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"I'm doing it to see if I can. Once I know I can do it, I won't have to waste time anymore wondering whether anything I learn here is useful or not."

Jacen was still not sure he understood. But then, his sister never could grasp his fascination for living creatures. "In the meantime, Jaina, could you help me find my snake? It's loose. I don't know where to look for it,"

"All right," Jaina said, brushing her dirty hands on her stained work overall. "If the snake escaped from your room, it probably moved down the corridor."

The two of them stepped out into the long hall. Side by side, they scanned the shadows and listened.

Jacen's room was the last chamber in one of the temple passages leading to a cold, cracked stone wall. But none of the cracks was wide enough for the crystal snake to hide in.

"Well have to check from room to room," Jaina said.

Jacen nodded. "If somethings wrong, we should be able to sense it. Maybe I can use the Force to track the snake, wherever it might be hiding."

They heard the other Jedi students in their quarters dressing, washing up, or maybe just catching a few extra minutes of sleep. Jacen cocked his ears and listened, half-hoping to hear someone scream out loud, because then he would know where the snake had gone.

They slipped from room to room, pausing at closed doors. Jacen touched his fingers to the wood, but he caught no tingling sensa tion that might indicate his escaped pet.

But when they came to Raynar's half-open door, they immediately sensed something out of the ordinary. Peering inside, the twins spotted the boy sprawled on the polished stone tiles of the floor.

Raynar wore fine garments of purple, gold, and scarlet cloth, the colors of his noble family's house. Despite Uncle Luke's gentle suggestions, Raynar
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