Two days on Coruscant. Then it would be off to Riliss or back to Mirnka. But until then, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Padawan, Anakin Skywalker, would be almost completely unengaged, just floating around in the Jedi Temple--or maybe sight seeing. The only meeting they had to attend was Anakin's testing at noon on the first day. That wasn't for another hour. Until then, Anakin had asked Obi-Wan for last minute training. Anakin was using Andriya's old training lightsaber and a blindfold. Obi-Wan had his own training 'saber which he'd somehow managed to salvage.
Obi-Wan feinted left and struck right, burning Anakin's arm.
"Come on, Ani. You should know feints by now, whether you can see me or not."
"Sorry, Master," he mumbled, trying to clamp down on his rage.
"Anakin, with that much anger in you, you'll be lucky if they don't send you to the farms."
"Oh, yes. Some of the students at the Temple are never taken as Padawans, so instead of becoming Jedi Knights, they either become Jedi Healers or Jedi Farmers. They're respectable positions, I hear."
"But you don't agree."
"If you'd lived my life, you wouldn't either. We need to get back to work."
"Yes, Master. May I take the offensive?"
"Go ahead." Obi-Wan raised his lightsaber from the casual stance he'd taken and assumed a defensive position. Before Anakin began, Obi-Wan briefly reflected on the last time he'd done battle before he became a Knight. It hadn't been practice at all. Obi-Wan frowned. He was sorry that memory had come up.
Anakin was still preparing a plan of attack when Obi-Wan sensed something that should not be there at all--a dark presence rising in his Padawan. "Anakin, stop that."
"What?" His master's words were enough to shake his thoughts.
"That was the dark side."
"It was? I'm sorry."
"Find a constructive way of doing that."
"Okay." Anakin tried again, this time making a conscious effort to avoid anything with anger or fear. Finally, he began the attack. Slowly at first, he edged toward his master without striking. As he gained speed, he began testing his opponent as if he were someone whose tendencies, strengths, weaknesses and personality Anakin didn't already know.
Acting with as much suddenness as Anakin could claim, his first strike was an upward thrust. Obi-Wan easily parried it. Anakin's next moves were multiple strikes at his master's legs, most of which Obi-Wan blocked, but his pants may have gotten a little singed once or twice.
The Padawan changed his attack in mid-stroke, swinging at Obi-Wan's head instead. Obi-Wan blocked that as well, but it had surprised him. Anakin paused to silently vaunt his small victory.
Seeing his Padawan's hesitance, Obi-Wan seized the offense, lunging in a standard attack pattern and backing Anakin into a corner. He gave Ani one last chance to redeem himself and desisted at a critical point.
Anakin saw his opportunity and jumped at it. The sparring match ended three minutes later, leaving Anakin with burns on his arm and knee and Obi-Wan with a burned shoulder.
"Anakin, the tests I had to take are extremely difficult. I didn't do as well as I could have, and I still regret that. I want you to do better than I did."
"Your tests begin in less than an hour. I'm going to leave you to your own devices until then."
"Thank you, Master. What should I work on the most?"
"I wouldn't advise work on anything right now, just meditation."
"Yes, Master. . . . Will you be there for my tests?"
"I'll meet you at the Council Meeting Room. I don't think I'll be allowed to stand in with you for your tests. I'll see you at noon."
"Noon," Anakin nodded.
Obi-Wan and Anakin smiled slightly at one another and parted ways for what might have been the last time as Master and Padawan.
"Bant?" Obi-Wan called down the hallway.
The woman he was addressing turned around. "Obi-Wan?" she exclaimed, hurrying to meet him.
"What are you doing here?" they asked each other in unison.
"You first," she invited.
"No, you, Bant."
"I'm here to be tested."
"Really? That's wonderful."
"It's not a war testing, it was scheduled before this clone thing."
"Why are you here?"
"My Padawan is to be tested at noon, and we leave for Riliss early on the day after tomorrow."
