"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 7
An Unwelcome Find

Princess Allura led the children into the forest, officially launching the start of the Royal Scavenger Hunt.  The treasures were carefully hidden throughout an eighth of a mile radius.

Once they had reached the, 'home base' designation, Allura turned and addressed the anxious children, who were patiently waiting to begin searching.

"Alright children!" Allura shouted to the crowd of 26 small children and five older children. "You will have half an hour to search.  At the end of that time, I will blow on this whistle that I have hanging around my neck, and that will be a signal for you to stop what you are doing, and come back here to me.  Are you ready?"

"YEAH!" the kids shouted.

"Then, let's begin!" Allura announced loudly, allowing the children to head off in different directions of the forest.

Pidge walked up to the Princess. "Well, there they go." He chuckled, imagining how much fun it must be for them. "Wish I were a kid again.  Then, I could hunt too."

"Why don't you go with them, then?" Allura asked, pointing toward the area where the children had just run off toward.

Pidge sighed. "Because Keith would have my hide, if I didn't keep an eye on you."

Allura frowned. "Our noble commander is much too strict." She said with a 'humph' sound. "He needs to loosen up."

"I agree!" Pidge replied. "This looks like a ton of fun...even for a 19 year-old like me!"

"I won't tell if you don't..." Allura whispered into Pidge's ear.

"Well, I don't know, Princess..." Pidge pondered over the thought of leaving her to join in the search with some of the children.

"Go on, Pidge. I'll keep watch!" she smiled. "Regardless what Keith thinks, I'm a big girl... and well able to defend myself."

"Are you sure, Princess?" Pidge questioned cautiously. "I mean...if something should happen..."

"Nothing will happen, Pidge." Allura said with a wave of her hand. "Go on now...go and have fun!  Before you're too old to have any fun at all!"

After a moment, Pidge nodded his head and took off toward a direction that a few of the smaller children had gone to.

Allura took a few steps forward deeper into the forest, attempting to follow a few of the older children.

But her eyes wandered back and forth, watching for any unsuspecting trouble.

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

Lotor laid in wait, seeing some of the children pass by the place where he and Hagar had chosen to hide.  He gritted his teeth, displaying an almost evil hatred for them.

"Detestable little urchins!" Lotor grumbled under his breath. "I can't wait to get them out of my sight!"

"Easy, Prince...or you'll spoil the surprise!" Hagar warned. "The Princess must come closer toward the cave for us to reveal our presence."

"Yes, Hagar, yes...but you do know that I hate to wait!" Lotor grumbled once again.

Hagar shushed Lotor suddenly. "Silence fool!  She's coming!"

Lotor's eyes lit up with desire as he saw the Princess making her way lazily through the forest area...unguarded.

"Foolish child!" Hagar mused. "She's alone...and unprotected!"

"Too bad for her!" Lotor replied with an evil grin.

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

Allura lazily walked through the forest area, allowing her mind to think back on how much she used to love romping through the forests as a child, searching for the same treasures that these children were searching for now.

She fondly thought of her father...and how proud he would be if he were alive to participate in this joyous time with her and her friends.


"ALLURA..."


She suddenly stopped dead in her tracks, only yards away from Lotor and Hagar. Then she heard the voice again...


"ALLURA... ALLURA..."



She paused and listened. "Father...
is... is that you?" she said in a quiet voice.



"Allura...Lotor is near... run child,
run...for the sake of Arus...get
away...quickly, my daughter!"



"What?" she gasped,
horrified at the voice's warning.

She looked up ahead...and caught a glimpse of a
white-haired figure crouching down in the bushes.
It was all she needed to see to convince her.

"PIDGE!" she screamed, turning to run away. "PIDGE...GET THE CHILDREN!  ITS LOTOR!"

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

Allura's voice echoed throughout the forest area.  Some of the older children, who were nearby searching for treasure, caught the sound in their ears, and immediately looked up attentively.

It was Kentell who started running first toward the sound of the frightened Princess.

"Come on!" he shouted to Brian, Jacqie, Rayna, and Angeline. 

All of them quickly dropped what they were doing and ran after Kentell.

