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|Journey To The West|
May 17th, 2011
Journey to the west is the ninth chapter in the fanon
Long withheld emotions and thoughts get voiced, new enemies appear and time starts ticking.
It was night time; a dark figure riding an ostrich horse rode through a dirt road that was next to a long river. The figure road in great speed, it wore a long black cloak with the hood pulled up that shielded it's face from view. Its speed slowed until the ostrich horse finally came to a stop, the figure dismounted it's pet and stepped down to the dirt road, coming in closer to the ground, the figure kneeled down and pulled up some dirt, throwing it aside. On the path, there were footsteps; two sets of feet, two people were travelling west. One of these men had a staff of some sort, judging from the occasional bumps in the dirt. They were going slow, one of them tall and skinny, the other heavy, or wearing a heavy weapon or armor that increased his weight. The figure flashed an evil smirk before it slowly stood from the ground and turned to the ostrich horse once again. It came closer and mounted the mount before finally muttering.
"Finally, he's mine."
The Journey West
Taizo and Myaku sat in front of each other, Taizo leaning against a fallen tree and Myaku leaning against a giant rock. In-between them, a fireplace danced and crackled, lighting the dark forest in the night.
"So I say to the bartender," Taizo spoke in a loud and happy tone, disrupting the peace of the night "Leaf me alone!" upon finishing his apparent joke, the young rouge broke into a maniac and loud laughter, which even brought a tear to his eye. However, the young monk in front of him merely smiled awkwardly, not sure if the joke was that funny.
"Oh come on, that was gold." Taizo argued, a bit insulted that Myaku didn't laugh at his joke, after his comment Myaku faked a laugh and continued staring in the dancing and crackling red fireplace. "I heard a rumor Air Nomads had a great sense of humor, obviously that was a lie..." Taizo shook his head as he commented.
"I'm not an Air Nomad." Myaku reminded him in a cold tone, already getting somewhat annoyed at reminding this little fact to his travel companion.
"Well then I can bend fire, my father would be so proud." Taizo countered with an incredibly sarcastic tone, yet a very calm one at the same time as his gaze shifted up to the night sky above them, filled with white stars. For an incredibly long moment, there was no sound besides the sound of the fireplace crackling. It's light illuminating a relatively small area, though enough to light both of the men. Crickets sang in the background now and again, disappearing for moments as if falling asleep. Myaku continued staring into the fire, his look blank and stoic.
"I've been meaning to ask you." Myaku began calmly, gripping his steel staff tighter and turning his gaze directly to Taizo. "Did you know Lang?" his voice remained calm and the question seemed relatively simple.
"I already answered tha-" Taizo tried to say before being cut off by the monk.
"You lied," Myaku stated coldly, his calm expression remaining the same. "You told me you didn't know who he was, but he seemed to know you pretty well." Myaku arched an eyebrow, they've been travelling for three days now, three days since they left Omashu and still the question of Taizo lingered in the monks head. Lang spoke of Taizo very confidently, he obviously knew him, he spoke which such distaste and such anger, not to mention he commented on Taizo's past, he must have known him and given that Taizo had already established himself as a liar in the monks head, the monk was eager to believe the colonel.
"I don't know him, he lied." Taizo scoffed "You'll take his word over mine? He tried to kill you and me."
"We're supposed to travel together, how can I, travel with you if I can't even trust you?!" Myaku jumped up to his feet, coming in closer on Taizo as the rogue stood as well and their glares locked. "How can I be so certain that you won't betray me or trick me when I can't even ask you a simple question, without you lying?!" they were travelling together, they had to trust each other because in the road they'd have only each other's company and each other to have the others back. How can one be certain the other won't slit his throat, or sell him off as a slave? These were desperate times and Myaku knew better than to trust his life, his safety, with a liar.
"Oh, you mean me?!" Taizo retorted with an insulted tone "If you haven't noticed, I haven't asked a single thing about your past, I haven't interrogated you about anything, I haven't pointed out the times you were obviously hiding something, because I don't care and I'd trust you do act the same."
"Well then, ask away." Myaku responded, confident that he could answer any question.
"Alright then- What did you do so horrible that even the Air Nomads exiled you?!"
In an instant, Myaku's confident disappeared and his angered expression was changed to one of fear, sadness and suppressed emotions. The monk took a step back and gulped. "It's... complicated." Were the only words that could escape his mouth.
