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."
Coruscant Main Office | Tatooine Branch Office | Positions of Authority: Part Two