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|A New Life|
A New Hunt
Chapter 3: A New Life
The world started to move, side to side. It was blurry, too. Hama didn't like it, not one bit. She has the never-ending urge to always be aware of where she was and what her surroundings were like.
She became upright immediately, at a perfect 90 degree angle. Her vision corrected itself and knew exactly what she had to do.
First. She said to herself. Get dressed to the correct attire. And she did so. Her quickly took off her shirt and pants, but stopped the pants halfway. Ten feet in front of her was Teo, the undeveloped teen who had already never seen such a sight before.
"Get out, get out, get out!" she ran to the door and shut it with a large force. The thump woke up her bosses and she knew what she got herself into.
Second. Clean the kitchen counters, make sure to use the green bottle. She walked down the hall, memorizing where each creak was. Her residence here had been long enough for her to know some of these things. Balance, though, was an issue. Being chained on your knees for so long, walking on your tiptoes was like running on water. She shortly stumbled and that, for sure, woke up the family.
"Hama! At least try to contain that herd you call feet! It's going to be a big night tonight. We need our rest and so help me if I don't get my sleep, your residency here will be over, got it?" Siel demanded and walked back to his chamber.
Hama was surprised that was it from him. Given the flood of things she had done wrong, Siel was very forgiving to his staff. She had accidentally destroyed some precious china. Washed a nice dress that took three days to dry when it needed to be used in the middle. The list goes on and yet she was still working and living there.
Siel was a kind man, yet for some reason, Teo didn't appreciate his father as everyone else did. The two fought more than veteran soldiers. It was over anything. From one of Teo's 'inventions' to how he stood. Siel constantly wanted to have Teo bear himself in a matter befitting his family and still he persisted not to. Spoiled brat...
She made it to the kitchen and opened a cupboard. The bottle wasn't there. Second... From the bottom? She opened it and there it was, the green bottle. Slowly, she poured the liquid onto an old dish rag. But, with her small shred of luck, it ran out.
"Watcha doin?" Teo abruptly asked
Hama jumped and dropped the bottle. The glass shattered and cut Teo's big toe. He hopped like an energetic rabaroo on one leg, consoling his damaged foot. Hama knew how mad his parents would get if he screamed so she covered his mouth and held him down until the muffling ended.
"Help me clean up this mess and then I'll tend to your foot." she ordered, not caring about the injury
They wiped up the solution and she wiped his foot down with water. She made him bite onto a towel so the noise wouldn't travel.
"This is why you don't do reckless things like that. You need to grow up, this was minor, but one day it'll get you into deep, deep trouble."
"Calm down, you're sounding like my mother."
"We'll it's the only way I can get through your thick skull." She finished wrapping up the foot and walked out of the restroom. "Now go upstairs and leave me alone."
Third. Sweep the floors. But she forgot where it was. Maybe it's in the closet. She slowly walked to the closet, hoping someone's not hiding somewhere to scare her. With each step her heart pounded faster and faster, until she opened the door to find exactly what she was looking for. She began sweeping and whistling until Siel walked into the kitchen.
"Have you finished your morning chores?" He asked, spinning the straw in his tea.
"Yes, is there anything else I can do?" She replied. She hated being talked down to, it was a pride thing.
"There is, actually. Teo's fiancée and her family are dining here tonight. I need you to help out Lein with the meal, and you're going to have to wear this." He went upstairs and came back with a new outfit. It was made out of the finest silk and had an intricate pattern around the waist.
"Stain it and, well, you don't want to know the consequences." And with that, she was gone. Fiancée? Why would anyone want to marry someone so... So... Childish?
"You know, it wasn't my choice to be in this relationship."
"Oh spirits! You have to stop scaring me like that." Hama said, startled.
They stood there in an somewhat awkward silence until it was broken by Lien.
"So Hama, let's get cookin'." Lein eagerly announced
"This early? The sun has barely risen."
"Well, our guests are going to be here by the break of dusk. Plus, we're making platypus bear. It takes hours to cook, and I'm going to need lots of help with the side dishes."
Although she was reluctant to try cooking, it was Lein. She was the only person around here with a soul, and her old brittle hands couldn't feed that many people alone.
"Okay, let's start." Hama said, and chuckled.
Here Comes the Bride
"C'mon, let's go, go, go! The guests will arrive soon and the cucumber stew doesn't look cooked thoroughly. My guests will not get sick off of your gruel." Siel screamed, yet again, with this wife standing behind him giving Hama a look of annoyance.
"Hama, mix the pot then crush the Leechi and pour it in the cups. I think I hear their ostrich horses... We did it Hama." Lein said, giving a half-smile towards the end of her sentence. The knock on the door made the entire house go silent, except for the sound of the steaming stew. Hama ran towards the dinner table and made sure the silverware and supper were all in the correct positions.
"Coming!" Teo yelled, running towards the front doors.
Hama got a quick glimpse at the wife-to-be. She was an average height girl who had the skinniest of arms and legs. Her eyes stood out the most, they were cerulean. Hama knew girls like her. They go either two ways, a devious witch, or an annoying imbecile. Before she could hear the girl speak she was whisked away by Siel.
