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|Escape From the Southern Air Temple|
February 13, 2012
Chuan struggles to protect Mayana from danger, and encounters an unexpected survivor of the Air Temple raids...
Book 2 Chapter 3: Escape from the Southern Air Temple
The Firebenders broke into a run, and Chuan turned and grasped Mayana's hand and they dashed away together. As they ran, Chuan felt something hot scald his back and he crashed to the ground. Without time to spare, however, he got up and kept running, ignoring the pain from his burnt back.
"Impossible!" they heard Wu Han cry. "Must I do everything myself?"
Chuan was just celebrating the fact that they could easily use Airbending to run many times faster than the Firebenders were capable of when he felt a gust of wind to his left, and in a moment Wu Han was standing in front of them looking extremely displeased. The monk sliced through the air and sent a whip of wind reeling toward Mayana. Chuan dove in front of her and took the attack head-on. He cried out as the gust whipped mercilessly against his bare skin.
He landed in a somersault but leapt quickly to his feet again. He reached into the air on either side of his body and then clapped his outstretched hands together, causing tiles from the temple roof to break loose and hurl themselves toward Wu Han in a furious gust.
The monk gasped and shielded himself with an enormous air sphere. The tiles rebounded off the air currents and were strewn in all directions, but the distraction had done its duty; Wu Han lowered his defenses to find that the children were long gone...
"Okay, we can stop here for a second," Chuan told Mayana once they were a safe distance away. He slid to the floor and gulped down the night air as he fought to catch his breath. Mayana simply leaned against the wall, making no indication that she was even out of breath, nor that she had heard him. She stared forward into nothingness with an icy blank stare that made Chuan shiver.
"Hey, hey," he said, taking her hands in his. "Mayana, are you with me?" No response. "Oh, no. What have I done?"
Chuan put his face in his hands and cried out in distraught confusion. What was he supposed to do?
Just then, a sound like a groan shattered his thoughts. He opened his eyes and gazed into the darkness around him, unable to see more than a few feet in any direction. If only the clouds weren't out, Chuan thought, then I'd at LEAST be able to use the moonlight to see!
"P-please," came a frail voice from the shadows.
Chuan grappled forward until he reached a nearby wall. As he knelt down, the vague outline of a man leaning weakly against the wall came into view.
"W-why have you c-come here?" the man asked, his voice weak.
"Who are you?" Chuan asked.
"G...Gyatso," the man managed to splutter between painful fits of coughing. "T-they came...out of n-nowhere. We didn't...st-stand a chance."
"I know," said Chuan. He reached down and hooked Gyatso's arm over his shoulder. With a great deal of caution, he slowly raised the old man to his feet.
"My friend is over there," Chuan said. "We have to go get her and then we can all leave."
The two staggered awkwardly back to where Mayana was standing, and Chuan lightly shook her again. "Mayana, we need to go," he said. She turned her head to look at him, but her eyes saw nothing. She seemed to stare right through him...
Taking her with his free hand, Chuan led the group a ways in silence before he heard scuffling behind them.
"I FOUND THEM!"
Chuan's heart turned to ice. He tried to run, but while carrying Gyatso's weight and dragging Mayana alongside him, he couldn't manage anything faster than an awkward, lopsided trot.
"You...you have to g-go," Gyatso said suddenly. "Quick, go in t-there." He beckoned toward a tented building to their right and Chuan immediately altered their course, as the sound of running feet grew ever louder behind them.
"You...and y-your f-friend...need to e-escape." Gyatso gasped for air, clutching at his chest, as Chuan laid him down against the wall. He had evidently suffered a great deal during the raid on this temple. "I c-can...stay...h-here," he choked.
"We can't just leave you!" Chuan cried. "As far as I know, we're the only three Airbenders left!"
"You're wrong...t-the Avatar..." Gyatso hacked furiously. "The Avatar...h-he wasn't at the t-t-the temple when they...attacked... He ran...away..."
Chuan felt his heart skip a beat. The Avatar wasn't killed in the raid. That meant that he was still out there somewhere! There was still hope!
The tattered sheets covering the entrance of the building were thrust aside, and Gyatso lifted a frail finger to point at the two Firebenders who were quickly advancing on their position.
"I...won't l-last...much l-longer..." Gyatso struggled to manage each word. "Go...now."
Chuan felt his eyes well up with tears. He didn't even know this man, and yet here he was, about to leave him to face certain death. One of the last Airbenders like himself, and he was going to leave him to die...
He grasped Mayana's hand and, staring into her distant eyes, his fighting spirit was instantly reinvigorated. He took a few steps forward and declared, "That's far enough. You will leave this place."
"Really?" said one of the Firebenders. The soldier glanced at his partner and they both broke into laughter.
Chuan furrowed his eyebrows in concentration and began inhaling deeply. His lungs expanded to their fullest, and Chuan blew out with all his might. A gale of wind burst from his mouth and rapidly careened toward the Firebenders, who stopped laughing and punched forward with intense ferocity. Fire met air, and the elemental collision seemed to shake the temple itself. The fire broke apart and searing embers tumbled through the air in all directions. But this time, Mayana was in no position to summon a protective air shield.
Chuan took a few steps back and shielded her from the assault. Embers pummeled his body and singed his skin and clothes. Gyatso attempted to summon some wind in front of himself to deflect incoming embers but he was too weak. His arm fell limp to his side and his clothes were instantly ablaze.
"My t-time i-is up-p," he spluttered to Chuan. He closed his eyes as the flames spread up his shirt. They touched his bare skin and he opened his mouth as if to scream. He clawed at his burning skin for a moment until he was too weak to fight any longer. Chuan watched with horror as the man lost the last of his strength and gave in to the reprieve of death.
A fierce conflagration of flame suddenly burst onto Gyatso's body, and the man was consumed in fire. Chuan turned grief-stricken toward the Firebenders, one of whom was shaking his wrist boastfully, as if he had just punched something heavy, a grin no doubt spread wide across his face behind his skull-like mask.
"You're next, kid," the man said, taking a menacing step forward as his partner did the same.
"NO!" Chuan cried. He spun his arms in circles on either side of his body and wind began to ripple back and forth. The Firebenders were shaken off their footing, and as they tumbled backward to the floor, Chuan grabbed Mayana's hand and rushed her from the building.
He swept her from her feet and launched himself into the air with an enormous leap, landing a few feet from Noma, who had incredibly managed to sleep through the entire ordeal...
"AGHHH!!!" Wu Han screamed. He stared at the Firebenders as they slowly got to their feet.
"This is UNACCEPTABLE! You are supposed to be elite!" he screamed as he kicked the first man furiously in the abdomen. "And you cannot defeat two children?"
He summoned vast amounts of air in his mouth and then blew them out at the man on the floor, whose helmet instantly crumpled inward, crushing his face. Wu Han grabbed the man by the arm and thrust him high into the air. Halfway through his fall, the soldier was hit with another brutal wind current that sent him gyrating off the side of the cliff toward imminent death. Wu Han moved furiously toward the second soldier, while on the outskirts of the temple Chuan and Mayana grabbed Noma's reigns and the bison stole off into the night sky...
It seems that while I was gone, this fanon got reviewed and a bunch more views! That's such a surprise, but thank you to everybody! I won't leave you all in suspense, and I'll be posting chapters to this fanon simultaneously with another I have started. Enjoy! :)
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