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|The Cave Under|
Zuko, realizing he was alone, stood up and walked out of the room. He slammed the door behind him and looked around. Back in the room, a tall woman came out of the shadows and smiled, pushing her trademark bangs away from her eyes.
Zuko started walking down the corridor. Great. Now I have to find my way to the surface and out of this nest-like basement all alone. Zuko frowned and kept on walking. When a Dai Li agent passed by, he attempted to ask him, but the agents never responded. After twisting and turning in over twenty hallways, he thought he had to be at Azula's room by that time. He chose a black door and pushed it open.
The Feeler's Cave
After passing two days in the cold and wet cave, Pathik said it was about time the Team watched the Feelers' training. Aang was scared of what they would find. He saw the Feelers being called and disappearing at the back of the cave. He noticed that not everyone came back. Hama had already left for there. "Come, kids." Pathik said and Iroh nodded. The members of the gang, not including Suki who was already at the back of the cave with Song, stood up and followed Pathik and Iroh. They walked to the back of the cave and Aang was surprised to see it was even colder and darker than the rest of the cave. Iroh opened a trap door Pathik walked down some slippery stairs, his skinny legs walking in a quick pace. Iroh followed carefully and Sokka followed. Toph came afterwards and Aang and Katara were the last ones to start walking down the stairs. Katara grabbed Aang's hand, in an attempt to calm herself down. The stairs kept going and Aang was now sure the Feelers didn't disappear at the back of the cave, but under it. Just when Sokka decided to complain about the length of the stairs, they ended. Pathik jumped down to a wooden floor and waited for everyone else to come. When they were all there, Pathik opened another trap door and jumped down. Iroh gulped loudly and followed. Toph and the others noticed a yellow-green glow coming from the trap door. Toph sighed and jumped down, the others coming after her. They looked around. They were at a new cave under the Feelers' cave. Around them were pools with the viscous bubbly yellow-green liquid hat produced the glow. Around these pools, Eartbenders, with their hands placed on the sides of them, were feeling something. Waterbenders bended slowly the liquid when an Earthbender told them to. In another part of the room, some people who clearly weren't benders were just walking around in front of a wall and people with glowing palms and yellow-green eyes where sitting in front of them and looking. According to the labels on their shirts, they were the C-Feelers.
"Bloodbending" a female C-Feeler said. Hama appeared from behind the wall and shook her head.
"No", she said, "And... change!" she yelled and disappeared behind the wall again. The people kept walking. Pathik was conversing with an Earthbender near a pool, Iroh next to him nodding angrily. Aang approached a pool and looked inside. He felt the insides of his stomach making an approach to come out. Because in that pool were people. According to the label on the sides of the pool, they were the B-Feelers. The kids kept wandering around the cave. Katara saw a team of Feelers jumping down from the trap door. She didn't need to read the labels on their blouses to realize they were the A-Feelers. Toph was observing a pool with Sokka. "Now!" an Earthbender shouted and a Waterbender made some Waterbending moves. Two Earthbenders Earthbended the floor of the pool and a Feeler from inside jumped outside and landed quietly on the cave's floor. His eyes and palms glowed. After some minutes, his eyes stopped glowing and became yellow-green. A Waterbender put a label on his shirt. It said C-Feeler. The C-Feeler walked to the place where the other C-Feelers stood and stayed there. Sokka took Toph and went to see another pool. Sokka looked in and his heart stopped. Toph noticed. "Sokka? Sokka? What is it?" she asked. Sokka didn't need to explain. Toph put her hand on the ground and understood. The heartbeat she heard from inside the pool was Suki's. "Suki? Suki? Can you hear me?" Sokka yelled, dipping his hands in the liquid and trying to grab her. An Earthbender approached them. "Please don't touch the liquid or talk to the Subjects. It could lead to a disaster." "WHAT DO I CARE? SUKI! SUKI!" Sokka shouted and ran to where Pathik was, Toph following him. "Pathik! Pathik! What is going on here?" Aang, Katara heard Sokka and came. Hama, who had been listening to his screams, decided she should go there. "Break, kids," she said and went to where Pathik and Iroh were. "Pathik, tell us." Katara said looking steadily at him. "Okay, but you must not over-react. What is being done here has to be done."
"We will listen and then decide what we'll do", Aang replied. "Fine. Look, some months ago we discovered that the Feelers were physically unable to feel Willbending. It was not in their nature. But, in order for us to win, we had to overcome this technical difficulty. Some of our, um, I guess you could call them scientists... So, some of our scientists discovered a liquid that could, um, reform their genes. So this is what we do. They are put in the liquid and it starts working on their genes. The process can take from two to six weeks." Pathik looked at the kids' nervous and angry faces. "But don't worry. It is totally safe! The Earthbenders feel their heartbeat and if a problem occurs they tell the Waterbenders to bend the liquid and solve the problem. Of course, some times they are too late, but most of the Feelers respond well to the formula. The ones that don't are usually saved on time and sent back to the main cave." So this is why the Feelers up at the main cave were so cold and suspicious, Aang thought, it is the way their body reacts to the 'formula'. They will never be okay again. "Suki is doing great! We calculate that she'll be fine in two weeks. When the B-Feelers are ready, they become the C-Feelers and they go training. Hama is hidden behind that wall and either Bloodbends or Willbends some ordinary people who are volunteering and the C-Feelers try to guess which type of bending she is using." "Hey, wait a minute, how can Hama Bloodbend without a full moon?" Katara asked. "Our scientists have invented a type of drink which gives me the same power I have with a full moon for some hours." "Moving on", Pathik said, "The point is the C-Feelers are doing great! We think they will all be ready in less than six months!" Pathik ended his speech and waited for the Team to show their excitement. Nothing happened. "What you are doing to this people is cruel and you have no right to do so!" Katara yelled. "But of course we have asked them. They said they will do anything it takes to help us. It is their duty."
Earth King's Palace's basement, Ba Sing Se
Zuko opened the door and saw a woman sitting on a chair with her back turned to him. Her black hair was unwashed and she was skinny and weak. She heard the sound of the door opening and turned to face Zuko. At the sight of her face, Zuko felt is childhood coming back to him, he felt a wave of happiness overwhelming him. Because the woman sitting on the chair was his mother. He had found Ursa.
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