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Yamato pulled of his giant, leathery orange glove from stiff fingers, slightly bruised and blistered from hacking at gargantuan rock, looking callous like moldy troll fingers. The rest of his dirty orange overalls were stained black and blue, barely remaining the subtle orange it once presented, like from its embers manifested an ashen beast. The jean material stunk of oil and dirt and his helmet was covered in grime and chips of semi precious rock. He was in the middle of a long meandering serpent of a Que, hissing forward towards the gloomy busy station. The older miners sat there, collecting and examining rear minerals mined from the caves. They noted down who discovered what, the bonus that was handed out varied on the quality and quantity of the workers findings. Yamato smiled, in his large front pouch was a clump of rough diamond, amethyst, gold and tiger's eye, worth at least a good 2500 yuan bonus. He slapped his new belly rump contently and only smiled when his co workers gazed at him with somber faces and steely eyes. There were many earth benders in the business, but he was by far the best. As it was still only lunch, he was looking forward to the second shift, where he was permitted to go even lower where most were too afraid to excavate.
Yamato approached the desk. A cute teenage girl, who worked for experience and minimum wage, smiled.
"Yamato! How you doing?" she managed behind a wall of files and paperwork.
As they were both new she was attracted to him for the last two weeks of lunches. She slid onto the bench next to him, asking if he was going to finish his meat and suddenly plunged into conversation on her first day, eating what she could, it was a wonder to him how she remained slim.
"Yamato! what did you find today? Yesterday you got a whole thousand yuan cash bounty! I bet you're gonna get even more!"
"How much do you bet?"
"Hmm." she stopped and began tapping her chin. Her left eyebrow rose in thought and she started to hum. "20 yuans for every hundred you collect."
"Is that right...hmm we'll see."
She had the ability to fill him with laughter. He waited for his new sibling at their usual table. He bit into a hot potato bun and left the drum sticks on his gravy covered plate. She arrived running and out of breath.
"Thank you for waiting! I'll just sit hear and join in silence..." The silence lasted for approximately five seconds. She was suddenly rambling on about her family again. About her troubles...She never complained. Only spoke. It was yesterday that he realized that she was lonely. Her father had left her, her mother was ill and her only sibling was a mute. She tutored herself with the aid of her teacher neighbor and passed all of her exams that way. When she wasn't here, she was inside her two bedroom flat, struggling to pay the bills.
She was a little girl, she shouldn't have been going through that. He knew he would meet plenty of brave people...but she shocked him. She was chewing on a pathetic sandwich for lunch. He pushed his plate forward, and although she first rejected the offer, she was soon nibbling on the large chicken leg.
"Wait here, I'll get you something to drink."He began walking back to the food station, a tiny dot in this huge expansion of floors, cars, workers and machinery.
In a little corner was built a small cafe selling bakery and coffee, some hot meals and snacks. Among the cacophony of clattering plates and crockery, whispers and jests of conversation resided in the warm air. The slurping of hot drinks, curses of burnt tongues all frazzled welcomed him warmly. Iohawa sat behind the counter, reading a little history book called "The rise and fall of The Equalists, an account of the unforeseen men in black." He held his finger up for one minute, tentatively licked his finger tip, bent the corner of his page and closed his book.
"Every member of my family were neo Equalists, then I came along water bending in my mothers womb...literally she couldn't control herself, suddenly taking moon lit strolls when 9 months pregnant! Ha ha ha ha" he began guffawing. Yamato smiled, Iohawa had a funny opinion of his family who tried to hide their son's abilities till he was allowed to live alone.
"Some chocolate please, two."
"Aha for our friend, I'll throw in some marsh mellows on the mines!, ha ha ha."
"That would be nice, she'd like that a lot."
"The other day I heard her singing, she was mixing some coffee with a spoon, twirling in its way while her eyes scanned some passages from a book...completely oblivious to her surroundings."
"Is she any good?"
"She's wonderful...." Iohawa replied.
