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|The Fortuneteller (Part 1)|
18-The Fortuneteller (Part 1)
Finally settling down after fleeing for their lives, the group recovers from the horror of the day before. After a very thoughtful gift from Aang, the group stumbles upon and saves a man in peril, only to learn of a fortuneteller living in a nearby town, Makapu. Against Sokka's will, they travel for their own fortunes to be told, where Katara finds a snippet of information that only serves to fuel the fire for further discovery.
Additional notes Edit
Shame; I'd have liked to have kept it all in one chapter, I think it would have carried better. But; it's simply too large to reasonably do so.
“Ow!” Katara pulled away from her sewing, dropping Aang’s shirt to her lap before putting her finger to her mouth.
“Trying to sew your fingers to Aang’s shirt?” Sokka quirked a smile, squatting beside a pile of wood he was attempting to set fire to.
With a roll of her eyes, she ceased nursing her finger and returned the needle to her work. “Mistakes happen. You think you could do any better?”
“Sewing’s not my thing.” A sudden spark caught the kindling afire. Sokka flopped to the ground and kicked his legs up, proud of his success. “Come to me if you need manly things like hunting, fishing, and starting campfires.”
“Remember what happened the last time you acted like that?” Lowering her work to her lap, she set a twisted smile on her brother. “Your girlfriend beat you up.”
He didn’t even budge, simply waved his arms out to his side idly as he responded. “I told you; she’s not my girlfriend.”
“Whatever you say.” Chuckling, she proceeded to finish the womanly task that seemed to be expected of her. If Aang was awake he’d be more grateful.
Some hours later, Katara had finished her work and now stood trembling in fury beside a stream. “Why can’t I get this stupid move!?” She exclaimed with frustration, leaning back into her stance to reattempt her failed waterbending move. She leapt toward the river, bringing her leg ahead of her as she led with an underhanded swing.
A surge tightened her legs muscles, sensing the stir of the water before her. A pulsating tug rippled up her arm as she swung above her head, sending a blast of water racing for the skies with a roar. Within a moment, the sensation that climbed up her arm slipped away before reaching her hand, causing the water to degrade into a spray of harmless splashes. Shoot!
Aang had told her how he sliced the ship’s mast when rescuing Sokka and the fisherman. It actually surprised her that he had based the move off of what she had shown him the day before that event – altering the water blast she had used to propel through the water so that it instead launched straight up with just as much force.
She scowled at the rippling stream; utterly crushed she still hadn’t gotten it right. This isn’t that hard, why am I struggling with it? Oh forget it. She decided to try something a bit slower, similar to her prior idea of making a large wave.
Standing perfectly still, she consecutively swung her arms before her; first her left, then as her right arm rose she brought her left behind her and repeated in circular fashion. Waves danced and swirled at her pressure but finally her chi caught grip of the water closer to the surface, raising two adjoining waves of water as they danced into the air.
“Wow! Great job Katara!” Aang called out from their campfire, drawing her sudden surprise as the water slipped and plummeted back into the stream.
She sighed, pivoting her head back for Aang. “I’ve been trying all morning to do what you told me about…”
“I didn’t tell you how to do that.” He pointed beyond her for the stream.
“Oh, well that’s just me goofing around. So…how about you? How are you feeling?”
“Fantastic! You’re amazing; I can’t even tell my shirt had tears in it!” This praise brought a smile to her, warming her heart after having spent so long feeling like nothing but a failure.
“And he’s not even got a scratch.” Sokka broke in, hurriedly arresting the topic. “Katara I need you to look at this for me.”
Curiously eyeing her brother, she obliged him and began heading over. “What’s wrong?”
“Ever since Aang put that nasty frog in my mouth, I can’t shake a tickle in the back of my throat…something’s growing there.”
“…growing?” Katara lifted a brow, kneeling beside him. “And what am I supposed to do about something that’s…growing?”
“Nothing, just look at my throat hole flap and tell me if you see something like a wart!” He stretched his mouth open and let out a quick ‘ah’ as she peered in.
“Stop that, I don’t need you to ‘aah’ me while I’m looking.” He hushed and made to reply, but she gripped his lower jaw and kept his mouth open to look closer, pulling an oomph out of Sokka. “I don’t see anything…”
He jerked away and glared back at her before snapping in reply. “I can feel it! Maybe it’s just on the back of my throat hole flap and you can’t see it!”
