The Resolute along with the other three star destroyers it met up with dropped out of hyperspace at once the ships lurching forward as their light speed pace suddenly dropped to a normal one. The four ships engaged the enemy fleet immediately and on the bridges commands were and acknowledges were overlapping and combing in a roar of voices. An evenly matched fleet this time thankfully, four ships against four ships with three more Republic cruisers on the way. With The Judge on the planet surface below them they weren't going to take any chances they were going to throw whatever they had at this thing to ensure its destruction however their reinforcements would be coming from the Outer Rim and would take a while to arrive.
The plans were set first deal with at least one of the enemy cruisers and then send in the ground forces. The transports would have to fly in low from a great distance away from the hot zone to avoid being shot down by the goliath's anti air artillery, but once they were on the ground they could work on slowing down the droid army while a special forces unit was sent in to Theed to secure the royal palace. The Delta Team a squad of three formerly four specially trained and breed clones a team that had universal recognition amongst the Grand Army normally their missions consisted of covert actions that preceded any battle, but nowadays they were being sent in behind the scenes in the midst of massive battles.
"So why did the Delta Team get deployed with us?" Leon asked Obi-Wan.
The Jedi were all gathered in the hangar ready to fly out with the ground forces once the way was cleared. Paired up into three teams of two they would each hit a designated target before converging on The Judge and attacking it all at once. Leon was paired with Obi-Wan even though his silent preference lay with Ahsoka, but he didn't complain he liked Master Kenobi.
"Senators Amidala and Organa are currently on Naboo" he revealed scratching his beard, "The Chancellor sent in the Delta Team to secure them and extract them while we lead the counter attack".
Leon smiled from the corner of his lips, "I feel like I should be jealous of Padme, from what I hear her knack for getting into trouble rivals mine".
"Anakin's as well" Obi-Wan noted sending a quick look to his former padawan at the other end of the hanger.
Anakin was paired with Ahsoka for the upcoming mission master and student staying close together of course. It made sense that they would be a team, but all the same Leon didn't want to be separated from Ahsoka for a number of reasons the biggest was he already lost someone important to him to The Judge before and even though he had great faith in Ahsoka's skills he worried for her.
He shook the thought from his mind worrying about it wasn't going to help him or anyone else the only thing he had to focus on was cutting down every battle droid he saw and then putting an end to The Judge. He had to keep it hidden, but he reveled in the thought of destroying the goliath the destruction of something so immensely powerful the proof of his superiority made him shake with anticipation. His body shook and his nerves tingled he couldn't wait to get a shot at the monster that had killed one of his friends he couldn't wait to tear it apart to slowly dismantle the mechanized nightmare his joy at the thought only shot down at the knowledge that machines didn't feel pain.
"What the hell am I thinking?" his inner voice snapped, "The goliaths need to be destroyed, but did I really just find joy in the thought of ripping it apart…that's not like you Leon get it together you don't have time for day dreaming" his head shrugged to the side, "Well unless its about Ahsoka".
For once things weren't easier said than done, within minutes the first Separatist cruiser was destroyed and the hangar lit up in a green light and clones and Jedi rushed toward their transports taking off for the planet below. Leon stood next to Obi-Wan and the four clones of Titan squad stood behind them their job was to secure the courtyard area of Theed Royal Palace while other squads of clones landed in the surrounding areas to secure the plaza.
"No pressure" Edge thought considering their position, they were the ones that were to keep the palace safe while the Delta Team infiltrated the palace and rescued the trapped senators.
The clone captain looked up to his Jedi friend who smirked at him that confident smirk he had seen dozens of times the curved grin that meant their victory was assured. Since their first mission together Edge had always trusted Leon despite his young age he had proven to be not just a capable Jedi, but a capable soldier. The clone captain nodded to him silently acknowledging their already determined victory before the transport ship rumbled. The clone pilot called back to them telling them they were entering Naboo's atmosphere and would be landing within the palace walls shortly.
"Assuming the palace's AA defenses haven't been captured by the enemy yet" Edge and Leon both thought.
Luck was on their side this time the palace's AA defenses were offline at the moment for right now that was a good thing, but once they landed they would have to be switched back on.
"We'll leave that to the Deltas" Obi-Wan said, "Our primary concern is to secure the courtyard and plaza we cannot let anything through no matter what".
Leon nodded and grinned, "Just don't break any bones old man".
Obi-Wan shot him an amused smirk as the ship landed and the doors slid open blaster fire could be heard from every direction as they piled out in waves. Clones shouting orders at each other over the barrage of laser fire between the two battalions in the courtyard. Obi-Wan and Leon took the lead in the charging forces cutting down the droids by the dozens within seconds. Edge and his team stayed back firing from cover picking off the droids almost just as quickly as the Jedi while other transport ships landed outside the palace walls. Their coms erupted in voices reporting in, the plaza and other districts had all begun their counter offensives engaging the enemy in each area around the city of Theed. The first objective was simple secure every area and neutralize all enemies and then the Jedi would all meet while the clones established a massive line of defense between the goliath and the palace, then the Jedi and a select group of clones would engage the monster directly in an attempt to destroy or disable it.
Ducking behind cover Edge slapped Chip on his shoulder, "Droid poppers go".
Chip nodded to his captain and the two clones quickly stood up hurling a pair of grenades at the droids and dropping back down just as quickly as they stood. The grenades went off at the feet of the droids sending out arcs of electric magnetic pulses disabling the battle droids leaving them completely vulnerable. Half an hour of fighting and the courtyard was secured, but fighting could still be heard from the surrounding plaza and the faint thundering steps of The Judge shook the earth from outside the city. The battle was far from over.
