"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 7
Keith's Plea

Keith and Sven quietly planned throughout the remaining night.  They came up with a plan that they hoped would work.  But it wasn't guaranteed.

In fact, it wasn't all that good.

Overtired and depressed in spirit, Keith decided to step out of Allura's chambers, and make his way down the corridors.  He finally reached the Castle gates, where he decided to turn back.  His next destination was not as simple, but he somehow felt comforted by doing it.

He headed directly to the Royal Crypt beneath the Castle... a place he had once been at before... a place where he was able to speak candidly to the previous King of Arus...

King Alfor DeVille.

Keith pressed the button that opened the crypt entrance, and it creaked open with an eerie sort of sound.

Once the door was opened, Keith carefully stepped inside.  He remembered meeting Alfor's spirit here once before... when tragedy had struck the Princess.

Both Allura and Keith had found his unexpected counsel in this place.

Keith pulled out his mini utility light, and flashed it around the ancient tomb.

The first tomb he passed was that of Queen Ariela.  He paused momentarily, then moved on. He finally came to the tomb of King Alfor.

Keith immediately fell to his knees...

"Your Highness," he began quietly.  "I...don't even know if you can here me or not!  I have come to ask for your counsel regarding Arusian tradition.  There's a king, who has traveled a far distance, from the Planet Surbain, to ask for our help.  He wanted us to travel with his
convoy back to his planet, to help fight against the forces of Doom, which he says are attacking his planet and devastating his people.  Allura felt it was too far of a distance to take the robot lions, and so she declined, but instead, offered the help of the Galaxy Alliance forces.  King Augusta was unsatisfied with that answer, and now is demanding his right to Allura's hand in marriage!"

Keith turned his head to look back at the tomb of Queen Ariela.  Then, faced forward to gaze at King Alfor's tomb once again.  "Your Majesty, he said it was due to a vow of friendship and unity that his ancestry relative made with Queen Ariela, a thousand years ago.  Coran checked the Lion Archives, and found record of the unity bond, verifying it to be true.   Now, Allura has to marry this guy!  And I feel... helpless to stop it." Keith bowed his, sinking to the floor of the crypt.  "Your Majesty, I... I can't see Allura marrying this
guy.  I... I...have to stop it...somehow!  But...I don't know how."



"Young Keith...is it because you see yourself holding that very honor...the honor of marital union with my daughter?"
 


Keith looked up to the direction the voice was coming from.  It was unmistakably the voice of King Alfor.  "Your Majesty?"


"My son, I know of your plight.  I have heard the cry of my daughter's heart.  I can sense your deep love for her as well.  I am pleased that Allura has found such a good man, who wants only the best of intentions for her.  I am please with you, Keith Hunter of Earth."


Keith got up to his knees once again, and then stood up, addressing King Alfor in the direction the voice was coming from.  "King Alfor, I'm flattered that you approve of me... but Sire, Allura is..."

"Keith, Queen Ariela's vow was not for unity in the manner that King Augusta is suggesting.   Her vow was for peace and friendship.  Not for love and unification of the two houses together."

"But, King Alfor, Coran said that's how it appears in the Lion Archives!  And he also said that because the two houses are united in bonds...of...of some kind...that gives Augusta the right to demand the Princess's hand in marriage!  Coran said there's this...Royal tradition... that says that a reigning monarch must be wed or engaged by their 25th birthday.  Since Allura's not married...she'll be forced to marry King Augusta, based on this vow he's using to challenge his rights for her, and based on Royal traditions of Arus...and...and I think that's very unfair!" Keith said, attempting to temper his voice. "What can we do to stop it?"


"Nothing, my young friend." King Alfor's voice echoed.



"Nothing?" Keith began shaking his head, wondering why Alfor would take on such an uncaring attitude.  "Begging your pardon, Your Majesty, but if we do nothing, Allura will be forced to marry this guy by day's end!"


"Young Keith, that will come to pass.  And you must remain brave...and do not interfere."


"But, King Alfor!" Keith protected.  "If you know that I'm in love with your daughter, then you also must know that I can't just sit back and do nothing!  I've sworn an oath to protect her, and this planet!  To let Allura marry King Augusta, will threaten the entire future of Planet Arus!  Surely, you know that!  All that Augusta wants is Voltron!  He'll make Allura's life miserable!  And I can't stand back, idly, and let that happen!"


"Yes you can... and you will!" The King's voice elevated, echoing throughout the room.



Keith bowed his head low again, realizing he may have overstepped his bounds.

Suddenly, there was a brilliant flash of light.  Keith shielded his eyes from it.  When he looked up, he saw the image of King Alfor... and the image of another... unknown to him.

"King Alfor!" Keith cried out, once again dropping to his knees before the image.

"Rise to your feet, young Keith."
King Alfor commanded. "It is my
pleasure to introduce to you,
Planet Arus's first monarch,
Queen Ariela."

Keith rose to his feet as he
was commanded to do, and
bowed to the spirit of Queen Ariela.
He then stared at her, unsure if any of this
was real.

Ariela smiled at the young Voltron Commander.

