Minnichi's Writing Contest - Same Stuff, Different Day
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Notes before you read

Hayai is the second fighter; he's the Dai Li agent, and I decided to give him a name. Hanran is the first fighter; she's a waterbender. This takes place in the forest-type area near the entrance to Lake Laogai. This takes place a few months before Avatar Aang is awakened. ENJOY.

Same Stuff, Different Day

Hayai couldn't sleep; the day had, no doubt, been a blur. He heard shuffling outside his door, and he cocked his ear upwards. His door creaked open, and another Dai Li Agent entered.

"Long Feng wants you outside," The Dai Li agent spoke in a deep, metallic voice, and then he was gone.

Hayai stripped his night-suit and donned his emerald-green outfit, stored his handy rock-gloves in a side holster, and strode outside. The cold, icy wind of the winter night bit his cheeks, and the rain pressed down on him, but he ignored it. Surely, whatever Long Feng requested his presence for, couldn't be a good thing.

Hayai narrowed his eyes, and spotted Long Feng in his own deep green Dai Li outfit. Hayai couldn't help but also noticed a slumped woman lying on a heap of snow, unconscious, her hands and feet bound by a leather rope.

"Hayai, you know what needs to be done. This young waterbender – Hanran, is it? – believes that a war is going outside these walls. Silly girl. Prove you're a Dai Li agent," Long Feng ordered, strutting away, his hands behind his back.

Hayai sighed; he wasn't a brainwasher. He joined the Dai Li task force because he wanted to enforce and protect the cultural heritage of this great city. And because his father had been one. He was looking forward to chatting with the Earth King, passing laws, and fighting for justice. Not brainwashing woman in secret.

He turned his attention to the woman, but found – with a great shock – that in the snow only lay the bundle of rope. He automatically assumed a self-defense stance. A waterbender on the loose, in the middle of a rainy day, could not be left unchained. He backed up slowly, until –


A giant stream of water struck him from behind, spending him sprawling onto the ground, drenched. Slightly shivering, the Dai Li agent jumped up.

"Aww... did I splash you?" Hanran mocked.

Hayai tensed, gave a deep breath, and stuck his arm out. He levitated a nearby tree, and, slightly struggling against it, propelled it at Hanran with stunning speed. In equal succession, he raised both arms, and stuck them into the ground, rumbling the dirt and causing a mini-earthquake.

Hanran sliced the tree with an ice disc, snapping the giant tree in two, and froze the ground before she could fall over. Grinning in spite of herself, she assumed a horse stance, froze the very rain itself, and launched it at Hayai in the form of sharp spikes. Hayai covered himself with his green, plumed hat, and boosted a rock glove at Hanran.

She managed to swerve out of the way; the tree behind her, however, wasn't so lucky. It crumbled in a shower of bark and snow. Hanran waved her arm back, and thrust forward with a decisive water whip. Hayai, not expecting this, received the full blow, and crumpled on the floor with a large gash across his cheek. Hayai, muttering in pain, touched his hand to his face, and warm blood slowly trickled down his fingers.

"Did I cut you? My apologies... it looks like I lost my desert privileges!" Hanran screamed with cold fury, firing razor rings with every word.

How she was able to do this with only rain, Hayai did not know. He glanced upwards, and cursed. It was a full moon tonight. Hanran had the full advantage. Not letting up just yet, Hayai ducked in and back, barely dodging the rings, cutting it very close.

Not letting up a continuous fire, Hanran began shooting tiny, yet effective, water jets. Hayai waved his fingers upwards and backwards, again and again, and rocks shot up from the ground enclosing his arm, forming a rock gauntlet.

"Taste some of this," Hayai whispered to himself, and he brought out two sets of rock gloves. He fell to the ground, and shrimped outwards, dividing the waterbender's attention. He slid back, and turned his head around. Without hesitation, Hayai propelled two rock gloves at her feet.

Hanran's eyes dilated in fear, and she immediately fired a water jet at one of the rock hands, freezing it in a block of ice. The other hand, however, struck her right foot, and she immediately staggered forward. Heavily leaning on the tree, she spat out at the earthbender.

"You Dai Li are... pathetic. You think you can keep out the truth from all these people. You think you can live safely and watch towns burn down and people get slaughtered. The firebenders are going to come, and they're going to make you wonder how you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us!"

Hayai rested on his haunches, and stood up. No wonder Long Feng wants her looped. Her words are a whole another weapon," Hayai thought bitterly, savoring some triumph. He turned his hand into a fist, and tiny pieces of rock flew into a mass, re-forming into a rock hand. He grabbed it, and prepared to knock the waterbender unconscious. But she spoke again.

"Don't worry... I'll make sure you don't have to see your home burn to the ground. There's a new time coming... and you won't be part of it."

With these dramatic words, Hanran, panting in pain but very much alive and determined, gathered up a colossal mass of water behind her, and waved her harms like pinwheels. The water began flying up above her into a maelstrom, forming a devastative hurricane. Lightning cackled, and the air immediately reeked of ozone. With one final look of absolute burning hatred, she let your arms loose.

It was as if someone had let loose a giant case of blasting jelly underneath the sea. The very ground itself exploded. Water surged forward at Hayai, knocked the wind out of his lungs. He slid on the water backwards, and hit himself on a giant tree, planting a giant knot right on his head.

He crumpled on the spot. Anger pounded in his head. His ears were ringing, and his eyes were stinging. As he prepared for his death, his father's glowing smile came into his head. Words followed.

"Why do we go down... so we can pick-ourselves back up!"

Newfound energy and strength replaced his pain and agony. He picked himself back up, and regarded the waterbender with murderous look. Hanran could only stare dumb-founded.

"How did you – that was meant you kill you," Hanran scream, stomping her foot as if it was unfair.

Without saying anything, Hayai propelled a hand straight for her chest. She fell towards the ground, desperately trying to get air. And then she fell unconscious. Thunder boomed in the sky. The rain fell harder. The snow became thicker. Hayai heaved Hanran onto his back, and proceeded into the lake. He earthbended a bridge, and at the end of it was a pothole with a ladder. He threw Hanran down, sharing no sympathy, and slowly climbed down. He passed multiple rooms, and he ignored cries of "I am Joo Dee."

Alas, he came to a dusty room. He opened, and bucketed some water from a nearby basin. He splashed Hanran, and she came to. Before she could do something senseless, Hayai bound her with a chain, lit a lantern, and the process began.

"There is no war in Ba Sing Se," He said, his face emotionless. Hanran's eyes were dilated in confusion, as if she didn't understand the current situation.

"Here we are safe. Here we are free," He said.

"No... I don't know...please," She pleaded.

"There is no war. We are safe behind the walls of Ba Sing Se."

Hanran's head fell to her chest. Hayai went forward, and put his fingers up to her chin, lifting her up.

"Hanran, the Earth King has invited you to Lake Laogai," Hayai repeated a line he had been forced to memorize. Hanran's eyes dilated in acceptance. Hayai remained calm; he knew he couldn't break down. He would be forced to do this again, and again. Same stuff, different day...

And then Hanran spoke.

"I am honored to accept his invitation."

Author's Notes

Hayai means "early" in Japanese.

Hanran means "rebel" in Japanese.

Hope you guys like it! Short and sweet...

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