"Congratulations on your Padawan."
"Thank you, but it is a war testing."
"That's alright. Wait . . . did you say noon?"
"I'm supposed to be tested twenty minutes before that."
Obi-Wan raised his eyebrows. "They're scheduling these tests awfully close together."
Bant nodded. "I met someone whose tests are ten minutes before mine."
Obi-Wan didn't know quite what to say to that, but he was saved from comment by another Jedi passing by. He caught her arm. "Andriya, can you tell us why they're placing tests so close together?"
"Certainly, Obi-Wan. This is war." That was the entirety of her statement.
"That's the whole reason?"
"Yes. We need Jedi out there, but we can't have any Padawans. And we don't expect Jedi to leave half-trained Padawans here."
"Thank you, Andriya."
Throughout their conversation, Bant had remained silent and regarded Andriya warily. "You're very welcome, Obi-Wan. If you're not . . . never mind. Are you ready for your tests, Bant?"
Bant nodded timidly. "I am prepared."
"I'm glad. And how about Anakin?"
"I hope so," Obi-Wan said.
"I wish him luck, and you as well."
"Obi-Wan, what is your Padawan like?" Bant asked.
"He's a nice young man." As Obi-Wan began to respond, Andriya turned away and headed off. "Oh, just a minute, Bant. Andriya, wait!" he called.
"Obi-Wan, I have to hurry, I'm a little late."
"Oh . . . well, I'll see you at noon."
"I hope you've trained Anakin sufficiently."
"I hope so, too."
Andriya left him with a small smile.
"I don't know what you were thinking, Obi-Wan, but you're really lucky," Bant said once Andriya was gone.
Obi-Wan suddenly recalled the departing warning Halsten had given him. "Lucky?"
"That Master Andriya didn't chew you up and spit you out. I'm scared of her."
"Why would she do that?"
"You called her Andriya. You were completely disrespectful."
"She told me I could call her Andriya."
Bant's jaw dropped. "I don't know how you got on her good side but I'd love to find out." She waited for the explanation that Obi-Wan couldn't give, then attempted to explore his memory for any clues.
"Don't do that," Obi-Wan said, frowning as he put up a mental block, but it was too late.
"You like her?" Bant gasped.
"Will you keep it down?"
"Sorry. It's just so . . . strange. She's about fifteen years younger than you."
"Ten," he corrected.
"You know? You're worse than I thought. I feel sorry for you."
"Because she's . . . Andriya Delvee." Her true thoughts remained unvoiced, but Obi-Wan understood them perfectly well--Bant believed Andriya to be imperious, vicious, hostile, and few stronger words, too.
"I think you're overreacting, Bant."
"Think what you like, Obi-Wan, but you're biased."
"So are you."
"She's reduced me to tears. Twice."
"What? What did she do?"
"Gave me a reprimand."
"Is that all?"
"'Is that all'? It's the worst thing that's ever happened to me!"
Before Obi-Wan could respond, they were interrupted by another Delvee. "Hey, Obi-Wan, have you seen Andi?"
"Andi?" Bant and Obi-Wan asked in unison.
"Yeah, my sister?"
"She was just by here on her way to the Council Meeting Room."
"Oh, then I guess I'm too late. Thanks anyway."
"Wait," Bant called as he began to leave. "Why is your sister so mean?"
"Mean?" he said. "Examine your feelings, Bant. I'll take care of Andriya." Myndex hurried off.
"What do you think he meant by that?"
"I don't know."
Bant soon found out. After parting company with Obi-Wan, she headed for the Council Chamber, where she found her master waiting for her. She wouldn't have been worried if Master Andriya hadn't also been there. Without so much as a word to her, Bant's master walked past her, leaving Bant alone with the dreaded Master Andriya.
"Bant, I'm very sorry if I have caused you any pain or sadness," Master Andriya began. "I really never intended to. Rid yourself of your anger and your hatred."
