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|Chapter 5: the Twins|
Volume I: earth
24th July 2012
Chapter 5: The twins
Isamu and Emma flew for over a week. Except for a few showers, the sky was calm, and frequently they looked down to enjoy the beautiful landscape: dense forests with all kind of animal noises coming out of it, crystal-clear lakes which sparkled in the sunset, and sometimes a small town, with toy-sized houses and people who looked like ants. When the sun was going down, they landed somewhere, preferably a lake or in a forest, so they would not been seen. After they made a campfire and ate something of the delicious supplies the Rebel alliance had given with them, they slept in the hovercar. Emma usually felt asleep after a couple of minutes, but Isamu could lay awake for hours, gazing at the stars who where shining onto them. Although they were heading to Ba Sing Se, he had no idea what he should do next. Return to Dong-zun, to the rebels? Settle down somewhere and make new plans? He had no idea. He turned around and looked at Emma. She had no idea what she had gotten herself into... Siddhartha was right, she was only fifteen and irresponsible. He sighed and closed his eyes. He would worry about Emma later. After all, she was a rebel and had quite some experience with combat, not to mention the tough times she went through. And after all, he was with her. He would look after her and protect her, even if he had to give up his life, he thought determined, while looking at the moon.
After they woke up, Emma went into the lake to wash herself, and Isamu would go into the forest to search for firewood and maybe some berries to eat. When he had lit the campfire and was roasting some bread on a stick, Emma showed up, with a towel in her arm. She happily accepted the bread Isamu was handing over.
'I looked into the trunk from the hovercar today', Isamu started. 'We don't have many supplies left, and we're also almost out of coal for the Lemur. We need to stop at a nearby city to buy some.'
Emma nodded. 'Do we have money to buy it?'
'Siddhartha gave me some. It should be enough to survive for another two weeks, enough to reach Ba Sing Se in time.'
'I heard a while ago that the Rebel Alliance has a base in Ba Sing Se', said Emma, who ripped big pieces of bread apart with her hands and put it in her mouth. 'We must look there for people who are willing to help us. Getting into the library of Ba Sing Se isn't going to be an easy task.'
Isamu sighted with relief. 'That is good news. I already was worrying about how we should get in there.'
He put the last piece of bread in his mouth and extinguished the campfire by putting a small heap of earth on it, with the help of earthbending. 'Come on. There should be a village nearby.'
They flew for about half an hour when Emma pointed downwards with her finger. 'There! A city!'
Isamu followed her direction. it was quite a small city, but not as small as Dong-Zun. He saw small roofs of textile on the main square, with black dots walking around them: apparently it was market day. He moved the steering wheel to the left and lifted his feet of the gas. 'Great!'
He started scanning the landscape, in search for a good place to land. His eyes quickly felt on a small forest, with an open spot at the edge of it. 'Let's land there. It is only a small walk from there to the town.'
When they walked through the town gates, they walked straight to the main square. Just like Isamu expected, it was market day: people where walking between the stands, while the salesmen where trying to sell their products by trying to yell harder than the other.
'Fresh Penguin meat from the North Pole! Get it while it's fresh!'
'Hand-made statues of Kurou Fujimoto, our beloved leader and chairman of the company! Now with 20 percent discount!'
Emma skeptically gazed at the statues. 'They don't even look like Fujimoto. The statues in the cities have a much smaller nose.'
The salesman, a slight men with wrinkles and a grey beard, seemed to be offended. 'Well, if you know it better, go look at the better statues in your big cities!', he said sarcastic, while stretching the vowels in his last sentence. Emma put her hands on her hips.
'Well, sorry for that! I wanted to help you by saying that you could make a smaller nose, but now, you can just put those statues in your-' she couldn't finish her sentence, because Isamu was dragging her away. 'Come on, Emma. We don't want to attract any attention.'
Packed with fabric bags, they left the market an hour later, and headed towards their car. Isamu was satisfied: they bought supplies for at least a week and they had enough coal to reach Ba Sing Se without buying more. When they walked into the forest and were halfway where the flying Lemur was parked, Emma pulled his arm. 'Look!'
Isamu looked around him. 'What?'
'There are people standing there, at the Lemur!'
Isamu looked and saw that Emma was right: two gestures were standing at the Lemur, walking around it and trying to open the door. They ducked and sneaked towards the two gestures. Slowly and without making any noise, they started to crawl towards the open spot. When they crawled behind a small bush, they were able to get a better view of the two gestures: two boys, around the same age as Emma and Isamu, were trying to force the flying Lemur to open. They were almost the same size and looked very similar: they both had black hair, a slight build and a small hawknose. The only difference was that the other was slightly taller than the other, and the smallest one had blue eyes, while the other had gray ones. 'Holy smokes Huangdi, who would leave such a vehicle in the middle of the forest?', the tallest one said, while trying to force the door.
