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his mind, saw it resting peacefully; but just then, as if Raynar had heard them talking about him, the boy snorted and stirred in his sleep.

The snake surged with alarm. Jacen quickly sent out a calming message, using Jedi relaxation techniques Luke had taught him. He sent peaceful thoughts, quieting thoughts, that calmed not only the serpent but Raynar as well.

"Working together, we could use our Jedi powers to lift Raynar up," Jacen suggested. "Then I'll pull the snake out from underneath him."

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Jaina said, looking at her brother with raised eyebrows.

Closing their eyes, the twins concentrated. They touched the fringes of Raynar's colorful robes with their fingertips as they imagined how light he could be ... that he was merely a feather wafting into the air... that he weighed nothing at all, and they could make him drift upward. . . .

Jacen held his breath, and the still-snoring Jedi student began to rise from the tiled floor. Raynar's loose garments dangled like curtains underneath him, freeing the sleepy snake.

Suddenly deprived of its warm hiding place, the crystal snake woke up in anger, instinctively wanting to lash out. Jacen sensed it uncoiling and seeking a living target, ready to strike.

"Hold Raynar!" he shouted to Jaina as he flashed forward to snatch the slithering crystal snake. His fingers, wrapped around its neck, grasping it behind the compact triangular head. He sent focused calming thoughts into the small reptilian brain, quelling its anger, soothing it.

Jacen's quick movement and release of the Force startled Jaina, and she managed to hold Raynar up for only a second or two. As Jacen worked to calm the serpent, Jaina's grip on the floating boy weakened and finally broke.

Raynar tumbled to the
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