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|The Sky and the Sea|
30th January 2014
Water, Earth, Fire, Air.
For 100 years, the four nations were at war on the day the Fire Nation first attacked. Only the Avatar, master of all four elements could stop them, but he vanished.
About three years ago, my brother and I discovered the new Avatar, an airbender named Aang. And after finding some allies and mastering all four elements, Aang defeated Fire Lord Ozai and put an end to the war. We all set about rebuilding the world, but there is still tensions between the nations and further secret activity that Aang may not be able to stop. But I believe Aang can.
Another days walking and we reached the port. On the coast by the edge of a large fishing settlement. This was a former colony, but only recently and would not be apart of the new nation that was being made from the older colonies. No this has gone back to the Earth Kingdom.
The line was very long. I hadn't expected that this many people were wanting to go to the Northern Water Tribe. Especially as it draws closer to winter.
"Here we are then" Ithar declared. "Next stop North Pole."
"I wonder what it's like?" Suki asked. I hadn't realized but she had never gone to the Northern Tribe before.
I hadn't much experience, except for one fact: "Cold, very cold."
"You said it" Ithar agreed.
Suki looked at us. "Both of you?"
I was the only one to answer. "Chasing Aang." Simplest explanation, it was all that was needed.
Suki looked at me with a huge smile and a raised eyebrow. "The good old days?"
"The good old days" I replied.
Ithar didn't catch on to the joke while we laughed it over. "The good old days?"
I looked at him so surprised. He usual knew about everything, but he for once had no idea. "Is that a question?" I asked. I was still laughing a bit over the inside joke, so I found this near hilarious. "Is that something you don't know? Mr I know everything that has ever happened doesn't know this inside joke."
He was as blank as a sheet of paper. "That was a joke?"
I realized that it wasn't funny when he had no general idea what we were talking about. "Never mind then."
"Aw common. The first time I don't know something and you won't tell me."
"Okay we'll tell you, but it will cost you a favour." Sorry, I couldn't help it.
he stared at me and tried to appear emotionless, but the sides of his cheeks were trying to force back a smile and me and Suki had a good short chuckle, followed by Ithar's brief "Ha ha."
I jolted round as I realized the line had moved on while we were talking. "Oh, sorry . . ."
"Passports!" The man at the booth was Water Tribe, nothing particularly interesting or unusual about his features. Put him Earth Kingdom clothes, I would have thought of him as such. Or maybe even Fire Nation. He was pretty plan in sight, the usual warrior build. He looked really bummed out that he was working behind a desk made from a table from someone's dining room. And a sign plucked into the ground like it was a last minute makeshift, not like the professional one that had in Ba Sing Se.
I reached into my pockets and pulled out my passport. I decided that after Omashu I was determined not to argue with who ever asked for my passport. My passport was red and lined with brown. There was a gold line around the borders and a black Fire Nation insignia in the background and the golden seal with a comet burning, the symbol for Sozin's Comet and the Royal Families insignia. The writing upon it said
烈火國辟等護照 - 烈火國蘇科
Fire Nation royal class passport - Firelord Zuko
"Here" I said.
I handed it over and he looked at it. He looked back at me and said with the least intention. "Do I look stupid?"
He held up my passport. "This passport says you're from the Fire Nation."
I was confused why he was even asking. "Y-Yes?"
He looked back at the passport and then became full on sarcastic when he saw the royal seal. "Oh, not only that, but you're the Firelord."
"Yes, I'm the Firelord."
He wasn't convinced and waved his hand to push me away. "Move along kid. Next!"
I was about to go when another Water Triber walked up holding two bowls of sea prune. He looked up at me and his eyes widened. He saw his friend (I'm not sure if they were friends, but I think that they obviously knew each other enough to be considered as such) trying to wave me off and put the prunes down in front of him. "Um *psst* Shazi."
Shazi looked around and started thinking he was bout to make his day. "What is it? Oh, Chang, you'll never believe it, but this kid thinks he's the Firelord."
