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|A Day Off?|
What are regular days like in the world of Avatar?
Ever wonder what a regular day may be like for our favorite characters who do not always get the spotlight? Set just after the series, June hasn't had much bounty to track down, so she finds a small town to relax in by tearing up the local tavern and, of course, going shopping with her oldest companion and friend Nyla.
June: A bounty hunter who lives in the Earth Kingdom, earning her living tracking down low life after low life just to collect the cash then, um, usually wasting it all on alcohol at the nearest tavern. Nyla, the Shirshu, is her lifetime friend and her biggest asset as it is through Nyla's nose that June is able to chase down her mark.
Huran: A thief who is frankly not very good at stealing, but after spending days at the nearest sparring ring, he has become quite skillful at throwing punches.
Weapon Shopkeeper: His name's not important, remember? (but the cat owl's is?). Manning a stall in town, he unintentionally crosses paths with June and Nyla, which ultimately turns out bad for him. I little screw-loose I would imagine they will have to take him out of the weapons shop and put him somewhere he can't hurt himself.
June was always one of my favorite characters, and I just wanted to more or less make this short as a tribute to her. So, here it is, and remember to enjoy. :)
"Okay, boys, how much is it gonna be?" June said with an air of confidence. With one hand she grasped the limp whip, and with the other the empty shot glass, purposely devoid of any more alcohol. The circle of men around her stared on with a myriad of different expressions and emotions. Some worriedly looked over their cash in hand, glancing up at this imposing, black-clad female, then back again. Others argued with each other, gold pieces in hand, while still others merely stared on at June, as though they never believed such a girl could have ever existed.
"Come on, I don't have all day!" but no one spoke up. "Fine, if you men are too afraid to take put your gold on the line, then I'm outta here."
June placed the shot glass face down on the table and turned towards the door. The crowd was ready to part for her to pass, but suddenly a sole man spoke up from the crowd. "Wait! I'm willing to take your bet, as long as you promise to make it a little more interesting." He smiled a crooked smile.
"Oh, how interesting?"
"One glass is too boring," the man drew a second shot glass from his sleeve. "How about two? If you can break both in a single crack, then I'm pay you double the pot."
The man's face twisted into an obvious sneer, but nonetheless, he said, "alright then, triple."
Most of the men glanced at one another, exchanging the same expression, the same thought, then promptly withdrew their purses and tossed their money into the pot. Gold, silver and copper pieces rained down from the crowd, and landed neatly on the table.
June's smile grew as the pot did, as she removed her whip and picked up both the empty shot glasses. Tossing them to the man, who barely caught them in his arms, she said, "I'll even give you the honor of tossing them for me."
The man scowled, but he transferred one cup to each hand.
"Whenever you're ready," June said.
The man paused for a moment and then hurled both shot glasses into the air. Before they even reached their peak, June expertly snapped her wrist and swung the whip around. It's crack filled the entire tavern and one of the glasses immediately shattered into near nothing, the second, however, remained intact.
"Ha!" The man pointed a mocking finger towards June. "I knew you couldn't..." But June only needed to smile.
Seemingly the man's entire soul drained from him the moment he watched the second glass hit the floor. For the moment it did, the glass split straight down the center, the impact separating the two cut halves.
Whatever look of triumph the man had shifted to shock and fear as he stared at the two perfect halves of the shot glass rocking back and forth on the ground.
"Well, if that'll be all," June said, breaking the silence, as she racked in her winnings into a cloth bag. "then I'll you all on the flip side." June slung the bag over her shoulder and made for the door as everyone else stared on in only awe.
Suddenly, however, as she neared the doorway, two hands emerged from the crowd, first tearing the whip from her side, then the sack of gold. Two men nearly twice her size grasped her by the wrists and held them taunt, even lifting her from the ground.
"Lemme go, you lumbering oafs!" she shouted as the two bodyguards turned her around to face the man she had beaten in the bet.
"I don't know how," the man said with disdain as he threw out an accusing finger. "But you cheated, and I am never cheated."
June said nothing. Instead she drew back her bottom lip and whistled loud enough to force some of the men to reach for their ears.
