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Previously on The Avatar Rhythm
|"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."|
|— Miss Miyamoto from The Lesson|
|""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."
|— Shrou and Hotaru from The Lesson|
June 18, 2011
This is Chapter 6 in the The Avatar Rhythm Series.
Before the sun had risen over the Fire Nation, Shirou was already up, out of his house, and being pelted by morning rain. Four days had passed since the Fire Days Festival, and Shirou hadn't seen Hotaru since. He wondered if she still remembered they were having a meeting this afternoon.
As he walked, the first candles were being lit around the neighborhood, and silhouettes started to become visible through the house's windows. Still, no one walked on the streets Shirou did, in fear of his nationality. The streets grew so quiet it was scary, and candle's ominous glows dimly lit the cobblestone road that had been charred over time. Suddenly, Shirou had the chills run up his spine. What if someone was watching him through the windows? Staring at him? He was still frightened about Hotaru's plan on hunting down the Avatar. She told him they were going to meet right in her house, while some of the greatest ranking Fire Nation nobles were having a meeting with her father Goro. It would leave her father occupied, and their meeting's noise would overpower the conversation. She thought it was the best idea ever, but Shirou still had his doubts.
Before he could turn back, it was too late. Hotaru's head was visible through a half-opened window, and she signaled for him to come through a back porch. Following her directions, he trotted behind the huge stone house, and opened a sliding door.
"Hello," Hotaru said, as Shirou walked into a small room lined with thickly sewn cloth. He looked at the small table in the corner of the room, and saw a piece of a parchment with dozens of names written on it. Some were familiar, other were not. He quizzically looked at Hotaru.
"Oh," she said, "That's a list of almost every person I know who is sixteen and was born two months ago. There's a chance one may be the Avatar." She scowled at as the word "Avatar" left her mouth, and Shirou smiled. They were going to make a great team. He could tell.
"Thanks Hotaru. Lets get started."
For a couple minutes, they read articles on the Avatar's identity that were strewn out across the floor. "I've collected these over the years," she stated, "But I never thought they'd really prove useful until now."
For a while, they found nothing. Minutes turned to hours, and the two friends grew worried that Goro's meeting would end and they'd be caught. Hotaru read the Everburn Academy student files, while Shirou looked up info in scrolls about Avatar Mikio's death. It was getting more boring, and they started sweating in the afternoon heat.
"Guess what?" Hotaru unenthusiastically asked. "There's a kid in our grade whose from the Air Nomads. His name is Shamar. I wonder if he used to live with them. I wish I could go to the Air Temples. The only other nation I've been to is the Earth Kingdom, when I went to Ba Sing Se thirteen years ago. We had to ride an eel hound there because the ship that we were supposed to take ran out of fuel and-"
"Hey, look at this!" Shirou interrupted. "This kid Kenta on your list, his birthday is the same day that people assume Avatar Mikio died. How do you know him?"
Hotaru looked at Shirou. "He's in my Firebending class, but that doesn't even matter. According some scrolls I read, it usually takes three or four days for the next Avatar to be reincarnated, so it wouldn't work. Anyway, I wouldn't call Kenta the master Firebender."
Before Shirou could respond, their conversation was put to a disastrous end.
Because in the front of the room, with a bone-chilling squeak, the porch door slowly opened, and out stepped Governor Goro, still in his Fire Nation ceremonial robes.
Hotaru had enough time to bunch up the articles and push them under a cushion, but the shocked Shirou only slipped it by his side, and it fell down to the floor.
"How are you two doing?" Goro asked. Before they could answer, he looked at the article on Avatar Mikio lying on the ground. "Where did you get that? I'm sure I didn't leave it in the porch."
Shirou needed a quick excuse. All he got from Hotaru was a nod. "We weren't in here the whole time, sir. I found it in your house and brought it back to the porch because I find this stuff interesting. You know, my grandfather fought with Mikio in the Great Battle of Omashu." Shirou was pretty proud of his unprepared speech.
"Whatever you say," Goro unsurely answered. "Our meeting is only taking a break right now. I'll have to get back up there."
He quietly left, sliding the door behind closed.
The two friends just stared at each other for a moment. Thoughts past through each other's heads, and instead of arguing, or agreeing, they just stood there, and looked.
"Okay," Shirou said, breaking the silence. "It doesn't matter who it is. We'll need a plan. The Avatar will leave to learn with the Air Nomads soon, and by then everyone will know. Then, we can hunt him down and end his insignificant life."
Hotaru joined in. "Remember what Miss Miyamoto told us? If you can get an Avatar really calm, so calm that their chi can flow through their bodies without thinking, and then surprise them with something dangerous or disturbing, that energy will rush right through their bodies and trigger the Avatar State. Then if you kill them, the Avatar will cease to exist, and our goals will be met."
The friends smiled, but somewhere deep down, they both knew there was an ignored fault in their ways.
"It will be hard." Shirou said. "But we can hunt him down if we have each other. For 18 years I've had to live in suffering, as a royal child. My siblings all showed so much Waterbending talent, and my parents were so pleased. When I presented a newly sharpened spear I made, my older brother made one out of ice in less then a minute, and shot across the room. My mother and father clapped like they've never clapped before, and I left the room, with my head tilted down." Now he started yelling. "If it wasn't for Avatar Mikio, I probably would have had the best life ever! The Avatar, a hero! A hero who burns down the house of an injured friend because he can't control his own power! My grandfather Kaito could have shaped the life I never had! But Mikio had to kill him right there! The Avatar! I hate him! So, so much." A tear ran down Shirou's face. "I hate him, I hate him, I hate him. And now is my chance to show what's right. I am going to-"
"Shirou!" Hotaru shouted. "Calm down! It's okay. We have to practice Miss Miyamoto's technique." Shirou scooted over next to Hotaru. "Okay," she murmured. "Let me try this." The duo locked eyes. "Calm down... Calm down... It will be okay... Calm down..." All of a sudden, she leaped up at Shirou, and opened her mouth to roar, but only a squeaky growl seemed to come out. Hotaru started laughing. "Wow," she exclaimed, "That was pretty bad. You try instead."
"You have to really get someone calm, then really get someone surprised, like this." Shirou put his hands on Hotaru's shoulders, and just stared at her for a couple seconds. "You have to be calm," he whispered. "You have to be very, very calm. Just breathe, and be calm. Feel your chi run through your blood. Feel your chi become calm and clear."
Shirou suddenly pulled his knife out from its sheath, and held it inches in front of her face.
Hotaru's eyes started glowing bright, bright white.
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