|More from Snivystorm||Action, adventure||PG-13||Here|
|The Duo Together Once More|
July 17th 2013 (original)
October 24th 2015 (re-write)
Once more the curtains were torn back in the unkempt room with nothing more than a bed of earth and metallic uniform that shined silver, leading to the squinting of eyes even though the eyes would not let anything penetrate them- not even the light of day or a dark room could be seen beneath those eyes those blank eyes that just stared out at world that they couldn't see. Toph lay on the bed with nothing but groans of annoyance coming from her mouth.
Every morning was the same on every school day. No matter what anyone did Toph would just shrug them off with either a rude comment or a rant about how she hated her job. For someone who said that she wanted to teach metalbending to people she sure didn't like the thought of having to do it in the morning but that was the deal she had made with Master Fong- the head teacher. He told her that if she was going to teach metalbending then she'd either have to assist the teachers in their lesson - every lesson of everyday- to get two hours after school to do it or do an hour of it in the morning and an hour after school (for those who could be bothered) with the student.
Toph sat up in a state of disarray. Her eyes stared blankly towards were the light in the room was entering. Her hair was a complete mess- it stuck out everywhere. It was as though she had been shocked by a lightning bolt attack of she hadn't combed it in six weeks. Toph hated the thought of helping the teachers no matter what, they all did their lessons in such a stupid, boring, basic way and would treat Toph as though she was their slave rather than an assistant- they'd make her do the most stupidest of things.
One time Master Fong had her run on an errand to Mistress Hemming whom she had to ask for powder, then come back give it to him only to ask her to go and get a piece of parchment from the supply room, bring that to him then get a quill and some ink! He then spent five minutes writing something, gave it to Toph who was told to read what it said. Toph stomped the floor in a violent rage to that saying how she couldn't read because he was blind only for him to say "Just wanted to make sure."
The school, however, was a great place. It was located about an hour's walk out of Gaoling in the small canyons that surrounded it. Some would call it a private school considering how big and posh it seemed on the outside. The school had all Toph could ask for; a place to sleep, lots of earth, and wasn't a far walk from the Earth Rumble arena. But best of all, she had her own little area just outside of the school to hold her metalbending sessions.
Toph considered herself a special earthbender who had a gift to pass onto others. This gift was her seismic sense. Like she had succeeded to do with Aang, she wanted to teach others how to it as well. She once tried to convince Master Fong to let but he just said she should wait until her metalbending had become popular but it was popular she already had a class of thirty for each session out of 200 students. Toph wanted more from it. She'd been telling herself all summer to leave the school and go to find another place to teach students. The sad thing to admit is that she felt no one would listen. It had taken her nearly two years just to get 30 girls interested. There had to be another way.
Toph finally got up from the hard bed beneath her and began to bend her uniform onto her body. It crawled onto her body like a snake, the metal shivering her skin as it latched onto her torso then her legs and finished by slithering into place on her legs and feet. The feeling of it just made her quiver slightly. No matter how many times she bent it on and off the feeling never got old which meant that it always woke her up every morning. She was quite proud of how she was now able to bend metal so it could perfectly fit her and then slide it out like a dress with little effort.
"I've got to teach the girls how to do this someday; especially Anna" she uttered to herself.
Anna was a small girl in her class who Toph had taken quite the shine to. She was a strong earthbender for her age of just 12 (reminiscent of Toph herself) and was very smart and a good quick thinker making her tough to beat when it came to practise matches. The only thing she failed on was nerves. No matter how many times Toph tried to prepare her to demonstrate something to the class she would always shrivel and mess it up.
One time Anna began to lift a metal box and move it from one side of the field to the other. Toph had told her she was going to demonstrate after showing skill at doing so in the practise when she moved it ten feet flawlessly several times. Anna stood at the end of the field waiting for Toph to tell her to begin. She started well but then shifted her focus to the audience and just suddenly dropped it mid-flight causing it to crash into the pile of metal boxes at the end of the field; it even made Toph cringe. "Toph are you up yet!"
