• Published 27th Sep 2012
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My Little Old Republic: Trouble on Tython - AidanMaxwell



Jedi Applejack and Rarity are sent to investigate the growing Flesh Raider crisis on Tython.

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Chapter 3

Chapter 3

Tythos Ridge, Tython

Applejack started to brake as the bike broke free from the treeline, speeding onto a rocky path leading up the mountains of Tythos Ridge. As she came to a stop, she noticed the many tribal spears and markers forming a perimeter around the path. The skulls of various indigenous species sat mounted on top of the markers, the bones bleached from the light of Tython’s sun. They glistened in the moonlight that was starting to peek out from behind the mountains.

Darkness was falling on Tython, but the lack of clouds let the moon illuminate Applejack’s path. As she dismounted her bike and pushed it behind a bush to conceal it, she took note of the many footprints in the mud leading up the trail. Recent, large, and numerous.

“Dang, there’s more Flesh Raiders up this path than kernels on a cob!” Applejack exclaimed. “Rarity, ya comin’ or what?”

Rarity looked around nervously at the different skulls mounted before her. “Simply barbaric. Oh, Sweetie Belle...”

“Rarity?”

“Right, sorry.” She mustered the courage to step around one of the posts and joined Applejack on the path. “What was your plan again? Other than getting us into massive trouble and possibly killed.”

“We’re gonna go up this here path and see what we can see,” Applejack said evenly, ignoring Rarity’s vocal jab. “Hopefully we can fah’nd Apple Bloom quickly an' get out before anypony realizes we’re gone.”

“Yes, and what if we don’t see them immediately, hmm?” Rarity trotted beside Applejack as they moved up the mountain path. “What if we just end up treading in this icky mud for nothing?”

“Ah’ll cross that bridge when Ah get to it, alright?” Applejack shot Rarity a disdainful glare.

“I’m only trying to encourage some wisdom from you, Applejack. You’re out in the dark, looking for your sister who might already be... gone, and you’re walking up a mountain path toward the Flesh Raider homelands with no idea what you’re doing. For all we know, there could be an ambush waiting for us around the crest of this hill.”

“Fah’ne,” Applejack said. “If they wanna fah’ght, I won’t stop ‘em.”

Rarity shook her head. “You’re not invincible, Applejack. Please, come to your senses. It’s not too late for us to turn around and come back tomorrow morning-”

“Do you even care about your sister?” Applejack blurted, stomping her hoof. “Ah’m not the only one fah’ghtin’ f’er m’ah kin, am I? Do you care? At all?”

Rarity paused, her eyes locking onto Applejack’s. The glow behind them shifted from anger to sadness multiple times every second.

“More than I care to admit,” Rarity replied after a moment. “She infuriates me sometimes, but I love her with all my heart. Hear me, Applejack, I want my sister back as badly as you do. But if we died tonight looking for them, what good does it do them?”

“What good does it do them if’n we wait ‘til the morning?” Applejack fired back. “Somethin’ mah’ght happen to ‘em by then.”

“Granted, that may be the case, but logic would dictate-”

“Logic ain’t gonna bust them free. Wisdom and good intentions ain’t enough. Only action will get this done.”

“Inaction is an action, too. Sometimes it’s the better one.”

“Not now. Not this time.” Applejack stomped up to the crest of the hill ahead of her and looked over it, snorting dust from her nostrils. Rarity waited a few paces behind her, waiting for her to react. As her eyes widened, Applejack began to take a step back. “M’ah word...”

“What?” Rarity asked. She trotted up to the crest and looked down into a massive gorge. Smoke was rising from dozens of fire-lit camps dotting the ridges of the fissure, with groups of Flesh Raiders numbering four and upward huddled around each one. They moved between the camps in the darkness, toting their swords and blasters with them as they traveled. On the far end of the gorge was a cavern from which firelight emanated in vast quantities, illuminating the ground in a large radius near it. “Oh my...”

“That cave looks mighty ominous,” Applejack said. “We should start there.”

“How do you propose we get there, then?” Rarity asked pointedly. “You seem to be in charge of this mess. You make the decision.”

“Fah’ne, Ah will.” Applejack squinted and looked around for a few moments before her face lit up in glee. She pointed her hoof to the ridge at the top of the gorge, where a long natural rock bridge led from the top to the cavern entrance. Between them and there was a long, rocky ridgeline with jagged walls of stone carved in such a way that they formed a barrier along the gorge. “We can climb down from there.”

“Unseen?”

“It’s dark, and we can call on the Force to speed our steps.”

