"Obligation."

Story by Adele
Story Copyright 2003
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 5
After-dinner Announcement


The evening banquet was only twenty minutes away.

Allura hurriedly fussed over her hair.  The ringlets that she had cascading down from
her hair bun, hung playfully around her bare shoulders.

She had selected a fashionable lilac evening gown, adorned with off-white lace on the bottom. The gown stretched her upper body, showing off her slender shoulders on either side, while delicately, each sleeve hung down in ruffle style, around her upper arms.

She selected it hoping to catch Keith's eye.

Her mind kept drifting back to their time together at the small village eatery.  She was sure he was going to confess something to herà perhaps love.

She sighed deeply, thinking cheerfully about it, feeling her stomach tighten as she imagined being in Keith's loving embrace.

The door chimes sounded, suddenly catching her attention.

"I'll be right there!" she called out toward the door, knowing it was probably Keith arriving to escort her to the banquet.

She checked her hair one last time in the mirror by her vanity desk.  Grabbing her perfume, she quickly dabbed a tiny amount on her wrists and rubbed them together.  Then she placed a dab just under her chin.  She capped the perfume bottle again, and set it back down on her vanity.

She immediately rushed to the
door, unlocking it.  As the door
swished open, her heart nearly
stopped.  There was Keith, standing
before her... as dapper as he could be,
dressed in his formal Alliance Uniform...
his unruly jet-black hair just touching his
shoulders.

Likewise, Keith found his breath
snatched away from him, as his gaze
fell upon the stunning piece of heaven
standing before him.  She looked absolutely
beautiful... and Keith suddenly felt as
if he were the luckiest man in the
universe, having the privilege of
being her evening escort.

Keith hadn't realized his sigh was
so vocal, until Allura commented.
"Well, judging by your reaction,
I guess I look okay!" She smiled
sweetly as she spoke to him.
"And I must say, you look very handsome!"

He shook his head with a smile, "You look absolutely...exquisite!" he said, finding the words were inadequate to describe the way she looked.  "You resemble an angel!"

"Thank you!" she said, nodding her head slightly.  "Shall we go?" she said to him, extending her hand toward him.

"I am honored to be escorting you, Princess." Keith said, taking her hand in his, and guiding it to his elbow.

"And I am honored to be with you, Commander!" she replied, gently squeezing his arm with her hand.

Once again, their eyes found each other.



And once again, Keith thought to himself, "She's got to be the one!  She's got to be!  My heart tells me this is so right!"



And... once again, Allura could hear her father's voice in her head, repeating the phrase to her heart:


'Allura, when he finds you, you will both know it.'



"It feels so... right... as if he were drawn back here to Arus for a reason... as if we are being drawn together.  I hope I'm right!  I just know he feels the same!" Allura thought.  "He's my destiny..."



"She and I were meant to be together..." Keith thought, still staring at her.  "If I'm right, then our titles won't hold back the love I'm sure we both feel.  Her eyes... I can see it in her eyes...I know I'm right! Now's the time... I have to tell her!"



Keith cleared his throat. "Princess... I... I have to tell you something..."

"Yes, Keith?" she said, her
heart pounding wildly.

He released her arm, and
took both of her hands in his,
turning her toward him...
"Princess Allura, I have
nothing to offer you.   I'm only
a pilot.  But...uh..."

He suddenly stopped, now gulping
down the lump in his throat.

"Yes, yes!  Go on!" she said,
trying hard to hold the excitement
inside, and let him say it.

Keith took a deep breath,  "Princess...uh...I mean, Allura...with all of my heart...I've wanted to tell you this for a long time...you are...that is... from the moment I first saw you...I...what I'm
trying to say... is... I'm in..."

"There you two are!" Pidge said,
coming up to them both from behind.


Caught off guard by Pidge's presence,
Allura jumped involuntarily, reacting like
a startled deer. Keith exhaled sharply, shaking his head.

"Pidge!" Keith said in a low toned voice, gritting his teeth.  "This was not a good time to come and hunt us down!"

"What are you talking about?  Coran's the one who sent me looking for you two!  We're waiting to begin the banquet!" Pidge said innocently.  "Why are you just standing here, let's get going!  I'm starved!"

Pidge trotted ahead of Keith and Allura.  She hesitated, trying to breathe, and unsure what to do now.

Keith finally tugged at her hand.  "Come on," he said in a quiet, serious voice.  "We'll be late."

She tugged on his hand.  "I don't care!  I want you to finish what you started to say!"

Pidge started shouting down the hallway.  "Come on, you two!  Get the lead out, will ya!"

