Here it is everybody. You've all been incredibly loyal readers, and now the final chapter has arrived, making this story officially complete. Two years and just over two months have passed since Chapter 1 was posted, and to every reviewer who is still reading this story after all that time, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Now, please enjoy this final chapter, and I hope everything in it is to your satisfaction.
Secret of the 327th
Chapter 220:- Six Months Later
Aayla Secura's adjustment to life in on planet Earth was not exactly a breeze. But on later reflection, everyone agreed that it could have been a lot worse than it really had been.
Aayla had integrated with the rest of the Tamers with surprising ease. None of them seemed to be in the least bit suspicious of her intentions at all, claiming that if their friends claimed she was on the level, that was more than fine with all of them. The Twi'lek Jedi Master found that she rather liked the whole bunch. Some of them were a little odd, but then again she had not expected them to be particularly normal. Not after all the stories which she had been told by the rest of her team.
The Tamers were incredibly impressed with Aayla's abilities – they had never seen anything like it from a creature that wasn't a Digimon before, and Aayla was requested to do a complete run-down of what she could do, with demonstrations. Her skills with levitation, Force-speed, Force-jump won her instant admiration, and when Renamon finally convinced her to show off what she could do with her blades, the young children could do nothing but hold her in awe.
When she had demonstrated her Electric Judgement, destroying a nearby bin in the process, which had been thankfully empty at the time, they merely stared at her in astonishment until she flushed slightly.
Aayla grew to know every single one of them relatively within only a couple of days. She and Jeri hit it off right away, and the two of them were full of nothing by smiles and laughs as they compared stories of what had been going on in the last half a year. Takato actually seemed to remind Aayla quite a bit of a young Anakin, albeit without the arrogance. Anakin had always been emotional as a boy, and Takato was no different in that respect.
As to Kazu and Kenta… well, they were weird and acted a little fanboyish around her for a while, but when Aayla got to know them on a more personal level, she found they were oddly similar to young male versions of Ahsoka and Barriss respectively, in that one of them was quite brash and joked around a lot and the other often felt slightly inadequate. In just about every other respect they were totally different, but it did not take long for Aayla to get used to them, and when they finally stopped lavishing praise on her for just about everything she found them to be loyal friends.
The Digimon were not so different either. Guilmon rapidly became one of her favourites, the large red dinosaur Rookie encouraging her to try and join in their games and generally be a lovable, playful guy all round. She was able to connect with Elecmon on a spiritual level, as they both had relatively similar beliefs when it came to protecting the weak, so she got along with him very well too.
Cyberdramon, on the other hand, intrigued her. The big draconic Ultimate seemed to regard her with as much suspicion as anyone new he ever met at first, but then he started to treat her in exactly the same way that he treated everyone, which was to basically to her with slight indifference. Aayla made many attempts to initiate a conversation with him, but the most she managed to get out of him before he simply stopped talking was about three sentences.
Still, according to Renamon, that was more than any one of them had gotten out of him in the past whenever one of them had had the courage to go over and try and talk to him.
She grew to like Guardromon quite a lot as well. The robot Champion reminded her a lot of the astromechs which she had met back home like R2-D2 – he was bold and chivalrous and incredibly loyal, effectively making him into an astromech with a better armoury. However, his brain capacity seemed to remind her of the Separatist battle droids, making his occasional strange behaviour all the more amusing in her eyes.
And MarineAngemon was… well, he was MarineAngemon. Small, cute and deceptively powerful, and that was pretty much all you could say about him. Still, he would occasionally hitch a ride on Aayla's hand, and the Twi'lek would consent to carry the little Mega around like a canary perched on her finger, which seemed to make everybody else laugh.
Her first day on Earth faded away with surprising speed, her excitement at the fact that she was finally meeting all of these people who she had only heard about until now making the time fly by. A lot still managed to happen during that time – as the Tamers and Digimon took her to their favourite place in the park to hang out, and they were eventually joined by Rika, Henry and Suzie, as well as their families, to another round of enthusiastic greetings from human and Digion alike.
Eventually though, the sun began to dip towards the horizon once more, and there was a sad farewell on the part of Tamers and their Digimon to Impmon's three friends – Lilamon, Wingdramon and Diatrymon. Aayla wished she had gotten a chance to know the three of them a little more, and she could tell that the rest of her team did too over the mind-link, but it seemed their decision to leave was final, and Impmon created one final portal for them to head through.
One warp of space and time later and the dragon, the ancient bird and the flower-fairy were gone. Lilamon had taken one last turn around to wink at Beelzemon and Lopmon, the latter of which was perched on the shoulder of the former, before she flew into the portal, which closed behind her.
With the night approaching, there was the decision about where Aayla was actually going to be staying that had to be made, but that didn't take any long because Rika immediately volunteered her house, and her family readily agreed. Rumiko claimed that she made more than enough money with her modelling to feed several extra mouths, so one would not be a problem at all.
Terriermon had chuckled and said, "Boy, your place really is turning into a house full of girls, isn't it? Three humans, a Digimon, a jackal and a Twi'lek – all female."
"Yes, Terriermon," Renamon rolled. "Thank you for that observation."
"No problem," Terriermon grinned.
And so Aayla had moved in with the Nonakas immediately. It felt a little obscure to be sleeping in somebody else's room, as the Digimon and Tamers had always slept in her room back at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. This time though, she was sleeping in Rika's, while Terriermon, Lopmon and the Wongs were back in their own place. It was the first time they had been separated, but as the Wong household was less than a couple of miles away, Aayla could still sense their presences with her mind easily enough.
Rumiko had even gone so far as to offer Aayla her own bed, but Aayla had declined with a smile, claiming that she was used to sleeping against the wall, as she had always let the Tamers take the bed back in her room. After some gentle persuasion, Rumiko had relented, but she had swiftly said that the first thing she was going to do in the morning was go out and buy something Aayla could sleep on beside the wall. Aayla thanked her and settled down beside Renamon against the wall, leaning against each other as Aayla shut her eyes and soundly slept away the night.
And then dawn rose on her first day on Earth, and Aayla could already sense a change in the world around her. She knew that by this time, Impmon would no longer possess his ability to create portals between other dimensions, as per Anubimon's agreement. She was now completely cut off from her own dimension. Anakin, Ahsoka and Barriss were on the other side of wall that Aayla might never be able to cross again.
She felt sorrow. In considerable quantities. But she also knew that they would not want her to dwell on this fact, and so, as Rika and Renamon clambered up around her, they each prepared to face life in the city of Tokyo, which was an almost alien concept for all of them thanks to the fact that they had been in a parallel universe for at least six months.
For one thing, Rika now had to go to school again, which was something that she had been able to go without through the entire time she'd been away. She was convinced that she would die of boredom while there and Renamon had told Aayla that the teachers of the school now insisted on examining each of their group individually, during which time all the others had to be at least ten miles away, to prevent them from potentially cheating through the use of their mind-link.
