"Can You Hear Me Calling You?"

Story by Adele
Story Copyright 2003
A story based on the series, "Voltron, Defender of the Universe."

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 22
The Answers Are Within


The pre-dawn hours arrived much too soon for the small group of weary Space Explorers.

Hunk rolled over and sat up, stretching his out cramped body.  He looked over to see Pidge next to him, wide awake and already working on his mini-computer. The little guy had just finished guard duty, and still managed to be as peppy as a young kitten.

Hunk let out a long yawn, wishing he had some of the youngster's energy.

Sven and Keith were mapping out their heading with two sticks, drawing in the dirt, as if the dirt were a chalkboard.

Lance was keeping watch around the surrounding perimeter.

"Hey, what's for breakfast?" Hunk blurted out all of a sudden.

Lance turned to look at him. "Breakfast?" Lance moaned. "How, in the galaxy, can you think of food at a time like this?"

"Easy!" Hunk replied with a smirk. "My stomach is a like an alarm clock...it goes off when its feeding time!"

"What you see, is what you get!" Lance chuckled, while spreading his arms out wide to either side of himself. "Natures best...at your disposal!"

Hunk frowned as he looked in either direction. "All I see are leaves and a bunch of dirt."

"Hey!" Lance said, shrugging his shoulders. "Adam and Eve did okay with just that, at first!"

"I'm not Adam...or Eve, Lance!" Hunk blurted back. "And I'm getting hungry!"

"You'll have to put your appetite on hold, Hunk," Keith said as he and Sven walked up to were Lance, Hunk and Pidge were.  "We need to start hiking, and take advantage of the foggy conditions as much as possible.  No telling if or when this stuff might burn off and leave us dodging behind trees and scrubs as we move around."

"How long until we reach Castle Arus, do you think?" Lance asked Keith.

"Sven and I estimate that we should be there near the end of the day, barring any problems." Keith replied. "That is, if we can get ourselves in gear and get to walking."

"Okay then!" Lance said suddenly with a burst of energy. "What are we doing, just wasting time here?  Let's get going!  I could use a good night's sleep in a nice comfy bed!"

"Where do you plan on finding that, Lance?" Pidge asked with a smirk on his face.

"At the Castle!" Lance chuckled, rubbing his hands together briskly. "Haven't you ever seen any pictures of any castles?  They are awesome in side!"

"I doubt you'll find dat Castle Arus is very accommodating, Lance." Sven replied. "I scanned da Castle as we passed it, on our first crash landing here.  It was in a hambles ...much like da rest of da planet."

Lance frowned a bit, "Sven...you're such a killjoy!  I was kidding!"

Sven turned his head upward, rolling his eyes. "Who has time for jokes?"

Lance crossed his arms in front of his chest in an almost defiant manner... "There's always time for a joke...at least in my book!"

"Come on," Keith said, waving his hand as he began to walk. "Let's get going."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The group of brave Space Explorers walked onward through the endless brush and forest.

The sound of several Doom reconnaissance squadrons ripped through the Arusian skies, searching endlessly for the fugitive captives that had escaped Planet Doom.



Several more hours had passed...



Having had only a few rest-bits, and some stops to take in water at a few nearby streams, the five Space Explorers continued their trek to the Castle.

Fortunately, nature was with them, and the gloomy fog that had greeted them in the pre-dawn hours, remained with them for the duration of the day.

Hunk was scouting slightly ahead of the team, still within eye's sight, but far enough ahead that he could get an idea of what was coming up next.

As he made his way through the brush, he was finally able to see it...

Hunk turned back, and without making a sound, waved for his teammates to hurry up and catch up with him.

Keith, Sven, Pidge and Lance
quickly ran through the brush
and trees to where he stood. 
Hunk pointed ahead, and as
they all cleared the brush, they
all were able to see what he was
pointing at...

Castle Arus...at long last!

Lance slammed his spear into the ground with a low-sounding hoot of joy.

Keith looked over toward the Castle.

"It's in pretty bad shape, team." Keith said calmly. "I'm not so sure that anyone's alive in there."

"There has to be someone there, Keith!" Pidge replied.

