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April 24, 2014
Katara and Aang were pretty pleased with their predictions. It was both very fun and interesting. One was for a dark to join them in the light, the other for a new friend to save their life. Both are very positive fortunes. Meng followed them outside.
"Thank you for visiting. Do come again," Meng said.
"Thanks, Meng," Aang said as Meng walked back in. Katara then noticed something rather strange. Sokka wasn't around. Anywhere! Katara looked around at the villagers and the other homes but she didn't see him around Makapu Village.
"Where's Sokka? I thought he was out here," Katara wondered. Indeed Sokka was outside, but he was running frantically back to the village after what he had seen up in the volcano. He nearly tripped over his own feet, he was running so frantically. He finally got down to the village and didn't stop until he was right in front of Katara and Aang. Sokka needed a minute though to catch his breath, panting like crazy.
"There you are. Where were you?" Aang asked, wondering why he was in such a panic.
"The volcano...it...the volcano's..." Sokka couldn't get it out right away, still winded from the crazy running he just did from the top of the mountain to the village.
"What about the volcano?" Katara asked.
"The volcano...Aunt Wu's wrong! It's going to erupt!" Sokka spat out, slightly regaining himself. Katara and Aang both looked at him rather oddly as Sokka finally regained himself.
"How do you know?"
"Okay, look. I went up the mountain to check and-"
"You climbed up there?! What for, Aunt Wu said-"
"FORGET ABOUT WHAT SHE SAID! The volcano is very active, it's gonna erupt soon, I saw it!" Sokka was getting some attention from the other villagers, all having a look that told Sokka that they didn't believe him either.
"No, it's not," one of them said. Sokka spun around to face the crowd.
"Yes, it is! I saw that volcano, it's going to destroy the village!"
"Aunt Wu said that the volcano will not destroy the village this year, you heard her didn't you?" a woman from the crowd pointed out.
"It doesn't matter what she said! Aunt Wu didn't climb up there and look didn't she? A cloud can't tell you when a volcano will erupt! The village is in great danger now!"
"Aunt Wu has never been wrong before. And she isn't wrong now," the same calm man said. Sokka was very ticked now.
"Can her predictions explain THAT?!" He yelled, pointing to the volcano. There was slight smoke coming from the top of it, but the villagers weren't convinced.
"Can your science explain why it rains?" one of them asked sarcastically.
"YES! YES, IT CAN!" Sokka yelled. The villagers simply went on their daily business, leaving Sokka absolutely ticked off with this town. Katara and Aang walked over to him.
"Relax, Sokka. We know you don't believe in Aunt Wu, but it's no reason to lie over it."
"What? ... You too Katara? YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME?!"
"Sokka, calm down, if the volcano was really going to erupt, Aunt Wu would have found that out already."
"AUNT WU DOESN'T KNOW, that's the problem!"
"Okay, Sokka, stop it. Aunt Wu hasn't been wrong before when it comes to these stuff." Sokka was so close to yanking his own hair out, but he found there's no convincing anyone. The crowd, although no longer interested, were still hearing Sokka's yelling.
"Okay, you know what? Fine! WHEN THAT VOLCANO COVERS YOUR VILLAGE IN LAVA, DON'T COME CRYING TO ME!!!" After announcing this to the whole village, he finally decided to get out. The last thing he wanted to do is stay around here at range of the fiery beast just looming overhead. Aang wanted to follow him, but Katara held him back.
"Give him sometime. Like I said before, he'll calm down later," Katara advised. While all of this was going on though, Meng heard everything from the fortune salon. She took a look at the slight smoke coming from the volcano and was getting worried. That, and since no one's in right now, she decided to take the time to go see Sokka, maybe she could help.
At sunset, Sokka went back to the river after his little announcement, just sitting by the water. The same fish from earlier was jumping around, taunting him again, but this time Sokka didn't care, too stressed to really focus too much. He was so distracted by his own anger that he didn't even notice Meng until she said, "Hello." Sokka looked over to Meng as she came towards him on her ostrich horse.
"Oh, hi. What do you want?" Sokka asked, a bit annoyed he can't be alone.
"Is everything okay? That was some uproar back there."
"No, I'm not okay. All of those villagers rely too much on Aunt Wu and even after that, they don't believe me," Sokka explained, burying his face into his knees. Meng looked out to the river.
"Did you really see the volcano yourself?"
"Yes, I did, but would they listen? No! All they care about is that Aunt Wu and her stupid cloud book." Meng did feel a bit surprised. As far as she knew, Aunt Wu hasn't been wrong yet (underline yet). But then Meng did realize something.
"But why would you care? You still think Aunt Wu is always 100% right."
