Bumi bends earth pillars
Chapter information

Bumi's Story (part of Past, Present, and Future)



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Bumi starts to learn how to Earthbend from a mysterious stranger.


1 AG

The cart halted to a stop in front of the Earthbender. He raised it up to the chute above him with a powerful motion, then he waited for the next one.

I wished I could do that.

I had decided that I was gonna be an earthbender, and a really good one, too. I knew that I was gonna be able to do all sorts of stuff that no one had ever done before. And I was definitely gonna be able to push that cart up to the chute.

I continued walking on my route around the city. It took me to all the places where I could watch people earthbend. I saw the soldiers practice, I saw the workers build things, and I saw the guards at the gates hold big huge rocks over people's heads. It was funny, because they weren't actually going to squash the visitors, but the people still got scared. They were just messing with them. It's fun to mess with people.

My route ended in an old construction area that nobody had worked on in a long time. It was the only part of the city that was damaged in the quake and wasn't fixed yet. Though damages were small anyway, thanks to Diju.

The reason I ended there was because it was the perfect place to practice my earthbending.

I was finally able to lift a rock about the size of my head. It was pretty cool once I measured it and realized I could. That day, I was going to try to simply make it a bigger boulder, as big as the ones the guards held.

But things didn't turn out that way. Instead, I saw someone there. He looked to be in his sixties or so. He was practicing earthbending, using moves I'd never seen, or imagined. His motions were smooth, and they continued into each other somehow. I'd never seen anything like it. It was a different style altogether. It was like he was listening to the earth, and doing what it wanted him to do, instead of commanding it. Interesting...he was thinking outside the box, like me.

I'd been kinda a little afraid of strangers ever since Aang and I had ran into those guys in that alley, so I didn't want to talk to him. But for some reason...I did anyway. I don't know why, but something told me that I needed to. I don't know how else to explain it.

"Excuse me?" I said. "Sir?"

The man stopped and turned in a single move. He smiled warmly.

"Hello, little boy."

"You're a good Earthbender."

"Thank you. I learned from some friends of mine."

"Would...would you teach me?"

The man beamed. "I would love to."

He continued smiling, without saying anything. After I stared at him for a few seconds, I instinctively ducked. It was a good thing, too, because a split second later, a long column erupted from the wall behind me.

I looked back at the man. He had moved his arm backwards slightly. He laughed.

"Well done, boy. I would be honored to teach you."

§ § §

I arrived early the next morning at the construction area. The man was waiting for me.

"Now, the first step to Earthbending is to learn the eighty-five jing."

I blinked.

"The first jing is the positive jing, which means that when you are attacking or advancing, you are exercising your positive jing. The second jing, the negative jing, is being used when you are defending or evading. But the key to Earthbending is the neutral jing. That is used when you do nothing. You need to wait, and listen to your surroundings. Let it tell you what it wants you to do. That is how you become a great Earthbender."

I nodded. There was an odd silence as the man stared at me.

"And what about the rest?" I asked.

"Oh, you mean the other eighty-two? Those are unimportant. Now let's start using the neutral jing!"


"Shut up!"

"But I thought I was supposed to—"

"How can you wait and listen if you are talking?"

I stopped talking.

"Much better. Now listen to the earth and do what you think it wants you to do."

I listened. I didn't move a muscle. Nothing happened. I didn't hear a thing.

"Uh, I don't—"


I continued listening. For the longest time, nothing happened. I must have been sitting there for half an hour! But finally, I felt a slight movement in the ground. It was coming toward me.

I leapt up as a sharp spire pushed up from the dirt. The man was attacking me. A bunch of boulders flew at me, but I dodged them all.

"Too much negative!" the man yelled as he kicked another at me. I barely avoided it. "You need to use some positive!"

At first, I didn't know what he was talking about, but then I realized he meant the jings. So as the next chunk of stone came at me, I spun around and flung it back. He halted it in midair and dropped it back into the ground. He stopped attacking.

"Well done."

I was amazed at my own actions. "I've never done anything like that before! That was so cool!"

The man just smiled.

I decided to do something he wouldn't expect. I lifted a large rock, and kicked it at him, as I'd seen the soldiers do in their training. The man, still smiling, sunk into the ground. It was as if the dirt had fell away from under him, but it was still there.

He popped up from behind me, and encased my feet in rock. I shattered the bindings, and leapt forward. Thick cylinders of earth hopped up and down over the ground. I pushed them back toward him in a small wave. He easily leapt over them.

I was completely astonished at what I had done. I was an Earthbender. I had listened to the earth and done what it wanted me to do.

"Tomorrow, you will come here again," the man said before falling into the earth again. He didn't reappear.

§ § §

The next day, the man wasn't there. Instead, there was a message written in the dirt.

Figure stuff out for yourself.

I read the words three times. Was he just abandoning me?

I didn't know. But either way, I'd have to do what he said.

I tried to make the spires erupt from the ground like he had done. I stomped on the ground, but a stone popped up. So I lifted my arms while I stomped. A small spire appeared up. I laughed in surprise.

I did it again, but I kept my arms folded and my hands near my armpits like a chicken, and stomped around. The spikes emerged all over the place, bigger than before. Now that I was listening, it was a whole lot easier than it used to be.

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