The shuttles entered the planet’s atmosphere. The door of the leading transport opened. Haros decided to enjoy his native views. Minsou is famous for its peace and unforgettable scenery. Vast territories are dotted with waterfalls, fields, lush forests and lakes. Nature is only diluted by scattered settlements with low buildings everywhere.
Soon the shuttles landed on an incredibly large platform, on which there is a vast park and a wide temple. The Temple of the Jedi and the Guardians. A home for the Force bearers and a palace for the Master of the Force, the head and chief representative of the Jedi and Guardians, Thun.
* * *
Soon, the newcomers entered the hall where the Guards, the five Jedi masters, and the Master of the Force, Thun, gather for important meetings. But today is an exceptional day – the day when the five best students will go to the ancient Castle of Knowledge, where they will pass the Final Challenge.
The room consists of a huge, round, suspended in the air platform and a high pedestal. Padawans and their teachers stand on the platform. The pedestal is occupied by the Masters, the Guardians and the Thun himself.
- Friends, I am glad to see you all – Thun’s deep, booming, measured voice boomed out. He is a man in his fifties, with a dark beard and short, well-groomed hair of the same color. His stern and at the same time noble face evokes awe and a sense of delight before the greatness and wisdom. Bright green eyes look as if beyond the edge of the tangible world. Thun is dressed in narrowed dark trousers, a shirt and a raincoat. All this is sewn with gold patterns. – Today is a great day and an unforgettable occasion for a meeting. The top five padawans will head to the Castle of Knowledge. This will be the most difficult time for young talents and exciting days for mentors. But we all understand that in the end we will get a new light and new representatives of the great future for Eternal Union. Let the Force give you knowledge and open your soul.
Thun glanced around the room. His speech was incredibly short. He then turned towards the Main Guard. With a slight nod, the Force Master smoothly turned around, the light cloak following the momentum of the movement, hiding the figure of the departing one. A door opened in front of Thun and a view of an unforgettable white-and-gold corridor opened. As soon as the man crossed the threshold, the door closed, as if deliberately hiding the newcomer.
The guards, led by the Main Force Guard, formed a straight line in front of the padawans. The Union defenders lit their lightsabers, pushing them slightly forward and sideways. With their free hand, they pointed towards the audience, causing a field of Power to form in front of the teachers and masters. Then another field separated the Guards from the padawans. Thus, a corridor was created leading to the Castle of Knowledge by secret paths.
Suddenly, the part of the wall that entered the corridor began to disappear smoothly. Now the five Padawans see a dark hall filled with labyrinths of passageways. They went inside, and the wall behind them snapped back into place.
* * *
Haros paused in the middle of a dark room with massive columns. In addition to him, there are four padawans here: the twi’lek girl, young zabrak, young boy and zeltron girl. The four of them sat down and began to meditate, hoping that the Force would guide them in the right direction. Haros glanced at them and silently headed for the main passageway. He already knows that the chosen direction does not matter now.
* * *
The young man goes deeper into the cave, made of dark stone. There’s less light every minute. In the end, he had to activate his lightsaber. Purple light lit up the interior of the cave. The hilt of the sword of Haros is very unusual. Two-handed, black-matte color with patterns similar to strange symbols that represent good and evil. Some of them are very intimidating, others, on the contrary, cause peace at the very sight. But the surprising thing is that all these symbols glow with the color of the crystal, as if animating all the images.
Haros raised his sword with one activated blade above his head. Gradually, the cave began to expand until new branches appeared. The young man closed his eyes for a couple of seconds, then looked around again, turned right and continued walking.
* * *
Haros lost track of time and even stopped paying attention to the frosty air. After a while, his sword began to flicker, and then completely extinguished, plunging everything into darkness. Without thinking, the padawan raised his hands in front of him and small white clouds formed above his palms. Using the Force, he sent them forward and continued on their way. That should be enough to see something..