It was also on that day, that Aayla began receiving the multitude of attention from the Earth locals. Many people had seen her out in the street yesterday, dashing down the streets with three Digimon that nobody had seen in months, and while all those who had seen her had paused to stare, they had not really gotten much more than a fleeting glimpse before she was away, running fast enough to easily keep pace with Olympic athletes and that was hardly using the Force at all.
Now, however, everything was going a lot more slowly. Rumiko was reluctant to even let Rika go back to school, but Rika herself had actually been the one to insist, stating that if the sooner she started to go about her usual activities, the easier it would be to adjust to the fact that she was back. Aayla moved with Renamon, dashing over the tops of the buildings and leaping over the streets and both of them hiding under her perception filter.
But it was at the school that they found a whole load of reporters waiting to ambush Rika and try to take her aside for an interview, pressing up against the windows of the car to try and get her attention. Henry and Suzie were getting similar treatment nearby, and several of the other Tamers and Digimon were attempted to fend the reporters away.
Even Aayla was mildly surprised by how insistent the reporters on Earth were – there seemed to be a lot more competition between them than back on Coruscant, but once she judged the situation was getting out of hand, she promptly announced her presence by bounding onto the school wall and out from Renamon's perception filter.
All activity had immediately ceased as the reporters stared at her in amazement. Aayla had smiled at them, casually using the Force to open the door of the car, levitate Rika out of it and over the heads of the reporters before putting her down a slight distance away from her before she waved and said, "Hello. I'm Aayla Secura. And I'm from another universe."
Needless to say, the reporters had immediately abandoned the Tamers and swarmed in her direction with excitement – they had heard that the missing Tamers were back but not that they had brought a companion back with them. But there wasn't much they could do to interfere with Aayla as she was on top of the wall, so Aayla had merely waited there in plain sight for several moments until the Tamers had had the opportunity to escape into the school building, before she bounded away, Renamon appearing next to her as Terriermon and Lopmon swooped up to join them.
They led the reporters away and easily outstripped them after about a minute, and they were not even travelling all that fast. Not for them anyway.
"You know, you're going to have to answer their questions sometime," Terriermon remarked. "We all did."
"You did an interview?" snorted Aayla. "Oh, I wish I had seen that."
"We put it on DVD," Lopmon snickered. "You can watch it later."
After that incident, in which she had boldly announced her presence to the world (and indeed, she spotted videos of herself sitting on the wall of the school on TV screens throughout the city within an hour), they had met up with Rumiko the rest of the Tamer families, most of which were keen to get to know the new friend of their children as best they could.
Rumiko had insisted on a shopping trip straight away, and Aayla had not particularly seen the harm in that suggestion at the time. She regretted it later though, and not just because every person they walked past either stopped to stare at her, tried to talk to her or even touch her (and at one point a sleazy man tried to make a pass at her, but she had used the Force to drop a litter bin over his head without looking), but also because most of the stores that Rika's mother seemed to be interested in were clothing shops, and she kept trying to get Aayla to put on different outfits for numerous reasons like, "This one will really bring out your eyes," and "This one will blend beautifully with that blue skin of yours," and even, "You'd look so adorable in this one."
That last one made her blink in bewilderment.
And it hadn't helped that Renamon had been present to snicker at Aayla's plight – the fox had no need for clothing so she was relatively safe from Rumiko's spree.
Aayla never liked to wear anything but her traditional Twi'lek outfit, which she could wear for days without it needing to be cleaned. But, since Aayla had left rather abruptly and not brought any spares with her, she knew that she was going to have to where something else occasionally, so she had reluctantly tried several of them on, to more bizarre comments from Rika's mother. At one point though, when Rumiko presented her with a particularly skimpy looking bikini (for swimming, apparently), Aayla had point-blank refused to put it on.
And when Rumiko had asked why, it had only taken ten seconds of Aayla talking about the kinds of thing that happened to her people back in her universe before Rumiko swiftly put it back on the shelf. Nevertheless, Rumiko refused to let Aayla leave until she'd tried on at least twenty different things. By the time Aayla was back in her usual outfit, Renamon was in silent hysterics.
And then several reporters had homed in on her location, and Aayla had been forced to escape again under with Renamon's help.
In the days that followed, Aayla found herself hounded just about wherever she went, and while Yamaki said he was doing his best to keep the press restrained, an alien living on planet Earth was such big news that he was having a very difficult time of it, and Aayla shuddered to think how bad it would be without his help. It got so bad at one point that the reporters were refusing to let them leave the house via the gate without a report, so they had to resort to escaping over the wall and flying or leaping from roof to roof as the case might have been.
Aayla knew she would face the press and let the public know more about her eventually, but she first wanted the approval of this government of theirs. She wanted to know they were allowing her to stay before she let the public know more about her, so, in the meantime, she simply bore whatever she was given.
About a week after she arrived, and Yamaki finally called her into the HYPNOS towers, where several governors were there waiting for her, so they could discuss what to do about her. Yamaki had pointed out that Aayla couldn't exactly go home anymore thanks to the fact that Beelzemon could no longer use the portals, and many of the governors had looked at her with scrutiny, asking her to demonstrate some of her talents and questioning her about her intentions, to which Aayla answered with complete honesty.
Yamaki had been right about some of the politicians not liking this at all, and one or two of them had been particularly against the idea:- "We already allow dangerous beings from one universe besides out own to reside in our city. Are we going to open up our resources to any universe that comes knocking?"
At which point Aayla had stepped in to address these men with, "If I may interject here, good sirs, I have no wish to cause any unnecessary stress or difficulties, but I came here simply because I couldn't bear the thought of being separated from my best friends, the Digimon and their Tamers, for the rest of my life. And I feel I should point out that I am only one extra being to add to your universe, and I have no intention of being a burden. I am aware that this world has its problems, and why you might consider me to be just another one, but all I wish to do it help. As I pledged to the Digimon God, my skills are at your service, and I will do everything I can to assist the Digimon in the defence of this world and everyone in it."
Yamaki had later admitted that she was impressed, as Aayla had gone on to fully explain the values and principals of the Jedi Order and what they, and therefore she, stood for. There were still many rather cruel-sounding suggestions made – a couple of them insisted that this was a scientific case and Aayla should be carted off to a special facility to be held captive and studied. The nearby Digimon bristled at this (apparently, these people had suggested the same thing with regards to them), but Aayla had been unperturbed and continued with her story, adding in persuasive arguments here and there and countering their arguments at every turn.
By the end of her arguments, the politicians were beginning to come around to her way of thinking, although some of them with still some reluctance. The most adamant of them all made one final attempt to have his say by stating that they should confiscate Aayla's lightsabers, as they were dangerous weapons that could easily harm someone.
This time he was shot down by Yamaki, who claimed that if he was going to do that then he might as well confiscate the claws and teeth and other various weapons of the Digimon, as they could also be considered dangerous weapons, and so it was that the politicians eventually relented completely, and Aayla was granted permission to live on their planet. They didn't make her into a complete citizen, as they had not made the Digimon into technical citizens either, but Aayla was perfectly fine with that.
