"Where Have All The Children Gone?"

Story by Adele
Story Copyright 2002
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
The Return of the Festival Tradition

The mighty Lions of Voltron landed in the clearing that had been prepared for them.  The cockpits of all of the lions opened up from the top of their heads, allowing the pilots of each to rise up in their seats and climb out into the sunlight.

Everyone cheered at the appearance of Princess Allura.

Each of the pilots stepped onto a platform lift that began to slowly carry them to the ground. Keith was waving to the people, who were shouting this name, all the while, looking around with his eyes to make sure the coast was clear.

When they had all reached the ground, the children charged at the Princess, their arms extended and their faces brighter then they had
been in quite some time. 

Allura choosen not to wear her uniform.

The three pilots of Voltron stood in a line, as
they watched the children running toward
them as well.

"Hello there!" Pidge greeted, as several small kids came up to him and began jumping all around him...full of excitement.

Hunk too was greeting some of the children, grabbing two small tikes and hoisting them up onto his shoulders.

Keith and the Princess gathered children close to them as well, Allura bent low to the ground to hug several of them.  Keith did likewise, suddenly warming up to the idea that maybe Allura was right...there was nothing to fear.

The village mayor walked up to the team. "Welcome my dear Princess Allura!  You and your companions are most honored on this day!"

Another older woman walked up to
Princess Allura and knelt before her,
grabbing her hand and bringing it to her
lips, gently pressing a kiss on it.

"Your Highness, it does us honor that
you have chosen to resurrect the tradition
that used to always begin the Festival of Lions
each year at harvest.  Your father,
King Alfor, would indeed be proud of you, Your Grace.  Thank you for choosing us to be the first village."

Allura knelt down to the woman and brought her up in a standing position along with her. "It does me honor to see that your spirits have not been broken during the hard years of war that have so plagued our poor planet."

"Your Highness..." the mayor spoke. "We have a bountiful feast awaiting your arrival.  By tradition, the scavenger hunt began the festivities, but with your permission, the woman have been working hard to prepare the feast.  Perhaps we could celebrate with the banquet first followed by the hunt."

"Oh yes!" Allura beamed. "But, may I first be allowed to formally introduce to you the rest of the brave member of the Voltron Force." She pointed to Pidge first, whom the adoring children
surrounded. "This is Lt. Pidge Villatoro, pilot of Green Lion."

Allura pointed to her extreme left. "This is Lt. Hunk Simon, pilot of the Yellow Lion."

Hunk puffed up as if he had just been bestowed some great honor. "Hi everyone!" he shouted heartily.

The kids hollered back at him, calling his name and running all around him.  Hunk never felt more important in his whole life.

Then, Allura turned to Keith, standing directly to her right. "And may I introduce Commander Keith Hunter, pilot of the Black Lion and the brave leader of the Voltron Force."

Keith crossed his right arm over his heart, and bowed before the people. "It is an honor to meet such a brave group of people."

Everyone cheered loudly.

Meanwhile, Jacqie managed to sneak in closer to Keith.  Her teenage crush on the valiant Commander didn't go unnoticed by the Princess.  She put her hand to her mouth and
giggled before leaning in the share her secret with Keith...

"I think I might have some competition, Keith." Allura whispered into his ear, and then nonchalantly pointed her finger toward the unsuspecting girl standing nearby, with puppy dog eyes full of teen love.

Keith also, nonchalantly, turned to glance Jacqie's way, and threw her a smile.  She blushed at his attention, and quickly turned her head with embarrassment.

Keith then turned back to Allura. "Nah, she's too young.  I have a rule never to date younger women."

"And what do you call me?" Allura huffed playfully. "I'm younger then you, you know!"

Keith winked at her. "Yeah, but you're of an acceptable age difference.  You're only two years younger then me.  She's got to be at least 10 years younger...and that's too much younger for me!  Besides...who mentioned anything about dating anyone?"

He then shot the Princess another wink...meant especially for her.

"Oh you!" Allura smiled, elbowing Keith gently in the ribs.  He pulled back and let out a laugh.

"Your Highness, if you and your party would follow me, I will escort you to the our banquet facilities." Mayor Sonnet said.

"Thank you, Mayor Sonnet." Allura replied.

Keith stepped aside to allow the Princess to move forward.  He then turned to move on, when his eye caught sight of the young teenaged girl that Allura had pointed out moments ago.  He started to move forward to her, stopping right in front of where she was standing..

"Hello," Keith smiled at the young girl. "What's your name?"

