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They were flying for almost a month, when finally Appa slowed down.
"Hama, I have told you not to use Willbending on Appa! It makes him feel uncomfortable! Right, buddy?" Aang said and Appa groaned. After all those weeks travelling, Hama had told them a lot of things. When they were at Agathy and Hama had told them Appa was gong to hide in a cave, they all assumed it was something like mind-reading. Hama revealed she had just demonstrated her Willbending abilities. After several times she did that during the flight, Aang realized it affected Appa's mood and he was having none of it. Also, Sokka had pointed out some other obvious advantages of Willbending, in an attempt to impress Hama. First, you don't need to be a Waterbender. Second, you don't have to be a master and third, you don't need the full moon.
"Okay, okay. You control him. We are landing in front of that cave."
"Appa, yip-yip!" Aang yelled and the huge sky bison headed to the ground. After landing, everyone jumped to the earth, happy they finally stopped flying. Appa yawned. Right after his yawning, some people dressed in animal skins came out of the cave.
"Hama!" one of them yelled. "What were you doing to that poor animal?"
"I just wanted to see if you will be ready in case we are attacked. Good job, Aremi, Skibu and the rest of you. I want you to meet the Avatar and his friends. They are helping us defeat Zuphokkang and stop the Dai Li."
"Really? And how do we know they are not lying? Or how do we know they don't want to use us as guinea pigs?" Aremi asked. Aang thought about the question. Aremi was too suspicious, but something told Aang he had a reason.
"Because I am the Avatar. It is my job to protect the world."
"Whatever. You can come in the cave. You can help us train. But if we spot one sign of betrayal... we will destroy it on the spot."
"Wow. These guys are aggressive" Katara whispered in Aang's ear. They walked in the cave. It was quite dark, despite there were about twelve fires lightened, with dirty men and women dressed in animal skins as well gathered around them, in a desperate attempt to get warm. Why are they cold? It is a warm summer evening, Aang thought. Suddenly, they heard a loud noise, like someone scratching a blackboard with a sword, from outside. They turned, and faced Iroh, Pathik, Suki and Song.
"SUKI!!" Sokka yelled and ran to her. He hugged her and held her tight for what seemed to him like an eternity.
"Where have you been? What happened?" he looked at Suki's thin, exhausted face. She fainted.
"What did you do to her?" Sokka asked Pathik and Iroh angrily.
"She is just tired." Pathik answered. He looked tired as well. And Iroh still couldn't talk.
"Aremi! Please take the young ladies in. We will start training tomorrow. You, guys, come by the fire, I've got a little something to tell you." Pathik said and sat by the fire in the centre of the cave.
"So, why did you take Suki?" Aang asked.
"And what where you doing all this time?" Toph said.
"We were struggling to reach this place. And we finally came here. They were after us. Some of Zuphokkang's friend's."
"Yes, but why did you take them?" Sokka insisted.
"Suki and Song are Feelers."
"What?" Sokka yelled. Everyone was shocked.
"Yes. It is in their genes. Someone in their families was once a Feeler. We are starting training tomorrow." Pathik answered.
"Still, there is something I don't understand... Why are all these people cold and aggressive?" Toph asked. Pathik and Iroh seemed to feel uncomfortable with this question.
"It is just a... reaction of their body to the training. They'll get over it." Pathik said, looking at Iroh.
Ba Sing Se, Earth King's Palace, basement
"Hello, Azula. How is my favorite student today?" Sifu Zafir said in a low, thick voice.
"I am well, Master." Azula said and bowed. "I hoped you would be able to teach my brother, Zuko. I believe he will be very talented."
"Well, if you wish. But I want you to practice. Now, boy, come with me. We will start your training." Zuko found himself in an awkward situation. Do I really have to go that deep into this thing? I know it'll help Aang, but I am not sure I want to be alone in a room with this scary-looking man... But it was too late.
"Come on, Zuko!" Azula said impatiently.
"Okay..." Zuko stood up and followed Sifu Zafir. This was the start of the training.
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