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"You have to swing it with your left hand!" Kit Fisto reprimanded her, gently.
"Kitty!" Jedi Master Aayla Secura, having just returned from her latest mission, had challenged a fellow Knight, Master Fisto, to a Velocity. Only problem was, she was losing.
"I did swing with my left!" She was practicing Juyo Ma at the same time. (A Juyo Ma is a 360 spin while the saber is held one handed.)
He walked off a ways and then turned and ran right at her, performing the famous Sokan Unhindered Charge. She hit her Djem So ready stance, and then swung at him just in time. He jumped back, and then they both started fighting again.
They were practicing in the Jedi Master's training room, just on the north side of the temple's entrance. It was a large, spacious white room, with platforms and smooth tiling. A Jedi Master's dark boots often slipped on the newly waxed floor. The walls were made to be saber-proof, out of a special Mandalorian iron.
There was a special room above it, on the second story, where Padawan's would come and watch them fight. At the present, no one was watching, mainly because it was the middle of the night.
"Are you getting tired? Because you're getting sloppy." Kit jested as they swung at each other.
She kept hitting at him as strongly and quickly as she could, thus attempting the Ataru Hawk-Bat swoop. She swiped at his robe, cutting off the front piece. "Solah!" Kit yelled.
Aayla stopped swinging and sat down on the hard, white flooring. "That... was hard." She panted, out of breath. "I was so sure Juyo Ma would be easier..."
"Hey, that was pretty good, Aayla!" Kit examined the edge of his tan, singed robe.
"No it wasn't!" She countered, obviously unimpressed by her own efforts. "Ataru should have done better against Shii-cho."
"You did fine!" Kit joined her on the cold, tile floor. "Besides, I am older and have practiced more than you." He held up his cut up Jedi robe.
"Kitty," She pushed her lek off of her shoulder and looked up at him. "That doesn't matter and you know it. Vos expects more of me."
"Yeah," Kit had always admired her for her perseverance and agility. He took off one of the small, brown bands that he used to tie back his tendrils and tied it around her finger.
"Keep it." She smiled at him, and then looked away, nervously. "Well, we all should go to bed now. Catch you at breakfast."
He ran off for the door and shot down the hallway. She shook her head, yawned, and then walked down the hallway, slowly, towards her bedroom.
The night was calm and quiet at the Jedi temple. But, on the other side of the galaxy, things were beginning to stir.
Charr disembarked his huge, metallic cruiser with Starlett walking close behind. "Stay close to me and stay out of trouble." He reminded her as they disembarked the sturdy ship. He pulled back his robe to show his curved lightsaber hilt. "I have the safety."
He led her into an old cantina where there were sketchy characters leaning over barstools and grog spilled all over the unwashed floor. The lighting was dim, and the Modal Nodes, a band, were playing a jaunty tune.
As Starlett came in, following Charr, the bartender yelled at her. "Hey you! No girls allowed!"
Charr was about to explain to Starlett that she would have to leave when she stomped over to the tender herself, her metallic feet clicking on the stone flooring. "Girls?"
The bartender rolled his eyes and ran his hands along his stubby beard. "Yeah, girls. Even if they are part droid." He turned to serve a Jawa a cup of brown liquid.
She jumped up onto the counter and grabbed the bar tender by his shoulder. "Who said anything about girls?"
He turned to face her, but she punched him in the nose with her metal fist.
He went flying over the counter and onto a Talz. The huge, furry alien stood up and then picked him up with one arm. Starlett's eyes widened. The Talz threw him up in the air and out of the cantina.
"Starlett!" Charr walked up to her to lead her away. "I told you to stay by me!"
She waved goodbye to the Talz as Fume led her away. "I found your piece at a junkshop." He whispered to her. "Needless to say, its, pricey."
"I could have told you that before you found it." She flipped her black hair out of her face. He took her to a Toydarian's shop just on the edge of the spaceport.
"No, I mean, I can't pay for it." Charr had an obstinate, pushy look on his face. He wanted something from her. He wanted... her.
"I can see something cooking and I don't like the smell of it."
"You work for me, and help me get rid of these Jedi," He smiled. "Pledge to it."
She rolled her green eyes rather dramatically. "I pledge."
He whipped his wallet out of his pocket and paid the dealer at once. After counting out the credits, he gave up the rare find. It was a small, black fuse piece that helped get the boosters their power by converting her energy to its energy.
She knelt down and installed the black section into her calf. Within a few clicks, it was done, and Charr led her back to the ship.
She didn't much like what had happened at Mos Epsa, but she didn't have much of a choice to do anything about it, either. The very thought of killing a Jedi and taking their laser sword as her own sent a tingle down her spine. "So, Charr, when do I get to cross paths with a Jedi?"