It meant she didn't need to get a job. Though Terriermon said later that she could always claim get a job as a new World of Warcraft character, to which Aayla replied that she'd prefer not to be involved in a war game, as she was, after all, meant to be a peacekeeper.
She was rather surprised when she was requested to go on something called a "talk show" by Yamaki after the meeting with the politicians though. She was unfamiliar with the concept, as the Holonet news was the only real form of communication to the public where she had come from and nothing else was considered necessary. When the idea behind it was explained to her, she was less than enthusiastic…
…But when Yamaki said that it would do a world of good getting rid of the reporters, and the Digimon mentioned that a couple of them had done something similar around a year ago, Aayla sighed and eventually agreed, asking that they get it over with as quickly as possible.
Yamaki's organisation was efficient, and Aayla found herself on live television two days later, being spoken to by a reasonably friendly man who was so excited at the prospect of being the one to interview her and bring this amazing news to the world that he almost hyperventilated when she walked onto his set. However, he kept his questions reasonable, straight-forward and easy and tried to curb as much of his curiosity as possible.
This may have been because several of the Digimon had walked onto the set with Aayla and were standing around her like sentinels, and also that whenever they judged that he was going too far with his questions, the earpiece jammed against the side of the host's face emitted a growling sound, which the man knew to be Cyberdramon growling a warning into the microphone at the other end. So, he limited his questions to the straight-forward facts; such as the biology of her species and what her lekku were for, her universe and home planet, the Jedi Order and their morals, her relationship with the Digimon, her decision to follow them into their universe and her plans for the future.
Aayla answered them all simply and easily enough, knowing that by the end of the week, billions of people would have seen this conversation. However, that was nothing. On Coruscant when you made a statement, over a trillion people saw it when it was happening, and quadrillions more across the Galaxy were likely to see or hear it at some point later on.
Even after the talk-show, Aayla still got many requests from other television programs asking her to come and feature in one of their programs and several reporters coming round the Nonaka household to try and ask her some more questions, but each time Aayla politely refused, using the exact same words:-
"I did not come to this planet to be a celebrity. I got more than enough of that at home, and I did not particularly enjoy the attention then either. All I want is to do my duty and simply enjoy the life I share with my friends, old and new."
There was a noticeable change in the amount of attention from the press when it became quite clear that Aayla had no interest in speaking to them whatsoever, and within a month, they stopped calling completely, and life was much easier and better as a result.
However, that did not stop the public from continuing to stare at her whenever she walked past with the Digimon or the Tamers, but the Digimon merely assured her that this was the regular sort of thing she would have to put up with and that they had learned by now that their group preferred to be left alone, so she was very rarely approached directly by adult strangers.
Children, on the other hand, were a common occurrence, many of them bounding towards her with uncurbed excitement and asking them if they could have an autograph or their picture taken with her. Aayla had to admit that these encounters she did not mind so much, as they were usually fairly amusing, and she and the Digimon promptly made a game of it – seeing how many different poses they could come up with for the shot, as they too were still often asked for the same things.
A lot of the kids seemed to prefer it when she levitated them in the air, or stood beside them with her lightsabers drawn. But no matter how many kids asked her, she refused to let any of them hold one her lightsabers themselves.
"They are not toys," she murmured to each kid that asked. "A lightsaber is a Jedi's life. They are lethal weapons that take a lot of self-discipline and skill to use for most things, let alone wield them efficiently. I would rather that you did not accidentally decapitate yourself, and believe me when I say that people in my world have done that."
That shut the kids up pretty quickly.
Eventually though, everything seemed to settle into routine for Aayla, and she got used to the stares and the whispering of the public quicker than you might expect. There was more of it than there had been even on Coruscant, because on that planet she looked just like any random Twi'lek from a distance, but here, she stuck out like a coffee stain on a carpet.
Nevertheless, she still managed to relax into her new routine with relative ease and she began to do exactly what she had come to this universe to do – enjoy her life and hang around with her friends.
Whenever they were out of their houses, and during most of the time they were in them, the Super Seven were almost never apart. They went everywhere together and did almost everything together, and whenever they split up, they were usually within talking distance of their mind-link so they could still communicate efficiently even then. Aayla found she rather enjoyed the lifestyle in itself. It was far less quiet then it had been in the Jedi Temple, but the company, the food and the entertainment facilities of the city which Aayla had not often had the opportunity to do on Coruscant were more than adequate to make up for it.
There was something extremely satisfying with just going to a cinema to watch a film with her friends. And the best part was that most places seemed to like to give her things for free. Aayla was not usually the type to take advantage of something like this, but since she didn't have any Earth money, she didn't want her friends who did to pay extra for her, the people seemed quite eager and she got most things for free as a Jedi back home anyway, she merely accepted with a thank you. Especially since the Digimon often got things for free too.
They didn't even use seats at the cinema. They just perched comfortably against the wall or on the railing or something.
Months slowly passed, in which Aayla grew closer to each of the individuals that made up the entire group of Tamers, until she was firm friends with each of them. She dropped by to the school a couple of times to see how things got on for them there, and she even struck up a friendly relationship with Ms. Asaji.
There was one particularly amusing lesson in which she sat in the corner to see how things worked, and kept a careful eye on the class, so that whenever Takato, Kazu or Kenta, or any of the other students for that matter, took their eyes off the board or got distracted, she would use the Force to slow pull their heads back around and glue their eyes to the board for several minutes before releasing them again, causing snickering from the Digimon sitting with her.
Time gradually passed on, and Aayla's bond with the rest of the group grew further still. She used her skills with mechanics to fix a couple of rusted wires in Guardromon's chest cavity, supplying him with extra power to the jet thrusters in his back so that he could fly faster, for which the robot was extremely grateful. There was a time when, just for the hell of it, she took a ride on Behemoth, standing on the motorcycle's seat and moving as if she was surfing with her lekku shooting out behind her.
She would occasionally go for rides on the other Digimon too, most notably Growlmon and Kyubimon. There were numerous times where she proved to be a source of hilarity for the group by levitating Calumon in the air so that he was a few inches out of reach of a cream-puff for a few seconds, before she dropped him and they watched him practically swallow the thing hole. And she even consented to join the occasional game of tag, which she usually won.
But while she spent far more time goofing around than she had ever done on Coruscant, she never failed to uphold her vow to Master Yoda and the rest of the Jedi Council. Just about every morning and evening during the changing light, she could be seen on the roof of the Nonaka household, swinging her lightsabers to keep herself in practice, levitating objects with the Force or just plain meditating, communing with the flow of energy around her and allowing it to fill her up, just as she did back home.
For a couple of months, she never really had an opponent to face off against in her lightsaber practices, as she didn't have any practice blades to hand and the ones she had were quite capable of slashing through an opponent if they weren't that careful. Eventually though, Rika and Ryo came up with a solution to that particular problem and suddenly, Aayla found herself facing off frequently against none other than Cyberdramon.
