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The fifthteenth chapter of
September 6, 2010
Leah discovers the secret to her escape.
After her day talking with Sierra, Leah wandered to the outskirts of the city. Alice Springs' isolation impressed her, with the desert stretching on forever beyond the horizon, with only small pockets of paradise available. Leah also began to resent the fact that within three days, she would soon be returning to Uluru under the watchful eye of the BDA and the Leader.
Even with the week helping her feelings of resentment and hatred towards the BDA, she knew that those feelings would soon return the second she returned to the compound. Nothing her friends had advised or counseled her, the stories or the scars, had done anything to convince her against escaping.
But the same problem still haunted her every idea of escape. The glass. The walls, the floors, the piercing bullets. Nothing anyone had done so far had even left a scratch on the ever-present foe. No amount of slicing or heat, no brute force or small flaw had done anything. Even if Leah could find a way to damage it, it would be in vain as the BDA would sooner shoot her than let her continue assaulting the walls.
Leah would have to find some way to get past the walls before the guns warmed up to even have a dream of seeing the untamed sky every day. Leah would sooner kill herself than wait another four years to be free.
The chemistry teacher came off as scary at first, but afterwards, Leah realized that it was only for intimidation and a little fun. The teacher, known by Mr. Harper, was actually very intelligent and a great teacher. No one in the class ever fell asleep, being riveted to his every word.
"What we don't realize is that everything comes from the same root, the same beginning. Most elements and metals come from the inside of stars, or basically star puke. All metals, all things, everything that makes you up, is coming from stars billions of years ago."
"Great, I'm made of billion year puke." Leah whispered to Sierra.
The teacher continued on, unnoticing. "As all things come from the same root, they also share similiar traits. Humans and apes for example, or humans and snails, are only about two percent different. With the slightest difference, anything can be changed. Metal, for example, is nothing but part of the earth, that has been purified and refined. Glass is also from the earth. Sand is the most raw material in making most glass."
Leah sat there, shocked at this revelation. "You can do anything with the earth", Don's words echoed in her head.
"Excuse me, but did I hear you wrong? What is glass made of?"
"The most raw ingrediant in making glass is quartz silica, or fancy sand. Glass can also be formed naturally from meterorite collisions, heat, etc."
Don was right. As long as Leah could detect the earth in the glass and effectively bend it. First however, she would need some practice.
As soon as class let out, Leah rushed to a crafts store and bought several pieces of stained glass and art. She collected them, put them carefully in her backpack, and headed to a slummy part of town to make sure she wouldn't be seen. Sitting behind an abandoned building, she put her pieces of art in front of her. Leah took off her shoes and socks, her feet taking in the cold ground. Closing her eyes, she held one of the pieces and stomped her foot, feeling the seismic wave being sent.
She waited for any sort of vibration from her hand, but none came. She opened her eyes, seeing if anything from her action was broken or floating in the air, but all was the same. She tried again, stomping harder this time, but with the same results. Nothing she could do could effect the glass.
I don't get it, I should be able to manipulate the small fragments of earth within the glass, but nothing is happening!
She continued stomping and feeling, waiting for the slightest vibration or reaction. Out of frustration, she threw the piece of art in her hand, shattering it against the wall. Suddenly, she felt the pieces of glass hitting the ground, waiting for something else to happen. The microscopic fragments within the glass suddenly became visible to Leah. Of course. The glass is so refined that I can barely detect the pieces within the art. If I am able to shatter it, I will have to do it manually.
But the same problem arose. Nothing could make a mark on the walls of glass. But then a quote she had heard in chemistry earlier arose. "With some of the toughest substances, the only thing strong enough to penetrate it is itself." If Leah wanted to break and manipulate the walls, she would need a piece of that same plexiglass.
But where to find it? Wait. They probably make the bullets out of the same material to prevent them from being damaged while fired. If she could find some way to manipulate the bullets, she would be able to break the walls and use them for her escape.
Once the bullets were fired, they would probably be burning hot, given the burning scars on the firebenders. If she could find a way to bend the heat around the glass, she would be able to use them to escape.
But doing so would definitely require an advanced form of firebending, which Leah had been struggling deeply with since starting training. Unless she could find some way to master firebending quickly, she would find herself in the prison until her next visit to Alice Springs.
I was only able to manipulate the glass once it had been shattered. Maybe it's because manipulating the sand within would only make it stronger and less resiliant, making it impossible to effectively use it. Maybe "glassbending" only would work with small pieces, as in bigger pieces it would be harder to detect the small fragments.
Leah picked up a small glass marble, and tentively raised her hand. To her amazement, the marble followed. She flung it around her, then used it to shatter a window above her. As the pieces came down towards her, she effectively halted them, using them as well.
This was it. All she would have to do is tick off the guards and have them shoot her. Once she gained control of the bullet, she would shatter the walls and escape from her cell. When Leah could use the entire prison as a weapon, nothing would be able to stop her.
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