"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 33
Goodbye to Castle Arus

"Come on, you people!" Lance shouted.  "Don't you understand that we're trying to help you?"

Lance stood at the mouth of a cave opening near the edge of a hillside.  He had been trying to coax the thirty or so frightened people to come out of the cave.

Off to his left, stood Keith, with his arms crossed over his chest.

"They're not going to come out, Lance,"
Keith replied, his voice absent of emotion.
"No matter how much you beg them to."

"They'll come out, all right!" Lance shouted
his replied with a snort. "You've just got to
have patience, which you obviously don't have!"

"I DON'T have patience??" Keith blurted out with a snickering voice. "Look who's calling the kettle, black!"

"Shhh!" Lance replied, hushing Keith. "You'll scare them away!"

Keith shook his head and tucked his chin downward to gaze at the ground, while Lance returned to his coaxing.

"Listen, you people!  Do you want Zarkon to win?  Do you want him to take over your world? We're here to help save your world!  But we need your help too!" Lance shouted at them once again.

The heads of several Arusian people poked up and down from behind the rocks that they had been hiding behind.

Lance blew out a sigh of frustration.  "Come on!  Listen to me!  I'm asking you to help us defend your world!  For the sake of your Princess...stand up against Zarkon and fight!"

The people stared at Lance from a distance, making no movement to come out from the confines of the cave dwelling.

Lance looked at Keith, who by now, had lifted his head back up.  "Forget it, Lance." Keith said.  "They aren't coming out."

"They'll come out!" Lance blurted out.  "Will you just shut up and let me handle this?"

Keith smirked.  "Gee, I'm sorry...Ambassador Andrews of Planet Earth!"

"Very funny, Keith...you're a barrel of laughs!" Lance groaned, as he returned his attention back to the people in the cave.  He began to address them once again.  "Listen!  We need your help!  We're here to work with you!  We're your friends!  You can trust us!"

Keith rolled his eyes, stifling the swelling desire to laugh out loud at Lance's attempts.

Lance began to suddenly back away from the cave opening.  "Okay...listen!  We can work together!  I just need you come out into the light!  Come on!  I'll give you some room..."

As Lance continued to back away, Keith eyes suddenly widened, as he saw Lance drawing closer to the edge of the cliff top.  Before Keith could give a word of warning, Lance had already run out of room behind him.

The Red Lion pilot suddenly reached the edge, and lost his footing... and began slipping off of the cliff.

Lance let out a scream of horror as he began falling down the cliff.  But suddenly, he felt the strong grip of Keith's hand, grabbing onto his arm.   Lance immediately and impulsively reached out his other hand to grab at Keith's other hand.

"I gottcha, Lance!" Keith shouted, grunting as he pulled Lance up with all of his strength.

Lance began to use his feet to scale the cliff edge, and within seconds, Keith had Lance back on solid ground. Lance looked down at the valley below.

"That was close!" Lance huffed.

Suddenly, Keith and Lance turned back to the cave opening...and saw that some of the people had come closer to the opening.  But as soon as the two Voltron Force members turned to look at them, the people quickly scurried away, like frightened animals.

Lance stepped forward and cupped his hands over his mouth.  His voice began to bellow into the cave with an enormous echoing sound...

"It's your world! Don't you want to help save it?" Lance shouted boisterously.

He sighed as the people fled from sight. Lance then turned to Keith with a disappointing look on his face.

"I don't think they got the message, Keith."

"Lance," Keith said quietly.  "If you'd just seen your world destroyed before your very eyes, and seen people you loved, either taken away as slaves or killed...would you trust strangers who came along, saying they were going to help?"

Lance frowned at the comment... but realized that there was wisdom in it.  Keith was right. These people were not going to be easy to win over...not after all that they've been through.

Keith began to walk away, and waved his hand at Lance to join him. "Come on."  The Voltron leader said.  "Let's get back to the Castle."

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

Hunk and Pidge had already met with similar circumstances in the woods near the Castle.

The people were not coming out.

They were frightened out of their wits.

The four Voltron Force members met on the bridge above the mote, near the front gate to the Castle of Lions.

Together, Pidge, Lance, Hunk and Keith sat down on the bridge, letting their feet dangle over the side of it.

"They just wouldn't come out, Keith." Pidge replied quietly.  "They all ran away."

"They're scared." Hunk replied.

"Then, it's all up to us." Keith affirmed.

