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|Avatar: The World's Fate - Chapter Three: Iroh's Story, Part One|
Iroh was running to the forest, Aang following him with his glider, wondering what Zuko would do if he was there. Iroh was running as fast as he could and looked over his shoulder constantly to see if Aang could keep up with him. Aang continued flying after Iroh for over an hour. It was getting dark and he was tired. Finally, he saw Iroh sitting on the ground. He then landed quietly and sat in front of the old man looking at him. They stared at each other for a minute that seemed to Aang like an hour. Iroh suddenly stood up, looked at the young boy who sat quietly in front of him and disappeared into the woods. Aang wished Katara was there with him. She would know what was happening.
Earth Kingdom House
Katara was sitting at the small living room of the Earth Kingdom house. Iroh seemed to be staying at. She was holding a cup of tea in her hand and was waiting for the old woman and her daughter, whose name happened to be Song, to bring the roast duck they insisted on bringing so she could ask for some explanations. Finally, they arrived from the kitchen, left a big plate on the table and sat down. No one, not even Sokka, seemed to have any intentions to eat, so the old woman spoke.
"What is your relationship with Iroh exactly?" she asked them.
"Well, he's a friend of ours and the uncle of the Fire Lord, who happens to be our close friend." Katara answered.
"I see... and what do you want from him? It is clear he doesn't want to see you! Have you come to hurt him like these Ba Sing Se people in that organization called Dai Li who are looking for him? Because you'll find out that it won't be so easy to do it. Me and my daughter will protect him!" said the old woman. She was angry; you could tell it by the look in her eyes. She cared for Iroh a lot.
"We are Iroh's friends and enemies of everyone who would ever want to hurt him." said Katara. She looked at Toph, Sokka and Song for permission and added.
"We would like to learn how he ended up here." The old woman looked at her daughter.
"Iroh, where are you going?" shouted Aang. No response. Iroh just kept walking to the woods and disappeared in them. Aang could hear him dig. He was now sure Iroh was crazy. Maybe brainwashed. He couldn't know. As Aang was thinking, he heard Iroh coming back. He held two bowls; the strong smell coming out of them reminded Aang of something. Iroh sat down, put one of the bowls in front of him and pushed it to Aang's side. He then took a big gulp from his bowl and groaned at Aang, ordering him to do so too. Aang lifted the cup with both his hands, brought it to his mouth and drank. It was onion and banana juice.
Earth Kingdom House
"When he came here a few months ago, he was fine. He told us they were after him. Then, one morning, when we were still sleeping, they came and kidnapped him. We didn't find out something happened to him until mid-day, when we realized he couldn't have been gathering tea leaves for so many hours without showing up for lunch. We knew they had taken him, but there was nothing we could do. Two weeks later, they suddenly came. The Dai Li. Their agents threw him on the floor and left without a word. Since then, he is not talking. He is helping with the house work, but when there is nothing to keep him busy; he sits in front of the window and stares blankly outside. He refuses to take a bath and he won't let us comb his hair. At nights, he cries a lot. He is not the man he used to be..." the woman's daughter explained to them. Katara looked at Sokka and Toph, their expression just like hers. They were all shocked. They knew something was wrong with Iroh's behavior from the moment they saw him jump out of the window, but they secretly wished it was one of his jokes. But Song's word's proved that the situation was actually serious. 'Where are you Aang?' thought Katara.
Aang realized what Iroh was trying to tell him immediately. Guru Pathik would have the answers, he always had them. He took Iroh by hand and guided him towards the house, where Appa was. He offered his glider to Iroh so he could use it as a stick. After about an hour walking, they saw the little house a few steps away. They entered the back yard and got in through the back door. The Team, Song, the old woman and her daughter looked up.
"Aang! Where were you?" asked Katara running towards him. Sokka, Toph and Song followed her.
"There is not time for talking." he told them. "Get on Appa. We are leaving."
"Where are we going?" asked Toph.
"To the Eastern Air Temple. We need to find Guru Pathik." He answered. They said goodbye to daughter and mother and started flying, taking Iroh with them. The more Sokka and Toph told Aang about what they had learned about Iroh's life for the past few months, the more he knew they would find some very important things when they would arrive at the Temple. After three days flying, they reached the Eastern Air Temple. Guru Pathik saw the sky bison and waved at them. They landed and waited until Appa was done licking his friend, the Guru with his huge tongue to be able to talk to Pathik.
"Hey there! It's been a long time since I last saw you." he said cheerfully to the Team. "Heard you mastered the Avatar State, kid. I always knew you'd do it. How exactly did your unlock your last chakra?" he asked the Avatar.
"Long story." Aang replied. "We need your help. Iroh thinks you have something to tell us." He added pointing at the old man, who suddenly looked less crazy than he looked when they were at the Earth Kingdom house.
"No. Your friend thinks he can tell you something through me," Pathik corrected. Before anyone could ask, he touched Iroh's forehead and closed his eyes to concentrate. Appa recognized the movement. The same had been done to him when he had ended up at the Temple, alone and hurt, looking for Aang. This was the way the Guru read energies.
"Well," Pathik told the gang, "It looks like Iroh has a lot to say."
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|A Stranger at the Western Air Temple • The Start of the Journey • Iroh's Story, Part One • Iroh's Story, Part Two • One's Worst Enemy • The First Bloodbender • Agathy • Always There • Hama's Secret • The Proposal • The Feelers • The Training • The Cave Under • A Talk with Roku • Aang and Shuo • The Statue|