"See? Doesn't feel so good to be attacked with questions about your past, does it?!" Taizo asked snidely and obviously rhetorically "If you want to know so badly, yes I did know Lang. I told you I deserted the Fire Nation military, me and him served together, that's it- but why it would matter to you, why can't you think of a person who he is right now and not who he knew or who he was?! My past is none of your business."
"Then how do we travel together?" Myaku eventually asked after a moment of silence.
"I guess we don't." Taizo scoffed again and turned around, picking his jian up from the ground and going further "I'll give my part of the letter to General Ming, bye." And after those words he picked up his pace and disappeared into the darkness of the forest. The thick trees and branches masking his path until there wasn't even a moving figure visible.
Myaku leaned back against one of the trees and slid down to the ground. Should he have apologized? Should he have called Taizo back? No, good riddance, Myaku didn't need his help, his companionship or his dumb jokes. He had been alone for a long time, he will always be alone- he's used to it. Myaku didn't care what happened to Taizo, as long as he delivered his part of the message, his responsibility will be done and he'll repay his part for having caused that avalanche, he wasn't Taizo's babysitter, or friend, for that matter.
Myaku woke up early that morning, to find that his fireplace had been put out by the night's cold winds. He slowly stood from the ground, stretching his long arms and legs before he gently kicked up his steel glider and caught it with his right hand. He yawned and looked around, for a moment expecting Taizo to be somewhere around here, but was only disappointed to find that the rogue was nowhere near him, he was slightly disappointed when he didn't find him, but the monk would never admit it. He looked around once again, this time searching not for his former companion, but for food. He saw a couple of apples in a tree and climbed, as quickly as he could to pluck them off. When he came back to the ground he found that one was rotten, the other was home for a family of worms and the third was quite small, though not rotten and housing insects.
He placed the two others on the ground, his somewhat of a monk attitude not allowing him to swing around a living beings home without care. After eating that apple he proceeded to pick berries and various leaves, which he remembered were edible and after an incredibly disappointing breakfast - he continued on with his journey to the western front.
Taizo's morning was equally bad. After leaving Myaku in the forest he took shelter in a small cave, so small in fact that he had trouble getting out of it one he had woken up, however eventually when he did get out of his cave his luck had improved and he had managed to find a couple of eggs in a birds nest, which he quickly fried on a hot rock. Upon eating some leaves, which Myaku insisted for the past three days were edible, the rogue continued going forward down a narrow road, at his right was a mountain and at his left was a long drop that would lead you to find yourself floating dead in a river. It had been an annoying ascension towards the height of the small cavernous mountain and Taizo found himself rather tired and decided to relax, though his relaxation was cut off by an ostrich horse that rode down from the road and nearly ran him over, forcing him to dodge to the side and press against the mountain's walls.
"Where's the Airbender?" an extremely muffled voice asked from atop of the ostrich horse. There sat a dark figure, a long cloak, hooded and masked face and a black jian hanging from the side of its mount, stopping it a few steps after it road past Taizo and turning it around to face him.
"Down there, taking a bath, you're free to jump." Taizo retorted in an incredibly annoyed tone, gesturing which his head towards the ledge.
"Funny." The figure commented dryly, it's voice was heavily muffled, making it extremely difficult to make out what it was saying, it turned around its mount, to ride off, but Taizo drew his jian from its scabbard and pointed it to the figure.
"Another bounty hunter? You guys are just everywhere." He smirked at the figure which glanced back at his drawn weapon.
The figure reached back and drew it's jian from its black scabbard, revealing an iron blade. It tucked at the ostrich horses reins and turning the animal instantly towards Taizo, swinging it's blade at the same time. Taizo immediately reacted, jumping backward to avoid the wide slash, but as soon as he landed he realized that the figure had thrown some sort of small cylindrical object towards him and by the time he realized what it was, he had little time to react. He quickly jumped to the side, off of the ledge and had a second to see the figure riding off before the small cylinder exploded, destroying the narrow path and pushing Taizo even further off of the ledge. Taizo screamed as he fell, barely managing to grab a branch to break his fall before he slammed into the water. After a moment he came up from down under and swam to the nearest shore, grabbing a tree root and pulling himself up. He laid down onto the grass and took the moment to catch his breath, muttering silently,
"I really hate airbenders and bounty hunters..."
