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Book One: Aang's Story
Attacked is the seventh chapter of And Everything in Between. It was released on November 21, 2011.
Aang is attacked by a group of elite fighters, and finds himself helpless when they take away his bending. Only Katara and Tenzin can save him.
Aang sat in the quiet room. Dead silence. He glanced up from his mediocre painting, and sighed. Tenzin had gone with Katara to go to the market, Shua was out at the zoo with her friends, and Amon was...somewhere. But Aang sat alone in the magnificent room. Painting. Bored.
He sighed, and walked out to the garden to pick a tomato. As he walked by, he noted a low creak beyond the wall. He paused, and looked at the wall. Shortly after, he resumed his hike to the garden. As he exited the front door, he found that the creak had grown louder, and was higher-pitched. Around the corner, he found nothing but dead leaves fluttering on the ground, as the grass swayed gently in the wind. Yet the creak still mocked him. "What is that," he questioned himself, in a quiet murmur. He backed away from the side of the house, and marched onto the garden.
Kneeling down on the ground, he searched for the brightest orange tomato. But the brightest tomato was hardly orange; instead, it boasted only shades of green. Aang sighed, and walked over to the grape vine. But the noise still rung in his ear, in a low buzz once more. He turned around, bewildered. And yet as the noise continued, he saw nothing. As the rain began to fall, he turned his back, his eyes crinkled with a frown on his face. The noise crept up on him, growing louder with every drop of rain. He did a 180, and shot an air blast, a large grunt accompanying it. But nothing was there. And the noise grew louder. Aang prepared for battle, set in his stance, when he suddenly found himself fallen on the ground, face first. He quickly turned onto his back, and gazed up upon a fellow a few years younger than he was, only more muscular. The man spoke.
"We weren't behind your back," he informed him. And as the thunder began to roar, the man assumed a fighting position. "And I wouldn't try bending again if I were you." Aang ignored his warning and shot a fire blast at the man. But when he thrust his fist, no fire escaped. He stared at his fists in disbelief. "Especially since your bending is gone," he continued, a small smirk on his face. Two young men jumped out from behind the bushes, to Aang's fright. And as they charged him, Aang had no option but to run the other way. And he did.
The men charged after him quickly, not daring to look back over their shoulders. Aang rolled down the steep hill that he called his lawn and heard two other people hit the ground seconds later. They were gaining. And fast. As he sprinted down the dirt road, he felt a hand graze his arm, and his speed doubled.
The men were now losing distance, and Aang tried bending again. He thrust his arm, hoping to move the ground. Nope. Nothing. He was powerless. All he could do was run. Run, and hope for a savior. But no. None would come. No one would come to save him. He was all alone.
Katara darted home, Tenzin clasping her hand. Tenzin had asked hundreds of times "Why are we going so fast?" And hundreds of times, Katara said, "Because we had to." She didn't have an answer. She had no clue why they were running so fast, or why she was fighting back tears. She knew something was wrong. She knew she had a reason to run. She knew there was a reason why she was worrying so much. But what she didn't know was why. She glared at the house, and the disheveled garden. I knew it! Aang never left the garden the way it was. And he never let the front door open. The bushes were parted at the sides, completing the look of a complete mess. Tenzin must have taken note, as he mumbled, "Is there something wrong?" Katara avoided the question, and instead burst through the doorway.
"Aang!" she screamed at the top of her lungs, hoping in vain that he would respond. She repeated the word twice before finally throwing her torso around the banister and yelling up the stairs, "Where are you?!" As she darted up the steps, Tenzin shuffled into the back room. All he could find was a poorly constructed painting, with Aang's scent on it. Tenzin was beginning to worry, and his eyes welled with tears. He knew as well as Katara did that something was wrong, and it was Aang he was worried about. He was worried about what might happen to him. Katara flung herself down the steps, turned into the back room, and grasped Tenzin's hand. Tenzin didn't hesitate to run out of the house alongside Katara, and she began screaming his name across the neighborhood. Yet the only sound was the whistle of the wind.
And Tenzin and Katara darted down the street, not knowing where Aang was. Not having the slightest clue if he was okay, if there was any point in finding him, and if they would be okay. They were relying on pure instinct.
Aang ran as fast as he could without bending, his breath the only limiting factor of his survival. The men behind him were slowly losing speed, and one had tripped on a rock 1,000 feet back or so. Aang risked a glance over his right shoulder. The men were panting heavily, and one bent over, gasping for breath. As Aang felt his bending coming back to life, one of the men sped up. Aang tried to Firebend and end the battle. But all that left the tips of his fingers was a mere spark. And yet he felt himself Airbend just a little bit, boosting his speed. The men gained even more speed, but not enough to catch him. Aang began to feel his Chi flowing cleanly, and as he readied an attack, he tripped. On his own feet.
His hand had broken his fall, and he could feel scrapes covering his limbs. He attempted to stand when he felt a quick jab to his left shoulder blade. He collapsed completely, barely breathing. As the men picked him up, ready to hurt him...or worse...he felt a drop of water on his arrow, and suddenly, one of the men dropped. One remained. The man released Aang's shoulder, leaving him paralyzed on the ground. He couldn't see her, but he knew who was behind him. It was Katara, fighting the man. With a grunt, he fell to the ground, and Aang was rolled onto his back. There she was. Her hair loopies dangled in front of her large eyes, and she smiled. A tear rolled down her cheek, and she held him to her shoulder. Aang's eyes settled on Tenzin, who was sobbing. Aang smiled, and Tenzin moved into the hug.
He was so relieved. A tear dropped from his eye, too. That was the most dangerous thing that had happened to him since he had fought Ozai. But this was different. This time, there would be more. This time, he may not be so lucky. And this time, it had just begun.
The couch was comforting. Aang's head plopped against the back, his feet resting calmly on the coffee table, he was in a state of total relaxation. Shua was at his right, and Tenzin was at his left. After questioning Shua about her bending training, Aang felt he had to say it for whatever reason. "I love you guys so much," he told them. Shua immediately engaged him in a hug, and Tenzin followed reluctantly. The moment was interrupted by a shriek on the patio.
Katara burst through the door like she had just a few hours ago, and showed Aang a letter. As he put on his reading glasses, trying to make out the characters, his face dropped completely.
Amon had run away. And he wasn't coming back.
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