Chapter 7

Ben waited until he was sure they were gone before unlocking Nasriel’s door and going in to explore just who this girl was.  The room was nearly empty; Nasriel had even fewer belongings than most Padawans, and they were all neatly in place.  On the shelves, the first place to look for a being’s personality, was the usual uniform array of textbooks and notebooks, a box of ink-pencil refills, and a perfectly straight stack of paperback novels, most of them in a language he didn’t even recognize, let alone read.  After twenty minutes methodical searching, the only odd things Ben had found were a pair of Karor Imperial Army combat boots, an unhelpful journal written in slanted Mando’a characters, and a Sabaac set, unused and still in its original wrappings.  Something else was different, but Ben didn’t see what it was until he turned to check the dresser.  The delicate wooden figurines had been moved.  The figure of the girl with the flute had been placed a little distance from the remaining figures of the artist and the boy, which had been rotated to face away from her, but toward each other.  What the arrangement of the figures meant he wasn’t sure, but Nasriel herself had told him to go to Yoreh Deah if he was worried about anything to do with her.  Ben locked the door and set off at a near-run to Master Deah’s rooms.  Ben Kenobi was going to talk to Yoreh Deah about Nasriel Threeb.  That, he told himself sternly, was all he was allowed to think about.  Thinking about Master Obi-Wan was not an option right now.

Padawan Tano, catching sight of Ben from the practice floor, yelled across the hall, “Yo, Ben!  Where’s the fire?”

Ben pulled himself to a halt.  “I’m going to see Master Deah.”

Showing as few of her sharp Togruta fangs as possible, Ahsoka smiled.  “I forgot the Kenobi quarters got stuck with the Witch.  Hey, don’t tell me, let me guess.  She’s been doing that thing with the little dolls again, hasn’t she?  Lining them up so some of them are facing?  Don’t worry about that; it isn’t magic, just lame.  Dumb halfster can’t work out whether beings like her, as if it isn’t obvious ‘No,’ so she plays it out with her little dolls.”

Was that all it was?  “You mean she sets them out to mirror what she thinks other beings feel about her?”

Ahsoka double-flipped across the doorway.  “Yeah.  Hey, where are you going?  Master Deah’s office is that way.”

“I have to get the figures to tell her she’s wrong about me and Master Obi-Wan!”

After carefully rearranging Nasriel’s figurines, scolding himself for wondering if she would even come back to see what he had done, Ben went to sit in the Room of a Thousand Fountains.  It was peaceful there, and if you knew all the right corners, you didn’t have to worry about noisy Younglings invading your privacy.  He was lonely and worried, and blast it, why in the everliving galaxy did Nasriel have to go and leave him behind here?  He could have at least helped, even if his Master would have not really been pleased.  He wasn’t any less “expendable” than she was, really.  It wasn’t like he was the Chosen One or anything.  He just had more… prestige.  Ben was dying to do something, and if it wasn’t constructive it would most likely be drastic, something to rival even Master Siri’s antics… and she could get into a lot.

Ben was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn’t notice Master Mareya Lechesi, Initiates’ Master and lightsaber instructor, until she walked up and sat down next to him.  Ben wasn’t sure if he should be irritated or annoyed.  He barely knew Mareya, anyway.  He had never been under her particular province; she had been the overseeing Initiates’ Master for years, and didn’t have time for any one particular youngling among so many, and Ben had never been in her lightsaber classes anyway.  Ben struggled to remember exactly what Obi-Wan had mentioned about Mareya, but couldn’t quite recall it.  He finally gave up.  Mareya sat, perfectly still and silent, next to him, for a long time.  Finally, she spoke up.

“What a lovely night,” she remarked.

“Yes,” Ben answered noncommittally.  The last thing he wanted right now was a conversation.

“I can sense that you’re worried.”  Mareya said.

“My Master’s in danger somewhere,” Ben said aloud.  Silently, inside his head, he wanted to shriek, what do you expect me to be, calm?  Mareya smiled.

“You really do remind me of Obi-Wan,” she said.  For once, Ben didn’t feel annoyed or offended or upset at being compared to his uncle.  It was the way she said it, more than anything.  Most of the older Masters commented on his looks, which was infuriating; in contrast, Master Lechesi seemed to be referring to their similarities in character.  “I’ve wanted to meet you,” Mareya continued.  “I instructed Obi-Wan in lightsaber combat, you know.  He was the most talented student I ever taught, and I hear from your teachers that you’re much the same.”  She sighed and looked up at the small area, fringed by willan trees, that they sat in. “Obi-Wan used to come here to think when things were going badly with him.  You are very like him, you know, and in more than just looks…  You’re much more confident and I dare say, stronger, than he was, but you’re both determined, strong willed.”

“I wish I had my Master’s wisdom,” Ben admitted, and immediately stopped, amazed.  Had he actually said that?  He had never dared to tell anyone things like this, and he wasn’t sure how she would take it…

“Maybe you do,” Mareya said softly.  “It takes time to attain knowledge, but the youngest child can hold a grain of wisdom.  You’re at the time of your life where you start deciding for yourself.  So, what do you think you should do, Padawan Learner?”  Resolution steeled in his eyes.  In that moment, Ben was more like Obi-Wan than ever.

“I should go and help them,” he said.

“Then go, and may the Force be with you,” Mareya said.  As Ben was rising to go, she added hurriedly, “And, Ben, take a T-6 instead of your fighter.”  Ben paused, confused as to why he would need the shuttle.  After all, a fighter had much better speed capabilities in realspace.

“Why do you say that, Master?”  Ben asked.

A faint ghost of a smile flitted across Mareya’s face.  “Call it the voice of experience, Ben.  Hurry, you’ll need all the speed you can gather.”  Ben nodded, and then darted out into the corridors.

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About coruscantbookshelf

"A writer is an introvert: someone who wants to tell you a story but doesn't want to have to make eye contact while doing it." - Adapted from John Green
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