Toph's moment of thought we destroyed by Master Fong banging at the door to her room.
"WHAT?" Toph shouted back in utter rage.
"It is nearly 8 in the morning. Class starts in half an hour you need to get to Mistress Hemming class now!" roared back Master Fong.
"I'll go when I want to!" Toph screamed back, banging her foot on the ground after each syllable, causing the bed to crumble. The door to her room burst open. Master Fong charged in, his big red pulsing face beating like his heavy feet beneath him, his green robes swaying slightly as he did so.
Toph never did like Master Fong. "He was just a big fat piece of nothing" in Toph's own words. She hated how he was the headmaster especially when it was a girl's school. He had no respect for Toph when they were in private. In public he would pretend to love Toph for what she had done two years before but when he had her on her own he would always show his true colours to her. Even his voiced made Toph want to crush him into a ball and laugh at him but she needed the schools arena and resources to do her metalbending classes so she was stuck with him.
"Now you listen here. If you give me any more cheek like that of last term and believe me young lady you will not be teaching your metal whatever here. Is that clear?" Mr. Fong boomed with confidence, shadowing Toph. She could feel him looking down on her; she looked up herself so they were eye to eye.
"Fine," Toph snorted after a long moment of silence.
"Good," Master Fong turned on his heel and began to leave the room.
"I'd like to shove a metal box down your –" Toph muttered only to stop when Mr. Fong turned to shut the door. Toph remained silent as he shut it not letting her face display anything but deep hatred until her was out of view but help but keep it all the same.
As soon as Toph was sure he was out of earshot to let out a load roar and kicked her door right out of its socket and through the wall across her which luckily led outside of the school.
"I hate him so much" Toph moaned, falling back onto her crumbled bed as shed did.
Toph knew that if she didn't move sooner or later he was going to come take her to Mistress Hemming's class (it was the only reason Toph could think that he would have stopped moving). With that, she forced herself to leave her room and proceed down the hall.
As she crossed Master Fong he said, "That's your first lesson cancelled Toph."
"Why?" Toph roared.
"For disruptive behaviour and damage to school property you insolent child!"
With that they both started walking in opposite directions, Toph grinding her teeth as she did.
Sokka had finally found the estate. It had taken him and his father, Hakoda, sometime to find it. He didn't know why Katara wanted him to take Toph with them to the Southern Water Tribe except that it seemed Toph would be in terrible danger if he didn't. Nevertheless he had found the estate and since the rest of the crew were waiting on them he approached the door.
Sokka rang the bell hooked on the clean wall next to the gate. A guard came to the door opening a hatch that was almost imperceptible. The man was well dressed in shiny armour he had a moustache that stretched down and connected with his deep dark beard. The man examined Sokka and Hakoda closely obviously confused by their Water Tribe attire.
"What do you want" he questioned his moustache twitched as he did so.
"I'm here for Toph Beifong. It's urgent," Sokka replied confidently.
The man further examined Sokka and Hakoda until he finally shut the hatch. They were about to go until then her a loud clink then a chunk followed by the sound of a wheel being turned vigorously finished with a loud creak. The colossal, thick door opened which, from the look on the guards faces that had opened it, must have took a lot of effort. "Enter" the man said almost enticing them.
They walked in crossing the divine beauty of the garden around them. The flowers stood out a mile swaying in an eternal dance with the wind. The trimmed hedges were perfectly sculpted to the shape of Toph and Mr and Mrs Beifong . Toph stood out most of all as her hedge trimming looked to beautiful (at least according to Sokka)
They soon reached the house where two well-dressed guards stood with sharp and deadly spears. The guard said some sort of code word thing about a "flying boar" and "sacred spirit" something like that. They stepped aside. Hakoda led the way into the house.
