Hello all! Welcome to the third and final part! You have no idea how happy it makes me to see that people are enjoying this, and so without further ado, I give you the end to Obi-Wan's adventure in the Castle Slrig Naf!
Obi-Wan found himself following his master's advice, and before long, he was resting atop a plush chaise upholstered in the finest silk, eating the best meal he'd had in a long while.
His bath had been luxurious; he'd never had the time or the luxury to stretch out in an oversized tub, in water hot enough to relax every muscle in his body. He'd washed off in a shower nearby before going to soak, and he would've fallen asleep if one of the women hadn't knocked in concern.
He'd dressed in loose-fitting, whispery silk robes, slightly surprised to find himself practically purring in delight as the fabric slid across his skin. He'd been led back to the main room then, and instructed to sit as a girl shyly approached with a set of brushes and combs, asking permission to dry and brush his hair. He'd consented as he watched a group of women bring forth a veritable feast, the smells making his stomach grumble in anticipation.
The motion of having his hair brushed had nearly been enough to send him to sleep all over again, but a gentle shake and the sight of a dish of steaming food was more than enough to snap him from his stupor.
Music and dance was brought forth for his enjoyment, and as he lounged, eating his way through his second helping of the main dish, he found himself relaxing to a point he never would've expected.
So this is how kings live?
He settled onto the chaise, tucking his feet beneath him, and speared a piece of the meat. It had a delicious tang to it from some unknown marinade, and the texture was the perfect consistency so that it didn't require a knife.
"How are you enjoying your meal, Master Kenobi?" a young woman asked in soft tones, her gaze flicking up to him shyly.
"It is absolutely first rate," he said, throwing her a smile, which caused her to blush a vibrant shade of red. She opened her mouth to reply but her voice came out as a rather pathetic squeak, and she hurried away.
Obi-Wan watched her go, raising one of his eyebrows slightly. And here Anakin thought he was the Lady-killer…
Perhaps I do give myself too little credit, he thought before tramping that thought down. Jedi did not purposely feed their own egos. He had to remind himself that he was merely enjoying a well-deserved rest, and that once he was finally allowed to leave, he would never return.
Jedi didn't crave these sorts of things, after all.
He turned his attention back to the entertainment, marveling at the carefully choreographed display of dancing, the women shifting and swaying as they wove a story with their movements. It was both haunting and beautiful at the same time, touching him to the depths of his heart. He turned to the woman who stood beside him, the one who appeared to be in charge of this court, intending to ask what the dance meant.
The doors burst open suddenly, the wood splintering and flying in all directions, and absolute panic broke out around him. The room was transformed into a veritable stampede as women began screaming and running away, and Obi-Wan groaned when he sensed a very familiar presence.
Why couldn't he have shown up before I found myself here?
"Master!" came the shout over the high-pitched screams, but Obi-Wan remained seated on the chaise, watching as women rushed past him.
Maybe Anakin wouldn't see him in the confusion.
"There you are! Master, come on! We've got to get out of here!"
Obi-Wan lifted his head calmly from his meal, fixing Anakin with a decidedly frosty look when the young man pushed his way through the crowd to stand before him. He was absolutely soaked, his dark tunic clinging to his muscled frame, but his lightsaber burned in his hand, and Obi-Wan could see at least a dozen other Jedi spreading out around them in an attempt to cover their planned escape.
"I gather it's still raining," Obi-Wan said as he began munching on a vegetable.
Anakin frowned, his mouth slightly opened as he'd meant to urge his former Master into action. "Well, yes," Anakin said, his carefully planned speech thrown into utter disarray at the sight of the rather comfortable-looking Jedi.
"And is the ship in one piece?" Obi-Wan asked, finishing off the last of his meal.
"Mostly," Anakin replied, his frown deepening. "What are you getting at? We've got to get out of here, before those women decide to overwhelm us!"
"They're not going to overwhelm you," Obi-Wan said as he set the plate aside and leaned back on the chaise. "They're relatively harmless, actually, when they're not looking out for your well-being."
"Anakin, in case you hadn't noticed, I happen to be in the middle of a relaxing evening. I have had to trudge through a nasty storm and spent hours soaking wet, and I'd hoped to enjoy a quiet meal," he said, taking a sip of wine. "Why don't you go introduce yourself to the Lady of the castle? I'm sure she'd be more than willing to put you and the others up for the night."
"Skywalker, what is taking so long?" came Mace's impatient shout and the man appeared at Anakin's side, frowning heavily at the two of them.
"I think they've drugged him, Master Windu," Anakin said, fixing a wary gaze on Obi-Wan, who huffed and rolled his eyes.
"Drugged him?" Mace asked, concern melting into his gaze.
"Yes. He wants to stay," Anakin replied.
