• Published 16th Mar 2019
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Star Wars Jedi Lyra: The Search - currentlemon



Jedi Padawan Lyra Heartstrings scours the war-torn galaxy in search of her long-lost home.

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Chapter 9

Author's Note:

Sorry for the long wait guys. But a lot of things happened these past few days, so I couldn't get the chapter finished earlier. But here we are. A new chapter. Hope you all enjoy it.

PS: Another new chapter will be released before the end of the month, along with some important news. Stay tuned.

“Master, you think you can let me out of this stupid cage for a second?” Lyra asked as she looked at her master with pleading eyes. “I want to stretch a bit before we start our mission.”

Master Darran shook his head. “No, Padawan. We cannot risk letting you out now. Not when we’re so close to the Exchange stronghold,” he said.

“But master, I’ve been sitting in this stupid thing for half an hour now! Can’t you let me out for just a little bit? I promise, I won’t take long.” Her complaints went on deaf ears as Master Darran shook his head.

Aggravated, Lyra folded her hooves and sighed. After coming to an agreement with the fake captive plan, she and her master had left Worlport alongside Hider and Geefour on a borrowed landspeeder with the former smuggler taking the wheel.

Thanks to his previous conversation with the cantina owner, the Jedi Master was able to pinpoint the location of the Exchange stronghold several miles away from the city. Not too far, but it did take Hider nearly a half an hour to get to their destination. Now with the stronghold within sight, it was only a matter of time for them to put their plan into action.

It was simple. Hider and Master Darran would give Lyra up to the Exchange so that they can get inside the base without suspicion. Once inside, they’ll use that opportunity to search and rescue the missing ponies.

Lyra had to admit, the plan was pretty good. It was the best way to get inside the stronghold without the need for extensive violence. Plus, it would also guarantee the ponies safety until she arrived. However, she just wished it didn’t have to be so humiliating.

Frustrated, Lyra kicked the iron bar with her back hooves. She’d been stuck inside Hider’s iron cage ever since they left the city, and it was starting to get on her nerves. The cage was cramped and there was barely enough room for her to move around.

“Calm yourself, Padawan,” advised Master Darran. “I know you are uncomfortable in there, but you must bear with it for now. Don’t worry. Once our plan is set into motion, you’ll be out of there in no time.”

Oh Force, I hope so. Lyra thought. She looked up at her master, who had been by her side on the passenger seat of the landspeeder. She greatly appreciated his company, though it was strange to see him not wearing any Jedi clothing.

Back on the Omega, her master and Hider agreed to have a change of clothing to better fit their part. As such, Master Darran now wore a white vest with a brown colored jacket and leather pants. A common choice of clothing worn by civilians. He’d even removed his signature Miralukan headpiece, replacing it with a common blindfold.

Though he likely did this convince the Exchange thugs that he was a helpless blind man, his decision caught Lyra off-guard. With the headpiece removed, Master Darran’s short light brown hair was now visible. Given that she was so used to seeing him with a headpiece on, she completely forgot about him having hair in the first place. It even caught Hider off guard.

As for Lyra herself, she had to remove her tunic so that she can play the part of a helpless captive. Unlike her issue with the cage, she had no problem wearing no tunic. Since a pony’s coat provided the warmth and cover they needed, clothing wasn’t necessary. She only wore the tunic because the Council requested that she follow their customs.

“You’ve been staring at my apparel for some time, Padawan,” said Master Darran. “What do you think? Do these clothes give off the impression of a slave owner?”

“I think Hider’s better suited for that question, Master,” Lyra replied as she nudged her head toward the former Smuggler.

“Ah, good point. Given his past, I’m sure that Hider is aware of all the latest trends common criminals wear today.”

“Oh, that’s a good one, old man,” Hider said jokingly. “Maybe when this mission is over, we can kickstart your stand-up comedy routine back at the cantina in Worlport.”