"What's our next move?" Leon asked Obi-Wan.
Across the city at the Theed Spaceport Mace Windu and Luminara Unduli along with their clones engaged the enemy that had captured the spaceport and the nearby plasma refinery complex. Between two seasoned Jedi Masters in peak condition the droid forces hardly posed a threat, but their tanks and artillery cannons did much to tilt the scales in their favor. Even with a battalion of clones behind them the two Jedi were quickly forced on the defensive. If they could force a single opening in the waves of enemy fire they could rush their ranks and take out one or two of their tanks. Right as they were thinking that an opening presented itself in the form of an air attack, a pair of vulture droids flew overhead to attack them and the two Jedi Masters reached out with the Force grabbing hold of the fast movers and brought them down on top of their allies.
A fiery crash followed by a thundering boom wiped out a good deal of the droids directly in front of them the explosion's shockwave sending the nearby droids flying away in all directions and leaving a clear path to the tanks behind them. The two Jedi with the clones at their back charged forward their signature weapons deflecting blaster bolts left and right until finally they were upon the tanks. In perfect synch with each other's movements they jumped slicing the tank's turret two large pieces of its barrel falling to the ground.
Master Windu standing atop the center tank slowly raised his hands up lifting the tank to his left with the Force and shoving it into the other next to it and with a second full powered push sent both of them careening over the edge of the spaceport docks falling thousands of feet over the cliff edge. Meanwhile Master Luminara hopped over to the next tank jabbing her lightsaber down into its hatch and spinning in a circle cutting an opening before dropping inside to deal with the droid pilots. Within a minute four tanks had been silenced leaving roughly a hundred battle droids and three artillery cannons left. The good news was the cannons were too powerful to attack them close range the bad news they were guarded by a line of droidekas and a short wall lined with snipers.
"They certainly don't want to lose their foothold here" Luminara half joked skillfully and masterfully waving her lightsaber around to deflect the enemy fire.
"Then we'll have to disappoint them" Master Windu said using the Force to lift the unmanned tank and hurl it at the enemy line bowling over the droidekas and crashing into the low lying wall of snipers.
"Well done Master Windu" Luminara praised, "How do you think the others are fairing?"
The clones rushed toward the artillery cannons destroying the droid operators and taking over the massive weapons. Another point secured and now within a few minutes they would be able to turn the droids own artillery against them.
Anakin and Ahsoka landed in front of Theed University at first the area was empty their job was to intercept a tank column heading toward the palace. Along with Captain Rex and their clones they began setting rows of high powered charges along the road the first few tanks would be destroyed and any left would be either heavily damaged or halted entirely. Anakin's plan was about as simple as they got set charges then hide and wait once the trap was sprung snipers would attack first drawing the enemy's attention to higher ground and then they would charge in and attack from both sides.
The last of the charges set Anakin yelled for everyone to take cover and hide, snipers rushing into the nearby tall buildings and finding good perches while the remaining troopers hid inside and behind whatever cover they could find. The rumbling engines of the approaching tanks followed by the slight tremors in the ground from all the droids marching in unison the sounds of an impending battle. The soldiers and their Jedi commanders hid, holding breaths and steeling nerves as the faint tremors become visible and the scattered litter on the ground began moving and finally boom.
The first pair of tanks exploded the hidden charges ripping them apart and scattering massive pieces of torn shrapnel in all directions tearing down the flanks of battle droids and blocking the road preventing them from advancing any further. With the enemy line halted the clone snipers attacked first ducking out from their higher positions four shots echoed in staccato droid heads flying away from their shoulders and another four sniper shots deafened the air and as the battle droids raised their weapons to engage the nested snipers the hidden clones poured out of their hiding places to engage their enemy.
The rumbling sound in the earth had been replaced in less than half a minute now the only noise surrounding the area was the high volume of blaster fire from the opposing forces. The clones held their position further down the road to avoid activating the remaining charges littered throughout the road waiting for the droids to advance forward while their tanks tried to ram their way through the remains of the first two. Anakin and Ahsoka stood at the front line deflecting blaster bolts to provide what little cover they could to their troops behind them, the snipers above had displaced to cover the alley ways to make sure the droids couldn't get around the narrow passages making sure they would have to file through by twos.
Boom, the droids set off the next line of charges sending a fireball of rock and metal scraps into the air and blasting aside the ones at the edge of the blast radius. The tanks finally rammed their way past the broken shells of the first pair and pushed forward firing their cannons right as the second line of charges went off not caught in the immediate blast the tanks were pushed upward enough to divert their shots skyward. Anakin yelled a command to Ahsoka and the two Jedi quickly threw their arms forward willing the Force to push the tilted tanks back hoping to capsize at least one of them. The tanks were too heavy and settled back to their upright positions, but they had managed to turn them away forcing them to turn and reposition themselves buying them a few second allowing the rocket launchers from the back ranks to get a clear shot.
The rockets impacted the thick hulls of their intended targets two a piece tearing through the armor destroying them. Their tanks decimated and their numbers falling by the dozens per minute the battle droids began retreating and were gunned down after half an hour of fighting the area around the University was secured.
"Wow" Ahsoka exhaled after the last droid was shot down, "I think that's the first time one of your plans actually worked the first time".
"My plans always work" Anakin fired back.
