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Old 01-24-2008, 10:29 PM   #1
Emalin
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[FIN] Consumed

A/N: This fanfic began as a mere retelling of the Atton vs. Disciple duel. Over the course of its writing, however, it grew into something more, digging deeper into DS Atton's and LS Exile's minds until it became the story you're reading now. I hope it provides you not only with entertainment, but with food for thought. PLEASE NOTE that after the first post, the PoV alternates between Atton and the Exile. I've provided headers to indicate when it changes.




Consumed


You’re walking through the cathedral-like room, looking around in concern, your stance agitated. Oh, how sweet. You’re looking for her. Like any gentleman would.

My cracked lips twist in a smile as I watch you from behind a pillar. Some Jedi. You have no idea I’m watching your every move—and no idea you’re about to die.

When you start walking my way, I freeze every muscle of my body. Just like my old Sith masters taught me, I become as still as the statues in this room. My thoughts burn with the longing to step out as you approach, to thrust my saber into your gut and watch as your life and hopes spill out of you like blood.

But that’s not the climax I want. Every revenge story should have a striking ending. You’ll learn why you must die . . . and then you will, slowly and agonizingly. Besides, every gentleman deserves some last words.

I sense you pass by me. Slipping away from my hiding place, I glide after you. My footsteps are nonexistent, my breathing quieter than a corpse’s as I slip from shadow to shadow. I’m amazed by how naturally my assassin training has returned to me. Maybe I’ve always been a Sith at heart.

Suddenly, you stop, alerted to my presence. I’m so frustrated I want to spit, but I decide to snag this opportunity. Before you can turn around, I slink over to stand behind your shoulder.

“Hey, kid.”

Startled, you whirl around to face me, a response that’s more satisfying than a swig of juma. But when you see me straight on, your reaction has me drunk with pleasure. Translucent eyes—ash-gray skin—yeah, I know what I look like. One hundred percent Sith. But, like I care now.

“Atton?” A flurry of emotion crosses your face. “The Exile. Where is she?”

Of course you would ask about her. I shrug. “She’s safe. You don’t need to worry about her. You never did, really.”

Not like I did. You never cared about protecting her. You stole her from me.

But there’s no twinge of regret now, no flame of jealous anger. Only a gnawing hunger . . . a craving to kill.

I smile at the familiar feeling. It’s been too long, ol’ pal.

Striking a careless pose, I begin to circle you. Though I keep my voice casual, every word drips with my hatred for you—my enemy, my prey.

“You know how long it’s been since I’ve killed a Jedi? You get a taste for it, you know. I killed a bunch here on Malachor, while the planet was dying. Killing a half-Jedi like you should hold me over until the next one comes along.” I turn suddenly to face you, and my cloak snaps at the motion. “They always do, you know.”

Like a true Jedi wannabe, you stand your ground. Good; at least you’re no coward. That would wreck our whole climax.

“Atton”—is that a quaver in your voice?—“Kreia is using you.”

A memory pierces my thoughts. One of a witch clawing into my mind, breaking, destroying, pillaging. Then, a memory of her smiling coldly at me in her quarters as I’m shaking with rage, with pent-up tears . . . because of you.

Grimacing, I throw up an extra mental wall. You’re insightful, kid, but you’re no Master.

“Really? I had no idea.” My laugh makes you flinch. “Everyone uses each other, kid. And if she’s using me to kill you, as I see it, I really don’t lose anything.”

Except one thing.

Like a spark, the thought threatens to reignite the ashes of my feelings. I direct it instead towards my hunger for your blood.

“I already lost what mattered to me,” I say darkly. “I wanted to protect her . . . to help her . . . and then you show up, playing hero.” Fingering my saber, I growl, “Fine.”

“Atton, the feelings between the Exile and I—”

“Doesn’t matter. Not anymore. I had forgotten how much I hate Jedi. And the less of you that are in the galaxy, the better.”

My avowal of hatred acts like the wind on this planet—a brutal wind, but cleansing. It sweeps away the dead ashes of my feelings, leaving nothing but a vacuum. I’m left cold, numb, with no feeling at all.

I smirk at my victory. Now I can have my climax with no more blasted interruptions. I flick my saber on, unleashing the blood-red blade. It hisses like a viper in my hand.

