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Back at the northern shores of the Earth Kingdom, Fire Prince Zuko, along with General Hooro, was about ready to go. Their ship was set, the preparations were ready, and the soldiers were all good to head out. Zuko and Hooro went up side by side as the soldiers followed. Mai was the last to go aboard at the point.
"Are all your men ready, General?" Zuko asked. Hooro nodded.
"They're all ready to go. But the Water Tribe isn't going to be easy."
"I know that. But we don't need very much. All we need is to find the main legend behind it." Mai managed to catch up at one point, overhearing them talk.
"You keep mentioning this dumb legend. What if it isn't real? What is it in fact?" Mai asked, unamused. Zuko sighed and looked out to the sea from the ship's side.
"Many years ago, there were two unique spirits: Tui and La. Tui and La were once among the Spirit World, like many other spirits...but upon seeing the struggles of the Water Tribe at the North Pole, they surrendered themselves to our world, becoming the moon and ocean. The moon pushed. The ocean pulled. Waterbenders saw this and mimicked the movements. The first waterbenders..." Hooro and Mai turned to each other in confusion as other Fire Nation soldiers were listening too.
"So you know how waterbending started. What's that got to do with anything?" Mai asked, in her usual bored tone. Zuko didn't turn back to her as he continued.
"...There is another part to the legend. The life came from La. Their strength came from Tui. If either one of them were to be killed, the imbalance of them both will make the waterbenders powerless. We can use this to our advantage and use that for the Water Tribe to hand over the Avatar."
"You're planning to kill Tui and La?!" Hooro gasped, more in interest rather than fear.
"No. It will only be a weapon to get the Avatar. If they really were killed, the whole world will feel it. Earth Kingdom, Water Tribe, Fire Nation, air temple. They all will feel the pain. (turns to them) Now no more games. Let's head out," Zuko announced. Mai, for the first time in a while, had concern over Zuko's choice. Sure, he wouldn't try to kill Tui or La, but the sound of Hooro made her feel a bit more dread. But when they got a few feet from shore...
The screech got all of their attention, as something ran out from the bush, on the dock, and with one giant leap, actually made it onto the ship! Zuko immediately recognized the animal and while most of Zuko's guards weren't as surprised, Hooro's guards were slightly panicked.
"How dare you try to leave me?!"
"Sorry, Raiu. You just left soon after our trip in the prison, I didn't think you were coming."
"Of course I'm coming! This is the Avatar we're talking about. I'm not letting some monkey get away with it," Raiu growled, still angry that Zuko nearly ditched it. Raiu looked to Hooro and his group.
"What are you looking at? GET TO IT!" Raiu ordered, sparks of anger flying off its fur. Hooro and the guards immediately went off, not wanting to deal with this electrical sabre tooth. Raiu marched off as Zuko just sigh and got off and ready. Time to bring the fire to the North Pole.
Miles away, Team Avatar was still heading off. Being over ocean the whole 24-hour flight made it impossible for a rest, so Appa was getting rather winded. Although the other days that past, tired him too, at least there was a chance to rest. He wasn't a fish. Momo, Katara, and Sokka were asleep right now, but Aang was still awake. Having had more rest, though, he wasn't as beat.
"Hang in there, boy. It won't be long now," Aang encouraged. Appa gave a moan and continued, though Aang would see he was getting tired. The moan woke Momo up, who was fully rested.
"Hi, Momo," Aang said. Momo fluttered around Aang for a bit. But suddenly, Momo got excited when he looked ahead. Aang looked ahead and he could see what Momo did...there it was... excited, Momo went over and tried waking Katara and Sokka, but it was not working. Appa though had his own idea. In a quick drop, he splashed into the sea, causing water to soak Katara and Sokka. Momo got out of the way just before the splash, so he didn't get wet. Sokka gasped and grabbed a club, thinking an enemy was around. But nope.
"Very funny, Katara, I didn't need a wake up call!" Sokka groaned as Katara used her waterbending to get the water off herself.
"I didn't do that!" Katara protested. Before an argument could start, Aang pointed ahead saying, "We're here! The Northern Water Tribe!" Sokka and Katara looked ahead and they saw the entrance waiting for them. The Northern Water Tribe was in sight! Happy and giddy, they started flying off fast to reach it. At the gate though, turned out they were already seen by one of the guards through a telescope. The guard was simply speechless, unsure if he was seeing the real deal.