* * *
After an indefinite amount of time, Haros found himself in a small hall. By some miracle, there is no way out. Even the doorway from which he had come had disappeared. With no other options at his disposal, the young man sat down on his knees and began to meditate.
Hour after hour passed. Haros stares down, motionless, eyes closed.
Then, transparent silhouettes of different races and even unknown creatures began to appear around him. They all walk slowly around the young man. Further, some figures began to jump furiously at him. Haros showed no emotion. The silhouettes only scattered as they reached their destination. The remaining ghosts stopped and began to shout silently in the direction of the padawan. But again, he didn’t think much of it. Gradually, they all disappeared into thin air.
* * *
The hall was filled with the murmur of hundreds of voices. Haros opened his eyes. Three human silhouettes materialized in front of him. A woman and two men. They watch him in silence. The young man looks in their direction, waiting for further developments. The three figures sat down on their knees and continued to stare into his green eyes. Although their faces were barely visible, it was obvious that all three of them were crying. After a while, they stood up in unison and, stretching out their right arms, began to create a stream of blue energy, in which images of thousands of faces replaced sadness and happiness. Suddenly, the three of them made a movement with their hand, like a sharp throw, throwing energy in the direction of Haros. He could barely keep his composure. For a moment, it seemed as if many creatures had shared their emotions with him.
The room went dark again. Only two white clouds, left and right, continued to illuminate the small area around Haros.
* * *
The whole room resounded with a frightening, deep-rolling male laughter. As soon as it died down, the right cloud began to burn dark red. Haros began to shake his head nervously from side to side, sensing the danger. A red blade lit up in the direction the altered cloud was pointing, followed by another, until four red lightsabers lit up the hall. The figures of those standing are hidden by wide robes. They watch him in silence.
- Darkness is our home. You can’t hide. Only the Sith Empire can rid the galaxy of Light – they hissed in unison. – Our time has come. We must rid this world of the weak. – The figures held out their hands. Lightning bolts shot out towards Haros, but the young man managed to block them with the blade of his sword. – Obey us and we will show you the path to peace and balance. The True Path.
Haros began to close in on the attackers. – You shouldn’t be here! This is an illusion! – There’s a hint of fright in his voice. Their actions didn’t feel like an illusion. But it can’t be. true The Sith couldn’t break the treaty. – Your Emperor will not allow a breach of the Peace Agreement!
On the hall again swept frightening laughter.
- Fool! Weakling! Worthless! Coward! – The figures hissed in turn. A moment later, one by one, the Sith began to attack.
Not expecting this, the padawan parried the blow of the first figure, but the second sith was able to plunge the sword into the young man’s left side. The pain finally confirmed the fear – the attackers are real! Regaining his composure, Haros went from defense to fierce attack with lightning speed. In a few seconds, he made a series of barely visible sharp punches and acrobatic jumps. In less than a minute, the attackers were defeated. Their bodies immediately evaporated.
«But this can’t be real!» - Haros was horrified. The wound in his side was still there. And the pain made him want to pass out.
Another figure appeared in front of him, illuminating itself with a red double-bladed sword. A pureblood Sith. He smiled and, without giving Haros time to be surprised, attacked the young man. Sparks of lightsabers lit up the hall. The Jedi and the Sith launch a series of sharp, lightning-fast strikes. There was no room for elegance in their actions. Only rage and reflex-level movements. With such a mindless battle, it was obvious that not one of them would be able to hold out for a long time. At some point, Haros lost control of his breathing and his lightsaber was knocked out of his hand.
Time stood still. The four Sith figures materialized again. But this time they are on the side of Haros. They held out their hands toward the pureblood Sith. The confused young man followed their example. In the next second, a powerful stream of lightning shot out from his fingers, knocking the attacker off his feet, sending him crashing into the wall and leaving rifts on it. The Sith died instantly.
Haros lost consciousness, falling limply to the floor.
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