Chapter 6: New Friends and Old Enemies
‘Come on Alexa, you’ve got this!’ I shouted as she climbed up a fifty metre pole, trying to reach the flag at the top of it and achieve the “mission” as we called it.
‘I don’t think I can do it.’ Came the reply.
‘Yes you can, remember a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through her!’
‘I can, but I’m so tired!’ That was understandable, she had been climbing for at least thirty minutes.
I know she can do it, but I’m wondering if she wanted to push herself a bit too hard too soon this had been her idea. I honestly can’t believe I agreed to let her do it, mind you she probably would have done it even if I’d said no. She had really developed a stubborn streak lately, she is determined to run faster, jump higher and fight harder than everyone else ever had, even herself and trying to control her sense of ambition is getting harder. I don’t want her to go to hard and hurt herself, but trying to tell her that was impossible.
‘You can do it! I believe in you!’ I replied. Some he paused in her struggle for a second as if comprehending what I said. Suddenly I felt a surge of energy and she raced the last few metres to the top snatching up the red flag! However she didn’t have the best grip and she fell!
‘Help!’ She cried as she plummeted.
‘Don’t worry, I’ve got you.’ Using the Force I managed to “catch” her and bring her back to the ground safely.
‘Thanks.’ She sighed and I walked over to her.
‘You’re welcome, but you really should be more careful Lexa.’
‘Lexa?’ She asked.
‘Nickname?’ I was once again trying to push the boundaries of our relationship so I could be closer to her and make her feel comfortable with others.
‘Fine.’ She nodded.
‘Good, now let’s go and wind down a bit shall we?’
She nodded, but I could tell something was up. I followed her gaze to where a group of older padawans were bullying a younger one.
‘Anakin, we can’t let them do that.’ She murmured, anger, irritation and outrage rolled off her.
‘Let’s go help.’ I nodded and we walked over.
I smirked as Anakin got their attention, the three boys turned around shocked to see him staring angrily at them.
‘What are you three doing?’
‘N-Nothing Master Skywalker, we were jus-’. He stopped and stared at me. I gasped.
It was the Anomid and the Chagrian who had chased me down on the lower levels right before Anakin had rescued me from my other attacker. They’re padawans. Now they know who I am. Oh this is bad.
‘Are you alright?’ Anakin asked quietly as I stared at the boys.
‘You’re that girl we chased through the Works.’ The Anomid realised.
‘Yeah and you’re those bumbling idiots who’s butts I kicked.’ I smirked.
‘You’ll pay for that!’ He lunged forward to punch me, so I jumped landing behind him and kicked him so he landed flat on his face.
‘Try that again and I’ll kill you.’ I threatened.
‘Alexa!’ Anakin said shocked at my threat.
‘Teacher?’ The Chagrian asked smirking. ‘Why not Master? I thought you’d be used to calling people that!’ He laughed.
I roared, jumped and performed a perfect roundhouse, kicking him in the side of the head and he fell to the ground with a thump next to his compadre. Still angry I proceeded to kick him in the back, knowing that leave an almighty bruise I left it at that.
‘I will never call anyone that again.’ I growled before looking to the third goon. ‘You got something you wanna say?’ He shook his head mutely before running away terrified. I then saw who they had been bullying, the boy I had seen with Kenobi all those weeks ago. ‘You. What’s your name? Um........’
‘Rendal.’ He replied shocked, though I could see a hint of awe in his green eyes.
‘Right.’ I nodded.
‘Alexa!’ My teacher reminded me of his presence behind us. I turned to face him, but instead of speaking I walked straight bast him and out the door in silence. I felt him follow me and he called out as AI headed to my room. ‘Alexa wait! Talk to me! What was that? Come on what did they do?’ I still didn’t reply however once I got to my room I sat on my bed and sighed. ‘Alexa please tell me what’s going on.’ He said as he walked in, closing the door behind him.
‘It doesn’t matter. They know who I am so now I have to go.’
‘What why?’ He asked bewildered.
‘I can’t explain, but it’s safer for everyone if I just go find somewhere else to live and we forget that we ever met.’
‘Alexa, I-I don’t understand. I know that you don’t like talking about your past, but I need to know. Whatever or whoever is after you I will protect you from them, I will never let anyone hurt you.’
‘I know, but.......’ I shook my head,
‘Please.’ He begged, kneeling on the floor in front of me.
‘I...... I can’t.’ There too much that I don’t want to remember and keeping it too myself means that there’s no one else to remind me of it and no one treats me as being weak. I just can’t tell him.
‘Alright then.’ He sighed and got up. ‘I’ll be in my room, if you need me.’ He left. I could sense his disappointment and how he longed to help me, but I know no one can help me. I just need to stay alive.