“Or maybe it’s just in your head.” She crossed her arms and stood, raising a brow down to him.
“Exactly!” Sokka shouted back in exasperation.
“Ugh, I didn’t mean like that!” In frustration she rounded the campfire and threw herself down with a shake of her head. “Look, I had a frog in my mouth too; nothing’s wrong with me.”
Aang butted in apologetically. “I’m sorry guys; I was just trying to help.”
“You’re fine Aang, you did help us. Even though it was nasty it worked.” Though following this, Katara narrowed her eyelids and ran her gaze out the corner of her eyes. “Just warn us what you’re going to do next time.” Oh, you know, so I don’t nearly throw up when I find out for myself.
“What are you hiding?” She lifted her eyes in question to her brother before realizing he was asking Aang and not her.
“Nothing.” Turning to Aang, she noticed his hand concealed something on his lap. She chuckled softly, glad to see Aang being playful and happy again; especially considering the scare he gave her the last night.
“Katara, why did you just have to insist the fisherman buy us only fruits? What is with you two and fruits and vegetables?” Sokka moaned as he had for the last couple minutes. Katara had stopped replying, instead just shaking her head at her brother’s sorrow. “I would have just liked something more filling for lunch, that’s all.”
“Well…you had a fish yesterday.” Aang idly commented.
“I shared it with her…” Again Katara shook her head, ignoring her brother as she leaned toward the fire. I have to think of everyone when getting food Sokka…not just you. We don’t have much money…
Whatever Aang was busying himself with apparently required a lot of attention. He would constantly cover his secret whenever either of them happened to glance in his direction, besides that he hadn’t said very much. After some time of silence had passed, a sudden splash captured her attention.
Looking for the source, she spotted a large fish spiral into the air before spinning back to dive like a professional diver back into the stream. “Look!” She exclaimed, leaping to her feet and pointing at what Sokka had been longing for.
What the… She stared in wonder when it flew into the air and… did it just kind of do a backflip? “He’s taunting us…!” Sokka groaned in disgust. Wow. Smart fish…
“You are SO gonna be dinner!” He raced past her, snatching up a fishing pole by their tent as he bolted back to thrust its line after the fish. Um… She stared oddly at her brother as he stood still, gazing dumbly at the fishing pole. “H-hey…where’s the fishing line?!”
“Oh, I didn’t think you would need it Sokka.” Aang lifted his secret in show, though she couldn’t make out what he had done with it.
Sokka stepped closer and bent over, eyeing Aang’s handiwork. “Aah it’s all tangled!”
Why did you mess up his fishing line? Her arms fell loosely to her sides, watching Aang float up into the air like a leaf before drifting back down to his feet. “Not tangled, woven!” He gripped either end of the small item, turning to her as he held it out. “I made you a necklace Katara. I thought since you lost your other one…” His eyes darted around before extending it in full display complete with a toothy smile.
Aw…that’s so sweet! She couldn’t help but smile. While it wasn’t her mother’s necklace it was still very thoughtful. She found herself rather liking his way of saying thank you for her help tending to him and his clothing.
Approaching him, she accepted the necklace he offered her gladly, holding it up to admire the pretty pink flower at its center. “Thanks Aang! I love it.” I could get used to this…
Quickly she began tying it about her neck, though the task wasn’t quite as simple as other necklaces. “Great Aang.” Sokka dejectedly spat back. “Maybe instead of saving the world you can go into the jewelry making business.”
“I don’t see why I can’t do both.” Aang shrugged playfully, turning to Sokka. He is pretty good. She mused as she glanced toward the two.
The daring fish made its appearance once again. She chuckled softly as her brother suddenly threw the fishing pole into the river as if it were a spear. “Stop taunting me!” He bellowed, hobbling into the water with a drawn Water Tribe knife.
