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|The Final Goodbye|
August 12, 2013
~~King Bumi's bedroom ~~
Aang rushed into the King's bedroom and shouted: "BUMI, ARE YOU ALL RIGHT!" Shouted Aang, not believing, that one of his oldest and most loyal friends was laying on his death bed. He burst into tears.
Hokai and Sokka escorted him out of the King's bedroom. "Aang, look at me," said Katara with a smoothing voice. "Calm yourself. If you yell, you're just showing Bumi in what state you're in and he'll just feel worse. Please Aang, get yourself together!"
"You don't know what it's like, he was one of my oldest friends!" whispered Aang, crying.
"Aang. I don't know if you believe me, but I know exactly how it's like. When I was little I had a very good friend. Her name was Shi. She was a few years older than me and a waterbender as well. When the Fire Nation attacked our village they made an example of her. They put her on our main square and murdered her (Katara starts to cry a little, reliving the bad memories). When I saw that I couldn't stop crying. I thought that the world stopped. She was my best friend at the time. One day I got so sad, that I went out of the house. I walked on the seaside for a few hours. Then a Giant Snow Owl attacked me. I didn't know what to do at first, but then I realized, that Shi taught me a defence move. With it I saved myself. And from that day on I didn't cry, because I knew, that she still lived inside of me. And, know this; if you keep the memory of a person alive, the person is really not gone. He or she is still amongst us." As Katara said that she hugged Aang and comforted him.
"Thanks Katara. That helped. I'm ready to see Bumi now," said Aang, wiping the tears from his cheeks.
The Gaang went into Bumi's chamber silently, showing their respect for the old warrior. They came to his bed and saw the man lying, barely keeping himself alive.
"Aang, is that you?" asked Bumi.
"Yeah Bumi, it's me. Please, old friend, tell me what happened? Who did this to you?" asked Aang, barely able to hold his tears.
"Aang, it's no one's fault," said Bumi. "I'm just old that's all. You have to realize, that our time on earth is short. I've already been rewarded with over a hundred years of life. All life comes to an end. And we must accept that. If we don't, we can become scarred for life, always being miserable, sad and even without life. (Aang looks at Katara, knowing, that she told him the same thing) You must understand. Life an death are the two most essential parts of life. They are the most mysterious and wonderful."
"Thanks Bumi, even with your last days counting down, you give the most helpful advice possible," said Aang, feeling a little happier, understanding now.
"Aang, I haven't got much time. I need to tell you this. Our world is on the verge of war. But not just any war, a war even greater than the Hundred Year War, more devastating and life taking. There are dark forces assembling and you alone have the willpower to take them down. You are the one, that always knows right from wrong. You are the Avatar. Now listen carefully. As you might have heard, the Earth Kingdom capital, Ba Sing Se has fallen. A devious and maniacal force has entered into the nation, and the entire world. And I fear that they even might come into my city. Ba Sing Se is under occupational rule. The Dai Li have taken over the city and are ruling it with an iron fist. I was lucky enough to find out, before I got too weak, that the commander of the Dai Li has signed a pack with an Admiral, I believe it is Shizou. They have agreed, to divide the world into two parts. The Fire Nation and the entire Western half of the world will be entirely under the Admiral's watchful eye, and the Eastern part of the world under the Dai Li leader Long Feng and his ruthless cohorts. They even want to take the Water Tribes and territories formerly in the possession of the Air Nomads," said King Bumi.
"But what can we do? Together they are too many," said Aang. "They are too powerful."
"Aang... You must gather your own army and confront the menace. Know this; I believe in you and will always stand by your side. Even if you don't know it. There is also something we need to discuss," said Bumi, struggling to speak.
"What is it? said Aang.
"I need to tell you something. Up until now, you managed to win most your battles, either capturing or wounding your enemy. Even when you went against the former Fire Lord, Ozai, you managed to emerge victorious without killing him. Now, you will have to make a decision. I'm afraid that there won't be such situations in the battles to come. You must be strong and do the thing, that's right. Even if it seems to you, that the way isn't the right one, it is. You will have to kill the admiral.
"But, but, but... that is the opposite of what I was taught. You have to preserve life," said Aang in his defence.
"Sometimes it is honourable to take a life, to preserve many," replied Bumi.
"But..." said Aang.
"Look, Aang. Sometimes a man has to choose between tradition and truth. About morals and life and about right and wrong. You must choose wisely." And with that said, Bumi stopped breathing. He closed his eyes for a final time and smiled to Aang for the last time. As that happened the whole Gaang couldn't hold their tears inside. They burst into tears, sad about losing their friend, teacher and most importantly a good friend.
~~Near King Bumi's tomb ~~
They escorted the body of the former King of Omashu towards its final resting place. The soldiers put him into a tomb, and using Earth bending closed the giant tomb shut. Thousands of people gathered to watch their former leader being buried with all respects. A new king of Omashu was named, the nephew of King Bumi, the former prince and now the King of Omashu: Kjago, a wise and cautious man. Even if he was politically stable and knew the situation, the new King of Omashu had no military career and the will to fight. Omashu faced it's darkest hour. In desperation the soldiers destroyed every bridge leading in and out from the city, thereby making it a mighty fortress, unaccessible by even the most powerful of Earthbenders. A creepy silence was brought upon the city. Nobody talked.
Everybody in Omashu was thinking the same; What now? How are they going to survive? What will happen next? Is Omashu going to fall to the Dai Li. The Gaang knew, what to do next. Save Ba Sing Se and restore balance in the Earth Kingdom. But just as the Gaang was packing Aang went away. The others knew, where to look for him. By the tomb of his dear friend. As they reached the tomb they saw Aang there, only standing and watching the resting place of his dear friend.
"Aang, what's wrong?" asked Katara.
"It's the thing Bumi said," replied Aang. "What do you think, Katara. Is there really no other way, do I really have to do this."
"I'm afraid, that I can't help you with that," said Katara. "Only you can realise how things should be done. You're the Avatar, the wisest person alive. And what choice you do, I, Sokka and Hokai are going to always stand by your side and support you."
"Thanks guys," replied Aang. "I'm gonna need your help."
"Sure Aang. You know, that we're always there for you. Whatever happens," said Sokka.
With that said the Gaang finally packed the rest of their personal belongings and went on Appa. Aang, still sad, gave the command and Appa flew into the air. They were headed into the hart of all the troubles; Ba Sing Se.
END OF CHAPTER NINE
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