She nodded slightly, disbelieving her ears.
"There is not enough time for you to fully do so before your tests. And there really isn't enough time to test you, anyway. Would it be acceptable if you returned later today for your testing?"
"Yes, Master Andriya," she croaked, nodding dumbly.
"Please come back at fourteen thirty."
"Thank you, Master Andriya."
"If you'll be thanking anyone, don't forget the rest of the Council and my brother. It was more their doing than mine. And please," Andriya's voice dropped to a whisper, "forgive me."
"Anakin Skywalker, where were you two years ago during your last visit to Coruscant?"
"I was . . . hiding."
"Outside the Temple."
"How did your master find you?"
"I don't know."
"So you left the Temple because you would have to study under Master Yoda for a few days?"
Anakin averted his eyes. This interview was not going well so far. "Yes."
Mace Windu sat back, signaling that he had finished his part of the interrogation. "Summon your Master," he ended.
"Master!" he yelled at the top of his lungs.
"Padawan!" reprimanded thirteen voices together.
What in the worlds was I thinking?! Anakin thought, focusing on his boots.
Obi-Wan Kenobi, after casting a disappointed glance at his Padawan, bowed before the Council.
"Where did you find your Padawan at the end of your last visit to Coruscant?"
"Truthfully, Sir, my memory fails me."
Master Yoda waved his hand, assuming control of the questioning. "Acceptable is this. Correct and forget wrongs, better is it."
Obi-Wan nodded obediently.
"Dismissed once more are you."
He bowed and headed back to the balcony. Out there, it was slightly cold, but the view was nice. Through the transparisteel windows of the Council Chambers, Obi-Wan observed the silent proceedings of Anakin's interview with the Council. His eyes were repeatedly drawn to Andriya. She barely resembled the woman he'd come to know. Andriya usually wore an absent half-smile and would joke about anything that came up. Master Andriya, from what he could see, was extremely somber and usually silent. From what he'd heard, Master Andriya used that same sarcastic wit that was usually so funny with Andriya to administer acerbic reprimands. So far, Master Andriya had simply stared unhappily and had not said a word.
But that soon changed as it came to her to ask the Padawan a question.
"Anakin Skywalker, what is your opinion of authority?"
Anakin leaned forward slightly with disbelief. "C-can you rephrase the question, please?"
"I believe it was clear enough. What is your opinion of authority?"
"Authority is supposed to be respected and obeyed."
"And who holds authority?"
"You--I mean, the Council."
Andriya nodded slowly, frowning. "Define respect."
"Obeying, honoring. . . ."
She sat back, placing her arms on the armrests of her chair. As she drummed her fingers, her disapproving was glare prompted not just from Anakin's insufficient and lacking answers, but the unsavory role which she would have to play in just a moment in his lightsaber testing. But first, the real tests would begin. The questions had only been preparation.
Anakin, of course, passed the Force tests with flying colors. His abilities were not in dispute. It was his preparation that was under scrutiny. Thus it had always been with this Skywalker boy. The Council sat on the sidelines of a training room, Master Yoda, Master Andriya and Obi-Wan Kenobi being the last three observers, while Anakin quickly routed a lightsaber droid. That was more of a warm up for the real test.
"Bring him in," Master Mace called. An assistant rushed out, then returned, followed by none other than Myndex Delvee. He waved to the Council. Andriya groaned and rolled her eyes before Master Andriya schooled her features into an expression just short of a glare once more.
"Begin," Master Yoda commanded. Myndex drew his lightsaber, and his purpose there was finally clear to Anakin.
While he intently watched the testing of his Padawan, Obi-Wan couldn't help but glance sideways at Andriya--Master Andriya. During one such sidelong glance, he noticed Master Yoda tap Master Andriya's arm with his gimer stick. She nodded curtly then looked over at Obi-Wan. Her expression wasn't just somber, it was sad. I'm sorry, she thought, before turning her attention back to the lightsaber battle between Anakin and Myndex.