“I’ll pass. So, Hider, are you certain that everything is ready?”

“It should. But just to be sure, Lyra can you go ahead and test that tracking device I showed you.”

Lyra nodded. Using her magic, she removed a secret compartment at the bottom of the cage, revealing her lightsaber, and a small rectangular object with a red button on the top. She then pressed the button down with her hoof, which caused T3-G4 to beep repeatedly.

“Good, the droid says it’s working fine. Now remember, that tracker is linked to Geefour. When you unite with the ponies inside the stronghold, push that button right away so that we can come get you.”

“And don’t forget, Padawan, we cannot risk anyone seeing your weapon. We must play it safe, so I suggest that you not use your lightsaber until after we come and rescue you,” advised Master Darran.

“Understood, master,” Lyra replied as she covered the secret compartment. “But if I may add, escorting ten ponies out of that stronghold isn’t going to be easy. How do we make sure that all of them manage to escape unharmed?”

“I admire your concerns, Lyra; but don’t worry, I have a plan. We’ll form a square formation. The ponies will gather in-between us while we guard their front and rear. Geefour and I will stay in front, while you and Hider watch our back.”

“We’ll have you keep track of the ponies, Lyra. Make sure we don’t lose any while we’re making our escape,” Hider said before turning his head toward Geefour. “And you better provide good backup, tin can. Master Darran may be a Jedi Master, but we can’t afford to have him take on every single mercenary. Work with him and take down as many enemies as you can.”

T3-G4 bleeped in reply, although his response seemed rather malicious in some degree. “Calm down, tin can. I want you to support Master Darran. Not start a bloodbath,” said Hider with a sigh. “Okay, now that everyone understands their roles, let operation Pony Rescue commence. Hang on tight just a little more, Lyra. We’ll be there soon.”

Lyra nodded. As the landspeeder began to move, she clung onto the iron bars for tightly. Though she did not realize it, her hooves began to shake in anticipation. This is going to be the fight of my life. It’s kind of nerve racking, knowing that I’ll be responsible for the lives of all those ponies. But I’ll do it. I’m going to save them!

She cracked a smile. Just you wait, Sweetie Drops. I’m coming to save you!

Suddenly, the landspeeder came to an abrupt halt, causing Lyra to assume that they’ve arrived at the stronghold. Then, her ears twitched as she heard footsteps approaching the vehicle.

“Halt!” A loud voice called out in Basic. Judging by its sound, it was likely a male. Was it a mercenary perhaps? Possible, but Lyra couldn’t see from inside her cage.” This Exchange territory. State your business or my partner and I will fire upon you.”

“Relax buddy. We mean no harm,” Hider replied to the man. “My friend and I are simply here to do business.”

“For what purpose?”

“A trade. We heard a broadcast made by the Exchange a few days ago and decided to come here.”

“Broadcast? Oh, you must be talking about the new aliens we discovered.”

“Correct. You see, my partner and I came across another sentient being like the one you guys showed. Come look and see. We have the alien locked up in a cage on the back seat.”

Lyra waited patiently as the mercenary and his assumed partner approached the landspeeder with caution. When the doors to the back seat opened, she saw them. Two human males wearing light battle armor with blaster rifles strapped on their backs. One wore a visor on his head and the other wore a pair of goggles.

“Holy crap, you guys weren’t lying!” said the mercenary with the pair of goggles. “How the heck did you guys find this thing? We didn’t think we’d ever see these alien ponies again. At least not so soon.”

“We had our ways,” replied Master Darran. “Now, would you kindly let us inside. My business partner and I would like to speak with your boss.”

“Eager for payment, huh? Fine. Follow me and we’ll take you guys to our garage. You can park your landspeeder there.”

“What happens after that?”

“We’ll likely do a quick background check before we let you speak with the boss. You guys wouldn’t happen to have ID’s with you?”

“Don’t worry, we got them,” answered Hider.

