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One: Mel of the Earth Kingdom
March 19, 2012
The following is the ninth chapter of Book One: Mel of the Earth Kingdom. It tells of Mel's and Hope's journey through the Patola Mountains. It is told from Mel's perspective.
We arrived at the Patola mountain range at about midday. The ship had to leave before we reached the land. I had hired a crew of cowards! Didn't even dare set foot on Fire Nation land even if it were unlawful for the Fire Nation to be there! Yet, I had a big journey to concentrate on. If the map was scaled as it said it was – three inches equaled one mile – we (me and Hope) would have to do a lot of walking. And if we wanted to be there by midnight, we'd have to walk rather faster... Much faster.
After walking for hours, Hope finally said something.
"So... Where are we going next, Avatar Mel?" Avatar Mel? No. That was just too formal. There needs to be something simpler for an Avatar.
"That name brings on too much pressure," I laughed. "How 'bout just Mel?"
"Why sure! Mr. Mel." we both laughed. And then the silence was broken...thankfully. If it had been quieter, we would have been fried. A few firebenders jumped out of the trees and started to shoot fireballs at us. I knew it wasn't safe to use any bending but Firebending because otherwise it would tell far too much – foreign and even worse, the Avatar. And so I blocked the fireballs. I saw that Hope was following my lead.
"Who are you?" the guards questioned us.
"None of your business, you filth!" I was speech—less. Hope had just called a Fire Nation soldier filth! Man, that girl was hot! And then she really and literally got hot. Really hot. Before any of the guards could even more, she took a deep breath and shot a bolt of lightning at one of the soldiers. It hit his leg. Then I just heard screaming. And in the very second the other soldiers jumped aside shocked, I shot a few fireballs. All of them had passed out (including the one whose leg suffered; lightning must really hurt).
Hope took a quick breath. "So? Don't stay here all day. Lightning isn't exactly quiet." And I followed her advice – I started walking. But I didn't understand what she meant until she understood that I didn't understand, and showed me. She was running... fast! I had to almost sprint to catch up with her. I took a quick glance at the map. According to it, we were supposed to head right.
"Turn right!" I yelled. She followed my advice, but after that very second I was, again, following her. Man, that girl was fast.
We were running and running until she was too exhausted to continue. At least I have the more endurance. Or at least I thought so just before I passed out.
When I woke up, it was sunrise. Hope seemed quite displeased, and then I understood why. When I had passed out we were about a mile away from a mountain. Now we were resting in a cave on the high ground. So I think I would understand her not-so-good mood.
We had breakfast – some marinated sea slugs (Hope seemed to have forgotten all about what happened yesterday after having some) – and moved on with our quest. We started jogging. I would guess that Hope had learned her lesson for running and having an Avatar keep up with her.
And after jogging for about three hours, we finally reached it! The Southern Air Temple! It was... UGLY! I mean, you could barely see anything from the pollution around what was once a great temple and was now nothing more than a factory. It seemed like he had arrived at a hospital for slaughter. I could sense Hope's anxiety (although my senses hadn't been as good in the last few days; I had no idea why).
"We have to hurry," she said. "I would expect that if we were seen, we would be blown up." Blown up? What was that supposed to mean?
"Excuse me, Hope, but don't you mean fried?"
"No, Mel, I do not. You see the Fire Nation has gone further with their plans that you have ever expected. They had created missile bombs that have a range of hundreds of feet. And one is enough to blow up the whole factory. Of course that is just a size visual. The actual factory is made out of metal that can't just be melted or blown up by a bomb." I was stunned.
"Hundreds of feet?!"
"Yes, hundreds of feet. And that is not the worst. When I was in the Fire Nation, I raided a weaponry station. That is where I found about the missiles. But also about something else..." she pulled a gun of out her back pocket.
"It's a gun," I smiled. She didn't.
"It's not just that. It's a lightning gun. You shoot a fire blast in it and it makes lightning. Of course it isn't as strong as actual lightning, but it is still deadly. Extremely deadly." She pulled her sleeve up. I gasped. There was an five inch long, one inch deep scar on her soldier. "I was partially touched. Took a year to recover. And it still hurts sometimes." That was just too much. The Fire Nation had scared my girl for life? Man, they had it coming.
And then something unexpected happened. A lightning struck...us... and we survived...un-scared...at all. It was actually magnificent. I felt so powerful for some reason that very second the lightning had touched me. Next second I appeared in front of a cave, about twenty times the distance we were from the ex-Southern Air Temple a moment ago. And then I looked behind me.
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