Chang leaned in closer as said while pointing at me. "That is the Firelord."
Shazi's smile dropped. He looked at me, then back at Chang. "Is it?" Chang nodded and decided that he would go and get some more sea prunes. Shazi looked at me nervously, he pulled up a huge and nervous smile as he stamped and passed me back my passport.
"W-Welcome aboard your fiery-ness."
I thanked him and just walked on. Suki walked up with her passport. It was green with blue, which was exclusive for Kyoshi Island due to customs and ties with the Southern Water Tribe. It had a seal on it, but had a printed fan and crossed headpiece over the top of it.
It read: 土國秒等護照 - 苏琪
Earth Kingdom second class passport - Suki
"Kyoshi Island, aye. Weather sounds nice."
Suki just took back her passport after he stamped it and walked straight through. Lastly it was Ithar's turn and we would be off. Ithar walked up and began to . . . Oh, I forgot he didn't have a passport.
"Passport?" Shazi asked.
Ithar started feeling his pockets, but he realized in vain. "Urgh."
"Do you want to hear a joke?"
Shazi wasted no time. "Next!"
Ithar walked off in our direction without a stamp. He was not coming. We rushed back to him as was kicking himself. "Erh! If I could still bend I could just as easily get on that boat. If I could bend, I would have my passport."
"Hang on" I said. I walked back into the line, cutting in front of everyone else. "Hey, Shazi is it?"
Shazi looked and got nervous again. "Y-Yes, your highness."
"Hey!" complained an Earth Kingdom salesman "We're next . . ."
"Don't you know who that is?" Shazi said.
The salesman looked at me, the responded unimpressed "It's the Firelord, so what?"
Shazi leaned over his 'desk'. "So wait you're turn. Yes so how can I help."
I pointed over to Ithar, who was now kicking a rock by the side of the port. "You won't let my friend through. Now we're on a tight schedule and we really need to get to the North Pole."
"I'm sorry, but if he doesn't have a passport then I can't let him through. If he had a fake one I could make an exception . . . "
"Oh well that's good" the salesman interrupted raising his arms above his head.
"I wasn't talking to you!" Shazi said pointing sharply at him ". . . but unfortunately, he doesn't. No passport, no ticket."
I thanked him and walked back over. Ithar was now sitting on that rock, holding his foot, with Suki looking over him with a hand on his shoulder. I walked up and they turned their heads at me. I shook my head "I'm sorry."
We all looked at each other, but Ithar stood up, struggling on his foot a little. He really shouldn't have been kicking that rock. He looked at us and said with a sigh "Look you guys go on."
"Well it looks like it" I replied. "But we all go or none of us go."
"No" he stopped me. He looked up at both of us and said. "You guys need to get there. No matter what, I'm stuck here, but you're not."
"But Ithar . . . Aang needs you're help" Suki insisted.
"You two know as much as you need. And he trusts you two. You'll be fine."
"No you can still come" I replied after thinking of an idea. "You're Pai Sho piece!"
Ithar shook his head in response "Not this time."
"Go on" he insisted "I'll make my own way. I pro-, I promise"
I didn't believe his words, but we had no option if we were to help Aang. I gave him a handshake, and Suki went with a hug. We then walked off to the boat, as Ithar sat back on the rock, waiting for whatever he was looking for.
Surprisingly, or should I really say not surprisingly, my brother had gotten us lost in the middle of the northern waters. Or at least that's how it appeared. But he continued insisting that we were going the right way.
He pointed to the map he held in his hands. "Right, then we should take the next left here then."
I turned and looked straight at him. "Left? We're flying north. We're suppose to carry straight on."
"Sugarqueen is right Sokka;" Toph agreed, still don't like my nickname though. "Straight is north. Not that I know what north is from up here."
Sokka continued to insist that he knew where we were going the right way. "Yeah, but Appa will need a break. Remember what happened last time we flew for too long and he didn't get his nap."
"Don't remind me."