Suddenly the large window at the far side of the tavern burst open with a flurry of tented glass and splinters of wood. Nyla's large, brown and furry figure appeared between the now stampeding crowd of men. The beast let back and roared before releasing his long, whip-like red tongue.
The men turned and charged for the door in fear, but June, held fast by the two body guards, blocked their only exit. Half of the crowd collapsed to the floor as they were struck by Nyla's poison-laced tongue.
The man stared on in total horror, too many thoughts rushing through his mind at once to say a word, as he watched his two bodyguards fall to the ground, paralyzed. Then came the sudden crash of one very large, clawed paw. He turned to see the Nyla, the Shirshu, towering over him.
"How..." but that was all he got out as Nyla's pointed tongue struck him between the eyes. He collapsed with a helpless thud, as June stood confidently over him. A smile crossed her lips as any of the men still standing used that moment to rush from the tavern.
Calmly June reached for the man's belt and removed his personal purse of gold. She did the same with the two fallen bodyguards and turned towards the tavern bar, where the owner cowered behind it, physically shaking. She tossed the three sacks of gold upon the bar and said, "this should pay for the damages." Then, attaching her newly acquired winnings to Nyla's saddle, she swung herself onto the Shirshu's back.
"A pleasure doing business with ya," she cracked her whip and Nyla and his owner shot through the broken window, careful not to cut herself on the shattered glass.
The town market was buzzing with its inhabitants collecting their essentials for the coming week. The store owners were taking advantage of the clear blues skies, and their shouts and urges could be heard in every direction as each man attempted to earn his keep. Most of the people stood about, glancing over the fresh fruit and recently caught fish, or merely gossiping over the week's events. June even heard a women worried over her frantic husband who had returned from drinking this morning shouting about a witch and her demon pet, but she just accredited it to the alcohol.
Today, however, the market was in a bit of a nervous state as the town had guests never before seen in this part of the Earth Kingdom. All people had to stop and stare on at the huge brown beast walking through the market.
With Nyla at her side, June rubbed her wrists, not paying much attention to the townsfolk around her. "I never want to be man-handled like that again, Nyla." The Shirshu didn't respond. "I could have easily taken both of them on in a fight, but the fools ambushed me. A whip ain't all that good in close quarters."
Nyla began to whimper. "What is it?" June asked. She turned to see a butcher's stall, fresh cuts hung neatly on display. "I see. It's a good thing no one else knows your biggest weakness," June said as she patted the beast's hide.
Four of the best cuts hung on hooks over the front of the stall and the remaining pile of meat sat on table in the rear, ready to be cut. A young Earth Nation girl in a light blue hanbok manned the stall, and she obviously wasn't ready for this morning's customers. She flashed a shaky smile, but the beads of sweat were already forming around her brow.
"Th...The best Cow Hippo a...around. How... How may I he...help you?" She stammered. June placed a tower of gold pieces upon the stall counter. "Bu...But a cut of meat is only two silver pieces."
"Of course," June said. "But I want that." She pointed to the large uncut meat still lying on the table.
"That?" the store girl said. "But I can't¾"
"Don't worry," June said as she hopped over the counter. "I got it."
The shop girl had no choice but to watch as June grabbed the slaughtered beast by its two remaining legs, heaved it over her head and literally threw the meat into the alleyway behind the stall. Nyla immediately shot between the two buildings, nearly toppling the butcher stall with his tail in her eagerness to tear into breakfast. The Shirshu dug his fangs into the hide.
"But... But..." The girl said, stunned.
"He'll come find me when he's done," June said as somekind of reassurance. "But... You... Okay," the girl sighed.
June turned and headed back down market street, confident in the weight of her purse without the need to count it all. She probably could have bought most of these stalls out, but she had something bigger in mind. It wasn't very often that she actually got the chance to go shopping and enjoy it. The only question now would be what it was exactly she was looking for, because she wasn't even sure. Suddenly June heard one merchant's cry above all the rest: "Here, come here. Here you should come to buy the best and uniqueness of all weapons!"
June turned to see a larger, more permanent stall set up outside the local courthouse. Hanging from all its sides and encased in the displays at the front of the stall were weapons of all kinds of shapes and sizes. Daggers and knives hung from the front, nunchaku and kama were in the display and naginata and other polearms were stacked in barrels in the back.