"Now's not the time, Allura." Keith said, giving her hand a reassuring squeeze.  Then a slow smile crept over his face.  "But don't worry, I'll finish what I started to say to you.  I promise. Meet me after dinner in the Royal Garden!"

She perked right up. "Alright!"

"Good.  Now let's go before Pidge has heart failure!" Keith said, bringing her hand back up to his elbow.



"...I'm the one who's going to have heart failure if I don't get to say this pretty soon!" Keith thought on the inside, as he smiled at Allura on the outside.



They approached Pidge.  By this time, he was leaning up against the wall.  "You know, Hunk is going to eat the napkins waiting for you two!"

"Okay, lead the way, Pidge!" Keith said, as he confidently led the Princess down the corridor toward the banquet hall.

As the three of them entered the hall, applause broke out.  There were about forty people, mostly from King Augusta's group, in attendance at the banquet.

Keith and Allura smiled excitedly as they caught a glimpse of two particularly unexpected guests in attendance... 

Princess Romelle DeVille of the Royal House of Pollux, and her ever present escort, Lt. Commander Sven B'Yourn.

Allura quickly dragged Keith over to where Sven and Romelle were sitting, ironically near to where the two of them were to be seated.

"Cousin Romelle!" Allura squealed with glee, embracing her. "I'm so glad you're here!"

"We didn't say anything to you, Allura!
Sven and I received a communication from
Coran asking us to attend this evening. 
We weren't sure we could, at first.  But things
worked out so that we could be here!"
Romelle said joyfully.

Keith and Sven shook hands. "Sven! Good to see you again!"

"And to you, Keit!" Sven replied with a smile at his friend.  Sven caught a glimpse of Allura with Romelle.  Then he looked back at Keith.   Leaning over to his friend's ear, Sven  whispered quietly.  "We are bote very lucky men, eh Keit?"

"Yeah, we sure are..." Keith replied with a smile on his face.

"Have you told her yet?" Sven asked boldly.  "It's obvious dat you love her."

"I've been trying, Sven.  I just can't seem to find an uninterrupted moment to tell her!  Every time I try, someone or something comes up!" Keith admitted to his long time friend, the frustration saturating his statement.

"You must make da time, my friend!  Turn da world off!" Sven replied.  "Take her away where nobody can interrupt you."

"My plan exactly... right after dinner we're going to garden." Keith confided.  "If you could run interference for me, I'd appreciate it!"

"You got it, Keit!" Sven replied. "Jist leave it to me!"

Coran rose to his feet, tapping on a glass to gain the attention of the room.  "Ladies and gentleman, please be seated at this time."

Romelle returned to her seat, and Sven sat down next to her once again.  Keith escorted Allura to her seat, next to Coran.  Keith then took his seat, which was in between Allura and King Augusta.

When the room quieted down, Coran spoke once again.  "Good evening, Ladies and Gentleman.  On behalf of Her Royal Highness, Princess Allura, I would like to extend a warm greeting to all of those in attendance this evening.  Especially to our most honored guest, King
Augusta of Planet Surbain, and all who have accompanied him. I hope you will enjoy the evening's menu.  Our Royal Chief and his staff have been hard at work preparing a wide array of tasty delicacies.  We hope you enjoy your meal."

Coran then turned and nodded to the Head Maid, who turned and opened the kitchen door, allowing the fifteen servers to enter the banquet hall with several platters filled with an attractive presentation of food.

Hunk's mouth was watering. "Oh boy! I'm starved!"

"Calm down, Hunk!" Lance grunted, now suddenly punching Hunk's leg from under the table. "Control yourself, will you?"

"Yeah, Hunk!" Pidge added.  "You're going to embarrass the Princess if you start shoveling food in!"

"Get off my back, you guys!  I know how to act civilized!" Hunk said in an angry hushed voice.

"Yeah," Lance sighed. "Sure you do."

                                                                 **********


The evening meal progressed slowly. After eight courses of the most delectable food ever presented, dessert was finally being served.  French swirl cake, with chocolate fudge, and fresh whipped topping.  It was Allura's favorite.

As the dessert was being passed out, Keith took note that King Augusta was spending a lot of the evening whispering to the green-skinned man sitting next to him.  He heard the King say his name a few times... 'Anserrot', he called him.

Keith was suspicious.  Allura had confided in the Voltron Leader before dinner, that she had felt that dragging Voltron that far out into space would be too much for the lion ships to handle.

She told Keith of her decision, long before she planned on announcing it this evening.  From what he heard of it, Coran had agreed with her decision as well.  The answer would have to be no.