"Ani!" she yelled sharply. Anakin startled, stopping his defense to stare at the woman who'd called him, even though he really couldn't see her. Myndex dealt the would-be fatal blow while Anakin was still distracted.
"That wasn't fair!" Anakin protested, covering the burn on his neck with one hand as he put his lightsaber away with the other. "I want a rematch," he demanded loudly. When no one replied, Anakin angrily tore the blindfold from his eyes. The only other people remaining in the room were Master Yoda, Master Andriya and Obi-Wan. Andriya and Obi-Wan wore matching expressions of disappointment, but Andriya's was tinged with guilt. Master Yoda stared silently up at the Padawan. Anakin's gaze faltered and fell from the Jedi Master's. Nodding, Yoda hobbled out of the room, his footsteps and the tap of his gimer stick making the only echoing noise.
Anakin glanced up at the other two Jedi.
"I don't like this," Andriya whispered, but whether the remark was directed at him or his master, Anakin didn't know.
"Hello again, Myndex."
"Anything new in the last--how long has it been? Four hours?"
"More than that, but no. Well, not really--my Padawan was tested."
"I know that. How did he do?"
"I don't know yet."
"Oh," Myndex made a face. "I'm sure it's okay."
"It didn't take this long for me."
"Me neither, but everyone is an individual." Myndex laughed. "Andi would say, 'No, some people are groups,'" he said, perfectly mimicking his sister's sardonic tone. "Speaking of that sister of mine, what are you doing for dinner?"
Obi-Wan didn't see the correlation between Andriya and dinner, but he answered anyway. "Nothing, I suppose."
"Well, come up and have dinner with us. It'll be the last home-cooked meal you'll have for a while. Or maybe the second-to-last."
"You sound certain that I'll be able to go."
"I have my secrets," Myndex said secretively, of course. He led Obi-Wan to Andriya's office.
"Is dinner ready?" Myndex asked the new assistant sitting at the desk.
"Dinner?" he replied as he typed in the access code. The door to Andriya's inner office slid open and Myndex waved farewell to the assistant.
"Halsten Tuurku was Andi's old assistant," Myndex commented in a low voice. However, he needn't have been so quiet because her office was empty.
"That's strange. I'm sure they had their dinner hour now."
"She's probably still in session."
"No," said the new assistant as he walked up behind them. "She's here."
"Oh," Myndex said, "she's in her room." The assistant, knowing his boundaries, quickly slipped back into his office as Myndex and Obi-Wan walked down the back hallway that led to Andriya's room. The door slid open after Myndex typed in the command, but it didn't appear that anyone was in the room.
"Andi!" Myndex called in a singsong voice.
"I thought I canceled all our appointments tonight," Andriya mumbled without opening her eyes. She was trying to get a nap in, not having had any sleep on the whole return journey nor since they'd arrived on Coruscant. And she had meetings and debates scheduled all through the night.
"Come on," he goaded. "Get up."
"Really, Myndi, someone else will have to spar with you. Ani--, no he probably won't. . . . Obi-Wan might."
"Obi-Wan, will you help me practice later?"
"Of course," Obi-Wan agreed.
"Ha ha, Myndex, very funny. You wouldn't dare bring Obi-Wan Kenobi up here."
Andriya's eyes flew open and she sat up in her bed. "You will be punished for your iniquities, boy," she murmured.
"Probably not. Now that you're up, will you fix us some dinner?"
"I don't see why not, other than the fact that I'm already dead on my feet and I wanted to get a little nap before I had to go back to my meetings. Sure, I'll just go cook something up for you, sir. How does a plot against your life sound?"
"Obi-Wan, I can't reach him--would you kill Myndex for me?"
"If you're busy, later's fine, too."
"Some plot," Myndex interjected.
"I didn't say it'd be a secret. Is there anything else you want for dinner?"
"Can you make those really tasty--?"
"Well, how about that thing with--?"