“You’re putting a lot of faith in our ability to move undetected, Applejack,” Rarity whispered harshly. “Something will notice us.”

“Not if we’re careful,” Applejack assured. She trotted down the mountainside and moved along the crest toward the bridge, hiding behind the crest of the mountain. Rarity followed after her cautiously and slowly. The path along the side of the mountain was narrow and treacherous, with the natural wall of stone being the only source of protection from the hordes of aliens on the other side. Light from the camps beyond illuminated the air above them as they traversed the rocky ridge toward the cave. After a few minutes of silence, only broken by their hoofsteps, Applejack peered over the rock wall and saw the beginning of the natural ramp only a foot below her. “Let’s go.”

“Last chance to do the smart thing,” Rarity whispered.

Applejack swung herself over the wall and landed on all fours on the stone ramp. She crawled down to her tummy and laid flat against it, watching the Flesh Raiders below her. They sat huddled around their fire, rubbing their scaly hands together to keep warm in the brisk Tython wind. The aliens constantly looked around themselves warily, as though they expected something to happen. Applejack cursed under her breath, unable to move without alerting them to her presence.

She looked around and spotted a small rock on the path beside her. Using the Force, Applejack hurled the rock off the side of the cliff towards the Flesh Raider camp. It sailed over them and careened into the gorge below, ricocheting off the stone walls and causing a clamorous echo to reverberate across the mountaintop. Immediately the nearby camps stirred with activity as all heads turned toward the middle of the canyon, some raiders even standing up to investigate.

Seizing her chance, Applejack raced down the stone path. The ninety foot sprint was cleared in a matter of seconds, and she dove into the cave mouth unseen. As she huddled herself behind a rock to stay out of sight, Rarity slid beside her and shoved herself against the wall, panting heavily.

“That was... reckless,” she managed.

“It worked, didn’t it?” Applejack replied with a smug smile.

Rarity peeked around the rock and noticed the Flesh Raiders were not approaching them. Instead, they were huddling around their fires again, like nothing had happened. “For the moment. Getting out will be another story, but I suppose you already thought of that?”

“One thing at a tah’me, Rarity.”

“Quite. So, what’s the plan now?”

Applejack pointed her hoof further into the cave. “We go that’a’way.”

“I’m following you, Applejack,” Rarity whispered, motioning her to keep moving. “You’re got the reigns on this. Lead.”

She snorted obstinately, but stood up and marched on regardless. The two Jedi moved slowly down the tunnel that led deeper into the mountain, getting progressively dimmer as they went. The many torches stapled to the walls grew farther and farther apart, casting ominous shadows around the walls and floors in varying shapes and sizes. After several minutes of tiptoeing in silence, the cave was half as lit as it had been near the entrance, and the end was nowhere in sight. It eventually broke into two pathways, one leading into total darkness, and the other curving into what appeared to be a well-lit antechamber.

Applejack looked down into the fire-lit room and, squinting, noticed two burly Flesh Raider guards standing watch over a mare. The pony on the ground wasn’t moving, but Applejack could sense through the Force she was alive.

“Look, Rarity,” Applejack whispered. “Somepony’s alive down there.”

“Yes, you’re right,” Rarity replied. “I sense she is hungry and scared. Poor darling.”

“Let’s help her.”

“Wait!” Rarity slammed her hoof into Applejack’s chest, eliciting a groan from her. “Have you learned nothing about taking action before considering the consequences? Surely you don’t intend on just running headlong into a fight like this.”

“It’s just the two guards,” Applejack muttered, rubbing her chest with a hoof. “B’sides, we can’t do nothin’. We’re Jedi. We help ponies, rah’ght?”

“Yes, but, again, we know nothing of this place,” Rarity insisted. “If we engage these guards, something might happen. What if reinforcements arrive? What if they know we’re coming, and this is a trap? We must be cautious, is my point.”

“But-”

“Do this my way, Applejack. Just see what I mean.”

Applejack grunted and hung her head. “Whatever. What are ya’ thinkin’?”

“Just watch.” Rarity took two steps forward and extended her hoof toward the two guards down the tunnel. She winced as she began channeling the Force, impressing her thoughts upon their alien minds. “You are being relieved in a few minutes. Go on break. Ignore the ponies ahead of you.”

Almost immediately, the two guards lowered their weapons and began walking toward them. Applejack inhaled slowly, but Rarity didn’t budge. She kept her hoof up until the Flesh Raiders walked past her, ignoring them both completely, and headed into the darkness behind her. As they left, one of them lifted a torch from the wall and took it into the unlit path, lighting the way for himself and his fellow guard. After they had vanished, Rarity put her hoof down and exhaled.

