and turned his face expressionless. As you wish, Darth Malgus.

From outside, explosions like thunder sounded, the steady drumbeat of intense bombardment. Angrals fleet had begun its attack on Coruscant.

I signaled to Darth Angral that the Temple was secure, Adraas said, the faintest hint of defiance in his tone. You seemed preoccupied with other things at the time.

Adraass gaze fell on Eleena, then returned to Malgus.

Malgus glared at Adraas, one fist clenched, and fought down the flash of anger. He would not allow Adraass borderline insubordination to diminish the rush he felt at his victory.

I will forgive your arrogation of power this once, but do not overstep again, Malgus said. Now remove yourself from my sight.

Adraas colored with rage, his mouth a thin line of anger, but he dared not say another word. He gave a half bow and stalked off.

Malgus made his grip on Eleena gentler as they turned to look outside. The ruined entrance of the Temple, widened by the drop ship crashing through it, opened onto clear sky. Together, he and Eleena watched Imperial bombers streak out of the orange-and-red clouds and light Coruscant aflame.

Go see it, Master, Eleena whispered to him. It is your victory. I am fine. Go.

She was not fine and he knew it. But he also knew that he had to see.

He left her and walked the hall until he reached the shattered entranceway. The statues of the Jedi that had lined the processional lay toppled, broken at his feet. He looked out on the culmination of his life.

Imperial ships swarmed the air. Bombs fell like rain and exploded into showers of red and orange and black. Gouts of smoke poured into the sky. The few native speeders that remained in the air were pursued by Imperial fighters and shot down.

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