'I don't know', Huangdi said. 'But if I fix this baby, it should sell for a good price so we can leave that rotten town up ahead. Hovercars are rare in this area.' 'Do you think it belongs to someone?'
'If it didn't belong to anyone, I'm pretty sure the door wouldn't be locked, Shin.', Huangdi said. 'Although it could be that the lock is rusted. This fella looks pretty old.'
'Nothing a good scrub can't fix' Shin murmured. He tried one final attempt to open the door, and when he saw it didn't work, he jumped on the roof of the Lemur.
'Okay, then we must use our powers to get this catch to town.'
'Powers?' Emma whispered.
'Probably their physical strength' Isamu said. 'Nothing spec-'
'Okay Huangdi, time to slice up some trees so we can get this baby out of this bush!' Shin yelled, while he braced himself by bending his knees. 'You slice, I'll drive.'
Huangdi walked up to the bush Emma and Isamu were hiding, and started making slicing movements with his arms. A strong breeze of wind occurred, and Isamu and Emma heard a loud cracking noise. When they turned around, they were stupefied: with wide eyes they looked how the trees started to fell. Every time a tree hit the ground, it was followed by a loud smack and trembling. Within a few minutes, a broad path was cleared to the end of the forest.
'Okay Huang, hop on!' Shin yelled, while moving his hands backwards. Huangdi hopped on the hovercar and formed his hands like a cup, just like his brother. They made some movements with their arms and a strong breeze of wind came out of their hands. Fast as an arrow, the Lemur headed to the edge of the forest. 'They are trying to get away!' Emma yelled.
'Not yet!' Isamu said, while kicking on the ground and raising his hands. A column of stone occurred at the end of the path: Shin and Huangdi, who concentrated on moving the Lemur, didn't saw it. With a loud collapse of metal onto stone, the Lemur flew up in the air and smacked on the ground. The twins tripped and followed a moment later.
'What in the name of-' Shin began, and then he saw Isamu and Emma running out of the forest. He quickly stood up and took a battle position. 'Grab yourself together, Huangdi! This could get a little hairy!'
Emma stopped a few meters from the twins. 'What do you think you're doing with our hovercar?' she yelled.
'Your hovercar?', Shin repeated. 'Sorry missy, but this hovercar was standing all alone there in the forest. It belongs to us.'
'We went into town for supplies!' Emma said. 'And when we came back, we saw you and Huangdi trying to force the door!'
'First rule of the jungle missy: when you find it, you can keep it.' Shin smirked cheeky. 'And I'm not going to give it up.'
'Ow, you're on!' Emma yelled, and she dashed forward. Huangdi and Shi reacted simultaneously: they spread his hands forward and again, a strong squall occurred. Emma flew back and landed on the ground. Isamu quickly reached his hand to her and helped her standing up. Then, he walked forward towards the twins. 'You... you two are airbenders!' he said, amazed.
Shin and Huangdi reposed. 'Wait, what? How do you know...?' Huangdi started, but Shin interrupted him.
'And so what? What does that have to do with anything? What do you know about airbending?'
'I'm not an airbender myself, but I'm an earthbender' Isamu explained. 'I have the power to manipulate the earth.'
Shin didn't loosened up. 'Prove it!'
Isamu did what he said. He rose four small columns of stone that covered the arm of the twins, just like what he did with Hiroto. Before Shin and Huangdi could defend themselves, Isamu moved his hands down, and the columns sunk back into the ground: the twins were forced to move with them.
'What the-' Shin said, while trying to break free. 'What are you doing? Let me go!'
'Only when you promise you will leave the hovercar alone.'
'No! There's no way I'm leaving that treasure behind!'
'Okay, when you say it', Emma added, while heading towards the Lemur. 'Have fun spending the night here....'
'Okay, okay! Just set us free!'
Isamu saw in his eyes that Shin meant it. With a simple gesture, he removed the handcuffs. Shin and Huangdi stood up, while rubbing their hands. Isamu walked towards them, while reaching his hand.
'I'm sorry to prove it to you that way. My name is Isamu Yamo.'
Shin shook his hand. 'The name's Shin-nü, but everybody calls me Shin. And this is my brother, Huangdi.'
Emma shook the hand of Huangdi. 'Pleasure to meet you two. Could we interest you in some food?'
A couple of minutes later, the fire was made, and they all settled around the fire while roasting all kinds of food.
'So, Shin and Huangdi', Emma started. 'What are you up to?'
'O, we're nothing special.' Huangdi shrugged. 'We've lost our parents since we where youngsters. We discovered we could airbend around the age of ten. We try to make some money by selling old parts of machines.'
