"THE LAW ACCORDING TO LOVE."

A combined story written by Moira and Adele.
Completed, April 30, 2004

Please visit our websites:

Moira's webpage:
The Paladin of Arus


Home of, "Ask Keith"

Adele's webpage:
Allura and Keith


Home of "Ask Allura"

Special thanks:
Seylena, Moira's paralegal
proofreader, for doing the research into Arusian Law.




The Law According to Love
Based on letters to "Ask Keith" and "Ask Allura"


The Letters that started it all

Dear Cousin Allura...

Sven just told me he is coming to Arus to speak to Keith about a very, 'important' matter. But between you and I...YOU are the very important matter!  Sven is going to try to talk some sense into that stubborn Voltron Commander of yours!  ^_^    I will keep you posted!

**GIGGLES**
Love you, Cousin!
Romelle

Dear Romelle,

"Oh...REALLY???  When is Sven coming?  Soon, I hope!  I'm beginning to think that
Keith doesn't even notice me!  Sigh... Well, looking forward to good things... uh... uh-oh... I think I'm losing the connection!  DARN YOU, CHITTER!!  HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU...DON'T CHEW THE COM LINK LINES!!!!   Romelle...I'm going to lose you...I...

<<Transmission interrupted>>





































*********

Princess,

Somehow the COMs are out so I figured I'd just e-mail you. This isn't urgent or anything, it's just well You know how we had a workout scheduled for tonight. Well uh Sven just called. He's on his way and he asked me if I would meet him at this little place in a nearby town to talk about something important. He also told me to wear something casual so as too not arouse too much attention. Something must be really on his mind so I really should go. I feel like such a heel canceling our workout over something that could be nothing. But Sven's an old friend and I can't let him down. You understand don't you?

I'm sorry Princess.
Keith

********
Keith...

Of course I understand!  Please...feel free to meet with Sven!  Please pass on my hellos to him when you see him.  (Actually, Romelle called me via ultrawave...before the COMs went out...and she told me that Sven was planning a little visit to see you!  I couldn't imagine what it was about...but knowing Sven, it must be important for him to venture out from Pollux)

Have a great time, Keith!  We can reschedule when its a better time for you!
Lo...uh...I mean...
Thanks!!!!! 
Princess

***********

Keith...

I want you to get up from your chair... right now... and walk yourself over to your mirror.  I want you to look into the mirror...

Now... I want you to stare yourself right in the face and think about this question....

Can you HONESTLY say to yourself...and to me... that you don't LOVE my cousin, Allura??? 

Now...come back to your computer and sit down.  Go on...I'll wait!!   Okay...now, I want you to do this...I want you to type the words... 'I DO NOT LOVE ALLURA'!!!!  
I dare you to...and mean it! 

Come on, Keith!  Don't disappoint me!  Because that's all you've done, so far!!!  If you can honestly say that you don't love Allura... MORE than just a friend... a close friend... if you don't love her romantically...don't dream of her...don't long to have her in your arms...then, say it here... and say it NOW!!!   I'm about as frustrated as a girl can be!!  You are leading on my cousin...and I think it's awful!!!!  If you weren't Sven's friend...oh.... I'm so... ANGRY with you, Keith!!

You say, "she's a princess, I'm a pilot.  The two don't mix!"  Horse-pucky!! You say, "She's the ruler of an entire planet!"  And your point is???  That she...or you, for that matter, don't have the right to fall in love... all because of a stupid title between you?  Are you going to stand there and tell me that you don't dream of being with her???  Don't wish that she were a regular girl...anything but a princess...so that you could approach her freely... ask to court her...TO HOLD HER HAND, FOR GOD'S SAKE????

Oh... Keith...
She LOVES you!  Can't you see?  Are you afraid to commit yourself to a ruling princess?  Are you afraid of what that might mean for your freedom?  If that's what it is...then say it!!!  Don't hide behind silly statements like you have been!!!!   HOW CAN YOU STAND TO LOOK AT YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR???? 

Holy spacecows, Keith.... Please...just tell the truth!!!  Allura can deal with the truth!  If you're afraid to commit... then say...'Allura...I love you...but I'm afraid to commit!"

(Bangs head against wall in the palace) 

Princess Romelle

cc: Princess Allura @
princessallurap@juno.com

*********

ROMELLE!!!!!

How could you put Keith through that!!!!!????  I'm shocked at you!  This is so unfair, Romelle!  I know, you're only trying to come to my aid and look out for my feelings.  But this certainly is not the way to go about it!   Keith has his reasons, whatever they may be... and your unfair badgering of him isn't helping matters in the least!  If he doesn't love me... then he owes me no explanations!   Keith certainly does NOT make excuses, either!  Humph!

Romelle... I'm very happy for you and Sven.  You have found a true love between you that you can both share for a lifetime.  I know you only want me to be happy.  But surely, this can't be helpful!  Keith is kind, compassionate, but he's also valiant and a gentleman. 

I would hope you can apologize to him for your written attacks, Romelle.  And I know that you will. 

Allura

cc: Keith
PaladinOfArus@outdrs.net

*************

Keith,

Just ANSWER THE QUESTION!!!  If you're a man of honor...you'll answer the question...honestly...and not skirt it with more 'politically correct' answers... please, for Allura's sake!!  PLEASE!!!!  Answer the question...straight forward and honest!!

Do you love her?  Yes...or No???  That's all you need to say... Yes... or NO!

Romelle
PS:  I'm sorry for being so abrupt previously.

>>> PRINCESS ROMELLE 04/06/04 10:52AM  melle@pollux.com >>>


***********
Princess Allura,

Dis is Sven. I need you to meet wit me tonight at 8:30 sharp at Mrs. Jeans little place. You know da one where you made Romelle and I go to for dat romantic dinner dat one time? I never did tank you for that. Dere is some'ting I need to talk to you privately about and only you. Please don't tell anyone you're coming, especially Keit! You know how he gets.  Oh, and wear some'ting casual so you blend in. Hey, you know dat dress Romelle sent you?  Maybe you couldt wear dat. Dat way, I can tell her you did wear it and she won't have to keep saying she'll never wear it. Dat might be da best disguise, for no one wouldt believe dere princess wouldt be wearing dat.

See you den
I'm counting on you!
Sven

********
Sven...

What's going on?
Romelle said you were coming here to talk to Keith.  Keith cancelled his workout session with me...he said you had to talk to him.  Now...you say to meet you at Mrs. Jeans. 

Okay... and I won't tell anyone...especially Keith.  Goodness knows he'll only think I'm plotting something against him...or for him, depending on how you look at it.

