Haggar gazed down at the image with intensity, studying it. She heard the footsteps approaching from behind, but paid them no attention, knowing who it was behind her. She sensed his greatly annoyed air before he even spoke.
"I’m getting very impatient with you, witch," Lotor told her irritably, "Voltron has been at a disadvantage for months now, and we sit here and do nothing. We could have taken them now if your plan hadn’t failed."
"Ah, but it didn’t fail," Haggar assured him, "It just took a slight turn. We can still use this to our advantage."
"How?" Lotor asked, "The commander is still alive, no thanks to you. Not only that, but he’s better now."
"But not completely," Haggar amended him, "Commander Keith has lost his memory."
"So?" Lotor asked, urging her to get to the point.
"In his weak condition, and without his memory, he will be easy to control."
Lotor frowned at her.
"You want to cast your spell over him, witch?" he asked, "What good will that do?"
"You’ll see," Haggar promised.
Lotor just grunted.
* * *
Keith stepped out into the cool night air and shivered, but not from being cold. Keith was confused and frustrated. He had spent the last week being drilled about his own life, but he still couldn’t remember any of it no matter how hard he tried. He could tell the others were getting frustrated too, especially Lance. Keith had caught his look earlier that night. Keith had become troubled ever since seeing Lance look at him that way. His teammates’ uneasiness was rubbing off on him, which only made Keith feel worse. And he didn’t know what to do to fix it.
He made his way into the garden and slowly followed the narrow path, keeping his head down to watch his feet take their steps, his hands digging deep into his pockets. He didn’t look at the flowers, nor at the full moon that shone clearly in the starry sky that cloudless night. He instead settled himself in his own troubled thoughts. He was completely unaware of where he was heading or what was around him.
Nor was he aware of the two figures that suddenly materialized right behind him. His head snapped up at a sudden noise behind him, but before he could turn around, something struck him on the back of his head and he was met with blackness.
* * *
Allura stepped quickly over the garden path, trying to catch up with her prey. But when she arrived at the spot where he should have been, no one was there. She looked all around her, but the garden was still. Allura frowned puzzled. She thought she had seen Keith walk in here only a few moments ago. She had been hoping to speak with him. But now he was nowhere in sight. But he couldn’t have just disappeared.
"Maybe I was wrong," Allura thought aloud.
Sighing in part disappointment, part relief, Allura turned around and headed back the way she’d come.
* * *
Keith’s eyes opened and he lifted his head groggily. At first everything before him was a blur. Keith blinked his eyes and few times to try to clear them. The place he was in was dimly lit, but he could tell he was in some sort of ship. As he tried to move into a more comfortable position, Keith realized his arms were tied behind his back and his feet were bound together. He was seated in a chair in a nearly empty room. He felt cold, genuinely cold this time. Apparently the ship wasn’t heated very much. Keith frowned and tried to clear his head to think of a way out of this. He didn’t even know who’d kidnapped him.
Then he heard a noise behind him, a soft, high-pitched chuckle. It was a voice he thought he recognized. He strained his head around to see the other person in the room with him, but she was out of view.
"Who are you?" he demanded, "Why am I here?"
"Patience, Commander," the voice told him calmly, almost gleefully, "You will understand in time."
Now the voice was really familiar.
"You’re a witch," Keith said aloud.
"Very good," Haggar congratulated him.
She finally moved in front of him, so Keith got a good look at her. He wasn’t too pleased at what he saw. Boy, she was ugly.
"What do you want from me?" he asked, his voice trying to stay calm.
"I have a job for you," Haggar told him.
"But first," Haggar continued, ignoring him, "we must prepare you."
She brought her staff out from the folds of her skirt. A glowing green crystal ball was settled at the end of it. She waved it in front of Keith’s face.
"You’re very lucky I’ve been able to keep Prince Lotor away from here," she told him, "Or you’d be lying half-dead by now. Maybe fully dead."
"Lotor," Keith repeated the name with distaste, "I know him."
"Shh," Haggar spoke up abruptly, beginning the spell, "Just relax, Commander, and let me do the work."
With his gaze locked on the crystal ball, Keith had no choice but to obey.
* * *
They all met in the dining room the following morning, waiting for Nanny to bring dinner and wondering why Keith was late. Usually he was one of the first one’s there, next to Hunk. Now Allura, Lance and the others sat at their usual places, occasionally glancing at Keith’s chair. Lance started tapping his fingers on the table. Allura had her hands resting demurely on her lap. She was worried, because she hadn’t been able to find Keith the night before. He hadn’t been in his room, nor the lounge, nor Castle Control.
"Breakfast is served!" Nanny announced rolling in their meal on a small cart.
"Smells great, Nanny," Hunk said eagerly.
As always, Nanny gave him a double serving. When she got to Keith’s seat, the middle-aged woman frowned.
"Where is the Commander?" she asked.
They all turned to see Keith walking calmly into the room. He sat down without another word, not even so much as an apology for being late. Nanny glanced at him a moment, displeased, before she grudgingly served him.
