Two Shadows Went , Chapter 29
The dagger bit through Lance’s skin just as before, the blood welling at the opened wound as Lance drew away the knife. He never needed a lot of pressure from the jagged Galran blade. Keith would be the kind to have kept his knife well-maintained and sharp, Lance reasoned as he watched his blood pool in his palm.
As his bright red blood welled and ran down his wrist, Lance stepped forward to again place his hand on the Black Lion.
There was no delay as the eyes over head lit up immediately. And as he had hoped he heard the roar of two other lions within the hanger.
Startled, Antok grabbed for his sword again as Lance stepped away. His hand print flared to life in vivid teal as before and Lance knew he had woken them all this time.
There came a long hollow sound through the hangers then. The cry was panicked and low as it echoed through the hallways.
“What is that sound?” Antok questioned.
Lance wrapped a handkerchief over his hand. He was already covered in blood, some his own, some was Pidge’s. As well, it wasn’t like he’d need the cover over his wound for long, but he wasn’t keen on leaving a blood dripping train for his lover to follow.
“The lions and their Paladin’s have an intrinsic bond. It's completely irrevocable,” Lance lifted his head to look up at Antok. “Much like a life bond.”
Antok looked over to Lance.
Lance’s sad expression only deepened as he explained. “One of those bonds was just brutally severed. And now the Green Lion is mourning it’s lost Paladin.”
As Lance wrapped his hand, the two of them stayed still and quiet for a moment, giving the Green Paladin their own due, a moment of silence for a dutiful service.
Considering, Lance looked down at his bandaged hand. “You know,” He swallowed hard. “I never heard the Yellow Lion make that sound.” He looked up to Antok. Looking for any hope.
There was little to be found. “Shiro never told you..”
Lance closed his eyes. “The first night I slept in the Black Paladin’s chambers--I heard Rax making a deal with Shiro, I think.” He tried to give a second, just long enough for Lance to articulate his words. “It was for the Yellow Lion, wasn’t it?”
Antok didn’t answer.
“He sold my best friend to the Balmara.” Lance concluded. “And in return they grounded every Altean ship the moment Shiro asked them to.”
Stepping closer, Antok--he must have felt responsible, which Lance found odd. Moments before, at the death of Pidge, Antok had shown so little remorse. How was this death different?
“Is he dead?” Lance asked. He was surprised himself how lackluster his voice remained.
Antok pulled in a long breath. “No word from the Balmar has surfaced.”
“Has Shiro even asked?” Lance pushed.
Antok looked back down to the floor. “From what I know--no. He’s made no effort to recover the Yellow Paladin. He’s just tried to renegotiate for the Yellow Lion itself.”
Lance let out a mirthless laugh. “Greedy enough to try and steal back what he’s already bargained away!”
Antok gave a deep sigh. “The Balmara feel we swindled them.”
“They must,” Lance nooded. “Unless they kill Hunk, Yellow will not take a new paladin.”
“Shiro was unaware he sold them a statue.”
Lance’s eyes narrowed as a sly smile spread on his face. “I’m sure he was.”
Just then, the deep thundering footsteps of Red interrupted them. When Lance looked up she was standing before the two of them. Her low growl in greeting sent a wave through Lance, it was like the crinkling sound of hot coals.
Curious, Lance reached back out to the Black Lion, laying his hand over the bloody palm print to feel through her link to the rest of the Lions. As odd as it may seem, Lance easily identified and felt the thread that bound the Red Lion to her Paladin then, and it was as strong as any other. For whatever other trickery Shiro had pulled--this had been real. Keith was a Red Paladin.
As the great steel beast took another lumbering step towards them, Lance heard the tell tale of Antok drawing his sword, Sticking out his hand, Lance grabbed at Antok’s forearm, stopping him.
He simply nodded to the seeking Lion. “You can go to him.”
With a great leap, the Lion bounded over them and through the open hangar doors.
Antok looked back over his shoulder to Lance.
His question was clear enough in the way Antok tipped his head to Lance.
“I owe Keith.” Lance commented. “And I don’t think I have it in me to deny him this last thing. I can’t take that connection away from him.”
Looking out through the hanger doors, Lance could see the sun setting in the distance. the brilliant colors swirling through the clouds pulled at him. The dusk of night fall lit his altea home brilliantly. In the distance Lance could see Mai hanging startlingly close. It was a low hanging moon on most days but it’s orbit had taken it directly over Altea’s capital that nightfall.
He looked back to the Black Lion eyes shining down at him before he spoke. “You should go,” He swallowed. “I owe you as well, and I don't —“ he paused.
The heavy hand that felt on Lance’s shoulder was a small comfort.
“I lied to my sister.” Lance admitted. His eyes shifted up to look at Antok. “She asked if I’d be alright—and I—“ Lance shook his head. “I don’t think I will be. “
Lance hoped the smile he wore was sincere enough as he looked up at Antok. “You should go, before it’s too obvious you were here.”
“That’s not the promise I made you.” Antok’s bent to speak to Lance in a soft tone.
“I don’t think I’m coming back,” Lance’s voice cracked as he tried to clarify. “There’s no way for him to love me after this—but I—“ Lance heaved for breath. “I can’t let you die too and I can’t let my sister pay for crimes that aren’t hers, and I can’t just let Shiro keep fighting for me and—“
Antok’s grip on Lance’s shoulder tightened.
“They’ll kill you if they know you're helping me.” Lance said. “You’ve killed everyone that's seen you help me get down here—I’m sure you could leave now and no one would know.”
Antok shook his head.
Lance frowned. “There’s no place left for me. I’ve betrayed my own people and I’m about to betray any hope of being Galra.”
“I will get you to whatever end you choose.”
The assurance in his voice told Lance it didn’t matter what he said. Antok was coming with him.
“They’ll hate you too,” Lance murmured. “You’re siding with the Altean traitor Prince.”
“I’m where I need to be,” Antok straightened. “I swore to defend my Kon Karnate.”
Lance resigned as he glanced at Antok before looking back up at the Black Lion.
“Alright then,’ Lance gave a sad smile. “I’ve got no options to go back now.” Lance sighed. “This is what backing myself into a corner has earned me.”
He could feel it this time as his marks lit up, it was like taking hold of the controls in his own Lion as he breathed out, reaching and the great Lion before him bowed, opening it’s jaw for him.
Lance looked back at the Lion. “One paladin dead, the other is just simple gone, one is a King, one is on his last hope--and the last is a fleeing prisoner.”
“Were you hoping to summon Voltron?” Antok inquired.
Lance shook his head before he took his first step forward. “No.” He concluded. “I’m going to tear Voltron apart.” Lance smiled. “I’ve no doubt the goddess herself is going to hate me for what I’m going to do. ...at this point though--she can get in line.”