Iohawa pulled a slightly chipped mug, cracked at the edge just above the tiny handle. He slid the mug beneath the spout of the machine and hit a button with "Choc" printed in the center. For that moment, they both watched in silence as a milk torrent gushed down burning hot, cloudy smoke screens surging out in murky mushrooms, while the men wondered of their own fates, who's position they would have preferred. It was followed by the dripping of chocolate brown, a faint hiss just audible enough to notice; Water, also smoking mixing in with the chocolate milk, anew malt colour manifested, their moods slightly darker, yet guiltily grateful. He pulled from a cabinet by the sink on Yamato's right a box of coffee beans and began grinding them till fine. He sprinkled it on top like snowfall, finishing it with swirly flurries.
"This should keep her going, she needs all the energy she can get."
At the end of a steamy ravine, a bridge began protruding from the typical rocky walls of a narrow valley, found cozily tucked in between to large hills. The large traditionally built mahogany path existed above a rushing river that eventually became a family of hot water springs, inhabited by a variation of furry animals.
Towards the north laid a blanket of green trees, pointing towards the clouds. In dead center, a path opened up leading towards a large town/small city. It consisted of long rows of high, temple like buildings. Like as if the buildings of the Fire Nation some how transported, and the natives of the land repainted the dull black and red to attractive blue and green. Lu's heart began racing, feeling anxiety flood into the core of his being.
"Oh spirits, It hasn't changed a bit! Oh it's amazing, Children! Look! We are here!" gasped Ursa.
"Don't forget yourselves, stay sharp and answer questions with polite sentences."
"Mother, you can trust me...You should just have a personal conversation with Lu to make sure he doesn't forget himself." Xion remarked with a grin.
His mother smiled..." I'm sure you'll make a great impression. And present your gift to Miyuki in private, when your alone together."
"When addressed, look in to their eyes, the men will shake your hand violently, make sure to grip firmly. It's custom to kiss the hands of women your not related to, and some flirtatious remarks are always well received, just don't push things too much. When you eat, use your chop sticks, and I have a fresh suit for you, it's a mix between kimono and tuxedos, cutting edge fashion. All the men will be wearing suits or one of these, so along with your handsome face your bound to impress!
Thankfully, the road had turned smooth without a single crack. The sato mobile glided towards the bridge that led to the gates of the old fashioned city and stopped approximately five meters away from the three guards in black and white military coats and night camouflage cargo pants that was tucked into rough boots. The two positioned behind were topped of with a grey beret, where as the leader were a white captain's hat.
"What on Earth is going on? What are they doing?" Ursa asked, stretching her neck to see.
The driver answered "They seem to have a problem with a man...and a cart of cabbages, My lady."
They all stepped out to witness, "Well I'm sure it'll be fine, I recall that everyone in Tao city were absolutely wonderful."
Suddenly the voices of the captain and the vendor reached their ears.
"You think to sell us rotten cabbages? I apologies, but they do not fit the criteria, and do not meet standard health procedures, these cabbages are slightly rotten."
A weaker voice shakily replied. "No please! After the incident with the Equalists Cabbage Corp. was reduced back to selling cabbages!"
"The incident you speak off took place more than a century before our dispute, if your still selling cabbages its due to piss salesmanship, yet you stand here and fill my ears with your problems, here is what you will receive for your troubles."
The captain kicked the earth, causing the earth beneath the cart to buckle. The cart was now resting on a slanted mound, like a hill. He kicked down with his left foot, the second buckle caused the earth to uproot, the cart became airborne. His assistant raised his arms and flapped down like a bird. Sharp points of ice manifested from the water rich air and rained down, slicing the cabbages into millimeter thick slices. Finally the third guard stepped back and clicked his fingers, producing a fiery whip. Like the tongue of a dragon, it flicked up and shot towards the wheel. The flames surged and the wheels burst, a second flick caused a second combustion, and like rings of fire the explosion rippled. From the ashen remains black soot rained down upon the terrified face of the exporter.
"NO! MY CABBAGES!" he screamed.
"Yes very nice" Xion muttered under her breath.
The cart was obliterated, the soot still rained down upon the ever screaming salesman.
"Why hello, you seem quite stressed out, I'm sure you've had a hard journey, come through and buy a new car, you must try our massage parlor, you'll be stress free I assure you!" smiled the Guard.
"You just ruined my cabbages!"
"I'm sorry sir, I do not recall, please escort him in, and make sure he pays all his fees!" commanded the ever smiling guard.
The guard turned his attention towards Ursa, and suddenly his posture dropped lax. He smiled so wide Lu thought his cheeks would mold and crack, and the shiny bits which were teeth drop silently to the dirt.