"Impressive display you got here," June said.
"Of course, of course, only the best for the best for the best," the shopkeeper said with a smile.
That was when June noticed the fairly large cat owl sleeping on a swing in the back of the stall. Most of the bird was as it should have been-white head and stomach and a chocolate brown back-but someone had apparently dyed one of the cat owl's wings purple.
"Nice pet you got there," June said.
"Oh, her?" the shopkeeper said, throwing a thumb toward the cat owl without turning. "Her name's Moony." Then, whispering as though it was supposed to be a secret, "she's named after the moon spirit."
"Of course she is. And what spirit are you named after?" June asked, but the old shopkeeper just laughed.
"My name's not important, what is important are these beautiful things of metal in front of me. What are you looking for?"
"I need something to help me up close. Concealable if possible," June replied. "Oh, Oh, Oh! I got exactly what you need," The shopkeeper reached into the display and pulled out an odd looking metal necklace with an egg shaped charm with a hole at the end as its primary decoration. The shopkeeper put the necklace on over his head and said, "just your regular purdy looking necklace, right?"
"No. But if that's what you want to call it," June shrugged.
The shopkeeper continued as though he hadn't heard a thing. "But in reality, this necklace is a deadly weapon." He put one finger through the hole and promptly yanked. The charm separated and attached to the man's finger was a small blade no larger than the finger itself. "Huh, isn't that amazing?"
"I'm not sure," June said. "Necklaces ain't exactly the best thing to wear while riding Nyla."
"Okay, Okay, Okay," the shopkeeper said, maybe a little worried about losing his sale. "I got something else you'll love."
"Like I loved the last one?"
The shopkeeper reached into one of his crates and removed an iron gauntlet. He placed it one his wrist and simply smiled at June.
June looked it over, unimpressed. "What you want me to do, smack them with it?" "You only say that because you think this is a regular gauntlet," the shopkeeper said, maybe a little too excited. "Just bend your wrist like this..." he demonstrated by bending his wrist back as far as it would go, and the moment he did, a blade shot from the beneath his wrist, extending just longer than his hand. "Now it is a deadly weapon."
"Now that's what I'm talking about," June said as the shopkeeper twisted a knob on the gauntlet, causing the blade to retract. "How much is it?"
"Three thousand gold pieces."
"What? You've got to be kidding me pops! What kind of price is that?"
The shopkeeper held up his hands as if being accused of something. "But only the Fire Lord's elite guard wore these. And with the war over, they aren't making them anymore."
"I can't pay that price. No one can!" June said.
"Well... No," The shopkeeper started as he looked June over. "Well, maybe."
"What is it?"
"I'll tell you something. There was a man who robbed me about a week ago. Stole all my gold, he did. If you can catch him-"
"Then you'll give it to me?"
"Then I'll give you half price." The shopkeeper smiled.
June scowled, but she said, "Fine, I can do that. Do you have anything that might have his scent on it?"
The shopkeeper removed a small torn corner of grey cloth. "This was all I got the night he broke into my store, but how will this help?"
June didn't respond. Instead she just snatched the cloth from the man's hand and let loose a loud whistle.
The girl running the butcher stall tried to return to her work and smile at the passing customers, but she found it very hard to ignore the crunches and slurs of the beast enjoying his meal behind the stall.
Suddenly she heard a faint whistle sound over the chattering of the people. The Shirshu immediately stopped, raised his head to the wind and shot out of the alley, nearly toppling the stall once more, and down the market street. The girl patted down her hair, rustled by the rush of air from the surging beast, as she looked towards the alley and saw the pile of bones left in the Shirshu's wake. She felt sick to her stomach. "I need a better job."
The shopkeeper looked on in, eyes wide, as June simply smiled. They both watched as the large brown beast darted through the market, expertly dodging stalls and people, leaping over them whenever necessary. Nyla came to an abrupt halt in front of the weapons stall as the shopkeeper chose to say nothing, if he could at all. June held out the strip of cloth as Nyla took a single sniff and frantically raised and lowered his head, searching the air for the robber's scent. Finally the Shirshu scratched at the air and lowered his body to the ground. June hopped on. "I'll see you back here," June shouted as Nyla leapt over the stall and disappeared into the alleyways of the town.