"Something wrong?" another guard asked. The guard simply gave him the telescope and he saw the same thing, equally shocked.
"Get the report into the chief."
It didn't take more than a few minutes before they stopped at the main entrance to the city. However, there wasn't any door or arch they would just go into and Appa was too tired to fly any higher, so they just had to wait a bit.
"Great. Now what?" Sokka gripped. Aang stood up and looked up the wall.
"Hello?! Anyone there! We like to go in!" Aang called. At first, no one replied. It seemed rather vague that no one was showing up...but eventually the gate opened for them! Aang was happy that they were heading on it. But they appeared to end up in a box, at least until they were floated up when waterbenders added water to it. A nice trick.
Probably the happiest was Appa, who stumbled back onto the cool ice. Just what he needed. Most of the guards there confronted them as Aang landed in front of them.
"Hi there, thanks for letting us in," Aang said. The other guards bowed in his presence. Aang felt embarrassed as Katara and Sokka got off Appa. Aang looked off ahead and noticed someone else coming his way. Just who he wanted to see: Chief Arnook himself! He was accompanied by a young, white-haired teenager, whom they assumed was the princess.
"Greetings, young one. You must be the Avatar, yes?"
"Yes, but I prefer if you just call me Aang. My friends told me a bit about you. They said you were close to their father?" Chief Arnook looked to Sokka and Katara, who greeted him.
"Ah, the Southern Water Tribe children. How nice to see you. Your father told me a lot about both of you," Arnook explained.
"Nice to see you too, Chief Arnook. It is an honor," Katara said. Sokka glanced over at the princess, feeling rather uncomfortable for some reason, but not in a bad way. Luckily, he wasn't noticed and tried to focus. Just in time too, because then Arnook asked, "So, what brings you children up here to the North Pole?"
"We need to find our friend a waterbending master. And we think you might be a good teacher for the role, right?" Sokka said, almost cutting Katara off from her words answering him.
"Oh yes. It is nice that you think I would be a good teacher, but during the years, someone else had surpassed me for waterbending master," Arnook admitted. It was a rather odd thing to hear, but it seemed that Arnook wasn't as distraught on his own news.
"I'll explain. Mind continuing this conversation in the palace? I'd imagine the trip was exhausting on you. Especially for your bison over there," Arnook said, looking to a physically exhausted Appa. Aang clearly understood.
"Yes, of course, that would be great," Aang agreed.
After a minute or two, Team Avatar was now in the palace. It was a nice place to rest, especially for Appa and Momo, who were given some food for their effort. The trio was also invited to Arnook's dinner and they gladly applied...although Aang didn't have very much, since it were mainly different meat items. Katara could see the discomfort on his face.
"You okay, Aang?"
"Yeah, yeah. Nothing better than being surrounded by dead animals," Aang said sarcastically. Truthfully, he didn't like this, being a vegetarian himself, but tried his best not to show it. Sokka was enjoying the feast next to Katara, but felt that uncomfortable feeling again once that same princess sat down next to him. At first Sokka said nothing, trying to ignore her, but she was noticing him a lot.
"Hello there," she said in a sweet voice. Sokka was kind of off guard, quickly swallowing whatever was in his mouth.
"Hi," he managed to say, trying to clear his throat up. She giggled at his reaction as Sokka tried not to look stupid.
"So, you've been travelling with the Avatar? Must have been exciting."
"Well yeah, there was a bit of excitement before coming here. Good run in with the Fire Nation here and there, some spirit encounters, so on so on."
"Spirit encounters? That is amazing."
"Yeah, it was for a while." Their conversation went on for a while as Arnook was talking to Aang.
"So Avatar, your friend said you needed a waterbending master?"
"Again, I prefer Aang. And yeah, it was the reason we came here. Do you know anyone that can help me out?" Before Arnook could answer, three Water Tribe benders had entered the room to demonstrate their skills. One looked rather middle-aged and indeed looked like a master.
