Triff hurried through the halls of the Jedi Academy, a couple dozen datapads stacked precariously in his arms. He had taken on his first padawan last week, and was eager to prove himself worthy of the task.
His thoughts were wholly consumed by the lesson he was planning for later that day, and so his reaction time was slower than usual when a wave of Force energy threw Master Vrook's chamber door open as he passed by. Two female figures flew into the corridor without warning as arms, legs, and datapads scattered through the air, mostly landing in a crumpled heap.
Triff found himself lying on top of Revan, with another padawan on top of him. Whoever the second padawan was recovered quickly, and found her feet before Triff could even think about doing the same.
As Triff worked on detangling himself from Revan, he caught a glimpse of Nisotsa's short, dark blonde hair disappearing down the hall. Triff sighed. He had no clue what mischief they'd gotten into this time, but he had no doubt as to whose idea had landed them in trouble. Revan was the brain behind nearly every prank that went on in the Academy, and she looked up at him now. Her eyes were wide with panic, but her face displayed a distinct lack of guilt.
"Somehow, I'm not surprised to see you here, Revan." Master Vrook appeared in the doorway of his chamber, glowering with an intensity Triff had never before seen him display. Considering the Jedi Master usually greeted all students with a scowl, that said something. However, it wasn't Vrook's evident ire that caused Triff to drop all his datapads yet again.
Master Vrook's face was coated in garish shades of makeup, very liberally applied. In fact, the old Jedi Master wore enough makeup for half a dozen cantina dancers.
Over Vrook's customary Jedi robes, a lacy white shawl was tied around his wiry shoulders, flapping around him as he moved. Triff thought he recognized the shawl as one of Atris's, and thanked the Force the older Master didn't fill it out the way Atris did. As it was, he doubted he'd ever get the image of the effeminate-looking Vrook out of his head.
Vrook's eyes narrowed, and he jabbed a finger in Revan's direction. "You have gone too far, Padawan! Is nothing sacred to you? I will be speaking with your master about this. I believe this prank of yours will be enough to forever ban you from the Academy."
"Now let's not be hasty, Master Vrook," Triff said soothingly. He didn't quite have Revan's charm and silver tongue, but he'd always had a knack for connecting with people. Since it seemed unlikely Revan would be able to talk herself out of this one, Triff was willing to try. While she had unquestionably earned Vrook's wrath with this latest prank, the Academy would be a very quiet place if she were gone.
"Hasty?" Vrook thundered, his eyes growing dangerously dark. "You know nothing of which you speak."
Triff held his hands up in a placating gesture. "I meant… well, I was just wondering, Master. How is it you can be so certain Revan is the one behind your… ah… present predicament?"
Vrook's mouth twisted under the gobs of lipstick, but he dropped his finger and stopped glaring at Revan. "Who else would dare dream up something like this?"
"I don't know," Triff admitted, secretly relieved that Revan had been taught by her first Master to shield her presence from Force users. Otherwise, his interference would be useless. "But surely Revan isn't the only student here with an unruly streak in her."
Both he and Vrook turned to look at Revan, whose arms were piled high with the datapads she had just finished gathering up off the floor. The effect gave her a dignified and scholarly air, and she couldn't have looked less unruly at that moment had she planned it. Of course, being Revan, she probably had planned it; she always had about three plans for every situation.
Vrook still looked suspicious, however. "And what is it you've been doing all morning, if you haven't had a hand in this?" he demanded, glaring at Revan and grabbing at the string of pearls around his neck.
Revan opened her mouth, but Triff cut in before she could say anything. "She's been with me, Master Vrook."
At that moment, Master Vash turned the corner. She bowed a greeting to Revan and Triff, and then saw Master Vrook. Vash paused.
"Vrook, I don't believe white is your colour."
Vrook looked, if possible, even more irritated than he had been before, and he pulled at the shawl until it fell off his shoulders. Revan bit her lip, her face turning red as she tried not to laugh.
Master Vash turned her attention back to Triff and Revan. "What are the two of you doing in the hallways at this early hour?"
Triff gestured to the stack of datapads still in Revan's arms. "Revan was assisting me in setting up today's lesson for my padawan, Master Vash."
"How nice to see you showing such initiative, Revan," Vash said. She gave Triff a knowing look before addressing herself to Vrook again. "Well, I think we ought to leave these two at it, then. Young Mical is a promising student, and we don't want to get in the way. Besides, it seems you need a few tips in makeup application. To start with, less is more."
Vash grabbed Vrook's arm and started to pull him away. Master Vrook glared back at Triff and Revan once more before allowing himself to be herded back into his chamber.
Revan at least had the decency to wait until Vrook had closed the door before bursting into peals of unrestrained laughter, her eyes welling up with tears. Triff waited until she had gained enough composure to stand upright.
"Master Vash is the greatest," she gasped. "Remind me to take her off the pranking list."
When she'd stopped laughing entirely, Revan turned back to Triff. In fact, she stared at him so long he started to wonder if he were wearing an outfit to match Master Vrook's.
"What?" he finally asked.
"You are my hero," she said fervently. She reached over and kissed him lightly on the cheek, the way she would her brother. "I have no idea why you did that, but thank you. I thought I was gone for good."
"Just be more careful next time," Triff said, trying to sound stern and failing.
Revan began to giggle again. "Did you see the look on his face when Master Vash came in? Oh, I wish I'd had a holocron to record the whole thing. That was even better than the gizka caper!"
Against his better judgement, Triff had to ask. "How did you manage to dress Vrook up like that in the first place?"
"He's was in a trance meditation. You know he's dead to the world while he's meditating. And Nisotsa borrowed the makeup from Quatra."
"The dangly earrings were a nice touch," Triff said dryly, taking the stack of datapads back from Revan.
"Yeah, the red didn't match his outfit, but we had limited resources to work with." Revan shot Triff a calculating look. "Are you really off to teach that little blond kid now?"
"Hence the datapads."
"Oh." Revan bit her lip, clearly disappointed.
Triff closed his eyes. The smart thing to do would be to turn and walk away. He knew better than to stick around and let Revan influence him. Revan was trouble. Everyone in the Academy knew this. But something about her was so infectious, it was next to impossible to say no to her. Except, of course, for someone as stoic as Master Vrook.
"What is it, Revan?" Triff asked reluctantly, knowing full well what was coming.
"I was hoping you could help me with something…"
Triff sighed. "I guess I can spare a couple of minutes."
Revan grinned triumphantly. "Okay, listen. According to Malak, Atris had a late night, and so she should still be asleep. Since you're her pet…"
"I'm not Atris's pet!" Triff protested half-heartedly.
Revan continued as if he hadn't spoken. "Having you along is like insurance if we get caught. She can't punish you, which means she can't punish anyone with you."
Grabbing his arm, she led Triff down the hall to Atris's chamber.
It occurred to Triff he ought to be glad he'd studied some of the Echani fighting styles under Atris. At least he'd stand a slight chance to live after Atris woke up.