“Good. Then follow us.”

The engines of the landspeeder hummed as Lyra felt the vehicle move once again, albeit slowly. A sense of both fear and joy filled her head. Although she is grateful that the mercenary confirmed the ponies were here, she couldn’t help but wonder what horrible acts these thugs did to her kin. Would she too have to face the same atrocities should their mission fail?

Calm yourself, Padawan.

Lyra’s eyes widened as her master’s words echoed inside her head. Projective telepathy. A skill that allows Jedi to commune with one’s mind though the Force. A trait that she learned through her apprenticeship due to the tight bond she as with her master. It was a neat trick, but it is an ability they’ve rarely used in the past.

Master?

Lyra, I can sense your uneasiness. Is something wrong?

No! N-nothing’s wrong! Lyra paused. Okay, I admit, I’m a bit nervous. It’s just that I’ve been thinking about the ponies.

Don’t! You shouldn’t think on it too hard on it, Padawan. What matters is that we are here, and we will rescue them. Relax. Recite the Code if you must.

Okay.

Doing what her master instructed, Lyra repeatedly recited the Jedi Code in her head. She did it so many times that she almost failed to notice the landspeeder had stopped. Looking up, she saw that the doors to the back seats have opened, with T3-G4 exiting the vehicle via boarding ramp.

“What’s with the droid?” asked the mercenary with the visor.

“It’s meant to be my guide,” said Master Darran. “As you can clearly see, my eyes haven’t given much help nowadays.”

“You’re blind? Then, how did you catch the pony in the first place?”

“I did most of the work,” Hider replied. “All this guy did was sit on his butt and watch.”

“Then why have him as a partner in the first place?”

“Business purposes.”

The mercenary stared at Hider for some time, and then back at his partner, who simply shrugged in response. “Whatever. Let’s just get you guys inside.” With both hands, he grabbed onto Lyra’s cage and lifted it away from the landspeeder. Before he could move, however, Hider stepped in his way.

“Leave the pony to me. I’ll carry her inside,” he said.

“Why is that? Afraid that I might hurt your precious cargo?” The mercenary laughed. “Don’t worry, my hands are delicate. Besides, I’d be risking my paycheck if I harm the pony. The boss would kill me if I try to harm his prize.”

Lyra winced.

“Forgive my partner, sir. He’s just a little anxious when it comes to our cargo,” said Master Darren. He then made a small gesture with his right hand. “You will let my partner carry the cage.”

The mercenary’s head twitched. He then repeated the Jedi Master. “I’ll will let your partner carry the cage.” Placing the Lyra’s cage on the floor, he allowed Hider to pick up in his stead, much to the confusion of both his partner and Hider himself.

Lyra stared at her master in shock. Master, why the mind trick?

I’d figured you prefer to be carried by someone you knew. Besides, I can’t have some mercenary ruffian mistreat you, Padawan.

M-master. Thank you.

“Okay, weirdness aside, where exactly do we go from here?” asked Hider. “You said there’s a lobby we have to go to?”

“Yeah, it’s just past all these bikes. Be careful where you step though. Most of these vehicles belong to high ranking Exchange members. Can’t have any of you denting these,” said the mercenary with the visor as he tended to his dazed partner. “Hey, man, what’s wrong with you? Snap out of it already.”

“S-sorry,” said the dazed mercenary. “I-I’m not really sure what happened. Let’s just get to the lobby already. Think I need some meds.”

Following the two mercenaries, the Omega’s crew made their way past the speeder garage and into the building’s lobby. Once inside, Lyra saw that the lobby room was rather small. A few chairs were set up on one side while the other had a computer desk manned by a GE3-series protocol droid.

“Good afternoon,” greeted the droid.

“Zip it, tin can. Make yourself useful and scan the IDs of these two,” rebuked the mercenary with the visor as he pointed toward Hider and Master Darran. “These two are selling us a product. We want to make sure these guys are clean before we take them to the boss.”

