"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 6
Confirmation


The wait lasted into the night.

Allura was lying on her bed, asleep finally, after expressing a full range of emotions, which included shouting, crying, screaming, and unbelievably, laughter.  Thankfully, Lance's antics provided amusement for the bewildered group.

Keith watched Allura as she rested peacefully.

Lance and Pidge had fallen asleep on the floor.

Princess Romelle shared the other part of Allura's bed.

Sven had nodded off while sitting in a nearby chair.

Hunk was slumped over in Allura's vanity chair.

Keith hadn't a thought to sleep.  He was too busy running possible scenarios in his mind... and depending on what report Coran would  bring... that would determine his response and action from that point on.

**********

It was about 2:30am when the door opened, and Coran stepped through into the room.  His face was drawn with anguish.

Keith quietly stood up, and walked over to where Coran stood.  The advisor's expression was blank.

Keith looked at him fearfully, "Coran... what did you find out?"

Coran just shook his head.  Tears were forming in his eyes.  "I... found it, Commander. The entry... just the way King Augusta had suggested."

"Well...fill me in, Coran!" Keith's whispered voice echoed.  "What exactly do the archives say?"

A heavy sigh left Coran, as he prepared to reveal his finds to the Voltron Commander.

"Keith...the archives suggest that a bond of friendship was erected between the ruler of Planet Surbain and our Queen, Ariela, back in the ancient days of Ariela's reign.  The archives are specific in saying that this vow is to be respected for generations to come, and that all future rulers of Planet Arus, are to honor and respect this vow as well...or risk dishonoring the Royal House of Arus...and specifically, Queen Ariela, herself."

"Great," Keith sighed.

"But...there's more.  On my way here, I began thinking of Arusian custom and tradition. The King of Surbain has demanded the hand of our Princess, in marriage.  And while I am not supposed to respect his intentions, I must, however, honor his right to challenge us for
Allura's hand."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Keith asked, stepping up closly to Coran.

"What it means, Commander, is that upon the 25th birthday of any monarch of Arus, he or she must choose a Prince Consort as his or her intended."

The corners of Keith's mouth began to turn downward as Coran continued.  "If the ruler of this planet has not done so by the celebration of their 25th year of life, it is left to the...to the planet's Royal Advisor... to select a suitable consort.  And if the ruler is already being courted by another, and someone of higher Royal title asserts the Royal Right of Challenge, I am...obligated...by Royal tradition, to submit to the challenging authority."

"Coran..." Keith began to rub his face with his hands.  "English, please!  What exactly does this mean where Allura's concerned?"

Coran looked squarely in Keith's eyes.  "It means, Commander, that the Princess must marry King Augusta or break Royal Tradiition...a tradition we have carried on for a thousand years.  The sacred bond of unity and friendship that was established all those years ago by Queen Ariela would also be broken, thus, dishonoring Queen Ariela's name, and bring shame to the Royal House of Arus!"

Keith now stood blankly.  "But... Coran!  You... you can't let him just waltz in here and demand her, like demanding a service!  She a human being for crying out loud! Allura isn't a piece of property to be traded or bargained for! You'll crush her!"

"I'm sorry, Commander.  But there is no choice here." Coran said somberly.  "According to Arusian tradition, if the reigning monarch is not wed by his or her 25th birthday, I must act upon my obligation as Chief Magistrate, and give our Princess in marriage to an eligible suitor."

"You're wrong!  You do have a choice!  We can do the right thing and protect the Princess!" Keith whispered sharply.  "All Augusta wants is Voltron to save his planet.  I know it's a risk, but what if there was a way of getting Voltron there, and a way to recharge him?"

"Commander, it's too risky.  If the lion's energy is totally depleted, the lion ships will cease to function, and Voltron would be rendered useless." Coran replied.  "I must maintain that the Princess's decision to deny Voltron to the Surbainians is the only course of action."

"And for that, we condemn her to marry a man she neither knows, nor cares for!" Keith raised his voice slightly above a whisper.  "Do you want to do that to her?  I sure don't!"

"Of course not!" Coran whispered angrily.  "What choice do we have?"

"There's got to be another answer!" Keith said in a hushed voice. "I've got to find it!  Besides...if he does marry Allura...sure as you and I are standing here, he'll take Voltron, no matter what you or the Princess say or think!"

Coran became stiff. "Commander...your place in this matter is as the Princess's top military official.  You are involving your feelings!  This is purely an Arusian issue, and must be dealt with, in accordance with our laws and customs!  I beg you to keep your place...for the sake of the Princess!  You will undoubtedly only make this harder on her...
and on us all!"

Keith sighed in frustration.  "You have no idea, Coran, just how hard its going to get." Keith said.

