Chapter 10: The Princess of Shili
Woo hoo! Oh my gosh! This feels so good!
I can feel my heart pumping, blood rushing, the feeling of air being sucked in and out of my lungs like the pod racers that I used to have to watch and the steady beat of my feet hitting the polished marble floor helping me to slide round corners then dash off again. I am running and I feel great!
The only question is where should I go? I could run back to my room and stay in there for a while, or I could go and look for Skywalker. To be honest neither of those sounds very interesting, so somehow or another my feet had an idea and without realizing it I kept running until I was outside in the courtyard. I paused as I felt the gently breeze on my face and I smelt something that I hadn’t in a long time... Freedom. Without thinking I had given myself the opportunity to run and never look back... But how can I? I have so much here that I haven’t had before, so how can I even think about my life on the run?
Still despite how much the Jedi have done for me, there’s a small part that wishes I was still living in the dark, running from the bounty hunters and living by my wits. I guess I miss the excitement and the adrenaline that rushed through me every time I had to make a daring escape or take down a few guys who thought they could turn me into an early pay-day.
I shook my head to clear it; this is where I should be, at least here I’m safe.
With that thought I kept running, however that did last long as I heard someone call my name..
I skidded to a halt and turned on my grinning as I watched Anakin chase after me, yet as he came closer he didn’t seem to happy.
‘Alexa, what are you doing?!’
‘Well I can see that.’ He rolled his eyes.
‘Then why ask?’
‘Alexa, don’t you get cheeky with me. What about your leg? Doesn’t it hurt?’ I could sense that his anger and frustration was only fuelled by concern, but trying to tell him that AI was fine didn’t seem to calm him down.
‘Anakin, I’m fine. Besides I need to start running and training again otherwise I’ll be useless to you and everyone else on the mission. Speaking of which, when are we going?’
‘I-’ He never got to say as the beep of his comlink interrupted him. ‘Skywalker here, go ahead.’
‘Anakin.’ A blue, holographic Master Kenobi appeared facing Skywalker. ‘The council has just found out of your padawan’s release from the Halls of Healing and says for the both of you to pack your things and board the ship, it is time for us to leave.’
Us? Is he coming too?
‘Very well, Obi Wan we will meet you at the ship soon.’ With that he ended the call and Master Kenobi disappeared.
‘Wait, why are we meeting Master Kenobi on the ship?’
‘Uh, yeah Obi Wan and his padawan are coming with us.’
‘Rendal’s coming?’ I asked surprised.
‘Yep and remember to be nice.’ He reminded me.
‘Don’t you “whatever” me young lady and by the way Rex is coming too.’ He added before grabbing my hand and starting to drag me.
‘Oh is that how it’s going to be?’ I laughed and started running, forcing him to jog beside me as we made our way up to our rooms.
By now we were all on the ship and I gotta say it’s not that flash, I think it’s a Rigger Freighter though I could be wrong........ Actually...... Looking at it I think.......
‘This belonged to the Hutt’s, didn’t it?’ I asked.
‘Not anymore.’ Anakin winked. I shook head and sat down in one of the extra seats behind the two Master and beside Rendal.
This has to be one of the freighters that the Hutt’s use to ship spice in. Ah great. Just can’t get away from them.
‘What do you call this bucket of bolts?’
‘The Twilight and be nice Alexa, she’s got more in her than meets the eye.’
‘Right.’ I replied skeptical.
‘Woah, calm down Lex your excitement is gonna smother Rendal.’ Anakin joked sarcastically.
I glanced sideways at the boy who was now staring at me. Rolling my eyes, I growled grumpily before looking back out the view port. I took in everything as the stars whizzed by in a blur when we made the jump into hyperspace.
‘Wow.’ I breathed.
‘Haven’t you ever been through space before?’ Rendal asked.
‘Of course I have.’ I snapped. What I failed to tell him was that I was always kept in the cargo hold when I travelled through space.
‘I-I haven’t.’ The boy replied quietly and he averted his gaze to the floor, hanging his head.