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

Lotor rose to his feet. "She's found us!  Quick, old witch!  Do something!"

Hagar quickly waved her globe wand in front of her, and she immediately disappeared.

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

Allura was running wildly through the forest, not even sure if she was heading the right way to get out.  As she thought to reach and activate her wrist COM, a glow suddenly appeared in front of her, and she stopped suddenly.

Hagar appeared from the midst of the glow.

"Going somewhere, Princess Allura?" she hissed.

Startled and frightened, Allura began to slowly back away from he old hag.

Hagar cackled at her,
"I'm afraid that your boyfriend
is waiting for you in the other
direction!  Do make things easier
on yourself by coming with me now!
Otherwise, your little friends running
through the forest will pay for your
disobedience!"

Suddenly remembering the whistle around her neck, Allura quickly grabbed it and placed it in her mouth, blowing on it wildly, and hoping someone would hear it.

Caught off guard, Hagar looked in the other direction to see whom she was summoning.  Allura had found her chance, and began running in the opposite direction, blowing the whistle loudly as she ran.

"That's it, Princess!" Hagar laughed. "Run that way!  Run to Lotor!"

Allura didn't hear her; she kept running and blowing the whistle.  Without a blaster, Allura was defenseless.  And she didn't have time to use her COM link now. 

Only one thing she could do...

"KEITH...KEITH...HELP ME!" her mind sought out the Voltron leader.  "CAN YOU HEAR ME, KEITH?"

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

The villagers suddenly quieted down as they heard the sound of the whistle being blown.

"All of the treasure must have been found!" Mayor Sonnet cheered.  The village erupted in a hardy round of applause.

Keith turned to Hunk, and looked at
his watch. "It hasn't been a half
hour yet." Keith said to the
Yellow Lion pilot. "There was a lot of
treasure hidden out there.
The kids couldn't have found it all yet."

"Yeah...so, why is Allura's whistle blowing?"
Hunk thought aloud.

Keith felt a mental alert going off in his head.
He instintively knew it was Allura.
And she was in trouble.

"Something's gone wrong, Hunk! 
Move out!" Keith shouted suddenly.

"How do you know..." Hunk started to say.

"I just know!" Keith shouted suddenly, pointing to the forest. "Find the Princess!"

Hunk and Keith turned to the village people. "Mayor Sonnet, until we're sure of what's going on, we urge you and the villagers to return to the banquet hall immediate and wait for us there." Keith warned.

"But, I don't understand..." the mayor said, confused.

"I don't have time to explain!  Just do as I'm asking you to do!" Keith urged as he turned to run off.

The mayor gathered the villagers and gave them instruction to head quickly back to the banquet hall.

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

Keith pointed to Hunk to head left and circle around to the sound of the whistle, and Keith headed straight toward it.  He opened up his wrist COM.

"Pidge!  What's going on?" Keith anxiously asked.  "Where's Allura?"

There was a hesitation before Pidge answered. "Keith!  I can't find the Princess!"

Keith grew suddenly angry. "Pidge!  You were supposed to be guarding her!  What happened?"

"I...well...she told me to go join the hunt...so, I guess I did... and...uh..." Pidge replied reluctantly, waiting for the angry backlash.

He didn't have to wait long.

"YOU DID WHAT?  PIDGE!"

"I'm...I'm sorry, Keith!  She told me to go...she said she'd be okay..." Pidge stammered.

"Never mind that now!  Find her!" Keith shouted, drawing his blaster, and heading toward the sound of the whistle he had been hearing in the distance ahead.

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

Kentell, Brian, Jacqie, Rayna, and Angeline met up with some of the smaller children, all running toward the sound of the whistle.  As they neared the area of the sound, they saw the Princess being confronted by a blue-skinned man, coming out of the nearby brush.

Kentell acted immediately.

"Leave her alone!  You big freak!" Kentell shouted, waving his hands in the air.

Allura saw the boy on fast approach, with several other children, both young and older right behind him.

"NO!" she shouted. "STOP!  STAY WHERE YOU ARE!"

"PRINCESS!" Kentell shouted. "RUN, PRINCESS!"