"...99 you mean." Sokka turned to Meng as she was looking at the river.
"You mean she's been wrong before?" Sokka asked. Meng nodded and looked back in the river.
"You see, I'd left my village to get some bread from the fishing village, but before I did, I asked Aunt Wu if I would be safe. She said I would have a safe journey without any form of danger on me... but while I was there, I was confronted by the Fire Nation soldiers who arrived to the same village. I was safe, but I was thrown into danger. Something Aunt Wu didn't predict ..." Meng sighed as Sokka was just hearing all this.
"I see ... well at least one person thinks Aunt Wu isn't right all the time. But what am I gonna do? All the villagers are too naive to listen to me! No offense."
"None taken ... Now, I heard you say you went up there? How bad did it look?" Meng asked. Sokka was glad someone was taking this seriously as he got up.
"It looked pretty bad. It looked very active to me. (He looks to the now visible smoke stack) And by the looks of it, it's getting worse," Sokka said. Meng too saw it herself, getting more worried.
"Oh my. We should show Aunt Wu this. They all listen to her," Meng suggested.
"Good idea. By the way, what's your name?"
"Oh. I'm Meng. What's yours?"
"Sokka. Now come on, we gotta warn her before that volcano erupts," Sokka said. With that in mind, he and Meng begin to head off back as fast as they could to Makapu Village. Here we go again ... But it wasn't just Meng who listened to what Sokka had to say, as it followed them back.
It was dark by the time they returned. Aang and Katara were just chilling, waiting for Sokka to come back from his little spaz earlier that day. Meng and Sokka rode in the village on Meng's ostrich horse. They both looked at the volcano, which looked much more menacing now. Smoke roared up but since it was dark out, it can't be seen very well. The slight orange light though that illuminated made it painfully obvious.
"Sokka! You better now?" Katara asked.
"No time! Where's Aunt Wu?" Sokka asked, urgency immediately eminent in his voice.
"Why do you need to see her?"
"We have to warn her of the volcano. We have to evacuate before it erupts!" Meng said. Katara expected this from Sokka, but not Meng. The other villagers again heard him. Aang and Katara were especially confused; did Sokka really convince Meng that the volcano would erupt? Sokka got off Meng's ostrich horse as Meng began to speak to everyone.
"Everyone, listen! I know all of you believe in Aunt Wu, but that volcano is about to erupt! We all have to evacuate before it's too late!" Meng warned.
"Come on, did that idiot really convince you?" one of the kids asked. Sokka was mad, being called stupid, but Meng added in, "he's not stupid! He actually went up to see for himself! Look at the volcano. Does that look safe to you?!" Meng pointed over to the looming danger, most of the villagers hardly being able to see it so well. The crowd actually started to argue out with her, uproar of complaints until everyone suddenly quieted down upon hearing a loud, thundering roar!
Everyone quickly turned to the stairs leading to the centre to see something standing boldly right there. The thing appeared to be a large, lion-like creature with brown fur concealing around an armoured face. It waited for a bit to see if everyone was indeed listening.
"That's better. You all better listen to the children," it stated, its voice low pitched and wise. As expected as such, most of the villagers were scared and worried that this talking animal is here. It began to walk over to the crowd, giving those who cowered an annoyed look.
"What is that thing?" Katara whispered to Aang.
"I don't know," replied Aang, eyes fixated on the animal. The creature looked to the volcano.
"It won't be long. For those who value their lives, you must leave immediately!" it yelled. Before anyone could continue, a tired Aunt Wu ventured out of her home, asking, '"what's going on here?" The animal immediately turned to her and stood before her.
"The volcano is about to go. All villagers must leave before it's too late," it told her. Aunt Wu wasn't as worried upon seeing this animal as the others are.
"Impossible. The clouds say that the volcano will not destroy the village," Aunt Wu said, confident her predictions were correct.
"You have clouds predict the outcome of a volcano?! You must be slipping, that doesn't prove anything!" The animal bellowed. It was loud enough for its voice being raised, but not to the point of yelling.
"What are you talking about?" Aunt Wu asked...then it started.
It began with a sudden tremor in the earth. The rumbling felt like an earthquake and it came seemingly out of nowhere. The tremors scared everyone, unsure what is happening at all! Then came the sounds of explosions going off as the volcano finally erupted in overblown fury! The lava spewed up into the sky, finally signifying the oncoming doom ... Aunt Wu indeed is wrong. The volcano IS erupting! What drove even more panic was the volcano also shot out a mirage of lava bombs; the spewed out balls of lava nearly struck them! Meng's ostrich horse panicked and bolted for it, making Meng fall off in the process. It's now or never.
