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One: Mel of the Earth Kingdom
March 28, 2012
This is the fourteenth chapter of Book One: Mel of the Earth Kingdom. It tells of what happened to Mel and to Hope after the hunt for the Fire Mistress. It is told from Mel's perspective.
Mel was fast asleep and Azula had left to find food (or at least she said so). I got up and walked to the rock under which I had hidden my outfit. I put it on, but for some reason the shoes seemed a little too tight. I guessed that was because of the constant worries. I walked to the table and slipped the page from Azula's diary and the two knifes I had prepared in my pocket. I was ready to go physically, but mentally I couldn't do it. I looked back at Mel. He truly was a wonderful boy, but I could not ignore my mission just when I was so close. And if I asked him for help, he would refuse to let me go. Seeing that there were no other good options, I had decided that going alone was the one way. Still, I left him a short note saying goodbye. I truly hoped he would listen to the advice and not come to seek me out.
I sneaked out very quietly to make sure that neither Mel woke up, nor Azula (if she had come back) could hear me. I still did not fully trust her, and I doubted I ever would. She had taught us some nice moves, but I still wasn't quite satisfied with the fact that we didn't learn how to move and control objects through heatbending. But I had to leave now; all these thoughts were just slowing me down.
I walked to the edge of the rock, took a deep breath and jumped. When I was about ten feet off the ground, I bended a fireblast that would help me land gently. Then I just made a run for it. I didn't look back for that would have just slowed me down.
When I finally reached the temple, I faced another problem that I, ironically, hadn't thought about – getting in. The current level of protection was extremely high, and the Mistress would probably have hundreds of guards with her. But the answer came with the first close look of the temple – the air vents.
I slowly walked to the bridge that connected the temple to the mountainside. Then I just hid in the hedge that surrounded it. A truck was approaching, and I knew that that was my one change. Just as it was crossing, I jumped on its side and hid on the bottom. I could hear the inspectors come as the truck made a full stop. While checking the stock, I ran to the wall that was surrounding the gate (and guarded the temple for intruders) and jumped on the outer side. I took out the two knifes from my pockets and stuck them on the wall. Then, one by one, I took turns in moving my hands and striking the knife. I was getting closer and closer, until I was finally just a few more steps away. But as I was stabbing the knife into the wall, the blade broke off the handle and fell hundreds of feet. I was now stuck, and the Fire Mistress was probably half-way through her trip. I had failed...
Or maybe I hadn't. I held the knife that was still on wall with two hands and let my feet go. I was hanging off hundreds of feet on nothing but a knife. Then I gathered all my strength, pushed myself up and jumped on top of the knife. Next jump and I was on top of the wall, running towards the air vent. I didn't even think but just jumped through the shaft. When I was fully inside, I put it back on and continued.
The shaft was cold and dry, but the air was at least cleaner than the one outside. I continued running stealthy, and I checked shaft after shaft, looking for the Mistress. And then... I finally found her. There she was, in the middle of a hundred guards on each of her shoulders. But I was prepared for them all...
It was on the second day of training, when there was spare time that I happened to stumble across a precious artifact – Azula's diary. It was out of curiosity and worry that I decided to read it. But I had misunderstood what she meant by diary. Instead of keeping trak of her experiences, she kept a diary of all the techniques she had mastered and invented0. It was amazing, mesmerizing, but one was the crystal jewl – the ultimate lightning technique. According to the writing the technique required years to master fully and that it should never be practiced to its fullest until the highest of mastery. But I had no time to completely master a technique as such. I needed it now, and I was going to use it now. I stood up and took my stance. I followed that with a big breath. Then I started tracing circular shapes with my hands, collecting all the energy around me. I followed that with another big breath and more circular movements. Finally I was ready to proceed to step two: I took a deep breath and completely ended my respiratory process. Then I concentrated on the energy, and I slowly started moving it toward my heart. My veins expanding; my heart was beating harder, yet I felt my body become colder and colder.
Finally, the energy reached my heart. I took another deep breath and my eyes popped out wide. I looked at every dangerous spot and angle, thinking of a way to die and to bring harm and destruction. And every single one of these thoughts turned into energy and fueled my cause. Finally, my body was unable to stand it – my heart started to beat slower, my eyes started closing, my muscles felt looser and looser. The next to arm movements would be the end of my life, and I knew it. Lightning was very well conducted by metal and this whole place was made of it. But sacrifice was required for the better.
I let the lightning go and shatter, but it wasn't anything of the kind of what I had expected it to be. As the lightning came out of my fingertips, I was pushed back. I could feel the metal heating up – the building was slowly melting. The lightning bold just continued on and on until it finally stopped. I ran forward and jumped out of the air vent. As I landed on my feet and looked up, I discovered a terrible fact – she had survived.
But how? And how had I survived? Well I had to answer these questions later, because she had made a run for it. I jumped over bones and still burning flesh, trying to catch up with her. She wasn't getting away this time! I put my fist up and shot a fireball. She dodged it but tripped over a metal crate. Now was my chance. I jumped over the crate and prepared to make lightning. But she was quicker and more knowledgeable than I thought: with one kick of her leg I collapsed on the ground. With my chi blocked and a body that I could not move, it was clearly her turn to strike. And she played her cards well – the bolt of lightning cut right through my stomach and melted my spine in half. I had failed once and for all.
- This is the first chapter of the Book One: Mel of the Earth Kingdom finale.
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