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|Chapter Three (The Gift)|
January 4, 2014
The chief laughs.
"A girl? In the military? You can't be serious!" He suddenly grows earnest. "Men are dominant to women. A woman would not be able to handle being in the military. They are weak. They are foolish. They are cowardly. They would not be able to survive. They were meant to serve men. Not serve with them."
His comments make me so furious. I know there is nothing I can do. I am just a pathetic little girl. I was nothing compared to him.
But his comments also make me feel empowered. My stubbornness gets the best of me and I am forced to speak.
"You're a liar! Women can do anything men can. You just haven't given them a chance!"
I fix my voice into a serious, aggressive tone.
"Women of the Water Tribe, I know things may look tough. You are not able to hold jobs. You are not allowed to learn waterbending. You're not allowed to fight in the military--to serve our tribe."
I face the chief.
"I know I'm just a girl. A helpless, foolish, naive sixteen-year-old girl. But I want to serve in the military. I am sure many others would love to do the same. Is that too much to ask? For me, us, to serve our tribe?"
His face turns red. He is livid.
"A citizen has spoken against the government. A crime punishable by death. Guards! Arrest her!"
There is no chance I could become anything now. My stubbornness has blown it. I am doomed for arrest for the rest of my life.
The platforms carrying the royals are beginning to sink. Guards are rushing out of the palace with shapes of water ready to strike me.
Even though I stand no chance against them, I decide to run anyway. I run away from the crowd of people who are still there. They are most likely here to see what would become of this. They have cleared out a path, most likely to make room for the soldiers.
As I am running, I'm hit by a blast of water and almost trip. Another one is fired at me but luckily I get a hold of it and bend it back at them, turning around as I do so. I am know standing face-to-face with an army of Water Tribe soldiers. They circle around me preparing to take me hostage.
One of them fires an ice whip at me but I step to the side and send it back at him, spinning the water around my body. That happened a couple times. Eventually they start firing ice knives at me at a very fast pace. They all miss.
Before I can I can think I am suddenly covered in a sheet of ice. I am hit in the temple and slowly begin to loose consciousness. I finally pass out.
When I awoke, I was chained to a wooden wall by my wrists and ankles. Also around my wrists and ankles were iron rings. I could sense that they were filled with water. It must be what they use to carry me.
As I look around, I realize I am in a dark box made of wood. I felt like I was moving so that must mean I'm being taken to my prison. I notice a man sitting in front of me. He must be my guard.
I have to escape. Even though if I could escape it would make things worse, it would still make me free. I would be forced to live out the rest of my life in a far off village.
My head is beating with sweat. Sweat is water, and I can bend water. I bend all the water I could into a medium-sized ball. It is hard to do due to the limited movement of my hands. My guard finally realizes what I am doing and fires a mix of water and ice at my head. I am knocked out in a matter of seconds.
That happened several times until finally when I awoke I was being carried using the water in the rings down a long, dark hallway. They open a free cell on the right and throw me into it. They quickly close the door to stop me from getting out.
A thought comes across my mind. Wasn't speaking out against the government punishable by death? Why hadn't they killed me?
"Why am I locked in hear?" I yell. "Why haven't you killed me?"
A guard walks slowly and eerily out of the darkness. He faces me with an evil look on his face.
"The chief decided to spare your life because you are a friend of the princess." He walks away.
Every day they throw me a bowl full of noodles under the opening in the bottom of the cell. Most of it usually spills by the time it skidded to the far side of the cell leaving only about a half of a bowl full of noodles and a tablespoon full of broth. After a few weeks, starvation and dehydration took over and I force myself to eat the noodles on the floor and lick the broth that hadn't already soaked into the icy floor.
I must have been in here for months, rotting in that malicious prison. Finally, one day, the cell door was opened. They drag me out by the metal rings. Two guards and a woman are standing in the hallway. The guards restrain me-one for each set of limbs-while the woman handcuffs me with a complicated set of handcuffs.
They look like two metal mittens that had been stuck together by the thumb. At the ends were chains that were meant to lock around my wrists.
I struggle to break free. After a while, I notice who the women trying to tie me up is. It is Malina.
"Malina, is that really you?" I say. "What are you doing here?" She continues to try to put the handcuffs on me.
"Why are you doing this?" I say. "I thought we were friends." I continue to try and break free.
"Hold still," she says. "We're letting you go." If they were letting me go, why was she handcuffing me?
"We just need to put these on to make sure you do go anywhere," she assures me. I finally give in and let her handcuff me.
"Where are you taking me?" I ask.
She smiles. "To the war. You're going to be a nurse there."
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