I yawned and sat up, looking out the window I saw the sun had just risen. I must have fallen asleep. I then realised I was hungry as my stomach growled and I headed out to the mess hall for breakfast. My teacher must have had the same idea as I saw him in the line just a few places ahead of me and despite my better judgement I decided to sit with him.
‘Morning Anakin.’ I greeted.
‘Morning Alexa.’ He gave me a small smile telling me that he was ok after yesterday.
‘So what are we doing today?’ I asked curious.
‘Well unfortunately I have a lot of boring things to work out with a few other Jedi and I thought today you might like to spend some time with other girls instead of me.’ He suggested.
‘What?’ I asked surprised.
‘Well Jedi Knight Unduli has volunteered to take you out for a girls only shopping trip.’
‘Just trust me, we’ll meet up with them after we finish eating.’ He replied.
Yes, once we were done he led me to the front of the Temple where an adult Mirialan, who I assumed was this Jedi Knight, along with several padawans were waiting. I scanned the group until my eyes landed on the human girl who had interrupted my lunch on my first day in the Temole, I sighed annoyed as we approached.
‘Ah, General Skywalker I see you have brought your padawan to join us.’ She smiled.
‘Yes, she is very happy to be going along.’ He shot me a stern glance, telling me to be polite. I nodded and gave a minuscule smile. ‘Now Padawan Arnjard meet Jedi Knight Unduli.’
‘Nice to meet you, Ma’am.’ I replied, sensing my teachers unease in my refusing to greet them according to the code.
‘Welcome Padawan Arnjard and now that we have everyone, let’s go.’ She led us out.
At first I just walked along with the group in silence, ignoring the chatter that was occurring all around me, however I was soon pulled into a conversation by a Twi’Lek and the human girl.
‘Hey, what’s it like being the Chosen One’s padawan?’ The Twi’Lek asked.
‘What do you mean the Chosen One?’ I asked confused. The two girls gasped,
‘Don’t you know about the prophesy?’ She asked, I shook my head. ‘A prophesy was written long ago saying that the Chosen One would bring balance to the Force and it is well known that Anakin Skywalker is the Chosen One.’
‘How do they know?’
‘He has the highest midi-chlorian count ever!’
‘So that’s what he meant.......’ I realised.
‘What?’ The girls asked confused.
‘He had me tested for midi-chlorians and he was shocked saying that it was almost as high as his, I never realised that was so special.’
‘Woah....’ Apparently they were impressed.
‘So what’s your name?’ The twi’Lek asked.
‘Is that your last name?’
‘What’s your first name?’
‘Alexa, but no one uses it.’ Except my teacher. I added mentally.
‘I see........ I’m Jenifire Taner and this is Lorryn Dan’lie.’
‘We’ve met.’ I nodded. ‘So who’s padawans are you?’
‘My Master is Adi Gallia.’ Jenifire replied.
‘She’s a Togruta, isn’t she?’ I asked remembering her from the Council.
‘Yeah, why? You aren’t prejudice are you?’ Lorryn asked suspicious.
‘Of course not, look.’ I showed them my orange coloured hand. ‘I’m a Togruta.’
‘Oh, sorry.’ She blushed embarrassed.
‘That’s ok.’ I replied noticing the other two padawans that were with us. ‘Who are they?’
‘The Cerean is Caryss Corbray, she is related to Ki-Adi-Mundi, and the Zeltron is Elyana Waker.’ Jenifire explained. ‘They’re not the most social people.’
‘Neither am I to be honest, I’m surprised I’m even talking to you. I don’t mean that in a rude way, it’s just I’ve never been good with talking to people.’ I explained, surprised with myself.
‘That’s ok, we were a bit nervous about approaching you because-’
‘Of the cloak, I understand.’ I cut her off.
‘No, because your Master Skywalker’s padawan.’ She finished.
‘Ok listen up girls, we’re going into the plaza and I want all of you to stick together. I don’t need any missing padawans on my hands.’
‘What exactly are we doing Master Unduli?’ Elyana asked.
‘Well girls, this trip is actually to help you girls form bonds and to welcome Padawan Arnjard into the Temple. So we are going shopping.’
I grimaced, shopping isn’t my thing. In fact I haven’t been shopping since I was five, but that was before......... Now I don’t buy things, I don’t normally have any money, so I steal whatever I need to survive. Besides, if my senses are right we are looking for clothes. I have been wearing the same clothes for the past six months (yes I have taken them off to wash both them and myself quite a few times)!
All the same the six of us headed into the plaza and we walked around for what felt like hours! I had never felt so uninterested, uncomfortable and bored in my life! Every shop we went into I refused to try anything on, however I did watch the other girls and observed how they had fun while being silly with their outfits. Unfortunately I was dragged into participating in this weird activity and was soon trying on a new outfit. It is still black and is still composed of rather tight-fitting long sleeve shirt that comes as far up my neck as possible and pants along with matching boots, but this also includes a belt and a rather cool jacket.