The girl was stunned. "Uh-h-h...m-m-my n-n-name is...uh...oh wait...I FORGOT!"

Keith couldn't help but chuckle at the girl's nervous response and the mortified look on her face. "Well, when you remember, come find me.  I'd like you sit at our table.  You look like you could use a friend."

The Voltron Commander started to walk off with the rest of the villagers when suddenly, he heard a hysterical yell from behind him....

"JACQIE!  MY NAME IS...uh...Jacqie." She suddenly felt embarrassed, catching everyone's attention at that point.

Keith turned around and went back to the young girl. "Hmmm, Jacqie, huh?" he said. "Well Jacqie, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to escort you to the banquet."

"M-m-me?" Jacqie shivered. "You must mean s-s-someone else!"

"No, I mean you!" Keith replied kindly before extending his elbow toward her. "May I escort you the banquet, young lady?"

Jacqie was stunned.

"Is this for real?  I mean...Commander Keith Hunter, the second most important person on our planet...wants to escort me...me?" the young girl thought.

"I don't mean to sound impatient, but I do have to keep up with the Princess.  So, if you don't mind, may we can get going?" Keith smiled, still extending his elbow again toward the teenage girl.

"Oh!  Uh...sure!" she jumped, gently, almost barely taking his elbow as her father had taught her to do, and allowed her to be escorted by most certainly the most handsomest man there... besides her own father, of course.

"Wait till the other girls see me!" Jacqie thought proudly as she looked up at Keith.

His gaze was straight ahead of them, keeping a watchful eye on Allura up ahead in the crowd of villagers.

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

As they all arrived at the banquet hall, some of Jacqie's friends caught sight of her on the arm of the Voltron Commander.  Angeline smacked her friend Kentell in the shoulder, and pointed to Jacqie as Keith was leading her into the banquet hall.

"Whoa!" Kentell gawked at the two of them. "She did it...she really did it!"

"I can't believe her!" Angeline chuckled. "Hanging all over him like that!  Too much!"

"Aw, you're just mad because you didn't have a chance to do the same if Lance were here!" said a new girl in the group, Rayna. "I think he's pretty cool."

Rayna was almost 14 years-old, but not quite boy-crazy yet.  She was more into the technical things of life.  Her father was part of the Princess's royal army.

"You really don't understand anything, do you Rayna?" Angeline spat.  "You wouldn't know anything handsome if it walked up and bit you!"

"I beg your pardon!" Rayna spat back.

"Girls...girls!" one of the elder woman of the village said, walking up behind the group of young people. "This is a time of celebration, not a time to bicker!  Why don't we all go into the
banquet hall and get a seat."

"Yes ma'am." The children replied. Kentell led the way.

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

Several minutes later, Mayor Sonnet stood at the head table, where Pidge and Hunk had already taken their seats.  Jacqie caught up with her friends after Keith escorted her in. She politely declined to sit up front, after she saw that everyone would be staring at her.

"May I have everyone's attention, please!" the mayor shouted out loud. 

The enormous crowd quieted down instantly.

"Thank you, everyone.  I would like to thank all of you for pulling your weight on such short notice, to help pull things together.  It has been wonderful working closely with each and every one of you.  And now, it is my extreme honor to present to you our very honored guest, who has taken it upon herself to enact the great traditions of the past.  I am proud to introduce to you, Her Royal Highness, Princess Allura, escorted by Commander Keith Hunter, leader of the Voltron Force!"

A hearty applause broke out as everyone rose to their feet.  Keith appeared in the doorway and stepped aside to allow Princess to move in next to him.  He then took her hand and placed it on his elbow, covering it with his other hand.  Allura smiled at him, and he returned the smile.

"Ready?" he asked her.

Allura nodded once, and they began to walk through the tremendous crowd of people that had gathered that afternoon.

At the head table, Hunk leaned over to Pidge, who as still applauding for Keith and Allura.

"Hey, Pidge-O, doesn't this remind you of a marriage banquet?" Hunk mused. "Especially looking at who's coming down through the crowd?"

Pidge chuckled. "Better not let them hear you say that!" Pidge said, pointing toward Keith and the Princess as they began making their way to the front of the room.

"I know... but can't you see this being...like...a practice run for them or something?" Hunk asked Pidge.

"Hunk...you're killing me!" Pidge said, laughing out loud now.

Hunk joined in the laughter, and then returned his gaze to his approaching friends.

Each person bowed as the Princess passed by.  Allura was touched by the kindness of the villagers.  The event seemed to be turning out better then she had expected.  She turned her head to look at Keith, and found that he was looking at her.

