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October 3, 2016
Chapter 1 – Dour Streets
When no one could possibly think of a way the streets of the city of Yee located north in the United Republic could get any dourer, that record was easily topped when the rain came out of the clouds. As the water drops came in contact with the ground, nearly the whole city was soon soaking wet.
If you did like the sound of rain drops hitting the ground, you would be happy. If you did not, that would probably not be a problem, of course if you had a roof to live under. Most people living in Yee had their own house, and if they did not like the sound of rain drops, they simply closed their windows.
However, if the place you called home was not an actual house, but more of a dirty corner, you could not help but listening to it.
Three outliers who were in that situation sat at the ground with cold, wet butts. The oldest of them was an earthbender in his fifties, and he had beard and white hair in general. His name was Xai Bau. In the middle, a kid was sitting. He had grey, ragged clothes, and although he was the youngest, he was also the one of them who looked scariest. His name was Zaheer. And next to him, a combustionbender who was around twenty was sitting. His name was Jao. No one said anything at this point. They just sat there, listening to the rain, which no one of them liked.
Despite being the one with the maybe most threatening existing abilities, Jao was known to be the most irritating of the three, something he was well aware of. Therefore, he was nervous to give them a signal about the fact that his hunger was starting to piss him off. He was that afraid that he did not look at them at first. However, he finally got himself to look at them, noticing that neither Zaheer nor Xai Bau were concerned about Jao himself, as usual.
However, due to the fact that Zaheer was that kind of person who more or less somehow could sense when someone thought about him. When Zaheer fast turned his head against Jao, the combustionbender was scared. He sweated, looked away from Zaheer and closed his eyes for a bit.
The silence kept being there. While having his eyes closed, Jao could feel how close Zaheer's sharp eyes was on him. In the end, he felt forced to open his eyes and let them meet the ones of Zaheer's. .
"What's the matter, Jao?" Zaheer asked, suddenly appearing to care about him.
"I'm hungry". Though Zaheer seemed to care about him, Jao still did not feel safe of talking out completely free. Zaheer looked at Xai Bau.
"Yeah, we should go get some food," Xai Bau declared. Zaheer smiled.
"We'll do it the old way, right?"
"Of course," Xai Bau said and smiled back.
"You know the drill, right Jao?" Zaheer asked.
"Of course," Jao said in a way that told the surroundings that he did not like the gang's usual method for getting food.
In a food store, one guy barged in with a large wound on his arm. The man who worked in the store was pretty shocked, mainly due to the size of the wound, and he felt uncomfortable by the fact that this guy's blood was now completely messing up the freshly washed floor of the store.
"Can I help you with something?" he asked supplied.
"I could need a sticking plaster, please," the guy said.
While the man working in the store was busy helping this guy with his wound, two other guys arrived, and they went to a corner and started looking at some food sold in the store.
Then, Zaheer and his friends arrived. While Jao, who was the one planned to actually steal food, went to the corner where these two guys stood, Zaheer and Xai Bau made something of a stir.
They were pretending to fight, so that the man in the store was too busy to stop them and not noticing that Jao was stealing food.
However, the plan did not work out so well. While Zaheer and Xai Bau kept doing their thing, Jao putted something in his pocket. The guy next to him noticed. He was mad, because he and the two other guys in the room, including the "hurted" guy, were actually trying to get food the same way themselves. If they were smart, they could have cooperated, but this guy must have been pretty stupid, so he slapped Jao hard in his face.
Everyone else being in the store stopped. Jao was angry, and created an explosion, causing these two guys, the "hurted" guy and the man in the store all to be blown, although Zaheer, Xai Bau, and Jao all got away from the store alive, with food in their hands.
They ran back to safety, nearly to the end of the city.
However, they were soon met by three White Lotus sentries who were guarding the city, and they were dying to take down these thieves.