It had been a long time since he had last been in here. That was when they wanted Toph to join their team to teach Aang earthbending. Who would have thought he'd be here again to make her leave her parents and her comfort way of life again. They saw a room filled with lots of green banners, a neat rug -perhaps for meditation, three well dressed women who Sokka blushed at as they looked at him and giggled. Sokka was glad Suki wasn't with him because she would have slapped him for that. They guard soon caught up to them after conversing with the guards at door. He indicated to a door with his right arm probably intending to direct us to where Toph was having breakfast maybe. They opened the door and went inside, the guard following them closing the door as he did so.
It was a dim lit room lit by three scented candles. There was a man at the other end of the room. He seemed to be meditating. Hakoda stepped forward. "Sorry to intrude on you sir but we simply want to request where Toph is. Once you tell us we will be on our way" Hakoda said quite calmly.
The man sat there not moving an inch. Sokka looked at his dad then back at the man. "I'll say it again. Sorry to intrude but we-"
"Cease talking." The man interrupted.
"But sir I just-" But he was cut off again.
"I said cease" the man said much louder.
The man stood up turning to a portrait of a slender woman behind him. He walked towards the portrait and pressed his hands on it. Sokka could smell burning. He looked at the man. Sokka couldn't believe it. He was burning the portrait. It soon simmered away. Sokka glanced behind him. The guard took out a knife. No sooner had the man done so, Sokka drew his new sword and boomerang pointing them at the guard. Hakoda also drew his club and spear.
"Sir what are you doing?" asked Hakoda impatiently.
"Not sir" the man said retrieving an object from behind the portrait.
Sokka ran forward "Where's Toph?" Sokka demanded gritting his teeth as he did so, keeping his sword pointed at the man behind him, boomerang at the other.
"She is not here. She is at school". The man turned to them holding two swords and a shield of sorts.
"Well thanks. Perhaps he could be kind to allow us to make out leave. Right dad?"
But Hakoda didn't move he stood next to Sokka shaking. Sokka clutched his dad's arm.
"Dad what's wrong?"
"Sokka" his father started in a low tone.
"We have to get out...now!
Sokka turned his head which he found now faced men armed with clubs and swords, five men just staring at them. In a flash, Hakoda dashed at the man in front only to be met with fire heading straight towards him. Hakoda, at lightning speed, rolled under it followed by a leap – foot first – into the man's wooden shield; the man stumbled back. The two quickly recovered, prompting both the men to clash their swords and club, shaking like arm wrestlers in an attempt to make the other move back.
Sokka turned behind him to find his turn had allowed him to unknowingly miss being caught by a launched shuriken which skimmed past both his and his father's faces. "Didn't you want that to hit my face?" Sokka asked in a light tone.
No sooner had he asked was he met with two men launching themselves at him, clubs in hand. With that, Sokka threw his boomerang at the man to his left. The guard attempted to dodge but it spun round striking him on his head as it did so. Sokka leaped at the other, faking at strike at the head only to skid down and slice the man's shins. Like his father, he jumped up, caught his boomerang: which had now had a good look at the room by now: and landed the projectile with force onto a third guard's head while yelling "Take this!"
The man fell with a thud. Sokka ran to the fourth skilfully dodged the man's bear like hand, then smashed his boomerang on the back of the man's neck; the man lost consciousness quicker than intended.
"Great work son!" his father said, jumping back to the door each time he could break off from the opponent's sword.
"Thanks dad; told you I was right to make a new one."
"In...deed" his dad groaned, barely pushing off the sword for a fourth time.
The man who now had crimson shins began to drag himself towards his club only for Sokka to launch the boomerang and knock the man out, followed by a childish pirouette in the air as he caught the boomerang. He felt quite pleased to have disarmed four grown men effortlessly. "Son, argh...You wouldn't...grr...mind...helping me out here." Hakoda grunted breathlessly barely keeping the man more than a foot away during each strike. "Oh, yeah right."
Sokka regained focus and re-launched the boomerang at the man's head. The dual sword user flinched at the sight, raising his shield in defence. This bought Hakoda enough time to reach Sokka at the door.
"After you. After all age before beauty" Sokka politely said, opening the door swiftly.
