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|Burning Snow PT1|
As for the days that followed, Aang and Katara were put under tough training. Just because Aang was the Avatar didn't mean Pakku was going to give them any slack. However, the two were doing very good on their training. Aurora was enjoying it too, it staying around the training grounds to observe their training. One point in this training session, Katara was showing off a bit towards the other students, finishing off that day's training.
"Well done, Katara," Master Pakku congratulated, as Katara finished off her training.
"Thank you, Master Pakku," Katara replied. As they were talking, Aurora went over to her after she was done.
"I'm very impressed with your success. I have never seen someone advance so fast and so well in waterbending as you did." Katara simply smiled happily as Aang joined up with them after he was finished.
"What about me? I've been doing well, wasn't I?"
"Yes, you were, Aang. Like Katara, you have improved extraordinarily well," Aurora complimented. Aang gave an embarrassed shrug as he turned to Master Pakku.
"You know, Avatar Aang? You were right, this has been rather easy for both of us. Looks like you've mastered waterbending already," Pakku joked. Aang gave a good laugh at it as he, Katara, and Aurora, went on out and started heading back to their house. As they were walking, Aurora turned to Aang.
"Hey, Aang? I just want to say how amazed I am that your training was so successful," Aurora said.
"Thank you. Honestly I didn't expect it to be so simple. Hey check this out!" Aang stepped away from Katara and Aurora as he demonstrated a unique waterbending trick he picked up. Taking some water from the nearby canal, he made himself an octopus-like shield.
"That's great! You take to waterbending like a fish to water," Katara said, as Aang finished his demonstration. The trio began to head on back to their home soon after that.
Meanwhile, Sokka was once again off with the princess. For the past few days since meeting, Sokka and Yue were starting to grow closer to each other. Yue was enjoying the company of the Southern Water Tribe warrior. The two took off on Appa to outside the city, onto the ice shelf nearby, to get a better look around the ocean. Yue had been ailing though and wanted to talk to Sokka.
"Well, I...Just want to say, I'm glad I've met you..." Sokka turned to her for a second, a bit surprised hearing this from her. But he didn't worry too much about it and just said, "I'm glad I've met you too..."
"I know it's a bit soon, but you're just so...so..." Sokka was a bit intrigued at this point, but didn't really show an ego as she tried to finished her sentence. Yue was trying to get her thoughts out straight, but found it more difficult than she thought...Then she just went out with it.
"You're just...you're very sweet, cute, funny, and a great warrior. I honestly never met anyone like you," Yue confessed. Sokka smiled, he felt rather happy that she thought of him this way...he was starting to think sweet of her too. Yue could see he wasn't seeing it as anything negative, so she just left it and smiled as they both looked out to the sea...then they noticed something odd.
"What's that?" Yue asked, a bit worried. Sokka and Yue saw it was starting to snow...but it wasn't snow...ash...black ash. Sokka went over and scooped up some of the ash from the snow. All too familiar to him.
"'Come on' where? What's going on?" Yue asked worried.
"Back to the tribe. We got to get to Chief Arnook, no time to explain." Yue didn't bother to argue as she got onto Appa. Appa was already getting very antsy with this situation as it was, also knowing what this meant. Looking out to the ocean as they flew, the fear was shown...the Fire Nation had found them!
The ship in question was Zuko's main vessel. Combining his and Hooro's men on board, there was worry over it. At one point, Zuko was looking off at the city from a safe distance as Raiu walked over to him.
"Zuko. You sure you know what you're doing? It's gonna be night time soon," Raiu explained. Zuko merely sighed as he looked out to the North Water Tribe wall.
"The nightfall will make good cover."
"But Zuko, Water Tribe, especially Northern Water Tribe, gain their power from the night, you know that!"
"And if we just run on in, we'll just get frozen. Killed if we're lucky!"
"Raiu. Let me remind you again this is solely to get the Avatar, remember? If they know the spirits of moon and ocean would risk dying, they'll hand him over no matter what happens..." Raiu and Zuko shared a moment of silence until...
"You're so sure it'll work?"
Zuko and Raiu had an unexpected guest in the form of Mai. Mai heard pretty much everything at this point.
"What are you doing here?"
"Taking an earful of your yap. I'm sure you skipped a step in this plan."
"What do you mean?" Raiu asked.
"To start, you hardly got much support, the Avatar has the world behind him and, as a bonus, you don't even know if this legend even exists," Mai sighed, in her usual bored tone. Zuko walked over to her.
