‘’I have some new intelligence for you, I thought you would be interested in hearing it before infiltrating the castle’’.
‘’Is it good news? I’m kinda busy at the moment.’’
‘’Intercepted some comms between the Republic and Dem’sha not just long ago. Sending them now.’’
‘’Let’s see what we have here!’’
Max opened his holo-terminal right in time. He and his men managed to land their ship undetected and now were trying to bypass a security door on the castle’s cargo bay.
The things were running smoothly thanks to his aliens engineer friends, and only a few small details to resolve before stealing the weapon.
But he didn’t like surprises, so he started to watch the distorted hologram on his arm. It appeared to be one of the Dem’Sha elders having a conversation on a private channel.
‘’ She is free. The boy managed to balance her powers for now. But she summoned us.
‘’You have the Aries Knights, retaining them won’t be a problem, I presume.’’
‘’Good. Kill the boy if you can, but we need her alive. She is the most important asset for the Republic now.’’
The hologram glitched a few times, then it disappeared. Max looked over his shoulders, where two of his guys were still trying to breach the sophisticated Shalinor Security.
He had a love-hate relationship with tech this complicated, but it was just a matter of time.
‘’Damn, I guess Dem’Sha are changing like the wind. And now they seem to be Republic dogs. Tch, Kylo Ren will not be happy about this,’’ said Max, talking to his crew back on the ship.
‘’ Not anymore. We just found out that a coup happened!’’
‘’You are shitting me, right?’’
‘’No, it seems like their princess killed all the Council members and allied with the First Order. All the troops act in high alert right now to protect her.
You have no chance of stealing that weapon undetected, Max!
‘’Fuck fuckitty fuck! You know I hate when something deviates from the plan!’’
‘’First Order ships are entering the orbit. We can’t keep the cloak much longer! What now, Max?
‘’We abort…for now. Oi! Return to the Scoundrel!’’
‘’Are you fucking kidding us?’’
‘’Listen jackass, the entire First Order fleet is coming right now and we’ll never be able to leave the planet if we lose the shields!’’
The bounty hunters looked at each other and decided they must first live in order to become rich. Max rolled his eyes and turned on his jetpack, ready to sneak back to his ship.
Things just got more complicated.
Rey had shared so many tears when her master passed on.
The island of Ahch-To seemed so serene, yet for her it felt unbearable. She was so confused and a profound sadness gloomed over her shoulders, like a black cloud over the earth.
The feeling was familiar, it happened before when she witnessed Han being murdered by his own son.
And now, Luke. The Force he used to stop Kylo’s attack took a toll on him. Nobody can control that amount of power without paying for it.
But the Force has been kind to him, allowing him to say goodbye to the world and to his sister. He did the right thing, he apologized to his nephew and he didn’t seemed weak anymore.
Luke Skywalker, the amazing pilot and powerful Jedi had been restored in those moments. Rey later experienced that scene when Luke shared it with her before his passing.
The anger in Kylo’s eyes…‘’I will break her!’’
‘’Why didn’t you tell me you were dying?’’ Rey said, watching the sunset. As if she was scolding her master.
‘’Because you were right. ‘’ The apparition of Luke watched her with kindness and it bathed in the light.
The Force closed the bridge between them and Rey was grateful to see him so tranquil and part of the Universe. She smiled a little.
‘’Your duty is not to save him. That he must do himself. You need to find your own path, my padawan.’’
‘’I still have questions, master!’’
‘’And I will watch you, always. You need only remember my words.’’
Rey drifted back to the day when he finally told her the meaning of the vision they experienced. The story about princess Aydanne and her imprisonment impressed her greatly.
She then realized how insignificant her powers seemed in comparison to what she felt inside that vision.
A very powerful being existed in this galaxy, controlling vast amounts of chaotic and raw energy and Rey assumed she will take the Dark Side.
Luke had watched her still in those moments and then he contradicted her. ‘’ Remember Rey, you are light. Unyielding, young, bright. But Aydanne is the Starfire.