‘Well then why aren’t you looking around?’ I asked trying to raise his mood again. He flashed me a grin and we stared out at the view as Anakin told us all about flying a ship.
‘Of course you, Rendal, might have to wait a while before your Master lets you fly yourself.’ He smirked at Obi Wan.
‘Is that true, Master?’ Rendal asked. Obi Wan then shot a stern glare at his Anakin.
‘I will allow you to fly on your own when you are ready.’ He replied calmly.
‘Anyway we are approaching Shilli.’ My Master announced and after flicking several buttons we swiftly came out of hyperspace just in time to see my home planet.
I smiled, I have never seen it from space before, it’s so cool!
‘So, is this where you came from?’ Obi Wan’s padawan asked.
‘Maybe, why do you care?’
‘I was just.......’
‘Alexa, apologise.’ Anakin demanded.
‘Sorry.’ I grumbled.
I was glad when we finally landed and we walked out onto the dry ground, I was apprehensive at first. I mean it’s been six years since I’ve been here and....... All my worries faded away as Anakin led me out and I was able to take in the streets. However the atmosphere wasn’t the same, there was this air of fear as the people moved from shop to shop buying whatever they needed and then scurrying back to their homes. Something’s definitely going on here.
‘We are supposed to be meting the king in his palace.’ Obi Wan explained and we walked to the shining Togrutan palace.
‘What’s his name?’ Anakin asked.
‘King Acatok.’ He replied.
We were then allowed to see the king and walked in to the throne room after being announced. I looked up at the king of my people, he was tall with deep red skin and long head-tails that touched the floor. My eyes widened as I took in his face and I remembered seeing him in the our village; he used to be our tribes leader. So why was he now king?
‘Welcome Master Jedi.’
‘Thank you for having us here, your Majesty.’ Obi Wan replied.
‘I will be honest with you, a master Jedi, I did not want you here. It is because of my daughter that you were allowed to come to our planet.’
His daughter? I remember her........ She was nice.
‘We owe your daughter our thanks, then.’
‘Indeed, however you will not be able to give them to her personally as-’
‘I am back, Father.’
A young female voice cut him off and seconds later his daughter walked in. She was reasonably tall and thin with a well rounded figure. She had big blue eyes and large grey lips and she was wearing a red sleeveless dress with black leggings and high black boots. It was at that point that my chin hit the floor.
I recognised the teenage Togruta immediately. She turned to stare at my and her face lit up in the most beautiful smile I have ever seen.
‘Anakin!’ She rushed forward and hugged me. I stood stunned for a moment before returning the embrace with just as much force. ‘It’s so good to see you again and...... Master Kenobi!’ She awarded him with her affections. ‘I’m so happy that you’re both here!’ She grinned.
‘Ahsoka? You’re the Princess of Shili?’ I asked in disbelief. She nodded.
‘Yeah and who’s this?’ She asked looking to my padawan. However the King interjected before I could answer.
‘As you can see, she was quite insistent upon having the Jedi help us in this matter, I am still anxious to see you prove yourselves.’
‘We will not fail you.’ I assured him.
‘Then come and I will show you were the Separatists have set up their base.’ We were then led into what I assumed was a sort of war room as it was filled with maps and holographic images of the terrain. ‘The Separatists have built a temporary base here, in the village of Damerel.’
I felt Alexa’s anger and anxiety sky rocket and I glanced just in time to see her clench into fists. She was obviously connected to that place and I offered my silent comfort by wrapping my hand around hers. I smiled inwardly as she seemed to relax slightly with my touch.
‘Now they are forcing all of the men to work and build a permanent base, while keeping the women and children as hostages. Myself and a small group of others are working to protect the surrounding villages as the droids have tried to take over them too.’ Ahsoka explained.
‘What you are here to do, is to free the hostages and destroy the factory. You are to leave now and my daughter and her group will go with you to help.’
‘Very well, thank you your Majesty.’ I bowed and we left.
