|By Toph's Fanboy||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from Toph's Fanboy||Adventure/Drama||None|
|I'm Not Weak|
Though Toph is initially welcomed by the group, her refusal to cooperate with the setting up of the group's campsite causes the new friendship to become tense. When a mysterious machine begins chasing them, everyone looses sleep, and the already-existing tension turns into an open quarrel. Rude comments are made, and Toph breaks away from the group to strike out a path on her own. She has an encounter with an elderly gentleman, and as the result of his advice she returns to Team Avatar just in time to help save them from the enemy who had been chasing them. After the fight is won, Toph and the others finally take some much-needed sleep.
"That's not grass. Appa's shedding." the older boy corrected her, followed by the girl saying how gross Appa shedding was. Aang disagreed with Katara, saying it was simply a part of spring. Katara sarcastically remarked, "Aw, the beauty of spring." Toph heard some groaning in the background, followed by a loud sneezing sound which could only have come from Appa, as soon afterwards she felt clumps of his fur landing on her. It had apparently landed on everyone else, as she soon heard Katara expressing her disgust to Appa, followed by coughing (presumably she had gotten some of the fur on her tongue). At the same time as she heard this, Toph, in a silly mood because her skin was being tickled by the fur and finding the other girl's oversensitivity rather funny, went behind Appa to gather up some of his fur. She stuffed it into her uniform's shirt sleeves, and walked back over to the group, overhearing the remarks of Sokka and Aang, whose minds had been apparently thinking on the same lines as hers. You think that's good, she though, laughing inwardly about the wig and beard the two boys were wearing. Wait until you get a load of this!
Katara acted disgusted at what the two boys were doing, saying, "I'm just glad we finally have another girl in the group because you two are disgusting."
This made Toph's joke all the more funny in her own eyes, and she pressed her arms to her sides as she walked up, and then asked, "Excuse me, does anyone have a razor?" She paused, as she raised her arms, revealing what she had done. "Because I've got some hairy pits!" Toph, Sokka, and Aang began laughing at the hilarity of the whole situation. Suddenly, Toph heard Aang sneeze and then felt him land hard on the ground. They continued laughing, eventually causing Katara let go of her disgust and join them.
After the group's laughter died down, while Katara went to go get water from the nearby stream for the group and Sokka and Aang went out looking for food, Toph collected her own food, eager to prove that she deserved the freedom from being constantly watched over that she had so recently won. Once she had done this, she relaxed herself by practicing Earthbending moves until she felt the day grow cooler, which meant to her that the mysterious heat source all seeing people called the sun was fading in power for the night. Aware of the late hour, she rested her head down on upon some rocks which were nearby, and chewed on a wheat stick she had come across while looking for her food, just as the other came back from accomplishing their various tasks. She felt them setting up the group's camp for a while, and then Katara came over to where she was relaxing and started talking. "So, Toph," she started, "usually when setting up camp, we try to divide up the work," she said.
Hoping that Katara was not going to try to wait on her while putting on the facade that she wasn't, Toph simply stated, "Hey, don't worry about me. I'm good to go."
This answer didn't seem to satisfy the other girl, because she started to explaining further. "Well, actually, what I'm trying to say is, some of us might fetch water while someone else might set up the fire pit or put up the tent." Toph heard a well-timed chirping noise, followed by Katara saying, "Even Momo does his fair share."
Does she really think she's going to be able to fool me that easily?! Toph thought, then retorted, "Katara, I'm fine. I can carry my own weight. I don't need a fire, I've already collected my own food, and look," she said, at that point bending the ground to form two slabs of rock which met in the middle to form a crude earth tent, "my tent's all set up!"
"Well, that's great for you. But we still need to finish-." We? How long are you going to keep this up?!! Toph thought, cutting her friend off by yelling, "I don't understand! What's the problem here?!" Katara said never mind and then walked away. Toph sat peacefully in her new tent while the others set up camp for themselves... and not me, she thought gladly.
After a little time passed and when Toph's three friends finished eating, Katara walked back up to Toph as she sat eating her own food, saying, "Hey, Toph. I want to apologize for earlier. I think we're all just a little tired and getting on each other's nerves."
