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The days rolled on and Team Avatar was still going through the Earth Kingdom with Appa. Aang was feeling rather odd for leaving Makapu Village in a heap without helping and Sokka could see it.
"Come on, Aang, you're not still sad over Makapu, are you?" Aang just nodded.
"Don't worry. Remember, Aunt Wu insisted that we go and continue on your mission while they rebuild the village. They can handle it," Sokka insisted.
"But I feel so guilty not helping out. You sure they can handle it?"
"Sure they can. They had earthbenders among them, I'm sure next time we visit, it'll be good as new."
"I hope so...how about we stop for a bit? Appa is getting tired," Aang suggested. With that said, they decide to stop at a clearing in the forest. It was surprising to Katara that Sokka didn't think of his near-death experience, but she didn't bother to bring it back up.
Since the group didn't exactly have any supplies, as they were lost in the eruption in Makapu, they needed to get some supplies for the trip, not to mention food. However, as they were still walking, they notice something rather worrying. On a tree by the dirt road, they found something...a wanted poster...of Aang! Katara grabbed the paper.
"Oh no. Already a wanted poster is going around?" Katara said in worry.
"Well, it's been a while since we met that Zuko guy, I guess this is new."
"Aang, this is you! You're wanted by the Fire Nation, this is bad," Sokka pointed out.
"Don't worry. All we need is to disguise that arrow. Sounds simple enough, right? Give me a second, I might have something." Before they could decide what, they suddenly heard someone coming their way! This freaked out Katara a bit.
"Uh oh! Quick Aang, disappear, vanish, hide!"
"I dunno, just hide for a second!" Aang, unsure what else to do, leaped in the nearby bushes as the person became evident. Although Aang was easy to hide, Appa was another question.
"Come on, Appa, vanish!" Sokka encouraged. But all Appa did was walk behind a too small tree and laid down. All that got was Sokka facepalming, as Katara saw who was coming. Walking their way was, as worried about, Fire Nation folk. This told them that there was a Fire Nation area nearby. Luckily, they were just travelers but there was no time for Sokka or Katara to disappear as they neared. Oddly though, there was just one feminine person on some sort of giant lizard. She stopped in front of them and jumped off her lizard pal, landing in front of them.
"Have you seen some other fire folk go by? I got left behind and I'm gonna miss out on the fun!"
"What fun?" Katara asked.
"The circus, silly! It's gonna start tonight and I need to get to the show! Know where they went?" She asked. Katara and Sokka looked to each other, obviously confused.
"Um...I think they went this way?" Sokka said, pointing down the road. He didn't have any clue, but he wasn't feeling so comfortable with this person.
"EEEHHH~! Thank you!" She beamed, kissed him on the cheek, got back on her lizard, and they both went off...leaving Sokka speechless. After she was out of sight, Aang got out of hiding along with Appa, while Sokka just stood there mouth a gape.
"Who was that? Pretty friendly for a Fire Nation," Aang commented.
"That and rather open, she didn't care for us being Water Tribe," added Katara. Appa walked out too and licked Sokka to snap him back.
"Thank you Appa for the bath," Sokka sighed, trying to dry himself. Unaware to them though, that same girl saw Aang and Appa come out! Lucky for them, she shrugged and continued onward fast. Aang though got an idea when he heard about the circus.
"You know. That circus idea sounded interesting...don't you think?" Aang asked.
Almost immediately Sokka snapped "no, absolutely not."
"Come on, please?"
"No! Aang, it's Fire Nation. We're not gonna risk our necks to go see some circus act," Sokka decided, climbing up onto Appa. But Aang already had a scheme...the ol' puppy eyes routine.
"Aang, stop it. I'm a warrior, it won't work," Sokka groaned, looking away. But a second glance at Aang's soulful eyes and beg was getting to him.
"Come on, Sokka, it'll only be for a while. It's just one act." That, added with Aang's stare, finally broke.
"Okay, okay, fine, we'll go! But if we get caught, I blame you."
"Sweet! Come on let's-"
"Wait. Where is this circus anyway? And we can't run in without some sort of disguise," Katara pointed out again. Aang looked back at the poster and then got an idea.