There. She finished tying the fishing line around her neck, lifting her eyes to the back of Aang’s head with a soft smile. “So; how do I look?” She posed sweetly for him, slipping one arm behind her back as her other hand’s fingertips laid against the flower at her neck’s front, fully showing off his handiwork.Turning slowly back, Aang threw his arms up before wide-eyeing Katara. Wow…really? She blushed lightly as Aang tugged at his shirt collar. “You mean…all of you, or just your neck? I mean… ‘cause both look great!” He finished, shutting his eyes as he rubbed his bald head with an ever broadening smile.
Oh Aang! You’re really too much! She grinned sheepishly, tucking her chin to her chest at the high praise she received. “Smoochie, smoochie!” Sokka teased suddenly, effectively slapping the smile right off of her face. Sokka, what is wrong with you?! “Someone’s in love!” He further ridiculed, pretending to kiss the immense fish he had seized in his arms. It slipped from his grip and tail slapped his face, forcing a high-pitched cry as he fell back to the water.
“I…” Aang dipped his head down and smiled awkwardly, fretfully hesitating. “Weelll…”
Really, Sokka? He doesn’t even know how to react to your stupidness! She scowled, angry as ever Sokka would be so inconsiderate. “Stop teasing him Sokka.” She stated firmly, turning her eyes to the nervous airbender in front of her, deciding to help ease his nerves. Poor Aang…
“Aang’s just a good friend.” Approaching him, she reached out and rubbed his bald head playfully. “A sweet little guy! Just like Momo.” She slid her hand off of Aang and onto Momo’s furry head, who closed his green eyes and cooed softly at her affection. Cutie.
She imitated a little kiss to the small lemur, as Aang replied half-heartedly. “Thanks…”
What’s wrong…? Opening her eyes she stood back as her brother, soaking wet with no fish, approached them. Shouldn’t you be upset with Sokka? She lowered her eyes to Aang, but before she could consider this any further, a roar filled the air that gave her a sudden scare.
Aang didn’t wait a moment, airbending past her and her brother to land on a boulder not far away. There, he lifted his hand and pointed to shout in exclamation. “Someone’s being attacked by a platypus bear!”
Oh no! She broke into a quick jog, staying a step behind her brother. We have to help! “Make noise, he’ll run off!” Aang shouted as the scene came into view.
“No, play dead, he’ll lose interest!” Sokka countered with a different strategy. Play dead?! Then he will be dead! Stop always saying something stupid!
“Whoa! Close one.” The blue-robed man laughed joyously as he ducked just under a swipe from the bear’s claws, spinning a step back to stand a foot away.
I have to do something! “Run downhill!” She cupped her hand beside her mouth, jabbing a finger in the direction she suggested. “Then climb a tree!”
“No, punch him in the bill!” Sokka retaliated sharply. What is this? This is not a game, Sokka!
“…and then, run in zigzags!” Aang followed. Oh just do something already!
“No need.” The man nonchalantly stated, his hands clasped carelessly behind his back with an ever-present smile. “It’s going to be fine.” The platypus bear, standing two times his height, let out a horrific roar and closed in on him. With a single, powerful strike the bear just missed the ducking man and tore a chunk out of the tree behind him.
Katara’s mouth fell open. That could have been him! Then, to her surprise, Aang suddenly fell between the man and the platypus bear with a gust of wind, stopping the bear’s final strike. “Whoa there!” He declared with absolutely no fear, taking a stance before the beast as if prepared to take it on.
Aang, no! The beast let loose a rumbling growl, towering over the small airbender, its newest prey. That moment a large white beast lumbered up behind the unaware bear. Appa! The bison opened its mouth, wide enough to swallow up the bear, and roared deeper and louder than it ever had. An egg popped out of the bear in its sudden terror, quickly turning back to lumber into the river and swim away.
Following her brother as they approached this strange man, she stood beside him and Aang, staring perplexedly at Sokka who picked the egg left behind. “Mmm! Lunch!” She didn’t care. Her attention turned to the man who sat squatting where the bear had left him. “Lucky for you we came along.”
“Thanks. But everything was already under control.” He calmly addressed the three children, rising to his feet with a quick spin. “Not to worry.” He…he really wasn’t scared. How? It could have killed him! He paced the grassy turf between them, keeping his hands behind his back and that same, unchanging smile upon his face. “Aunt Wu predicted I’d have a safe journey.” He finished, placing his palms together before his chest to provide a courteous bow.
