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The Dragon and the Dragonfly
August 12, 2015
Rise and shine
The sun's golden rays entered Lilly's room, going past the thin curtains right to her face. For a moment, she turned her head into her pillow hoping the fall asleep again. Then suddenly, Lilly remembered what day it was. Her birthday! Quickly, she jumped out of her bed and headed for her window. She opened it with a firm swing.
"Hello, sun! Hello, sea! Hello, sand! Hello, Mister Yung!" the exited girl greeted all that caught her eye. "Mister Yung?!" she said nervously. Lilly fell back inside. "Great! Now I made a fool of myself," she mumbled to herself.
When she was done judging her foolishness, Lilly began dressing up. Just her regular red dress with a golden stroke running down the side and turning at the bottom.
For this occasion, she put a pink rose in her hair with her top knot, as was the custom on the island when girls turned 18.
Now that she was all good to go Lilly went downstairs. Her heart beat faster and faster when she got close to the kitchen door. Then the birthday girl took a deep breath and opened the door. The kitchen was kind of empty, and only her mother, Su-Lee, sat at the table. She had a wooden box standing before her. Lilly felt weird and slowly took a seat at the table. She looked at her mother.
"Where are Sia and Mayla?" Lilly asked.
"I've send them away," Su-Lee answered.
"What?! Why?! Mom what's going on? Why are you staring at me with such a sad face? What's wrong?" A thousand things were going through Lilly's head.
"There is something we need to discuss," her mother answered while putting her hands on the box. Lilly grabbed the chair and sat down. She looked at her mother, who began explaining.
"You must know that I always loved you, and I only wanted the best for you, and I thought I was doing the right thing, but..." Su-Lee stopped to take a breath and wiped away her tears.
"But what, Mom...?" Lilly's voice was shaky. She wasn't even sure if she wanted an answer to her question.
Su-Lee continued her story.
"Now I see it was wrong what I did!" she burst out in tears. Lilly got closer in an effort to calm her down. "All these years, I've done nothing but fed you lies! I'm a terrible person, and I get if you don't want to forgive me..." Su-Lee was shaking from sadness.
"But Mom, what are you saying? What lies? What is this about?" Lilly herself was in tears, more than she had ever been. As she asked her question, the answer already came.
"It's about Dad, isn't it?" she asked while staring her mother into her eyes.
"Yes," her mother answered.
Lilly made some breakfast and tea before continuing the conversation.
"Here, Mom, mint tea." She handed Su a cup. "Your favorite..."
Su remarked, "You always make the best tea. Something that runs in the family." She added while making a forced smile.
"Okay, no more of this! I want to know the truth," Lilly demanded.
"Where to start? It's a long, complex story." Su took a deep breath and started telling the story.
"A while ago, I was not named Su-Lee. My real name is Su-Ming. I was just an ordinary country girl living in the outer ring of Ba Sing Se." She was interrupted by her confused daughter.
"So you are from the Earth Kingdom?" Lilly asked.
"Yes, indeed! Although I am quite passable as a Fire Nation woman huh?" Su-Ming joked. "I was the only daughter of a farmers couple. I did have three brothers. They were skilled earthbenders, something they made sure I didn't forget. I used to be a bit jealous of them, but in the end, my inability to bend sort of saved my life," she explained.
"But Mom, what happened?" Lilly asked somewhat impatient.
"Have they ever mentioned the first Siege of Ba Sing Se in school?" Su asked.
"Well, yes, it was the Fire Nation's first attempt to get control over Ba Sing Se, but they had to pull back because the chief or whatever you call him quit after he lost his son," Lilly explained.
Suddenly, the energy in the room changed. It felt dense and suffocating.
"The son... The man... The soldier... Lu Ten," the woman said while opening the box.
She showed a drawing of him to her daughter. "This is your father, Lilly, Lu Ten."
Lilly was shocked.
"B-b-but... He is dead... You told me my dad was an idiot who ran away when he heard you were pregnant!" Lilly shouted and bits of fire flew across the table.
"It was him, Lilly! But we fell in love on the battlefield. One of those firebenders killed my youngest brother right before my eyes. I rushed to save him, but it was to late. That monster took a pose and was ready to kill me too, like a senseless war machine. Then he came. He jumped in front of me, redirecting the flames at the soldier. He saved me. And we agreed to see each other at night. He explained to me that he didn't like the war and bloodshed, but if he didn't return home a hero, his faith would be worst than those who fell here. The second night was a terrible one. I had lost my two other brothers that day. I yelled at him and begged him to stop the murdering. We cried together. He couldn't stop the killing but never killed one himself. Then, on the third night, we cuddled for hours. I lay in his arms, listening to his heartbeat and treating his wounds a bit. And then it happened under a full moon and stars as bright as the sun. I was sure he was the one. He told me that we would be married once the war was over. But then when we said our goodbyes and kissed, our tale was over. Earth Kingdom soldiers came, but it was a Fire Nation soldier who attacked Lu Ten from behind, aiming at me. He fell into my arms, dead. I ran as fast as I could, but they caught me. I now was a prisoner, until I escaped when I gave birth to you. And now things have changed for the better. Go now and find your grandfather. Tell him the real story. It's your destiny."
Su-Ming gave Lilly her bag and put the box in it.
"But who is he?" Lilly asked while hugging her mom before leaving.
"The Dragon of the West," Su said. "Good luck, dear! I love you, always!" she shouted while waving her daughter goodbye.
For the collective works of the author, go here.