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|The Road to Ba Sing Se|
Arc One: Autumn
April 12, 2013
"Three days," Tal snapped, angrily, in my face. "Three days, and this rain hasn't let up. The only food we've had is a rabbit here and maybe a deer there. We're expected in Ba Sing Se tomorrow! What are we going to do?"
"Go," I replied plainly. "I don't care if it's raining, we have to continue. Pack up your stuff, we leave soon." Everyone looked at me in dismay, and slowly, reluctantly, obeyed.
About a half hour later, we stood at the entrance to the cave, astonished; it was snowing! I knew it was getting colder, but not that cold. We were going to have to conserve all the heat we could. I stepped out into the white wonderland, and looked up in the sky. The sky was dark grey, and as I looked out in the distance, I saw the sky clearing overheard near Ba Sing Se.
I turned to my crew, and they stepped out behind me. We waited a moment for everyone to take all this information in, and we set off for Ba Sing Se. We slowly, hesitantly, followed the edge of the mountain, trying to find how to get to our destination. The snow kept falling, the air getting colder and colder.
Finally we were descending from the mountain, into a valley that just sits on the border of Ba Sing Se, the capital city of the Earth Kingdom. We had no idea what to expect there, if it was the same as the little village that we stopped at.
There was another town that we stopped at, right in the path to Ba Sing Se. The snow had turned into a light drizzle by the time we got down here. This town was full of merchants and farmers, probably the way they got money being over shadowed by Ba Sing Se.
Men called out from left and right, trying to sell us coats, food, even houses! We stopped at one shack, where an old, wrinkled man was selling pendants. We looked around, looking at all the marvels. Suddenly, out of nowhere, they attacked again – the enemy. People screamed, though the brave ones stayed and fought – now I said brave, not smart. They were no match though; they took the brave ones out almost immediately.
We got in our ready stances. They looked at me, as I nodded back and we went out fighting. Again, we were no match. They took us out one by one, and the only ones who were strong enough to stay fighting were Tal and I. We went back-to-back.
"Who are you?" I asked their leader – at least I thought he was the leader, he was in the back, looking on. He walked up to my face. I settled down a tiny bit, and waited for him to reply.
"Just call us," he paused, "The Dominators." He spoke in a low, strong voice. He had a long handle-bar mustache, and wore a mask that exposed the lower half of his head. As he approached, he went over to Tal, swept his legs from under him, and did the same to me.
Not again, I thought. I looked over at Nina, who was on my right. That smile on her face had disappeared, and she stared at the ground. I did the same, feeling ashamed of myself; out darkest hour has surely come. I looked up at the evening sky. It was turning red, the sign that a warm front had just past. I knew it was a sign that everything was going to be alright.
At that very moment, a man jumped out from behind a shack, and without hesitation, used Metalbending to wrap metal cord around our captors. Their suits were part metal, so he used that to knock two of them together, making them lose consciousness. My hopes skyrocketed. This old, wrinkled Earth Kingdom man would save us.
He came over to us, freed us from our metal chain shackles, and continued fighting. We all took a few, Tal and I, for the first time, working together. When Neville got his electricity weapon out, a look of horror crossed the man's face, but he shook it away and continued fighting. This puzzled me, but I convinced myself to think about it later; there was work to do.
As soon as we took all of them out, I wiped my hands off on my pants – a sign in the Earth Kingdom of cleaning yourself of the past problem – and moved towards the old man. "Thanks," I said.
"You are welcome," the man said graciously. "I am Brady, a former member of the Republic City Metalbending Police." Neville came over, his tech still on his hand. "Take that off," Brady said, snatching the tech from Neville's hand and breaking it on his knee.
Neville recoiled at his harsh response. "What the heck?" I asked angrily.
"That is the tech the Equalists used to use," Brady replied. I looked at him in horror. The Equalists, the band of non-bender terrorists; their mission was to kill all benders, because their leader, Amon, believed that benders were enslaving them. It was horrible, yet Avatar Korra and her Team Avatar defeated them.
"That's impossible!" Neville exclaimed. "I snatched this off of a Dominator!" We all scolded Neville, but he just shrugged and said, "Hey, free tech."
"This is worse than I thought," Brady said. "I'm coming with you. They are more advanced than I thought." I nodded to him. I turned to the rest, who nodded in agreement.
"Any way," I said, "We have to get to Ba Sing Se. We have a very important meeting there." He gave me a confusing look, but he trusted his instinct and gave me an approving nod.
"Let's go," he said.
Neville caught up with me in front. "I know how you feel about Tal," he said as he fell in line beside me.
"Oh yeah, and how is that?" I asked reluctantly.
"You can't seem to agree with him," Neville replied. "I had the same feeling about him. Even though we're brothers, we didn't act like it. We would argue and fight so far that he would actually use his Firebending against me; luckily, I was very nimble. Yet the only way I was able to become friends with my brother was to let go of my hate towards him, to let go of how I want him to be, and not how he is."
"But that's impossible," I argued. "We're complete opposites!"
"So were we," Neville explained, "Until I tried to fix the broken relationship."
"Great," I mumbled, "Now not only is Nina harassing me, but so is Neville now..."
Apparently Neville overheard me and said, "I'm not harassing you, I'm trying to give you a solution." Seeing that I could not be negotiated with, he fell back in line with the rest.
As I looked up from the ground, I saw the majestic city of Ba Sing Se, the capital city of the Earth Kingdom and home to the Earth King. We would stay here for two days, and rendezvous with our mystery guest.
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