QI’RA: Chapter Thirty-Six

Meeting The Emperor

Qi’ra followed behind the Imperial Royal Guard in a daze. The sound of her heartbeat filled her ears and senators and Imperial political figures went by in a blur as she tried desperately to breathe and not hyperventilate. It was kind of hard not to though.

She had heard many stories about The Emperor, some were blood-curdling. Now she was about to meet him, face to face, and she didn’t know what to think about it. To make things worse, she wasn’t accompanied by T-38 or Nienye.

The guard eventually stopped before a door, turning to her and looking at her. She looked at the guard and found it disconcerting that she couldn’t see anything behind his mask. No eyes, no expression, nothing. He was a faceless being wielding a deadly looking pike that she knew could kill her with one jab. She couldn’t mask her nervousness nor did she try to. Behind this door was The Emperor and she was afraid.

“The Emperor awaits you,” the guard said.

She nodded. She faced forward and as she stepped toward the door it slid open. She stepped into the room and was immediately struck by how dark it was with its dark grey walls and dim lighting that cast an extra hint of gloom in the area.

It was sparsely furnished but there were some odd relics and a couple of black stone statues that decorated the space. At the end of the room was a table and behind this table sat The Emperor. Her blood ran cold as she gazed at the very man who had wiped out the Jedi. The man who held the galaxy in the palm of his hand. The man who was rumored to be so powerful he could summon electricity from his fingers. The man that even her boss, Maul, was afraid of.

She gulped.

“Qi’ra,” he said, his voice washing over her like a sinister blanket.

A chill ran down her spine.

“I’ve heard a lot about you.”

“Y-you have,” she replied. She hated how she stammered.

The Emperor’s gaze on her never wavered. He only continued to stare and somehow she knew he could see into her very mind.

“You do not have to be afraid,” he told her.

She clasped her hands behind her back to keep them from trembling as she stepped forward, moving closer to him.

“You summoned me Emperor and I’d like to know why.”

His wrinkled hands clasped as he gazed at her for a second in deep thought. “Your ambition is growing. I sense your plan of betrayal and it has me thinking…”

“Thinking of what, my lord?” she asked, once again annoyed by how small her voice sounded.

“Maul has been…an annoyance at times. Maybe he should be replaced.”

“Are you giving me your endorsement?”

His smile widened as he leaned forward, drawing further into the light and revealing the folds in the frightening mask he called a face.

“You have a sense of humor. I like that,” he said. He paused once more, gazing at her contemplatively. “If only I had found you when you were a child. You would’ve been a formidable apprentice.”

“So you’re telling me, you summoned me to hear to approve of my plan to kill Maul?”

“In a way.” He waved his hand and when she looked a sword was flying toward her in the air. She ducked, reaching up and plucking the weapon out of the air. He stared at the sword in her hand, at its obsidian hilt and the red stone at the base of the sword’s pommel, at the glossy black blade that sat within its dark wooden scabbard, before returning her gaze to the emperor who sat back into the darkness.

“If you’re going to kill Maul you’re going to need a weapon that can withstand the power of a lightsaber.”

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