Fine I'll be there.  And yes I'll wear the dress Romelle sent me.  It's...a bit more revealing then I like them, though.  But as a favor to you... I'll come dressed in it.

Until 8:30 tonight...

Allura

*********

Allura,

Well uh... Man does Romelle tell you every'ting? Umm, I told her dat so she wouldt let me come. I didn't want to tell her I was coming to talk to you.  She would get all-curious...

What about Sven? What's going on Sven?... You know...

Keit...wellhe's meeting me much earlierwe need to talk about... uh...a defense strategy ting. Yeah, a defense ting!

See you at 8:30
Sven
But please don't say any'ting to Keit!

*********

Sven...

Good grief!!!   Why all the secrecy???  Honestly... between you're secrets and Romelle yelling at Keith on my behalf...did she show you that email that she sent to him, by the way???  I can't imagine what Keith will think when he sees it...  **sigh**

Fine. 8:30. 
And, for the last time, I won't tell Keith.  He's probably already upset with me over Romelle's temper tantrum all over the email!   How can I face him, Sven? 

Allura


*******
Allura,

I forgot to add. Please don't wear dat, 'don't touch me, I'm your princess' circlet.

Sven

********

Oh for crying out loud, Sven
**sigh**

Okay...I'll sneak out of the Castlewithout my circlet on.

Allura.

*********

Sven...

Picture attached.  I snapped it...just like you wanted me to!  She looks really confused now!!!  hee hee hee!!

See ya!

Pidge

PS... Are you SURE this is going to work???

Pidge,

*********

It's Perfect!
Dis has't to work or I can never go home. Romelle's driving me crazy. 'Stupid
Keit' dis and 'Idiot Keit' that.
It just has't to work!

Sven

********

Sven,

It had better work, is right!  Allura's been moping around the Castle...Keith's been his usual, "I've got no business thinking about a Princess in that way!" type attitude.  Even now...he's milling over some email that Romelle sent him today.  He's fuming...shouting from his room...stuff like...

"What does Romelle want me to do?"
"Is she crazy?  She knows I can't say that!"
"Oh, Come on, Romelle!!  For Crying out loud!!  What are you trying to do to me?"

You know... stuff like that.  I don't know what that's all about, but jeez...he's been in his quarters since after Lion Practice this morning.  He's a pretty peeved commander... that's' for sure!!!!

Pidge

*******

Later

"Blue Two to Green Three.  Mouse unit one is deployed.  Should be getting picture now"

<Crackle>

(Keith is pacing around his room with a paper in his fist.)

"Sven's gonna get an earful tonight!"  He tosses it down on the bed and paces over to his closet flinging the door open.  "Now wear did I put..."

(He keeps rummaging)

"Ah..."  He pulls out a pair of old worn blue jeans. Tossing them over his shoulder, he dives back in, pulling out a white, long sleeved tee. He goes back to his bed and tosses them down, sitting beside them and then, starts to remove his boots.

(The camera moves abruptly away.)

"Inky what are you doing?  I need a picture!" Sven grunts.

(The camera view shakes back and forth, instead giving an interesting mouse eye view of Keith's discarded boots.  Minutes pass and the camera moves to find Keith standing before his mirror, clad in his old jeans and the white tee, staring at himself intently.)

"I do not... I do... I do not...oh...this is stupid!" He moves back to his closet, digging around againand then, finds a worn pair of old brown cowboy boots.  He pulls them on, and then, abruptly adjusts his pant legs over the top of the boots. He marches back to his bed, abruptly snatching the paper email that had been laying on it, then, grabs an old leather coat from his chair, and leaves the room.

<Crackle...Crackle>

"Any'ting on your end Green Three?" Sven asks.

******

"Green Three..." Pidge's voice replies back. "Roger that, Blue Two... Image should be coming in.right about...

.... Now."

<Crackle...fuzz... crackle, crackle...>

"Ah!  At last!  I was worried for a minute!  Whew!  Good job, Chitter!  Now, let's see...
Allura is sitting at her desk...she's...writingsomething...yes, YES!  I think it's... wait... Chitter...zoom in!  Closer...closer... PERFECT!  Hold it right there!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Dear Journal,

It's been a trying day...and its not over yet.  It started with Romelle getting violently angry with Keith.  She apparently doesn't understand him as I do.  He's...well he's... **sigh** Okay... I don't understand him, either!  What's the matter with me, Journal?  Why is it that I attract all the wrong men?  And the one man I want to be with, more than anything else in the world... ducks me at every turn!  Ohhh...this is so incredibly frustrating!  But Keith has his reasons... he's cited many of them.

He's pilot...I'm a princess.  (Shouldn't matter...but...)
He's my commanding officer.  (So what?)
It will be too complicated to get into.  (He's skirting the issue...)

Oh... maybe Romelle's right.  Maybe...he's just afraid of getting involved with me, because he thinks I'm going to hold him back, somehow.

(Allura takes a deep, cleansing breath) 

Oh Journal....
I love a man I can never have, because he doesn't seem to think he can have me either.  And now...Sven's going on about this meeting he wants to have with me.  I know he and Romelle are up to something.  And Keith's only going to get angrier than he was before.  Sometimes...I wish I wasn't a princess.  Will write more later.  I've got to go and get that outfit ready for tonight.  I only hope I can sneak out of the Castle with it on.  Nanny will kill me if she sees me in it! 

Ever truly yours,
Allura

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

"Okay... Chitter... pan the camera with her.  Okay she's moving to the left...toward her  closet..."

Allura opens her closet door and looks inside.  Shaking her head, she reaches in and pulls out, 'the dress'...a teal-colored little number with a frilly mini-skirt with a modest V-neck cut. 

"Oh yes...Nanny will kill me if she sees me in this." Allura says outloud.

Allura turns and walks it over to the bed, laying it down.  She carefully removes her tiara circlet and walks over to her vanity, placing it on the top of it.  Then, she turns back toward the bed...and the dress. 

"Well, I promised Sven I'd wear it.  So wear it...I must.  Just remember...Romelle picked it out.  She meant well.  But I know she meant me to wear it in front of Keith.  And that's just NOT going to happen!"

*******

(Pidge covers his mouth with his hand and snickers)

"Hee hee hee... is SHE going to be surprised!!!!  Right, Blue Two??  Green Three...out."

"Roger dat, Green Three.   Red Fourare you dare?  What's your report?  Over"


"Sven...Keith is heading my, way hold on."
Lance grins leans up against the wall as

(Keith approaches.  Lance is about to speak)

"Shut up Lance!" Keith barks without
looking or missing a stride.

