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|Like Old Times|
April 2, 2010
Like Old Times is the twenty second chapter of Avatar: Guardian.
Appa soars through the air, heading towards the Earth Kingdom. Aang looks back from his seat and tells the group the status of their travels. "We should be in the Earth Kingdom by the end of the day." He hops into the saddle where the rest of the team is sitting, admiring the view.
"It looks amazing up here. I still can't get over that." Katara begins to note.
Toph's usual tone breaks her trance, "Eh... You've seen nothing once, you've seen it a thousand times."
"You've never seen nothing like this before." Aang, Sokka, Katara, and Toph all laughed at that statement, leaving Zuko questioning the hilarity.
"Why was that so funny?" Zuko asks. The group tells Zuko the story of the meteor shower that lead to Sokka becoming a sword master. "Wow Sokka. Piandao doesn't take many students. You should be impressed."
Sokka looks slightly confused at Zuko. "How have you heard about Piandao? According to both Piandao and his butler, Piandao is unknown outside of the outer Fire Nation. After Azulon failed to re-enlist him in the Army, he dropped off of the topic of the officers in the capital."
"Well, Mai mentioned she heard something about him from Iroh while we were in Ba Sing Se after he liberated it. Also, he tutored me in mastering my swords as well. We've been over this, Sokka."
"I'm a little fuzzy, but Mai's the gloomy one, right?" Sokka asks.
Zuko's cheeks blush. "Yeah. The gloomy one. Did you know she hates this shade of orange?" he notes as he looks at the sky.
"I didn't know that. How is she? It must be fun dating the Fire Lord." Katara adds.
"Well, you should have asked her that a few months ago. We got married." Everyone's eyes widened, and the entire team turned towards Zuko. Even Toph's eyes widened.
Aang looks at Zuko, shocked for only a moment, before he begins the flurry of congratulations. After they die down, he asks "Why did you marry her so soon?"
"I think the Fire Nation needs a Fire Lady too. We've been missing one since my grandfather's wife died."
Sokka gets a smirk on his face. "Why weren't we told?"
"She wanted something very quiet. She is like that."
Aang's eyes light up slightly with curiosity. "What happened to your mom?"
Zuko's eyes close as he bows his head. "No one knows. She vanished the night before my father became Fire Lord. I asked my father, but he never answered me. I had him questioned every day, but he never told me. That's one of the reasons I want him back. If he doesn't tell me, I may never know."
A tear forms at Katara's eye as she touches her mother's necklace. "You'll find her Zuko. I know you will."
"I hope so."
"After we're finished with these groups, we can help you!" Aang adds.
"That's actually a good idea. Normally, I would do this alone, but I know that you all will be perfect allies for this. Thank you all."
Toph sighs. "Don't thank us, we haven't done anything yet."
"When this is all over Toph, Sokka and Katara are getting some sort of medal from the Fire Nation, I just haven't decided what kind yet."
Aang looks sad, saying "Why not me?"
"You're the Avatar, it's your job." The group laughs, remembering the times being the Avatar was helpful.
Unlike her, Toph turns to Aang. "Okay, Aang. I have a question for you. What was Bumi like 100 years ago?"
"He was the craziest person I've ever met. He always saw everything differently. He saw my Airbending as a different way to Earthbend, by moving rocks with air. He ridiculed it as less effective than his method. Why do you ask?"
"When I was in Omashu, he already seemed to get all the things I was teaching him. First, I had to teach him how to see without his eyes, and he got it a lot faster than you did, Twinkle Toes. Then we went down to the dump where all the metal that the Fire Nation left behind was. I picked it up and started bending it around, not even teaching him much. I told him to do the same. He did, after only a few tries. I left him to practice for a few minutes and when I came back he was controlling a puppet made of metal. Then I made one and they sparred."
"Wow, Bumi can metalbend?" Aang exclaimed.
"Yeah, he's quite the 'Mad Genius'. Then he taught me to bend Jennamite. I still have some, if you all want it." She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a small green ring.
Sokka and Katara look towards each other. "No thanks Toph, we're good." Katara notes after a few seconds.
"Did I miss something?" Toph asks while Zuko quietly nods in agreement.
"Long story, also involving Bumi." Katara explains.
"Yeah, I kinda lost my sweet tooth after that day." Sokka adds. The group laughs as they near the Earth Kingdom.
References to the Original Series
- Toph's first comment is a clear reference to her aloofness to the meteor shower in Sokka's Master, along with the group's response.
- Zuko mentions how Mai hates the color of the sky, referencing his first picnic with her in The Awakening.
- The Bos took a few liberties with Aang's flashbacks from The King of Omashu, adding Bumi's opinion on the weakness of Airbending. Also, Katara and Sokka's fear of Jennomite is a clear reference to their imprisonment in the crystal in the same episode.
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