Time stopped. The moment Snoke fell to the floor, I swear time stopped. I fell to the floor with him, no longer held back by his haunting grasp.
I turn to see that, yes, Snoke really is dead.
Does it all end here?
I look to Ben. It’s true. He did it. I can’t believe it.
I stand up, breathless, my heart pounding a thousand beats per second. I can’t tell if my heart is in my stomach or my chest. Relief floods every part of me. Could I drop dead right here out of sheer euphoria?
Ben walks to me, his body free to move without a master’s command. Then reality hits us both. The guards. They’re all around us. Ben and I look to each other, lift our lightsabers, and turn to fight.
The Praetorian guards, as crimson as blood, come at us like a juddering wall of armor. Sleek and toxic, they surround us on every side. Back to back, we fight together. It’s almost intimate–us joining teams at last–our souls and bodies working together for the same purpose.
Our sabers zing against each guard’s attempt to get to our flesh. We push and twist slightly, but we are at each other’s backs. With all the weapons coming at me in a fan of red ink, my saber works hard to keep them all at bay, resulting in the appearance of an electric, blue windmill beginning to short-circuit. As the blows get more difficult to face all at once, I lean back on Ben. My hand finds his leg, and I hold it for support, gripping his muscles and trying not to get too distracted. It feels so firm, but soft against the fabric of his pants.
My hand glances off of him as I continue fighting, but then things shift. The enemies break apart, some taking Ben, who is now a little ways away, and some coming at me. My hand can still feel the soft cotton of his trousers.
My mind is quickly tuned to my first opponent without Ben at my back. A guard with some sort of saber-proof lance. I move as swiftly as I can, gliding with my saber. I lose my footing and grunt when I feel pressure along my stomach and back. The guard is behind me now, holding onto me with a vicious grip. Another guard comes at me from the front, but I kick him out of the way. I grab the weapon of the first guard and use my saber to nick him in the chink of his armor. I turned back to the one I kicked and take him on as well.
Fighting lightsaber against staff doesn’t prove to be too difficult, and I get him before he gets me. Smiling and catching my breath, I realize that this isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I look to Ben and my smile instantly fades. He’s being hurt by one of the guards. I’m about to do something when he turns around and gets the guard right below the helmet and kicks him away. I can’t help but feel proud of him. My cheeks dimple once more. I feel so close to him right now, both as a partner and something a little more.
“Agh!” I grunt involuntarily. In my distracted state of admiration, two more guards came up from behind me. How could I be so stupid? I try to kick one away and then twirl my lightsaber and screech at the next. Intimidation is key. We fight, sword to laser sword, in a balanced dance of death.
She cuts my arm with her sword, causing me to stagger. I feel Ben’s eyes on me. I need to show him that I’m strong, I think to myself. I must fight harder. If we can make it through this, we can make it through a thousand more battles and fights to come. I need him to see me as a worthy companion in arms.
My lightsaber pushes harder against my opponent. I inch towards her with everything I have in me–every focused step and every ounce of fire. After dodging a couple of hits, I manage to finally defeat the guard and ready myself to take on the second. He comes at me with a staff that has what looks like a razor at each end. He detaches the pieces to give himself two weapons against my one. I let out a war-cry and stand my ground, letting him know I am not afraid.
We start to fight. It’s hard to keep up with the two weapons, but I manage to do pretty well. That is until another guard comes by and whips me away and then kicks me to the ground. I fall on my back, my saber still in hand, and try to get up when the two guards hover over me, a third one on its way. My back feels carved into the floor. I can’t see Ben. I can hardly see anything beyond this veil of red.
Is this the end?
Find all chapters of ‘The Madness that Binds Us’ here.