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|The Last Sky Bison|
March 12, 2011
Chuan and Mayana search for Noma, Chuan's sky bison. The two find themselves growing closer as they set off on their journey for the Southern Air Temple...
Book 1 Chapter 10: The Last Sky Bison
"Chuan, would you slow down!" Mayana stopped running and gasped for air, clutching at a stitch in her side. Chuan stopped running and reluctantly backtracked to allow her to catch up.
"We have to go!" he told her. "The Avatar is the only one who can fix this, and if the Fire Nation got to him..."
"I know, I get it," she said as she straightened back up. "But how do you know that the Fire Nation didn't kill Noma? Why would they leave the sky bison but kill everyone else?"
"I don't keep Noma with the other bison!" Chuan laughed. "Aguma was in charge of them!" He winced a moment after saying the name. "I never trusted him, and didn't want his hands all over my bison. She lives right over here."
Chuan took a short detour to his room and emerged a moment later with a small whistle carved from tree bark in one hand and his staff in the other. He blew into the whistle and a shrill noise emitted from the small hole in the tip. He stopped blowing after a moment and stared around, waiting. Around them, trees rustled in the wind but all was silent. He blew again.
"No, no, no," Chuan was saying, thoughts of Kaizan and Saicho flashing before his eyes. He blew again and again. "Noma, come on!" he yelled desperately.
"Chuan," said Mayana from behind him. "I don't think she's coming..."
Just then, then heard a large groan as an enormous mass of white fur bounded up the cliff in front of them and came down on Chuan with a crash.
"Agh, Noma, get off!!" Chuan yelled as the bison licked him repeatedly.
"He's okay! And it looks like he missed you," Mayana laughed. "Let's get flying!"
Chuan looked to the side and saw Mayana happily skipping up to the great beast. She laid her head on Noma's cheek and closed her eyes, smiling as she petted the bison's fur. Chuan had never seen her so happy.
He clawed his way out from underneath Noma's enormous front paws and contentedly patted her nose for a moment before hopping high into the air and settling down on her back. He reached out a hand to help Mayana up, but she simply used Airbending to propel herself up, too.
"Just because I'm a girl doesn't mean I can't do things by myself you know," she said, grinning.
"Trust me, I know," Chuan replied. "The way I saw you Airbending yesterday...you're so much better than I am." He turned away dejectedly.
"Don't be so down on yourself," she said, patting him on the shoulder. Seeing Noma alive had done an incredible job brightening her spirits. "I can teach you some time, you know."
Chuan smiled at the thought and then said, "Yip yip, Noma." The great sky buffalo raised its front paws and then smacked them down firmly on the Earth. Mayana and Chuan grabbed ahold of her saddle as she quickly gained altitude. Chuan scooted forward and grasped Noma's reigns, steering her south toward the Southern Air Temple.
A while passed in silence as Chuan guided their path and Mayana laid on the saddle thinking about all that had happened in the past couple days.
"So who do you miss?" Chuan said some time later, once he was sure that they were indeed heading south and Noma had reached a comfortable cruising altitude.
"Everyone, of course," she said absentmindedly as she twiddled a couple strands of her hair between her fingers and stared up at the cloud-strewn sky.
"No," said Chuan, "I mean who do you miss? The most of all...?"
Mayana grew quiet and reserved, and Chuan realized that this may have been the wrong question to ask.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I didn't mean to make you sad."
"I'm not sure," said Mayana at last.
"Come again?" asked Chuan.
"I'm not sure who I miss the most," she repeated. "It's hard to say. But I do know one thing."
"What's that?" Chuan asked. He scuttled back down Noma's head and onto the saddle so that he could be closer to Mayana.
"I'm glad that you're okay," she said, her gaze off to the side as if she didn't want to make eye contact. His heart skipped a beat when he realized that she was blushing.
Chuan smiled and felt himself turning red as well. "I'm glad you're okay, too," he replied.
She laid her head on his shoulder, and Chuan could barely contain his excitement.
Mayana is laying on my shoulder, he thought. Two days ago I don't even think she knew my NAME!
Chuan allowed this feeling to consume his being as Noma continued off through the air toward a horizon illuminated with all the colors of the rainbow in the most spectacular sunset that he had ever seen. In a day's time they would be at the Southern Air Temple and their mission would continue, but for now he and Mayana were here together, and as far as he was concerned that was all that mattered...
And so concludes book 1. Stay tuned: The opening chapters of book 2 are some of the most INTENSE yet, with plenty of action, adventure, romance and plenty of new faces all heading your way in the chapters ahead. :)
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