"You are lucky your breakfast didn’t grow cold, Commander," she told him crisply, taking her seat.
Keith didn’t even acknowledge her as he dug in to his food. Lance and Sven exchanged glances. Apparently their friend had woken up on the wrong side of the bed that morning.
"Keith," Coran spoke up, "I would like you to take a shift to monitor Castle Control this evening. Is that all right with you?"
"That will be fine," Keith responded shortly, without even glancing up.
Coran nodded, thinking nothing of it. Keith’s teammates, however, were thinking a lot of it.
"Are you all right, Keith?" Sven asked with concern.
They all looked at him. Keith looked up and met there gaze. The smile he plastered on his face seemed to be forced.
"I’m fine," he told them, "I just didn’t get very much sleep last night."
Sven nodded slowly as Keith returned to his meal. He didn’t look convinced. Allura caught him exchanging another look with Lance. She then turned her gaze back to Keith, and wondered what could be wrong.
* * *
Keith sat casually in the chair facing the control panel in Castle Control. No one else was in the room, it being late in the evening and quiet outside. His eyes stared unseeing at the monitors, not really taking in the input flashing across them. He was not enjoying his idleness and itched to escape the drab duty.
The doors slid open behind him, but Keith did not turn to see who was coming. He already knew who it was. He could tell by the soft footfalls, the flowery aroma, and the light breathing. She came closer and stopped beside his chair to look down at him. Keith still refused to return her gaze.
"Hi, Keith," Allura greeted him quietly.
"Your Highness," he replied, nodding once.
Allura winced. She hated when he called her that.
"I think we can do away with the formalities, Keith," she told him, "You can call me Allura."
"That would be inappropriate," Keith replied shortly, "Not only that, it would demean your position. You are my superior on this planet."
Allura frowned. She didn’t want him to think that way.
"You never used to call me Your Highness," she told him, "And I’m not your superior, not really. I mean, as long as I’m a part of Voltron, you’re my leader as much as you are the others’. I’m used to taking orders from you."
Keith did not respond to this. He just stared intently at the screen in front of him. It was almost as if he were ignoring her.
"Keith?" she asked.
"I am busy, Your Highness," he told her in a biting tone, "I’m sure you should be retiring to bed now."
Allura almost gasped. Keith never spoke to her that way, not even after the accident. He had never once dismissed her so coldly before. Feeling a bit hurt, Allura stared at him for a brief moment before turning on her heels and leaving the room quickly. She didn’t look back as she entered the hallway and stormed down it, heading back to her bedchambers. She was so angry at Keith that she rounded a corner at her quickened pace without even registering the footsteps that were beyond it. She and Lance bumped into each other roughly.
"Oh, Lance," Allura remarked in surprise as they both quickly stepped back, "I’m so sorry."
Lance gave her a wide smile.
"No sweat, Princess," he told her, "You can bump into me anytime."
Allura grinned at him, then slowly let her smile fade as she remembered her previous conversation with Keith. Lance caught her look.
"What are you in such a hurry to get away from?" he asked her.
Allura shook her head.
"Oh, it’s Keith," she told him.
Suspicion entered Lance’s eyes.
"What about him?" he asked.
"He’s just acting strange," Allura told him, "He seems to be in a really bad mood. I think he just basically told me to go away."
"Hmm," Lance rubbed his chin, "That’s not like him."
"Do you think it’s because of his amnesia?" she asked with worry.
Lance shook his head.
"I don’t know," he admitted, "But he seemed OK before today."
Allura bit her lip.
"I’m worried about him, Lance," she admitted.
Lance nodded, laying a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"I’ll talk to him," he promised.
"You should probably wait a while," she advised, "He wasn’t in a very recepting mood when I left him."
Lance grinned and nodded.
"Sure thing, Princess."
* * *
Lance watched as Keith exited Castle Control later that night. As Keith started walking down the hall toward his quarters, Lance stealthily followed his old friend, being sure not to attract attention. He didn’t want Keith to know he was following him. Ever since that morning at the breakfast table, Lance had been suspicious of his friend’s behavior. Even more so now after talking to the Princess. The way he was acting just wasn’t like Keith, amnesia or not. Whatever was going on with his leader, Lance wanted to get to the bottom of it.
Keith rounded a corner and disappeared, and Lance quickly and quietly hurried to reach the corner. When he carefully peered out to see his friend, he was surprised to see the hallway before him totally empty. Keith was not there. Lance scratched his head, confused. As far as he knew, Keith didn’t really have any business being in the rooms along this corridor. Lance walked farther in, walking past some of the doors, wondering where Keith would have gone.
Then he felt a hand grab his shoulder.
Lance spun around, assuming a defensive position. He wasn’t all that surprised to find Keith standing there, gazing at him. Who else would it have been? Lance slowly lowered his defenses and regarded his friend warily.
"You were following me," Keith stated. His face revealed no emotions. Of course Lance knew that wasn’t usually a good thing.
"Uh, yeah," Lance said, "I talked to the Princess earlier. She seemed to think you weren’t acting like yourself. I just wanted to see if you were OK."