Lance looked up toward the Castle.  There, he caught sight of Sven, as he helped the Princess put up a short distance radar tower, mounted on the balcony they were standing on.

He allowed a sigh to escape his lips...  "Well, at least the Princess is trying to help out." Lance said quietly.

"I'd hate to the be the one to tell her." Pidge noted.  "She'll be sad."

Keith picked up a stone that was on the ground near him, and gave it a hearty toss into the water below.  "She's already sad about many things, Pidge.  What's one more disappointment, among many?"

"Nice attitude, 'Commander Cheer-Up'!  Why not just tell her that her world's gonna blow up in a few hours!" Lance grunted angrily.

"You might not be far off from that thought, Lance." Keith replied in a serious tone. "All we've got is Voltron to protect these people, and a test of our ability and military training."

"And what's your point?" Lance asked.

"My 'point', Lance, is that this planet doesn't stand a chance of survival if we fail. And when Zarkon comes back, we'd better be ready for him.  He's not going to come back to get his tail kicked in again.  He'll be back with more artillery then we've seen so far in this war.  He'll hit us...and hit us hard!  And the stakes are high."

Suddenly, Keith pointed up toward the balcony where Sven and the Princess were standing. Keith nodded as he pointed.  "We're all fighting to protect her.  We can't fail...for her sake."

Keith rose to his feet.  "Come on.  Let's go tell her the bad news.  No sense putting it off."

The other members of the Voltron Force rose to their feet as well, and began to make their way into the Castle, to head up to the balcony.

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

Sven was holding the rod in place, while Allura tightened the rope at the bottom.  The radar rod was held in place against the balcony wall with three pieces of rope.  Allura straightened up and backed away, observing the job she and Sven just accomplished.

"I'd say dat does it, Princess." Sven said. "It looks goot to me."

"And to me as well, Sven." Allura replied. "Thank you for your help."

"You're welcome, Princess." Sven replied graciously.

She paused for a moment, before
bolding beginning a conversation of a
different nature. "Sven, may I ask
you...a...personal question?"

"Sure, Princess." Sven replied with
his thick Scandinavian accent.

"How long have you known...
Commander Keith?" Allura asked shyly.

Sven stared at her. "Dat's not very
personal, Princess." He said with a winking eye.
"But, you did ask a question.  So I am
obliged to answer it.  I've known Keit
for...oh...let's see...I'd say around six
years.  Why do you ask?"

Allura looked to him...

"Well...I was just...that is...I was wondering...uh...that's all."

Sven smiled at her curious nature with regards to his best friend.  "I see," he replied.  "Was dare a reason you were wondering, Princess?"

"Oh, certainly not!" she quickly replied. "Just curious...nothing more!"

Sven stifled a rising chuckle.  "If you say so." was his reply.



"WE'RE BACK, PRINCESS!"



Pidge's voice announced their return...

Allura turned and looked at the other approaching members of the Voltron Force.  She saw that their faces were drawn and sad.

Pidge ran up to her first. 
"Sorry, Princess. We couldn't
get anyone to help us! No one would
come out!"

Allura sighed, glancing quickly in
Keith's direction. "My subjects are
afraid. Zarkon's attacks were brutal,
and he took most of our people as
slaves. And killed many more."

No one noticed that Coran had approached the group from behind.  He stood quietly for a moment, hearing the exchange between the Princess and small Green Lion pilot.

Finally, Coran spoke up, catching everyone by surprise, except Sven and the Princess, who had seen him coming.

"Zarkon is brutal.  He has succeeded in destroying the will of the people to be free."

"Then we've got to do something to restore that will to live!" Keith blurted out suddenly.

Coran shook his head slowly.
"Zarkon wants this planet, and
will stop at nothing to have it.
Rest assured, he will be back...more
vicious then before, I'm afraid,
and with more determination then
ever before. Not only does he
want Arus to add to his collection of
slave planets, but also, he desires
the capture of Princess Allura.
She would be a noble prize in battle.
And once he has her, her life
as she knows it, will be forever lost."

Keith's eyes suddenly saw red.
His head quickly turned back to look
at Coran.  "If so much as lays a
hand on her...I'll...so help me,
God...I'll..."

"He must be stopped." Coran interrupted. "There is no other way to preserve Arus and the Royal Monarchy. Zarkon must not be allowed to win this next battle."

"Don't worry, Coran!" Keith grunted.  "We'll stop him... or die trying!"

Allura suddenly gasped as she heard the words Keith spoke.