Keith shrugged his shoulders, still staring at the broken down Castle. "Its possible, Pidge," was his reply. "But I'm not so sure."

"How could anyone live in...in that?" Lance asked with a bewildered tone of voice. "What a mess!"

The old Castle had weathered war... but not without obvious consequences.  It had sustained heavy damage over the course of time.

Some of the walls were
completely broken down.
A few of the pointed steeples
had been sheared completely
off of the structure,
altogether.

Even the bridge that led to the
Castle appeared to be somewhat unstable, looking at it from a distance.

There were even a few gaping holes in the structure.

"Come on!" Pidge said hastily. "We have to see if the Princess is still inside!"

Suddenly, Keith grabbed onto Pidge's waste as he began to pass by him... sweeping the young and impetuous lad backward.

"Now, just hold on a minute, Pidge" Keith began to say. "You can just charge in there like that! 'IF' someone is alive, and living in there, they haven't a clue as to who we are! Remember...these people have known nothing but war and destruction for several years!  Our presence, alone, will be taken as a possible act of aggression.  You saw the way some of the Arusian people greeted our arrival yesterday!  If there IS a Princess in there, she's probably under heavy guard! Zarkon's not to fond of her, we're all sure of it!  She's probably the only thing standing in his way, right now!"

"Keith's right," Lance agreed. "We could get ourselves killed, if we go stampeding in there like that!"

"We need to approach cautiously." Keith added. "And we need to be alert...now more then ever!"

"Yeah," Hunk said as well. "No use getting shot at the front gate, while trying to save them!"

"Come on," Keith said, stepping slowly forward, with his spear out in front of him. "Quietly and carefully."

The team of Space Explorers began a careful approach across the long grassy area.  As they walked, each of them looked in every direction, attempting to keep an eye opened for approaching danger.

Keith led the way, with Pidge next to him. Lance was in the middle, with Sven and Hunk bringing up the rear.

Several minutes later,
they found themselves
standing at the edge of
a long walkway. The
walkway was made of
yellow bricks, covered
in dirt and over-grown weeds.

They stared at it for a few
moments, before Keith finally
gave the signal to move on.

In a single line, the team of
Space Explorers slowly began
to walk the brick path that would
eventually lead to the Castle's
bridge...the last leg of the journey
before they reached the Castle's
main gate.

As they proceeded, they noticed a profound presence of many images and statues of...lions.  Some were stone carvings of lions lying down, seemingly, in a leisurely manner, while other single images of stone statues, portrayed the lions in fierce, fighting positions.

Suddenly, the team stopped abruptly, now hearing the threatening sound of a lion's growl.  All spears were drawn, and everyone began to rapidly scan for the great beast that was threatening to pounce on them.

It was Lance, who finally got a fix on the growling animal, and with his eyes, began to follow the sound that his ears were focusing in on.

It was then, that he discovered where the sound was coming from...

"Hey!" Lance shouted.
"Look at that!"

Sven, Keith, Pidge and Hunk
suddenly focused their attention
on Lance, and following his
pointed hand, they too
discovered the source of the sound...

"Look at that!" Hunk gasped.

"It's...it's coming from that statue
of a lion...up there!" Keith said slowly in astonishment.

Lance's finger was pointing upward to an extremely large statue of a winged lion beast, sitting up high upon a very large podium.  The statue was enormous.

"Glad it's...only a statue!" Pidge said with a gulp. "Its creepy!"

Keith turned his gaze back downward once again, then waved for his team to move forward.

After they passed the great lion statue, it was onward to the bridge, set overtop of a mote that appeared to surround the Castle's perimeter. After that...there was nothing stopping their entrance into the main door to the Castle.

And once inside the Castle, they could begin to get some of the answers that they had been looking for.

What became of the young Princess they had been sent here to find?

What did happen to King Alfor that caused his death; leaving Princess Allura as Arus's ruler?

And perhaps, the most important question...

What was it going to take, to find and operate the robot guardian, called, Voltron?

The Castle held the answers. Now, the question is...is there anyone inside the Castle who could provide the answers in time...before Zarkon destroyed what was left of Planet Arus?

It was time to find out.
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