|More from Gingalover||Adventure||PG-13||Here||No update page|
|The Eyeless Rebel PT1|
It was a long while since the attack on the North Pole had occurred. To the North Pole, it was a sweet victory, but to Zuko, it was bitter. The attack had made most of his crew lost, including General Hooro, who went missing after being launched into the sea. Zuko was lucky to get a few of his men back and even though they were in bad shape thanks to that spirit monster, the scarred prince knew that it was too dangerous to just bolt in after the Avatar in this sort of condition, so he got his ship docked in an isolated Earth Kingdom shore to keep them hidden.
"Okay men. I understand most of you are in no condition to travel after that unexpected rampage, so we'll wait and heal for a while until you're all ready to go after the Avatar again. Understood?" It was rather obvious for what his crew decided and so Zuko waited. Meanwhile, Mai, who was one of the rescued, found Zuko nearby.
"Nice job, Prince. Any other brilliant ideas?"
"Be happy that I saved you. I could've easily left you to the Dolphin Piranha and we're lucky to even find what we've got, so many others were lost to the sea during that attack."
"You mean you're lucky? This was your idea, not mine," Mai pointed out. Zuko just ignored her as he walked away. A minute after that, Mai looked up and noticed something flying down to them...a messenger hawk...Mai could see it belonged to Zuko while he was in the Fire Nation, but Mai took the liberty to take the letter it had with it first, before Zuko could see it. She used her ninja blades to slice off the letter from the bird's neck, not harming the actual animal, as she started to read it...Zuko was in deep trouble by what it said...
Meanwhile, Team Avatar was still on the search for an earthbending master. Since their trip in the Foggy Swamp though, Aang had become rather distraught and quiet, mainly thanks to Zura and his perverted illusion of Katara, which Zura claimed he had gotten from reading Aang's aura. Katara wanted to talk to him especially, but Aang always found some excuse to not speak to her; he didn't want to deal with any odd questions she'd thought up for him.
After some flying, the team had found another Earth Kingdom town and, since they were low on supplies anyway, stopped to look around. Aang got into a disguise still not wanting his Avatar identity to get around too much... there were a good amount of shops in the town and Ty Lee was getting all giddy over it.
"I see Ty Lee's happy to be here," Haru said after some time.
"Yep. She sure is," Aang said, not exactly as happy. Haru and Aang were in the back of the group so Katara, Ty Lee, and Sokka didn't really notice him then.
"Okay, Aang, what's wrong?"
"What? Nothing's wrong, why?"
"You've been rather silent since we left the Foggy Swamp. Mind sharing why?" Haru asked, worried for Aang. Aang though didn't want to talk about it really. Haru took some time to think a little bit.
"Hm...Does this have anything to do with Zura's little trick?" Haru asked. Aang suddenly blushed and stopped. Haru knew exactly now what Aang's problem was. He put a hand on his shoulder to comfort as Aang finally admitted, "It's just so embarrassing. Last thing I expected was for Zura to...well, you know..."
"Aang, don't feel bad over that. Zura was pulling tricks, remember? He probably pulled that idea in order to get a reaction outta everyone. As for the aura, that's probably him pulling your leg. Everything's cool, okay, Aang? No one's regretful, no one's mad at you for sure, and at this point, no one seems to be thinking on that. Let's leave that behind and try to relax a bit, okay?" Aang thought about it for a bit and gave Haru a warm smile. Haru was right, there was no need to worry over this anymore if no one else was.
"Okay, Haru, I will. Thank you for that," Aang said. He and Haru caught up with the others as Ty Lee was looking over some more Earth Kingdom clothes and accessories. While they were looking over that, their shopping spree stopped, as suddenly the team heard some of the people in town move out of the way of something. It was a complete shock when they found who it was. They both were girls, similar Gothic outfits on them. They were going through town after a day's trip with a wagon being pulled by a shirshu, which the older girl was riding. The younger girl was chilling in the pretty full wagon. They stopped in front of a much larger building not too far away as Team Avatar walked over, curious.
"That's new. Wonder what's in there?" Aang wondered aloud. The group began hearing the conversation going on inside and decided to eavesdrop.
"Ah, June! Back with another gang already?" the owner asked.
"They were pretty weak. Got the bounty on ya?" June asked, smirking.
"Right here." The owner got out a few bags full of money and June was happy to take it. Team Avatar was pretty impressed with this person, a bounty hunter. But of course, the other person on the wagon noticed them easily.
"Well, well, well. Look who decided to watch," she said. The others saw her relaxing on the wagon, hands behind her head and a piece of wheat in her mouth.
"Sorry, ma'am, just wondering what's going on," Haru said.
"Well, you little watchers better high-tail it, June doesn't like spies," she mentioned. Before they could though, June walked out with her bounty, as a few other men walked out. June easily noticed them watching her though.
"What are you looking at, kids?" June asked, arms crossed.
"Oh nothing! nothing, we just-"
"HELLO! You're from around here, aren't you?" Ty Lee asked, cutting Aang off.
"Should you know," June groaned.
"I should, you see, we're looking for an earthbending master, know where one is?" She asked, innocence in her voice.
"Like I care, kid. You and your little gang, buzz off," June simply said.
"You sure you don't know?"
"Try the Beifongs, they pretty much own this town," the other girl said. Shrugging it off, Team Avatar went off as June and her friend helped the men get the outlaws inside.
It took some bit of navigation, but they managed to figure out where this Beifong family was and find them. Yep, a bit of a high-ranking (or simply rich) family. Anyone that could tell them where, it'd be them.
"You sure about this?" Katara asked.
"Sure, just relax. If they don't know, then we'll just move on." Aang was about to knock when the main gate into the Beifong estate. Apparently though, the gate already opened, showing one of the Beifong guards.
