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This is the third chapter of. Hope you like it!
What happened last time...
Two nasty cliques, Jia and Mika, devise a mean-spirited plan to distract Syra during an Airbending match. Unfortunately, the plan is successful and costs her the first place title of the championship level Airbending tournament.
Meanwhile, Siro who has been getting into trouble for daydreaming at school, comes home to find his older brother, Zorin, who was previously away at a military school.
Confrontation with Jia
It was a crisp, cool morning at the Eastern Air Temple; a thin layer of mist had descended over the Telukin Mountains overnight. Syra woke up in high spirits; it had been three days now since her defeat at the Airbending tournament. She was still somewhat downcast at her loss and irritated with Jia and Mika, but her bitter feelings had, for the most part, whittled away.
Today, she would officially begin more advanced training under the tutelage of Sister Iio. Syra hoped that additional instruction would take her steps closer in becoming a master. She was driven to become the first in her class.
Min greeted her with the usual brightness she always managed to maintain. After eating breakfast and tending to Pala, she leisurely walked to the Airbender school she attended. Her school was located in the middle structure of the temple contrary to her house which was located in the structure west of that. It was a bit of a walk, but she didn't mind.
She arrived at school just as the bell tolled signaling the start of the school session. Tyla greeted her and said, "So this is the day you begin training under Sister Iio, right?"
"Sure is," Syra replied. "It almost compensates for the disappointment of losing that first place honor in the competition."
"That's the spirit!" Tyla told her. "You have to show those girls that their little plan that day wasn't so great as they thought."
"Come on now children. Time for school to begin," Master Yangsu commanded. "Come on." The two hurried into the classroom.
The morning routine was the same as always: the students greeted Master Yangsu, there were a few moments spent in meditation and then the students filed out into the schoolyard for Airbending practice.
"Today," Master Yangsu told the students, "we are going to practice learning a new Airbending move." Syra smiled at this. "This move is known as the airball and it can be used to enclose and levitate simple objects. You must learn not only how to create an air ball, but also how to manipulate it properly and keep it strong."
She proceeded to demonstrate the technique several times. Syra watched with great concentration the various movements and felt herself becoming excited to attempt and do it herself. That chance came rather quickly.
"Now would anyone like to come up and attempt to perform this move?" Yangsu asked.
"I'll try," Syra volunteered. She rose to her feet and glanced at Tyla who smiled in approval.
"I'm glad to see someone's willing to try this," Yangsu said. "This move is not the easiest. To get started, you can try to create an airball that will be strong enough to levitate this small rock." She placed a smooth white rock on the ground in front of Syra. "Like this." Once again, she demonstrated the technique.
Syra closed her eyes, took a deep breath and assumed a fighting stance. Concentrating hard, she imitated the motions of Master Yangsu, but instead of creating an airball, she blasted the rock several feet away. She attempted again, but ended up blasting it again. This carried on several times, but Syra maintained her patience.
She tried again for the eighth time only this time, instead of blasting the rock, she ended up using air suction which pulled the rock towards her and caused it to hit her cheek.
"So much for the supposedly top Airbender in the class," Jia sneered. Syra could feel her anger begin to rise, but kept it under control. She looked over at Tyla who shot her an encouraging smile.
Syra attempted to perform the move again and, much to her dismay, the rock was air suctioned towards her again and hit her in the nose. She saw Master Yangsu was growing concerned about her. She said, "I'm fine."
Jia taunted, "Syra may be her name, but Airbending is not her game!"
Mika added, "Looks like Syra 'nose' what she's doing!"
"Ladies, that's quite enough!" Master Yangsu reprimanded. That quieted them down, but it didn't suppress Syra's frustration.
For the tenth time, she tried and failed to create an airball. They keep teasing me, she thought, preparing to try once more, and yet I bet they couldn't perform this move themselves!
When she only succeeded in blasting the rock away, Jia remarked, "I don't know how you managed to place first in the championship matches when you can't perform that move. Oh that's right, you didn't!"
