How long has it been since the last time Lance relaxed?
A loud groan echoed from one of the castle bathrooms, bouncing off the walls and alerting the entire castle of Lance’s cries of shame. Hunk, who was passing by at the time with a bowl of food goo, heard Lance screaming and dropped his food in alarm. “Lance? You okay?” Hunk said, pressing his ear against the door.
“ONLY THAT I’VE TRANSFORMED INTO ANOTHER PERSON!” Lance slammed the door open, knocking poor Hunk on the floor. Hunk, recovering from the attack, looked up to see Lance covering his face with his arms. Getting back up on his feet, Hunk, accustomed to weird alien diseases that affected the paladins, tried to comfort Lance, “Hey, hey, Lance. I’m sure it’s just an alien disease or something. Allura probably can fix-”
“THAT’S NOT THE PROBLEM,” Lance cried dramatically, putting the back of one of his hands on his forehead and leaning back slightly, as if he was about to faint, “LOOK AT THIS.”
Lance removed the arm that was covering his face, and he really was another person.
His eyes had massive eye bags, a result of the countless nights he volunteered to stay up and watch over the team in case any residents from the area decided to, uh, stop by. His skin was visibly dry, and his lips were so chapped that Hunk could probably see Keith’s house in the desert surface of Lance’s lips. The dark blue of Lance’s eyes even seemed to lose life from the tolls of fighting for so long. He no longer looked like Aphrodite’s Cuban child, but more like a clone of Shiro.
Hunk accidentally let out a small gasp, which he quickly covered up with his hand, “Dude, when was the last time you used your care supplies?”
“I ran out of my skin care supplies around a year ago. My chapstick supply ran out a couple months later,” Lance sighed, tracing over his skin.
“Dude, you should’ve told us before you became human wreck. I mean, we could’ve stopped by Earth, since we have more free time now ever since Zarkon’s empire died down.” Hunk assumed a thinking position for a moment before snapping his fingers. “You know, we are in the Lavinian Galaxy division of the alliance, and this part is KNOWN for it’s hot springs and relaxing atmosphere. I’ll ask Allura to wormhole you to one of the planets for a bit of a rest day, just hold on for a tick.”
And with that, Hunk rushed off.
Around one varga later, Lance felt the castle ship start a wormhole sequence into where Lance presumed was one of the planets in the division.
A couple ticks after, Allura activated the intercom and made an announcement. “Lance, please report to your lion for takeoff. Shiro and Keith will be with you as well.”
Running over to the hangar, he greeted Blue with a smile, before his lion granted him entrance to the main console. “Alright, Blue, let’s get our claws pampered!”
WIth that, Blue sped out of the hangar, with the Red and Black lion following close behind. “Alright, team, the structure of this planet is relatively stable, but the heat from the hot springs can turn your lion into a moving oven, so don’t fly too close to the ground,” Shiro ordered, putting his lion into a nosedive and entering the atmosphere of a planet seemingly covered in wisp and water.
Lance followed along with Keith, entering the atmosphere with a loud bang, breaking through clouds so dense, Lance thought that he would crash to the ground if it was like this on the surface, too.
The clouds eventually parted, and gave way to what looked like an endless ocean with still waves, but turned out to be a field of plants and flowers made of water, covering smooth hills and mountains. Occasionally, parts of the ground would cave in and make way for a concentrated blast of steam to erupt from the ground. The scene reminded Lance of when he met the Olkari in the forest, even the species that lived here kinda looked like Olkari.
Tearing his eyes away from the blue surface of the planet, Lance activated his boosters to catch up to Shiro and Keith, who had flew ahead of him.
After a few ticks, a circle of mountains emerged from the horizon, and waiting at the outskirts was a large crowd of Yuins, one of the species that inhabited the planet. The different markings on each of the Yuians glowed slightly, creating a dome of blue light around the group. The crowd was also dressed in traditional Yuin formal clothing, which consisted of toga-like designs, all colored light blue.
The three paladins parked their lions in front of the crowd, and exited their lions hearing the cheer of the Yuins.