Aang swung his head round from Appa's head. "Appa's not tired." He leaned over and stoked Appa's cheek. "Are you boy?"
Aang immediately realized he was right. That reply wasn't too awake. "Okay, I think we might need to take a break."
Momo climbed over from Sokka's bag and onto Appa's snout. "Myaah? Mymmmmh."
"Rrr-Raaaaah-Aaaaaaahhhhh" Appa yawned.
Sokka looked over the side and told us to go down there. It was big enough to land Appa. But apart from that it was completely empty. Just a giant piece of rock. Aang jumped off and started walking around.
"What is this?" I asked.
"This is an island" Sokka replied.
It was more like a small rock actually. "I can see that" I said.
"I can't, but I definitely feel that" Toph added, scraping her feet into the rock and letting it build up.
I looks over at Aang, and he was doing something strange. Tapping his staff around the rocks edges. He tapped it into one particular space and there was a hollow sound. Aang slammed his staff and the rock flipped over. I walked over and Aang was feeling against an engraving of an Airbending symbol. "Not just any island guys" he answered, getting back to his feet and walking straight to the edge in front of him. "Sokka hit the jackpot."
Sokka got too full of himself and crossed his arms. "Thank you Aang. At least someone appreciates my choices. Um, why?"
Aang turned and pointed off to the left. "This was part of the Northern Air Temple Archipelago. I used to play here with some of the kids a hundred years ago." He looked back over the edge and put is staff to one side. "If I remember, there's a small cavern . . ." He inhaled heavily and blew straight down. The air parted the water and there was a small pool at the bottom. "Here!"
Toph assumed it was under the rock. She slammed the ground, but was confused. "Where? I can't feel anything."
"It's in the water Toph" I told her.
"Joy" she replied.
"Here I go!" He took a deep breath and leaped over *Splash* Aang jumped straight down and disappeared as soon as the water came back over pool.
I looked down. I wondered what was down there. But Aang obviously thought it was fun enough to jump down to it. I turned back to my brother. "Sokka?"
He knew straight off what I was asking him. "Are you kidding? Those rocks will rip me alive. I'm staying here." He was overreacting, but he was perfectly correct.
"As much as I would love to hit the rocks; Water."
I wasn't going to wait around. I wanted to see what Aang was so interested in. "See you guys later then." I ran over to the side and bent the water around to unveil the pool. I jumped straight into the target. *Splash*
I looked around for where Aang went. I bent the water to give me some air and looked up. The surface was completely covered and the depth encased it in darkness. I turned my head forward and saw a small light ahead. I started swimming straight towards it.
We waited on the boat, looking out onto the port. Ithar had got up at some point and we hadn't seen him since. Zuko had watched the entrance all the hours, but Ithar never showed up. It was last call and the last of the passengers boarded, but Ithar's face never appeared.
The boat began moving and Zuko returned to his seat. He slumped down and sighed heavily.
"First Ty Lee, now Ithar" I said. I looked over at him "Don't go anywhere anytime soon. I might never see you again."
"I'm not in the mood for a joke. Still, I mean we could look at a positive; We could reach the Winter Festival if we stay there for long enough. Oh, and Sokka will be there. You'll like that."
I could feel a bit of blush coming. I wished I was wearing my make up now. Though it wouldn't have made much distance. "Did you see him at all? Ithar, I mean."
"Well he must have invisibility if he ever got on because I never saw him step one foot on this boat."
"Are you sure you didn't see him. Maybe he had a disguise. Or he's hiding in a crowd."
"Suki, believe me; I have spent the last month travelling with him, I have slept in the same room as him on several occasions. I think I know what he looks likes, and if walked onto the boat."
"You make it sound like it was bad."
"We've been travelling with him for a month and he barely opens up. He barely tells us anything."
"We barely tell him anything."
"We don't need to; he already knows. He's been spying on us for who knows how long from his . . . zone in floating clouds."