"Guys I don't know about thisKeith is in a real mood." Lance says quietly into his COM link, as he watches Keith storm out of sight.

"Red Four this is Blue Two we will not abort.  Do you read?"

"Yes sir."

(Lance sends inky to follow at a safe distance.)

*********

Keith stops at an armory closet and pulls on a gun belt and grabs a small pack with emergency supplies, just in case, as he always does.  He pulls on his jacket and then, the pack over that and heads out on the castle.

"Yellow Five...this is Blue Two...stand by he's heading outside."


Hunk hides just outside, small viewer in hand.

"Got em Blue Two." Hunk watches Keith, as he walks down a path.  "Looks like he's going to the stable.  Squeak, follow him."

(The view of Keith, walking into the stable, comes to life on his screen.)

"Good job, Squeak.  Keep with him." Hunk whispers.

(The camera follows as Keith enters the barn and approaches his favorite stead.  The giant white stallion greets his approach with a whinny, 'nay' sound.)

"Hello my friend." Keith reaches out to touch the nose of the horse. "Ready to go for a ride?"

The horse nuzzles his hand.  Keith then disappears into the tack room to quickly reappear with an armful of tack and supplies.  He enters the stall, brush in hand and begins grooming the horse.

"Your not going to ask me any questions about Allura, are you?  You understand.  What can't becan't be.  Why does everyone refuse to acknowledge that?"  He produces a comb and begins to work on the animal's mane.  "Do I love her?  That's all they seem to want to know.  Will you marry her?"

The horse flicks its head as Keith pulls too hard on a knot. 

"Sorry fella" He rubs its neck.  "They just have me so angry!"  He moves to the animal's head to comb its forelock.  "Do I love her?  What kind of stupid question is that?  Am I allowed to love her?  That's the real questionand we all know that answer.  No, I am not allowed to love Allura."

Keith continues to groom, cleaning and checking the horse's hooves, ears and eyes.  He then grabs up the blanket and saddle, placing them on top of the animal, and then, cinching the girth, he then puts on the bridle.  He leads the horse out of its stall.

"Well my friend are you ready?  I don't have to be there till nine, so we have two hours all to ourselves.  And quite frankly..." He rubs the horse's head. "I really need it."

He then easily swings up into the saddle and rides off in the opposite direction of the meeting place.

********
"Did you get that?  Tell me you got that?  He does love Allura!  I knew it!" Hunk calls into his COM.

"Look guys" Lance answers. "I'm really getting a bad feeling about this."

"Lance that's not like you." Hunk says.  "You'd be the first one to..."

"I think we might be pushing our luck with this one." Lance says to everyone.  "We might really hurt Keith."

"Nonsense!" Sven barks.  "Red Four, get wit it!  You cannot abort now!"

********

The time is 8:13pm. 

Allura exits her chambers...as quiet as a mouse.  In stealth mode, she begins to creep around corners...ever watchful for any sign of Coran...or worse...Nanny.   She moves around one corner...then...around another.  Still...  around another one.  Finally... she has made her way to the front entrance of the Castle. 

"A clean getaway..." she thinks cleverly, to herself. 

"PRINCESS ALLURA!"

Allura pauses...cringing.  Well...almost...a clean getaway.

"Vhat in da name of King Alfor is dat, datdat ting dat you are v'earing?" Nanny shouts.   "And jist vhat are you doing, young lady?"

Allura defiantly stands up to her.  "I'm...I'm going out, Nanny."

"GOING OUT...INDAT...DAT NO!  Absolutely not!  You are not properly dressed!  You don't even have your royal tiara on!  You look like a ...a..."

"A commoner?" she snorts back.

"Yes...YES!  Dat's it!  You look like a commoner!  Now, dis is no type of outfit for a royal person!  You vill turn around, immediately, and march yourself back to your chambers, dis instant!' Nanny shouts.

"Absolutely not!" Allura firmly replies back.  "I am NOT a baby!  I am not untouchable!  I will do as like...when I like...with whomever I like!  And if I chose to be seen with a Prince or a common young man...is no one's concern but my own!"

"Common young man???   Have you gone mad, Allura?" Nanny shouts angrily.  "You just listen to me, young lady!  You may be all grown up...but as long as I am royal governess...
you vill act and dress, as a princess should!  Now..."

"HEY, NANNY!"

Both women turn and see Lance...standing in the middle of the main hallway...his feet loaded with mud! 

"You just won't believe what I've been doing!" Lance cries out, laughing like crazy.

"AHHH!  MY CLEAN FLOOR!!!  OH...YOU'VE MADE A MESS OF IT!!!  YOU...
YOU...INFIDEL!!!"

While Nanny is busy scolding Lance for his muddy feet, Allura sees it as an opportunity to exit the Castle... quickly. 

On her way out, she sees Hunk...leaning up against the Black Lion Monument. 

"HI'YA PRINCESS!" Hunk shouts cheerfully.

"I'LL TALK TO YOU LATER, HUNK!" Allura shouts back, looking at her watch.
"I'M SO LATE AS IT IS!!!"

Hunk waves at her...watching her run across the bridge toward the royal stables.  He lifts his wrist and activates his COM link, once again.

"This is Yellow Five!  Come in, Green Three!  The Princess is on her way to the stables now!  She's getting ready to meet at your position, over?"

"Yellow Five... this is Green Three...I read you!  We're set here!"

Pidge hunkers down in the hay of the stable looks down to Chitter and Cheesy.  "Okay, mouse patrol one!  You know what you must do!  So do it!!"

The mice hop and skip across the hay, holding in their hands a tiny microchip camera.  They take their positions on an overhang that looks down toward the Princess's favorite horse... Sweetheart.

Allura comes into the stable, dressed in a teal-colored dress with the modest V-neck opening in the front.  Her hair is down in her usual style...with no circlet on her head. 

"Well, hello Sweetheart!" Allura beams brightly at the horse. 

She walks up and give her horse a taste of sugar.  Seeing that the stable hands have already saddled her up, she pats the horse gently on the side of the face. 

"So...I suppose you already know why I'm here, don't you?  Well, I feel a bit silly...
wearing this dress.  Nanny was hard to get rid of...and as it is...I'm going to be late to Mrs. Jeans place.   But...we'll do the best we can, right?"

She quickly mounts Sweetheart and tugs on the reins.  "Okay girl... giddy-up!"

As she rides out of the stables... Pidge lifts his wrist COM up to his mouth....

"Blue Two... this is Green Three!  She's en-route to your location!  Hope she makes it before party number two shows up!"

Pidge closed off transmission...smiling.

