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March 5, 2011
Chuan finds the second piece of evidence that he needed in order to prove Aguma's betrayal in the form of another letter affirming the impending attacks. He takes the proof to Monk Saicho, but his master is hesitant to believe him...
Book 1 Chapter 5: The Evidence
To our esteemed acquaintance of the Northern Air Nomads,
You will be pleased to know that our plan has come together without flaw. Our troops have been assembled and our armies are readily awaiting the arrival of Sozin's Comet. None of this would have been possible without the information you have provided to us, so we would again like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude. Your assistance has been immeasurably helpful to our cause.
In the interest of ensuring that everything runs smoothly, I will keep this message brief so that I may return to the troops as soon as possible. In short, the Comet will arrive within the week. Our troops have already been briefed on their tactical guidelines. The simultaneous attacks on the four Air Temples should go down without a hitch, and with the power of Sozin's Comet enriching our bending, no Airbender will be able to stop us.
We have been notified that the Avatar has been identified as a boy in the Southern Temple. We are not sure why they have released this information so soon, in clear violation of Avatar custom, but it is possible that news of the impending attacks may have reached their ears. We will be sure to send our strongest attack force there, to ensure the deliberate eradication of this imminent threat to Fire Navy forces. As it stands, in one week's time not a single Airbender will walk this Earth. The Fire Nation looks forward to a glorious future of growth and expansion in the absence of these superfluous peoples. We will speak again after the Comet has passed.
General H. G. Ghinzer
Chuan could not believe his luck...or perhaps it was his misfortune. This was the second piece of evidence that he needed. Without wasting a single moment, he turned on his heel and burst back outside.
He glanced around and spotted a glider on a rack to his left. He spun through the air, swiped it from its place, and was flying away before his feet had a chance to hit the floor. The wind was like a flurry of icicles against his face but he took no notice. It was imperative that he found Monk Saicho and revealed Aguma's betrayal. The Fire Nation was coming...and it might be too late to stop them.
He retracted the glider and landed in a somersault, springing to his feet at the threshold of Monk Saicho's training studio. Without so much as a knock, Chuan unceremoniously hurled the door open. It slammed against the inside wall and was knocked clear off its hinges, creaking as it swung feebly side-to-side.
Saicho was sitting cross-legged on a circular mat in the center of the room, his fingers crossed in his lap and his face void of all emotion. He was meditating.
"Monk Saicho," Chuan gasped as he fought to catch his breath. "I'm sorry to disturb you, but this is urgent!"
His teacher opened one eye with a scowl. "Yes, Chuan," he said with a sigh. "I know you do not value the healing properties of meditation, but I do. This had better be important."
"It is, sir!" Chuan blurted out. He thrust the parchment out and Saicho caught it with a firm gust of wind in his direction. Chuan watched as his master's eyes scanned the paper; left to right, now back to the left, heading right...
"Why have you shown me this?" Saicho asked once he had finished reading. He looked up at his pupil with a look of utter confusion and disgust.
"Because!" Chuan exclaimed, finally having caught his breath. "I need your guidance! I don't know what to do? Monk Aguma has betrayed the Air Nomads!"
Saicho put up a hand and Chuan fell immediately silent, watching respectfully as Saicho got slowly to his feet.
"Why have you done this?" Saicho asked at last. "Aguma is a great Airbender, and a great master. He has knowledge and abilities of the Airbending form that others of us can only imagine. Yet you seek to tarnish his name...?"
"Tarnish?" Chuan asked, speechless. "No, never! I didn't write that note. I found it. There was another as well!
"And where is it?" Saicho asked him, at which he was once again speechless. The first parchment hadn't been on the desk this time...
"It was gone..." Chuan said realizing that he hadn't gotten a second piece of evidence after all, but simply another single incrimination. "Aguma must have taken it with him when he went to the Southern Air Temple."
Saicho put his hands on Chuan's shoulders and, staring into his eyes he firmly said, "Chuan, I don't know what to think of this. I don't know whether you have written this note, or if what you say really is true, but your past record does not incline me to take your side..."
"Enough, Chuan. I will bring this up with Monk Aguma upon his return. Until then, I don't want to hear another word about this. Understood?"
Chuan turned and sprinted out of the chamber without so much as a bow. He ignored his teacher's angry protests as he sprinted toward Monk Wu Han's quarters. If Saicho wouldn't help him, maybe the other council member would take his side...
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