I looked up in shock. "Where is this coming from?" He got back up and started pacing up and down the side. "No seriously, what's wrong? What had Ithar done to you to make you start saying that?"
"Nothing. He's done nothing." He got up and walked up to the railings, leaning over the side.
What was taking them so long? I felt like I was waiting forever. This rock was barely satisfying to stay put, and the waves crashing against it was sending too many vibrations, it was hard to concentrate on anything else but Sokka's kicking.
He was failing too many times, I mean seriously what was with him; he was swinging his arms around to keep himself balanced while he elevated his leg to try and kick the stone, but he could even hit it. It was literally the smallest thing you could feel and he couldn't even hit it.
I finally had enough of his incompetence and stood up. I pushed him aside and told him "call that kicking rocks. Hyah!" I slammed my foot and sent that pebble flying into the air . . . and then I lost it. Must have landed in the water somewhere, that was the obvious answer.
Sokka walked back over towards me. "You know, some people just kick what they already have rather than making them bend them."
"You do you way, and I'll do it the right way" I exclaimed. "Jealous?"
"Why would I be jealous?"
Why wouldn't he be jealous was what I was thinking this whole time. "That I can bend, Aang can bend, your sister can bend."
"I don't care that you can bend" He interrupted. "I have my own source of bending."
"Boomerang!" He pulled it out of his back sling and threw it into the air.
"Boomerang isn't an element." He must have looked round in retaliation, because the boomerang came back and whacked him in the head and he collapsed straight onto the rock.
He got up stroking his head. "Why ask?"
I hit him in the arm. "It's interesting to hear what people think."
He was getting pretty annoyed now. "You're never interested in what I think."
"That's because most of you're ideas are stupid."
"The invasion wasn't stupid."
"It didn't work" I pointed out.
"That wasn't my fault. Okay, how about busting into the palace in Ba Sing Se. it worked."
"Yeah, and then the Dai Li betrayed us to her fire crazy-ness, and the entire Earth Kingdom with- . . ." I felt it again. The earthbenders from the Eastern Air Temple. "Sokka, you might want to duck."
"What- Whoaah!" He bare avoided an incoming kick from an earthbender from beneath the rocks. I bent him away with a block of earth swatting him into the water. "Toph, we have more coming."
"I know that already, we have at least three more coming from underneath."
"That wasn't what I meant. There is a boat heading towards us with dozens more."
Two against a dozen, more like one and Sokka, so the advantage was on their side, unless I count myself as the major combatant, I'm worth at least 100. I like those odds. There was only one thing that I could say: "Bring it."
"I don't get it" Suki was telling me. "I don't get you."
Was she serious? "Don't get me? I wasn't the one who shouted at a statue of a dead man."
"Sorry who?" Oh right, I never told her.
"Ithar did that" I explained.
"When was that?"
"The Southern Air Temple. Back before he actually wanted to talk to us."
Suki stopped and thought for a brief moment, she was started putting the pieces together. "Was that after he freaked out from the height and took it out on us?"
"Yes, then when we landed he walked straight into the statue room and yelled at Avatar Roku."
"Your Great-Grandfather. Did he say why?"
No he did not. "Up until he said he was a colonial, I presumed that it was just general wartime Fire Nation hate."
I sat back down after having a good few minutes of pacing. Suki Nudged me with her shoulder. "Well, that's something you two can talk about it."
I huffed. "He's still not here though. I don't think I can exactly ask him why he hates Avatar Roku so much."
"No, I meant you could both talk about your anger issues."
What! "I Do Noh-!, I don't have anger issues."
"Relax. Hey, remember when Ithar said he
"Yeah. Or how about the time he
Then a voice came up to us and said. "Remember when Ithar snuck up on you two disguised as a Water Tribesman and eavesdropped on the whole conversation?"
"I don't remember that" I said. My ears pricked up as I turned towards the familiar voice by our side. "Wait, who . . . Ithar!"
There sitting next to us was Ithar all dressed up like he was from the Water Tribe, wrapped up in a blue and white fluffy jacket. If his complexion wasn't so much light, he could have easily passed as a Water Tribesman. "Hey there."