"Oh. Then maybe the little . . . um . . . candy-type thing that was sort of--?"
"Sorry, but also no."
"Well, what can you make for dinner?"
"I'm not sure. We'll see what we have."
Andriya managed to scrape together something that wasn't what Myndex asked for, but was still "tasty," as he would say. Unfortunately for Andriya, Myndex didn't have time to compliment her culinary skills before he took most of the food, and Andriya's assistant, into the children's playroom. Andriya silently thanked her brother--not because she wanted to be alone with Obi-Wan, but . . . okay, so she did want to be alone with Obi-Wan, but that was because she had weighty points to discuss with him.
"Have the Council reached a decision about Anakin yet?" Obi-Wan asked.
That would be one of those weighty points, Andriya thought. "I'll tell you, but you cannot tell anyone what you receive here. Especially not your Padawan."
"Not a word," Obi-Wan vowed, glad to have the weight of apprehension lifted from his shoulders.
"We're still debating on your Padawan. He is not ready."
"If you don't think he's ready, why can't the Council just decide not to give him the title?"
Andriya sighed. "It's all politics," she muttered.
"What do you mean?"
"We want you on that transport to Riliss in two days. But you can't go if you have a Padawan."
"Why is it so important that I go?"
Andriya seemed to change the subject. "Over one thousand Jedi have volunteered to serve together to protect the planets attacked by the clone forces, namely Riliss."
"I would be more than willing to serve, and I'm sure Anakin would be, too."
"The Council feels that Padawans are not suited to battle duty."
"Then I can not go."
Andriya closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "We want you to lead the Jedi Resistance."
There was no reply for a long time, so she opened her eyes again.
"What did you say?" he finally asked.
"We want you to lead the Jedi Resistance, General."
"But . . . why me?"
"It has been determined that you possess the qualities necessary for that kind of leadership position. Basically, you're the Jedi for the job."
"I . . . I'm flattered."
"You should be--but does that mean you'll accept the position? Rank, I mean."
"What about Anakin?"
"Andi!" Myndex cried from the children's playroom, interrupting the conversation. "Obi-Wan! Hurry, get in here!"
Obi-Wan jumped up from the table, but Andriya just rolled her eyes. "It's not urgent--he just wants to ambush us. Oh, that reminds me . . . for some reason. Anyway, I do have some good news for you."
"I thought that was pretty good news."
"Well, in light of recent . . . political developments, your library fines have been waived."
"That's your idea of good news?"
"Hurry! They're gonna--" Myndex yelled, acting like his pressing cry was abruptly cut off.
Andriya reluctantly stood. "I guess we're going to have to go 'rescue' him."
"Master Andriya," called the assistant, leaving the playroom.
"Oh, it is terribly urgent?" Andriya asked sarcastically.
"Yes, Master Andriya. It's time for your meeting."
"Thank you, Téan. Tell Myndi for me, all right?"
"Yes, ma'am." Téan turned and walked back into the playroom.
"You're welcome to stay, if you like, Obi-Wan, but it seems that I have to go back to discussing your Padawan."
"I should be going," Obi-Wan said, following her as she left the room.
"It was nice seeing you," Andriya called over her shoulder. Before Obi-Wan could echo her courteous gesture, Myndex rushed out of the office and into the corridor.
"Andi! Andi!" he called. "I just had a great idea!"
"Did you? Well, walk and talk, little brother. You can do both at once, right?"
"Shut up or I won't solve all your problems."
"Oh, solve them, quickly," she replied in a mildly sarcastic tone.
That was all Obi-Wan heard as the siblings rounded a corner and proceeded out of his hearing range.
Never before in his entire life had patience been so difficult. And where in the worlds is my master? Oh, I'll bet he's somewhere with that Council girl he likes. I don't know why. Sure, she's pretty--pretty mean. When will the Council decide? Sheesh, this is taking a long time! Anakin paced in circles as his thoughts flitted from subject to subject, much like the skittish little birds Myndex had let him keep in his room.