Myaku, unlike his companion did not take the annoying route of climbing up and then down the mountain, instead the decided to walk around it and had found himself walking through a small area in which the mountain had connected with a large tree. At his left was the small mountain and at his right was a forest. Of course, he had no idea that Taizo was up on the mountain, he really had no idea where he was right now. He'd be lying if he said that the rogue wasn't on his mind. He kept questioning if he handled the situation right. But, Taizo could take care of himself so Myaku had no real reason to worry. He was deep in thought as always, walking silently and calmly in a moderate pace along the dirt road, not even taking a moment to stop and admire the scenery. He heard a small noise off in the distance, but paid no real attention to it up until the point he heard someone riding on a mount behind him.
He glanced backwards, to see the dark covered figure riding towards him, with a jian drawn the figure slashed at the monk when he was in range. Myaku turned around immediately and blocked the slash, but the momentum from the mount and the power of the attack threw him backwards onto his back. The figure road off and Myaku immediately stood from the ground, gripping his steel staff tightly with both hands as the figure turned it's ostrich horse around and rode towards the monk once more. Myaku screamed and turned around to run, but before he could he saw something on the ground. A small cylinder... a massive cloud of smoke erupted from the cylinder directly into Myaku, blinding him to his surroundings for a moment. The bounty hunter used its mount to slam into Myaku and to force the monk back into the ground. The hunter circled him with the mount a couple of times and sent a powerful stab downward into the monk's chest.
Taizo jumped into the cloud of smoke, parrying the blade to the side with his own jian which he held in his left hand and grabbing Myaku with his other hand, quickly pulling him back and pushing him out of the cloud of smoke... sadly into the side of the mountain. The smoke cleared quickly and just as the figure was trying to ride off, Myaku caught his balance and sent a stab with his staff towards the feet of his mount, tripping it and forcing it's rider down to the ground with it. The bounty hunter rolled off, grabbing it's jian and quickly getting to its feet. The frightened mount ran off instantly as it got back on his feet, the bounty hunter gave a glance to see it ran off, before returning the attention to the two men attacking.
Taizo was the first to attack, with an upper cut slash, which the bounty hunter gracefully parried with its blade and spun behind Taizo, passing Myaku and instantly kneeling onto the ground, grabbing Myaku's ankles and flipping him over, slamming him into the ground. The annoyed and dazed Myaku could only imagine how ridiculous that just looked. The monk quickly rolled to his knees only to see Taizo getting beaten by the hunter. Taizo's sword was knocked out off his hands, apperiantly he wasn't expecting that because he stood shocked for a long moment.
The bounty hunter chuckled and removed her hood and cape and mask, letting them fall to the ground. She had beautiful long black hair, wore tight black clothing, her skin was pale and flawless- she was without a doubt a very beautiful woman, sporting several tattoo's on her arms, but her sinister chuckle and even more sinister look made it obvious enough that she was trouble."You guys are pathetic." She commented.
"Myaku..." Taizo turned his attention to the monk "Did I just get beat by... did you just get flipped by..." Taizo turned his attention back to the person holding the tip of a jian right next to his face "I'm sorry, but are you a woman?"
The woman growled "My name is Fei." As if the word woman was a complete insult "and I didn't plan on killing you, just to Air Nomad, but I think I'll take more pleasure in killing you first." After finishing her sentence she sent a direct stab towards Taizo's face, who leaned to the side and grabbed her wrist, quickly spinning her around and slamming her against the wall of the mountain.
"Taizo!" Myaku shouted as he grabbed his companion's sword from off of the ground and threw it to him. The rogue caught it gracefully in the air, before grabbing the hilt with both hands and gripping it tightly. The monk turned his attention to the left, on Fei and he jumped up, rushing towards her as she got her balance back and was getting ready to fight. She ducked, avoiding a hit from Myaku's staff and grabbed his ankle again, flipping him in the air and throwing him to the ground. Myaku groaned as Fei left him on the ground and diverted her attention to Taizo, turned her back to Myaku. Myaku saw this as an opportunity to attack, but as he standing up he felt a strange cylindrical shape inside of his robes, rubbing against his back. Suddenly a massive cloud of smoke erupted from Myaku's robes, forcing the monk to start caught, losing air and falling onto his knees. That was close, if that had been a bomb she threw into his clothes and not a smoke bomb, Myaku would be dead.
