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Two: Zu Yang's Daughter
April 8, 2012
This is the first chapter of Book Two: Zu Yang's Daughter. It tells of Hope's dearest secret and explains her obsession of ending the Fire Mistress. It is told from Mel's perspective.
It had been two weeks since we had left the Southern Air Temple, and we had reached the Earth Kingdom shores. Now we were traveling south, hoping that we could reinforce the Southern Water Tribe. We were well prepared, for many citizens were ready to help us, since we had a noble cause, and I was the Avatar. But it wasn't just smooth sailing, for where we went, trouble followed – assassins, and four of them. There was no calm sleep for us. I had proposed splitting up, but Hope would not hear of it. I was quite glad, to be honest – it had been disastrous to lose her. Yet I was troubled; too troubled, you could say. Every time we encountered a new assassin, we had a harder time winning the battle. It was a personal guess and nothing more, but I had the feeling that next time it would be a much nastier attack. Unfortunately, I was correct.
It was a calm night with a very charming moon; in fact it was the Super moon. After enjoying the pleasant sight and climate, and sharing a little stolen kiss, we retired back to our camp. It was quite poor, yet it was enough to bewitch anyone – a small tent with a tiny fire, which was now extinct, build around a big wooden log, about fifty yards off-shore. And just in the heart of that fairy tale that we were still living, possibly under the influence of the moon, we both fell into a deep, calm sleep.
There was a tiny crack, but it was enough to completely awake us both. We did talk, but slowly stood up. The night was very quiet, and if we made any amount of noise, we were to be heard. I had no idea what, or possibly who, had made that noise, and even though my heart said it were a wild animal, my brain knew better. Next moment were dodging knifes. They came one, by one, suggest that it was a single enemy we were facing – the fifth visitor. With a few airbending moves, I threw the tent in the air, so that we could have a clearer view. Hope immediately spotted him, and did not waste time, but shot a lightning bolt. He fell down, seriously injured. Even though he wasn't in any position to fight, I knew that these assassins didn't give up. And so I bended four earth plates around him, blocking his hands and feet.
Both and I Hope asked the usual questions – Who sent you and why are you looking for us – yet he did not bother respond. We tried to threaten him, but that had never worked before, and it did not work now. We knew that we had to deal with him, or else he would chase us until he was ended. So it was either now or later. Luckily, he saved us the trouble – with a strange movement, he stuck his neck into the rock. I observed the blood as it slowly hit the ground. It was quite curious where and how exact he had been in hitting himself – it was the main vein that led to the brain. To me it seemed that this one had attended a special assassin school.
I turned around to look at Hope, and as I opened my mouth to speak—
"No, Mel," she had read my facial expression. "We've been through this; we are not splitting up!"
"Okay, okay," I said, trying to cool of the situation. She always got fired up about such things. It was extremely curious how strong and cold blooded she could be in a fight, yet how stubborn in a simple conversation. But it was best that I let her have some time to herself, or else I'd be having a fireball soufflé for a midnight snack. And so I turned around and slowly walked away.
"Wait," her voice shot through the air, with its usual charm. I spun on my heel and looked directly at her. "I need to tell you something."
She seemed concerned. That was awfully awkward, so I thought I'd let her speak. After all, I had to be understanding towards her, too.
"Okay," I said and gave her a small smile. "Shoot."
"Have you heard of the Earth Kingdom general Zu Yang?" she asked.
"You mean the General Zu Yang?" I asked, awaiting no answer, for it was surely a joke. Everyone knew the story. "Everyone's heard of him. I mean ten thousand men and kids who never returned..."
She burst out crying and fell on her knees. Had I said something? Was it the assassin? I had no time for answers, for she cried louder and louder. I ran toward her and sat next to her, holding her hands, and looking at her teary face. It was a heartbreaking view.
"Sorry, I... I didn't mean that."
"He was my father!" she yelled.
I jumped backwards and tripped; then I slowly pushed myself in a sitting position, thinking about what she had just said. How could Zu Yang be her father? She didn't seem anything like him. He failed the whole Earth Kingdom! Plus, Hope was a firebender. She was most probably just playing me. But no person could cry like that and be joking. "I know I lied to you... or at least I never told you, but.... My father married a woman from the Fire Nation, so I was a firebender. She died before she saw my face, so I had to teach myself how to bend. That was until my father left for the Southern Air Temple. He hid me and my brother in different places, so that we would not both die if one of the bunkers was to be discovered. Later that week, my mother's cousin form the Fire Nation took custody of me, and I went with him to the Fire Nation, leaving my home behind. At first I thought my brother was coming with me, but I was later revealed that both he and my father had been killed. That broke my heart but also gave me a new passion – to defeat that monster that had killed my family, the Fire Mistress. My mother's cousin taught me firebending, but once the Mistress discovered that he was a rebel, he ended him and his entire family. I escaped, but had to live on the streets and beg for money and food. Thankfully, I was taken in by a kind innkeeper. That is where I lived until I left."
She had stopped crying, yet her face was still twisted.
"So that is why you are so obsessed with killing her," I said, finally understand her feelings. "She ruined and humiliated your family in the dirtiest way."
"Yes," she hissed in her anguish. Her face was still wet. "There is nothing that can compare to what she did. She has to pay... and she will."
"Calm down, darling," I said, trying to calm her down, for she was quite capable of foolish actions when obsessed with killing the Fire Witch. She had proven so once, so I did not see why she wasn't capable of doing it twice. "After we reinforce the Southern Water Tribe, we'll go and take care of her."
"You're right," she said, drying her face. "I'm sorry." She looked at me hopefully and then hugged me. She was so strangely warm, yet she was shivering. I lifted my head and kissed her head. Her shiver was no more.
"Relax, dear, okay?" I asked, looking at her. "Just sleep now."
We shared one last kiss, and then we retired to log, where we fell asleep.
- This chapter and the introductory chapter were released as the official premiere of Book Two.
For the collective works of the author, go here.