..or die trying.

"No...I won't allow that, Commander." she said sternly.

"Princess, please..." Coran sighed.  "I beg of you, not to participate in idle heroism."

"Idle heroism?" she barked back. "I'm trying to save my planet...and you call that, 'idle heroism'?"

Suddenly, two of her mice friends, who had
been running on the ledge of the balcony rail,
interrupted Allura's concentration, ending her
potential rebuttal. The mice hopped up onto
the shoulder of the Princess, and began
squeaking frantically into her ear.

She turned her head and glanced at her friends.  "Pip...Squeak...what on Arus...what's the matter?"

The mice squeaked louder...almost in a frantic manner, to gain her attention.  The Princess listened with a careful ear.

Keith looked at the mice on Allura's shoulder.  Pidge walked up toward the Princess.  "What are they saying, Princess?"

Allura listened a moment longer...and then...suddenly, her face lit up with a frightful expression...

"An attack on the Castle?  Now?" she gasped.

Keith and Sven suddenly looked up...and what they saw, scared them white with fear.

From an undetected and incoming Doom fighter, a burst of laser energy came blasting toward the balcony...right to where the Princess was standing.

Keith and Sven leapt into action.  Keith grabbed for Pidge, pulling him out of the way.  Sven, meantime, jumped sideways, pushing the Princess out of the way with a yell...

"LOOK OUT, PRINCESS!"

Sven threw his body at hers, knocking her away from the radar tower.  Seconds later, the laser blast hit the tower that Sven and Allura had erected...utterly destroying it from existence.

Allura was slammed hard into the cement ground, while Sven's body landed protectively on top of hers.

Keith, still holding Pidge in his arms, looked up once again, to see several Doom cruisers on a fast approach to the Castle.

"Its Zarkon!" Pidge shouted. "He's back!"

"He sure is..." Keith murmured.

The Doom fighters began to line up, preparing to fire at the balcony once again.

"GET TO THE LIONS!" Keith shouted. "AND GET THE PRINCESS INSIDE!"

Sven immediately rose to his feet, and yanked Allura up with him.  Coran hobbled into the Castle, with Sven and the Princess right behind him.

Keith, Lance, Pidge and Hunk were already on a fast track for the Castle's Control Room.

As the four Voltron members
reached the Castle's Control
Room, Keith quickly ran to the
control console and activated the
underground tunnels.

They rose up into the air, making
way for the Voltron Force to enter
them and head for the awaiting
robot lions.

Each of the four quickly entered
their individual tunnels, disappearing
down into them as they each grabbed
for the T-Bar, and rode it down to the
lion shuttles below.

Sven reached the Control last, accompanying the Princess and her Advisor.  Seconds later, he too disappeared into chute number four.

Allura rushed over to the control console and took a seat.  Coran was right behind her.  The Princess quickly activated the view screen...

"Look, Coran!" Allura gasped.

"Yes, it appears that the peace has ended." Coran replied.

On the screen in front of them
was another one of Zarkon's evil
Robeasts, created by the evil hand
of his witch, Hagar.

Allura quickly activated the COM link.
"Voltron Force! Come in!"

Moments later, "Black Lion here!  We read you, Princess!" Keith's voice replied, firm and full of conviction.

"We have it on our screens!
Its another Robeast, heading in this
direction!" Allura responded.
"Its enormous!  Much larger than the
last one! Can you see it, Keith?"

"We see it, Princess!"
Keith's voice replied.
"We're ready for him!"

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

The Robeast lumbered across the land. Its heavy footsteps shook the ground beneath its feet for miles in every direction.  Right behind it, flying three hundred feet in the air, was a massive Doom fighter squadron...poised and ready for action.

The five robot lions burst forth into the air, and wasted no time in forming Voltron.

"Time to form Voltron, team!" Keith ordered.

He quickly pulled on the control lever. Once again, the console came alive with lights and soundsnow familiar to the Voltron Commander.

"Activating interlocks...dyno-therms connected...Infracells are up..."

And suddenly...five-point star began to flash all of the colors simultaneously...

"Mega-thrusters are go!" he shouted.

The five lions began to pick up speed and fell into a 'V' shaped lineupjust as before...

"VOL-L-L-L-L-TRON!" everyone shouted.

The lions suddenly began to change and take shape once again.  Their legs began to fold up, and as secret panel compartments opened up, and the legs of the lions began to slide into the compartments.  The back legs of the Black Lion elongated, now becoming straight and
firm.

