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|More from Keitonashita||Adventure||G (All ages)||None||None|
21 December 2010
Hira pushed through the woods in a huff. She wanted to get as far away from her people as she could. But she was not powerful in the area of endurance and was soon tired. She sat down on a log half-submerged in sparkling clear water. She could see koi swimming beneath the waves, their colors framed against the sandy lake bottom.
And then she saw him – a boy in a long-sleeve tunic, baggy pants, and a headband, all white. He is sitting cross-legged on a rock in the middle of the lake that hovers just above the water line. Covered from head to toe, she thought. What is he hiding?
Hira was not sure what to do. She sat there, waiting – wondering if he would move. The day got hotter as the sun rises higher into the sky. Soon Hira was sweating. That boy must be sweltering, she thought, feeling sorry for him.
But, as the sun began to sink in the sky, Hira's stomach began to rumble. Finally, being able to take it no longer, she stood up and wandered into the forest to gather some berries.
Keito opened his eyes. Sweat was pouring down his face. He felt sick. He sputtered and looked around. There was no one that he could see.
Deeming it safe, he pulled off his tunic. He looked at the blue arrows that lined his arms and sighed. He was proud of them, but he couldn't let anyone see them. If they saw his marks, they would know he was an Airbender. They would lock him up because he wasn't allowed to bend.
Keito sank into the cool water of the lake, trying to let his worries float away in the water. Thinking ahead, he dipped his tunic several times. Hopefully, it will keep cooler now, he thought. He put his tunic back on quickly. I have to keep it on. No one can see my arrows.
When Hira returned, the boy was gone. She sighed in frustration and munched her berries in defeat. Who was that boy? And why was he meditating? Meditating was not against the law, but it was strictly forbidden by most people and cultures.
As soon as she finished her meager meal, Hira waded out to the rock the boy had sat on. Now that she knew about it, she planned on practicing Waterbending there. No one, not even my mother, knows that I am a Waterbender. I am the only bender in my tribe, as far as I know, she thought. There was no way to find out, for bending was punishable by law.
That was why she was running away.
Hira stopped thinking and turned to Waterbending. She pulled the water up towards her, forming a ball of water. She flung it at the log in the distance, satisfied with the cracking sound made as the log broke in half.
"That's cool. I wish I could do that."
Hira spun around in fear and surprise. Who was it? Would they turn her in?
She found herself staring into the eyes of the boy. She gasped.
"Who are you? My name's Keito. Are you a Waterbender? That's cool. I wish I was a Waterbender. I can't Waterbend. Maybe someday. What's your name? Where do you live? Were you watching me? I hope you weren't. That would be embarrassing. Did I tell you my name's Keito?"
Hira sighed. This boy was a talker. "My name's Hira," she said. "Where are you from?"
Keito shrugged uncomfortably. He was quiet for a moment. "I'm a nomad," he said finally. "Um, this island is a pleasant place," he added, trying to change the topic.
Hira let the topic slide for the moment. He wasn't the only one that didn't want to explain.
"It is," she agreed. "If you know the difference between poisonous plants and edible plants."
"Uh...do you, then?" Keito asked.
"Well, then...maybe...could you help me?" he asks hopefully. He scratched his back nervously as he spoke.
Keito noted that Hira was very knowledgeable about the different plants and things of the rainforest. The duo gathered many assorted fruits and herbs to eat. It was almost dusk when they had gathered a whole basket of food.
"Ready to pitch camp?" Keito asked eagerly. He was ready to sit down. His legs were aching.
But Hira shook her head. "No, not yet. I still have to catch our main dish."
Catch? Keito thought fearfully.
Hira told Keito of the moon fox, a small cat-like creature with big ears, eyes, and a long tail.
"Nimble on its feet, it leaps from tree to tree like a flying squirrel," she said. "My mother...says they are a delicacy."
Keito wanted to ask her about her mother, but refrained from doing so. It seemed that she didn't like talking about that particular subject.
"Um, how are we going to catch it?" Keito asked, trying to ease the sudden tension. As she spoke, Keito wondered how he could save the fox from dying and tell Hira he was a vegetarian without her getting mad.
"First, we lure it to the lake with a moon pear. Then, I'll give it a quick, painless death with ice daggers."
Hira saw the moon fox creep towards the pear. She crouched in the bushes, a ball of water hovering between her hands ready for action. She waited until she had a clear shot and then hurled ice daggers towards the fox. Silent missiles shooting towards prey.
And then Keito stepped in front of the fox, scaring it off. She tried to stop her daggers, but she didn't have to. As soon as they got close to Keito, they melted and formed a puddle at his feet. Hira stared at him in awe – and then anger.
"Keito, that was dinner!"
"I'm a vegetarian," he said.
Hira groaned. "Why didn't you tell me earlier?" she asked, exasperated. She didn't press him, though, and turned to more important things. "I guess we'd better find a campsite. It'll be dark soon, and we need somewhere to stay the night."
Soon there was a fire burning in a makeshift fire pit. Keito sat in front of it, mesmerized. He watched it blaze. It sizzled and cracked. Red-hot embers and sparks flew up into the air. He was entranced by its light and heat. And then he entered the Spirit World.
"It destroys but it also gives life. You will learn, Keito." Master Jin sat cross-legged on a futon in front of Keito. Keito jumped up in alarm.
"No, never! You can't make me. I'll keep on running. You can't follow me!" Keito began to run, but the voice of Master Aka stayed loud and clear no matter how much distance there was between them.
"You can't run forever, Keito. I am always with you...always."
What Hira saw was quite different. She watched him stare at the fire. Suddenly, he slumped over, getting dangerously close to the fire.
"Keito, get away from there!" Hira exclaimed. But Keito didn't reply or move. Hira jumped up in alarm and pulled him away from the fire, extinguishing it with a single jet of water.
Without the light of the fire, Hira realized that Keito was glowing in places, especially under his headband. Hira thought for a moment about her options. Then, curiosity got the better of her. She reached her hand out and pulled the headband off.
Hira's mouth dropped in shock.
Keito was an Airbender.
For the collective works of the author, go here.