He strolled forward with a slight hick in walk, a smooth unnatural swagger and boldness. He was at the windshield, leaning with elbows to the window, he taped on the handle, then finally said,
"Ursa!, Well I'll be! how's my little kitty?" he whispered in fatherly tones. His grey streaks of hair pulled all the way back, his amber eyes staring down upon them with a strange sense of tenderness.
"Uncle Edmond, you've moved up in the world!" she giggled.
"Oh yes, First captain and Prim-arch of the City guard" he gloated while removing his cap for a better view of the cities crescent. "So who do we have here? This is Xion"-A beefy finger pointed at her. "But who's the young man?"
Lu Ten opened the door and approached his mother's uncle with his hand out.
"I don't think we've met...My name is Lu Ten."
"Lu?...No we have met, has it really been 10 years, 10 years Ursa?"
His voice a shocked whisper.
"Yes...it has been" she replied sincerely.
"Well it's time to become reacquainted I suppose, plenty time for chit chat I'm sure, well go on, in you go" he finished with hands folded behind his back.
The gates remained shut, while a smaller yet still quite large entrance opened, leading into the beautiful city of the Tao, the home land of their mother's side.
Yamato approached the elevator that lead to the Deep tunnels. The miners before him had already chiseled a labyrinth of chasms, spiraling and tunneling into the ever growing darkness. The darkness was a strange place, there was no light, torches had to be taken down with the miners, they had already learnt that leaving torches down would not work, and the delicate structure made the idea of cable absurd. Instead, they had light bulbs on helmets, but they weren't strong enough to penetrate completely. A fire bender would go down and light some torches, as to make work easier.
The doors remained open, within was the senior miner as well as several other A rank miners. Earth benders and non earth benders alike, including a few water benders. Yamato stepped and was well received with nods and smiles. The Senior Bumi addressed them all at once.
"Well here we have the best of the best of the best, our mighty miners, explorers of the deep, in search of gold and such pretty things, that would make our hearts race. Eye candy. There's no point in telling you how to mine, but there are a few rules that apply here...It's bloody dark, so you keep your hats on. They'll be some red tape, that's when even your lights won't work. If you reach there, pull on your rope 5 times, and we'll send down a fire bender. It's only thing powerful enough to light the way, sure you can see the veins of jewels, but pretty lines won't light anything more than a centimeter away. Secondly, it's all very delicate, the gems you find are reactive, gladly you don't need to separate them from any impurities, but you cannot earth bend to find them. I can't express how important that is, if you earth bend, you'll bring the whole place down."
"Wait, no earth bending? What the spirits!" cried out one of the miners. It evoked a choras of questions.
"What about water bending?"
"Why not a little bending? To move a rock?"
"No, no bending, water either, you will use these steel pickaxes, if you have a problem you can leave!"
To the seniors surprise, half of the group left and returned to the higher tunnels. There were 12 people originally in the elevator, only six remained, including the senior.
"Sadly, I'm too old to go down with you, terrible lungs, so your on your own...There is a chance of dying down there...If your not back by the end of the shift, then we'll send down a search party...So your family will have some closure...Are you ready?"
His question was answered with determined nods. The senior stepped out of the elevator, and hit a button. The mesh gate closed, a large rumble erupted as the elevator lowered it self deeper into the earth. Yamato breathed normally at first, but after five black floors passed his lungs tensed and he breathed faster. The inhales were quick, but after a few minutes it returned to normal. Still floors passed, till suddenly the elevator hit a stop, the mesh gate opened, revealing a world of walls, like the body of a giant veins of a million colors meandered and cut across, meeting like tributaries and lakes, then rushed of in other directions. They stepped out onto a circular island, covered in equipment, including ropes, harnesses, batteries, pick axes and hammers. They were steel, but were much smaller. He slipped into a meshed belt of harnesses and clipped the buckles. When he was sure he was secure, he pulled on the rope, and sure enough it lowered down, into darkness and color.