A mighty roar escaped the Black Lion and the Red Lion and Green Lion moved off toward the left and right, while the Blue Lion and the Yellow Lion fell into line underneath.

The red wings that were on the Black Lion's back unfolded from behind it, and were now standing straight up, and now coming to an angle pointing toward the ten o'clock and two o'clock positions.

Keith called out the sequence...

"Form feet and legs!" the Voltron Commander shouted through the COM.

The Blue and Yellow Lions came together, bending and twisting to form the giant limbs that would be Voltron's legs.  They snapped into place with a loud metal click.

"Form arms and torso!" he shouted next.

Red and Green Lions formed the mighty arms of Voltron, also clicking to the Black Lion, that had now formed the torso of Voltron.

"And I'll form the head!" Keith said finally, as the mouth of Black Lion opened wide to reveal the face of the mighty robot warrior.

The Black Lion's ears moved away from the head until they resembled to very large, yellow horns protruding from the head.

With a mighty clash of its robot lion arms slamming together, each lion head roared as the sequence was completed.

Once together, Keith took over...

"Okay team, lets get rid of this thing...pronto!" Keith's voice shouted in the COM.  "Spinning Laser Blades!"

The Green Lion arm swung backward and over the head of Voltron.  As it came down once again, the Green Lion's mouth suddenly bore a round and pointy object...

The object glowed with amazing brilliance and shine.

Seconds later, Voltron suddenly pitched the object at the approaching Robeast.  The object began to spin rapidly through the air...

But the massive Robeast was ready for it. It suddenly formed a shield around itself, and as the spinning laser blade came into contact with it...the lion weapon just bounced off of the shield, falling to the ground.

"Didn't work!" Lance shouted. "Try something else!"

"Here it comes!" Hunk warned.

The Robeast now lumbered forward once again...then...began to pick up the pace as it headed toward Voltron.  Suddenly, it leaped into the air...seemingly ignoring the lion defender...and was now heading toward the defenseless Castle of Lions!

"Stop it!" Keith shouted. "Don't let it reach the Castle!"

Voltron leaped into the air, taking chase after the Robeast.  Then, suddenly...the Robeast turned...preparing itself to fight against Voltron.

Inside Black Lion's cockpit, the young Voltron Commander quickly called out orders...

"Fire Lion Torches! Ions darts!"

The mouths of the Blue Lion, Yellow Lion, Green Lion and Red Lion suddenly opened up. From the Red and Yellow Lions, red fiery flames blasted forth, licking the air with a fierce fury. From the Blue Lion and Green Lion, came forth, blue fire... the hottest flame known to
mankind.

Uniting the flames together, the inferno quickly found its target, engulfing the approaching Robeast. But the monster flew right through it!

"This thing's tough!" Hunk shouted.

"Then, we've got to be tougher!" Keith rallied.

"Look out!" Lance cried.

The Robeast was suddenly upon Voltron, grabbing hold of him with brute force, and then, forcefully slamming the Arusian defender up against the mountainside.  Voltron suddenly and helplessly began to fall to the ground below...

All five of the Voltron Force members screamed, as the giant robot
suddenly crashed into the rocky terrain below...abruptly.

"KEITH!" Hunk shouted from Yellow Lion, feeling rattled from the crash.

"I'm trying!" Keith shouted back through the COM. "This thing's relentless!"

"Here it comes again!" Pidge cried into the COM.

"Move it, team!" Keith shouted.

Voltron suddenly rose to its feet, but the Robeast was upon Voltron with lightning speed. The Doom monster let out a fierce battle cry, as it slammed its enormous foot into Voltron's side.

Again, Voltron was knocked off balance...

"Get ready, team!" Keith cried, as he pulled back on the controls.

Voltron lifted off into the air, narrowly missing yet another punishing kick from the Robeast.

Suddenly, the Green Lion and Red Lion heads came slamming together, as Voltron sailed upward into the air.

"FORM BLAZING SWORD!" Keith screamed the order, nearly at the top of his voice.

As Voltron's might arms separated,
the blazing sword began to
materialize. And as it formed...
the Robeast was suddenly upon
Voltron again, chasing him back
to the ground.

Once there, the Robeast kicked
Voltron off balance, sending him down
to the dirt ground once again.

Voltron began to roll...and roll...and roll again, trying to avoid the grip of the robot creature.

