The clouds in the sky threatened to pour.
Exhausted from the long day of walking in humid weather, Lea was panting and sweating when Tay led her to an old, abandoned building.
“You call that walking?” Lea gasped, “That was more like running!”
“Shh!” Tay hissed, her brow furrowed in concern. She stood flat against the side of the building. Lea copied her. Tiptoeing, Tay snuck over to the corner and slowly peeked around it. She immediately threw herself flat against the wall, almost hitting Lea in the process.
“What’s wrong?” Lea said, trying to take deep breaths.
“It’s too quiet.” Said Tay, “Something isn’t right here. Listen. There’s no birds. Why is that?”
Lea felt herself go cold all over. “He’s here.”
“Of course he is!” Tay whispered, “I said I would lead you to him.”
“No, I mean, he’s here.” Lea repeated, “He knows I’m here.” She immediately felt for her lightsaber on her belt. Her fingers touched the cool metal, and she breathed a sigh of relief. It was still there. But her relief only lasted a second.
“Oh.” Tay said, considering a plan of action. “Darth Rokoi must be coming then.”
“I’m not ready to fight.” Lea said, “I’m too tired.”
“Do you want to rest in the woods and fight tomorrow?” Tay asked, “That might be better.
Lea considered, but shook her head. “I don’t have a choice. I have to fight now. Besides, if Darth Rokoi already knows we’re here, he attack us during the night.”
“Can’t you just give him your lightsaber?” Tay questioned. “Then you wouldn’t have to fight.”
“And give up being a Jedi?” Lea sighed. “I won’t. A Jedi is who I am, who I was meant to be. I’m not going to let anyone take that.” She squared her shoulders and put on a determined face. Placing her hand on her lightsaber, she said, “I hope it does not come to fighting. But if it does, I’m ready.” She turned her back to Tay and took a step forward.
“What about Chewie?” Tay hollered, though not too loud to avoid being overheard.
Lea was instantly conscious of the sloth’s weight in her hood. She giggled, despite the situation. Very gently, she pulled him up and over her head, and set him in Tay’s arms, along with her messenger bag. The sloth always looked so cheerful. He had no idea of the danger he was in.
Lea realized she might never see Chewie or Tay again. She threw her arms around Tay’s neck.
“Woah!” Tay exclaimed. She tried to keep the sloth from being crushed between them.
“Thanks,” Lea said softly, “For everything.” She kissed Chewie on the head, and squaring her shoulders once again, prepared to face the evil knight.
Slowly, carefully, Lea’s shaky legs placed one foot in front of the other. Turning the corner, she expected Rokoi to jump out and attack. But nothing happened. She was met with silence.
“H-hello?” Lea asked, feeling extremely immature and childish. If Rokoi didn’t know she was there before, he certainly would now. That was foolish, she thought. Suddenly she wished Tay was here with her. Lea shook her head, trying to keep her fears at bay. Fear is the path to the dark side, she remembered.
Breathe in…breathe out… Lea closed her eyes, trying to calm herself.
“Lea,” a familiar voice whispered.
Her eyes opened slowly as she came face to face with her old Jedi master. She was in her mid-30’s, her dark brown eyes and brown hair were striking against her pale skin. Exactly how Lea had remembered her.
“Oh, Mai Reu!” Lea exclaimed, running to her teacher’s arms in relief. She fell into her embrace, into the folds her black robe.
Her teacher smiled, embracing her former Jedi padawan. “Oh, Lea.”
“I’ve missed you,” Lea said, though it was muffled as she spoke against the fabric.
Mai pulled away from the embrace and placed her hands on Lea’s shoulders. “Lea, what are you doing out here? Where is your family?”
Lea immediately came back to the present, and became serious. “Mai Reu, someone is after me. His name is Darth Rokoi. He wants my lightsaber. He has threatened me, and has gone far enough as to threaten my sisters as well. We are in danger. Please, you have to help me make this right!” Lea begged.
Mai Reu’s face paled. She pulled her arms down from Lea’s shoulders, and turned away.
“What’s wrong?” Lea asked, concerned for her teacher. Her teacher was silent, so Lea grabbed her arm.
Her teacher turned around forcefully, almost hitting Lea with her arm in the process. Lea was shocked to see a look of anger on Mai’s face.
Lea was hurt and confused. What had made her teacher so angry? “Why are you acting this way?” She asked.
“Because of you.” Mai said simply. “You.”
“Me?” Lea whispered. She couldn’t believe her teacher was blaming her. “What did I do?”
Mai ignored Lea’s question. “I knew you were special from the moment I found you,” Her teacher said, clasping her hands behind her back and pacing along the sandy floor. “The Force was strong with you then, and it is stronger with you even now. When you were my Padawan, I knew that someday, you would become even more powerful then I. And that enraged me. Just think,” Mai stopped, as if actually considering. “A Padawan, being stronger than a Master. That has not happened in over a millennium.” Her voice rose. “ And will I be the one to break that?”
Mai Reu stopped in front of Lea and looked her in the eye. “No, I will not.” She muttered, just loud enough for Lea to hear.
Something was horribly wrong. Lea felt it, as she stared deep into Mai Reu’s eyes.
Her Master’s eyes shifted.
Brown, to yellow.
Part 20 coming on Saturday!