He started around 100 meters below the island, he approached a section of glowing veins, reflecting light from his helmet. It looked like ruby...He lifted his pick axe, pointed it down just above the veins, and began beating it into the earth. Bits of rock easily crumbled away. He continued digging, the point directed lower towards the vein, a large chunk dropped off, revealing a large chunk of ruby crystal attached. He reached in and removed the rock, then placed his find in his pouch. He moved along by grabbing surfaces and pulling, un digging more ruby crystals. When he was content, he pulled again, being lowered to a new layer. When he chiseled a vein, a mass of rocks broke away and battered him while it dropped into the chasm. The sway of his rope hardened, his body slammed into the wall as it finally slowed down.
He spent an hour digging, sweat dripped of his skin as he pummeled the earth, after his rubies, he found one sapphire and two smaller emeralds. A few precious rocks rained down along with curses from above. The process was slow, much of the earth was empty, and the rocks that were found were either lost, too deep or tiny. He approached a lake of emerald, hoping to find a chunk. But every time he dug he only ruined the rock.
After another half hour, he decided to go lower. He was lowered down till he suddenly came to a halt. Around him was red tape. His light flickered, turned on then flickered. It faded, although it was still turned on and the battery was fresh, only shadow of a mist of air above could be seen. He contemplated whether to go, his finds so far were not high in quantity. However, quality always payed more. He yanked the rope five times, and waited.
Magic mushrooms and the bath house on the hillLu Ten had already changed into his new suit, It was comfortable and stylish, the majority of it was a pressed suit, but just before the right arm a curve from the neck to his underarm produced the arm of a kimono. His suit half was of a military design with center buttons, his trousers were dark and skinny and dropped into Fire Nation pointed boots. He was standing on the balcony of the Tao Manor, a castle of immense proportion. It looked over upon the city of the Tao, with the citizens bustling about their lives.
By the time he had finished his hellos with the members of his family, his four aunts and aunties, his 15 cousins, 12 nieces and nephews, the 24 in-laws including the strange Ling Ling twins. He could only remember a few names.
Trying to remember them all caused his brain to overheat. He massaged his temple considering the possibility of reaching the bath house. It was a gorgeous little place with pyramid roofs with long flowing curtains of petals and leaves and red and white colors, beckoning him other with gentle hands. It was perched on a tiny hill with winding steps, a small flowing river slopping into hot springs much like the one they passed by the ravine.
"It looks nice doesn't it?" a sweet yet unexpected voice chimed from above, words falling like leaves from a high branch.
He looked up, and to the waning figment of surprise he still possessed, he found the teeny tiny red burnt toes all frazzled from long exposure wriggling on the slope hat became his window and balcony. His eyes traced along slender legs to find a skinny waist and small shoulders.
"Miyuki..?" he asked with an all too obvious note of ignorance.
"Yes...but how is it you came upon my name?" she asked with puzzled hazel eyes and ruffled hair looking down with vague interest.
"I was told I would find a strange hobo who loitered on the roofs by Ling and Ling." he produced when the truth had dawned on him, neither f them had recognized each other.
"Get out...That's not too hard to believe...You still haven't answered my question."
Lu grimaced, having forgotten her question, he took a moment to look around for inspiration, the bath house caught his attention a third time.
"Yes it's beautiful, are we allowed to go in?" he asked, longing to soak in revitalizing waters.
"No." A blunt hit, like a hammer on a nail.
"So why is it there? I don't get it."
"It's a cultural thing, you wouldn't, it's for the spirits of our ancestors, which is why it's built right above graveyard hill."
"A bath house near a grave yard, yes well I wouldn't want to be walked in on naked by ghosts..." he said, suddenly sensing chills that were not there before he wrapped his arms around it self.
"Yes, your write, apparently 20 years ago, a poor but pretty women sneaked to bathe in the waters as her own home provided no heat, but as she scrubbed her soar fingers and joints, cold, icy breaths were blown down her neck, while a freezing touch began caressing her waist...and then her area grew cold..." she told him, her voice slowly dropping to a ghostly whisper.
He stood frozen, the yonder chills no longer seeming quite yonder.
"So she sat frozen, too terrified to move...and the cold began spreading...from her legs to her chest, her chest down her arms and into her fingers. Her blood turned cold and her hair stuck to her head like a tongue on ice..." her whisper came to a halt.
"Yes? keep going!" Lu had already climbed the height from the balcony and took a place next to the girl in a pink kimono.