Keith looked at him a moment, and Lance considered raising his defenses again. Then suddenly Keith grinned and patted Lance on his shoulder.
"Don’t worry about it," Keith assured him, "I know I’ve been in a really rotten mood today. I’ll make it up to her tomorrow."
Lance relaxed, relieved. OK, this was more like the old Keith. He returned the grin.
"Hey, we all have our bad days," Lance told him, "I’m sure this whole amnesia thing isn’t easy on ya. Anything I can do?"
Keith shook his head.
"I’m all right," he said, "Nothing a good night’s sleep can’t cure."
"Whatever you say, Pal," Lance told him, backing away, "G’night."
"Good night, Lance."
Lance turned and left, heading for his own room. He started shaking his head at himself. Of course Keith would be feeling a lot of pressure right now. It was no wonder he was in a bad mood that day. Lance knew he had overreacted. The Princess had probably done the same thing. They had all been a bit touchy around Keith ever since he had woken up from his coma. Keith’s bad mood had probably just created their ungrounded suspicions.
Feeling like a bit of a heel for spying on his best friend, Lance retreated into his quarters for the evening.
* * *
Allura’s sleep was fitful, and her pale face carried a slight frown as she dreamt. She slowly came awake as her door chime rang for the third time. Allura stretched under her silky sheets as he eyes came open and she yawned. Whatever her dream had been, she didn’t remember any of it now that she was awake. Realizing what had awoken her, Allura quickly climbed out of bed and threw on her robe, wondering who could be looking for her so early. It couldn’t be Nanny. She would just barge in.
Making sure the robe was securely in place, Allura went to the door and opened it. She was surprised to see Keith standing on the other side. He was fully dressed, and his hands were clasped behind his back. He smiled at her as soon as she appeared before him.
"Good morning, Your Highness," he greeted her formally.
"Keith," she said, still a bit puzzled at his presence, "Is something the matter?"
Keith shook his head.
"Not at all," he assured her, "I know this is very late notice, but I was wondering if you would accompany me on a morning ride."
"A ride?" she asked him. She knew he meant on the horses. But he had never asked her to join him on a ride before.
He looked at her expectantly, and after only a moment she knew what her answer would be.
"What time would you like me to meet you?" she asked him, a small grin forming on her lips.
Keith’s grin grew wider.
"Whenever you’re ready," he replied.
"I can be ready in half an hour," she told him.
"I’ll have the horses ready then," he promised.
With that he gave her a small little bow before turning and walking down the corridor. Allura looked after him, still puzzled at his invitation, but pleased nonetheless. She quickly ducked back into her room and began to get ready.
* * *
They had been riding for about a quarter of an hour. They had already reached the forest near the Castle, and were following a wide path cleared specially for horseback riding. They rode side by side in silence. Neither of them had spoken since they had departed. Allura didn’t mind. She enjoyed being outside in the morning when the dew was still on the grass and the birds were singing enthusiastically, announcing a new day. From the time she was a girl, Allura always enjoyed early mornings. She hadn’t gotten to have very many in the past few years. She was suddenly glad Keith had asked her that particular morning.
She glanced over at him. Keith was sitting up straight in his saddle, looking straight ahead, his jaw set. He guided his steed with purpose, as if he knew exactly where he was taking them. Allura wondered. His attitude had totally reversed since the night before. She thought perhaps Lance or Sven had been able to talk to him.
"Let’s stop here," Keith suddenly spoke up.
Allura looked over at him quickly. Keith was lithely dismounting his horse and began tying it to a nearby tree. He then came over and helped her down off her own horse, grabbing her gently around her waist to lift her down. He then tied off her own horse.
"So what are we going to do here?" she asked him, partially puzzled, partially expectant.
Keith looked at her, then held out his hand. This was another surprise. With only a moment’s hesitation, Allura extended her own hand and allowed him to grasp it in his own. He then pulled her off the path into the forest.
"Where are you taking me," she asked, a smile coming unbidden to her lips.
"It’s a surprise," he told her.
Curious, Allura followed him through the woods, tingling a bit at the contact between their interlocked hands. She had never held hands with a man before. Not like this. She wondered what he could possibly be up to.
Then Allura began to hear a rushing sound, like that of falling water, and she instantly knew where he was leading her. There was a small waterfall in this part of the forest. She used to go there with her mother to pick the wild flowers that grew near it. She hadn’t been there in a long time. As they neared the falls, Keith’s hand tightened his grip on her own, and she returned the pressure without thinking.
"I want to apologize, Your Highness," he told her just then, stealing a glance at her, "I was very rude to you last night. There is no excuse for my behavior."
Allura looked at him quickly.
"It’s all right, Keith," she assured him, "You were just in a bad mood. I understand. I can only imagine what you’re going through."