"Why aren't you going first then?" his father playfully asked, proceeding through the door at a jog.
"Because you already did!" Sokka replied, more seriously; shutting the door behind him. They ran through the corridor trying to not let the guards hear them. They soon reached the door to the exit but soon heard voices. They doubled back on themselves. They concluded they'd have to go out the back, there were too many guards. As they ran around, Sokka noticed the girls form before and unknowingly slowed down only to then be dragged by his father, much like how Katara used to.
"Katara..." he thought "I haven't seen you in months."
They jogged round endlessly searching corridor after corridor for an exit. They had to hurry. If they knew about them then maybe those people were already going to attack Toph, or worse. They soon reached the back door, allowing them to sneak out to the back wall, climbed over it and escape. They sprinted around to the front.
Hakoda broke the silence after an eternity of jogging asking "So do you know where the school is?"
"No idea" Sokka panted "But I do know that we have to get there soon". They soon reached the town again and was greeted with the scent of fresh fruit, burning meat and the bustling noise in the streets on the busy morning.
They slowed to walk, catching their breath. After a brief look around, Hakoda noticed a man handing out flyers for a school. He approached the man and asked, "Excuse me sir, do you know where I can find a school for earthbenders?"
"I sure do, yep I do, and I have three most wondrous flyers right here, Professional Earthbending School for Boys- P. E.S. F.B- Yu's Elite School and Professional Earthbending School for Girls or P. E.S. F.G for short." the cheery man said with vigour, almost annoyingly.
The man handed him three different flyers. Sokka walked over and began to examine the flyers. Apart from the boy school, the only other school nearby was a mile outside of town in the canyons.
"Thank you" Hakoda said with a charm.
"We'll be going now." Sokka added.
As they made to leave they both looked at each other. They both knew they had to get to this special school. Sokka had heard Toph speak of it so often in her occasional letters she sent while travelling the world, trying to come up with a way to teach metalbending.
They simultaneously sped off at a jog quickly sped off. Once out of town, they sprinted.
"Hold on Toph. We're coming..." Sokka panted under his breath. "We are coming!"
Toph was getting really bored now. School had only started ten minutes ago and she was already being irritated by Mistress Hemming treating her like a slave. Toph didn't let it get to her too much; she had already lost one session today she didn't want to lose the second session. She would have thought a lot of people would want to learn metal bending considering how useful it was but she had to find a way of making the idea catch on. Toph began to slow down in order to delay returning to the classroom. In fact she even detoured to go around the boundaries of the school to better avoid being made to do more petty tasks after already having to deliver some notices to the headmaster who still had a mood on with her as she did likewise.
Toph thought deeply of how she had first tried to get people to metal bend. She had started in Ba Sing Se about a month after the Hundred Year War. She had tried to make people there see the good in it in fact Aang and the others even helped convince her. The only problem was that back then she had no idea how she was going to teach it.
She tried to make them find the earth fragments in the metal like she had done but it was almost useless since the soldiers there weren't blind like she was. She had to break it in by having them bend small metal objects like copper coins and then go on to metal boxes and pipes. She then taught them how to control and manipulate the metal to move with them, the sad thing about that she only knew how to make it clamp onto your skin like chains now she could make it go on like silk cloth.
After six months of teaching she moved on and taught travellers that she encountered but never really found anyone else to teach besides soldiers who would need it in combat. After a year or so after that she decided to try teaching children like herself but she couldn't make her own school with money but didn't want Zuko or Aang to give her money to do it as she wanted to earn it. Now she was stuck here in a school. Sometimes she wished it was like the good old days when she could go about doing as she pleased and had not to listen to any demands except form Katara.
Toph continued to cross along the school, admiring people in practise in earthbending desiring to join in and assist people in the art. She suddenly felt a familiar object walking below her heading towards the arena for practical training. It was Anna. Toph ceased to walk and turned towards where Anna was walking. Toph approached the edge of the balcony so she could feel and find a clearer view of Anna.
