"Thank you so much," I said. "I truly appreciate your being able to get us in to see Senator Palpataine on such short notice."
"Actually, it's even more impressive than that," Oneida said. "He's actually the Chancellor now. He seemed perfectly willing to meet with you, though. I was a little surprised given how busy he is. He is such a sweet and gentle man. You're quite lucky."
"Ah wonder if'n he's married?" Rogue asked.
"Settle down girl," I said. "I thought you were involved with someone?"
"A girl's always lookin' to upgrade, Professor," she replied with a wink.
I just shook my head as Oneida lead us through the magnificent hall. I have never seen such a grand structure in my life. The ceilings were hundred's of feet high. Everything was in prestine condition, almost like an animator had drawn it.
As we waited outside the Chancellor's office, Maggie got a rather strange look on her face. She clutched my arm.
"What is it?" I asked her telepathically.
"I'm sensing a dark evil."
"Are you sure it's not just Wolverine? I don't think he bathed this week."
"No Charles, it's coming from behind that door. A kind of true evil that I've only ever felt in Hell. Oh Charles! It's some kind of dark force!"
"Really? Oneida says this Chancellor is very well respected."
"One of my powers is to sense good and evil. I'm telling you whatever is behind there is evil. We know Palpaltaine is involved in the theft of the Sapphire of Radiance. Maybe he isn't an innocent dupe."
"That is certainly a possibility I haven't discounted."
"Please let me question him. I have the power to read men's hearts. I'm not saying it's stronger than your telepathy of Master Yoda's Jedi powers, but this is what I do."
"Of course, my dear. Do what you must. You know I will back you up."
We entered the large offices and a kindly looking older man got up to greet us.
"Hello, my friends," he said in gravely voice. "Thank you for coming to visit me. How can I be of service to you?"
Maggie stepped up to speak but her step faulted. It looked for a moment like she was going to pass out. Everyone looked very concerned.
"Greetings C-chancellor Palpataine," she finally said. "I bring you greetings on behalf of Earth. My name is Magdalena and I - unnggh!"
Maggie suddenly doubled over in pain. I looked into her mind and saw this -
The Chancellor approached her. I couldn't tell if he was smiling or looking worried. Maggie's arm reached behind her for the Spear. I was about to stop her when she collapsed.
"Your little friend seems to have over exerted herself," the Chancellor said. "Perhaps she would like to lie down on the sofa in the outer office while we talk."
Wolverine stepped up to help Maggie out but I motioned for Cyclops to take her instead. I wanted to keep Wolverine close.