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February 19, 2014
As I lay on this ice, cold ground beneath my upper body, I think about how great tonight is going to be. I wonder what kinds of conversations we'll have. Maybe we'll go for a walk as the moonlight shines down on us, guiding us to a journey far more exhilarating than either of us could even imagine. What if we kiss? I've never done that before... well I guess my Gran-Gran has kissed me multiple times too many, but that doesn't count! Even if I do love my Gran-Gran, this is a different kind of love! Wait... is it even love? No, it's way to soon for it to be considered love. I just like her, nothing major. Could something as simple as our date tonight turn into something as unbelievable as love? My back starts to ache oppressively. As I lift myself back onto the solid ice and stand up, I realize that my bag of weapons was the cause of my back pain. MY WEAPONS! I'm gonna be late for warrior training!
Just like that, I start to run at the speed of light through the walkways of the Northern Tribe. I have no clue where my actual meeting is, but I'm sure I can figure it out. I try my hardest not to bump into anyone walking opposite of me, but BAM! My body collides with a random citizen. Before I know it, we both fall flat on our sides. For a minute, I just lay there, my side, aching in agony. I think it's bruised. My eyes are squeezed shut, and neck veins feel as if they're about to pop out. I know the guy I bumped into must not be feeling any better than I am. The thought of being late for training brings me to pull myself back up, despite my growing amounts of pain. By the time I get back up on my feet, the guy I bumped into is just now starting to sit up, holding his arm with his hand tightly. I walk over to him, offering my hand out to him to help him back up. It's the most I can do after knocking him over. He looks up at me with his blue eyes, the most innocent look I've been given since I got here. He reaches his hand out, and I use all my strength to pull him back up on his feet.
"Sorry about that, I'm in a rush," I say apologetically.
"That's okay, it was just an accident," the man replies.
His voice sounds rather raspy, like he's sick. Maybe that's just how his voice sounds, or maybe he's still in pain from the collision. Either way, I still feel bad about it.
"Where you headed?" The man asks.
"I'm trying to find out where warrior training is held, but I'm lost," I say as I shrug is disappointment.
The man's face lightens up a little, "Well why didn't you say so? I know where it is! Just go a little further up the sidewalk, turn right and you'll see a huge building up ahead. It'll say Warrior Training right on the building, can't miss it."
Wow, even though I bumped into him, possibly causing him a lot of pain, he still helped me out! Why does the Southern Tribe never try to make contact with the Northern Tribe? Everyone up here is so polite! So far...
"Thanks!" I exclaim.
So I am walking with the directions the man gave me. As I make the right turn, I do see multiple buildings right before me, but which one says 'Warrior Training' on it? I approach the massive, icy building in front of me, about twice the size of the building we're staying at in town. The first building I come across is a restaurant. Tempting since I haven't eaten breakfast yet, but I had a lot to eat last night at the party and I have to find where warrior training is. I quickly run over to the building next to the restaurant on its left. It's a shop. With my luck, I'm going to make it to warrior training when the lesson is over! Why did I have to distracted by Yue? Oh well, at least one good thing came out of it; a date tonight. I turn around the corner of the shop, my eyes catching the sight of yet another building. Getting closer, I can now read the inscription. WARRIOR TRAINING! I sigh, filled with much relief.
Walking inside, a big, buff, intimidating looking guy in traditional Water Tribe warrior wear approaches me, with a look of anger in his deep, blue eyes. Oh no, I'm late and now this guy is going to beat me up, I think to myself. Out of nowhere, the man places his hand, as big as one of Appa's eyes, on my shoulder. His grip is so tight that the circulation feels cut off and my bones start to ache. What makes it worse is that I fell on that shoulder when I bumped into that other guy earlier, and he's just making it worse. Maybe this guy is a warrior, and maybe he's not as bad as I'm making him out to be, but I didn't walk all this way to get silently harassed by a guy twice my size. I look to where the man's abdomen is, get into a quick fighting stance, and ram into it with my good shoulder.
"Get away from me!" I yell in my best warrior voice.
Right after I said that, the pain in now my other shoulder starts to set in. I underestimated the power held in his gut. It's stiff as a board! I let out a grunt as I hold onto my shoulder, clenching it to make the pain less excruciating. I open my eyes to the sound of the man I just defended myself against laughing deeply. He gives me a playful slap on my back.
"Not bad for a Southerner," the man says complementary. "but if there's one thing you gotta know about me, it's that I have abs of steel."
The man holds out his hand in a more friendly manner. "Nice to meet you, I'm Herzio, and I am the trainer for warriors. Chief Arnook told me you were coming. It's a honor to meet someone from the Southern Tribe, and friend of the Avatar."
"I'm Sokka, nice to meet you too," I reply, shaking my hand with his. "and I must warn you, I might not have abs of steel, but I do have a stomach as big as the South Pole."
