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Jaina gripped his hand. Tenel Ka narrowed her cool gray eyes.

The silence seemed so overwhelming that when Luke at last broke the frozen moment, his whisper sounded as loud as a shout.

"Go," Luke told the creature. "There is nothing you need here."

The monster reared up on its hind set of piston legs, its eye tentacles thrashing in a frenzy. Then it let out another high-pitched trumpet before it spun around and crashed off into the thick undergrowth. Branches cracked, trees bent to one side as it plowed a wide path back to the mysterious jungle depths from which it had come.

Like a snapped string, Luke's shoulders slumped with exhaustion. He seemed barely able to keep himself from trembling as Jacen, Jaina, and Tenel Ka rushed toward him, calling his name. "Uncle Luke!"

Luke turned and looked at the three friends with a smile.

Old Peckhum stumbled up, clutching the antiquated blaster rifle. His eyes glittered with unshed tears. "I can't believe you did that, Master Skywalker!" he said. "I thought I was dead for sure, but you faced that monster with no weapons at all."

"I had enough weapons," Luke said with calm conviction. "I had the Force."

"I wish I could do that, Uncle Luke," Jacen said. "That was really something."

"You will be able to do anything you want, Jacen," Luke said. "You have the potential-as long as you have the discipline."

Luke gazed off into the jungle, where they could still hear trees crashing and shrubs snapping as the monster continued to blunder its way through the forest.

"There are many mysterious things in the jungles," Luke said, then he smiled at the twins and Tenel Ka. He nodded toward Peckhum's ship, the Lightning Rod, which still sat open, filled with crates and boxes of supplies and equipment.

"I think
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