"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.


Chapter 25
Only Four Keys!

The entrance to the Royal Crypt
was a solid steel door, with the
image of a lion's head up above
the doorframe. Burning torches
were mounted to the wall on either
side of the crypt, who's flickering
light produced a very dim and
somewhat eerie atmosphere.

Keith stood to the left of the Castle diplomat, Coran Anderson.  To Coran's right, was the young Princess of Arus.  Behind the three of them, stood Sven, Lance, Hunk and Pidge.

Coran took one step forward and with a swift motion, immediately activated the door with a push of a button.  The door swooshed open quite slowly, as if to give those that were about to enter, a moment to prepare to enter the sacred burial chambers of the past Rulers of Arus.

Next, the older man turned to the group, reserving his first comments for the Princess, alone.

"Your Highness," Coran began. "I once again implore you... leave this place of sadness.  It will only serve to remind you of the darkest days of your young life.  I beg you, Princess...do not enter the crypt."

The young princess stood proud and tall before her Chief Magistrate...with her resolve in place.

"No, Coran." Allura proclaimed firmly.
"I'm coming with you."

Coran bowed his head, shaking it slightly,
as a forced breath of frustration escaped
his lips.

"Very well, Princess," Coran said, also in a firm voice. "As you wish."

Coran then turned his attention to the five new members of the Voltron Force.

"Here before you, is the sacred Royal Crypt, of the House of Arus, containing the remains of all of the Arusian rulers, who have departed from this world.  They are all buried here... from our first ruler, Queen Ariela, whose reign began nearly a thousand years ago... to our beloved King Alfor DeVille, whom just six years ago, met his fateful and untimely end...struck down, by the sword belonging to evil King Zarkon of Planet Doom.  His death has left Princess Allura Adrianna DeVille, now standing in your midst, as the only surviving member of the DeVille Family bloodline, of the Royal House of Arus.  And now, Zarkon threatens to destroy her as well."

Keith turned and looked at Allura, "I can assure you, Coran...that as long as the Voltron Force is here, that will never happen." Keith said in a stern voice.

Coran nodded his head. "You five are Arus's last hope for restoration of spirit, and freedom from Zarkon's crippling grip.  Inside here, are the keys to the robot lion ships."

"Well then, what are we waiting for?" Lance blurted out loud. "Let's get those keys!"

"We await your reverence, Master Lance!"
said with all authority.  "You will remember
what this place means to the people of Arus...
and to the Princess!  You will therefore
show reverence upon entering the sacred
burial crypt!"

Lance retracted a bit, yielding himself
to the respect that was being demanded
of him, with regards to this place.

Coran nodded his head, and then looked at Keith. "If you and your men will follow us, Commander." Coran said staunchly.

The Chief Magistrate reached up and took hold of a flaming torch, dislodging it from the wall mount it had been resting in.  Then, he entered the crypt.

Princess Allura entered second, followed by each member of the Voltron Force, beginning with Keith.

They began passing altars that had been erected above the ground they were walking upon. Each altar had a carefully placed tomb upon it, with an inscription that Keith could only assume was in the native Arusian tongue.  He couldn't make out the language, otherwise.

The crypt was dark and dismal...a dreary place.  Keith felt a chill creeping up his spine as they proceeded forward...his eyes scanning back and forth, catching glimpses of the tombs, all of them having different designs.

Soon, they had reached a tomb that was elevated up on a platform, higher then the rest. Several steps led up to the tomb. 

Coran stopped the group and raised his hand upward toward the tomb in front of them.

"Behold, the resting place of King Alfor DeVille." Coran said quietly.

Allura stopped, feeling her heart suddenly race with great speed, as she stood in front of her father's tomb.

As they began to step up the flight of stairs leading to the tomb, suddenly...a great light beam lit up the entire tomb.

The unknown energy stopped everyone in their tracks...mainly from fear.

Keith and Sven instinctively stepped in front of Princess Allura, with intent to meet the unknown energy first.  Lance, Hunk and Pidge came up along side of Coran.