"Can I help you?"
"Hello there. We're wondering if we can talk to the Beifongs here? We would like to ask them about something," Aang explained. The guard looked over the rest of the group.
"Just a minute," the guard said, before closing the gate. As they were waiting at the gate, Sokka turned and noticed someone else coming over, alone. A small girl was walking over to the gate, looking very fancy, when she noticed the others standing there.
"Hello?" she asked.
"Oh, sorry. You need to see the Beifongs too?" Sokka asked.
"I live here."
"OH! Well then, sorry about that."
"You're fine," She said. Soon after that, the guard returned to the gate to see the other girl there.
"Ah, Toph Beifong. Glad you've returned, your parents were starting to worry."
"I thought so, I'm okay though," Toph said.
"Good. And as for the rest of you, the other Beifongs agreed to see you. Is that all right, Toph Beifong?"
"That would be splendid."
It didn't exactly take to long before Team Avatar met up with Toph's parents, as it turned out. Aang didn't exactly reveal himself as the Avatar just yet, not removing any part of his disguise to show his true identity. Although they did share some struggles done without anything too important revealed, during which they'd got their names, Lao and Poppy.
"That's quite an adventure you've been through," Poppy Beifong said.
"Yeah, the North Pole wasn't the friendliest, especially with the whole Fire Nation involvement," Sokka explained.
"I have to ask, was it the Fire Nation involved when the night turned black?" Poppy asked.
"The night turned what now?" Ty Lee asked.
"She means when the Moon turned dark and lost its life," Lao said.
"You know about that?"
"Apparently the whole world knew, how can anyone miss the darkest night known? None of our lights can penetrate that kind of darkness," Lao explained. The others didn't know what to really say about that, mainly because they didn't really think about how many people actually saw it.
"That aside, there is something I want to ask. Do you guys know any earthbending masters around that can help my pal here?" Ty Lee asked, pointing to Aang next to her.
"Hm...I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but I don't believe there are any masters here," Poppy sighed. This was a disappointment, but they kind of didn't expect any masters here. After all, this was the first town they'd gone to after their North Pole trip and the trip alone wasn't going to be an easy one.
"Oh...are you sure you don't know anyone?"
"Sorry, but there's no master here. Maybe you should try the next town perhaps?" Lao said.
"Perhaps...well, thanks anyway," Aang sighed, getting up. The others weren't sure what to do at that point, arriving in the Beifongs home for pretty much no reason at all. It was such a disappointment indeed. Haru got up next, soon after Aang did.
"We'll be on our way now, sorry for bothering you. Come on, guys," Haru sighed. The others began to follow but before they could go, Toph stopped them.
"Excuse me, but it sounds like you had a long trip getting here. It would be a pleasure for you to stay the night," Toph said. This slightly surprised her parents and surprised the team a lot more.
"Really? Gee thanks, that would be nice, thank you," Aang said, slightly embarrassed. Lao and Poppy went to their daughter.
"Sweetie, you sure about this?" Poppy asked. Toph gave a sweet nod of approval. The parents looked at each other for a second or so, but in the end they agreed to let the team stay.
Later on that night, Team Avatar was now in the guest room. It was plenty spacious and enough room for all of them. It was rather debatable why Toph would just invite them for the night like that, but it was nothing to complain about.
"It sure was nice to get a room for the night, eh?" Haru said at one point.
"Yeah, that Toph sure is generous, and the fact that she just met us too," Sokka added, sitting on one of the beds.
"It is kinda funny though. She just met us, yet she let us stay in her home for the night, despite her parents. Doesn't that sound a little strange?" Aang asked.
"Not really, just being kind."
"I know, but for some reason...I could have sworn I heard her somewhere before..." The others didn't know exactly what to really react to this, but before they could really say anything...
Aang literally jumped back when they found Toph at their door, oddly more laid back and chill than an aristocrat should behave. Aang quickly got his hat back on before anything else. Toph had a mischievous smirk on her face, again not very ladylike.
"Sorry, I didn't notice you were there," Aang said, calming down.
"That's fine," Toph said, a bit charming in her voice. Toph walked in a bit after that, adding in, "So, you guys looking for an earthbending teacher?"
"Yeah, you know one?" Haru asked.
"Hm...well I do know this ONE person."
"Not very far actually, heard she's somewhere in town. Plenty tough, good looking, and knows the ins and outs about earthbending more than anyone else in the world. She even has the reputation for being the best earthbender in existence."
"And your parents never said anything?!" Aang gasped.
"Well, she likes to keep her little talent a secret."
"Then how do you know?"
"I always have known, for a good while now, actually." That was starting to confused everyone. Apparently, this secret ultimate earthbender was someone that Toph personally knew and no one else. That was starting to annoy them a bit, good info being kept from them.
"Okay, I know it's probably not exactly our business, but can't you simply give it to us straight and tell us WHO and WHERE this ultimate earthbender is?" Katara asked...but Toph already walked away, leaving them rather confused and lacking of answers.
"...well, I'm sure she'll tell us later, Let's get some sleep," Aang suggested. Although the answer was lacking, they might as well. After all, they were not going to make her answer if she didn't want to.
A few hours passed; nothing very eventful happened, as it was very quiet and calming. That night though, Aang couldn't sleep for some reason. He got up, without anyone knowing and tried to walk outside. Usually on nights like this, some time to think would do well. But as he was going, he past one of the rooms when suddenly he heard something going on, like someone was moving around.
"What's going on?" Aang wondered. His curiosity got the better of him and he peeked through the door, catching a glimpse of someone going out the window. He quickly bolted in, trying to be quiet, and he looked out the window...there she went. Toph was on the move...
For the collective works of the author, go here.