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August 26, 2013
~~The Courtyard on the central mountain~~
It's been a week since the Gaang arrived to the Eastern Air Temple. Aang, Katara, Toph and Hokai were all outside the main training hall, waiting for Sokka to come out. "It's been a week. How long does Pathik need?" asked Katara.
"Achieving spiritual enlightenment is a hard and sometimes long journey," replied Aang. "Especially with Sokka, as he's a fan of technology and reason. He has to understand that some things just happen, and that there's no logical explanation of them happening."
"Well, what should we do now?" asked Toph. "I'm getting bored of spa days. Even if they're relaxing."
"Yeah, and Aang's beaten me in Airball a few too many times. I've got bruises all around the body," replied Hokai.
"Yeah, but I won, didn't I?" asked Aang.
"Yeah, I guess you did," replied Hokai.
"Well, Twinkle toes. What are we suppose to do, until Sokka achieves that spiritual mumbo-jumbo?" asked Toph.
"Well, when I was in the Spirit World a few months ago I talked with Gyatso. I made a promise, that after the war was over I would try to rebuild the air temples," said Aang. "So, will you help me?"
"You know, that you've got my support," replied Hokai, instantly. "As a fellow Airbender it's my duty to help."
"Aang, of course I'll help," said Katata.
"Eh... why not. I don't have anything better to do," replied Toph, without showing any enthusiasm. "So, where do you want to start."
"I suggest, that we start right here," said Aang. "In the Central mountain."
So, they started to go from building to building and started to rebuild the temple. It went quite fast, as the talented benders each used their abilities to help them with the task. Katara used Waterbending and Earthbending to create concrete. Then Toph and Aang both used Earthbending to move the concrete to the damaged walls and holes. Finally Hokai used his Airbending to quickly dry the moist concrete. So, they made steady progress as they went from house to house. The houses were refurbished, the roofs patched up and the interiors cleaned, using various banding techniques. Even though they made steady progress, they knew, that it would take them a long time to rebuild and preserve every single building and place in the temple.
~~The main training hall~~
"Guru Pathik, I just can't do it," said Sokka, as he couldn't master his mind, to achieve enlightenment. "I can't concentrate enough."
"Tell me, young one, what is the thing that interests you?" asked the Guru. "What is the thing that makes you happy? Don't tell me, just visualize those things in your mind... Now, take them away from yourself. You don't need them. Earthly objects are just distractions from the things that really matter."
Sokka finally realized what his flaws were. He was concentrating too much. He visualised the weapons and armour, that defied him, disintegrating, fading away, as it they were just unneeded objects. He was finally on the way to spiritual enlightenment.
"Good, Sokka. Now open your eyes," said a mysterious voice he never heard before. As Sokka opened his eyes he was standing in the Southern Air Temple. He looked around and saw numerous people, but no one saw him. As two children ran through him, he couldn't understand what was happening. A man appeared in front of him. "I'm Gyatso."
"Gyatso? You're Aang and Hokai's former teacher!" said Sokka in disbelief. "Where am I?"
"You are in the Southern Air Temple. More precisely you're in a memory of the Southern Air Temple. Look there," Gyatso said.
Sokka saw Aang coming down the stairs to some other Air Nomad children. He asked if he could play Airball with them, as they were getting ready to play, but the children wouldn't let him, because he was the Avatar and would give his team an unfair advantage.
"Why are you showing me this?" Sokka asked. "I already know, what was going to happen. Aang told me the story, how he was cast aside by the other kids, for being the Avatar."
"I know, but I am showing you this to teach you a lesson," said Gyatso. "Look at that boy over there."
"You meant the one with the, how should I put it gently? Unkempt appearance?" said Sokka.
"Yes, that one," said Gyatso. "I'm showing you that boy, the one called Jinju, because he is your Great-Grandfather. I'm showing you this, because I realised, that you lack confidence and think that, because you didn't have any bending abilities, you are inferior. It was the same with your Great-Grandfather. At first he was a shy figure, but when it came to proving himself he did. He and the other boys managed to fight of quite a lot of Fire Nation soldiers, before surrendering. Your ancestor got lucky in a strange way."
Sokka and Gyatso were transported to another flashback from the Southern Air Temple. Sokka saw Jinju and the other boys fighting the Fire Nation soldiers by a cliff. Jinju was the last one to fight, but as he had to fall back he slipped and fell of the mountain. "Oh, NO, what's happening?!" Sokka yelled.
"I ordered my pupils to run away from the air temple, but the Fire Nation soldiers caught up with them," said Gyatso. "In the moment of our destruction Jinju proved himself, as being the last of the boys to stand and fight."
"But, didn't he die?" Sokka asked. "I saw him fall of the cliff."
"But look," said Gyatso as he pointed to the edge of the cliff. Jinju was riding his glider and running away from the air temple. "That experience changed him. Seeing all of his friend getting massacred really changed him. He was transformed from a boy to a man."
"Where are we now?" Sokka asked, as the scenery changed again.
"We are what you would call home. We are in the Southern Water Tribe," said Gyatso. "Now, look over there (points his finger to the entrance of the village). See, it's Jinju. He is wearing traditional Water Tribe clothes to hide his identity. Now, after he came to the Northern Water Tribe he became a warrior of the village in quite a short time. He was reliable, trustworthy and powerful. And most important, he managed to do so without Airbending."
"Why are you showing me this?" Sokka asked.
"You see, Jinju was exactly like you. A little clumsy at first, but when it came to proving himself and defending his people he stood up the the challenge and won. Because of him, you're alive and an Airbender. The whole point was to show you that you shouldn't feel down on yourself. That's the only thing from stopping you to achieve spiritual enlightenment," said Gyatso.
In a single second Sokka was back in the real world. "So, I think, that you are now ready for some real Airbening training," said Guru Pathik. "Congratulations, young one. You have achieved spiritual enlightenment."
"Thank you master Gyatso," said Sokka silently. "May I go out now?"
"Of course," the Guru replied.
~~The Courtyard on the central mountain~~
Sokka was thrilled to go outside and meet the Gaang for the first time in a week of meditating. After he came out he immediately hugged his friends and started telling him what he saw and went through. "Wow, I never knew that Jinju was a hero," said Hokai.
"He's not just a hero. He's my and Katara's Great-Grandfather. Aang, I'm ready to start my training now," said Sokka, with a proud smile on his face.
END OF CHAPTER NINETEEN
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