Because their previous conversation, Toph was not in the mood to follow such social niceties (which at the present reminded her uncomfortably of home), so she threw the other girl's apology back in her face, saying, "Yeah. You do seem pretty tired." This made Katara a little mad, and she dropped her former gentle tone when she informed Toph that she meant all of them. Toph didn't want to put up with Katara's nonsense any longer, so she curtly said good night to the other girl, threw down the unwanted remains of her food, and crawled further into her tent so she could rest further away from the Waterbender, barely registering the dull return of her good night. She rested her hands on the solid ground to make herself feel safe, and with that small comfort slowly drifted off to sleep.
After she had been asleep for what felt like only a couple of minutes, Toph felt some strange, large but distant-seeming vibrations run across the whole of her prostrate body. She raised herself to her knees and placed her hand firmly on the ground, confirming that it, whatever it was, moving towards them. She ran out of her earth-tent and woke everyone else up, informing everybody by saying, "There's something coming toward us!"
Aang asked her what it was, so she knelt down and touched her hand to the ground to try to feel what the strange vibrations belonged to. Feeling the large object crashing across the plain below at breakneck speed, but unable to identify exactly what the strange object was, she said the closest thing she had ever felt before to what she was now feeling, "It feels like an avalanche, but also not an avalanche."
To this Sokka sarcastically remarked, "Your powers of perception are frightening." Katara wondered aloud whether they should leave, to which Aang replied that it was better to be safe than sorry. So everyone hurried and picked up camp and climbed back aboard Appa. After rising into the air, Katara broke the silence to ask what the thing was. Toph could not see from the air, and apparently no one else could tell from what they saw, so they flew on in silence.
Once they came to their second rest spot for the night, Toph jumped onto the ground, overjoyed to be able to see again, out of happiness crying, "Ah, land sweet land!" She Earthbended herself back to her feet, and told the group that she would see them the next morning. As she walked away to find a resting spot somewhere on the hill they hand landed on, Katara stopped her, asking her directly to help unload. "Really?" Toph asked, a bit startled that a seeing person needed her help. "You need me to help unload Sokka's funky-smelling sleeping bag?" Bored earlier on while being fully blinded during their recent flight, she had taken the liberty of investigating the contents of Appa's sandal. When she came across the older boy's sleeping bag, had noticed that it had oddly smelled rather strongly of smoke, and so mentioned it to underline what she thought was the absurdity of them needing her help (and also the wonder she felt at what their ulterior motives could possibly be). Toph soon overheard Sokka falling down to the ground with a sound of disgust, having apparently just checked out what Toph was talking about.
"Well, yeah," Katara replied, walking up to her. "That and everything else. You're a part of our team now and -"
Toph cut her off, saying, "Look," pointing at her, "I didn't ask you to help unload my stuff. I'm carrying my own weight." Who does this girl think she is, ordering us all around? Why won't she just leave me be? 'she thought as she walked away from the Waterbender. Katara told her that wasn't the point and she followed Toph away from their landing site.
When she caught up with her, the other girl began condemning her," Ever since you joined us, you've been nothing but selfish and unhelpful."
This accusation caused Toph to flare up in anger. "What!" she stormed, and turned part way to point at Katara again. Selfish?!! "Look here, sugar queen," she said, dropping her arm with satisfaction at how she had insulted the Waterbender's over-sweetness. From the vibrations she gave off, Toph could tell that she was bursting with anger at that last comment and wanted to inject, but the young master Earthbender went on." I gave everything I had to teach Aang Earthbending, so don't you talk to me about being selfish!" No longer wanting to deal with her, she sat down quickly and Earthbended another rock-tent around herself.
"Sugar Queen!" Katara yelled out, finally releasing the anger she had been holding back. Wanting to shut out her entirely, Toph created a wall of rock in the front of her tent so she no longer had to hear her group-mate. Katara went on for a while, making incoherent noises which Toph could not, and did not really care to, make out.