"Boy...is Keith in for a surprise!"

********

Allura rides up to Mrs. Jeans restaurant and dismounts Sweetheart.  Sven opens the door and is standing there.

"Princess!  Where have you been!  It's almost nine o'clock!  I was beginning to tink dat" Sven anxiously says.  He then throws the reins to the waiting stable attendant.  "Here...quickly!  Take da horse!  Put her in da stable!"

He then grabs Allura's hand, practically dragging her into Mrs. Jeans. 

Allura looks at Sven, awkwardly.  "Sven!  What's going on?  Why the rush???"

"Just come wit me...hurry!" Sven shouted.  "I'll explain it all later!"

Allura hurriedly is dragged into Mrs. Jeans.  The door closes...with only seconds to spare, as another rider is approaching on horseback from the left.

*********

Keith reins his horse up to the restaurant and dismounts. "Well this is it my friend. Wish me luckand thanks for listening." He glances over to the stable nearby and just sees the tail end of a horse enter... "That's funnythat looks just like..."

His steed snickers out to the other horse.

A stable boy runs up. "Sir may I... Wow!  You're..."

Keith smiles. "Yes, but I'm here in secret.  Promise not to tell."

"Sure I promise.  Just like Ioppsuh, nothing."

Keith grins, "Thanks." and he hands off the reins. "I won't be long."

Keith then pulls out the paper with Romelle's letter printed on it. "Sven you have a lot of explaining to do!"

He makes his way to the door and pushes it open. His anger instantly melts.  The place is beautiful.  He thought he would be inside, but the door opened onto a beautiful courtyard, all abloom with fragrant, nighttime opening flowers, glowing in the lights of the nearby torches and candles. The tables are all scattered amongst various plants, providing privacy for their occupants.

He wanders to the center of the courtyard, to a large fountain filled with floating candles.

"Gonna make a wish?" A voice asks.

Keith turns to finds Sven standing there, looking rather smug. Keith's calm is instantly replaced again with his rage. 

"Have you seen this?!"  He thrusts the paper at Sven.

Sven waves his hands up in the air...

"I know, Keit.  I know.  Allura already told me all about it..."

"She told you?  What?!?  You mean, Allura's in on this too?" Keith shouts, then starts waving the paper around in Sven's face.  "What's THIS all about, Sven?  Come on!   Can't you keep a leash on Romelle?  I mean...she's way out of line!"

"She's concerned for her cousin..." Sven replies smugly.

"Concerned is one thing!  All out nasty is another!  Did you read this?  She's backing me in a corner!  Well...READ IT!"

**********

Three space explorers sit in the Rec hall, glued to a portable view screen.  The audio feed was not working as well as they hoped.  Just too many other noises muting the sound, especially the constant munching of the cameraman.  Never send a mouse into a restaurant full of food and expect him not to steal a bite.

"Ohhh...now this is getting good!" Lance grins.

"Quick switch to Allura." Pidge reaches for the screen in Lance's lap.

"I'll do itjust hold on..." Lance flicks the camera view.  "Hmmm... I never thought I'd say it, but our Princess is a hottie!"

"Lance!" Hunk pulls the screen away.  "Don't look at our Princess like that!
She is... She..." Hunk is quickly transfixed. "She's..."

"A hottie..." Lance finishes and ducks Pidge's swat to his head.  "Just admit it.  No wonder Lotor's always after her."

"She is not!" Pidge wines.  "She's a Princess.  Stop looking at her like... well like that!"

Lance grabs Pidge in a headlock.  "Someday Pidge, you will understand, right Hunk? Hunk...oh Hunk?  HUNK!"  Lance bops him upside the head.

"Wha..."

Pidge giggles "Hehe... she's got you too...hehehehe..."

"No she doesn't!" Hunk straitens up.  "And besides Keith would... well you know..."

"Yeah," Lance grins. "We all know.  Too bad he doesn't!"

**********

Meanwhile... Allura sits at a table...hidden behind a screen of plants.  She is mortified. 

"Now I understand!" Allura thinks to herself.  "Sven's trying to put us...Keith and I...oh no!  I knew it!   I knew something was up! Sven!  Romelle!!!!" Allura starts to fidget with the hem of her dress. "What have they gotten me into nowand how do I get out of it?"

**********

Keith thrusts the letter into Sven's hand.  Sven takes it...reads it...smiling at various times as he reads on. 

Finally, he looks up at Keith.  "Well..." Sven says.

Keith has crossed his arms in front of himself.  "Well?  Is that all you have to say???  Well???"

"No," Sven replies.  "But I'm waiting to hear what you have to say."

"What am I supposed to say?  Why is everyone so concerned with my love life?  And why does everyone think that I should be with Allura?  Did anyone ever stop to think about the consequences..." Keith shouts.

"Oh...here we go again." Sven sighs.

"YES!  Here we go again!  I can't do this, Sven!  You know that!" Keith shouts again.

"She's a woman, right?" Sven replies.

"She's more than just any woman, Sven!  For God's sake...she the Princess of Arus!  Now just what business does a lowly pilot with zero royalty have to even think that I stand up in the same light as she does?"

"Why are you limiting yourself, Keit?  Why are you limiting love?  You do love her...don't you?" Sven says quietly.

Keith pauses...blinking rapidly.  "Are you kidding me?  Sven... for the love of...I can't...  You don't understand the position I'm inI can't even believe you and I are having this... What am I supposed to say to that?!?"

"Well...Romelle asked you a question.  What is your answer?" Sven asks Keith.

"SVEN!!!  For crying out loud!  You're as bad as Romelle is!  You know it's not a question of that!  I'm not in her league!  This is out of the ballpark...understand?  We're talking big leagues here, Sven!  Not peewee minors!  She's the Princess!  Understand? 
P-R-I-N-C-E-S-S!!!!  I can't even think about... do you know how hard it is for me to...to even...I mean... NO!  It's just not possible!"

The patrons in the restaurant can't help but take notice of the augment. The two pilots, suddenly aware that they are not alone, retreat to a corner table.  Sven leads the way and unknown to Keith, places them right beside Allura, only a planter away.

Keith collapses into a chair, dropping his head to the table with a sigh. "Sven, I don't know what to do anymore.  This is agony.  Arus isn't like Pollux.  They're not as open to this kind of thing.  She could loose her crown over this."

"Keit?  What are you saying?"

"It's in the books...black and white...I read it myself.  Allura cannot marry someone without title.  If she does, she forfeits her title."

"What!?!?" Sven looks to Keith in utter shock. "Why didn't you say any'ting about dis before now?  Keit...?" Sven puts a supportive hand on Keith's dropped head.