Syra could no longer control herself and snapped at Jia. "Look who's talking! A selfish, shallow girl who didn't even make it to the quarter-finals! Since you're sooo great, why don't you come up and try perform this move yourself! Gee, for someone who's such an airhead, you're definitely not the greatest Airbender, I can tell you that!"
Jia, her eyes intense with fury, shouted, "Take that back!"
"Girls, that's enough!" Master Yangsu scolded. "Since learning a new move is causing so much tension, we will go back to practicing the wind breath technique."
Syra felt both a mixture of pleasure and disappointment. Not only had she failed to perform the technique and caused a scene, she had also gotten into what she considered major trouble with the teacher. On the other hand, she had Sister Iio's session to look forward to and she felt empowered now that she had stood up to Jia.
When school had ended for the day, Tyla ran up to Syra and said, "Way to go! That was insane! You should have seen the looks on everyone's faces. They were shocked!"
Syra replied, "I guess I just snapped when she said that. I have to go train with Sister Iio now." "Good luck and have fun!" Tyla yelled as Syra began running.
"I will!" she replied.
The afternoon sun was blazing down as one would expect on a summer day, so Sister Iio suggested that she and Syra practice in a large indoor room. After each enjoying a cup of Peach Nectar which was simply sweetened Moon Peach juice and ten minutes of meditation, they decided to get down to business.
"So, my young pupil, what do you say we start with me teaching you the air funnel? I'm sure you've begun learning that technique already," Sister Iio said.
"Actually," Syra admitted. "We've only just started learning the airball technique and I just can't seem to figure it out. Every time I try to create one, I just end up performing an air blast or air suction."
Sister Iio nodded and said, "That is quite a difficult move to learn. Well, let's practice it!"The two practiced together for a few hours. Iio demonstrated the technique carefully and guided Syra during her training. When the sun began to set illuminating a glowing sunset that signaled an end to the day, Syra still didn't know exactly how to perform the airball. However, Iio told her she was definitely improving.
"Thank you, Sister," Syra said as she respectively bowed to her teacher.
"My pleasure. I will see you again tomorrow," Iio bid her a goodbye.
Syra walked home, the last of the sun's rays radiating on the temple. At that moment, in her mind, everything seemed like paradise.
Like Old Times
"So, how are you advancing with your military training?" Siro's father, Lee Wang, asked Zorin. The family was all sitting around the kitchen table, eating breakfast. It was a beautiful morning; the sun shone brightly and birds were chirping outside. To Siro, it seemed just like old times when they would all sit around the table as a family. He would get to spend the whole day with Zorin because he didn't have school today.
"My teachers say my training is going perfect. They all say I'm an excellent student," Zorin replied.
"That's good to hear," Lee Wang replied thoughtfully.
Zala said, "It's so good to have you visit us! It was nearly three weeks since you last visited. Not that that's such a long time compared to how often most others visit their families, but still!" She chuckled to herself as she said this.
"I know and I'm sorry I couldn't get around to seeing you guys sooner," Zorin apologized. "But at least I can stay in Sen Go for practically two weeks now."
The family fell silent for a few minutes; all that could be heard were the birds chirping merrily outside and the clinking of bowls and chopsticks. Then Lee Wang said, "Oh wow. Look at the time. Duty calls! I have to get to the next meeting." He rose and cleared his dish and chopsticks off the table. "I'll see you all in the evening." The rest of the family said goodbye and he was out the door.
A few more minutes of silence passed before Zorin said, "Hey, Siro, how about we head to head in a couple of Firebending matches this afternoon? Just like we used to?"
"You know I'm in!" Siro agreed happily. So it really is going to be like old times, he thought.
"Looks like I win again, little brother!" Zorin shouted. They were dueling each other in a field just outside of Sen Go. The field was bursting with the vivid colors of the Fire Lilies that were in full bloom. They wouldn't last for very long, but it was terrific when they did.
Zorin had won again for the fourth time in a row.
