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|Avatar: Legend of Kaito - Book 2 : Air - Prologue|
BOOK 2 : AIR
Kaito's eyes suddenly opened.
He had no idea where he was or how he got there. Where was Azora? Khan? Yakiri? He couldn't seem to remember anything.
He was lying on soft, damp, green grass and a thick fog seemed to be clinging to the ground. He pushed himself up and took in his surroundings.
It was night time but everything around him was well-lit, as if done so artificially. There was an outline of his body where he had been laying on the grass. Kaito thought that he was in a field when he first woke up but he quickly realized that the land ran out eventually into the sky. He was on a floating island.
He stumbled momentarily from fatigued legs but after a moment he regained his balance. The island wasn't big at all. If you had started to run from one side to the other you would most likely go careening off before you picked up any actual speed.
"What?!" Kaito panicked, he had never seen or experienced anything so supernatural. "Where am I?! This has got to be a dream."
Kaito searched for the moon but didn't see it in the starless black sky. The light seemed to be emanating from a giant cherry-blossom tree that sat atop a mound in the dead center of the island. The mound itself seemed to have more land than the flat part of the floating mass Kaito was currently standing on.
He couldn't help but marvel at the beauty of the cherry-blossom tree. It was humongous and in perfect bloom, its long branches stretched towards the sky and they stood out among the lush tapestry of pink that glimmered around it. The way the light lit up the tree made Kaito feel eerily warm, as if he could stay here forever just admiring its beauty.
A woman's voice broke the resonating silence and called out to Kaito. "Kaito?"
He couldn't see the woman but her voice was coming from behind the cherry-blossom tree and somehow it seemed strangely familiar.
"Who is there? Come out from there!" He heard the fear within his own voice. Kaito clenched his fists and readied to defend himself if necessary.
"That won't work here." A beautiful woman stepped from behind the tree.
She had forest green eyes and long locks of shining chestnut brown hair. She was a tall woman, with a slender frame. She was tanned but still seemed to be made of crystal from the way the cherry-blossom tree's light shimmered on her skin.
Kaito thought she was the prettiest girl he had ever laid eyes on. He felt his cheeks flush red and was temporarily dazed by her, not just her beauty but the ethereal presence that she exuded naturally.
"Who are you?" He asked her, something about her aura was calming.
"I am Meilin." She sat at the base of the oak tree and smiled at Kaito warmly.
"Where are we?" He asked.
"This is the Spirit World, Kaito."
Kaito laughed. "Yeah.. and I'm the Avatar!" He said sarcastically. After the beautiful stranger suggested that this was the Spirit World; Kaito was certain that he was dreaming. "Okay, I'm just going to wake up now."
"You're not dreaming, Kaito. You're unconscious." Meilin said to him matter-of-factly and Kaito could tell in the woman's face that she was serious. He certainly felt awake. It was hard to describe but if this wasn't reality then he was severely hallucinating, somehow, he knew she was telling the truth.
"If this is the Spirit World does that mean I'm dead?" He started to panic and that certainly felt real as well.
It was Meilin's turn to laugh. "Not yet."
"Why am I here?"
"You're the Avatar."
"I can't be. I'm barely a Firebender. " Kaito debated with the woman.
"You are a Firebender." Meilin had a gentle sternness. Kaito could tell she wasn't trying to lie or trick him. She seemed so trusty-worthy; like he knew her from somewhere he just couldn't remember. "You are also an Airbender, an Earthbender, and a Waterbender."
"I- there's no way. You've got the wrong person." He retorted.
"There's no mistake, Kaito. You are the spirit of the world embodied in human form."
"I have no idea what that means."
"It is your duty to master the four bending disciplines."
"Listen, Meilin. I can't be the Avatar. I'm a Firebender! The Avatar after Korra was supposed to be born an Earthbender!" He was trying to persuade her frantically. "It would be impossible!"
"I was the Avatar after Korra and I'm an Earthbender. I passed on and you were born, you are the continuation of the cycle, you are the Avatar Spirit manifested physically." Meilin said serenely. "That's you."
"You're the previous Avatar?" Kaito wanted to believe the woman but it's not second nature to take leaps of faith. "Now, I'm the Avatar? I must be on cactus juice."
"Try to remember, Kaito. How did you get here? Where is Yakiri?"
Kaito struggled to remember the last time he was awake. He was so disoriented and confused as he tried to piece together the fragments of his last shattered memory.
Khan and I rushed the landing pad.. he thought to himself as he struggled to recall the event suddenly the image of Azora's lifeless body flashed in his mind.
She's gone. He realized and a physical pain tore at his heart.
Kaito's eyes flashed the scene that had played out on top of the landing pad at Hu Saia. It was as if he was outside of his own body, watching someone else controlling him, devastating the Yi Yang and freeing Saia. Kaito now understood.
"What happened to you?" He wondered aloud.
"We will discuss that when the time comes, Kaito. You are an unprepared Avatar and that is entirely my fault." She explained cryptically. "I'm not sure how long it could take you spiritually to reach this place by meditation alone. This is a chance encounter and we must use our time wisely."
He thought it funny that she considered being in a coma a 'chance encounter' but that was the direction his life had seemed to be heading in.
"I wish I could have made this easier for you but I feel it is your duty to make amends for my absence. You must master the elements and bring balance to the world."
"Balance?!" Kaito said to her angrily. "There is no scale to restore balance anymore, Meilin! The Benders are outnumbered, untrained, and in hiding! I can't find a Firebending Master!" These odds were insurmountable. "The Yi Yang are going to distribute those rifles to every one of their Elites!"
"The Yi Yang are far more sinister than you know, Kaito. They aren't only attempting to destroy Benders. They're trying to hunt down and kill the remaining spirits in your world. They've been attempting to enter the Spirit World and find a way to disconnect it from the mortal world."
"How could they do that? I thought only the Avatar and the Spirits could travel between the two." Kaito wasn't an expert but most people knew the ancient tales.
"The Yi Yang are being guided by something much more malevolent than Chairman Hectus or Lady Kaboshi. It's a Spirit that left the Spirit World a long time ago. I'm unsure if it even wants to return to the Spirit World or if it just wants to sever the connection completely."
"How do I stop it if we don't even know what it is or what its goal is?"
"There is a mountain, and a lush forest far to the west from Hu Saia. You must go there and seek answers." The image of a mountain covered in trees, a town made entirely of lumber that sat on the edge of a river, and a stone arch covered in vines in the middle of a forest flashed into his brain. Meilin continued. "It is a sacred place that the humans are defiling. It was one of the first gateways from the Spirit World into your world. You must not let them tamper with the gate again."
"I'm still an amateur Firebender." Kaito was plagued with self-doubt; this was all happening so fast. A few months ago he was sweating profusely and taking orders from Mrs. Lin, and now he was in the Spirit World talking to the Avatar, apparently himself in a past life.
"Since the dawn of time the Avatar has fought for balance, peace, and love. We have made mistakes but that is because we are human, Kaito. It's natural to doubt one's self but trust me, you have it in you. We have mastered the elements countless times, we have dealt justice when it needed to be dealt, and we have survived. You are a natural part of that cycle now, Kaito. Just as sure as the sun sets and the moon rises, just as certain as fall becomes winter, winter becomes spring, spring becomes summer, and summer returns to fall. Take comfort in that certainty."
Kaito nodded. He was a natural part of that cycle now.
"Until next time." Meilin smiled and the beautiful cherry-tree started to fade from sight.
"Wait- what abo-"
It was too late. He was waking up.
Kaito's eyes suddenly opened.
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