Count Dooku followed his master into another room, away from the dying Iridonian in the main chamber. He had no issues killing his master's ex-apprentice. No; in fact he took much pride and joy in having the honors to end the miserable life of the one he replaced by Darth Sidious's side. He felt that the Iridonian was much too haughty for his own good, naïve in the acts of others, and above all too young to be of any use intellectually.

Yet what bothered him the most of the past few minutes was his master's choice to barge into the fight—he had his nemesis where he wanted him. The boy thought he had the upper hand, but Dooku was convinced he'd be able to out-do the Iridonian at his own game.

"We will go forth with our plans," Darth Sidious said suddenly, breaking Dooku's thoughts. "You are to join Viceroy Gunray and the Trade Federation. Navigate them to a new location. We will have to keep ourselves low in action for the time being. We can't do anything until Queen Amidala's terms are over. She's young, but more cunning than even I expected."

"Of course, my master," Dooku replied as he adjusted the chain that bound his cloak around his neck.

"You seem puzzled, my apprentice," Sidious said with a hint of amusement. Dooku was silent, but Sidious continued knowingly. "You're wondering why I interfered with your fight against Darth Maul?"

"It was unexpected," Dooku replied.

Sidious gave a small chuckle. "You feel Darth Maul was blinded by his unique skills with a lightsaber, yet you failed to see that his skills were above your own."

"I realize he was able to wield a double-bladed lightsaber," Dooku started, but he didn't further his reply.

"Darth Maul's fighting was exquisite," Sidious said. "He would've killed you at that moment had I not done what I did."

"Then permit me, my lord, why did you not keep him alive do go forth with your plans?"

Sidious smiled. "Something had changed in Maul; I sensed it the moment he entered the building. His mind wasn't focused on the dark side as it originally was. Whatever happened to him during his absence obviously struck him enough that his thoughts were on more than just serving me. I cannot have any disobedience, or a desire to fulfill self-motivated wishes."

"I understand," Dooku replied.

"You, my apprentice, have an advantage Darth Maul never could have had," Sidious said, but didn't wait for Dooku's next question. "You were once a Jedi and you understand them to the fullest point. Therefore you have the ability to counter them whenever needed. Maul only knew of what I told him and what he studied. Not having that experience was his undoing. Even the likes of a Padawan learner cannot be underestimated."

Dooku nodded. Sidious turned away from him and slowly walked over to the large glass windows of the room. "Now go and meet with Gunray. I will contact you in a few days time."

Count Dooku gave a short nod and bowed graciously. Turning on his heal, the Sith apprentice moved towards the door, his cape billowing behind him.

Darth Sidious stared out at the night sky and the vast city that was Coruscant. He was sure on his decision to extinguish Darth Maul. The years that it took to train Maul into what he had become—practically the Iridonian's whole life—was not a waste. He had proved useful in several tasks, which brought Sidious's plan to its current resting position.

Soon, though, Darth Maul's missions would be nothing compared to the assignments that lay ahead.