Keith nodded. They then came into the clearing with the waterfall. Both of them took the time to take in the sight. It was more quaint than beautiful, since the waterfall was very small. It dropped down into a small pond that was dotted with lilypads on the opposite end. Bright red flowers were scattered along the thin shoreline, the same flowers Allura and her mother used to collect to decorate her room. This time Allura was the one who added pressure to their hand-hold as she remembered past times she spent in that place. It was very special to her. And now it was even more special.
Keith turned to her then, and looked down at her so their gazes locked. She could see him searching, looking deep into her eyes. Then he spoke.
"I have something to tell you," he told her, "Something important."
She waited expectantly, then widened her eyes and opened her mouth in surprise as he raised his free hand to caress her soft cheek. A warmth started to fill her at his gentle touch. When he let his hand move under his chin to tilt it up toward him, she let him. Their eyes locked once again, and she noticed their faces were very close. He was looking down at her intently. She then closed her eyes, thinking he was going to kiss her.
But he didn’t. Instead he began to laugh. Startled, Allura opened her eyes to look at him questioningly. She could tell that his laughter contained no humor. As he began to back away from her, breaking their contact, another voice joined in with Keith’s laughter. She recognized that voice. She began to feel a sinking, sick feeling in her stomach. With a dreaded realization she knew she had fallen into a trap.
* * *
Sven was staring out the window of the lounge when he saw his friend running quickly for the Castle. Keith was bleeding from a small wound on his head, and his blaster was grasped in his hand. Sven immediately knew something was wrong and rushed out to meet his friend.
"Keith!" Sven exclaimed as the two men converged at the Castle entrance.
Keith slowed down enough to gently crash into Sven. Sven grabbed his friend firmly to keep him still.
"What happened, Keith?" he demanded.
"The Princess," Keith told him in between gasping breaths, "In the forest…Lotor…a trap…"
Sven needed to hear no more. He quickly ushered his wounded friend into the Castle and headed straight for Castle Control. Coran and Pidge were already there.
"My goodness, what happened?" Coran demanded, seeing Keith’s condition.
"Lotor set a trap and captured da Princess," Sven told him quickly, "Ve must go after her."
Coran’s eyes widened in shock and horror. It took him only a moment to recover as he turned to hit the castle alarms. Minutes later the rest of the team joined them.
"Lotor has somehow managed to capture the Princess," Coran told them, his voice revealing his worry.
"Again?" Lance asked in irritation, "He’s gotten way too good at that."
"Damnit!" Hunk burst, slamming a fist into his palm, "We gotta get her back!"
"Keith," Sven spoke to him, "You vill have to pilot da Black Lion."
Keith nodded without hesitation.
"Whatever it takes," he replied.
"What about your wound?" Coran asked.
Keith shook his head as if to shrug it off.
"It’s nothing," he assured them.
"Then what’re we waiting for?"
The five original Voltron pilots immediately swung into their (whatever those are) and were inside their Lions within moments. The five Lions then regrouped and headed into space.
"I have Lotor’s ship on my sensors," Pidge announced.
"He vill probably be expecting us," Sven warned them.
"Then he’s absolutely right," Lance proclaimed, speeding his Lion for the Doom ship.
"Be careful, Lance," Sven told him.
"That guy’s gonna pay!" Hunk swore heatedly.
The Doom ship was in view within a few short moments.
"A frontal assault isn’t a good idea," Keith spoke up just then.
"What about if we sneak up on him?" Pidge suggested.
"Sneak up on sensors?" Lance asked skeptically.
"We can’t fire at the ship," Keith told them.
"Yeah," Hunk agreed, "We don’t want the Princess to get hurt. We know she’s in there."
"Vat about taking out his engines?" Sven proposed.
They could see Keith in their viewscreens shaking his head.
"I don’t think so," he said, "Too dangerous."
"What’s dangerous is Allura being trapped inside there with that long-haired, pointy-eared jerk," Lance replied in annoyance.
"I’m sure she’ll be all right," Keith said with confidence.
This caused the others to do a double-take. Last time Allura had been captured by Lotor, Keith had been ready to move mountains to get her back. Now he was blasé about the whole thing. Lance’s suspicions came back.
"Hey guys," Pidge spoke up, "I don’t think we have to worry about our attack strategy anymore. Lotor just sent out a Robeast."
They all looked through their viewscreens at the large metal beast that launched itself out of the Doom ship’s hangar doors. It headed straight for them.
"I think we better form Voltron now," Lance suggested.
They all looked at Keith’s image in surprise.
"No?" Lance asked incredulously.
"You heard me," Keith said calmly.
"But Keith," Sven appealed, "If ve do not form Voltron, that Robeast will probably vin."
"No one’s forming Voltron today," Keith stated firmly.
"That’s it," Lance said decidedly, "Something’s going on here."
Then suddenly Keith broke formation and flew his Black Lion away from the others towards the Doom ship. The Robeast didn’t pay it any mind as it flew right on by, and instead set its sights on the remaining four Lions.
"Uh-oh," Pidge said.
"I knew it!" Lance exclaimed, "I knew Keith was acting weird. Haggar must have gotten to him somehow. He’s under one of her spells."
"Ve better hurry and deal with dis Robeast," Sven reminded them quickly.