Ahsoka scoffed, "Yeah after you fine tune them in the middle of execution".
"And they still work" he said raising his wrist and switching on his comlink, "The University area is secured".
"The ports are secured" Master Windu's voice returned.
"As is the palace courtyard and plaza" Obi-Wan responded, "We may want to hurry on the next phase Leon is getting bored and putting on a puppet show to pass the time".
"Dare I ask?" Windu inquired.
Obi-Wan looked over his shoulder as Leon used the Force to lift the remains of a battle droid. He crept over to his friend Boulder with a sinister grin and yelled "zombie hug" before throwing the droid onto his shoulders.
Boulder screamed throwing the heavy droid over his shoulder and shooting it with his sidearm as Leon and the rest of Titan squad laughed at him.
"I think it best if we find something for him to do before he looks to other means of entertainment".
"You guys know I can hear you right?" Leon questioned from his own comlink, "Master Kenobi is right though" he continued watching Titan squad surround boulder continuing to laugh at him, "The Judge is still out there waiting for something so we need to hurry this up".
"Patience Leon" Luminara told him, "Let's all meet up in the palace courtyard from there we can go over the next phase of our plan".
"Question" Leon said after lowering his comlink and raising it again, "What's to stop the bad guys from just ordering The Judge to blow up the entire palace?"
Silence, he was right they hadn't considered that option. Normally the Separatists would attempt to capture the world they invaded, but in the past after a failed attempt they had tried to destroy whatever they could to make sure the Republic couldn't make use of it like Ruusan and Ryloth.
"Yeah see my point" Leon told them almost sarcastically, "We don't have time to start debating and brainstorming we need to do something now that monster may be waiting outside the city, but we're well within its range if they choose to turn it loose on us right now".
"I'm with Leon" Anakin agreed, "If we give that thing any time we'll regret it we should take the fight to it as quickly as possible".
"This is Delta-38" a gruff voice said from their comlinks, "We have a visual on Senators Amidala and Organa they're being held in the throne room two pairs of magnaguards watching over them and General Grievous".
"Grievous is here?" Leon muttered looking up to Obi-Wan, "That's actually a good thing".
"What do you mean?" the Jedi Master asked him.
Leon's mouth stretched into a smile, "With Grievous inside The Judge can't target the palace or the area around it without risking harm to Grievous" his smile grew even more, "Its weapons are too powerful if it tried to attack us this close to the palace it runs the risk of causing the palace to collapse and Grievous would never allow that he's too afraid for his own life".
"I see that would explain why it's been waiting outside the city and hasn't attacked us" Obi-Wan said raising one finger to his chin, "We could use this chance to capture him".
Leon nodded, "We go in with Titan squad and assist Delta we dispatch the magnaguards and then engage Grievous while they get the senators to safety".
"Master Windu did you copy all of that?"
"I did" Master Windu replied, "I'd rather the two of you not engage Grievous alone, but we can't let this opportunity pass. The rest of us will begin making our way toward the plaza I want you to get inside and capture Grievous alive if you can, but saving the senators takes priority I have faith in both of you and may the Force be with you".
"They're sure to know we're here" Leon said and Obi-Wan agreed, "Might as well enter through the front door and just make our way there".
Obi-Wan smiled and shrugged, "Maybe they'll even roll out the red carpet for us".
"Master Kenobi you made a joke" Leon grinned, "I'm starting to like you more and more".
Obi-Wan informed the Delta commandos to remain hidden and observe the situation until they arrived to aid them. Meanwhile Leon ran over to the members of Titan squad to tell them their next job.
Baron and Edge were standing a few feet away from Boulder and Chip who were having a small "friendly" brawl after a joke Chip had made about the former. The clone captain was staying silent shaking his head at their childish actions while Baron laughed on the inside. It wasn't until Leon ran over and lightly tripped the wrestling clones that they stopped.
"Alright boys kiss and make up we've got a job to do".
"What's the situation?" Edge asked him.
"Delta is keeping an eye on the hostages, but Grievous is inside along with four magnaguards. We're going in along with Master Kenobi he and I will destroy the guards then engage Grievous while you and Delta get the senators to safety".
"Maybe they'll roll out the red carpet for us" Chip chuckled.
Leon pointed over his shoulder at Obi-Wan, "You know he said the exact same thing".
"We're with you as always Leon" Edge said shouldering his rifle.
Leon nodded and looked back to Obi-Wan who was waiting for them, "Alright then no sense waiting the other Jedi will come to reinforce this position we're heading in now so grab your gear".
Following his friend to the Jedi General waiting for them Edge took note of the change in Leon's stance and in the way he walked. One who knew him less wouldn't notice, but he did Leon still acted the same way he always did, but his stance had changed he was confident now well he was always confident, but now he didn't hide it behind a façade of laughs and jokes and grins he allowed it to show to an extent. Edge didn't know that much about Jedi rituals or ceremonies or whatever they were called, but he believed Leon was worthy of his recent promotion a unique Jedi amongst all the ones he had met and probably one of the very few he would consider a friend.
Leon's shoulders weighed down as if a heavy object rested upon them, but his stride did not suffer from it in fact his body moved as if it took no heed of the weight at all. The boy's eyes had changed as well the icy blue stare filled with comical mischief now mixed with an iron sense of will and duty and then there was his tone. What was once sarcasm and laughs had actually evolved into firm confidence and command though he still insisted on them calling him by his name instead of his new rank of general when his new tone entered the clone captain's ears he felt the urge to call him sir off of reflex and habit.