Once we were back outside I looked down at my young apprentice, I felt her anger radiating off her like a searing heat and judging by the others expressions they could feel it too.
‘We have to stop them.’ She growled, determination evident in her voice.
‘Yes.’ Ahsoka agreed. ‘What’s your name, young one?’
‘Alexa, your Majesty.’
‘Ahsoka. My name is Ahsoka Tano.’
‘Right.’ She nodded.
‘I’m Rendal Brask, padawan of Master Obi Wan Kenobi.’ He introduced himself. I smiled, looks like Obi Wan has found his perfect student.
‘A pleasure to meet you.’
‘Now what are we standing around for? We have people to help.’ Alexa remarked and we started off.
Ahsoka led us to a small cafe where we met up with a group of five people, consisting of two Togrutas (one male and one female), a Trandoshan (male) and a Devaronian-Zabrak (male).
‘This is my troop, these guys have helped me protect many of the other villages and helped to save many lives, we owe them a lot. Guys, these are the Jedi I told you about, Master Skywalker, Master Kenobi and their padawans Alexa and Rendal.’
‘It’s nice too meet you all.’ Obi Wan smiled.
‘Hi, name’s Connas Tiren and this is my sister Tila.’ The male Togruta introduced them. I noticed that he was a little older than Ahsoka, while....... Tila seemed younger. They both had orange skin with Connas being a little darker and closer to red. I couldn’t help staring into the girls eyes, they were a deep purple colour and unlike I had ever seen before, however Alexa brought me back to reality by quietly clearing her throat.
‘I thought the Separatists were holding all of the women prisoners.’ Rendal said confused.
‘I’m not from Damerel, so they have not taken over our village, however I don’t think that will be the case for much longer if we don’t defeat the Separatists quickly.’ She replied.
‘She’s right.’ Ahsoka nodded. ‘Now Masters this is-’
‘I’m Graffin.’ The Trandoshan nodded interrupting my old apprentice, his voice was deep and brooding, like a backdrop for a funeral.
‘Right.’ Ahsoka nodded and Graffin shot her a small smile, before returning to his gruff expression.
I then turned to the last member of the group, the Devaronian-Zabrak. I looked him up and down, taking in his appearance. Though one of the youngest in the group, he stood roughly 6 foot tall and wore a hooded black robe. He usually had the hood up, though out of respect for one who once was my padawan it was down showing he had the horns, though not near as large or wide, of the Devaronians with their more obvious head ridge. He had a second set of smaller horns, presumably from his Zabrak heritage. His skin color was red, with a few black markings one covering his lips. Golden snake-slit eyes showing confidence and determination.
‘I doubt I need an introduction for you Anakin.’ He smirked.
‘Arcturus Cain.’ I nodded remembering the Sith bounty hunter.
‘You two know each other?’ Ahsoka asked surprised.
‘Yeah, Arc and I go way back.’
‘That’s true. Wait...... It couldn’t be, Obi Wan Kenobi?’
‘Yes Arcturus.’ He nodded. ‘It’s been a long time.’
‘That it has.’
‘So what brings you here? I wouldn’t have picked you for something like this.’ I asked, quirking my brow at him.
‘I have my reasons.’ He replied.
‘All the same, we have people to help so I suggest we get a move on.’ Everyone agreed and we set off.
‘Master, what do we do now?’ Rendal asked.
‘Now we go to a village near.........’
‘Damerel.’ Alexa reminded him.
‘Right and we’ll set up camp for tonight, devise a strategy and probably call in reinforcements.’ Obi Wan explained.
‘Oh, ok.’ He nodded.
‘You are wise to ask questions, my young apprentice, it sharpens the mind.’ The teacher smiled. However my good mood was spoiled when my own padawan hissed under her breath.
‘It also makes you sound stupid and incompetent.’
‘Alexa.’ I growled and my eyes burrowed into hers as I stated down at her angrily.
‘Sorry.’ She whispered, though it was obvious that she didn’t really mean it. I rolled my eyes and we kept moving.