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|Avatar: Legend of Kaito - Chapter 8: Short and Sweet|
Avatar: Legend of Kaito
- Reunion and Rebirth
- Doubts and Desires
- Prison and Practice
- Companions and Complications
- Short and Sweet
- Bending and Break Out
7 DAYS UNTIL ESCAPE ATTEMPT
Kaito had been spending a lot of his time recently not only with Azora but with Yakiri as well. The anticipation to escape had been growing as the solstice and the planned date drew nearer and nearer.
Kaito's Firebending training had been coming along 'swimmingly', according to Azora, but she still hadn't permitted him to display his prowess fully yet. She made sure he kept the flames to a minimum and even if he attempted to give it a little more juice there would be a swift conk on his head. He had a constant knot hidden underneath his hair from Azora and her unique teaching methods.
It was just before lunch and Kaito was waiting outside of House eight on Yakiri. They had been meeting for lunch since their friendship started. Yakiri was a complex individual very tough but also very spiritual. It had taken her a couple of days to truly open up.
Yakiri had been abandoned by her parents at a young age. She discovered she was an Airbender while living in an orphanage and used her abilities to escape and then to keep herself alive.
Eventually, a woman found her and after learning she was a Bender she strangely showed her kindness. That stuck with Yakiri. It was the only bit of hope she had left for non-benders but otherwise she seemed to dislike them as much as they disliked benders.
The woman raised her for a few years and Yakiri had started to heal. The kind woman even tried to get in touch with the remaining Air Nomads so that they could come and collect Yakiri and teach her to bend but it had been a trap.
The Yi Yang arrived instead. Yakiri tried to save the woman but the Yi Yang slaughtered her and Yakiri barely escaped them. From then on out she kept to herself and stole as a means to survive. Kaito couldn't blame her past transgressions. The world had become a difficult place to find peace.
I don't understand what she's always doing in there. The women's barracks had darker tarps than the men so he had never actually seen inside the huge tent. Eventually he got sick of standing and plopped to the ground and started idly plucking small blades of grass and once he collected a bundle he would open his fingers a little wider and let them flutter back to the earth. He looked back up to door impatiently hoping to see Yakiri. It wasn't her but it was another familiar face.
Khan just happened to be exiting House seven and he approached Kaito.
"Kaito." Khan nodded to the Firebender seated in the grass.
Kaito looked up to him and had to hold his arms over his eyes to help block out the sun. "Is something wrong?" It felt strange speaking to him in the sunlight.
Kaito was being forward on purpose but not to be rude. The two hadn't exactly become friends but Kaito did keep him updated daily on his progress and the details of Azora's plan. Khan was a no non-sense kind of guy. He normally ignored Kaito outside of their briefings so it was peculiar being approached by him in the day.
"Not yet. Just thought I would let you know some airships came in late last night. It was a Class 5 airship to be exact so it must have been a military official." Khan warned him and then bent down and plucked a blade of grass from the earth and started to the chew on one end of it. His knees remained bent so that he could speak more quietly to Kaito.
"How do you know?" Kaito asked; he still didn't fully trust Khan.
"I've got a friend who's on custodial duty up in the Administration building. He said they pulled him out of bed overnight to wipe the place down good for some big wig from Republic City coming in." Khan stood back up to full height.
Kaito sighed. "That doesn't sound good. There'll be extra security if an official from the State is here and that only makes our task more challenging."
"We'll just have to hope that whoever it is they leave by the time you start throwing fireballs everywhere." Khan slapped him on the back and Kaito couldn't help but think of Azora.
"I don't know what's holding Yakiri up. We've been meeting here the past few days.." Kaito trailed off as he stood up and raised himself onto his tip toes and squinted at the dark tarps covering House eight but still saw nothing. "I'll be late to meet Azora if I wait any longer."
"You're having girlfriend problems, eh? Take it from me kid. They're worth the trouble." He winked at Kahn and started walking away. "Let me know what the old lady thinks about the arrival of the airship when we get back to the bunks." Khan gave a mocking salute and started off towards the cafeteria.
Kaito hadn't said goodbye because he was too preoccupied trying to find a sign of Yakiri when a girl walked out of the House that Kaito recognized. He didn't know her name but he had seen her around before and even occasionally talking to Yakiri.
"Hey!" He called out to get her attention and was careful not to use a name since he didn't know it. She looked up to him and smiled.
"Oh, hey!" She waved and her face went red.
"Was Yakiri in there?" He didn't mean to be rude but worry had started to set in.
"You mean that pretty girl you're always with? The bender?"
