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|Chapter Nine: Hama's Secret|
"What... What happened?"
"Well, you kind of... Um, tried to choke Sokka." Katara explained.
"WHAT?" Aang stood up quickly and looked at Sokka, who was sitting under a tree, panting. His face was bright red. His club was thrown next to him. He had used it to defend himself.
"What happened while you were in the Spirit World? Did they attack you?" asked Toph, worried.
"No... It was like the time they used Bloodbending on me." He started telling them the entire story. "...and it made me start walking to the other side of the circle and it threw me out of the Spirit World!"
"Well, then it Bloodbended. It is obvious." Katara concluded.
"I thought there wasn't any bending at the Spirit World." Toph objected. Sokka, still panting, was listening to the conversation with great interest.
"And more than that. I tried to yell to Roku, telling him to help me, but I couldn't. When Hama Bloodbended on me, I shouted to you, I told you she was using the technique on me. But I couldn't talk. And now what with this thing about trying to kill Sokka? I didn't even feel myself doing it!"
"It seems like it is about time you learn." Hama told him. Suddenly, everyone in the room froze. Even Sokka stopped panting, and turned to look at the old lady.
"Learn about what?"
"Learn that I didn't manage to tell you the truth, Aang. Well, not all of it anyway. Zuphokkang discovered something dark. Darker than everything else you have ever heard of. It is a development of Bloodbending. You control the soul, not the body. And the soul controls the mind, making it give directions to the body. Most people don't even feel being controlled. You must have very strong spirit just to be able to feel it. And to fight it off, you must be able to enforce your chi over the energy of the Willbender. I have never met someone who can even try to fight it before. You would become a great Willbender. Not that I would ever think of giving the knowledge to someone..."
"Willbender?" Aang asked, hoping she would laugh and tell him she was joking. Even the name was scary. He looked at Katara, and saw she was thinking exactly what he was.
"Is there any chance the Dai Li knows about it?" Sokka asked, concerned.
"Not only knows about it. We think that they already have it."
"But... how?" Toph joined the conversation.
"Pathik along with Iroh made some research. It turns out they might have it, but we have no other clues." Hama answered, looking rather disappointed with Iroh and Pathik. They have news from them? Then where is Suki? Sokka was thinking.
"Where are they? What do they want with Suki?" he shouted to Hama.
"You will learn when it is time." She answered. This was it. Aang had had enough.
"NO WE WON'T LEARN IT WHEN IT IS TIME! I AM SICK OF HAVING NEW SECRETS WAITING FOR ME ROUND THE CORNER AND OF NOT KNOWING ANYTHING AND OF PUTTING MY FRIENDS IN MORTAL DANGER BECAUSE I AM THE AVATAR! CAN'T YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE?" Aang turned and started walking away. Katara touched his shoulder.
"Aang, you know this is not..."
"Katara, no! Just... don't." He walked away. He sat behind a tree, where no one could see him. He was in the Spirit World and Roku was standing in front of him.
"Aang. Go back now."
"No I am NOT going back! You were okay being the Avatar, Roku. You went and learned the four elements easily, you got married, you had a little fight with Sozin and you left to go live with you wife! But this is not being the Avatar, Roku. I am being the Avatar. I managed to learn the remaining three elements against all odds in the age of twelve. I managed to restore balance, I learnt a kind of bending NO ONE of you had learned before and I did all this while my people were gone. Maybe it looked like I didn't care, but every single moment I was not in physical pain or mortal danger or in the middle of a fight, or trying to be a normal kid after the end of the war, I was mourning for my people. They are gone, Roku, and I will never get to see them again! This is how it feels being an Avatar, Roku. You just lived the life of a man with some extra power! And now, after all this, I am asked to save the world again!" Roku lowered his head, and got down to his knees.
"I know this, Aang. I always hated myself for not taking action. And I will not say I am proud of you, Aang. I will say that I admire you. I admire you because you never gave up .I admire you because when you were asked to save the world, after a hundred years, you said yes. And I am proud of you, because you didn't end up like me, a wrinkled old man, knowing that he failed under the easiest conditions. And I am asking you, Aang, not to repeat my mistakes. If you let go now, all of your life you are going to look back and know that you did not do what you ought to have done." This calmed Aang down. He didn't really want to yell at Roku. Roku wasn't the person he wanted a fight with.
"I have made my decision. I am not going to create any other Air Nomads. But sometimes, I want to see someone Airbend. I want to teach someone how to do the Air Scooter. And these moments, I wish I didn't know I was able to create benders." Aang whispered, talking to himself. All of the sudden, Roku embraced him.
"You have always done the right thing, Aang. And you are doing it again." Aang found himself lying on the grass. He rose and walked to the place Hama and the rest of his friends were. It was now dark. He looked the stars over his head, and felt like every tiny glow was a friendly gesture. It turned out Sokka had got a fire going. He sat beside Sokka and Katara.
"So, what do you have to be to become a Willbender?" Sokka asked. Aang could see they had stopped the conversation and now started again, they were waiting for him.
"You just have to posses some personality qualities. Strong will, wise spirit, brave heart. Nothing more. And sometimes, unfulfilled wishes to do unthinkably evil things." Hama answered.
"So, no Energybending?" Toph asked, worried.
"No. No bending at all. You don't even have to be a bender, but if you are it is not a problem. You, Aang, would be one of the greatest Willbenders ever existed. But no more than three have existed. At least, I hope."
"Who are these benders?" Katara asked.
"Zuphokkang. I. And the worst, someone no one of us knows. We have found traces of Willbending around the world, traces we know Zuphokkang didn't create. And since I have not Willbended for years, we have one and only answer. Someone else knows the dark technique."
"How did you know it was not Zuphokkang?" Aang asked.
"Zuphokkang's Willbending is way too powerfull. He Willbended on you when you were at the Spirit World. He bended the part of you that was on the Spirit World, making it get out, and he bended your unconscious, the part of your mind still in your body, making it attack Sokka. And all of this with a simple move. Willbending doesn't have any specific moves. It is your mind you have to train."
"Wow. This is unbelievable." Katara murmured. Everyone in the room was stunned.
"And one more thing. If you manage to break free from Zuphokkang's Willbending if he uses it on you, it might destroy both him and the bending." Hama added.
Zuko and Mai were in the Earth King's bedroom, sipping hot jasmine tea from china painted cups. They were treated as honored guests. Why doesn't she just reveal that she wants us dead? Let's get over with this! Mai was thinking, when Azula walked in the room.
"Zuko. We need to talk."
"I'll be right back." Zuko whispered in Mai's ear and followed Azula out of the room and into the hallway. They went downstairs, and kept going till they reached a basement. There was one table and two chairs. Azula closed the door behind her and sat on one of them. She made a gesture, ordering Zuko to do so too. He sat down and looked at her angrily.
"Okay. You brought me here. Now what do you want?"
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