"Everyone, go now!" The animal bellowed. This time everyone listened and began running for their lives to exit the village before the lava can reach them. Other animals in the nearby forest also were running or flying as the approaching lava collapsed trees and scorched the ground! Meng got up as everyone tried to go, but suddenly a cry for help reached her ears. Aunt Wu's lemur was still trapped in its cage back in the fortune salon! Her fear tried to hold her back, but suddenly something inside of her kicked into gear. Running blindly, she rushed over to the salon!
Everyone else, with speed help from the animal, managed to get everyone to a much safer area, away from the oncoming flow. But they weren't out of harm's way yet, they still needed to get to higher ground.
"There. That's everybody," Aang decided.
"Good, you sure everyone's here now?" Katara asked.
"I'm sure we did," Aang said. The animal examined the crowd just to make sure ... but he quickly realized something wasn't right here ... someone's missing! Before he could say it, a loud shriek of terror rang out over the whole village. Sokka recognized the voice almost immediately.
"Meng!" Before anyone can stop him, he bolted off to get Meng before it was too late.
"Sokka!" Katara tried going after him, but the animal got in her way.
"No! Let me through!"
"There's no time for that! I'll go get him, You focus on getting the rest outta here!" the animal ordered. An incoming lava ball exploding nearby, giving the animal enough time to follow. Aang pulled Katara along before she was hit by anything and they ran off.
Back in the village, Meng was in dear trouble. She had the lemur with her, but one of the lava bombs had struck a nearby home, causing a ton of scorched wood to collapse on her! The lemur wiggled itself free and ran helter skelter away, leaving Meng alone. She can feel that the lava was extremely close now, feeling the heat from where she was! A tear got on her face before she heard Sokka calling her name!
"Meng! Meng!" He called. Meng saw Sokka rushing to her aid, immediately trying to get the wood off her.
"Sokka! You came back." Meng said smiling.
"I'm a soldier. I don't leave anyone behind!" Sokka said, lifting off the wood enough so Meng can pull herself out. The fall, though, injured her leg, so Sokka had to carry her ... but Sokka could see the lava was too close to avoid. As Sokka was running, he tripped over some of the debris, falling to the ground. He and Meng both turn to the lava, now a feet away as the salon was covered in a slashing wave of lava. Sokka's life flashed over his eyes as he braced for the death burn ... What happened next felt like slow motion. Meng and Sokka both saw the animal running right for them. A huge wave of lava charged for them at the same speed, but just a feet before the lava got to them, the animal jumped right above them, acting like a shield...then everything turned black...
The morning afterwards revealed the devastation. What everyone returned to just looked like dried earth. The lava covered the main buildings and those that weren't were destroyed by the lava strikes. The main plaza had completely disappeared under rock hard cool lava...Everyone was silent. No life was seen. Katara took it the worst. Her brother didn't return...he was still here...but is he still alive?
"Sokka ... I'm so sorry Sokka ..." she thought. Aang allowed her to hug him, crying on his shoulder. It was quiet for a while, not a single word was spoke. A moment of sorrow and silence was shared among everyone ... but Aang looked to a part of the ground that seemed to intrigue him ... it looked like it was moving! Before anyone knew it, the ground burst open, a blur jumping out and landing on its feet! No one could believe their eyes ... the animal was not only alive. But Sokka and Meng are still alive as well! Sokka climbed out as Meng was being him in the animal's mouth like a cub, before she was set down.
"SOKKA!" Katara pretty much tackled him to the point of knocking him over with her hug.
"Sokka, I'm so glad you're alive!" Katara said, gripping hard. Sokka got up and hugged her back as he looked to the animal, who, though weak, was still on its feet. Aunt Wu looked at him with guilt on her face.
"Don't feel sad. It's not your fault," it said, trying to comfort her.
"I've never thought my prediction would be wrong. They have worked so much before..." Aunt Wu sighed.
"It's okay, Wu. Everyone can make mistakes, one time to another. Don't take it personally," it said. Then Meng hugged his leg.
"You saved my life. Thank you..." the animal just smiled and gave her a rub on her side.
"It's the least I can do. But you shouldn't thank me. None of you should. One of you already knew about the volcano long before I showed up." The animal turned to the only other person who originally knew about this ... Sokka.
"Sokka ... I should really thank you for informing me. You're the only one who knew about the volcano. And I should be thankful you spoke up, otherwise no one would have know." Sokka smiled and hugged his savior. The animal then turned and started walking on its way. Before he can go though, Meng walked over again.
"Wait ... can you tell me your name?" Meng asked. The animal just turned to her with a gentle expression.
"... Vulkan ..." And with that, Vulkan turned around and headed off on its way.
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