After a while, the shouting died down and Toph felt the rest of the group lay out their sleeping bags, and then lie down to go to sleep. Later, Katara spoke up again, "The stars sure are beautiful tonight. Too bad you can't see them, Toph!" shouting the last word. Although Toph was not entirely clear on what stars were, she could tell when her blindness was being made fun off and she immediately sent a wave of earth out of her still-sealed earth tent at the other girl's sleeping back, causing her to land on top of Sokka, judging by the vibrations she made on impact and the noises he made immediately afterwards. He yelled at the two of them, telling them that their "yelling and earthquaking" was stopping him from getting any sleep. As he was speaking, Toph felt strange vibrations pass through the earth again, let down the "door" to her tent and put her hand to the ground to see if it was the same object as before. She quickly found out that it was and informed them that the thing was back again. Sokka, rather annoyed, asked how far away it was so he could know whether he would be safe going back to sleep for a little while. Toph was unable to identify how far away the "not-avalanche" was, but Aang solved that problem for her - apparently something in his line of vision warned him that they shouldn't.
They quickly hopped on Appa once again, and flew away from whatever was pursuing them. Both of the girls wondered aloud about their mysterious predator, Katara about what it was and Toph about how it kept finding them. Aang answered them both, saying that even though he had no idea he was going to make it impossible for it to reach them again. They flew on in silence for hours, and when they landed Toph fell out of his saddle on to the ground and landed on her behind, her hands telling her that Appa tilted himself over when she placed them on the ground to steady herself. She laid her head back on her bag, which had fallen right behind her, and tried to go to sleep as she heard the other talking.
She felt the vibrations given off by the older boy as he stuffed himself into his sleeping bag, and overheard him, complaining as usual, saying, "Okay, forget about setting up camp. I'm finding the softest pile of dirt and going to sleep," crawling in his sleeping bag as he tried to do just that. Katara spoke up again as she also lied down, saying in an annoyed tone, "That's good, because Toph wasn't going to help anyways."
Does she have to bring this back up again when we're all trying to sleep? Toph thought in the split second before she shot back, "Oh, I didn't realize baby still needed someone to tuck her in bed." Aang cut across their conversation before they were able to continue arguing, "Come on guys, there's something after us and we don't even know what," (his voice suddenly was muffled),"or who it is."
Katara replied, "It could be Zuko. We haven't seen him since the North Pole." This was the first time Toph had heard that name, so she asked who he was.
Sokka answered dully, "Oh, just some angry freak with a ponytail who's tracked us all over the world."
Katara then said in a joking voice, "What's wrong with ponytails, Ponytail?" which made Toph assume the older boy wore a ponytail. Sokka replied back that his was a "warrior's wolf tail", to which Katara seemed to take as her cue to make fun of her brother again, saying, "Well, it certainly tells the other warriors that you're fun and perky!"
While Toph lay awake half-wondering whether she cared about the difference between the two hairstyles just mentioned, Sokka apparently decided to ignore that last comment, and told the group that since the people who were chasing them couldn't have followed them there, they ought to all be quiet (implying that they all needed sleep). Just as he lied down, Aang's small pet that Toph had learned was named Momo started jumping on him and chirping. While he obviously struggled to ignore the animal, Momo jumped off and ran a little ways opposite the direction they had traveled earlier and continued chirping at the edge of the plateau they were resting on. Toph, deciding that she could no longer ignore the animal, pushed herself into a sitting position with her hands, at the same time taking advantage of the position she was in to check any incoming vibrations. Great, those vibrations again thing again, she thought as she and the other children (besides the sleepy Sokka) got to their feet.
Sokka complained when he figured out what was going on, and Aang, refusing to believe what she could tell he was seeing with his own eyes, said, "That's impossible. There's no way they could have tracked us."
Toph, totally sure of herself now, confirmed it by remarking, "I can feel it with my own two feet!" They all walked to the edge of the plateau and stood beside Momo to better observe their pursuer. Though Katara, who sounded like she was beginning to panic, loudly said that they should get out of there, Aang didn't seem as worried, saying," Maybe we should face them. Find out who they are. Who knows, maybe they're friendly." Sokka dully commented on Aang's over-optimism, which apparently was a personality trait of his. Soon after Sokka finished talking, Toph felt the mysterious object stop near to the edge of the plateau. She heard creaking faintly in the distance, and felt three giant lizard-like step onto the ground a few moments later. From the way they dispersed their weight on the ground, Toph thought that each one probably had a female rider. Their mounts grunting, the mysterious girls moved forward toward Toph and her friends, charging at incredible speed.