"I can't do that to her." Keith's words are muffled. "I can't take her crown away from her.  Being ruler is everything to her.  I... I...I care about her too much to do that!"

*********

Allura's hand cups over her mouth.   She is in utter shock. 

"What is he talking about, loose my crown?  How could my being me with him...  No he's putting up walls again.  I knew it... he really doesn't care about me more than... more than his Princess...."

She keeps thinking to herself...her heart now in her throat...and an immense sensation of loss washing over her.  She suddenly now wishes she had gone to her chambers...as Nanny had required.

She begins looking around...

No way to escape from the building...without being seen, that is.  What was she to do now?  If Keith were to see her here...now...after pouring out his heart to Sven...

This was becoming a disaster!

*********

"You two are sick.  I'm switching it back to Keith." Pidge sits, studying the new image. "Hey...guys...is...is Keith... crying?"

"What!  Let me see that!" Lance grabs the screen. "Guys...I think we really went too far this time.  Since Keith doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve, I guess we sometimes forget he has one."

The other two Voltron Force members look at the image of their captain hunkered over a table, with Sven hovering over himcomforting him. They soon come to the same conclusion.

"Come on we better..." Lance begins to say...

"Not so fast!"

"Nanny!" They all breath, trying to hide the screen.

"And vhat do we have here?"  She grabs the screen away.  "Huuuuugggggghhh!  My baby!"  The image was now revealing Allura with the two men.  "She's with dose...dose... Hooligans!  And dressed like... like..." Nanny picks Lance up by the collar. "Vhere is she?"

**************

Allura shifts positions... repeatedly crossing and uncrossing her legs.  Now...she hears...what sounds like...

"He's...he's crying?" Allura whispers.  She knows this has gone too far.  She has to put a stop to it.  One way or another. 

Rising to her feet, Allura takes a deep breath. "Start moving toward the door, Allura...a nice and steady pace...don't stop...don't look around...just keep moving toward the door... ready?"

Immediately... Allura bolts out from behind the planter, heading directly toward the door. 

Sven's face is aghast, as he looks up to see Allura beginning to leave.  Keith looks up at him to say something else...and then quickly, watches as the blood flows out of Sven's face.

"What's the matter with you?" Keith asks him.  "What are you looking at?"

Keith turns around before Sven could deter his attention.  Now, Keith is in shock...

"Sven...is...is that...Allura?"

"Uh... I'm not sure?!?" Sven stammers back. 

Keith rises to his feet, quickly wiping his eyes with his sleeve.  Then...

"ALLURA ?"

Suddenly...she stops dead in her tracks... stunned.  She hunches her shoulders reflexively...

"Wonderful..." Allura thinks to herself. 

She stands where she is... and makes no attempt at turning around.  Keith quickly makes his way around the tables to where the young woman is standing.   He comes around to face her...

"It IS you!"  He says to her.  "Allura!"

"What?" She hisses back at him, suddenly.

A sudden boiling anger comes over Keith.  "What it the universe are you trying to prove here, Princess?"

Now, Allura, feeling the heat of his unprovoked verbal attack, retaliates with equal anger in her voice.  "This is NOT my doing, COMMANDER!"

"Look...I have no idea what's going on here, but your cousin started this whole thing with her obnoxious email to me!  Then, Sven tells me that he needs to speak to me...tonight!  So I come... and what do I find?  I find Sven, trying to talk me into something I know I can't...that I shouldn't even be thinking about...and...and here you are...right in the middle of it all!  Now, just what AM I supposed to think?"

"I had nothing to do with this, if that's what you are accusing me of!" Allura shouts back at him.  "I was asked to come here...by Sven!  I had no idea you would be here!  I wasn't planning on this!  Although, I must confess... I did suspect something was going on..."

"And you just let it happen, is that it?" Keith exclaims. 

"How can I stop... wait a minute,,,why are you blaming me?  I'm not the one who brought us here!" Allura shouts back.

Suddenly, they both turn their heads and look at Sven.  One of his arms is crossed in front of him, while the other, is reaching up, with his hand resting on his forehead. 

"Well...time for damage control." Sven mutters to himself.  He comes out from around the table and crosses the room to the face Keith and Allura.

"I...suppose...I have some explaining to do." Sven says, wearily.

"Some?" Keith questioned sarcastically.  "More than, 'some', Sven!"

"Why have you done this?" Allura asked him. 

"Itit was Romelle's idea.  She t'ought dat if you two were to git toget'er in an atmosphere...
more...natural...outside of da Castle... den maybe...some'ting might...spark...between da two of you."

"Oh, for crying out loud..." Keith sighs, shaking his head.

"She can't be serious." Allura sighs breathlessly, as well. 

"No...it's true." Sven replies, now downcast.  "AndI went along wit it."

"Andlet me guess." Allura says to Sven.  "Lance is in on it too."

"Lance?" Keith replies to her.  "Why would you think Lance would be..."

"Because...he created a diversion in the Castle's main hall, diverting Nanny's attention from me to him...and his muddy feet." Allura replies.

"Huh?  Muddy feet?" Keith repeats.

"Yes... he interrupted Nanny's tongue-lashing of me...about what I was wearing...or the lack, there of, I mean." Allura replies back.  "She was in the middle of scolding me, when Lance showed up, tracking muddy feet all over the clean hall floor."

"What you were...uh...wearing?" Keith says slowly...suddenly taking notice of her outfit.  "Um... what...exactly...was Nanny... uh... upset about?"

"Well, can't you see?" Allura exclaims.  "Look at me?  I certainly don't go around, dressed like this, everyday!"

"Um...well...no...I...I guess not." Keith stammers his reply.  "But...uh.... I don't think I've ever seen that dress before."

"You haven't, because this is the first time I've worn it.  And the last time, too." Allura says in reply.  "Romelle sent it to me."

"Figures," Keith replies back, somewhat sarcastically.  "I wonder why."

"Listen...I'm terribly sorry for the embarrassment.  I'm returning to the Castle.  Let's just...forgot this ever happened..." Allura begins to say.

A waiter then walks by with a tray full of the most exquisite looking and smelling food either of them has seen in along time.  It passes just in front of themthe smell hanging in the air.

"Uhhh.ummmm ... Allura?" Keith stammers, trying not to drool.

"Huuuuuh." Allura's eyes are busy, hungrily following the plates, as they are served to a nearby table.

"Would you mind if" Keith stops as another waiter zooms by with a flaming desert in hand.

"Ohhhh...that looks positively decadent." Allura breathes and unconsciously licks her lips.