Lotor took aim with his blaster at the teenager running toward him.  Allura immediately picked up a nearby branch and through it with all of her might at Lotor's arm.  She connected, and he dropped the blaster from his hand.

A shot of laser fire had discharged from the gun as it was knocked from Lotor's grasp, zipping past the head of Kentell.

Allura had seconds to think.  She saw a cave nearby.  She then screamed to the children running toward her. "Quickly!  Into the cave! Hurry!"

As they ran past her, she hurriedly ran after them shouting now behind them. "Run for the cave!  Don't stop!  Keep running!" she called out.

Lotor picked up his blaster. "You've earned this, Princess!" he screamed as the fired into the crowd of children.

The blast fell between several kids, scattering them like mice.

Frightened by the near impact of the blast, Jacqie screamed and slid to the ground, quickly shuffling behind a mass of bushes.  Her other friends kept going, not realizing that she had been separated from them.

Allura herded the children into the cave, instructing them to run deep inside for protection. Frustrated, Lotor opened a link to his ship, the Revenge, hovering in Arus's upper atmosphere.

"Qeequa!  LeFeat!  Fire the ship's blasters at the cave entrance!  Seal the Princess inside!" Lotor shouted.

"Aye, aye!" Qeequa grunted.

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

From Lotor's flagship, a sudden blast of energy shot through the atmosphere, but instead of hitting the cave's opening directly, it hit just off to the side of the opening...starting a chain reaction cave in.

Inside, the rocks above began to give way, send the falling debris all over the ground where the Princess stood, huddling together with nine small children and four teenagers.

Screams erupted from the frightened youngsters,
and even from the Princess.  But she kept her head,
herding the children deeper into the caverns for safety.



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

From where he stood, Keith heard the blasting sound, and the impact it had made.  The thunderous sound was all too familiar to his ears.  It was a ship's blaster...and it was firing to the ground.

By this time, Pidge had joined back up with Keith and Hunk.

Keith turned to his teammates. "Hunk...Pidge!  Get to your lions!  Ward off that ship!"

"What about you?" Hunk shouted, grabbing Keith's arm.

"I'm going in to search by land.  You two get rid of that ship, and get back here quick!" Keith ordered.

"Gottcha!" Hunk replied, tugging at a very guilty looking Pidge. "Let's go little buddy!"

Pidge reluctantly ran after his larger friend.  Keith kept moving forward toward the blast.

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

Debris was still falling all around them.  Allura instructed the children to cover their heads with their hands, and to keep moving.

The cave was very dark, and the only light any of them had was the light of a single flashlight that Brian had with him.  His mother made him bring it in case the forest became too dark to see in.

More debris began falling, as the after effects of the blast shook the already unstable cave.

Allura ran to gather the children to her, but instead, lost her footing and fell to the ground.  She quickly got to her feet and attempted once again to rally the children.

"Calm down, everyone!" she cried, as she attempted to be heard above their screaming. "We're going to be fine!  Commander Keith, Hunk and Pidge will take care of the bad people! Remain calm!"

A few of the children began crying.  Allura tried to calm them, as she stooped to the ground and gather them in her arms.

"There, there..." she soothed. "It's going to be alright.  You'll see."

Angeline was looking around her, suddenly realizing that one of them was missing. "JACQIE!" she shouted. "JACQIE!  WHERE IS SHE?"

Kentell looked around, and found she was missing.  Rayna went over to comfort Angeline.

Brian came up to them.  "I don't know where she is!  She must have gotten separated from us!"

Kentell went over to the Princess. "Your Highness!  Jacqie is missing!  We've lost her!  We have to go and find her fast!"

Allura quickly rose to her feet. "No!  We can't go back!"

"I have to!" Kentell cried. "She's my friend!  I have to go back!"

Allura saw something in this boy, that very much reminded her of Keith.

She looked to the others. "Stay with the smaller ones!  I'm going with him to find the missing girl!"

"I'm coming too, Princess!" Brian shouted, throwing his flashlight to Rayna.

"Then let's hurry!" she ordered, and three of them ran back down toward the cave entrance.
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