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Team Avatar continued on their search to find an earthbending master. However, the group didn't find an earthbending master yet, but they'd found an earthbender ally now in Haru, whom Ty Lee convinced to join. So the group had the Avatar, an expert waterbender, a warrior, a chi blocker, and an earthbender. A well rounded group at that point, to say the least.
Now the team was flying over a vast area of forest, above the tree line. It was a nice day, no clouds in the sky, and Appa continued on his main path. They all were rather bored right now; Ty Lee was staring down at the swamp far below, Sokka was looking over some of the previous maps for no exact reason, Katara was sowing some fabric they'd got from the North Pole, Haru was just staring off into space while bending some small stones in his hand, and Aang was just guiding Appa along.
"How much longer before we land?" Haru asked at one point.
"No idea," Aang sighed.
"Why can't we just land here? It's outta the way, and I doubt the Fire Nation will find us inside," Sokka suggested.
"That's a great idea!" Ty Lee agreed.
"No, it's not. It's not only the Fire Nation that can be a threat to us, many other things can attack us in there. Besides, you sure there's even any land in that swamp? it can all be water and trees," Katara explained, still sowing the holes in her fabric.
"Aww. You sure we can't just go for a swim? I'm HOT," Ty Lee complained.
"I'm hot too, but we can't just stop here."
"Katara's right. As good idea that can be, we might as well find some safer ground," Haru added. Ty Lee groaned and looked down at the swamp again.
"Okay fine. Bye swamp," Ty Lee sighed. Aang gave the "yip yip!" order and Appa started to fly higher up. Haru glanced over the side along with Ty Lee. He could see the water far below them, as Ty Lee mentioned...but there was something else. Haru swore he could make out some sort of shape, moving around in the under grove.
"Do you see that?"
"Down there, look. Something huge is moving," Haru said, pointing down to where he saw it. Ty Lee looked and didn't quite notice it as much, but still saw it...That was not the only thing they saw. Seconds after seeing the shapes, the unexplained happened; a large tornado appeared out of nowhere!
"Uh...Aang? Might want to go faster!" Haru warned. Of course, it didn't take very long before everyone noticed and Appa flew faster, trying to get away...no use. It only took seconds before they were sucked inside! They all tried to keep a grip on Appa, but it was no use and they were all blown off him! After being separated, the tornado spat them all out in different directions of the swamp...they were all gone, all alone, and now lost in the swamp.
Aang tumbled out of the tree he ended up stuck in after some struggle. The tornado really did a number on him, mostly when it threw him into the swamp. The fall didn't break any bones, but he'd felt like his connection with his friends was completely cut off thanks to that.
"Guys?! Katara! Sokka!" Aang began, trying to jump around on the giant roots to find them.
"Ty Lee! Haru! Appa, Momo!" Aang called. Still nothing, but ambiance of wildlife. He had to find the others soon, before something else did...But something found him already, unaware to the Avatar. Aang felt something was watching him, but his mind was more focused on finding his friends...then the laughing happened. A laugh, sounding like a spiritual, high pitched chuckle, hit Aang's ears. Aang spun around a few times, trying to catch what made that noise. As his head was examining the environment.
"Who's there?!" Aang yelled. His mind was racing to find an answer...then he saw someone standing on one of the large branches. He knew immediately who it was.
"Mom?...Mom!" Aang began rushing over to her, almost blindly, but suddenly he stopped feet away, the image of Miku being burned and killed in his eyes. Aang closed his eyes tightly and shook his head...and she was gone. Although he knew, a tear still showed itself as Aang decided to just continue. He needed to find the others before his mind ended up just as lost.
In another part of the swamp, Katara was also trying her best to find her friends and family. Unlike Aang, her fall wasn't as safe, leaving her side still deeply aching. She didn't speak the whole time, not having anyone to speak to.
"Sokka! Haru! Anyone?! Hello!!" Katara called, after climbing up on a large root. Nothing was heard aside from the birds. She looked down into the water, noticing how deep one part of the water actually was. Her mind started thinking of more ideas.
"Hm...no, I can't. Not the right place for it," Katara thought aloud. She turned to go, but that urge kept coming back to her as a smile slithered on her face.
