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|Chapter 7: Kyoshi Island Part 2: The Search|
July 27, 2012
Bo awakened, it was still dark, but the sun was on the horizon. In the distance, Bo saw the giant wooden statue of Avatar Kyoshi through the window. The paint had worn away and it was splintered. Bo rose from his bed which was nothing but a pile of hay next to Yani. He turned from his friends who were still sleeping and he went out of the barn. "Might as well start looking for the Avatar," Bo told himself as he began to walk around the city.
Bo began his search at city hall, to try and find any records of a family with a boy named Myagi. "Excuse me," Bo said as an old lady came to the front desk in city hall.
"Yes, how may I help you?" the lady asked. She was wearing some kind of breathing mask, Bo assumed it was to protect herself from the disease. He recalled that similar devices were used during the outbreak of Tǔ fever in the Earth Kingdom in 1421.
"Well, ma'am, I would like to know if you have a resident living here by the name of Myagi, he's a young boy, probably five or six," Bo told her.
"Is he a friend of yours?" the lady asked, making light banter.
"Yes, in a manner of speaking," Bo responded.
"Well, if he's still alive then he should be in here, we remove all of the sick and dead from here, makes it easier to keep track of the statistics for the doctor," the lady said, pulling out a large heavy book. "We used to keep this all on those fancy computers, but then all the power plant workers got sick and no we can barely keep our lights on."
"Computers, you mean those machines that talk in ones and zeros?" Bo asked. "I've never seen one."
"Haven't you?" she asked as she continued to search through her book.
"No, you see, I don't come from here, I'm from where Ba Sing Se used to be, we don't have much but chaos out there," Bo explained.
"Oh, I see," she said, although Bo highly doubted it. "You know, he's not in here, so you might want to check with Doctor Long and the undertaker, however, he may have moved away so I'll check the older books and get back to you."
"Okay, thank you," Bo said with a smile.
"You're very welcome," the lady said, her eyes squinting momentarily, indicating that she had smiled back although it was hard to tell past her mask.
Meanwhile, back in the barn, Nyui awakened. The sun was shining in now. Nyui stretched and yawned, and Yani did the same, except more loudly. Yani's loud yawn awakened Lien with a start.
"Good morning," Nyui said. "Say, have you seen Bo?"
"No," Lien replied. "Maybe he got an early start."
"Well, I guess that we'd better track him down then," Nyui said as she began rummaging in their bags for the map of Kyoshi Island that they had picked up at the temple. "Darn, he took the map."
"Well what good would it have done us anyway?" Lien asked as she packed up her sleeping bag. "It's not like we know where he went."
"Bo strikes me as the kind of guy who's smart, but also lazy," Nyui said. "I figure that he probably wanted to take the quickest path possible, so he probably went to town hall where I assume they keep records of all their residents." Nyui turned to see Lien giving her sort of a dirty look. "What'd I say?" Nyui asked.
"Oh, nothing," Lien said still with an annoyed look on her face as she returned to packing her bag up.
Nyui shrugged and said, "Since Bo took the map, we're going to have to ask around for where town hall is and we might as well ask about the Avatar."
"Okay, well, I'm ready," Lien said.
"Uh uh," Nyui said, "first we need breakfast, here," Nyui handed Lien a piece of what looked like an oversized cracker.
"How's this going to qualify as breakfast?" Lien asked looking at the multicolored slab.
"It will, trust me, it may seem small but it's very dense and loaded with nutrients," Nyui said.
Lien took a bite and instantly turned green.
"You'll get used to the taste," Nyui told her after she had finished hers.
After the small breakfast, Lien and Nyui began to ask around for directions to city hall, and about the whereabouts of Myagi. It was noon when they finally found city hall. When they entered they saw an old lady with a strange thing on her face poring over a series of rather large books.
"Excuse us ma'am," Lien said to her.
The lady turned and looked at them through her mask. "Oh, hello children, how may I help you?" she asked.
"We're looking for a friend of ours, he's about sixteen, has green eyes, sandy brown hair, and is about this high," Nyui demonstrated with her hand having to airbend herself up a foot or two to accurately display his height.
"Oh yes, polite boy, he came in this morning looking for a Myagi that he said lives here, I told him to check with Doctor Long make sure that he wasn't a patient as well as to check with the undertaker, so he's in either one of those two places," the lady said, slightly muffled.
"Where can we find Doctor Long and the undertaker?" Lien asked.
"The good doctor will be in the hospital while the undertaker will be in the graveyard at this time probably, here's a map of the city if you need one."
"Thank you," Lien and Nyui said as they took the map and left.
"So let's begin searching for him," Nyui said as they started on their way to the hospital.
When they finally arrived at the hospital, they found everything abuzz. "What's that smell?" Nyui asked although she didn't need an answer once she noticed the people who lie on their beds, covered in pink welts and blackened skin.
As Nyui turned back to Lien, she suddenly saw Doctor Long in her face, "Come quickly!" he shouted.
"Why, what's wrong?" Lien asked.
