"Mistress Rey, Mistress Rey! Oh, Maker, she's not waking up. Is she alright? ”
BB8 chirps in response. I open my eyes tersely, still reeling from my encounter with Ben. Is it true? Am I a Palpatine? I don’t believe it…
"Rey, are you okay?"
Finn's worried voice snaps me to reality.
Whatever Kylo Ren has revealed to me, true or false, it can wait. A more tangible threat comes our way.
"The First Order, they discovered our hiding place, we must leave. At once.”
“Oh dear, we are all going to die!"
If the situation weren't so dire, 3PO’s antics might have made me smile. Unfortunately, I cannot disregard Kylo's claims.
Just then, Rose rushes up to us, looking distressed and apprehensive.
“First Order’s Star Destroyers have departed from the rim!”
“General, what do we do?” Poe exclaims in alarm, sight darting to Leia.
I hear the anguished sound she makes, withdrawn and wane.
She couldn’t have felt my lightening…could she?
I don't want to disappoint her, nor to disgrace her. She is like the mother I never had.
“General!” Poe cries out.
R2D2 joins the small crowd. I hear C3PO say, ”Princess Leia seems to be ill…after all, the if the cruisers retreat, it can only mean they have found us…and we are all going to die!”
I can't take the pessimistic pronouncements of this droid anymore!
"Shut up, C3PO!" Everyone has had more than enough of your dreadful proclamations. Make yourself useful for change, go help Kaydel in the Evacuation!"
A deathly silence greets my outburst.
Never have I spoken so harshly to anyone. The droid straightens his metal shoulders, indicating that he is hurt and silently turns away. I can't leave him like this.
I sigh, massaging my temples "I’m sorry, C3PO, I'm sorry. I lost my temper. I’m sorry…but we need hope right now, the truth is really discouraging"
C3PO stares at me before shaking his head, "Of course, it doesn't matter, Mistress Rey. I understand, this must be really stressful for organic sentients too.”
“Are you sure everything is fine, Rey? "
Finn. Again. I cannot escape his intrusive scrutinity. To believe that he spends his time obsessing over me!
No…how could I even think of such things? Finn is my friend, he cares for me, that's all.
What is happening to me?
“The Force…there has been another disturbance in the force…I haven’t felt it this unbalanced since…” Leia trails off.
I gulp nervously. She sensed it ... She felt my dormant darkness awakening.
"Darth Sidious… I feel his presence, like he's come back," Leia murmurs.
She looks distraught.
As for me…I’ve never felt so conflicted.
Did Ben tell the truth? Is Emperor Palpatine really my grandfather?
If he is, then he's the only family I have left . I don't know how I feel about this…
Poe interrupts my thoughts, "General, the destroyers are coming for us, we have to evacuate!"
Leia closes her eyes for a moment, then nods.
"Let everyone board a ship, take what you can, but hurry. None of our belongings are worth sacrificing a life for. "
Chewie howls in delight. The situation may be desperate, but the high of flying doesn’t fail to thrill him.
I frown involuntarily. Why did I feel angry at that? Absent mindedly, I fiddle with the Navi comp controls.
Poe and Chewie exchange a knowing look and then he puts his hand on my arm.
"I'm sorry ... We didn’t want that."
Great. Is everyone going to walk on eggshells around me?
Ever since the bond last closed…something has changed me. All these feelings of anger and frustration seem to be bubbling up after decades.
Why is everyone so dejected?
We are not dead! We escaped the Star Destroyers. Our fleet is intact, a miracle considering the imminent danger when we learned of it. Maybe Ben ...
“Let me fly,” Poe urges me.
How does he dare ? I'm a better pilot than he will ever be! I narrowly avoid an asteroid and throw myself into a meteor field.
"You're exhausted, Rey,” Poe chides gently, " You need to rest, we can't afford to lose you. "
A wave of shame submerges me at his concern and I let him take my place. I tremble slightly…this is too much…the dark, it’s changing me. I feel so lost.
"Where's the General?” I ask, she is the only one who can help me. I must tell her the truth.
“In the captain’s quarters, resting. All this has taken a toll on her, if you care to know,” Finn replies.
His tone leaves no room for doubt: he is angry with me.
“I'll see how she feels. "
I don’t understand why Finn is so angry with me, although I don't have the strength to worry about that.
Is it because of…? No, it is impossible. He can’t know about Ben.
I suppose I must have done something to offend him, being my clumsy self. I can’t really bring myself to care.
I glumly walk to the bunk room.
“Master Leia, how are you feeling? "
No matter what, I still can't call her Master Skywalker. It doesn’t feel right. That’ll always be Master Luke.
An exhausted sigh answers me and my heart sinks at the obvious weakness of my mentor.
“Don't worry about me, Rey. Everything will be fine, I just feel tired. "
“Are you thinking of…surrender?
"Never," Leia tells me fiercely, “When you are fighting for a noble cause, it is impossible to give up. But, I fear for our future ... The Dark Side has strengthened... "
She knows. I feel shame flushing my cheeks.
I don't know if it's because of the supposed ancestry that I just discovered or because of the…feelings I underwent in front of Kylo Ren's bare chest… Healing him by putting my hands on him was as instinctive as unnerving.
He's so massive ... so powerful ... He's the danger and I can't help thinking what it would do to me... Fortunately, Leia interrupts my reverie.
“I'm afraid that it will be impossible to bring my son back to the Light. I sense the Dark Side too deep in him. I don't know how to save him."
Oh… it’s not the Resistance she gave up on, just her son.
But, she doesn't know yet.
She doesn't suspect anything.
I don't want her to find out about my thoughts of her son, let alone learn about my Sith ancestry. I will not bear that it takes away my confidence and affection.
A tear rolls down Leia's wrinkled cheek and I hate myself for my selfishness. I worry about knowing my secrets leaked as she mourns for her son.
"There is still good in him, I know it ...”
“How can you be so sure? Did your connection allow you to talk to him? “
“Yes, and it was him who warned me of the attack"
I hadn't planned on telling her about our last conversation, but knowing that Kylo warned me might alleviate her fears and maybe give her some hope.
Leia gets confused for a moment and stares at me.
"He also told me that Palpatine was behind the Final Order, which explains the disturbance we felt in the Force," I couldn't help but add.
Leia shuddered, and the tiny spark of optimism was extinguished.
"So Luke's fears were justified, he survived Vader's assault. "
Vader? Why does she always call him that? After all, he was her father and, in the end, he made the right choice. He was Anakin Skywalker.
"You have to get away from Ben, Rey. "
What? She can’t mean that!
"If Palpatine has corrupted him, it is delusional to hope that he’ll ever be good again. If he warned you of the assault, it was probably to gain your trust so that he could manipulate you. Ben is gone. I’ve known since he killed Han but I refused to admit it to myself. Palpatine's resurrection only substantiates this further."
How can she give up like this? Ben is her only son, her family!
"But Master! You can’t- Master Leia, there is still light in him…I’ve felt it.”
She gives me a small, wistful smile, “Maybe…but it’s not enough. I'd like to share your optimism Rey, but Palpatine destroys everything, it's the only truth that flows in his blood. "
I feel my shoulders trembling.
If she knew, what would she think of me?
"Stop talking to him, Rey. Break the bond. Push him away. It's too late, you can't save him, no one can. Now you are the galaxy’s only… ” Leia breathes deeply before closing her eyes, exhausted.