“Aunt who?” Aang questioned suddenly.
“No, Aunt Wu! She’s the fortune teller from my village.” Her eyes widened. Seriously? The man tucked both hands behind his back once again, adding calmly. “Awful nice knowing your future.”“Wow…it must be.” Katara mumbled, dipping her chin to glance aside. That makes perfect sense now. She jerked her head back with a broad smile. “That explains why you were so calm!”
Sokka opened his mouth, ruining her moment. “But the fortune teller was wrong! You didn’t have a safe journey you were almost killed!” Well…
“But I wasn’t!” He replied without so much as a moment’s loss, holding his palm out. With a joyful laugh, he pressed a balled fist into his open palm in gesture of farewell. “Alright! Have a good one!” Hm; very good point.
“Oh!” He stopped suddenly just a few feet away, turning to set his ever-smiling face on them once again. What’s he have to say this time!? In heightened curiosity, she stepped beside Aang to stare at the strange, peaceful man in his blue, white-sleeved gown. “And Aunt Wu said if I met any travelers, to give them this.” He handed a long, bundled item to Aang.
Without so much as waiting for Aang to open the package, he turned and continued his prior walk. Wow…she even predicted he would meet us? She knows of us?! “…maybe we should go see Aunt Wu and learn our fortunes. It could be fun!”
The sound of shredding paper echoed as Aang tore into their present. “Oh come on! Fortune telling is nonsense.” Sokka stepped all over her joy as per normal fashion, bringing a frown to her face. What? How could you say that? Didn’t you just see any of what just happened, and he even was told he would meet us!
Katara half-turned only her head sorrowfully toward Sokka, unsure really how to say she disagreed. Pop! Aang had finished unwrapping their gift. “Whadduya know; an umbrella!”
A sudden roll of thunder shook the ground before she even had time to ponder why they were given an umbrella, followed by an instantaneous downpour of rain. Whoa! Sudden! She swiftly threw her hand above her head, bending the falling droplets to bounce away from her head effortlessly.
“That proves it!” She exclaimed, standing beneath a sheet of deflecting droplets that bounced off her shielding chi’s control. Aunt Wu completely knew what would happen today. Everything! We’re going to see her. She turned aside and leapt under the umbrella with Aang.
“No it doesn’t…!” Sokka uttered in aggravation, lifting the giant egg above his head as his own personal umbrella. “You can’t really tell the future!”
Open your eyes, bright guy. “I guess you’re not really getting wet then?” She nearly laughed at just how obvious Sokka being wrong was, but stopped as she saw the now-slick egg slip between his fingers, spinning back to crack atop his head.
She smiled. Wear your hat Sokka. “Let’s go Aang. The village has to be at the end of this trail.”
“Sure thing; sounds like fun!”
“You’re kidding me, you’re going to go with her to see this fortune telling nonsense?!” Sokka jerked the egg into his hands, thrusting its shell to the ground before wiping a pile of yolk off the top of his head. “Whatever. But at least have some sense guys, we need to pack up our campsite!”
“In the rain?” Katara frowned as she turned back to him, lifting her hand to lay a gentle hold on the umbrella’s shaft. “That’s not a good idea Sokka. We’ll just come back after we visit the fortune teller, when it isn’t raining, and pack up then.”
He scowled at her ruefully, stomping his feet along the dirt trail to brush past her. “Let’s get this over with.”
They followed after Sokka for some time, though he eventually slowed down and let them pass, falling back beside Appa. “Do you believe in fortunes?” Katara questioned, setting her eyes upon Aang at her side.
“Well…” He hesitated, turning up to her with a half-smile. “It does seem convenient beside you…under this umbrella I mean.” At this his smile crept fully upon his face. “So…”
“I know!” She exclaimed, waving her hands beside her for a moment with a glance down the trail. “It’s so easy to see!”
Sokka piped up behind them. “Right, I’m sure she predicted a Water Tribe girl and an Air Nomad boy huddled under the same umbrella in the drizzling rain. ‘Cause, y’know, it makes so much sense.”
“I don’t see anything wrong with it.” Aang answered flatly, twisting his head back to Sokka.
