((Written from Soteria's point of view, continuation of the story started here))

I have always been a huntress. My people are natural predators. Our world is harsh, so we learn to be strong. Our canine teeth are sharp so that we can kill thimiars, our primary prey. But we do so painlessly. Only a savage draws out their prey's suffering, especially when the prey is weaker than you. Only a coward puffs himself up and gloats over an easy triumph over a weaker being. My initiation rite was stalking and slaying an akul together with a batch of young hunters like me. It was a fierce battle. The beast was strong and huge, so we had to use cunning to bring it down. Even with it, our victory was hard fought. The kill was a cause of celebration. But we respected our foe. I still wear its teeth.

Other hunts have followed since then - of beasts and sentients. These men, however, do not respect their prey. "Heavy footprints. They either wore heavy armour, are large or both. They come from the bushes" I bend down to examine the dead nexu. My hand traces the ghastly wound. "High-impact shot. And another one here. She did not die right away. The shooter was either incompetent, or wanted to draw out her suffering."

My hand touches the hole inside her. "It would have struck her even before she heard it tear through the air. They did not give her a chance." My disgust rises. I examine some stains on the grass. "Nexu," I conclude after tasting it.
"Four speeders. They hid," Evangalus speaks as he joins me in front of the carcass. He is not Leonina, but the Zabrak is capable, diligent and fierce.

More blood can be found staining the grass further away. "This is not hers."
"The cubs," Evangalus opines.
"Trophies for them to show off and cage. I wonder how they would enjoy being locked in a zoo or thrown into a arena for others to gawk at?" As I examine the grass, I come across a piece of flesh. I pick it up and sniff, then taste it. "Human. It looks like it was ripped off." I lock eyes with Evangalus. "The cub struggled when it was taken."

"These fat cowards come from their comfortable homes to prey on the weak. The mother Nexu never stood a chance, shot from the bushes, her defenceless cubs stolen. If only these weaklings knew the true danger in these jungles comes not from the fangs of the Nexu, but the blades of a Sith."

"They will know what it means to be afraid, Master," he affirms.
My eyes are ablaze. "I will gut them all, all but one. That one I will show the true way of the jungle to. They will learn a lesson about abusing the weak when you do not have the strength to defeat the strong also."
"I found plastic bottles in the bushes, Master. They will not have travelled far. They would celebrate their great victory." Disgust rolls off his tongue.

Nature always find a way. She is a harsh mistress, and she ruthlessly punished complacency. The two of us take off. We follow the footprints, the disturbed ground and the stench of carcasses that have been carelessly shot and left to rot in the sun.

Eventually, we follow the loud music and the smell of barbecued meat. It is getting dark by the time we find the camp. Truth be told, to call it a camp would be an insult to any proper base camp established by hunters. But then these men are poseurs. Their perimeter security is poor. Even from this distance, I can smell the waft of liquor.

Evangalus and I creep towards the camp. Darkness is our cover, as is the laxness of our quarry. A few of them are surrounded by a fire. Cubs are being held in cages. All bar one. It has been muzzled and chained. The poor thing whines as one of these pathetic excuses for hunters prods it with a cattle prod. One of his comrades in degeneracy is taking pictures. Their faces are flushed with liquor.

"Come on, lil one, don't be like that," he gloats to the frightened, angry cub, slurring his words. "I'm your new daddy." Then he yelps when it manages to claw him. Angrily, he prods it. "Frakking animal! Did you see that?"
"Don't be a baby, Stan," one of his comrades says.
"Stupid thing will know who's boss. Hey, Jason, are you watching the meat? I want my steak."

I have no special need to save the animals. They may be useful to me though. However, it is these weak, soft beings with their technology which insult me. It is for that reason that they shall be punished. "Sabotage their vehicles," I whisper. Wordlessly, Evangalus slips away while I creep closer, keeping my body low. When I hear the thumping of boots on the ground, I quickly climb up a tree looming above them.

"Man, this job sucks," a sentry opines. It is the impotent whine of a craven creature.
"What's wrong with it? All we gotta do is guard the boss while he goes on safari. And look at the trophies we got. Always impresses the chicks."
"Yeah, and our boss is a pompous arse. The pay could also be better."
"Of course, he is. He's rich. But it's an easy gig and the booze is good. Way better than that assignment we had with Komad."
"Oh, don't get me started on him on that guy. Always..."
He does not get to finish the sentence. Indeed, he does not get to say anything at all as I pounce. He raises his rifle, but his arm has already been reduced to a stump. My other blade is thrust through his open mouth. He crumbles to the ground. His comrade is already on the ground.

Twin lightsabres in hand, both glowing a fiery crimson, I set to work. There is no need for subtlety and feel no desire for it. Smoke rises from the barbeque, and shouts fill the air across the camp.

The hunters around the camp fire stagger as they scramble to defend themselves. Blasters and slugthrowers are drawn. Their leader drops the chained cub. He reeks of fear. Gunfire raines down upon me. I am a blur of movement. Some bolts I cut out of the air with my lightsabre, others I evade outright. A few slam into me. I press on undaunted. The burns are welcome.