Edge smiled under his helmet since they first met he liked Leon at first it was because he was able to keep Boulder and Chip entertained and Coins, when he was still alive was always one who loved casual conversation which Leon would always engage with him in. Baron much like Edge was a quiet type, but always enjoyed a good laugh or serious conversation which Leon easily provided and there was Edge himself. Before they met Leon their squad's previous leader was killed and Edge took over until their team could be integrated into other squads which would have divided them. Of course none of them wanted that, they were all pod brothers from the beginning they had been together and it was because of Leon that they were able to stay together.
Maybe it was luck or coincidence or maybe it was fate either way Edge was grateful that Leon came along when he did that day and took the liking he did to them. It was under Leon's insistence that he be given direct command of their squad and it kept them together. Edge was always the by the book type when it came to keeping his team in line and always made sure there unique attitudes were properly placed away when a superior officer was around, but Leon took that rule and lit it on fire before throwing it out the window. Leon didn't care for authority it showed when he "commanded" them to call him by name instead of rank.
Since they met Edge liked Leon they had become friends and even though it was rare the two of them would walk around the ship or wherever they were at the time and just talk about random things of interest. When he looked at Leon he didn't see a boy or a Jedi no he saw another man who was the same as him someone who wanted to protect everything he could and not because he was trained and raised to do so, but because he wanted to.
Edge believed in freedom and even if he was just a clone breed and designed to fight for the Republic he made the choice to keep fighting. He could have deserted and left in the middle of the night long ago and many times since then, but he wanted to believed he did believe in what he was helping to fight for and that kept him going more than anything and Leon had felt the same. Through their many conversations Leon had told him that even if he wasn't a Jedi or if he were to leave the Order he would still fight because he had people he wanted to protect, his reasons were more personal than Edge's, but they were still good reasons. Brothers and best of friends if it were possible for a Jedi and a clone respect and admiration was their bond and surrounded by a tether stronger than the toughest iron or steel made it unbreakable.
Their plan was laid out as simple as could be go inside the palace say hello to Grievous destroy his personal guard and escort the hostages to safety while the Jedi deal with the general.
"Easier said than done" was what Baron said according to the Delta team waiting for them inside there were a few droid patrols inside, but they wouldn't be a match for two Jedi and a team of clones and they didn't need to worry about raising an alarm it Grievous had to know they were there already the fact that he hadn't fled yet meant he was sure having two senators as hostages would give him an advantage. He was wrong.
Heading in through the front door the team of six met no resistance at first the first wing was empty, but as they passed the guard barracks they encountered the first droid patrol. A single pair of battle droids both fell to the Jedi duo before they even realized what happened. A pull with the Force and a swing of the lightsaber both droids were forcefully switched offline leaving the hall clear once again. Another pair of droids inside the dining hall and a pair of droidekas outside the throne room so far the hardest part of the infiltration, but that only meant they would have to be a little more discreet and indirect to handle them. A droid popper grenade silent in its detonation plus the Force resulted in a hovering explosive that quietly drifted through the air eventually dropping between the pair of destroyer droids scrambling their programming and overloading their circuitry.
Standing outside the doors to the throne room Obi-Wan contacted the leader of the Delta team waiting for them in the rafters inside.
"General Kenobi to Boss, we're outside the throne room".
"Delta 38 roger" the clone commando replied, "They still haven't noticed us from the looks of it General Grievous is trying to force the senators into handing over control of Theed and Naboo to the Separatists. Senator Organa took a minor blow to the head, but he doesn't appear to be injured".
"Copy that" Obi-Wan said, "As long as they're both fine that's all that matters. Here's the plan we're going to go in and draw their attention Grievous will likely poise his guards to threaten the senators in an attempt to force us to surrender on my go I need your team to drop down from above and destroy them. Once they've been taken care of grab the senators and Titan squad will assist you in getting them to safety Leon and I will handle Grievous".
"Roger that General by your mark".
Switching off his comlink Obi-Wan looked to Leon, "Shall we?" he asked with a smirk.
Leon grinned back, "I'd hate to keep the big bad wolf waiting".
Pushing at each side of the door the two Jedi along with the clones of Titan squad entered the throne room the sound of the opening doors drawing the attention of its occupants.
"Honey I'm home" Leon yelled.
"Ah! General Kenobi" Grievous said his hoarse, raspy voice trying to express his delight, "And little Leon it's been too long and where might young Skywalker be?"
"By now I'd imagine he's mopping up the rest of your pathetic forces" Leon said reading Obi-Wan's mind, "But you shouldn't concern yourself with him after all your hosts Senators Amidala and Organa have been gracious enough to provide you some captivating entertainment".
"Indeed" Grievous coughed, "Two more lightsabers to add to my collection".
"Delta now" Obi-Wan yelled.
The three members of the Delta team dropped down from the rafters grabbing the magnaguards from behind pulling their heads from their shoulders leaving only one left. The magnaguards turned its electrostaff cackling as it tried to swing at the Delta in green armor the one called Fixer if Leon remembered correctly. Holding his hand out Leon lifted the attacking magnaguards and pulled it toward him the advanced programming of the droid allowing it to block Leon's lightsaber as he pulled it toward him. Dropping perfectly to its feet the magnaguards engaged Leon and Obi-Wan immediately skillfully blocking and parrying their attacks.