Nyla and June ruched through the tight corners of the town's streets and navigated through their inhabitants until they reached the edge of town and vanished into the surrounding forest.
The forest clearing was far from any town, any people at all, and that was just the way he liked. Huran sat beneath the makeshift tent he had created by stringing a stretch of green cloth over a single branch and weighing the corners down with stones. A bonfire burned in the center of the clearing as Huran was truly enjoying himself, roasting an elephant rat on a rotary over the fire.
Suddenly, and without warning, the image of a brown beast burst through the brush, bringing a few limbs with it. Huran fell back, startled, but immediately leaped to his feet. The Shirshu turned and June shouted out, "are you the man who broke into the weapons shop in town?"
"Y...Yeah," Huran chocked out. "What of it?"
"I'm here to take you in," June said.
"Oh no you're not. Not without a fight at least," Huran said in his signature rough voice and scratchy voice and put both his hands into the air.
June laughed. "You wanna take on my Shirshu with your bare hands? That's pretty stupid of you."
"If I have to, I have to. Ain't got no other choice."
"I take it you didn't steal any weapons then?" June looked over this man. He was obviously strong, as seen by his well defined muscles over his chest and arms. Conversely, however, he appeared slow, probably not flexible at all. June had taken on other men who appeared much bigger than him. He wasn't near the size of the two bodyguards who grabbed her last night.
"I'll tell you what," June said as she hopped down from Nyla's back. "I'm gonna have a little fun with you." She removed the whip from her side and threw it over the saddle. "Let's leave weapons out of this. Just you and me, hand to hand." A look of confusion took over the thief's face. "You want to fight me." He chuckled to himself. "And how would you expect to win?"
"Fight me and find out."
"Okay, and after I win, how do I know you won't just turn around and get me with your little pet." He nodded towards Nyla, who growled.
"You don't," June said.
Huran thought it over and after a moment said, "Okay."
Silence and tension consumed the next minute or two as the two competitors stared each other down. Suddenly, Huran charged forward, bringing his fist behind, ready to strike.
The moment he came within distance, however, June dropped to the ground, taking her leg across his path, sweeping his stance. Huran toppled to the ground, but quickly recovered, rolling over his shoulder and landing on both feet.
Huran charged forward for another attack, and this time June held her ground. The swing came high and June ducked below it, then delivered a fist directly into the man's ribs.
Winded, he fell to one knee, and June used the opportunity to wind back for a roundhouse kicked aimed at the wounded man's head, but when she should have made contact, Huran used his opposite hand to stop the attack and grasp June's ankle. June's eyes grew wide as the thief rose to his feet and whipped June around by her leg. She flew through the air and crashed upon the ground.
Huran gave her no chance to recover, however, as the moment she hit the ground, he ran towards her, ready to attack. He leapt into the air, his elbow raised. Nyla roared and stomped from the sidelines, but June noticed it just in time and rolled into safety and jumped to her feet.
The thief recovered quickly and threw another punch, but June expertly diverted it with her forearm and struck back, but Huran did likewise.
They exchanged a few blocks and punches until Huran struck June's shoulder. Undeterred, she used his momentary feeling of accomplishment to strike him across the jaw.
The big man staggered back, just stunned. June used the moment to rush toward her opponent, leaping into the air and throwing out her leg for a final finishing blow, but Huran stepped to the side and put his shoulder forward. June crashed into it and crumbled to the ground.
Huran raised his fist and quickly came down upon June's ribs. Her breath escaped her, but she didn't have any time to catch it, as Huran raised his fist for another attack.
At the last moment, June rolled backwards and onto her feet as Huran's fist smashed into the ground. He cried out in pain, grasping his own hand.
June rushed forward, and the thief realized it just in time, but it didn't matter. June grabbed hold of Huran's shoulders and flipped over the man's head. As she did, she twisted around the air. When she came down, she used her momentum to swing behind him and drive her shin through the man's groin.
June caught her footing, and keeping hold of Huran's shoulders, threw him on his back. She leaped up into the air, flipping forward with her leg extended, and driving her heel into the thief's ribs as she landed.