Some fall when the blasters are wrenched from their grasp and I cut them down. Others die from reflected shots. One of them I lift up and throw into their barbecue grill. He screams in agony. Their leader runs. So does what is left of his motley party. I take my time, giving them just a few seconds.

The speeder will not start, and Evangalus falls upon them. The screams resonate through the air. Their leader backs away, panting heavily. He is not used to running for his life. He faces me, and for just a moment desperation gives this cretin a modicrum of courage. Bringing up his oversized shotgun, he fires as I charge. It is as loud as a cannon. Pain explodes inside me as I am struck. It is like being hit by a speeder.

But I can take it. Blood drips from my robes. I fall, and he levels his gun. He makes the classic mistake - waiting for it to recharge. My wound is already healing. Evangalus has him in his sights, but she knows better than to intrude. He fires, and I am no longer there. As I leap, he searches the dark sky for me.

I land with feline grace. "Behind you." Abruptly, he spins around. But ere he can level his weapon at me, it is already in my grasp and it is my mind that pulls the trigger - while it is aimed at the ground his feet stand on. He jumps with shock and the weapon tumbles to the ground. My hand wraps around his throat and I lift him up. My grip tightens around his windpipe as he struggles for oxygen. He crumples like a sack of potatoes when he falls.

"No! Mercy! Please. Who are you?"
"Nature's wroth. But you can call me Darth Soteria."
"A Sith? Frak. Look, I got no quarrel with you guys. Hell, I do business with the Empire. I..."
I grow tired of his bleating. "I am not associated with the Empire." That he would mistake me for one of its minions is enough reason for me to feel disgusted.
"Alright, alright, Lady...Lord. Surely we can work something out. What do you want? Money? I'm rich. Hell, you can get shares in company, I promise. Just..."
He reeks. I can smell the sweat, the fear and the piss he has soiled his pants with. I step closer.
"I want you to learn a lesson. I want you to know what it is like to have everything stripped from you and struggle for your life, when it is just you with your back to the wall. No toys, no minions, no wealth - just you and your will to endure. I want you to know what it is like to be hunted."

Understanding dawns upon him. Shock is written across his features. "What? This is all about that nexu? It was just an animal!"
My boot knocks teeth out when it connects. "And you did not respect your prey. You wanted to show off and did not even afford it the dignity of facing it in a true contest of skill. You are a weak, slothful being, but you strut around like an arrogant peacok until the darkness closes around you. So you will lose everything but your underwear and be cast into the jungle."
"B-but...but," the cretin struggles to form words. "I'll die. I have family!"
"If you survive, you will be the stronger for it. If not, you are no loss to the cosmos." I can sense Evangelia approach.
"Any other survivors?"
"They ran, they died," he says nonchalantly. "Except for the one who got barbecued. His arm was cooked."
"He'll do. Free the cubs. Give them meat." My eyes never leave the cretin. "You shall watch." He is compliant after that. His comrade gets to watch his boss be as meek as a lamb and not a raise a finger to aid him.

His meat is still warm. Evangalus opens the cages. The nexu are wary and frightened. The cub who was being prodded pounces the leader. He screams. "Get off him," I command. "He will learn his lesson." The Force is strong my words as I reach out. Eventually, the little one relents. His face is marked by its claws and teeth.

The little cub hisses. I stretch out my hand, holding the arm of his barbecued comrade. "Yours," I speak softly, as if talking to a child. "Feast on it. Feast on them all, except him." The cub sniffs, then she seizes the meat. Her siblings join her. Once she is done, I pick her up. I stroke the cub's head. "It is only for a while. Soon you will be free and fierce." It is easier to transport them in the cage, so they go there. The last of the gang watches while his comrades become food. I do not deign to learn his name. He has not earned one. Then we make him strip down and force a blindfold on him. Only his private parts remain covered. I take his comm and toss his credits into the crackling fireplace.

"Move,"
"Are you sure we..." the growls and hisses of the Nexu cut him off. "Alright, alright!" He makes for a pathetic sight. We drag him through the jungle for quite a while.
He stumbles more than a few times. Each time he halts his lackluster strude, he greedily sucks in air, panting heavily. He is soaked in sweat. "My feet are being cut. It hurts. And mosquitoes are biting me."
I throw him to the ground.
"The nearest settlement is thirty miles to the north."
"You're really just going to leave me here? I've got no clothes, no speeder...no weapons? Can't you at least leave me a pistol?"
"Learn how to improvise. Learn how to be a Nexu, or remain a sheep and perish." Without a further word, I turn away. I can hear his bleating and whining for quite a while, until it is finally swallowed by the darkness. I take the cage in hand and give Evangelia a nod. At the press of a button on the detonator, the camp goes up in flames. As plumes of smoke rise into the dark sky, my datapad beeps.

I take it and read the message. Then I read it again. "Leonina is travelling to Dahomey."
"Your former apprentice."
"She has never stopped being my apprentice. She merely needs to be a taught a lesson."
"Then let me administer it, Master. I will show her the price of defying you." Is it jealousy I hear in Evangalus' words?
"No, you won't touch a hair on her head. I will confront her and I will break her so that she will finally see the truth and be free from her shackles."