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April 22 2014
Later on that day, Aang and Appa returned to the Water Tribe, now no longer as banished as before. Since Aurora visited that morning, the Water Tribe was giving Avatar Aang some more respect, but Aang was a bit concerned over Sokka. He had been waiting for Sokka to come out so he can talk to him, but he didn't even bother to. He was beginning to feel sorry he even considered bringing Katara along at all. Katara found him over by Appa after she played with some of the children and wanted to check on him.
"Hi, Aang. Is everything okay?"
"*sigh*...not really. I feel so terrible."
"Yeah, I shoulda just left when you said without asking. This duel should have never happened."
"Aang, don't be so hard on yourself. I wanted to come, remember?"
"But I was the one who got the idea!" Aang didn't mean to snap at her, but his guilt is driving now and he doesn't know where this is going. Aang looked over to the Sokka's hut, with a bit of worry on his face.
"Don't worry Aang. I've known Sokka for a long time, He just needs sometime to think. He'll be better soon," Katara assured. Katara noticed some kids fighting over something so she had to go handle it, leaving Aang and Appa alone. Appa sighed, feeling his master sorrow for a while. Aang was tired of waiting, he had to talk to him.
"Wait here, boy," Aang said. Appa gave him a good luck lick just before he went over to Sokka's entrance to his hut. Aang took a deep breath, and calmed down just before going inside. Aang did find Sokka just inside, looking at the world map he still had with him. He had his back to Aang as soon as he walked in. The light was rather dim, the candle out, so it was a bit rough to see him at first. Aang didn't know how to start it other then, "Sokka?". Sokka had expected Aang to come in sooner or later.
"Look, Aang, before you say anything, I apologize for what happened earlier."
"No, Sokka. I'm sorry...I should never dragged Katara into this. I'm not sure what relation you have with her, but I can see you care about her a lot. I shouldn't have asked for her to come with me," Aang explained.
"Aang. Don't be sorry. It's not your fault. Sure you have told her but it was her choice to go with you, and I should of just let her go. I was nearly killed you because of my own superstitions and I should've called it off before it began..." Sokka felt terrible, fighting with the Avatar because of his sister. Aang though smiled and placed his hand on his shoulder.
"I forgive you, Sokka."
"Sure. You were just trying to protect those you love. I understand," Aang said with a smile. Sokka smiled back at Aang, feeling better that he is forgiven. Aang turned to leave but something came up on Sokka that stopped him.
"Wait... can you do me a favor, Avatar Aang? Don't tell Katara this."
"You can just call me Aang. And sure Sokka, what is it?"
"Look. If you really are going to bring Katara along. Just promise me you will keep her safe?" Before Aang can answer him though, suddenly the same girl in question came on inside, already hearing Sokka's request from the entrance.
"Hey Aang. Hey Sokka." Sokka panicked for a second and quickly just said, "Oh! Hi Katara!" Katara just chuckled and she walked to Aang.
"Are you ready, Aang? I'm ready to go and I think Appa is ready too." Katara explained. Aang turned to Sokka, who was already fine with their departure too.
"Yeah. I guess so," Aang decided, after a bit of thinking. Then Katara turned to Sokka, whom just smiled at her.
"I'm going to miss you, Katara," Sokka said. Katara went over and hugged him, knowing it'll be a long time before she'll meet him again.
"I'll miss you too, Sokka. Take care," Katara said.
"Promise me you'll be careful though. I don't want to see you get hurt."
"I'll be fine, Sokka, don't worry...can you do me one favor though?" Sokka stopped the hug and looked Katara right in her eyes. Aang was a bit impressed with this strong of a bond, and it even brought a tear in his eye on how sweet it is. Katara then finished off by asking "If Dad comes back while I'm away, promise me you'll tell him where I am?" All Sokka did was nod yes as his reply. Aang though was surprised. This can only mean one thing: They are siblings! Brother and sister! Katara and Sokka didn't tell him yet so it was quite a shock when it came around to it. He hid his surprise though under a surprised stare as he and Katara walked out to get Appa.
It didn't take very long before the village was ready to see them off later that day. Every villager, children to elderly, was outside that day as Katara and Aang brought out Appa so they can get going. before Katara can get on Appa with Aang, Sokka walked over.
"Katara, Aang? Good luck," Sokka said.
"Thank you, Sokka," Katara replied.
"Thanks, Chief Sokka," added Aang. Before Aang can say the word, one of the Water Tribe children ram over to them, calling "Wait!" The little girl had something in her hand as Katara turned to her, kneeling down to her level.
"Here, Auntie. Something to remember us by," she said. What she was holding was a small, Southern Water Tribe necklace in her hand. Katara hugged the child and happily took the necklace as the reminder for her home. Katara climbed up onto Appa's saddle as Aang got himself ready to go.
"Farewell, everyone, and thank you. Appa, Yip Yip!" That was all it took before Appa got airborne, gently yet quickly, Katara and Aang were on their way. Sokka was the last to leave as the day continued on.