Katara, apparently recognizing them, cried out, "It's those three girls from Omashu!"
This detail was irrelevant to Toph, since she had no idea who the other girl was referring to. Toph moved into a fighting position, feeling the rest doing the same, and reassured her group-mates (from which she was felt vibrations indicating that they were beginning to panic) by saying, "We can take 'em. Three on three." Sokka spoke up to correct her, informing her that there was actually four of them. Toph, realizing she had half-consciously disregarded the goofy boy as the result of his clumsiness the day before, explained, "Oh. I'm sorry, I didn't count you. You know, no bending and all." Sokka turned to her, by the feel and sound of it very angry, and yelled that he could still fight. Toph, having by now found his non-acceptance of what she deemed obvious incredibly funny, annoyed him further, "Okay. Three on three plus Sokka." which, as planned, made him even more furious.
Turning her attention back to the upcoming fight, she sent large rock formations sliding towards her opponents, in an attempt to stop their progress. But when they reach her enemy's rides, they simply climbed over the rocks and continued running at high speed. Sokka, obviously disappointed by that outcome, said, "Well, we wanted to find out who they were. We found out." Toph overheard him stuffing his boomerang back in its sheath, and felt him turn around back towards Appa as he finished, "Now let's get out of here."
Still convinced she could out-fight her opponents, Toph did not follow Sokka's directions as the other two did, and stomped the ground to create a large wall to block the path of her enemies. A few moments later, she heard a powerful blast which resonated like thunder, and then felt her opponents continue pass the wall. Dumbstruck, Toph remained where she was, providing a perfect target for the arrows which her feet indicated were soon released by one of her opponents. Overcoming her surprise, Toph took the risk of earth-launching herself into the air in order to avoid that attack, coordinating it so that when she fell she would land in Appa's sandle. With a "yip yip", Aang sent Appa flying away from the lizard-riding women. Toph heard another blast, even nearer to her this time, which she guessed came from one of the riders below, but luckily Appa was able to fly fast enough to avoid letting it hit him.
After they had flown a little distance, Katara began speaking about their attackers, " I can't believe those girls followed us all the way from Omashu."
Annoyed with the fact that they had had to run from a fight like cowards, Toph declared, "I still think we could've taken them." from her position holding onto rim of Appa's saddle.
"Are you kidding? The crazy blue Firebending and the flying daggers are bad enough, but last time we saw them one of those girls did something that took my bending away. That's scary." Ignoring the reference to the blue fire (having no idea what the word blue meant), she took into account the fact about the girl who could take away bending and remained silent, though she still resented leaving.
"Oh no, the sun is rising! We've been up all night with no sleep." Sokka began to complain soon afterwards. Great, that means it's going to be too warm for me to sleep soon, Toph thought, as Aang tried to reassure him. Sokka, sounding desperate, continued complain, "Are you sure?! I've never not slept before. What if I fall asleep now and something happens?! And something always happens!"
Katara informed her brother that they had to keep flying, because every time they landed the enemy girls would be waiting for them. Aang told the Waterbender that they couldn't keep flying on Appa forever. Her mind dulled from the long day of riding, Toph had no suggestions of what they ought to do, and due to a lack of input from anybody the group remained undecided and continued flying in silence.
A while later Aang spoke up again, asking what the plan was. Toph replied, "Don't know ... too tired to think." and let her head, which had been resting on the handle bar she was grabbing onto, slip downwards out of exhaustion. Katara assented to the same tiredness, suggesting that they would be able to come up with something after a short nap (to which Sokka added his goofy-as-ever "Yes! Sleep!"). Toph had barely gotten any rest before she felt a gust of wind travel under her body. Too tired to care much, she continued trying to sleep until Momo's grabbing of her foot awoke her enough for her to realize that her body had been lifted completely off the saddle (with only her hand preventing her from being blown off altogether). Now frightened, she cried out, "What's going on?!!"