"There is our waterbending master. Master Pakku," Arnook introduced. So their demonstration began with each of them bending a current in their wake. They bended the water as if they were born with mastered bending, the bending they all used was in complete unison, something Aang had never seen a waterbender do. Then again, he was gone for a hundred years, so things could have changed within that time. It was near the end where it intrigued the team the most. At this point in the demonstration, all three waterbenders combined their bending and formed a large serpent shape, as if the creature was alive. They made the serpent swim around above the audience, dazzling realism with the movements of all three. Eventually, the serpent began to manifest with the bending into a more animal like shape...The shape of Aurora...soon the demonstration ended, leaving them in pure awe.
"He's perfect. When can I talk to him?"
"You'll have to wait till tomorrow. Master Pakku is very busy today and won't have time for it."
"Sounds good to me," Aang decided as the rest of his group got up from the table.
"Good. I've taken the liberty to make reservations for you three. Our guards will show you to where you'll be staying."
"Really? Gee, thanks."
Where Aang, Sokka, and Katara were staying was a rather basic Water Tribe home. Aang didn't really mind this though, as this helped him becoming more normal than the Avatar. Sure, he didn't mind the Avatar status, but he liked his time as a normal kid and the normal place helped out. Their new home gave them a good view out beyond the walls, out to the sea. It was pretty late now and the group was getting ready to go to bed, but still wanted to talk to each other.
"Well guys, we're finally here," Aang said after getting into bed.
"Yeah. I could hardly believe it. The three of us, making it around the globe from South Pole to North Pole," Sokka agreed. Katara was looking out the window to the ocean, Momo by her side.
"You thinking about something?" Aang asked. This snapped Katara out of her own thoughts as she turned around.
"Huh? Oh, yeah, I'm fine. Just wondering how Ty Lee is doing," Katara stated.
"Don't worry. Ty Lee is a chi blocker remember? I'm sure she is doing just fine in the Earth Kingdom. Who knows, maybe she already found a teacher and is waiting for us," Sokka said, confident in Ty Lee's mission.
"Yeah, maybe you're right," Katara said. She walked back to them, but Momo started to notice something. Momo got their attention to the window again and Katara saw it first. At first, she didn't really see anything, but indeed Momo was noticing something going around the city. A few minutes of looking, none of them saw anything...until a noise came from their door. Aang got to the door first.
"Who's there?" Aang asked, rather weary.
"I think you'll recognize me. Mind opening the door?" The voice was oddly familiar, but a bit lighter pitched. Aang still wasn't to sure about this, but opened the door anyway...there it was...right at their doorstep.
"Nice to see you again. Sorry I was gone for so long," Aurora said, walking in. His presence shocked them all, but from the other two times they did see him, it wasn't too big, but still big either way.
"How did you find us?"
"I followed you. Like I said back in Omashu, I'm doing a favor and I'm keeping it. I'm impressed you've all made it here now," Aurora said with a smile.
"I'm impressed you made it here. How did you? We traveled over sea for days!" Sokka pointed out.
"All part of being a spirit. I'm able to run on water, which made travelling over sea easy. Besides, I wanted to visit back here to see your waterbending training. You don't mind that, do you?" Aurora asked. It seemed he was more sweet now than the other two times before. Aang gave an equally warm smile.
"Not at all, Aurora. It's great seeing you again. And I wanted to thank you for your help before," Aang said.
"No problem. Just trying to help."
"So are you going to disappear again?" Sokka blurted out. Katara glared off at him for being rude, but Aurora just chuckled.
"No not this time. I'm planning to stick around this time. Besides, I just got here. No point on leaving now." As Katara and Aang agreed, Sokka was acting oddly questionable, as Aurora caught.
"Oh Sokka, you're not still mad about that are you?"
"What?...Oh right! No I'm not. You're just acting a bit differently than before." Aurora shrugged.
"Yeah, I guess being around you guys is rubbing off on me," Aurora chuckled. Sokka could see that as a bit of making sense, he was acting more nice instead of serious like before. Aurora gave another smiled and laid down by the bed.
"It is pretty late. We should get some rest."
"Okay, sure. Goodnight, Aurora," Aang said, heading off to bed himself. Aurora personally was surprised that they accepted him so quickly, since they've only crossed paths a few times. But then again, he did save Aang's life multiple times and helped save Omashu, so he could assume they had a good bond already. With that in mind, they all went off to sleep, ready to begin their training tomorrow.
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