“Ready to die, kid?” I ask tauntingly.

Your every muscle stiffens. Your eyes flame. What, are you angry? Are your Jedi delusions destroyed so easily?

No—you’re not angry. What are you, then? Your eyes are so bright I can’t look at them.

“I won’t fight you, Atton!”

Rage blossoms in me, but I cloak it with a cold expression. So . . . a Jedi to the last. “I don’t care. I just want you to die.”

With a single bound, I cover the distance between us.

Your saber clashes with mine in a blinding flash of green and red. I laugh. So much for Jedi pacifism.

Then, demons rage within my chest. Wolves howl in my ears. A similar howl escapes my throat, and all my demons are let loose. My mind is lost to the passions of battle. Hatred. Power.

The power of the Dark Side consumes me.

Last edited by Emalin; 01-24-2008 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 01-24-2008, 10:44 PM   #2
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------
Exile
------


Please tell me this isn’t happening.

I drop my head back against the wall behind me, growling in frustration. Then I peek cautiously around the corner to double-check. Yes, they’re there. Two Sith, robed and masked in black, are guarding the door into the next room. The room I need to pass through.

What is it about dark, palatial academies that attracts Sith like juma flies? Oh, yeah. They’re Sith academies. Before I can rail any further, I suck in a deep breath and stop myself. No. There is no emotion, there is peace.

And, with that, I step out coolly from my hiding place.

At first they don’t notice me. They seem locked in a heated argument, their voices hissing angrily at each other. But as I walk down the grand hallway, my footsteps echoing, the red floor lights casting silhouettes of me in every direction, they notice me. And they recognize me instantly as a Jedi.

For the Order.

I ignite my silver lightsaber, prepare mentally for battle—

—Until I’m broadsided by a mental alarm. A vision. Two men fighting, one dark-haired, one light-haired. They’re in a large room with a high ceiling supported by pillars. The sound of their clashing sabers echoes . . . echoes . . . echoes . . . .

Atton? Mical?

And just as suddenly as it came, the vision’s gone.

I’m stunned, speechless, until a searing revelation tears through my heart. “No!”

I’ve been so blind. I could’ve stopped this. I could’ve—

When a red energy beam fills my line of sight, Force precognition is all that saves me from getting my head sliced off. With an anguished cry, I turn on my enemies, my every strike desperate, unstoppable.

Please be there when I get there. I can save you. I can save you.



------
Atton
------


I smile at you in mock pity. “No one can save you.”

I’ve just cut off your hand, and your scream was music to my ears. I’ve just kicked away both halves of your severed lightsaber, and your look of despair was a feast to my eyes. Now I’m holding you up, both hands crushing your throat. Only the Dark Side could give me this strength. Another reason you Jedi won’t survive this millennium.

Your face turns blue; your remaining hand claws feebly at my fingers. I simply laugh and let the seconds tick by. Ten seconds, twenty seconds. Then I’m ready for the big finale. Reigniting my red blade, I bring it up close to your face, let you recognize it as your last sight in this life. And then I laugh. I can’t help but laugh.

“Wanna know what it felt like when you waltzed onto the Ebon Hawk?”

My blade stabs you in the heart. Swiftly and brutally.

“Like I lost that.”

You take a deep, shuddering breath. Agony ripples through you, like shockwaves from the stab wound, and I revel in the feel of it. Then the light flees from your pretty-boy eyes, and when I let go of your throat, your body falls to the floor with a heavy, fleshy thud.

Another Jedi passes.

For what feels like centuries, I stare down at you, your corpse awash in the red light of my saber. Then it hits me. I realize what I’ve just accomplished, and a rush of vicious glee fills me with heat.

It’s done. You’re dead, at my feet, by my hand!

Something burns me from the inside, begs me to move, to fight. Next thing I know, I’m slashing the air so fast that my blade’s a wall of red light. I don’t know how long I do it, but when I make my end strike—a swift uppercut—I let loose an Echani battle cry. “Ai!”

The vaulted ceiling echoes back: “Ai! Ai! Ai!”

Then all’s silent.

I stand there, staring upward, my breath coming in deep chugs. The burning feeling smolders away.