"Put on the outfit and then stay in the kitchen until we need your assistance," he demanded There was something different about him when he said it. His eyes almost burned, and the intensity in his voice made her hands quiver. She sprinted upstairs on her tiptoes, until she slipped on one of the steps and slide down the stairs. Ugh! Remember Hama, you're not as agile as you were before. She got herself up and brushed off the dust. When she looked up, there were the guests, all looking at her like she was a lunatic.
She wanted to say something but all that came out was a crazy mumble. She tried to go up the stairs again and this time her shred of luck came in handy. Her room seemed like her only safe place at the time, but she knew that there were guests downstairs, and that she had to meet them once again.
"Hama! What are you doing up there? Hurry up, dinner's being served!" That wasn't Siel's voice, that was the annoying Teo calling her. The fact that she had to be talked to like that annoyed her. But this is what she had to put up with until she could find a new home... And a new job.
Dinner is Served
Tana and Teo sat across from each other. They've never been this close to each other with out annoying one another. she tried eating her stew without looking up, the sight of his face made her want to scream. But the feelings were mutual for Teo, he knew they were being forced to marry each other, but never knew when.
His foot accidentally brushed up again hers, igniting the flame that would start a war. She kicked him, causing a squeal.
"What's wrong with you?" Teo exclaimed
For the next few minutes the two families sat in silence. The sounds in the room were the sounds of slurps from the stew and the clank from the knives hitting the plates.
"So, Ku." Siel started
"Our children, if they're going to be wed in a month-"
"A month?! Oh no, no, no, no, no. I will not have my entire life change one month from today,"
Teo screamed, slamming his fists on the table. Then he looked at Tana. "I'm sorry Tana but that's not me, I don't want to get married yet."
"But you will get married. Then you'll have kids and live out your life... Why would anyone pass up something so great?" Siel took a deep breath, then looked at Tana. "Tana, excuse my son, he will marry you," then he looked back at Teo. "Whether he likes it or not."
Teo looked at his father. Being afraid of what his father might think of him, he held back the tears long enough for him to run to his hiding spot. There was a maze of bushes in the backyard. It was the only place that he could get away from his problems. Feeling bad, Tana followed him. She never had feelings for him. In fact, she found him somewhat annoying. But she was considerate enough to cheer him up.
"Are you alright?" she asked him, putting a hand on his shoulder
"My father never understands me. It's almost like he doesn't even care." He replied with his head between his knees.
"If it helps, I care. I know we never got along but seeing what just went on, it looks like you needed a friend."
"Stop, okay? Stop acting like you care, no one cares."
"Fine then, I was just trying to help... But don't think you're the only person with problems. I'm also being forced to marry someone I don't like, nonetheless love." And with that, she left.
Hama was hiding behind a bush the whole time, listening to their conversation. She felt sorry for them, but didn't know what she could do about. So she got up off her knees and realized she had made a big mistake. But then she looked down and there it was, the dirt stain that would get her into boatload of trouble.
"Oh no. Oh no," Hama rambled as she went to the laundry room of the estate. She had stained a fine silk dress and now she was in for it unless she could keep them from noticing the error she had made.
She looked around for the finest cleaner in the cupboard, and then started on the skirt. She scrubbed as fast but as gently as she could. The stain was still there, only slightly removed. Was there nothing she could do to clean it?
But there was! A spark reminded Hama that she did have a way. The dirt was laden with moisture, that meant water. She focused on the stain, trying to pull out what didn't belong in the silk. She saw the stain center on itself and the exit the silk like a waterfall.
The dress was clean, a little damp but would dry out. One fiasco was over, and now another would take its place. She stood there in silence, as Hama sat there.
Tana stood there shocked, she had never seen a waterbender before. She heard of them, that of the two tribes, there was one in the South Pole that was wiped out of its waterbenders. But if that was true, then what would a Northern Waterbender being doing so far south in the Earth Kingdom?
"Can I help you?" Hama asked with a forced expression.
"Uh, I was looking for the bathroom."
She point left, "Down the hall on the right."
"Thanks," Tana spoke slowly as she left.
Hama ran for the dinner to serve, so as to keep an eye on Tana when she returned. The last thing she needed was her telling everyone what she could do. Tana returned shortly thereafter and ate silently across from Teo, who was even more quiet, if that was possible.
The meal continued on that way, the two fiancés were quiet while their parents continued on a more jovial note. It was certainly understandable for them. Hama soon caught on why.
Teo was a non bender from an elite family of earthbenders. Tana was an earthbender of surprisingly great potential from a family not quite the same status as Teo's. Tana's family would profit from their daughter's marriage, and Siel hoped Teo's children would inherit their Tana's powers. Both families would profit at expense of their children. Hama did feel sad for them. They had no choice in the matter; and resisting would hurt their families.
She sincerely hoped they could learn to at least get along with each other. If not, she had a feeling that she would never hear the end of it.
For the collective works of the author, go here.