“See?” she said with a satisfied smile. “No fight, no noise. A clean encounter.”

“Nice work, Ah guess,” Applejack said as she trotted toward the lit chamber ahead of her. The mare at the end of the tunnel looked up at the two Jedi as they approached her, and her face lit up. Her wings extended in happiness when Applejack knelt down beside her. “Howdy there, partner. Ya feelin’ alright?”

“I, um... I’m fine, yes,” the mare replied.

“What’s yer name? Where ya’ from?”

“Um... I’m... Fluttershy. I’m just a groundskeeper in the local village.”

“Village?” Rarity echoed. “What village? You mean the illegal settlement project up the hill from the Academy? I thought the Order shut that down two months ago.”

“Well... they tried,” Fluttershy murmured. “We haven’t left yet, and... um... we don’t really... um... intend to.”

“You know why the Jedi asked you to leave, right?” Rarity asked, a hint of concern permeating her serious tone. “It’s not safe here! If you come to Tython, you risk the local wildlife tearing your village apart. On top of that, the Republic did not sanction any resettlement projects on Tython, to accommodate the Order. The Jedi can’t protect you if you’re here illegally.”

“We know. Our guards have done a wonderful job protecting us,” Fluttershy said with a smile. “I moved here with the others to study the flora and fauna of Tython. I love animals. Actually... that’s why I’m here. Those Flesh Raiders took me hostage while I was studying some Uxibeasts.”

“Why?” Applejack asked, tilting her head. “Y’er not a threat to ‘em, are ya’?”

“Well, no,” Fluttershy admitted. “The kind stallion who kept me company these last few days told me they were sent to capture roaming Jedi. I guess they thought I was-”

“Woah, hold on a minute here,” Applejack cut in, causing Fluttershy to drop silent. “A stallion? There are more of y’uns here?”

“...Umm... yes...”

“Have ya’ seen two fillies from the Order? One’s a white unicorn, and the other’s an earth pony with a pink bow.”

“They were here a couple hours ago,” Fluttershy murmured, staring at her hooves. She looked up and pointed a hoof between Applejack and Rarity, toward the dark passageway behind them. “He took them in there.”

“He?” Applejack wheeled around to see a tan earth pony holding a bucket of water in his teeth. He was staring wide-eyed at her. “And... you are...”

The stallion set the bucket down on the stone floor and cleared his throat. “Dust Bowl, apprentice of the New Order. You must be... Applejack and Rarity, yes? I’ve heard a lot about you two from my Master, and, of course, from your sisters.”

Applejack instantly reached into the hem of her robes and pulled Callef’s lightsaber to her side. The blade ignited in a flash of cyan, and Dust Bowl took a step back, the hair on his neck springing upright and his eyes widening. “Where’s m’ah sister?!”

“Calm down, please!” Dust Bowl pleaded, raising his hooves in distress. “There’s no need for violence! I can explain!”

Applejack gritted her teeth and looked at Rarity longingly, who turned to meet her fellow Jedi’s gaze with a disapproving glare. Taking a deep breath, Applejack looked back to Dust Bowl. “You best explain then. I don’t have much patience.”

Rarity couldn’t help but smile. “Good, Applejack.”

“Look, your sisters are unharmed,” Dust Bowl said, pushing his hoof down on the air, motioning for Applejack to calm down. “I heard the end of that conversation you just had with Fluttershy. It’s more than she’s said to me in the three days she’s been here. Now that I know she’s not a Jedi, I intend to release her. Your sisters, however, have been moved to our secret base of operations elsewhere in the ridge. The only way you can see them is to join our cause, as they have.”

“Liar!” Applejack screamed. Her voice echoed down the halls of the cavern. “Apple Bloom would never betray me!”

“Oh, believe me, she has no idea she is. She’s actually quite convinced you’ll join her, and I am, too. I can sense it, Applejack. You never felt attached to the Order, or its stringent rules. You only desire the power to protect those you care about, yes?”

“Ah’ve heard enough,” Applejack said, raising her saber. Dust Bowl winced. “Ya’ ain’t recruitin’ me, too. Ah may not lah’ke the Order much, and Ah may not care for their stupid rules, but Ah ain’t no traitor. Now, y’all best be tellin’ me how t’ah fah’nd m’ah sister, or y’all’er gonna be in a world of pain, ya’ hear?”