Both Rika and Ryo had managed to obtain special Modify Cards for among their ever-expanding collections called Lobomon's Light Swords. Aayla was fascinated when she beheld the picture of Lobomon – he was essentially a Digimon that wielded swords very similar to lightsabers in design, though perhaps not quite as deadly. However, unlike Aayla's regular blades, they did have a power setting, which meant they could be altered to be able to cut through most objects like a lightsaber to only causing a light burn like a practice one.
From that day one, Ryo used the card to give Cyberdramon a pair of these swords, while Renamon also received a pair and passed them to Aayla. Cyberdramon took to the sparring with a will – Aayla was a powerful warrior like Renamon and had long since earned the dragon's respect, though Ryo was always on hand just in case he got carried away. Of course Cyberdramon was bigger and more powerfully built than Aayla, but then again, Pong Krell had been the same, and Aayla usually ended up winning the practice fights to begin with.
Cyberdramon was not much of a swordsman to start off with, but he gradually improved as time passed, and Aayla was forced to utilise more and more of her skills and techniques to best him, until it looked for all the world like the two of them were really trying to kill each other. Curiously enough, Ryo hardly ever had to step in and stop Cyberdramon. He seemed to relish the fighting but he hardly went overboard for some reason. Perhaps his respect for Aayla was growing the more they fought together, so he was reaching a point where striking to kill was never even crossing his mind.
This sparring had an unforeseen side-effect too. Cyberdramon became noticeable calmer and less prone to lashing out or snarling in anger whenever the slightest thing irritated him. Ryo theorised that the frequent sparring was helping to vent his constant aggression. Of course, whenever Cyberdramon smelled a real fight, he automatically went back into bloodlust mode, but in more social situations he was a lot less highly strung, and that was nothing but a good thing.
For there was indeed a small amount of fighting to be had over the next few months, as a few random Digimon ended up bio-emerging into the Human World and panicking. The first case was when a large Yasyamon appeared in the middle of the downtown area and charged about, smashing things with its swords as it tried to figure out what was going on.
Aayla and Terriermon had been in the nearby area at the time, and both of them had sensed the presence of the Digimon, through either its mere presence or the fluctuation in the Force caused by its appearance. Either way, Aayla had promptly proven herself more than capable in the fight that followed, facing off against the other double-blades opponent and swiftly dancing backwards as he slashed at her in a panic, before bringing her own swords into play.
It was all over in a matter of moments. She activated her lightsabers and span into the attack, hacking straight through both of the Yasyamon's blades before it knew what was happening, while Terriermon shot into the attack behind her. Both of them sprang at the same time and the Rookie hit the Armor Digimon at the same time, Terriermon ramming him in the chest with a Terrier Tornado while Aayla slammed her foot into the side of its head in a huge sweep kick, sending the Yasyamon crashing back into a wall, dizzy and disorientated.
From there, Aayla was able to use the Force to immobilise the Digimon while it was down, and as it struggled to escape, she gently used her mind to help soothe him before calmly explaining what was going on and that they could get him back to his world safely if he just calmed down. And so they led him back to Guilmon's hut and he departed without a particle of data being shed.
And Aayla proved herself in battle in several other cases as well, using the Force to guide Guardromon's missiles into a very precise chink in the armour of a Reptiledramon and using her Electric Judgement to counter the lightning blast of a Beetlemon and others besides. Some of her battles were caught on film, and any remaining doubts by the public and the politicians that she could be of some help vanished in these bouts.
In turn, Aayla gained even more respect from the rest of the Tamers, and she grew to respect them in turn, as they saw the different things that they could do with their own Digimon. She wondered how much smoother the war might have gone if they had all been brought into her universe with them.
Despite how much Aayla enjoyed her new life, helping the Digimon to protect the citizens of Earth, there were several times when Aayla found it downright bizarre. Her first Halloween was one such example. She and most of the Tamers did not take part in the trick-or-treating, but Suzie, Ai and Mako, plus their own Digimon and Terriermon, did. Whenever people answered the door and saw Impmon and Terriermon standing outside, they practically gave away their entire stashes – they'd all heard the stories of what those two could do given time and incentive.
It was not the fact that the kids dressed up in costumes and went about asking for sweets that confused Aayla – in fact she found it to be quite amusing. What was disturbing for her was that she saw many of the young girls seemed to have attempted to dress up as her for some reason, and the costumes had varying degrees of accuracy, from nothing like her to eerily similar.
"I was under the impression that you were meant to dress up as scary things for this holiday," Aayla murmured to Renamon.
"You are, but a lot of people take it as an excuse to dress up as just about anything," Renamon agreed.
"Yeah, look at that one," Guilmon pointed to another girl in an angel costume. "That one's not scary at all, is it?"
"Trick or treat?" a couple of kids hesitantly came over to them and held out their sacks hopefully. Aayla smiled and levitated several packets of Starburst, a sweet which she herself had developed a liking for, and dropping them into the bags. The children beamed at her and ran off to celebrate.
The highlight of that night was when Aayla saw what looked suspiciously like a boy that had tried to dress up as her. She stared at the young human for several moments and then she murmured, "Okay… that… is scary."
Her companions belted out laughing, and when the others returned, Aayla promptly decided to give Terriermon a scare of his own, by using the Force to levitate several jack-o-lanterns that she, Takato and Guilmon had carved out… although they were made of pineapples instead of pumpkins.
Aayla's first Christmas was also an incredibly weird experience, but she enjoyed it immensely nevertheless. She looked incredibly weird in a Santa hat, and Calumon somehow managed to convince her to wrap tinsel around both her arms. The festivities seemed to bemuse her for the most part, but she had a lot of fun at the Christmas dinner round the Nonaka household, which seemed to feature just about everybody she knew in this universe at some point at least.
It had been a strange experience to have to keep the presents for Renamon and Terriermon a secret from both of the mated pair, as the other one would not be surprised in the least if the other one knew what they were getting thanks to their mind-link. She received a multitude of bizarre presents from the rest of the group on this day. Some, like a few chocolates, were nice and thoughtful, but some were just plain weird:-
For example, Takato had designed a home-made Digimon card that had been based off her, and proudly presented it to her on this day. Aayla stared at her likeness on the small piece of cardboard and noted that Takato had given this "Aaylamon" attacks called Light Saber, Force Shockwave and Electric Judgement, but she was nonetheless quite touched that Takato had gone to this length for her.
"Thank you, Takato. It's wonderful," she smiled.
Takato beamed and Terriermon sniggered and added, "Maybe we should try to create a real, Aaylamon."
"Well, I think that might be going a bit far," Aayla chuckled, as she placed the card on the mantelpiece, propping it up against the holopicture of the Tenacious Ten that they had taken on their last day together with care.
She also couldn't work out for the life of her why Suzie had decided to buy her a box of magic tricks, but it didn't take her that long to master them, and even added in her own flair to them with her natural abilities with the Force.
Eventually, six months to the day since the Super Seven had arrived back in Tokyo, and the whole group were currently on holiday in Okinawa with Takato's cousin, Kai. This seemed to be one of their favourite retreats, and it was easy to see why, as it was a beautiful location and made an absolutely wonderful getaway.
