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Previously on The Avatar Rhythm
|"Once she mastered the art of Firebending, which would be soon, Hotaru was to leave to the Western Air Temple of the New Air Nomads, and by then she'd be untraceable"|
|— From Into the Fire|
|"Shirou scowled. Ignoring what the Avatar did to his grandfather was still impossible. Mikio had killed him, and Hotaru had completely burned the only picture he had left of him. Shirou didn't forget about things like that."|
|— From The Laws Ignite: Part 2|
August 1, 2011
This is Chapter 13 in the The Avatar Rhythm Series.
As the bright orange sun rose over the sky in the early morning, a young boy was already frantically scurrying around his house, hurriedly stuffing a piece of toast into his mouth as he ran around looking for pair of sandals. The boy was almost eight years old, dressed in a long yellow robe and wore a necklace branded with the symbol of The Air Nomads. He dragged a pair of leather sandals out from below his table, and pushed them on his feet. Before leaving out from their small wooden door, the boy stuck his head into a room where his mother was sleeping, and whispered, "Mom, I'm going out to see if anything got washed up on the shores of our island from the storm."
"Good luck Akata," she said, with her eyes still closed. "Be back in an hour."
The boy, Akata, slipped out of the room, and rushed out the door. The beach was only down the cobblestone road that he was jogging down. The path which he took passed by a couple houses, all painted yellow and orange with straw roofs. At the end of the road was a huge stretch of sand, running out hundreds of feet into the ocean, and everywhere there was old junk that had gotten washed up from a huge storm which occurred the past day. Akata started walking, looking down, and quickly found a piece of driftwood, an old spoon, and an empty sack. He turned his head upwards, and saw a small blackened object about ten feet away. When Akata walked up to it, and picked it up, he realized the mysterious object was a burnt picture frame. He tried scratching off some of the burns, and underneath, the image of an elderly man dressed in Water Tribe clothes was revealed.
"Weird..." he mumbled to himself, looking back down to the sand.
Near where he found that, Akata picked up blue bracelet, also marked by the Water Tribe insignia. Something was up. He looked forward, and when he realized what lay in front of him, he gasped, and almost fell over. There, lying around five feet away, was a young man half buried in the sand, dressed in a blue outfit which had many rips and stains covering it.
"Oh my gosh..." Akata said, pressing his ear up to the man's chest. A heartbeat could be heard. "You're alive..." He brushed the sand, water, driftwood and seaweed off the man, and started dragging him back from the seashore, along with the burnt picture and the bracelet.
When Akata got home, he dragged the man into their guest room and lifted him onto the bed. That had been heavy, and the muscles used to carry him hundreds of feet were now strained and tired. He placed the picture and the bracelet on the bedside table. Then, after poking his head out the door to see if his mother was in the kitchen, he whispered to the man, "Can you hear me? You've been unconscious for a very long time."
After a quick silence, the man's eyes fluttered open, and then immediately closed. Akata, frustrated, shook the mysterious person's shoulders, and he suddenly opened his eyes, and lifted his head, awoken.
"Where am I?" he asked, shaking his head. "Who are you? What happened to me?"
"My name is Akata. I found you on the beach. You must have been washed up by yesterday's storm."
The man sat up, trying to dig down into his memory, when he looked at Akata's Air Nomad robe, and opened his eyes wider. "Am I at the Western Air Temple?" he asked. "There is someone there who will be dying to see me. By the way, my name is Shirou."
"That's a cool name," Akata replied, "But no, we're not at the Western Air Temple. It's close to here though. This is one of the New Air Nomad's islands that is in the same chain as the one that is home to the Western Air Temple."
Suddenly, the door behind them creaked open, and there stood Akata's mother, who quickly became shocked at the sight of a mysterious man in a bed of hers. "Who... is that?" she stammered, backing away. "Get away from him, he may be one of those bandits, or an assassin, or something. Where did he come from?"
"I apparently washed up on these shores from yesterday's storm and your son saved my life." he replied to the frightened woman. "My name is Shirou, and I am Water Chief Riku's son. You may have recently heard that I just saved the Fire Nation from a corrupt government official who was planning to overthrow their nation. Well after that, I had peacefully been living in the Fire Nation for two months. But over the past couple of weeks, I decided I had to pay someone who I know is living in The Western Air Temple a visit. So I started sailing, but a storm came in my way, and I ended up here."
Akata's mother was impressed. "One of those storms usually comes each year in the beginning of Autumn. You happened to fall into it. Most people who that happens to don't survive."
The three people just looked at each other for a minute. Shirou didn't know exactly how he got here, and he was only sure one thing. He wanted the Avatar. Dead. "I need to get to the Western Air Temple," he stated. "There's someone there who... needs to be killed. She did a terrible thing to my family. Something too big to forgive."
"Honey," Akata's mother whispered. "The Western Air Temple is in this chain of islands, but you should still be warned. There are many strange places on the way to the Temple. The Air Nomads closer to it practice their traditions as monks greater and greater. Here, we simply live peaceful lives and pray in our sacred places. But by the time you're on an island next to The Western Air Temple, you'll probably have a shaved head and will bow whenever you see someone older than you. Since this nation is still growing, the law is also still growing, and many criminals have settled in this island chain. Think before you make the greatest mistake of your life. In the meantime, my son can show you around the village."
An hour later, Shirou and Akata were walking down the cobblestone roads of the small Air Nomad village. Other people were now walking through the streets, also dressed in yellow robes.
"There," the excited Air Nomad boy said to Shirou, pointing at a large building, "Is our market. You can buy food and clothes and games there. I'm saving up for my own Pai Sho Board."
"Cool," replied Shirou, unimpressed. "Are there are any Airbenders in this town? I've never seen one before."
As they walked farther down the street, Akata looked up at Shirou and asked, "Airbenders? You kidding? There's probably only 70 of them in the world, and just about all of them reside in one of the two New Air Nomads Temples. I've only seen an Airbender once in my life. It was when the Mother Superior of the Western Air Temple came to visit, and she twirled some marbles around in the air for me. That was it."
As they passed a bake shop, Shirou looked aghast. "Wow. You're an Air Nomad, yet you've only seen an Airbender once? That's just weird..."
The two growing friends walked in silence for a couple yards, thinking about each other's lives.
"Shirou," Akata said quizzically, "Well, you know how you said something about needing someone killed?"
"Well, we have an assassin that lives in this town. He could help you."
Shirou's lifted his head up, interested, and asked, "Where can I find him?"
Akata gulped. "We're not supposed to tell anyone, but right now he's scared and shivering in the basement of our monastery."
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