Suki peered over from behind me. "Ithar. How on earth . . ."
I cut her off. "You were here the whole time! Why didn't you say anything, or even just walk back to us. We thought you were still back in the Earth Kingdom."
"I'm sorry, but I got on with Zonshuk" Ithar started explaining to us. "He and his guys were going back north when I bumped into them. I was lucky enough that troops don't need passports if you're in a large enough crowd that they don't count."
"Could you expand on that?"
"Oh. Yes, sorry." He turned around and called out to a group of Water Tribers, who were talking and laughing together. "Zonshuk, can you come over here please?"
A Water Tribeman turned his head and started walking towards us. He was in huge physique, with broad shoulders and long black hair.
Ithar waved him over to us. "Zuko, Suki, this is Zonshuk."
Zonshuk walked over and offered his hand to me. "Um, hello there."
I took his hand a shook it. I was still surprised by his appearance that I slightly mumbled as I replied. "Yes, hi."
Zonshuk moved over to Zuko. Zuko looked up as Zonshuk observed his scar. He looked back at Ithar and asked, "Are you sure this is the Firelord?"
Oh, Spirits. He really should not have said that. Zuko was still flaming from the last time he was 'asked'. He stood up and right on Zonshuk's face yelled. "Of Course I'm The Firelord!"
The whole boat turned towards us, staring long as Zuko cooled his jets and sat back down. Zonshuk jumped back at Zuko's fury. He was shaken, but he was still covered in slight frost, so he was safe enough. "Okay, sorry I asked."
Me and Toph locked our backs to each other as Toph began to fling them back as they popped up from the ground one at a time. They were as predictable as they had been at the Eastern Air Temple.
I ran for my bag on Appa's back as he roared and blew them away after they received a rock to the face. Appa breathed and exhaled in such force that they skipped across the water as they flew away.
I pulled out my club and took out my boomerang for good measure and slid from Appa's side. I caught a glimpse of Momo gliding onto Appa's head and hissing at the approach of the ship.
The ship was bigger than the Water Tribe boats, but it wasn't metal like a Fire Nation Ship was. The boat was wood, but was supported by beams of rock encased on its sides and presuming from the balancing of the weights.
On the helm a man draped in scruffy and torn robes. It was originally green and yellow and maybe black, but was black and muddy. He wore a dark tunic underneath it and he places a masks over his face, a pale green and gold face with a large lower jaw that stuck out in front.
"Earthbenders!" He yelled to his men. "Take the children and find the Avatar!"
At that moment, several earthbenders jumped us from the boat. There was only about eight, maybe nine of them. And they were all in thick black and green. They flipped straight over our heads and had us surrounded.
Five made the drop through the ground as the rest and their masked leader stood ready to battle. The Four punched into the ground and pulled up with fists made from rocks that they launched straight at all of us.
I readied boomerang, but Toph had heard it coming and raised several pieces of rock to intercept the projectiles. "Not on my watch" she declared. Sliding her feet across the floor and flicking her wrists up, which caused two of them to get caught in rock, while the other two leapt and somersaulted in front and behind me.
I swung with my club and they dodged and grabbed my weapon. I then swung round and kicked them both, using the momentum to throw boomerang with such a force that it knocked the guy with the mask straight down.
The two earthbenders left landed, but were quickly thrown back in the air by Toph. The masked man got back to his feet as Appa jumped him and knock him back down on his back.
I rushed in the masked man struggled under weight of Appa's foot. I picked up boomerang and placed it by his throat. "Hyah!"
I looked around as Toph lined the earthbenders up and proceeded to knock them over as they remained trapped in the rocks. "Another one bites the dust," she said as she pushed one over. "And another one down, and another. And . . . another."
She got up and I called over to her. "I got him."
"Get your hands off me, Snow Savage" he yelled in retaliation as he struggled on the floor. "I will make sure to end you last."