Keith bites his lip, gently. "Well, uh...Allura...I haven't eaten yet.  And I'm starved.  And...well...you took the time to get all dressed up... "

Sven slides in front of them. "Why don't we all go back and sit down...and jist...talk!" Sven smiles.  "Dere's no harm in dat...right?"

Keith and Allura stare at each other.  Allura was suddenly apprehensive, but another waiter passing with and appetizer tray quickly dissolved that away.

"No...I don't suppose there's any harm in that." Keith replies, suddenly extending his elbow toward her.  "Shall we dine, My lady?"

Allura looks at him, suddenly feeling more at ease.  "Well...maybe..." She soon smiles. "Of course!  Why not!"

"Wonderful!" Sven clashes his hands together.  "Right dis way, Princess! Commander!"  Sven leads the way back to the table.

Sven pulls out a chair for Allura and dashingly offers it to her earning a glower from Keith.

Sven puts on a comical pout. "What is it Keith?  Its not like you're on a. date or any'ting."

"Sven will you just get lost!  Haven't you done enough damage already?"

Sven pushes her chair in for her. "Oh fine.  I bring you to dis lovely place wit great food and ambiance and all I get is..."

"GET LOST SVEN!" They both chime in together, surprising one another.

"Fine, I'm going.  But if you need"

Both Keith and Allura shoot him a nasty look.

"Aright, alright." Sven turns and wanders off.

They both sit and watch until the door Sven went out closes behind him. They then turn back to one another, lips fighting not to laugh at the absurdity of it all, but soon they erupt into hysterics, the tension dissolving with their laughter.

A waitress soon approaches and takes their order.  They each fight valiantly to control themselves and do...for the most part...but every so often a giggle erupts.  The waitress just smiles at the couple and then discreetly leaves for the kitchen.

Allura watches, almost mindlessly as the waitress trots out of sight.  Keith notices her sudden distance...and begins waving his hand in front of her face from across the table. 

"Arus to Allura?" Keith chuckles.  "Anyone there?"

"Huh?  Oh!  Uh...I was...um...lost in thoughtuh...I guess." she replies softly.

"Am I boring you, already?" Keith says. 

"Oh...No!  Not at all!  I was just thinking...about something you had said earlier."

"What?" Keith asks her.  "What did I say?"

"Oh...nothing... its...its not important...really." she replies winsomely, all the while thinking about Keith's concerns over her losing her crown if he were to become involved with her.  What was that all about?  But...perhaps, more importantly...did that mean...that he really does love her, after all?

"Hey...over here." Keith says to her, now chuckling.  "You're spacing out again.  You keep doing that and you're going to give me a complex!"

"I'm sorry."

"Anything you want to unload?" Keith says, suddenly concerned.

"No...I'm just...thinking stray thoughts.  Nothing, really." She replies, hoping he buys it. 

"Well...I've got to admit," he says to her.  "I didn't expect to see you here tonight."

"Me either." she replies.  "Andare you sorry that I am here?"

"No!  Of course not!  Well...I mean...maybe I was...at first...but certainly not now!   I mean... we...you and I... we're just, uh... friends, after all...right?"

"Uh...yes, of course!  We're just...uh...just friends." Allura replies back, trying to keep the smile on her face in tact. 

A defining silence come between then...and suddenly, a beautiful musical piece begin to play.  Keith and Allura watch, as couples begin to gather on the dance floor to enjoy a whirl or two.  Keith tries not to take notice...but soon, he hears the sound of Allura's voice, calling to him from across the table...

"How about a dance, Commander Keith?"

Keith looks at her...and feels a sudden lump developing in his throat.  "Uh...well... I'm sure our food will be here soon."

"Oh come on!  It's just a dance!  You have no problem dancing with me at formal events at the Castle.  Why the sudden apprehension now?" Allura asks him.

Keith opens his mouth to reply...but nothing is there to say.  His eyes suddenly catch hers... they were begging him to dance...

"Well...okay.  After allits...its just a dance," he says to her.

"Between very good friends." Allura adds with a breathtaking smile.

Keith lets out a quick breath of air and thinks, "Yeah...who's she kidding?  Friends"

"Well... before the song is over, please." Allura says to him again, disrupting his thoughts.

"Uh...well...I suppose...one dance..."

Allura is up on her feet before he even had a chance to finish his sentence.  She quickly grabs his hand and begins to pull him away toward the dance floor.  The other couples are locked in a tender dance, romantically looking at each other with eyes of love.

Allura rests her hand on Keith's shoulder and he takes her other hand in his, while bringing his other hand around behind her small waist.  Keeping a discrete distance, Keith begins to lead her in the dance, moving softly and tenderly as the sweet romantic melody plays on.  It wasn't long before Allura moves in closer toward him, and before he could object...her head begins to rest gently on his shoulder.

Now...he knew he was in trouble!  His body began to tremble...feeling her touch against his shoulder through the thin fabric of his tee...the feel of her warm embrace...

If only...she wasn't a princess...

The song ended much too soon... Allura looks up at Keith as they pause in mid step.  Their eyes locked... hers, glistening in the flickering torchlight.   He now finds himself, once again, captivated by her soft, inviting blue eyes.  His heart begins to pound.


Keith begins to frantically think, "Hold on, Keith...you can do it...don't...you can't...well...you shouldn't...oh...why can't I!"


Thankfully, the waitress is now tapping on Keith's shoulder from behind, braking his trance. 

"Sir?  Your meals are at the table," she says to him.

"Thank God." Keith now thinks.  With an almost relieved smile, Keith nods and looks at the Princess.  "Well... let's eat, before it gets cold!"

Allura nods and follows Keith back to the table to enjoy their meal.  All the while... a tiny figure is running up and down the trellis, following after their every move.

**************

They enjoy their exquisite meal in welcomed silence each thankful for the diversion, just remarking on the outstanding food every so often. But soon the food runs out.

Keith sits back in his chair. "Well that was, by far, the best meal I've had in a long time."

"Mmmmmm, yes." Allura agrees, as she takes the last spoonful of her dessert.  Then sits back herself. "Don't tell Nanny that.  She'd have a fit."

"Oh, trust me, Nanny's the last person I want to tell about tonight."

Allura bursts into laughter, covering her mouth with her hand.  Keith just grins his fist going to his mouth fighting back his chuckles.  Then something from the flower covered trellis overhead lands in Allura's dessert bowl.

"Huhhh?" she gasps, then, looks at it curiously and then, picks it up. "What's this?"