Katara quirked a brow and turned her head back as well. “Sokka, stop complaining. You can join us you know, you’re just being stubborn that Aunt Wu was right when predicting it was going to rain.”
“Of course she predicted it was gonna rain. The sky’s been gray all day!” He argued, huddling his arms against his soggy clothes.
Ugh. “Just admit you might be wrong and you can come under the umbrella.”
He stopped in the center of the trail, jabbing a finger towards the two. “Look, I’m gonna predict the future now.” She and Aang stopped, turning halfway to watch his antics as he wobbled side to side in mockery. “It’s going to keep drizzling.”
Standing upright, he crossed his arms and gained a smug grin. “See?” You are so irritating and stubborn.
It stopped raining.
What? Aang tilted the umbrella back as she gazed with an open mouth for the skies. Wow. That…I just…wow. “Not everyone has the gift, Sokka.” Aang coolly retorted.
Oh perfect Aang! Thank you. She hadn’t known what to say; it was just too in your face, not to mention strangely convenient. Pressing forward beside Aang, he tipped the umbrella back when Appa shook violently to sling water off of his furry body. “Gaah!” Should have come under the umbrella; Sokka. She smiled over her shoulder.
It wasn’t long before the dirt path became a stone street, leading below an ornate archway that served as the town’s entrance. “Wow.” She glanced up as they crossed beneath it, observing its golden colors with wonder. “This place is amazing.”
“The prison in Omashu looked better.”
Sokka… her eyebrows fell, releasing a heavy sigh. “Just try and enjoy yourself while here and don’t do anything dumb, okay? At least we aren’t being attacked by the Fire Nation.”
The air was notably different in town, a cool breeze carrying the scent of pine and forestry. Green rooftops with gold trim lined buildings with golden shutters and white walls. She loved it all. A series of warbling quacks assailed her, glancing down to smile merrily at two turkey-ducks that turned after her when she walked by.
A red, circular doorway donned the center of the building ahead, guarded by a tall man with white hair. His clothing was simply astounding; she’d never seen a long black outfit with silver trim. These people really do have unique style. I love it! As soon as the three had come close; he graciously extended his hand for the doorway in a half-bow to address them. “Aunt Wu... is expecting you.”
“Really?!” Wow! She really is the real thing! Not a moment was lost as she anxiously made her way for the doorway, all smiles.
He continued; reaching back to slide the double doors open. “See that you get comfortable for your fortunes to be read with a clear mind. Remove your shoes and take a seat while you wait.”
A strong wafting scent of some sort of lavender overwhelmed her. She was the first to slip off her fur-lined shoes and set them beside the doorway. Observing her surroundings, she found the room quite quaint. To her right stood a foldable painting the size of the wall and an ornate vase as tall as she was. Three pillows sat cozily atop a mat, this was clearly the waiting area.
Candles, benches with soft purple pillows lining them, red paper lanterns and Earth Kingdom tapestry hanging over thin walls all mixed together for an enchanting experience. I could just stay here forever…
A pink-robed girl with dark brown hair tied up to extend behind both sides of her head slipped into the room. Hm? …that can’t be Aunt Wu. “My name is Meng.” She quickly addressed the three, bringing her smiling face up to greet them. “…and, I’m Aunt Wu’s assistant!”
The girl froze, her brown eyes settling in dumbstruck surprise. I can’t wait! But um, what is she doing? “Well hello there…” Hm? She seemed to be addressing Aang specifically. At Meng’s gesture, Katara made her way to the only green pillow to seat herself patiently. “Can I get you some tea or some of Aunt Wu’s special bean curd puffs?”
“I’ll try a curd puff!” Sokka exclaimed merrily. Hah!
“Just a second!” Meng shot out, throwing her hand up to silence Sokka. This drew Katara’s attention, just as Meng leaned forward in front of Aang. “So what’s your name?”
“Aang.” He mildly replied.
The little girl gasped jubilantly. “That rhymes with Meng! …and you’ve got some pretty big ears, don’t you?” What did she just say? Her eyes widened, turning to stare oddly at the happy-go-lucky girl.
“I – guess…” Aang replied dryly, clearly put off by her. I think she likes Aang but doesn’t know what to say? So cute.