Leon had never had a chance to face one of Grievous' personal guards before, but he had heard much about them. They were programmed specifically to kill Jedi easily able to over come a rookie or unskilled Jedi and able to keep some Jedi Masters at a standstill in direct combat. Dangerous, precise and soulless they were easily one of the most formidable and dangerous droids ever created, but Leon wasn't impressed they may have had lightsaber combat techniques programmed into them, but he could see the openings in their attacks.
Waiting for the magnaguards to swing Leon put up a weak block that would deflect the attack toward the ground allowing him to pivot and get behind the droid. Once behind his enemy Leon whipped his body around slamming his leg into the knee joint of the droid causing it to buckle. Ignoring the immediate pain in his shin from kicking at solid steel Leon planted his foot and lunged forward grabbing the shoulder of the droid before it could retaliate pulling the arm back he pushed forward on its shoulder focusing the Force into the palm of his hand concentrating it as he pulled the arm back.
Once he felt the droid's strength overpowering his own Leon unleashed the Force built up in his hand the contained telekinetic energy slamming into the droid's shoulder joint ripping it apart and dislocating its arm. The damaged arm dangled uselessly at its side, but the droid was still active swinging and jabbing with its weapon at the young Jedi that crippled it. Waiting for another jab Leon pivoted back spinning to the outside of the spear like stab and grabbed the shaft of the electrostaff pulling it against his back as he continued to turn. Raising his leg Leon swept it back knocking the magnaguards legs out from under it causing it to fall. The droid released its weapon as it fell and landed on its back and then spasming as Leon drove the end of its own weapon into its chest.
The last of the droids power was spent as it flailed attempting to remove the staff impaling it and as its limbs fell to the floor with a heavy clank Leon looked to Grievous with an innocent grin on his face.
"I think your protection could use a little more protection".
"Bah" the cyborg roared, "Useless droids, I will deal with you myself, but first" he drew his lightsabers and turned attacking the members of the Delta team, but the two Jedi held out their arms using the Force to bind him.
"Sorry General" Obi-Wan said, "But I'm afraid you'll have to play with us first".
Pushing Grievous away from the senators and into a wall Obi-Wan yelled for the clones to take the senators to safety before leaping with the Force covering the entire room's distance and landing in front of Grievous with Leon joining right behind him. Titan squad rushed over to the Deltas and huddled around the fleeing Senators both of them calling back wishing the Jedi luck as they engaged the general of the separatist army. With the hostages clear the battle could begin.
Leon started first bringing his lightsaber down attempting to end it before it could begin, but Grievous blocked his strike and his cyborg strength pushed the young Jedi Knight back. Swinging with his opposite arm Grievous' strike was blocked by Obi-Wan and then deflected and with a double Force push the Kaleesh warrior stumbled back as the Jedi stood shoulder to shoulder.
"Well this is going to be fun" Leon said as Grievous' arms uncoupled into their extra set. Four arms each hand wielding a lightsaber making the total weapon count four against two.
"Obi-Wan do you read me?" Anakin's voice came from their comlinks.
"Anakin not now" Leon yelled, "We're entertaining a guest".
"We're almost at the palace we're coming to help" Anakin said before Grievous attacked again.
Leon and Obi-Wan both jumped back avoiding the attack and stepped back in to counter strike they're weapons parried by the cyborg.
"What's wrong?" Leon asked as Grievous took a step back, "You're not afraid of me are you? I mean not that I wouldn't blame you after what happened last time we met".
"You got lucky in our last meeting boy" Grievous fired back.
Leon scoffed, "Lucky? I beat you and Dooku by myself there was no luck there that was all skill" he grinned evilly, "And I've only gotten better since then".
Reaching around his waist he grabbed his second lightsaber and switched it on its red blade flaring to life matching the hum of the other lightsabers. Holding his silver lightsaber in his right hand and his red reverse grip shoto saber in his left hand Leon took a quick step forward and swung his offhand saber stepping away at the exact end of his swing and flipping the weapon around to an upright position. He grinned again after Grievous stepped back to avoid his swing, it may not be fear, but the cyborg general was cautious of him.
Grievous was a powerful opponent there was no denying that Leon had faced him twice before and Obi-Wan had faced him a dozen times before. With numbers in their favor and having their enemy cautious of them that would give them a distinct advantage if they could stay aggressive in their attacks something Leon specialized in.
"Alright here's an idea" Leon began shifting his weight to his back foot ready to spring forward.
"I'm listening" Obi-Wan said, but before he could finish his words Leon lunged forward.
"Break" he yelled bringing his silver blade down overhead blocked by Grievous, but Leon was already pivoting on his forward foot turning away from his own strike letting it slide down Grievous' blade and swinging upward with his red saber held reverse once again.
Grievous stepped back, but before he could counter Leon shifted the red shoto saber in his hand holding it upright and pulled his arm back down crashing into Grievous' raised lightsaber sending them both downward. At the end of his swing Leon turned his torso swinging the weight in his momentum and bringing his silver lightsaber around in a wide swing that clashed off of Grievous' high right saber. Deactivating his lightsabers Leon dropped to the floor landing on his back and used the Force to push Grievous back leaving him open for Obi-Wan.
Obi-Wan jumped forward as Grievous stumbled back from the push his lightsaber meeting a green and blue one from Grievous' left arms. Grievous pushed the weapons forward breaking the lock between their sabers and swung with his right side and was blocked by the Jedi Master's honed reflexes. Leon raised his legs quickly causing his body to roll back off the ground and onto his shoulder before kicking his legs forward propelling himself off the ground and back to his feet. Activating his silver lightsaber he ran forward pointing the blade at the floor as he turned and in a half spin raised his lightsaber in an upward angle barely blocked by his enemy, but enough to redirect the strike.