Keith was thinking how lucky a man he was to know such a wonderful, spirited person as the Princess of Arus.  He could see how much her people loved her, and how much they admired her gentle spirit.

He had heard throughout the crowd, the mumbling of comparisons of her to her father, King Alfor.  He never knew Alfor, but judging from his daughter, he knew that these people also loved the late king.

As they arrived to the head table, Keith pulled out the chair for Allura to be seated in.  She was sitting next to Mayor Sonnet on the left, and Keith was to sit on the right.  Hunk and Pidge were sitting to Keith's right.

As they all sat down, Allura rose to her feet one more time, and lead the people of the village in a prayer of thanksgiving.

After the prayer had been said, Princess Allura picked up her toasting glass and held it in front of her.  She spoke a few words to the people who had gathered at this auspicious occasion.

"Good people of Capri! Thank you for
making my friends and I so welcome
amongst all of you. I truly am pleased
that the forces of Doom have not broken
your spirit. And they shall never, I suspect.
I have resurrected this grand tradition of
the past because it was something that
my father had held so dear to his heart.
I remember as a child, each year at
harvest, just before the Festival of Lions
would begin, that my father would select
a village or town, and would begin the
festival there by celebrating various activities
with the people. These activities ranged
from a bountiful feast, such as the one we are about to enjoy, to a royal scavenger hunt,
and then finally, a bonfire to end the day.  There, my father would tell the children of Arus the stories of the Lion Warriors of the past.  I am please to say that this tradition is not lost to thismonarch, and in fact, shall be continued for generations to come."

The people once again erupted in a tremendous applause.  Allura quieted the crowd as she finished her speech...

"My people, Zarkon could not defeat us! Lotor could not defeat us!  We shall prevail!  And this celebration demonstrates the spirit of unity that we all have for one another.  And now, let the festival officially begin!"

Everyone raised a glass to toast the beginning
of the festival.

The food was served immediately afterward.



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

As all of the villagers were feasting in the banquet hall, Lotor and Hagar were hidden in the forest of the Capri, their weapons of Doom concealed from any scanners, and the cloaking devices from the ships hovering above the planet were working perfectly.

Lotor opened a channel to his command ship above.

"Qeequa...LeFeat...where are you two?"

"Here...oh Merciless One!" Qeequa replied, his voice having a scruffy sound to it.

"Are you two ready?" Lotor huffed into his wrist communicator

"Ready, El Capitain!" Qeequa replied.

"Good...if you two screw this up,
I'm going to hang you from the galley...
understand?" Lotor grunted.

"Oh yes Sire!" LeFeat replied.
"We have everything under control here!"

"Yeah, when you guys chase Princess Allura
into the cave with the children, we seal up the
entrance by using our main guns from up here, and firing on the entrance way!" Qeequa added.

Lotor's eyes narrowed. "Very good.  Let's see if you can remember the plan when the time comes!"

"Oh we will!" Qeequa replied.

"See to it that you do!" Lotor shouted, then terminated the link.  He then turned to Hagar. "I don't trust them."

"They will do fine, Majesty.  We must do our part.  Our robot guards even now, are hidden throughout different parts of the forest.  When Princess Allura and the children come into the forest for the hunt, they shall discover several of our soldiers instead, who will herd them all into the nearby cave.  Then Qeequa and LeFeat will seal up the cave entrance with the ship's blasters, cutting her off from everyone.  We can then enter on the other side, and capture the
Princess and the children there." Hagar hissed.

"This had better work." Lotor huffed. "I want Allura for my bride!  And I'm getting tired of this game she plays!"

"It shall work, and not only to capture Allura, but to capture all of Planet Arus, and to destroy the robot lions at last!" Hagar reassured. "With the robot lions at your disposal, the galaxy shall be yours!"

"If it weren't for the fact that they
have some sort of energy shield up
around them now, I'd destroy the lions
where they stand in the village fields!
But I can't get near them!" Lotor said, shaking
his fleshy fist into the air. "They have
caused me more trouble in my lifetime.
And they did this to me!" referring to
the cyborg portions of his body that
replaced what use to be skin. "They shall
pay...all of them!"

"Easy, my Prince," Hagar warned. "Do not give us away!  Remain calm!"

Lotor settled back down behind the bushes. "I will Hagar, but only until I have this miserable planet for my own.  Then my first duty will be to destroy the Voltron lions and its miserable pilots along with them...save one.  Princess Allura will become my queen at last!"

The evil ones huddled back down into the bushes...awaiting their chance to strike.
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