“Understood.” The droid then turned toward Hider. “Sir, may I have your IDs please.”

“Yeah, sure. Come on, old man. Let’s get this over with,” said Hider as he placed Lyra down at a nearby table. He then made his way toward the computer desk, with T3-G4 and Master Darran following close behind him.

“Alright, you two go ahead and get your IDs checked,” said the mercenary with the visor as he made his way to a door behind the computer desk. “In the meantime, I’ll go speak with the boss. If everything is clear, you guys should be meeting with him very shortly.”

“Got it,” replied Hider as he gave his fake ID over to the protocol droid. Master Darran did so as well. Once the two mercenaries left the room, the droid began scanning both IDs at once.

Lyra sat and watched as the droid began to do its job. She thought back to Hider’s words back at the Omega on how blank IDs made it easy to sneak into private buildings. She took his word for it, but she couldn’t help but think. Just how many times he’s done this before? If he’s so sure that it’ll work, does that mean he’s snuck into dozens of buildings in the past?

“Sir, I have finished the last scanning protocol of your ID card,” said the droid. It’s robotic voice quickly got Lyra’s attention as the droid gave back both IDs to their respective owners. “Congratulations, Mr. Jacen. All systems are green. You are now free to meet with the boss of this stronghold.”

“And what of my partner’s and his droid?” asked Hider.

“His is green as well, along with the utility unit. Once my employers return, I will let them know that you two are clear.”

“Thanks.”

Lyra tilted her head. D-did he really have to use a fake name for the ID card?

Mr. Louhun said that it was wise to do so. Master Darran said via the Force. It’s a tactic he’d often used during his smuggling days. He programmed a fake name and profession on these blank IDs to provide extra cover.

Well, it seemed to have worked for the most part. But, wait. Did he do the same thing for you, Master?

Correct. I had a difficult time thinking of a name I could use, so I just chose the name of a Jedi I once knew.

A Jedi you once knew? Is he a friend of yours?

In a manner of speaking, yes. Though it’s been years since I’ve last heard of him. He left the Order decades before I became a battle master.

Really? Who is he? And how come you haven’t mentioned him before.

Don’t worry about it, Padawan. Focus on the task at hand. Listen. We are about to receive some company.

Huh?

Suddenly, the door behind the computer desk swung open, revealing the same mercenaries from before. “Hey, droid. How was the scanning protocol?” asked the mercenary with the visor. “Are these two clean?”

“I can confirm that these two individuals are in fact clean,” answered the protocol droid.

The mercenary smiled. “Perfect. You two, load up that pony on this trolley. The boss wants to meet you, now.”

“So soon? Why?” Hider asked.

“When I mentioned the word pony, he became very ecstatic.”

“Is he always like that?”

“Only when it involves credits. Now, before we head to the boss, there’s something you should know about him. The guy’s not human. He’s a Trandoshan.”

Master Darran’s lips curled. “A Trandoshan you say? You let a dangerous alien like him into become your boss?”

The mercenary with the visor smirked. “What’s wrong old man? You afraid of Trandoshans or something?” he asked as both he and his partner burst out laughing. “Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite. He’s a little egotistic, but if you show him respect, you’ll be fine.”

Hider nodded. Following the mercenary’s demand, he loaded Lyra’s cage onto the trolley. Once secured, he, Master Darran, and T3-G4 followed the two mercenaries out of the lobby and into a wide hallway. Lyra, meanwhile, remained quiet inside her cage, observing her surroundings as the mercenaries pulled the trolley. This place is a lot bigger on the inside. I wonder where they kept all the ponies?

Suddenly, the trolley stopped in front of a large door. “We’re here,” said the mercenary with the visor. “Give me a moment to contact the boss.”

He walked up to a nearby com-box, lowered his head near the device, and began to talk. “Sir, our guests our here. Permission to bring them inside?”

