"Obi-Wan, we have lightsaber practice in the training room,? Aayla said in a worried voice. The Twi?lek girl had met Obi-Wan in the corridor along the way.
?Yes, Aayla, I know,? Obi-Wan muttered. Aayla Secura was a year younger--and almost a head shorter--than Obi-Wan, so young she wasn?t even in Yoda?s regular class yet. As with all boys his age, Obi-Wan considered anything smaller than himself--and worse yet, female--to be inferior.
?But Master Yoda?s in there,? Aayla said. ?And all the other padawans say he?s mean!?
?No he?s not,? Obi-Wan laughed. ?Master Yoda?s not a troll, stupid.?
?But he?s in the training room.?
?He?s in the doorway,? Aayla said.
?He?s meditating! ?
?Oh.? Obi-Wan?s steps faltered as they neared their assigned training room. Sure enough, situated in the middle of the doorway sat the diminutive Jedi Master. Yoda?s eyes were closed.
Obi-Wan and Aayla hid behind a nearby pillar and stared at the meditating master. ?Well, how are we supposed to get past him?? he wondered aloud. ?Doesn?t he know we?ve got practice in there??
Aayla nervously twined the tip of one of her blue lekku around her finger. ?I don?t know. You?re older than me--don?t you have any ideas??
Deliberately ignoring the girl?s sarcastic tone, Obi-Wan thought for a moment. ?Why don?t you just go ask him to move??
?Me?? she squeaked.
?Yes, you. Master Yoda really likes the little kids.?
Flushing dark blue, Aayla stood up straight, making herself as tall as she could. ?Fine, then,? she snapped. ?I will!?
If there was an award for flouncing, Obi-Wan said to himself, she?d win it.
Master Yoda didn?t so much as twitch an ear as the girl approached him. She stopped several feet away, trying to muster up the courage to speak.
Yoda?s right eye opened.
?He looked at me!? she gasped when she huddled safe behind their pillar again, out of breath more from terror than exertion.
Girls, Obi-Wan snickered to himself. ?All right, I?ll go.?
?Well, what?ll you do??
?I?ll just walk around him,? Obi-Wan announced. ?You know what he always says--?Size matters not.? ? It was the famous Lecture. Even Aayla had heard it.
Obi-Wan ignored Aayla's look of scandalized disbelief and, trying not to swagger too much, he strode up to Master Yoda. But he too stopped before reaching the diminutive master.
Size matters not, Obi-Wan repeated to himself. The tiny master presented a huge problem, though. The training room door wasn?t very wide, and as every padawan knew, one did not simply walk that close to a master deep in meditation--not without risking the master?s peace, anyway.
And no one disturbed Master Yoda.
Obi-Wan peered into the room behind Yoda, where a pair of training remotes stood on their pedestals waiting to be used by the padawans. Then he looked down.
Yoda?s left eye opened.
Obi-Wan started in horror, and he found himself backpedaling frantically away to the safety of the pillar.
?I see what you mean,? he whispered to Aayla. ?He looked at me, too.?
?Is there a problem, youngsters?? came a voice behind them.
Obi-Wan and Aayla both jumped. They turned to see Master Nejaa Halcyon, a Corellian Jedi of some repute. Or disrepute, depending on how one looked at it.
?Well--? Aayla started to say.
?We?re supposed to be practicing in there,? Obi-Wan interrupted her, pointing into the training room.
?But Master Yoda?s--? Aayla tried again.
?He?s sitting in the middle of the doorway, and we can?t get past him, and we don?t know what to do!? Obi-Wan finished all in one breath.
?Hmm. This does seem to present quite a sizeable dilemma,? Master Halcyon said, his eyes twinkling. ?I assume you?ve already gotten The Lecture??
Both padawans nodded. ?Size matters not,? they said in practiced unison.
?Well, take heed, youngsters,? the Corellian said, raising one finger. ?Because that?s not always true. Watch and learn.?
Obi-Wan and Aayla followed on the Jedi?s heels as he approached Master Yoda. ?Excuse me, Master,? he said, ?but the kids here need to use the training room.?
Master Yoda remained still as stone, giving no sign that he'd heard a thing.
?Well, in that case...? Master Halcyon said...
Both Obi-Wan?s and Aayla?s jaws dropped as Master Halcyon picked Master Yoda up in both hands. Setting the wizened little Jedi Master down gently to one side, he waved the two padawans into the training room.
Obi-Wan glanced at Master Yoda. It didn?t seem he had moved a muscle, considering that he was now half a pace away from where he?d originally been.
?You see,? Master Halcyon said. ?Sometimes when you can?t get around a problem, you just have to move it out of the way. No matter how big an obstacle it is.? He walked into the room after them and, with a wink, murmured, ?Or small.?
As Master Halcyon left them to their training, an impossible sound drifted into the room from the corridor. Obi-Wan and Aayla stared at each other, agape in shock.
?Did you hear that?? Aayla whispered.
?Yeah. Me neither.?
A silent promise passed between them then. They would never, ever tell anyone what they had heard:
...the cackling laughter of a little green troll.
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