Ani ran down the hall as she felt, rather than heard, her master calling her through their Force bond. Even though Master Pollo was cruel and didn’t really like her, they had an indescribable bond. No matter how hard she beat and berated her, Ani still felt a sense of loyalty to Kaiya, and she knew that her loyalty would one day soon get her into trouble. At least I healed most of my visible injuries during my conversation with Barri – I mean, Knight Offee. Good thing she caught herself. If Master Pollo had caught that…
Continuing her run, not feeling the slightest breathless (her hard training had finally paid off), she slid to a stop in front of their room, waved her hand, and the door opened. Hurried, she rushed inside, to find Master Pollo sitting on a couch in front of the holotv.
“You’re late, Padawan.” Ani blanched; she had hoped that her master would have overlooked the time factor.
“Sorry, Master, I was just…resting.”
“Rest in your quarters, next time. We don’t want to have the Council on us again, do we?” Ani sighed.
“Good, now go to bed. Tomorrow, classes start up again at oh-eight-hundred, and please get up early so that you can make breakfast.”
“Yes, Master.” Ani bowed. Turning, she made straight for her room, shut and locked the door using a foreign code, and sat down on her sleep-couch, ignoring the throbbing pain in her head. Sighing, she lay on her back, only to shift to her right side. Crap, it still hurts. However, I very well cannot heal myself right now, as my master will sense it and get suspicious, and I need to get my rest. Tomorrow will be one of the longest days in the history of the galaxy, if my master gets her way. Thankfully, I also have something besides the caf to keep me going.
“Padawan,” Kaiya said sharply, pounding on the durasteel door, quivering with impatience. It opened suddenly, to reveal her fully dressed padawan, showered, dressed and having her book bag slung over one shoulder, diagonally.
“I’m up, Master,” Ani said evenly, flipping over her master to land and then walk in the small kitchenette.
“Why’d you take so long?” grumbled the irritable Jedi Knight, grabbing a seat as her Padawan began to make an omelet.
“Master, would it be so bad to eat in the cafetina for once?”
“Perhaps not, but you need to keep practicing your cooking.” She sniffed the air. “Smells good, however,” she said stiffly. “What are you doing today?”
“Classes, of course, and training too. As you have expressed, I will notify you upon any change in my normal schedule. Once I’m done with the meal, I’ll go and –”
“NO, not until you finish the dishes.” She glared at her, hoping that would quickly curb her young one’s eagerness and impatience.
“Yes, Master,” Ani said in a subdued tone. She quickly shoved the omelet in her mouth, chewed and swallowed, and started on the dishes. Kaiya looked at the slender girl, and remained silent, pondering on her padawan.
“Ani!” cried Scout, running up to her. Ani turned around, glad that she had her friends to make it through another grueling day of classes, tests and homework.
“Hi, Scout; what’s got you so excited?”
“We’re going to tour Coruscant today for history class during 4th set. We’ll see the Senators in action, see the Galactic Republic museum, and even get to meet the Supreme Chancellor! Plus, we get to miss out on the next two sets. That’s when I’ve got Astromath and Strategy.”
“Scout, that’s when I got a back-to-back sparring session with Master Cin Drallig.”
“Come on!” Scout whined. “It won’t kill you to ask your master if you can go, will it?” It may do just that, Ani thought, stifling a sigh. Still, perhaps Master Pollo will be in a sort-of-a-nice mood to ask.
“I’ll ask her.”
“Great; I’ll go tell Master Fokula that you’re coming.”
Ani yelled after her, “It’s not set yet, Scout!” It was too late; Scout was too far away for her to hear what Ani had said. She sighed, and turned around to go find her master. Moments later, she found Master Kaiya sitting at a corner table, munching on a piece of dried grain muffin.
“Uh…Master, there’s something I’d like to ask of you.”
“Great. What is it?” There goes trying to get her in a good mood, Ani thought, stifling another sigh. Might as well tell her, though not that Scout told Master Fokula that I’m coming. She’ll make me stay behind just to show me she can.
“Well, Master; this afternoon during fourth set my history class will be going to tour Coruscant to study politics, how Coruscant became the capital planet, and see the political structure we’re fighting to protect. Anyways, I was wondering – can I go?”
“Isn’t that during your sparring session with Master Cin Drallig?”
“Master, I get to go against people twice my age this afternoon during practice. That’s an hour and a half.”
“You’d still be missing fourth, fifth, and sixth set, correct? I mean, you’ll be eating lunch out there during the tour, and continuing for a while after that. I’m not sure if it’s worth it. You are, after all, a Padawan from the Jedi Temple, where education is important.”
“Which is what will be happening when I go on the trip with my class!” Ani retorted, trying to hold back her anger. Fortunately, she did so. “Master, whenever I miss a class, I’ve almost always had to make up for it, and I’ve done so without problems, even when we were on the front. This way, I get to go with my history class, catch up on my three classes and I’ll practice hard tonight.”
“How hard?” Kalla asked skeptically.
“I’ll practice for four hours straight. I’ll do all the stretches, exercises, and moves you taught me.” A woman dressed in dark black robes passing by gave them a curious glance that Kaiya and her Padawan both saw, but ignored.
“Do you swear that you will do so?” Kaiya’s voice was cutting edge.
“If I do that plus the workout for today, it’ll be five hours,” Ani replied solemnly. “Yes; I swear I’ll do so.”
“Fine.” Kaiya’s voice sounded grudging. “But I’ll check to make sure you do it, got it?”
“Yes, Master.” Ani skipped off to join Scout and Julii at the other end. “Master says I can go,” she whispered happily.
“Yes!” Julii said happily, grabbing Ani’s arm, where a particularly big bruise was sitting. Ani winced.
“Okay, you can stop now, Julii,” she said, rubbing her arm, and her friends gave her funny looks. “Hey, who’s that woman in the dark clothes sitting next to Master Ti over there?” Quietly, she hoped that they would take the bait, so as not to ask about her weird behavior (there was no way that she would admit to being beaten, especially to her friends). Thankfully, they did.
“Oh, that’s Master Luminara Unduli,” Julii sang out, continuing to yank on Ani’s arm. “Her padawan just got knighted, Barriss Offee. I know I’ll be chosen by her soon, since she talked to me last night about it!. Come on; let’s go tell Master Fokula and sign-up, or we’ll be late to first class!” With that, they hurried off towards the history teacher and their growing group. Ani remembered the conversation she had had with Barriss the previous night, and was more than happy to move away from the Jedi Master. Oh, she definitely admired the older woman, but she didn’t want her to sense – somehow – that she knew what her former padawan and her had been discussing. It was better to keep her distance right now.