“Permission granted,” said a deep commanding voice from the com-box. The large door suddenly swung open, allowing the mercenaries and the Omega’s crew inside.

Lyra observed as they entered a large heavily decorated room. Antiques lined up along furnished wooden shelves, and the walls were covered by large masses of colored fur plates. At first, she assumed the décor was fake as an attempt to scare people, but she soon realized the truth upon seeing a familiar set of orange and white fur at the far right of the room.

That’s kath hound fur! This leader, whoever he is, he’s a hunter! Worried, Lyra quickly scanned the rest of the room, praying that she saw no pony coats hanging on the walls. Thankfully, there was no such thing. The lack of cutie marks was a giveaway.

What she did see was another computer desk at the far end of the room, surrounded by plated blaster turrets. Sitting behind it was the Exchange boss himself, a tall yet slim Trandoshan male in sandy brown skin. With him were pair of guards equipped with battle rifles, as well as another Trandoshan male standing behind him.

Lyra examined at the other Trandoshan. Aside from having glossy green skin, the difference between the two lizards was staggering. The green-skinned Trandoshan was very muscular. So much so that it seemed like his arms and legs burst out of the light battle armor that he wore. He was also equipped with a blaster rifle and a vibrosword, causing Lyra to assume he’s some sort of bodyguard for the Exchange boss.

Incredible. That guy is way more intimidating than the other mercenaries! she thought. So, intimidating. If I had to guess, he’s likely our biggest obstacle here!

“Welcome travelers. I am Behssk, the current Exchange boss on this planet,” greeted the slim Trandoshan. Surprisingly, the alien lizard preferred to speak in Basic rather than his native language. “On behalf of my organization, I bid you welcome.”

“The pleasure is ours, Mr. Behssk,” said Master Darran.

Behssk chuckled. “Please. Save the formalities for someone who cares. There’s no point in using them here.” The Trandoshan boss then eyeballed at Lyra and—much to her discomfort—stared at her gleefully. “So, this is the pony you’ve found. May I ask, how did you find this beautiful creature?”

Lyra blinked. D-did he just call me, beautiful?

“We found her on Alderaan during a hunt alone,” Hider answered. Another lie. “We captured her out of curiosity. But after we heard about your announcement, we came here.”

“What were you hunting?” Behssk paused. “Never mind. I don’t want to know.” He stood up and slowly made his way over to Lyra, giving the pony a mischievous grin. When he approached the cage, he stared at the pony for quite some time and said nothing.

Then, out of nowhere, Behssk kicked the cage, causing Lyra to tumble inside.

“W-what the heck? What did you do that for?” Hider fumed. His concerns were also shared by Geefour as well as the droid began to bleep viciously at the Trandoshan.

Behssk laughed. “Relax human. I was just having a little fun. Don’t know why you and your little droid are so upset. The pony is just an animal after all.”

Lyra’s entire body flinched upon hearing the Trandoshan’s cruel, demeaning words. H-he thinks of me as a wild animal? Seriously?

“That still doesn’t justify what you did. For crying out loud, you could’ve hurt her!” Hider rebuked, who seemingly struggled to keep his composure.

“He’s right, Behssk. Hurting a valuable prey like that could decrease its value,” said the other Trandoshan, who—like Behssk—spoke in Basic rather than his native language.

“Spare me, cousin. You are in no position to criticize me,” spat Behssk.

The other Trandoshan snarled. “And you are in no position lecture me, cousin! Your wealth does not excuse you from taking advice from your own family. Especially since I do all the dirty work while you sit here and flaunt about the credits you’ve made.”

Behssk snarled back. “You’d be wise to watch your tongue, cousin. May I remind you that I’m the boss around here. So, unless your advice is needed, Chessk, I suggest you shut up and keep to yourself.”

Chessk opened his mouth to reply but he said nothing. He instead folded his arms and slanted back against the wall.

