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|Avatar: The World's Fate - Chapter Two: The Start of the Journey|
No one moved a muscle. They were all very absorbed in their own thoughts.
Sokka was thinking of a plan. He felt responsible for thinking of an idea; he was supposed to be the genius of the team.
Katara was thinking of the team. Aang, Sokka, Toph, Suki... Aang was her boyfriend, though she didn't just have a crush on him; she loved him truly. Sokka was her brother; although they fought back home, he actually was one of the only things that kept her from not leaving the Southern Water Tribe in order to find a Waterbending master before Aang came. Toph was one of her best friends; she had her little moments, but she was a true friend. Suki was a new friend of hers. She was a very good girl, they were very alike and Suki was like Sokka's other half. She would lose them all. And Appa and Momo, they were members of the family too. Katara was sure they would lose. There was no way out of this. They would all die, but at least they would be released from the duty they felt to save the world. Everyone except Aang. He would have to instruct someone who didn't know what he was doing; he would have to keep worrying about the world's fate. It seemed unfair.
Toph was thinking about her friends, too. All of her friends, but right now her priority was her parents. She wished she had agreed with Aang and had gone to visit her parents again, the morning which now seemed ages ago. She wished they had never set foot on that bloody temple! She wished Aang was not the Avatar, she wished they could just be normal. Be carefree, not having to worry about Ozai ('What if his bending came back?'), nor Azula (what if she escapes from the Home of the Crazy?'), nor Long Feng; or after the recent events Joo Dee, nor about the Fire Nation's future ('What if Zuko needs help? We have to go check!') nor anything. She knew she couldn't see shooting stars; maybe that was the reason she was sure her wishes would never come true.
Suki was thinking of Kyoshi Island. She wanted to stop the time and escape to another universe. She wanted to plead with Toph to make a big hole with Earthbending and bury her in there.
Finally, Katara realized Aang had left the room and followed him, after unfreezing Song. She found him sitting by the fountain, sat by him and hugged him.
"Come on, Aang, we will find a way out of this, I know we will," lied Katara.
"Katara, you don't get it, do you? I failed. Again. Τhe war could have been prevented if Roku had acted fast and realized which Sozin's priorities were. But he didn't, and the responsibility of restoring balance was inherited by the next Avatar, me. You don't know how it felt, to be just a child and to have the power of saving the world in your hands, but not knowing how to use it. Now, I am doing the same thing. I will never be able to stop the Dai Li and the anti-benders, Katara. The next Avatar will have to deal with them instead. I will be guilty for the new war coming for the rest of eternity." At the end of the sentence, Aang's voice cracked. Katara knew it wouldn't be long before Aang did something extremely stupid, like leaving alone to fight the Dai Li. She was worried about him.
"Come on, Aang, we will find a way out of this together!" she tried to look confident, but failed.
"There is no way I'm letting you into this, Katara!" said Aang.
"You really think you will manage to leave me out?" she replied.
"No. I don't. And that's what worries me." He told her.
"Come on, let's go find the others." Katara said. "I want to hear Sokka's plan." They walked together and found the rest of the team and Song sitting in a circle and discussing. Toph and Sokka moved to make space for the couple. Aang and Katara sat. Katara's eyes were wet, but she didn't want Aang to see it. She held back her tears and smiled at him.
"Guys," announced Sokka, "I have a plan." His friends remained silent as he explained. "The plan is, we should first stop the anti-benders then we will have to bring back their memories, I bet nearly everyone will be against the Dai Li if we convince them they were brainwashed. Then we turn against the Dai Li with all the people of Ba Sing Se on our side. It shouldn't be difficult to bring them down. I think Ba Sing Se is ready to get rid of the Dai Li once and for all! But we have a little issue... I haven't figured out how we will bring their memories back. It will be a problem but I am sure we will figure out a way... eventually." explained Sokka. By explaining the plan to the rest of the team plus Song, he felt better. More optimistic. At least they would have the chance to fight. He would be happier if the others agreed to involve Hakoda in their plans. Two geniuses were better than one, especially when they were from the Water Tribe!
"Are we involving Mai and Zuko in our plans?" asked Suki.
"No," replied Aang. "Zuko has a nation to run. And I bet he prefers Mai by his side than trying to stop a powerful organization with an evil woman being its leader. But we will ask them if they have had any news from Iroh."
"Yes, but we could pick up Ty Lee and some Kyoshi Warriors on our way to Ba Sing Se," said Katara. "I bet they will help us."
"Before picking up Ty Lee and her gang, we have more important things to do. We will start looking for Iroh now," said Aang.
The Team had set off on Appa together and they were travelling for over an hour. Everyone was looking desperately to the ground, searching for the Grand Master of the Order of the White Lotus. Zuko had immediately answered their message and told them he had no idea where his uncle was, but knew where he could be. They had already searched Jeong Jeong's hut in the woods, Master Piandao's house, where Sokka had been given a new space sword, and Omashu. But Iroh hadn't been found yet. Team Avatar was very disappointed. The Team saw a new messenger hawk coming.
"I wonder who it'll be..." commented Sokka sarcastically. He already knew it would be either Zuko or Mai, both worried about Iroh. Aang grabbed the message and watched as the hawk left flying as fast as it could, afraid of the sky bison named Appa. He then opened the message and read it. He smiled for the first time for hours.
"Guys, Zuko knows where Iroh is!" he said enthusiastically. "Appa, yip-yip!" he yelled to his pet.
A couple of hours after the arrival of the messenger hawk, a tired Team Avatar landed in front of a little house at the Earth Kingdom.
"If he is not here, I swear I'll..." Sokka attempted to say after a big yawn, but was interrupted by an annoyed 'Sokka!' coming from Katara. The young Earthbender whose name was Toph had her hand on the ground and her eyes closed, trying to focus.
"I sense running!" she let the others know.
"Well, I'm going in," announced Aang. He made some steps forward, then turned back and looked at his friends, who were still. "Are you coming or what?" he said to them.
"Fine, I'm coming." decided Katara. The rest of the group followed her. They knocked on the door. There was no immediate response, just whispers. Everyone was starting to get nervous. Finally, an old woman opened. She looked nervous too. Aang took a look over the woman's shoulder and saw Iroh. His eyes were red, his hair filthy, he looked tired and as if he had gone crazy.
"Iroh!" he shouted. Iroh jumped in surprise, but that only lasted seconds. Next, Iroh was jumping through the window and his running steps could be heard from where the Team was standing, motionless from the shock. The man they just saw was nothing like Iroh they had known for some years, the wise and optimistic Dragon of the West. Aang was the first to unfreeze. He opened his glider, climbed on it and disappeared into the night.
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|