Allura had been looking around, as was everyone, attempting to find
out where the light's source of power emanated from. It was then,
that she gasped suddenly...drawing the attention of everyone there.

Coran, staring at her, quickly followed the path of her raising hand, and now, pointing finger, as she now pointed out to everyone, the reason for her startled reaction.

It was amazing...

"Look at that!" Hunk gasped as well.

Coran too, gasped as his eyes beheld the sight above...

"My daughter..." the voice boomed.

Allura blinked rapidly for several seconds...
her mouth now covered by her hand.

"What is...that?" Lance suddenly
said, in a shaky voice.

"It is...the image...or rather, what appears to be...the image of... King Alfor!" Coran said slowly, as if in disbelief.

"My father," Allura said, with equal slowness of speech, as she too, was seemingly mesmerized by the appearance of the image, which was now hovering just above the tomb of King Alfor.

Allura attempted to move past Keith and Sven, but Keith quickly held out his arm in front of her, blocking her approach.  Allura looked up toward the image, hovering effortlessly, just above the tomb.

"My daughter...my friends...do not be afraid." The image spoke to her.

"Who...or what...are you?" Coran stammered.

"Coran, my old friend, do you not recognize me?" the image asked.

"I recognize who you appear to be." Coran said cautionsly.

"I am the spirit of King Alfor." the image replied.

"But...but how... how is this possible?" Allura replied, her hand still in front of her mouth. "My father is...my father is dead!"

"My daughter...Zarkon took my life, but he could not take my spirit.  I have sensed the presence of Arus's newest Lion Knights.  It is good to see you surrounded by new friends, Allura.  Planet Arus is much in  need of new friends, these days.  And I sense a faithfulness in their resolve to protect you."

"Yes, King Alfor," Coran babbled a replied.
"These five have journeyed here from
Planet Earth, and have come to resurrect
Voltron back into action.  But...Majesty...
the keys..."

"The keys are here...with me."
The ghostly image proclaimed. "You
may take them, and use them to save
Arus, and restore her to her once
great state."

"Thank you, King Alfor." Coran replied reverently.

The image then paused....

It appeared to now focus in on Keith, who still had his arm out in front of Allura.

"Young man," the ghostly king said, now pointing directly at Keith. "What is your name, sir?"

Keith, still holding up his arm, protectively, in front of the Princess, replied firmly.

"My name is Captain Keith Hunter, of Earth's Galaxy Alliance, Your Majesty.  I am the new Commander of the Voltron Force."

"Young Keith," Alfor said in a booming,
baritone voice. "King Zarkon seeks to
destroy Arus.  And he will try to do so,
by destroying my daughter, Allura.
I charge you, young Commander of Voltron,
to guard the Princess, and to protect her
from Zarkon... and know this... another
will come from Planet Doom as well.
The one who is Zarkon's son. He too,
will seek ill against Arus, and seek to
capture the Princess as well.  You must
see to her safety on my behalf, for I am
no longer able to protect her."

Keith remained where he was, but
gave a firm nod of the head. "With
my life, King Alfor, if necessary."

The comment due a glance from the young Arusian Princess, suddenly awe-struck by the young Commander's vow and apparent devotion to her protection.

"I had a vision, a dream... that a new group of Space Explorers would travel to Arus in its most desperate hour of need, and would once again, ressurect Voltron and return to the tradition of the Lion Knights.  You five, are the fulfillment of that dream.  Therefore go...
save our world.  I can now rest in peace.  Farewell, my daughter, Allura."

As the image faded from sight, the glow in the room vanished with it, leaving the crypt once again, in a dreary state of appearance.

"Goodbye, Father." Allura said, just above a whisper.

Allura's tears were now running
from her eyes down her
cheeks, curving around her chin,
and then, falling away.
Her father was dead, and for
a time, she could accept
that...but now, with the appearance
of her father's image, she suddenly
felt the overwhelming pain shoot through
her once again, just as it had six years ago.