We share a quiet laugh with each other after that. The rest of the training session goes pretty smooth. And pretty fast, but I think it might have something to do with my mind being constantly focused on how I want my date with Princess Yue tonight to go well. Herzio is impressed with my small collection of weapons. I learned some running drills that were never taught to me before and how to hit someone upside the head with my machete multiple ways without drawing blood. I even got to talk to some of the other warriors. They were all fascinated with my stories of the travels I've taken since Katara and I freed Aang from the iceberg. I think I'll enjoy going back there again.
While walking back to the home we're staying at, I come across something on the ground that's not ice or snow. In fact, I never thought I'd been seeing something like this until our stay at the Northern Tribe is over. I pick it up, to make sure what I'm seeing is actually real, examining it closely, even smelling it. It's a piece of wood. Heavier than it looks for a natural source of material. It must've come off someone's piece of firewood. Wait! I could use this to make something for Yue! Girls like gifts. Maybe it's just a piece of wood, but I could turn it into a masterpiece!
I start to hurriedly walk faster to the home, almost running at full speed as excitement starts to build up in my adrenaline kicks in. Finally, I make it back with only Momo to greet me as I walk in the building. Aang and Katara still haven't returned from waterbending training yet, but I guess today's lesson is time consuming. I reach my hand over my shoulder and into my bag of weapons, feeling for my boomerang. I finally grasp it, pull it out, and drop my bag onto the floor, now heading for the window to my right, right next to the door. With the sun glowing through, I'll have perfect natural lighting to carve. But what to carve? What do girls like? What does Yue even like? I never got to have a really in depth conversation with her last night. I slightly tap the back edge of my boomerang on my lower lip in deep concentration, when I finally get an idea. A fish! This is the Northern Water Tribe, and what member of the Water Tribe doesn't like fish?
I hold the piece of wood up to the window, letting get a direct hit of sunshine. I start to dig in the piece with the front edge of my boomerang, carefully carving the body of what will be a fish. I slice the ends of the fish's fins and move my boomerang across the body's edges, making it thinner and more straight-lined. The body isn't as perfect as I hoped it would be; there's a couple cracks where the fins are, but no big deal. The fish will definitely look better with a face. I stick the edge of my boomerang in the middle of where the head is supposed to be, and drill a tiny hole. I repeat this same procedure right next to the first eye. The eyes aren't the same; the second one is bigger than the other, but there's no time to get obsessive; my artwork has never been great. I do one last final touch, by adding a smiley face. Unfortunately, the smile looks more like a frown, but fish don't smile in real life, so I guess it's more realistic. I just hope Princess Yue will like it.
A couple hours go by before I notice that the sun is starting to set. Aang and Katara still haven't returned, but I'm sure by the time I get back, we can all share the wonderful day we've all had... even though my day will be pretty hard to top. Who else can say that they've got a date with a princess? Before I even think about leaving the building, I take one look at my reflection in my boomerang, shine my teeth up by wiping them off with my thumb, fluff and tighten up my warrior's wolf tail, and put the carved fish in my pocket. As I head for the door, Momo says something to me in his lemur language. I just assume that he's wishing me good luck and thank him, telling him I'll need it.
Despite the fact that the sun is almost down, and the sky is turning a darker blue by the minute, I still think I'd be too early to show up at the bridge now. Maybe I'll just walk around a little; get my blood flowing. As I walk by a couple colossal buildings, one of them had a very mouth-watering smell coming out of it. I haven't eaten since the party last night! Maybe grabbing a quick bite before my date wouldn't be such a bad idea. Can't be hungry tonight while on the bridge with Yue, right? The smell only got more delectable once I walked in. I look at the menu. So many choices, I think as saliva builds up in my mouth.
"Hey, ponytail," the man behind the counter insultingly says to me. "you gonna order something, or just stand here all day."
"Oh, sorry, um..I'll have the pickled fish to go," I reply.
I've never tried the pickled fish before. It's probably a popular dish served here at the Northern Tribe, so it's worth a shot."That'll be eight coins," the man stated.
My eyes got wide after that. All I have in my pocket is the carved fish for Yue! Not to mention that we ran out of money before we got here.
"Uh... I don't have eight coins," I reply. "In fact, I don't have any coins at all..."
They man behind the counter got really red in the face, his veins almost popping out of his forehead and eyes becoming bloodshot.
"Then why'd you come here in the first place?" The man asks me angrily.
I just got an idea; a very suave way to get the pickled fish without paying.
"Because I'm hungry. You see, I haven't eaten since yesterday at the party Chief Arnook arranged. I, along with my sister were welcomed as honored guests because we traveled here from the Southern Tribe with the Avatar."
I gave him the biggest smirk after that. Before I can even wait for him to say something back, the man grabs me by my coat, lifts me in the air by one arm, walks to the door, and throws me out. I land, back first on the icy ground, skidding at least fifteen feet away from the restaurant.
"I don't care if you're a friend of the Avatar. Even if you were the Avatar, I'd still make you pay! Either come back when you got money, or don't come back at all!" The man yells as he slams the door in my face.
