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her spill gently onto the flagstones far below, the tip of Dooku's lightsaber scored a burning line across his shoulder. The Count's blade was quick as a viper striking. Among the other Jedi, perhaps only Mace Windu would have been his equal on neutral ground: but here on Vjun, steeped in the dark side, his bladework was malice made visible-wickedness cut in red light.

"I've hurt you!" Dooku cried.

"Many times," Yoda said. He considered his pain: let it drop. Now he had nothing but Dooku to focus on, and his lightsaber gleamed with the same fierce green light that flickered from under his heavy-lidded eyes. "But killed me you did not, when you had the chance. A mistake, that was. More than eight hundred years has Yoda survived, through dangers you could not dream."

"I know how to kill," Dooku hissed.

Yoda's eyes opened wide, like balls of green fire.

"Yes-but Yoda knows how to live!"

Then their blades clashed together in a lace of fire, green and red: but the green burned hotter. Slowly, slowly, Dooku gave way: and in the dark, drunken Vjun air, Yoda was terrible to behold.

"Yes," Dooku whispered. "Feel me. Feel the treason. All those years of teaching me, raising me. Trusting me. And here am I, the favored son, butchering your precious Jedi, one by one. Hate me Yoda. You know you want to. "

Count Dooku lashed out with his lightsaber. Yoda took a quick step back and felt the heat of the red blade as it sliced the air centimeters from his tunic. He jumped, spun, and struck at Dooku's back before he landed. Dooku turned aside at the last moment, whipping his blade across the space where Yoda was seconds earlier. Facing each other again, their blades met, clashed, froze.

"Cunning, are you," Yoda said, breathing hard.

"I've had excellent teachers,
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