The Robeast reached them and attacked as the four Lions took evasive action.
"We have to get this thing off our backs," Hunk said.
"Keith had a strategy planned for when we were short a Lion," Lance spoke up, "I suggest we put it into action."
"Good idea," Sven agreed.
The four Lions split up and flew in opposite directions. The Robeast hesitated before going after the Blue Lion. It caught up to Sven quickly. Just as it was about to take a whack at the Blue’s tail, the three other Lions converged on it and began attacking viscously. The Robeast let out a roar as it fled from the sudden barrage of missiles and laser beams. But the Lions surrounded it and wouldn’t let it escape. Hunk took his energy weapon into his Lions Mouth and moved in close to slash at it while the others distracted it.
"Nice shot, Hunk," Pidge congratulated his friend.
"Piece of cake," the brawny pilot replied.
"Nuh-uh," Pidge quipped, "Not until later, Hunk."
The Robeast retaliated against the Lions’ attacks and swept its long tail out, clipping the green Lion and sending it spinning.
"You OK little buddy?" Hunk asked.
Pidge managed to right his Lion fairly quickly.
"No problem," he replied.
Lance took the direct approach and managed to snare the Robeast’s tail in between the Red Lion’s powerful jaws. The Red Lion was then tossed around like a limp rag as the Robeast whipped its tail back and forth. Lance held firm and begun digging the Lion’s jaws into the tail. Moments later half of the tail broke off, hurtling Lance and his Lion away from the mechanical monster. The Red immediately spit out the piece of twitching tail and turned to regroup with the others.
"I think you scared him, Lance!" Pidge reported.
The Robeast was indeed retreating away from the battle.
"Should we follow it?" Hunk asked.
"Ve have other things to worry about right now," Sven spoke up.
"Yeah," Lance said, "We gotta rescue Keith and the Princess."
"Ve should wait until ve can formulate a plan," Sven suggested.
"Yeah," Pidge agreed, "And I got a nasty dent on one of my hind legs.
"You’re right," he finally acceded, "We can’t just go attack now."
And with that the team reluctantly headed back to Arus.
* * *
Allura glared at her captor. Lotor just smiled smugly at her, a goblet of wine in one hand and the other resting against his sword hilt. They were on the Bridge of Lotor’s ship. Allura stood close-by, her hands tied behind her back. She still wore the riding clothes she had put on earlier that morning.
"Looks like your friends are giving up on you," Lotor commented as they watched the four Lions retreat.
"They’ll be back," Allura told him.
"I’m sure they will," Lotor agreed, "But without the Black Lion, they will be unable to form Voltron, and my Robeast’s will have them destroyed in no time."
Allura intensified her glare.
Then Haggar suddenly materialized in the middle of the room between them. Shortly after, Keith walked into the room. Haggar went to stand next to him.
"Looks like my plan worked, Prince Lotor," Haggar told him.
"Yes," Lotor agreed, "You finally came through for me, witch."
Lotor then emptied his wine goblet and tossed it to the floor. On one quick motion he drew his sword and took a few steps toward Keith.
"Now I can finally be rid of this troublesome space explorer," he stated, grinning evilly at Keith, whose expression remained impassive. He started to raise his sword.
"No!" Haggar stopped him, standing in front of Keith, "You can’t have him yet. I still have use for this one."
Lotor growled with impatience.
"I think I’ve allowed you to keep him alive long enough," he said.
"Just a little longer, Highness," Haggar insisted, "This one is going no where. He’ll keep for a little while longer. And I’m sure you have some more important matters to attend to."
Lotor licked his lips indecisively, glancing once at Allura, whose glare had changed into a worried frown as soon as Lotor had started for Keith.
"Fine," Lotor finally agreed, though it was obvious he was feeling a bit bloodthirsty, "You have him for another day. Then he’s mine."
"Thank-you, Highness," Haggar told him. She then turned to Keith. "Come along, Commander. I have plans for you."
Keith instantly obeyed and followed the witch out of the room as Allura watched in concern. As soon as they were gone, she turned to Lotor.
"What’s she going to do with him?" she demanded.
Lotor chuckled and walked up close to her. Allura couldn’t help but back away a few steps. Lotor quickly reached out with one hand and grabbed her arm roughly, pulling her in close to him. Allura turned her head as soon as she felt his breath on her face. Lotor ran a hand over her face and Allura flinched from his touch.
"Looks like it’s just you and me, Princess," he told her smugly.
"I think you’d much prefer something your own species, Lotor," Allura told him, "Like maybe a snake."
Lotor laughed and pulled her along with him, exiting the Bridge.
* * *
Allura prowled the room like a caged tiger, searching her mind for a way out. She was inside a lavishly decorated bedchamber. A very tiny, transparent gown lay on the bed waiting for her to don it, but Allura had no intention of putting it on. Lotor had left her there less than an hour ago so that she could prepare for his return. But now time was running out. She had to escape before Lotor came back.
