor looked over to the corner of the room, where a frightened, dark-haired young woman stood, surrounded by a force field of Hagar's design.  He smiled sinisterly, as he walked over toward her.

As he reached the force field, he chuckled at the woman. "Well...it appears that the Commander of Voltron has a sentimental bone in his body after all!"

Amy glared at him, her voice shaking as she spoke. "What do you mean?"

"Well, it seems that Commander Keith and his moronic friend, Lance, are bringing your relief to me as we speak!" Lotor replied flatly.

"No!  They can't!  They just can't!" Amy shouted. "You can't do this!  The Princess doesn't belong to you!  Why can't you just leave all of us alone!"

"Because...you see my dear...I have won the prize I so long have sought!  With Princess Allura as my wife, I can conquer her planet without so much as getting my hands dirty.  Then, with Voltron as my slave, I will rule the galaxy and be the most powerful man in the universe!"

"You're sick, Lotor!" she shouted. "You are sick!"

"Why thank you, my dear!" he chuckled again. "Only, I'd watch that tongue of yours.   I may get a urge to cut it out of your mouth, if you're not careful!"

Amy quickly covered her mouth with both hands.  Lotor laughed out loud as he turned back toward Hagar.  She was gazing deeply into the globe. Then she said, "Sire, the Voltron Force have brought the Princess to the main gate.  Shall we send Queen Serena's guard to
escort them to us?"

"Of course, detestable old witch!  Don't keep me waiting!  I must have Allura now!" he shouted.

Hagar bowed. "Of course, Sire. It shall be done for you!" She motioned for the Doom guard captain to approach her.

He bowed his head, his hand reaching up to cover his chest, saluting Hagar. "Yes, Ma'am. What is your pleasure?"

"We have honored guests, Captain.  Bring them to us!" she hissed.

The captain bowed again. "It shall be done." he said.



Outside, Keith pounded on the door as hard as he could.  Lance still had Allura's arm.  Keith backed up, as the door quietly opened with a creaking sound.  The Voltron Commander took a defensive position in front of the Lance and the Princess.  Standing before him, were several Doom Soldiers.

Emerging from the middle of them, was the well-dressed Doom Captain.

The Doom Captain walked forward to meet Keith. "You are instructed to come with us,  Fleshlings," he said coldly. "Prince Lotor is awaiting your arrival."

Keith nodded and turned his head, motioning with his hand to Lance and Allura to follow behind him.  He then walked behind the Doom Captain, who was now leading them through the corridors of the Palace.

The corridors were old and musty. Allura looked around her as they passed by many old tapestries that were hanging from the walls. They were in terrible need of attentionall of them so dirty that you could hardly see what they portrayed.

As they approached a very large door, Allura felt a chill go up her spine.  She could feel who was behind the door...just waiting for her.  As if Lance had read her mind, he reached his hand up and covered her hand that had been resting in the croak of his arm.  He gave it a reassuring squeeze.

As she looked up at him, his eyes seemed to convey the message her heart already knew...

"Things are going to be okay. Just be brave."



The Doom Captain opened the door, and stepped aside. Keith cautiously walked inside, scanning the room quickly. Then he heard her...

"Keith!"

He turned his head toward the corner of the room. There she was...they had her contained. "Amy!" He approached her, only to be stopped by two Doom Guards.

He stopped his approach, abruptly cut off from her. "Are you okay?"  he asked her. "They didn't hurt you, did they?"

She shook her head, tears streaming down her face. "No...I'm fine." She tearfully replied. Standing just outside the door was Allura and Lance. She turned her gaze back to Keith. "You can't let that mad man take her!"

"Amy...I have no choice. Allura has made up her mind, and I have to abide by her decisions." He said.

Suddenly, he heard a happy chuckle just behind him. Keith turned quickly around, anger in his eyes. "Lotor!" Keith seethed.

Lotor moved toward the center of the floor. He had a golden goblet in cybernetic hand. "I can see you're surprised to see me, Keith." Lotor replied, taking a loud sip from the goblet.

Keith's lips bent downward in anger. "If it weren't for Allura's request not to kill you...I would!" he said in a low, angry voice. "She made me promise not to kick your can from here to the Troika Moons!"

"How nice for you that you made that promise.  Because I can tell you that I certainly would have enjoyed squashing you, little man!  You have been a thorn in my side for far too long, Keith." Lotor hissed.  He then turned toward the door. Lance was still standing there with
Allura on his arm.

Lotor walked a few steps toward the door. "Well, well!  Princess Allura!  What a pleasant surprise!  Why don't you come in and take your place next to your future husband!" His good arm swung to his left, insinuating that Allura join him there.