"I am quite capable of making responses," Obi-Wan interrupted, his tone waspish. "And I most certainly have not been drugged. Do I seem completely insensible?"
Mace and Anakin shared a look.
"Just grab him and let's get out of here," Mace said, looking around hastily. "This place is an enigma to the Force; it registers strangely. The sooner we get off-world the better."
"You don't have to tell me twice," Anakin said, and before Obi-Wan could stop him, he snatched up his former Master.
"Full retreat!" Mace yelled, the Force rippling with his command, and the Jedi began hurrying towards the exit.
"Anakin, there is absolutely nothing wrong with my legs," Obi-Wan said from his rather undignified position, slung over the Knight's shoulder as he was. "If you put me down, you'll find I am fully able to walk."
"We'll go faster like this," Anakin grunted as the party began fleeing down a hall, following their path of destruction out of the castle.
"They're taking Master Kenobi!"
Cries of utter dismay rose up in their wake, and Obi-Wan could see the women of his chapter pulling themselves together rapidly.
"Of course we will, my former padawan," Obi-Wan drawled, quirking an eyebrow at the sight of hundreds of women surging after them. "I'll slow you down just enough so that the rampaging herd of women can catch up."
"What?" Anakin demanded, turning briefly and gasping in horror.
"Listen, Anakin, just set me down," Obi-Wan reasoned as the Knight put on more speed. "I am more than able to handle this sort of situation."
"No you're not, Master," Anakin shot back through clenched teeth.
"Yes I am, padawan. Now set me down!"
"Obi-Wan, this particular situation is beyond you; you're just too drugged to see it. Those witches have done something to your judgment!"
"Anakin, my judgment is just fine. Am I a Jedi Master, or not? Aren't you required to obey my orders?"
"Yes, Master, but only when they are sensible. You were in grave peril; I could feel it."
"Jedi face peril, Anakin. Now set me down so I can do my job."
"No can do, Master. The situation is much too perilous."
Obi-Wan heaved an exasperated sigh as they burst from the castle, the ruined doors swinging sadly behind them. The rain was upon them in an instant, soaking him to the bone for the second time that day, and Obi-Wan had to work hard to siphon away his mounting frustration.
"Anakin," he said after a moment, an idea occurring to him. "You do know what kind of castle that was, don't you?"
The Knight was silent for a moment. "One full of lots of peril?"
Obi-Wan rolled his eyes, though Anakin couldn't see it. "It's full of women who have devoted their lives to studying major figures of the galaxy. As far as I can ascertain, pretty much every Jedi has a following there, and my chapter happens to be one of the largest groups. Yours is about the same size."
"That's nice," Anakin muttered as they began flying down the steps.
"You don't get it, do you?" Obi-Wan shot back. "What do you think such a group of women would do when faced with the object of their study? When faced with someone they essentially worship?"
Anakin froze; Obi-Wan could practically feel the gears turning in his head.
"You mean… I have a following?"
"And they'd do anything…!"
"Within reason, I'm sure."
Anakin spun around and began bounding back up the steps, though he didn't put Obi-Wan down, who was jostled violently all over again.
"Skywalker! Where the blazes are you going?"
"These are the people with the information we seek, Mace!" Obi-Wan called to the distant figures. "You interrupted my mission, which was proceeding perfectly! Anakin and I will be back in a week with the data we need; don't worry about us!"
"Just go, Mace! We'll be fine!" he called as the figures vanished from sight and he tapped Anakin on the shoulder.
"Set me down now, padawan, before I force you to," he commanded, and Anakin did exactly as ordered. "Thank you."
"You really are rather devious, Master," Anakin murmured as they began their ascent back to the castle. Obi-Wan could see a crowd of women waiting for them, anxious expressions on their faces.
"Whatever do you mean, Anakin? This is a mission; treat it as such."
"Master Kenobi, you're soaked all over again! What in the world happened?" a woman called to him as they neared, and Obi-Wan gave her a smile.
"Simply an unfortunate misunderstanding. I hope you can forgive my former padawan for the destruction he has caused," Obi-Wan said as they entered the castle, and the surrounding women uttered gasps of surprise.
Obi-Wan nearly smirked at the uneasy smile that rose to Anakin's lips as furious whispers broke out around them.
"Why don't you introduce him to his chapter?" he suggested and two women raced forward to latch onto the other Jedi.
"Oh, Knight Skywalker, you'll catch your death like this! How can you stand to be soaking wet?" one of the girls cooed as they began to drag him off into the depths of the castle, and Obi-Wan accepted the towel handed to him gratefully.
"Um, Jedi deal with the unexpected," came Anakin's response, followed by an uncharacteristic shriek.
"That's my tunic!"
A general cacophony of female voices rose up around Anakin's screams and Obi-Wan drifted back towards his chapter's quarters, finally letting the smirk rise to his lips.
