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rarely took off his fancy costume, never allowed himself to be seen in drab but comfortable Jedi training clothes.

Raynar's bristly blond hair shone like flecks of gold dust in the morning sunlight spilling into his room through the window slits. His flushed cheeks sagged in and blew out as he snored softly in an awkward position on the cold tile floor.

"Oh, blaster bolts!" Jacen said. "I think we've found my snake."

Jaina slid the door closed and stationed herself by the crack so the crystal snake couldn't get past her.

Jaeen knelt beside Raynar's form and let his eyelids flutter closed. He stretched his fingers into the air, and his knuckles cracked. He let his mind flow, imagining what a snake's thoughts might be like. As usual he felt many things at once through the Force, but he focused down, looking for his snake.

He sensed a slim, languid line of thought, an easily satisfied mind that right now felt cozy and safe. Its only thoughts were warm, warm . . . sleep, sleep . . . and quiet. The coiled-up crystal snake dozed beneath Raynar in the folds of his purple under-robes.

"Here, Jaina," Jacen whispered. She left the door to crouch beside him. The fabric of her stained overall hissed like another snake as she dropped to her knees.

"I suppose it's directly under Raynar's body?"

Jacen nodded. "Yes, where it's warmest."

"That's a problem," Jaina said. "I could roll him over, and you grab the snake."

"No, that would disturb it," Jacen said. "It might bite Raynar again."

Jaina frowned. "He'd sleep through a week's worth of classes."

"Yeah," Jacen said, "but then at least Uncle Luke could finish a lecture without getting interrupted by Raynar's questions."

Jaina giggled. "You've got a point there."

Jacen sensed the coiled snake with
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