Dark and crystal cold like a comet, but hot and fierce like a supernova. Chaos is not evil, it’s just how the Universe works. The law of matter.’’
She opened her eyes in the present, gazing at the vision of her master. Rey knew that Kylo Ren reached the princess. She had felt it. Luke too.
‘’If he is turning her to the Dark Side, I will stop him!’’ she yelled, full of determination.
‘’I’ve seen your future, Rey. You chose right, on this path you are a true Jedi. Protecting the princess will represent your true calling. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
You need to follow her because Ben will follow her.’’
A tear rolled down on Rey’s cheek. The sun was almost gone, cut by the horizon and Ben Solo’s fate was not in her hands anymore.
‘’May the Force be with you both, my little padawans…’’
Ben dreamt of Rey that night.
He rose up and stood still at the end of his bed. He could feel it too, Luke’s Skywalker’s presence merging with the Force. He was gone.
It was still too early in the morning and the metropolis lights were glimmering outside his room. The immense windows offered an impressive view over Shalinor.
Aydanne had ordered his accommodation in the royal sector of the castle. The apartment was luxurious, but simple. Totally different from the dreadnought, but it suited him.
He stepped in front of the massive windows. The city was alert and guarded by the First Order. They could feel the change coming, a new era.
History will be made in the next few days, so there was no time to show weakness. ‘’I failed you Ben…’’ He heard his uncle’s voice in his head, but he chased the thought away.
Everybody had failed him. His parents, his uncle, Rey…but not Aydanne.
Details of her aspect soon invaded his mind. Her small and thin wrists, her long black lashes, the smell of her freshly washed long hair.
She accepted him and made him stronger, but not with fake Dark Side passion. He did not know what to make of all these.
What kind of powers dwelt inside her? With all his Jedi education, he could not answer this question.
In moments like these ones the Force would have bonded them again. She probably knew about him being next to the princess. Most probably she will rise the new Jedi generation. He was calm.
Let them come, he thought. If they dared to touch Aydanne, he will wipe them off the face of the galaxy. Oh yes, the Jedi will come for her too. The Republic, the Resistance, all of them.
What was the meaning of this feeling?
Was he just cunning or stupid? He could not deny that having such a powerful human as his ally brought him a decent amount of satisfaction, but this was not enough. He longed for something else.
When he touched Rey’s hand back then, he felt strange. He had never been so close to a girl, but he could differentiate lust from sympathy.
He had been the only child, the black sheep, alone and misunderstood, so it was only normal to feel like a brother to Rey.
So what was it now? This other feeling?
He tried to be rational. He could never be able to love someone, so it was clearly lust. Then he contradicted himself. That was a lie and he knew it. The torment could go on now.
He started to feel frustrated also. But then again, he wanted to protect her. He felt the painful urge to watch over the princess, like she was a precious treasure.
Yes, that was it. He could stop thinking nonsense now. The only reason behind this feeling was her power and status. He would use her to achieve his ultimate goal. He was so close now.
But then he remembered her touch, back at the underground temple. Her delicate little hand nesting inside his big palm, transferring warmth and power. How inconvenient!
Before he could notice, he took his lightsaber and stepped outside his chambers, past the stormtroopers who were guarding the exit.
He wore black Jedi training robes and their movement made a feathery sound in the silence of the corridor.
Aydanne’s room was situated at the opposite side and it was guarded by Aries Knights and surveillance droids. They all stepped aside when he appeared at the entrance, and the door glided.
Her apartment had a view as well, with half the city in the upper side of the window and forest at the end. It was breathtaking.
The whole space smelled like her, or maybe his imagination was playing tricks on him. Ben could feel her presence. And her beating heart.
He then followed the stairs up to her dormitory and stopped when he arrived.
He did not know which one could hear louder: his heart, or hers. When he laid eyes on her, the sunrise landed on her cheek.
She had her face buried in pillows, sleeping peacefully and she looked so godly in the sunlight, almost too perfect to be human,
with her silky chocolate hair rebelling furiously all around her face. A painful feeling rose in his chest and stomach. This was the reason of his insomnia.
What was this?