Uxel followed Master Achushnet at an uncomfortable pace. He was quite a bit taller than her (most species were), so his strides were much longer than hers. She considered flying but then she would go much faster than him and she had no idea where they were headed.
So Uxel contented herself with examining this new teacher of hers from behind. Based on what she knew of humans, he had the appearance of one of advanced years. But he moved with the grace and strength of one much younger. Like the man she had approached on Corna, this being exuded with power. Like he was barely containing all the thrumming energy in his body.
They continued to wind their way through the endless Gemshorn caverns. Occasionally one of the natives would scuttle by.
"Tell me about yourself, Uxel," Master Achushnet asked without turning around.
"There's really not much to tell," Uxel replied while trying not to squawk in fright when she noticed a ramea on the cavern's ceiling. "I'm a fruit merchant from Corna. Nothing special."
Master Achushet stopped when she said this and turned to meet Uxel with an unwavering stare. "No, tell me about yourself, Uxel."
Uxel was taken aback. No one had ever bothered to ask her this question before. She considered lying but something told her that this man would know if she did. "My family died when I was just a hatchling. I lived most of my life scraping to get by. I sell fruit as a cover. Most of my money comes from selling arms and information to the Rebellion. It's easy work for me since I am often overlooked by the Imperium authorities. What I crave most is respect. That is the one thing money cannot buy. I want others to look at me and not see a lowly merchant from an inferior race."
"To earn respect, you must respect yourself."
Uxel fell into silence and they continued walking until they came to a metallic door imbedded in the rock.
"This is my home. You are welcome to stay here with me for the time being and, if you prefer, I can arrange for you to have your own quarters since training will take quite a bit of time. And I think you are wrong, Uxel."
"You do not come from an inferior race. You come from a race that has lost its sense of purpose. There's a difference. I think that you have the potential to become one of the greatest tuners the galaxy has ever seen."