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One: Mel of the Earth Kingdom
This is the fourth chapter of Book One: Mel of the Earth Kingdom. It tells how Hope escaped and what happened next. It is told from her perspective.
I was surrounded with no way out! The guards were coming closer and closer, and I had less that a second to figure something out. But I did. I jumped on my feet and shot a fireball at one of the guards' faces. He yelled, and in that moment of distraction, I shot a lightning bold. The explosion that it caused blasted all the guards off, but I was prepared and made a fire barrier on time.
I jumped off the roof and landed on the next one. I might have defeated the guards, but I knew that the chase was still not over. The Mistress was still after me, and she had so many more guards under her command, she could give me a life time's worth of fireballs in less than a minute.
The ship was a few minutes away, and she was already catching up. Three lightning bolts in a day truly exhausted you. Still, I had no time to feel sorry, much less doubt myself. If I wanted to, and I had to, get out of this alive, concentrating as hard as possible was the only option.
The Mistress and her guards were a few roofs away now, but I was already there. I jumped to the roof on the left, and then did a double flip, landing on the near rock. A few more seconds of running followed. I ran as fast as I could, and then I spotted the ship. It was from the old navy indeed – darker, smaller, slower – but it was a good way out. I jumped off the rock and shot a wave of fire under me. Fortunately my trick worked, and I landed safely on the ship.
I ran inside, locked all gates, and turned on the engine. Then I headed to the control room, and started moving the ship off-shore. But I was too slow. The Mistress was already on top of the rock, and her guards were heading here that very second. I did everything I could, but before the ship started moving, the guards were already climbing on it.
I opened the window of the control room and jumped out. I, once again, made a wave of fire, so I landed safely. I ran towards the guards who were now on-board. They took their stances, but before they had even taken a breath, I was shooting all kinds of firebending combinations at them. One by one, they all fell off the ship. My troubles were over.
But I had forgotten about the Mistress. It took her less than a second to shoot that one bolt of lightning at the engine. There was no way I could reach Omashu now, much less Ba Sing Se. But I was not going to give in; no, sir, I was not! I took my stance and a deep breath. Next I moved my hands in the familiar circular pattern. Finally, it was show time. The lightning cut the air in its usual magnificent pattern and hit the rock. I knew that I had to go, or else I was to be bothered again.
I blasted myself off the ground and climbed to the control tower, just as I had come out – through the window. I got the ship out and left it to go straight ahead. That was going to get me close enough to my destination while I was fixing the engine.
I then made my way through the rest of the ship, and slowly headed towards the engine room. On my way I observed the curious design of the ship. The metalwork was so interesting; you could tell it was older, yet it was felt so tough; possibly tougher than the current one.
I reached the engine room and was lucky to find the engine barely damaged. It took me about an hour to fix the little mess-ups. It was actually quite fortunate these ships used coal. If it was an electric one, it would have been a fried chicken-worm in a blink.
Then all my hard work turned out pointless, after a catapult successfully hit the engine. But it wasn't a Fire Nation ball, for it was not burning. It had the Earth Kingdom insignia on it. But why would the Earth Kingdom attack me? They were sure to know that this was an old ship. What could it be that made them worried? I looked back to the catapult ball, and the answer immediately struck me:
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