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3

Alienatus looked up at the shimmering holo as it appeared. A Togruta appeared, and he smiled.

"Lady Muteium. What a pleasant surprise." he said.

"Lord Alienatus. Lady Perfida tells me that your apprentice has made the first step in her rise to power." she said, impressed.

"Yes. She killed Darth Tempariz, so all is going according to plan. However, Darth Calculus is acting like a wraid with a thorn up it's backside. She's furious that Phobos managed to kill her best pupil." he said.

Muteium nodded.

"To be expected I suppose. What's the next move?" she asked.

Alienatus frowned.

"The most logical thing to do would be to take out Calculus and her remaining pupil. Phobos and I haven't left the Academy in two weeks since Tempariz was killed. I fear Calculus is…unravelling. There have been people standing around outside for days, looking very thuggish and untrustworthy. They wouldn't be a match for Phobos, but still.." he trailed off thoughtfully.

Muteium stroked her chin.

"I suppose that if she were involved in an assault on Phobos, you would have to act. With her out of the way, you would be the sole deputy, and if Delvus was to meet with an accident, you would be on the Council." she said.

"I am aware of the plan my dear. However, we cannot act until we have a significant portion of the army supporting us, even if I do go onto the Council."

Muteium growled.

"We are bound by these silly rules Anarchy insists we follow. If we do not do something soon, the entire apparatus of the Sith is going to come crashing down. We are running out of time. I heard Darth Lore say the other day that we should sue for peace, and call it a day."

"Surely you could make her disappear after such a thing?" Alienatus asked, his eyes narrowed.

"Probably, if many didn't agree with her." Muteium hissed.

Alienatus cursed.

"Lore needs silenced then my dear. If people start to listen to her…"

"I know Alienatus. Perfida and I are going to have a quiet chat with her. However, our plans must accelerate! You need to take over the Academy, and we need support from the army. To get that, we need Phobos."

"Who we will have soon. After Calculus' student has been removed, she will have a clear field to the top."

"That blasted Bothan is still there." she reminded him.

Alienatus grinned.

"You forget her special talents. Her powers grow every day. I think things will play into our hands soon. And if I know my apprentice, she is already working on how to better herself." he promised.

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Even as her master plotted with his fellow conspirators, Phobos was deep at work in the library. Her master had counselled her to lay low after she had killed Tempariz, as he feared Calculus was making a move against her and his own position.

She had been pouring over texts the last few days, researching new powers and how she could best use them. Under the teachings of her master, her fear powers, already considerable, had become a lot stronger. She was used to using her powers on weak, non-sensitives now, as she practiced on people on the outskirts of the city. Force users were an entirely different kettle of fish.

Phobos turned a page in the massive book she was reading. It had been written by XoXaan, an ancient Sith, and mentioned a form of concealment she hadn't seen before.

The ability to transform one's perceptions remains one of the greatest tools we Sith can utilise. If we can change how we are perceived to others, we can move about with absolute freedom where we otherwise wouldn't be able to. While this technique is similar to that of merging with shadows that our kind is so fond of utilising, it requires greater concentration, and has an extra benefit: we can hide from our Jedi foes indefinitely provided we can keep up such a technique.

Phobos grinned eagerly and read on, understanding and accepting the wisdom of XoXaan. Phobos couldn't wait to try.

She stood, and drew on the Force. It swirled and coalesced around her, and she let it sweep through her, and she felt a shimmering as a new form was assumed. A second later, she took out her small mirror and looked at herself, and gave an involuntary leap, despite herself.

She had changed herself into Darth Perfida.

"Excellent." she purred, letting the image slide.

She put away the book, and dashed away to tell her master.

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In the shadows of the library, Darth Dismus, who had been researching holocrons, had seen Phobos utilise her new power. He went pale, and dropped what he was holding. If Phobos could do that with such ease, there was no telling what she could do.

Dismus narrowed his eyes. Since she had killed Tempariz, things had been very edgy around the Academy, and Darth Calculus had been neglecting his training while she plotted vengeance against Alienatus and his uppity apprentice. She would quickly adjust her priorities when he told her what he had seen. Calculus would take up his training again, and perhaps agree with him that Phobos had to be eliminated. While Despotus was certainly the main candidate for the top position of the year, Dismus was very worried about Phobos. He was sure that she had it in her to become a better Sith Lord than Despotus ever could. She was incredibly intelligent, and was quite capable of getting there on her own merits. However, with Alienatus manipulating things behind the scenes she could be a very grave threat to all concerned.