Stiffing his wrist Leon activated his red shoto saber held reverse as usual and swinging from the side. A hit!
Grievous snarled and jumped back it wasn't bad, but Leon made contact a small slice in his armor and a graze on what little flesh remained underneath, but enough to anger the cyborg even further. Grievous locked his raging eyes on Leon who returned a mocking smirk.
"Play time is over boy" he roared hoarsely.
The two top arm sabers began spinning like windmills and the lower arm sabers were pulled back like spears ready to lunge forward. Slowly he advanced on Leon four, five, six steps and then lunged forward stabbing with his right lower arm and swinging his left arms at Kenobi before bringing his upper right arm down at Leon.
Leon raised his silver lightsaber close to his face blocking Grievous' thrust and narrowing his eyes as the blue blade cackled against his as it slid past his cheek with less than two inches between them. Obi-Wan skillfully raised his own defense blocking Grievous' wild strike easily pushing back the weak attack and retaliating. Spinning the saber around in his hand Obi-Wan performed a weak overhead strike which was blocked and deflected before swinging back around in a straight upward swing catching the general by surprise.
Leon's eyes narrowed tightly as the cackling from the lightsaber blades grinding against each other caused a small, but bright flash of light blinding him in a split second. As Grievous' blade slid alongside and past his Leon pushed it upward and angled it to block his upper arm from swinging down on him. His senses heightened in that moment he was using the Force to strengthen his senses and muscles a technique referred to as Force Speed. He was reacting faster to the situation at hand perceiving events slower than they were really happening and allowing himself to move faster mentally and physically.
He had a natural talent for this particular ability in the Force although he could only sustain it for a short time he used it well in addition to his skill in combat. Slowly he watched Grievous' upper arm raise up ready to come crashing down on top of him and he moved his saber up just enough to give him room to angle it and stiffened his shoulders bracing himself for the clash of the second saber.
Feeling it drop down on him Leon allowed his knees to bend absorbing and displacing the energy from the blow and then he felt Grievous falter. He heard his enemy snarl in pain and the strength he was using to push down on the young Jedi Knight was released, his eyes darted to the corner of his peripheral and he saw Obi-Wan's saber held high and Grievous' lower left hand was missing, an opening.
Leon straightened his knees pushing his body up and forcing away the weakened arms of his attacker, stepping inside his enemy's reach Leon slammed his open palm against Grievous' chest at the moment of impact sending a small burst of the Force into his target. The telekinetic hit caused Grievous to hunch over and the Kaleesh cyborg began coughing in a raspy hacking way that resembled Leon's when his illness hit him. His defenses lowered Leon attacked again deactivating his lightsaber he closed his fist tightly around the weapon hilt and brought it around in a right hook slamming the mask that covered the general's face.
"One bruised another possibly fractured" he thought feeling an immediate burning pain in his fist he injured himself with that hit, but his assault didn't suffer from it.
Just like with his first strike Leon released a burst of Force energy once his punch made contact stumbling his enemy again. Ducking down Leon stepped around the stumbled cyborg and darted up from the side his open palm meeting the exposed neck of the mighty general and with another burst of the Force sent Grievous stumbling back even more causing him to lose his balance and fall.
As he fell Grievous turned his body completely around landing on all fours minus his one missing hand and began skittering away like a cockroach fleeing a bright light. Leon moved to give chase, but stopped as his chest tightened and his breath suddenly froze in his lungs. Dropping to his knees Leon gave a single violent cough, but was unable to reflexively inhale to replace the breath he just expelled. His throat began to itch and burn and felt like it was closing trapping the breath inside him and preventing the air outside from entering.
Seeing the young Jedi Knight fall Obi-Wan rushed to his side and dropped to a knee next to him, "Leon" he heard his name called, but barely a faint ring as he struggled to regain his breath.
"Leon hold on" Obi-Wan called again his mind racing trying to figure out something to do.
Leon quickly raised his hand and slapped it against his chest recoiling as he hit himself and then slapping his chest again and then a third time. It felt like something was stuck in his throat and was forcefully dislodged dropping down to his elbows he gasped for air his eyes red and watery from his struggle.
"Thank the Force that worked" his mind gasped with him. He used his own unique force ability on himself sending a weak burst of force energy into his chest as he slapped himself. Like a defibrillator he shocked his chest giving his lungs a jump.
He wasn't sure how that worked exactly, but something in the back of his mind yelled at him to do it. Maybe the burst of force energy caused the virus to relax or disrupted it or just temporarily impeded it no matter how or why it worked he was grateful that it worked.
"Its getting worse" he thought, "It hasn't hit me in almost a week, but it's much worse than the last time it happened. If I didn't stop it I think I would have suffocated…is the virus getting stronger or adapting to me? Can a virus do tha…Grievous".
He snapped out of his thoughts and jumped up running forward Obi-Wan's words finally reaching him as he sprinted after Grievous.
"I'm fine he's getting away" he yelled back to the Jedi Master who quickly chased after him.
Through the palace halls and past the library through the dining hall and cafeteria they chased Grievous just barely able to keep him in sight as he had a good lead on them fleeing around a corner just as they set their eyes on him. Fleeing through the entire palace they finally cornered him in the Theed Generator Complex.