She was doing boulder practise which were the teacher raised a boulder and spun it around the circle shaped arena in the centre. The student then was allowed to raise three boulders from the ground and fire each one to destroy the boulder as it span around with the rule they could only fire all three from one position. If they destroyed the first one, they could then try to destroy a second one which would move considerably faster and then a third which moved and blinding speed if they still had a boulder left to use. It taught accuracy, patience and timing.
Toph preferred to knock a boulder back and forth between a partner and gradually increase the speed this way you were active for a long while and could be brought up gradually to maximum speed rather than trying to go straight into it after one (possibly) lucky shot. Anna hadn't notice Toph yet but she didn't mind she would see her - hopefully - tonight at the metalbending class anyway.
The arena they were training on was huge. It was in the shape of the symbol of earth. It was usually used for battles by the duel club. The symbol stretched out a good 20 metres from top to bottom and 10 metres wide though 12 metres at the bottom. The teacher stood in the centre and had the boulders circle just within the edges of the symbol. The students were at the bottom watching patiently for their turn. It was right in the centre of the school. Toph pulled back away from the view and continued to walk disappointingly down the hall.
She had only walked another ten steps when she suddenly heard the crash of a boulder and a yelp to which she quickly returned to the view. Anna was on the ground rubbing her head with the teacher looking speechless at another student, who Toph recognised as soon as she saw the girls' rough and ugly face, Jostin.
Jostin was the meanest girl in the school. She was a sixteen year old "thick rock head brute" according to Toph who was the school's bully. She was undeniably a strong earthbender after eight years of training. Although being one of the oldest in the school she had been held back twice resulting in her being in the same class as Anna. Just looking at the rock like bully made Toph grit her teeth in utter anger, she wasn't even all that tough. Toph knew if she was given the chance she could wipe her out with the flick of her foot, but it wasn't her fight. Toph was glad that Jostin hated metalbending because Toph felt that she would have beaten her senseless if she to explain the thickest rock in the school how to move metal. Toph may only be about a third of the giants' height but she knew it was all brawn and no brain.
Toph instantly jumped off the balcony, slid down the slope on the wall and began to run towards the arena. She wasn't even within fifty feet of the class before she could hear Jostin pleading to the teacher.
"It was an accident miss. I just lost my footing, if anything Anna shouldn't have been standing there" Jostin pleaded trying to make her deep voice all high and innocent.
"Jostin, there was no way that you could have hit Anna when Anna was behind me with the others while the instructor was in the middle spinning the boulder for you. You even turned in Anna's direction."
"I did not" Jostin curtly interrupted, her voice becoming its deep and rude voice to her teacher who was half her size.
"Yes you did and don't use that tone with me young lady, or will I have to see you again in detention?" the teacher said slightly raising her voice while pointing her finger up at Jostin her arm kept close to her body as she did so.
"No miss," Jostin mumbled turning her head as though not really caring.
Toph by now had reached where they were. She instantly went to Anna who was being helped by one of the girls.
Toph began to help pull Anna up and couldn't help but ask almost motherly, "You okay?"
Anna responded, "Fine, just a little bit winded"
"Yes, I'm fine Toph. What are you doing here?"
"You of course," Toph said smiling. "Can't leave you alone for a minute without you getting into some sort of bother."
"Well you know me, Toph, can't sit still."
"Toph Beifong, what are you doing here?" the teacher interrupted.
"Checking if Anna's okay," Toph said, not even taking her eye of Anna as she tried to walk to her.
"She is fine, just let the other girls handle it."
"If you don't mind, miss..." Toph said, letting go of Anna to bend up a board of earth from the floor with a bang her foot and a hard gesture of her hand. She began to lay Anna on it. "I think that since I'm here, I might as well take her to the nurse since I'm free right now."
"Are you? Are you not assisting Mistress Hemming?"
"Well, yes, but-"
"But nothing, young lady - get back to class and leave me with this matter." Everyone was staring at them now no one paying an ounce of attention to Jostin who Toph could see was slyly smirking over the teachers shoulder.
