Star Wars: Connection in the Force

Inevitable Nightmare

Chapter 7

Saytani was abruptly awoken. With bloodshot eyes she slowly reached to her left, feeling around for the source of the irritating beeping. Without looking, she slammed down on the snooze button. She then closed her eyes for about a minute before reopening them, realizing that it was impossible to sleep at that point.

She sat up and looked through the darkness in the general direction of the alarm clock. The seemingly floating, glowing numbers read 6:30 a.m. Why did I set my alarm? she thought.

"Oh yea," she said aloud, remembering. Master Negis had asked her to wake up early so he could meet her in the youngling training room. She got out of bed and peeked to see if he was on the top bunk, since her night vision had gotten better by that time. He was gone.

She put on her youngling robe, and then reached for her training saber. She hesitantly pulled away, remembering that it was against the rules to do anything with it unless told to by a Jedi Master. But then her curiosity overcame her as she picked it up. Negis had told her to bring it, so she was going to. Even though she pondered the fact that he was of the same rank as her, she didn't want to upset him by meeting him unprepared. It wasn't like bringing it once was going to get her into trouble.

She opened her room's door, walked out and headed for the training room. As she walked, she thought about the strangeness of why Negis asked this of her. She suddenly became anxious at the realization of how many rules they were breaking by just sneaking out. What could this possibly be about?

She briefly thought about going back, but instantly decided against it, thinking that is was too late. Plus she didn't want to go back on her promise to Negis. Saytani scurried up the rest of the hallway. The training room door stood many feet taller than her, and was cracked open ever so slightly for her to slip through it.

She went in, and inside was the very shadowy, ominous, unfamiliar look of the pitch-black youngling training room she had been in yesterday mourning. In the middle of the room, in the center circle with his back to her was Negis; his arms behind his back, relaxed in a standing pose where his legs were spread very slightly apart. He wore only his youngling robe

To Saytani, the picture was quite odd. Negis around her was either timid or mature. He was neither this time, and even worse was that she couldn't tell his mood by looking at his back.

"Negis…?" she whispered.

She watched for a minute or two as he made no movement. But nearing the end of that time frame, he began to make a movement: his left hand down toward his left side.

Saytani was just barely able to see before it was too late that his lightsaber was hanging at his left side.

Almost seemingly at once, he did a small back flip, spun around, activated the beautiful weapon, and came in for an overhead strike. Saytani instinctively stepped back, but also reached for and drew her own saber.

She just barely managed to feel the strength of Negis's strike as she parried it. He didn't hesitate even a little bit to attack again at her left flank. Startled, she stepped back, dodging it, and then mentally prepared herself for the rest of the fight.

The both danced almost rhythmically around the room for about eight seconds before Negis executed an evasive counterattack and hit the butt of his saber into her chin. Saytani stumbled back two steps at the feeling of the pain and then felt herself trip on her own feet. Her opponent took the opportunity and made a stabbing attack. Upon seeing this, she then forced herself calm. Everything seemed to slow down as she regained her footing and surprised herself by parrying the attack and giving a countering kick to his chest, and flipping backwards perfectly onto her feet just as soon as regained his own footing.

"Negis!" she frantically whispered across the room, "Why…?!" But she hadn't enough time to finish the question as he came in for his next attack. This attack was so much more aggressive that it forced her after parrying to retaliate to a point in the room where she knew she was vulnerable to any counterattack.

But before she could side-step the next attack, seeing as how that was her only option, Negis preformed an intricate disarming maneuver. Saytani didn't want to get her hand cut off, so she did the only thing possible: she dropped her saber.

As soon as it hit the ground, deactivated, Saytani felt a huge, invisible force floor her. Then, with the wind knocked out of her, she slowly looked up as Negis walked over, put a foot on her chest and his lightsaber at her throat. She instantly felt dizzy with fear as her short, miserable life flashed before her eyes. He kneeled down closer to her face and moved the blade closer towards her neck. She looked into his eyes and saw fire.

But she couldn't help but also calm at the sight of his beautifully kind, sea green eyes. After her short life finished its quick review within her mind, she didn't quite care about her imminent death as she stared into those mesmerizing eyes.

And then, in easily the most surprising moment of her life, she almost gasped as he deactivated his blade. As her quiet gasp left her throat, and her mind instantly alert, she saw Negis close his eyes and make a huge grin along with a small but hearty chuckle. He stood up and off of her. She instantly sat up, baffled. His face instantly tightened along with his straightened posture, "I don't know how you learned to fight like that, but one thing I am sure of is that you are easily a good fighter, and if I knew how good the other younglings are at fighting, you'd probably be one of the best."

Saytani, even while still trying to figure out what was going on, had just barely enough brain space to be flabbergasted by his comment. She had been fighting on instinct alone. She then realized that the only possible explanation for what had just occurred was that Negis had just tested her, with no intention of killing her. Unluckily for him, since she couldn't grasp the picture of "why," this just made her furious.

"NEGIS! You scared me half to death!" she shouted as she stood up, "Why didn't you say something before the fight!?" He at first took a step back, startled. But he immediately straightened his posture and gaze, obviously out of obsessive discipline, "Please lower you voice," he said with as much serene composure as possible, "or else we will be caught."