"She faded and fell asleep, to awake freezing and fully clothed at the steps to the gate of the grave yard...her legs were sore and it pained her to rise and walk, but she did so feebly in a desperate attempt to escape the bath house. She went home...and...the rest will be told some other time!" she suddenly declared with outstretched arms and a yawn.
"No you can't just stop after all that!" he yelled, suddenly frustrated at the girl with an uncommonly sharp jaw and large pink limps he wantingly stared at.
"If you wanted to know so badly then go read the book, it wasn't some local legend...It was a serious incident...That scared every body in the city...Even today I have to hide my copy, or uncle will scold me...I read it and eat fried mushrooms."
"What? why? never mind can I get your copy of the book?" he asked, fondling with the pearl in his sleeve.
"What would I get?" she asked with amused expressions.
"This pearl" he pulled it fourth and presented his gift."
she looked long and hard at the shine of the smooth, perfectly shaped jewel, looking slightly bemused. Realization quickly dawned upon her with furrowed brows.
"I didn't even recognize you..." her voice even softer as her eyes began watering, little red pigments staining the white of her eyes.
"Good, urm, wow! you've gone huge!" She cried as she patted down his shoulders. "Really Really really big! Like a giant mushroom..."Her voice trailed off into a whisper.
Her cheeks exploded with red, "Yes! Well! There a-are some big mushrooms around here!, besides that, urm I was told you had something for me?" Her eyes dropped to the floor. The blush returned to her face, a glisten sparkled.
"Yeah, I do..."
Her eyebrows perked, her head cocked to one side, the glisten was replaced by something just a hint darker. She beckoned him with a finger, "I'll give you a book, and some of my famous mushroom stew with little boiled mushrooms."
Lu Ten stepped backwards, he was confounded, was she always so obsessed with mushrooms, and what of that dark presence that lingers in her eyes.
"Thank you!" she said.
"Your welcome, I wanted to get you something special so-"
"You spent a load of yuans-"
"No! I was going to, but to find that I decided to go more manual!" he replied with a smile.
On closer inspection, she noticed the curve of the ball wasn't perfect, and the smooth but grainy texture could only mean-
"You got this from a turtle oyster!" her eyes wide with shock. The glisten returned: "Tell me everything, how did you do it?"
"It wasn't actually my idea, it was Xion's and my friends helped!"
"Well, I'll make sure to thank her later, but for now tell me what you did!" she shouted. The strange side of her had returned, her hands stroked her hair and she oftentimes whispered something incoherent, usually surrounding mushrooms. He kept the story of the red aura secret, but told most of the relevant information. Her interest only increased, inquiring here or interrupting to tell a similar tale.
"Once, to make a gift for my friend I hunted down a phoenix cat and plucked one of it's feathers! I attached to a quill and made a fountain pen!"
"No? Do they even exist?" he asked, marveling at the thought of such a creature.
The way she described the events suggested that she killed a giant beast with a cross bow, just seconds before almost perishing herself.
"Sounds far fetched to me." he yawned, his arms slung over his shoulders and he trailed off towards the door. "I don't think your capable of killing anything."
"Hey! that's not fair! I listened to your story while believing in it. What makes your story so believable? I bet you just bought it from some pawn shop!"
Lu burst out laughter, "How can you compare turtles with giant cat beasts?"
She began pouting, angered by the fact that Lu Ten would not accept her truth. With her large eyes and messy locks of hair, she was officially the most adorable thing he had ever seen.
. . .
The sun was lost to him quite abrubtly, the moon perched in its place, temporarily governing the skies. It was an hour, maybe two that they spoke, recalling events that had taken place in each other's absence. Xion appeared through the curtains, her body made a massive shadow against the light from within.
"The elders want us inside, the food is ready so we are all to dine together, you have five more minutes." she declared, and with which she returned to the halls.
"Now that I think about it, I'm starving! I hope there will be steamed mushrooms!" Her mouth twitched, her body visibly perked at the thought.
"What is it you find so fascinating about mushroom?" he asked jokingly, while still wanting an actual answer. Her fascination with the mushrooms fascinated him.
"Weeeeelllll, it all started when I got back from your villages 6 years ago...In our absence the chef started growing these huuugggeee mushrooms in the garden!" she exclaimed while motioning with her hands the size of the mushrooms. They were so big that I could climb up like a tree, and then I fell down inside one! It was like a whole new world! Although-now I can't fit in but it was great!" smiling, she concluded her story.