"Miss, please. Anna needs help. I'm her friend, there is nothing wrong with me taking her and I'm sure she'd be fine with it so-"
"No, Toph. You won't be taking her."
"You what no I'm taking her and there isn't anything you can do about it"
With that Toph began to walk towards the healers shack to the left.
"How are you feeling" asked an unusually concerned Toph.
"I'm fine," replied Anna.
The pair was in a small room on the schools grounds. They had been there for a while. The nurse had been analysing Anna's injuries and told her all she needed was to rest up. Now that Anna seemed okay, Toph motioned to leave.
"Where are you going?" asked Anna.
"Back to class, I can't stay here you know."
"I know but could you do me a favour?"
Toph stopped just as she had reached the door and had reached the handle. She turned slowly back to Anna. "A favour?"
"Yeah I'm sure it won't be too hard," said Anna, sitting on a wooden brown chair in the middle of the room with the chair Toph had just been sitting on adjacent to it.
"Well what is it?" quizzed Toph.
"Stop Jostin from bullying me" Anna said, her voice weakening as she said the beat root faced bully's name.
"I could but I think I would probably get kicked out for it. Fong would say "I'm afraid isn't fair for a girl of your sheer skill to go against one of my students, despite being younger than them". Toph mocked, gesturing her arms close to her chest, her face mimicking Fong's stern, beat red face.
"If only I could" Toph sighed.
"Oh..." spoke Anna her voice almost inaudible as her head sank down to face the floor.
"But you could instead" Toph said her voice becoming slightly enthusiastic.
"What?" said a befuddled Anna quickly almost taken aback by what Toph had just said.
"Yep you and I'm going to tell you how" Toph almost shouted as she made her way back to Anna a smile on her face as she punched her fist into the palm of her right hand.
Toph had surprised herself by what she had managed to do. She had convinced master Fong to allow Anna and Jostin to face off in a match on the deal that, if Anna wins, then she gets a promotion and can make metalbending a lesson at the school and no more helping teachers. However, if Jostin wins, then Toph has to be Fong's assistant for a month and then leave the school. Toph had persuaded them to use Anna and Jostin knowing he'd obviously want Jostin as his since she looked the strongest and Anna looked the weakest. Toph always did see him as thick. She had even managed to convince him to allow metalbending which led to Toph positioning several metal boxes and plates of metal around the arena.
The only thing she hadn't counted on was Fong making it a public battle for the whole school, even the guards, to see. He had raised stands for the students to sit at all around the arena. It reminded Toph of the Earth Rumble Six arena. Anna's nerves were starting to get the better of her. Toph was spending her time trying to convince Anna it would be alright and trying to calm her down minutes before the match.
"I can't do this Toph, I'm not ready" gasped Anna.
"Sure you are. Just keep calm and use everything I've taught you" calmly Toph spoke reassuringly.
"But I fail at metalbending during lessons."
"No, you just don't believe in yourself. I should know I taught you after all. Besides Jostin can't even make metal twitch let alone move it" "Maybe but..."
"Just relax and you'll be fine."
At that moment Master Fong stepped onto the podium in line with the centre of the arena. His load boisterous voice rang around the packed arena.
"Ladies and gentlemen, today we have a very special treat for all of you! Your metalbending teacher..." Fong boomed darting his eyes to Toph with sly grin around his face perking up "Has asked that Anna, a girl I'm sure you all know, will be facing off against the splendidly powerful Jostin!"
To Toph surprise, the girls were cheering quite loud. Toph always thought the majority of the girls at the school were pampered little spoilt brats who hatred even getting a speck of dirt in their nails, yet they were cheering almost like boys in utter excitement at the thought of the battle about to begin.
"It will be a one round match" continued Fong. "Whoever either knocks the opponent out of the ring knocks them out or forces a surrender will be the winner."
Again the girls cheered as did the guards who seemed to want to see the match start despite some of their faces looking as though they weren't expecting much.