Dismus nodded. He would tell his master, and she would know what to do. If they got rid of Phobos, Dismus may very well have a chance at becoming a Lord himself. Then, nothing would stop him. As such, he dashed off to tell his own master of Phobos' new power.

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"Next time we shall consider the Dark Reaper Campaign, and debate whether such weapons are useful in a war or not." Alienatus said.

The class of second years got to their feet.

"And remember your essays! And if I get one more with names such as 'Ivor Biggun', 'Ben Doon' and 'Phil McCrakin' I shall be very displeased!" he warned, to sniggers from the students.

The class left, and he sighed, longing for a glass of the whisky which he kept secreted in his bottom drawer. Just as he decided a glass was in order, the door banged open, revealing his apprentice.

"Master! I've discovered a new power!" she said excitedly.

"Indeed? Where did you discover this power?" he asked curiously.

"In one of the tomes of XoXaan."

Alienatus nodded, impressed.

"Well done my pupil, you are clearly studying in many varied fields. This is good. What have you discovered?"

Phobos smiled, and performed her power, to take the form of Darth Calculus. Alienatus grinned wickedly.

"Excellent! This power will be of great use as you strive to become the Sith Lord for this year." He said happily.

"Imagine what we could do with this power master! We could take over the Ascendancy!" she crowed.

Alienatus chuckled.

"Not so fast my eager young apprentice. We still have a fair way to go before we get you that far. However, it will be of use, you are correct. And if you were thinking of impersonating Anarchy, you forget the majority of the Council is made up of those he picked or trained. They would rumble you. However, keep this quiet. This skill will be of great benefit to us my pupil. Now, go and revise for your History of the Sith exam next week. I am expecting you to get over one hundred percent remember." He said sternly.

Phobos grinned.

"Dont worry master, I'm ready for it. I wont let you down."

He chuckled.

"I know you wont. What will your free choice essay be on?" he asked, interestedly.

"i was thinking of doing the reason the Republic was so weak at the beginning of the Galactic Sith War." She said.

"A fine choice. Go study. And keep your new power to yourself." He counselled.

"Of course my master." She said, and left.

Alienatus smiled. She was certainly growing in power, and to be able to change her appearance so flawlessly spoke of great strength. Yes, he couldn't have chosen better.

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Calculus narrowed her eyes.

"You say she achieved the transformation flawlessly?" she asked, concerned.

Dismus nodded his horned head.

"Yes master, first time. If she can do that with such skill..." he said worriedly.

The Chagrian got up and started to pace the room. Dismus could tell she was thinking of the threats Phobos could present to both the Academy and the Ascendancy as a whole if she could use such difficult powers, which even masters had trouble with, so easily. Calculus clasped her hands behind her back and looked out of her window.

"Darth Phobos definitely has it in her to become the Dark Lord of this year. Despotus and Delvus are fools to overlook the threat she and Alienatus pose together." She said, musing it over.

Dismus frowned.

"I agree master. So what do we do about it?"

Calculus smiled evilly.

"We deal with her, the same way she dealt with Tempariz. And by eliminating her, we also eliminate the threat Alienatus poses, and I will be the sole deputy." She said smugly.

Dismus nodded eagerly, then frowned.

"But master, she hasn't left the Academy in days, because they found out about our assassins. How will we get to her? And even if we get assassins into here, what certainty is there that they will succeed in killing her?"

Calculus sighed.

"I thought Tempariz was the stupid one. If we bring assassins into here, Delvus and Alienatus will know at once and will have us shot, along with the intruders. As such, the ones who will deal with Phobos are already in position to do so." She purred.

"Who? Us?" he asked incredulously.

"Yes. We will deal with the brat. And with her out of the way, and my time no longer divided between the two of you, you will take her place as the most serious contender for the title this year." She said with relish.

Dismus stood, excited.

"Shall we go now?" he asked.

"Yes. Corner her in the Navigation corridor. I will be there soon after I cover our tracks." She said, and he ran off.

Calculus nodded to herself.

"And now we deal with Alienatus and his whelp for the good of the entire Ascendancy...and my own power!" she said, then went to do her part.

