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