June stood. Although no one would have known, she was thoroughly impressed with the man's fighting capabilities, despite the fact that he laid helpless at her feet. The thief was still conscience, but he could hardly breath, let alone move. He might as well have been paralyzed by Nyla. At least then it would have hurt less. "What is your name?" June asked.
She had to wait a moment for the thief to catch enough air to respond. "Huran," he replied.
"Huran, eh?" June smiled. "Well, Huran I have a deal for you." She didn't bother waiting for a response. "If you agree and cooperate, then I promise you'll get your freedom."
"And if I refuse?" Huran breathed.
"Then I'll go with my original plan, have Nyla paralyze you and drag you back to town to collect my reward. Now I would say your best choice is to cooperate. What do you think?"
"Fine," Huran said bitterly, and June just smiled.
The shopkeeper eagerly manned the stall with a strange smile that probably drove customers away instead of brought them in. Suddenly Nyla's figure soared over his stall and landed on the street in front of him. The shopkeeper, no longer stunned, jumped up and down in excitement. "Oh, oh! That was fast! Did you bring the thief in? Did you?"
"Keep your pants on," June said as Nyla laid down to let his owner off. June pulled a beaten Huran off the saddle. "Yeah, I got him. Do you remember our deal?" She asked the shopkeeper.
"Yup, I do," he said. "Fifteen hundred gold pieces off the gauntlet, just as agreed.
June led Huran, whose hands were bound behind his back with rope, up to the stall. "Where do ya want him?" June asked. Before the shopkeeper could respond, however, Huran threw out his arms, the rope falling to the ground. Huran threw out a punch. June simply dodged and tried to deliver one of her own, but Huran blocked it using his forearm.
While the two exchanged punches, the shopkeeper cowered behind his stall, despite the fact it was filled the brim with weaponry. Then he noticed Nyla still lying at the edge of the street. Waving his arms, he shouted, "quick! Your master's in danger! Help her!" But Nyla simply growled and rested his head on his paws. Huran delivered a kick to June side, but it did minimal damage. He tried the same with the other, but June jumped backwards and over the stall, landing beside the cowardly shopkeeper.
Instead of rushing the weapon-fill stall, Huran picked up loose stones from the ground and began chucking them at the stall, knocking a few things from their racks, but otherwise doing nothing.
"What are you doing?" the shopkeeper asked. June raised her head. Nyla remained absolutely still, just looking on. The crowd did likewise, but with a common look of fear among them all. It looked unlikely that anyone would help her. She quickly had to retract her head to avoid and oncoming stone.
"He's too strong for me," June said. "I need something to fight him with." "Like what?" the shopkeeper asked.
"You run a weapons shop, you old fool!"
"Oh, right," the shopkeeper said. He picked up a dagger from a crate and held it out to her. "What about this?"
But June smacked it from his hand. "That won't work! Give me the gauntlet."
"Yes, that!" The shopkeeper held out the iron gauntlet and June quickly snatched it up and put it on. She threw her hand back and revealed the blade. Then she leapt over the stall, only needing to dodge a single rock before she was face to face with Huran. She threw her arm with the gauntlet forward, aiming for Huran's head but he dodged that attack fairly easily, and the next, and the next.
Huran suddenly brought up his fist and struck June across her face, although it didn't seem to injure her, June stumbled back. Huran used the opportunity to dart past the stall and vanish into the town.
"I'll get him!" June shouted as she landed in Nyla's saddle. With a crack of her whip, June commanded Nyla to get up, and the two vanished into the alleyway, pursuing Huran.
The shopkeeper watched as Nyla's brown body disappeared from view. Then suddenly her realized it. "Hey!" he shouted after them. "What about my gauntlet?" But it was useless.
Nyla, with both June and Huran on his back, entered into the forest clearing. Huran's tent was still up and well, but the fire was now nothing more than a pile of smoke and ashes.
Huran slid off of Nyla's back. June looked over the iron gauntlet, proud. "I still don't think I got enough out of this deal," Huran complained. "I could still take you back, you know."
Huran raised both his hands in submission. "Hey, can't blame me for trying. Freedom's good enough for me."
June nodded in farewell. "A pleasure doing business with ya." And with that, she cracked her whip as she and Nyla shot off into the forest.
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