Further solidifying her decision, was Pidge's report that no alternative power sources could be guaranteed, if they made the journey to Surbain. It would basically be a risky mission to
undertakeàtoo risky, for the Princess to agree to allow.

After dessert was enjoyed by all, Coran once again rose to his feet, lightly tapping on the glass in front of him, drawing everyone's attention to the front table.

"Ladies and Gentleman, that was a
splendid meal, was it not?  Let us
show our appreciation to our fine
staff!" Coran then led the room in
a rousing applause, in appreciation
for the fine meal.

When the room quieted down again,
Coran once again spoke. "It is now
with great pleasure, that I introduce
to you our gracious hostess, Her
Royal Highness, Princess Allura."

The room once again broke out in a roar of applause.  Coran waited as Allura rose to her feet, bowing humbly before the gathered crowd. Coran then took his seat once again.

Allura glanced over the room, beginning the speech she had so carefully rehearsed all afternoon long:

"Good evening Ladies and Gentleman,
and a particular welcome to our special
guest, His Majesty, King Augusta of
Surbain.  I want to take a moment to
thank all of you for attending this
evening on such short notice.  I am
pleased to see so many friendly faces
here this evening, and I would like to
take a moment to recognize a few people."

Allura turned to her right. "First of all,
I would like to recognize my dear cousin,
Princess Romelle DeVille of Planet Pollux,  our sister planet, and accompanying her this evening, is a very close friend of ours, Lt. Commander Sven B'Yourn. Both of them took time off from their busy schedules to be here with us. And we appreciate their company!"

A thunderous applause broke out.

Allura then turned to her left.  "Secondly, I would like to recognize the presence of the heroes of Planet Arus.  Four wonderful men, who have dedicated themselves to serving our Royal Court, and our planet, defending it against the evil terror that almost destroyed us.  Ladies
and Gentleman may introduce to you, Commander Keith Hunter, Lt. Commander Lance Andrews, Lt. Hunk Simon and Lt. Pidge Villatoro.  The fearless pilots of mighty Voltron!"

Again, thunderous applause erupted. Coran rose to his feet, followed by the planet diplomats, Princess Romelle and Sven.

Keith signaled his team to rise
to their feet.

Lance slumped down in his seat.
"Oh brother," he sighed.
"This is embarrassing"


Pidge took it all in. "Lighten up, Lance! Live in the moment!"

"I don't feel much like doing that. In fact, I feel like crawling under the table right about now!" Lance replied.

"Well, not me!" Pidge said back. "I like the attention!"

Hunk too, felt a bit awkward. "I'm with you, Lance!"

Meanwhile, Keith remained stone faced, only breaking his stance to rise to his feet and take a bow to the Princess.  He was still trying to piece together what Augusta had up his sleeve.

After the applause stopped, Princess Allura continued her speech:

"We extend a welcomed greeting to our honored guest this evening, the honorable King Augusta.  His Majesty made a very long trip, in order to ask help of us here on Planet Arus. It was their hope that Voltron would be able to make the journey to Surbain to assist with
their planet's struggle for peace.  We recognize the need for peace in such desperate times as these, when evil runs uninhabited through our galaxy."

Allura turned to address the King personally.

"It is with a great deal of sincerity that we here on Planet Arus wish you well.  Unfortunately, it would not be possible or feasible for Voltron to make such a trip so far away.  With no guaranteed source of natural energy that would be needed to recharge the robot lions, it would pose a security risk and threaten the safety of all of the planets in the Alliance if Voltron were to embark on such a venture as this.  I have however, been in contact with Galaxy Garrison, and have informed them of your need.  They are willing to send a peacekeeping space task force to your planet.  These brave men and women will help in establishing and maintaining peace on Surbain. The sophisticated weapons they shall bring with them will more than meet your needs.  We wish you well, and support your endeavor for peace, King Augusta. We are only too sorry that we could not help you further."

King Augusta stood to his feet and bowed his head to the Princess.

"Thank you, Princess, for your kind words.  May I now introduce to you my trusted advisor, Sir Anserrot, who will speak on my behalf at this time."

Anserrot stood to his feet, as the King took his seat.  Anserrot opened a scroll he had with him.  Upon opening it, he began to read aloud for all to hear:

"Greetings from Planet Surbain, a planet who's past history intertwines with that of Planet Arus.  It was here, on this very planet, that the Surbainian ruler, King Shalimar and Arus's first ruler, Queen Ariela, meet and formed a bond of friendship between these two planets. That friendship has been recorded in Surbainian history, as I'm sure it is in Arusian history. It is for that reason, the King Augusta now respectfully requests the hand of the Princess of Arus, Allura Adrianna DeVille, in the bonds of Holy Matrimony.  Effective immediately, we demand the Royal right of Challenge, in order to seal the bonds of friendship and unity that
were made nearly a thousand year ago by the rulers of both planets."

