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As the Wind Blows
第八天 杏月, 三年後 偉大的彗星 - Day 8 of the 2nd Month, 3 AG
At first I was annoyed when the sisters woke me at what was very, very early in the morning. I realized then that it was something I had not experienced in a long time: mundane annoyance. It has been so long since I had to worry about anything so trivial... It was soothing...
"Ai... A-ai..." Tsumi whispered, prodding me in the chest. "Ai. Wake up."
I slowly opened one eye, only for it too to be poked.
"Ow!" I exclaimed. "What are you doing?!" I shot up, rubbing my eye.
"Oh good, you're up!"
"What's good about it?" I felt myself doze back off, an action which was evidently unappreciated by Tsumi. I realized this when I started choking and found her hands firmly clutched around my throat.
They know I'm an Airbender... I thought. But I can't strike a woman...
Soon enough my thoughts became obsolete and I suspect I blacked out. I awoke when a bucket of cold water hit me in the face... Bucket and all. It seemed to me that the sisters had lost their... Subtlety.
I felt again like I had no care in the world...
It felt bliss...
"Well," I heard Seelah say. "now that you are finally awake, I guess we can get moving."
"Is it wise? We finally found a place where the Fire Nation can't find me." I started, examining my surroundings.
"Hmm, you're acting like this is about you, like you are on some kind of mission."
"Well, Tsumi, my mission is to stay alive."
Tsumi sighed, regarding Seelah to speak for her.
"Well Ai, what's the point of living when you sit around in a cave, just waiting. You can't wait for life to happen, you have to make it happen. We said we will help you, but being stagnant and afraid will make it impossible."
I guess they are right, rust never sleeps, after all... I ruminated once more.
"Okay, but... Where will we go?"
The sisters chuckled.
"Aren't you an Airbender, Ai?" A smile spread across Seelah's porcelain face. "You walk as the wind blows."
"How would you know about Airbenders?" I asked disgruntled.
"You... You will find out soon enough."
I still remember the air that night. It was cold and thin and caressed my skin with a frosty hand. I was 14, and it was the second-to-last time I would see her. The aroma of sweet lotus hung in the evening. The stars were brilliant and clouds of glittering silver blue painted the black heavens. Small lights dotted the mist-shrouded hills...
"Ai." She greeted me simply.
"Sapana." I turned to face her, hugging her tenderly.
Her lips warmed mine...
Her heart set mine racing...
For many moments we stood in each other's arms. Her breath was soft against my neck. We just held each other. I wanted her...
I miss her...
Our lips met one more time, and they moved together. She exited me... And she calmed me down... I could feel her heartbeat, her breath, her energy. For a moment I thought I could peer into her soul... Perhaps then she delved into mine...
It occurs to me now that we were still young then. I had seen but 14 summers and she 13. But our minds and hearts were past our years, and they could love.
"Ai," Sapana pulled back, smiling slyly. "I suddenly feel like going to the hot-springs." Her tone matched her smile.
The Eastern Air Temple's hot-springs were something unique. Located deep in one of the ravines bellow the south bridge, it was nestled in a lush garden and steep moss-covered rock. At night the only light was the moon and stars, reflected in the water and countless shiny stones.
We made our way past the feasting Air Nomads, silently descending the long staircases until we reached our goal. The sweet lotus aroma stemmed from here. There were several night-blooming flowers around the steaming pond.
"Ai..." She bit her lip, kissed me, and trotted behind a bush. I then realized what she was doing... And what she wanted me to do...
I left my garments on one of the pagodas and dipped into the warm waters. Sapana was already in, and although the light was dim and my eyes had yet to be accustomed to the dark grove, I could clearly make out her form...
We quickly reached the foot of the mountains. We were met by a vast, sprawling field of grass and wild flowers. The night was starting to fail and the sun's light had already started to wash the sky, despite the solar disc not making it's appearance as of yet.
"How far do we go?" I inquired.
"As far as we need to." Seelah simply replied.
"Uhg!" I grunted. "Enough with all the cryptic words. Please just give me some straight answers.
"I don't know, Ai, I always placed you as the deep thinking type."
"And enough with the teasing, Tsumi."
Seelah sighed and stopped in her tracks. For a moment she was still, wiping a lock of hair from her face. Then her golden eyes met mine. They were quite striking in the night... Almost glowing...
"Ai. Remember what I told you earlier? About how we will help you, and how you must do your part?"
"Yes." I felt like a child being scolded.
"Well, that includes not complaining about everything like a paranoid old lady." I had never thought Seelah was capable of such temper. "Look, Ai. We are almost at our destination. There is... A grove... There we will reveal our nature to you, and there we can find solace. It's not far, it's about the distance from Taku to you're cave."
I nodded, pretending to remember how far it was. If I did remember correctly, we were almost half-way.
Their eyes... Their auras... Their... Grove?
"I love you, Ai."
"I love you too, Sapana." I kissed her.
The steam from the hot-spring was refreshing, and the scent of the loquat tree was invigorating. Or perhaps it was my mind...
Or perhaps it was Sapana...
She moved her body ever closer to mine, but I respected her and I kept myself away.
But I loved her...
Was it out of respect for her or was it the constant fear of him catching us together. I still despised him...
I could still not utter his name, but I feel I can put it to paper.
We traversed the large field in mostly silence, but it wasn't awkward. I took the time to try and listen once more. To listen to the earth and the air and to nature.
I remember how Sapana used her Airbending to grab a ripe loquat from a low branch. It was late winter and this unusual fruit smelled tangy and sweet. She peeled the skin with her teeth, spitting it to the nearby flowerbed. Some of the juices trickled down her tan skin. She bit a piece of the fruit and held the rest to my mouth. I gave it nibble at first, then a large bite. It was juicy and delicious. It made me yearn even more for her...
I could see the trees in the near distance, and I guessed we were reaching our destination.
As we neared the grove I felt a warmth come over me. It was like what I experienced when I first met Tsumi. I was... Different... Calm... Tranquil... Free...
At last we reached the grove... The sisters told me to sleep and rejuvenate myself...
I slept. I dreamt.
"Almost right. Remember the wrist movement." Adar smiled.
"Okay," I breathed. "Pull in. Around. Wrist. Aaand..." I flung my arms forward, a gust of wind escaped my palms. Before I knew it, I was starring at a small ant helping itself to a crumb. Adar loomed over me, laughing. I laughed.
"Don't worry, Ai. I'm sure you'll get it!"
I shot back up, a fierce look on face face. I repeated the moves, but this time I directed my attack at him. I lost my balance once more, but this time Adar joined my in the dust. My gust of wind threw him into a cherry bush.
Life was bliss...
And I awoke.
The sun had already confirmed it's place in the sky. It was only now that I took in fully what was around me... Lush trees and beautiful wild flowers. Strange stones and a mossy alcove. The sky was still pink and purple, and few stars dotted the blue.
There were no storm clouds. No rain. No darkness.
"Ai." I was greeted by Tsumi. She looked serious, it was strange. This night was strange. It was like a dream. It did not feel right...
"The spring equinox draws ever near. It's time we told you."
Whatever it is they will tell me, they will tell me now and it will take some time. I will be tired when they are done.
I shall record the following events tomorrow.
For the collective works of the author, go here.