"Ha!" Siro exclaimed. "You only won because I had my back turned for a few seconds when I was recovering myself from that fire blast you sent at me!" In truth, however, he knew Zorin would have won the duel anyway. Being older, he was always ahead of Siro in Firebending training and Siro's recent leniency with his training it seemed had caught up with him.
"Oh c'mon now!" Zorin remarked. "You know I would've eventually conquered and emerged as the "Supreme and Ultimate Firebender"!" So he still liked to call himself that. Still acted like he was ten years-old!
Siro knew his brother could still read his mind like a book; he knew and wasn't afraid to let that be known either. "Alright, "Supreme and Ultimate Firebender"," he laughed, "let's duel again!"
The two battled it out again; the day was hot and the continual fire blasts made it seem even hotter, but neither of them cared. As the fight dragged on, Siro observed his brother performing several Firebending moves he had never known of. One particularly caught his admiration when he created a long fire stream and saw his brother block it in a furious rush of Firebending power. Zorin quickly sent a fire blast at him and knocked Siro down, defeating him once again.
As he recovered from his fall, he shouted, "Wow! That move you performed was amazing! How did you do that?"
"It's just an advanced form of the fire shield," Zorin replied. "It's nothing major. Something I learned in military school."
"Better than I've ever seen! Can you teach me how to do that?" Siro asked.
"It's pretty difficult...," Zorin began saying, "but what the heck! I'd be happy to teach it to you."
The sun descended in the blue sky as the two brothers spent the rest of the afternoon training and practicing the advanced fire shield technique. Being behind in his training, Siro found difficulty imitating his brother's motions. Zorin performed the move with relative ease which only increased his desire to learn it.
"The key is to perform the shield just before the incoming attack is about to hit you," Zorin advised. "The shield is more effective and, if you try to block the attack too early, it could lose its effect." He demonstrated the move for what seemed like the hundredth time.
Siro prepared himself to attempt the shield again. "Remember," Zorin instructed. "Stand straight up and keep your hands together. Then widen your stance and spread your hands out quickly." Siro listened to these instructions intently and breathed deeply. Then, in a split second, he performed the move exactly the way his brother had told him. Although he didn't quite perform the move, his attempt was closer than ever.
"That's almost it!' Zorin cried. "A couple of more hours of doing that and you'll practically have it down to a science!"
"You really think so?" Siro asked excitedly.
"Of course!" Zorin praised. "Trust me, little brother. You keep up what you're doing now and you'll be a pro before you even know it!" His smile widened with approval and encouragement.
Siro laughed and was about to try again when they heard Zala calling out to them. Both looked up and saw her standing near the edge of the fields. "Supper's ready, boys!" she called out to them.
"Mom, look what Zorin is showing me!" he replied and repeated his actions again with even more skill and greater form.
"That's marvelous!" Zala lauded. "Your brother never fails to please you! Now come inside before you blow up the whole field in flames!"
The two scrambled out of the field and followed Zala home. Siro took one last look at the magnificent field of Fire Lilies and thought of the tremendous fun he had had today. However, like everything else in the world, they couldn't last forever.
- The last lines of both their stories for this chapter are foreshadowing events to come.
- Zorin calling himself the "Supreme and Ultimate Firebender" is an obvious reference to the author's actual user name.
- This chapter was originally going to be titled "Good Times", but was later changed as the plot developed more.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|When Air Nomads Walked the Earth Chapters|
|Prologue: As the Sun Rises - Two Separate Lives - Triumph and Tragedy - Tutoring and Results - The Limitless Sky - Eavesdropping - What Next? - Dreams and Rebellion - Life Carries On - The Frozen Shores of Fire - Ragged Edges - Has He Returned? - The Sound of Laughter - Thrilling Revelations - The Unwanted Truth - Eve of the Red Sky - Dragons Over the Horizon - The Blazing Earth - Ashes, Ashes... We All Fall Down - And Then There Were None - Epilogue: When Night Falls|