"Oh, heck with it. It's been too long," She decided. She took a few steps back, jumped, and slammed into the water and it spewed up miles upward. It had been too long since she'd used the waterbending bomb for anything anyway. The powerful splash caused many animals in the trees to scatter to avoid the hit.
"Woo! That felt good," Katara said in glee. After she got out though, those same figures that were watching Aang caught her eye. They'd ran off in the treetops though before Katara had a chance to do anything. Apparently they didn't want to deal with a living water bomb for anything. That explosion, though, got someone else's attention, and soon, Aang managed to find her.
"There you are Katara! You okay?"
"Yeah Aang, I'm fine. You?"
"Same here. Have you found anyone else yet?"
"No I didn't. Come on, maybe we can find them over here," Katara said, leading Aang off in another direction. One down, five to go.
At a much wetter part of the swamp, Sokka and Ty Lee both ended up in the same spot and now they were trying to look for the others in the wet water and mud. Sokka was using a machete to slice apart the dangling roots.
"Okay, Ty Lee, try to be careful, all right?...Ty Lee?" Sokka turned around and suddenly noticed she was gone! That made Sokka kinda worried until...
Sokka fell backwards as he saw Ty Lee upside down from one of the tree branches, using roots as hair to make herself scary as well as with mud on her face. Ty Lee gave a good laugh as she got down, helping Sokka up.
"Ty Lee, what the heck?!"
"Ha! You shoulda seen your face, you looked so scared!" Ty Lee laughed, more with him than at him though.
"Well, there's scared and then there's surprised," Sokka said, trying to regain himself.
"Then you were both," Ty Lee chuckled, getting the mud off her face and roots out of her hair. Sokka looked back at Ty Lee as she was getting the stuff off and suddenly he got another look of "surprise", as he so put it. Not at Ty Lee though, but to who was behind them...apparently they were not the only people there, as another girl was standing not too far away.
"Geez Sokka, I didn't look that scary, did I?" Ty Lee asked. Sokka, eyes fixated behind her, turned her head to where he was staring. In front of them was a strange woman, clothes all green and her hair put up in odd ways. She had two hand fans. They'd felt kinda weary, but they began to approach her. However, the girl spun around and was suddenly in Sokka's face! The figure suddenly gave Sokka, for some unknown reason, a kiss on the side of his face! Sokka quickly grabbed his machete and aimed it at her...only to find her gone.
"That...was creepy..." Sokka sighed, feeling where he was kissed. In spite of herself, Ty Lee gave a chuckle at Sokka's reaction. But her laughter was joined by the same, impish laughing Aang had heard.
"Come on, how's that funny?"
"That's not me," Ty Lee admitted, as the laughter grew louder. Sokka and Ty Lee took off in a random direction, full of fear, until they both suddenly tumbled down into something...Someone, to be exact.
"Sokka, Ty Lee! We found you!" Aang happily beamed as Ty Lee hugged him and Sokka got to his feet as Katara joined them.
"So good to see you, this place is CREEPY!" Sokka said.
"I know, I know. Let's find Haru," Aang said and the group began moving again.
Haru, in a dryer area of the swamp, was still trying his best to figure out where the others were. He figured they were not too far away, but still would wish they'd come out already. Unlike them, Haru kept from calling out, not wanting to alert any predator here. As he went through some brush while pulling off an elbow leech, Haru took sometime to rest.
"Oh man, guys. Where are you? First time with Team Avatar and already I'm lost...some help I am," Haru sighed. He'd normally beat himself up and given up right there, but he knew that was not what the others would want him to do. As he got up though, the laughter came back from before, Haru though got himself armed by earthbending the mud around him like a waterbender would. He could see the silhouettes of something flying around above him, but he couldn't fight them alone. He made the dirt into a sort of horn and gave a blow right inside, good and loud. One of the figures though suddenly flew by him, cutting the call short as the horn fell to the ground and back to mud.
"Stay back, whatever you are!" Haru yelled. Lucky for him, his horn call had called in the cavalry, Team Avatar. It didn't take too long before he was found by the whole team.
"Aang, finally you're here!" Haru said.
"And everyone else too!" Ty Lee beamed, hugging him. But this was short lived as the laughing continued from the figures in the trees. This time, two snake-like figures rushed out of the trees, circling them all until they were close together. The light revealed their true identities...kind of. Both figures resembled that of a Chinese dragon. Most notably, they resembled the dragon costumes back at the circus, where they met Ty Lee.