Henry was currently guiding little Suzie along as they swam several metres beneath the surface of the crystal-clear waters of the ocean. They were completely devoid of oxygen tanks, and were getting their air through small rebreathers that Aayla had constructed using her basic knowledge of the technology from her universe. She had made several other similar constructions similar to devices in their own universe, working with the Monster Makers and astounding them with the things which she could produce.
She had waved off their praise, claiming that there was no need to be astounded by her skill as she had not been the one to invent the devices in the first place – she just knew how to build them. But they were impressed with her prowess nevertheless, to which Aayla had responded, "I'm not half as good as Anakin is with machinery, believe you me."
Having constructed several of these rebreathers for the group and making a few modifications to some of them so that even the Digimon could use them, several of them were exploring the reefs around the islands and staring in wonder at all the different kinds of tropical fish. Even Renamon had consented to join in the dive, but it had taken her quite a while to convince her due to the fact that her fur was going to be soaked and full of salt afterwards, but now the fox was enjoying the experience as she stared into the eyes of a large moray eel that looked like it was trying to hiss at her defiantly.
Lopmon and Impmon were both swimming side by side not far away. The relationship between the two of them had blossomed over the last six months, and they were had been pronouncing themselves as an official couple during the latter half of that time. They were not mates yet, but they were almost as inseparable now as Renamon and Terriermon were, and as they swam side by side now, the two of them were holding hands with each other. Normally you wouldn't expect Impmon to display such "mushy" behaviour, but wherever Lopmon was concerned, his tough image fell apart completely.
Their relationship was celebrated by everyone on the team, and Renamon had pointed out to her that she had said she wanted a mate when she had first found out that Terriermon and Renamon had been mated.
"True," Lopmon had said, "But who would have thought it would be Impmon?"
"I can scarcely believe it either," Renamon had chuckled.
Currently now, Suzie was swimming relatively close to a small angelfish and beaming around her rebreather at the pretty colours and patterns made by the sun on the surface of the water rippling against its skin, while the others around her were all inspecting similar wildlife, include parrotfish, clownfish and a lionfish which Terriermon was maintaining a wary distance from as he circled it.
But when Suzie looked up, she blanched and almost lost her rebreather as a huge dark silhouette slowly moved its way out of the blueness ahead of them, eliciting a short cry of shock as she did so that immediately caught the attention of everyone else. The whole group turned around and stared in astonishment as the massive form loomed towards them at a steady and easy pace.
Henry's eyes nearly bugged out of his head when it became more distinct and swam closer. It was a whale shark – the biggest fish in the whole ocean, and each of them stared at the majestic creature in awe. In body, it appeared to be even larger than Plesiomon, and it was every scuba diver's dream to swim with one of these magnificent plankton-feeding fish.
But one additional detail that made everybody stare in astonishment was the fact that Aayla was sitting on the top of its head, clad in the bathing suit that Rumiko had bought for her on her very first day, rebreather tucked in her own mouth, and her eyes shining as the whale shark moved closer to the group. They each watched in astonishment as the shark moved past them, it enormous wide mouth coming within a mere few metres of Henry and Suzie and then began to do one long, slow circuit around the group, Aayla perched in her position the entire time.
Each of the group moved over to the giant fish and laid their hands on it in amazement, feeling the rough, spotted skin under their fingers with awe. Then, when the shark had done a complete circuit of the group, Aayla sprang off its head and swum down in front of it to scratch it under the chin a few times like a pet dog, before she moved aside and allowed it to swim on its way.
The whole group kicked their way up to the surface and pulled out their rebreathers once they broke through the water.
"Aayla!" Henry grinned widely. "That was fantastic! How the hell did you manage to do that?"
Aayla laughed. "I was using the Force to rudimentarily communicate with him, basically just assuring him that U was a friend and that you people could be trusted, and the shark itself did the rest. I have to admit that your planet is amazingly bountiful, like Naboo but without the Sando Aqua Monsters."
"Well you just made one of my dreams come through with that," Henry beamed.
"Did I ever tell you that you were epic?" Terriermon asked the Twi'lek.
"We should try and get you a mermaid costume!" Suzie grinned. "You would make such a cool mermaid, Aayla!"
Aayla blushed and a few minutes later and the group were striking back for the shoreline, moving into the shallows and wading through the surf and onto the beach. She took a moment to gaze out across the sand and the waterfront, where the rest of the Tamers were having the time of their lives.
Ai and Mako had managed to build a rather impressive sand-castle with a little help from Guardromon, who proved himself to be surprisingly good with his hands when it came to compacting sand. Kazu, Kenta and Takato and his cousin, Kai, were running about wildly with water blasters, occasionally dashing to refill at the ocean before they leapt back in to try and soak the others as best they could.
Guilmon and MarineAngemon were playing together in the surf, the former searching for the latter as he kept disappearing under the surface, before popping up somewhere out of Guilmon's line and saying, "Bazinga," before he dropped back out of sight again and Guilmon resumed trying to find him.
Cyberdramon was standing sentinel on the trunk on a nearby palm tree, while Ryo relaxed against the base of the same tree to keep in the shade and watch the proceedings, while Jeri sunned herself nearby, Elecmon dozing behind her. Jeri's attempts to kick back, however, were not long for this world, because at that moment, Kazu and Kenta suddenly bolted over to her and turned their water blasters on her. Jeri yelped as she was liberally soaked from head to toe, before Kazu and Kenta ran off, laughing their heads off.
Jeri sprang to her feet and made to pursue them, but Rika stepped over to intercept her and gave her a quick wink as she murmured, "Hold on, Jeri. Don't get mad at them. Let Aayla take care of this one."
The red-headed Tamer turned towards the Twi'lek and gave her a nod, which the cerulean skinned woman returned with a smile of her own. Then, she shut her eyes, delving into the Force and drawing it into herself as she slowly spread her arms out to the sides and flipped her palms upwards. Behind her, the sea began to churn as the waves lapping against their feet began to raise higher, forming thin swirling columns around their feet which rose higher into the air until they looked like miniature cyclones that came up to Aayla's head.
Without looking at what she was doing, Aayla began to slowly move her hands gracefully in measured, leisurely motions before and to either side of her body, like a dancer in slow motion and with her bare feet remaining fixed to the spot, as the water behind her began to thicken and grow in quantity, slowly moving round in rivulets with her hand motions, water splitting away from the main cyclones wherever she moved her hands, until it began to form an intricate lattice in the air that rose higher and higher with each passing second.
It was eventually as tall as a tree and closely resembled one without leaves and made of liquid. All activity on the beach ceased as they stared at Aayla's incredible feat of telekinesis in wonder. Aayla rarely showed off her talents like this, and whenever she did it was always a treat.
But Aayla wasn't done yet. With her water lattice complete, she spread out her arms once more and slowly began to raise them into the air. Kai, who not seen this kind of thing before, was the most amazed as Aayla's body gently lifted itself completely off the ground, her toes leaving the sand and rising upwards, spinning in slow, even circles as another pair of water columns rose on either side of her, twisted around her body to form a double spiral as she floated higher, until she was right in the centre of her lattice of water.