“Welcome, paladins of Voltron!” The head of the Yuians, Terin, welcomed the paladins with open arms. Well, with 3 pairs of open arms and a pair of dragonfly wings. “What brings you here today?”
“We’re here for a bit of relaxation,” Keith said, putting his arms on his hips and smiling.
“Of course, of course! We will start the preparations immediately!” Terin smiled, showing off the rows of teeth, apex predator style, behind his dark blue mouth. Despite being a relatively peaceful species, they loved to sharpen their teeth with knives once in a while. “It’ll take a while for everything to get ready. So, in the meantime, my assistant will show you to our largest hot spring on the top of the main mountain.” Terin then waved over to one of the Yuians, who was a greener shade of blue than the majority of the crowd.
He bowed graciously, his dragonfly wings lifting up in respect. The assistant stepped forward, “It is an honor to meet you, Paladins of Voltron. I am Lelan, and it is a pleasure to be the one to show you to our most sacred spring. If you will, please enter your vessels, and I will be waiting for you in the sky.”
They did as said, entering their lions and meeting Lelan a few hundred kilometers from the ground. Lelan made the follow-me gesture, then turned around and started flying to the highest mountain.
“These Yuians are so courteous, it’s almost kinda suspicious,” Keith said over the communicator, moving his lion forward to follow Lelan.
Shiro smiled, “Don’t worry, Keith. The Yuians are known for their overwhelming kindness. But I can assure you that they won’t hurt us.”
They finally reached the top of the mountain after a dobosh or so, and met eyes with a steaming blue lake, surrounded with plants and what looked like green fireflies in the day. “It’s beautiful,” Lance whispered.
They landed on a pad of mountain rock next to the spring, the pungent smell of the plants seeping through the vents in the lion. Lelan was waiting for them near one of the purple trees that surrounded the spring.
Actually, there were two springs connected by a small river. One of them was bigger than the other one, but the smaller spring was famous for being extremely relaxing. Shiro offered the smaller one to Lance, since this was originally for him, and left him to lounge with Keith in the bigger spring.
Lance changed into his bathing suit, wrapping a towel that Lelan provided for him around his neck and slowly dipped into the warm water.
The moment that he settled in the water, a wave of relief washed over him, like a crushing weight slowly dissipated from his chest. Lance then swam over to a deeper part of the spring where he was able to float in silence.
For the first time in months, he paid attention to the small things around him. He unclenched his teeth, feeling the tension is his mouth disappear. He paid attention to his breathing, letting his lungs fill with air and then slowly letting it out. He looked up into the deep blue sky and thought of home, before all of it happened.
Lance watched as petals from some of the flowers fall into the water and melt into it like ice. It reminded him of when he used to swim in the rain when he was little. Of course, he got sick, but he always said that he would do it again.
Reminiscing helped Lance’s muscles relax. The ever-present tension that annoyed Lance for months was gone, and all that was left was a soreness that he hadn’t noticed before.
He felt the waves move his body up at down, as if they were massaging his back. The warmth of the water was a stark contrast to the cold air touched his stomach. Lance closed his eyes and focused on the temperature differences on each of the halves of his body.
It felt like an eternity floating in the water before cool air on his stomach was soon interrupted with a couple drops of water that fell out of nowhere. Rain. Lance opened his eyes again, to see the sky turn a dark blue, with purple galaxies providing light to the planet. The droplets of glowing, colorful water continued to fall on his face and stomach, to which Lance got out of his floating position and made contact with the spring floor. He looked up into the sky and let the rain slowly fall on his forehead like snow. The glow of the galaxies reflected on the water and turned the entire spring into a galaxy, glowing purple and blue on Lance’s skin.
A rustle in one of the bushes caught Lance’s attention, turning over to see Lelan holding a giant leaf that acted as an umbrella. “Would you like to fly back to the village now, paladin? The other two have already left and went back to the village.”
Lance looked up to the sky, the raindrops creating tiny splashes in the water, and said, “I’m fine. I wanna stay a bit longer.”