Gasps erupted among the
Arusians in attendance.

"WHAT?" Keith shouted
out loud, immediately standing
up in front of the Princess.

Lance, Pidge and Hunk stood
up too, jumping from their seats and
moving quickly to the head
of the table to protect the Princess.

Romelle added her gasp of horror to
those shared by the Arusian  diplomats.
Sven's face was contorted, as he too,
rose to join his friends to protect
Allura's dignity.

King Augusta rose to his feet, standing next to his armed guards that too, stepped in to protect their ruler.

Coran rose quickly to his feet,
"King Augusta, this is a joke, is it
not, sir?"

"No Coran. I'm afraid it is not.
I am respectfully requesting the
hand of Princess Allura, in a
marriage ceremony that is to
take place immediately."

"You can't be serious!" Allura
shouted, now standing next
to Coran. "I won't marry you!
How dare you even suggest
such a thing!"

"I not only suggest it, I demand it, Princess!" Augusta said.  Then he addressed the crowded room. "It's true!  The Arusian records of history will confirm that what I am saying is true! And I have the right to demand her hand as my Queen! As a bond of unity was formed
between Queen Ariela and my ancestor, King Shalimar, so a bond of unity shall be formed, uniting these two planets together in the bonds of marriage!"

"You're crazy if you think Allura's marrying you!" Lance shouted.  "You touch her, and I'll punch your lights out!"

"Me too!" Hunk shouted.

"And me!" Pidge added.

"Augusta," Keith said, attempting to remain levelheaded. "You can't really mean to do this against her will!  Or is this so you can posses Voltron?"

More gasps could be heard throughout the crowd of guests.

"Commander," Augusta answered.  "She is a Royal Princess.  You, on the other hand, are a
mere pilot...a mere commoner!  Your accusations are a waste of time, and your opinions are not welcomed here!  Step aside!"

"Over my dead body, Augusta!"
Keith snarled back, now taking on a
defensive position.

"Keith! Please!" Allura said,
grabbing onto his uniform.

Keith looked at her, but stood his ground against Augusta. "He's not getting away with it, Princess!" he snarled.

"Coran, go to the lion archives and check it out!" Allura commanded.  "I'll be awaiting your findings in my chambers."

Coran bowed before the Princess. Allura grabbed onto Keith.  "Escort me to my chambers, Commander!"

"It will soon be me, escorting you to our bridal suite!" Augusta replied, pushing his way toward her..

Allura gasped at the arrogance.  "How dare you!"

Augusta made a threatening move toward the Princess, but was cut off by Keith.

"Don't...even... think... about it!" Keith said, speaking each word clearly and firmly.  His fists were now clenched together.

"Keith!" Allura shouted, tugging on his arm.  "Attend me, please!"

Keith finally backed down, motioning for his team, Sven and Romelle to follow them.  As they reached the door, Augusta shot a parting comment at Keith.  "This isn't over with... Commander!  You can't stand in the way of royal tradition!"

Keith turned his head to Augusta, "You're rightà this isn't over yet...Your Highness!" He then quickly led Allura out of the room, followed by their other friends.

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

The doors to Allura's chambers opened wide, and she entered in, followed right behind by Keith, Lance, Pidge, Hunk, and Romelle and Sven.

She slammed her fist on the wall. "How dare he!  How dare he come into my Castle and demand... demand...my hand!"

"He has some nerve!" Romelle said, suddenly coming along side of Allura. "Just who does he think he is?"

Sven pulled Keith off to the side.  "Keit... are you alright?"

"My blood pressure is boiling over right now, Sven!" Keith huffed quietly.

"Let's wait to see what Coran has to say." Sven said, patting Keith on the back.

Keith's eyes were aflame,  "Well, all I will say is if it's all false, King Augusta is going to get what Lance called... 'the royal boot', right up his..."

"Calm down Keit, before you blow a fuse!" Sven insisted.

"THAT'S ALREADY HAPPENED!" Keith shouted, suddenly.

"No...you must calm down!" Sven insisted.  "You can't help Allura if you are mad!"

Keith took several deep breaths before finally calming down.

"I'm okay, Sven." he insisted.

"Well," Romelle's voice could be heard over the idle chitchat.  "Let's just sit down and wait for Coran's report.  It will do us no good to worry about it until we hear officially from him. And that could be several hours from now."

"Agreed." Keith added, finally calmed down enough to say something to everyone.

And it proved to be a long wait.
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