Lu Ten's face remained blank, "Well that's not weird at all..."
10 full minutes passed by before the rumbling of rocks suggested the arrival of a helper, his bones had gone stiff, his arms ached and he was growing impatient.
"Finally! I want to get down there, if you had gotten here sooner we would have been digging by now!"
Nobody replied, the rope continued to whine and stretch, the body continued to lower down in swaying drops and random spirals, when it finally reached his positions, it did three full rotations before she finally faced him.
"You!" he screamed and pointed a finger.
"Yes, me, and stop screaming, you'll bring the whole mine down!"
"You never told me you could fire bend, you have green eyes, what's up with that?"
"You never asked, and I got my eyes from my mother..."she replied.
"So your father was a?"
"Firebender, yes, he was from the Fire Nation, it's where he is right now, where he ran of to when he no longer wanted to be a father."
Yamato had realized his insensitivity, he abruptly landed her in position involving her father, while screaming too. He silenced himself before picking the best way to apologize. "So, I guess were going to be working together! How did you convince the seniors to let you down?"
"None of the others wanted to come down, so they had no choice but to send me."
"Okay, so lets get started."
She looked, formed a triangle with her hands and a large flame erupted. She began flapping them in different directions, like the wings of a butterfly, the diamond of fire grew then shrunk with each flap, the light emitted traveled different lengths, revealing little bits of their surrounding. When he realized they were being lowered, he understood that it had to be a signal flame, giving the seniors the okay.
She created a second flame, and then released the blazing sphere into the air, suspended above their heads, acting as a make shift chandelier to light the way. What they found made their hearts stop. They hung in the space of a large cavern, the walls a mighty distance away from them, below they found more tunnels, leading even lower. From the distant walls gorgeous crystal, gems the likes of which they've never seen protruded from the rock. The colors of emerald but with different qualities, but the largest ones were far from reach. Despite the beauty, the temperature had exceeded any heat provided by the sun, their hearts pounded to circulate the oxygen which became scarce, The rope came to an abrupt halt, it remained suspended, quickly it became apparent that they weren't being lowered any further, so she continued with the flames, signalling to be dropped. They were surprised to find a safe cliff side on which they could walk upon only two meters away. Their toes touched down with a tap, so they both un strapped their harnesses and replaced their body weight with their supply bags.
"There, it won't go flying back up..." she said while struggling to strap her harness around her bag.
"Too bad, the gems are all the way on the other side...Well I'm sure we'll find something here."
"Yamato, do you we'll be allowed beyond this point?"
"No, it will be too dangerous, the heat is over powering...Urm, we spend 15 minutes here, no more than that, we don't know what's down here so we try to find something and then leave..."
"Okay, well you get started and I keep the fire going!" she cried cheerfully.
Yamato obediently began chiseling, a torrent of sweat dripped of his skin, the light of the flames gleamed in the liquid, making him appear golden, like an idol. Five minutes past and he was still chiseling, the clang of the steel against the earth sung with rhythm and tempo, the dull consistent beat pounded drowsily, quenching the energy she usually had. She wiped the sweat of her neck and broke the silence.
"When I was younger, my father told me a story...that reminds me of the gems you dig in the tunnel..."
"Is that right? why don't you tell me?" he encouraged her.
"It's one of the few fond memories I have of him..." she sighs as she lays against the wall. "Well...Originally, there was only one world, inhabited by divine forces, each with it's own godly existence, and among the twisted barks, the misty swamps, the flourishing meadows and fields of wind, the floating steps and giant plants, among the darkest shadows and within the brightest of lights they ruled their own share of land, without war or disdain for each had what they could only obtain. The forever twilight sky and clouds of ever-changing colors, the ravines of pure water and rivers of honey, the lakes of amber elixir and gardens of flowers, petals made of jewels with sapphire stems and they complimented the surrounding pink water seas. Floating islands and castles of gold rose and fell at its own whim, while spirits of all shapes and sizes made homes in nature, below the dirt or in the hollow trees, above the clouds or within the waters they lived, living off the abundant bounty of nectar. But like the humans they created, they too came with emotions, among their own existed ones more powerful, bright shiners."