Suddenly, his scattered thoughts were interrupted as he sensed his Master in the hallway. Nearly tortured by his desire to know, Anakin bounded out to meet Obi-Wan. "Have they decided?" he asked eagerly.
"Not yet," Obi-Wan replied distractedly. He seemed to be quite concerned with something behind Anakin. Before he could turn around to investigate, Anakin heard the flapping of wings and suddenly remembered that he hadn't closed the door behind him.
"I'm in trouble," he muttered under his breath.
"Where did you get birds?" Obi-Wan asked.
"You let my birds go?!" Myndex exclaimed from the end of the hallway.
"Not on purpose," Anakin weakly defended himself. He and Myndex began running down the hall after the fleeing birds. To make matters worse, Master Andriya walked up.
"Birds?" she asked Obi-Wan.
"I believe they belong to your brother."
"I should have known."
Myndex and Anakin ran past them. "Stop!" Andriya commanded. Myndex did, but Anakin kept running. "One . . . two . . . three," she counted. The instant she said the last number, Anakin suddenly tripped and fell with quite a bit of clatter. "Myndi, go catch your birds. I have matters to discuss with these two." Her brother nodded obediently before running off after his birds.
"Matters?" Obi-Wan quietly questioned Andriya as Anakin made his way to his feet.
"The Council has reached a decision--but not on Anakin's title. We've dispersed to conduct personal interviews with the Padawans we've tested--with their Masters."
"Anakin, tell me about your master."
"Well . . . he's. . . ."
"I could leave," Obi-Wan offered.
"Would that help you, Ani?"
Anakin nodded and Obi-Wan went to wait in the hall.
"Go ahead. Describe Obi-Wan."
"Well . . . he's a good man, I suppose. He's taught me a lot. But. . . ."
"I don't know. I guess I've always had this ideal for Obi-Wan to live up to. He never could. I see now that it was unreasonable to expect him to be anything like Master Qui-Gon, but I'd just left my mother. Then Master Qui-Gon died, and I didn't have anything left."
"You're surprisingly candid," Andriya informed him.
"I feel like I have to be. Is it acceptable to lie to the Council?" he asked hopefully.
"Of course not. But usually we only sense everything you just told me. This is making my job easy."
"Can I ask you a few questions?"
"Obi-Wan," Andriya suddenly called. "Enter."
"I would like for you to hear this as well. Go ahead," she added, turning to Anakin.
"Why did you call me during my lightsaber duel?"
"It's the war testing standard. You will not be of any use in a war situation if you are easily distracted."
"But I have been in a war situation--I flew with the Naboo Starfighter Squadron during the Trade Federation blockade. I blew up the command ship and saved all the Gungans' lives, you know."
"No, I did not know. But thank you for your humble report."
"He did," Obi-Wan confirmed.
"Of course he did."
"Another question," Anakin cut in. "Why did you ask me about authority?"
"You said that the Council holds authority."
"Of course we do. However, that was the end of your list. Based on your behavior on Mirnka, I knew that you did not regard your Master in a position of authority."
"Yes, I do," he protested.
"I quote: 'Authority is supposed to be respected and obeyed.' Do you respect and obey Obi-Wan?"
"I . . . well, I. . . ."
"And respect, as defined by you, is 'obeying' and 'honoring.' I will save you the embarrassment and simply state that you neither respect nor obey your Master as you define respect and authority."
"I . . . but I. . . . Well, so what if I don't?"
"How dare you ask me 'so what'?" Andriya stated in a strangely flat tone. "If you do not respect his authority, then there is no guarantee that you will respect the authority of the Council--or the Jedi Code."
Anakin fell silent, staring blankly ahead in disbelief. No wonder the Council had been waffling!
"I take it that we'll be headed back to Mirnka," Obi-Wan said.
"Anakin, would you please step out for a moment?"