Toph walked over and her ears pricked up the sound of his voice. "We know him."
I looked up at her. "Toph?
"That heartbeat, the way he lies. I recognize it."
The mask man continued to spit his words out behinds his mask. "You know nothing you blind-
Toph encased the lover part of his body into the ground, and Appa lifted his foot. "If you are going to make a statement about my blindness, remember that I have ears and that I am the girl who will kick your sorry butt back to Ba Sing Se."
I leaned in closer, pulling boomerang away from his neck, and asked her "Ba Sing Se?"
"Definitely. I know who he is. He was that . . . erh, what was it. He was in the palace."
"Well, while you're pondering I will take the mask off and actually see who it is." I leaned back over and moved the mask off of his face. The green came off and I was staring into a face I already knew; I would never forget the long black moustache, the light coffee complexion, and the deep dark and piercing eye. "No, way!
"Such displeasure in seeing you again, you nonbending Water Tribe peasant."
"So me and my guys are part of a trading envoy. Ever since the war ended, our trade has picked up again. So anyways, we were coming home from the Southern Earth Kingdom when our boat actually got ripped up." Zonshuk was sitting with us as the sun began setting under the horizon.
"Oh dear" Suki replied.
"Yes, you can imagine. So we took what money we got and now we're going home."
Zuko was still heated over the little . . . actually I'm not going to bring it up again. Let's just say he was still a little but ticked off. "Well that's commitment I guess."
Zonshuk reached for his cup of tea and took a quick sip before putting it back down again. "Well when the tribal election is coming up, so we really have to get back."
I looked at him. "A what now."
He stared back at me. "A tribal election? Don't any of you have something like that? A group of people, meet and make decisions.
"Like a council?"
"Exactly like a council" he replied, raising a finger.
"What kind of election?"
"The succession of Chief Arnook."
Zuko was now interested in the conversation at last. "Succession?"
Zonshuk nodded "well after Princess Yue became the Moon Spirit, there has been the . . . 'issue' of who will succeed as Chief of the Water Tribes."
"Doesn't Chief Arnook have any closer relatives?" Suki asked. "Like a brother, a sister, a cousin?"
"The Chief had a brother, Aldartoq, but he died during the siege two years ago. Trampled under the Komodo Rhinos is what everyone heard." Zuko felt slightly awkward with the information and detail, and it was easily showing. "So his son, Palagaq was suppose to be the heir." Zonshuk waved his head side to side while pulling a partial showing of his teeth. "But he doesn't want it."
"Doesn't want the throne?" Zuko asked. He sat straight back into his seat and looked uop at the sky fro a brief moment before continuing. "I can see how that makes sense, sort of."
"Do you know why?" I asked Zonshuk.
"Palagaq doesn't want it and instead wants a quiet life with his new wife Malina."
"How old is he?"
"20, no wait. What season is this?" He snapped his fingers consistently near his head. "No I was right, 20."
"So who are the candidates? I presume the election is choosing among relatives."
Zonshuk opened his hands out to present himself. "Well, there's yours truly here . . ."
"You're related to Chief Arnook?" Suki asked.
"Yes, so are Kapik, Sangok, eh . . . Shen, and d-d-d-d-d-d-d, Qaniit, that it."
"Five of you are competing for the throne."
"How does that even work?" Zuko asked.
"Well we prove what we contribute to the tribe, what we have accomplished."
"It's basically a popularity contest then?" I concluded.
Zonshuk stared at me in disbelief. "No. No, it's a choice based on how many people support you, and they choose you whether they find what you have done."
"It's a popularity contest."
"It is not a popularity contest."
"People choose you because they like you. It's a popularity contest."
"It is no-." He stopped himself when he realized that I was right. He leaned back and gave up to the reality. "Okay it's a popularity contest."
"So what's your claim?"
"Excuse me? My claim?"
"I mean, how are you related to Chief Arnook, and Palagag."