“Don’t be modest; they’re HUGE!” Sokka leapt right into teasing Aang. Oh my word, Sokka! Aang clearly was hurt by this, slapping both hands over his ears as he glared at her brother. What is wrong with you today? You have done nothing but rail Aang! Ugh…
“Well Aang, it’s very nice to meet you.” Taking a short two back steps, she smiled fiendishly before adding. “Very nice.”
“Likewise.” Aang singly added.
Sokka threw his bare foot out on the mat ahead of them, wiggling his toes in disgust. “I can’t believe we’re here in the house of nonsense.”
Would you please stop ridiculing everything we do… She frowned dully, hoping to the spirits he would listen to her. “Try to keep an open mind, Sokka.” Aang turned to her as she threw her hands up excitedly, followed by a smile. “There are things in this world that just can’t be explained. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some insight into your future?”
“It would be nice - to have some bean curd puffs.” He nonchalantly replied with a simple smile, pretending to hold a nonexistent puff between his fingers.
Oh you drive me CRAZY! Her face drooped, narrowing her eyelids to gaze at him in utter disdain. Stop being such a downer for everyone! Gosh!
“Oh Meng!” A woman loudly lifted her voice beyond the thin wall to Katara’s right. Dropping her disgust with her brother, she turned to listen in. “Aunt Wu says I’m going to meet my true love! He’s going to give me a rare panda lily.” Wow…she can tell that? Katara nearly blushed, casting her eyes to her side with a warm smile. I wonder what she can tell me…
“That’s so romantic…” Meng wistfully replied, turning her head slightly back to gaze toward them. “I wonder if my true love will give me a rare flower.”
“Good luck with that.” Aang answered, crossing his fingers in play for her. Aang, I think… She held back a chuckle; Aang was oblivious to Meng’s attraction for him.
After a hushed retort Katara couldn’t hear, Meng shoved the woman away in shock and turned, approaching Aang. But just as she drew close, her foot snagged the mat they were on. Katara leaned back in shock as Meng screamed and fought to keep from dropping a bowl of bean curd puffs and hot tea. Not on me, please not on me!But she fell in front of Aang, who grabbed the tray to balance it. Katara sat upright, watching as both Aang and Meng lifted their heads to stare into one another’s eyes. Nervously, Meng pressed the tray into Aang’s hands. “E-enjoy your snack! Heh…” Without wasting a moment she spun away and took off, clearly embarrassed.
She beamed joyously at this new discovery. Aww…she absolutely does like him! That’s so sweet! I wonder if he noticed… Catching movement from the corner of her eye, she turned to stare at Aang’s lap. Sokka had jerked the tray away and began helping himself. You really need to learn manners.
“Welcome young travelers.” Oh! An elderly woman stood before them in a golden robe with crimson skirting. It’s her - it’s her! It’s her!! The gray-haired woman kindly addressed the three, looking to each in turn. “Now who’s next? Don’t be shy.”
Rather than be a hypocrite after considering Sokka needed manners, she turned to Aang and waited a moment to see if he desired to go first. However he simply rolled his head from Sokka to her, gazing in silent question. Guess he’s not going first. “I guess that’s me!” She merrily replied, leaping up to follow Aunt Wu.
Aunt Wu turned her back to Katara and beckoned her, heading into the wooden hallway. Katara closed her eyes momentarily and took a deep breath of the lavender scent; it seemed stronger in the halls. Not a care in the world bothered her now. I can’t wait to hear what’s going to happen in my life! The mystery of the future simply waited to be laid before her.
Wu led Katara to a wall. Huh? Here? Then surprised her by sliding it open, the section of wall had actually been a door. Wow. Neat! The scent of lavender wafted out, overpowering her for a moment before she let out a sigh of pleasant surprise. “This way sweetie.” Wu stepped in and turned, waving Katara inside.
Clasping her hands together, she bore a toothy smile and slipped into the rectangular room, heading for pillows between columns at the room’s epicenter, next to a small fire.
“Is this your first reading? You clearly are not from around here.” Sliding a pillow closer to Katara, she knelt upon it gingerly.
“No, I’ve never had the chance. There aren’t any fortune tellers at the Southern Water Tribe.” Her eyes drifted for the un-noticeable doorway, reminiscing that she had left her home far behind.
