Stepping quickly onto the moon of Vaski 3, Qui-Gon's watchful eyes took in the sight before him. The entire moon was in chaos. Buildings were torn apart, and rubble was everywhere. Qui-Gon observed without seeming to observe, as he had been trained to do. Qui-Gon's Padawan, Anakin Skywalker, stepped out of the ship behind him. Now that the boy was eighteen, Qui-Gon no longer had to shorten his steps for Anakin to keep up with him. The two Jedi strode purposefully toward the middle of the town, searching for the palace. It was not hard to find. Amongst the rubble of the city, the palace walls shone of a bright white gloss, like nothing had ever touched them. Qui-Gon wondered briefly how the palace guards had managed to keep the place in tact, as the rest of the city seemed to be completely destroyed. Qui-Gon glanced at Anakin, and the boy nodded. Through their bond, Qui-Gon sensed Anakin's doubt as well. The prince of Vaski 3 had requested their help after what he claimed were 'months of torment and sorrow' after their neighboring moon, Vaski 4, had repeatedly attacked them.

Qui-Gon looked around while buzzing the chime at the palace gate. There was nobody in sight.

"The planet seems.deserted," Anakin murmured.

Qui-Gon nodded. There was something strange going on here, something very strange. The elder Jedi sensed some kind of presence through the Force that he didn't quite understand. He shrugged it off as a tumble of guards came rushing at them.

"We are the Jedi that Prince Elsiki requested," said Qui-Gon calmly. The guards relaxed, recognizing their visitors. The head guard gestured to a corridor and the two Jedi followed him through many twisting passages before leaving them in a magnificent room. A heavily decorated man stood in a corner, looking at his torn city through a hologram projected on the wall.

"Master Jedi." The man bowed deeply. Qui-Gon immediately responded with a bow of his own.

"I am Qui-Gon Jinn, and this is my apprentice, Anakin Skywalker." Qui-Gon stated simply. The prince welcomed them, treating the two Jedi with all of the comforts of his palace. The three men drank tea and ate sweet pastries while they discussed the problems at hand. Although Qui-Gon only took one pastry out of politeness, he saw with amusement in his eyes that his Padawan kept taking more and more. The boy's delight with the food was evident in his eyes.

Slow Down, Padawan, Qui-Gon nudged the boy through the Force. Although Anakin said nothing, Qui-Gon noticed that the young man ate no more.

"I know you've been briefed on the situation, but-"

A guard burst into the room, panic on his face. He took no notice of the visitors as he yelled, "Your highness, the people are attacking!"

The two Jedi leaped into action, igniting their lightsabers as they ran down the twisting corridors. Qui-Gon felt the Force swirling around them, but it was not angry. He could sense dread and remorse from the people outside, but overall, determination reigned. Perhaps Qui-Gon could still manage to negotiate something. He wondered vaguely why the villagers were attacking, and where they had been hiding.

"Anakin, lower your lightsaber. We can still negotiate, and we don't want to frighten the people off." Qui-Gon warned.

"But Master-"

"Now."

Anakin powered down his weapon and the Jedi stepped outside. Qui-Gon could see the people behind the large gate. A young man stood in front, patiently talking with the guards that had gathered to clear the people away. Moving swiftly toward the gate, Qui-Gon used the Force to listen in on the conversation.

"I do not wish for confrontation. All I want to do is talk to Prince Elsiki," said the man in a low voice.

"NO! The Prince cannot be disturbed. He does not speak to.commoners," The guard sneered.

"What is the harm in a conversation with my Prince?" Said the man, calmly, his voice never raising in anger. The guard shoved the man backward, even though he was still on the opposite side of the gate. The man didn't even stumble.

"Your gathering is illegal, and you will be punished for this!" The guard cried, opening up the gate. Qui-Gon halfway expected the people to come charging through, but they didn't have the chance. The man in front held them back.

Anakin raced to keep up with his Master as they worked their way through the guard. Finally they stood at the open gate.

Qui-Gon stared down hard at the man's blue-green eyes. The leader of the people faltered, recognizing that the Jedi were not on his side. The people were restless behind him, but the man held them back with his mind.

"Master Jedi," he said, bowing low. He looked up into the blue eyes of the older man, and stopped in an instant.

The man took a step back, then turned around. "Leave," he commanded the people. And they left.

Anakin jumped out at the leader, tackling him at once. The man was surprised, but quickly pushed him away with the Force. With a last look at Qui-Gon, the man fled.

The Force. The man had used the Force! Was he conscious of it? The Jedi Master remembered the look in the man's eyes as he threw back his Padawan. Yes, the man knew exactly what he was doing.

Helping his shaken Padawan up, Qui-Gon frowned down at the ground, lost in thought.

"Master? Who was that man?"

Qui-Gon could only shake his head. He didn't know.