|More from Fruipit||Drama||PG-13||Not negative||None|
June 7th, 2012
The day was new, the cool breezes announcing the start of winter. Aten walked out of his tent, careful not to wake a sleeping Ming. He was ashamed of how he broke down yesterday. As soon as he gained control of himself, he had looked at Ming. He saw the sympathy, he didn’t mind that. He didn’t like the pity that came into her eyes. He had never seen her pity him before, save for when she had first met him. But, of course, at that stage he hadn’t recognised it. His face was too burned to see anything well. He ran away from her then, like he had run away from his past. He had walked the edges of the camp for the better part of the day.
There, on the edge, Aten began to practice his Chi-blocking by himself, focussing on his breathing as Ming had taught him. He was amazed at how much easier it was. His movements were no longer thick and clunky, they were fluid. Ming had told him to be fluid like a waterbender, staunch like an earthbender, as fierce as a firebender, but as evasive as an airbender. He had never been able to combine all four elements. But, he had never felt as light or as free as he felt today. Aten practised, over and over and over again, until he was sure he could feel his chi moving around, enabling him to stop someone else’s. His form wasn’t perfect, but neither was it stilted or slow. He was moving through the air, not the water. He stopped his practising, panting heavily. The sun had disappeared behind ashen clouds, and a fierce wind had picked up, threatening to knock over the camp. Aten put out his hand as the first few rain drops fell. He enjoyed rain. It was smooth and relaxing, and the very opposite of fire. He walked back to the camp slowly. He was in no rush to see Ming, but neither did he want to stay out and get soaked. He was still fifty metres away when she saw him. They looked at each other for a while, and then she rushed out to greet him. Sharing her umbrella with him, she began to scold him.
“Where have you been all day? I was worried! Next time, leave me a note, or an arrow or something! I was scared you ran away…”
Aten felt a small pang of guilt, but his pleasure at his success made him unable to harbour negative emotion for long.
“I’m sorry Ming. I know, how about you punish me. Perhaps, more training?” He said with a big, goofy grin.
Ming cocked her head. “You actually want to train? Well, all right, but if I don’t see an improvement, you have to cook and clean to night” she joked.
“Oh, I think I’ll be fine” Aten replied slyly.
They got into their training positions, Aten slightly uphill. The rain had stopped, perhaps in anticipation of the match. They started, limb struck limb, but neither of them gained the upper hand. Aten was tired, but he didn’t want to lose this match. He wanted to prove to Ming he could do it, and prove to his mother. Ming hit his left arm, making it useless, but he was determined to hold on. He was already doing better than before, and he could see in Ming’s eyes how surprised she was. He would use this surprise to his advantage. He began to pull back, do a little worse as each second passed. The frown of concentration on his opponents face disappeared, and Ming began to smile as she gained more ground. Ming just missed his right arm when he struck. He jumped forward, striking her on her left side. She fell backwards, out of breath.
Sitting on the muddy ground, she looked up at Aten. He was panting profusely, but had a grin that covered half his face. He looked at her.
All Ming could do was wonder. But she knew the answer.
“It helped, didn’t it? Talking about it.”
Aten looked away. “Yeah, it did.” He looked back at her, and the smile reappeared. “You have to clean up tonight!” He turned around, and ran away, laughing at her. All Ming could do was shake her head. But inside, she was smiling. He was finally free.
For the collective works of the author, go here.