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Chapter 2: Handicap
What a weird day. Bumi had made Yun sit and wait for hours, doing what he referred to as 'listening to the earth.' After that, he had once again begun launching rocks at Yun, but his trainee was not allowed to attempt Earthbending the projectiles. Instead, he was required to wait for precisely the right moment to dodge anything that came his way.
"Earthbending is all about neutral jing; you must wait and listen for your opponents attack. Feel the earth, and you can counter your opponent." The King of Omashu lifted another rock the size of a platypus-bear, but he almost immediately set it back down. "Now close your eyes."
Yun's eyes widened. "What?"
Bumi gave him the stare he had come to hate, a lopsided, one-eyed stare that seemed to probe your inner being. "You're far too young to have hearing problems. Now close your eyes. Feel the earth; listen to it as I launch this rock toward you. Dodge without opening your eyes."
Yun did as he was asked. His bare feet connected with the earth as he closed his eyes, and he could feel the vibrations slightly. Enough to feel Bumi, enough to feel the predator sized rock flying off the ground toward him as Bumi moved his feet into the stance necessary to perform the maneuver. He knew that the boulder was more to his right because of a last minute change in Bumi's stance. He twisted to his left and felt the air rush past him, following the chunk of earth.
"Well done, Yun." The near ecstatic young man opened his eyes.
"Did you see that?! That was... I could feel it!"
Bumi gave him a lopsided smile. "Yes, you are well on your way to mastering the concept of neutral jing, and one step closer to becoming an Earthbender. We should celebrate!" He tossed Yun a stick of crystal. "Jennomite?"
The Next Day
Yun entered Bumi's throne room to find that he was not there, nor was he in the arena. Where...? Suddenly, Yun had an idea. He removed his shoes, and his bare feet made contact with the ground. He could faintly feel Bumi underneath him, until the king began to rise. Yun moved out of the way as the old master came up out of the ground.
"Excellent use of the principle of neutral jing, Yun! You are now ready to learn the more combative steps to Earthbending."
Yun grinned. "That means I get to throw giant rocks now, right?"
Bumi frowned. "Didn't I just say that? I must be getting old... I can't remember anything anymore." He shrugged. "What I want you to do now..."
"Can I start launching rocks now?"
Bumi gave him the lopsided glare. "We'll start small so you don't strain yourself."
Bumi stomped his foot, and a small rock the size of an Earth Soccer ball flew into the air. "Now it's you turn."
Yun got into the low, balanced Earthbending stance and stomped his foot down. A small stone the size of his fist came out of the earth and hovered, waiting for his next move. He utilized a crescent kick to send the thing into the wall on his left. That wasn't enough for him, however, and he stamped twice as hard and put far more effort, dredging up cart-sized stone. Unfortunately, as soon as the rock surfaced, a sharp pain shot through his skull, and he dropped to the ground, screaming in pain.
As Bumi ran over to him, Yun couldn't hear, couldn't feel. He just let blackness envelop him.
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