Lyra blinked. Wait a second, those two are family?

Master Darran faked a cough. “Putting family issues aside, Behssk, there is something that I’ve been meaning to ask. The advertisement we saw showed that you had several of these ponies for sale. May I ask where they are?”

Behssk laughed. “Oh, them? I hope you weren’t planning on buying them with your pay, old man. Because I sold most of them a long time ago.”

What?

Lyra’s eyes went wide. She almost let out a gasp, but she quickly covered her mouth to avoid any suspicion. However, she could stop the fear that boiled inside her as this new revelation slowly sank in.

They were too late. The ponies have been sold. Her worst fear had become a reality.

“Y-you already sold them?” Hider asked, hesitantly.

“Yup, sure did,” Behssk admitted with a prideful smirk. “Earned a lot of credits selling off those little rascals. Sure, they were good playthings for a while; but after a couple of days, the men and I grew tired of them. So, we sold them off to another organization.”

Lyra gritted her teeth. Playthings? Did he just compare ponies to mere toys?

“You should have seen them. Those ponies were crying like crazy when we sold them off. It was so pitiful that I nearly died laughing,” laughed the mercenary with the visor.

His partner joined in on the laughter. “Yeah. I remember them acting that way when we brought them in too. So pathetic. Hey, remember that time when we boarded their ship? Some of them welcomed us with open arms. They literally believed we were there to help them!”

“Jokes on them! The look on their faces when we knocked out one of their shipmates. Hilarious!”

At once, the entire room of Exchange mercenaries, along with their boss, all threw into a fit of laughter. The only one who didn’t join in the laughter was Chessk, who instead gave a venomous glare to all mercs inside the room, including his cousin.

As the mercenaries continued to laugh, Lyra gritted her teeth in anger. It was bad enough to know that she couldn’t save any ponies, but hearing these thugs laugh about her species built up a burning rage powerful enough to send ripples through the Force. Not that she noticed. The sound of those thugs laughing blocked all her senses.

Padawan, control yourself! Master Darran cautioned through the Force. But his words provided no comfort.

Through her rage, the young Padawan lashed out, sending turbulent wave of Force energy across the room. Fur plates hanging on the walls fell, and priceless antiques sitting on the shelves. None were spared from Lyra’s rage, not even the two turrets. They all bent and crumpled to the floor. Pretty soon, the entire room was filled with nothing but scrap.

“What was that?” shouted Behssk as he gawked at his room in shock. His mercenaries did the same too. Soon, their joyous laughter was replaced with confused looks. “M-my precious valuables. My fur plates. My entire room!” he howled in frustration, startling almost everyone inside. “What happened?”

“S-sir, I don’t know,” replied the mercenary with the goggles. “P-perhaps it was an earthquake?”

“An earthquake doesn’t bend blaster turrets you idiot,” shouted Behssk. He snarled. “You two, take those traders back into the lobby and tell our droid to call the janitors. We got a mess to clean up.”

“What about the pony, sir?”

“We’ll deal with her later. For now, just take her to the storage room. And bring my cousin with you too. The least he can do is keep her and our remaining pony company.”

“Pardon me, Behssk, but did you say that you had another pony?” asked Master Darran, who somehow remained calm throughout the entire debacle.

“Yes, I kept one pony from being sold with the rest,” Behssk quickly answered. “And before you ask, no I am not selling it. Now off with you all. I got a room to fix.”

“Behssk, why do I have to go with them?” Chessk asked.

“Do not bother me with such trivial questions, cousin. I am not in the mood right now! Just do as you’re told and be done with it!” Behssk let out a groan. “Damn it! Just when things are starting to look up, now this happens! As if getting our base broken into was bad enough!”

Chessk snarled. Reluctantly, the muscular Trandoshan made his way toward the exit. The two mercenaries and the Omega’s crew followed in silence, leaving the Exchange boss alone in a fit of rage.