“Yes, of course,” Dust Bowl replied, his hoof shaking slightly. “But, if you’d allow, Master Jedi, I must attend to a personal matter first.” He turned his gaze to Fluttershy, who retracted her head slightly. “Fluttershy, thank you for being patient. I wish you had communicated your lack of Force sensitivity previous to now. I want you to leave with these Jedi, make your way back to your home. I’ll tell my Master you escaped with them, that they broke you free.”

“I...” Fluttershy managed.

“Ah ain’t goin’ anywhere,” Applejack insisted, pointing her saber at Dust Bowl. “Ah came f’er m’ah sister, and Ah ain’t leavin’ without her.”

“Applejack, be reasonable,” Rarity interjected, putting a hoof on her shoulder. “We need to consider Fluttershy’s safety now, and we still need to get out of here. This stallion will only lead us into a trap, if he agreed to take us anywhere.”

Applejack looked at Fluttershy, who was staring at her hooves again, and sighed. “Fah’ne. But you ain’t leavin’ until you tell me where your base is.”

“I don’t feel obligated to tell you anything,” Dust Bowl said evenly. “In fact, now that those fillies are out of your reach, and I know Fluttershy will be safe, my purpose is fulfilled. I can die here, and I just might. I’ve accepted that.”

“Beg pardon, Dust Bowl,” Rarity interrupted, “but why do you care about this mare so much? What has Fluttershy done to deserve your kindness?”

“Nothing. I was not given any instruction to detain non-convertible individuals, so I don’t see any reason to make her stay any longer. Poor thing hasn’t eaten a bite since she arrived, and she must be quite thirsty as well.”

Applejack wheeled onto Fluttershy and held her saber to her. She squealed and shied away from the glowing blade, and Dust Bowl put a hoof up in an effort to stop the motion. With her face hidden to his view, Applejack winked at Fluttershy, who did not react to the gesture. “If threatening you won’t give me what Ah want, then how's about Ah kill her?”

“Wait, stop!” Dust Bowl cried. “Don’t do this! Why are you threatening her!?”

“Ya’ aren’t scared to die, you said, but she is. And you know what Ah need t’ah know. So tell me.”

“Applejack, stop this at once!” Rarity whispered harshly. “This is going too far.”

“Please, I'll tell you anything you want! Just don't hurt her!” Dust Bowl dropped to his stomach and wrapped his hooves around Applejack's legs. “Anything!”

Applejack didn't look at him, keeping her gaze locked on a terrified Fluttershy. She was smirking so wide that any attempt at making a poker face would miserably fail. “How do we fah'nd m'ah sister? Where is she?”

“Our base is beyond the ridge, back in the Forge! It's guarded by dozens of Flesh Raider legions, and can only be accessed through an ancient tunnel system that can be sealed at will by our Master. Only members of our Order know the ritual that unlocks the seal.”

“How do you break the seal?”

“The ritual was found near the ruins of Kaleth. The old archives of the Je’daii in the caverns beyond the ruins hold that information.”

“And how do we get out of here undetected?”

Dust Bowl gulped, then sighed. “The dark passage I came from has an exit. It’ll take you back to the Temple. That’s how we navigate the mountains so easily. This whole ridge is covered in secret tunnels. Your Order is clueless to their existence.”

“Y’er a worm,” Applejack said quietly, finally turning to look at Dust Bowl. “Ya’ just sold out your entire operation. Y’all’er never gonna be able t’ah show y’er face to y’er Master ever again.”

“I do not intend to leave this cave alive,” Dust Bowl muttered, standing up. He was eye level with Applejack when standing upright. “You’re right, I’m not able to return to my Master now. I shall die here, with my honor intact.”

Applejack’s brow arched. Dust Bowl lifted a lightsaber off his belt and pressed the tip against his temple. Rarity gasped as he shut his eyes.

The lightsaber never ignited. Dust Bowl looked to his empty hoof, then up at Applejack and Rarity. They were staring at Fluttershy, who was clutching the lightsaber to her chest.

“W-what?” Dust Bowl murmured. “Y-you’re Force sensitive?!”

“Um... yes,” Fluttershy said bashfully. She looked down at the lightsaber, then up at Dust Bowl. “Please, don’t. You... you don’t need to do that.”

“You don’t understand, Fluttershy,” he insisted. “My Master would kill me if I returned.”

“Join the Jedi,” Fluttershy whispered. “They’ll take you in. If not, you are welcome at my place.”