"About time you all came together. Seriously, it takes SO long," one of them said.
"Stay calm everyone," Haru said, but one of the dragons was right in his face, making him jump.
"Stay calm, huh? None of you were very calm while roaming around the Foggy swamp."
"Is that where we are?" Ty Lee asked.
"Yep. And OUR little side spot in the mortal world."
"Hold on. Who are you two?" Sokka asked, a bit worried.
"I'm Ita," One of them said.
"And I'm Zura," Said the other one. It was impossible to tell, since they looked exactly the same, making them twin spirits. Ita and Zura started circling them like hunter and prey.
"So, what brings you kids to this corner of the world?" Zura asked.
"We didn't mean to, some random tornado caught us and sucked us in," Sokka groaned.
"Did you enjoy the flight?"
"OH sure, I just love being tossed around in the sky and crashing in the jungle," Sokka said sarcastically.
"Really? Good, that was my idea," Ita laughed.
"Why did you do that?! We were nearly killed!" Katara snapped.
"Just trying to add some fun in the swamp. Besides, didn't your little monkey over there want a dip in the swamp water?" Zura asked, wrapping gently around Ty Lee with his serpentine body.
"This isn't funny. If you two don't mind, we're leaving," Sokka said, starting to walk off, only to have Ita and Zura block his way.
"Hold on just a minute. You can't stick around for a bit, ponytail?" Ita said.
"One: This is a Southern Water Tribe wolf tail! Two: We don't have time to mess around here," Sokka explained. Ita and Zura just chuckled and circled back to the others.
"Oh don't be like that, we're having so much fun!" Ita exclaimed.
"Except when we got soaked by your little 'water bomb'. Seriously either lose some weight or watch where you're splashing," Zura added, pointing to Katara.
"WHAT DID YOU SAY?!" Katara screeched, obviously ticked off and walking in his face. Who wouldn't be, Zura just called her fat, pretty much. Ita pushed her back, though, and turned to Zura.
"Zura, mouth watch, Okay? That's a little far, even for you."
"Oops, sorry," Zura said, as Ita looked back to them.
"Anywho, it's been fun playing around with y'all. Now you can be on your way eh?"
"But we can't. If you two were following us, you know we're not complete," Aang said.
"Yeah yeah, those illusions mess with your head, Avatar? You mind finding them that bison and lemur, Ita?" Ita went off, leaving Zura alone with them.
"You guys know about those illusions?"
"Know them? We ARE them! Watch," Zura quickly began to shape shift, one time as Miku, the other was the other girl Sokka and Ty Lee met. He returned to normal soon afterward. As the team was in question, Zura simply said, "Just wait here, Ita's gonna find them in a jiffy."
"Wait a minute. How can you guys make those illusions? You hardly know a thing about us," Aang pointed out.
"Of course we do, aura reading opens someone up easy. We can read yours like a book!" Zura joked. The dragon looked into Aang's eyes closely, reading his aura like he said.
"Area read. Oh I'm gonna have fun with this," Zura smirked. It took him just a second to create a new illusion. They've prepared for some sort of monster, scare fest, or some sort of past icon they knew...what they didn't expect was a vision of Katara in a swimsuit. Zura, in this illusion, toyed around with the guys in the group, getting some hot poses for some eye candy, before Katara whacked Zura hard with a water blast.
"Never. Again," Katara growled, as Zura changed back quickly.
"Okay, okay, be cool!"
"How was THAT any example of your area reading?"
"Why don't you ask the pervert over there?" Zura said, slithering over to Aang. Katara stared at him, just stared. Aang didn't know what to say, or how to say anything.
"Uh...I uh...OH THERE HE IS!" Aang suddenly said, seeing Ita coming back with Appa and Momo. Aang bolted to them first, to avoid answering. Ita instinctively knew Zura did something out of turn, but didn't question it yet.
"We'll talk later." After that, Team Avatar got onto Appa, all curious behind Aang's little act earlier.
"Thanks for getting Appa," Aang said.
"No problem. Now you be off now you crazy kids," Ita and Zura both slithered and disappeared back into the swamp, as Appa flew away. No one really brought up anything, as their adventure continued onward to find the earthbending teacher.
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