Keith turned his head as he dropped his arm, and caught a glimpse of her grieving.  He remembered, well, how it felt to lose his own parentsàand now, he too, remembered, all to well, the feeling that came with never knowing what really became of them.

His heart went out to the Princess...

"Come," Coran said quietly, wiping tears from his eyes as well.  "Follow me."

As Coran began up the stairs to the platform where the tomb was, Keith reached out his hand to Princess Allura.  She quickly turned her head and looked at him...

His eyes were warm and compassionate...an emotion Keith rarely showed.

She smiled through the tears and then, slipped her hand into his.  He gave it a quick and gentle squeeze of reassurance.

"Do you want to stay down here?" Keith asked her.

Her head immediately shook no. "I'm alright." She replied firmly.

"Are you sure?" Keith asked her again. "One of us can stay down here with you..."

"No," Allura replied...her voice now more steady then it had been moments ago. "Truly...I'm fine, Commander."

"It's Keith...my friends call me, Keith." the young Voltron Commander replied. "I'd like to be your friend...if you'd like me to."

Allura stared at him, blinking rapidly. "I...I haven't had any friends for...many years." She said softly. "Life has been hard, and I've not been able to afford the pleasure of having...
friends.  That is...except my mice friends...who live here in the Castle.  They've kept me company and have been my friends for years."

"Well, Princess...you've just made five new friends today!" Keith replied with a smile.

"Thank you." Allura echoed his sincerity, with a glowing smile of her own.

"Come on, you two!" Lance said, as he skipped past Keith. "We've got a planet to save!"

Keith looked up at Lance and the rest of his team, as they all began ascending the staircase toward the tomb.  He turned to Allura, who was giving him a confident nod.

Still holding her hand, Keith escorted Princess Allura up the stairs, to join everyone else at the tomb.

In the shadows of the room,
Allura's special friends...the Castle
mice...were watching from up
high...peeking out of a whole
in the wall, and watching as
their human friend ascended
the stairs, side by side,
with another human.

The baby mice squeaked...suddenly
afraid that these strangers might
hurt their human companion.
But it was Papa mouse, now
beginning to reassure his children
that all appeared to be well, while
settling Mama mouse's fears as well.

The tiny mice retreated back into the
wall...and scattered out of sight.

Lance, Hunk, Sven and Keith, each took a corner of the heavy slab of cement that had been used to seal the tomb.  Hunk led the way, yielding a grunt, as his muscles strained beneath the weight of the cement plug.

Allura and Coran stepped away, at Pidge's direction, to give the others room to work.

As the four young men strained to lift the great cement block, and as they finally began to lift it up, the sound of rushing wind escaped suddenly from beneath the plug, kicking up dust and dirt all around the four Voltron members.

Allura gasped, momentarily drawing the attention of Keith and Sven... but then, saw Coran nod quickly to them, confirming that all was fine, and to continue with their efforts.

Pidge looked up at the Princess with a smile. "Its nothing, Princess," Pidge said. "It's just the sound of escaping air pressure."

"Oh," Allura replied. "I see."

The plug was finally removed. But as heavy as it was, the four of them couldn't hold it long enough, to gently settle it down onto the ground.

Instead, they gave it a short toss, sending it sliding down the stairsàoff to the side.  It slid down, coming to a rest in one piece,down below them.

The seven of them quickly surrounded the tomb.

The tomb, itself, looked very
reminiscent to ancient Egyptian
burial tombsàback on Earth.

The case, itself, was in the figure
of a man's face. Tomb was primarily
gold in color, but was also colored in
many wondrous colors as well.  The tomb
shimmered with magnificence, as if to
say...within my confines, rests the
remains of a once, great person.

Show reverence.

And that's exactly what the group did...

They kneeled before the tomb and bowed their heads, sending prayers upward toward heaven.

Each person's prayer was different.

Some prayed to thankfully be alive, while others perhaps prayed a silent offering of praise to God, for allowing such a wonderful and thought king, rule Arus for a short time.