It’s done . . . I’ve killed you.

What I’ve lived for since Dantooine is done.

What I’ve
lived for.

What I’ve . . . .


For some reason, I pause. The thought hangs in my head. And then . . . the unexpected happens.

I feel empty. Like the bottom of my insides fell out. My eyes look at everything—the floor, the walls, the ceiling, your corpse—as I realize I hadn’t planned beyond this moment. Now that you’re dead, I can’t think of anything to live for.

It’s like a blaster bolt to my brain.

No purpose.
So empty.


Kreia didn’t tell me I’d feel so empty. She lied to me, the witch!

They all lied to me. Kreia, Pretty Boy, the Exile. Just like a Jedi to lie. They lie, they manipulate. Kreia manipulated me. The Exile . . . she manipulated me.

I hate her.
I hate her!
I hate them all!

Rage. Hunger. They sear my gut, shoot down my limbs, set my blood on fire. A voice whispers to my mind.

Kill Jedi again.

It’s my own voice, but darker. Full of power. My heart pounds in my ears; I find it hard to breathe.

You hate them, so kill them. Hunt them down wherever they’re hiding. Strangle them all with your bare hands.

It dawns on me. Of course! This is the answer, the perfect climax. When I was an assassin I had a vision, a purpose, but I buried it years ago during a flimsy guilt trip. Now it’s come back to embrace me again, like a long-lost lover. Ironic, but perfect.

You know what else is perfect? I’m gonna embrace it right back.

And it can all start here.

My lips warp into a voracious grin as the face of my next victim hovers before my eyes. Impulsively, I kiss my saber, envisioning doing the same to her as she lies dying. Then I slip away to conceal myself . . . and wait.

Oh yeah, she’s coming to me. Even now I can sense her presence in the Academy. Soon she’ll walk into this room, where she’ll get the shock of her life.

Heh. The whole thing’s twisted.

I laugh as I melt into the shadows behind a pillar.

I can hardly wait.
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Old 01-24-2008, 10:51 PM   #3
Emalin
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------
Exile
------


I approach the regal door, sleek and black like obsidian. My gloved hand grips the hilt of my saber. The aura of the room beyond screams of the Dark Side, and yet, on its ages-old bloodstained floor, there’s a fresh stain, so strong that I can smell it.

This is the room of my vision.

As I step up to the door, a barrage of negative emotions slams against me. Anger. Fear. Despair. I shut my eyes, try to remain stalwart, even as grief claws at me from within.

One of the men in my vision has died. When I walk through this door, whose glassy, unseeing eyes will be there to greet me? Whose saber will be humming in his hand? I could stretch out with the Force, find out from here.

But I think I already know.

A desperate, out-of-breath feeling rises in my chest, but I push it away, then pull open the door and enter. My eyes are met by a grand, pillared chamber with a vaulted ceiling. Its floors and walls bear the same resemblance to obsidian as the door; red lamps glow on the walls, and red floor lights cast shadows behind every pillar.

Except for my own breathing, all is quiet.

An apprehensive buzz starts at the base of my skull. Ignoring it, I step out into the open, daring all the forces of darkness to attack me. Then I notice the body sprawled out in the middle of the floor, and my greatest fears are realized.

Atton is gone.

Mical—dead.


All at once, the room fades away. It’s just me, Mical’s lifeless body, and a heart that feels like it’s been torn out while it was still beating.

Somehow, my feet carry me to where Mical lies on his side. I stand over him, numbly observing his wounds. His right hand is missing; I notice it a couple of feet away. When I walk around to see his face and chest, I learn how he died: a stab wound in the heart. Bruises on the neck.

At least Atton did not do anything worse to him.

I don’t feel anything, though, no sadness or pain. Not until I reach down and brush a strand of blonde hair out of his face. Not until I let my eyes linger on that face, which was so kind in life. Then, one by one, other faces materialize before me.

Bao-Dur, who took his last, shuddering breath before I stumbled out of the wreckage of the Ebon Hawk.

The Jedi masters—Vrook, Kavar, Zez Kai-Ell—whose very life-forces were sucked out of them by a fallen Kreia while I lay unconscious.