Keith instantly recognizes it. "This..." He reaches over taking it from her hand. "Means that Lance wasn't the only one in on this little prank. This is one of the new micro cams Pidge has been working on."

"Pidge!  No, not Pidge!"

"And...if I'm not mistaken, your little friends are in on this, too."

"No  The...No they wouldn't"

Keith slides his chair back slightly, wipes his mouth with his napkin, and sets it down. "If you would excuse me."  But before she can answer, Keith leaps straight up into the air, grabbing onto the trellis above, and pulling himself up partway. "Gotcha!"

Allura forgets herself completely, as a shower of flower petals suddenly begins to rain down on her from above.  She sits up straight, arches her head back, and reaches out her arms to feel the soft petals as they brush past her skin, reveling in their glorious fragrance.

"Ummm, Allura?" Keith hesitantly calls down to her.  He looks down from above, mouse still in handand his eyes locked on what could have been the only camera angle they were getting.

"Hmmm, yesss....Keith." Allura purrs up to hime...yes closed, and now, covered in flowers.

Keith too forgets himself, lost in the sheer beauty of his petal-covered princess and this new and ...uh, revealing side of her!  The mouse, seeing its chance to attempt escape, gives Keith a slight nip on his thumb.

"Ouch!" Keith releases it, but due to lack of planning on the mouse's part, there is nothing below for it to grab onto.  So, it drops straight down into and down the front of Allura's dress...finally snapping Keith out of his gawking stare.

Allura lets out a gasp, snapping upright, her hands flying to her chest, with petals now flying everywhere. She then reaches in and pulls out the little spy out by its tail. Bringing it to eye level, she glowers at it.

"Why you little. I thought you were my friends?  But no, you had to go and and you ah umm."

Allura's reprimand comes to a stall as she allows herself to look at Keith, as he frees himself from the vines above.  At first all she can see is his legs hanging down. Those legs in those old worn jeans, that don't hide much, and that he hardly wears enough.

Sweety was right on that one!

As he slowly descends, his white Tee shirt gets hung up, giving her a view of him she has rarely seen, but has never forgotten.  In a very, 'un-princess-like manner', she lets her eyes take in his toned masculine form, as he inches his way down in front of her.  He lands with the grace of a cat, adjusting his shirt back down.

He stares at her curiously, taking in her vacant expression. "Allura, are you all right?" he says, as he starts to smile, and then, outright laughs, breaking her out of her daze.

"What?!?"  She tries to give him her dejected scowl, but fails miserably at it, soon giggling as well.

"You are absolutely covered in flowers." he says to her, as he grabs his chair, sets it down in front of her, sits down, and begins to pick them gently out of her hair, one by one.  He continues to laugh. "I'm really sorry, Princess." He barely manages his words through his chuckles.

"Keith, You're bleeding!" Allura suddenly gasps, dropping the mouse to her lap.  She quickly grabs his hand in hers to inspect his thumb. "Chitter...I'm ashamed of you!  How could you?"

Keith tries to pull his hand away. "It's fine, Allura.  Just a little nip is all."

She pulls his thumb to her lips and kisses it, freezing mid kiss.  She looks up to him, his thumb still resting on her lips.

Keith's eyes grow darker than she has ever seen them and she in instantly lost in their depths. The rest of his hand moves to caress her cheek and jaw, as his thumb still rests on her slightly parted lips.

Their faces begin moving closer, now only inches apart.

"Keith?" Allura whispers. "Do you...Do you love me?"

Keith closes his eyes and rests his forehead on hers, his thumb unconsciously running along her lower lip. "Please don't make me say it."

He wraps his other hand around the back of her head, as her other hand comes up to caress his neck, nestling it, gently, into his hairtheir breath steadily becoming more and more rapid.

"Allura." Keith opens his eyes to look into the depths of hers. "I..."


"Sven, Vhere are dey?!  Vhat have you done?!" Nanny shouts, as she bursts into the restaurant with Sven's head in an arm lock.


The pair quickly part 

"Oh no," Allura gasps suddenly. 

"Guess who's coming to dinner." Keith adds, now rising to his feet with Allura.

Nanny now has Sven by the scruff of the neck, making a ruckus as she enters the room, followed closely behind by Coran, with Lance, Hunk and Pidge in tow.  Patrons begin to turn around, observing the commotion.

"I have vorned you and vorned you!" Nanny shouts at the male members of the Voltron Force, now being forcefully dragged through the restaurant.  "You are a BAD influence on her!  Now...look at vhat you have done!"

Allura and Keith cross the room to meet the rest of their friends.  Nanny pushes Sven aside and walks right up to Keith, shaking her finger at him...  "YOU!  You of ALL people!  I expected more out of you, Captain!"

"Nanny...let me explain," Keith begins.

"Noyou let ME explain!" Nanny shouts him as she points at Allura.  "She is a Princess!  You...are a...a...a commoner!"  Nanny then turns to Allura and begins shouting at her.  "And you, young lady, have much to explain!  Is dis how you repay me for years of faithful service to you?  Years of seeing to it dat you are dressed properly...eat properly...sleep properly... only to make me vorry now?  Vhere did I go wrong, Allura?"

"Nanny," Coran interjects, trying to calm the royal governess down.  "I am certain that Keith meant no harm..."

"Meant no harm?" Nanny shouts at Coran.  "Do you honestly approve of dis behavior?  Vhy...just look at how she is dressed!"

"I beg your pardon!" Allura shouts back. "I'm dressed just fine!"

"You look pitiful!  Have you learned no'ting about proper etiquette! Goodness child!! You...you look as if you have been rolling around in a field of flowers!  You have flower pedals every'vhere!" Nanny shouts back. 

"Nanny!" Keith cries out.  "I think you're taking this a bit too far!"

"Uuuugggggghhhhhh!  Vhat's that?!?" Nanny rushes up to Keith, pulling at his shirt. "Look at you!  Vhere have you two been?!  And what have you two been" Nanny then notices a twig in Keith's hair and yanks it out. "Aaahhhhhhhh!!" Nanny swoons and starts to fall.  Keith drops to catch her as Coran too, rushes in to aid.  Nanny slaps Keith away "Get your filthy hands off..."

"Hey, I was just..."

"Don't you dare touch me! You...you...sex crazed maniac!"

"WHAT!?!" Keith shouts as he abruptly begins to run his hands through his hair to calm himself downbut his body still starts to shake. "Oh, now you're pushing it, lady!"

"Never mind, you...you!" Nanny shouts back at Keith as Coran helps her back to her feet.  "You just stay away from her!  She's been pining after you!  I can see it in her eyes!  You are not vorthy of her..."

