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May 15, 2014
A new evil has risen; a darkbending nation. The world may be fighting, but only the Avatar can defeat the Dark Lord and bring peace to the world.
Book One: Dark
Chapter Five: The Gardener
Previously on Naton
has been revealed as the new Avatar, and has joined his friends in the Ben Hai. Master knows someone who can help Naton increase his skill in bending. They arrive in the Forest of Thorns, and have a not-so-warm welcome from the .
Chapter Five: The Gardener
Gardie led the Ben Hai to his house. It was a small, five room hut made of wood, branches and rocks. "It's not the best home, but then again, I don't get much visitors. Oh, hey Shu! You're back!" A rabbit- snake climbed onto Gardie's back. "Shu, Ben Hai, Ben Hai, Shu."
gave Gardie a quizzical look. "Is he insane?" Beeno whispered into Naton's ear.
"Did you eat your carrots, little Shu-Shu? Gasp! You ate another bird- rat didn't you? I can smell it in your breath! Bad Shu!" Gardie set the rabbit-snake down, and bowed to Onza. "Sorry. So, I've heard about the Ben Hai. Defending the villages and such."
Onza nodded. "Indeed. And now the Avatar has come. I hope you train him well."
Naton looked at Onza. "What about you guys?"
"We'll be here as well,"said.
"Well. Let's start training, then!" Gardie said.
"I learned how to plantbend by studying the Foggy Swamp Tribe. Most waterbenders prefer clean water, but they didn't care. Even so, they didn't wear much pants!" Gardie sat down on a log. "Plantbending is a lot like earthbenders bend metal. You find the element inside something else. I find water inside plants." He raised his hand and a fern unfolded. "It teaches you to find water deep inside something. It makes you focus and look closely."
"What does this have to do with being the Avatar?" Naton asked.
Gardie grinned. "Glad you asked. I heard you've only been the Avatar for three weeks."
"Actually, three months. In the Spirit World."
"Nice. And I assume you haven't had much experience."
"You got that right."
"First realizing you're the Avatar is a hard thing to accept. If you're stressed, it can lead to bad consequences. Plantbending can help refocus your mind and concentrate on what's really important. Try it on this leaf." Naton held his hand out. "Imagine all of the water molecules in there. Then just bend them, treating it as a whole."
Naton lifted his hand, and water droplets seeped out of the leaf, and the leaf wilted. "Whoa whoa. Treat it like a whole. It's separated, but still one community." Gardie lifted his hand, and another leaf floated in the air.
"I think I got it," Naton said.
He tried it again, and half of the leaf left Gardie's hand. "Getting better."
"After you master plantbending, your mind will be much more clear, and you'll be more aware of your surroundings. As the Avatar, your mission is to defeat the Dark Lord," Gardie said. "It takes a master amount of skill to defeat such a powerful person. Even I don't know the extent of his power."
"Thanks for the encouragement," Naton sarcastically said.
Gardie smiled. "Let me show you something."
Past the house, Gardie led Naton to a large circle of trees, guarded by tall rocks with intricate markings. In the center, was a tree that was shimmering with light. The leaves held tiny crystals, and the bark was a light blue.
"This is the Sacred Tree. It's the center of the forest's spirituality. I've been guarding this tree for many years."
"Does anyone try to take it?"
"Of course. But only a few dark-benders make it here. This forest is very secret."
Naton walked up and touched the tree. He felt a surge of energy go through him. "It's just like the Gem of a Thousand Lights," he said.
"There are many powerful spiritual objects in this world," Gardie explained. "They are very powerful, and have very deep secrets." The tree glowed and shimmered.
"Is there any way I can go back to the Spirit World?" Naton asked. "Onza told me you're very knowledgeable in spirits."
Gardie cleared his throat. "Besides the gem you talked about, the only way to enter the Spirit World is to meditate and enhance your spiritual power, or to find a spirit portal. Unfortunately, there are only two, which are in the two Water Tribes."
"That is not true, my friend."
Gardie and Naton turned and saw Onza. "There are other portals in this world, but they are yet to be found."
"Really?" Naton asked.
Onza nodded. "After Avatar Korra reopened the Water Tribe portals, more portals opened around the world. But now they are all closed. Perhaps we can find some."
"Speaking of Avatars, it's about time Naton learned lightbending, eh, Onza?"
Onza, Gardie and Naton went to a large clearing, where the Ben Hai watched nearby. "Lightbending is the opposite of dark-bending. Lightbending uses the positive emotions and good traits of yourself and creates a physical element," Onza said. "Reach deep inside, and find the good inside of you." Onza took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and then raised his arms. A bright light formed between his hands. "If there is not much good in you, you are limited."
"So, that means to darkbend, you have to grab the evil thoughts and bad stuff in yourself, right?" Naton asked.
"Precisely," Onza said, and released the light. "Now you try."
Naton took a deep breath, and closed his eyes. Find the good inside of you. His mind searched. I'm helpful, I'm kind, I don't hurt people, I don't lie, I don't hate anyone-
"Naton!" Naton opened his eyes. In front of him, several flashes of light danced around, but there was one single orb, filled with a black substance.
"Naton! What did you find?!" Onza's face was red. "I-I-I..." Naton protested. "I found the good things inside of me."
"But you found something bad as well. What were you thinking?" Gardie asked.
Naton looked around. I don't hate anyone. I like everyone. What happened? "I hate someone," he said.
Onza's eyes widened. "Did your father ever hit you?" Naton shook his head. "Wushu was the nicest guy I've met."
"I don't know."
Onza and Gardie were silent. "Naton, clear your mind. Think about it," Gardie said. "If the Avatar can darkbend, he'll slowly be corrupted."
Naton closed his eyes, and dove deep into his mind. "I don't know. I don't know who I hate."
Onza frowned. "Then I cannot teach you lightbending. I cannot take the risk." Onza walked away, and Naton stared at the grass.
"Master Onza," Tazen said. "Aeron spotted darkbenders coming this way."
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