Soon after they left though, Sokka still felt rather rough on himself. He was looking at the map of the world, and began thinking deeply on his own decision. he looked around until he found something. He found his old boomerang, the one his father had given him when he was very young...His father, and now his sister, off to help in the war. And here he is just sitting and doing nothing...Katara's words began to echo in his head.
I don't want to just sit here and do nothing!
Sokka began thinking that over as one of his highest guards came in.
"Chief?...is everything okay?" Sokka didn't reply at first...then his decision was made.
"Call the other guards. I have something to tell all of you..."
From the flight at a fast speed, Katara and Aang were already very far from the Water Tribe village. On the borders of the South Pole, Appa needed to rest, so they decide to stop so Appa can rest for a bit. While Aang was taking care of Appa, Katara was looking out to the sea, just imagining what awaits them beyond the water. Aang saw Katara looking out and decided to join her.
"Thanks again for coming with me, Katara. It really helps," Aang said, also looking out to the blue ocean.
"You're welcome, Aang. I just wonder what adventure lies ahead for us?"
"I can tell you one thing, it's gonna be huge! Fun, might I add." Aang beamed. Katara smiled and looked out again, getting an idea in mind.
"Hey, Aang? Before we leave...do you want to go penguin sledding with me?" Katara asked. Aang's smile grew wide, telling Katara he'd love to.
It took just a few minutes, but eventually they not only found their penguin otters for the sledding, but also a large hillside to slide down in. The two were ready to go and were immediately sliding down the hill on their penguin otters! It was exhilarating as they zoomed down the hillside, zig-zagging each other for the fun of it. The penguin otters were having fun too, rushing down the hill with their passengers.
"Eat my snow, Aang!" Katara yelled, laughing as she got ahead of him.
"In your dreams!" Aang began to gain speed on her, and soon they were neck and neck in their little race...until they crashed in a snow pile that is. Aang and Katara poked their heads out and began laughing. The penguin otters got out and left as Appa walked over back to them, now rested up and ready to fly again.
"Hi Appa! ready to go?" Aang asked. Appa replied with a good hearty lick, also pulling Aang out of the snow as Katara got herself out. As she was though, Appa was starting to urge them a little. They didn't think of it but Aang was noticing something with Appa...He was still tired, but he still didn't want to stay around. Aang looked around and began to feel the same fear...then there it was.
Standing just aside of the hill was a large, deadly, hungry polar leopard! The beast was starving, and it had found its next meal! The penguin otters fled into the water but it had its eyes set on an already tired Appa as it began to creep forward, its claws digging into the ice.
"Oh no. Polar leopard. Aang, get back!" Katara ordered quietly and urgent. Aang stepped back as the beast eyed them, pacing around, waiting for a slip in the group. The large feline growled savagely, getting impatient. Katara and Aang both got ready as the beast charged right at them!...but just as it pounced...
"Eat this, kitty!" A voice suddenly rang out as a boomerang was suddenly thrown, whacking the cat in the face as it fell to the ice. The boomerang U-turned right back to its master, and there. Standing on top of the hill. It was Sokka!
"Sokka!" Katara and Aang gasped as the chief went down to them. The leopard got up and shook off the hit, but the dominant posture Sokka showed, not to mention the alpha look he had on his face, made the cat scurry away in fear, bolting off out of sight. After that, he turned to the other two.
"Anyone gotta problem with that?" Sokka asked.
"Sokka! Thanks for saving us, but I thought you were back at the Southern Water Tribe," Aang said.
"I was. But after some thinking over, I think it's best if I come along too. Now I know what you're thinking, this is sudden I know but-"
"Oh, who cares? Thanks so much!" Katara interrupted, hugging him tightly. Sokka returned the hug for a bit.
"Sure, Sokka. If you want to come, fine by me!" Aang decided.
"Great, thanks. By the way, where are you heading to?"
"We're actually going to Chief Arnook, so Aang can learn waterbending. Arnook's probably the best teacher there is we know of," Katara explained.
"Sounds good. Of course we need a game plan, we can't just rush over without knowing where."
"You're right. Besides, Appa can only fly for a day or two, and I'm sure that can't make it to the North. Right, Appa?" Aang asked, as Appa moaned in agreement. Sokka brought a few maps with him to give them a hand, and he opened up the main map to help them out.
"Okay. So we need to get to the North here, right? So given Appa can only fly for a day or so, we most likely have to keep making stops around the Earth Kingdom as we go. Might take about a week or so before we get through the Earth Kingdom, and a extra few days until we reach the North Pole. Sound good?" Sokka said.
"Sounds straight-forward. Just flying north, I'm sure Appa can handle that, right buddy?" Appa gave Aang a howl of approval, also signifying he's ready to go off.
"Alright then. Plan set, and ready to go. Let's head to the North Pole!" With that decision made, the duo, turned trio, got onto Appa, and with a quick "Yip Yip!" Appa began to fly off. Their ultimate journey is about to begin.
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