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|Chapter 5: Mystery of the Headpiece|
One - Air
1 August 2013
"Miyuki, how far off are we?" Ming asked, clearly tired after a long days journey. The previous day he and Miyuki got out of the boat she had fled in and they had been going on foot ever since.
"Where are we even headed? I didn't know I was supposed to be following anything on my map..." Miyuki replied, confused.
"What!? You mean we've been walking to nowhere for a day? Gee, Miyuki. Thanks." He snatched the map out of her hands in frustration.
"Look, I'm sorry! It's not like you told me."
"I shouldn't have to," Ming snorted irritably. "I handed you the map, one would only assume..."
"Whatever. I already said I was sorry," Miyuki told him icily. "Here, give it back, I'll see where we are."
"I can do it myself." Ming scoffed.
"Really? That would be why the map's upside down?" Ming went red and shamefully handed the map over.
Miyuki stared at the map. She noticed the river flowing next to her was not far off from a marked city on the map, though she couldn't quite make out the name. The seemed to be headed in the right direction for it, though.
"We'll keep going straight ahead. There's a town close by. Let's stop for a little bit there because I'm famished."
"Which town?" Ming questioned.
"I'm not sure, I can't read the name. Here." she handed the map to Ming and pointed at the faded words.
"Ah! Fire Fountain City!" Ming said with delight, "I remember travelling there with my family when I was a young boy. Lovely place."
"Fire Fountain City?" Miyuki burst into a fit of laughter. "What kind of idiotic name is that? Who names a town that?"
"The young man is right," came a familiar voice out of the crowd. "The Avatar wouldn't do something like this. I've heard the stories about them."
"Leave us alone," Miyuki yelled out as the people closed in from around her. The flaring sensation in her eyes made them all jump back a bit. "If it really wasn't Tong," Miyuki went on, "we'll find out who the real culprit behind this is."
The town elder appeared to be sizing them up and down. "Very well," he added to them before turning back to the guardsmen. "Keep an eye on the Avatar and her soldier companion."
Scattered faces of the townspeople shot Miyuki and Ming dirty looks as they retreated and went back about their business for the time being. Now that her first real action out in the world as the Avatar had been a misstep, Miyuki vowed to be more careful and sure of herself now.
"I believe you," said Chin, who had stayed behind with Miyuki and Ming. "We'd best find who the real thief is soon or the town elder will have it in for the two of you."
"If that guardsmen Tong didn't steal the ceremonial headpiece, then who did?" Ming questioned out loud, not expecting a definite answer.
"I don't know," Miyuki admitted to him. "But I think we'll find something out if we return to the scene of the crime." And so, the thirteen year-old Avatar ran through the street and back to the statue in the center of town, followed by her soldier companion. Meanwhile, some of the townsfolk were continuing to prepare for the upcoming festival.
"The top of the statue is really high above the ground," commented Ming. "Tong's spear would've been right about the right length to reach it."
"There must be some other object we're overlooking," said Miyuki. "There are no earthbenders or airbenders around here, as far as we know, so the thief had to have some other way to get it in the short amount of time they had."
"Are we absolutely certain there are no earthbenders or airbenders in this town?" asked Chin.
"If there were, they'd have to be an outsider," Miyuki stated impatiently. "You've seen what the elder thinks of outsiders. If there was another kind of bender around, I think it would've been obvious. The only outsiders here now are us and...Zun. But, he couldn't have taken it." Miyuki paused for a few moments, then turned about and ran down the street so suddenly it took Ming several strides of his long legs to catch up to her.
Soon, they had arrived at the inn where they had seen Zun earlier that day. Just as they arrived at the doorstep, Zun was standing outside with a large bag in arm.
"Miyuki?" he voiced aloud, baffled by her presence. "What are you doing here? I was just leaving town."
"Are you an earthbender?" Miyuki asked him, almost out of breath.
"What, why would you ask me that?" Zun raised his voice.
"Did you steal the headpiece off the top of the Fire Lord statue?" Ming inquired aggressively, standing behind Miyuki.
Zun frowned at both of them, the tips of his mustache sagging. "I don't know where you're getting these ideas, but I really must be off. I don't have time for any of this nonsense!" As he hurried past the two interrogators, however, he found a blazing stream of fire soaring over his shoulder. Turning back, he saw Miyuki had assumed her firebending stance. "What was that about!?"
"We're not letting you leave this town until you talk," Miyuki informed him, narrowing her eyes at the one she had been happy to meet earlier that day. She twisted her arm around and punched forth, exhaling a radiant stream of flame with both her extended hands.
Zun dodged the attack, but dropped his bag to the ground in the process. An agile figure, Miyuki had to hurl three more fireballs at his chest before he finally curled his fists and erected a stone wall from the road beneath. A handful of passersby on the street corner gasped at this endeavor. Now exposed as an earthbender, Zun rotated his ankle and the ground below Miyuki's feet grew soft and mushy, submerging both her feet and continuing to sink the rest of her body. Gritting her teeth, she fought back and took a deep breath. Her next stream of fire collided with Zun's stomach, burning the outside of his shirt and knocking him back several feet.
"What's going on?!" The town elder had arrived at the scene, accompanied by Tong and a handful of other guards behind him. He had just witnessed Avatar Miyuki, whom he suspected a thief, assault an older man with her fearsome firebending.
"I've got something here," Ming informed the elder. He had just dug into Zun's bag and found the stolen headpiece buried underneath a spare change of clothes. "It looks like we've caught your culprit, elder."
Miyuki nodded confidently as Ming handed the headpiece back to the stunned elder. "But why, Zun?" Miyuki questioned. "I can't believe a former friend of my father would do something this crooked..."
"Hah!" Zun spat, exasperated, as the guardsmen hoisted him to his feet and cuffed his wrists. "I was never a true friend of your father. I was a double agent working for Ba Sing Se when I met him, but your father never caught on. He was a fool, just like everyone else who believed me!"
Miyuki stepped forth angrily to challenge Zun once again, but Ming placed his arm out in front of her. Taking a deep breath, she realized he was right. Zun was going to jail where he belonged. There was no point in attacking him again now.
The town elder shook his head solemnly and turned back to the Avatar and her soldier companion. "Miyuki, I believe we owe you an apology," he stated.
"Well, at least you've got the right person now," Ming stated.
Miyuki turned to her soldier companion. "I think we've been in this town long enough."
"Agreed," Ming concurred with a nod. "We still need to find you an airbending master."
"The closest I can think of would be the air temples," Miyuki said matter-of-factly. "They're a long way away."
"I know of a master," Chin spoke up. "His name is Kong. I can help you locate him."
Miyuki was surprised at this sudden revelation. "How do you know where to find an airbending master?" she asked, slightly suspicious.
Ming cut Chin off before he could answer. "We don't need your help. I have things under control!" Beneath his blunt demeanor, Ming twitched as though hiding something.
"Excuse me," Mikyuki interrupted sarcastically. "Since when are you in charge? I said you could come along with me, not make all my decisions. Chin, we accept your help."
Chin's mouth curved upward. "I've always dreamed of helping the Avatar. The world needs you."
|Avatar: Legends of Miyuki Chapters|
|Prologue - New Life - Ripples from the Past - The Shocking Truth - Leaving - Mystery of the Headpiece|