"One of these bright shiners was Enalni, a spirit in the form of a dragon with pearly white scales, fine curved horns and cherry blossom hair. It's blossoms radiated pink aura as far as the horizons, and all admired her beauty, even the likes of Koh would freeze for just the briefest of moments to witness the sacred lights."
Yamato had dug deep, layers of rock fell to the ground as the thud of his Pick continued to penetrate the walls.
"Many spirits found partners, those similar to their own would leave in love and sire their children, and in numbers they gained favor and power, thus governed their worlds with iron law and kept the wicked tame by creating their puppets and their guardians to police the masses and formed houses. The strongest were the Houses of Isturiatas and Xentius, who lead all but the bright shiners. Enalni watched from the distance, always interested by their movements, till finally their lust for power evoked hatred and resulted in a call for arms, the eve of war had arrived, and the bright shiners were expected to pick sides. Many had already chosen, Koh fought along Xentius, stealing face upon face in the blood shed, feeding off the terror, where as some turned away and focused on sustaining life and order, in their plight for a world for life to continue they created the human world, and there many spirits remained to create societies and provide balance, Enalni only found an escape from the horror, so she fled and buried herself in the earths, her light and radiance lost, never to grace a living soul again."
8 minutes had passed since she began, and just as Yamato was beginning to lose hope, a few stones loosened under his sharp point, and from the dusty crater burst fourth radiant rays of luminous pink, so abundant the phosphorescent torch shed light to banish every shadow, brighter than a flawless sky they saw clearer then they would even above the mines. Yamato reached in and latched onto the gem. For a second the world went dark again, but as he tentatively pulled the jewel from its resting place, and un clenched his fingers, they marveled at the grace of a perfectly cut gemstone, un tainted by a single scratch or blemish.
"Have you ever seen something so beautiful?" she asked him with a pink face.
"No...what is it?"
"It must be...It seems to be made of solid cherry blossoms....Imagine how much this is worth...millions."
"You can't sell Enalni! It's too precious!" she screamed, her face shocked, unbelieving that anyone could sell something so pure.
"Your right, you take it! And don't show anyone, not a single soul!"
"Wha-why?" she asked, confused, who could give away a find such as this.
"You deserve this, if things become too hard, if you ever need the money then you sell it, but if not, keep it safe..."
"Okay. But we have to show them something!"
"Fine, but shhh, don't tell anyone about what your about to see, they said not to earth bend, there's nothing wrong with metal bending!"
Unlike the bold gestures he used for earth bending, metal bending was more delicate and more psychological. He reached out for an invisible hand, the pick axe rose into the air, he un clenched his fingers, and one by one they folded back down. The axe shot off, spinning so fast it looked like a spinning saw, or the circular face of the sun. In the distance it hurled at the emerald crystal and sliced through a chunk of the gem while crying sparks for tears while echoing a deafening screech, when it returned, a large sample sat on the blade.
"There, I almost forgot about this overwhelming heat, it can't be good for us!"
"Okay!" she muttered as they both strapped back into the harness and tugged down hard on the rope. In seconds they began rushing upwards, like a rocket to the surface.
Hisano.... Hisano was the name of the 16-year-old girl in a sooty miner's uniform riding the eastbound train in innocent, miserable silence. The issue was her silence, she never disturbed anyone, but she rode along quietly, staring out of the window of the moving train. Her body bobbing up and down along with the bop of the passenger carts. She was surrounded by the usual passengers, all who took the same route home or away from home, and while the majority of the users overtime broke the mold and formed simple relationships and friendships, she remained in her own barren table. They new nothing of her life, but made assumptions and assumed that it had to be difficult and troubled if a 16 year old was willing to work in mine. The few times they did communicate with her, maybe for the time or the date, possibly a nice suggestion for a cafe to eat lunch, she replied politely with a grateful smile that melted their hearts. Many of them felt that she may have been an orphan, and that she was looking for a friend for a nice, warm hug, but none of them ever tried to approach her. They wanted to, but they all held back, expecting a leader to eventually make a move towards this solemn girl. No one ever did, but the large women who pulled along the snack trolley always made sure to just, accidentally drop a snack on the table, and none of the other passengers noticed, or at least pretended not to. When she returned, Hisano would smile that grateful heart melting smile and the women would smile back. After everyone would leave, the women would make another round to clean up, and would usually find the snack untouched. A mother of three, not that Hisano knew, watched her from two tables back, surrounded by the other usual suspects.