Then, she opened her eyes and smirked, the water columns besides her congealing into one beneath her and sending her shooting straight upwards on a geyser, as Aayla brought her hands together in front of her. The entire water formation suddenly flung itself outwards, collapsing to the beach and surging up the sand in a flood which engulfed the started Kazu and Kenta and pulled them under the surface, before retreating back into the sea and leaving them coughing and spluttering on the tideline.
Aayla landed smoothly behind them despite her massive drop and smirked down at them. "Let that be a lesson to you two. Never pick on a girl when she's sunbathing."
"Oh yeah?" Kazu shook his head to get the water out of his hair. "Well… what about when she's not!" They both whirled around and fired their full water blasters right at Aayla. Instead of hitting her, the water jets curled around in mid-air and swept into the faces of the two boys instead, making them splutter until they stopped pulling the triggers.
"Even then, it's not a good idea," Aayla chuckled as she stepped between them, to the applause of the rest of the group.
"Aayla's the best of the best of the best!" Calumon cheered as he randomly burst out of one of Ai and Mako's sandcastles (nobody had any idea how he'd managed to get in there).
"Yeah, I wish that I could do that," Guilmon grinned as he stepped over to her, and allowed Aayla to rub him between his strange bat-wing ears.
Jeri chuckled and said, "You know what? I'm really glad you decided to come to our universe, Aayla. I get the feeling that if trouble ever breaks out again… you've definitely got our backs."
"Thank you, Jeri. Thank you everybody," Aayla smiled around at the whole group. "I do not regret coming to live with all of you whatsoever, and there has not been a moment since I arrived that I have."
"Not even when that jerk back home told you to go back where you came from and called you a blue-skinned bitch?" Takato asked.
Aayla shrugged. "Not even then. He was either drunk or trying to be deliberately cruel, and I have long since learned not to listen to what people in either of those categories say. Besides, it was his mistake to say that in front of Cyberdramon."
Cyberdramon somehow managed to growl and laugh at the same time as he bared his viciously pointed teeth.
"Well," said Renamon, as she moved forwards with a large cooler in her paws and opened it to reveal several various soft drinks and scooped out a bottle of Fanta. "I know that it might be a little unconventional, but I would like to propose a toast. A toast to all of us:- to every human, every Digimon, and to our proudest new addition from the planet Ryloth. May the bonds which we share never fall apart of be destroyed as long as we still stand."
"Amen to that," Terriermon and Lopmon chuckled at the same time as each of them moved over and pulled out a drink from the cooler. "To our team."
"To our team," everybody echoed, as they unscrewed the bottles and took a swig. Aayla felt her face trying to contort into a grin, so she let it. She might have had to abandon many friends to come here, some of whom were so close to her heart that they were almost family. But here, she had yet another family, the family that the Tamers had previously had before they became a part of hers.
She wondered what Anakin, Ahsoka and Barriss were doing with themselves at this point, six long months after Aayla and the Digimon had disappeared from their lives.
She didn't know.
But what she did know was that here, her life was filled with nothing but happiness, love and contentment, and that was all she really needed and all that she had come for. And she was loving every minute of it.
She also was pretty sure she knew what was going to happen next. And she was right.
"Anyone up for another group hug?" Terriermon grinned.
Aayla and several of the others laughed, before they obliged. Aayla held her companions close, eyes closed and smile in place. They were all that she was ever going to need, and she knew that no matter what remaining hardships or strange experiences she had to go through as she continued her life on Planet Earth, she would be able to cope with them all with ease while her friends stood beside her throughout.
"Alright then," she said, as the Super Seven separated again. "Who wants to go and see if I can find an actual whale this time instead of a whale shark?"
"I'm game if you guys are," Lopmon laughed, and the small group turned around and dashed back into the salty water once more.
"I wonder what Aayla and the others are doing right now," Ahsoka murmured as she stared out at the beautiful lake before her and the picturesque mountains behind it. She was perched on the thick stone banister of one of the many shaded balconies that overhung the lakeside, relatively near to the spot where Anakin and Padmé had apparently got married, her legs swinging down over the surface of the water.
"No idea," Barriss sighed, from where she was leaning her arms on the same banister next to her. "But whatever it is, I'm sure they're enjoying themselves."
"I should hope so," Ahsoka chuckled. "Still, it would be nice to know for sure."
"You regret not going with them?" asked the Mirialan.
"Sometimes," Ahsoka nodded. "But I know I still had to finish my studies at the Temple and I wasn't about to leave my Master, who wasn't going to go because of Padmé, who wasn't going to go because of her Senatorial duties. Still, I do sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had gone. What about you?"
"Well, I'd have to say the same," Barriss agreed. "Sometimes I might lapse into a little daydream about might-have-beens. But despite our bond, I didn't know the Digimon as well as you did. And besides, you're my best friend, aren't you?"
"Thanks, Barriss," Ahsoka smiled. "You're my best friend too."
Barriss grinned slightly and then chuckled. "Although," she added. "I wonder if Aayla and the others still picture you in the same way that they did when they last saw you."
Ahsoka laughed. During the six months where they had been apart, the young Togruta had seen a rather startling period of growth. She was now slightly taller than Barriss herself, and her striped lekku and montrals had both extended quite a bit in length and become slightly thicker and more filled out. She'd started to grow out of her usual outfit, and had so replaced it with another, more comfortable one. For some reason, she now wore four rust-red bands around each upper arm, and when Anakin and Barriss had asked her why she had just said:-
"I don't know. I just quite like it."
The two of them quietly turned their minds to the events of the last few months without their old friends. After Aayla and the Digimon had departed, the Republic had started to settle back into its old routine ways before the Clone Wars, but with several additional differences. The people of Kalee, for instance, were most grateful for the support from the Republic, and when they had learned of General Grievous' contributions to the Republic's war effort and that fact that it had been him who insisted they get that support, the people of Kalee had immediately moved to join the Republic.
Previous Chancellors might have been a little apprehensive about allowing such a war-like race into their fold, but Bail had been more than willing to let them, to help make up for the role the Republic had made in their suffering and to honour their agreement with Grievous himself. Apparently Grievous spent the majority of his days now simply brooding in the corner of his cell and not looking at anybody.
He didn't even come out at meal-times, but that might be because he didn't actually eat anything. What was left of his body was supported by his cybernetic form, after all.
Bane had yet to re-surface after the Clone Wars, and nobody had any idea whatsoever as to where he might have gone. But he had stayed firmly out of the war with the Hutts that had indeed started shortly after the capture of Jabba, not siding with either the Republic or the Hutts. Ahsoka and Barriss weren't sure whether that might have been because he had no desire to fight against the Republic just yet, or he was just looking out for his own personal interests.
In any case, the thirty million that he had received from Senator Chuchi and the additional credits from Sidious and Aayla would be more than enough to sustain him for quite a while.
The war with the Hutts itself had been extremely brief – far briefer than the Clone Wars in that it had only lasted a week. The Hutts had surrendered to the Republic extremely quickly, and there was a reason for that.
