Relsor sat in the seat the Sphere had provided for him; Perce sat across him. Relsor didn’t even feel tired, though he knew he had depleted a portion of his powers.
‘How could they have overwhelmed us?’ he said.
‘Simple, they had many Jedi and Mandalorians with them,’ replied Perce. ‘I learnt something interesting though.’
‘Knarf, he sliced into the Empire’s Holonet,’ said Perce. Relsor scowled. ‘He fooled me, whereas I thought I had figured him out. Serves me right for trying to outslice a slicer.’ Relsor shook his head. ‘So of course they knew what was going on and were always a step ahead of us. The solution is simple, Relsor: we stop providing the Empire information about the True Sith, stop giving the Dark Council what they want for a time. It’s not like they’re going to refuse.’
‘They have no choice,’ said Relsor slowly, ‘we can crush them in an instant.’ Relsor paused for a moment. ‘We’re going to find another way to capture Shadie.’ He paused again. ‘We had her, until her friends liberated her.’
‘I had to attack Knarf and make it appear as though I had no interest in Shadie,’ said Perce. ‘It was the only way for her to come at me in that angry yet vulnerable way she does when she’s afraid for Knarf’s life. I grabbed her, and you held her. She was in our grasp! How in the kark did she slip away?’
‘You sound exasperated,’ said Relsor, amused.
‘I am!’ exclaimed Perce. ‘I told her and that apprentice of hers that we had something in common, that we all learnt from Kromus, and therefore we are the true Followers of Kromus and that we should team up to destroy you!’
‘And? Did she bite?’
‘Oh, she bit all right, but not the bait,’ said Perce. ‘And she bit back hard.’ Relsor laughed. ‘I thought if I brought back memories of Kromus for her, she would falter, or perhaps her apprentice, Fane, would.’
Relsor leaned back in his chair. ‘Perce, you had a good tactic, it could have worked. Just goes to show that she buried her dark side deep within her.’
‘Well, that’s what I realised when I was choking Knarf. Her weakness is Knarf.’ Perce narrowed his eyes. ‘But he is also her strength.’ Perce sighed.
‘So, what do we do now?’ asked Relsor.
‘I’ve already devised a few possible ways we could achieve our goal,’ said Perce. He took out his datapad. ‘Shall I go through them with you? I’ve received…data…I believe will be of use to us.’
‘Oh, humour me, Perce. At worst, we can have a laugh at how our future attempts may fail.’
Perce smiled. Relsor could tell he had something good up his sleeves.
* * *
Lian approached Fane and Talyc with a bit of a limp. Fane stood, concerned.
‘You’re injured,’ Lian told Talyc. Fane and Lian helped him up. Lian closed his eyes and passed his hand above Talyc’s shoulder. ‘It will take a few days, but your injuries should heal faster now and the pain should pass shortly.’
‘Thanks,’ said Talyc. ‘Looks like you’re injured too.’
‘Nothing that can’t heal itself,’ said Lian. ‘I too possess regenerative abilities, albeit they work at a much slower rate than Perce’s abilities, and are a lot less intense, but perhaps also less costly in Force powers.’ He shook his head. ‘Knarf had him. He had him.’ He shook his head again.
‘We all thought we’d have them, but now we know what the powers they attained from the Crypt can do,’ said Fane. ‘And we’ve learnt that their goal is to capture Shadie. I just don’t understand why.’
‘She trained with Kromus,’ said Lian. ‘They must need her for something.’
‘She’s not going to give it to them,’ said Fane.
Talyc moved his arm a bit.
‘This really feels better.’ He looked ahead. The Mandalorians and pirates were discussing something and looking over towards their clan leader. ‘I think my clan needs me.’ He put his hand on Fane’s arm and smiled. He walked away.
‘Are you sure you’re all right?’ asked Fane.
‘Yes, I’ll be fine,’ said Lian, nodding. ‘Relsor is very powerful. He functions with pure darkness, whereas I function purely from a place of light. I could not weaken him, I could not exhaust him, nor destroy him. I understand now that that is not my destiny. My destiny is to heal the Force and prevent his ailments from affecting everyone in the galaxy.’
Fane nodded. ‘I think it might be Shadie’s destiny, or one of the others’, or mine, or all of ours, to destroy Relsor,’ he said. ‘Who knows.’ He observed Lian. ‘You truly are gifted in the arts of healing.’
‘Yes, it runs in my…’ He stopped. His face changed.
‘My forefathers were master healers too,’ he said, looking Fane straight in the eyes.
‘No, no,’ said Fane, dismay and realisation overwhelming him. He closed his eyes and bowed his head. ‘Lian, I am so sorry. I had no idea.
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