"Palagaq. And actually, we are all descendants of Chief Kaskae, he's the great-great-great-great, . . . um. A lot of greats-grandfather of all five of us and also to the Chief. He's a descendant of the brother of Chief Karpok the Mad. Terrible what happened to him."
I have been around for a long time, but I have never once heard this happen. "Karpok the Mad?" I asked him.
"Yeah, well when I say mad, it's rather loose; You see, Chief Karpok was driven mad and that it got so bad that he started eating meat raw. He started eating alone in his house, and eventually the rest of his family started moving a way. Some people said that he actually started eating them, thinking that he would learn all there secrets by consuming them. He said the winds were telling him so. Eventually it got so bad that he walked outside in a blizzard and died.
His story was so bad that his ghost is believed to haunt the north under the guise of the Waychugay. 味去该 To taste this"
Zonshuk sat back in his seat and looked out to the sea. I looked out as well, I had something to shake off. It was something about that story. 'The winds were telling him.' Was it possible? If it was, then I clearly do not know who he is, not anymore.
I crouched over the edge of the hole, waiting for Katara to get through.
I took her hand and pulled her up. She was wet and dripping through, so I created a small outwards vacuum to dry us both off. Her hair got a bot frizzy, but she wasn't too fussed.
I extended my arm out into the deeper part of the cave. "This is it Katara. This cave is still untouched."
I was right; the floor was draped in simple yellow and orange blankets, an the sides of the wall were decorated in light blue finger-paints of clouds and gliders, I even saw my ten year old painting of a smiley stick like me riding on a marshmallow smiling shaped Appa.
There was also a pile of wooden toys scattered across the floor, some were rotten and in pieces, but it was expected from one hundred years.
"Wow" Katara exclaimed. "All this, it's still here! Aang this is amazing."
"I'm glad you like it. It's just how it was, untouched in 100 years." I started tearing up a little bit.
"Are you alright?"
"I'm good. Just . . . nice to see something never changed." I stared over at the wall with the paints on. There were names written all over it. All our names:
and . . . Oh. Part of the cave wall got chipped off. All that was left a few lines left of the first character of his name. Shame, I recognized all the other names, but his name was escaping me.
Then I felt a vibration all around. I stepped forward and sent a seismic sense that waved through he cave and into the roof.
"Wait . . . They're here!"
"Who?" Katara asked.
I looked straight at her. "Earthbenders." We readied ourselves as I readied my earthbending stance and Katara pulled the water from the hole.
The earthbenders came crashing through the ground. Katara acted quickly and doused them in water before solidifying it with them trapped and encased in ice. I flicked my hands and we rose tot he surface with the earthbenders. Katara looked over to the rest of our friends. "Sokka, Toph. You guys o- who is . . ."
"You guys you'll never believe who we have here" Sokka told us, directing to the man they had trapped under piles of rock.
"Who have you-" I couldn't believe what my eyes were showing me. I hadn't seen him since our days in the Earth Kingdom Capital. He was once the grand secretariat of Ba Sing Se. "Long Feng?"
"Long Feng" Sokka declared.
Long Feng snickered slightly. "Oh, it's good to see you again Avatar."
"You're the one that command-." Command? "Wait. They're Dai Li agents, weren't they?"
"You catch on quick. I'm surprised you didn't really catch on when we attacked you the last time."
"We beat them then and we did it again" Toph reminded him, pointing over to the earthbenders Katara has frozen to the floor.
"You think yourselves lucky I wasn't here to kill. That would have made my days easier."
I raised an eyebrow. "You- why should we believe that?"
"You shouldn't. I wouldn't. In truth if you must know I am the decoy."
"Like we're going to believe that."
He continued to hold his smile high. "Good, don't believe, make the job easier."
"He's not lying guys" Toph informed us. "He is telling us everything correctly."
"If you are the distraction, who are you distracting us from?" I demanded.
"Like I will tell you. Keeping you here is what I was order tot do and interrogation makes it last."
Toph forced a rock column under his chin, lifting his head forcibly. "Talk."
