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Previously on The Avatar Rhythm
|""You're jealous." Shinji stated. "Don't hide it. You've always been jealous of benders. When you tell me about your Waterbending siblings who made you forgotten, now I realize you didn't actually hate them. You just wished you were like them! That's why you ran away!""|
|— From The Airbender|
|"The duo nodded, and Shirou whispered, "We're there Shinji. We've faced The Quadrination Bandits, poisons, The Procession, fruit flies, an armadillo bear, and now cliffs, but we did it." |
"We're going to The Western Air Temple.""
|— From Nun Gate|
|""Compromise. I'll recruit the Air Nomad armies while you kill Hotaru. Sora said she'd be back soon, and saying that she runs the place, I bet she runs the military. I'll go with her, and while we talk, you find out where Hotaru is. That's fair enough."|
|— Shirou from The Temple|
|The Second Seminar|
August 24, 2011
This is Chapter 22 in The Avatar Rhythm Series.
Shirou took a deep breath, twiddling his thumbs, feeling his heart beat faster and faster. Sora, the Mother Superior of the Western Air Temple, was making a pot of tea a couple feet away from him, ready to talk. He had to recruit the Air Nomad armies so the Quadrination Bandits couldn't attack Shinji, but at the same time he needed to keep under his disguise of a traveler - not an assassin.
"Here you go," Sora said softly, sliding a small mug of steaming liquid over at Shirou with a little gust of Airbending. "Have a sip or two. It's jasmine, an Air Nomad favorite."
Shirou sighed, and took a small sip. It was surprisingly good, and he drank some more. "Nice tea."
Sora sat down. "Glad you like it. So what do you need to talk to me about? I hope it's not very urgent."
"Well... about that." Shirou was having trouble speaking. "Bandits are going to be coming to The Western Air Temple."
"Bandits? Why would they be following royal travelers?"
Shirou took a sip of tea. "Because they're evil. The Quadrination Bandits, to be exact."
Sora looked up. "Well, that's all you had to tell me?"
"I was going to..." Shirou stumbled upon his words. "I was... I was thinking that we should recruit the Air Nomad's military to defend us. I think the bandits coming soon."
"Yes. Your military."
The Mother Superior chuckled, then started laughing loudly. "Silly boy," she chortled, "We don't have a military!"
"What?" Shirou was shocked. "You don't? But what if someone attacked?"
She smiled. "Only a Sky Bison can reach this temple. If people really wanted to attack we might fight back." Sora started talking serious again. "You're not travelers, are you?"
"No... we're not. Can you keep a secret?"
"We came to kill the Avatar."
Meanwhile, Shinji looked around the tower that him and Shirou were staying on. No one was nearby. The time was right. He dragged the stool from their room outside to the hall. Climbing on top of it, with the help of a fire blast. He jumped up to the balcony above him, and rolled onto the stone platform. Still, no one was looking. He smiled.
Shinji ran around the tower, and jumped across a five-foot gap to another platform, ducking down beneath a table as a nun passed by, not even noticing him. This was why Shirou had hired him. Pure stealth.
A harsh wind blew through the air, and Shinji rolled through an alley, and ran down a bridge. From what he heard, the Avatar's training room was on the tower that this led to. He looked up. There were a group of Air Nomads about twenty yards away. As far as Shinji could tell, they hadn't spotted him, and he swung off the bridge, latching onto the stone underneath it, and started crawling - upside down - across the bottom of the bridge. After he heard the passing footsteps above him leave, he climbed back over, took a deep breath, and sprinted towards the tower. He put his ear up against the wall, and heard voices from within. Voices of an Avatar. Shinji made a small flame in his hands, and smiled.
"And then," Shirou said to Sora, "We came to Nun Gate. Me and Shinji passed the test they gave us there - and came here. He was afraid that the Quadrination Bandits would find us here, so he asked me to recruit the Air Nomad armies."
"And you weren't planning to kill the Avatar for a month?" Sora asked.
"Yes. We wanted to become trusted within the community of this place first." Shirou hoped his lie was convincing.
"Killing the Avatar is serious business Shirou," the Mother Superior said. "I'm telling you, Hotaru is a bending prodigy. It usually takes three years for an Avatar to learn airbending. She has mastered the art in months."
"I need to do this," Shirou pleaded. "I need to kill her! My grandfather was killed by the Avatar, for the sole reason that Mikio couldn't control his own power. The Avatar is a monster."
Sora shook her head. "What good would that do? If you killed her, Hotaru's family would be mad at you, and then they would want to kill you, then your family would want to kill them, and so on. What difference does it make?"
"She's a bender," Shirou mumbled. "I don't know. I just thought-"
"You hate her because she's bender?" Sora asked.
"Sure... No. Yes, yes I do. I hate her because she's a bender! I hate all benders!"
"But I'm a bender," Sora said softly. "Your friend Shinji is a a bender. All life is sacred. You can't just go killing the people you hate."
Shirou cried out despair - on the verge of tears. "I know! That's different! She's the Avatar! She's a bender! Benders took away the life I never had!"
Sora chuckled. "You're being unreasonable. "
Shirou's brain was racked with frustration. Names of his friends were shooting through his head; Fire Lord Taro, Shinji, Takumi. Kaito. They were all benders. Hotaru. "It's not fair."
"What's not fair?"
Shirou sighed. "Life. Life isn't fair. My life especially."
Sora looked up. "You're making your own despair. Consider the small things in life, the good things. Don't let the death of your grandfather cloud up the things you do have."
"Like the fact that you are part of royalty!" Your father is the head of a sixth of the world!" You are in the Water Tribe royal family! That's something to be proud of!"
"No it's not," Shirou said, standing up, clutching the doorknob. "Just be ready to fight the Quadrination Bandits."
"We are a not a fighting civilization, child. We let peace direct our lives, and in turn our lives are peaceful."
"I don't need any more wisdom today, Sora," he said and opened the door.
"Shirou! What you do outside this room - I cannot control. What you decide to destroy your own life with - I cannot know. But I can tell you one thing."
Shirou never heard her last sentence, slamming the door behind him.
An hour later, Shirou met up with Shinji, sitting on a bench on the side of a tower.
"The Avatar is in this room," Shinji said, pointing to the wall. "How did you do?"
Shirou stumbled. "Uhh... well...."
"Did you recruit the Air Nomad armies?"
"Yeah," Shirou lied. "I did. They'll be ready if anyone attacks. My side of the deal is done."
Shinji smiled. "Then lets give the Avatar what she deserves."
As the winds of fear whirred through the air, Shirou wondered if he was really doing the right thing.
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