Then, the Robeast quickly jumped on top of Voltron, now with a sword of its own in its hand. The sword was massive and wide...aiming directly for Voltron's neck area.

The Green Lion arm raised upward and quickly blocked the approaching enemy sword...but Voltron was suddenly losing strength...fast.

The sword slowly began to move closer and closer to Voltron's neck.

Inside of the Black Lion cockpit, Keith struggled with the controls...trying to use every means he could to keep the Robeast from delivering the fatal blow.

Keith grunted under the pressure...as if he could feel what Voltron was feeling.

The sword moved closer still...

Keith's body tensed up with incredible
concentration...

"This is it team!  If that beast cuts
Voltron's positronic network,
we're finished!" Keith shouted.

The Voltron Commander quickly
assessed his trouble board on the main
console. "Pidge!  I need more power!
Re-route all energy into my
circuit board...hurry!"

"On it, Skipper!" Pidge cried back
as his hands quickly danced across
the computer board. Then, with
a shout, Pidge added, "Go, Keith!
Get us out of here!"

"Get up!" Keith shouted, as he now began to tap into some of Voltron's reserve battery energy.

With a mighty force, Voltron kicked the Robeast off of him, freeing
himself and making the way clear to lift off of the ground once again,
escaping the Robeast's mighty grasp.

"Regroup!" Keith shouted. "Let's get some distance!"

"Da Robeast is right behind us again!" Sven shouted. "We can't out run it!"

"Energy output down to fifty-three percent, Keith!" Pidge warned.

"Hey!" Hunk suddenly interrupted. "I'm getting high energy readings above us...like the energy of a bunch of Doom cruisers...riding right over our heads!"

"What?" Keith blurted out suddenly, quickly checking his sensors.

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

Within the Castle of Lions, Allura and Coran were watching the battle nervously.  Coran called up several readings instantaneously.

Coran opened a COM channel to the Voltron Force...

"Commander Keith!  Voltron is losing power!" Coran warned. "You must destroy that creature...before it destroys you!"

Suddenly, Keith's face appeared on the ultra-wave monitor. "Easier said then done, I'm afraid!"

Allura suddenly leaned over to speak into the COM. "Try your isotopic missiles!"

Sven's face suddenly appeared on the ultra-wave. "We've tried jist about'd everyting, Princess!"

Allura suddenly frowned angrily, slamming her fist into the console she had been seated at. "There has to be a way...there has to be!"

Suddenly, she felt something hop onto her shoulder.  As she turned her head, she saw that little Squeak, one of her small mice friends, had jumped onto the shoulder, and was now anxiously trying to tell her something.

The tiny, baby mouse was jumping up and down in a most distressing fashion.  Allura tilted her head to the right, in order to focus her attention on what the mouse was saying.

Her eyes suddenly widened with fear...
as she looked up at the monitor
in front of her...

"An attack on the Castle?" Allura cried.


Coran only needed seconds to respond.  He quickly activated the main viewer, and homed it in on a wide shot of the skies surrounding the crumbling Castle of Lions.  Coran gasped, as he too, now saw clearly what the Princess's mouse friend was warning her of.

Suddenly...the pounding began.  The first wave of attacks on the Castle was felt instantly, as three Doom cruisers began to open fire on the unprotected Castle.

Coran turned to Allura, fearfully... "Contact Zarkon!  You must surrender!"

"NEVER!" Allura shouted back, clearly more angry then afraid now.

Another blast impacted the Castle, followed by another...and yet another still.

Coran wobbled over to the young Princess, grabbing onto her arm. "You must!  Ask him to spare the Castle!  It is all you have left!"

"I will NEVER surrender to Zarkon!  And I still have faith in Voltron!" Allura shouted back at Coran.

"They are losing!" Coran shouted his reply as he pointed a shaky finger toward the main view screen, toward the image of Voltron.  "Soon, there will be no more Voltron!  And no more Castle!"

"I won't give up, Coran!" Allura shouted.  "My father never did, and I certainly don't intend on disgracing his memory by surrendering what he once loved most...I'll not turn over the control of our planet to...that...wicked monster!"

"He will destroy us!" Coran stressed, now just as angry.  "You have no alternative!  Voltron is finished!  And if you do not act...we shall be destroyed with Voltron!"

"No..." Allura said, now more calmly then before.  "I still have faith in Voltron.  My father built Voltron, and the Voltron Force knows how to use him!"

"Ridiculous!" Coran cried.