Taizo gripped his jian and rushed forward at Fei, who had already taken a defensive stance. As he got close enough, he sent a powerful slash aimed at her hands, but she spun her arms and brought her jian up, clashing it into the other sword. She moved her sword with all her strength along her opponents and Taizo's moved as well, she pushed the sword aside and sent a stab to his stomach. Taizo leaned forward, allowing the blade to pass a few inches away from his gut before he straightened and spinning on his heels, making a quick retreat. He came to a stop and instantly Fei charged at him, sending another stab aimed for his chest. Taizo blocked the stab and sent her blade upward with a push then tried slashing at her stomach, but she jumped back and took her sword hilt with both hands again. The two of them stood motionless for a second, Taizo took his blade with his right hand and raised it above his head, kneeling slightly and moving his left hand index and middle fingers forward and pointing them up, like he was aiming Taizo prepared for an assault.
With a deep breath Fei charged again, her blade moved to her right and she sent a horizontal slash, Taizo lowered his blade and instantly blocked, using the momentum for her attack to spin and around, get some distance, and charge at her immediately. Taizo sent a barrage of stabs, which Fei blocked while moving backwards, her eyes following the swift movements of his blade with incredible accuracy. As a final move, Taizo sent a slash down aiming for her shoulders, which Fei blocked and parried his attack, throwing his sword arm to the side; she made a circular motion over her head and sent a slash at his shoulders. Taizo shifted his weight to his right foot and his left shoulder moved away, dodging the slice. His blade then went down to lock her blade, which was low, so she couldn't slash at his legs. Fei jumped back and prepared her sword again, rushing her opponent with another quick stab. Taizo parried the attack and slammed the pommel of his blade into her left shoulder, forcing her down to her knees, but as soon as her knees touched the ground she rolled forward, getting behind Taizo and onto her knees, she sliced at his legs. Taizo jumped up, the blade passed under his feet and he landed again, spinning around on his heels, he sent a powerful double handed slice at Fei's head while she was kneeling, but she leaned to the side, dodging the slice.
She rolled onto her feet and Taizo's blade returned from left to right, her blade intercepted and blocked, locking the two swords together. Fei grunted and pushed Taizo's sword back before she was defeated and quickly jumped forward sending a stab, raising her left foot into the air behind her back for balance. Taizo parried with his sword and sent the stab upward, but now her blade was above his head and he had to keep his sword up, to keep her sword up. He turned his blade sideways and while his right hand was holding the hilt of the sword, the left hand pressed against the blade for more power, pushing it up. Fei lowered her foot and gripped the hilt of her sword with both hands, pushing downward with all her might. Taizo left foot kicked her in the stomach, sending her backward. Instead of falling, Fei turned around and skidded along the ground before coming to a stop and rushing at Taizo once again. They locked into a long barrage of slices and parries before they both spun around 360 degrees in different directions and slammed their blades into each other. Fei's blade broke in half and the sharp tip flew off to the side. She was left with a hilt and a half broke sword, while Taizo's was still fine. He pointed the tip at her, but she pushed his sword away with her broken one and jumped back. Myaku rushed in kicking her in the side and sending her against a wall. He then landed on his feet and pointed his staff at her, getting into an offensive position. Taizo rushed to Myaku's side and pointed his sword, while holding it with both hands and pointing it at Fei. The bounty hunter placed her hands on the wall and straightened her stance, glaring at Taizo and Myaku.
"It's over." Myaku informed her in an angry tone "You've lost."
"So I have...but I'll be back" the bounty hunter commented before her hands moved into her back pouch and she drew an explosive, chucking it at the two men, before turning a corner and making a run for it, whistling for her moutn. As the bomb as heading towards them, Myaku quickly spun his staff above his head created an air sphere around himself and Taizo, blocking the small explosive and stopping the blast from touching them. As the smoke cleared, they were safe from harm, but Fei was gone.
With an expression of relief Myaku turned to glance at Taizo, believing him to be fine but he instantly noticed that there was blood rushing down his legs and his left arm had a cut on his bicep. The rogue lowered his blade with one hand and his hand dropped it, he was so out of breath he couldn't even hold a sword anymore. Taizo began gasping and Myaku patted his shoulder, trying to be somewhat helpful.
"Taizo... TAIZO!" Myaku shouted as the rogue began to choke and fell to his knees, losing consciousness.
- The title of this chapter is a reference to a 400-year-old Chinese story.
For the collective works of the author, go here.