Lance resisted the urge to lunge at Lotor. Instead, he quietly escorted the Princess into the room.  Allura's eyes were fixed straight ahead at Lotor. Her face was as stone, unwilling to allow him to see her fearful.

As they reached Lotor, he extended his elbow to the Princess. "My bride...come join me." he said, an evil smile on his disfigured face. Allura felt a shutter began to make its way across her body.  She glanced over at Keith, who nodded ever so slightly for her to
continue.

She released her hold on Lance and regarded Lotor for a moment. "Before I consent to anything, I want some assurances,  Lotor." she said bravely.

Lotor laughed. "What assurances are you implying, Princess?" he asked her, amused by her tone.

"I have voluntarily turned myself
over to you. You will now release
Amy Johnson to the care of
Keith and Lance...and..." she said.

"...And?" Lotor asked.

"And you will guarantee
their safe departure from
the Palace and Planet Zorn.
You will allow them to return
to Arus unharmed.  If you agree to this...I will stay here willingly." she said.

Keith heard his cue to start his performance. "No Princess!  I won't leave you here with Lotor! You're coming with us!  I already told you that!"

Allura turned her gaze to her Commander.
"Keith...my mind has been made up.
I won't allow them to kill you or Amy.
I am insisting that you leave at once,
and take Amy with you. Return to Arus."
she replied. "You must tell Coran to
attend to the affairs of my kingdom."

Keith rushed forward toward Lotor.
"If I have to...I'll take you out now!"
he hissed at Lotor. "You're not going to have her!" Keith prepared to draw his blaster.

Lance finally joined in the act. "Okay Lotor!  I've been waiting for this for a long time!" He drew his blaster. "Let's see who is man enough to win her!" he grunted, challenging Lotor to a duel.

Lotor threw his goblet to the ground, immediately drawing his energy sword at Lance. "Come then! Come and see if you can get a piece of mebefore I run you through!" he shouted angrily.

Keith drew his weapon now too, charging at Lotor with a savage cry.  The Doom Guards immediately drew their weapons and rushed Keith and Lance from all sides.

Amy watched from her confinement.  She started shouting at the crowd of people. "No!  Don't do this!  Please!"

It was Allura who finally broke up the ensuing fight. "Stop it!  Stop it all of you!"

Keith stopped short of confronting Lotor. She turned to Lance. "Put your weapon down, you fool!" Allura cried. "This isn't going to work, can't you see? You're out numbered!  Now, lower your weapon!"

Lance reluctantly obeyed her, and lowered his weapon. The Doom Guards looked to Lotor for orders. He nodded at them to stay where they were for now.

She turned around back to Keith. "I know you're trying to do what you think is best for me. And I appreciate it. But getting yourselves killed on my behave isn't going to help me!" She looked at Keith, his eyes staring straight at her. She had to stifle the urge to smile at
him. She hadn't realized what a great actor Keith was. He was playing his part just as he had planned. But she had other lines to say...

"Now listen to me, Keith!  I want you to take Amy, get her back to Voltron, and all of you get out of here, immediately!" she said, confident of her words. "I'm ordering you as Princess of Planet Arus!"

Keith grunted aloud. Lance started his soft protests... "But, Princess...you...you can't stay here with him!  Arus needs you!  We need you!"

Allura looked up at Lotor, seemingly ignoring Lance. "I also want you to ensure the safety of Planet Arus!" she added.

Lotor looked at Allura. Her expression seemed sincere. And the reactions of her companions appeared to be genuinely violent,  intending to not leave her here alone. Keith, it seemed, was not just willingly handing her over, but it appeared he was being forced to leave her...by her own decision.

"Perhaps this is real..." Lotor thought. "It's what I didn't expect to see... if this was a trick."

"Well?" she again asked, drawing his attention back to her. "Do we have a deal or am I leaving?"

Lotor looked at Keith. His face was full of hatred and anger.  Lance's face mirrored the same emotions. Lotor let his gaze fall upon the beautiful blonde-haired Princess standing before him.

"Very well.  I will ensure all of these things...if you agree to be my bride!"

Allura put on her brave face. "I...I agree then. I will stay here with you, as you have asked." she said, adding quickly. "Until Amy is safe."

Keith shouted in anger. "NO! PRINCESS!   YOU CAN'T!"

She turned to him. "I can...and I am! You are the protector of Arus now!  I want you to return to Arus and tell Coran that he is now in charge!"

"Princess!" Keith protested. "I...I can't leave you here with him!  I won't!  If they have to kill me...I won't leave until you're safe!"