"Its not ridiculous at all!" Allura shouted back.

Allura began to suddenly recall all of the destruction and agony she had witness over the past few years...times of having to endure the pain that comes with being a monarch...a helpless one, at that.

Tears began to fall from her eyes, as the painful memories began to surface...

"My people have suffered so..." Allura wept. "As long as the Castle was standing, the people had a hope in their hearts that the planet would recover.  Now...it will be gone too."

Another blast slammed into the Castle...this time, penetrating the interior. Ceiling dust and debris suddenly began to fall all around.

But...Allura never moved.  Never flinched.

She remained perfectly still...
suddenly as strong as the oldest
tree on Arus...

"I'll fight!" she shouted, now
folding her hands in prayera prayer
for strength.

Coran suddenly quivered at the sight.  If he had come to know anything in this time as Allura's Magistrate, it was that once the Princess had her heart focused on something...it was hard to get her to change her direction of thinking.

Allura stared at the main view screen before her...her hands still clasped together.


"I won't let you down, Father." Allura thought quietly. "There has to be a way out!  I know there is...if I can only find it!  There must be a secret yet to uncover!"


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

Keith's eyes narrowed as Voltron suddenly reached the top of the mountainside...with the Robeast right behind them all the way.

"Uh-oh!" Keith alerted. "New trouble!"

The Voltron team quickly caught sight
of what Hunk had been reading on his
sensors...what they all had been reading.

Three Doom cruisers in all...were now
concentrating their fierce firepower upon
what was left of the Castle of Lions.

"WH-O-O-A!" Sven cried from within Blue Lion.

"We've got our hands full!" Keith said, as he maneuvered Voltron to the ground.

The lion robot began to run toward the Castle of Lions, now under heavy attack from the Doom cruisers.

"That Castle can't take that kind of punishment for long!" Lance shouted.

"Then we've got to stop that attack!" Keith alerted. "Now!'

"The Princess!" Pidge shouted. "She's still inside!"

"Let's get over there...fast...AH-H-H!" Keith shouted

The Robeast had suddenly shoved Voltron aside, slamming him to the ground.  With its sword swinging, the Robeast kept chopping after Voltron as he was again, rolling continuously out of the way in an attempt to avoid getting hit.

"Look out for that sword, team!" Keith shouted.

"I've got it, Keith!" Lance cried.

The Red Lion arm rose into the air
\and suddenly latched onto the
monster's arm, tearing into it while
attempting to knock the sword
from its hand.

Meantime, the Castle was now on fire...

Keith looked into his monitor...

The time was now to stop this thing...
or the Castle was finished!

"Mega-kick!" Keith ordered.

The Blue Lion leg suddenly lifted up and gave the Robeast a side slam into its id-section...just enough to knock it off balance, giving Voltron the time he needed to get back onto his feet.

Now, it was a race to the Castle...

The lion robot defender ran as fast as he could...on a direct course for the Castle of Lions, which was now fully engulfed in flames.

The Robeast was right behind Voltron, now gaining ground.  Seconds later...the Robeast grabbed onto Voltron from behind... stopping his forward movements.

Voltron struggled to get free...but the Robeast had him pinned from behind, restricting his movements.

And just when it looked like things couldn't get any worse...

"LOOK!" Sven shouted through the COM link.

Pidge's voice gasped over the COM... "The Castle!"

A final round of explosive firepower was now bombarding the Castle's exterior... and then...


KA-BOOM!


The Castle of Lions erupted in a ball of flame...and began to crash to the ground in fiery pieces!

Inside the Black Lion cockpit, Keith's fist began to slam hard repeatedly into his console...
with a one-word utterance that could be heard through the COM...



"ALLURA!" the young Voltron Commander screamed.



His only thought...for what it was worth...

What had become of the Princess of Arus?

For certain, she had to be dead.  There was no way that she or Coran could have lived.  The force of the final explosion sent debris flying for miles around.

Keith gritted his teeth, as he could hear Pidge's young voice, whimper repeated the word, 'Princess'.

Now it was time to fight for their lives.  With the Castle gone, and the Princess now dead, this planet was going to more then just freedom.

They were going to need guidance.

With the last of the Arusian monarchy dead, these people would need to learn how to run their planet on their own...with no King...no Queen...no...Princess...to lead them.

Tears began to well up in Keith's eyes, as the face of the girl he had only known for a short time appeared in his mind.  He felt as if a knife had been stuck through his heart.