Allura, however, prayed for the peace of Planet Arus...and for the brave young Space Explorers who had come to help establish that peace.  She prayed for their safety, in what was surely to be a difficult challenge...uniting Voltron again, and vanquishing the evil of Planet Doom, that reigned heavily upon her world.

It was Lance's voice that broke the silence of the moment.

"Look!" his voice echoed.

Everyone opened their eyes
and gazed toward the tomb.
Their eyes suddenly beheld
the small, palm-size red c
ases that had been arranged
in a semi-circle, around the
head of the tomb.

"Da keys!" Sven gasped.
"Its da keys!"

There were five cases that were surrounding the head
of the tomb that contained the body of the deceased King Alfor.

Each of the five cases had a place for the five keys.  To the left of the tomb, were the keys for the Green Lion and the Yellow Lion.  To the right of the tomb, were the keys for the Red Lion and the Blue Lion.

"Oh no!" Coran gasped.

"Black Lion's key!" Allura also said.

All the keys to the left and to the right were present and accounted for.

But the box that stood squarely in the middle of the other four, just above the head of the tomb...was empty.

Allura rose to her feet, looking around on the ground. "Black Lion's key is missing!"

"Missing?" Keith replied in a perplexing tone of voice. "Where could it have gone?"

"Da tomb was sealed!" Sven said. "How cout someone have gotten da key?"

"It is not possible!" Coran uttered in an elevated voice. "All of the keys were placed here six years ago!  I know...I was the one who placed them here!"

Lance scratched his head as he said, "Do you think that anyone who was responsible for sealing this thing up, could have possibly..."

Coran interrupted him. "Absolutely not!  As the Royal Advisor to King Alfor, it was might duty to remain behind, and to make sure that he was buried with all the respect he was due, as a royal descendant of the House of Arus!  I saw the tomb encased with the cement cover that
now lies on the ground below us!  I was the last to leave the tomb!  No one could have touched the keys...no one!"

"Well, someone did!" Keith blurted out suddenly. "Otherwise, it should be right here!"

"We've got to find out what happened to the key." Allura said.

"Agreed," Coran said. "Without the Black Lion ship, Voltron can not be united together again."

"Do you think that Zarkon's witch...Hagar...could have taken the key?" Pidge asked.

"The keys were hidden here with our King, to prevent them from being taken, should the Castle ever be seized or destroyed." Coran replied.

"Besides," Lance added. "She would have taken all of the keys...not just one."

"Who cares!" Hunk shouted. "The key's missing!  What do we do now?"

"We need all of the keys to operate Voltron." Keith said. "It's our only chance!  We've got to reunite Voltron again!  We've got to locate that fifth key...the one that operates the Black Lion!"

More shaking occurred within the Castle.

Coran looked up toward the ceiling. "They're getting closer." He murmured.  He then looked at the five Voltron Force members. "See what you can do to locate the operating key to the Black Lion.  Meanwhile, the Princess and I shall return to the Control Room, and use whatever remaining Castle defenses we have left."

"Right!" Keith shouted as he turned to his team. "Okay team!  Spread out and let's carefully search the crypt!  Then, we'll check other places around the Castle."

"I'll remain here, Coran, and help them search for the key." Allura said.

"No, Princess." Coran replied. "You will only serve to get in their way..."

"Actually," Keith interrupted suddenly. "We could use all the help we can get."

Coran looked at the young commander. "Very well, Princess.  But please, remain in their sight!  Do not attempt to go outside of the Castle...for your own sake!"

"I promise, Coran!" Allura beamed.

Coran nodded his head and then turned to go back down the stairs.  Keith began to organize the group.

"Okay, Lance...Sven...you two take the far corner of the crypt.  Hunk and Pidge...you two take the opposite end of the crypt.  The Princess and I will search around in this area."

The six signaled their readiness. "Okay," Keith shouted. "Move out!"

Each group headed toward their assigned search area, in a desperate search for the missing key.

For the sake of Arus's future, it must be found, and quickly.