"It's your friend, he's sick."
As Nyui and Lien followed the doctor they looked at each other their eyes wide. They soon entered another room. They looked and there Bo lie with all sorts of medical equipment attached to him and nurses running around him.
"Why have you brought us here?" Lien asked Doctor Long.
"Your friend, told me why you were here when he was looking for this boy Myagi, that's why I've brought you here."
"That still doesn't make sense," Nyui told him.
"Before you arrived here, I received a message from T'las, he said that he knew of the plague and was sending help, I assume that's you," Long explained.
"I'm sorry, we didn't even know if the plague was real until yesterday, and I'm sure that we can't be of any help," Lien said.
"In the message, T'las said that you wouldn't know that you were helping, he said that one of you had some sort of immunity to the disease," Long said. "I'll have to take blood samples to see which of you it is."
Hours passed after Long had taken the samples and Bo's condition worsened. When the doctor returned, he appeared rather forlorn. "Any luck?" Nyui asked.
"I'm afraid not, I can't tell the difference between your samples and those of any one else's," Long said.
"I guess this is the end of the line then," Bo rasped from his bed.
"Please Bo, you need to sleep," Lien said.
"What good is it, this thing has a one-hundred percent fatality rate, we're all dead in the end," Bo said.
Then, Nyui got an idea. "I know!" she exclaimed. "T'las said that one of us was immune, so we just have to experiment."
"You mean infect you, deliberately?" Long asked incredulously. "No, this is out of the question.
"No, it's the only way, it's just like Bo said, we're all dead from this anyway, might as well try it," Nyui said.
"The answer is still no, and that's final," Long said.
The two sat down as Long went back to his lab to do further tests to see if he could figure it out. As they sat there, Nyui had another idea. "Lien," she whispered.
"What?" Lien said.
"Shh, not so loud," Nyui said. "We might be able to do it without Long's permission, we just have to wait here until he leaves for the night, then we sneak into his lab and do it ourselves."
"Maybe, but we don't even know how to use his things in there," Lien said. "Besides, what if it doesn't work?"
"It will work, and I'm pretty sure that I can figure out how to use his equipment," Nyui said.
"How can you be sure it will work?" Lien asked.
"Because, when Long told us about the message, I remembered something that I overheard my parents talking about before they left, they said something about a biological weapon. Now that I think about it, that's why they left, to study it, and make a cure. Well, after they died, T'las received a package from them. It may just have been the cure," Nyui explained.
"So, what you're saying is that you are the immune one, so we should only have to infect you," Lien said.
"Yes," Nyui responded.
"Okay, we'll do it," Lien said.
Several hours later, Long left the hospital and Nyui and Lien snuck into his lab. Nyui found the samples of the disease and injected herself with one. "According to Long's journal, it only takes a few minutes to begin experiencing the symptoms, so in a few minutes, we'll know if it worked," Lien said.
A few minutes later, Nyui began scratching herself, "Oh no," Lien said. "It didn't work."
"What are you talking about, I'm just a bit itchy is all," Nyui said. However, an hour later, Nyui was as sick as Bo.
"It didn't work," Lien said.
"Give it time, I'll recover and I'll be as good as new," Nyui rasped from the bed that Lien had put her in.
"I'll call the doctor," Lien said.
"No, don't!" Nyui exclaimed trying to get up and stop Lien from picking up the radio and calling Long.
"Now you just lie back down Nyui!" Lien scolded, forcing Nyui to get back in her bed. Lien picked up the radio and pressed the button in and spoke into it. "Doctor, pleas wake up, we need you to come down here, Nyui's sick, please wake up."
Lien released the button heard static then she heard Long's voice come over the speaker. "I'm on my way."
When Long arrived, his expression was one of deep anger. "I know what you two did, and it was entirely against my wishes," he said, "However, I'm willing to forgive you because now, we have our cure, Lien come this way and we should be able to fix up your friends and everyone else who is sick with this thing."
"What?" Lien asked.
"You're the immune one, we can make a serum from your blood, give it to those who have compatible blood types and hopefully get your friends cured as fast as possible," the doctor explained.
"But we don't even know for sure if I am immune," Lien protested as Long dragged her into his lab.
"Yes, I do, you see, on my way here, it occurred to me that there was something different about your blood, I noticed that there seemed to be a slight deformity, as if it had been attacked. In my research of this disease, I noticed that it attacked and destroyed all cells in the body except the red blood cells, for some reason it couldn't kill those and in all the patients, it caused deformities in the cells," Long explained.
"Are you saying that I've gotten this before?" Lien asked.
"Yes, that or something very similar, either way, you survived, which means you're immune and can transfer that immunity to anyone with a compatible blood type," Long concluded.
Long extracted some blood from Lien and had the serum finished by morning. "We should know if it works within a few hours," Long told Lien, Bo, and Nyui. "Fortunately, all of you have compatible blood types."
"What do we do now doctor?" Lien asked.
"Nothing, this is the part of medicine where we have to wait," Long replied.
For the collective works of the author, go here.