Two Shadows Went, Chapter 10
Updated: Apr 12, 2019
There was a much more sizable audience than Lance had expected. And all of them were arguing. The throne room, usually lined with gleaming gosmer curtains and giggling courtiers—was now set up as council room. A broad table extended from the dais where Alfor sat and curved down around, forming a Long O through out the room, Most, if not all, the seat were filled, Council men and military alike all in attendance. Up around them large holographic projections lined around them. The largest was a direct feed—
Lance’s eyes widened.
It was a window to see—an entire Galra fleet. Their clan mark in deep red painted messily and smeared across the bow.
“Come on,” Shiro whispered to Lance as he tugged him up through the hall.
“Why would they attack,” Lance’s head whipped around to his partner, as they both walked hastily up to their seats at the head of the table.
Shiro spared Lance a glance, not answering but the look answer enough. He couldn’t tell Lance here.
“We need to strike first,” a general hissed from farther up the table.
Shiro slid a chair out, gesturing for Lance to take it, before he took his own seat at the King’s right side. There were a few prying eyes but Allura standing next to the King had drawn most of the attention.
“Without proper cause it will look excessive,” Allura countered.
Shiro next to Lance was very quickly getting a run down and updated through the data pad passed to him form behind by Coran. His eyes scrolled through the pages or reports and occasionally he looked up to the projections above them. At one point, Shiro even leaned over in a hushed whisper to ask Coran something.
Lance didn’t hear the transponded words, and looked himself back up to the screens. There were three war ships in total and they—they were nearing the Altean galactic line.
“This is more than posturing,” The general shot back
As King Alfor shifted forward, the room fell silent. “Would you send us into war?”
Allura stood a bit straighter, her head turned to look to their king.
“Shiro,” Alfor’s deep voice resounded in the room as he looked to the Black Paladin next to him.
it was clear he was asking for the man’s opinion on the matter, and slowly Shiro set the data pad down on the glass top table before him. He looked—calculated, Lance noticed as he sucked in his own breath next to Shiro.
Lance’s hands fidgeted under the table. He wanted to reach out to Shiro, to take his hand, but the chairs were seated too far away for Lance to be able to do it unnoticed, so he continued to fidget instead.
“War is coming to us,” Shiro said in a level tone.
“You would purpose an attack,” Iso’s voice rang out through the hall. He was seated next to Allura, still dressed as most were for the evening out on the lawns.
Lance tilted his head—had that all really been just moments ago? It felt like ages since Lance had been out under the tents, watching Shiro and speaking with his friends. The day had seemed so inconsequential when Lance had awoken that morning. It also made Lance conscious--Shiro had made sure Lance and himself looked prepared for the meeting. Even arriving late, Shiro was dressed as the red Paladin, not as he would a frivolous day outside.
“No,” Shiro answered plainly, “But that’s a raiding party,” he pointed to the sigil. “They’re here as an intimidation tactic only secondary, they’re testing defenses at this point and we can’t falter.”
Alfor shifted in his seat. “What would be your plan of action, Black Paladin?” Alfor’s gaze was settled on Shiro, looking over him, like Alfor was studying him.
Shiro didn’t answer with any sign of hesitation. “Send in Voltron.” His voice was still even but in the quiet room it carried without effort. “Make it clear we won’t attack if they leave— but if they attempt to cross into Altean space, we will not tolerate it.”
Allura’s arms crossed over her chest.
“You will start a war,” Iso hissed.
“I would make it clear, we have no intention of tolerating raiders in Altean space.” Shiro’s voice deepened. “We have too many colonies in open space, too many lives at risk. A Galra transporter ship is one thing—but a raider fleet isn’t to be tolerated.”
“Harshly dealing with a situation such as this could have unintended consequences,” Allura spoke up.
Lance sat forward in his seat, trying desperately to catch his sisters eye. Not bothering to hide it, Lance slid a hand over Shiro’s arm this time.
Shiro didn’t look over as he caressed over Lance’s fingers.
Lance didn’t either, looking to his sister.
She had to know Shiro was right. Lance had warned her. He’d told her, over and over again, Shiro knew the Galra, and she needed to trust him. They meant war.
“Not dealing with this situation could have consequences as well,” an Admiral spoke up from Lance’s left.
Alfor held up a hand silencing the room again.
It was quiet for a lasting moment this time.
Sitting back in his throne, Alfor considered before he spoke. “Allura, you are heir, what do you purpose we do?”
Allura straightened her full height as she looked to her father.
Lance could see as she pulled on the cold queenly mask. “It’s more posturing. They won’t cross the line.” She said with confidence. “I say we open up a com’s link with them, and diplomatically handle this locally through the forces we already have stationed there.”
Next to her Iso gave a firm nod in agreement.
Alfor spared a glance to no other as he nodded as well. “Than that’s what we will do.” There was a loud "thwack" as the guards directly behind the throne snapped at attention, their spears hitting the hard marble floors once to signify the King was standing.
The room rippled with murmurs but Lance still stood in respect and Shiro did the same at his side.
Allura gave a gracious bow to her father.
Lance looked down as Shiro grasped Lance’s arm, sliding him in closer to him. But Shiro’s attenion was elsewhere as he turned to snag Coran.
“You will inform me of any updates at all.” Shiro said in a hushed voice.
“Absolutely Sir,” Coran bowed to Shiro in acknowledgement.
“Shiro,” Lance stepped closer.
Shiro’s eyes shifted to Lance for a brief moment, long enough to give a quick impression. ‘not here, not yet.'
Lance worried at his bottom lip but didn’t speak further.
The room around them was already breaking into smaller chatting groups. Allura and her entourage was well on her way to leaving the room though, Iso in quick step with her.
It didn’t escape Lance’s notices the way Shiro’s eyes traced her path from the room.
Now that—now that he wasn’t laid flush against Shiro and his mind fuzzy with cooed praise and constant affection—it occurred to Lance, how very odd earlier in the evening had been. His sister had seemingly come alone to his room to get Shiro—or was it to challenge him? It was perplexing as Lance gazed at his regal sister.
It was then Lance notices as well—a flock of black clad Acolytes were hovering at the edges of the court. Had they been there since Lance had entered? He’d been so distracted with the actions around him, Lance wasn’t sure. But they were on the move now and they seemed to be aiming straight for Lance and Shiro.
“Black Paladin,” one tall and slender woman stepped up.
Her face rather gaunt and her hands slender she approached with quiet almost inaudible steps. He with drew her hood as she stepped forward.