"I wouldn't be here if it didn't exist...we wait 'till tonight." Zuko walked away as Raiu followed behind him. After Zuko walked a good few feet out of earshot, Raiu whispered to Mai, "You know, you can be famous as "the moon slayer" if things come to worst. Get my drift?" Raiu gave her a wink and walked off, giving Mai something else to think about.
Back at the tribe, Sokka and Yue flew right back to Aang, Katara, and Aurora. As Yue went off to tell Arnook, Sokka went right to his team inside their home.
"Hi, Sokka. How was your trip with-"
"No time! Trouble! HUGE! Ship-Fire-coming!" Sokka was stuttering over his own words trying to explain in his panic.
"Whoa, Sokka, relax. Now calmly tell us what's wrong," Katara said.
"The Fire Nation! They've found us! They're on the way here!"
"What? How did they find us?!" Aurora asked in shock.
"I dunno, but they're out there! What are we gonna do?!" Sokka was in panic now, something rarely seen.
"Sokka, calm down. It'll be fine. Maybe you were just seeing things," Katara said, trying to calm him down. Aurora turned to Aang, who was equally as scared. The Fire Nation? Here?
It didn't take too long before Aang, Sokka, Katara, and Aurora got to the palace to meet with Yue, Pakku, and Arnook on the subject. It was sunset at that point and they were getting rather anxious to figure out what to do. Chief Arnook already sent guards to the border of the tribe to keep the Fire Nation at bay while the discussion was going on.
"So the Fire Nation have the urge to try us?" Arnook asked.
"Right, Chief. I've seen the sign of Fire Nation present and they're coming as we speak," Sokka explained.
"Aware of how many vessels are off shore?"
"Not exactly, but we can't take any chances."
"He's right, Chief. Regardless of how many are out there, it's still dangerous for them offshore," added Yue.
"Good point. Anyone have any ideas?" At first there weren't any words said among anyone, they were all trying to think of what to do. A risk of Fire Nation troops attacking is surely something to not joke over, even if it was small. During this, Katara glanced over at Aang for a second while she was still trying to think...then she got it.
"What's it?" Aang asked.
"You are, Aang! You're the Avatar right? You can help fight off the Fire Nation!"
"Katara, this is Fire Nation we're talking about! How can I just go in and take them out?" Before Katara could answer, Aurora stepped over to him.
"You aren't. What you need is some spiritual guidance, to how you can stop the Fire Nation from attacking the Northern Water Tribe. That what you had in mind Katara?" Aurora asked.
"Yes, that's exactly it! It is foolproof."
"Hold on a minute here! Aside from Aurora, I've never contacted a spirit before, how can I do something I don't know how to do?" Aang did have a point. Over the course of the trip, he only met Vulkan, Aurora, and Raiu, and they weren't voluntary meetings really. Aurora smiled to Aang.
"It is pretty simple actually. All you have to do is meditate in a highly spiritual setting in order to cross over to the Spirit World. You can find some help there!"
"What?! Aurora, I've never been to the Spirit World! And besides, where can I find somewhere highly spiritual around here?" Again, Aang had a good point. He never had to go to the Spirit World in his trip and where could he go to get there anyway? Yue, however, got up.
Night came too fast for the Northern Water Tribe. The Fire Nation fleet just offshore was looming ever closer to the city. Zuko was sensing it was time to close in. He was out on deck at the moment, keeping his eye on the guards, who were right at the walls of the city.
Back in the ship, Mai was off on an actual bed, something she grew much more happy for. She still wasn't convinced that this was a good idea, mainly because of the odds against them. She was literally just about to sleep when...
"Time to head out."
Mai groaned in annoyance as Zuko got her up. That indeed was something she didn't want to deal with.
"Come on, Zuko, it's too late."
"No matter. You heard my plan and it starts now. So get ready," Zuko ordered. Mai simply groaned and got up as Zuko went back out, Mai following him.
Zuko and Mai got out onto the deck, only to find that Raiu was already there. It was up and ready to go as they looked out to the wall from their vessel. Raiu turned over to Zuko, seeing his determination.
"You're fully sure about this?"
"Diffidently. Are all the men ready to go?"
"Yes, Zuko, everyone's waiting for the signal. Ready for the fireworks?" Zuko turned to see a soldier at the catapult, ready for the word. It was time to begin.
"Light it up." Those three words started it all up as the catapult fired and hit square into the Northern Water Tribe wall.
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