"They're only females, Anakin," he called as he requested another bath to be drawn. "Why do you need my help with them?"
Obi-Wan glanced over his shoulder at two of the higher-ranking members of his chapter. "Rescue him."
"We will do our best, Master Kenobi," they chorused, and went to look for Millie.
"We're now entering hyperspace, Master Windu."
Mace smiled at the pilot of the craft, nodding a little. It felt good to be flying away from that strange planet; he'd never sensed anything like it before. While the world around the people present had appeared utterly normal, the beings themselves had been veritable blank spots in the fabric of the Force.
"Do you think it is wise to leave Master Kenobi and Knight Skywalker there?" a Master beside him asked. "Master Yoda was quite adamant about traveling to that planet to rescue them, and yet we have not done so."
Mace shrugged a little. "I trust Obi-Wan's judgment. If he says the mission was going fine, then it was doing just that."
"Hm," the Master murmured as the two of them left the cockpit, heading towards the galley. "I do admit that obtaining extensive technical data on Dooku and Grievous would be an excellent thing…"
"All the more reason to leave the two of them there," Mace said as they joined several other Jedi for a meal. "Obi-Wan didn't appear to be in any danger, now that I think of it. Skywalker must've just misinterpreted the vision he had."
"But didn't Master Yoda agree with him?"
Mace frowned a little. "He did. We ought to ask him about it then," he said, looking around the room.
His frown deepened. Where was Yoda?
The other Master appeared to realize the same thing, and the two looked at each other with a sharp blast of worry.
Surely they hadn't left him on the planet…?
"I'll head back to the cockpit and see what I can do about turning this ship around," Mace said. "You gather the Jedi and sweep the ship."
"Master, I've got to admit," Anakin began, taking another bite of the delicious meal before him. He and Obi-Wan currently sat in the main chamber of his chapter, as Obi-Wan's was undergoing repairs from the damage Anakin had unintentionally inflicted, with Anakin enjoying a hot meal.
"This is possibly the best idea you've ever had."
There was a snort that was slightly muffled by the chaise Obi-Wan presently occupied. He was lying on his stomach as a woman massaged his back, and he turned his head to give Anakin a rather dark look.
"That, my former padawan, is why I-"
He trailed off into a low groan as the woman hit a particularly tense spot and Anakin uttered a snort of his own.
"Master, you're drooling all over that piece of furniture," he said, watching as Obi-Wan shot him another dark look before his eyes glazed over from the massage.
"You must forgive me, Master Kenobi," the woman said softly as Anakin smirked and went back to his meal. "Your back has so many knots in it I'm surprised you can even move properly."
"Mm," Obi-Wan replied, shutting his eyes. "By all means, remove them."
"I will try," she said, "but it might be a bit painful. Knots are awful when attempting to work them loose."
"I am not that fragile," Obi-Wan said and Anakin swore he heard an exasperated note to his former Master's voice. "I can stand physical pain."
"If you insist…"
Anakin choked on his drink when Obi-Wan uttered a rather undignified screech. The woman leapt from her position, bowing repeatedly for forgiveness, while Obi-Wan clutched his shoulder, rotating it gingerly.
"What the blazes was that for?" he demanded.
"A thousand apologies, Master Kenobi! That was my attempt to work a knot loose!"
Obi-Wan huffed slightly, throwing Anakin a rather nasty glower because he was snickering into his dish, and repositioned himself on the chaise.
"I'm sure you can find a gentler way," he said and the woman resumed her operation.
"So how big is this castle?" Anakin asked once things had settled down, and another woman had refilled his glass with the best wine he'd ever tasted. "About how many women live here?"
"Oh, there are thousands, Knight Skywalker," a girl replied. "We haven't done an official tally, though I suppose we ought to."
Anakin looked up at the sound of a rather strange horn, frowning as he saw the beginnings of a rather intricate procession through the opened doors. Two women wrapped in some kind of whispery green material were tossing petals into the air, while several more carried several sticks of incense.
"Oh, someone shut the door," Anakin heard someone mutter. "Seeing such a display just turns my stomach."
Anakin raised his eyebrows, curious now, and just before the doors closed completely, he caught a glimpse of a large palanquin strewn with plump pillows, a single, small figure lounging atop it and enjoying some sort of fruit as he was carried through the halls.
Anakin's eyes widened.
"I can't believe they're doing this," someone else muttered. "They think they're the best chapter around simply because he's such an old, powerful Jedi. I'd like to see their reactions if we tried something similar!"
Anakin turned to look at Obi-Wan, his expression still slack-jawed. "Master, did you just see that?" he whispered, and watched as the other man squeezed his eyes shut, burrowing his head into the pillow.
"I don't want to know, Anakin. I really don't want to know."