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Phobos finished her studying in the empty Navigation classroom, which she had been allocated by Alienatus in order to spread her stuff out over more of an area to make it more accessible. She packed her things up, decided to leave the chocolate bar inside her bag for later, and headed out of the room.

She headed down the corridor, when Dismus came out from a classroom, with an air of excitement about him.

"Dismus. Is your master happy yet, happy enough to take up the training of yet another waste of time? The loss of Tempariz must have totally thrown her off if she cant see that you're worthless." Phobos sneered.

Dismus laughed throatily.

"My master and I have a joint venture on the way, and after that, nothing will stop me becoming the Dark Lord!" he vowed.

Phobos laughed.

"You are a fool Dismus. Now, get out of my way." She said, and stepped forward.

Dismus refused to move, and fingered his lightsaber excitedly.

"Dismus..." Phobos said warningly.

There was a shimmering behind her, and Calculus emerged from the shadows. Phobos' instincts screamed: TRAP!

Calculus smiled.

"Darth Phobos. You present to great a threat to the Sith Ascendancy, and your threat must come to an end. And you must pay for what you did to my apprentice." She said, lighting her lightsaber.

Phobos gritted her teeth. She could deal with Dismus easily, but Calculus was a Sith master, and a lot more powerful. She desperately tried to send a Force call for help, but Calculus blocked her.

"I dont think so my little murderess. You are going to die for the threat you pose. But first, you are going to suffer for what you did to Tempariz. My only regret is that I actually wont be there to see it." She said, and lunged.

Phobos met her attack with her double blade, and swung it to parry Dismus' attack at the same time. Dismus came at her again, and Phobos changed her appearance to that of a female Devaronian. Dismus faltered a bit, and it was the edge she needed to turn and blast him with a powerful Force push. As her student flew up the corridor, Calculus attacked once more, her single blade coming at Phobos. The young Sith somersaulted into the air and cart wheeled out of Calculus' reach. She then let loose with her fear. Calculus began to slow, as terrible visions started to appear in her head. Before Phobos could finish the job and break her, a small dart punctured her neck.

"Gotcha." Dismus said huskily.

Phobos turned to give Dismus an alarmed look, before her eyes rolled up into her head, and she collapsed to the floor.

Calculus came forward, looking winded.

"Good work Dismus. You did well. She's a lot stronger than I thought she was. I'm more convinced now that we're doing the entire galaxy a favour by getting rid of her. Excellently done."

Dismus grinned at his master's praise. Then he saw her sweating face.

"She nearly got you didn't she master?" he asked in concern.

She snorted derisively.

"I underestimated her fear powers, which was foolish of me. She might have broken my mind had you not acted. Now come. We must remove all traces of this fight, get her into the speeder and dump her somewhere." She said, taking charge.

Dismus opened all the windows to blow away the smell of the ozone, charged by the small duel. Calculus summoned her speeder and threw Phobos' prone form into the back of it.

"Dismus, let's go." She said, and climbed into the driver's seat.

Dismus hopped in, and Calculus bore them away from the Academy.

"Are we covered?" he asked.

"Yes. Five different people will all claim that they saw her leaving tom enter the Valley. No one will suspect a thing." She soothed.

"I do wish I had your thought powers." He said sulkily.

"In time my student, you will." She promised.

Several miles away from the Academy, Calculus put the speeder into stationary mode above a set of funnel topped mountains.

"We shall drop her into one of those tombs. She will never get out." Calculus said with triumph.

Dismus grinned, and clambered into the back seat.

"Will the fall kill her?" he asked.

"I hope not. All being well, she'll be savaged by a couple of Tuk'atas first. Throw her in, and throw in her bag too. That will remove all traces."

Dismus did as instructed, and heaved Phobos to the side of the speeder. The sleeping drug would wear off soon. Then she would wish she had never been born.

With one great effort, he pushed her. Phobos' limp body plummeted down, into one of the tombs, out of sight.

"Wonderful. Now that his whelp is out of the way, there is nothing to stop our advancement. Now, to Dreshdae to get this speeder professionally cleaned, and then back to the Academy, and to the future that is now ours." Calculus said, and she and her apprentice laughed.

The conspiracy deepens!

How many people are involved in Alienatus' plot?

In other news, Darth Calculus has gotten rid of Phobos. How will Phobos recover from this?

More will be done soon!