|By Omashu Rocks||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from Omashu Rocks||G-PG13||positive|
|Training Among the Enemy|
Brek slowly opened his eyes and stared at the green and brown leaves above him. After a few seconds, he remembered that he had just been tossed around like a puppet in the dark of night. Frantically, he surveyed his surroundings for his friends. Kaeta and Berani were also just waking up. Kaeta rubbed his neck and discovered that a dart was sticking out of it. The other two had similar darts. Each removed the needles from their necks, and, after further investigation of their surroundings, noticed two of the blue, purple, and black-uniformed men on the ground with arrows through their throats. Brek noticed a fallen tree that looked as if the middle at been sucked right out. There were also several patches of black, dead grass in the immediate area, along with arrows and daggers lodged in nearby trees. After a few minutes, it was quite clear that a struggle at taken place after they were knocked out by whatever poison was in those darts.
"I don't understand," began Berani. "One second we were being thrown around against our will, the next they hit us with darts?"
"Maybe the darts came from someone else," Brek suggested. "And we just got in the way. That's it. Another group came along and fought those weirdos who were using some kind of magic against us."
"That wasn't magic," stated Kaeta looking at the ground in sadness. After seeing the other two give looks of confusion, he explained further. "That was Bloodbending. Waterbenders can sometimes bend the water within living things to control their target's movements." He didn't want to recall the memory of his parents being forced to stab each other. "Of course, I've never seen Bloodbending myself."
"That's scary stuff," commented Berani.
Brek pointed out that the armadillo lion was no longer in the area, ending the conversation about Bloodbending. The trio decided to head back to their campsite. After roaming through the dense forest, everyone was surprised to see the huge creature crawled up next to their tent. When it spotted Brek, it rushed up to him to lick him. Then it sat with a goofy look on its face. The group exchanged faces that read the idea that they were all thinking of: We're keeping it.
The three friends packed up and were ready to depart when the armadillo lion got on its belly, as if gesturing for them to ride him. It was much more massive than the rest of its species and could carry all three of them as well as a few bags. However, Berani decided that she'd ride the ostrich horse instead. She determined that it was a boy and named him Bo. Brek then named his animal Pumi.
They rode south for a few hours and reached the city they had heard of. It was in a completely secluded location. As they arrived on Bo and Pumi, the citizens of Gaoling dropped their things and stared. Berani inquired where they would find the leader, and one man pointed them in the direction of the mayor's office.
"So you're Avatar, eh? Hmmm, wish to master Earthbending? I see...yes...indeed...and you should...yes...good." The mayor continued to look through blank papers and mumble to himself as if he knew what he was doing until Brek interrupted.
"I hear that there is an arena here filled with master Earthbenders."
"Yes! I was about to suggest you go there! Good! I have brilliant ideas! Go now. Do your Avatar stuff."
After exchanging puzzled looks, the teens left and closed the door behind him. The mayor put his head on his desk, avoiding the two other men in the room.
"Mr. Mayor, we cannot let the Avatar distract us from our current situation. We have to give the Isha an answer-"
"And that answer should be no, Mr. Mayor!" exclaimed the other man.
The mayor grunted with his head, which was still buried in his arms. The men continued to argue.
"The Isha will destroy Gaoling if we decline. They are determined to have our powerful Earthbenders on their side. They'll stop at nothing!"
"Our powerful Earthbenders are exactly why we cannot give in! If they have our support, the Earth Kingdom is doomed. And we are strong. We can fight and win!"
"You fool, we are no match for the Isha. We either join them or die!" he turned to the mayor. "Sir, we need to make a decision. When this is over, we had better be on the winning side."
The mayor looked up with fear on his face. The man opposed to joining the Isha spoke.
"Sir, we have the Avatar now! He can help us fend them off!"
"The Avatar hasn't even mastered Earthbending! That's why he's here!"
"Well, we can't join the Isha when the Avatar is in our city. If they get him, there is no more hope!"
"But we can't stall until the Avatar is gone either. Then it's too late."
"I suppose you're right."
"Enough!" cried the mayor. "The Avatar will train here briefly, and he will leave before we give an answer to the Isha. We will surrender to them and hope that one day, a fully-realized Avatar comes to save us."
"Sir!" the two men protested in unison.
"That is my final decision. In the meantime, make sure all the preparations for Earth Rumble Day are set. This includes the tournament and the festival. Understood?"
Team Avatar arrived at the arena and read a sign that Master Phronk would be giving private lessons. Excited, they rushed inside to sign up.
"I'm sorry, Master Phronk is out on emergency business," a woman inside said.
"That's fine," responded a disappointed Brek.
"However, Master Yuli is organizing a small tournament for amateurs and giving some lessons before."
"That's great! I'd love to participate!" The woman showed them the entrance to the arena floor and they entered.
Meanwhile, three men slammed open the door to the mayor's office. They found the frail man alone. Two of them grabbed the mayor and threw him on the ground. He just looked up at his attackers in terror.
"Decision time's coming soon, old man."
For the collective works of the author, go here.