All the Mandalorians and Jedi who died by my hand, sucked into this merciless well of gravity known as Malachor, all because of one order I gave.

And now . . . Mical. Because of my own blindness.

Atton.

I'm too late. Everything is my fault. I’m the death of the Force, of everyone I care about.

It’s like Atris said. I should’ve died that day on Malachor!


My vision blurs with tears. My shoulders heave as I try to control my emotions, but I can’t; the dam must break at last. So I collapse on my knees and let it break. My sobs are loud. Angry.

“How many?” I cry to the ceiling. “How many more must die before this ends?”

“Every last one of you Jedi.”

By pure reflex, I jump up and turn, igniting my saber. Atton.

But when I see him, standing only a couple of strides from me, it’s like slamming into a permacrete wall. The only thing I can feel is agonized horror, keener than a saber’s bite.

Atton’s face. The last time I saw it, it was natural and handsome. Now there’s no other way to describe it than as the face of a corpse. His skin is ash-gray, in some places clear like ice. His veins are purple and bulging, the roots of his brown hair gray as if withered by dark energy. But none of it—none of it—compares to the horror of his eyes.

Where I should’ve seen warm, hazel gateways into the soul, I find cold, colorless orbs brimming with hatred, murder, and lust. All of it focused through two little black pupils. Focused on me.

The sight freezes my heart to the core. He knows it does, and he chuckles. The sound is inhuman.

“My face scares you? Heh. Scared him, too.” He gestures carelessly to Mical’s body. “But, like your dear Pretty Boy learned, I’d have it no other way . . . sweetheart.”

The endearment rolls off his tongue like a drop of acid. When he steps forward, I jerk my lightsaber up to his throat.

He stops short, his eyes glowing almost amber. Then he assumes a casual air, chilling in its casualness.

“Aw, c’mon, sweetheart. You know you’re just putting off the inevitable. Can’t you feel the power of this place? It’s draining you. Just like I knew it would. Soon you’ll be on your knees before me, while I’m growing stronger and stronger.”

He circles me like a firaxan shark. Though I keep my saber focused on him, something about his voice makes me tremble. His voice has changed. It’s deeper, darker. And I do feel weaker, like his words have sucked something out of me.

“Why”—my voice breaks—“why are you doing this?”

“Tsk, tsk. My dear, you should know that already, smart as you are. Or is it a great monologue you want?”

He turns away with a bitter laugh. For a second I think he won’t answer. Instead, he engrosses himself in twirling his saber in his fingers. Clockwise. Counter-clockwise. Upwards, downwards. I find the motion mesmerizing, eerily so, until he speaks.

“ ‘Dancing in the shadows for your favor.’ Yeah, I overheard Kreia that day. You think a scoundrel like me can’t eavesdrop now and then? . . . But she was right, you know. I was a fool. Left myself wide open for a betrayal. And that’s exactly what I got.

“Get the picture yet, sweetheart?” He turns back to me. “Or do I have to carve it into your chest? Not that I won’t do that anyway.”

He’s insane. The thought brings me a thrill of horror, and my breath quickens.

“Atton, you’re wrong. I never betrayed you. Kreia lied to you. She used you to kill Mical, and she’s using you now!”

“Kreia! It’s always Kreia, Kreia, Kreia. ‘Kreia did it, it’s Kreia’s fault.’ Well, you know what? I don’t frippin’ care, and I’m gonna slit her throat soon enough.”

Then he spears me with a look of feral, tangible, hopeless hatred. “But you . . . oh, I would’ve died for you, you know. I worshipped the ground you walked on . . . thought maybe you were different from the rest of those Jedi. I was a fool!” he spews suddenly. “You led me on and manipulated me, all for your righteous little quest. And then he comes along, a new pawn at your disposal, and guess what? I’m out the airlock!

“You were never different from them, Exile! They lie, they manipulate, they murder innocents, and so do you! I’m dead inside because of you, and when I run you through, it’ll be nothing but justice for what you did to me!”

His raging shouts deafen me; his tear-filled eyes burn holes in me; I can’t tell if I’m really on my knees, or if it’s just a trick of my mind. When at last he stalks toward me, murder written plainly on his face, I’m ready to surrender to him—to let him do what he wants with me. I can’t fight him. The pain is too much.