Long Feng stopped struggling and just stared straight at her. "Think you can scare me, do you? You act tough yet you're still the scared child who couldn't stay at home." Toph slightly flinched. I had never seen her flinch. She never flinched. It wasn't like her. By the look in her face, he got to her.
I had just had enough of him. I walked up over to them, I looked over and said, "Toph." She let go and stepped back. I grabbed hold of his shoulder. "Long Feng. You have been a thorn in our side since we entered the walls of Ba Sing Se, and a terror to the people of the Earth Kingdom."
If he wouldn't talk, then I needed to make sure he would realize who he was dealing with. "I would have no objection to take YOUR BENDING AWAY. But I am giving you the choice; you tell us what you're distracting us from, and you will then tell us who sent you." In that brief moment, I had the knowledge I needed, and I was prepared to use it.
He was so smug that he tried to intimidate me. "You wouldn't dare."
I stared at him and activated the state for a brief moment again. " TRY ME, TRY US."
After we got the location from Long Feng. Toph released him from the boat and I froze him to the side. The boat was still stuck to the side of the rock when we decided to fly off.
"North Pole he said" Sokka reminded us. "Should we still follow on?"
We all looked at each other. We all had that feeling; We were going there anyways, but what if it was a deliberate ploy to make us carry on North. "He wasn't lying" Toph told us. "What ever he slowed us down from, he was right that it's north."
"I am just saying that what if he deliberately wants us to"
"Well, even if it's a trap, we can't let what ever will happen happen."
"Suppose you're right."
I leaned over to the front of the saddle. "You okay Aang?"
"I'm alright." His tone didn't say he was. I had never seen Aang switch in to the Avatar State for a brief moment. For those brief moments, It was like he was the different and angry person that would just destroy anything in complete contemplated rage.
"Are you sure?"
He continued to not look at me and focused straight ahead at the sky. "Just try and get some sleep. We'll be there in three days tops."
I sighed. "Okay."
I crawled back over and looked up at the sky. The night was crawling in and the stars were coming out. I closed my eyes, but I did not dream;
"Tulia, it's for the best." I was on a boat, watching as a fleet was leaving the Northern Tribe. Tulia was looking out to the people who were waving them off. They were at least a good few miles out, but the open waters made it easy to gaze upon the large ocean wall. Her mother was there holding to her arm.
"I hope you're right" Tulia answered.
"Everything happens for a reason. Even when we don't realize it."
"FIRE NATION!" They all turned round as the snow fell in heaps of black. The sun became blocked out by the smoke. Out in the horizon was a set of iron ships. Fire began to rain down upon the small boats, as several to the right side were crushed and sank while people started screaming for help.
"DOWN!" shouted everyone, in a complete disarray.
More fire began to rain down, and the front of the boat was struck. "ARRGGGH!" The boat started shaking as the men tried to douse the projectile. "FIRE!" Another projectile landed and cut the boat in two. I could feel the weight being shifted and Tulia was thrown to the back end of the boat, while the front half fell under the weight of the bombardment.
Tulia had a cut on the top of her forehead and clambered up trying to hang onto the edge of the boat. I wanted to move and help, but I couldn't. "MUM! DAD!" she shouted and the boat continued to sink slowly.
I looked up as another volley was being fired upon. I saw the gold and white appear again. It was ending.
"No! Not yet!" I shouted, reaching out to it. There was a shudder and the scene continued on. I watched as I felt something being pulled out from me. Something stepped out from the gold and white. A boy in a grey tunic jumped straight onto the deck of the ship and reached out for Tulia's hand.
"I GOT YOU!" he shouted as he swung at the air. Gold wrapped the scene, and it the image faded. I woke straight up. It was still dark. Sokka was snoring with Toph leaning on his chest and Momo on his head. I turned to Aang who was now lying upside down on Appa's head. I laid back down and closed my eyes again.
- Long Feng makes his first named appearance since "The Crossroads of Destiny."
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