Still numbed by his realization, Anakin dumbly did as Andriya asked.
"We have come to the conclusion that we simply cannot win the war without you there. It is imperative that Anakin be independent of you. I'll urge whatever alternatives we can find, but he is not ready to be a Jedi, even with the most generous allowances we can make."
"But he is ready," Obi-Wan quietly objected.
"What do you know about ready?" she paraphrased, little knowing that Yoda had said that very thing (in his special way, of course) years earlier, the first time Obi-Wan stood with Anakin before the Council. "The Council will inform you when we are ready," Andriya continued. "Be prepared to wait a long time."
The next seven hours were truly the longest in Anakin's life--even longer than the ones before the questioning. And so much more torturous. Before, he couldn't understand why the Council wouldn't just decide. Now, he would understand if they decided against knighting him.
Finally, Téan, Andriya's assistant, came to Anakin's door. "Your presence is requested in the Council Chambers immediately," he informed Anakin.
"Thank you!" Anakin exclaimed, using much more force than he'd meant to. As he hurriedly made his way to the Chambers, he felt as though he no longer cared what the decision was--as long as he knew!
The doors to the Chamber stood open, waiting for Anakin. He entered and took his place a step behind Obi-Wan and to his right.
"Anakin Skywalker," Yoda began once the Chambers were sealed off from the rest of the Temple. "Confer on you the title of Jedi-Provisory, the Council does."
"I beg your pardon, Masters," Anakin replied, hastily adding the collective title as a show of respect, "but what is that?"
"The title of Jedi-Provisory," Mace Windu explained, "was created especially for the bracket of Padawans that we feel should be used in the war effort without their masters--or the Padawans of the Jedi that we feel should be in leadership positions in this war. As a Provisory Jedi, you are free of your Master, but your training is incomplete. When you do complete your training, under whatever leadership you can find, you will become a full Jedi Knight."
"In the Starfighter Squadron, the Council places you."
Anakin beamed. "Thank you," he said, bowing.
"Thank me not. Of your role in the Naboo war, we have heard." Anakin glanced at Master Andriya and she nodded shortly, indicating that she was the one who had suggested his placement.
"Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi Council confers upon you the rank of General of the Jedi Resistance, to be stationed on Riliss."
Though his master appeared unruffled, the Padawan's eyes widened and his obvious surprise flooded the minds of the Council.
"Thank you," Obi-Wan said calmly.
"May the Force be with you."
"Did you say goodbye to Malleyra?" Andriya asked.
"Of course I did," Myndex informed his sister, rolling his eyes.
"Did you leave your birds at your home?"
"Did you say goodbye to your sister?" She raised her eyebrows disapprovingly.
"Why would I do something like that?" he replied incredulously. Andriya held out her arms. In return, her brother threw his arms around her neck and hugged her tightly. "Now, don't you go and do anything stupid, Andi."
"Yes, exactly like elope."
"Don't worry, I've learned from your excellent example."
Myndex released her and took his place in the ranks of the Jedi Resistance. Andriya was the only Jedi Council member there to see the transport off.
"General Kenobi, command your troops."
Obi-Wan nodded and turned around to face his troops. "Company, about face! Board the transport--now march!" The troops obeyed his commands as a unified legion, quickly leaving Andriya and Obi-Wan alone in the hangar.
"Good luck, General," she said, offering her hand to him.
"Thank you, Councilor," he replied, shaking her offered hand. They smiled at each other and suddenly realized that the smile they were exchanging could be their last. Both smiles faded and Obi-Wan reluctantly pulled his hand away from Andriya's before turning and following his troops onto the transport.
Depa Billiba entered the hangar just after the transport departed. "It appears that I am too late. The troop transport has left, then?"
"I will never understand why you would recommend Obi-Wan Kenobi for the position of General when he cannot even control his own Padawan."
"I have my reasons," Andriya replied. "And he'll learn leadership skills quickly." I hope.
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