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is not a safe place to split up. Even to speed up a search."

As impatient as she was to continue looking, Jaina stopped to consider. Tenel Ka caught her eye, placed her hands on her hips, and nodded. "This is a fact."

Jaina gnawed at her lower lip again, thinking, and came to a decision. "All right. We spread out a little but, but only as far as our line of sight. Good enough?"

The others' murmurs of agreement were interrupted by a loud squawking as a flock of reptile birds took flight from the bushes near where Jacen had been exploring. Jacen emerged from the bushes on his hands and knees, looking startled, but not displeased.

"No big discoveries," he reported, "but I did find this." He held out his palm. In it was a plump, furry gray creature, quivering in a small nest of glossy fibers.

Another animal. Jaina sighed with resignation. She might have guessed.

"Ah. A-hah," Tenel Ka said. Lowbacca bent forward to run a shaggy finger along the tiny creature's back.

"Look, Jaina," Jacen said, turning the fluffy nest in his hand. He pointed to a dull, flat loop of metal that was firmly attached to the mass of fibers.

"A ... buckle?" Jaina said, finally comprehending.

Her brother nodded. "Like the kind in crash webbing."

"Good work," Tenel Ka said with solemn approval.

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Jaina asked. "Let's keep going."

By midafternoon, though, Jaina began to get discouraged. Jacen, on the other hand, was intrigued by every crawling creature or insect they encountered.

"Do please try to be a bit more cautious!" Jaina could hear Em Teedee saying. "That's the third dent today. And I've lost count of how many scratches I've received while you've been exploring. Now if you would only be more attentive to-"

Em Teedee's admonishments
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