Sven, meanwhile, started to stir awake, and caught some of the exchange between Keith and Coran.  He looked over to Romelle, who was still fast asleep.  He then gently raised his head off of the end of the bed, and stood up

He walked over to meet Keith and Coran. "What dit you find?" Sven asked.

Keith angrily glared at Sven. "Coran found an entry in the ancient archives.  It's true, Sven! And worse than that, the customs of Arus require Allura to marry this guy!"

"Now what, Keit?" Sven asked.  "If Augusta is allowed to marry da Princess, Arus will be consumed by his greed, and Voltron a slave forever!"

"I know, Sven," Keith said. "The problem is how to get around it."

"Gentleman, I suggest that it is much too late to enter into hasty decision making.  We should retire for the evening." Coran suggested.

"I'm staying awake to figure this out." Keith replied, turning his head toward Allura.  "I'm not letting that moron take her away against her will!  There must be a loophole!"

"Commander, none of us can do anything to prevent it, I'm afraid." Coran said somberly.

"Well, like it or not, I'm letting Arusian history dictate her future!  She's not marrying that 'pompous beefcake' of a King!" Keith replied sternly, using the very phrase Allura had used to describe the King earlier in the day.

"Very well." Coran reluctantly replied.  "I hope, for Allura's sake, we find some way around this, Commander.  Otherwise, we have no choice but to turn over our Princess to him.  It will break her heart."

"I'll think of something, Coran.  Don't worry!" Keith replied.  "I'm not giving up, and neither should you!"

"I'll stay wit you, Keit." Sven insisted.

"Thanks, Sven." Keith said appreciatively.  "And thanks for sticking around.  I know you and Romelle have plenty to do on Pollux."

"Noting iz more important den making sure dat da King doesn't get his hands on da Princess.  I'll help you see to dat, myself!" Sven said.

"Then perhaps I will stay with you gentleman and help devise a course of action." Coran added, rubbing his eyes tiredly.

"No way, Chief." Keith said, putting his hand on Coran's shoulder. "You've done plenty enough as it is.  You should get some sleep. When we come up with something, I'll signal you through the COM."

"Please, Commander, for Allura's sake, find a way around this." Coran begged.  "This, I fear, is nearly as bad as if Lotor himself were doing this."

"Please..." Keith said, holding his hand out in front of him.  "Let's not add any more to this!"

"My apologies, Commander." Coran smiled with a small chuckle.  "I did not mean to bring up such an unpleasantry." Then he turned to leave the room.  "I bid you good evening, gentleman." he said.

Coran turned and left the room; the door swishing closed behind him.

Keith and Sven looked at each other. "Well, what do you tink, Keit?"

Looking at Allura once again, Keith sighed heavily.  "I think that I'm in love.  And this is killing me!  This guy is threatening to take her away from me, Sven!  What am I going to do?"

"Perhaps we should tink of a way to get her out of dis." Sven said abruptly.  "Dis iz no time for being sentimental.  We have to tink fast, before dawn arrives."

"Yeah, you're right.  But I can't think of anything.  All I can think about is ringing that guy's neck!" Keith said.

Sven was taken back. In all the years that they have known each other, never had Sven seen Keith so adamant about anything before.


But now...


"Keit..." Sven said suddenly. "What about if we agree to take Voltron to Surbain?"

"No good, Sven," Keith replied. "Coran is dead set against it.  And so is the Princess. Ironically, once this guy marries Allura, it won't matter anyway.  Voltron will be his, to do whatever he wants with him...and us too!"

"That's all he really wants, izn't it?" Sven said.  "King Augusta cares noting for Allura. He wants Voltron!  And he'll do anyting he has to in order to get it!"

"Unfortunately, you're right." Keith solemnly replied.  He then sighed quietly.  "I didn't even get a chance to tell her how I feel about her, Sven.  Suddenly...Lance's talks are beginning to haunt me."

"What talks, Keit?" Sven asked.

"The ones he gave me, now and then, about, 'hurry up and tell her, or you'll regret it if you miss out on the chance', sort of talks." Keith repeated with a heavy heart.  "Now, I see what he meant.  I may have missed the only opportunity to tell her.  I don't dare say
anything now...it'll only complicate things for her when she finds out she's got to marry this creep from Surbain."

Sven stepped up close to Keith, and wrapped a comforting arm around his shoulders. "Hey, remember what you just told Coran?  Don't give up, Keit, we'll find a way."

"I hope so," Keith replied. He then looked back at Allura, sleeping on the bed, and Romelle sleeping next to her.  "The women we love are depending on us to do something."

Sven looked back at the sleeping princesses as well.  "Indeed dey are, Keit." he said, giving Keith a friendly shake...

"Indeed dey are."
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