Obi-Wan used the Force to pull him hoping to slow him down enough for them to catch up to him, but the cyborg only slid back half a foot before fleeing again. Leon running alongside the Jedi Master yelled for him to catch his feet and they extended their arms again. Grabbing the general's legs through the Force they pulled him back stopping his escape in the middle of a narrow corridor the fleeing Kaleesh warrior stopped and stood up to engage them again, but the second his lightsabers switched on a laser shield appeared between them separating the combatants. From behind him another shield appearing trapping Grievous in the narrow corridor and at the end Leon was trapped as well with Obi-Wan safely on the outside.
"I had hoped to never see this place again" Obi-Wan said switching off his lightsaber and crouching down to catch his breath.
"You've been here before?" Leon asked him.
Obi-Wan nodded, "Yes during the first battle of Naboo before the war started just over ten years ago. My former master Qui-Gon and I were here helping to liberate the city then we encountered a Sith named Darth Maul" he looked around the room there were in precarious catwalks on different levels below and above ran in different directions, "We fought him here and he killed my Master while I was trapped inside one of these shields".
"How ironic" Grievous hissed, "You will share the site of your former master's death".
Leon turned to the general and activated his lightsabers, "Since you're still here I assume you won?"
Obi-Wan nodded, "Yes I killed the Sith now it looks like I must fight here again".
Leon smirked, "If you want to sit this one out I'll understand. I'm more than capable of handling the scared little cockroach".
The laser shields opened and the two Jedi charged forward and Grievous turned to flee. Same trick as before the two Jedi grabbed his legs with the Force and pulled him back stopping his escape this time and closing in on him. Obi-Wan jumped over their enemy and cut off his escape with a Jedi on either side of him Grievous had no choice, but to keep fighting. Grievous glared at them his eyes flaring with rage and they closed in on him their weapons humming in their hands, lights of blue, silver and red trying to box him in Grievous refused to admit defeat and reached for his weapons once again and another duel ensued.
Blue met blue first as Obi-Wan opened with the first strike this time Grievous' single left hand blocking alone this time and his right swinging in to attack, but the blue and green blades were blocked by silver and red as Leon stepped in to defend his ally. Leon stiffened his shoulders as he struggled to hold off the superior strength of his opponent pushing forward and then jumping back just as Obi-Wan did. Grievous lunged after them kicking Obi-Wan in his chest the cyborg's strength sending the Jedi Master flying back a few feet. Quickly turning his attention to Leon Grievous attacked with his lower right arm and Leon blocked with both of his sabers.
Sabers locked one against two Leon stiffened his shoulders again straining to hold off Grievous' strength. Feeling the general's pressing weight let up slightly Leon shifted his weight to his feet to hold his position and moved his red shoto saber held reversed out to his left holding his arm high to block the attack aimed at his neck. Caught between what felt like industrial compactor walls closing in on him Leon slid his foot back and ducked his head down and dropped his arms down jumping back half a step just enough to avoid the trio of lightsabers slicing at the spot where he was just standing. Rocking his weight back on his heel and then lunging forward the reversed red blade swinging upward his enemy's arms still crossed over each other unable to retreat from the counter attack.
Grievous roared and backed away his lower hand missing now leaving only his two upper arms. Obi-Wan rejoining the fight standing next to Leon his weapon held at the ready.
"Looks like I'm winning" Leon smirked.
"I must have missed something then" Obi-Wan said, "We've both taken one of his hands".
Leon flipped his red saber around and pointed it at Grievous' chest, "Yea, but I managed to get a graze on him earlier still a hit so I'm winning".
Obi-Wan shook his head and sighed, "Just like Anakin just don't get ahead of yourself he's still dangerous".
"Yeah, he's dangerous" Leon sarcastically laughed, "That's why he's down two out of four hands and is retreating from an old man and a child".
Grievous roared angered by the sheer disrespect of the Jedi child in front of him, "Do not underestimate me boy. Just because I have allowed you a few free shots does not man you are anywhere close to defeating me".
Leon was staring at the ceiling a thoughtful, distant look in his eyes. A wistful sigh before he heard another roar from the enraged general.
"Oh did you say something?" Leon asked quickly shaking his head as if to bring his thoughts back to the present situation, "Sorry I was thinking about something that's actually important".
"Do not mock me" Grievous growled before lunging at them again his attack staved off by a double force push.
Leon looked to Obi-Wan, "Maybe it's just me, but I remember him being him being tougher".
Obi-Wan warned, "His frustration will work in our favor, but do not underestimate him he's still dangerous".
Leon waved his hand dismissing the warning, "Yeah yeah I know the drill let's just hurry and finish him off".
Grievous stood up and a raspy growl echoed through the massive chamber, "I refuse to allow myself to be defeated".
"Allow yourself to be defeated?" Leon laughed, "So have you actually been trying to fight us this whole time or are you just having an off day?"
Grievous roared again and lunged forward his green lightsaber coming down on top of Leon's raised silver lightsaber, the new Jedi Knight crouching down to absorb some of the force of impact, but leaving himself vulnerable. Grievous' other lightsaber arm reached out to the side and came swinging down from the side thankfully for Leon he had backup. Obi-Wan blocked the sweeping attack forcing it back and pushing Grievous off of Leon.
"I told you not to underestimate him" he told Leon.
Leon dusted off his shoulders and pants as Obi-Wan repeated his warning, "I'm not underestimating him I'm mocking him big difference".
Grievous roared again and then the chamber shook, a violent tremor causing them to temporarily loose their balance.
