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|Keeping a Secret|
Chapter Fifty-Three: Keeping a Secret
He leaps out from the behind the boulder, breathing just a little more heavily than usual. "My name's Aang!" he says by way of greeting. "I'm the Avatar. "
The spirit turns away, keeping her face hidden under the brim of her hat. "Well. Hello, Avatar." Her voice sounds strange and muffled. "I wish I could talk, but I am very busy . . ."
"Yeah, me too," he answers, "I hate that." I've to figure out who she is! Maybe I can flatter it out of her. Like how Katara convinced those boys in Gaoling to show us where the Earthbending tournament thing was going to be. She said she used her charm. Yeah, that's it! Tilting his head in an attempt to see under her hat, he tries, "You know, you're really pretty for a spirit. I don't get to meet too many spirits, but the ones I do meet—" He shudders, thinking of Koh. "Not very attractive."
The spirit laughs nervously, again turning away. "Thank you, but—"
I've heard her voice before. "You seem familiar, too." Wait a second. Helping people? Healing?
"A lot of people say that," the spirit says, clearly attempting to divert his attention.
He attempts to sneak another peek at her. "No, you really seem familiar." Don't tell me . . .
"Look, I really should get going," the "spirit" answers, already moving away.
Hesitating at first, he blows a gust of wind at her that takes the hat straight of her head, sending it sailing through the air; she barely catches it.
"Katara!" he cries. I can't believe she would do this! This is just so . . . so like her.
She smiles sheepishly. "Hi, Aang."
"You're the Painted Lady?! But how—?!"
She shrugs. "I wasn't at first. I was just trying to help the village, but since everyone thought that's who I was anyway." She glances at him, the worry clear on her face. "I guess I just kind of became her."
"So you've been sneaking out at night?" he inquires. And I thought I was devious! "Wait, is Appa even sick?"
She sounds apologetic. "He might be sick of the purple berries I've been feeding him," she tries, "but, other than that, he's fine."
"I can't believe you lied to everyone so you could help these people," he says, his voice full of awe. Wow, I know why I like her!
"I'm sorry, I know I shouldn't have." She frowns.
He shakes his head. "No, I think it's great; you're like a secret hero!"
"Well, if you want to help . . . there's one more thing I have to do." He leans in, and she glances left and right. "But you have to promise you won't tell anyone! Not even Sokka and Toph?"
He grins. "I'm the Avatar! I can keep a secret." He points to his arrow. "Avatar's honor."
"Okay . . . here's the plan . . ."
I love this scene so much, and yes, I did add more dialogue. I like to provide closure.
I love the aftermath scene, too, when they return and Sokka yells at them. Sadly, I wasn't able to put that into ABCLAF . . . but perhaps a sequel?
Why did I decide to start the chapter where I did? Good question. I attempted to start it at an earlier point, but it felt forced. This seemed to me like the perfect starting point.
I love the line: "Wait, is Appa even sick?"
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