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Time ticked onward rather slowly for Katara, as time following day almost slowed to a crawl. Since her encounter with the others last night, she'd been quite distracted within herself about the situation at hand. Sure, the whole waterbending thing had calmed down a little bit, but the 'big plans' and the new rebels she had come across were another thing on her mind. Even more so, what Zuko had told her didn't help her either. After all, the Dai Li weren't the friendliest law enforcers in Ba Sing Se, if anything, they're just one attack away from being categorized as members of a dictatorship. Regardless of the issue, her thoughts on her mother, the idea of her in custody because of her bending, and the threat Katara had on her just for being around Ba Sing Se, let along her house. On the bright side, not much different happened to her when it came to school, both from no rats telling others about the bending, and Kong actually kept his distance from her for once. Still, it gave her the time to weigh the options before that night:
On one hand, Katara was in a pretty safe city compared to the rest of the world, walls impenetrable. If she stayed, and stopped her bending, she'd keep herself and her mother safe from harm, and she could live her normal life without too much trouble. She could just keep her bending secret, and stop using it all together...
On the other hand, if she did decide to leave, it would remove the risk of her mother getting thrown in jail for having a waterbender in Earth Kingdom boundaries. Though her mother would be alone, she wouldn't have a burden to begin with, and she'll go on a new life outside the rules of the Dai Li. Plus, she wasn't sure how dangerous the outside world actually was...
It was a hard choice to make: stay and live normal, or leave and remove the trouble.
With all those thoughts plaguing her mind, time had oddly been a bit troublesome for her. Although slow, Katara didn't realize that time was close to up until she ended up back at her home. Her mother wasn't home to greet her that time, only assuming some extra work had got her to leave early, so a talk was avoided for Katara. Not that she didn't need it, though. Even if she was home to greet her, what could she say or tell her? Either way, the burden of it all was strangling her on her decisions.
"What am I gonna do? Think, Katara, think," Katara said to herself, her fingers gripping her head as if trying to pull an answer out of her head. Before her mind could exactly come up with anything, suddenly a knock came at her door. The last thing she needed was more unwanted visitors. Either way, Katara just got up and went to the door, only to find -much to her stress- one of the Dai Li standing there!
"Good afternoon, miss," he said, stern as ever.
"What is it this time?" Katara asked, trying not to sound like she wanted him lost.
"Word had gone around that you've been near the latest robbery. That true?" he asked. Katara felt a cold chill down her back upon hearing such words: she knew what robbery he was talking about, the one with Kong frozen to the wall. But still, it couldn't hurt to make sure.
"What do you mean?"
"A robbery, two young individuals frozen in an alleyway. One of the Dai Li members stated you were present there as well," he explained.
Katara sighed, feeling scared a bit. She had no choice but to answer him.
"I was, sir, but I swear, I didn't do anything to them!" Katara said, almost pleading. The Dai Li official raised an eyebrow.
"Is that so? Well, can you describe what you did before the incident occurred?"
"...Well, I was walking back home after helping my friends with a party when I found them frozen. All I did was try to get them out, I promise."
"And you didn't notice anyone else unusual with you beforehand?"
The official gave a good look at Katara, as if trying to read her mind through her eyes. Katara never liked this kind of treatment from anyone, let alone the Dai Li.
"...Very well then," he concluded, as he began to walk away. After he was 20 feet away, Katara closed the door to think over what the heck to do... Yet the official took a glance back. He needed to keep an eye on her...
Despite the daytime going by slow, nighttime came a bit sooner than Katara would like. In spite of everything, the Dai Li official visiting her home - again - only made things worse. It almost seemed like Katara was being persuaded by the world to make a choice...and it was working on her. She went over her options and consequences one more time if she would to leave Ba Sing Se with those wanted rebels. She would be wanted, no doubt about that, but so long as her mother wouldn't be ratted out once she does so, she would be just fine. Though, the Dai Li were aware hands down that she lived there with her, due to the multiple visits they'd done in the past to her home. Yet, perhaps an airtight alibi was necessary in order to keep herself and her mother safe from any harm done...
She made her choice...
That night, without a word, she went back to her room. Her mother still wasn't home just yet, but that probably was a good thing. She couldn't exactly come up with any lie or explanation to why she was leaving other than the truth, and that alone was hard to swallow in her case. In her room, she got out a bag and began putting various assortment of her stuff within it. The stuff included: her diary, some silver pieces, and some food to put together in an extra bag. After she was done, Katara tied the bag together, and headed to the main room. Before she left, she took out some paper, and started to write down her goodbye.
I know this is sudden, but I'm going to have to leave Ba Sing Se behind. Don't bother looking for me, I'm enough of a danger to you as to myself. I can't tell you why that is, because it's dangerous enough that I found out in the first place. Anyway, I hope you have a good life, and try your best to live without me.
I'll always love you.
Katara could feel tears forming in her eyes as she finished up her note left upon the table for her mother to come home. It was the least she could do. Without a second glance, Katara then stepped out the door, and began heading on her way...