It took some time trekking, plenty of time, but as it turns out, Sokka was actually correct on the direction. Following the girl's direction, they not only found the town, but also the large circus tent not too far away. It took some manipulation and conviction, but they've managed to get some fancy disguises; Aang got a hat to cover his arrowhead. They were going through the nighttime town to the circus tent.
"Good. We're fitting in," Katara said.
"That's nice, now let's get this over with, huh? I'm not so comfortable," Sokka replied. It didn't feel any better as they neared the circus tent. However, a "bouncer" was right in the way.
"Excuse me. We're here to see the act?" Aang asked.
"A bit late are you? Sorry, no seats left. Can't enter," the bouncer said.
"Come on, there has to be a seat somewhere!"
"Well, too bad. No seats, no show. Be on your way." Sokka was going to turn around, but Katara stopped him.
"You sure there isn't anywhere left?" Katara asked.
"I wouldn't be here if there was. Now I'll ask you again. Go." It was a bummer to have this shown...but before they could go, an all to familiar voice was heard saying, "hi!". Sure enough, that energetic kisser from earlier showed herself.
"Oh. You again."
"Come to see the show?"
"They can't see it, not enough room for them," the guard said sternly.
"Sure there is! There's those front row seats!"
"Ty Lee, did you even talk to the-" Before the guard could continue, Ty Lee suddenly brought out the puppy eyes on him. Sokka sensed a déjà vu here as the guard gave up after a minute of this.
"This is the only exception I'll allow," the guard decided. Ty Lee jumped for joy and pulled Aang inside, Aang making sure not to let his hat fly off. Confused, Katara and Sokka simply followed them inside.
The trio didn't take long to find their seats, right in the front row like Ty Lee said. Ty Lee didn't run off right away though.
"Thanks for these seats, Ty Lee," Aang said with a smile.
"No problem. I never like it when people miss out," Ty Lee said with a smile. Suddenly though, the ringmaster called her back.
"Enjoy the show you three!" Ty Lee chimed with a wink, before she bolted back so the show could begin.
"She is sweet," Katara thought aloud.
"A bit naive, but sweet," added Sokka.
After that was said, the show began. Aang was especially excited as the crowd pleasing acts went under way. To start, there were the animal trainers, getting dangerous creatures to handle the acting. One of these was a large lion vulture that impressed the crowd with its leaping skills as instructed by the animal trainer. The other acts included various acts of firebenders, which got plenty of amazement from the crowd, including Aang and Katara. Sokka just wanted this to end so they could get out so they wouldn't be caught, clearly not enjoying himself...then came the acrobats.
This part was what interested the crowd the most. Up high above the ground, Ty Lee was doing her ultimate stunts high above the circus floor. Ty Lee balanced on one hand easily as the net under her was placed. The act was a series of daredevil stunts, stunts no normal person could even dream to pull off. It was as if she was flying around, she was so good! Even Sokka was a bit impressed, but Aang was amazed the most of all. Even if he knew Air Nomads that could fly, none of them matched Ty Lee's agility...This was someone he just had to know.
It took a long while, but eventually the show was over and everyone was leaving. Sokka, Katara and Aang got out last, no one else around at this point. But Aang still wanted to meet Ty Lee, just a little bit. So as Sokka and Katara were busy, Aang began to tip toe away, but Sokka caught him right away.
"Where are you going?"
"Uh...to the bathroom?" Aang said sheepishly. Katara and Aang looked at each other.
"Look, Aang. We went to the circus like you said. There isn't a reason for us to stay here really," Katara said. Aang realized she was right. He gave a simple sigh and was going to go on when...
"HI!" Aang nearly jumped out of his skin as he spun around, only to find Ty Lee standing there, her big smile beaming.
"Is this gonna become a regular thing with you?" Aang asked. Ty Lee just smiled.
"Sorry about that. But I wanted to ask how the show went for you?" Ty Lee asked. This was confusing but innocent nonetheless.
"The show was great! Especially when it came to the acrobat part," Aang admitted.
"That's great! I'm glad my act was great for you (starts to whisper) It's not easy entertaining the Avatar." That last part made Aang freeze.
"Wait...you knew?" Sokka asked, blank faced.