From somewhere nearer Appa's head, Aang answered her, "Appa fell asleep!" She tightened her hands' grip on Appa's saddle and screamed as they continued falling. She heard the Avatar muttering something in the distance, by the tone of what reached her ears talking to Appa. A couple moments later, they abruptly stopped falling, and then Toph was blown backwards by the slipstream of air as Appa apparently decided to race forward. She had to struggle her hardest to keep her grip on the handle bar as Appa began crashing into objects closer to the ground, which from the feel of what began smacking into her were trees of some sort. After panicking for what seemed like an eternity to Toph, they finally crash landed, felt from Appa's violent bumping against the ground as they did so. Toph immediately jumped off Appa, and then found a soft spot on the ground to rest, and lied down on her stomach.
Glad for finally getting a chance to have a long rest, Toph zoned out and barely overheard Sokka say that they could now get some sleep because they were far away from their enemies. But her mental ears perked up when she heard Katara say, "Of course, we could have gotten some sleep earlier if Toph didn't have such issues."
Her last words caused the young Earthbender's head to heat up, all thought of sleep forgotten, and she immediately jumped up and grabbed the ground with great force (accidentally bending the earth in her anger) and at the same screamed very loudly, "What!" There is nothing wrong with the way I act! In a huff, she stood up all the way just in time to be interrupted by Aang, who tried to justify the situation by saying everyone was exhausted and just needed sleep. Toph, refusing to let the accusation slip by unnoticed, called out, "No! I want to hear what Katara has to say. You think I have issues?"
Katara replied with a sarcastic tone in her voice, "I'm just saying, maybe if you helped out earlier we could've set up our camp faster and gotten some sleep and then maybe we wouldn't be in this situation!" yelling out the last words.
This irritated her more than anything else the other girl had yet said, "You're blaming me for this!" She felt Katara throw down her sleep bag and then shift her arms quickly in what felt like it was supposed to be a "bring it on" gesture. Incensed, Toph clenched her fists and marched toward her present opponent, having lost all care to restrain herself from lashing out against her.
Aang quickly got between them, and tried to intervene by pleading, "No, no! She's not blaming you!" (which Katara quickly corrected). Annoyed at him for impeding her line of attack, she yelled "Hey!" and moved him out of the way by pushing him roughly in the stomach with one hand. She glared at her former friend. "I never asked you for diddly doo da. I carry my own weight!" she loudly declared, point at her own head. Having formerly mulled the matter over, Toph then shifted the blame to where she thought it really belonged, saying, "Besides, if there's anyone to blame, it's Sheddy over here!"
Calling down from on top of Appa (where Toph had apparently thrown him), Aang called out with a defensive tone in his voice. "What!?! You're blaming Appa?" Toph walked over to the beast's side, and rhetorically asked whether Aang wanted know how their enemies kept finding them. Then she grabbed a wad of hair from the animal's side, and then released his hair as a visual display to her seeing verbal opponent. "He's leaving a trail everywhere we go!"
Aang jumped down in an angry-feeling way, and shouted, barely pausing to take a breath "How dare you blame Appa! He saved your life three times today! If there's anyone to blame, it's you! You're always talking about how you carry your own weight, but you're not! He is! Appa's carrying your weight! He never had a problem flying when it was just the three of us!"
Toph said nothing during Aang's long tirade, as he gave her no chance to break in, and so had to absorb the full impact of his speech. Well, I can see I'm not wanted here, she thought as she closed her eyes. She re-opened them and walked over to where she had left her bag, kicking the ground to cause it to throw her bag up into the air and then into her arms. She threw it over her back so that its leather strap went across her body, and then to the group flatly stated, "I'm outta here," and walked away.
For some reason or other, Sokka, attempting to intervene, ran in and stood in front her, telling her, "Wait," as he blocked her path. In no mood to remain at their present campsite, Toph tapped the ground with her foot to cause the ground under Sokka to slide to the left, removing him as an obstacle. She then continued to walk away from the group she had so recently befriended.