During the Clone Wars, the A-Team's key to their successes had been the concealment of the Digimon from anyone who might be able to tell the Separatists about them.
In the war with the Hutts, they did pretty much the exact opposite. The departure of Aayla and the Digimon had been quite a closed affair and the majority of the Republic had not been informed that several of their heroes had gone for a couple of weeks after they had left. Anakin had led the strike against the Hutts after the Bounty Hunters who served the giant slugs had attacked freight ships for the Republic, and had declared that if the Hutts didn't surrender quickly, the Digimon were going to unleash everything in their arsenal on them.
Of course, the Digimon had not been there, but the Hutts did not know that. Nevertheless, they refused to surrender, believing that the Republic would not do something like that, as if they did, they were more than likely to accidentally kill all the Hutts and the slaves that they had in their possession.
And they had been right.
But Anakin and the rest of his team had been shrewd enough to find a way around that, and, through the use of some very clever holograph manipulations by Artoo, that resembled flashing lightning and flying diamond shards, huge swarms of missiles from various gunships that struck the ground close to the Hutt's domicile, and the thundering footfalls of Godzillo, who had been called off his planet one last time to help them out, they had managed to deceive the Hutts into thinking that the Digimon really were coming to destroy them all.
The Hutts had panicked and immediately surrendered. All their Bounty Hunters had been arrested and the slaves released once more, and it wasn't until after all the fat slugs were behind ray shields that Anakin had dropped the figurative bomb and told them that the Digimon had actually gone home a couple of weeks ago.
Needless to say, the Hutts had not been very happy, and they had demanded a fair trial. And that had been when another development arose – Ziro the Hutt had boldly slid forwards to claim that he had a lot of dirt on the Hutt Council in the form of a hidden holodiary, and would gladly give him up in exchange for his release.
It had taken hours of negotiation, but eventually, they had managed to come to an agreement with the Hutt – he would be released from prison but would still be heavily monitored by the Republic and would be taken straight back again if he tried anything, and he would additionally have to look after Rotta the Huttlet and raise him to be a respectable person if that was at all possible, with the Jedi dropping in from time to time to ensure that he was fulfilling his end of the bargain.
Ziro had not been happy about this, but he had eventually agreed, and led them to Teth where the holodiary was stored. Its contents had been more than enough to convict the rest of the Hutt Council, and they had all gone to jail, leaving Ziro free, but stuck on Coruscant with his great-nephew to care for.
After that, the three remaining Jedi had been sent on several missions to help Separatist-aligned planets that which to re-join the Republic to do so. But when that in itself was done… there really had not been very much for any of them to do. There was the occasional border dispute, or Bounty Hunter that needed to be caught, and at one point, a few Geonosians had attacked the planet Iego to try and get the old droid factory there running again, so the Transcendent Trio, as the Republic had started calling them, had gone to deal with that little escapade.
But then, the Republic seemed to settle down into a new era of order and peace.
Ahsoka had once wondered how she and Anakin would ever adjust to a life without war after they had been fighting for so long, but she was actually finding it rather enjoyable. The peace meant that she could take things a bit more easily than during times of war, and she had seen noticeable changes in everyone else too.
The clones continued to serve the Republic as best they could, and Chancellor Organa had helped to oversee the construction of the memorial proposed by Aayla right on the day that Sidious had been defeated. It now stood, tall and proud, outside the Senate Building, but there were so many names that needed to be put on it that they had to integrate a holoscreen on each of its four sides that continuously cycled through the CT number and name of every clone that had been found dead or was missing in action in the final conflict.
After that, Bail had started to organise better accommodation for the clones than the barracks they all lived in currently, beginning the construction of several new apartment complexes throughout Coruscant that would allow the clones to live in their own separate houses if they so wished. The clones had all been extremely grateful to Bail for this, but Bly and Rex had modified the plan a little, as the clones were so used to one another's company that each apartment should have the facilities to house at least five of them. That ensured the clones were kept happy and saved of resources because only a fifth of the original number of apartments had to be built.
Chewbacca had made his farewells to the rest of the group shortly after the Digimon he was supposed to guard had left, before he made his way home to Kashyyyk once more, where he and the rest of his family had decided to officially make Zarza the Varactyl into their own pet, if you could call a lizard who was twice and big and just as smart as you are a pet. There probably wasn't an actual word for what you could describe their relationship with Zarza.
Senator Chuchi had received a huge amount of praise from the people of Pantora for her role in the destruction of the Sith, and Chuchi's confidence had been massively bolstered by the support of both them and her fellow Senators, allowing her to put forth her own opinion in the Senate in the knowledge that people were actually listening to what she had to say.
Orn Free Taa had been called out and unseated by the Twi'lek people of Ryloth, his former close alliance with the Sith and his accomplices making sure that he received little support from his fellow supporters. Cham Syndulla had taken his place shortly afterwards, and already Ryloth was beginning to see signs of change. There were still holes in the defences that the slave traders kept managing to get through, but, for the most part, Aayla's people could relax in the knowledge that the chances of them getting kidnapped in the night had plummeted incredibly.
And finally, Numa and Gabumon seemed to be faring relatively well in their new home. The little Twi'lek girl had been upset beyond measure when she had learned that the others had had to leave without coming to say goodbye, but she had been comforted by her partner and had understood the reasons behind their departure.
Life on Saleucami so far seemed to agree with Numa. The climate was better than on Ryloth, and she had a fully-functioning family once again. They might not be blood relatives but the Lawquanes were more than good enough to supply her with the love and affection that a child of her age with her past needed.
And now, six months later, the Galaxy seemed to have mostly fallen into place, allowing Ahsoka and Barriss to take a holiday from their duties at the Temple and come here to Padmé's family's retreat house in the Lake Country on Naboo, a place named Varykino, to rest and relax and generally enjoy themselves away from their Jedi duties.
"It's peaceful here, isn't it?" Barriss murmured.
"Yeah," nodded Ahsoka. "Sometimes I wish we could have spent some time with the Digimon during peace like this." She chuckled and added, "I remember how Henry always used to complain that we never seemed to have a break for longer than two to three days between missions."
Barriss smiled and said, "True, but could you imagine how much of a mess this place would be within a week of Terriermon living in it?"
"That… is a good point," Ahsoka snorted.
"What are you guys talking about?" Anakin asked and he strode out onto the balcony, arm in arm with his wife, who was leaning against him and not particularly caring who saw them at this particular moment. The two of them still had not made their relationship public, and had no plans to in the near future, but as long as they were only around Ahsoka and Barriss (and C-3PO and R2-D2, who moved out onto the balcony behind them) they knew that they were fine.
"Oh, we were just wondering what might have happened if we had either gone with the Digimon and Aayla or if they had stayed," Ahsoka replied as her Master and his wife stepped up beside her.
"You miss them, don't you?" Anakin asked.
"Don't you?" Ahsoka echoed.
"Of course," Anakin replied with a sigh. "I often wonder the same thing myself actually. It's hard to believe that is been a year since we met them for the first time, and half that time has passed since they left for their own world once more."