Dust Bowl opened his mouth to argue, then went motionless. Tears formed in the corner of his eyes. “I... I cannot refuse such a kind offer. Fluttershy, thank you.”

“Oh, it’s no trouble at all,” Fluttershy replied with a smile. “You tried your best to make me comfortable here, so I feel I owe you my thanks.”

“Yeah, yeah, forgiveness and love,” Applejack muttered. “Time’s awastin’ here. We need to rescue m’ah sister now, so let’s get outta here.”

“Oh no you don’t,” Rarity interjected, putting a hoof against Applejack’s chest again. “You’ve made a lot of controversial decisions tonight, but I put my hoof down here. As the higher ranked of the two of us, I’m taking control of this mission. And I say, we go back to the Temple, get some rest, and bring Dust Bowl to the Council for questioning before we proceed any further.”

Applejack stared wide-eyed at Rarity. “Seriously?! We’re so close! Why in blazes would we turn around now?”

“We can confirm our sisters are in no immediate danger, correct?” Rarity asked, turning to Dust Bowl, who nodded slowly. “Then I am obligated to follow our rules. We’ve made headway on our mission, but there are matters far more important to attend to before we proceed. Master Lemep will want an update, and we have two civilians... err, Force sensitives under our vigil, and I refuse to endanger them by proceeding recklessly forward. We’re going back. Now.”

Fluttershy and Rarity trotted past Applejack, following Dust Bowl toward the dark passage ahead of them. Applejack seethed for a few moments, grinding her teeth, before she grudgingly galloped after them.

-~-~-~-~-~

Master Lemep stood at the top of the marble staircase of the Temple as a rental speeder bike zipped into the courtyard. Four ponies disembarked from the speeder and immediately froze when they saw him. Rarity took a step forward and gulped. “Evening, Master.”

“Rarity? Applejack? Who are these ponies?” he asked, pointing a hoof at Fluttershy and Dust Bowl.

“The stallion is Dust Bowl. He is a repentant member of the New Order. Fluttershy is a force sensitive from the nearby illegal settlement.”

“I see.” Master Lemep turned to the pair of guards flanking the large archway of the Temple. “You two see these ponies inside. Give them whatever they desire, and alert the Council to their presence.”

The guards nodded, motioning for Dust Bowl and Fluttershy to accompany them inside. They both followed without a fuss, and after they had disappeared inside, Master Lemep turned back to Rarity and Applejack. “So, explain yourselves. Did I not recommend you wait until the morning?”

“Yes,” Applejack answered, cutting Rarity off, “but it was just a recommendation.”

“While that may be true,” Master Lemep replied with a slow nod, “you would be wise to listen to my advice. I’m much more knowledgeable than you give me credit for, Padawan. As to the findings of your little escapade... what did you find?”

“You mean... we’re not in trouble?” Rarity croaked, her eyes wide in surprise.

“Correct. Applejack speaks the truth when I said it was nothing more than a recommendation. I did not command that you wait, and in truth, I anticipated the Padawan would try to do something like this. As I said, I am not stupid. Now, what did you find?”

Rarity stood aghast, trying to comprehend what she was hearing, so Applejack stepped forward. “Our sisters were bein’ held in a cave just over the mountain. We found where they had been, but they had already been moved to the New Order’s base. It’s beyond the Forge, and ya’ can’t get in without a special ritual or somethin’.”

“And this ritual consists of... what?”

“Ah dunno. There’s some archive or whatever in the Ruins of Kaleth somewhere that has the answer, supposedly.”

“Ah,” Master Lemep said, putting a hoof to his chin. “The old archives of the Je’daii. I know of them. Deep in a cave behind the ruins, there’s this old computer that has a vast databank of knowledge. It’s very corrupt, but the information was retrievable when our Order arrived. It’s been several decades since we last tried to recover anything from that insufferable computer. With the Flesh Raiders guarding it as fiercely as they do, and before they showed up, the droids posed enough of a problem.”

“Droids?” Applejack asked.

“The ancient Je’daii Order left behind some war droids,” Master Lemep said. “They guard the old grounds of their Masters’ temple. Nopony in our Archives staff knows what they guard. What you need to know is this: if you intend to go after those Archives, those droids will fight back. Not to mention the Flesh Raiders that will stand between you and them.”

Rarity winced, but Applejack nodded. “Rah’ght. Okay. Well, if that’s all, Ah’m gonna turn in for the night. Need t’ah be well rested for tomorrow.”

“I’m glad you won’t pursue this tonight,” Master Lemep said with a smile. “I was going to say you were forbidden to try, but I can see you actually mean to rest.”

