Jaxon crept out of his room just after lights out. From outside, Jaxon could hear that Chase had already started snoring softly, but Nita's room was strangely silent. As he reached the main exit to the dorms, a hand grabbed his wrist. Jumping, he reached for the lightsaber at his waist.
“Where are you going?” Nita’s voice hissed out of the darkness, and Jaxon let go of the saber.
“Just, to the bathroom,” Jaxon lied quickly.
“You have one in your room,” Nita whispered.
“The—the toilets clogged,” Jaxon tried again. “I’m just going down the hall to use the one by the refectory. Don’t wait up for me.” He tried to walk away, but Nita just tightened her grip.
“Jaxon Kieran Selizar, you are a very bad liar,” she said. “Now tell me where you are really going.”
“I’m meeting some older initiates down in the great hall, that’s all I can say. I’ll be back before you wake up, I promise.” He could sense Nita trying to read his mind, her eyes narrowing in focus. “I promise,” Jaxon said again, pulling his arm out of her reach, and dashing down the hall.
When he reached the designated pillar in the great hall, Axel and Daren were already there.
“Where have you been?” Axel hissed.
“I got held up, are we doing this or not?” Jaxon whispered back.
“Oh, we’re doing this,” Daren grinned, and pointed towards the main entrance, where the sky was blocked by the twelve massive pylons that hid the door from view. “Head for the pylons, sticking to the shadows.” He tossed Jaxon and Axel some dark brown cloaks. “I borrowed those from a storage closet. Put them on, they’ll help us blend in.” Jaxon pulled the deep hood up over his head and grinned, then the three of them made a run for the entrance.
Daren led the way under the pylons and down the stairs to the bridge. It was deserted this time of night, but, not taking any chances, Daren climbed over the short railing, and, holding onto it, began to sidle along the outside of the bridge. Alex followed, and Jaxon, calling on the Force for courage, did the same. After several minutes of nervousness, They were finally on the other side, and the three boys jumped over the railing again.
“Alright, lets go solve some problems.” Axel said, his confidence returning as they got further away from the temple.
Several blocks away from the temple, problems were certainly happening, and the boys had barely happened upon the scene when someone yelled, “Jedi! Help, they stole my purse!” pointing at a band of rough looking men, some human, some of other species. Darren started forward, trying to look grown up.
“Hand it over, we don’t want any trouble.” He said, holding out one shaking hand.
“And what if we don’t?” One of the men asked.
“Then we'll have to take it back." Axel said, stepping forward and pulling out his lightsaber.
"Aren't you a little young to be Jedi Knights?" One of the men asked.
"No," Darren said, activating his lightsaber. "Now hand over the purse, or you will meet an unfortunate end right here, right now."
Axel activated his too and the two bluish blades lit up the area. Jaxon pulled his off of his belt and made to turn it on as well when the man tossed the purse onto the ground and they all turned and ran.
"Well," Darren said, picking up the bag and handing it to the lady it belonged to. "That was simple enough."
"Yeah," said Axel, "lets do this again."
"Tomorrow?" Jaxon asked, and the two boys laughed as they all started heading back to the temple.
"Sure," Darren said. "Same time, same place."
Jaxon returned his room, tucking the modified lightsaber and Jedi cloak under his bed and changing out of his tunic. As he pulled off his boots with a sigh of relief, a figure appeared in his doorway. It was Nita, looking concerned.
"How'd it go?" She asked.
"Pretty well, we're going again tomorrow."
"You're going to get in trouble."
"No we're not," Jaxon protested. "We're Jedi, helping the people. What could happen?"
"Some people don't like the Jedi, Jaxon," Nita said. "I just don't want you finding that out the hard way."
"I'll be fine," Jaxon assured her. "Go back to bed."
The weeks passed. Jaxon went out with the older bodys most nights, and his skills with the lightsaber improved. They solved petty crimes, frightened off mobsters and burglars. They became respected in that neighborhood, and even invited to grown-up gatherings, where Alex and Darren both had their first taste of alcohol. Jaxon declined politely, since he his school day started early.
Some nights he wouldn't get back to his room until the the chimes were sounding for the younglings to wake up. He caught up on the sleep in the meditation sessions, and sometimes in class.
Finally, Nita stopped him as he left his room after lights out once more.
"This has to end, Jaxon. The Jedi Masters are starting to notice, and your performance in class is at an all time low. Master Yoda hasn't called on you in over a week."
"I'm fine, Nita. I'm just a little tired, thats all," Jaxon said, shrugging on the dark cloak.
"What about Chase?" Nita said, her trump card. "You keep leaving him behind to go play hero with your new friends!"
"What Chase doesn't know can't hurt him," Jaxon muttered. Nita just looked at him. "Fine, tonight's the last time. I promise."
Alex and Darren led the way further into the city than they'd ever been before. The sidewalks grew darker, and Jaxon stayed closer behind the older boys than he had felt the need to before.
"What are we doing here?" Jaxon asked.
"One of the girls last night told me where to find that gangster group's hideout." Darren explained.
"So we're going to take him down," Axel said excitedly.
"You boys think you're so cocky." A rough voice said. It was the same man who they'd taken the purse from on night one. "You're just a couple of kids."
Around the man, several more had gathered. Then several more. They surrounded the trio on all sides, grinning viciously. The boys activated their lightsabers, standing back to back.
"Darren, we can't take on this many," Axel muttered nervously.
"With the Force on our side, we can do anything," Darren whispered back, his eyes strangely shiny in the dim light of the sabers.
"Darren, you can't be thinking we can take these guys."
"There's not that many of them, come on! Jaxon, you with me?"
Jaxon was frozen on the spot, wishing that he had listened to Nita. "Axel's r-right," He stuttered. "We need help."
Just then, the sound of a speeder's engine filled the air, and the source crashed into the group of gangsters, knocking them over like bowling pins. Two men in Jedi tunics leapt out of the cockpit, lightsaber's spinning. It was a Jedi Master and his Padawan. The boys just watched in awe as the two men drove the thugs back using lightsaber techniques even Alex and Darren hadn't seen yet.
When the last of the men had been forced back, the Jedi master turned towards the boys. Pointing with his lightsaber, he ordered them to get into the speeder. Neither he nor the padawan said a word as they drove back to the temple.
The boys were escorted to the tower of the high council, where they were locked in an empty room, with a single window looking out across the city. Jaxon stared out it as the sun began to rise.
Darren paced the room like a caged animal. "We could have taken them. We're Jedi!"
"Darren, they would have killed us," Axel said.
"We could have done it!" Darren yelled, punching the wall in anger. Another yell said he'd broken at least one finger. Cradling his injured hand, he sank to the floor, his back against the wall, defeated.
Now it was Axel's turn to pace. "They're going to kick us out of the Order." He mumbled. "All three of us. We're going to have to--to get jobs on Correllian garbage scows."
"Axel, they could send you to join the Jedi Corps, you could be in the Explore Corps, or Agricorps," Jaxon tried to assure him.
"Agricorps," Axel mumbled. "I grew up in the city. What makes you think I'd be good on a farm?"
"You're good with technology," Jaxon said. "You'll find a place for your talents. Me, I'm still a kid. What if they put me in an orphanage? Or send me back to my family? What will they think? Nine years in the Jedi Order, and nothing to show for it."
The Jedi master opened the door, his padawan behind him, looking serious.
"The High Council has assembled."