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I peered through the window to see how close they were to finishing. Kuwabara was giving them scrolls of paper as homework. However, she seemed disturbed somehow. I remembered how she said she wouldn't be able to stand seeing her daughter marry.
The door opened and Kuwabara walked out, followed by her students. Yugoda exited last, as if she was staying far away from her mother. Something was bothering her.
"What is it?" I asked as we began to walk toward her house. Discussions about Hakuri could wait.
"I don't know...my mother has been acting strange lately," Yugoda said, her voice laced with worry. "She seems distracted somehow, like she's trying to make a difficult decision."
"Like what?" I asked.
"I'm not sure, but I think it has something to do with me and Hakuri."
I frowned. It was like what I had thought about before. But what could she do about it? She couldn't...undo their marriage or anything, could she? What choice could she be thinking about?
"I think I'll go see her and ask her what's wrong," Yugoda decided.
For a second, I was about to ask "What do you mean, see her? You live with her, she's your mother!" and then I remembered she now lived with Hakuri. If I married Pakku—which half of me really wanted to do—nothing would ever be the same. I don't know how my mother would fare without me.
We changed directions and walked toward Yugoda's—er, Kuwabara's—house. We walked inside and Yugoda called out "Mother? Are you there?"
We shared a worried glance—though exactly what we were worried about, I wasn't certain—and split up and looked around the house.
After a few short minutes, I heard Yugoda cry out from her mother's bedroom, "Kanna! Come quickly!"
I ran to the bedroom. Did Yugoda find Kuwabara dead? I didn't even want to consider that.
I flung the door open to see Yugoda, teary-eyed, holding a piece of paper. She handed it to me to read it. It read:
I am going to leave the Tribe. I know this may seem harsh, but I am unable to stay here as I watch my daughter be forced to marry. I will travel to the Earth Kingdom, to the city of Taku. I hope you come with me, though I doubt you will. I have not told anyone of this, as they will stop me, and I am probably leaving the harbor right now as you read this. I hope you will be happy with your life, and I hope I will be with mine. I will miss you, daughter.
I looked up at Yugoda. She looked dead.
I didn't know what to do other than simply wrap my arms around her. I thought about what Kuwabara had said. She didn't want to see her daughter marry without her choosing, and I didn't want to marry without my choosing either. I thought I didn't have a choice. I would have to marry Pakku, or...what? I know realized the second option. I could leave the Tribe.
Two Days Later...
I quietly carved a path through the water with my canoe. I'd seen Pakku and Hakuri use on plenty of times; I thought I could do it too.
I couldn't marry Pakku. It wasn't my choice to make. But this was. I was going to follow Kuwabara to Taku. I would live with her there. She hadn't specifically mentioned me in her note, but I'm sure she would be happy to have me.
The previous night, I went to see Pakku. But the real reason I went was to look at's maps of the other nations. I was able to find Taku easily.
I was on my way toward the Earth Kingdom. I would arrive there in a few days. Even though I had plenty of supplies, this was perhaps going to be the hardest thing I'd ever done in my life.
I looked behind me to see the first rays of the sun rising behind the city, which I could barely see in the distance. I fingered the necklace that hung around my neck. I said a silent goodbye to Yugoda. I wondered if she would do the same when she found me gone.
The strange thing was, I didn't feel as if I was alone. I felt as if someone was accompanying me on this journey, and was in the boat with me, as if it was some kind of spirit. Perhaps Kuwabara had died on the way to Taku and she was guiding me there. But I felt as if this invisible person was telling me that this was the right thing. That doing this was the right thing, and that—although perhaps not immediately—this decision would affect something important in the future. I was sure that I was doing the right thing.
|Gyatso • Aang • Genocide • Wandering • Vision|
|Pakku • Departure • Ends|
|The Slide • Earthbending • The Order|
|Creation of the Elements|
|To be created|
|Team Avatar's Story|
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For the collective works of the author, go here. Warning: Default sort key "Departure" overrides earlier default sort key "Act 2: Departure".