“Ah can’t keep fah’ghtin’ this anymore,” Applejack replied with a sigh. “It seems whenever Ah try doin’ things m’ah way, Ah get shut down.”

“You’ll understand soon enough why that is, if you haven’t already. Goodnight, Padawan.”

Applejack sauntered up the stairs and passed Master Lemep on her way inside. Rarity and Master Lemep stared at one another in silence. Or, at least, she stared at him, and he faced her with his headband across his eyes. “Now, you have a question.”

“I do, Master,” Rarity replied. “When you mentioned the ruins and the droids, you also said our Archivists never discovered the true mission of the droids’ programming.”

“That’s correct.”

“When you said it, I felt... uneasy. Like there was something you left unsaid.”

“You are one of my favorite students at this Academy,” Master Lemep said with an approving nod. “You are right, I omitted details on purpose. I left my intentions unclouded, so you could pick up on them while the Padawan could not. If you ever have a premonition about something I say, it’s because I want you to seek knowledge and wisdom without Applejack’s curious ears. Does that make sense?”

“It doesn’t,” Rarity said. Master Lemep tilted his head. “Why would you disinclude Applejack like this? She deserves to know.”

“I do not trust the Padawan fully, and I know for a fact you don’t either.” Rarity blushed, turning away from Master Lemep. “Your mind is not closed to me, Rarity. I know the events that occurred tonight in full detail, from both your perspective and Applejack’s. Forgive me for being blunt, but reading minds is something I do innately, and it’s one of the greatest tools of information gathering the Force can provide.”

“That goes against our code,” Rarity noted, “to invade one’s mind so freely.”

“The Padawan is not incorrect when she says our rules are a hinderance,” Master Lemep said evenly. “In time, you will understand what I mean. Now, to answer your questions, because they multiply with every sentence I utter. The Archivists do not know what the droids guard, but I do. The very first lightsaber prototype is in those ruins. On that prototype is a map, and that map leads to a vast well of knowledge left almost untouched by the centuries. I have accessed this well, but left the lightsaber where it rests, to keep the curious away. In order to preserve the balance of the droids, the prototype must not leave the ruins, and this is, ultimately, why the Padawan cannot be told of its existence. Her obsession with obtaining her own lightsaber is too great for her to withstand. Does this make sense?”

“Yes,” Rarity muttered. Her eyes lit up as a memory flashed across her mind’s eye. “Also, earlier tonight, Applejack threatened Fluttershy to make Dust Bowl tell her what he knew. I’m concerned for her. That was, in my opinion, uncalled for and unnecessarily brutal.”

“To put your worries to rest, I will speak to Applejack directly about the manner in which she threatened Fluttershy,” Master Lemep said, crossing his hooves. “Rules exist for safety, and I’m going to drill this into her until I am satisfied. While I do admire her dedication to her sister, threatening an innocent, even in jest, is too far.”

“Thank you, Master.”

“Get some rest, Rarity. It’s been a long day, and tomorrow won’t be any better.”

Rarity trotted up the marble steps and stopped beside Master Lemep. Her eyes lingered on the steps in front of her for a moment, then she twisted to look at him directly. He was staring into space, as best she could tell. “Master... What are you?”

Master Lemep did not move.

“Err, what I mean to say is, you do not strike me as a normal Jedi. Your philosophy seems to linger somewhere between Applejack’s and my own.”

“What prompted this question?” he replied in a low voice.

“My curiosity.”

“Your instincts are impeccable.” Master Lemep smirked, still staring up into space. “The question you pose me, however, is far and beyond what you can comprehend. My destiny is not tied to any one faction. I am more than just a Jedi. I am a chronicler of knowledge, a seeker of wisdom.”

“But you are a Jedi!” Rarity said. “Are you not a member of the Council?”

“It is as you say. But remember, I have not been on Tython long. My presence on the Council is temporary, just a means to an end. I have a higher purpose to fulfill, and when it is done, I will not linger here. While I am here, however, I shall perform my duties that I have sworn to do. Rest assured that, while my methods may be unorthodox, my mission is peaceful.”

“But-”

“Go to sleep, Rarity. We will continue this conversation another time, if your curiosity is truly so great. This destiny of which I speak is not something I can explain in one day, much less in five minutes.”

“Yes... Master.”

As Rarity sauntered past Master Lemep, the wind picked up behind her, causing her to shudder. Just before she passed under the Temple archway, she turned around to look at him, but he was no longer there.