Wait- Since when do I ever think anything is cool?
Still I exchanged my slightly tatty old clothes for these new ones, then walked out and showed the others, their eyes widened slightly as they took in my altered appearance. After tapping into the Force I was able to hear their thoughts.
“She still chooses to wear black, but...... Despite how un-Jedi it is, it suits her.” - Lorryn.
“I like it, it makes her look mysterious and powerful.” - Jenifire.
“It’s not that much different from her old clothes, but enough that you take notice.” - Caryss.
“Nice, I just wish she would take that cloak off so we could see her face.” - Elyana.
“Skywalker will be happy that she’s now got new clothes.” - Unduli.
I then blushed as I was given a flurry of compliments (out loud) and the clothes were of course bought immediately, right after I took them off and got back into my old ones, along with the purchase of several new pairs of under garments and once everyone was happy we exited the plaza and headed back out on the street.
I looked up to the sky as the other girls began to feel drops on their heads, dark clouds had gathered and rain was beginning to fall. We ran for shelter, but unfortunately........ So did everyone else who was on the street. There was a rush of bodies trying to get to their destinations and only then did I realise how truly crowded it was. Our small group was inevitably split up amongst the maddening crowd and we struggled to push our way toward the Jedi Temple.
‘Excuse me. Pardon me! Forgive me! Passing through!’ I ran through until I accidentally hit the back of someone. ‘I’m so sorry.’ I panted.
‘Don’t be, in fact I’m glad to have run into you.’ I froze as the man turned around so I came face to face with his silver metal mask.
‘No.’ I shook my head and backed away. ‘Stay away from me.’
‘You haven’t got anyone to protect you now, all your friends are gone.’
‘What about all of the people? Their witnesses, they won’t just let you kidnap me!’
‘They will, I’ve already sorted that out.’ I spotted a man, beaming with a smile as he put a handful of credits in his pocket.
‘You bribed them. You really are a fair bounty hunter. Not.’ With that I Force pushed him roughly into a group of people, before sprinting away as I heard them grunt when they hit the ground.
I ran as fast as I could, but I soon sensed that he was after me again, by now the rain was pelting down hard and I ran splashing through the puddles that were forming. I dodged people that were in my way and ran in around buildings, with that bounty hunter still on my heels until I was able to hide in a small space between the wall and a dumpster. I stayed silent as a group of feet ran past, assuming that the bounty hunter had brought reinforcements to help find and capture me, but I had been able to stay free of them for just over six month and I wasn’t about to go back now so I stayed still and didn’t make a sound.
I watched as Luminara returned to the Temple with the padawans; they were all damp due to the rain, but not soaking. I smiled at them as the walked into the entrance hall, Luminara trying to do a headcount to make sure that all the girls were there.
‘Girls, I know we didn’t plan for that, but please settle down!’ The girls then went quiet. As I looked at them I noticed something; Alexa wasn’t there!
‘Master Unduli, Alexa’s missing!’ I pointed out. I began to work myself up into a panic, she hasn’t been a Padawan very long, she doesn’t know how to defend herself, what if she’s lost, or hurt! We need to go look for her!
‘Did anyone see Padawan Arnjard on the way back?’ Luminara asked. All the girls shook their heads.
‘You girls return to your Masters, I’ll go and find her.’ I told them before heading out into the rain.
Closing my eyes I reached out with the Force, trying to feel my his padawan is. At first I couldn’t feel her, I realised my emotions were clouding my vision, but after several minutes I was able to feel her. She was hurt. I followed my instincts and ran through the rain, pushing past civilians and looking around corners when I finally found her lying in the middle of an alley with a man who I assumed was the same that had tried to attack her when we had first met.
‘Hold it right there!’ I yelled and chased after him, activating my lightsaber and deflecting blaster bolts as he fired back at me. ‘You won’t be able to run forever!’ I yelled as he turned a corner and I pelted through the puddles, but by the time I got to the corner he was gone. ‘Argh!’ I growled frustrated. However I turned and ran back to where the unconscious body of my padawan lay spread out on the asphalt. I kneeled down beside her and felt her neck for a pulse. I sighed thanking the Force when I felt a weak but steady beat beneath her orange skin.
I then took in her appearance, her cloak had been ripped away from her and tossed aside, her face now bore new, fresh scars and her leg was bleeding badly where she had been shot along with her shoulder and stomach. She was going to need some time in a bacta tank. I then gently picked her up and carried her “bridal-style” back to the Temple. She was already soaking wet and by the time I walked through the doors so was I, but that didn’t matter, what mattered was getting her to the infirmary stat!