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|Water Under the Skin|
"Mai? You feeling better now?" Zuko asked.
It was sunset now at the Team Avatar campsite. Zuko had agreed to keep watch over Mai throughout the day as the others were busy doing other things, like training or other things like that. Mai was in pretty bad shape, laying right next to Zuko, eyes closed. She did open her eyes at point since she first woke up, and Weed and GB still hadn't returned.
"Not really Zuko...it's been awhile hasn't it? Since we last saw each other." Mai sighed weakly.
"Yea it has been sometime...I really missed you. My Sakura." Zuko said, kissing her softly on her cheek. Mai, though very rare, made a shy smile. Zuko is the only person that Mai can show some emotion to...only some though. After some time, Azula and Tesshin came over to see them. "Hi Zuko. Hi Mai." Azula said.
"Hi guys. Is Weed and GB back yet?" Zuko asked.
"Not yet. It's weird, they don't usually stay out this long."
"I know. What about Aang? What's he up to?"
"He and Hope are training Katara right now to air-bend. It's surprising though that someone from a different nation would do this." Tesshin said, scratching his ear.
"Not really. Smith explained that anyone can do it If they wanted to." Azula said, hand on her hip.
"I know, I know, but it's a bit difficult to learn a bending style so soon after growing up in a different nation. It's like teaching a bear to eat grass, very hard."
"Oh...well anyway. I sure hope those two get back here soon. Mai needs something to eat." Zuko said.
Meanwhile, Aang and Hope were showing Katara the ropes on how to air-bend. Aang was talking her through it as Hope demonstrates it.
"Okay Katara. The ways of Air-bending are very similar to water-bending. Keep your body relaxed and your motions smooth yet fast, like the moving breeze." Aang said, as Hope was bending the wind around her not to far away, making a wind tunnel.
"Alright Aang, I can see how it's done, but not to be rude, but I want to learn the advanced moves down." Katara said, her hand made into a fist of courage.
"Relax. I know you handled small basics of air-bending. But you need to know this stuff." Aang instructed. Katara didn't want to argue with her mentors so she did what she was told.
As Katara was practicing her bending with the two nomads by the whole group, they all suddenly hear faint panting and footsteps. As they all looked onward to the setting sun, they all saw a silhouette of a giant dog charging strait towards them! At first they all thought it was just perspective...until it grew a heck larger! Much of the group bolted off in fear, but the original members (the members that came with them during their travel to Ba Sing Se) stayed put.
"Aang! Katara!" he shouted. But it only got a foot to them when suddenly Zuko jumped in and aimed his swords rich into the beasts face! The giant screeched to a stop, face inches from the blades.
"Zuko wait! He's a friend!" another voice called. Zuko looked and suddenly Weed and GB raced in his way.
"Weed?! GB?! Who's this monster?!" Zuko shouted, freaked out. As he was talking, everyone else came out. The size of the group kind of worried Kaibutsu as he coward back a little.
"*sigh* geez. An introduction is Really needed here. Everyone, this here's an old friend of Team Avatar. Kaibutsu. I though he may look frightening but he's good when you get to know him." Weed said. Kaibutsu calmed down a little bit and raised from his cowardly state. He towered over much of the group.
"Kaibutsu, I know we've haven't met for sometime now, so I'll just make this quick. Kaibutsu. These are our new friends we've have came across. It's plenty, but I'm pretty sure you'll get along with them well." Kaibutsu looked over the crowd. Most of the group looked at him in amazement. But he gave an amazed look back when he and Hope locked eyes.
"Hope?...is it really you?" Kaibutsu asked, a tear down his face. Hope stood there for a second, a tear down her face. Then she raced over and hugged Kaibutsu.
"Oh Kaibutsu! Thank goodness you're alright!" Hope hollered, Kaibutsu gave her an *ahem* and she saw the others dumbfounded.
"Yea. Well anyways, we brought back the fish like you said. Sorry it took so long, we had a run in with some boa hounds and lost track." Weed said, showing them the fish bags they had.
"Good work you guys. I'll bring these to Mai, she could really use this." Heizo said, grabbing the fish bags from them and leaving for Mai alongside Tyson and Zuko, Leaving Kaibutsu to catch up with his old friend.
Mai meanwhile was still laying down on her sleeping space when Heizo and Tyson came in with now cooked fish, thanks to Zuko. Mai took one wif of the aroma and her eyes shot open.
"Hi Mai. You're awake already?" Tyson asked, but instead of reply, Mai snatched the fish and started eating it almost immediately. Heizo and Tyson left her as Zuko sat down next to Mai. Mai got a lot of her much needed nutrients and energy from the trout, and she laid back much better than before.
"Much better...thanks sweetie." Mai said, leaning up to him and giving him a peck on the cheek. Zuko just smiled at her, happy that she's better.