"Okay Anna it's all you go out there and kick that no good Jostin's butt" Toph shouted energetically, punching Anna's arm with a smile as the slightly relaxed Anna began to walk into the arena with a banging rhino coming straight to her at walking pace. Jostin's feet slammed into the ground with a thump making the ground shake around Anna who almost lost her footing at the rhino like creature reached the centre. Jostin towered over Anna like an elephant to a mouse except this elephant wasn't scared of the mouse but wanted to stomp on and crush it.
They both shook each other's hand. Anna started soft but was met with a firm and griping shake form Jostin who was trying to break her fingers. Anna hardened her grip but Jostin barely, if possible, flinched. After the longest handshake in existence, they both finally let go of the other's hand and just continued to stare in fear and anger at each other. Anna felt a strange sense of courage and power now and felt her nerves just fade away as she stared down Jostin. "Now turn around girls and walk ten paces. Once done may the best bender win."
With that, the pair turned around and began to walk (pound and bounce in Jostin's case) across the arena to the other end or as far from it in fear of being knocked off straight away. Then they both turned and stared for as long as they could. The once buzzing crowd had ceased cheering, all eyes and ears fixated on the arena. Toph watched on in complete confidence Anna could do it, Anna could beat Jostin and now was the time to see if she was right.
Jostin was first. She stomped the ground beneath her with force and rose with a gigantic boulder beneath her. Anna prepared herself by forming a small shield around her-self of pure earth. The boulder smashed it to pieces. Jostin landed in unison with the shattered remains of Anna's shield with a thud. Anna was seemingly unharmed though had been shook by the force of the attack, as though dazed by it. Jostin smiled at her, ravenously.
Anna quickly countered, waling forward slowly, stomping lightly, small boulders rising, only to be blasted right at Jostin. Jostin rolled under the first three, side stepped the last two then forced the earth to tremble using her hands all in a flick of a tick. Anna fell at the sheer shaking of the ground.
"Ha, what's wrong, is little Anna too scared to fight me? I think she is!" Jostin mocked, not making a single attempt to not laugh. Toph hated her, she wanted so much to throw her around and give her a good metal fist into the stomach. But this is Anna's fight Toph kept thinking. Despite knowing she would never see Jostin's face she knew Anna would make Jostin feel like dirt, in a better way than being bullied or humiliation. Just the sheer fact that for a moment Jostin will realise she isn't as strong as she thinks.
Unable to hold herself, she shouted out with vigour, "Come on, Anna. Show this stupid brute not to mess with a metalbending prodigy!"
That's it. Anna dragged herself slowly back to her feet. She felt shaken and scared but she was nevertheless alive. At least there was one positive. Anna assessed her situation in the space of a micro-second. She was alright, sort of, her opponent was a good foot or two taller than her but complacent; that was a good thing.
"What's wrong...?" the troll Jostin started "You want more of this? Fine get ready to have the living daylights knocked out of you!" Jostin launched herself forward in one massive leap, the sheer force of her hitting the floor caused a further almighty shake. Anna was ready. Anna raised both her arms, forcing the earth below her to rise, it crumbled under the troll's shake. Anna dropped to the floor quite gracefully, taking so long in her fairy like drop that the tremor had ended. Anna kicked the floor tensing her arms at Jostin, who was inadequately prepared for fragments of earth that crept at lightning speed into her; crashing into the floor like the wasted earth, crippled.
Anna didn't celebrate her successful shot, despite the crowds – and Toph's – eager celebrations. Anna understood it wasn't over. She ran to one of the metal crates at the edge of the arena, gripping it with both fists as she reached it. She began to slam it with he hands, first the back then the palm continuously. Jostin had returned to her feet. Her beat red troll face told Toph and the spectators she wasn't pleased one bit. The troll forced her hands into the earth floor. Toph didn't expect her to try using any metal. Soon both opponents were covered in materials; Jostin in earth, Anna in metal.