Then she got an idea. Lotor most assuredly posted guards outside her room. Allura drew in a few deep breaths, then went over to the door and started pounding on it. Sure enough, it opened moments later. Two guards entered as Allura stepped back.
"What’s going on in here?" one guard demanded.
Allura pasted on a fake seductive smile.
"I, um, thought you two could help me change into my gown," she asked them demurely.
The two guards exchanged glances.
Allura then surprised the two guards by attacking before they knew what was coming. She brought her leg up quickly and kicked the first guard hard between the legs. The guard dropped his weapon and doubled over in pain. The other guard immediately brought his stun gun up, but Allura back-kicked it out of his hand and elbowed him square in the face. The guard staggered back.
The other guard then started to recover and made a grab for his weapon. But Allura noticed him and kicked the gun away. She then kicked the man in the face, sending him reeling back against the wall. Allura spotted a small but heavy-looking metal figure on a table nearby and grabbed it. She then brought it down on the guard’s head. He fell to the floor unconscious. The other guard then lunged at her. Allura immediately whacked him across the face with the statue. The guard fell to the ground, his nose bleeding. He did not get up.
Satisfied, Allura grabbed up one of the weapons and hurried out of the room. Luckily there were no more guards in the corridor. Allura went only a short ways before spotting a grate leading to the ship’s air ducts. Seizing the opportunity, Allura opened the grate and crawled in.
* * *
"There’s no way we can fight another Robeast with one Lion down," Hunk stated.
"Agreed," Coran said, then turned to Lance, "What do you propose, Lance?"
Lance looked from Coran to the others and hesitated.
The five of the were gathered around the table in the Strategy room, trying to devise a plan to rescue their teammates. So far they had come up with little.
Lance sighed and leaned back in his chair.
"I guess I never realized how much we rely on Keith in situations like this," he admitted.
"So that means you have no plan?" Coran asked.
Sven leaned forward.
"If I may, Lance," he said, "I think I might know a way—"
He was cut off suddenly when the Castle alarms began ringing. All five immediately stood up.
"Coran!" a Castle officer contacted them through Castle communications, "A Robeast is attacking the Castle!"
"To the Lions, guys!" Lance ordered, "Looks like this planning session is going to be delayed."
* * *
Allura coughed at the stale air circulating in the air ducts, not to mention the dust she was kicking up crawling around on her hands and knees. She had been crawling around for more than half an hour. She knew Lotor was now aware of her disappearance and would be searching throughout the ship for her. She had to find Keith and the Black Lion before she was caught.
Allura came to another grate and peered through it. The room she looked into was large. Bookshelves lined the walls. They were filled with old worn tomes and dusty glass vials. Allura felt an ominous presence in this room. Her suspicions were soon confirmed when the witch Haggar suddenly appeared into view. Behind her walked Keith, following like an obedient puppy.
"Keith," Allura whispered aloud as soon as she saw him.
"Take a seat, Commander," Haggar commanded Keith.
Keith promptly sat down in the only chair in the room. Allura had a hard time seeing him from her vantage point. Haggar went over to him and started waving her glowing staff in front of his face.
"I must recast my spell again," Haggar said aloud, "Your stubborn willpower is too strong even in your weakened state."
Allura shook her head. She couldn’t let Haggar recast her spell, but she couldn’t just prance into the room and tell her to stop. Allura pushed at the grate, trying to get it open, but it wouldn’t budge. Frustrated, Allura peered around the witch’s lab and spotted another grate on the other side. Allura then started crawling as fast as she could through the ducts, scuffing her hands and knees against the floor. She reached the other grate in minutes and tried to open it. It swung out easily. As quietly as possible Allura crawled out of the ducts and stepped onto the floor in Haggar’s lab. Hiding behind a large bookcase, she peered around it.
She found the room empty. Both Haggar and Keith were gone. Allura frowned, both puzzled and upset. Haggar had no doubt recast her spell on Keith. Allura muttered to herself, annoyed for letting them slip away. She walked into the room and went to the chair Keith had been sitting in only moments ago, then headed for the door, hoping to glimpse them in the corridor outside. But before she could reach it, a hand came down on her shoulder.
Allura whirled around, expecting Haggar or one of Lotor’s guards. She was surprised to see Keith standing there before her.
"Keith!" she exclaimed.
Allura immediately moved to embrace him, but he kept her at arm’s length, his grip on her arm tight and unyielding.
"I must turn you in to Prince Lotor," Keith told her, his voice monotonous.
"Keith!" she appealed, "Don’t you remember? It’s me, Allura! Your friend!"
Keith’s expression didn’t change. Allura tried to pull herself from his grasp, but his hold was too tight. Again she looked up into his eyes.
"Keith, you have to wake-up!" she pleaded, "Please. I care about you!"
"I am afraid I don’t care about you, Your Highness," he replied evenly.
Allura winced at the words that cut straight to her heart. It had hurt, even though she knew he was under a spell.
* * *
The Red Lion plunged to the ground where a bed of trees broke its fall. Inside its cockpit, Lance groaned.
