"Ouch! That hurts, Master!" The eight year-old girl sitting on a
bench in the training gardens of the Jedi Temple was wiping away the
tears she couldn't hold back any longer.
"I'm sure it does, Padawan, but if you hadn't insisted on doing a
back-flip off that the Cluster formation and
miscalculated the height, you wouldn't have broken your wrist in the
first place. Now hold still, Dee!"
Muttering beneath her breath, Depa Billaba watched as her Master of
two years tore another piece of his sash and applied it to the badly
injured hand and wrist. "I am sorry to cause you all this trouble,
Master Windu. I am really sorry. Are you mad at me?" The plaintive
voice faltered as the older man kneeling in front of his Padawan
lifted the girl's chin up so her eyes could meet his.
"Depa... oh Dee, no I am not mad at you. Being mad would serve no
purpose. It wouldn't change anything that has happened, nor would it
miraculously render your wrist alright again. I am not mad, little
one. But I *do*
wish you would not let the other Padawans goad you into trying to
show off your skills. Not to mention, skills you don't *yet*
Mace Windu bound the last length of his sash around the injured bones
and tied them together with a secure knot. Sighing, he looked into
his Padawan's brown eyes for a long time before continuing.
"Depa, you are strong, and skilled and beautiful. In here, and here!"
Mace placed his hand over the girl's chest and then her forehead.
"*I* know what you can do, what you are, and will be, capable off. In
time, my Padawan! I don't want you to rush into things that are too
dangerous for you yet. Besides, showing off is very un-Jedi like, you
know?" He saw sadness immediately clouding Depa's eyes and
immediately took her into his large, encompassing arms.
"I want to be a good Jedi, Master. I want to make you proud and
happy. But Serrin said he didn't believe I could do the flip and..."
Depa's words were muffled as she pressed her head into her Master's
gray tunics. Mace let his hands rest on her back, breathing gently
onto her head as he let out a little exasperated sigh.
"Depa, what other people think about you, what they think you can or
cannot do - that is not important, little one!" There was a long
pause before Mace pulled back a bit, to again look directly into his
Padawan's flushed and teary face. "But... I know you are far beyond
most other Padawans your age, and I know you *will* do that little
acrobatic move just as beautifully. In time! And I further know that
you are the best Padawan any Master could wish for, and you don't
even have to prove it to me. I simply know it. And you know how?"
Keeping her injured wrist at waist-level, the girl quizzically
scrutinized her mentor for a long moment.
"The Force told you?" She ventured, not entirely convinced of her
"No, this time the Force has nothing to do with it." Mace paused and
let Depa a bit more time to find the correct answer.
"But then how... aaaaah!" Depa smiled her broadest smile and then
moved the palm of her left hand over her Master's chest. "In there.
You know it in there, Master?" Depa's grin was infectious, for Mace
himself now started to laugh in his deep rumble so typical for him.
"Yes, Dee, right in there!" And he embraced his student in another
bear hug. "Now, before we both get into any more trouble, let's get
you to Master Takra so he'll make you as good as new. But I need you
to promise me something... No showing off for anyone again, alright?
Especially not for me!" The Master's hand lovingly stroked through
the dark-brown hair of his charge.
"Yes, Master Mace. No more showing off!"
Her resolute statement was met with laughter as both Master and
Padawan moved to their feet again. "Alright, my little one. That's my
Depa. Now come, we want to be done with the healers before evening
meal. Maybe some pazz bread with Tass and Makrea roots. Right?"
Beaming from ear to ear, the girl took her Master's hand into her
uninjured one and proudly strode by his side to exit the training
garden with him.