"But… but!" Saytani was flooded with all sorts of feelings, half of which she couldn't explain. She felt tears of confusion bubble up as she tried to calm down. His calm posture went unchanged. "To adequately gauge your strength, I needed to put you in a situation of supreme danger."

"Supreme danger?!" Saytani began to choke out the question of "why" when suddenly an immense pain cut into her skull. She doubled over, realizing that her previous adrenaline rush was the culprit of this surprising migraine. The pain sent her to her knees. She heard Negis gasp and scurry to her side.

"Sayo! Are you alright?!" he said, instantly sounding worried.

"No! My head… it hurts," she choked through the tears. She couldn't help but be frightened. Head pain always reminded her of her father.

"It hurts so… much!" She couldn't help but latch onto Negis, bury her head into his shoulder and cry, wishing the pain would just stop. She could just barely sense Negis's change from a confused child to the compassionate, mature boy that she couldn't help but adore ever since she met him.

"Uh, shh, don't worry, it'll be over soon enough," she heard him whisper to her. She didn't know how long it took for the pain to stop, but he was correct. When she finally stopped her bawling, and after she regained enough sense to tell how awkward this situation was for Negis, she stood up straight and hugged him.

"Thanks, Negis," she said, trying to say it directly into his eyes.

He looked down a little, flushed, "eh… err, um, you are welcome, Sayo."

He looked back up at her, his posture straightened up again and his look intensified, "Now that I've tested you, we best get back to our… um… room," in that instant, his face bloomed, as if he had just remembered something important. His mouth then dropped open in an obvious shocking realization. His brief look confused her.

He then relaxed his face, closed his eyes, put his hands behind his back and began to speak, but then hesitated, and then didn't. He turned around, his hands still at his back, "Alright, let's go then." Her confusion, at that moment, reached its peak. Her head still ached from the brief, intense migraine, and she was tired as all the force. So she decided to not pursue any answers for tonight.

But seeing Negis act strange for the past few minutes instantly made her break that goal. "Master Negis, are you feeling well?"

Negis stopped, right in the middle of the hallway they had begun to traverse; his near-perfect posture was instantly let go into a slouch as he let out a long, familiar sigh. She instantly knew that something was very wrong, since it was the familiar sigh of stress that she knew all too well. He turned around, his dreary stare fortified by an exhausted frown and crossed brow right before he closed his eyes and began pinching the bridge of his nose with his left hand.

"Saytani, do you know at all why I wanted to test you?" she shook her head, knowing then that she must have done something wrong.

"It's because during your initiation test with the Jedi Council, you were asked to reach into the force and say at least a small portion of the Jedi Code after being told it once. You obviously succeeded."

Saytani knew that she was about to finally get the answers she was looking for ever since she woke up, though it didn't feel too good being talked to in a scolding fashion.

"And yet, even though it's an exercise meant to test mental Force capacity, someone as intelligent as you should have memorized the code after repeating it once, correct?

"U-um, yes, I-I remember it, but what are you trying to say?"

His exhausted posture was unchanged, but he blushed slightly as he opened his eyes and took his left hand and scratched his head. This said to Saytani that he tested her because of something… embarrassing? She was now not only flat out stumped, but she couldn't help but be even more naturally curious.

He began to beat around the bush a little, "Well, eh… um, so you know it right? Why, then, did you ask Master Yoda to stay bunked up with me, hmm?

She then instantly understood what he was talking about in that one sentence, but not what this was all about. But despite that, just knowing that he was referring to the Jedi way of not marrying shocked her, then angered her, then made her embarrassed. But she thought really hard, searching all possible opinion she had for an answer.

She then found her answer, after nearly five minutes. Despite her slight embarrassment, she wanted desperately more than anything at that second to sound clear and sincere.

She gave a genial smile, "Because I really want to be your friend Ma… um, Negis," she succeeded, but in a brief moment of mental weakness, let her embarrassing feelings take control and force her to continue, "I-is it really wrong to want, um… companionship of that level?"

She just barely kept herself from yelping. She felt her face flush with warm blood. But even still, she diligently stood there as if nothing had changed. She felt like such a bloody fool. Now he was going to be angry at her for liking him and…

But she then heard the slap of skin on skin, and opened her eyes to see that Negis, once again, had drastically changed in facial appearance. He had taken his left hand and slapped it onto his forehead; his eyes closed as he shook his head with a small smile, seemingly laughing a bit to himself.

Her sudden realization that she had not looked like a total fool allowed herself the focus to hear him mutter very softly to himself, "stupid, stupid me." He then took his left hand off his forehead, with a slightly larger smile, and held his hand out to be taken, while turning his body slightly in the direction of the hallway.

"Well I suppose we should get going."

He no longer looked exhausted… he looked pleasant and relieved. Saytani faintly smiled as she felt the very alien, but very good, feeling of welcoming. She took it, and was almost instantly pulled into a quiet scurry towards her and Negis's bedroom, while he began whispering to her about possibly teaching her a few new tricks in combat.

At that point, she didn't care where he was going to take her, because she was subtly overcome with relief that he was not really her enemy.