They both faced the other, at either ends of the ring, a clash was imminent. Anna raced as best she could in her heavy armour to another box on her left. Jostin thrust both her arms behind her, gliding slightly faster towards Anna.
"What is she doing?" The spectators began to mutter, having calmed down ever so slightly. Toph knew. Anna still hadn't covered her feet, the metal stood no chance without the same capable speed which Jostin was now gaining. She managed to reach the second box – swiftly propelling small boulders at Jostin by kicking her feet in a failed attempt to detain the beast.
They had done it. Father and so, Hakoda and Sokka, had reached the school. They were thick with sweat, their fur armour itching from underneath. To run five miles so fast had to be a record of some kind. Sokka wanted to drop and rest; no time. They both abruptly enter the school. AS they did Hakoda breathed "This better be it." "It better" Sokka agreed.
They entered the school. It was seemingly deserted.
"No" Sokka thought. Was he too late? Had they already attacked the school? Was Toph gone? These questioned clogged Sokka's thoughts. He couldn't think positive because of this awkward silence.
He searched the school hoping that Toph was there. The duo soon reached an arena type area. It had been torn to shreds by a duel of some sort Sokka guessed to himself. This made his heart sink. HE was too late, all that running for nothing. They had got her.
"This sucks" Sokka grumbled, depressed at the sheer thought of Toph in danger.
"What do you mean? They're right over there" Hakoda reassured him, pointing towards a large group of people, all huddled together, and celebrating.
Straight away, Sokka saw Toph in full bloom. She was standing next to an old frail man who was most likely her teacher perhaps. As he ran down along with hid father, some girls stared at him causing him to blush, he hoped they weren't giggling about how beat red he probably was. He soon shook this off continuing on towards Toph.
He found his way towards her. As soon as he was in front of her she just froze up in utter shock. A girl standing next to her had also frozen up but had a smile on her face.
"Is this who I think it is Toph?" Toph's friend asked.
"I think it just might be. Sokka?" she eventually managed to utter.
"Yeah, it's me Toph. The one and only Sokka at your service" Sokka playfully said bowing as he did with a smile. When he came back up to face Toph he was met with a jab to his arm.
"Good to see you antsy pants"
"You seriously are still going to call me that; it's been two years"
"Of course I am. Can't have you be jealous when I start calling Aang "Twinkle Toes" again" "Again?" asked Toph.
"Well why else have you come here then if not to take me on some sort of adventure?" asked an intrigued Toph.
Oh yeah..um... Who's your friend?"
"Oh yeah sorry, Anna this Sokka; Sokka this is my good friend and student Anna. Did you see what she did to her over there?" Toph said pointing at a huge women being dragged by two students from a huge pie of earth while Sokka shook hands with Anna who had the latter had not stopped smiling.
"Yes I do." Sokka said letting go of Anna's hand much to the girl's dismay. Hakoda finally butted in, much to Sokka's thanks (he really didn't like the awkwardness of women stared at the way he was).
"As much as I know you'd both love to catch up, we really can't do this right here right now. You see Bumi and Aang got attacked by who knows what but we really need to get out of here like right now because..."
Before Hakoda even finished, there was an almighty explosion that rippled through the school as its huge walls that had been unguarded came crashed down as though struck by lightning. Fire crept into the school as did men in black and purple uniforms.
"We are under attacked!" shouted a fairly large man. Many of the students began to run for cover. Sokka ran through the students with Toph and Anna right behind him. Once through they could see all of the attackers running through the rubble only to abruptly stop taking up a battle stance. Not a single one was attacking. A few teachers and the guards took position. Sokka drew his sword while Toph and Anna positioned themselves either side of him.
"Who are they Sokka who are they?" asked Toph sensing the uncomfortable silence that followed now that the attackers just stood there and the girls had finally stopped screaming, some even having joined the guards to defend themselves despite the teachers pleas.
One man, a man from the estate came walking in with a ball of fire in his hand "We are the Energybenders!"
- This happened the same morning as in chapter three, for those who hadn't noticed.
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