"She has such a beautiful smile...but let me tell you that she's forcing it, a mother can just tell when a child is sad but can't do anything to become happy...aww...it kills me."
"She never complained, or cries. If I was that depressed I would't even leave the house..." said another passenger.
Hisano stared out of the rumbling window, oblivious to the comments made by the passengers. Her thoughts were focused on Yamato, tall, kind, wonderful, handsome, strong Yamato. It had only been two weeks since she met him, but it was the longest she had spent with anybody in years. Unlike her, and everyone else, he was never shy to say hello, and always listened when she had another problem. She bit down on her lip, she remembered when she asked him, and he told her that he was married to a beautiful women she tried her hardest not to cry. But as soon as she met the comfort of her pillow her eyes wept, her groans muffled by the pillow. She realized at the time how loud she was. But that didn't matter, nobody knocked on her door to ask if she was okay. Nobody responded to the sobbing. Her mother only spoke when she needed something, while her sister Ellie was a mute and was seemed to only be aware of her own cries.
The next day she met Asami, the women had come by to give Yamato some homemade lunch. Hisano couldn't help but notice how tall and slender Asami was, how large her breasts were, how luscious her long hair and how dazzling her eyes were. She didn't imagine the sparkle in Yamato's eye when he spoke to her, how he tried his best to make her smile and laugh. She was angry, nobody should be so pretty and strong, she should have a mole or a faint mono-brow to even things out. She wondered if, had her father stayed, then she would never had met Yamato, yes, that would have been better. But because he left, she committed herself to holding together a family that didn't exist by working in a mine, where she met a man she couldn't have. She never saw the divorce as a negative thing, she thought it was her test into women-hood, but Yamato changed things. She became truly upset.
The train hissed to a stop at her station. She jumped off and sprinted off past the alleys and in between estates. She paused for a breath, in front of her old, fading brown flat. She looked at the ugly, pathetic excuse for a home, then along the road to the side where she had never crossed. She had no reason to go in that direction, but now she did. She wanted to leave and not turn back. She began slowly walking in the dark, then she quickened. Her pace changed to a jog, then to a run, then into a full sprint, she was rushing, her lungs hurt, as well as her side but it didn't seem to matter..Till she was stopped dead in her tracks. A large bill boards loomed over her with the picture of a perfect family and a line saying:
The good person never gives up on family, for no matter the event, you still share the same blood that gives you live
She glared at the mother, brother, father and sister. And at a snail's pace she trailed back to her flat.
Hisano entered her two bedroom flat. The living room was the kitchen, and was also her bedroom, with a sofa that opened into a mattress. The two bedroom doors opened into a tiny space for her mother and her medicen, and her mute sister. She saw the empty cans in the bin and understood that they had already had dinner. She knocked on the door and greeted her mother.
"Mother, how are you?" she asked with the ghost of her smile.
Her bed ridden mother opened her wrinkled eyes, she turned her quickly aging face and blankly stared through Hisano.
"Bills?" she gasped.
"I've already payed them mama..."
Her mother turned her gaze to her medicen cabinet.
"Yes mama" Hisano whispered as she crept towards the low cabinet, her expression emotionless. She pulled out a pink and red bottle of pills, then fetched a glass of water. She sat up, the smell of her sweaty gown and bed sheets overpowered her, her mother never washed if she wasn't told to. Her regards for her health...and her kids boarded the plain with Hisano's father.
"Leave me..."She whispered as she gulped the pills down and went to sleep.
Hisano asked herself why she tried with her sister, but she still tried, it was against her not to. She walked in and sat next to the mute Elli who had head phones on, attached to a very old phone her father had bought when it was still in fashion.
"Hi" she began by waving.
Like her mother, Ellie only stared at Hisano. Ellie wasn't deaf, she just didn't speak. When she wanted things she used her hands to express herself.
"Did you draw anything new today?" she asked a second question. Still she was given no gestures.
Hisano left the room. She pulled of the pillows of the sofa and the bed sprang fourth. She settled under the covers, hugged her pillow with all her strength and began, for maybe the twentieth time, to sob.
Don't copy, I'll find you...
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