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deep concentration required of them during their training.

Steamed leaves flew in the faces of the reptilian Cha'a, interrupting their predatory concentration. All three of them stood up and whirled to meet the attack, back-to-back, standing in a three-point formation, hissing and glaring. The milky tan eggs on their eating platter continued to hatch, and the pink fuzzy hatchlings chose that moment to escape.

Lowie let out a stone-rumbling Wookiee roar, and Em Teedee squeaked with a highpitched alarm. "I can't see a thing, Master Lowbacca! Comestibles are obscuring my optical sensors. Do please clean them off!"

Artoo-Detoo trundled into the dining chamber and let out an electronic wail, but his droid cries were drowned out by the laughter and the tumult of flying food. Before Artoo could wheel around and sound the alarm, a large tray of creamy dessert pastries splattered across his domed top. The astro-mech droid beat a hasty, whirring retreat.

As the crystal snake slithered toward the cracked stone walls to escape, Jacen desperately plowed forward. He reached out with one hand and grabbed the pointed tail. The serpent rippled around invisibly in a fluid motion, flashing its fangs toward Jacen, ready to bite down on the hand holding it. But Jacen held out his other hand, pointing with his finger and the Force, touching the snake's tiny brain.

"Hey! Don't you dare." he said aloud. Then, as the crystal snake hesitated, Jacen grabbed it around the neck and lifted it into the air. The lower part of its long body whipped and thrashed. Jacen coiled the snake around his arm and sent soothing thoughts into its mind. He stood up, grinning and relieved.

"I got it!" he cried in triumph-just as three overripe fruits splashed against his face and chest, bursting their
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