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Previously on The Avatar Rhythm
|"I believe the world would be better without the Avatar. I know that the next Avatar has been born here in the Fire Nation, and I know it's some 16 year guy old out there, whose trying to hide it to the rest of us."|
|— Hotaru from The Stranger|
|"Shirou was the first student in his Avatar Studies class. He did not want to miss a thing, it was why he came."|
|— From Everburn Academy|
May 24th, 2011
This is Chapter 4 of the The Avatar Rhythm Series
In the late afternoon of Everburn Academy, Hotaru was kneeling on the jagged floor of the Firebending classroom. With exhausted breath and sweat coating her body, she tried to pay attention to Mrs. Ono's new lesson. "Everyone," she snapped, "You have to learn the fire shield technique. It is a very basic Firebending move that can block just about any other bending attack. This one move, the result of 10 minutes practicing, could save your life one day. Now, you, Kenta," she said, pointing at a strong looking boy in the class. "Demonstrate the fire shield technique. Now." He stood up, kind of shaky-like, and got into position. "Well, I may not be perfect," Kenta said, and chuckled in a very nervous manner. "Do the Fire Shield now!" Mrs. Ono demanded. Kenta sinked his weight, pulling up with arms, and suddenly, flames grew around his body. But as soon as it began, it stopped. The fire burnt out around him, revealing a partially charred, ash-encrusted face. "Breathe!" yelled Mrs. Ono. "Your breath is something to treasure, not to use for stupid comments! Hotaru, show these students how it's done." Hotaru hesitantly stood up, looked around, and got into a horse-stance position. Everyone was watching. One wrong move could end up in disaster. She began with a simple deep breath, and then started to sink her weight through her body. As she moved down, her arms flew up, in a strong, graceful motion. With the movements, flames grew around her body, tall, and powerful. Hotaru moved back, and breathed in and out, as the small wall of flames around her moved up and down in unison. But she took it even farther. Swaying her arms back, the fire grew into a circle, a great shield covering her whole body from all sides. Hotaru did a quick punch, making the flames heavily roar, and causing a quick screech from the class. And as her arms progressed downwards, the shield went to the ground, leaving an amazed Hotaru left, untouched. All but Kenta burst into over-enthusiastic applause, and Mrs. Ono squealed with delight. "That was amazing!" she proclaimed. "Hotaru, I have never seen such a dedicated student in years. You are a Firebending prodigy."
After Firebending class, Hotaru met up with Shirou in the halls of Everburn Academy. "Hey," he said, almost cheerfully. "I had a bad time in calligraphy class. Today, Mr. Ageda made us all work on our so-called writing posture. Then after that, he made sure our hands all held the quills at the perfect angle, all happily like this was what he did in his spare time." Hotaru smiled and replied, "That probably is what he does in his spare time." They laughed, and for a second, Shirou actually felt at home in the Fire Nation. He knew that him and Hotaru were destined to meet.
In Avatar Studies class, Miss Miyamoto, came with a surprising message. "Today," she said, in a scraggy, cold voice, "We will be starting our first official class unit. The Avatar."
A confused glance grew on Hotaru's face, while Shirou slowly smiled.
Miss Miyamoto continued, "Today, we will quickly go over some of the big things you'll be studying about for the next couple months, including the Avatar State, the Avatar Cycle, and the four bending disciplines." All but one face in the room took on frowns.
"To start the class of," she said, "Everyone, please write down one fact about the Avatar that you know on a piece of parchment that I will hand out." Hotaru gulped at the sight of the large grin on Shirou's face.
"We will review these once you finish."
After various minutes of head-scratching, scribbling, and whispering ideas across the room, Miss Miyamoto started collecting the work, grimacing at many student's penmanship.
"Okay class!" She bellowed. "Ami's idea will be the first read."
Miss Miyamoto cleared her throat, and declared, "The Avatar knows how to waterbend, earthbend, firebend, and airbend, and is reborn after he dies." Everyone stared at Ami, trembling in her chair. "Well," their annoyed teacher said, "The Avatar can master all four elements, but they are not always reborn after they die.
Usually when an Avatar dies, it is reborn in the next sequence of the Avatar cycle, but we won't get into details, so lets read Kalden's idea. The Avatar's eyes glow yellow when the Avatar is angry." Miss Miyamoto gave Kalden a disgusted look. "This is what they call the Avatar State in a civilized society. First off, the Avatar's eyes glow white, along with any other body markings following one's chi paths. Second of all, the Avatar State is triggered as a defense mechanism, not when the Avatar is angry. The Avatar will go into this form only when anger and sorrow overpower all of it's other feelings, or when the Avatar's chi is able to flow freely throughout the Avatar's body. But, the Avatar State has it's drawbacks. If the Avatar is killed while in the Avatar State, their cycle will be broken, and the Avatar will cease to exist."
Shirou's eyes lit up in wonder, and his hand shot straight up.
"Yes, Shirou?" Miss Miyamoto asked. "I've never seen you so enthusiastic about a lesson." The rest of the class smirked.
Shirou, ignoring the insult, inquired, "Do you know if there is any way to induce the Avatar State on another person?"
Miss Miyamoto replied,"I don't believe it has ever been done, but through various works of Avatar Aang, Korra, and Mikio, it has been suggested that the ability is possible. If one can completely clear an Avatar's thoughts, making their chi easily flow, then with one mean, cruel, or disappointing comment, the anger will theoretically fill up an Avatar's empty mind, and make the Avatar State very easy to be induced into. It hasn't really been looked into very much." Shirou could tell Miss Miyamoto was telling the truth, but it was obvious that she was very suspicious of Shirou's question.
The rest of class went by slow, filled with dull, monotone lectures that were not heard carefully by anyone in the class. It wasn't much different then any other day in Avatar Studies. Finally, as Shirou walked out the door to go to Technology, Miss Miyamoto stopped him in the doorway.
"Shirou, in the beginning of class, I asked you to write a fact about the Avatar. You wrote He is a jerk who ruined my life. Why?" Really hoping to get out of there, Shirou mumbled, "Because he is," and quickly scooted out the doorway.
In the hall, Hotaru looked Shirou in the eye, with a somewhat-menacing glare. "Why?" She asked. "Why did you ask Miss Miyamoto about inducing the Avatar State?" Shirou glanced down, in a guilty sort of way.
"Well, Hotaru, you know how I said I came to the Fire Nation because I wanted to learn here?"
She nodded, quizzically.
"Well, that wasn't the only reason. Really, nobody in the whole Water Tribe knew I was coming here. I came to the Fire Nation so I could escape from the world where I was forgotten, the world where I had a whole family that people adored. I came to escape the world that could have been there for me if it wasn't for Avatar Mikio. I knew the next Avatar was already reborn here, and about to leave to learn the elements. There wasn't much time for me to lose, and I wanted revenge."
Hotaru was surprised. "Wait, do you mean-"
"I came to kill the Avatar. And now with a secret weapon from Miss Miyamoto's lesson, I'll destroy the Avatar Spirit altogether."
After a breath of shock, Hotaru regained composure and replied, "Shirou, I'll be by your side the whole way. I'm with you on this. Lets meet next weekend, just because I don't want anything else big to think about before the Fire Days Festival. I'll have to perform in front of everyone, solo! My partner left, and now I'm the only one left to run the show.
Shirou gave an understanding nod, and the two friends smiled.
"We'll find the next Avatar, and finish him."
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