“Dear me, you must be in need of somewhere to stay, so far from home. Might I suggest the Outlook Inn?”
Come again? Katara cocked her head slightly to one side, staring at Wu as if she had heard her wrong. “What’s that?”
With a soft laugh, Wu nodded toward the street beyond. “It’s an inn just across the road dear; they have rooms available you could ask for.”
“Thanks! We’ll look into it.” Katara’s stomach churned as if a dozen sooty copper fritillaries were flittering back and forth in a dance. Okay…alright…what about my fortunes?! “So…what now?”
“Aah. There are several methods to read one’s future. I can tell that for you a palm reading would tell very much.” Without so much as a word of acceptance, Katara thrust her hand for Wu to hold. Do it; do it! Wu clasped her aged, warm fingers around her hand, rubbing softly for a moment. “Your palms are so smooth…do you use moisturizer?”
She grew excited. She could actually give Aunt Wu something in return! You have no idea how much this means to me! “Actually, I have this special seaweed lotion…I could get you some if you want!” Wu didn’t respond, instead running her index finger along Katara’s palm as she closed her eyes. “So – do you see anything interesting in my love-line?”
“I feel great romance for you.” She paused, sliding her finger a portion to its right. “The man you’re going to marry.”
Her eyes shot wide in full interest. This is the BEST DAY ever! “Tell me more!!”
“I can see that he’s a very powerful bender.”
Ha! You got nothing on me Jet! Yes! “Really?! You can see that from my palm? You’re amazing Aunt Wu!” Katara grabbed her own hand, holding it as if it were now a treasure as dear to her as her missing necklace.
“Come dear, I have two others to read now.” Wu slowly climbed to her feet, before leading Katara for the doorway. “I appreciate the offer of your seaweed lotion, but I rather like my lavender spice.”
The foyer came into view; Aang glanced over his shoulder to her, standing in front of Sokka. “Who’s next?”
“Okay, let’s get this over with.” Sokka whined, rising to his bare feet.
“Your future is full of struggle, and anguish.” Wait what? Katara turned her head and wide-eyed Aunt Wu. How are you doing that? “Most of it; self inflicted.”
“But; you didn’t read my palms or anything!”
She kept her eyes on Aunt Wu curiously, wondering the same thing her brother had questioned. “I don’t need to. It’s written all over your face.” Wicked. Turning to her brother, she smiled appropriately. Though you really don’t need to be a fortune teller to see that. She jeered, keeping her desire to laugh to herself.
“You there.” She extended her hand for Aang, drawing his attention. “Come with me.” Standing in the hall, Katara shifted aside and squeezed between Wu and Aang as they passed, having been right in their way.
“Nice fortune.” She teased, heading to sit on her pillow.
“Pff. As believable as the one you got about babies, I’m sure.” Sokka flopped back, propping himself upright with both arms. Babies… Katara’s eyes widened in surprise; dropping her focus to the mat in front of her. Hmm. “Anyhow; now that this is over we can all go back to our camp and get on with our lives. Happy now?”
There’s still so much more I want to ask… “Did you know there’s an inn just across the street called the Outlook Inn?”
He rolled his eyes with disdain. “Well isn’t that just creative?” He perked one eyelid up to her with a sullen frown. “No. You aren’t thinking…no.”
“Just one night Sokka.”
“Out of the question!” He sat forward and swung both arms before him in denial. “Can’t you see this fortune telling nonsense is affecting you? It isn’t like you to leave things lying around unfinished. We need to go back and pack up now that we’ve had our fortunes and it’s stopped raining. Didn’t you say that yourself?”
Her gut churned. Okay; so I did! So what… “Yeah well; I’d rather sleep in a comfortable bed than on the ground again!”
A loud pop came from the inner chambers. “What was that?!” Sokka leapt to his feet and jerked out his bone club quicker than you could say tiger-dillo.
“Sokka! Put that away now!” Katara slipped her foot to the mat, leaning forward to scowl at her brother. Remembering his fortune, she grinned devilishly. “Before you put your own eye out!”
His arm dropped low as he frowned in retort. “Really!? Thank you Aunt Wu!” Aang’s shout reached the foyer. Katara smiled at Aang’s enthusiasm. See? Fortune telling is exciting!