What have I done? Oh, Atton, I never told you. I’ve failed you.

Oh, Atton, I love you.


Shutting my eyes, I open myself to the Force and scream.
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Old 01-24-2008, 11:02 PM   #4
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------
Atton
------


Justice, that’s all it’ll be. Justice!

Liquid heat pours down my cheeks. The hate, the rage—I can feel it crackling like a fire in my stomach, eating me inside-out. I can’t wait any longer. Cloak snapping, I stalk toward her, my every movement rippling with power.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I notice she’s on her knees.

I close the distance quickly. Along the way, my saber springs to life in my hand. But she doesn’t move. She just closes her eyes, her features twisted in pain. What the kriff is this schutta doing?

Fight me, Jedi! I raise my blade to strike.

Suddenly, my senses collapse under a torrent of white noise. The sound of one long scream, unlike any scream I’ve ever heard before, pounds me in the gut with wave after wave of agony. Before I know it I’m dropping my saber and crumpling, eyes screwed shut, hands covering my ears in an attempt to block the noise. But it doesn’t help.

This scream—it’s through my bond with the Exile. The one I thought was severed.

Atton, I love you.

The Exile’s voice, like a whisper, slicing through the noise. Another voice echoes her. One that seems familiar . . . .

I remember, and my eyes open wide.

Her!

A fresh surge of rage sends my pulse through the roof. I fight to stand. NO! I killed you for this!

In response, this scream—this hellish scream—increases in intensity, and I crumple all over again. But it’s not just one scream anymore; it’s two. And, underneath them, soft as a puff of air: Atton, I love you.

Two voices.

Inside my mind, there’s an explosion of light and heat, color and tears. Just like the one from all those years ago. Except this time, the explosion resolves itself into images, flashing through my head at light speed. Her. Her sorrow, her pain, her death. I’m reliving it all. I remember her ashen face. I remember the things I did to her. I remember the smell of her blood, and the smell sickens me.

Somehow, it all melds with the Exile; they become one and the same. I can feel their pain crushing me to the ground—the pain I inflicted on them. And yet, I can almost feel their arms around me.

Don’t you see, Atton? Love is sacrifice, giving up your life for someone else.

It’s forgiving them, even when they hate you and hurt you.

Atton, I love you!


I can hardly comprehend it. I fight it with everything in me. Finally . . . after an eternity, the screams die away. Taking the light and color and agony with them.

But not the tears.

My world is spinning out of control, and I growl like a helpless pup, hating my tears.



------
Exile
------


My Force scream ebbs away, echoing to the far corners of the Academy. It occurs to me that the Sith will feel it, including Sion and Kreia, but I don’t care. Let them come and kill me.

To my shock, I open my eyes to find Atton trembling on his hands and knees, mere inches away from me. Though I can’t see his face, I can see teardrops dotting the cold floor. His lightsaber hums harmlessly a few feet away as if it rolled there. What happened?

He was about to kill me, and now . . . we’re both on our knees. The surreality of it threatens to overwhelm me.

After a moment of indecision, I crawl to him, ignoring every alarm bell that goes off in my mind. As the black-clad man continues to take deep, shuddering breaths, it feels like the old Atton is with me again—at a rare moment when his defenses were shattered, and waves of anger and pain rolled off him. What else could I do at such moments but try to comfort him?

So I wrap my arms around his frame and pray he will not throw me off. I want this to be over.

“Atton,” I whisper, not daring to say anything more.

My whisper seems to rouse him. When he stiffens and begins to stand, fear kicks in, and I jump up and back away.

We stand apart, staring at each other across a gulf as wide as a Malachor canyon. His red-rimmed eyes—not quite the same as they were—lack any feeling, good or bad, as they probe into mine. They’re simply dull. Tired, like his stance. Whatever happened to him in that short length of time sapped him of energy.

“You never loved him.”

His voice is as emotionless as his eyes. I know immediately who he means, and I answer without guilt: “No.” I cared for Mical, but it was never in that way. If only I could've told Atton before he killed him.