Now, the fight was personal...

This time, Zarkon would have to pay for the evil he's visited upon these people!

Voltron suddenly grabbed the Robeast monster that was still behind him, and flipped the monster over his head... slamming the gruesome thing to the ground with a mighty bang.

"Okay, you ugly thing!" Keith shouted, gritting his teeth. "You wanna fight?  You've got one now!"

Voltron suddenly charged at the Robeast with a vengeful fury.

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

The elevator shook violently, and Allura clutched onto Coran's arm even harder than before.

Coran had managed to pull the Princess from the Control Room to a nearby escape pod.  The pod sped them away to the elevator that led to the lower levels of the Castle of Lions...and to the Royal Crypt, where King Alfor was buried.  It was the same elevator that they had
rode down when they led the Space Explorers to Alfor's crypt...where the Voltron keys were stored.

The elevator began to descend beneath the Castle.  As the explosion that destroyed the Castle erupted all around them, the elevator shook... nearly knocking Coran and the Princess off of their feet.

Fire and debris bounced onto the glass encasement that carried the traveling elevator along with its precious passengers.

The elevator suddenly slowed down...and then, finally, came to a stop.  The glass door slide open, and Coran quickly grabbed the Princess by her wrist and began to drag her toward the Royal Crypt entrance.

Coran quickly opened the door as cement debris began to now fall from the stone ceiling just above their heads.

He then grabbed Allura's hand once again, and together, they hurried inside the crypt.  The door ominously closed once again, right behind them.

The two frightened Arusians ran quickly through the Royal Crypt...past the remains of the other deceased monarchs of Arus.

Finally, they had reached resting-place of King Alfor DeVille.  Allura and Coran stopped suddenly, feeling the earth quaking beneath their feet.

Allura quickly remembered her father speaking to her, just recently, from the very spot she now stood in.

She quickly folded her hands together...

"FATHER!" Allura cried. "FATHER...CAN YOU HEAR ME? I NEED YOU, FATHER! SHOW YOURSELF!"

Coran clasped his hands together, trying to remember that this was a sacred place.  Frightened beyond the ability to think clearly, Coran too, began to plead for the appearance of Alfor...

"Advise us, good King Alfor!" Coran added nervously.

Another blow shook the underground, knocking Allura to her knees.  Coran likewise.

As her thoughts turned toward the five brave souls, still outside piloting Voltron, Allura's hearing suddenly picked up the sound of a voice...small at first...then, growing louder with each passing second.


"My daughter..."



It was the voice of the late King Alfor...
now filling the room.

"Father!" Allura screamed.
"Help us!"



"Allura...has not the might robot, Voltron, vanquished the evil that has been plaguing our planet?" the voice of Alfor echoed.



"No, father!" Allura shouted. "Zarkon has just destroyed the Castle and all that was in it! We're doomed!"



"Doomed, my daughter?" Alfor's voice replied.



"Zarkon is about to destroy Voltron!"
Allura wept. "We have no further defenses!
And in a moment or so, the five men who came to
help us, will be killed!  What can we do?"

Suddenly...the image of Alfor appeared
before them....

"Go...up the stairs, Allura...to the tomb.
See my crown emblem on the top of my tomb.
Touch the center of my crown, and you shall be
victorious, my daughter."

Suddenly, the only sound remaining,
was the sound of destruction on the
surface above them.  Allura looked at
Coran for a moment...then, rose to her feet quickly.  She gathered her gown beneath her and
quickly began to run up the stairs leading to her father's tomb.

As she reached the top, she began to scan the lid of the tomb with her eyes, all the while, trying to catch her breath.  She quickly found the crown her father had instructed her to look for...

It looked like nothing special...only the design of a five point crown.

"Touch the center of the crown..." Allura repeated quietly. "He said to touch the center of the crown...and I would be victorious..."

Allura reached over the top of the tomb... her finger poised to touch the center.  She had no idea what her father meant...or if she had even heard her father to begin with.  She could have been going crazy, desperate for any type of an answer.

Suddenly... a small button seemed to rise up from the cement lid...right in the center of the crown.

Without another thought...the Princess quickly obeyed her impulsion...and pressed the button.

Allura stood up straight...and gasped.

On the ground below her,
Coran too, was gasping, for
fear of what was suddenly
beginning to happen.

More shaking...and now...it felt
as if the lower level itself, was shifting!

What happened next, was beyond anyone's wildest imaginations.
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