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|The Crumpled Letter|
March 4, 2011
Chuan and Kaizan put their plan into action, but they are surprised to find that Monk Aguma is not in his room when they arrive late that night. Instead, Chuan finds a crumpled piece of parchment on Aguma's desk that will change their lives forever...
Book 1 Chapter 3: The Crumpled Letter
The two boys slunk along the walls, being careful not to make any sound whatsoever. As they walked, moonlight shone down on them from above, casting an eerie glow over the stillness of the temple.
Kaizan turned to face Chuan and gave him a 'you remember the plan, right?' face. Chuan nodded and the two set their gliders gently on the wall before creeping up to the door up ahead.
A square shape was cut out of the door, which acted as a window into the chamber. Much to their confusion, they found that Aguma wasn't in his room. Chuan lightly pushed the door forward as Kaizan shifted his eyes left and right, standing watch for anyone who may be walking the temple grounds.
Chuan's hand slipped and the door emitted a shrill creak. Kaizan turned and roughly grabbed his friend, dragging him into the room. They quickly slammed the door shut and slid down the door frame, catching their breath and trying to calm their racing heartbeats.
"It's okay," said Kaizan between breaths. "I don't think anyone heard..."
The two boys got to their feet and surveyed their surroundings. To their left was an unkempt bed that reeked of old person. To their right was a small wooden desk and chair, which were the only other pieces of furniture in the room.
Kaizan was careful to step around a pile of confiscated gliders strewn on the floor beside the bed, and after a moment he turned around, worried.
"This isn't exactly how I'd planned this out to be," he said.
"Yeah...no kidding," replied Chuan, also unsure what to think of this unexpected turn of events.
The two had planned to sneak in here in the dead of night and tickle Monk Aguma's nose until he smacked himself in the face (a personal prank favorite of Kaizan's), but the Monk was nowhere to be found. And worse yet, there was nothing else in the room worth messing with.
"We could steal back these gliders that he took," Chuan suggested. "I know Ahma was pretty upset when he took hers away..."
"No," said Kaizan. "Let's just go."
Chuan reluctantly agreed, but as he turned to follow his friend back out the door, something caught his eye. On the old desk, beside a stash of worn-looking quills, was a crumpled piece of parchment. He wandered over to it and tenderly lifted it from its place on the desk.
"What's that?" Kaizan called. The paper crinkled as he helped Chuan smooth the edges. The boys fell silent as they both read the contents of the letter:
Dear great and noble monk of the northern temple,
It is my pleasure to inform you that our forces have successfully been assembled, in compliance with Fire Lord Sozin's wishes. Your assistance has been indescribably helpful in this delicate process. As I delve somewhat deeper into the exact specifications of our military arrangements, I ask that you maintain the utmost secrecy regarding this information, and do not allow it to fall into the hands of the other monks at your temple.
In one month's time, the comet of which we last spoke will once again reenter the Earth's orbit, and it is during this time of coincidental fortune that we will enact our end of the plan. It is essential that the Air Nomads do not learn of our intentions, or they will undoubtedly prepare retaliatory measures.
The attack will be a decisive one. Our forces will invade each of the four Air Temples simultaneously, ensuring that all of the temples will be thoroughly void of life well before anyone would have sufficient time to halt our intentions.
As discussed before, we cannot express in words our gratitude for your assistance in the planning of this operation, and we greatly look forward to the day when you assume your position in the Fire Nation Army.
I will write to you again in three weeks' time to inform you of any last-minute changes or new information that may be pertinent to you. We here in the Fire Nation would like to thank you for your support in this time of growth for our great nation.
Until we speak again,
General H. G. Ghinzer
Both boys were speechless. They were having trouble comprehending what they had just read. The Fire Nation? Assembling an army? An attack on the Air Temples? They reread the letter again.
"Did...did I just read what I think I read?" Kaizan asked, taking a step back and feeling suddenly weak.
"Monk Aguma..." Chuan said softly, laying the parchment back on the desk. "He's conspiring with the Fire Nation...to attack the Airbenders."
"But why?" Kaizan asked, dropping to the floor and rubbing his forehead in confusion. "I mean...Aguma's always seemed like a bad guy, but never bad bad."
Chuan crumpled up the paper and left it as it had been before they had read it. "We need to leave it here. This letter enough isn't enough evidence, and if we take it then Monk Aguma will know that his secret is exposed. We have to keep this between us until we can gather more evidence against him. Then we'll both go to Monk Saicho and personally tell him about Monk Aguma's betrayal."
"You don't think this is enough evidence right here?" Kaizan cried, jumping to his feet. "The Fire Nation is planning to invade the Air Temples. That's not the kind of information you can just keep between friends!"
"I've made up my mind," said Chuan resolutely, turning away from the crumpled piece of paper that had just changed both of their lives. "Besides, I know Monk Saicho. He's my teacher. He won't be easily persuaded that one of the council would do something like this."
Kaizan looked away, clearly disagreeing with Chuan's decision.
"Look," said Chuan, desperate to get his friend's approval, "all we need is one more piece of evidence and then Monk Saicho won't be able to disagree with us. So you can either sit there and sulk, or you can help me get it."
"Fine," said Kaizan.
Chuan held out his hand and Kaizan grasped it as he got to his feet. Suddenly, the noise of shuffling feet issued from the courtyard outside. Chuan and Kaizan nodded to each other, and slunk into the shadows on either side of the door as it was flung open and a frail, hunch-backed old Monk hobbled into the room.
As soon as Aguma was clear of the door, Chuan and Kaizan hopped into the air and, by channeling the air currents beneath their feet, they were both safely outside before their feet touched the floor again. They snatched their gliders off the wall and without a word they leapt off the side of the cliff, quickly catching the flow of the cool night breeze and soaring off into the night, a disturbing new secret now tucked under their belts...
So Chuan's story truly begins! Please comment! :)
By the way, yes I know that according to the TCG Afiko was the betrayer of the Air Nomads. But those have not been confirmed canon, and neither is this, soo...yup. Trust me, what I have planned is much better. ;)
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