"Soon enough." He answered as they made a straight course for an abandoned asteroid. "Soon enough."
On the other side of the galaxy, the Jedi were just waking up and starting the day. Aayla fell asleep as soon as she got to her bedroom, and when it was morning, she jumped out of bed. She started to get dressed in her usual outfit. Her tight pants, slip, and belt piece.
As she was just clipping on her belt, Kit knocked on the door. "Can I come in?"
"I guess." She nodded to Kit as she strapped on her boots. She reached for a long strip of fabric and began to tie her lekku.
"Why do you always do that?" He leaned on the door and folded his arms against his chest.
"My lekku are sensitive." She paused, knotted the end of her left tail, and started on the right. "The more I keep them wrapped, the less sensitive they become. Picked it up on Ryloth."
"Who told you that?" Kit grinned.
"Pol Secura." She shook her head. "Quit grinning at me."
"Want to come to breakfast with me?"
"Sure." Aayla finished with her head tails and sat up, quickly. "I was headed to the cafeteria anyways."
She stood up and they both walked into a long hallway with a few Jedi Master's lingering around. They walked together into a bustling breakfast room.
"Vos!" Aayla ran over to where her Master was sitting. "Where have you been?"
"Well," Quinlan winked at Tholme, his Master, and smiled. "A lot of places."
"Master, you're always so vague." She smiled. It had been a few months since they had both seen each other.
"Come, sit." Quinlan motioned to an empty seat between him and Tholme. "I will tell you the tale of Master Vos."
Aayla glanced over at Kit. He had already chosen his seat at an empty table with one other chair. Kit gave her an expecting look.
"I actually had an engagement with Kit..." Aayla ran her hands up and down a lek and stared at the floor. "I, uh..."
"Aayla, you always sit with Fisto. How long has it been since you sat with me?" Tholme cocked an eyebrow at her.
"No, I mean, I told him we were going to sit together." Aayla gave Quinlan and Tholme a reassuring smile. "Maybe some other time?"
"I am leaving tomorrow." Master Tholme slapped his hand on the extra seat. "Come."
Quinlan looked at his Master. He was never this demanding. "Aayla," He began, pushing her hand off of her slightly spotted brain tail. "Sit with us."
Kit walked up behind her. "Are you coming or not?"
Aayla looked from Kit, to Vos, to Tholme. She didn't know who to choose. "Quinlan... could you ask your master to pull his hand off of my seat?"
Tholme smiled and moved his hand as Secura took her seat next to him and Vos. Aayla sat down and ordered her breakfast from a droid. "So," Tholme started off the conversation. "Did you hear about that Padawan that left the Order?"
"No," Aayla cocked her head at him. "Who was it?"
"Tarra's blue Natulian friend, Rebry Sen." Quinlan Vos finished for him. "And I thought she had so much potential."
"Dear, sweet Rebry." Aayla mused as a droid brought her a bowl of Rycrit stew. "I knew there was something wrong with her after my mission to Moraga."
"Like," Tholme placed his napkin on his lap while the same robot served him. "Something was missing?"
"Could be." Aayla answered between mouthfuls.
Vos smiled at Secura. She was always so thoughtful and kind. "Trick question." Vos' smile disappeared as Aayla looked up at him. "What is the one question you do not want me to ask you right now."
"Oh, you've been planning this for a long time." Aayla smiled. "I can tell."
"What happened to my eye?" Tholme answered plainly.
"Where I was with Kit last night." Aayla shook her head and went back to her bowl of soup. "Definitely."
"You and Kit hang around each other too much." Tholme cautioned as Aayla finished her bowl. "I think that you two need to lay off and take it easy for awhile."
"Master," Secura looked into Tholme's eyes. "It's not like me and Kit are leaving the Order, or anything."
"You're what!" Eeth Koth, a fellow Iridonian Zabrak Jedi overheard Secura. "Hey guys!" He yelled for Master Kolar and Koon. "Aayla's leaving the Order!"
"She is not." Plo Koon stood up disbelievingly. "Is she?"
"No," Aayla scoffed at Koth. "Of course I am not. I am merely saying that my relationship with Kit isn't anything that I would leave the Order about."
A youngling walked up to Secura with flowers and a woeful look on his young face. "I am sorry to see you go, Master Secura." He placed the flowers on her table and walked off.
"I am not going anywhere!" Aayla stood up and yelled. "I am not leaving the Order!"
Tholme's eyes widened as she left the cafeteria. Master Fisto looked up from his table and saw her leave. "Wait! Aayla!" He got up and ran after her.
"Sometimes I worry about those two." Vos shook his head, his long dreadlocks brushed across his broad shoulders.
"It's not about whether attachment is not allowed for the Jedi," Tholme added, "It's about whether or not Aayla can control it for herself."
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