"I know," Barriss nodded sadly, but then added, "But wherever they are, I'm one-hundred percent sure that they wouldn't want us to dwell on the past, and not just because that's not what Jedi are supposed to do anyway. They're probably enjoying themselves and we should too."
"You're right, of course, Barriss," Anakin nodded. "Let's just sit back and enjoy the peace of this beautiful place, right?"
"Absolutely," nodded Ahsoka, as the three Jedi stared out across the lake, closing their eyes and allowing the Force to flow through them for a moment, enhancing the feeling of serenity on their bodies that an ordinary human could not hope to achieve.
Padmé glanced across at them for a moment and said, "You are of course right, but it never hurts to look to the future from time to time, does it? Surely you Jedi know better than anyone that you should never say never, right? There is every chance that they may find a way of getting back to you one day. After all, their species do have extraordinary talents like that."
"Not all of them, but I'll bet some of them do, yes," Ahsoka agreed.
"Well, there you have it," Padmé beamed. "I might not be able to sense the future like you Jedi sometimes can, but… well, I have a feeling that you'll see them again one day. I could be completely wrong, but… for some reason, I don't think so."
Anakin smiled and said, "Did I ever tell you that I love you Padmé?"
"Many times," Padmé replied with a smile. "But it never hurts to hear it one more time. And just for the record, I love you too, Anakin."
They kissed each other again, and Ahsoka snickered and cooed, "Aaaw. Feel the mushiness. You two are so cute together, and Master Skywalker can't be called cute in any other context."
"Oh, really?" Anakin asked as he pulled back, raising an eyebrow and glancing towards Barriss. Barriss grinned and suddenly darted forwards, placing her hands squarely on Ahsoka's back and giving her a shove off the balcony. Ahsoka yelped as she dropped about twenty feet into the lake water below and vanished with a splash.
The three of them peered over the edge, stifling giggles as Ahsoka resurfaced and hauled herself out onto the bank, water dripping from her lekku. She then looked up and gave Barriss a death-glare, growling, "I'll get you for that."
Barriss squealed and dashed back inside as Ahsoka Force-jumped back onto the balcony and chased her into the villa. Threepio turned around and shuffled in pursuit, crying, "Wait! You're going to get the carpets wet! And this place must look presentable for when Queen Neeyutnee arrives!"
Anakin and Padmé laughed as they heard the two young Jedi crashing their way through the building in a playful variation of tag, while Artoo made a whistling noise that sounded like a sigh of exasperation. The two of them then just leaned back against the banister to enjoy the feeling of being in each other's company and of the wind whiffling through their hair.
Their life might have been devoid of Digital Monsters, young Human children and one particular Twi'lek, but apart from that they could not be happier.
Several dimensions away, and a pair of pretty red eyes suddenly opened. Their owner had been quietly meditating, hovering several feet above the ground until that point, but now she felt a ripple passing up her spine and it was not a pleasant sensation. She shuddered visibly and slowly floated down to the earth, stepping forward several metres on legs so thin it bordered on ridiculousness, until she was staring out at the distant horizon with trepidation.
Her companions turned around to face her back as she moved away from them, easily noticing her concerned reaction.
"What is it?" one of them asked, from where he was sitting with his back against a tree. "Do you sense something?"
The red-eyed female turned around again and said, I am not sure but I think so. And whatever it was that I just sensed, it was definitely not pleasant, though it was also a very long way away. She turned to another red-eyed being and asked, Are you getting anything?
The other being shuddered as well, his black claws flexing and digging into the ground as he moved in circles on all four limbs. "Oh, I'm definitely getting something," he said. "Something very, very big is looming – I can sense it. Whatever it is, it's still a long time away, of that I'm sure. But it's there. Definitely there. Whatever this is, when it comes down, all hell is going to break loose."
That's what I feared, the female nodded.
The first speaker humphed after a moment and said, "Well, whatever it is that you two are sensing, it's none of our business. Nothing is out business anymore. After all, you do remember what happened the last time we tried to help out, don't you?"
The other beings nestled around the area all exchanged glances with each other, the two with red eyes focusing on each other for a long moment, before the female turned back to look out at the horizon, bringing up her slender arms to press her fingers together in agitation.
Somehow, she thought to herself. I get the feeling we might not have much of a choice.
And some distance away, a dark silhouette perched on the top of a mountain, long cloak billowing out behind him and huge spear held firmly in one hand, as he beheld the sprawling city at the foot of the mountain.
He chuckled to himself in a deep, rich voice and said, "Oh yes. This place will do nicely. Very nicely indeed."
GAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I just could not resist leaving the entire story on another cliffhanger. I'm sorry everybody, but I just couldn't stop myself. I tried, I swear, but my fingers just kept pushing at the buttons as if they had a will of their own. I have been declared the Emperor of cliffhangers before, and I hope that you guys all find this one a doozy.
On another note:-
This story, two-hundred and twenty chapters long, is finally over. It is the single longest thing that I have ever done in my life, and I hope that you all enjoyed the wild ride that it has taken us through, where two completely different sagas have been combined together with what I hope was more than a satisfactory result for you all!
I want to thank each and every one of you for your continued support in this, my pride and joy. This is, quite literally, the thing in my life that I am most proud of doing, in fact, I am on such a cloud right now, that I actually considered revealing my real name to all of you. I decided against doing that, in the end.
And the story saga is far from over. I have no plans to stop writing in the near future, although I am going to take a break for two months, in which I intend to do some very important uni assignments, including two expeditions that last for two weeks and are within five days of each other that would prevent me from writing anyway, allowing me to plan out not just the upcoming sequel to this story, but also the stand-alone story which I am planning to produce alongside it.
You heard me right, people. When I return in May, I will be writing two stories at the same time. And both of equal length to this one at least.
A particular shout-out must go to three of my reviewers. These include:-
Bookworm Gal, who has been with me ever since the prequel story and has reviewed every single chapter with generous reviews that have never failed to lift my spirits, and provided me with the inspiration of Fatemon and thereby allowed a whole new plotline for Impmon to evolve.
Geekgirl, who has been with me for almost as long and has also reviewed just about every single chapter, and has also been full of praise.
And Forcystus5, who joined the story at a later date, but still reviewed almost every single chapter and is about one of the most loyal reviewers that anybody could ask for.
The rest of you all deserve thank yous as well, and it's a shame that many reviewers seemed to fall by the wayside, but to those of you who are still here, thank you one and all:- WhiteWolfPrincess95, megacoldfusion, Movie-Brat, ECHO230, Diao Lover, zigmas, Count Mallet, NeoDarklight, Trife, dsgundam00, Mordalfus Grea, JapanRules555, Starowner, Justmerg, Zephyrclaws, White Keyblade Oathkeeper, and everybody else besides. You were a great audience, if you can call yourself that.
You can expect a special trailer fic for the next two stories within a week or so, but until then:-
Fergus Flamacron, signing off. Bye everyone. See you soon.
P.S. Happy extra day of the Leap Year everybody.
Coming up:- Story 3 : Quest of the Gods
And:- New Story : To Be a King