The double doors slid open following Sokka’s ruckus. “Is there a problem?” The doorman laid his eyes on Sokka, specifically his bone club. One of his hands rested on the door while the other had slipped inside his coat.
“No; my brother’s just being an idiot. Ignore him please.”
“Ugh!” Sokka tucked away his club and headed straight for his shoes. “We’re done.”
“Hm.” The man slid the door fully open before stepping aside, withdrawing his hand to let it fall loosely at his hip.
“What was that loud bang?” She turned as her brother questioned Aang, who had quite the toothy grin on his face.
“Oh, a bone exploded.” Katara quirked an eyebrow at Aang’s reply. I wonder if he’ll tell me what his fortune was…it sounds neat!
“Come again…?” Sokka spat out. “Y’know what; never mind. Let’s just go.”
As they finished putting their shoes on, the doorman left the door open and waited patiently for them to depart. “I trust you were pleased with your fortunes. Please, make yourself at home here in Makapu.” He bowed as Katara passed him, keeping his eyes level to stare at them as they passed.
“Well, now you got to see for yourselves that fortune telling is just a big, stupid hoax.” Sokka continued after stepping out into the street behind Katara.
Says you. She crossed her arms and turned a smirk to him. “You’re just saying that because you’re gonna make yourself unhappy your whole life.”
Sokka threw his arms in the air and shouted. “That woman is crazy!” She stopped with Aang, turning to watch his sudden rant. “My life will be calm, and happy, and joyful!” He spun around and sent a rock soaring with a solid kick.
Clung. Sokka had crossed his arms to smile, as her eyes followed the rock when it rebounded off of a sign. And…pow. It ricocheted off the side of his head. “OW!” He shouted, falling to the ground. Aunt Wu’s right already. “That doesn’t prove anything!” He exclaimed from his stomach, lifting his finger in the air.
“Well, I liked my predictions.” She stated with a smile, turning to the only one who appreciated Aunt Wu, Aang. “Certain things are going to turn out very well.” Her eyes drifted skyward, clasping her fingers together. I can’t wait…I wonder when I will meet him.
“They sure are…” Aang slyly responded with another toothy smile.
Huh? What does he know?! “Why? What did she tell you!?” She begged quickly.
“Some stuff. You’ll find out.” Mysterious! Hah, okay well first things first.
She turned for the nearby alleyway to head for the Outlook Inn, acting on her prior desire. “Sokka get up off the ground. I’m going to rent a room and hopefully they’ll have a stable or something for Appa.” He only groaned in heightened displeasure.
Rosewood furnishings decorated the interior of the inn, daylight streaming through half-shuttered windows. Just as the three of them entered the room, a man with a blue cap and a broad smile stopped in front of them.
Hey it’s the guy we saved from the platypus bear! “Y-you!” Sokka shouted as he jabbed his finger in the man’s face. “How did you get here?!”
“I walked.” The man calmly responded, extending his hand in explanation. Gee, Sokka. Way to ask the obvious. Katara rolled her eyes but said nothing. “I was just stepping out; will you be staying with us?”
“Yes please.” She cut in as he turned and led them to a rosewood counter. “We’d like a room for tonight.”
“And somewhere to keep Appa!” Aang shot in quickly, laying his hands upon the countertop beside Katara.
“Not to worry.” He flipped open a thin blue notebook and took a quill pen in his hands, jotting down some notes. “The two of you are penned for room twelve. You may have a separate room for Appa. Will you be paying separately as well?” His eyes lifted to Sokka, clearly questioning him.
Katara blinked in surprise as she backed away a step from the counter. Whoa, whoa! What just happened?! Sokka’s mouth fell agape as his eyes stretched wide. “You think I’m Appa?! Do I look like a fluffy giant bison to you?!”
“My apologies.” He tapped the quill to his notebook again. “We have stables outside for your bison. The three of you may stay in room twelve.” He slid three keys across the counter, slapping his fist to his palm to bow his head. “Your tab is open; simply pay when you leave. Should you find need of anything, my name is Qu.”
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Props to Ianbernard for helping make this wonderful chapter template with images! (he created the images)
The Boy in the Iceberg