Author's Note: Master and apprentice are not anyone specific - just two OCs amid the millennium-long reign of the Rule of Two.

"Master, why did Darth Bane decree there should be only two of us? Doesn't that mean our entire Order could be wiped out in an instant if the two of us were caught in one place at the same time?"

The Sith Master wriggled his mouth-feelers. "Apprentice, what is the origin of we Sith?"

The apprentice pondered. "The raw essence of the Force itself, unhindered by the trivial and self-important 'morality' imposed on it by sentients –"

"No. The historical origin."

Anticipating a trap, the apprentice pursed his lips. "Ah… When the first heretics dared to question the dogma of the Jedi Order?"

"Precisely. And what is the most important thing to a Sith, other than power?"

Other than power? Power was everything. Except – "Self-determination, power being only the means by which we impose our will upon the universe?"

"Indeed. And what is a Sith's response to dogma?"

"To laugh at it and make a mockery of it for the sake of the mockery itsel–" The apprentice stopped, and shut his mouth after a moment. His master tended to Force-hurl insects into the offending orifice if he left it hanging open for too long.

"What was the Sith response when our official dogma was mass-recruiting to increase our numbers in the fight against the Jedi?"

"Darth Bane killed the entire Order, save for himself and his apprentice, and instituted the Rule of Two."

"And what is the logical consequence of the institution of the Rule of Two as our new dogma?"

"That… that succeeding Sith would scoff at such insane, antiquated old dogma and… and proceed to recruit additional apprentices in defiance of the Rule of Two. Secretly, of course. Master."

"Indeed. Which is why I have not crushed your skull and sucked our your brains for those adolescent idiots you have already begun to initiate as Sith, without telling them I still lived. Or telling them about each other, for that matter."

"You – you knew about that?"

"Of course. Did you think my master was dead when I began to teach you, my apprentice? Truly? Or that I was his only apprentice? The woman who came to kill me three years into your apprenticeship was no mere bounty hunter, regardless of what I told you." The mouth-feelers stretched. "She was doubtless not the only one, and doubtless the galaxy harbors many more callow youths who are devoutly convinced that their Master is the one and only Sith Lord in existence. Coruscant alone boasts a trillion sentients. I would not be at all surprised if at least two entirely separate lineages of Sith are running about upon its surface, smugly convinced that they and they alone shall take revenge upon the pathetic Jedi when the time is right."

"But… but if there were some, Master, shouldn't the Jedi have rooted them out?"

"Sight unseen, among a trillion sentients? There is far more of the Dark Side in the underlevels than in any cluster of half a dozen adepts. The Jedi flatter themselves about their impeccable perception, but they forget that the Force is not solely their friend. The same means by which they see through time and space is the means by which a Sith might hide himself from their sight." The Sith Master curled his mouth-feelers. "So, do you now perceive the brilliance of Darth Bane, and understand why all we Masters still – grudgingly – salute him as our progenitor, rather than sneering at him as a fool who won the Jedi's victory for them?"

"So long as we bend the knee to the Rule of Two and mouth it as our dogma…" breathed the apprentice. The Sith Master's mouth-feelers arranged themselves into a specific position that, on a human, might have been a smile.

"…then, in truth, the wielders of the Dark Side will propagate beyond the Jedi's wildest nightmares," completed the Master. "While the Jedi remain hidebound, obedient, and centralized… Did you say something about an entire Order being annihilated, if all its members were to be caught in one place at one time?"

A moment passed.

Then both master and apprentice began to laugh.

Author's Note: This is the only way the Rule of Two makes sense to me (because I don't buy the 'dilution of the Dark Side' explanation for a moment). Reverse psychology at its finest.

The astute reader will note that a common application of reverse psychology is getting defiant, immature children to do things that are good for them. That said, the Sith would rather disassemble their lightsabers and eat them than contemplate any similarities that might have to their own circumstances…