Half an hour later, Toph's anger had cooled down, though she still did not feel like rejoining the group that had rejected her. She wondered why, when everyone else was blaming her for being selfish, Sokka had stepped in to try and stop her from leaving. Unable to figure this out after thinking it over for a few minutes, she shifted her attention to the path she was traveling on, trying to prevent herself from accidentally turning back toward the direction the group was formerly going while also avoiding backtracking and coming across their female adversaries. She hiked across mountains, and through a small meadow in the middle of a forest, until suddenly she felt a vibration pass through the ground which seem to come from a nearby person hiding behind a rock. She turned her feet left towards the individual, and Earthbended a line across the ground to protect herself from the possibility of attack. Hearing the stranger grunt loudly, Toph ran up to the rock he was formerly hiding behind so she could feel his vibrations better. The stranger, who felt elderly and overweight, complained, "Ohhh... that really hurt my tailbone."
Still standing over him, she waited as he slowly got to his feet, prepared to attack again if she felt the need to do so. After he had stood up all the way, the man turned to her and asked her to get down from the rock. She didn't listen immediately, and let him walk a short distance away from her, until he spoke up again.
"You look tired," the stranger said, making Toph more aware of this fact herself. "Why don't you come and share a pot of tea with me?"
Think she could trust him, she nodded and slowly climbed down from her perch and followed him at a distance, using his large vibrations and heavy breath to keep track of where he was. By the time she caught up with him, he had already gotten a fire going. Seeing her, the elderly gentleman began to boil a pot of tea on a fire for the two of them. Once it was hot enough, he poured tea, first for himself and then also for her. He held out the tea to hand it to her, but she didn't take it immediately, resenting the fact that even this stranger thought she had to be spoon-fed like a baby.
When she failed to take it, he said, "Here is your tea. You seem a little too young to be traveling alone." Though she couldn't see, she could tell that he was staring at her from the tone in his voice.
Countering him, and purposefully showing that she was not as incapable as he might that, she replied as she took it, "You seem a little too old." The elderly gentleman, who was apparently the jovial sort, didn't take offense to her words and instead began laughing, commenting that perhaps he was.
Believing that he had probably missed the point she was trying to make with then insult, Toph flat-out stated what she had meant to disprove, "I know what you're thinking. I look like I can't handle being by myself."
"I wasn't thinking that."
"You wouldn't even let me pour my own cup of tea," she said, taking a sip of it at that moment.
It felt like her new acquaintance was trying emphasize his point as he said, "I poured your tea because I wanted to and for no other reason."
Not really believing him, and desiring to make someone understand her, she went on, "People see me and think I'm weak. They want to take care of me. But I can take care of myself by myself."
To this the elderly gentleman said, "You sound like my nephew. Always thinking you need to do things on your own without anyone's support. There is nothing wrong with letting people who love you help you. " She took in what he said as he paused for a breath. Is that what Katara was trying to do? The old man finished by correcting himself on the tangent he had just wandered off on, " Not that I love you; I just met you."
Toph laughed at the sense of humor displayed in that last comment. Having resolved her problems somewhat, she asked her new friend, " So, where is your nephew?"
"I've been tracking him, actually," he said, sounding a bit glum.
"Is he lost?"
"Yes, a little bit," the gentleman answered, sounding as if he mean that in a less-than-literal sense. "His life has recently changed and he's going through very difficult times. He is trying to figure out who he is and he went away."
"So... now you're following him," she said, sad about how events often seemed to turn out in life.
"I know he doesn't want me around right now, but, if he needs me, I'll be there."
Thinking of how kind he had been to a complete stranger, she complimented him, saying, "Your nephew is very lucky, even if he doesn't know it." Done with her tea, she stood up and told him thank you.
"My pleasure. Sharing tea with a fascinating stranger is one of life's true delights."
"No, thank you for what you said. It helped me."
She picked up her bag and began to leave, but turned back out of gratitude for what the man had done for her. Compassionate toward him in his troubles, she told him, "Oh, and about your nephew ... Maybe you should tell him that you need him too."