I guess not everyone in the North Pole is as nice as I thought, but at the same time, I probably deserved to be thrown out. I shouldn't take advantage of being an honored guest, but the second I get eight coins, I know exactly what I'm going to spend it on.
As I walk deeper into town, it gets darker relatively fast. I should start heading for the bridge Yue told me to meet her at. There's so many bridges in the North Pole; how am I supposed to find the one she was talking about! Corner after corner, block after block, and still lost! I'm going to totally blow it with Yue if I never show up! As I turn another corner, a miracle happens! I see Princess Yue on the bridge waiting for me! I hope I didn't keep her too late. I grab the carved fish in my pocked and start to run as fast as I can, my heart increasing in every beat. I run up the winding staircase step after step. Once I reach the top of the bridge, I look at her; gazing at her magnificent beauty under the rays from the moonlight. Breathe in... breathe, out I think to myself as I approach Yue, sliding next to her.
"Hi, Princess Yue," I say to her.
At first, Yue looks almost as if I startled her, but then she turns her head away, looking down at the water canal below us, looking blank in her expression. What is she thinking about it? Maybe she's just shy and doesn't know what to say. Perhaps now would be a good time to give her the carving I made.
"I made you something," I say to her as I hold out my hand, catching her attention. "I carved it myself."
Yue takes a second to look at it, trying to figure out what I carved for her.
"It's a bear," Yue says quietly.
Wow, my carving skills are worse than I thought. On the other hand, I can see why she'd think it's a bear; I have the fish in a vertical position.
"Actually, it's supposed to be a fish," I reply as I pick up the carving and turn it horizontally. "See it has a fin," I explain, pointing to the fin on top of the fish's head.
"Oh," Yue says, still staring at my work.
As I open my eyes, I smile at Yue. I can't be any happier than I am right now. I'm spending my night in the Northern Tribe with the most beautiful girl I've ever met in my life. She's so quiet tonight, that's it mysterious, but maybe we just need to get into a more casual conversation.
"I'm sorry," Yue says facing me. She turns away again, catching me completely off guard. "I made a mistake. I shouldn't have asked you to come her!" She yells as she runs away from me, deeper into the bridge, escaping my sight further with ever step.
I'm speechless. I don't know what to think. Why did she run off? Why would she ask me to meet her on this bridge only to blow me off? What did I do wrong? Maybe she doesn't like me. My sadness turns into boiling anger. Maybe I shouldn't have given her the carving. And just like that I get a firm grip onto the fish, and throw it into the canal, making a frustrating grunt in the process. I slump my shoulders down and turn my hands into fists. I stare at the fish carving as it floats down the canal, wishing that I could float with it far away and never return. I start to walk off the bridge, still filled with anger, and also confusion. I should've know I wasn't meant to be with a princess! Why did I even bother trying? I eventually make it back to our temporary home. Aang and Katara have finally made it back. I hope their day went better than mine, because I just hit an all time low.
"Sokka, you're back!" Aang exclaims.
"So, how's warrior training going?" Katara asks.
I don't even want to talk about warrior training! I'm still furious about being turned down! I ignore my sister's question, and just kick my bag of weapons, fall to my knees, and let my upper body collapse, my arms resting between my head and the bag.
"That bad?" Aang asks.
"No, it's Princess Yue. I don't get it. One minute she wants to go out with me, and the next, she's telling me to get lost," I explain in an uptight tone.
Maybe that's not exactly how it went down, but it might as well have happened that way. Whatever! I don't want to talk about it anymore!
"So how's waterbending training," I ask, changing the subject.
As I ask that, Katara is now the one the slump to the ground, letting the hood of her coat bury her face. I guess they didn't have a good day either. I feel bad for them, but it's nice to know I'm not the only one going through something.
"Master Poophead won't teach her because she's a girl," Aang says angrily.
I think to myself for a second before suggesting, "Why don't you just teach her, Aang?"
Just like that, Katara bounces her head back up, now smiling hugely.
"Why didn't I think of that?" Katara questions herself as she starts get up.
Because only I can think of the best ideas. It's a gift; I'm pretty sure of that.
"At night, you can teach me whatever moves you learned from Master Pakku. That way you have someone to practice with and I get to learn waterbending! Everyone's happy!" Katara explains, proud of herself.
I think she's forgetting about someone.
"I'm not happy," I say grumpily.
"But you're never happy. Come on, Aang!" Katara says approaching the exit.
Aang airbends himself up, and the two leave. It becomes quiet for a short moment, but Momo chitters at me. I feel like this time he's trying to tell me something about Yue, but I could be wrong. I just look at him, ignoring his input. After tonight, I just want to forget it ever happened. I decide to close my eyes, and try to fall asleep, but questions keep popping into my mind. Why shouldn't she have asked for me to show up? What mistake did she make? So many mixed emotions surround my thoughts as I finally drift away into a world where things can't get to me.
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