King Caspar stood as he looked from Master Bernare to Oollana who was still wearing the oily clothing she had been wearing in the hangar. Caspar clearly disapproved as he scowled.
“I ask for a jedi and you bring me a dirty child”, the king commented dismissively.
Oollana was used to being underestimated and had come to enjoy that status but she couldn’t help feel a pang of regret at her appearance. She hadn’t realized that she was walking into a meeting otherwise she would have changed. She knew, however, not to respond to such a comment because it would put the king on the defensive. Fortunately Master Bernare intervened. “You will have to excuse Oollana’s appearance. She was helping with the maintenance of our transport when I pulled her from her duties. I assure you that she will be in more appropriate attire when you next see her. I am sure that the wardrobe you brought along will be very fitting on her and the occasion.”
The king seemed to accept this explanation and let it pass but continued to carry an air of disdain for Oollana. “I suppose you are right, Bernare”, the king continued. “But I am still surprised that you would send one of your students and not go yourself. My daughter’s life is in danger and surely you can understand my concern at you sending someone less qualified.”
Bernare’s tone frosted slightly but Oollana suspected the king didn’t notice. “Your highness, if I thought Oollana was less qualified than myself to handle this situation then I would not send her. When it comes to negotiations of both the aggressive and non-aggressive sorts you will find no one better here than Oollana.”
Caspar raised an eyebrow indicating that he would accept Bernare’s statement but remained skeptic. “I suppose we will see in due time.” He then looked at Bernare hard. “Does she understand that she is to do as I ask while accompanying me and that I will not tolerate any actions that will put my daughter in further danger?”
Before Bernare could answer Oollana interrupted, “Yes, I do, your Highness. As long as you understand that I am not one of your subjects and will not tolerate being treated as such.”
It was a bold play but Oollana knew it was a time to play a strong hand. The king had already dismissed her as being insignificant and she had to re-establish her significance by reminding him that she was not a child and showing him that she had a voice of her own. She could not address the fact that the king did not have a high opinion of the jedi at this moment but if he didn’t accept her as a person he would never accept her as a jedi.
The king looked at her momentarily with some surprise and then turned to Oollana addressing her indicating that Oollana had made her point. “Very well, Oollana, then I think we understand each other.” He then turned to one of his guards who handed the king a small datapad. He then handed it to Oollana. “Here are the schematics of the Praxis Princess in case it might give you any information that you can exploit. Also listed are the crew that were attending my daughter on the trip. Currently I am still putting together the 20 million credit ransom and it should be ready this evening. I expect you to meet up with me at my personal transport at the coordinates contained in the datapad. You will also find docking numbers that will allow you to set down at the Royal spaceport. I will expect you and your companion, the mechanic, at 2200 standard time. Please do me the courtesy of being on time.”
Oollana took the datapad and scanned it briefly. She would have a few hours to scan it more thoroughly and would do that in the privacy of her own quarters.
“Oh,” the king added, “please pick out a couple of the outfits I have brought to wear. For concealment purposes you are accompanying me as an advisor as I’m sure Master Bernare has mentioned. Discretion is important in this matter.”
Oollana looked up from the datapad, “Of course, your highness.”
“Very well then, I take my leave and I will look for you this evening.” He turned to Bernare and bowed slightly. “I thank you for your assistance in this matter.” Master Bernare returned the bowing gesture and added, “May the Force be with you.” With that the king and his two guards left the room.
Oollana had returned to looking at the datapad but looked up when she felt Benare’s hand on her shoulder. He looked concerned. “Oollana, I know that I do not misplace my trust in sending you with King Caspar but you must be ever mindful. Your passions strengthen your bond with the force, this is unusual. Fear and anger are emotions that can lead you down the path of the dark side but so can love. Trust in the force and trust in yourself.”
Oollana did not have many of these personal moments with her master but she always appreciated them. “I will mind what you have taught me, master, and I will not fail you.”
Published on behalf of Curtis