"Yeah, that's her." He answered and Kaito could tell in the way the girl had said 'bender' that she wasn't fond of benders.
Shame still clung heavy to his heart. He probably used to say it with the same level of contempt just to make sure no one suspected him of being a bender. That seemed like so long ago now. He used to have to hide even from himself.
"They rounded up all the benders about an hour ago. I haven't seen her since then." She responded and started walking backwards towards the mess hall. "Probably just blocking their chi. If I see her though I'll tell her you were looking for her!" She waved goodbye and was off.
Kaito's stomach roared as he watched her walk off and decided he had waited long enough and started off towards the mess hall himself.
If they gathered all the benders then Azora is probably gone too. The worry started to build up inside of him. They could be onto us. Why else would they have rounded up all the benders in the middle of the day? They must be interrogating them. He knew he was overreacting but it was still very suspicious behavior by the guards to round up all the benders. Not to mention the late night arrival of an official airship.
It just didn't make sense to Kaito. They went around and blocked chi every hour but they didn't pull your from your work duty while in doing so. Something suspicious was definitely going on. I need to find Khan. Kaito had just realized something and then burst into a sprint and ran as fast as he could until he reached the mess hall.
His eyes frantically scanned over the crowd looking for a flash of Khan's unique white hair. Prisoners eyes darted to Kaito because his sense of urgency had been noticeable.
He didn't see him anywhere but he did notice a few families huddled together. Parents and children and aunts and uncles were all crying and holding one another as if grieving. Kaito's heart fell into his stomach. "KHAN!!!" He screamed at the top of his lungs obviously no longer caring about drawing attention to himself.
Suddenly he saw white hair bobbing within the crowd of those standing outside the mess hall and Khan emerged. His face was wrought with fury. "What are you doing?! You want to bring the guards around here stupid?!"
"It's Azora and Yakiri!" He clutched Khan by the shoulders and shook him.
"What about 'em?!" Khan yelled and obviously didn't understand, he had raised his voice so that it was even louder than Kaito's.
"The Yi Yang rounded up all the benders an hour ago!" Kaito was trying to lead Khan to the answer without having to say it aloud considering the amount of spectators they now had. "The...airship....?" Kaito said through clenched teeth but Khan's face was still riddled with confusion.
"The airship came last night and now all the benders have been rounded up!" Kaito burst out at Khan and then shot an icy glare to all the prisoners who had been eavesdropping.
"So you think they're on to us?" Khan finally understood and started rubbing his chin in thought. "This may be a blessing in disguise." He mused and looked to witness Kaito's reaction. "It would be easier for two of us to escape than four. Plus we can skip the whole 'freeing everybody' step."
"No." Kaito said firmly. "No one gets left behind."
"I had you pegged as the savior type." Khan sighed. "I don't know how to break this to you kid but that old lady and the girl are both dead by now."
"What do you mean?!" Kaito snarled and grabbed Khan by the shirt gruffly. His anger had suddenly gotten the best of him.
"Whoa!" Khan knocked his hands away and looked at Kaito like he was rabid. "Listen, benders don't last very long in these prisons, y'know? People talk about the Purge like it's over but it's still going on right here. All Benders who get captured are normally sent to these camps for about four or five weeks and then, well, they kill them all, Kaito. " Khan struggled to break the last part to Kaito. Ever the tough guy though, he shrugged like there was nothing he could do about it. "I mean, they may be Republic citizens but to the State they're all still the enemy. They can still bend."
Kaito dropped to his knees in shock and disbelief. Everyone that was ever close to him somehow seemed to die. He felt cursed and crushed. Without Azora's guidance he couldn't do this alone. It was all over.
Before Azora and Yakiri he had only ever had Kazuma as a friend and when he finally made two very unlikely ones they were captured and about to be murdered with a mass of other benders. His people.
No, you can still fight. Kaito told himself solemnly and forced himself to his feet.
"What do we do now?" Khan asked, still only worried about himself and his opportunity to escape. "Go ahead with the plan without them?" He asked Kaito hopefully.
"I just spoke to someone who said they rounded them up about an hour ago. They all can't be dead. Not yet, anyway." Kaito's presence was different now. He spoke in a low and solid tone and something about him seemed calmly concise.
"So we're executing the plan today and without two of our members?" Khan asked indifferently and like he already knew the answer, but he still waited for Kaito's response.
"You're escaping today, either way. I'm going to save the Benders and hopefully meet you on the other side." Kaito clenched his fist and looked to Khan. "Start the plan."
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