"Young man, I have been misinterrupted.  My vow to King Shalimar was not a vow of unification between the Houses of Arus and Surbain, as King Alfor had stated.  It was a vow of peace and friendship.  The present, and very foolish King of Surbain, has fallen under the counsel of a man, whose intentions are to do harm to Planet Arus and Planet Surbain.  Yes, Surbain is at war, and yes, its people are in misery.  But, this so-called advisor, the one called, Anserrot, the King's trusted advisor, is anything but trustworthy!  He has deceived the King, and has twisted my words and my vow!  He has carefully plotted out the downfall of both his planet and ours."

"I'm listening..." Keith said, his eyebrows knitted together.  "Go on, please!"

"He too, has been deceived by greed and a lust for power.  Anserrot has an agreement with Prince Lotor of Planet Doom, to not only bring him Princess Allura, but in doing so, destroy the freedom of Planet Arus, and enslave Voltron, all in one single, marriage ceremony. Anserrot was instructed to convince his King to travel to Planet Arus and ask for help.  Fully knowing that Allura's answer would be no in all likelihood, he carefully planned this deception of bringing to light the history of our two planets and our Arusian customs.  Once convinced, King Augusta acted on the advice of Anserrot to demand Allura's hand in marriage."

Keith's eyes burned with anger. 
"Lotor... I might have known! 
But how could Anserrot fall prey to this?"


"Anserrot was promised power. 
It was promised by Prince Lotor,
that once conquered, Anserrot would
become the new King of Arus, and
have complete control over this planet."
Ariela said.

"That will never happen!  Lotor has never kept a promise in his life!  He's using Anserrot to get what he wants, and then, like with everyone else he's ever used, once Lotor gets what he wants, he'll throw Anserrot in the dungeon, and Allura will be enslaved forever!" Keith shouted.  "Your Majesty!  We absolutely can't let that happen!"

"We have no intention of letting that happen, Keith Hunter of Earth. We intent that you will stop him.  But in order to do so, you must not interfere with these events, as they are unfolding... no matter how hopeless things appear.  No matter how devastated you feel, you must not interfere.  It is up to you, and the rest of Arus's Lion Knights of Voltron, to look for an opportunity to save both planets. Voltron must go to Planet Surbain." Alfor replied.

"Why?" Keith asked carefully. "Voltron will never be able to recharge if he..."

"Voltron must go to Planet Surbain..." Alfor said. "When the time to act arrives, you will know, Keith."

"How will I know?" Keith asked.

"You will know when it is time.  You will know beyond a shadow of a doubt." Ariela said. "Just as surely as you know that your love for young Princess Allura is true.  You must attune yourself with the lions."

"With all due respect," Keith replied.  "I don't know if I can go through with this.  My instinct cries out within me to protect Allura... to keep her from harm!"

"Keith, we know it is your charge to protect my daughter.  And we know of your love for her.  I am pleased to see such a fine young man finding an interest in my daughter." Alfor said.  "Tell her of what you have heard and seen today, but remember that no matter what
happens, you must trust your heart, and let it happen.  Even if it looks grim, do not interfere.  In order to save both planets, you must allow this marriage to take place, uninhabited, in order for Voltron to go to Surbain.  Only then, will you be able to face Lotor, and foil his plans to concur both Arus and Surbain.  You both must make this sacrifice in order to save the lives of everyone on Arus and Surbain, which is the greater good.  Do you understand?"

"I can't believe I'm actually going to go along with this." Keith sighed, fearing the worst. "Okay...I agree.  No matter what happens... I'll do as you have asked of me.  I will not interfere.  I'll make sure that...the wedding...goes on without interruption.  Much against my better judgment."

"Good.  Now depart.  Allura is searching for you.  Go to her, my son." Alfor said.

"One question, King Alfor.  Do you know if... if the Princess feels the same for me as I do for her?"

Alfor smiled.  "Why not ask her yourself?"

"I'm... I'm not sure if I should, Your Majesty." Keith said.  "Let's face it, if she has to marry this guy, telling her now will only make things worse.  Besides...I'm a pilot, I'm not royalty, and I..."

"Has it ever occurred to you, that prestige and position in life, is judged by those around you, who hold you in high esteem?  Keith... it is true you are not of royal decent.  But your heart is kind and gentle, and your love for Allura is noble and true.  No prince or king could stand in the light of your presence.  You are more 'royal' in spirit, than those who hold the title of 'prince' or 'king'.  The title does not matter.  What matters is the man or woman who holds the title.  Without kindness, compassion and understanding, the title is meaningless. Do you understand?"

Keith bowed his head, yielding to the incredible wisdom King Alfor spoke.  "Yes, Your Majesty.  I do understand now."

"Go to her, Keith.  She is searching for you.  Tell her how you feel.  Your love for her will keep her strong in the coming hours.  But remember, no matter what happens, trust in the counsel that we have provided to you, and do not interfere.  Or you will jeopardize the
very existence of both worlds." Alfor said.

Then, the images of King Alfor and Queen Ariela faded away from sight.

Keith turned around and ran out the crypt entrance, closing it as he leftà and running for the Castle exit.

As he reached the outdoors, he looked up in the sky... dawn was approaching.  He started to search around the Castle grounds to find Allura.

"I have to tell her now!" he thought. "No matter what happens, she has to know how I feel about her!"
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