For the next few days, the whole group, some of them now riding Kaibutsu, were heading right over to the great Ba Sing Se. They were making slot better time now, humans riding as the dogs were running.
"How you holding up Kaibutsu?" Zuko asked.
"Just fine man, I can go on like this for days!" Kaibutsu replied.
They were all traveling non-stop until suddenly Mel stopped, starring into an area off the path. Hook quickly saw him and u-turned.
"Mel, come on!" Hook said, but Mel already ran off into the direction, and he already stopped when he turned a corner and stood there shocked. Everyone else stopped as Hook ran over to see. What Mel saw was a girl laying on the ground, bleeding from her chest and neck.
"Oh...my lord...you don't think she's..." Hook tried to say, but Mel walked over and placed his head onto her chest and heard a heart beat.
"She's still alive. Come on, let's take her back to the others." Mel insisted. Hook went to help, but trying to carry dead weight wasn't easy. But Hook and Mel had managed to lift her and bring her to the others.
They traveled a good ways until they all found a suitable spot so they can watch her. She remained motionless for a while, getting healed from her cuts at her chest and throat by Katara. She had decided to wake up sometime later.
"What happened?" she asked.
"Don't worry, you're with us now. What's your name?" Sokka asked.
"Uh...Violet." She said, trying to act a bit shy.
"Okay then. I'm Sokka. And this is Team Avatar." Sokka said. Violet was a bit caught off guard by the huge amount of members of Team Avatar.
"Oh man. Avatar Aang has more allies than I thought. Better watch myself if I'm to deal with this." Violet thought.
So anyways, what happened exactly? We found you all cut up and bloody." Hook asked. Violet needed to think up of something to cover up her "attack".
"Well I...I was attacked by a dog pack." she began. Toph suddenly started detecting a lie. But before she can say anything, Violet secretly blood-bended her mouth shut. Then Violet continued her story.
The pack surrounded me back there, all aiming to kill me for hunting in their territory and accidentally killing one of their own. They sliced me open and left me for dead." her story seemed to fool everyone at first.
"Who? I mean, what pack attacked you?" GB asked.
"Who? Well I'm not sure of the whole pack, but I did get their leader's name though."
"And who was their leader?"
Violet tried to come up with a name. Something that won't make it too obvious. "Uh...Joe." She said after a while. Much of the group looked at her confused but Weed felt kind of funny again. A strange feeling he had LONG ago.
"...Joe?...his name is Joe?" Mel asked.
"Yea. Joe is a very strong pack leader, smart too."
"What did he look like?" Hook asked, in a bit of a judging tone. Again Violet needed to think again. She needed some idea and got one fast when she glanced at Weed.
"Like him. He looked just like him except he had a collar and scars down his face here." She said, moving one of her hands down the side of her face, over her eye. Everyone was believing her until Hope asked, "But if you were attacked near where we were, then why weren't we confronted by the pack anyway?"
"Well that's because I was out of their territory when they found me. They can be relentless and I last saw them turn and leave when I past out." Violet said.
"Well alright then. You just rest here." Zuko said.
"Thank you." Violet said. It was finally now that she undone Toph's mouth. Toph knew better than to say anything so she kept quiet, trying to catch her breath.
Later on that night, everyone was resting, including Violet.
During his sleep, Zuko was AGAIN having a fortune-dream. It was much more detailed this time. The sky was clear and the moon was out, now with Violet standing there, looking down at Mai.
"STOP IT!!!! STOP IT!!!!" Mai pleaded.
"Not doing it. Say goodbye." Violet replied. She raised her hand ahead of her and she started to blood-bend her. The rest of the scene happened the same as the others, again Zuko waking up freaked out, trying to catch his breath.
"No. Not again...but now." Zuko Panted quietly. He then turned to Violet, still sleeping. He stared at her for a while until he heard someone else walk to him.
"Hi Zuko. Can't sleep?" Weed asked, walking to him.
"No. Nightmare again." Zuko replied, holding his hand against his head.
"Oh. Me too...Zuko? Wanna talk about it or something or walk?" Weed asked.
Weed and Zuko walked off for a bit until they both found a nice spot away from the crowd, in a clear plain under the full moon. The cooling breeze felt good on them both.
"Had that fortune thing again?" Weed asked.
"You've been having a lot of those lately."
"Yea...what dream did you have?"
Weed looked up at the moon for a bit at first.
"Well let's see...I was very little...playing around with another pup...but then Blue came in and...I watched as he killed my friend...he looked just like me too, which scared me witless."
Weed and Zuko looked up at the moon again. The two just stared off into space for the rest of the time, unaware that someone was watching them...he looked through the foliage with a serious look...and left.
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