"Keith!  Listen to me!  I am making this decision because I have to make sure you and the others are safe, and that Planet Arus is guaranteed to survive!  Do you think I want to stay with him? I'm making this my final command to you!  Now get Amy, and you and Lance
leave here immediately and return to Arus!"

"But...Princess..." Keith tried once more. "I can't leave you.  I...I love you."

Allura gasped and stared at him. This wasn't one of the lines they went over.  Was it something escaping from Keith's heart?  It was as  if his heart had taken over, momentarily forgetting the play. She suddenly felt warmth for him like she had never felt before.  And
prayed with all of her heart that this plan of his was going to work, so she could return to Arus with him.

She had to say something in response to his confession of love to her.  Lotor was still watching intently. It had to be good. "Keith... please don't make this harder than it already is.  If you love me, you'll do as I ask."

Keith realized what he had said. He couldn't stop himself. It was like he impulsively uttered it without thinking.  But judging from Lotor's response, it made for good ratings in their performance.   Keith bowed his head silently.

Lotor's eyes were wide open. He was both amused and taken back by the display before him. It appeared that this was real, and she was actually giving herself up...no strings attached. A pity too, since once he married her, he would take over Arus anyway.  But he wasn't about to let that hen out of the chicken house just yet.

Allura looked at Lotor, tears were in her eyes, making it all the more believable. "Well, what are you waiting for?  Get rid of them...before...before I change my mind!"

Lotor looked at Allura and suddenly her blue eyes seemed to hypnotize him.  He smiled as he grabbed hold of her, abruptly pulling her to his side.  He turned his head to his guards.

"Release the Earth woman.  Then kindly escort our guests to the Palace exit!" He looked down at Allura, her gaze now to the floor. "The Princess is remaining here with us!" he happily mused.

Keith's gaze became intense again, but fought off the real urge to charge at Lotor.  Besides, Lotor had a firm grip on Allura now.  He only hoped that at some point, Lotor would release her, before they transported her back to Voltron. Otherwise, Lotor would be their  guest as wellwhich might not be too bad! Once subdued, he could be returned to imprisonment at Bastille 12.

Amy was released, and immediately rushed over to where Keith stood.  His concentration was broken when she abruptly grabbed onto his arm.  As he looked down at her, clutching to his arm, and then looked up at Lotor, clutching at Allura's arm, he was suddenly reminded of the
dream he had just prior to shaking off Hagar's love spell.  In his dream, Lotor had hold of Allura and Amy had hold of Keith, in much the same way as they did now.

Keith shook at the thought of how real the dream seemed now.  But he wasn't abandoning Allura. Not this time.

He looked across to Lance, standing there with an angry look on his face. Keith was having trouble distinguishing if it was real, or part of the act. No matter, either way, it was definitely
believable.

"Let's go." Keith said with firm anger in his voice.

As they turned to leave, Lance put up one more struggled. "No!  Are you crazy?  We can't just leave her here!  Are you out of your mind?"

Keith grabbed hold of Lance and shook him. "We're leaving!  Not another word from you!"

Lance grunted allowed. Then turned to Lotor. "You'll pay! One day, Lotor you'll pay for this!" he seethed.

Lotor laughed out loud. "Today is not that day, my dear Lance!"

Keith grabbed onto Lance's arm, and began to drag him toward the door. Lotor looked at his prize beside him, tears were in her eyes as she watched her heroes make their way to the door with Amy.

As they exited the room, Keith turned around to get one last look at Allura.  He could feel his heart beating wildly in his chest. His mind was working in overdrive. He started thinking that leaving her here with Lotor might not have been the best plan after all. But it was too late now. He had to go through with what he had planned.  Like it or not.

Keith could see the tears in Allura's eyes, as she waved goodbye to him.

His mouth mpulsively spoke her name, "Allura?"

She shook her head, tears now streaming down her face. "No Keith.  I have to do what we agreed I would do.  Take care of Amy and to her safety."

Keith just stared at her. She was being so brave.  Braver then he had thought she would be. He needed to turn around and leave, but not before he shot a parting comment to Lotor. "You had better take good care of her!"

"She's mine now!  She's none of your concern any longer!  So why don't you just take the Earth woman and leavewhile you still have the chance!" Lotor shouted from across the room, his hand still firmly holding Allura's arm.

Keith's face grew angry. "If you hurt her Lotor...so help me..." he thought. He turned and left the room with Lance and Amy.

Lotor turned to his future queen. "Ah, well that wasn't so bad, was it, my dear?" he said to Allura.

