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|More from Fruipit||Drama||PG-13||Not negative||None|
|Chapter One: Journeys|
May 30th, 2012
"Again!" shouted Ming. "You're all tense! Relax, let your chi flow, so you can stop theirs!"
Aten loved Ming, but sometimes she could be so difficult to work with.
"I'm trying! You're too fast!" he told her.
"Well, you have to be faster."
"Grr, I'm tired of practising, can't we do something else?" he cried plaintively.
"Fine..." Ming relented.
After all, Aten was getting better. Ever since she left Kyoshi Island, she had been alone. But, now she had him, and she felt a connection with him that she hadn't felt since she left her home. Ming had travelled towards Ba Sing Se when she had just turned twelve. She wanted to teach at a self-defence school, but she wasn't allowed to go into the Upper Ring, where the only people rich enough to pay for such a class lived, because she, while she was descended from Kyoshi herself, couldn't bend, and had no family. So she had turned around and trekked back, hoping to find some equality in Republic City. On her way, she had passed a farmhouse, with one small boy with a horrifically burnt face, and three newly dug graves. Despite only being a few years older than him, he would not go near her, or speak, and it took a lot to coax him out of his shell. After two years of friendship, she still didn't know what happened, nor why he wanted to learn how to chi-block. That was ancient stuff; no-one used it anymore. But he, like her, wasn't a bender, and so she taught him. Ming never returned to Kyoshi Island, instead they travelled with a circus around the Earth Kingdom. She was naturally graceful, and so she had a trapeze act with the company. It paid well, but poor Aten had nothing to offer but the freak show, and she refused to let them torture him. So, she looked after him.
"What are you looking at?" The question shook her out of her stupor. She realized that she had been watching him for a while, thinking.
"Oh, nothing. I'm just tired. We best think about dinner, the sun will set soon, and I want to get back to the circus. I heard from the cook that the Agni Kai Triad have been harassing the owners, trying to pay 'protection money', whatever that mean Maybe we should make them pay us protection money to guard them! Aten?"
Aten's eyes had glazed over, as if remembering a past dream. Ming was worried. The only other time she had seen that expression on him was when they were leaving his destroyed home, and he looked at the ruins one last time.
"Hmm?" Aten met her purple eyes, a rare mutation, just like his golden ones, and stared at her. His face was unreadable to most due to the scarring, but not her. She knew everything about him, save for his past. That was going to change. "I said, I figured out why you can't block my chi," she lied easily.
"Oh, really?" He perked up at this suggestion. "Can I practise a little longer then?"
"Uhh, perhaps its better tomorrow. Sunrise. And I want you to meditate tonight."
"Aww, meditate? But that's boring!" Aten was disappointed, but she needed him to trust her, now more than ever.
"Yes. Please, Aten? For me?"
"... Alright," he sighed. "What do you want me to meditate on?"
"I need you to meditate on all the bad things that have happened in your life."
Aten was visibly disturbed by this notion. He took a deep breath, and nodded. Just once.
"Thank you," said Ming, and she gave him a hug. They walked back to their shared tent, and shared a warm meal. Ming knew Aten would be feeling apprehensive, so she purposely gave him the last fruit pie.
"It will all be okay, Aten. Trust me." she lifted up his disfigured face, and smiled at him. After a long moment, he smiled back...
For the collective works of the author, go here.