"Of course, silly! I saw you come out earlier today. Plus I can see your arrow a mile away, see?" Ty Lee, whether from stupidity or the fun of the moment, took off Aang's hat, revealing his arrow tattoo! Aang quickly grabbed the hat before anyone else saw.
"Why didn't you say anything?" Aang asked, unsure of what else to say.
"I didn't want you to miss the show. Plus it'll ruin the surprise!" Indeed, Ty Lee just left them all speechless right now, unsure of what else to say to this person.
"Right...well, we should REALLY get going now. Come on, guys," Sokka said. Katara went on, but Aang still wanted to talk.
"But you're Fire Nation, aren't you? Why didn't you tell anyone else if you knew I'm the Avatar?" Aang asked. Ty Lee's mood suddenly fell down from Aang's comment.
"Well, not all Fire Nation are bad you know. I'm goodie-goodie unlike other fire folk," Ty Lee said.
"I know. But I guess I'm wanted by now. I saw a wanted poster on the way here." Sokka wanted to stop him, but didn't know how to other than, "Come on, let's go!" Aang didn't listen though.
"Me too! I have to say though, it was a major improvement over the other one."
"Yeah look," Ty Lee suddenly pulled out another wanted poster of him...only it looked WAY different than it should be, showing an old man rather than a young boy. Aang actually chuckled at this, seeing how big they messed up. Ty Lee put it away after that, agreeing with Aang's own humor.
"This one had been out for years until apparently the fire prince found you and updated it."
"Yeah, Fire Prince Zuko. He's the son of the Firelord and he apparently found you before anyone else did." Aang thought back for a second, and then remembered seeing Zuko. The scarred prince that attacked them for no reason...well there was a reason now. At this point though, Sokka got impatient and began pulling Aang along.
"Come on, Aang, you've stalled enough," Sokka groaned. Ty Lee though rushed ahead.
"Wait. Where are you guys going?"
"Nowhere that worries you." Sokka groaned, annoyed that he was stalling at all. Aang, though, got himself free.
"Knock it off. We saw your circus, now let's go," Aang did feel guilty from this, he just wanted to know Ty Lee a bit. But he knew Sokka was right so he had to get going.
"Sorry, but I guess I have to get going," Aang sighed. Ty Lee watched them go for a bit, but suddenly she caught up again.
"Hold on. Can I ask you something?" Sokka put his hand over his face in complete annoyance. But it was Katara who asked, "What is it?"
"Well... Can I join you?" Ty Lee asked. Again, this was completely out of the blue in every sense of the word.
"Cuz I'm getting a bit bored of being in a circus. And since you're the Avatar, you must have some AWESOME adventures! So can I join? Please?" Ty Lee asked, trying to not act clingy, although she was. Aang could understand where she was going with this, but again Sokka wasn't so sure...Ty Lee even had the nerve to pull the puppy eyes on Sokka.
"Look. It's nice you want to join up but we're on a tight schedule, we can't just add someone right outta the blue like this," Sokka explained, trying to act subtle with her. But Ty Lee kept up her puppy eyed stare.
"Come on, Sokka, she can be useful to the team," Katara said after a bit.
"And how exactly?"
"Didn't you see her up there on the high wire? She's great at agility, something I think can really help."
"Maybe so, but we can't keep adding more members like this," Sokka tried holding back his annoyance, but this was becoming harder to do. It grew even more so when Aang followed Ty Lee in the pup eye stare...that flat out broke him.
"ARGH! Fine, fine, she can join! Just PLEASE don't do that again," Sokka sighed. Ty Lee bolted over and hugged him tightly.
"Thankyouthankyouthankyou! I promise, you won't regret it!" Ty Lee beamed.
"I think I am already," Sokka managed to crock out, being squeezed tightly in her grip.
"Well, decision made, let's head off."
"Cool. That reminds me. I'm Ty Lee. Might as well share names right?" Ty Lee asked.
"Oh, yeah, sure. I'm Aang. This is Katara and Sokka. Now that said, we'll keep talking on the way, now let's get going," Aang happily said. Both he and Ty Lee bolted off to get back to Appa, Sokka and Katara both followed. Now they were joined by a new companion in this journey.
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