Shin patted his brother on the back. 'Yup. Huangdi is kinda handy, so he does the fixing. And since I'm quite gifted with my speech, I do the sales. And? What are you two up to? We don't see many travelers around here, especially not teenagers.'
'We're traveling to Ba Sing Se, to discover the origins about bending', Emma said. 'We think we could use it to lead the Company to his downfall and establish a better world. Didn't you two noticed that your powers are special?'
Huangdi frowned. 'Now that you mention it... I never seen anybody who has the same powers as us, not to mention that we never saw an earthbender before. And about that overthrowing the Company-idea...' his face became filled with anger. 'Huangdi and I have been prosecuted since we lived on the street. They cause terror and misery in Shiroizen –That's the name of the town- since we can remember. Many of the citizens are banished to the mines when they can't pay the high taxes.' He sighed. 'Most of them never coming back...'
Emma bent forward. 'What do you think about joining us? We heard you say that you wanted to leave this town. We need as many benders as we can. Together, we can overthrow the Company and create a better world for us and for the people who come after us.'
Shin and Huangdi looked at each other for a long time. Isamu and Emma felt their hope growing. Would they finally find someone who was willing to help them?
It was Huangdi who gave the answer. 'I go with you two, only if it was to leave this city.' He stood up and gazed at the lights from Shiroizen. 'I will make the Company pay for what they have done. To what they have done to our city. To what they have done to me.'
Shin also stood up and laid his hand on the shoulder of his brother. 'Then I'm joining you too, bro. I never separated from your side and I also won't do it now.'
Huangdi looked at him. 'I knew I could count on you. But-' he looked at the Lemur, with the attitude of a technician. 'That hovercar only has place for two. But if you two let me take care of it...' he smiled at Isamu and Emma. 'I can make room for four, at the expense of a small part from the trunk. I only need a few parts of metal...'
'We'll get that for you, brother!' Shin said. 'Come on, Emma and Isamu, we'll be heading to the scrap. If you need some metal, you can find it there.'
When the three walked out of the forest, Isamu turned towards Emma, so that Shin could not hear them. 'Are you sure we must take them with us? They seem a little bit...'
Emma shrugged. 'Irresponsible? Maybe, but they look after each other, just like we do. And it's like Siddhartha said: we need as many benders as we can find to aid us. By the way-' she looked at Shin, who was blazing himself up in the sky with the help of airbending. 'This proves Siddhartha's theory that there are different kinds of benders. We now only need to find out why nobody knows about bending except the ones who are able to, and why only a few people are able to do it.'
Isamu didn't have anything to bring in after that. Without saying anything to Emma after that, they headed towards the inviting lights of Shiroizen.
There were only a few people in the round office, all men. They all stood against the walls, except for one, who was sitting behind a giant desk. They all seemed to be expecting something: they all had their face pointed at the same door at the very end of the room. When someone knocked on the door three times, the man behind the desk took the word. 'Come in.'
A small, fragile man with grey hair walked inside. He clearly didn't like to be in this room: his eyes quickly dashed between the man behind the desk, the other men who were standing at the walls and the door.
The man behind the desk made a hand gesture. 'Speak.'
The man who just came in began to speak. 'Lord Fuijimoto, the report about the factory in Dong-zun is unfortunately true. We found a huge boulder in the wall of the factory, and some workers and a street gangster –Ryuusaki was his name I think- confirmed that a boy and a girl were heading towards the factory. The boy apparently used a special technique, which was apparently strong enough to knock out all of the workers and two of Ryuusaki's henchmen. They were talking about some technique where the boy manipulated the earth.'
The voice of Kurou Fuijimoto rose in volume. 'Was it- earthbending? Are you sure?' The man began to shiver. 'y-y-yes s-s-sir. I didn't k-k-k-knew it was called like-'
Quiet.' Fuijimoto made another hand gesture. The man fell silent immediately. Fuijimoto rose from his chair and started to wander around the chamber.
'Impossible. After all these years...' he quickly turned to the man. When those two find allies who are also able to bend, they can form a serious threat to the Company. Alarm all districts to look for a boy and a girl. Ask the gangster how they looked like.
The man bowed and left the room. 'Of course, Mister Fuijimoto sir. Anything you wish...'
When the servant left, Fuijimoto turned around towards the men who were standing at the walls. 'Gentlemen, we have a serious problem here. Like I said, those two teenagers can form a serious threat, especially when they come in contact with the Rebel alliance. But luckily, I always have a trump card.' He smirked.
Wherever there is a disease in my utopia, I shall eliminate it. And I will eliminate it forever.' He turned towards the two men who were standing at the door. 'You two. Get the Jackal for me. If someone can bring these two down', He laughed evilly, 'It's him. Tell him I wait for him in the library.
For the collective works of the author, go here.