Knarf and Relsor were sparring together when the ship approached. Relsor knew this because Knarf paused in his actions suddenly and his face paled, his lips compressed, and then his expression hardened as he looked down at his weapon.
‘What is it?’
Knarf looked up at him. ‘It’s Shadie. She approaches.’
‘Then you know what you must do.’
‘It will be like no wound she has ever before felt.’
Relsor smiled. Knarf had learnt well. He had enjoyed toying with the idea of training him, and as it happened, Knarf was becoming more of an asset by the minute. And every time he probed him, he sensed no deception, only truth in his words, anger in his emotions; and Knarf had developed strength in the Force. The dark side was well suited for the former slicer who had never thought he was Force-sensitive, let alone think he would some day become a Force-user.
They went to see Gourd in his meditation chamber.
‘Uncle,’ said Relsor, ‘Shadie approaches.’
‘Are you certain?’ replied Gourd. ‘I don’t sense any ships.’
‘I am certain,’ replied Knarf. ‘I can sense her. And I believe it’s safe to assume she will arrive with a squad of Mandalorians. Not to mention her apprentice and her two friends.’
Gourd thought for a moment.
‘You have a plan then?’ he asked Knarf. ‘I can sense your excitement.’
‘Yes, my Lord. I am eager to see her reaction. As for a plan, if they board the ship, that is if they actually succeed in boarding the ship this time, to try to save me, they must think I am being held captive, who knows how much damage they could cause. But if we boarded their vessel, just imagine Shadie’s devastation. It will make her hesitate long enough to give you an advantage, which in turn will disorient her enough to allow me to confront her.’
Gourd turned to his nephew. ‘What do you think of this plan?’
‘I will be with Knarf the whole time. Together, we can reach Shadie, and Knarf can then kill her.’
‘What if she proves to be a too formidable opponent?’
‘I do not doubt my apprentice, Uncle.’
‘Lord Gourd,’ said Knarf, ‘do you honestly think Shadie will want to kill her lover? No, she will want him alive.’
Gourd smiled. ‘You are her greatest weakness,’ he said.
‘And she is my greatest strength,’ replied Knarf.
For a moment, Relsor pondered that, then he realised Knarf’s meaning. ‘Yes,’ he laughed. ‘It makes complete sense. Just by the mere fact that your former relationship with her becomes her weakness, suddenly, as she is weakened, you become stronger.’
‘But Knarf,’ said Gourd, ‘you do not become strong only when she becomes weak. You have a strength in you that the Force fuels, that the dark side fuels.’
‘Regardless,’ Knarf replied, ‘she is now here.’
And not a moment later, a vast ship winked into existence outside the viewport, many starfighters pouring out of it: a Mandalorian ship.
‘Uncle,’ said Relsor, ‘I believe it’s time for my apprentice and I to board the Mandalorian flagship.’
* * *
The Chiss ship came towards the Mandalorian ship quickly and on such a strange vector, and before anyone could realise what was happening, it had docked next to the ship and extended its ambilical.
‘They’re boarding the ship!’ cried Brenum.
‘Send in the droids!’ was the command that came from Kelbourn.
Large and small battle droids walked and rolled into the lobby. As the hatch opened, a volley of blaster fire erupted. Red blades blazed into life, their wielders twirling and swirling, as they blocked and advanced, using the Force to send the droids flying the other way.
The first being to come into view on the viewscreen was Gourd’s nephew. The second was Knarf, wielding a red lightsaber and fighting alongside the Chiss Sith.
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