She just looked up at him. "You know I'll never love you, Lotor. The only thing I can ever be to you is the object of your affection."

Lotor smiled. "You'll get used to me, Allura. After all, you have no choice really." He tugged at her arm, pointing her toward the banquet table that was specially prepared for her. "Come Allura. A feast awaits us both!" he said.

She reluctantly allowed herself to be forced toward the table.



Doom Guards, meanwhile, were escorting Keith, Amy and Lance, out of the palace.  Neither of them said a word to each other, or to Amy.  They just walked quickly to the exit.

Amy waited until they had left the palace before she started  protesting.  She wretched herself free of Keith and Lance's grip, stopping them both in their tracks.  She eyed Keith angrily. "Just what do you think you're doing?  I thought you were in love with her?  How could you just leave her there?"

Keith grabbed Amy's arm and pulled her. "Come on, times wasting!  We have to get back to the Lions!" he said, quickly moving her along with them.

She again wretched herself free of his grasp. "No!  I'm not moving another inch with you! You're despicable!  I asked you how you could leave her like that, and you don't even have the courage to answer me!  How could I have ever fallen in love with a coward like you?"

Keith turned his head toward the Black and Red Lions in the distance.  With a look of determination, he turned his head back to face Amy.  "Look...we don't have time to sit here and argue this out!  You'll understand soon, but right now, we need to get back to the Lions,
and back to our camp!"

Amy just stared at him. "You are so insensitive!  You don't even care, do you?  You just want to save your own skin!"

Lance immediately jumped on Amy's case, finally hearing enough of her bellyaching. "Look Amy!  Complain later!  Our job's not done yet!"

"What job? You've left her there! Just how do you plan on getting back into the palace now?" she shouted, her fists clenched.

Keith turned on her.
"Look, I don't have time for this!
Stay here if you want! I have to
get back to Black Lion!
Time is of the essence,
and I'm standing here wasting
it arguing with you!"

He turned and started to jog off toward the lions.

Lance turned to Amy. "We have a plan in place. What you saw in there was an act to fool Lotor into thinking we were giving the Princess up to him."

"And that's not the case at all...is that it?" she said.

"Yeah. Allura has a transportation chip hidden on her body. Keith and I have to get back to the camp where Pidge is waiting for us.  Then, he's going to activate a signal that will hopefully bring Allura to us!" Lance replied, starting to walk away from Amy. "Now come on! We've got no more time to waste! Allura's in danger the longer she remains with that mad man!"

Amy started running after Lance. Keith was way ahead of them, nearly to Black Lion. As Amy ran, she thought, "I've misjudged Keith. I should have never said those awful things."

As Keith reached his Lion, he jumped onto the lift that began to carry him up to the entrance of the cockpit. He kept looking at his digital watch. He gazed back down and saw Lance on fast approach to Red Lion, with Amy tailing right behind. He looked back up toward the palace.
He could only imagine what Allura was facing right now at the mercy of that lunatic.

Lance reached Red Lion, and waited for Amy to reach the lift.  Together, they started up the lift for Red Lion's cockpit.

Once inside of Black Lion, Keith
jumped into his command chair,
and opened communications through
this lion helmet. "Lance, are you on?'
he said.

There was silence.

Lance hadn't made it up to the cockpit yet.  Keith inserted his key, activating Black Lion's circuitry. The Lion roared as it came alive. 

"Lance... are you on yet?" Keith impatiently called out for him over the COM.

There was still no response.

"What in the galaxy is taking him so long?" Keith uttered angrily out loud.

As he made some final adjustments before takeoff, Lance came in over the COM. "Keith...are you there?"

"Yeah, let's get going!" he said quickly.

Black and Red Lions lifted off from the ground, speeding away from the palace grounds. Keith opened the ultra wave to Pidge and Hunk, who were waiting to hear from him.

"Pidge...Pidge...come in Pidge~!  Do you read?" he said.

"I'm here, Skipper!" Pidge replied, visually appearing over the ultra wave. "Has the package been delivered?"

"Yes! Now we have no time to waste! As soon as I get there, initiate the beaming sequence!" Keith ordered.

Pidge scratched his head. "Why not let me do it now?"

"Because if she isn't alone when she's beamed over, you'll need all the manpower you can get to subdue whoever comes with her!  Especially if its Lotor!" he said. "Now, we'll be arriving within five minutes. Just make sure you're ready!"

"You got it!" Pidge replied.

Keith closed down the ultra wave, and the monitor went dark. His thoughts fell back on Allura.

"Hang on, Princess." he thought. "Just be brave for a little longer!"


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