Toph meandered away from the site, thinking over the conversation she had just had. If that's what Katara was trying to do, now I know why she was so annoyed. Maybe I should head back to them and tell them I'm sorry, she thought, swallowing her pride. She turned and walked back along the path she had just traveled. After walking for what seemed like a long time, she felt some of Appa's fur underneath her feet. She turned around until another patch of fur came within range of her seismic sense, and then started following direction the fur trail was vaguely pointing towards.
After traveling in this direction for a bit, she suddenly felt the ground tremble beneath her feet. She put her hand to the ground, and was able to feel crashing and banging which felt vaguely to her like they were coming from some sort of bending clash. She ran in that direction, assuming her friends were involved in the fight of their lives against their pursuers and hoping to catch up with her friends to save them if they needed her help.
After she closer, she realized the fight was going on in a nearby town, which apart from a few people felt totally abandoned. She paused to get a better feel of things, and was able to tell that her friends were indeed there, judging by the presence of Aang's uniquely light footsteps. She decided to go around and sneak in the town's entrance from the side from the side in hopes of catching their enemy or enemies unaware, and then raced down to it. When she got there, she sneaked around the side of the town next to its wall and then up through a lane of houses to arrive just in time to find a female Firebending opponent cornered by Katara, Sokka, and Aang in front of the lane she was in. As their opponent back towards Toph, who purposefully lurked unseen by all, she used the well-remembered earth-sliding move to trip the person in front of her. Toph then announced herself to the group in a sort of an apology, " I thought you guys could use a little help," to which she heard Katara (sounding sincere) say thanks, which she took as her apology's acceptance.
Their enemy got up quickly, darted to the side to escape both Toph and her friends, and then turned to run down an alley. Toph and the friends she had recently been reunited with ran after her. After a few moments, she felt the girl stop in her tracks and bounce back, sounding like she had bumped into something heavy. The weighty object, apparently a person, progressed towards their adversary, joined by another person who felt like a boy in his later teens. With the help of the two strangers, they managed to corner her in front of a crumbling wall of a broken down building.
Their enemy, whose emotions Toph could not quite put a finger on, began commenting on her situation, "Well, look at this. Enemies and traitors all working together. I'm done." Toph then felt her shift her weight in way she knew was supposed to be indicative of surrender. "I know when I'm beaten. You got me. A princess surrenders with honor."
At close range, Toph realized in the back of her mind that the heavy person was the elderly gentleman from earlier, but kept her mind focused on the dangerous Firebender right in front of them. Just a few moments after the enemy princess had apparently surrendered, she turned around and struck the man in the chest with a powerful fire-blast before Toph had the chance to realize what she was doing. As the man fell, Toph heard the strange teenager beside her scream and then everyone aimed a blast at the enemy fighter within a split-second of her attack. Their attacks hit the Firebending shield which was then raised for protection, and together created a tremendous explosion which almost deafened Toph's sensitive ears. When the noise died down, Azula was nowhere to be heard.
She turned around and, with the others, approached the spot where the gentleman had fallen, and still lay groaning. The teenager, who Toph could by now tell was his nephew, had at some point moved over to where his uncle lay, and yelled at them, "Get away from us!"
Ignoring the boy's command, Toph's eyes began to water as she felt the man's body from its contact with the ground and realized how injured he was. To her left, Katara offered aid, "Zuko, I can help!"
Toph felt him turn in anger and instinctively sensed that he was about to attack, and so ducked in time to avoid the wave of fire he then sent flying over their heads, at the same yelling for them to leave. Despite not wanting to do so, she listened to him after pausing to consider that there was not much they could do to help him while he was "defended" by his angry nephew (whom, due to her tiredness, she just managed to register as also the "angry jerk with the ponytail" who used to chase her friends around the world.)
They walked out of the town, which had caught on fire in the midst of their battle, and tredged onward to the place where Katara and Sokka had apparently last left Appa. Worry put out of her mind by sheer tiredness, Toph shakingly climbed aboard Appa and heard Aang call out "Yip Yip" for the last time that night. She laid down long-ways across the saddle beside Katara and drifted off to sleep, their argument forgotten.
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