Lyra sat quietly in her cage as the trolley moved along the hallway. Feelings of dismay and shame fell over her, a sensation she’d not felt since her early days as a Jedi Initiate. Failing to save the ponies was bad enough, but the fact that she lashed out through the Force made her feel distraught.

Oh, what have I done? I-I could have hurt someone. I could have hurt Hider, or GeeFour, or even my master!

Don’t dwell on it, Padawan.

Lyra flinched. She looked to her right and saw her master standing relatively close to her cage. M-master? Oh my gosh, I am so sorry. S-so many things just happened at once and I couldn’t control myself. Her head sulked. When I realized we arrived too late, I got so mad. And it got worse when they started to laugh and mock my species. I just couldn’t control myself.

I understand your predicament, Padawan. Though a part of me is upset over your actions, it brings me great relief to know that you regret your actions.

Lyra put up a weary smile. So, um, what do we do now, Master?

We stick to the plan. We need to know where the ponies were sold. If we can get GeeFour to hack into their computer terminals, we can figure out who bought the ponies. Plus, their leader did say that they kept one pony somewhere in this base.

Lyra let out a gasp but was quick to close her mouth. I completely forgot about that. Oh my gosh, there’s still one pony here that we can still save.

Which is why we need to continue the mission. Let these Exchange thugs take you to their storage room. From there, find the captured pony and activate the tracking device.

Lyra nodded as the trolley abruptly stopped in front of two dissecting hallways. One going to her right, while the other kept going straight.

“We’re almost back at the lobby now,” said the goggled mercenary. “Chessk, you mind taking our little pony here to the storage room?”

“I’ll see to it that it gets done,” replied Chessk. Taking the trolley, he moved it away from the group and went down the hallway to the right. Lyra looked at her master one last time as he and Hider continued to walk.

May the Force be with you, Padawan. Don’t worry, we’ll be there soon.

Lyra smiled. She relaxed inside her cage as Chessk continued down the seemingly long hallway. After several minutes of walking, he finally stopped at a large door, which swung open the moment he got close. Pushing the trolley inside, the large Trandoshan picked up Lyra’s cage and placed it on the ground near several other cages.

“Here you go, little pony. Your new home, at least for now,” Chessk said. “I’d suggest you’d check on your kin. She hasn’t been well these past few days, no thanks to my cousin and his men. See to it that you comfort her.”

Lyra cocked a brow. You know, this Trandoshan seems rather tame compared to the other Exchange thugs I’ve run across. I wonder what caused him to join this organization?

She shrugged. Now was not the time to think about such things. As soon as Chessk left the room, Lyra immediately removed the secret compartment cover, revealing the tracking device Hider installed. She pressed the red button with her hoof, causing it to flicker red.

That should alert Geefour. Now, to find that pony.

She looked around the room, searching adamantly for any traces of life. It didn’t help that the room was completely dark. Aside from a few flickering light bulbs, the room was pitched black, making it difficult for Lyra to see.

“Hello? Is anyone…. err, is anypony here?” she called. Unfortunately, there was no response. Hmm, maybe I should reach out with the Force first. See if I can sense anyone.

“H-hello? Is somepony there?”

Lyra gasped. It was faint, but she did manage to hear someone call to her. And for some reason, the voice she heard sounded eerily familiar.

“Look over here. I’m right in front of you.”

Lyra’s head turned and spotted another cage right across from hers. It was barely visible due to the dimming lights, but she did spot something inside. Suddenly, the flicking light bulb went lucent, revealing the mysterious speaker.

She let out a sharp gasp. An earth pony mare with a bi-colored mane, a greyish yellow coat, and eyes so blue that she compared it to the sea itself, stood inside the other cage. But that wasn’t all. Despite the pony’s disheveled mane and coat, Lyra immediately recognized her. The same pony from the prerecorded message stood mere inches away from her.

“P-private Sweetie Drops?”