So while Rihl and Yuned’rar are taking Aola back to the ship, she brings up the incident with Djonwi and Ayy: “I understand Djonwi is working with you and your friends to learn more about the Aola clones. Or was, at least?”
“From my understanding, he is still working with us,” Yuned’rar says, not turning to look at Rihl and glancing at her with his eyes only from underneath his hood.
Rihl nods, looking more at their surroundings than at Yuned’rar as they travel. “He was helping us, too, as you may know. But he’s not helping anyone while he’s fretting over his fiancé. I understand you’re not the ones holding her, but what can you tell us about the one you left her with?”
The Twi’lek raises a brow at that, adjusting his lekku around his shoulders and hood as they continue their trek. “We did not leave her with Lord Laz’ab,” Yuned’rar corrects her, “We simply let her go home. She was untied and set free. It was only the next day that we all received rather frantic messages from the cyborg asking why his pathetic little spy had not returned home.” He then shoots a quick glare at Rihl before continuing. “I do not know the Sith Lord well. I do know, however, that he enjoys torturing people. Interrogation, you know.”
“So he actually went and picked her back up after she was let go,” Rihl restates it to make it clear to herself, her brow furrowed in thought but otherwise expressionless. “And you know of no other motive for this but torture?” Her tone remains investigative but not accusatory.
“I do not,” Yuned’rar states plainly. “The spy kept goading him on with rude comments just as my friend would calm him down, and he felt—very upset that she would invade privacy like this. Either way, I do not know his motives or what he may be up to. I have not had communication with him since that evening.”
Rihl grimaces. From what she knows of Ayy, this is not implausible. “We were concerned because the one who unleashed the clones is soliciting Djonwi’s aid in return for helping get Ayy back. So we have a stake in Ayy’s safe and swift return. Are there any efforts underway to that end? We want to help if we are able.”
“So I have heard,” Yuned’rar nods slightly. “I believe Darth Bi’ev will, or is, contacting him about it. We do have a few back-up plans in place if Lord Laz’ab proves more stubborn.”
That was what Rihl needed to hear. Though her mouth remains determinedly neutral a smile touches her eyes. “Thank you. You have done much for us today, so we want to protect your investment and be available to help you in return in the future. Don’t hesitate to contact us if there is anything we can do.”
Nodding in acknowledgement, the Twi’lek thinks to himself a moment. “The cyborg mentioned he was to receive a processor from you,” Yuned’rar says, turning his gaze directly at Rihl. “Give it to me.”
Rihl stares right back at Yuned’rar. “I know I just said we owe you, but we have an equal debt to him as well. For his sake, I can’t do that right now. He’s disadvantaged enough as is and there’s a delicate balance of both danger and power going on that neither I nor Aola would be willing to upend.”
“You and Aola’dira are hiding, are you not?” Yuned’rar asks with a slight tilt of his head like a curious cat. “We can deliver it to him securely and without incident. I assure you.”
“So can we,” says Rihl with a confident grin that shows just a little bit of teeth. “We’ve got more freedom of movement now than we used to. But if things do change, we may reconsider.” Her expression becomes serious again. “I know there’s no love lost between you and he, but we’re not doing this to play anyone against each other. We do have a common enemy here.”
“If you so insist,” Yuned’rar says, turning away from Rihl once more. The Twi’lek’s lekku tighten around him slightly, but beyond that he expresses no displeasure. “Keep me up to date. My family’s safety is also at stake.”
Still looking straight at Yuned’rar after he turned away, Rihl gives him one more deliberate nod. “Of course we will. Like I said: common enemy.”