Xai Bau could tell, and bended the earth under the sentries so that they fell. As the sentries got up again, the fight was started. While Xai Bau handled the earthbender, Zaheer used his martial arts skills against the waterbender, and Jao fought the firebender.
For everyone who were related to the Order of the White Lotus or somehow had to work with them, there were no secret that these White Lotus sentries were pretty much the opposite of masters, though no one really used to say it out loud.
However, it was confirmed in this fight, as both Zaheer, Xai Bau, and Jao all were masters in their fighting style.
As the Metalbending Police Force of Yee was in the position of knowing that the White Lotus sentries were pretty bad in fighting compared to others, the metalbender cops in Yee always made sure to keep an eye out for the sentries. Two of them noticed that Zaheer and his friends were starting to win it, so they barged into the fight.
When Zaheer used his acrobatic skills, he unfortunately did a wrong step, making it easy for the metalbender to capture him with his cable. The other metalbender stunned Jao by shooting a small rock towards his forehead when he created an explosion. The fact that Xai Bau was now all alone against five benders and that he was a bit shocked because he had never seen Zaheer lose before, caused him to caught as well. Zaheer, Xai Bau, and Jao were taken to the police station.
They sat in a room, being asked a bunch of questions. A strong lamp made the people in the room barely see each other, while the rain outside had been joined by lightnings and thunder.
"Why did you guys steal food from the store?" the metalbender cop asked. No one answered. Two White Lotus sentries guarded the door from the inside. .
"You've got nothing to say, none of you? Anyways, you're all too dangerous to walk free in the city. The three of you will be sent to a White Lotus prison in Republic City," the cop said.
The words "White Lotus" made Xai Bau think of something. He looked at the sentries for a second and started murmuring something about the White Lotus.
"I was once a member of the White Lotus myself. I loved, and I still do love the idea of having a secret society that transcends the divisions of the four nations, fighting for a better world. Sadly, I realized that I had to leave the order, as I got sick of the fact that the White Lotus lost its true purpose after the Hundred Year War, and that its members came out of hiding and openly served the foolish Avatar". It thundered from the outside.
"I do not think talking bad about your guards will help you anything in their prison," the cop said. .
"Are you serious? Do you really think any of us are going to spend the rest of our lives in a prison?" Jao said, having recovered after the fight. .
"You guys won't be able to escape. You know we have the power of you," the cop said. However, it might have been that the cop was a little wrong there. Because in that moment, Jao created an explosion at the cop, and the three escaped once again.
Eight metalbender cops followed them outside, and surrounded them. While Xai Bau and Zaheer both managed to get out of the crowd, Jao was still struggling with having too many metalbenders very close to him. .
"We'll help you, Jao!" Zaheer yelled. However, when Jao created yet another explosion, one of the metalbenders actually metalbended his armor around Jao's head, causing him to blow himself up, dying instantly.
This gave Zaheer and Xai Bau the opportunity to get away from them.
As the rain felt finished, Zaheer and Xai Bau campfired in the forest outside Yee.
"I can't stand staying here anymore. I have to do something to change this corrupt world we live in," Xai Bau said.
"What's your plan?" Zaheer asked, sitting on the other side of the fire.
"I'm going to travel the world to find skilled benders who can help me build a new society, with the purpose of restoring true freedom to the world," Xai Bau said.
"I'll come with you and help," Zaheer said.
"No. I want you to stay here in Yee. Maybe you can find someone here in the city who might be interested?" Xai Bau suggested. Zaheer got up.
"Deal," he said, smiled, and gave Xai Bau his hand. Xai Bau got up as well, and grabbed Zaheer's hand.
"This is the dawning of a new age," Xai Bau said, and smiled back.
- Please note that the profile image of this chapter is not how Zaheer is supposed to look at this point, I am just using his profile image to symbolize the fact that this chapter focuses on him.
- I got the idea of Zaheer being an outlier when I randomly spotted a fan art picture of the members of the Red Lotus as kids, possibly living on the street.
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