"Now...just a cotton-picking' minute!" Hunk calls out from behind. "Keith is more worthy than some of the crummy princes you've been parading around the Castle within the last six months!"

"Yeah!" Pidge shouts, adding his voice to Hunk's.  "You can't talk to him like that!"

"He's more of a prince in character, than you'll ever find in the chumps you've been digging up!" Lance added.

"Are you suggesting dat Commander Keith is...isvhat are you saying?" Nanny shouts back.  "She is a Princess!   He is not!  There's nothing more to be said!"

"I am a woman!" Allura cries out, suddenly.  "And very capable of making my own choices in life...even regarding love!"

"You can't be serious, child!" Nanny says to her.  "Allura... you are a Princess!  The people would never accept a commoner as their King!"

"Now...hold on!" Keith chimes in with his eyes suddenly opening up wide.  "Who said anything about being King?"

"You shut up!" Nanny shouts at Keith.

"You will not speak to him like this, Nanny!" Allura shouts at her.  "You have no right, speaking to Keith in this way!"

"He has no right fraternizing with a royal!" Nanny replies. 

The patrons start mumbling to each other... and for a moment, Lance thinks he had heard the replies from one nearby table, saying,

"What's the matter with Commander Keith being with the Princess?"
"Well...if they love each other..."
"Why should we care who rules with her?"

"ALL RIGHT!  ALL RIGHT!  THAT'S ENOUGH!  EVERYONE...JUST SHUT UP!" Keith shouts suddenly.  "I'VE GOT SOMETHING TO SAY!"

Nanny turns and screams, "You have no'ting to say, Captain...accept to apologize for..."

"Forgive me, Nanny, but...SHUT UP!" Keith shouts at her. 

Nanny, suddenly taken back, gasps in a loud and exaggerated tonebut suddenly is silenced.

The entire restaurant also suddenly falls silent.  Even the music stops.

All eyes move to Keith as he stands in the middle of the room, arms outstretched to his sides. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath.

"WHO...said anything about ME being KING?!"

Nanny moves to speak, but the look of death Keith shoots her stops her before she utters a sound.

"For onceand for all!  I cannot marry Allura!" He spins around on all of them, giving them all the same possessed look. "Do you hear me?  I can't marry her!  I CAN'T!!!"

Everyone takes a big step back, even Allura.  No one ever had imagined seeing Keith lose it like this.  Keith's hands shoot back into his hair and he drops his head...his whole body shaking.  And he mutters, just under his breath.  "I can't marry her." His breathing slowly beginning to sound more racked "I...I just...can't"

He then bolts for the nearest exit, slamming the door open and disappears into the shadows.

"Keith!  Keith...WAIT!" Allura calls after him and moves to follow.

Coran stops her by grabbing her arm. "Better to let him cool off, I think."

"Get your hand off of me!" Allura snarls, ripping her arm free.

Nanny moves in suddenly, grabbing onto her shoulders from behind.  "Let him go, Princess!"

"Leave me...ALONE!" Allura shouts, wrenching herself free from Nanny.  She runs toward the door, screaming,  "KEITH!!  COME BACK!!!!"

She runs out of the restaurant after him, and she too, disappears into the dark.

"Allura, NO!" Nanny shouts after her. "Allura get back here, right dis instant!! Allura! Coran, stop her!  She can't go out there with with HIM! Oh my God  Ughhhhhhh." Nanny falls in a dead faint on the floor.

******************
"Keith? Keith, come back....Keith?"  Allura calls out.  She stops in the middle of the road to look around, just as Keith emerges from the barn atop the giant white stallion. "Keith! Wait!" she calls, but he ignores her, riding right past her and away.  Allura falls to the dirt. "KEITH!" she cries out. "I'm soooo sorry..." She dissolves into the ground in racking sobs.

******************

Back in the restaurant, everyone stands around in stunned shock all except Nanny, who lies as an unconscious heap on the floor.  Coran speaks first to remain Voltron Force members. "Come...help me with her." He moves to Nanny side. "Nanny?  Nanny?" He taps her face but gets no reaction.

Lance walks up and kneels beside her. "Well...with that shock, I think she'll be out for hours.  Hunk, give me a hand?"

Hunk comes over and the two of them hoist Nanny's limp body to her feet and drag her outside to the hovercraft they came in.  Pidge and Coran follow, leaving Sven behind.

Sven then stands alone in the center of the restaurant the same, looming silence is still all around him. "Uh," he begins to say, rubbing the back of his neck and giving a halfhearted smile. "Sorry for da uh disruption hehe." He flashes a slight smile, then, walks over to the restaurant's owner, off to the side.  Activities soon returning to normal. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Jean. I really didn't tink dat I'm really sorry.  Look, about da bill whatever you need, jist let me know.  I'd hate to hurt your business by."

"Hurt my business?" The woman laughs. "This is the best thing to ever happen here! Once word spreadsI'll be sending people away!" She grabs Sven's hand and shakes it vigorously. "Thank you son!  Thank you!!  Dinner's on me!"

Sven smiles, knowing better than to argue with the woman. "Tank you, Mrs. Jean." He bows slightly and takes his leave, heading out the door.

***************

"What do you mean her horse isn't there?" Coran looks to the barn.

Pidge is walking back to the group from there. "Sweetheart's gone. The groom said she just took her and rode off that way." He gestures into the woods.

"Oh this is just wonderful." Coran sinks into a seat in the transport next to Nanny. Can you four tell me what in the world you were thinking when you planed all this?"

"I guess we weren't thinking, Coran." Lance kicks some dirt. "Come on, let's go after her."

"NO!" Coran calls. "Please.  I think you all have done quite enough for one night. "They will come back when they are ready. They have their COMs.  They can call if they need help.  And we can track them if necessary..."

The four pilots reluctantly pile into the hovercraft.  They all head back to the Castle.

"Coran?" Pidge asks. "What Keith said back there was that true?  He can't marry Allura?"

Coran bows his head. "Yes Pidge, It's true.  Allura cannot marry him, not if she is to keep her crown.  She would have to step down as ruler and the high council would appoint a new successor."

"What!" Hunk yells.

"But that s not fair." Pidge adds.

"Since when are politics fair?" Lance adds from the driver's seat. "So you're saying Allura's pretty much a slave to her people."

"Lance, I wouldn't go that far" Coran interjects.

"What would you call it then?  You're basically saying she has no say in her future.  If that's not slavery, then what is it?"

What is it?  Coran tugs on his mustache.  What is it, indeed?


This picture of our annoyed Princess, courtesy of:
ZEJAN, THE WONDER MONKEY



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