"Oh that can't be good" Leon muttered and then their comlinks started beeping.
"Obi-Wan the goliath is on the move and its attacking" Anakin's voice yelled, "Its targeting the palace if your still in there you need to get out now".
Grievous roared, "Those fools I am still down here".
"And you're going to stay down here" Leon said before jumping over to Grievous and swinging his silver lightsaber with both hands.
Grievous moved to defend taken by surprise not reacting quickly enough and with Leon swinging with both of his hands the power behind his attack was even greater easily crashing through Grievous' guard. His guard broken Grievous was left open, but so was the young Jedi attacking him with both of his hands and his full strength behind his swing it was flying high and would take maybe a second and a half at best to recover, but Grievous other arm was in perfect position to exploit this small opening.
"Got you" he growled stabbing forward with his lightsaber with a ghastly chuckle to accompany his attack.
Seeing the general's arm rear back and his lightsaber aimed straight Leon leaned forward placing all of his weight onto his front leg and pivoted to the outside and let gravity do its job. The spin move worked allowing him to evade the stab that surely would have killed him, planting his free foot on the ground Leon shifted his weight and pivoted again whipping around his foot aimed high. Catching Grievous off guard again Leon's foot collided with the side of the back of the cyborg's head stumbling him and leaving him open for his other opponent.
Obi-Wan twirled his lightsaber in his hand as he stepped toward his dazed opponent and then swung upward and over his own head cutting off another hand. A roaring hiss of pain and Grievous curled back stepping away from Obi-Wan and then falling as another tremor shook the chamber.
"Kenobi" Master Windu's voice yelled over the comlinks, "The Judge is retreating a massive carrier is landing to retrieve it have you captured Grievous?"
Obi-Wan risked a response, "We have him cornered, but he's not going down easily".
"Capture him now and get out the goliath is still firing at us while the carrier is retrieving it I think they're intending to level the palace from the air".
The chamber shook again and Grievous stumbled into Leon as he lost his footing knocking the young Jedi over the edge of a cooling pit. On instinct Leon grabbed hold of the edge of the pit and held his breath as the ground shook again.
"Son of a…" his inner voice screamed as he dangled over the dark pit as the ground shook, unable to see the bottom of the shaft he returned his eyes to above him and pushed all of his strength into his elbows and shoulders and started to pull himself up.
Climbing back up Leon saw Obi-Wan engaging Grievous again, but with only one hand left Grievous was out of his element and at a disadvantage against both of them. Reentering the fight Leon charged in just as Grievous turned to defend against him as well and then the ground shook and Leon lost his balance in mid step. Grievous was turning toward him as he stumbled and Leon could tell from the look in his eyes that he was grinning as he was swinging the lightsaber he had stolen from a murdered Jedi and time slowed almost to a stop. Leon's limbs suddenly felt sluggish like they were trying to move through water his lightsaber in his right hand as he stumbled putting it on level with his knee and the attack was coming from the left he couldn't block it.
"I can't block, but I can dodge" he yelled to himself.
Pushing his weight into his slipping foot Leon forced himself to slip and fall avoiding the attack, but saving his life, quickly he rolled onto his back and held his lightsaber over and across his body to defend himself, but no attack came. Grievous had somehow knocked Obi-Wan down and then jumped over Leon and began running again. Leon got up, but felt his knee scream, burn and buckle making him fall again, a large welt of red, browning skin covering his knee and an intense burning sensation underneath.
"Really? I make one clumsy move and I bruise my knee? Screw it I'm not going to let that stop me".
Forcing himself to stand Leon reactivated his lightsaber just as Obi-Wan stood and did the same before chasing after Grievous again. Chasing after Grievous the two Jedi were beginning to tire their extended battle against their opponent exhausting them and their fatigued muscles were screaming at them. Straining and pushing themselves to keep up with Grievous it took all they had to keep him in their line of sight eventually following him back into the palace and then to the hangar where they were met by another pair of magnaguards who were waiting for their master.
Grievous laughed as his guards ran to engage his pursuers as he fled to a star fighter waiting for him. The canopy closed over his head and his last remaining hand raced over the controls of the fighter bringing the engines to life. He looked out at the two Jedi still trying to reach him through the pair of guards, in a last desperate attempt they cut down the advanced droids, but they served their purpose the Jedi were distracted just long enough for him to make his escape.
Leon watched anger swelling inside him as Grievous' fighter shrank in the sky before finally disappearing behind the clouds.
Obi-Wan returned his lightsaber to his belt and raised his comlink, "This is General Kenobi…Grievous escaped, but Leon and I are unharmed".
"Understood" Master Windu's voice replied, "Its unfortunate that he managed to get away again, but both of you and the Senators are safe that's good enough. The goliath has fled as well it boarded the carrier and is leaving with the Separatist fleet I'd rather not let them escape, but I don't think we have much choice right now. I'll send a team in to retrieve the two of you just rest for now".
Obi-Wan lowered his wrist and looked to Leon who was still staring at the sky at the spot where he last saw Grievous' fighter before it disappeared, "We'll get him next time".
Leon heard him, but didn't answer his hand tightened around his lightsaber hilt as he glared up at the clouds, "That's what was said last time and I'm sure it was said the time before that. How many times are we going to let him escape let any of our prisoners escape. Dooku, Grievous, Nute Gunray how many times are we going to capture them and then just let them escape. No…no more…the next time I see any of them I'll just cut off their legs then we won't have to worry about them running…and then I'll kill them".