"Are you all right, Lance?" Sven asked.
"Yeah," Lance replied, righting his Lion and sending it straight back into battle with the newly repaired Robeast, "This guy’s gotten a lot tougher since we last wrestled with him."
"You’re tellin’ me," Hunk spoke up in agreement.
"Ve must lure da Robeast away from da Castle," Sven told them.
"Sven’s right," Lance said, "Let’s try to get this Ugly into space. We’ll have much more breathing room up there."
The four Lions then set on luring their target off the planet and into space. As soon as the Lions took off, the Robeast growled and took chase. Soon all five were in outer space.
"Well, that worked," Hunk said, "Now what?"
Lance ducked his Lion out of the way to avoid the Robeast’s swinging tail.
"I’m open to suggestions," he finally replied.
* * *
Lotor strode through the corridor of his ship angrily. He had already had his guards searching the ship for the escaped Princess for 30 minutes and still they had not found her. Lotor was getting upset and impatient. He knew Allura couldn’t get off the ship, but he still wanted to see her safely back in his bedchamber as soon as possible.
He marched directly to Haggar’s lab, intending on getting his witch to search for Allura using her magic. As soon as he walked through the door, Lotor stopped, surprised. Then anger overtook him and he moved forward quickly. As soon as he reached them, Lotor grabbed Keith’s shoulder, swung him around, and decked him square in the face. Keith fell to the floor. Lotor stood over him and drew his sword.
"Keep your hands off her!" Lotor commanded.
Keith just looked up at him.
"Lotor!" Allura hissed the name with distaste.
"Greetings, my lovely bride," Lotor told her, keeping his eyes on Keith, "That was very naughty of you to sneak off like that. Tsk tsk."
Lotor took a step towards Keith and pointed the tip of his sword at the young commander’s throat. Keith did not make any effort to defend himself.
"Lotor, No!" Allura exclaimed, rushing to Lotor to try to keep him from attacking Keith.
Lotor shoved her away as soon as she reached him. Allura stumbled back, but retained her balance. Lotor grinned evilly down at Keith.
"Now I finally get my revenge!" he exulted.
Lotor raised his sword to strike, but was stopped when Allura tried to tackle him. Unfortunately she weighed far too little to knock him down. Annoyed, Lotor grabbed Allura by the arm, then shoved her roughly to the floor. Allura dropped with a loud "Oomph!" Keith watched her fall, then glared up at Lotor.
Without any warning, Keith lashed out with his leg and kicked Lotor’s sword away from him. He then sprang up and attacked. Lotor, who was caught off-guard, was slow in defending himself as Keith unleashed a series of strikes to his head and stomach. Grunting in pain, Lotor doubled over. With one last punch to the face, Keith sent Lotor to the floor, where the Drule Prince lay unconscious.
Allura stared at Lotor in surprise, then up at Keith. Keith went over to the Princess and held and hand to her, which she immediately accepted. Once she was on her feet however, she found herself having to grab hold of Keith so that he didn’t fall himself. He suddenly appeared to get woozy and swayed on his feet. Allura had her arms tightly around his waist to steady him.
"Are you OK?" she asked in concern.
Keith nodded, though he was wearing a frown.
"Do you remember anything now?" she asked.
He looked at her, a confused expression on his face.
Allura let go of his waist once he was steady and grabbed his arms.
"We have to get the Black Lion and escape," she told him.
Keith looked down at her, then nodded blindly. All he knew was that he had to protect her. He then took her by the arm, gently this time, and led her away.
* * *
Lance and the others were losing badly. How they managed to last this long, they would never know. All four Lions had already sustained minor damage. The Robeast was barely scratched. Haggar had really spruced it up since their last battle.
"That’s it!" Lance spoke up after the Robeast had managed to claw at the Red Lion’s neck, causing a huge dent, "Keith had better regain his memory and get out here fast or we’re Robeast meat."
Lance bravely dove in towards the Robeast to try another attack, but then realized that he was in trouble when the Robeast suddenly did a spin, its tail swinging around to connect with the Red Lion. But then the Blue Lion swooped in and deftly grabbed the tail with its jaw much like Lance had done before, stopping its swing. The Red Lion was safe, but the Blue Lion went sailing away as soon as it let go.
"Thanks, Sven," Lance said to his friend, "That was a close one."
"Anytime, Lance," Sven replied.
Lance took a deep breath, then let it all out in a whoosh as he dove in for another attack.
* * *
They slowly made their way through the Doom ship. Each time they came across a group of guards, both Keith and Allura used their weapons to take them out almost with ease. Keith seemed to know his way through the ship, probably as a result of Haggar’s spell over him. Allura hoped desperately that the spell had worn off. But Keith still didn’t seem to remember anything, even though he was helping her escape.
They reached the hangar the Black Lion was kept in, only to find it surrounded by a squad of guards. Keith raised his weapon to start firing his way through. He and Allura walked quietly into the room, trying not to alert the guards until the last minute. But they were given away by the voice behind them.
"Nice try, you two," Lotor told them in a more-than-slightly irritated voice, "But your little escape attempt ends here!"