Night time seemed even more ominous than usual, considering what Katara was doing at the moment. Katara was all alone, and by herself as she headed down the various quiet roads of the Middle Ring, trying her best not to be noticed. She could only imagine how her mother would react when she'd figure out that she'd left her behind. The streets were completely barren of anybody, in fact, the only thing Katara saw was an occasional rat scurry around the place. Other than that, that was about it. However, Katara found that rather convenient to what she was doing, and for the matter where she was going.
The Ba Sing Se train station.
Being near a train track, all Katara needed to do was follow the track back to the station where she could begin her journey. It took about an hour of going about, but she managed to find it nonetheless. The station itself was rather quiet, and lacked anyone there. For what time it was, that wasn't too surprising to believe. She looked around a bit, trying to find any available train to board, but as far as she could tell, the station was closed for now, and the train inactive. Of course Katara couldn't exactly control a train, so that wasn't an option for her, unfortunately...But there was one idea she could do, a bit unorthodox, but it didn't matter anymore...
She began to run on the tracks.
Right after a quick look to make sure, Katara then began heading down the track on foot, running as fast as she could to the wall. She didn't stop, nor could she honestly: she was going to leave Ba Sing Se, and that was how it was going to be. It didn't take as long for Katara to reach her tunnel destination, still believing that she didn't end up being spotted by anyone...well, until...
Katara quickly turned around at the entrance to the tunnel, seeing a number of figures suddenly jump up from the side of the track: Dai Li agents! Using their earthbending, each agent launched up on the tracks, ready to go for Katara, as the girl tried to run for it. The agents, however, quickly subdued her with a few well-aimed shots at her feet and hands, getting her to stop on the spot, and fall to the ground just inside the tunnel.
"What do you think you're doing?!" one of the agents demanded in anger, as Katara tried to get out of the binds. So much for getting out of trouble, her choice had got her into deep trouble! The agents walked over to her, ready to bring her back to the palace for such a runaway act.
"Stop yelling, brat. You're coming back to the palace," one of the agents advised, picking her up by her binds as Katara struggled. But Katara knew she had single-handedly destroyed what safety she had left for her family...
But fate had different plans...
As the Dai Li agents were heading back on the track with her, one of them was, for some reason, launched off the track! The other agents readied themselves, but the attack was too quick, and all of them were launched away. Katara landed on the track, as she tried to comprehend what had happened right there. Her binds were also suddenly removed, freeing Katara and allowing her to stand back up. When she did, she found out exactly who was her savior, as she gave looked in her general direction.
"Fancy seeing you here."
"W-what the...? Toph?!"
"No one else but," Toph said with a smirk. Katara didn't have a clue how Toph had found her, nor how she got rid of the agents so easily, but Katara was still on the run currently, and it didn't help that the agents quickly got back up, seeing Toph right away.
"Come on!" Toph said, starting to head off down the track where Katara was going.
"Do you want to go to jail or do you want to get out of here?"
An obvious answer; Katara rushed for Toph as more agents tried to get her, unable to thanks to Toph. Katara found it very lucky she had the help she did, otherwise it'd be curtains for her, yet she didn't think of what dangers she would have for leaving with Toph as help. However, she didn't have much time to think in the heat of the situation, as she and Toph got through the tunnel entrance. Before any Dai Li could get them, Toph turned back, and quickly caved in the entrance, making it impossible for them to follow...
Well, there was no turning back by that point...
"Uh...thank you," Katara said, after calming down for a bit, as Toph just stretched.
"Don't mention it. So, you decided to hit the road, eh?"
"Well, I guess I don't have a choice anymore," Katara realized, looking to the tunnel blockade.
"Well then, come along this way, the others are waiting. Unless you're going alone."
"No, no, I think I'll go with you," Katara insisted. After seeing such strength, it was probably best for her to stay around Toph. Toph just smirked before starting to walk, Katara following behind. The walk through the tunnel though was a bit too dark for Katara to exactly see where she was going, though she knew enough that Toph was walking beside her.
"Great, It's so dark, I can't see a thing," Katara groaned, trying to adjust her vision a bit.
"Oh no, what a nightmare," Toph replied sarcastically.
"I'm sure you're having trouble seeing," Katara retorted.
"Yeah, sight has never been too good for me, but, big whoop," Toph said, waving a hand in front of her eyes. Of course, Katara couldn't see that, and the rest of the walk was a bit quiet for a while longer. As Katara and Toph kept going, Katara could see some light up ahead: the end of the tunnel. Excited, Katara started picking up the pace, as Toph continued her stroll along. Soon, Katara found herself at the end of the tunnel, finally able to see outside. The area Katara ended up at almost seemed like a new country all together, changing from suburban area to farmland in just one short hour worth since leaving home. Toph soon joined her outside, not too impressed.
"First time outside the Middle Ring?" Toph asked.
"Yeah...I didn't realize there was farmland over here..."
"Well, if you're coming with us, you better get used to it. Gang's not too far, now come on," Toph advised, starting to walk again. Katara took the moment to look back through the tunnel she had went through, thinking one last time if she should just go. Yet, she also remembered the cave in anyway, so going back wasn't that much of an option anymore...
This was the start of her new adventure...
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