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|Chapter Four (The Gift)|
February 13, 2014
My entire view of life had just changed.
At first I was cursing it for sending me to this wretched prison of the torture. Now I am thankful for the chief's kindness in bringing me out of it. He saved me life. I owe him mine. I will fight in his name for it is his benevolence that has rescued me from my agony.
What am I saying? What do I know about this situation? I have no idea why he choose to make me a nurse after the trouble I have caused him.
They decide to let me walk instead of restraining me. After we walk out of the prison, they order me to go on the back of a stagecoach pulled by a yak. Malina and four guards walk into the stagecoach as well. There are two benches facing each other on each side, nailed to the sides of the stagecoach. I sit on the one on the right. Two of the guards sit down on each side of me. Malina sits on the left side. Two guards sit on each side of her. The stagecoach is closed and we ride off to wherever we're going. I am still wearing the handcuffs.
"It's great to see you, again," I tell her.
"Same here," she says. "You're probably wondering how my father let you join."
"I am actually."
"Okay then. But before I tell you, there's something you should know....". She trailed off and her eyes became earnest.
"Arnaka has been injured."
"What!?!?!" I scream in shock.
"It was nothing major. During one of the battles, one of the enemy earthbenders thought she was a soldier and hit her. It was just a broken shoulder, but it caused her to have to return home. There were other incidents like this, causing us to be short on nurses. Arnaka recommended you to take over her position, but my father wouldn't let you. Finally, after begging, pleading, and crying, he agreed."
"You did that for me? Thank you!" I jump up to hug her but the guards drag me down.
"Yeah...." she says. "After your little incident, no one in the government has really trusted you. Even some of the citizens don't think much of you."
"Why don't the citizens think much of me? Were they not somewhat inspired by my speech?"
"The government thinks you're some sort of rebel leader. They think that the speech you gave was a way gaining support. Now no woman is allowed to leave her home at night without being accompanied by a male."
"Well....I'm at least thankful I get to be in the military." Even though I wasn't going to be able to fight, it was nice to at least be able to do something.
For the rest of the ride, we didn't talk much. There wasn't much to talk about. The whole ride took a couple days until we finally arrived at a dock stationed somewhere in the middle of nowhere. The stagecoach doors were opened and we walked out into the afternoon sun. Arnaka is standing a couple yards in front of the boat. Lieutenant Kaskae is standing a couple of steps behind her to the right. Malina and I walk up to Arnaka.
"It's great to see you again," she says. She has her left arm in a sling. She uses her right arm to give me hug. I hug her back with my left arm, making sure not to touch her shoulder. We both release.
"I know you'll do great," she says. "I have faith in you. You're one of the greatest healers I know. You're going to show the world what it means to be a woman." The guards rush towards us. I look at their faces. They are obviously stunned by her comment. Two of the guards grab her around the waist and ankles. They began carrying her to the stagecoach. They almost threw her in there.
"Arnaka!" I scream. I fear for her safety. I was just a little girl yelling random things in my head. She had experienced an accident caused by the war and the chief would consider that a motive for wanting to give women more rights. I had friends and people in the government who knew me. Who knows who would trust her. The other two guards restrain me.
"Let her go!" I yell, no longer concerned for myself. "She did nothing wrong!"
"She's right!" Mailna pleads. "She was just trying to give words of encouragement. She means no harm!" The guards that had previously restrained Arnaka grab Malina by each arm and carry her to the wagon. They open up the doors and throw her in there. I catch a glimpse of Arnaka. She is knocked out and blood covers her left shoulder. They locked the door.
"Malina! Arnaka!" My screams are futile. The guards start dragging me onto the ship. I am flailing my arms and legs trying to escape. They open one of the doors and carry me into a hallway. They open another door and throw me in it. I hit my head and am knocked out.
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