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|Return to Ba Sing Se, Part 2|
August 14, 2013
~~Airspace over the Earth Kingdom~~
"So, what else happened while I was gone?" asked Toph.
"Well, you know, the usual," Sokka said. "Fighting, getting shot at, and getting thrown over the shoulder by a member of your own team!"
"You still remember that?" asked Aang. "I thought I already told you, that that was an accident!"
"Okay, fighting side to side with Fire Nation soldiers is something new, but Sokka getting pummeled to the ground happens everyday. Am I right?" said Toph.
"HEY, I DON'T GET KNOCKED ON THE GROUND EVERY DAY!" shouted a furious Sokka.
"What about today, when I ambushed you in the town?" said Toph.
"And yesterday when you got too close to that barn with Frog-Cows?" said Aang.
"And two days ago, when you slipped three times in a row, while we were swimming in the river?" said Katara.
"And the time you..," wanted to say Hokai, before Sokka put his hand over his mouth.
"That doesn't prove anything!" said Sokka angrily. " ...I can see the Outer Wall a bit, but it's very far away. Aang, turn left."
"Why, where are we going?" asked Aang.
"Here. (points at map) There's a small harbour, but it's abandoned. We can sneak past the guards on the wall and get to the city safely and undetected," replied Sokka. "But we'll have to leave Appa behind."
"But why?" asked Hokai.
"Because if there's a giant flying bison in the sky, people intend to see it and talk about it," said Sokka. "It can jeopardize the entire mission."
The Gaang got closer to the harbour. Sokka appeared to be right. The harbour was abandoned and there were no people around. As they landed, they looked upwards and saw the enormous Outer Wall of the city.
"And how are we suppose to get through the wall?" asked Katara.
"Leave that bit up to me," said Toph, as she used her Earthbending to create a small, but passable tunnel, so that the Gaang got through. When they got through, Toph closed the tunnel.
~~The Agricultural district~~
"What now, Idea Boy? asked Toph.
"Okay. This is the agricultural part of the city There are a few houses here, but the people come only once a week here, as they live on the outer side of the Inner Wall," said Sokka. "I suggest, that we find a cottage and get some disguises."
The Gaang didn't have too look far to find a house. They found a quite large house and went into it. They looked around, so that they could be sure that no one was home and, when they were sure, they went into the master bedroom. There they got dressed. Sokka found a tunic, which was usually worn by members of the merchant corporation, a union of wealthy farmers; Katara found a dress with long, wide sleeves; Toph only put on some shoes, after removing the sole of the shoes; Hokai found a shirt, which was usually worn by bankers; and Aang, just as in the Fire Nation, found and put on a school uniform, and of course a hat, so that he disguised his arrow.
"Oh, not again, Aang. Didn't we already have problems in the Fire Nation?" asked Katara.
"Oh, don't worry. I'll be fine," replied Aang. "And besides, isn't this the time of school break?"
"If you insist... Let's go," said Sokka. The Gaang started to walk towards the Inner Wall of Ba Sing Se. Only then, did they really start to appreciate Appa. The path was several miles long. Finally, only a third of the way to the Inner Wall, they found a large pillar and stairs leading on top of it. It was a pillar for the train and on top of it was a small train station. The Gaang rushed with excitement up the stairs, as they thought that they didn't need to walk anymore, but soon the excitement faded away. There were hundreds of steps. They needed almost half an hour to get to the top. "That was exhausting. I need to sit down."
As they got to the top, the local train conductor, responsible for the station, came to them and asked, "excuse me, is everything all right?"
"NO, everything is NOT all right! How people get to this train station? I mean, we are exhausted, but what about the old and invalid people. There are such farmers also," said Aang. "I'm soo tired."
A sound was heard on the other side of the train station. Out of the floor a man and an escort came. The escort worked here. "As you can see, we have a very efficient elevator system, that helps everyone. As one elevator goes up, one goes down," said the conductor.
"Hhhhh, thanks, Map boy. My feet are killing me."
"We would like five tickets to the Inner Wall," said Aang and paid for the tickets. The Gaang waited for the train too arrive and then went into it. Even the train needed fifteen minutes to get to the Inner Wall. As the Gaang went out of the train, they soon came into the Lower Ring of the city.
~~The Lower Ring of Ba Sing Se~~
"All right, Gaang, we've got to get to the Upper Ring and into the royal palace. There we'll find the culprits," said Aang. "But we've got to stay unseen, as there are Dai Li spies all around us. So be on your toes."
~~The Middle Ring of Ba Sing Se~~
The Gaang started to walk. It took hours, just to get half way, to the Middle Ring. "Aang, I'm tired and it's getting dark. Let's just find a nice place to stay for the night," Sokka said. The Gaang walked for a few blocks until they found a small hotel. The checked in, ate some cakes that they took with them and immediately went to bed.
The next day, sun shine came into their rooms through the windows and the Gaang woke up. As Sokka saw Katara wake up, he quickly sprinted into the bathroom and washed himself. The others didn't know what happened. As Sokka came out of the bathroom, Hokai, who just woke up asked him, "Why did you rush?"
"Because the girls need quite a lot of time to get ready," said Sokka.
As Hokai and Aang heard that, they both raced to be first in the bathroom. Hokai got there first and needed only a few minuted. Aang was also quick.
"Well, ladies, the bathroom is available," said Aang.
The girls looked at each other and Katara want in first. She needed only a minute to wash and clean up. Toph was even faster. "So, who's the slow one now?" asked Toph as the boys couldn't believe how fast the girls were, even faster as they.
The Gaang went downstairs for breakfast and then paid the manager of the hotel. They went into the street and started walking again, towards the Upper Ring. As they were walking, Toph heard a strange noise, but before she could do anything, the trap sprung. The floor, on which they were standing flipped over, causing the Gaang to fall into an underground passage. They couldn't believe what happened.
"Are you kids all right?" asked a man in the shadows. The Gaang started to attack, but were soon handcuffed by metal gloved, such as the ones worn by the Dai Li. The Gaang was trapped.
Aang could barely see, but he saw the silhouette of a torch. He used his Firebending and sent fire through his mouth and lit up the torch. What they saw was unbelievable. It was the Earth King and his elite guards.
END OF CHAPTER ELEVEN
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