A slight twitch of Atton’s lips is the only sign that my answer registered. Still expressionless, he rests his gaze on the body behind me. Something passes through his eyes. Revelation? Regret? Then he turns away slowly and walks a couple of steps. He still hasn’t noticed his saber lying a few feet away.

“Jedi are all the same,” he says brokenly. “Always keeping your little secrets. Well, secrets can kill, you know. And I don’t just mean the one who keeps them.”

He glances back at me, and I realize he isn’t referring to Mical’s death, but to himself.

It’s true. It’s not just his fault or Kreia’s fault that all of this happened. I’m to blame for pretending that I didn’t love him. All for the sake of my mission! That was the fodder that Kreia used for her deception, harping on Atton’s hurt and confusion to twist him to the Dark Side. If I’d been honest with him . . . .

“Atton—”

He throws up a hand. “Don’t. Just get out of here. Do what you came here for.”

I stand there, shocked, until he turns on me with fire in his eyes. “Get out of here! This isn’t mercy, Jedi!”

“No!” I cry suddenly, stepping forward. “I won’t leave until I’ve told you! Atton, I love you. I loved you before Mical ever came on board. I was wrong to hide it from you. After all that’s happened, I don’t expect you to forgive me, but I’m sorry for pretending.”

I study his withered face, remembering it as it used to be. Smooth skin . . . brown hair . . . hazel eyes. “I’m sorry for what I did to you,” I whisper.

Atton stares at me, his expression hard, his gaze icy. As I stare back at him, letting the warmth of my love flow to him through the Force, something changes. His icy gaze cracks; his expression softens. Waves of warmth start lapping against me, the smallest echoes of my own.

Encouraged, I step toward the man who wanted to kill me. He stares at me as if hardly believing my foolishness, but I feel I have nothing to lose. His lips may be rough and dry—and, as I approach him, I see that they are—but I don’t care.

Taking his face in my hands, I kiss him.

At first his mouth is frozen in shock. I’m kissing stone, cold and lifeless. Then stone melts into flesh, and he kisses me in return. The Force bursts into flame around us as we pour everything into each other: our hurts, our memories, our regrets. We experience what could have been, and it’s like a vibroblade to my heart.

All too soon, he breaks our kiss. I hold onto his face so he can’t pull away, and search his eyes for anything to give me hope. One glimmer of light tells me all I need to know.

It isn’t too late for him.

Gently but firmly, Atton removes my hands from his face, then distances himself from me. “Go, Exile. Now.”

I don’t want to leave. Each step will tear out a chunk of my heart. But I know he’s right. There’s nothing left to say, and only one thing left to do. So I study his face one last time, remembering. Smooth skin . . . brown hair . . . hazel eyes. Then I walk mechanically past him to the door that leads to the heart of the Academy—and to Kreia.

If only I had told you, Atton.

So much that wouldn’t have happened. So much that could’ve been.



------
Atton
------


I listen as her footsteps move past me, then away from me. The door behind me opens, then closes. She’s gone to the Witch. She’ll die there, and everyone else on this planet will die. Funny how climaxes turn out different than you want them to.

My world’s still spinning. I try to make sense of what happened—of the vision, of how my bond with the Exile brought her back to life, if only for a moment. All I know is I can still taste the Exile’s kiss, and I can’t hate her anymore. I was wrong about her. Maybe about a lot of things.

Don’t you see, Atton? Love is sacrifice, giving up your life for someone else. It’s forgiving them . . . .

She said that, not long before she died. She told me she loved me. And she didn’t just say it; she followed through with it, and it changed everything. That’s what the Exile was doing. She was ready to do the same thing that she did. Even die. But she couldn’t have known if it would change anything. Force, I don’t know if it would have.

Maybe she is different than the other Jedi. Maybe she’s a real Jedi.

Meaning if I die for her, it’ll be worth it.

As I stand there, waiting numbly, heavy footsteps approach from my left. A wave of darkness, darker than my own, hits me—and I know who it is without looking.

“And I get the fool,” he growls, flicking on his saber.

I smirk to myself. Fool? Ah, what a climax. Then I turn theatrically to face him. Fire floods my veins as I prepare to summon my saber.

“Funny. That’s just what I was thinking.”



~*~*~
The End
Thanks for reading!




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