Keith and Allura both let their weapons drop as they turned to face Lotor, who had his sword pointed right back at Keith. The guards in the room noticed them and rushed over to surround them. Lotor took a step towards them.
"I should have killed you when I had the chance," he said to Keith, "Fortunately now I have a chance to make up for my mistake."
But before he could get any further, Keith made a sudden move and overpowered the guard that had come to stand just a bit too close. Within seconds the guard was on his back and his weapon in Keith’s hand, pointed at Lotor.
"Tell your guards to drop their weapons or I kill you here," Keith told Lotor evenly.
Lotor growled at Keith in anger, then reluctantly nodded to his guards. The next few seconds were filled with the sounds out laser guns dropping to the steel floor. Keith then took Allura and backed away from Lotor and his men towards the Black Lion. As soon as they reached it, Keith sent Allura up first.
"This isn’t over, Commander," Lotor promised vengefully, "I’ll kill you myself!"
"You’ll have to take a raincheck for now, Lotor," Keith told him calmly as he climbed into the Black.
Lotor watched in utter hatred as the Black Lion lifted off and blasted its way out into space.
* * *
It was now apparent that the four battered Lions were not going to last much longer in their battle against the Robeast. They were running out of options as the Robeast gained its advantage over them more every minute. Soon Lance was about ready to call a retreat.
"If we don’t get help soon, we’re done for," Pidge pronounced ominously.
"That’s thinking positively," Lance spoke up with sarcasm, grunting as the Robeast managed to backhand his Lion once again.
"I think ve had better re—" Sven started.
Suddenly the Robeast roared loudly and grabbed onto the Yellow Lion’s tail as it dove by. It closed the claws of its other hand around the Yellow’s neck.
"Let go of me, you freak!" Hunk grunted.
Then suddenly an explosion occurred right in front of the Robeast’s head, and a large craft dove in to attack. The Robeast had no choice but to release its hold on the Yellow Lion, and Hunk grabbed his opportunity to escape.
"It’s the Black!" Pidge exclaimed.
The Black Lion’s cockpit came on screen in their individual Lions, and they saw Keith in the pilot’s seat.
"I assume you guys are ready to form Voltron now?" he asked them.
"More then ready!" Hunk agreed wholeheartedly.
"Keith," Sven spoke up, "Are you all right?"
"Is the Princess OK?" Lance asked.
"We’re both fine, thanks to the Princess," Keith replied. Then, without wasting any time, he began to transformation sequence.
"Get ready to form Voltron!" he commanded.
The five Lions all regrouped and followed formation, preparing to form the awesome robot. Within moments, the five Lions had been replaced by the might warrior Voltron.
"Let’s but this Robeast in his place!" Lance exclaimed enthusiastically.
Voltron rushed to meet the Robeast in combat. Now that they were evenly matched, the evil weapon of destruction was no longer at the advantage. Voltron blocked all of its attempts to strike and retaliated with its own.
"I don’t know about you, Keith," Lance said, "but the rest of us are getting real tired of this big brute. I say we dig out the old Blazing Sword and be done with it."
"You want it, you got it," Keith acceded, "Form Blazing Sword!"
Immediately Voltron’s hands came together to form the formidable weapon. As the Robeast reached out to strike once again, Voltron easily sliced through its arm, severing it from its body. They then did the same thing to the Robeast’s head, causing Haggar’s creation to explode, utterly destroyed. Lance, Sven, Pidge and Hunk all breathed sighs of relief.
"It’s about time!" Hunk said.
"Let’s head back home, everyone," Keith commanded.
"Good to have you back, Keith," Sven told him.
* * *
After depositing their Lions at their respective resting places, the six team members all met at Castle Control, where both Coran and Nanny waited to meet them. As soon as they were all there, they gathered around Keith and Allura.
"We thought we’d lost you both!" Pidge told them.
"You can’t get rid of us that easily," Allura responded with a laugh.
Keith was also smiling. Lance went up to him and put a hand on his shoulder.
"Too bad," he said kiddingly, "I was kinda getting used to that leader stuff."
Keith just shook his head at his friend and returned the gesture.
One look at Allura’s dirt-stained clothing and Nanny shook his head in horror.
"Just look at you, Princess!" she exclaimed, "What a mess! Wearing such dirty rags! You will go to your room and get cleaned up at once!"
"Oh, Nanny," she sighed as the guys all chuckled at her.
"Don’t be too hard on her, Nanny," Keith told the older woman, "If it weren’t for the Princess, none of us would be here."
Allura looked at him in appreciation, and he returned her look.
"Does this mean you’ve regained your memory?" Coran asked him.
They all looked at him.
"It’s coming back," he told them, easing their worry.
He then turned to Lance.
"I just remembered," he told his old friend, "I owe you a rematch."
Lance groaned as the others all laughed.
"And just when I was on a winning streak," Lance lamented.
Written By: Lynn Dickinson AKA Cbjam
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – Comments appreciated!Back to Fanfic Page